Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ex-Nauru president regrets offshore detention

A former Nauruan president has expressed regret over agreeing to reopen Australia’s offshore detention centre on the island. Sprent Dabwido, 47, told SBS he signed an agreement to reopen the centre with then-Australian prime minister Julia Gillard in 2012 because he “thought I was helping, but it’s been changed. It became from a helping hand to a closed fist, and that’s a big regret”. Forced to flee Nauru last year after being classified as an “enemy of the state” by Nauru president Baron Waqa, Dabwido has applied for asylum in Australia and is being treated for terminal cancer. “I never thought I’d be one of the people lining up to be an asylum seeker, especially when I gave the go-ahead so [Australia] can use Nauru,” Dabwido said.

Prime minister Scott Morrison and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have exchanged threats of diplomatic sanctions after Erdoğan invoked the failed Anzac campaign at Gallipoli in World War 1, while urging New Zealand to execute the Christchurch terrorist. Screening footage of the massacre at a campaign rally on the Gallipoli peninsula on Monday, Erdoğan said of Australians and New Zealanders “your grandparents came here … and they returned in caskets. Have no doubt we will send you back like your grandfathers”. Morrison summoned Turkish ambassador Korhan Karakoç to register the government’s objections on Wednesday. Morrison said afterward that “all options are on the table” in regards to further diplomatic action, including reviewing the government’s travel advisory for Turkey for Anzac Day commemorations.

Burials and funeral services have begun for the people killed in the Christchurch terror attack. Funerals for victims had to be postponed while authorities conducted autopsies, imperilling the Islamic principle of burying a person as soon as possible after death. Speaking at Cashmere High School in Christchurch on Wednesday, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern told students that “feeling safe … means making a place where there is no environment for violence to flourish” and asked for support from the community. “I alone cannot get rid of those things by myself. I need help from every single one of us,” Ardern said.

And AFLW Carlton Blues footballer Tayla Harris has spoken out about misogynistic comments directed at a photo of her on social media. A photo of Harris, posted on the 7AFL Twitter account, was taken down on Tuesday after being bombarded with what Harris described as “sexual abuse on social media” platforms. “Whether it's Victoria Police or whatever it is, need to contact these people and give them some sort of warning,” Harris said on Wednesday. The Seven Network, the official AFL free-to-air broadcaster, later apologised for removing the photo from its Twitter account, acknowledging that doing so “sent the wrong message”.

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Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.