Showing posts with label right wing politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label right wing politics. Show all posts

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

William Fraser Anning - an ugly aspect of far-right politics in Australia


The Sydney Morning Herald, Fraser Anning

William Fraser Anning then a member of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party was declared elected to the Australian Senate on 10 November 2017, as a replacement for the recently disqualified dual citizen Malcolm Ieuan Roberts.

Less than seven months later he had joined Katter’s Australian Party.

In the 2016 general election Anning had received a grand total of 19 votes (59 if transferred votes are counted) out of a possible 2.72 million Queensland ballots cast. The Queensland electorate had firmly rejected him.

Hansard shows that at 17:06pm on Wednesday 14 August 2018, nine months after taking up his seat, Anning made his formal First Speech on the floor of the Senate.

This is how The Sydney Morning Herald reported this speech on 14 August 2018:

Queensland senator Fraser Anning has praised the White Australia Policy and called for a plebiscite as "the final solution to the immigration problem" in the most inflammatory maiden speech to an Australian Parliament since One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's in 1996.

The Katter's Australian Party senator, formerly of One Nation, used his first speech to the Senate on Tuesday to lament the demise of "our predominantly European identity" of the 1950s and '60s.


The Guardian’s opinion piece on 15 August 2018 pointed out the dangers before us:

Fraser Anning is in the parliament by accident. Having fluked his way into the Senate chamber because One Nation needed a replacement for Malcolm Roberts, he now wants your attention, and judging by his performance in the Senate on Tuesday night, he doesn’t care what lines he crosses to get it.

What we are witnessing in national politics is the latest manifestation of Australia’s cultural cringe. Far right political operatives, and the media voices prepared to give them succour, are importing the nationalist debates that have sprung up in the shadow of the global financial crisis – the biggest economic dislocation since the great depression.

We are building our own tinder box, bit by bit.

Debates about race, and sovereignty, and immigration have caught fire elsewhere because of deep resentments felt by the losers of globalisation. Australia didn’t suffer the biting effects of the global financial crisis, and the prolonged economic downturn that followed it. By comparison to the visceral experiences elsewhere, in this country we experienced a chilly, stiff breeze.

Notwithstanding these facts, we are importing the outrage consciousness that exists elsewhere, validating it, willingly projecting an alternate reality onto our own domestic circumstances as a grotesque form of entertainment.

We are building our own tinder box, bit by bit.

This would be pathetic. Almost laughable. Except in terms of race and politics, we are now in the most explosive period we’ve been in since John Howard sailed into choppy waters with his feelings on Asian immigration in the 1980s.

There is nothing to laugh about. Right now, there are all the ingredients of a perfect storm.

The first ingredient is a fractured bunch of far-right leaning political voices in mortal competition with one another for votes. The last 24 hours has been a public competition between Anning, and his new running mate Bob Katter, and One Nation, for attention. Anning and Katter apparently want to establish a new beach head, charting territory where Pauline won’t follow. Just let that happy thought settle on you for a minute or two.

The second ingredient is a polity profoundly disaffected by the repeated failings and default narcissism of Australia’s major party politics, frustrated by their congested cities and low wages growth and by governments who spent more time fighting their fractured internals than navigating the future. The third is a disrupted media landscape where conflict – the louder and more notorious the better – is hard currency.

Fraser Anning used his first speech to parliament to spin his own obscurity into notoriety: to try on a troll suit in full public view.

The Monthly spoke of  Anning as "unrepresentative", "accidental swill" on 15 August 2018:

Fraser Anning’s execrable first speech in the Senate yesterday, proposing a “final solution” on Muslim immigration, marks a new low for Australian politics, but assuredly not for long. Things are likely to get worse before they get better, as a bunch of illegitimate right-wing nobodies in the Senate compete for race-hate shock value in the lead-up to the next election. The combination of a double dissolution in 2016 and the citizenship crisis has burdened us with the least representative Senate in living memory. The crossbench is populated by senators who won on the donkey vote, defected, were elected on a countback or were hand-picked mid-term and are yet to face the people. Most face electoral oblivion in 2019. We are used to hearing of “unrepresentative swill” in the Senate, where one vote, one value has never applied, but a record number of our current senators literally don’t deserve to be there. Call them accidental swill.

Anning’s speech, in which he called for a return to the White Australia policy, did not come out of the blue. We have been building up to this steadily. From Pauline Hanson’s return to parliament, to Tony Abbott’s dog-whistling on immigration policy, to Peter Dutton’s attacks on “African gangs”, to Andrew Bolt’s comments about Chinese, Cambodian, Indian and Jewish communities“changing our culture”, to Sky News airing an interview with neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell, the trend is clear: we are sliding ever-faster down a slippery slope towards an ugly, divisive race-card election.

Although his formal first speech was somewhat tardy, according to They Vote For You Anning has been busy voting strongly in support of:


On 14 August 2018 lawyer Richard McGilvray, an adviser to Senator Anning, resigned his position in protest.

Posting on Linkedin that: "I do not condone SenatorAnning's speech. His reference to 'the Final Solution' was not something I had seen, heard of, or discussed prior to his remarks last night and as a consequence, within hours of Senator Anning's speech, I resigned my position effective immediately. I'd like to thank many of you for your messages of support and encouragement this morning."

It is understood that the adviser who drafted Anning's First Speech was Richard Howard, who was formerly a staffer for One Nation's Malcolm Roberts and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm.

As is to be expected Anning's speech has been fact checked and found to contain numerous errors.

To date, Senator Anning has not issued an apology for elements of that speech.


Monday, 20 August 2018

Clarence River Estuary communities need to remain both alert and alarmed as NSW Berejiklian Government seeks to expand exposure to international cruise ship industry


In July 2018 the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government released the document “NSW Cruise Development Plan” to the delight of the international cruise ship industry.

This plan confirms that Berejiklian ministry - sitting in offices over 670kms south of the small towns of Yamba and Iluka on the banks of the Clarence River estuary - is still pursuing the idea that the Port of Yamba is a potential official cruise ship destination.

The state government also obviously expects that Clarence Valley local government will both accommodate the needs of the plan and contribute to the cost of meeting this aim if it is progressed.

To further the Berejiklian Government’s aim to make as many small ports or undeveloped harbours/inlets capable of use by cruise ships the NSW Cruise Development Plan states that:

A regulatory framework that fosters the competitiveness of ports, encourages the expansion of the tourism sector, minimises environmental impacts, protects the community, and supports jobs growth is required for the NSW cruise industry.
National regulatory barriers currently inhibit the cruise industry, including the small expedition and luxury cruise market’s, access to NSW coastal ports.

Differences in regulatory requirements between states also restricts the freedom of cruise liners to set national itineraries that take advantage of regional ports.
The NSW Government will continue to lead discussions with the other States, Territories and the Commonwealth on removing regulatory barriers that limit cruise ship growth potential.

Action: The NSW Government will investigate opportunities to remove regulatory barriers to entry for emerging cruise markets, including the expedition cruise market, and will seek an inter-jurisdictional policy position with other governments. [my yellow highlighting]

What the Liberal-Nationals government in faraway Sydney considers as “regulatory barriers” may not be what the people of the Lower Clarence River consider as impediments which should be removed.


They are in place for good reason and any weakening of these regulations has the potential to affect the environmental sustainability of an ancient, healthy and highly productive estuary system which is the largest in south-east Australia and, whose waters are covered by Yaegl Native Title.

Facts estuary communities may need to continually press upon a state government wrapped up as it is in a cosy relationship with the international cruise ship industry.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Is Sky News Autralia fast becoming national propaganda central for extreme world views?


This is an excerpt from the book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988) by  Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky.


That these observations have a basis in fact can sadly be borne out by mainstream and social media in 2018.

Take this most recent example....



The United Patriots Front (UPF) is a far-right Australian white supremacists group.

In September 2017 admirer of Adolf Hitler, UPF founder & sometime leader Blair Cottrell and two supporters were each convicted under Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 and fined $2,000 plus $79.50 in statutory costs for religious vilification/inciting serious contempt.

