Australia Day 2021: Scott Morrison controversial photos, David Pocock hits out, reaction, Cricket Australia, BBL


Wallabies great David Pocock has joined the chorus of athletes hitting out at Scott Morrison for controversial claims made about Australia Day and sport’s role in debating the significance of the date.

After consulting with Indigenous leaders, Cricket Australia decided to omit any reference to Australia Day ahead of its Big Bash League games on Tuesday, instead referring to them as “January 26” matches in promotional material.

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That prompted an angry rebuke from Morrison, who called it a “pretty ordinary” decision from cricket’s governing body.

“A bit more focus on cricket, a little less focus on politics would be my message to Cricket Australia,” he told Queensland’s 4RO Radio on Thursday.



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Twitter’s Controversial Trump De-Platforming Triggers ‘Broader Reckoning’ With Big Tech Agenda



Twitter permanently suspended Donald Trump’s account after he was blamed for the Capitol riots on 6 January in events that resulted in his second House impeachment, with a leaked recording of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey subsequently shedding light on what appears to be a hidden agenda to push on with censorship policy much further than banning POTUS.

Twitter blocked Donald Trump’s account for good on 8 January, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence”, as the president was widely accused of being responsible for inciting his supporters to breach the US Capitol in the riotous events of 6 January.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the time conceded that there are “real and significant ramifications” to the blocking of an account with more than 88 million followers, adding the move constitutes a “dangerous” precedent.

The decision immediately triggered a wave of warnings of big tech’s political bias and ramped up censorship.
Here is a glimpse into the dynamics at play behind the controversial decision to shutter the account of the US President.

‘Misgivings’ Over Suspension

Twitter’s chief executive had received a phone call from Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top lawyer and safety expert, on 6 January to update him that along with company executives she had decided to temporarily suspend President Trump’s account to prevent him from posting statements that might purportedly provoke more violence. This followed an attack by a mob of Trump supporters on the US Capitol that day, writes The New York Times.


©
Sputnik / Artur Gabdrakhmanov

Demonstrators protest outside US Capitol Building in Washington to contest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results by the US Congress, 6 January 2021

The move left Dorsey, who had earlier delegated moderation decisions to Gadde, concerned, claim sources cited by the publication.

Throughout Trump’s White House tenure the Twitter CEO had pushed back against demands by liberals and other POTUS critics that the microblogging service terminate his account, ostensibly arguing that the platform was a place where world leaders could ‘speak freely’, but also because he considered the president’s posts newsworthy.

Dorsey was said to have emailed employees, saying it was important for the company to remain ‘consistent’ with its policies. These policies allowed for a user to return after a suspension.

The following day, Dorsey shared several tweets urging caution against a permanent ban of Trump. After the suspension was lifted the next day, Twitter monitored the response to Donald Trump’s tweets across the internet.

Dorsey was subsequently briefed that Trump’s followers had ostensibly seized on the POTUS’s latest tweeted messages to call for more violence.

The referenced tweets on 8 January by President Trump had vowed “American Patriots” who voted for him would have a “giant voice long into the future”. Another Twitter post added that Trump did not intend to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.


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REUTERS / TOM BRENNER

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden stands at a lectern to deliver remarks as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris looks on during a televised speech on the current economic and health crises at The Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., January 14, 2021

Twitter’s safety team claimed the posts should be viewed “in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilised by different audiences”.

In posts on alternative social networking site Parler, the potential for more ‘real-world unrest’ was perceived as too high.

Twitter employees, including lawmakers, tech investors and others, were also cited as having urged the bosses that Trump be booted off the service, with over 300 staff signing a letter to that effect. The decision to bar Trump, however, preceded the delivery of the letter, claim sources.

A hint at the tensions within Twitter was offered by Jack Dorsey himself in a spate of tweets on 14 January where he wrote that he did “not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump”. Dorsey admitted the move was a testament to the company’s failure to ‘promote healthy conversation.’

