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Brisbane: Rally Against Racism – Yes to Multiculturalism, No to Xenophobia
8 September 2018 @ 11:30 am - 1:45 pm
A lot of people are doing it tough right now, but instead of standing up against big corporations and a morally corrupt banking industry, politicians are turning us against one another, blaming migrants of non-European backgrounds when they should be blaming our broken economic and political systems.
The government has been pushing massive tax cuts for big corporations and cutting basic services, while simultaneously whipping up fears about immigration, scapegoating migrants for everything from traffic congestion to crime rates.
Racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric is on the rise in mainstream discourse, and we need to stand up against it.
Everyone seems happy to condemn isolated examples of overt racism on public transport. But when racists like Tony Abbott and Andrew Bolt make similar comments in parliament or in the mainstream media, they are rewarded with more coverage.
All this happens against a backdrop of ongoing colonial racism against First Nations peoples – the theft of land, wages and children, and the continued rejection of Aboriginal sovereignty.
In the next few months, the federal government will try to change citizenship and immigration laws. If passed, these changes will:
– Make the English language tests and ‘Australian Values’ tests even stricter
– Require permanent residents to have lived here for 4 years before becoming citizens, when it’s already very difficult and can take many years just to get permanent residency
– Require citizenship applicants to ‘prove they have integrated’
– Make it harder to reunite with elderly parents and disabled relatives, even after you become a citizen
– Make it harder to have overseas educational qualifications recognised in Australia
– Make it harder for asylum seekers to be accepted as refugees
– Give the Immigration Minister stronger powers to deport people and reject visa applications without going through fair processes
Without strong public opposition to these changes, anti-immigrant policies will become the new normal, and refugees will continue to languish in offshore concentration camps.
Please join us at a positive, family-friendly public rally to say no to racism and imperialism, and yes to unity and multiculturalism.
This will be a short rally and march, featuring poets and performing artists but not too many speeches. After the poetry, we’ll be marching down Adelaide St to the Immigration Department building, then back up to King George Square.
We want to remind politicians of all parties that racist policies and messages are a vote-loser, not a vote-winner, and remind broader society that with the exception of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, everyone on this continent has come from somewhere else. Multiculturalism should be celebrated and encouraged, not undermined.
This event is taking place on stolen land. We acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbul peoples, and pay respects to their elders past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded, and the struggle against racism and anti-immigrant xenophobia is fundamentally a struggle for decolonisation and justice for First Nations peoples.