So I don’t really see how all these people can, quote, "have more trouble
adjusting to Australian life" than Australians themselves, or than refugees coming from Iraq or
Afghanistan, who have much more difficulties to adjust to australian life than the first ones.
Otherwise and frankly speaking, behind the Australian government decision to limit the number of Africans granted asylum lies the fear of seeing this country becoming a multi-cultural and less whiter society, than Australia is "supposed" to be.
And given the apartheid politics already emplemented against Aboregenes, we can only conclude that racism is the real only motive driving the Australian immigration policy.
By Tim Johnston
A decision by the Australian government to limit the number of African
refugees granted asylum on the grounds that they are having trouble
adjusting to Australian life has led to accusations of racism being
leveled at the country’s immigration minister, Kevin Andrews.
Australia resettled 13,000 refugees last year, second only in number
to the United States and more per capita than any other country.
Refugee visas formerly were fairly evenly spread among Africa, Asia
and the Middle East and Europe. But in August, Andrews said that the
distribution would be changed to give extra places to applicants from
Asia and the Middle East and to cut the African allocation.
Andrews said then that the change was made to take account of the
increased number of refugees generated by the conflicts in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and continuing problems in Myanmar and Bhutan.
But on Wednesday, he said that another factor in his decision was
that African immigrants are having problems integrating with Australian
"We do have a responsibility to the Australian community to ensure
that when people come to Australia they’re able to adequately settle in
this country," Andrews told reporters.
"We have detected that there have been additional challenges in
relation to some of the people that have come from Africa over the last
few years," he said, adding that Africans "have on average lower levels
of education than almost any other group of refugees that have come to
Andrews also cited concerns about race-based gangs, and "reports of
a developing trend of young African males congregating in parks at
night, often to consume alcohol."
However, the police in the states of Victoria and New South Wales,
which have large numbers of migrants from Sudan, especially from the
war-torn area of Darfur, said there are no particular law enforcement
problems with this group.
Andrews rejected charges of racism. "This notion that somehow we’re
seeking to demonize people from particular countries is just wrong," he
said. "What we’re trying to do is actually help. It’s a false
compassion to say we just keep on bringing more and more people when we
know we’ve got challenges."
The government has allocated 210 million Australian dollars, or $186
million, in the current federal budget to assisting the integration of
refugees, and Andrews said much of this money would go to African
Australia agreed to take some 4,000 African refugees for the
12-month period beginning in July, and all available slots have already
Immigration is a controversial topic here, particularly with a general election expected this year.
With more than 1 in 5 of the country’s 21 million citizens born
overseas, some feel migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East are
irrevocably changing the nature of Australian society.
The hard line taken on immigration by Prime Minister John Howard has
been credited with helping him win the past four elections, and some
assume Andrews’ comments were aimed at influencing voters by again
raising the specter of Australia being overrun.
"There is a minority of Australians with racist views, a larger
minority that is committed to a multiracial society, and a lot of
people in the middle who might be swayed by this sort of thing," said
Paul Power, CEO of Australia’s Refugee Council, an umbrella group for
nongovernmental organizations looking after refugees.
In an editorial on Thursday, The Australian newspaper said Howard
risked deepening the divisions in society. "We are deeply concerned
that Mr. Andrews’s comments seem calculated to provoke community
outrage and undermine support for migrants and refugees," it said.
This is not the first time the Howard government has run into
trouble over immigration. In the 2001 election, his administration
asserted that migrants trying to enter Australia illegally by boat were
throwing children overboard to pressure officials into picking them up.
After the election, officials conceded that there was no evidence of
children being thrown overboard.