Big Tech Under Fire

Since the clampdown, Twitter has been embroiled in a heated debate over big tech influence, censorship and the companies’ accountability.

Lawmaker Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, railed against the decision by Twitter as he appeared in a segment of “Watters’ World” on Fox News.

​Together with host, Jesse Watters, the US Representative for California’s 22nd congressional district discussed the explosive leaked video of CEO Jack Dorsey addressing staff at a virtual meeting.

​The tape, allegedly provided to the outlet by a Twitter “insider whistleblower”, reveals what appears to be plans to push ahead with the platform’s censorship policy further than banning President Donald Trump’s account.

Dorsey is heard instructing staff to focus on the big picture ahead, beyond “the inauguration”.

“So, the focus is certainly on this account and how it ties to real-world violence. But also, we need to think much longer-term around how these dynamics play out over time. I don’t believe this is going away anytime soon,” says Jack Dorsey in the video.

The Twitter CEO then adds that the current company moves were part of a “much broader approach that we should be looking at and going deeper on.”

In response to the explosive report, a Twitter spokesperson was quoted by Fox News as saying the remarks in the video were “nearly the same words” that Dorsey had shared in a Twitter thread offering “context around and reflections on our work to protect the conversation in recent weeks”.

The official response was dismissed as ‘mealy-mothed’ by the host of Watter’s World, with Devin Nunes slamming the moves by Twitter as sick and demented’.

​Twitter has since been accused of following double standards by removing Trump but not ‘autocrats’ elsewhere on the platform.

“This is a phenomenal exercise of power to de-platform the president of the United States… It should set off a broader reckoning,” Evelyn Douek, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, was cited by The New York Times as saying.



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Kings coach to ask NBL for ‘please explain’ after controversial call



Kings coach Adam Forde will ask for a “please explain” from NBL headquarters about a controversial last-minute decision in their season-opening 87-86 loss to the Cairns Taipans.

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Jack Riewoldt not giving up on embattled teammate despite controversial off-season


Richmond veteran Jack Riewoldt is backing embattled teammate Sydney Stack as the small forward prepares to make another court appearance in the coming days.

Stack is currently due in a Perth court next week, after spending the festive period in jail after being arrested on December 19 for allegedy breaking Western Australia’s strict COVID-19 quarantine rules.

Riewoldt said it was disappointing to hear the 20-year-old had been in trouble over the off-season, but wasn’t going to “give up” on the talented forward.

“It’s been hard for the club to be in touch with him because he’s been in jail for the holiday period,” he told reporters on Monday.

“It is disappointing as a senior player when someone finds themself in trouble, but when we engaged Sydney to come to our football club we weren’t under an illusion that he was going to come in and it was going to be a really smooth transition.

“We expected that we were going to have some small issues with him. When you take on a young man like Sydney, who wasn’t and hasn’t been afforded a lot of the luxuries that a lot of Australian children grow up with, you know it’s going to be a project.

“So we’re not going to give up on Sydney Stack. He is a young man that has got a lot of issues, he has a lot of potential, but most importantly now we put the football side of things to one side and we actually want to continue to grow him as a young man because he’s got some fantastic traits.”

Stack has been at the club since early 2019, where he was picked up as a pre-season supplementary player.

He was embroiled in controversy in 2020, where Stack alongside teammate Callum Coleman-Jones was sent home from Richmond’s hub in Queensland after breaking COVID-19 protocols, with both players still having four matches of their 10-game ban to serve in 2021.

Stack has played 26 games for the Tigers in two years.





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Explained: How depiction of female genitalia in art has been controversial


A 33-metre concrete and resin vagina sculpture on a hillside in northeastern Brazil has fueled an argument between leftists and conservatives, including allies of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Created by artist Juliana Notari in the state of Pernambuco, the work titled “Diva” deals with gender issues and questions the relationship between nature and culture in a “phallocentric and anthropocentric society”.

