Friday, January 9, 2009

Chris Evans

I have no idea who Chris Evans is.

Yesterday, Jack looked on my calender to see who I'd be researching tomorrow. He asked me who Chris Evans was. I said I had no idea. He asked me to go and look it up. I said no. I want to be surprised.

Yeah. I know. I'm weird.

But now is the moment I can find out!

I'm so excited.

Well, when I first googled I got an actor from Fantastic Four. I figured since he was American this wasn't the one I was looking for.

The Australian Chris Evans is part of the Labor Party. He's in the Rudd Ministry.

His birthday is 14, May 1958.

Birthday website time!

He's a 6 and a Taurus.

I know 6 is the family-oriented one.

I totally forgot what a Taurus is.

Okay. Now I remember them. Lord Wiki says they're reliable and disciplined. Conservative. I did a Taurus before. I'm going to find out who it was....

Jane McGrath and Andrew Denton.

Like Julia Gillard, Evans isn't Australian born. He comes from England. Lord Wiki doesn't say when he emigrated. He just says Evans did his university work at the University of Western Australia. His degree was in arts. I'm starting to spot a trend here. I have the idea if you want to get into Australian politics, you should major in art and/or law.

From 1982-1987, Evans was an officer in the Federated Miscellaneous Workers' Union. This group is now called LMHU. They fight for worker's rights. At this time, their biggest campaigns are for cleaners, workers at luxury hotels; and childcare workers.

After working for the LMHU, Evans went on to become the secretary for the Western Australia Fire Brigade Union. Then he went on to become the state secretary of the Western Australia division of the Labor Party.

In 1996, he was elected to the senate. He was a Shadow Minister from 1998-2007. Now he's the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Lord Wiki says he was once acting Prime Minister. This happened in June 2008. I guess both Gillard and Rudd were unavailable. Would Evans be next in line, or were there other people missing as well?

That's about it for Lord Wiki. He doesn't have much on Chris Evans.

Hopefully, I'll be able to find interesting things elsewhere.

This Labor Party website says Evans was an Opposition Whip for the Senate. I need to find out what that means.....

Lord Wiki says they discipline the party. They make sure people are there to vote. Really? Well, what do they do if they're not there? How do they discipline them? Do they send a note home to their parents?

When Chris Evans was in the Shadow Ministry, he was Shadow Minister for Social Security, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, and Shadow Minister for Family and Community Service. After all that he was then Shadow Minister for National Development, Resources and Energy.

Evans is married. He has two sons. He likes Rugby.

Now I'm going to read his first speech. I hope it says something interesting.

Okay, I'm getting some childhood stuff here. The family went to Australia on their way to Canada. That's where they planned to live. Really? Why would you go through Australia to get to Canada?

He talks in defense of Indigenous Rights. His speech was done shortly after the High Court's decision on the Mabo case. In this, the High Court ruled in favor of Aboriginal Land Rights and rejected the ridiculous terra nullius thing. Evans talks about how some people were not happy with the High Court's decision and fought against it. He says that most Australians support the High Court's decision and want to make right with the Aborigines. But there are a few loud folks who tried to scare the Liberal Party and other Australians into thinking that the Aborigines were going to be kicking everyone out of their homes. They used scare factors. That works sometimes. Unfortunately. Fear breeds hate.

Evans talks about how in 1988, he encountered an anti-Australian rally. At first, he was shocked and offended. But then he said, Upon calmer reflection, I could see that our record on Aboriginal imprisonment, child mortality and poverty could reasonably be compared with those countries which we ourselves hold in contempt for their human rights records.

This is one of the things I admire most about Australia. Although they have done wrong, they admit it. They apologize. They're in less denial than other countries. I think in most other countries, we point our fingers at other countries and say what horrible tyrants! We fail to look at ourselves.

Well, I know a lot of Americans feel regret for the atrocities we caused. We write books. We make movies. We have museums. We talk about it on our blogs. But I think Australia has more formal recognition. You can find apologies on government websites. In my limited research, I have not seen the same things on American government websites. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just missing it.

Oh! During Evan's first speech, a Liberal Senator interrupted! Senator John Panizza. I thought you weren't supposed to do that.   I wonder if he got into any trouble.

This media release from 2008, on the government website, says that they want to give immigration priority to people who have a confirmed job, or people who have skills that are highly needed.

What are the skills most needed in Australia? Sadly, it seems they are not in dire need of bloggers who are obsessed with Australia. What Australia needs is medical professionals, IT professionals, engineers, and construction workers. I don't think I qualify for any of that.

I think I'm understanding this now. What was happening before is they would process applications by order received. But now they're going to start processing the people they most need first. So, a much-needed doctor's application won't be sitting at the bottom of a pile.

That makes sense to me.

This article says that on Australia Day 2008, 14,000 people became Australian citizens. I am TRYING not to be jealous here.

Do you have to become Australian on Australian Day? Is that a rule? Or can you do it on any day? Do people just prefer that day? Anyway, if I was to become Australian, I would do it on Australia Day. That would be so cool.

But we have Obama now. It's kind of exciting to be an American. There's less urgency to flee.

I just think there's something so amazing and exciting about becoming a citizen of a new country. I think it's absolutely beautiful.

Here's another media release. This one is about refugees. It's from June 2008.

They say 500 places have been reserved for Iraqi refugees. They took in 3,548 people from Africa.

