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Bogans from the ‘burbs: confronting our hidden biases

Every city has them - the neighbourhoods that everyone else looks down on. In Australia, Sydney has “Westies”. Brisbane has “Logan bogans”. And in Melbourne, the western suburb of Sunshine is colloquially…

Hugging and making up: Samoan Moe Fonoti (right) embraces Logan Aboriginal elder Wayne Saunders, after talks to defuse local tensions. AAP/Dave Hunt

Every city has them - the neighbourhoods that everyone else looks down on.

In Australia, Sydney has “Westies”. Brisbane has “Logan bogans”. And in Melbourne, the western suburb of Sunshine is colloquially referred to as “Scumshine”. These areas are commonly characterised as problem places, inhabited by “problem people”.

So when something goes wrong in these areas - as it did last month in Logan City, where tensions between young Indigenous and Pacific Islanders bubbled over into four days of violent clashes - it’s easy for the rest of us living outside those areas to roll our eyes and look the other way.

Defined by where you’re from

A Google search for where to live in Brisbane reveals that many of the “worst” suburbs are in Logan City, including Woodridge where the clashes occurred. The online urban dictionary includes this defintion of “bogan”: “anyone from the locality in Queensland known as Logan City. Look at that new kid. He lives in Logan, such a bogan!”

Our perceptions of what makes a good or bad neighbourhood extend beyond crime and visible signs of disorder and decay, such as graffiti, garbage and broken windows.

Instead, criminological studies find that the problems we “see” are strongly associated with the presence of particular minority groups living in the neighbourhood. These negative associations are known as “implicit biases”. And they matter because they can affect people’s lives.

In the case of Logan, one of Australia’s most ethnically diverse areas, the recent clashes have unfortunately reinforced public perceptions of it as a racially-divided city, where high levels of unemployment and crime abound.

There is some truth to this characterisation: levels of disadvantage are higher in Logan than the national average and violent crime rates are high. But our association of Logan City and crime is, at least in part, biased.

How implicit biases shape our behaviour

Unlike stereotypes, which represent either positive or negative associations between a social group and a given trait, implicit biases occur when attitudes, attributions or stereotypes compromise the accuracy and fairness of judgments. They operate without us being aware of them, are widely held in society, and are predictive of discriminatory behaviour. Federal MP Andrew Laming’s tweet at the height of the clashes - “Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day’s work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?” - is a case in point.

Implicit biases are the result of everyday personal observations, which are then exaggerated or applied to an entire group of people. For example, studies in the United States show that white residents who believe they live close to black residents will report higher levels of fear of crime than those living further away.

There is significant evidence indicating that implicit bias is alive and well in Australia too. For example, Indigenous Australians are perceived as welfare-dependent, substance-addicted and are associated with problems of crime and disorder.

Local Aboriginal and Pacific Islander families were on high alert earlier this month in Woodridge, south of Brisbane, after repeated clashes between youths who had once been friends. AAP/Dave Hunt

In a recent study of nearly 10,000 Brisbane and Melbourne residents living in 300 suburbs, a team of colleagues and I revealed how widespread implicit bias is in Australia. Using data from the Australian Community Capacity Study, we found that residents are more likely to perceive problems such as public drinking, loitering and drug use when they overestimated the number of non-Anglo-Saxons living in their suburb.

When people saw more Muslim and Indigenous Australians, they perceived more disorder - irrespective of the neighbourhood’s actual socio-economic status and rate of violent crime. Interestingly, people in Brisbane were more likely to associate ethnic diversity with crime and disorder than people in Melbourne.

The practical impacts of implicit bias

As the Australian Community Capacity Study and other research demonstrate, implicit biases matter because they can make disadvantaged people’s lives tougher.

Our implicit biases can reinforce disadvantage and disinvestment in certain neighbourhoods, as the racial, ethnic and class compositions of an area become strongly associated with social problems and “types” of people.

Such associations negatively impact upon the people who live in these neighbourhoods. Residents living in places with unfavourable reputations report lower well-being, self-esteem and feelings of trust.

However, the negative association between “problem people” and “problem places” can be changed. In our study, for example, we found that there was less implicit bias in suburbs where people trusted each other and shared common values.

