Archive for australia

When it comes to Whiteness in Australian media, we are still telling the same story: Professor (((Andrew Jakubowicz))) on ABC News Radio with Tracey Holmes

Posted in Media with tags , , , , , , , on December 19, 2016 by Andrew Jakubowicz

First posted 19/12/2016 14:14:52 ABC News Radio

Settlement, opportunity, respect and creativity.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2014 by Andrew Jakubowicz

Forum “Critical Value of Settlement for Australia

Settlement Council of Australia
Originally delivered AGM Monday 18th November 2013
Revised and redated September 2014
Location: Parliament House, Senate Alcove


My first involvement in settlement as a process of social change took place for me in 1969, through the volunteer framework of the Good Neighbour Council, in the back streets of Redfern. By then it was already very clear that Australia was an immigration nation, a country whose whole mode of being in the world draws on continuing inflows of people. This means that the successful settlement of newcomers is crucial for every part of our society – not only for the immigrants themselves. Settlement has taken on new meanings though where we now have hundreds of thousands of long term residents who are not settlers, but whose “settlement needs” are never the less very real – including TPVs once more, 457s and their families, and international students.

In its exploration of settlement released in March this year the Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into Migration and Multiculturalism (Chap 9) identified the following issues: English language acquisition, Cultural competency in Service delivery, Access to Housing, “CALD Women”, Youth, Racism and discrimination, Government funding of services. All of these contribute to either undermining or enhancing equal opportunity. The Report deals with them in sufficient detail so I will focus on some other aspects.

Malcolm Fraser recognised the importance of settlement as a human rights process when he spoke, in 1981 at the inauguration of the Australian Institute for Multicultural Affairs, of a three-part dynamic through which newcomers are integrated into Australian society. The first of these is economic opportunity: nothing works if immigrants cannot find useful work. Secondly respect for self and other is crucial: immigrants cannot engage if they are socially excluded and culturally denigrated; but also the “hosts” cannot engage if they feel alienated or threatened from the newcomers. Thirdly the energy that comes from interaction produces a synergy that magnifies the capacities of both newcomers and established residents. Rupert Murdoch suggested much the same thing when he spoke a fortnight ago about Australia as a migration nation.

Settlement then underpins our capacity to face the future with confidence. A century ago in another immigration country and in its most dynamic migrant city, Robert Park of Chicago University charted the process of settlement (though he called it assimilation which is less politically correct today). Park argued that settlement was a four stage process, beginning with contact (and the shock of that moment), followed by conflict, then competition, then accommodation. With accommodation comes the possibility of longer term integration, specialisation, and reciprocal benefits.

Three years ago a rather decent public servant Andrew Metcalfe fled from the bureaucracy, hounded for speaking truth to power. Metcalfe had said, to paraphrase him, that Australia was storing up troubles as it fed thousands of wretched people into immiseration and trauma as “non persons”, asylum seekers condemned to a limbo of meaningless lives. Last year a senior police officer in NSW spoke to me of the unknown distortions of human lives building in the suburbs of Sydney among immigrants without jobs or expectation of meaningful work, of racisms that shatter human hope and drive young men in particular to choose outlaw lives. We know the violence that shivers below the surface in neighbourhoods where trust is frozen, where respect has become a distorted currency fed by threat and anger.

Fraser helps us locate this first issue of equal opportunity:

No society can long retain the commitment and involvement of groups that are denied these [basic human] rights. If particular groups feel that they and their children are condemned whether through legal or other arrangements to occupy the worst jobs and housing, to suffer the poorest health and education, then the societies in which they live are bent on a path which will cost them dearly.

Let me then explore some of the work issues involved in settlement. I am drawn to the story of Luv-a-Duck, Nhill, the Karen, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Luv-a-Duck is a family business based in Melbourne, which along with its major competitor Pepe’s Ducks, has grown from a backyard enterprise a few decades ago to became a major employer and a producer of tens of thousands of ducks (and the focus of animal welfare investigations). AMES in Melbourne was trying to help a group of Karen refugees find work and self respect. Nhill, a small town in western Victoria, a key Luv-a-duck processing centre, needed workers and residents, housing was cheap. The Karen moved there and Luv-a-Duck employed them. The community has grown and this year the company received a settlement award from the Migration Council of Australia (about the same time it got a bullocking from the ACCC for misleadingly advertising that its ducks as open range). The Karen story in Nhill is almost an archetype of the Robert Park model – with many of the points of conflict and difficulty in Melbourne allayed by the move to the rural region. The situation in Melbourne was conflictual, with few opportunities, and a real difficulty in competing fairly with acceptable outcomes (their social capital was not recognised as valuable). They moved out into a situation where their skills and attitudes (their social capital) gave them an advantage, one which a settlement service believed might work.

