Australia

  • Labor promises $400 million superannuation boost for women

    Women on maternity or holding several low-paid jobs would receive superannuation payments under a plan unveiled by Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek on Wednesday. On average, women retire with $113,000 less superannuation than men, a gulf of 40% that means older single women are more dependent than men on the age pension, and are the fastest growing homeless age group in Australia. This disparity is due to many factors, including women taking time out of ... ► Read more

  • “Bullying, betrayal and backstabbing”: Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis will not recontest her seat

    Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis has announced that she will not recontest her seat of Gilmore at the next federal election, citing “bullying, betrayal and backstabbing” by New South Wales state MP Gareth Ward. In a speech to the House of Representatives, Ms Sudmalis announced on Monday that she will quit Parliament at the next election, and said Mr Ward had “flexed his vengeance on strong Liberal women” by undermining her with branch stacking and unethical ... ► Read more

  • MH17: Dutch to look at new evidence provided by Russia

    Dutch prosecutors investigating the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have said they will analyse all information provided by Russia, after the Russian Ministry of Defence (MOD) released a report that claims the missile that hit the plane was fired by pro-Kiev forces. Speaking to reporters on Monday (local time), General Nikolay Parshin showed a number of documents which appeared to identify the Buk missile. According to General Parshin, the Russian MOD used serial numbers ... ► Read more

  • Death no barrier to charging life insurance premiums, AMP tells Royal Commission

    AMP continued to charge life insurance premiums after being notified customers had died, executive Paul Sainsbury told the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry on Monday. Mr Sainsbury confirmed that in some cases AMP did not stop insurance premiums even when there was no longer a life to insure. He explained that AMP’s system “was coded to refund [premiums] when the claim was admitted”, rather than “stop the premiums ... ► Read more

  • Government, aged-care sector to establish royal commission scope

    The Government will work with aged-care providers to determine the terms of reference for the newly announced royal commission into the sector, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Sunday. Mr Morrison announced the royal commission in response to findings of widespread non-compliance and abuse of elderly people at aged-care facilities. According to the Minister for Health Greg Hunt, there was a 177% increase in the number of aged-care homes where a serious risk to ... ► Read more

  • Harper Nielsen’s protest is nothing more than virtue signalling

    “Australians all let us rejoice” — that is the opening line of “Advance Australia Fair”, our national anthem in Australia, and to me it speaks for itself. It calls for every Australian to rejoice. I’m an Australian. My great-great-grandparents moved here in 1844. Eddie, the Chinese man who has owned the house next door to mine for 45 years — he’s an Australian. Bill, the Greek man who lives on my other border and drinks at my ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 9 – 15 September 2018

    Malcolm Turnbull urges Liberal colleagues to refer Dutton to High Court Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he is urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other Liberal Party colleagues to refer Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to the High Court to clear up questions about his eligibility. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Roman Quaedvlieg demands Dutton withdraw “disgusting” grooming comment Former Australian Border Force Commission Roman Quaedvlieg has demanded that Home Affairs ... ► Read more

  • Dave Sharma announced as Liberal candidate for Wentworth by-election

    Former Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma has been selected by the Liberal Party as its candidate in the by-election for the federal seat of Wentworth. “I’m honoured to have been selected as the Liberal candidate,” Mr Sharma said after the selection vote. “We have a tough fight ahead of us to hold on to this seat, but [I] believe we can retain it, and retain a Liberal Government in Canberra.” The seat of Wentworth ... ► Read more

  • CommInsure negotiated penalty for misleading heart attack cover advertising

    CommInsure, a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank, made a voluntary $300,000 “community benefit payment” as part of a deal with the corporate regulator to avoid a multi-million-dollar fine for misleading advertising. The insurer failed to adequately disclose in its advertising that its heart attack cover was limited to severe heart attacks, as defined by CommInsure using an out-of-date definition. Instead, customers would have to access and read the product disclosure statement. CommInsure’s managing director Helen ... ► Read more

  • Malcolm Turnbull urges Liberal colleagues to refer Dutton to High Court

    Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he is urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other Liberal Party colleagues to refer Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to the High Court to clear up questions about his eligibility. Mr Turnbull tweeted overnight from New York: The point I have made to @ScottMorrisonMP and other colleagues is that given the uncertainty around Peter Dutton’s eligibility, acknowledged by the Solicitor General, he should be referred to the High ... ► Read more

  • Australian Special Forces deployed to PNG for APEC meeting

    Australia has deployed special forces soldiers to Papua New Guinea (PNG) as part of the effort to secure Port Moresby ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit scheduled for November. Concerns that local military and police personnel are inadequate are behind the deployment. World leaders including United States Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are expected to attend the two-day summit. “We ... ► Read more

  • Roman Quaedvlieg demands Dutton withdraw “disgusting” grooming comment

    Former Australian Border Force Commission Roman Quaedvlieg has demanded that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton withdraw his “disgusting and offensive” accusation that Mr Quaedvlieg “groomed” a younger woman who became his girlfriend. Mr Dutton made the accusation in Parliament on Tuesday, taking advantage of parliamentary privilege to protect him from legal retaliation. The 53-year-old Mr Quaedvlieg was dismissed earlier this year when it emerged he had helped his girlfriend, believed to be in her 20s, ... ► Read more

  • Freedom Insurance staff wouldn’t take no for an answer, Royal Commission hears

    Freedom Insurance retention officers made it “far too difficult for customers to cancel” insurance policies, the insurer’s Chief Operating Officer Craig Orton told the The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry on Wednesday. Between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, Freedom Insurance received 37,500 calls from customers wanting to cancel their life insurance policies, but only 28.5% of those were successful in cancelling their policies. Instead, almost half ... ► Read more

