I’m not racist, but … try and advance, Australia Fair

Just back in Vienna after a month in Sydney, and watching French TV coverage of the way Australians treated Indian students in Melbourne – “curry bashing” they called it. I’m with Bollywood star, Amitabh Bachchan, who may turn down an honorary degree from Brisbane University. Whichever way he goes, I’m with him.

I’m sorry, Australia, but you’ve got to do something about what you grow your kids up on. Not all of you mind, but those trapped in a corner, who only know violence as the way out. Or maybe more of the others, too, that you might want to admit. The silent majority. My God, how it sucks. That is the legacy of a government weaned on a policy of “white”, of a fading minority loath to admit its failings despite the word “Sorry”.

I’m sorry, Australia. As an immigrant child in the 50s, one of yours at Loreto Convent called me a Nazi just because I was different. Back home in Sydney in the 70s, a cab driver with a European Strine accent railed at Vietnamese taking the jobs. All they were doing was working bloody hard.

Australians abroad, at least in Geneva, are known to be bloody hard workers, the women at least. I’m sorry, Australia. But, I wasn’t the only UN expat ashamed of our Human Rights record when JH was at the helm. Oz radio was full of tirades at the “bleeding hearts” then. I was home to vote and when I found myself off the electoral roll in my local community, a chap with a South African accent told me that I had no right t vote if I didn’t live in the country. And what about expats? They miss their Australia.

I remember in the days of JH, I was on home leave and homesick. I applied for a job in the PM’s Office. Rang the Honcho in charge of the Cabinet, had a long discussion (I had great international credentials). Said I didn’t agree with all of JH’s policies. Why do you want to work in his Cabinet, Honcho asked. I’m Australian. I believe it’s important to not hear the yes-men all the time. Hearing another POV is good for forming an opinion. Doesn’t mean you have to change. At least you know. I never heard anything more. Guess I may be on file. I was already considered pink around the gills during the Cold War.

I’ve hit 60 now, Australia. I’m wondering if I should maybe come home one day soon while I can still get around. No worries, I don’t need your Centrelink, have never taken from you. But I grew up in a country I still dream of as wonderful and can remember the country whose passport I once was proud to carry. Now I just carry that passport. Australia. And line up for the visas I happen to need wherever I go. Dislocated? You bet!

Mate, you should have stuck with “Waltzing Matilda”.

Maybe Anita Heiss‘ book, I’m not racist, but … will knock some sense into me.