Why prejudice is everyone’s problem

Though the local council is doing what they can to improve the quality of life for Logan City residents, it remains an area that is over-burdened by inequality and increasing ethnic concentration. It is home to populations with multiple and complex needs, yet there are limited resources to foster full participation in society.

Instead of examining the underlying conditions that lead to social problems - such as concentrated disadvantage, cuts to important government services, and the gap between the rich and the poor - it is easier to reduce Logan’s “crime problem” to a racial divide between Indigenous and Pacific Islander residents.

Yet this will only serve to reinforce the problem. By mistakenly attributing what happened in Logan to the “mobs” that live there, we fail to recognise and respond to the broader social forces that lead to the clustering of violence in disadvantaged areas.

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74 Comments sorted by

  1. Mat Hardy

    Lecturer in Middle East Studies at Deakin University

    "People in Brisbane were more likely to associate ethnic diversity with crime and disorder than people in Melbourne."

    That's because Queenslanders are redneck bogans.

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    1. Adam Richards

      Teacher

      In reply to Mat Hardy

      Lol. I have to say, having lived in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide, people from each of these states perceive Queensland as being the most 'racist'. Anecdotal I know, but I am now in Darwin and the same perception exists here.

      A friend of mine from Sydney, who has now been living in Brisbane for the last few years believes the imaginary line that divides the lefty latte set from the bogans is much more defined in Brisbane. He said in Sydney, there is a slow yet steady increase in 'boganess', where…

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    2. Noely

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Mat Hardy

      Actually that is one of the issues that is not in this article that is more relevant than 'ethnic diversity'...

      Before Logan was Logan (only been a few decades) it was just Woodridge & Inala that were considered the ends of the earth. They were not ethnically diverse at all, the issue was they were massive tracts of housing commission. In the 70's & early 80's Woodridge being to the south of Brisbane (with land to spare) really ramped up the housing commission and got worse & worse. The areas…

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    3. Mat Hardy

      Lecturer in Middle East Studies at Deakin University

      In reply to Noely

      "PS: By the Way, I would expect a Lecturer to be a little more sophisticated then to toss out a rude general statement like "That's because Queenslanders are redneck bogans." Pretty poor form and I would hope that type of attitude is not passed on to your students at Deakin?"

      Umm, as Adam above realised when he LOLed, the comment was an ironic one, responding to an article about in-built geographic prejudices with the very same sort of simplistic generalisation.

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    4. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Mat Hardy

      "People in Brisbane were more likely to associate ethnic diversity with crime and disorder than people in Melbourne."
      That is because in Melbourne, "ethnic diversity" means grabbing a macchiato on Lygon Street with Julian Burnside, Virginia Trioli, and Waleed Aly, before dashing off to Lillian Franks' Toorak kitchen for a quick blow-draaaiiiiii, just in time to pick Marcia Langton up, and off to the opera to see The Mikado.
      Whereas in Brisbane "ethnic diversity" is inviting Pauline Hanson in to adjudicate the Logan hell-holes Rebecca has shown us here.
      In other words, people in both Brisbane and Melbourne are 100% correct on "ethnic diversity."

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    5. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Mat Hardy

      And everyone from WA is a redneck, bogan miner, who votes LNP and couldn't care less about the environment. (apparently)

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    6. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith, I'd say the difference between Rebecca's bogans, and your WA miner, is that the latter is employed and owns his own home (even if mortgaged), whereas Rebecca's bogans predictably have neither.

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    7. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      I think Kim that you are making assumptions based on the perceptions that Rebecca outlined. You don't know that the people described in the article are unemployed, or do not own their own homes, you simply assume they have neither.

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    8. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith, have you read the data that Rebecca's article is based on? Those links do indeed support my point (see my earlier comment below). My argument is not based on academic gobbledygook, but on empirical observation and analysis.

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    9. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      I have read the links, but the data does not support your view, it supports the authors view.

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    10. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Actually, Judith, I challenge you to extract the author's view on the Logan violence.

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    11. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      My idea on what the authors view is, comes from my own subjective reading of the article, as does yours. Just as I have my own view on the Logan violence, based on my own perceptions, and what knowledge I gained from the reporting of the incident, so will the author and you.

