About immigration and Redfern Now last night

Pretty much in agreement with Jim Belshaw and too depressed to post about it myself.

I haven’t commented on the latest race to the bottom on Australian refugee policy. Back in May 2011, I supported the proposed "Malaysian solution" (When perfection’s not possible: Gillard & refugees) as a possible path. Now Opposition, Greens and Government between them have delivered the worst possible outcome.

I know from conversations just how polarising this issue has become. My friend and fellow New Englander Paul Barratt has been blogging on the broader issue. The insanity of Australia excluding itself from its own migration zone makes me wish for Monty Python.

Words like bankrupt, gutless and stupid do come to mind. See my earlier posts, most recently Chicanery then, and still chicanery–and a national shame. Thanks, ALP! Absurd and morally repugnant!

As for Redfern Now last night, I became so impatient with it I stopped watching, despite the praise in the Herald preview.

Teen actor Aaron McGrath is the linchpin of this terrific instalment from the consistently impressive suite of short dramas set around Sydney’s indigenous heartland. His guarded, watchful performance as Joel, a shy Aboriginal boy who’s won a scholarship to a private school, is a revelation for its restraint and subtlety.

This week’s script has an intriguing premise: should Aboriginal students be obliged to sing the national anthem at school? The parents and teachers tease out the issue. What’s wrong with the song? Can a student embrace the education at a school yet reject its traditions? Does honour trump opportunity?

Buried is a sly critique of indigenous scholarships. Do they really close the gap, as the iron-faced principal argues, or just offer a sop to elite schools’ billboards of values?

Indeed I even tweeted: Turned off Redfern Now. Performances good, but ep agitprop. No principal would be as stupid as her tonight! Good issue, treatment sucked.

Too harsh? Maybe. But I do recall even in the late 1950s school assemblies at SBHS where students would not say the Lord’s Prayer – understandable for, say, Jews or atheists – and I vividly remember Peter Deli and perhaps others turning his back deliberately on the Queen Mother – or was it Princess Alexandra of Kent?  Did anything happen? Was anyone expelled? No. So I could believe the kid not standing, but I simply could not believe the dragon running the school and got so sick of the melodramatic villain she was being that I just lost it with the whole episode.

I gather there was a happy ending, or was that a fappy ending? Sorry…

What was the palace masquerading as a school, by the way? Riverview? St Joseph’s? St Aloysius?  Ah – Riverview!


Modest little dump, isn’t it? Should have recognised it from the debates I attended there when a debating coach at SBHS… I rather doubt they sing Advance Australia Fair every morning – does any school? – but you never know.

On thing the show last night proved is how pathetic an anthem – words at any rate – we have. The lyrics of God Save the Queen (which was our anthem) are better, and that is saying not much at all really. In both I do rather savour the bits no-one sings any more.

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed,
To trace wide oceans o’er,
True British courage bore him on,
Til he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England’s flag,
The standard of the brave;
"With all her faults we love her still"
"Britannia rules the wave."
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.
Should foreign foe e’er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We’ll rouse to arms like sires of yore,
To guard our native strand;
Britannia then shall surely know,
Though oceans roll between,
Her sons in fair Australia’s land
Still keep their courage green.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.


Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

Now there is a worthy sentiment!

But seriously, if we must have Advance Australia Fair let’s get some more meaningful lyrics!

Australians all, let us rejoice

Comparatively free!

We’ve coal and gas and iron ore

But when they’re sent by sea

We have no ships to put them in

So ships with flags quite queer

Take all these goodies Chinawards

To Advance Australia Fair!


Coffee this afternoon at Diggers and misnamed “newspaper” celebrates latest step in our “leaders’” (who???? what????) race to the bottom. Bogan power!