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  1. #141
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    Australian brands failing to pay garment workers a living wage, report reveals

    By Clair Weaver | Oct 29, 2017

    Forida is a busy working mum, who juggles a full-time job with raising her toddler son.

    She and her husband live in a capital city and support his mother, who lives with them and helps with childcare.

    Her situation has a universal resonance, in that she could be anyone's sister, wife, mother or aunt. But there's a difference: Forida earns just 35c/h making clothes for Target Australia, H&M and other global brands.

    Her home is a hot, cramped and mosquito-ridden slum shared with six other families in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They struggle to pay rent and get enough food.

    "If we were paid a little more money, then I could one day send my son to school. We could live happily, we could lead a better life," Forida said.

    The plight of women who make clothes for leading Australian brands like Kmart, Target, Big W, H&M, Cotton On has been thrust into the spotlight by a new Oxfam Australia report, released today.

    While leading retailers are enjoying record profits in Australia’s $27 billion fashion industry, just 2 percent of the tag price of each piece of clothing made in Bangladesh goes into the pockets of the workers who made it, according to the What She Makes report.

    Other women featured in the report include 25-year-old Anju, who makes clothes in a factory for Katies, Millers, City Chic and Rivers. Paid 37c/h, she cannot afford rent, enough food nor to keep her two young daughters at home.

    “What the report does is to really bring the faces and the lives of these women very close to our lives,” Oxfam CEO Dr Helen Szoke told 9NEWS.

    “If you are a mother or if you have sisters or if you have aunties, these are the sorts of women who are actually spending many long hours, many days a week, making clothes that we buy in the shops.”

    The report, which draws on research conducted by Deloitte Access Economics, calls on big Australian brands to pay garment workers a living wage. If the brands passed on this extra cost to consumers, it would only increase the price tag by 1 percent.

    “We are talking about a minute amount – if you are talking about a $10 t-shirt, that would be 10c,” Dr Szoke said.

    “These are actually amounts that could be absorbed by (fashion and clothing) companies.

    “I think Australians would be astonished to know that with such a small change in the adjustment of the price or of what is actually paid by the garment industry, it can make a real impact on the lives of women who aren’t even able to get out of the cycle of poverty, despite the fact they are working seven days a week.”

    Currently most profit from clothing goes to factory owners, wholesalers and retailers. It would take a Bangladeshi garment worker more than 4000 years to earn the amount a CEO of an Australian clothing retailer.

    Dr Szoke said consumers should not boycott brands but rather put pressure on them via social media.

    Oxfam is launching a live company tracker on its website to publicly monitor Australia’s leading fashion retailers, including Kmart, Big W, Bonds, Cotton On and Just Jeans.

    “This is not about consumers being made to feel guilty – this is about empowering consumers to ensure that this difference can be made for the predominately women who are working countries to make the clothes that we are wearing today,” Dr Szoke said.

    Oxfam hopes its report will help bridge the disconnect between Australian consumers and workers at the bottom of the supply chain.


  2. #142
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    Australians support partial ban on Muslim immigration: survey

    Nearly half of all Australians support a partial ban on Muslim immigration, a national survey by the Australian Population Research Institute shows.

    Three quarters of Australians believe the country doesn't need any more people and nearly half support a partial ban on Muslim immigrants.

    An Australian Population Research Institute survey of more than 2000 people also found 54 per cent want a reduction in the annual migrant intake.

    The organisation's researchers, Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell, say the result shows a disconnect between the political elites' commitment to high immigration policies and the concerns of voters.

    In their analysis, they said the results are driven by the impact of population growth on people's quality of life and the rapid change in Australia's ethnic and religious make-up.

    "Australian voters' concern about immigration levels and ethnic diversity does not derive from economic adversity," academics Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell wrote in a report based on the survey.

    "Rather, it stems from the increasingly obvious impact of population growth on their quality of life and the rapid change in Australia's ethnic and religious make-up."

    Australia's population increased by 389,000 people to 24.5 million in the year to March, largely due to the arrival of new immigrants.

    Most people who migrate to Australia are skilled workers (68 per cent) and about a third make the move to be with family.

    But 74 four per cent of those surveyed believe Australia is "already full", with most pointing to roads congestion, hospitals capacity, affordable housing and fewer jobs as evidence.

    Mr Birrell told SBS News that "population pressures" significantly contributed to this result.

    "For most Australian voters, the problems associated with Australia’s very high population growth, which is higher than other developed countries are now starting to bite," he said.

    "We’re seeing that in our survey that most respondents thought that population pressures were adding to difficulties of urban congestion, housing affordability, job competing and the like. It's hardly surprising that 74 per cent of them would respond by saying Australia doesn’t need more people."

    Some 54 per cent want Australia to cut its annual immigrant intake of about 190,000 people and 48 per cent backed a partial ban on Muslim immigration.

    However, another 27 per cent were undecided about a partial ban, while a quarter opposed it.

    The strongest support for the partial ban came from One Nation voters (89 per cent), with more than 50 per cent of Liberal voters agreeing and just over a third of Labor supporters.

    "The willingness to take a tough, discriminating stance on Muslim immigration is not limited to a small minority, but extends to almost half of all voters," the report said.

    Immigration minister Peter Dutton reacted cautiously to the survey results on Thursday, telling 2GB's Ray Hadley that the government was "always looking at the migration numbers" to get the balance right.

    "In the Labor years the number peaked at about 305,900 in one year which was an enormous number, we've got that number down now below 190,000 and as I say, we’re happy to reassess."

    He said new migrants were drawn to the big population centres where pressure on housing and infrastructure was most often felt, however, "In some regional towns they’re crying out for people because they can’t get workers in the meatworks or areas of primary production, tourism, restaurants and so on. So we need to get that balance right."

    Mr Dutton linked the issue to his efforts to reform citizenship laws, which have been struck down in the Senate.

    "We want to make sure that people who want to become Australian citizens … have integrated into Australian society, that are abiding by our laws and ahering to our values."

    More than half of those surveyed feared Australia risked losing its culture and identity, with a similar number saying it had changed beyond recognition and sometimes "felt like a foreign country".

    Australia's political and economic "elites" had ignored rising concerns about immigration, the report said while noting rising support for anti-immigration parties across Europe.

    "Such is the extent of these concerns that they could readily be mobilised in an electoral context by One Nation or any other party with a similar agenda, should such a party be able to mount a national campaign," the report said.

    "If this occurs, the Liberal Party is likely to be the main loser."

    The survey was largely based on the views of Australian-born respondents who were "much more likely to take a tough line on immigration numbers and ethnic diversity than are overseas-born persons (unless they are UK-born)", the report noted.

    The institute commissioned the 10-minute survey from July 31 to August 17 this year, where a random national sample of 2067 voters, drawn from an online panel of 300,000 people, were asked questions about Australia's immigration and population policies.

    The survey's results conflict strongly with research by the Scanlon Foundation a year earlier which found just 34 per cent of Australians thought immigration was too high.

    The researchers conceded that different methodologies may have led to the significantly different results, but said "more likely... the recent increase in media and public attention to the immigration question has contributed to a hardening of voters' attitudes".


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    Women intimidated and hang up on calls to domestic violence hotline 1800Respect

    ALMOST 19,000 women are hanging up on calls to a domestic violence hotline because of fear or intimidation from their partners, officials admit.
    June 04, 2015

    WOMEN are hanging up on calls to the domestic violence hotline because of fear or intimidation from their partners, officials say.

    The Department of Social Services today fronted a senate estimates committee and were grilled about the 18,631 unanswered calls to the 1800Respect telephone line, which provides support to people in violent family situations.

    “A lot of women ring and don’t go through with the call,” department official Cate McKenzie told the committee.

    “They could be interrupted by a child or a violent partner,” a Senate committee in Canberra heard on Thursday.

    The evidence came less than 24-hours after Australian of The Year Rosie Batty gave a powerful speech at the National Press Club in Canberra on domestic violence.

    Ms Batty, whose 11-year-old son Luke was murdered by his violent father, said family violence needed to be seen as akin to terrorism.

    She said more action and funding was needed from the government and urged for a bipartisan approach.

    “Let’s start calling family violence terrorism and then maybe we can start to see funding flowing to this area,” Ms Batty said on Wednesday.

    “We are not seeing strong leadership on this issue. We are seeing conflict, on one hand giving voice to support but on other hand there is a lack of funding and cuts to essential frontline services.”

    Tony Abbott yesterday defended his government’s commitment to tackling domestic violence, and cited the $4 million in additional funding to the 1800Respect hotline.

    Mr Abbott said, while $100 million had been allocated for an action strategy and $30 million was soon to be rolled out for a joint federal-state campaign, more money would be available for recommendations presented by the COAG taskforce on domestic violence of which Ms Batty is a member.

    “There is money available to implement the recommendations of that taskforce,” Mr Abbott said.

    “We shouldn’t forget, though, that an enormous amount is already being done.”

    “An enormous amount is being done and the challenge is to do it more effectively.”



    They say "The Muslims beat their women"; when it's they who beat their women, and so much so that the women can't even get help when they want to.

    Last edited by islamirama; Apr-2-2018 at 02:03 PM.

