Hot day

Gold Coast [5/12/14]

Press release on the UN General Assembly’s adoption of Russia’s resolution, No First Placement of Arms in Outer Space

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation [4/12/14]:

On 2 December, a new resolution, No First Placement of Arms in Outer Space, submitted by the Russian Federation, was adopted at a plenary meeting of the 69th UN General Assembly.

An overwhelming majority of UN member states (126 countries) voted for the resolution. This impressive expression of the international community’s will shows that the Russian initiative is important, timely, and enjoys broad support. The composition of the handful of countries that voted against the resolution is revealing. Two countries, the United States and Israel, are still reluctant to join the common efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space, while Georgia and Ukraine made a politicised decision to follow them.

The Russian document built on the resolution traditionally submitted by Egypt and Sri Lanka, which aims to prevent an arms race in outer space. An overwhelming majority of UN member states support this document each year.

Brazil, Indonesia, the People’s Republic of China, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela, Kenya, Nigeria and others also took an active part in drafting the document.

The draft resolution was officially submitted to the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security Committee) of the UN General Assembly in October 2014, with 34 countries signing on as co-authors.

The UN General Assembly resolution, No First Placement of Arms in Outer Space, lays an additional foundation for preventing the deployment of any types of weapons in outer space and ensuring the exclusively peaceful use of outer space.

A central element of the resolution is an appeal to start negotiations as soon as possible at the Geneva Disarmament Conference on drafting a legally binding international agreement to prevent the placement of arms in space, on the basis of the actively discussed Russian-Chinese draft document.

Moreover, the resolution calls on all responsible countries to make a political commitment not to be the first to deploy weapons in outer space. Ten countries, including Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka, have already made this commitment.

The further universalisation of the Russian initiative will become an important confidence-building measure in international space activity and an important contribution to the efforts of all UN countries to ensure equal and indivisible security for all and to maintain global stability.

UN resolution: Israel must renounce nuclear arms [Yahoo - 3/12/14]

Australian government should recognise the state of Palestine [Greens Media Release - 5/12/14]

French legislators vote in favour of recognising Palestinian state  [France 24 - 3/12/14]

Government refuses to release critical income management evaluation

Greens Media Release [4/12/14];

The Australian Greens said today the Government was defying the will of the Senate by refusing to comply with an order for the production of documents and table a crucial evaluation of income management.

"The Government is clearly considering an extension of income management through the healthy welfare card, but they are refusing to release the Evaluating new income management in the Northern Territory final report, despite a Senate order for production of documents," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

"In refusing to table this evaluation, the Government has given the weakest of excuses, claiming they are unable to table the report because the minister is yet to receive it.

"This report has been with the Government for two months, and the draft versions for even longer.

"The Government is actively considering the expansion of income management, so it is ludicrous to think the Department have had this report for two months and haven't bothered to give it to the Minister, or that the Minister himself hasn't sought it out.

"Media reports indicate that this evaluation is critical of income management and suggests it has failed to deliver on its objectives. Clearly the Government is unwilling to release a report that shows income management hasn't worked.

"This report should be publicly available so that everybody can see what a farce income management is. The public and community have a right to consider this report.

"It is outrageous that this report is not available and that the Government is defying the will of the Senate. I will continue to pursue this report until it is released," Senator Siewert concluded.

Don't let Australia's racist, anti worker political and media establishment divide and conquer

Everyone deserves a decent wage

Remember this? ---> Refugees employed to clean council's rubbish tips [Chronicle 13/6/14] ?

Well here's another example of the Australian government's "refugee assistance program" propaganda SBS [28/8/14]:

Tamil asylum seekers in south-east Queensland are taking on roles cleaning rubbish from roadsides and garbage dumps, work the mayor of Western Downs says locals refuse to do.


The real story is that Queensland regional councils won't pay their workers.

Chronicle [22/8/14]:

Toowoomba's council has hired one of Australia's top lawyers to avoid paying an intellectually disabled man for years of work under an unfair contract.

Clynton Lawrance worked in council dumps for 26 years, opening gates, cleaning and keeping records, at first under the now-defunct Rosalie Shire Council.

For the first five years he worked for no pay, but was afforded scavenging rights.

His contract was changed in 1998 when he was paid $20 a day - a figure far below that which would normally be afforded a contractor.

Similar conditions continued past 2008, when the newly-formed Toowoomba Regional Council took over control of the region's dumps.

A Centrelink psychologist has found Mr Lawrance to have an IQ of 67 and to be illiterate and innumerate - factors which made him oblivious to the raw deal he was receiving.

An Industrial Court order that council pay Mr Lawrance $215,000 in unpaid wages was overturned on appeal after council hired former Solicitor-General of Queensland Walter Sofronoff.

However, Justice Glenn Martin still deemed the contract unfair. Only the amount of compensation has been brought into question.

Mr Lawrance was unaware he was being duped until the end of his tenure.

