Hidden histories of Chinese Australia
This is an ABC podcast. Tim Watts is a member of parliament. For the seat of Jelly brand in Melbourne's western suburbs CBS. That's one of the most multicultural areas of Australia. Whenever team attends a citizenship ceremony on strike? Today he needs electorate he struck by the myriad of places that the new citizens have come from and he says some so happy to have found sanctuary in Australia for their families that they actually weep with relief leaf during the ceremony to what's comes from an old old Anglo-australian family his ancestors were country people from the dominant. Dan's in Queensland is land and from Victoria will some served as members of the colonial parliaments and Tim grew up hearing the family folklore he got Bush poetry free and he fell in love with that all destroyed at its myths and legends. But he's since realized that some of these ancestors who went into public life did everything they it could to make sure that his wife and kids today could never be astrid. INS- Tim says Australian still live with a powerful contradiction between the way. We are the way we live today and the stories that we tell ourselves about who we are and design family personifies this contradiction. What's has written a very thoughtful book about strata then now and it's called the Golden Country Australia's changing identity? Hello Tim great to be with you. You grow up in in the darling downs of Queensland. Just just how much will you kind of inculcated with the oldest reading culture. I was waiting on it My father there is An agricultural engineer and that necess- decided to a lot of traveling on school holidays. You know we'd travel to agricultural properties building dams and fade lots and piggeries in those things and those car trips were quite long ones in countries dryer. I'm she'll illicit familiar with the family right. There are an opportunity with a captive audience prince to pass down trapped in the cloud. Essentially many memories of being stuck in the back of a station wagon wheel L.. Derives that of sweating in the backseat. While that said you know at least is the property way. You're great great. Great grandfather was a pastoralist. Oh this was. The Property Way and sisters was at least it to guide a polio. Was One of the first Qantas pilot's. Astronomy and legend has really waned on really waned on the idea that I was a part of that Australian collegians that my ancestors were part of this pioneering idea of starting a country again in Australia so when I heard about those the Australian legends tonight values of Egalitarian is a might ship the guy that I really appeal to me. I felt like this is part of who I was. I grew up really loving the idea of Australia. I grew up with parents like that. Dead from country Victoria mom from countries have the strong values Galateri Newsham. You know you don't get tickets on yourself all that stuff the thing. I really liked the humor in the storytelling. Did you get plenty of that as womb. Absolutely I can remember listening to macaroni mistrial driving around scrubbing the exit coal in with some quite bizarre stories from the towns but two cats and a dog and I swear it's true type things. Send them as a kid. It all sounds real. You know it's unbelievable and you know we you'd pull up at a campground and I said I love the -Tarian Manas of Australia now. You APLOMB campground near you. Start a conversation with the people in the tent next year in the Connex you and your yawning refugees and a barbecue with people you've never met before it's it's magic. It's really special. Did you get the Bush poetry as well. I loved it in fact when I was having my first extended period away from Australia living in the US studying over there in the freezing cold snow of a North American winter remember trudging back to my student accommodation and reciting Banjo Paterson any from right clancy. I've written him a letter which I had for want of better knowledge to him just on SPEC. So that's your family. That's your family. I'm angry brought up with all that the values of all destroy idea to me what you learned about your ancestors John Watts because he was spoken of quite a bit and John was a really really significant person in my family. When I grow up we always had a portrait of with is fantastic? White flowing. Did that would not be at a place in my hips during the city today and he was significant because we had a copy of his daughters so we could pick up his doors and raid what. He's experiences of Australia alike in the sort. The adding fifty sixty s all the way through the ninety S. So you that kind of firsthand connection that we could read and that was really special particularly to my father and my uncle who have republish publish them for the bicentenary kind of story of Australia was he telling in his diaries. It's the old story of Australia. Say He talks explicitly about the colonialist braid and scituate him Listen of head of steel rod unite the Great Stylianos Ortho selection selection. Dad and Dave well steel rod was born in the area of coins and that my ancestors represented while he was the member of parliament. Dr Is tell the story of of Anglo settlement of Australia from Very Taranaki perspective. In his mind there was nothing of any worth in his try when he arrived. And he's Dr is aimed with this sort of statement of you know when I left Brisbane was a thriving metropolis type thing thing but it was a very narrow perspective of Austria was and could that uncomplicated. Love you head for strata as a young did they get a bit more complicated as you got. Good old yeah. The uncomplicated. Love Change when I started to say that those against Teheran values that I loved so much weren't extended to everyone in society so obviously Veasley two women indigenous Australians migrants and you talk about the stories we tell. It's interesting. The stories that John Watts tells in his Dari sort of allied relied a lot of the the DACA parts of that history. So just stick around it. Yeah they stick. Suppose you forget it pretending it didn't happen you know I like I. I know that John Watts wine. Heroes empowerment sat on a parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of the coins. Ninety police now. This is a sort of paramilitary force that existed in Quainton and was responsible for countless massacres and in the hand side talking about that John. Watts says