There can be no doubt that Tony Abbott, if he is elected prime minister at the next federal elections will take a hardline, perhaps even extremist approach, to asylum seeks arriving by boat. Indeed the opposition leader is tackling the issue of boat people in the same way he has gone about dealing with the … Continue reading Tony Abbott and asylum seekers: another demonization opportunity
The joke that sticks doggedly in my mind from stand-up comic Tom Ballard’s Saturday Night gig, ‘The World Keeps Happening’ is the one he made about 9/11. Ballard, young, blonde, dressed in a t-shirt and black jeans asks: “Would 9/11 have been so bad… if they’d flown into the Trump Towers instead?” (Queue: a low … Continue reading A messy world: inside the zany comic mind of Tom Ballard (@TomCBallard)
As far as being Jewish goes, I am no great role model: I don’t keep kosher, I don’t observe the Sabbath, I don’t fast on Yom Kippur and I have married outside my religion. But I consider myself Jewish in my upbringing, cultural connections, appreciation of Jewish food, jokes and more deeply a sense simply of always, … Continue reading There is no place in Judaism for intolerance
For me, there is no greater symbol of Australian tolerance and acceptance of multiculturalism than park life. Not the song by Blur, but what goes in a park in Sydney or Melbourne (or Brisbane or Perth I am sure) on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. If you don’t spend much time in parks, I urge … Continue reading Postcard from Australia: Parks, recreation and racism
I’ve been eligible for Australian citizenship for over four years and yet I still I haven’t applied. In fact, I haven’t done a thing. This seems odd. Doesn’t the whole world want to move over here? Aren’t people jumping aboard rickety boats, making perilous journeys across choppy seas for the chance – faint though it now … Continue reading Why do I delay my citizenship application?
Last weekend, whilst driving in the Melbourne northern burbs, my wife’s phone rang. It was friends of ours, recently back from a holiday in Europe and they had big news. They had gotten engaged in Paris. They had been together for a number of years and we were delighted to hear they had tied the … Continue reading Australia: a backwards country, going further backwards
I was dismayed – no gutted – to read a story in The Australian newspaper last week. The story ran under the headline “Lowy Institute poll shows strong support for asylum-seeker policies”. It’s first paragraph said: “More than 70 per cent of Australians support the Abbott government’s Sovereign Borders Policy, including the idea that boats … Continue reading The Australian (and Australia’s) propaganda war against boat people
My cousin Maureen loves telling the story of how she flew to New Zealand in the 1980s and upon landing in Auckland, the pilot announced over the intercom: “Welcome to New Zealand, please turn your watches back 30 years.” It was a great line and always made me laugh. But now it’s no so funny … Continue reading Welcome to Australia: please turn your watches back 30 years
“Our home is girt by sea” So rings out the fourth line of the Australian anthem, Advance Australia Fair. “Girt” that awkward, uncomfortable word meaning “surrounded”. But now the line is firmly planted in my head as the national debate about our hardline approach to asylum seekers continues. I flicked on the radio last weekend … Continue reading “Girt by sea” and yet we fear an invasion of the desperate
As coal mining billionaire Clive Palmer tucks into his next big breakfast on his private jet, I wonder if he is beginning to feel like something of a political outsider. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Queensland’s richest man is currently deciding whether to retain his membership of the Liberal-National Party following … Continue reading Is a donkey vote the only option for Clive Palmer at the next federal election?