LNP and ALP refugee policy facilitates torture, pedophilia and murder in Australia's concentration camps
House of Representatives Hansard [24/3/15]:
Mr BANDT: When the Greens first raised issues of rape and child abuse in the Nauruan detention facility, the immigration minister said staff from Save the Children were coaching detainees to make these stories up. Given that the Moss report finds compelling evidence of rape and abuse, but no evidence of wrongdoing by Save the Children staff, when will you apologise to Save the Children's workers and, crucially, how much longer will you leave the 107 children currently in Nauru locked up and exposed to abuse?
Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Prime Minister) ... BLURT BLURT BLURT STOP THE BOATS BLURT ....
... Banner in the refugee family accomodation in Anibare.
Image: @refugeesonnauru [24/3/15]
Lawyers granted access to visit Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island.
Australian media blackout continues.
There is no evidence the UNHCR has interviewed refugees on Manus Island.
The IOM, Australian government (and who knows who from the US Embassy in Port Moresby) won't allow it.
Are ALP social media shills again spreading disinformation to deflect from their party's cruel and inhumane refugee policy?
PNG Loop [24/3/15]:
A group of human rights lawyers have been granted access to visit the Manus Detention Centre next month to interview about 25 of their clients.
Appearing before Justice Terence Higgins at a Supreme Court hearing this morning, lawyer Ben Lomai told the court that they were granted access to the site on Monday (yesterday) by the Chief Migration Officer of PNG.
This comes after a similar hearing came before the court last Friday regarding their application to be granted leave to visit their clients at the centre.
Lomai told the court the Chief Migration Officer however asked for lawyers’ particulars to be given for security purposes for the visit which will take place during the 6-17th of April.
He said they had initially requested for a two month access to their clients on the island however that was refused and they will be able to take two weeks instead.
Justice Higgins ordered for the matter to be returnable before the court on the 22nd of April if they wish to apply for an extension to their visit.
Lomai told PNG Loop the lawyers want to visit the detainees to work on their release from the centre.
He says the visit is to see if there has been a breach of the detainees’ rights under section 58 of the Constitution.
He sayis that if there has been a breach of their rights, they will push for compensation or damages to be paid for the detainees rights including exemplary damages where appropriate.
Lomai will be accompanied by an Australian lawyer to Manus next month and they are now working on getting at least 2-3 more human rights lawyers to go along with them to interview their clients over the two week period.
PNG detains West
Papua leader at Jacksons Airport
PNG Loop [24/3/15]:
West Papua leader Benny Wenda has been denied access into the country and is waiting with Immigration officers at the Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby this afternoon.
Sources told PNG Loop that Mr Wenda came into Papua New Guinea at NCDC Governor Powes Parkop’s request.
Governor Parkop has just told Loop that Mr Wenda is “not locked up” and is awaiting clearance for him to officially enter PNG and then travel on to Vanuatu.
Wenda has been travelling from the United Kingdom.
According to sources from the Immigration section at the airport, they are waiting for clearance from the Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato.
The Minister will be leaving for Vanuatu this evening.
However, sources said the final clearance will come from the Prime Minister.
More details yet to come.
Egypt’s Ambassador to PNG Dr Hassan El-Laithy today presented his diplomatic credentials to Papua New Guinea in a ceremony at Government House, Konedobu. ... [PNG Loop - 24/3/15]
Médecins Sans Frontières steps in as Australia closes its borders, abandons TB sufferers in PNG
Médecins Sans Frontières says it is scaling up efforts to help combat tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea, as the country continues to battle with a soaring outbreak of the disease.
The NGO is part of an emergency taskforce announced by the government last August in response to a large increase in the number of drug-resistant cases of TB.
The programme manager for MSF's tuberculosis project, Eric Pujo, says a newly-launched programme aims to calculate the scope and the nature of TB in Gulf province and the capital, Port Moresby.
He says it is difficult to work out the prevalence of TB infection because PNG has lacked a proper diagnostic system.
"That is why MSF is trying, and working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, on this issue and trying to implement fully functional tuberculosis project in Gulf Province and in Port Moresby in the coming months."
Vanuatu: Botched food delivery risks children's health
A volunteer doctor in Vanuatu says the delivery of food to the wrong area of Ambrym Island is bad news for the children on the southeastern side.
Richard Henderson said the area was a two-day walk from the supply drop-off in the west, and the children have been on quarter rations since Cyclone Pam hit 10 days ago.
He said food supplies were dangerously low.
"The adults have a bit of a fat store, and they can handle a couple of days without food, even though everyone has been on quarter rations, from what I heard, for at least the last week.
