Archive for October, 2018

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten during the smoking ceremony to mark the opening of the 45th Parliament on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten during the welcome to country ceremony on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Senator Pauline Hanson during the ecumenical service to mark the opening of the 45th Parliament on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Senator Hanson during the opening of the 45th Parliament. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Labor leader Bill Shorten has put Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the spot over Australia’s immigration policy, racial tolerance and reconciliation with indigenous Australians on the first sitting day of the new parliament.

Mr Shorten wrote to Mr Turnbull on Tuesday to seek his support for a motion that would see the Parliament restate its commitment that all Australians enjoy equal rights and deserve equal respect, “regardless of race, colour, creed or origin”.

It also reaffirms the Parliament’s commitment to a non-discriminatory immigration policy, to Australia being a culturally diverse nation and a tolerant and open society and denounces racial intolerance.

The motion is identical to that proposed by former Labor leader Kim Beazley in 1996, which was eventually put forward by former prime minister John Howard and backed by the opposition leader.

Mr Shorten put it to the Parliament on Wednesday morning, soon after the re-election of Tony Smith as Speaker.

The move comes as senator Pauline Hanson returns to the Parliament 20 years after she was first elected – this time with three One Nation colleagues – and amid a growing push from the Coalition backbench for section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act to be watered down.

A growing number of Coalition senators – according to some reports more than 10 – support the move to amend 18c and are prepared to back a private member’s bill being prepared by Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, but Mr Turnbull has stated changing 18c – which makes it illegal to “to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person” – is not a priority for his government.

Labor front bencher Tony Burke on Tuesday called on Mr Turnbull to call Senator Bernardi into line.

“It has not taken long for the right wing of the Coalition to sense weakness and take their advantage. Whether Mr Turnbull stands up to Senator Bernardi, and publicly distances himself from his private member’s bill and the bloc he is leading, will be a true test of his leadership,” he said.

In this context, Mr Shorten has asked Mr Turnbull to back the motion, much as Mr Beazley sought support from Mr Howard in 1996 after the election of Senator Hanson for the first time in the lower house.

Mr Shorten said it is “timely for such a motion to be considered at the very start of the 45th parliament” in his letter to the Prime Minister.

“It is critical that Australians know that our parliament will never condone racism or extremist politics – and that Australians should be treated with equal respect regardless of race, colour, creed or origin,” the Opposition Leader wrote.

“As John Howard did with Kim Beazley in 1996, I urge you to join me in supporting this resolution…However, if you wish to move this important motion, I would be prepared to stand aside and second the motion.” The full text of the motion:

That this House—

(1) reaffirms its commitment to the right of all Australians to enjoy equal rights and be treated with equal respect regardless of race, colour, creed or origin;

(2) reaffirms its commitment to maintaining an immigration policy wholly non-discriminatory on grounds of race, colour, creed or origin;

(3) reaffirms its commitment to the process of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the context of redressing their profound social and economic disadvantage;

(4) reaffirms its commitment to maintaining Australia as a culturally diverse, tolerant and open society, united by an overriding commitment to our nation, and its democratic institutions and values; and

(5) denounces racial intolerance in any form as incompatible with the kind of society we are and want to be.

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Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison defended politicians and their hard work in an interview with broadcaster Ray Hadley. Photo: Bradley KanarisTreasurer Scott Morrison and broadcaster Ray Hadley have unloaded on each other over the performance of politicians, with the outspoken radio host alleging federal politics is populated by “bludgers and leaners”.
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In a heated interview, the Treasurer said the 2GB broadcaster was hurling misleading slurs and taking cheap shots, insisting the 27 sitting days of Parliament left in 2016 was not a sufficient indicator of all the work MPs do.

“You’re assuming that nothing happens between sitting weeks and I know you don’t think that. I know you know that between sitting weeks a lot happens,” Mr Morrison said.

“In particular the sort of discussions that are necessary to secure the passage of bills through the Parliament. I mean the Parliament will vote but the work doesn’t stop.”

Hadley said the Treasurer was “defending the indefensible”.

“You might work every single day but I’m sure the bludgers and leaners inside the federal Parliament who are delighted to go home every Thursday, have a long weekend, then come back on Sunday night or Monday morning.”

The Treasurer continued to defend himself and his parliamentary colleagues, saying they work in their electorates and on legislation throughout the week, often clocking up 60 to 70 hours.

The pair have a traditionally congenial relationship although it hit a low point when the host demanded Mr Morrison swear on the bible over his conduct leading up the September Liberal leadership spill.

