I thought, and I would be the first to admit that I'm very sheltered, that because of the policy of multiculturalism, that discrimination isn't bad in Australia, or at least, a lot better than some other countries. But just because something is better doesn't mean it shouldn't continue to change. Australia is better than a lot of other countries in terms of discrimination, but even if explicit discrimination doesn't exist, implicit discrimination is still abound.
You go to the interview, they don't want you, but they don't say they don't want you because you're Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern or whatever, they say 'you're not suited for this job', and that's the end of it. Even if you complain, it's not hard at all for them to choose a reason that 'you're not suited for this job' and it's not easy for you to fight these subtle discrimination.
My English tutor is a lawyer, and he says that the laws still have a long way to go. Multiculturalism is only a policy, it's endorsed by the government, but it's still not fully backed up by the law. Some people dispute how well multiculturalism works, because different cultures and customs are bound to create friction.
My tutor is a mostly traditional kind of Asian man, by that, I mean that he still speaks Cantonese at home, he still goes to temples on Chinese New Year. He's noticed that some of his Asian colleagues are doing better than him. Those colleagues are, for the lack of a better term, Aussified. They've assimilated completely into the typical, white, Australian lifestyle. They would go to barbeques, follow the cricket, speak with a broad Australian accent.
When dealing with clients they woudl obciously be at an advantage, they have more in common. If the client was making conversation with my tutor on cricket, it might go like "Waht do you think of the cricket game last night?" "Sorry, I don't follow cricket." and that's the end of that conversation. He would tell his colleagues about how many temples he's been to at New Years because he knows they're interested, but you wouldn't tell that to a client that you'll pretty sure wouldn't be interested in it.
There's very few judges on the bench that aren't male, or white, or old, or from a wealthy background (like their father or grandfather being judges before them) for that matter. it is getting better, there are more woman and more people from the minority groups in the position of judge now days, but it was a long, tortuous journey to get here, and there's still a long long way to go.
Recently there was a Greek man that's been appointed as judge. A very camp man was appointed as a judge or magistrate (I forget which), you don't know for sure that he's gay, but he's so camp you can tell that he obviously is. He got the job inspite of that, and that shows the situation is improving. He's seeing more woman appointed as judge, but there isn't any Asians. He asked a judge whether he noticed any Asians judges in his experience, and the answer was no, the judge hasn't seen any Asian judges.
The Foreign Affairs Editor for Sydney Morning Herald Connie Levett, a femal guest speaker on our assembly on Friday, talked to us about woman and success, and in the course of that, she mentioned the glass ceiling. She also said, that "in the 180 years history of the Sydney Morning Herald, it was only this month that we welcomed our first female editor."
We're moving forward, slowly, step by step. We're in front, but that's no reason to be so self-satisfied that we think we can afford to stop.