Moves Towards Asianisation:
Enmeshment With Asia
(Selling Australia's Future for Asian Money)
Ralph L. Harry (then Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs) has noted that immigration has been described as a "concrete way of developing relations between governments"; and Alan Renouf (former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and a former Ambassador) has said that "immigration can be a useful diplomatic tool" and has advocated "a larger flow of Asian peoples" on the basis that such an action "could cement materially Australia's ties with such countries".(141)
In 1977 the Australian Population and Immigration Council stated that
"The Asian region has immense potential as a source of migrants for Australia".(142)
In 1980 the then Head of the Immigration Department, John Menadue, said that
"Australia was eager to attract migrants, but traditional source countries such as Great Britain could be gradually edged out... as Asia became more industrialised it would be possible to attract large numbers of skilled Asian immigrants".(143)
In 1984 the Manly Daily reported the views of the then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke (Labor), that
"Australia's future is firmly enmeshed with the progress of China, South-East Asia and the Pacific region".(144)
Bob Hawke further stated that
"A most important step in drawing closer to Asia is that we have accepted and welcomed the fact that people from Asia form part, and most likely an increasing part, of our population, and that Asian culture will, likewise, form an increasing part of our national heritage. No less important has been the transformation of our economic relationship with Asia... we will continue to make this a major priority".(145)
In 1987 The Daily Mirror revealed that the Federal Government had a secret plan to massively boost the migrant intake over the following 20 years - possibly right up to 1,000,000 per annum (with an estimated 750 000 of these coming from Asia and the Pacific).(146)
In 1989 Ross Garnaut produced his report, Australia and the Northeast Asian Ascendancy, which had been commissioned by the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke. It contained recommendations that were to be acted upon by the then Labour government (indeed, the report merely echoed what was basically the viewpoint already held by that government):
"It is true, nevertheless that Australia's success in utilising opportunities associated with Northeast Asian economic growth is of fundamental importance to long-term economic success, and of substantial importance politically and culturally as well. Relations with Northeast Asia are of an order of magnitude more important to economic development in Australia than are relations with any other region.
The economic impulse behind Asianisation is shown up in the salesman-like patter of Perry Nolan (a former senior foreign affairs officer, then a businessman involved in foreign trade):
"...Australia's central economic interests are in the continuation of internationally-oriented growth in Northeast Asia,
"...we must accelerate progress in domestic economic reform, to build a flexible, internationally-oriented economy that is capable of grasping the opportunities that will emerge in the decades ahead.
"...Australia's relevance and influence in Northeast Asia will decline until we succeed in increasing the international orientation and growth of the Australian economy.
"...It is not to Australia's advantage to deny the Australian economy the benefits of international integration by restricting investment from Northeast Asia
"...Migration has a pivotal role to play in helping Australia to make maximum use of economic opportunities in Northeast Asia."(emphasis added)(147)
"The reality is that Australia is located in the Asian/Pacific region. Like it or not, this geographical fact is not going to change. Accept it and use it as an advantage... Refuse to accept our location and opportunities and we will, very soon, become the 'poor white trash of Asia'."(148)
Some believe, as The Age reported, that "Increasingly, Australia has been made to appear sluggish and unproductive by the resourceful nations of South-East Asia, leading to the belief that our salvation lies in becoming "Eurasian", through higher Asian immigration". Such a "Eurasian future" was forecast by Phil Ruthven in 1991: "Three per cent of the population is now Asian, and most forecasts are about 13 per cent before 2015. By 2088 I think Asians will be about 40 to 45 per cent" (149). Of course, this Asian ethnicity forecasts by Ruthven may be regarded as woeful under- estimates (compare the projections of Charles Price, and even Ruthven's own later projections).(150)
In 1991 Gareth Evans, then Labor's Foreign Minister, made some revealing comments:
"There is a degree of uncertainty as to whether, or to what extent, we are an "Asian" country. Australia being an "Asia Pacific" nation is easier to manage, conceptually and psychologically, than us being an "Asian" one. But the substance of the issue cannot be skirted. We should acknowledge that we do encounter risks of misunderstanding and non-acceptance in our relations with Asian countries. The management of those risks in a constructive and productive way - the management, in fact, of Australia's Asian future - is a central task of Australian foreign policy... In approaching the management of our Asian future we should not over-estimate the difficulty of the task. The diversity of the Asian region is part of its challenge... One cannot overstate the economic dynamism of the Asian region, and the challenge and opportunity this presents for Australia. The major economies were recording an average annual GDP growth of about 7 per cent, and an export growth of 14.5 per cent. In less than three decades, production in North-East Asia alone had expanded from something less than one-quarter of that of North America's to one-quarter of that of the world... The task for Australia is to lock itself into this regional economic dynamism to the maximum degree possible.(151)
In a similar vein, Professor Stephen Fitzgerald declared in 1992 that
"this decade will see the progressive Asia-orientation of the Australian economic environment".(152)
In 1993 Richard Woolcott, former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - and a former Ambassador, advocated that
"Closer integration with the Asian region is the path Australia must follow".(153)
In 1994 the views of a well-known property developer, Dennis Wong (Chinese-born, now resident in Australia; Chairman of Mandarin International Developments), were reported in The Sydney Weekly, that (regarding "future trade possibilities with China") "the Australian Government should open the doors for greater immigration from Asia as a way of cementing these trade relations" (154). This seems to be the view shared by many involved in big-business.
