More issues for asylum seeker supporters

“When due process leads to denial of asylum, and the taxpayer has spent a large sum of scarce funds, one can find some queer counter-proposals. These reflect sympathy for the asylum seekers, most of whom are most likely to be economic migrants who would not qualify for entry by the front door, or even the side door. Then, there are those who assert that, since Australia does not experience the floods of asylum seekers inundating Europe, we should take all comers. Isn’t the availability of a lifetime on welfare in Australia, plus Medicare, plus family reunion a probable drawcard? Shall we just open the immigration door?

Most relevantly, is there no part of Afghanistan which is safe for the Hazaras or other Afghans? Isn’t there a district in Afghanistan which is dominated by the Hazaras? Are there not large areas of Iraq which are predominantly Sunni, Shia or Kurd, to which an Iraqi asylum seeker could move, thus avoiding the large outlays of money, the risk of drowning, the detention (but with care provided at the Australian tax¬payers’ expense), and the risk of mental health problems? If there is somewhere else to go to, could the government negotiate with the governments we have put in place in Iraq and Afghanistan to take the boat arrivals? Would they not then be living within their own culture? And does not the UN convention also provide that asylum seekers have to show that there is nowhere else they can go?

On the issue of living with one’s own people, some Moslem settlers from countries with limited personal and political rights already seek to have Australia’s institutions amended to incorporate sharia law, when Islam has no separation between the law and religion. Would the pre¬dominantly Middle Eastern asylum seekers add to this pres¬sure? Historically, there were those who wished to turn a secular nation into one ruled by what they call natural law (which is not the same as a law of nature in science). Do our Tweedledum vs. Tweedledee governments have the integrity to retain Australia as a secular democratic nation, with religion kept separate from governance?

Do the uncritical Anglo-Australian supporters of boat arrivals condone the destruction of identification papers; and the irresponsible placement of women and children in unsafe boats which have no doubt been written off by their owners, the fishermen manning the boats being themselves probably dispensable? How do they condone the queue-breaking by those who obviously have money, but are not willing to be assessed as immigrants or as refugees by representatives of UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). An asylum seeker is not a refugee until accepted as a refugee. This is something some in the media have to accept.

There is a common practice for Australian Customs/Immigration officers at airports to return to the country of embarkation those they consider on arrival not to be ‘bona fide’, even when they hold entry visas. They are kept in detention and placed on the next available plane going back. Arrivals by plane who have destroyed their papers after dis¬embarkation at our airports are treated the same way. It is not that difficult to track their travel. Boat arrivals without papers should surely be treated the same way.”

(Those who do not believe in an interventionist god, or in Santa Claus, may be excused were they not to expect any in-depth dialogue between apparently caring supporters of asylum seekers they have never met, and those who seek responsible policies in relation to the intake of immigrants and real refugees, unless they can see squadrons of pigs surfing through the air.

What the above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ raise is this significant question: is the age of entitlement in Australia being extended to cover anyone who manages to arrive on our borders? A related issue: if we taxpayers are to be generous with our money, should we not be spending it on those who are clearly needy out in the real world? What a waste of scarce money (yes, it is scarce) in coping with opportunist entrants! )

Dishonesty backed by irresponsibility

Opportunists seeking back door entry (I am here; you will keep me) are surprisingly supported by some locals, unrelated by tribe or genes. They are so caring that they expect other people’s hard-earned money to provide whatever the asylum seeker wants. Recently, one of the latter specified the ‘boob’ enhancement she sought. Do these local supporters see these arrivals as becoming economically viable within a reasonable period, without being a long-term financial burden on the nation?

Perhaps, all accepted asylum seekers might be treated as are entrants from New Zealand – no welfare support. That is, look after yourself during a 3-year temporary-visa period. Against that, recently an employed Asian reportedly lost his job in Australia. He must have been on a temporary employment visa, because he promptly sought asylum. He received cash from the official welfare service, supplemented by support from a community welfare agency, and the communities from 2 different churches! He continued to complain about his inadequate funds.

