Australasia

Andrew Bolt, please stop implying that you know all the facts about George Pell

Clare Linane, whose husband Peter Blenkiron is a survivor of clerical child abuse, writes in response to Andrew Bolt’s defence of George Pell Clare Linane The Guardian I am a Ballarat local who has been living with the aftermath of child sexual abuse for many years. My husband, Peter Blenkiron, is a survivor of clergy abuse at 11-years-old. You met him whilst in Rome three years ago. I am compelled to write to you after you expressed your opinion that ... Read More »

The Killing Times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront

Special report: Shootings, poisonings and children driven off cliffs – this is a record of state-sanctioned slaughter • A massacre map of Australia’s frontier wars – interactive Lorena Allam and Nick Evershed The Guardian The truth of Australia’s history has long been hiding in plain sight. The stories of “the killing times” are the ones we have heard in secret, or told in hushed tones. They are not the stories that appear in our history books yet they refuse to go away. ... Read More »

My anger with George Pell has been replaced by immense sadness

I don’t see a monster. I see all the women and children and men and nuns and priests destroyed by shame, fear and lies Christos Tsiolkas The Guardian I  have been angry with Cardinal George Pell for a long time. That anger was first stirred by his absolute disdain for extending compassion to people living with Aids, and also by his refusal to accept queer people into Catholic fellowship. I was also made furious by his perverting of the teachings ... Read More »

It took scientists seven days and a ‘global collaboration’ to figure out what fish this is

A rare hoodwinker sunfish that washed ashore at a Californian beach left scientists baffled when they could not identify it. Alexis Moran ABC An intern at the University of California had spotted the 2.1-metre fish at the Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve. Researchers turned to social media for help to identify the creature through a series of photos posted on the Coal Oil Point Facebook page in late February. It was there that the sunfish was identified by marine scientist ... Read More »

The most dangerous thing about democracy

It fascinates me that, while you and I live snarled in the barbs and infuriations of petty bureaucracy – arbitrary speeding fines, council refusals of backyard follies, strata-bodies’ vengeance feuds, the brute humiliations of the Centrelink crawl and the perpetual requirement to choose medical insurers, super funds and… The Sydney Morning Herald Threats of criminal action? Oh I’m so dreadfully sorry, let me resign forthwith (on my multi-million pension). Tax? Pah. Tax is what the poor pay and the rich ... Read More »

Climate change: narrate a history beyond the ‘triumph of humanity’ to find imaginative solutions

One reason why people find it difficult to think about climate change and the future may be their understanding of human history. Amanda Power The Conversation The present day is believed to be the product of centuries of development. These developments have led to a globalised world of complex states, in which daily life for most people is highly urbanised, consumerist and competitive. By this account, humanity has triumphed over the dangers and uncertainties of the natural world, and this ... Read More »

Australia Has Reduced Plastic Bag Consumption by 80% Since July

The plastic bag reduction stems from bans by major Australian supermarkets. By Madeleine Keck Global Citizen Single-use plastic bag consumption in Australia has reduced by over 80% following a ban by two supermarkets giants last July, according to the National Retail Association (NRA). A total of 1.5 billion plastic carry bags have been spared from landfills since Woolworths self-imposed a ban last June, followed by supermarket chain Coles in July. The switch by Coles to reusable cloth bags occurred on the same day as ... Read More »

When a kid breaks the law there’s so much more going on below the surface

We must recognise the link between mental conditions and youth crime Anonymous The Guardian The Kimberley is an exceptionally beautiful part of the continent. None of its natural splendour can be seen in one of the region’s courtrooms, however. The only noteworthy feature is the Western Australian coat of arms, with its iconic black swan and kangaroo paw. Opposite the magistrate’s chair sits a wide screen television, used in part to reach young offenders via video link. This screen streams ... Read More »

Australia slips out of global top 10 on adherence to rule of law

Australia has slipped backwards in global rankings on adherence to the rule of law, with global results appearing to indicate a creep towards authoritarianism. AAP – SBS Australia has dropped out of the top 10 in global rankings on adherence to the rule of law, with annual global results showing more countries declined than improved their performance. Australia now stands at 11th place out of 126 countries in the World Justice Project index. The score places Australia second out of ... Read More »

ATO whistleblower faces six life sentences, roughly the same as Ivan Milat

There’s something radically wrong with a society that allows mass murderer James Gargasoulas to be eligible for parole in 46 years, locks up serial killer Ivan Milat for 181 years and then has an Australian Taxation Office employee facing 161 years in prison for blowing the whistle on a… Adele Ferguson The Sydney Morning Herald Richard Boyle has been charged with 66 offences including telephone tapping and recording of conversations without the consent of all parties and making a record ... Read More »

Royal Commissions tell us a great deal about Corruption. But will Justice be an inevitable final chapter?

The string of Royal Commissions have provided us with stinging visual images of corruption, notably among bankers and clergymen. Josephine Zananiri Tasmanian Times Aside from some gratifyingly blunt cross-examination, causing a degree of humiliation, the legal outcomes are far from clear. At this point we might hazard a guess that corruption and justice are a sleight of hand depending on the cards dealt. Now if you happened by chance to find yourself in the top say five per cent of ... Read More »

Australia Really Should Be Panicked About Coal

While China may not have banned imports yet, long-term demand is set to plummet globally. Mihir Sharma Bloomberg Sydney is a wonderful, modern town. But, over the past few days, all anyone here has wanted to talk to me about is that most 19th-century of industries: coal. It’s not hard to see why, after a startling report last week — quickly denied — that some Chinese ports had blocked shipments of Australian coal. The Australian dollar briefly tanked on the news. Australia’s trade ... Read More »

Scott Morrison to reboot Tony Abbott’s emissions reduction fund with $2bn

PM to announce ‘climate solutions fund’ to appeal to voters concerned about Coalition’s record Katharine Murphy The Guardian Scott Morrison will attempt to appeal to voters deeply concerned that the Coalition have been been wreckers on climate change by rebadging Tony Abbott’s emissions reduction fund as a… Attempting to draw a line over years of destructive in-fighting within the Coalition that has cruelled various emissions reduction policies, the prime minister will use a speech in Melbourne on… The emissions reduction fund is a ... Read More »

The sharks are circling ahead of the election — and it’s asylum seeker policy in the ‘chum bucket’

In full parliamentary flight this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison raged at Labor that it had “gone to the bottom of the chum bucket” when it started its probing of… Laura Tingle ABC Chum buckets, for anyone not familiar with the term, are buckets full of fish guts and heads and other smelly stuff that is thrown into the water by fishermen to attract a feeding frenzy of fish, particularly… And there was some truth to what the Prime Minister ... Read More »

Work ban forces asylum seekers into destitution – but we now have a chance to change this policy

One of the ugly realities of the British asylum system lies in the work ban placed on people awaiting a decision on their asylum claim. Alex Powell The Conversation The ban on working often forces people to rely on friends and family, or, worse, into destitution. This restriction is often justified by the mistaken notion that it will limit the number of people claiming asylum in the UK. Following a sustained campaign, and two private members bills spearheaded by Labour ... Read More »

New Zealand says refugee deal still on table as PM Morrison arrives for visit

New Zealand says an offer to resettle refugees from Nauru or Manus Island is still on the table, dismissing a report it won’t accept single male asylum seekers. AAP – SBS New Zealand has dismissed reports it refused to resettle single male asylum seekers in Australian offshore processing. Since 2013, New Zealand’s government has publicly offered to settle at least 150 refugees being held on Nauru or Manus Island, but has been rebuffed by successive Australian prime ministers, despite a ... Read More »