Daily Archives: July 7, 2014

Australia: High Court grants injunction over asylum seeker boat


Immigration minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the boat’s passengers had all been safely returned. Picture: Gary Ramage Source: News Corp Australia

The High Court has issued an interim injunction preventing the transfer to Sri Lanka of 153 asylum seekers who are missing on a boat bound for Australia.

The injunction, granted late on Monday in Sydney, applies at least until a hearing resumes on Tuesday afternoon at 2.15pm.

The asylum seekers are represented by Ron Merkel, QC, who argued to Justice Susan Crennan that the transfer was illegal because the asylum seekers had been deprived the ability to have their claims properly assessed.

But it is not clear whether the transfer has already taken place because Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has refused to comment and his lawyers told the court they had not received instructions.

Sources said lawyers were representing the asylum seekers through their families and they have not been in touch with them since contact was lost more than a week ago.

The surprise court action followed an emotional plea from the father of a three-year-old girl on board the boat for Mr Morrison to reveal the fate of the passengers.

“I am desperate to know where my family is,” the man said. He claimed all on board would face persecution if they were sent to Sri Lanka.

“I can’t function at all not knowing.”

The legal move came as Gillian Triggs, the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, announced plans to investigate the treatment of children on the boat if they were transferred to an Australian vessel before being returned to Sri Lanka.

Thirty-seven children are believed to have been on board the boat, which has not been heard from since Saturday, June 28, and left Pondicherry in southern India, on June 13.

Speaking on condition of anonymity from Europe, the father said he had not had contact with his family, including daughter Febrina, for more than a week.

‘‘I cannot understand why a country like Australia would send people back to Sri Lanka, knowing they have been tortured there,’’ he said.

Professor Triggs expressed alarm that the “enhanced screening” process used to reject the claims of another boat of 41 Sri Lankans –  who were transferred at sea to Sri Lankan authorities – appeared in breach of international law.

source: smh.com.au

Australia sends asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka


The Australian government has confirmed it has returned a boatload of refugees to Sri Lanka, outraging human rights groups. The asylum seekers include Tamils, who fear reprisals at home.

In a statement issued on Monday, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said 41 Sri Lankan asylum seekers traveling by boat had been returned to their home country on Sunday after their refugee claims had been assessed at sea and rejected.

The Sri Lankans were intercepted by Australia’s border patrol off the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean in late June, the statement said, adding that all people aboard the vessel were safe and accounted for.

Morrison told Macquarie Radio that four of the asylum seekers on board were Tamils, but denied that any were in danger of persecution.

Refugee advocates say Tamils still face violence by the Sri Lankan military after a lengthy civil war between government troops and now-defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

In the past three months, three Tamil asylum seekers on temporary visas in Australia have set themselves on fire at the prospect of being sent back to Sri Lanka. Two died.

‘Profound concern’

Morrison’s statements come after he had for days refused to comment on reports that around 200 Sri Lankan refugees traveling in two boats had been intercepted by Australian officials and handed over to Sri Lankan authorities. The minister on Monday again declined to say whether a second boat existed, saying that further comment could endanger Australia’s “on-water” operations.

The United Nations refugee agency last week expressed “profound concern” at the reports, criticizing Australia for processing asylum seekers at sea rather than bringing them ashore to assess their claims.

“UNHCR considers that individuals who seek asylum must be properly and individually screened for protection needs,” the agency said in a statement.

The statement added that “international law prescribes that no individual can be returned involuntarily to a country in which he or she has a well-found fear of persecution.”

Sri Lankan police said on Monday that those returned would be charged with leaving the country illegally. Those found guilty face “rigorous imprisonment,” they said.

Hardline policies

The return of the refugees to Sri Lanka has fueled concerns about Australia’s asylum seeker policies implemented by the country’s conservative government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Under the policies, refugee boats are being turned back at sea. Up to now, the vessels have been returned to Indonesia, where refugees from several countries pay people smugglers to get them to Australia aboard boats that are often unseaworthy.

Human rights groups accuse Australia of violating its international obligations, but this is denied by the government.

In 2013, Australia received 16,000 asylum seeker applications, just under 0.5 percent of the 3.6 million applications lodged worldwide, according to UN figures.

