Trans perspective – let’s get visible

Visibility is an important factor in creating and increasing connection for anyone who may feel like they are “the only one” undergoing a particular experience.

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This certainly includes trans and gender diverse (TGD) people who, despite increasing public discussion can still feel the opposite of connected, namely, isolated.

Since 2009, March 31 each year has been marked as International Transgender Day of Visibility. The brainchild of Rachel Crandall, a day to focus on the positive aspects of TGD is certainly just one way to achieve greater visibility. It needs noting that this day is separate to Trans Day of Remembrance, which is November 20. While that day it is important and will sadly always need to be noted, it does raise an issue in that it doesn’t clearly acknowledge those TGD people who are alive, nor does it acknowledge the amazing positive achievements, contributions and perspectives of TGD people.

TGD visibility is necessary at all levels. Starting at the grass roots, it can still be difficult to start the journey to being authentic regarding one’s gender identity. This can be tougher for those regional and rural areas compared to metropolitan areas (this is also possible with outer vs inner metropolitan). Tougher for younger people who may face unsupportive home and/or school environments, for trans people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and even for seniors feeling depleted after seeing a lifetime largely overshadowed by negative attitudes.

Having visible role models gives a boost to those people struggling to be themselves. Anecdotal evidence from a few years ago: when Paige Phoenix appeared on Australia’s X-Factor and Chaz Bono on the US version of ‘Dancing with the Stars’, calls to support services skyrocketed with people thinking “wow, if they can be themselves, maybe I can too.” Isolated TGD people saw other TGD people publicly being themselves with contentment and confidence. This was especially important as in these situations, Chaz and Paige, two trans men (recorded female at birth and identifying as male) provided visibility for a part of the TGD population that generally is less visible than trans women.

It’s important that visibility exists across society overall for reasons of policy formulation and inclusiveness. While increasingly Australia has seen greater positivity towards TGD people and issues (acknowledging strongly there is still a long way to go), often people making decisions “don’t know what they don’t know.” When TGD perspectives are put on the table, they can then incorporate those ideas into a decision, be aware of the broader issues in the future for other decisions and perhaps alert others in their organisation or area of expertise as well. The ripples of visibility need to keep spreading.

Most of all, visibility that discusses what TGD people can offer when able to be themselves and given opportunities is a winner for everyone. Society wins, the economy wins, TGD people, their families and partners win – and humanity wins. So let’s increase TGD visibility today and every day, and keep racking up the wins, gains and victories that result from just being plain visible.

Sally Goldner is Executive Director of Transgender Victoria.

Apple in dark on how FBI hacked iPhone

The FBI’s announcement that it mysteriously hacked into an iPhone is a public setback for Apple, as consumers suddenly discover they can’t keep their most personal information safe.

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Meanwhile, Apple remains in the dark about how to restore the security of its flagship product.

The US government said it was able to break into an iPhone used by a gunman in a mass shooting in California, but it didn’t say how. That puzzled Apple software engineers – and outside experts – about how the FBI broke the digital locks on the phone without Apple’s help. It also complicated Apple’s job repairing flaws that jeopardise its software.

The Justice Department’s announcement that it was dropping a legal fight to compel Apple to help it access the phone also took away any obvious legal avenues Apple might have used to learn how the FBI did it.

The Justice Department declined through a spokeswoman to comment on Tuesday.

A few clues have emerged. A senior law enforcement official told The Associated Press that the FBI managed to defeat an Apple security feature that threatened to delete the phone’s contents if the FBI failed to enter the correct passcode combination after 10 tries. That allowed the government to repeatedly and continuously test passcodes in what’s known as a brute-force attack until the right code is entered and the phone is unlocked.

It wasn’t clear how the FBI dealt with a related Apple security feature that introduces increasing time delays between guesses. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

FBI director James Comey has said with those features removed, the FBI could break into the phone in 26 minutes.

The FBI hacked into the iPhone used by gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, who died with his wife Tashfeen Malik in a gun battle with police after they killed 14 people in December in San Bernardino.

The iPhone, issued to Farook by his employer, the county health department, was found in a vehicle the day after the shooting.

The FBI is reviewing information from the iPhone, and it is unclear whether anything useful can be found.

Apple said in a statement on Monday that the legal case to force its co-operation “should never have been brought”, and it promised to increase the security of its products.

Rolling airport strikes not welcome: govt

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has stepped up his calls for unions to suspend rolling strikes at airports, saying the terrorism threat since the Brussels attacks has not passed.

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The Community and Public Sector Union members have resumed rolling strikes at international airports around the country a week after industrial action planned for Easter was called off in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks.

Border Force officers are on strike and quarantine officers are imposing work bans, which is adding to delays.

Union national secretary Nadine Flood insists national security will not be jeopardised because officers involved had always been exempt from striking.

But Mr Dutton is unconvinced.

“The threat hasn’t passed within a couple of days following the Brussels attack,” Mr Dutton told ABC Radio.

“These rolling strikes aren’t welcome and I hope that they come to an end sooner than later.”

Ms Flood said workers were striking as a last resort, as part of a two-year negotiating battle with the federal government over pay and work conditions.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull thanked airport workers for delaying the strikes at his request following the Brussels attacks, but echoed his minister in urging unions to resolve the dispute.

He assured travellers counter-terrorism services at airports were provided by the Australian Federal Police, which had planned for the strikes.

“Nonetheless, these are vital services and … I am encouraging, asking and urging (the union) to resolve its industrial dispute by negotiation,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

AFFECTED AIRPORTS

* Sydney International Airport (5am-1pm, 4pm-midnight)

* Perth Airport (3am-11am, 4pm-midnight)

* Adelaide Airport (5am-1pm, 4pm-midnight)

* Brisbane International Airport (midnight-1am)

* Cairns International Airport (4am-midday, 5pm-midnight)

* Townsville Airport (4pm-midnight)

* Darwin Airport (2am-10am, 1pm-9pm)

Choice calls for national guidelines on free-range egg production

Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said the guidelines should be in place where eggs are only considered free-range if farmers run no more than 1500 hens per hectare, which complies with CSIRO guidelines.

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He said larger egg retailers have ‘free-range’ labeling on their packaging, despite running around 10,000 hens per hectare.

The national free range standard issue is expected to be debated at a meeting of state and federal consumer affairs ministers on Thursday.  

“There is a divide in the industry, you have got genuine free-range farmers who invested in the infrastructure to run free-range farms and they want nationally enforceable standard that aligns with the CSIRO recommendation for free-range, which is 1500 birds per hectare,” Mr Godfrey said.

“The birds should have plenty of room to move inside and out, to have higher animal welfare standards as well.”

Free-range egg producer Vesna Peko-Luketic runs fewer than 750 chooks per hectare on her farm west of Melbourne.

“It’s either free-range or it’s not,” she said, explaining that her production is the maximum stocking density recommended by the Free Range Farmers Association of Victoria.

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“That is the number we can control and still maintain pasture and we can avoid soil contamination at that number.”

But, it’s a guide-only as there’s currently no enforceable stocking density standard in Australia for producers to qualify as free-range.

The body lobbying on behalf of the egg industry, Egg Farmers Australia, has said it has it’s own number in mind.

“We believe one bird per square metre or 10,000 birds per hectare is the maximum limit ,” said Egg Farmers Australia spokesman, Brian Ahmed.

The absence of a national free-range standard has consumer advocates alleging some large producers and retailers are duping shoppers.

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Mr Ahmed said the industry is in favour of displaying stocking density on cartons in order to avoid confusion, and the industry man not have to wait long.

Swans to persist with youth movement

Sydney coach John Longmire will continue backing his exciting young brigade despite welcoming back his oldest player for Sunday’s AFL clash with Carlton.

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Longmire says premiership-winning defender Ted Richards is the “logical choice” to replace injured recruit Michael Talia for the Etihad Stadium clash after recovering from a nagging calf strain that sidelined the 33-year-old for the entire pre-season.

But he has no plans to overhaul his starting line-up after a youthful Swans outfit featuring Callum Mills, George Hewett and Tom Papley destroyed Collingwood by 80 points in a one-sided season opener last Saturday.

Longmire will stick with all three youngsters when he names his side on Thursday, believing they will only get better after being exposed to the AFL pressure-cooker for the first time at the SCG.

“All three brought something different to the table,” the coach said on Wednesday.

“Most of all, all three of them brought enthusiasm … and that enthusiasm spreads amongst the older players.”

Papley was the biggest surprise, booting three goals on debut and impressing Longmire with his forward-line pressure.

“Georgie Hewett’s been waiting in the wings for a couple of years and he’s built up his strength and his ability to play for four quarters,” said Longmire.

“He had seven tackles; all effective, and he’s got great composure with the ball.

“Callum Mills played mainly half-back – a little bit on the wing – and he’s hard at the ball, he’s a quality ball user, a good player.”

Longmire, though, knows he has some decisions to make in the coming weeks as veterans Jarrad McVeigh (hamstring) and Ben McGlynn (calf) also return to the mix.

“But we’ll address them when we need to,” he said.

The Swans will be up against a rejuvenated Blues outfit and Longmire knows it’d be dangerous to underestimate them after they ran Richmond close in the season opener, only to go down by nine points.

“Carlton, we know what they can do. We played them a couple of weeks ago; they were terrific. Their performance last week was fantastic,” he said.

“They’ve got a real system, some good young players. I’m sure they’re going to surprise a few teams this year so we need to prepare for their best – and we will.”

Longmire also confirmed big guns Lance Franklin and Dan Hannebery as certain starters after copping knocks against Collingwood.

Families of US personnel to leave Turkey over security concerns

The Obama administration has ordered the families of US military and diplomatic personnel to leave parts of southern Turkey and warned US citizens against travel to the region amid mounting security concerns.

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The Pentagon said 670 dependants of US military personnel would be affected by the order to depart areas of southern Turkey, including Incirlik air base, which is used heavily in the fight against Islamic State militants.

The US State Department said a small number of diplomatic families would be affected but did not give numbers. The Pentagon said 100 military dependants in Ankara and Istanbul were not affected by the departure orders because of security measures in place there.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the move had been under consideration for several weeks, and was not the result of any specific threat and had nothing to do with the visit to Washington this week by top Turkish officials.

Secretary of State John Kerry met Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday, and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is due to attend a Nuclear Security Summit with other world leaders later in the week. Kirby said Kerry had discussed the security announcement with Cavusoglu at their meeting on Monday.

The US military’s European Command said it had ordered the departure of families of personnel stationed in Adana, home of Incirlik. It said families of US military personnel also had been told to leave Izmir and Mugla provinces in southeastern Turkey.

“We understand this is disruptive to our military families, but we must keep them safe and ensure the combat effectiveness of our forces to support our strong ally Turkey in the fight against terrorism,” General Philip M. Breedlove, commander of the US European Command, said in the statement.

The departures do not indicate a decision to permanently end US families’ presence at military facilities in southern Turkey, the statement said.

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The US State Department said it had ordered the departure of family members of government workers at the US consulate in Adana. Dependants of US government employees in Izmir and Mugla provinces were also asked to leave.

The State Department issued a statement cautioning US citizens more broadly against travelling to southeastern Turkey.

Turnbull reveals radical income tax plan

Premiers have been quick to play down Malcolm Turnbull’s proposed tax overhaul to end the funding blame game between federal and state governments.

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The prime minister wants to reduce the federal government’s income tax collection, allowing the states and territories to collect the remainder to fund services like hospitals and schools, instead of going cap-in-hand to Canberra.

But already there are doubts some states will get on board.

NSW Premier Mike Baird says he disagrees with the plan to allow states to levy income tax, SA’s Jay Weatherill says it won’t work and Queensland wants to see more detail.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews dismissed the idea as a “tax policy thought bubble”.

Mr Turnbull says the radical plan will end the blame game, make clear who is responsible for what and make state governments accountable.

“What we are talking about is the most fundamental reform to the federation in generations,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

“Right at the heart of the problems in the federation is the fact that the states do not raise enough of the revenue that they spend.

“They are not accountable enough in the way a government should be.”

The extra revenue the states earn will be offset by cuts to federal grants.

For now, states would be limited by how much they could raise and workers wouldn’t see a difference in the tax they pay.

But in future, states could lower or raise income taxes to cover their costs.

“If a state government, over time, wants to raise more money by lifting tax, it will be answerable to the public just as we are to the people of Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

He denied the plan would disadvantage smaller states and insisted he’d received positive feedback from the states and territories so far.

But Mr Baird said while he would consider a plan, he was anxious about the prospect of Australians paying more tax.

“While I have historically argued for a share of income tax for the states, this has not involved increasing the income tax burden on Australian households, which already have among the highest income tax rates in the world,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr Weatherill said states handed over such powers in 1942 and he doesn’t favour taking them back.

