Monday, May 30, 2005


Reuters reports on Asia's reaction to Australia's reaction to the Corby verdict:
An editorial in Malaysia's New Straits Times expressed shock at the Australian reaction to Corby's plight.

"The public outrage has not only been astounding in its intensity but also shocking in the glimpses it has revealed of the depths of racism and xenophobia," the editorial read.

"Hurling racist slurs at the Indonesian judiciary and casting aspersions on its integrity simply because the Bali court has not endorsed the popular Australian belief ... is unacceptable."

Since Corby was sentenced, staff at the Indonesian embassy in Canberra have received threatening phone calls, some Australians have demanded the return of donations made to tsunami appeals and calls were made for Australians to boycott Bali.

Many Australians believe Corby did not receive a fair trial and are angry that the judge dismissed much of her defense.

"The impression is that Australia has collectively thrown a tantrum," Deakin University analyst Greg Barton told Reuters.

"In the last few years there has been a slide toward accepting racist outbursts and xenophobic nationalist sentiment. I think that still lingers with us and that's why I think things were so quick to blow up with the Corby case."

Australia's ties with Asia were dealt a blow a decade ago with the election of firebrand politician Pauline Hanson, who was branded xenophobic when she called for a cut in Asian immigration, striking a chord with hundreds of thousands of Australians.

Although she lost her seat after two-and-a-half years, Barton said Hanson's reign, combined with the tough immigration policies of Prime Minister John Howard's nine-year-old government, had made it acceptable for Australians to express xenophobic emotions.

"We're likely to see gossip and concern spread among the Indonesian public about what Australians think of Indonesians. It will take quite a bit of work to undo. These things do have a way of spiralling out of control," Barton said.
Hmmm, it seems to me the reaction to the reaction is an overreaction. Academic Greg Barton also overreacts because he can't pass up the opportunity to score some cheap anti-Howard points – nicely done, lumping Howard with Hanson – while confirming our northern neighbours' worst assumptions about Australians being racist Asian haters.


Post a Comment

<< Home