From its radical roots in the 1970s, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has gradually been captured by conservative, pro-corporate interests. The festival should be more than a corporate street party: it needs to recover its original spirit by empowering Mardi Gras members.Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Should Stand for Solidarity With the Oppressed — Not With Cops and Corporations
Police will allege the man travelled to the Syrian conflict zone in March 2015, and returned to Australia in October 2015.
He has also been charged with dealing in proceeds of crime, and the manufacture and production of prohibited drugs.
Counter-terrorism police charge western Sydney man over alleged Syria trip – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Stumbled across a YouTube clip from 2007 of the Sex Pistols playing…
“Stumbled across a YouTube clip from 2007 of the Sex Pistols playing their “Retirement Fund Tour” at Brixton to a rabid frenzied crowd of several thousands. The band pumped out this cacophony wall of sound that was both incomprehensible yet totally in-sync and in tune with the frenzied mob … a truly wonderous experience. They knew all the words … the pauses … the nous and the required volume of roaring that at times even drowned out the exaggerated magnification of Johnny Rotten’s microphone. Here, see it now with “Anarchy in the UK”.”
Venue closures and revenue loss is only part of the problem – when a creative hub dies, a whole culture goes with it
SYDNEY, Australia — The Australian authorities came under increasing pressure on Wednesday to explain why the gunman in the armed siege at a Sydney cafe that left two hostages dead was not being monitored despite his criminal record and public airings of his radical views.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Wednesday that the gunman, Man Haron Monis, “had been of interest to our security agencies” but was not on a government watch list.
“And we want to know why,” Mr. Abbott said in a radio interview Wednesday morning. “We want to know why he wasn’t being monitored.”
“The system did not adequately deal with the individual, there is no doubt about that,” Mr. Abbott said.
Mr. Monis, who was fatally shot by the police on Tuesday after the 16-hour siege of a restaurant in downtown Sydney, was facing trial on a number of charges, including being an accessory to the murder of his former wife.
He was convicted of harassing the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and lost his final appeal in that case on Friday, three days before he went to the restaurant and took the people there hostage. In April, he was charged in the sexual assault of a woman in western Sydney in 2002. Forty more counts of sexual assault involving six other women were later added to that case.
The police on Wednesday raided the southwest Sydney home Mr. Monis shared with his girlfriend, Amirzh Droudis, raising questions over whether she might have played some role in Mr. Monis’s plans.
Ms. Droudis has been charged with stabbing and burning to death Mr. Monis’s former wife last year.
The seriousness of the charges facing Mr. Monis and Ms. Droudis — Mr. Monis’s former wife, Noleen Hayson Pal, was stabbed 18 times and set on fire — has led to questions as to why the two were let out on bail.
Daryl Pearce, the magistrate who granted them bail last December, was reported in the Australian news media at the time to have said that bail was a “simple matter of fairness” and that the prosecution’s case was weak. Mr. Monis argued at the hearing that the Iranian secret service was trying to frame him.
The premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird, said Tuesday that he had requested police and justice officials to speed the carrying out of laws that would make the criteria for bail more restrictive. The changes to the bail laws were decided well before the siege, but the laws were not to be enforced until next year.
The violence at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe also left at least three people wounded. A total 17 people were taken hostage when Mr. Monis, armed with a gun, entered the cafe on Monday morning.
The Australian government introduced a raft of laws this year in response to what Mr. Abbott called a growing threat that the Islamic State, the militant group in Iraq and Syria, would attempt a bold act of terrorism on Australian soil.
The laws, which passed Parliament with wide support, made it an offense to advocate terrorism, barred Australians from going to fight overseas, allowed the authorities to confiscate and cancel passports, and provided for the sharing of information between security services and defense personnel.
The government also deployed hundreds of police officers in counterterrorism sweeps across the country.
That none of these measures prevented this week’s attack has stoked a debate on the effectiveness of counterterrorism measures and their limitations against men like Mr. Monis. He may have been overlooked because he did not travel overseas and was not believed to be part of a gang or a terrorist network.
“The new laws don’t add anything to what can be done in advance in a situation like the siege,” said Bret Walker, a lawyer who was Australia’s first independent monitor for national security laws.
“The real problem is not a legal issue or something the new laws can fix, but marginalized and radicalized people who may in fact not be breaking counterterrorism laws,” said Peter Jennings, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Raffaello Pantucci, the director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said terrorist groups had been pushing the notion of a “lone actor.”
“The attack package is a very low-grade effort,” Mr. Pantucci said. “You don’t tell anyone about it, and that makes it very difficult for intelligence agencies to pick these people up.”
The Islamic State issued a call in September for a supporter to snatch an Australian at random and behead him.
The police said Tuesday that they would step up patrols of “iconic locations” in Sydney and transportation hubs for the next three weeks.