"Some of the council fellows - I got to know them well - they told me I was getting ripped off," Mr Lawrance said.

"I can't read or write, but I got letters from council saying what a good job I was doing and everything else. I used to get Rose to help me read them."

He and ex-wife Rosemary Creamer, who remains his best friend, contacted Aden Lawyers director David Riwoe.

"This is one of the fights that you like to have - when there's a person who's been given a tough deal for many, many years," Mr Riwoe said.

"So we're very happy to represent Clynton and try to get a good result. It's just a shame - there's a technicality, of sorts, that says we can't pursue the claim beyond 2008."

Changes to industrial relations laws in 2008 meant local councils were from that date treated as corporations, and could be sued.

It means Mr Lawrance's 20 preceding years of work can not be included in the case.

His job was no walk in the park. He recalls being "hit with needles", bashed by irate customers and even having rubbish filled with maggots poured over his head.

"Council never did anything about it," Mr Lawrance said.

"They kicked me around. It's wrong what they're doing now.

"If they had to pay me for 26 years, they'd be paying me a lot of money. But they won't even pay what they owe me for six years."

Mr Lawrance said all of the region's dumps had caretakers, many of whom were on similar contracts - a fact which may explain why council hired one of the country's most expensive lawyers to quash the case.

"Everybody should go see a lawyer and hit them. Why let them get away with it?" Mr Lawrance said.

"Everybody who works expects to get paid what's owing to them, not a kick in the arse."

Mr Lawrance's case will appear again before the Industrial Court in the coming months, though a date has not been set.



Who Should Own the Internet?

Julian Assange on Living in a Surveillance Society [New York Times - 4/12/14]



Civic courage: In Germany, 1000s mourn a young woman killed defending two girls from harassment

"We quickly forget those who make us cry. We always remember those who made us smile."

BBC [3/12/14]:

Large crowds in Germany have been paying their final respects to a young woman who was killed defending two girls from harassment.

Tugce Albayrak died on Friday after she was hit on the head and left in a coma outside a McDonald's near Frankfurt. Hundreds of mourners attended a service at a local mosque before she was due to be buried in her home town.

A man of 18 remains in custody over the 15 November attack, which shocked Germany.

The funeral took place at a mosque in Waechtersbach, attended by Hesse's state Prime Minister Volker Bouffier. The Turkish ambassador was also due to take part in the service. Mr Bouffier spoke of the "horror" of the attack that had made her death all the sadder. The funeral procession then set off for a cemetery in the village of Bad Soden-Salmuenster, where Tugce Albayrak was born. Tugce Albayrak was left brain dead by the attack. Her life support was switched off on her 23rd birthday.

 A call to prayer rang out and a few flakes of snow fell as hundreds of mourners huddled together in front of Tugce's coffin. It was a bleak scene. A funeral in the car park of a mosque on an industrial estate. A German and a Turkish flag stood out, colourful, against the grey sky.

Tugce, who was of Turkish descent, has become a national heroine in Germany. "She will be remembered for her civil courage," a speaker told the crowd, many of whom had pinned a picture of the student over their hearts. Others carried pale roses in tribute to a woman who's been described as a role model for Germany.

At the back of the crowd a few young girls stood holding homemade banners. "We quickly forget those who make us cry. We always remember those who made us smile," read one.

"Tugce was such a bright happy person," one of the girls told me. She tried to smile but her eyes filled with tears. As the mourners left the mosque, an old Iranian stood watching. I asked him why he'd come. "I didn't know her," he replied. "It's just so sad. she was such a beautiful young girl."

Ms Albayrak intervened when she heard cries for help from the toilet of a fast food restaurant in the town of Offenbach, where two girls were being harassed, German media report.

She was left in a coma after one of the men returned and attacked her in the car park.

The student teacher was in a coma for two weeks before doctors said that she would never regain consciousness and was brain dead. Her parents switched off her life support on her 23rd birthday.

Prosecutors said initial post mortem examination results established she had died from blunt force to the head, but were unable to say whether she had been struck on the head or hit her head as she fell.

Ms Albayrak's actions have been praised by Germany's President Joachim Gauck who called her a role model and said that she had shown "exemplary courage and moral fortitude".

A petition calling for Ms Albayrak, an ethnic Turk, to be awarded the national order for merit posthumously has gathered more than 100,000 signatures. Confirming he would consider the award, President Gauck wrote to her family to say: "Like countless citizens, I am shocked and appalled by this terrible act. Tugce has earned gratitude and respect from us all."

Today's [5/12/14] Senate Inquiry into Queensland Government public hearing at Nambour appears to have been cancelled/postponed?

Symbolic: Obliteration of former Courts Complex, George Street - Brisbane CBD [4/12/14]

Newman’s cuts to community legal centres leave most vulnerable without a voice [Greens Media Release - 4/12/14]:

 The Greens condemn the Newman Government’s funding cuts to community legal centres for advocacy work.

