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Issue #1742      August 3, 2016


A report on global child welfare by international agency Save the Children has singled out inequality in education in Australia across race and regions. The report finds that 60 percent of Indigenous young people finish high school compared with 90 percent of non-indigenous children. Just over half the children in the Northern Territory complete high school compared with almost 100 percent in the ACT. As Save the Children spokesperson Paul Ronalds noted: “Our analysis shows that even among the world’s most developed economies, there can be vast disparity in how children are treated and how prosperous their futures appear to be”.

The Turnbull government will introduce legislation that would allow people convicted of terrorist related offences to be kept in jail indefinitely. The extended detention would extend the detention of a person after the sentencing date has expired, essentially making null-and-void the whole court sentencing process.

A teenage child arrested last month on charges of planning a terrorist act has been denied bail even after his parents committed to keeping him at home under house arrest. The boy has significant developmental disabilities and has no affiliation with any extremist group. Alcohol was involved when he wrote his online posts. The court heard that he had stopped seeing specialists and taking his medication because of medical side effects.

Doctors for Refugees have launched a High Court challenge to laws imposed by the federal government to gag health professionals from speaking out about conditions in off-shore asylum seeker detention centres. In a statement, the group’s convenor Dr Barri Phatarfod said: “If doctors stand by and allow people in detention centres to walk through raw sewage, just to get to their meal area, they are failing their patients and their profession. If doctors and nurses remain silent about women and children [made to have] showers in view of male guards, they are not fulfilling their professional responsibilities.” Doctors working in the off-shore facilities risk criminal charges for reporting children at risk of physical or psychological harm. Dr Phatarfod said doctors were being “forced into silence about serious issues they witness”.

In a decision that has been labelled “bizarre” by authorities in India, the Turnbull government has banned an aerospace engineer from India from accepting a scholarship to Melbourne University to study a PhD in fluid mechanics. The Foreign Affairs Department told him he had been refused emtry because he was “a person whose presence in Australia may be directly or indirectly associated with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”, even though the engineer pointed out that his research was based on “freely available” mathematical models. He said the rejection would have “disastrous” consequences for his future as it will “follow me wherever I go. My career is going to end before it gets started.”

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