Subtitle: Why Australian Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews would never make a novelist
What am I doing at the moment?
1] Waiting for some feedback from UK or S.Africa. An email from a reader. An Amazon review. Any review. Something. I am - as I have remarked before - a typically pathetic author in need of sustenance in the form of connection to readers... My progeny is out there and I want to know how it's doing.
2] Making graphs and tables and analyses of interesting stuff like how much the average birder spends on his hobby, or whether birding tourists care about things like air con in their rooms and bars with beer (I kid you not).
3) Shaking my head over an inane statement by the Australian Immigration Minister.
When I was last in UK, attending the Worldcon in Glasgow, I took along my phone and bought a pre-paid SIM card for it so I could keep in contact with my friends in among the 5000 or 6000 people attending the con. When I left UK, I hadn't used up all the credit on the card so I left it behind for a friend.
That simple action could have landed me in jail.
After all, that's all it took to put an Indian doctor in custody in Australia for 3 weeks. When he left the UK, he made the mistake of giving his SIM card to his second cousin, who apparently had some connection to the Glasgow airport bombing. It seems one is now responsible for the actions of your old SIM card?
Then I read something about how they were looking at photos the doctor took of highrise buildings on Australia's Gold Coast. Wow. Real criminal activity, that. Of course, it's actually a bit hard to take photos there without getting the buildings, but still...
They were having a hard job making a case against the doctor, so they cancelled his visa. That way you can hold him on the grounds that he is in the country illegally.
Anyway eventually they had to admit here was no evidence the doctor had done anything at all illegal and they had to release him.
So let me ask you - what would you have done then, if you had been in a foreign country under those circumstances? Think about that for a moment. Seriously.
I know what I would have done. I would have hightailed it out of the country as fast as I could buy a one way ticket back home.
The doctor even had an added incentive - his wife just had a baby he hadn't yet seen.
So what does the Minister for Immigration say as the doctor leaves? He remarks that his behaviour is suspicious. "If anything, that actually heightens rather than lessens my suspicions," says the Minister.
The minister could never write a novel. A writer has to get the connection between motives and action.
And Australia should stop traipsing down the same path American is trampling along. If you take away basic freedoms, then what the hell are you trying to protect? Throw away what you've always believed in, then at the end of the day, you may have a hard time trying to see the difference between yourself and the people attacking you.