Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Tamil family face deportation

The Federal Court in Melbourne is poised to make a final decision regarding the fate of a family facing deportation to Sri Lanka. Tamil couple Priya and Nadesalingam and their two Australia-born daughters Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, could be deported as soon as 4pm today, with asylum-seeker advocates warning they might face danger in Sri Lanka. Priya has said she witnessed her fiance and others burnt alive. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton criticised the parents for “dragging” their children through the appeal process after being determined not to be genuine refugees. Labor leader Anthony Albanese will travel to the Queensland town of Biloela, where the family were living, to meet community leaders and ramp up pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to allow their return.    

Speaking of ramping up the pressure: The UK has been plunged into minority government, with Conservative MP Phillip Lee abandoning the party in the middle of a speech by prime minister Boris Johnson. The prime minister could push for a vote on an early election tomorrow, as the parliament debated late into Tuesday evening a push for laws seeking to deny Johnson the ability to push through a no-deal Brexit. Lee crossed the floor to join the Liberal Democrats, announcing in a letter that his decision was down to the Conservative party having “become infected by the twin diseases of English nationalism and populism”. 

On the subject of losing majorities: Two New South Wales state Liberal MPs have threatened to force the Coalition into minority government unless “essential amendments” were made in a bill to decriminalise abortion, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Conservative MPs Kevin Conolly and Tanya Davies have signalled their intentions to join the crossbench if amendments including banning gender selection were not made to the legislation. 

From NSW Parliament to WA: The lower house of Western Australia’s Parliament has voted in favour of the Labor State Government's voluntary assisted dying laws on Tuesday night, with 44 votes in favour to 12 against. The laws will next face what is expected to be a much tighter vote in the upper house. Several hundred supporters rallied at State Parliament, with opponents of the bill expected to hold their own rally today. Lifeline: 13 11 14.

Speaking of bills: National accounts figures to be released today are anticipated to show the worst annual growth figures in 27 years. The figures are expected to show the Australian economy growing by less than 1.5 per cent over the year to June 30, the worst annual result since 1990-91, when the economy shrank 1.4 per cent. The figures come a day after surging resource exports helped deliver the first current account surplus in 44 years.

American secrets
As Brian Toohey releases his major book on national security, he reveals the role he believes the CIA had in Gough Whitlam’s dismissal.


“One big reason the wages of working Australians are stagnating is that the owners of capital in this country have grown lazy and greedy, short-sighted and risk averse. Josh Frydenberg did not put it in such blunt terms this week when he addressed the heavyweights of the Business Council of Australia (BCA), but the implication was clear. The treasurer’s message to the BCA, repeated in many media appearances, was that wages will not grow unless productivity does, and productivity won’t grow unless business starts reinvesting more in new ventures, new assets, new capital equipment, and research and development.”


“To put up 50 posters a day requires a lot of glue. Approximately 15 litres, in fact, made from tap water and multiple two-kilogram bags of flour. The ratio, Drew assures me, is one part flour to five parts water. ‘It takes a little while to cook up. But eventually it hits a certain temperature and all the gluten comes out, and it’s claggy.’ During his ‘Real Australians Say Welcome’ campaign, Drew would cook glue in hostel kitchens in the evenings, then wake at 4am, take his bucket, high-vis vest, posters and brush on a train ‘heading in a random direction’ and disembark at the last stop. ‘It’s a good way to do it,’ he says, ‘because it forces you to work your way back.’”


“There is a danger in the collective West, including Australia, that we become a people increasingly overwhelmed, confused and frightened. We do so in the face of the intensity, complexity and rapidity of mega-changes washing over us. Among these are the impact of compounding technological change on both national competitiveness and labour force displacement; the disappearing drivers of long-term economic growth for Australia, including population, workforce participation and productivity; as well as the clear ravages of climate change.”


“Brussels is considering designating a no-deal Brexit as a disaster comparable to an earthquake or heavy flooding for the purposes of allocating emergency aid. The proposal would see cash from the bloc's Solidarity Fund handed to heavily-hit countries like Ireland to deal with the fallout of UK policy. Officials behind the scenes are working on the plan, which would require the approval of the European Parliament and member states.”


“When 23-year-old Emma Dorge appears in court to enter her plea, she will be relying on a unique defence. Charged with traffic offences for blocking Brisbane streets during a protest, she will argue she should be allowed to break the law because she is saving the planet. ‘I'm pleading not guilty on the basis of the extraordinary emergency defence, which basically allows for people breaking the law in an extraordinary emergency,’ she told The Signal.”



“If there was ever a sign cannabis is going mainstream in sport, it’s Charley, a 42-year-old journeyman pro from San Diego. He is one of a bunch of professional golfers who have signed endorsement deals with CBD manufacturers since the World Anti-Doping Agency took it off the prohibited list in 2018. Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover are promoting it, too. All three of them have spoken about how it helps their physical recovery. Interestingly, Glover has said it helps him cope with his anxiety, too. ‘For golfers,’ Glover says, ‘the biggest benefit is calmness.’”


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