By Melissa Frost
Last night I was at Hong Kong International airport, Gate 31 to be precise, dutifully lining up to board flight QF98 to Brisbane. I was standing in the marked line for passengers sitting in Economy rows 20-41. I was asked to move to this line by Qantas ground crew. The line next to me was for Economy Rows 42-60. An obedient lot we were. We quietly watched the exclusive Business Class passengers smugly saunter up to the Qantas staff, produce their 3A boarding pass and pretentiously swagger down to the aircraft and turn left.
During our extended wait I noticed a stern, no-nonsense Caucasian woman, dressed casually in black jeans, flat black shoes and a black and white checked shirt. She had a blonde bob and looked to be in her 50s. As I was watching her manoeuvre between passengers and the Qantas boarding desk, it occurred to me that she was of some authority, as the Qantas staff were not perturbed by her movements between the passengers and the computers at the boarding gate. I then noticed she had some form of ID hanging around her neck. She was not wearing the Qantas uniform.
Then to my horror she starts to racially profile these passengers in the now very long queues to board QF98. With no expression on her face she approaches the Indian couple to my left and the Korean woman standing behind them. “Passports,” she commands, extending her hand in a gesture that said; “You are an alien to Australia.” The Indian couple became confused and nervous. The man asked; “Why?” With a haughty imperious dull expression she says; “Australian Immigration.”
She then proceeds to look at the passport and – what must have felt intimidating to the passenger – holds the passport up to this man’s face. She deliberately takes her time and scrutinises him before slowly returning the passport. She then repeats the process with his partner and then the Korean woman standing behind him.
She then proceeds to slowly move down the line of QF98 passengers, racially profiling those along the way and repeating her stamp of authority on any possible ‘alien combatives.’
Ms Australian Immigration did not come near me. I must have looked ‘suitable enough stock’ to enter Australia.
After this very invasive performance from Australian authorities I became enraged, and I apologised to the rattled threesome beside me and wished them a brilliant stay in our country, however, I couldn’t help but ponder …
Australia, GET OVER YOURSELF.
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