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    12. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      In other words Judith, it is the likes of you and the author who are guilty of "implicit bias". Please don't try to project this on to the rest of us

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    13. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      "The likes of you" ? really? You don't know me at all so your making assumptions based on nothing, again.

      As for projection, have a look in the mirror Kim.

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    14. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      " You don't know me at all so your making assumptions based on nothing, again."
      Apart from the tonnes of information you actually HAVE provided here, including your admission that like the author, you suffer from 'implicit bias'. Is there actually MORE to know about you?

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    15. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Tonnes of information? Well that would consist of my name, and the fact that I have bought a house, I am a woman, and I have read the article that I have commented on, oh, and I live in Western Australia in a town of less than 10000 people. Not what I would call tonnes of information, and certainly nothing that would allow you to "know" anything about me as a person. So no, you do not know me at all.

      I have not made any admission of "implicit bias" and fail to see where you draw that assumption from, apart from your own imagination. Although I will concede that as a human being that I will possess some bias, as does every other human being.

      There is vastly more to know about me as a person, an individual, but I wont be sharing that information on this forum.

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  2. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    The article implies 'bias' is aimed at an ethnic group. All the examples certainly suggest this.

    So I'm unclear why the snobbish comment 'Did any of them do a day’s work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?' is a 'case in point'.

    I'm sure you can argue negative stereotyping of a class is 'bias', but the article doesn't do so.

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to James Jenkin

      Indeed. Rebecca, sorry, the very authorities you cite answer MP Andrew Laming’s tweet very clearly and unambiguously. When you have the correct data right in front of you, goodness knows why you have to start weaving about with links to Californian legal academics hand-waving about the 'science' of 'implicit bias'.
      On the crucial question of "Did any of them do a day’s work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?" your very Brisbane Times link informs us:
      "”The Briggs family had already applied to the Department of Housing to move from Woodridge. Its application was expedited after the weekend’s violent clashes."
      So, Mr. Laming's local knowledge was spot on.

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    2. Angela Ballard

      Consultant/Facilitator at Atmosphere Consulting

      In reply to James Jenkin

      it seems to me the article, based on research into implicit bias, does not actually define who or what the implicit bias is against. Implied in the article is implicit bias against various groups by other groups - eg Logan folks as a whole by Brisbanites (geographic), ethnic groups by other ethnic groups - whites included (racial/ethnic) - and economic - well off people against those who are disadvantaged.

      The one point I want to make is that implicit bias is most likely to come from those outside…

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    3. Angela Ballard

      Consultant/Facilitator at Atmosphere Consulting

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      One comment in the online Brisbane Times is pretty slim evidence of local knowledge. Your comment (and Laming's) assumes all folks in public housing do no work and are recipients of full welfare. Is this some implicit bias creeping in? Many families in long term social housing have members with some workers on low incomes.

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    4. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      Angela, the author is pretty clear who has the 'implicit bias'. She says "we", "our" and "us".
      "it’s easy for the rest of US living outside those areas to roll OUR eyes and look the other way."
      "OUR perceptions of what makes a good or bad neighbourhood extend beyond crime and visible signs of disorder."
      "criminological studies find that the problems WE “see” are strongly associated with the presence of particular minority groups living in the neighbourhood." Not the author thinks that "see" is…

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    5. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      "Although the twitter comment from Andrew Laming LNP MP is a fine example of a mindset unwilling or unable to pose deeper questions to understand historical and current realities and which prefers to blame and harangue instead."
      A fine example? Well, what sort of 'mindset' are we talking about with Andrew Laming.
      1. He has been the federal Member for Bowman since 2004. Bowman is the electorate south east of Brisbane. On the western border is the federal electorate of Rankin (which includes Logan…

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    6. Keith Thomas

      Retired

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Kim, Wow!

      Perhaps the way the internet is a new global circus centre ring, with millions of people striving for attention (achieved easiest through negativity) and admiration is another topic. Perhaps Laming might, in retrospect, wish he had tweeted something else and that he, too, did not have a shot at centre ring applause when he did. Thanks for making the point so persuasively. Delicious!

