Monday, November 18, 2019

More mass killings of Aboriginal people uncovered

Aboriginal people were made to collect wood for their own pyres in at least four mass killings in Western Australia, according to new research. Guardian Australia and the University of Newcastle found the practice was still happening as late as 1926 in increasingly organised fashion involving soldiers, police, magistrates and native police, with dozens of new massacre sites revealed. “There’s always police involved in the story, right across Australia,” said Professor Lyndall Ryan, leader of the University of Newcastle research team. The research indicated at least 65 massacres were in retaliation for the killing or theft of livestock or property.

Queensland wild weather: Storms have rained hailstones as large as cricket balls over areas of Queensland, with lighting strikes sparking blazes in a state already contending with more than 80 bushfires. Hailstones smashed the windscreens of dozens of cars on Sunday, and a vehicle in Buderim was crushed by a tree brought down by wild winds ($). The storms brought down powerlines and cut power to 20,000 homes, with lightning strikes igniting grass and tree fires around the Sunshine Coast. More evacuations were ordered across the state, including at Ravensbourn and Moreton Island. Smoke from the fires has left parts of south-east Queensland with air pollution worse than Mumbai.

NSW bushfires smash records: In New South Wales, firefighters used milder conditions to strengthen containment lines for some of the 56 fires still burning ahead of a Tuesday heatwave that could see temperatures reach the mid-40s. The NSW Rural Fire Services has reported that nearly 500 homes have been lost in the bushfire season to date, more than double the previous most severe bushfire season in 2013-14, when 248 homes were lost. More than 1,650,000 hectares have been burnt across the state — more land than during the past three bushfire seasons combined. The news comes as exiled rugby star Israel Folau declares same-sex marriage and abortion are responsible for the bushfires and drought afflicting Australia.

Australia-China relationship breakdown: A two-decade-old human rights partnership between Australia and China was suspended in August, reports The Australian ($). The partnership, which included activities such as study visits, workshops and policy development, has been officially frozen, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed. The news comes as federal politicians including Greens leader Richard Di Natale and Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick have criticised China for banning Liberals Andrew Hastie and James Paterson from visiting the country. In August, Hastie compared the global response to the rise of China to how countries handled the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. On Sunday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne described new revelations about the planning behind China’s mass incarceration of the Uighur minority as “disturbing”. The leak of documents revealed China’s President Xi Jinping called for an all-out “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism” using the “organs of dictatorship”. The news comes as tensions continue to rise in Hong Kong, where police are threatening to use live ammunition as they lay siege to a university campus occupied by protesters, who are fighting back arrows and petrol bombs.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough
Last week, a million hectares of eastern Australia was burnt in catastrophic bushfires. In the main, politicians refused to acknowledge the science that links these fires to climate change.


“The signals after Morrison ascended to the leadership were mixed. Essentially, the government appeared to rule it out again before offering a confusing, surprise line item in the budget that sparked hope among Indigenous Australians. And then Wyatt cracked the door open further, before slamming it shut. ‘Ken is a good guy but he is a lame duck,’ one source close to the Uluru statement told The Saturday Paper. ‘He was rolled.’”


“We are hurting and in shock from one of our young men being killed by the police. It was a funeral day, too. Everybody else in the community was at the cemetery. The coppers seen no one around, and that’s when they moved in, to his grandmother’s house. Absolute mongrels. Hundreds of us waited at the police station that night where they were keeping that young man in the cells. I don’t know what they were doing with him. The community leaders and even our Aboriginal police officer were not allowed in, we were given no respect at all. They expected our young people to riot that night. But they kept their cool and followed our lead.”


“When I was 17, on a cool May morning, the phone rang while I was leaving for school. That wasn’t unusual in itself, but when I answered, my grandfather’s deep voice boomed out. He had never called before, and he never called again. It was always my nanna’s voice, pitched and cheerful. His beat out like a warning bell. ‘Is your mum there?’ he asked. He was crying.”


“Australians are asking for more than $100 million through online fundraising platform GoFundMe, yet data from the website shows nearly one in five medical campaigns fail to raise anything. Using data-scraping techniques, the ABC found 3,904 medical-focused fundraising campaigns on the site, with patients asking for an average of $45,000.”


“Returning Liberal senator Jim Molan’s re-election campaign was bankrolled with $43,000 from opaque third-party crowdfunding websites, prompting concerns about their use as political fundraising vehicles. Molan ran what many viewed as a rogue campaign in the lead-up to the 2019 election, after his party reduced him to an unwinnable spot on its ticket. Molan’s campaign took the unusual step of raising campaign funds via online crowdfunding sites … including one $10,000 donation from an anonymous source.”


“Minutes after right-wing members of Venice’s Venito council rejected measures designed to combat climate change, the council chamber was flooded by historic high tides from the city’s Grand Canal ... as the debate continued, ​’all furnishings, rugs, chairs and in particular many electrical appliances such as sockets ... were underwater’.”

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