Prime Minister Howard has fostered an inward-looking nationalism, which we might expect to be reflected in a smaller immigration program and strong anti-immigration sentiment. On the contrary, immigration has increased under Howard: total settler arrivals in —04 were 60 per cent higher than they were a decade before Commonwealth of Australia , p. What has changed is the balance between different kinds of immigrants.
How has the public responded to immigration under Howard? The answer is likely to be a mix of factors in criss-crossing directions. The stronger economy has undermined one traditional source of hostility to migration: a lack of jobs for Australian-born workers. But other Australians probably now feel uncomfortable with anti-immigration politics, coming to see that immigrants are good for the Australian economy and society.
What the immigration policy illustrates is the complex relation between public policy and public opinion. Certainly, it is reasonable to say that the Government has pandered to some prejudices in the community, crafting its policy responses and increase its popularity. But in a raft of areas, from the role of women in the economy to the place of public services, and even in the immigration debate, we find no evidence of a uniform trend to a more conservative Australia.
Indeed, the countervailing pressure of public opinion may have occasionally forced the Government to accommodate opposition to a privatisation of healthcare the public strongly endorses Medicare and to major cutbacks in the social safety net. Like all governments, the Howard Government remains subject to both the cycles of public opinion that punish governments for moving too far in one direction, and to secular trends in social attitudes that have generally produced a more open and tolerant society. If anything, the public has drifted leftwards in their attitudes in major policy areas, supporting working women, public spending, and immigration.
So why is the Howard Government still popular after a decade in office? The previous Labor government won five elections, something the current government is yet to do, and governed for thirteen years. The record for the conservative side of politics—23 years— is unlikely to be matched. Although it seems possible that a Howard-led government will narrowly win in , which would mean the Government holds office for at least fourteen years, a change of leadership this year would make the contest more difficult to call.
Although we argue against the belief that the Howard Government is unusually popular, we do not dispute that the government is well positioned as it enters its second decade in office. While some voters are swayed by non-economic factors, many are influenced by the performance of the economy. Results from the Australian Election Studies reveal much the same thing. The largest jump 7 per cent took place between the last two elections of and Even stronger have been general perceptions of the economy; when asked if the economic situation in Australia was better or worse than the previous year, voters are increasingly positive.
In , as few as 8 per cent thought better; by , this number had risen to 42 per cent. The short answer appears to be yes—and this holds for personal finances as well as the economy overall. In , around one in five voters were prepared to say that the Government had a good effect on their personal finances. We limit our assessment to the results of voter responses to two questions in the AES Some 41 per cent chose John Howard, compared with just 25 per cent for the inexperienced Mark Latham.
These results mean that a majority of those expressing a definite opinion identified with Howard, a clear sign of his connection to voters. But when asked how well individual political parties represent their views, some 44 per cent of voters chose the Coalition and 27 per cent chose Labor.
When we look at party identification a ready measure of voter loyalties among Australians between and , we get a glimpse at the structural shifts in voter alignment favouring the Coalition. While the National Party has lost the loyalty of 4 per cent of voters, dropping from 7 to 3 per cent, the Liberals have actually gained new supporters over this time up from 34 to 42 per cent. But the real story lies on the other side of politics.
Labor has suffered a huge decline since , from 49 per cent to just 32 per cent in The beneficiaries of this fragmentation appear to be the Liberals and the Greens, who now attract 5 per cent of voters. But the largest increase is registered among voters without political attachment, who now count for 16 per cent of the electorate. Among these voters without a party loyalty, many must count as disillusioned Labor voters or potential Labor voters who have never developed an attachment to the party.
Although we compare unweighted data over several time periods, the trends in voter loyalty are unmistakable: the ALP has lost part of its base electorate. Union members are loyal Labor voters, so the 50 per cent decline in union membership over the last twenty years has surely injured the ALP. The economic reforms of the s and s championed by Labor contributed to a weaker labour movement Peetz , chapter 4. Chart 1 compares the number of Australians identifying as Labor voters with the number of union members AES — We can see that the decline in union membership closely tracks the decline in ALP identifiers.
