Saturday, July 20, 2013

Multiculturalism PNG-style: Is long pork haram?

The clock radio went off to herald a wintry Melbourne morn and many catalysts for memory’s crucible, still full with dreaming’s little threads and fragments. Outside it might have been 1963, because this is the way winter was back then, or so an older Bunyip’s recollections now attest. The weather is cold and wet and London damp, the hole outside the bedroom, where the new fish pond will go, a soggy pit. If John Batman had arrived on a day such as this, he would have cut his throat. Today, though, we have the footy for comfort and distraction, and there is hope of a better world as well, for Kevin Rudd has sent  those illegal aliens packing to New Guinea.

Well, “all” to the extent that women and children may or may not be included and  “solved” only to the immediate satisfaction of the Fairfax press and ABC. The rest of us can only be baffled, and not just those still fuzzed with slumber in our sheets’ cosy fug.

It is a year-long deal, and what then? It will cost how much? Can it withstand the courts’ scrutiny? And what will stop Manus inmates hopping in canoes and paddling across the Torres Strait, claims for asylum a good deal stronger for their stays in the country where they quite likely ate a Rockefeller. A Chimbu with an axe and a bone to pick – a standard hazard of PNG life, apparently – makes a very handy argument for the urgent need to live somewhere else. If the post-announcement footage of locals bemoaning their soon-to-be neighbours’ arrival is any indication, it may well be more than Chimbus on the doorstep. Two weeks ago the military rampaged through the university in Port Moresby and beat students senseless with iron bars. While this represents a sound response to the tertiary sector in just about any nation you might care to name, it also testifies to a definite volatility in the local temperament. In a country where the broadcast of last week’s State of Origin contest prompted a riot, a pub burned and a teenager shot dead, the simple fact of being an outsider can reasonably be expected to incur somewhat higher insurance premiums.

That radio by the pillow, however, was burbling with grim resolve. Somehow, in the time between Rudd’s deal with Peter O’Neill, and the skies breaking once again over the Billabong, time had been found to record a series of stern public service announcements, all warning that it would be the height of folly to tempt Australia’s resolve and turn up uninvited. As far as is known the only current victim of political persecution in the greater Port Phillip Bay area is Julia Gillard, and she has indicated her intention to seek asylum not at Christmas Island but at her mum’s Adelaide home (it will be such a comfort to have Tim living on her couch). Even before the coffee kicked in one could only wonder why this urgent need to blitz Melbourne, of all places, with these messages. Jakarta, certainly, but Mentone, Ashburton and Bentleigh?

Unless, of course, Rudd & Co are more keen to assure voters that the queue-jumping crisis is over and solved. That would be putting the public advertising budget at the service of one very cheeky politician’s latest sleight of hand. All the magician needs now is an audience prepared to be duped and a court decision that is not brought down until after the election.


  1. The Old and Unimproved DaveJuly 20, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    One can't help but feel that the lurve media will get the surprise of its life when it discovers that all of Rudd's U-turns are about as effective as backpedalling in the last few metres of the ski-jump platform.

  2. Well, when you live in Adelaide you don't have to return messages left by Victoria Police on your phone, do you?

  3. Beautifully put Professor miss you and regularly pop by hope the pond works out OK I find winter feels longer by about three months

  4. Genius as always, Professor.

    This is a complete and utter scam, from a murderous and incompetent Parliament, via their tergiversating bastard of a leader.

  5. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 20, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Winter is here, and so very soon I am briefly changing hemispheres for a few weeks in order to warm up, Prof. To paraphrase and relocate a popular dirge, 'winter in Australia is cold, and I am growing older ...' because it is my birthday weekend; two days of sombre reflection on birth, death, and the brevity of the sparrow's flight from the darkened howling entrance to the final exiting darkness across the flicking warmth and light of the pondering Saxon's hall. No wonder then that a birthday weekend is not a time of perfect sobriety and a considerable degustation has already been undertaken and more is planned. Les Rites de Passage do focus the mind somewhat on time's winged passage and the joys of the present flesh, despite which urgent consideration, here I am donating a special five minutes away from convivial celebrations to say welcome back to you, and yes, those advertisements will see Ms. Gillard off to Adelaide very nicely.

  6. A full page ad also appeared with incredible speed in the Weekend Australian. No doubt people in countries from the ME to Indonesia are poring over it right now.

  7. Professor, have missed you and say many thanks for coming back to alert and entertain us.
    The Ruddster has just executed a triple twist with a degree difficulty yet unknown. Just mind blowing to find him sending people to PNG when the DFAT warning list advised people not to go there.
    He must think this will make him look all hairy chested and mannish. To this little duck it just shows the white coat brigade should have come for him three weeks ago, they have left it too late.

  8. It should be pointed out to the detainees when they arrive at Manus Island that the fence surrounding their camp is there, not to keep them in, but to keep the locals out. If they see their neighbours with bones through their noses, waving their machetes around in a menacing manner, they would be less inclined to attempt a break-out.

    They certainly would avoid situations where the local authorities called for "100 strong men" to assist in quelling a riot as happened in Naru. Who would want to be policed by cannibals and head-hunters?

    But then again, isn't cannibalism now in vogue in Syria?