Coalition tightens screws on deportees

The Coalition has announced a plan to force deportees convicted of a crime to pay for their own immigration detention.

What we know:

  • In an announcement dropped to Murdoch media, affected deportees would have to pay $456 a day to cover costs for detention, food and healthcare (The Australian $); 
  • Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said: “We are reversing Labor’s weak laws because we don’t believe foreign criminals deserve free rent, food and medical treatment while we go through the process of deporting them” (The Daily Telegraph $); 
  • The Coalition will also try again to legislate tougher character tests to deport thousands more people;
  • In 2020-21, 946 visas were cancelled under the character test, with drug offences the most common reason, and others including assault, child abuse, theft and driving offences;
  • Human rights advocates warn that many deportees have lived in Australia most of their lives, have only been convicted of minor offences, and are kicked out based on arbitrary ministerial decisions (The Guardian); 
  • An unnamed “senior government source” claimed people-smugglers “are already using border policy weakness from a change of government as a marketing tool to get illegal immigrants onto their boats”;
  • Labor has promised to replicate the government’s approach on turnbacks and offshore detention centres, and to detain “unlawful non-citizens” that “present a proven unacceptable risk to the community”;
  • The Greens meanwhile unveiled a plan to end offshore detention and abolish Australian Border Force, with responsibilities handed over to a re-established customs agency and police (SMH). 

Safe seats saved for the boys

New analysis finds that only two in 10 female candidates have been put forward for winnable seats at this year’s election.

What we know:

  • Research from the Australian National University’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership found just of the Coalition’s female candidates were running in winnable seats, compared to 46% of Coalition male candidates (The Canberra Times); 
  • Roughly 24% of female ALP candidates meanwhile were contesting winnable seats, compared to 33% of male candidates;
  • “The safe seats are saved for those that belong to the old boys’ club,” Professor Michelle Ryan, the institute’s director, said;
  • It comes after Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce defended the Nationals’ gender breakdown on Tuesday;
  • “If we had a quota system in the Senate we would need more blokes because it’s 80 per cent women,” he said (SMH); 
  • Although three of the Nationals’ four senators are female, in the lower house the Nationals have two women and 14 men;
  • Australia now ranks 57th globally on the representation of women in national parliament, down from 15th back in 1999 (Women’s Agenda); 
  • Polling indicates the Coalition is performing particularly poorly with female voters, with Labor leading by 16 points on a two-party-preferred basis among women, compared to just two points among men (Crikey).

Labor plan to save threatened species

Labor has unveiled a $224.5m plan to establish a national threatened species program, along with an additional $194.5m for the Great Barrier Reef.

The program will include addressing the backlog of almost 200 overdue and outdated species recovery plans (The Guardian). 

It includes an extra $24.5m for koala conservation, $24.8m to address invasive yellow crazy ants in Queensland, and $75m for 1000 Landcare rangers.

The reef plan includes research into thermal-tolerant corals in partnership with the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Labor’s emissions plan, along with the Coalition’s, however falls short of reductions needed for the survival of the reef (Renew Economy). 

It follows the Greens unveiling a $24bn plan to plant trees, deliver stronger environmental laws, end native logging and ensure mines are assessed on their climate impacts (ABC). 


Australia to host Rugby World Cups

Australia has been formally awarded the hosting rights for the 2027 Rugby World Cup and the 2029 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

A World Rugby vote in Dublin on Thursday night confirmed Australia will host its third men’s World Cup and its first women’s World Cup (Fox Sports). 

Australia was effectively unchallenged as the “preferred candidate” in a new joint venture model for awarding hosting rights.

Bid documents predict more than 217,000 international visitors and more than 2m people could attend the matches.

Optus Stadium in Perth, the MCG, and Accor Stadium in Sydney are in the running to host the tournament final.


Adaptive fashion hits the runway

Australian Fashion Week has for the first time featured an adaptive fashion runway showcasing clothes designed for people with disability.

The Adaptive Clothing Collective runway featured inclusive and expressive clothing catering to a variety of needs, with designs including magnetic buttons, zip-up shoes and temperature control fabrics (SBS). 

The show featured 10 models with disability, including advocate Lisa Cox, actor Chloe Hayden and 2021 Queensland Australian of the Year Dr Dinesh Palipana.

Brands JAM the Label and Christina Stephens were among those featured.

Christina Stephens co-founder Carol Taylor began designing her own clothes after becoming quadriplegic.

“Fashion didn't accommodate me. I felt very lonely and very excluded ... when I started to design for myself, I found my voice,” she said.

“Mainstream fashion needs to wake up and see there is a demand for this.”


We’ve all made mistakes.

Australian golfer Greg Norman dismisses questions over the murder and dismemberment of dissident Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. For example, a golf legend can make the mistake of torching their own reputation to promote a Saudi-backed golf tournament (Junkee).


Postscript: Passenger with ‘no idea’ how to fly plane lands aircraft in Florida after pilot has medical emergency

In audio from a call made to air traffic control at Fort Pierce tower, the unidentified passenger can be heard warning, “I’ve got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.” “Roger. What’s your position?” a dispatcher responded.  “I have no idea,” the passenger said. “I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea” (NBC).


Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.

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