Video of Thursday night's contentious meeting in Northam from Australia's Channel Ten
NOTIFICATION OF PUBLIC MEETING - IMMIGRATION DETENTION & PROCESSING CENTRE
The Department of Immigration & Citizenship and the Shire of Northam, hereby give notice that a Public Meeting is to be held on Thursday 4 November 2010, Commencing at 7:00pm in the Town Hall, Northam, regarding an Immigration Detention & Processing Centre to be located in Northam. Representatives of the Department of Immigration & Citizenship will be in attendance to provide information on the proposal. Members of the public are invited to attend.Or so said the Julia Gillard-led government press release.
But that isn't quite how it turned out, is it?
No, instead, you hold a meeting somewhere where hundreds of people have to stand outside at night.
Now that you mention it, the whole idea of top-down government planning and keeping the public in the dark sounds awfully familiar to this blogger.
When you add high-ranking govt. officials NOT showing-up, in this case, the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, NOT showing-up in Northam to either talk or to listen to angry citizens who are having this plan shoved down their throat, well, yes, it really does bear a great resemblance to some recent public events I've attended here in Broward County.
But without bully-boy Peter Deutsch's patronizing bluster -or the wail of the dingoes at night as you walk out to the car park- and, of course, without the embarrassing spectacle of Ann Murray or Jennifer Gottlieb refusing to even answer constituents' emails about attending the HB required Ben Gamla Charter School meeting.
(Code Name: AWOL Ann Murray & JenJen.)
And when you toss into the mix some facts not mentioned in the Channel Ten video above, namely, that the meeting facilitator, former WA Labor MP Gavan Troy, ordered the news media there recording and reporting on the meeting, to leave the Town Hall, but they refused to go, while still later, one area MP who did show-up actually left mid-way so that he wouldn't have to answer questions, well, you can see why people there were pretty riled-up.
From the outside, it almost looks like the meeting seemed designed to be a set-up to make the concerned citizens look bad or extremist, but instead, its enormous public failure only made Gillard's government look both incompetent and tone-deaf.
A very bad combination for a government that is held together by little more than Wrigley's chewing gum and the desire to stay in power.
Sydney Morning Herald
Northam, WA, seeks safety guarantee
November 5, 2010 - 7:09AM
Listen to an audio discussion of the detention facility issue here via ABC Radio
WA residents up in arms over detention centre
David Weber reported this story on Friday, November 5, 2010 08:06:00http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2010/s3057316.htm
Special thanks for the head's up on this interesting public policy story from the Hallandale Beach Blog Special Correspondent in Australia, who alerted me to it early Thursday.
Her identity shall remain secret for now, but for this post, we shall simply call her ATA -All Things Australian.