Thursday, July 18, 2019

World failing mission to free 40 million modern slaves

A report by an Australian philanthropic organisation has estimated 10,000 people per day must be liberated to meet the UN goal to end slavery by 2030. Unveiled at the UN headquarters in New York yesterday, the assessment of 183 countries by the Walk Free Foundation rated Australia as the 10th most responsive performer on the back of the Modern Slavery Law passed in 2018, which requires large companies to report on what they are doing to tackle the issue. However, the Walk Free Foundation noted that the legislation offered limited ability to enforce regulations, and urged the establishment of an independent commissioner. The assessment also highlighted Australia’s “restrictive and discriminatory migration policies” as a potential driver of slavery, by putting immigrants in tenuous and vulnerable situations. The report comes as the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges a Sydney mortgage broker paid a Filipina nanny just over $2.30 an hour to work 17-hour days in a $2.3 million CBD apartment. 

Iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest, who co-founded the Walk Free Foundation, warned the 150 referrals of slavery cases ($) made to the Australian Federal Police in 2016-17 was “incredibly low compared to the estimated number of victims of modern slavery in Australia”, which the 2018 World Slavery Index estimated at 15,000. However, Forrest said he didn’t have enough facts ($) to criticise China, where he has extensive business interests, despite the ABC’s Four Corners episode on Monday detailing how Uighurs are forced into labour for international companies at Chinese internment camps. The program had uncovered how a range of major brands sold cotton products in Australia sourced from Xinjiang province, with Cotton On and Target Australia now investigating their supply chains. Revelations in the episode also prompted the Australian embassy in Beijing to yesterday formally request that China allow Uighur woman Nadila Wumaier to leave the province with her Australian toddler Lutfy, so they can be reunited with the two-year-old’s Uighur-Australian father Sadam Abudusalamu.

The Australian Energy Market Commission will today release a draft proposal to pay large commercial and industrial users to reduce their power demand at peak times. The rule aims to tackle rising wholesale prices and curb emissions. AEMC chairman John Pierce said in a statement: “It makes sense to manage demand for electricity if we are going to deliver reliable energy at the least possible cost.” The changes would come into force in mid-2022, when the Liddell coal-fired power station is expected to retire.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a US Federal Court. Guzman received the life sentence plus 30 years for 10 counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, and was ordered to pay $US12.6 billion ($18 billion) in forfeiture. “The long road that led 'El Chapo' Guzman from the mountains of Sinaloa to the courthouse was paved with death, drugs and destruction, but it ended today with justice,” assistant attorney eneral Brian A. Benczkowski said. Guzman, who escaped from a maximum-security Mexican prison in 2001 in a laundry cart, and again in 2015 via a 1.6-kilometre tunnel, is expected to be incarcerated at Colorado's Supermax prison. Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said of the prison: "No one has ever escaped. It's absolutely impossible. It's not even an issue."

Understanding Scott Morrison’s Pentecostalism
To understand Scott Morrison, it helps to understand his faith. Tanya Levin is a former Pentecostal who argues that the church informs every aspect of his politics.


“On March 27, 1986, a metallic brown ’79 Holden Commodore with fawn side panels was parked outside the Russell Street police headquarters, in Melbourne’s CBD, loaded with 60 sticks of gelignite and detonators. In the explosion that followed, 21-year-old Constable Angela Taylor suffered severe burns. When she was found, her shoelaces were still on fire and the white rim of her police cap was melting. She died 24 days later – the first female police officer to be killed in the line of duty. A further 22 people were seriously injured.”


“The photo is red earth and a line of bodies, snaking the length of the frame. Climbers locked shoulder-to-shoulder in a desperate push to summit. They fill the surrounding campgrounds, and every motel for a hundred kilometres. Their rubbish on the roadside, their black waste dumped in the backyards of unsuspecting properties. For so long, the Anangu people have asked visitors not to climb Uluru. They never banned the practice, asking only for respect, ‘that, as a guest on Anangu land, you will choose to respect our law and culture by not climbing.’”


“The girl from Cheltenham looked destined for two things – to become a doctor and to play netball at a high level. She was that unusual combination of swot and jock, and the only girl at her school to study year 12 physics. ‘Some of the boys thought I was a bit odd – the ones who were right into their electrical circuits at the time – and couldn’t quite understand this young woman in their class who was also out on the sporting field.’ But just as she was trialling for the state under-21 team during her first year at university studying medicine, Alexander became pregnant.”


“The Natural Resources Commission of NSW has been asked to remap and rezone old-growth forest in state forest informal reserves that were previously off limits to logging. Environment groups are concerned the move is an attempt to unpick forest protections that have been in place for decades. An NRC pilot study has already examined 13 sites in the north-east. In findings published last year, the NRC said it had identified ‘significant errors’ in old-growth forests maps. It drew up new maps that reduced the extent of protected old-growth in those areas by 78%.”


“A surge in Brazilian Amazon deforestation rates, along with deforestation alerts, during the first half of 2019 has prompted some ministers to challenge the accuracy of a monitoring system used for decades by the government, without controversy, to track forest loss. Experts contacted for this story told Mongabay that the accusations are baseless, and defended the country’s cutting-edge satellite-imaging technology used to track deforestation, whose results are endorsed by independent monitoring systems both nationally and internationally.”


“South Korea’s women’s water polo team lost their first two games at the world championships by an eye-watering aggregate score of 94-1 – but they celebrated their solitary goal as if they had won gold. After suffering a record 64-0 defeat by Hungary in their Group B opener at the weekend, the plucky hosts were battered 30-1 by the 2017 bronze medallists Russia on Tuesday. But despite another lopsided result, goalscorer Kyung Da-seul was the toast of Gwangju after finding the net in the final quarter to trigger tearful scenes. The 18-year-old said she would cherish the memory but was sad not to keep the ball as a memento.”

Your chance to win a double pass to Shaun Gladwell in conversation at MCA in Sydney

The Saturday Paper invites readers in New South Wales to enter the draw for the chance to win one of two double passes to catch artist Shaun Gladwell and exhibition co-curator Blair French in conversation as they delve into the making of Pacific Undertow.

Shaun and Blair’s dialogue will stretch back almost two decades, spanning critical ideas that have shaped Shaun’s practice over this period.

The event will take place at 1pm on Saturday, July 20, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Entries close at 11pm (AEST) on Thursday, July 18.

Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.