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...the Victorian public has a right to know that every part of the justice system acts fairly and lawfully at all times. Daniel Andrews - Premier Really Dan. Police forces cannot operate without information. That information often comes from informants. If I was providing information to the police right now,...
Victoria's coroner has released this video. Makes you think.
This 29 November 2018 video says about itself:
Thousands of students join climate protest
Australian students have gone on strike from school and have converged on urban and regional centres demanding the government take action on climate change.
From the World Socialist Web Site in Australia:
Australia: Newcastle participants in high school climate strike speak out
By our reporters
3 December 2018
Last Friday, around 2,000 high school students in Newcastle, a New South Wales port city 160 kilometres north of Sydney, took part in a national strike against the refusal of governments to address climate change.
Like rallies on the same day in Sydney, Melbourne and other areas, the Newcastle protest was attended by high school students of varying ages, along with parents and teachers.
In addition to expressing their anger over environmental destruction, students spoke out against war, social inequality and the turn to authoritarianism. Newcastle has been hard hit by decades of job cuts, and the closure of entire industries. As in other regional centres, youth face a future of insecure and casual work, unemployment and associated social problems.
Campaigners from the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at Newcastle University distributed hundreds of statements at the protest, explaining that climate change is the product of a systemic crisis of the global capitalist system and calling for a turn to the working class.
The IYSSE stre............
The Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association has queried the logic of Infrastructure Australias negative response to the business case for the duplication of the South Geelong-Waurn Ponds rail line.
Branch convener Paul Westcott noted that Infrastructure Australia seems to be saying that the project would stack up if some changes were made.
If they are saying that certain modifications to the business case would lead to them supporting the project, why couldnt they assess the project with the changes they themselves suggest? Mr Westcott said.
Mr Westcott also criticised the State government for not having quantified some obvious benefits of the project in the business case, which has led Infrastructure Australia to require more work to be done on it.
The State government must urgently revise the business case, taking Infrastructure Australias comments into account, ensuring the project can be assessed on its true merits, Mr Westcott said.
However, its good that both sides of politics continue to back the project that will see more trains running to stations South of Geelong, including to Colac and Warrnambool, and help them run more reliably.
Mr Westcott also pointed to apparent inconsistencies in Infrastructure Australias assessment of projects.
They are happy to keep the East-West Link toll road in Melbourne on their priority list, despite the fact that is has a cost-benefit ratio of only 50 cents in the dollar.
Even worse, the duplication of the highway to Colac, also funded by federal money, will only return about eight cents in the dollar.
Mr Westcott said the way Infrastructure Australia assesses projects seems questionable. While economically doubtful road schemes are given the green light, sustainable transport projects seem to be viewed with less sympathy.
Eight refugees, single men previously held on Manus Island, flew from Port Moresby today, Tuesday, 18 September, to be resettled in the US. The eight are single men, one Iranian, two Tamils, two Pakistanis, two Rohingyan and one Afghan. The total number of refugees from Manus accepted by the US so far, is just 130.(...)
A Stuart Wilde article - Some years ago I wrote out a process I called "minimal movement". It is a time management discipline where you brutally eliminate all actions that serve no purpose, and you allocate the least possible energy and effort to the tick-tock things you have to do.
We, eX-detainees at RISE in Australia, mark the 17th of September 2018 as eX-Detainees Day, for all asylum seekers and refugees who have been forcibly detained whilst seeking protection. This is our 3rd annual eX-detainees day. Crucially, this initiative is entirely managed and controlled by eX-detainees who are asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, as an assertion of our self-determination.
Asylum seeker and refugee detainees who have been detained or are currently detained in detention centres are among the most persecuted and oppressed people in the world. We have endured abuse in our own countries, and upon seeking protection, are disenfranchised and suffer institutional abuse within detention systems. eX-detainees
In this 3rd year of commemorating eX-detainees day we raise the collective voices of asylum seekers and refugees around the world, who are facing discrimination and criminalisation due to detention. eX-Detainees Day will highlight and oppose all forms of refugee and asylum seeker detention that we are subjected to globally: whether the detention lasts 1 day, 30 days, 1 year, or longer periods of time.
We eX-detainees are thankful for those who have shown meaningful solidarity and allyship. We also like to see more eX-detainee voices put at the forefront in the refugee debate in Australia and across the world. In Australia, eX-detainees have been working towards dismantling immigration detention centres over two decades now. Do not bury eX-detainee voices as has been done continuously by successive Australian governments. Recognition, respect and autonomy should be given to many eX-detainees and detainees who have never compromised on the goal of abolishing detention centres and spoken out against detention centres, risking our freedom and families. Respect our voices and our well being. Here is the link to our demands http://riserefugee.org/exdetaineesdemands/
Last year we eX-detainees at RISE established the #SanctionAustalia Campaign and we have received overwhelming support for the campaign in Australia and as well as across the world. Further, in the process of developing our Sanction Australia campaign, eX-detainees have been consulting with national and international wide activists, rights groups and civil society groups to endorse our Sanction Australia campaign.
We offshore and onshore eX-detainees from Australia strongly condemn successive Australian governments and other governments around the world for holding hostage our community members in detention torture camps across the world. We eX-detainees demand that all refugee survivors who are forcibly held in detention centres immediately release and provide them with permanent protection and proper support servic...
