Tim Watts’s ancestor was a member of the local Anti-Chinese Committee in the 1850s and involved in lobbying the parliament to impose a poll tax that prevented Chinese arrivals from disembarking in Victorian ports, and that started the Walk from Robe. More than one and a half centuries later, Tim took his four-year-old Hong-Kong-Chinese-Australian son to go through the Walk from Robe as an historical excursion. “This is the Australia of my ancestors, but it’s not the Australia of my family today,” says Tim in his recently published book The Golden Country. In this book, Tim explores the development of Australian identity, including an alternative concept raised by Stephen FitzGerald of Australia becoming a unique “honey-coloured society” to the White Australia.
Tim Watts in Conversation with Stephen FitzGerald will discuss issues of discrimination, inequality, bamboo ceiling and skewed egalitarianism towards Asian-Australians in the context of “investing in a new Australian identity that brings people together in the Golden Country”.
Tim Watts MP
Tim Watts is the Federal Labor Member for Gellibrand and the Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications and Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security. Since being elected, Tim has been an active advocate on issues ranging from family violence, Australian aid, cyber security, refugee and asylum policy, cycling and Australia’s engagement with Asia. Before entering Parliament, Tim worked in the Australian telecommunications and IT sectors for the better part of a decade. Tim has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Bond University, Master of Public Policy from Monash University and Master of Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics.
Professor Stephen FitzGerald AO (opens in a new window)
Stephen FitzGerald is the Adjunct Professor of ACIAC. Stephen began his professional career as a diplomat, studied Chinese and became a China specialist. As China specialist he has been diplomat, academic, think tank director and expert consultant to government and business. He was China adviser to Gough Whitlam in opposition and as Prime Minister, Australia’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, and later, at the beginning of China’s opening to the outside world, established the first private consultancy for Australians dealing with China, which he ran until 2008.
He chaired the 1980s committee of the Asian Studies Association of Australia which shaped the Association’s policy for Asian Studies and Languages in Australian education and later became chair of the government body established to address that policy, the Asian Studies Council. This Council wrote a strategy for Asia in Australian education. He subsequently founded the Asia-Australia Institute, dedicated to making Australia part of the Asian region through think tank activities and ideas-generation by regional leaders meeting in regular forums in the region’s capitals. He chaired the government’s Committee to Advise on Australia’s Immigration Policies, which wrote the landmark report, Immigration. A Commitment to Australia. He has been advisor to the Federal and Northern Territory governments, and the governments of Australia, Britain, Denmark and others on governance-related aid in China and Southeast Asia.
He is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University, a Board Member of China Matters, an independent policy initiative dedicated to raising the quality of public discussion of China and Australia’s relations with it, and Vice President of the organizing committee for a Museum of Chinese in Australia.