Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Conditions worsen in Sulawesi

Survivors of a devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Sulawesi city of Palu are growing increasingly desperate as food and water supplies dwindle. Relief trucks carrying supplies into the city have been blocked and stripped of their contents by crowds, while Indonesian police have fired warning shots and tear gas at crowds taking supplies from abandoned shops. Thousands of people have gathered at Mutiara Sis Al Jufri airport in the city’s southeast to await evacuation flights off the island, with people reportedly blocking runways and attempting to force their way onto military relief aircraft. National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho noted that a network of 22 tsunami early detection buoys, which would have provided Palu residents with advance warning of the tsunami, had not been active for six years due to a lack of funding.

Federal Labor has increased pressure on directors of the ABC, with opposition leader Bill Shorten criticising the board’s failure to intervene in the war between former chair Justin Milne and then-managing director Michelle Guthrie. “What did they know and when did they know it?” Shorten asked on Tuesday. Several board members were appointed by the current government over the advice of the nominations panel designed to ensure political independence. Former deputy Liberal leader and panel member Neil Brown told Fairfax the board should resign, claiming that communications minister Mitch Fifield was “grossly misleading people, actively misleading the public” over the government’s hand in the appointments process.

Casual workers who have worked regular shifts for at least a year will be able to ask their employers for permanent positions from today. The Fair Work Commission ruled in August that casual staff could request their position be converted to a permanent full-time job. Employers must provide “reasonable grounds for refusal”, including the likelihood that the position would not exist in 12 months or would require a substantial change in the worker’s hours. Last week the FWC also ruled that Saturday penalty rates for retail workers be increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent from November.

And prime minister Scott Morrison will meet his Indigenous advisory council for the first time on Thursday. Members of the council include New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council chair Roy Ah-See, Winun Ngari Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Susan Murphy and Torres Strait Island Regional Council representative Ted Fraser Nai, who demanded in September that Morrison explain his decision to appoint former prime minister Tony Abbott as special envoy for Indigenous affairs. Abbott’s first visit to a remote Indigenous community in the role went badly, with residents of the Northern Territory community of Borroloola criticising his approach as “arrogant” and “out of touch”.



“The French have had several decades of experience with jihadism, but prior to the Merah killings they treated it almost exclusively as a matter of law enforcement ... After the Merah killings, this stance came to be seen as dangerously naïve. Jihadism was no longer a mere matter of law enforcement, but a battle in an existential war of culture.”


“Each Sunday, I’d spend hours packing kilos of boiled mince meat into plastic boxes and boiling dozens of eggs ... If I was out, with no food packed, I’d panic about what I was going to eat. Better to not go out for a while, I decided. I realised enough was enough when I found myself insisting that I bring my own food to a friend's house for dinner.”


“As I was driving to my next interview, I looked in the rearview mirror and noticed the white Yukon again. I drove aimlessly, crisscrossing streets from one end of town to the other. Everywhere I turned, the white Yukon appeared. I was being followed. When I turned the tables and followed the car back, it raced off.”


“Labor leader Bill Shorten has hinted he will keep the powerful home affairs portfolio intact if he becomes the next prime minister. Some in the Left faction of the party are reportedly agitating for Shorten to dismantle the Department of Home Affairs if Labor wins the federal election.”


“Under new laws, federal police will be able to conduct identity checks without reason and order people to leave airports ... Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor was waiting for a briefing on the security changes. ‘We approach this in a constructive mindset’, he told reporters in Brisbane.”


“Here is the number of Oscars that were awarded to Alfred Hitchcock for Best Director: zero. Here is the number for John Carpenter: zero. Wes Craven: zero. James Whale: zero. David Cronenberg: zero. You get the point. In the Academy Awards’ 90-year history, horror films have been nominated for Best Picture just six times, out of a possible 546 nominees.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.