Aboriginal rights groups have called for an investigation into Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion granting almost $500,000 from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to pastoral industry lobby groups. Scullion told a Senate estimates hearing last week that he approved the grants, issued under the Land Rights Act, so industry groups could outline how they would be impacted by land rights claims. Former Northern Territory Indigenous affairs minister Jak Ah Kit told Guardian Australia the grants were “totally immoral and totally against the normal rules that apply”. The calls came as special envoy for Indigenous affairs Tony Abbott was widely criticised for saying “thank you for putting up with the invasion” to a classroom of Aboriginal children in the remote South Australian community of Pukatja.
Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox has been deported from the Philippines after losing a court battle to have her passport reinstated. Fox, who worked as a missionary in the Philippines for 27 years, was a prominent critic of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte and his government’s human rights record. Fox was arrested in April after travelling to the southern island of Mindanao, which was under martial law. Thousands of people have been killed in the Duterte government’s war on drugs, while press freedom has plummeted amid a spike in official criticism of media outlets and murders of journalists.
In the United States, three people have died in a mass shooting in a Florida yoga studio. Authorities identified the shooter, who died in the attack, as Scott Paul Beierle, a self-described misogynist who made a series of YouTube videos in which he identified with the “incel” anti-feminism movement, made hateful comments about women and sexually harassed a woman beside a pool in 2012. The shooting is the latest act of right-wing terror to overshadow the US midterm elections this week.
And voters in New Caledonia have rejected independence from France in a referendum with 56.4 per cent of voters choosing to remain with France in the vote, with roughly 175,000 people casting their ballot. France promised to hold the referendum in 1998 as part of the Nouméa Accord, an agreement with pro-independence political parties that brought an end to a civil war in the 1980s. The independence movement has historically been led by Kanaks, New Caledonia’s indigenous people, with white colonisers preferring to remain part of France.