An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to the flag that was displayed in the cafe’s window. It was a Shahada flag that Mr. Monis had brought with him, not an Islamic State banner. Although he had demanded a banner from the authorities, it is unclear if it was ever delivered.
Knowing what we do of Rupert Murdoch and his affiliate publications, it comes as no surprise that the expatriate media mogul’s first tweet in the tragic wake of the Martin Place siege was not one of condolence for the two victims and their families, or an expression of empathy for anyone of any kind but instead was a show of “congrats” for The Daily Telegraph, the “only” newspaper to catch “the bloody outcome at 2:00am.”
AUST gets wake-call with Sydney terror. Only Daily Telegraph caught the bloody outcome at 2.00 am. Congrats.
It almost goes without saying that not only is everything about the whole situation extremely insensitive, it’s also as deliberately misleading and factually incorrect – every major news outlet has covered the siege tirelessly over the last 24 hours in a manner much more immediate than a print publication – as the same newspaper’s afternoon edition. The latter was printed at 2pm yesterday in response to the escalating crisis, and misleadingly labelled the hostage situation as the work of an IS “Death Cult CBD Attack”, something we labelled at the time – and will continue to do so – as one of “the most vile, deliberately inflammatory, fundamentally wrong and wholly speculative front covers in the sordid history of Australian print media.”
You can lodge a complaint with the Australian Press Council here.
Protest groups have clashed in western Sydney after the development of an Islamic prayer hall in Kemps Creek was given the green light.
Rival protest groups have clashed outside Penrith Council chambers over a decision to go ahead with the development of an Islamic prayer hall in Kemps Creek.
The protests came after a motion put forward by four councillors to have approval for the development rescinded was voted down Monday night, 10 votes to four.
Police were on standby as supporters and opponents of the development clashed.
Holding signs with slogans including: “Islam a crime against humanity” and “Say no to Sharia,” opponents said the development was not welcome.
“We just want to be left alone,” one protester said. “They are in their area of Sydney, we are in ours. That’s all it comes down to.”
Supporters of the development held signs with slogans including: “Racism is unacceptable, Muslims are welcome”, “Racism – the enemy of freedom” and “Don’t keep calm and fight Islamophobia”.
Tensions ran high but police said no arrests were made and no one was hurt.
A spokesman for the Penrith Council said it was now up to the proponent to determine when development commenced.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been accused of effectively declaring Australia “terra nullius” before British settlement, after remarking that Sydney was “nothing but bush” prior to the arrival of the First Fleet.
During a breakfast for British prime minister David Cameron in Sydney this morning, Mr Abbott made a speech about infrastructure and noted the “extraordinary partnership” between the two countries since the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.
“As we look around this glorious city, as we see the extraordinary development, it’s hard to think that back in 1788 it was nothing but bush,” Mr Abbott said.
“The marines and the convicts and the sailors that straggled off those 12 ships, just a few hundred yards from where we are now, must have thought they had come almost to the moon.
“Everything would have been so strange. Everything would have seemed so extraordinarily basic and raw, and now a city which is one of the most spectacular cities on our globe.”
Kirstie Parker from the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples said the comments do tremendous damage to the relationship between the Prime Minister and Aboriginal people.
“I’d say they were a blunder except this is becoming a habit for the Prime Minister,” she said.
“On several occasions just in the last couple of months, he has made comments that have erased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the landscape.”
Ms Parker said it was not a case of reading too much into the remarks, or taking them out of context.
“For the Prime Minister to say there was nothing here but bush is incorrect; there were people here with sophisticated systems and societies and rules,” she said.
“We were here.”
Labor’s Indigenous affairs spokesman Shayne Neumann said Aboriginal people have a right to feel that the Prime Minister “owes them an apology and he should express regret at the form of words he used today when he was honouring his own heritage but denying theirs”.
“It’s a denial of their culture, their language, their heritage and their custom and basically it shows the Prime Minister has a sort of terra nullius type approach to the continent,” he said.
“Language counts. Words have meaning, words can be like bullets, words are symbolic.
“They drive people’s thoughts and can influence people.”
Greens Indigenous affairs spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said Mr Abbott’s comments were “another example of the Prime Minister ignoring the reality of colonisation and the peoples, flourishing culture and languages that were here at the time of European settlement”.
Mr Abbott made a point of acknowledging Indigenous history in his speech to the Parliament today as he welcomed Mr Cameron to Canberra.
“Modern Australia has an Aboriginal heritage, a British foundation and a multicultural character,” he said.
Mr Abbott also attracted criticism in August when he described the arrival of the First Fleet as the “defining moment” in Australian history.
Subsequently Mr Abbott conducted an interview with British newspaper The Telegraph during his trip to a remote Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land.
According to the report he said the arrival of British settlers on the First Fleet proved devastating for Aboriginal people.
“Initially the impact [of British settlement] was all bad, disease, dispossession, discrimination, at times wanton murder,” he said.