Monday, November 05, 2018

Scullion under fire over grants

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.


“We can’t be sure precisely when Australia’s major political parties lost the public on the issue of offshore detention, but the morning of August 20 confirmed it. It was day one of a planned three-month Kids Off Nauru campaign, initiated by World Vision, and it began with Rupert Murdoch’s conservative tabloid newspapers firmly on the bandwagon.”


“The novel’s plot is simple. In the dying days of high school, a popular male athlete and a friendless girl begin a secret affair, which the boy ends a few weeks later due to his unease at the prospect of the relationship going public. Meeting a little later in college, it’s now the boy’s turn to feel the outcast, while the previously awkward girl – always intelligent, and now flush with confidence – thrives in her new surroundings.”


“The Picassos on show are revelatory. We see none of his hysterical dissected women – thank God – but rather a series of figures from 1902 to 1909 when he was transitioning out of realist representation into cubism. His Nude boy (1906) has obvious similarities to MoMA’s more famous Boy Leading a Horse (1905–6).”


“Back in 2011, an anonymous writer coined the term ‘stochastic terrorism’ to refer to ‘the use of mass communication to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable’, or, in other words ‘remote control terror by lone wolf’.”


“From focus groups with 28 young South Sudanese Australians between the ages of 15 and 23, the study found participants ‘felt racial profiling by Victoria police had intensified’ and they reported an increase in the racial abuse they experienced on the street and at schools. That coincided with a huge increase in ‘racialised’ reporting.”


“As you know, it is my custom on Wednesdays to meet Jane Fonda for lunch to discuss what we think the people of Los Angeles might be doing without us. We were served by a friendly waiter – I believe him to have been a cricket – but imagine my surprise when he mentioned casually over popovers that it is not the year nineteen and seventy-two.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.