Australasia

Enough is enough: s44 needs to go to a referendum as soon as possible

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It’s time for section 44 of the constitution to be put to the people with a view to amending what has turned out to be an outdated and cumbersome citizenship requirement that is out of step with who Australians are in the 21st century. Editorial The Canberra Times It is even out of step with who Australians were in the 19th century given any citizen of the British Empire, regardless of whether they had been born in New Zealand, Canada, ... Read More »

Sting in the tail of strict High Court ruling

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Time this week seems to be on the government’s side: the Treasurer on Tuesday handed out a budget that promised significant tax cuts, and a return to surplus, largely through a series of complex choices about timing. Rosalind Dixon Brisbane Times And the High Court ruled Wednesday that ALP Senator Katy Gallagher was incapable of being chosen for the Senate at the last federal election, because at the time she nominated as a candidate the UK Home Secretary had not ... Read More »

Need an urgent medical transfer from Nauru? Forget it.

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The former Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Roman Quaedvlieg, made a remarkable admission last week. It occurred in an exchange on Twitter with a former senior medical officer who had worked with refugees on Nauru. In a tweet, Quaedvlieg admitted that during his tenure the ABF had deliberately obstructed and thwarted the… Spencer Zifcak John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations “It’s true to say that the threshold for medical repatriation to Australia is high. It’s an issue which ... Read More »

Spotting the political calculus behind some acts of corporate charity

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Over the past few years, I have teamed up with fellow economists Marianne Bertrande, Matilde Bombardini and Francesco Trebbi to look into one underappreciated way that businesses may attempt to influence politicians: corporate philanthropy. Raymond Fisman The Conversation We found that what we call “politically linked charities” get more money from corporate foundations in general. We also find that when politicians gain leverage on issues tied to a company’s interests, charities in their districts get more gifts from that company’s ... Read More »

Referendum ‘the only way’ to solve Australia’s citizenship crisis

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Liberal senator Linda Reynolds says there is no easy fix for section 44, which is ‘profoundly undemocratic’ Paul Karp The Guardian The Liberal senator who has spearheaded a six-month inquiry into how to fix the mess created by section 44 of the constitution has warned there is no easy fix as the Turnbull government ponders administrative options to fix the problems. Linda Reynolds, who chairs the joint standing committee on electoral matters, has told Guardian Australia there are “no easy ... Read More »

‘A race to the bottom’: how Australia imported its asylum seeker policies from the US

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At the height of the Tampa crisis, Australia turned to a US bureaucrat and asked for advice Ben Doherty The Guardian In August 2001, at the height of the Tampa crisis – 433 rescued asylum seekers on board a freight ship seeking landfall in Australia – the Australian government made a call to an American bureaucrat, then in Geneva, and asked him to the embassy. Years earlier, the bureaucrat had been a key architect of America’s policies towards boat-borne asylum ... Read More »

Jacinda Ardern vows to get all NZ homeless off the streets before winter

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The New Zealand government has vowed to find shelter for the country’s homeless population in time for winter. Nick Baker SBS New Zealand will attempt to get its entire homeless population off the streets during the colder months. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Phil Twyford on Friday announced a $100 million homelessness funding package which included $37 million “to urgently increase housing supply this… “There’s no reason why there should be homelessness in a country like New Zealand. ... Read More »

Tsunami of Homelessness and Poverty set to hit on June 4

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We are facing a tsunami of poverty and homelessness within a month. Home Affairs have two planned waves designed to hit the people in the community who are going through the visa process, first singles and then followed by a second wave to target families with children. Julian Burnside This Dutton designed program of poverty is underway. Key dates for implementation cascade through May and the Tsunami is designed to hit on June 4 when families will be told that ... Read More »

Dutton’s home affairs department argues against restrictions on facial recognition

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Concerns have been raised about the Coalition’s facial-recognition bill, with critics saying it goes far beyond what has been agreed Paul Karp The Guardian Peter Dutton’s home affairs department has fought against proposed restrictions on a new facial-recognition system, rejecting calls for warrants and a threshold for serious offences that justify use of the… At a parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security hearing on Thursday the Law Council of Australia raised concerns that facial recognition could be used to ... Read More »

Women should have right to reject pregnancy

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Laws should not force women to risk death and injury by having a baby, according to a QUT legal academic in Australia who has says abortion can be decriminalized without society and governments making a moral judgment Queensland University of Technology EurekAlert! Laws should not force women to risk death and injury by having a baby, according to a QUT legal academic who has says abortion can be decriminalised without society and governments making a moral judgement. Dr Andrew McGee, ... Read More »

University of Melbourne staff to strike over academic freedom

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University of Melbourne staff have voted to go on strike to protest what they say is an attack on free speech. Henrietta Cook The Age Hundreds of academics and professional staff will walk off campus next Wednesday to oppose a proposed new workplace agreement put forward by the university. The four-hour strike follows the university ditching a definition of academic and intellectual freedom in its proposed new workplace agreement. The National Tertiary and Education Union says the changes will mean ... Read More »

Malabar 2018: India deals a blow to Australia and ‘the Quad’

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The shadow of China looms large in India’s decision to exclude Australia from an upcoming multilateral naval exercise Canberra confirmed last Thursday that its navy would not be part of Malabar 2018, which will be held off Guam between June 7 and 15. Emanuele Scimia Asia Times So this year’s Malabar drills will maintain a trilateral format, involving the naval forces of India, the United States and Japan. This means the project of a Quadrilateral (Quad) alliance/dialogue among New Delhi, ... Read More »

There’s No Escape From Australia’s Refugee Gulag

An image released November 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. Refugee Action Coalition

One branch of Canberra’s notorious offshore detention system has closed. But the men who were imprisoned there are now stranded on a remote Pacific island that doesn’t want them. Mark Isaacs FP ΜANUS ISLAND, Papua New Guinea — When I first entered the Manus Island detention center in early November 2017, I was confronted with an apocalyptic scene. Toilets overflowed with urine and feces; campfires burned in litter-filled corridors; blood-red graffiti riddled the walls; and zombielike figures lay slumped at ... Read More »

The failings of super-minister Dutton

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Peter Dutton is arguably the most powerful person in the country. In his new ministry he has oversight for national security, for the Federal Police, Border Force and ASIO, for the law enforcement and emergency management functions of the Attorney-General’s Department, the transport security functions of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, the counterterrorism and cybersecurity functions of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the multicultural affairs functions of the Department of Social Services, and the… Julian ... Read More »

‘I feel helpless’: this is the face of child detention on Nauru – video

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Ali is a 12-year-old Iranian asylum seeker detained on Nauru. His mother has been repeatedly recommended for urgent medical transfer to Australia but, 14 months on, there is no immediate plan to move her. The Guardian Read More »

China’s consumer demand trumps political friction, says Alibaba boss

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The chief executive of Alibaba Group, the Chinese retail goliath often described as Asia’s Amazon, says rising political tension between China and Australia has not damaged business or trade relations. Patrick Hatch The Age Daniel Zhang instead insists that demand from middle-class Chinese consumers is too great to be disrupted by geopolitical friction, and sees “tremendous” growth ahead for Australia exporters to the region. Some business leaders, including Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, have criticised domestic debate about Chinese Communist Party influence on Australian politics and China’s ... Read More »