From a friend interned on Manus [via Refugee Rights Action Network WA - 3/5/15]:
You are better than this:
The world hasnt come to the end
There is still Hope
Be strong Asylum seekers
At least try to Cope
I know what you are going Through
But the sky is still Blue
Cruelty Era wont last for ever
And this fact is True
Manus and Narou have lot things to Say
Our mouth shut by Force,its Guantanamo Bay
UN,Red Cross,Human right is Lie
There will be a day,They all will be Shy
Treat us with respect,we are not Slave
Finish your Torture,take us out of Cave
Show us your kindness,show us that you Care
We dont want Favor!?please just be Fair
Listen to Jesus,follow his good Path
Dont Colonise Manus,just for Oil and Gas
Peter Morrison?!Prime Minister?!
What had we done wrong in your Theatre?!
Australian are Kind,we believe you on This
Free us and SHOW YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS
3,700 refugees on their way to Italy after being rescued
The Local [3/5/15]:
The Italian coastguard has confirmed that a rescue operation involving Italian and French navy vessels have rescued 3,700 migrants off the coast of Libya.
The migrants were rescued by Italian and French navy vessels in 17 separate operations.
More rescue operations were expected during the day as people smugglers took advantage of calm seas, Italy's coastguard said.
According to the spokesman, all of those rescued were being brought back to Italian shores and some reached Lampedusa, Italy's southernmost island, during the night.
The Italian coastguard spokesman said they expected rescue operations to continue throughout Sunday.
Al Jazeera [3/5/15]:
Hundreds of immigrants at a displacement camp in South Africa's coastal province of Kwa-Zulu Natal are refusing to be transferred weeks after xenophobic violence there.
Almost 400 people were holed up at the Isipingo Beach Camp on Sunday and were refusing to leave, after the South African government arranged buses to transport them on Saturday.
The government has embarked on a plan to reintegrate and repatriate the migrants, but many of the migrants say they do not trust the government and that they would not like to return to their home countries.
Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, reporting from the Isipingo Beach Camp, on Sunday said there was no food and water at the camp.
"People are relying on the kindness of neighbours," he said.
He said the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) aid agency had also been refused accessed to the camp on Sunday, in an effort to encourage people to leave the camp.
Our correspondent said the occupants in the camp were adamant though that they did not want to go back. They say they plan to stick it out.
Speaking to Al Jazeera on Saturday, one refugee at the camp, Amadi Kanakimana, said: "Our countries, there is a fight so we can't go [to] Congo there is a fight. We can't go [to] Burundi, there is a fight. So we can't go anywhere and we can't stay here. We need another peace country to go there."
MSM yarns about what happened at Brisbane City Hall on Saturday evening.
Brisbane protest over Indigenous community closures occupies City Hall [Guardian - 3/5/15]
300 indigenous protestors stage Brisbane City Hall sit-in 300 indigenous protestors stage Brisbane City Hall sit-in [Brisbane Times - 3/5/15]
Australia's ambassador to Indonesia is returning to Canberra this evening
Australia's ambassador to Indonesia is returning to Canberra as the families of executed Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran organise their funerals.
Paul Grigson was recalled for talks following Indonesia's execution of the two drug smugglers in defiance of international pressure.
Mr Grigson is expected to fly out of Indonesia for Perth on Sunday night.
The bodies of Chan and Sukumaran were returned home on Saturday, three days after they were shot by an Indonesian firing squad.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he is confident the relationship with Australia's northern neighbour will be repaired.
Meanwhile the Australian Federal Police will front the media on Monday over their part in the investigation that led to the drug smuggling arrests of nine Australians including Chan and Sukumaran in Indonesia a decade ago.
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin will discuss the AFP's guidelines in relation to death penalty matters back in 2005 and their procedures now.
Hardship relief available to the Deception Bay community
Premier and Minister for the Arts and Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Multicultural Affairs Media Release [3/5/15]:
The Palaszczuk Government has announced financial support for the
communities hit hardest by Friday’s torrential storms in south-east Queensland
(areas listed below).
Anyone affected and needing support and assistance to recover from this event can either contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 or visit the Community Recovery Hub at Rothwell. Further information is available at www.qld.gov.au/community.
If people need counselling services, please phone 1800 543 354.
Streets eligible for assistance include:
•Mary Street East
Missing woman, Springbrook
QPS Media [3/5/15]:
Police are seeking public assistance to help locate a 45-year-old woman missing from Springbrook.
Mihiata Bruce (pictured) was last seen on April 29 on the Gateway Arterial northbound at around noon.
She was observed entering a white utility after her vehicle was involved in a traffic crash.
Police hold concerns for her welfare as it is very out of character for her not to contact family.
Ms Bruce is described as approximately 165 centimetres tall with a slim build, brown hair and hazel eyes.
Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Assault, Surfers Paradise
QPS Media [3/5/15]:
Five people have been charged following an incident in which a taxi driver was allegedly assaulted at Surfers Paradise early this morning.
It will be alleged around 12.30am a taxi was hailed by a group of people at Broadbeach Waters. They were driven to Monaco Street at Surfers Paradise where it will be alleged one of the passengers then assaulted the driver causing him to swerve over the road.
It will then be alleged after the driver managed to stop the vehicle the group left the taxi and failed to pay the owed fare.
The 56-year-old male driver was taken to the Gold Coast University Hospital for treatment of what are believed to be non-life threatening head injuries.
Two men, aged 46 and 47, and a 43-year-old woman, all from New South Wales, have each been issued with a Notice to Appear for evade fare. All three are expected to appear at the Southport Magistrates Court on May 25.
A 21-year-old New South Wales man has been charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle, grievous bodily harm and evade fare and is expected to appear at the Southport Magistrates Court tomorrow.
A 25-year-old New South Wales man has been charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle and evade fare and is expected to appear at Southport Magistrates Court on May 25.
Investigators believe that during the alleged incident the taxi may have struck other vehicles before the driver was able to bring it to a stop.
