... It is 'forced deportation to a third country'. It is a crime against humanity. And the things should be shut down.
[House of Representatives Hansard - 24/6/15]
Wilkie only member to vote against offshore processing [Media Release - 24/6/15]:
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, was the only Member of the House of Representatives to vote against the Bill that legalises offshore immigration detention.
The Government received the support of Labor to ram the Bill through the House.
“Labor and Liberal seem to be locked in a race to find the cruellest possible policy on asylum seekers,” Mr Wilkie said.
“This is a shameful moment. “Australia is a fortunate country and we have a legal and ethical responsibility to give protection to those fleeing persecution, not lock them up.
“This is not a border security problem, it is a global humanitarian crisis.
“I oppose mandatory detention, especially of children, offshore processing, temporary protection visas, the excision of territory from the migration zone and tow-backs.
“Any credible policy on asylum seekers must look at issues in source countries, countries of first asylum and transit countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. All policies must be co-operatively developed at a regional level and fully sanctioned by the United Nations.”
“This Bill puts the Government beyond the scrutiny of the High Court, thereby trashing one of the fundamental pillars of our democracy, that the courts should have final oversight of all legislation.”
Senate Hansard [24/6/15]:
Senator MILNE (Tasmania) (15:32): I move:
That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Attorney-General (Senator Brandis) to a question without notice asked by Senator Hanson-Young today relating to payments in relation to the immigration detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
Emergency legislation is going to be rushed through this parliament this week in order to retrospectively make legal the illegal. What an appalling thing! We have just had a celebration of the Magna Carta, the whole basis of which is that the King is not above the law, and yet this government, together with the support of the Labor Party, has been acting above and outside the law. The Human Rights Law Centre has taken this matter to the High Court. The thing in question is whether Australia has the specific legislative authority to detain or lock up people in another country. There is no doubt that we have got the power to lock people up in this country, but we do not have the power to lock them up in another country. Nor is there a specific power to provide an appropriation in order to pay for people being locked up in another country.
It is absolutely disgraceful that, as this goes to the High Court to bring justice to people under the law, we have collaboration between the government and the Labor Party to retrospectively change the law to stop the High Court from being able to make its decision on this—which would find it to be illegal—in the winter break. This is going to go to court in the winter break. And in order to head it off at the pass the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has called an emergency meeting of caucus today, and they have gone along like lambs straight after the Prime Minister to engage in enabling offshore processing. This was the opportunity to demonstrate that it is illegal to detain people in another country offshore. This was the opportunity to shut down offshore detention because it is illegal. It is not only unethical, un-Christian; it is illegal. And yet we have this collaboration to race this through the parliament today. What is the lame excuse? 'To enable the offshore processing to continue'—and what that means is ongoing abuse.
Australia has been found to be in breach of the torture convention—abuse and torture. We have a view from the Labor Party that you have to have a conscience vote on marriage equality because it is a matter of people's Christian values and conscience as to what they do about it. But apparently it is not a matter of conscience or Christian values that you would send children into an offshore detention facility where they are abused, where their mental health suffers, where women are being sexually abused, where guards are abusing people. People are too afraid to walk across to the toilet facility at night because they are afraid that they will be raped or abused on the way. When my colleague pointed out that a formal report said that children were being sexually abused, raped, at these offshore detention facilities, we got outrage from the coalition: 'How dare you say such a thing!' Well, it is not my colleagues saying it; it is the doctors, it is the reports. That is what is going on here.
The Labor Party have rolled into line with the Prime Minister, Mr Abbott. Let us not be in any doubt, the Labor, Liberal and National parties have got together here to try and bypass the High Court, to try and bypass the law of this land, and legalise the unthinkable. We are slipping into a very bad scene here in Australia when we are actually agreeing to legalise torture and abuse and look the other way. This whole business of offshore detention is 'out of sight, out of mind'. 'Send them out of country. Get the money that you do not have the legal capacity actually to pay at the moment out of appropriations and lock them up offshore and try and pretend it is the responsibility of the government of Nauru or the government of PNG.' It is not the responsibility of those countries; it is the responsibility of this one—and it is illegal. Let it be on the Labor Party's head that they today have agreed to work together with the government to bypass the High Court, to make legal what is illegal, and to turn a blind eye to the ongoing abuse and torture of people, including innocent children. That is something this parliament should be ashamed of. We are in breach of international law and we are in breach of human decency.
Question agreed to.
... One of the teams involved in the geo-location of surveillance targets was codenamed “Widowmaker”, whose task was to “discover communications intelligence gaps in support of the global war on terror”, a note explains.
Illustrating the close links between the UK, US and Australian intelligence services, Widowmaker personnel are based at Menwith Hill in the north of England, in Denver, Colorado, and in Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory. ...
British intelligence agency GCHQ is facing fresh calls to reveal the extent of its involvement in the US targeted killing programme after details of a fatal drone strike in Yemen were included in a top secret memo circulated to agency staff.
A leading barrister asked by the Guardian to review a number of classified GCHQ documents said they raised questions about British complicity in US strikes outside recognised war zones and demonstrated the need for the government to come clean about the UK’s role.
The documents, provided to the Guardian by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and reported in partnership with the New York Times, discuss how a joint US, UK and Australian programme codenamed Overhead supported the strike in Yemen in 2012.
The files also show GCHQ and Overhead developed their ability to track the location of individuals – essential for the targeted killing programme – in both Yemen and Pakistan. The legality of the US’s lethal operations in both countries has been questioned by international lawyers and human rights groups.
Jemima Stratford QC, who reviewed the Snowden documents for the Guardian, said: “Assuming that the documents which I have seen are genuine, in my view they raise questions about the extent to which UK officials may have had knowledge of, or helped to facilitate, certain US drone strikes which were not carried out in the context of an international armed conflict,” she said.
“These documents underline why greater transparency as to UK official policies would help to ensure legality from a domestic and international law perspective.”
Stratford published a legal opinion last year warning that UK intelligence support for lethal strikes outside traditional battlefields – such as Iraq and Afghanistan – was likely to be illegal. “In our view, if GCHQ transferred data to the NSA in the knowledge that it would or might be used for targeting drone strikes that transfer is probably unlawful,” she wrote.
British officials and ministers follow a strict policy of refusing to confirm or deny any support to the targeted killing programme, and evidence has been so scant that legal challenges have been launched on the basis of single paragraphs in news stories.
Even a former head of GCHQ has objected to Britain’s continuing secrecy over the issue. David Omand joined MPs Tom Watson and David Davis in signing a letter last November calling on the government to disclose its guidance on intelligence-sharing where individuals may be targeted by covert strikes.
The release of the information, they wrote, would “underline the distinction between Reaper strikes by our armed forces in Afghanistan, and now Iraq, and those of other states elsewhere”.
Watson told the Guardian: “The government has always maintained we are not complicit in targeted extra-judicial killings. Any note of ambiguity identified by these documents has to be thoroughly investigated.”
The new documents include a regular series of newsletters – titled Comet News – which are used to update GCHQ personnel on the work of Overhead, an operation based on satellite, radio and some phone collection of intelligence.
Overhead began as a US operation but has operated for decades as a partnership with GCHQ and, more recently, Australian intelligence.
Only one in 10 Pine Gap spies is employed by Australian government [Sydney Morning Herald - 24/6/15]
ADF failures led to deaths: inquest [Yahoo - 24/6/15]:
A coroner will consider whether a series of errors by senior Australian Defence Force members exposed troops to a deadly attack during a mentoring mission in Afghanistan.
The Australian Army was criticised on Wednesday over the 2012 mission in Oruzgan province in which three soldiers were murdered by a rogue Afghan sergeant.
The inquest into the deaths of Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic, 40, Sapper James Martin, 21, and Private Robert Poate, 23, heard a series of systemic failures contributed to them being gunned down as they relaxed within a shared patrol base north of Tarin Kowt.
The defence force was also accused of being too concerned with managing its reputation during closing submissions to the first ever civilian inquest into its overseas operations.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Peter De Waard, acknowledged rogue Afghan sergeant Hekmatullah killed the men but said the insider threat wasn't taken seriously by mission command despite intelligence suggesting otherwise.
The 24-man unit at the patrol base wasn't given enough troops to guard it and the soldiers - who were wearing gym gear on the night of the attack - should have had their weapons and armour close by.
"It is not our submission that any of these steps would have guaranteed safety to the Australians," Mr De Waard told the court.
"Some residual risk would certainly have remained.
"However, in terms of the mitigation of that risk it is - in our submission - entirely clear that there were additional protective steps which might plausibly have prevented the attack or reduced its impact."
Unit commander Major Travis Gordon displayed "seriously deficient" leadership in planning the mission, which should have been picked by the taskforce's commanding officer Colonel Trent Scott, Mr De Waard told the inquest.
Co-counsel assisting the coroner, Anthony Marinac, slammed an ADF's internal investigation and accused it of laying blame on the platoon's commanders: Captain Dominic Lopez and Sergeant Adam Burke.
"The view of the defence force is that nothing happened, nothing went wrong, nothing to see here," Dr Marinac told the court.
Both submissions by Mr De Waard and Dr Marinac were backed by the soldiers' families, who were present in court.
Barrister Alan MacSporran QC, for Sapper Martin's family, called the attack "a catastrophe waiting to happen" while the Poate family's representative, Matthew Hutchings, said there had been denial by the army at every stage.
