Australia

  • Australian students taught Chinese language and culture by Beijing-vetted staff

    Students in classrooms and universities across Australia are being taught Chinese language and culture by teaching assistants vetted by the Chinese Government, an ABC investigation has revealed. The assistants teach Mandarin alongside Australian teachers as part of a Confucius Institute program overseen by Chinese Government agency Hanban, and are vetted by the Chinese Communist Party for “good political quality” and a love of “the motherland”. According to the ABC, the application criteria was first issued ... ► Read more

  • Newly released footage shows unarmed UK police, passersby face Borough Market terrorists

    Newly released footage shows unarmed British police and members of the public trying to apprehend perpetrators of the 2017 London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack. On 3 June 2017, the three attackers — Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba — ploughed down pedestrians in a rented van before embarking on a knife attack at Borough Market. The entire attack lasted around 10 minutes and claimed the lives of eight people. A further 48 ... ► Read more

  • Curtin University, UTS announce reviews of surveillance technology used by Chinese Government

    Curtin University and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on Tuesday announced they are reviewing funding and research approval procedures due to concerns over links to technology that is being used to carry out mass human rights abuse by the Chinese Government in Xinjiang province. Four Corners revealed on Monday night that UTS was conducting an internal review into its $10 million partnership with CETC, a Chinese state-owned military tech company that developed an app that ... ► Read more

  • ADF warns of influx of refugees and increased conflict due to climate change

    The Australian Defence Force (ADF) may be forced to increase patrols to deal with increased “sea-borne migration” prompted by rising sea levels, according to internal briefing notes. Documents obtained by the ABC under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 also warn that climate change will “exacerbate the potential conflict” and contribute to “state fragility and the undermining of economic development in our immediate region.” Former Chief of the Defence Force Admiral Chris Barrie (retired) said Australia ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 7 July – 13 July 2019

    AFP accessed journalists’ metadata almost 60 times in 2017–18 The Australian Federal Police (AFP) accessed the metadata of journalists almost 60 times in one year, according to disclosures made to the first review of Australia’s mandatory data retention regime. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Alek Sigley denies he was spying on North Korea Alek Sigley, who was released from detention in North Korea last week, has denied allegations by Pyongyang that he is ... ► Read more

  • Australia has recommitted to keeping Antarctic free of mining and military

    More than 50 countries, including Australia, have renewed their commitment to protect the Antarctic’s environment on the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. More than 370 representatives, experts from civil society groups and observers from international organisations have been gathering in Prague to attend meetings on the Antarctic since 2 July, according to the Czech Foreign Ministry. Key topics covered by attendees included the effects of climate change, growing tourism and the ... ► Read more

  • Google says employees listen to people’s conversations through Google Assistant

    Google employees listen to conversations that happen between users and their Google Assistant, such as the Google Home smart speaker, the company has revealed. A report from Belgian public broadcaster VRT NWS reveals how contractors are paid to transcribe audio clips that are recorded by the device. The snippets are used to help improve the device’s voice recognition technology, Google said. These audio clips are also used to help further develop the Google Assistant artificial ... ► Read more

  • Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney warns Australia on press freedom

    Amal Clooney has cautioned Australia on press freedom at the inaugural Defend Media Freedom conference in the United Kingdom, which was attended by Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. “What happens in a country like Australia, or the UK or the US will be looked at by every other leader in the world and potentially used as an excuse to clamp down even further on ... ► Read more

  • Referendum on Indigenous recognition within three years, announces Ken Wyatt

    A referendum will be held within the next three years to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt announced today. Mr Wyatt stressed the importance of ensuring the proposed constitutional amendments are “right” in a speech delivered at the Australian Press Club. “Constitutional recognition is too important to get wrong, and too important to rush,” he said. “We need to design the right model to progress to a point at ... ► Read more

  • Sir David Attenborough slams Australia for lack of action on climate change

    Sir David Attenborough has slammed Australia for inaction on climate change, adding that it is one of the countries worst affected by the issue. Mr Attenborough told members of the British Commons Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy committee about the impact of climate change, including the dangers of not addressing the issue with optimism and immediacy. Regarding Australia’s inaction on climate change, Mr Attenborough told British MPs it is “extraordinary actually because Australia is already ... ► Read more

  • Alek Sigley denies he was spying on North Korea

    Alek Sigley, who was released from detention in North Korea last week, has denied allegations by Pyongyang that he is a spy. Mr Sigley was studying in the North Korean capital before he went missing on 25 June. He was released last Thursday with the help of Swedish diplomats and left for Tokyo where he was reunited with his wife. He wrote for Western media, such as NK News, during his time in North Korea. ... ► Read more

