Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dutton: Manus threats are ‘propaganda’

Immigration minister Peter Dutton has claimed that refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island lied about being threatened by locals, despite video evidence validating their stories. Videos given to Guardian Australia by refugees show a man making death threats against detainees at the West Haus transit centre, shouting “you are a dead man” and “I will kill you” while waving a weapon. Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, Dutton said the claims were “complete nonsense”, claiming refugees were trying to “pump out this propaganda” to sway the government into bringing them to Australia. The controversy came after a United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination report urged the government to “halt its policy of offshore processing of asylum claims” and “transfer all migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to Australia”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has faced off with dissatisfied voters on a special end-of-year episode of Q&A. Appearing solo on the ABC TV current affairs show last night, Turnbull faced questions on his Uluru Statement stance, the humanitarian crisis on Manus Island and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s role in leaks against political opponents. Turnbull repeated his claim that the Indigenous Voice to Parliament would be a “third chamber”, saying a referendum on the issue would “go down in flames” and urging “respect” for Aboriginal members of parliament. Turnbull also refused to confirm he would implement the recommendations of the royal commission into institutional responses into child sexual abuse, and also said suggestions “that I or my Government or Australia generally is anti-Chinese” were “absolutely outrageous”.

Private schools will receive more than their current total funding needs from the federal government’s Gonski 2.0 education plan, according to documents obtained under Freedom of Information by Fairfax. Hundreds of private schools in New South Wales and Victoria alone will receive more than 100 per cent of their funding needs from federal and state governments by 2027, constituting a huge rise in the number of private schools funded primarily through public money. Save Our Schools convenor Trevor Cobbold said the funding arrangements would “cost taxpayers many millions of dollars over the next decade and divert funds from where they are most needed”.

Labor MP Linda Burney has called on Senator Sam Dastyari to “consider his position” in the wake of multiple revelations about Dastyari’s ties to Chinese government-backed donors. Speaking to Sky News, Burney said Dastyari was “thinking very deeply about his role within the party”, while manager of opposition business Tony Burke said Peter Dutton’s claim that Dastyari was a “double agent” was “the most pathetic overreach imaginable”. Huang Xiangmo, the businessman at the centre of the controversy, has donated millions of dollars to the Labor and Liberal parties in the past five years, including $40,000 to the Western Australian Liberals ($), $44,000 to the NSW Liberals and $150,000 to NSW Labor. Tim Xu, Huang’s former adviser, has been campaigning ($) to re-elect John Alexander at the upcoming Bennelong byelection.

And in the United States, a 27-year-old man has been arrested after detonating a bomb on the New York City subway. Four people were injured when Akayed Ullah allegedly set off an explosive device in a subway passageway near the Port Authority bus terminal, although fire department commissioner Daniel Nigro said nobody other than Ullah suffered anything more than “ringing ears and headaches”. Governor Andrew Cuomo encouraged New Yorkers to go about their business, saying disruption “is exactly what they want, and that is exactly what they’re not going to get".

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But how will @GuardianAus accommodate the 86.7% of Australians who did NOT vote for the magpie?

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Keila Pulinario thought prison was tough. Then she had to find a job.

“Reentry is difficult for anyone who’s spent time in prison. For women especially, life after incarceration isn’t just the uphill battle they’d been warned about as inmates. It’s a cliff. Time behind bars is time lost with family and friends. Holidays, graduations, births, and deaths are missed. So are the technological advancements that dramatically change society and the job market. Pulinario entered prison in 1997, when New York City’s subways still took tokens instead of MetroCards, and before anyone had heard of Google, Facebook, or Twitter.” buzzfeed

Mangilaluks highway

“At 32 per cent, Tuk’s unemployment rate is three times that of the rest of the Northwest Territories, and five times the Canadian average. The coast on which their community rests is slowly disappearing as it erodes into the sea. Some homes have already been relocated ... Many of the town’s elders are residential school survivors. None of them have forgotten that day in June 1972 when three of their classmates ran away. Back when the road was still a dream, those boys attempted to walk it.” granta

When societies put animals on trial

“Although we often think of strange lawsuits as an American pastime, medieval Europe has the U.S. beat. For centuries, the courts of France, Italy, Switzerland, and other nearby countries tried pigs, dogs, rats, grasshoppers, and snails for crimes against people, property, and God. These animal trials were of two kinds: (1) secular suits against individual creatures who had maimed or killed humans; and (2) ecclesiastic cases against vermin like mice and locusts, who were excommunicated for their grain-related crimes.” jstor daily



What made the Bird of the Year result the second-most outrageous robbery yesterday?

“SBS is thrilled to announce that none other than Jessica Mauboy will be competing for Eurovision glory in 2018, as Australia’s representative in Lisbon, Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest, which will be broadcast exclusively on SBS from May 9 to 13, 2018 ... The 2018 contest will mark Australia’s fourth year of competing in the event, following a remarkable record of three top ten finishes.”   sbs


First Australian Idol, now this. Always a bridesmaid, Shannon.

“Shannon Noll has had more career knockdowns than most Australian artists but the indomitable rocker makes another comeback with Unbroken in February, his first album in seven years ... The What About Me singer got another reality check earlier this year after being involved in an altercation at an Adelaide strip club where he was enjoying after-show drinks with his band mates.”  news.com.au


and finally:

Lobsters, fajitas, sex toys, and more: the best and weirdest heists of 2017

“At the beginning of this year, I created a Google doc that I filled with links to news stories about weird and notable heists. As of this morning, the document is 10 pages long and contains 34 separate heists. For this post, I have narrowed it down to only my favorites. The best of the best. I consider this an important public service ... You should not do crimes. But if someone else does a crime, especially if it involves stealing, say, 20 tons of Nutella, then I see nothing wrong with having some fun with it.” uproxx

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