Tuesday’s exchange became particularly heated, at least on the host’s behalf, when the Treasurer compared politicians’ less prominent work with the preparation he does when not on air.

“The Parliament will sit as often as necessary to pass the legislation,” Mr Morrison assured.

“Well, you’ve got plenty of spare time to do that!” Hadley sent back.

“Well, again, Ray. I think that’s a bit cheap, mate. You know plenty of politicians and you know they work hard and we do work hard, just like when you’re off air…you don’t work just the three hours you’re on air all day. Outside of those three hours, you work really hard.”

Hadley replied: “Listen, don’t drag me into it. I’m not paid by the public, you are! Don’t drag me into it. I get paid by how successful I am and I’ve been successful over a long period of time.”

“You have,” the guest soothed.

“So don’t try and compare me with you. I was here at four o’clock this morning, I’ll finish at about half past six tonight, for your information,” the radio host replied.

“We all work hard, Ray,” Mr Morrison said, accusing Hadley of peddling myths and stereotypes and making politicians’ jobs harder.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Rubbing shoulders: Chairman of Yuhu Group Mr Xiangmo Huang, Chinese Ambassador to Australia Mr Zhaoxu Ma and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Supplied Xiangmo Huang and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney. Photo: Fairfax Media
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Huang Xiangmo with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Supplied Photo: Supplied

Beijing: The Chinese community in Australia shouldn’t let itself be viewed as little more than a “cash cow” by both federal parties it gives donations to, according to Huang Xiangmo, one of the country’s most prolific political donors.

Mr Huang, chairman of property developer Yuhu Group and a highly-influential figure in Australian-Chinese business circles, has attracted widespread media scrutiny after donating more than $1 million to both sides of politics since 2012, including contributions apparently directed at Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and former Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

He has done so juggling roles as chair of the Australia China Relations Institute at the University of Technology, Sydney, while simultaneously  heading “patriotic groups” with close links to the Communist Party. He has used his position as head of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China to urge local Chinese-Australians to advance Communist Party core interests, including the opposition of Taiwan and Tibetan independence.

“The Chinese community is still inexperienced when it comes to participating in politics, and in making political donations,” Mr Huang wrote in a commentary for the Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper on Monday, in his capacity as ACRI chairman. “We need to learn … how to have a more efficient combination between political requests and political donations, and how to use the media to push our political requests.

Mr Huang has become a frequent commentator on Australian politics, and his columns, which have included musings on the recent federal election and Kevin Rudd’s United Nations push, have appeared in popular Chinese-language online media outlet Sydney Today as well as the Global Times.

Mr Huang said the Chinese community was under-represented in Australian politics and that the media focus on “China-related” donations had overtones of “racial discrimination”, given no other ethnicities were singled out for scrutiny. “They still keep the bias of White Australia and hope Chinese community continue to be silent instead of having power of speech in politics.”

Without naming specific politicians, Mr Huang said Chinese Australians were often regarded as “cash cows” during an election campaign but after getting elected, they neglected the interests of the Chinese community.

Mr Huang donated $1.8 million to establish ACRI at UTS, which is headed by former foreign minister and NSW Premier Bob Carr. He has also made large contributions to the Children’s Medical Research Institute at Westmead and toward an Australia-China arts institute at Western Sydney University.

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A 15-year-old girl in state care who was allegedly raped and died after a drug overdose was “used and abused” by those she should have been able to rely upon, a coronial inquest has heard.
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The opening day of the inquest into the death of the girl, identified as MK, heard that predatory adults used her for their own ends, “involving her in criminal activity, drug use and probably prostitution”, and that older men regularly sneaked into the youth refuge where she was living.

MK, who was a ward of the NSW state, died at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead on Monday, April 21, 2014. She went into cardiac arrest after she is believed to have used cannabis and to have injected herself with a mixture of heroin and ice.

An autopsy found MK had the word “hate” scratched into her right thigh, a wound believed to have not healed from when she cut the phrase “I hate feelings” into her leg earlier that month.

MK died only a few weeks before she was due to give evidence at a trial of a youth worker who had allegedly raped her when she was 14 while living in a different refuge in Sydney in 2012. MK had also alleged she had sex with another carer at the centre.

Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard confirmed on Monday that he had written to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, asking it to look into alleged abuse at the centre between 2012 and 2014.

The DPP has also been asked to review the case against the youth worker who allegedly raped MK, after the charges were dropped following her death.

