1. Rupert Murdoch is a horrible, old fascist who despises public education, teachers and the disadvantaged.
2. Rupert Murdoch does not own newspapers. Rupert Murdoch runs propaganda sheets like the 'Courier-Mail' - which gutless politicians refuse to stand up to, and other unthinking media outlets (especially the ABC) parrot unquestioningly.
3. If Rupert Murdoch - and his obedient stenographers - continue to control political debate, expect worse policy outcomes for education in Queensland.
Brisbane Times [29/10/15]:
A 13-year-old special needs boy was regularly strapped to a chair at a Queensland special school to stop him running around, according to his parents.
Lynette Nolan and Cary White said teachers or aides at Hervey Bay Special School regularly tied their son up with a car seat belt last year to stop him getting out of his chair because he was walking around too much.
"We were annoyed, very annoyed, that they could tie Daniel down and not let him walk around," she said.
"Cary contacted the principal over it and she was trying to deny it even happened.
"(But) we saw it with our own eyes."
Daniel suffers from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy that leaves him with severe speech and learning impairments.
HBSS principal Jo McCracken referred Fairfax Media questions to the Department of Education and Training, which refused to comment on individual cases.
A contractor at the school confirmed he had seen Daniel strapped to his chair on one occasion and was aware of several other times students had been forcefully restrained.
The allegations came a day after shocking revelations a different Hervey Bay school was locking an autistic boy in a small "time out" room when he misbehaved.
There's no suggestion the complaints are linked.
Education Minister Kate Jones on Wednesday labelled Kawungan State School's practice of locking up nine-year-old autistic boy Tate Smith in a small two-metre by two-metre room "completely unacceptable".
"As soon as the department became aware, the school was ordered to close the room. That matter is being investigated," she said in Parliament.
The department assured parents the room, where Tate was reportedly locked alone up to 20 times, was being dismantled.
The revelations prompted Daniel's parents to come forward with their own complaints about Hervey Bay Special School, which borders Kawungan.
"I think the principal needs to be gone from that school," Ms Nolan said.
"She treats the kids like they're mainstream kids when she knows they have a disability."
Children with Disability Australia CEO Stephanie Gotlib, whose organisation referred Tate Smith's case to the education department on Monday, said Daniel's treatment was unacceptable.
"Would it be acceptable for a child without disabilities?" she said.
"Why in Australia are we saying that the unacceptable is acceptable for children with disabilities?"
His parents have since pulled him from HBSS to homeschool him since the start of this year.
Ms Gotlib said she was aware of similar issues relating to treatment of children with disabilities at other Queensland schools but the Hervey Bay complaints were at the "extreme" end of the spectrum.
News of Tate Smith's treatment came a month after images emerged of a cage an autistic child was placed in at a Canberra school.
A Department of Education and Training spokesman said the investigation into Tate Smith's treatment at Kawungan had been referred to the department's Ethical Standards Unit.
We turn now to shocking new videos that have surfaced from inside a South Carolina high school where a police officer has been caught on camera slamming a teenage girl to the ground and dragging the student out of the classroom. The videos, which went viral on Monday, appear to show Deputy Sheriff Ben Fields approaching the student, who is seated at her desk, then wrapping his arm around her neck and flipping her and her desk to the ground. He then appears to drag her out of the classroom. The student was arrested. Another student who filmed the assault was also arrested and held on a $1,000 bail. The incident reportedly began when the student refused to give her teacher her phone. The incident is the latest in a series of cases of police officers in schools using excessive force against students. ... [Democracy Now - 28/10/15]
Oz: Israel's prison for Palestinian children [Al Jazeera - 28/10/15]
Israeli forces overnight Tuesday detained 33 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank including 20 from the Hebron area, locals told Ma'an.
Five Palestinians were detained from Nablus, two while crossing Israeli military checkpoints, according to Palestinian security sources. ... [Maan - 28/10/15]
One person was critically injured at dawn on Wednesday after coming under fire by Israeli troops in the occupied town of Ghajar, reported the National News Agency.
It said that the soldiers shot at a person, who was attempting to hide behind a sand barrier in the Lebanese section of the town.
The victim was not identified.
An Israeli infantry unit, backed by several vehicles, soon arrived at the scene and transported the victim to a hospital in the Palestinian territories. [Naharnet - 28/10/15]
Arab MP visits Jerusalem's Aqsa despite Netanyahu ban [Daily Star - 28/10/15]
3rd Palestinian shot, killed after alleged attack in Hebron [Maan - 27/10/15]
Israeli forces in Occupied Palestinian Territories must end pattern of unlawful killings [Amnesty Media Release - 27/10/15]
The United States is seeking to bolster its strong defense ties with Israel amid many security challenges Israel faces in the Middle East, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today.
The defense relationship between the United States and Israel is stronger than ever, Carter said during an appearance at the National Defense University with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. ... [US Department of Defense - 27/10/15]
Netanyahu: “We will live by the sword”, indefinitely control all Palestinian territory [Mint Press - 27/10/15]:
... The prime minister also spoke about possible plans to revoke Israeli citizenship or residency from the Arab residents of east Jerusalem.
