Monthly Archives: November 2018

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Labor slams plans to put asylum seekers on street

Shayne Neumann arrives for a shadow cabinet meeting in Canberra on Monday 21 October 2013. Photo: Andrew MearesBill Shorten has slammed Turnbull government plans to end income support for up to 100 Australian-based asylum seekers and give them just three weeks to find a home, describing the decision as the Prime Minister’s “weakest move yet”.
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The Greens have also criticised the move, vowing to try and use parliament to stop the change.

But a spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said on Sunday every illegal maritime arrival transferred to Australia for temporary medical assistance was aware that once their medical needs were met they would return to Nauru or Manus.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge??? also defended the government, declaring the asylum seekers won’t receive any further taxpayer support and will have to return to Nauru, Manus Island or their own country.

Fairfax Media revealed on Sunday leaked government documents that showed the Immigration Department will issue dozens of asylum seekers, who were transferred to Australia from offshore detention for medical reasons, with a new visa known as the “final departure Bridging E Visa”.

Under the new visa conditions, income support of about $200 a fortnight will cease on Monday and a three-week deadline to move out of government-supported accommodation will be imposed.

In a strongly worded rebuke that will delight asylum seeker advocates and ALP members who have demanded the opposition adopt a more compassionate approach to the issue, Mr Shorten said the decision was a “new low” from the government.

Despite the objections of the left of the ALP, Mr Shorten steered through a seismic policy shift at the 2015 Labor Party conference which saw the opposition commit to turning back asylum seeker boats if it wins government. Under Kevin Rudd, Labor had re-opened offshore processing.

But Mr Shorten said on Sunday that kicking people onto the streets with no support is needlessly cruel and “really dumb”.

“It won’t fix anything. It’s just hurting vulnerable and sick people for the sake of it,” he said.

“These people should be eligible for settlement in the United States or other countries in our region – so they have a permanent home. This act has nothing to do with strong borders or stopping people smugglers. It’s a weak Prime Minister trying to look tough. That’s it.

“Malcolm, this is not strong. This is cowardly and cruel. It’s your weakest move yet.”

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said on Sunday the party was seeking advice on whether the use of a new ‘final departure Bridging E Visa’ could be overturned when the Senate returns in a week’s time.

“We do call on members of the crossbench and the Labor Party to support us in doing everything we can to stop this unspeakable cruel act getting through the Senate,” he said.

In total, there are about 400 asylum seekers and their children living in Australia after medical transfers from offshore processing and, eventually, all of them may be subject to the tough new visa rules. The asylum seekers will be able to work until they leave the country.

Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann had earlier described the decision by the Turnbull government was “even more proof of Peter Dutton’s incompetence in the management of offshore processing centres and his failure to negotiate other third country resettlement options”.

The Turnbull government and the Obama administration struck a deal for the US to consider taking up to 1250 asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru.

While President Donald Trump has lashed the “dumb deal”, he has not walked away from it – as a leaked transcript of Mr Trump and Malcolm Turnbull’s first phone call revealed – but so far, no asylum seekers have been sent to the US, either, as vetting of the applicants continues.

Labor defence spokesman Richard Marles???, a former immigration minister, said “Australia has an obligation to provide care” to asylum seekers in this country, or on Manus or Nauru, but that “it’s very important that Australia remains off the table” as a destination for would-be asylum seekers.

Mr Tudge said the asylum seekers facing the tough new visa conditions had received medical treatment in Australia “and consequently now they are required to go back to Nauru, or to PNG, or indeed back to their home country”.

“That is what this is about, and it is consistent … with the principle that anybody who arrives by boat to our shores, won’t be settled in Australia; they will be settled elsewhere. That is what this is about,” he told the ABC.

“I cannot confirm the precise number; but it is right that now that they have had their medical treatment in Australia, that they will be required to return to Nauru, to Papua New Guinea, or back to their home country. And there won’t be the further provision of taxpayer support in Australia.”

