Katy Gallagher High Court ruling not a citizenship test for Labor: Mark Dreyfus

Labor won’t consider a High Court ruling on Katy Gallagher’s eligibility as a precedent for MPs under a cloud over dual citizenship claims, despite Malcolm Turnbull’s view that other opposition MPs should resign if the ACT senator is disqualified.

The High Court said on Friday evening Senator Gallagher’s case would go before the Court of Disputed Returns for the first time on January 19, asking for evidence and submissions in the case, and that of Labor lower house MP David Feeney, to be received before December 21.

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Gallagher going to the High Court

Labor senator Katy Gallagher becomes the 12th to be referred to the High Court, over her dual British citizenship.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said on Sunday that even if Senator Gallagher was found to be ineligible to sit in Parliament, the opposition could seek further rulings to determine the cases of lower house MPs Susan Lamb, Justine Keay and Josh Wilson.

The Labor members were all dual British citizens on the day they nominated for the 2016 federal election, but believe they are not ineligible because they had taken all reasonable steps to renounce overseas citizenship.

Mr Turnbull said last week the fate of Ms Keay and Mr Wilson should be determined by Senator Gallagher’s case, “because the facts are essentially the same”.

“If Katy Gallagher is successful then they will rest easy. If she is unsuccessful then they will have to resign,” the Prime Minister said.

But Mr Dreyfus disputed the stance on ABC’s Insiders, arguing Labor wouldn’t view the Gallagher ruling as a precedent.

“Not really,” he said. “Each case has to be determined on the particular circumstances of the candidate or member concerned.”

“We think that Katy Gallagher took the reasonable steps that the High Court has spoken of in repeated decisions.

“She, like the rest of us in Labor, care about the constitutional legitimacy of the Australian Parliament. We want this cleared up, we want this mess to end.

“As you heard Katy say in the Senate, she believes that she’s got a clear case that she was eligible to stand for Parliament but she wants it cleared up.”

He said the government’s refusal to refer a group of its own MPs, as well as the Labor members facing questions, means the citizenship chaos would continue through the summer months.

“We say there is no case against the people who have been identified on the Labor side. Mr Feeney is in a different category … he’s dealt with his Irish citizenship but he can’t find the papers for his British citizenship,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“But the other three, we say say they took reasonable steps and there’s a disagreement on the law between the government and the opposition.”

In heated debate in the final sitting week of Parliament, a Labor motion to refer Ms Lamb, Ms Keay, Mr Wilson, Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie and Liberals Nola Marino, Jason Falinski, Alex Hawke, Julia Banks failed.

Last week Senator Gallagher stepped aside from her Labor frontbench roles after documents provided to the Senate showed she was “at the date of her nomination for the 2016 election, a British citizen by descent” and that her moves to renounce in April 2016 were only finalised a month after the July election by the UK Home Office.

Constitutional expert George Williams said Senator Gallagher could survive the challenge, but the question of what constituted reasonable steps needed to be decided by the High Court.

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‘I’m still afraid’: Woman raped by relative as child wants spotlight on home abuse

Updated December 10, 2017 10:55:52

It has been 25 years since Hayley Blease was last raped by a family member, and all it takes is a certain scent or mannerism for the sickening memories to rush back.

“It can be something as simple as someone walking down the street who smells like him, or talks like him,” she said.

Ms Blease endured the physical abuse and callous betrayal of trust for eight childhood years.

She was told she would be killed if she told a soul.

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“I was so young, I didn’t know if it was right or wrong,” Ms Blease said.

“He would come and get me [from the lounge room] at certain times of the night and it got to a point where I would have to come to him.”

The Canberra girl suffered in silence until she confided in an art teacher who became alarmed by her drawing of a man’s eyes and arms towering over a frightened little girl.

“My mother was called, Year 11 and 12 were pretty much down the drain and it was straight to court,” Ms Blease said.

But the family member walked free, because at the time a guilty rape conviction required a witness to the crime.

Masking the abuse with a smile, Ms Blease developed severe mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and an eating disorder.

“Sadly I tried to kill myself twice back then,” she said.

But resilience prevailed.