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.
Police investigate break and enter and vandalism, Robina State High School
QPS Media [3/5/15]:
Police are investigating a break and enter that occurred last night at a school on Investigator Drive, Robina.
About 8.15pm a group of about 10 people used pavers to smash windows to five different education blocks and entered at least two of them.
While inside, the members of the group have caused significant damage by smashing holes in walls, knocking over cabinets and destroying property such as computers, laptops, televisions, a guitar and lights.
Upon security arriving the group ran away.
Some of the group were described as boys approximately 160cm tall wearing grey hooded jackets and masks.
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.
House fire, assault and dangerous operation of a vehicle incidents at Lowood [QPS Media – 3/5/15]
Armed robberies, Albany Creek and Kenmore [QPS Media – 3/5/15]
Three men have been charged following investigations into a break in at a Flinders View business on May 2.
It will be alleged around 1.30am the Ash Street car wash business was broken into after a door was forced and a safe stolen by a group of three men. ... [QPS Media - 3/5/15]
Robbery with violence, Bundaberg [QPS Media – 1/5/15]
Armed Robbery, Sherwood [QPS Media – 1/5/15]
Queensland police officer allegedly drove police car drunk
A Queensland police officer has been stood down and charged after allegedly driving a police vehicle while drunk.
The 24-year-old constable from the Northern Region got behind the wheel on Saturday while over the general alcohol limit but below the middle alcohol limit, police allege.
He will face Cairns Magistrates Court on May 19.
Man charged over fatal crash at Mount Isa
Brisbane Times [3/5/15]:
A 25-year-old Soldiers Hill woman has been killed after the car she was a passenger in hit a power pole in Mount Isa.
Police allege the fatal crash was caused by a collision on the intersection of Zena and Camooweal Street at 7.30pm last night involving two vehicles. One car hit a second vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.
It's believed the impact caused the second vehicle to veer across several lanes and hit a power pole, bringing the power lines down.
An 18-year-old Samford Valley man who was the driver of one of the vehicles returned a positive blood alcohol content (BAC) and was arrested.
He was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance.
The 26-year-old male driver of the second vehicle survived with non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Mount Isa Base Hospital.
Fatal traffic crash, Gladstone [QPS Media – 2/5/15]
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating following a fatal traffic crash on the Warrego Highway at Adare in the early hours of this morning.
Initial information suggests at around 1.30am a vehicle travelling eastbound on the Warrego Highway collided with the back of a semi-trailer which was parked at a truck stop. ... [QPS Media - 1/5/15]
Extended fly-in, fly-out stints deemed 'suicide roster' by union were advertised in error, company says
An advertisement for a 12 week on, one week off fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) roster dubbed a "suicide roster" by a union has been removed, with the company involved saying it was an error.
The online advertisement by construction and maintenance company Goodline, posted on April 23, was for electricians to work 56 hours a week in WA's Pilbara region as "permanent FIFO employees".
The Queensland-based company has a contract to provide electrical services to Fortescue Metals Group, which is expanding its port stockyard and ship loading facility at Anderson Point in Port Hedland.
The Australian Manufacturing Union WA state secretary Steve McCartney said the advertised roster was irresponsible and put the wellbeing of employees at risk.
"These rosters are dangerous for their mental health," he said.
"There's a big discussion at the moment about family-friendly rosters and this is the furthermost thing from a family-friendly roster.
"We hope this doesn't get known as the suicide roster."
Mr McCartney said the company had also asked some of its existing workforce to move from a four weeks on, one week off roster to the 12 and one rotation.
Goodline general manager Dwayne Finch said the advertisement had been posted "incorrectly" and the employees and their families would be based in the Pilbara.
"We made a mistake in the advertisement," he said.
"The roster is a residential roster in which guys are entitled to four flights per annual period.
"They'll be based in Port Hedland - mum, dad, kids, dog, boat - they live there as residential employees.
"We've been trying to get in touch with the union now to address the concern and put the matter behind us."
He said the company has 200 employees locally housed in Port Hedland.
The union's Mr McCartney said the 12 and one roster had not been commonplace in the mining sector since the early 1980s.
"It's the furthermost thing from an acceptable roster," he said.
"This company is trying to send conditions of workers back to 1982.
"It's a joke, it's irresponsible and it's a disgrace."
He said the conditions targeted those who had lost their jobs as a result of the slowdown in the resources sector.
"They're taking advantage of people who are frightened of the downturn of the industry," he said.
"They're thinking, 'Where am I going to get my money? I might have to
do this job'."
Xavier College admits extent of historical child sex abuse
The principal at one of Melbourne's top private schools has, for the first time, admitted the extent of child sex abuse that took place on college grounds.
Nine Xavier College students were sexually abused at the school in the 1960s and 70s, according to principal Chris Hayes.
Another six other former students are in the process of having their claims heard.
"What I know of the 60s and 70s from some conversations is that it was a very different era," Mr Hayes said.
"There has been nine [cases] where there has been a resolution reached, and yes, they involved sexual abuse."
Mr Hayes said no criminal convictions were ever recorded for the offences.
"There has been no criminal prosecution or matter brought to the criminal court relating to any Xavier Jesuit or Xavier lay teacher referring to sexual abuse at Xavier College," he said.
He said the school was now a very different place.
"I'm very confident things have changed but in saying that we are always vigilant to make sure that the protection of children at the school is paramount," he said.
Janusz Skarbek, who attended Xavier for three years in the 1970s, said his time there left him scarred for the rest of his life.
"Corporal punishment was quite common at the time but they went way over the top and in some cases it went as far as sexual abuse," he said.
Mr Skarbek is one of six former students still fighting for compensation from the Jesuits for alleged abuse.
He said he believed there were dozens more victims yet to come forward.
"You can't move on until that's resolved. It's defined my life and my entire family's life," he said.
The school is encouraging any other victims to come forward, to have their claims heard.
"My advice is that if they're troubled by what did take place, please go to the police," Mr Hayes said.