He doesn’t envisage other states taking up the offer either.

“The idea of the states having their own income taxing powers again and creating some form of double taxation is just not practical and I don’t think it would work,” Mr Weatherill said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wants more detail, saying all she had from the prime minister was a “blank page”.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten described the plan as “silly” and guaranteed it would not be Labor policy.

Mr Shorten said the government was looking for a hospital funding bandaid before the election and solving its problem by increasing taxes on Australians.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale accused the government of political cowardice, dumping its budget problems on the states and territories.

State premiers and territory chief ministers will be briefed on the plan when they meet with Mr Turnbull in Canberra on Friday.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said it was important not to “jump ahead” of the discussion.

Asked whether states would eventually be able to hike income tax rates, as stated by Mr Turnbull, Mr Morrison told Sky News: “The prime minister, I don’t think, has gone that far.”

Indian minister’s Australia visit sparks free-trade agreement talks

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrived in Australia for four days of government and investor talks.

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It’s the latest round of negotiations which started five years ago with a goal of establishing a free-trade agreement between the two countries.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently described finalising a free-trade agreement with India as a high priority.

Mr Jaitley said an economic agreement will be a central focus during his stay.

“The discussions are on for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA),” he said.

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“And there are a few issues left on both sides which are being sorted out.

“I do hope some advance takes place in the coming months.”

Open trade talks are good news for IT professional Sreeni Pillamarri, who runs a software-testing company in Sydney, and recently opened a branch in the southern-Indian city of Hyderabad.

“Even being in Australia, we were able to set up our shop in India and we have since had quite a number of great projects,” he said.

“And there have been a lot of opportunities created after that.

“Companies who are established overseas are able to walk into India, set up themselves and start running for good business opportunities as well.”

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Mr Pillamarri said operating his business out of India has great financial potential.

“If you have seen the GDP (Gross domestic product) of India, it’s marvellous. It is growing at a speed of 27-35 per cent which is at the top level of any of the countries which are growing,” he said.

“China took a lot of time to grow to that level, where as India, it is sky-rocketing.”

University of New South Wales Economist Tim Harcourt said such a deal could have significant financial benefits for both countries.

“Really, India’s new to the scene but the potential is there with the young population and of course with the very strong institutional links that we have there,” he said.

India is Australia’s tenth largest trading partner and fifth largest export market.

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The federal government said the trading relationship between the two countries has seen remarkable growth in recent years, citing growth in the two-way trade of goods and services.

Independent modelling estimates an Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement could increase Australia’s GDP by over $45 billion over 20 years.

The government identifies a youthful population and a diversified economy as factors influencing opportunities for Australian business in the areas of agriculture, energy, manufacturing, mining and services sectors.

Lyon back Dockers to rebound

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is challenging his team to prove they aren’t daydreamers when they take on Gary Ablett and the Suns on Saturday.

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He’s backing the Dockers to rebound in the home AFL clash in the wake of their opening round humiliation at the hands of the Western Bulldogs, but says it’s time for action not more words.

The Dockers scored just one goal by halftime against the Dogs before losing by 65 points at Etihad Stadium.

The return of Aaron Sandilands (suspension) and Michael Johnson (calf) and the return to Domain Stadium should help against Gold Coast.

“I’d be disappointed if we don’t respond but until we see it, it’s all just feelings and emotions,” said Lyon on Thursday.

“I’m sure we were feeling good last week and we were feeling confident but feelings don’t get it done, actions get it done. We want to bring the action this week.

“I’m fundamentally a coach who has a close working relationships and believes in his playing group, and believes anything is possible.

“That hasn’t changed one iota, but if you have high expectations, it has to be matched by work rate otherwise you are just a daydreamer.”

Fremantle regularly tagged the Suns superstar skipper Ablett previously using Ryan Crowley, but Lyon doesn’t expect to use that tactic with another tagger on Saturday.

Instead he will back his own midfield stars, the likes of Nat Fyfe, David Mundy, Lachie Neale and Michael Barlow, to outperform their opponents.

“We haven’t tagged for a while. We sort of have people accountable for them,” Lyon said.

“It’s been proven in numerous other teams and numerous games that it’s not about one player. It’s about all players contributing.

“I’m sure Gary will play well but we hope as a collective we play well enough to beat him and the Gold Coast Suns.”