that look the the police they did some things. It went very pretty but probably better than just letting the pastoralists go at it themselves that would be even uglier and at the end of that. I I think that direct quite as win eight to take the blacks the mastery the watts through the power of the Cobb on now that a piece in the Hansa but it doesn't appear in the dollars that he handed down to his future generations. That's something a Nazi would right. That's that's an extraordinary thing to say we had to send in the. It's it's horrifying and and that kind of thing gives you a direct connection with with the they atrocities the injustices that were committed against indigenous. Australians so I felt that really acutely that's a jarring thing you know these things that you arise with these things that were fundamental not all of a sudden you stop viewing them through different prison. So what do you want to do when you see something like that you just want to throw it away or or interrogated a bit hotter. What I mean what? What can you read something An ancestor saying something like that. The instinctive action from my parents. I think he's pretended happen to to sort of sweep it under the carpet. It's sort of the great right forgetting in historical circles for me. I I mean I think those amendments that are really worth delving into because they show the potential for us has a papal as and as a nation to change. We've grown. Since those days there is still extraordinary injustice and I say that the gap between indigenous Australia and and the rest of the country In terms of outcomes on health and education and crime all the time in my day job. It's it's horrific and it's ongoing but in attitudes we we've come an extraordinary. Why lost two years where we're Greta country now than we were back? Then you had another sister Charles Netease. He's nine was to me about him Charles. And he's one of those great pioneering stories so he was a nineteen year old on the first floor out to South Australia. And it's it's actually a famous historical incident that involved at Charles Nancy's when they came around into what is now South Australia. The original intent was to have the settlement settlement on Kangaroo Island. Not Not an Adelaide. And they've they found kangaroo all and my nineteen year old ancestor commits the captain and and sort of ten other ship. Might say we've been on the ship for however many months destroyed legs. Let us off. We want to have a Gallup on kangaroo island because people had told them the kangaroo was quite a nice place hospitable liberal place where you can have a settlement unfortunately for those who can't crew all it's not like that loss for ten days. Two of them died. Charles Nancy's was left for dead on a beach and he was lucky enough that the surviving members of his party continued on the found the ship and sent them back cream side aside. I rescued him. which is probably a good thing for my family lawn as oppose so then he settled in Geelong in Victoria after that and what became of once he settled there? Yes I not. Nancy's reinvent. Invented himself in in Geelong as a businessman was a member of the first Geelong City Council. But the thing that really interested May in his legacy was that he was also a member of the local anti-chinese Lake. Now these are a common community organization that was set up during the gold. Rush era with the intent of pressuring government and agitating public opinion with the objective of driving the local Chinese community out of his dry and the gold rush era. The proportion of the Australian community who were born in China is about what it as today about what it is tonight and wide but this was the interaction between the watch the Anglos on the Gulf fields and the Chinese trigger a lot of Of Flay back a lot of conflict. So what was the upshot of this had had they actually succeeded in stopping. Chinese Goldman is from coming to Victoria. So I've got a copy of a petition that anti-chinese Lake that Charles Manson Umbro presented to the Victorian Parliament and the objective of this petition was the the crash of a poll all tax. This is a a charge on every Chinese arrival in Port in Victoria quite extortionate charge. That intent wasn't that it would be paid. The intent was that it made it impossible impossible for Chinese arrivals to disembark and these triggered a quite extraordinary event. The ships coming from China didn't stop but continued around the coast outside Victorian jurisdiction addiction to the nearest port. Outside Victoria and that was the seaside ten of robe now in Robe. Iran seventeen thousand Chinese migrants would dump their and. They walked the five hundred kilometers from Roy. To the Gulf fields. In in Bendigo Ballarat walked five hundred kilometers brought all that y a quite harrowing walk on. There's there's a lot of history what we know about that event right now and you can recreate the walk as many people from the Chinese community do and so. This is the thing amongst the Chinese Australian community. It's remembered and all of the it's a very well. Nine event and the China's drank community and families recreate this for historical events for anniversaries. Things like that and there are places you can stop along the way of significance so your ancestor Charles. Netease was one of the people sending that petition to the colonial government to prevent the Chinese from landing. Today you your family family. Currently your your wife was born in Hong Kong Eurasian kids understand why Porn- Singapore I've Eurasian kids as well. What does that do to you? The thought that you have an ancestor who wanted to create a straightaway. Your family would never be possible. Never be possible and your kids couldn't Australians. But what does that do to you. That thought near. Yeah this is like an each in the back of my mind as we were talking about earlier I felt is really strong connection with plice with the Stri around with the idea of Australia as a kid growing up as kids became old enough for me to entrap them in the back of sates for long family road. Trips it's dodd. Distract me that they are experience it so as far as history industry is reality. Today would be different to my mind so that that's something that I really wanted to explore as a member of parliament as an elected later. Something I wanted shei-pa as well I mean it's a troubling for. It must have put