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Issue #1799      October 18, 2017


Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane has brought the anti-racism message home, launching a set of advertisements for broadcast on national TV and for streaming to millions of desktop computers and hand-held devices around the country. The campaign depicts casual racism in the workplace and the provision of goods and services. “Independent research has found that racist incidents frequently occur at work and while people are doing everyday things such as catching a bus, riding a train, or flagging a taxi,” Soutphommasane said. “We know, too, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people with an African background experience extremely high levels of racial discrimination. We hope this campaign helps create a culture where people are able to identify racism and have the confidence and tools to act appropriately and safely when it does occur.”

While on the Human Rights Commission, it should be kept in mind that the body has expressed continuing and deep concern about the abuse of young people in detention. As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner June Oscar put it: “The focus on punitive measures is failing young people. A much better approach is to focus on effective early intervention, prevention and diversion programs.” And the National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, points out that Australia has around 900 children and young people in youth justice detention at any one time. “This issue is clearly not restricted to one state or territory,” Mitchell says. “Children and young people in youth justice detention are entitled to serve their time free from abuse. We must learn from the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory and from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to ensure that institutions embed a culture that safeguards children’s rights.”

Lock the Gate Alliance says the National Energy Summit should focus on ending the gas export dash and on growing renewable energy in order to fix energy policy while protecting land and water from fracking. “We can ensure we are looking after both Australia’s energy needs and our agricultural needs by getting gas exports under control and by allowing renewable energy to flourish,” Lock the Gate spokesperson Phil Laird said. “Lock the Gate welcomes the announcement from Bill Shorten at the National Energy Summit that Labor would extend the water trigger to shale gas. “Shale gas is every bit as risky as CSG and it is past time that shale and tight gas are subject to the water trigger.” The water trigger and state fracking regulations have come about because farmers and regional communities have stood up to protect their land and water for our food security and that of future generations. The federal government’s approach of blaming farmers to try and distract from the mismanagement of gas exports is not the answer. Australia has a gas export problem, plain and simple. Most of the gas being drilled from farmers’ land is being sent overseas while domestic customers are left paying top dollar.

Next article – Region Briefs

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