Friday, October 25, 2019

Tourists make final scramble up Uluru

A surge of climbers is expected to scale Uluru, on the last day in which they will be legally allowed to defy the wishes of the Anangu traditional owners. This afternoon workers will begin the process of removing any indication that climbing ever took place on the sacred site, with a fine of up to $10,000 in place from tomorrow for anyone attempting the climb. Video captured on Thursday showed hundreds queuing up at 7am to make the ascent, attracting people from all over Australia, foreign tourists, and social influencers. Jamie Lowe, a Djabwurrung man and chief executive of the National Native Title Council, said the surge in numbers was a “real disappointment”. The ABC reports the closure could inspire other traditional owner groups to do similar with other sacred sites, such as in parts of the Grampians in Victoria. Central Land Council chair Sammy Wilson said the brief period of time tourists have climbed Uluru pales in comparison to the tens of thousands of years that Indigenous Australians have lived on the land. “It is just a blip in the middle, this whole climb thing, it is going back to normal by banning the climb,” he said. The Anangu people will mark the occasion with a ceremony at Uluru on Sunday night.

More than a dozen large New South Wales towns face a “high risk” of running out of water, according to information given to emergency services and other state government agencies this month, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The north-west town of Bourke is as at “very high” risk, with Orange and Tamworth described as “high risk”. The drought has seen consumer confidence in regional NSW drop to levels not seen since the global financial crisis. The ABC reports that the driest wet season in decades means underground aquifers are running critically low in rural Darwin. Queensland’s largest dam dropped ($) to its lowest level in a decade. South Australia experienced its hottest October temperatures in more than a century, with Port Lincoln reaching 40.8 degrees. 

Climate scientist Professor Andy Pitman tells Guardian Australia he misspoke when he claimed in June that there is no link between climate change and drought, and that conservative media misrepresented his views. “I missed a word in my statement and that’s my fault. I should have said no ‘direct’ link,” he said, clarifying that climate change would make the impacts of drought worse. Meanwhile, Labor is calling for a police investigation into whether a document was forged in Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s office with the purpose of influencing the exercise of duty by the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore. Taylor’s office had provided a doctored council document to The Daily Telegraph falsely indicating Moore’s office had spent $15m on travel, in a bid to suggest the carbon emissions from the travel made her a hypocrite on climate change. 

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has abandoned his pledge to exit the European Union by October 31, promising to give MPs more time to debate his Brexit deal if they agree to a December 12 election. In a letter to Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn, he wrote it is “our duty to end this nightmare”. The news comes as the 39 bodies discovered in the back of a truck in Essex on Wednesday were identified as Chinese nationals, sparking discussion about the rise in Chinese victims of human trafficking in the UK

To Howard with love
Paul Bongiorno on how the Liberal Party celebrates and how the National Party brawls.


“Every year, some 600 primary-school-age children are locked up in Australia. These kids, aged 10 to 13, are overwhelmingly Indigenous. Most have physical and/or intellectual disabilities, traumatic personal histories and impoverished backgrounds. Almost all have committed only minor crimes; many have committed no proven crime at all.”


“The crate itself is something to behold, an unlikely object some 9 metres long but barely half a metre in width or height, like the elongated packing case for a missile. Empty, it idles next to a patchwork of tarpaulins and blankets extending across the entire loading bay of a south Sydney warehouse. Laid out on top of this protective patchwork, ready to be rolled back up and returned to the crate for its international journey, is what one art handler tells me is ‘probably the largest work we’ve ever dealt with’. At 80 square metres, Ngurrara Canvas II is a truly immense painting, its overwhelming scale commensurate with its importance in Aboriginal lore and Australian history.”


“Michael attempts to call the meeting to order, delivering an Acknowledgement of Country that’s derailed by Scott’s correction of his pronunciation. As Michael explains, his Chinese accent means it’s difficult for him to pronounce it properly. Simon is forcibly volunteered by the others to make the opening address, and freezes. Scott asks his phone’s virtual assistant, ‘What do you do if a disabled person panics?’”


“The cartoon, published in Melbourne's The Age newspaper on Wednesday, showed a mother reading her phone as she pushed an empty pram while an infant lay on the ground behind her.
A four-line poem accompanying the cartoon said the mother was ‘busy on Instagram’ when her baby had fallen from the pram ‘unseen and alone, wishing that he was loved like a phone’.”


“His sister, Mary – a visual artist who uses political and satirical themes – published a cartoon of her own that showed herself shooting Michael in the bottom, as the pram-pushing mother from his cartoon watches on. On Thursday, the normally reclusive artist told Guardian Australia that Michael ‘does not talk to people enough’ and had a warped idea of what mothers were like.”


“After a bizarre 14,000 kilometre journey that saw it sit for more than a decade in North Korean waters, Townsville’s former Barrier Reef Floating Resort — the world’s first floating hotel — is now facing an uncertain future. According to a state media report, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the removal of all ‘backward’ and ‘shabby’ facilities at the Mount Kumgang tourist resort, the current resting place of the 30-year-old floating hotel.”