Month: July 2014

A Transgender journey “In My Shoes” – To Parliament House in Canberra and back again…..

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting a short film on Transgender Youth to a group of politicians, staffers and other dignitaries at Parliament House in Canberra.  This group, otherwise known as the “Parliamentary Friends of LGBTI Australians”, focuses heavily on improving the lives of all Australians who are a part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex communities, as well as their partners and allies. Furthermore, it’s also bi-partisan — having members from all of the major political parties and the cross-benches — which is a rarity within Australian politics today.

This was the second time that I’d appeared at a “Parliamentary Friends of LGBTI Australians” event having produced a radio documentary on the group for “All the Best” on FBi Radio in November 2012, prior to moving to Sydney and starting my transition in earnest in 2013.

Speaking in Parliament House - Photo: Kate Doak
Speaking in Parliament House – Photo: Kate Doak

The film in question, “In My Shoes”,  is a short production that was recently commissioned by The Gender Centre of NSW in Sydney and produced with the assistance of Monique Schafter (ABC 7-30 and Hungry Beast) as well as cinematographer Mat Govoni.  Since the idea for this production was first raised at The Gender Centre, I’ve been honoured to have a role in this film’s production in both logistical and advisory capacities, amongst others.  Needless to say, the stories of the five young adults in this film are heart-touching, educative and profound in so many ways and will undoubtedly help to save the lives of many other Transgender Youth in the years ahead. Read more

Morrison responds to questions over his Platinum-etched Sri Lankan tea set…

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has responded to questions surrounding a gift that he received from the Sri Lankan Secretary for Defence and Urban Affairs Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa earlier this year during a Joint Working Group function on asylum seekers between Australia and Sri Lanka.

In a very carefully worded statement to The Deadly Newt, the Minister’s office refused to state why he decided to keep the seventeen-piece Noritake Odessa Platinum tea set that was presented to him by Mr Rajapaksa on the 22nd of April 2014, while suggesting that Mr Morrison was entitled to keep the platinum-etched gift from his Sri Lankan counterpart according to existing parliamentary regulations on such matters.

The Hon. Scott Morrison and Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa -- Source: Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra
The Hon. Scott Morrison and Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa — Source: Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra

“The item was a gift of the Sri Lankan Government”, stated a spokesman from Mr Morrison’s Ministerial office.

“The Minister has complied with the relevant guidelines on disclosure.”

The spokesman also declined to answer questions over the level of engagement that Minister Morrison and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had partaken in with Mr Rajapaksa as a part of the repatriation of 41 asylum seekers to Sri Lanka over the last weekend, as well as the status of the professional and personal relationships between the two politicians.

According to overseas vendors, the Noritake Odessa Platinum china collection in a 17-piece configuration has a Recommended Retail Price between approximately $936.14 and when purchased either online or via authorised vendors. 

Morrison receives gifts from Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence officials

By Kate Doak

The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison received a seventeen-piece platinum-etched tea set as a personal gift from the Sri Lankan Secretary of Defence and Urban Affairs, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the 22nd of April 2014, according to his latest declaration to the Parliament via the Registrar of Member’s Interests.

Jason Clare (ALP) and Scott Morrison (Lib) - Source: The Hon Scott Morrison's website.
Jason Clare (ALP) and Scott Morrison (LIB) – Source: The Hon. Scott Morrison’s website.

Within his declaration, Mr Morrison stated that he received the Noritake Odessa Platinum tea set during an Australian Sri Lankan Joint Working Group function in Canberra and that he had decided to keep the gift after paying only $4.30 to the Parliament’s Collector of Public Monies, in accordance with parliamentary regulations.

Pecuniary Interests Statement - Minister Scott Morrison - 28/5/2014
Pecuniary Interests Statement – Minister Scott Morrison – 28/5/2014 Source: Screenshot of Minister Morrison’s submission.

This gift was made at the same event where a Deed of Transfer was signed for the transfer of two Bay Class Australian Customs vessels, ACV Corio Bay and ACV Hervey Bay, to the Sri Lankan Defence Forces. These vessels will be formally commissioned into the Sri Lankan Navy over the coming days, during an event that Minister Morrison will reportedly be attending.

Mr Rajapaksa, who is the brother of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has previously been accused of war-crimes during the later stages of the country’s civil war by the former Chief of the Sri Lankan Army Sarath Fonseka, while a UN report that was published on the 31st of March 2011 by the Secretary General’s “Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” has also uncovered instances of the Secretary of Defence ordering physical attacks against Journalists since taking up his position in 2005.

Noritake China – Odessa Platinum Collection. Photo courtesy of www.noritakechina.com
Noritake China – Odessa Platinum Collection. Photo courtesy of www.noritakechina.com

The Minister for Immigration’s office was approached for comment in regards to the events surrounding the gift that Mr Morrison received in April from Mr Rajapaksa, the minimal amount that Mr Morrison paid the parliament in order to keep the gift and Mr Rajapaksa’s potential involvement with the transfer of 41 Sri Lankan asylum seekers between both Sri Lanka and Australia over the weekend. However as of the advised deadline for this article, Minister Morrison’s office had not responded to the aforementioned inquiry.

According to the Noritake website the Odessa Platinum Collection isn’t available as a seventeen-piece set, while the collection itself isn’t available for sale within Australia at this time.