Reverse racialism and multiculturalism in Monash Council

Thank you to Chan for sending this article to EM&U.

It is eyeball rolling to see that our Councillors are wanting to be trend setters and “innovative” – they had decided to acquire digital email subscription services and multi-language translation software, to build the digital capacity to communicate in many languages, including hiring or outsourcing people to translate non English mediated social media activities. Their immature desire to be trend setters & innovators in using digital (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) CALD communication will cost ratepayers additional and non essential money. It is a no brainer that any “first in market” is usually expensive and more exposed to learning curves, especially more so when Council has a poor performance track history in “community consultation and engagement” and “making decisions in the interest of the community” ( 2014 Community Satisfaction Survey (page 13) ). What is the point of being the novel trend setter in digital CALD communications, when Councillors cannot even accommodate language diversity during last night’s Council meeting (demonstrated when I interjected their debate by choosing to speak in my native Chinese language).

However, I was most taken back by Cr Lo’s comments about people wanting to be “more Australian” is considered offensive, especially when he implied that migrants wanting to integrate into mainstream life in Australia is un Australian. Cr Lo failed to understand that mainstream Australian life is already culturally diverse but is united by an overriding & unifying commitment to common Australian values. He may have deliberately made the comment to attack Cr Davies, but he was not aware that his remark also causes offend to many Asians, who believe and are committed to integration in mainstream Australian society and supporting English as the common language that converges our culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Born, lived and studied in multi-cultural Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, and worked in Australian and foreign multinationals, I know firsthand that a common language plays an important part in uniting cultural diversity and forming a national identity. I also belong to several Chinese community groups and they are all interested in learning English and building greater capacity to integrate into the Australian way of life – pursuing these Australian attributes is NOT offensive, nor does it discourage cultural and linguistic diversity. I also socialise with many other Asian groups (such the Indians, Japanese, Bangladeshis, Iranians, Iraqis, etc) and they all agreed the importance of speaking in English to communicate across culture and effectively integrate in an already culturally and linguistically diverse mainstream Australian society. Supporting or encouraging English to be a common language in Australia is NOT offensive and should not be discouraged, because we need it to communicate across culture and be united as Australian citizens.

Some Monash Councillors may self claim proficiency in multiculturalism, but last night they obviously showed lacking competency in cross culture intelligence, hence showed no leadership knowledge or skills in fostering interculturalism. Interculturalism abandons the old politics of multiple cultural identities and focuses on sharing common values (eg Life In Australia) that shape mainstream Australia society, including integrating CALD into it. Our Councillors are behind the times, while desiring to be technology savvy trend setters and using that ego-driven rationality to justify part of their decision making. Are they Larrikins or otherwise (to be diplomatic in what “otherwise” can mean)?

Bringing in party politics rivalry during Council meetings is an unfortunate and growing norm. This poor meeting practice became so blatant when Cr Davies was bullied during the whole evening by ALP pledging Councillors. When the party politics rivalry brings in the race card into the debates, it went overboard when ALP Councillors debated on him and then called a division to explicitly isolate Cr Davies as the odd ball voting against agenda item 7.4, hence against multiculturalism. They made the decision making process no longer unbiased and supporting no natural justice (ie the decision was no longer made in a fair and honest way). Decision making behaviour had broken good governance conduct and many of our Councillors incompetently think it is OK to behave the inappropriate way they did in last night’s meeting.

Instead of focusing on what value add does the CALD email distribution and multi-language translation systems provide to the community, the whole debate culture reflected a strong bullying leadership culture and was using the race card in the name of multiculturalism to play party politics and inter-rivalry bashing Cr Davies. As gallery audience, we are forced to witness this unwarranted poor leadership and party-politics driven behaviour that is getting worse each Council meeting.

Related Links

Monash Council: 3 gripes 2 compliments

Leader Press Monash Councillor slammed for “deeply offensive” multicultural comments 30 April 2015

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