The KKK Took The Victorian Education Industry Away

Gillard slams ‘offensive’ KKK cartoon
Robyn Grace
The Age
January 8, 2010

Liz Thompson & Ben Rosenzweig (on racism and overseas students)
Summer 2009

See also : Victory to Terrie-Anne Verney! Indian students finally “get the hint that they are not wanted here!” (January 2, 2010) | Pride & Prejudice : Mark White investigates the rise of Australia’s far right… (November 8, 2009) | ‘Bigots hurting Victoria’ / ‘Neo-Nazi skinheads party in Melbourne’ (September 16, 2009) | F*** Off, We’re Full (Of Terrie-Annes) (July 2, 2009) | Australia is racist / Australia is not racist. (June 28, 2009) | F*** Off, We’re Full (Of Shit) : Part the 2nd : Timmy! (June 10, 2009) | Australia, India, racism, students (June 2, 2009) | Careful, They Might Hear You (February 19, 2009) | “Fuck off we’re full.” (Of shit.) (January 28, 2009).

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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20 Responses to The KKK Took The Victorian Education Industry Away

  1. rocky o'rourke says:

    Re Overland Article: It has no point. It runs through some of the issues in a verbose manner with boos for the unions trying to stop the labour market becoming a free for all, which in fact it already is in lots of places.
    Some regulation and policing of labour markets and eligibility to work is required. You can’t say the unions should get out there and organise them, it ain’t that easy. Also, although I support UNITE, the authors might have a rosy view of their achievements.
    The left will not win support among the working class with an open slather immigration policy, because workers understand that this will affect working conditions in Australia, even if it doesn’t guarantee the rights of everyone to live wherever they want and do whatever job they want for whatever rate of pay they are willing to accept.
    Deeper analysis and less simplistic political correctness please.

  2. @ndy says:

    Deeper analysis and less simplistic political correctness please.

    From who? Me? Liz Thompson and Ben Rosenzweig? Or someone else?

  3. rocky o'rourke says:

    All of ye
    You linked it, did you read it? Typical smug student/trot/postmodern left analysis of refugee/immigration issues resulting in a simplistic ‘all rights for all’ position. Exhibited strong anti-union, specifically CFMEU, position with, I would suggest, little or no understanding of how international labour racketeers have helped smash wages and conditions particularly among interior trades.

  4. @ndy says:



    Problem is, I really ain’t written much in the above so, y’know…

    Anyway, yeah, I read it. Leaving aside the question of whether or nor its tone is “typical smug student/trot/postmodern left”, on my reading, it doesn’t really address “refugee/immigration issues” as such, but those issues which arise in the context of state regulation of the education industry and trans-national labour mobility. The analysis presented may be horribly wrong or massively flawed, but I don’t think it amounts to a simplistic ‘all rights for all’ position as you assert. On the contrary, it seems to me to be careful not to be reducible to such rhetoric, taking note of a variety of factors determining the context of the recent media storm. Of the CFMEU, the pair make particular claims regarding some of its recent actions (submission to a Senate inquiry and so on). This does not amount to a wholesale condemnation of the CFMEU and all its works (at least not that I can see). You’re partly correct, however, in noting that the article pays little attention to “how international labour racketeers have helped smash wages and conditions particularly among interior trades”. In any case, Liz and Ben are occasional commentators, so maybe they’ll stick their oars in at some point.


    What Causes ‘Racism’?
    Zuleika Arashiro
    new matilda
    January 15, 2010

    We need to stop worrying about the economic costs of violence against Indian students and start listening to the students, writes Zuleika Arashiro…

  5. rocky o'rourke says:

    Ultimately the authors see international students cleaning melbourne’s trains at night for $5/hr as less of a problem than the CFMEU calling for limits on the amount of 457 visas.

  6. @ndy says:

    I think that’s a misreading.

  7. liz says:

    Hey Rocky –

    I didn’t realise that bit about 457 visas was my opinion. Could you point out where that is in our piece, or indeed in anything I have written anywhere in the world? I’m pretty sure we didn’t talk about 457 stuff in there. Is there another piece I am forgetting?

    The CFMEU submission referred to is a submission that calls for limits on students access to certain labour markets. It was a submission to a senate inquiry on international student welfare. They don’t talk so much about 457s there, tho they do in their submissions to 457 inquiry, which are two very different things. Can I ask – have you checked out the CFMEU submission to the international student welfare inquiry? In fact most of it is about the 485 Graduate Skills Visa.

    As for UNITE – I thought our assessment of them as little (the little was lost in editing, though it doesn’t really make much difference to that section) more than a campaigning group was pretty modest and reasonable. Have we said anything inaccurate about UNITE? What exactly?