A look at the present controversy and previous instances when the depiction of vulva and vagina in art raised eyebrows.

What is the controversy around Notari’s work?

In a Facebook post describing the handmade work titled “Diva” — that was in the making for 11 months — the Brazilian artist, who works in diverse mediums, noted how it was supposed to “question the relationship between nature and culture in our phallocentric and anthropocentric western society” and discuss the “problematisation of gender”. While supporters of her work argue that it is important to raise questions and initiate a dialogue on the subject, those critical allege that it does not fulfill the intended purpose.

Depiction of female genitalia in art in ancient times

The vagina and vulva have reportedly been depicted in art since prehistoric times. According to experts, the cave of Chufín in Riclones in Cantabria (Spain) has prehistoric rock art which depicts the vulva. Eleventh and 12th century architectural grotesques ‘Sheela na gigs’ — found particularly on churches and castles in Ireland and Great Britain — are figurative carvings of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva.

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Recent instances that created a controversy

In the last decade, several controversies have emerged related to works depicting the female genitals.

* In 2012, social media giant Facebook faced trial in France after it blocked a French teacher’s account after he posted an image of a 1866 Gustave Courbet painting of the female genitals, titled “The Origin of the World”. The teacher filed a complaint against Facebook, saying the site could not differentiate between pornography and art and for violating his freedom of speech.

* Going by the pseudonym Rokudenashiko, artist Megumi Igarashi was arrested in Japan in 2014 for violation of Japanese obscenity laws, including “obscenity display”, for e-mailing the 3D scanner data of her vulva in March to people who supported the crowdfunding campaign to build a kayak inspired by her own genitalia.

* Turner Prize-winning British artist Anish Kapoor’s installation titled “Dirty Corner” at Versailles castle in Versailles, outside Paris, created a huge controversy in 2015. Dubbed as “Queen’s vagina” by the French media, the funnel-shaped work was vandalised thrice. It was smeared with anti-Semitic slogans, including “At Versailles Christ is King” and “The second rape of the nation by deviant Jewish activism”. Indian-origin Kapoor was born to a Jewish mother of Iraqi ancestry and a Hindu father. While the artist wanted the offensive slogans to remain as “scars of the renewed attack”, a French court ruled the vandalism must be erased and covered in gold leaf.



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Complaint over controversial BCF ad



BCF is under the spotlight for an ad which encourages people to holiday at home by referencing the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bangladesh moves more Rohingya refugees to controversial remote island


Bangladesh has started moving a second group of Rohingya refugees to a controversial flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal despite opposition from rights activists.

More than 1,600 of the Muslim minority from Myanmar were taken to Bhashan Char earlier this month, and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said just under 1,000 were in the latest batch heading for what he called a “beautiful resort”.

Buses took the Rohingya from camps in Cox’s Bazar, where nearly one million refugees are packed, to Chittagong port where they will be taken to the barren island.

“They are going voluntarily. They are very eager to go Bhashan Char because they have heard from their relatives, those who have gone to Bhashan Char, that (it) is an excellent place,” Mr Momen told AFP.

He claimed the island was “100 times better” than the camps, and that the refugees had “appealed” to be taken there.

“Bhashan Char is a beautiful resort. It is an excellent resort. And once anybody goes there, they will love it,” the minister added.

Two Rohingya men in the latest group told AFP they were going to the island willingly.

Nur Kamal, a Rohingya from the giant Kutupalang refugee camp, said he was going to be with relatives already at Bhashan Char: “What is the point of staying here (in the camps) without them?”

Serajul Islam said he was going with five family members and was not being forced.

“The way the international community is handling our issue, I don’t see any future in the camps,” he told AFP from the bus taking him to Chittagong.

“It is better I go and live the rest of my life there in better housing. At least I won’t have to think about floods during the rainy season and unbearable heat in the summer.”

Bangladesh has already transferred hundreds of Rohingya refugees to a low-lying island in an area prone to cyclones and floods.

