CHINA DEBATE raises spectre of WHITE AUSTRALIA POLICY: says uni chief

HAS the alleged issue of the China debate hit a raw nerve for Sydney University Vice-Chancellor?

Afterall he is Australia’s highest paid vice-chancellor … read more here!

DESPITE the hacking at the ANU … numerous warnings from our Security Intelligence Agencies

-the joint Four Corners-Fairfax investigation: ASIO investigation into Communist Party links to the Australian political system 

-reports from ASPI

-the impact of the ‘free trade’ with our big northern neighbour on Our Society

-the changes made to the NSW Planning Laws to facilitate the 100% sell-off of ‘new homes’ particularly to the High Net Worth from our big northern neighbour

.in return they can gain a ‘Permanent Resident’ Visa!

-government policies that allow them to buy our cattle stations, dairies along with investment in our commercial property, mines, transport, healthcare, power, and the rest …

-on another level the competition from visa workers for Australian jobs

-student visas another avenue to gain ‘permanent residency’

IT would appear that all of this has drawn the ire of communities across Sydney let alone Australia … as Our Families are locked out of home ownership … with onshore Proxy agents laundering black money in our real estate …

SEARCH our Website to learn more …


Jordan Baker
By Jordan Baker

August 23, 2019

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The head of one of Australia’s top universities fears the country is veering towards a new White Australia mindset amid the escalating debate over Chinese influence on campus and in the wider community.

Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence said some voices were dangerously close to arguing anyone who supported the Chinese government had no place on a university campus.

“That’s just frightening as well as kind of dumb,” he told the Herald.

A poster wall covered in messages supporting democracy in Hong Kong at the University of Technology, Sydney.
A poster wall covered in messages supporting democracy in Hong Kong at the University of Technology, Sydney.CREDIT:PETER RAE

Debate over China’s influence has raged over recent weeks, triggered by federal MP and former soldier Andrew Hastie saying that China’s ambitions threatened to erode Australia’s sovereignty and freedoms.Advertisement

Concerns intensified after clashes between pro-China and pro-Hong Kong activists on the streets of Australian capital cities. Universities have come under particular fire, accused of letting themselves become vulnerable to China due to their reliance on income from its students and projects with its scientists.

Four government MPs last week lamented the “crisis of leadership” in university administrationover foreign influence, while Education Minister Dan Tehan will meet vice-chancellors next week over concerns about national security vulnerabilities in research collaborations.

But Dr Spence said university cooperation with China had significant benefits, such as soft diplomacy and cooperation with high-calibre scientists. “We have to be careful that the whole debate doesn’t have overtones of the White Australia Policy,” he said.

The idea that universities educated a homogenous group of Anglo-Saxon Australians and a few Commonwealth students was a myth, Dr Spence said. “That’s not what the university is,” he said. “If it were, it would be a bad university, and pretty boring.

“There would be risks, too, in just teaching the children of the scions of Mosman – no quality university is like that.”

Responding to concerns that Chinese students who opposed their homeland’s stance in Hong Kong were intimidated into silence by their patriotic compatriots, Dr Spence said many students self-censored for different reasons.

"It's a risk that we're managing, like any responsible business": The University of Sydney's Michael Spence.
“It’s a risk that we’re managing, like any responsible business”: The University of Sydney’s Michael Spence.CREDIT:JAMES BRICKWOOD

But Sydney University was committed to free speech. “Some of [the debate] has kind of gotten dangerously close to not saying, ‘China is a country with whom we have a rich relationship and with whom we need to engage, and which has been a partner with Australia in so many ways for a long time now’, but ‘anybody who thinks the Chinese government is okay doesn’t have a place on a university campus’,” he said.

Dr Spence admitted the university sector had become dependent on international student fees, and in doing so had “allowed successive Australian governments to withdraw funding from universities, particularly to withdraw research funding”.

But he denied they were over-exposed. “Yes there is a particular concentration risk in our dependence on China, but it’s a risk we are managing,” he said.

“If you were a historian, you would say, ‘over the past 20 years, the greatest crown risk to research intensive universities has not been foreign governments. It has been the Australian government slashing research funding.”

University of Queensland vice-chancellor Peter Hoj also admitted Australian universities were exposed to international student income to the extent that there was a risk of revenue fall for reasons outside their control.

But a lack of research funding from governments had forced universities to find a different income sources. “If research was better funded in the past, I don’t think we would have necessarily seen as many international students,” he said.

Professor Hoj, whose university was the scene of clashes between pro-Hong Kong and pro-Chinastudents, agreed all views should be allowed on university campuses, as long as they were expressed lawfully. “Sometimes you get exposed to views with which you don’t agree, but you have to accept that,” he said.

Amid debate over potential national security issues with international research collaborations, the Australian National University’s acting vice-chancellor, Professor Mike Calford, said the independence of research and teaching was non-negotiable.

“To be the best in the world for research, you must collaborate with partners from all over the globe,” he said.


Some people worry that Australian universities have made a strategic mistake in their reliance on international students.

Overseas students have delivered a cash bonanza to universities, but at what cost?

“Our international research collaboration is always conducted within the limits of comprehensive Australian legislation, like the Defence Trades Control regime, and governed by the university’s own system of robust checks and balances, and ethics.

“We stand by our research, its quality and its regulation.

ANU was reducing its overall numbers, but not the proportion of international students, he said. “We’d like to be a little bit smaller than we currently are, to be a little bit more research intensive, to be a bit more like the very top universities in the world,” Professor Calford said.

“So we’re going to be taking a few less students over the next few years than we have over the last few years, and that’s a strategy quite independent of the finances.”

The White Australia Policy, officially known as the Immigration Restriction Act, limited non-British immigration to Australia. It was enforced through a 50-word dictation test, which very few non-white migrants were allowed to pass.

After World War II, it was gradually relaxed until it was dismantled by the Holt government in 1966.

Jordan Baker

Jordan Baker is Education Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald