Without warning, the government has removed all support from hundreds of refugees in community detention – denying them housing and income support.In the middle of a recession and a pandemic, this decision leaves people without any prospects for work and without any means to support themselves.
Foreign spies are attempting to silence asylum seekers in Australia, according to a top domestic intelligence agency. An Australian Security Intelligence Organisation spokesperson issued the warning following revelations by the ABC that Rwanda has a network of spies suppressing political dissent in refugee communities in Australia. Other countries implicated include China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Malaysia. Professor John Blaxland from the Australian National University said some countries blackmailed or coerced refugees and migrants so they did not speak out against governments in their former country. “Refugees who flee often have family connections remaining with [their] home country,” he said. “The government can choose to exercise that power over the minds of the residents in Australia concerning safety and wellbeing of relatives back home, and that can be a very difficult pressure to resist.”
On the subject of fleeing persecution: Hong Kong’s political unrest has led to a surge in applications from residents seeking to emigrate to Australia, with some migration agents reporting a doubling in inquiries. Hong Kong migration agent John Hu told Guardian Australia: “As these protests have gone on for a long time, we have people ringing us up, they are becoming more and more determined to get a visa for what we call a ‘plan B’.” News of the surge comes after one of the most violent evenings of the pro-democracy protests yet, as Hong Kong police on Sunday deployed tear gas and water cannons on protesters, with one officer using live ammunition in a warning shot. Some protesters had assembled makeshift barricades and thrown bricks and petrol bombs at police.
From one last stand to another: Sources have told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that George Pell will challenge his child sex abuse convictions in the High Court. Pell’s legal team reportedly advised him that the dissenting opinion of a judge in Wednesday’s Court of Appeal ruling provided reasonable grounds to have his convictions overturned. Pell, who has received sympathetic coverage from conservative media, has 21 days from the Court of Appeal judgement to formally lodge an application for special leave to appeal to the High Court.
In sport: Allrounder Ben Stokes scored an unbeaten 135 to claim an extraordinary one-wicket victory for England in the third Ashes men’s cricket Test. Having lost the ninth England wicket 73 runs short of victory, Stokes and No. 11 batsman Jack Leach put on the second-highest 10th wicket partnership ever in a successful Test run chase that featured plenty of Australian mistakes, drawing the hosts level in the series with two Tests to go.