  • AFP accessed journalists’ metadata almost 60 times in 2017–18

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) accessed the metadata of journalists almost 60 times in one year, according to disclosures made to the first review of Australia’s mandatory data retention regime. Under amendments made to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act in 2015, all telecommunications service providers are required to store detailed phone and Internet records for their customers for a minimum of two years. Government agencies, including the AFP, can access that information by obtaining ... ► Read more

  • Australia to become one of the “world’s worst” contributors to climate crisis

    Australia is set to become one of the “world’s worst” contributors to the climate disaster, according to new research from Berlin-based science and policy institute Climate Analytics. According to the research, Australia could be responsible for 17% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Australia’s current global climate footprint is around 5%, which includes emissions from Australia’s coal, gas and oil emissions (3.6% of global total) and domestic emissions (1.4% of global total). The ... ► Read more

  • Lawyers for Australian writer detained in China urge Government to intervene

    Lawyers for Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has been detained in China since January, are urging Canberra to intervene. The calls come after Mr Yang’s wife, Yuan Xiaoliang, was prevented from leaving China to return to Australia by officers from the Ministry of State Security on Sunday. Ms Yuan was not detained but has been questioned by Chinese authorities and is subject to an exit ban. She was interrogated for two hours on Sunday, according ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 30 June – 6 July 2019

    North Korea releases Australian detainee Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australian man Alek Sigley has been released from detention in North Korea and has left the country. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Senate passes Coalition tax cuts, Labor backs down The Senate has voted to pass the Coalition Government’s tax cuts, with Labor backing down after failing to secure changes to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More ... ► Read more

  • Senate passes Coalition tax cuts, Labor backs down

    The Senate has voted to pass the Coalition Government’s tax cuts, with Labor backing down after failing to secure changes to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More Of Their Money) Bill 2019. Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared the passage of the $158 billion tax cut package a victory for “Australians quietly going about their lives” and said Parliament had voted to “reward aspiration”. “This is a win tonight not for ... ► Read more

  • Scott Morrison seeking review of former ministers’ post-political jobs

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written to his department head, Martin Parkinson, to investigate the post-political careers of the former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and former Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop. The Statement of Ministerial Standards says former ministers cannot take lobbying jobs for 18 months after leaving office, and both Mr Pyne and Ms Bishop have entered positions with consultancy firms since they quit politics. Mr Pyne has taken a job with professional services ... ► Read more

  • North Korea releases Australian detainee

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australian man Alek Sigley has been released from detention in North Korea and has left the country. “Alek is safe and well,” Mr Morrison said during Question Time. “We were advised that the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] have released him from detention and he has safely left the country and I can confirm that he has arrived safely.” Mr Morrison thanked Swedish officials, through whom diplomatic efforts were ... ► Read more

  • Search for missing Belgian tourist Theo Hayez suspended by police

    New South Wales Police have suspended the search for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, who disappeared in the Byron Bay area on 31 May. However, the investigation into Mr Hayez’s disappearance is still ongoing, police say. Tweed-Byron Police Commander Superintendent Dave Roptell said in a statement: “We met with Theo’s family today and we send our thoughts to them all, both here in Australia and abroad.” Mr Hayez, 18, was last seen walking through Byron ... ► Read more

  • Suspected terror plotter to face court

    A man arrested in a counter-terrorism operation across Sydney’s west earlier this week will face court in Parramatta today. Isaak el Matari, 20, has been charged with three offences: planning a terror attack, being a member of terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS), and preparing to fight overseas. Police allege Mr el Matari was planning attacks on multiple Sydney landmarks, including police stations and churches. However, he had not chosen a specific target or time to ... ► Read more

  • Bishop and Pyne criticised over post-Parliament jobs

    Former Liberal MPs Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne have been criticised for taking up jobs with companies with interests related to their former ministerial portfolios. Both Ms Bishop and Mr Pyne held ministerial positions until they stepped aside at the last federal election. As Foreign Minister, Ms Bishop oversaw the privatisation of foreign aid spending, and now works for aid contractor Palladium, a major beneficiary of the Coalition’s policy. Mr Pyne, formerly Defence Minister, has ... ► Read more

  • Morrison and Albanese will meet today to discuss press freedom

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will meet today to discuss an inquiry into press freedom. The meeting comes after the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids raided the home of News Corp reporter Annika Smethurst and the ABC’s Sydney headquarters last month. After the raids, media organisations called for enhanced protections for journalists. The inquiry will examine how police and intelligence agencies have impacted press freedom in Australia. Mr Morrison wants the ... ► Read more

