In The Weekend Australian this weekend, there is a full page advertisement in the glossy weekend magazine. The advertisement is "An Australian Government Promotion". Its purpose is to encourage eligible persons living in Australia to apply for Australian citizenship "so they can fully participate in this great nation of ours" (to quote Andrew Robb, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs).

The hook? "Australia's spirit and beauty prompted the 2003 Nobel Literature Laureate, John M. Coetzee, to become an Australian citizen".

Presumably the rationale behind this "promotion" is that people who read The Australian will be spluttering into their morning coffees and saying aloud at the breakfast table, "J M Coetzee did it? Where do I sign?"

A "literary crowd" at Coetzee's ceremony this year apparently "witnessed the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Senator the Hon. Amanda Vanstone, lead Mr Coetzee in his pledge of commitment to Australia", which must have been a singular joy.

Coetzee is quoted saying that taking on Australian citizenship creates responsibilities and duties. Robb (would you believe it) agrees, saying, "In Australia we value basic rights, such as democracy, equality under the law and equality of treatment and opportunity".

For reports on how well things have been going for the Aboriginal communities up North, you'll have to sift through the rest of the paper and try and find the words "basic rights" and "opportunity" in amongst the words "third world living standards", "infant mortality" and "paternalism". If you'd like to know how the asylum seekers who are about to have the law changed on them (again) feel about "equality of treatment and opportunity", you might have to wait a teensy while longer.

Still, why complain? The soccer seems to be going rather well, and a millionaire North Shore Sydneysider who lives in the United States is going to put a frock on and get married tomorrow, so that should be fun to read about until August.

I'm going for a walk.