From the Calgary Sun:
A Canadian actor who won a role in the sequel to the science-fiction thriller The Matrix has lost her chance to appear in the film after being deported from Australia under the country’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.
Brendalee Doel, 24, was arrested and detained in Sydney’s notorious Villawood Detention Centre this month after returning to Australia from a holiday on an expired visa, newspapers reported yesterday.
She became a minor celebrity in Australia this fall with her appearance as a busty barmaid in a television commercial for Cougar Bourbon. After a nine-day holiday in Japan, Doel was arrested by immigration officers because her tourist visa had expired two days earlier.
She claims she was targeted because of her high profile in Sydney and calls the decision to arrest her “tall-poppy syndrome.”
Doel was sent to Villawood, the ominous holding tank for illegal immigrants, and spent three days in the prison while her case was processed. She is now barred from visiting Australia for three years and will not be able to appear in The Matrix Reloaded, which also stars Canadian Keanu Reeves, and is filming in Sydney. “My life has been turned upside down,” she said.
Although there is now little chance she will appear in the film, Doel says she plans a legal challenge to the deportation order because she wants to return to work in Australia. Critics have denounced the Australian government and John Howard, the Prime Minister, for the policy of detaining any visitor whose visa expires.
Tourists who let their paperwork lapse can find themselves thrown into immigration jails along with migrants and criminals who sneaked into the country illegally.
They remain locked up until they can post a bond.