He complained that there had not been any “progress” on the matter because of delays at the Justice Ministry, headed by Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi). ...
In a near unanimous vote, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly today adopted a resolution renewing its call for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba, while also acknowledging the restoration, after nearly 50 years, of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
By a vote of 191 in favour to two against (Israel and the United States), the Assembly welcomed the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, announced last July, and the willingness of US President Barack Obama to work towards the lifting of the economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba. ... [UN Media Release - 27/10/15]
South African police fired stun grenades and arrested one student in clashes at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand on Wednesday, as country-wide protests for free tertiary education entered a third week.
Studies and examinations have been disrupted at several universities and many remain closed even after President Jacob Zuma on Friday gave in to the protesting student's demands not to increase university fees next year. ... [Daily Star - 28/10/15]
Gunmen, security forces battle in Burundi clashes; seven dead [Yahoo - 27/10/15]
105-year-old Afghan refugee reaches Europe [TOLO News - 28/10/15]
The Chinese government will offer disaster relief to quake-hit Afghanistan and Pakistan based on their needs and China's Red Cross will provide emergency assistance in cash to the two countries, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday. ... [TOLO News - 28/10/15]
NATO drone strike kills 11 in Nangarhar province [Khaama - 28/10/15]
Eleven Taliban and four policemen have been killed in separate security incidents in eastern Nangarhar and southeastern Paktia provinces, officials said on Wednesday. ... [Pajhwok - 28/10/15]
Afghan Local Police (ALP) personnel have killed three civilians and wounded four others of a family in the Chamtal district of northern Balkh province, an official alleged on Wednesday. ... [Pajhwok - 28/10/15]
Unidentified armed men have torched a girls’ school in Pul-i-Alam, capital of Logar province, in the neighborhood of Kabul. ... [Khaama - 28/10/15]
Saudi-led coalition drops weapons for allies in Yemen [Reuters - 28/10/15]
U.S. President Barack Obama called Saudi King Salman on Tuesday, the Saudi state news agency SPA said.
SPA said the leaders had discussed "bilateral relations, the situation in the region, in addition to developments in the regional and international arenas". ... [Ahram - 27/10/15]
Yemen: Ban calls for all warring parties to halt operations after Saudi-led airstrikes destroy hospital [Media Release - 27/10/15]
The consequences of potential US ground operations in Syria would be unpredictable, the head of Russia’s parliamentary committee on foreign affairs told RT.
He added that claims Russian airstrikes have targeted civilians are part of ongoing information war.
“If there ...[is] any evidence ...[it] should be presented and Russia is definitely open to making further investigations,” Chairman of the Russian Upper House committee for foreign affairs, Konstantin Kosachev told RT, while on a visit to Washington.
“But there is no evidence [that has been] presented by the military experts to the Russian military experts.”
Kosachev’s comments come after the Russian Ministry of Defense summoned the military attaches of NATO countries and Saudi Arabia, asking them to clarify their allegations that Russian airstrikes in Syria had hit civilian targets. ... [RT - 28/10/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [27/10/15]:
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, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter aircraft conducted one airstrike in Syria:
-- Near Mara, one strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 12 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the government of Iraq:
-- Near Kisik, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and suppressed two ISIL machine gun positions.
-- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle bomb, four ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL artillery piece and also suppressed an ISIL cannon and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, six strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL checkpoint and suppressed an ISIL machine gun position.
The United States is considering sending a small number of special operations forces to Syria and attack helicopters to Iraq as it weighs options to build momentum in the battle against Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Tuesday. ... [Reuters - 28/10/15]
If Russia launches airstrikes against Islamic State (ISIL) targets in Iraq, the US military will rethink its presence in the country, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"I tried to explain to [Iraqi leaders] that our continued support really would be problematic were they to invite the Russians in to conduct strikes," Dunford was quoted as saying by Defense One.
"I was assured that they had not extended that invitation and that they did not intend to extend an invitation to do that." ... [Sputnik News - 28/10/15]
The Air Force announced today the contract award of engineering and manufacturing development and early production for the Long Range Strike Bomber, or LRS-B, to Northrop Grumman Corp. ... [US Department of Defense - 27/10/15]
Unravelling the drivers behind EU border militarization, Martin Lemberg-Pedersen [University of Oxford, Faculty of Law - 28/10/15]:
... However, while there has been much discussion of the smuggling industry, the effects of another industry have been all but ignored by European politicians even though it’s intimately connected to the expansion of smuggling networks. This industry involves private security and military companies (PSMCs), which since the early 2000s have viewed border control as an emerging market. Companies such as British BAE Systems, Italian Finmeccanica, French Thales or Airbus and Boeing are aggressively pursuing and competing for new contracts for border control in a highly lucrative market, estimated by the analysis group Frost & Sullivan to globally be worth €25.8bn in 2012, reaching €49.6bn by 2020. ...
Austria announces plans to build fence along border with Slovenia [VOA - 28/10/15]
An 84-year-old man being held at a detention centre died of a heart attack after being shackled for five hours while suffering chest pains, an inquest has heard.