    Which is the post-modern bit? Or the trot bit? Apparently trots think I am mean about the unions for pointing out what they say in public submissions that anyone can read also – I think they might be upset if you say I am like them. The different forms of abuse are confusing for me as they seem to conflict. Could you be a bit clearer?

  8. rocky o'rourke says:

    OK, here goes.

    A fair summary is that the article is pro-efforts to organise exploited international students, like has been done on a microscale by UNITE, and contemptuous of calls by the CFMEU and ANF for better regulation of the types of work students do and whether they are breaching their visas, working cash-in-hand, under award etc.

    UNITE, and international student welfare groups, have been operating for a while and international students and foreign workers are not flocking to them to get organised or put in back pay claims. And why would they? It would mean the jig was up. Shitty as it may be in the new racialised low wage labour market it still makes sense for a lot of people to be in it, otherwise they wouldn’t be in it. Whether it makes their studies viable, is a path to residency or allows them to eke out a humble existence and still send money back home where it goes a lot further. If these workers all got organised and demanded award wages and superannuation they would lose their advantage and be competing with people who won’t work sub-award, cash-in-hand, want their super paid etc.

    Someone working 20 hours on the books and 20 hours off who calls up UNITE is going to lose the 20 hours cash work straight away, if not their job, and may be dobbed into Immigration.

    As I read it, UNITE is losing interest in this area as there are not a lot of cases coming forward, and even when they do there is a limit on what can be done for them. Righting underpayment or getting withheld wages for work done off the books is very hard.

    In the last few years most successful claims for underpayment, rip-offs and withheld wages for exploited workers, whether new migrants, on 457s, brought here under false pretenses etc., that I am aware of have been run by unions, including the CFMEU.

    I can’t speak for the CFMEU, but a common view of people in the Australian union movement is that visas that have people in the labour market with decreased rights will undermine wages and conditions. This is patently true of 457 visas, but also true for students who would not be viable here if they stuck to the limits of their visa. Unions would prefer migrants given permanent residency and full rights in the workplace.

    Networks of 7-11 workers and taxi drivers aren’t going to stop the race to the bottom going on in service jobs. Unions in their current state, working under Gillard’s Workchoices-lite aren’t going to fix it either. It would take strong regulation from Immigration, to enforce the terms of visas, and the Workplace Regulator, including fines and jail for some bosses to stop the rot, but with education the country’s third biggest export and Australian capitalism profiting from a growing, compliant workforce willing to work for less, you wouldn’t be holding your breath.

    My beef with the authors of the article is that in attacking unions’ calls for greater regulation of the labour market, specifically in relation to foreign workers, they end up as unwitting allies of the bosses who want an ever increasing labour pool.

    This position is not new. A lot of people in the non-industrial left don’t like talk about regulating foreign participation in the labour market as they think it has a whiff of the White Australia policy about it and is reactionary. Humphrey McQueen’s ‘A New Britannia’ drips with contempt for the organised labour movement, delighting in pointing out racist lines from 19th century union journals. It is a sensitive area no doubt and can bring out the worst in some, but there is a good reason why it has been a recurring theme in Australian history: Because bosses have always sought compliant labour from low wage countries to boost profits. From Chinese shearers after the great strikes of 1891, to flag of convenience ships on the Australian coast, to Clyde oil refinery in the 1980s, to the pear orchards of Shepparton in 1992… and now they have taken it to a whole new level with 457s and the massive numbers of student visas, both legitimate and bullshit.

    Unions are right to call for stronger regulation of 457s and work on student visas… these are seriously undermining wages and conditions. Waiting for all these people to line up outside the UNITE office or take wildcat action ain’t gonna cut it on this one.

  9. liz says:

    Hi Rocky,

    I agree with you about some aspects re UNITE – both that UNITE is finding it difficult to get back pay, and that just hoping for ongoing wildcats by cabbies are not quick fixes. I always felt before the 7-11 stuff that the campaign demands would not suit everyone – in that many people need to work off the books. As it happens, there are quite a few workers who have improved their earnings 300% cos they are getting penalty rates, but the benefits of regulation for the vast majority of international students are, I agree, far outweighed by the risks.

    It is not simply because of the stench of White Australia that I have issues with the enthusiasm for border policing in the labour movement. There is a pretty sharp piece by Monina Wong and Dae-Oup Chang from the Asia Monitor Resource Centre (they do OH&S campaigns and underground organising with workers in China and elsewhere) here –

    – which is critical both of consumer campaigns, and the failure of the labour movement to effectively re-organise to counter the strategies of re-location, off-shoring, sham contracting etc. I think it is a good place to start in terms of criticisms of the actual impact of nationalism in the labour movement on the effectiveness of the labour movement – these are not cultural studies theorists lobbing disdain at the workers for their failure to embrace the wonders of globalisation.