"Mr Poate and Mrs Poate are confident that the findings will reveal the systemic shortcomings," Mr Hutchings said outside court.
The ADF maintains it did nothing wrong.
Commonwealth barrister James Renwick pointed out there was no causal link between the ADF's actions and the soldiers' deaths.
"Sadly, but inevitably, combat operations cause death and injury," he said during his submissions.
Queensland deputy coroner John Lock is due to deliver his findings later this year.
Serious traffic crash, Alexandra Hills
QPS Media [24/6/15]:
Police are investigating a traffic crash that occurred at Alexandra Hills this morning.
Shortly after 6am, a 40-year-old man was struck by a vehicle on Finnucane Road.
He was taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital where he is receiving treatment for life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the car wasn’t injured as a result of the crash.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
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.
Fatal traffic crash, Townsville
QPS Media [24/6/15]:
Police are investigating a single vehicle fatal traffic crash this afternoon in Townsville.
Preliminary information indicates that around 2pm a vehicle travelling along Percy Street, West End has left the road and collided with a power pole and rolled. Police and emergency services attended the crash and a female passenger was declared deceased at the scene.
The male driver of the car was taken to Townsville Base Hospital with critical injuries. Investigations by the Forensic Crash Unit are continuing.
Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen a gold, Toyota Camry driving along Bundock and Percy Street around the time of the crash 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.
89-year-old man dies after June 3 crash, Kuranda
QPS Media [24/6/15]:
An 89-year-old Kuranda man, injured in a three vehicle traffic crash at Kuranda on June 3 has died as a result of his injuries.
The crash occurred on the Kennedy Highway at the intersection of Fallon Road, at the top of the Kuranda Range.
Two cars and a truck collided at 10.20am and the 89-year-old man sustained serious injuries.
He was transported to Cairns Base Hospital where he died in the early hours of this morning.
Investigations into the crash 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.
Cyclist killed in Melbourne
West Australian [24/6/15]:
A cyclist has died in Melbourne's northwest.
The male cyclist was involved in a road incident in Keilor East just before 8.30am.
12-year-old hit by car, Palm Beach
A child has been rushed to Tweed Heads Hospital after being struck by a car on the Gold Coast this morning.
The 12-year-old who was travelling on a pushbike was hit by a vehicle on Thrower Dr Palm Beach.
Emergency services were called to the scene just after 8.25am.
The child remains in hospital in a stable condition.
Burglary while armed, Jacobs Well
QPS Media [24/6/15]:
Police are investigating the burglary of a home at Jacobs Well last night.
Around 11pm three men smashed the rear door of a private residence on Seaview Avenue and confronted the three occupants of the home.
The men then made demands while armed with weapons before stealing mobile phones and computer items.
They were last seen leaving the address in a dark coloured vehicle which was being driven by a fourth man.
Police investigations into the incident are continuing.
Public safety warning, missing QPS firearm, Woodridge
QPS Media [24/6/15]:
Police are searching for a missing Queensland Police Service firearm that was last seen in Woodridge this afternoon.
The firearm became dislodged from the officer’s holster during the police response to an incident about 12.40pm, on Wembley Road, near the intersection of Mayes Avenue.
Extensive searches have failed to locate the firearm.
Anyone who has information about the location of the firearm is asked to contact police urgently.
Members of the public should not touch the firearm.
Investigations are continuing and the Ethical Standards Command has been advised.
Jill Meagher's murderer Adrian Bayley appeals extended sentence over rape of two women [Nine MSN - 24/6/15]
Melbourne drive-by shooting blamed on neighbourhood love triangle [Nine MSN - 24/6/15]
A man once acquitted over the murder of his wife has pleaded guilty to running over and killing his father at a western Sydney cemetery.
John Giannasca, 60, on Tuesday pleaded guilty via his lawyer to negligent driving occasioning death after his Honda Accord allegedly struck and killed his father, Antonio Giannasca, at Rookwood cemetery on December 28.
The incident occurred on a Sunday morning while John Giannasca was visiting his mother's grave site with his father. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 23/6/15]
Cairns Magistrates Court adjourns Manoora child murders case
Brisbane Times [24/6/15]:
A far north Queensland court has adjourned the matter of a woman who allegedly murdered eight children at a Cairns home in December.
Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, 37, was charged with eight counts of murder after the four girls and four boys, aged between two and 14 years, were found dead in their home on Murray Street.
Ms Thaiday's matter was mentioned in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Wednesday and was adjourned ahead of a mental health call over in the same court on August 26.
The matter is still within criminal jurisdiction, however there has been legal discussion about whether it should pass through the Mental Health Court.
Victim of Ravenshoe explosion discharged in Cairns
A second victim of the Ravenshoe cafe explosion in far north Queensland has been discharged from hospital.
The 62-year-old man left the Cairns Hospital late Tuesday, after his condition had been listed as stable.
A 64-year-old woman was discharged from the same hospital last week.
The two were among 19 people to be hospitalised on June 9 when an out-of-control utility slammed into the Serves You Right Cafe, southwest of Cairns, and triggered a gas bottle explosion.
Eleven people who were badly injured in the blast were flown to the specialist burns unit of the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH).
Two of those - mother-of-two Nicole Nyholt, 37, and 82-year-old grandmother Margaret Clark - died as a result of their extensive injuries.
Five women and four men, aged between 20 and 75, remain in the RBWH.
One of the patients - a 51-year-old woman - was listed as being in a critical condition on Wednesday, more than two weeks after the blast.
The driver of the ute, 60-year-old Brian Scutt, remains in the Cairns Hospital in a serious condition along with five other patients whose conditions are listed as stable.
House of Representatives Hansard [23/6/15]:
Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (15:14): Madam Speaker, I want to express condolences on behalf of the parliament to the people of Ravenshoe following the accident at the bakery and cafe—to the loved ones of those involved and the people from the surrounding areas. Nicole Dempsey and Margaret Clark have both died, out of the 21 people injured. Many are still in a very serious condition.
Ravenshoe is a very small and tightly-knit community. The Dempseys are one of the oldest families from that area, and many of the people in the region are connected by family. The member for Leichhardt will be saying a few words, and he will agree with me on that.
This was the simplest of accidents. A driver had a stroke or something of that nature and lost control of his car. In a most extraordinary piece of bad luck—that is an understatement—the car careered forward, as he still had his foot on the accelerator, and it missed numerous trees, missed a big toilet block, missed numerous other obstacles and managed to drive straight into two very large gas cylinders, driving one of them, instead of the cylinder going over the back or to the side or underneath, forwards straight into the bakery, where it leaked and then exploded, with 21 people in the bakery and surrounding cafe area.
I am not going to single people out, but many Ravenshoe people dashed into what was arguably a blazing inferno, one of them with a hose, trying to douse the fire. The second cylinder was sitting there and it could have exploded at any moment and seriously injured any of those inside dragging the very seriously injured people out. Numerous people had third-degree burns over most of their body.
There are only a few thousand people in the town. There were over 1,000 people at the funeral of Nicole Dempsey, a young mother with two kids—a very handsome looking lady. They said one of Nicole's sayings was, 'You make the best of this minute—you never know what will happen in the next one.' At the funeral all of the pictures were of her dancing and having fun and paddling with her kids. She was very active in the community. She was on the executive of the Cairns Netball Association, and a lot of people told me that she was one of the driving forces that carried netball—a very big sport in the north—throughout the greater Cairns region. All her team were there, dressed up in their uniforms. Undoubtedly she was a fun person. They remarked on how she changed her hair colour on numerous occasions, and I am pretty certain it was her mother who was there with a bright red wig on. The family, of course, had done their grieving over previous days, and they were celebrating the happy life of Nicole.
Last week we heard of the death of Margaret Clark, from Innisfail. In sharp contrast to Nicole, she was well on in years and had seen many traumas—Cyclone Larry and Cyclone Yasi being amongst them. I would appreciate the parliament acknowledging what has occurred, because it means an awful lot to people in these situations. Having been a member of parliament during Larry and Yasi—particularly Larry, with the horrific damage it did—I understand the shocking psychological impact those events had on people, seeing their main street completely destroyed with heaps of bricks lying around and all of that, but we did not suffer loss of life like Ravenshoe did. And there are still many people very seriously ill who are not out of the woods yet. The Mayor of Newcastle rang me during Larry and said, 'It is two years later, Bob, that you will run into problems.' And that was profoundly true. At the time people showed great heroism and a great ability to deal with a horrific situation, but it affects them later on. As I say, it would mean a lot to them if members of the parliament of Australia acknowledged what has happened and expressed their care. That is all I ask that we do today.
Man dies after being run over at Bundaberg Regional Council tip
Brisbane Times [24/6/15]:
A contractor has died after being run over by heavy machinery at a Bundaberg Regional Council tip.
Workplace health and safety officers are investigating the incident, which occurred at a council-run waste transfer and recycling centre on Potters Road in Qunaba, inland of Bargara on Wednesday.
A Queensland Ambulance spokesman said paramedics were called to the scene about 1.25pm, where a man had been hit by a front end loader.
He suffered a cardiac arrest and was unable to be revived.
A council spokeswoman said the man was not a council worker but contracted to work at the tip.
The council is preparing an official statement about the incident.