"If they don't feel comfortable in going to the police, they can make contact with the Jesuit professional standards committee."
The Catholic Church previously acknowledged Father John Byrne, who taught at the school in the late 60s and early 70s, was a sex abuser.
However the Jesuit Professional Standards Committee would not answer questions from the ABC about how many other sex abusers had worked at Xavier College.
Survivors said most of the offenders were now dead.
Albury rape investigation finalised after police halt search for three men
Canberra Times [1/5/15]:
NSW Police have finalised their investigation into the reported rape of a teenage girl in Albury and are no longer seeking three men.
Detectives from the Albury Local Area Command made inquiries after a 17-year-old girl was reportedly dragged from a main thoroughfare into bushes and sexually assaulted at knifepoint by three men at 6.30pm on Tuesday.
Police conducted forensic testing and spoke to a number of people before finalising their investigation into the incident which caused widespread controversy when the Albury mayor was forced to apologise after saying women should not walk alone at night.
A NSW spokeswoman said there would be no comment on the reasons for the finalisation of the investigation.
Albury mayor Kevin Mack was heavily criticised for saying walking alone was "an invitation for someone to take advantage of you" and he apologised for his comment on Friday morning.
Cr Mack, a former police officer, said his words were poorly chosen after he was accused of victim blaming.
"Please stop telling women that they are not free to walk in public unmolested. Instead, please tell men to not rape," one woman wrote to Cr Mack on his Facebook page.
"Why don't you ask rapists and attackers to walk with other men who aren't violent to get them not to attack women? Start with the men who do this, not blame women for men's disgusting actions," another woman wrote.
Calls for Morcombe murder appeal bias issue to be heard May 26
Sunshine Coast Daily [1/5/15]:
Queensland's Solicitor-General has asked the state's top justices to lock in hearing dates so lawyers for Daniel Morcombe's convicted murderer can argue their case against the Chief Justice continuing in the appeal as soon as possible.
The legal team for Brett Peter Cowan has argued Chief Justice Tim Carmody showed bias through his association with a child protection advocate who had spoken publicly against Cowan.
Solicitor-General Peter Dunning, who acts for the Attorney-General, said there was a reasonable community expectation that the matter be heard and dealt with expediently.
He called a mention in the Queensland Court of Appeal on Friday afternoon seeking directions on how the hearings would proceed - noting hearing dates of May 7 and the week of May 25.
The court heard there was a desire for the application to be disposed of before July 13.
Cowan appealed in November against convictions for murdering, indecently dealing with and dumping Daniel Morcombe's body in Sunshine Coast bushland in 2003.
Barrister Peter Davis suggested in Brisbane Supreme Court last week that Justice Carmody showed bias when he had a private meeting in his chambers on April 15 with Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston.
He said the child protection advocate had publicly reviled his client including "public comments directly against Mr Cowan including things such as 'he ought never be released'."
"... Mr Cowan is someone who has been directly targeted by that very lobby group. Yet it seems Your Honour is associating with the lobby group to assist it," he said.
Daniel's parents Bruce and Denise are angered that the process is taking so long, especially when this meeting would not have been a problem had judgment delivery occurred in March when it was expected.
Mr Davis said he could have all the material ready for his application ready two weeks from Monday.
He said he was "armed to the teeth" but just had to gather all the material and create outlines of argument to provide to all the parties.
There will be a hearing on May 7 to decide whether Justice Carmody should hear the apprehended bias hearing alone or with the full bench.
The bias hearing has been set down for May 26.
The parties decided May 26 was the earliest the matter could be heard, allowing time for the Attorney-General to respond to the material from Cowan's legal team.
Medical Journal of Australia editor sacked, editorial committee resigns
Sydney Morning Herald [3/5/15]:
All but one member of the editorial advisory committee for Australia's top medical journal have resigned following the sacking of its eminent editor.
Stephen Leeder, an emeritus professor of public health at the University of Sydney and chair of the Western Sydney Local Health District Board, was sacked as editor of the prestigious Medical Journal of Australia after he raised concerns about a decision by the journal's publisher AMPCo to outsource the journal's production to Elsevier.
AMPCo is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Australian Medical Association.
Professor Zimmet and Professor Gary Wittert, a member of the MJA's editorial board, have written to Brian Owler, the president of the Australian Medical Association, calling for a review of its decision to appoint Elsevier.
"We said the AMA should investigate the whole thing and the implications for ethical publishing of the medical journal," Professor Zimmet said.
"AMA members would be very interested to know what the process was that led to this decision and how the due diligence was carried out."
Tania Janusic resigned as general manager of the MJA and rejected an offer to take over Professor Leeder's position, saying she was "appalled at the action of the AMPCo board in dismissing him".
Dr Owler defended the decision to outsource production of the medical journal, saying AMA members have contributed $2 million each year to its publication.
"We are not in a position to continue to do that," Dr Owler said.
"The only thing that is being outsourced is production, not editorial content. That has been made clear right from the start.
"I remain supportive of the AMPCo board and its decision."
Dr Owler said Professor Leeder was a well respected member of the medical community.
"He has an outstanding career particularly in terms of public health and we have been fortunate to have had his services over the past two years," Dr Owler said.
"But unfortunately the AMPCo board, which runs the business, was not able to reach an agreement with him to secure the financial future of the journal. Publishing is a very difficult field at the present time and we can't continue to do things in the same way that has been done before."
Rupert Murdoch's Australia
Where people put tacks on bike paths. [ABC - 3/5/15]:
Fed-up Melbourne cyclists have taken to the streets in protest calling for something to be done about a string of tack attacks on one of the city's popular bike routes.
Large numbers of one-centimetre furniture tacks have been left on Yarra Boulevard in Kew in the city's east, in a number of incidents over the last year.
Cyclists said the tacks were not only puncturing tyres, but people and animals had been injured.
Frustrated that police have not been able to catch the person responsible, cyclist George Mahailides organised today's protest ride.