  4. #144
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    More than 50% of those on secretive NSW police blacklist are Aboriginal

    Police commissioner concedes Suspect Target Management Plan has problems, but defends its objectives

    More than half the people on a secretive New South Wales police blacklist are Aboriginal, the state’s top law enforcement officer has revealed.

    The NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller, says about 55% of people who are currently the subject of a Suspect Target Management Plan are Indigenous, prompting accusations that police are using a “racially biased program” to combat crime.

    The Suspect Target Management Plan – or STMP – is a “predictive style of policing” that uses “disruption and prevention” to identify people who police believe are a high risk of committing crimes.

    In October, researchers from the University of New South Wales and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre released a report which showed the STMP was overwhelmingly aimed at young people and Indigenous Australians, and resulted in “oppressive policing”.

    The report revealed cases where police appeared to use STMPs inappropriately, including as cause to search someone as a substitute for having reasonable grounds to suspect they had committed or intended to commit a crime.

    It prompted Michael Adams, the chief commissioner of the NSW police watchdog, to voice concerns about the use of the STMP, saying the tool was potentially “problematic”.

    On Thursday, Fuller, who replaced former police commissioner Andrew Scipione in March, faced questioning about the STMP from the Greens MP David Shoebridge at a hearing in the NSW parliament.

    He said there were about 1,800 people subject to an STMP across the state. About 55% of them were Aboriginal.

    He also revealed that the youngest person on an STMP was only nine years old.

    Fuller, who since coming into the job has taken a progressive stance on some issues, conceded there were problems with the STMP but broadly defended its aims.

    “I am taking steps to minimise Aboriginal people coming into police custody more broadly,” he said.

    “I believe in STMP and I believe in proactivity, but I am not proud of the incarceration rates of Aboriginal people in New South Wales and I am taking steps to improve that and working with senior police who support our concerns in relation to incarceration of Aboriginal people.”

    He said police were looking to make changes to bail laws so that Aboriginal people in regional areas could give more than one address, which he said would give them a better chance to avoid coming under police notice in the first place.

    Fuller said high incarceration rates for Aboriginal people was a problem across the country, but Shoebridge said the police were “part of the problem”.

    “If your police force is actively targeting in a disproportionate way Aboriginal people using the Suspect Target Management Plan, you are part of the problem because, if you are over-policing them at this point, it is far more likely that Aboriginal people will then be charged, then go to court, and then go to jail,” he said.

    The STMP has faced criticism from the legal profession and justice advocates, who say it unfairly targets minorities.

    It is also secretive. NSW police have refused to reveal what factors they use to determine who is placed on an STMP, and even those who are subject to one are not always informed.

    Sophie Parker, a solicitor at the Redfern Legal Centre specialising in police powers, said it was evidence that Aboriginal people were being disproportionately targeted by the STMP.

    “It is extremely alarming that Aboriginal people – who make up just 2.5% of the population – account for more than 50% of STMP targets,” she said.

    “This is a clear example of oppressive over-policing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

    “Given a child under 10 cannot be arrested or charged with a crime, it is highly inappropriate that they be subject to an STMP.”

    Vicki Sentas, one of the report’s authors, said: “It’s not surprising that it’s disproportionately targeting Aboriginal people given the experience of the community legal centres we spoke to as part of the research.”

    After the report’s release, Adams, who was appointed the first commissioner of the new Law Enforcement Conduct Commission in February, said so-called “risk assessment” tools in law enforcement, such as STMPs, often contained “disguised personal subjective assessments which are not truly objective” and that “on the face of it one would have to question its reliability for predicting behaviour”.


  5. #145
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    Queensland station owner had 40 sets of Aboriginal ears nailed to walls

    A determined writer from W.A is lifting the lid on some of the worst crimes ever seen in Australia. The genocidal killing of Indigenous people in Australia by European settlers.

    Writer Chris Owen who Authored the book, Every Mothers Son Is Guilty: Policing the Kimberley Frontier of Western Australia feels there is a lot more that needs to be done in order for all Australian’s to learn about Australia’s brutal past. He has recently decided that he will be working on another book the outlines even more Aboriginal history from the rest of Western Australia.

    He is also posting some of his research from W.A and elsewhere across Australia on social media. Some of his posts have been shared several hundred times. In his most recent post he posted a diary entry from a young British Settler (Emily Caroline Creaghe) who was passing through Queensland gulf country in 1883. During her stay at Lorne Hills station, she detailed how the station owner (Jack Watson) had around 40 sets of Aboriginal ears nailed around the walls of the homestead.

    It is disturbing how she can write about the weather in one sentence and trophy killings in the next sentence. From her tone it sounds like she is more disturbed by the weather than the owner of the station where she was staying.

    Most of what Chris has posted is information that can be found online. All it takes is a little digging and you will discover the truth about brutal crimes against humanity that took place during Australia’s colonisation.

    It seems that Australian’s have a real fear of this truth and so they should. To this day, there has been no justice for these crimes. Some descendants of these killers still occupy the same lands where their forefathers committed these crimes. The world needs to know about Australia’s history that happened at a time when International laws were in place.

    Serious questions and talks about Australia’s legitimacy as a nation and compensation for the crimes and occupation need to happen. You can help force this to happen by sharing stories like this. We want it to be known all around the world that we are still here, still fighting for justice.


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    Ten-year-olds could be held without charge under new terrorism laws

    by Katharine Murphy - 5 October 2017

    Children as young as 10 could be held by police for 14 days without charge under a new national detention law applying to terrorism suspects, the justice minister has confirmed.

    Michael Keenan told the ABC it was “deeply regrettable” that children could be held under the new counter-terrorism regime, approved by federal and state governments at a special Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra on Thursday.

    But he said Isis specialised in the radicalisation and recruitment of children.

    Keenan confirmed the new regime would apply to children “as young as 10”, but he said minors would be subject to “an enormous level of safeguards”.

    There would be additional safeguards for children aged between 10 and 14, and those aged between 14 and 18, he said.

    “I’m very happy for these laws never to be used,” Keenan said, but law enforcement agencies needed to be given authority to deal with all situations when it came to national security threats.

    He said the community would not be well served if an 11-year-old was preparing to commit and act of terrorism, and police had no powers to deal with that.

    The Turnbull government will legislate the 14-day pre-charge detention regime, modelled on an existing New South Wales law, despite previous concerns that such a law might breach the constitution.

    Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday it was more efficient for Canberra to legislate, given most counter-terrorism operations were coordinated between the commonwealth and a state jurisdiction.

    The new counter-terrorism measures, which include an agreement to share face-matching technology between jurisdictions in real time, have generated concerns among civil libertarians and privacy groups.

    But in signing up to the new regime, a number of premiers argued on Thursday that when it came to the terrorism threat, community safety trumped concerns about liberty and privacy.


    Reporting Australian Terrorists


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    Australia's Gitmo Camp

    Inside the camp, the men were desperate but determined.

    Sick. Hungry. Trapped. They wanted freedom.
    This is Manus Island.

    The New York Times sent journalists into a contested detention camp in Papua New Guinea to investigate Australia’s refugee policy, and the resistance rising against it.

    The men packing the boat with rice, cigarettes and medicine had fled war and persecution in their home countries.
    Now, at 1 a.m., off the coast of a remote island in Papua New Guinea, they were speeding back to the detention camp they hated.

    Why, I asked, would they return to the prisonlike “refugee processing center” where they had been trapped for nearly five years?

    “We have brothers to feed,” said Behnam Satah, 31, a Kurdish asylum seeker, as we cruised over moon-silvered waves on a hot November night. “We have brothers who need help.”

    More than 1,300 asylum seekers have been dumped on Manus Island since the end of 2012 as part of Australia’s contentious policy to keep migrants from reaching its shores. They were all but forgotten until last month when Australia’s attempt to shut down the center and move the men to facilities near the island’s main town of Lorengau hit resistance.

    Hundreds of the men refused to leave.

    Many said they were afraid to move closer to town, where some had been attacked and robbed by local residents. But it was more than that. With the attention of the world finally on them, the camp’s detainees had turned their prison into a protest, braving a lack of water, electricity and food to try to jog loose a little compassion from the world.

    They had already suffered and understood danger. Fleeing more than a dozen countries, they had risked their lives with human traffickers on ramshackle boats leaving Indonesia. And ever since the compound started filling up in 2013, it has been plagued by illness, suicide and complaints of mistreatment.

    But now, by staying there and sneaking in and out by boat, they were risking arrest in a desperate search for self-determination, and to intensify scrutiny of Australia’s migration policy and methods.

    And that scrutiny has come.

    Veteran United Nations officials said this month they had never seen a wealthy democracy go to such extremes to punish asylum seekers and push them away.

    Papua New Guinea officials and local leaders, enraged at how the camp’s closure was handled, have demanded to know why Australia is not doing more to help the men.

    Instead, Australia is cutting services — reducing caseworkers and no longer providing medication, officials said, even though approximately 8 in 10 of the men suffer from anxiety disorders, depression and other issues largely caused by detention, according to a 2016 independent study.

    “It’s a very drastic reduction,” said Catherine Stubberfield, a spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency, who recently visited Manus.

    Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection did not answer questions about the service cuts. In a statement, it said general health care was still available and “alternative accommodation sites” were “operational” and “suitable.”