Workers evacuated after chemical leak at South Brisbane Parmalat factory
Brisbane Times [24/6/15]:
Workers have been evacuated from South Brisbane's Parmalat factory after reports of a chemical leak.
Paramedics said one person was being treated after complaining of lightheadedness but there were no other injuries.
Police were called in to control traffic around Montague Road as firefighters entered the scene just after 3pm.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency spokesman said authorities were yet to determine what the leaking chemical was.
He said crews in decontamination suits had entered the premises and a scientific unit had been assigned.
Meanwhile in a separate incident, police have declared an emergency situation after a gas leak in Salisbury.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency spokeswoman said a car had crashed into a gas main on Evans Road about 1.30pm.
Businesses around Evans and Industries roads, along with Commerce and Chrome streets, were evacuated. Those roads were also closed.
Emergency services are expected to remain on scene until Wednesday night.
New Zealand: Ministers at odds over corporate manslaughter
Despite wanting tougher sanctions against companies responsible for workplace deaths, government ministers appear at odds over introducing a corporate manslaughter offence.
Justice Minister Amy Adams has ruled out corporate manslaughter being included in the Crimes Act, saying it is more appropriately dealt with by new health and safety legislation.
But her colleague Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said she did not mean adding the offence to the health and safety legislation.
"She was saying that she didn't see a place for corporate manslaughter in the Criminal Act and it should be handled, any prosecution that's under health and safety that involves death should be handled, under the health and safety legislation.
"I think it's a step further to say that there should be a corporate manslaughter charge in the health and safety legislation," Mr Joyce said.
But Ms Adams appeared to say something different to reporters this afternoon.
"Manslaughter is a term within the homicide framework. I don't believe it does fit appropriately in that framework. Putting it in the health and safety legislation makes it quite clear that it's quite separate from the homicide framework under the Crimes Act.
"I've ruled that out but I do think there's a case to ensure that corporations are held to account under health and safety legislation," she said.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said he was considering the matter but there were already sanctions in the Health and Safety Reform Bill.
"I think what we have is a legislation now and we will have in the future where the scale of offending is able to be addressed within the bill already.
"There's a range of sanctions. In the bill, it could be up to $600,000 fine and up to five years in jail for failure to take practicable steps to keep people safe.
"If the consequences of that are death then clearly a court is going to take that into account at sentencing," Mr Woodhouse said.
Labour Party labour spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway said the Government was already watering down its health and safety legislation.
Mr Lees-Galloway said, if it were serious about corporate manslaughter, it would have included it in the bill to allow it to be considered by the select committee.
"The fact that it's been thrown in now does raise suspicions about whether it's a distraction from the other changes that are being proposed to the Health and Safety Reform Bill," he said.
"Or, indeed, whether this was something which has caught the Prime Minister and the Minister for Workplace Relations off guard with the Justice Minister going public on something which clearly hasn't been signed off by Cabinet yet."
Mr Lees-Galloway said corporate manslaughter would apply after a death but it was more important to strengthen health and safety legislation to help prevent deaths and injuries in the first place.
But Mr Woodhouse said the bill was not being watered down and he was confident that once it became law it would provide strong safeguards.
New Hope mining company moves historic church
Acland, August 2013
Lock The Gate Media Release [24/6/15]:
The town of Acland suffered another nail in its coffin when New Hope mine uprooted the historic St Judes church and moved to another town on the back of a truck - but the community fights on.
New Hope mine removed the church last week despite the fact the State Government is yet to release its findings of a review into the approval by the Newman LNP administration of the expansion of Acland mine stage three.
Local resident, Glenn Beutel said New Hope could have restored the church where it stood but chose not to.
“They just want to wipe Acland off the map,” he said.
Lock the Gate’s president, Drew Hutton said it was another sad day as New Hope mining company tried systematically to excise the heart and soul of the Darling Downs’ town.
“New Hope has totally disregarded Acland’s cultural heritage and the removal of our little church today is another stab into the hearts of the locals,” Mr Hutton said.
“The company’s intention is to make the town soul-less by removing the buildings, town signs, trees and homes but the locals are fighting on to save what’s left from more mining.”
He said the company had removed homes, the old bank building, about 30 bottle trees and closed the school and the local hall.
The first two stages of the mine caused the removal and destruction of 54 homes from the town and the purchase of up to 80 surrounding family farms.
If the State Government allows the stage 3 expansion to go ahead, it will destroy about 1376 hectares of Strategic Cropping Lands and trigger the sale of the Acland War Memorial and Tom Doherty Park - treasured heritage sites to the local community - to the mining company.
“There are a just a few houses left and the devastating result is a whole community that has been torn apart,” Mr Hutton said.
“The recent actions of the new ALP Government have devastated the local community because it is turning its back on the promises it made to properly scrutinise the mine and its impacts, to hold a public inquiry into political donations and to restore the rights of communities to object to mining.
“In two consecutive state elections the major parties have promised to reject or seriously investigate this mine expansion, and then squibbed it afterward; it’s like groundhog day.
“They think that the economics of selling coal is more important than the farmland it will destroy and the heritage it will ruin but the farming communities around Oakey and Acland haven't stopped battling.”
Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!: ALP Pre-election Promises at Risk as Community Locked Out from Land Court [Lock The Gate Media Release – 24/6/15]
Disaster hits Port Moresby fire station
PNG Loop [24/6/15]:
Port Moresby residents must exercise caution as another one of the city’s fire stations is out of action thanks to a demolition accident.
Due to the demolition work being carried out power has been cut to the city's main fire communication centre at Boroko, making it impossible for residents to call in about fires.
PNG Loop was at the station and witnessed what was left of the station being pulled down as well as families and firemen moving out their belongings, work lockers and gear.
In total 12 families have been displaced in this exercise which has also seen many of the firemen who are stationed at the Boroko precinct lose their base.
Shocked residents, some living there for over 30 years since joining the service, told PNG Loop that while talks were in place to tear down the housing infrastructure and station, the manner in which the contractors armed with bull dozers and sledge hammers came and started tearing down their homes was uncalled for.
Meantime, Fire Service projects director Eric Yambe when contacted would not comment but has indicated that he will make a statement on the situation this week.
It is understood that the demolition of the fire station and the living quarters behind it is in line with new projects that have been planned for by the Fire Service, however Yambe has to date yet to clarify which projects and whether or not adequate timing was given for the fire personnel and their families to make alternate living arrangements.
For now, the city of Port Moresby will only have three stations operating which are Town, Gerehu and Waigani.
For now if there is a fire residents cannot call the fire service emergency line 110 as the communication centre is off line.
A statement is also anticipated to be made by the Fire Chief in light of the recent fears of fires and on how, with the shutdown of the Boroko station, what will become of the fire srrvice staff in terms of their support for the remaining stations
Protesting sailors halt travel at Channel Tunnel, Calais port
France 24 [23/6/15]:
Train service between France and Britain has been suspended, Eurotunnel officials said Tuesday, after protesting French sailors entered the tracks and torched tyres to block access to nearby roads. Ferry services have also been halted.
"We have been notified that protesters have gained access to rail tracks, which means that for safety reasons Eurotunnel have to temporarily suspend their service," the firm said in a statement.
Police broke up a sit-in on the A16 motorway leading up to the Channel Tunnel. Two protesters were hospitalised in the operation.
Demonstrators burned tyres and crates, sending thick black smoke into the air as traffic jams stretched several kilometres.
The sailors, from the French ferry company MyFerryLink, were protesting plans to sell two of their ferries to rival firm DFDS.
"It's out of the question that DFDS takes our boats. Never, never," exclaimed the head of the main union on strike, Eric Vercoutre, who took up position with around 100 colleagues at the entrance to the tunnel in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
"We've been betrayed," he said.
A spokeswoman for Eurotunnel said it understood the concerns of the port workers.
“We hope that there will be suitable job proposals tomorrow,” she said of a meeting planned for Wednesday.
François Hollande calls emergency meeting after WikiLeaks reveals US spied on three French presidents
The French president, François Hollande, has called an emergency meeting of his country’s defence council for Wednesday morning after revelations that American agents spied on three successive French presidents between 2006 and 2012.
According to WikiLeaks documents published late on Tuesday, even the French leaders’ mobile phone conversations were listened to and recorded.
The leaked US documents, marked “top secret”, were based on phone taps and filed in an NSA document labelled “Espionnage Elysée” (Elysée Spy), according to the newspaper Libération and investigative news website Mediapart. The US was listening to the conversations of centre-right president Jacques Chirac, his successor Nicolas Sarkozy, and the current French leader, Socialist François Hollande, elected in 2012.
The recorded conversations, which were handled by the summary services unit at the NSA, were said to reveal few state secrets but show clear evidence of the extent of American spying on countries considered allies. WikiLeaks documents suggest that other US spy targets included French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the United States.
“The documents contain the ‘selectors’ from the target list, detailing the cell phone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysée up to and including the direct cell phone of the president,” a report of the taps published in the French media revealed.
The revelations come as France gives its domestic intelligence and surveillance services controversial greater powers to combat jihadist networks, with more permissions to bug phones and licences to carry out mass surveillance on the internet.
In an article co-authored by Julian Assange, the French newspaper Libération pointed out that in matters of spying, there are no friends.
