Australasia

Think we’re tough on refugees? That’s fake news

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Fake news is the new black. Drop the phrase in a casual conversation and some people will be silly enough to assume you are an astute observer of the political scene. Amanda Vanstone The Age Fake news is information known at the time to be incorrect which is deliberately fed out into the media stream. Since when has that been a new idea? The problem of incorrect information washing through the media system is not new. Some of it is ... Read More »

Manus Island: lives on hold – photo essay

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Australia’s offshore detention centre has been razed to the ground but for the 600 refugees who remain on the island, little has changed. Amid the torment of isolation from family and friends, depression and the trauma of their past, the men try to get on with their lives by Per Liljas and photography by Jonas Gratzer The Guardian Old times change for new on Manus Island. The centre in which Australia detained hundreds of refugees between 2001 and 2017 has ... Read More »

Jacinda Ardern wears Māori cloak to Buckingham Palace

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New Zealand leader in Kahu huruhuru praised as proud moment for female leaders and Māori worldwide Eleanor Ainge Roy in Dunedin The Guardian New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has caused a stir with a striking image of her walking the halls of Buckingham Palace swathed in a traditional Māori cloak during this week’s Commonwealth heads of government meeting. The prime minister wore a Kahu huruhuru; a Māori cloak adorned with feathers and bestowed on chiefs and dignitaries to convey prestige, respect and ... Read More »

We cannot rely morally on ‘deterrence’ to justify our harsh refugee policies

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When debate about refugees ascends from slogan swapping (“stop the boats”, “bring them here”) to specific reasoning, there seems only one argument worth considering for the ignominious detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru and the refusal to ever settle any in… Tony Coady The Conversation That argument, advanced by both the government and the opposition (occasionally in a less strident form), stems from deterrence. It’s worth considering the argument even as a handful of these detainees are ... Read More »

Bill Shorten calls for suspension of live sheep exports

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Labor leader says that ‘only a monster’ would think live export industry should be unchanged Paul Karp and Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Bill Shorten has demanded a suspension of shipments of live sheep during the northern summer and blasted the Coalition for failing to update standards to protect sheep. On Thursday the bipartisan consensus to wait for a series of reviews before intervening in the industry began to fracture, with the Liberal MP Sussan Ley proposing a private member’s bill for a ... Read More »

Australia should tax and regulate cannabis, not prohibit it

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The decision to ban cannabis was an accident of history. There was no careful root and branch review of the evidence. Alex Wodak ABC Instead, Australia was represented at a League of Nations meeting in Geneva in 1925 where delegates from several countries decried the dangers of cannabis. As Robert Kendell outlines in his book Cannabis Condemned: “A claim by the Egyptian delegation that [cannabis] was as dangerous as opium, and should therefore be subject to the same international controls, ... Read More »

Scared state: Crime looms large but we don’t know who’s best to fix it

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Voters across Victoria say crime is the biggest issue facing the state, with a long-running survey finding it is a far greater concern than healthcare, transport, cost of living, education or housing. Adam Carey & Craig Butt The Age Concern about crime has surged in the past two years and is much greater now than it was when Labor came to power in November 2014. The results of April’s Ipsos Issues Monitor suggest that crime policy will do more to ... Read More »

Canberra public servant’s sacking over asylum seeker policy tweets found to be ‘unlawful’

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A Canberra public servant sacked for expressing her views on asylum seeker policy, has won her case for compensation after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia found she was unlawfully dismissed. Elise Pianegonda ABC In September 2013, Michaela Banerji was fired from the Federal Department of Immigration after it was revealed she had been using the anonymous Twitter name @LaLegale to criticise the then-government, the minister and department policies — particularly over the handling of refugees. In one tweet Ms ... Read More »

Richard Flanagan: ‘Our politics is a dreadful black comedy’ – press club speech in full

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Indigenous Australia, Anzac Day, the descent of democracy – in a National Press Club address Flanagan examines a divided Australia which he says can be free only if it faces up to its past Richard Flanagan The Guardian I told a friend the other day I was to be speaking here in Canberra today and she told me a joke. A man is doubled over at the front of Parliament House throwing up. A stranger comes up and puts an arm ... Read More »

Legal highs: arguments for and against legalising cannabis in Australia

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Greens leader Richard Di Natale wants Australia to legalise cannabis for personal use, regulated by a federal agency. Nicole Lee Jarryd Bartle The Conversation This proposal is for legalisation of recreational use for relaxation and pleasure, not to treat a medical condition (which is already legal in Australia for some conditions). According to the proposal, the government agency would licence, monitor and regulate production and sale, and regularly review the regulations. The agency would be the sole wholesaler, buying from ... Read More »

Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta blasts East Timor’s ‘total failure’ against extreme poverty

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‘If I had been a prime minister for 10 years, I would have focused all those 10 years on quality education, on rural development and that means water and sanitation for the… Associated Press South China Morning Post Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former East Timorese president Jose Ramos-Horta has waded back into the young country’s politics ahead of parliamentary elections next month, calling the government a total failure in the past decade in crucial areas such as reducing child ... Read More »

Which business structure is best to protect against being sued?

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When it comes to choosing the right structure to own and operate a business there are many things other than income tax to consider. Max Newnham Brisbane Times The fact is the simpler and less complicated a structure is, the less tax efficient and protective it is. When a structure is more complicated, it will inevitably be more tax efficient and offer the owners greater protection. Examples of this are operating as a sole trader, which is the simplest business ... Read More »

Julian Burnside: “I worry where our democracy is going”

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Human Rights Arts and Film Festival kicks off at five cinemas across Melbourne on May 3. On May 12, the festival is screening the world premiere of Judy Rymer’s Border Politics, wherein human rights lawyer Julian Burnside AO QC travels the globe to compare how different nations are responding to the refugee crisis. Nick D TimeOut Burnside, 68, is a Melbourne-based commercial litigation barrister who became involved in human rights causes after 2001 when he was asked to act pro bono in ... Read More »

Trial by judge alone may not be the answer to giving high-profile defendants a fair hearing

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In April 2013, Adrian Bayley pleaded guilty to Jill Meagher’s murder. As the case was the subject of heavy media coverage, there would have been few Australians who were not well aware of it. John Eldridge The Conversation It’s worth pondering, then, what might have happened had – as was possible – Bayley pleaded not guilty. Would it have been possible to empanel a jury that could bring a fair mind to the assessment of Bayley’s guilt? If not, what ... Read More »

What the law says about a stranger taking a photo of your child without permission

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Imagine this — you’re at home and in the backyard with your children. You notice a nearby neighbour begin to snap photographs of your kids. ABC Radio Brisbane Patrick Williams Naturally you’re concerned, so you call police to see what can be done only to be told that it’s legal provided no-one photographed is naked. That’s what happened to one Brisbane woman this past week. Her brother told ABC News: “My sister’s kids were working in the backyard yesterday doing ... Read More »

‘This is my country’: how a Melbourne suburb defied the far-right to welcome refugees

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The settlement of refugees in Eltham sparked far-right protests. But locals presented a different vision of Australia Denham Sadler The Guardian Οn a dreary Sunday afternoon in late March, the sort that provides a harsh lesson on what Melbourne weather is capable of, a Syrian refugee talks through an interpreter about her escape from the conflict that has torn her… Amena*, who along with about 100 other refugees from Syria and Iraq settled in the suburb of Eltham on the outskirts of north-east ... Read More »