Sep 12, 2017

‘Take me to your Asian leader’: ethnic communities find themselves at the heart of marriage equality debate

Do Pansy Lai and her ilk really represent the views of Asian Australians?

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran — Associate editor

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran

Associate editor

No one loves weddings more than ethnics. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the wedding scene in The Family Law and the newly minted hit Ali’s Wedding could all take on Muriel’s Wedding any day for matrimonial obsession.

So it’s no surprise then that migrant, non English-speaking and non-Anglo voters, especially older ones, who are usually ignored by every side of politics, are suddenly at the beating heart of the same-sex marriage debate, whether they want to be or not.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

6 thoughts on “‘Take me to your Asian leader’: ethnic communities find themselves at the heart of marriage equality debate

  1. lykurgus

    “But does Lai really represent the silent majority of Chinese-Australians?”
    She looks Vietnamese to me, so obviously not. Nor would a “silent majority” of ANYONE ever exist in a country that has compulsory voting (the whole point of a compulsory vote being that we hear everyone).
    She also hawks gay conversion therapy (ie. pray-the-gay-away), which would make her more representative of the American Deep South than any part of the Asia Pacific.

    The Mandarin leaflets must be getting aimed at the PARENTS of Chinese-Australians (they tend to neither be English-literate nor their kids Mandarin-literate); it wouldn’t work on anyone fluent or literate in both, but if you can’t crowbar the generation gap into a full breach, reforms like this can’t be blocked.

    Assuming the Mandarin leaflets aren’t being handed out in Vietnamese neighbourhoods; a mistake the Howard campaign made in 2007.

  2. AR

    I have never felt comfortable with the phrase, so willfully used by pollies of all brands, “community leaders”.
    This assumption that newly arrived immigrants adhered to the rigid social mores of the old country was useful to ward heelers for a while but if it still exists today in this country then we have a problem.

    1. lykurgus

      That’s because the three main qualifications for being a “community leader” are…
      -over 55yo
      -not too deeply hued
      Pansy got a waiver on Qual.3 because this time, they were in no position to be picky.

  3. Matt Hardin

    It always appalls me that only white people get to have diversity in political opinion. As far as the press are concerned all X (where X is your minority of choice) are the same. It treats members of these groups as less than autonomous humans.

    1. mikeb

      They do? All Catholics (white black or brindle) are voting NO going by the popular press click-bait. Anyhow – since when do community “leaders” vote on behalf of their “constituents”?

      1. Matt Hardin

        Same problem. Substitute Catholic for X. Historically a source of great discrimination against Catholics who were consequently treated as second class citizens.

        In any event you made my point, it was about how the group’s are perceived and reported. I should have been clearer.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details