CC Malayalam Blog

Join News Letter


Peak Oil

Climate Change

US Imperialism


Latin America










Gujarat Pogrom



India Elections



Submission Policy

Contact Us

Subscribe To Our
News Letter

Name: E-mail:


Uncovering The Myth Of
“Fair Go” Australia

By Ghali Hassan

03 June, 2007

While Anglo-Australians can be proud of a long-time forgotten truth of “Fair Go” Australia for the privileged, today’s Australia is an unequal and unfair society. The myth of “Fair Go” Australia is just a shield, protecting Australia against criticism of Australia’s unfair treatments of Indigenous Australians and Australians from other minority groups.

In May 1967, white Australians voted overwhelmingly to abolish discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The Referendum allowed the Government to make laws for Indigenous Australians and to have them counted as citizens of Australia. The amendment to the Constitution was simply a “window-dressing”. Indigenous Australians continue to experience widespread institutionalised racism and remained unequal and marginalised minority group. High rate of unemployment, poverty and welfare dependency characterised the living conditions of Indigenous Australians today.

Successive governments have used discriminatory policies not different from Apartheid South Africa, treating Indigenous Australians as second-class citizens. The health conditions are disastrous in Aboriginal communities. Access to primary health care services by Indigenous Australians remains worse than any other sector of Australian society. The 20-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains unchallenged scandal.

According to the Medical Journal of Australia, diabetes and overweight are increasing among young Aborigines at an alarming rate. “Indigenous children are dying at almost three times the rate of non-Indigenous children”, said the Journal. Indigenous infant mortality rates still two to three times the national average. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) annual Indigenous Health Report Card adds that Indigenous Australians are “dying early because of institutionalised racism”. Indigenous Australians are 10 times more likely to have kidney disease and report higher rates of arthritis, heart disease and asthma, according to the new study by the council of Australian Governments released on 01 June 2007.

In December 2006, some 37 key Australian health and human rights agencies signed a letter calling for equity in Indigenous health. “It is inconceivable that a country as wealthy as Australia cannot solve a health crisis affecting less than 3% of its population”, said the letter to the Government and the Australian public. To make thing worse, the Government plans to build a nuclear waste dump on Indigenous land. “It will poison our beautiful land, and damage our dreaming”, Bindi Jakamarra Martin, an Indigenous elder from the Ngapa clan told The Age Newspaper.

Indigenous education is in shambles, suffering from lack of funding and uncertainty. As Lester-Irabinna Rigney of Indigenous Studies at Flinders University of South Australia noted; “Literacy and Numeracy skills of Indigenous Australian students are well below those of non-Indigenous students in primary and secondary schools. Many Indigenous Australians in remote communities have no direct access to secondary school education”. While adult educational qualifications have increased and unemployment has decreased slightly in the last 10 years, the decrese is largely due to the Government's Aboriginal “work for the dole” schemes. Further, of the 260 Indigenous languages spoken before the 1788 white settlement, no more than 60 remain in use as first language today. On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the referendum, the Howard’s Government wants to make English compulsory for Indigenous children.

Although they make less than 3 per cent of the overall population, Indigenous Australians continue to be overrepresented in the prison population. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, Indigenous Australians represented 20 to 22 per cent of Australia’s prison population in June of 2005, with disproportionately high rate of incarceration.

The new study, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2007, by the Council of Australian Governments confirms previous findings and shows that the imprisonment rate for indigenous women surged 34 per cent between 2002 and 2006. For men it increased 22 per cent. Indigenous imprisonment rates rose 32 per cent overall from 2000 to 2006 and are now 13 times higher than the rate for non-indigenous Australians.

Indigenous Australians accounted for 18 per cent of all prisoner deaths in custody between 1990 and 2000. Official figures show that since 1990, some 200 Aboriginal people have died in custody, despite the 1991 recommendations by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Death in Custody. In the “Lucky Country” of Australia, few alcoholic drinks could put an Aboriginal man behind bars, and may lead to his death.

In short, despite governments’ rhetoric, living conditions for Indigenous Australians are worse today than they were before white settlement. It appears that Australian elites awaiting the disappearance of Australian Aborigines as a distinct racial group. As the Aboriginal Historian Henry Reynolds stated, there should be a right for Indigenous Australians to remain Indigenous.

