Comment and Analysis

Amnesty report exposes Aboriginal child detention

Australia’s human rights reputation has been savaged in a new report by Amnesty International. The report is highly critical of Australia’s detention of Aboriginal children for minor offences.

The Amnesty report, A brighter tomorrow: Keeping Indigenous kids in the community and out of detention in Australia, focuses on the crisis of Aboriginal child detention. The report says rates of Aboriginal youth detention are higher now than they were 20 years ago.

Victims support scheme fails victims

In 2013 the NSW Government took an axe to the existing victims of crime compensation scheme, introducing legislation that targeted survivors of sexual and domestic abuse.

The government claimed this scheme would result in a faster and easier process for applicants, but this has not been the case, and the main changes make it more difficult, if not impossible, for many applicants.

Underground coal gasification plant poisons community

The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) has laid five criminal charges against multinational mining company Linc Energy for causing irreversible environmental damage around the site of its experimental underground coal gasification (UCG) plant at Chinchilla, on the western Darling Downs.

The charges allege that Linc wilfully and unlawfully caused serious contamination with carbon monoxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulphide, carcinogenic BTEX and other gases.

Youth poverty draft in Australian armed forces

In recent difficult economic times, with youth unemployment at record rates, there is still one major state institution which is always recruiting — the military.

As they have in the past, the armed forces are trying as hard as possible to present an attractive job prospect to the youth market. The offer of a career, job stability, qualifications and training can often seem too good to pass up.

Bill Shorten forced to front Commission

Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s persistent response to media questions about allegations raised in the unions’ Royal Commission concerning his former union, the Australian Workers Union (AWU), has been to refuse to provide a “running commentary”.

After being requested by the commission to appear before it last week, he is now reported as saying: “I welcome the opportunity to talk about my 21-year record of standing up for workers”.

‘Tough love’ no answer to NT youth crime

Northern Territory Attorney-General John Elferink was at an Amnesty International debate at Charles Darwin University on June 15, defending the position that “tough love” was necessary to reduce youth crime in the NT.

As he was speaking, a 16-year-old was successfully breaking out of the Don Dale youth detention centre.

According to an ABC News report, this was the eleventh break-out from the decrepit detention centre since August last year — showing that “tough love” is not working.

How women fought BHP for jobs

In a David and Goliath struggle that became known as the “Jobs for Women” campaign, 34 mostly migrant, unemployed, working-class women took on Australia’s largest company, Broken Hill Propriety Limited (BHP).

In a landmark legal and industrial struggle, they sued BHP’s subsidiary, Australian Iron and Steel (AIS) in Port Kembla for sex discrimination because they refused to employ women. After a long, hard struggle over 14 years, the campaign eventually won damages estimated at up to $9 million for more than 700 women who had applied to work at the steelworks.

Marriage equality is on the cusp of victory

Rachel Evans gave this speech to a rally for marriage equality in Sydney on May 31. She is a member of Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) and the Socialist Alliance.

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We are on the cusp of a victory.

A victory of ordinary people against prejudice and bigotry.

We are on the edge of winning this battle for marriage equality — when the likes of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and conservative journalists Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt coming out positively for our love rights, we know we are close.

Australian Unemployment Union 'fights the fine'

Owen Bennett is the founder of the Australian Unemployment Union. He recently spoke at a public forum in Adelaide hosted by Anti-Poverty Network SA on why attacks on employed and unemployed people are connected.

Pas Forgione from Anti-Poverty Network SA spoke to him about how these attacks are related and the Australian Unemployment Union's latest campaign.

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How are attacks on welfare recipients and attacks on workers connected?

Housing affordability plummets

So a member of the Coalition government said something tone-deaf and out of touch again. It must have been on a day ending with “y”.

When asked last week about housing affordability, federal Treasurer Joe Hockey came out with this cracker: "The starting point for a first homebuyer is to get a good job that pays good money." Oh, of course, Joe! Why hasn't anyone thought of that before?

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