The federal government pushed the CSIRO to sign off on approval for the proposed Carmichael coalmine’s use of groundwater, despite a lack of information to make a final assessment. Emails between the CSIRO and the federal department of the environment, obtained by the ABC under Freedom of Information laws, reveal environment minister Melissa Price’s office pushed CSIRO scientists to send Price a letter giving “our formal assent that Adani have responded to the issues raised”. The scientists were given a single afternoon to send such a letter, and CSIRO research director Warwick McDonald stressed in an email that he had “been careful not being categoric about the degree these [sic] responses will satisfy the recommendations (the devil is in the detail we do not have)”. Despite that warning, Price later used the letter to claim that the CSIRO had “confirmed the revised plans meet strict scientific requirements”, allowing her to approve the Carmichael mine’s groundwater plans a day later.
A Tamil family held in detention for over a year has lost a final appeal for asylum, paving the way for their deportation to Sri Lanka. Members of the family were detained by immigration authorities in March last year and transported from their home in the central Queensland town of Biloela to a detention centre in Melbourne. The family, who assert they will be persecuted if they are sent back to Sri Lanka, attracted support from Biloela locals, who organised the #HomeToBilo campaign. Advocate Angela Fredericks appealed to immigration minister David Coleman to “have some compassion, use a level head and know that pretty much this family's safety and their future is directly in the palm of his hands”. Earlier this month the family claimed authorities had failed to provide adequate medical care to one of their children, Tharnicaa, resulting in several rotting teeth.
More than a dozen environmental activists have been arrested after staging a protest on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Three protesters from environmental group Greenpeace abseiled from the bridge early on Tuesday morning, bearing signs urging politicians to declare a “climate emergency”. Others were detained before they could unveil a larger banner, and were questioned by police. In a statement, Greenpeace Australia Pacific chief executive David Ritter said the protesters included “Australians who have survived climate disasters [who] have come to the centre of Sydney to demand action because they are sick of being ignored”.
And a Labor candidate for a marginal Liberal-held seat has accused Liberal volunteers of making racist remarks to Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking Labor volunteers at voting booths. In a Facebook post on Monday, Sam Crosby, Labor’s candidate for the Sydney seat of Reid, accused Liberal volunteers of saying “you’re not allowed to speak [their] language, English only” and “how long have you been in Australia?” to Labor volunteers speaking to voters in different languages. “These childish taunts have not been said to any of our Caucasian volunteers”, Crosby said. Adam Pulford, the Greens candidate for the inner-Melbourne seat of Wills, accused a volunteer for Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party of telling a Muslim voter “‘her people’ are responsible for extremism and terrorism”. “She stood her ground firmly, and the Victorian Socialist volunteers and candidate and I stood by her side”, Pulford said on Twitter.