Friday, October 28, 2005

Austalia breaches internationally recognised human rights

The impact of indefinite detention: the case to change Australia’s mandatory detention regime

In the case of children, Australia’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission reports that the average detention period for a child in immigration detention is one year, eight months and 11 days.

- There is no independent judicial review of detention
- the absence of any maximum statutory time limit;
- detention can be indefinite
- violates the right to liberty and security of persons due to its lack of a case by case examination...

Austalia breaches Internationally recognised human rights

By seeking asylum in Australia asylum-seekers are exercising an internationally recognised right to seek asylum.

In doing so, they hope to escape the persecution that forced them to leave their home countries and to find a country where their fundamental rights and human dignity will be respected.

However, asylum-seekers arriving without adequate documentation are subject to the provisions of the Migration Act, which imposes mandatory detention until a decision is made in their case.

They may be detained for a prolonged period, until they are recognised as refugees and released, or following a negative decision, removed or deported.

It is unacceptable that exercising the right to seek asylum in Australia from human rights abuses in other countries should be met with a system that further violates human rights, including administrative detention of a prolonged or indefinite period of time.

Breach of international law

Australia’s policy of mandatory non-reviewable detention places it in breach of several international human rights instruments.

Article 9 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Australia is a party, prohibits arbitrary detention and provides that a detained person must be able to take proceedings before a court that can determine the lawfulness of detention and order release where detention is unlawful.

The rights to liberty and freedom from arbitrary detention are also protected in Articles 3 (right to liberty) and 9 (prohibition on arbitrary detention) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Amnesty International is of the view that detention under Australia’s mandatory detention policy is arbitrary and thus in breach of the ICCPR.

As confirmed by recent High Court decisions, in some circumstances immigration detention in Australia can be of indefinite duration and with no reasonably foreseeable prospect for release.

Amnesty International considers that Australia is also in breach of key provisions of other international instruments, including the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child

"We came to a country we heard has human rights and freedom. We can’t believe what’s happening to us … We haven’t any human rights. We are just like animals. We do not have a normal life like a human. Our feeling is dead. Our thinking is dead. We are very sad about everything. We can’t smile." - Ibrahim Ishreti

Ibrahim Ishreti fled persecution in search of safety in Australia. His hope for freedom turned into more than four years of detention, bridging visas, bureaucracy and despair. He is among thousands of men, women and children who have been held for anywhere from six days to six years under Australia’s immigration detention regime.

The policy is inconsistent with Australia’s international human rights obligations.
In particular it violates the right to liberty and security of persons due to its lack of a case by case examination of the necessity and appropriateness of detention, consideration of a reasonable alternative to detention or access to independent review or an effective remedy.

The report provides an overview of the international human rights and refugee law obligations that apply to Australia’s detention of asylum-seekers and refugees and makes clear that Australia’s policy does not accord with international law and standards.

The report provides recommendations the implementation of which would put an end to the indefinite detention of rejected asylum-seekers and would bring Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers into line with its international obligations.

The impact of indefinite detention: the case to change Australia’s mandatory detention regime:

30 June 2005 - Amnesty International

something pink

Monday, October 24, 2005

John Howard Trust

2005 WA Spring Poetry Festival: spontaneous explosion of creative ideas, fresh poetry and the power of community

The 2005 WA Spring Poetry Festival: spontaneous explosion of creative ideas, fresh poetry and the power of community

Initially a flow on from the 2004 National Poetry Week activities, Coordinator Maureen Sexton met earlier this year with various Poetry organising folks from across Perth. With a view to seek ideas and energy for "Spring Poetry Month," many diverse events were planned throughout September 2005.

Keen to build a Poetry Festival for 2006, I initially came on board to help Maureen create a functional website [] and to offer support where I could. I've been participating in various art/poetry/music festivals and events over the last ten years or so, as well coordinator of many events both here and interstate.

When I saw the scale and diversity of events on offer - some 50 plus activities organised across September - I realised that this was indeed a "Festival" in its own right. However there was no decent funding. And little initial volunteer support. We quickly applied for funds from the City of Perth, who came to the party with some basic funding, venue and tech support. However it was Maureen and her partner, Lyn who held the fort miraculously intact and worked tirelessly to build the Festival bones into such a workable body.

Frances Macaulay Forde's poetry events in the Pages Cafe at the WA State Library were also well attended and provided ample opportunities for our poets to read their works. Non-stop thanks and appreciation must go to these very excellent women of Perth Poetry.

BUT massive respect also goes to EACH and EVERYONE who did anything whatsoever to make this year's festival into a workable model for the future.

The inaugural WA Spring Poetry Festival was a much-needed splash of energy for this state - indeed an opiate to the general state of poetic endeavor in this part of the country. Having been a guest in August at the 2005 Melbourne Overload Poetry Fest and the Queensland Poetry Festivals, it was good to realise that much to my surprise, Perth poetry is fresh, alive and cranking in 2005.