"It became apparent that the person who was doing it was persisting and on a campaign to stop cyclists using Kew Boulevard all together," he said.
"I just thought well, something had to change because more of the same was just not going to work.
"So I decided to try and see if there was interest in people protesting against the lack of an outcome."
Cyclist Nick Carr ran over a tack during today's protest.
"My tyre just spontaneously went down. So I pulled over and there was a tack still in the tyre," he said
"It does make me angry. I stopped riding along here, it's a cost and it's dangerous."
Police are investigating the string of attacks but so far have not been able to find out who is responsible.
More than 500 cyclists have had punctures and police put the estimated cost of repairs at around $5,000.
For the Boroondara council, the cost of cleaning up the tacks is far greater.
It has been estimated at around $70,000.
The problem has become so acute the council had to install three puncture stations to help cyclists.
On Twitter one rider who commutes along Yarra Boulevard every day said he had caught eight tacks in three weeks.
Mr Mahailides said the problem was more serious than a flat tyre.
"First of all, in relation to the punctures my estimates are that it's now in the thousands. So there's a lot of punctures," he said.
"Punctures can cause crashes and can cause injuries and we know people have crashed and we know people have been injured.
"We've got incidences of children being injured standing on tacks. We've got pets that have been injured standing on tacks."
Where television shows masquerading as documentaries exploit and denigrate the poor and vulnerable for entertainment. [Sydney Morning Herald - 2/5/15]:
A highly controversial trailer for an upcoming documentary on a blue-collar Sydney suburb has been pulled by SBS after residents and the council complained it mocked, degraded and insulted them.
The promotional video for Struggle Street, a three-part documentary to air on SBS from May 6, starts in Sydney's eastern suburbs showing pristine beaches and the harbour, then pans to the west, stopping at a Mount Druitt sign with the sound of a car crash and police sirens.
The one minute, 49 second promo includes scenes of one man farting and later standing on his porch shouting about drug dealers, a woman calling her cat a "slut", people walking through a trashed house that's covered in graffiti, and a woman smoking what appears to be marijuana.
Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali has called for SBS to immediately pull the series from the air so it can be viewed by the people depicted in it, and has contacted Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to intervene. The call comes after Mr Turnbull alerted the broadcaster's managing director to comments on Twitter from then-SBS journalist Scott McIntyre. Mr McIntyre was later sacked.
In an emailed response, Mr Turnbull said he has not seen the program so could not comment on the substance of the complaint.
"As you know the Australian government provides an overall level of funding to the SBS but has no power to direct the SBS in relation to programming decisions. Parliament has guaranteed this independence to ensure that what is broadcast is free from political interference," he said.
"The SBS Act makes it very clear that it is the SBS board, not the Parliament or the minister, which is responsible for programming and editorial decisions."
In a petition Blacktown Council launched on change.org, Mr Bali wrote some participants in the documentary - which focuses on the lives of 10 people over six months - were never provided copies of the release forms they signed and had asked for footage to be excluded from the documentary only to see it included in the promo.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, he questioned why the public broadcaster, whose content includes news broadcast in multiple languages, would alienate an area in western Sydney that included such a high migrant population.
"This is not just an attack on Mount Druitt, it's an attack on western Sydney. We're kind of over it," he said.
"Almost 5 per cent of the population of NSW lives here... and 25 per cent were born overseas. These are the constituents that actually watch SBS, and they turned on us.
"People of Mount Druitt don't run from the fact that there are challenges to many of the residents, but we want a fair and transparent documentary rather than just saying they're doing a documentary, living in the back pockets of everybody, then just exposing the worst moments of their lives on national TV."
After meeting with the SBS head of documentaries on April 29, Mr Bali viewed the first episode with two other council members and was so disgusted by what he described as "like The Blair Witch Project but with better camera angles" that he immediately sent a letter of complaint to Mr Turnbull and SBS.
"There's only one Aboriginal person I saw portrayed in the film, and he's living in a humpy killing animals with a sling-shot and cooking birds," Mr Bali said.
"That's not a proper representation of the Aboriginal community in Mount Druitt. It's like we've stepped back 200 years in the white man's treatment of Aboriginal rights."
In a response on Friday afternoon, SBS managing director Michael Ebeid said SBS would pull the offending promo from TV as a "gesture of goodwill". However, it remained online on Saturday evening.
The series - which SBS commissioned KEO Films Australia to make - had "the intent of recognising and providing a voice to a segment of society who are living through immense hardship caused by multiple factors like unemployment, teenage pregnancy, family dysfunction, physical and mental illness, and alcohol/drug abuse", he said.
"People and families living in circumstances similar to those depicted in the documentary are located in a wide range of locations across Australia not just Mount Druitt. However for the documentary to be believable, it cannot be devoid of a place setting," Mr Ebeid said.
"SBS appreciates working with the council in this endeavour to ensure the documentary is portrayed as a story of the small section of the community struggling to get by, rather than a story of the whole community of Mount Druitt."
Mr Bali said he planned to meet with SBS early next week to further discuss the program.
Where violence and abuse keeps women and children in their place. [Canberra Times - 1/5/15]:
About a quarter of the calls to Australia's national domestic violence counselling service are going unanswered, as counsellors battle to keep up with a growing number of cries for help. This comes as other state-based domestic violence lines are reporting a huge increase in calls.
Last year, the federally funded 1800RESPECT responded to about 55,000 calls, providing professional advice to people who are or have been affected by sexual assault and domestic and family violence. But 18,000 calls went unanswered.
1800RESPECT spokeswoman Karen Willis said there had been an increase in calls each year since the service began in 2010, noting that as domestic violence has gained more public prominence in recent years, the calls have increased.
"We have never caught up," she said.
While Ms Willis noted that some people would call back if they didn't get through the first time, for others, "that's actually the last straw". She said an extra $2 million in federal funding would have enabled the service to hire enough counsellors to deal with last year's demand.
This comes as other domestic violence lines, whose representatives were in Canberra on Friday for an annual meeting, reported a spike in demand for their services.