This is not the first time Cottrell has been before the courts. In 2013 he was gaoled for a string of offences including stalking, arson, burglary and damaging property.

Despite this dubious history Sky News decided to invite him on as a guest of former Northern Territory Chief Minister & former Country Liberal Party Leader Adam Giles for a one-on-one studio interview on The Adam Giles Show on 5 August 2017.






To describe Cottrell as "an activist" is deliberately misleading as his history is well-known, as are some of his more extreme pronouncements such as this:


The reaction to Sky News was swift and this is just four examples:


Sky News issued an apology:



Then announced a ban on Blair Cottrell and a suspension of the Adam Giles Show, along with an internal  management shakeup, as the general public pushed to the limits continued to fight back against the 'normalising' of violence and racism.

However, as Sky News often employs markedly right-wing personalities and regularly hosts guests with extreme, intolerant and sometimes racist world views, it is not always easy to accept assertions that extremist views are not the news channel's own views. Or at the very least, that these divisive opinions are seen by Sky News management as driving an agenda desired by News Corp and powerful right-wing groups.

In fact Sky News appears to be fast developing into a version of that US right-wing propaganda vehicle, Fox News, in that it seeks to legitimise and monetise for its own corporate profit the most dangerous elements on the far-right political and social spectrum.1


Notes


1. Sky News' liking for yellow press journalism hasn't past unnoticed. 
Junkee, 6 August 2018: Sky News…. was deeply sorry for slut-shaming a (female) federal senator a few weeks ago. In the past, Sky News has been deeply sorry for linking a (female) former state Premier to corruption, deeply sorry for poking fun at a (female) journalist’s disability, and deeply sorry for suggesting a school boy was gay because he’d appeared in a video about feminism.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Turnbull Government prepares an end run around the Australian electorate?


In 1986 the Federal Government couldn’t get the national electorate to accept the Australia Card, a national identity card to be carried by all citizens.

Likewise in 2007 the wider electorate rejected the proposed Access Card, a national identity card with a unique personal identification number, which was to be linked to a centralised database expected to contain an unprecedented amount of personal and other information.

Federal Government also failed to have everyone embrace the idea of MyGov, a data sharing, one-stop digital portal for access to government services created in 2013. To date only 11.5 million people out of a population of over 24.9 million hold an account with MyGov.

When after three and a half years the populace did not register in sufficient numbers for the so-called Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), an intrusive opt-in data retention system, government changed tack.

It relabelled PCEHR as My Health Record (MHR) in 2016 and broadened the number of agencies which could access an individual’s personal/health information. Decreeing it would become a mandatory data collection system applied to the entire Australian population, with only a short an opt-out period prior to full program implementation1.

However, it seems that the Turnbull Federal Government expects around 1.9 million people to opt-out of or cancel their My Heath Record in the next two months. Possibly with more cancellations to occur in the future, as privacy and personal safety become issues due to the inevitable continuation of MHR data breaches and the occurrence of unanticipated software vulnerabilities/failures.

So Turnbull and his Liberal and Nationals cronies have a backup in place in 2018 called the Data Sharing and Release Bill, which Introduces legislation to improve the use and reuse of public sector data within government and with private corporations outside of government, as well as granting access to and the sharing of data on individuals and businesses that is currently otherwise prohibited.

The bill also allows for the sharing of transaction, usage and product data with service competitors and comparison services. An as yet unrealised  provision which is currently being wrapped up in a pretty bow and called a consumer right - but one that is likely to be abused by the banking, finance, insurance, electricity/gas industry sectors.

The bill appears to override the federal privacy act where provisions are incompatible.

This is a bill voters have yet to see, because the Turnbull Government has not seen fit to publish the bill’s full text. Only an issues paper is available at present.

Notes:

1. Federal Government may have succeeded in retaining the personal details of every person who filled in the 2016 Census by permanently retaining these details and linking this information to their future Census information in order to track people overtime for the rest of their lives, but this win for government as Big Brother was reliant on stealth in implementation and was limited in what it could achieve at the time. 

Because not everyone ended up with a genuine unique identification key as an unknown number of individual citizens and permanent residents (possibly well in excess of half a million souls) as acts of civil disobedience deliberately filled in the national survey forms with falsified information or managed to evade filling in a form altogether. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt is not being truthful about My Health Record and he knows it


On 16 July 2018 the Australian Minister for Health and Liberal MP for Flinders, Gregory Andrew 'Greg' Hunt, characterised My Health Record as a "secure summary" of an individual's key health information.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) tells a rather different story.

One where at least 242 individual My Health Records have been part of mandatory data breach reports in 2015-16 to 2016-17, with nine of the 51 reported breach events involving "the unauthorised access of a healthcare recipient’s My Health Record by a third party".

A story which also involves at least 96 instances of Medicare uploading data to the wrong digital health records and also uploading claim information to another 123 My Health Records apparently without the knowledge or consent of the persons in whose names these My Health Records had been created.

There were other instances where MyGov accounts held by healthcare recipients were incorrectly linked to the My Health Records of other healthcare recipients.

Prior to the database name change and system change from opt-in to opt-out there had been another 9 data breaches of an unspecified nature reported, involving an unknown number of what are now called My Health Records.

More instances are now being aired in mainstream and social media where My Health Records were created by DHS Medicare Repository Services or other agents/agencies without the knowledge or consent of the individual in whose name the record had been created.
Healthcare IT News 16 July 2018


If this is how the national e-health database was officially functioning malfunctioning by 30 June 2017, how on earth is the system going to cope when it attempts to create millions of new My Health Records after 15 October 2018?

On the first day of the 60 day opt-out period about 20,000 people refused to have a My Health Record automatically created for them and at least one Liberal MP has also opted out, the Member for Goldstein and member of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport Tim Wilson. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull has stated his view that mass withdrawals will not kill the national digital health records system - perhaps because he and his government are possibly contemplating adopting the following three coercive recommendations found amongst the thirty-one recommendations included in the Siggins Miller November 2016 Evaluation of the Participation Trials for the My Health Record: Final Report:

20. Use all mechanisms available in commissioning and funding health services as vehicles to require the use of the My Health Record to obtain funds where practical.

21. Consider ways to require the use of the My Health Record system by all healthcare providers and how to best use the Government’s purchasing power directly (e.g. in the aged care sector), via new initiatives as they arise (such the Health Care Home initiative) or via PHNs commissioning clinical services (e.g. require use of the My Health Record system in all clinical and aged care services that receive Commonwealth funds). Such requirements should have a timeframe within which healthcare providers need to become compliant.

22. Explore with health insurers how they could encourage preferred suppliers and clients to use the My Health Record system as part of their push for preventive care and cost containment.

That the My Health Record is not about improving health service delivery for individual patients is indicated by the fact that a My Health Record is retained by the National Repositories Service for between 30 and up to 130 years after death and, even during an individual's lifetime can be accessed by the courts, police, other government agencies and private corporations listed as research organisations requiring medical/lifestyle information for what is essentially commercial gain, at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Health or the Digital Health Agency Systems Operator. See: My Health Records Act 2012 (20 September 2017), Subdivision B - s63 to s70

To put it bluntly, this national database will allow federal government to monitor the personal lives of Australian citizens more closely, enforce civil & criminal law, monetise collated data for its own benefit  and, weaponize the personal information collected anytime it feels threatened by dissenting opinion.

NOTES

OAIC annual reports:


The Guardian, 22 July 2018:

Australia’s impending My Health Record system is “identical” to a failed system in England that was cancelled after it was found to be selling patient data to drug and insurance companies, a British privacy expert has said.

My Health Record is a digital medical record that stores medical data and shares it between medical providers. In the UK, a similar system called care.data was announced in 2014, but cancelled in 2016 after an investigation found that drug and insurance companies were able to buy information on patients’ mental health conditions, diseases and smoking habits.

The man in charge of implementing My Health Record in Australia, Tim Kelsey, was also in charge of setting up care.data. 