Whilst in Melbourne and Brisbane I talked up the idea of a WA Poetry Festival to many Australian poets and poetry organisers.

From my travels over the last few years to various arts, poetry and writerly festivals and events in the eastern states, it seems that many poets are quite keen to make the journey west, but nobody really knows about opportunities to read and distribute their work here. With 100s of chances to participate over the month, the WA Spring Poetry festival is an excellent excuse to get poets here.

As a result we had several talented poets travel over from Melbourne: Steve Smart, Meg Dunne, Amelia Walker and Kristen Turbett to name a few. There was also high levels of genuine interest from many other interstate poets from all over Australia to travel to WA for the 2006 festival.

For my main role in the WA Poetry Festival 2005 experiment, I built and maintained the Festival website, offered advice and helped where I could, including some of the Friday night events. The SubVerse readings were almost surreal inside the somewhat intimidating acoustics of the newly furbished Perth Town Hall.

Whilst not necessarily an ideal venue for poetry, much fun was had and crankin poems were heard throughout the various nights. It was beautiful to hear a poetry which is invigorated and charged with political energy.
Amongst the highlights for me were David Starr and Lois Olfry’s poems about Aboriginality and life in the North West; but also Viv Glance's powerful imagery in her performance piece based on the US invasion of Iraq.

I attended several events throughout the month and was generally impressed with the quality and diversity of poetry we have here in WA. I enjoyed the Poet Trees - a virtual mini-jungle of words in the Murray St Mall. I was also impressed by the positive public reaction to actual poetry at the accompanying "Poetrees Aloud" readings - as well as the enthusiastic responses to performing poems at the Speaker's Steps!

In particular the delivery and performance aspect of poetry appealed to me during the Festival. It is a beautiful thing to listen to the human voice; to embrace the sound and rhythms of poetry; to consume the meditation and passion of the human utterance.

In the 21st century - all-consumed by post-oral, mega-hyper, glossy-mud-media - we rarely take in the real poetry of each others voice and language. But, so it seems, there’s a plethora of WA poets keen to embrace the passion of poetry performance at the moment. I look forward to hearing/collaborating on more great stuff over the next 12 months as we build the 2006 festival events program.

The Festival was also a good opportunity to see the poetry community – as scattered and fragmented as it seems – to actually come together for such an event. September 2005 saw over 100 people read and perform their works in public, along with hundreds more participating in the “Poet Trees”, the Poetry Walls and other opportunities. In essence the festival has given Perth poets an untapped mass exposure for the normally disregarded genre of poetry.

Considering the current lack of Poetry Readings on offer in WA, besides WOW and Voicebox, there has been little opportunities for emerging and even established poets to read, perform and distribute their efforts around Perth. Throughout the month there were murmurings of potential new readings appearing in more Perth venues over the coming months.

Perth Poetry is alive and bangin I tells ya!

And the 2006 WASPF looks set to be an even bigger and better oiled series of poetic events. We are seeking more funding and gathering a team of interested people who want to contribute and participate in this ongoing project to bring Poetry to People – and People to Poetry!

Please let us know I you want to help...

NOTE: The website is now an ongoing, organic networking resource for WA poets and will eventually become a portal for West Aussie poetry for a long time to come.

Please send me suggestions as to how you think the website could be improved.

allan boyd - WASPF05 Team

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mining Industry Pressure

[DRAFTING article - work in progress]


ANSTO: "The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation - the funky "ANSTO" - was established in 1953 as the Australian Atomic Energy Commission to promote the development of nuclear energy and associated technologies in Australia. An aggressive organisation, and has a long history of attempting to manipulate the nuclear debate in Australia. It has been in large part mostly responsible for the devastation at Rum Jungle during the 1950's to 1960's. The then AAEC dismissed it as a "minor local pollution problem" - just over 100 km of polluted environments...

ANSTO are purely a front for the uranium industry and they exist so Australia can maintain it's seat on the Executive of the IAEA (which we picked up in the 1950's for allowing nuclear devastation at Maralinga).
Rum Jungle

Ecological landslide fuels nuclear debate - By Paul Gilding - 29 August 2005

The Nuclear debate here in WA, the nation and indeed across the globe has increased intensity recently...

James Lovelock's Gaia theory inspired the Green movement. But as fossil fuels begin, literally, to cost the earth, he argues that nuclear power could save the planet... [James Lovelock Transcript][ The whole world in our hands ]

It seems the argument to to adopt Nuclear power plants to halt climate change and the rate of Global Warming, is gaining ground. Mining companies and industry lobby groups have been pushing hard to get uranium back on the governments agenda.