  • Freedom Insurance pushed accidental death policy on man with Down syndrome

    Freedom Insurance staff pressured a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome into signing up for an accidental death policy, despite no indication that the man understood what he was agreeing to, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Tuesday. Grant Stewart’s son was sold an accidental death insurance policy by Freedom Insurance in 2016. Mr Stewart told the Royal Commission that while his son has “reasonable” literacy and ... ► Read more

  • Banking Royal Commission reveals ClearView’s abusive sales tactics

    The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard further details of ClearView Direct’s abusive sales tactics on Tuesday. ClearView Direct call centre training materials from 2014 show that its sales staff were encouraged to continue signing up reluctant customers by telling them they could read the policy documents after signing up for life insurance. The insurer’s chief actuary, Gregory Martin, conceded that this was wholly inappropriate. Senior counsel assisting ... ► Read more

  • Massive class action suit launched against Australian banks

    Millions of workers could receive a payout in what is expected to be the largest class action suit in Australian legal history. Law firm Slater and Gordon are preparing for legal action against Australia’s largest banks on behalf of the third of Australian workers believed to have their superannuation invested with the banks. Slater and Gordon “will allege the big bank-backed super funds failed to obtain for members competitive cash interest rates on cash option ... ► Read more

  • ClearView under fire for junk life insurance policies

    A cleaner with a heart problem was sold an inferior insurance product by ClearView after she was told she was not eligible for life insurance, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Monday. A recording of a phone call was played before the Royal Commission, in which the customer was “downgraded” to an accidental death policy as a “backup” option because her pre-existing heart problem made her ... ► Read more

  • Banking Royal Commission: insurers admit substantial misconduct

    On Monday the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry started a round of hearings on life insurance, general insurance, and disaster insurance. This week the Royal Commission will focus on life insurance, including sales, claims, dispute resolution, and superannuation arrangements. Rowena Orr QC, counsel assisting the Royal Commission, raised concerns that insurance claims handling does not come within the Corporations Act 2001, and so the Australian Securities and Investment ... ► Read more

  • NAB puts mortgage rates on hold to ‘re-build trust’

    National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced it will keep its standard variable mortgage rates at 5.24% despite Westpac, ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) lifting their rates over last few weeks. In a statement, NAB said if home loan rates had increased by 15 points — approximately the same as the other three big banks — a customer on a $500,000 mortgage would have had to pay an extra $47 per month. “We are listening and acting differently,” NAB ... ► Read more

  • Independent Dr Joe McGirr predicted to win Wagga Wagga state by-election

    Election analyst Antony Green has called the Wagga Wagga state by-election for independent candidate Dr Joe McGirr. Polls closed for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat on Saturday night, but Mr Green said he was comfortable Dr McGirr had won the by-election on Sunday night. Wagga Wagga was vacated in August by Liberal MLA Daryl Maguire, who resigned from the Parliament of New South Wales after admitting to corruption. The fallout saw the Liberal ... ► Read more

  • Liberal Party tactics undermine Australian democracy

    Revelations that Peter Dutton supporters bullied their colleagues into signing the petition that brought on a leadership spill and ousted former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have grim implications for Australian democracy. We all knew Libspill was brutally bloody and driven purely by self-interest (it clearly wasn’t in the interest of the country), but these latest allegations against the Dutton camp mark a low point in Australian politics. So, what happened? Supporters of Dutton, who twice ... ► Read more

  • Allegations of bullying during Liberal Party leadership spill emerge

    Parliamentarians have told the ABC that supporters of Peter Dutton bullied them and their colleagues to sign the petition that brought on a leadership spill and ousted former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull two weeks ago. It is claimed that Mr Dutton’s supporters would enter colleagues’ offices without invitation, and refuse to leave unless they signed the petition. Backers of Mr Dutton, who twice attempted to take the leadership and failed, would allegedly target MPs during ... ► Read more

  • Former Victorian Greens leader accused of sexism

    More allegations of sexism in the Australian Greens have emerged, with former Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber accused of calling women in the workplace “fat, hairy lesbians”, “power pussies” and “hairy-legged feminists”. It is claimed that Mr Barber also had a meeting room in his office that female staff were not allowed to enter unless invited. Mr Barber is the brother-in-law of federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale. Earlier this year, it was revealed that ... ► Read more

  • Julie Bishop: ‘Aren’t the public justified in feeling contempt for all of us?’

    Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has criticised her parliamentary colleagues, saying she has witnessed “appalling” behaviour she never would have accepted while running a major law firm 20 years ago. Speaking at a Women’s Weekly awards event in Sydney, Ms Bishop discussed her experience of being a senior woman in the Turnbull Government and addressed a number of issues, including the lack of female MPs within the Liberal Party, bullying from male colleagues, and the adversarial nature ... ► Read more

  • Government drops policy to raise pension age to 70

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday that the Government will abandon its long-standing policy to raise the pension age to 70. Instead, the pension qualifying age will increase to 67 in 2023 as scheduled, and stay there. “I don’t think we need that measure any longer when it comes to raising the pension age, and it is one of the things I will be changing pretty quickly,” Mr Morrison told the Nine Network on ... ► Read more