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also doubled down on Australia’s hard-line approach, arguing that offshore detention has been a successful deterrent against illegal trafficking.

    But in Papua New Guinea, deterrence increasingly looks like an incentive for cruelty. Officials, Manus residents and outside experts all argue that Australia has a responsibility to those it placed here, to international law, and to its closest neighbor.

    “They’ve put the burden on a former colony which does not have the resources for many of the things its own people want, like health care and a social safety net,” said Paige West, a Columbia University anthropologist who has done extensive fieldwork on Manus. “This is a problem created by Australia’s failure to comply with its human rights obligations.”

    The detention center, a warren of barracks and tents, sprawls across a naval base used by American troops in 1944 during World War II. The Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the camp was illegal, calling it a violation of “personal liberty.” The governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea agreed in April to close the site by Oct. 31.
    But finding alternatives has been a struggle.

    Some of the men at the camp — all of whom were caught at trying to reach Australia by boat — have been granted refugee status and are hoping for relocation to the United States, under a deal brokered by President Obama and initially opposed by President Trump.

    But nearly 200 of the 843 men still stuck on Manus (women and children were sent to the island of Nauru) have not had their asylum claims fully processed, or their claims have been rejected, leaving them effectively stuck on the island.
    For now, all of the detainees are expected to move to three smaller facilities, near Lorengau, a few miles from the camp.

    Lorengau is not a big place. It is a close-knit rural town with a few thousand people, a single supermarket, a rusty playground and electricity that comes and goes.

    The new detention facilities are set apart from main roads and are closely guarded — we were turned away when a photographer and I tried to visit. But detainees can come and go. And photos, taken by the men, show that none of the facilities were fully operational more than a week after the move was supposed to happen.

    At one of the new facilities, West Lorengau Haus, the electricity and water had not been turned on when representatives of the United Nations refugee agency visited days after the main camp had officially closed.

    “It’s still a construction site — you can’t just move refugees into that space,” said Ms. Stubberfield, the spokeswoman.
    The two other sites also had problems: One had intermittent running water, and the other, the East Lorengau Transit Center, lacked caseworkers.

    Kepo Pomat, who owns the land that facility occupies, said he had issued the authorities an ultimatum: If his company did not receive the caseworker employment contracts, he would kick the refugees off his property.

    Part of the problem is that the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea are at odds over who is responsible for the men. Australia says Papua New Guinea is in charge of providing for them. Papua New Guinea says it is willing to house the refugees, but it is Australia’s responsibility to pay for them and pursue ways for them to leave.

    “We’ve been urging that the Australians keep up their responsibility,” said Duncan Joseph, a community leader and the island’s Red Cross representative. “The fact that they’ve withdrawn and drastically scaled back services doesn’t change that for us, morally and legally, they are responsible for these men.”

    Many of the detainees who have moved to the new sites reported crowded dormitories and delays with getting food.

    Some did not receive the weekly stipend of $30 for medicine and incidentals they were promised upon arrival.

    Mohyadin Omar, 27, a lawyer with a soft demeanor who fled Somalia in 2013, said the move to the transit center had made him consider returning to Mogadishu. He is a certified refugee who lost his entire family to war. He fears he will be killed back home, but he may go anyway.

    “I’m tortured four years here,” he said. “I’m done.”

    Back inside the main detention camp, conditions deteriorated quickly after the Australians officially left on Oct. 31, cutting off the electricity and water before departing.

    In the equatorial heat, the men who were sick got sicker. Asthmatics needed inhalers. Diabetics needed insulin.

    Mr. Satah, the leader of the supply operation, seemed relieved when our boat pushed ashore. The navy guards and police meant to keep everything out of the camp either did not see us or chose not to intervene. Mr. Satah, a fast-talking former English teacher, smiled he led a dozen men carrying food and medicine toward a container inside the compound.

    “O.K. Brothers, thank you very much — love you, love you,” he said, echoing their expressions of appreciation.

    Though it was after 2 a.m., many of the men were eager to guide me through the camp, where most had lived for more than four years, in many cases without ever leaving.

    They showed off the well they had dug for water, and the protest signs they posted on Twitter using cracked cellphones, cherished like fine crystal.

    Some of the men who stayed at the camp appeared mentally stronger than those who had relocated.

    They made clear they want to be resettled in a third country, neither Australia nor Papua New Guinea. In the meantime, they were surviving. They were defying the authorities. Thanks in part to money from supportive Australians and local boat pilots risking arrest, they had cigarettes, a stash of booze, and a measure of what they have most craved: agency and autonomy.

    “There are many things that brought us to the point where we’ve said we will never go,” Mr. Satah said when he was still in Lorengau gathering supplies. “But remember, we didn’t come here by choice.”

    Behrouz Boochani, another Iranian Kurd who has become well-known for writing from the camp, put it more simply in a resistance manifesto: “All the conversations are driven by one thing, and one thing only, and that is freedom,” he wrote. “Only freedom.”

    Why then have more of the men not tried to pursue a future in Papua New Guinea? After I spent time in Lorengau, it became clear: Even for those who have made a life in Manus, there are real challenges.

    Mustafizah Rahman, 25, an asylum seeker from Bangladesh, married a local woman and opened a shop in a red shipping container near the main Lorengau market.

    There, he said, he is pursuing his dream “to become a multimillionaire.”

    The island’s residents consider him a model of integration. But Mr. Rahman, whose wife is eight months pregnant, remains stateless, he said, without formal residency in Papua New Guinea.

    Lorengau has become increasingly crowded with climate change refugees who have moved there from more remote islands, and Mr. Rahman said he was barely getting by after paying for rising rent and food costs.

    “Not everyone can do this,” Mr. Rahman said, between customers. “We’re really not accepted in this country. If they bring everyone to town, many people will die.”

    The fear of violence is shared by many of the asylum seekers, who have been targets of attacks in Manus and in other parts of Papua New Guinea, as they have been in other countries. A recent Human Rights Watch report documented a series of cellphones thefts and attacks, some involving machetes.

    Kakau Karani, Lorengau’s acting mayor, said that the risks were exaggerated and that in fact, many residents had provided the men with food, lodging and work.

    Around 10 children have been born to asylum seekers and local women, the mayor said, adding, “If we weren’t friendly, we would not be making babies here.”

    Other residents worry that the men are preying on local women.

    Ultimately, both the asylum seekers and the local residents are a mix of potential and risks.

    Some of the detainees are resilient and have learned new languages. Others survive with sleeping pills or drink too much — as do some local men.

    Australia says offshore detention has reduced trafficking and deaths at sea. Mr. Turnbull has rejected an offer from New Zealand to take 150 of the refugees, arguing it would encourage traffickers.

    But for Manus, the effects are evolving and still being tallied. Six detainees have died here. A small number have reached Australia for medical treatment. Hundreds have left, after agreeing to deportation. And 54 refugees from Manus and Nauru have made it to the United States.

    When might more follow?

    Yassir Hussein, one of the camp’s leaders, said he often contemplated ideals like liberty and justice — and what they mean for migration’s winners and losers.

    “We are happy for the lucky ones,” he said. “But why are they lucky? Why are we not lucky?”


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    Beware, now Facebook posts can get your visa cancelled


    A condition for Australian visas that was earlier applicable to only a few visas is now imposed on most temporary visas.

    Under the new migration rules, most temporary visas will be subject to a condition that will enable the Immigration Department to cancel a person’s visa if they are found to be involved in online vilification based on gender, sexuality, religion, and ethnicity.

    According to the Migration Legislation Amendment Regulations 2017 that came into effect on 18th November, an existing condition, 8303 has been amended to expand its scope.

    The condition that earlier applied to only a few visas is now applicable to most temporary visas applied for on or after 18 November 2017.

    The Immigration Minister now has the power to cancel a visa if there is evidence of a visa holder engaging in harassment, stalking, intimidation, bullying or threatening a person even if it doesn’t amount to a criminal sanction. These activities may include public ‘hate speech’ or online vilification targeted at both groups and individuals based on gender, sexuality, religion, and ethnicity.

    According to the Immigration Department: “It sends a clear message, explicitly requiring that the behaviour of temporary visa holders is consistent with Australian government and community expectations. It advises visa holders what sorts of behaviour can result in visa cancellation.”

    Over 47,000 visas had been cancelled between July 2016 and April 2017 due to a variety of reasons, including breach of visa conditions.

    This condition now also applies to temporary graduate visa (Subclass 485) skilled regional (485), student visa and visitor visa, most common among the visas availed by the Indian community.

    “Condition 8303 didn’t apply to many temporary visas earlier but it now does to most of the temporary visas, including those that are most commonly availed by the Indian migrants,” says Jujhar Bajwa, a migration agent in Melbourne.

    He says visa holders now need to be cautious both in the virtual as well as the real world.

    “No one should break the law but even behaviour that may not necessarily warrant a criminal sanction can be deemed a breach of this condition. So it is important to remember that your actions online may have consequences just like your real-life actions,” he says.

    The Immigration Department says its officers have the discretion to determine whether the condition has been breached. They also have the discretion to not cancel the visa even when the condition has been breached.


