Adnan Shirwani, 36, with his 6-months-pregnant wife Maryam, 33, from the Kurdistan region of Iran. They spent one year in the detention centre and were given refugee status and released to the community based camp in June 2014. ...

Photographed by Vlad Sokhin, October 2014

Pregnant woman spotted outside bus near Darwin concentration camp amid stand-off

... The Refugee Action Coalition has named one of the women as Maryam, who they say was on the bus with her husband Adnan and 10-year-old son Amir. ...

ABC [1/12/14]

ABC [1/12/14]:

A pregnant woman has been spotted walking beside a bus near Darwin's Wickham Point Detention Centre, where a stand-off has been underway between between guards and two Iranian families protesting against being housed in the facility.

There has been no confirmation as to whether the woman spotted in the video - taken from a helicopter - was one of the heavily pregnant women who has been in the bus since Saturday.

It is understood that while in immigration detention in Nauru, authorities already determined that the women and their husbands were refugees, and the Australian Government told the women they would be taken to Australia to give birth.

They have been refusing to go to the immigration detention centre since they arrived by bus late on Saturday night, according to the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network.


No Australian media interest in Vlad Sokhin's photographs from Nauru - the blackout continues - even as the couple (Adnan and Maryam) who he photographed in October maintain their protest in Darwin.

Canberra Times [1/12/14]:

Photojournalist Vlad Sokhin has risked his life to document and raise awareness of gender and sorcery-related violence in Papua New Guinea. One of the results of his work, which he has undertaken since January 2012, was the book Crying Meri: Violence Against Women in Papua New Guinea. It is being launched at Parliament House on Tuesday at 7.30am in partnership with international aid agency ChildFund Australia.


Nauru: Dream Turned Nightmare for Boat Refugees Seeking Asylum in Australia [RIA Novosti - 2/11/14]:

... Amnesty International tried to visit the island state in early 2014. Nauru’s government turned down their request along with a request from UN human rights observers, citing “the current circumstances and incredibly busy time”, as well as “practical difficulties”, Amnesty International said in a news release.

“Nauru’s refusals to allow an independent review of the conditions in the detention centre are another damning development in Australia’s offshore asylum processing system,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

Under new regulations, introduced by Kevin Rudd, then prime minister, in July, 2013, asylum seekers, brought to Nauru or the Manus Island, are banned from receiving a refugee status from Canberra and relocating to Australia. If eligible, they can receive refugee status and stay in Papua New Guinea or Nauru.

However, leaving these island nations is just as hard as bringing relatives there. Furthermore, refugees are not allowed to share their stories with the outside world.

Despite apparent attempts to prevent human rights activists and journalists from coming to the island, Russian photographer Vlad Sokhin managed to visit Nauru as a tourist. He has recently shared a heart-breaking account of what it is like to live on the islands as a refugee in Russian Reporter magazine.

“Everyone is spying on us here. Every our step is reported to the police. We are strictly forbidden from talking to foreigners or journalists,” Mujtaba, a Shia refugee from Pakistan, told Sokhin. Mujtaba works at Capelle & Partner, the only supermarket on the island, which makes him one of the few lucky refugees to have work. Unemployment in Nauru is as high as 90 percent.

Mujtaba recalled deplorable conditions in the detention center, where he had spent 10 months. Like other asylum seekers, Mujtaba had to share a tent with 20 people.

“The tents got unbearably hot in the sun; it was extremely hot inside – no fans, no air conditioning. Children and pregnant women had to live under the same conditions. There were eight toilets for 400 people. We were allowed to use shower for two or three minutes if there was water. Sometimes there was no drinking water,” Mujtaba said.

“I think, Australians deliberately forced us to live under such conditions, so that we would spread the word – don’t try to enter Australia illegally, you will go to hell instead.”

Adnan, his wife Mariam and their 12-year-old son fled from Iranian Kurdistan. Adnan’s wife is six months pregnant and in desperate need of medical attention.

“My wife is due soon. But she has pregnancy complications,” Adnan told Sokhin. “She suffered from anxiety when we lived in the detention center as if it were prison.

The doctor at the Nauru hospital is completely incompetent. Several times my wife was prescribed medication contraindicated in pregnancy. There is no ultrasound scan. We cannot buy vitamins here,” he explained.

These are far from being isolated cases. Vlad Sokhin talked to other people, who were trapped on the small island fleeing persecution in countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Somalia. Following Australia’s agreement with Cambodia, signed last month, they have now an option to settle in the South East Asian nation.

But Papua New Guinea, Nauru or Cambodia hardly compare to a developed country and all the opportunities it can provide to people seeking better life. Yet Australia continues to deny them what the UN considers a basic human right.

Today was 35 degrees at Wickham Point where the 38 weeks pregnant women and husbands and one child are sitting on a bus. ... [30/11/14]

Government detention of pregnant refugees on bus is illegal

Greens Media Release [1/12/14]:

The government's decision to hold two pregnant refugees on a bus in the Northern Territory, despite being given refugee status and resettlement on Nauru, is illegal the Australian Greens have said.

"These women were brought to Australia after being resettled on Nauru and, by detaining them like this, the government is acting illegally," the Greens' immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

"This is an extreme abuse of the Immigration Minister's power to detain people. Detention is only allowed to prepare for the purpose of a person's removal from Australia or to hold someone while processing their claim for a visa.

"This cruel move from the Abbott government will likely end in a legal challenge that could be avoided if the Minister didn't abuse his power.

"These women were living freely on Nauru and were brought to Australia by the Immigration Department because the necessary medical facilities don't exist on the island. They are now being held against their will by the Australian government.

"The fact that the government is holding pregnant women on a bus in temperatures above 30 degrees is extremely concerning. This is the Minister's call and he's choosing to hold these two women, and a ten year old child, when there is no purpose for doing so.

"The Abbott government should be caring for these pregnant women, not illegally bullying them back into detention.

"I call on the Immigration Minister to reverse his illegal decision to detain these vulnerable women and guarantee that they will be cared for in the Australian community."

Flying refugees from concentration camp to concentration camp a real money spinner

Yahoo [1/12/14]:

It's the great Australian airline most Aussies have never heard of - let alone flown with.

With no branding, Adagold Aviation makes its money flying some very special passengers.

Adagold is the main provider of asylum seeker flights that costs the taxpayer about a million dollars per week.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said VIP-style charter flights take "detainees between immigration detention centres, offshore processing centres and medical transfers".