After he was elected Prime Minister in 1996, John Howard moved swiftly to water down the importance of “multiculturalism” and accorded a privilege status to Anglo-Australians. As James Forrest and Kevin Dunn pointed out; “Multiculturalism became essentially, ‘assimilation in slow motion’ or delayed assimilation and Anglo privelege was effectively established on Howard’s terms”. Since then, the Howard’s Government perpetuates inequalities, creates divisions between different ethnic groups of Australians, and has succeeded in rolling-back all anti-racism achievements in Australia.

The Howard’s Government rhetoric and advertised “success” of doing a good job “managing the economy” is a hoax. The education system and the health services are worse than they were in 1996. Australia’s foreign dept has increased from 193 Billion in 1996 to around $540 billion in 2007 or 60 per cent of GDP. Yes, official unemployment figure is down, but this is not due to the rise in employment but to the changing of the unemployment’s definition. Many Australians are worse off today than they were in 1996.

The Howard’s Government WorkChoices law, the anti-workers law ? fished out from the Nazis’ archive ? exposed the Howard’s Government monstrosity towards low-income workers. When asked by Eleanor Hall of the ABC to comment on WorkChoices law, the former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating said: “I tell you what, to stop two people or more talking about their conditions at work, to give you the sort of take-it-or-leave-it AWA” (Australian Workplace Agreement). The other success of the Howard’s Government was the introduction of the racist anti-asylum seekers policy which is aimed specifically at Muslim refugees fleeing the Howard’s Government-sponsored illegal wars.

Howard’s former chief of staff and his trusted confidant, Arthur Sinodinos, said recently: “People say that Howard moved Australia to the right. But that is misleading, the Howard government succeeded because he [Howard] expressed the innate conservatism of the Australian people”. Racism is not “innate”. Racism is learned, and can be unlearned. For years, Anglo-Australians have been fed a daily diet of xenophobia and Islamophobia by right-wing governments and inherently racist media.

David Marr of the ABC Media Watch summed up Howard’s other acheivemnets:“Since 1996, Howard has cowed his critics, muffled the press, intimidated the ABC, gagged scientists, silenced non-government organisations, neutered Canberra's mandarins, curtailed parliamentary scrutiny, censored the arts, banned books, criminalised protest and prosecuted whistleblowers”. His foreign policy is to make Australia a U.S. proxy army or “Deputy Sheriff”, participating in U.S. war crimes around the Globe.

Howard’s longevity as Prime Minister can be attributed to the following key factors: 1. the adoption of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation racist “policy” and rehtoric by the Liberal Party; 2. irrelevant and divided Opposition?like in other Western “democracies” ?provides no alternative; 3. a subservient media, led by the Murdoch Press, provide unquestinable backing for the Howard’s agenda; and 4. Howard’s ability of escapegoating and demonising minorities, including Indigenous and Muslim Australians.

Howard’s instinct is that he can rally voters behind him by appealing to the easily manipulated and mislead “working class” Australians, the so-called “Howard’s battlers”. Using scare tactic by combining fear and racism, Howard was able to manipulate and rally voters behind him. Today, many Australians are indoctrinated and share Howard’s ideology of superiority and prejudice.

A recent Saulwick Poll found that 55 per cent of Australians thought the Prime Minister is a divisive leader. Howard succeeded in making Australians more individualistic, prejudice and obsessed with material possessions. While Howard is proud of Australian values of a “Fair Go”, and “tolerance”, he is ? like many in his circle ? preaching “tolerance” with intolerance.

For example, during the Howard's Government tenure, racial abuses and violent attacks directed against Muslim Australians have increased dramatically. Muslim women and girls have been spat on in the street, assaulted on public buses and have had their scarves torn from them in Sydney and Perth. Many of them have become hostages in their own homes, afraid to venture out. Mosques and schools have been vandalised and set a light.

While Australian Aborigines are discriminated against because of their race, Muslim Australians are faced with the same discrimination because of their (Muslim) faith. Muslims face discrimination in education, housing and employment.