This is reportedly the most expensive country in the world. It is, I believe, the most generous country in the world. For how long will we sheep accept being as shorn we are for this generosity? As well, the processing of asylum seekers remaining in Australia can give cause for concern from the viewpoint of national responsibility. I am not aware that the official agencies look into the national interest when assessing unidentifiable applicants for asylum, or when reviewing the decision making in cases of rejection.

Indeed, I do wonder whether the High Court (the highest court in Australia), as well as the lower courts involved in hearing apparently unending appeals (seemingly comparable to Indonesia) go beyond the wording of the law (but not necessarily its intent) to look at the national interest (that should not be too difficult to define).

The following extracts are from my book ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’ (ebook from Amazon Kindle @$US 2.99).

“Asylum seekers should also not be kept in detention where they are provided with full board, education, health and welfare services, we are told. But we are not told who will house, feed, and medicate them were they to be free to roam all over the country while they await a decision … … “

“The Anglo-Australian supporters of the boat arrivals claim that all asylum seekers are genuine refugees (how would they know that?) and that they have all suffered trauma and torture (anyone with any evidence?). They seek speedy decisions in spite of the reality that almost all arrivals have torn up their identity papers and other documentation which got them to Indonesia. What does that behaviour suggest? That there is an intent not to be honest? … … “

“There is another moral problem. How could anyone risk the life of a child or one’s womenfolk on one of the asylum seeker boats? Is it then the case that the journey is not as dangerous as it is said to be? … … “

“Who are these modern boat arrivals? Those who hold valid passports issued by their country of nationality, who can afford the airfare to Indonesia, who pay a ‘snake-head’ (people smuggler) a large sum of money (according to the media about US$10,000 per head) for a place on a fishing boat, who hand over their mobile phones to the snake-head, who tear up their identification papers, and who seek to be intercepted by Australia’s border patrols as soon as possible. … … “

“Could those travellers who destroy their identification and travel papers and seek acceptance as refugees when intercepted by border control be asked what it is they are hiding? This is an issue of morality. … … “

“Some of the supporters have since argued that anyone who wants a better life and gets here one way or the other should be allowed to stay. Since the bulk of mankind would seek to be refugees from the hardships of life, are these sup¬porters saying that if you have the money, you can enter Australia freely by the back door? … … “

“Does not the irrational behaviour of many asylum seekers while well fed, comfortably housed, and medicated as needed in detention, suggest that they may have arrived with mental health problems? … … “

“It is too facile to blame detention or its duration, when it is the asylum seekers with no documentation who are responsible for the delay. Could not a little over-acting also be beneficial? Is it not known worldwide that lengthy detention, probably offshore, is part of the process? … … “

“One can only ask to be considered for refugee status, were one to provide necessary evidence. Currently, it is Australia which has to prove that the claimant is not a refugee as defined by the UN Convention … … “

Questions about refugee policy

“Eventually, I was directed … to close down the White Russian and East Timorese policies; they were not needed. The other ethno-specific regional HE policies were far too sensitive politically; our global HE policy did not obviously pay adequate respect to the tribo-cultural sensitivities of the communities affected.

There had to have been great flexibility in approvals at certain overseas posts. Why? Because, surprisingly, many HEs, especially the Poles, subsequently returned home to obtain jobs in keeping with their qualifications (such jobs not readily available in Australia). Vietnamese HEs who had allegedly fled the takeover by the communists went back to Vietnam as Australians to conduct businesses. So much for their earlier ‘genuine’ fear of persecution or discrimination!

