MANUS STILL AT BOILING POINT
It seems fears of a bloody confrontation on Manus Island did not eventuate overnight. Around 600 men remain in the centre, concerned about their safety and the appropriateness of alternate accommodation.
Greens Senator Nick McKim, who is currently visiting the island, said the site of the new accommodation “consists of two demountables in a paddock full of mud. It is in no way fit for human habitation.”
At midnight, Kurdish journalist and detainee Behrouz Boochani tweeted that refugees were keeping watch as others tried to sleep in the compound, which was officially closed at 5pm local time.
“The refugees in Manus are going to sleep in fear, stress & hunger. Some of them awake to keep watch. We couldn’t get enough rest this week.”
Yesterday, there were reports of looting in the camp by locals, who also held a protest on the island. Refugees have dug in for a long wait, setting up rain collectors to pool water after utilities were shut off. In February 2014, locals, staff, and security forces overwhelmed the centre, killing asylum seeker Reza Barati.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said claims about the situation being made by asylum seekers and their advocates were “subterfuge”.
“They have long claimed the Manus RPC was a ‘hellhole’ but the moment it was to be closed they demanded it be kept open,” he said.
In a separate development, the United Nations has warned 14,000 asylum seekers and refugees stranded in Indonesia they should expect to remain there as resettlement options dry up in the wake of the Rohingya crisis and tougher policies from countries including the United States and Australia. Refugees stranded in Indonesia have few rights and are not legally entitled to work.
THE NEVER-ENDING CITIZENSHIP STORY
The Turnbull government is facing further disruption — but not of the innovative kind.
Liberal Senate president Stephen Parry has been outed as a potential dual citizen less than a week after the High Court booted two members of the government over their mixed statuses. Parry’s father was born in Britain, and The Australian yesterday revealed Parry had written to the British Home Office to confirm his status.
In a statement, Parry confirmed he would step down if his dual-citizen status were to be confirmed. That would likely clear the way for former Liberal senator Richard Colbeck to return to the Senate.
The latest revelation has bolstered calls for an audit of all MPs. Attorney-General George Brandis has suggested legislation, rather than a referendum, could be used to deal with issues arising from section 44 of the constitution.
Whatever Parry’s fate, it appears the Nationals remain the big losers of the constitutional drama for now. It is anticipated they will drop from five to four cabinet spots as a result of losing an MP.
RAMS FOUNDER CHARGED WITH FRAUD
The millionaire founder of RAMS Home Loans John Kinghorn has pleaded not guilty to two charges of fraud relating to the alleged avoidance of $30 million in tax.
Kinghorn, who has previously been linked by an ICAC inquiry to corrupt New South Wales politician Eddie Obeid, is facing up to 10 years in prison. The businessman and philanthropist made $650 million when RAMS Home Loans was floated shortly before the global financial crisis.
It is alleged Kinghorn concealed ownership and control of two companies registered in a tax haven in the Channel Islands. The charges are the result of an eight-year Australian Federal Police investigation.
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Melbourne: Federal MPs including International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells to speak at the Australian Council for International Development’s aid conference.
Melbourne: The Victorian Liberal Party will decide on how to resolve a conflict over the Cormack Foundation, which has been at war with the party over governance issues.
Sydney: Staff at Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney go on strike over failed negotiations with their employers.
‘The very definition of a good old fashioned reporter’: remembering Ben Sandilands — Sally Whyte: “Former editors, colleagues, sources, adversaries and competitors all say the same things about Ben Sandilands: old school. No bullshit. Fearless. Straight to the point. And if there was something about aviation he didn’t know, it probably wasn’t worth knowing.”
How the sop of ‘recognition’ forces Indigenous people to beg — Guy Rundle: “Recognition is a strange beast; emerging from the Howard years, this proposal was to let a white settler constitution confer identity on the people whose vanquishment that constitution was the key product of. It acquired a bit more sense when the notion of a treaty was added to.”
Tips and rumours — Crikey: “A tipster tells us the video didn’t go down well with One Nation, with James Ashby calling Lane to demand that the video be taken down. Our tipster says Ashby threatened to cancel Lane’s party membership.”
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