The entitlement mentality runs strong across Australia’s international student lobby, which has lambasted Australia’s purported heavy-handed approach to preventing the coronavirus from infiltrating Australia:
The head of Australia’s peak foreign student body [the Council of International Students Australia]… Ahmed Ademoglu, who represents 700,000 international tertiary students in Australia, said they felt “exploited” and would discourage future students from enrolling here.
International students were aggrieved in particular by the detention of Chinese students in Australian airports and the block on Chinese student visas since the travel ban was introduced on February 1, according to Mr Ademoglu…
…it’s estimated the higher education sector could lose between $6 billion and $8 billion if Chinese students do not enrol for semester one. About 100,000 students remain stranded overseas.
Phil Honeywood, chair of the reputation taskforce appointed by Mr Tehan to manage the impact of coronavirus on the education sector, said he also raised concerns over the blocked visas on Wednesday.
“If you’ve got the opportunity to study in rival countries such as Canada and the UK, students will be more inclined to go there if the message is you can’t get your visa approved in the meantime,” Mr Honeywood said…
Eunice, a Chinese nursing student at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, said she found the China-wide travel ban, which will likely be extended beyond the start of semester, to be overzealous.
“I have been in Melbourne for six years, I have a life there. But after I see how the Australian government treats us I guess I won’t be staying in Melbourne after,” said Eunice, who did not want her last name published.
“I understand the Prime Minister wants to protect the residents in Australia. But there are many better ways to deal with the situation. And the Australian government chose the worst way”…
Mr Ademoglu also called for a practical, long-term plan to tackle the threat of racism and discrimination against Chinese students.
“We need to have more empathy in the wording we use, for example words like detention and quarantine,” he said.
Whilst it is disruptive to their plans, Australia cannot be blamed for coronovirus and the federal government must take all necessary steps to ensure it does not take hold here.
China mismanaged the early stages of this outbreak resulting in a global problem. Perhaps these students and lobbyists should be blaming the Chinese Government for the issue rather than another nation attempting to protect itself.
I would be furious if I, or a member of my family was struck down because the Australian Government failed in its duty to implement adequate quarantine so that universities and private schools could get their revenue. I am certain that if the situation was reversed the Chinese Government would do exactly the same, if not worse.
The people calling the shots here are Australia’s medical officers, and the end game here is to minimise illness and protect public health. That’s the right approach, even if it costs the economy in the short-term.
Education exports should not be our Government’s first priority, but rather the welfare of the Australian people. What would the additional costs – physical and financial – be of rampant contagion of the virus?
Besides, China started quarantining before Australia in recognition of the virus’ seriousness. Don’t blame Australia for following suit.
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