June 14, 2004


Televisual Affairs correspondent Anthony Leach takes aim at the raging Merlin Luck controversy, beginning with reaction to this comment from Greens refugee spokesgal Pamela Curr: "It is fantastic somebody on commercial television had the guts to talk about what is really happening in Australia." Anthony writes:

I like the phrase "what's really happening in Australia." Because what's really happening is that there are no refugees in Australia's immigration detention centres. There hasn't been an illegal vessel for more than two years. The only people who are in the centres choose to be there by refusing the Australian Government's offer of assistance to transport them back to their homelands.

They have, with the assistance of Legal Aid, gone through the various courts and immigration tribunals and have been found NOT to be refugees in accordance with UN guidelines. That's what's actually happening.

National Director of refugee action group A Just Australia, Howard Glenn, said: "I have sent him an e-mail saying if he wants to continue the protest, we will help him out."

Help him out? How? By paying him? He'll need some money because his actions would have breached his contracts with Southern Star and Network Ten. No prizes for you Merlin, you idiot!

The kindly Network Ten has taken pity on Merlin, and allowed the rule-breaking squarehead to keep his prizes. I think he’s donating the car to charity, as per host Gretel Killeen’s suggestion. We now await Merlin's debut in the op-ed pages of the Sydney Morning Herald or The Age.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 14, 2004 11:59 PM

I notice that this pinhead, orginally labelled as a refugee himself, actually came with his family on a tourist visa and then stayed illegally.

Nice spin if you can get it. Also in passingin saw a small part of the comments he made tonight and he was vigorously defending the fact that it seems hes not even an Aussie citizen but he was waffling on with some bullshit about feeling Australian.

A complete tool that will be interviewed by Margit in that kooky little webdairy.

I would suggest that the Margit will claim that its a US conspiracy to vote that gibblet of little sister and that she has proof that GWB and JWH have been making 1902 calls from their office.

Posted by: Nuffy at June 15, 2004 at 12:12 AM

This form of protest - involving idiots volunteering not to say anything - should be encouraged. I'd like to see the mouths of every Australian Democrat and Green permanently taped shut. (Wine breaks permitted for 'tired and emotional' Democrat leaders).

John Howard: Peacemaker of the Solomons and East Timor, Joint Liberator of Afghanistan and Iraq, Single-Handed Destroyer of the People-Smuggling Industry, Vanquisher of the Great Recession of the Early 1990s, Victor of Three (and counting) Opposition Leaders, Suffocator of Hansonism, Master of Huge Foreign Business Deals and Consiglieri to the Anglosphere.

Tape that to your gob Merlin, you imbecile.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 15, 2004 at 01:12 AM

I like those titles, CurrencyLad. Maybe such forms of address should be brought back into fashion.

Posted by: EvilPundit at June 15, 2004 at 01:24 AM

CurrencyLad — I think you undervalue Howard. Not a consigliere; certainly a capo in his own right. Not the capo di tutti cappi, perhaps, but still...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 15, 2004 at 01:40 AM


Have fun - you can change what it says.


Posted by: Brett Milner at June 15, 2004 at 01:59 AM


I think you've got an advantage over most people if we do resurrect grandiose titles.

[Scene: grand ball, guests announced on entry]:

"The First Evil Pundit of Doom and Mrs Doom..."

Hard to top!

richard: Noted. But wasn't Tom Hagan higher than Fat Clemensa?

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 15, 2004 at 04:08 AM

'I swapped my vote for a passport' - Merlin's explanation of why he isnt an Australian citizen and therefore can't vote - he wanted to keep his German passport for travel and work reasons.
Why bother participating in the democratic process when you can instead make an egotistical 'statement'
Ties in rather nicely with Garret's disdain for participating in the electoral process really

Posted by: attila at June 15, 2004 at 09:49 AM

I can't completely condemn merls. Sure I totally disagree with his simplistic and idealistic message, and his refusal to become a citizen.

But on the other hand his cunning protest worked damn well while simultaneously making Ch10 and Gretel look silly. The irony of exploiting a program that is based on exploiting young people was cool too.

It's like watching an opposition full forward take a screamer, it's damn annoying but you have to give him some grudging respect.

Posted by: CJ at June 15, 2004 at 11:29 AM

A 'former refugee' with German citizenship. How does that work for any time in the last 60 years or thereabouts?

Posted by: Hoges at June 15, 2004 at 11:58 AM

Merlin has, I believe, claimed that he was a refugee who came to Australia when he was 7 years old. His family left the crippling starvation and famines of ... GERMANY..??
I think they are the first and only German refugees Australia has seen since the 1940s.
I wonder if it was East Germany or West Germany, or after the unification. Maybe they were refugees fleeing the punishing burden of a diet of smelly sausages and saurkraut. Maybe they were fleeing from East Germany, but most of those people simply escaped to West Germany since it was a little bit closer than Australia

Posted by: MC at June 15, 2004 at 12:14 PM

Not sure about Germany, but I've got a European passport from Ireland to match my nice blue Aussie one. My girlfriend holds a French passport with an Aussie one as well. We both work in Australia and have worked in Europe as well without any problems. Merlin has no excuses.

Posted by: Dylan at June 15, 2004 at 01:12 PM

Swapped his vote for a passport!!!
Does this mean that he wishes to return to the tyranny he faced as a refugee in Germeny, please, Im laughing typing thise words it's so fucking ludicrous...
CurrencyLad I like your portrayal of John Winston's governance and it the very reason he has won three elections. Instead of sitting on his arse and crying like Bob Hawke, Howard has made the hard decisions and made them work. Our economy is as good as it gets bar none.
As far as refugees in OZ, the fact is there are none. The UNHRC lay down the criteria for what constitutes a refugee, not our government, and all these detainees failed to meet the required criteria.
But fear not all, if Labor were to win, heaven forbid, Lindsay Tanner has stated that Labor will release all detainees until their cases have been heard. I bet if they are rejected they will all front up that day for deportation too Lindsay you cock-gobbler...
If Merlin isn't an aussie citizen, how the fuck did he qualify for a position on the show..A German refugee. Now i've heard it all

Posted by: scott at June 15, 2004 at 01:28 PM

I should pay attention to someone who can't spell "the"?

Posted by: Grunter at June 15, 2004 at 02:00 PM

I am sure that Krauts are allowed to have Dual Nationality. I damn well know for sure that the Poms can, they are all Pink EU passports. Merlin could have kept his German/EU Passport and became an Aussie citizen. But no, too much hassle to do a boring thing like vote much easier to make vacuous slogans from the side lines..typical really.

Posted by: Dog at June 15, 2004 at 02:04 PM

You have all been very harsh to Merlin. I am a refugee as well. I left the oppressive regime of the Untied States almost ten years ago. And he is right for trading a vote for a passport, we should encourage this. Maybe we could have other programs like that. People could exchange their votes for things like Danoz Direct products, or maybe foxtel. Besides I think that I would rather have someone like Merlin not be able to vote.

Posted by: iron chef np at June 15, 2004 at 02:22 PM

Am I the first to do the "Merlin is no Wizard of Oz" pun? I really hope so.

Posted by: attila at June 15, 2004 at 03:27 PM

Yep, Germans can have dual citizenship. The issue caused a huge voter backlash for the ruling SPD when they instituted it though.

Posted by: Quentin George at June 15, 2004 at 10:39 PM

Man, Germany at the time this dickhead was 7 was booming!

And I'm suspicious about any claim he was from the east, either...

How old is he? He'd have to be born earlier than 1983 for him to have been an East German refugee.

Posted by: Quentin George at June 15, 2004 at 10:41 PM

The local FM104.7 breakfast radio jocks in Canberra were giving the luvvie a hard time this morning.

1) What right does he have to make his "protest" when he NOT an Australian citizen ( as in previous comments the reply was mumble, waffle, Australian spirit, waffle, blah blah blah)

2) What right does he have to destroy a perfectly good night of brain-dead entertainment.

Posted by: DaveACT at June 15, 2004 at 11:45 PM

Merlin - not a refugee, never a refugee, mislabeled a refugee.

He actually came here on a holiday visa aged four - his family stayed here (beyond their visa expiration) and after seven years were eligible for residency.

Does anybody have any definitive, credible evidence on dual citizenship between Australia and Germany? Most of what I've heard regarding his decision to keep his EU passport is based on the speculation that other countries allow dual citizenship with Australia, but I haven't seen any concrete evidence.

Posted by: Flashman at June 16, 2004 at 01:20 AM

To set things straight re: German citizenship (to the best of my knowledge)...warning, long and mostly boring post ahead.

The thing Quentin mentioned is actually only marginally related. German citizenship is granted strictly by parentage (i.e. not also by place of birth, the way it's done in the U.S., for instance), which during the late 90s became an issue with the fairly large Turkish minority here, since many of them are now second and third-generation immigrants who were born and raised here in Germany.

The deal with dual citizenship was that anybody born to foreign parents in Germany may have a German citizenship (not automatically though) in addition to the one obtained by parentage, with the restriction that you'll have to decide for one citizenship (and renounce the other) by the time you turn 21. I'm actually not sure if that restriction eventually became part of the law, and if it did, whether it's actually enforced.

As for the more general question of taking on a second citizenship in addition to your German one, it's possible (and has been for quite a while, I think), although you will have to jump through a few hoops. You're supposed to make a formal request to retain your German citizenship before taking on the new one, detailing why you need both passports (economic, family or other pressing reasons, whatever). Otherwise, you may be stripped of your citizenship automatically, as soon as authorities catch wind, which at the latest will usually be when your passport is up for renewal after 10 years.

I've read conflicting reports on that formal request...some people say it's usually being waved through without much scrunity, while others have actually had their request denied (and lost their citizenship) when their reasons weren't judged to be good enough. I suspect it used to be more difficult than it is these days.

Posted by: PW at June 16, 2004 at 04:14 AM

Australia allowed dual citizenship with all countries in 2002 or thereabouts (can't remember exactly but was overseas at the time and was big news amongst Aussie expats). Before that time, dual citizenship was only allowed with certain countries (eg. Britain).

Of course the other country must also allow it too. It seems Germany does though.

Merlin has no excuse now.

Posted by: Andy at June 16, 2004 at 12:58 PM

Ah yes, that's what I was thinking of. Thanks for correcting me...I was trying to remember what this German girl told me years ago...

Posted by: Quentin George at June 16, 2004 at 10:28 PM