Posts Tagged melbourne
Australians say that people tend to fall into one of either two camps, Melbourne or Sydney. the rivalry between the two cities is legendary, so much so that when it came to choosing a capital of Australia in 1908, the non-descript Canberra was chosen, slap bang in the middle, rather than pitting these two lovely places against one another. Melbournites think Sydney-siders are shallow and vain. Sydney-siders think Melbournites are a bit snobby and constantly dressing in black. But if you go on holiday to Sydney and take some time to suck in that glorious atmosphere, you’ll realise that its people are having way too much of a good time to bother themselves with petty rivalries and back-biting, but then this is coming from someone who’s passionate about Sydney and everything it has to offer. Here is my pick of the very best bits
Restaurants in Sydney operate on a whole new level. Fresh, enterprising and uplifting, the food is a real cultural mix, some say the best in the world due to the large number of gastronomically talented immigrants the city has welcomed over the years. People often talk of ‘fusion’ food in Sydney restaurants – a mix of Western and Asian cooking – an exciting way to eat. Lots of restaurants in Sydney serve delicious fresh seafood, and you can buy cheap sushi all over Sydney. If you are into fish then check out the Sydney Fish Markets, near Darling Harbour – you can pick out great seafood and they will cook it for you on the spot. If you’re feeling nostalgic, then head to Doyles for the tastiest imaginable fish and chips.
Lots of the bookshops in Sydney have cafes – they were doing this long before we caught on to it in the UK. the lattes are unrivalled and everyone has a leisurely breakfast out on Sunday mornings. A popular snack is toasted banana bread drizzled in butter along with a coffee or a fresh fruit smoothie. All over Sydney there are many places serving tea and scones. Surprisingly this is called a ‘Devonshire Tea’ and they tend to stop serving them at 4pm. for some great Italian cafes and culture try the suburb of Balmain, home to many famous drinking establishments.
One of the bonuses of the location of this city – surrounding the beautiful Sydney Harbour – is that you can experience the most awe-inspiring views from many different standpoints, and the best way to do this is on foot. the views you will grow to love the most will probably include the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and, perhaps unexpectedly, the brightly lit skyscrapers which rise brazenly in a central cluster from Sydney city centre to form a dramatic backdrop to Sydney’s natural and man-made wonders. There is a great choice of sea walks including the Manly to Spit walk and Bronte to Bondi beach.
If you’re up for a real adventure try the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – a guided climb to 134 metres above Sydney Harbour at your chosen time of day. for a jungle experience take the 30-minute trip to the Australian bush at Kuringai National Park. A day trip to the spectacular Blue Mountains is also a favourite, with the three Sisters – a famous sandstone rock formation – and some of the most beautiful scenery in Australia. or for those with a penchant for good wine should visit the Hunter Valley, 2 hours north of Sydney for vineyard tours, wine tasting and cellar door sales.
Although going inside to enjoy yourself on your Sydney holiday may seem unthinkable, heavy rain occurs occasionally and on these days the marvellous museums and art galleries of Sydney come into their own. Visit the dinosaurs at the Sydney Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay, where, due to sponsorship, all the exhibitions are now free. Both galleries have great cafes and top quality restaurants. the National Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum, near Darling Harbour will also provide a fascinating respite.
Try Mosman in North Sydney for posh shopping, or alternatively the Queen Victoria Building in the city centre, which is full of little boutiques and cafes with an English style cafe at the very top. Oxford Street has the best strip of shops for alternative culture and evening cafes and is on the route for Sydney’s fabulous Mardi Gras parade, which takes place in March.
If you’re anything like most Sydney holiday makers you’ll be spending a lot of time on its heavenly beaches. Most of these have beach cafes known as ‘kiosks’. Make sure you try a few as they’re all very different. Bondi Beach is great for Aussie beach culture, and where the Brits tend to congregate. If you’re looking for a beach with personality then take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly, a super-trendy beach reminiscent of Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Both Manly and Bondi Beach are great for surfing, whilst Balmoral is a non-surf beach for the North Shore residents and expats, with safe, calm water for kids to paddle and an area for swimming surrounded by a board walk and shark net. Hire a surfboard and wet suit at Manly or Bondi Beach and you can even book a few surf lessons. the beautiful Northern Beaches are a set of beaches encompassing the stretch between Manly and Palm Beach. one of my favourites is the onomatopoeic Curl Curl Beach with its excellent surf.