  • RBA cuts interest rates to new low

    The Reserve Bank has cut interest rates to an historic low of 1%, as it stares down the twin issues of rising unemployment and a slowing economy. The 0.25-percentage-point cut follows a move at last month’s meeting and is the first back-to-back cut since 2012, amid fears of a global financial meltdown flowing from European banks. The decision was largely expected, with the market pricing a roughly 80% chance of a cut ahead of the ... ► Read more

  • Morrison praying for Perth man missing in North Korea

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is praying for missing Perth man Alek Sigley, as authorities struggle to ascertain new information into his disappearance in North Korea. “I’m seeking and receiving regular updates but in the absence of those, and indeed regardless of those, prayer is my response,” he said. Mr Morrison made the comments outside a Canberra church, which hosted a service to mark the opening of the 46th Parliament. Mr Sigley’s family has not ... ► Read more

  • Counter-terrorism operation: three arrested in Western Sydney over alleged links to Islamic State

    Three men have been arrested over alleged links to terrorist group Islamic State (IS) as part of a counter-terrorism operation in Sydney’s west and inner west. It is understood the men are aged 20, 23 and 30, and will be charged later today. The New South Wales Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) executed six search warrants as part of the operation, which targeted several suburbs including including Canada Bay, Chester Hill, Greenacre, Green Valley, Ingleburn ... ► Read more

  • Charges dropped against Canberra man who helped end wife’s life

    A Canberra man who helped his wife to die has had assisted suicide charges against him dropped after prosecutors decided it is not in the public interest to prosecute him. Neil O’Riordan’s wife, Penelope Blume, was in the advanced stages of motor neurone disease when she ended her life in his arms at their home. They shared a last meal and talked until the early hours of the morning before Ms Blume used an item ... ► Read more

  • Indonesia arrest suspected leader of terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah

    Indonesian police have arrested the man believed to be the leader of the al-Qaida-linked terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. Para Wijayanto was arrested on Saturday (local time) by counter-terrorism police at a hotel in the Jakarta satellite city of Bekasi. National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said Wijayanto was responsible in helping make bombs that were used in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, and the attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 2004, ... ► Read more

  • Tax cuts in focus as Parliament prepares to resume

    Tax cuts are prominent on the Coalition Government’s legislative agenda as Parliament prepares to resume on Tuesday. The Coalition is hoping to deliver its election promise of $158 billion in income tax cuts to be rolled out in three stages over the next five years. However, Labor has maintained its resistance to the plan, with opposition leader Anthony Albanese saying his party will try to bring some of the tax cuts sooner than planned. Labor ... ► Read more

  • ABC investigation: Australian mother tells of horrors in Syrian detention camp

    An ABC investigative report published on Monday has revealed horrifying claims made by an Australian woman living in a Syrian detention camp. The woman, who has lived at Syria’s notorious al-Hawl refugee camp since 2014, made several claims in an open letter to family regarding the treatment of women, children and Australians at the camp. In the letter acquired by the ABC last week, the woman made a desperate plea to the Australian Government and ... ► Read more

  • Tom Gleeson wins Gold Logie

    Comedian Tom Gleeson gave a controversial acceptance speech after taking out the Gold Logie at the Logie Awards last night. “I’m in a tricky spot because I like it and I hate it at the same time,” Mr Gleeson said on the win. “If this went to the most popular personality on Australian TV it’d go to someone from Married at First Sight or a Rugby League player in the State of Origin.” Mr Gleeson ... ► Read more

  • General David Hurley sworn in as Australia’s Governor-General

    Former Defence Force Chief and Governor of New South Wales General David Hurley has been sworn in as Australia’s Governor-General, succeeding Sir Peter Cosgrove as Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Australia. Prior to his appointment as NSW Governor in 2014, General Hurley served in the Australian Army for more than four decades. He was sworn in on Monday at a ceremony at Parliament House which included a 21 gun salute. ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 23 June – 29 June 2019

    Government to push ahead with tax cuts despite Labor reservations The Morrison Government is planning to follow through with its tax cut plan despite Labor not giving full support. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Rouhani says White House “afflicted by mental retardation”, Trump threatens “obliteration” United States President Donald Trump has threatened to obliterate parts of Iran after the Middle Eastern country’s President said the White House was “afflicted by mental retardation”. See ... ► Read more

