Australasia

Australia’s 2018 Human Rights Performance Slammed

The Australian government’s human rights approach to refugees, Indigenous people and those with disability has been slammed by an annual review, which warns that Australia is at risk of … Luke Michael ProBono Australian Lawyers for Human Rights’ (ALHR) 2018 Human Rights Report Card scored Australia poorly on key areas including Indigenous rights (F-), refugees and people seeking asylum (F) and… While the federal government was praised for introducing a Modern Slavery Act, the review noted Australia faced persistent criticism by multiple United ... Read More »

Fraser Anning slammed for attending St Kilda far-Right rally

Labor leader Bill Shorten has joined Prime Minister Scott Morrison in condemning the far-Right extremists who participated in a wild rally in St Kilda on… Annika Smethurst, Brianna Travers, Kaitlyn Offer and Anthony Galloway, Sunday Herald Sun “In the corrosive and fragmented climate of public debate, it’s become unfortunately common for some to seek out attention by picking on minorities, the less powerful, by attacking in the most vile terms, normally someone who… “Here and around the world, right-wing extremists ... Read More »

Why is Victoria the far-right protest capital of Australia?

Victoria has become the noisiest, most active battleground for far right-wing groups in Australia, so why has the state largely regarded as Australia’s most progressive become such a hot bed of this activity? Anthony Colangelo The Canberra Times Saturday’s “Reclaim St Kilda” rally – organised by United Patriots Front leaders Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson and attended by federal Senator Fraser Anning – is the latest headline-grabbing protest in a series of demonstrations by far… While extreme right political activism ... Read More »

I know all the risks but I’m still going to take drugs at festivals

For many, the solution to drug related deaths is much simpler than pill-testing: just stop taking them. By Anonymous The Age Anyone who has been to a festival in the past few years would quickly realise that as long as this attitude continues, deaths will continue. There’s a large degree of truth to the old stereotype of young people believing they’re invincible. In my group of friends, almost all of whom regularly take drugs at festivals, news of another drug related ... Read More »

There’s no excuse for justifying the racist attitudes that plague Australia

We must name white supremacist beliefs, whether they come from the fringes or the Senate Luke Pearson The Guardian 2018 had a lot of moments of hope despite the rising tones of white supremacy in Australia and abroad. The Liberal party voted in favour of Pauline Hanson’s “It’s OK to be white” motion (and no, it wasn’t an “administrative error”), but quickly backtracked when media started to point out the… Just that in itself was significant in many ways. Australia doesn’t ... Read More »

Prakash citizenship revocation could jeopardise extradition chances, says Law Council

Australia’s peak body for lawyers says the “premature” announcement that Islamic State member Neil Prakash has been stripped of his citizenship could jeopardise efforts to see him face justice in this country. David Wroe The Canberra Times Law Council of Australia president Arthur Moses, SC, has said that Turkey – where Prakash is currently in jail facing terrorism charges – would take into account whether or not he was an Australian in considering an… “I am troubled that this potentially ... Read More »

‘It unnerved us’: John Howard admits he mishandled the High Court’s Wik decision

Former prime minister John Howard has admitted his government mishandled its response to the High Court’s Wik decision, saying it created the impression the government was “drifting” and… Stephanie Peatling The Sydney Morning Herald In December 1996, the High Court upheld a decision in a case brought by the Wik and Thayorre people of Queensland against the Queensland government. It decided that native title is not necessarily extinguished by the grant of a pastoral lease and that native title can co-exist ... Read More »

Howard govt feared slow Y2K bug preparations, cabinet documents reveal

Predictions of a chaotic IT collapse brought on by the Y2K bug had the Howard government fearing Australia was unready for the worst, previously classified documents reveal. Doug Dingwall Brisbane Times As the year 2000 approached, the federal government in 1997 took seriously the warnings that the new millennium’s arrival could play havoc with electricity, hospitals and traffic lights. The “millennium bug”, cast by some as a looming apocalypse, brought on hundreds of billions in estimated spending worldwide to avoid catastrophe. ... Read More »

Organ donor ‘opt-out only’ policy could mean fewer transplants

A proposal to automatically make people organ donors could reduce the number of available organs, the authority in charge of the system says. ABC Sunshine Coast – By Alex Easton and Sheridan Stewart ABC The idea of forcing people who do not want to donate their organs to opt out of the organ donor register is one of several aimed at combating an illegal international black-market trade that has some organs selling for hundreds of thousands of… The idea was raised in the recommendations of a report to ... Read More »

NSW institutions can now be sued for abuse

The NSW government has eliminated a legal defence used by churches to avoid being sued by victims of child sex abuse. SBS AAP Victims of child sex abuse in NSW can now sue the church after the state government removed a legal roadblock used by institutions to avoid compensating survivors. From January 1 churches will no longer be able to use the “Ellis defence” as a way of avoiding paying compensation. In 2007 former altar boy John Ellis lost a ... Read More »

Find parenting tough? Be glad you’re not American

I have a news flash: being a grandad beats being a parent. Parenting is now a much tougher gig, whereas grandparenting is all care and no responsibility. And it’s a lot cheaper. Ross Gittins The Age These thoughts are prompted by an article in the New York Times, in which Claire Cain Miller writes that parenthood in the United States has become much more demanding than it used to be. “Over just a couple of generations,” she writes, “parents have greatly ... Read More »

Australia’s unwanted refugees are living with ‘nightmares’ while building new lives in the US

While a passport seems like a commodity most of us take for granted, Faisal Parvez never had one — or a citizenship. Tasha Wibawa ABC He was born stateless as a persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. “The biggest dream I have in my life is to become a citizen anywhere on the planet,” he told the ABC. Mr Parvez is one of more than 445 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru who have been resettled in the United States ... Read More »

You can’t get public service ethics from bankers

When Matt Comyn, now chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank, was a slightly more junior bank executive, he had qualms and scruples about the bank’s shameful practice of selling virtually useless personal loan insurance to its… Jack Waterford The Canberra Times His then boss, Ian Narev told him to “temper your sense of justice.” Mr Comyn, the successor and protégé of Narev, apparently followed this advice. It wasn’t until about 10 months ago, after it was clear that the banking ... Read More »

Coming to grips with the millennial mind

“I can no longer teach with these new brains,” says an exasperated Clio Cresswell, mathematics lecturer at the University of Sydney and author of Mathematics and Sex. The core of the problem, she says, is the diminishing capacity of undergraduates for “linked… Luke Slattery The Australian And it’s not just a problem in the classroom. “I’ve always enjoyed teaching,” she says. “But these days students are so busy posting on social media — ‘love the burger’, ‘great fries’ — that if ... Read More »

Eight ways life in Melbourne will change in 2019

According to the experts, Victoria’s population will continue to boom and house prices in Melbourne will keep falling next year. Loretta Florance ABC And Labor’s re-election means Daniel Andrews has the green light to continue his big infrastructure build. But what else can Victorians expect from 2019? Some TAFE courses will be free From the start of 2019, the State Government will cover the cost of 30 TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses. Included in the list of “priority courses” ... Read More »

Apple reveals scale of government requests for users’ data

National governments demanded access to 163,823 Apple devices in the first half of 2018, according to figures released by the company. Laurence Dodds & Olivia Feld The Sydney Morning Herald The Telegraph, London, with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age The latest Apple transparency report showed that it received 32,342 requests to access the contents of iPhones, iPads and other gadgets, a 9 per cent increase from the second half of 2017. The tech giant, which granted 80 per cent of requests ... Read More »