Outside noisy, inside empty – old Chinese proverb

A-manda-rinDespite the extraordinarily generous largesse of the Whorestralian taxpayer subsidising her mature age Mandarin language lessons to the estimated tune of $70,000 (that’s RMB430,000), it appears our investment in Amandarin Vanstone has not borne fruit. The $70,000 could include

… a $3,600 airfare to China for the Senator’s teacher.

New Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews is reported to be deeply concerned by the spending and has demanded an audit into the spending.

Mandarin lessons are cheaper in Shanghai

…where university courses cost around RMB8,000 to RMB12,000 per semester, or hourly lesson rates cost anywhere between RMB40 to RMB200. Even removed from a normal Chinese-speaking environment, you would think that spending that large amount of money allow you to obtain a reasonable degree of knowledge for the language, wouldn’t you? Not so.

Amanda’s viva exposition of her newly acquired skills ‘failed to impress a seasoned Mandarin-speaking businessman when delivering a speech in Mandarin in Canberra last year, with the man describing it as “excruciating”‘.

Kevvie Rudd speaks Mandarin fluently – was Amandarin jealously keen to catch up?

Or did she want to taunt immigrants or detainees in Australia’s immigration detention centres in their own language?

Further reading reveals that recently the overspending Senator may have been angling for a plum job representing Australia in China.

Perhaps we should direct our hard earned tax dollars into intelligence and skills aptitude testing for pollies before allowing them to pursue their wilful follies at our expense.

4 comments to Outside noisy, inside empty – old Chinese proverb

  • […] interpreter costs would be $16,000 out of the original $70,000 said to be involved in her Chinese diplomatic efforts. “If money had been spent for somebody […]

  • Amandarin fights back:

    The former immigration minister, Amanda Vanstone, yesterday rejected as “mischief-making in the extreme” a report she had used $30,860 for private Chinese language lessons. Senator Vanstone said the expenditure – between September 2003 and January this year – was for preparation, drafting and very limited language coaching for speeches she gave to Chinese groups and representatives, and for interpreting services at meetings with officials.

    So how much did she pay for these interpreting services, and how much on her Chinese language skills development?

  • Some detainees are indeed Chinese:

    “Human rights violations at the Port Hedland Immigration Processing Centre

    HRC Report No. 12 (28 November 2000) deals with complaints by two Chinese asylum seekers detained at Port Hedland Immigration Reception and Processing Centre from June 1996. They claimed that they were not advised of their rights upon being taken into detention and that their requests for legal assistance were not met in a timely manner. They also complained about being held in ‘separation detention’ for 96 days in each case. Detainees in separation detention have very little communication with the outside world. The report finds these complaints established and recommends the payment of compensation to each complainant.”

    And more from a Chinese detainee:

    “In the last year of my detention at Port Hedland I was in a bad state emotionally. Most nights I would lie in bed feeling nervous wondering about what would happen to us. We had not heard anything for a long time about our court case and felt that we could be deported any day. Our sleep was also disturbed by the guards checking on us every night.”

    “I would prefer to stay in Australia but it has taken so long to get a response from the department I have lost heart. That is why I requested to go back to China. I don’t want to go back to China because of what happened to me there and because my son would have to be cared for by someone else as I will be imprisoned … I have been in detention for one year and still do not know what is happening.”

  • Becky

    Lots of detainees are Mandarin speakers, are they?