“Newman’s cuts to community legal centres come off the back of Abbott’s, leaving the people who most need help in our communities without a voice,” Greens Queensland Senator Larissa Waters said.

“Community legal centres provide free legal service and advocate for a fair legal system that does not further disadvantage vulnerable people, including women who are trying to escape domestic violence. 

“The Productivity Commission just released a report calling for government funding for community legal centre advocacy work because it is efficient, effective and solves systemic issues.

“Newman and Abbott are ignoring the Productivity Commission in order to silence the vulnerable, on top of the Liberals’ brutal budget targeting the sick, the poor and the elderly.

“The Newman Government can’t purport to care about eradicating domestic violence and then cut funding for the legal services which identify systemic changes needed to assist women to escape violence,” Senator Waters said. 

Queensland Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Jonathan Sri said: "What's really frustrating is that these cuts won't even save money in the long-term. Without the crucial law reform work of CLCs, bad laws will go unrepaired, creating inefficiencies that cost taxpayers more money in the future.

"You don't ask a supermarket manager which brand of bleach is most effective. You ask the cleaners who actually use the bleach at work each day.

“In this case, CLCs are like the cleaners - they're the ones with the on-the-ground knowledge and experience. They know which laws are working and which ones need improvement.  

“To leave them out of the conversation is to deny our legal system a valuable source of independent expert knowledge.  

“From day one the Newman Government has been pushing an agenda that promotes inequality, with cuts to Sisters Inside and the LGBTI community health organisation Healthy Communities.  

“Campbell Newman may be trying to sneak his community legal centre cuts through state Parliament but the community is taking note and will show that equality matters at the election,” Mr Sri said.  

Pastoralists support Mithaka aspirations for the Channel Country

Lock The Gate [4/12/14]:

The Cooper's Creek Protection Group has lent its support to the Mithaka people in the Channel Country who are seeking UN intervention in a battle over oil and gas development in the Lake Eyre Basin.

Spokesperson Dr Bob Morrish said that like the Channel Country's traditional owners, local pastoralists had been shut out of the Western Rivers consultation process.

“Minister Andrew Cripps refused – and continues to refuse – to consult with anyone who doesn't share his views and 'development at any price' agenda.

“Conservation interests were also specifically excluded from the Western Rivers Advisory Panel process,” Dr Morrish said.

“This government is unravelling good public policy at an alarming rate. It's complete nonsense to say all stakeholders were consulted equally.

“The mining and resources sector receive very preferential treatment from the Queensland LNP – as evidenced by the raft of recent changes to legislation, almost all of which is in their favour.

“The risks to these fragile landscapes and especially the rivers and floodplains from unconventional oil and gas developments are frightening to contemplate.

“The rights of other water users, traditional owners and the long term health of the environment are apparently all expendable.”  

Privatise the profits

1 William Street, Brisbane CBD [4/12/14]

Stealing the commons

The wilful destruction of a hospital and the theft of excellent universal health care

Brisbane Times [4/12/14]:

The Metro North Hospital and Health Service has dodged questions surrounding the training accreditation of its flagship facility after it was audited this week.

Fairfax Media has been told the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital is in danger of losing its gynaecology and obstetrics training accreditation after it failed to meet certain prescribed standards.

The MNHHS was asked five questions about 12.20pm on Wednesday regarding the rumour.

It was asked: 

whether its Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists accreditation was at risk

what issues had been identified by the RANZCOG accreditation team and what had been done to address those issues whether the RBWH had been given any deadlines to address certain issues and, if so, what those issues were whether accreditation had been given for 2015

what a lack of accreditation would mean for the RBWH and the training registrars in 2015.

In a written response that took more than 5½ hours to be provided, Women's and Children's MNHHS executive director Richard Kennedy confirmed RANZCOG visited the RBWH this week. But Dr Kennedy's response did not address the questions that were asked.

"The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists visited Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital this week as part of a review of training and education for obstetrics and gynaecology registrars," he said.

"This is one of several visits over a three-year period as part of the accreditation process. "The college is currently considering its recommendations following this visit.

"Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital has made considerable progress and is working collaboratively with the college to ensure continuous improvement in the education and training of our future specialists.

"Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital remains committed to the delivery of high quality obstetrics and gynaecology care."

RANZCOG president Michael Permeze confirmed a reaccreditation visit to the hospital resulted in some recommendations being made. That was followed by a second visit from RANZCOG representatives.

"The follow-up visit by a re-accreditation team from the college was to see how the hospital had progressed in addressing the recommendations made at the time of the last re-accreditation visit," Professor Permeze said. "All site visits result in various recommendations and these are always followed up. 

"Our discussions with all our accredited hospitals remain confidential, irrespective of the nature of those discussions. 

"I can confirm that the hospital retains RANZCOG accreditation at the present time.  "Any change to that accreditation status would be for the college to discuss in confidence with the hospital and it would be for the hospital to advise of any such change, not the college."