Two superb venues for childish fun are Luna Park, a theme park with an iconic giant clown face at the entrance, and the enormous Taronga Zoo, home to 2,600 animals. Taronga must be the zoo with the best view in the world, with vistas overlooking the whole of Sydney Harbour. You can get there by bus or ferry as it has its very own ferry stop. for another great kid’s day out take the monorail, bus, ferry or car to Darling Harbour – the area may seem a bit kitsch, but has one of the best aquariums in the world, a lovely spot for ‘Finding Nemo’ Children will also love Darling Harbour’s Imax Theatre for 3D films on the big screen. at the art gallery of New South Wales there are often kids classes, free tours and magic shows, especially on Sunday mornings.
A little electric train will take you on a mini-adventure through the exotic Sydney Botanic Gardens, and you can take in some high culture with opera and other concerts in the park. next door the Sydney Opera House hosts classical music as well as some of pop’s big names. Lots of great buskers hang out around Circular Quay – good fun if you are waiting for a ferry. to try a real 1920′s style cinema, check out the Cremorne Orpheum (after Orpheus), an old-style picture house on Military Road.
Surfing and other water sports feel as natural as breathing in Sydney – many Sydney-siders even go for a sneaky surf in their lunch hour from work. Swimmers should visit the Olympic Park and take a dip at the North Sydney Olympic pool, or visit one of the Sydney Harbour baths or beaches, such as Red Leaf or Nielsen Park. outside the water you can catch a game of rugby or Australian rules football at Telstra Stadium, and if you’re into road running why not try the City to Surf marathon, a 14k race which takes place in mid-August.
And finally, if you are visiting Sydney on holiday, there is no shortage of accommodation. From beach-side B&Bs and chic inner city guest houses to the finest 5-star hotels overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge, there is a place for all tastes.
So there you are. If Sydney was any closer I expect we all would have fallen in love with the place and emigrated long ago. Once you do go on holiday to Sydney, either on its own, or as part of a longer holiday in Australia, you’ll be furious that nobody persuaded you to go there before. well, there’s no excuse now – time to go ahead and book those flights
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a teenage refugee who tried to hang himself in immigration detention did not receive adequate psychological care, a court has heard.
the 18-year-old’s lawyers are asking the Federal Court to force the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to release the boy into a community-based detention facility.
the Kuwaiti youth, who has just turned 18, was granted refugee status last year. he didn’t get his visa because the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) gave him an adverse security check.the youth, who arrived in Australia in late 2010, remains in indefinite detention.
he has spent time at Christmas Island, Melbourne and Darwin detention centres.
In the Federal Court in Adelaide on Tuesday, a child psychiatrist from the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Professor Jon Jureidini, said DIAC had failed to provide proper care for the youth.
he said the department sent the youth back into detention after he spent a night in hospital after a suicide attempt.
Dr Jureidini said DIAC mental health services were inferior to external care as they failed to address root causes of detainee distress, their incarceration.
”It is the package that goes with it, the incarceration, the guards, the bureaucratic cruelty, the exposure to other’s people’s distress,” he said.
the court has previously been told the youth tried to commit suicide several times by hanging himself. he also engaged in self harm including cutting himself and sewing his lips together.
Professor Jureidini said the young man was at grave risk if he remained incarcerated.
the refugee’s condition had worsened in custody, with refugee advocate Pamela Curr saying he appeared tearful, confused and distressed in their meetings.
the youth’s lawyers said he was moved to the Adelaide Immigration Transit Accommodation centre at Kilburn on Friday.
they said ASIO has not given reasons for the adverse security finding.
West Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says his iPhone may have been hacked by the federal government so it could keep tabs on an internet activist.
Ludlam told Crikey from new Zealand this morning that his iPhone had been exhibiting strange behaviour consistent with external interception when he escorted former WikiLeaks spokesman Jacob Appelbaum from Ballarat to Melbourne last Friday.
The US-based Appelbaum is a key developer of The Tor Project, which helps users connect anonymously to the internet. He has been under close watch by US government operatives for years and until late last year was regularly detained at airports when re-entering the US. He is was also one of several WikiLeaks associates who were the subjects of a secret Department of Justice order to force Twitter to release private data part of an investigation into the leaking of US diplomatic cables.
The duo were travelling to a forum — The War on the Internet — held at Trades Hall in Melbourne on Saturday. During the commute, Senator Ludlam’s iPhone began to die.
