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