Alois Dvorzac, a former electrical engineer, was at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre after being denied entry to the UK during a journey from Canada to his native Slovenia. ... [Guardian - 28/10/15]
@bouckap [27/10/15]: Four boats rescued off cliffs on Lesbos last night by @PROACTIVA_SERV teams, very difficult.
@MSF_Sea [28/10/15]: This is how two people spent last night in #Lesvos
How many refugees did your navy repel today Australia? ---> @guardiacostiera [28/10/15]: #Mediterraneo #CentraleOperativa #GuardiaCostiera coordina 7 operazioni di #soccorso. Salvati oltre 1000 #migranti
@MSF_Sea [27/10/15]: ... The #Dignity1 has just rescued a 2nd inflatable boat, this time carrying 118 #people, mainly from #Somalia
Almost 70,000 refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants – primarily from Ethiopia and Somalia – have reached Yemen by sea so far this year, despite on-going conflict and a deepening humanitarian crisis there, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday. ... [UNHCR Media Release - 27/10/15]
The massive civic mobilization that’s welcoming refugees in Croatia [Open Society Foundation - 26/10/15]
Sri Lanka to introduce electronic identity cards from next year [Tamil Guardian - 28/10/15]
Sri Lankan Minister of National Dialogue Mano Ganesan said the government would not be granting an amnesty to Tamil political prisoners who had gone on hunger strike earlier this month. ... [Tamil Guardian - 27/10/15]
Ongoing Myanmar conflict traps villagers in crossfire [UNHCR Media Release - 28/10/15]
Myanmar's main opposition party, led by the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, deliberately bypassed Muslim candidates ahead of the November election, a senior party member told Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source said Suu Kyi ordered an " Islamic purge" in the National League for Democracy (NLD) to appease growing anti-Muslim sentiment fuelled by hardline Buddhist nationalists. ... [Al Jazeera - 28/10/15]
Orion buys children’s book about Rohingya refugees in Australia
[The Bookseller – 27/10/15]:
Orion Children’s Books has acquired the UK and Commonweath rights to The Bone Sparrow, a book about Rohingya refugees in Australia, by Zana Fraillon.
The story is told through the eyes of Subhi, a young refugee who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre after his mother fled her homeland, and was inspired by the stories Australia-based Fraillon heard about real-life refugees in Australia.
Helen Thomas, editorial director at Orion Children’s Books and Indigo, acquired the novel in a two-book deal from Claire Wilson at Rogers Coleridge & White.
“We couldn’t be prouder to be welcoming Zana to Orion Children’s Books,” said Thomas.
“The Bone Sparrow is a vitally important book that will resonate with readers on very deep levels. It’s also a poignant example of how a single voice has the potential to help us find compassion for the countless people who have ever struggled to find a safe home.”
Rights have also sold in Italy (to Corbaccio) and Greece (Psichogios), and auctions are underway in the US and Australia. Hachette Australia will publish in the ANZ market.
Orion Children’s Books will be seeking a charity to work with to put a book into the hands of a refugee child for every copy of The Bone Sparrow sold, and will publish in July 2016 in hardback (£12.99).
Fraillon previously worked as a primary school teacher and has had picture books and middle grade fiction published by Egmont Australia and Allen & Unwin. She has not previously been published in English outside Australia.
Promoting the “Muslim threat” in Myanmar [Al Jazeera - 26/10/15]
Protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister says Abyan will be returned to Australia for "treatment"
Sydney Morning Herald [28/10/15]:
A pregnant Somali refugee who says she was raped on Nauru will return to Australia to discuss her abortion and mental health with medical experts, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says.
He rejected suggestions the decision was influenced by concern from the United Nations, which on Wednesday urged the Turnbull government to allow the woman "a decent option".
The 23-year-old woman who goes by the pseudonym Abyan has alleged a rape on Nauru 15 weeks ago left her pregnant. She is seeking a termination.
The Turnbull government flew her to Australia for the procedure earlier this month, but returned her to Nauru a few days later, claiming she rejected treatment when it was offered.
Abyan's advocates said she simply asked for counselling so she could make an informed decision before proceeding.
On Wednesday Mr Dutton said medical experts on Nauru had met the woman and she had accepted their advice to travel to Australia for medical assistance, despite initially saying she did not wish to return.
He did not say if she would proceed with the abortion, saying "ultimately this is a decision for the lady... this is really quite a private matter" that involved mental health issues and an alleged rape.
In Australia, Abyan would "speak to a doctor in terms of her termination but also to seek mental health services".
Mr Dutton would not say when she would return, lest the matter become a "media spectacle".
The United Nations human rights agency on Wednesday condemned the official response to sexual assault victims on Nauru and said Abyan should urgently receive an abortion if she wants one.
Mr Dutton said he was not swayed by the entreaty and plans to bring Abyan to Australia had "been in the making for some days".
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville said the organisation has been in direct contact with Abyan who is mentally and physically fragile and "deeply traumatised by her experiences since the day of the alleged rape".
"She has refused to give information to the Nauru police about her attacker because she is understandably afraid of reprisals," Mr Colville said in a statement.