"The key thing there is with children not getting food, this is going to create disease, and we're going to create a bigger disaster."
Dr Henderson said they were hurrying to find boats that could transfer the food to the southeast, but it was frustrating trying to communicate local knowledge to the central authorities.
Kiribati cyclone damage worse than reported [RNZI - 24/3/15]:
The Kiribati government says a boat carrying aid supplies for outer islands worst affected by Cyclone Pam found there was much more damage than initially reported.
A spokesperson Rimon Rimon says at the weekend the boat carrying food, water and shelter arrived at the southern islands of Arorae and Tamana, which bore the brunt of destructive winds and seas.
Mr Rimon says reports from local councils did not paint a full picture of the damage.
He says hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and about half of the communities on both islands have been displaced.
He says Tamana was the worst hit.
"The damage is much more than what we read on paper. People are trying to relocate further inland and just trying to live with whatever shelter they have there. You can see the magnitude of the effects, the impact that they've experienced, it's quite substantial."
Rimon Rimon says the main concern is clean water and sanitation on the islands.
Cyclone Nathan downgraded but NT residents warned of flood danger, high winds [ABC - 24/3/15]
PNG: People urged to move to safer grounds
The National [24/3/15]:
People in Jiwaka living near rivers and mountains have been warned to move to safer places because of the threat of flooding and landslides.
Provincial disaster coordinator Joseph Nop Amban said the long rainy season was causing landslides and floods, cutting off roads and destroying food gardens and homes.
“I do not know when the rain will stop. The Banz-Jimi Road, Kindeng-Kondopina Road have been cut off. Other roads will follow soon,” he said.
Amban urged people living near hills and river banks to vacate their homes and move to where it was safe.
He said his office had sent reports to the National Disaster and Emergency office in Port Moresby seeking help. He said he needed about K500,000 to help the people affected by the flooding and landslides.
He said the Jiwaka provincial budget was yet to be approved and his office did not have any money or resources to help the people already affected by floods and landslides.
Woodside cuts 300 jobs in response to falling oil prices
Oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum has begun cutting hundreds of jobs and has imposed a freeze on pay rises.
Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman flagged the job cuts last month in the wake of falling oil prices.
In a statement, the company said it had completed a review of its operations to address a downturn in the commodities market and 300 staff would lose their jobs over the next couple of months.
Woodside said pay rises would also be frozen until at least the third quarter of this year.
The company cut 320 jobs last year.
The cuts come despite Woodside posting its second biggest profit so far, with a 38 per cent rise in full-year earnings to $US2.41 billion ($3.08 billion).
Mr Coleman, who is receiving a $2 million annual pay rise, said they were taking out layers in the organisation.
The West Australian-based company had record production of 95.1 million barrels of oil equivalent and operating revenue of $US7.44 billion.
Woodside said its only bigger profit result so far was in 2012, which was boosted by the sale of a stake in its Browse Basin asset.
Business as usual in Queensland
… John West sat watching the gripman operating the driving-levers, but he was not thinking of the technicalities of cable locomotion. He was gripped by a new feeling of elation which he could not fully explain to himself. It concerned the bribing of the policeman; he knew that much. Others, including Joe, had started totalisators in Carringbush since the idea spread from Sydney, but they had been closed up by the police; yet he, John West, had now been able to buy off the police. It gave him a vague sense of power to think of it. That he could change the policeman's mind seemed to release in him a new stream of life and strength. He had once believed that the police were people to be feared, men who brought you to punishment for breaking the law; yet now he could 'square' the police – one of them anyway – with a golden sovereign. …
'Power Without Glory', Frank Hardy 
Anti rights arrests continue. [Yahoo - 24/3/15]:
Police have arrested two allegedly patched members of the Hells Angels bikie gang and charged them under Queensland's anti-bikie laws.
The arrests followed an investigation into the group's "Good as Gold" poker run on March 7.
On Tuesday, police raided homes in Logan Village, Crestmead and Woodridge.
There they claim to have unearthed gang paraphernalia and documents showing the pair were part of the Hells Angels.
Two Harley Davidson motorcycles were also seized.
The 56-year-old and 52-year-old have been charged with being participants of a criminal organisation in a public place, under Queensland's anti-bikie laws.
It's understood they'll both front the Beenleigh Magistrates Court in April.