  • Folau unable to reach settlement with Rugby Australia

    Israel Folau was unable to reach an agreement with Rugby Australia (RA) today at a Fair Work Commission hearing over his sacking in May. The matter will now be referred to the High Court. Following the Fair Work hearing, Mr Folau said: “Very, very disappointed about the outcome today, but I would like to thank all those who have supported me throughout this time, and I’ll continue to stand up for the freedoms of all ... ► Read more

  • US wants Australia to join anti-Iran coalition

    The United States wants Australia to impose further sanctions on Iran, but US President Donald Trump has not asked Australia to commit to joining potential military action against the country. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said support for military action “wasn’t sought” during his meeting with Mr Trump at the G20 Summit in Japan, adding that “at this stage I think those issues are a bit premature.” “We would deal with any requests from an ally ... ► Read more

  • Morrison, Trump hold working dinner ahead of G20

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison and United States President Donald Trump have held a working dinner in Osaka ahead of the G20 Summit. The meeting reportedly ran overtime, with the two leaders talking for more than an hour about the impact of the US-China trade war on the world, including close allies such as Australia. “For Australians, we are a trading nation,” Mr Morrison told the ABC after the meeting. “One in five jobs are dependent ... ► Read more

  • Australian man reported missing in North Korea

    The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the family of a 29-year-old Perth student who is reportedly missing in North Korea. Alek Sigley, who speaks fluent Korean, began studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang last year. He is believed to be the only Australian living in North Korea and it is understood that friends of Mr Sigley reported him missing earlier this week. In ... ► Read more

  • Turnbull wanted to involve Governor-General in Liberal leadership spill

    Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wanted to involve the Governor-General in the August 2018 leadership spill that saw Scott Morrison succeed him as leader of the country. Mr Turnbull argued with Attorney-General Christian Porter over whether Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove should refuse to appoint Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton as leader of the Government if Mr Dutton won the leadership spill. As a matter of constitutional convention, the Governor-General plays a ceremonial role in the ... ► Read more

  • Paladin to have its security contract temporarily extended

    Paladin Solutions will have its Manus Island security contract temporarily extended by the Australian Government in a new agreement struck with the Papua New Guinean Government. The group, which oversees security on the offshore detention centre on Manus Island, have had their $20-million a month contract extended for a further 12 months. However, it is expected to only last until the end of the year. After that period, a PNG company will operate security at ... ► Read more

  • Lowy Institute: Australians’ trust in China at lowest point in 15 years

    Australians are losing trust in China due to its military intentions, infrastructure ambitions in the region, and displays of influence, according to the Lowy Institute. The latest Lowy Institute poll on Australian attitudes to international events, released on Wednesday, reveals local sentiment towards China has taken a negative turn. Australians’ trust in China is at its lowest level in the 15 years of the poll, with only 32% saying they trust the Asian power either ... ► Read more

  • Victoria set to ban mobile phones in public schools

    The Victorian Government is set to ban mobile phones in state primary and secondary schools from next year to help decrease cyberbullying and increase learning. Victorian Education Minister James Merlino wrote on Twitter the move is “…the right thing to do” and is something he “…thought about long and hard.” According to Bullying. No Way!, approximately 20% of people under 18 in Australia experience cyberbullying, while 84% of students cyberbullied are also bullied outside of ... ► Read more

  • ABC, Nine, News Corp unite to demand media, whistleblower protections

    In a rare show of public unity, executives from three of Australia’s major media organisations are demanding increased protections for journalists and whistleblowers. The demands follow last month’s Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home and the ABC’s headquarters in Sydney. The raids, or “search warrant executions” as the AFP refers to them, were conducted in response to stories which contained leaked highly classified information. The National Press Club (NPC) ... ► Read more

  • Government to push ahead with tax cuts despite Labor reservations

    The Morrison Government is planning to follow through with its tax cut plan despite Labor not giving full support. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said tax relief is “about backing Australians, that they are in a better place to decide how their money should be spent, how they should invest it, than governments.” The Government plans to cut income tax for paycheck earners of $45,000-$200,000 to 30 cents per dollar, down from 32.5 cents per dollar. ... ► Read more

  • Australian Christian Lobby donates $100k to Israel Folau, launches fundraiser

    The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has launched a new fundraising campaign for Israel Folau on their own website after GoFundMe removed the controversial rugby player’s fundraising page. The ACL made an initial $100,000 donation to the new fundraiser, which has already raised over $400,000. “There is an outpouring of support for Israel Folau from the Australian community, who see Israel’s case as their case,” said ACL Managing Director Martyn Iles. Regarding the $100,000 donation for ... ► Read more

