Multiculturalism

I didn’t want to write this, but the courage to listen to different ideas is vanishing

After a week in which we lost Fairfax and the Brisbane Writers festival banned writers, we need more than ever places where we can listen and reflect on different perspectives. Richard Flanagan The Guardian A writer, if they are doing their work properly, rubs against the grain of conventional thinking. Writers are often outcasts, heretics and marginalised. Once upon a time writers’ festivals celebrated them, and with them the values of intellectual freedom and freedom of debate. Writing that mattered ... Read More »

Migrant farm workers launch landmark $10m legal claim

Migrant farm workers from Vanuatu have launched a landmark $10 million legal claim against their former Australian labour hire employer for gross underpayment and mistreatment. Ben Schneiders The Sydney Morning Herald The Federal Court action against Agri Labour will use — thought to be for the first time — laws introduced by the Turnbull government to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation. In May, The Sunday Age revealed that 50 workers from Vanuatu had worked in shocking conditions on a farm near Shepparton, and had ... Read More »

Mentorship key to encouraging Indigenous students into higher degrees

It took the encouragement of two mentors for Indigenous university student Graham Akhurst to even consider the possibility of enrolling in a higher degree by research. Lucy Stone Brisbane Times Now a master of philosophy student at the University of Queensland, Mr Akhurst said without that encouragement, it would never have crossed his mind to keep studying – it just wasn’t an option. Mr Akhurst’s story is representative of what a new report says is needed to boost the small ... Read More »

Israeli Arab MP resigns over controversial ‘nation state’ law

An Israeli Arab politician has resigned in opposition to a controversial new law which declares Israel to be the nation state of the Jewish people. BBC Zouheir Bahloul, 67, branded parliament “racist” and “destructive” for passing the law, which also puts Hebrew above Arabic as the official language. “[The law] removes the Arab population from the path of equality in Israel,” he told Israeli TV network Reshet. The bill passed on 19 July, provoking anger from Israel’s Arab minority. Arab ... Read More »

Go ahead, white Australia, eat your kebabs while you remind us of your ‘values’

When I think about white fragility and its moral pretensions I marvel at the great hoax of it all Randa Abdel-Fattah The Guardian I know who I am. Most racialised people do. History matters to us. We know that the answers to who we are as a nation lie in a story that did not start with the last election or 9/11 or Tampa or deaths in custody or the stolen generations. We know that if we were to approach the ... Read More »

With anti-Muslim laws, Europe enters new dark age

Leading rabbi condemns discrimination in the name of security. Pinchas Goldschmidt Politico LONDON — What has become of Europe? New laws targeting Muslims are reminiscent of a time when innocent Jewish children were abducted by masked monks and imprisoned in monasteries to “save” them from the eternal fire of hell. In our blind mistrust of religious differences, we are returning to the Middle Ages, when the only model for integration was the forced conversion of the minority religion to the ... Read More »

Evidence of 250 massacres of Indigenous Australians mapped

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were killed until at least 1930, often with police sanction, researchers say Calla Wahlquist The Guardian There have been as many as 500 massacres of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. And mass killings occurred well into the middle of the 20th century, researchers have said. The disturbing revelations were released by the University of Newcastle on Friday as part of the second stage of its online massacre map, which now covers frontier violence ... Read More »

Labour Members Move To Suspend Brexiteer MP Frank Field For Backing Tories

Some party members want whip withdrawn as a punishment Paul Waugh HuffPost Veteran MP Frank Field is facing a move by his local Labour activists to have him suspended from the party as a punishment for voting with Theresa May on Brexit. The former minister’s Merseyside constituency party will on Friday discuss an emergency motion to demand the “immediate” withdrawal of the Labour whip in protest at him backing the government last week. Members of Birkenhead constituency Labour party (CLP) ... Read More »

Patriotic songs and self-criticism: why China is ‘re-educating’ Muslims in mass detention camps

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies their existence. But extensive reporting by international media and human rights groups indicates upwards of hundreds of thousands of Uighurs — a… The Conversation By Michael Clarke ABC The camps are not only massive, with some exceeding 10,000 square metres, but have also been likened to prison-like compounds, with, “reinforced security doors and windows, surveillance systems… The US Congressional-Executive Commission on China calls it, “The largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the ... Read More »

Swedish student prevents deportation of Afghan asylum seeker by refusing to sit down on flight

Live stream of Elin Ersson’s dramatic protest shows how she stands her ground against flight crew and fellow passengers, before her efforts are finally applauded in emotional scenes Adam Withnall Independent A student activist in Sweden single-handedly prevented the deportation of an asylum seeker to Afghanistan, by refusing to sit down on the plane that was due to take him out of the country. Elin Ersson started live-streaming her dramatic protest after flight attendants demanded she sit down for departure and tried to take away ... Read More »

Afghan teen who burnt to death came here as child bride on fake papers

A young mother who died after being set alight in a still unexplained tragedy is believed to have entered Australia illegally as a child bride. Melissa Cunningham The Age Police initially believed Hazara woman Sadif Karimi was 22 when she died in The Alfred hospital in February after being severely burnt in a backyard in Melbourne’s south-east. Her family said she was just 17. And it can also be revealed that Sadif Karimi’s real name was Ziba Haji Zada. Ziba’s husband ... Read More »

Sweden struggles over child marriage

Critics say government is treading too softly to avoid accusations of cultural insensitivity. Nathalie Rothschild Politico STOCKHOLM — A row over how to deal with child marriage among immigrants has inflamed political debate ahead of a general election in Sweden, where migration continues to divide public opinion and the far right is riding high in the polls. A tug-of-war between the ruling Social Democrat-Green Party coalition and the opposition over the government’s role in managing or eradicating the practice — which ... Read More »

Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular

“I lose sleep at night on this.” Imagine you’re the president of a European country. Sigal Samuel The Atlantic You’re slated to take in 50,000 refugees from the Middle East this year. Most of them are very religious, while most of your population is very secular. You want to integrate the newcomers seamlessly, minimizing the risk of economic malaise or violence, but you have limited resources. One of your advisers tells you to invest in the refugees’ education; another says ... Read More »

Justice for the next Generation? The Collapse of Values.

I was honoured to be invited to give the 2018 Hobart Oration. Julian Burnside It is sponsored by the Bob Brown Foundation. Here is what I said. Hobart Oration 23 July 2018:  Justice for the next Generation?  The Collapse of Values. The two great issues our generation is leaving the next are climate change and the treatment of refugees. Climate change I have no hesitation in saying that climate change is the number one issue today: refugees are a second-order issue, ... Read More »

Neither stoking fears nor sugar-coating will help solve crime problem

While overstating the scale of the problems created by the criminal activity of some members of the African-Australian community in Melbourne is unhelpful and damaging, so is denying that any issue exists. Editorial The Age As with so much in life, the truth tends to lie somewhere in the middle. The death of 19-year-old Laa Chol in a CBD apartment block on Friday night has yet again placed the spotlight squarely on this community. The statistics tell us crime in ... Read More »

Call for doctors to help looming asylum seeker mental health crisis

These days, the inner-city suburb of Brunswick is not often associated with grinding poverty or desperation. Miki Perkins The Canberra Times Uni students riffle through upmarket op shops, a multitude of cafes churn out bespoke coffee and new, expensive apartment buildings thrust upwards along the spine of Sydney Road. But if you step off Sydney Road and walk into the calm waiting room of the Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub, an undercurrent of distress is palpable. The hub ... Read More »