Bill allowing guards to beat asylum seekers to death passes House of Representatives
House of Representatives Hansard [13/5/15]:
… Mr DUTTON: I will not tolerate the staff within those detention centres being assaulted, and I will not tolerate Commonwealth property being destroyed within those centres. Out of the 2011 riots, Labor commissioned a review into their own failings within the detention centre network. The review came back with recommendations which we have implemented in this bill. In this bill we codify what is reasonable force to be used by those officers within those facilities—not only for their own protection but also, most importantly, for the protection of the people within those centres. Labor commissioned the report into their own failings. The review came back with recommendations which have been accepted by us—and, I might say, accepted by Labor up until this point.
I received no notification of these amendments before coming into this chamber. I have received no notification from the shadow minister that he had any problem with this bill. I had no notification from the shadow minister that he was going to cosy up beside the Greens and the member for Indi in relation to this matter. I had no prior notice whatsoever. Is this a genuine attempt to try to improve the bill? Of course it is not, because the shadow minister and the Labor Party had indicated their support for the bill. What has happened? The Labor Party have been taken over internally by the left wing of their party. We hear a couple of voices within this chamber but there are others out there. I feel for the shadow minister, because he is trying, I think, in a genuine way to implement sensible policy. But he is just on the eve of his greatest test. The Labor Party are going to have a very important discussion about this, and let us see whether or not they are serious when it comes to these border protection management issues. If you start the boats up again, the detention centres will re-open, the kids will go back into detention and we will have the same riots that we saw in 2011 when Labor lost control of the detention centre network. We are not going to go back to those bad days. We will not allow the boats to restart—
Ms Butler interjecting—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! The member for Griffith should not continually interject.
Mr DUTTON: We will not allow the riots to recommence within the detention centres, and we are not going to give ground to the Labor, Greens and member for Indi movement. We are not going to surrender to people smugglers, who are lurking in the shadows right now waiting for the Labor Party to be successful at the next election so that boats can recommence and the riots can recommence within detention centres. We will not allow the Left of the Labor Party to dominate policy in this country. We will stop the boats into the future. If the Labor Party are re-elected, they will allow the boats to recommence.
New immigration powers would let guards beat asylum seekers to death [Guardian – 16/4/15]:
A former Victorian supreme court judge says new powers proposed for guards in immigration detention centres would in effect authorise them “to beat asylum seekers to death”.
In extraordinary evidence to a Senate hearing on Thursday, Stephen Charles SC said the migration amendment (maintaining the good order of immigration detention facilities) bill 2015 would substantially expand the powers granted to guards in detention centres in a way that would “inevitably encourage violence by guards against asylum seekers”.
The new powers would allow immigration officers – which may include private contractors – to use “reasonable force against any person” if the officer believes it is necessary to protect the life, health or safety of people in detention or to maintain the good order, peace or security of a detention centre.
Such powers potentially give staff with a low level of training a greater level of immunity than that granted to state and federal police forces.
Charles, who sat on the Victorian court of appeal until 2006, said the standard proposed in the bill would introduce a similar test to those that have been considered in the US, and drew parallels with the recent shooting of Walter Scott by the police officer Michael Slager.
“Time and again police in the United States have been acquitted in circumstances such as these,” Charles said.
“These amendments to the Migration Act will in effect authorise guards to beat asylum seekers to death on the basis they reasonably believe it is necessary … to do so.”
He said the fact there would be “no effective way to take proceedings against the commonwealth” would further encourage guards to use excessive force in detention centres, and described the training requirements proposed in the explanatory memorandum of the bill as a “joke in extremely bad taste”.
The bill will give the commonwealth, private companies and guards immunity from civil and criminal liability unless it could be demonstrated that the use of force was not in good faith.
The president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, said the bar on proceedings would make it “virtually impossible” to bring forward an action, because of the difficulty of demonstrating bad faith in legal proceedings.
“Senior courts have ... explained the very high threshold that you must prove to demonstrate bad faith. It’s very hard to show a subjective intent of bad faith of a serving officer acting in the course of their employment,” Triggs said.
She said the language in the bill surrounding the scope of the powers “need to be significantly tightened up.”
Triggs added that if the powers were to be included into the Migration Act then the limits to the exercise of the power should also be clearly spelt out.
Gabrielle Appleby, associate professor at UNSW, said “the individuals authorised under this bill are not department officers, they are contractors”.
Appleby raised concerns about the training requirements for guards, which are not expressly set out in the bill and will instead be left up to the minister. The explanatory memorandum suggests the standards will be a certificate II in security operations, which are a base level training requirement for security operations.
“The determination by the minister is not a disallowable instrument. This means it’s not subject to parliamentary scrutiny,” she said.
The Senate inquiry follows reports of unrest at the Wickham Point detention centre in Darwin on Wednesday.
… But mister let me tell ya, that eleven people died. ...
'The City of Soul', Eurogliders 
Philadelphia's Osage Avenue police bombing, 30 years on: 'This story is a parable' [Guardian [13/5/15]:
Sodden from the spray of fire hoses, terrified by the thousands of bullets fired above and the teargas floating into the cellar below, 13-year-old Michael Ward was hiding under a blanket when a police helicopter dropped a bomb on the roof of his west Philadelphia home.
The raid killed six adults and five children, destroyed more than 60 homes and left more than 250 people homeless. It stands as the only aerial bombing carried out by police on US soil.
The 30-year anniversary of the bombing of Osage Avenue will be commemorated without Ward, who was one of only two survivors of the disastrous assault. Instead professor Cornell West, author Alice Walker and others will give speeches and protesters will march down the crumbling, mostly abandoned block where the bombing took place, drawing ties between police brutality and institutional racism then and now.
Pakistan: 43 dead, 24 injured in bus attack on Karachi's Ismaili community
Six unidentified assailants on motorbikes opened fire on a bus belonging to the Ismaili community in Karachi’s Safora Chowrangi area, leaving at least 43 dead and 24 injured on Wednesday.
Initial reports revealed that the motorcyclists used 9mm pistols in the attack which killed 43 persons and left two dozen injured.
It was the worst sectarian attack since January 30, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque in the southern Shikarpur district, killing 61.
While condemning the brutal attack, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said: “The ones who’ve been attacked are the most peaceful people of Pakistan.”
He said it is the government’s responsibility to find the attackers and bring them to the book, adding that terrorists should be caught no matter where they are.
Roadside bomb kills 3 civilians in Egypt's Sinai
Daily Star [13/5/15]:
A roadside bomb killed three civilians Wednesday in the Sinai Peninsula where Egyptian forces are fighting an Islamist insurgency, police and medics said.
Jihadis regularly attack security forces in the region in retaliation for a bloody crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammad Morsi.
