Australasia

The Karen road to Nhill

Famous for 1997 movie The Road to Nhill, the town of that name is now home to 200 Karen refugees from Myanmar. Far from dividing locals, the huge influx of newcomers – many of whom arrived traumatised, unfamiliar with western society – has brought new life to the community. Is this a model for the rest of Australia? Words by Margaret Simons Pictures by Damien Pleming SBS It’s too quiet in Kay’s Kreations flower and gift shop. There aren’t any fresh ... Read More »

Why so many businesses are behaving badly

While we digest the royal commission’s evidence of shocking misconduct by the banks and insurance companies, there’s another unpalatable truth to swallow: they have no monopoly on bad behaviour. Ross Gittins Brisbane Times It seems almost everywhere you look you see examples of companies behaving badly. In a major speech he gave a few months ago, the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, offered a remarkable list of business household names the commission was taking proceedings ... Read More »

How we can reverse rise in suicide

Twice as many people die by suicide than on our roads. Yet, like the road toll, deaths by suicide are preventable. Editorial The Age Despite greater community awareness, the suicide rate increased by almost 10 per cent in the past year, according to official figures. It is a deeply complex issue, and, as The Sunday Age recently editorialised on the basis on numerous reviews and studies in the past decade, requires, above all, a significant boost to mental health funding, which ... Read More »

Abbott hopes Australian republic ‘never happens’

Former prime minister and staunch monarchist Tony Abbott hopes an Australian republic will not happen in his lifetime. The Age AAP The issue has been in the limelight this week after former Labor prime minister Paul Keating lashed recently-toppled Liberal PM and Mr Abbott’s rival Malcolm Turnbull over the issue. Mr Keating said Mr Turnbull had capitulated to conservatives in the Liberal Party by failing to hold another referendum over a republic, a key cause supported by the former Liberal ... Read More »

Nauru orders MSF to stop mental health work on island

Nauru’s government has ordered Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to stop work there immediately, despite a physical and mental health crisis in the country. Luke Henriques-Gomes The Guardian The medical NGO has been providing psychological and psychiatric services to residents, asylum seekers and refugees on the island since late 2017. MSF staff wrote to its clients on Saturday to tell them it could no longer offer them treatment because of an order from Nauru’s health minister, who said the its services were “no ... Read More »

Behrouz Boochani wins Anna Politkovskaya award for Manus Island writing

Iranian Kurdish refugee recognised for documenting Australia’s offshore detention Naaman Zhou The Guardian Iranian Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani has won the Anna Politkovskaya investigative journalism award for his work documenting Australia’s offshore immigration detention program. The award, named after the Russian journalist who was killed in Moscow in 2006, is bestowed by the Italian magazine Internazionale each year during the Internazionale festival to recognise excellence in investigative reporting. Boochani, a… Behrouz Boochani wins… Read More »

Classical music is undergoing a revolution — and you’re probably a fan without realising it

If you catch yourself humming the opening bars to the Game of Thrones theme, or feeling unsettled by the soundtrack to The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s possible you might be a closet classical music fan without realising it. RN – By Antony Funnell for Future Tense ABC You may think classical music is dying, but it’s actually booming — and it’s throwing off the confines of the past. From film scores to television commercials and the opening of major sporting events, classical ... Read More »

Hunting Hydrocarbons

Subsea gliders are taking to the oceans to hunt for an ever wider array of anthropomorphic and chemical signatures to an ever greater accuracy. Elaine Maslin Marine Technology Ocean glider systems are maturing. Since emerging in the 2000s, they’ve opened up new possibilities for ocean observation and monitoring. But, these possibilities are continuing to expand, including to gas seep surveys, leak detection, mammal monitoring and oil spill monitoring, for the offshore oil and gas industry. The primary attraction of ocean ... Read More »

Royal Commission proposed for family law system

The Chief Justice of the Family Court says a royal commission into the family law system should be considered if the public isn’t satisfied by proposed government changes and an Australia Law Reform Commission review. Mark Schliebs The Australian Ahead of his departure as the court’s top judge later this year, Chief Justice John Pascoe used a speech at a Law Council of Australia conference on family law in Brisbane to warn about the planned shake-up of the system. “In ... Read More »

Australia’s obsession with opinion polls is eroding political leadership

In its early days, political opinion polling’s leading advocate, George Gallup, sold it as an essential tool for democracy. Ian Cook The Conversation He believed polling made for better representation because it allowed politicians to take the people’s “pulse”. But opinion polling didn’t so much enhance democracy as remake it. Thanks to Gallup, polls have become so ubiquitous in modern-day politics that we’re now convinced they can accurately predict elections. (Even though Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 US ... Read More »

Australia has become a human rights backwater

The litmus test for human rights in Australia is how it treats the most disadvantaged within the community, and on this measure, Australia has become a backwater, according to two leading legal… Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly Speaking to Lawyers Weekly ahead of the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and National Justice Project Dinner, being held in Sydney on Friday 26 October, UTS law professor and director of research at… “We have failed to integrate a human rights framework into our legal system ... Read More »

Equality: our secret weapon to fight corruption

“We look after our mates,” Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, has declared. He’s said it on several occasions, in fact. So it must be a value he thinks important. Meanwhile the man he defeated for the top job, Peter Dutton, has been embroiled in controversy over allegedly using his… Tony Ward The Conversation Where do we draw the line between looking after a mate and being corrupt? The line, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. ... Read More »

New terror laws: Suspects, children to be locked up without a warrant

New counter-terrorism laws that enable the government to lock up children as young as 14 were enshrined on Monday. Chloe Booker The Age The laws allow police to detain terror suspects without a court order or a warrant for up to four days. Children aged 14 or above may be held for up to 36 hours. Suspects, including those who have never been convicted of a terrorism offence, will now be unlikely to be granted bail or parole. Meanwhile, police ... Read More »

‘This smells’: Ethics expert slams SEQ council deal as key details removed from website

Moreton Bay Regional Council has removed from its website all information about its controversial outsourcing deal with a financial backer of its mayor and other councillors – its biggest single procurement – but… Mark Solomons Brisbane Times It comes as a national expert on public sector ethics and governance raised serious questions about the deal, some aspects of which are the subject of an investigation by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission, saying the… Queensland local government regulations require councils ... Read More »

Australia must demand Myanmar war crimes tribunal, says investigator

The Morrison government should use its regional clout to demand a peacekeeping mission and war crimes tribunal in response to humanitarian crimes in Myanmar, says a top Australian investigator. Nick McKenzie & Nicole Precel The Age Michael Stefanovic, an Australian seconded to the US State Department’s Myanmar inquiry, said he was horrified by the evidence he had gathered. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is grappling whether to use the term genocide to describe the Myanmar military’s attack on members ... Read More »

Greedy banks and inept regulators but not much more

It began so well. The banks were lashed as greedy institutions focussed on gouging the living – and the dead – and anything else they could squeeze a dollar out of in the pursuit of targets and bonuses. Adele Ferguson Brisbane Times It then went on to the regulators, in particular the corporate regulator, which it eviscerated for its lack of teeth and inability to do its job and enforce the law. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) was ... Read More »