Thursday, October 24, 2019

Employee dissent at Adani mine contractor

A major contractor for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine has been plagued by internal dissent over its work on the controversial project. An ABC investigation reveals that engineering firm GHD plunged into “crisis mode” after protests outside the company’s events and offices in March, with the issue prompting enough staff to email management about their concerns that the business held meetings attended by hundreds in offices around the country. Internal emails leaked to the ABC repeatedly told staff not to confirm or deny whether GHD was working with Adani on the Carmichael mine. Earlier this month another major engineering firm, Cardno, announced it would not continue working on the Carmichael mine partly due to public pressure from climate protesters. The news comes as Guardian Australia reports that Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor claimed Sydney’s lord mayor drove up carbon emissions by spending $15m on travel, with his office attempting to back up the allegation by providing a doctored version of a council document to the The Daily Telegraph.

Climate activists stripped: More than 20 activists were strip-searched in a Brisbane police watch house in the recent Extinction Rebellion protests, including a 17-year-old girl. Guardian Australia reports that the strip searches began after a detained protester used a phone in a cell to livestream video to Facebook on October 9. The news comes as a New South Wales Law Enforcement Conduct Commission inquiry continues into the strip-searching of a 16-year-old girl at the Splendour in the Grass music festival in 2018. The inquiry heard the girl had to strip naked and squat in front of a female police officer, who was searching for drugs. On Wednesday, Michael Adams, QC, Chief Commissioner of the LECC, said the commission was considering whether it was legal for police to instruct people to squat in order to inspect their genitals.

Former intelligence official arrested: Federal police have charged former Australian intelligence official Roger Uren with multiple counts of engaging in the unauthorised handling of classified material. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald report that the arrest of the former assistant director of the Office of National Assessments comes after the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation found classified files in his home during a raid in late 2015. Uren, who was arrested and charged last week before his release on bail, is married to Chinese-Australian lobbyist Sheri Yan, who was convicted in the United States of bribing the former president of the United Nations General Assembly, John Ashe, in 2015. 

UK container deaths: The bodies of 39 people have been found in the back of a truck in the United Kingdom. Essex Police said the vehicle arrived on a ferry crossing from Belgium. The truck was reportedly registered in Bulgaria under the name of a company owned by an Irish citizen. The driver, who is from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said the truck’s trailer appeared to be a refrigerated unit, in which temperatures could plunge to as low as -25C. The investigation is reportedly focused on human trafficking. 

Lock ’em up
Australia is almost alone in its willingness to lock up primary-school-age children for criminal offences, but “tough on crime” politics means there is little will to change this. Mike Seccombe on the push to lift the age of criminal responsibility.


“Albanese is allowing Labor MPs more latitude to raise issues publicly than his predecessor, Bill Shorten, did. But it was puzzling, given their relationship, that Fitzgibbon would make such a provocative intervention without at least flagging it with the leader. But that’s what he did. Joel Fitzgibbon has told colleagues he decided to speak out because he feared there were moves afoot to embed climate-related targets in Labor policy without consulting those who held views like his – more specifically, without consulting him.”


“In 1953, a Catholic priest called Father Cornell read several hundred comics so as to advise parents on which were ‘risky’ and which were ‘poison’. He duly classified Lone Avenger as ‘safe’ – a category that also included Donald Duck, Captain Marvel and Kokey Koala. But if the Avenger was safe, his creator was not. In May 1954, Lawson hired five female models (two of whom were only 15) ... He drove them into the bush in Terrey Hills, in northern Sydney, produced a rifle and told them he was suffering from cancer and wanted to die.”


“The confluence of experience that brought Tolentino to write Trick Mirror allows her to thread the book with personal reflections on seismic topics ... Among all the systems she dissects, religion stands out as the most personally fortifying. ‘Ecstasy’ is Trick Mirror’s most luminous essay – wherein she draws parallels between the ecstasy she experienced in church with her later love of music and the drug MDMA.”


“Alongside CODE 7 will be 7CAP, touted by the network as Australia’s first Contextual Ad Placement service for broadcast television. By partnering with Amazon Web Services, artificial intelligence and machine learning is used to analyse and code all Seven programming — identifying objects, environments and mood states within the content which brands can choose to align with.”


“The tech giants Amazon, Google and Facebook have all begun to use machine learning to give you tips on what to wear ... Amazon also goes further, linking garments to a database of looks from popular fashion influencers. This offers the customer creative inspirations to build looks (and conveniently gives the influencers a cut if the customers buys the clothes). ”


“‘IKEA is a place of transition, a journey, a source of light and comfort, but also strife,’ Leffert describes ... Instead of wands, cups, pentacles, and swords, this oracle predicts your fate using more relatable sofas, lamps, dowels, and Allen keys. The ‘Llovers’ card shows an agreeable couple about to embark on a flatpack project, and the ‘Töwer’ ominously depicts a bookcase toppling over from the weight of a character standing on one of its tiers.”


The October 23 edition of The Briefing wrongly suggested a male police officer strip-searched a 16-year-old female attendee of the Splendour in the Grass music festival. The officer had been involved in strip-searches of other festival patrons, but the strip-search of the teenager in question was undertaken by a female officer. 

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