Militarised over policing and the persecution of activists and minorities

Sydney Morning Herald [4/11/14]:

A small group of protesters has gathered outside Brisbane's arrest court to support four people who were arrested during the G20 Summit.

Members of the G20 BrisCAN group, many of whom were wearing Anonymous Guy Fawkes masks, said the arrests were an example of over-reaching police powers.

Well-known protestor Ciaron O'Reilly, who was a prohibited person in the G20 restricted area, was arrested when located near the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre during the summit.

Mr O'Reilly briefly faced court on Thursday where his matter before Magistrate Noel Nunan was adjourned until next year.  \

Both Mr Nunan and Mr O'Reilly were in good spirits, with the magistrate asking the 51-year-old's lawyer Terry Fisher: "He doesn't wear a mask now does he?" "No, he doesn't hide his good looks," Mr Fisher said.

Two women and another man were also due to face the court. One of the women arrested was allegedly found with a gas mask, leatherman knife and a large protest banner. Her friend was also arrested after re-entering the restricted area after initially being banned.


... Few other official avenues are open to the refugees to lodge their concerns. Earlier this year, five Nauruan opposition MPs – Roland Kun, Mathew Batsiua, Dr Kieren Keke, Squire Jeremiah and former president Sprent Dabwido – were suspended for talking to the international media.

Kun, speaking from New Zealand, agrees that the refugees are far from free.

“It is still pretty much an incarceration situation,” he says. “Nauru is not in a position economically or physically to resettle anyone … and don’t call it resettlement if it is temporary.” ...

 'On Nauru the scarcest commodity is freedom, for refugees and residents alike' by Nick Olle and Vlad Sokhin [Guardian - 5/12/14]


This story features Adnan and Maryam, who protested in Darwin earlier this week. Maryam (and another woman) were dragged off the bus - Adnan was physically restrained by four guards. [Tricked and abused: pregnant women were forced off Darwin bus - Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 3/12/14]

Muir forced into a corner on bad refugee policy in order to free the children

The ALP put these children in detention and the LNP kept them there

Senate Hansard [4/12/14]:

Senator MUIR (Victoria) (20:05): Madam Acting Deputy President, I would like to inform you that this is not my first speech. I would like to make a statement on the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014. Coming to a decision on this bill has been, without a doubt, one of the hardest decisions I have had to face—a choice between a bad option and a worse option. It is a decision that involves human beings: children, mothers, fathers. It involves the lives of people who have had to endure unthinkable hardship, people pushed to the point where they go to any lengths to seek asylum.

In its initial form, I could not vote for this bill. What the government is proposing is not ideal. There are parts of the bill that I am not comfortable with. However, to do nothing is not an option either. I fear that doing nothing will not help these people. The government has said that, if this bill does not pass, the 30,000 people currently awaiting processing will continue to be left in limbo. The government has said that, if this bill does not pass, the 1,550 people who arrived between 19 July 2013 and the election would be sent to Nauru. The minister has said that, if this bill does not pass, he would be unable to use statutory processes to assess refugee claims and would need to go through an administrative process. He has publicly stated, 'What it means for those 30,000 people is they will just wait longer and longer and longer.'

I believe that this bill has many bad aspects; however, I am forced into a corner to decide between a bad decision or a worse decision—a position which I do not wish on my worst enemies.

Ultimately, it is my desire to see the legacy case load resolved with a clear pathway to permanency for those who are found to be genuine refugees, and for those who are found not to be genuine refugees to return home. Unfortunately, due to the current government's policy, I do not have that option in front of me.

The question is: if I am to vote this bill down because it is not perfect, am I making a worse decision for the people who desperately want to be processed? There has been a lot of concern expressed about the government's new fast-track process. There have been claims that, if a protection visa applicant has their claim denied by the immigration assessment authority, then the only hope is getting that overturned by the High Court. I want to assure people that, if a genuine refugee has their claim knocked back by the case officer, the immigration assessment authority, they can have that decision reviewed by the Federal Circuit Court. Access to the courts for asylum seekers is something that this bill is not taking away.

It is important to remember that this bill is not about how we process people in the future but how we process the current case load left behind by bad policy. I fear for what may happen to people currently seeking some form of security and I believe we need to give them a chance to contribute to society and finally have a chance to get on with their lives.

This has been an extremely difficult process for me. I agree with the remarks made by my colleague Senator Xenophon, who I know has been working extremely hard on this issue. There are many parts of this bill that I am not comfortable with. Whilst I have not had the opportunity to visit detention centres to hear their stories personally, I cannot ignore a joint letter written by refugees on Christmas Island. In that letter, they state that, if a TPV was the only option this government was going to offer, to accept it, because the mental anguish and pain cannot go on. It was a plea, a loud cry for help.

