Dylan Vollar released
After a family-led campaign for justice, Justice David Dalton of the NT Supreme Court said on February 2 he accepted that Dylan Vollar has post-traumatic syndrome disorder, was suffering from stress and would benefit from being released from prison.
He has been eligible for parole since 2015.
The national publicity last July surrounding Vollar’s torture by prison guards at Don Dale Youth Correction Centre sparked a nation-wide campaign for his release. It also led to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announcing a Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
In a hostile interview on the same day, Vollar’s sister Kirra rejected insinuations that her brother would likely breach his bail conditions. “He’s changed”, she said repeatedly.
In July 2016, Dylan wrote a letter which included: “I would just like to thank the whole Australian community or the support you have shown for us boys as well as our families.”
He went on to apologise for his “wrongs”, and to thank his family, his mates and some of the media for helping “get the truth out there”.
“Dylan’s overwhelmed with the support”, Kirra said last year. “He was always the kid that no one took seriously, he was just treated like the boy that cried wolf but finally, finally people are listening and believing a story because of the images that came out. It took that long for people to believe him but now they know the truth.”
Government compensates Nauru workers
The federal government has paid about $1 million in compensation and formally apologised to nine Save the Children workers who were ejected from Nauru in 2014 after unsubstantiated claims of political activism and impropriety.
Former immigration minister Scott Morrison had accused the workers of encouraging asylum seekers to self-harm in order to be brought to Australia.
A later review found the decision was “not justified” and was based on "no conclusive evidence". It called on the government to compensate the charity and its workers.
Last week's settlement to individual former employees is additional to an undisclosed sum paid to Save the Children last year.
Voters oppose loan for coal railway line
Three-quarters of Australians, including 53.7% of Liberal voters, oppose the government giving a $1 billion loan to Adani to build a rail line between its proposed Carmichael coalmine and the Abbot Point shipping terminal.
A ReachTel poll on January 12 found 74.4% of respondents said “No” when asked if it is a good use of public money. Just 16.2% said “Yes”.
Greenpeace claims the project does not meet the requirements for the loan from the government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund, since it will not be “of public benefit” and it is not clear Adani will be able to repay the loan.