Victoria's Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre has seen a 130 per cent increase in calls to its crisis line over the past two years. Queensland's DV Connect hotline has experienced a 35 per cent growth in calls since October, while calls to the New South Wales Domestic Violence Line grew by 6 per cent from 2013 to 2014.
Safe Steps chief executive Annette Gillespie said counsellors were not just seeing an increase in the volume of calls but an increase in the severity of cases. This includes women who report threats on their life, strangulation and sexual abuse.
Ms Gillespie added that the more public discussion there was about domestic violence, the more some men used violence.
"We're seeing when women are stronger and more independent and men feel less powerful and more vulnerable ... men will use greater violence to regain that control," she said.
DV Connect chief executive Diane Mangan said Queensland was similarly seeing an increase in the severity of abuse.
"We're quite concerned at the increasingly sadistic nature of the violence towards women and their children," she said.
Dead mother had planned to move [Nine MSN – 29/4/15]:
Two months ago Linda Locke devised a plan to leave her Sydney home and move in with her daughter in northern NSW.
But the time for her to move came and went.
Calls from her daughter, Elisha Locke, went unanswered and the grandmother of five died overnight on Tuesday after being allegedly beaten by her partner of 20 years, Jamie Christopher Walker.
Ms Locke, 51, has become the 34th women in Australia to die from violence this year, according to advocacy group Counting Dead Women.
Her daughter is now grappling with what could have been done to prevent her mother's death.
Elisha, 30, knows her mother had unlimited support from her children.
"She had every intention to (move) in February but when I tried to contact her she just never came," she told AAP through tears.
Elisha described Ms Locke as a loving mother and a strong woman who stood her ground.
Ms Locke had lived in the Quakers Hill home where she was found battered and bruised on Monday with 46-year-old Walker, her partner of about five years.
After an argument in the early hours, paramedics arrived to find Ms Locke with a severely bruised face, head injuries and a collapsed lung.
Walker appeared briefly in Blacktown Local Court on Tuesday, charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but didn't apply for bail.
Police expect to lay more charges.
This year an average of two women per week have died in Australia as a result of violence.
In the wake of the boy-in-a-cage affair, ACT Education Minister Joy Burch has announced a wide review of how schools deal with children with challenging behaviour, from violence to classroom disruption.
The review will also look at students "complex needs" and at the use of "exclusionary withdrawal". ... [Canberra Times - 1/5/15]
Where unions devote their energy to PR for the ALP [Brisbane Times - 3/5/15]:
… John Battams, president of the Queensland Council of Union, said the 2015 march was special day for the union movement.
"We are going to celebrate our wins of the past; minimum wages, penalty rates, sick leaves, health and safety laws, worker's compensation," he said.
"All of those things that are protected by the union movement and enjoyed by everybody in Queensland."
He said 2015 was "especially sweet".
"It is the first Labour Day since the defeat of the LNP government," he said.
"The LNP government attacked a lot of people in Queensland, including the union movement and they tried to shut us down.
"They tried to shut our anti-privatisation campaign down, unsuccessfully, so we are going to celebrate long and hard today with our families that we got rid of a really bad government."
At the front of today's Labour Day march were Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, federal MP Wayne Swan, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, Education Minister Kate Jones, Health Minister Cameron Dick, police and emergency minister Jo-Ann Miller and Leader of the House, Stirling Hinchliffe.
Where governments announce curious and confusing bipartisan legislation on a Saturday hoping no-one will notice. [Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Media Release [2/5/16]:
Mental Health patients and the broader public will gain significant increases in protection through an overhaul of the state’s Mental Health legislation proposed by Health Minister Cameron Dick.
The current legislation covering mental health in Queensland is 15 years old, and Mr Dick, who today released draft legislation for a new Mental Health Bill, said it was timely to check the legislation to see if it was serving the interests of both mental health patients and the broader community.
“The LNP botched the reform of the Mental Health Act by rushing a Bill to Parliament that was full of errors, ignored key policy areas, and hadn’t been consulted properly,” he said.
“We owe it to Queenslanders with mental illness and those who interact with them to get this right. These draft laws that we’ve proposed will strengthen the rights of mental health consumers as well as giving more of a say to family and carers.”
“Nearly half of all Australians will experience a mental health disorder at some stage in their lives so it is important that laws keep pace with modern best practise and community expectations.”
Mr Dick said the bill proposed by previous Health Minister Lawrence Springborg was rushed into Parliament without proper preparation or consultation and contained many technical errors, and this legislation contained several important changes.
“This includes reallocating the power to require a forensic patient to wear a GPS monitoring device from a bureaucrat to the Mental Health Court and the Mental Health Review Tribunal,” he said.
“We will still have that capacity to monitor forensic patients, but it will be the courts which decide who will wear those devices,” he said.
“This legislation also strengthens safeguards for the use of restrictive practices such as physical restraint, and enables the Mental Health Court to impose a non-revoke period for forensic orders of up to 10 years for the most serious offences.
“Many of the issues can be emotionally charged and can evoke a range of views. That’s why it is important that everyone is given the opportunity to consider the legislation before it is introduced to Parliament.”
Mr Dick said the new laws were just one of several initiatives that the Government has committed to which will improve mental health services in Queensland.
Consultation on the draft Bill will occur over a two month period from May to June 2015 and will include workshops, face to face meetings.
For more information or to have your say, visit www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au
Where the concept of universal health care is a thought crime, and
profit seeking, unaccountable health corporations must be publicly funded. [Yahoo
The only private hospital in Queensland's South Burnett region faces possible closure.
This has raised questions about increased pressure on the Kingaroy public hospital.
The operators, Pulse Health, have confirmed the loss-making South Burnett Private Hospital has been struggling for some time.
"Pulse has been working closely and confidentially with the South Burnett Regional Council, which owns the hospital, to find ways to improve its financial performance," chief executive officer Phillipa Blakey said.