One cannot obviously be a puritan in the administration of entry policy. … … This is also where back door entry policy, the admission of asylum seekers comes in. Equipped with a passport from one’s country of nationality, a return airline ticket, enough money to cover the nominated period of the visit, a visa or other documentation identifying one as a businessman, visitor, student, etc., one can, after arrival, convert to asylum seeker. The applicant cannot be thrown out as an over-stayer while awaiting a decision. … …

A Singhalese person claiming a fear of persecution in Singhalese Sri Lanka, or a Malaysian Chinese making a similar claim about Chinese-dominated Malaysia, indicate the waste of investigatory resources arising from asylum claims, and the opportunism of applicants and their very vocal supporters.

The public has little to no information about what happens to those legal arrivals, the ones who arrive by air with an appropriate entry document. These represent the greater part of these asylum seekers. Reportedly, most of these applicants are allowed to remain. On what basis? Surely all those accepted could not have produced evidence of persecution or discrimination. Were they also assessed as capable of earning a living in Australia? Are the rejects only those who have failed security checks? Who provides the necessary information? The authorities from whom the applicant claims to be fleeing? Since there seems to be no shortage of local supporters for these applicants, is this form of entry a variation of family reunion?

On the other hand, we are flooded with information about unlawful boat arrivals. Their very vocal Anglo-Australian supporters present them as a form of sacred cow. For instance, we are not allowed to describe them as illegal arrivals! Australia is not to be allowed to reject any, in spite of a seemingly unlimited right of access to appeal courts at taxpayer expense. No reject can be sent home. Indeed, there was that incredible claim that there should be a separate entry category for rejected asylum seekers!”

(Seeking to be declared a refugee is probably the biggest racket going. I recall the then Minister asking me “What do you think about opening the immigration door completely?” This was more than a decade after the introduction of a non-discriminatory entry policy! My spontaneous response was “Why should we believe that we already have the best crooks in the world?” (Refer ‘Musings at Death’s Door’)

Special entry treatment has been sought by a major church (a bigger flock) and by ethnic community leaders (increased electoral power). Caring people used to the government (not the poor scalped taxpayer obviously) handing out money willy-nilly, opportunistic practitioners seeking to open more legal loopholes, rent-a-crowd supporters seeking excitement, and seriously unthinking politicians, all contribute to a dearth of responsible policies regarding side and back door entry into the nation.

However, the tsunami of budgetary deficits beginning to gather strength and direction will no doubt provide a cold shower where this is obviously needed.)

Interesting snippets about humanitarian entry

“When a global HE policy replaced the Middle Eastern HE policy, the first batch approved overseas were not Baha’is, as expected, but Afghan carpet merchants from Pakistan. Some of Australia’s visa-issuing embassy staff were very flexible. At that time, the Baha’i were the only people known to be persecuted in the Middle East. A little later, we accepted a number of Baha’is.

As with other HEs, they were placed in a migrant hostel in a city in which resided members of the same community. These had agreed to assist the initial settlement of the new arrivals. A kind hostel manager had arranged for a local imam to greet the arrivals. He did not know that the arrivals were not Moslems. The next day he rang me to ask what he was to do with the halal meat. This was the measure of the care we gave all new arrivals.

Some Ministerial approvals were also so flexible, that I was threatened by an ethnic Australian sponsor of his relatives overseas when I pointed out that I did not have the authority to approve entry outside policy. The sponsor himself had benefited from an earlier flexible Ministerial approval. Eminence in one’s profession can engender uncivil conduct! Or, was it evidence of a Middle Eastern culture?

For a short period only, the Tamils of Sri Lanka had entry as HEs; not surprisingly, the majority approved seemed to be disproportionately Christian. Yet, this was a generous entry policy, as even migrant entry from the Indian sub-continent had been constrained for years by positioning a strong arm against the entry door. This was achieved by limiting the Australian immigration staff over there. Two of those who had worked in this region subsequently worked in my team, one after the other.

