Australasia

US 45,000 refugee cap includes Aust intake

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The Trump Administration’s new 45,000 cap on refugees will include people resettled in the US under a deal struck with Australia This week more than 50 refugees who had been in limbo for years Manus Island and Nauru departed for a new life in the US. Lisa Martin, Australian Associated Press Herald Sun Up to 1250 refugees are expected to be resettled in the US. The US resettlement agreement was the subject of a heated phone call between Donald Trump ... Read More »

Diesel cars help drive Australia’s energy emissions to highest level, report shows

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Exclusive Australia’s love affair with diesel cars has helped push the nation’s energy emissions to a record high, new analysis shows, in a warning that road transport rivals electricity as the most pressing energy challenge facing the… Nicole Hasham The Age Respected energy analyst Hugh Saddler compiled the disturbing report on behalf of progressive think tank The Australia… Dr Saddler said the failure of successive governments to invest in efficient transport infrastructure, such as rail, has allowed transport fuel emissions to keep rising – ... Read More »

Manus Island: PNG authorities stop refugees leaving centre to give evidence in compensation case

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Papua New Guinea authorities have stopped two refugees from Australia’s offshore detention centre on Manus Island from travelling to Port Moresby to give evidence in the Supreme Court. By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek ABC Behrouz Boochani and Aziz Adam were summonsed to appear in a compensation case against the PNG Government, which was found to have illegally detained the men on Manus Island between 2013 and 2016. But security staff at the island’s airport said the men did ... Read More »

Young Australians are engaged in political issues, but unsure how democracy works

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Young Australians are engaged in political issues, but unsure how democracy works The importance of Australians having the knowledge and skills to participate as active citizens is always a prominent… Young Australians are engaged in political issues, but unsure how democracy works Zareh Ghazarian Jacqueline Laughland-Booy Zlatko Skrbis The Conversation But in the past few months, it has been at the forefront of public… Recently, the federal government announced significant changes to citizenship laws, which includes a tougher test. It ... Read More »

Australia launches $10m satellite program to help spy planes detect warships, asylum seeker boats

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Australia is building three new satellites that will conduct audio and visual surveillance for the Defence Force The Federal Government has given $10 million to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra space team to complete the project. By political reporter Stephanie Borys ABC Work on the first satellite is already underway and is scheduled for lift-off next year. The device, which is known as a Cubesat, is the size of a loaf of bread and weighs about four ... Read More »

Grattan on Friday: Careful, Mr Dutton, Donald Trump might hear you

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It’s the tiniest start. But the first offshore refugees leaving Papua New Guinea and Nauru for the US this week represented a new life for more than 50 people and a glimmer of hope for others. Michelle Grattan  The Conversation So it was a nasty, jarring note when Immigration Minister Peter Dutton marked their departure with a derogatory spray. Dutton, appearing in his regular spot with 2GB’s Ray Hadley was asked about a newspaper photo of departees from PNG, which ... Read More »

The Polygon Wood grave that reveals the toll World War I took on Australia

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It’s a single grave, in a single row, in a cemetery where 2,108 men are buried. It marks the death of a man that’s just as sad as any of the other lives lost at Polygon Wood, or indeed the First World War. Michael Best 9news But Private Patrick Scullin’s story says so much about the shocking toll this war took on Australia. His grave is marked. His brother Daniel’s isn’t. They both died on the same day, in the ... Read More »

Euthanasia a choice for people with disability? It’s a threat to our lives

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Offering people with disability euthanasia is no act of equality It’s a cruel one-way exit when we’re locked out of basic healthcare. Craig Wallace The Guardian Legislation has been introduced into the Victorian and New South Wales parliament seeking to become the first jurisdictions to legalise euthanasia since the Northern Territories brief window in the… Like the rest of the community, people with disability debate euthanasia with many views, but a number of us are genuinely concerned that legalised suicide ... Read More »

Gillian Triggs: Australian law has fallen prey to ‘isolation and exceptionalism’

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Triggs uses Michael Kirby Oration to argue governments have taken advantage of the fear caused by terrorism Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Gillian Triggs has criticised the expansion of executive powers in Australia, saying Australian law has fallen prey to “isolation and exceptionalism” that has weakened democracy and… In a draft copy of her Michael Kirby Oration, delivered at Victoria University on Wednesday night, Triggs said governments had taken advantage of the fear caused by terrorism to introduce laws that were ... Read More »

Whose interests? Why defining the ‘public interest’ is such a challenge

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The “public interest” is a political concept that’s regularly trotted out along with other democratic principles such as transparency and accountability. Jane Johnston  The Conversation And, like transparency and accountability, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what it means. Former NSW Ombudsman Chris Wheeler has pointed out: ”… while it is one of the most used terms in the lexicon of public administration, it is arguably the least defined and least understood … identifying or determining the appropriate public interest ... Read More »

Exclusive: John Howard says the government needs to explain how it will protect religious freedoms on same-sex marriage

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Former prime minister John Howard has demanded that the rights of children not be forgotten in the same-sex marriage debate Speaking exclusively to 9NEWS from London, he also rejected Malcolm Turnbull’s assurances that a detailed debate about protecting religious freedoms can wait until after the postal vote on same-sex marriage is decided. Chris Uhlmann 9news Mr Howard said that if the postal survey returned a “yes” vote then the government would be stampeded into delivering change, so people needed answers ... Read More »

Explainer: what legal benefits do married couples have that de facto couples do not?

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Opponents of marriage equality often say that married and de facto couples already have the same rights To what extent is this true? Hannah Robert  Fiona Kelly  And, in legal terms, how much do the differences matter? The Conversation In an opinion piece last week, former prime minister Tony Abbott claimed: ”Already, indeed, same-sex couples in a settled domestic relationship have exactly the same rights as people who are married.” This isn’t true. At the most fundamental level, same-sex couples ... Read More »

Legalising assisted dying would be a failure of collective human memory and imagination

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We can judge the ethical tone of a society by how it treats its weakest and most in need. With euthanasia we offer them death instead of loving care. Margaret Somerville  The Guardian Dying and death is not a new phenomenon: we have always become ill, suffered, were going to die and someone else could have killed us. So why now, at the beginning of the 21st century, after prohibiting euthanasia for thousands of years and when we can do ... Read More »

Australia offers to pay Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar

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Exclusive: Rohingya sent to detention island in Papua New Guinea pressured to return to Myanmar, where thousands have fled ethnic persecution Oliver Holmes and Ben Doherty The Guardian Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya refugees who agree to return to Myanmar, a country that has been accused of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim minority. Asylum seekers in the Australian-run detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, have been pressured by officials to return to their home countries, ... Read More »

We’ve turned our unis into aimless, money-grubbing exploiters of students

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Of the many stuff-ups during the now-finished era of economic reform, one of the worst is the unending backdoor privatisation of Australia’s universities, which began under the Hawke-Keating government and continues in the Senate as we… Ross Gittins The Sydney Morning Herald This is not so much “neoliberalism” as a folly of the smaller-government brigade, since the ultimate goal for the past 30 years has been no more profound than to push university funding off the federal… The first of ... Read More »

Media reform deals will reduce diversity and amount to little more than window dressing

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The breakthrough in negotiations with the Senate crossbenchers that the government has been chipping away at over media reform has finally arrived Tim Dwyer The Conversation The deregulatory legislation, the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Bill 2017, required 38 votes to pass the Senate, where the Coalition controls 29… It had already secured the support of three crossbenchers and four One Nation senators, but was waiting for just two votes to get it over the line – until Nick Xenophon ... Read More »