Three passers-by were killed when the roadside bomb went off south of the town of Rafah, which borders the Palestinian Gaza Strip, a police officer said.
The area is a bastion of the jihadist group Sinai Province, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.
The organisation has pledged allegiance to ISIS, which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Officials say hundreds of Egyptian policemen and soldiers have been killed in jihadi attacks, including in Cairo, since the army overthrew Morsi in 2013.
A police crackdown targeting Morsi supporters, meanwhile, has left more than 1,400 people dead and thousands imprisoned.
Hundreds have also been sentenced to death after speedy mass trials, which the United Nations says is "unprecedented in recent history."
Philippines: 31 bodies recovered from factory gutted by fire in Valenzuela City
Thirty-one bodies have been recovered from the slipper factory of Kentex Manufacturing Inc. in Valenzuela City, as of Wednesday evening, after it was gutted by fire in the morning.
Families and relatives of factory workers waited outside the factory hoping their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and lovers would come out of the factory alive.
But a quarter before 5 p.m., Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian, quoting the Bureau of Fire, said, “No one survived inside the factory.”
As of 5 p.m., 65 missing individuals were reported missing by their families based on the list from the city’s help desk.
“We are still hoping that from the 65, some were able to escape,” Gatchalian said.
Senior Supt. Sergio Soriano, director of the Bureau of Fire Protection in the National Capital Region, said three people were confirmed dead.
The two were identified as Tristan King Ong and Heidi Pang, part-owners of the corporation while the third casualty has not yet been identified.
As of past 6 p.m., 31 bodies have been found.
They were all found on the staircase, probably attempting to go down and escape, Soriano said.
The fire was reportedly ignited by sparks from the front door welding, which blended with a chemical, a blowing agent used in making slippers, investigators said.
A mother was seen rushing toward the entrance of the factory, early afternoon, to ask the firemen to save her 27-year-old daughter Mary Ann Icuspit.
“My daughter’s coworker sent a text message that they’re trapped on the second floor,” Janie Basinang shouted while running toward Kentex two hours after the fire broke out at 11:28 a.m.
But firefighters prevented her from going inside as fire continued to raze the slippers factory and black smoke shrouded the front door believed to be the origin of the fire.
“I’m not sure if my daughter is one of them but I’m hoping,” Basinang said, trying to hold back tears.
Soriano said the building had a fire exit, and in fact, 10 managed to escape through the staircase.
The 3,000 square-meter, two-story building, which was as large as a town mall, had two main entrances.
Soriano said the factory workers were trapped because the fire originated from the front door and it spread rapidly, reaching fifth alarm in six minutes and Task Force Charlie at 12:11.
Those on the first floor managed to escape through the other door.
Felix Parales, 55, one of the survivors, said it happened so fast.
“Someone shouted there’s fire and we started to run,” Parales said.
“Some tried to extinguish the fire to save those on the second floor but the fire spread fast,” he added.
Bid to have Broadbeach tapas bar table tip over case thrown out of court
A man accused of being involved in the Gold Coast's infamous bikie brawl will try to have the case thrown out of court.
Lawyers for alleged Bandido Peter Mauric, 45, have signalled they will bring a no case to answer motion on Wednesday afternoon after the prosecution rested its case at Southport Magistrates Court.
Mauric has pleaded not guilty to a charge of riot for his alleged involvement in the September 2013 brawl between rival bikie gang members outside a Broadbeach restaurant.
Defence barrister Geoffrey Foster announced he would be bringing the no-case-to-answer motion after magistrate Michael Quinn ruled a text message sent to one of the other accused bikie gang members was inadmissible in Mauric's case.
The text, sent to alleged Bandido Ben Thornton two days before the brawl, implored Bandido "brothers" to attend the gang's clubhouse on the evening of September 27 in full colours just hours before the fight.
The text warns members of heavy consequences if they fail to attend or are late to the meeting.
Crown prosecutor Jeff Hunter admitted there was no evidence to suggest Mauric had received the same text but argued his proximity to Thornton during the incident and his appearance in gang colours along with the other members suggested "a common purpose".
Mr Foster said the fact his client had not been shown to be aware of the message or that he'd even attended the meeting on the night in question would make its inclusion as evidence unfair.
"There's no evidence my client received the text or even complied with its instructions," he told the court.
"It's my submission admission of this evidence would be unfair."
Magistrate Quinn agreed, saying the prosecution was drawing "too long a bow" with their circumstantial argument.
"I am satisfied the probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial weight," Mr Quinn said.
Elderly woman terrorised during home invasion, Wynnum West
Police are searching for two men after an elderly woman was dragged through her house during a violent home invasion on Brisbane's bayside.
Authorities say two men with covered faces forced their way into the 87-year-old's home at Wynnum West just before 7am on Wednesday.
They dragged the woman into a room and threatened her before ransacking the house.
Neighbour Caroline Attard said the victim, who was home alone at the time, was very shaken by the incident.
"She was upset and she just said that she needed to have the police over so I called them straight away for her," she told 7News.
"They did threaten her, which is what frightened her the most."
Police are appealing for information to try and find the two suspects.
Ms Attard said the street was normally very safe.
“It’s usually a pretty quiet neighbourhood.....Normally there’s not trouble around here.”
The woman was taken to Redlands Hospital for examination and police are searching for the men.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Cairns toddler fights for life after bashing
Brisbane Times [13/5/15]:
A Cairns toddler is fighting for life, allegedly after being bashed by his 30-year-old stepfather on Tuesday.
The man was charged after the two-year-old was admitted to Cairns Base Hospital with critical head injuries on Tuesday afternoon.
Detectives from the Cairns Child Protection and Investigation Unit arrested the man after being called to the emergency department by medical staff.
He has been charged with grievous bodily harm and is scheduled to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road truck fire extinguished
Brisbane Times [13/5/15]:
Emergency crews have rushed to Brisbane's south after a truck caught fire on a busy road near a service station.
The cab and rear of the truck caught fire on Mount Gravatt-Capalaba road in Wishart, where fire fighters were called just before 10.15am.
The driver escaped with only "bumps and bruises".
Three crews attacked the flames and were able to extinguish the fire just after 10.30am but remained on the scene to keep an eye on things.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said paramedics took the 35-year-old male driver to the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital in a stable condition to be treated for minor injuries he suffered getting out of the cab.
Nearby 7-Eleven manager Sai Charandeg said he was worried by how close the fire was to the pumps.
"It was really a huge one, it was a big fire," he said.
"There was smoke coming out from the bonnet of the truck."
Mr Charandeg said the truck was only 200-250 metres from the service station.
He said the truck was still on the road but delays had eased.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesman said the fire appeared to have started in the engine.
