A plenary session this morning – 6 or so speakers given 5 minutes each.
(Now why, I wonder, when given time constraints does every speaker feel obligated to waste their time by starting off commenting on how little time they have? Note to self: don’t do that. And, BTW, if you do go over time, eveyone is sitting there thinking, ‘How
inconsiderate!’ Way to lose your audience.)
Content: Some interesting snippets. Australia is one of very few nations in the world that thinks of itself as an immigrant nation, and it does so largely positively. Most Australians think that immigration strengthens the country, and are happy with current levels of immigration. However, Australians also consistently prefer
‘integration’ over ‘multiculturalism’. In other words, you’re welcome to come here, but it’s your job to fit in.
Prof Salman Sayyid: The problem is that these days, there is racism but no racists. (Brilliant!)
Paul Power (CEO Refugee Council): It is ironic that today, in a country with levels of wealth virtually unprecedented in human history, there is so much resentment and intolerance of the poor and disadvantaged.
Prof Santina Bertone: Throughout State govts, CALD representation is significantly less than in society generally, despite the fact that everyone agrees this should not be the case. The reason seem to be subtle rule-based barriers, such as bureaucratic job applications, preference for local qualifications, etc. The problem is specially prevalent in higher level policy and executive levels. (This was an interesting insight for me, to see how racism and other forms of discrimination become embodied in forms so subtle that they escape notice, but are none the less powerful.)