Victorian Labor will debate a motion to end offshore immigration detention. The motion, drafted by Labor for Refugees, is destined for the state conference at the weekend, and would seek to bind federal Labor to “close offshore detention centres, transit centres and other camps on Manus and Nauru within the first 90 days, and to bring all the children, women and men who are refugees or seeking asylum remaining there to Australia” if it wins government. The renewed debate around offshore detention comes after the death of Salim, a Rohingya refugee on Manus Island. Asylum Seeker Resource Centre CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis claimed yesterday that an ASRC representative who contacted Salim’s wife to comfort her inadvertently broke the news of her husband’s death, unaware that the home affairs department “had not rang her to let her know her husband had died”. A home affairs representative said the incident was “a matter for the PNG Government”.
In New South Wales, state parliament’s upper house will vote today on whether to establish safe access zones around abortion clinics. The bill, co-sponsored by Labor’s Penny Sharpe and the Nationals’ Trevor Khan, would ban anti-abortion protesters from operating within 150 metres of a clinic, with people breaching the zone facing potential jail time. NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, who supports the bill, said on Tuesday that she would grant government MPs a conscience vote on the issue, likely securing the bill’s passage through the Legislative Council. Khan said “there seems to be considerable support for a bill” among his Nationals colleagues, saying it was “about dignity, respect and privacy for women”.
The ABC has dismissed a second round of complaints by federal government ministers about its chief economics correspondent, Emma Alberici. Earlier this month prime minister Malcolm Turnbull sent the ABC a list of 11 complaints about a television segment Alberici presented on government spending on research and innovation. After an internal review, the ABC found “the story was accurate, newsworthy, in the public interest and presented in context. “ABC News stands by the story,” the broadcaster said in a statement. Turnbull, communications minister Mitch Fifield and other government MPs have criticised Alberici in recent months, with Turnbull calling her reporting “confused and poorly researched” in Question Time in February. It is unclear if Turnbull has anything else that needs doing.
And in the United States, author Philip Roth has died, aged 85. The author of works such as Portnoy’s Complaint, American Pastoral and The Human Stain, Roth twice won the National Book Award and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by Barack Obama in 2011 for his services to American letters. In a New York Times interview in January, Roth said “in just a matter of months I’ll depart old age to enter deep old age, easing ever deeper daily into the redoubtable Valley of the Shadow”. He also described US president Donald Trump as “a massive fraud, the evil sum of his deficiencies, devoid of everything but the hollow ideology of a megalomaniac”.