With 54% of the vote counted at the New South Wales election held today, the ABC is currently projecting 45 of the 93 lower house seats for the Coalition, 35 for Labor, three Greens, three independents and two Shooters, Fishers and Farmers. Five seats remain undecided. Coogee is the only current clear Labor gain from the Coalition.
Forty-seven seats are needed for a majority, but the Coalition is in a strong position to form a minority government if it falls short. This will be the Coalition’s third term in NSW. It is the first time the Coalition has won a third term in NSW since 1971; the last time the Coalition won a third term in state government in Australia was in 1980.
All crossbenchers in the current parliament retained their seats. The Greens won Newtown, Balmain and Ballina. The Shooters retained Orange, which they had won at a byelection, and gained Murray from the Nationals. Independents retained Sydney, Lake Macquarie and Wagga Wagga (also won at a byelection).
The ABC’s projection of final primary votes are currently 41.7% Coalition (down 3.9% since the 2015 election), 33.4% Labor (down 0.7%), 9.9% Greens (down 0.4%) and 3.1% Shooters. If the projection is accurate, it is an indictment on Labor that their primary vote fell. The two party statewide result will not be available for a long time, but the Coalition probably won by about 53-47, a swing of about 1.5% to Labor.
Late campaign mishaps probably cost Labor in NSW. On March 18, Labor leader Michael Daley was revealed to have made comments in September 2018, before he became leader, that could be perceived as anti-Asian. On March 20, during a leaders’ debate, Daley could not recall details of funding for his party’s policies.
The final NSW Newspoll gave the Coalition a 51-49 lead, a one-point gain for the Coalition since eleven days ago. Primary votes were 41% Coalition (up one), 35% Labor (down one) and 10% Greens (steady). Reflecting his bad final week, Daley’s net approval plunged 14 points to -15, while Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s net approval dropped five points to +1. That Newspoll was taken March 19-21, and the momentum towards the Coalition appears to have carried over into the election results.
I believe the difference between Queensland 2015 and NSW 2019 is that voters are more inclined to forgive politicians who make a mistake that is perceived to be out of character. Daley has only been the NSW Labor leader since November, and his anti-Asian video revealed something that voters did not like. It is probably more dangerous for a left-wing leader to be perceived as racist than a right-wing leader.
I will update this article tomorrow with more complete details of the lower house and a look at the upper house.
“Burkinis have been banned in Cannes.: From a Stuff representation.
Pacific Journalism Review
Friday, March 15, 2019
In the global media scene, media ownership is controlled by groups with political agendas. Intolerance of ‘the other’, from Islam and migrants to people of colour, show the rise of fundamentally prejudiced groups who relate well to negative media representations of ‘the other’, further fuelling financial support for dominant public voices, at the expense of those silenced by discrimination. Media studies on Islam show negative portrayals in Western media which neglect the Muslim voice. Some reasons include news culture, lack of knowledge about Islam and unawareness of the consequences from such narratives. This article identifies the growing trend of stories in the New Zealand media relating to ‘Islamic terrorism’ and critically analyses a random sampling of five news articles between 2014 and 2016 in terms of the negative, positive and ambivalent news content, both in their use of the written text and visual representations of Islam and Muslims. The tendency to use negative framing is evident with the absence or manipulation of the Muslim voice. Using the Islamic perspective of dialogue and persuasion, the theory of Ta’will, and socio-political rationale, the effects of and motivations for the written and visual news content are discussed. A case is made for a greater understanding of the textual and visual elements and more ethical reporting through intercultural engagement.
The massive gathering in Christchurch’s Hagley Park has reassured and uplifted their shocked community, say New Zealand Muslim leaders.
About 20,000 people gathered in Hagley Park to observe two minutes of silence and the Muslim call to prayer on Friday along with thousands more at other events across the country, including Auckland’s Domain.
Pacific Media Centre photographer Del Abcede was on hand to capture these images at Ponsonby’s Al-Masjid Al-Jamie mosque and Aotea Square on a day when women across New Zealand of all faiths reclaimed the hijab. More photos can be seen on her Facebook page.
Ponsonby and Aotea day of prayer, reflection
1. Praying for peace at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
2. The crowd at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
3. Tongan flag and flowers at the Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
4. Samoan flag and flowers at the Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
5. Flowers and messages at the Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
6. Hijab power at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
7. Hijab power at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
8. Hijab power at Ponsonby Mosque. Inage: Del Abcede/PMC
9. Hijab power at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
10. Hijab power at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
11. Policeman and hijab at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
12. Priest and hijab at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
13. The Ponsonby Mosque crowd. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
14. Hijabs and Ponsonby’s Sacred Heart Church in the background. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
`15. Gang member paying his respects at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
16. Thanks to New Zealand from the Muslim community at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
17. Child and the mourning flowers at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
18. Flowers and messages at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
19. “Love and support” at Ponsonby Mosque. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
20. “Free hugs and free scarves” Aotea messages. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
21. Flowers beside the statue of former mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson in Aotea Square. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
22. Police and the hijab in Aotea Square, Auckland. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
23. Hijabs in Aotea Square. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
24. “The most merciful person is the one who forgives when he is able to take revenge.” – Imam Ali Image: Del Abcede/PMC
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern paying her respects in Christchurch. Image: RNZ
Summer Joyan’s open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern:
Dear Prime Minister Ardern,
I am a 13-year-old Muslim girl from Australia and I would like to publicly share my appreciation with you. I belong to the generation that was born after 11 September 2001. I have never really contemplated how dark the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant language is that permeates Australian society, because it is all I have ever known. I guess I’ve become used to hearing political leaders use that same language.
But then, after seeing the way you have responded to the terrorist attack in Christchurch, I realised that I now know what the role of a leader truly is. So I want to thank you on behalf of the Muslim community in this country for all that you’ve done since Friday. The way you have expressed support and genuine empathy for the Muslim community, and your care for the people of New Zealand as a whole, have been magnificent to see. And I wanted you to know how much it means to me.
Today I watched a video of you talking to the students at Cashmere High School regarding the terrorist attack. You showed such strength and kindness, and it made me wish I could experience the same thing in Australia. In my high school, not a single teacher or figure of authority even mentioned the attacks. They didn’t acknowledge that a white supremacist murdered 50 innocent Muslim men, women and children in a usually peaceful place of worship. They didn’t offer support or reach out to the Muslim girls in my school or even provide counselling services for grief and support.
Today’s “Unbreakable” New Zealand Herald front page. Image: PMC
In a country that is so similar to New Zealand, and yet also so different, can you imagine the comfort that my Muslim friends and I felt, knowing there was one leader in a neighbouring country that was on our side? My friends and I are Muslim; we were all born in Australian and it is the only place we have ever known. But this has been the first time we have ever felt like we were part of the fabric of a community, and it breaks my heart that this feeling of belonging has come at the cost of 50 lives. If only more politicians had the courage to stand up to injustices and knew when to stop playing political games with the lives of people who depend on them.
Your leadership has brought the world together. By supporting the New Zealand community, no matter what their religion, you have shown what a great leader you are ― not just in the good times, but when the times are as dark as can be. I cannot imagine any other political leader doing what you have done. I think that you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize! Many world leaders could learn a lot from the way you have held your nation together and comforted those who are grieving.
I’m sure you will remain Prime Minister of New Zealand for a long time. But if not, do you think maybe you could move to Australia and become our Prime Minister? That would be a dream come true.
Thank you again for all that you have done.
From an Australian-Muslim girl who now knows what real leadership looks like,
The solidarity vigil crowd at Auckland’s Domain last night. Image: David Robie/PMC A policeman at the solidarity vigil in Auckland’s Domain last night. Image: David Robie/PMC
The April 2 budget will provide about A$600 million to pursue wrongdoers and help restore trust in Australia’s financial system.
The budget, which will be a launching pad for the election, likely to be announced the following weekend, is set to include another round of tax cuts but it will also contain strong warnings about a deterioration in Australia’s economic outlook.
“The near term economic outlook is looking softer since [the December budget update], with the economy facing some emerging risks,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in an interview with The Conversation.
“We are concerned about the impact of [falling] housing prices spilling over into the real economy through lower household consumption and building approvals – and this matters because household consumption is close to 60% of GDP”.
The international outlook had been deteriorating, with growth figures revised down, he said.
Frydenberg said the budget’s measures were “focussed on driving down the cost of living , driving productivity and growth and creating more jobs”. It will forecast a long-awaited return to surplus and its spending will be “very targeted”.
Following the Hayne royal commission’s indictment of the banks and other financial institutions, the government will give the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) more than $400 million in additional funding over four years to 2022-23. On average, this is a rise of about a quarter in its annual funding over the forward estimates compared to 2017-18.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) will receive $150 million extra – an increase of about 30% in its annual funding over the budget period, compared with 2017-18.
Taxpayers, however, will eventually get back the funds provided to ASIC and APRA – the financial industry will be levied for the cost, with the largest institutions paying the most.
Also, the government will provide more than $35 million to support the expansion of the federal court’s jurisdiction to include corporate crime. The expansion will include the appointment of two new judges, the engagement of 11 registry and support staff, and the building of new facilities.
The court’s new role will mean institutions and individuals breaking the corporate law can be prosecuted faster than under the current system.
The government says the ASIC funding will support expanded regulation of financial services and “a new, more hardline, proactive and accelerated enforcement strategy including implementing a ‘why not litigate?’ approach”. There will be greater on-site supervision of larger institutions.
The APRA funding will support, among other initiatives, its response to areas of concern highlighted by the commission, including governance, remuneration, and culture in financial institutions.
As the government beds down a budget crucial to its efforts to revive its electoral fortunes, Frydenberg said it would help “frame” the election contest.
“It will be about what kind of nation Australians want over the next decade. On our side it’s about balancing the books, growing the economy with more jobs and lower taxes, guaranteeing essential services, hospitals, roads and schools, all without increasing taxes,” he said
“There’s been a bit of a debate over real wages and the key to real wages is not high taxes – it’s through decreasing taxes and targeted spending on infrastructure and more trade and getting people into work,” Frydenberg said.
He said the Australian economy’s fundamentals were sound. Growth, at 2.3% per cent through the year, was second only to the United States among G7 countries. This week’s figures showed unemployment falling to 4.9%, the lowest in eight years. Youth unemployment was the lowest in seven years.
But there was a slowdown in the global economy, with global trade volumes down more than 3% since August. Trade tensions continued and there was uncertainty over Brexit. The International Monetary Fund and the OECD had downgraded their 2019 growth numbers.
“Japan is only growing at around 1% and had a negative quarter last year. The Euro area has been growing at less than 2% and had a negative quarter last year. Germany had a negative quarter last year and China itself set a lower growth target,‘ he said.
At home, “falls in dwelling investment detracted 0.2% from growth in the December quarter. The impacts of the drought have seen farm GDP down by 5.8 % through the year and the impacts of the flood have still yet to fully flow through.”
Frydenberg said the situation was “all manageable – but only with a strong economic plan that gives business confidence to invest and consumers the confidence to spend. It requires a pro-growth agenda, which is exactly what you’ll see in this year’s budget”.
The budget numbers are being held up by strong growth in nominal GDP, which determines revenue numbers.
Frydenberg said returning the budget to surplus was “more significant than just a number because it’s actually showing that we’ve turned a corner.”
“Surpluses will continue to grow over the medium term, and the goal is to bring net debt down to zero.”
Frydenberg stressed the government’s commitment was for a surplus in 2019-20, declining to rule in or out a surplus for the current financial year. He pointed out there had been “issues’ in this financial year, especially the drought and other natural disasters, but also higher schools payments and various other commitments the government had made.
The Johannesburg host talked to him by Skype for an update on “how New Zealand is coping” in the wake of the attack by a white supremacist gunman on worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch a week ago today, leaving 50 people dead.
eNews Channel Africa has been a big media hit in South Africa and currently broadcasts live on DStv 403.
The channel made history when it launched on June 1, 2008, becoming South Africa’s first 24-hour news service.
Since then, it has dominated the market.
Live reports, breaking news, sport, weather, entertainment, financial and business updates all form part of its offering, along with a host of topical current affairs shows.
eNCA has bureaus across South Africa and also has correspondents covering Zimbabwe, Ghana, and Tanzania, the US and Europe.
Chances are you’ve walked over silver moss (Bryum argenteum) countless times without giving it a second glance. This moss, at home in moist environments as well as hot and cold deserts, is also a common denizen of cities worldwide and finds shelter in our pavement cracks.
Also known as silvery thread moss and silvergreen bryum moss, it grows in all states and territories of Australia, particularly in towns and cities.
To the naked eye, it appears as a tiny silvery green ribbon or small cushion, with stems up to 1.5cm tall, but often only a few millimetres high. With a hand lens, its crowded, tight buds are visible, while a microscope reveals the reason for its silvery appearance: cells in the top portion of its minute leaves do not have chloroplasts (and therefore no chlorophyll) and do not appear green, but instead make a transparent silvery tip. This portion of the leaf protects the chloroplasts deeper down from harsh sunlight.
Like many others in its genus, the leaves have a rounded appearance with a central rib, or costa, that ends well before the tip. As with most moss, these simple leaves are only one cell layer thick, so it exchanges gases and water with the exterior by diffusion.
The silver moss is a survivor. We remove native vegetation from our cities and clear forest canopies but it can cope with this new version of home. We swap forest floor for hard, impervious surfaces that utterly change how water moves across the landscape – for instance, evaporating much more quickly – but this moss makes use of water when it can, switching on its photosynthesis processes when there’s enough water, and hunkering down when there’s not.