A 7News investigation has revealed that in Labor's last financial year the bill for asylum seeker charter flights was 78 million dollars.

The following year, the Coalition's first, the figure leapt to 82 million.

In the first four months of this financial year, charter flight bills had fallen to about $825,000 a week.

Then the value of one contract with Adagold was quietly doubled from $5.6 million to more than $10 million.

Refugee advocates say many flights are unjustifiable bureaucracy. Others are caused by the lack of medical services at remote detention facilities.

The Government promised to stop the boats, now many want them to stop the charter jets too.

Australian government approves plans for new death camp, final solution for refugees in PNG

ABC [1/12/14]:

Australia is building a new immigration detention facility near Papua New Guinea's capital that PNG officials say is specifically for asylum seekers currently on Manus Island.

The details of the project remain unconfirmed, but it is believed the facility will accommodate asylum seekers who have had their refugee applications rejected and are being deported.

The new immigration jail will be built at Bomana prison, outside Port Moresby.

"I can confirm that the Department will be building an immigration transit facility in Papua New Guinea," Federal Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, said.

"This will be a transit and removals centre as proposed and agreed to in the Regional Resettlement Arrangement by the previous government."

PNG Correctional Services spokesman Richard Mandui said the facility was "being built purposely for those asylum seekers detained on Manus".

PNG's Immigration and Citizenship Authority and the country's Correctional Services signed an agreement about the facility last month, according to local media.

"We recognise that there is a need to manage those foreign nations who are refused entry to Papua New Guinea or who are detected having overstayed or having entered the country illegally," PNG's chief migration officer, Mataio Rabura, said.

"It will enhance PNG's national security and will allow for the detention of such persons separate from the prison population," he told The National newspaper.

Mr Rabura said the new facility was part of amendments to the Migration Act - approved by Cabinet and to be tabled in Parliament soon - that would "properly define immigration detention, enhance powers to detain and remove those unlawfully in the country".

He said work on the new immigration jail was expected to start next year.

The need for a designated facility for immigration offences appears limited, with Correctional Services spokesman Richard Mandui telling the ABC there are currently no foreigners in detention for overstaying their visas or illegal entry.

However, Papua New Guinea, with assistance from Australia, has started making decisions about whether to accept or reject asylum claims on Manus Island.

Papua New Guinea has accepted the refugee applications of at least 10 men, who will be transferred to a centre at East Lorengau on Manus Island for training and job placement on a 12-month bridging visa.

As of October 31 there were 1,056 asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island, according to the website of Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The United Nations International Organisation for Migration is currently running a transit centre in Port Moresby for asylum seekers being "voluntarily returned" to their home country.

[The International Organisation for Migration is not a United Nations body. The UN has been blocked from Manus.]

This accommodation is not a locked-up detention centre and asylum seekers are free to move around Port Moresby during the days or weeks they spend waiting for paperwork and return flights.

Several-hundred asylum seekers detained on Manus Island have chosen to return home, receiving a cash payment if they choose to do so.

Immi Minister confirms the male Sri Lankan taken from boat of 38 asylum seekers in Nov will be sent to #Manus for offshore processing. @Liam_Cochrane - ABC [1/12/14]

When Australian unionists stand up to power - not represent it - peace, justice and freedom may be possible.

For everyone.

No compromises.

Great to chat to @BarackObama about importance of minimum wage &Abbott's refusal to engage with L20

Image: ‏@GedKACTU - President, Australian Council of Trade Unions [15/11/14]

Taskforce formally calls on Nauruan President to close camps and return asylum seekers to Australia

If we do not condemn this treatment, we are effectively condoning it.

Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce Media Release [28/11/14]:

The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce has received a desperate series of letters from asylum seekers currently jailed in Nauru that detail the horrendous conditions they are living in and their intent to end their lives.

The Chair of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, said he has never read such harrowing information and has called on the Nauruan Government to close the camp and send the asylum seekers immediately back to Australia.

We have 13 letters which detail everything from unprosecuted rape to a plea from disabled parents who can’t care for their children. Some of the letters are also from people who have been found to be refugees. These people know they’ll be moved on eventually by the Nauruan Government so see no reason to continue living”, he said.

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer of the Taskforce said that “ when I first received the letters, I couldn’t get past one from a woman who had sent me her Last Will and Testament. I’ve seen and experienced some horrific things in refugee camps around the world, but something about receiving someone’s Will just made me weep. I lie awake at night thinking about this poor soul”.

The harrowing letters detail:

  1. The alleged rape of a single mother (allegedly witnessed by two people) and the subsequent release, without charge, into the Nauruan community of the man who allegedly perpetrated the rape after having a positive Refugee Status Determination;

  2. Inadequate access by children and parents to drinking and bathing water, coupled with filthy bathrooms, which leads in turn to infections which, especially in women, can lead to infertility;

  3. Expired and rotten food given to children and the other detainees, causing gastroenteritis;

  4. Children and pregnant women describe the cuts and “burning” of their feet, and joint pain, due to the viciousness of the hot gravel and rocks they are forced to walk on due to inadequate footwear;

  5. Children who are “hunger-striking” – the letters describe three children and four adults who have sewn their lips together;

  6. Severe and acute weight loss;

  7. Children who have significant untreated health issues, including those illnesses related to exposure to phosphate dust;

  8. Absence of support for children with behavioural problems, and the degree to which this long-term detention contributes and causes behavioural disorders in children;

  9. A joint letter outlining an intent to die rather than being sent to Cambodia;

  10. Seven children who have tried to commit suicide;

  11. Fourteen adults who have tried to commit suicide;

  12. Heat stress/exhaustion;

  13. Infestations in the tents of rodents, spiders and other vermin;

  14. Inability of disabled asylum seeker parents to care for their children and lack of support for the disabled;

  15. Intent to suicide in the form of a Last Will and Testament; and

  16. Pleas for help to be provided to the pregnant women who are detained in the camps.

Sister Brigid Arthur, Vice-Chair of the Taskforce, said “the abuse and neglect outlined in the letters is very consistent with what I’ve been told by the asylum seekers I work with every day. We are sharing this information with the broader community because we must not allow God’s Children to be treated in this way. If we do not condemn this treatment, we are effectively condoning it.”

Dr Catt said “we have called on the president of Nauru to act to prevent any one of these asylum seekers or refugees from falling into such a state of destitution that they would commit suicide.