  • Ash Barty crowned women’s world number one after victory in Birmingham

    Ash Barty has become the world number one in women’s tennis after her victory in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 over Germany’s Julia Görges in the Birmingham Classic final. The 23-year-old becomes the second Australian woman ever to achieve the top spot on the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) rankings, only preceded by Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976. Talking on her victory, Ms Barty said: “It’s been the most amazing month of tennis for us and really ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 16 June – 22 June 2019

    “Very big mistake”: Trump responds to US drone downing United States President Donald Trump has said Iran “made a very big mistake” by shooting down a US drone, while Iran has defended the action and pledged to “zealously defend our skies, land and waters.” See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Tory leadership: Johnson and Hunt last men standing Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have emerged as the final two candidates that will be put ... ► Read more

  • Medevac ruling likely to be appealed as Dutton warns of more boat arrivals

    A ruling that an appointment is not required before a doctor can determine that an asylum seeker needs treatment in Australia is likely to be appealed as Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warns the decision will lead to more boat arrivals. On Tuesday Justice Mordy Bromberg ruled in the Federal Court that under last year’s “Medevac” amendments the Migration Act 1958 doctors can make an assessment remotely on the basis of an asylum seeker’s medical records. Although ... ► Read more

  • WIN closes four newsrooms amid demand decline

    Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack says he is saddened to hear of WIN News‘ decision to close four regional newsrooms. The broadcaster will close its newsrooms in Orange/Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Albury and Wide Bay next week, which the journalists’ union said could cost up to 40 jobs. “As a former journalist and a former newspaper editor I’m saddened,” Mr McCormack told reporters in regional Victoria on Thursday. The Wagga Wagga newsroom in his own electorate ... ► Read more

  • MH17: four suspects to be charged with murder

    Five years after the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has announced it will charge four men with murder over the deaths of all 298 people onboard, including 38 Australians. The JIT — made up of investigators from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine — named Russians Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko. They will be prosecuted by ... ► Read more

  • NSW budget: Berejiklian Government delivers modest surplus

    New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has handed down his first budget since the Berejiklian Government’s re-election, delivering a modest surplus, record infrastructure spending and the biggest write-down in NSW history. “We are strongly in the black,” Mr Perrottet said. “This is a budget that is a testament to our strong financial management here in NSW.” However, the surplus is down from $1.4 billion to $802 million due to a $10.6 billion plunge in stamp ... ► Read more

  • Victorian assisted dying law commences

    From today, Victorians will be able to access assisted dying services, as voluntary euthanasia legislation passed in 2017 comes into effect. The main provisions of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 commenced in Victoria on 19 June 2019. The Act allows Victorians with terminal illnesses to end their lives with dignity, subject to strict controls and requirements. “This is about giving people a compassionate choice, a dignified option at the end of their life – if they qualify – ... ► Read more

  • PNG at odds with Australia over Paladin contract renewal

    Papua New Guinea’s Immigration Minister Petrus Thomas has revealed the PNG Government is against the Morrison Government’s plan to renew Paladin Solution’s $20 million-a-month Manus ­Island security contract. Mr Thomas told The Australian on Sunday that PNG wants a locally owned company to be awarded the contract instead. “The PNG government position is to … terminate the Paladin contract by end of this month,” Mr Thomas said. “The PNG [Government] wants a transparent tender process and ... ► Read more

  • Pell sued over failure to respond to abuse complaints

    A man abused by notorious paedophile Christian Brother Edward “Ted” Dowlan has filed suit against George Pell, alleging the Cardinal did nothing to protect him from abuse. The victim was a student at Cathedral College in East Melbourne when he was abused by Dowlan, who in 1996 was imprisoned for the sexual abuse of 11 boys in the 1970s and ‘80s, and convicted again in 2015 for offences against a further 20 victims. In taking ... ► Read more

  • Morrison treads lightly amid press freedom row

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given cautious responses to questions about the Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) raids conducted at a News Corp journalist’s home on Tuesday and the ABC’s headquarters in Sydney yesterday. Mr Morrison said his “government is absolutely committed to freedom of the press” but that “no one is above the law”. “These are matters that were being pursued by the AFP operationally, at complete arm’s length from the Government, not with the ... ► Read more

  • Child sex offences “impossible”, George Pell’s lawyer tells appellate court

    The child sex offences for which George Pell was convicted are “impossible”, his lawyer told the Victorian Court of Appeal today as the Cardinal seeks to have the jury’s guilty verdict overturned. Last year, Cardinal Pell was convicted of the sexual abuse of two choirboys and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment after a jury found him guilty in the County Court. In written submissions appealing against the conviction, his legal team has listed 13 reasons ... ► Read more

