Thursday, April 18, 2019

Widodo returned as Indonesia votes

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has been re-elected for a second five-year term at the country’s general election. Widodo gained more than 55 per cent of the vote, well ahead of his rival, former national armed forces lieutenant-general Prabowo Subianto. Indonesia’s General Election Commission reported a strong turnout of more than 81 per cent, with only minor delays in some regions. While the vote was largely seen as a referendum on Widodo’s economic record, the campaign was marked by the spread of misinformation on social media and a rise in conservative political Islamism. In legislative results, Widodo’s centre-left Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle reportedly claimed about 20 per cent of the vote, with conservative coalition partner Golkar and right-wing opposition party Gerindra on 12 per cent.

Former Nauruan president Sprent Dabwido has used what will likely be his final interview to apologise for agreeing to house refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru. In an interview with The Project on Wednesday, Dabwido, who has terminal cancer and just weeks to live, said his agreement with then Australian prime minister Julia Gillard in 2012 to establish an offshore detention centre on the island was “a deal with the devil”. “In doing that we have turned our country upside down”, Dabwido said. “I thought I was doing the right thing but deaths still occurred, not at the sea, but on my island.”

In the United States, president Donald Trump has vetoed a Congressional resolution that would have ended US involvement in the Yemeni civil war. The resolution, which attracted support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers, would have cut off US arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in the conflict, as well as ancillary functions such as the refuelling of Saudi war planes. In December, Trump cited Saudi investment in the US arms sector as a reason to refuse calls to take diplomatic action against Saudi Arabia over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It is estimated that more than 68,000 people have been killed in the Yemen conflict since 2014, while a further 85,000 children have died of starvation and disease and more than 3.5 million people have been internally displaced.

Traditional land owners in the Northern Territory have protested the territory government’s stance on fracking by installing drilling equipment on the lawns outside parliament house in Darwin. The Wednesday protest, held one year after Michael Gunner’s Labor territory government lifted a moratorium on fracking exploration, brought a mini-bulldozer and cordoned off a section of parliament’s front lawn for a mock drilling exercise. Borroloola resident Conrad Rory told BuzzFeed Australia traditional owners were “trying to protect our country and protect our water”, and wanted a complete ban on fracking in the territory. Last year, Borroloola residents challenged former prime minister Tony Abbott when he visited the community in his capacity as special envoy on Indigenous affairs.

And rugby union player Israel Folau has challenged his sacking by Rugby Australia over homophobic posts on social media. In a statement on Wednesday, Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said Folau had requested a code of conduct hearing to appeal his sacking, and that representative bodies would “work to confirm a date for the hearing as soon as possible”. Folau was stood down by Rugby Australia and New South Wales Rugby Union earlier this month over social media posts in which he claimed “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” would go to hell.


“The acting deputy secretary of the department’s immigration and citizenship services, Luke Mansfield, this week fronted senate estimates and revealed that more than 200,000 people are now waiting for their citizenship applications to be processed ... it comes just weeks after a damning report by the auditor-general found that the processing of citizenship applications, which once typically took about 80 days, has stretched to, in many cases, more than 300 days under the Coalition government.”


“Solange’s argument is that these things are equal: Southern black culture and high art; black people and black paintings. Why can’t the former, like the latter, simply be? Solange knows the weight of racial history that comes with this why. This doesn’t mean that her question is posed in vain. She undertakes her minimalist arrangements of black bodies and voices in the full knowledge that her incursions into the art world and its institutions cannot, at present, escape being political statements.”


“According to analysis from the Parliamentary Library of Australia, the seats in which the greatest proportion of residents negatively gear are Durack in Western Australia, and Mitchell and Reid, both in New South Wales. Durack, a safe Liberal seat held by Melissa Price, is the highest negatively geared electorate in the country.”


“Coalition candidates are being urged to endorse a conservative manifesto that includes selling the ABC, slashing the company tax rate and pulling out of the Paris agreement on climate change. The Institute of Public Affairs is also calling on Liberals and Nationals to repeal the ban on offensive speech in the Racial Discrimination Act and scrap the Fair Work Act including its provisions on the minimum wage.”


“The Liberal Party’s peak council has voted almost 2:1 to privatise the ABC in a call that was swiftly rejected by cabinet ministers amid warnings it would be ‘total madness’ to act on the call. The overwhelming vote at the party’s annual council in Sydney gained vocal support from conservative think-tank Institute of Public Affairs, which said the company could be sold or given to Australians who already own it.”


I don’t recommend property listings very often, but when I do, they include a promotional video where a man walks along a marble kitchen countertop in his shoes for no reason.

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.