“Spying abroad is the ultimate ‘grey zone’ in surveillance – it is also, in France, the real blind spot of the planned law on surveillance, expected to be adopted this Wednesday,” said the WikiLeaks report.
Mediapart said: “For almost ten years, the United States has listened into French presidents … it was all classed top secret or ‘special intelligence’. In the five documents that we are publishing, four were marked with a G, kept for the most ‘highly sensitive material’, others were labelled ‘NF’, stipulating that they must not be communicated to foreign countries in any circumstances. Most were marked ‘unconventional’, meaning they had been got through hacking.
The documents published by Mediapart suggest that the Americans were tapping into François Hollande’s conversations from the moment he was elected in 2012.
The Elysée has not commented on the revelations except to say it is looking at the leaks to see “what is involved”. Sources close to Nicolas Sarkozy told journalists the spying was “unacceptable as a general rule and even more so among allies”.
Ned Price, spokesperson for the NSA, said: “We are not going to comment on specific intelligence allegations. As a general matter, we do not conduct any foreign intelligence surveillance activities unless there is a specific and national security purpose. This applies to ordinary citizens and world leaders alike.”
US embassy in Paris is 'home to secret spy nest' [The Local - 24/6/15]
British intelligence spied on Egyptian NGO, says UK court [Ahram – 23/6/15]:
British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have spied on the Cairo-based NGO the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), an independent British court said on Monday.
The Investigatory Power Tribunal (IPT) said that it found that EIPR'S email communications had been "lawfully and proportionately intercepted and accessed" by the GCHQ, but "retained for materially longer than permitted".
The court explained that the spying came in light of GCHQ's internal policy of mass surveillance, which means that the interception of the email communication itself cannot be considered unlawful, as it took place for "technical" purposes.
No official response has yet been issued by the EIPR.
The EIPR, which was founded in 2002, works on monitoring Egypt's human rights record and governmental economic policies through research, advocacy and documentation.
Founded in 2000, the IPT is a British independent judicial body responsible for overseeing the surveillance activities conducted by public bodies as well as hearing complaints against intelligence services.
In the same proceedings on Monday, the IPT also ruled that GCHQ had retained South African Legal Resource Centre (LRC) email communications for longer than it should have.
"Although the ruling goes on to hold that no use was made of the intercepted material and that the Legal Resources Centre has not suffered material detriment, damage or prejudice, the mere fact that communications were unlawfully intercepted – information that may never have come to our knowledge had this case not been instituted – is of serious concern," the LRC said in a statement issued late Monday.
This is the third ruling recently issued by the LPT against GCHQ.
In February, the court ruled that GCHQ's access to intelligence gathered by the US National Security Agency (NSA) was unlawful.
In April, the court ordered GCHQ to destroy documents "illegally" collected from Libyan politician Sami Al-Saadi.
Hacking Prosecution: Defendant Was A “Company Man”
Neil Wallis might have gone along with phone hacking because he was a “company man,” the Crown’s lawyer said in his closing speech at the trial of the News of the World executive.
Julian Christopher QC mounted a pre-emptive defence of the prosecution’s star witness, Dan Evans, against an expected savaging of his reputation from Mr Wallis’s barrister.
The attack arrived soon after, with Neil Saunders, for Mr Wallis, describing Evans as a liar who was trying to implicate his client to try to save his own skin.
Evans had testified that he had played the News of the World’s deputy editor a message hacked from the phone of the actor Daniel Craig – and that afterwards Mr Wallis had congratulated him: ‘You’re a company man, now, Dan,”
Evans undoubtedly had lied in the past, the Crown’s lawyer, Mr Christopher, told the court, but he asked jurors why the reporter would fabricate Mr Wallis’s involvement in hacking.
Closing his case against Mr Wallis for conspiring to hack phones, the prosecutor urged the jury to consider the evidence in the 10-day case as a whole.
He told Court Six of the Old Bailey: “We suggest that adding it all together that Mr Wallis was himself ... a company man.”
The Sunday tabloid executive, Mr Christopher suggested, was “always chasing the next splash.”
And while he was concerned there should be “no apparent breach” of the PCC code of practice, jurors might conclude he had “no more scruples than the rest of them when it came to the wholesale interception of voicemails behind the scenes.”
He told the seven men and five women who will consider a verdict: “You may think that along with his boss he was right at the heart of this conspiracy.”
Obama's "free trade" tyranny back on track
New York Times [23/6/15]:
President Obama’s ambitious trade push is back on track, after several near-death moments, in large measure because top Republicans stood by him.
The Senate on Tuesday narrowly voted to end debate on legislation granting Mr. Obama enhanced negotiating powers to complete a major Pacific trade accord, virtually assuring final passage Wednesday of Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority in his final years in office.
The procedural vote of 60 to 37 just reached the minimum needed, but final Senate passage will require only 51 votes. The House approved trade promotion authority last week.
Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, criticized the Republicans’ approach, saying it would hinder the ability to address climate change and its connection to commerce through the broader trade bill.
With congressional support for “fast track” authority, the president can press for final agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a legacy-defining accord linking 40 percent of the world’s economy — from Canada and Chile to Japan and Australia — in a web of rules governing Pacific commerce.
His administration can also bear down on a second agreement with Europe — known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — knowing that lawmakers will be able to vote for or against those agreements but will not be able to amend or filibuster them.
The Atlantic agreement is not expected to be completed until the next administration is in office, but the trade negotiating powers would stretch for six years — well into the next presidency. Together those two accords would put much of the globe under the same trade rules, not only lowering tariffs and other import barriers but also creating new standards for Internet access, intellectual property and investor protections.
“This is a very important day for our country,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, whose procedural maneuvering was largely responsible for the outcome. “America is back in the trade business.”
Most Democrats — along with labor unions, environmental groups and liberal activists — disagreed, saying that such trade agreements had resulted in lost manufacturing jobs and lower wages for American workers.
“It is a great day for the big money interests, not a great day for working families,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
But 13 Democrats sided with Republicans to end the debate and get to a final vote on trade promotion authority.
Tuesday’s vote was the second time the Senate had blocked a filibuster of fast-track authority, but this time the bill was shorn of a separate measure to offer enhanced retraining and educational assistance to workers displaced by international trade accords. That measure also faces a crucial vote on Wednesday.
Pakistan heatwave: 400 people killed in Sindh
Pak Tribune [23/6/15]:
An intense heatwave over three days has killed more than 400 people in Sindh, officials said on Monday, leading authorities to declare an emergency as the electricity grid crashed and bodies stacked up in the morgues.
The outages hit large portions of Karachi, home to 20 million people, where residents lit bonfires in protest.
Unclaimed bodies were being rapidly buried to create space in the morgues, Anwar Kazmi, a senior official of Edhi Foundation, told Reuters.
“We are urging people to bury their dead at the earliest in view of the current heatwave and poor power situation,” he said. “We have not run out of capacity at the morgue, but buried 30 unclaimed bodies this morning to create more space.”
In-charge of Edhi’s mortuary in Sohrab Goth, Muhammad Bilal, said that in the past 24 hours, some 200 bodies were brought at the mortuary from various parts of the city including from hospitals.
Bilal said that a sudden rush was witnessed as normally some 40 to 50 bodies were brought at the mortuary in a day but in the last 24 hours this figure had risen to around 200.
The spokesman of the Edhi Welfare Centre, Anwar Kazmi, said that in the past 48 hours some 400 bodies were brought in the mortuary. Most of these had died owing to heatwave in the metropolis.
Accident & Emergency Department in-charge and Jinnah Hospital Joint Director Dr Seemin Jamali told PPI that 139 patients died of heatstroke at the hospital or were brought dead there during the last 24 hours. She said that 85 patients died from scorching heat on Sunday, while at least 54 more passed away on Monday.
She said that about 1,500 sunstroke patients were rushed to the hospital during the last 24 hours and out of them 139 people had died so far. The victims of serious heatstroke belonged to various areas of the city. Most of them were men aged 50 or more, she said.
Both the federal government and K-Electric, the private company that supplies Karachi with power, had promised there would be no outages during the time when families gathered to break their fast at sunset.
But power cuts left many families without water, air-conditioning, fans and light.
Officials from K-Electric said the heatwave had triggered unprecedented demand and that many faults were caused by illegal hookups overloading power lines. Teams trying to fix the faults had been attacked and employees badly beaten, said spokesman Taha Siddiqui.
Greens use vile, refugee demonising rhetoric to initiate Senate Inquiry into Australian government's boat bribes
Anything less than a Royal Commission into ALL aspects of the Australian government's treatment of refugees since 1992 is unsatisfactory.
Greens Media Release [24/6/15]:
The Senate has voted to establish a parliamentary inquiry into payments made by Australian Government officials to boat crew members and people traffickers.
The inquiry was moved by the Greens after the Government refused to comply with an Order to Produce Documents and will report back to the Senate in September.
“The Government's refusal to be straight with the public or the parliament about bribes paid to people smugglers is a disgrace and will now be challenged through this Inquiry,” Greens Immigration Spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“The public has a right to know what has occurred, how much money was paid to traffickers and who authorised it.
“This is Australian taxpayers money and claims from the Prime Minister that it should all be kept secret is arrogant and dangerous.
“The Senate has rejected the Governments claims of public immunity, knowing that the public deserves the truth.
