Given Tim Wilson's new career, reading Anita Heiss' memoir Am I Black Enough For You? turned out to be very topical.
My review can be viewed here.
My review can be viewed here.
"I pledge to fight against cruelty to asylum seekers. This means:
- no splitting up of families, when they arrive by boat, into different groups
- no pregnant women should be forcibly separated from her husband and children and sent away to have her baby alone."
It has taken a “conservative political and communications strategist” to catch the imagination of netizens during the current diplomatic standoff between Australia and Indonesia over spying revelations. Indonesia's president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has tweeted to protest phone tapping by Australia's Defence Signals Directorate, which included his and his wife's phones in 2009.
On 20 November 2013 Mark Textor, pollster and political tactician for Australia’s ruling Liberal Party, experienced one of those twitter moments: ‘Apology demanded from Australia by a bloke who looks like a 1970s Pilipino porn star and has ethics to match’. [The misspelling is his own.] It was an apparent reference to the Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa.
His deletion of the offending tweet did not save Textor from embarrassment.
[Reactions from the Oz twitterverse...]
Yeb Saño, leader of the Philippines delegation at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change in Poland (COP19), has decided to stop eating until he sees real solutions from negotiators at the summit. He wants the process to bring “climate justice to the poorest countries,” and links Typhoon Haiyan, which has left more than 4,000 people dead and 4 million displaced, to climate change.
Australians have been flabbergasted by the contrast between two conservative Prime Ministers over Sri Lanka’s human rights record, namely their own PM Tony Abbott and the UK’s David Cameron.
Cameron put Sri Lanka on notice over war crimes allegations. PM Abbott was far more conciliatory:
"The Australian Government deplores any use of torture. Sometimes, in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen. The important thing is to act as quickly as you can to bind up the nation's wounds."Many onliners took these remarks at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo [CHOGM] to be tacit approval of human rights violations including torture.
More: Australian Prime Minister Downplays Sri Lankan Torture Allegations
Scott Rankin: It's harder to hurt someone if you know their story #Progress2013
— Hugh de Kretser (@HughdeKretser) November 7, 2013
The space of political ideas is not elections - Anat #truth #stilldepressing #Progress2013
— Holly Creenaune (@hollycreenaune) November 7, 2013
If we want social change we need to make invisible issues visible #Progress2013
— Avis Mulhall (@avismulhall) November 7, 2013
Never underestimate the ability of the legal profession to complicate a relatively simple concept, says Peter Cashman #Progress2013
— Alicia Patterson (@AliciaMarie1970) November 7, 2013
There are many things beyond our control. 1 of the things we can control is how we communicate. We need to get better at that. #progress2013
— David Hood (@DavidAHood) November 7, 2013
'For climate change messaging: Generate sense of urgency, not crisis. Freak people out & it will make them more conservative' #progress2013
— Amber Carvan (@ambercarvan) November 7, 2013
I look forward to a day when people don't have to rely on charity because they can rely on justice. @VinniesAust's @JohnFalzon #progress2013
— David Hood (@DavidAHood) November 7, 2013
Use the base - the true believers - to energise and persuade the middle (rather than fight the opposition. Makes sense. #Progress2013
— Alicia Patterson (@AliciaMarie1970) November 7, 2013
Wilkinson: Health and social problems are worse in countries where economic inequality is biggest. #progress2013
— timhollo (@timhollo) November 6, 2013
Kenya has one of the highest fertility rates in the world with a total fertility of 8 children per woman.The headline is a bit confusing but the content of the story is clear.
Contraceptives uptake reduced due to fertility awareness
Worldwide, 7.3 million of the births are by girls between the age of 15 and 19 years of which two million births of this are by girls under the age of 15. Of the two million births, 90 per cent of them are already in marriage, revealing that girls are being married off at very tender age.[Thanks to Facebook friend Javin Ochieng from Mathare, Naoribi for the links. We met at the 2012 Global Voices Summit.]
Kenya contributes to this percentage by having 103 in every 1000 pregnancies being attributed to girls between 15 and 19 years.
Teenage pregnancies: Kenya's alarming statistics
We believe that a society as wealthy as ours has an obligation to advance the development of the poorest people, communities, and nations, and assist them to a better life.
On coming to government we first abolished the Harradine amendment which prohibited Australian aid money going to organisations which delivered family planning services. Most recently we doubled aid funding for family planning services.Tanya spoke on the day that AusAid ceased to be a separate entity following its controversial integration by the Abbott government into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Let me say this very clearly – I will fight any effort by Tony Abbott to strip aid from family planning services in developing countries.
Improving access to appropriate, affordable and safe contraceptives and products is an important component of effective family planning services. By ensuring women and men have access to comprehensive family planning services and advice, Australia aims to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and thereby minimise the need for women to resort to abortion.However, they clearly sanction abortion in the implementation criteria:
The Guidelines support the same range of family planning and reproductive health services for women in developing countries as are supported for women in Australia, consistent with the national laws of the partner country concerned and in line with the ICPD Programme of Action [International Conference on Population and Development 1994}. The Guidelines place a gestational term limit on abortion of up to 20 weeks.'Driving Change Post 2015' focussed on 'How can the Australian development sector respond to people living in poverty and help them drive positive change?' The conference title, of course, referred to the UN Millennium Development Goals whose target date is 2015.
We seek tools to better inform us about healthy lifestyles and health concerns, which help us act on that information, especially in areas of sexual and reproductive health, and in dealing with issues of disability, including knowledge to reduce problems of stigma and fear associated with many diseasesLet's hope that family planning aid does not become a partisan issue in Australia as it has been in the United States with the global gag rule enforced by Republican administrations and reversed under Democrat presidents. Family planning and sexual and reproductive health programs that mention the 'A' word [abortion] or sometimes even just the 'C' word [contraceptive] do not get funded when the rule applies.
The asylum seeker debate is the Hot Potato in Australian politics. Everyone’s talking, no-one’s listening. We aim to change that. That’s why we created the hot potato van. And on the eve of the general election we took it on the road. Visiting 10 towns over 10 days, Busting 10 myths, Serving 10,000 potatoes, inspiring 10 million conversations. This is what happened.
"StopWatching.us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum. Join the movement at https://rally.stopwatching.us. This video harnesses the voices of celebrities, activists, legal experts, and other prominent figures in speaking out against mass surveillance by the NSA. Please share widely to help us spread the message that we will not stand for the dragnet surveillance of our communications.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit civil liberties law and advocacy center that has been fighting the NSA's unconstitutional spying for years. Learn more at https://eff.org."
@Kevin_Rennie @OurSayAust thrilled to be grilled by the Aussies! Bring it on
— Anat Shenker-Osorio (@anatosaurus) October 15, 2013
"The last month was the hottest on record.
The last 12 months were the hottest on record.
The last summer was the hottest on record, breaking 120 records.
This year? Summer has come early and bushfires are burning.
Meanwhile, Tony Abbott and our new Government are already going backwards on climate change. They've cut the climate department, abolished the Climate Commission, and are getting ready to try repeal a price on pollution and renewable energy funding.
Politicians have severely underestimated how much Australians care about climate change. Right now, it is more important than ever before that we make it clear that the majority of Australians want climate action.
Chip in at www.getup.org.au/climateaction and help us make this massive climate action project a reality."
...on the processes by which religious and other non-government organisations respond to the criminal abuse of children by personnel within their organisations
...how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.
...any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children, including government agencies, schools, sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, and religious organisations.
#Australia's Cardinal "I Knew Nothing" #Pell digs deep hole for himself and #Catholic church at child abuse enquiry: http://t.co/8HtxEH3ka8Rock in the grass was incensed by the Cardinal's moralising:
— Ian D. Richardson (@ian_richmed) May 27, 2013
Cardinal George Pell: An embarrassing example of clerical blindness when it comes to child abuse. http://t.co/kiuMPS2vMx"Sam Butler made the inevitable comparison with Rupert Murdoch’s evidence in 2011 to the British parliamentary committee concerning the phone hacking scandal:
— rockinthegrass (@rockinthegrass) May 29, 2013
Pell's "apology" is every bit as laughably insincere as Murdoch's "most humble day of my life" quip: http://t.co/s5sEXoMA5UIt was just one of a multitude of tweets linking to well-respected journalist David Marr’s report for the Guardian.
