Monday, September 02, 2019

Case of Sri Lankan family in court

A Sri Lankan couple and their Australian-born children, spared deportation by a last-minute injunction, will have their case heard in the Melbourne Federal Circuit Court today. Thousands of people rallied across Australia on Sunday to voice support for Priya, Nadesalingam and their daughters Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2. Federal Labor opposition leader Anthony Albanese spoke directly with prime minister Scott Morrison to urge that the family, who say they face persecution in their home country of Sri Lanka, be allowed to stay. With their deportation to Sri Lanka blocked, the family was flown from Darwin to an Australian detention centre on Christmas Island, where they are believed to be the only detainees. Priya told SBS that she was “physically weak from the injuries I endured while being handled by security guards”. In an opinion column for The Courier Mail, home affairs minister Peter Dutton argued that the family ($) had been found to not be authentic refugees, a view echoed by immigration lawyer Simon Jeans.

On the subject of threats to wellbeing: A paper recently published ($) in The Medical Journal of Australia recommends that access to paracetamol be restricted to reduce overdoses. Between 2007 and 2017, nearly 100,000 Australians had to go to hospital for treatment after overdosing on the medicine, which is freely available in supermarkets and convenience stores, with the annual number of paracetamol poisoning cases increasing by 44.3 per cent since 2007-2008.

From oval tablets to the Oval Office: A former aide to Donald Trump has claimed that the US President believed there was an Australian conspiracy against him. In an interview with 60 Minutes, former The Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman said Trump made the claims after a heated phone call in 2017 with former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, in which the pair discussed a deal for up to 2000 refugees to be resettled in the US. Newman said President Trump felt “suspicious that the Australian establishment was out to get him”.

In sport: Second seed Ashleigh Barty has been handed a 6-2, 6-4 defeat in her fourth-round match with world No. 18 Wang Qiang at the US Open tennis tournament. The Australian committed 39 unforced errors compared to the 14 made by her Chinese opponent. Barty’s doubles commitments have been called into question after the defeat. In the Super Netball league, the Melbourne Vixens will take on the NSW Swifts in the preliminary final, after defeating crosstown rivals the Collingwood Magpies 62-49 on Sunday.  

Badiucao, Chinese dissident
Months before the latest protests in Hong Kong, the Chinese government shut down an art exhibition by Chinese-Australian dissident Badiucao. This is his story.


“In the old farm shed, a legal training workshop is under way; further down the hill, new arrivals are doing a series of role-plays as part of their NVDA (nonviolent direct action) training. ‘You’re in our way,’ a man says, playing the role of a mine worker ...  Lauren looks at the man sympathetically. She says nothing. Lauren arrived at Camp Binbee a day earlier from Brisbane, where she leads a mental health team. She has taken a week’s leave to be here. ‘What about my kids?’ the man continues, stretching to his full height. ‘You’re taking food out of their mouths.’ This is the hard bit, even in a role-play. ‘I’m sorry,’ Lauren says, but she still refuses to move.”


“Lawrence is the second most senior churchman in Australia – after Cardinal George Pell – to be convicted of child sexual abuse. The role of dean is second to the bishop, but Lawrence’s influence was such that he was regarded as more powerful than all the bishops he served under. He dominated the Newcastle diocese from 1984 until 2008, when he retired. The charismatic priest was popular, especially among some of Newcastle’s most powerful citizens. Feted with honours, Lawrence was made a Freeman of the City of Newcastle, given a Newcastle Citizen of the Year award and an Order of Australia. He was a member of the elite Newcastle Club.”


“Red earth makes its mark on everything in Kalgoorlie, the Western Australian goldfields city. On stage, its dust is spread across the outside of the Black family home, around the much-used dartboard and threaded through the milk crates turned over as seats. Soap star and lamb commercial actor Breythe Black has returned home for his father’s funeral, visiting from the city wearing a pair of bright white Nike Air Force 1s. His older brother, Mateo, warns red dirt is going to stick to those sneakers ‘like flies to shit’.”


“According to Brazil’s space agency, fires in Brazil increased by 85% in 2019 and are large enough to be visible from orbit, a development linked to illegal logging to open farmland. To send a clear message to Mr. Bolsonaro, a far-right climate-change skeptic with close ties to agribusiness, Mr. Macron threatened to block the Mercosur trade agreement between the European Union and South America’s common market. The deal took two decades to complete and still faces several hurdles to its ratification.”


“The European Union will push Australia to clean up its petrol standards – which currently allow for dirtier fuel than India and China – as part of negotiations on a new free trade agreement. As the EU and Australia prepare for the next round of FTA negotiations in October, Guardian Australia understands the issue of Australia’s poor fuel quality, which prevents the sale of a range of European vehicles with higher standard engines, has already been raised at a bureaucratic level as a ‘technical barrier to trade’.”


“When you're approaching Castleton Tower, a 400-foot-tall rock formation near Moab, Utah, it seems completely quiet. And if you place your hands and feet on the sandstone, it’ll feel perfectly still. But, like other large rock formations, Castleton Tower hums. It vibrates from energy produced by earthquakes, ocean waves, cities, trains, and road traffic, or even from wind or aviation noise in the air. And thanks to a group of geologists at the University of Utah—and a couple of ambitious rock climbers—now you can hear it.”


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