International: $70 Million Resettlement Deal for Manus Island Detainees Approved

A compensation deal worth $70 million for over 1,300 current and former Manus Island detainees has been approved by Victoria’s Supreme Court.

The class action settlement, reached with Australia’s federal government and the Island’s Regional Processing Centre operators, sought to compensate the detainees for the illegal detention and negligence in housing and protection.

“I am comfortably satisfied that a figure of $70 million to be distributed without deduction of costs amongst participating group members is a fair and reasonable sum,” said Justice Cameron Macaulay on Wednesday.

“[We wanted] to put an end to this fiction the Commonwealth seeks to maintain for political purposes that it’s PNG [that] holds these people, that PNG has the duty of care for these people,” said Rory Walsh of Slater and Gordon, the firm who led the legal action.

“The Commonwealth settled this case and paid $70 million not to have that fiction tested in court.”

Out of 1,923 former and current detainees who are eligible for the compensation, 1,383 have registered to get their share by Monday.

However, more than 160 detainees have objected to the compensation amount, saying that it would not address the plights of those who remained in the Island. About 800 men are expected to remain at Manus Island after the detention centre closes next month.

“Getting that money is not the issue. It is not the matter of the amount of money,” Iranian refugee Amir Taghinia told ABC’s AM.

“We are still in the same situation, we are still suffering from the same conditions, under the cruel regime of the defendant, and the case is finished, the case says ‘yeah, that’s it, it is already settled’ … It is absolutely not in favour of any of the detainees in here, but it is in favour of the law firm and the defendant.”

National: TasWater Lifts Boil Alert as TAS Government Continues Takeover Plan

Mole Creek residents can now drink tap water safely for the first time in 70 years, as boil water alert has been lifted.

Tasmania’s water provider TasWater said the alert lift was a significant step in addressing water quality issues in 24 towns across the state, which are expected to be cleared of boil water alerts by August next year.

“The Mole Creek water supply is just one of many projects in a fully-funded, affordable 10-year-plan to improve Tasmania’s water and sewerage infrastructure,” said TasWater chairman Miles Hampton.

However, Premier Will Hodgman remained sceptical about the provider’s ability to deliver the promise in time.

“There are plenty of communities across this state that for years have been calling out for boil water alerts to be lifted,” Hodgman said. “They were meant to be fixed by now. They’ve said in the past these communities would be fixed sooner and it hasn’t been the case.”

The state parliament is set to table a legislation after the winter break to enable the utility takeover from July next year. The government said the acquisition would allow speedier infrastructure upgrades.

National: ASIO Warns Parties About Chinese Donations

Australia’s intelligence agency ASIO has warned major political parties against taking donations from two billionaires with links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

A Four CornersFairfax investigation found that ASIO has briefed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott as well as opposition leader Bill Shorten about the threat of CCP influence.

ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis also briefed officials from the Coalition and Labor parties privately in 2015 about billionaire property developers Huang Xiangmo and Chau Chak Wing, who have made a total of around $6.7 million in political donations along with their associates. While Lewis did not tell the parties to reject the funds, he said that the CCP has influence over businessmen, and donations might come with strings attached.

However, the parties went on to accept the money anyway. Since then, the Coalition has taken $897,960, while Labor took $200,000.

Labor senator Sam Dastyari was also found to have repeatedly assisted Huang in his citizenship application, which is currently temporarily blocked while ASIO investigation is still ongoing.

In light of the report, Turnbull ordered a major inquiry into espionage and foreign interference laws.

“The threat of political interference by foreign intelligence services is a problem of the highest order and it is getting worse,” Attorney General George Brandis said in a statement.

“Earlier this year the Prime Minister initiated a comprehensive review of Australia’s espionage and foreign interference laws, which he asked me to lead. I will be taking legislative reforms to Cabinet with a view to introducing legislation before the end of the year.”

The New Budget 2017: Are Drug Tests OK?

Last night, the Liberal government announced its new 2017-18 budget for Australia, affecting millions of Australians over the country.

There have been criticisms of Turnbull’s Government and its decisions over the newly announced drug tests for Australians on welfare. Background checks are often a mandatory condition with most job applications in Australia, but is it morally right to initiate drug tests at random as part of a legal requirement?

Jacqui Lambie has welcomed the new drug tests for welfare recipients, but she said politicians should do the same. “It is about time politicians led by example and both on the Senate side and the House of Reps, there should be random drug testing as you come through the doors.”

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce defended the decision, saying to the ABC that “you can’t go to work if you are smashed or drugged out.”

International: Trump’s Son-in-Law Named as White House Advisor

President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner has been appointed as senior White House advisor to work on trade deals and foreign policy.

Kushner, husband to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, accepted the position after receiving legal advice that he would not be violating the 1967 anti-nepotism law. Kushner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick argues on Monday that the law does not apply to the White House.

“Even without that law, two DC Circuit decisions strongly suggest that the White House Office is not an ‘agency’ under the anti-nepotism statute, a position supported by the views of the Justice Department under presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush,” said Gorelick.

In a statement, Trump said Kushner would be “an invaluable member of my team as I set and execute an ambitious agenda, putting the American people first.” The statement also said that Kushner would waive his salary while employed in the administration.

“It is an honour to serve our country,” said Kushner in the same statement. “I am energised by the shared passion of the President-elect and the American people and I am humbled by the opportunity to join this very talented team.”

Kushner was one of Trump’s campaign advisors during the elections, working in the campaign’s digital aspects. Kushner has also been assisting Trump during the transition period, coordinating communication between the president-elect’s team and foreign leaders and officials.

Kushner will be stepping down from his position as CEO of real estate company Kushner Companies in an effort to diminish conflict-of-interest concerns. In a statement, Gorelick said Kushner “is committed to complying with federal ethics laws.”