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    Australia defends support of Myanmar, even as US calls for weapons ban

    by Lindsay Murdoch - September 29 2017

    The Turnbull government has defended Australia's support to Myanmar's military despite mounting evidence its senior officers are presiding over a campaign of ethnic cleansing in strife-torn Rakhine State that amounts to crimes against humanity.

    A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Fairfax Media it is important that Australia maintains "appropriate lines of communication" with the military.

    "This engagement allows Australia to promote the role of a professional defence force and highlight the importance of adhering to international humanitarian laws and norms," the spokesman said.

    US Ambassador to the United Nations
    Nikki Haley on Thursday called on countries to suspend providing weapons to Myanmar, saying "we cannot be afraid to call the actions of the Burmese (Myanmar) authorities what they appear to be – a brutal, sustained campaign to cleanse the country of an ethnic minority."

    "The time for well-meaning diplomatic words in this council has passed," she said, speaking in the UN Security Council in New York.

    "We must now consider action against Burmese security forces who are implicated in abuses and stoking hatred among their fellow citizens."

    Human rights groups have also called on countries to cut ties with Myanmar's military
    , including placing travel bans and asset freezes on those responsible for abuses and imposing a comprehensive arms embargo on the country.

    Myanmar's security forces are accused of mass arson, killing, looting and rape in a sweeping offensive that has forced almost half a million Rohingya Muslims to flee Rakhine, creating a humanitarian disaster in squalid camps in Bangladesh.

    The exodus is the largest movement of a civilian population in Asia since the 1970s.

    "The time has come to impose tougher measures that Burma's (Myanmar's) generals cannot ignore," said John Sifton, Human Rights Watch's Asia advocacy director.

    Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's crisis response director, called for UN member states to impose an immediate arms embargo and end all military training and assistance to Myanmar.

    "The Myanmar military is forcibly displacing and killing Rohingya, a campaign of crimes against humanity that amounts to ethnic cleansing," Ms Hassan said.

    "UN member states must ask themselves what side of history they want to be on and do everything they can do to end this nightmare."

    The DFAT spokesman described Australia's defence engagement with Myanmar as limited to non-combat areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping, English-language training, officer education and aviation safety.

    The spokesman said Australia maintains an arms embargo on Myanmar "due to concerns about ongoing conflict, weapons proliferation and human rights".

    The spokesman said "modest" engagement will continue, however "we will review any defence activities on a case-by-case basis".

    Fairfax Media revealed on Thursday the Turnbull government insisted on softening a resolution on Myanmar at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    The words "violations and abuse" were replaced with the non-accusative "violence".

    Human rights groups accused Australia of whitewashing the reality of the abuses in Rakhine, Myanmar's poorest state that has been home for more than one million Rohingya for generations.

    The DFAT spokesman said Australia opposed language that could be seen as pre-judging the outcomes of a UN fact-finding mission that Myanmar's government has refused to allow to enter Rakhine.

    Australia co-sponsored the resolution in the human rights council to extend the mission's mandate for six months to March next year.

    The spokesman said Australia also supported the inclusion of stronger language in the resolution, including a reference to concerns expressed by the UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

    "Where human rights abuses have been committed those responsible must be held to account," the spokesman said.

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said last week she has refrained from condemning Myanmar's government because its de factor leader Aung San Suu Kyi "can't be blamed for what's happening". "She has to be part of the solution, otherwise we will be going back decades in terms of Myanmar's growth and prosperity," Ms Bishop said.

    Ms Suu Kyi has faced scathing criticism across the world and calls for her Nobel peace prize to be returned for failing to speak-up for persecuted Rohingya, a minority population in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

    Ms Bishop said the Rohingya crisis has come as a "reality check" and "shock".

    "It has uncovered a very complex and complicated history in Myanmar," she said.

    Myanmar's military launched what it called "cleaning operations" in Rakhine after Muslim insurgents attacked 30 police posts and a military base on August 25, killing 12 people.

    The death toll during the military's brutal response is unknown but is believed to be in the hundreds.

    UN agencies and international aid agencies are warning of an imminent health catastrophe in the Bangladesh camps.

    Myanmar has also stopped convoys delivering desperately needed aid to tens of thousands of people in Rakhine's north.

    International aid groups, including Care International, Oxfam and Save the Children, issued a joint statement expressing increasing concern about restrictions on providing humanitarian assistance.

    "We urge the government and authorities of Myanmar to ensure that all people in need in Rakhine State have full, free and impeded access to life-saving humanitarian assistance," the statement said.


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    China's embassy in Canberra issues safety warning for Chinese nationals in Australia

    China's embassy in Canberra has taken the rare step of issuing a public safety warning for Chinese students living in Australia due to "a rising number of insulting incidents".

    A notification posted on the embassy website on Sunday reminded Chinese students to increase their safety awareness and listed the phone numbers of consulates around the country.

    The statement said recently there has been an increase in "insulting incidents" and assaults against Chinese students in different parts of the country, and urged students to immediately report any safety problems to the Chinese embassy.

    Student safety has been a growing concern among the 170,000 Chinese students in schools, universities, private colleges and vocational training in Australia.

    Chinese government figures show 98,000 of them are tertiary students, accounting for a third of Australia's total international university student market.

    Many Mandarin-language media widely reported the case of two Chinese high school students who were badly beaten in Canberra's Woden bus interchange in October.

    The attack prompted China's embassy to publicly urge the Australian government to take measures to ensure the safety of Chinese students in Australia.

    The case also received widespread media attention in China and public concern from Foreign Ministry officials in Beijing.

    Some elements of the Chinese language media also interpreted an incident in August at Canberra's Australian National University as targeting Chinese students.

    Four Chinese nationals were injured when an Australian student allegedly began attacking classmates and a tutor with a baseball bat in a statistics tutorial.

    Chinese authorities raised further concerns in July about multiple flyers posted at two universities in Melbourne that used clumsily translated mandarin to warn Chinese they were banned from entering buildings and could be deported.

    The public safety warning comes amidst a period of worsening ties between Australia and China over public discussion of Chinese Communist Party interference in Australia.

    Foreign Ministry officials this month summoned Australia's ambassador to Beijing Jan Adams to formally complain about Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull citing China in parliament ahead of the introduction of new counter-espionage laws.

    Beijing is also furious with Australian media reports this year that have driven the public discussion of Communist Party interference.

    The reports detailed political donations from embassy-linked Chinese businessmen and Beijing's tightening grip of Australia's Chinese-language media.

    This month the Communist Party's official mouthpiece People's Daily described the rhetoric in Australia as "xenophobic" — in what appeared to be an attempt to associate criticism of the Party as being critical of all Chinese in Australia.

    In the wake of the latest safety warnings, the jingoistic tabloid Global Times has also brought Australia into a growing domestic campaign to emphasise Beijing's ability to protect Chinese nationals no matter where they are in the world.

    "In China, many teenagers love to eat, drink and have fun outside after midnight and go home at 3am or later, but in Australia, the common knowledge is that you shouldn't stay out too late", Yu Lei reportedly said.


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    Do ask, do tell: Commission calls for mandatory reporting of child sex abuse

    People working closely with children, such as priests or foster carers, should be forced to tell police about sexual abuse under mandatory reporting laws, a royal commission has found.

    Religious ministers, out-of-home care workers, childcare workers, registered psychologists and school counsellors should be brought into line with police, doctors and nurses who are all obliged by law to report sexual abuse.

    This would include any abuse disclosures made to clergy in confession.

    In its final report, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has called for a systematic overhaul of the culture, structure and governance practices which allowed paedophiles to flourish.

    The commission called for state and federal governments to bring in a single obligatory reporting model which would mean all individuals who work with children are required to report sexual abuse.

    Without a legal obligation to tell police about abuses, many staff and volunteers failed to let anyone outside the institution know, the commission found.

    Changes to criminal sentencing standards are also among the sweeping recommendations made by commissioners.

    Abusers should no longer be able to hide behind their offences being historical, with the commission calling for perpetrators to be sentenced in accordance with contemporary sentencing standards rather than standards at the time of the offence.

    It also recommended that the federal government set up a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse.
    Some major recommendations are:

    - The ministry of all religious churches should not be exempt from reporting information discovered in religious confession

    - The Australian Catholic Church should request permission from the Vatican to introduce voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy

    - State and territory governments should introduce legislation to create a criminal offence of failure to protect a child from risk of abuse within an institution

    - A national strategy to prevent child abuse

    - Candidates for religious ministry should undergo external psychological testing, including psycho-sexual assessment, for the purposes of determining their suitability to be a person in religious ministry and to undertake work involving children

    - Each religious organisation should consider establishing a national register which records information to assist affiliated institutions identify and respond to any risks to children that may be posed by people in religious or pastoral ministry

    - Any person in religious ministry who is the subject of a complaint of child sexual abuse which is substantiated or who is convicted of an offence relating to child sexual abuse, should be permanently removed from ministry

    "There is no simple explanation for why child sexual abuse has occurred in a multitude of institutions,"
    the final report says.

    "However, we have identified a number of ways in which institutions may, inadvertently or otherwise, enable or create opportunities for abuse."

    The greatest number of alleged perpetrators and abused children were in Catholic institutions, the commission found.

    Commissioners have also called the establishment of a new National Office for Child Safety.