you back on your feet. I mean I have the benefit of knowing much about what my ancestors I just thought. I know I had a grandfather who was a member this tonight association which was Australia for Australians and that often meant no not poems as well well that was that was the attitude lodge at the time but that may strike you for a strident So I just wonder how personally distressing it is few tonight that I suppose I'll have that conversation with my kids when they're old enough. The wind direction solid as saying earlier. I mean I think that it really presents an optimistic story united. Well it really shows how far we've come as a society as a as a nation that had the the the anti Chinese league's The idea of Australia for the white man which was the strap line of the bulletin published Gripe Poems by Henry Lawson and Banjo Sanjay Patterson that we've transcended that conceptually. I spent on the one hand. One of the mistakes you can have with. History is to shout at the past from the twenty first a century and say that's all bio moral standards digest clearly file to to meet our moral standards of today. Still even saw Dr. Yeah it's still troubling to to to to see something like that I mean. These views went uncommon at the time. Like I say so. So why was the feeling against Chinese migrants so strong at that time to sink crepe such petitions to to do that kind of thing so there are a few things in the water at the time one one of them. Was this sort of Nice. An attempt to build an Australian identity like how we different from the field. How we different from from the English as as you said alias so you had to say tried if association the Bush poets? These people are engaged in the symbolic nation-building Australia and I had a really strong idea about what they wanted Australia to be and it was really the image of Russel Ward. Famous historian talks about the agent. This idea that what may destroy a unique where the experiences nces of people working on the land in the face of extremely challenging conditions in isolation up against Mother Nature Gotcha and the view. was that this credit a band of people that sort of through hierarchy at the window egalitarian. ISM and might ship something. It was born from Dr Swaggie hanging around and needing to band together to survive in this this hostile environment and you can see them responding to the majesty of the strata to country like this really struck by the beauty and that this is not this is not Scotland and that was a reflex reaction against British. The British. Show these trying Bouma horrified like this uses a hacking anyone survive in this country and you know try and patriots so the these try and Bush and said this is the country we love. We see the beauty in your. We were raised in so so. Isn't that kind of mid nineteenth century period. People trying to say what this is what it means to be Australian Egalitarian. You might ship the FIG irreverence resilience practicality you know all these audie is about a man the land and to define the edges to contrast that with the other with with the Brits. We needed to create a stereotypical. I'm fortunately the presence of the Chinese and the Goldfields gave us that other. You know we could. We could talk. Cost the the Chinese is being served as being slaves as being physically wake as being morally corrupted and you see these sort of engine that was defining a strident positive terms. Also being used to talk cost and negatively stereotype the Chinese President Society. So are you saying that in order to say we. Australians this we needed to say we are not that the Chinese essentially as we were building up our national identity. That's exactly right and it wasn't a coincidence. You know you saw events that were that were manufactured factored by by political leaders and by Rod as and by groups like the Strand note of association in order to highlight this. There was some really amazing aspects to that that that character that identity the the idea of materialism and it's often brought up in it and it it doesn't diminish over time and how Brennan Australians were in the prisoner walk camps in Thailand in the mobile. I really get irritated. Some people sorta like to say again. I there's no such thing as Australian identity or Australian values elect look fundamentally we're all humans and we share that that common humanity and there's not much that really differentiates itself in in essence but in these values they have power in and in the most extreme circumstances strands latch onto them. So in the prisoner of war camps we've seen anthropological studies that show the different ways that Australians liens behind the more collectivist Damore Galateri unwise compared to you know say the yanked so the poems like these values this Australian culture. The identity has value early as power was said to be and it was very blakey culture and yet at the same time it was a culture where women won the vote. Early I in a second to New Zealand's I I mean we women won the vote earlier than just about anywhere else in the world so there was that as well. So there's a kind of complex identity there isn't the absolutely The in that period before the I will there was this unique Australian identity of radical Galateri. Newsham the heroes of Australian suffrage vehicles stain in Dora Mason mural matters that went across to the kind lectured the mother country. I said you gotta get with The Times. It was an extraordinarily bald bald confident articulation of that radical a gala -Tarian Strand identity. This kind of madness that goes into this. It'll be knotted century nineteenth century caricatures about the Chinese other. That was over there on the one hand. As you cited spirit the spiritually degenerates and physically weak and yet they're threat. was that if a reconcile that idea that the the yellow peril was such a threatened at the same time. These these physical specimens supposedly so inferior to the the Ozzie Bush mile. Yes I the way that that was rationalize was she volume. Russia was that there were so many people to to north and just like oh one. One month's population increase in China would flood Australia's Ias I e the Bas fear of science fiction writing all my stabat rights for and Astrid that coming through that period and they all focus on the sheer volume of people that come in Nice dynamics the these Hoti bushman would Bush. And you know he'd