"We cannot and should not cut immigration because this would jeopardise our integration with Asia" - Nick Bolkus, 1995 (then Labor Minister for Immigration).(155)
In 1995, the then Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, stated
"Asia is emphatically where this county's security and prosperity lie. It is where an increasing number of our people come from and - unambiguously and wholeheartedly - it is where we want to be... Our efforts on free trade, multiculturalism, and education and training are all part of the same strategy".(156)
Keating further explained his stand:
"Put simply, the Government is seeking Australia's security in Asia... Asia's economic importance to Australia is now widely understood. Around 60 per cent of our exports go to East Asia... the Government believes that, in a quite different way from the past, all Australia's interests - economic, strategic and political - now coalesce in the region around us."(157)
The new Liberal Government (elected in March 1996) very quickly spelt out its position on Asia. In April 1996, the Liberal Government's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer (once leader of the Liberal Party in Opposition), gave an address entitled "Australia and Asia: Taking the Long View":
"I want to give an unequivocal message to the region: closer engagement with Asia is the Australian Government's highest foreign policy priority... There is a national consensus on the importance of Australia's engagement with Asia and there is a strong recognition that no side of Australian politics "owns" the Asia vision... Looking forward I am confident that rapid growth in the region will continue and I am cautiously optimistic that growth will continue at high rates at least until the year 2020. By one favourable estimate the region will then include China as the biggest economy in the world, India the third or fourth, and Indonesia perhaps the fifth. Technological trends could see Malaysia with the economic profile of a developed country. Region-wide, the Asia Pacific would account for three-quarters of world trade and three-quarters of world output. There is no doubt these changes in the region will have a potentially greater effect on our national fortunes than any external development since World War Two. Australia's geographic position should allow us to capitalise on the enormous trade and investment opportunities that will result from this extraordinary economic transformation."
Downer also added another string to his bow, stating that
"Ethnic networks boost our markets" (the lure of the "almighty dollar" seems to be very strong upon Downer, no matter the devastating effects that Asianisation would wreak upon Australian people, and our national identity and culture).(158)
In 1997 John Howard drew a distinction between the economic foreign policies of his Liberal Party government and that of the former Labor Party government. Prime Minister Howard said
"the Asia-only policy followed by the former Government was misplaced and short-sighted... We are following an Asia-first policy, we're not following an Asia-only policy".(159)
In an address to the United Nations in October 1997, Downer announced the Liberal Government's intention for Australia to align itself with the Asian countries in the UN. The Age reported that "Australia has initiated a push to change its official United Nations alignment with western European powers to one comprised of Asian and Pacific nations."(160)
Australian politicians have also been trying to peddle their pro-Asia views to other countries. In October 1997, the Liberal Government's Defence Minister, Ian McLachlan, urged the USA to take a more active role in the Asia-Pacific region, saying that "The world's economic and strategic centre of gravity is shifting from Europe to the Asia-Pacific". McLachlan intoned that "American policy-makers... must catch up with this reality."(161)
It would seem that it is towards Asia that politicians, business magnates, and government bureaucrats are looking to provide the "future" for Australia. Some observers have commented that it would seem that there is an implicit "trade-off" involved: in return for being enabled to economically enmesh Australia with the growing Asian economies, Australia will in turn demographically enmesh itself with Asia's populations. As one government Minister is reported to have said, "we are part of Asia and our economic development, our future is inextricably intertwined with Asia - tourism, trade and economic development".(162)
The price that Australia is expected to pay for this "trade-off" involving economics, politics, and immigration was made quite clear by Malaysia's Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir, when he stated that Australia could only be accepted as an equal in Asia when 70% of its people were of Asian ethnicity. The Herald Sun (17 December 1995) reported that
"Dr Mahathir said yesterday that Australia was not geographically or culturally part of Asia... Dr Mahathir said that Australia could only make the transition to Asia by changing its racial make up".
