Australia’s international education sector is the country’s third largest export earner, behind coal and iron ore, totalling 13 billion Australian dollars in 2007-08. Over the years, Australia has attracted millions of Indians for higher education and occupation, and has been one of the most sought-after destinations for Indians.
Enrolments of Indian students in Australia have increased at an average annual rate of around 41 per cent since 2002. There were over 97,035 Indian enrolments in Australia in 2008.
But, attacks on Indian students in Melbourne have undermined a public relations blitz to defend Australia’s reputation as a safe place to study.
The latest incidents will add to the Federal Government’s fears that the spate of attacks is jeopardising Australia’s lucrative international education market, estimated at $15 billion a year, with about $2 billion coming from Indian students.
A leading Bollywood union said on Friday it would not shoot any films in Australia until the government takes action against people behind a series of violent assaults on Indian students there.
The federation has 45,000 members, including actors and engineers working in Mumbai’s huge movie business.
Australia is a hot destination for Indian film-makers with about a dozen films shot there every year. Two of last year’s biggest hits, “Bachna Ae Haseeno” and “Singh is Kinng”, were shot in Australia.
Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has condemned the recent spate of attacks on Indian students studying in Australia.
“(It is) most disturbing to hear about racist attacks on Indians living in Australia. Quite a shame,” Aamir stated on his blog.
Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan rejected an honorary doctorate from a Brisbane University in protest against the attacks on Indian students.
“I mean no disrespect to the institution that honours me, but under the present circumstances, where citizens of my own country are subjected to such acts of inhuman horror, my conscience does not permit me to accept this decoration from a country that perpetrates such indignity to my fellow countrymen,” the Amitabh Bachchan wrote on his blog.
Amitabh Bachchan letter to Queensland University of Technology:
I write to you with a heavy heart on a matter that has now reached extremely sensitive proportions.
I have been reading and watching through the media the most unfortunate and violent attacks on Indian students in Australia; some of them lying in a most critical condition in hospital. I have observed with utter dismay the anguish that these incidents have caused to the families of those who have become unfortunate victims.
The Queensland University of Technology has very graciously offered only last week, to confer an Honorary Doctorate to me for my contribution to the world of entertainment.
Under the prevailing circumstances I find it inappropriate at this juncture, to accept this decoration. My conscience is profoundly unsettled at the moment and there seems to be a moral disjuncture between the suffering of these students and my own approbation.
I have the highest respect for your illustrious Institution and wish to express my deepest regard for the recognition it bestows me with. I do not wish to offend in any manner this kind gesture by the Queensland University of Technology, but I do hope that you will understand my present feelings.
With warm regards,
Australia’s government condemned the attacks but said racism was not behind them. ow the China is expressing concern for its students studying in Australia. This is a matter of international relations now, not social politics.
Time Magazine is reporting the racist attacks on Indian students in Australia. The law enforcement does not seem to be doing a good enough job to stop this from happening. I am glad Amitabh Bachaan refused the degree from an Australian University to protest these happenings. It is ironic that some Indians that live in Australia are justifying these attacks and blaming the Indians for being attacked!
Considering the present scenario, no person would prefer to send his / her child to Australia, either for work, or for study purposes, i am getting same feedback from Chineese parents aswell.