Marriage equality vote could be vulnerable to voter fraud...and more Zedlines

(Image source: flickr.com/photos/adelaide_archivist) Australian Bureau of Statistics experts are warning the marriage equality postal survey is vulnerable to voter fraud because Australians will not be given individual identifiers.

The idea of a secret vote could be contradicted if ballots include personal identifiers, as the ABS would be able to match voters opinions on same-sex marriage with other personal information.

Despite this implication, former ABS chief, Bill McLennan, is warning if voters are not sent an individual identifier, the ABS will struggle to determine who has voted, creating opportunity for voter fraud to occur.

The debacle has arisen after Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Canberra the government’s policy would remain that no free parliamentary vote would be allowed without a national vote, even if the high court blocks the postal survey.

Sunny Coast pineapple growers trial new greenhouse combating farming techniques

Pineapple farmers on the Sunshine coast farmers will be taking part in a series of trials that could change the way fertiliser run-off is managed on farmland.

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Queensland University of Technology are running the research projects in an attempt to better protect the freshwater creeks flowing into Pumicestone Passage, an integral wetland habitat.

DAF development horticulturist Stuart Irvine-Brown demonstrated to farmers how the nation's first 'nitrogen edge of field, barrier bioreactor' wall would operate, explaining it was an impressive name for the simple process of digging a trench, filling it with wood chips and covering it with soil.

Mr Irvine-Brown says the trenches work by providing naturally occurring soil microbes a chance to intercept and react, mobilise nitrate and convert it into normal nitrogen gas which isn't a greenhouse gas.

Turnbull government stance on welfare is designed to prejudice debate: UN expert

A United Nations special rapporteur on poverty and human rights says the Turnbull government’s framing of discussions surrounding welfare appears designed to prejudice debate against recipients.

Philip Alston is in Australia to deliver a series of lectures on human rights and social policy, also criticising the government’s ban on community legal centres using commonwealth funding to lobby for legislative change, saying it has reduced the space for civil society.

Mr Alston says after reading the speeches of Alan Tudge, the minister for human services, he is concerned about Tudge’s characterisation of welfare recipients, particularly his focus on recipients who use drugs and alcohol, saying a lot of punitive language that resembles the mid-20th century rhetoric of welfare is used instead of the modern language of social protection used around the world.

Alston says that idea of a government being responsible for a minimum floor of social protection for vulnerable groups like the sick, elderly, and injured is contrasted with the Australian government “which talks very much about ‘welfare’ and tries to move away from assumptions about governmental responsibilities and instead focuses on individual responsibility for those who are trying to claim welfare payments from the state”.

Iranian children arrested for teaching Zumba and ‘Western’ dance

Six children in Iran have been charged by the country’s Revolutionary Guard with dancing and failing to wear proper hijabs after posting clips on social media.

The four boys and two girls were arrested in the north-east region of the country, with Revolutionary Guard commanders labelling them as a network “teaching and filming Western dances...as they sought to change lifestyles and promote a lack of hijab”.

The children taught dance styles including the popular style of Zumba, sharing clips on social media apps such as Instagram and Telegram, and resembles a 2014 case where seven young Iranians were given suspended jail and lashing sentences for dancing to the popular Pharrell Williams song “Happy” in a video that went viral.

Dancing is banned in Iran for women in front of men outside their immediate family, but in recent years Zumba and other styles have even been banned in women-only gyms, labeled by commanders as a “serious issue”.

Clashes in Kenya after opposition leader's election fraud claim

Protests have erupted in Kenya amidst claims a hacking attack has manipulated the results of the country’s presidential election.

Leader of the National Super Alliance, Raila Odinga, says election commission computer systems and databases were tampered with overnight to “create errors” in favour of rival candidate Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been in power since 2013.

Across most of the country streets have been empty with most businesses remaining shut, but reports have surfaced from the the western city of Kisumu police have fired teargas at a group of 100 opposition supporters and protests have also been held in the Nairobi neighbourhood of Mathare.