In her opening address, counsel assisting Donna Ward told the inquest there was ample evidence that MK was “used and abused by many of the people who she should have been able to rely upon for comfort and care”.

A forensic psychologist, Chris Lennings, observed that, by the time she died, MK was operating in “survivor mode” and a diagnosis of conduct disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and amphetamine abuse would have been likely.

Two workers at the refuge gave evidence that they knew MK took drugs and that adult men frequently sneaked into the refuge at night to visit her, but said staff had difficulty stopping them.

MK would often go missing overnight, including for as long as seven weeks on one occasion, and her behaviour had “deteriorated” in the month before she died.

The girl was worried about the looming court case and was having a “hard time”, one worker said.

The worker agreed that staff lacked the resources to enforce the refuge’s rules and they had come to the conclusion that MK should be moved to a facility that could provide more intense care and support.

The inquest heard that on the Saturday before she died, a man had snuck into the refuge, taken heroin offered to him by MK and when he awoke the next morning next to her “thought something was not right”.

Later in the day, he heard MK “make a funny breathing noise”. The on-duty youth worker was called and began CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Ms Ward said MK had a “sad history”, and child protection concerns had been raised about her when she was only a few months old.

Attempts to restore MK and her twin brothers to the care of her father, mother and extended family had each failed and the children were placed in residential placements or group homes.

Ms Ward said some “hard truths” would emerge during the week-long inquest and MK’s death raised questions about how families, communities and “the system” could fail children and young people.

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Adani’s giant coal mine in the Galilee Basin aims to export mainly to India if it proceeds. Photo: NYTAdani’s Carmichael coal mine has cleared another legal hurdle after the Federal Court threw out a challenge against the project by the Australian Conservation Foundation.
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The ACF had sought to establish a landmark climate change case in Australia, arguing approval of the proposed mega coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin was inconsistent with the country’s international obligations to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The case had gained more urgency since being lodged in November last year, with the reef experiencing its worst recorded bleaching event, which scientists say may have killed off a fifth or more of its corals in one hit. Federal court rejects @AusConservation environmental challenge against Adani Carmichael mine #auspol#mining#qldpolpic.twitter南京夜网/hQfztxADfz— Stefan Armbruster (@StefArmbruster) August 29, 2016

Adani Australia welcomed Monday’s decision, stating on Facebook that the verdict “again reinforces the stringency of the strict, science and evidence-based federal environmental approval process governing the company’s planned mine at Carmichael”.

“At their core, these challenges have been about stopping investment and jobs as part of a wider activist campaign against mining,” the Indian-based miner said, adding that a recent report by PwC had put the costs of delay at about $3 billion.

Josh Frydenberg, federal environment and energy minister, also welcomed the Federal Court decision.

“The finding provides greater certainty for the Commonwealth’s decision making process for approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,” Mr Frydenberg said in a statement. “The project includes 36 of the strictest environmental conditions in Australian history.”

Matthew Canavan, federal minister for resources, said on Twitter that the decision was “good news for jobs”. Fighting on

The ACF, however, vowed to keep fighting to prevent the mine – with a production capacity of as much as 60 million tonnes a year – from going ahead.

“If the Carmichael mine proceeds, its coal will create 4.7 billion tonnes of climate pollution over the proposed life of the mine, wiping out Australia’s efforts to reduce pollution and contributing to more frequent and severe bleaching events on the reef,” Kelly O’Shanassy, ACF’s chief executive, said in a statement.

“It is extraordinary that in 2016 a federal Environment Minister can argue in court that a mega-polluting coal mine will have no impact on the climate and the Great Barrier Reef,” she said. “We’ll do everything we can to stop this mine.”

Before the verdict from Justice Griffiths, ACF chairman Geoff Cousins predicted more challenges against coal mines such as Adani’s.

“Win or lose … these issues will become and more prominent as time goes on,” Mr Cousins said.

Mr Cousins said groups such as ACF were pinning their hopes on Mr Frydenberg to take a different stance on climate matters from his predecessor, Greg Hunt.

“Josh Frydenberg has a great opportunity to lead,” Mr Cousins said. “He’s certainly aware of all these issues.”

ACF has said Carmichael would be Australia’s largest coal mine, covering more than 45,000 hectares in size and producing as much carbon dioxide annually as New Zealand.

A spokesman for Adani said the company is ready to proceed with the mine “pending the resolution of a small number of outstanding legal challenges”.

“[I]f those issues are finalised, construction can commence in 2017,” he said.

The parties have seven days to agree on the legal costs of the case, ACF said.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.