Police are directing traffic near Dawson Road and Amsterdam Street, Wishart.
Cunningham Highway re-opens after semi-trailer roll over at Goondiwindi [Chronicle – 13/5/15]
Man injured in motocross accident, Sunshine Coast
A motocross rider has been airlifted to hospital with suspected spinal injuries after a riding mishap on the Sunshine Coast.
It's believed the 19-year-old from Brisbane was injured when his bike fell on top of him after he landed awkwardly off a jump at the Coolum Motocross Track.
He was transported to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital in a stable condition.
Man hit by bus at Molendinar
A man has been hit by a bus on the Gold Coast overnight, escaping without serious injury.
The man, believed to be aged in his 40’s was struck by the large vehicle on Mercantile Court, Molendinar.
Emergency services received the call at 8.15pm.
He was transported to Gold Coast university hospital where he remains in a stable condition with abrasions to his arms and legs.
Gold Coast woman hospitalised after falling through skylight
A woman in her 50s has been rushed to hospital after falling through a skylight at a house on the Gold Coast.
The woman, said to be aged 54, fell through the opening in the roof at an address in Coombabah about 7.40am on Wednesday.
She’d reportedly fallen four metres to the ground.
A Queensland Ambulance spokesperson said the woman suffered a broken wrist and was complaining back pain.
She’s since been taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition.
Mare unlawfully killed, Tamaree
QPS Media [13/5/15]:
Kingaroy SARCIS Detectives are investigating the unlawful shooting of a Quarter Horse mare in the Tamaree (Gympie) area.
The mare was grazing on the side of Bannister Road on Thursday May 7 when she was blatantly shot and killed.
Police are appealing to the public for any information that will assist in this investigation, which can be forwarded to SARCIS through the Kingaroy Station on (07) 4160 4900 or by contacting Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Armed robbery, Beenleigh
QPS Media [12/5/15]:
Police are appealing for witnesses following an armed robbery in a car park at Beenleigh this afternoon.
At about 4pm a man was getting into his parked car in a Main Street shopping centre when a women prevented the door from closing.
A man then demanded the keys to the car and when they weren’t provided the man then produced a knife.
The car owner handed the key over and the man and women then drove off in the car.
Police are asking anyone who may have seen a blue Chrysler Sebring with Queensland registration 431VCP, or anyone who may have information concerning the crime to contact Crime Stoppers.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Property fire, Gregory River
QPS Media [12/5/15]:
Police are investigating a fire that destroyed two homes on a property north of Proserpine this afternoon.
Emergency services were called to an address on the Bruce Highway at Gregory River around 2.30 this afternoon and on arrival, two dwellings were engulfed in flames.
The blaze was extinguished, but the two houses were completely destroyed and a large area of bush land on the property was also burnt.
Police will guard the scene overnight and specialist police will attend the scene in the morning.
Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
High Court rules native title in Queensland not extinguished by World War II military orders
The High Court has ruled a World War Two military order over land in Queensland's Atherton Tablelands did not extinguish native title for the Indigenous people of the area.
The case is part of a long running native title claim by the Bar Barrum people.
In the throes of the war in the Pacific, between 1943 and 1945 the Commonwealth took control of the land by way of military orders made under the National Security Act.
The land near Herberton, west of Cairns, was used as a live firing range for training infantry and armoured units.
But the military orders lapsed six months after the war finished.
In 2001, the Bar Barrum people lodged a native title claim over an area that included the land.
The High Court was asked by the Queensland Government to rule on whether by taking exclusive possession of the land, the Commonwealth had extinguished native title.
The Federal Court had earlier found it did not, but in a rare occurrence the High Court was split down the middle on the issue.
Three justices, including Chief Justice Robert French, would have dismissed the appeal, holding that the military orders did not have the effect of extinguishing the native title rights and interests.
But the other three justices, including retiring Justice Kenneth Hayne, would have allowed the appeal.
They held that by taking exclusive possession of the land under the military orders, the Commonwealth extinguished the native title rights and interests.
Under the law the court must defer to the earlier decision.
This has cleared the way for the native title claimants.
Who pays for women to have their babies in a public hospital and claim it on private health insurance?
Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Media Release [13/5/15]:
Health Minister Cameron Dick has launched a new model of maternity care to provide women with continuity throughout their entire pregnancy, by providing the option of a personal midwife at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH).
“As Health Minister I am pleased to support this model of care which provides more options for mums-to-be on Brisbane’s northside,” Mr Dick said.
“Women who are booked to give birth at RBWH now have the option of being admitted as a private patient to be cared for by their chosen midwife for labour and birth, as well as their antenatal and postnatal care.
“This innovative model of maternity care is woman-focused and consumer-driven, and provides high levels of satisfaction for birthing women.”
RBWH currently has several eligible midwives (EPPMs) accredited with full visiting access.
Acting Executive Director for Women’s and Newborn Services Tami Photinos said he RBWH supported the EPPM’s should they need to consult or refer during the pregnancy, and provide back-up when the women present is in labour.
“Women can also access specialist appointments from RBWH as required,” Ms Photinos said.
Ms Photinos said RBWH has a thorough credentialing process for EPPM’s, and Consultation and Referral Guidelines to ensure any complications that arise during the pregnancy are referred to RBWH for specialist treatment.
“At all stages of a woman’s journey, we provide support and care in the event that medical conditions arise. We have high expectations of co-operation with our EPPM’s from the entire multi-disciplinary team, with a strong focus on woman-centred care,” she said.
The first phase of the model of care was implemented at RBWH in 2013, and in November 2014, the model expanded to include labour and birth care by the private midwife as a private patient.
Helen Saggers was the first woman to give birth at RBWH under the new private midwife arrangements. She said working with her chosen midwife, Michelle from My Midwives, throughout the preparation for birth, delivery and post-natal care felt very natural.
“I feel those six months leading up to the birth were absolutely crucial, Michelle got to know my partner Doug and I; our strengths, weaknesses, dreams, fears and most importantly we created a birth plan together to achieve the best possible outcome,” she said.
Helen Saggers was the first woman to give birth at RBWH under the new private midwife arrangements and will be speaking on the day.
Women remain unable to employ private midwives to deliver their babies in Victorian public hospitals a year after the release of a Health Department policy that was supposed to give them greater choice. ... [The Age - 19/10/14]
Private patients taking beds public hospitals is not "choice". It is the dismantling of universal health care.
It is a scam. [Queensland Health loses more than $800m under private billing scheme - Sunshine Coast Daily – 11/7/13]
Protected, unaccountable neoliberal ---> ... The ABC contacted Health Minister Dick, but he was unavailable for a response. [ABC - 12/5/15]:
A support group that assists rural and regional families when travelling to Brisbane for medical care believes the Premier needs to intervene with the children's health system at the new Lady Cilento Hospital.
