Isabella McLean was born in Melbourne, in the early half of the 19th Century, in a land that would one day come to be known as Australia. Isabella was my great, great, great, great grandmother.

Our ancestral ties to country stretch back further but Isabella’s recorded birth serves to score, in part, our binding ties to country, that predate federation, and the archivists have not yet drawn a line under our deeper ties. Her father, and my great, great, great grandfather, Sir George McClean, came to country earlier, with his wife, Lady Isabella McClean, and we continue to delve the past for the full scope of our roots within this nation, home to the longest continuous culture stretching back some 65,000 years.

We are also a proud Trans-Tasman family, and I am honoured to be an Aotearoa New Zealand citizen, despite my life being lived overwhelmingly in Australia and not Aotearoa New Zealand, but my birth in Canada, and the birth of my son in the Philippines, despite his entire known life being lived solely in Australia, have seen our ties to country destroyed by little known, severely nuanced, and lingering Coalition government policy. First with John Howard’s 2001 evisceration of the Anzac spirit with his cynical manipulation of a 1991 social security act and later by Malcolm Turnbull’s equally cynical 2016 undertaking to divide and conquer the Kiwi diaspora in Australia with a visa that tacitly enshrined a diaspora of sub-citizens with no other home but Australia.

The Liberal led Coalition Government, last captained by Scott Morrison, have entrenched sickly cynical sophistry of policy law that effectively punishes us for defending our son, whose autism is treated as a threat to public health and purse. We have no home but Australia and I can assure you that Dylan poses no existential health threat, but he does expose the 21st Century Coalition governments lack of moral probity or respect for the disabled. After a decade, existing upon no land but Australia, we remain branded visitors for the sins of sacrifice and love to a son named Dylan whose only crime was a disability we surely did not seek – nor we have knowledge – when Australian Health Officers cleared Dylan for entry and settlement to Australia a decade ago. We remain outsiders within the nation of our only home – hostages to a strongman populism invoked by Coalition governments who once found votes and power in a grotesque form of right wing nationalism that panders to aberrant identity politics which plays with decidedly real human lives.

Today, as I write these words, not less than four very much living and breathing generations of greater Australian citizen family exist on this continent, including Australian parents, siblings, cousins, and nephews: from bankers, hoteliers, publicans, writers, legal advocates, engineers and members of the ADF. We are a proud multicultural, multiracial, multilingual family who should be the very personification of modern Australia. We are instead ostracised in a surreal form of apartheid within the Australian nation. Our ancestors rightful place in Australia, our endless hard work, our right of abode, our place in the community, our exemplary lives and authentic home within country mean nothing for our permanent legal rights in Australia. Our permanent residency visa stalled in a perpetual limbo at Home Affairs, the visa made online only and our son’s disability generating an “error message.” Home Affairs says they have no authority and the immigration minister is unreachable – his staff referring me to “tech support” (a sick and absurd consequence borne out by well documented facts within the essays of this website).

The mental, financial, emotional, spiritual and physical consequences of our segregation are evident and understandable – they are also slowly destroying us as we approach a decade under such treatment. Taxation without representation being but one of the many segregations we endure. Wars for independence have been waged over less, notably in America 244 years ago. When I brought my Philippine born wife and children to Australia our children, Maya and Dylan, were aged 1 and 2, respectively. We had hope and we had a large Australian family to make settlement better. Then our son Dylan was diagnosed with autism.

Such diagnosis would challenge any family but his illness has catastrophised our life as it strengthened our love for one another and our resolve against an Australian government that has been nothing less than punitive in the face of his illness – for make no mistake about it: The Morrison Government treats Dylan as an existential health threat (though their real fear, spurious as it is, finds form in their financial appetites – Dylan is interpreted as a liability, according to the computational modelling algorithms this government rely upon, the way addicts rely upon their respective drugs). Where the Morrison Government continues this segregation we have no future, even as we have no other home but Australia to call home. We are a case study in the unintended consequences of legislation. Legislation formed and further exploited by succesive LNP Governments in the past 20 years. In a defining example of the inequity visited upon this Anzac family (for our ties to the New Zealand nation across the Tasman run as deep) the Ardern Government recognised our children’s ancestral ties to country and conferred New Zealand citizenship upon them amidst a global pandemic, no less, in June of 2020. Yet, the Australian Government that stewards their shared ancestral lands and their sole home for their entire known lives rejects them because the Morrison Government believes punishing the disabled is a vote winner.

This is our heartbreak. This is truth-telling. This is our Australian story.

April 25, 2021

April 25 1915: Anzac Cove
April 25 2010: Birth of Dylan Anderson
This September shall mark 77 years since my WW II digger grandad’s war ended in Tokyo Bay, but peace never came to his descendants. We’ve family who’ve served both Taman nations with honour, in wars and conflict predating Anzac C […]

January 26, 2021

The “national day” celebrated on 26 January should simply become one of 31 days on the January calendar. Let it mark a birthday, family anniversary, or an appointment but it’s not fit to be a day of national unity.
The holiday upon the 26th should be scrapped. Full stop. A totally diff […]

January 1, 2021

Precisely one year ago today I posted my last essay on this site. The year’s silence more a product of depression and trauma than calculated protest but a fitting reflection of the Morrison Government’s ambitions to silence us. I started that last essay of 1 January 2020 with this sentence, “M […]

January 1, 2020

1 January 2020
AN OPEN LETTER VIA REGISTERED AND ELECTRONIC DELIVERY TO:
The Honourable Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia
Happy New Year Prime Minister,
My family survived 2019.  We are grateful we survived. Many did not make it through the past year – property and life were lost &# […]

November 19, 2019

Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?  It was a question asked by Alexander Pope almost 300 years ago in a poem.  I have found my answer.
The Australian Government has taken virtually everything from us.  I endure the slow death of my family at the hands of this Government, even as I must simultan […]

November 11, 2019

Today is 11/11.  A day of remembrance.  As my 8 year-old daughter, Maya, affixed a poppy to her school uniform in homage to her great grandfather and all who served, I experienced a combination of deep pride on one hand and not a little contempt on the other, even outrage, at the current Australia […]

November 8, 2019

A note to Samantha Connor, first and foremost a righteous human being and so too a consistent voice in the disability advocacy space, whose spirit I only wish was, quite literally, infectious and thus capable of being made communicable to a global audience in need of such positive pathogens.  Sam […]

October 30, 2019

We are all counted as citizens when we’re taxed.  We are all counted like citizens for the census.  But the country is divided along a dark corridor that few people even know exists and fewer still fully understand.  The consequences are much more than a bit of bother or a nagging inconveni […]

October 24, 2019

24 October 2019
AN OPEN LETTER VIA ELECTRONIC DELIVERY
Senator Jacqui Lambie
Australian Senate
.
Good day Senator Lambie,
In recent remarks to the media, you expressed very real disgust over the treatment of Anzacs in Australia.  I applaud your comments and acknowledge that under clearly segregatio […]

October 18, 2019

Around and around and around we go, where we stop…  The truth is we don’t know where we will stop and it’s starting to feel very much like we may keep going around until we give up or die.  Such is no way to live, to be led, or to lead.  Such is, in short, not human nor humane. […]

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