Australasia

UK’s chemical Catch-22

The EU sets the global standard for chemicals, so Britain can’t stray too far after Brexit — and it won’t have a say. Ginger Hervey Politico urope sets the world standard when it comes to chemical safety — unfortunately for the United Kingdom. The U.K. has been a consistent voice of caution in discussions on whether to restrict use of harmful chemicals in the EU — frequently taking the industry’s side in fights about whether to add more regulations. When ... Read More »

Tony Abbott rejects warnings, urges Scott Morrison to move Israel embassy

Tony Abbott has urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to proceed with a controversial shift in policy on Israel despite a warning from Malaysia that the move could fuel terrorism and concerns from Indonesia over a… David Crowe The Canberra Times Mr Abbott said the “rhetorical backlash” from Muslim countries in Asia was always going to happen but that this should not stop Australia showing its support for Israel by moving the Australian embassy from Tel… The comments are another strong ... Read More »

Detained and in danger: The tortured Australian families who fear for their missing loved ones

Increasingly helpless and desperate, Uighurs building new lives in Australian suburbs feel compelled to go public with their stories and identities despite the risks. Fergus Hunter The Age The security agents came for Adeham Abliz late on a Thursday night. That day, September 8, 2016, had been much like any other in the 59-year-old Uighur man’s life in the city of Ghulja in north-western China. Abliz, a shopkeeper, had performed his five daily prayers, starting with fajr at dawn through ... Read More »

Julian Assange latest: ‘Secret charges against Wikileaks founder revealed in cut-and-paste blunder’

Secret criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may have been accidentally revealed in a “cut and paste error” by US prosecutors. Tristan Kirk Evening Standard Mr Assange is wanted in America over the leak of classified military documents in 2010, but has spent more than six years living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden, but insisted that he could not face the claims as he then be would be extradited to the ... Read More »

IT contractors shown the door en masse at Home Affairs

Hundreds of IT contractors were shown the door at the Department of Home Affairs in Canberra this week due to budget pressures, with industry experts fearing a flood of workers will push down incomes across the sector. Sally Whyte The Canberra Times It’s understood that anywhere between 170 and 300 contractors, working on various information technology contracts across the department, were told this week that they were no longer required, with their work to be finishing up in the next ... Read More »

Mike Pence announces US-Australia military pact to expand Manus Island naval base

United States Vice-President Mike Pence has declared his nation will partner with Australia and Papua New Guinea to boost operations at a Manus Island naval base amid rising tensions over China’s growing influence in the Pacific. Nicole Hasham WAtoday The federal government had been working with PNG to develop the strategically important base at Lombrum, announcing in September a $5 million contract to upgrade wharf and shore-based infrastructure. Mr Pence told a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in ... Read More »

‘A disaster’: Forest deals reignite tension between loggers and conservationists

Dejan Stojanovic was aghast. The biologist had pulled to the side of a remote dirt road in southern Tasmania, expecting to find the stately blue gum forest he’d frequented for years. Nicole Hasham The Age He had come in search of the rare swift parrot, known to nest in the nooks of old local trees. But the bulldozers had got there first. Only disfigured brown earth remained. “I was enraged,” Stojanovic says, recalling the day in November last year. “This ... Read More »

Wayne Johnston got lost in The Odyssey: 12-hour reading offers your chance

Actress Kate Kendall is among the high-profile Melburnians taking part in a 12-hour reading of Homer’s classic. John Bailey The Sydney Morning Herald Carlton football legend Wayne “The Dominator” Johnston would rather read the form guide than The Odyssey, but actor Kate Kendall noticed some similarities between her footy veteran husband and the leading man of Homer’s classic. Both are orphans. Both have lost a son. And while the footy field is far from the battleground, it left Johnston with enough ... Read More »

Wesfarmers, Coles bosses throw support behind immigration

As the debate over the immigration rate rages, the managing directors of two of Australia’s biggest companies have voiced their support for migrants. Hamish Hastie WAtoday Speaking after the Wesfarmers AGM in Perth on Thursday, Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott and Coles managing director Steve Cain both said immigration played an important role in economic growth. In 2017-18 162,417 migrants were welcomed under the Australian immigration program, well below the government ceiling of 190,000 and more than 20,000 fewer than the 183,608 ... Read More »

Seafood industry calls for Senate inquiry into seismic testing

Members of the Australian seafood industry are persisting in their calls for an inquiry into seismic testing, despite the Senate having twice rejected the idea. ABC West Coast SA By Samantha Jonscher Seismic surveys, which are used to search for undersea oil and gas deposits, involve firing intense soundwaves into the ocean floor, which fishers worry could disrupt the behaviour of marine life. Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association President Brian Jeffriess said not enough is known about the impacts of ... Read More »

‘Policy made on the run does not have a good track record’, says the brain behind Grattan

Governments aren’t doing the research needed to underpin rigorous policy development, worries Grattan Institute CEO John Daley. He spoke to The Mandarin about selling reform, what’s driving populism and the big policy priorities for the next few years. David Donaldson The Mandarin John Daley is a patient man. As head of what is probably Australia’s most highly respected thinktank, he needs to be. “It is one of the things I’ve learned in this role over 10 years, that you have to be ... Read More »

Friday essay: turning up the level of civilisation

In October 2005 Stephen Colbert was just starting his eponymous show. It is somewhat chilling to realise that this was when he came up with the word truthiness: it seems so now. Julianne Schultz The Conversation It has taken a while to reach maturity and morphed into the even more menacing trumpiness. Truthiness captures the slippery world inhabited by those unencumbered by books, or facts, context or complexity – for those who just know with their heart rather than their ... Read More »

Australia becoming more corrupt, warns former judge

Australia is becoming more corrupt because successive federal governments have failed to create an effective national anti-corruption body similar to the NSW Independent Commission against Corruption, a… Nick O’Malley The Sydney Morning Herald Writing in support of a national anti-corruption body, David Harper, a former Court of Appeals justice at the Supreme Court of Victoria, noted that in 2012 Australia ranked seventh in… “The lack of a federal anti-corruption agency remains a reason why we have never come close to ... Read More »

Trolley man Michael Rogers gets a new phone and an epic feed as charity money rolls in

Australia’s terrorist-fighting superhero is slowly beginning to turn his life around with an enormous sum of cash. Here’s how he plans to spend it. Ben Graham news.com.au It has been a rollercoaster week for Melbourne’s latest superhero Michael Rogers to say the least. It was just five weeks ago that the homeless legend — who has come to be dubbed as the trolley man for his jihadi-fighting credentials — was released from jail for stealing a bike. Now he is ... Read More »

Paul Keating says raising superannuation to 12 per cent will ‘barely cut it’

Former prime minister Paul Keating has rejected a Grattan Institute report that suggested scrapping plans to raise compulsory super payments from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent, and raising the… ABC Mr Keating, whose government introduced compulsory superannuation contributions, said Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley had a “miserable view” of the world. Mr Keating told 7.30 that super payments had to be raised to 12 per cent, though that would “barely cut it”. “When I introduced super 32 years ago, people retired ... Read More »

Judge tears up $35m settlement between ASIC and Westpac in lending case

The corporate regulator and Westpac Banking Corp have been forced back to the drawing board after the Federal Court threw out the bank’s offer to pay a $35 million settlement for contravening responsible lending laws. Sarah Danckert WAtoday Federal Court judge Nye Perram tore up the settlement between the parties on Tuesday on a technicality after finding the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Westpac could not agree on exactly how, or how many times, Westpac broke the… The ... Read More »