There may be some better news on the way for Labor, even if they are yet to realise it. The decline in union membership, measured in both the AES and more systematically by the Australian Bureau of Statistics , has stopped. Although Labor reformers seek to further distance the party from organised labour, they might be overlooking the value of strengthening links to their longstanding ally.
Coming off historic lows, public opinion towards unions is more favourable than it has been for a generation. And in its recent campaign against industrial relations reforms, the union movement again proved that it is the strongest social force in Australia politics. There has been an historic shift in this country over the last decade, and there can be no turning back, our economy has changed forever as a result of industrial relations deregulation. Our economy has forever, if that deregulation continues, become a more productive economy.
In , 35 per cent of the Australian workforce employed in the private sector were members of the trade unions. That figure is now Antipathy to unions runs so deeply that the Government was prepared to eliminate student unions to prove it. The Government could hardly hide its pride last year when it passed legislation dismantling the industrial relation system.
Its victory was full of symbolism, aggressive potential and, perhaps, a distasteful overconfidence. The students demanded the re-introduction of remedial courses and grants as well as a complete halt to the reforms known in French as LMD licence, master, doctorate and BMD bachelors, master's, doctorate in English for the three, five and eight-year degree levels, a system which has been instituted in Cameroon and other African countries. In shutting down the University, its leadership argued that the demands were "complex" and presented a "real problem"; it was impossible to meet them.
The police who were brought in to curb student violence responded with teargas, turning the protest into a battle between students and the police. On 10 and 11 April , thousands of Gambian students took to the streets to protest against the death of a high school student, who was allegedly tortured by security force members, and the reported rape of a year-old girl by a police officer British Broadcasting Cooperation, They gathered at the gate of the Gambia Technical Training Institute to march to the city centre.
Police ordered them to disperse as they had no permit to protest but the students refused. The police attempted to disband them using teargas, but the students later regrouped, setting up barricades with burning rubber tires in the streets and throwing stones at the police. Government buildings were attacked, a police station was set on fire and stores were looted.
The police retaliated with live ammunition, killing at least 14 students and wounding more than 20 who had to be admitted to hospital, while countless others suffered light wounds British Broadcasting Cooperation, Students also boycotted classes at the University of Nouakchott in Mauritania. Police arrested 16 students during clashes between students and police on the campus Arabic. The national students' union UNEM has been a key force in organizing student protest action. The students' demands include quality of life issues French , but the clashes added other demands to the list: the return of expelled students and "de-militarization" of the campus, etc.
As perceived mistreatment by the police becomes one of the protesters' chief complaints, the protests are taking on a self-perpetuating logic. The Maxfield and Widom study in the US which canvassed the views of about young people revealed that those who had been abused by their parents or lived with parents or relatives who were violent were more likely to be violent in the future. Thus, children learn by example from their parents or relatives and practice what they learn. They see violence as the only legitimate way to solve challenges. The study thus revealed the transmission of aggressive and violent behaviour from one generation to another.
Cameroon is a case in point. Its war of independence against the French was the bloodiest in Africa, comparable only to the Algerian experience. After independence and the plebiscite, post-independence disillusionment led to several waves of protest and revolts against the then president Amadou Ahidjo, led by UPC militants. Konings points out that between and there were a series of violent student demonstrations at the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon which not only caused the death of more than five students but the wanton destruction of property.
The university was made ungovernable, forcing the government to split it into two; Yaounde I and II. The University of Buea was also created to depopulate the university and reduce the chances of student protest. Chimanikire adds that in , students at the University of Buea took to the streets to protest against deplorable living conditions in the university environment. The strike soon became violent, leading to police intervention and the eventual deposition of the governor of the region where the university is located. About two weeks later students caught and burnt alive an alleged bandit who was amongst those making the university environment deplorable.
