Howard to pick up Andrews’ lead on African immigrants in speech tonight? Tampa for 2007? In this morning’s Australian:

In a speech delivered today in Melbourne, Mr Andrews will tell the 12th International Metropolis Conference on immigration policy that confidence in the migration program will be undermined if the community is “denied a voice”. Refugee groups have been highly critical of Mr Andrews’ move to cut the number of African refugees resettled in Australia after he revealed the decision was based on concerns that African refugees were not integrating. Mr Andrews has defended his decision, saying it was based on community concerns about Africans being involved in gangs, alcohol abuse and fights at nightclubs.

“Public confidence in an immigration program will not be achieved by telling people that their concerns cannot or should not be raised,” he said. There had “always been a section of the community who have been nervous about the potential for migration to impact detrimentally on them”.

Suggesting that the Immigration Department’s decision regarding the annual refugee intake could be influenced by public opinion has alarming and far reaching ramifications for our internationally renowned and decades-old refugee program.

John Howard will address the Sydney Institute tonight. Will he develop the anti-African immigrant theme so carefully laid out by Andrews in successive dog whistles over the past fortnight … the same rhetoric that is slowly turning parts of Melbourne into little race wars? Will Howard’s next step be to recall parliament next week and introduce legislation aimed at rectifying elements of the migration mix and then … to the polls? (And maybe they’ll ratify Kyoto too? Nothing to lose everything to gain in this move now.)

Unity Resources Group who are accused of killing civilians on the streets of Baghdad own the company “Australian Event Protection” who were involved in the security of the Big Day Out 2001 event in Sydney, where teenager Jessica Anna Michalik was killed after being crushed in the crowd. Australian Event Protection have been in charge of Security at the Big Day Out from 1999 -2003. Since 2003 they have not be involved in operations in Australia according to their own website (click on associated companies), oddly coinciding with URG’s Iraq involvement.

A well-known Federal Senator has a strong tip that the election will be called on Saturday.

Michael Ferguson in Bass has sent his Postal Vote Applications out early by mistake. The Libs will need to call everyone who submits the application to let them know it is invalid and they will need to do it again. Should annoy a lot of marginal seat voters. Clever!

My housemate who works in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry told me that until two months ago they were forbidden to use the words “climate change” and “global warming” in any written document of the Department. But that was before the government realised that Australians are actually worried about the climate.

This may be dated but according to someone in the hotel industry during APEC the feuding between the Bush advisors and Rice advisors was so poisonous they were actually only talking to each other through the hotel staff.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey