Tuesday, March 16, 2021

March for justice: World’s media reacts to Australia’s big moment

The protests are very understandable. Attacks on women enrage me too and cause me to regard the men concerned as worthless excreta who should ideally be burned at the stake.

But what on earth can the government be expected to do about it? It is a justice issue but I cannot see that it is a political issue. Words are just about the only tool governments have to change attitudes but we all know how ineffective words can be.

By all means prosecute the guilty but what can be done in that connection that is not already being done? Changing the criteria for prosecuting rape would endanger the innocent. There have been all too many cases of women making false rape accusations. Heavily penalizing such women is probably the only thing one could do to make sure rape accusations are more believable

These protests undoubtedly make the women concerned feel good but it is highly unlikely that they do more than that

Time Magazine, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post and the BBC reacted to Australia’s “furious reckoning” and the brave women behind it.

Australian women and the allies who marched with them during a “furious reckoning” about sexism and rape culture on Monday have made headlines around the world.

Tens of thousands joined March For Justice rallies in cities around the country and outside Parliament House in Canberra demanding cultural change.

Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, who claimed she was raped inside a parliamentary office and sexual assault survivor and Australian of the Year Grace Tame delivered powerful speeches in Canberra and Hobart respectively.

It was a significant moment in Australian history that did not go unnoticed by the world’s media. Time Magazine, the BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Irish Times and Al Jazeera each dedicated significant coverage to the events.

Time Magazine’s headline read:‘We’ve Had Enough.’ Furious Australian Women Force a Reckoning on Sexism After a Rape Allegation in the Government.

The publication’s story touched on how deeply ingrained the culture of sexism and sexual harassment has become.

“Furious women across Australia are now opening up with their own experiences of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse,” it read. “And it’s begun conversations about inherent discrimination and mistreatment of women — both within the halls of Australian government, and across the wider society.”

Al Jazeera made note of the historic rape allegation against Attorney-General Christian Porter and the allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Craig Kelly’s political advisor, Frank Zumbo.

“Allegations have been laid by six women against a senior parliamentary aide Frank Zumbo, drawing attention to what many critics say is a toxic culture of masculinity within the nation’s federal parliament,” Al Jazeera wrote.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to refuse to hold an independent inquiry into the allegations against Porter, and on Monday also refused to meet protesters on the parliament’s lawn in Canberra.”

The New York Times made mention of the longstanding issues Australia has failed to address.

“Wearing black and holding signs reading; enough is enough’, thousands took to the streets across Australia on Monday to protest violence and discrimination against women, as a reckoning in the country’s halls of power sparked by multiple accusations of rape continued to grow,” the Times wrote.

“The marches in at least 40 cities represented an outpouring of anger from women about a problem that has gone unaddressed for too long, said the organisers, who estimated that 110,000 people attended the demonstrations nationwide.

“With the next national election potentially coming as early as August, experts say it is something that the conservative government, which has come under stinging criticism for the way it has handled the accusations, ignores at its own peril.

The Washington Post celebrated those who took to the streets with messages denouncing the ongoing poor treatment of women.

“(Protesters) carried placards decrying misogyny, victim-blaming, abuse and rape,” the newspaper wrote.

“In Melbourne, a banner listed 900 women who have lost their lives at the hands of men since 2008. The rallies follow a wave of allegations of sexual assault, abuse and misconduct in some of the highest offices of Australian politics.

“They come amid a growing global movement demanding officials do more to protect women and to hold perpetrators of harassment and assaults accountable.

“The reckoning over assault allegations has reached the highest ranks of government. On Monday, the country’s top law official filed a defamation suit against the state broadcaster over an article that reported a letter had been sent to the prime minister containing a historic rape allegation.”

The BBC wrote that Monday’s rallies “could be the biggest uprising of women that Australia’s seen. And the Irish Times wrote that “public anger over the government’s handling of the alleged incidents mirrors the sentiment on display at protests in London over the weekend following the killing of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home at night-time”.

“Mr Morrison said Australia had made big strides toward gender equality over the years, though he acknowledged the job was ‘far from done’ and he shared the concerns of the protesters.

However, he raised some hackles by expressing pride in the right to peaceful protest when he said ‘Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets, but not in this country.’”


Facebook and News Corp Australia reach agreement for tech giant to pay for journalism

News Corp Australia has reached an agreement with Facebook for the tech giant to pay for news content on its social media platform.

On Tuesday, the major publisher has struck a three-year deal with Facebook to pay for journalism across the company’s mastheads including news.com.au, The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail and its regional and community publications.

It follows similar agreements with both Google and Apple to pay for news content.

Facebook wiped news content from its platform last month as the government legislated a world-first media bargaining code to make digital platforms pay for journalism in Australia.

News Corp Australia chief executive Michael Miller said the deal ensured Australians were able to access quality journalism online.

“The events of the past month have reinforced to us and to Facebook the value our news, storytelling and brands bring to the Facebook platform,” Mr Miller said.

“This is a welcome agreement for our company, for the quality journalism we invest in, and the many Australian readers we serve.”

Sky News Australia has also reached a separate deal with Facebook for its news content on the platform.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was integral in pushing for the news media bargaining code.

“I’d also again pay tribute to the world-leading work of Rod Sims and his team at the ACCC in creating the code of conduct with the platforms, and the bipartisan political support led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg,” Mr Miller said.

“Their efforts serve as a template for how important but difficult policy reform can work to help build a stronger Australia.”

News Corp is the first major Australian publisher to strike a deal with Facebook


Queensland SES report remains secret despite losing 70% of members

Anger over the organisation’s management has reached a boiling point two weeks it was revealed red tape and bureaucracy had slashed its member numbers.

A report into the operations of the State Emergency Service will remain secret despite the struggling organisation losing 70 per cent of its members.

Anger over the volunteer organisation’s management has reached a boiling point two weeks after The Courier-Mail revealed red tape and bureaucracy had slashed its member numbers.

Now, calls are growing for the state government to finally release its widespread review into the SES more than a year after it was completed.

“Release the report, act upon the recommendations and fully fund the Queensland SES now and into the future,” she said.

Since 2004, the first time official membership figures were reported, the number of SES volunteers has fallen from 17,000 to just 5200.

“Volunteer numbers are now at the lowest point in the agency’s history, a disheartening and unsustainable trend,” Ms Keeshan said.

“We have already seen and experienced the impact of these losses both on the agency and the community. We need strong strategies from the Premier and government and we need them now before further and significant emergencies place the community at risk.”

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said the report was being considered, but did not provide detail on when it might be released.

“At the appropriate time there will be more to say about these matters, but … the government will always support the dedicated and selfless volunteers who make the SES so incredibly valuable to the community,” he said.

Mr Ryan said “hundreds of people” had applied to become members in recent months, prompting Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel to deploy additional resources to process volunteer applications.

A QFES spokesman previously said the change in membership numbers “has not affected the SES’s ability to respond effectively during times of emergency and disaster in Queensland”.

Ms Keeshan said 2 per cent of QFES’s $750m operating budget went to the SES – about $15m each year – but it needed “at least $70m”.


Queensland's film industry booms as A-listers seek a safe haven from the COVID-19 pandemic

Smart people are noticing that Queensland is a oasis from Covid problems

Queensland is in the midst of its biggest screen boom in history as the promise of a coronavirus refuge lures A-list stars and big-budget productions. $437 million worth of productions are being shot across Queensland, allowing for some 5,500 jobs

Since the beginning of last year, Queensland has secured 39 international and domestic productions, which are worth an estimated $437 million to the local economy.

"That's really unheard-of to have that many projects on the go at once," Screen Queensland chief executive Kylie Munnich said. "The great thing is, they're spread around the state — it's not only south-east Queensland."

The Gold Coast has been transformed into downtown Memphis for Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic, while the Whitsundays will stand in for Bali in romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney.

Meanwhile, outback Queensland will host contestants of popular reality TV show Australian Survivor as they compete for cash in Cloncurry.

Production will also begin this month on the Gold Coast for Thirteen Lives, a film adaptation of the 2018 Thai cave rescue, directed by Ron Howard.

The screen boom is expected to create about 5,500 jobs — the majority of them local.

Ms Munnich said while Queensland had already built a global industry reputation, the pandemic had put it at the top of the film destination list.

"Some people who might not have thought of us first are now doing that, so that's why we're going to grab that momentum and totally run with it," she said.

There is financial motivation, too.

The Queensland government has been tipped to spend $35 million on production attraction incentives this financial year, while the Commonwealth committed an additional $400 million to entice international productions to Australian shores.

Filming for the hit kids' TV series The Bureau of Magical Things was shut down last year on the Gold Coast during the height of the coronavirus health crisis.

"Everyone was very nervous and there was a palpable sense that we might not be coming back to finish the show," the show's director, Evan Clarry, said.

But three months later, the cast and crew were back on set, with the production team now preparing to release the second season.

"It just highlights how lucky we are in Australia, as well as Queensland," Mr Clarry said.

"Once COVID settles down and more and more places open up for shooting, then it'll become a more competitive market in terms of drawing the offshore productions."

The influx of top-tier productions has created new opportunities for local creatives.

Emerging First Nations filmmaker Rhianna Malezer worked behind the scenes on Thor: Ragnarok, Dora and the Lost City of Gold and the upcoming Elvis film.

"Just being introduced to a production of that scale was a huge learning curve — I developed so many skills that I've transferred to every job that I've done."

Ms Malezer said Queensland needed to find a balance between big international blockbusters and developing local productions.

"It's really important to build our industry here, because obviously Queensland has its own stories to tell," she said.

"Now, as I develop myself as a writer-director, I know that there's this incredible pool of talent here in Queensland that I can call upon for my own projects."


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE TIED)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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