Saturday, 1 November 2008


From today's Weekend Australian

(Pic courtesy of The Age).

The Rudd .Government is under pressure from all fronts, even Labor colleagues, to overturn a decision denying German doctor Bernhard Moeller permanent residency in Aus­tralia because his son Lukas has Down syndrome. The Immigration Department this week rejected Dr Moeller's application for permanent residency, saying the potential cost to the taxpayer of 13-year-old Lukas's condition was too great. Politicians, disability groups and the small Victorian town of Horsham, where Dr Moeller is the only specialist physician, were outraged by the deci­sion and have called on Immigration Minister Chris Evans to intervene on the family's behalf.

This situation would seem to put our federal government at odds with its own anti-discrimination legislation. The cold reality of this decision is that it puts a diminished value on the life a child with a disability.

Having spent the best part of forty years working with this particular group, it makes me wonder whether the people who developed our current immigration policy have been living on another planet. Apart from the doubtful assumption that this child's life will impose a burden on the community (measured by whom and how – I wonder*) it ventures into entirely dodgy territory by attempting to put a value on human potential.

I wonder how it is possible to predict the future contribution of any able-bodied child immigrant. It's entirely conceivable that an immigrant child could grow up to become a criminal and cost the community a fortune. Are potential child immigrants profiled? If they aren't and children with disabilities are, doesn't this say something about our national values?

Kids with Down syndrome, unless there is some other factor involved, are not, in my experience, a future burden. A very large proportion become independent contributing members of society. I don't believe too many go on to a life of crime, costing the community a fortune in custodial situations.

If we were to forget the economic rationalist view of the world for a moment, and apply a humanist (dare I say Christian) perspective, this policy looks completely out of step. I'd like to think we live in a country that welcomes and seeks to include all potential citizens, providing that they wish to contribute to the future of the nation to the best of their ability. This potential should not be referenced to race, creed, or disability.

*"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted" - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Snipped by Bolt

I often post to Andrew Bolt's bolt – the results provide some light relief. From time to time I get snipped by his moderators. It usually happens when I criticize his bias or style. This post contains an example. Make up your own mind as to whether this constitutes abuse. (Unfortunately, I didn't save the original post – but it's pretty close).

The snip –

No matter what the topic, you always SNIP......abuse of the host. If you loathe the host so much, why on earth are you here? Please learn to debate like and* adult or go play somewhere else. Bolt Moderators.

* Note the spelling - they must have been in a hurry....

This was more or less what I posted –


No matter what the topic, you always find a way to bash the agencies. Child abuse and neglect has nothing to do with ideology. It may have something to do with a materialism where children are seen as accessories.

Your erudite post which reports an anecdote to revive the cliché about PC will really improve the quality of life of children in care!

Can I suggest you do some research and develop an opinion from the data rather than the other way around? You might be surprised at the result.

Trouble is, this kind of analysis is not characteristic of the kind of post that pleases the ratbag right.

Try -

Update -

This too was snipped -

Andrew Bolt railing about bias is like Mae West complaining about innuendo.

I thought it was funny......

Update 2 -

This wasn't snipped - just not posted - in response to -

What gratuitous claptrap! Why not comment on the thousands of teachers who don't abuse students, or the thousands of Muslims who wear hijab because they have genuine faith? Bigots thrive on the sentiments exhibited by this.

Apparently Mr Bolt has a thin skin.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...