Fraser continued:

The less constructively a society responds to its own diversity the less capable it becomes of doing so. Its reluctance to respond, fuelled by the fear of encouraging division, becomes a self fulfilling prophesy—the erosion of national cohesion is a result not of the fact of diversity but of its denial and suppression.

In July 2014 SBS broadcast the first of four episodes of Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl exploring the Lebanese stories of Sydney, successor to …Cabramatta and the Vietnamese. Puncbowl presents us with two narratives of settlement that exemplify Fraser’s analysis. On the one side we see the Middle East Crime Squad, Brothers for Life gang members, drive-by shootings, the inheritors of the madness of Cronulla 2005, and a vast criminal infrastructure of drugs, extortion, robbery, car re-birthing, and murder, tempered only by images of Sixth Pillar local jihadists charging off to fight for Al Qaeda in Syria. On the other side we see Punchbowl Boys High, once a breeding ground for violence and a nursery for drug gangs, now one of the most successful working class schools in the state, with good HSC scores and strong civic culture. Under the guidance of a tough love Lebanese Muslim headmaster, the School has replaced denigration and learning to fail with self-affirmation and the celebration of success. One narrative displays the dystopic consequences of failing to acknowledge the truths of Fraser’s reflections of thirty years ago (soon after he admitted tens of thousands of Christian and Muslim Lebanese refugees). The other narrative demonstrates the value of affirming people within their own cultural framework. Hard policy, but seriously effective.

The third dimension of why settlement is so important is contained by another project now in its pilot phase. In conjunction with the NSW Powerhouse Museum I am developing a project on cultural synergy. We are researching exemplars of creativity in settlement, looking for cases where someone from a non-Anglo society who is creative in the broad Design sense (from pottery to clothing design to scientific technology) and has a creative history from “before”, comes here and discovers a new expressive profile impossible in their country of origin, yet inconceivable without them in Australia. This, the beginning of a roadmap of contemporary Australian creative design (within the Powerhouse remit), shows how the components can be laid out, and then drawn together, stressing the interaction of cultures in producing a common and valuable outcome.

People create themselves every day of their lives, drawing on whatever palette they have to hand or through reservoirs of emotion such as extended family. Effective settlement re-energises the newcomer, re-kindles hope, and enlivens the networks of the everyday. Unfortunately we are moving into a period of increased tension around cultural difference – driven by the intensification of the constraints being applied to asylum seekers, including their renaming as “illegals”; and the push to license hate speech through reducing protection under the Racial Discrimination Act. Together these moves contribute to a potential undermining of civility that seriously damages the settlement process for those touched by these issues. Mr Metcalfe’s sensible insight will be sorely missed in the years ahead.




New Migration Council to advocate for a bigger Australia

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 28, 2012 by Andrew Jakubowicz

The announcement of the formation of a Migration Council of Australia and its launch by the Governor General on August 1, confirmed by Department of Immigration and Citizenship official Gary Fleming at the Settlement Council of Australia conference  in Adelaide in late June, marks a critical juncture in population and immigration policy.

The Council will operate as a non-government organisation, with its own board, and look more like the Settlement Council of Australia or the Australian Multicultural Foundation, than the government’s own and somewhat tame Australian Multicultural Council. Hopefully it will not be confused with the migration agents’ lobby, the Migration Institute of Australia. While it is independent of the Government, it is likely that the new body will fit snugly with the pro-migration wings of the both the major poltiical parties.

The MCA wants to find a new space to assert the importance of migration and effective settlement, and has brought together some heavy hitters to make this happen. Headed by Peter Scanlon (ex Patricks Chair) – and bringing together Business Council of Australia chair Tony Shepherd, Australia Post head Ahmed Fahour, Ethnic Communities Federation chair Pino Migliorino, Adult Migrant Education Victoria head Catherine Scarth and a number of others – the organisation seeks to build a bridge between those with an economic interest in a big Australia, and those with a social interest in a fair Australia.

