Ten-year-olds do not belong in detention – Interview with Dr Chris Cunneen

Interview with Dr Chris Cunneen by Allan Boyd on RTRFM Thursday 30 July 2020.


Across Australia, children as young as 10 – can be arrested by police, charged with an offence, remanded in custody, convicted by the courts – and imprisoned.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are disproportionately impacted by these laws – accounting for 65 per cent of children in prisons.

There is a growing community campaign, calling on our leaders to raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14.

This week, Australia’s state and federal attorneys-general met to discuss raising the age of criminal responsibility.

To discuss this – Allan Boyd caught up with Doctor Chris Cunneen, Professor of Criminology, University of Technology Sydney – and asked him:

How many children are locked up around the country at the moment?

You can read Chris’s article in the Conversation this week – and find out more about the campaign to raise the age of Criminal Responsibility at raisetheage.org.au

(Article in The Conversation: Ten-year-olds do not belong in detention. Why Australia must raise the age of criminal responsibility – Dr Chris Cunneen – Professor of Criminology, University of Technology Sydney)

Parler, Twitter and the concept of Free Speech – Interview with Audrey Courty

Interview with Audrey Courty– PhD candidate, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University. Played on RTRFM – Perth Indymedia (27/07/2020)


There’s been noisy accusations recently – that social media platforms are suppressing users right to free speech.

Among the so-called stifling of debate – rival platform – Parler is gaining interest for its so-called, self-claimed anti-censorship stance.

Parler claims it is a non-biased free speech driven entity – but is it?

Over recent months – “anti-twitter” – right-leaning users have flocked to the Parler or the alt-Twitter as it has been dubbed – whose main selling point is that it vows to champion free speech.

With me to talk about all this is Audrey Courty – digital media and political communications specialist – and a PhD candidate at the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science – Griffith University

Audrey’s article “Parler: what you need to know about the ‘free speech’ Twitter alternative” was published in the Conversation recently.

Locals oppose scale of massive Ocean Reef Marina redevelopment – Interview with Save Ocean Reef action group spokesperson – Jeff Fondacaro

Interview with Save Ocean Reef action group spokesperson – Jeff Fondacaro

Story also published in The WA DAILY

A new waterfront precinct currently under development in Perth’s northern coastal suburb of Ocean Reef has been touted by developers as “the living, working and playing destination the community has been waiting for.”

When complete, the development will feature 12,000sqm of retail and commercial space, 550 boat pens, 200 boat stackers – and more than 1000 residential homes.

The Ocean Reef Marina is a WA Government project, delivered by DevelopmentWA (a recent merger of LandCorp and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority), in collaboration with the City of Joondalup.

The proposed 65ha precinct will include waterfront cafes and restaurants, a protected internal beach – is located at the existing Ocean Reef Boat Harbour – and encroaches into the Marmion Marine Park and a Bush Forever site.

The Marina involves 10 tonnes, or around 100,000 abalones, to be relocated ahead of the development.

The project will redevelop and expand on existing Harbour facilities and includes two new breakwaters, approximately two kilometres in length and requires up to 800,000 tonnes of limestone to be dumped onto the seabed.

The project has been marketed as “a world-class tourism, residential, retail and marine base providing facilities for boats and vibrant new spaces for residents and tourists alike.”

But not everybody is on board.

Locally-led community action group Save Ocean Reef advocates for the interests of local residents in the marina’s development area.

They recently began meeting weekly on site to protest the “immense” scope of the project – with over 100 people demonstrating in a recent action.

The group of like-minded residents are alarmed that developers have not listened to their concerns and say they will now be “taking it public.”

“This is a housing development masquerading as a marina. It has never received community approval,” the group say. “The concept does not meet the needs of the boating industry and represents an opportunity for developer’s to secure untouched prime coastal land, at low cost, at our expense.”

They fear not enough is being done to protect the encroached Bush Forever site or the Marmion Marine Park sanctuary.

WA Lands Minister Ben Wyatt said in June, that the marina will be a key economic driver for the region with the creation of hundreds of new jobs.

Jeff Fondacaro, spokesperson for the Save Ocean Reef action group, has lived in Ocean Reef for over 30 years. He told The WA Daily, “the notion of an infrastructure upgrade for the marina component was always on the cards.”

He said the initial 2009 concept of a marina upgrade had well over 90 percent local support. However, since then, the plan has substantially changed.

He and his fellow Ocean Reef residents claim they only recently realised the addition of a high-density housing development. They were shocked to discover that over 3000 new residents may soon be “living at the end of the street.”

Whilst they are not opposed to a redevelopment of the aging marina, the Save Ocean Reef group do not support such a large-scale housing project.

Labeling himself an “accidental activist,” Mr Fondacaro says he feels “duped” and is prepared to take direct action and to “lock-on” to save the bush – if it comes to it.

He urges anyone who knows the Ocean Reef coastline, and wants to help protect it, to visit the group’s website and get involved.

Save Ocean Reef say they will continue to meet weekly on-site to protest the scale of the redevelopment.