Ms Blease has since moved to Sydney where she advocates for more support for sex abuse survivors all around Australia, including by starting her own support group called Be Brave.

When she is not raising tens of thousands of dollars for charity through extreme sporting challenges — including taking on a 100-kilometre bike ride — she is meeting with politicians around the country in an attempt to drive change for survivors.

Ms Blease has long been calling for the establishment of a special body of professionals and survivors to help protect children at risk of abuse.

But as a royal commission into institutional abuse prepares its final report, those in power are finally listening.

‘It’s not the monster in the dark’

Institutional child abuse has been in the spotlight since the royal commission began in 2013.

But with police figures showing more than half of all abuse occurs at home, Ms Blease wants the council to ensure the royal commission’s findings are applied to protect children abused in all settings.

“[Because] it’s usually people that you trust,” she said.

“It’s lawyers, it’s doctors, it’s fathers, it’s brothers, it’s uncles — it’s people that you know.

“It’s not the monster in the dark.”

Lack of specialised support

ACT Policing statistics show 58 per cent of all reported sexual assault occurs in the home and the latest Victims of Crime report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that family members are the perpetrators in one in five cases.

Carol Ronken from the child sex abuse victim charity Bravehearts said she believes a stronger focus on prevention is crucial.

And Ms Ronken agrees that a dedicated group of professionals, advocates and survivors is needed to drive the change.

“I think what we will see is government investing into these recommendations as they’re handed down,” Ms Ronken said.

“But we also need survivors and advocate groups like Bravehearts, like Broken Rites, like Forgotten Australians, all of us working together as a collective to ensure those findings are implemented in the best interest of survivors.

“We need … to use this as a movement of change.”

Bravehearts does not have the funding to run its education, risk management and child protection programs in the ACT, despite offering them in most other jurisdictions.

“If there was funding for us to open up here in Canberra we’d be here in a heartbeat,” Ms Ronken said.

“Unfortunately there is no specialised expert service that deals specifically and holistically with child sexual assault here in the ACT — and that’s the case in most states and territories.”

While ACT Health’s specialist Child at Risk unit delivers provides basic child protection training for ACT public school staff, Ms Ronken said there needs to be more comprehensive education and regular discussions with teachers and families, because stigma still prevents children from speaking out.

ACT Children’s Commissioner Jodie Griffiths-Cook has been in talks with Ms Blease about tackling her proposal locally and said it could be beneficial.

She said there was a need for more awareness around the signs of sexual assault and grooming.

“I think it is about knowing what those signs might look like, so if you see a bit of evidence they can put that together and say ‘this is something I want to chat to someone about, just to make sure’,” Ms Griffiths-Cook said.

‘I’m still afraid’

ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said he was confident the royal commission’s recommendations would go beyond legal reform to sufficiently improve education and counselling.

And he said the ACT Government would ensure those recommendations were implemented.

He said any specific oversight body would need the input of all states and territories.

“Because it can often take so much time for people who have been abused as children to disclose that, to be able to seek support, consistency across jurisdictions is important,” he said.

“The ACT Government is determined to do what we can [for] those people who have been through such profoundly painful circumstances.”

With Ms Blease’s trauma yet to fade, she hopes the spotlight on abuse will only get stronger.

“I’m still afraid that he’ll come back and get me,” she said.

“[But] I won’t stop talking and sharing my story until things change.

“Because once we stop talking then people stop listening and the kids can’t be heard.”

Topics: child-abuse, community-and-society, royal-commissions, law-crime-and-justice, canberra-2600, act, australia

First posted December 10, 2017 08:23:26

Motorcyclists deliver Christmas joy in annual Toy Run

While Santa is normally seen at Christmas delivering presents in a sleigh, in Canberra they were seen delivering gifts in a rather different mode of transport.

More than 800 motorcycle riders, many dressed up as the man in the red and white suit, took to the streets of Canberra on Saturday morning to take part in the ACT Motorcycle Riders Association’s annual toy run.

Now in its 37th year, the event saw riders from Canberra and surrounding areas do a lap of the city starting at Old Parliament House, before returning to donate toys, money and food to charities ahead of the festive season.