“The government doesn't have a free pass for doing whatever wants with taxpayers money and has no mandate to break [the] law by paying people smugglers.
“People trafficking is one of the most serious transnational crimes and would represent a new low for the Australian Government if it is found it had engaged in this.”
Which Australian politician will speak for the refugees still detained in Kupang?
... A UN representative in Indonesia said they met with the group, 52 of whom were registered as refugees. [RNZI - 13/6/15]
... They were now in a detention centre at Kupang, in the Indonesian province of West Timor.
An accompanying photograph showed them holding up a sign saying: "Please try to understand our painful life New Zealand government and save our life, please".
A spokesperson for the Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse said the Government had not received their letter.
She said they also could noy claim asylum without being in New Zealand, but they could ask the Australian government for help. ...
Read the letter sent to the New Zealand Government by the refugees via [RNZI - 7/6/15]
He rescued 1,000s from concentration camps during WW2 - the Australian political and media establishment would call him a "people smuggler". ----> The story of Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden and how he rescued concentration camp inmates from Germany during WWII [Al Jazeera – 13/6/15]
Professor Jane McAdam [Canberra Times - 22/4/15]:
... International law does not privilege the treatment of the citizen over the non-citizen. As the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights states in its "recommended principles and guidelines on human rights at international borders", borders are not black holes for human rights. While states are entitled to exercise jurisdiction at their borders, they must do so in light of their human rights obligations.
A notable difference between those seeking to cross the Mediterranean by boat, and those seeking to reach Australia by boat, is that European movements are much more mixed. Mixed flows of people involve asylum seekers in search of protection, as well as migrants looking for work and better opportunities. By contrast, most people seeking asylum in our region are refugees, as recognition rates in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Nauru show.
But while refugees require special protection – including access to refugee status determination procedures – all migrants must be treated with dignity and have their rights respected. States cannot act unilaterally or without impunity on the seas. Australian legislation authorising officials effectively to do what they like when dealing with asylum seekers at sea would never pass muster in Europe, because it is wholly inconsistent with international law and EU law. ...
Australia transfers asylum seeker baby to Nauru, 40 adults also deported
Australia’s immigration department has transferred at least one more baby to the offshore detention centre on Nauru, according to sources on the island.
The transfer of the second baby comes despite a highly critical risk assessment by the welfare provider on the island, Save the Children.
The risk assessment outlined that the transfer of babies back to that part of the centre would be potentially catastrophic and recommended the transfer not occur, but the department defied this advice.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) said on Wednesday that about 40 asylum seekers had been moved from the Wickham Point detention centre near Darwin.
Guardian Australia understands these asylum seekers are all set to be transferred to Nauru and are scheduled to arrive on Wednesday at 8.30pm Nauru time.
DASSAN spokesman Ben Pynt said: “We are devastated that the department removed men, women, children and infants to Nauru in the early hours of this morning.”
“The government has still not implemented all of the recommendations of the Moss review, and media reports show that sexual, emotional and physical abuse are ongoing in Australia’s offshore detention network.”
Serious allegations of sexual and physical assault and continuing to emerge from Nauru, as part of an ongoing Senate inquiry.
Government rushes new legislation to avoid High Court case [HRLC Media Release - 24/6/15]:
Legislation being rushed through Parliament contradicted the Federal Government’s claims that its actions running and funding offshore detention centres are legal, the Human Rights Law Centre said today. The legislative changes are being brought in response to a High Court case the HRLC commenced in May.
“The Government repeatedly assures the Australian people it is acting legally. A Government confident its actions are lawful doesn’t suddenly change the law when its actions are challenged in court,” said the HRLC’s Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb.
“People affected by this case include newborn babies, people with serious medical issues and women who report being sexually assaulted on Nauru. They have suffered great hardship at the hands of successive Australian governments. They deserve to have the lawfulness of their treatment considered by our courts, not have the government shift the goalposts mid-case,” said Mr Webb.
The HRLC commenced the case on 14 May this year on behalf of a group of asylum seekers and their families. The case raises important and untested questions about the current offshore detention arrangements.
“Our case asks whether Government has the necessary legal authority run offshore detention centres and to spend billions of taxpayer dollars that purpose,” said Mr Webb.
“We need to look at the detail of the legislation. Given what we know about the current dangers facing vulnerable people locked up offshore, now is not the time to be hastily giving the government broad powers to lock up innocent people in other countries or to write blank cheques with our money for that purpose,” said Mr Webb.
“All governments should observe and respect limits on their power, not hastily remove them,” said Mr Webb.
The hearing date for the case has not yet been set. It will not be heard before September.
The legal team running the case includes barristers Ron Merkel QC, Craig Lenehan, David Hume, Rachel Mansted and Stacks Goudkamp.
Assistance has also been provided by the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network.
Senator Hanson-Young has amended her original notice of motion re the Australian government's payment to repel a refugee boat [Senate Notice Paper - 24/6/15]:
Notice given 18 June 2015
1 Senator Hanson-Young: To move—That the following matter be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 15 September 2015:
The payment of cash or other inducements by the Commonwealth of Australia in exchange for the turn back of asylum seeker boats, with reference to:
(a) the reply of the Government to the order for production of documents ordered by the Senate in the amended general business notice of motion no. 724 moved by Senator Hanson-Young on 16 June 2015;
(b) any money paid to anyone on board a vessel en route to Australia or New Zealand by any Customs, Immigration or other Commonwealth officer from September 2013 to date;
(c) the facilitation or authorisation of the payment of any money to anyone on board a vessel en route to Australia or New Zealand by any Customs, Immigration or other Commonwealth officer from September 2013 to date;
(d) any payments made to any such vessels‘ captain, crew or passengers;
(e) any payments made in relation to the passage of any such vessels, their passengers or crew;
(f) the legality, under international and domestic law, of the above matters;
(g) the damage caused by the above matters to the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia;
(h) the extent to which any such bribes constitute an incentive for people-smuggling operations to Australia;
(i) whether it is standard practice for Australia to pay cash or other inducements to the captains or crew of boats carrying asylum seekers and, if so, how long this practice has been carried on and how much has been spent on this policy in the past, including what payments have been made to particular individuals and the amount of any such payments;
(j) any related matters.
Notice of motion altered on 23 June 2015 pursuant to standing order 77.
Wow! ANOTHER Public forum! ---> How can we co-opt the refugee liberation movement to get more people to Vote 1 ALP:
Forum: Breaking the bipartisan cruelty on refugees
Hosted by Refugee Action Coalition Sydney
Saturday, June 27 at 1:30pm - 3:30pm
UTS: University of Technology, Sydney
15 Broadway, Ultimo, New South Wales 2007
Sue Lines (Labor Senator for WA)
Former Manus Island worker
James Supple (Refugee Action Coalition)
Breaking the bipartisan consensus of cruelty towards refugees has long been a strategic goal of the refugee movement. [Not true. The refugee movement - which the ALP feel it owns, and must constantly discipline and co-opt - has a goal of ending mandatory detention and other inhumane policies. Part of this strategy involves the rejection of ALP and LNP fascism.]
In the lead up to the Labor national conference at the end of July join us to hear from Sue Lines, a Labor MP who has spoken out in support of refugees, and others to discuss what it will take to get Labor to change its policy and end offshore processing and mandatory detention. [How many years has she been saying this? Why doesn't she just DO IT?]
Are you for refugees, or are you for the ALP? [The refugee rights movement and the ALP - Direct Action - February/April 2012]
The Saturday Paper [27/9/14]:
... [Melissa] Parke plays a different role, as Labor navigates an awkward environment in which its options for criticising the government are circumscribed by its desire to be part of Team Australia.
She provides an alibi for Labor to avoid a loss of votes to the Greens as it joins the government in backing tougher terror laws and military action in the Middle East and continues to offer bipartisan support for offshore processing of asylum seekers.
Some Coalition MPs argue Bernardi plays a similar role in placating those Liberal supporters who were disappointed that Abbott abandoned the 18C changes.
As Labor leader Bill Shorten stresses that he is “working very well together” with Abbott on national security, it doesn’t hurt to have at least one opposition MP putting an alternative view.
It’s a fine line, though, as left-wing Labor senator Sue Lines discovered late last month when Shorten rebuked her for accusing the government of using the threat of terrorism to deflect attention from the budget.
Back in May when Parke and Burke first raised their intention to pursue a caucus motion on ending offshore detention, there was frustration among Labor MPs at the timing, distracting as it did from the backlash to the budget. The motion was destined to fail.
Some also feared that, by reopening the debate, Parke was risking exposing Labor to attack over whether it was strong enough to manage the electorally sensitive issue.
But Parke is not a loose cannon and her recent statements have been carefully worded. Even dissent in modern Labor is often tightly scripted.
Although Dastyari’s remarks on refugee policy earlier this year were reported as pitting him against Shorten, his speech had in fact been vetted by the party’s leadership.
The LNP and ALP's refugee policies are beyond reform. Why appeal to their better nature when they don't have one?:
@sarahinthesen8 – Senator Hanson-Young [24/6/15]: How bad does it have to get before the Labor party grows a spine and stand up against children in detention?
Labor must not support Coalition legislation to save offshore processing [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney – 24/6/15]
The Australian government's silence on imprisonment, harassment of Nauru opposition MPs indicates support for it
One of Nauru's suspended MPs Roland Kun says the government has told him his passport was cancelled because he's a security risk.
