People talk about Sydney and Melbourne, sometimes Brisbane. Not a lot of attention is given to Australian Capital Territory, and Canberra, our national capital. As the home of Aussie decision-makers, ACT cannot be more neglected when it comes to modern urbanization and regional economic impacts.

Dr Fuxin Li, an independent candidate for Yerrabi electorate ACT, believes there are solutions in language education and multiculturalism.

Early Career as a Language Educator

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Dr Li started his Australian dream as an overseas student at Monash University in Melbourne. in the year 1995, he started his study for a PhD in Education.

“I appreciate Monash Uni’s endeavour in assisting overseas students, still. My English was not adequate, my Chinese cultural background is different from the local Aussies. I am grateful for the language exchange program initiated by the University. Even my Italian tutor Rosemary helped me with my language for essay-writing.” Trained as a prospective educator, Li loved his experience as an education beneficiary.

He wanted to pass it on.

Celebrating his 40th birthday, Li decided to set up his very first language school. “I simply hoped to build a school for my kids; I knew they would have no problem with English but the language school would enable them to study their ethnic language (Mandarin Chinese) here.”

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Today, ACT Community Language Schools Association (ACTCLSA) Inc, which Li chairs, has accommodated 39 community languages for kids from a varied range of ethnicities in the ACT. “If children can pick up their ethnic languages and maintain their cultures, I believe community can be more harmonious.” Li said, the more community language education is implemented, the more passionately he and the team push it even further, to make it even stronger.

Community language education, although in the past he never expressed the goal in public, is becoming a life-long career for Dr Fuxin Li.

Embrace a Globalized Canberra

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Glocalization means globalisation plus localisation. The balance between identity and commonality could be one of the key issues for Canberra’s sustainable prosperity—- in terms of international education, tourism, trade partnership, even retirement lifestyle for local residents. Dr Fuxin Li, the independent candidate for Yerrabi, believes education and connection are the answers.

During the tele-interview with Australia China Business Circle, Li mentioned a few times his concern about the COVID-19 outbreaks in Victoria. He suggests if the non-English speakers in  ACT could be more aware and precisely briefed about the ‘Stay at Home’ order in their languages, the second wave of community infection might be put down faster. However, the efforts do not necessarily have to come from the government.

“If our youth are more comfortable to talk with their parents, some of those do not have a good command of English, in their mother tongues, there will be a better chance that everyone could understand the life-saving rules.” Dr. Li believes community language education will, therefore, function as one of the practical solutions in future crises. Along with this, SBS is making a useful contribution in this field for TV watchers.

“If I am elected, I will continue to strengthen this section.” Dr Li added.

Under the depression brought about by COVID-19, ACT’s international education sector suffers from the wash away of overseas students. A difficult time for the universities needs to be terminated, Li thought, and he acted on this.

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To bring back the students stuck by a closed border, Dr Li actively met with international student representatives of ANU and Xiamen Airline. They were about to work out a feasible charter flight plan for the return of overseas students other than 350 government sponsored to Canberra. Unfortunately, the second outbreak of COVID-19 pushed away the ‘pilot program’ and the timetables had to be reset.

Despite all the uncertainties, Li remains a firm believer in a globalised Canberra. “We will need more direct flights from more Asian countries, more than current flights with Singapore and the Qatar Airlines. If I am elected, we will explore the possibilities with local service providers.”

The last piece of ACT’s globalisation process, Dr Li considers, is an international school to attract more high school students from overseas to study in Australia’s capital city. “I hope the school will be in the electorate of Yerrabi.” He said.

A Liveable And Vibrant Yerrabi

This is what the international school looks like for Li. Firstly, Yerrabi should be considered as an ideal location since Yerrabi suburbs are the hubs of multicultural communities in the ACT.

Secondly, within ACT, there are around 800 overseas students in the local primary and high schools, accounting for about 1.6% of the total pre-Uni student population. The prospective international school will attract 70% of new international high school students as well as 30% of local Australian students. They will all be accommodated in a boarding school set up.

Thirdly, the new school will aim to preserve as much as possible the students’ ethnic identities in languages and lifestyles but to apply an Australian standard of curriculum. The arrangement will ensure enrolled students to achieve academic excellence for Australian University entries.

“The international school, if approved, will result in an economic boost for Yerrabi, creating jobs and new businesses that fulfill the newly-generated needs,” he added.

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As a side-project of this initiative, Dr Fuxin Li, the Independent Candidate for Yerrabi, promised to work on increasing the government grant community language study, from the current 90 dollars per capita per head to at least 130 dollars.

Apart from the international school, Dr Li proposed placing a new multicultural library in Yerrabi . “This is not only for students, but for every single member in Yerrabi communities. A library for the communities where almost everyone would find literature in their own languages and appreciate the cultures of his/her neighbours.”

Even before he stood as a candidate for the 2020 Yerrabi campaign, Dr Li had already been an activist in helping people in fighting against coronavirus.  In April, he managed to get  tens of thousands of masks for the ACT.

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When he received the supply, DrLi donated more than 10,000 masks to the residents in Yerrabi and suburbs in Canberra and Queanbeyan. By driving a van, he went around the city to give away the masks. “I care. Happy to see the vast majority of the businesses and people happilyaccepted my face masks.” He smiles when recalling the 4-week journey of distributing masks.