Toys were donated to The Salvation Army as part of its Christmas appeal, while food and more than $4000 in donations were given to St John’s Care.

The motorcycle association’s vice president Jen Woods said preparation for the toy run had been underway for several months.

“We let the individual groups do their own donations and they bring it in to hand over on the day, but there’s a lot of planning for a ride like this,” she said.

“The motorcyclists have been conducting the toy run for a long time, and we just keep on doing it.”

As well as motorcycling groups from around Canberra, several other groups from Eurobodalla, as well as Yass and Goulburn, also took part.

“We also had Defence Force riders, and there was a good presence from them,” Ms Woods said.

“The ACT postmen always come along as well and donate over the years, and there were riders from ACTION buses as well.”

As well as the ride itself, there was also a competition to find the best dressed riders, with many dressed in Santa costumes.

While they needed help with the Santa suit, many of the motorcyclists had no troubles with the beard element of the costumes.

Many of the bikes themselves were given a makeover in Christmas decorations.

“There are many generous motorcycling communities, and they love to come together and show off their bikes,” Ms Woods said.

“People are able to differentiate between the ordinary motorcyclists and the bikies.”

With Christmas just around the corner, Ms Woods said the donation of food and toys will go a long way at this time of year.

“We know from the delegations from The Salvation Army and St John’s Care that all these supplies are critical at Christmas time,” she said.

Zookeeping is more than getting up close with cute animals

Posted December 09, 2017 08:00:00

Zookeeper Bec Scott begins her day caring for the tallest animal at the National Zoo and Aquarium — Hummer the giraffe.

She hoists his breakfast of lucerne and wattle five metres up a pole.

“Hummer … gets quite hungry, so we head down there first thing in the morning to put his food out,” Ms Scott said.

She then checks and washes his feet before letting him out into his enclosure.

“Hummer is 16 years old and he needs work on his feet, they do get a little bit overgrown sometimes,” Ms Scott said.

“He might step on a pebble or get some dirt stuck up inside his hooves, so before we let him out we hose them out and do any care on them.”

Ms Scott then drives her buggy around to the deer where she rakes up all the droppings.

“It’s a pretty epic job; they have tiny little poos and they’re everywhere.”

The deer also need some extra TLC.

“Our deer get sunburnt ears over summer, so every three days we’ll pop a bit of powdered sunscreen on their ears.”

The tigers are up next, and again it is time to get out the pooper scooper.

“Every day we go in, pick up the poo, we scrub the water bowl and check for anything that’s in the enclosure that’s abnormal,” Ms Scott said.

It’s then on to the lions to clean their enclosure, check their teeth and feed them.

After lunch, it’s time to check on Hummer again.

“We give him some more food because he likes to browse throughout the day and if he runs out of food he gets a bit antsy.”

Ms Scott spends the afternoon running the Meet a Cheetah encounter where visitors get the chance to pat Jura the cheetah.

Hummer’s enclosure is then cleaned and the tigers are given access to their dens.

“We put something in their dens as well, whether it be a scent or some tree leaves or another toy,” Ms Scott said.

All of the animals are given a final check and observations are recorded before heading home for the day.

“A key part of our job is to report and make observations on all of our animals, whether there’s anything behaviourally different, they might be coming into season, or pregnant, or unwell,” Ms Scott said.

“It’s a busy day.”

Every day is different

Many of the keepers at the National Zoo rotate through looking after different animals which each have individual requirements.

“I like the everyday challenges; you don’t exactly know what you’re going to get until you turn up,” Ms Scott said.

“Animals are such incredible personalities to work with. You get the cranky ones, the ones who’ve had a bad day, or ones that are just playful that day.”

Ms Scott has been a zookeeper for 16 years and she enjoys how varied the job can be.

“Even picking up the poo is fun. You grow to love it,” she said.

“You’re being active, out in the open air and getting up close and personal with your animals.”

Hard work rain, hail or shine

But there is a lot more to being a keeper than pats and cuddles.

“A lot of people think that all we do is sit around and pat our animals all day, but only about 2 per cent of our day is that, if that,” she said.

“Zookeeping is quite a physical job, there’s a lot of hard work.