Scanlon has been a key figure in building an information base about immigration and settlement through his Foundation’s financial support for the Monash study of social attitudes to immigration, diversity and levels of social cohesion. His leadership support, both political and financial, is seen to be critical for the effectiveness of the MCA. Scanlon has history as a strong advocate for his causes: in the Elders IXL struggle for BHP in the 1980s, with Patricks, and now with the Garvin Institute and the Scanlon Foundation. He is also a major real estate developer and will come under scrutiny for how this new lobby group might create benefits for his commercial interests.

The board has appointed Multicultural Minister Kate Lundy’s former advisor – the well connected and politically astute Carla Wilshire – to the CEO role, a challenging post which confronts the opportunities and pitfalls of the current immigration scene.

Immigration vs small Australia

There is growing community acceptance that a moderately bigger Australia is beneficial for the economy. Nevertheless, hostilities are also evident, and there is enormous distress over refugee and asylum seeker policy.

Meanwhile, the environmental sustainability debate has frozen over since the hysteria of 2010 gave way to the astonishment of 2011, with the immigration curve’s steep rise suddenly levelling out and then coasting down again.

Even so, the small Australia lobby(led by Foreign Minister Bob Carr and his mate Dick Smith) has not let up its push, and the Greens and the environmental lobby are still hammering away at reducing population growth. In the shadows behind them can be seen a collection of anti-immigrant and nativist activists.

Into the mix step Gina Rinehart and her Western Australian mining mates, whose deal with Immigration Minister Chris Bowen over 8,000 new jobs including nearly 2,000 457 visa recruits, hit a stumbling block with the unions. The unions, of course, are worried at the rapid destruction of industrial jobs in the east, and seem to have opted for a tried and true anti-immigration reaction.

Government challenges

The creation of the Council also highlights two key failures of the government:

1. There will clearly not be a statutory migration council, which would place migration and settlement planning at the heart of government, rather than palmed off to a civil society lobby group. The immigration councils of the post-war period did much to cement support for the immigration program among potentially conflicting interests; and

2. There will not be a government migration research institute (the Bureau of Immigration, Multicultural and Population Research, abolished by John Howard, played a crucial role in providing research-based information for the policy debates of the 1980s and early 1990s, a major hole in current policy).

The decision to take the issue to the NGO sector provides an insight to the problem within government in handling migration issues.

Minister Bowen has very little purchase with Gillard, and seems unable or unwilling to communicate with her on wider issues, as the foreign workers issue in the mining industry reveals.

At the same time Lundy, who’s from a very different faction, seems to have limited purchase with Bowen. She has been unable to increase the funding of her settlement and multicultural responsibilities, one of the reasons the settlement sector fears the creation of the Migration Council (which is rumoured will be funded from money now allocated to the Settlement Council).

Meanwhile, Department of Immigration and Citizenship head Andrew Metcalfe (currently on leave but also prospectively on the board of the MCA), warned last year that the current immigration mess would produce major social unrest in Australia’s cities in coming years, a key problem for settlement. Governments have demonstrated their incapacity to resolve the many impasses that immigration highlights. At least two state governments, not consulted in the MCA development, remain wary about the potential impact of a new lobby.

On the sidelines, a joint federal parliamentary committee on migration will be reporting in August. It will be faced with reconciling the mass of public submissions (more than 500) that range from Anders Breivik-type White Power mania, to arguments from academics and others that the current policy environment is a logic- and information-free zone that requires major re-vitalisation, and a reassertion of social justice and human rights goals.

Migration Council’s first steps

The MCA has pulled some resources with it, but it will need a great deal of money and a fine feel for building community relations, if it’s not to alienate existing organisations or dry up its sources of meagre government support.

The Council will need to build a cross-party and community consensus on the need for continuing immigration and an expansion of its 457 component. But it needs to be wary that a rise in 457 visas sought by the mining lobby and other pro-growth advocates could increase already well-identified social problems of exploitation and isolation.

When you consider the inept and confused way the federal government has announced new immigration strategies, including the enterprise agreements with Rinehart, it seems that a broadly-based and responsive group concerned with ensuring rational, evidence-based policy, will have a critical role to play.