The government says there have been no “illegal” arrivals since December 2013 under the turning-back policy.

source: dw.de

Australia:FFA bans ethnic names and logos


Football’s governing body claims ban will make the game more inclusive and multicultural.

Fairfax Media has reported an announcement made by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) that it will prevent new or revised club names, logos and emblems from including in them any ethnic, national, political, racial or religious connotations.

It is a move that is reportedly aimed at nationalising football beyond the constraints of national and ethnic identity.
When Neos Kosmos contacted the FFA, it received the official press release following the announcement.
The press release explained that the policy was developed by member federations and the FFA which identified a need for a holistic national policy that prescribed to consistency across all jurisdictions in Australia.

FFA chief executive David Gallop said the policy is aimed at promoting football as an inclusive, accessible and multicultural sport.
“Football is now a part of the mainstream of Australian society and has achieved that status while also retaining its rich diversity,” he said.
“The very name and logo of a club sends a message about what that club stands for. We want clubs that stand for uniting people through the joy of football.”
The FFA’s new policy will not apply retrospectively to existing clubs.

The Football Federation of Victoria (FFV) took a similar stance to the FFA after the announcement was made.
FFV spokesperson Sammie Black told Neos Kosmos that it agreed with the national policy.

“(The) FFV concurs with the national policy. As stated, it ‘aims to promote and strengthen the reputation of football in Australia by making the sport of football inclusive for all participants. FFA acknowledges the multicultural nature of Australia and the valuable contribution that various communities have made to the historical development of football in Australia. FFA also respects Clubs’ desires to acknowledge their heritage and contribution to their local communities. FFA has a responsibility to protect and grow the reputation of the sport of football in Australia and to ensure its openness and accessibility to all Australians’.”

source: Neos Kosmos

Australia: Crete Anzac memorial targets 2015


Glenda Humes with Deputy Mayor of Chania Dimitris Lipsakis in Tsikalaria, Crete in May. Photo: Mike Sweet.

Chania Municipality committed to complete the project.

Following the successful presentation of the 42nd Street Plaque to the Chania Municipality in May, Chania’s Deputy Mayor Dimitris Lipsakis has said every effort will be made by the Chania Municipality to have the memorial completed by May 2015 – in time for its inauguration on the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Crete.
With a site having been identified by the municipality near the village of Tsikalaria, efforts are now underway to confirm the transfer of the state-owned land to the local authorities.

Municipality architect engineer Aggelina Sirakouli has been tasked with the job of creating the memorial’s overall design. Until the memorial is complete, the 42nd Street plaque is on display in the permanent Battle of Crete exhibition housed in the Nautical Museum of Crete, Chalidon 21, Chania.

While the cost of the memorial’s final construction is yet to be confirmed, the plaque’s organisers have been told by Deputy Mayor Lipsakis that the municipality will be in a position to allocate funds to the project, as part of its infrastructure program, however a proportion of the final costs may be still required from other sources.
The Friends of 42nd Street Trust – the organisation set up by Glenda Humes (daughter of Captain Reg Saunders MBE, who served in Crete in WWII) to manage the memorial’s development – will continue to work with the municipality and sponsors to complete the memorial.

The Trust’s project co-ordinator Mike Sweet said that the memorial was well on the way to becoming a reality after three years of planning.

“The first step has been achieved, and now – with the Chania Municipality as our partner and hugely supportive one – I’m confident this memorial will be built. It will take a little more time, but what the municipality have in mind is very ambitious. It will be a landmark monument – marking this very special Battle of Crete story,” said Sweet.
The 42nd Street Memorial Plaque has been supported financially by: The Pancretan Association of Melbourne and Victoria; The Cretan Association of Sydney and NSW; The Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand; The Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, and the Andriotakis family of Sydney.

source: Neos Kosmos

Αυστραλία:Στα ύψη οι τιμές των ακινήτων στη Μελβούρνη


Οι τιμές των ακινήτων αυξήθηκαν στα 9 από τα 10 προάστια της πόλης.