Mr Kun has challenged the cancellation in court after authorities took him off a plane last week as he tried to return to New Zealand where he has been living since being suspended a year ago.
He is among five MPs suspended from parliament after being accused of spreading lies about Nauru in the foreign media.
Mr Kun says the Justice Minister David Adeang gave an explanation two days after he was prevented from leaving.
"I received a letter from the minister confirming that he directed the cancellation of my passport with very vague reasons provided. I was deemed a security risk to the nation and the other reason is that there's criminal investigations on the way that I am directly linked to."
Mr Kun has denied the allegations.
He says the government is spreading propaganda that he is informing the New Zealand government of goings on in Nauru.
Mother begs Australia to help daughter flee Iraq
The mother-in-law of one of a Lebanese man and Australia's most notorious Islamic State fighters has pleaded for the government to help her "desperate" daughter and five grandchildren flee the Middle East, saying she made "the mistake of a lifetime.”
Karen Nettleton's emotional appeal for help came after reports that her son-in-law Khaled Sharrouf and his friend Mohamed Elomar were killed in fighting in the Iraqi city of Mosul in the past week, although officials Wednesday suggested they may have died in Syria.
Sydney-born Sharrouf, who was also a Lebanese national, gained global infamy last year when he posted pictures on his Twitter account showing himself and his seven-year-old, Sydney-raised son holding up the severed heads of slain soldiers in Syria.
One of his other children married Elomar, who was also pictured with severed heads, when she was aged just 13. They all left for Syria in 2013.
"With the deaths of Mohamed Elomar and likely Khaled Sharrouf, my daughter and grandchildren more than ever need the love and care of their family to help them recover from the trauma, abuse and terrors of war they have experienced," Nettleton said in a statement late Tuesday.
"Unlike millions of displaced people in Iraq and Syria, they have a place to come home to."
She added that "my daughter made the mistake of a lifetime".
"Today she is a parent alone in a foreign and vicious land looking after a widowed 14-year-old and four other young children."
She implored Prime Minister Tony Abbott to help bring them home.
"Mr. Abbott, I beg you, please help bring my child and grandchildren home."
While the deaths of the two men have not been confirmed, Canberra on Wednesday said there "is a high level of certainty in relation to Elomar" but that there was "less certainty in relation to Sharrouf".
Abbott, whose government on Wednesday introduced new laws into to parliament to strip dual nationals linked to terrorism of their citizenship, said he felt for the children.
But he also warned that if Nettleton, who converted to Islam and married Sharrouf 10 years ago, returned home she would face "significant consequences", while not offering any help for her to do so.
"You can't convict the kids on the basis of the crimes of the parents but nevertheless, they will be dealt with in exactly the same way as the families of criminals are normally dealt with," he said.
"These aren't the first Australians who have committed very serious crimes overseas, who have families. They will be dealt with in the normal way.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said no decision would be made on whether Sharrouf's wife and children would be helped to return until they have confirmed his death.
Abbott said Tuesday about 120 Australians were fighting in Iraq and Syria, with some 30 believed to have been killed. The government said last month another 30 had returned from the region.
Australia's national broadcaster does PR for war games and drones [ABC - 24/6/15]
United States, “allies” continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense Media Release [23/6/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted three airstrikes in Syria near Tal Abyad, which struck three ISIL tactical units, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL vehicle.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Habbaniyah, one airstrike destroyed seven ISIL rocket rails.
-- Near Hit, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL anti-aircraft weapon.
-- Near Kirkuk, one airstrike struck an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL staging area, destroying an ISIL building and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Ramadi, four airstrikes struck multiple ISIL staging areas.
-- Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL bunker.
-- Near Tal Afar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL building and an ISIL mortar firing position.
-- Near Waleed, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
The U.S. will spread about 250 tanks, armored vehicles and other military equipment across six former Soviet bloc nations to help reassure NATO allies facing threats from Russia and terrorist groups, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Tuesday.
Carter's announcement, made as he stood with defense chiefs from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, comes a day after he announced that the U.S. would have other weapons, aircraft and forces, including commandos, ready as needed for NATO's new rapid reaction force, to help Europe defend against potential Russian aggression from the east and the Islamic State and other violent extremists from the south. ... [Yahoo - 23/6/15]
Iraq: UN health agency seeks $60 million to keep critical health centres open in conflict areas [Media Release – 23/6/15]
Autopsy of Freddie Gray shows 'high-energy' impact [The Baltimore Sun - 23/6/15]
Afghanistan: Heavy clashes in parts of Baghlan province after Taliban attack [Khaama - 24/6/15]
At least 14 killed, 5 injured as Saudi jets bomb Yemen [Press TV - 23/6/15]:
At least 14 people have been killed and five more injured as Saudi warplanes carry out raids in Yemen’s northwestern Sa'ada province.
At least six people were killed, including a women and two children, as Saudi jets targeted the district of Saqayn in Sa’ada early on Wednesday.
Nine people were also killed and five more injured in Saudi airstrikes targeting the province's Razih district.
A residential area in the northwestern Hajjah province’s Harad district was also bombarded by Saudi jets late on Tuesday, leaving one person dead and several people injured.
Earlier, a refugee camp was also targeted by Saudi warplanes in the same province.
According to reports, a total of 18 airstrikes were carried out by Saudi jets on an army airbase in the western province of Hudaydah.
Since late March, over 2,600 people have been killed and more than 11,000 others injured by Saudi Arabia's airstrikes on Yemen, according to the United Nations.
At least 3,000 suspected Dengue fever cases reported in Yemen – UN health agency [Media Release – 23/6/15]
Israel bombs Gaza [Yahoo - 23/6/15]:
The Israeli air force struck a militant target in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday, the military said, hours after Palestinians fired a rocket into southern Israel.
"In response to this attack, the Israel Defence Forces struck the launcher from which the rocket was fired at Israel earlier," an army statement said.
"A hit was confirmed."
The rocket fired earlier fell on open ground in the vicinity of Yad Mordechai, it said, referring to a kibbutz near the Israel-Gaza border. No injuries were reported in either the rocket strike or the Israeli response.
Over 3,700 migrants rescued in Mediterranean - Italian coastguard
First Post [24/6/15]:
Ships patrolling the Mediterranean have plucked more than 3,700 migrants from overcrowded and unsafe boats in the last two days, Italy's coastguard said on Tuesday.
Ships from several countries, including those taking part in a European Union mission called "Triton", went to the aid of 18 different boats carrying 2,741 migrants on Monday, a spokeswoman said.
Around a thousand more migrants were saved in six rescue operations on Tuesday, the coastguard said in a statement. They had been travelling in a fishing boat and five rubber dinghies.
Separately, almost 300 other migrants rescued two days ago arrived in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo aboard a ship run by Doctors Without Borders. Authorities also brought ashore a corpse in a metal coffin.
The victim had been shot dead by men travelling on another boat near the Libyan coast, according to testimony by the migrants, Italian media reported. A Sicilian court is investigating the death.
Italy has been trying to convince the EU to help it cope with waves of migrants arriving in overcrowded boats from North Africa, with official estimates putting the total at 60,000 so far this year. Almost 2,000 have died trying to make the crossing, the United Nations refugee agency has estimated.
The EU this year agreed to triple funding for sea rescues off the coasts of Italy and Greece, but the 28-nation bloc is deeply divided on how to manage the migrants once they come ashore.
EU leaders meet later this week to discuss a European Commission plan to distribute 40,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum seekers, now stuck in Italy and Greece, among other EU nations.
The Commission plan also foresees creating detention centres called "hot spots" to better identify migrants and refugees and calls for those who do not qualify for asylum to be quickly deported.
With thousands of new boat arrivals each week, France is increasingly turning back migrants seeking to reach northern European countries.
Hundreds have taken shelter in or near Italy's train stations, especially in Rome and Milan. More than 100 migrants have been sleeping rough along the Italy-France border for almost two weeks.
Hungary’s anti-immigration government said Tuesday it has unilaterally suspended European Union rules on asylum seekers that state a migrant's claim should be processed in the EU country that they first set foot in. ... [France 24 - 23/6/15]
Inter-Parliamentary Union says it plans to look into situation on Nauru
An organisation representing parliaments around the world, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, says it plans to look carefully into the situation in Nauru's parliament.
Five opposition MPs remain suspended from Nauru's 19-member legislature after the government accused them of spreading lies in the foreign media, leaving just two opposition MPs in the House.
The IPU's Secretary-General, Martin Chungong, says a strong and effective opposition is an important part of democracy and he says the union will be offering its services to Nauru in a neutral and impartial manner.
He says the IPU offers mediation services to help parliaments become more inclusive and tolerant towards the opposition.
"We are going to look at it and we are saying that democracy is under seige everywhere in the world. This is an instance where one of the key tenets of democracy is in jeapardy and so we have to look into that."
Mr Chungong says parliaments around the world have a collective responsibility to help each other as political instability in one country can have disastrous effects on others.
Mr Chungong is visiting New Zealand as part of a programme to enhance connections between the parliaments of the Pacific and the IPU.
He says several New Zealand MPs and the Speaker of New Zealand's parliament have alerted him to the situation in Nauru which is not yet an IPU member.
