Austria, as well as Serbia and Croatia, have joined other European countries in temporarily closing their borders. On September 21, Croatia closed its last checkpoint for trucks on the Serbian border where thousands of refugees are waiting to cross in the hope of a better life.
Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan. There are an estimated 1,400,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. Tragic photos and videos of masses of asylum seekers and immigrants from the Middle East and Africa have recently shocked the world. But these ordeals have been going on for a long time.
Disturbing allegations came to light on September 21 about the trouble-plagued Northern Territory juvenile justice system. Fifteen-year-old Travis, who spent time at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre last year, told a youth justice forum about the humiliation and depravation inside the centre. According to the ABC, Travis said staff at Don Dale made young people fight and eat animal faeces in exchange for extra junk food.
A coalition of refugee activists, lawyers, unionists and church groups, called No Business in Abuse, has formed to apply pressure on Transfield Services, the main contractor in Australia’s offshore detention facilities. The campaign aims to “dry up” Transfield’s opportunities for expansion by signing individuals and businesses up to a pledge not to work with businesses that profit from the detention industry. As the lead contractor for the Australian funded detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island, Transfield has already faced a separate campaign of divestments.
More than 1000 people rallied on September 20 to declare Victoria free of coal seam gas. Sixty-seven communities have already declared themselves gasfield free. Many regional councils across Victoria are also opposed to coal seam gas. The rally vowed to stop unconventional gas drilling, or fracking, from gaining a foothold and demanded the state government ban unconventional gas in Victoria. Drew Hutton, from Lock The Gate Alliance, said: “This is an historic moment. This state is officially going to become a gasfield-free state.
Two local residents opposed to the construction of a mosque in Bendigo have lost a Supreme Court bid to stop construction going ahead before an appeal is heard in November. The residents sought an injunction to prevent the Australian Islamic Mission from building the mosque but the two judges rejected the application after deliberating for only a few minutes.
Unionists rallied in Melbourne on September 23 to defend penalty rates as employers, such as the Australian Hotels Association, demanded the Fair Work Commission cut weekend penalty rates. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering reducing Sunday penalty rates. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox told 3AW on September 23 that there were concerns about penalty rates because they were a "cost to employment”. “Sundays are not hugely different to any other day, but there still should be a reward for working weekends”, said Willox. “Employers recognise that."
“When it comes to technology policy, [now Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull has been a disaster. The Member for Wentworth will be remembered as Australia's worst ever Communications Minister — the man who single handedly demolished the NBN [National Broadband Network] and put a polite face on draconian Data Retention and Internet Piracy Laws.”
The Papua New Guinean police has called for the extradition of two Australians implicated in the murder of asylum seeker Reza Berati at Australia’s Manus Island detention centre. But there is no sign that the two will return to face justice. The call comes as the trial of the two Papua New Guineans charged with his wilful murder is listed to begin in Lorengau, the largest town on Manus Island.
Do you like listening to alternative music? Have you attended a protest for the environment? Congratulations! According to the Radicalisation Awareness Kit produced by the Australian government, you could be on your way to becoming a violent extremist.
Australian governments have always encouraged extractivist industries, particularly coal mining. These industries now face a well-organised environment movement, which is challenging environmentally damaging projects and calling for an end to coal mining. The federal government under PM Tony Abbott took attacks on the environment movement to a new level, by introducing legislation to restrict environmentalists’ influence.
Dr Leslie Cannold, a founder of Reproductive Choice Australia, told a forum in Albury on September 23 that abortion does not need a special law. It should be administered no differently than a knee replacement, she said. “We don’t have a special tonsil law, we don’t have a knee replacement law or a liver cancer law, and we don’t need a particular law governing abortion either.” Abortion should be regulated like all other medical procedures, she said.