Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Aboriginal teens die in police pursuit

Two Aboriginal teenagers have drowned in the Swan River after being chased by police officers. A group of between four and five boys jumped into the river in the northeastern Perth suburb of Maylands on Monday, after police were called to stop the boys reportedly “jumping fences” in the neighbourhood. While police pulled two boys out of the river, another two were found dead later after a police search. Western Australia police commissioner Chris Dawson said the incident “is nothing short of a tragedy that has taken two young boys' lives”. Speaking to the ABC, Aboriginal Legal Service WA chief executive Dennis Eggington said “I haven't seen this level of grief, bordering on anger, but certainly grief and pain for a long, long time”.

Home affairs minister Peter Dutton has accused former Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg of sexually “grooming” a younger woman. Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Dutton described Quaedvlieg as a “discredited and disgraced” figure who was “sacked from his position” and “had groomed a girl 30 years younger than himself”. Quaedvlieg was dismissed as ABF head in March after a nine-month investigation found he had improperly used his position to secure his girlfriend a job. Quaedvlieg called Dutton’s claims “curious, stuttering, rambling comments”, noting Dutton refused to repeat the allegations without parliamentary privilege.

More than a dozen Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been deported on a chartered jet. The asylum seekers were transported from detention centres across Australia to Perth before being flown out on a Skytraders plane early on Tuesday morning. Several Sri Lankan asylum seekers, who often claim asylum based on a fear of government persecution, have been arrested and charged by Sri Lankan authorities on arrival. A United Nations Human Rights Council report released in July found evidence of “very brutal and cruel methods of torture” against political dissidents, noting a “shocking prevalence of the practice of torture in Sri Lanka”. In her first speech as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday, former Chilean president Michele Bachelet described Australia’s detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island as “an affront to the protection of human rights”.

And federal Labor has abandoned its opposition to Australia joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 trade agreement, ensuring a bill ratifying the treaty would likely pass the senate despite minor party opposition. Labor caucus voted to change its position on Tuesday, despite the fact at least a dozen MPs reportedly voiced concerns with how the TPP-11 could impact domestic labor regulations and allow foreign companies to sue the government through investor-state dispute settlement clauses. In a statement, Labor trade spokesperson Jason Clare said “trade agreements should not include ISDS clauses or waive labour market testing”. Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick said Labor had “undermined Australia's legal sovereignty and betrayed Australian workers”.



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Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.