We have also informed the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the Secretary of the Department of Immigration, and Save the Children of our concerns for these people.”

The original letters were all in the asylum seekers own languages, and have been informally translated. The Taskforce has since had a sample of the letters translated by a certified translation service in Melbourne, to ensure the veracity of the original translations. They have also now been forwarded to the Moss Review.

Pregnant refugees refusing to leave bus; 10yo boy off bus, in concentration camp, advocates say

We are not interested in the semantic word games of Federal Minister Scott Morrison.


The severe stress that these women are under will affect both their birthing and potentially the long term health of the children.

Best wishes @PeterGreste on your birthday. Hoping for your safe return to Australia soon #FreeAJStaff @amnestyOz

Image: @tanya_plibersek - Deputy "Oppositon" Leader [1/12/14]

ABC [1/12/14]:

A 10-year-old refugee involved in a protest outside Darwin's Wickham Point detention centre is believed to now be off the bus involved, though two heavily pregnant refugees and their husbands remain on the vehicle.

The ABC understands the women and their families were found to be refugees while in immigration detention on Nauru and the Australian Government told the women they would be taken to Australia to give birth.

But when they arrived late on Saturday night they were put on a bus and taken to the detention centre.

The Refugee Action Coalition has named one of the women as Maryam, who they say was on the bus with her husband Adnan and 10-year-old son Amir.

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network has told the ABC Amir is now off the bus and believed to be in the Bladin detention centre nearby.

Another pregnant woman, Tahere, is believed to still be on the bus with her husband Hossein.

A brother of one of the men on the bus, Soliman Sharvani said he was worried about the women's health.

"I'm way worried about my brother wife, she's pregnant," he said.

"It's the last month for her pregnancy, I think it's too dangerous in Darwin on a bus in that weather for a pregnant woman"

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the Department and the detention service provider are working with the families to resolve the situation.

The spokesman said the Minister denies the group were told they would be placed in the community when they came to Australia.

The women have been on the bus since late Saturday night, according to the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network.

Treatment of pregnant women disgraceful: refugee advocate

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul has told 105.7 ABC Darwin the women had been found to be legitimate refugees and should not be put into detention.

"They're both eight months pregnant, it is just ridiculous," he said.

"The people themselves offered to pay for a motel room last night.

"For the cost of a motel room the department's left them on the bus. It beggars belief."

The women were sent to Australia to give birth, which the refugee advocate said was standard practice.

One of the women has had some medical problems during her pregnancy, he said.

"For them to say they would rather go back to Nauru and take whatever risks might be associated with having the babies on Nauru rather than spend a night in detention, it just says a lot about what they have been through in detention on Nauru," he said.

He said having been found refugees should mean they had the right to live in the community while in Australia.

"There doesn't seem to be any possible justification for placing them in detention and depriving them of their liberty," he said.

Mr Rintoul said his organisation had engaged a lawyer to represent the refugees.

Two childbirth associations have called on the NT Health Minister to intervene in the protest.

The Childbirth Education Association and Darwin Homebirth Group have called on Minister Robyn Lambley to ensure the two pregnant women are put into housing in the community.

They said that would ensure the best possible outcome for both the mothers and the infants.

Childbirth Education Association president Leisa Masters said she did not want to hear that it was a federal issue.

"These women are here in our community, to use our services," she said.

"We are morally responsible to deliver care most appropriate to ensure the health and safety of mothers and babies.

"The severe stress that these women are currently under is not conducive to this."

Darwin Home Birth Group president Alison Sharma said the homebirth community was also absolutely clear that these women needed to be housed in the community.

"We are not interested in the semantic word games of Federal Minister Scott Morrison," she said.

"The severe stress that these women are under will affect both their birthing and potentially the long term health of the children.

"It is unthinkable that two heavily pregnant women feel forced to sit on a bus with an absolute lack of facilities in the current heat conditions and we call on Robyn Lambley to act."

A spokesperson for Ms Lambley said the issue was one for the Federal Government.


Proud to support the work of @CLAN_AU [Care Leavers Australia Network] and others raising public awareness and justice for our forgotten Australians

5th Anniversary of the apology to the Forgotten Australians Speech

"tweeted" by @RichardMarlesMP - "Opposition" Immigration spokesperson [1/12/14]

Armed men hold passengers captive, ransack offices at PNG's second biggest airport

ABC [1/12/14]:

A group of 30 men with guns and machetes have held up Papua New Guinea's second biggest airport, keeping passengers captive for about two hours while they ransacked offices.

The attack happened at Nadzab airport, 40 kilometres outside Lae, PNG's second biggest city and the industrial hub of the nation.

Police said a group of around 30 men arrived at the airport at 1:30am, armed with pistols, rifles, homemade guns and machetes.

"The nine security guards manning the airport said they were out-numbered and ordered at gunpoint to huddle up with the passengers in front of the terminal," police spokesman David Terry said.

About 30 passengers were waiting for the early morning flight to Port Moresby.

Mr Terry said one passenger was beaten with the butt of a gun, and there were bloodstains near the ticket counter.

The armed men looted food and office equipment, smashing windows and doors.

Police said the thieves tried to break into the Air Niugini safe but were not successful

"The airport authorities are trying to see if anything major was stolen," Mr Terry said.

Mr Terry arrived at the airport at 5:30am to catch a flight.

He posted photos of the incident online, showing clothes and personal effects strewn across the airport floor, and a blackened safe that appeared to be damaged by fire.

The siege lasted two hours, before the thieves escaped across the runway.

Police are investigating.

Man dies after being trapped by turf cutting machine near Nowra

ABC [1/12/14]:

A man has died in an industrial accident at a turf making company on the New South Wales south coast.

It is believed the man was trapped under a cutting machine at Jasper's Brush on the Princes Highway north of Nowra.

Ambulance paramedics were called to the scene around 7:00am (AEDT).

Police and WorkCover are investigating.

Girl dies after being hit by car in Prahran

The Age [30/11/14]:

A young girl has died after being hit by a car in Prahran on Sunday afternoon.

The four-year-old was hit by a car at the intersection of High Street and Williams Road in Prahran just before 4.30pm.

Investigators were told the girl was crossing High Street with her parents when she was struck by a car turning left from Williams Road.

The girl from Prahran was taken to the Royal Children's Hospital in a critical condition but died just before 9pm.

Senior Constable Melissa Seach said the male driver in his 60s was assisting police with their inquiries.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the accident to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit

The girl's death brings the road toll to 235 for the year, up from 213 at the same time last year.