AFP

More than 700,000 Rohingya packed the camps in Bangladesh in 2017 after a deadly Myanmar military clampdown that the United Nations has said could be genocide.

After the first transfer on 4 December, several Rohingya told AFP that they were beaten and intimidated to agree to move.

The Bangladesh government eventually wants to put 100,000 Rohingya on the 13,000-acre (56 square-kilometre) island, despite criticism from rights groups because Bhashan Char is so isolated.

The UN said it has not been involved in the process.

“Allegations from within the community about cash incentives being offered to Rohingya families to relocate to Bhashan Char as well as use of intimidation tactics are making the relocation process questionable,” said Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner Saad Hammadi.

Foreign minister Momen said critics of the policy were “making up stories”.



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Stokes-backed controversial Mid West gas project gets go ahead


The joint venture has inked agreements with the state government, Dampier to Bunbury gas pipeline operator AGIG and North West Shelf project partners, which will allow it to export onshore gas from the Perth basin through the North West Shelf project’s Karratha Gas Plant with permission from the state government.

Beach Energy will tip in between $350 to $400 million to the project funded by the company’s existing cashflows.

Beach Energy managing director Matt Kay said Waitsia was an important step in their five-year push to deliver 37 million barrels of oil equivalent energy by 2025.

“Waitsia is a world class, low cost, onshore gas resource and we are thrilled to be growing the Beach portfolio in Western Australia,” he said.

“We believe the project offers material value to Beach’s shareholders and, through the agreement to export through the North West Shelf facilities, makes Beach an LNG player for the first time in the company’s 60-year history.”

Woodside operates the Karratha Gas Plant and chief executive Peter Coleman said processing gas through it from Waitsia and its Pluto facility would unlock further value for the North West Shelf project.

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“It will provide new revenue and LNG exports from the NWS Project, add to Western Australia’s domestic gas supplies from Pluto and help underpin Australia’s economic recovery,” he said.

Waitsia attracted controversy in August after the McGowan Government granted it an exemption from an industry-wide domestic gas policy that banned the export of gas extracted from onshore wells to the eastern states and overseas.

The new exemption allows Waitsia to send about 1.5 million tonnes of LNG to the Karratha Gas Plant to be processed for more lucrative export markets until 2028 but raised eyebrows because other onshore gas players, including Strike Energy, are also looking to build plants on the Perth basin and could have also benefited from an exemption.

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After WA Premier Mark McGowan announced the exemption Mr Stokes’ shares in Beach Energy jumped $65 million in value.

Mr McGowan said Waitsia was exempted because it had a ‘shovel-ready’ project.

On Thursday Mr McGowan said the Waitsia project would provide energy certainty to the Mid-West and WA, deliver economic benefits to the economy and fill capacity at the Karratha Gas Plant.

“Gas will continue to be an important part of the WA economy as the state continues to be one of the world’s largest producers of LNG,” he said.

The appeals convenor is currently assessing the merit of 21 appeals lodged against the Environmental Protection Authority’s recommendation to approve Waitsia.

Lock the Gate Alliance WA Mid West coordinator Simone van Hattem criticised the state government’s decision to enter deals with Waitsia joint venture partners while environmental approvals remained outstanding.

“What is the point of an environmental assessment process when pro-gas governments announce dodgy deals have been done on Christmas Eve to support a project that does not even have final approval yet?” she said.

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“Limited evidence” to support controversial SA youth drug program


South Australian children in youth detention will likely be the first in the country to be forced against their will to receive treatment for drug dependency, despite the State Government conceding there is “limited evidence” that the controversial program will work.

The new Youth Treatment Orders program, which has been widely criticised by key child advocates including the state’s Commissioner for Children and Young People and Youth Training Centre visitor, was a Marshall Government election promise, but despite legislation passing parliament last November, the program is yet to be enforced.

