The Weekly Round-Up: October 17th 2021

Welcome to the Weekly Round-Up — a series where we bring you five big stories from across the internet that you should know about. This week, we’re talking about the new and horrifying migration laws the government is trying to casually pass, what the end of lockdown means for people experiencing homelessness in Victoria and that mysterious online campaign trying to take down Scott Morrison (no, not us).

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Illustration: Daniel Gray-Barnett/The Guardian

1. Authoritarian-style’ law would allow Australia to use secret evidence to deport migrants

While we’ve been focused on a thousand other ways in which the world is ending, the federal government has been working behind the scenes on a new law that would make it more difficult to challenge visa cancellations. Under the proposed law, it would be possible for the government to cancel a person’s visa without them knowing why or on what evidence the decision was based — making it that much harder to appeal the decision. Once cancelled, visa holders would then be forcibly removed from Australia or, the decision suddenly made them stateless, be detained indefinitely without charge or trial. Because this federal government seems to be reeeaally into sentences that breach people’s human rights. At the moment the bill — which was originally found unconstitutional by the High Court back in 2017 for allowing the immigration minister to basically hide information from the high court in cases it would be deciding on — is before parliament’s intelligence and security committee but could be brought on before the end of the year. The law would basically create a big black box around visa cancellations, where anyone who discloses ‘protected information’ outside of certain limitations could be jailed for up to two years. The full article goes deeper into thousands of ways in which this law is absolutely f*cked. A must read.

Narjic has been staying in a hotel room during Melbourne’s current COVID — 19 lockdown, but has to move out soon.(ABC News: Kyle Harley)

2. Homeless Victorians to be evicted from crisis accommodation following funding cut

While a lot of us are celebrating the news that lockdown will be ending earlier than expected in Melbourne, for people experiencing homelessness this announcement likely means losing their current accommodation. With lockdowns ending, homelessness agencies across the city have been letting their clients know that they will be expected to vacate the hotel rooms that have served as crisis accommodation for the past few months as the state government plans to cut off their funding. For a lot of them, that will mean having to return to the streets or face going back to often unsafe share houses facilitated through these agencies. Although the government has committed $5.3 billion to thousands of social and affordable homes, these are still years away from being completed with only 432 being tenanted or ready to be by the end of lockdown.

ABC Newcastle: Ben Millington

3. ‘Absolutely horrifying’: surge in Indigenous COVID cases in Hunter region ‘staggering’, says Dr Kelvin Kong

In more tales of drastically different realities as states start to emerge out of lockdown — while social media has been flooded with stories of people in NSW enjoying their new-found freedoms, COVID-19 cases amongst Aboriginal people in the Hunter region have surged. With less than half of the Hunter’s Indigenous people aged over 15 being fully vaccinated, the proportion of Indigenous people among virus cases has risen from 1% to 20% last week. We’re talking a 400% increase in COVID cases. An important reminder that there are still a lot of people around us vulnerable to this virus.

4. Who’s spending $10K on anti-Morrison Facebook ads? We don’t know — and that’s a problem

A great piece by Crikey on the mystery online campaign that’s been targeting Morrison for his refusal to give more funding to hospitals to help them deal with COVID-19 case speaks. Now, while we’re usually all for calling out Morrison’s failures when it comes to funding essential services, the whole thing sounds a smidge iffy. The Facebook page, called We Love Our Hospitals (with accompanying website), first popped up on September 28 and has since spent $10,162 promoting three posts critical of the Morrison government. These were specifically targeted at Queensland and Tasmania and have been able to rack up 565,000 views. Information about who exactly is behind the page is scarce other than some generic claim about being a “community group made of passionate members around Australia, who all share a love of our healthcare system and hospitals, and are prepared to show it with meaningful action.” So there’s that. Now this isn’t strictly election advertising but with an election coming up and a clear partisan tone to the messaging, not knowing exactly who is behind these ads is a bit concerning.

Source: AAP

5. Scott Morrison confirms he’ll attend COP26 climate talks in Glasgow

After weeks of acting coy Scott Morrison has finally announced that he will, in fact, be attending the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in a few weeks. Cool. I mean, it’s not like this is the most important meeting in recent years to make sure the world doesn’t end but yeah, take your time on deciding whether you’ll make it. The government is apparently still “finalising” its position, with the whole thing depending on whether the Nationals are willing to get their heads out of their a** and accept that climate change is something that we should at least be trying to address. As always, we’re clearly in great hands.

Young people fixing our democracy.