Worrying acceptance of racism in Australia

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:00am

Australia often self-righteously looks abroad for breaches of human rights and dignity. John Howard's Government neglects and victimises its most recent arrivals with impunity. Recent shameful events in Australia are a timely reminder to us all that racial prejudice remains a universal threat to be ignored at humanity's peril.

The cynical political opportunism to which the demonisation of the asylum seeker/refugee was employed in the return of the Howard Government in the recent federal election in Australia bears testament to the utter dereliction of decency and humanity. More worryingly, we as a nation accepted these lies with a willingness that belies our thinly veiled racially-motivated interests of border protection and immigration control.

Tall tales of children being thrown overboard by their parents and terrorists huddling in rickety boats infiltrating our shores were lapped up without question by a nation receptive to the racial demons unleashed by the xenophobia of Pauline Hanson and encouraged by the Prime Minister.

It is with some irony that I, as a recently arrived new Australian, view the umbrage and disgust with which Australians have responded to their willing deception. We allowed these demons to prosper and it is high time we acknowledge our prejudices as a nation.


Brisbane, Australia