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    7. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Angela Ballard

      Angela it was the author who linked to the Brisbane Times. The article was published on Tuesday January 16, following Laming's tweet on the Monday night. The BT article gives a lot of detail, including that the violence was centred on Douglas Street, Woordridge. Media had been reporting, since the violence started on the previous Saturday. Their had wide coverage of the event right across the country and media platforms. To someone who has spent nearly 30 years studying and practing Medicine in the…

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    8. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Keith Thomas

      Keith, I didn't even know who he was until this article. HOW could the author not know all this? How stupid are a lot of people looking now! "Implicit bias" indeed. ;)

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  3. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    I guess you either know you are living in suburb, town or city with "problems" or you don't.

    I don't think (from no particular research or training) a citizen would imagine or make up the fact that their environment is hostile, threatening, unsafe, fear-making etc. Under "normal" circumstances that is.

    I live near Geelong, where several suburbs have the reputation of being "bogan" if that is the word you wish to use.
    From what I can tell the reputation is justified in that there appears to…

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    1. Geoffrey Edwards

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      "is it a co-incidence"

      I believe the point of the article was "No, it is not a coincidence."

      What the author is suggesting is that our assumptions, stated or unacknowledged, lead us to ignore these issues and also prevent us from addressing the root causes.

      "It's the way it is baby..............get used to it."

      No. I would think that it is not something we need to accept. We can do better.

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  4. Gordon Smith

    Private citizen

    Eveupdates as biases. Some don't like hogans or rednecks - some don't like elies or academics. Some don't like libs, some lab. Some don't like rich people some don't like migrants. Some don't like middle class white males and some don't like feminists.
    Even as we get more 'evolved and aware' it just becomes more subtle. Some people don't like smokers and fat people.
    Even those who claim to be no -judgmental just those they consider are.
    People are actualy entitled to their biases. They are not entitled to allow those biases to impact on others.
    Even those I know who declare how tolerant they are have biases that show if you listen or scratch the surface
    The best we can do in this stage of primal evolution is to own our biases and continually work towards minimizing them and resisting the temptation to invent new ones,

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  5. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Hi Gordon

    I feel comfortable with my prejudices, and am trying to cultivate new ones.

    I've seen what happens when a person is too nice........

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  6. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Geoffrey

    we agree, it's NOT a coincidence.

    and "that's the way it is etc"....my point here is that just like "aboriginal issues" the "bogan" goes on ad infinitum with plenty of discussion, theories, commissions, committees, papers, doctorates etc

    BUT nothing solves these issues. In both cases (and probably many others) the academic and administrative toing and froing goes on and on with little tangible results.

    And then it could be said that this is the dynamics/reality of the human condition since the beginning of time - the them and us situation. There will always be poor people, there will always be people with limited education and the resources to access it, always dumb people who commit dumb acts, always be racists among us etc.

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    1. Geoffrey Edwards

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      "BUT nothing solves these issues'

      I am not sure that the fact that nothing has solved these issues so far excludes the possibility of finding a solution. Nor do I believe that our failure to find a solution thus far suggests that we should therefore stop.

      "And then it could be said that..."

      Yes, those things could be said. Or we can also say that, just because this is the way it has been, it does not follow that this is the way it must be.

      We have made many advances in knowledge and…

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  7. Gordon Smith

    Private citizen

    The title of this article refers to "hidden biases". I expect most biases are hidden as that is how community functions. Every group be it tennis club rotary club, political group and family group is full of pople with bises that are hidden. The reason they are hidden is because if all our biases where known to everyone community would be rather difficult.
    That they are hidden might show that a majority are mature enough to live with the complexities of human nature and own their biases/preferences…

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  8. George Michaelson

    Person

    maybe its a reader distortion but I went very quickly from bogan by location to bogan by racial minority to inter-minority tension.

    this article conflates social values and behaviour, with social class, unemployment and disorder. this is apples and fish.

    bogan is flipflops on prada, with added swarovski. bogan is underweight kids with fetal alcohol syndrome while you chainsmoke in the car, but sometimes the kids go to private school, and are still bogan. if they fight, it might be because…

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    1. Les McNamara

      Researcher

      In reply to George Michaelson

      Indeed. Although I agree with the sentiment in the article, 'bogans' are unsophisticated white people with muffin tops, or singlets or flanellette shirts (flannies), black denim and desert boots, or the beer-swilling loud-mouthed yobs that sit in parliament, or write front page stories for the tabloids, or host morning radio.