Mayor Wayne Kratzmann has told the South Burnett Times that in addition to the loss of 20 jobs and specialist health services, the Kingaroy hospital will not be able to cope.
"(It) would be horrendous for the South Burnett community, particularly the elderly," he said.
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service has reassured residents the public system will continue to provide appropriate health care.
Shoppies union pay Coles and Woolworths millions to boost membership [Canberra Times – 2/5/15]:
Australia's biggest private-sector union pays major employers including Coles and Woolworths up to $5 million a year in commissions that help maintain its large membership, and influence in the Labor Party.
The ALP's largest union affiliate, the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA) plays a significant role in social policy debates, its influence viewed as pivotal to marriage equality in Australia.
Fairfax Media has investigated the political, industrial and social clout wielded by the SDA, and its close relationship with employers, including payments to retailers of as much as $40 million over the past decade as "commission" for the employers deducting union fees from members' pay packets.
The union's methods for gaining and maintaining members are unusual by current industrial relations standards. It pays up to 10 per cent of members' dues in commissions to major employers including Coles and Woolworths, ostensibly for the cost of payroll deductions.
The fees – totaling as much as $5 million a year – are likely well in excess of the true cost to employers of electronic payroll deductions.
Where academics ponder whether introducing laws resembling martial law during Brisbane's G20 was a roaring success. Policing the 2014 G20 – 4 May 2015 UQ
I don't fight fascists because I believe I will win.
I fight fascists because they are fascists.
Wages of Rebellion [ICH - VIDEO - 26/4/15]:
Popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization.
Chris Hedges has chronicled the malaise and sickness of a society in terminal moral decline in his books Empire of Illusion and Death of the Liberal Class—investigates what social and psychological factors cause revolution, rebellion, and resistance.
Drawing on an ambitious overview of prominent philosophers, historians, and literary figures he shows not only the harbingers of a coming crisis but also the nascent seeds of rebellion.
"America is a Tinderbox" - Chris Hedges on Reality Asserts Itself pt4 [3/10/14]
... HEDGES: I'm not sure that it does. I think that the problem is--you know, and Karl Popper writes this in The Open Society and Its Enemies. He said the question is not how do you get good people to rule. Popper says that's the wrong question. Most people, Popper writes, attracted to power are at best mediocre, which is Obama, or venal, which is Bush.
The question is: how do you make the power elite frightened of you?
Who was the last liberal president we had? It was Richard Nixon--not because he was a liberal, but because he was frightened of movements. And there's a scene--I think it's in Kissinger's memoirs, 1971, huge antiwar demonstration surrounding the White House, and Nixon has put empty buses, city buses end-to-end as a kind of barricade, and he's standing at the window wringing his hands, going, Henry, they're going to break through the barricades and get us. And that's just where you want power, people in power to be.
And that's why Sarkozy, who was a cretin, was unable to do too much damage to France, because if you got up in France and told French university students that they were going to pay $50,000 a year to go to college, they'd shut the damn country down.
And we have to recognize that for those of us who care about defending the rights of the underclass, we have to hold fast to the moral imperatives of movements and force power to respond to those movements. If we integrate those movements into the power structure, if we in essence compromise the integrity of those movements, we diminish their power.
And that goes back to Julian Benda, his great work Treason of the Intellectuals, where he says all of us have the option of serving two sets of principles: privilege and power, or justice and truth. But for those of us who care about privilege and power, the more we make concessions to those who serve privilege and power, for those of us who care about justice and truth, the more we diminish the capacity for justice and truth.
The point is to make, build organic organizations that make the power elite frightened of us. And if we invest our energy--as I think the left unfortunately has--into political parties, or at least, let's say, the Democratic Party--and I wrote Nader's major policy speeches for him in 2008 and voted for Jill Stein in the last election, but as a kind of protest vote--then all of the programs that I think we so desperately need in a democratic state are going to be destroyed.
I mean, Roosevelt was a compromise figure. You had the Communist Party, you had the Progressive Party, you had anarchosyndicalist unions like the Wobblies, you had a radical left that was putting pressure. So Roosevelt says that his greatest achievement is that he saved capitalism. And he's right. And most of the policies that he adopted he took from the left.
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
The United States and its allies staged 24 strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in a 24-hour period ending Saturday, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement.
Seventeen of the strikes were in Syria near the cities of Raqqah, Kobani, Al Hasakah and Dair Az Zawr, hitting Islamic State units, fighting positions, vehicles and other targets.
In Iraq, seven air strikes near Mosul, Ramadi, Bayji, Tal Afar and Fallujah hit units, buildings, fighting positions and a supply cache, the statement said.
The strikes took place on Friday and Saturday.
A group monitoring the conflict said 52 civilians had been killed in a coalition air strike in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo on Friday.
The U.S. military said Saturday it could not confirm the civilian deaths but was looking into the allegation.
At least 12 Iraqi soldiers and paramilitary forces were killed on Saturday by suicide car bombs targeting an outpost in western Anbar province, while attacks in the capital killed at least 14 civilians, security and medical sources said. ... [Reuters - 2/5/15]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [2/5/15]:
Basra: A number of peaceful demonstrators protesting on the bad services- including power cut for long hours in Summer - has been wounded as the government's forces have opened fire on them ...
It is worth mentioning that the services in Iraq are the worst in addition to corruption and robbery of hundreds of billions......
One of the displaced persons and his family live on the streets...... [VIDEO - 28/4/15]
One of the displaced persons in Kirkuk camps offers to sell one of his sons or kidneys ... [VIDEO - 2/5/15]
Diyala: Agencies: 11 persons have been either killed or wounded as a roadside bomb has exploded near Abu Garma Village in northern east of Ba'aquba......................
Baghdad: A roadside bomb has exploded at a home in Amil neighbourhood in Baghdad ,casualties resulted unknown.....
It is worth mentioning that Hashid militias have targeted Baghdad neighbourhoods which
Baghdad: Agencies/security source: A supermarket owner and his brother have been killed and a customer wounded in militant attack in Thubat neighbourhood in A'adhamiya .......