This cycle can occur over the duration of a day, with photosynthesis starting in the early morning light when there’s a little dew on the leaves, and closing down as the day progresses and the moss dries, but it can also play out over much longer periods, even years.
It can do this thanks to its particularly strong tolerance for desiccation, a trait which varies across moss species. This isn’t just the ability to withstand drought. It’s more radical than that. It is the ability to shut down all metabolic processes in the absence of water, and start them up again when water is available. This might not sound too impressive, but in the majority of plants drying out totally involves serious damage at the cell level, with membranes and cell organelles becoming brittle and breaking and macromolecules such as DNA being damaged beyond repair.
Silver moss growing on a Wollongong basketball court.Alison Haynes, Author provided
Silver moss uses sugars to create protective glass-like compounds to protect its cells from irreparable damage. Because of its tough nature, the silver moss is widely studied to further understanding of how plants cope with a range of other stresses too, from UV-B radiation and sand burial to trace metals and excessive light.
Silver moss is not showy and quite often looks rather dusty in city environments, but it’s nice to know that the 19th century botanist Ferdinand von Mueller collected it twice in 1852, in Adelaide, five years after his arrival from Germany. He moved to Melbourne that year, was appointed government botanist, and founded the National Herbarium of Victoria a year later, in 1853. These two samples must have been among the first deposited there, making them our oldest specimens of this species in Australia.
While I don’t know exactly what species were used, Aboriginal Australians took advantage of the moisture that moss collects. In Queensland, for instance, Indigenous people used to squeeze out water from a moss clump then replace it carefully, to use again.
For me, moss is on the cusp of the macro and micro world. Just big enough to see with the naked eye, it nonetheless draws you in and down to a smaller world. I’ve become a moss tourist. Whenever I go to a city, I don’t just look up at the sights, I also look down! Mosses like Bryum argenteum remind me of the wild even within the depth of a city landscape. They are a reminder that we may remove native forests, but still the most minute spores of living organisms will come in and find a place to live, if not thrive.
Earth is often in the firing line of fragments of asteroids and comets, most of which burn up tens of kilometres above our heads. But occasionally, something larger gets through.
That’s what happened off Russia’s east coast on December 18 last year. A giant explosion occurred above the Bering Sea when an asteroid some ten metres across detonated with an explosive energy ten times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
So why didn’t we see this asteroid coming? And why are we only hearing about its explosive arrival now?
The Solar system is littered with material left over from the formation of the planets. Most of it is locked up in stable reservoirs – the Asteroid belt, the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud – far from Earth.
Those reservoirs continually leak objects into interplanetary space, injecting fresh debris into orbits that cross those of the planets. The inner Solar system is awash with debris, ranging from tiny flecks of dust to comets and asteroids many kilometres in diameter.
The vast majority of the debris that collides with Earth is utterly harmless, but our planet still bears the scars of collisions with much larger bodies.
The largest, most devastating impacts (like that which helped to kill the dinosaurs 65 million years ago) are the rarest. But smaller, more frequent collisions also pose a marked risk.
In 1908, in Tunguska, Siberia, a vast explosion levelled more than 2,000 square kilometres of forest. Due to the remote location, no deaths were recorded. Had the impact happened just two hours later, the city of St Petersburg could have been destroyed.
Once found, the orbits of those objects can be determined, and their paths predicted into the future, to see whether an impact is possible or even likely. The longer we can observe a given object, the better that prediction becomes.
But as we saw with Chelyabinsk in 2013, and again in December, we’re not there yet. While the catalogue of potentially hazardous objects continues to grow, many still remain undetected, waiting to catch us by surprise.
If we discover a collision is pending in the coming days, we can work out where and when the collision will happen. That happened for the first time in 2008 when astronomers discovered the tiny asteroid 2008 TC3, 19 hours before it hit Earth’s atmosphere over northern Sudan.
For impacts predicted with a longer lead time, it will be possible to work out whether the object is truly dangerous, or would merely produce a spectacular but harmless fireball (like 2008 TC3).
For any objects that truly pose a threat, the race will be on to deflect them – to turn a hit into a miss.
Searching the skies
Before we can quantify the threat an object poses, we first need to know that the object is there. But finding asteroids is hard.
As a result, the smaller the object, the closer it must be to Earth before we can spot it.
Objects the size of the Chelyabinsk and Bering Sea events (about 20 and 10 metres diameter, respectively) are tiny. They can only be spotted when passing very close to our planet. The vast majority of the time they are simply undetectable.