The tragedy is the 13th fatality on Victorian roads in just six days.

Live: Lung Wo Rd has been retaken again! #OccupyHK #UmbrellaRevolution #9Wu

Image: ‏@PRHacks [1/12/14]

The Long, Dark Shadows of Plutocracy

Bill Moyers and Company [VIDEO - 28/11/14]:

Some people say inequality doesn’t matter. They are wrong. All we have to do to see its effects is to realize that all across America millions of people of ordinary means can’t afford decent housing.

As wealthy investors and buyers drive up real estate values, the middle class is being squeezed further and the working poor are being shoved deeper into squalor — in places as disparate as Silicon Valley and New York City.

This week Bill points to the changing skyline of Manhattan as the physical embodiment of how money and power impact the lives and neighborhoods of every day people.

Soaring towers being built at the south end of Central Park, climbing higher than ever with apartments selling from $30 million to $90 million, are beginning to block the light on the park below. Many of the apartments are being sold at those sky high prices to the international super rich, many of whom will only live in Manhattan part-time – if at all — and often pay little or no city income or property taxes, thanks to the political clout of real estate developers.

“The real estate industry here in New York City is like the oil industry in Texas,” affordable housing advocate Jaron Benjamin says, “They outspend everybody. They often have a much better relationship with elected officials than everyday New Yorkers do.” Meanwhile, fewer and fewer middle and working class people can afford to live in New York City. As Benjamin puts it, “Forget about the Statue of Liberty. Forget about Ellis Island. Forget about the idea of everybody being welcome here in New York City. This will be a city only for rich people.”

At the end of the show Bill says: “Tell us if you’ve seen some of these forces eroding the common ground where you live. Perhaps, like some of the people in our story, you’re making your own voice heard. Share these experiences at our website,” Please use the comments section below to do so.


Ingham turkey workers hope to take over South Australian factory due to close this month

ABC [1/12/14]:

A group of workers from the closing Ingham's turkey processing plant at McLaren Vale south of Adelaide is working with local producers to take over the factory.

Inghams will close the plant later this month with 79 people to lose their jobs as the company moves the work to plants in New South Wales.

The relocation will leave seven South Australian farms - currently contracted to produce 4,000 turkeys a week for Inghams - without contracts.

National Workers Union lead organiser Tony Snelson said workers and producers have formed the Fleurieu Poultry Co-op and hoped to buy or lease the business and set-up their own factory.

"It's a number of workers and producers who believe that there is still value in continuing a business from their operation," Mr Snelson said.

"Many of the workers were devastated with the announcement of the closure of their factory.

"A lot of them are local with children who go to school around the McLaren Vale area and they know there is little chance of finding alternate employment in and around that immediate area."

Mr Snelson said they would launch the campaign at a public meeting in McLaren Vale where they would outline the funding options for the co-op.

"The closure of the plant involves about 80 jobs and we've probably got about 50 per cent of those people who support the co-op," he said.

"It operated quite well before Inghams took over as a small, independent business and can operate again, quite easily, as a small, independent business."

Mr Snelson said the union was providing some money to cover legal costs and hoped to get a State Government grant to carry out a feasibility study.

"Following that we will be looking for support from banks and other business associations," he said.

Katter calls for rural debt crisis summit to be held at Winton

North West Star [30/11/14]:

State member for Mount Isa Rob Katter has called for a ‘‘Last Stand at Winton’’ rural debt crisis summit at Winton this Friday.

Guest speaker will be radio host Alan Jones with key economists outlining the Australia Rural Reconstruction Board solution.

Mr Katter used his last opportunity for the year in Parliament to speak on the rural crisis facing farming families in his electorate and to make a plea for the reinstatement of the Australia Rural Reconstruction Board to save farmers.

Outlining the escalation of rural debt and the flatlining of farm profitability over the past 30 years, Mr Katter said the problem needed a “large structural policy to turn it around – not a peashooter”.

He outlined how farmers were unable to get any real government assistance throughout the current drought.

“Unfortunately concessional loans, which at the start I thought were good, have proven to be ineffectual,” he said.

“The average debt around my area anecdotally is around $5 million, which is about $260,000 a year in interest payments.

‘‘Under concessional loans of, say, 5 to 7 per cent, you could save $5000 to $15,000 a year in interest.

“That is the biggest ongoing payment you can get for five years at which time you have to refinance with the bank anyway, which is going to be difficult.”

Mr Katter said that because of the size of properties in the North West, and their subsequent book value, many graziers found it hard to get the household assistance allowance through Centrelink.

“Most people in my area do not meet the assets test and cannot access that allowance, which is why people are often struggling to pay for groceries because they are not eligible for that either.’’

The Australian Reconstruction and Development Board proposal, currently before Federal Parliament, was the structural solution needed, Mr Katter said.

“The former federal government was willing to put $14 billion towards the banking industry to prop it up to get it through the GFC,’’ he said.

“A lesser amount is required to reconstruct agricultural debt and to keep Australian family-owned farms owned by Australians.

“There are a lot of people out there who cannot hold on any longer. The banks are not going to hold on for too much longer with them.

“There will not be a great number of people lining up in this country to buy those farms.

“My area will be owned by institutional investors and foreign owners, which is not a good outcome for Australia in the long term.’’

Sydney will swallow up the lion's share of revenue from the NSW Government's $20 billion lease of its "poles and wires" electricity infrastructure, leaving only a few scraps for the Northern Rivers. ... [Tweed Daily News - 28/11/14]

Tweed Councillor can't appeal defamation decision

Tweed Daily News [29/11/14]:

Tweed Shire Councillor Katie Milne has been refused the right to appeal a court's ruling she defamed billionaire Gold Coast property developer Bob Ell.

Cr Milne sent a "Letter to the Editor" to media outlets and individuals in March, 2010, calling for an independent review into Mr Ell's Kings Forest and Cobaki developments near Tweed Heads.

The letter suggested Mr Ell had used political donations to get the projects approved and further implied he had questionable business dealings with murdered Sydney standover man Michael McGurk.

No media outlets published the offending allegations, but Mr Ell successfully argued the email had damaged his reputation.

Cr Milne was ordered to pay $15,000 damages in March.

She watched on as Sydney Supreme Court Justice John Basten denied her request for an appeal on Friday.

How does funnelling money to Wall Street lead to greater financial equality for Australian women?

