Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sydney Racial Violence - Public Perception

Looks like Sydneysiders may yet have their Christmas barbeques at the beaches. State Premier Iemma declared the rioting crushed and thus making the beaches safe.

In a related matter, a survey conducted by the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that 75% of people polled, including two-thirds of John Howard's Coalition Party supporters, disagreed with Howard’s claim that the riotings were not caused by racial prejudice.

Strangely, despite the racial rioting, another poll conducted by ACNielsen revealed that Aussies have been more comfortable with immigration levels than they were immediately after the Tampa crisis. The Tampa crisis was of course one of those ‘scare campaigns’ that the Coalition Party raised, coincidentally before a general election which saw them won handsomely as a stalwart defender of the nation aaginst West Asian refugees.

While I don’t have the figures immediately at hand, I read somewhere that today more than 90% of the Tampa refugees carted off to Nauru in a show of force by John Howard, have in fact been admitted into Australia [other than those admitted by New Zealand in a magnificent humanitarian effort at an earlier stage].

So the Rambo action and hundreds and hundreds of million of dollars spent building the Nauru camp came to nought other than to show Australian voters how tough John Howard had been with refugees.

The ACNielsen poll showed that those who considered immigration intake as too high fell from 41% in 2001 to only 33%. The number of people who thought immigration levels were too low climbed by one point to 11 per cent.

The poll revealed 81 per cent backing for multiculturalism. Despite all the right wing angst about and scoff at multiculturalism, support has actually been steadily growing since Pauline Hanson made her infamous anti-Asian maiden speech to Parliament.

ACNielsen's chief, John Stirton, concluded that the favourable showing of the polling for immigration and multiculturalism indicated that Aussies weren’t at all influenced by the Cronulla rioting. They must have concluded that it had been a case of young ethnic hotheads, perhaps even juvenile hooligans, invariably clashing once extremist groups from both sides acted as agent provocateurs.

However, one still needs to be alert to trouble makers as Police revealed that white supremacist groups have resorted to hand grenades, fire bombs, guns, and various implements of death and injury. The other side has just been as bad.

But the Police have been working magnificently overtime to crush the troublemakers. And the attitudes of the majority of Aussies have been equally magnificent.

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