install instead of survive off the land and the gorilla will all against inferior but a high in volume numbers of invite is. How much does parole Charles Down to take the blame for this to celebrate because Parole Charleena when he comes up with these theory of evolution this led to this kind of nineteenth century thing that was really rife throughout the Western world this idea of Social Darwinism that there was such a thing as rice which been scientifically Notre Trey? There's idea of rice and were in this struggle for supremacy. This ambitious with Nazism comes from. It's where some of the politics of the nineteenth century come from his. This idea that there's distressed rural is a strenuous Basel that unusual since for that town We were unlucky. And I say that because when these sort of social dominance the idea came along it had a special intrigue for strains because we convinced ourselves at the time thanks to some pretty influential books written that not not only were way this at a vanguard of the white British rice but we'd been hardened by the conditions of the Australian Bush to in some ways produce a super rice. All right right several Ted. I charged strike. I mean we we were. We were even better than the British. Then we'd been absolutely been conditioned by the Bush and the Blue Sky in the sunshine and all of that to be stronger hardier individuals absolutely and there's a book by Charles Peace and it was very popular at the time that that argued that the whites in Europe had become weakened by living in these horrible industrial CDs and had no exposure to the land and that Australia was sort of the vanguard of of of the white rice listen. These went fringe views in the debate about the immigration restriction act in the Commonwealth parliament the predecessor to the whitest riot policy the legislative foundation for it strikes. Prime Minister held a copy of that book while he was speaking directly from it. So these are central to the thinking at the time and get and yet and yet and yet there was another school of thought in a strike back in this time and this is what you get the title of your book from the Golden Country To tell me about the origins of that that that title yes so there was always this sort of counter strike the thinking that a strike could be applied. Swear not only start a country a new. But it's sort of the best of the world could come together and to sort of blind mixed together and create something new and even more more and more successful and So the the the title of the book. The golden country comes from an article in the Edinburgh. blackwoods digest. It's a book. Look at the time that talked about the potential for a Golden Australia to image the Goldfields through essentially rice mixing. Now that was a peculiar thing and as issue Salia. Rice isn't really a thing right so I'm not trying to climb any racial determinism from taking that title but the idea that a strike could be a place where the best in the world comes together and blames and produces something new and wonderful. That's an idea of Australia. That really captured me happened minutes. What happened in the end is into marriage Australia? This is the thing. That's under good at multiculturalism all the time. So it's did you see that as a kind of a prophetic statement about the strike that was kind of overlooked largely at the time. Yeah that's interesting. I mean is giants have had this very practical approach to multiculturalism Donald Horne rats better as the sixties in countries. Such as strange just by just manage on the local community with with different with new people and they sort of get to know them and continue on Ron and I I say every mile electric you know what I mean. The the success Austrian multiculturalism happens in APP communities. And you look at the job outcomes. The why Jack comes a community. Attitudes modern attitudes migrants report being happier then people born in Australia extraordinary achievement. You know like we can be proud of that like it. It's not. He's not untrue side that his trial. He's an incredible multicultural. Success Story there are caveats but fundamentally very successful still in the end of the nineteenth century pushing ahead become a federated nation colonies going to join up to become a federated astray. How was this fear of? The yellow peril of the Chinese used to drive federation has become an engine of federation team. Yeah Yeah So. The Pre Federation era politicians. They used it as a rallying cry they used it as a reason for federation you think about people like Henry pox that would that would manufacture these panics. Over the potential for an for invasion from from the north the desire to have a unified immigration policy unified defense. This policy was really animated by the threat from the north and this was seen as an imperative full federation so you look at the big figures of the time like Alfred Dakin is explicit. He says that there was no factor. That was a great motivator for the federation than the desire to preserve. What is true what Australia was was? What did the colonial colonial office in Britain made this desire to make a water strider? Yeah the colonial office by necessity needed to have a broader view because the British pretty shedding trysts around the globe and as a result of some pays treaties negotiated particularly with the Chinese they had commitments around the world to copen access to ports within the British Empire so they went very impressed with these upshot Australian colonists saying we want to have a rational racially really exclusionary policy governing entry to this country because it's inconsistent with their trail so there's colonial office in London was telling Australia dunk us so hard on what Australia and it was a constant constant source of friction and something that Clio politicians grandstanding public and I said all the Brits. They don't understand what we're up against you. And what kind of threats will Sir Samuel Griffith who is one of the architects of these strong constitutional. Another great jurists. Who when he was the Queensland Premier threatened and that if the if the client didn't get with the program astray would guy the why of the United States and violent revolution Samuel Griffith said if we don't if the colonial office doesn't let us have white Australia then we might rebel like the United States and become an independent