“I was Jacob’s chaperone back from Ballarat to Melbourne for the forum … and I discovered first thing in the morning that the battery was being chewed through freakishly quickly,” Ludlam told Crikey. ”I needed to put another other charge on it by about 10 or 10.30 in the morning. So it was being eaten up two or three times faster than normal.”
Appelbaum explained his phone may have been “off”, in the language of the intelligence services.
“That’s one symptom if the transmitter’s been switched on remotely so it’s basically broadcasting whatever it’s hearing … that would be one reason the battery was being chewed up,” Ludlam said. ”I wouldn’t have thought much about it, except for the fact that I’ve been spending quite a bit of time recently around people that who are actually surveilled.”
Under the Telecommunications Interceptions and Access Act, dozens of state and federal government agencies are able to apply to access meta-data from mobile phones, including their precise GPS location.
Saturday’s Trades Hall conference opened with an audio address from Assange. WikiLeaks has been under serious scrutiny from ASIO ever since the US government alerted Australia of an imminent dump of military cables in late 2010.
On Twitter, Appelbaum suggested programs such as FinFisher or HackingTeam could have been sicced onto Ludlam’s phone to remotely access its microphone capacity and broadcast the audio to government spooks.
Appelbaum told the conference Senator Ludlam’s phone had an “interesting short battery life” since he had arrived in the country. Later he tweeted: “The good senator’s phone battery life went from reasonable to zero after visiting #LCA2012 with me. many others, same issue.”
“I don’t want to come across as paranoid and delusional but Jacob is under regular surveillance and so is Julian Assange and his colleagues,” Ludlam explained. ”anyone with a smart phone, these things are used to track your location … not just by cell tower but also they’re reporting latitude and longitude by the GPS … these things can happen and it’s not necessarily your government doing it. “
A straw poll conducted by fellow panellist and Assange co-author Suelette Dreyfus asked whether anyone at Trades Hall was a member of the intelligence or law enforcement community but it turned up no hands (Crikey’s Bernard Keane was also at the forum discussing his e-book The War on the Internet). Repeated references were made to undercover ASIO officers in the audience and Dreyfus equated their “covert” activity with the Stasi.
The usual “casual clothes” get-ups worn by Melbourne-based ASIO officers familiar to activists include conspicuous English Premier League jerseys, however none were immediately evident in the auditorium.
So-called “warrant-less” wiretapping by Australian government agencies has exploded in popularity in recent years. in 2010-11, a record 243,631 applications for access so-called telecommunications “meta-data”, including IP addresses, the precise location of mobile devices and the identity of persons contacted, according to the Telecommunications Interceptions and Access Act annual report on the Attorney-General’s website.
Higher levels of interception used to access live data that permit listening in to phone calls and reading emails were less common, but still prevalent.
Ludlam, the Greens’ communications spokesman, told Crikey that meta-data requests were “fast becoming ubiquitous and very few people are aware of how widespread it is”,
Recently, federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson requested souped-up surveillance by the Australian Federal Police on environmental activists using the outsourced skills of the National Open Source Intelligence Centre, which monitors blogs, Facebook and Twitter chatter.
ASIO told Crikey this morning that for “security reasons it would be inappropriate for ASIO to comment publicly on specific individuals”.
“However, it should be emphasised that ASIO’s collection of intelligence via telecommunications interception requires a warrant. ASIO must seek agreement from the Attorney-General and satisfy strict tests set out in relevant legislation before a warrant will be issued. ASIO’s warranted activities are the subject of particularly stringent oversight within ASIO and are regularly scrutinised by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS).”
An Australian activist is fighting an attempt by Boston authorities to subpoena information about her from Twitter in relation to the #occupy movement.
Asher Wolf, a transparency and information activist, is based in Melbourne and over the past 18 months has quietly become one of the key people on Twitter for following news about transparency issues, WikiLeaks, net surveillance and the Occupy movement, via her extensive and systematic retweeting of information from around the world.
Just before Christmas, she learnt that the Boston District Attorney Benjamin a. Goldberger had contacted Twitter and demanded user information about “Guido Fawkes, @p0isonANon, @occupyBoston, #BostonPD, #d0xcak3” in what is called an administrative subpoena, commonly issued by law enforcement agencies to holders of information such as telecommunications companies.
