Australasia

Truth to power: my time translating Behrouz Boochani’s masterpiece

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The GM picks me up from the airport. I call him the GM because after the PNG Supreme Court ruled the Manus Island immigration detention centre illegal, this man was able to leave the prison and… Omid Tofighian The Conversation Behrouz Boochani has arranged for me to stay at that lodge. The GM’s Manusian colleague and another refugee accompany him. Driving into town we see police blocking part of the road beside a school; some locals are dispersing, others are ... Read More »

Australia could house around 900,000 more migrants if we no longer let in tourists

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Many who fear Australia’s population boom believe we should be cutting down on immigration. They blame immigration for congestion and expenditure of environmental and other vital resources. Raja Junankar The Conversation They say Australia’s cities are becoming overcrowded and cannot sustain more people. But if Australia were to cut down on immigration, it would also then make sense to introduce policies that limit numbers of international tourists and students. Why single out one group of people? If any person living ... Read More »

Aboriginal traditions describe the complex motions of planets, the ‘wandering stars’ of the sky

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The five planets we can see by naked eye were known to the ancient Greeks as “asteres planetai”, meaning “wandering stars”, due to their wandering journey across the sky relative to the fixed stars. Duane W. Hamacher The Conversation This is where we get the word “planet”. But knowledge of the planets and their movements goes back much further, being prominent in the traditions of the oldest continuing cultures in the world. Recent research reveals a wealth of information about ... Read More »

New Zealand bans foreigners from buying property in effort to clamp down on house price growth

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New Zealand’s Parliament has passed a law to ban many non-resident foreigners from buying existing homes, completing the Labour-led Government’s election campaign pledge. ABC Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern campaigned before September’s election on a promise to clamp down on house price growth and reduce high rates of homelessness, in part by banning foreign buyers. “This is a significant milestone and demonstrates this government’s commitment to making the dream of home ownership a reality for more New Zealanders,” Associate Finance Minister ... Read More »

Qld senator unapologetic for racist speech

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Queensland Senator Fraser Anning has no regrets and won’t apologise after calling for a “final solution” to immigration in his widely-criticised first speech. Daniel McCulloch msn But senior minister Josh Frydenberg, whose parents were Jewish immigrants, has demanded The Katter’s Australia Party member immediately retract his “ignorant and insensitive” remarks. But Senator Anning, who joined KAP after leaving One Nation, is unapologetic about using a phrase historically associated with the World War II Nazi Germany plan to murder Jewish people ... Read More »

New data access bill shows we need to get serious about privacy with independent oversight of the law

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The federal government today announced its proposed legislation to give law enforcement agencies yet more avenues to reach into our private lives through access to our personal communications and data. Greg Austin The Conversation This never-ending story of parliamentary bills defies logic, and is not offering the necessary oversight and protections. The trend has been led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with help from an ever-growing number of security ministers and senior officials. Could it be that the proliferation of ... Read More »

Horse’s act of defiance carries message for all of us

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Perfectly healthy, prize-winning horse Chautauqua is refusing to race and pundits are perplexed. “A dapple grey horse”, the proverb goes, “will sooner die than retire”. Not so this eight-year-old gelding. Andy Marks Brisbane Times Sometimes a simple act of defiance brings home the absurdity of relatively unquestioned conventions, like — for instance — forcing animals to perform for sport. At best, Chautauqua, clearly one of the world’s most ideologically astute and politically active horses, will be put to pasture. At ... Read More »

Refugees are integrating just fine in regional Australia

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As the Australian population surpassed the 25 million mark last week, another immigration debate emerged over the burden newcomers are placing on Melbourne and Sydney in terms of congestion and… Authors: The Conversation With government data showing 87% of skilled migrants settled in either of the two cities in the past year, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Minister Alan Tudge made an urgent appeal to… New research being released publicly on Tuesday suggests Tudge is spot-on in his argument that regional Australia ... Read More »

The high price of ‘white genocide’ politics for Australia

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When Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton suddenly became concerned at the plight of South African farmers earlier this year, he may not have been aware that he was echoing ideas and memes not only of the alt-right, but also potentially of a… Chris Zappone Brisbane Times Publicity around the persecution of white farmers can be traced back through the alt-right, which has embraced it, to the well-worn conspiracy theories of white supremacists. In recent years, however, the alt-right has used ... Read More »

A man on a mission to capture the Great Barrier Reef

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Welcome to the underwater world of photographer Gary Cranitch who has spent decades documenting the Great Barrier Reef and work of scientists trying to protect it. Tony Moore Brisbane Times It is called a mantis shrimp and “pound for pound” it is one of the strongest creatures on planet Earth. It is one of the Queensland Museum photographer Gary Cranitch’s favourite images from his extensive portfolio. “It goes back quite a few years and I probably photographed it on Heron ... Read More »

Why do so many friendships dissolve as we age?

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What are we without friends, those who know us warts and all but love us anyway? Yet many friendships drift away as we age, leaving us beating on, boats against the current, borne back into the past… Frank Robson The Canberra Times Even now, with our friendship effectively over, I still picture Damian* as he was long ago when we met as reporters on the shameless Melbourne Truth. More specifically, I visualise him crawling triumphantly from a dumbwaiter on the 15th ... Read More »

Fresh blood: Australia is still lucky, thanks to our young migrants

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Reserve Bank governor Dr  Philip Lowe thinks Australia’s strong population growth in recent years is a wonderful thing, and he sings its praises in a speech this week. Ross Gittins WAtoday I’m not sure he’s right. Like most economists and business people, Lowe is a lot more conscious of the economic benefits of population growth than the economic costs. As for the social and environmental costs, they’re for someone else to worry about. But whatever your views, you’ll be heaps better informed ... Read More »

‘Stand up if you’re an asylum seeker’: the night corporate Australia made me cry

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A networking night, a LinkedIn profile, a new suit: these white collar acts that seem so banal may change the life of an asylum seeker Brigid Delaney The Guardian In the foyer of the building off Martin Place there is a corporate networking event in full swing. People in suits are talking to other people in suits (while juggling a beer and a rice paper roll) about jobs and internships and degrees and experience: all the stuff that people at ... Read More »

When your name peaked in popularity

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There was a time in living memory when one in every 11 boys born in Victoria was called John. Compare that with today, when Oliver has been the most popular boys’ name since 2014, but only one in every 67 young boys answers to it. Conal Hanna & Alexander Gluyas The Age Names have always come and gone out of fashion but nowadays our most common names are far less common than they used to be. The reason is an ... Read More »

Australian media are playing a dangerous game using racism as currency

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It has been quite a week for race-laden discourse in the Australian media. There was Blair Cottrell, a notorious pro-Hitler extremist, appearing on Sky News and calling for a race-based immigration policy. Denis Muller The Conversation There was Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun sounding the tocsin about how “there is no ‘us’ anymore”, how Australia was being overwhelmed by a “tidal wave of immigration” and ethnic “colonies”: Jews, Indians, Chinese, Muslims, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Italians. A speech in London last ... Read More »

Hardship Is Not A Competition: Supporting Our Farmers Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Support Our Neighbours

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With all of NSW now drought declared, and other states fast heading in the same direction, calls for more support for farmers is welcome. But slashing spending to help neighbours we’ve abused for decades is not the way to get there, writes Hayley McQuire. New Matilda I support Australian Farmers. What I don’t agree with is the constant argument about “Why are we giving so much in foreign aid yet not supporting our farmers?” This is a common theme that ... Read More »