Anti rights raids target CMG associates in Bundaberg [News Mail – 24/3/15]
One of the men accused of having ties to the Odin's Warriors and being involved in drug trafficking has been given bail. … [Gladstone Observer – 24/3/15]
Calls for Royal Commission into CSG industry [Chronicle - 24/3/15]:
The Hopeland Community Sustainability Group (HCSG) has renewed calls for a Royal Commission into coal seam gas following a meeting yesterday with the Environment Minister, Stephen Miles.
Also at the meeting at Chinchilla were Director-General of the Environment and Heritage Protection department, Jon Black and Mayor of the Western Downs Regional Council, Cr Ray Brown.
"Our community welcomes the attention Minister Miles and the government is giving to the issues concerning gas in soils but the problems are far wider than underground coal gasification," Mrs Dougall said.
The gases detected in the Hopeland area included carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and hydrogen sulfide.
The group had submitted - just days before the gas in the soil caution zone was established - a detailed submission to the new ALP State Government highlighting the dangers associated with CSG and the need to protect the Hopeland area from potential risks.
At yesterday's meeting, Minister Miles appointed the Director-General to oversee a 'multi-department response' to the group's submission about CSG.
"This is a very positive response from the new government and we look forward to working with the investigators and holding them to account," she said.
"We want coal and CSG mining companies including CS Energy's Kogan Creek power station to be included in the testing to ensure the harm being done is addressed."
She supported calls by Independent Senator, Glenn Lazarus for a Royal Commission into mining impacts on communities.
Senator Lazarus's petition calling for the inquiry has more than 39,000 signatures. [Now over 45,000]
Issues paper to decide future location of Gold Coast TAFE trade training centre [ABC - 24/3/15]
No inquest needed on death of woman in Murwillumbah lane: Coroner says
Tweed Daily News [24/3/15]:
The Coroner's Court has closed the case on the death of 52-year-old Murwillumbah mother of two Lynette Maree Jones, whose body was discovered in a Murwillumbah lane in November last year.
The coroner's office released a statement to the Tweed Daily News declaring the cause of death did not warrant an inquest.
"The coroner is satisfied that the place, date and identity of the deceased and the manner and cause of death are sufficiently disclosed on the balance of probabilities," the assistant coroner wrote.
"As there does not appear to be any issues requiring further investigation, the holding of an inquest is dispensed with."
The community was shocked when the death of the respected Heritage Lodge aged-care worker was declared "suspicious" by the Tweed Byron Local Area Command, who called for witnesses to her departure from the Imperial Hotel onto Church Ln.
Strike Force Nincoola, comprising detectives from Tweed Byron LAC with the assistance of the State Crime Command's Homicide Squad, investigated the death, the cause of which was not released.
Investigators at the scene of Southport fire
Investigators are at the scene of a Southport home which caught alight in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
40 per cent of the property on the corner of Queen and Scarborough Streets was destroyed when the blaze broke out in the rear of the abandoned fibro property at 4:30am.
Fire Fighters say the building was well involved when they arrived, but they had things under control within 30 minutes.
The fire started in the rear of the property but the cause was uncertain so a Police Guard was set-up until Investigators arrived.
Scientific Officers were also called to check the air quality and eventually gave the all clear.
Paramedics and Police were called as a precaution but no one was injured.
Australian dies from surgery in Mexico
The family of an Australian woman who died in Mexico after surgery is trying to raise more than $20,000 to find out why she died and to bring her body home.
Evita Nicole Sarmonikas died on March 20 after going into cardiac arrest following an operation in the north Mexican town of Mexicali.
A Facebook page set up by friends and family, who are in shock at the Gold Coast-raised woman's death, does not give details of the exact surgery undertaken.
However, a lengthy post written about Ms Sarmonikas said she had struggled with her body image.
"As beautiful as Evita was inside and out, she was still filled with certain inadequacies," the post said.
"These near perfect graphic comparisons our young women are bombarded with from get-go are to much for innocent hearts to battle, and the consequences can be fatal."
The family is fighting red tape and high costs of up to $20,000 to repatriate her body without the help of travel insurance, which Ms Sarmonikas did not have.
Ms Sarmonikas's family is also trying to find money to travel to Mexico, to fund an independent autopsy and to cover legal assistance.
A family member posted they have also been given assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs to gain emergency documentation needed for the trip.
Ben Cousins arrested after harassing priest at Sikh temple in Perth
WA Today [24/3/15]:
Troubled footballer Ben Cousins was detained again by police after a bizarre incident involving a priest's wife at a Sikh temple in the Perth suburb of Canning Vale, Fairfax Media can reveal.
It's the third time this month Cousins has been in trouble with police, with each incident seemingly more twisted than the last.
