Australasia

ALHR: Government must do more to protect reproductive health rights

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The leading advocacy group for human rights law in Australia has called on the federal government to better ensure the country is meeting its international obligations to protect women and girls when it comes to processes such as abortion. Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) spoke earlier this week in response to comments from Nationals MP George Christensen and incoming Senator Amanda Stoker, who – at an anti-abortion rally held in Queensland this past Sunday – ... Read More »

South African farmers are trapped in a brutal reality – and my family is a victim of it

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My father-in-law was beaten to death last September on his sugar-cane farm, 60 kilometres from Pietermaritzburg, a regional city in South Africa. Glenn Freeman Brisbane Times Civil rights group AfriForum suggests there is, on average, 680 farm attacks and 94 farm murders in South Africa each  year – almost two attacks a day and two murders a week over 18 years. Critics of Peter Dutton’s latest contentious proposal – a special humanitarian intake of South African farmers – should consider ... Read More »

Victorians have a right to be outraged at Labor MPs’ misuse of funds

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Victorians have a right to feel disappointed and angry that the ALP siphoned almost $400,000 of taxpayers’ money to help secure its unexpected victory in the 2014 state election, and then spent a further $1 million on a legal tilt to block the Victorian Ombudsman from investigating. The Age Her probe into the egregious breach of parliamentary regulations by the ALP was triggered by whistleblowers. They were upset by Labor MPs wrongly signing off on payments based on falsified timesheets that ... Read More »

Manus Island: PNG wants Australia to put deadline on refugee resettlement

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The Papua New Guinea Government wants Australia to set a deadline to get refugees from Manus Island out of the country. By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek ABC PNG has formed a special team to negotiate with Australia’s Home Affairs Department to ensure all refugees from Manus Island are resettled in a third country, soon. So far, only 84 of the roughly 600 refugees on Manus Island have been sent to the United States under the resettlement deal between ... Read More »

No country, no rights, no hope

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The legal no-man’s land inhabited by stateless people like the Rohingya is a major human rights issue, which urgently requires more attention By Professor Michelle Foster and Timnah Baker, University of Melbourne PURSUIT Said Imasi was raised in a refugee camp in North Africa, and spent his childhood in orphanages and on the streets of mainland Europe. His mother died when he was six-years-old and he has no information about his father. Said believes he was born in the Canary ... Read More »

Court orders that boy, 10, at risk of suicide on Nauru be treated in Australia

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Exclusive: Home affairs department argued against move but judge cites ‘significant risk’ he would die if left on island Ben Doherty The Guardian A 10-year-old refugee boy who has made repeated attempts to kill himself while held on Nauru has been ordered moved to Australia for acute psychological care, with a judge saying the boy would be at imminent risk of dying if left in the regional processing centre. In the federal court this month, lawyers representing the boy – known in court documents ... Read More »

Australian Refugee Groups Slam Plan To ‘Cherry Pick’ White South Africans

Asylum-seekers look through a fence at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea March 21, 2014. Eoin Blackwell/AAP/via Reuters/File Photo ATTENTION EDITORS - FACES PIXELLATED AT SOURCE. THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. AUSTRALIA OUT. NEW ZEALAND OUT.?

‘If we were going to take in any for a fast-tracked program, we’d take in Rohingyans or Syrians.’ Josh Butler HuffPost Refugee agencies have slammed the Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton’s eagerness to offer fast-tracked humanitarian assistance to white South African farmers, saying Australian has ignored asylum seekers and human rights abuses in its own backyard for years. Dutton, whose Home Affairs ministry includes oversight of immigration and refugees, floated the idea of “special attention” for white South African farmers, ... Read More »

Men fined $17,000 after dead green turtles, dugong found in boat

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Two men have been fined $17,000 after park rangers found two dead green turtles and a dead dugong in their boat off Hervey Bay last year. Amy Mitchell-Whittington Brisbane Times Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers found the dead turtles and dugong, both protected species, in a boat in the Great Sandy Marine Park in October. The men told rangers they had been given permission by Aboriginal elders to hunt and kill the animals for ... Read More »

