Australasia

Australia’s human rights record attacked in global report for ‘serious shortcomings’

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Human Rights Watch criticises Indigenous incarceration rate, counter-terrorism laws and detention centre abuse Helen Davidson The Guardian The Australian government must act on the “serious shortcomings” in its human rights record if it wants to be a credible leader on the global stage, Human Rights Watch has said in its annual world report. The Australian chapter of the HRW world review said that despite a strong tradition of protecting civil and political rights, “Australia has serious unresolved human rights problems” ... Read More »

Explainer: the evidence for the Tasmanian genocide

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At a public meeting in Hobart in the late 1830s, Solicitor-General Alfred Stephen, later Chief Justice of New South Wales, shared with the assembled crowd his solution for dealing with “the Aboriginal problem”. Kristyn Harman The Conversation If the colony could not protect its convict servants from Aboriginal attack “without extermination”, said Stephen, “then I say boldly and broadly exterminate!” Voluminous written and archaeological records and oral histories provide irrefutable proof that colonial wars were fought on Australian soil between ... Read More »

Centrelink gave companies accused of exploitation direct access to welfare payments

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Appliance retailers with histories of breaches and Asic enforcement action use Centrepay system to get guaranteed access to payments Christopher Knaus The Guardian Centrelink has given companies accused of exploitation and misconduct direct access to welfare recipients’ money through its automated debit system The companies were granted access to the Centrepay system, which allows Centrelink to deduct money from welfare payments to pay approved businesses early. The system is designed to ensure rent and… Centrelink gave companies… Read More »

Fifty years on, is life better for everyone?

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About this time every year, Australians are struck by an uncharacteristic bout of self-reflection. As we swan around on beaches, we pause to ask ourselves the big questions. Jessica Irvine The Canberra Times Questions like: why do I always forget to put sunscreen on the tops of my feet? Is John Farnham’s That’s Freedom or AC/DC’s Thunderstruck the most Australian anthem of all time? And, is it really ok to hold a national day of celebration to commemorate the day our forebears ... Read More »

‘Every day I am crushed’: the stateless man held without trial by Australia for eight years

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A UN body says Said Imasi should be released and compensated. But he still faces a potentially limitless detention Ben Doherty The Guardian Said Imasi is a man without a past: a man, it seems, without a future. He doesn’t know where he was born, or when. He has few documents to demonstrate who he is or where he comes from. He believes, but cannot prove, he was born in Spain’s Canary Islands, to a mother from Western Sahara – ... Read More »

None but the Lonely Heart

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fortyfivedownstairs recital blurb: Melbourne-born Greek-Cypriot Australian soprano, Christiana Aloneftis, is coming home to perform with one of Australia’s finest collaborative pianists, David Barnard, an eclectic and exciting program of Debussy, Donizetti, Verdi, Rimsky-korsakov, Dvořák, Rachmaninoff and much more. Currently based in Paris, the young soprano has been described by Joyce DiDonato (The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall) as having ‘an exceptionally warm, expressive soprano voice…. She performs with poise and graceful, nuanced phrasing’. None but the Lonely Heart, is a ... Read More »

We need to put a greater value on virtues in a virtual world

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This year marks a turning point in our national story. The several thousand Australians who will graduate into adulthood will be among the first adults to have been born in the 21st century, around the time when we giddily welcomed the new millennium. Jun Tong The Age They may even live to inhale the rarefied air of the 22nd century, barring surprises from mushroom-shaped clouds. How do we prepare our young to thrive in this new world? We are convinced ... Read More »

Far right group threatens to take a stand over ‘African gangs’

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Members of the nationalist True Blue Crew are planning to “take a stand on the streets” in response to Melbourne’s so-called ‘African gang crisis’ Liam Mannix The Age Posts on their public Facebook page say the Crew will meet Sunday afternoon in the south-eastern suburbs to discuss possible action. Police are on high alert and will monitor the meeting. The Crew is attempting to frustrate those efforts, keeping the details of the exact location under wraps. Participants will be sent location details Sunday morning, ... Read More »