National: Pleas To Block Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite

The plebiscite on same-sex marriage in the parliament might be cancelled, as the Australian Labor party is expected to reject the enabling bill.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten is set to recommend rejecting the bill to Labor caucus and finalise the party’s position on October 10.

The Greens and Nick Xenophon team have promised to block the legislation. “We will be voting against the marriage equality plebiscite, no matter what form it takes, because of the harm that it can potentially do to same-sex attracted and gender diverse Australian,” Greens senator Janet Rice said in a Melbourne conference.

“The best way to achieve marriage equality, the quickest way, the way it should be done is to have a free vote in the parliament and we want to see that free vote to be brought upon as soon as possible.”

If the parliament passes the legislation, the plebiscite would take place on February 11, 2017, with a taxpayer funding of $15 million allocated to “yes” and “no” campaign committees.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned that Labor’s rejection of the plebiscite could result in delays in same-sex marriage legalisation. “If the Labor Party wants to frustrate that, well, all that will mean is that the resolution of the same-sex marriage issue will be postponed potentially for a very long time,” Turnbull told the Financial Review.

Same-sex marriage advocates have said that the legislation is not the best way to legalise same-sex marriage. “This public funding provisions would allow taxpayers funds to be used to attack other Australians with fear campaigns, and is totally unnecessary for achieve a reform that the parliament could deliver now,” Australian Marriage Equality Chair, Alex Greenwich said.

“Earlier [in August] the largest LGBTI community survey of its kind ever conducted found the LGBTI community is united against a plebiscite with opposition running at 85 per cent,” just.equal spokesperson Ivan Hinton-Teoh told Star Observer.

“A key concern of LGBTI Australians is that a plebiscite will be a platform for hate and that it will not actually lead directly to marriage equality.

“I call on Labor and crossbench senators to follow the Greens’ lead so that a plebiscite is blocked and we can have a free vote in Parliament instead.”

National: Michael Kirby’s View On The Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite

No one beats around the bush quite like Malcolm Turnbull. Continuing his history of a few semi-broken promises in his best Liberal fashion, Mr. Turnbull has now proven his sitting-on-the-fence nature by introducing the unwanted same-sex marriage plebiscite. A fantastically half-arsed idea in an attempts to shift the gay marriage decision to voters.

Source: Yahoo
Source: Yahoo

Former High Court Justice, Michael Kirby has expressed his views on the plebiscite warning that it’s ‘alien’ towards the constitution, stating it would establish a ‘bad precedent’ that would weaken Australian parliaments.

Source: Punjab Tribune
Source: Punjab Tribune

Mr. Kirby also reiterated that the same-sex vote was unnecessary, pointing out that there was no plebiscite on important national issues such as abolishing the White Australian Policy and that gay Australians deserve the right to equality too.

Source: SMH
Source: SMH

Mr. Turnbull has distanced himself from making any further comments and the plebiscite will not be held until next year. Until then, it will be a while before Australia can have same-sex marriage.

National: Pauline Hanson – Back At It Again With The One Nation Policy

It’s 1996 again as the One Nation Party leader makes another comeback in Australian politics, only this time with a little more success, and a new target enemy, Muslims.

Source: Daily Life
Source: Daily Life

The former fish and chip shop owner has shocked voters, securing 142, 594 of the primary vote nationally and 5.48 percent in Queensland, achieving double-digit first preference votes (most regional seats).

Source: The Conversation
Source: The Conversation

With the increase of conservative votes, One Nation received 8.97 percent of the vote and helped Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball’s ally and assistant innovation minister, Wyatt Roy. Baffled left voters have speculated that the surprise winning had resulted from an increase of recent islamophobic and terrorism propaganda perpetuated in the media influencing concerning rural voters.

 

Source: news.com.au

Despite the disturbing level of support received towards Hanson, many Australians including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have unwelcomed the red-headed leader stating that there is no place for racism, hatred, and bigotry in modern Australia.

Source: AFR
Source: AFR

Someone needs to please explain Pauline Hanson’s return.

International: John Oliver Tells Donald Trump To Drop Out

Notorious for his hilarious political commentary, John Oliver delivers a sincere “fuck off” message to Donald Trump on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

The video shows John Oliver dissecting the Republican candidate, highlighting the funny and incredibly disturbing parts of Donald Trump. Oliver begins by addressing and disproving the false claims arguing that Trump is a ‘strong’ and ‘economical’ potential leader.

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 9.21.52 PM

Oliver also mentions the numerous controversial cases where Donald Trump has been involved in such as his usual tirade of racial slurs, and even the time when Donald Trump wished everyone a “Happy 9/11”.

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 9.47.52 PM
Reiterating the serious level of success following Trump’s campaign’s, Oliver continues to stress how terribly unprofessional and unqualified he is as the next president of the United States.

International: Uzbekistan President Died at 78

Uzbekistan President, Islam Karimov has died at the age of 78 from a stroke. The country’s government and parliament confirmed the death on Friday, September 2.

Karimov’s funeral will be taking place on Saturday, September 3 at his hometown, Samarkand. His potential successor, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, will be overseeing the funeral.

Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim was the first foreign leader to issue condolences over Karimov’s death.  Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his condolences, describing the late leader as a statesman “who had contributed to the security and stability of Central Asia”.

Islam Karimov and Vladimir Putin
Source: kremlin.ru

Karimov was the first, and so far the only, president of Uzbekistan. Having ruled the country for 27 years, Karimov had long been criticized by the West and various organizations for human rights abuses, with the United Nation describing the use of torture under his leadership as “systematic”.

Karimov had not named any potential successor during his presidency, and analysts believe his replacement will be chosen privately behind the doors with family members and senior political figures.

Bordering Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia with over 30 million people.