Bill Hoffman, staff.Photo Lisa Williams153801
Bill Hoffman, staff.Photo Lisa Williams153801

Application of 'rules' lacks common sense

REPORTS this week that if indigenous culture were 24-hours old, white settlement would represent five minutes of that time bring into stark focus issues of citizenship, border protection and Australian values.

Archaeologists have at Kakadu discovered evidence the First Australians not only arrived 65,000 years ago but have maintained cultural continuity from that point, exposing the arrogance of terra nullius and the colonialism that drove their brutal dispossession.

And it makes an absolute mockery of the conceit and petty ignorance and unwillingness to accept Australia's real roots that not only condemns First Australians to inferior status to this day but now presumes to impose itself on who should and should not remain in this country and have access to full rights of citizenship.

Green Senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters have stood down from the Senate this past week not because they don't hold true allegiance to this country, but because of a Constitution founded less than five minutes ago in that 24-hour context, in the Parliament of a nation that usurped the possession of our First Australians.

Ludlam chose Australia in his teens as his country of choice. Waters was born in Canada of Australian parents, returning home before she was one-years-old only to now find herself trapped by a Canadian law - changed two weeks before her birth - which automatically gave her a citizenship of which she was unaware.

It has meant that the citizenship rules of Canada and New Zealand have ultimately determined the fate of two Australians elected as representatives of our democracy.

That makes as much sense as those who now look to nit pick over "rules" that surely never intended to have that consequence.

The affair and those who now seek to score advantage from it simply act to further underline the abject state of politics in this country that every day sees more people seeking out anything other than more of the same.

Former Maroochydore rugby league player and construction worker Roy Orchard is another now subject to the cruel application of a citizenship test increasingly being used as a form of irrational punishment in the name of border control.

He came to Australia as a three-year-old with his family after his father secured a contract as a professional rugby league player with Redcliffe.

Roy's been here ever since, attending school and going on to father children and establish a patchy record with the law which has seen him in and out of prison for various offences.

At the completion of his last sentence in Maryborough he was transferred first to Darwin and then Christmas Island where he has languished for more than 12 months trapped by new rules that mean he is to be deported as an undesirable.

His children and family won't be allowed to see him before he is deported to New Zealand to an uncertain future in a country where he has no remaining family ties or support.

Whatever the markings on any piece of paper and regardless of assessments of his character Roy Orchard's life was forged in an Australian crucible which, unhappy with the result, now dispatches him.

You have to love rules.

Up at Buderim Sunshine Coast Council has used them like a blunt instrument to destroy a successful exercise in social cohesion because it doesn't fit the straight lines of its bureaucracy and inadequate imagination.

Even now it continues to trample out any trace of Urban Food Street's instigator like a child extracting without restraint the full force of imagined entitlement from a playground victory.

But those are the rules apparently, although as we continue to see with the ongoing assault on the region's planning scheme, they can be changed when it suits.

Population projections driven ironically by an open-door immigration policy are now being used to justify placing more people in vulnerable places to satisfy the speculative bets of land bankers.

In the process the last vestiges of a once rich biodiversity carefully managed over tens of thousands of years by those First Australians who tread lightly on the land, are being destroyed burying under the concrete and steel of engineered solutions an environment even now on verge of calling time on such conceit.