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Questions of race and ethnicity

The Tribune report (June 25) has quoted selectively from research by a joint university project team led by the University of Western Sydney (UWS). In doing so, it has created a false picture of the attitudes of most Australians towards questions of race and ethnicity.

It claimed the study had found “85 per cent of the 16,000 Australians surveyed feel that racial discrimination is rampant in the country with one in five of them being a victim of verbal abuse”.

The respondents did not say “racial discrimination is rampant in Australia”. Rather, the data collected by the research team reveals that around 85 per cent of Australians say “there is racial prejudice in Australia”. This figure indicates that most Australians are honest enough to accept Australia is not free of racial prejudice. Unfortunately, no society can make such a claim.

More importantly, the research data also reveals that Australians overwhelmingly support multiculturalism and racial equality. Between 84 and 95 per cent of the respondents across the country’s eight states and territories support the notion that “it is good for a society to be made up of different cultures”. Between 73 and 87 per cent say they “feel secure with different ethnic groups”.

Around 85 per cent believe “all races of people are equal”. Nearly 90 per cent agree it is “a good thing for people of different races to marry”. These findings are backed up by other data. Research published in 2008 by the Monash Institute shows high levels of social cohesion in Australia. 96 per cent of those surveyed felt a strong sense of belonging, 94 per cent expressed pride in Australia, and around 70 per cent agreed immigration made Australia stronger.

This data is especially important in light of the fact that Australia is a country of more than 200 ancestries and 300 languages. The UWS research identifies some issues which arouse uneasiness among a minority of Australians and therefore helps the government to look at ways of addressing cultural, racial and religious intolerance. The government is currently developing a new cultural diversity policy that will engage all Australians. The newly appointed Australian Multicultural Advisory Council is providing advice to government on the development of this policy and possible approaches.

Australia’s political leaders, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, have re-affirmed in recent weeks in the strongest terms possible that Australia is a proud and culturally diverse country which will not tolerate ugly, criminal behaviour such as the recent incidents involving Indian students. Thankfully, the UWS data indicates that the overwhelmingly majority of Australians fully support the government.

Dr LACHLAN STRAHAN, Deputy High Commissioner,
Australian High Commission, New Delhi

Ban on CPI (Maoist) welcome

The Centre has rightly banned the CPI (Maoist) group. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has the vision and foresight of saving the country and its people from the unlawful activities of such terrorist organisations. Clearly, violence and blackmail in the name of armed struggle for political change have no place in a democratic country like India.

We have always defeated the designs of such organisations be it in Assam, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh or Jammu and Kashmir. “Power comes from the barrel of a gun” is an obsolete political philosophy and it contains the seeds of division, destruction and human tragedy.

CPM leader Prakash Karat is singing a different tune on the issue of ban on the CPI (Maoist) just to sell his party’s ideology of inbox solutions for every national problem. The ban is in the national interest and hence welcome.

PROF R. S. BRAR, Sandaur (Sangrur)

Power cuts

Power cuts are increasing day by day in Punjab. The PSEB has a huge gap of about 4 lakh units between demand and supply. It has about 50 per cent line losses.

Sops given by the state government to some sections of society, line losses, theft, non-revising tariff and political interference are increasing the PSEB’s financial debt.

Moreover, consumers are not satisfied with the supply and schemes of the PSEB. It is time to revamp it with latest technology.




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