Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Government scales back marine protections

The federal government has stripped environmental protections from vast areas of protected marine reserves. The changes would allow commercial fishing and some mining in areas of the Coral Sea currently designated as “green zones”, the highest level of protection. Speaking yesterday, Labor environment spokesperson Tony Burke said “no country anywhere in the world has taken as much area out of conservation as the Turnbull government took with the stroke of a pen this afternoon”, claiming the reduced protections would allow trawlers into environmentally sensitive areas.

Channel Seven morning show Sunrise has hosted an all-Indigenous expert panel on child protection in remote communities after being criticised for an inflammatory and inaccurate segment on Indigenous child adoption that aired last week. Danila Dilba Health Service chief executive Olga Havnen, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation chief executive Patricia Turner and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute associate professor James Ward appeared on Sunrise yesterday, with host David Koch conceding a Sunrise panel last week that seemingly endorsed a second Stolen Generation had “sparked concern and protests”. Havnen said “what we need is intelligent, informed discussion and looking for solutions rather than the confected outrage and anger”. A Sunrise digital producer, meanwhile, questioned why “the ethnicity of the people discussing a range of newspaper headlines” should “matter”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull granted extra travel entitlements to former prime minister Tony Abbott after ousting him, including unlimited business-class domestic air travel, unlimited use of a Comcar outside Sydney, and a travel allowance for out-of-home overnight stays. Documents obtained under freedom of information laws by Guardian Australia detail the entitlements, including a letter from Turnbull to Abbott in 2015 saying “as a former prime minister, there will be demands on you over and above the usual responsibilities of a member of parliament”. Taking to Twitter, Abbott called Guardian Australia’s reportage “fake news”.

And in France, former president Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken into police custody over allegations his 2007 election campaign received €50 million from late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Sarkozy is being questioned at Nanterre police station in Paris’ west as part of an investigation into whether his successful 2007 presidential run breached campaign finance and anti-corruption laws by accepting secret cash payments from overseas. In 2016, French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine told investigative outlet Mediapart that he had delivered suitcases filled with cash from the Gaddafi regime to Sarkozy’s campaign. Sarkozy has called the accusations “grotesque”.

Open Quotemarks

20 years ago, the great thing about being in a newspaper is that you didn’t care what your audience thought, right? You were a monopoly, you could tell them what they should think.

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Fifteen years ago, America destroyed my country

“No one knows for certain how many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago. Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in the United States as a ‘blunder’, or even a ‘colossal mistake’. It was a crime. Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of Trumpism and a mostly amnesiac citizenry.”the new york times

Did my parents leave me on a hillside to die?

“The family started searching through the scrubland. Minutes later they found a blonde child hidden deep in a blackberry bush. She was wearing a pink dress and looked about one year old. She had scratches and insect bites. Her hands were tied tightly in front of her ... Anthea learned she had been discovered on a hillside near Worthing on 26 August 1937. Scotland Yard had launched an attempted murder investigation and made a nationwide appeal for information, but never discovered how she came to be there or who her parents were.” bbc

Revealed: Trump’s election consultants filmed saying they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians

“Senior executives at Cambridge Analytica – the data company that credits itself with Donald Trump’s presidential victory – have been secretly filmed saying they could entrap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers. In an undercover investigation by Channel 4 News, the company’s chief executive Alexander Nix said the British firm secretly campaigns in elections across the world. This includes operating through a web of shadowy front companies, or by using sub-contractors.” channel 4 news



Why has the free speech brigade gone quiet all of a sudden?

“An Australian National University law student who insisted on including comment on Australia’s ‘inhumane’ refugee policies in a proposed profile piece was told she would no longer appear in a marketing booklet for fear of upsetting the federal government ... ‘I hope you can appreciate that the Commonwealth government is the donor for one of your prizes, and that should never stop you from speaking out against policies that you feel strongly about, but part of our job within the college is to maintain donor relationships to ensure it is available to future students’, a marketing staffer wrote.”  fairfax


They’re still recovering from this, the poor dears.

“They’ve shared their opinions and persevered, despite relentless campaigns against their work. And now Magda Szubanski and Yassmin Abdel-Magied have been officially recognised for their efforts, receiving free speech awards from Liberty Victoria this week ... Liberty Victoria noted how Abdel-Magied was attacked by internet trolls and newspapers, as well as federal MPs, following a social media post on Anzac Day. It noted that Abdel-Magied refused to give in.”  womens agenda


and finally:

Fact check: Were Indigenous Australians administered under a flora and fauna act until the 1967 referendum?

“A regularly repeated claim in public debate is that Indigenous Australians were covered by a flora and fauna act, which did not classify them as human beings, and that this only changed when the constitution was amended following the 1967 referendum. For at least the past 10 years, academics, media commentators and Aboriginal people, including an Indigenous MP, have claimed this to be true.” abc