“We have to be out in the weather; regardless of whether it’s sunny or windy or rainy, the animals still need to eat and have their enclosures cleaned and so those days can be quite trying.”

And some days can be extra challenging.

“Sometimes you might come in and find that you have an animal that is unwell,” Ms Scott said.

“When you’re working with that animal every day, it can be quite trying to realise that your animal is not in its best shape.

“That is a reality that we have to face … and we work really hard to make that animal better as soon as possible.

“Seeing animals recover from an illness or an injury is quite rewarding as well.”

Topics: zoos, people, animals, human-interest, careers, canberra-2600, act

Former Canberra jockey riding Highly Geared in memory Samara Johnson at Rosehill

Samara Johnson loved anything purple, so it’s fitting friend and fellow jockey Rachel Hunt will wear her favourite colour in a touching tribute on Saturday.

Racing NSW have cleared the way for Hunt to wear a purple helmet and silks with Johnson’s named stitched into the leg after the 25-year-old died in a single-vehicle crash on Sunday.

Hunt will be riding with a heavy heart aboard Canberra mare Highly Geared at Rosehill as the racing community rallies to pay respects to Johnson’s life and support trainer Garry Kirkup, who is still in hospital.

There will be a video tribute to Johnson at the course in what will be an emotional moment for her friends and family.

Kirkup was brought out of an induced coma on Tuesday night and will watch the race from Canberra Hospital, where he is battling organ complications but remains in a stable condition.

Canberra trainers have come together to train Kirkup’s horses, including eight-year-old Highly Geared, while he recovers.

Hunt lived next to Kirkup and Johnson when she was completing her jockey apprenticeship in Canberra and is still coming to grips a heartbreaking year.

Hunt moved to Sydney six months ago following the death of her best friend and Canberra track work rider Riharna Thomson – and said the racing community has pulled together during such a tough year.

“The best thing we can all do is be there for each other, it’s already a hard situation but made even harder with Riharna as well, she was one of my best friends,” Hunt said.

“When I first moved to Canberra I lived across the stables from Garry and Samara and they were the first people I got to know and were really good to me.

“Everyone knows each other in Canberra racing, we’re a close-knit family and I feel a huge amount of responsibility to do the best I can and do Garry and Samara proud on Saturday.

“I feel very honoured and blessed to ride for them and happy the horse still gets to run, hopefully I can do them proud because that’s what everyone is trying to do getting the horse ready.”

Kirkup and Johnson shared stables with Doug Gorrell and Johnson rode her last winner aboard Gorrell’s Liabilityadjuster at the Young Cup on October 7.

Gorrell has taken responsibility of Kirkup’s 12 horse this week said it had been a joy working with the pair every day and that he’d miss their morning banter.

“They have a great sense of humour and I used to piss myself laughing at the banter we’d have all morning over our wash bay walls,” Gorrell said.

“She was half his age but they were inseparable in work and play, just two peas in a pod who were madly in love.

“It’s just so sad and really not fair, she was too young and busy to not be with us anymore and I’m worried sick about Kirky, just a horrible thing to lose your partner.

“They’ve been so wonderful to me, they had 75 years of wonderful horse knowledge between them and they’ve helped me no end since I’ve got into the business.

“She was a great jockey and thinking this summer about having a crack at riding professionally, Kirky was convinced she’d make a good jockey and a lot of people thought the same, but unfortunately we’ll never know.”

Canberra jockey Kalina Bone echoed the sentiment ans said her best friend would have made a terrific jockey.

“Samara was a great rider and helped me a lot with my riding when I started doing track work in Canberra, she was amazing horseperson and just really talented,” Bone said.

“If she she could have got her weight down a bit she could have been a good professionally jockey because she rode plenty of winners at the picnics.

“Samara and I were both really close to Riharna and when that happened earlier in the year we were there for each other a lot, that was really hard to deal with and now this has happened.

“It’s such a big loss and is going to be so hard to deal with, she was my best friend and it’s just been such a tough year which has really rocked everyone.

“It’s such a small community and because we’re all so close everyone just came together straight away… it helps so much when you don’t have to have to go through it by yourself.

