“What Millions of Young People in Australia Really Think”
Inspired by the original “What Millions of Young People Really Think” project by artist Adrian Fisk in China and India, Gloobbi has continued this project in France (click here), Spain (click here) and now Australia, where our Australia-based photographer Bianca Anderson reports. Talking with individuals in these different locations, this project aims to create a snapshot portrait of what young people really think about contemporary issues relevant to them.
In recent years, when we have seen many first world countries crumble economically, Australia has been hailed as somewhat of a haven from this market misery. Indeed 2012 marked the 21st recession-less year for Australia, a phenomenon that is still forthcoming for vast number of countries. This is in part perhaps because of a shift in foreign policy in the last 20 years away from Europe and America toward Asia, leading The Economist to suggest that the Australian economy is “hitched to the China bandwagon.”
These trade links, along with a dismantling of the “White Australian” immigration policy in the years following World War II, led to an influx of non-European immigration to Australia, something which has remained a politically sensitive issue. Therein lies a paradox: 2008 saw an official state apology for the atrocities committed against the Aboriginal population- intending to draw a line under that murky era of Australian history- yet the government continues its questionable deportation practices, namely the detention camps widely criticised for human rights violations.
Clearly the parallels here are painfully obvious, student and volunteer Oliver Shen expressed his disgust at this situation writing: “Asylum seekers are under unjust detainment. They’re only asking for protection here, not further persecution!” There seemed to be an acute awareness of this amongst the young people Gloobbi spoke with, and moreover a desire to move Australian immigration policy and culture in general on from this ethical shadiness.
There may well be a general indignation surrounding this amongst young educated people, but journalist Carla Kweivio-Okai pointed out that in terms of government policy this is something set to continue. She spoke of her anger at the recent government plans to divert $375 million in foreign aid to fund Australia’s costly and punitive asylum seeker camps. Andy Kelly, a student, picked up on this argument also by highlighting the irony of the sixth largest country in the world by land mass, with a comparatively small population concentrated largely in the urbanised east, turning people away at the door.
Despite a distinct trend in concerns over immigration policy and the high cost of living in Australia, summer was in full swing as Gloobbi conducted its interviews and despite the doom and gloom, the laid back spirit Aussies are famous for shone through. “Be more colourful!,” student Jonah Lucero implored us, “give me a smile!” beamed student Andrea Peintner over her card. It seems that the world may be falling apart but the sun is still shining in Australia.
by Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn
Gloobbi Representative based in Paris
Photos by Bianca Anderson
Gloobbi Contributor based in Melbourne