11 February 2005

don't read this post and definitely don't click this link

New Matilda subscription giveaway
I have a subscription to New Matilda worth $55 ($33 concession) to give away. In the absence of any brilliant ideas for entertaining competitions, I've decided to fall back on the trusty raffle.

You prolly wouldn't be able to read all the pleonastic words or want the prize anyway.

God save the Princess Consort

Charles, Prince of Wales, New South Wales, New Zealand, Canada, Belize, PNG, and a number of other unlikely places is going to make an honest woman of Mrs Parker-Bowles. The palace has announced she will be known as the Princess Consort when Charles becomes king. We won't move to a republic any faster and I refuse to get all hot, bothered and censorious about marriage styles of the rich, royal and famous.

Elsewhere, The Road to Surfdom displays a surprisingly wowserish approach to royal marriage and No Right Turn (correctly) couldn't give a rat's arse. For once, Tim is wrong.

Once upon a time Lord Clarendon's daughter Anne shocked her father and consigned him to political oblivion by marrying the future James II and VII and becoming a rock chopper. When the outraged father asked her how she could become a Papist she answered that she thought the lusts of Henry Tudor an unlikely vehicle for the intervention of the Holy Spirit.

Weirdly, the only woman to marry an heir to the British throne since the unfortunate Anne in 1637 was Diana. The vital historical questions remain on everyone's lips. What will His Excellency the Governor-General say? Why does the Church of Henry VIII oppose divorce? Will Camilla be the first Queen known as a Princess Consort? Will Murdoch get the exclusive rights?

6 February 2005

detaining Vanstone

Inquiry into Rau detention planned
The federal government would hold an inquiry into the immigration detention of a mentally ill Australian woman for 10 months, Prime Minister John Howard said.

Cornelia Rau, a 39-year-old permanent resident who came to Australia when she was 18 months old, was released from South Australia's Baxter immigration centre on Friday.

Refugee advocates say Ms Rau was locked in solitary confinement for up to 20 hours a day for about two months.

Mr Howard said Ms Rau's detention was unsatisfactory.

The Man of Steel apparently thinks Immigration Minister Vanstone the best person to advise him on an inquiry into her own unsatisfactory performance.

Sadly, the one thing the inquiry will not address is what's wrong with the way Vanstone and her advisers run the detention camps. It's not all that hard to find out the facts about an Australian citizen. Immigration did not get it right for month after month. These are the same people who tell us they always get it right when they identify undocumented asylum seekers.

If they can't identify an Australian citizen on the missing persons list, what hope do they have with people with no documentation? It's established fact, beyond any doubt, that Cornelia Rau has a severe and long-standing mental illness. Immigration's doctors could not even find that.

Howard's inquiry is not going to question how immigration can detain an Australian citizen as an unlawful immigrant. That would be questioning Kafka. And the minister has no worries that she won't be detained in office.