Citizens must be able to challenge government power

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Data retention laws: Should we worry? Quentin Dempster shares his murky secrets, in a bid to understand the new data retention laws The Age – Jennifer Robinson * Video will begin in 1 seconds. Governments are conducting unprecedented surveillance, with increased intelligence powers and interceptions of online communications. Recent mandatory data retention laws and revelations released by prominent whistleblowers demonstrate that governments and corporations are now intercepting, retaining and using more of our private information than ever before. Digital technologies, ... Read More »

Say no to increasing force against detainees

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One of the most disturbing aspects of Border Force’s takeover of detention camps has been the militarisation and increased use of force against people seeking asylum. Women have been especially targeted by SERCO and Border Force. Eureka Street – Pamela Curr * Next week in the Senate, the Government is seeking even more powers to use against women, children and men in detention. Detention Examples of existing measures include the use of electronic scanners plus physical pat-downs on women before ... Read More »

Australia slams Japan’s whaling resumption

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Japan cannot unilaterally decide to start whaling in the Antarctic Ocean again against the advice of scientists, says Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Japan is set to ignore an International Court of Justice ruling that last year prompted Tokyo to cancel the bulk of its whaling for the 2014-15 season. The Japanese Fisheries Agency has notified the International Whaling Commission that it will resume whaling in the 2015-16 season under a revised plan. ‘Australia strongly opposes the decision by Japan to ... Read More »

Greens leader Richard di Natale to host global experts at drug reform summit

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It was the experience of an 18-year-old kid – drug-addled, broken and belatedly crying out for help – that helped inspire a future Greens leader to look for a new way ahead. WAtoday – Adam Morton, Senior Writer The teen was “shooting up almost every drug available” when he decided he wanted help, Richard Di Natale says. They found there was none. “Having him then not being able to get a bed – and then having him ending up in extensive care unit ... Read More »

It’s Time For Solidarity, Not Sympathy

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are being forced off our land due to the extractive industries that fuel dangerous climate change and, more and more, by the devastating impacts of sea level rise, drought and lack of access to clean water. The Huffington Post – Amelia Telford * – While world leaders gather in Paris to determine a new deal to limit global warming, millions of people across the globe will be hitting the streets calling for stronger action ... Read More »

Fifth refugee secretly moved from Nauru to Cambodia under $55m deal

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The ethnic Rohingya man from Myanmar arrived in Phnom Penh last week under the resettlement arrangements, as Cambodian political divisions deepen The Guardian – Lauren Crothers in Phnom Penh and Ben Doherty A fifth refugee from Nauru has been secretly moved to Cambodia, arriving last week under Australia’s controversial $55m deal with the south-east Asian nation. The man, understood to be an ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar, arrived in Phnom Penh as always-fractious political tensions inside Cambodia escalated further, and the ... Read More »

A refugee, like me: why the Golden Rule matters in an era of mass migration

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As the refugee crisis worsens, various “destination” countries, including Australia, are engaging in internal debates around multiculturalism, integration and tolerance. People are worried about cultural cohesion, racial divides and religious differences. The Conversation Author: Rivka T. Witenberg, Honarary Research Fellow in Psychology , Australian Catholic University Disclosure statement: Rivka T. Witenberg receives funding from Large ARC SPIRT Grant; Department of Psychology Research Support Scheme, University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University; Centre for Education for Human Values and Tolerance, Bar ... Read More »

These Syrian refugees became SES volunteers within a month of arriving in Australia

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Less than a year after arriving in Australia, with their bullet-riddled Aleppo home a fading memory, Johnny and Carol Bilouna pulled on matching orange jumpsuits and prepared to help patch a stranger’s roof somewhere in the peaceful, if storm-damaged, Illawarra. Daily Life – Angela Thompson Life in Syria’s largest city had been good. The couple had lots of friends and family living nearby, two prosperous businesses to run, two young children and their own apartment. When the war came near to their doorstep in July, 2012, they ... Read More »

