Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Relief package for domestic violence victims

The federal government has released a suite of measures designed to help women escaping domestic and family violence. Minister for women, Kelly O’Dwyer, announced $109 million in funding on Tuesday as part of the government’s first women’s economic security statement. The new policies include allowing domestic violence victims early access to superannuation, $50 million to fund mediation services, and exempting victims from being cross-examined by their alleged abusers in court. 

Russian Twitter bots are spreading Islamophobic misinformation in an attempt to influence Australian politics, a parliamentary inquiry has heard. Speaking on Tuesday before the joint standing committee on electoral matters’ review of possible online manipulation of elections, experts from the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre warned that accounts linked to Russia were “interested in amplifying social divisions, in particular distinctions between Muslims and the rest of the population”. Senior research fellow Michael Jensen said misinformation campaigns were designed to sow fear and mistrust, so that people “no longer trust the institutions and political figures that have kept them safe in the past”.

Online accommodation rental service Airbnb has removed all listings in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, in a significant victory for the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. In a statement on its website, Airbnb said it had made the decision based on several criteria, including “whether the existence of listings is contributing to existing human suffering”. Pro-Palestinian activists have long pressured Airbnb to remove Israeli-owned listings on Palestinian land, with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights claiming that “Airbnb is making money off of Israel’s continued military occupation of Palestinian land and helping facilitate settlement activity”. The move provoked a furious response from the Israeli government, with Israeli tourism minister Yariv Levin calling it “a disgraceful and miserable decision, and a disgraceful surrender by the company”.

And United States president Donald Trump has backed the Saudi government over the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a statement, Trump said “we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi” and that Saudi Arabia “have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels”. Last week, a Central Intelligence Agency investigation concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered Khashoggi’s murder, which took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. Trump contradicted the CIA finding, saying “it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump also quoted Saudi representatives who described Khashoggi as “an enemy of the people” and “a member of the Muslim Brotherhood”.

This page was modified on November 22, 2018, to remove the assertion that Helen Matthews of the Women's Legal Service Victoria supported the government's plan to allow survivors of domestic violence early access to superannuation. 



“The Bourke Street attack saw the death of one Melbourne icon and the creation of another. Bystanders filmed Michael Rogers sharking oddly around two police officers, trying to ram Shire Ali with a shopping trolley. From the footage, Shire Ali seemed little concerned with the trolley – his attention was fixed upon the two police officers, who were desperately skipping around the wild arcs of his knife.”


“Though the environment is pleasant – all soft green fabrics and honey-coloured wood – the work today seems excruciating. It is the work of all courtrooms: a striving to reconcile gross disequilibrium in recollections and emotions and concerns; a meticulous mining of the particulate elements of human behaviour only to surface with a rational explanation that pins its hopes on approximation.”


“The journalist turned novelist and screenwriter is known for her tales of marital dysfunction that make spouses glance askance at one another in suspicion, and estranged mothers that raise questions of the skeletons in Flynn’s own closet. Previously, her forays into screenwriting were adapting her own work, reimagining words first written years earlier for the likes of directors David Fincher and Jean-Marc Vallée, and actors such as Amy Adams.”


“An alliance of well-known Australians has launched a centre-right political machine in a bid to rival union-backed activist group GetUp and vowed to campaign as a registered third-party organisation against the Left ahead of next year’s election. The group, Advance Australia, will run its first major campaign against Labor’s plan to scrap ­imputation dividend refunds, the so-called retiree tax, as well as a grassroots movement to keep Australia Day unchanged.”


“A proudly conservative group that wants to be the ‘Australian Tea Party’ will push for corporal punishment, referendums to sack bad governments and tougher refugee policy at the federal election. CANdo, a group created by Liberal firebrand Cory Bernardi and loosely modelled on the right-wing faction of the US Republican Party, also claims gay marriage could lead to Muslim polygamy.”


“The best way to triple down on dismissing something that genuinely hurt you is tacking on a ‘haha’ or, if the situation really fucking sucks, crank it up notch and go for an ‘lmfao’. These extra letters will definitely make sure that you’re cushioning any real communication you could be having about a painful situation in the nonchalant tone of an Internet joke.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.