Australasia

Nauru orders MSF to stop mental health work on island

Nauru’s government has ordered Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to stop work there immediately, despite a physical and mental health crisis in the country. Luke Henriques-Gomes The Guardian The medical NGO has been providing psychological and psychiatric services to residents, asylum seekers and refugees on the island since late 2017. MSF staff wrote to its clients on Saturday to tell them it could no longer offer them treatment because of an order from Nauru’s health minister, who said the its services were “no ... Read More »

Behrouz Boochani wins Anna Politkovskaya award for Manus Island writing

Iranian Kurdish refugee recognised for documenting Australia’s offshore detention Naaman Zhou The Guardian Iranian Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani has won the Anna Politkovskaya investigative journalism award for his work documenting Australia’s offshore immigration detention program. The award, named after the Russian journalist who was killed in Moscow in 2006, is bestowed by the Italian magazine Internazionale each year during the Internazionale festival to recognise excellence in investigative reporting. Boochani, a… Behrouz Boochani wins… Read More »

Classical music is undergoing a revolution — and you’re probably a fan without realising it

If you catch yourself humming the opening bars to the Game of Thrones theme, or feeling unsettled by the soundtrack to The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s possible you might be a closet classical music fan without realising it. RN – By Antony Funnell for Future Tense ABC You may think classical music is dying, but it’s actually booming — and it’s throwing off the confines of the past. From film scores to television commercials and the opening of major sporting events, classical ... Read More »

Hunting Hydrocarbons

Subsea gliders are taking to the oceans to hunt for an ever wider array of anthropomorphic and chemical signatures to an ever greater accuracy. Elaine Maslin Marine Technology Ocean glider systems are maturing. Since emerging in the 2000s, they’ve opened up new possibilities for ocean observation and monitoring. But, these possibilities are continuing to expand, including to gas seep surveys, leak detection, mammal monitoring and oil spill monitoring, for the offshore oil and gas industry. The primary attraction of ocean ... Read More »

Royal Commission proposed for family law system

The Chief Justice of the Family Court says a royal commission into the family law system should be considered if the public isn’t satisfied by proposed government changes and an Australia Law Reform Commission review. Mark Schliebs The Australian Ahead of his departure as the court’s top judge later this year, Chief Justice John Pascoe used a speech at a Law Council of Australia conference on family law in Brisbane to warn about the planned shake-up of the system. “In ... Read More »

Australia’s obsession with opinion polls is eroding political leadership

In its early days, political opinion polling’s leading advocate, George Gallup, sold it as an essential tool for democracy. Ian Cook The Conversation He believed polling made for better representation because it allowed politicians to take the people’s “pulse”. But opinion polling didn’t so much enhance democracy as remake it. Thanks to Gallup, polls have become so ubiquitous in modern-day politics that we’re now convinced they can accurately predict elections. (Even though Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 US ... Read More »

Australia has become a human rights backwater

The litmus test for human rights in Australia is how it treats the most disadvantaged within the community, and on this measure, Australia has become a backwater, according to two leading legal… Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly Speaking to Lawyers Weekly ahead of the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and National Justice Project Dinner, being held in Sydney on Friday 26 October, UTS law professor and director of research at… “We have failed to integrate a human rights framework into our legal system ... Read More »

Equality: our secret weapon to fight corruption

“We look after our mates,” Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, has declared. He’s said it on several occasions, in fact. So it must be a value he thinks important. Meanwhile the man he defeated for the top job, Peter Dutton, has been embroiled in controversy over allegedly using his… Tony Ward The Conversation Where do we draw the line between looking after a mate and being corrupt? The line, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. ... Read More »

New terror laws: Suspects, children to be locked up without a warrant

New counter-terrorism laws that enable the government to lock up children as young as 14 were enshrined on Monday. Chloe Booker The Age The laws allow police to detain terror suspects without a court order or a warrant for up to four days. Children aged 14 or above may be held for up to 36 hours. Suspects, including those who have never been convicted of a terrorism offence, will now be unlikely to be granted bail or parole. Meanwhile, police ... Read More »

‘This smells’: Ethics expert slams SEQ council deal as key details removed from website

Moreton Bay Regional Council has removed from its website all information about its controversial outsourcing deal with a financial backer of its mayor and other councillors – its biggest single procurement – but… Mark Solomons Brisbane Times It comes as a national expert on public sector ethics and governance raised serious questions about the deal, some aspects of which are the subject of an investigation by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission, saying the… Queensland local government regulations require councils ... Read More »

Australia must demand Myanmar war crimes tribunal, says investigator

The Morrison government should use its regional clout to demand a peacekeeping mission and war crimes tribunal in response to humanitarian crimes in Myanmar, says a top Australian investigator. Nick McKenzie & Nicole Precel The Age Michael Stefanovic, an Australian seconded to the US State Department’s Myanmar inquiry, said he was horrified by the evidence he had gathered. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is grappling whether to use the term genocide to describe the Myanmar military’s attack on members ... Read More »

Greedy banks and inept regulators but not much more

It began so well. The banks were lashed as greedy institutions focussed on gouging the living – and the dead – and anything else they could squeeze a dollar out of in the pursuit of targets and bonuses. Adele Ferguson Brisbane Times It then went on to the regulators, in particular the corporate regulator, which it eviscerated for its lack of teeth and inability to do its job and enforce the law. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) was ... Read More »

The destructive American fad Australia needs to avoid

Politics since World War II has been dominated by the ideological struggle along Marxist economic lines. The working class versus the capitalist class. In the Australian labelling, Labor against Liberal. Peter Hartcher The Sydney Morning Herald That framework is in the process of being overlaid, and even overwhelmed. Politics increasingly is becoming a clash of identities. The US is leading the way, with Europe close behind. Because there’s no American fad too stupid for Australia to ape, we’d better pay ... Read More »

Royal Commission shows banks have behaved appallingly, but we’ve helped them do it

The term deposit has matured. Initial scepticism over the timing, scope, and overall need for a royal commission into financial services has transformed into deep concern about the culture and practices in one of our most important industries. Andrew Grant The Conversation Malcolm Turnbull, the (perhaps not coincidentally) ex-prime minister, admitted it had been a “political mistake” to delay the royal commission by nearly two years. None of the major banks have escaped the Commission’s ire. Perhaps that’s because none ... Read More »

‘MeToo must become WeToo’: Jacinda Ardern’s speech to UN rebuts Trump

New Zealand prime minister called for collective action and multilateralism in address that was applauded at the UN in New York Eleanor Ainge Roy The Guardian The prime minister of New Zealand has been met with thunderous applause at the UN for her speech espousing global cooperation and kindness from world leaders, in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s portentous rejection of globalism earlier in the week. Jacinda Ardern’s national statement was viewed by many commentators as a direct rebuttal to the US ... Read More »

Why abortion should not be a crime

As a doctor who has worked in the field of reproductive healthcare for many years, I could list so many evidence-based and peer-researched studies and reasons on why abortion should be decriminalised. Philip Goldstone Brisbane Times But the most profound and overriding reason for me is to end the shame and stigma that we heap onto women accessing this health service each and every day. Shame and stigma is something that I am familiar with; I have worked in the ... Read More »