They were not posted overseas after unwisely protesting to the head of the department about this discriminatory practice. The 2001 Census data shows the bias in favour of light-skinned East Asians. Regrettably, it is just possible that certain Australians have not yet outgrown their prejudice against dark-skinned people. My gut feeling is that, even at the official level, Australia has a certain antipathy in this direction.”

(These extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door,’ show how much Australia has matured; skin colour is not relevant any more for migrant entry. Immigrants from China and India now outnumber migrants from any other source country. The emphasis is on numbers and diversity of sources, in spite of a lack of any long-term planning – a very foolish policy, based on a shopkeeper approach; the more customers (consumers) the better. Necessary infrastructure and the associated investment funds?

As for humanitarian entry policy, it was flexible (so to speak). Was that why I was harassed by representatives of various communities seeking extra-policy approvals, and individuals seeking entry for their relatives? I spent hours deflecting these people. I recommended that they follow due process, although I realised that this was not their cultural tradition.)

Quaint aspects of humanitarian entry

“Soon, as I was told, the Liberal Party wanted white right-wing HEs, just for a change. These came from Eastern Europe (except Yugoslavia). Anyone claiming to be a refugee seemed to be accepted. In one recorded instance, a man claiming to be a refugee went back home to collect his wife, as advised by an Immigration officer! As with the Indo-Chinese, Australia provided their airfares, housed and fed them in a migrant hostel for 6 months. They received a regular welfare payment, which enabled them to pay for their board and other expenses. They were then allocated a flat for 3 months, to ease their entry into private accommodation.

Many of the Indo-Chinese moving into their own homes were assisted by small loans to buy furniture, much of it not repaid. As a couple of Indo-Chinese girls said to an Immigration officer, ‘You Aussies f…ing stupid. You give money for nothing.’ Little wonder that there was, and still is, such a rush of claims for asylum entry. Acceptance as a refugee permits a lifetime access to the public teat.

Later, the Labor Party sought white left-wing HEs. So I was informed. We found them in post-Allende Chile. However, there soon developed a flood of applicants from all of Central and South America. Then the Vaticanites enabled East Timorese to receive HE admission, even when they were living in Portugal, their country of nationality! Our senior bureaucrats and Ministers can indeed be very flexible in their decision making.

All of a sudden, Poles living within Poland could qualify as HEs! How influential was the Polish Pope? Then, for a while, ‘White Russians’ came from China as HEs. These had fled the arrival of communism in Russia 60 years before. An all-white colleague of mine used to claim proudly that he was Chinese; he was born in China of White Russian parents.

There were also Jewish Russians who had been permitted by the Soviet Government to join close family in Israel but who, on arrival in Vienna, sought El Dorado in Western nations. The Prime Minister of Israel in the 1980s was not happy at having up to 85% of potential citizens deflected elsewhere, mainly by professional recruiters from the USA.

Then, contrary to policy, presumably through Ministerial discretion, a number of Jewish Russian women married to non-Jewish men were permitted entry to Australia. They had left Israel because they did not like their experiences as second-class citizens of Israel. There are two other classes below them, as confirmed to me by my good Jewish Australian friend who had spent some time in Israel. (My friend is not ‘self-hating,’ is knowledgeable, and observes the Jewish traditions). One of these Jewish Russian women subsequently worked for me in the Department of Immigration; she was a worthy immigrant, who also told me a great deal about Israel.”

(No matter how they were enabled to enter Australia, one might expect that most entrants would want to find work or establish a business, in order to make a success of their new lives. That did happen. The exceptions may be, according to our media, many of the recent boat-arriving asylum seekers; their unemployment rate is reportedly high, and for long periods.

The above paragraphs are extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’)

Real refugees

“Refugee entry is also selective. As with immigrants, refugees had to be seen to be able to fit into the national ethos. For instance, rural people were not wanted. Both categories represent front door entry.

