Good news (for a change)

THE Queensland government announced on September 7 that it will move all 17-year-olds out of adult prisons within 12 months of new laws being passed.

It plans to pass legislation in the Parliament by the end of this year to facilitate the change.

There were 48 17-year-olds in the state's adult prisons at the time of the announcement.

The move means 17-year-olds will no longer be viewed as adults by the courts. However, 17-year-olds currently before the courts would be placed in adult prisons, if sentenced to jail time, until the laws officially change.

The powerful conservative Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) — the biggest right-wing union affiliated to the Labor Party — has passed a resolution declaring it will adopt a neutral stand on equal marriage.

The union’s resolution declared: “The Association shall have no position on the matter of Same Sex Marriage and will support the right of members of the ALP to act according to their conscience on the matter of SSM”.

New South Wales Labor MP Noreen Hay, who has held the seat of Wollongong since 2003, is resigning from state parliament effective from September 1.

Hay was the Labor Party's whip until May when Opposition Leader Luke Foley threatened to resign unless she stood down, after a senior staff member in her Wollongong electorate office was charged with electoral fraud.

Duncan Hart, a student who works part-time at a Coles supermarket in Brisbane, has won a David and Goliath battle against his employer and the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) in the Fair Work Commission.

He claimed the enterprise bargaining agreement between Coles and his union left thousands of workers worse-off than they would be under the award, and was therefore invalid.

Veteran British director Ken Loach has won his second Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for I, Daniel Blake.

The film is a warm and realistic drama about a middle-aged widower who, after a heart attack, can neither work nor get benefits.

It follows his frustrations as he winds his way through an archaic system that seems designed to bring him down.

Accepting the festival's top prize, Loach said: "We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible.

Greek Islanders who have been on the frontline of the refugee crisis have been nominated for the Nobel peace prize.

Some 230 academics from the universities of Oxford, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell and Copenhagen nominated the people of Lesbos, Kos, Chíos, Samos, Rhodes and Leros for the prize.

Only individuals or organisations are eligible to win the prize so 16 volunteer networks on the islands who organised to help the refugees are the official nominees.

Right-wing racist Andrew Bolt's television show The Bolt Report has been axed by Channel Ten, according The Australian.

Ten reportedly charged News Corp about $2 million a year for using its facilities to produce and broadcast the Sunday morning political discussion program. The program was not included in Ten's lineup for 2016.

The second-largest company in Ireland, CRH, has divested from Israel after coming under sustained pressure from Palestine solidarity activists.

CRH held 25% of the shares in Mashav, owner of Israel's top cement manufacturer Nesher. In 2004, it admitted that “in all probability” Nesher cement was used in the construction of Israel's wall in the West Bank. Nesher cement has also been used in constructing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in the light rail network serving Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.

Victoria passed legislation on November 27 creating exclusion zones of 150 metres around abortion clinics.

Victoria decriminalised abortion in 2008. But each month right-wing Christians organised protests that harass women seeking to use clinics that offer abortions.

The legislation makes it an offence to film people without consent or block access to footpaths, roads and vehicles within the zone around GP clinics, hospitals and other health services offering abortions.

After three years of campaigning, Tamil refugee Ranjini was suddenly released from Villawood detention centre on November 12.

Even though she had been granted refugee status, Ranjini was whisked off the streets of Melbourne and locked up in 2012, due to a sudden ASIO decision to declare her a threat to national security. She was never allowed to find out why this had happened, see the evidence or challenge it in a court.

More than 50 others suffered the same fate. Some have been released after six years in prison. Others are still there.

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