Witch burning repackaged
It is somewhat fitting that our Minister for Immigration, Kevin Andrews, a man known for his deeply conservative, pro-family, Christian values, should be offering up a modern day example of that fine Christian practice - witch burning.
On Saturday, when asked whether he objected to Mohamed Haneef's decision to return to India to visit his mother, wife and new-born, Minister Andrews stated:
"After taking advice, including from the Australian Federal Police, I have indicated that the Commonwealth has no objection to Dr Haneef leaving Australia. Indeed the effect of the visa cancellation is that he should remove himself, he should depart Australia in any event." [ref]
Understandably, Minister Andrews did not find it appropriate to praise Dr Haneef for the concern he showed for his family, particularly his ailing mother who, it is said, has not taken this episode well. But in any event, the Minister was correct. Under the terms of the Australian law, Dr Haneef was obliged to depart Australia since his work visa had been cancelled. Admittedly, he is also entitled to stay around for the appeal, but that's a minor detail which a deeply embarassed minister of the crown, eager to see the back of Dr Haneef, might understandably neglect to mention.
Which leaves those of us who do not comprehend the complicated inner workings of the Christian moral calculus to ponder how it was that just a day later, Minister Andrews was able to state that Dr Haneef's departure "heightened, rather than lessened" his suspicions as to the correctness of his assessment of Dr Haneef's alleged bad character. [ref]
Either Dr Haneef's departure is evidence that Dr Haneef was respectfully observing the laws of the commonwealth, or it is evidence of his bad character - it can't be both.
Witch (sic) is it Minister?