Circular racism argument threatens to eat Assembly

johnboy 1 April 2009 12

Steve Doszpot is in a tizz and appears to be saying Andrew Barr is a racist for suggesting that the Assembly Liberals are racist.

That the whole debate is about lily skinned europeans on every turn just ads to the weirdness.

So what’s going on here?

OK for reasons not entirely clear Andrew Barr has effectively sacked nine local child protection workers so he can parachute in a team of British personnel. The ABC has a bit on this. Why he would, or would not, want to do this is beyond me but I doubt it was just for giggles.

Steve Doszpot has a partial quote of what Andrew was saying in fiery Assembly debate today:

    “…in a party that includes Mr Seselja and Mr Doszpot has a problem with skilled migrants…” (sic)

Steve considers this to be outrageous:

    “Andrew Barr has shown his true colours today and I take personal offence at the way in which Mr Barr chose to single out two members of the Assembly purely because of our last names.

    “My family fled political and religious persecution to seek a better life in Australia – Mr Barr is certainly scraping the barrel when he chooses to raise my ethnic heritage in order to deflect a hard hitting question from the Opposition.

    “Because members of the Opposition have names such as Doszpot and Seselja it seems we cannot raise legitimate concerns without fear of our heritage being used against us.

    “This is discrimination of the worst and most insidious kind.

I’d hazard to say this is possibly not the worst form of discrimination in the sad and sorry history of the practice.

UPDATED: Andrew Barr has returned fire:

    “Judging by his media release issued this afternoon, Liberal MLA Steve Doszpot has finally realised that it is not fair to discriminate against anyone based on their country of origin.

    “Now that Mr Doszpot gets it, I look forward to him telling Mrs Dunne and to her publicly apologising to these fantastic staff and their families who have come from the UK to make a contribution to our city and to the most vulnerable people in our community,” Mr Barr said.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
12 Responses to Circular racism argument threatens to eat Assembly
Furry Jesus Furry Jesus 10:05 am 02 Apr 09

We’re talking about child protection workers here, not labourers. Every jurisdiction in Australia has problems with child protection services being understaffed and workers overloaded to the point where they can’t do their jobs properly. Who suffers? The children. So the ACT has been attempting to poach experienced staff from the UK to remedy this locally.

Solocal people who’ve been appointed into fixed term contracts while the UK staff are being brought over get resentful when their contracts end. Who can blame them for feeling bad if they’re out of work and they were doing their job well? But their position was clear to start with. Shame they weren’t available to work before the need for overseas recruitment was identified. They’d have permanent jobs and we (ACT taxpayers) would have saved all that recruitment money.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 9:48 am 02 Apr 09

And I don’t know wher ethe first few words of my last post went to. They were there when I sent the post, honest.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 9:47 am 02 Apr 09

een fortunate to have met many MLA’s in connection with an issue dea to my heart lately but Andrew barr has not been one of them (yet). I have no reason to doubt his character or sincerity in any past issue but I do this his comment was badly thought out. He tried to stop opposition comment on the relavant issue by linking his recent decision to the success of two liberal MLA’s who also happen to be of foreign descent. I think Steve is well within his rights to get upset when someone tries to use his name, or origins, to acheive their own ends.

Peronally, I hate people using others racial origins against them for any reason. I came to Australia from London as a 5 year old in 1973 and spent a good deal of time fighting with other kids and even a few adults in the 70’s and 80’s who called me a Pommy B*****d. In one memorable event I even threw a desk at a teacher. The point is a person’s heritage is very closely linked to their own self-identity. Attacking (or in the case of Barr this week) hijacking a persons identity is bound to provoke a response, especially where the hijacking has been made to counter the affected persons own position on an important issue.

As for the hiring of UK staff, while I support the ‘Live in Canberra’ campaign I don’t think that now is the time to be replacing local workers with anybody else, regardless of where they come from.

trevar trevar 9:43 am 02 Apr 09

I’m not necessarily opposed to the importation of labour. Several hundred Korean plasterers had to be brought out to complete Kingsford Smith school, which is all well and good. But what I wonder about is what skills/qualifications/mutations/special abilities these poms have that warrants spending $12,000 (I read that figure too) apiece getting them here. And if it’s costing that much, did they fly them first class? What else are they paying for?

jakez jakez 9:02 am 02 Apr 09

Whether they are British or Australian is irrelevent. I don’t go for this hokey ‘they took our jobs’, ‘jobs for australians first’ type mentality. I wear my free trade credentials proudly on my sleeve and yes that absolutely extends to labour.

The issue is that the ACT Government spent taxpayer money on this campaign, and then spent money relocating these people (I think it was $12k, could have been $1200). So the ACT Government has spent taxpayers money to put 6 people out of work and replace them with 6 non ACT people.

That’s not good value for money.

trevar trevar 8:00 am 02 Apr 09

According to the linked ABC report, the poms were hired at the beginning, and the locals were hired on a temporary basis from the beginning. It is possible that the temps were unaware that their jobs had been given to the poms, but they must have known their jobs were temporary. So whatever the reason for Mr Barr thinking that Canberrans are incapable of looking after our own vulnerable children, the locals don’t really have much of a reason to complain.

The thing is, if Barr’s reasoning for importing foreign labour is as thin as the information on his reasoning, why didn’t the Libs attack that reasoning? And If Barr made a slur against Doszpot and Seselja, why isn’t it pointed out? The quote, “…in a party that includes Mr Seselja and Mr Doszpot has a problem with skilled migrants…” doesn’t have a racial slur in it (and without any context doesn’t even hint at one), so the Libs have provided no evidence of any racist comments from Barr at all, and they don’t seem to have questioned the importation of pommy labour.

Ari Ari 2:44 am 02 Apr 09

I’d say both sides jumped the shark by getting into this pointless debate.

Thumper Thumper 12:31 am 02 Apr 09

Got to agree Sepi, Barr is sounding like a total wanker here…

sepi sepi 9:02 pm 01 Apr 09

Up to now I’ve been impressed with Barr, but I think he has got this one wrong.

His press release reads like something one would say, but not write down for mass consumption.

And I don’t think he helped matters by focussing on the funny foreign names of the liberals. This whole thing is very unprofessional.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 8:47 pm 01 Apr 09

It would be nice if the public could get some Hansard transcripts to make up our own mind, because right now it just looks like nobody in the Assembly has the stones to tell either side that they’re acting like children.

Nemo Nemo 6:18 pm 01 Apr 09

This is the second time today I’ve heard of Labor governments sacking Australian workers and replacing them with overseas workers. The other related to the Federal Gov awarding employment service contracts to non Australian companies with many current employment providers potentially going out of business.

To me the racist comments are irrelevant and avoiding the real issue.

jakez jakez 5:33 pm 01 Apr 09

Seems a poor thing to say.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter


Search across the site