In , and students at this university launched several protests, leaving six dead and hundreds wounded and imprisoned. In and the administrative building at the University of Buea was destroyed as were several cars, police vans and an ambulance. In , the violence was repeated and would have gotten out of hand had it not been for brutal police intervention. Since October there have been no school in the anglophone regions of Cameroon due to student protest and constant clashes with the police Fomunyam, Genetically speaking, political attitudes which deal with the will to act in a particular way as well as the desire to make certain choices are inherited.
The culture of violence is one such ideological trait inherited by African students and they are demonstrating that this is the case. South and East Africa.
Southern Africa is no exception to violent student protest. Prosser and Sitaram argue that the student protests which reached their peak in in Swaziland and have since continued, often started as a "disorganised demonstration against campus issues such as poor food" p.
The violence that ensued after soldiers swept through university campuses will always be a sensitive subject with government. The report of the commission set up to investigate the violence was kept secret for years, with a bowdlerized version finally released to the public in Two of the students who were seriously injured sued the government for damages, and their cases were settled out of court.
In another violent student strike broke out in Mbabane where students protesting against the closure of their university threatened to derail a traditional festival. This violent confrontation led to the arrest of seven students and several others were injured Rooney, Students at Lesotho's Limkokwing University have launched on-going protests against what they called bad management and poor services Khama, Other grievances include slow internet speed and delays in disbursing their allowances Khama, The Moeketsi Pholo Student Representative Council at the University pointed out that, "We have been submitting these issues to our management but nothing has been done to solve our grievances.
So, the only option we have is to protest As such we have no choice but to respond in kind" Khama, Mfula notes that the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University were closed indefinitely by the Zambian government after student protests against non-payment of allowances turned violent. Scores of students were arrested.
Higher Education Minister, Michael Kaingu justified this action in parliament by stating that, "the decision to close the universities had followed days of destructive protests during which public property was damaged" Mfula, He added that some students burned tires and used logs to barricade roads, and vehicles were stoned.
About 56 students were arrested. The minister appealed to student leaders to ensure that protestors were disciplined and non-violent. Much effort had been made to negotiate with students and persuade them to return to class, but this proved futile. The University of Zambia had assured students that the government was acting on their grievances, but they still resorted to damaging property.
Kaingu told parliament that the permanent secretary of the ministry had intervened as soon as protests had begun, to no avail. The minister visited Copperbelt University and "offered to dialogue with students but they refused" Mfula, Zambian President Edgar Lungu was quoted by the Lusaka Times as saying that the closure of the two universities was "a good lesson for the students" Lusaka Times, Lea notes that modern theories of crime and violence weave social and biological themes together. He adds that at least studies have shown that genes play a role in crime and violence.
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Genes are ruled by the environment, which can either mute or aggravate violent impulses. While many people that have a genetic tendency towards aggression will never throw a punch, others that lack this tendency could become career criminals depending on the environment in which they find themselves. In the contemporary period, almost all countries in Africa have been plagued by revolts and protest. South Africa is no exception.
The country witnessed violent student protests at almost all its universities. Bawa posits that the University of Johannesburg alone suffered damages amounting to more than R million because of violent protest actions.
The violence at South African universities escalated from damaging statues and artwork and confrontations with security staff and police, to the burning of buildings and brutal clashes between student factions. This violence is a legacy of racial discrimination and colonialism, high levels of unemployment and pronounced and increasing income inequality. The protests began at Tshwane University of Technology early last year, when students with outstanding debt were prevented from registering. The financial dilemma in which many students found themselves was exacerbated by the inability of the state loan and bursary agency - the National Student Financial Aid Scheme NSFAS - to meet its commitments.
The protests spread to other campuses, taking different forms. Students at three universities in the south were the next to act. At the University of Cape Town, they took issue with the legacy of colonialism, symbolised by the memorial to Cecil John Rhodes, while those at Stellenbosch distributed a powerfully evocative film - "Luister" Listen - that documented black students' daily experiences of racism and discrimination Hall, In the on-going protests, some students were arrested and some injured.