The subpoena itself is bizarre and quickly became an internet laughing stock, as it got the #occupy account for Boston wrong (it’s @occupy_Boston, inter alia), it spelt @DoxCak3 wrongly, and purported to subpoena information about any account that used the hashtags #BostonPD and #d0xcak3. (“Guido Fawkes” isn’t a reference to the British blogger but the pseudonym of the holder of the account @p0isonANon i.e. it’s redundant).
But in trying to subpoena a hashtag, the Boston DA, one Benjamin a. Goldberger, either through a lack of understanding of social media, or as part of an extraordinary international fishing expedition, has sought information about anyone who used the hashtags in a tweet during the dates identified in the subpoena.
Goldberger also demanded that Twitter keep the subpoena secret, a request rejected by the company in the absence of any legal basis for it. Twitter last year defeated an attempt by the Department of Justice to keep secret a judicial order demanding information on users associated with WikiLeaks.
Australian lawyers Doogue & O’Brien, acting for Wolf and another, have told Goldberger and Twitter that they will resist the subpoena, given its broad scope and the “fishing expedition” nature of the request. “The ultimate effect of your subpoena is to pose a direct challenge to our client’s right to free speech. This is particularly concerning in light of the fact that one of our clients is a journalist who uses Twitter, amongst other media, to report on current affairs. Twitter encourages the free flow of information and reportage. The course which you have taken will inevitably stifle this important function.”
How much standing Twitter’s Australian users have is unclear. The user @p0isonANon, with assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union, is currently seeking to overturn the subpoena in the Massachusetts courts. But the subpoena is directed to Twitter, and it is up to the company, which is registered in Delaware and headquartered in San Francisco, to determine its compliance. Lawyer bill Doogue says the current goal is to get more information, particularly about the criminal investigation the subpoena says is currently under way. “The simple step of subpoenaing a hashtag captures people doing nothing wrong or potentially wrong — so why should their details be made available?” Doogue says, “But the essence is that Twitter shouldn’t be logging details like IP addresses.”
WikiLeaks recently launched a campaign to encourage Twitter, considered the most liberal-minded major social media company for its efforts to fight the Department of Justice, to end logging of real-time user information such as IP addresses. “In a progressive company concerned with protecting privacy and security of user data — the defacto position should be no data retention,” says Wolf.
The broader issue here is how governments (and the corporations they frequently act at the behest of) are seeking to respond to the borderless nature not so much of the internet itself as of internet communities. The issue takes a number of forms: the UK legal industry maintains it has a form of extraterritorial jurisdiction, and has so aggressively asserted its right to silence people via internet-related libel cases that US lawmakers have responded. But at the same time, the United States assumes an almost unlimited extraterritoriality in the application of its laws, both generally and specifically on online issues — the NDAA signed by Obama recently arrogates to the US military the power to abduct and indefinitely detain anyone considered to be linked to the War on Terror; British student Richard O’Dwyer is to be extradited under anti-terror legislation to face a decade in jail in the US merely for building a website that linked to filesharing sites.
However, when the world’s biggest social media companies are based in the US, governments there need no extraterritoriality, leaving users in any country using sites like Facebook and Twitter, or services like Google, liable to monitoring by the US government or state agencies via US law.
As Wolf points out, geographic segmentation is currently a standard feature of internet commerce, which means that in effect non-US internet users get the worst of both worlds when it comes to the borderless internet: they are subject to US monitoring of social media networks but often can’t access the full benefits of US internet commerce. “if Amazon and iTunes can segment their markets for restrictive purposes,” Wolf says, “then why not Twitter, to meet legal requirements enacted by countries demanding privacy protection for their citizens?
“if the Australian government wanted to protect its citizens it could legislate to protect data owned or generated by Australian citizens — by enacting strict laws against data retention,” she says. “For instance, the government could legislate companies wishing to do business with Australian citizens must delete data and traffic logs after a period of no more than three months after Australian citizens deleting their personal material. Australia should also place pressure on fellow common law countries to bring in similar legislation.”
The only real solution is social media networks outside the jurisdiction of nation-states. WikiLeaks is currently establishing its own social network, Friends of WikiLeaks, and Anonymous has established AnonPlus; there have also been anonymous microblogging sites such as Youmitter established, but their lack of critical mass is a key impediment, as is resilience in the face of surges in traffic, and they remain vulnerable, to the extent that it’s enforceable, to authorities claiming to exercise jurisdiction over whatever servers are used to host the networks.