Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Government loses Manus vote

The government has lost a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, with the lower house passing a motion urging the government to accept New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s offer to resettle 150 refugees held on Manus Island. Trade minister Steve Ciobo and backbencher Warren Entsch were absent from the vote, triggering the 73-72 loss after all crossbenchers, bar Kennedy MP Bob Katter, supported the motion. While speaker Tony Smith allowed the vote to take place again once Ciobo and Entsch were present, it marked the second time the government had lost a vote on the House floor. Greens MP Adam Bandt, who moved the motion, said “apparently some government MPs didn’t think men languishing in horror was important enough to turn up and vote on”.

New South Wales education minister Rob Stokes has condemned a letter-writing campaign by One Nation Senator Brian Burston warning school principals that “many school children are becoming radicalised into terror-endorsing Islamists”. The letters, in which Burston warns principals Islam commands followers to “kill non-Muslims as their ticket into paradise”, were sent to schools last week using the Senate letterhead. Stokes described the letters as “hate mail” and urged principals to “place all correspondence from the One Nation Senator in the nearest recycling bin when it arrives” to ensure “some good may still come from it”. NSW Greens upper house politician Mehreen Faruqi has requested the Australian Human Rights Commission investigate the letters, calling them “divisive and offensive”.

Labor Senator and Yawuru man Pat Dodson has urged state governments to overhaul laws governing the treatment of prisoners after photos of a comatose Indigenous man shackled to his hospital bed were published. Kamilaroi man Eric Whittaker, 35, died in a Sydney hospital in July after being transferred from Parklea Prison. Photos published by Fairfax with permission from Whittaker’s family showed him shackled to his hospital bed by the ankles the day before he died, despite being on life support. Calling the photos “absolutely appalling”, Dodson said it was “high time” the federal government led states and territories in legislating a nationally consistent duty of care for police and corrective services.

Labor Senator Katy Gallagher may be referred to the High Court after her citizenship disclosure forms confirmed she was a dual British-Australian citizen at the time of her election. Gallagher submitted her renunciation documents in April 2016, but they were not processed by the British Home Office until August. Speaking to Guardian Australia, Labor MP and Wiradjuri woman Linda Burney described the process of going through old Aboriginal Protection Board documents for evidence of her father’s place of birth “gut-wrenching”, while Labor Senator and Yanyuwa woman Malarndirri McCarthy noted the difficulty of ascertaining times and places of birth for her grandparents “because statistics and birth certificates were just not part of the way of Australia and the policies of the time didn’t include us.”. The disclosure process also unearthed some interesting tidbits about parliamentarians, including that One Nation leader Pauline Hanson believes her grandmother was born at Stonehenge and that Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm is apparently the product of “immaculate conception”.

And Liberal MP Tim Wilson has proposed to his partner on the floor of the House of Representatives during debate on same-sex marriage. Wilson and his partner, Ryan Bolger, have worn rings on their left hands for seven years as “the answer to the questions we cannot ask”. Wilson said passing marriage equality would reflect a Liberal Party that was not “the party of the past, not the conservative party dying hard on the last barricade, but one with a lively mind and a forward-looking heart”. Wilson is the first MP ever to propose on the House floor. Presiding over the chamber, deputy speaker Rob Mitchell directed Hansard “to record that” Bolger’s response “was a 'yes', a resounding ‘yes’”. Debate on the same-sex marriage bill is expected to conclude on Wednesday or Thursday.

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Open Quotemarks

If we believe that two gay people are better off together than living alone, comforted only by their respective cats, then why should we deprive their relationship of equal recognition?

Close Quotemarks
MALCOLM TURNBULL MAKES A PUZZLING ASIDE WHEN SPEAKING ON THE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BILL
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Trapped: The Grenfell Tower story

“Buildings aren’t supposed to burn the way London’s Grenfell Tower did. But to the residents stuck inside, and to the firefighters who rushed to save them, this was a different kind of fire, a blaze that burned at 1,800 degrees, a devastating inferno that killed dozens and shocked an entire nation. This is the untold story of what it felt like to fight that fire and to flee it – a story of a thousand impossible decisions and the people who dared that night to make them.” gq

The recruiters: Searching for the next generation of war fighters in a divided America

“The biggest factor in recruiting success is the health of the economy. Typically, when the unemployment rate goes up, so does the number of Americans wanting to join the military. Nonetheless, the more economically stressed socioeconomic classes tend to be underrepresented in the armed forces. Although people in low-income neighborhoods are generally more inclined than their wealthier compatriots to enlist, fewer and fewer have the qualifications to serve.” task & purpose

How the world forgot to sleep

“According to the World Health Organisation you are likely part of the ‘sleep loss epidemic’, with two thirds of adults in developed nations not getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night. There has been a global rise in sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, but also, put simply, those who have the capacity to sleep well just aren’t sleeping enough. In Japan, where the epidemic is at its most absurd, the average time spent asleep is just 6 hours and 22 minutes, with phrases for both falling asleep in public (inemuri) and dying from overworking (karōshi).” esquire

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Q. 

Should the internet be reclassified as a basic service?

“With complaints about phone and internet providers soaring, consumer groups are calling for the troubled sector to be regulated the same way as the water or energy industries ... In the last financial year, complaints to the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman shot up by 41 per cent and complaints about the National Broadband Network jumped 159 per cent. Under the Universal Service Obligation only standard landlines and payphones have to be accessible.”   abc

A. 

Given public anger around the NBN, it couldn’t hurt.

“While the NBN has bubbled along as a political battleground for years, the numbers of complaints – and the fact they do not discriminate between city and country – suggests it could be about to boil over. Particularly in the event of an early federal election ... Essential Media executive director Peter Lewis says fast broadband is no longer seen as a fancy, futuristic add-on but as a utility, akin to water or electricity. He questions whether the NBN is going to be ‘the’ political issue of any upcoming election, but says it feeds into the narrative that the government is ‘not doing a very good job’.”  fairfax

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and finally:

What are the legal implications of The Ferals’ pirate TV station?

“In the 1990s, ABC TV ran a children’s show called The Ferals. One of the show’s subplots saw the non-native Australian animal puppets break into a television station and start broadcasting their own signal under the banner of ‘Feral TV’. Now that we’re all grown up, is what The Ferals did legal? Australia’s media regulator has weighed in.” twitter moments

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