nation? And this is a black who has as I could constitute a conservative constitutional society named after him today podcast broadcast and online. This is conversations with Richard Fidler on on. ABC Radio When you get to the establishment of the first federal parliament's it mates in whatnot in one go thereabouts? That's how much of a priority was Australia for that parliament while it was the number one priority after that the federation parliament got done with the sort of the administrative things that I needed to do with setting up a country setting customs rights and things like that the first issue of What Edmund Barton has prime minister described as high policy that was divided? The Federation parliament was a bill called the immigration restriction. Act that way now is the widest. Try a policy and this was an extraordinary to bite the hand side for this divide runs funds for hundreds of pages eighty nine members of parliament that spoke in the debate including five future prime ministers and when you read that Tobias Listen to twenty. Th Century is the language of season that wouldn't be out of place in a white supremacist form on the Internet. Today it's not ugly stuff it's really it. Sounds like it's hundreds of pages of furious. Serious agreement now is red hot tonight. is debate between whether we should outright exclude people who went what does ban them. Or whether we should have a dictation taste that we could issue in any any European language we chose to effectively ban people. Now that was going back to the issue we talked about earlier with the the client's L. Office from the UK Thyroid Guy. With a dictation test. Because that's what the South Africans had in Natale and it was hard you blush and practice racial discrimination in effect without really appearing explicitly in the Legislation Billy Hughes who was in the Labor Party at the time at the time he jumped around a bit from this time Billy Hughes said we object to these people because of the vices and of their immorality and because of one hundred things which we can only hint at and and our objections are not to be met by the declaration that the imperial government will be embarrassed by them the provision in the bill. Would I admit keep out the end of an islander the low caste Hindu but they would not keep out the Japanese and I doubt they would exclude the Chinese. I do not think they would do anything more than shut out the very lowest lowest type of colored as attic. Now you have this kind of classic worry that the you know. We don't like them in their inferior but the Japanese and the Chinese one of the the. They've honestly be quite clever. And we we have to worry about that. Yeah well that that quite from Hughes goes straight to that controversy. I was talking about earlier whether we should just have an outright ban which I I think you can work out. That was what Hughes wanted. Or the dictation test which US worried that the you know the more clever Asian Rice's could get around some people like to argue that at the immigration restriction act was actually about rice. It wasn't racist. It was about preserving working conditions preserving a a unified body politic for democracy. Although that is the one of the reasons why those objections to having Chinese labourers was that they'd worked for lower wages than than what astrid is the time. Yeah absolutely lately but when you read. The text of what was actually Said said the leader of my party. The time Chris Watson a has an extended section where he talks about the evils of rice mixing marriage. That's not a library concern. It's not a democratic concern. It's something that's animated by racial prejudice but by discrimination but but that the fundamental animus stike that they tried as they thought that the Chinese were unchanging. That that if you weren't what there was something inherent in your denied. He just couldn't fit in Australia. That it was it it was a nonsense to talk about. Egalitarian Ism with people at went. What because I couldn't leave up to the same standards as us? I mean they had a different values. Different ideas different capabilities abilities and I would just fundamentally incompatible. The thing that I didn't realize is that the Chinese had arrived in Australia like every wave of migrants sits come since adapted opted adopted. Australian values wage changed them. They didn't change us. And there's this great quote from the Nineteen Thirties from Chinese Australian. Who's speaking to a delegation from China who was investigating human rights abuses? Frankly of of Chinese astrology now country Tom to back to China and the quite essentially chalet guys. You know the Chinese chain whenever they go if you drop them in the United States following the industrial example between become rampaging capitalists if you drop the Chinese in Singapore all in British Singapore following the example they they become contractors with designs on a knighthood. And if you drop a Chinese in Australia. They become library organizes sizes and agitators for the Working Man's paradise that's the reality of China's sprint star of the first Chinese mantra came as a carpenter and ended up as a Publican Publican in western Sydney. This goes way back. The sick and governor you southwest governor King was told by the client office. He would have to take Phoenix Irishman Shen as prisoners. These paint on right back a furious latest thing they will not fit in by con possibly fit in and of course a couple years later we write back to say. Actually it's worked at rather well-attended the tended if you give people a bit of land and a bit of liberty. They make a go of things and they and they said they've actually fitted into the life of the caller said. This is an ongoing thing underneath. It seems to be an anxiety that gee maybe we just feeble you know. Maybe Culture is feeble here in Australia that we possibly persuade someone else to change. I think that's right. You know it's a it's a fundamental the middle insecurity that we building something new here and that it's precious and that someone else might destroy it like I think it's precious but I think it's powerful and I like the idea that a gala terrorism. It's something I'm really confident in. And we have confidence of a century of migrants being drawn to it wanting to embrace it and exciting and thriving and has society tool that benefit when those colonial will