World heritage forests burn as global tragedy unfolds in Tasmania | Environment | The Guardian

A global tragedy is unfolding in Tasmania. World heritage forests are burning; 1,000-year-old trees and the hoary peat beneath are reduced to char. Fires have already taken stands of king billy and pencil pine – the last remaining fragments of an ecosystem that once spread across the supercontinent of Gondwana. Pockets of Australia’s only winter deciduous tree, the beloved nothofagus – whose direct kin shade the sides of the South American Andes – are now just a wind change away from eternity. Unlike Australia’s eucalyptus forests, which use fire to regenerate, these plants have not evolved to live within the natural cycle of conflagration and renewal. If burned, they die.

Aerial footage captured by the ABC shows just some of the 42,000 hectares that have been burnt across the state To avoid this fate, they grow high up on the central plateau where it is too wet for the flames to take hold. But a desiccating spring and summer has turned even the wettest rainforest dells and high-altitude bogs into tinder. Last week a huge and uncharacteristically dry electrical storm flashed its way across the state, igniting the land.

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Source: World heritage forests burn as global tragedy unfolds in Tasmania | Environment | The Guardian

FATAL EXTRACTION

Australia is a giant in African mining, but its vast — and in some cases deadly — footprint has never been examined.

Australian-listed mining companies are linked to hundreds of deaths and alleged injustices which wouldn’t be tolerated in better-regulated nations.

The stories that follow are from people across Africa, rarely heard outside their own communities.

via FATAL EXTRACTION.

Open letter on the Border Force Act: ‘We challenge the department to prosecute’ | Australia news | The Guardian

Open letter regarding the Border Force Act 2015

Today the Border Force Act comes into force. It includes provision for a two-year jail sentence for “entrusted persons” such as ourselves if we continue to speak out about the deplorable state of human rights in immigration detention without the express permission of the minister for immigration and border protection. This strengthens the wall of secrecy which prevents proper public scrutiny.

If we witness child abuse in Australia we are legally obliged to report it to child protection authorities

We have advocated, and will continue to advocate, for the health of those for whom we have a duty of care, despite the threats of imprisonment, because standing by and watching sub-standard and harmful care, child abuse and gross violations of human rights is not ethically justifiable.

If we witness child abuse in Australia we are legally obliged to report it to child protection authorities. If we witness child abuse in detention centres, we can go to prison for attempting to advocate for them effectively. Internal reporting mechanisms such as they are have failed to remove children from detention; a situation that is itself recognised as a form of systematic child abuse.

Evidence of the devastating effects of institutional self-protection and blindness to child abuse has been presented before the current royal commission. We are determined not to collude with a system that repeats these same mistakes.

Why we spoke out: former detention centre workers explain

Paul Farrell

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There are currently many issues which constitute a serious threat to the health of those in detention for whom we have a duty of care. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is aware of these problems and has for years failed to address them adequately.

We are aware that in publishing this letter we may be prosecuted under the Border Force Act and we challenge the department to prosecute so that these issues may be discussed in open court and in the full view of the Australian public.

Detention centre staff speak out in defiance of new asylum secrecy laws

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Dr John-Paul Sanggaran, MBBS M.H.Med B.H.Sc, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Richard Kidd, BHB, MBChB, Dip.Obs., FAMA, Deputy Chair AMACGP, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Grant Ferguson, MBBS B.Sc (Hons), former IHMS medical officer

Dr Ben Hew, MBBS B.Sc, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Alison Bleaney, MBchB FRACRRM OBE, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Merrilyn Williams, MBBS, M. (GP Psych) FACRRM, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Ai-Lene Chan, MBBS FRACGP ObsSC MPH&TM, former IHMS medical officer

Dr John Vallentine, MBBS MRCP, former IHMS medical officer

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Dr Jill Maxwell, MBBS OAM, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Sally Manuell, MBBS FRACGP, former IHMS medical officer

Prof Bernard Pearn-Rowe, BSc (Hons), MBBS, FAMA, former IHMS medical officer

Tracey Donehue, secondary school teacher

Judith Reen, secondary school coordinator

Jane Willey, former secondary school teacher

Evan Davis, former senior secondary school teacher

Dr Peter Young, MBBS FRANZCP, former IHMS medical director mental health services

Steve Brooker, BSc MA, former IHMS director of mental health services

Dr Rodney Juratowitch, MBBS FRANZCP, former IHMS psychiatrist

Dr Amanda Trenaman, MBBS, FRANZCP, former IHMS psychiatrist

Prof Robert Adler, PhD MBBS, former IHMS psychiatrist

Ryan Essex, BHSc, Grad Dip Psych, BSocSc (Psych), (Hons), MHL, MPH, former IHMS counsellor

James Harris, former case manager and residential youth worker

Toby Gunn, former child and youth recreation officer

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Samantha Betts, BA, former child and youth recreation worker

Martin Reusch, former humanitarian worker

Timm Knapp, former humanitarian worker

Amanda Lloyd-Tait, former humanitarian worker

Jennifer Dennis, former humanitarian worker

Amy Marden, former humanitarian worker

Prof David Isaacs, MBBChir MD FRACP FRCPCH, former IHMS paediatrician

Dr Hasantha Gunasekera, MBBS FRACP, former IHMS paediatrician

Alanna Maycock, BN RN, former IHMS paediatric nurse

Prof Louise Newman, MBBS PhD FANZCP AM, former DEHAG consultant IHMS psychiatrist

Dr Micheal Dudley, AM MBBS BD FRANZCP, former DEHAG consultant

Prof Caroline de Costa, PhD MPH MBBS BA FRANZCOG FRCOG, former DEHAG consultant

Viktoria Vibhakar, MSW, LCSW, AASW, former senior child protection and support worker

Ashleigh Millard, former adult case manager and social worker

Jaime O’donovan, former social worker, child protection team

Hamish Tacey, BBehavSc, former unaccompanied minor team leader and refugee assistance program case manager

Serena Hansen, former case manager and residential team leader

Marc Isaacs, BA (Com), BA (Int.S), former recreations manager

via Open letter on the Border Force Act: ‘We challenge the department to prosecute’ | Australia news | The Guardian.