A Nauru Opposition MP, who is one of several MPs facing charges after anti government protests last week, says they are being denied access to their lawyers.
Mathew Batsiua, a former justice minister in Nauru, is on bail and due back in court in the second week of July to face a charge of disturbing the legislature.
Another two MPs are in custody on similar charges, while a fourth has had his passport cancelled.
Mr Batsiua says with the island's lawyers working for the government the MPs are reliant on pleaders or advocates, and have been seeking qualified lawyers in Australia.
"At the moment there is difficulty for one of them. His visa application has been rejected by the Ministry of Justice - the grounds are quite flimsy in our opinion, but this is a growing concern because if we do try to get proper legal representation in, we fear that the Government will hinder that."
All four MPs facing legal action were controversially suspended from Parliament more than a year ago.
... EMMA ALBERICI: You went out and grabbed them all from their boats and brought them to Italy. That's not a sustainable policy, is it?
ENRICO LETTA: [Former Prime Minister of Italy] For refugees: yes, and for this very period. Because they were dying. And we can't accept, our values are values that, really, it is unacceptable to let dying people in the Mediterranean. ...
[ABC, Lateline - 23/6/15]
Letter from Nauru - Refugee Action Collective (Victoria):
The photos are of conditions on Nauru, and of the newborn baby and her mother who were recently seized in the dead of night in Melbourne, Australia and forced to Nauru by 20 guards, also below is a letter recieved by RAC on 19/06/2015 from an asylum seeker who has been on Nauru for two years. It gives a glimpse into the brutal world of detention on Nauru where mother and baby have been cruelly transported by the Coalition government.
I am going to talk about an Island called Nauru, in which the local people are suffering from depression although they live freely. Lovely people who are dealing with the policies of their corrupted government and powerful Australian government too. Small country where in the next four years nothing would remain out of it. Country in which people are sentenced to early death do to lack of hygiene,medical facilities and specialists.
And it has been two years that I am going on, in such horrible condition as a detainee for seeking asylum in Australia, kept in camps by politicians who are trying to show me as a symbol of asylum seekers .
There are hundreds of us detained for two years who are not considered as a human beings.
People who have been survived from of terrible condition of there mother lands but are destroying under politicians dirty policies gradually. Who has forgotten living normally and has lost their dreams and waiting for a miracle..They are all hopeless mental / physical illnesses. These people have committed suicide frequently, and not afraid of death any more.
They have no way back and not a hope to carry on. We have no idea to whom we can confess that we don’t know about politics and neither we are a politician. We are asking them to ignore us in this political games, we are human beings seeking for peace. Some of these children still don’t know how to read and write let alone such a dirty games..Children who their only playmates are the gravels on the ground. Some of them are got ill, really ill.. I know a six years old boy who is suffering from TB and still he is not under any serious treatment and his mother is a witness of his ending. I know another one who has lost most of his sight just because of diabetes and I know people who their crutches are their only friends. To what price????
more than half of people are suffering from bladder and kidneys infection and kidney stones as well. All people in here are sick: mentally of physically,and it doesn’t matter to the government. You need to be dying in here to take you serious. They come and reach you when they feel threaten by your death, while the symptom is obvious when they can’t feel your pulse and your heart is not beating any more…
Nobody in here care about us, they made sick people out of us and then they say: the government has considered any budget for your treatments and you should pay for it just in case you could get out of here one day..
They introduce you to a hospital where half of that has burned down and has no medical supplies , facilities and hygienic environment. The doctors are mostly like a slaughter who does from midwifery to the cardiac surgery and he is experiencing still.
Friends of mine, already got refugees and have been set free in Nauru, who need serious treatment and have been left on their own and facing lot of problems. Everything is going on despite of rape has recently happened to one of asylum seekers. They are not only concerned about this issue but also intend to settle the single ladies in Nauru on their own without any protections.
They play political games on you for their own sake. This game costs innocent people’s life and children..
In the end I need to remind, we survived from natural hazard while we were passing the ocean, yes we survived, god saved our lives, do not destroy us bit by bit.
If you are in (or support) the ALP, you are directly responsible for the refugee concentration camps.
Denounce the party or stop pretending.
forum: How can Australian trade unionists use the refugee liberation movement to
get more people to vote for the ALP:
HOW CAN WE GET LABOR TO OPPOSE OFFSHORE DETENTION?
Hosted by Refugee Action Collective (Victoria)
Wednesday, June 24 at 6:30pm
Trades Hall 54 Victoria Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3053
A public forum for trade unionists
Ged Kearney - ACTU president
Aran Mylvaganam - Tamil refugee and FSU organiser
Pamela Curr - Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Damien Kingsbury - Professor of International Politics, Deakin University. President ALP Batman, FEA
Tony Abbott has made ‘stopping the boats’ front and centre of national politics. Tragically the ALP position of supporting offshore detention gives him a free kick. A kick that is destroying refugee lives.
On Manus Island Reza Barati was murdered and over 70 brutally injured by those responsible for their safety. Detention on Nauru has led to rape, and sexual abuse of children. Offshore processing will be a central debate at this years ALP national conference July 24-26. Come to a forum specifically aimed at arming union members with arguments necessary to take on the lies about refugees. The forum will discuss what’s wrong with offshore processing, what are humane alternatives and how wecan win them.
Forum organised by Labor for Refugees, The Refugee Action Collective and the Refugee Advocacy Network
The ALP is not going to change its refugee policy [ABC - AM - 16/9/14]:
... CHRIS UHLMANN: Now some of the same people in the left are concerned about your border protection policies. Is there any likelihood you'll abandon your commitment to offshore processing?
BILL SHORTEN: No.
CHRIS UHLMANN: That's a firm rolled gold commitment; you're not going to abandon it?
BILL SHORTEN: No.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Will it be changed in any way?
BILL SHORTEN: No, we support regional resettlement. And we support the offshore processing.
The ALP feels threatened by an independent refugee liberation movement.
As Malcolm Fraser said, "the major parties are beyond reform" - probably the reason why he left the Liberal Party - thus becoming a powerful (and authentic) advocate.
Along with bipartisan stitchups on war, austerity and draconian legislation, the ALP and LNP are responsible for policies that incarcerate, torture, push back and deport refugees.
The ALP has no qualms whatsoever about co-opting the refugee movement for PR purposes, and if possible, rendering it useless.
These are not nice people.
Trust them at your peril.
Andrew Gavin Marshall [13/10/11]:
... Thus, I feel it is important to differentiate between solidarity and co-optation. Solidarity implies a type of social empathy, in seeing how the cause or struggles of one movement or people is the cause and struggle of your own movement or people.
Solidarity is an incredibly important and necessary development, especially in the context of today’s globalized world.
Solidarity allows for people the world over to understand and believe that the struggle of one person is the struggle of all people in all places, and indeed it is. Thus, solidarity, no matter with whom, should not be shunned.
There is, however, a fine line between solidarity and co-optation.
Co-optation emerges when those who declare solidarity then begin to speak “for” the movement, assume leadership positions within the movement, promote their particular agendas as the agendas of the entire movement, and effectively steer it into directions which they desire.
This process must be guarded against. ...
Doctors should boycott working in Australia’s immigration centres and must continue to speak out on mistreatment of detainees—despite the law [BMJ - 17/6/15]
HESTA invests in mandatory detention:
HESTA, the health and community services industry superannuation fund, holds shares in Transfield Services, the company that runs the Australian detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
HESTA has effectively loaned Transfield millions of dollars, in addition to the A$1 billion+ in government contracts that the company already has, to help run Australia’s mandatory detention system.
Why is HESTA willing to use the retirement savings of health and community services workers to help Transfield profit from the mandatory detention of asylum seekers? ...
Ethics? Possbility of future liability and/or crimes against humanity?
New immigration powers would let guards beat asylum seekers to death [Guardian - 16/4/15]
... Three immigration detention centres have been closed in Darwin in the past year and United Voice is worried if Wickham Point also shuts, about 450 staff will lose their jobs. [ABC - 7/4/15]
Sydney Morning Herald [24/6/15]:
The federal government has discovered a loophole in the former Labor government's offshore processing legislation and wants to urgently pass a bill to amend the law by the end of the week because it fears a High Court challenge.
The loophole relates to a landmark ruling the High Court made in the Williams case regarding the school chaplains program in which the court defined how the Commonwealth could fund services.
Labor has called a special caucus meeting at Parliament House to discuss the bill.
The government wants the legislation passed before Parliament rises on Thursday for the six-week winter break.
As a supporter of offshore processing of asylum seekers who come by boat, the opposition is likely to agree to the government's bill, although it is being debated by MPs.
Greens Senator Sarah-Hanson Young immediately tweeted her criticism.
Shameful move by Abbott & Labor to smash through new Bill today to circumvent high court over illegal funding for the Nauru detention centre
— Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) June 24, 2015
The Federal Opposition says the Government has asked it to support emergency legislation to close a loophole that could see the offshore immigration detention network collapse.
The ABC has been told the Prime Minister called Opposition Leader Bill Shorten last night to ask for his help.
It is understood the PM told Mr Shorten the whole offshore system — which includes processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea — was vulnerable and could be declared illegal by the High Court during the six-week winter break unless the loophole was closed.
The Federal Opposition called a special caucus meeting to consider whether it would support legislation to ensure the system was protected.