win. Those I figure politicians are talking about what a strider and the Chinese Chinese migration. How did they talk about aboriginal today? They mentioned it in the same breath. They keep. Take care to keep those two compensation sip. Because of course you know why does trainings with the interlopers telepaths. And they're complaining about Chinese into Lopez Way. What's what's your reading on that? Yeah unfortunately that. The social dominance thinking led the latest of the time to join continuum from indigenous Australians through widest Riath to to agents the best example of this is billy Hughes who when giving a speech H. at the opening of all Parliament House explicitly says that White Australia has vanquished indigenous tribes from the continent. But if we're not careful about things you know the the yellow hold will come down and vanquish us. They viewed this in explicit terms of racial competition. You were talking about how the Gold Goldrush China's had been at that point been straightforward four decades five decades. By the time you get the start of the first World War and one of the agents we remember is the story of Simpson. These don't must must people know that story. But there's another story of an ends story about a man named billy seeing who was there what was historian hillbilly seeing being someone that every is strange and he was from sort of central northern Queensland around where Banjo Paterson Roy Waltzing Matilda actually and and billy was a kangaroo Suda. He was a driver he was a cane. Cutter is the opening fast Bowler for the prospect cricket club and you couldn't get any more strongly in the billy sing and and he arrived in In Gallipoli in the trenches and he was the sniper and he was extraordinarily successful. Extraordinarily decorated is credited with somewhere between two two hundred and three hundred kills which is a macabre metric but that was his profession. I'm here is very good at it. He was injured in Combat Multiple Times. He won the day. Zim He was lauded by all of his colleagues but he died in a porpoise gripe with nothing to his name. And I think the reason for that is because he as a Chinese Australian and so we're telling the story of Anzac. We know that Charles Bane who I think is an extraordinary strain and told the story of strength and Zack in a really strong and and why he put the individual soldiers I in his history didn't want to tell the sweeping story. Generals had this strategy or tactics or whatever. He's like John Smith from outside Ballard. Did this this battle. I was pretty radical thing to do an admirable. The problem is is that we know from Star says that he was also a white nationalist and he he viewed it explicitly as his duty. To perpetuate the idea of Australia He viewed it as an obligation for him to do that. Indeed in official histories of Anzac he rots astrid was at risk of racial suicide and less vigorous measures adopted so given that context. I I don't think it's a coincidence. That in in a in a official well history that names literally thousands of Australian soldiers by nine in the body text of that official history. Billy sing is not mentioned. The Charles Bring changes views on and and this is why I think Bain is such an extraordinary figure because he saw the areas of his wives during his lifetime After the first World War he saw that at the kind of the extreme end of this racial thinking in the late up to Nazism in World War Two and he had a Damascene conversion. He changed his mind. You realize whose is wrong. And he wrote a series of paces criticizing the whitest drive pulsing that Australia had to charge so in one sense I think Bain is extraordinary. Optimistic example of people's ability to grow and change. The problem was by that stage. She'd already written the official histories and he set in Stein. This view of Anzac. That's sort of still with us today. That doesn't reflect the reality that it actually was. So then we come to the mid sixties too late sixties and after Robert Menzies. This is gone harold. Halt Prime Minister dismantles. A large part of the whitest trade policy. Kind of Boston. Away doesn't really make much of announcement with govern gets elected they noisily dismantle what remains of it and proudly signed. They're there to put the Berry Wad strategy as as a policy. And that's done and yet with all that's what were we saying about a straighter. At the time. We'll be saying that we didn't need to change nonetheless with with having done that. An interesting thing that happened in that Whitlam. Tom Buried the whitest drive policy. allographs immigration minister literally said. Give me a shovel. A bear it but immigration it's still very low through that period And then through. Through the whole creating government Lee McGrath program was still oriented towards family reunion. It was still very Watt frankly in it in its composition. We rhetorically in the in the seventies abandoned whitest dry but we didn't say the product of that community for significant period of time. And any my book. I argued that we didn't really see it until how radically changed out. Migration System in the nineties changed when John Howard became prime minister so so how it changed how migration garage system in two important ways. Firstly he reoriented from a majority family reunion driven pemanent intake to a skills based in Tyke and Adelaide him to increase the size of it. So more people who are immediately productive in the economy could be brought in he also introduced a whole range of categories of temporary migrations temporary skilled migration working holiday visas student. Study vases those kinds of things now doing that. At the con of the early stages of a twenty eight year economic boom in his trial of twenty eight consecutive years of economic growth introducing an effectively a demand driven migration system Menton Australia's migration right was very high the last twenty years and this was really the first big boom in migration since the end of the white stripe policy. So that's I think it's a you and George Michael Janus vivid come on the show and not that one of the one of the greatest legacies of the Howard. Years was this gigantic king tide of migration because while that that might have happened widely migrant intake shifted to skills bison greatly increased. How does that? How does that sit with the story? John Howard was telling me about destroyed