News and Analysis: Australia
In a blatant act of racism, the Australian government, on Oct. 18, intercepted and turned away a boat with 78 Tamil asylum-seeking refugees. The refugees have been sent to Indonesia. Earlier this month, Australia diverted another ship with over 250 refugees to Indonesia.
A recent United Nations report accused the Australian government of organized racism in its treatment of the indigenous population during "the intervention," a new program begun in 2007. The UN has also recommended that the government compensate Aboriginal victims of institutional discrimination.
Thousands of Indian students have staged militant protests in the streets of Australian cities for weeks to fight back against a series of violent racist attacks. Despite numerous eyewitness accounts, the Australian police have refused to treat the attacks as racially motivated.
The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association held rolling work stoppages across Australia on June 23 and June 24. The strike forced Qantas airlines to cancel at least 50 flights over the two-day period, followed by more cancellations throughout the week.
The City Council of Camden, a town near Sydney, Australia, rejected a proposal for an Islamic school for 1,200 students on May 27, which led to cheers of happiness from the Anglo residents who attended the meeting to oppose the project.
On Jan. 7, the Australian government rejected Aboriginal demands for compensation for kidnapping and forcing their children to live with white families. Instead, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will provide a mere apology to Aborigines.
Prime Minister John Howard announced on June 21 that Australia will ban alcohol for northern Aborigines and impose new controls over release of welfare money, among other measures. The announcement followed a report by the Northern Government linking alcohol consumption to high rates of child abuse in Aboriginal communities.