"She does not feel safe, given that her alleged attacker lives on Nauru, which is a very small island state with a population of around 10,000."
Australia and Nauru must urgently provide "a decent option" for Abyan, enabling her to obtain "adequate mental and physical care and to terminate her pregnancy if she desires".
Mr Dutton has previously said asylum seekers and refugees brought to the mainland for medical treatment should not attempt to seek permanent resettlement in Australia.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said [BLURT BLURT BLURT BLAH BLAH BLAH I'D BE WORSE]
Meanwhile, the Nauruan government says those calling for Australian media access to the Australian-funded detention centre should remember Nauru "is not a state of Australia".
"Many Australian media outlets and journalists have no respect for Nauru or our culture or people," Justice Minister David Adeang said in a statement on Wednesday.
His government refuses to answer many "ridiculous" questions posed by Australian journalists because "Nauru has no obligation to answer to Australian media".
US Ambassador Cefkin with the Republic of Nauru media team [17/8/15]
RISE (Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees) [28/10/15]: Reports that an asylum seeker traumatised by fear of deportation went to Brisbane airport and took his own life. RIP-Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. For help or information call Suicide Helpline Victoria on 1300 651 251 or Lifeline on 131 114. Note: You can also ask for an interpreter.
Australian politician actually responds to the UN's latest report on Nauru.
Silence from others = contempt.
Greens Media Release [28/10/15]:
Following criticism from the United Nations the Turnbull government must take action and provide 'Abyan', the young woman who needs an abortion after she was raped on Nauru, with appropriate medical care.
"The Turnbull government has treated this poor young woman in an appalling way. It's high time she was given the care that she needs," the Greens' immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
"Abyan came to us seeking asylum and a better life. In response, we shipped her off to a tiny Pacific island where she was assaulted and left with no one to care for her.
"Time is running out for Abyan and this strong rebuke from the United Nations makes it clear that the rest of the world is watching.
"As a caring nation we should be offering Abyan a chance to rebuild her life, not condemning her to face poverty and ongoing abuse on Nauru."
Protected and unaccountable Turnbull wasn't taking questions about the UN's latest report about Nauru while doing PR for Australia's nuclear industry with "Brett the Chef"? [ABC - 28/10/15]:
... In Adelaide for a day of media events, Mr Turnbull was asked for his view in an interview with local radio station 5AA.
"I commend Jay Weatherill for having the royal commission. I think it's good that he's done that," Mr Turnbull said.
The Prime Minister went on to relay a conversation he had held with "Brett the chef" ahead of the interview.
"I was just talking about this with the cook in the cafe downstairs when I was having a coffee and some breakfast," Mr Turnbull said.
"His view, and I think a lot of South Australians feel like this, and it's a perfectly reasonable view, is we've got the uranium, we mine it, why don't we process it, turn it into the fuel rods, lease them to people overseas? ...
Indefinite offshore detention of asylum seekers is inhumane, expensive and must stop.
That's the message that will be given to a Sunshine Coast Business Council forum next month.
Former human rights commissioner Catherine Branson says Australia has been unduly troubled by modest numbers of refugees compared with the thousands of people streaming across Europe or the 42 million people displaced by the Second World War.
"We need to have a compassionate, not frightened, perspective and behave with rationality and compassion," Ms Branson said.
She will be on the Sunshine Coast for the Human Rights Equals Prosperity Forum to be staged at Sunshine Coast TAFE on November 5 at which she will give a free keynote public address. ... [Sunshine Coast Daily - 28/10/15]
Shameful asylum seeker policy must be revisited [Sunshine Coast Daily - 28/10/15]:
Former Human Rights Commissioner Catherine Branson pulls no punches when she describes Australia's policy of indefinite detention of asylum seekers as inhumane and expensive.
She is of course right.
Ms Branson is a distinguished jurist, academic and former Federal Court judge who by the luck of timing avoided the scorn poured on current Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs by Abbott Government ministers.
She says history will judge as shameful policy settings that use people locked up on island detention centres as a deterrent.
The expense of the exercise estimated at $400,000 per person annually as opposed to $40,000 to have them on bridging visas in Australia is also senseless.
Ms Branson urges those without compassion to at least consider those numbers and the $10bn earmarked in forward estimates to sustain the status quo.
Both major political parties engaged in a disgraceful race to the bottom on asylum seeker policy. It is now more than time they found their way back to a position that will make the future proud.
Transfield Services' contract to run the Nauru and Manus Island offshore detention centres has been extended for a further four months. ... [SBS - 28/10/15]
... The protesters shouted "Free, free, the refugees" as chairwoman Diane Smith-Gander addressed the shareholders. ... [SBS - 28/10/15]
@brynnobrien [28/10/15]: This is @AliBaqiri's statement, being read in the #TransfieldAGM right now
@redlizthompson [28/10/15]: #divestfromdetention crew kicked out of Transfield AGM @xBorderOps
@xBorderOps [28/10/15]: #DivestFromDetention activist confronts @DianeSmithG at the #TransfieldAGM. Boycotts will continue til camps close
@xBorderOps [28/10/15]: This is the message we delivered to the #TransfieldAGM from #DivestFromDetention:
Divest from Detention activists disrupt Transfield Spectrum Broadspectrum AGM
Activists from the Divest from Detention Network disrupted Transfield Services' AGM to deliver the following messages.