The initial post-war batch of refugees (these were, in the main, real refugees) were Europeans displaced by the war. I studied and, later, worked with some. The first girl to befriend me in Australia had come out of a Nazi concentration camp. A year later, I went out for a while with a lass who had a number etched on her arm, and got to know her family (also numbered). A country which had decided to collect immigrants had to take some of the displaced persons. Australia did very well by taking its share.

The ones I met were middle-class, educated, skilled. For a few years, in the 1960s, my wife and I entertained one of these, an elderly man. He had, he said, 2 doctorates, but worked as a clerk in my agency. I believe that he too was Jewish. My Holocaust-survivor friends and I never discussed their experiences; I felt very sorry for them. My life under the Japanese could not have compared with their plight.

Yet, there was one exception. In 1948, a Polish ex-serviceman and I talked deep into the night on a few occasions about his experiences as a resistance fighter. I saw some of the false documents he had used. Later, I also got to meet a few Czech and Hungarian refugees who had fled the Soviet invasion of their countries in 1956 and 1968 respectively.

Side door acceptance, being essentially political, permitted so-called humanitarian entrants (HEs). Where refugees had to be outside their country of nationality and in fear of official persecution (some necessary flexibility here being permissible), with nowhere else to go, the HEs had to fear official discrimination (depending on the eye of the beholder) while also outside their country of nationality, with nowhere else to go. The ‘nowhere else to go’ qualifier seems to have been ignored by our policy wallahs for quite some time. As politics determines policy in this arena; the policy can be quite flexible, ie. shonky.”

(These extracts are from ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’ It has to be recognised that large numbers of people are displaced almost every year by terrible events in their terrain. They are not going to be picked up to be re-settled elsewhere. There seem to be large numbers living in refugee camps, who will not be going anywhere (for example, the Palestinians). And UNHCR officials will grant refugee status, presumably without evidence (as Australia does), but based on the UN definitions.

One cannot blame those who seek refugee status. Yet, how many were actually persecuted officially, say, like the Baha’is in Iran? How many had cause to fear discrimination? What kind of discrimination? Could not those who genuinely fear discrimination or persecution just move into another district within their own nation?

Perhaps the UN definition should be reversed from held fear to something more real. Well, that will be the day when we see squadrons of pigtails surfing through the air!)

Is immigration to benefit only the entrant?

“Modern Australia was founded by immigrants, and developed by immigrants. Under the sway of capitalism – that the economy must grow for ever – governments tend to favour a rising rate of immigration. This policy is the preferred substitute for a long-term development plan, or even a population policy. Awaiting for God’s Will may explain this approach.

However, refugees and asylum seekers either cannot afford to wait, or chose not to wait, for God’s Will. Of course, there are genuine refugees and ‘wannabe’ refugees. The majority of the latter are most likely to be economic migrants who, in all probability, will not pass our normal selection process – which has worked well.

Today, asylum seeking is probably the biggest entry racket, aided by some Aussies who seem to believe that the Australian taxpayer is required to benefit every claimant for refugee status. This is in contrast to tradition where the migrant is expected to benefit Australia. Even border control now awaits God’s Will, since neither side of politics has any policy worthy of note. In the meantime, what are the issues involved?

To begin with, national borders remain relevant, not¬withstanding that national sovereignty has been substantially fractured by the role of the UN, its conventions, and coalitions of saviours (whether or not operating with UN approval) engaged in the War on Terror.

Migrant entry, normally through some form of screening, is intended to benefit the receiving nation. The post-second world war policy of seeking immigrants commenced with entrants from Britain. It was extended sequentially to Europe, the Levant, East Asia, then other Asia, and finally became truly global. Australia’s immigration program is now somewhat substantial. This sequence of geographical sources reflected the gradation of acceptance from white skin colour to all other colours, and thereby to all cultures, as enabled gradually by a growing public tolerance.

