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”.