Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Naughty Australian Senator

It seems that there may be different standards for applying Australia’s immigration law - one for people who overstayed their visa but are worthless to Australia or those who come in as refugees, but another for well connected people, especially those who have oil or gas connections, and close association with an Australian Senator.

Senator Ross Lightfoot of Western Australia is notorious for making racist remarks about Australia’s aborigines, defending the racist League of Rights, a group condemned by the 1991 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia, accused of smuggling money into Iraq and unparliamentary behaviour.

His latest controversy is his affiliation with Iraqi Kurds who have oil and gas connections. He used his senatorial influence to extend visa privileges to some Kurdish visitors who had overstayed the standard permissible period of visit. He used taxpayer’s money to send staff to Dubai to assist in those people’s applications, when their reasons, causes and referees were considered by immigration officers as rather dodgy. Senator Lightfoot has even encouraged the powerful Kurds to apply for refugee status as a means to overstay their visa, when these very people already have permanent residence in Dubai.

Thanks to this senator, a double standards has crept into Australian immigration law.


  1. hmmm. I thought there'd always been double standards in Australian Immigration law.

    What with the "White Australia" Policy and everything.

    Not hating on australia or anything, but just stating fact.

  2. The White Policy disappeared long ago. In general, based on my personal experience with many Immigration officers they are very helpful and fair people. As in every department, sometimes you do get one or two funny characters who tried to be difficult.

    But policies are made by politicians, not public servants. The government policies are reasonable, though they have chnaged from time to time, as to be expected. The problem is that some Australian's impressions with regards to Asian and non-Caucasian migrants have been completely skewered and very misinformed. That's where and when Pauline Hanson rose into power some years ago. That's how some people elected a person like Senator Lightfoot.

  3. The White Australia Policy was only completly removed in 1973 - barely 30 years ago.

    Policies are made by politicians - usually according to public opinion of the time. Immigration is not only determined by immigration policy - also look at foreign investment rules. For example, even up to the 1990s, it was very difficult for foreigners to purchase buildings or land in Australia - mainly due to the government wanting to prevent too much japanese investment in Australian real estate.

    Anyway, my only point is that Australia's immigration policy has, until recently (ie the 2003 Multicultural Policies), had a built in double standard.

    As, I suppose do most immigration policies - I mean, look at Malaysia!

  4. I get your point, but first, in general defence of Australkia, the situation has improved. 2nd, in defence of Malaysia, Malaysia does not have a migration policy, unlike Australia. But Malaysia is remiss in some respects, (1) penalising foreign husbands of Malaysian wives (or penalising Malaysian women), (2) over facilitating the intake of Indonesian or Filiino Muslims but making things difficult for others. Malaysia wants to maintain a Malay/Muslim majority, mind you, the same way that Singapore does for Chinese.