    It is proposed that the office would be part of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    For the next five years, all governments should be accountable in open reports to their parliaments on how they are implementing the commission's recommendations, the inquiry said.

    The commissioners also recommended that the federal government establish a national framework for child safety, including the appointment of a government minister to oversee child policy issues.

    The commissioners have identified 10 mandatory child safety standards they say are essential for every institution in Australia.

    These include embedding child safety in institutional leadership, governance and culture, and giving children a voice to ensure their concerns are taken seriously.

    The commission's report on sport, recreation, arts, culture community and hobby group recommends that local governments appoint child safety officers to help community-based institutions.

    Officers would work to improve safety in change rooms, club rooms and at sporting grounds, and would be particularly important in regional and remote areas, the report says.

    The inquiry found existing support services are severely under-funded and do not have the capacity to meet the complex needs of sexual abuse victims.

    "Inadequacies are most apparent when a victim or survivor is experiencing multiple and complex impacts from the trauma of child sexual abuse, particularly if they are deemed as not fitting within the remit of a single service," the report found.

    The commission found the Salvation Army, which ran children's homes and juvenile detention centres, acted appallingly in the way it failed to respond compassionately to victims of abuse.

    The culture of the organisation meant managers wielded absolute authority over children who were devalued as a result.

    "Victims of child sexual abuse in Salvation Army homes who disclosed they had been abused were frequently disbelieved or accused of lying, or no action was taken in response to their disclosures," the report stated.

    "In some cases victims who disclosed sexual abuse were physically punished or further abused as a result."

    The commission heard from 294 survivors of abuse in the Salvation Army.

    The average age of a victim was 10 years old. Most perpetrators were residential care workers, but it had one of the highest proportions of child-on-child abuse.

    In significant reforms targeting schools, facilities servicing children would be made directly liable for abuse committed by their staff, regardless of whether the school was negligent.

    This would require states and territories to legislate for a non-delegable duty of care.

    And students would be taught about signs of grooming, sexual abuse and online exploitation in the school curriculum – as well as extra education for parents, tertiary students preparing to work with children and people who believe they are at risk of abusing children.
    'We have completed our work'

    After a five-year inquiry which uncovered the horrific extent of institutional child sexual abuse, the commission found many institutions had failed children over many decades, while the child protection, criminal and civil justice systems let them down.

    Royal commission chief executive Philip Reed said the findings highlight the multiple and persistent failings of institutions to keep children safe, the cultures of secrecy and cover-up, and the devastating affects child sexual abuse can have on an individual's life.

    "The final report tells the story of institutional child sexual abuse in Australia, and provides recommendations to shape a safer future for children," Mr Reed said.

    "We have now completed our work. It's up to governments and institutions to take the next steps and implement the royal commission's recommendations."

    The final report runs to 17 volumes and includes 189 new recommendations, many of which are aimed at making institutions safer for children.

    Its release comes after three final reports already released including one on criminal justice, redress and civil litigation.

    In total, the commissioners have made 409 recommendations.

    Two versions of the final report were handed to Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on Friday morning, one of which has been redacted for publication, and an unredacted version royal commission chair Justice Peter McClellan recommended was published once all criminal proceedings into alleged perpetrators have been completed.

    It's been described as a national tragedy, with tens of thousands of victims in more 4000 individual institutions.

    More than 15,000 survivors or their relatives have contacted the commission.

    The true number of victims will likely never be known, with the commission estimating as many as 60 per cent will never disclose their abuse.

    After 8000 private sessions, 1200 witnesses and 444 days of public hearings, the inquiry has made more than 2500 referrals to authorities including police.

    Prior to the handing down of Friday's report, the royal commission had already called for significant reforms in areas such as the criminal and civil systems as well as measures to make institutions safer for children.

    It found some leaders, believed their primary responsibility was to protect the institution's reputation and perpetrators ahead of the welfare of children.

    The commission has also made recommendations on how a national redress scheme for abuse survivors should work, with commission modelling estimated 60,000 survivors would be eligible to make a compensation claim under a national redress scheme.

    Justice McClellan has warned the sexual abuse of children is not just a problem from the past, with children continuing to be abused in institutions today.

    "The sexual abuse of any child is intolerable in a civilised society," he said at the final sitting of the hearing on Thursday.

    "It is the responsibility of our entire community to acknowledge that children are being abused.

    "We must each resolve that we should do what we can to protect them."


    The west needs these laws to protect their kids, especially since such abuse has been going for 2 millennia and with those protection this animals, like the one below.

    Melbourne archbishop says he'd rather go to jail than report child abuse heard in confession

    Denis Hart says ‘communication with God is of a higher order’ after child sex abuse inquiry calls for failure to report to become a criminal offence


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    The Mapping of Massacres

    In Australia, historians and artists have turned to cartography to record the widespread killing of Indigenous people.

    From New York to Cape Town to Sydney, the bronze body doubles of the white men of empire—Columbus, Rhodes, Cook—have lately been pelted with feces, sprayed with graffiti, had their hands painted red. Some have been toppled. The fate of these statues—and those representing white men of a different era, in Charlottesville and elsewhere—has ignited debate about the political act of publicly memorializing historical figures responsible for atrocities. But when the statues come down, how might the atrocities themselves be publicly commemorated, rather than repressed?

    In the course of her long career, the historian Lyndall Ryan has thought about little else. In the late nineties and early aughts, Ryan found herself on the front lines of what came to be known, in Australia, as the History Wars: skirmishes fought with words, source by disputed source, often in the national media. At stake was whether the evidence existed to prove—as Ryan and others had argued, and conservative historians and politicians refused to accept—that Indigenous Australians had been massacred in enormous numbers during colonization, from late in the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. Even among those who grudgingly accepted that there had been widespread killings, there were still bitter, and, in some cases, ongoing, fights over the exact number of Indigenous people killed, the strength of their resistance to British settlement, and the reliability of oral versus written history. A truce has never been reached in what the Indigenous writer Alexis Wright calls Australia’s entrenched “storytelling war.” (In October, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected the core recommendations of the government-appointed Referendum Council, which, after six months of deliberative dialogue across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, had called for establishing an Indigenous voice to Parliament, and a process of “truth-telling about our history.”)

    In 2005, in the midst of the public disputes over Australia’s history, Ryan came across the work of the French sociologist Jacques Sémelin. After the Srebrenica massacre, in 1995, there was renewed interest from European scholars in understanding massacre as a phenomenon. Sémelin defined a massacre as the indiscriminate killing of innocent, unarmed people over a limited period of time, and he characterized massacres as being carefully planned—i.e., not done in the heat of the moment or the fog of war—and deliberately shrouded in secrecy by the systematic disposal of bodies and the intimidation of witnesses. Sémelin’s typology prompted Ryan to reconsider her own earlier scholarship on the Tasmanian War, which was waged between British colonists and Aboriginal people early in the nineteenth century. This time, Ryan concluded that there were not four massacres of Indigenous people but, in fact, more than forty.

    “Most historians of my generation were brought up with the idea that Aboriginal people were killed in ones or twos, similar to how settlers were killed when there’d been a dispute over stock, or women,” Ryan told me recently, at an art gallery in Sydney’s vibrant neighborhood of Kings Cross, where she was about to give a talk. Ryan, who is seventy-four, has short-cropped white hair and a slow, deliberate way of speaking that belies a very quick mind. She realized, once she’d started researching massacres, how many of her peers were still deeply in denial about the past. “People would say to me, ‘We will never know how many massacres there were, or how many Aboriginal people were killed, so what’s the point in trying to find out?’ But they would never say that about World War One or Two.”

    Ryan is based at the Centre for the History of Violence at Newcastle University, up the coast from Sydney. A few years ago, she applied for a research grant to embark on a hugely ambitious undertaking: to map the site of every Australian colonial frontier massacre on an interactive Web site. Ryan defines a massacre, in this context, as the indiscriminate killing of six or more undefended people. Since Aboriginal communities tended to live together in camps of about twenty people, losing six or more people in one killing—a “fractal” massacre—usually led to the whole community collapsing.

    Four years of painstaking research later, with the grant depleted, Ryan’s map is nowhere near finished. So far, it includes more than a hundred and seventy massacres of Indigenous people in eastern Australia, as well as six recorded massacres of settlers, from the period of 1788 to 1872. She estimates that there were more than five hundred massacres of Indigenous people over all, and that massacres of settlers numbered fewer than ten. (Ryan has not yet researched any massacres of Torres Strait Islander people, who are culturally distinct from mainland Aboriginal groups but share their history of colonization.) In July, Ryan and her tiny team decided it was time to release the partially completed map online. Since its launch, the site has had more than sixty thousand visitors. Contrary to Ryan’s fears, it was widely and mostly respectfully covered in the Australian media, and, at least for now, there has been no public response from conservative figures.

    At the gallery in Kings Cross, the lights were turned off, and a map appeared, projected onto a large screen, showing Australia’s unmistakable outline—the continent declared by the British on their arrival to be terra nullius, land considered to belong to nobody, and thus ripe for the taking. Spread across the eastern states were dozens of yellow dots, often clustered together. Each one represented the site of a massacre of Aboriginal people.

