Friday, 20 July 2018

African gangs: must be something in the water

On 15 November last year I wrote about the results from the marriage equality postal vote. In that poll, 17 electorates voted ‘No’ when asked if they thought the law governing marriage in Australia should be changed to allow people of the same sex to marry. Of those 17 electorates, 12 were in the Sydney metropolitan area. Of those, nine electorates had large concentrations of people who had stated in the 2016 Census that their religion was either Islam or Hinduism. These were the electorates of Barton, Blaxland, Chifley, Fowler, Greenway, McMahon, Parramatta, Watson and Werriwa.

Of the remaining five electorates that voted ‘No’, two were in Melbourne’s metropolitan area: Bruce and Calwell. Both electorates have significant concentrations of Muslims.

The other electorates that voted ‘No’ were all rural seats in Queensland.

If you look at the 2016 Census figures that show ethnicity, Sydney has more people born overseas.
  • Both parents born overseas: 60,420
  • Father only born overseas: 150,269
  • Mother only born overseas: 108,726
  • Both parents born in Australia: 798,863
For Melbourne the figures are similar but not as large.
  • Both parents born overseas: 47,126
  • Father only born overseas: 136,637
  • Mother only born overseas: 99,278
  • Both parents born in Australia: 779,973
So it seems that in Sydney the heavy concentrations of migrants in specific areas (go to Lakemba or Auburn for Pakistani or Lebanese food; to Hurstville or Ashfield for Chinese; to Harris Park for Indian; to Blacktown for Filipino or Punjabi) serve to give people a more solid sense of identity that sustains them in their daily lives. In Melbourne, migrants tend to be more evenly spread out in the broader community, and seem to be less concentrated in small enclaves. That might be the reason for the African gangs panic. Or else there’s something in the water in the southern capital that makes the place prone to unwarranted panic. It should also be noted that the numbers of Africans in Australia is so vanishingly small that the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not even single them out for counting in their figures unless they were born in South Africa. In which case they are more likely to be white.

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