    Peter Mares from Swinburne did a piece asking the question about what it means to have so many working here “permanently temporary” –

    – I don’t agree with lots of its conclusions. And it doesn’t talk very much about students, though it does talk about the PR pathway. And PR pathways are something the union movement has pushed very much with 457 visa holders in order to reduce the reliance on employers. PR pathways are exactly what the 485 visa, the graduate skills visa, is about. But the CFMEU doesn’t want these temporaries, the students, to become permanent. Part of the financial vulnerability of the international students is that the PR rules constantly change, so therefore students have to jump on to different pathways all the time, which requires a further outlay of money, and increasing financial desperation in order to access the thing which is the reason they have paid in the first place. Part of what we raised in our piece is that it is PR which is the Australian niche, it is the reason why the education export industry is now so significant a money spinner here: so for government to profess shock or horror that people want PR is nonsense – this is why they agreed to the Grad Skills Visa, and this is what their embassies and diplomatic missions have been selling so enthusiastically since 2001 in particular.

    We are not talking about simply reducing the number of people who might move here – the union movement is currently advocating, in some quarters, actively undercutting the PR pathway for a group of temporary worker/students/guest consumers numbering in their hundreds of thousands, people who are already here, who have already been working, paying for years. Why no permanency for the students? Why no full work rights for those already here? Why no advocacy from the union movement for stable PR pathways for these workers? Changing the conditions of international students’ lives is not simply about work rights – international students are currently forced to study full-time on pain of deportation, and are subject to the ever-changing PR system. These things are all a part of the massive expropriation of wealth from the middle/lower classes in China and India to fund our export industry. That is why work rights is only a small part of our argument.

    But the question of the effectiveness of union nationalism is I think reasonable: I think Wong and Chang have had a pretty good crack at it, much more thoroughly researched and better argued. What do you think of their argument?

  10. @ndy says:

    Australia First Wins Considerable Publicity in The Riverina And In Gunnedah Positions on Refugees, Contract Labour And Foreign Economic Takeover

    The party has been deluged with coverage in the Riverina and in Gunnedah over the last few days. This media attention has been the result of hard work on the part of particular activists – and we thank them.

    The publicity in Riverina started with the opening of our Blogsite (below). A series of articles critical of the rampant refugee privilege in Wagga Wagga and the blight of contract labour in Griffith drew a reaction from the Wagga Daily Advertiser and the Griffith Area News. We have been accorded front page treatment and coverage on WIN TV. Australia First stands up for underprivileged Australians and Aussie workers. Australia First will take on those who seek to profit from anti Australian policies. We have received letters of support.

    In Gunnedah, Australia First has taken up the issue of the Australia Asia Flight Academy, which will see hundreds of special visa “students” drawn from the Middle East, India, but mainly China, brought in for “pilot training”. Undoubtedly many will get qualified and apply for “asylum”[.] While the local economic-political mafia is all for it, the people are restive and opposition has been energetic. Gunnedah is right next door to Liverpool Plains, where multinational BHP Billiton and Chinese state company Shenhua-Watermark, are seeking to mine coal, something which will poison the farms and water supply of Gunnedah Shire also. This pilot project will surely culture bust Gunnedah and make it a dangerous place for Aussies, all while the sinister imperialism of China lays a hand on the district. Some residents have urged the party to run for Gunnedah Shire Council.

    #208 (18.1.10)
    Electronic Bulletin of Australia First Party
    [email protected]
    0407 732 868
    (For internal use; not for re-publication unless an article is marked)

  11. @ndy says:


    Immigration operation nets 11
    19 Jan 2010

    Compliance officers from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in Adelaide today detained 11 people in an operation targeting illegal workers in the plastering industry…

    Four illegal farm workers caught in Menindee
    07 Jan 2010

    As the grape-picking season reaches its height, Department of Immigration and Citizenship compliance officers are preparing today to remove from Australia four illegal workers detained on two farms in the Menindee district near the NSW-South Australian border…

    Compliance operation nets 10 illegal workers at Mallee farm
    14 Dec 2009

    Compliance officers from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship detained 10 people today on a farm at Carcuma, near Coonalpyn in the South Australian Mallee region…

  12. Rocky O'Rourke says:


    I haven’t got time to read the articles you link to. If they have a point that trying to stand up to the globalisation of the labour market is self-defeating or will ‘inevitably’ fail that supports your position I think you should summarise it rather than ask someone else to go and read the whole thing.

