BORDER FORCE RAID

A coalition of police officers, Border Force officials and Serco guards reportedly conducted early morning raids on a Queensland-based refugee family of four last Monday, March 5.

According to a statement from the Tamil Refugee Council and a neighbour’s subsequent e-petition, former Sri Lankan-refugee Priya, her husband Nadesalingam, and their two Australian-born daughters — 9-month-old Dharuniga and 2-year-old Kopiga — were given 10 minutes to pack before being removed from their Biloela house around 5am, being flown to Melbourne and detained in Broadmeadows Detention Centre.

Priya, whose bridging visa expired March 4 and was working on a renewal, alleges that Border Force officers then told her that, unless the family signed voluntary deportation documents, they would be denied phone access, the parents separated, and the family deported to Sri Lanka. They reportedly signed the documents after two days, and are currently in Broadmeadows.

MINIMUM WAGE BOOST?

The Victorian government is calling for the biggest hike to the minimum wage since 2010 in a reported effort to address stagnating rates, rising income inequality and reliance on award wages.

According to The Age, the Andrews government has called for the minimum wage to rise from $18.29 per hour to $19 per hour as part of its submission to the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage review. 

JINPING FOREVER

China’s President Xi Jinping is now free to rule indefinitely after Congress passed a constitutional amendment removing presidential term limits, with just two “no” votes and three abstentions amongst nearly 3,000 delegates yesterday.

The ABC reports that the amendment, passed by the Communist Party last month and a sure-bet in the party-run Parliament, also outlines a legal framework for a new supermassive anticorruption department and embeds Xi’s political theory within the constitution — an act no one since Mao Zedong has accomplished while in office.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

“Who knows what’s going to happen? I may leave fast or we may sit down and make the greatest deal for the world.”

— US President Donald Trump speculates on his historic May meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and honestly, at this point, who knows? It seems extremely unlikely that these men will accidentally initiate regional peace, but he’s right in saying anything could happen.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Australian tests expose VW ‘fix’ on fuel, emissions ($)

Australia leads on extinction rate: report

Despicable visa agents preying on the most vulnerable fleecing them of savings ($)

Queensland schoolchildren trapped by floods for almost a week finally rescued

Law changes could see pokie machine numbers rise in vulnerable areas

NSW laws that make land clearing easier reinstated by Berejiklian government

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Wollongong, NSW: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will make an as-yet unspecified appearance.

Sydney: Former Indonesian foreign minister Dr Marty Natalegawa will give a public lecture on the future of ASEAN at Sydney Uni.

Brisbane: Researchers at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute will discuss their online risk predictor for melanomas for people aged 40 and over. The test was developed using data from nearly 42,000 people aged from their forties to seventies, and calculates the risk of developing melanoma over the next 3.5 years based on seven risk factors. 

Sydney: Professor Audrey Macklin, Chair in Human Rights Law at the University of Toronto, will discuss how Canada’s private sponsorship program enables citizens to take on responsibilities for resettling refugees.

Auckland: Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyễn Xuân Phúc will begin his Head of State visit to New Zealand, set to include engagements in Auckland and Waikato from March 12-14.

THE COMMENTARIAT

We are ignoring the sex lives of women in rural Australia and they are paying the priceJustine Landis-Hanley (The Age): “It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that discrimination of rural women is reserved for those living in developing countries with slower economic growth and lower overall standards of living. But every day on home soil rural women, particularly adolescent girls, face considerable barriers to seeking family planning services like contraception and safe abortions, STD treatment, and gynaecology appointments.”

Labor v Liberal: who best runs the Australian economy? — Stephen Koukoulas (The Guardian): “All this prompts the obvious question — just how valid is the claim that the Liberal Party is a superior economic manager to Labor? One way (of many) to test this is to examine the rate of economic growth under each government… Another test, which takes some account of the impact on the Australian economy of overseas influences, is to judge Australian economic growth against that of the United States.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF FRIDAY

Netflix get on the front foot over controversial comedian Chris LilleyEmily Watkins: “Controversial comedian Chris Lilley is back, but he probably won’t be doing blackface this time. The Queensland Government announced this week that it was supporting a new project from Lilley, to be filmed in the Sunshine State and to be available from streaming giant Netflix.”

Is Germany building a case to charge Australian ministers for crimes against humanity?Greg Barns: “Given the lack of interest that the International Criminal Court has shown in investigating possible crimes against humanity committed by members of the Abbott and Turnbull governments in respect to asylum seekers detained on Nauru and Manus Island, does the German legal system provide an alternative way forward to hold ministers such as Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton to account?”

Inquiry into ABC and SBS on the launch pad, but who’s the target? — Bernard Keane: “An inquiry into the competitive neutrality of the national broadcasters is set to commence shortly but the terms of reference, and the real purpose of the inquiry, remain a mystery. According to Mitch Fifield’s Department of Communications, the review — first announced as part of the government’s deal with One Nation senators to pass media ownership reforms last year — will commence in the next couple of weeks and is expected to take around six months.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

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