Australasia

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lashes Australia over treatment of Manus Island refugees

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has blasted Australia’s handling of the refugee crisis on Manus Island as unacceptable as she seeks another meeting with Malcolm Turnbull on the issue. NZ Herald Ardern has continued to push New Zealand’s offer to accept 150 refugees and asylum seekers from Australia’s offshore detention centres since her first face- to-face meeting with her Australian counterpart in Sydney a week ago. She wants a more substantive conversation when both leaders reach the Philippines for the East ... Read More »

The human touch: Australian eyes that ‘can’t look away’ from Manus

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As the crisis on Manus Island deepens, it sheds light on an unwritten history, still in the making, of deep friendships between asylum seekers and their supporters in… Arnold Zable The Age Contrary to the accusations made by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton that advocates are telling asylum seekers on Manus Island or elsewhere what to do, their long-time supporters are extremely worried about the men’s wellbeing and… They are torn between deep anxiety at the danger and stress the men are ... Read More »

UN slams Australia’s human rights record

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Last night, the United Nations Human Rights Committee released its recommendationsfrom its review of Australia’s compliance with a key human rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Anna Cody  Maria Nawaz The committee harshly criticised Australia for failures in key areas. The Conversation These included the treatment of refugees, Indigenous rights and inadequate protection of human rights, including the lack of a national human rights act. What is the UN Human Rights Committee? This is the treaty body for the… UN slams Australia’s… Read More »

‘We are not very caring’: Michelle de Kretser on Australian society

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In her new novel The Life to Come, the Miles Franklin-winning author critiques Australia’s character, and the boom that made us bad Brigid Delaney The Guardian Children of Australia’s long boom – who travel the world only to complain about lack of good coffee, who signal virtue by retweeting an asylum seeker story, who couldn’t imagine living in a house with only one bathroom, who are “really into food” – may find Michelle de Kretser’s new book an uncomfortable read. ... Read More »

Coal-fired plant shifted $1bn offshore while pocketing $117m from Australian taxpayers

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Payment to owner of Loy Yang B – one of country’s dirtiest plants – was compensation for short-lived carbon tax Christopher Knaus and Nick Evershed  The Guardian The owner of one of Australia’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants quietly moved $1bn offshore within days of pocketing $117m from taxpayers in compensation for Labor’s now-defunct carbon tax. The revelation, contained in the Paradise Papers, has prompted renewed criticism of the “chronic failure” of Australian climate policy and warnings against future cash handouts ... Read More »

Sexual violence and harassment going up, according to ABS survey

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Sexual violence against women is on the rise, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) By social affairs correspondent Norman Hermant and Catherine Hanrahan  ABC The latest Personal Safety Survey shows the proportion of women experiencing sexual violence in the past year increased from 1.2 per cent to 1.8 per cent since the last survey conducted in 2012. But very few sexual assaults are being reported to police. In 2012, an estimated 17 per cent of women reported their ... Read More »

The ethics of medical practice in offshore detention facilities

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As the standoff between hundreds of asylum seekers in the Manus Island detention facility and PNG authorities continues, we are witnessing a potential crisis of health and mental health among these detainees. Louise Newman The Conversation As a psychiatrist, I have had direct contact with current Manus detainees who are experiencing increasing anxiety and distress and an uncertain future. Some of these people are treated with medication, usually antidepressants, and some feel that this provides them with some symptomatic relief. ... Read More »

The breath of death on Manus Island: starvation and sickness

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Diary of a disaster: One of the refugees, who went to East Lorengau a few days ago, has walked back for more than 30km. We are all scared and hungry. Behrouz Boochani The Guardian Behrouz Boochani is a journalist and an Iranian refugee held on Manus Island since August 2014. The Guardian invited Boochani to keep a diary of the closure of the Australian-run detention camp. Friday 3 November The refugees wake me up early in the morning. When this ... Read More »

Aboriginal Women Artists and Their Visions of Infinity

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These paintings, filled with traditional abstract Aboriginal iconography denoting nature, spirits, and a way of life that has been passed down for generations, are a wonder. Bansie Vasvani  Hyperallergic NEW ORLEANS — Despite the million-dollar auction price for works by Aboriginal Australian artists in 2007, the controversy about whether or not Australian Aboriginal art should be included in the Western canon hasn’t been entirely resolved. From the initial furor in the 1990s about its merit beyond the status as folk ... Read More »

Fremantle’s High Tide festival: wonder and illusion as artists turn streets into stages

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Fremantle proudly proclaims itself a “city for artists”, and while that has been a somewhat hollow boast in recent years, there is evidence of its former cultural vibrancy returning. Ted Snell The Conversation The Fremantle Arts Centre, ArtSource and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre have held the fort while other venues and organisations have collapsed into the back hole of Australia Council funding cuts, but the opening of the High Tide festival of site-responsive art raises hopes for a return to ... Read More »

Why Australia’s small businesses are hiring migrants

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About 42 cents of every dollar on average spent at a small business is reinvested back into the local community, new research shows. Rashida Yosufzai SBS A new survey has found almost half of every dollar spent at a small business is reinvested back into the local community. The survey also shows more than a quarter of small business owners say foreign workers drive innovation within their business. Twenty six per cent of small business owners polled in the independent ... Read More »

Three charts on: job prospects for refugees in Australia

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Hola gracias el gracis While refugees will always face major challenges in making the transition to employment, new research indicates their job prospects improve the longer they are in Australia. Pilar Rioseco  John De Maio But for those who do find work, it’s not always in their chosen profession. Most are in low-skilled occupations. The Conversation The Building a New Life in Australia study is longitudinal, following the journey of almost 2,400 humanitarian migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, from ... Read More »

Australian Corporate Accountability Network Launches

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A group of civil society organisations, academics and individuals working to promote accountability and respect for human rights by Australian businesses, has launched the Australian Corporate Accountability Network. PBA – Lina Caneva The ACAN network, funded by an RMIT University grant as part of the university’s commitment to fostering responsible business, had its official launch in Melbourne last week. Keren Adams, director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, which is supporting the network’s establishment, told Pro Bono News the ... Read More »

‘Disgusting’: Liberal Party elder statesman condemns government over Manus standoff

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Former Liberal leader John Hewson has unleashed an extraordinary spray at the Turnbull government over its handling of the Manus Island standoff, singling out Immigration Minister Peter Dutton as uncompassionate, and accusing both sides of politics of a “disgusting race to the… Luke Henriques Gomes TheNewDaily As hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers protested the closure of the Manus Island processing centre, sparking claims of a humanitarian crisis, Dr Hewson condemned the government for “kicking the issue down the road” rather than working to ... Read More »

Manus refugees: ‘Death is better than this slavery’

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On Tuesday, Australia will close the offshore camp on Manus Island after the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea (PNG) ruled last year that the detention of refugees there was unconstitutional. Yarno Ritzen  Al Jazeera Food, water and electricity will be cut off, leaving more than 600 refugees fearful for their future. Most have lived on Manus for years, after Australia decided it did not want the refugees on its mainland; now, they will be relocated to the PNG town ... Read More »

Slavery is a bigger problem now than when it was ‘abolished’ — and it’s happening here

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Slavery. The word conjures images of people in leg irons. Edward Santow We think of the abolitionists who toiled centuries ago in lands far away to abolish this horrific practice. ABC Yet two things should shock us. First, slavery is more common today than when it was “abolished”. In fact, there are more slaves now than at any time in human history. Secondly, our region — the Asia Pacific — is home to about half of the world’s 45.8 million ... Read More »