Another day brings another Defence scandal, prompting a colleague of mine to quip that the people of Inverbrackie and Woodside are probably grateful now there are refugees in the housing estate rather than military personnel.
He said it with a smile, but serious intent.
The Adelaide Hills’ Inverbrackie Detention Centre has not been without its own scandals since it became home to families from Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq.
First there was the Fruit Picking Incident. About six young asylum seekers scaled a fence - an internal fence, mind, they never got as far as the outside world - to pick fruit. They spent at least ten minutes picking cherry plums.
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In case you missed the news, there was a mass breakout at the Inverbrackie detention centre yesterday.
The controversial site, home to asylum seeker families, has been the source of local fears. Many are concerned about espionage, terrorism, and plummeting property prices.
The escape, however, shows that what they should really be worried about is plum pickers.
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Primary school education should include introducing each and every child to the following:
- A broad range of races and cultures, particularly Aboriginal people (young and old, from the city and the desert).
- People with disabilities.
- Men and women from each major religion, some of the minor religions, and some people without religion.
- Gay people of each gender and maybe someone inbetween.
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Are the people of Inverbrackie racists? Are South Australians who complain about a lack of consultation in the decision to house 400 asylum-seekers in the Adelaide Hills actually closet rednecks who simply don’t like foreigners turning up unannounced on our shores?
Some of them might be. But overwhelmingly, most of them are not. Whatever you think of Mike Rann, you would be hard pressed to accuse the Premier of racism in questioning the less-than-transparent process by which Inverbrackie was chosen as the venue for a detention centre.
There are plenty of other South Australians with similar concerns, and to suggest that they’re all pitchfork-wielding hillbillies does them a disservice.
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