Locals lash out over ‘full’ Christmas Island
Paige Taylor; 3/3/10
It is not the influx of asylum-seekers on Christmas Island that Andrew Gooley has grown to resent. Rather, it’s the cashed-up immigration workers who squeeze themselves on to the tiny Australian territory and push up costs. Mr Gooley, his wife and two children will be kicked out of their rented apartment on April 13 because the new owner plans to let the property to immigration workers and service providers. After a boatload of asylum-seekers was detected close to Christmas Island on Sunday, Mr Gooley let fly at his local member, Labor MP Warren Snowdon. The national park gardener, who earns about $60,000 a year rehabilitating mined rainforests, said the only available unit was a flat for $550 a week, $250 a week more than he currently pays.
Transsexual who feared prison at home qualifies for refugee status
Bernard Lane 3/3/10
A Malaysian transsexual who feared prison, whipping and life as a prostitute if returned home has qualified for refugee status as a member of a persecuted social group. The Refugee Review Tribunal emphasised her poverty, powerlessness and inability to get an identity card as a female, which would have allowed her to work. The 38-year-old Hindu Malay was born male, had a sex-change operation in Thailand, returned to Malaysia with a female name, was arrested during a beauty pageant, came to Australia last year on a tourist visa and found work as a fruit-picker. Lawyers said it was very rare for transsexuals to gain protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention as members of a persecuted social group.