Στο 90% των προαστίων της Μελβούρνης οι τιμές των ακινήτων πήραν την ανιούσα κατά το περασμένο οικονομικό έτος σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία της RP Data.
Σε μερικά προάστια μάλιστα η αύξηση ξεπέρασε τον μέσο όρο αύξησης που ήταν 9,9% αφού ξεπέρασε ακόμα και το 40%.

Η αύξηση των τιμών στα «κλασικά» ακριβά προάστια της πόλης, όπως το Middle Park, για παράδειγμα, ξεπέρασε το 43%. Μεγάλες αυξήσεις στην τιμή των ακινήτων δεν παρατηρήθηκαν όμως μόνο στα ακριβά προάστια της πόλης αλλά και στα δυτικά προάστια της πόλης που θεωρούνταν πιο προσιτά από άποψη τιμής.
Για παράδειγμα, στο προάστιο Braybrook, οι τιμές αυξήθηκαν κατά 25,1% ποσοστό που μεταφράζεται σε περίπου $90,000.
Την ίδια στιγμή, σε 53 από 411 προάστια της Μελβούρνης οι τιμές των ακινήτων μειώθηκαν.

Όπως προκύπτει από τα στοιχεία στα 10 προάστια της πόλης που βρίσκονται στην κορυφή του καταλόγου όσον αφορά το ποσοστό αύξησης των ακινήτων σ’ αυτά, η μέση τιμή των ακινήτων τους αυτή τη στιγμή κυμαίνεται στις $800,000.

Τα στοιχεία της RP Data, αποκαλύπτουν, επίσης, ότι η αύξηση των τιμών στα ακίνητα των δεν μεταφράστηκε και σε έλλειψη ενδιαφέροντος των αγοραστών καθώς προάστια όπως το Middle Park, αλλά και το Hawthorn τα οποία συγκαταλέγονται στα ακριβότερα της πόλης βρίσκονται στην κορυφή του καταλόγου των ακινήτων που βγήκαν στην αγορά και πουλήθηκαν άμεσα.

Πηγή: Νέος Κόσμος

Ομογενής στο «Πάνθεον» των Αρσιβαριστών της Αυστραλίας


Στη φωτογραφία μας από αριστερά οι κ.κ. Γιώργος Βασιλειάδης, Αντζ Κένος, διαιτητής της άρσης βαρών και ο επίσης πρώην πρωταθλητής ομογενής αρσιβαρίστας Μπιλ Στέλιος

Ο Γιώργος Βασιλειάδης ήταν δύο φορές πρωταθλητής σε Κοινοπολιτειακούς Αγώνες και παγκόσμιος πρωταθλητής.

Ο πρώην παγκόσμιος πρωταθλητής της άρσης βαρών, Γιώργος Βασιλειάδης, εισήλθε στο Πάνθεον (Hall of Fame) των αρσιβαριστών της Αυστραλίας.

Ο Γιώργος Βασιλειάδης ήταν δύο φορές πρωταθλητής σε Κοινοπολιτειακούς Αγώνες, το 1970 κερδίζοντας το χρυσό μετάλλιο στην κατηγορία των 52 κιλών, σηκώνοντας συνολικά 290 κιλά (3 άρσεις) και το 1974 στην κατηγορία των 60 κιλών σηκώνοντας συνολικά 230 κιλά (2 άρσεις). Έλαβε, επίσης, μέρος στους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες του Μονάχου το 1972, όπου κατέλαβε την 6η θέση στην κατηγορία του.

Ο Γιώργος Βασιλειάδης γεννήθηκε στην Κύπρο και το 1961 μετανάστευσε στην Αυστραλία με την οικογένειά του. Ήρθε σε πρώτη επαφή με το άθλημα της άρσης βαρών όταν ήταν ακόμα μαθητής του δημοτικού σχολείου Belmore Primary στο Σίδνεϊ, ενώ το γεγονός ότι ένας από τους πρώτους του προπονητές ήταν ο Gary Noake αθλητής στίβου που συμμετείχε στους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες του 1964, φαίνεται να έπαιξε καθοριστικό ρόλο στο να εξελιχθεί σε έναν από τους μεγαλύτερους αρσιβαρίστες στην αθλητική ιστορία της Αυστραλίας.