Howard and his ministers often used the West-fabricated fallacy of the “suffering of Muslim women” as a pretext to justify attacks on Muslims and Islam in general. Howard’s appropriation of (Muslim) women’s rights for political goals has been recently exposed. The ongoing attacks on Julia Gillard, Deputy Leader of the Labor Opposition, by the Liberal hypocrites (“Howard’s attack dogs”) brought some needed relief to Australian Muslim women. The Liberal hypocrites are furious to see one or two women speaking in loud and independent voice and challenging the inherently Macho culture.

Furthermore, the media play an important role spreading racism and anti-Muslims sentiments. The Murdoch Press in particular is the leading racism monger. A study by Flinders University of South Australia found that; “Out of 179 [Murdoch Press] articles collected during the period of 1 June to 31 July 2003, 153 [articles] portrayed Muslim men as violent (usually as terrorists)”. Like the rest of the mainstream media, politicians and pundits the deliberate use of the words “Islamists” and “Jihadists” in derogative sense designed to associate Muslims with terrorist.

A report released recently by Islamic youth organisation (the Independent Centre of Research Australia [ICRA]) - highlights religious and racial discrimination by the media as one of the biggest challenges facing young Muslim Australians. ICRA chairman Fadi Abdul Rahman told the ABC; “Young Muslims feel angry and marginalised about negative press. ‘They have already been labelled as, you know, the majority are perhaps criminals or the majority are perhaps no good and I guess this misperception about young people is really turning young people into this marginalised, alienated group of young people within their own society”. Muslim Australians are crucified because of who they are, Muslims, mostly Arabs and often outspoken against racism and Western-perpetuated violence in their countries of origin.

Alan Jones 2GB Radio is a case in point. The anti-Muslim thug used his Sydney Radio to encourage violence and racism on Muslim Australians in the led-up to the Cronulla Beach attacks. However, when the Australian Communications and Media Authority found Jones guilty of encouraging violence, John Howard brushed the conviction aside and described Jones as; “an outstanding Australian broadcaster who says what a lot of Australians are thinking”. The Prime Minister should have condemend the thug. Instead, the treatment Jones received in the media and from politicians for advocating violence stands in stark contrast to the racist treatments many peaceful Muslim Australians receive on daily basis. Furthermore, Howard’s misuse of the terms “Us” to refer to Anglo-Australians, and “they” and “them” to refer to Muslim Australians, suggests incitement to hatred against Muslim Australians and an appeal to prejudice and racism against Muslim Australians.

While the Government uses fear and xenophobia to manipulate the public against Muslim Australians, it is Muslim Australians who are living in a state of real fear, based on their daily experience of physical and verbal abuse and discrimination. The event of 9/11 in the U.S. provided the Government with a pretext to justify and encourage racism against Muslim Australians. Like the U.S., the Howard’s Government hostile policy towards Islam has implicated every Muslim and caused great suffering to the Muslim community through various laws and policies, including the draconian “terrorism laws”. The Howard’s Government has removed funding from various Islamic schools and communities and associated donation to Islamic communities and schools with terrorism.

It is important to note that the Muslims community is a small (1.5 per cent of Australia’s population) and unsophisticated community. Because of their diverse origins ? from around the Muslim World ?, Muslim Australians remain divided, unsophisticated and disorganised community. They are Australia’s most alienated and underprivileged in economic, social and political arenas. Australian Muslim “leaders” ?mostly self-appointed?, have been co-opted by the Howard’s Government to serve Government’s interests and anti-Muslims ideology.

In order to further demonise and alienate Muslims and Islam, the Government and Australian elites have bought and recruited an army of vulgar native informers, who pretend to speak on behalf of Muslims and Islam. Their real role is to confirm to Anglo-Australians that they and the Government are right in attacking Islam, and that Islam need to change according to Howard’s racist agenda. The Sydney Writers Festival, a gathering of Australian elites and Western “intellectuals” is a case in point. One expects a gathering of these “progressives” will invite an authoritative Muslim scholar to inform them about the diverse Muslim World. No, the elites prefer to learn about Islam from an illiterate and fraudulent con artist, Ayraan Hirsi (Ali). How low can these “progressives” stand in Muslim eyes?