    The map’s data management still needs improvement—a consequence, in part, of limited funding, and also of Ryan’s admitted mistake in thinking she should do all the research first, before getting input from the project’s digital cartographer, Mark Brown, and digital-humanities specialist, Bill Pascoe. Even so, its power is undeniable. Ryan clicked on the yellow dot representing one of five massacres in the region of Jack Smith Lake, in eastern Victoria. On a fresh page, an aerial snapshot from ArcGIS, the geographic-information system, showed a slice of green and brown farmland and bush bordering a long, thin line of sand beside the ocean. A small square section was shaded yellow, delineating a five-kilometre radius around the site of the killings. The exact coördinates of the massacres are not identified, Ryan explained. “For many Aboriginal communities, the preference is not to pinpoint the actual site, out of respect for what is considered a taboo site of trauma. But also because sites tend to be desecrated if identified very specifically.” Some sites are on private land, or mining properties; others are at the bottom of reservoirs, because so many of the massacres happened at campsites close to creeks.

    On the left of the screen was a graph, cataloguing the details of this series of massacres carried out in 1843. Aboriginal Language Group: Brataualang. Aboriginal people killed: sixty (at each of the five sites). Colonists killed: zero. Weapons used: Double-barrelled Purdey. Attacker details: twenty horsemen, known as the “Highland Brigade,” organized by Angus McMillan. In a box titled “Narrative,” these fragments form a horrific tale. McMillan, a local settler, and his group of armed horsemen, all Scots, had, for years, been attacking Aboriginal camps with impunity. In this instance, they attacked five campsites over five days. At one camp, people jumped into the waterhole but were shot as soon as they resurfaced to breathe. One of the survivors, a young boy who’d been shot in the eye, was captured by the Brigade and forced to lead them to other camps. “Human bones have been found at each of these sites on several occasions,” the text notes. “The rampage would fit the criteria of ‘genocidal massacre.’ ”

    Bruised by the History Wars, Ryan set herself strict criteria for including a massacre on the map. A key signals the strength of the evidence: three stars means that there is high-quality evidence drawn from disparate sources, while one or two stars indicates that there are only one or two reliable sources, respectively, with more corroboration welcome. Most of the evidence used for the map, she told the gathering, is from contemporaneous “white people’s sources”—newspaper articles, official reports—rather than Indigenous sources, such as oral histories or social memory. (Some Aboriginal testimony is captured in those white textual sources, in the rare cases where survivors gave statements to officials or to missionaries. But Aboriginal people were for a long time prohibited from being called as witnesses in legal proceedings.) Many existing place names around the country are themselves a form of damning evidence, as the historian Ian Clark has noted in his own pioneering work on frontier massacres: Murderers Flat, Massacre Inlet, Murdering Gully, Haunted Creek, Slaughterhouse Gully.

    more at https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cu...ping-massacres

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    Wage Woes May Leave Australians Struggling to Make Ends Meet

    By Michael Heath - June 25, 2017

    Australians may soon be struggling to make ends meet.

    With real wages going backward in the first quarter and the developed world's highest debt-to-GDP ratio after Switzerland
    , consumers are setting aside less cash for a rainy day: their savings levels have more than halved in five years. Further intensifying the squeeze is a rising cost of living, with electricity prices climbing as much as 20 percent in New South Wales state next month.

    At stake is the economy's trajectory: consumption accounts for more than half of gross domestic product, and any long-term weakness in spending will weigh on growth. As to ballooning debt, while the central bank can't say how high is sustainable, it warns that the deeply indebted can be more sensitive to declines in income "and may respond by reducing consumption sharply."

    "We're starting to see signs the consumer is looking to see where they can take cheaper options," said Daniel Blake, an interest-rate strategist at Morgan Stanley in Sydney, who also notes a rare drop in private-health insurance participation as households scale back. "There's likely to be another meaningful slowdown in consumption."

    Australia's household debt to GDP ratio has climbed almost 15 percentage points in four years, to 123.1 percent in 2016, data from Bank for International Settlements show. Known as the central bankers' bank, its annual report released Sunday said household debt outpacing GDP growth over prolonged periods is a "robust early warning" signal of financial stress.

    According to BIS, while rising household debt boosts short-term consumption, an increase of just 1 percentage point in the debt-to-GDP ratio "is associated with growth that is 0.1 percentage point lower in the long run."

    At the heart of Australia's problem: record-low interest rates.
    These have allowed home buyers to borrow vast sums in order to break into the Sydney and Melbourne property markets, where prices have about doubled since 2009.

    No Buffer

    Policy makers are now worrying about some borrowers' resilience.

    The Reserve Bank of Australia noted in April that about a third of mortgage holders had either no buffer or not enough of one to cover a month's worth of repayments. The most vulnerable tended to hold newer loans or come from "lower-income and lower-wealth households." Moreover, it said almost a quarter of borrowers were on "interest only" mortgages.

    That's prompted the bank regulator, supported by the RBA, to enforce measures to rein in riskier mortgages and strengthen lending standards. Australians have historically been able to load up on debt and then inflate it away through wage gains and rising consumer prices. But this time it's different: their huge debt just remains huge.

    Stagnant wages,
    meanwhile, are a problem confronted by a number of developed economies including Germany, the U.K., Japan and the U.S., which are already at or near full employment, further compounding the dilemma.

    Down Under, it's assumed that workers who have lost highly-paid jobs in mining and associated industries have moved to less well-paid positions. Jobs in health care, accommodation and food, professional services and transport accounted for most of the strong employment gains in the three months through May -- industries that generally pay below-average wages.

    Meanwhile, the economy shed better paying jobs: the industries with the highest average weekly earnings are mining, utilities and finance, according to Citigroup Inc. Those sectors all cut positions in the three months through May.

    Unfair Share

    But there's also a distribution issue: the share of GDP going into workers' pockets has slumped to a record low. Australia Institute research shows total compensation that includes wages, salaries, and pension contributions fell to 46.2 percent of GDP in the first quarter, below the previous record low of 46.4 percent in 1959.

    These factors last week prompted RBA Governor Philip Lowe to take an unprecedented step -- for a central bank chief -- urging Aussie workers to ask for bigger pay increases.

    Still, consumption in Australia is running close to its decade average -- unlike wage growth -- and motor vehicle sales reached an all-time monthly high in May. But it's a mismatch that looks unsustainable in the longer term.

    Part of the RBA's thinking behind slashing rates was to stimulate residential construction, providing a soft landing for workers leaving mining jobs amid the end of an investment boom. But the jobs outlook in construction is weakening as home building peaks, says Morgan Stanley's Blake.

    The last thing the RBA wants is to take the cash rate below the current 1.5 percent and stoke a new round of borrowing and house-price growth. It would prefer the government to undertake wide-ranging infrastructure stimulus -- with the added benefit of another soft landing for workers leaving the residential building sector.

    "If it starts to become clear that a crunch on incomes and a tighter credit environment is leading to a collapse of confidence in job security and consumers are really retrenching on their spending, then that's when the RBA would have to consider cutting rates," Blake said. "But if this is just a grind out, and the economy just disappoints against their forecasts, then they're likely to choose to wait it out."


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    Australian govt advisor says Muslims should be allowed to follow Shariah law

    17th December 2017

    An academic who is advising the Australian government on religious freedom has previously argued that Australia should allow Muslims to practise limited aspects of Shariah law, The Guardian has reported.

    On Thursday the government released broad terms of reference for its religious freedom inquiry, including the new appointment of University of Queensland constitutional law Professor Nicholas Aroney to the five-person panel.

    Aroney is an expert on legal pluralism, law and religion who has warned that religious freedom has become a second-class right to anti-discrimination, and argued that religious freedom should include a right to practise sharia law within “strictly justifiable limits imposed by the general law.”

    In public debate before marriage equality was legalised, government conservatives warned against amendments with unintended consequences, such as creating religious enclaves shielded by law or opening a back door to sharia.

    In 2012, Aroney published an academic paper called The Accommodation of the Sharia within Western Legal Systems, in which he and co-author Rex Adhar argued that committed Muslims should have the right to practise sharia, or Islamic, law “qualified only by strictly justifiable limitations imposed by the general law”.

    Aroney and Ahdar said that enforcement of sharia law by state authorities “needs to be approached very cautiously, noting the nature of Sharia as [an] ‘entire way of life’, its constitutional implications for the basic structures of the state, and the possibility of its use as a tool by extremist elements.”

    The authors explain that although sharia has dark connotations in the West of “floggings, stonings and amputations for crimes” the term simply denotes a body of legal rules and principles extracted from the Qur’an and the Sunna.


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    Nazi flags flown on Australia Day 'hurts everybody', Kalgoorlie police say

    A decision by a group of residents in Western Australia's Goldfields to hold a "victory day" party — complete with a Nazi flag and symbols — on Australia Day has been condemned as racist and ignorant by police.

    Held at a residence in South Kalgoorlie last week, attendees posed with a homemade Nazi flag, while there was also a map of Australia featuring a swastika cut into the lawn.

    Images of the party, including messages such as "stay white Australia" and "happy victory day" were posted to Facebook last week and circulated widely.

    Goldfields-Esperance District Police Acting Superintendent Tony Colfer slammed the images.

    "We don't tolerate this kind of behaviour in our community," Superintendent Colfer said.

