27 Jun 2019

Refugees desperation in plain sight after Australian election.


The Newyork Times
A refugee center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.  Aziz Abdul/Australian Associated Press, via Associated Press

Despair spikes in Australia’s detention centers

Since May 18, when Australians returned to power a conservative government that has taken a hard line on immigration, there have been dozens of suicide attempts at the country’s offshore detention centers. Warning: The following content might be disturbing.
The government maintains that its strict policy, which bars settlement for migrants who reach the country by sea, has worked and fewer boats are showing up than a decade ago. But for those held at the refugee centers on the islands of Manus and Nauru, the recent election represented a loss of hope for change.
Details: The Times worked with human rights groups to create a rough timeline of events since the election. Within the first 48 hours of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s re-election, there were six suicide attempts in Manus. By June 26, the number of suicide attempts approached 100.
Quotable: “It was grim when I visited nearly two years ago to write about the situation,” reports our Australia bureau chief, Damien Cave. “Now, it’s worse. Every few days, it seems, a new instance emerges of people cutting themselves, setting themselves on fire or trying to harm themselves in some other way.”

21 Jun 2019

Australian Treasury 2012 mission statement. Then came Abbott and out went this statement!

Excerpt from the CQNVERSATION

Once were innovators

For decades Australia’s treasury has put these words at the heart of its mission statement:
to improve the well-being of the Australian people


10 Jun 2019

Frightening step towards a police state and we are blindly letting it happen in the name of security.


The book is by veteran journalist Brian Toohey, and reflects his half century of writing about defence and national security issues.
Toohey says that:
"step by step, a succession of new laws and policies have provided the building blocks for Australia to become a country in which secretive officials and ministers wield unprecedented levels of peacetime power".
No major political party, he argues, is:
"offering to restore the values of an earlier era in which habeas corpus prevailed; the onus of proof was on the prosecution; the accused was allowed to see the evidence relied on by the Crown; and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation officials could not legally kidnap people or raid a lawyer's offices and seize documents in a commercial case directly involving the Government on the other side.
"No major party seems bothered by the use of new surveillance technology that allows governments to detect contact between journalists and their sources, effectively denying whistleblowers the opportunity to reveal abuses of power and criminal behaviour."
This (slightly hysterical) culture built around national security is the really important issue at stake in this week's raids, even more than the raids themselves and the threat they pose to journalism.

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