Phil Booth, the coordinator of British privacy group Medconfidential, said the similarities were “extraordinary” and he expected the same privacy breaches to occur.

“The parallels are incredible,” he said. “It looks like it is repeating itself, almost like a rewind or a replay. The context has changed but what is plainly obvious to us from the other side of the planet, is that this system seems to be the 2018 replica of the 2014 care.data.” [my yellow highlighting]

North Coast Voices , 22 July 2018, Former Murdoch journalist in charge of MyHealth records –what could possibly go wrong?

UPDATE

Australian Parliamentary Library, Flagpost, 23 July 2018:

Section 70 of the My Health Records Act 2012 enables the System Operator (ADHA) to ‘use or disclose health information’ contained in an individual’s My Health Record if the ADHA ‘reasonably believes that the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary’ to, among other things, prevent, detect, investigate or prosecute any criminal offence, breaches of a law imposing a penalty or sanction or breaches of a prescribed law; protect the public revenue; or prevent, detect, investigate or remedy ‘seriously improper conduct’. Although ‘protection of the public revenue’ is not explained, it is reasonable to assume that this might include investigations into potential fraud and other financial offences involving agencies such as Centrelink, Medicare, or the Australian Tax Office. The general wording of section 70 is a fairly standard formulation common to various legislation—such as the Telecommunications Act 1997—which appears to provide broad access to a wide range of agencies for a wide range of purposes. 

While this should mean that requests for data by police, Home Affairs and other authorities will be individually assessed, and that any disclosure will be limited to the minimum necessary to satisfy the request, it represents a significant reduction in the legal threshold for the release of private medical information to law enforcement. Currently, unless a patient consents to the release of their medical records, or disclosure is required to meet a doctor’s mandatory reporting obligations (e.g. in cases of suspected child sexual abuse), law enforcement agencies can only access a person’s records (via their doctor) with a warrant, subpoena or court order....

It seems unlikely that this level of protection and obligation afforded to medical records by the doctor-patient relationship will be maintained, or that a doctor’s judgement will be accommodated, once a patient’s medical record is uploaded to My Health Record and subject to section 70 of the My Health Records Act 2012. The AMA’s Guide to Medical Practitioners on the use of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record System (from 2012) does not clarify the situation.

Although it has been reported that the ADHA’s ‘operating policy is to release information only where the request is subject to judicial oversight’, the My Health Records Act 2012 does not mandate this and it does not appear that the ADHA’s operating policy is supported by any rule or regulation. As legislation would normally take precedence over an agency’s ‘operating policy’, this means that unless the ADHA has deemed a request unreasonable, it cannot routinely require a law enforcement body to get a warrant, and its operating policy can be ignored or changed at any time.

The Health Minister’s assertions that no one’s data can be used to ‘criminalise’ them and that ‘the Digital Health Agency has again reaffirmed today that material … can only be accessed with a court order’ seem at odds with the legislation which only requires a reasonable belief that disclosure of a person’s data is reasonably necessary to prevent, detect, investigate or prosecute a criminal offence…..

Although the disclosure provisions of different agencies may be more or less strict than those of the ADHA and the My Health Records Act 2012, the problem with the MHR system is the nature of the data itself. As the Law Council of Australia notes, ‘the information held on a healthcare recipient’s My Health Record is regarded by many individuals as highly sensitive and intimate’. The National Association of People with HIV Australia has suggested that ‘the department needs to ensure that an individual’s My Health Record is bound to similar privacy protections as existing laws relating to the privacy of health records’. Arguably, therefore, an alternative to the approach of the current scheme would be for medical records registered in the MHR system to be legally protected from access by law enforcement agencies to at least the same degree as records held by a doctor.

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Lib-Nats class war continues apace and General Turnbull reminds us of another victory


On 1 July 2018 Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull proudly reminded his fellow Australians that the planned personal income tax cuts had started that day.




He was careful not to point out that to get that $530 tax refund next year this nurse or school teacher would have to earn above the average full-time wage in their respective professions.