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  9. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Hi Geoffrey'

    I am not an optimist about much at all. You mention the human condition of change, often it;'s change for changes sake with no tangible benefits for anyone.

    I don't wring my hands in despair at the world around me, but nor do I have the attitude that it will get any better.
    I personally think humanity is on the slide, but to me it never really reached the heights anyway.
    The golden ages were only relevant for the rich and powerful who rode roughshod over the poor and dispossessed…

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  10. Judith Olney

    Ms

    Interesting article, the snobbishness involved in condemning certain suburbs as bad, is not just something that happens in cities, it happens everywhere a town is big enough to have suburbs.

    I live in a town of less than 10,000 people, and I live in the so called "bronx" section of the town. My area is predominantly old housing commission houses, most of which are now privately owned as our government went on a privatisation spree, and public housing was one of the first things to go.

    There…

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "We do have disadvantaged people living in my area, but their greatest disadvantage, and the cause of the discrimination, is not the person's abilities, or socio-economic standing, it is simply the fact that they live in an area of town that is considered "bad".
      Hmmm.by the way you have described your area, I think you might have cause and effect round the wrong way. WHY do people live in your Housing Commission area? I doubt very much that "abilities or SES standing" are not the main reason. After all it is precisely those factors - low abilities and SES standing that are behind people living in Housing Commission areas.

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    2. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Also, Judith, it might surprise you to learn that the idea of allowing council/public housing tenants to purchase that property outright was one of Margaret Thatcher's innovations. I don't think anybody who has knowledge of public housing, either from personal life experience, or solid academic research, could deny that a major - perhaps the primary - indicator and predictor of social dissolution, is the level of public housing in a community. As the rate of public housing tenancy increases, so does the level of social (and personal) dissolution increase.

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    3. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Kim, because someone is poor, does not mean they are uneducated, or behave badly or are criminals, but this is the assumption made by others. Just because someone's financial circumstances mean that they live in a housing commission house, (even though they may own this house), does not make them a bad person, although this is the assumption made by others. That is the point I'm making, the discrimination that people in my area receive is because they just happen to live in this area, regardless…

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    4. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      In my state it was an initiative of the Labor state government at the time when most of the tenants purchased their houses, maybe they got the idea from Thatcher, but that really doesn't matter. The way this scheme was structured it allowed long term tenants to purchase their homes outright, and that made a big difference to those people's self respect. The majority of the homes were well looked after by the people living in them, even when they were tenants.

      I think you are confusing cause and effect when you say that the rate of public housing in a community leads to social dissolution. I think that social dissolution comes from increased implementation of neo conservative fiscal policies, increased unemployment, and increased and systemic inequality in society, along with ingrained prejudice.

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    5. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith, it's a bit hard to respond, as your argument jumps around too much. In the one paragraph, your area is a very recent area, made up of people who own their own; then it's an old area of Housing Commission renters; and then it's located decades ago, when it was "the last to get sewerage".

      This suburb you describe, is currently not a Housing Commission area. But a suburb of home-owners, many of whom have only recently moved in, pushing the old Housing Commission renters out.

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    6. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Please read my post again, nowhere have I said that my area is a recent area, it is one of the oldest parts of town, that is made up of a majority of ex-housing commission homes. Although there are still some houses owned by homeswest, the majority are now privately owned, and many were bought by tenants who previously rented the homes they now own. So in fact, my area is now a mixture of privately owned ex-housing commission homes, and currently tenanted housing commission, (homeswest is the new…

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    7. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Also, when the elderly, (owners or tenants), die, their houses are sold, and this is where the influx of young families has come from. Because my area is an old area of town, this is something that happens often.

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    8. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Actually, in public housing, when a public housing tenant dies, someone from the public housing renter's wait list takes on the lease.

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    9. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Actually, It has been the policy of homeswest, in my area, to renovate and sell off public housing when a tenant leaves, or dies, and not re-tenant the house.