While racism often blamed on “working class” Australians, anti-Muslims racism has become entrenched within government departments, the education system, the justice system and the police. A study by the Australian Government-sponsored agency, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HR&EOC) revealed that anti-Muslim sentiment is “very strong” in Australia. Schools and Universities are also playing their useful roles in preaching and encouraging racism against Muslims.

In ten years, the Howard's Government has succeeded in turning Australia into an anti-Muslims arrogant society, a return to the Australian commentator and historian Jonathan King’s description of Australians as: “Lazy, arrogant, racist, urban money-grabbers who have surrounded themselves with the myth that they are outback heroes”. In an age of “Globalisation”, Howard would be ashamed to return to the practice of “White Australia Policy”, when only white Anglo-immigrants were considered “worthy” humans an allowed to settle in Australia.

Recently, Philip Ruddock, a proud Australian and the current Liberal Minister for Immigration and Multiculturalism, called refugees and asylum seekers ? fleeing wars and bloodshed in their countries?, “parasites”, “queue-jumpers” and “double dippers”. Mr. Ruddock knows there are tens of thousands of Western illegal immigrants and ‘tourists’ in Australia, but he dares to vilify them and to call them names.

Evidence of surveys carried out in Australia in the late 1980s found Muslims are the most discriminated and victimized Australians. The HR&EOC study also reported widespread rise in violence against Muslims and Arabs. A key finding of the report was that 90 per cent of female respondents reported experiencing racism abuse or violence. While he Race Discrimination Act covers Jews and Sikhs, it does not recognize Muslims as an “ethnic group” and protection of Muslims under Australian federal law is limited.

A lawyer with some 30 years experience in the Legal System in Western Australia told me: “It is very common for the Police to arrest Aborigines and Muslims for trivial things and charge them with crimes before they are allowed to see a lawyer”. When I asked her if the Police could obtain convictions, she replied; “the Police and magistrates share the same prejudice”. She added; once these poor men are convicted and recorded in the [justice] system, it is easy to victimise them further”. The policy of racial profiling is now very common is now very common in Australia.

In most cases, Muslim men who charged with minor crimes were given much harsher penalties than non-Muslim Australians who committed far more serious crimes. The aim is to criminalise Muslims and make it difficult for Muslims to find employment and be part of the community.

It has become almost impossible for Muslims to find employment, outside menial employment. Discrimination starts at the recruitment process and employment. Unemployment among professional Muslim Australians, and among Muslim youth, is very high. More than 30 per cent compared to 5 per cent the official national total. In addition, Government figures show that 30 to 40 per cent of professional Muslim Australians with PhDs or MDs are unemployed. Muslims are often employed in jobs that require lower or no qualifications. Furthermore, Muslim Australians, both female and male, have reported discrimination in the workplace, both in obtaining and retaining a job.

With the arrival ? in large number ? of middle-class Asian immigrants, Indigenous Australians and Muslim Australians are further discriminated against, marginalised and denied employment. The situation in Australia today is reminiscent to that of Europe in 1930s when Roma people, Jews and other minorities were subjected to discrimination in employment, racial attacks and persecution, although the conditions of Muslims across Europe today is not much diffrenrent. (See Muslims in the EU) .

Finally, according to Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) signed by Australia; “In those States [such as Australia] in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language”. It follows then, that Australia is in violation of Article 27 of the ICCP.

“Fair Go” Australia is a myth; it protects Australia from ratinonal criticism, and preserves Anglo-Australians priveleged position. Australia has failed to deliver not only on a promise Anglo-Australians made 40 years ago to Indigenous Australians, but also on a rehtoric of non-discriminatory policies to protect Australians from minority groups. There is an urgent need to make Australia a nation for all Australians to live together.

Ghali Hassan is an independent writer living in Australia.

Leave A Comment
Share Your Insights

Comment Policy

Digg it! And spread the word!

Here is a unique chance to help this article to be read by thousands of people more. You just Digg it, and it will appear in the home page of and thousands more will read it. Digg is nothing but an vote, the article with most votes will go to the top of the page. So, as you read just give a digg and help thousands more to read this article.


Get CC HeadlinesOn your Desk Top


Search Our Archive

Our Site


Online Users