Sikh priest Jasvinder Singh said he was confused when his wife called out to him, telling him a strange man was taking photographs in the temple grounds.
"He stopped his golden-brown car in the car park, he didn't come out of the car and he started calling to someone," Mr Singh said.
"After that he reversed his car over the front of my home garden in the temple.
"He called to my wife, she was outside, and she told him 'I can't speak English'."
"He took my personal car park."
The priest said he tried to confront the former champion footballer but Cousins took off in his car, only to stop again after a few metres. He then started to photograph the temple again.
"Again, I tried to talk to him and he started his car," Mr Singh said.
"I don't know who he was. He was looking Aussie, like the Australian people. I realised something was not looking good.
"So I called the police and then I followed him again and he stopped his car in the middle of the road and then some cars almost hit him."
Mr Singh said the man was displaying unusual behavioral signs and he decided to give up his pursuit.
"It was very interesting," he said.
"I was still looking at him from my temple wondering 'what is he doing'.
"Then he went to another guy's house.
"And then he opened the door but he couldn't go inside because me and my wife was looking at him.
"So I locked my gate and I was still looking at him and waiting for police.
"Then the police came after 10 or 15 minutes and some police started asking me some questions."
Police reports state that a 36-year-old man was arrested near a Sikh temple in Canning Vale after allegedly driving erratically.
Cousins was detained by police at Canning Vale police station, according to a source. The man, believed to be Cousins, was then conveyed to hospital for a "health assessment".
A police spokesman said "we can neither confirm nor deny" reports of Cousins' arrest.
The former West Coast Eagles captain was assessed at a mental health facility after being caught behind the secure fences of Perth's Special Air Service Regiment in a separate incident last Monday, March 16.
Cousins is believed to have been at the mental health ward at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for 48 hours before discharging himself.
In another separate incident this month, the premiership player was charged after allegedly being caught driving recklessly and refusing to give a breath test.
He is due to appear in the Fremantle Magistrates Court on April 8 for that matter, which took place on March 12.
Cousins fell from grace following a string of off-field incidents and substance abuse problems.
The Brownlow medallist and father-of-two was suspended for one year by the AFL in 2007 for bringing the game into disrepute before making a comeback with Richmond. He retired in 2010.
Five wounded in shooting near university in Tennessee
Five people were wounded in a shooting a few blocks away from the campus of a Tennessee university on Monday night, and Clarksville police were still searching for perpetrator.
Officers responded to a report of gunfire in the area near Austin Peay State University around 9 p.m. local time, police spokeswoman Natalie Hall said in a statement.
Two of the wounded were transported via medical helicopter and two were transported by ambulance to hospitals, Hall said. Details on the fifth victim were not immediately available.
Hall said that no suspect was in custody and that detectives were investigating.
University campus police said in a statement on its Facebook account that one of the victims was transported via medical helicopter from the school's intramural field, the statement said.
"Although there does not appear to be a danger to the university community, please take precautions to ensure your safety," the statement said.
Further details, including whether the shooting was in any way connected to the school, were not immediately available.
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
On March 22, Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using fighter and bomber aircraft to conduct eight airstrikes.
Separately in Iraq, Coalition military forces conducted six airstrikes approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, using fighter aircraft against ISIL terrorists. All strikes took place between 8 a.m., March 22, and 8 a.m., March 23, local time.
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
o Near Kobani, eight airstrikes struck four ISIL tactical units and destroyed 12 ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.
o Near Mosul, an airstrike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
o Near Ramadi, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
o Near Rawah, an airstrike struck an ISIL trailer.
o Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL staging area and an ISIL tactical unit.
o Near Tal Afar, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL excavator.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [23/3/15]:
Baghdad: Agencies/security source:Two employees of minstry of industry were killed and 6 wounded today as a roadside bomb exploded targeting their bus at the main street in Taji.............
Baghdad: Agencies/Security source: 3 persons were killed and 9 wounded today in a car bomb explosion near public market in Hussainiya Al-Ma'amil east of Baghdad.............................
Baghdad: Agencies: 7 persons have been killed and wounded as a roadside bomb has exploded in Amin neighbourhood east of Baghdad........
US drone strike kills nine on Pak-Afghan border
Dunya News [24/3/15]:
A U.S. drone strike killed nine militants belonging to outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Islam in Nazyan village of Nangarhar province of Afghanistan near Pakistan border today (Tuesday), Dunya News reported.
The CIA-operated unmanned aircraft fired two missiles and destroyed two militant compounds in the village.