Greens Media Release [26/11/14]:

Greens Deputy Leader and workplace relations spokesperson Adam Bandt has given notice of a private member's bill allowing employers to boost superannuation payments to women employees.

The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Boosting Superannuation for Women) Bill 2014 will ensure employers are able to contribute more super for women employees than male employees without being considered to have breached anti-discrimination legislation.

"Women are falling behind when it comes to super, ending their working lives with less to retire on than men. Progressive and far-sighted employers should be able to boost women's super without seeking a special exemption from sex discrimination laws on a case by case basis," Mr Bandt said.

"The gender pay gap continues after retirement. The Greens are working for a fair society by enabling employers to increase superannuation payments for women.

"We need laws that reflect the reality of women's working lives. Women are more likely to take time out of the paid workforce for care-giving, they are paid on average up to 25 per cent less than men and there is an increased prevalence of women in casual and part-time employment.

"On average women retire with less superannuation than men, but live three to four years longer in retirement.

"Women are retiring without enough money.

"Currently some employers are paying women more but they have to apply for a specific exemption from the Sex Discrimination Act. This bill would remove that requirement.

"We are hopeful that the whole Parliament can get behind this sensible amendment to our super laws."

Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for women, said:

"The gender inequality of both pay and super are compounding to leave many women disproportionately impoverished in their old age.

"Yet the Abbott Government continues to take backward steps on financial gender equality.

"Tony Abbott teamed up with Clive Palmer to abolish the low income super contribution from July 2017 impacting one in every two working women, and Mr Abbott's planned university fee interest hikes would continue to pile up during care-giving years.

"This bill gives employers the opportunity to act to fix the systemic inequality that women still face," Senator Waters said.

The average super balance of women is significantly lower than that of men. For example, according to the ABS average super account balances were $82,615 for men and $44,866 for women in 2011-12.

The bill implements one of the recommendations of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia outlined in a recent report - The future of Australia's super: a new framework for a better system.

The investigation also shows that combined, the generous tax breaks on super and the billions eaten away in fees, cost far more than the age pension.

ABC, PM [4/8/10]:

MARK COLVIN: Is your super ripping you off?

An ABC investigation has revealed that the returns on the more than $1 trillion of savings held in the super system are scandalously low.

The ABC has gone beyond the industry research, which looks at the bigger balance funds, to analyse returns on the entire pool of money in the system. And in real terms, the money is going nowhere, barely beating the inflation rate over the past 14 years, and below inflation - going backwards, over the past 10.

The investigation also shows that combined, the generous tax breaks on super and the billions eaten away in fees, cost far more than the age pension.

Economics Correspondent Stephen Long has the story.

STEPHEN LONG: It was Paul Keating's vision; build the savings to make workers secure in their retirement. But over the past decade or more the returns from the superannuation system have been woeful; stagnant or going backwards in real terms.

MARK RAFFERTY: It's not just bad for peoples' pensions it's an absolute economic travesty.

STEPHEN LONG: Dr Mike Rafferty is an economist at the University of Sydney who specialists in financial markets and retirement income.

He says that the poor returns revealed by the ABC's research show that as a vehicle for building retirement savings, the super system is fundamentally flawed and failing.

MIKE RAFFERTY: We should start thinking about whether or not the aged pension should be the primary vehicle and start putting more money into that and have super as a second audit.

STEPHEN LONG: At the ABC we've analysed official data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, which goes back as far as 1997 and across the entire pot of money in the superannuation system, the average yearly return to mid-2009, is just 3 per cent; that's barely ahead of the average inflation rate over that time, which averaged 2.8 per cent. And over the past decade the returns are below inflation. The returns are a lot less than you would have got for cash in the bank and about half the return on government bonds.

Over those years the money in the super system's almost quadrupled, but the vast bulk of the growth has come from contributions; our money going in, not the money making money.

There's a host of factors behind those poor system-wide returns; volatile markets, with the Asian financial crisis, the tech wreck and the GFC wiping out years of double digit gains. Millions of lost or inactive super accounts being eroded by fees and the sizeable cut being chipped out of super all the way down the line.

JEFF BRESNAHAN: It's a $1.1 trillion industry and out of that there's about $17 billion in fees that are stripped out of it every year.

STEPHEN LONG: Jeff Bresnahan runs SuperRatings, an agency that monitors fund performance.

JEFF BRESNAHAN: Quite simply, almost $47/$48 million a day coming out of our superannuation accounts to pay suppliers for managing that money.

STEPHEN LONG: Is that justified?

JEFF BRESNAHAN: I don't think so, no.

STEPHEN LONG: The conflict of interest in the way financial planners are paid to promote super schemes has been in the spotlight but there's been less attention on those who get paid the biggest money, the investment managers.

JEFF BRESNAHAN: Quite clearly it's the investment management side of it that is taking the bulk of that income; just over half, or about $9 billion a year.

STEPHEN LONG: So why do the investment managers get paid so much?

JEFF BRESNAHAN: Look it's a good question; you've got to ask yourself, are there underlying costs in the investment management industry that shouldn't be there, or are too high and one of those is obviously salaries; the salary levels in the investment management industry are incredibly high.

STEPHEN LONG: Dr Mike Rafferty.

MIKE RAFFERTY: Average wage and salary earners putting money into super are subsidising massive salaries that go to fund managers.

STEPHEN LONG: The highly salaried stock pickers don't get a flat base fee and a bonus for doing well as you might expect

JEFF BRESNAHAN: They get a percentage of the superannuation fund assets, irrespective of performance.

STEPHEN LONG: So the bigger the pot, the more they get.

JEFF BRESNAHAN: No-one's willing to push the boundaries and say we need to change the way the investment managers are paid.

STEPHEN LONG: At Australia's biggest super fund, they've cut the fees they were paying by sacking most of the investment managers. Mark Delaney is the fund's chief investment officer.

MARK DELANEY: Stock picking is what people call in investment terms a zero sum game; that is for every winner there's a loser.

STEPHEN LONG: Australian Super found that one manager it hired would sell a stock and another one would buy it, with no net gain for the fund portfolio.

MARK DELANEY: So what we are doing is we're paying out fees for something which isn't achieving any outcome.

STEPHEN LONG: Now half the money this fund allocates to Australian share investment is passively managed; it merely tracks the broad share market index and the returns are just as good, with fewer fees.

Fees are one super-sized issue; another, the massive tax breaks to encourage people to put money into super, which overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy.