The laws give the Youth Court the power to request that a drug-dependent young person attends treatment.

If a young person fails to follow court instructions, the Youth Court would have the power to detain them for up to 12 months for mandatory treatment.

A draft model of care up for public consultation states that children detained at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre would be the first in the state to be subjected to mandatory drug treatment.

The Government proposes to then review the effectiveness of the program before rolling it out to the broader community.

“The changes recognise the importance of intervening effectively to address substance abuse before children reach adulthood,” the draft model of care states.

“The changes offer parents and others with a proper interest in the life of the child an additional option when the child has refused to seek help voluntarily, may be a danger to themselves or others, and no other appropriate and less restrictive means is available.”

Health Minister Stephen Wade has previously said that children would only be detained as a measure of last resort.

He also said that he expected most orders would be “much shorter” than 12 months,

According to the State Government, the Youth Treatment Orders program is “the first of its kind in Australia” and applies “evidence-informed drug treatment principles and practice”.

But the draft model of care states: “there is limited evidence available to support mandatory drug treatment for children”.

There is also no indication of how much the program would cost, or where children who are not already detained under criminal orders would be accommodated to receive mandatory drug treatment.

Commissioner for Children and Young People Helen Connolly told InDaily that “despite the fact that the Government is saying this will be a service of last resort and only used in extreme circumstances, it’s still problematic”.

“I don’t think it’s going to be easy to determine what’s in the best interests for children given that’s going to be determined in the court,” she said.

“The question for me is why isn’t it offered voluntarily?

“It just seems to me that people in the community – parents in particular – had legitimate concerns that said ‘we’re desperate for support and we can’t find anyone to help our kids to get over their drug issues’ and somehow we’ve ended up now with this solution which seems quite removed from the original problem.

“We’re now asking parents who are that desperate to seek to have their children detained and what we know… is that detention is not the place to get good outcomes for kids.”

Connolly said there was still no understanding of where children would be detained to receive treatment if they weren’t already detained in youth prison.

“We don’t have other facilities – Kurlana Tapa is the only place to detain children in the state,” she said.

“If there is going to be a mandatory model, then it should be in a health facility.”

She described the Youth Treatment Orders program as “tough love”.

“Parents are desperate – they might be thinking they’re doing the right thing by taking this court approach, but sometimes the right thing in the short-term might not be in the long-term interests of them, their children or their relationships with each other,” she said.

“Any solution that really does involve us going to a legal response is going to be problematic.”

Connolly also raised concerns about how culturally-appropriate the program would be, given Aboriginal children can, on any given day, make up half the state’s population in youth detention.

South Australia’s youth justice watchdog – Youth Training Centre Visitor Penny Wright – wrote in feedback to the Government that it was “unclear” how a therapeutic drug treatment program would work at Kurlana Tapa, given the detention facility is “not a therapeutic environment”.

“Currently, most… staff are not trained across multiple necessary discipline areas, let alone in potentially new drug rehabilitation competencies within a mandatory program,” she wrote.

The Aboriginal Health Council of SA, the SA Network of Drug and Alcohol Services and the Youth Affairs Council of SA, have also raised concerns about the program.

In a statement to InDaily, Wade said “phase 1” of the Youth Treatment Orders program would only apply to children detained in youth detention “to protect the health and wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable children”.

“The draft Model of Care for Phase 1 of Youth Treatment orders is currently out for consultation, with the consultation period expected to finish shortly,” he said.

“Following this, feedback will be collated and the Model of Care for Phase 1 will be finalised.”

The Youth Treatment Orders legislation received bipartisan support in the Parliament.

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“Limited evidence” to support controversial SA youth drug program


South Australian children in youth detention will likely be the first in the country to be forced against their will to receive treatment for drug dependency, despite the State Government conceding there is “limited evidence” that the controversial program will work.

