Human rights commission and Muslim Australians

A new report from the Australian Human Rights Commission has found that Muslim Australians suffer discrimination and abuse on a daily basis. Since the Lindt Cage siege last year communities say that the discrimination has been particularly noticeable. Research finds that the Racial Discrimination Act has only a limited ability to protect Muslim Australians because “religious identity” is not covered under the act.

Many claim hostile treatment towards Muslim Australians is impinging on people’s freedoms. There are reports that many Muslims were changing where they shopped, and that a group of Muslim musicians had cancelled a performance due to fears that they would be attacked on public transport.

The Human Rights Commission found that there is little distinction between religious and racial discrimination for many Muslims. “Being on the receiving end of anti-Muslim sentiment is often described in terms of racism.”

Despite this, the Racial Discrimination Act still only has limited ability to protect Muslim Australians because it only covers discrimination based on race, colour, ethnic or national origin, or immigrant status — not religion. This is different from the protection that is granted to Jewish Australians however, as the Federal Court has found that they have a common ethnic origin.

Mariam Veiszadeh, the founder of Islamophobia Register of Australia, said there had been an increase in reports of verbal and physical violence against Muslims since the group began tracking cases a year ago. The cases include attacks on Muslim women targeted for wearing Hijabs, Niqabs, and Burqas, assaults on public transport, online threats, property damage, and graffiti.

Australia has an extremely long history of racially fueled violence and hatred; often spurred on by propaganda spread by groups such as Reclaim Australia, and through the ignorance of politicians looking to widen the gap between Australians and immigrants.

Jakob Barrett

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Prime Minister speaks about gender equality

Malcolm Turnbull’s ideal cabinet would be a 50-50 split of men and women, Mr. Turnbull remarked recently, following the new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s gender-equal cabinet announcement on Wednesday night.

“This standard won’t be met in Australia until women have better representation in Australian politics,” Mr. Turnbull said on ABC radio on Thursday. “In an ideal world you would have 50-50 but we don’t have an even ratio of men and women in the Parliament. The fundamental problem at the root of the issue is this: there are not enough women in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.”

More parties need to be more proactive to encourage women to stand for pre-selection; Mr. Turnbull also pointed to the importance of female role models, whether they are politicians or sports stars. Women have long been under-represented in the media and politics as role models and because of the disparity in the number of men and women that lead our country.

Mr. Turnbull’s cabinet includes women in their respective roles for the first time in our country’s history including Marise Payne as the Defence Minister, and Kelly O’Dwyer as the Minister for Revenue, the Assistant Treasurer.

More still needs to be done better represent the minorities in Australia, including the members of the LGBT+ community, and members of racial groups such as Indigenous Australians.

Jakob Barrett

Health and wellbeing in Latrobe.

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The town of Latrobe is set to play host to a refreshing festival at the end of this month with the Total Health and Wellness Festival.
Events include physical health checks and life tools, presentations on holistic therapies, nutrition and skin care. There will also be plenty of stalls offering a wide variety of retail and handmade goods.

The festival will be held at the Latrobe Memorial Hall, on the 28th – 29th of November

For more information please visit: www.facebook.com/HealthWellnessLatrobe

Keagan Belbin.

Delta Therapy Dogs

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A local not-for-profit organisation is currently seeking help of the four legged variety.

Delta Therapy Dogs is a group dedicated to providing a unique kind of support: the canine kind. Many recent studies have found interaction with animals, especially dogs can have amazing impact on the elderly in aged care, people living with dementia and other disabilities, with young people especially benefitting from the engagement.
It can be as simple as a pat and a hug.
Sue Jennings of the group has been taking her dog, a beautiful border collie named Tash to the Emmerton Park aged care centre, in the state’s north-west for nearly three years.
“We just go round and spend 10 or 15 minutes with the residents in their rooms and Tash goes up and gets the big pats,” she said.
“I just have a little chat with them and see how they’re going.
“It’s known that if people can pat and stroke dogs, particularly in their last few years, then it’s beneficial to their health.”
In fact, it’s not just the dogs’ handlers who notice a positive change.
Emmerton Park’s leisure and lifestyle co-ordinator Dave Dunkerley said the visits had had a wonderful impact on the residents.
“It’s very relaxing, they mellow, they start chatting, they talk to a dog very often first and then they’ll talk to us,” he said.
He also said of note, was the behaviour of dementia patients.
“Particularly with dementia you can get some undesirable behaviours at times, but the dogs tend to lessen the behaviours,” he said.
Recently the group has faced hard times, with a number of the handlers finding full time work and many of the dogs, getting older and needing to retire. So they have put the call out, for help from human and dog alike.
Northern coordinator, Claire Curtis, recently said the organisation was in desperate need for more volunteers to keep the program going.
“We’ve been visiting in Burnie for a long time, but I have teams from Forth, Ulverstone and Somerset covering these facilities,” she said.
“We desperately need volunteers down in Smithton and Circular Head as well.
“We assess dogs from 18 months to ten years of age and they only have to be a well-behaved, well-mannered dog.”
The organisation currently visited 19 facilities in Tasmania’s north, but wanted to expand their services.
“I know there’s respite centres, brain injury units, there are a lot of places that could still benefit from having a dog coming in every week,” she said.
“But at the moment, until we got more volunteers we can’t do that.”
For more details please visit:  www.deltadogsafetas.org.au

Or call: 6248 7661

Keagan Belbin.