  • Westpac to pay $35 million settlement in irresponsible home loan case

    Westpac has agreed to settle a case with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) involving more than 10,000 loans that allegedly breached responsible lending laws. As part of the settlement, the bank will pay a $35 million civil penalty for irresponsible lending. ASIC commenced proceedings in March 2017, alleging that Westpac’s use of the Household Expenditure Measure (HEM) to calculate loan applicants’ living costs led to customers being approved for loans that they would ... ► Read more

  • Dutton to face no-confidence motion this month

    Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will face a no-confidence motion when the federal Parliament resumes next week. The Greens and Labor will support a no-confidence motion in Mr Dutton as there is mounting controversy over his personal intervention to grant two European au pairs emergency visas in 2015. It has emerged that Mr Dutton may have misled Parliament when he said he had no personal connection to the cases, when it was later revealed that ... ► Read more

  • Report says “worst fears” surpassed in Nauru detention centre

    A report co-authored by the Refugee Council of Australia and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre released on Monday details escalating levels of abuse, trauma, and desperation in Australia’s offshore detention centre in Nauru. According to the report, the situation for the 900 people detained on Nauru (including 109 children) has surpassed the “worst fears” of advocates when the policy of offshore detention was reinstated in 2012. Around 50 overseas medical requests have been actively blocked ... ► Read more

  • Morrison considering deregistering CFMEU

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will discuss deregistering the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) with his industrial relations minister. Speaking on Sydney’s 2GB radio station on Monday morning, Mr Morrison said he would “of course” consider deregistering the CFMEU, which would refuse officials the right to enter workplaces and limit its ability to bring cases to the Fair Work Commission. The Prime Minister described the CFMEU as a “bunch of thugs” ... ► Read more

  • Dutton under fire over granting a second au pair visa

    It has emerged that Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton used his powers to grant an emergency visa to an Italian au pair planning to work for one of his former Queensland Police colleagues. The revelation has come just days after it was revealed that Mr Dutton personally intervened to free a French au pair from immigration detention after his office was contacted by AFL boss Gillon McLachlan, a relative of the host family. Italian ... ► Read more

  • Aus. Government threatens to deny whistleblower Chelsea Manning a visa

    The Australian Government has threatened tour organisers with a visa denial for convicted classified document leaker Chelsea Manning ahead of her upcoming tour. Think Inc., the tour organisers, announced on Thursday that it had received a notice of intention from the Government to deny Chelsea Manning entry to Australia for her speaking tour which is scheduled to start in Sydney on Sunday. The group is now calling on Ms Manning’s supporters to lobby new Immigration Minister ... ► Read more

  • Scott Morrison to finalise Indonesia free trade deal

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison will leave for Indonesia on Thursday to conclude free trade talks with President Joko Widodo. Mr Morrison said the talks in Jakarta will focus on enhancing economic and security ties between the two G20 nations. “Our close collaboration across economic, security and strategic domains makes both countries stronger, safer and more prosperous,” Prime Minister Morrison said. “I look forward to working with Indonesia’s President to lay the foundation for the next ... ► Read more

  • Dutton ignored Border Force advice when granting au pair’s visa

    Emails leaked to Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching reveal that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton ignored the advice of a senior Australian Border Force official when intervening in the case of a detained French au pair. This revelation adds to the concerns that Mr Dutton intervened in the matter as a personal favour to Liberal Party donors. The emails show that Mr Dutton approved the release of 27-year-old Alexandra Deuwel, despite being told there was detail ... ► Read more

  • Abbott appointed special envoy on indigenous affairs

    Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been appointed special envoy on indigenous affairs, stating he will focus on school attendance and performance. Although Mr Abbott was left out of the new Cabinet assembled by incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this week, Mr Abbott’s appointment as special envoy is part of Mr Morrison’s efforts to heal the wounds inflicted by last week’s leadership challenges. In accepting the position, Mr Abbott made a number of recommendations ... ► Read more

  • Allegations that Dutton intervened in au pair case due to lobbying

    Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton is under fire for personally intervening to free a 27-year-old au pair from immigration detention in November 2015. The au pair, Alexandra Deuwel, arrived at Adelaide Airport on 31 October 2015 and was detained because she had arrived on the wrong visa. Mr Dutton personally intervened to grant Ms Deuwel and three-month tourist visa because it was “in the public interest”. In a document marked “Sensitive: Personal” dated 1 ... ► Read more

  • Suspected asylum seekers detained after abandoning boat in Queensland

    A total of 17 suspected asylum seekers have been detained in far north Queensland after the group abandoned their boat that ran aground near the Daintree Rainforest area on Sunday. Authorities believe they have detained all members of the group, however further patrols are being conducted in case there are any others. A number of those people have been transported to an immigration facility in Darwin, where they await to be repatriated back to Vietnam. ... ► Read more

  • Search for first asylum seeker boat arrivals since 2014 still underway in North Queensland

    The search for a group of asylum seekers is currently underway in a crocodile-infested area in far north Queensland, after a boat that was carrying a number of asylum seekers from Vietnam ran aground. The boat, which has since been abandoned, is the first people-smuggling vessel to have reached Australia in 1400 days, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said. “I want to confirm for you today that Australia, we believe, has received the first vessel ... ► Read more

  • Coalition suffers worst opinion poll result in a decade

    An opinion poll conducted by Newspoll indicates the Coalition’s primary vote has fallen to 33%, the lowest since Brendan Nelson was opposition leader in 2008. The Labor Party now leads the Government 56–44% in the two-party preferred poll, with Labor leader Bill Shorten the preferred Prime Minister over current Prime Minister Scott Morrison, 39–33%. Newly-appointed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg acknowledged the damning results were expected, following two Liberal leadership spills last week and the ousting of ... ► Read more