    The reason a lot of countries limit the amount of hours students can work is so they can make a bit of money to live a student lifestyle while in the country, without competing with the regular workforce. It’s very common. If this was enforced in Australia the presence of a lot of people here on student visas (students and others) wouldn’t be viable.

    To answer the question ‘Why no permanency for students?’ Why permanency for the students? Spending time in a country, working there, while you get a degree isn’t an argument for the right to have permanent residency in a country. Students can’t reasonably expect residency in a country just because they study there.

    As the last posts from Andy show, labour migration is undermining wages in Australia and breeding resentment.

    With the international education sector awash with rorts expanding the amount of student conversions to permanency is unlikely to halt said undermining or enjoy public support.

  13. Paul Justo says:

    Rocky, old cobber, old mate, ya gotta realise that a lot of Caucasian Aussies are lazy useless f**kers. The whole world knows this. Take a trip and see what everyone thinks of a nation that suck-arses to the US/UK. ALP, Lib/Nat – all the same.
    How many Aussie doctors and mechanical engineers are there? Sweet f**k all is the answer. Every major civil or mechanical engineering project that I have come across in this country, in my direct experience, is staffed by Indians or Chinese (usually Indians).
    The Kiwis/NZ people do the hard work/dirty jobs that you Aussies are too lazy to do. Try and find an Aussie scaffie… few and far between.
    The majority of workers in meat processing in this country are Kiwis/Islanders/immigrants.
    Go on a May Day March and see who marches behind the AMIEU banner?
    Visit a bulk billing medical facility in any working class or rural area/town and see who is looking after the old Caucasian elderly?
    Clearly the Caucasian youth don’t give a fuck.
    Whilst the Indians are busy building your rotten little Anglo/American neo-colony, you Aussies are busy training as barristas – i.e. coffee makers.
    And you have the audacity to write about breeding resentment? The resentment is only the resentment of the lumpen-proletariat, a sub group cut off from the working class, imbeciles who take their views from Ch 7/9/10.
    Packer reckoned that anyone who sat down and watched the shit on commercial TV was a fool for watching all the adverts.

  14. Rocky O'Rourke says:

    “Caucasian Aussies are lazy useless f**kers.”

    Doesn’t this site have a policy against racist comments?

  15. @ndy says:


    All comments are moderated. This can be frustrating as it means that publication is delayed (although generally for less than 24 hours) — but on the other hand it also avoids my having to delete gross acts of stupidity. (My blog is subject to frequent trolling.)

    Publication of a comment should not be read as an endorsement of its contents.

    I sometimes edit comments for clarity (spelling/grammar) but sometimes do not, especially if mistakes are regular and systematic or in some way amusing. I also sometimes insert commentary: this is indicated by use of square brackets [like this].

    I sometimes reject comments, usually if they fall into one of two categories: they are abusive or lame. Links to racist, fascist or otherwise objectionable sites are usually rejected.

  16. @ndy says:

    “Caucasian Aussies are lazy useless f**kers.”

    The blog is titled slackbastard: cf. Slim Dusty, ‘Beat of the Government Stroke’.

  17. liz says:


    Sorry you don’t have time to read it Rocky. It is an interesting article, if dense, and it essentially traces the recapturing of labour through the process of outsourcing in particular. Chang and Wong argue, using in particular the example of the global garment industry, that the protectionist strategy of defending jobs in particular countries, for particular workers (as opposed to defending global labour), has done nothing to halt the strategy of outsourcing, or other methods by which capital has outmanouvered the global labour movement. In fact, it has seen national labour line up with national capital, and has seen both outmanouevered by those better equipped to hoover up the profits: in the example of the global garment industry, this has been really the retailing and branding aspects, as the cost of labour has reduced almost to the point of non-existence as a percentage of cost in the garment industry. For your benefit, a cut and paste:

    During the first and second phase of the globalization of the garment industry, workers in developing countries did not get much attention from the trade unions in the developed world. The traditional trade union movement in the US did nothing but support protectionism. It is obvious that US trade unions did not see the movement of capital as a global labour issue but rather as a movement of “jobs”. The ACWA proclaimed that it would “join employers in the apparel field and other needle trade unions to seek legislative controls over goods produced in ‘sweatshop’ conditions in the Orient” (New York Times July 8th, 1959, quoted from Rosen 2003: 107). Jacob Potofsky, President of the ACWA asserted the need to introduce protectionist measures in order to prevent the “important American industry” from being destroyed by “unfair competition from sweated labor abroad” (Rosen 2002:108). The ILGWU also joined the protectionist campaign, calling for import restraints against Hong Kong imported goods (Rosen 2002:109).

