“We’re very upset”: International students condemn Alan Jones’ insensitive remarks

COMMENTS by Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones are inaccurate and will damage the perception of international students, advocates say. Luke Henriques-Gomes reports.

Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones says Australia should seriously think about its international student intake. Photo: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr

Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones says Australia should seriously think about its international student intake. Photo: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr

International students have condemned remarks by broadcaster Alan Jones, who told a morning television program Australia should rethink its position on “foreign students”.

The controversial 2GB radio personality made the comments in an appearance on Channel Seven’s Sunrise.

Discussing the Boston Marathon bombing which killed three people on Tuesday, Jones said he wouldn’t be surprised if “left-wing radical students” were responsible.

He then shifted his attention to the intake of international students in Australia, the nation’s fourth largest export industry.

“We’re very keen to have foreign students pay the way of universities in this country without a lot of discernment about who comes in,” Jones said on Sunrise.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a conspiracy amongst students … and I think we have to think also very seriously here about our own student numbers,” he said.

US authorities have said they don’t know who’s responsible for the blasts that killed three people – including a Chinese student – and injured more than 175.

Director of Cultural Intelligence and founder of the Australian Federation of International Students, Wesa Chau, said Jones was wrong to target international students.

“I think (the comments) are absolutely ridiculous, there’s no evidence or link to international students,” Ms Chau said.

“There is a proportion of people in Australia who listen to people like Alan Jones and that’s part of the problem,” she said.

Singaporean RMIT journalism student Nicholas Wong, 27, said Jones’ comments were bigoted.

I would say I’m personally insulted, but I don’t think people take what he says that seriously.

“I would say I’m personally insulted, but I don’t think people take what he says that seriously,” he said.

Mr Wong said Jones’ comments could stop parents sending their children to study in Australia.

“My parents wouldn’t want to send me somewhere where international students are unwanted,” Mr Wong said.

National president of the Council of International Students Australia, Aleem Nizari, said Jones was damaging Australia’s relationship with international students.

“We’re very upset by these insensitive comments,” Mr Nizari said.

“They will only further harm the perception of international students,” he said.

Mr Nizari said the Department of Immigration ensured a system of background checks on students was already in place.

Australian Federation of International Students President, Garry Kuan, echoed Mr Nizari’s condemnation.

“For Alan Jones to paint such an inaccurate and presumptuous picture of international students in the mainstream media does the Australian international student body a huge disservice,” he said in a statement.

“International students contribute immensely to Australian society in many ways – by volunteering their time in non-profit organisations, contributing to diversity in a university environment and sharing their cultures with Australia.”

Alan Jones and 2Gb have been contacted for comment.

How do you feel about Alan Jones’ comments? Will it hurt Australia’s reputation as a study destination of choice? Share your views with us in the comments section below.

There are 7 comments

  1. Naina

    I think he should apologise without any evidence or any investigation done how could he blame international students . This is really upsetting . Just because we don’t belong here does not give us the right to cause any harm to any citizen of Australia and also it does not give the right to any obtuse radio guy to say whatever . At the end he is not the decision maker .

  2. Andrew Smith

    Many would be aware that for 15 years Australia has been running a “proxy” white Australia policy where anyone foreign is the focus of criticism from those whose bigoted views belong to the 1950s.

    What is slightly disturbing is that I am not aware of anyone from international education sector nor media taking Jones to task? Says something about Australia…?

  3. Scott

    I would be VERY surprised if left-wing students were behind the Boston bombing. Timothy McVeigh and Osama bin Laden weren’t even remotely left-wing, nor were they students.

    Everyone seems to forget that the last bombings on Australian soil were carried out by right wing neo-nazi extremists.

  4. Dan

    Another example of vile, divisive, racist comment thrown around by this abhorrent man. And, to think that his man (in lots of interesting ways I am told…) Tony Abbott, is looking like our next PM is nothing short of an embarrassment to our nation. I would rather acclaim the merit of the thousands of international students who enrich our tertiary sector and hide, as best we can, the fact that Jones is an Australian. So do us all a favour AJ, and spend the rest of your putrid life in the male toilets at a London tube station. As we all know, you do your best work there.

  5. Curious

    @Scott – surprised or very surprised yet? Many of the comments here are as bigoted and naive as jones’ with pre-defined thoughts as bad as any sort of racism.

    All the way along it was either going to be right wing anti govt twits or young, easily led, university students. Even the FBI said very early on, that they would be surprised if it was any sort of international terrorism as there was no “chatter”. I have spent years living around the world and most people, no matter their religion or skin colour are beautiful people who live in beautiful places.

    The biggest problem I see with many of the young “adults” in our society is their inability to research or formulate their own opinion, even at the most rudimentary of levels. If these two had done so, maybe an 8 year old kid would not be in a cold mound of dirt as we all rattle our fake outrage around.

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