As detainees have stated, in this letter signed by 844 people in detention on Manus Island and Nauru:
"You took our joy, you took our hope, dreams, and locked us up inside the fence ... We can't breathe freely."
In solidarity with people in detention, this was the message we gave to Transfield Services' AGM today:
We will continue to target Transfield Services, no matter what, until they stop running detention centres. We will continue to target any detention contractors, as we have done by throwing Transfield Services out of the Sydney Biennale, and by chasing them from superannuation funds like Hesta.
Boycott and divestment have consequences for companies like Transfield.
Transfield's shareprice has halved since they took on detention contracts.
They have been unable to pay their investors dividends for three years in a row.
Their debt has made it impossible to raise capital other than through unsecured financial markets.
Divestment campaigns are not about making detention nicer - detention can never meet any minimum human rights standards.
Divestment is about the abolition of detention.
We will continue to pursue any company seeking to profit from detention until all the camps are closed.
We want better pay and nicer cages: United Voice [ABC - 28/10/15]:
... The United Voice union wants shareholders to put pressure on the company to improve human rights and labour standards.
National secretary Jo-anne Schofield said current and former employees had told the union that change was urgently needed.
"We're seeing a lot of pressure due to poor management of the centres being squeezed down on to staff who are really trying to do their job in a very volatile environment," she said.
"Transfield can't wash its hands of liability to people in detention or its staff.
"We want better systems for training and supporting staff and particularly looking after staff wellbeing, there needs to be improved management and oversight of sub-contractors and better processes and systems in place to monitor and investigate and resolve complaints."
At work inside Australia's immigration detention centres: A Serco guard's story [Global Mail - 7/2/14]
... It’s been more than two years since I arrived in Indonesia. And more than 10 months ago I was officially accepted as a refugee — and all I can do is continue to wait.
Once a week I go to the U.N.H.C.R. office to check on my case, and I’m told politely to wait more. ...
New York Times [ 21/8/15]:
... Everything seemed O.K. — until the storm hit. Winds, rain and waves pounded our weak wooden boat. A vessel full of people who had escaped terror at home found that once again our lives were on the line.
We screamed and cried. Someone deep inside the crowd shouted in Farsi, asking if anyone could speak English. I yelled out that I could, and I was hustled forward to the bridge. The captain had already called for help. I was handed a satellite phone. Seconds later I was talking with someone from Australian search and rescue.
“Hello. Can you hear me? Hello? ... We are asylum-seekers in distress on a boat. Our boat is broken and we will drown!”
Rescue: “Could you read me your G.P.S. location?”
I didn’t know how to do that. I had never used a satellite phone before, but I was guided by a voice in my other ear.
Rescue: “What do you wish us to do for you?”
“We are in a real bad situation, sir. We will drown. Our boat is broken. We are nearly 100 people on board. Could you please rescue us?”
Rescue: “What do you wish we do for you?”
“We wish to be rescued, sir! I repeat, sir, we wish to be rescued!”
We stayed low in the boat, helpless, counting every second. They’d said 15 to 25 minutes. Seventeen hours passed. It appeared that the Australians didn’t believe our plea for help.
In desperation, I called an Australian journalist I knew in Jakarta to ask if he could alert the Indonesian authorities.
Nine hours later, a warning bell heralded the arrival of Indonesian search and rescue. We were given first-aid and water. It felt like a miraculous act of kindness. ...
Naqsh Murtaza is a former television news presenter writing a book about his experiences as an asylum seeker.
government to "supervise" Kiwis deported from Australia
A new supervision regime for offenders deported to New Zealand after serving a prison sentence overseas has been revealed by the government today.
Justice Minister Amy Adams revealed details of the new plan today.
However, she confirmed 167 New Zealanders had already arrived back here after being deported from Australia and would not be covered by the supervision regime.
The government will be able to apply for Extended Supervision Orders or Public Protection Orders for offenders it considers to pose a serious risk, out of that group of people.
It was prompted to draft the legislation with hundreds of New Zealanders due to be deported from Australia in the coming months.
Ms Adams said it had been her intention that returning criminals should be subject to the same sort of oversight as those who had served similar sentences in New Zealand.
"Now that we have a register to track these offenders and an information sharing arrangement with Australia to provide us with all the detailed information we need, we're in a much better position to properly assess and monitor these returning offenders - the majority of whom come from Australia."
Ms Adams said retrospective legislation to cover those already deported was incredibly difficult.
"It's my intention that the regime will apply as soon as the Bill is passed and we want to expedite that. There will be a backstop ability in there for corrections to go back and seek additional orders from the court at any time, and it may well be that is something that can be sought for offenders that are already here."
She said New Zealand had no choice about whether or to accept the New Zealand citizens deported back here.
