Thank you for your report on Australian Foreign Minister’s (Julie Bishop) media conference (April 2, 2015). However, on important questions such as (a) Australian immigration policies to Tonga, and the (b) Kava issue, the Madam Minister brushed aside the questions and repeated her country’s prohibitive policies.
But worst than that, the Tongan Government’s restriction to allow only “four” media questions from the entire floor of journalists was a non-transparent decision. Where is the “good governance” and so-called leader of “democracy,” and “transparent” leadership that was promised by this government?
By whose authority to protect government leaders from media representatives in a press conference? We were advised by Kalafi Moala, before the press conference, and the master of ceremony repeated this restriction during the conference. This is undemocratic!
Madam Minister’s disappointing answers to two important issues to Tongans at home, and those living in Australia, were typical bureaucratic hogwash, and a waste of my time. She should have distributed the regular bureaucratic notice: Australia has no new answers to your questions.
Australian discriminatory immigration policies
As you recall, I asked the Madam Minister: What can Tonga expect from Australia in the future possibly allowing more Tongans to immigrate to Australia? Since there are 70,000 Tongans living in New Zealand; 65,000 living in the USA; but there are only 20,000 Tongans living in Australia does show how more restrictive Australia’s immigration laws than New Zealand and the U.S.
She claimed that the disparity is not Australia’s fault, but it’s people’s preference if they want to live in America or New Zealand. She is either ignorant of immigration trends as a bureaucrat, or she must think she was talking to 12-year-olds.
Australian immigration laws have been accused of being “racist” in the past because of their “white” preference nature. It does not seem to me that the accusation is far off target.
Australia’s “Kava” sad excuse
Despite the fact that Australia is the only major power, which restricts the importation of kava, Madam Minister replied that Australia is doing it to protect their indigenous people. When will Australia stop treating their Aborigines peoples as if they were inferior species?
But I wanted to ask the Madam Minister if they have similar importation laws against alcoholic beverages like they do Kava. Because Canada and America have indigenous peoples of their own, doesn’t it seem ridiculous that Australia can use their Aborigines for an excuse to restrict the importation of Kava?
Alcoholic beverages are more dangerous than Kava.
Sione A. Mokofisi
Director: English, Journalism & Languages
Tonga International Academy