Breaking Down the Barriers co-ordinator Justine Christerson said cancelled surgeries, lack of beds, and not enough staff are impacting on patients' needs.
"Unfortunately it is happening far too often, staff are now being ordered that children who are not emergency admission that have multiple medical needs and multi-disciplinary medical teams are not to be admitted at the moment," she told ABC Radio Queensland's David Curnow.
"They do not have enough beds, as they only have 288 despite the 359 they promote and they do not have enough staff.
"The hospital is severely in crisis at the moment and worst of all Queensland's sick children are in crisis, especially those with complex medical needs – they are the ones missing out."
Ms Christerson said she had spoken to families who travelled for hours to get to Brisbane only to be told their surgery was cancelled.
Privatisation by stealth does not include legislating nurse to patient ratios. [Queensland Nurses Union Media Release - 12/5/15]:
... On 27 January the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the Queensland Greens party, Katter’s Australian Party (KAP), independent Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington and the Palmer United Party (PUP) all committed to support the post-election introduction of laws to mandate how many patients could safely be allocated to a single nurse. The LNP did not sign the QNU’s nurse ratio commitment.
At present no health service in Queensland has legislated nurse to patient ratios.
The QNU continues to campaign through the "Ratios Saves Lives" campaign for the introduction of legislated minimum ratios to keep patients safe. It is hoped ratios will soon be legislated for Queensland Health facilities and rolled out to private and aged care facilities over time. ...
Fortescue Metals boss Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest has confirmed the company is cutting up to a 100 jobs a day as the troubled iron miner attempts to reduce debt and slash its workforce of 4500 by some 700 positions.
His confirmation comes after Fairfax Media revealed last week that mine workers were being told upon arrival at FMG's Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek sites that their jobs were being made redundant, creating anxiety among workers. ... [WA Today - 13/5/15]
New CSG project in Surat Basin
A new 1000-well coal seam gas development is a vote of confidence in the Surat Basin's long-term prosperity, according to Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise CEO Shane Charles.
Senex announced this month that it wants Federal Government approval for the project which is located in the western Surat.
It is expected the project will be developed over 30 years.
Mr Charles welcomed the project considering many other of the region's resource companies were transiting from construction to an operations and maintenance phase.
He said that had caused a slow down in the resources sector.
"Senex is a great operator led by a strong team, and this development reminds us all that there is still plenty to be optimistic about here in the Toowoomba and Surat Basin region," Mr Charles said.
"This project, and we as a region, still have a long way to go, but clearly all optimism is not lost and major companies in our energy sector are looking to the future - as should we."
Senex is in the early planning stages of stakeholder engagement, compiling an environmental impact statement and conceptual engineering studies.
Hopeland community declares itself gasfields free
Lock The Gate [13/5/15]:
The Hopeland community in the Western Downs will celebrate an historic occasion on Saturday when the locals declare themselves Gasfields Free.
The community conducted a survey resulting in 85 per cent of residents saying they did not want coal seam gas in their region.
The declaration will be the first of its kind in the Western Downs, one of Australia’s best food-growing regions and the event it will be controversial because of the powerful mining interests infiltrating the area.
Shay Dougall, spokesperson for the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group, said the group had serious concerns about the potential loss of farmland, damage to the viability of the farmers’ businesses and the health and safety of impacted families and surrounding communities.
“We are making a stand to save ourselves and our foodlands, air and water from the ravages of coal seam gas,” she said. “This declaration is our way of letting the State Government and the mining companies know that we are serious and united.”
Mrs Dougall will deliver the declaration to Leichhardt Patrol Minister, Rev Graham Slaughter of the Uniting Church. Local, state and federal politicians and locals have been invited to the community barbeque celebration.
The locals have spent a lot of time and effort preparing for what will be a colourful and productive event, aimed at saving precious farmland that can’t be rehabilitated once it is ruined.
WHAT: Hopeland community BBQ to declare itself Gasfields Free
WHERE: 82 Flett’s Rd East, Hopeland
WHEN: 3-6pm, Saturday May 16
Coal Seam Gas center pivot holding dam blows out at Columboolah near Miles --- this flooded nearby grazing land of beef producer Joe Hill... [12/5/15]
Significant expenditure on cruelty to flying foxes makes matters worse
Council has admitted defeat in its fight against flying foxes in the region after spending half-a-million dollars on a failed dispersal program.
It has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on attempting to relocate the bats but they have remained and will have the last laugh.
Council will discontinue its flying fox dispersal programs in Highfields, Oakey and Kearneys Spring, while continuing to monitor the roosts.
"The flying foxes have won, they own that park now (Kearneys Spring Park)," Cr John Gouldson said.
Council will likely now have to pay for Toowoomba Live Steamers to relocate its operations from Kearneys Spring.
A council officer said one affected resident in Highfields was now worse off due to the attempted dispersals.
The resident is now more heavily impacted by the flying foxes while three other homes are less affected.
Council will now embark on an information and education campaign to provide factual information about flying foxes and associated risks.
It will give consideration to allocate funding at a future budget review to meet the costs of monitoring and managing flying foxes and the education campaign.
Cr Nancy Sommerfield angrily spoke against the motion to discontinue the dispersal at Kearneys Spring in today's committee meeting.
"I've never heard such rot - that we hand over the park to flying foxes," she said.
Cr Sommerfield argued that council should continue its efforts in Kearneys Spring Park and remove more vegetation.
Another vote will take place to ratify today's decision at next week's ordinary meeting.
Amtrak train derails in Philadelphia, killing at least five
An Amtrak passenger train with more than 200 passengers on board derailed in north Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing at least five people and injuring scores of others, several of them critically, authorities said.
Authorities said they had no idea what caused the train wreck at about 9:30 p.m. local time that left some rail cars mangled, ripped open and strewn upside down and on their sides in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood along the Delaware River.
Survivors described scenes of horror and chaos as passengers and luggage were tossed about careening train carriages.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told a news conference that at least five people were killed in the accident. He later said 65 others were taken to area hospitals, six of them critically injured.
Philadelphia-area hospitals and health systems collectively reported taking in 135 patients from the wreck.
"It's an absolute disastrous mess," Nutter said. "I've never seen anything like this in my life."
Amtrak said there were 238 passengers and five crew members aboard the derailed No. 188 train on route from Washington, D.C., to New York. Seven cars, including the engine, left the tracks, according to the mayor.
"I cannot say everyone is accounted for at this time," he said, briefing reporters again well past midnight.
The national government-backed passenger rail line provided no other details about the circumstances of the accident. It said Amtrak service along its busy Northeast corridor between New York and Philadelphia had been suspended. Nutter later said he doubted the service could be restored through Philadelphia this week.