Li’s undertaking to the electors of Yerrabi: “As an independent of Yerrabi, I will listen to you, stand for you to make a fairer and better Canberra and Electorate Yerrabi Community. Please vote for me and ask you and your friends to give me an opportunity to work for you. Thank you!”

堪培拉是澳大利亚的首都,虽然在城市面积和旅居华人数量方面不能与悉尼和墨尔本相比,但堪城也是两万五千华人的家,占总人口超过6%,多过印度裔,韩裔和汤加裔人口。比较遗憾的是,虽然在首都领地的议会里有印度裔,韩裔和汤加裔等少数族裔的议员代表,身为主流社会外第一大社区的华人,在议会里却无人代表。

今年,第一代华人移民李复新博士将要打破这个僵局!教育家出身的李博士作为社区语言教育和堪培拉国际化的倡导者,决定参加今年 10月17日澳大利亚首都地区堪培拉议会大选,代表堪城华人竞选Yerrabi选区的议员席位,希望得到您和身边朋友们的投票与支持。

桥梁—华人社区与主流社会之使命

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2020年堪培拉大选共有5个选区,其中Yerrabi选区包括Kaleen, Giralang, Gungahlin District和Hall村庄。 李复新博士在接受《澳中商圈》杂志采访时指出,自己竞选Yerrabi选区议员最首要的愿望就是代表华人社区和主流社会沟通。而沟通是双向的,有政策听取,也有民意传达,上传下达,下传上达。

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“我有一个微信公众号,一个脸书,一个网站和一辆流动宣传车,用来准确传达信息和政策以及服务社区!”今年二月的时候,李复新博士动用自己的人脉关系在本地聚拢了一批口罩,无偿捐献给了国内的疫情重灾区。4月中旬,澳大利亚的疫情开始了其第一波爆发,而当时国内的抗疫已经基本收官。因此,李复新博士又自己出钱从中国购买了一万多个口罩和5千盒子酒精消毒液,捐献给了他所在的Yerrabi 选区和堪培拉市民。拿到口罩后,李复新博士带着团队,开着自己的流动宣传车,走遍了Yerrabi和堪培拉的区域,一个口罩一个口罩地分发,用干大事的气力做完一件温暖的“小事”。“在一周多的时间里,我跑了很多地方,许多人都开心地接过了我的口罩。”

作为澳大利亚首都领地社区语言学校协会的现任主席和全澳社区语言学校协会联盟秘书长兼法人代表,李复新博士希望能有机会继续推广中文教育,为当地学习非英语语言的孩子拿到更多的政府补贴,让他们能够讲自己的母语、了解中国文化,和父母一辈的老移民们聊得到一块儿去。“我当选以后要争取把堪培拉每个学社区语言包括学中文的孩子每年90澳元的政府补贴提高到130澳元,甚至150澳元,我觉得这完全可以做得到!”

他认为不管是面对疫情还是政府的重大决策,一个人或一支团队的“地推”力量是不够的,需要有人坐在议会里,代表华人,并且走出议会后能把当地华人团结起来,让大家既能安居,也可乐业。李复新博士表示他就想成为这样的人—-不但让民众安居乐业,还要能够安度晚年。

希望建一所服务华人的养老院

对于华人一名来说养老是一件大事,在Yerrabi,60岁以上的老年人约有10,000多人,65以上的老人有6,500多人,而华人的比例有8.31%(数据来自于2016年的人口普查)。因此,李复新博士告诉我们,如果他当选,将努力促成为Yerrabi乃至全堪培拉有养老需求的老人新建一个安度晚年的家。

“我希望就在Yerrabi,建一所华人养老院,我几次去实地考察地方!”老人如果能够融入一个语言相通,文化也相同的环境,相信比进入主流英语环境的养老院更容易幸福安康。

歧视零容忍,为华人请命

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谈到之前甚嚣尘上的歧视问题,李复新博士表示疫情之下被频繁报道的歧视华人,甚至攻击华人事件在澳洲都是非法的。总起来说,堪培拉是安全的,澳大利亚是安全的,和其他移民国家相比属于小概率事件。他作为华人背景的社会活动家和教育家,将竭力帮助堪培拉受到歧视的华人,通过反种族歧视委员会,打击种族歧视违法犯罪行为!

“将来任何人碰到了(种族歧视)都可以联系我,作为Yerrabi的居民和未来的议员代表,我帮你!”从发展的眼光看,李复新博士认为随着主流社会对于疫情的认知趋于客观,针对某一族裔的歧视事件将会迅速减少,华人社区保护了自己也为澳洲社会树立了榜样,做出了贡献,未来堪培拉和澳大利亚会延续其包容、多元的立国之本,边境开放后拥抱更多的新一代华人移民和留学生。

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一路聊下来,李复新博士告诉我们他也曾是留学生,踩到过新移民都踩过的“坑”,他理解华人的不易,但相信华人的吃苦耐劳和聪明才智,所以希望能通过独立竞选Yerrabi选区的议员当好这个代表,为民请命。不管是从选入议会代表一个少数族裔、游说政府增加社区语言补贴、还是建设华人养老院,李复新博士的施政内核都集中在教育和多元文化这两个大方向,提出的政策都是有可能做得到的实事。

这些施政纲领仔细读起来,非常李复新。

Authorized by Dr Fuxin Li Independent Candidate for Yerrabi