The Manus Island processing centre is set to be shut down by October 31.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Gratitude for formal wear

HUNTER teenagers have been gifted with top to toe formal wear valued at up to $1000, thanks to a campaign that allows owners of unused and preloved clothing, shoes and accessories to donateitems to students in need.
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Gratitude for formal wear Dressing up: Belmont High student Claudia Barwise picked a gown for her year 10 formal, with the help of Vangie Hillyard. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Dressing up: Belmont High student Claudia Barwise picked a gown for her year 10 formal, with the help of Vangie Hillyard. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Dressing up: Vangie Hillyard with Bella Macintyre of Newcastle, who tries on a gown for a formal dinner. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Dressing up: Vangie Hillyard with Bella Macintyre of Newcastle, who tries on a gown for a formal dinner. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Dressing up: Vangie Hillyard organised the From Us To You event. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebookVangie Hillyard, who started the campaignFrom Us To You NSW in July, said about 100 teenagers visited Alesco Senior College in Cooks Hill on Saturday to choose dresses, suits, shoes, clutches and jewellery –for free. “The generosity has been amazing,” Ms Hillyard said. “The kids are so appreciative, happy and grateful and it’s made a huge difference in their lives and their parents lives, who now have one less thing to worry about. Lots of mums were a bit emotional and gave me cuddles.”

Ms Hillyard said it was a “transformative experience” for some students. “So many kids found things they really genuinely loved,” she said. “Clothes do not maketh the man but they certainly make the man feel amazing. The girls were in disbelief at how they looked in these gowns. One girl tried on a brand new black and white dress worth $670 and had her hands over her mouth in shock. One guy picked a suit and wore it home he loved it so much. He came back with friends and still had the suit on. It was incredible seeing their expressions seeing themselves like that for the first time –I’ll never forget that.”

She said some remaining items hadbeen donated to Lifeline, while others will be kept for next year.“There were so many times I was close to tears, trying to keep it together. It was one of the best days of my life.”

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Did the Wallabies just drop the Bledisloe Cup?

Israel Folau of Australia runs in the opening try against New Zealand in the Investic Rugby Championship test match between the New Zealand and Australia at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand, August 26, 2017. (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY1. The thriller in Dunedin – I refrain from using the word classic, as that belongs to the better quality Women’s World Cup final won by New Zealand on Sunday – poses a tough question.
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Do we pat the Wallabies on the back for an improved effort or lament the errors in selection, tactics and skill that has kept the Bledisloe Cup away for another year? I am inclined to do the latter.

The Wallabies should have had the All Blacks buried in Dunedin. Bernard Foley missed three conversions and a penalty. They punched holes in the All Blacks’ defence. They drove back their ball carriers. They forced Beauden Barrett and Sonny Bill Williams into multiple mistakes.

Had they forced the series into a decider in Brisbane they would have fancied their chances on the evidence of the last 110 minutes of Bledisloe rugby. It seems churlish to ask given the effort levels on Saturday but have the Wallabies just missed a wonderful opportunity?

2. Kurtley Beale dominated Sonny Bill Williams.

In defence of the All Blacks’ midfielder, Williams played like he had taken a whack on the head the week before in Sydney, which of course he did. Perhaps he should not have played after all.

Certainly he was coughing up the ball in the early stages even before Beale got into the game. But as the game progressed it became quite clear how much the contest meant to be Beale. He was massive on defence.

There was that brilliant strip on Williams close to the try line in the second half, but don’t forget the thumping tackle on Williams minutes earlier. His late try probably deserved to be the match winner. It was probably his finest night in gold.

3. A tough end for Stephen Moore. Never did the phrase “you don’t get to write your own script” seem more apt than when Moore was replaced at the end of the first half because the Wallabies scrum was getting crunched.

Tatafu Polota-Nau should have started the game and will surely wear the No.2 jersey against the Springboks in Perth in a fortnight, because the Springboks have been very good at scrum time.

Moore has been a warrior for the Wallabies for a long time but the past two years have asked a lot from his body and the player we saw on Saturday night is not the one most will fondly remember.

4. Michael Cheika lands a few decent blows.

Cheika’s press conference was a pretty handy performance of pushing Kiwi buttons without actually going as far as saying the referee got the All Blacks out of jail. And boy, does Cheika push the Kiwis’ buttons.

He indicated that Brodie Retallick should be have been carded (I personally disagree given the evidence but can see the argument) and gave the impression that the Wallabies didn’t get a fair go before then pulling back and putting the blame on the loss squarely on the Wallabies.