Gorrell said there had been “countless helpers” getting Highly Geared ready for Rosehill and it would be amazing to see the $34 shot pull off an upset.

“She’s an easy mare to train and keep fresh but it would be a fairytale if she could do something special in honour of Samara and give Kirky a kick along,” Gorrell said.

Highly Geared has won $311,420 since she was bought as an untrained four-year-old for just $12,000 in 2013 and Kirkup’s son Ben is the majority owner.

“Dad came good for about an hour on Wednesday and fortunately I filled him in on Highly Geared and he was happy with the jockey selection and happy we were racing,” Ben said.

“Rachel Hunt was in Canberra and has been riding really well Sydney, she knew Samara and we thought it would be nice to put a connection there with the jockey.

“Samara’s parents and brothers are going to come to the race and it’s such tragic circumstances but a win would certainly put a smile on some people’s faces in what has been a very terrible time.”

Couple feared only one of them would live to see same-sex marriage legalised

Updated December 08, 2017 17:18:52

Glenda and Jennifer Lloyd have endured an on-again-off-again marriage, but that all ends at midnight.

The couple were married for “five days of bliss” under ACT law in 2013 before the High Court ruled the territory was inconsistent with the Federal Marriage Act.

A small ceremony in the United States made their marriage official again, but that joyous moment in Baltimore meant their regular trips to the US took on a bittersweet tone.

“Every time we travelled to America the plane would come into land and we’d be like ‘we’re married again!'” Glenda said.

“And then when we took off we’d say ‘ah, now we’re not’, so that was quite difficult.”

But with the law taking effect in Australia in the first seconds of Saturday morning, that odd sensation of only being married when the geography is just right is coming to an end.

“I think we should just stay up … [and] wait until the clock comes around,” Glenda said.

“It’s a bit like waiting for new year.”

Glenda feared Jennifer would not live to see SSM legalised

And as they count down the seconds, it will put to bed one of Glenda’s biggest fears.

The Lloyds — Glenda changed her name to match Jennifer’s by deed poll rather than marriage — have been watching the clock on same-sex marriage perhaps closer than most.

Jennifer has terminal cancer and Glenda said the tears flowed freely after they watched the bill pass the House of Representatives.

“[Jennifer] was saying ‘are you alright?’ and I said ‘I was just so worried that this would happen after you were gone’,” Glenda said.

“It was a genuine fear that I would still be here and Jennifer would be gone and I would be seeing this enacted without her there to celebrate with.”

But now their marriage will be officially recognised by Australia and it is so much more than a symbolic gesture for them.

Gone are questions about next of kin, which are particularly important due to Jennifer’s stints in hospital.

“And even what’s written on the death certificate is different if you’re not actually married, so it’s really good to have that sorted out,” Jennifer said.

“We probably won’t really think about that until afterwards, and then you’ll think ‘oh that’s good that … it’s clear’.

“[There’s] no question about whether it’s marriage or not.”

Topics: marriage, gays-and-lesbians, cancer, canberra-2600, act, australia

First posted December 08, 2017 17:14:30

If you didn’t go to Canberry Fair, did you really grow up in Canberra in the 80s?

Remember when the silhouette of a rollercoaster used to dominate the skyline heading into Canberra from Sydney?

As a kid in the 1980s, Canberry Fair was the ULTIMATE. You’d go with your family, on a school excursion or – if you were lucky enough – for a birthday party. 

Canberra’s very own theme park opened in December 1981 and was part historical village, part zoo, part theatre and dining precinct. The Uncanny X-Men, The Cockroaches and even John Farnham played there over the years. Canberry Fair relaunched as Australia Park in 1987 and sadly came to a close in 1991.

Check out the images of Canberry Fair we found in The Canberra Times archives.

Heather Carter from Randwick, Sydney, left, and Rebecca Johnston of Reid on the Red Baron aircraft ride at Canberry Fair. Behind them is a tent marked 'CANBERRY FAIR'.

Heather Carter from Randwick, Sydney, left, and Rebecca Johnston of Reid on the Red Baron aircraft ride at Canberry Fair. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection


Jason Sazegar, 6, of Kambah in the cab of the Kiddy Train. The cab is in the style of a cartoon-style animal head. The empty cars of the miniature train are behind him.