ALEX DUNNIN: Well the cost of superannuation tax concessions in total in Australia is about $26 billion; that's almost as much as the cost of the aged pension itself.

STEPHEN LONG: Alex Dunnin is research director at Rainmaker, a specialist information company that analyses superannuation.

ALEX DUNNIN: It brings up the question; who gets the most benefit from those tax concessions? Well that's really saying who gets the most benefits from paying less tax? Well people who pay a lot of tax now, meaning people who earn a lot of money.

MIKE RAFFERTY: You know, I have to ask the question; why would we spend more on the fees and charges and subsidies to super, than it cost to run our current pension system?

The review of the super system chaired by former ASIC commissioner Jeremy Cooper addresses some of these questions, but not all.

MARK COLVIN: Stephen Long.

Can The Taxpayer Afford ‘Self-Funded Retirement’? - Dr Richard Denniss and David Richardson, The Australia Institute [15/8/12]:

Australian taxpayers contributed $30.2 billion to the private accounts of that portion of the population with superannuation 2011-12. By 2015-16 this sum is projected by Treasury to rise to more than $45 billion by which time it will be, by far, the single largest area of government expenditure.

By 2015-16 the taxpayer contribution of $45 billion to private superannuation balances will account for almost twice the $24 billion projected to be spent on defence in that year. Indeed, the $45 billion subsidy is almost as much as the $51 billion provided by the Commonwealth to the states in 2012-13 and territories to provide health, education and other essential services.

By 2015-16 the annual cost of taxpayer contributions for private superannuation will again exceed the annual cost of the age pension. That said, from that point on, taxpayer subsidies for superannuation are likely to grow significantly faster than the annual cost of providing the age pension.

According to Treasury the top five per cent of income earners receive 37 per cent of all superannuation tax concessions. While comprehensive data matching individual’s wealth and income is not available we do know that the net worth of the highest income quintile (that is, wealthiest 20 per cent of the population) was $2.2 million per household in 2009-10. The non-housing assets of that top 20 per cent averaged $1.4 million.

Given that the assets test for the age pension currently means that no pension is payable to a single person with assets of more than $696,250 (excluding the family home) it would appear that a significant proportion of tax concessions for superannuation are going to individuals who will almost certainly be ineligible for the age pension.

While we know from Treasury that a disproportionate share of the benefits of tax concessions for superannuation accrue to the highest income earners we also know from the ABS that none of the benefits go to Australia’s lowest income earners.

Despite Australia’s superannuation system often being described as ‘universal’ in fact a substantial portion of the working age population does not make contributions to superannuation and, in turn, receive none of the $30 billion available to ‘boost retirement incomes’.

Superannuation tax concessions can only ‘boost’ the retirement incomes of those who contribute, and it ‘boosts’ those income proportionate to the level of contribution.

Put simply, superannuation tax concessions are designed in such a way that the more income a person earns the more taxpayer support they will receive. Those Australian who cannot work receive nothing.

While it is possible that such an inequitable system design maximises the capacity of the superannuation tax concessions to ‘take pressure’ off the age pension such an outcome is highly unlikely, especially as it is low income earners who are the most likely to rely on the age pension and very high income earners who do not.

The belief that the tens of billions per year spent on taxpayer contributions to private retirement accounts ‘takes pressure off’ the commonwealth budget may be widespread but the source of this belief is not well documented.

The sheer size, and rate of escalation, of the cost of tax concessions for superannuation combined with the small reduction in the expected number of retirees who do not receive the age pension make clear that it is unlikely that the current subsidies will deliver long run savings for the overall budget.

That said, a closer look at the detailed design features of the current superannuation arrangements make clear that the architects of the system had goals that are quite divergent from minimising the future cost of the age pension.

Consider the following:

• If the Howard and Costello Government were worried about the impact of baby boomers on the cost of providing the age pension why did they substantially loosen the age pension means and assets tests in 2007?

• If the objective of the subsidies for superannuation is to reduce the cost of the age pension why can people access their super at 55 when they cannot access the age pension until they are 65?

• If the objective of the subsidies for superannuation is to reduce the cost of the age pension why can people take their super in the form of a lump sum, spend it all, and still be eligible for the age pension?

• If the objective of the subsidies for superannuation is to reduce the cost of the age pension why can people who already hold more assets than the amount prescribed in the assets test continue to make concessional contributions?

• If the objective of the subsidies for superannuation is to reduce the cost of the age pension why don’t the poorest third of the population, the third of the population most likely to rely solely on the age pension, receive any of the $45 billion contributions?

• If the cost of providing tax concessions for superannuation are greater than the cost of providing the cost of providing the age pension how could substituting the former for the latter save the government money?

Whatever the rationales for the creation of the current system of tax concessions for superannuation, minimising the future cost of the age pension does not appear to be among them.

Ethical Standards Command to investigate man's death during Deception Bay siege

Deception Bay man in stand-off with police.

Image: @KathLanders - journalist, Channel 9 [30/11/14]

QPS Media [30/11/14]:

The Ethical Standards Command will investigate the death of a man at Deception Bay this evening.

Police entered an Osborne Terrace home around 7.15pm this evening and located the body of a man.

Police had been outside of the residence negotiating with a 53-year-old man since early this morning after officers were called to a disturbance at the home.

The emergency declaration made under the Public Safety Preservation Act this afternoon has now been lifted.

A report with be prepared for the Coroner and the Crime and Corruption Commission have been informed.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24hrs a day.

Feel safe Queensland: Nine people were charged with public urination in the Gladstone CBD over the weekend. ... [Gladstone Observer - 1/12/14]

Robbery with violence, Southport

QPS Media [1/12/14]:

Police are investigating a robbery that occurred in Southport overnight.

Shortly before 10pm, a 32-year-old man parked a moped outside a convenience store on Owens Lane and walked towards the store.

The man returned to the moped and saw it had been knocked over and observed a man and two women standing next to it.

He told the group he was calling police and he was then punched and kicked repeatedly by the man.

The group left scene on foot with the man's phone and were last seen on Owens Lane.

The man was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital for treatment of facial injuries and a suspected broken finger.

The man is described as being Caucasian in appearance, around 168cms tall and had a solid build.

He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and a black baseball cap.

Investigations are continuing.

Serious assault charges, Cooroy

QPS Media [1/12/14]:

Police have charged a man after an incident at a golf course on Myall Street, Cooroy on October 12.