Evans says Australia, Canada, and the United States are the top countries to take in refugees. I'm not sure what this means? We all take in the most refugees? We're the best place for refugees? Or does it mean something else?

This article talks about how Evans is trying to tackle the fake passport issue. It seems people are trying to get into Australia with fake passports. Evans is teaming up with forensic experts from China to try to put a stop to it.

While seeing Chris Evan's position in government, I couldn't help but remember the case of the family that was recently rejected from permanent residency because their son had Down Syndrome. I wondered if Evans was involved. This article mentions him and his name is given as someone to email to express anger and discontent.

The story does have a happy ending. The family appealed to the government. Evans granted them permanent residency. He claims the original decision wasn't about discrimination. It was about cost.

Yeah. Okay.

Evans says, Their continued presence and contribution to Australia will be beneficial to our society. I'm pleased they have chosen to call Australia home.

I can't help but wonder. Would things be different if the family hadn't gone to the media, and if people hadn't shown so much outrage?

Well, I'm going to give Evans the benefit of the doubt. I guess. From other stuff I've read about him, he seems like a fairly decent guy. I'm guessing it was just a matter of thoughtless, carelessness, and bureaucracy. I don't think it was malicious. And the good thing is, Evans wants to make changes in policy so the same mistake isn't made again. He says health-waivers should be looked at on a case-by-case basis. This sounds like a good idea to me.

I'm going to look at Google News now.....

This article talks about how fraudulent companies are offering hopeful Indian and Chinese students chances to come to Australia. They sell fake documents for thousands of dollars. I don't think the students realize it's fake. Why do people do things like that? It's sad that there's so much greed in the world. Anyway, Chris Evans and his people are trying to investigate the situation and fight it.

Here we have stuff about asylum seekers coming via boat. Some people believe more and more boats filled with people are appearing in Australia. There's denial in the government that it's increasing. But they do say they're trying to prevent people smuggling.

Lord Wiki says people smuggling is when people try to sneak into areas that are not official entry points. So, I guess they'd be illegal aliens.

This is such a difficult issue.

There are so many refugees in the world. There will be more. People need a home. I feel for them.

But what happens when a country becomes crowded with illegal aliens? That's a bad situation too.

I was talking to Jack the other day and I gave him an analogy. I forgot what we were talking about though. But it kind of fits here. I said what if you and your cousins (the three of them) had one package of M&M's to share. There would be no more food for any of you for hours. You all are hungry. You're struggling to figure out how to share this candy. Then three more children show up. They have no food with them. They're hungry. What do you do? You thought it was bad before with three kids needing to share a bag of candy. Now there's six kids needing to share the candy.

Oh! Now I remember what we were talking about. I had been reading a book about the American Pilgrims. They were struggling just as people struggled in the early days of New South Wales. Then new ships came in carrying people but no food or supplies. I was trying to explain how difficult that would be.

Countries like Australia and the United States are struggling to take care of the people who already live there. We already have so much poverty. So, how do we deal with the idea that even more people want to come and live with us? It's a huge burden. But then we can't just turn them away.

In 1939, a ship filled with Jewish refugees left Germany because of anti-semitic persecution. They came to Cuba which rejected them. They then tried to get help from the United States. Lord Wiki says Roosevelt showed some willingness to help, but then he received threats from his own political party. They threatened to withdraw support during the next election. He sent them away. The shipload of people returned to various countries in Europe where they were safe until the Nazis invaded those countries. A ship of hope turned into a voyage of the damned.


I don't know if we can open our countries to every single refugee. I don't know if that will work. But I do think we need to open our hearts. We need to have compassion. And if we have true compassion, then we will more likely make the right decisions.

4 comments:

Ricardo said...

Compassion in this world is in short supply but I think as this country heads for serious trouble with the economy, we will need it more than ever.

We don't like to apologize here in the US but we sure do a lot of handwringing over the wrong things the nation has done.

On a side note I knew a lot of Australian actors when I studied acting in NYC a long time ago. they told me it was not hard to become a citizen there. Since the population is not very high you stand a good chance of getting in. At least that is what they said. Personally I'd be happy to swing by there and give it a go. I've never felt completely at ease in America but I don't know where would be the right fit.

Dina said...

Ricardo,

Hi! Very true about the economy. Who knows if we'll have the compassion though. Will this drive us to have more compassion. Or will people become even more greedy?

I don't think it's incredibly hard to become Australian. But I also don't think it's that easy. The population is low, but in the cities it's fairly high. I think they'd be more welcoming if you wanted to live in a rural area. That's where they might want some population growth.

As for getting the permission to move there, I think you need the right skills. You need a job. Or you marry an Australian. It seems most Americans I hear about that moved there....it was a matter of falling in love.

You should definitely visit. It's a great place.

Tors said...

Do you have to become Australian on Australian Day? Is that a rule? Or can you do it on any day? Do people just prefer that day? Anyway, if I was to become Australian, I would do it on Australia Day. That would be so cool.

No, no, and yes. And unfortunately, you can't pick the day you become a citizen. That's decided for you by powers-that-be, depending on your local council and how often they hold citizenship ceremonies!

There's also Citizenship Day, held sometime in September.

To become a citizen nowadays, you have to be resident in Oz for at least 4 years (with at least one year as a permanent resident). I guess that's the easy part. The hard part is becoming a permanent resident.

Dina said...

Tors,

I forgot. Are you a citizen yet?