  • Morrison: US-China trade war putting “living standards of billions of people at risk”

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned the trade war between the United States and China is unprecedentedly testing global trade and “putting the prosperity and living standards of billions of people at risk.” Mr Morrison, who is in London to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, issued the warning during a speech to the Australia-UK Chamber of Commerce. He stressed the importance of multilateral economic institutions that forged the “post-war liberal economic order” ... ► Read more

  • AFP raids ABC offices in Ultimo

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are raiding the ABC’s office in Sydney over a 2017 investigative series into Australia’s clandestine operations in Afghanistan. The series is based on classified files acquired by journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, which detailed “incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children”. According to the ABC, the AFP’s search warrant names Mr Oakes, Mr Clark and the public broadcaster’s Director of News Gaven Morris. The raid comes a day ... ► Read more

  • Four killed, one injured in Darwin shooting

    Police have arrested a 45-year-old man suspected of killing four men and injuring one woman in a deadly armed rampage across Darwin’s CBD last night. Authorities say the suspect began shooting at a motel in Woolner before driving to four other locations in a ute. According to witnesses, the man was armed with a pump-action shotgun. He was arrested after attempting to enter Northern Territory Police headquarters. Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the suspect, who ... ► Read more

  • RBA cuts interest rate to historic low of 1.25%

    The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cut the cash rate to a record low of 1.25% in an attempt to stimulate the economy. It is the first time the central bank’s interest rate has been adjusted since August 2016 and follows another month of weak economic data, including the unexpected rise in the unemployment rate to 5.2% in April. RBA Governor Dr Philip Lowe said the move should help to reduce unemployment. “Today’s decision ... ► Read more

  • Hackers access 19 years of ANU student and staff data

    The Australian National University (ANU) has been hacked by a “sophisticated operator”, resulting in unauthorised access of the personal data of ANU staff, students and visitors going back 19 years. Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt revealed in a statement on Tuesday that the hack occurred in late 2018 and went unnoticed until two weeks ago. Information accessed includes some names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, personal emails, tax file numbers, bank account details, passport details ... ► Read more

  • Police raid journalist’s home over national security story

    Officers from the Australia Federal Police (AFP) have raided the Canberra home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst in relation to a story published last year concerning potential new powers for the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). The story included images of letters between the heads of the Departments of Home Affairs and Defence discussing whether the ASD should be allowed to monitor Australian citizens and businesses on home soil, rather than being limited to gathering ... ► Read more

  • Morrison pledges $250 million toward Solom Islands infrastructure

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged $250 million in infrastructure aid to the Solomon Islands in a bid to shore up diplomatic capital. During his visit to Honiara, Mr Morrison also announced Canberra will fund the construction of a new office complex which will house the Pacific nation’s prime ministerial office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and promised loans of nearly $3 million for temporary Solomon Island workers coming to Australia under labour mobility ... ► Read more

  • Farrell withdraws from Senate deputy contest to make room for Keneally

    Labor Senator Don Farrell has withdrawn from Labor’s Senate deputy leadership contest to make way for Kristina Keneally. Earlier this week newly-appointed Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he wanted Senator Keneally to join his shadow ministry, but denied playing any part in Senator Farrell’s withdrawal. “I don’t regard this as a captain’s call at all,” Mr Albanese told reporters. “[Senator Farrell] was prepared to step aside as Labor’s deputy leader in the Senate on the ... ► Read more

  • Historic first as Wyatt sworn in as Minister for Indigenous Australians

    In an historic first, Noongar man and Hasluck MP Ken Wyatt has become the first Aboriginal person to be sworn in as Minister for Indigenous Australians. “Can I ask all those, other than His Excellency, of course, to stand to welcome the first Indigenous member of cabinet … the Honourable Ken Wyatt AM, MP, as Minister for Indigenous Australians,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Mr Wyatt was also the first cabinet minister to wear a ... ► Read more

  • Malaysia to send waste back to developed nations

    Malaysia will send about 3,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic back to countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, as it seeks to avoid becoming a dumping ground for developed nations. Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia and other developing countries have recently become targets after China banned the import of plastic waste last year. Ms Yeo said 60 containers stacked with contaminated waste were smuggled into the country, bound ... ► Read more

  • Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions rising, but resources minister backs new coal plant

    Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 rose for a fourth year in a row, according to a Government submission to the United Nations. The National Inventory Report, provided in accordance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, shows 537 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions for 2018. This is an increase of about 0.5% from 2017’s 534.7 million tonnes, despite Australia’s commitment at the Paris climate summit in 2015 to reduce emissions by 26–28% ... ► Read more