The strikes come amid warming relations between the traditionally hostile neighbours, each of whom has accused the other of harbouring insurgents to act as proxy forces.
Afghan leader thanks US troops and taxpayers for destroying his country. [Centcom - 23/3/15]
US soldier admits killing unarmed Afghans for sport [Guardian – 24/3/11]:
... Some soldiers apparently kept body parts of their victims, including a skull, as souvenirs. In a statement issued in response to the publication of the photos the US army apologised to the families of the dead. "[The photos are] repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States army," the statement said. ...
Powerful explosion rocks playing ground in Ghazni, 5 children killed, 10 injured [Khaama - 24/3/15]
13 civilians were killed and two others wounded as unidentified gunmen attacked civilian buses on Kabul-Ghazni highway last night. ... [Khaama - 24/3/15]
Eight killed in air strike as Libya government aims to recapture capital [Reuters – 23/3/15]
Palestinian conflict continues to destroy human life, dignity
UN Media Release [23/3/15]:
Violations of human rights “fuel and shape the conflict” in the occupied Palestinian territories, a senior United Nations official reported to the Human Rights Council today.
“Human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are both cause and consequence of the military occupation and ongoing violence, in a bitter cyclical process with wider implications for peace and security in the region,” said Flavia Pansieri, the UN’s Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Ms. Pansieri presented a total of six documents to the Council, which is meeting in Geneva, including reports by the Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights on Israeli settlements and on the human rights situation in the territories occupied by Israel.
“Secretary-Generals and High Commissioners have over many years made numerous constructive recommendations to all duty-bearers to improve human rights and protect civilians from violence and insecurity,” she said. “Tragically, most of these recommendations have been ignored, and the conflict continues to destroy human life and dignity.”
The establishment and expansion of settlements in the context of the Israeli occupation are at the centre of many of the ongoing human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Ms. Pansieri said, adding that they “fragment the Palestinian landscape and limit freedom,” while undermining Palestinians’ right to self-determination, which is “at the heart” of the two-State solution.
Settler violence had not been adequately addressed and it fostered a climate of impunity, she continued. A dramatic increase in Palestinian deaths and injuries because of Israeli security forces’ operations led both the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to reiterate concerns about excessive use of force in law enforcement operations.
The official said events in Gaza between 12 June and 26 August 2014 were part of an “alarming” third escalation of hostilities in seven years, with Palestinians across the Gaza Strip continuing to feel their devastating consequences.
“They also raised serious questions regarding respect by Israel of its obligations under international humanitarian law,” she said, citing Israel’s obligations “to distinguish between civilians and combatants, and between civilian objects and military objectives; its obligation to ensure that attacks are proportionate; and its obligation to maintain the principles of distinction and precaution.”
Palestinian armed groups in Gaza were also involved in “clear violations” of international humanitarian and human rights law, she added.
With the ceasefire having ended the fighting but not the suffering of the people in Gaza, she pointed to the Secretary-General’s repeated calls on the international community to meet commitments and pledges on Gaza’s reconstruction made at the Cairo conference. Without reconstruction, violations of core economic, social and cultural rights would continue.
“The current stand-off serves no one’s interests,” she said, noting that both Israelis and Palestinians live in fear of another escalation.
She underlined the importance of accountability to breaking the cycle of violence, human rights violations and impunity and to prevent future violations.
“Investigations carried out by Israel are a positive step, but they should not be limited to a few selected incidents,” she said, stressing that they should address failures to ensure respect for international law at the policy level. “In light of persistent impunity regarding past operations, doubts persist about the Israeli authorities’ willingness to ensure accountability.”
She added that the prospect of International Criminal Court involvement could prompt improvements in domestic accountability mechanisms in accordance with the Rome Statute’s provisions on complementarity.
Ms. Pansieri also underlined her concerns about ill-treatment and arbitrary detention by Palestinian security agencies but added that Palestine’s accession to several international treaties offered an opportunity for Palestinian duty-bearers to address human rights concerns.
Kuwaiti riot police dispersed hundreds of opposition protesters who rallied Monday to demand the release of political prisoners and press for democratic reforms in the oil-rich Gulf state.
More than 500 activists gathered outside parliament in the capital Kuwait City for the third week in a row after authorities jailed opposition leader and former lawmaker Mussallam al-Barrak for allegedly insulting the emir. ... [Naharnet - 23/3/15]
Syrian refugees in Jordan submit to biometrics and surveillance in order to receive assistance. [UNHCR - 23/3/15]
Hey pointless "opposition" and Australian media!
Thanks for protecting Scott Morrison and not holding him to account for his lies and the torture of refugees!