Facial recognition technology: now available at the local 7-Eleven – Interview with Rick Sarre

Sign posted in 7Eleven StoreBalaclava, Victoria – Image from https://twitter.com/Asher_Wolf/status/1274892763599736833

Facial recognition technology is increasingly being trialled and deployed around Australia.

The technology scans and stores facial features as unique data.

It can then be data-matched against photos — such as pictures stored in the Federal Government’s massive biometric database, which includes drivers licences, passports and harvested from social media accounts.

Queensland and Western Australia are reportedly already using real-time facial recognition through CCTV cameras.

Over the past decade, facial recognition technology has spread across a number of industries. In many stores in China, you can now pay with your face.

7-Eleven Australia is also deploying facial recognition technology in its 700 stores nationwide for what it says is customer feedback.

To discuss this I spoke with Rick Sarre Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at the University of South Australia.

[Note: Apologies for the intro – I have a cold!]

Read Rick Sarre’s article in the Conversation… 

Art Gallery of WA rooftop to feature massive Noongar artwork

Art Gallery of WA rooftop to feature massive Noongar artwork

The WA Daily

The McGowan Government has announced it will transform the Art Gallery of WA’s rooftop into a multi-use gallery and 500-person venue over the next six months.

The new rooftop gallery known as “Elevate” will feature a 34-metre artwork by prominent Noongar artist Christopher Pease.

The giant painting will wrap around one third of the rooftop wall.

The Art Gallery of WA say the new work will be the largest Aboriginal art commission in the Gallery’s history and will be part of the State Art Collection.

Pease’s powerful, multi-layered artworks often focus on postcolonial history and Aboriginal identity – overlaying traditional scenes of Indigenous ways of living with ideas of western culture.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said he was delighted the huge Noongar artwork will be a centrepiece for the development.

“Aboriginal art is not only strikingly beautiful, it is critical to truth telling and provides us insight into the history of our State and the connection of first nations people with these lands,” he said.

Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said the project, the largest rooftop venue in Perth, will provide views of the hills, the city skyline and the new WA Museum.

He said the “combination of rooftop events, artworks and people will add vibrancy to the Perth Cultural Centre precinct.”

Other Art Gallery of WA announcements include the appointment of an Indigenous curator to focus on Noongar art and a new ground floor gallery dedicated to contemporary Aboriginal art.

Elevate will also include an external lift and skybridge from the Perth Cultural Centre precinct enabling access to the rooftop after-hours.

It is expected the project will be completed by January 2021 and will support 265 construction jobs.

Pauline Hanson dropped for offensive commentary – Interview with Denis Muller

Is it the job of corporate media to amplify divisive and offensive commentators?

The vitriolic and inflammatory Senator Pauline Hanson was dropped by Channel Nine last week – when they announced she would no longer be a regular commentator on the Today Show.

Hanson had made divisive, offensive and racist comments on the show – in reference to the residents of Melbourne’s nine public housing towers – who were under COVID-19 lockdown – labeling tenants ‘drug addicts’ and ‘alcoholics’.

Senator Hanson, who had regularly appeared as a contributor in a news chat segment on the show,  made comments regarding residents inside public housing towers under COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne.

In a statement, Channel Nine said: “We don’t shy away from diverse opinions and robust debate on the Today Show. But … accusations from Pauline Hanson were ill-informed and divisive” – and said – Hanson “will no longer be appearing on our program as a regular contributor”.

When voices such as Hanson’s are amplified – is the safety of the public put at risk? Is the job of the mainstream media to give a platform for public figures who will probably make racist remarks?

I caught up with Journalism expert Dr Denis Muller – Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne to discuss the effects of the language of Pauline Hanson in the media.

Dr Muller’s article in the Conversation can be found here: “When The Today Show gave Pauline Hanson a megaphone, it diminished Australia’s social capital”.

I asked Denis: how does Hanson continue to vent her opinions on the public? This has been happening for decades – Why do media organisations continue to support her offensive ranting? Is it about ratings? What’s going on?

Blackout Tuesday and Social Media Activism – Interview with Dr Jolynna Sinanan

Interview with Dr Jolynna Sinanan – Research Fellow in Digital Media and Ethnography – on the social media action: Blackout Tuesday

Amidst the rage, turmoil and political action in U.S. streets over the past few months – in response to the killing of George Floyd – the 46-year-old black man who died on May 25 after being restrained face-down by police in the U.S. city of Minneapolis – the social media activist campaign Blackout Tuesday emerged.

Blackout Tuesday happened on Tuesday the second of June 2020 – and was a global reaction against racism and police brutality – initiated by members of the music industry.

Back on that day – you may have seen your Instagram feed hijacked by a stream of posts – showing simple images of a black square. These posts – often hash-tagged Blackout Tuesday – were a gesture of solidarity – with the Black Lives Matter movement.

I spoke with Dr Jolynna Sinanan – who is a Research Fellow in Digital Media and Ethnography at the University of Sydney.

Her article “Blackout Tuesday: the black square is a symbol of online activism for non-activists” was published in the Conversation recently.