Family reunion, introduced only a few decades ago when sought by settlers from the Mediterranean, was intended to keep the sponsoring immigrant happy. Because of continental Europe’s rapid economic development, few family members in the Mediterranean region could be persuaded by family in Australia to use the new program. Instead, the early beneficiaries were the British; later the East Asians. Even if entry is restricted to nuclear family members, there may be little increase in the productive capacity of the nation. All immigration has cost-offsets; family reunion can represent a substantial cost.”

(The above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ set out what should be obvious. However, the current age of expectation, in which someone else’s hard-earned money is sought from the government by many who are not in actual need, is juxtaposed with a quaint age of giving; this involves policy-free politicians and their supporters demanding that anyone who enters Australia by the ‘back door’ (the self-selected) should go on the public teat immediately, and remain on it for ever.

I was, however, wrong when I wrote about the dearth of border control; a strong Minister stopped the back door entry. However, inevitably, there are international bureaucrats and other ‘experts’ on human rights blathering about anything except about what should be sound national policy. However, when our politicians are seen to be either incompetent or indifferent, … … !)

Careful guidance ensured successful settlement

“Initial migrant settlement was aided by helpful Anglo-Australians through the Good Neighbour movement. Other aids to settlement included placement in jobs, and health checks. Those who arrived as war-Displaced Persons after World War Two also settled in excellently. This is not to deny, or to minimise, the stresses and difficulties experienced or suffered by the settlers, including the food in the hostels in the early years. Later, the cuisine reflected the culinary tastes of the residents; at one time, Polish cooks were cooking Vietnamese food in migrant hostels!

Many of these early immigrants had to work in specified locations for set periods. Professional skills were ignored. But then, the host people too had to adapt. Their country was being changed pretty fast. Yet, it was accepted that the country was being developed by the immigrants, providing necessary labour and skills.

The non-European immigrants who entered Australia following the introduction in the early 1970s of an official non-discriminatory entry policy were also successfully integrated. Skin colour was officially not a major issue any more. Yet, even in the mid-1960s, when Australia was forced to turn to the Levant for immigrants, it sought only European Middle Easterners. But there were no able-bodied men there looking to Australia, only the middle class.

There was also a clear but concealed preference in the ear¬lier years of the open door policy for the lighter-skinned East Asians (preferably, as ever, Christian). These and the potentially non-viable humanitarian entrants from Indo-China (part of the formerly feared ‘yellow hordes’) and (later) East Timor were gradually integrated quite successfully.”

(The above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ do not cover the care taken in the selection process. The most essential approach to ensuring that an immigrant or refugee settles into the nation easily and successfully is through careful selection. Australian officials located overseas interviewed applicants personally.

Would reliance on the recommendations of immigrant agents in the country of origin of immigrants be as effective? Refugees selected overseas are likely to be known, whereas asylum seekers could be anybody (how would we know?). Sloppy policies, heart-on-sleeve lawyers, and decision makers who may not have considered adequately the security of the nation have resulted in jihad-minded citizens on Australian welfare – so it has been reported!

We now also have reports that some immigrants sneer at Australia’s social ethos, but who will take whatever we offer. Seeking nirvana on Earth may, however, be time-consuming and un-fulfilling.)

Flaunting cultural difference

Most Australians would seem to accept personal decorations as an expression of personal freedom. A fashion favoured some years ago by Italian soccer football players of a facial growth of a few days has now been adopted by many players of other sports; the outcome is not always an aesthetic success. It has also been believed generally that some young Australians decorate their heads and faces in order to reduce their chances of employment. Making fashion statements by wearing an undergarment over an outer garment does not seem to make much of an impact. Decorating one’s head by wearing a hat or other head covering can enhance one’s public appearance. Wearing head gear such as a skull cap, turban, or scarf to reflect cultural tradition arouses no more than passing curiosity.

However, a ‘walking tent’ or an approaching person whose whole face is covered except for the eyes is little different from an approaching person wearing a motor cycle helmet – an unidentifiable individual. Would it be surprising that, in a modern cosmopolitan city where harm is possibly a whisker away, some of us become a little apprehensive at being approached by the visions described above?

