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International Education Exports, Immigration, Australian Attitudes and Racism

‘Death knell’ for overseas students. UNIVERSITIES and colleges have condemned the Rudd government for seeking new powers to nullify the residency applications of potentially thousands of former overseas students, labelling it “the kiss of death” for the $18.6 billion industry.

As overseas students warned of more street protests this weekend, veteran University of NSW pro-vice-chancellor Jennie Lang warned that any suggestion of “capping” student numbers would be “the kiss of death” and turn away prospective students.

“It will trigger a massive downturn in applications to Australia and an upturn in applications to the UK and the US,” Ms Lang told The Australian.

“The messages students are hearing through various channels is that Australia no longer wants international students, migrants or foreign investment.”

Amid mounting attacks from the education sector, Immigration Minister Chris Evans yesterday said the government had no intention of putting a limit on the number of overseas student visas. He said the government wanted to control only the number of visas in key occupations, and graduate students could still apply for 18-month temporary work visas.

But Monash demographer Bob Birrell said the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had accepted thousands of skilled migration visa applications from former students since the beginning of last year when the critical skills list was introduced. “In principle, the new legislation, if passed, could be used to annul some of these visas and application money returned without Immigration considering the application,” he said.

Overseas students fund a quarter of university teaching.

In the minds of many Australians, including Monash’s Dr Bob BIrrell, the decrease in international students and immigration applicants (from Asia) is a successful outcome, why?

For the past ten years immigrants, refugees, overseas students and non European Australians have been used as a political football in Australian politics, media and society at large, as a wedge issue and a target to be demonised as undeserving, unwanted and unneeded.

However, what no one has explained to Australians, is how are we to deal with existing and future funding shortfalls for state institutions (and the public esctor at large) due to our ageing population requiring more health care, pensions and services, plus replacement of retiring baby boomers in the workforce and maintaining our taxpayer base? Further, it probably just confirms to our major trading partners i.e. Asia, that we are happy to sell them stuff for profit while actively avodingsocialintercation with Asia or in other words, informal “white Australia” policy. So Australia, be prepared, if you want good servcies and infrastructure, get ready for more big taxes and increased fees for services including education, great legacy for future generations…..

PS Nor does one have much sympathy for the state sector who have passively observed these issues raising without doing much to alleviate the situation…..

Some in politics have issues where Australia is on intolerance and racism…..

Lessons from Atticus Finch for our race-baiting leaders. The treatment of asylum seekers is a disgraceful play to prejudice.

It is almost 50 years since Atticus Finch, the lawyer hero of To Kill a Mockingbird, was first heard. His values are sorely needed in Australia today as our political leaders chase the redneck vote and pander to fear…

…He would surely be horrified at the desire of both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to play the race card and appeal to xenophobia over asylum seekers. He would surely be horrified at Liberal Party advertisements showing crude red arrows pointing to Australia and telling a blatant lie about this country somehow being swamped…..

Wouldn’t Finch be alarmed at the distasteful displays of white Anglo-European racially motivated supremacism that are so prevalent in this society today? What of the attacks on Indian students and the dissembling by politicians and police who want us to believe that there is no racial motive involved? And what of the jingoism of Australia Day and Anzac Day? Displays that crush diversity and the concept of difference in the name of some mawkish patriotism that excludes indigenous Australia and newcomers to our shores?

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