— Sam Butler (@samsonjbutler) May 28, 2013
|The Details - Cartoon courtesy Jon Kudelka|
If we were to rate his performance as an actor with his apology he would have just passed as an actor. The apology, along with any empathy or compassion, was entirely lacking.Subsequently David Marr has written an in-depth essay for the September Quarterly magazine: The Prince: Faith, Abuse and George Pell (Essay 51):
He [Pell] knows children have been wrecked. He apologises again and again. He even sees that the hostility of the press he so deplores has helped the church face the scandal. What he doesn’t get is the hostility to the church. Whatever else he believes in, Pell has profound faith in the Catholic Church. He guards it with his life. Nations come and go but the church remains.Jeremy von Einem's tweet is representative of the general reaction to Marr’s essay:
Just read David Marr's @QuarterlyEssay piece on George Pell. Shameful covering up of sex abuse in the Catholic church. Disgusting to read.
— Jeremy von Einem (@jvoneinem) October 5, 2013
Whilst reading it I had to stop many times and reflect on the enormity of the sins of the fathers. More than once I shed a tear whilst uttering the word, bastards.Cardinal Pell responded to the essay with a written statement:
But this essay is as much about Pell (I don’t feel the need to be particularly aware of protocol and use his title) the man as it is about child abuse. When all is stripped back we see a man of very little love for flock but great love for the institution of church, the privileges that come with it and the power it commands. Consequently Pell is adored by the church but despised by the people.
A predictable and selective rehash of old material. G.K.Chesterton said: 'A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; a bad novel tells us the truth about its author'. Marr has no idea what motivates a believing Christian.
The limitations of Marr's account are the obverse of its virtues. It is not a dispassionate judgment but a prosecution brief. It sifts Pell's motives and words but not those of his critics, and simplifies complexities.
The article provides no new insights on the Cardinal's various disastrous interactions with victims and the laity in relation to the scandal; no new insights into just why he and many others in the Church were so reluctant to listen or act. To me that seems a great shame.
|Care Leavers Australia Network outside Victoria's Parliament House. |
Courtesy CLAN website
...explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal.
In the current 'Game of More', we're told to cheer a growing economy -- more roads, more malls, more Stuff! -- even though our health indicators are worsening, income inequality is growing and polar icecaps are melting.
But what if we changed the point of the game? What if the goal of our economy wasn't more, but better -- better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet?
One of the first actions of the newly elected conservative government in Australia has been to axe Labor’s Climate Commission on 18 September 2013. Its purpose was “to provide all Australians with an independent and reliable source of information about the science of climate change”. Thanks to crowd-funding online, its ghost has arisen as the not-for-profit Climate Council with the same board members chaired by former Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery.More: Crowd-funding Revives Australian Climate Council After Government Axe
|Photo courtesy Michel Pickard flickr |
(Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)
Opponents of building a McDonalds in Melbourne are taking their case to Maccas headquarters in Chicago on Wednesday 18 September 2013. Approximately $40,000 in funds have been raised through an online campaign. Global Voices reported on the conflict in March 2013 Australia: Locals Fight to Stop McDonald's in their Hills
As well as social media, the protesters have used traditional direct action methods such as roof occupations and blockades. These resulted in court action by McDonalds against the so-calledTecoma 8, which has now been withdrawn although injunction applications are apparently ongoing.
An online petition has over 90,000 signatures.
When we were in Jordan last month (Aug 2013) we spoke to a Palestinian who lives and works there. He had gone to an Israeli university before moving to Jordan. He remarked that if they did not have enemies, they would tear themselves apart. His comment reverberated after watching Dror Moreh's documentary The Gatekeepers
A current affairs exposé, In Google We Trust, has caused a flutter on twitter in Australia. The ABC TV Four Corners episode, broadcast on 9 September 2013, looked at how individuals’ digital data is being collected and used. The extent of breaches of privacy, lack of online security, commercial use of personal information such as shopping habits, and even police tracking and storage of car number plates, came as a shock to many viewers.
Readers... know that one of the stories we've been following has been the plight of the non-governmental workers who were charged with crimes related to their journalistic activities in Egypt.
The reason that this story is appropriate for a blog about INTERPOL is that Egypt sought Red Notices for those workers who had left the country prior to the charges being filed. INTERPOL properly rejected Egypt's request for those Red Notices because of the political nature of the charges.
Now we have the disappointing news that 43 NGO workers, both Egyptian and non-Egyptian, have been found guilty of the charges. The story is here.
The mainstream media have been accused of trivialising political coverage in Australia over an incident involving Prime Minister Julia Gillard and a sandwich on 8 May 2013. Apparently, it even went viral overseas both in the press and online.