It will be alleged that around 2pm a 46-year-old man repeatedly punched a 76-year-old man after an altercation about a golf ball.

The elderly man was treated by a doctor for bruises and abrasions to his face.

A 46-year-old Sunrise Beach man was charged with serious assault – person 60 years and over. He is due to appear in the Noosa Magistrates Court on December 16.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24hrs a day.

Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.

For all non-urgent police reporting or general police inquiries contact Policelink on 131 444 or 24hrs a day.

WA fun police go looking for trouble, find it

West Australian [1/12/14]:

... Neighbours claim Saturday night's party was the third at the Robertson Street address in two months, including a Halloween event that attracted 500 people.

More than 20 police cars, the dog squad and mounted section were called in to break up the party and 16 juveniles were detained after they threw bottles. Several nearby residents reported damage to their properties.

Organiser Martin Fulton said the party was "chilled" before police shut it and forced everyone into the street.

He said it had been registered with police and he hired bouncers to deal with troublemakers. Attendees paid up to $10 to get in.

"It was fine until the cops showed up. They ruined it," Martin told Seven News.

"Everyone started bottling the cop cars because they shut down a good party. It was essentially the cops' fault." Martin's mother Michelle, who did not want her surname printed, said she rented the home from affordable housing provider Foundation Housing.

On its website, the organisation says it has a "zero tolerance approach to anti- social behaviour" at its properties. Foundation Housing, which was contacted for comment, uses grants and government joint ventures to fund its projects.

Michelle said police "escalated" the problem when they moved the party into the street. She said she did not provide alcohol to guests.

She said having big parties while accessing social housing was "probably not" a good idea but claimed she could not control her son.

Murder charge over Northam death

West Australian [1/12/14]:

Police have charged a 49-year-old man with murder following a death in Northam yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon police were called to Northam Hospital after a 35-year-old man arrived with serious injuries.

The man later died from his injuries.

Wheatbelt Detectives and Major Crime Squad attended a residence in Cook Street where they believe the man was injured.

The 49-year-old man will appear in Perth Magistrate's Court today.

Inquest into baby daycare death to open

Yahoo [1/12/14]:

An inquest into the death of a baby is expected to hear evidence about whether electronic baby monitors should be made compulsory at child care facilities.

Five-month-old Indiana Hicks died in July 2012 after being put to sleep at the home of Tracey Cross, who worked for the Sunshine Coast Family Day Care scheme.

Ms Cross placed Indianna on her back to sleep around 1pm, however the baby was found later lying face down and not breathing.

Indiana did not respond to attempts to resuscitate her and was pronounced dead in the Caloundra Hospital that afternoon.

The inquest, beginning on Monday in the Coroners Court in Brisbane, will hear from experts about best sleeping practices for infants aged three-to-six months.

This will include whether baby monitors should be mandatory in all day care facilities.

Queensland government takes no step in IBM Health Payroll case in almost a year

The Age [1/12/14]:

The Queensland Government is attempting to rewrite history by launching legal action against IBM over the failed health payroll system, the tech giant says.

Premier Campbell Newman confirmed on Sunday that the government will this week serve IBM with court documents over the system which was implemented under Labor in 2010.

Thousands of health staff were incorrectly paid when the system malfunctioned after its rollout by IBM, in a debacle that is expected to ultimately cost taxpayers $1.2 billion.

"Queenslanders were wronged, we believe, in the pay affair," Mr Newman told reporters on Sunday.

"We intend to recover money for them - the taxpayers - the men and women of Queensland."

But IBM says the government's lawsuit ignores the settlement it reached in 2010 to resolve the dispute.

"The government's lawsuit also seeks to run roughshod over the findings of its own Commission of Inquiry," the company said in a statement.

The commission's report found no evidence that IBM had breached any law or contractual provision and the government was merely shifting blame, it said.

"Instead, the Commission concluded: the primary cause of the problems suffered by the payroll system project was the state's unjustified and grossly negligent conduct."

Police seek witnesses and information about a fatal hit-and-run at Three Ways near Tennant Creek

ABC [1/12/14]:

Northern Territory Police are asking for any witnesses to a fatal hit-and-run to come forward.

A man was killed after being hit by a vehicle about 12 kilometres north of the intersection of the Stuart and Barkly highways, known as Three Ways, on the weekend.

Detective Superintendent Brent Warren, from the Southern Investigations Division, said police believed the 38-year-old male victim was on the road when he was struck by a vehicle.

"The unknown vehicle left the scene and the driver has not made contact with police," he said.

"Police, including officers from the Alice Springs Major Crash Investigation Unit and detectives from Tennant Creek are investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash and urge anyone with information to come forward.

"We would like to speak with anyone who may have been travelling on the Stuart Highway between Renner Springs and Tennant Creek between the hours of 10pm Friday and 8am Saturday.

"Police also wish to speak with anyone who may have information relating to the driver or the vehicle involved in the crash."

One lane of the Stuart Highway was closed on Sunday while police carried out investigations at the scene.

The death takes the NT's for the year to 37, compared to 34 at the same time last year.

Anyone with information can call police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Grain truck rolls on Gore Highway

Chronicle [30/11/14]:

A truck driver has escaped with minor injuries after his B Double rolled on the Gore Hwy.

Emergency services were called to the Kindon scene, about 50km west of Millmerran, at 7.36am.

The truck was carrying grain.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the man was treated for minor cuts.

Murwillumbah mother faces 9 months' prison over ice supply

Tweed Daily News [29/11/14]:

A 50-year-old Murwillumbah mother has been jailed for nine months for possessing and supplying methylamphetamine (ice).

Jennifer Elizabeth Gorrel faced Murwillumbah Local Court on Wednesday, charged with two counts of supplying a prohibited drug, three counts of possessing a prohibited drug and two counts of failing to appear in court.

Between 5.10 and 7.50pm April 23, police attended her Prince St home along with drug detection dog, Wilson.

Police produced a search warrant, which was granted by Murwillumbah Local Court after reports Gorrel was supplying illicit drugs to the Murwillumbah community.

According to court documents, Gorrel was given the opportunity to inform police of any illicit drugs in the home.

At this point, she claimed there was a single tin of cannabis and one small bag of methylamphetamine in her bedroom.

After searching the room and finding the cannabis and 1g bag of ice, police discovered another bag of ice - the same size - on the bedroom floor.

Gorrel told police she "didn't know where the plastic bag of drugs came from".

