20 January 2010

Victoria Police Admits: Indians are Overrepresented in Robbery Statistics.

The ABC* has finally extracted an admission from the Chief of the Victorian Police that Indians are over-represented in crime statistics in Melbourne. Looking deeper into the statistics some interesting points emerge. Firstly, about 50% of attacks on Indians have been on Taxi drivers or in convenience stores and the over-representation is in robberies, not assaults as the media hype has led us to believe.

If anyone reading this has been in Melbourne lately they will know that Indians are now the most common taxi drivers & the most common convenience store attendants. Taxi drivers and convenience store attendants have been attacked in Melbourne for decades, long before the latest wave of Indians came along. These are very dangerous jobs. How many of the robberies and attacks we hear about are simply because the Indians coming here as students don't have enough money to live and are prepared to do any job? How many of the attacks could have been avoided by people who are more familiar with drunken, loutish behaviour and ways to avoid it? I've never worked in a convenience store on a midnight to dawn shift but have heard enough stories to avoid doing it at all costs. To those parents who are sending their sons to Melbourne to study, without enough money for fees and living expenses, be aware that you are putting them into a more dangerous life than most Australians lead. More dangerous than most overseas students too.

Then the same question needs to be turned around to the Australian government. Why are students accepted without enough money to live on? Why are students allowed to stay on after their courses have finished if the only jobs they can get are as taxi drivers? Clearly the skilled migration scheme has brought in a lot of people who are ready and willing to work, but aren't quite appropriate for skilled jobs in Australia. The government has avoided any big changes to the skilled immigration policy because it would endanger the now-enormous education industry. As long as a degree from an Australian University gives a small fraction of overseas students the ability to stay here permanently, the Universities will be flooded with students. Many of those students will end up going back home to families who will see them as failures, their youth & hope wasted on the dream of becoming Australian residents. This puts too much pressure on students, leading to risk taking, suicides and mental illness. The skilled immigration laws should be tightened to de-couple permanent residence in Australia from long courses of study - perhaps the English proficiency requirement should be judged at the beginning of the course, not at the end, so students don't maintain the Australian dream for several years of study, just to have it dashed at the end.

*Australian Broadcasting Corporation

10 January 2010

Is Melbourne a violent, racist place?

Comments originally from a Facebook Group - 4 June 2009

The stories we're hearing in the media point to some semi-organised gangs who are targeting Indian - looking overseas students. I am reminded of the film "Romper Stomper", a 1992 movie where a gang of neo-Nazis attack Vietnamese in Footscray. ( )
I mention it because the movie may give you all some insight into why these people choose to attack the latest new arrivals. Its not nice or pretty & these kind of racist people do exist in Australia, but we don't hear about Vietnamese being attacked any more. Why?

On something completely different, I disagree with some writers about provision of accommodation. I think overseas students should be provided with the option of living on campus at least during their first semester. I was an overseas student in London & found staying on campus a very easy way to gradually learn how to act & how to live in my new city. I could then avoid living in areas where I was likely to be attacked on my way home from the University.
That is not to say overseas students should be provided with free accommodation, but something which is at comparable rates to living off-campus. Traditionally, living on campus at the Universities in Melbourne has been a more expensive option.

5 June 2009

It is extraordinarily difficult to work here for 20 hours a week, make enough money for tuition fees and living expenses & study a full time course as well. That is more than the local students try to do & an awful lot of pressure for someone to put on themselves. In these circumstances, racist attacks are only one of the dangers students face. I have recently had a close friend become very ill under these kind of pressures - a serious illness which probably wouldn't have happened without the study & work & English language pressure - and which will be with her for the rest of her life. I think a better solution for the present time is to somehow change perceptions that you can do all these things. Discourage students from coming over here for PR. Let students be students, not PR applicants. If the course gives you nothing but PR, don't do it. Do a course which can get you a step ahead when you get home.
The government may change the immigration rules to reduce further the number of OS students eligible for PR anyway.

10 January 2010
Sadly, attacks on Indian students in Melbourne are continuing. Despite government platitudes about Melbourne's safety Indians here are living in an increasing environment of fear. The fear isn't about statistics. What terror is ever about statistics? Who cared if more people were killed on New York's roads in 2001 than in the 9-11 attacks? The TV footage had the whole world scared. An Indian graduate, Nitin Garg, was fatally attacked this week while walking to work through a park in Yarraville. Traditionally nearby Footscray is one of Melbourne's most dangerous areas. Most of the the attacks are in Melbourne's Western suburbs, a cheap place to live, but much more dangerous than the eastern suburbs. Some of the violence may be simply opportunistic robberies by drug addicts looking for their next fix. Avoiding dangerous areas and times would help prevent people from being a soft target for these kind of crimes.

The concerning factor is that Indian students say there is a more sinister kind of crime occurring, which the perpetrators call "curry bashing", which is clearly racially motivated. Whether Nitin Garg was the victim of a random attack or whether it was racially motivated, its clear that attacks on Indians in Melbourne aren't stopping. I wonder whether the Andrew Bolt's Herald Sun column from September 2007 explains why the police response is inadequate. Andrew Bolt explained how police statements underplayed the role of gangs in violent crime in Noble Park, an outer Eastern suburb of Melbourne. Are they doing the same thing when a gang attacks an Indian student?

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