At the University of Cape Town, protesting students torched vehicles, burned artwork, invaded residences and petrol-bombed the Vice-Chancellor's office. Eight students were arrested as the police attempted to restore order. Five students were suspended, the University obtained an interdict barring a further 16 from further protest, and charges were laid against the leaders of the RhodesMustFall campaign Hall, The Ministry of Higher Education condemned the burning of a bus at the University of the Witwatersrand, and damage to property and disruption at North-West University.
The University of Pretoria planned to close two campuses amidst threats of a shutdown by some students and safety concerns Badat, As the tensions rose, some protesters resorted to violence, invading residences and residence kitchens; setting up burning barricades; burning portraits and other artwork stolen from residences; general vandalism; and intimidation of members of the campus community.
Matthews et al. Such violence is learnt independently of the other characteristics of an overall belief system. Badat concurs and argues that the student protests mirror a number of features of contemporary South African society, including taking to the streets and destroying property. East Africa has also experienced a wave of violent protests at its universities.
Chuka University in Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya was closed indefinitely as a result of student unrest over disputed student union elections. The police arrested 15 students who were looting shops at the nearby Ndagani market and forcing other businesses to close. Students also set a university bus ablaze amidst other acts of violence Njeru, The University of Nairobi was also shut down indefinitely due to three days of student unrest. Students who had been looting and destroying property were asked to vacate the premises. News of the closure caught some students on Lower Kabete Campus off-guard and they again took to the streets to block roads opposing the move.
This demonstrates the violent nature of student protest at African universities Ombati, In Burundi, the government closed all universities in April following student protests against the announcement that the incumbent President, Pierre Nkurunziza, would run for a third term in the presidential elections. The protests soon became violent as the police clashed with students in an attempt to disband them.
Widespread demonstrations in the capital, Bujumbura, lasted for more than three weeks. The conflict led to the death of several students and police and dozens of students were arrested Moore, Between and , students at the University of Djibouti took to the streets on several occasions to protest against their grades and the country's poor education system and to prevent the president from seeking a third term.
The protests turned violent. Daniel McCurry, a US citizen living and teaching in Djibouti reported that they "have taken the form of rock throwing, destruction of property, and general mayhem. The police have responded with arrests, tear gas'' Moore, Videos published by anonymous Djiboutian students on YouTube confirm these reports. The most violent confrontations were documented at the University of Djibouti, where only two out of students had passed their exams. The students looted shops in downtown Djibouti City. Within the next few days, students from other universities joined the struggle.
The police attempted to disperse them with teargas and students retaliated by throwing stones Onyango-Obbo, Students in Africa have inherited the culture of violence exhibited during the struggle against colonialism. While colonialism is "over", the culture of violence used to fight it has not disappeared. Rather, it is increasingly manifesting itself across the African continent. At the same event, a student pointed out that when they students protest, burn buildings and destroy property, they consider it a victory. Violence has been used by generations in Africa as a way of resolving conflicts.
While this is a single incident and does not necessarily represent the views of students across the continent, the fact that these students were representing a student organisation attests to the culture of violence they have inherited that is expressed in all facets of their lives. African universities from Cape Town to Cairo are gradually becoming battle grounds where students wage war against one challenge or another in the fight for liberation.
For this inherited ideological trait to be challenged and unpacked, different forms of engagement are required on different pathways for protest. Secondly, African universities need to create a culture to cater for student needs. Finally, when protests do occur, they should be addressed immediately, so as to reduce the potential for violent manifestations. The prevailing circumstances on the African continent as well as in African universities have strategically contributed in provoking this ideological trait.
To deal with this, African governments and university structures must ensure that the educational landscape at African universities caters effectively for students' needs. Issues such as funding, basic social amenities, school management, and student representative council elections, amongst others, should be managed effectively so as to create the terrain for peaceful co-existence.
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