Tonight I have also spoken with people who have worked closely with detainees on Christmas Island. They told me that this bill is not completely fair, but that the detainees are tired. They told me that the detainees have had enough and that they want out. They are desperate. She told me that they have watched the news and they know it is down to one vote, and that vote is mine.

While I was speaking to these people and they were informing me, they started to break down and cry as they were speaking about children who have been in detention since they were born who are two years old. They speak about the word 'out'. To them 'out' means going to church on occasion, and that is it. When they hear the word 'out', they cannot begin to associate it with freedom.

They told the people in detention that they rang the office of the man whose decision it was to decide whether they would be out of detention before Christmas. That man wasn't the minister for immigration; it was me. It should not be like this but it is. The crossbench should not have been put in this position, but it has.

I feel that amendments suggested by my colleagues in the Palmer United Party and Senator Xenophon address some real humanitarian concerns and have the potential to give an opportunity to the current case load of 30,000 refugees. It is important that the Senate look closely at the amendments and vote in a manner which I honestly believe will be in the best interests of my fellow human beings.

Refugees at Australia's death camp on Manus sew lips together as part of mass hunger strike

Guardian [4/12/14]:

Four asylum seekers detained on Manus Island have sewn their lips together in protest at being held on the island for more than a year, while brawls and protests have broken out in a number of places.

Unrest has seized both the Delta and Oscar compounds over the last 72 hours.

The four men – two Iranian, one Iraqi and one Lebanese – who have sewn their lips together in Oscar compound, have been joined in their protest by about half of the compound who are refusing all food as part of a mass hunger strike, workers on Manus Island told Guardian Australia.

At least one protester has been forcibly removed to “Chauka”, the secret solitary confinement unit for “misbehaving” asylum seekers, while up to five of the hunger strikers have been removed for medical treatment for dehydration.

In a letter obtained by Guardian Australia [PDF], protesters say they suffer under “catastrophic conditions” and “have been caught in the [sic] hell”.

“The desperate situation is much worse than you imagine.”

The men complain that in the tropical heat of PNG, they are crammed more than 50 men to a room in stifling conditions, that toilets are filthy and food “horrible”. “But to make matters worse, the behaviour of most of those working here, especially officers, is terribly appalling. They act as if we are slaves.”

One man has a seriously infected ear that is bleeding. He says he can’t hear or talk and is in constant pain. He says he fears he will die from the infection.

lready one man held on Manus, Hamid Kehazaei, has died this year from an infection. His cut foot turned septic and he died in September. Reza Berati, the other detainee to die this year, was beaten to death in a riot [brutal attack on the centre] in February.

Sources from the island say there is a sense of desperation among the more than 1,000 men in detention. Some have been there 17 months and do not know the status of their refugee claim. Only 10 have been given refugee status and told they will be allowed to resettle on PNG. Others have recently been told they will be deported to their home country while most are still waiting to learn their future from PNG immigration officials.

The Senate was due to receive a parliamentary inquiry report into violence on Manus on Wednesday, but the tabling of the report has been delayed.

Immigration minister Scott Morrison has not yet responded to questions from Guardian Australia.

Close Nauru and Manus: 100,000 petitioners [Nine MSN - 4/12/14]

1. Morrison has no respect for the rule of law and his "undertaking" isn't worth a pinch of shit. 2. The Federal Court decision confirmed he can already deport babies. [Morrison’s Bill to send Aussie babies to Nauru this weekend - Maurice Blackburn Media Release - 4/12/14]

Well Placed in Time

A story about Bradley Street, Spring Hill, boat people, real estate and cricket

 On 10 January, 1853 Patrick Bradley, an assisted immigrant from Londonderry Ireland arrived in Brisbane along with his wife Elizabeth and son James. Although he is listed on the shipping list of the "America" as a labourer, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland lists Patrick Bradley of Rossville Street, Londonderry as a Dealer. A second entry indicates he was a Freeholder.

Dealers dabbled in a multitude of occupations including the trading or selling of merchandise, equipment, tools, land and foodstuffs or acting as "agents" for those selling property. Patrick Bradley was most certainly an opportunist and land speculator. In the 1850s, Brisbane was a frontier where physical strength and a degree of enterprise were rewarded. The Bradleys were so keen to make the voyage to Australia that Elizabeth put her age down by ten years as it was a requirement that assisted immigrants be younger than forty.

Elizabeth died on 30th April 1859 at home in Ann Street, "North Brisbane" as it was then known. She had only been in the colony for six years and six months. She endured the journey and the tough establishing years with Patrick and James but died only months before he began his land buying spree. John Petrie was the undertaker and the property owner from down Boundary Street, Father John Rigney, was the priest.  Six months later, he was buying crown land at auction with Patrick Bradley.

On the 17 January, 1853, The Courier Mail reported that the voyage of the "America" which sailed from Liverpool on 27 August 1852, had been a tedious passage of 135 days. There were 12 births and 14 deaths on the passage. Several cases of diarrhea and of scarlatina (fever) were reported and some of the 325 immigrants and crew had been very insubordinate towards the Captain. The Surgeon Superintendent of this vessel was said to have been suffering from indisposition, precipitated by the scarcity of provisions.

