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August 29, 2001
9:22 AM   Subscribe

There's a situation arising right now, between Australian, Norwegian and Indonesian governments. The issue? A Norwegian freighter laden with 438 Afghan asylum seekers, stranded in the Indian Ocean. Today, Australia elite commandos seized control of the Norwegian-owned "Tampa" and its human cargo and ordered the ship to return to international waters. Norwegian authorities, on the other hand, are appealing to Australian authorities to help the refugees and the crew onboard "Tampa". What should be done here, if anything, and by whom? And what about the situation in Afghanistan, that is causing these people to escape from there in the first place? (More: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
posted by dagny (52 comments total)

 
Australia is in the wrong. They should let the ship land the refugees and then figure out what to do about them.

Though there may be many villains in this piece, the ship's captain who followed the law of the sea by rescuing people from the derelict isn't one of them. No matter what happens, he and his ship should not be punished for doing a good deed, and that's what's happening now. The very real danger is that the next ship in such a position might decide to pass the derelict by and leave the people on it to their fate, which is not acceptable.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:30 AM on August 29, 2001


If I lived in Afghanistan I would use drastic measures like that to get out there too.
posted by Qambient at 9:35 AM on August 29, 2001


The SAS personnel on the vessel have put it to the captain that the appropriate thing would be for the captain to return to international waters.
It's probably more the SBS than the SAS -
-----

vicious circles...
posted by monkeyJuice at 9:44 AM on August 29, 2001


What Australia would do with them is stick them in a remote detention camp for months, even years on end while their case was "assessed", as is often the case for boat people. Sad but true. The difference here is that with the asylum seekers having been rescued by a Norwegian freighter, it gave the Federal government an opportunity to wash its hands of this particular incident, but with the Norwegian captain having decided not to move, the Australians sent the SAS in.

NB: Public opinion in Australia is overwhelmingly against letting them land.
posted by GrahamVM at 9:51 AM on August 29, 2001


Given that we're all posting about this on an internet message board and that last I checked, that required a PC and at least a phone line, it's probably a safe bet that none of us are living in impoverished opression.

Makes it kind of hard to comment with any kind of credibility on people who were so keen to leave their homeland they'd face perils unknown to do so.

I think in their position we'd ALL be holding out hope for a helping hand, particularly given the probable outcome if no help was forthcoming.
posted by daragh at 10:24 AM on August 29, 2001


Far be it from a country to actually not allow anyone in just because they want to. The USA could and should start adopting the same immigration policies that Australia and New Zealand have. I say this as I watch Massachusetts sink lower and lower. Thanks for all these wonderful social programs !

Ship violated an order to leave their territorial waters. Military action is justified. They should be glad they didn't screw with the French. Greenpeace ship??? HAHAHAHAHA
posted by a3matrix at 10:28 AM on August 29, 2001


"it's probably a safe bet that none of us are living in impoverished opression."

Well, we certainly are not in Afghanistan. I would do whatever it took to get my family away from the Taliban.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 10:36 AM on August 29, 2001


a3matrix, if you'll notice in article 6, the prime minister of new Zealand said that the boat would not have been turned away from new Zealand. I guess you'll have to find a different isolationist country to admire.
posted by jnthnjng at 10:52 AM on August 29, 2001


Indonesia refused to take them too. Here's a map of the Indian Ocean (scroll right). This really dramatizes the situation for me. They are indeed in a bind. Obviously Indonesia or Australia has to cave. The boat can't stay in the water forever, and the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka are all a long ways away.
posted by rschram at 11:02 AM on August 29, 2001


a3matrix:

Scroll to the bottom of this page and take a look at the man killed in that Greenpeace explosion that you find so amusing.

Do you still find it funny?

Maybe even more people will die onboard that freighter, and we can all laugh over some Miller whilst shooting at squirrels in the trailer park.

Jackass.
posted by thewittyname at 11:07 AM on August 29, 2001


From UNHCR's website FAQ:
Q: "Are there guidelines on stowaways, or people rescued at sea, who claim asylum?"
A: "Ships' masters have a fundamental obligation under international law to rescue any persons in distress at sea. In some cases, such as the exodus of Vietnamese boat-people, such persons have been asylum-seekers. Ships may also discover that they are carrying clandestine stowaways, who may also be asylum-seekers.

The established international practice is that persons rescued at sea should be disembarked at the next port of call, where they should always be admitted, at least on a temporary basis, pending resettlement. Certain flag states of rescuing ships (though not all) have provided guarantees of resettlement for persons rescued at sea."
posted by kahboom at 11:21 AM on August 29, 2001


Indonesia has now changed its mind and says it will take them back. But it should be the government of Australia who takes them and sends them to Indonesia. It should not be the responsibility of the ship which followed international law by rescuing them to do so.

My focus in this is exclusively on the ship's captain and crew. No matter what the result, they are heroes and shouldn't be punished or inconvenienced any more than necessary.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:24 AM on August 29, 2001


Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, warned the Norwegian government that if they didn't do anything to keep the ship from entering Australian territorial waters, the Australian military would board the craft. Strange request, since it's up to the captain, not the Norwegian government. In any case, the request/demand for action by the Norwegian gov't comes across as a bit disingenuous, since the troops had already boarded the ship by the time of the warning...

Australian forces had medics with them, but refuse to treat the refugees unless the ship is moved to international waters. That's what we call extortion...
posted by kahboom at 11:34 AM on August 29, 2001


a3matrix, as a recent visitor to Australia, one of the few things I didn't like about the country was the out and out racism I heard from many citizens.

Did you know that Australia's wonderful immigration policies didn't allow ANY non-whites to move there until the 1970's? None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Just thirty years ago, it was "You're not white? You ain't coming in."

And their isolationism leads to wonderful stuff like this.
posted by mathowie at 11:40 AM on August 29, 2001


Way to go Australia! You managed to make the INS look like heroes!
posted by aramaic at 11:58 AM on August 29, 2001


Howard was trying to pass retroactive legislation to give him the authority to kick Norwegian boats out of Christmas Island. News.com.au says that's not happening. Steven, do you have a source for the Indonesian offer? I can't find it.
posted by rschram at 12:04 PM on August 29, 2001


Why can they not be allowed to mandate their own immigration policies? You may not like the policy, but it is theirs. I do not idolize them for it, but I like the fact that they don't have an open door policy as is the case in the US, or so it appears. Maybe somewhere between our policies and theirs is the happy medium that would satisfy both sides.
If I admire them for anything it is for them not caving into international pressure to let the refugees in.
posted by a3matrix at 12:07 PM on August 29, 2001


Sort of ironic, given Australian history. Would Howard let them in if they were known criminals?

(yeah, OK, cheap shot)
posted by aramaic at 12:19 PM on August 29, 2001


Tonight in Canberra there is speculation that the Government might call an election on Sunday. The government tried to rush through legislation tonight to confirm that it is operating legally. (SMH.com.au Web diary)
posted by rschram at 12:47 PM on August 29, 2001


The US certainly does not have an open door policy, and has a long history of deporting refugees, interdicting and then moving them illegally to other countries, etc.

Both the US and Australia have ratified the U.N. Convention of 1951 Relating to the Status of Refugees. Immigration policy is certainly a matter that Australia can do as they wish with. The right of people who claim refugee status to seek refuge and be admitted until their status can be determined according to the convention should not be infringed upon. It is the breaking of international law coupled with gross disrespect for humanitarian values which has caused the uproar, and rightly so.
posted by kahboom at 12:52 PM on August 29, 2001


a3matrix, as a recent visitor to Australia, one of the few things I didn't like about the country was the out and out racism I heard from many citizens.

Well, gee Matt. You visit a couple of the major cities and visit a couple of tourist traps and suddenly we seem to be a bunch of racists? Thanks for the endorsement. And the link to the lecture about immigration policy from the 1970's? Yes, legislation from thirty years ago is a hightly accurate indication of today's mind-set.

What are we supposed to do with illegal immigrants? If we threw our arms open wide and posted a big "open-house" sign outside the door, we'd have chaos. As it is, we're already seen as soft, given how many boats have been attempting to land here recently (people from foreign countries never hear in the news about the several boatloads that arrive each month which we duly allow to enter our waters and enter the country.

I support Howard's decision in this case. If all the humanitarians really gave such a damn about the refugees, why aren't we hearing them offering to shell out their own cash and offering their own food to take in a family or two?
posted by cheaily at 2:28 PM on August 29, 2001


What are we supposed to do with illegal immigrants?

1) Privatize all property
2) Abolish all government welfare systems
3) Open the borders
posted by dagny at 2:35 PM on August 29, 2001


why aren't we hearing them offering to shell out their own cash and offering their own food to take in a family or two?

I believe they are, in the form of tax money. Also, it's not the best idea to confuse refugees with illegal immigrants. While they can be one in the same, there is a genuine difference that is part of International Law.
posted by cell divide at 2:39 PM on August 29, 2001


it's probably a safe bet that none of us are living in impoverished opression.

try working for TV Guide sometime. it's close.
posted by tolkhan at 3:28 PM on August 29, 2001


BBC: "After initially refusing to accept them, Indonesia said on Tuesday that it would allow the ship to land there."

A3Matrix, they can enforce their immigration policy by taking the refugees off the ship and then deporting them back to Indonesia.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 3:51 PM on August 29, 2001


i bet they all just want to go to the TRI-NATIONS FINAL THIS WEEKEND!!!

YEAH BABY! GO WALLABIES!!

oh sorry, yeah it's sad. afghanistan sucks.
posted by cheesebot at 4:46 PM on August 29, 2001


Without taking a position on this sad state of affairs, I note that E.O. Wilson (Harvard ) and others had suggested some time ago in their writings that there would soon be a mass attempt by many peoples worldwide to immmigrate to countries where life might be more stable and liveable rather than stay in countries of origin where there was abject poverty, hunger, lack of govt support or help, etc--this would be done in desperation and the flow would grow and grow in the coming years.
This problem promises to worsen. Further, these writers also suggest that massive water shortages in many areas of the world would be a cause for much fighting and warfare in the years to come.
posted by Postroad at 4:49 PM on August 29, 2001


Australia isn't a heartless nation as this recent boat people episode might indicate. Australia accepts thousands of boat people every year and most of them are put in detention centres whilst their applications are being processed. The catch is that pretty much none of these arrivals carry documentation with them, which makes it extremely difficult for the government to determine whether the people are legitimate refugees or simply illegal immigrants.

These 400-odd Afghans on the Norwegian ship are the latest influx of boat people in the last month, and many people around the world do not understand the extent to which Australia is stretched to its limits. For an economy that is many times smaller than that of California, we cannot be accepting loads of boat people without limit - there are simply not enough resources for it.

I understand that Australia has a moral obligation to accept refugees, and normally I approve of our acceptance of boat people, but we cannot afford to let it spiral out of control.

And for the person who said that Australia is a racist country - US slavery of blacks...
posted by sheepless at 6:33 PM on August 29, 2001


sheepless:

slavery is old news. if you want to claim that the US is racist, there are far better and more current reasons (police brutality, racial profiling, the entire city of Cincinatti, etc.)
posted by moz at 6:59 PM on August 29, 2001


Sheepless, what is so difficult about taking these people off of this ship and sending them immediately to Indonesia, who has said they will take them?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:05 PM on August 29, 2001


Indeed. After all, Indonesia was their latest port of call. One other thing this discussion has failed to mention, and that is the people threatened to jump overboard if the captain didn't take them to Australia. It's probably this blackmail that has hardened hearts over here. It's about the most contentious and heated public debate I've seen since the aftermath of Port Arthur in '96. (At least these people are alive, even tho' if no-one wants them...)

The twenty-first century is going to be all refugees and fights over water rights. Get used to it, kiddies.

Still, it would be nice if someone would kick the Taliban out of Afghanistan, which is a major source of refugees - 10% of the world's refugees come from there. Of course, with the religiots armed up with western and Soviet arms, in a country notorious for it's impregnability (i.e. the British in the 19th C, and of course the Soviets more recently...), with no-one in any position to organise such an invasion of Afghanistan, I'm not holding my breath.
posted by GrahamVM at 7:23 PM on August 29, 2001


slavery is old news. if you want to claim that the US is racist, there are far better and more current reasons (police brutality, racial profiling, the entire city of Cincinatti, etc.)

The same is said about the White Australia policy. That is very old news too. Thus my point.

what is so difficult about taking these people off of this ship and sending them immediately to Indonesia, who has said they will take them?

If Indonesia has agreed to take them then doesn't it make sense for the ship to sail there, rather than taking them off the boat and getting their hopes up just to bung them on a plane back to Indonesia (who, as far as I know, are quite defiant about letting them back).?
posted by sheepless at 7:24 PM on August 29, 2001


[doesn't it make sense for the ship to sail there, rather than taking them off the boat and getting their hopes up]

Sure, excepting that the freighter was never designed to handle more than a very small crew. And some of the Afghanis need medical attention...
posted by kahboom at 7:41 PM on August 29, 2001


Well the ignorance is running wild and deep in this thread.

1. US immigration policies and Australian immigration policies are almost a dead even match.

3. While the White Australia Policy wasn't repealed until the '70s it had basically ceased to be in effect long before that. It doesn't remove the stigma of it having been around, but as someone pointed out already, it's old news.

3. Australia is frequently seen by people smugglers (those who set these refugees on their merry way for a price) as a soft touch. Hence why the Oz government is trying to draw the line.

4. The racism in the US and the racism in Australia is almost a dead match. The deep south in Oz can better be called the deep north.

5. I wouldn't get too carried away with the claim that the medical personnel with the SAS are refusing to treat any of the ill refugees. The SAS guys are trained bastards, but army medical personnel will almost invariably NOT refuse treatment.

6. Taking the people off the ship and then to Indonesia is not an option given Indonesia's strange ability to change its mind on such matters.

There are always a number of sides to stories like this and most of you seem to be chosing just one and basing it on media reports that are almost invariably flawed.
posted by Option1 at 7:55 PM on August 29, 2001


It makes no sense whatever for the ship to take them to Indonesia, because it has a schedule to meet. It has cargo to deliver. And, as pointed out, it's not designed to carry that many people.

And finally, it is not the responsibility of the ship or its crew to figure out what to do with them. They're sailors, not diplomats.

The responsibility of that ship, according to international law, is to rescue the people from the derelict and to deliver them to the nearest port. The nearest port was Christmas Island. It is then no longer the responsibility of that ship or its crew to deal with the people rescued from the ship which sunk.

It is, instead, the responsibility of the nation which owns that port to deal with them. That is Australia, and the one thing it isn't permitted to do under international law is to say "Take 'em somewhere else. We don't want 'em." Australia is required, under international law, to take the refugees off the ship immediately and let it go on its way.

Regardless of whether Australia then has an easy destination for those people or a real problem figuring out what to do with them, the one thing it is not permitted to do is to force the ship to keep them. It's not clear whose problem it is to figure out what to do with these people.

It is extremely clear that it is not and should not be made the problem of that ship's crew.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:37 PM on August 29, 2001


And here is the reason why the people must be taken off that ship as soon as possible.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:58 PM on August 29, 2001


Jeez. I don't want to spend more time off-topic here, but I didn't say australia is filled with racists, or that it is a racist country, I said I heard lots of racist comments while I was there, and I don't normally hear stuff like that in the US (though the same attitudes are here).

Normally respectible people would spout out all sorts of wacky stuff whenever the "A" word came up. Whenever the word "aborigines" sprang up, I would hear comments that were very ugly, and these were coming from college educated aussies I've known for a while. Stuff about them being all drunks, and stupid, and hearing how businesses institute dress codes because "no aborigines own ties, that's how we keep them out." Hearing about asians and people from india sometimes came as a shock as well. It really surprised me, and I thought it was worth mentioning in the context of boat people being barred entry.

Back on topic, it sounds like people may die on the boat, while it sits in limbo. Sitting halfway around the world, admittedly comfortabe in my shelter and well-fed, it seems silly to get worked up about the cost of dealing with allowing them in, instead of just finishing this and processing their deportation later. The Australian gov't is basically saying "yeah, they're people, but we don't want them, and they're expensive and we don't want more of them showing up." They're making it clear that saving some money is more important than the lives of strangers, and that's kind of fucked up, don't you think?
posted by mathowie at 10:16 PM on August 29, 2001


One aspect of this situation which hasn't been mentioned yet, is that Australia is facing a Federal election this year. The Howard Govt has been facing some crucial defeats in recent by-elections, and the general speculation in the air is that they'll lose the Federal election.

Also, there have been recent uncoverings of the Liberal Party cheating with the GST system THEY created. A good knee-jerk issue like illegal immigrants is perfect timing for John Howard.

Australia may seem like heartless fools in the international spectrum, but from reading 'The Herald Sun', Melbourne's tabloid sensationalist newspaper (which also has the highest circulation), many Australians are behind him (excluding myself ofcourse). Howard is more concerned about what Australian voters think, than what the Norwegian Govt thinks. Sad but true.

A pretty spot-on comment from Reuters : "Australia's reputation as a stubborn white fortress against the Asian hordes has been reclaimed this week"
posted by cbieg at 11:17 PM on August 29, 2001


And, even as we speak, another boatload is sighted off North Queensland...and two are overdue...
posted by flowerdale at 2:29 AM on August 30, 2001


They're making it clear that saving some money is more important than the lives of strangers, and that's kind of fucked up, don't you think?

Yes. And as you say, Matt, it's the Australian government doing that, which is not the same as the Australian people. Howard and co received less than a majority vote overall in the 1998 election - he is, if you like, our Dubya - and he 'represents' many of us only in the loosest sense.

I'm sure you will have heard ugly stuff from various Aussies on your visit, partly because people with ugly views tend not to have the tact to keep them to themselves once the subject comes up (and visitors tend to raise these subjects more often than they normally would be - 'Say, why haven't I seen any Aborigines yet? Boy, you sure have a lot of Vietnamese restaurants around here.').

Those with more tolerant views - which is most of us - don't usually tend to spout off about our tolerance, because we're the norm: Australia in 2001 (and 1991, and 1981, and in 1971 I was 3 so I can't really say) is a tolerant, multicultural society, and it's the people who don't like it that way that make the noise - by calling talk-back radio shows, writing to the tabloids, voting for minority racist parties, or complaining in their cups to overseas visitors whom they mistakenly believe will share their views.

Yes, you're unlikely to hear racist views over dinner conversation in San Francisco - that's one reason why I love San Francisco; it's an unusually tolerant and welcoming place. But there are other places in the US where even if the racism may not be spoken, its presence leaps out at you just by walking the streets - or so I have felt, as a foreign visitor to various parts of the US.

Of course there are racist Australians. But are we, on the whole, worse than other comparable countries? Well... I've been around the world a few times, have visited much of Australia, and I've lived in the UK, the US, and New Zealand - and I honestly don't think we're any worse than people in those countries; and I don't think we're really any better.
posted by rory at 2:45 AM on August 30, 2001


I don't really see it as a racist issue.
Shouldn't a country look after it's own people before opening the gates to people who will really struggle to bring anything of value to the mix? The colour of their skin doesn't matter.
Admitting them to Oz isn't going to do Oz a lot of good. The public will end up funding the food, health, education and whatever else these people need for a long, long time. Ultimately it will make Trev and Bev, the Aussie husband and wife, worse off. The poor buggers have to put up with a fair amount of New Zealand's Social Welfare headaches anyway.
Being picky about who you let into a first world country makes moving to the more prosperous countries a problem.
Ah well. Back to trying to fleece an firstworlder into marrying me I guess.
Feed them, get them healthy and send them back.
posted by oddity at 4:02 AM on August 30, 2001


Oddity, you're arguing the wrong point. The question is not whether these people should be permitted into Australia to stay. The question is whether they should be taken off of the ship.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 6:39 AM on August 30, 2001


Admitting them to Oz isn't going to do Oz a lot of good. The public will end up funding the food, health, education and whatever else these people need for a long, long time.

Not any longer than they funded the food, health etc. of every other migrant and refugee group of the past. If your idea of a 'long, long time' is in the order of months, then yes; if it's in the order of 'A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far way', then no.

Ultimately it will make Trev and Bev, the Aussie husband and wife, worse off.

Are they worse off because of post-WW2 migrants, Vietnamese migrants, etc.? Is America worse off because it took the poor and huddled masses a century ago? Ultimately they could be better off, because most refugees become workers and taxpayers contributing to the growth of the Australian economy.

The poor buggers have to put up with a fair amount of New Zealand's Social Welfare headaches anyway.

There was an anomaly in Australia's welfare system ten years ago, but that door has now been well and truly shut. And Australia is one of the main beneficiaries of New Zealand's brain drain. (And Trev, by the way, is more your stereotypical Kiwi name than your Aussie one.)

Feed them, get them healthy and send them back.

Feed them, get them healthy, determine if they are legitimate refugees according to international standards no matter how they got there, and let them stay if they are.
posted by rory at 6:45 AM on August 30, 2001


"The question is whether they should be taken off of the ship."
Feed them, get them healthy and send them back is what I said. I assumed that also included taking them off the ship. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. My fault.

Still, to think that these people are going to, within a few months:
A) become self sufficent in a country with reasonably high costs of living and be able to pay rent and bond on a flat etc. Feed, clothe, etc etc
B) actually make it out of the refugee camps, which are already busting at the seams due to the steady stream of illegal immigrants from other surrounding countries. (it sometimes takes two years for immigrants cases to get heard already)
then I think you're being a little hopeful.

And Australia is one of the main beneficiaries of New Zealand's brain drain.

Australia is doing well out of New Zealand's educational system, so are most first-world countries. I'm a Kiwi living in the UK. Money's no good at home at the moment.

But the Aussie Government still funded a fair portion of our Welfare bill for a good decade or more, and it's something I feel a little guilty about. Even now, all the Welfare cases who have been granted permanent residency through their long stays in Australia will still get paid. Australia has now put a ceiling on payments it will make to Kiwis living as permanent residents in Australia at 800million pa. It's a lot of cash. For me to feel sympathy for Ockers. Well!

Still, I concede that each refugee should be looked upon individually. It was wrong of me to say otherwise. My apologies.

Trev is as Australian as corks on hats, blue heeler dogs and David Boon's moustache. :c)
posted by oddity at 8:03 AM on August 30, 2001


CX Locals Anticipate that Howard Will Cave. Even though polls reported in the SMH this morning show that Howard's tough stance is popular, he looks like he will have to back down soon under international pressure. I guess it comes down to who loses face more for not being humanitarian: Australia or Indonesia. The reverse is also true.
posted by rschram at 9:48 AM on August 30, 2001


Still, to think that these people are going to, within a few months: A) become self sufficent in a country with reasonably high costs of living and be able to pay rent and bond on a flat etc. Feed, clothe, etc etc

I didn't say 'a few months', I said 'months', to differentiate from 'years', which when we're talking about 'a long, long time' would suggest more like 5-10 rather than 2. I agree that two years in a refugee camp is too long.

As for becoming self-sufficient in a country with high costs of living: refugees can become self-sufficient in Sweden. But of course you can't become a productive member of society if you're stuck in a camp.

I think you're being a little hopeful.

Yes, a little. In light of the Howard government's track record, probably too hopeful. Okay, so I'll switch to hopeless.

Trev is as Australian as corks on hats

Um, right. As Australian as a cliché invented by English cartoonists and taken up by souvenir manufacturers who make all their cork-hats in China to sell to English tourists. ;)
posted by rory at 9:49 AM on August 30, 2001


New Zealand seems like it's going to help out now. Despite the 89% of rabid Holmes viewers who phone voted against it.
Now that's a group of people even I'll admit I wouldn't like deciding my fate.
Realistic is a nice alternative to hopeless.
Good call on the cork hats eh. :) I deserved that.
posted by oddity at 10:23 AM on August 30, 2001


Australia, in struggling to find a postcolonial identity, often manufactures an image of itself, the "Trev and Bev", the cork hat, the blue heelers. To me, the Vietnamese grocers on Victoria Steet, the Halal butchers of Brunswick, the smokey cafes full of Greek men playing cards, the Orthodox Jews on Carlisle Street, the Hindu temple on the banks of the Merri Creek, the woman who does Tai Chi at Northcote Station, these are all as Australian as Trev & Bev.

It's the idea that to be 'true blue' Australian is to eat meat pies and go to the footy and have BBQs on Christmas Day and play beach cricket in the summer, this is the national identity crisis that allows politicians like Pauline Hanson to pull the heart-strings of the moron-minority. This is the state of mind that makes it easy to demonize 'boat people', because they are 'different' and will add 'nothing of value' to our country.
posted by cbieg at 4:56 PM on August 30, 2001


Now that we're no longer talking about refugees (who as of this writing may be divided among CX, NO, and CA.), what do you Australians think of playwright David Williamson, of Don's Party, The Club and more recently Heretic fame?--especially with reference to "Australian" "identity." Is he (like) a big conservative, or what?
posted by rschram at 10:58 AM on August 31, 2001


Latest developments in the refugee crisis.
posted by rschram at 4:11 PM on September 2, 2001


rschram, in answer to your Williamson question - he is definitely not a conservative, although he may be becoming moreso as he ages, like us all.
I understand he is currently in hiding after writing one of the worst ever TV sitcoms, Dog's Head Bay, which was nicknamed Dog's Breakfast.
posted by flowerdale at 4:42 PM on September 2, 2001


Did you know that "Crocodile Dundee III" was received rather poorly in the US this year? Compare that to the amzing success of the first Dundee movie in 1986, and the subsequent fascination with all things Australian for a couple of years - eventually culminating in the unleashing of Yahoo Serious on the world.

My, but the worm has turned, hasn't it...?
posted by davidmsc at 8:34 PM on September 2, 2001


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