...The whole incident seemed preordained as the Prime Minister was visiting a school fundraiser for breast cancer charity Australia's Biggest Morning Tea. Lyrics from Down Under by the iconic Men At Work area are apt:
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich
And he said,
“I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.”
...Now if you think that #sandwichgate is inconsequential, the #skywhale narrative is the latest Oz happening to trend internationally. It is something else that might cause politicians to take cover.More
'This website showcases notebooks, films, audio recordings, illustrations and photographs collected during Spencer and Gillen’s studies in anthropology between 1875 and 1912.'
@ColouredView: Most journalists simply cannot comprehend, let alone report, that the Govts support for an #NDIS may be because it's the right thing to do?
I personally don't mind paying a little extra for this type of service, especially if it can help a lot of my opponents on this forum, who will most likely complain about it.
'Syria Inside is a black comedy movie - assembling the most tragic stories and the most funny creative productions from Syrian activists and artists.You can donate here.
Presented in a new technology "Syrian 3D" and with the typical unique Syrian black humour.
You will get an insight to what humans are able to do - both good and bad - that let you see yourself in a different light.
The producers Tamer AlAwam (Syria) and Jan Heilig (Germany) decided 2011 to collaborate in a production full of unbelievable hilarious situations.
In August 2012 Tamer was shot in Alleppo /Syria in the middle of the production. The Syrian webshow-producers WithYouSyria and the German producer decided to finish the project.'
"On April 23, 2013, Al Gore gave a riveting and engaging Stanford University lecture on the topic 'Peril and Opportunity: Solving the Climate Crisis and Reinvigorating Democracy' during the 1st Annual Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture. I recorded a 20 minute video excerpt, and it's below for your reference."
The Opposition’s national broadband policy, released on 9 April 2013, was always going to be highly contentious in Australia. It is not just for geeks but also looms as a major issue in the Federal election to be held on 14 September 2013.
The near capacity crowd at the Centre for Advanced Journalism’s session The Post-Mortem on Journalism Reform: What Happens Now? belied the conventional wisdom that media reform in Australia is dead (Details and the live blog are here). The venue was the aptly named Elisabeth Murdoch theatre at Melbourne University.
...the forces of light will be looking for help in keeping the media honest. Margaret Simons, Director of Centre for Advanced Journalism, indicated that university journalism schools could only have an educative role, not a proactive one. It is a challenge for the many students who attended the forum and the others around the nation who would like to see change happen sooner than later.
Whistleblower Simone Marsh has added fire to ongoing arguments about the environmental impact of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in Australia. 4 Corners, a current affairs program on ABCTV (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) on Monday April 1, 2013 aired Gas Leak! It was no April fool’s joke, with allegations of government fast-tracking of CSG developments without adequate environmental impact studies.
Residents’ opposition to a new McDonald’s in the Melbourne hills suburb of Tecoma has linked direct action with online campaigning. In October 2012 an administrative tribunal overturned the local Council’s unanimous decision to reject a Maccas’s proposal for a new fast food outlet.
Australia: Locals Fight to Stop McDonald's in their Hills
A nationwide campaign against Coca Cola has followed their successful legal challenge on March 4, 2013 to container deposit legislation in the Australia's Northern Territory.
Coca Cola Machine ‘Out of Order’ in Australia
|Sydney Mardi Gras police contingent 2013|
Image courtesy: Zsoolt – flickr, NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license
Video involving participant Jamie Jackson at the iconic Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on March 2, 2013 has sparked claims of police brutality. There were more than 1.6 million views in the first week of this version, taken by a press photographer for the parade.
...The Sydney mardi gras began in 1978 with confrontations with police.
...It is a safe bet that the police contingent marching in the parade were glad not to get caught up in the trouble.
I think the big question remains, what on earth did Ben Zygier - Ben Alon, Ben Allen, Ben Burroughs - what did he do?
What was the nature of his work with the Mossad? How did he seemingly cross that organisation to end up in jail?
And what were the circumstances of his death?
…an online election monitoring and mapping platform …launched the same day as the presidential debate. Uchaguzi, a joint initiative between Ushahidi, Hivos, Creco, Umati and SODNET, will rely on citizen observations to shine sunlight on the electoral process in near-realtime, which has been marred by violence and fraud in the past.Activists in the Nairobi slums of Kibera and Mathare have been using social media and mobile phones to avoid the kind of massacres that occurred in 2008.