CNN quoted the Federal Bureau of Investigation as saying there was no indication that terrorism may have been a factor in the derailment. Three law enforcement officials contacted by Reuters also said they have not encountered anything suspicious. The weather was fair at the time of the crash.
“We do not know what happened here. We do not know why this happened,” Nutter told reporters. "There's no information about that." He later told CNN there was no indication that the train derailed due to a collision with another train.
He also said the train derailed on a curved stretch of track, adding: "We have no idea what kind of speed we're talking about."
Television footage broadcast on MSNBC showed dozens of emergency workers scrambling around the wreckage with flashlights, with train cars strewn about in a zig-zag pattern.
Photos from the scene showed emergency personnel loading injured people onto stretchers and backboards.
The crash was the latest in a series of rail accidents on heavily traveled passenger train routes over the past year.
In March, 21 people were injured in Los Angeles when a commuter train struck a car that turned in front of it, a month after 50 people were hurt and an engineer fatally injured when a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train struck a pickup truck.
In February, six people were killed and a dozen injured when the Metro North commuter train they were riding in north of New York City hit a car stalled on the tracks during rush hour. The driver of the vehicle also died.
Another earthquake hits Nepal
Nepali Times [12/5/15]:
More people were killed and more houses collapsed when a 7.4 magnitude earthquake rattled Nepal at around 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The death toll from Tuesday’s earthquake has reached 59 so far and is expected to rise further.
Ramechhap and Dolakha are among the worst hit districts. Casualties and damages have been reported from Sindhupalchok, Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur as well.
Around 200 people have been reportedly injured in different parts of the earthquake-affected districts.
According to Dhan Prasad Chaulagain of the Lalitpur District Post Office, his 55-year-old uncle Chitra Prasad Chaulagain and aunty, whose name has not been ascertained, were killed when their house went down in Bhimeswor municipality-5, Dolakha.
Ministry of Home Affairs has confirmed three deaths in Teku, Samakhusi and Matatirtha in Kathmandu. One of the three killed is an 11-year-old girl. She was crushed to death by a wall.
Several houses have collapsed in Naya Bajar and Gongabu areas of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. More people are believed to be buried there. Rescuers are busy pulling out people alive.
After the earthquake, Kathmandu’s only international airport was closed for almost half an hour. People had rushed out of their houses, offices and the airport after the earthquake. There were at least five aftershocks within the first hour of the earthquake.
According to Bhakta Kumari Lama, a student union leader currently in Boch village of Dolakha, huge palls of smoke swirled around after the earthquake. Lama said the earthquake triggered landslides on the surrounding hills.
Two weeks ago, just before noon on 25 April, a 7.8 earthquake epicentered around Barpak of Gorkha, had rattled central and western Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and leaving more than 17,000 people wounded.
Tuesday’s earthquake, epicentered around Namche bazaar of Solukhumbu district, strikes at a time when search and rescue works continue for the 25 April earthquake survivors.
Schools closed down after the 25 April earthquake were scheduled to be reopened from coming Friday. Education officials are now discussing whether they can reopen schools from this week.
Australia to open new diplomatic mission In Bougainville
PNG Facts [12/5/15]:
Australia is set to expand its diplomatic footprint.
The announcement came as part of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) annual budget statement for 2015-16.
The statement said: “The Australian Government will commit A$98.3 million (US$78 million) to open five new overseas missions in consultation with host governments.
“In a major expansion of Australia’s overseas diplomatic network, new posts will be established in Doha, Qatar; Buka, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea; Makassar, Indonesia; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and Phuket, Thailand.
“This is the single largest expansion of Australia’s diplomatic network in forty years.
“These new missions will advance trade and investment opportunities for Australia and provide Australians with a greater level of consular assistance when travelling and working overseas.”
Probably a refugee boat: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 plane search team find shipwreck [Times of Malta - 13/5/15]
Australian navy goes on a Mediterranean pleasure cruise [Navy Daily - 13/5/15]
Somali Foreign Minister thanks Malta and Italy for saving refugees' lives [Times of Malta - 12/5/15]
Facebook ties up with publishers to direct articles to news feeds [Reuters - 13/5/15]
Facebook blackout on Nauru continues.
Unlike politicians dedicated to "neutralising the refugee issue", real Australians say "Welcome"
Surfers Paradise [13/5/15]
Nauru government formalises crackdown on refugee protestors on Nauru.
Facebook shutdown continues.
4 Nauru refugees disappear, said to be in Australia awaiting exile to Cambodia.
An official from Cambodia's Ministry of Interior’s Refugee Department, said "he had not been informed about the transfer of refugees." [Phnom Penh Post - 13/5/15]:
Refugees have been secretly flown from Nauru to an undisclosed location in Australia, where they will stay until their resettlement in Cambodia is approved by the Phnom Penh government, according to refugees still on the Pacific island.
Four asylum seekers – a Rohingya from Myanmar and three Iranians – are believed to have applied to be in the first group of refugees to accept resettlement here as part of the multimillion-dollar deal signed by the two countries in September. ...
A sweeping new criminal law on Nauru island could see political opponents and asylum seekers who protest against their conditions jailed for up to seven years.
The new offence under section 244A of the Nauru Criminal Code could see anyone who “coerces, intimidates, harasses, or causes emotional distress to a person” jailed if the statement is “likely to threaten national defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health”.
This comes as part of an escalating series of attacks on the judiciary and on political opposition on the island, which former judges and legal experts have warned point towards a serious erosion of democracy.
The law was passed on Tuesday, and was introduced to parliament by the justice minister, David Adeang. People on Nauru who also use language that is “threatening, abusive or insulting in nature and with the intent to stir up racial, religious or political hatred” could also be subject to charges under the new offence.
... They sought to portray the deportations as a "resettlement"... [Deportations to Killing Centres - US Holocaust Memorial Museum]
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
… Theresienstadt served an important propaganda function for the Germans. The publicly stated purpose for the deportation of the Jews from Germany was their "resettlement to the east," where they would be compelled to perform forced labor.
Since it seemed implausible that elderly Jews could be used for forced labor, the Nazis used the Theresienstadt ghetto to hide the nature of the deportations.
In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a "spa town" where elderly German Jews could "retire" in safety. The deportations to Theresienstadt were, however, part of the Nazi strategy of deception. The ghetto was in reality a collection center for deportations to ghettos and killing centers in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe.
Succumbing to pressure following the deportation of Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Germans permitted the International Red Cross to visit in June 1944.
It was all an elaborate hoax.
The Germans intensified deportations from the ghetto shortly before the visit, and the ghetto itself was "beautified." Gardens were planted, houses painted, and barracks renovated. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting dignitaries.
