Australasia

Canberra’s first Buddhist pagoda set to open

The finishing touches are being put to an important religious building in the ACT. Steve Evans The Canberra Times The Sri Lankan community has been building a special “stupa” or pagoda which is to be formally finished with a ceremony on Saturday and officially opened a week later. There are several Buddhist temples in the territory but a stupa is viewed as the very essence of Buddhism. It’s a domed structure to hold relics of the life of the Buddha, ... Read More »

Fierce litigator worked pro-bono to champion human rights

At Steven Glass’s funeral, his closest friends and loved ones were discovering things about him they didn’t know and connecting with people that they had never met before. By Asia Lenard, George Newhouse, Ju Lin O’Connor and Eva Orner The Age It’s not that Steven was secretive, he was simply a man who got things done, quietly, without fanfare, and with no expectation of recognition. Steven was born in Melbourne in 1960 to John and Ellen Glass. His mother’s family escaped ... Read More »

White-collar crooks face up to 15 years in jail under new penalties

Banking executives face up to 15 years in jail under tough new laws to stamp out white-collar crime as the corporate regulator prepares to crack down on misconduct in the sector. Sarah Danckert The Sydney Morning Herald On Friday, the Senate passed a long-awaited bill that drastically increases the penalties for white-collar crime. Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s deputy chairman, enforcement, Daniel Crennan, QC, welcomed the passing of the bill on Friday. “Now ASIC will be in a position to ... Read More »

Four lessons from 11 years of Closing the Gap reports

Scott Morrison today became the fifth prime minister to deliver a Closing the Gap report to parliament – the 11th since the strategy began in 2008. Nicholas Biddle The Conversation Closing the Gap has aimed to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with particular respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement and employment outcomes. Almost every time a prime minister delivers the report, he or she states the need to move ... Read More »

‘Highly irresponsible’: Senate calls for Great Barrier Reef Foundation to return money

A committee examining the government’s decision to award $443.3m to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has recommended unspent funds from the controversial grant be returned to the commonwealth and… Lisa Cox The Guardian The final report, tabled in the Senate on Thursday, calls the awarding of the grant last year “a highly irresponsible decision, hastily concocted by relevant ministers” and calls for a fresh review of the… It recommends such a review be completed by July this year and used to guide ... Read More »

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Kerryn Phelps on medical transfer numbers

Independent MP Kerryn Phelps, who set the ball rolling for the medical transfers legislation, says its passage is “a remarkable exercise in cooperation”. Michelle Grattan The Conversation Phelps says that of the about 1000 people on Manus and Nauru “around 70 people require urgent medical evacuation” and “another couple of hundred will require transfer but not as urgently”. She describes Scott Morrison’s proposal to reopen the Christmas Island detention facility as a “political statement”. “What we need to do is ... Read More »

Nine facts about the medical evacuation bill

With all kinds of misleading claims about what this package does, let’s spell out some basic facts Katharine Murphy The Guardian With the medical evacuations bill now cleared by the Senate, and with politicians coming off the long run with all kinds of misleading claims about what this package does, let’s spell out some basic facts. How do the medical evacuation procedures work? The new legislation sets out the conditions by which sick people on Nauru and Manus Island can ... Read More »

Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks down threat to Coalition after loss in Parliament vote

The future of the Coalition’s hold on power is at risk with the Federal Government becoming the first to lose a vote on its own legislation in almost 80 years. By political reporter Brett Worthington ABC The majority of the crossbench and Labor joined forces in the House of Representatives to pass amendments to give doctors a greater say on refugee medical evacuations. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has so far refused to buckle to calls for an early election ... Read More »

Flood-affected farmers witness entire cattle herds wiped out by catastrophic deluge

Warning: Graphic content When rain started falling in Queensland’s west, drought-stricken farmers cried happy tears — but that emotion quickly turned to heartbreak. News Pty Limited — With AAP Farmers who managed to keep their cattle alive for seven years, through one of Australia’s worst droughts in history, have watched their herds wiped out in a matter of days after unprecedented floods devastated much of Queensland. If the cattle have not drowned or frozen to death in the elements, devastated farmers ... Read More »

We don’t know how many asylum seekers are turned away at Australian airports

The immigration department doesn’t keep a record of how many people apply for asylum at Australian airports, and how many are turned away. Authors: The Conversation Documents released under Freedom of Information show a lack of accountability and oversight by Australian immigration officials with regard to people who request asylum at airports. This means the ultimate decision to admit or deny an asylum seeker entry into Australia rests with the Border Force official who interviews them. Without oversight, an asylum ... Read More »

We can balance compassion and safety as a country

Last December, we were both in Parliament with the hope of seeing Urgent Medical Treatment amendments pass both the Senate and lower house. By Kon Karapanagiotidis and Jana Favero Brisbane Times A groundswell of support mobilised behind a call to get all kids and their families of Nauru – rural Australians, 7000 doctors, unions, lawyers, schoolchildren, artists, nurses and teachers; 170,000 people signed a petition and 400 organisations rallied. The trigger was media exposure of medical neglect and the risk ... Read More »

Hakeem al-Araibi to return to Australia after Thai court rules extradition case be dropped

A Thai court has ruled that an extradition case against Melbourne-based refugee Hakeem al-Araibi be dropped, with the footballer to return to Australia tonight. ABC The director-general of international affairs for the Thai Government confirmed to the ABC that the Attorney-General requested the case for Mr al-Araibi’s extradition to Bahrain be dropped. The 25-year-old was detained in Bangkok more than two months ago for alleged vandalism offences in his native Bahrain. A Bahraini court sentenced him in absentia to 10 years ... Read More »

The world is run by those who show up

In this edited extract of the new book The Change Makers, Professor Marcia Langton tells author Shaun Carney that when you do the right thing at the right time, people will later call you a leader. Shaun Carney The Mandarin What kind of leader am I, if I’m a leader at all? I am required as a professor to be an academic leader. As a result of that, and the pressure in the academy to publish and, increasingly, to show ... Read More »

Lonely, unfit and hooked on air-conditioning – is this the summer of the future?

Bela Stantic did not stop to take in the vistas of Walgett on his great Aussie road trip this summer. The vineyards of Griffith passed in a blur. He stopped at Victoria’s Twelve Apostles, but took a few photos and then left. Nicole Hasham Brisbane Times It was not what the Griffith University professor had planned. But as a monster heatwave baked a crust onto southern Australia, “it was not possible to be outside at all”, he says. “I couldn’t ... Read More »

Cave diving heroes call for Hakeem Al-Araibi’s release from Thai prison

The cave divers who rescued a Thai football team have written to Thailand’s prime minster asking him to free refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi from prison. SBS AAP Cave diving heroes and Australians of the Year Dr Richard Harris and Dr Craig Challen have joined the campaign to save refugee footballer Hakeem-al Araibi, writing to the prime minister of… According to the ABC a letter was sent a few days ago to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asking him to consider freeing ... Read More »

‘We won’: Landmark climate ruling as NSW court rejects coal mine

Environmental groups are cheering a decision in NSW’s Land and Environment Court that found the emissions of greenhouse gases and resulting climate change from a proposed coal mine were among the reasons to reject the project. Peter Hannam The Sydney Morning Herald Brian Preston, chief judge of the court, handed down his judgment in a case between Gloucester Resources Ltd and the NSW Planning Minister in Sydney on Friday. He concluded the mine project was “in the wrong place at ... Read More »