Even so, the MCA will have its work cut out to navigate the tensions and produce outcomes that work both for its economic and social backers.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2012 by Andrew Jakubowicz
Go to Broadcast:
Wednesday 20 June 2012 5:40PM (view full episode)

The results of the 2011 census were out on Thursday (21 June) and they showed big changes in Australia’s religious landscape. One question is intriguing the experts: What impact has recent immigration had on religious diversity? In the past five years, there’s been a huge increase in the number of immigrants coming from India, for example, and that’s almost certain to mean a big jump in the number of Australians identifying as Hindu. Andrew Jakubowicz muses with Andrew West about the possible direction the day before the results are released.

Professor Andrew Jakubowicz, a demographer and sociologist from the University of Technology, Sydney, has been crunching some numbers ahead of the census release and predicts three big changes in religious observance.

Andrew West: Now, the results of the 2011 census are out tomorrow, and they’re likely to show big changes in Australia’s religious landscape. One question is intriguing the experts: what impact has recent immigration had on religious diversity? In the past five years there’s been a huge increase in the number of immigrants coming from India, for example, and that’s almost certain to mean a big jump in the number of Australians identifying as Hindu. Professor Andrew Jakubowicz is a demographer and sociologist from the University of Technology Sydney. He’s been crunching some numbers ahead of tomorrow’s census release. He predicts three big changes in religious observance.

Andrew Jakubowicz: It’s going to show three things. Firstly it’s going to show that a higher proportion of the population are saying they have no religion, secondly it’s going to show that particular groups of religious identification are growing, and thirdly it’s going to show that some parts of the Australian religious landscape are actually declining.

Andrew West: Now, you’ve studied the particular intersection between immigration and religion, and you’ve given it very close consideration. How is immigration likely to affect the religious observance figures that show up?

Andrew Jakubowicz: Well, firstly I think what we’re going to see is that the non-Christian religions are going to be significantly greater than they have been in the past; that the rate of growth over the last decade and a half of non-Christian religions has been really quite astronomical, from admittedly a very, very small base. That’s going to be clearly there. We’re going to see, in some areas, non-Christian religions for the first time having a majority of their population Australian born rather than based…simply being immigrant, and I think in other areas we’re going to see some of the larger non-Christian religions getting very well established. As well, of course, there are significant contributions to the Christian communities of immigrants; some of the African communities, for instance, are very strongly Christian, some of the refugee groups from places like Iraq, India and so on are…or Pakistan, are going to be Christian. There are going to be significant claims from the new Chinese population for inclusion in the Christian communities.

Andrew West: We’ll break those down in a minute. When you look at the big non-Christian faith groups, which ones are likely to have risen and risen dramatically when the results come out?

Andrew Jakubowicz: Well, the three big ones are Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, and we’re going to see some quite dramatic changes.

Andrew West: Well, on Islam, for example?

Andrew Jakubowicz: Islam in 2006 had around 340,000 adherents of whom about 40 per cent were Australian born. It looks like they’ll probably be somewhere between 450,000 and 500,000 Muslims in Australia as a result of last year’s census, and probably for the first time 50 per cent or more of those will be Australian born.

Andrew West: Is that because Muslim families tend to be larger?

Andrew Jakubowicz: It’s not simply the family size, it’s also the age structure of the Muslim population. Most of the Muslims who arrive in Australia as immigrants are coming as young adults, so their family formation years are immediately in front of them, and yes it is the case they tend to have larger families or in some…particular ethnic groups they’ll have larger families, and by now also Islam’s been here so long that we’re now into the second, third generation; people whose grandparents were immigrants are now having children.

Andrew West: So as a percentage of the population, do we know roughly what it will be?

Andrew Jakubowicz: It will be somewhere about two and a half per cent, I would say, somewhere around that sort of figure, maybe higher than that even.

Andrew West: Let’s look at Hinduism, for example. There’s been a big rise in the number of people coming from the Indian subcontinent. How is that likely to affect the numbers of Hindus?

Andrew Jakubowicz: Well, we know for instance that the Indian-born population in Australia has increased by well over 100 per cent over the last five years. I mean, it’s really quite a huge increase. That being the case, I think it’s likely that we’ll be seeing somewhere in the vicinity of a quarter of a million Hindus, maybe more, identified in the next census. That makes them about a bit over one per cent of the population.