identity at the Taiwan on and here comes the paradox. So while Howard is radically diversifying Australia's demography population in his rhetoric. He was breaking ability. Ready to talk about it. And after a century of nation building in the image of water. Strider we really didn't need to talk about it but how he didn't just say we need to ignore it. He said it wasn't even an issue. He's quoted once saying there's no need for the perpetual symposium on Australian identity. Because quite a I know what an Australian es and always will be. He wasn't talking about indigenous. Australians he had this view of Australian identity as it was sort of carved in Stein by San Rocks passed on down to us via Charles Bane and Donald Bradman and that was it the fifties version of Astrid identity. Was it no more change. Sometimes I if you catch him in a weak moment he'll admit he's narrow and that stuff but but that Pasta's pretty quickly and then he'll go back to what he's been noise hang about. It's a pretty much well. I can't speak to whether he has had any personal challenges of of attitude on these issues. But what I can say is that he was very successful in prosecuting effectively. Cultural is on on rice and identity and our across multiple collections. And he kind of scared my politics of talking about it. So we went from this period in the mid nineties of Hawking Katie talking about changing identity quite extensively ably to a period where we've had more than two decades of viewing it. It's a third rail Australian politics at skirting around it not wanting to tackle it head on the the semi he got elected. Pauline Hanson got elected to the federal parliament met her famous speech. Who made the speech where she talked about Australia? Being endangered being swamped by Asians from from talking to a friend of mine about that tons I remember that as being the year where they were abused on public transport spat on. The Times wasn't a good year was was it now. It's certainly one that had a big impact on on. May My family. I two colleagues in parliament. I never forget that. The words for us in Parliament House will soon be in the mouths of bullies in school yards around the country. You know what we do in in politics but we do empowerment house filters down throughout society and Pauline Hanson injected. Something really ugly into that that that discourse in the nineties and it has direct personal impact on tens of thousands of Australians. Interestingly we had relatives Singaporean. Is it safe for agents to walk down the street now Now that some some even had this idea and they had. She was Prime Minister of Australia. And somehow that she was running the country and we also found this in the in India after after Indian students had been attacked was feeling. That's not safer Indian people to be in Australia as well. There seems to be like a real quickness to believe exaggerated like like. You know there's racism here and there's violence here but this readiness in the region to see us in that light. What what do you think of that? Tim What do you make of that. It's interesting aspect to dozens of Asian shrines rotting this book to try and get their their their view on this. And one of the people are speaking to is Timpson upon Assan. Who as Foam Racial Discrimination Commissioner? And he's decided that the thing that would drive him crazy. Joe was people were constantly asking him as a stray arises this country and it's a bit of a nonsensical question in the United States other countries. Going around having that compensation like yes. They're absolutely very varieties of racism in Australia and they really serious issues on the other hand. There are a whole range of areas where we do better questions of rice than other countries do type like everything post out. It's become this sort of culture war about are we or are we not racist but the reality is far more complex follow nuance when the United States to migration amid public opinion polls what I tell us about. How straightens feel about this this intense wave of migration? We've had to Australia. That's it's legit population to Griping increase into change. The the the nature of Australia quite quite substantially while way of always on the verge of putting on the sackcloth sloth on issues of bryce astray attitudes to migration rice are actually really exceptional internationally. Scanlon Foundation on has been looking at social cohesion. The industry for more than a decade The gold standard in social attitudes research in this space and have never found a response from the public on attitudes to multiculturalism some lower than the kind of meat. ID's and this is through all of the the blaster of politics on this issue like Australia's nonplussed. They comfortable with this with multiculturalism awesome by lock it the other staff that I think really stands out. And this is the Hugh Institute Did an international survey on this and they asked people in all kinds ons countries around the world. What is important to being truly from your country? So what does it. What is important to being truly Australian and they asked this in lots of different countries and Australia's? Here's about the lowest response. She can get to the question of is it important to be born here to be truly astray like we like half of the response to the US on that question the US right migrant country. We think it's less important than the Americans thing straight here. Is it racist. I think the the follow question is compared to what I've been in Europe bracingly and Europe doesn't just have pulling Hanson. It's parliament they have people who actually become elected as prime minister all leaders of their country on the basis of of racist policies. That's that's that's just that's just happening in a great many places in Europe right now. So so why. Why do you think NCA- strata has this attitude where we seem according to polling to be less anxious about migration than other countries in the advanced economists? Yeah you're dead right when you when you compare support for extreme racist policies in politics We do a lot better particularly in Europe. You know like the the the kind of Nazi protests in strata getting. I might be one hundred couple hundred. Papal Max like usually the couple dozen in Europe pots. Jimmy these hundred thousand people at these rallies. It's radically different. That Viktor Orban in Hungary and you have another