This excerpt from a letter to the Editor of The Moreton Bay Courier and Northern Districts General Advertiser on Brisbane Saturday March 5, 1853 gives insight into the appalling conditions on-board.

SIR - (Log Extracts) - About Sept 17th Mrs Mahoney was taken in childbirth. She informed the doctor that she expected to be immediately confined, when the Doctor told her that if she were not confined in the minutes after her admission into the hospital, she would be locked up until morning. She was not delivered but was locked up -- no one to attend her. The husband walked the deck all night -could not render her any assistance. The child was born, and lived a few hours. When it was dying the doctor came and bathed it; but alas it was dead, as everybody knew. Through the ill effects of her confinement this unfortunate woman, in about 11 weeks died of pure want. The medical comforts were denied her; she only having 1 pint of porter during her whole sickness (which did her the world of good). The provisions were such as she could not take, and the medical comforts were denied her. The husband, now a widower with seven children - four of them very small ones - is left to make his way as best he can in a strange country. In consequence of the loss of the bedding which was thrown overboard, he had to sleep 11 weeks on a seat 11 inches wide from which he fell several times, owing to the rocking of the vessel.


* John Riley, 28 and his wife Margaret, 22 were assisted immigrants on the "America".

Bradley Street tenants throughout the past century include a policeman, porter, doctor, retro furniture dealers, lawyers journalists and prostitutes. The house where I lived was most likely built by Henry Hugall, Baker of Leichhardt Street, Spring Hill. He purchased the property from the Curator of Intestate Estates in 1885.

 Throughout the 1850s, the NSW government sold large amounts of crown land for the development of housing at prices to tempt speculation. The handful of speculators did very well sub-dividing, selling and re-investing. The new Queensland government also used this virtually endless source of income to promote economic growth well into the 1860s. The timing was perfect for Patrick Bradley.

The records of sale of crown lands go up to 1862 when the new land title system commenced in Queensland. The beginnings of Patrick Bradley's rapid acquisition of land are recorded there. In a period of 18 months or so, he bought land at Spring Hill, Lytton and Yeerongpilly. Without fully searching the Land Titles Archives, it is impossible to know how much land he ultimately traded but with ongoing demand and his well established base, it is likely that his holdings were much larger.

Patrick died at home at Birley Street on 15th August 1876 from heart disease. Despite his wealth, his profession is listed as "labourer".

Elizabeth Bradley's grave can be found at Lot 16, Portion 7 of Toowong Cemetery. The graves of Patrick and his second wife Margaret have long since disappeared - lost to the ravages of time.

In 1997, the Friends of Toowong Cemetery received a grant from the B.C.C. to restore a number of graves possessing "notable" architectural significance. Elizabeth Bradley's grave was one of these.

Francis William Bradley, who was Patrick and Margaret Bradley's son (born on 8 October, 1867) was the first wicket-keeper captain of the Queensland cricket team, and the Captain of the first match between Queensland and NSW played at the 'Gabba.

Elizabeth Bradley's Headstone is partially decipherable and reads: "Elizabeth Beloved Wife of Patrick Bradley d 30 April 1859 AD" followed by a biblical reference.

The racist, bigoted, warmongering Coalition and ALP are responsible for Australia's fascist refugee policies, not Palmer.

The only way for Australia to meet its international obligations - and have a humane refugee policy - is to kick Coalition and ALP politicians out of government.

Yahoo [4/12/14]:

The federal government has secured the numbers in the Senate for its overhaul of immigration laws, including the return of temporary protection visas.

The Palmer United Party and its ally Ricky Muir on Thursday indicated they would back the coalition. [Along with Senators Xenophon, Day and Leyonhjelm.]

"We will be able to provide hope for the 30,000 people that have been locked up in this country," PUP leader Clive Palmer told reporters in Canberra.

The decision increases the likelihood that all children being held in immigration detention will be released before Christmas.

 Close the Camps: Clive Palmer [20/8/14]

Australian media keep pretending there is a difference between the Coalition and ALP when it comes to the torture and detention of refugees.


ABC [23/8/12]:

Australia will boost its refugee intake by more than 6,000 people per year under changes announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard today.

The increase in the annual refugee quota from 13,750 to 20,000 people was one of the key planks of the expert panel report on asylum seeker policy handed to the Government earlier this month.

The Government expects the majority of the applications to continue to come from people fleeing Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Ms Gillard says it is the biggest increase to the humanitarian program in 30 years, and says it has been welcomed by other countries in the region. Expert panel: the key points  Increase co-operation with Indonesia on joint surveillance, law enforcement, and search and rescue.

"This is important because we want to send two messages to asylum seekers," she said.