  • Peter Dutton sworn in as Home Affairs Minister

    Peter Dutton has been sworn in as Home Affairs Minister, making him the first minister of the Morrison Government to be sworn in following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s victory in Friday’s Liberal leadership spill. Mr Morrison unveiled his new ministry on Sunday which sees Marise Payne replace Julie Bishop as Foreign Affairs Minister, and Peter Dutton lose immigration from his Home Affairs portfolio. Ms Bishop, who lost her position as deputy Liberals leader in the ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 19 August – 25 August 2018

    Scott Morrison wins leadership spill Scott Morrison has won Friday’s Liberal leadership spill, clearing the way for him to become Australia’s 30th Prime Minister. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Government instability in the wake of leadership challenge Malcolm Turnbull’s coalition government was rocked by turmoil following Tuesday’s unsuccessful leadership challenge by former Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Trump warns American economy would crash if he ... ► Read more

  • BREAKING: Scott Morrison wins leadership spill

    Scott Morrison has won Friday’s Liberal leadership spill, clearing the way for him to become Australia’s 30th Prime Minister. Mr Morrison defeated Peter Dutton by 45-40. Josh Frydenberg has also been elected deputy leader of the Liberal Party, replacing long-serving deputy leader Julie Bishop. Mr Morrison’s victory comes amid a chaotic week in Canberra which has now ended Malcolm Turnbull’s three year tenure in the top job. Mr Turnbull used his final press conference to ... ► Read more

  • BREAKING: PM receives petition calling for party-room meeting

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he has received a petition with 43 signatures calling for a Liberal party-room meeting. The Prime Minister said in a tweet that he will call the meeting once the signatures have been verified by the party whips. He tweeted: I have just been provided with a request for a meeting of the Parliamentary Liberal Party. It has 43 signatures. As soon as they are verified by the Whips, which ... ► Read more

  • Leadership crisis: Turnbull to call party-room meeting for Friday, will not stand as candidate in spill

    #BREAKING PM not standing down. Says Dutton wanted the House adjourned. He’s waiting for the petition from members for a party room meeting. If he gets it, he’ll call a meeting of the party room midday tomorrow. And he wants SG advice on Dutton before then #auspol @politicsabc pic.twitter.com/JnDLo4irRc — Matthew Doran (@MattDoran91) August 23, 2018 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that he will call a Liberal party room meeting for midday on Friday ... ► Read more

  • BREAKING: Cormann, Cash, Fifield offer resignations, call for leadership spill

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that he will call a Liberal party room meeting for midday on Friday if he receives a petition from a majority of Liberal MPs and Senators. If it goes ahead, the meeting will decide who leads the Liberal Party, and who is Prime Minister of the country. On Thursday, senior Liberal Senators and Cabinet members Mathias Cormann, Michaelia Cash, and Mitch Fifield told the Prime Minister that he no ... ► Read more

  • Government faces increased instability in the wake of leadership challenge

    Malcolm Turnbull’s coalition government remains in turmoil following Tuesday’s unsuccessful leadership challenge by former Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton. The Prime Minister caught would-be challengers off-guard when he declared all leadership positions vacant at the coalition’s party room meeting on Tuesday. Mr Dutton, who was rumoured to be planning a leadership challenge, stood against Mr Turnbull and lost 48–35. As convention dictates, Mr Dutton resigned from his cabinet position and will return to the ... ► Read more

  • Leadership spill: Turnbull is not out of the woods

    Everyone knew there was something off on Monday. Despite the smiles and assurances of support for the Prime Minister, it was clear something was bubbling inside the Liberal Party. And so, here we are — Dutton tried and failed, and Turnbull comes out victorious. But does he really? Sure the PM came out on top, but a closer look at the results reveals Turnbull is anything but out of the woods. It is no secret the Liberal ... ► Read more

  • BREAKING: Malcolm Turnbull wins leadership challenge

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has survived a snap Liberal Party leadership challenge from Peter Dutton amid weeks of internal pressure over the National Energy Guarantee. On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Turnbull declared all leadership positions vacant, clearing the way for anyone wanting to make a bid for the leadership. Mr Turnbull beat Mr Dutton 48-35, prompting Mr Dutton to resign as Home Affairs Minister, despite the Prime Minister reportedly offering him the chance to stay ... ► Read more

  • AMP to refund super customers

    Financial services company AMP will refund superannuation customers whose cash investments were eroded by fees and charges, the banking royal commission has heard. AMP’s superannuation trustees will cut fees and refund $5 million to approximately 12,500 customers who have $43 million invested in AMP super accounts and who chose cash as their investment option. The firm will also refund around $27 million to AMP Capital superannuation members who were wrongly charged fees. AMP Superannuation chairman Rick ... ► Read more

  • Restrictions on foreign ownership of housing would be welcomed in Australia

    Australians have long been enthusiastic about property ownership. By 1945, with a population of 7.39 million, 50% of Australians owned their own homes. The end of World War II saw Australian ex-servicemen, who had previously been living through the Depression, finally have a substantial bank balance due to receiving their accumulated military pay. Many turned that bank balance into their own part of the Great Australian Dream by purchasing a property. Following the Baby Boom ... ► Read more

