Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Australia taps East Timor oil

Timor-Leste advocates have criticised the Australian government for failing to ratify a maritime border treaty dividing offshore oil fields between the two nations. Last year, Australia and Timor-Leste signed a treaty demarcating rights to the Greater Sunrise oil and gas fields, but the federal government’s failure to ratify the treaty in parliament has seen Australia siphon off tens of millions of dollars’ worth of oil that would belong to Timor-Leste under the treaty’s terms. Charles Scheiner, a spokesperson for Timor-Leste non-profit L’ao Hamutuk, claimed the foregone revenue would total more than US$76 million by the time Australia’s parliament next sat after the federal election, an amount that “would have covered the health costs of the entire Timorese population”. Timor-Leste Governance Program director and former Victorian premier Steve Bracks told Guardian Australia on Tuesday that Timor-Leste was “being denied that money because of the dysfunction of the Australian government and its insistence that parliament needs to ratify the treaty”.

The family of an Aboriginal woman who died in police custody in Perth last week have called for witnesses of her interactions with police to contact legal services. Noongar and Yamatji woman Cherdeena Wynne, 26, died in hospital last Tuesday, five days after losing consciousness following her arrest. Jennifer Clayton, Cherdeena’s grandmother, claimed police raided Cherdeena’s mother’s home at 3.30am on the day of her arrest, pinning Cherdeena to the ground and calling her by another name. Cherdeena’s father, Warren Cooper, died in police custody in 1999, also aged 26. “It’s time for this to stop,” Clayton said. “I have lost my son and now I have lost a granddaughter.”

Guardian Australia has published a recording of a 2016 interview with Liberal Party candidate for the Victorian seat of Chisholm, Gladys Liu, in which she describes LGBTI genders and sexualities as “ridiculous rubbish”. In a candidates’ debate on Sunday, Liu dismissed the Guardian’s original reporting of her comments as “fake” and claimed she had been “misrepresented”, prompting the outlet to publish the interview recording on Tuesday. In the interview, Liu said “a lot of Chinese parents [they] just do not agree with letting boys go into a girls’ toilet”, and that Chinese voters were opposed to “concepts of same-sex, transgender, intergender, crossgender and all this rubbish”. Liu was nominated as the Liberal candidate in Chisholm after current member Julia Banks resigned from the party and announced her intention to run in the neighbouring seat of Flinders.

And Nationals MP George Christensen reportedly spent more than $3000 of his travel allowance on connecting domestic flights while making multiple private trips to the Philippines. The Herald-Sun reports that Christensen charged five flights between Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane to his parliamentary travel entitlement, before flying on to the Philippines at his own expense. Labor has seized on revelations earlier this year that Christensen spent more days in the Philippines than in parliament in recent years, with colleagues allegedly dubbing him the “member for Manila”. Christensen has called the coverage a “smear campaign”.

TONY ABBOTT ON NOT BEING THE SINGLE MOST DESTRUCTIVE POLITICIAN OF THE MODERN ERA

 
 

“Almost a quarter-century since the Rwandan genocide, Facebook admitted it had failed to realise how extensively and influentially it had been used by the Myanmar military to inspire the ethnic cleansing of the country’s Rohingya minority. For years, accounts linked to the military, and which had almost 1.5 million followers, were inciting extreme violence.”

 

“Some people make too many films; Lee Chang-dong doesn’t make enough. His latest feature, Burning, arrives a full eight years after its predecessor, the sublime, astringent Poetry. He’s now 64, no longer a young man, and I confess to feeling slightly anxious, greedy for the movies he has yet to make.”

 

“A data investigation by the ABC last year found the billions poured into Australian schools since the dawn of the ‘education revolution’ under then minister Julia Gillard in 2008 – meant to establish sector-blind, needs-based funding – has left thousands of public schools with less public funding than similar private schools, because of the steep rise in government funding to private schools.”

 
 

“Australians are likely to be given an opportunity to contribute to rebuilding the Notre Dame cathedral with both sides of politics lamenting the destructive fire that has devastated the Parisian landmark. Both prime minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Bill Shorten have expressed their sadness over the damaging blaze, which has destroyed the spire and the roof of the historic church.”

 
 

“Djab Wurrung Elders are calling for supporters to join them as they protest the planned removal of sacred trees for the Western Highway bypass and await the outcome of an emergency declaration application to have the area preserved under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act.

 
 

“Researchers extracted DNA from the mummy’s big toe and compared it to genetic material from a modern relative Rosemary Probst-Ryhiner. Not only was it a match, showing that the woman must have been a Bischoff, but further archival research showed she was Anna Catharina Bischoff, who died in 1787, a direct maternal ancestor of Boris Johnson.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.