Ten asylum seekers earlier this year launched a challenge about the legality of the Government's offshore detention system, which lawyers believe is behind the Government's action over the past 24 hours.
Lawyers said because the Government had issued the contracts for the establishment and maintenance of the processing facilities, they were Australia's responsibility, not that of Nauru and PNG.
They also argued that necessary laws had not been passed to authorise the facilities.
A procedural hearing for the case was held in Melbourne today and a further directions hearing is scheduled for Friday.
ALP and LNP vote against Greens Senate motion to save Rohingya
Senate Hansard [24/6/15]:
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (15:39): I move:
That the Senate—
(a) expresses concern at the disturbing reports aired on the Four Corners television program on 22 June 2015;
(i) that only 412 Rohingyans have been resettled in Australia through Australia's humanitarian program since 2008, and
(ii) the Government's recent refusal to provide assistance or resettlement for Rohingyans currently in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and stranded at sea off these three countries; and
(c) urges the Government to:
(i) contribute to the search and rescue mission for thousands of migrants, including Rohingyans, currently stranded at sea,
(ii) resettle some of the Rohingyan migrants rescued by Indonesia and Malaysia, and
(iii) resettle an increased number of Rohingyans in the 2015 humanitarian program, increasing the number of the program if necessary.
The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion be agreed to.
The Senate divided [15:39]
(The President—Senator Parry)
Ayes ...................... 13
Noes ...................... 33
Majority ................. 20
Di Natale, R
Siewert, R (teller)
McEwen, A (teller)
The hypocrisy of selective compassion: Rick Wilson MP speaks about “Good” refugees from Burma (Myanmar)
House of Representatives Hansard [23/6/15]:
Mr WILSON (O'Connor) (13:38): Today I rise to commend the achievements of the local Karen community in my home town of Katanning. Many of these refugees lived in refugee camps in Thailand after fleeing unrest in their homeland of Burma. They were settled in Katanning largely through the efforts of Paul Kyaw, a Karen himself and a career development officer at the Multicultural Services Centre of WA. Paul foresaw work opportunities for them as non-English-speakers with a strong work ethic, and the Karen community have subsequently been a valuable addition to the workforce at our local meat abattoir.
I would also like to make special mention at this time of a remarkable local woman, Jean Phillips, known affectionately as Aunty Jean, who has been pivotal in welcoming these refugees over the years and assisting them to transition into life in our community. Jean has assisted them in obtaining the necessities of Australian life, securing a roof over their heads and enrolling their children in schools, as well as guiding them through the necessary paperwork associated with accessing banking, benefits and loans. It is thanks to the generous efforts of volunteers such as Jean that we see the Karen integrating well into the multicultural melting pot that is my home town of Katanning.
The Karen children have settled well into the local schools, fluently bilingual and achieving good results. Graduates are now filtering into local employment, apprenticeships and further education, with young men training as plumbers, painters and mechanics and young women in nursing, teaching and child care. Committed to putting down firm roots in Katanning, the members of the 150-strong Karen community have purchased over 28 homes in the seven years since their resettlement. I take this opportunity to commend the Karen people in my electorate on their commitment to forging a rich and fulfilling life here in their new homeland while retaining their cultural and religious diversity.
Malaysian police arrest Rohingya refugees for being victims of trafficking [Asia One - 23/6/15]:
Three Rohingya migrants were detained to assist investigations into the mass graves uncovered in Wang Kelian, Perlis.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the migrants were arrested in Johor Baru three days ago.
"We believe the trio were among those who were at the camp (in Wang Kelian) but we have not confirmed it.
"We will gather more information. Give us some time as we are interviewing them," he told a press conference in Bukit Aman on Tuesday.
He added initial investigations revealed that the trio were victims rather than part of the human smuggling syndicate responsible for the mass graves.
"We want to know what happened at the camps. Maybe these three will shed more light into it," he said, adding that the trio were UNHCR cardholders.
Man seriously injured after police open fire in Perth hostage situation
Nine MSN [24/6/15]:
A 26-year-old man is in Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital with serious injuries after being shot by police.
Officers say they responded to a call received at about 9.15pm (WST) concerning a man with a firearm inside a house on Samson Street in Mosman Park.
Police attempted to negotiate with the man before he was shot.
Witnesses report hearing police yell "put the gun down" at least twice before hearing two gunshots.
Shortly afterwards a man was pulled from the house bleeding and unconscious.
Five hostages were later pulled from the home with their hands and feet tied.
They had no physical injuries but were placed into police cars and ambulances.
They are assisting police with the ongoing investigation.
At a press conference this morning, police refused to confirm if the man was known to the victims, or if there had been more than one person involved in subduing the hostages.
The street was placed in lockdown during the police operation and the area around the home remains a crime scene.
The Internal Affairs Unit will oversee an investigation into police actions.
WA police train for mass shooting [West Australian - 24/6/15]:
While WA Police did not want to reveal details of their tactics, Insp. Martin said the training focused on rapid decision-making, situational awareness and taking action that could save lives.
“Police are making sure our people have the right weapons at hand, other equipment and emergency management awareness,” Insp. Martin said.
... The Abbott Government announced yesterday it would spend $220 million to upgrade the SASR’s Swanbourne base, constructing new specialist buildings and upgrading security at the complex. ... [West Australian - 24/6/15]
Zaky Mallah: I stand by what I said on Q&A. Australia needs to hear it [Guardian - 23/6/15]:
... I was acquitted of terrorism in 2005, but not because of a technicality, as Ciobo would have you believe. Instead, it was because a jury heard that I had been set up by the New South Wales police, aided and abetted by an undercover operative who paid me money to hear a good terrorism story.
They decided I was not guilty of the most serious offences and no threat. I was dumb and naive at the time. I was only 20.
Years later, I’m on good terms with Asio and counter-terrorism police. I meet with them regularly, they shout me a coffee, we chat about Syria and national security. They know I’m an idiot at times, they know I like to stir the pot. They would have watched last night laughing and shaking their heads. ...
Australia's political and media establishment agree: Censorship is right. Muslims are terrorists. End of discussion. Sieg Heil! [Guardian - 23/6/15]:
... The ABC is now conducting a review of the decision to have Mallah on a live broadcast where “it would not be possible for editorial review of the comments he might make.”
Turnbull backed the ABC’s review, but went further by suggesting the public broadcaster contact and consult the Australian federal police about assembling studio audiences for Q&A.
He said he had spoken with ABC head Mark Scott, chairman James Spigelman and host Tony Jones, and the broadcaster had made a “grave error in judgment” on several fronts.
“A person with those opinions, being allowed to express them without any hindrance on live television raises very real concerns,” he told media in Canberra. ...
Another bipartisan stitchup: Legislation to cut RET passes Federal Parliament
Legislation to cut the renewable energy target (RET) has passed Federal Parliament, along with the contentious inclusion of native wood waste as a possible fuel source.
After protracted negotiations, Labor and the Government agreed to reduce the original 41,000 gigawatt hour target to 33,000 to reflect lower overall energy demand.
The legislation passed an extended sitting of the Senate with 41 votes to 14.
The two major parties had been negotiating the gigawatt hour figure for several months.
The target was initially created in 2001 by the Howard government and subsequently strengthened by Labor to "at least 20 per cent by 2020", calculated at the time as being 41,000 gigawatt hours of electricity.
As part of the Coalition-Labor agreement, trade-exposed industries will be exempted from the target and two-yearly reviews which threatened to derail the deal were scrapped.
Instead, the Clean Energy Regulator will provide an annual statement to Parliament and the government of the day on progress towards the target, what impact it is having on electricity prices, and whether the scheme is at risk of default.
Senator Lazarus stands up for renewable energy [Media Release - 23/6/15]:
Senator for Queensland, Glenn Lazarus, today announced he will put forward a range of amendments to the Government’s Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2015 in the hope of convincing the Australian Senate to block the Abbott Government’s dirty deal with Labor to cut the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
“The Abbott Government has done nothing but demonise the renewable energy sector since forming government in 2013,” Senator Glenn Lazarus said today.
“As a result, the sector has suffered a significant and sharp down turn in investment. Many jobs have been lost and the industry is suffering.
“The Abbott Government has now conspired with the Labor party to reduce the existing RET of 41,000 annual gigawatt hours to 33,000.
“If this deal is passed by the Senate, Australia will become the first country in the world to reduce a renewable energy target.
“I am one of the few Senators standing up for the RET and the renewable energy sector.
“I have developed a number of amendments to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2015 to save the RET, the renewable energy sector and Australia’s native forests.
“My amendments include:
- retention of the RET at 41,000 annual gigawatt hours
- inclusion of 8,000 annual gigawatt hours for large scale solar
- FSC certification requirements to protect native forests from abusive and rogue destruction
“Importantly, these amendments will also support wind and emerging renewable energy industries including solar, geothermal, tidal and improvements to hydro.
“I am also disappointed with the Government’s secret deal with members of the crossbench which attacks wind and installs additional compliance requirements on the wind sector including the installation of a national wind farm commissioner.
“I am at a loss to understand how the Abbott Government could justify establishing a wind farm commissioner when rural and regional Australia is being decimated by CSG mining and farmers and landholders affected are screaming for help.
“As far as I am concerned, this is just another attack on the renewable energy sector by the Abbott Government.”
24 June 2015