  • Dutton reportedly urged to challenge Turnbull for Prime Ministership

    The Daily Telegraph has reported that some anonymous government backbenchers are urging Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton to challenge Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for leadership of the Liberal Party and the country. A small group of government MPs are opposed to the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), a policy to address electricity affordability, reliability, and emissions, that was adopted by the Coalition party room on Tuesday. Those MPs opposed want more done to cut prices ... ► Read more

  • Transcript: Senator Fraser Anning’s ‘final solution’ speech in full

    Katter’s Australia Party senator Fraser Anning has used his maiden speech to call for a ban on Muslim migration to Australia and a plebiscite on whether Australia should only accept European immigrants, in what would be a return to the White Australia policy. Mr Anning’s speech has attracted condemnation from both sides of politics. Read Senator Anning’s full speech below. Thank you, Mr President. I am pleased to advise that this is finally my first ... ► Read more

  • Government releases exposure draft of encryption-breaking legislation

    The Government today released an exposure draft of its proposed legislative response to increasing use of encrypted communications services. Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 “will allow law enforcement and interception agencies to access specific communications without compromising the security of a network” and will “expressly prevent the weakening of encryption or the introduction of so-called backdoors.” For more than ... ► Read more

  • Coalition party room backs NEG

    The Coalition party room officially endorsed the Turnbull Government’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG) on Tuesday. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hailed his victory as bringing Australia “one step closer to cheaper and more reliable energy”. The Coalition party room meeting lasted over two hours and has been described as “testy”, according to the ABC. While the majority of Liberal and National MPs supported the plan, a handful of backbenchers, including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, have ... ► Read more

  • Former Archbishop Philip Wilson to serve child sex abuse concealment sentence in home detention

    Former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson will serve his sentence for concealing child sex abuse in home detention. Mr Wilson was sentenced to 12 months detention with six months non-parole for covering up child sex abuse that occurred in the 1970s in the NSW Hunter region. He has spent the last few weeks on bail while he and his sister’s homes were being assessed for home detention. He will be eligible for parole on February 13, ... ► Read more

  • Australia’s population: it isn’t so bad

    On 7 August 2018 Australia hit the wonderful milestone of growing to a population greater than 25 million. Australia’s population still remains fairly small in comparison to other nations even with smaller landmass. So, while you may believe we are taking in a record number of refugees, or that foreigners are taking all your jobs, here are a couple of reasons why you should be thankful about our population size and perhaps realise that it ... ► Read more

  • Former ACCC chief calls for consumer watchdog to take over ASIC banking powers

    Former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Professor Allan Fels has called for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to be stripped of its regulatory powers over banks, and those powers handed to the ACCC. Criticising ASIC for being ineffectual in dealing with banking misconduct, Professor Fels told ABC’s AM programme that “ASIC is not feared, unlike the ACCC.” According to Professor Fels, transferring bank supervisory powers from ASIC to the ... ► Read more

  • BREAKING: Emma Husar will not recontest seat at next federal election

    Labor MP Emma Husar announced on Wednesday that she will not recontest her western Sydney seat of Lindsay at the next federal election, amid an internal Labor investigation into allegations of bullying and misconduct made against her by former staff at her electorate office. Despite denying the allegations, Ms Husar told Channel Nine that “enough is enough”. “It’s a disappointing day for me,” Ms Husar said. “I’ve made the decision, the agonising decision, that I ... ► Read more

  • Commonwealth Bank cash profit drops 4.8% to $9.2 billion

    The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) posted annual cash profits of $9.23 billion for the last financial year, a drop of 4.8% compared to the previous financial year. The drop was mostly a consequence of the record $700 million penalty paid to Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, after the bank admitted to 53,700 violations of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding legislation. CBA also paid $155 million in costs relating to the Royal Commission into ... ► Read more

  • AMP first half profits plummet following Royal Commission revelations

    Embattled financial service company AMP has reported a 74% drop in first half profits to $115 million after it set aside $290 million to compensate customers it overcharged or charged for no services. The company’s revenue for the past six months also dropped by 6% to $7.17 billion. AMP’s underwhelming results are the first since it was revealed through the banking Royal Commission that the company engaged in widespread misconduct including charging fees for no ... ► Read more

  • DPI: 100% of NSW in drought

    All of New South Wales has been declared in drought, with 77% of the state either in drought or drought-affected and 23% experiencing intense drought, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI). June and July were drier than expected, causing crops to fail, water shortages, and a diminishing supply of fodder for livestock, NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said in a statement on Wednesday. According to Mr Blair, only 0-10mm of rain ... ► Read more

  • Australia’s population will hit 25 million tonight, claims Bureau of Statistics

    According to projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s population will reach 25 million tonight, with net migration continuing to increase faster than births. Australia’s population currently increases at about one person every minute and 23 seconds, and the new record is expected to be set at about 11:00 pm. Author and political commentator George Megalogenis said that the 25 millionth person will most likely be a young female Chinese student or skilled worker, ... ► Read more

  • Craig Emerson quits Sky News over Blair Cottrell interview

    Craig Emerson resigned from his regular commentary spot on Sky News on Monday in protest of the network’s interview with far right ‘activist’ Blair Cottrell on Sunday night. The former Labor front-bencher announced his resignation from Sky via Twitter, saying the broadcaster’s interview “Neo-Nazi Blair [Cottrell]…was another step in a journey to normalising racism & bigotry in our country.” Mr Emerson tweeted: I have advised @SkyNewsAust that I have quit as a Sky commentator. My father ... ► Read more

  • Australian industry groups urge governments to support the National Energy Guarantee