Once the visit was over, the Germans resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, which did not end until October 1944.
“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”
Leonardo da Vinci
Nauru refugees arrested for protesting have case adjourned again [RNZI - 10/4/15]:
... Meanwhile 11 refugees on Nauru who were expected to appear in court this week following their involvement in a protest in March have had their case adjourned for a second time.
Mr Rintoul says the case was adjourned on Wednesday after no legal representation showed up at court.
He says the first time the case was adjourned was because of confusion as to who was actually charged and how many defendants were supposed to be there.
Mr Rintoul says the refugees, who are out on bail, have not been told what they are charged with.
"The bail sheets actually do not indicate a charge. And even though 189 people got bail notices when they were released from prison there were only ten or eleven who actually got notices on their bail sheets to appear in court. So we are very interested to see what actual charges are laid against the people who have been required to appear.
Ian Rintoul says it is unlikely the case will ever proceed.
Nauru refugee women celebrate International Women’s Day with protest [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney – 10/3/15]:
Nauruan refugees and children of all nationalities celebrated International Women’s Day, yesterday, 9 March, with a protest at the Ijuw compound.
The protest comes less than a week after scores of women and children were arrested and mistreated by Nauruan police on 4 March.
Like other refugees, the women refugees had money and mobile phones stolen by police.
Women refugees were also subjected to religiously motivated abuse.
Police removed the headscarves of all the Muslim women in custody and verbally abused the women; telling them, “There are no Muslims here [ie Nauru].”
One Somali woman was forced to strip to her underwear.
“The massive operation to stifle peaceful protests last week has not deterred the Nauruan refugees,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Yesterday’s protest has sent a clear message to the Nauruan and Australian governments – that the abuse has to stop and the discrimination has to stop.
“Nauru will not resettle the refugees, but is taking tens of millions of dollars a year to warehouse refugees for Australia, for up to five years.”
The police repression only adds to the oppressive physical and social conditions on Nauru.
As more refugees are released, the accommodation has got worse. Families are in converted, windowless shipping containers that are intolerable in the heat and humidity.
They are forced to boil the water used for toilets and washing because drinking water is too expensive given the tiny allowances given to refugees.
As Rohingya refugees perish, a "Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean" is organised for 29 May.
Australia and the US will push for persecuted Rohingya to be returned to Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Bangkok Post [12/5/15]:
Thailand will host a May 29 regional meeting on the flow of migrants through the Bay of Bengal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday, as it grapples with an "unprecedented" human-trafficking crisis.
"The special meeting is an urgent call for the region towork together to address the unprecedented increase of irregular migration," the ministry said in a statement.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had called for a summit on the problem, but other countries did not respond to calls for a meeting of heads of government.
Instead, senior officials from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia will join representatives from Australia, Cambodia, Laos, the United States, Vietnam and others at the one-day "Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean" in Bangkok, the ministry said.
Observers from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, International Organization for Migration, Office on Drugs and Crime, and other organisations have been invited.
"The increasing complexity of the problem demands a multi-faceted approach. Countries of origin, transit, and destination must work together to address the problem comprehensively by addressing the root causes as well as all the contributing factors along the way," the ministry statement read.
The meeting will be chaired by Norachit Sinhaseni, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is intended to be a "forum for exchange of information and intelligence on the current situation on irregular migration by sea and its challenges, as well as to demonstrate ... strong commitment to strengthen cooperation and foster more concrete actions", the ministry said.
Such actions may include, "inter alia, cooperation on information and intelligence sharing as well as coordination in law enforcement to dismantle transnational criminal networks, and collective information campaign at countries of origin, transit, and destination to promote awareness and prevent exploitations."
This family is together in safety after rescue by #MOAS and #MSFsea. More than 1800 people were much less fortunate.
Image: @MSF_Sea [12/5/15]
Paul McPhun, Executive Director of Médecins Sans Frontières Australia explains why Europe should not follow Australia's refugee policies [VIDEO - Médecins Sans Frontières Australia - 10/5/15]
French police launch inquiry over film showing police brutality against refugees [Telegraph - 12/5/15]:
... The video, an edit of several different incidents, was shot on May 5 – the day after French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve visited a recently opened migrant day centre on the outskirts of Calais.
CMS said the film made a mockery of Mr Cazeneuve’s claim that “Calais is a laboratory of the best the French Republic can produce” and that police action was “bearing fruit”.
The two-minute film shot at long range appears to show French anti-riot police hauling migrants out of the backs of lorries or approaching those loitering around vehicles, then pushing them over a security barrier, and in some instances hitting and kicking them.
Others are dispersed with tear gas and in one case, an officer pins a migrant to the ground with his knee.
France’s national police headquarters, DGPN, said its internal watchdog had launched an inquiry into the allegations of police violence in the video. ...
Hollande's vow to settle debt to Haiti sparks confusion [France 24 - 12/5/15]
Afghanistan: UNHCR to assess refugees’ “repatriation process”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, is in Afghanistan on a two-day visit starting to assess the progress and the continuing challenges in UNHCR’s largest repatriation operation worldwide.
A statement from the UNHCR office said that more than 5.7 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan since the current voluntary repatriation operation started in 2002.
Aside from reviewing UNHCR’s operation in the country, the main purpose of his visit to Afghanistan is to discuss with senior government officials long-term solutions to the Afghan refugee situation in the region, and key issues for returnees to better ensure their successful reintegration, access to shelter, livelihood opportunities and socio-economic prospects.
UNHCR is also involved in coordinating emergency response to Internally Displaced Afghans and co-chairs the IDP Task Force, the statement added.
Guterres is scheduled to meet President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah as well as other ministers involved in the return and reintegration of Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are members of the newly established commission called “National High Level Commission on Migration,” it noted.
Five civilians, including a woman and child, were killed and three others wounded when a car hit a roadside mine on Tuesday in southern Kandahar province, an official said. ... [Pajhwok - 12/5/15]
Traffic police official gunned down in Farah [Pajhwok – 12/5/15]
Afghan security forces and militants were locked in intense gun battle after heavily-armed insurgents mounted attacks on a number of security check posts in the Shindand district of western Herat province on Tuesday, an official said. ... [Pajhwok - 12/5/15]
Nine Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and 80 insurgents have been killed during the two days clashes with security forces in different parts of the country, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Tuesday. ... [Pajhwok - 12/5/15]
US soldiers lead coalition preparing Iraqi army to kill and terrorize their fellow citizens [Centcom – 12/5/15]
A senior Iranian commander has stressed that attacking Iranian aid ship to Yemen will “ignite the flames of war” in the region.
