Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Giles denounced over Royal Commission

Former Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles has been fiercely criticised for his testimony to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. In an interview with ABC Radio, former Commissioners Mick Gooda and Margaret White said Giles was an uncooperative and unhelpful witness. White said Giles “really was the only example of [a] lack of cooperation with the terms of reference, which was somewhat astonishing since he was the person who set the terms of reference for the Northern Territory”. Gooda said Giles “completely abrogated his responsibilities as chief minister, and had the gall to sit there and say he was coming along to give evidence to make things better for Aboriginal kids”. Giles did not prepare a statement for the Commission, admitted to not following the inquiry’s progress, and answered more than 60 questions by saying “I can’t recall”. White also hit out at the lack of political interest in the Commission’s recommendations, saying she found it “terribly depressing that those who get elected to high office seem disinterested in evidence-based solutions”.

Christian Porter has been confirmed as the federal government’s new Attorney-General, replacing George Brandis and becoming the most high-profile promotion in the end-of-year Cabinet reshuffle. Nationals Senator Darren Chester has been stripped of the infrastructure portfolio, with deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce stepping into the role and new Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie entering Cabinet as sport, rural health and regional communications minister. Chester’s demotion came after he voted for McKenzie in the Nationals’ recent leadership ballot over Joyce’s professed preference, Queensland Senator Matt Canavan. Arthur Sinodinos has resigned as industry minister for health reasons, while Brandis will be Australia’s new High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Australia will struggle to reach its carbon emissions reduction target of 26 to 28 per cent on 2000 levels by 2030, according to a new review of climate change policy. Released yesterday, the review reveals the government will soon allow companies to offset emissions by trading carbon credits from overseas. Former prime minister Tony Abbott expressed scepticism of such a scheme in 2011, arguing that overseas permits could be purchased from “dodgy carbon farms in Equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan”. The Greens have also spoken out against the policy, with the party’s energy spokesperson Adam Bandt raising the prospect of businesses buying “dodgy permits from pig farms in China”.

And the Australian Federal Police has admitted to inadvertently broadcasting details of a raid on the home of an alleged North Korean agent on social media. AFP officers arrested a 59-year-old man in Sydney on Sunday, claiming he was planning to sell missile components and guidance systems to third-party countries to raise money for the North Korean regime. However, a video was streamed on the AFP’s Periscope account on Wednesday depicting the AFP’s media unit discussing how to manage publicity after the raid. One person on the video said officers were “not going in all guns blazing, it's only half-a-dozen people and a forensic van”, while another discussed the raid’s newsworthiness given “the PM will be standing up at some time on Sunday to talk about Bennelong”. An AFP spokesperson confirmed the video had been taken down, saying “the matter has been referred to the AFP's Security area for review”.

Open Quotemarks

One thing that’s not being talked about is there are a whole shitload of guys – the preponderance of men I’ve worked with – who don’t do this kind of thing.

Close Quotemarks

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‘A different dimension of loss’: inside the great insect die-off

“About 2 million species of plants, animals and fungi are known to science thus far. No one knows how many are left to discover. Some put it at around 2 million, others at more than 100 million. The true scope of the world’s biodiversity is one of the biggest and most intractable problems in the sciences ... But even as thousands of new species are being discovered every year, thousands more seem to be disappearing, swept away in an ecological catastrophe that has come to be known as the sixth extinction.” the guardian

Deliverance from 27,000 feet

“Apparently abandoned at his time of greatest need, he was a mute embodiment of their worst fears. One climber stepped on the dead man and apologized profusely. Another saw the body and nearly turned around, spooked by the thought of his own worried family back home. Another paused on his descent to hold a one-sided conversation with the corpse stretched across the route. Who are you? Who left you here? And is anyone coming to take you home?” the new york times

The apocalypse preppers who think coffee will save them

“No matter how it goes down, Stuey Bailey will leave his home in Werribee, Victoria, trek 50 miles north into the bush, and take shelter in a remote spot on the edge of civilisation. Once Bailey reaches his ‘bug-out location’, he’ll unpack his supplies and fashion a suitable shelter out of tarps and ropes – something that can be easily dismantled in case Bailey needs to hide. He will make a cup of coffee and massively increase his chances of surviving in the process.” gq



Is our current out-of-home care approach creating another Stolen Generation?

“Ash Morris was just 24 when he was tasked with setting up Australia’s first Aboriginal child protection court in Melbourne’s outer north, where ice, gambling and family violence are rife in parts ... Record high numbers of Aboriginal children are coming through courts and being sent to live in out-of-home care. Aboriginal on his father’s side, Ash knows something needs to change. ‘I’m scared that we’re really just creating another Stolen Generation’, he says.”   australian story


It’s not covering itself in glory, put it that way.

“They took away her children because they claimed she was medically negligent, but it was in foster care that the physical injuries started appearing, says single mother Kelly*. Her story is one of several uncovered by an NITV News investigation which heard from a dozen women in Queensland’s South Burnett region who say Indigenous child removals in the area have reached a crisis point, six months into a major government initiative to reduce the number of Indigenous kids in care.”  nitv


and finally:

20 authors I don’t have to read because I’ve dated men for 16 years

1. Philip Roth: I’ve never read any of Philip Roth’s books, but I have dated enough men who have that I can carry on a decent small-talk conversation about why I don’t like them. Roth and I live in the same neighborhood, and a friend of mine once ran into him in the local pharmacy, where he was buying hemorrhoid cream or Cialis or something equally embarrassing, and glared at my friend for noticing him. Telling this story, I always imagine Roth holding a box that just says BAD DICK CREAM.” electric lit

Editor’s note: The Friday, December 22 edition of The Briefing will be the last for the year. The Briefing will resume on Monday, January 29.