An interesting policy paper has been released talking about the gaps in the Australian Government’s understanding of their complex relationship with China due to the under-representation of Chinese Australians in the public service. The author of the report Yun Jiang, says that China is now a high priority in Australia’s foreign and domestic policies, now more than ever it is important those who are making Australia’s China policy recommendations need to be “China literate”. Considering there are many complex issues confronting Australia on China (free speech, political economy, traditions, histories, societies etc), there needs to be policy makers who have a balanced education background in this area and policy makers who are of Chinese Australian descent.
This makes sense in that you need to have both the knowledge and theory as well as those who have the deep understanding of China, CCP and what being Chinese means. Here is more from her policy paper released by the Lowy Institute (via Guardian Australia):
“The policy paper notes that 5.6% of the total Australian population report having Chinese heritage, only 2.6% of Australian public service employees fell within the service’s definition of Chinese heritage in 2019.”
“It says that in 2019, only 2.3% of new hires to the public service were people of Chinese heritage. The highest percentage of employees with Chinese heritage were employed in information and communications technology roles, at 5.5%, whereas “only 2.2 per cent of strategic policy roles – including those that develop Australia’s policies on China – are filled by Australians with Chinese heritage”.
“Meanwhile, only 227 of Australia’s more than 2,100 diplomats possessed proficiency in any Asian language as of 2008, the paper says.”
“The paper also argues the problem of underrepresentation of people with Chinese heritage is especially acute at senior management level, known as the senior executive service or SES.”
Considering the simmering and almost damaged relationship between Australia and China, the Government needs to read this paper and take on it recommendations. The systems in Mainland China are totally different from what Australia and the West are used to and this is why a well balanced group which includes those who come from a Chinese background is imperative to know how to push back against the CCP when needed but also how to maintain an amicable and mutually beneficial diplomatic relationship.
To read the full article, please click on: Chinese-Australians ‘under-represented in public service’