A further search of the home found an additional 6.5g of cannabis.

Police also found Gorrel, who is on a disability pension, with a small amount of methadone in her possession in the early hours of April 10.

Gorrel had previous convictions which included driving whilst disqualified, common assault, PCA, and possessing a prohibited plant.

She is eligible for release on May 25, 2015.

Crystal meth is notorious for being highly addictive and ravaging countless communities. But few know that the drug can be traced back to Nazi Germany, where it first became popular as a way to keep pilots and soldiers alert in battle during World War II. ... [Spiegel - 30/5/13]

Self described Zionist Warrior receives glowing PR in Australian media

Mark Furler, Chronicle [1/12/14]:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is being urged to hold the line in his support of Israel by a veteran journalist who says the ANZACs shed blood to pave the way for Jewish people's freedom.

South African journalist Stan Goodenough, who has covered the Middle East peace process for 25 years, said Christians should be writing to Mr Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to applaud their pro-Israeli stance.

Speaking at a Sunshine Coast church on Sunday, Mr Goodenough said just six weeks ago he was at Beersheba, in the Negev desert, where the sacrifice of ANZACs in 1917 was being applauded as pivotal in paving the formation of the Israeli state in 1948.

Some 800 light horsemen captured Beersheba from the Turks, opening the way for the liberation of Jerusalem, taking it out from Islamic control, and freeing it up so the Jews could come home, he said.

"Now that same land that your boys bled and died for is being offered back to the Muslim world and not to a peace-loving Arab world, who want to make oil cheap for everyone, but a violent entity,'' Mr Goodenough said.

"The question that can legitimately be asked is how do you feel about the sacrifice that your grandparents made is now being reversed and they died in vain...

"Every Australian should stand up and say 'Whoa, wait a minute.''


‘Operation Finish Them Off’ [Jerusalem Watchman - 10/7/14]:

Posted by Stan in Battle for the land

“…should be what it’s called,” was my mother’s response yesterday to the announcement of Israel’s carefully named Operation Protective Edge, the same day her grandson’s unit was told to move from the Golan Heights down to the Gaza Strip.

“What sort of a name is that?” echoed another concerned watcher. “I hope what they mean is Operation Annihilation. For once, Israel, just go in and do something hard-hitting, ruthless and permanent, without apology. Be completely deaf to world insistence on restraint and hit hard, hard, hard until Hamas is obliterated.”

Australia blows the budget on the arms trade ($12.4 billion), refugee concentration camps ($2 billion) and News Corporation ($882 million).

Billions in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as public transport services are slashed, and fares become extortionate.

Billions in subsidies to the profit seeking insurance industry and mega health corporations as public hospitals and universal health care are savaged.

Billions of dollars in tax breaks to the property industry and the wealthy (eg negative gearing) reducing housing affordability and creating homelessness

Billions in subsidies to elite private schools, christian "independent" schools, chaplain proselytisers and programs to attack the teaching profession (eg NAPLAN) at the expense of secular public education.

Pensioners eat cat food and work 'till they die.

Media silence on this illogic: Priceless.

Australia's immigration concentration camp policy has delivered up to $10 billion to private contractors [Guardian - 25/8/14]:

The Australian government’s policy of mandatory detention for asylum seekers has benefited contractors by up to $10bn since mid-2007.

Guardian Australia has conducted an analysis of contracts in the AusTender database awarded by the Department of Immigration and containing keywords relating to the mandatory detention system. You can read more about the specific methods below.

The analysis reveals for the first time the scale of the privatised detention system, with 1,770 contracts awarded to 522 entities.

The bulk of the funds have gone to service providers including Serco Australia, Transfield Services, International Health and Medical Services, G4S Australia, construction companies such as Canstruct and John Holland, and charities such as the Salvation Army.

Australia's offshore concentration camps: annual costs hit $1 billion [Sydney Morning Herald - 20/10/14]

A clear majority of Swiss voters have in a referendum decided against drastically limiting immigration to the country. ... [Al Jazeera - 30/11/14]


... All too often they suffered harm and heartache. ...

Graham Perrett MP, Moreton [This morning - 1/12/14 - the House of Representatives are discussing the National Apology to Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants. Hypocrites.]


24 hours later, 2 pregnant refugees still refusing to get off bus at #Wickham pt detention, according to one of the women's brothers in law

Brother of man on bus at Wickham Point says two families won't get off and return to detention, but concerned about health in Darwin heat

"tweeted" by @nadiasdaly - ABC journalist [1/12/14]


September 30. We are in a huge prison, with razor wire everywhere. We have been examined and x-rayed and Claire and Toby have been given a lot of injections and tablets. Claire doesn't want to take the tablets. After the sailors shouted at us, she seemed to give up.

October 1. Toby just asked me, 'Are we bad?'

'No why?'

'Well, why are we in prison?'

'Home and Away', John Marsden and Matt Ottley [Lothian, 2008]

Yes, families & children are detained here, living w regular screening and check points behind this high wire. [Wickham Point]

Image: @DASSAN12 - Darwin Asylum Seeker Support Network


A dramatic picture book for older readers that poses the question: What would happen if a typical Australian family found themselves refugees?

... I didn't see anything directly, so I wasn't sure of how bad it actually was. ... [Good German Syndrome: Third World Traveller]

The Good Germans, John S. Hatch [ICH - 6/12/04]

It is a commonplace that at the end of WWII scarcely a Nazi or Nazi sympathizer could be found, or even anyone with an inkling that a Holocaust had been taking place. Even as rocks flew through Jewish shop windows and homes were burned, the Good Germans didn't know. Even when Jews began disappearing in huge numbers from right under their noses, the Good Germans weren't aware. Later on, even amongst Holocaust deniers I used to wonder if there were a mitigating percentage, however small, who as otherwise decent human beings simply could not accept the horror that human nature can be so vile. To admit the truth would be to recognize that life was essentially meaningless and insane, with suicide as the only logical course, a choice which the all-powerful instinct for self-preservation attempted to prevent. Thus self-deception for self-preservation; an unhappy compromise. It was the Nazi-exploited Nietzsche who pointed out (in the late 1800's remember) that one must first know the truth in order to bury it. Everybody knew, in one way or another. Violence, after all, is what One-Thousand Year Reichs do, and they must start very early.


German people compelled by Allied forces to visit and view liberated concentration camps in Germany during World War II. ... [VIDEO - Critical Past]


1 December 2014