Monday, May 13, 2019

Queensland locking up kids

Children as young as 10 are being detained in police watch houses in Queensland, where some are isolated for weeks at a time, and others are exposed to drugs and hardened criminals. A new report by the ABC’s Four Corners has published details of more than 500 files on child inmates in Queensland watch houses between January 2018 and March 2019, including a child who who had part of her finger cut off in an automatic door, a young girl who was placed in a watch house pod with two alleged sex offenders, and children deprived of food, medicine, sanitary products and clothing. Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers told the investigation police “don’t have the support or the facilities to be able to properly house these young people who are in custody”.

More than 20 former students in Tasmania are suing the Marist Fathers religious order over historic physical and sexual abuse. Speaking to the ABC, an unnamed former student recounted how he had been caned and sexually abused dozens of times, comparing his time in a Marist school to “a prison camp”. In March, a Canberra court heard testimony from a former Marist student who alleged police ignored his complaints of sexual abuse at the hands of John William Chute, a former brother, as they believed the Marists would not commit such offences. The order joined the national redress scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse in February.

Federal Labor has pledged to reverse funding cuts to the public broadcasters. Speaking at a Friends of the ABC event in Melbourne on Saturday, opposition leader Bill Shorten announced a $60 million funding boost for the ABC and SBS, saying “there are many in the ranks of the Liberal Party, not all, but many who will like to see the ABC privatised”. Greens leader Richard Di Natale, who also addressed Friends of the ABC, said the Greens would endeavour to “rein in the malign influence of News Corp, to protect and strengthen our ABC and to encourage more diversity in our media landscape”. Shorten also hit out at News Corp, saying on Friday that “not everyone in News Corp is the same, but some days they should just put that they're a political party, they should put ‘written and authorised’ on their front page”.

And in South Africa, the ruling African National Congress party has been returned to government with a reduced majority following Friday’s parliamentary election. The ANC secured 57 per cent of the vote nationwide, with the centrist opposition Democratic Alliance party winning 20 per cent and the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters gaining 10 per cent. The result marks the first time since the end of apartheid in 1994 that the ANC has won less than 60 per cent of the vote, reflecting dissatisfaction with government corruption and factional infighting between supporters of president Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.



The Saturday Paper questioned Shorten across a range of policy areas. He spoke about his hopes for Australia and his plans for the economy, not ruling out brokering a new Accord-style productivity, wages and training agreement between business and the unions, similar to that of the Hawke era.”


“Years ago, a friend who used to have an addiction told me that the problem with driving and taking amphetamines was that no matter how fast you were going, you were always sitting still. That sounds something like this election campaign, which has been invigorated only by an attack on Bill Shorten via his mother.”


“In his navy zippered sweater and finely cut grey suit, the 79-year-old could pass for a soul-searching tech executive. His smooth hands clasped loosely, he makes a further confession – his vision of a world streamlined by computers never included Instagram.”


“Brunei has backtracked on enforcing laws introduced last month that would have made sex between men and adultery punishable by stoning to death. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Sunday extended a moratorium on the death penalty to cover the new legislation. The rethink follows global outcry over the laws, including boycotts and celebrity protests.”


“Hollywood has been outspoken against a controversial Georgia abortion law, and now the heads of three production companies are saying they will not film in the state. Christine Vachon, chief executive officer of Killer Films; David Simon, creator of The Wire and The Deuce who heads Blown Deadline Productions; and Mark Duplass of Duplass Brothers Productions have come out in opposition to a newly signed law that would ban abortions in the state if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.”



“It may seem far fetched, but just look at the proof: Even though there are more than 20 candidates currently running in the Democratic primary, almost no men are paying any attention to the six that happen to be women. That’s amazing!”

Alex McKinnon is Schwartz Media's morning editor.