By Darrell Egan
With every problem the Morrison government encounters the Prime Minister will reply that he does not hold the item relating to the probe.
Regarding the issue of international students from China confidence in Australia when the Morrison government decides to implement their vaccine passport and allow international students back, it has to be asked will Morrison say; “I do not hold a phone mate.”
Universities Australia have projected Australia will lose $16 billion out of the university sector alone by 2023 due to COVID.
This does not account for what international students bring into our hospitality and tourism sectors. With Chinese international students making up over 30 per cent of Australia’s international student intake this is a large chunk to go missing from our international student sector.
Whilst Scott Morrison may flirt with the idea of an intake of international students from India to fill this void there are some challenges which include India’s COVID numbers, which has reached 3.3 million cases with over 44,000 deaths. With roughly the same population, China’s COVID cases sits just above 95,000 with just above 4,600 deaths. Even if China’s figures were double for the sceptic its is still much lower than India’s.
We also need to look at India’s student visa trust level which is below China has now remained at level 3 since 2019. This level is there for a reason and restricts Indian students to the variety of courses they are permitted to study in Australia.
China sits at level 2 in student visa applications with many students from China returning home for employment and a less risk in flouting student visa rules in relation to overstaying.
Australia still remains a trust issue in regards to many international students from China in relation to the issue of COVID inspired racism.
In early June 2020 there was nearly 400 reported cases of anti-Chinese racist attacks and many unreported.
Anti-China sentiment has not eased and this can be an uneasy environment for international students to study in.
When the Chinese government raised concerns to the federal government regarding vulnerable international students at the time of these almost anti-China 400 racist attacks Scott Morrison branded these concerns as rubbish in response. He went on to respond that Australia will not be bullied in regards to international students.
To an informed observer or a person who does not need an empathy consultant there seems nothing rubbish and bullying about asking for issues of racism to be addressed.
In 2018 when now Trade Minister Simon Birmingham was Education Minister with the Turnbull government there was similar concerns from the Indian government regarding some racist attacks on Indian students.
Rather than a hostile dismissive response, Malcolm Turnbull and Simon Birmingham picked up the phone to the Indian government, then organises trip to India to address the concerns and secure Australia’s International Student confidence.
With Australia’s university sectors facing a projected $16 billion dollar loss by 2023, it is time for Scott Morrison to hold a phone and call to China.
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