    He said police were investigating the matter further.

    When the ABC contacted Facebook about the post, a spokeswoman for the social media giant said material inciting racial hatred or vilification would be removed, while posts sharing the imagery to condemn it would be allowed to remain.

    But she was not able to reveal whether Facebook had deleted the images, or whether the individuals had done it themselves.

    The racist imagery comes at a complex time for Kalgoorlie. Community frustration with crime and racism on social media both playing a role in the lead-up to the unlawful killing of 14-year-old Elijah Doughty in August 2016, and the riot that followed a day later.

    While local leaders had expressed confidence progress had been made, they have struggled in recent months to deal with a significant crime wave.

    Detectives have laid 330 charges in connection with 115 burglaries in the city since mid-2017.

    After 60 reported burglaries in the first week of January, a targeted police operation has seen a further 45 people charged in connection with 70 break-ins in less than a month.

    Juvenile offenders make up a significant proportion of those charged — the youngest is just 13 years old, the eldest only 22.

    Police, Aboriginal leaders and community services are working to counsel a separate group of nine to 11-year-old children caught breaking into cars.

    Those arrested include members of a core group of juvenile criminals with prolific records for offences in the Kalgoorlie area.

    "There's no subtlety to some of these offences … we're talking a brick through a large window to gain entry to a house," Kalgoorlie Detective Sergeant Paul Lines said.

    "Detention, at the moment, does not seem to be a deterrent for them; although once they're inside, they're not committing offences, so it's good for the community.

    "But that's something that's out of my control."

    Justice system at the heart of the problems

    Two separate summits were meant to map out a response to the issues driving Kalgoorlie's long-term issues; including youth boredom, a lack of parental supervision, and an ongoing divide in the community.

    But apart from the creation of a dedicated team to work with the families of at-risk youth and a review of service delivery, almost none of the summits' agreed objectives have been met.

    In the meantime, the desire to rehabilitate young offenders is running squarely into residents' need to feel safe in their homes, while the perceived leniency of the three-year sentence handed to the 56-year-old man responsible for Elijah Doughty's death sparked nationwide protests.

    City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder chief executive John Walker conceded progress had stalled, with the City also dealing with alcohol-fuelled and threatening behaviour from itinerant travellers from outlying Aboriginal communities.

    He said the justice system was at the centre of the ongoing problems in the community.

    Council stepping into law enforcement
    Hopes of further investment in a youth centre, and other programs for at-risk youth, remain dependent on a report from last October's youth summit.

    The Kalgoorlie-Boulder youth survey aimed to allow the city's younger residents to map out the services they wanted governments to provide.

    Those results were due to be handed to the Federal Government on December 31, but summit organisers requested a six-week extension.

    A spokesman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the report was a "vital" part of the summit process, but stopped short of guaranteeing funding for any new ideas without equal support from the State Government and City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

    With that process stalled, the council has turned to stop-gap solutions to stem the immediate crime problem.

    While requests for extra police officers have gone un-met, the city will hire two new rangers and grant them the power to hit offenders with $400 fines.

    "Urinating and defecating in the streets, public indecency, harassing people and begging for money need to have stronger laws behind them," Mr Walker said.


  16. #156
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    Australia's warmongers must come clean on weapons exports

    Australia, a land located tens of thousands of miles from the Middle East, played a significant role in helping destabilise the region when it provided political and military support to the US' illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Now, it is seeking to capitalise on that chaos and conflict it helped sow.

    Last week, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled plans to become one of the world's top 10 arms exporters, identifying the Middle East as one of its primary target markets.

    Australia is currently the world's 20th biggest war lord, with exports totalling US$350 million in the 2009 to 2013 period, compared with the US$39 billion and US$24 billion moved by the United States and Russia, respectively.

    To break into the top 10 of the world's biggest exporters of bloodshed and human suffering, Australia will need to increase its shipment of killing machines and platforms to more than US$2.4 billion every four years, a level that would see it replace fellow white settler colonial state, Israel, in 10th place.

    Australia - a land rich in natural resources, and blessed with a highly skilled and vibrant workforce; a country acclaimed for its political and economic stability - has chosen to lead its peers in the business of industrial-scale human slaughter.

    Last year, two of the world's leading human rights organisations - Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International - called on Australia to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Human Rights Watch asserted that Australian sold arms were furthering the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and Amnesty stated that,

    "Australia must cease the authorisation of any future arms transfers while there remains a substantial risk these arms will be used to fuel human rights abuses. Australia must not be complicit in enabling the abuse and the deliberate targeting of civilians."

    In the past year, Australia's military approved four military exports to the kingdom, a country mostly responsible for the violent deaths of more than 10,000 Yemeni civilians, with the Australian government urging the defence sector to export more.

    Even more troubling is the fact the Australian government refuses to release details of the weaponry it exports to Saudi Arabia, claiming such disclosure would undermine "commercial-in-confidence rules".

    "Australia should come clean about the equipment that is being supplied to the Saudi Arabia government, and how it will be used," says Elaine Pearson, Australian Director for Human Rights Watch.

    It's unconscionable the Australian government is exporting death and doom to the Middle East while keeping its citizens in the dark about the nature of its dirty business.

    "Most western nations send annual reports of their Defence spending to SIPRI, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute - the resource of global security. Australia stopped giving out that information in 2005," observes Ingeborg Van Teeseling.

    "Knowledge is a great thing. Once you know something, you can make up your mind about its value or otherwise. If you don't, you can't. Informing your citizens on what you are up to is at the core of a democracy. So what does that tell us about Australia?"

    Australia is making a choice about where it sees itself in the future global economy, a choice that leads only to the export of death and carnage underwritten by the Australian taxpayer.

    "When the Australian government looks for a new manufacturing and export opportunity, the best they can do is weapons?" asks Tim Costello, the chief advocate for World Vision Australia. "Millions of people across the world are running from violence and our answer to that is to produce more weapons. Whatever money we make from this dirty business will be blood money."

    Former US Vice President Joe Biden is credited with the axiom, "Don't tell me your values. Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value." Well, Australia is choosing to invest in the global arms trade rather than renewable energies and peaceful technologies, for instance.

    "If we had commercialised over the years the breakthroughs that have been made in Australia in solar, in wind, in wave technology, then we would be a lot better off today in terms of jobs and export potential," contends Anthony Albanese, the shadow minister for infrastructure.

    But exporting arms is not about making Australia a better place, and it's most certainly not about making the world a better place. It is about capitalising on the chaos and instability in the Middle East, Central Asia, Asia Pacific, and elsewhere the bullets and blood fire and flow.

    Australian defence policy in recent decades has pivoted on a notion entitled the "Arc of Instability," which refers to an imaginary geographic line stretching eastwards from Indonesia to Papua New Guinea, and southeast to the Solomon Islands; and narrates what Australian defense policy makers view as potential regional geostrategic threats.

    Certainly, however, Australia has its eye on the Middle East, where it played a significant role in sowing the chaos and conflict that afflicts the region today. Australia provided military support for the Bush administration's illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, and until last month flew 2,700 air combat missions over Iraq and Syria in the war against Islamic State (IS).

    So, to emphasise the last point: Australia directly contributed to the start of today's violence and conflict in the Middle East, and now it seeks to not only profit from what it helped ignite, but also add to it by helping flood the region with even more weapons.
    Oxfam Australia slammed Australia's ambitions, arguing, "Australia is known as a stable, peaceful, democracy. We should be exporting those values to build a more peaceful world, rather than potentially fuelling insecurity and instability."

    Even Germany - one of the world's leading arms exporters - is set to limit the number of weapons it ships to the Middle East, announcing it will suspend sales to countries involved in the conflict in Yemen.

    Moreover, Australia's warmongering business deals come at a time when its international reputation for observing human rights and international law is sinking. Its heinous treatment of refugees, rising hate crimes, racially biased counterterrorism laws, violence against children in youth detention, and persistent injustices carried out against indigenous communities all speak for themselves.

    A report prepared for the United Nations said that while Australia had made progress in some areas, it had "clearly gone backwards" in others.

    To add insult to the self-inflicted injury thrust upon its international reputation, Australia also finds itself as one of the two largest cutters of foreign humanitarian aid. In the years 2012 to 2016, its foreign aid as a share of national income fell sharply from 0.36 percent to 0.23 percent.

    A foreign policy that depends upon more guns and fewer servings of butter is no foreign policy at all. It's merely crass opportunism and short-term profiteering masquerading as geostrategic foresight.


  17. #157
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    Australia Judge assumes to be expert on Islam

    Australia 'under attack' for 15 years from group of Muslim men, judge tells court

    Australia has been "under attack" from a group of Muslim men wanting "to kill as many unbelievers as they can" for about 15 years, a Supreme Court judge has said.

    Justice Desmond Fagan made the comments while sentencing Tamim Khaja, 20, who pleaded guilty in October to planning and preparing a terrorist attack two years ago.

    The then 18-year-old was arrested while preparing for a lone wolf massacre, either at the US embassy in Sydney, an Army barracks in western Sydney, or at a court complex at Parramatta.

    Counsel for the defendant, Ian Temby QC, tendered to the court a list of recent sentences handed down to other men who had been convicted of terror offences.

