Mark Dodd & Debbie Guest; 11/5/09; (3 Items)
An accused people-smuggling kingpin, whose extradition is being sought by Canberra, has accused Indonesian police of accepting bribes to turn a blind eye on smugglers’ operations. Hadi Ahmadi, an albino dual Iraqi-Iranian arrested 10 months ago in Indonesia, claims there are “many many smugglers” at work who are untouchable. “They’re sending ships to Australia, they are sending (them) every month,” he told SBS’s Dateline program. “Nobody can touch them. They (smugglers) are free in Jakarta now. They are working, nobody touches them. Even if the police arrest them they pay money and are free.”
AFP asked me to spy, says alleged people smuggler
Lindsay Murdoch; 11/5/09
An alleged people smuggler claims an Australian Federal Police officer tried to recruit him to spy on people smugglers in Indonesia in exchange for Australian citizenship, employment and money. Hadi Ahmadi, who holds dual Iraqi and Iranian citizenship, says a Federal Police officer came to see him at an immigration detention centre in Jakarta in 2007 and “offered me some work — he asked me to do something”. Ahmadi, who faces extradition to Australia on 21 people-smuggling charges, says he told the Federal Police officer the work was too dangerous and he would not do it.
Big White Lie – Chinese Australians in White Australia; John Fitzgerald; UNSW; 2007; pp 1-4
BELONGING AND EXCLUSION
“I belonged to a stronger secret society than any [Chinese triads]. I was a white man on the China coast.” CW Mason 1924.
The White Australia era has cast a long shadow over Australian history. It falls within living memory and the humiliations suffered by those it offended still reverberate in Indigenous politics and in Australia’s relations with its neighbours.
That said, Australia’s restrictive immigration practices were not significantly different from those of other white-settler states on the Pacific: Rim. Echoes of White Australia still generate passionate debate in 21st century Australia at a time when the expressions ‘White Canada’ and ‘White New Zealand’ have long been forgotten, and America’s Chinese Exclusion Act has reverted to a subject of specialist enquiry.
Why does the legacy of White Australia loom larger in foreign perceptions of Australia and in the self-understanding of Australians than comparable discriminatory regimes elsewhere?
The Australian features of the immigration policies of the federation era were not the restrictions themselves, which were common enough in North America and New Zealand, nor the racial ideology that inspired them, which was widespread in Canada and the USA and in many states of Europe at the time. In 1882 the US Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which denied skilled and unskilled Chinese labourers entry into American ports and denied all Chinese the right to naturalisation.
This Act, the first federal act of its kind in US history to discriminate against a category of immigrants on the basis of race, was made permanent in 1902 and not repealed until the Pacific War.
By contrast no Australian federal government legislated specifically against Chinese immigration. Canada introduced a poll tax to restrict Chinese entry from 1885 before virtually prohibiting entry in 1923.
By one estimate no more than two dozen Chinese people were given permission to stay in Canada between 1923 and the beginning of the Second World War, considerably less than Australian authorities permitted over the same period.5 New Zealand continued to impose discriminatory poll taxes on Chinese immigrants for 50 years after the last poll taxes were eliminated from the Australian continent.
The difference is that none of these countries constituted themselves as sovereign states on the back of arguments about preserving national purity by restricting Asian immigration: Australia did. For a good 70 years from its founding moment in 1901 Australia was White Australia. There was no other Australia going.
Australia’s effort to restrict Chinese immigration was distinguished by a number of features but above all by its association with nation building. The two decades of constitutional consultation and debate that preceded federation coincided with a period of anti-Chinese sentiment around the Pacific Rim that gave the Commonwealth an identity defined by the principle of racial purity.
This principle found legislative expression in the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, the first substantial piece of legislation passed by the Commonwealth parliament. Canada and the United States introduced comparable legislation and a range of discriminatory practices that at times exceeded in their intolerance anything practised in Australia.
In Australia an ideal of racial purity converged with a triumphalist rhetoric of self-conscious in the Australian historical record, the work of social history is done when Chinese are restored to their rightful place in local and regional histories. With few exceptions, the broader implications of these social studies for the history of Australia have yet to be explored.
Studies of Chinese Australia have yet to draw as well on the rich vein of comparative work in Chinese overseas studies.
Important insights into the comparative ethnography of Chinese settlers in different colonial settings have been largely overlooked, as has the role of regional and national networks in linking Chinese residents of Australia to Chinese in Oceania, East Asia and North America.
And despite abundant Chinese-language newspapers published in Australia and extant Chinese- language archives bearing on the life and times of Chinese Australia, little attempt has been made to fathom the intellectual and cultural history of Chinese-Australian communities through their own eyes.
The present work seeks to extend the range of recent social histories in all of these directions by linking them directly to the debate on Australian national values, by focusing on comparisons with other sites of Chinese settlement beyond white-settler communities, by drawing attention to Chinese-language materials that illustrate the intellectual currents at work in China and Australia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and by highlighting the role of Chinese-Australian social networks and civic organisations in Australian history and in Australia’s relations with other communities in the Asia — Pacific region.