Now he's free to torture Nana and Pop.
What is this persistent "apology" crap??
CLOSE THE REFUGEE PEDOPHILE TORTURE CAMPS AND SACK THE RESPONSIBLE POLITICIANS.
Notification of Infectious Disease Outbreaks – Amendment to Reporting Requirements [Department of Social Services Media Release - 24/3/15]:
As part of the Australian Government’s commitment to reducing the regulatory burden on business and community organisations, approved providers of aged care services should no longer notify the Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme) of infectious disease outbreaks.
Gladstone Observer [19/2/15]:
A Bundaberg aged care nurse has written an
open letter in the wake of allegations against Kepnock Grove aged care facility,
where she was formerly employed. Below is a stark account in her own words of a
broken industry model focused more on maximising funding than on care outcomes
for its patients. It is a cry for help to the Federal Government to reform a
profit-based structure that is failing the most vulnerable elderly people in our
Our elderly are told nursing homes are safe. They are encouraged to fork over thousands of dollars for the privilege of living in one.
But again and again, they suffer the lack of care promised to them. There is only so much carers can do under the restraints of dealing with an ever-decreasing budget to work with.
Yes, decreasing. Remember that $1 has to stretch to make $10 or more.
At another Bundaberg aged care facility (not Kepnock Grove), carers were told to turn incontinence aids around so the "wet" bit went to the back. That ensured "maximum fill".
That venture compounded into residents suffering from painful incontinence dermatitis, entailing the use of special creams (which cost money), special wipes (which cost money), frequent turns (which cost staff time).
But the cost of incontinence aids went down and the carers got in trouble for not giving adequate care.
Aged care is a harsh environment to live and to work in. People want profit.
The current ratio of care is also geared to minimal cost. If one staff member can look after 20 residents, then that is what happens.
If there is a fall, who gets the blame? The carer.
This leads to the lack of reporting, because people avoid getting into trouble. The more reports, the more trouble.
Another ALP and LNP stitchup.
A bill that would expand the powers of the refugee review tribunal (RRT) to deny asylum claims is set to pass parliament after Labor and the Coalition reached a compromise on amendments.
The migration amendment (protection and other measures) bill seeks to allow the RRT to draw unfavourable assessments on refugee claims when they are first presented, and creates grounds for authorities to reject protection claims if asylum seekers cannot or will not produce identity documents.
“While the Australian community has long accepted a responsibility to provide refuge to people who engage our protection obligations, the reciprocal responsibilities of people who seek protection in Australia were not clear in our law,” the assistant immigration minister, Michaelia Cash, told the Senate last week.
“The protection and other measures bill will state those responsibilities on the face of our legislation. If a person wants our help, that person is obliged to show good faith and honestly state their case as to who they are and why they need Australia’s protection.
“As a result of this bill, applicants will need to provide documentary evidence of their identity, nationality or citizenship, or have taken reasonable steps to do so in order to be granted a protection visa,” she said.
The bill would also increase the risk threshold for complementary protection from “a real chance” of persecution to “a more likely than not” chance.
The Greens and some other crossbenchers still have concerns with the bill, but the agreement between Labor and the Coalition effectively renders their opposition irrelevant, as the major parties have the numbers in the Senate without relying on crossbench votes.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said she was “concerned that the passing of this bill will mean thousands of refugees who are already here in Australia will be at huge risk of being deported and denied appropriate protection.”
“I’m disappointed that the Labor party has not stood up to the fear campaign of Tony Abbott on this one. I’m disappointed that they have not been able to show some strength in protecting people and standing for the rule of law, but we also have become accustomed to them going weak at the knees,” she said.
Asylum seekers to be transferred from Northam detention centre to Darwin
A large group of asylum seekers is due to be transferred from Western Australia's Yongah Hill detention centre to Darwin today, as the facility becomes predominantly used to house former criminals and visa overstayers.
A first batch of up to 87 people, believed to be from Sri Lanka, Nepal, India and Vietnam, were told yesterday by Serco officers to pack their belongings, the ABC has been told by several sources.
They were due to be taken by charter flight to Darwin this morning, while it is understood another large group of asylum seekers is scheduled for transfer next week.
One detainee said the asylum seekers were told by authorities they were being moved because they could not be kept safe at Yongah Hill.
In a statement, the department said transfers occurred regularly.
"Detainee transfers are routine for the department and can take place for a number of reasons, including medical appointments and operational purposes," it said.
"The department does not comment on operational matters in the detention network."
The Refugee Rights Action Network said asylum seekers were not being kept safe in detention centres.
