Kate Carnell, the CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the bosses' main lobby group, was blunt in explaining what she wanted to do with the four out of five people on the age pension who own their own homes. The pension they receive should be treated like a loan, she said, which would then be repaid to the government out of the proceeds of the sale of their homes when they die.
Hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grandmothers from across the country converged on Parliament House in Canberra on February 11, to demand an end to the high child removal rate of Aboriginal children. Most of the elders participating in the protest were members of the Stolen Generation themselves, snatched from their families as children as part of official government policy. Today, they say, the removals continue unabated, continuing to tear families apart, denying Aboriginal children their culture and creating a new generation of lost children.
The front page headline “Trash and treasure” on the February 16 edition of South Australia's only daily newspaper, The Advertiser, welcomed the recommendation from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission for a nuclear waste dump in outback SA. The commission had cost a massive tax-payer funded $8 million.
The 267 asylum seekers facing deportation to Nauru and Manus Island by the Australian government could go to New Zealand if they are found to be refugees, the country's Prime Minister John Key said on February 15. Among those facing deportation are 37 babies born in Australia to asylum seeker parents, and another 54 children, some of whom are attending school. A High Court decision this month ruled Australia's offshore processing regime was legal.
Not for some years has there been so much justifiable outrage over bipartisan cruelty towards refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. The groundswell of community organising to keep the 267 asylum seekers, being threatened with deportation to Nauru and Manus Island, is a bright spot on an otherwise bleak horizon.
The Gonski Review was commissioned by the Julia Gillard government in 2011 to make recommendations about funding for public education.
The vigil for baby Asha outside the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane continues, as the hospital joined a growing group of institutions offering sanctuary to refugee families. In a statement on February 12, a Lady Cilento Children's Hospital spokesperson said: “Children's Health Queensland can confirm that a 12-month-old girl from the Nauru Detention Centre is currently receiving care at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital. “As is the case with every child who presents at the hospital, this patient will only be discharged once a suitable home environment is identified.
Jim Casey, until recently the secretary of the Fire Brigade Employees Union in NSW, has been preselected for the Greens candidate in the seat of Grayndler in Sydney. I interviewed Casey for Green Left Radio on February 5. * * * Last week Anthony Albanese, who is the Labor MP for Grayndler, lambasted you for being a socialist.
In a step forward for human rights in Australia, human rights commissioner Tim Wilson has resigned. Wilson, formerly policy director of the right-wing think tank Institute of Public Affairs, was two years into a five year contract. Unfortunately for the people of Andrew Robb's Victorian electorate Goldstein, Wilson has resigned to seek Liberal Party preselection for the federal seat after Robb decided to retire.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull presents himself as a leader who is different to former prime minister Tony Abbott in substance as well as style. But on the issues that most marked Abbott's tenure — his head-in-the-sand attitude to climate change and his "stop the boats" approach to asylum seekers — there have been no changes.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull began the annual Prime Minister's “closing the gap” speech on February 10 with a few lines in the Ngunnawal language. But, as an Aboriginal woman, all I heard was more Turnbullshit. “We recognise that prior to the arrival of European settlers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians spoke hundreds of languages and over 600 dialects," he said. In my mind this means that, despite the Mabo High Court judgement of 1992, he still believes Australia was "settled".
Unions for Refugees released this statement of solidarity with the stand taken by doctors and nurses at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane staff on February 12. * * * Unions for Refugees would like to congratulate the stand taken by doctors and nurses at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane in support of 12-month-old Baby Asha. We encourage every unionist to extend their solidarity to them.
The #LetThemStay vigil outside Lady Cilento Hospital is a rare and remarkable moment for Brisbane, not only because it makes visible the resurgence of public concern about our government's inhumane treatment of asylum seekers, but because it's already one of the most significant radical uses of urban space this city has seen in decades.
Five climate guardian angels were arrested by police on February 9 while blockading the road to Santos' Leewood wastewater facility in the Pilliga forest near Narrabri in north-west New South Wales.