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    10. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Which means it is no longer 'public housing.' You say:
      "I think that social dissolution comes from increased implementation of neo conservative fiscal policies."
      Judith, I don't think you realise that here it is YOU who is the classic force of 'neoconservatism'. It is you who is privatising public enterprises. It is you who is forcing people out of public housing. In a democracy, politicians are representatives of their constituents.

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    11. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Precisely why I used the term "ex-housing commission" homes. Sheesh.

      I am not privatising public enterprises Kim, that has been the government of the time. I am certainly not forcing anybody out of public housing. The government that introduced the scheme of allowing public housing tenants to buy the home they were renting, did not force people out of public housing either. No public housing tenant in my area has been forced out of their homes to allow the home to be sold by homeswest. The homes have been sold when a tenant leaves of their own free will, or a tenant dies and the house is renovated and sold.

      Politicians are meant to represent their constituents in our so called representative democracy, although the reality in Australia is far from this ideal.

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  11. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Hi Judith

    great insights from you - thanks for your comments.

    In terms of indigenous Australians, the example you quote is where a starting point needs to be - home ownership at a affordable level (and for probably many more Aussies as well).

    But it can also highlight another negative aspect of privatisation of previously government housing - the dislocation of former renters to other areas. In Melbourne it's Fitzroy, Carlton, Northcote etc.

    I was watching a doco on New York last night…

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    1. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I think it is the responsibility of the state housing commissions to upkeep the properties they rent out, and it is these same bodies that allow the housing commission areas to become run down, and fall in to disrepair, often as a push to get people out so that they can be redeveloped. As the people living there have no other alternative, they have to stay put, even when their homes are falling down around them, there simply are no affordable private rentals in many towns and cities.

      People see what they want to see.

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  12. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Hi Judith

    take your point

    But at some stage people must take some ownership of their environment. (or not I suppose)

    Its not good enough to cry poor me when in the first place they have been given a reasonable or thereabouts home to live in, and then neglect the basic necessities of upkeep. I'm not talking about major needs.

    It not OK to always blame the Housing Commission - that's the same as you wanting to accuse others of stereotypical views of poorer suburbs.

    I know its easy to say that a lot of money is spent on booze,drugs cigarettes etc but surely a few bucks on a garden clean up and even a lick of paint for self pride could help.

    Am I being mean and unreasonable.......

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    1. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I understand your point Stephen, but whether it is the government or a private landlord, both are responsible for the upkeep and any repairs to a property they rent out, including painting. The tenant also has responsibilities to maintain the property in a reasonable condition, but is not responsible for building maintenance.

      The government also has the right to evict tenants from public housing for non-payment of rent, anti-social behaviour, or malicious damage to a property, the same as any other landlord.

      Keeping the garden tidy may not be a priority for some people, just as some people are cleaner in their houses than others, this applies to people who rent or own their own homes.

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  13. Spiro Vlachos

    AL

    Its funny that when the children of migrants are expected to assimilate with other Australians, they most often assimilate with bogans. To these first generation Australians, inner city muesli crunching, sandal wearing, tree hugging, climate change fanatics are an aberration to be avoided.

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  14. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Hi Judith

    fair point.......tenants from hell are not limited to one demographic etc.

    So what is the reason so many "bogan" suburbs have that ratty look about them.

    I'm not being funny here, I have run thru my theories and they don't seem to appeal to you.

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    1. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen, perhaps in low socioeconomic suburbs, where people have low disposable income, their first priority will be to feed themselves, cloth themselves and basically take care of the necessities of life, before they think about beautifying their homes, or neighbourhoods.

      It costs money to keep up appearances, money that may be better spent keeping people fed, and clothed.

      The lack of maintenance from public housing authorities could add to the look of "rattiness", this is not the fault of…

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  15. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    The term Bogan seems to be a generic epithet to cover a multitude of community and cultural crimes as so judged by myself and others.

    Having rethought the issue somewhat, I perhaps see that in many (certainly not all to) cases it is a failure of all of us as a nation to address the issue of poverty, community inequality, education inequality etc.

    I can imagine that for someone living in Boganville and looking outwards to the huge expanse of a seemingly prosperous middle classdom, it must seem…

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  16. Keith Thomas

    Retired

    "Interestingly, people in Brisbane were more likely to associate ethnic diversity with crime and disorder than people in Melbourne."

