Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Asylum seeker family wins payout

An asylum seeker family has received a payout of more than $100,000 after suing the federal government over mistreatment in Australian detention centres. Last week the New South Wales Supreme Court approved a settlement granting $100,000 compensation, plus costs, to the family of Hamed Hendi, an Iranian man who attempted to reach Australia by boat with his family in 2010. The family claimed they endured severe psychological distress while detention, and that the children “witnessed detainees engaging in self-harm and attempting suicides as well as physical fights between groups of detainees and between detainees and guards”. In her ruling, Supreme Court judge Christine Adamson found “there is a real question whether the Commonwealth would have been found liable had the proceedings not resolved”.

Abortion rights advocates have urged the New South Wales parliament to decriminalise abortion. In an open letter, dozens of legal rights organisations, medical peak bodies, women’s rights groups and family planning agencies said the state’s “current abortion laws are archaic, cruel, and degrading, and deny a woman the right to make decisions about her healthcare”. Last week, both major parties in South Australian parliament committed to a conscience vote on a private member’s bill removing abortion from the criminal code and establishing safe access zones outside clinics. Queensland passed a similar measure in October, after all MPs were granted a conscience vote.

Two trade unions have teamed up to organise workers at Amazon Australia after a contractor claimed he was fired for attempting to unionise his fellow workers there. Guardian Australia reports that Raj, a forklift driver who worked in Amazon’s Sydney “fulfilment centre” through labour hire company Adecco, claimed he was ordered to remove union clothing at work and stop distributing union material to colleagues. The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association and the Transport Workers Union have agreed to collaborate to organise Adecco contractors working at Amazon. Workers have described conditions in Amazon warehouses as a “hellscape”.

And left-wing delegates to the Labor Party’s upcoming national conference have joined a push urging Labor to increase Newstart if it wins the next federal election. The Australian Council of Social Service’s Raise the Rate campaign is pressuring federal Labor to commit to a $75-a-week increase to the Newstart rate, which has not been raised in real terms in more than 25 years. Labor delegate and mayor of the Inner West local council in Sydney, Darcy Byrne, described raising the rate as “a moral issue for an incoming Labor government”, claiming that working people in Australia “are now among the poorest people living in the developed world”. While Labor described Newstart as “too low” in its draft policy platform, the party has only committed to a review of the rate while in government.



“Nine years earlier, she was young, bright and ambitious – and thinking clearly of the path that would extend her distinction. As a criminal defence lawyer, she was earnest, extroverted, but, some thought, too eager to please. Too enraptured with the cut and thrust, too quick to underestimate her limitations, too eager to share a drink with the notorious. A few years later, a senior lawyer would warn her that she was in too deep with clients.”


“Lounging in a fold-out picnic chair is a small, old Chinese woman. She’s wearing a white linen shirt and a sunhat with palm trees printed on the brim. Three people crowd around her, holding umbrellas to block out the sun. She looks calm. She could be at a family luncheon – except for the bike lock bolted around her neck, chaining her to a fence.”


“In Australia, and worldwide, rape and sexual violence perpetrated against indigenous women was a key tool of colonisation, as was the perpetration of racist beliefs and stereotypes that were deeply abusive of indigenous women. As historians Heather Goodall and Jackie Huggins described, ‘The processes of colonisation across the continent began violently with invasion, massacre and rape, and continue to be violent since that time’.”


“After prime minister Theresa May postponed the parliamentary vote on her contentious Brexit deal, Labour representative Lloyd Russell-Moyle defiantly marched to the center of the room, picked up the mace and attempted to leave with it. Fellow members of parliament were horrified by the statement. The mace is a ‘symbol of royal authority’ and without it, the House can't meet or pass laws.”


“In the early hours of Friday, 9 October 1891, the Parliament of Victoria’s mace was stolen, in what has remained one of Melbourne’s favourite unsolved crimes ... Thirteen months later, the Bulletin and Table Talk published stories suggesting that members of parliament had taken the mace as a joke and left it in a bordello in Little Lon. The uproar was immense, the satire hilarious.”


“Be-Lipsticked Fop Man Whose Feminine Presentation Belies Vicious Misogyny

- Always simpering and twirling a handkerchief and laughing through a closed mouth

- Is currently kicking you viciously down a flight of stairs

- Claims to be the only chance of survival you have in this viper’s nest”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.