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri made the remarks in an interview with Arabic-language news channel al-Alam on Tuesday. ... [Press TV - 13/5/15]
Saudi Arabia violated a ceasefire in war-torn Yemen just minutes after its commencement in the impoverished Arab country.
Saudi jets carried out four raids in the southwestern Lahij province, the eastern Hajjah province, and the northwestern Sa’ada province late on Tuesday. ... [Press TV - 12/5/15]
The White House scrambled on Monday to counter perceptions that the Saudi king's absence from a summit later this week could undermine U.S. efforts to assure Gulf states it remains committed to their security against Iran.
King Salman's abrupt decision to skip the U.S.-hosted regional talks shows how Gulf rulers, displeased by what they see as U.S. indifference to Iranian meddling in the Arab world, may hesitate to bless any final nuclear deal that President Barack Obama reaches with Tehran.
Some analysts and diplomats in the Middle East and Washington interpreted Salman's decision to stay away from the meeting at the Camp David presidential retreat as a diplomatic snub, despite denials from U.S. and Saudi officials.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday carried out its 80th beheading of the year, edging closer to the 87 executions it carried out during all of 2014, according to Agence France Presse tallies.
The interior ministry said a Saudi citizen, Rabie al-Sai'ari, had been convicted of trying to smuggle hashish into the kingdom. ... [Naharnet - 12/5/15]
Fighting between regime forces and rebels raged throughout Idlib province Tuesday while a government helicopter dropped a barrel bomb in Aleppo that hit a busy bus depot and killed at least 28 people, activists said. ... [Daily Star - 13/5/15]
Syrian opposition group to skip Geneva talks [Al Jazeera – 12/5/15]
... Kerry flew to the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the highest-level U.S. visit to Russia in two years, to discuss issues including the Iran nuclear talks, Yemen and Libya.
With relations between Russia and the United States at their lowest level since the Cold War, the trip appeared designed as much to maintain contact as anything else. ... [Reuters - 12/5/15]
International community must be proactive in helping Libya restore peace – ICC Prosecutor
Media Release [12/5/15]:
With the security situation in Libya quickly deteriorating, the international community must be more proactive in exploring solutions in order to tangibly help the North African nation restore stability and strengthen accountability, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the United Nations Security Council today.
“Innocent civilians continue to bear the brunt of the deteriorating security situation,” said Fatou Bensouda as she presented her latest report the 15-member Council.
In the aftermath of the 2011 civil war in Libya, the Council decided to refer the situation in the country to the Court.
A formal investigation was opened by the ICC Prosecutor in March 2011, and to date, three arrests warrants have been issued: against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi; Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi; and Abdullah Al-Senussi.
“Libya continues to be split, with two governments vying for legitimacy,” the ICC Prosecutor added.
Ms. Bensouda said her Office has encouraged the formation of an ‘international contact group’ on justice issues through which material, legal and other support could be provided to Libya.
She also proposed that a willing State, with substantial experience in transitional justice, to consider partnering with Libya to explore more concretely how such a contact group might be brought to life in the near future.
“It is crucial for such efforts to include local actors, so that their voices and views on achieving justice are amplified and heard,” Ms. Bensouda added, commending the efforts of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
The ICC Prosecutor also reiterated the need for Libyan authorities to facilitate a visit by representatives from the local councils of Misrata and Tawergha to meet because facilitating a solution for the Tawergha issue is of “symbolic importance and resonance.”
Ms. Bensouda also took note of relevant Security Council resolutions on the Libya situation which have also stressed the important of the Libyan government’s full cooperation with the ICC and with her Office.
On the use of violence against civilians by groups purportedly claiming allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), she said that while ICC jurisdiction over Libya extends to such alleged crimes, it is the State that bears primary responsibility to prosecute perpetrators.
Furthermore, she expressed concern about alleged indiscriminate attacks in heavily populated areas that have resulted in civilian casualties whether in Benghazi, Tripoli, Warshefana, and in the Nafusa Mountains.
“I reiterate my call to all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from targeting civilians,” Ms. Bensouda urged.
UN mission ‘strongly deplores’ deteriorating tensions in Sudan’s Darfur region [Media Release – 12/5/15]
No charges in Wisconsin police shooting of black teen [Reuters - 12/5/15]:
A Madison, Wisconsin police officer will not face charges in the fatal shooting of an unarmed 19-year-old biracial man in March, the prosecutor said on Tuesday.
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said at a news conference that Matt Kenny, a veteran white police officer, used lawful lethal force when he shot Tony Robinson Jr. in the head, torso and right arm.
The 10 biggest lies you’ve been told about the Trans-Pacific Partnership [Salon – 12/5/15]
Senate Vote 176 - Blocks Debate on Presidential Trade Authority [New York Times - 12/5/15]
FBI violated its own rules while spying on Keystone XL opponents [Guardian – 12/5/15]
The Obama administration on Monday gave conditional approval to allow Shell to start drilling for oil off the Alaskan coast this summer, a major victory for the petroleum industry and a devastating blow to environmentalists. ... [New York Times - 11/5/15]
APG diplomat threatened with body search by Australian customs official after having her Aboriginal passport stamped by Solomon Islands on entry and exit
Aboriginal Provisional Government Media Release [12/5/15]:
APG diplomat Pekeri Ruska (Goenpul/Yuggera) was harassed and threatened by customs officials at Brisbane international airport this afternoon after presenting only her Aboriginal passport which had been stamped on entry and exit from Honiara, Solomon Islands.
After 20 minutes of being asked repeatedly to present an Australian passport, Australian drivers licence etc, officials used the details on Ruska's Aboriginal passport to confirm that she was a resident of her own country. A customs official then took and photocopied her Aboriginal passport.
After being processed on this basis and passing through the customs gate, another official approached her and insisted that she present an Australian passport, threatening that Ruska's luggage would be searched, and that she would be taken to a room and body searched by a male official.
Ruska was also taunted by another customs official who remarked several times, "Why do you do thus? What point are you trying to prove?"
APG Treasurer Pekeri Ruska (Goenpul/Yuggera): "It makes me so angry that this happens when I try to come back into my own country using my Aboriginal passport."
Ruska spent four days meeting and developing contacts with key members of the West Papuan independence movement.
Sri Lankan security forces intimidate patients at Mullaitivu medical welfare camp [Tamil Guardian - 12/5/15]:
Patients at a medical welfare camp in Mullaitivu were intimidated and harassed by Sri Lankan security forces said the Northern Provincial Council member, S Sivamohan.
The medical welfare camp which was organised by the Jaffna Medical Association, took place last Saturday in the Koddaikadiya Kulam region of Mullaitivu district, providing free medical care for Mullaitivu residents.
Officers from the government's Civil Security Force approached residents and threatened them against attending the medical camp, Mr Sivamohan said.