Mahathir's views were further quoted:
"Possibly with more Asians settling in Australia - maybe the proportion might be 70 per cent Asian, 30 per cent people of Caucasian origin - perhaps that's when there will be no problem at all".(163)
Dr. Mahathir has realised that money is the main motivation behind many of those businessmen and politicians who are pushing policies that will cause the Asianisation of Australia. He expressed this succinctly when he said that
"Australians shouldn't think that they can become Asian simply because Asia is wealthy and has lots of money. When Europeans were rich, you Australians were Europeans. Then you became Americans when America was rich. When Asians get rich, you become Asians. Is that what you are saying?".(164)
This has also been the conclusion of many other Asians, such as Indonesian lawyer Buyung Nasution:
"Australia wants to be a part of Asia now that the money is there, but it must be done for the right reasons and not merely to help businesses. Most Asians think it is some kind of a trick".(165)
Also, Noordin Sopiee, former editor of the New Straits Times and founding head of the principal think tank of Malaysia's Prime Minister, has said that
"the only reason Australia is cosying up to Asia is because we have the crown jewels, the loot. To be fair, one has to ask whether Australia would be interested if we were still impoverished".(166)
Several media commentators have all but confirmed this "monetary gain for integration with Asia" line. One writer for Time magazine stated that
"Closer ties with Asia will have a cash reward. Australia already has a trade surplus with Asia of about $4 billion a year, and can expect to sell even more raw materials if Asia's infrastructure boom - and its demand for coal and ore - continues"(167)
In 1994, Australian Business Monthly published an article entitled "It's Official - We're Part of Asia". The article's sub-heading declared that
"this year's exporters survey confirms our future is linked to Asia", while the article itself went on to say that "75 per cent of Australia's $63 billion merchandise exports now go to the Asian region,... There is little doubt that economically we have become part of Asia."(168)
In 1996, an editorial on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald stated that
"We would not be a Euro-centred nation because, although white Europeans had founded modern Australia, they had done so on Asia's Pacific rim... we would be a mongrel nation. History and geography had made us mongrels... there wasn't much alternative. The bold road was crucial to Australia's future. Exports to East Asia in 1995 were $43.3 billion - 60.5 per cent of total exports".(169)
Such articles give yet another indication that the "Asian future" being pushed upon Australia by politicians and big business is largely economically-driven (indeed, such economics fits in well with their anti-National, globalist ideology).
The sad fact is that our nation's Establishment is selling Australia's future for Asian money. For many business people and politicians, this current sell-out of Australia to Asia is primarily a matter of "profits before people" (or "money before motherland"). Ordinary Australians can expect little from "our leaders" who are prepared to sell-out Australia's future just to make a few lousy dollars.
Note: In 1997 The Age published an interview with the USA's ambassador to Australia, Genta Hawkins Holmes, revealing some very pertinent comments:
Does our assertion that we must become more a part of Asia cause the US any discomfort?
This is an "interesting" viewpoint from an American ambassador. So, it appears that not only is Australia part of Asia, but America is too. Considering that Asia also adjoins Europe and Africa, then surely that must mean that Europe and Africa are part of Asia as well? Indeed, maybe the whole world is part of Asia? Or just maybe the "we're part of Asia" talk from politicians and businessmen is just a load of rubbish? As some Asians have already realised, the "we're part of Asia" line is simply one way that some people are trying to ingratiate themselves with an Asia that they consider to be laden with money-making possibilities.
"Heavens, no, absolutely not. We say the same thing. We're also a Pacific nation."
You say the US is part of Asia?
"Well, a part of us is a part of Asia. If you go to California, you'll see just how much a part of Asia we are. Culturally, we are attached to Asia now." (170)