“Kid Charlemagne” is my favourite song by Steely Dan, another marvelous band from the 1970s; second only to Mott The Hoople, of course. The song tells the story of a man with the rather grand sounding name of Augustus Owsley Stanley, a scion of a very prominent Kentucky family, who basically invented the modern LSD trade. Stanley was part of the San Francisco music and counterculture movement during the 1960s and as a sideline he made LSD – around 5 million(!) doses – understandably and quickly becoming a rather popular fellow.
As invariably happens with people who supply vast quantities of drugs, he was raided, put on trial and sentenced to three years in prison. Rather amusing to think at one time you could receive a mere three-year prison sentence if caught with 350,000 LSD tabs! Why I mention this is because some years later Stanley moved to Australia to live and became a citizen in 1996. Hard to imagine that happening here, but Australia apparently had no misgivings…
Just in the last few days there has been a truly shocking news story about a large number of detainees who are incredibly dangerous – including, purportedly, one chap who is a ‘hit man’ – wandering around freely after a High Court decision. There was also the round up of a number of gangsters, dubbed by the media a ‘$1 Billion Crime Syndicate’, and their activities being directed from Lebanon. And all these people are foreign born.
There are a lot of what are known as 501 deportees – basically New Zealand criminals being sent home – and they all turn out to be the ‘usual suspects’. Australia seems to find out the hard way these folk are wrong ’uns.
So what is it about Australia that they let anybody into the country with impunity? Why do they not seem to mind about often violent professional criminals entering the country to make their home there? To me and others in New Zealand it all seems most puzzling. Say what you like about the sizeable chunk of the New Zealand population who are foreign born, but one presumes Immigration NZ have not let major drug dealers or international gangsters live here!
Were somebody from oddball parts of the world seeking to live in New Zealand, my response would be application declined. If that upsets certain people’s sensibilities – tough cheese – because it means we wouldn’t eventually see on our television news the round up of a ‘$1 Billion Crime Syndicate’ in Auckland. What do you think is going to happen if you let them in? But across the Tasman? Oh nothing to see here: door’s open, come in mate. It all seems quite bizarre. Not only the laxity in screening applicants and the lack of background checks (or if background checks are undertaken seeming not to care about major criminal activity), but also in the surprise many Australians express when the inevitable occurs.