Paul Merton in China: Shanghai

Last episode of this excellent series on ABC tonight.

Shanghai is very different from the city M left in 1989! (He has been back since.)

For those who’ve come across the seas

We don’t often sing the second stanza of the Australian national anthem:

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.

Seemingly contradicting that are various expressions such as that of Pauline Hanson in her famous 1996 maiden speech.

I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995 40% of all migrants coming into this country were of asian origin.They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate. Of course I will be called racist but if I can invite who I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say in who comes into my country. A truly multicultural country can never be strong or united.

John Howard could be thought of as Mr Sir Echo in 2001:

SARAH CLARKE: It was a familiar message spelt out by the PM throughout the campaign.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.

SARAH CLARKE: A message repeated.

JOHN HOWARD (OCTOBER 29): What I am asserting is the right of this country to decide who comes here.

SARAH CLARKE: And if you missed that, there was a television advertisement.

JOHN HOWARD (ADVERTISMENT): We will decide who comes to this country.

SARAH CLARKE: But today, in an election post-mortem, Liberal Party mastermind Lynton Crosby, insisted the issue of border protection was not exploited as a campaign tool and was not responsible for securing the Government a third term.

Pull the other one, Lynton!

The 2010 Australian of the Year features in that video.

Funny thing though, now I come to think about it, is how empty, if powerful, all this rhetoric really is. Of course we have moved on from our national beginnings when Britain decided who came here. Now we have national sovereignty — though what this actually means especially in a globalised world is very much up for discussion.

So while we can never really say who has a go at coming here — how can we? — we certainly decide who stays here. That’s so obvious it is a truism and should excite no-one, except maybe
someone who simply doesn’t believe in national sovereignty.

What is variable is the degree to which our policies are ethical or admirable. We have had a problem with this from the dodgy days of the infamous “dictation test” to the present. Dickensian legalism has been the choice time and again:

As for our one nation, there’s no way an ultra-nationalist definition of “nation” suits what this country actually is: the people who in fact have citizenship and live within our borders. From 1788 we have never been a place where “the geographic boundaries of an ethnic population and a political state largely coincide.”

Highlights of January 2010

Neil’s Second Decade

Most visited individual posts in the past month

  1. It’s no wonder we have infrastructure ch 65
  2. About 47
  3. How is the Internet changing the way you 37
  4. Nostalgia and the globalising world – f 35
  5. Frothing at the mouth over the Aussie fl 31
  6. A very personal Australia Day 26 January 24
  7. …not every day you wake up to dis 23
  8. Erasmus Darwin “Visit of Hope to S 23
  9. One in the crowd yesterday 23
  10. Nothing much to add to last year’s 21
  11. Reflections, mostly about a chequered te 20
  12. Ghosts and other tales of Kiama and dist 20
  13. The danger of jumping to conclusions? 20
  14. My past walked by me… 19
  15. Duelling Lords 17
  16. An Indian student in Australia refocuses 17
  17. Mother Ninglun’s Almanack for the 2010s: 17
  18. So how’s your course at Yale going 16
  19. Education: wrong path, Ms Gillard? 16
  20. Gave My School a run 15

Neil’s Sydney Photo Blog



Most visited individual posts in the past month

  1. 2010 31
  2. Wollongong Mall 30
  3. Prince William in Redfern: double post 24
  4. Volcanic eruption in Australia ‘3000 yea 20
  5. Shellharbour 1 — progress (?) 19
  6. Mardi Gras Fair Day 4 – Mad Hatter 19
  7. The changes, the changes! 18
  8. People at Redfern Tuesday 19 January: 1 18
  9. 10 best nature shots from 2008: 9 17
  10. 109F expected today 16