Multiculturalism under siege

My plan to write something cuddly and wholesome about Multiculturalism Month in Queensland was derailed somewhat by the egregious maiden speech of crossbench Senator Fraser Anning. One of our newest politicians, he chose his maiden speech to call for a return to the White Australia policy, suggesting that a plebiscite be held to ask Australians if they want ‘wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the Third World and, in particular, whether they want any Muslims’. Politicians…

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Take me to your leader – the quest continues

Imagine a flying saucer lands in your back yard and an alien (drooling or not) alights. “Take me to your leader,” it telepathically commands, as it is from an advanced civilisation, intent upon savings ours. “Aw yeah, mate.” (pointing). “That’s our leader over there, the one in the striped designer shirt, mingling with the homeless folk.” If you dig around on the Internet long enough you’ll find lists of world leaders people would rather not…

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Journalists facing deadly risks

Not for the first time, I’m ruminating about the deadly risks facing journalists working in conflict zones or countries like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt or even India. It’s 1am and I’m reading the Guardian Weekly, starting with its world roundup, where my eye is drawn to a headline: “Indian journalist beaten to death.” In just 100 words we are told that Shantanu Bhowmick’s death at the hands of a stick-wielding mob brings the…

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Plebiscites for the huddled masses

Did you know that the good citizens of Puerto Rico voted in a plebiscite whether to allow the island territory to become the 51st state of the USA? Despite a low voter turnout (23%), the $15 million non-binding plebiscite achieved a 97% yes vote for statehood. But now the fate of PR lies in the hands of the US government, which has no legal obligation to follow through. The issue for Puerto Rico’s 3.42 million…

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