keywords: Migrant Workers

  • AUSTRALIA

    The problem of privilege in Australia Day billboard furore

    • Tseen Khoo
    • 24 January 2017
    16 Comments

    The removal of an Australia Day billboard featuring two girls in hijabs prompted a swell of support against Islamophobia. Alongside this was a backlash from those who read the action as forcing Muslim Australians to be complicit in the oppression of Indigenous peoples. My unease came from seeing intra-community tension manifest as dismissal and denigration of those who were considered not 'woke' enough to the politics and embedded racism surrounding invocations of Australian identity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    We are links in the chain of asylum seeker cruelty

    • Rod Grant
    • 18 November 2016
    18 Comments

    Having a sense of something as right or wrong, good or bad, is the essence of humanity. We get it from home, from education, religion, friends, the media. It's the sniff test or the pub test or the gut feeling or the Bible or Quran or Torah. We all have it. And just as people have a sense of right and wrong, we also have a very good humbug detector, and it's clanging loudly when politicians unctuously claim all their 'stop the boats' strategies are driven by desire to prevent drownings at sea.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    How the working class became white

    • Evan Smith
    • 27 October 2016
    19 Comments

    While the White Australia Policy attempted to prevent non-white workers from living and working in Australia, people from across the globe continued to do both, although often at the margins of white Australian society. The Australian Labor Party and the trade unions were complicit in maintaining this racial divide. In Australia today, a new wave of migrants is working in convenience stores, driving taxis or cleaning buildings. They are part of the Australian working class, but are often not considered such.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Australia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Engaging with Dutton's rhetoric is a slippery slope

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 20 May 2016
    33 Comments

    The irony of trying to negate these stereotypes is that in doing so, we are still cheapening asylum seekers to political tools, stripping them of their humanity and multiplicity. Aiming to counter such rhetoric as Dutton's with stories of high-achieving refugees plays into a toxic game that legitimises the same negative stereotypes by engaging with them. Just as invisibility dehumanises asylum seekers, so does the hypervisibility we attribute to a select few stories.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    There's no cheap path to harmony

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 03 February 2016
    10 Comments

    Of the United Nations Days and Weeks, World Interfaith Harmony Week is one of the most recent and perhaps the most modestly celebrated. It may also be the most needed. But the conversation cannot be confined to the churches and to those with religious faith. Its claim needs to extend beyond religious faiths to secular views of the world. The obstacle to such conversation is the religious settlement in Australia and Western nations, which can be described as negative tolerance.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Unskilled immigration is good for Australia

    • Gabriela D'Souza
    • 09 November 2015
    10 Comments

    George Megalogenis describes a protest rally in 1849 organised by residents of Sydney against arrivals of more convict boats. Workers who 'wanted to maintain their high-wage society' made 'the first of countless calls that would be made against migrants who threatened to undercut their standard of living'. It is a familiar refrain today. In a world where three-fifths of a person's income is determined by their place of birth, it defies logic that we place restrictions on people's movement to preserve our standard living.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Oppressing compassion in Europe and Australia

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 28 September 2015
    16 Comments

    When refugees walked into Europe, away from distant distress sites, their presence made the global issue visceral for Europeans. Australia doesn't have asylum seekers walking en masse through ordinary streets. Our border is one of established hatred. 'Stop the boats' policy denies ordinary Australians their compassionate impulse, and creates a history that our children will face judgement upon. It denies humanity's collective memory after World War II.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Transgender sex worker fights back from the margins

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 17 September 2015
    5 Comments

    When Sin-Dee rants about the 'fish' with whom her pimp boyfriend has been cheating, she is a transgender woman using a derogatory term for a person who is socially and biologically female. Her story does not merely transgress traditional gender binaries; it assumes the perspective of marginalised characters to reveal through their lived experiences the ways in which gender is both an individual and social construction.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why calls for compassion for refugees don't work

    • Tim Robertson
    • 09 September 2015
    3 Comments

    Writing in The Australian this week, Chris Kenny declares: 'Emotion, moral vanity, political posturing and good intentions won't be much of a guide when it comes to making the right decisions and delivering the best results'. He and like minded opinion writers get so much traction because they're essentially correct. Compassion alone is not enough.

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  • Maintaining the humanity of the public square

    • Greg O'Kelly
    • 01 July 2015
    3 Comments

    The phrase 'the public square' is peppered throughout Frank Brennan's work. The 1988 film Cinema Paradiso depicts the public square in a Sicilian village over 30 or so years, and its slow and subtle change from a place where human beings gather to laugh, play and discuss. Billboards and garish signs appear and it becomes a car park bereft of its humanity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mannix, master conjurer in the cause of the underdog

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 March 2015
    15 Comments

    Daniel Mannix, who was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne 1917-63, knew how to control an audience and shift the perception of events. He argued fiercely against conscription in the 1917 Referendum, and railed against the exploitation of struggling workers. On finishing his new biography, I imagined a meeting between him and Pope Francis, both masters of public symbols with a disdain for church clericalism and sanctimonious speech.

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