Australasia

Whatever you think of Packer, he was brave to talk about depression

The photograph was so disturbing, the first time I viewed it, I had to look away, as I felt as though I was intruding on someone’s deepest personal pain. Wendy Squires Brisbane Times The picture showed James Packer at the Crown Resorts Annual General Meeting in Melbourne in 2016, looking bloated and overweight, his eyes red and watery and seeming to scream “help!”. His pallor was an angry red; his gait that of a whipped dog temporarily let off its ... Read More »

NDIS funds to be ‘repurposed’ for drought relief under Morrison plan

Disability advocates have slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to “repurpose” $3.9 billion originally set aside for the NDIS to pay for drought relief, but the plan has been cautiously welcomed by… Dana McCauley The Sydney Morning Herald Mr Morrison unveiled his $5 billion Drought Future Fund at a summit attended by farmers, economists, industry bodies and state and federal ministers in Canberra on Friday, promising measures to drought-proof the… The first $3.9 billion of the scheme, which would operate ... Read More »

Don’t Mention The War In Wentworth: Dr Peter Slezak

The furore over the Morrison government’s ‘riffing’ on moving Australia’s embassy in Israel has distracted from the even greater crimes being perpetrated against Palestinians. Dr Peter Slezak explains New Matilda Despite the storm of local and international condemnation, Prime Minister Morrison’s willingness to consider moving Australia’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem is a significant public relations win in the larger political scheme of things. Whether or not the harshest criticisms of the proposal are warranted, the furore over the embassy issue has ... Read More »

Late night text messages reveal Indonesia’s anger over Jerusalem embassy announcement

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi’s late-night flurry of angry text messages to Australian counterpart Marise Payne was the first direct contact between the two over the Morrison government’s… David Wroe The Canberra Times Extraordinary exchanges in a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday morning have also revealed the government decided to announce its review of Australia’s stances on Jerusalem and the Iran nuclear deal without consulting a… Foreign Minister Marise Payne acknowledged under questioning from Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong ... Read More »

Not one government official was consulted about Australia’s major Israel foreign policy shift

Just after lunchtime on Monday last week, the head of Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department, Frances Adamson, took a call about the government’s planned Jerusalem announcement. David Wroe WAtoday Public servants, even the most seasoned, aren’t unimpeachable, but they are the government’s bedrock for advice on major and complex issues. So it must have been a surprise for the nation’s most senior diplomat that the call from Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s office wasn’t so much asking for her input as letting ... Read More »

Cash Converters: Turning Your Misery Into Their Money… Until Maurice Blackburn Came Along

Australia’s largest ‘pay day loan’ company has caved on the first day of a class action lawsuit, coughing up a $16.4 million settlement to settle one part of a case brought by nearly 30,000 Queenslanders, some of whom were illegally charged interest rates that… Chris Graham New matilda The maximum annual interest chargeable under Queensland law is 48 per cent per annum. It’s the third time in as many years Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has led a class action against Cash ... Read More »

‘Rallying cry’: Mining giant BHP renews calls for carbon price

Mining giant BHP Billiton has renewed calls for a price on carbon to drive emissions reductions in Australia, despite the Morrison government rejecting the need to overhaul climate policies before the… Nick Toscano WAtoday As the Coalition faces the likely loss of the seat of Wentworth, where a voter backlash over climate change policy is considered to be a contributing factor, BHP on Monday… Fiona Wild, BHP’s head of sustainability and climate change, said Australia and the world must act ... Read More »

Should Australia be turning its rubbish into electricity?

Harry van Moorst is a veteran community activist. In the 1960s, he protested against the Vietnam War. In the ’70s and early ’80s, he was active in the anti-uranium movement. In the ’90s, he helped lead a… Jewel Topsfield The Sydney Morning Herald Van Moorst is exactly the sort of local warrior whom the proponents of a waste to energy plant feared could be a thorn in their side. But instead he is a cautious supporter of the proposed plant. ... Read More »

The Morrison government’s biggest economic problem? Climate change denial

Last week Peter Costello accused Malcolm Turnbull of failing to develop an economic narrative to unite the Coalition. Judith Brett The Conversation Turnbull promised this when he challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party, but, said Costello, it never came, and the result is a government struggling to manage deep differences over social issues. There was “jobs and growth”, but this is really just a goal without much of a story about how to get there, except ... Read More »

There’s a solution to the refugee crisis – but no one will like it

The Pacific Solution is septicaemic and threatening the political life of the Coalition Legitimate refugees and failed asylum seekers languish on Manus and Nauru desperately waiting for resettlement. Roman Quaedvlieg Brisbane Times The much-vaunted US deal is turning slowly with the anticipated uplift of 1250 refugees failing to reach even half of that target. The level of mental ill-health among both refugees and asylum seekers has reached an appalling state. It’s time to get them off Manus and Nauru. There ... Read More »

Most Australians would not act if they saw sexism

Only 14 per cent of Australians are likely to do something if they identify a woman being targeted with sexism or disrespectful treatment, research has found. Wendy Tuohy The Canberra Times Forty-seven per cent said they could recognise disrespect but would be “unlikely to do something”, and 39 per cent said they would struggle to recognise it at all. The national agency for the prevention of violence against women, Our Watch, which did research on 2000 people around the country, ... Read More »

Asylum seeker families leave Nauru

Multiple asylum seeker families have left Nauru and flown to Australia for medical treatment as pressure builds on Scott Morrison to get children off the island. Angus Livingston msn aap Refugee advocates confirmed three families left the Pacific nation on Monday, while another three families left on Tuesday, and two more on Wednesday. The prime minister has been under pressure from his own backbench to get asylum seekers off Nauru, as doctors say they are mentally “shattered” after years in ... Read More »

Australia’s chief medical officer on Nauru deported amid health policy crisis

The chief medical officer contracted by the Australian government to look after the health of refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru is being deported from the island. Michael Koziol with Dana McCauley The Sydney Morning Herald Fairfax Media has confirmed with government sources that senior doctor Nicole Montana will be placed on a flight to Australia later on Wednesday and replaced. Other sources suggested Dr Montana was arrested by Nauruan authorities on Tuesday but it was not clear why. In ... Read More »

‘It’s OK to be white’ is not a joke, it’s careless politicians helping the far right

The far right lies, sows confusion, and hides its intentions in order to mainstream its messages Jason Wilson The Guardian The Australian Senate almost passed a motion affirming that “it’s OK to be white”. This probably sounds innocuous enough to the casual or incurious observer — and that’s exactly what the white supremacists who devised the slogan intended. To understand how and why the slogan came to be voted on by the Senate, you need first to engage with the ... Read More »

More than three million Australians living in poverty, Acoss report reveals

Peak welfare body calls for overhaul of employment services and at least two days a week of subsidised early childhood care Gareth Hutchens The Guardian Poverty has become a consistent feature of Australian life, with millions still living below the breadline despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the Australian Council of Social Service says. A vital circuit-breaker is needed, including a complete overhaul of Australia’s employment services, a commitment to “full employment” and a guarantee of at least two days ... Read More »

Universities should tolerate ‘offensive’ ideas

It goes without saying – or at least it ought to – that freedom of speech should be a core value of universities. As a scholar of freedom of speech and a university academic, it has been gratifying to see so many vice-chancellors (and a… Adrienne Stone Brisbane Times This attention to freedom of speech is a response to recent controversies on campus. Bettina Arndt’s university tour met with rowdy and obstructive demonstrations. Students have accused each other of bullying ... Read More »