Australasia

US should follow Aust on guns: Congressman

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America should follow Australia’s example on gun laws, says a US congressman from the state that suffered the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent Representative Jim Hines, a Democrat from Connecticut will join teenage survivors from last week’s school shooting in Florida in a new campaign for stricter gun control measures. Last Wednesday 17 students and teachers were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, with a 19-year-old former student charged ... Read More »

How we can put a stop to the revolving door between homelessness and imprisonment

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Homeless people are over-represented in Australia’s prisons, and previously incarcerated people are over-represented among the homeless. Sophie Russell The Conversation Experiencing homelessness increases the risk of criminal justice system involvement, and experiencing imprisonment increases the likelihood of homelessness. Data from the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare and the New South Wales Justice Health Survey highlight both the over-representation of homeless people inside prisons and the absence of accommodation services for them on their release. Over the past five years ... Read More »

Tamil asylum seeker to be deported after UN committee withdraws torture concerns

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Committee earlier requested a halt to Shantaruban’s removal from Australia Ben Doherty The Guardian A Tamil asylum seeker appears set for deportation to Sri Lanka after the UN committee against torture withdrew a request to Australia to halt his removal while it investigated the risk of him being tortured upon return. Shantaruban, currently held in immigration detention in Melbourne, has been in Australia since arriving by boat in 2012. A notice of intention to remove from Australia has been issued ... Read More »

Pat Dodson accuses Turnbull of ditching bipartisan constitutional recognition

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Labor senator ‘encouraged’ by poll finding majority support for Indigenous voice to parliament Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Pat Dodson has accused the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, of deliberately throwing out a bipartisan approach to Indigenous constitutional recognition, after a new poll that found 57% of voters — including 38% who typically vote for the Coalition — would support an Indigenous voice model. The Newspoll, published in the Australian on Tuesday, was the third to find majority support for an Indigenous ... Read More »

Museum of Australian Democracy exhibition looks at migration through Holocaust survivors’ eyes

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The story begins with a toy koala – furry, life-sized and huggable – and ends with the poignant reminders of the bottomless traumas of the Holocaust. Sally Pryor The Canberra Times But in exploring the different experiences of migration to Australia, an exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra has a single shining theme: human resilience. In 1949, an eight-year-old girl named Isobel Saxelby was presented with a toy koala when she arrived in ... Read More »

Two of the big four fail to submit to inquiry despite earning millions of dollars in taxpayer funding

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Two of Australia’s largest consultancy firms have failed to lodge submissions to a public inquiry on the use of consultants despite raking in billions of dollars in taxpayer funding. By Eryk Bagshaw Brisbane Times PriceWaterhouseCoopers and KPMG are the only two of the big-four firms to have made submissions to the inquiry, which was called after an audit found spending on contracts outside the public service had spiralled to $47 billion for 2016-17. The big four have earned close to $2 ... Read More »

Turnbull announces sex ban – and signals Joyce should consider his position

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Malcolm Turnbull has announced that, from now, sexual relations between ministers and their staff will be prohibited under a change he has made to the ministerial code of conduct. Michelle Grattan The Conversation Addressing a news conference late on Thursday, Turnbull also strongly hinted he would like to see Barnaby Joyce step down. Joyce had made “a shocking error of judgement in having an affair with a young woman working in his office”. In doing so he had set off ... Read More »

Liberal MLA rejects need for UN oversight of Canberra’s ‘places of detention’

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The Canberra Liberals have rejected the need for a United Nations subcommittee tasked with protecting inmates from torture to have any oversight of the capital’s prisons, police and court cells. Daniel Burdon The Canberra Times The Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed a bill to ensure the ACT can meet the standards of the UN’s optional protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), after the federal government ratified the rules in December. The new laws will mean UN inspectors will now be ... Read More »

Churches unite to propose Religious Freedom Act

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Major submission to Ruddock panel calls for a new legal “right” John Sandeman Eternity A wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches have spoken with one voice to the Ruddock panel on religious freedom, whose call for submissions closed today. They have received 13,500 submissions: “I think it is safe to say that people are concerned about religious freedom,” says Michael Kellahan, executive director of Freedom for Faith (FFF), a Christian legal think tank. The federal government has set ... Read More »

Three reasons why the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians aren’t closing

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This year’s Closing the Gap report tells a more positive story than the 2017 report on the seven measurable gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in the areas of health, education and employment. Francis Markham Nicholas Biddle The Conversation According to the government’s figures, the targets relating to Year 12 attainment, early childhood education, and child mortality are on track to be closed. In last year’s report, Year 12 attainment was on track, but child mortality wasn’t. Early childhood education is a ... Read More »

Apartheid State: Compensation For Sexual Abuse Victims, Betrayal For Stolen Generations

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The Turnbull Government has responded swiftly and justly to the final report into the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses To Child Sexual Abuse. Chris Graham New Matilda And then there’s the response to the Bringing Them Home report, and the stolen wages scandal across two decades, and successive governments. The double standard is there in black and white, for anyone who cares to look. Chris Graham reports. One of the really useful things about the #changethedate campaign is that it serves as ... Read More »

Cornered in the shower and assaulted: the torment of a prisoner with disabilities

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I was interviewing prisoners in a male prison in Western Australia, on a sweltering afternoon, when Coen (not his real name) walked in, in his faded green prison uniform. Kriti Sharma The Sydney Morning Herald  For the first five minutes all he could say was, “It’s too shameful. I can’t tell you.” Coen, an Aboriginal man in his early 20s with a cognitive disability, had only been in prison for a few months but he looked defeated. With tears rolling ... Read More »

Tony Wright’s column: Life is brief. Pluck the day and share it with friends

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A valued mate is celebrating his 70th birthday next month. He’s been insisting I attend the dinner he is giving to mark this venerable achievement. Tony Wright The Age The thing is that he has taken himself across the world, and is living in the exotic city of Tangier, Morocco. Too far, I figured. Too difficult. Haven’t got the time. Or the spare cash. Dithering, it became easy to offer excuses to myself. And yet. My friend will never have ... Read More »

Secrecy legislation should be ‘redrafted from scratch’, journalist union says

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Bill contains prison terms of up to 20 years for dealing with or publishing protected information harmful to Australia Michael McGowan The Guardian The Turnbull government’s concessions on secrecy laws do not go far enough and the legislation should be “withdrawn and redrafted from scratch”, Australia’s journalist union has argued. This week the Coalition watered down its proposed foreign interference laws following pressure from media organisations, Labor and the Greens, which opposition leader Bill Shorten had said would see journalists ... Read More »

Why not fund an Australian tobacco industry? We’re doing it for weapons

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The Australian government should consider setting up, or at least subsidise, a major domestic and export cigarette industry in Australia, even if the subsidies go to foreign companies or the domestic industry is run by foreign companies. Crispin Hull Brisbane Times It would create jobs and promote exports. If the demand for the product can be boosted here and abroad, the jobs created would outweigh any downsides. True, cigarette smoking causes ill health injury and death, but, again, the flow-on ... Read More »

Rohingyan refugee pleads for Australia’s permission to speak to EU

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Habiburahman asked to address European parliament about persecution, but cannot leave Australia Ben Doherty The Guardian A Rohingyan refugee living in Australia is pleading with the Australian government to grant him a travel document allowing him to speak at the European parliament about the persecution of his people. Habiburahman – who goes by only one name – arrived in Australia from Myanmar, which was then known as Burma, by boat in 2009. But he has spent 18 years as a ... Read More »