    In response, Justice Fagan told the court that Australia had "been under attack for 15 years by about 40 Muslim men, to kill as many unbelievers as they can and impose Sharia law."

    Sitting at Sydney West Trial Courts at Parramatta, Justice Fagan referred to verses in the Koran which he said described the duty of "a Muslim to wage Jihad".

    He said he was not making generalisations about Islamic beliefs and that his courtroom was "not a forum for the rights and wrongs of the Islam or Christian religions".

    An agreed statement of facts tendered to court revealed that Khaja had twice attempted to travel to Syria or Iraq, where he "intended to join the Islamic State terrorist organisation and engage in hostile activities".

    After his passport was cancelled in March 2016, Khaja began communicating via an encrypted messaging app with an overseas police officer, who he believed to be an ISIS supporter.

    On May 7, 2016, Khaja told the police officer, known as Person A, that he "wanted so badly to be on the battlefield with my brothers", but since his passport had been cancelled, he would "fulfil my obligation here".

    "I am thinking more along the lines of Boston Marathon .. I know how to make a portable microwave b..b [sic]"

    Even with a handgun I would be able to cause a lot of damage."


    Reader Comments:

    I didn't know that mainstream Supreme Court Judges are well-versed in Islamic scripture. Maybe I should start attending their theological classes because us Muslims have it ALL wrong apparently. Putting aside the crime, anyone engaged in terrorism should be punished. However, the Judge's interpretation of Islam is similar to that of ISIS and not mainstream Muslims.

    "Justice Fagan referred to verses in the Koran which he said described the duty of "a Muslim to wage Jihad". Really? How did he even contextualise this verse without picking and choosing what suited his response?

    "In response, Justice Fagan told the court that Australia had "been under attack for 15 years by about 40 Muslim men, to kill as many unbelievers as they can and impose Sharia law."

    "He said he was not making generalisations about Islamic beliefs and that his courtroom was "not a forum for the rights and wrongs of the Islam or Christian religions".

    He has got to be kidding me. His interpretation is embarrassing. #StayInYourLaneYouAintAnExpertOfTheQuran

    Mind you there are two non-Muslims being currently held for terrorism (yes, terrorism is disproportionately a Muslim-only-offence) charges awaiting trial, one of whom was a Reclaim Australia member who wanted to kill Muslims. Oh, and he apparently has "psychiatric issues".

  18. #158
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    Australian foreign fighter Jamie Williams describes 'block by block' battle against Islamic State in Raqqa


    FB Comment:

    Back in 2014 Jaimie Williams was detained after fighting in Syria with the PKK (The Kurdish Workers' Party) in a proscribed conflict zone but upon returning to Australia he was merely detained at the airport for a short while. The PKK is a proscribed terrorist group in Australia.

    Jaimie was NOT referred to as a terrorist. He was not charged. He did not have his passport confiscated. He did not have his house raided. He was not arrested and place in maximum security prison. He was let out into the community. He would also escape the intrusive surveillance reserved only for Muslims.

    Fast forward to 2018 and made his way again to fight in 'active combat' in Syria. He has admitted that he engaged in active combat and 'wanted to kill Australian jihadists' . He only had his belongings confiscated in their airport when he arrived home.

    What message does it send when authorities allow vigilante war hungry individuals to decide for themselves who the good or bad guys are and engage in active combat?

    Nobody has called him a terrorist for being a foreign fighter. Had he been Muslim, the implications would be significantly greater. The level of hypocrisy and double-standards are not hidden, it's apparent and accepted.

    Oliver Bridgeman after engaging in charitable endeavours with orphans in Syria (and not combat) was sent arrest warrants and had his passport confiscated. Why? Because he was Muslim so he is not allowed to choose sides on which orphans are allowed to be helped in war. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have accused the teenager of “align[ing] himself with a proscribed group".

    Well, according to the Australian Government the PKK are also a proscribed group yet Jamie Williams was allowed to participate in active combat with them.

    There is one set of counter-terrorism laws for Muslims and another law for non-Muslims in Australia. That's no secret.

  19. #159
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    Australian White Senator Rejects Natives as Aboriginals

    This Australian senator says "there's no definition for Aboriginal." The internet says let's #DefineAboriginal for her.


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    Closing the gap: Australia is meaner, dumber and more racist than 25 years ago

    The Closing The Gap report should have been a wake up call about the way the government is failing First Australians. It won't be.

    In 2001 John Howard was telling Liberal voters to put One Nation last on their ballots. In 2017 the Liberals are making preference deals with them in WA and ridiculously insisting that they're "more sophisticated" now.

    Labor senator Penny Wong called shenanigans on this ludicrous claim, arguing that it was the Liberal Party which had changed, but you know what? It's not just the Liberal Party: over the past 25 years Australia as a whole has gotten meaner, dumber and more racist.

    This was made crystal clear yesterday when the Closing The Gap report on indigenous health, welfare and education was presented to Parliament, announcing to those MPs which could be bothered showing up that the government was currently on track to fail at just about everything, including six of the seven stated targets to improve life expectancy for indigenous folks.

    The current gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians is 10.6 years for men and 9.5 years for women. Child mortality hasn't improved. Unemployment is still almost 50 per cent. Literacy and numeracy is similarly poor.

    Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten made noises about how disappointing these results were and that clearly action was needed, but let's be honest: nothing will happen.

    Why? Because indigenous issues don't win elections, thanks to a quarter century of governments making it OK for Australians to be openly stupid, cruel, and racist.

    I turned 18 in 1990 and was in my first year of university in Adelaide: a middle class white boy fresh out of private school. Indigenous affairs were not even remotely on my radar. My knowledge of Australian history, like my peers, went pretty much as follows: Captain Cook, convicts, goldrush, Gallipoli, ANZACs, Bradman, done.

    And then I heard Archie Roach's Took The Children Away. That was the first time the Stolen Generation came across my radar, and the more I learnt the more horrified I became.

    Then came Yothu Yindi's Treaty, calling out the government's hypocrisy on land rights. It was also when I learnt that Canada had made treaties with their First Peoples, including land rights, proving that it was entirely possible – indeed reasonable – for a grown up country to do so.

    Just to send that message home the Kev Carmody/Paul Kelly song From Little Things Big Things Grow appeared a few months later, elegantly telling the story of Vincent Lingiari and the struggle for land rights in four chords. Change seemed in the air.

    In 1991 the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody concluded, exposing the nation to heartbreaking reality of state-sanctioned murder, making a suite of recommendations.

    And in December 1992 Paul Keating gave his "Redfern Speech", one of the defining moments of his prime ministership, in which he officially acknowledged the wrongs done to the First Australians.

    How have things improved since?

    In 1998 Pauline Hanson entered Parliament for the first time with a speech that included the assertion that "Along with millions of Australians, I am fed up to the back teeth with the inequalities that are being promoted by the government and paid for by the taxpayer under the assumption that Aboriginals are the most disadvantaged people in Australia." Evidently "dead a decade earlier than other Australians" was some sort of advantage in Hanson's eyes.

    And sure, Labor PM Kevin Rudd finally gave an official apology to the Stolen Generation in 2008, which should have been a moment of healing and another chance to kickstart the spluttering engine of reconciliation, but that didn't exactly happen – not least because it was explicitly made clear that there would be no suggestion of any actual compensation for those wronged.

    And let's never forget the pack of Liberal Party cretins that made a big deal of walking out on the apology: a team which included such beloved intellectual giants as erotic war novel author Dennis Jensen, Sophie "the only Liberal MP so unpopular that she still lost her seat in the 2013 Coalition landslide" Mirabella, and your Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton: a man inexplicably being touted as possible leadership material.

    These days you don't need to hunt too far for bloviating gasbags on talk radio or Sky News insisting that the Stolen Generation never even happened; and if it did happen, that it wasn't nearly as widespread as people say; and if it was that widespread, then it was purely in the best interests of the children; and if it was not in their best interests then it was ages ago anyway and people have to stop using past injustices as excuses for their current predicament.

    There's no sign of a treaty – but our government is bickering over whether we should consider perhaps maybe at some point looking at the wording of how we might include some sort of indigenous recognition in the Constitution, possibly, in the fullness of time. So that's good.

    Land rights? Living on traditional lands (which, incidentally, is a pre-requisite for claiming any sort of rights) is a "lifestyle choice", according to Tony Abbott. So then in 2016 the WA government announced plans to cut funding to a number of remote communities which, by an amazing coincidence, all happened to be Aboriginal. What are the odds, eh?

    We've seen what happens to people in youth detention in NT - the territory which still has the paternalistic, victim-blaming, openly racist Intervention, which we now know was justified on spurious grounds and yet has remained policy under Labor and Coalition governments. Those royal commission deaths in custody recommendations? Almost entirely ignored.

    Abbott also celebrated his tenure as the self proclaimed "Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs" by cutting over half a billion dollars from indigenous programs and projects in his first budget. Let the healing begin!

    Twenty-five years ago we seemed ready to grow the hell up and reconcile with our complicated and often shameful history and look to a strong future as a united nation. But we decided instead to be cowards – or, more accurately, racists.

    Closing the Gap isn't just yet another national shame: it's a tangible reminder of just how far our nation has fallen, and how much further we're eventually going to have to climb back up.



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