After the Rohingya crisis, Aung San Suu Kyi will come to the ASEAN summit with her reputation tarnished

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Two years ago, Aung San Suu Kyi led the National League for Democracy (NLD) into government in Myanmar amid a global outpouring of support and goodwill. Authors.. The Conversation When she arrives in Australia for this weekend’s ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, the welcome will be cooler, tempered by her government’s limited progress on a range of political and economic issues. In particular, concerns will be raised over the Myanmar military’s appalling treatment of the Muslim Rohingya, and Suu Kyi’s refusal to ... Read More »

Our authoritarian government has turned up the heat. But we can still fight back

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Australia’s accelerating militarisation and erosion of civil liberties must be resisted Scott Ludlam The Guardian There’s an old aphorism about the best way to boil a frog which holds that if that’s your thing, you sicko, you should turn the temperature up very, very slowly. Shock the frog with a sharp enough temperature increase and she’ll jump right out of the pot. Something similar applies, maybe, to the gentle stench of authoritarianism that now undeniably permeates Australian politics. Things that might… ... Read More »

Malcolm Fraser’s ‘white farmers’ prophecy is now a reality

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A year before he died in 2015, former prime minister Malcolm Fraser agreed to meet me at his Melbourne office to discuss Australia’s treatment of sea-borne refugees. Rob Burgess The New Daily The cruelties of the offshore detention system, he said, made it look, “from outside Australia … as if the white Australia policy battles are still raging”. There was no way, he said, that a boatload of “white South African farmers would be treated that way if they sailed ... Read More »

The woman asking the hard questions at the banking royal commission

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Rowena Orr, QC, one of two silks assisting the landmark banking royal commission headed by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, offered a blunt assessment of the task confronting the inquiry on Monday. Michaela Whitbourn The Sydney Morning Herald “The terms of reference … are broad and the time to report is short,” Orr told Hayne in Melbourne. “We embrace the challenge involved in assisting you.” Orr and her fellow counsel assisting the commission – Brisbane-based silk Michael Hodge, QC, and junior ... Read More »

Religious freedom must not be a green light to discriminate

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As it ponders the role of religious freedom in Australia, the Religious Freedom Review headed by Philip Ruddock would do well to reflect on the real-life scenarios where belief collides with the rights of individuals. Hugh Harris The Canberra Times Should independent schools be able to expel students with gay parents? Should it be lawful for bakers, photographers or florists to refuse same-sex weddings? Yes? No? And why? Providing answers would provide clarity as to the consequences of any proposed ... Read More »

The problem record immigration is supposed to solve doesn’t exist

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Population is “the everything issue”. It affects all aspects of public policy and our daily lives. William Bourke Brisbane Times It is essential to get population policy right if we are to achieve critical public policy outcomes like secure jobs, affordable housing, better planning and a sustainable environment. That is not to say that it is the only reform required in order to achieve these outcomes, but trying to achieve these goals while engineering record population growth is like walking up ... Read More »

Ai Weiwei: Chinese dissident artist critiques Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers ahead of Sydney Biennale

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He is one of the world’s most famous artists and China’s best known dissident, and 60-year-old Ai Weiwei has a message for Australia when it comes to the treatment of asylum seekers. Philippa McDonald ABC “I struggle with Australia’s record towards refugees,” he said. “Australia is a nation of migrants and its culture accepts and tolerates difference. “But Australia’s refugee record is quite poor internationally. This is a very bad position for a state because people judge states on their ... Read More »

Hero’s welcome for East Timor border negotiator Xanana Gusmao

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Dili: Thousands of East Timorese have lined the road to the capital’s international airport to cheer independence hero Xanana Gusmao after he led negotiations that settled the sea border with Australia. Oki Raimundos The Canberra Times Gusmao, whose party lost power in parliamentary elections last year, was greeted at Dili’s tiny airport on Sunday with cries of “Viva Xanana Gusmao”. He’d been abroad for the previous eight months leading the final stretch of maritime border talks. Australia and East Timor, one of ... Read More »