In 1967 I left England because of unemployment, rotten wages, rotten weather, and what looked to me like a bleak future for a young adult. In short, I made a lifestyle decision, and I reckon I made a good one.
The Australian government heavily subsidised my fare, my share of which was £10, and I can happily live with the nickname that comes with that, because I have given the Australian government and society a good run for their money.
I was quite happy to wait for “the proper process” to take its course – a mere five months between application in England and arrival at Launceston – because I was not in fear for my life. My friends and relatives were not being murdered because of their Irish Catholic background.
We were discriminated against, but it simply doesn’t compare with the persecution suffered by Hazaras in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Tamils in Sri Lanka. I was not about to be murdered because I was a Catholic.
And don’t assume I “fit in” better because of my white skin, because I have been in one kind of conflict or another ever since I got here. Bosses, cops, bloody bureaucrats, narrow-minded bigots and stupid people – especially racists – they all give me the shits and I will never stop telling them where they’re going wrong.
And I’m not going back to where I came from, either, so if you don’t like me, Bob Bloody Carr, you can bloody well lump me!