Monday, October 30, 2017

Tensions as Manus standoff continues

Tensions are rising on Manus Island as more than 700 refugees and asylum seekers refuse to vacate the island’s detention centre. The camp is set to be cleared today by Papua New Guinean police and paramilitary forces, with PNG Police Commissioner Gari Baki warning “the safety of both the refugees and government workers plus staff of leading agencies is not to be taken for granted”. Greens Senator Nick McKim, who is on Manus, claims authorities have cut the centre’s supply of drinking water, while Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani said Australian authorities had warned “water, power and food will be completely cut” on October 31. PNG’s Mobile Squad, which is on standby to forcibly remove the refugees, has for several years faced allegations of beatings, raids and murder.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called a state election for November 25, seeking a second term in government against the Liberal-National Party opposition and a resurgent One Nation. Palaszczuk’s Sunday announcement was interrupted by environmental activists protesting the Adani coal mine. The proroguing of Parliament comes after Palaszczuk disendorsed Labor MP Rick Williams over allegations he threatened a constituent. Opposition leader Tim Nicholls’ pledge that an LNP government would broker “no deals with One Nation, no shared ministry and no coalition” was undermined by former Premier Campbell Newman, who told Sky News Nicholls “has to have their support” if he wishes to govern. Former One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, who was disqualified from federal Parliament on Friday, has announced he will run for Ipswich, a seat that substantially overlaps with the federal seat of Oxley leader Pauline Hanson won in 1996.

More than 100 ministerial decisions by former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash could be challenged, according to federal Labor. Joyce and Nash were among five politicians disqualified from office on Friday on the grounds of dual citizenship, and Labor has sought legal advice claiming that decisions they made more than three months after being sworn in could be ruled ineligible as well. Nash’s planned return to federal politics will be complicated by the Liberal Party’s reluctance to give up a Senate spot in New South Wales, while Joyce’s path back to the Coalition frontbench has been made clearer after former independent MP Tony Windsor announced he would not contest Joyce’s former seat of New England at the upcoming byelection.

The charities sector has spoken out against a proposed overhaul of campaign finance laws that would ban foreign donations to politically active interest groups. While details of the laws have not yet been released, the sector is concerned that registered charities would be barred from receiving overseas donations if they lobbied governments over issues under their purview. Australian Council for International Development chief executive Marc Purcell told Fairfax that “advocacy is integral to the purpose of charities”, arguing that “you don't just set up a soup kitchen, you look at policies that address homelessness and try and get government to take them up”.

And former governor-general Sir Ninian Stephen has died, aged 94. Stephen was governor-general from 1982 to 1989, before becoming Australia's first Ambassador to the Environment under Bob Hawke, leading peace talks in Northern Ireland, trying war crimes for the United Nations and helping draft Afghanistan's constitution. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said “Australia will remember Sir Ninian for his humility, his intellect, and his lifelong commitment to justice and the rule of law”. Ninian has been granted a state funeral.

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The lost children of Tuam

“Typical is the story of one unmarried woman who had been sent to the home from a remote Galway farm. Determined to remain close to her child, she took a job as a cleaner at a nearby hospital and, for several years, she appeared at the home’s door on her day off every week to say the same thing: That’s my son you have in there. I want my son. I want to rear him. No, would come the answer. And the door would close.” the new york times

Pushing the limit: What the US Olympic Committee can  and can’t  do about sexual abuse

“U.S.A. Swimming’s banned list now has nearly 150 names, including Everett Uchiyama, the former director of the national team. But sexual assault tends to be heavily underreported, which means that the actual number of predatory coaches is probably higher ... Absent a national entity like a ministry of sport, which other countries use to oversee the training of young people, American athletic organizations have never had much guidance in how to identify and remove abusive coaches.” harper’s magazine

‘Reality shrivels. This is your life now’: 88 days trapped in bed to save a pregnancy

“The nurses put me ‘in Trendelenburg’, meaning my hospital bed was tilted so that my head was 20 degrees lower than my feet. A nurse wrapped a foetal monitor to my belly with a thick strap, explaining that it could be read from the nurses’ station, and they would know immediately if I began having contractions ... Thirty-six weeks. Thirty-seven weeks. I no longer watched TV or pretended to read books. I knew nothing but my belly and the endless waiting.” the guardian



Which ice creams are under boycott as part of the Streets workers’ strike?

“Australians are being urged to boycott some of their favourite ice creams after a breakdown in negotiations between Streets workers and the company’s owner Unilever ... Streets produces ice creams including Paddle Pops, Cornetto, Magnum and Golden Gaytime. The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said the only way to make Unilever listen was to hit them where it hurts.”   abc


Let’s just say there will be only one Gaytime this summer.

“Malcolm Turnbull is expected to come under intense pressure to pass legislation extending full marriage rights to same sex couples before Christmas as Australians vote 6 to 4 in favour of changing the law, according to consolidated opinion polling ... Number-crunching by one of Australia’s most experienced public opinion pollsters, John Stirton, suggests there is now very little chance of the ‘no’ case reaching a majority, ‘unless there is something terribly wrong with the polling, the postal survey, or both’.”  the age


and finally:

Ghosts of politics past: 33 times Halloween and Washington mixed

“While you won’t find many politicians donning costumes for Halloween (no one wants to see images of their witch- or devil-disguised self showing up in attack ads, thank you very much), that doesn’t mean Washington doesn’t get into the holiday spirit. POLITICO takes a look back at 33 photos from Halloweens past.” politico