Jason Sazegar, 6, of Kambah in the cab of the kiddy train. The cab is in the style of a cartoon-style animal head. You can see the empty cars of the miniature train behind him. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection


Tina Robertson of Gearys Gap, NSW, left, and Kellie Smith of Wollongong, both 12, on the Galaxi Rollercoaster at Canberry Fair.

Tina Robertson of Geary’s Gap, NSW, left, and Kellie Smith of Wollongong, both 12, on the Galaxi Rollercoaster at Canberry Fair. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection


Tamie Fraser, Mrs Sedaitis , Hodgman Fraser, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and Alby Sedaitis at the Chamber Pot antique shop at Canberry Fair during the opening ceremony.

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser officially opened Canberry Fair in April 1982. The Prime Minister (front) is pictured with wife Tamie Fraser (in white) and the original owners of Canberry Fair, Mr and Mrs Alby Sedaitis, at the Chamber Pot antique shop. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection


Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser unveiling the plaque at the official opening of Canberry Fair. The plaque is mounted on the side of a plinth made of two dressed logs like railway sleepers. Mr Fraser stands behind a temporary podium and is pulling a curtain. In the background are two wooden casks used as rubbish bins, and a water wheel set against the side of a weatherboard building.

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser unveiling the plaque at the official opening of Canberry Fair. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection


Karen Sedaitis, 18, a receptionist at Canberry Fair, on opening day. She wears a period-style tartan dress and white apron, and a decorative bangle. She is sitting on a bench with two colonial style brick buildings behind her. At left is the administration block, two storeys with a verandah surrounded with iron lace. At the right is a barn-like building, the as yet unnamed Gift Emporium. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection. 008340.jpg

Karen Sedaitis, 18, a receptionist at Canberry Fair, on opening day. She wears a period-style tartan dress and white apron, and a decorative bangle. The two-storey building behind her was the administration block. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection


Joanne Marsh of Cook (front left), Bob Buchanan of Higgins (front right), Alan Paranthoiene of Wanniassa and Bill Crilly of Wollongong riding the Galaxi rollercoaster at Canberry Fair.

Joanne Marsh of Cook (front left), Bob Buchanan of Higgins (front right), Alan Paranthoiene of Wanniassa and Bill Crilly of Wollongong riding the Galaxi rollercoaster at Canberry Fair. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection


Aranda residents Alison Stanton, 8, and sister Renee, 3, enjoy their ride in the Swan Boat at Canberry Fair.

Aranda residents Alison Stanton, 8, and sister Renee, 3, enjoy their ride in the Swan Boat at Canberry Fair. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection


Canberry Fair - Darren Chirieleison, 10, of Charnwood is buried in a cage of plastic balls with only his head and left arm showing. The amusement is variously called 'Ball Crawl' or 'Colourful Quicksand'.

Darren Chirieleison, 10, of Charnwood is buried in a cage of plastic balls with only his head and left arm showing. The amusement was called ‘Ball Crawl’ or ‘Colourful Quicksand’. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection



A Canberry Fair token from 1982. Photo: Graham Tidy


Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and wife Tammy enjoy toffee flavoured ice creams at Blue Belly Joe Ice cream parlour for the opening of Canberry Fair. 20th April 1982.

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and wife Tammy enjoy toffee flavoured ice creams at Blue Belly Joe Ice Cream Parlour at the opening of Canberry Fair on April 20, 1982. Photo: ACT Heritage Library/The Canberra Times Collection

Did you know the Vatican is home to an Indigenous art collection?

Updated December 07, 2017 16:18:55

Alongside the work of Michelangelo and Raphael at the Vatican in Rome is a collection of Indigenous Australian artefacts and artworks.

“Few people know that more than half the works in the Vatican Museums are from outside of Europe,” Father Nicola Mapelli told ABC Radio Canberra.

“There are more than 80,000 objects from all over the world.”

Father Mapelli is the director at the Vatican Ethnological Museum and is in Australia this week to launch a book about the Vatican’s Indigenous Australian collection.

