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.