Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Labor to support refugee travel ban

Labor has indicated it would support the federal government’s proposed ban on people held in offshore detention coming to Australia in order to give critically ill refugee children and their families access to medical treatment. In a statement on Tuesday, shadow immigration minister Shayne Neumann said Labor would support the so-called “lifetime ban” bill if the government pledged to transfer “all children and their families from Nauru to New Zealand”, and that any ban “only applies to the refugee cohort transferred to New Zealand”. Iranian journalist and Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani said “refugees on Manus and Nauru are more than happy to never put foot on Australian soil after relocating to New Zealand”, while expressing concern for members of families “who will be separated, those who will remain or are already in the community in Australia”.

Former foreign minister Julie Bishop has refused to answer questions about whether she broke parliamentary restrictions on receiving gifts by accepting a pair of shoes from fashion designer Jimmy Choo. Fairfax reports that Grand Master Lineage, a Chinese company owned by Choo, gave Bishop a pair of high heels featuring designs by artist and Noongar man Peter Farmer. In June, Farmer noted that only five pairs were ever made, and estimated the shoes’ worth at $25,000. Parliamentarians are required to pay the difference on any gifts worth $300 or more, but parliamentary records indicate Bishop never did so. A spokesperson for Bishop said she “has complied with the requirements of the register of members' interests”.

The Sydney Anglican Synod has pressed ahead with a ban on same-sex marriage services on church property, despite public opposition. Voting on Monday, the Synod passed a motion banning church-owned venues from hosting any events that endorse “expressions of human sexuality contrary to our doctrine of marriage”. Bishop Michael Stead said the ruling was primarily a defensive measure “to ensure that the courts know what our doctrines, tenets or beliefs are” and thus prevent anti-discrimination lawsuits. The Sydney diocese backed down on a proposed ban on Aboriginal smoking ceremonies on church property after opposition from Aboriginal pastors and school principals.

And hundreds of thousands of unionists across the country have marched in a series of rallies demanding fairer industrial relations laws. The protests, part of the union movement’s Change The Rules campaign, attracted roughly 150,000 marchers in Melbourne, about 10,000 in Sydney and large numbers elsewhere. Speaking at the Melbourne rally, Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said “we will not be intimidated” by government efforts to curb the campaign. “You can threaten to fine us, you can threaten to jail us, you can take away our pay, you can threaten to bring in laws that make our job harder, but you will never defeat us”.



“A man walks into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and is never seen again. His disappearance creates a geopolitical firestorm that sweeps around the globe, buffeting many of the world’s most powerful people and states, and even pricks the dormant consciences of global bankers. Unbelievable.”


“There’s a tiger in Tantanoola, South Australia, at least that’s what the tourist signs on the highway say. They are compelling and I am sure I am not the first wanderer to follow the signs in an attempt to discover what the tiger is. They lead to a small town, a few streets of houses, a post office barely visible from where I am parked and a low pub of rendered painted stone.”


“If I were a character in one of Moriarty’s novels, she would see every part of me, the good, the bad and the ugly, but she would never skewer me. I’ve become a little kinder to the other parents, and to myself, as a result of reading her books. I’m more accepting of the roles we play at different times, more understanding that they’re not some sign of inauthenticity, but necessary for survival in the sometimes savage social worlds we inhabit.”


“Kevin Rudd wants Australians to know why Labor dumped him and brought him back. If that means a few current Labor MPs have to take a hit in his new book, so be it. ‘There’s no such thing as the perfect time to do this. It’s not an election year’, Mr Rudd told AAP ahead of the launch of the book.”


“Kevin Rudd tells book launch at Parliament House he has basically sat down, shut up and ‘said nothing’ about the 2010 coup against him ... Coup culture and factional disease is damaging Australia’s standing overseas Kevin Rudd warns.”


“A school has banned bags for health and safety reasons leading some pupils to get creative with how they carry their books. Jacob Ford, 17, disagreed with the policy at Spalding Grammar School after sixth-formers were ordered not to carry bags between classes.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.