Monthly Archives: March 2013

Close The Gap Day

Since 2006, the Close the Gap campaign has achieved an enormous amount. This has only happened with community support. In 2012 alone, more than 130,000 Australians joined National Close the Gap Day to show their support, to talk about, to spread the word, and to take action to improve, Indigenous health.

Be a part of this watershed moment in our history. Help us take the next step.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People still die 10-17 years younger than other Australians. Closing this health gap cannot be done overnight. We need a long-term commitment with adequate funding, and investment in real partnerships.

Social Justice needs a Soul, Testify Miss Amali Ward!

The definition of Soul music according to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is “music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying.” In practice soul music took the experience of the disenfranchised and delivered both a lyrical and musical smack up side the head for all in society!

In the same way social justice advocates attempt to deliver a message, action and change that seeks to stamp out inequality and level the playing field, every now and then a figurative smack upside the head is required for those who just don’t get it, particularly the ignorant and powerful! Music and social justice have always been intrinsically linked, feeding off one another to create the sound track and inspiration of both change and upheaval. In a world filled with Biebers and Britneys acting as the opiate to a generation who have plenty to change you have to dig a little deeper to get to the soul.

Amali Ward

Enter Tasmania’s Amali Ward and her latest Single “Knock You Out” that figurative smack upside the head with the soul of a sister testifying! Most people will recognise Amali as the young 16 year old finalist with a voice beyond her years from season two of Australian Idol way back in 2004. Even at that young age it was obvious Amali had a passion for soul music choosing to sing the works of Stevie Wonder and Joss Stone instead of the more typical pop hits of the day. And 9 years on her commitment to the genre and her courage to stay true to her passion remains true. With a strong & versatile voice, bubbly personality and stunning looks a big dollar contract would not be out of the question if she decided to go with a pop sound. But as Amali told 1DEADLYNation she has more to sing about than just filling an album full of soft love songs. “I guess I want my music to show people my personality and not just be about falling in love”.

So with powerful lyrics to write, Amali stayed true to her soulful roots and progressive upbringing to deliver a song so good it won the International John Lennon Song Writing Contest, an annual competition open to songwriters from around the world and presented by Yoko Ono herself. “Knock You Out is about people who make offhand, divisive comments about sexuality, religion or race without thinking of the consequences. Thankfully we are progressing to a place where these attitudes aren’t accepted anymore, but we still aren’t treating all members of society equally”, said Amali of the timely subject matter of her single. “Winning the John Lennon Song Writing Contest award was definitely one of my proudest moments”. And as the above video shows accompanied by a full band that would make James Brown proud the music is given a richness it so truly deserves.

Before winning the International John Lennon Song Writing Contest, Amali honed her song writing skills in America working with the teams behind Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Rihanna and Beyonce. Amali then came home to write her debut album in Australia before returning to LA to collaborate with producer David Ryan Harris (John Mayer, Lupe Fiasco, India.Arie) and John Mayer’s touring band for Back In Time, set for release later this year. “I was lucky enough to have most of John Mayer’s touring band play on the entire album, these guys are incredible musicians who have played for pretty much every big name artist you can think of! So it was just insane to have them all jamming in a room in LA to songs I had written back home”, said Amali.

For your taste of soul head to iTunes and grab Amali’s latest hit “Knock You Out” and experience her talents live starting tomorrow night in Melbourne.

Thursday 14th March 2013 – The Workers Club, MELBOURNE, VIC

Tickets at the door

Saturday 16th March 2013 – Fbi Social, SYDNEY, NSW

Thursday 21st March 2013 – Irish Murphys, LAUNCESTON, TAS

Tickets at the door

Friday 22nd March 2013 – The Republic Bar, HOBART, TAS

Phone: 03 6234 6954

Knock You Out available now on iTunes.

For tour details and ticketing information please see 

Aboriginal commissioner slams ‘failed’ judgment

THE South Australian police force has been forced to remove from its Facebook page racist comments calling for the genocide of Aborigines.

The comments were published on SAPOL’s official news site after reports of a liquor store robbery included a description of the suspects as being of Aboriginal appearance.

Comments attacking Aborigines were posted in reply to the news report, including: “I can usually tell someone’s race by scent alone” and “genocide is the only sensible answer!”

One woman, who said she was Aboriginal and urged others to “walk a mile in my shoes”, was told: “go to the outback and survive” and “I would walk a mile in your shoes but someone of Aboriginal appearance stole them”.

Police said the comments were part of the “robust debate” that was allowed on the site, but its media unit had since deleted the offending posts.

