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The Australian Department of Immigration (currently the Department of Immigration and Citizenship) has rightfully been condemned for some dreadful actions over the years - turning away boatloads of refugees, passing the buck (in more ways than one) to cash-strapped Pacific islands, redrawing Australia's boundaries for migration purposes... even deporting Australian citizens who just happened to have non-Anglo names. And in the past week they've made us a global laughingstock yet again with the ludicrous Citizenship Test.
Hot on the heels of the Madcap Redhead's proclamation that South African immigrants have AIDS and are of no use in Australia, the Tamworth City Council voted on Tuesday night to reject the establishment of a refugee resettlement centre for five Sudanese families.
The reason? The Sydney Morning Herald quotes Tamworth mayor James Treloar as saying they didn't want a "Cronulla riots type situation" in Tamworth.
October 19, 2001: An overcrowded Indonesian fishing boat full of asylum seekers apparently en route to Australia sank in the Indian Ocean. A total of 353 people died - 65 men, 142 women, and 146 children. The sinking, while taking place in international waters, was inside the Australian border surveillance zone.
I've long been an admirer of Ian Chappell, having fond memories of his batting, his captaincy, his slip fielding, his willingness to drop his daks mid-pitch in the name of wardrobe maintenance. More than that, he has shown himself to be one of that rarest of breeds - an Australian cricketer with a social conscience.
Chappelli was interviewed by Andrew Denton for the October 2 edition of "Enough Rope". The transcript of the half-hour interview is online, as is an MP3 of the full interview as put to air, and a video excerpt.
It has been eleven months since I posted my last report - in actual fact, a nil return - of John Winston Howard's public references to Darfur.
Nothing has changed in that regard. Disappointingly, I can only find one reference to "Darfur" in Federal Parliament since the start of this year, a speech in the adjournment debate of the House of Reps on February 28 by Liberal MP Louise Markus, whose electorate in the Blacktown area is home to a large number of Sudanese refugees. Ms Markus took to task an opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph.
You've got to hand it to John Winston Howard - when he's not blatantly lying about events he's doing his darndest to shift the blame onto others. I don't think I've seen anything for quite a while that encapsulates the John Howard mindset better than this exchange from last night's 7.30 Report on the ABC. It comes during an interview by Kerry O'Brien about the Government's announced changes to mandatory detention for asylum seekers: