Thursday, September 21, 2006

Citizenship test updated White Australia policy

Ok, it's not, not really, but it is a move in that direction, a bit of dog whistle politics designed to appeal to the latent racism of the Australian electorate. You'd expect Labor to challenge the move, and they are, but rather than question the merit or motive of the test, Labor are focused on the timing.

Beazley's line is that it's too late, you know, that it should be administered earlier - perhaps in the foreign departure lounge before they board whatever boat, plane, floation aide they're planning to travel on.
"Why wait until somebody applies for citizenship before making them commit to live as part of our society? I don't see the sense in waiting three years to demand a fair go"
Beazley's not the Opposition, he's simply another pretender to the crown; no less unctuous that Costello, Abbott or Downer.

The other thing that makes me think of the White Australia policy is the coincidence of the citizenship test with the suggestion that frequent flyers ought not be subjected to the same scrutiny as everyone else - not content with the Qantas Lounge, corporate cabs and late boarding, now the business traveller wants to avoid the embarrasment of having your privates check for incendiary devices. This isn't racial profiling, it's the reverse, income preferencing.

The other thing about this that annoys me is that all of this debate is going on at precisely the same time that Howard is easing the process by which skilled workers can come and work in Australia. His rhetoric is almost entirely inconsistent with his actions, not for no good reason either, Howard knows that, particularly in the trades and in manufacturing, there's no more South Africans left in the Republic and Australia will have to source new labour from Asian nations (or worse, NZ).

Ahh sod it, thank god the Soprano's is back on tv, pity it's so damn late - 10.40pm.

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