"Whether asylum seekers are detained without charge or trial on Manus, Nauru or at Yongah Hill, the Government of Australia and the contractors hired to oversee and manage the detention centres repeatedly fail to keep people safe," the network's Victoria Martin-Iverson said.
"The recent decision to transfer a large cohort of asylum seekers to Wickham Point in Darwin is yet another manifestation of this fundamental failure of the duty of care.
"It is time to close the camps and treat asylum seekers in accordance with our international obligations in a manner that respects their human rights."
The $125 million centre, about 90 kilometres northeast of Perth, was opened in June 2012 and has a capacity of 600 detainees.
It was established to house asylum seekers as the number of boat arrivals surged.
However, its purpose has been changing as numbers dropped off.
It has more recently housed a population made up of about half asylum seekers and half people who have breached their visa conditions or foreign nationals who have served 12 months or more in prison and were to be deported under section 501 of the Migration Act.
Today's transfer of asylum seekers would see that balance shift further away from asylum seekers, with more "501s" and visa overstayers tipped to arrive.
Tensions have escalated in the last month, with a two-day rooftop protest last week ending in six detainees being transferred to other locations.
One man is believed to have been taken to the high-security section of the Perth immigration detention centre, while others are understood to be in a prison remand centre.
One of the men transferred claimed to have been beaten by guards.
The Immigration Department has refused to answer questions on the alleged incident or say where the men have been taken and why.
Two New Zealanders and a Fijian appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court yesterday via video-link from Casuarina and Hakea prisons on charges of assaulting another detainee at Yongah Hill on March 5.
The 41-year-old victim was initially in a critical condition in Royal Perth Hospital, with injuries to his head and face, but the hospital later said he was in a stable condition.
The three accused had all been kept in Yongah Hill's Falcon compound, where the assault occurred, and were all convicted criminals awaiting deportation.
Latrobe councillor fails to overturn 'refugee welcome zone' declaration
An attempt to overturn Latrobe City Council's declaration that the area, in south-east Victoria, is a 'refugee welcome zone', has been defeated.
Councillor Christine Sindt's motion to revoke the welcome zone failed to find a backer at last night's council meeting and could therefore not be heard.
Members of the public gallery, carrying signs in support of refugees which read 'I speak for respect', applauded the motion's defeat.
The council is investigating Cr Sindt for posting anti-Islamic comments on her official Latrobe City Facebook page.
Nauru government promises changes at Australia's pedophile refugee concentration camp
The Nauru government says it is disappointed in the service providers at the Australian-run asylum seeker detention camps in the wake of the Moss review.
The independent review, commissioned by the Australian government, found allegations made against nine Save The Children workers at the camps, who were sacked last year, were false.
But the report did confirm cases of rape, the sexual abuse of children and the sale of drugs for sexual favours with some staff at the Nauru facilities.
The Nauru government says it is deeply concerned about the findings and says it will make resources available to ensure that all recommendations are implemented. It says the service providers are meant to ensure people in the camps are treated with care and dignity.
The camps, which are managed by multi national Transfield, are staffed by foreigners and Nauruan locals.
The government says it is clear there must be changes in the way these operations are managed.
It says it strongly condemns sexual assault, violence and any form of intimidation, particularly against those who are vulnerable.
On several occasions in recent months the Nauru government has accused refugee groups of lying and misinformation when they have raised concerns about the welfare of the camp inmates.
More spin from the political and media establishment so Australia can keep torturing refugees. [Sydney Morning Herald - 24/3/15]:
... Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, whose allegations of sexual abuse triggered the investigation by former integrity commissioner Philip Moss, will announce the inquiry on Tuesday.
She will need the support of the Labor Party for it to proceed, but the Opposition's immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, has signalled his backing. "We are definitely open to considering a review," a spokeswoman for Mr Marles said. ...
A GENUINE opposition would call for the resignation of any politician involved and an end to mandatory detention.
The Senate meets at 12.30 today. First item of government business: Telecommunications (Data Retention) Bill
Greens announce significant amendments to data retention regime [Media Release – 24/3/15]:
The Australian Greens have announced a broad suite of amendments to the data retention regime being legislated by Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten.
"Our amendments address major privacy and security protections that are being stripped away by the Abbott/Shorten surveillance unity ticket," Senator Scott Ludlam, Greens communications spokesperson said.
"Authorities should need a warrant to access bulk metadata and that entire process should have proper, independent oversight. That's what the Greens will move in the Senate today.