Turnbull was also careful not to mention that these personal tax cuts excluded the lowest income earners - many of whom would be hit with the second tranche of penalty rate cuts which came into force on 1 July as well.

While the fact that on 1 July he just happens to get a 2 per cent parliamentary pay rise for the third year in a row, during a period of extremely low wage growth for ordinary workers, passes without mention as well.

It did not go unnoticed...........

The Guardian, 1 July 2018:

This week saw criticism of Labor starting a class war. But the real class war is being fought by those who seek to erase people on low and middle incomes from the debate. And too often the media are willing participants in this erasure.

Let us be honest: Australia is a nation whose politicians are for the most part drawn from similar socioeconomic (and education) backgrounds, covered by journalists who (including myself) come from similar backgrounds, and where any interruption to this course of events – such as when Ricky Muir was elected to the Senate – is greeted with a barely disguised level of condescension that someone not university educated or white collar has deigned to enter the sanctum.

It is a situation of course not solely devoted to income – gender and especially race are also major factors at play. In positions of power we remain a very white, relatively well-paid male nation (and I speak as one of that group).

It is not a situation without consequences.

Retirement age of 70? Well, that seems doable to one who sits behind a desk. The shift of jobs to the services sector? Well, after all, who would want to work in a factory? Low levels of industrial disputes? That must be good – let me quote some measure of international competitiveness while I pass over these record low wages growth and wonder at the coincidence.

It’s the type of thinking that has journalists asking “Is $120,000 the new rich” because that will generate a headline without even caring that it is more than double the median income.

And it is why I have little time for the theatre criticism that can infest political coverage where journalists writing for publications whose target audience is the very wealthiest in our society talk about how Labor’s “class war” attacks on Malcolm Turnbull are poor politics that won’t fly, and are divisive.

That’s pretty rich given today low-paid fast-food, hospitality, pharmacy and retail workers around the country are seeing cuts to their penalty rates.

Let us not fall into the trap of believing we can’t suggest that the situation and wealth of those in power has no impact on the policies they put forward, even while such policies actually benefit those same people who are putting them in place.

Oh no, we must instead keep to the myth that Australia is some egalitarian paradise where our history is one of everyone buckling down and working together to forge a nation against the odds. Bugger the rum rebellion, put John Macarthur on the $2 note, and bask in the warmth of misremembered history……

We see this erasure in his speeches where he talks of “school principals and police superintendents” to describe those deserving of a tax cuts as being somehow not wealthy – indeed as very much middle class.

The base level salary for a Victorian police superintendent is $154,412, the median salary for a Victorian school principal in 2015-16 was $113,446. That someone would use such incomes to talk up tax cuts says all you need to know about who he sees as the most deserving.

And here I must admit the media is often hostage to this erasure as well.

Upon the passing of the income tax cuts, one newspaper ran the line “What do low-medium income earners get?” and noted that “From July next year, Australians who earn up to $125,333 will get up to $530 cash-back when they lodge their tax return”.

In 2017 the median income was $52,988 and the top 10% of employees earned more than $109,668. Congratulations to those in the top 10%, you’re now officially middle-income Australia.

It means those who are actually middle and low-income workers are effectively erased from the debate – their situation ignored, and where to even raise it draws a rebuke – how dare you play the class war card! Why do you hate deserving middle class like the police superintendent?

The budget, despite what we might be led to believe, given the tax cuts that have just been passed without any savings measures attached, is not a magic pudding. Money spent on tax cuts to those presented as middle class but who are actually wealthy, means less money for those on actual low and middle incomes.

We do have a class war in Australia, and right now it is being won by those who not only would have you believe it is not occurring – and should not be mentioned – but who also would have you believe that those who are actually well off are doing it tough.

We need to be honest about who makes decisions in this country, how they are made and who they benefit. And we need to be honest about what is the reality for people on low and middle incomes. Failure to do so not only erases them from the debate, it ensures the system remains unchanged.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Government of Nauru: Turnbull's will comes first


Image of Nauru at abc.net.au

The small island Republic of Nauru’s official motto is "God's Will First.

