Friday, November 03, 2017

Black Lives Matter Down Under

The founders of the Black Lives Matter movement have urged Australian governments to be “courageous” in ending injustice suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Speaking at the National Press Club yesterday, United States BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors and Canada BLM co-founder Rodney Diverlus said they “want to throw it to you all, the people of Australia, what will you do beyond this week. What will you do in your spheres to address anti-blackness.” Writing for Guardian Australia, Cullors called for “a reinvestment in black and Indigenous communities” and a move away from authorities and policies that “cause harm and violence to our communities”. Cullors, Diverlus and fellow co-founder Alicia Garza visited Indigenous communities around Australia before accepting the 2017 Sydney Peace Prize last night.

Iranian-Kurdish journalist and Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani has been honoured at the Amnesty International Australia media awards for his reporting from the Manus detention centre. Boochani’s “Voice of Manus” series, published by Guardian Australia and The Saturday Paper, was part of Boochani’s ongoing coverage of the deteriorating conditions on the island. For the last several days, Boochani has been publishing daily reports from the closed detention centre detailing how detainees are digging wells to find water and dealing with heat, broken toilets and the prospect of attack by locals after water, food and electricity was cut to the centre. Begsy Karaki, the commanding officer of Papua New Guinean forces at Lombrum naval base, said his officers would not take action against detainees unless ordered.

Environment minister Josh Frydenberg has become the latest politician to be caught up in the ongoing citizenship crisis, with The Australian reporting ($) Frydenberg sought legal advice yesterday to determine whether he holds dual Australian-Hungarian citizenship by descent from his mother. Frydenberg has called the prospect “absolutely absurd”, given his Jewish mother was rendered stateless after being forced to flee occupied Hungary as a refugee during the Holocaust. The questions over Frydenberg’s status came as communications minister Mitch Fifield revealed former Senate president Stephen Parry did not reveal doubts about his own citizenship status for several weeks. The ongoing citizenship crisis, which has continued to overshadow parliament despite the resolution of the “citizenship seven” case last week, has strengthened the case for a citizenship audit of all parliamentarians. Federal Labor has indicated it may support such an audit, while Coalition backbenchers Kevin Andrews, Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly and Llew O’Brien have also called for the measure.

And in Europe, eight members of the Catalan regional government deposed by Spain have been jailed pending charges of sedition and rebellion. Spanish prosecutors have also called for the repatriation of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and several members of his cabinet, who fled Spain for Brussels earlier this week. The Spanish government has tightened its grip on Catalonia, dissolving the regional parliament after it declared independence and seeking to seize Catalan TV and radio broadcasters. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who called a regional election for December 21, has enjoyed increased popularity among non-Catalans since the crisis began.

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Liberal senator Ian Macdonald eyes Senate President position

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Plyscrapers: the rise of the wooden skyscraper

“When the Ingalls Building in Cincinnati, Ohio was unveiled in 1903, no one believed it would still be standing over a century later. In fact, it wasn’t expected to last the night. The towering, 16-storey behemoth was the first concrete skyscraper in world history ... In 2017 we’re on the cusp of a new revolution: wooden skyscrapers. It sounds completely ludicrous, like a modern twist on the construction fable the Three Little Pigs. But it’s really happening. Are they strong enough? Will they rot? And won’t they burn down?” bbc

This is what you eat when everyone is struggling for food

“The death of four US soldiers in Niger last month put the spotlight on the west African country in a way that it has never experienced before. Already it seems like people’s attention is beginning to fade as new catastrophes engulf the news cycle. That disaster took place in a tiny region in the northwest. But on the other side of the country, in the southeastern city of Diffa, an entirely different tragedy is unfolding. Nearly one in five people are victims of food insecurity in landlocked Niger, one of the poorest in the world.” buzzfeed news

Beyond Catalonia: pro-independence movements in Europe

“After voting narrowly for independence in 1946, the Faroe Islands have been an autonomous, self-governing country within the kingdom of Denmark since 1948. Citing linguistic and cultural differences as well as the 560 miles (900km) that separate the two geographically, local parties accounting for 17 of the 33 seats in parliament seek independence as a sovereign state.” the guardian

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Q. 

Is the housing boom finally over?

“A global investment bank has called the end of Australia's world record housing boom, saying the golden years are ‘officially’ over after home prices fell in Sydney for the second month in a row. ‘There is now a persistent and sharp slowdown unfolding’, ending 55 years of unprecedented growth that has seen home values soar by more than 6500 per cent, UBS economists wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.”   fairfax

A. 

Who cares? The real estate culture wars will never die.

“Property developer Harry Triguboff, one of Australia’s richest men, is threatening to jack up rents across Sydney in protest of NSW state government plans to improve renters’ rights. Triguboff, a real estate mogul who founded development behemoth Meriton Apartments, is worth an estimated $12 billion and owns thousands of rental properties. This week he threatened to stop constructing rental properties in retaliation against the mooted plans to boost renters’ rights.”  junkee

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and finally:

NSW Young Liberals hold a #cornettocaucus in support of Streets ice-cream

“The NSW Young Liberals have provoked a strong reaction on social media after posting a photograph in support of embattled ice-cream manufacturer Streets on its Facebook page. The photograph posted by the NSW Young Liberals features their president, Harry Stutchbury, and Shani Murphy, who works for Liberal Party MLC Shayne Mallard. The pair are holding Cornettos, a brand of ice-cream made by Streets. A caption beneath the photograph reads: ‘Quick #cornettocaucus to support Streets ice-cream. Nothing wrong with Australian jobs and investment.’ ” fairfax

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor, and a former editor of Junkee.