Tag Archives: australia

Same-sex marriage: Abbott plays down chances of conscience vote

Malcolm Turnbull suggests Australia is increasingly 'out of step' on the issue with other large English-speaking democracies Daniel Hurst

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Same-sex marriage: Abbott plays down chances of conscience vote

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The week in pictures

images: /mritems/images/2014/4/13/20144139231314476_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/4/13/20144139231751602_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/4/13/20144139232704277_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/4/13/20144139232986227_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/4/13/20144139233564763_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/4/13/2014413923495902_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/4/13/20144139234783371_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/4/13/2014413923595608_8.jpg captions: A view of houses affected by a fire on April 12 in Valparaiso, Chile. The wildfire has destroyed approximately 500 houses and forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 people. Cyclone Ita made landfall in Queensland, Australia on April 12, toppling houses and boats.

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The week in pictures

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Sinodinos had left-wing beginnings as the son of Greek immigrants

Outgoing Chief of Staff Arthur Sinodinos recieves good wishes from the Prime Minister John Howard. Photo: Andrew Taylor

Arthur Sinodinos, who was John Howard’s closest adviser for more than a decade, was so crucial to the Howard government that when he left to join the private sector in 2006, ”the wheels seemed to fall off the machine,” a former Howard government MP recalls.

The former colleague says a number of Coalition MPs believed at the time that Sinodinos’ departure hastened Howard’s demise, and that if Sinodinos had stuck around the Coalition might even have clung to power. The current Assistant Treasurer is widely respected in the Liberal Party, even by those who were, at the time, opponents of Howard.

Several sources say Sinodinos felt pressure to make significantly more money to support an expensive lifestyle in Sydney’s east.

In 2006, Sinodinos left his senior post in the Howard government, moving from Canberra for Sydney to work with Goldman Sachs JBWere, the National Australia Bank and, among his roles at various companies, was installed on the board of the Obeid-linked Australian Water Holdings – the subject of current corruption hearings.

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Fairfax Media reported in March 2013: ”Senator Arthur Sinodinos recently vacated palatial digs in Dumaresq Road, Rose Bay, where he was renting for more than $2000 a week and is currently between homes.”

Sinodinos grew up in a left-wing, Greek migrant family. His father was a member of the Seamen’s Union and his parents opposed the US intervention in Vietnam.

But Sinodinos’ leftist upbringing had the effect of driving him ”the other way,” as he put it in an interview with Julia Baird on ABC’s Sunday Profile program in 2011.

Despite his economic conservatism, Sinodinos, who worked as an economist in the departments of Treasury and Finance before becoming Mr Howard’s chief of staff, was seen by colleagues as a moderating influence on the former prime minister. Coalition sources describe Sinodinos as being several notches to the left of Howard on social issues, particularly immigration and multiculturalism. In his maiden speech to Parliament in November 2011, Sinodinos said he supported ”a bigger and more sustainable Australia as a framework for growth”. He has also admitted to the ABC he was uncomfortable about the Howard government’s policy of holding children in detention centres.

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Sinodinos had left-wing beginnings as the son of Greek immigrants

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AP Top Stories March 17 – Video



AP Top Stories March 17
Subscribe Here's the latest news for Monday, March 17th: Crimea votes overwhelmingly for break from Ukraine; Australia steps up Malaysian plane search; Winte…

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AP Top Stories March 17 – Video

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Rights Group to ICC: Investigate NATO Allies' Complicity in US Drone War

The International Criminal Court has been urged to investigate possible war crimes committed by NATO member states for their role in aiding the U.S. drone war in Pakistan.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that the hundreds of drone strikes the United States has launched on Pakistan since 2004 have killed 416-951 civilians, including as many as 200 children.

NATO members including the UK, Germany and Australia have been linked to providing the U.S. with intelligence used to carry out drone strikes.

The submission brought to the Court includes 13 case studies, UK-based charity Reprieve explained to Common Dreams, including that of Kareem Khan, a Pakistani anti-drone campaigner and journalist whose son and brother were killed in a 2009 drone attack.

Shahzad Akbar, lawyer for Kareem Khan and Director of legal charity the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, described him as “not only a victim, but an important voice for all other civilians killed and injured by US drone strikes.”

Khan, who has sued the CIA over the drone attack, was abducted two weeks ago in Pakistan ahead of a planned meeting with members of the UK, German and Dutch Parliaments and testimony at the ICC. He was released after a week, during which time he said he was tortured and interrogated about his investigations of U.S. drone strikes.

“There can surely be no doubt that facilitating the deaths of thousands of civilians as NATO allies are doing in a plethora of ways constitutes war crimes,” Kat Craig, Reprieves legal director, said in a statement.

“The International Criminal Court, established specifically to hold overwhelming state power to account, is in a unique position to offer some semblance of justice to individual drone victims with nowhere else to go. They must take this complaint seriously and investigate,” Craig stated.

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Rights Group to ICC: Investigate NATO Allies' Complicity in US Drone War

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ReedPOP Announces Partnership with Oz Comic-Con

ReedPOP, the world's largest producer of pop culture events, is proud to announce a partnership with Oz Comic-Con, Australia's leading series of pop culture conventions, that will add all five of Oz Comic-Con's shows into the ReedPOP portfolio.

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ReedPOP Announces Partnership with Oz Comic-Con

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'Don't issue visas to Israeli dance troupe,' BDS supporters urge New Zealand

Pro-Palestinian activists in New Zealand have called on the government there not to issue visas to members of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, which is scheduled to perform at next month’s New Zealand Festival of the Arts.

