Australasia

Informer 3838: A web of deceit

In 2009, four Victoria Police officers would find themselves guarding their most valuable intelligence asset as she hid in the Hard Rock Hotel in Bali’s Kuta beach. Tammy Mills & Chris Vedelago The Age That year the lawyer-turned-informer, code-named 3838, had been receiving a stream of anonymous text messages and phone calls promising reprisals if she didn’t “stop telling lies” and “stop talking”. Police wanted to protect the lawyer until she could appear as a key witness in the most ... Read More »

Perth’s brief abalone season is a time of delicacies and danger

Starting on December 8, recreational abalone fishing will be allowed in Perth. Fishing will be limited to one hour on four Saturday mornings between December and February. John Charles Ryan The Conversation The maximum catch is still 15 per person per day. A complete ban on abalone fishing between Geraldton and the Northern Territory border will remain in place. This brief, intense season is a social and dining highlight of the year for many Australians – particularly Chinese migrants. It’s ... Read More »

New scholarship honours Aboriginal Elder who led protest against Nazis

A lucrative new scholarship will honour the life and activism of Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper. NITV SBS A university in Victoria has announced a new scholarship that celebrates the activism of Aboriginal and Jewish communities by honouring the life of Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper. On 6 December 1938, Mr Cooper, aged 77, led a march from his home in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs to the steps of the city’s German consulate. It was a protest against Kristallnacht, the ... Read More »

Voters are crying out for better government but have mixed views on how to achieve it

Support for democracy and trust in politicians is falling. We hear a lot about evidence-based policy as a way to stem this decline, but less about how that evidence should be generated. Authors: The Conversation One idea that may generate the type of evidence that will help make more informed decisions appears, paradoxically, fairly unpopular with the punters. Perhaps the problem is that not enough has been done to explain to the public what this idea – carefully testing new ... Read More »

PM escapes threat to his control of Parliament as Labor backs down on encryption

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has survived a dire threat to his control of Parliament from a determined attempt to change asylum seeker policy, sparking a blame game that forced Labor to back down on… David Crowe The Age Mr Morrison blocked attempts to amend migration laws to transfer more asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru to Australia, but was forced to delay a major policy on energy in order to avoid a… The ruthless tactics deepened hostilities between the ... Read More »

It’s no wonder we no longer trust our institutions

I’ve been thinking about institutions a lot lately. About how if there is anything that characterises our current political moment of disillusionment, anger and a rampant, destructive cynicism, it is that we no longer… Waleed Aly The Canberra Times Try to name one; it’s more difficult than you’d think. Our trust in politics – even in democracy itself – is at an all time low. Whatever belief we once had in the idea that business, for all its self-interest, was ... Read More »

Hunger, violence and constant stress: The brutal truth of life as a child refugee

As a former child refugee, I feel very strongly for the children on Nauru. I know the sense of uncertainty and hopelessness that comes from being stuck in limbo — not knowing if or when you might get to live freely in a… Sayed Rabbani ABC I was just 9 years old when my family fled Afghanistan for the third time in 2001, when the war in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks on America began. I remember the first airstrike ... Read More »

Australians’ trust in politicians and democracy hits an all-time low: new research

Over the past four years, we have conducted a range of attitudinal surveys with the Social Research Institute at Ipsos on the relationship between trust in the political system and attitudes towards democracy in… Authors: The Conversation Our latest research, conducted in July 2018 (prior to the Liberal Party’s leadership spill), includes a quantitative survey of a representative sample of 20 focus groups and 1,021 Australians from a wide range of… We understood political trust in this survey as “keeping ... Read More »

What’s the Encryption Laws Got to do With the Social Sector?

Digital rights activists warn the implications of the federal government’s encryption bill will need to be closely watched by social sector organisations, who may be open to law enforcement agencies tapping their… Maggie Coggan PRObono Laws allowing police and intelligence agencies to intercept encrypted messages are expected to pass federal Parliament this week, with Labor and the Coalition government striking a deal on Tuesday… Labor’s approved changes include an ongoing committee process into 2019, and assurances that interception powers could ... Read More »

NSW could pilot ‘morning and afternoon schools’, Rob Stokes says

Education Minister Rob Stokes says he is open to trialling separate morning and afternoon schools  in NSW to reduce traffic peaks and address the enrolment boom. Pallavi Singhal The Sydney Morning Herald “Effectively having double schools by having morning and afternoon schools is one option, it’s already being done in some countries,” Mr Stokes said in response to a question at the launch of a new report into school design by architecture and… “That would create problems in the middle ... Read More »

‘My own son cannot get a job now’: Sydney’s Sudanese hit by Melbourne ‘ripple effect’

As Melbourne’s Sudanese community fought to defend itself this year from blanket accusations of gang violence, the ripple effect was felt hundred of kilometres away in the western Sydney suburb of Blacktown. Lisa Visentin The Sydney Morning Herald Victoria Kisanga, who arrived in Blacktown 17 years ago after fleeing Sudan’s civil war, said securing employment had become increasingly difficult for Sydney’s South Sudanese refugees in the wake of the intense media and political scrutiny of… “My own son cannot get a job ... Read More »

In her own words: Why a top criminal barrister became Informer 3838

Informer 3838 is a Victorian defence barrister who has represented a who’s who of Melbourne’s underworld, including major drug traffickers, murderers and Mafia figures. The Age She began providing information to police in mid-2003 and was a registered informer from 2005 to 2009, providing information about criminal associates and clients, some while she was simultaneously representing them in plea deals and court proceedings. She received a $2.88 million compensation payment from Victoria Police in 2010. Informer 3838 no longer has ... Read More »

Nauru mental health situation equivalent to ‘victims of torture’, Medecins Sans Frontieres says

The mental health situation on Nauru is equivalent to that of victims of torture, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says, in what it describes as the first independent medical data on mental health conditions on the… AM – By Lexi Metherell ABC MSF treated 208 asylum seekers and refugees in the 11 months its medical staff were on Nauru, until they were expelled by that nation’s Government in October. In a report compiled on the mental health condition of the asylum seekers, refugees and ... Read More »

Protest is a school for democracy

Children are citizens, not mere citizens-to-be. They have political views that deserve an audience. Kei Nishiyama Brisbane Times “What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament last week. His pronouncement was a reaction to a school students’ strike against government inaction on climate change all over the country. The young protestors had said: “We are school kids temporarily sacrificing our education in order to save our futures from dangerous ... Read More »

Medical evacuations are essential to maintain basic human decency

Some lessons are learned too late. For refugee Hamid Khazaei, who died of sepsis contracted on Manus Island, belated reforms can no longer help. Catherine Stubberfield The Sydney Morning Herald Reflecting on his death, the Queensland State Coroner earlier this year could not have been clearer in his findings. That bureaucrats and politicians should never be allowed to override a clinical decision made by a medical doctor. That Australia retains responsibility for those it has relocated under so-called “offshore processing” ... Read More »

Why I’m spending $100 million on ‘the pursuit of truth’

If I had any doubt that my investment in an institute to support “evidence-based journalism and the pursuit of truth” was a worthy ambition it has been swept away by the overwhelming positive response to the announcement. Judith Neilson Brisbane Times I expected journalists, and the media industry generally, to welcome the initiative. But more heartening has been the reaction of the wider community. People from around Australia, and the world, have inundated my office with messages of thanks and ... Read More »