Πηγή: Νέος Κόσμος

Government continuing to lose favour in polls


Voter support for the federal government has dropped three points to 37 per cent, but more heavily in stronghold states Western Australia and Queensland, according to the latest Newspoll.

In findings being attributed to displeasure with the coalition’s first budget, government support in WA has slipped six points to 40 per cent and by four points to 37 per cent in Queensland.

Men are generally continuing to back the government, but its support among females has dropped two points to 35 per cent, according to the results published by The Australian.

There has also been a significant fall in backing from older voters, with support among those aged between 35 and 49 tumbling three points to 34 per cent, and among those 50 and older falling from 48 per cent to 45 per cent.

Tony Abbott has also taken a hit, with only 38 per cent of voters in the prime minister’s home state of NSW preferring him in the top job, compared to 42 per cent who say they’d back Bill Shorten.

The prime minister’s personal rating has fallen sharply in all states and every demographic group.

Nationally, he is preferred as prime minister by 37 per cent of voters (a drop of four points) while nationwide approval for Mr Shorten has jumped from 36 per cent to 41 per cent.

source: skynews.com.au

Asylum-seekers returned to Sri Lanka, Scott Morrison says


Senator Eric Abetz has defended the government’s approach to asylum seekers. Photo: Andrew Meares

THE Australian government has confirmed 41 asylum-seekers have been returned to Sri Lankan authorities during a transfer at sea.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the 41 Sri Lankans were handed over by Australian border protection authorities in an operation on Sunday.

The transfer occurred in mild sea conditions just outside the Port of Batticaloa, off the coast of Sri Lanka.

“All persons intercepted and returned were subjected to an enhanced screening process, as also practised by the previous government, to ensure compliance by Australia with our international obligations under relevant conventions,” Mr Morrison said in a statement today.

The transfer comes after days of speculation regarding the fate of 203 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, with two ships believed to have been intercepted by Australian authorities.

The government has refused to comment on the asylum seekers, citing operational reasons.

The government’s refusal to confirm the two boats had been handed back to Sri Lanka angered human rights groups, who say Tamils could face torture, rape and long-term detention if they are returned.

Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was also scathing of the government, saying handing asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka at sea was redolent of handing Jews over to the Nazis in the 1930s. Mr Morrison said of those transferred on Sunday, 37 were Sinhalese and only four were Tamil.

They were intercepted by Australian authorities in late June west of the Cocos Islands.

source: theaustralian.com.au

Australia:Govt bullying crossbench on carbon

carbon tax

Labor has accused the government of bullying new crossbenchers in its rush to axe the carbon tax, which the coalition wants scrapped by the Senate this week.

But minor party leader Clive Palmer has welcomed the move, saying Australia has debated the tax for five years.

The Senate had issued a July 14 deadline for a crucial report into the government’s carbon repeal legislation, which needs to be tabled before debate can begin.

But the Abbott government says it will ignore the former Senate’s timetable, and on Monday bring on its carbon repeal legislation with the help of minor party senators.

Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong said the government was bullying the new crossbenchers, who will be sworn in on Monday morning.

“What the government is doing is asking the Senate and the new senators on the crossbench to suspend standing orders and bring on a vote on legislation which is due to be debated on July 14th,” she told ABC Radio on Monday.

But the manager of government business in the Senate Mitch Fifield said Australians had voted to scrap the carbon tax at last year’s federal election.

“This week we would like to see the Australian Senate give effect to what the Australian people have already indicated they want,” he told ABC Radio.

Twelve new senators will be sworn in on Monday, including three from the Palmer United Party, the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party’s Ricky Muir, Family First’s Bob Day and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm.

PUP leader Clive Palmer supported a vote to scrap the carbon tax this week.

“I think it’s a good idea because Australians have debated the carbon tax now for five years,” he told ABC Radio.

The renewed push to scrap the tax came as 59 economists wrote an open letter calling for a price on carbon.

Putting a price and limit on carbon pollution is the most economically efficient way to reduce emissions, they said.

“Australia can and should do its fair share to contribute to global emissions cuts,” the letter says.

source: yahoo.com