"Along with the other initiatives we've already announced, the supervision regime will put us in a stronger position to monitor and manage offenders who pose a threat to the public, and will help rehabilitate and reintegrate returning offenders into the community."
It would apply to those sentenced to more than a year in prison and those who have returned to New Zealand within six months of their release date.
Ms Adams estimated an average 100 people at any one time will be subject to the proposed supervision regime, which is expected to cost about $7 million over five years.
Offenders will have similar conditions imposed on them as they would have if they'd served their sentence in New Zealand, under the supervision of the Parole Board.
That would include a requirement to report to a probation officer, who had the authority to impose restrictions on living and working arrangements, and who the offenders associate with.
The offender would also have to notify their probation officer if they change their residential address.
The Department of Corrections would be able to apply to the District Court for additional conditions, within the period of supervision, if and when needed.
The length of time they will be under supervision will depend on the length of their prison sentence.
For example six months supervision for a sentence of one to two years, and five years' supervision for a life sentence, or the equivalent.
Police would also be able to photograph and fingerprint all returning offenders, and require them to provide specified information, such as name and aliases, date and place of birth and intended address.
And they would be able to get a DNA sample from deported offenders if the offence they were deported for is also an imprisonable offence in New Zealand.
The Government estimates an average 100 people at any one time will be subject to the regime, which is expected to cost about $7-million over five years.
"It's my intention to advance these changes as a matter of priority and we'll be talking with other parties in that regard," said Ms Adams.
The Green Party said the Government should have made a stronger stand against Australia's automatic deportation of New Zealanders before considering a supervision regime.
Green's co-leader James Shaw said the proposal made sense in principle, but New Zealand was paying the cost of Australia's deportation policy.
"This has only come about under urgency because the government has consistently failed to stand up for human rights and to ensure the Australians stop their automatic deportation."
Mr Shaw said the party had not seen the draft bill yet so could not say whether it would support it.
Queensland whistleblower loses unfair dismissal case
Brisbane Times [28/10/15]:
A former Queensland Government employee sacked for allegedly leaking confidential information to the media has failed to get his job back in an unfair dismissal court case.
Dr John Cronin, a veterinary officer with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, was fired in 2013 because the department believed he briefed journalists about the closure of an animal disease laboratory in Toowoomba.
However Dr Cronin believed the real reason he was sacked was because the department found out he was behind an anonymous tip-off to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (now CCC) over a biosecurity failure at another government facility.
Dr Cronin's cover was blown when the CMC accidently identified him in an email sent to the department.
Queensland Industrial Relations Commission president Deirdre Swan said much of the evidence in the dismissal case was circumstantial, but ruled Dr Cronin's sacking for breaching the Public Service Act by leaking information was justified.
The department said Dr Cronin used his work mobile and email to disclose details about the closure of the Animal Disease Surveillance Laboratory in Toowoomba.
He was also accused of wiping information from the phone when he was asked to return it, but Dr Cronin said the deletions were accidental.
Dr Cronin did not deny speaking with journalists, but said he did not provide information that breached the act.
Ms Swan said Dr Cronin's dismissal "was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable".
"The email and phone trail shows that Dr Cronin took his involvement to an unacceptable level when it was clear that he knew that his adverse commentary would be used in the media," she said.
"The Applicant's submission that the CMC e-mail was the trigger for Dr Cronin's ultimate dismissal is not accepted. Dr Cronin's conduct and behaviour concerning the Government's decision to close the Department's facility in Toowoomba was the reason for his dismissal."
Journalist Nicky Hager is putting pressure on Westpac Bank to reveal why it shared his private account details with the police. ... [RNZI - 27/10/15]
Man dead after cement kiln explosion in central Queensland
A man has died after a cement kiln exploded at a central Queensland worksite.
The 31-year-old received significant head injuries in the explosion at a South Trees work site and died in hospital.
No-one else was injured in the explosion which occurred about 12:30pm.
Workplace health and safety officers are investigating.
CFMEU to rally against Queensland job losses [Yahoo - 28/10/15]
Telstra to cut nearly 40 Tasmanian jobs [Nine MSN – 27/10/15]
A Brisbane man has been stabbed in the arm after confronting intruders in his home.
Police say the 26-year-old was asleep at his Ascot unit just before midnight on Tuesday when he woke up and realised someone had broken in. ... [Yahoo - 28/10/15]
Toowoomba detectives investigating the alleged assault and robbery of a man at Newtown on October 22 are appealing for witnesses. ... [QPS Media - 28/10/15]
Teenagers charged with armed robbery, Sunnybank [QPS Media - 28/10/15]
Burglary with violence, Broadbeach [QPS Media - 27/10/15]
Armed robbery, Jindalee [QPS Media - 27/10/15]
Two people have been killed after a car smashed into a pole in Queensland.
The 27-year-old man driving the car and a 20-year-old woman in the front passenger seat both died at the scene of the crash in Leichhardt, Ipswich, on Tuesday night. ... [Yahoo - 28/10/15]
An 83-year-old man has died after being trapped in his burning car in north Queensland.