The new Youth Treatment Orders program, which has been widely criticised by key child advocates including the state’s Commissioner for Children and Young People and Youth Training Centre visitor, was a Marshall Government election promise, but despite legislation passing parliament last November, the program is yet to be enforced.

The laws give the Youth Court the power to request that a drug-dependent young person attends treatment.

If a young person fails to follow court instructions, the Youth Court would have the power to detain them for up to 12 months for mandatory treatment.

A draft model of care up for public consultation states that children detained at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre would be the first in the state to be subjected to mandatory drug treatment.

The Government proposes to then review the effectiveness of the program before rolling it out to the broader community.

“The changes recognise the importance of intervening effectively to address substance abuse before children reach adulthood,” the draft model of care states.

“The changes offer parents and others with a proper interest in the life of the child an additional option when the child has refused to seek help voluntarily, may be a danger to themselves or others, and no other appropriate and less restrictive means is available.”

Health Minister Stephen Wade has previously said that children would only be detained as a measure of last resort.

He also said that he expected most orders would be “much shorter” than 12 months,

According to the State Government, the Youth Treatment Orders program is “the first of its kind in Australia” and applies “evidence-informed drug treatment principles and practice”.

But the draft model of care states: “there is limited evidence available to support mandatory drug treatment for children”.

There is also no indication of how much the program would cost, or where children who are not already detained under criminal orders would be accommodated to receive mandatory drug treatment.

Commissioner for Children and Young People Helen Connolly told InDaily that “despite the fact that the Government is saying this will be a service of last resort and only used in extreme circumstances, it’s still problematic”.

“I don’t think it’s going to be easy to determine what’s in the best interests for children given that’s going to be determined in the court,” she said.

“The question for me is why isn’t it offered voluntarily?

“It just seems to me that people in the community – parents in particular – had legitimate concerns that said ‘we’re desperate for support and we can’t find anyone to help our kids to get over their drug issues’ and somehow we’ve ended up now with this solution which seems quite removed from the original problem.

“We’re now asking parents who are that desperate to seek to have their children detained and what we know… is that detention is not the place to get good outcomes for kids.”

Connolly said there was still no understanding of where children would be detained to receive treatment if they weren’t already detained in youth prison.

“We don’t have other facilities – Kurlana Tapa is the only place to detain children in the state,” she said.

“If there is going to be a mandatory model, then it should be in a health facility.”

She described the Youth Treatment Orders program as “tough love”.

“Parents are desperate – they might be thinking they’re doing the right thing by taking this court approach, but sometimes the right thing in the short-term might not be in the long-term interests of them, their children or their relationships with each other,” she said.

“Any solution that really does involve us going to a legal response is going to be problematic.”

Connolly also raised concerns about how culturally-appropriate the program would be, given Aboriginal children can, on any given day, make up half the state’s population in youth detention.

South Australia’s youth justice watchdog – Youth Training Centre Visitor Penny Wright – wrote in feedback to the Government that it was “unclear” how a therapeutic drug treatment program would work at Kurlana Tapa, given the detention facility is “not a therapeutic environment”.

“Currently, most… staff are not trained across multiple necessary discipline areas, let alone in potentially new drug rehabilitation competencies within a mandatory program,” she wrote.

The Aboriginal Health Council of SA, the SA Network of Drug and Alcohol Services and the Youth Affairs Council of SA, have also raised concerns about the program.

In a statement to InDaily, Wade said “phase 1” of the Youth Treatment Orders program would only apply to children detained in youth detention “to protect the health and wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable children”.

“The draft Model of Care for Phase 1 of Youth Treatment orders is currently out for consultation, with the consultation period expected to finish shortly,” he said.

“Following this, feedback will be collated and the Model of Care for Phase 1 will be finalised.”

The Youth Treatment Orders legislation received bipartisan support in the Parliament.

Make your contribution to independent news

A donation of any size to InDaily goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. South Australia needs more than one voice to guide it forward, and we’d truly appreciate your contribution. Please click below to donate to InDaily.

Donate here

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