Andrew West: And the other major group you mentioned were Buddhists. What are the figures going to show there?

Andrew Jakubowicz: Well, Buddhism’s always been a slightly peculiar religion in Australia because there are a lot of non-Asian Australians who identify as Buddhists, and when asked in the census what religion they are, they put down Buddhism whether or not they’re formally practising, but for the most part we’re looking at people partly from India, mainly from places like Thailand; we’re looking at people from other parts of Indochina and of course from China itself. It’s likely, I think, that we’ll be looking at a Buddhist population probably of over 600,000. That would make them also a bit over three per cent of the population. Right, so these together, you know, we’re seeing quite a transformation, if you like, in the faith landscape of Australia. These are no longer minorities (by ‘minorities’ in the sense that we thought of them as marginal in the past). What we’re now looking at are groups that are large enough and concentrated enough to make a significant impact on the whole way in which we think about religious practice.

Andrew West: So cumulatively, the census data is likely to show the non-Christian population heading close to eight, nine per cent?

Andrew Jakubowicz: I would say easily that sort of figure is now non-Christian, and that means that, obviously the Christian population is going down. One of the impacts, for instance, with Chinese immigration is actually to increase the number of people who report no religion, because coming out of a communist society many of them have no faith base at all, even though in Australia their practices are rather different perhaps.

Andrew West: And yet, Andrew, as you well know from your fieldwork, a lot of Christian congregations are swelling with Chinese parishioners. So how does that match up?

Andrew Jakubowicz: Well, I think it also depends which Chinese we’re talking about. People from Hong Kong are much more likely…the new generation’s much more likely to be Christian; some of the Taiwanese are likely to be Christian, the PRC immigrants, possibly…

Andrew West: Mainland China.

Andrew Jakubowicz: Mainland China, sorry, mainland Chinese, possibly less likely, but then they encounter Australian proselytising religions, particularly the Pentecostalists, who have particularly identified those communities, but there’s also a long tradition say in the Baptist Church and in the Anglican Communion and so on, through missionary links and so on to the Chinese communities. So there’s a bit of that, but I would think the overarching impact of the big Chinese increase will not be seen particularly in the Christian churches, though particular Christian churches may suddenly discover, or have been discovering, that their congregations are in fact being transformed by Chinese arrivals, particularly in cities like Sydney.

Andrew West: Yes, we’ve talked about this a lot before…Uniting Church, a relatively small church but its parishes being bolstered by Koreans and Pacific Islanders, for example.

Andrew Jakubowicz: That’s right, and I think the Uniting Church is in fact flipping back now, not flipping back consciously, but it’s now sort of drawing the benefit of its okl missionary base, when the Methodists and Presbyterians went wandering around all over the South Pacific, the seeds that were sown many decades ago are now coming home to roost.

Andrew West: Even though the way that it might seem as a big change, of course faith in Australia has been multicultural for a very long time, as you well know. For 60, 70 years we’ve had one of the largest Greek Orthodox populations. What is, though, basically different about this? I mean, why is this almost revolutionary?

Andrew Jakubowicz: Well, you asked me the question specifically about non-Christian, and I think that’s what’s changing; there’s a non-Christian dimension, which raises the point, you know, if we’re looking at sort of eight or nine per cent of the population not being Christian, there then becomes an issue about how the rhetoric of Australian morality, for instance, is affected. If Australian politicians like the former prime minister John Howard talk about, you know, Judeo-Christian moralities, what do you do when a significant part of the Australian middle class is neither Christian nor Jewish, but quite attached to conservative political choices, for instance? So I think there’s some interesting…going to be some interesting questions about the way in which the rhetoric of the nation is framed over the next decade or so as these sorts of things change.

The other thing I think which is going to be fascinating is to see what happens to the alliances on social issues that are going to emerge with these very, very important non-Christian communities. For instance, opposition to gay marriage, issues around abortion, questions about divorce and so on—[on] many of these issues conservative Jews, conservative Muslims, conservative Christians line up together, and we’ve already seen some of those alliances starting to be voiced around the question of gay marriage.

Andrew West: Professor Andrew Jakubowicz of the University of Technology Sydney on what the census data is likely to reveal about the impact of immigration on religion in Australia. There’s an extended interview with Andrew on our homepage at the RN website, and this is the Religion and Ethics Report with me, Andrew West.