In letters to New Zealand’s immigration and foreign ministers, activists from several different pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel boycott groups expressed their “concern” about the scheduled Batsheva performance, according to J-Wire, a Jewish news source from Australia and New Zealand.

The letters claim that the Israeli troupe is “largely funded by the Israeli Ministry of Culture & Sport, the City of Tel Aviv and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs who praise the troupe as ambassadors of Israeli culture.”

In an effort to provide “practical solidarity to the Palestinian struggle” the activists have asked that their government “refuse visas to this dance group to enter New Zealand.”

The letter goes on to detail what the activists call Israel’s “unashamedly racist treatment of its Arab-Israeli citizens” and other offenses for which it is being targeted by the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The activists said that New Zealand should take step toward fulfilling its “obligations” to the Palestinians under international law.

“For the same reasons New Zealanders called for the end to rugby links with apartheid South Africa we are calling for the cutting of ties with apartheid Israel,” their letter reads.

“Such a decision would be welcomed by Palestinians as part of the international pressure to bring change to the policies of the Israeli apartheid state as well as by those countries thinking of supporting New Zealands bid for a UN Security Council seat,” the letter continues.

It ends by quoting the late Nelson Mandela, who said, We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

As of Thursday, the activists had not received a reply from New Zealand government officials.

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'Don't issue visas to Israeli dance troupe,' BDS supporters urge New Zealand

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Colonial Partners in Israels Crimes

Jan 27 2014 / 10:46 pm

By Vacy Vlazna

Imperialism after all is an act of geographical violence Edward Said

Is it just me, or do you also see a thread of colonial superiority and racism binding US, Australia, Canada to Israel?

Think about it. All are ex-British colonies and like Israel, have a shameful history of genocide committed against their respective Indigenous Peoples and all continue to treat their First Peoples as third class citizens.

I cant speak for the US and Canada, but, apart from realpolitik and arms trade, an underlying colonial arrogance goes a long way to explain why my civilised democratic Australian government is complicit in granting Israel impunity to daily perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity against generations of Palestinian families.

The tragic past and near narratives of the suffering of unspeakable colonial atrocities against Indigenous Palestinians and Indigenous Australians bear close resemblance and are written in blood and great injustice.

Just as Israels Independence Day and the Palestinian Nakba Day (in remembrance of deportation and dispossession) have a bloody symbiosis, Australia Day or Invasion Day, on the 26th January, is celebrated or mourned according to the victors or the vanquished.

Both Israeli and British colonists took the terra nullius doctrine empty land approach to justify their brutal occupations and wholesale land theft of Palestine and Australia. Israel boasts it made the desert bloom though for centuries Palestine traded in olives, oil, quinces, pinenuts, figs, carob, cotton, dates, indigo, artichokes, citrus fruit, almonds, mint sumach and much more. In Australia the Aborigines maintained their food supply with a sophisticated management of the land with fire.

The island, named Australia by British invaders and colonists, was home to almost a million peoples of, at least, 200 nations that traced their ancestry back 60 millennia along spiritual songlines of the land to the Dreaming to Creation.

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Colonial Partners in Israels Crimes

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Colonial Partners in Israel’s Crimes

Jan 27 2014 / 10:46 pm

By Vacy Vlazna

Imperialism after all is an act of geographical violence Edward Said

Is it just me, or do you also see a thread of colonial superiority and racism binding US, Australia, Canada to Israel?

Think about it. All are ex-British colonies and like Israel, have a shameful history of genocide committed against their respective Indigenous Peoples and all continue to treat their First Peoples as third class citizens.

I cant speak for the US and Canada, but, apart from realpolitik and arms trade, an underlying colonial arrogance goes a long way to explain why my civilised democratic Australian government is complicit in granting Israel impunity to daily perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity against generations of Palestinian families.

The tragic past and near narratives of the suffering of unspeakable colonial atrocities against Indigenous Palestinians and Indigenous Australians bear close resemblance and are written in blood and great injustice.

Just as Israels Independence Day and the Palestinian Nakba Day (in remembrance of deportation and dispossession) have a bloody symbiosis, Australia Day or Invasion Day, on the 26th January, is celebrated or mourned according to the victors or the vanquished.

Both Israeli and British colonists took the terra nullius doctrine empty land approach to justify their brutal occupations and wholesale land theft of Palestine and Australia. Israel boasts it made the desert bloom though for centuries Palestine traded in olives, oil, quinces, pinenuts, figs, carob, cotton, dates, indigo, artichokes, citrus fruit, almonds, mint sumach and much more. In Australia the Aborigines maintained their food supply with a sophisticated management of the land with fire.

The island, named Australia by British invaders and colonists, was home to almost a million peoples of, at least, 200 nations that traced their ancestry back 60 millennia along spiritual songlines of the land to the Dreaming to Creation.

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Colonial Partners in Israel’s Crimes

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GAY COUPLES IN AUSTRALIA ‘DEVASTATED’ AFTER GAY MARRIAGE LAWS ARE OVERTURNED BY COURT – - Video



GAY COUPLES IN AUSTRALIA 'DEVASTATED' AFTER GAY MARRIAGE LAWS ARE OVERTURNED BY COURT -
A devastating blow for gay couples in Australia who've just tied the knot – the high court overturns state legislation allowing same sex marriage. Subscribe …

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GAY COUPLES IN AUSTRALIA ‘DEVASTATED’ AFTER GAY MARRIAGE LAWS ARE OVERTURNED BY COURT – - Video

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