    From the 1960s onward, American unions could not go much further than giving lip service to sweatshop conditions in the Orient just before calling for protectionist policies. To prevent job losses, they struggled hard. However, they could not help but becoming appendages to the manufacturing capitalists of the US. In fact, the inward-looking nature of US garment trade unions that concentrated on defending jobs against “foreign invasion” was nothing new. In the 1920s, the major unions were focused on defending craftsmanship of the male cutters against the low skilled women workers doing section work (Collins 2003: 33). Facing the threat of capital movement to the South, the ILGWU ended up with a strategy that involved working together with the employers to restrict wage increases in the North. In the 1980s, this line of implicit protectionism continued in instances such as trade union support of quotas and anti-dumping laws, objections to the Most-Favoured Nation Clause to China and union policies such as ‘Buy Union Products’ or lobbying for companies to stay ‘Made in America’. Solidarity with workers in developing countries that were newly integrated into the global garment industry was not a popular option.

    The history is useful I think, and their argument that protectionism is not only nasty but ineffective is one worth engaging with.

    Do you think 457 workers should be able to access permanent pathways? I do – I think that the proliferation of temporary visa categories is a useful way of driving down wages, and that permanency is a good solution. I don’t think the solution is to screw the workers – in this case, students or 457 workers. I think that the strategy of lining up with sections of capital to protect “Aussie jobs” has failed as a strategy for even the short-term victory of even the Australian working class, let alone the long-term and the rest. I think lining up with capital or the state to enforce border controls further divides an already divided class and simply reinforces the privilege of certain sections of the class over others. Not a strategy for victory in my book.

    In very real terms, you seem to be defending the CFMEU strategy of screwing Indian workers (cutting off pathways to permanency, sending them back home when many have, on the promises of Australian embassies as well as private migration agents, put generations of family money into the project of migration for better opportunities) to save the lifestyles and wages of Australian workers. It’s not exactly the same as kicking the Afghani guy in the face as he attempts to get on a rescue boat, but for many smaller villages in Punjab, the impact will be just as devastating. Many students have started going home, knowing that they can’t make it through under the new rule changes, changes which came about in response to student protests.

    Is this honestly the best the labour movement can come up with? Defend the borders? Unoriginal, unprincipled, and ineffective. Some of these students will get through to be permanent residents, and then citizens. And they will remember the union movement’s response to their plight. Touch one, touch all? Apparently not. Why fight the Punjabi villager for your slice of the pie, rather than going after the white man in a suit who actually has your money?

    And Paul – I think it is slack to blame the lumpen-proletariat for racial hostility when it is coming from everywhere, everyone. And I think the slurs of your lumpen proles are likely to be nothing compared to how comprehensively organised labour is planning to fuck these student-workers over.

  18. @ndy says:

    Of related interest:

    Racism in Australia. Reynolds, Hirst, Brett, Hage

    Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

    Henry Reynolds, leading historian of indigenous dispossession, John Hirst, Australia’s leading political historian, Judith Brett, Professor of Politics at La Trobe, and Ghassan Hage, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Melbourne, debate the meaning and extent of racism in Australia.

    This stellar line-up addresses, amongst many other things, the recent re-emergence of the ‘boat people’ issue; the Cronulla riots; the history of racism in Australia; and its legacy in the form of contemporary indigenous disadvantage.

    This event was organised by Robert Manne and the Ideas and Society Program, La Trobe University. October 2009.

  19. @ndy says:

    Skilled migration shake-up
    Yuko Narushima
    The Age
    February 6, 2010

    THE federal government is set to overhaul Australia’s skilled migration program, but industry bodies fear it will throw the flagging international education sector into further disarray.

    The changes, due to be announced by Immigration Minister Chris Evans on Monday, will include amendments to the ”migration occupations in demand” list, which sets out areas where skilled workers are needed and awards ”points” to migrants applying to work in these areas.

    The changes, which are aimed at meeting the country’s long-term skill needs, are being heralded as ”significant policy reforms” by Immigration Department secretary Andrew Metcalfe.

    Senator Evans will detail the changes in a speech to industry and union representatives, including the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, AiGroup, the Minerals Council of Australia and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

    The government is also expected to reconsider January 1 changes to the temporary ”457” category of visa, which businesses have criticised for impeding the ability of Australian employers to recruit desperately needed workers from overseas…

  20. Pingback: Deep veins: Australia and race | slackbastard

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