The forum, attended by 60 people, was held in Blacktown in western Sydney, where many African immigrants live and where Macdonald works at a meatpacking plant. Members of the Sudanese community attended the meeting, in response to an invitation to discuss the racist and discriminatory pronouncements made by immigration minister Kevin Andrews to Sudanese refugees.
In the first week of October Andrews announced that the government would not accept any more refugee applications from Africans until at least July of next year. According to The Australian, Andrews said the inability of Africans to adjust to the Australian lifestyle was a factor in the decision. In August the government slashed the annual quota of Africans to 30 percent of Australias total refugee intake, down from 70 percent for 2004-05.
Andrews said that a large number of African refugees are young, have low levels of education, and are thus having trouble integrating into a culture that is vastly different from the one they came from. He also claimed there was a particular problem with violence among young African migrants.
Samuel Kuot, president of the Sudanese Community Association of Australia, said Andrews comments discriminated against Sudanese and encouraged the people who did not want us to come to this country [to] now turn against us.
Leaflets attacking Sudanese and other African communities have been distributed in Sydney suburbs in recent months. In Melbourne, two incidents of racist violence against Sudanese youth occurred within a couple of weeks. On September 26, Liep Gony, 18, was bashed and left to die at Noble Park railway station. Ajang Gor, 17, was attacked October 9 by three men who stole his mobile phone, which they used to send racist comments to his brother.
At a Militant Labor Forum here October 27, Macdonald condemned the racist attacks and the way the government has used them to deepen its assault on working people.
The Communist League campaign calls for the labor movement to fight against all restrictions on immigrant workers, he said. Such a fight can help to cut across the divisions the rulers try to sow in the working class along race and religious lines.
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