"Message number one, if you get on a boat, you are at risk of being transferred to Nauru or PNG. But message number two, if you stay where you are then there are more resettlement places available in Australia," she said.


Immigration Minister Tony Burke says discussions with asylum seekers prove PNG deal's worth it [ABC - 14/8/13]

Manly, 22 February 2014

Image: @justice22

Close Manus Death Camp: 99,000 sign petition – Canberra hand-over; Sydney protest

Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [3/12/14]:

A petition jointly organised by GetUp and the Refugee Action Coalition will be delivered to the Federal Parliament tomorrow, Thursday 4 December.

The petition presently has almost 99,000 signatures making it one of the biggest petitions ever to be presented on the question of asylum seekers. The petition will be delivered in the Senate courtyard at 10.00am.

Among the politicians represented will be Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Sen. Sarah Hanson Young, Labor MP Melissa Parke, and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young, Sen John Madigan and PUP Senator Dio Wang.

The petition will be presented one day after the report by the Senate inquiry into the events surrounding the killing of Reza Berati on Manus Island in February this year.

Nicole Judge, a former Manus Island worker, who gave evidence to the Senate enquiry will also be at the presentation. Unions for Refugees will be represented by Stephen Darwin, ACT secretary of the NTEU.

“This petition gives Senators another 99,000 reasons to vote down the Asylum Legacy Caseload Bill,” said Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition.

“What is happening on Manus Island is horrific. For many people, the killing of Reza Berati in February and the death of Hamid Kehazaei in September opened their eyes to what the government’s offshore processing really means. More and more people and, it seems, more Senators too, are a wake-up to the fact that Scott Morrison is a con-artist.

“There will be no justice for Reza or Hamid until Manus Island is closed.”

To mark the petition presentation in Sydney, there will be a protest at the Department of Immigration, 12.30 Thursday, 4 December.

Speakers at the protest will include: Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Australia (which co-sponsored the petition); Unions for Refugees; Kurdish Association; a ChilOut refugee youth ambassador; Refugee Action Coalition; and an Iranian refugee.

There will also be a protest in Brisbane at the electorate office of Liberal Senator, Brett Mason, 2166 Logan Road Upper Mount Gravatt, beginning 11:00am.

Senate report into brutal attack on refugees at Australia's death camp on Manus delayed again [Yahoo - 3/12/14]:

 ... A separate Senate committee inquiry was due to report on Wednesday but that's now been held up.

It could be released on Friday, after parliament rises for the year, or in coming weeks.

The report will focus on duty of care issues, jurisdictional responsibility and the actions of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.

PNG police charged G4S guard Louie Efi and Salvation Army worker Joshua Kaluvia with Mr Barati's murder in July.

Police are still hunting a trio of other suspects.

Multi-million-dollar Nauru refugee concentration camp contract faces renewed questions after key document missing [ABC – 4/12/14]

Cambodia under scrutiny over asylum seekers  [Al Jazeera - 3/12/14]

This is the type of person working for Australia's Minister for Immigration and his final solution [Independent - 2/12/14]:

... Born in Austria, Brunner joined the Nazi party in 1931. By 1938 he was a senior member of the Nazi SS responsible for “cleansing” Austria of its Jewish population. He carried out his duties with the utmost brutality.

Brunner eventually became the right-hand man of Adolf Eichmann, the infamous chief Nazi architect of the Holocaust who was executed in Israel in 1962. Brunner deported thousands of Jews from Austria, Greece and Slovakia and subsequently oversaw the “stepping up” of deportations from Paris to Auschwitz. Yet after Germany’s defeat in the spring of 1945, Brunner managed to escape arrest.


Give me a bandwagon and I'll jump on it ...

 'The Former Enfant Terrible', Pet Shop Boys [2009]

Our SERT pays tribute to the late Phillip Hughes #PutYourBatsOut #RIPPhillipHughes @CricketAus

Image: @QPSmedia  [3/12/14]

Defence agrees to blood test Oakey residents

Chronicle [3/12/14]:

The Department of Defence has agreed to start blood testing Oakey residents most affected by underground water contamination.

Shine Lawyers partner Peter Shannon was among those who attended a public information session at the town's RSL club last night in relation to the effects of firefighting foam chemicals leached into the ground from the Oakey Army Aviation Centre.

Mr Shannon was pleased with the decision to test the 25 to 30 Oakey clients he was looking after as well as others.

"I would have to say in fairness the army is engaging in public dialogue which is good," Mr Shannon said.

He said there was still a lot of work to be done and more information needed.

Questions raised included whether there were any implications for those who ate produce cooked or grown in bore water.

"The army is not in a position to answer those questions it seems."

Mr Shannon said there were property issues to be worked through in addition to health issues.

How the contamination would affect property values and the effect on long term water supplies were topics he said were important.

He said there were also people who indicated they didn't want legal representatives to get involved in the remediation and compensation process.

He said the matter did not have to end up in court, but there were legal channels by which it would have to proceed.

