Yesterday, in a dramatic backdown, the Australian government agreed to allow 56 Tamils asylum seekers who were due to be deported to Sri Lanka to make applications to be granted asylum as refugees. Today, the Australian government is once again planning to deport another group of Tamils who have been subject to a "screening out" process which denies them the right to proceed with a a full refugee application.
Refugee policy - a dangerous lottery for Sri Lankan asylum seekers
Today, the Australian government released more than 500 men, most of whom are Sri Lankan, from detention on bridging visas into the community. Most of these men have arrived since August when the Gillard government reintroduced its harsh new policy aimed at deterring people from traveling by boat to seek asylum.
Australian psychiatrists speak out against Pacific Solution 2
On November 30, New Matilda published a report by Adam Brereton and myself which included the comments of Professor of Developmental Psychiatry Dr Louise Newman who explained how detention centres like the ones on Nauru and Manus Island produce feeling of abandonment, despair and psychiatric disorders. On the same day, Dr Michael Dudley is Chairperson of the Suicide Australia Prevention Board since 2001 spoke at a protest rally outside the Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek’s office. As he spoke scores of asylum seekers detained by the Australian government on the Pacific island nation of Nauru were on hunger strike with one, Omid laying critically ill in a small Nauru hospital after refusing food for 50 days. A few hours later he was taken by air ambulance to a hospital in Brisbane.
Nauru's 'Explosive Situation'
A former adviser to the federal government on mental health in detention has slammed Labor's immigration policy. Louise Newman says the majority of asylum seekers on Nauru will develop psychiatric disorders.
Fairfax smoozing Packer puts independent journalism under pressure
Fairfax's SMH journalists have been amongst the few to probe the NSW O'Farrell's government backing of James Packer's plan for a new hotel casino in Sydney. Reporter Sean Nicholls broke a story about how the government had changed the rules for "unsolicited proposals" in a way that made it easier for Packer to avoid a competitive tender. So I was shocked when I opened the SMH on Saturday and found a plug for a story by Packer pitching his casino plan labelled as an 'exclusive' and 'news'. There were several independent reports inside the paper, but online, Packer's free promo was number three while other pieces were buried further down the page.
№ 8 in Packer’s Sydney Casino
Packer Wins A PR Coup
If James Packer urging Sydneysiders to back his casino plan is 'news', then that's news to Wendy Bacon. She asked senior journalists at the SMH what they thought of Packer's journalistic debut.
№ 7 in Packer’s Sydney Casino
Packer's Casino Present
In late October, New Matilda began our series on James Packer's proposal for a new casino in Sydney. I worked on this series with Lawrence Bull.
№ 6 in Packer’s Sydney Casino
Economists question Packer's promised bonanza for NSW
This week, New Matilda continued our series on Packer's proposal for a hotel with casino at Barangaroo South on the edge of Sydney Harbour. Lawrence Bull asked two economists what they thought of James Packer's claim that his casino would deliver $400 million to NSW and they raised lots of questions:
№ 5 in Packer’s Sydney Casino
NSW has laws to control casino industry but Premier O'Farrell wants to cut free
Today, New Matilda published another story in our series on James Packer casino deal. This one explains how casino regulation works in NSW and how O'Farrell's plan to "get on with it" removes a lot of safeguards put in place to protect NSW against organised crime and corrupt influences which have a history targetting casinos.
№ 4 in Packer’s Sydney Casino
Red Tape Cut For Packer
Tough laws regulate gambling in NSW - and they're about to be bypassed to help James Packer build his casino. The independence of casino regulation is being challenged. Wendy Bacon reports.