    Those commenting on this sentence have omitted the "Interestingly". The writer should have told us why this is interesting. Lots of us are having a stab at it (and more readers who did not comment will be doing the same), but it's a bit of a cop out for the writer to avoid telling us why and how this observation fits into her framework.

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  17. Tim Traynor

    Rocket Surgeon

    "There is significant evidence indicating that implicit bias is alive and well in Australia too. For example, Indigenous Australians are perceived as welfare-dependent, substance-addicted and are associated with problems of crime and disorder."

    But is it true?

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  18. wilma western

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    I just love it when people from communities depicted as "troubled" ( for example Wendouree , a location in Ballarat) bite back with loyal reports of neighbours helping each other, good community prganisations , etc against media stereotypes based on income and unemploymant figures mainly.

    Can't we get rid of that awful term bogan? Similarly horrible remarks like Moe stands for moccassins on everyone - snigger snigger. And even more wonderful examples of humour such as Deputy Leader of Opposition Julie Bishop asking K Rudd when he occupied the Foreign Affairs portfolio to comment of the situation in Bougainville ( boganville = the Lodge snigger snigger) Oz types think they're not snobs but I doubt that.

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    1. Keith Thomas

      Retired

      In reply to wilma western

      Wendouree (it was a Housing Commission estate for Ten-Pound-Poms in the 1950s - I grew up nearby and often visited my friends there) may have a strong community, but the fact is, that even the residents feel there is something special about their place. To some outsiders, that something is bogan-ness. But there is something. I don't think I'm a bogan, but I tend to use the term with the same affection I use "Aussie". My tongue is in my cheek. I acknowledge it's a stereotype, and it's not me, but are you sure it's as negative as comments here portray it? In Britain there are Chavs, in the US there are Trailer Trash, but I don't see bogan as having the exactly same meaning as these, because Australia is more egalitarian. Our vantage point from which we non-bogans view the bogans is not much above the bogans themselves and until I read these comments, I thought we were comfortable with that proximity. Julie Bishop clearly is not.

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  19. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Hi Kieth

    i'm pretty sure the term bogan is not one of endearment in the majority of australian eyes. Perhaps we laughed at those 80s comedy shows with and shaz and co. , but we were laughing at them - not with them.

    And fyi, Wendouree is now becoming a desirable place to live in The rat.........it's moved UP in the world.
    Even Sebastopol is now becoming gentrified - god knows where the bogans have gone.

    laughing with you now - not at you.

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      The term "bogan" is a Melbourne/Victorian term that only went national when the character Kylie Mole ("The Comedy Company"Nobody in Sydney ever said "bogan" before the early to mid 1990s. It's only become a national term of denigration/endearment (depending on which side you spread your butter) over the past decade or so. What really made "bogan" popular was the Howard years. Howard-haters had to find an enemy to blame and dehumanize, for his constant electoral success. Remember, all those people who truthfully said they "can not believe Howard is in government. I have never met anyone who votes for him/them". So the Haters grabbed hold of "bogan", which their then implicitly associated with flat screen TVs, McMansions, low education, racism, trips to Bali, and so on.

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  20. Andreas Vaszolyi

    Teacher

    Interesting article, but allow me to draw your attention to this (penultimate paragraph):

    "...over-burdened by inequality and increasing ethnic concentration. It is home to populations with multiple and complex needs, yet there are limited resources to foster full participation in society."

    SO the author is saying that the problems are:
    1) Inequality
    2) Ethnicity
    3) Neediness
    4) Poverty
    5) (the crux of the article) that the rest of us are too judgmental.

    Have I got this right?

    Also…

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Andreas Vaszolyi

      The problems are indeed complex. But here's a few quick hits, which would give a huge bang for our buck:
      1. Bulldoze all the old public housing estates.
      2. Get a grip and realise what people have known for millennia, with increased ethnic/racial diversity, levels of trust and social capital go down. The decline is not permanent. It can rebound after time, as the diverse races/ethnicities get to smell each other, and over time gain trust.
      3. Change the Constitution to ban ALL race discrimination…

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    2. Les McNamara

      Researcher

      In reply to Kim Darcy

      Agree totally with the first two points.

