Cultural Chameleon BLOG

Brexit makes Asia even more important to Australia
Posted by Sallyanne Gaunt on 7th July 2016

Market turmoil precedes the UK citizens’ marginal decision to leave the EU. Stock markets have tumbled and Sterling has plummeted. Some are even predicting that Britain will slide further into recession. In such times it is important for Australia to keep considering new opportunities instead of dwelling on the possible misfortune. However, we are unlikely to see an increase in tourists from the United Kingdom or even from Europe as a whole. This is an even greater reason for Australia to welcome the growing numbers of Chinese and Asian visitors. By embracing and adapting to the cultural differences,  Australia has the opportunity to increase its popularity with these high-spending Asian Tourists.

Australia has many natural wonders which cannot fail to meet expectations. The Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and Kakadu to name but a few, will be high on the list of must-sees. Even our powder blue sky, sunshine, and clean environment will lift the spirits of Chinese people whose norm consists of an outlook of industrial grey complete with dangerously poor air quality.

Sadly the return of Pauline Hanson and her extreme xenophobic views, will not bode well for Australia’s reputation in Asia. Newspapers, such as The Straits Times and Bangkok Post, have already alerted their readers of Pauline Hanson’s return to Australian politics. They have also reminded them of her former rhetoric that Australia is  “in danger of being swamped by Asians”. Recently The Australian Financial Review  pointed out that Hanson’s return to Canberra prompted two high net worth members of the Australia China Entrepreneurs Club to question whether they should still invest in Australia. In contrast International media may well overlook that Australia has also elected its first indigenous female federal MP, Linda Burney, and is likely to elect its first female Islamic MP, Anne Aly, to the senate.

As a counteract to the negative Asian publicity created due to Hanson’s comeback, Australians working with Asian stakeholders need to demonstrate their willingness to learn, adapt and embrace Asian cultures. It is also vital for young Australians to learn Asian languages. Such actions will show our northern neighbors our commitment to developing the deep relationships needed for Australia to prosper in the Asian century.


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