Australasia

Offshore detention cost taxpayers $5bn in four years – and asylum seekers remain in limbo

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Vigils to mark anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s banning of asylum seekers who arrive by boat from ever settling in… Ben Doherty  The Guardian Four years since the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, announced that “any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia”, offshore detention has cost Australian taxpayers almost $5bn and the future of those held on… On 19 July 2013, Rudd announced all boat-borne asylum seekers would be subject ... Read More »

Border Force: A threat to us all

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Human rights advocate and barrister Julian Burnside AO discusses Border Force’s increased interest in Australian citizens, as PM Malcolm Turnbull announces greater powers for the Australian Defence… IA NEVER FORGET the lesson of Martin Niemöller. The lesson is: when governments misbehave, it’s just a matter of time before they will come for you. Recently, two Australian citizens arrived back in Australia after a long overnight flight. They had nothing to declare and… Border Force: A… Read More »

Australia doesn’t have a constitutional right protecting freedom of the person – it needs one

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The recent wrongful detention of two Australian citizens by immigration authorities highlights that our Constitution offers inadequate protection for freedom of the… Bede Harris The Conversation This is not the first time Australian citizens have been unlawfully detained. In 2001, Vivian Solon, who had suffered a head injury, was deported even though she told immigration officials she was an… In 2004, Cornelia Rau, also an Australian citizen, was held in immigration detention after she was unable to identify herself because ... Read More »

We need more than just laws to ensure responsible alcohol service

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Australian law prohibits the sale of alcohol to drunk people. Despite the shifting sands of alcohol policy, Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) legislation has remained a stalwart… Jason Ferris Adam Winstock Larissa Maier Renee Zahnow The Conversation In Australia, RSA imposes mandatory training requirements for liquor industry workers to educate alcohol servers about signs of intoxication, when to refuse service, and the harms of over… Internationally, RSA training is considered a cost-effective strategy to reduce the sale of alcohol to ... Read More »

Military powers for terror attacks ‘cumbersome’ and need streamlining, Malcolm Turnbulls says

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State governments will still decide whether they want help from the military to handle terrorist incidents and police will remain the first responders under flagged changes, Prime Minister Malcolm… David Wroe The Sydney Morning Herald Announcing planned changes to the law at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney on Monday morning, Mr Turnbull said the current process for calling in the military to help police during a terrorist attack was “very cumbersome” and… Flanked by the Chief of the Defence Force Mark ... Read More »

Ex-chief minister Jon Stanhope wants corporate manslaughter laws for government

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A former ACT chief minister believes the territory government should introduce corporate manslaughter laws to improve accountability for… Katie Burgess The Canberra Times In his submission to an ACT Legislative Assembly inquiry into the creation of an Independent Integrity Commission, Jon Stanhope also said all “problematic” ACT Policing incidents should be reviewed externally to dispel… Pointing to the United Kingdom as an example, Mr Stanhope said there was scope for an… Ex-chief minister Jon… Read More »

Are we sleepwalking to World War III?

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Analysis Australia is plunging headlong into catastrophe and we are utterly unprepared. Stan Grant  ABC In fact, we may be past the time when we can prepare. The time-bomb is ticking and it will explode in our lifetimes. All certainty will be lost, our economy will be devastated, our land seized, our system of government upended. This isn’t mere idle speculation or the rantings of a doomsday cult, this is the warning from a man who has made it his… ... Read More »

The only hope for democracy is for politicians to stand up to political parties

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Opinion Democracy has largely been reduced to a contest between three dominant parties, two of which act in coalition. Tony Fitzgerald  ABC Each is a private organisation with a small membership which primarily represents the interests — in particular the economic interests — of a section of the… They dominate public discussion and debate and one or other of them has governed Australia for more than 70… They enacted the… The only hope… Read More »

Five reasons why Game of Thrones satisfies our needs (apart from all the sex and violence)

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Game of Thrones has become something of a TV event over the past six years – the last season attracted more than 5m viewers per… Tom van Laer  The Conversation On the face of it, the attractions are obvious: large helpings of sex and violence, bolstered by a serpentine storyline said to be inspired by the War of the Roses, one of the bloodiest periods of English… Yet, I think the series meets deeper, more fundamental human needs than just ... Read More »

Al Gore: Australian government subsidising coal power would be ‘crazy’

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Former US vice president and climate change campaigner says providing funding for infrastructure to support Adani coal mine is ‘just… Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Any move by the Australian government to subsidise coal-fired power would be “crazy” and providing funding for infrastructure to support the Adani coal mine is “just nuts,” former US vice president and… “Globally, the world is moving rapidly away from subsidies to fossil fuels,” he… “It would be odd if Australia went in the opposite direction ... Read More »

Malcolm Turnbull speech: Libs a centrist party of freedom but not at cost of security

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THE tenor of our times is change, and at a pace and scale utterly unprecedented in human history. Malcolm Turnbull, The Courier-Mail And in such times, what price political labels? The truth is the labels have lost almost all meaning in the furious outrage cycle of social media politics, long cast adrift to be appropriated, often cynically, by one politician or… At the heart of our political tradition, whether we describe it as the tradition of the… Malcolm Turnbull speech… Read More »

UN criticism of Australian human rights record welcomed by lawyers

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Lawyers who are part of a coalition of NGOs have welcomed the wide-ranging findings made by a UN committee about Australia’s human rights record and are calling on the government to address the nation’s poor… Melissa Coade Lawyers Weekly Australia has been taken to task by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in a new report released last… The committee assessed how well Australia has managed to meet its commitments under the International Covenant on Economic, Social… ... Read More »

Islamophobia is still raising its ugly head in Australia

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The existence and scale of Islamophobia in Australia has been hotly debated. While Muslims insist it is real and of significant scale, it has been either denied or downplayed in wider circles. Mehmet Ozalp The Conversation The main reason why Islamophobia has not been taken seriously could be due to the lack of quality data on the… Most research to date focused on surveys conducted on the negative sentiments of non… But our new study reports on actual Islamophobic incidents, ... Read More »

Beware of outrage fatigue, there are good reasons to be angry

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I have the great honour of teaching a class of media students every week and always look forward to discussing the day’s news with… Wendy Squires Brisbane Times They are bright, engaged and opinionated, and the discussions are usually lively and passionate. Until recently that is. As someone who wakes each day then reaches for my phone beside my bed cringing at the thought of what Trump might have got up to overnight, but having to check nevertheless, I usually ... Read More »

FOI documents confirm government holding almost one year’s worth of pollution data

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The federal government has been keeping almost a year’s worth of pollution data secret, despite it being scheduled for release in May, documents obtained under freedom of… Lucy Cormack The Age Independent estimates suggest Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen sharply since the government last released its quarterly data in December – a trend that would make the… Quarterly updates by the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, described as “up-to… FOI documents confirm… Read More »

Elon Musk’s big battery brings reality crashing into a post-truth world

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For months, politicians and fossil fuel industry have lied about the viability of renewables. Tim Hollo  The Guardian Now Tesla’s big battery in South Australia will prove them wrong • Tesla to build world’s biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia Elon Musk’s agreement to build the world’s largest battery for South Australia isn’t just an extraordinary technological breakthrough that signs coal’s death warrant. It’s potentially a game changer in the way we do… Elon Musk’s big… Read More »