"This debate has shown quickly the ALP is willing to fall into step with Tony Abbott, and without these amendments, any Australian who uses a phone or internet device will be caught. The onus is now on the ALP to help fix this bill, not just wave it through the Senate.
"Under our amendments, authorities will need to apply for a warrant in the majority of cases before metadata can be accessed, will only be able to do so in relation to serious crimes, and the role of the public interest advocate will be widened to contest the breadth of these authorisations.
"Our amendments will ensure data is stored in Australia, and is held for three months, rather than two years, before being destroyed. Storing the data in Australia will reduce the risk of hacking and data breaches leading to mass exposure of personal information.
"We are also moving to provide better protections for Australia's journalists, by restoring the wider definition of what constitutes journalism. Our amendments also create protocols to ensure professionals working in areas such as the legal or medical fields are protected, in the event our wider amendments are not successful.
"To improve oversight, we will require the Commonwealth Ombudsman to examine the records of each agency which has access to metadata every six months, and will seek to remove the ability of the Attorney-General to randomly widen the scope of this scheme through regulation, without coming back to Parliament.
"These amendments act on the most serious concerns raised by a wide range of stakeholders when it comes to mandatory mass surveillance. I call on the Opposition to do better than it managed in the House last week," Senator Ludlam concluded.
Data retention: 'journalist information warrants' are warrants in name only [Guardian - 23/3/15]
Snowden's leaks contributed to Daesh's victory in northern and western Iraq, the enslavement of the Yazidis, the mass rape of women, the destruction of the Tomb of Jonah and all of the antiquities in the museum in Mosul, as well as the horrible persecution of Christians and people who live in that area. What a dubious achievement! Well done, Mr Snowden, and his apologists!
House of Representatives Hansard [2/3/15]:
Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) … The Christian Science Monitor's Middle East editor, Mr Murphy, drew my attention to the fact that Snowden and his various champions support the release of material about how the Five Eyes—the Western intelligence services—intercepted telecommunications in northern Iraq prior to Daesh conquering that area. Snowden's release of this data was completely inimical to the safety of Western societies and civilians and, of course, it was to the great detriment of the people who live in that area. I question the motivation of someone who would leak this information on the interception capabilities of telecommunications of al-Qaeda in the Mosul and western and northern Iraq regions. This bastardry—and I use that word advisedly—has nothing to do with privacy. This simply undermines the ability of the West to assist Iraq in northern Iraq to prevent al-Qaeda or IS's spread.
It is not coincidental that some months after Snowden's revelations of how the West intercepts what they are doing, that al-Qaeda and IS encrypted all of their telephone traffic in a way that made what they were doing invisible. And that is the big answer to the mystery of what happened in northern Iraq. How did IS roll into northern Iraq and Mosul without Western secret services being able to pick this up? What on earth does disclosing Western interception methodology have to do with the privacy concerns of Western publics in Melbourne, Manhattan or Manchester? Snowden's leaks contributed to Daesh's victory in northern and western Iraq, the enslavement of the Yazidis, the mass rape of women, the destruction of the Tomb of Jonah and all of the antiquities in the museum in Mosul, as well as the horrible persecution of Christians and people who live in that area. What a dubious achievement! Well done, Mr Snowdon, and his apologists!
I want to contrast that with the measured and balanced way that the members for Holt and Isaacs have approached this. They have cited Professor George Williams of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, having accepted the need for metadata retention. They have quoted Professor Gillian Triggs, of the Human Rights Commission, who acknowledges there is a need for data retention. The member for Holt said in his speech this morning:
We cannot have a discussion about national security laws without acknowledging the growing threat that our country faces from the terrorist menace. What needs to be contemplated by those that have some resistance to this metadata regime is that they can be reassured that the committee looked very extensively at the case for and against. You can rest assured that some of the safeguards that have been put into this report—that hopefully will be enshrined in legislation—are amongst the strongest safeguards in the Western world for any data retention regime. You can be reassured that we will continue to monitor the implementation of this data retention regime.
Snowden and those who support him have little or no appreciation of the threat that Australian and Western civilians face. They have nothing compared to the carefully balanced efforts that Labor, together with the government, have made to protect the citizens of this country. The Greens are all about protest and rarely constructive. Labor, by contrast, will insist on legislation with sunset causes, parliamentary oversight, data breach provisions and—should Mr Turnbull provide sensible legislation that will adequately protect Australian's interests and privacy—Labor, I am sure, will pass it.
CITIZENFOUR at the Murwillumbah Regent. Starts Thursday - after the ALP and LNP pass their surveillance stitchup.
24 March 2015