Crews were called to a car fire at Pelican Road near Ayr, south of Townsville, around 11.30am, an ambulance spokesman said. ... [Yahoo - 27/10/15]
Man rushed to hospital after angle grinder accident, Pacific Pines [MYGC - 27/10/15]
Gold Coast woman pursued by police in dangerous, resource wasting car chases released on bail
A Southport woman involved in a wild crime spree across the Gold Coast in May has been released on bail after serving only 6 months behind bars.
Sarah Jane Boyd, 28, lead police on a dangerous and wild car chase from Surfers Paradise to Pacific Pines with her 19-year-old coaccused Joel Gillard.
The duo were accused of attacking a taxi driver with a tomahawk and robbing a Pacific Pines service station before the pursuit took place.
Boyd was also responsible for a second police pursuit the following night.
The Southport Magistrate granted bail to Boyd this morning under multiple conditions.
A few being that she reside in Raceview, abide by a curfew, have no contact with her coaccused and submit to urine testing.
Police Ethical Standards to investigate Gold Coast police pursuit collisions, shooting [QPS Media - 18/5/15]
Queensland constable faces charges for allegedly tipping off drug dealer [ABC – 27/10/15]
A 25-year-old man has been charged with drug offences following an investigation by investigators from Taskforce Maxima.
As a result of ongoing investigations into the criminal offences by members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCG), detectives from Taskforce Maxima, State Crime Command executed a search warrant at an Oxenford, Gold Coast address on Friday. October 23.
This search allegedly resulted in the location of methylamphetmines (ICE), cannabis, cocaine, MDMA tablets, steroids and other restricted drugs, valued at approximately $20,000. ... [QPS Media - 27/10/15]
Police from Southport Station executed a search warrant at a Southport address yesterday and located a well-established hydroponic set-up allegedly growing cannabis in multiple rooms of the house. ... [QPS Media - 27/10/15]
Police have charged a 17-year-old man following an alleged attempted armed robbery in which a security guard was injured at a Proserpine golf club last night.
It is alleged a man and a boy broke into the Anzac Road premises around 9pm, damaged property and stole golf equipment before being disturbed by a security guard.
The 55-year-old male security guard confronted the pair and detained one of them before the other returned and allegedly assaulted him with a crowbar.
He sustained minor injuries to his arm and face during the incident and was treated at the scene.
A 17-year-old man and a 10-year-old boy were arrested at a nearby residence.
The 17-year-old has been charged with one count each of attempted armed robbery with violence and entering a premises with intent to commit an indictable offence.
He is due to appear in the Proserpine Magistrates Court on November 9.
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. [QPS Media - 27/10/15]
Bill Potts elected new President of Queensland Law Society [Media Release - 21/10/15]
The Turnbull government plans to trial electronic health records that will be available to all in the trial area, not just those who opt in. ... [Nine MSN - 27/10/15]
A patient who almost suffocated at Fiona Stanley Hospital was given a counter bell to get nurses’ attention when her initial request for help went unanswered. ... [West Australian - 26/10/15]
Free free the #refugees! #ShutDownManus #CloseNauru #EndAllDetention #BringBackAbyan – #Transfield AGM protest
Image: @rac_sydney [28/10/15]
@rac_sydney [28/10/15]: #DivestFromDetention #CloseTheCamps #EndAllDetention #BringBackAbyan – #Transfield AGM protest at Sydney Mint
@MiraWroblewski [28/10/15]: Transfield AGM protest, Sydney ...
@ellipsii [28/10/15]: POLICE PROTECTING TRANSFIELD #Divestfromdetention
@ellipsii [VIDEO - 28/10/15]: #Divestfromdetention
The Philippines no longer accept boat refugees.
Since the US subverted the UN Refugee Convention in South East Asia they push refugees back like Australia does.
Philippines backtracks from initial pledge to help Rohingya refugees [Rappler.com - 1/6/15]:
... The Philippines, for its part, did not commit material aid during Friday's meeting, even as it influenced its neighbors to help the refugees.
It also did not discuss a proposal by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to send rescue ships for the Rohingya.
In Monday's media briefing, Jose explained that the Philippines' broad policy statement is to help refugees, based on its obligations under a 1951 UN convention.
Jose, however, said that when the Philippines released this policy statement around two weeks ago, "it was tempered" by other considerations. These include the need to rehabilitate areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013, and to consider the Philippines' huge population.
He added: "The situation has changed. Countries are now open to accepting these refugees. So I think there's, at the moment, no need for the Philippines to accept them."
Regional leaders resile from rescuing Rohingya following the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May.
Australian, Philippines navies working together to repel refugees [Navy Daily - 10/10/15]
Australia's political, media and human rights establishment protect Turnbull from scrutiny and accountability following latest UN report [Canberra Times - 28/10/15] ----> ... "The appalling thing is that ex-PM Abbott has no right to preach to the world because, having stopped the boats, he insisted on maintaining the facilities at Nauru and PNG," he [Father Frank Brennan] said. ... <---- Where is the evidence Australia has "stopped the boats"? All Australia has done is repel desperate people who continue to flee elsewhere.
