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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Human Rights »

Confronting racism

Jeannie Mok.

Jeannie Mok describes the way that the Pauline Hanson controversy unified ethnic communities, horrified at the implications of her anti-multiculturalism views.



Date Added:

16 February 2006


Jeannie Mok interviewed by Andrew Jakubowicz for MMA


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

4 MB


2 min 19 s


That was a time when we felt – I think a lot of the communities, multicultural communities, felt - it's a do or die situation, that unless you really did something, then the die was cast…

And I think it unified the CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) community as never before. And no doubt she (Pauline Hanson) won the first time round, but that strengthened our resolve and so we formed different groups. Like I was chairperson of A-CARD – Asians.. I think.. Communities Against Racism and Discrimination. Every time she came up with some brainwave of hers, we would counter with something or other, with an event, a forum, a march. And we.. that was good, that was good, it got people agitated, it got people really concerned…

Her instant popularity.. you thought that things were working out in Australia and then suddenly you had this redhead person saying the most dreadful things about people carrying disease, and let's stop migration. They were such blatant racist statements. And in a sense it was very good because I think on the whole people tend to be very complacent if things are running well with them, for them, and they keep quiet. When I got involved in the Blainey debate there was a bit of flak that I faced, because a lot of the professionals from the CALD community said, why make waves, if you keep a very low profile, they're not going to notice, it's going to go away. But this time round they realised it wasn't going to go away, and in fact that a lot of damage was going to be done. And I think politically other parties realised that it was going to do Australia so much damage, seeing that we were looking for markets in China, and in Asia, we were trying to become Asian. And I think with the communities there was a real fear that if we didn't do something, we'd never recover.