Nick Riemer

Nick Riemer gave this speech to the March Australia rally in Sydney on August 31. He is an activist with the Refugee Action Coalition.

***

The Gadigal and the other first peoples of this country were — and still are — the objects of a relentless war of attrition.

That merciless frontier war has been hidden and denied. Another war that the government tries to conceal and rationalise away is its war on asylum seekers.

Nick Riemer, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney, addressed a Town Hall meeting on August 25 on the proposed deregulation of fees at Australian universities. Riemer is a member of the NTEU Sydney University branch committee.

***

Fee deregulation means the entrenchment of educational disadvantage and the enclosure of knowledge in our society.

That’s not irresponsible exaggeration: it’s an accurate characterisation that follows from the careful modelling done by a number of authorities.

Israel uses cinema to shore up its carefully manufactured international image as an enlightened “beacon of democracy in the Middle East” – a world away from the fanaticism of the settlements, the separation wall, the checkpoints, and the siege and butchery of Gaza.

Film festivals like the Israeli Film Festival are an attempt to culture-wash Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. The goal is for the international public to see Israel as a civilised country committed to peaceful, artistic pursuits – not as the warmongering power oppressing an entire people, that it really is.

This is a speech given to a speakout in Sydney on April 10 against the Gillard government’s racism towards overseas workers employed on 457 visas.

***

What this debate is about isn’t a particular category of visa. What it’s about is racism, and the zero tolerance that Australian society and the Australian left should show for it.

Regardless of the other debates we might want to have about 457s, we should only condemn the kinds of contemptible dog-whistling Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been using those visas as an excuse for.

Subscribe to Nick Riemer