UN human rights office raises concerns about sexual assault allegations by refugees in Nauru
... "We recognise that our border protection policy is tough ... many would see it as harsh, but it has been proven to be the only way to stop those deaths at sea and to ensure that our sovereignty and our borders are safe," Mr Turnbull told parliament on Monday. ...
To précis Turnbull: We stopped the boats [Nine MSN - 12/10/15]
To precis Turnbull: "We stopped the boats." ----> ... In no small part because we have been successful in securing our borders, we can play our part in helping resettle an additional 12,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq. ... [House of Representatives Hansard - 15/9/15]
UN Media Release [27/10/15]:
Underscoring the “fragile mental and physical condition” of ‘Abyan’ (the pseudonym for a Somalian refugee), who was allegedly raped in Nauru in July and was returned by Australia, the United Nations human rights office today called upon both countries to urgently provide decent mental and physical care for her, including provisions to terminate her pregnancy, if she desires.
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Abyan, three months pregnant, was returned 11 days ago from Australia to Nauru, without a termination having taken place.
OHCHR, who reported to be in direct contact with Abyan said that she is ‘deeply traumatized by her experiences since the day of the alleged rape.’
“She has refused to give information to the Nauru police about her attacker because she is understandably afraid of reprisals. She does not feel safe, given that her alleged attacker lives on Nauru, which is a very small island State with a population of around 10,000,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.
Mr. Colville also added that the UN human rights office is concerned about reports that Nauru police have failed to take action against alleged perpetrators of violence against women, especially when the victims have been asylum seekers and refugees.
He further said that OHCHR is aware of the rise in sexual assault and rape allegations since Australia resumed its policy of transferring asylum seekers to Nauru for processing in 2012.
“One Iranian asylum seeker was allegedly sexually assaulted last May. She was subsequently evacuated to Australia where she is still receiving medical treatment for both mental and physical consequences of the ordeal. Her brother and mother, however, have been left behind on Nauru and do not know when they will be able to reunite with her,” said Mr. Colville, illustrating the situation.
He also recounted the example of another allegedly raped Somali refugee whose police report, which included the name of the alleged victim and details about the rape allegation, was inappropriately given to the media. The authorities have failed to make any arrests in either case.
Mr. Colville stressed that OHCHR is highly disturbed at the trend as “impunity for such serious crimes increases the risk they will be repeated.”
Further, he added that the UN agency fears that this may lead to women who are victims of such crimes refraining from speaking out if they fear reprisals and see little-to-no justice being served.
“It is a matter of particular concern that asylum-seeker and refugee women who have allegedly been raped or sexually assaulted are left in unsafe conditions, given their own vulnerable status and the close proximity of their attackers, and tend to be stigmatized by the population and by members of the Nauru police force,” he concluded.
We have some asylum seekers, but that’s pretty much stopped. We have stopped the boats with our policies, which are regarded as cruel by many people. But I have to say again, our policy on border protection is harsh, but it has been absolutely demonstrated that it is better than any other alternative.
Israel and Australia: A conversation with Turnbull [Jewish Journal - 25/8/15]
Nine MSN [27/10/15]:
... At a black-tie gala banquet at London's Guildhall Mr Abbott laced his speech with praise for Mrs Thatcher, calling the former British prime minister "Mrs T" and saying she revived the "great" in Great Britain.
Quoting the Bible, Mr Abbott said the imperative to "love your neighbour as you love yourself" is at the heart of Western polity but "right now this wholesome instinct is leading much of Europe into catastrophic error".
He said there were perhaps millions of people living in poverty and danger "who might readily seek to enter a Western country if the opportunity is there. Who could blame them?
"Yet no country or continent can open its borders to all comers without fundamentally weakening itself.
"This is the risk that the countries of Europe now run through misguided altruism."
Mr Abbott outlined the measures that his and John Howard's government put in place to stop boats bringing asylum seekers to Australia, including offshore processing, denial of permanent residency and turning boats back to Indonesia.
He said the boats had stopped, migrant detention centres had all but closed and there were no more deaths at sea.
"That's why stopping the boats and restoring border security is the only truly compassionate thing to do," he said to applause.
Mr Abbott said because people smuggling was a global problem and Australia was the only country to successfully defeat it, the Australian experience should be studied.
He advocated turning boats around in the Mediterranean, denying entry at borders and setting up camps for people who have nowhere to go.
He said it would "gnaw at our consciences - yet it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever."
Mr Abbott said that given the horrors unleashed by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria it was striking how little had been done to address the problem at its source. ...
... Sydney-based orthopaedic surgeon Munjed Al Muderis, who fled Iraq in 1999, said he still met people who judged him because he arrived in Australia by boat.
At a recent high-profile event, a "senior member of Australian society" had asked how the 43-year-old -- who has met Britain's Prince Harry because of his pioneering work with amputees -- came to be invited after he revealed he was a boat refugee, Al Muderis told AFP.
The man changed his tone after his wife revealed she had read about Al Muderis' life story in the media.
"He realised I'm a human being, I'm normal, I can speak English and I can articulate and... I'm the guest of honour, not him."
28 October 2015