Sudanese heritage youth in Australia are frequently maligned by fear-mongering and racism

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Recent criminal incidents in Melbourne involving young people of African heritage have enabled the media and politicians such as Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to again capitalise on the opportunity to demonise those of African descent in Australia. Melanie Baak The Conversation This has become a common occurrence, traceable back at least to the media reporting of the murder of South Sudanese Melburnian Liep Gony in 2007. The then immigration minister, Kevin Andrews, responded by restricting the numbers of refugees ... Read More »

‘Proven to work’: scheme tackling alcoholism helps keep young offenders out of jail

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At one time Domac Gile-Lul was drinking four litres of wine a day Experts say the program that rescued him saves lives Charlotte Grieve The Guardian “I’ve been very stressed. I’m very relieved that it’s all over. I know it was my fault.” Domac Gile-Lul was told he will not be going to jail and his debt of more than $7,300 in infringement notices has been wiped. It was his fifth driving offence, this time driving without a licence. “You’ve ... Read More »

‘Not the way they wanted to die’: Final wishes of thousands of Australians going unmet

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The desire of thousands of gravely ill Australians to die without pain and surrounded by family is going unmet because palliative care services fall badly short, the national peak body has warned. Nicole Hasham Brisbane Times Just one palliative medicine specialist is available for every 704 deaths each year, according to Palliative Care Australia. It has called on the Turnbull government to make palliative care a national health priority, appoint a ‘national palliative care commissioner’ and ensure health workers can ... Read More »

The feared other: Peter Dutton’s and Australia’s pathology around race

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Dutton wants to persuade us that those who are most disempowered in our society are our greatest threat It widens the divide between us and them Joumanah El Matrah The Guardian In David Marr’s book Panic he came to the realisation that he had been writing about panic, Australian panic in particular, all his career. If we are a fearful nation, we are also a compulsive one. We aggressively return to our fears, stoke our hatreds, and obsessively and routinely ... Read More »

David Walsh on the success of Mona

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I HAVE been asked to comment on the future of our arts scene I guess I’ve been asked because the “success” of Mona creates the illusion that I know what I’m talking about David Walsh Sunday Tasmanian While I was meddling with things I don’t understand, I inadvertently became a minor celebrity. My mate Kenneth Train recently offered me some sage advice — “Celebrities should just shut up.” Unfortunately, I like the sound of my own words. So let me ... Read More »

‘We’re not a gang’: the unfair stereotyping of African-Australians

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Media reports about crimes committed by ‘African gangs’ have led to increased scrutiny of Melbourne’s Sudanese community by Calla Wahlquist The Guardian It’s just after 6.30pm at the Ross Reserve in Noble Park in Melbourne’s outer south-eastern suburbs, and players from the Sandown Lions Football Club are arriving for training. They train three times a week, even during the off season. Each arrival is greeted with a round of handshakes and a wary glance at our camera. During a week in… ... Read More »

Sanctions, refugees and the marginalised: Iran uprisings are Australia’s concern too

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Tehran’s response to this week’s anti-government protests in Iran has been harsh and reminiscent of the state response to the post-election uprising of 2009 Omid Tofighian ABC Back then, Iranians contested the re-election of former ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by taking to the streets in support of reformist candidate Mir-Hussein Mousavi, and decrying election fraud. A key difference this time around is that the leader of Iran’s reformist movement — former president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami — has joined centrist President ... Read More »

Chinese paper warns Australia on ‘interference’ in South China Sea

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Bangkok: A Chinese Communist Party-owned newspaper has published an article warning that Australia’s “interference” in the flashpoint waters of the South China Sea may prompt China to “adopt strong countermeasures which will seriously impact Australian economic development”. Lindsay Murdoch The Canberra Times Zhang Ye, a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute in Beijing, wrote in the hawkish Global Times that Australia’s “kissing up to the United States” will “poison its relations with China and shake up [the] foundation for its strategic balance ... Read More »