In 2013, when Scott Morrison said that, under the Refugee Convention, there is ‘No guarantee or requirement for permanent residency’, he was not wrong. There is no provision in the act that means signatories must provide permanent protection – even to those found to be legitimate refugees.
Unfortunately, we have now sufficient experience of terrorist incidents to formulate a simple rule: namely, almost everything said in the first few days after the event will later prove wrong.
At a mother’s group Christmas party, three young girls were jumping up and down on a musty old couch. All three were in their party dresses, yelling, ‘I’m Barbie One!’, ‘I’m Barbie Two!’ and ‘I’m Barbie Three!’ The dark-haired girl assigned to be ‘Barbie Three’ suddenly stopped jumping. She thought for a moment about the implications of being third and declared, ‘I’m Barbie Five!’ to which her companions countered, ‘I’m Barbie 56!’ and ‘I’m Barbie 65, 72, 15!’ The hall where this party was taking place seemed filled with the infamous plastic doll, although the Mattel product was, actually, nowhere to be seen.
In late November in the cathedral of Seville, the funeral was held for the 88-year-old, obscenely wealthy, feudally-titled and – it must be said – somewhat grotesque Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, Duchess of Alba. She had lived a life of unfettered privilege.
We live in a time of madness. A form of insanity rules our lives. As the world becomes more productive, some of us work longer hours, some of us are no longer needed in paid labour at all, and all of us are encouraged to spend, borrow and buy more and more. We keep pressing harder on the accelerator, pushing more people off the vehicle and expecting the driver to stay longer at the wheel. Can we imagine a more insane system?