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Australia sets new strategy to engage with Asia

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With Australia's traditional anti-asian policy and resentment of asian immigrants, Australia is hardly a welcome guest in asia! And her attempt to get a share from economies is definatly not lived with her "deep experience in and knowledge of Asia” Remember Rio Tinto incident?

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That's not true of all Australians. Some are quite open to Asia and welcome stronger ties for business and cultural reasons

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Kind of ironic that a country that had the 'white-Australia" policy a generation and a half ago, now has a "white-paper" to engage Asia more strongly...

Not ALL of Australia is anti-asian.......strange that the mining-type areas that benefit most from Asia are the ones most likely to be Xenophobic......

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With Australia's traditional anti-asian policy and resentment of asian immigrants, Australia is hardly a welcome guest in asia!

Australia adopted an official policy of Multiculturalism in 1973 and was the second nation in the world to do so after Canada. I don't know if you have visited Australia lately, but cities like Melbourne and Sydney are some of the most culturally diverse in the world, and at times look more Asian than anything else.

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just-a-bigguy- sorry mate but you have no clue what you're on about. What you refer to might have been the case 20 years ago but modern Australia is one of the most welcoming countries on the planet - that includes welcoming to Asians. Many of my ex colleagues in senior positions in Australia were Asian as are a huge number of professionals and senior staff in both Australian public sector and private companies in all fields and walks of life. Also the government has been pro actively pushing for positive engagement with Asia for a number of years. Those are not hallmarks of an anti Asian country. Sure you still have some leftover rednecks who are racist to anyone except an AngloSaxon - but every country has their own version of those. An overwhelming majority of Australians are open minded and welcoming people. Maybe you should visit.

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Good initiative. The question is implementing it with devoted effort over time.

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Hmmmmm ...... let's wait and see what the reality will be. My experience in Australia (and I'm distinctly Anglo) is that there is still a definite undercurrent of racism here, albeit fading as the immediate post-war generation dies out. Furthermore, the whole idea of 'engagement with Asia' seems to be predicated on a purely economic basis; the idea of affiliation on any other level is seen as neither necessary nor desirable by many. As my Japanese partner who has lived here for over 20 years often notes, while most Australians as individuals are generally welcoming and friendly, Australia as a nation is rarely prepared to cross the bridge when it comes to other cultures; most of the traffic seems to be in the other direction.

While this initiative sounds good on paper (and I have yet to see the details) the situation on the ground may not be so positive. Learning a language at high-school is certainly beneficial; the problem is when you want to extend that linguistic and cultural study to a higher level. Universities across Australia are adopting a slash-and-burn approach to Humanities Departments, including languages and cultural studies. My old Alma Mater recently made a move to excise Indonesian as a subject (thwarted by an intense response from the student and academic bodies), and Swinburne abolished its languages department in totality years ago. Cultural studies generally are under threat in most universities in the country. This does not bode well for the hoped-for goals outlined by Gillard.

Engagement with another nation or region takes a great deal more than teaching the kids how to speak a foreign language. In my opinion, Australia has a long way to go before it achieves the capacity to truly engage with the cultures that surround it in any meaningful way.

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