    Seven groups that represent Australian industry have urged the federal, state, and territory governments to get behind the National Energy Guarantee (NEG). In a joint statement issued on Monday the Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Council of Small Business Organisations, National Farmers’ Federation, Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, and Australian Energy Council called on Australian leaders to “put aside politics and support the implementation of the ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 29 July – 4 August 2018

    Trump’s offer to meet with Rouhani rebuked on both sides US President Donald Trump’s offer to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been shot down both from within his own administration and senior figures in Iran. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Trump on Mueller investigation: “Stop this rigged witch hunt right now’ US President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to condemn special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in ... ► Read more

  • The Fratellis: Glasgow legends set to visit Down Under

    UK favourites and absolute gems in the Sydney music scene, Viva La Sociale are back at it again, this time bringing us Aussies some Glasgow icons. We are pleased to announce that The Fratellis will be gracing Australian stages across the country in November! Last visiting Australia in 2014, this time they are here hot after the release of their fifth studio album, “In Your Own Sweet Time”. It’s a true masterpiece that is sure to bring ... ► Read more

  • Australian scientists discover new anti-cancer drug without usual side-effects

    Scientists in Melbourne have discovered a new class of anti-cancer drug that lacks the usual side-effects of current cancer treatments. Published in the journal Nature, their research shows the class of drugs puts cancer cells permanently “to sleep”. The research was a joint effort by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Monash University, Cancer Therapeutics CRC, The University of Melbourne, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the CSIRO. Unlike conventional treatments such as ... ► Read more

  • Labor MP Emma Husar faces new allegations of misusing entitlements

    Labor MP Emma Husar has been under constant fire since it was revealed in July that the Labor Party had placed her under independent investigation following accusations that she bullied and harassed staff at her Western Sydney electorate office. A stream of negative reports has ensued, with Labor colleagues predicting that Ms Husar will not re-contest her marginal seat of Lindsay. It emerged this week that Ms Husar may have used her taxpayer-funded entitlements to ... ► Read more

  • Government announces increased privacy protections for My Health Records

    In response to concerns over the adequacy of privacy protections, the Federal Government has announced changes to the My Health Records system to allow deletion of records and restrict government access to patient data. After meeting with doctors from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and College of General Practitioners to discuss privacy concerns on Tuesday night, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced changes will be made to the My Health Records Act 2012. Australians will be ... ► Read more

  • Australia and Japan join US Indo-Pacific infrastructure initiative

    Australia and Japan have formed a trilateral partnership with the United States to invest in infrastructure and development projects in the Indo-Pacific region, it was announced on Tuesday. The announcement follows months of talks regarding a joint scheme to respond to China’s Belt and Road Programme. Initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Belt and Road is a massive infrastructure investment programme across Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific, but has been criticised for spreading Chinese political influence ... ► Read more

  • Analysis: the ‘Super Saturday’ by-elections didn’t change much, but there were some lessons

    Saturday saw five by-elections for the House of Representatives, each triggered by the resignation of the incumbent MP. Although dubbed “Super Saturday” by the media, the results were generally predictable and posed no threat to the status quo. In four of the by-elections the incumbent was returned, while the incumbent in Perth, Tim Hammond, did not contest the election and was replaced by Labor colleague Patrick Gorman. But there were some noteworthy aspects of the ... ► Read more

  • Archbishop Philip Wilson resigns after conviction of concealing child sex abuse

    Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, the most senior Catholic official to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse, is now resigning from his position. Pope Francis accepted the resignation after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other political leaders increased the pressure on Mr Wilson to step down from his role. The soon to be former Archbishop was convicted in May for concealing child sex abuse that dated back to the 1970s, where he covered up for ... ► Read more

  • Qatar bid team accused of sabotaging rival bids for 2022 FIFA World Cup

    Allegations of a “black-ops” campaign by Qatar’s bid team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup have sparked controversy as accusations of extensive sabotage emerge. The Qatar bid team is accused of using ex-CIA connections and public relations firms to run a fabricated propaganda campaign against rival US and Australian bid teams. The scandal emerged after a confidential source provided documents to The Times (UK), detailing how the Qatar bid team undermined support for hosting the ... ► Read more

  • Julie Bishop arrives in East Timor after five year diplomatic drought

    Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrived in East Timor on Sunday marking the first visit by an Australian government minister to the country in five years. Tensions between Australia and East Timor have now eased after a five year diplomatic drought. The rift between Canberra and Dili, East Timor’s capital, mostly resided in a bitter dispute over maritime boundaries. East Timor accused Australia of trying to steal a large supply of oil and gas that lies between the two ... ► Read more

  • Lee Lin Chin signs off on her final SBS broadcast

    Veteran broadcaster and fashion icon Lee Lin Chin hosted her final bulletin for SBS on Sunday night, after announcing her resignation last week. At the end of the program, Ms Lin addressed viewers, saying: “As we approach the end of this evening’s news, my final bulletin on SBS, I take my leave with sadness.” “Over the years, all my colleagues have featured very prominently and positively in both my life at the network and in ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 22 – 28 July 2018

    Nine Network to takeover Fairfax Media The Nine Network will takeover Fairfax Media in a deal rumoured to be worth around $4 billion, Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood announced on Thursday morning. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Greece declares state of emergency as lethal wildfires rage near Athens Greece has declared a state of emergency after two separate wildfires raged through towns near its capital Athens, killing at least 20 people, injuring over 100 ... ► Read more

  • ABC report claiming US ready to bomb Iran dismissed by PM

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that there is “no reason” to believe that US President Donald Trump is preparing to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, dismissing it as just “speculation”. An ABC report published on Friday claimed senior ministers within the Turnbull Government believed the US was prepared to bomb Iran as soon as next month and that Australia was providing intelligence on potential targets. The report cited a senior security source saying Australian defence ... ► Read more

  • BREAKING: Nine Network to takeover Fairfax Media

    The Nine Network will takeover Fairfax Media in a deal rumoured to be worth around $4 billion, Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood announced on Thursday morning. In a statement, Mr Hywood said over the past eight years his company “has gone from being at the mercy of the non-stop global media revolution to being the best of its breed”, and that “there will be plenty of Fairfax Media DNA in the merged company and the board.” ... ► Read more

  • Police may have found body of missing Sydney woman Qi Yu

    Police believe they have found the body of missing Sydney woman Qi Yu during a search of bushland near the Old Pacific Highway at Berowra. The woman’s body was found by police officers near the Berowra exit of the M1 motorway at about 8:00 am on Wednesday morning. Ms Yu, 28, was last seen in June 2018 in the southwest Sydney suburb of Campsie, where she lived with her flatmate Shuo Dong. Mr Dong, 19, ... ► Read more

  • Accused Claremont serial killer pleads not guilty

    Bradley Edwards, accused of being the Claremont serial killer who murdered three young women in the mid-1990s, has been committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Western Australia after pleading not guilty to the murders on Wednesday. Prosecutors allege that Mr Edwards abducted and murdered 18-year-old Sarah Spiers in January 1996, 23-year-old Jane Rimmer in June 1996, and 27-year-old Ciara Glennon in March 1997. He has been held in Hakea Prison since his ... ► Read more

  • Labor MP Emma Husar takes leave following accusations she bullied staff

    Emma Husar, the Federal Member of Parliament for the NSW electorate of Lindsay, has taken personal leave following revelations that the NSW Labor Party is investigating allegations of bullying and harassment made against her by former staff at her electorate office. Ms Husar said she is on leave effective immediately during what she described as a difficult few days in which she received threats of violence. “I have written to the chief opposition whip to ... ► Read more

  • NAB will cease charging penalty interest rates for drought-affected farmers

    National Australia Bank (NAB) Chief Executive Andrew Thorburn announced on Monday evening that the bank will cease charging drought-affected farmers penalty interest rates for missed repayments, bowing to pressure from the public, Federal Government, and the banking Royal Commission. “The royal commission and other inquiries reveal that in some cases we have lost touch,” Mr Thorburn said in a public address to 120 customers at the International Hotel in Wagga Wagga. “Such customers go through ... ► Read more

  • Liberal MP Tim Wilson opts-out of My Health Record, says scheme should be ‘opt-in’

    Liberal MP Tim Wilson has opted out of the Government’s new My Health Record scheme, calling for the medical record system to be “opt-in” to give people more of a choice. The system will centralise individuals’ health records to ensure easy and secure access by self and medical professionals at any time required. The Melbourne-based MP voiced his criticism of how the scheme is being introduced, saying that a default position of not being included ... ► Read more

  • Trevor Noah faces calls for boycotts after 2013 racist clip resurfaces

    Trevor Noah is currently facing criticism for a 2013 video that has resurfaced which shows the comedian and television presenter making racist jokes about Australian Aboriginal women. “All women of every race can be beautiful,” he said during a 2013 stand-up routine. “And I know some of you are sitting there now going, ‘Oh Trevor… I’ve never seen a beautiful Aborigine.’ But you know what you say? You say, ‘Yet.’ Because you haven’t seen all ... ► Read more

  • G20 summit: no consensus over resolving trade disputes

    Despite calling for increased dialogue to resolve trade tensions, financial officials ended a two-day G20 summit without agreement as to how to handle the ongoing disputes over the United States’ tariff actions. Meeting in Buenos Aires at the weekend, finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s 20 largest economies warned that growth will be hampered due to the waves of recent tariffs, and was already becoming less synchronised, with downside risks increasing over the ... ► Read more

  • Julie Bishop: ‘US should not reward Russia for their bad behaviour’

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has urged the US to maintain pressure on Russia over the Kremlin’s alleged role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and the rejoining of Crimea and Russia, which the US and many of its allies view as an annexation. Speaking to The Australian in the US ahead of the Aus­tralia-US Ministerial Consul­tations (AUSMIN) in San Francisco ­tomorrow, Ms Bishop said: “My message on Russia will be that the US should ... ► Read more

  • Australian nurse killed in 2017 London Bridge attack receives bravery award

    South Australian nurse Kirsty Boden has been posthumously honoured with the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for her heroic attempts to help other victims of last year’s London Bridge terrorist attack. The 28-year-old “Angel of London Bridge”, as British media dubbed her, was one of two Australians killed in the attack that claimed eight lives. Terrorists drove a van along the pavement, ramming into pedestrians before stabbing others near Borough Market on the night of 3 ... ► Read more

  • MP Emma Husar under investigation by NSW Labor for bullying claims

    Emma Husar, the Federal Member of Parliament for the NSW electorate of Lindsay, is under investigation by the New South Wales Labor Party after allegations of bullying emerged. Former staff at Ms Husar’s electorate office have accused her of bullying, harassment, verbal abuse and intimidation. It is also claimed that Ms Husar, a single mother, used taxpayer-funded staff to conduct household and family duties for her, including nannying her three children. It has recently come ... ► Read more