Indigenous when he’s winning | Overland literary journal

By Morgan Godfery

…The myth of the Australian dream is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of mainstream society, will be treated and respected as members of that society. But this rule is only ever half-enforced when it comes to Indigenous people. They were never meant to be part of the Australian story. What Nicky Winmar knew in 1993 and Adam Goodes knows today is that sporting success is perfectly compatible with inequality and discrimination. The right to participate does not inevitably change the power relationship between (Indigenous) players, (white) fans and Australian society.

Colin Tatz coined the phrase that Indigenous players are ‘Australians when they’re winning and Aborigines at other times.’ Goodes is saying that he is Indigenous when he’s winning and Indigenous no matter what.

via Indigenous when he’s winning | Overland literary journal.

On the brink of WWI overload – Opinion| Stuff.co.nz

ALASTAIR PAULIN, Opinion.

“The story we tell ourselves about Gallipoli is that the Anzac forces fought bravely in terrible conditions, and in doing so, established a reputation of which we should be proud. And so we should. But the other part of the story that is buried under millions of symbolic poppies is that those soldiers fought for nothing. The campaign was abandoned, the surviving soldiers evacuated, and in strategic terms, the deaths of 2779 New Zealanders and more than 8700 Australians, among Allied deaths of 44,000 and 87,000 from the Ottoman Empire, made barely any difference to the war’s outcome…

via – ipad-editors-picks | Stuff.co.nz.

73% of Australians want Indigenous recognition in constitution – study | Australia news | The Guardian

Reposted from the Guardian:

The vast majority of Australians believe that the constitution should be changed to recognise Indigenous people, and remove clauses that discriminate on the basis of race, a study by the Australian National University found.

The telephone survey of more than 1,200 people aimed to record public opinion on injustice and social disadvantage faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders.

It found that 82% of Australians supported the removal of clauses in the constitution that discriminate on race.

And 73%, or nearly three out of four Australians believe that Indigenous Australians deserve special reference in the preamble of the founding document.

Tanya Hosch, the campaign director of Recognise, which advocates on the recognition of Indigenous Australians, said that “the strong levels of support from Australians reflect what we have heard in our own extensive community engagement across the country in the past few years.

“Australians want to fix this lack of recognition and want to fix the race discrimination in our highest legal document.”

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, has indicated that he would hold a referendum on the issue in 2017, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders being counted in the census.

“It’s important to get this right. Yes, we want to do it. But we want to get it right and it’s more important to get it right than to rush it,” Abbott told reporters on Friday.

“We’ve got the joint parliamentary committee, chaired by Ken Wyatt, deputy chaired by Nova Peris and that committee will be reporting in the next couple of months and that will give us a strong foundation on which to build.”

Constitutional recognition has strong bipartisan support.

via 73% of Australians want Indigenous recognition in constitution – study | Australia news | The Guardian.

An economy that serves people and nature, not the other way around | Greens MPs

“…I am for growing natural, human, social, manufactured and financial capital and I am against growing global warming, species extinction, poverty, poor health, inequality, conflict and corruption.”

via An economy that serves people and nature, not the other way around | Greens MPs.

Muslim Community Rejects Abbott Government’s Demonisation and Condemns Moves to Silence Legitimate Critique | Muslims In Australia Since the 1600s

Joint Statement: Muslim Community Rejects Abbott Government’s Demonisation and Condemns Moves to Silence Legitimate Critique

This joint Muslim community statement expresses our position with respect to the Abbott Government’s ongoing demonisation of Muslims in Australia, their organisations, their leaders and their values.

We – the undersigned Sheikhs, advocates, community leaders, community organisations and student bodies of the Muslim community – make the following points in this regard:

via Muslim Community Rejects Abbott Government’s Demonisation and Condemns Moves to Silence Legitimate Critique | Muslims In Australia Since the 1600s.

Indigenous people a step closer to the constitution

THERE will be echoes of 1967 in Parliament House on Wednesday when both sides of politics pass legislation that will give momentum to the push to recognise the first Australians in the nation’s founding document.

Shirley Peisley was 26 when she pinned badges on the lapels of politicians in support of modest but hugely symbolic constitutional change. On Wednesday she will watch as a new indigenous generation does the same in support of something more ambitious.

Back then, Ms Peisley was a woman in awe, inspired by the leadership and example of Lowitja O’Donoghue, who organised her trip from Adelaide to a planning meeting for the 1967 referendum campaign. Like most of the activists, they stayed at Brassey Hotel, then called Brassey Hostel. ”Anyone who had a room – and some of us did – would have swags all over the floor,” Professor O’Donoghue recalls. ”The dining room was full of people who weren’t guests. It was amazing how they put up with us.”

Lowitja O’Donoghue and Shirley Peisley on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

When they weren’t talking about the struggle or singing We Shall Overcome and other anthems of the American civil rights movement, Professor O’Donoghue recalls some of the activists throwing boomerangs on the vacant land opposite.

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This week, the two women are back in the same digs, and hoping that the unity, energy and optimism that abounded almost half a century ago will be replicated – and help transform the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The 1967 referendum resulted in indigenous Australians being counted in the census and gave the national government the power to make laws for their benefit, but only conferred what Noel Pearson described as a ”neutral kind of citizenship”.

via Indigenous people a step closer to the constitution.