Michael Brand’s plan for the Art Gallery of NSW is about money, not art

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Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand has spent most of his term of office constructing a gigantic spoof against the civic core of Sydney’s most public and important open space – the Domain and Botanic Gardens. The Sydney Morning Herald – Paul Keating * Brand wishes to construct a vast function centre and observation platform – a megaplex made feasible only by appropriating open space across an expressway and on land belonging to the Botanic Gardens. And the aim of this land ... Read More »

Booze much ‘worse’ than NT Ice crisis

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ST JOHN paramedics treated more than 6600 people in NT for alcohol-related issues – and just 230 patients with amphetamines as the drug of concern – in the first six months of 2015. ELLIE TURNER From: NT News The Ice Select Committee said: “The Territory needs to ensure it is well equipped to manage the impact of ice. But witnesses impressed on the committee it was important not to lose sight of the fact alcohol is a far greater problem ... Read More »

Is a life sentence justified for assisted dying?

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In 1997, Kevin Andrews succeeded in pushing a private member’s bill through Federal Parliament. It overturned the first legislation permitting assisted suicide in Australia, enacted in the Northern Territory. OnLineOpinion – By David Leyonhjelm Since then, not only does assisting someone to commit suicide remain a serious crime in all States, it is also a crime in the Territories. Three states have life imprisonment as the maximum penalty, while in others the maximum penalty varies from 5 to 25 years. ... Read More »

Male leaders condemn violence to women

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SIGN THE PLEDGE MEN who serve on the Northern community’s front line will unite on Wednesday to condemn violence against women. The Examiner Representatives of Tasmania Police, the Tasmania Fire Service and the Launceston City Council will mark White Ribbon Day with three events in Launceston: a Brunch in the Bays at the Paterson Street fire station, a public event in the Brisbane Street Mall from midday, and a forum at the Launceston City Council. Northern Commander Brett Smith said ... Read More »

CCLs Presidents Statement calling on the Australian Parliament to abandon the radical and misguided Australian Citizenship Bill

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Submitted To: Australian Parliament The Presidents of the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and South Australian Councils for Civil Liberties and the Australian Council for Civil Liberties have put together a statement calling on the Australian Parliament to abandon the radical and misguided Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015. In the aftermath of the recent tragic and brutal acts of terrorism in Paris, Lebanon and other places, the desire to take even more action to protect our community is strong ... Read More »

Catherine Birnie parole hearing: ‘Some people do not deserve a second chance’

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Revenge’ should not keep Catherine Birnie in prison Some crimes are so horrific that nobody in their right mind would ever want to see the criminal who committed those crimes back on our streets. The Canberra Times – Karalee Katsambanis, WAtoday columnist The sickening murderous crime spree by David and Catherine Birnie shocked Perth in 1986 and continues to shock anyone who finds out about their evil deeds 30 years on. Yet early next year we will all be confronted ... Read More »

Manus Island hunger striker ‘close to death’: Julian Burnside

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Video – ‘If you think we are human…please help us’ Iranian man Loghaman Sawari has been in transit on Manus Island for over two years. The Sydney Morning Herald – Nicole Hasham, Environment and immigration correspondent UN rebuke over Australia’s refugee policy The Pulse live from Parliament An asylum seeker who once reportedly cut open his stomach during a hunger strike to prove it was empty is at risk of death and must be brought to Australia for treatment, prominent human ... Read More »

Greens unveil push for 90% target for renewable energy by 2030

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Policy proposes new authority to oversee $5bn of construction in clean energy generation and a 15-year pipeline of projects through direct investment The Guardian – Daniel Hurst Political correspondent @danielhurstbne The Greens will seek to build momentum for more ambitious action on climate change by calling for the creation of a new government authority to help Australia reach a 90% target for renewable energy by 2030. The leader of the Greens, Richard Di Natale, said the policy to be released ... Read More »