Thursday, August 17, 2017

Government’s citizenship crisis expands

Justice minister Michael Keenan has become the third Turnbull government minister to potentially fall victim to the dual-citizenship fiasco. British immigration consultancy firm Sable International told Fairfax that Keenan may hold citizenship of the United Kingdom via descent as his father was born there. Keenan has refused to answer questions put to him by Fairfax or provide documentation proving he has renounced his British citizenship. Both the Coalition and Labor have prepared lists of MPs they may refer to the High Court over potential citizenship doubts, although sources on both sides played down the prospect of “going nuclear”.

One Nation’s call for an inquiry into the ABC and SBS has fallen short, with the Nick Xenophon Team siding with Labor and the Greens in the Senate to sink it. One Nation agreed to the government’s planned winding back of media cross-ownership laws in exchange for the ABC publishing the salaries of all employees earning more than $200,000 and the government passing a legislative requirement that the network be “fair and balanced”. Xenophon, the deciding Senate vote, said he had concerns that the “fair and balanced” requirement would impact the ABC’s ability to “fearlessly report issues”. The government’s relaxed media ownership rules would scrap the so-called two-out-of-three rule, allowing media companies to own outlets over more than two major mediums in a single market.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has urged older Australians living in large houses to downsize and “free up homes for larger families” to help solve the housing affordability crisis. Morrison said the government would offer financial incentives for older Australians to sell their large properties and move to smaller ones, including the option to contribute up to $300,000 in sales proceeds to their superannuation. A Fairfax analysis revealed thousands of large homes in Sydney and Melbourne being occupied by a single person.

And two of US President Donald Trump’s business advisory councils have collapsed after CEOs resigned en masse following his comments on the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum and Manufacturing Jobs Initiative were peopled with the heads of major US corporations such as General Electric, JPMorgan and Walmart to advise the administration on manufacturing and industry policy, but began to bleed members when three CEOs quit in protest over Trump’s comments that the “alt-left” was as much to blame for the events in Charlottesville as the “so-called alt-right”. With public pressure building toward a boycott of the remaining businesses, and Trump rebuking the companies whose CEOs had resigned on Twitter, Trump claimed he made the decision to fold both councils himself, writing: “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”

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You come to a place in your time – as a former member once said – there’s a rubbish bin there, and it smells, and you can’t walk past it.

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Is America headed for a new kind of Civil War?

“A day after the brawling and racist brutality and deaths in Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe asked, ‘How did we get to this place?’ The more relevant question after Charlottesville – and other deadly episodes in Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, St. Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria – is where the United States is headed. How fragile is the Union, a country that has long been considered the world’s most stable democracy?” the new yorker

The lonely, violent world of Myanmar’s child boxers

“In Lethwei, champions are made young. Despite its incredible violence, bouts between children as young as ten, who can earn anything from $30 to $100, are common, especially in rural areas. With the minimum monthly wage in Myanmar hovering around $68, it’s quite a sought-after purse. For some families, a skilled Lethwei child fighter is a means of escaping poverty. While the employment of child boxers in neighboring Thailand’s Muay Thai industry has come under some scrutiny in recent years, the practice goes on, relatively unchecked, in Myanmar.” narratively

I’ll get my goat: Kazakhstan’s ancient sport for modern times

“Kokpar is said to have originated with Genghis Khan’s early-13th-century mounted raiders, although it may be even older. Traditionally, it was played between villages ... The game is still played (or perhaps recreated) this way across central Asia, on the same occasions and on national holidays, but in recent years it has become increasingly professionalised, with federations and government ministers responsible for its promotion. There are now salaries for players and televised matches.” guardian



How quickly can the government move when it thinks something is important enough?

“The High Court will hear a challenge to the same-sex marriage poll just a week before survey forms are due to be mailed. The hearing, scheduled for September 5 and 6, comes with voters, activist groups and political parties all gearing up for the ballot. No forms will be distributed before the case is determined.”  sky news


Ask Yarra City Council.

“The federal government has stripped Yarra City Council of its power to hold citizenship ceremonies, after the Melbourne council voted to no longer refer to January 26 as Australia Day ... Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull said the move was out of step with national values. Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke said the government would not allow the council to politicise citizenship.”abc


and finally:

Confederate statues removed across US states – in pictures

“Confederate statues are being removed in several US states this year, and more cities are planning to destroy similar memorials after events in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the weekend ... The Charlottesville city council voted to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee and change the name of the space from Lee Park to Emancipation Park, sparking protests from white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and members of the ‘alt-right’.” guardian