Baghdad: Agencies/security source: A person was killed and 5 wounded as a roadside bomb exploded near cars showroom in Baya'a today noon.......................
US Military, local Afghan leaders celebrate education
Task Force Solid Commander, Lt. Col. Zachary Miller, Parwan Provincial Governor Abdul Basir Salangi, and members from the Charikar community, gathered yesterday at the Charikar Girls High School to announce the winners of the Parwan High School Math Competition.
“Today we recognized the 60 competition winners,” said Maj. Steven Beard, Task Force Solid executive officer. “We believe that education is another way to provide security to Afghanistan. These students are going to go out, get an education, and become teachers, lawyers and doctors, and help stabilize the country and ensure it has a bright future.”
Along with certificates, each of the individual winners also received backpacks provided by coalition partners from the Czech Republic that will help them as they pursue their higher education post high school.
“The backpacks included college-level books with the intent that the winners will be able to use them if they attend a university someday,” said Beard. “In Afghanistan books are too expensive for most students, so providing them this head start with books will give them a better opportunity to attend a university if they choose that path.”
The individual winners were not the only ones that received supplies during the ceremony.
“We gave boxes of notebooks to the principal of the Charikar Girls High School to thank them for letting us use their school for today’s ceremony,” said Cpt. Nicole Gallup, 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion Operations Officer. “The inside of the notebooks are blank so the students can use them for school work, but the outside covers depict females in all types of jobs like construction or education.”
This is just one of the education projects that Task Force Solid is working on. In the near future, they will rededicate a girl’s school after they finish construction on a raised footpath since the location is prone to flooding, and they will also provide tents to areas that do not have a permanent structure for school.
14-year-old girl raped by 4 men in Samangan province [Khaama – 2/5/15]:
... This comes as the sexual abuse and rape of children have been rampant in Afghanistan, specifically in northern parts of the country during the recent months.
Acording to a government survey, around 65 rape case were recorded in six provinces last year where child rape happens more frequently.
The survey covered incidents recorded between March and September last year where incidents on children as young as 1-year-old to 13-year-old were reported raped.
Trial begins in case of Kabul lynching of Farkhunda [BBC – 2/5/15]
... Kerry arrived in the South Asian island nation earlier on Saturday, the first time in a decade that a U.S. secretary of state has visited Sri Lanka.
He announced the start of an annual bilateral dialogue and said the United States would immediately send experts to advise the new government on economic growth, trade and investment. ... [Reuters - 2/5/15]
Ambassador accepts personalised copy of No Fire Zone documentary for Sri Lanka's president [Tamil Guardian – 1/5/15]:
The Sri Lankan High Commission in London accepted a personalised copy of the Sinhala language version of the, Emmy nominated, No Fire Zone documentary on behalf of Sri Lanka’s president this week.
In his personal message to Maithripala Sirisena, the No Fire Zone director, Callum Macrae, on Wednesday, said, “The truth is coming out. I appeal to you not to obstruct the process, but to encourage it. To be on the side of truth.”
The No Fire Zone documentary details evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the final weeks of Sri Lanka’s war against the liberation Tamil Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers: Reflections from visit to Sri Lanka, Rebecca Lim [Ground Views – 20/4/15]:
... Are deportees and returnees safe? What is the role of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)? Australian Immigration compliance officers and Departmental correspondence say that the role of the IOM is to assist voluntary returnees and provide a financial incentive to ‘reintegrate’ and meet them on arrival at the airport in Colombo. When I asked if the IOM or the Immigration Department can guarantee the safety of returnees or deportees, the compliance/removal officer simply stated this is not our (Immigration) role. He said the IOM has received only one complaint of violence and all’s well in Sri Lanka. He was unsure of the scope of IOM’s role.
Two young Tamil men deported last year under the enhanced screening policy told me they were beaten on arrival, and reported to the authorities on at least two occasions. The questioning is routine though they live in constant fear of being picked up, detained and tortured. The fear is real.
Another Tamil deportee told me his life is over. He only leaves his house for casual work as he is too afraid to go out. He lives in constant fear of being picked up, detained and tortured. The beatings and harsh interrogation at the airport traumatised him.
I know of another Tamil returnee who said he has not received any assistance, financial or practical from the IOM. Many people shrugged their shoulders when I raised the role of the IOM.
Close relatives of three Tamil asylum seekers in Australia told me they are being harassed by the authorities asking about their whereabouts. A brother has been beaten and asked to report to the authorities; a wife was visited on a number of occasions and is too scared to report to the police because she would have to give her phone number.
The Australian government has a moral, legal and ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of deportees and returnees. Under international law, Australia cannot return a person to any place where they risk serious harm, including torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. A human rights campaigner stated ‘we know that deportees will not have a secure life once they arrive back in their country. I know they all have to pay through their nose and keep the corrupt officials out of [sight] and [their] life is not put in jeopardy….’
Moscow urges OSCE to act amid reports of Donetsk shelling [RT – 2/5/15]
Thousands of people in Ukraine, Russia and around the world took to the streets to mark the first anniversary of the Odessa massacre. Last year, 48 activists were killed and over 200 injured as radicals set the local trade unions house on fire.
The commemoration ceremonies for those who died in the fire on May 2, 2014 proceeded without serious incident in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa. ... [RT - 2/5/15]
New Zealand: Man shot dead by police near Thames
An investigation is under way after a man was fatally shot during an armed police callout near Thames yesterday.
The Armed Offenders Squad were called to the small town of Kopu about midday, following an incident at a house and reports of an armed man in the area.
The police said the man posed a significant threat of violence.
They said he was located after a five-hour search during which part of State Highway 25 had to be temporarily closed.
Police said when he was found he pointed a firearm at officers and was shot.
The man, in his 30s, was taken to Thames Hospital in a critical condition about 5pm but died a short time later.
An investigation into the shooting has been launched and both the Coroner and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) have also been notified.