Defying the security forces' warning however, over 150 patients received treatments, he added.
Mr Sivamohan said that he would be raising this issue with the chief minister of the northern province, C V Wigneswaran and to members of the Northern Provincial Council.
1, You BELIEVE the Abbott government.
2. You defend a refugee concentration camp in the name of jobs and the economy.
Australia's 2015 Budget includes plans to close down the asylum seeker detention centre on Christmas Island
The Island's Shire president, Gordon Thomson, told the ABC the move to use the facilities only on a contingency basis would ruin the island's economy by shedding jobs.
But a spokesman for the Darwin Asylum Seekers Support and Advocacy Network, Ben Pynt, says the advocacy community will welcome the move.
He says the Christmas Island detention centre is out of sight and out of mind, and it's difficult for asylum seekers and refugees to access justice, and find a lawyer who can represent them from so far away.
He says the asylum seekers and possible refugees on Christmas Island will probably be relocated to Darwin.
At Work Inside Our Detention Centres: A Guard's Story [Global Mail - 7/2/14]
Denis O’Brien granted reporting restriction in RTÉ action [Irish Times - 12/5/15]
President Waqa says Nauru being cyberbullied as Facebook shutdown enters 13th day [RNZI - 13/5/15]
The ongoing silence of Greens and crossbenchers is morally wrong and politically mistaken.
SNP to take control of two House of Commons committees [BBC - 12/5/15]
... The SNP Scottish Government believes that asylum seekers and refugees should be welcomed, supported and integrated into Scottish life from day one.
As a progressive state, an independent Scotland would have the opportunity to give asylum seekers a place of safety, and would have the power to implement fair, sensible and humane policies on immigration.
I don't want to live in a Scotland where we allow the detention of refugee families, continue to have dawn raids and where those asylum seekers who want to contribute to the workforce are not allowed to do so. ... [Evening Times - 26/3/13]
Sajid Javid, the Conservative culture secretary, was confronted by a woman who escaped genocide in Bosnia at a Citizens UK event after he refused to commit to ending indefinite detention of asylum seekers. David Cameron was due to appear at the event, but pulled out. ... [Guardian - 4/5/15]
The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius - Part 1 - England Your England, George Orwell :
... Since about 1930 everyone describable as an 'intellectual' has lived in a state of chronic discontent with the existing order. Necessarily so, because society as it was constituted had no room for him. In an Empire that was simply stagnant, neither being developed nor falling to pieces, and in an England ruled by people whose chief asset was their stupidity, to be 'clever' was to be suspect. If you had the kind of brain that could understand the poems of T.S. Eliot or the theories of Karl Marx, the higher-ups wuld see to it that you were kept out of any important job. The intellectuals could find a function for themselves only in the literary reviews and the left-wing political parties. ...
Australia incarcerates, tortures and exiles refugees
Australian MP "hopes" parliament can debate "taboo" topics one day
Condolence motion - Fraser, Rt Hon. John Malcolm, AC, CH [House of Representatives Hansard - 12/5/15]:
Mr LAUNDY (Reid) (17:52): The sad passing of Malcolm Fraser has provided an opportunity for much reflection and soul-searching in Australian politics. There is no doubt he was a giant of a man who over the course of his life had been both celebrated and criticised by almost the entire breadth of the political spectrum. In his condolence motion, the Prime Minister summed up the mood in parliament when he stated:
Our challenge is not to say goodbye; it is to be more magnanimous in his death than we were in his life and to acknowledge this giant, who was surely one of us.
Many tributes and memorial speeches have been written since Fraser's passing, and most have covered the highlights of his career more eloquently than I could ever hope to do. But what I would like to see become the focus of the discussion going forward—and one I hope to start—is how we might emulate Fraser's vision for this country in the future. To put my position most clearly, let me state that on matters of human rights, multiculturalism, racial equality, racial discrimination and asylum seekers I stand with Malcolm Fraser. I am proud to be a part of the modern day broad church they call the Liberal Party; a dichotomy of staunchly conservative economic principles and, for me, a strong sense of social justice resulting from my Christian beliefs and upbringing. That is certainly not to say that I agree with everything Fraser has ever stated on the above topics, but the beliefs he stood for are the ones that I hope will play a more central role in our thinking into the future for the benefit of both the Liberal Party and Australia.
In 1977 the Fraser government adopted a formal policy for a humanitarian commitment to admit refugees for resettlement, resulting in one of the most generous per capita humanitarian intake programs in the world and nearly 50,000 Vietnamese refugees being welcomed to our shores by 1979. The economic and cultural benefits of his embrace of immigration, humanitarianism and multiculturalism are still being seen today nearly 40 years on. I strongly believe the same benefits would be seen in another 40 years with a more ambitious policy in this area. I mention 40 years, as the 2015 Intergenerational report has just recently been released. The IGR is a social compact between generations, and what it aims to do is to raise our minds from the immediate policy cycle and look down the road to see what the country will look like in four decades. It is interesting to note that in this report net migration is forecast at 215,000 per annum, and as part of that figure the humanitarian intake covers 13,750 places growing to 18,750 in the next four years.
According to the UN human rights commission there were 13 million refugees and 46.3 million persons of concern globally by mid-2014. Many of these people are fleeing war and conflicts; some of which involve Australian troops. The need for humanitarian assistance has never been stronger. There have been various attempts to have a discussion on this policy over the years. Fraser himself wrote a submission to the government in 2012 arguing that the annual humanitarian intake should be increased to 25,000 and that this could be done without the need for legislative change.
Looking into the details and the migration assumptions of the IGR we see a strong economic case for increasing migration levels as well—the way that we have seen in the 40 years since Fraser changed this. I have seen, like Fraser saw in you, the eagerness to participate in the communities in my electorate of people coming here under humanitarian visas; the appreciation of families who were a few short years ago facing death or torture on a daily basis; and the determination and giving nature of refugees who, having only settled here recently themselves, have set up charitable organisations to assist others in our communities that are in need of assistance.
I refer all the way back to Fraser's inaugural address to the Institute of Multicultural Affairs in 1981. There are points of that speech that ring just as true today. He said:
Multiculturalism is about diversity, not division—it is about interaction not isolation.
In the same speech Fraser also pointed out:
It is perhaps the greatest failure of all to be blinded to real possibilities by myth and prejudice.
I have not just seen the possibilities but also the real results in my electorate of Reid and across Western Sydney of the policy positions that the visionary Malcolm Fraser took. I hope that in my time here in parliament I may in some way push the debate to consider topics that we at this point in the political cycle consider taboo. I thank you very much, and I honour Malcom Fraser's legacy.
Region unites to deny Rohingya asylum [Bangkok Post – 13/5/15]
13 May 2015