Nuclear power quietly confident in energy debate

Guardian report: The nuclear industry
Pre-empting debate
Yahoo News: Nuclear Power and Waste

Nuclear power was dead in the water - wildly expensive, deeply unpopular and a nightmare to clean up. But now the government is talking about a new generation of reactors. Can it really be the green answer to our energy needs? Back to the future

Federal and state governments are seeking to push the nuclear barrow: A standing commitee has been set up for the very task of reigniting the issue - Inquiry into developing Australia's non-fossil fuel energy industry.

"The Committee shall commence its inquiry with a case study into the strategic importance of Australia's uranium resources. The case study shall have particular regard to the:

1. global demand for Australia's uranium resources and associated supply issues;
2. strategic importance of Australia's uranium resources and any relevant industry developments;
3. potential implications for global greenhouse gas emission reductions from the further development and export of Australia's uranium resources; and
4. current structure and regulatory environment of the uranium mining sector (noting the work that has been undertaken by other inquiries and reviews on these issues).

Renewable Versus Nuclear Debate

"2005 will be remembered as the year the nuclear industry came back for one final swing. After a long decline, world uranium prices rose sharply during 2003 and are currently as high as they've been in decades. Combined with concerns about climate change, the industry believes it is set for a renaissance, and governments everywhere are talking it up. ANAWA

The Australian Government is using the climate crisis as a smokescreen for pushing for new uranium mines across the country. State ALP governments are under attack from within to reverse decades-long policies restricting industry expansion.

Australia: uranium minefield for the world?

Progress to opening new uranium mines in Australia has been slow, with Honeymoon and Jabilukaon the back burner and Ranger in danger of runnning out of resource. But the surge in world prices and decreasing stockpiles has given the government a sniff of profit and the propaganda has been relentless.

Thursday, October 13, 2005.
WA Govt under pressure to rethink uranium ban

Western Australia's leading mining group is keeping the pressure on the Labor State Government to overturn its ban on uranium mining. Several million dollars was wiped off the share prices of uranium companies with South Australian tenements after that State Government decided to block new uranium mines until 2010.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy's David Parker says the WA Government needs to consider the impact of its opposition to uranium mining on the overall industry.

"We believe from a chamber perspective that the ban on uranium mining is at odds with the Government's aim of maximising the state's resources reserves and creates a high level of sovereign risk for investors holding exploration and mining leases," he said.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

MPs fail to support council nuclear-free zone call

Western Australian Opposition MPs have rejected calls for local councils to declare themselves nuclear-free zones.

Albany MLA Peter Watson wants local governments to amend their town planning schemes to prohibit nuclear activity.

His call is in response to the Liberal Party declaring its support for uranium mining in WA. The Liberal Member for Roe, Graham Jacobs, says his position on nuclear-free zones depends on what Mr Watson's definition of nuclear activity is.

"I would certainly oppose and reject any proposal to establish a nuclear waste dump in Western Australia or the electorate of Roe or anywhere else for that matter in Western Australia," he said. "So if that's the sort of nuclear activity he's talking about I would oppose that. Now, if you're talking, though, about uranium mining, that's another issue and that's not nuclear activity."

The Member for Stirling, the Nationals' Terry Redman, says he will not be following Mr Watson's lead by asking other councils in his electorate to declare themselves nuclear-free.

Mr Redman says it is important that there is a community debate on uranium mining and nuclear activities. "There's a whole heap of hype out there and there are a number of people who are not informed about the real issues and I think it's important that we do promote that to the community before people make a decision on these sorts of things," he said.

Nuclear power quietly confident in energy debate

ANSTO- The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is Australia 's national nuclear research and development organisation and the centre of Australian nuclear expertise.

With a salaried staff of approximately 860, ANSTO is responsible for delivering specialised advice, scientific services and products to government, industry, academia and other research organisations. We do so through the development of new knowledge, delivery of quality services and support for business opportunities.

ANSTO's nuclear infrastructure includes the research reactor, HIFAR (High Flux Australian Reactor), particle accelerators, radiopharmaceutical production facilities, and a range of other unique research facilities. HIFAR is Australia 's only nuclear reactor. It is used to produce radioactive products for use in medicine and industry, as a source of neutron beams for scientific research and to irradiate silicon for semiconductor applications. A replacement for HIFAR, OPAL – the Open Pool Australian Light-water reactor – is in its final stages of construction.

ANSTO also operates the National Medical Cyclotron, an accelerator facility used to produce certain short-lived radioisotopes for nuclear medicine procedures. It is located in the grounds of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown.

ANSTO also manages Australian synchrotron facilities at a number of overseas locations.

ANSTO's main site is located 40 km south west of Sydney 's central business district, occupies 70 hectares and is surrounded by a 1.6 km buffer zone.

ANSTO's general purpose is prescribed by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Act 1987 and translated into action through corporate drivers of vision, mission and strategic goals.


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