‘Drums of war’ rhetoric didn’t lose Chinese-Aussies

‘Drums of war’ rhetoric didn’t lose Chinese-Aussies. By Jeffrey Wang.

When the Sydney seats of Reid and Bennelong and the Melbourne seat of Chisholm changed hands from Liberal to Labor last Saturday, the prevailing view was that the large Chinese communities in these seats had reacted against the Liberal Party’s tough rhetoric on China. …

This oversimplification of Chinese-Australian voters is the classic narrative fallacy and exposes the lack of cultural understanding of my community by those commentators. Once a story is established, it becomes difficult to overwrite. But I am going to try. …

Chinese Australians are diverse:

Many Chinese migrants such as Taiwanese-Australians like me, Vietnamese refugees, Uighur dissidents, those from Southeast Asia and Australian-born Chinese whose families have been here for so long that even their grandparents don’t speak Chinese have little affinity with the Chinese government. …

From my observation on the campaign trail, it is far more likely that they turned their backs on the Liberal Party for higher order ideals such as abandoning prudent economic management and failing to uphold the personal and religious freedoms that drew them to Australia in the first place. …

Chinese culture has a very long-term orientation; one Chinese-Australian Liberal supporter said to me that we must vote out the Liberal government to guarantee future prosperity at the expense of short-term pain. …

Chinese-Australians like backing winners (cause and effect?):

While electorates with a high Chinese-Australian population swung disproportionately behind Labor, it is not a neat correlation, with electorates such as Fowler very much the reverse.

The swing against Gladys Liu, who is perceived to be pro-Chinese Communist Party, in Chisholm also goes against the narrative.

The Chinese-Australian electorate has always swung disproportionately towards the winning party, as it was the case in 2007 with Kevin07, and the same when Tony Abbott romped into power in 2013. …

Chinese-Australians are swinging voters:

Most Chinese-Australian immigrants have chosen to leave behind everything in search of a better life. The process of moving to a new country requires one to give up the comfort of the familiar and embrace the unknown. This engenders a flexible mindset without rusted-on loyalties. …

Those attracted to our shores are the cream of the crop; they are acutely aware of the power of self-determination and are intent on having a say in the direction of our nation.