Crime scenes: Aboriginal deaths in custody continue

Diane Fieldes There are few facts more damning than 407 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody since the end of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991. Except, perhaps, that the figures are hard to find. Among the 339 largely-ignored recommendations of the royal...CONTINUE READING

Sydney trains going nowhere

Diane Fieldes Beleaguered Sydney train travellers have learnt a new phrase this month – “cascading anomalies”. When IT failures triggered an unprecedented collapse in the rail network’s computer systems on 16 August, including those that locate trains on the network, coordinate the rostering systems and...CONTINUE READING

My Health Record a sick joke

Diane Fieldes You would be hard pressed to find an article positively recommending having a My Health Record. That’s because the government has set it up so that we all automatically get one unless we opt out. So they largely dispensed with the bother of promoting it. Do nothing, and you’re in. Even if...CONTINUE READING

Australia, not Trump, is the world leader in anti-refugee crimes 

Diane Fieldes When Austria assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union this month, the Economist ran a cartoon of the country’s right wing, anti-refugee chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, dreaming of a map of Australia with the words “No people smuggling” embedded in it. It illustrated...CONTINUE READING

Islamophobic charges dismissed – again

Diane Fieldes To no fanfare – unlike his arrest in Sydney in July 2017 – weapons charges against Khaled Merhi have been dropped. NSW Police sought no penalty, conviction or costs. This is a very useful reminder of the bigger picture of extremely well-publicised raids on Muslims on trumped-up charges tha...CONTINUE READING

Left wing Green scores upset victory in NSW preselection contest

Diane Fieldes Running an explicitly left wing campaign, Greens MLC David Shoebridge has won preselection for the top spot on the Greens upper house ticket for the 2019 NSW state election. With 65 percent turnout of 4,000 NSW Greens members, Shoebridge received 1,161 votes, ahead of two sitting MLCs from...CONTINUE READING

The waterfront war that shook Australia

Diane Fieldes Twenty years ago, on 7 April 1998, Patrick Stevedores dismissed and locked out all 1,400 of its unionised waterside workforce, triggering mass protests and picketing around the country. In the dead of night, balaclava-wearing scabs with German shepherds and rottweilers entered the docks, c...CONTINUE READING

Surging homelessness as wages stagnate

Diane Fieldes Despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth, homelessness is rising in Australia. What ought to be a fundamental human right – like access to food, water, education and health – is increasingly denied to people in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. More worrying is that in...CONTINUE READING

Australian apartheid, even in death

Diane Fieldes Henry Lawson’s “The Bush Undertaker” tells the story of an old shepherd who respectfully reburies a white man after digging up the bones of a black man. “I’ll take a pick an’ shovel with me an’ root up that old blackfellow.” Little has changed more than a century later. At Fitzroy Crossing...CONTINUE READING