  • Husic steps down from Labor frontbench to clear the way for Keneally

    Western Sydney MP Ed Husic has stepped down from the Labor frontbench to allow former New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally to take a seat in the shadow ministry. Labor’s left and right faction leaders have been holding discussions behind the scenes to determine who will sit on the party’s federal frontbench, but that spilled into public view when new Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he wanted Senator Keneally in the shadow ministry. “What I’m ... ► Read more

  • Sydney’s lockout laws may be relaxed after parliamentary review

    Sydney’s lockout laws may be relaxed after New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian ordered their review, saying it was time to “take stock” of their impact on the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross. A cross-party committee will be established to examine the laws, while the the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF) and Greens push to scrap the laws. SFF MLC Robert Borsak and Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann have both tabled motions in the NSW ... ► Read more

  • Ivan Milat returned to prison after receiving terminal cancer treatment

    Notorious serial killer Ivan Milat has been returned to prison after receiving treatment for terminal cancer at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick. The 74-year-old was transported in the custody of the NSW Department of Corrective Services’ extreme high security escort unit to Long Bay Prison Hospital in Sydney’s south on Tuesday. He spent the last two weeks in hospital receiving treatment after several lumps were found in his stomach and throat earlier this ... ► Read more

  • Water restrictions in Sydney for first time in a decade

    Water restrictions will be enforced in Sydney for the first time in a decade. From Saturday 1 June 2019 all hoses must be fitted with a trigger nozzle or instant off switch, and can only be used to water gardens before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm. The watering of hard surfaces — including paths and driveways — will be prohibited, as will the use of sprinkler systems. Normally level one restrictions come into force ... ► Read more

  • Albanese to be confirmed as Labor leader this week

    Anthony Albanese is set to become leader of the opposition later this week, when Labor’s Federal Caucus meets to confirm the results of the party’s uncontested leadership ballot. Four other candidates publicly announced they were considering contesting the leadership, but none put their names forward when nominations closed at 10:00 am on Monday. Mr Albanese thanked his Labor colleagues and fellow party members for their support. “Together we can return our great party to government ... ► Read more

  • Banned CFC emissions traced to eastern China

    Researchers say they have traced the major sources of a global increase in emissions of the ozone-depleting gas CFC-11 to eastern China. According to research published in Nature, global emissions of the banned chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) have increased since 2013, and the results indicate a violation of the universally-ratified 1980 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Montreal Protocol has been successful in reducing CFC emissions and restoring the ozone layer, which absorbs most ... ► Read more

  • Election: Albanese unopposed in bid for Labor leadership

    Labor frontbencher and former party leader Anthony Albanese is currently unopposed in his bid for the Labor leadership, as senior party figures withdraw from the race. Following Labor’s failure to secure enough seats to form government at the recent federal election, Bill Shorten announced he would step down from the leadership once a replacement was found. Although a number of candidates announced their intention to seek the leadership early this week, all but Mr Albanese ... ► Read more

  • Coalition to form majority government after securing 76 seats

    The Coalition has secured a majority after the Liberal candidate for Chisolm, Gladys Liu, made history by becoming the first Chinese-Australian woman elected to the Lower House. Ms Liu’s victory hands Prime Minister Scott Morrison the 76 seats required to govern in majority, and it appears the Coalition is on track to win a further two seats. If the current trends continue in the remaining four seats, the Liberal Party will secure 78 in total ... ► Read more

  • Blue Mountains back burning postponed following health warnings

    The Rurual Fire Service (RFS) has announced all hazard reduction burns will be postponed for the next 24 hours following health warnings issued by the NSW Health Department. For days now Sydneysiders have woken to the smell of smoke because of back burning in the Blue Mountains, with air quality reaching “hazardous” levels yesterday afternoon. Smoke is expected to linger in Greater Sydney until around midday, at which point the air should clear. The RFS ... ► Read more

  • Who will contest the Labor leadership?

