Australasia

Prawn white spot virus, and how we tracked down its source in Asia

This week Four Corners aired Outbreak – an investigation into alleged “quarantine failures putting the Australian economy at risk”. Wayne Knibb The Conversation The story in part reviewed how a pathogen known as White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) had decimated prawn farms located along the Logan River in Queensland. Some of my published research was presented as part of this ABC report. These data, with earlier reports, support the argument that Australia’s biosecurity arrangements were breached by WSSV from Asia. ... Read More »

Welcome to a world where your privacy is being sold for billions

A new Crikey series, edited by technology writer Stilgherrian. Before she’s even awake, Susan is under surveillance. Her sleep tracker recorded a restless night, the third in a row. In a database, somewhere, she’s flagged as being stressed. While she’s reading the news over breakfast, in an automated process that takes milliseconds, an advertiser exploits that knowledge to serve her with an ad for a meditation app. Susan downloads the app. When she starts meditating, both the time she begins, ... Read More »

Is it time for Australian states to step up on asylum seeker support?

The cruelty of the federal government’s immigration services is well-established, but what’s happening in the states and territories? This is the focus of a new report out today. Chris Woods Crikey Last week, the Department of Home Affairs began rolling out staggered cuts to support services for around 1500 people seeking asylum. The government’s decision to kick people off Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) — which amounts to $35 per day coupled with some healthcare services — follows years of ... Read More »

Victorians more worried about crime than commute times, survey finds

Violence in homes and communities and tougher treatment for criminals are among the top issues for Victorians according to a new poll of the nation’s concerns. Noel Towell The Age The Council for the Economic Development of Australia survey explored issues that matter to Australians in an effort to understand whether people feel they are reaping the benefits of decades of prosperity. Despite Melbourne’s growing congestion problems “reduced commuting times” was found to be one of the least important areas ... Read More »

Witness K scandal: decision to charge Timor-Leste bugging whistleblower was ‘independent’

Attorney general Christian Porter refuses to detail why he approved prosecution of former spy The attorney general has refused to elaborate on why he approved the prosecution of a former spy who revealed Australia had bugged Timor-Leste’s cabinet rooms, describing it as an “independent decision” of prosecutors. Paul Karp The Guardian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has blasted the government for approving the prosecution and suggested it has leaked information to a journalist to defend its position. On Thursday Wilkie used ... Read More »

What happens when you give up plastic, and is it a lifestyle option for the lucky few?

Reducing plastics when shopping for food, toiletries and travel products should be easy – so why is it so difficult? Stephanie Convery The Guardian A few months ago, my partner and I went snorkelling off the coast of Indonesia. We dove off tiny deserted islands and swam in the deep with giant manta rays, but what I remember most vividly about that trip was not the stunning coral or dazzling array of colourful, curious fish; it was the sheer amount ... Read More »

ACT excluding asylum seekers from accessing essential services: report

A new report finds laws and policies in the ACT are excluding asylum seekers and refugees from accessing essential services. Han Nguyen The Canberra Times The report, State of Refuge, to be published Monday by the Liberty Victoria’s Rights Advocacy Project, analysed how state and territory governments were faring in attempts to fill gaps left by the Commonwealth. The report looks into three service areas: education, health, and housing. One of the report’s authors, Julia Wallace, said the report found the ACT was ... Read More »

Australia ends direct aid to Palestinian Authority

Australia has ceased providing direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop saying the donations could increase the self-governing body’s capacity to pay Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence. ABC Ms Bishop said funding was cut to the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program after writing to the Palestinian Authority in late May seeking assurance that Australian funding was not going to Palestinian criminals. Australia sends about $10 million in ... Read More »

I found slaves in our supply chain

Business support for new regulations? Unheard of. But that’s exactly what business leaders just did. Andrew Forrest * The Sydney Morning Herald We unanimously supported the introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill to the Parliament last week. All of us in business face the risk of modern slavery in our supply chains – I found it in my own – and it is now widely accepted that inaction, and hiding our head in the sand, are no longer options. Modern ... Read More »

Sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination ‘rife’ among Australian academics

Sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination pervade parts of Australian universities, according to survey results released today by the Australian Women’s History Network. Authors: The Conversation Of the 159 academics who completed our voluntary survey, from more than two dozen universities around Australia, 48.7% reported sexual abuse or harassment in the workplace. Sexual or gender-based discrimination were even more common, reported by 66.2% of respondents. Women made up 90.6% of the responses (of these, 50% reported abuse or harassment and… Sexual ... Read More »

What does it mean to reclaim a place?

It was Eurydice Dixon who drew us here on a cold winter night. We stood in the thousands, with her name in our thoughts, and images of her that have flooded the public domain. We created a wreath of floral bouquets and candle flames. Arnold Zable The Age We came to pay tribute to a woman many of us did not personally know. Her chosen vocation was to make people laugh – and think. And we came here to reclaim ... Read More »

Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi relegated to unwinnable spot on SA preselection ticket

Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi has suffered a devastating blow in today’s preselection as she is relegated to the fourth spot on the South Australian senate ticket for the next election. Michael Owen The Australian Kenyan-born senator Gichuhi — Australia’s first African senator — was endorsed by John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull. But a strong challenge from Adelaide City councillor and SA Liberal Party vice-president Alex Antic saw her relegated to an unwinnable spot on the senate ticket. Mr Antic, backed by elements ... Read More »

Australia prepares to block Japanese bid to kill whales for profit

Australia and other anti-whaling nations are set for a showdown with Japan amid reports it will formally seek to lift a ban on commercial whaling so it can slaughter the animals for profit. Nicole Hasham Brisbane Times Japanese officials have reportedly confirmed the country will propose the resumption of commercial whaling at an International Whaling Commission meeting in Brazil in September, on the condition only whales with healthy population numbers are killed. Japan’s current so-called “research” program kills whales in ... Read More »

Push for slavery victims to have national redress scheme

Victims of forced marriages, human trafficking and other forms of modern slavery would be able to apply for up to $100,000 in compensation under a national scheme being considered by federal MPs. Farrah Tomazin The Canberra Times Days after the Turnbull government introduced laws requiring large companies to report annually on the slavery risks in their supply chains, both major parties are being urged to offer bipartisan support for a Commonwealth redress scheme for survivors. The idea is being pushed ... Read More »

‘We’ve turned a corner’: farmers shift on climate change and want a say on energy

National Farmers’ Federation head Fiona Simson says people on the land can’t ignore what is right before their eyes Katharine Murphy The Guardian Out in the bush, far from the ritualised political jousting in Canberra, attitudes are changing. Regional Australia has turned the corner when it comes to acknowledging the reality of climate change, says the woman now charged with safeguarding the interests of farmers in Canberra. Fiona Simson, a mixed farmer and grazier from the Liverpool plains in northern ... Read More »

Australia officially announces $26B frigate contract. Here are the build details

MELBOURNE, Australia ― Australia will acquire nine high-end anti-submarine warfare frigates from the end of the next decade under a deal with BAE Systems worth AU$35 billion (U.S. $26 billion). Nigel Pittaway Defense News The announcement was formally made Friday at the ASC shipyard in Osborne, South Australia, by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher… A version of BAE Systems’ City-class Type 26 ASW frigate, now under construction for the British ... Read More »