      In relation to point 4, since 2001, Kiwis can't claim unemployment benefits and many other payments unless they've been in Australia for 10 continuous years, and then they only have a maximum of 6 months of support.

      By contrast, Aussies in New Zealand can claim a benefit more or less immediately.

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    3. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Les McNamara

      Les, that's a good point. Besides, much of the problem (not that there are ONLY problems, there's a lot of good too.) A lot of 'Islanders; were actually born here. It was their parents who gave over years. I suppose that particular horse has already bolted.

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    4. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Les McNamara

      In a way, I can't see why both government's can't their own citizen's welfare/HECs types benefits when they're in the other country.

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  21. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Hi Kim

    from memory a lot of islanders were more or less conscripted to work in the cane fields of Queensland.

    Not sure if coercion was involved, but I recall there may well have been.

    Another forgotten pocket of history.

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      That's an interesting lineage I hadn't considered. Basically, because I was born and raised in a very racially-ethnic diverse suburb, and don't recall any 'Islanders' in that suburb, being old-timers. But I could be wrong. In the 19th century, they were called "kanakas".
      But the 'kanakas', who were recruited (whether by free labour 'black-birding', or as indentured) into the QLD sugar cane industry were overwhelming fro Melanesia (roughly Fiji to New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands.). While the…

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  22. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Here's an interesting piece of Australian history that if you are unfamiliar with the story may shock or sadden you.......

    A Mackay plantation owner commented:

    “It has been conclusively proved … that white men cannot and will not do the work done by niggers in the field, and … that if white labour were available, it would only be at wages which the planters could never afford to pay. The sugar industry is entirely dependent upon coloured labour.” [3]

    1863 – ‘Coloured’ labour
    The first…

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen, different groups/races of people who have lived in their own patch of earth for a long time, will develop different biophysical tendencies. Ever wondered why the British did not colonise Africa, like they did North America and Australia? If that many poms had rocked up to Africa, most would have died of malaria, or some other tropical disease, for which they had not developed immunity. Curiously, the counter-factual that Jared Diamond's New Guinea native, Tawi, poses, is 'why didn't the new Guineans/Aborigines colonise England. Well, if they'd turned up in dugout canoos by the hundreds of thousands, neaely all would be dead within a month from smallpox, measles. And guess where Aborigines ultimately caught their syphillis from? From not only Europeans, but Massechessuts and Canadian sealers, whalers, and merchant seaman. They all got it from trading slaves and gold with the Americas.
      So, it wouldn't surprise me if that Mackay plantation was talking some sense.

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  23. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    Hi Kim

    didn't England colonise Africa in a rather BIG way....................between them and the french they seemed to cut swathes thru the dark continent in the 19th cent (and before).

    Just as in India they insisted in the old stiff upper lip kinda thing - dressing up for dinner on the terrace in suits, ties, faaaabulous frocks (and that was just the men). temp was about 90 degrees and as humid as hell.
    what a quaint lot they were eh.

    reminded of that scene in movie re Kenya in the colonial days.....sarah miles playing a bored and louche aristocrat .......coming out onto the terrace after an all night party to a glorious sunrise -

    "oh no not another fucking beautiful day"

    massachussets seamen giving the Oz aborigines syphillis - who knew!

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      No, they did not 'colonise' on a large scale at all. If you take 'Colonise' to mean shipping all your own people in. If the Poms weren't biologically fit for a region, they died like flies. While the Jesuits learnt some tricks from the Aztecs in Peru about the malaria-treating properties of cinchona bark, in the 18 century, it was pretty primitive. But some French chemist iin the very late 19th century discovered it was the quinine in the bark, and we were able to extract it, and produce as a much…

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  24. Thomas Maloney

    Storage Facility Manager at Supercheap Storage South Brisbane

    I think everything is never a coincidence. You have your very own opinions but it is entirely up to you whether to cultivate those thoughts until they become a stereotype or "label" of others or not. The saying of "never judge a book by its cover" is always good to keep in handy. You can avoid yourself from creating a misperception of others and prevent conflicts amongst one another. Our society is a storage of unique differences and if we fail to accept that fact, it is never an easy task to simply live a happy life.

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