While in Canberra, Australia’s Senate was in turmoil last Wednesday over Tony Abbott’s second attempt to carry out his central policy of “axing the carbon tax”, where was Tony Abbott?
Tony was at an iron ore mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia, fawning over visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe:
MAINSTREAM MEDIA GLOBALLY continues to report the Gaza situation as though representing a war of equals. Israel is often portrayed as the victim defending herself. Little is said about the displacement of the Palestinian people from their land and of the impact of over 60 years of occupation. This is … Continue reading
Treasurer Joe Hockey is the “Masterchef of cooking the books” according to his Opposition counterpart Chris Bowen, who has repeatedly accused the Coalition of using “voodoo economics” to create a sense of crisis to justify dramatic spending cuts in the May 13 budget.
“Now what’s happening here is that Joe Hockey has doubled the deficit, adding $68 billion to the deficit by changes to Government spending and changes to Government assumptions, and now he’s asking the Australian people to pay for it”, Mr Bowen told journalists in his electorate on April 27.
ABC Fact Check examines whether this statement is correct.
The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.
via Edward Snowden urges professionals to encrypt client communications | World news | The Guardian.
A serious shortcoming has now emerged in the 2014 act. Many terrorists, criminals and paedophiles are no longer using the internet, and we need to follow them more closely. While their activities in the open are subject to surveillance cameras, they are also meeting in private houses and other premises. We thus need visual capability for complete coverage. The proposed bill supplies a vital link in the chain.
In consultation with colleagues I intend to amend building regulations to ensure that all new and converted properties have fish-eye lenses installed in ceiling cavities, with Wi-Fi cameras and appropriate power supply. A discreet camera in every room would be unnoticed and, in my view, unobjectionable.
Existing properties will be required to install them over a four-year period. These would supply real-time images of terrorists, criminals and paedophiles at any time of day and night. Any disconnection of a camera would immediately alert the police as prima facie evidence of wrongdoing. I have held talks with the industry on whether the cameras should be in bathrooms and bedrooms. It would clearly be nonsensical to exclude them, as terrorists and paedophiles often make use of these rooms.
via Blanket digital surveillance is a start. But how about a camera in every bathroom? | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian.
The Sri Lankan Navy band was busy last week, learning the tune to Waltzing Matilda. They played it to welcome Scott Morrison, the Australian immigration minister, who was visiting to launch two patrol boats donated by the Australian government. A photo of the moment,tweeted by journalist Jason Koutsoukis, showed Morrison sitting alongside president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, defence minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Perhaps it didn’t worry Morrison that there are growing calls to prosecute Gotabaya Rajapaksa for war crimes, because of his actions in 2009 during the Sri Lankan civil war. Australia has been aware of Sri Lanka’s breaches of human rights for some time.
Australia is now closer to the regime than ever, because of their assistance in implementing Morrison’s tough border protection strategy. As Emily Howie, the director of advocacy and research at the Melbourne-based Human Rights Law Centre, reported in 2013, “the Australian government is actively funding and supporting Sri Lanka to undertake these interceptions [of asylum seekers].”
Her report was based on interviews she gathered in Sri Lanka with people who wanted to leave and were stopped, interrogated and often tortured. Howie wrote in The Conversation that arbitrary detention, beatings and torture are routinely meted out to those in custody, Tamil and Sinhalese, with Canberra’s knowledge.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) works closely with its Sri Lankan counterparts, providing training, intelligence, vehicles and surveillance equipment. This has been happening for years. From time to time, stories surface alleging that AFP offers have been present during Sri Lankan police beatings and interrogations of returned asylum seekers. If true, this fits into a wider pattern of Western officials colluding with thuggish militias and authorities over the last few decades, including in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
As Orwell forewarned, writes John Pilger, advanced societies are becoming gradually depoliticised and political language is being turned on its head.
More than 150 Tamil asylum seekers on board an Australian border protection vessel are being detained in windowless locked rooms with men kept apart from their families against their will, newly released high court documents have revealed.
A statement of claim document submitted to the court by lawyers acting for 86 of the 153 asylum seekers also reveals that they have had no opportunity to deliver their protection claims – despite all claiming to be refugees – and had no access to a qualified translator despite almost all being unable to speak English.
Australian journalists could face prosecution and jail for reporting Snowden-style revelations about certain spy operations, in an “outrageous” expansion of the government’s national security powers, leading criminal lawyers have warned. Journalists will face jail over spy leaks under new security laws | World news | theguardian.com.
Asylum secrecy on the high seas is designed to foil the enemy within – the law | Comment is free | theguardian.com.