  • Turkish court rejects Australia’s extradition request of Neil Prakash

    A Turkish court has rejected Australia’s request to extradite notorious Islamic State (IS) terrorist Neil Prakash in a ruling that could see the terrorist released from prison unless Turkey decides to prosecute him. The decision of the Kilis Criminal Court in southern Turkey comes just two months after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he expected the extradition of the self-confessed Melbourne-born IS member to happen “within months.” Since he was captured in October 2016 while ... ► Read more

  • Liberal MP apologises for MH17 comment

    Liberal MP Craig Kelly apologised on Thursday after he told Sky News the previous evening that Russia’s role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 should be “looked over” to build better relations in the future. Mr Kelly said it is “best in my opinion that the leader of the US…and the leader of Russia at least have a good talking relationship. And if that means some of the things…that Russia has gotten away ... ► Read more

  • Australians struggle to opt out of My Health Record

    Although Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said 20,000 Australians had already opted out of the My Health Record system, many have reported experiencing difficulty completing the process. The My Health Record system is a centralised national digital database of Australians’ health information, intended to give patients better control over their information and make access by health professionals easier. Users who don’t want a My Health Record have until 15 October 2018 to opt out. Some users ... ► Read more

  • Energy Market Operator predicts significant reduction in coal-fired power stations by 2040

    In its inaugural Integrated System Plan released on Tuesday, the Australian Energy Market Operator says that between 2030–40 a “significant amount” of coal-fired power stations will reach the end of their technical life and be retired. Although the AEMO noted that “costs of new renewable plant continue to fall, and advances and availability of storage technologies … are emerging as core components to a low cost and reliable energy future” it warned that prematurely closing ... ► Read more

  • Australians have three months to opt-out of national health database

    Australians who do not want their medical records stored in the national electronic database will have three months from today to opt-out. Although the Federal Government’s Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has moved to reassure Australians that their My Health Record will be secure, Australians can opt-out until 15 October 2018. “If you haven’t deliberately opted out by the end of 2018, you will have a My Health Record,” Dr Steve Hambleton of the ADHA said. ... ► Read more

  • Malcolm Turnbull widens lead as preferred PM in latest Newspoll

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has increased his lead as preferred prime minister over political rival and opposition leader, Bill Shorten, by the largest margin since 2016, a new Newspoll has revealed. The Newspoll, which was conducted exclusively for The Australian, shows Mr Turnbull extended his lead over Mr Shorten by four points, widening the margin by 19 points as both party leaders prepare for a critical test in next week’s by-elections. The last time the Prime Minister ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 8 – 14 July 2018

    Rocky NATO Summit as Trump attacks allies US President Donald Trump has demanded NATO members contribute 4% of their GDP to the military alliance, accusing allies of owing “tremendous amounts of money” to the US, calling them “delinquent” and labelling Germany a “captive” of Russia. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Thai soccer team all rescued The Thai soccer team Wild Boars, comprising of 12 boys and their coach, were rescued on Tuesday from ... ► Read more

  • Tax office says Australians underpay $8.7 billion a year

    The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has estimated that Australians underpaid taxes by almost $9 billion in 2014–15. The tax gap — the difference between the amount collected and the amount that should have been collected — rose to $8.7 billion for individual taxpayers over the 2014–15 financial year. The ATO has called for taxpayers to take extra care when lodging their returns, and has said it will be paying close attention to tax returns this ... ► Read more

  • ACCC says increased electricity competition could lead to household savings

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says households could save up to $415 a year on power bills if its call for a boost to competition in the electricity market is implemented. In a report released on Wednesday, the ACCC blames low competition and policy mistakes for increases in power bills, and criticises the current state of the electricity market for being “unacceptable and unsustainable”. “It is clear that most households are paying too ... ► Read more

  • Our safety is not your choice

    We often walk home in the very early hours of the morning as a pair. On one particular walk home we were being yelled at by two adult men. They had gotten off the train like we had and were both much larger than the two of us. They were jeering and commenting on our appearances, and how exciting it was that we are identical twins. Of course we couldn’t ignore them, but we couldn’t ... ► Read more

  • Senator Hanson-Young to sue Senator Leyonhjelm for defamation

    Senator Sarah Hanson-Young confirmed on Tuesday that she will sue Senator David Leyonhjelm for defamation, following comments Senator Leyonhjelm made on television and radio about her sex life. The feud between the Senators began after Senator Hanson-Young alleged that Senator Leyonhjelm yelled an “offensive and sexist slur” at her during a debate relating to violence against women. Senator Leyonhjelm later confirmed that he had said that Senator Hanson-Young should “stop shagging men”, in response to ... ► Read more

  • Mark Latham considering political comeback, but is yet to choose a party

    Former Labor opposition leader Mark Latham is considering a return to politics, but has not yet chosen a political party with which to make his comeback. Senators Pauline Hanson (One Nation) and David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democrats) have both been in discussions with Mr Latham, who joined Senator Leyonhjelm’s party last year but has also voiced a pre-recorded robocall message for One Nation ahead of the upcoming Longman by-election. “I’ve not made any decision — I ... ► Read more

  • The plastic bag ban and what it means

    Single-use plastic bags are being banned and phased out across Australian supermarket and grocery-store chains. Supermarket giant Woolworths introduced a nationwide ban on these bags at all of its stores on 20 June (including BWS liquor stores and Big W), and rival supermarket Coles followed on 30 June. Consumers now need to bring their own reusable bags with them to the shops, or purchase them for an additional charge at the checkout. Many shoppers remain ... ► Read more