Last night Warwick Smith, Senior economist at Per Capita was awarded the EJ Craigie Writing Award for his piece The big spending Victorian state budget is built on Australias worst tax. Warwick quickly laid out the damaging effects of stamp duties and then moved on to show another innovative ACT policy move, with the transition 
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Brigid Magner, a lecturer at RMIT who described her current project about literary commemorations in Australia. This project includes several houses where Henry Handel Richardson (Ethel, or Ettie as she was called when she was a young girl) once lived.
The two photographs at the start of this post are of 26 Mercer Street Queenscliff where the author lived in the late 1870s. The second is from a short play I wrote for history week 2016, and shows Ettie (played by Laura McMahon) reading on the veranda. The play took place in the garden, where the audience sat, and on the spacious veranda.
Talking to Brigid and thinking about her project got me wondering about literary pilgrimages and why people travel long distances to visit the homes of their favourite authors.
At the start of Flauberts Parrot, author Julian Barnes has his narrator ask, Why does the writing make us chase the writer? Why cant we leave well alone? Why arent the books enough?
I sometimes fantasise about visiting Shrewsbury in England, where Ellis Peters set her Cadfael series. Cadfael is a Benedictine monk who lived at the Abbey of St Peter and St Paul in the 12th century. I imagine the cobbled streets and tiny, close-packed houses. And there would be some corners of the city where my imagination wouldnt feel let down. But mostly I would have to go about in blinkers. And this is one problem, isnt it, for literary pilgrims, that places where well-loved authors and charact...
You never know where life as a Singing Leader will take you next. Several years ago now, The Lucky Wonders, an indie folk pop band from Byron Bay, toured Germany. In need of a break after a few gruelling years in the music industry, Jessie Vintila and her partner Emma Royle took off for a drive through Spain and France, and found themselves in St Jean Pied de Port, a small French town at the foot of the Pyrenees.
Turns out, St Jean Pied de Port is a common starting place for people walking a spectacular stretch of the Camino Francs, the most famous of all the Pilgrimage routes across the mountains, and on this particular day the atmosphere of the town captivated them both in a powerful and life changing way.
We saw all these people in hiking gear with walking poles and there was a kind of magical hush over the town. There and then we got the bug for the Camino. Emma has been a keen hiker all her life and she was determined we would walk this track as soon as possible.
But with return flights booked and paid for it was time to head home to Australia leaving the two women unclear about how they could justify an imminent trip back to Europe. Being musicians its not that easy to travel across the world, Jessie laughs. Their quest was something to ponder, something requiring time and creative thinking but the vision and the place persisted to play in their thoughts.
On a walk out one evening, an idea and a solution to the situation popped clearly into Jessies headand after all that thinking it turned out, rather ironically, to be a bit of a no-brainer.
Jessie was fortunate to be born into a singing family. As a multi-instrumentalist for most of her life she has also been a passionate choir leader since she was 18: I cant get enough of it, Im an absolute harmony addict, I love having people all around me singing harmonies all the time. Emma, who is also a musician, is an ardent fan of walking.
The freshly hatched plan combined all these skills and, most importantly at that point in time, gave Jessie and Emma a legitimate reason to head back to the Camino together to explore the idea of setting up their potential new venture: A Singing tour of the Camino for other people to do.
If we could go over there and set up this project, we could do it!
Within a few months of their original visit, Jessie and Emma went back to Spain and walked all 800 blister-busting kilometres of the Camino. They decided to focus on the final 200km stretch which they decided would be the ideal distance for singing walkers to cover on a twelve day tour. A significant amo...
Recently, in the last few weeks, RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees transgender members who were coercively assigned female at birth and are living in the community, raised concerns about the removal of Primoteston Depot (a form of testosterone injection) from the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Primoteston has been removed from PBS by the manufacturer Bayer Pharmaceuticals for commercial reasons. This forces our members to purchase the medication at the full price of about $40 every 4-6 weeks. Generic brand testosterone is also not available through the system. For this reason, a meeting was organised last weekend by affected RISE transgender members to discuss this issue. Clearly it has had a particularly devastating impact on our community members as they are also struggling with Australias precarious and abusive refugee visa process, with limited access to health and welfare services. Furthermore, it became clear in the discussion that even service providers that explicitly claim to support transgender people have failed to address the barriers transgender refugees face when it comes to accessing hormone replacement therapy.
In order for an unemployed RISE member living in the community on a bridging visa with Medicare, to purchase prescribed medication at a concession price they have to be approved for Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) by the Australian Department of Home Affairs. If their SRSS application is approved, in addition to SRSS payments which is 89% of the standard Centrelink welfare payments they are assigned to a private subcontractor such as AMES or Life Without Barriers for settlement support. They do not have access to a healthcare card and have to depend on a letter from the SRSS provider to allow access to specific pharmacies to purchase PBS medication at a concession price. Currently, AMES provides a letter that is usually valid for only 1 or 3 months which has to be renewed each time it expires. For RISE members (all of whom are ex-detainees) on 5 year temporary visas, the government will only allow them to receive Centrelink payments for up to 18 months in total. We also need to keep in mind RISE members who are undocumented or on bridging visas, who dont have access to Medicare, the right to work or any welfare support payments and have to pay full price for all medication. The recent cuts to SRSS by the Department of Home Affairs places more of our members in this latter category.
When a person changes from Primoteston to a testosterone injection available on PBS such as Reandron (also manufactured by Bayer), they may have to continue to use Primoteston during a temporary overlapping period with Reandron. So even RISE members eligible for PBS medication at a concession rate who decide to change from Primoteston to Reandron, will initially have to pay for Primoteston at the full pri......
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