@POPSspotSports: She yells "Power to the People!" #Freddiegray #baltimoreuprising
"The media is lying to you." @POPSspotSports: Not just Fox and cnn either #Freddiegray #baltimoreuprising
These newlyweds took a break from their wedding reception to show support for #FreddieGray rally at city hall.
Image: @RaniaKhalek [2/5/15]
"These aren't 'riots' you are just watching an unjust system be dismantled." @benjancewicz
@rayajalabi: #josephKent [activist kidnapped on live TV]: "I've got a feeling that somebody's trying to hold us back" #Baltimore
@jpegjoshua: Crowd singing. #BaltimoreCurfew #BlackLivesMatter #BaltimoreUprising #FreddieGray marching on North Ave
@jpegjoshua: Lots of signs like this. #BaltimoreUprising #curfew
@jpegjoshua: There are three separate "break the curfew" actions, all three have just started to march. #BaltimoreUprising -very coordinated.
@RaniaKhalek: The rally at city hall in Baltimore is massive and growing. ...
@RaniaKhalek: Not to worry America. Barnes & Noble in Baltimore is safe. The troops are playing cards & laughing at this absurdity.
@RaniaKhalek: Outside agitators from Pennsylvania & New Jersey spotted at #FreddieGray march in Baltimore.
@brownblaze: Oakland. City Hall's lawn planted with Black flowers and made into a memorial space. #BlackSpring #BlackLivesMatter
Man who filmed Freddie Gray arrested at gunpoint [Press TV – 2/5/15]:
The man who filmed the brutal arrest of African-American Freddie Gray by Baltimore police was arrested “at gunpoint” after he left a protest over police brutality.
Kevin Moore, 30, was arrested early on Friday in what he described as a clear case of “witness intimidation.”
The video, captured by his cellphone, shows the arresting officers roughly lifting a handcuffed Gray from the ground and dragging him screaming to the back of a police van, where he suffered a fatal spine injury. Gray, 25, died a week after his arrest.
Moore, an African American himself, said police tried to harass him because he handed over the footage and talked to the media about what he witnessed.
Baltimore police also arrested two of Moore’s friends, who work with Copwatch, an activist organization that advocates for the filming of interactions with police.
Moore was later released without any charges being filed against him. But his two friends, Chad Jackson and Tony White, remain in custody.
Europe’s border policy is designed to push refugees into the sea [Electronic Intifada - 30/4/15]:
... There are more refugees today fleeing war and persecution than at any time since the Second World War, according to the UN. The refugee crisis is largely isolated to the Global South due in no small part to the lasting impacts of colonialism and ongoing imperialism pursued by countries in the Global North.
Meanwhile, the EU will only offer resettlement to 5,000 people who qualify for asylum, meaning the vast majority who survive the Mediterranean “will be sent back as irregular migrants under a new rapid-return program co-ordinated by the EU’s border agency, Frontex,” according to The Guardian.
Such policies are reminiscent of the treatment of another group of persecuted refugees in the not-so-distant past.
In the lead up to the Nazi Holocaust, Western nations not only placed quotas on Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution, but in some cases boats full of Jewish refugees were turned away. Such was the fate of the SS St. Louis, the infamous cruise liner carrying 900 German Jews who were denied entry in 1939 by Cuba, the United States and Canada, forcing them to sail back to Europe. More than 250 of those on board died at the hands of the Nazis.
Today, Western leaders atone for their nations’ complicity in the Holocaust with cheap pronouncements of “never again,” declarations of unconditional support for Israel and a commitment to fight anti-Semitism and discrimination, all the while denying asylum to today’s persecuted refugees.
During his 26 April visit to Natzweiler-Struthof camp in Alsace, the only Nazi concentration camp on French soil, French President François Hollande warned, “The worst can still happen. Anti-Semitism and racism are still here.”
“We must not forget anything,” he said.
Just two days earlier, Hollande announced that he would be seeking a UN resolution to grant the EU authorization to destroy migrant boats before they set sail for Europe.
The fact that most of today’s refugees are Muslim provides an ideological imperative for blocking their entry into an increasingly Islamophobic Europe, with politicians stoking fears of Islamic terrorism and anti-Semitism to rationalize border cruelty.
Indeed, Raymond Shamash, a member of the right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), explained to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that he is running for office to protect Jews from Muslim immigrants.
“Most of the people coming over from Libya and Sudan and Somalia and Afghanistan do share one characteristic — that they are Muslims. I feel a demographic shift will make the position of the Jewish community untenable,” said Shamash.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage recently issued a similarly panicked warning, arguing that relaxing EU asylum policies would result in “a million Islamic extremists coming to our countries and posing a direct threat to our civilization.”
Likewise, Kent Ekerot, a member of the Swedish Democrats (SD), insists that anti-Semitism in Sweden is entirely “imported” due to “unrestricted immigration” of Arabs and Muslims, which he and his party fervently oppose.
Rooted in fascism and the country’s neo-Nazi movement, SD captured 13 percent of the vote in the last general election, making it the third most popular political party in Sweden.
Israel’s existence as an exclusionary settler state is deceptively justified on similar grounds — as a necessary response to the world’s indifference to the Nazi genocide of European Jews.
Meanwhile, Israel refuses to grant asylum to non-Jewish African refugees fleeing genocide in places like Eritrea and Sudan, preferring instead to round them up into detention and deport them.
French patrol ship rescues 217 refugees off Libya coast
A French patrol ship rescued 217 migrants from three small boats that had run into trouble off the coast of Libya on Saturday, the maritime police said in a statement.
The Commandant Birot helped several dozen people in distress and intercepted two suspected people smugglers, according to the statement.
"The intercepted vessels have all been neutralized," the maritime police said, adding that they were responding to a call from the maritime rescue coordination center in Rome as part of the European Union's operation Triton.
The rescued migrants and the suspected people smugglers have been handed over to the Italian authorities, the Toulon, France-based maritime police added.
3 May 2015