The Chinese Community Council of Australia welcomes PM Morrison’s olive branch on community relations and the China-Australia relations at face value and with goodwill. However, we reserve judgement pending resolution of issues with the Chinese Australian community.
The Chinese Community Council of Australia welcomed the conciliatory speech made by PM Morrison at Hurstville (Pearls and Irritations 11 October 2018), particularly acknowledging the contributions made by Chinese immigrants to Australia both past and present. In some way, it can help to sooth the pain, stress and trauma when 1.2 million Chinese were put through the ‘”wringer” during the Chinese panic over the last 20 months.
The Council also welcomed PM Morrison’s speech in his effort to repair the frail Australia-China relations. At least, in his words he acknowledged the mutual benefits brought by the bi-lateral Australia-China economic relations and the Australian education industry serving Chinese foreign students.
Chinese Australians will not easily forget the two waves of xenophobia, one in the gold rush days and the recent China panic days. However, a chance to work together with the government in developing community relations through multiculturalism support by the PM Morrison is an opportunity that should not be missed by the Chinese Australian community.
There are several issues outstanding with the government viz. consequences of the Foreign Interference Bills, English Test for Citizenship. parents migration visas and other issues affecting the Chinese Australian community. An apology from the Federal government on past wrongs to early Chinese settlers (as given by Premier Andrews in Victoria) would heal the wounds for all time.
We take PM Morrison’s words on board with goodwill and hope he can actually deliver some workable solutions to the issues mentioned. However, we are also mindful of the coming elections and we take a hesitant but pragmatic approach to deciphering and distinguishing between election promises and commitment in the months to come.
For example, we made positive media comments about PM Morrison’s public statements and hope important community issues can be worked on without the need to make it political, particularly vote catching.
There is a groundswell of unity among Chinese Australians in response to the China panic to influence votes on a non-partisan basis through social media. But the needs of the Chinese Australian community are not contradictory to Australian interests It is not clear at the moment whether this phenomena will take off.
We are hopeful and accept the olive branch offered generously by PM Morrison and hope he can deliver what he promises.
Dr Anthony Pun, OAM current President of the Chinese Community Council of Australia Inc.