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became a policy of state governments to harass those Chinese left in Australia in the hope that they would return to China. The lawful rights of European citizens, such as free travel between colonies, were refused to Chinese residents. The courage of Chinese and founder citizens of Australia who persisted in Australia against all odds, has never been fully understood by most Australians. By their bravery as a people, they were able to maintain their languages, their beliefs, their work, their lives. Chinese and Australian with Chinese ethnicity have, since that time, made immeasurable contributions to Australia in mining development; the gold rushes of the 1890s; the First World War and World War Two. The Australian Chinese community was there and in many circumstances gave their lives for the Australia we know. Why has this not been properly recognised? This is partly because of natural Chinese modesty and culture, and the ability to fit into to what Australia offered them, and largely because, in the early days, Australia was a racist country with a white Australia policy extending right up to the 1960s. As we celebrate the Year of the Ox we can also celebrate their contributions to the very fabric of Australian life. As an Australian aware of the hardships and disadvantages meted out to our Chinese brothers and sisters, let me say to them and to all Australian Chinese that I am sure today this is a matter of great regret from all Australians. Dorbchee I can remember the cold air of winter in Beijing in 1962. I can see the dumpling sellers’ breath against the cold blue sky. I can hear on radio that Australians are the running dogs of American imperialists and I can see the small children smiling at me as we play games together in the parks and as we visit their homes and villages in the countryside. I can remember the games of mahjong and the hotpots as we sat around the fireplaces, and the images of Chairman Mao and my family driver who told me my father was a ‘capitalist roader’. But what was a ‘capitalist roader’ to a nine-year-old boy? Mum didn’t know and my driver said people were starving to death in Australia and only Chairman Mao had made sure that all Chinese had sufficient food. He could arrange for me to leave my family and stay forever in China and join the revolution. He said “Chow En Ai liked me,” Chow told him so. Our big black car pulled into the Forbidden City. It was so big and empty. Where were all the people? “Maybe they don’t want to see it or they don’t like it,” I thought. “Who was that man at the gate with the grey hair?” Dad said he was from the Central Committee, but “of what ?” I thought. “Gee the buildings are big but why is the grass growing through the pavement? I don’t want to hop in the car and go to the garden.” Mum just hit me, “okay, we’re here.” “Look at all the people cutting the bushes!” Dad grabs my hand and we walk over to a dirty old man. He is very tall I think and he has muddy hands and a pair of funny scissors, Dad says he is very important and the man says to me, “I am Pu Yi, what is your name? Where are you from? I used to live here when I was little like you. I was unhappy when I lived here but now I work here and I am very happy.” On Sunday my sister saw a church. “Can we go dad?” Our driver got special permission. But there is a solider at the gate and dad says there is a machine gun on the roof. My sister asks the driver and our guide why are there guards at the church? Look, a priest is coming down the steps the guard is talking to him…. Oh, our guide tells us a priest is a very busy man in China and we have to make 194 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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