Attorney-General Christian Porter

The chaos-rife Administrative Appeals Tribunal — which was recently savaged by the government for problems with internal culture and basic qualifications — could present a valuable target for a floundering Labor, Crikey readers suggest. Elsewhere, readers decried the exploitation of visa workers, and discussed the cultural machinations behind the ascent of Melbourne in the capital cities rivalry.

On the AAT

Mark E Smith writes: It’s reasonable to suggest a better functioning appeals system would help but the issue of gaming the refugee application process remains. If the ALP had a bit of ticker it would mercilessly attack the government. What will the government do ? It doesn’t want to stop the flow of backdoor cheap temporary labour but doesn’t want to look weak on borders. Under pressure they’ll flounder as policy isn’t their strong point. Done well the ALP could drag this out until the next election as there’s no doubt there’ll still be a case backlog no matter what they do. What a country. We lock up untried, unsentenced boat people in third world gulags at vast expense. Now we let many times more fly in and gum up administrative processes also no doubt at vast expense.

On the visa game

R. Ambrose Raven writes: Let’s finally get serious about ending the institutionalised exploitation of visa workers, both those imported for the sweatshops, foreign fee-paying students and backpackers, and those brought here under “free” trade agreements to cut our wages.

On the Melbourne-Sydney rivalry

Shane Maloney writes: Interesting points here about geography, trams and water, but the history is a bit skewiff. Jason seems to have arrived well after the start of the show. The Writers’ Festival, the Comedy Festival (itself springboarding off the APG and the Fitzcarlton theatre restaurant scene) and multiple public art programs all date from the 1980s. As far back as 1983, the Cain government implemented job creation schemes for artists. Subscriber-funded, volunteer-based radio stations (first 3CR, then RRR and PBS) have been cross-fertilising live local music for almost 40 years. (Triple J was established explicitly as an ABC Sydney copycat of Triple R).

Money is lovely but let’s not confuse cause and effect. It’s not Floridian snake-oil and government largesse from which Melbourne draws its cultural sustenance but the decades-deep pot of creative minestrone that bubbles eternally on our share-house back-burner.


The introductory paragraph of the Crikey Daily for Wednesday July 25 stated that Abdul Aziz was “the latest man to be killed in Australian detention”. This was a subbing error. Aziz is “the latest man to die in Australian detention”. His cause of death has not yet been determined.

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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