The publication of the remarks raised the ire of the state’s Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement, Khatija Thomas, who said police had “failed to use any judgment” in allowing the racist comments to be disseminated.

“The police and Facebook have a duty to monitor the content of what they put out on that page,” Ms Thomas said.

“Police have a duty under state racial vilification laws to prosecute and monitor and censor comments that are inflammatory, hateful and inciteful of violence towards Aborginal people.

“They shouldn’t need people like me to tell them what their duty is in terms of the Racial Discrimination Act.”

A police spokeswoman said yesterday that the organisation had little control over the material posted on the site beyond a list of automatically censored terms.

She said all posts had to be published before they could be monitored and deleted if necessary.

“SAPOL policies and views may not always be compatible with comments posted on its Facebook page, but that doesn’t mean they should always be removed,” the spokeswoman said. “To engage with a community means robust debate should be allowed to occur.

“However, all SAPOL’s social media users need to be aware that postings should be relevant, non-threatening, respectful of the views of other contributors, and not insulting, obscene or defamatory.”

Difficulty in monitoring comments has led to seven other regional police Facebook pages being shut down by SAPOL, less than a year after they were set up to improve community engagement.

The police spokeswoman said “news and information pages” for the seven local service areas would soon replace the canned Facebook sites.

“Facebook presents a number of challenges. It requires ongoing moderation to ensure material which is not defamatory, offensive or in breach of court orders is published in comment threads.”

Facebook says “hate speech” is not permitted on its pages. “It is a serious violation to attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition,” it says.


Statement from Minister Bob Carr in relation to the matter of Prisoner X, Mr Ben Zygier, with some answers to the questions previously raised in this blog.

Thoughtlines with Bob Carr

The report examines:

• DFAT’s knowledge of Mr Zygier’s detention and death; and how and when that information was received;
• Government handling of consular aspects of this case; and
• lessons learned and recommendations for future improvement in consular services.

The report also raises questions regarding the nature of Australian consular responsibilities for dual nationals, and the use of Australian passports by dual nationals working for the government of their other country of nationality.

Consular support

1. the individual’s legal rights would be respected and,
2. he had legal representation of his own choosing;
3. the individual’s family members had been notified of his arrest and detention; and
4. he was not being mistreated.

The report finds:

• Mr Zygier was granted regular access to a lawyer and more than 50 visits by family members, while in detention in 2010.
• There was no request from Mr Zygier, his…

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200 Australians Overseas And In Prison – ABC Interview w/ Martin Hodgson

200 Australians Overseas And In Prison

26/02/2013 , 11:00 AM by Jen Hunt


Martin hodgson

We know how much Australians love to travel but if you were overseas and, for whatever reason, ended up on the wrong side of the law and behind bars….then Martin Hodgson from Kalaru is someone you would want to know.

For more than 10 years, Martin has been closely involved with the work of Foreign Prisoner Support Service, also known as Save-A-Life, a volunteer organisation which advocates on behalf of those Australians in prison overseas as well as campaigning against the death penalty.

Unlike the high profile case of Schapelle Corby, very few of us have heard of the tragic circumstances of Rachel Diaz. Martin shares her story as well as taking issue with the Australian Federal Police’s practice of letting known drug mules leave the country. You can also hear Martin’s suggestions for staying safe while travelling abroad. – Click to listen



Marlon Noble – 10 years for being an Aboriginal with a Disability. Who Are The Real Heroes?

For those who have followed this blog from the beginning you will know the name Marlon Noble, you will know he served 10 years in a WA prison for a crime he did not commit. You will know he never faced trial, that is suffers a disability and despite being released still lives under effective 24 hour surveillance.

This is his story – 

Now that you have watched this, think about the last few days of your life and the things that made you angry, happy, sad or emotional. Think of the sporting “heroes” you praised in victory or called courageous in defeat. Those sporting stars who despite the outcome will return to fancy homes and cars, six figure salaries and your undying attention the next time they perform. Maybe you praised your sports hero to your friend after winning, maybe you defended them on social media after they lost. But how much time did you spend standing up for Marlon Noble or the millions like him around the world and the many who live just a stones throw away from you. Marlon’s story is that of a life ripped apart, imprisoned without charge for 10 long years. And yet despite his struggle he still has a smile on his face, tell me now… who is the hero?

Next time you use that word think carefully, because I just might be the person asking what you have done to ensure that the real heroes like Marlon suffer no more!

Thank you to the Human Rights Commission for their constant fight for justice and equality and please take the time to view more films on everyday heroes with a disability who deserve the praise we heap onto those who simply play a sport.

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