As a result, having impacts like these come out of the blue is really the norm, rather than the exception!
The Chelyabinsk impact is a great example. Moving on its orbit around the Sun, it approached us in the daylight sky – totally hidden in the Sun’s glare.
For larger objects, which impact much less frequently but would do far more damage, it is fair to expect we would receive some warning.
Why not move the asteroid?
While we need to keep searching for threatening objects, there is another way we could protect ourselves.
Missions such as Hayabusa, Hayabusa 2 and OSIRIS-REx have demonstrated the ability to travel to near-Earth asteroids, land on their surfaces, and move things around.
The technology needed to extract material from an asteroid and send it back to Earth could equally be used to alter the orbit of that asteroid, moving it away from a potential collision with our planet.
We’re not quite there yet, but for the first time in our history, we have the potential to truly control our own destiny.
But the common thread in their response to the horrific events of March 15 is profound bravery, deep consideration and thoughtfulness, and a complete lack of desire for vengeance.
At the hospital, I met Ahmad, a middle-aged man from an Afghani background. He said he survived because he was buried under the dead bodies that piled up in the mosque. Although he was shot twice in the back and was lucky to survive, he was not angry or resentful.
When asked about his abiding thoughts now he said:
terrorism must not scare us. Racism must not divide us.
I then visited Fuad, another middle-aged man originally from Afghanistan who also escaped death. He had been struck by a bullet in the back and another just missing the back of his head.
His wounds were visible. He told me, with four children, he was just grateful to be alive. Not resentful or vengeful, he was full of praise for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her deep expression of humanity.
Mustafa, a young university student of Turkish heritage, was shot in the legs. One of the bullets exploded in his leg and it is difficult to know the long-term impacts – but he smiles and is cheerful, kind and respectful to the nurses who care for him.
Like the other two, he was not hateful. He said:
We trust in God. Don’t be scared to go to Mosques and schools.
He was quick to point out terrorism would serve its purpose if it made people afraid – our fear is their victory.
A cyclist prepares to lay flowers at a makeshift memorial near the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Rd in Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, March 19, 2019.Mick Tsikas/AAP
Still in shock from seeing the events at Al Noor mosque unfold, Burhan, a Sudanese man in his 60s, stood in the hospital corridor. That Friday at the mosque, he heard the shooting but was not sure if it was real.
He then saw two men shot dead, one on his right and the other behind him.
He ran outside and hid behind a car but could see the shoes of the terrorist as he continued to fire. He watched as a father ran out with his three-year-old daughter in his arms calling out “my daughter!”.
Both had been shot multiple times and both remain in critical care.
A young man in his 20s whom I had met when we completed the hajj pilgrimage last year, witnessed the gunman as he shot that young father and child.
Not unscathed, he too was shot in the hip and shoulder and his father only survived by pretending to be dead.
Without anger and strong in his faith he said:
the Prophets of God were tested more severely.
Down every corridor the message was the same – the survivors urged unity and the strength to resist hatred, racism and vengeance.
At the community centre later that day I met Adnan Ibrahim the father of the youngest of the 50 victims killed at the two mosques. His son, Mucad Ibrahim, was only three years old.
Before he was killed, he had run toward the gunman thinking it was a game.
As Adnan retold the events, everyone became very silent. In deep pain and sorrow, he showed grace and dignity.
Verily we belong to God and to Him we shall return.
His most present thoughts were about the sad condition of humanity, that such things could happen.
On my way to the carpark, I met Matiullah, a young man under 20 years old. I greeted him and asked if he lost anyone. He told me his father was killed while standing in prayer at the mosque. I embraced him and was struck by his gentleness and calmness.
The community elder Dr Hanif Quazi took me to see Ambreen Nadeem, who lost both her husband and her 21-year-old son, Talha.
Talha was completing an engineering degree. The entire family were planning to visit Pakistan in June and the tickets were booked.
As I met her with her two remaining sons, 17 and seven years old, I was filled with sadness.
Grief lined her dignified face.
And she said:
I pity the killer because his heart was filled with hate, not love.
“Pray for us,” she added quietly. I did.
At a time when we could expect that anger, vengeance and resentment could take hold in a community so demolished by violence, I found the exact opposite.
They were compassionate. They were forgiving. They were humane. And this is what we need right now.
University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Deep Saini talks about the week in politics with Michelle Grattan. They discuss the aftermath of the tragedy in Christchurch, hate speech in politics, Australia’s relations with Turkey ahead of ANZAC day, the government’s changed migration program and the coming NSW election.