Monday, May 29, 2017

Makarrata and mining connections

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has responded cautiously to the Uluru statement calling for Australia to move toward a treaty with its Indigenous peoples. On Friday the Referendum Council convention at Mutitjulu in the Northern Territory rejected the campaign for minimalist constitutional recognition and announced their intent to to work toward Makarrata, a Yolngu word used to refer to treaty. Speaking at the National Reconciliation Week luncheon on Saturday, Turnbull warned that for any referendum to succeed, “a constitutionally conservative nation must be persuaded that the proposed amendments respect the fundamental values of the constitution”. Speaking at the same event, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said politicians “owe those that participated the time and the space to finish their work ... an open mind on the big questions”, but stopped short of declaring support for the Uluru statement. The Referendum Council will make formal recommendations to parliament in a report before June 30.

Environmentalists have raised concerns that two board members of government bodies tasked with assessing a proposed $900 million loan to mining giant Adani may have conflicts of interest with connections to the mining sector. Karla Way-McPhail, who is on the board of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, also serves as CEO of mining labour contractor Undamine Industries and training firm Coal Train Australia. Annabelle Chaplain sits on the board of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, a government credit agency assessing the loan, while also serving as a non-executive director of the Downer Group, an infrastructure provider with more than $2 billion worth of agreements tied up in the success of Adani’s Carmichael mine project. David Barnden, a lawyer with Environmental Justice Australia, said government officials “dealing with such large amounts of taxpayers money” should “be held to a very, very high standard of disclosure and transparency”.

Senate estimates will hear from Navy officials today as to why two of Australia’s largest and most expensive warships remain docked in Sydney due to mechanical problems. HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, which cost $1.5 billion each to build and are only in the early stages of their expected useful sea lives, were dry-docked in March after engineers identified a problem with Adelaide’s propulsion systems. The Navy has contested suggestions by Labor backbencher David Feeney that the ships’ incapacitation had a detrimental effect on Defence’s ability to provide disaster relief during the Queensland cyclone season, but admitted earlier this month the ships’ problems may be due to design flaws.

And environment minister Josh Frydenberg has confirmed Australia will still support the Paris climate agreement even if the United States abandons its commitments. While US President Donald Trump has publicly said he will make a decision on the US’ climate obligations “this week”, news outlet Axios is reporting Trump has privately told several administration figures he intends to withdraw from the Paris Accord after a confrontational meeting with European leaders at the G7 summit in Sicily. Speaking to the Guardian, Frydenberg said Australia will be “going on and trying to meet” its emissions reduction obligations regardless of US domestic policy.

Open Quotemarks

There is one bloke in Macquarie Street who has been working his butt off and doing a damn good job in difficult circumstances, and this is the Primary Industries Minister – Ian Macdonald.

Close Quotemarks

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Aleppo after the fall

“The door opened. A middle-aged man appeared. He had a gaunt, distinguished face, but his clothes were threadbare and his teeth looked brown and rotted. At the soldiers’ encouragement, he stepped hesitantly forward into the street. He explained to them, a little apologetically, that he had not crossed his threshold in four and a half years.” the new york times magazine

An ancient Nordic religion is inspiring white supremacist terror

“In at least six cases since 2001, professed racist Odinists have been convicted of plotting – or pulling off – domestic terrorism attacks, according to a review of terrorism cases by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. And across the Atlantic, the man who carried out the 2011 mass murders at a summer camp in Oslo, Norway, Anders Breivik, has attracted new attention after telling a court he long has identified as an Odinist.” reveal

The story of Patel Brothers, the biggest Indian grocery store in America

“Patel Brothers is a store that exists at the juncture of pragmatism and fantasy; the store has realized a possibility for pluralist cultural exchange without sacrificing its Indian DNA. Patel Brothers has spawned a subgenre of Indian grocery stores, from Subzi Mandi to Patidar Supermarket, yet it towers over this ecosystem like a citadel of the Indian-American grocery chain.” food52



Is constitutional recognition dead?

“The Referendum Council has announced constitutional recognition is no longer a major goal and that they intended to form a treaty commission to seek Makarrata, a Yolgnu word for treaty ... Referendum Council Co-Chair Pat Anderson said constitutional acknowledgement had been ‘totally rejected’ by all the meetings held in the 6-month consultation process before the Uluru forum.”   nitv


Don’t be so sure.

“Aboriginal leader and federal Labor frontbencher Pat Dodson has cautioned the Government not to ‘abandon’ the work it has already done on constitutional recognition after Friday’s Uluru statement ... ‘It’s fine there’s come this report out of Uluru, talking about an entrenched voice into the constitution, that will have to be weighed and considered. But I don’t think we should just dismiss out of hand the work that was done by the expert panel [on constitutional recognition]’, Senator Dodson said.”  abc


and finally:

Hacker breaks into Harvard student paper to troll Mark Zuckerberg

“Just hours before Zuckerberg was scheduled to give his commencement speech, Harvard’s student newspaper The Harvard Crimson was apparently hacked to mock the Facebook CEO with a slew of fake headlines and awkwardly edited photos. ‘MARK ZOINKERBURG AT IT AGAIN’, one headline reads. ‘OP-ED: How Come Everyone Talks About How I Stole Facebook But Nobody Talks About How I Murdered Eduardo Saverin’, says another.” the verge