In an effort to learn about the origins of the artefacts, Father Mapelli travelled to the Kimberley region and the Tiwi Islands.

“When we went to reconnect with the communities … we asked the people about their ancestors, about the objects and about their meaning,” he said.

“We have a keen interest in Australian and Aboriginal culture.

“The first permanent exhibition of the Vatican Museum has been dedicated to Aboriginal Australia.”

The collection includes some of the earliest preserved Pukumani funeral poles from the Tiwi Islands, artworks from the Kimberley, and gifts given to popes on their travels.

Vatican officials claim the collection is one of the museum’s most visited exhibitions.

“We have more than 6 million visitors [to the Vatican] every year,” Father Mapelli said.

“More than 30,000 people every day are passing in front of these Pukumani poles or the other objects that came from Aboriginal Australia.

“It’s a way to educate people about Aboriginal culture and spirituality and to engage with the spirituality.”

Gifts of exchange

Father Mapelli said the Ethnological Museum had not been an active collector like other museums.

“Many objects came as a gift of exchange in the 1850s from the Benedictine community of New Norcia in Western Australia,” he said.

“A second group of objects came for a great exhibit that was organised in the Vatican in 1925 from the Kimberley region and the Tiwi Islands.”

The museum catalogue, Australia: The Vatican Museums Indigenous Collection, is being launched in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra.

Topics: indigenous-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander, indigenous-culture, art-history, religion-and-beliefs, library-museum-and-gallery, human-interest, canberra-2600

First posted December 07, 2017 16:13:17

Call for Access Canberra to ‘learn’ from audit of WorkSafe ACT’s Mr Fluffy handling

The ACT’s Auditor-General has urged another audit into WorkSafe ACT’s oversight of the Mr Fluffy asbestos eradication scheme, to ensure action was taken on recommendations on a previous audit.

Auditor-General Dr Maxine Cooper told a Legislative Assembly committee on Wednesday a government internal audit committee should examine the issue again, to help ensure WorkSafe ACT had taken on her recommendations.

The hearing on Wednesday examined the second of two audits into the Mr Fluffy scheme, released early this year, which had focussed on WorkSafe ACT’s management of the demolition of 1022 affected by the loose-fill asbestos.

It found the scheme marked by poor-record keeping, a lack of an overarching regulatory strategy and “considerable variability” in how the asbestos team actually completed inspections and oversaw demolitions.

Completed at about the halfway mark during the demolition program – when just over 500 homes had been torn down – Dr Cooper said the “hot audit” aimed to improve processes for the remaining half of the program.

But the audit, which examined the period from late 2014 to mid 2015 also coincided with the government’s creation of Access Canberra, which has taken on the vast majority of the government’s regulatory roles.

Dr Cooper said a new audit, which could be completed by the Chief Minister’s directorate’s audit and risk committee, should examine how the work safety regulator has actually taken on the audit’s eight recommendations it agreed to.

But she said it could also provide wider lessons for Access Canberra.

“A regulator is a regulator and Access Canberra has many regulators in different disciplines and given the findings of this audit, [a further audit could ask] has that assisted you in looking at the management of other areas within Access Canberra,” she said.

“I think the utility of both the audit and what WorkSafe are doing is looking at it in terms of better practices that might then be conveyed across all regulators in terms of setting the benchmark for what’S expected in the territory.”

Dr Cooper said one of the key difficulties the audit office faced in its investigation was the lack of a formal strategy and documentation hampering its ability to actually measure the “effectiveness” of WorkSafe’s oversight of the demolitions.

“The critical issue is how well have they implemented those recommendations, which were all agreed to, and potentially in order to answer the effectiveness question, it would be appropriate for an audit to be undertaken,” she said.

As it happened: Australia goes 2-0 up in Ashes series with Adelaide victory

Updated December 06, 2017 16:34:26

Australia beats England by 120 runs in the second Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval to set up a 2-0 series lead.

Look back at how the action unfolded in our live blog.

Topics: ashes, cricket, sport, adelaide-5000, canberra-2600, brisbane-4000, sydney-2000, perth-6000, melbourne-3000, hobart-7000, darwin-0800, australia, england

First posted December 06, 2017 13:43:50