one Turkey and you have the president of the Czech Republic who got himself elect Donovan anti-muslim campaign when they're about fought Muslims living in the Czech Republic. That kind of thing. Yeah and scanlon. Sort of says that look. There are people at a very concerned concerned about migration and multicultural dentistry but it never gets much more than ten percent of the population. I think the problem that we do have in Australia. Is that the institutions of power. Our and our country is extremely unrepresentative. So when these groups flare up They get disproportionate attention because how institutions of power parliament and media aren't able to call them out for being unrepresentative. They know how unrepresentative gets to something called. The bamboo ceiling. How will represented are AH in positions of leadership in this country? Yeah so this is the bad news about the performance of multiculturalism. We're very successful multicultural. Society with monocultural institutions and our institutions are more monocultural than comparative countries like Canada. UK US at the moment depending on how you measure it somewhere between eight and fourteen percent obscenities trying population with Asian heritage which incidentally a lodge minority group in African Americans in the US for example but despite being fitting to forty percent of the community. Is it strange. Represent somewhere between two and three percent of singularity ship positions across at parliament APP. Business Public Service Universities at professions united. Nyman there's this this perpetuation of an idea of what it is to be a representative of Australia. Alita in style. That still stuck in the past that still frankly clearly see someone like me a white man and we've broken down some of that Iran gender. We've we've made progress over time. But it's a new compensation that we nate to have about diversity ethnic diversity and leadership in the ABC. We had Asian Australian woman as an engineer for for short short while had ABC been minute Including Asia Asian. Australians in senior leadership positions were better and worse so so one of the good things that the previous managing directed was actually start counting this and not just counting that in in leadership and canning in on air guests and and voices enabled on the platform all previous aimed very good sign. The matted right that did draw some change but he's decided the obviously is still has a way to go before it is genuinely representative of the population. Generally speaking is a strategy of gaining. Losing appeal is a place for Margaret's. That's a really interesting question. The Immigration Department was set up by Arthur. Cole will in this kind of popular idol parish. Tom So is set up with a nation Asian building function and it was very good at attracting people to come to Australia. And that's possible years. It was very good at building animation by bringing New People to issues unfortunately particularly since had we've lost track of that nation building function of immigration is. Try It's it's become a securitized debate. The focus is on how we keep people out. Not What what people do we want to bring in. What can they contribute to as society of time so it's a really good question about are we competitive as a source of migrants today? So it's a criminal act. Sovereignty indy sovereignty of our borders versus nation building or the two different imperative assessment necessarily against one another. But they they the two different imperatives day. Well I mean so you can look you can trust that through. The challenges of the name of the Immigration Department on the previous slide government called the Department of Immigration and citizenship an inclusive thing building astrid community building the body politic. It changed off Las China government to being the deployment immigration and Border Protection. And now we have these border forces a subset of that so you can can say that kind of inclusion this is excluding top rhetoric there but the reality is. We're going to have to work harder. If we want to attract the kind of migrants we've had of loss twenties because frankly klay the source countries that we attracted as markets from getting wealthier. They getting NAS applies to leave. It's not as obvious. You'd want to move from Singapore to Sydney now. Then it was forty years ago the healthy susceptible why we talk about national identity. Doesn't mirror the reality of national identities we have the strength and now we're having this conversation here now now you're in parliament this. These things should be spoken off. What's it like when you try to have these conversations with your fellow parliamentarians? I mean just putting all the parties aside for one moment I mean you talk to people from within your own body and people beyond it. Is there an appetite to have this conversation. Even to begin with that with a story when I bring being classes for my electric school kids took to palm in house. It's like my favorite pilot open. Get to show off the thing that I'm most passionate about like out democracy and I come here and see the way democracy works I get these kids from footscray and Sunshine and point. Cool people they places in Melbourne's West and before I speak to them I walked past a wall of the fight. I of all of our parliamentarians asylum have looked at the photos on the why along. Study them you know she guy pasta and I'm going to test you on and off. They will passed. I say to them those walls on the face on the walls do they look like our community even a five year old. Even Price Kid can understand. That parliament doesn't doesn't reflect at community. It doesn't look like at community so whether or not our political latest WanNa talk about it. It's an immutable truth. It's a fundamental reality if we want to reach. HFS potential as a nation. It's something that's going to have to change. This has been amazing conversation. Thank you so much tim. It's really been lovely to speak with you. My Pleasure Tim. What's his book is called Golden Country? Australia's changing identity. I'm Richard Fidler. Thanks for listening. You've been listening to a podcast of conversations with Richard Fidler for more conversations interviews. Please go to the website website. ABC Dot net slash conversations. Discover more great A._B._C.. podcasts live radio and exclusives on the A._B._C. Listen APP.