Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Palfreeman freed after 11 years

A month after being granted parole, 32-year-old Australian man Jock Palfreeman has been released from a Bulgarian prison. Palfreeman served 11 years of a 20-year sentence for the fatal stabbing of Bulgarian student Andrei Monov. Palfreeman has maintained he acted in self defence during the 2007 incident. In September, the Court of Appeal granted his parole, which has sparked controversy locally among politicians, particularly as Monov’s father is a former member of parliament. Palfreeman’s passport has been confiscated and he still faces a travel ban.

The ABC has obtained almost 100 files from Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission supporting allegations Australian soldiers unlawfully killed a father and son during a raid in Afghanistan. First reported on in 2017 in the “Afghan Files”, special forces were accused of killing farmer Bismillah Jan Azadi and his son in a raid in Ala Balogh. The reports led to controversial AFP raids of the ABC and a NewsCorp journalist in June. The latest files, which span 2010 to 2013, include investigation reports, the complaint made by the family to the commission, witness testimonies from Bismallah’s cousin and others, photographs, detention records and civilian casualty logs. One of the dead man’s surviving sons, Esmat Khan, says he found $US1,500 left with his father and brother’s bodies, and later met with an Australian military official who apologised for the mistake. The ABC has confirmed that the Ala Balogh raid is part of a wider, long-running investigation by the Australian Defence Force Inspector-General into unlawful killings by Australian troops. 

The International Monetary Fund has predicted Australia’s economy will weaken by a full percentage point to 1.7 per cent growth, in concert with a global “synchronised slowdown”. The forecast positions Australia’s economy as weaker than Greece, which is yet to recover fully from the recession after the global financial crisis and the European debt crisis. The IMF has echoed continued calls by the Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe that Australia could not rely on monetary policy alone to stimulate the economy. The IMF has warned interest rate cuts by central banks need to “be coupled with fiscal support” from government. 

Dozens of Australians trapped in al-Hawl, a Syrian camp for relatives of alleged Islamic State members, and are pleading for the Australian government to repatriate them to Australia. The 70,000 people in the camp are caught between advancing Turkish and Syrian forces, following the United States decision to pull out troops in the region. A total of 66 Australians are believed to be living in the camp. Messages from those in the camp are expressing their fear and uncertainty over what will happen to them under Syrian rule and once conflict breaks out. The Australian government has consistently said it would not risk the lives of any more Australians to undertake a rescue operation, with home affairs minister, Peter Dutton labelling some of the Australians in the camp as “hardcore” and as having the “the potential and capacity to come back here and cause a mass casualty event.’’ Many of the Australians in the camps have indicated they would be willing to work with Australian authorities over their relatives’ connections to Islamic State. 


Peter Dutton’s war on dissent
From anti-protest legislation to funding cuts, this government has waged war on dissent. In recent weeks, its rhetoric has intensified.


“Erikson's followers often suggest the Australian Bureau of Statistics refuses to collect data on the issues that lead to suicide. However, the bureau did attempt to connect psychosocial (personal and social) risk factors with death by suicide in a recent pilot study. Using data from police and coroner's courts on suicides in 2017, the researchers found almost all suicides involved multiple risk factors and very few could be attributed to a single cause.” 


“The National Disability Insurance Scheme was intended to provide clearer support to people living with diabilities, but its poor implementation has led to an increase in the number of children forfeited into state care. The Saturday Paper can reveal that at least 500 children were relinquished by their families during this period. Essentially, they were given up to institutions by parents who could no longer cope.”


“Last week, in his regular Thursday spot on Ray Hadley's 2GB radio show, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton called for ‘mandatory of minimum jail’ terms for protesters. He said they should be cut off from government payments. Like Hong Kong's Carrie Lam, Dutton wanted dissidents identified. He advocated taking their photographs and distributing them ‘as far and wide’ as possible.”


“The Telstra chairman, John Mullen, has taken a swipe at critics of executive pay by saying that while teenage Fortnite players can earn millions, someone who is well rewarded for devoting their life to a career in business is derided as ‘morally wrong’. Speaking at the telco’s annual general meeting in Sydney on Tuesday, Mullen warned that talented executives might shy away from running Australia’s biggest companies because of criticism about pay.”


“Ms Davidson said the ‘strikes’ were in part a reflection of bonuses being paid despite the revelations of poor conduct exposed at the banking royal commission, but the issue was wider than banking. ‘You can see that investors are clearly not on the same page as companies when it comes to payment of bonuses,’ she said.”


“Anderson is one of many Indigenous people using TikTok to share their experiences of race and racism in Australia. Their videos employ the trademark features of the app — music, basic text overlays, a single person playing multiple roles — to challenge racial stereotypes, share stories of discrimination, and talk about what being Aboriginal means to them.”


Anna Horan
is a Melbourne-based editor and writer.