Cheika’s mindset for the Bledisloe has clearly been “I’m not going to take any nonsense” and I think his players, belatedly, responded. Cheika needed a big performance from his men, and he got it.

5. Pumas have gone backwards since joining Super Rugby.

It may not be the only factor but Argentina were woeful in losing 41-23 to the Springboks in Salta on Sunday and look to have regressed in the past two years.

Their scrum came third in the two-horse race for the second week running and their only points came from South African errors or poor discipline in a poor, spiteful game.

They seem to have shelved the offload game but have put nothing in its place. Their pack has size and aggression but no self-control and Juan Martin Hernandez’s best days at No.10 are long gone.

They look like the very definition of cannon fodder in this year’s tournament and must be wondering when the promised dividends of being in Super Rugby are going to appear.

Paul Cully’s Team of the Week

1. Joe Moody (New Zealand)

2. Dane Coles (New Zealand)

3. Nepo Laulala (New Zealand)

4. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)

5. Rory Arnold (Australia)

6. Liam Squire (New Zealand)

7. Siya Kolisi (South Africa)

8. Sean McMahon (Australia)

9. Will Genia (Australia)

10. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)

11. Rieko Ioane (New Zealand)

12. Kurtley Beale (Australia)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (Australia)

14. Ben Smith (New Zealand)

15. Israel Folau (Australia)

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Waste giant penalised nearly $1 million

Waste giant penalised nearly $1 million Happy: Remondis director Luke Agati, Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser and EPA organics manager Amanda Kane at an Awaba organic waste facility unveiling in May.
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Opening: Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser and Remondis executive Scott Smith at the Awaba facility in May.

Unveiling: Lake Macquarie Council representatives at the Awaba unveiling in May.

Facility: The Awaba Waste Management Facility where the new organics processing centre will be built.

TweetFacebookThe whole process of mass overload began with Remondis, and ultimately, it was Remondis’ legislative responsibility to ensure that the mulch that was consigned to Jet was within lawful bounds.

Local Court magistrate Susan McIntyre

“It is inescapable that Remondis had control over the primary step in the process – the consignment of the loads of mulch. It has possession of or control over the goods before they are loadedand before the goods are transported by road,” shesaid.

“The whole process of mass overload began with Remondis, and ultimately, it was Remondis’ legislative responsibility to ensure that the mulch that was consigned to Jet was within lawful bounds.

“Jet’s invoices were repeatedly paid without any regard by Remondis as to the tonnage specified. It is only when the Roads and Maritime Services brought the breaches to the attention of Remondis that they addressed the shortfalls in their system.”

There was a “glaring absence” of weight controls that were “simple, straight forward and well known”, she said.

The court heard Remondis paid Jet by the tonne but there was no evidence Remondis benefited financially from the overloading. Remondis’ lack of scrutiny of the council-operated Awaba weighbridge invoices, which carried the weights on every occasion, “allowed Jet to benefit from being paid for weight that was unlawfully carried”, Ms McIntyre found.

In a sentence that was published on Friday Ms McIntyre noted Remondis, director Luke Agati and Jet Group werefirst charged with 68 overloading breaches in November, 2015. The RMS issued another 244 alleged breaches against Remondis and Mr Agati in 2016.

All charges against Mr Agati were later withdrawn and Remondis entered guilty pleas to 50 breaches in March.

Ms McIntyre noted Mr Agati’s evidence included regret that the breaches had occurredand a statement that “these incidents do not reflect the way Remondis likes to conduct itself or its business”.

She found there was “little or no likelihood” of Remondis re-offending by allowing overloaded trucks to leave the facility.

Remondis could not be contacted for a comment.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said the departmentprioritises community and road network safety and takes “appropriate action against any party in the chain of responsibility involved in operating unsafe or non-compliant vehicles”.

“Remondis has been prosecuted in the court for failure to ensure heavy vehicles used and engaged by it are appropriately safe and do not cause undue damage to road infrastructure. Under Heavy Vehicle Legislation, all parties in a logistics chain are responsible for ensuring they meet specific duties and obligations,” the spokesperson said.

It declined to comment on the Jet Group sentencing while the matter is under appeal.