"We are committed to giving the army and the clients the opportunity of resolving it.

"This isn't an easy legal space. There is uncertainty of outcome and we don't want to up the angst factor where it is not needed."

A Defence spokeswoman said the department had provided an overview of chemical presence in ground water and reported the results of bore testing on Defence land and adjacent areas.

"Defence informed the community about how to access alternative potable water and the arrangements for the ongoing investigations into the extent and nature of the ground water contamination," she said.

She said Oakey residents raised a range of concerns relating to the potential impact on property values, health, livestock, vegetables and how bores could be used in the future.

"As part of ongoing work Defence will consider these matters."

A copy of this presentation is available on the Defence website at:

Residents in three houses at Clovelly Park in Adelaide's south will be relocated within the next two weeks after an environmental assessment report showed the area tested positive to elevated levels of the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE). ... [ABC - 3/12/14]

Another FIFO worker commits suicide in the Pilbara

WA Today [3/12/14]:

Another fly-in, fly-out worker has taken their own life in the Pilbara.

Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union secretary Steve McCartney said the resources industry needed to take suicide seriously after the death of a man working on Chevron's Gorgon Project this week.

It comes after a recent parliamentary inquiry into suicide and mental health issues in WA's FIFO industry found there were concerns about "systems of work" in the industry, roster structure, hazards and family separation.

The Education and Health Standing Committee interim paper, Shining a Light on FIFO Mental Health, released last month, also found workers aren't taking their antidepressants because they fear the drugs will be detected in workplace urine tests and hurt their career.

The committee launched the inquiry after 12 FIFO workers took their lives in a 12-month period.

Mr McCartney said there needed to be a culture change within the resources industry.

"The union movement was front and centre in setting up the parliamentary inquiry into the effect of fly-in, fly-out lifestyles on the mental health of workers and their families," he said.

"Unfortunately, we have seen the Chamber of Minerals and Energy out there telling people the problem doesn't exist.

"While we are still investigating the details of this last tragedy, we are again reminded of the need for a cultural change within the resources industry so that workers receive the support they need in and workplace conditions don't make matters worse.

Mr McCartney said a number of simple changes in resources industry could save lives.

"In its recent discussion paper, the Parliamentary Committee looking into these said it would be naive in the extreme to argue that there is no connection between the nature FIFO work arrangements and the mental health of those working under those arrangements," he said.

"The union movement has been consistently calling for more family-friendly rosters, so that families spend shorter stretches of time apart, and workers get more opportunity to participate in community and family life.

"We have also sought the establishment of return-to-work programs, to assist who have mental health issues.

"These changes may take a few dollars to implement, but the cost of not addressing this issue is far, far greater."

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling SANE Helpline 1800 18 7263; Lifeline 131 114; Salvo Crisis Line (02) 8736 3295; beyondblue 1300 22 46 36.

German pilots announce another Lufthansa strike

Deutsche Welle [2/12/14]:

Lufthansa pilots will continue to strike this week as talks failed to meet their demands, a German pilots' union announced late Tuesday.

The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit said there will be a new strike on Thursday as a result. It will affect long-haul and cargo flights and will start at 3 am local German time (0200 GMT) and last until just after midnight.

Flights on subsidiary Germanwings and short and mid-haul flights would not be affected, the airline announced.

Nearly a dozen pilots' strikes have hit the German airline this year. Tuesday's announcement was made just as one strike was coming to an end.

That 36-hour walkout scheduled from Monday to Wednesday saw the cancellation of nearly 1,400 flights and disrupted travel for some 150,000 passengers.

Monday's walkout came as a result of failed talks last weekend over Lufthansa's plans to scrap a decades-old early retirement scheme for pilots. The airline does not want new hires to fall under the plan, as it allows pilots to retire between the ages of 55-59 and still receive up to 60 percent of their pay until the normal pension scheme kicks in at the age of 65.

Lufthansa wishes to increase the early retirement age to 61. The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots' union, which represents some 5,400 Lufthansa pilots, is vying to uphold the old program.

The continued industrial action has forced Lufthansa to slash around 160 million euros (200 million dollars) from its operating profit.

A complete list of cancellations can be found on Lufthansa's website.

Police release Hong Kong protest leaders after surrender

Channel News Asia [3/12/14]:

Three founders of Hong Kong's Occupy protest movement have been released without restrictions after they surrendered to police on Wednesday, according to its leader Benny Tai.

In a tweet posted by Occupy Central (@OCLPHK), Tai, who was one of the three who turned themselves in, said, "We've been allowed to leave with no restrictions, not arrested."

He added they were given a form to fill by the authorities which "to tick from list of offences including taking part in unauthorised assembly, incitement, criminal damage, etc."

Tai added the trio could still face charges at a later date.

"We still have to wait and see," he said, according to a tweet by Occupy Central. "We may still be arrested later and charged with more serious offence".


3 December 2014