People from all over the world have rubbed shoulders (so to speak) on Australia streets until recently without any of them claiming stridently to be different, the difference being a projected aura of cultural superiority by the newcomer. Of course, immigration selection was once careful not to allow immigrants who might not accept and live by the nation’s ethos. Now we seem to be collecting entrants as if there is a shortage in the supply line, and without adequate regard for inter-community social cohesion.

The following extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ touch upon this issue.

“The full body-covering niqab, said to be necessary to protect the modesty of women in the presence of apparently ever-lustful men, hasn’t been seen on Moslem boat people seeking asylum. I also wonder if the men supporting the niqab suffer from a permanent erection when surrounded by Australian women of a range of ethnicities who are dressed ordinarily.

Then, imagine driving through Sydney traffic wearing a niqab; how much necessary peripheral vision would be avail¬
able? Imagine too a security guard’s problem when a niqab-wearing person enters his bank; male of female, friend or foe? In some countries the guard would shoot first, as no one with a face covering, say, a motorcycle helmet, could enter the premises without removing the helmet.

This is sheer cultural arrogance! Human rights avail¬able in a free Australian society are being used against the ethos of Australia. I suspect that most cosmopolitan Aussies, including earlier immigrants, would wish niqab lovers a happy life in another country offering compatible cultural values (perhaps with sharia law thrown in). “

When the family goes, society follows

In the meanwhile, exaggerated and often self-nominated individual rights have led to the breakdown of family, which has traditionally been the backbone of society everywhere. Excepting those few involved in civil society (I am one of them), there is a rising tide of ‘takers.’ These are found at all levels – from foreign investors, corporate leaders and politicians, down to the many professionally work-shy welfare recipients.

Pockets of well-meaning individuals, seemingly unable or unwilling to consider seriously relevant policy issues, form glee clubs supporting the takers or those who seek to take, e.g. asylum seekers. Communal responsibility and personal respect are thinning out like an outgoing tide at the beach. Since our politicians are pre-occupied with short-term politics rather than long-term policies – the current batch presenting themselves as the worst I have experienced – the community, by and large, reminds me of the movement of an empty stoppered bottle floating on rough seas.

Where goes my adopted nation, to which I have made a substantial contribution, especially in civil society? With little time left, I ponder about those issues of interest to me. These, I believe, are relevant for all thinking fellow-Australians. My musings are naturally filtered through my bicultural values.

Musings at Death’s Door: Contents
Chapter 1 On Biculturalism………………………………………..11
Chapter 2 On Subservience…………………………………………15
Chapter 3 On Family & Society…………………………………..23
Chapter 4 On Governance…………………………………………..39
Chapter 5 On Racism & Tribalism………………………………59
Chapter 6 On Multiculturalism…………………………………..75
Chapter 7 On Migrants, Refugees & Asylum Seekers…..97
Chapter 8 On National Identity…………………………………115
Chapter 9 On Religion………………………………………………121
Chapter 10 On the Cosmos…………………………………………141
Chapter 11 On Empires – gone & going………………………159
Chapter 12 Conclusion………………………………………………..175

(This book arose from a simple desire to pull together a coherent summary of my conclusions about my adopted nation. Australia bounces along among the currents of life, with little evidence of any relevant national strategy; like the stoppered bottle I referred to above, it cannot sink. That probably has something to do with the planets.

Having had some experience with our 3 levels of government, I am not inclined to stick any stars on any of their foreheads or arms (the way teachers did when my children were little).

From a bicultural viewpoint, and from the perspective of a former demeaned colonial subject who, in the White Australia era, had to put up with being a ‘black bastard,’ my rear-vision mirror shows a distinctly interesting pattern. My view ahead, however, hints at the prospect of a fascinating glimpse of the Void of Existence, illuminated by the glow cast by the Upanishads.)