Australasia

World has been slow to wake up to Saudi depravity

It’s reassuring to see that the Western world still has the capacity to be outraged at the abuse of human rights. Specifically, a government that appears to have murdered a journalist. Peter Hartcher Brisbane Times The Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into a Saudi consulate in Turkey two weeks ago. He was a critic of the Saudi dictator and living outside his home country for his safety. By setting foot in a Saudi diplomatic property to pick up marriage papers ... Read More »

‘Australia is in trouble’: The plan to fix Australia’s tax system

Australia has more than 125 taxes at a state and federal level, but 90 per cent of revenue is raised through just 10 of them. The pressure is now on to tear up the system and start again. Eryk Bagshaw WAtoday The tax-free threshold would be scrapped, tax rates would increase for every $1000 of income earned, and savings would be targeted by the tax office under one of the most ambitious blueprints for… The proposal has been unveiled as ... Read More »

Four fundamental principles for upholding freedom of speech on campus

It goes without saying – or at least it ought to – that freedom of speech should be a core value of universities. Adrienne Stone The Conversation As a scholar of freedom of speech and a university academic, it has been gratifying to see so many Vice Chancellors (and a former Chief Justice of the High Court) take it so seriously. This attention to freedom of speech is a response to recent controversies about on campus. Bettina Arndt’s campus tour ... Read More »

‘I feel like an empty shell’: the patients left behind when MSF had to quit Nauru

MSF says five years of ‘indefinite limbo’ endured by refugees and asylum seekers has led to a radical deterioration in mental health Helen Davidson and Saba Vasefi The Guardian On Thursday Médecins Sans Frontières took a rare step in front of the microphone and publicly criticised the Australian government, demanding an end to its offshore processing policy. Six days earlier its team of mental health workers had been forced by the Nauru government to abruptly stop work and leave the ... Read More »

Inside torture and trauma counselling sessions on Christmas Island

For three years from 2011, social worker Poh Lin Lee worked as a trauma counsellor for the Christmas Island Torture and Trauma Service. RN – By Teresa Tan ABC She offered therapy and support to detained asylum seekers referred from the nearby detention centre, which closed this month. At her lowest, most conflicted moments she wondered who she was providing the care for. “It might be enough for someone to get through the next week or the next day, but for ... Read More »

UN: ‘health crisis’ demands closure of Australia’s offshore detention centres

Government bears responsibility because it designed and paid for the systems in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, says UNHCR Naaman Zhou The Guardian The United Nations has called on Australia to immediately evacuate its offshore detention centres to prevent an unfolding health crisis. Doctors from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were ejected from Nauru on Wednesday and the UN high commissioner for refugees has warned that many asylum seekers who have attempted self-harm or have critical health issues now have no access ... Read More »

Bill Shorten: ‘We’ve got to end the climate change war’

Exclusive: Marking five years as opposition leader, Shorten tackles thorny topics – energy, offshore detention and trade Katharine Murphy The Guardian Bill Shorten has signalled Labor will keep the national energy guarantee and maintain subsidies for households and businesses to install small-scale renewable energy until 2030, as the shadow cabinet prepares to deliberate on energy policy. In a wide-ranging interview marking five years as opposition leader, Shorten also revealed Labor was in talks with the Australian Medical Association about conditions ... Read More »

Religious freedom not under threat, but we should debate limits

The immediate eruption of controversy over the selective leaking of recommendations from the Ruddock report on religious freedom shows both why the government has sought to avoid releasing the report, and… Simon Cowan Brisbane Times It is a major issue, notwithstanding that marriage equality has been one of the few direct challenges to freedom of religion in Australia in recent years. And, while there have been major court cases in the US and the UK testing the limits of free ... Read More »

As doctors working on Nauru, we thought we were helping. Now I know we were not

The ongoing human rights travesty that is indefinite mandatory offshore detention is antithetical to medical ethics Nick Martin The Guardian When I worked on Nauru as a medical officer for refugees and asylum seekers, I never saw myself as part of the problem. But since I returned to Australia I have increasingly come to question my role in a system that is antithetical to medical ethics. The ongoing human rights travesty that is indefinite mandatory detention and the treatment of asylum seekers there never ... Read More »

Farewell to Fariborz: Australian burial for refugee who killed himself on Nauru

Family and friends of Fariborz Karami, 26, gathered at Mount Gravatt cemetery in Brisbane to say goodbye Helen Davidson and Saba Vasefi The Guardian Last Friday relatives of Fariborz Karami finally said goodbye to the 26-year-old, an athletic and intelligent dentistry student who had married just a short time before taking his life inside a tent on Nauru. It had been more than three months since he died, and many years since doctors first raised concerns about his mental health ... Read More »

Regional visa approvals fall by 50% under the Coalition

The number of people waiting for skilled regional visas has blown out by more than 50 per cent under the Coalition and the number of people being approved has halved, as the Morrison government faces calls to… By Eryk Bagshaw & David Crowe The Canberra Times Department of Home Affairs figures cast doubt on the government’s claims that Australia’s immigration distribution, which has clogged transport and roads in Sydney and Melbourne, is the fault of the… The figures show non-regional ... Read More »

Skilled migrants to spend ‘at least a few years’ in regional Australia under Morrison’s population plan

New population minister Alan Tudge said up to 45 percent of permanent immigrants could be diverted to visas that force them to spend “at least a few years” in regional areas, or small states like… James Elton-Pym SBS The Morrison government has promised visa reforms that will force a significant chunk of Australia’s annual intake of 190,000 permanent migrants to spend “at least a few years” in regional… The move, advocated by the Nationals and key lobby groups like the Farmers’ ... Read More »

Religious freedom review enshrines right of schools to turn away gay children and teachers

Religious schools would be guaranteed the right to turn away gay students and teachers under changes to federal anti-discrimination laws recommended by the government’s long-awaited… Jewel Topsfield The Sydney Morning Herald However the report, which is still being debated by cabinet despite being handed to the Coalition four months ago, dismisses the notion religious freedom in Australia is in “imminent peril”, and… The review was commissioned in the wake of last year’s same-sex marriage victory to appease conservative MPs who ... Read More »

Aged care royal commission to run for 18 months, Scott Morrison announces

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the royal commission into aged care will report back to the government by April 2020 and conduct a wide-ranging investigation into the future of the… Fergus Hunter The Sydney Morning Herald The sweeping inquiry, which has now been formally established by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, will be based in Adelaide, a focal point for concerns about the sector following accusations of severe abuse and… The commission will be led by Supreme Court Justice Joseph ... Read More »

‘We need to make sure it’s realistic’: Liberty Victoria president weighs in on immigration plan

Liberty Victoria president Jessie Taylor says the devil is in the detail for the Federal Government’s plan to ease mounting population pressure in Melbourne and Sydney. Neil Mitchel 3AW New visa conditions would require migrants to settle outside the major cities for up to five years. Ms Taylor, who also works as a lawyer, said it depended on whether there were job opportunities to sustain growth in regional centres. Neil Mitchell glad to see a population plan on the political ... Read More »

Dutton’s airport ID checks are ripe for abuse and take us closer to a police state

Police intelligence is far from 100% reliable and ethnic profiling is an obvious risk Rex Patrick The Guardian ”Your papers please!” It’s a phrase associated with the workings of a police state. It’s a trope favoured by Hollywood movies, but it’s an expression that can trigger dread for those who have had the misfortune to encounter the arbitrary power of an authoritarian government. And it’s a phrase you may soon hear when you arrive at one of Australia’s major airports. ... Read More »