I strongly suspect that Nauru has unofficially changed it to “Turnbull's Will First” ahead of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to the Pacific Islands Forum, with an eye turned towards protecting annual funding coming from the Australian Government.

Australia is Nauru’s largest trade, investment and development assistance partner, providing development assistance worth $26.1 million in 2017-18 and $25.9 million in 2018-19.


That particular multimillion dollar revenue stream is said to financially benefit some of Nauru’s most powerful families.

So banning ABC employees from entering the country would have been an easy decision for the Government of Nauru to make given the current Australian prime minister’s well known animus towards the Australian Public Broadcasting Corporation.

Statement from Republic of Nauru – Update for media attending Sept 2018 Pacific Islands Forum

Published by  NauruNews at  July 2, 2018

The Government of Nauru looks forward to welcoming media from across the Pacific region and further afield, to cover the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in September. Due to very limited accommodation we have had to place restrictions on the number of people from all sectors who are able to attend, including government delegations and the media. There has been no restrictions placed on media attendance for any reason other than this indisputable fact of accommodation and facility availability. We are confident that a wide cross section of media will attend, as they have for previous forums. Of course, as is the case for anyone entering Nauru – and indeed every other sovereign nation – all are expected to abide by their visa guidelines (in this instance a specific PIF media visa will be issued with no associated fees), respect the laws of our country, and not engage in activities that cause or encourage disruption or civil unrest.

We recognise that media from Australia have a unique interest in Nauru due to our partnership with Australia as part of its border security operations. While we will ensure that some media representatives from Australia will attend along with other Pacific and wider media, we will be requesting they follow all guidelines and directions of authorities in order to ensure the safety and security of citizens and residents of Nauru. There are unique security and safety issues in Nauru that must be considered and respected, and the Government reserves the right to revoke the visa of any person that breaches their visa conditions.

We are ensuring that along with other media from Australia, at least one Australian TV news outlet will be able to cover the PIF and footage will be available to other outlets who are not able to attend.

It is important that media representatives travelling with national political leaders or heads of state – specifically from Australia and New Zealand – are aware that they still must apply for accreditation and an appropriate visa through the website of the Government of Nauru, as per normal procedures. No person can enter Nauru without a valid visa and anyone attempting to do so, irrespective of who they are travelling with, will not be allowed entry. Accreditation applications have now closed as per PIF guidelines, however applications will still be accepted until 5pm Nauru Time on July 3, 2018, from any representatives who wish to travel to PIF as part of a ‘pool’ with their national leader and has not yet applied. Again, these spots are limited (particularly by accommodation) and will be included in (not separate from) the overall media numbers which are still to be finalised. Media that have been issued accreditation will be advised soon, as will those applicants who we could not accommodate.

It should be noted that no representative from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will be granted a visa to enter Nauru under any circumstances, due to this organisation’s blatant interference in Nauru’s domestic politics prior to the 2016 election, harassment of and lack of respect towards our President in Australia, false and defamatory allegations against members of our Government, and continued biased and false reporting about our country. It is our right, as it is the right of every nation, to choose who is allowed to enter.

ABC News reported on 2 July 2017:

ABC News Director Gaven Morris responded, saying the broadcaster "vigorously defends our role in doing independent reporting on our region".

"The ABC does not intend to vacate our position in the media pool covering the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru," Mr Morris said.

"The Nauruan Government should not be allowed to dictate who fills the positions in an Australian media pool.

"It can hardly claim it is 'welcoming the media' if it dictates who that media will be and bans Australia's public broadcaster."

For the cameras Malcolm Bligh Turnbull pretends he has no power to intercede.
Even if Turnbull didn't want to make a personal approach to the President of Nauru - for heaven's sake - we have gone to the expense of maintaining a High Commission on that 21 km² slip of an island since August 2009. 

If he so wished Malcolm Turnbull can make the High Commissioner earn her generous salary by having her present a formal request from the Australian foreign minister to allow ABC jounalists and a camera crew to attend the Pacific Islands Forum.

However, as it is highly likely that Nauru's ban is only an anticipation of Turnbull's wishes I won't be holding my breath.