    Labor leader Bill Shorten will step down when a replacement leader is chosen. Anthony Albanese and Chris Bowen have confirmed they will stand for the leadership. Shadow finance minister Jim Chalmers is considering contesting the leadership. Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek has confirmed she will not seek the leadership. Environment spokesperson Tony Burke has given his support to Mr Albanese. Agriculture spokesperson Joel Fitzgibbon may contest the leadership if there are no suitable candidates. Following last ... ► Read more

  • Morrison may not deliver key tax cuts this year as promised

    The Coalition’s tax cuts of up to $1080 per person will likely be delayed until next financial year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted on Monday night. The tax cuts played a central role in the Coalition’s election campaign. Because the election was not called earlier, the bureacratic processes required to return Federal Parliament and pass the tax cuts through the Senate are unlikely to be completed by 30 June. “We obviously have to wait for ... ► Read more

  • One Nation truck set alight; Hanson blames “the left”

    A One Nation campaign vehicle was set alight at a shopping centre in Hobart on Sunday. The truck was being driven by One Nation Senate candidate Adam Lambert, who was buying groceries at the time. A bar attendant at the nearby Shoreline Hotel said she saw flames erupt from the car park and called police shortly after 5:00 pm. Tasmanian Police said the fire looked “suspicious” and were investigating its cause. One Nation leader Pauline ... ► Read more

  • Election roundup: Liberal-National Coalition to form government

    The Liberal-National Coalition is expected to form government with an outright majority of 77 seats. Labor is expected to win no more than 68 seats and cannot form government. The Liberal-National Coalition took four seats from incumbent MPs. Three Labor MPs are still at risk. Labor has lost Lindsay and could lose Lilley, the seat of former MP Wayne Swan. Gilmore has swung against the Liberals, with Warren Mundine trailing the Labor candidate. Former PM ... ► Read more

  • Australia took in accused Rwandan terrorists as part of US “people swap”

    Australia reportedly resettled two Rwandan men accused of murdering eight tourists as part of the “people swap” deal with the United States that was brokered by the Coalition Government. American news outlet Politico reported that Leonidas Bimenyimana and Gregoire Nyaminani were relocated to Australia and accepted as “humanitarian” entrants. In 1999 the two men were charged with terrorism offences by US prosecutors for murdering the tourists, including two Americans, with machetes and axes. They were ... ► Read more

  • Pacific Islands ask “bigger countries” to do more to tackle climate change

    A delegation of Pacific Island nations has called on “bigger countries” in the region to take a stronger approach to climate change. During a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday, Australia’s pacific neighbours warned that rising sea levels will destroy their communities unless more is done to respond to climate change. Nauruan President and chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Baron Waqa implied Australia could be doing more to make climate change ... ► Read more

  • Serial killer Ivan Milat diagnosed with terminal cancer

    Convicted serial killer Ivan Milat will remain hospitalised after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Milat, Australia’s most notorious serial killer, was transfered from the supermax Goulburn Correctional Centre on Monday to undergo diagnostic tests at Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick. It was initially thought organ failure may be behind the 74-year-old’s rapid weight loss and that he would return to solitary confinement at Goulburn, but the tests revealed he is in the “advanced stages” ... ► Read more

  • Election: Labor promises new wage theft tribunal

    Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten has promised to establish a new tribunal that will crack down on wage theft if his party forms government after the upcoming federal election. “It shouldn’t be too hard, it shouldn’t be too costly, to get what you are owed for a day’s pay,” Mr Shorten said. Workers who have been underpaid by employers could have claims of up to $100,000 resolved in a day by the tribunal. Mr Shorten ... ► Read more

  • “A little squabble”: Trump downplays trade war with China

    United States President Donald Trump has downplayed the US-China trade war following Beijing’s counter-tariff hike announcement, which saw over $US1 trillion wiped off stock values around the world yesterday. “We’re having a little squabble with China because we’ve been treated very, very unfairly for many decades,” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday (local time). “I think it’s going to turn out extremely well, we’re in a strong position.” He described his ... ► Read more

  • Serial killer Ivan Milat transfered to Sydney hospital

    Convicted serial killer Ivan Milat has been transfered from the supermax Goulburn Correctional Centre to undergo diagnostic tests at Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick, the Department of Corrective Services confirmed on Tuesday evening. The 74-year-old is being housed in a secure annex and is expected to return to Goulburn in the coming days as his condition is not deemed life-threatening. “We’ve made very strong security arrangements for that, we’ve got specialist teams to ensure ... ► Read more

  • Sweden reopens rape investigation involving Julian Assange

    An investigation by Swedish prosecutors into a rape allegation made against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2010 has been reopened. The inquiry was revived at the request of the alleged victim’s lawyer. Mr Assange, who denies the accusation, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. The 47-year-old was evicted last month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions. ... ► Read more

  • Greenpeace activists arrested following Sydney Harbour Bridge protest

    Police have arrested 13 people after removing Greenpeace activists dangling from the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of a climate change protest. Three activists used cables to suspend themselves below the bridge at about 5:30am. According to NSW Police, security personnel prevented a “number of people” from climbing the bridge as part of the protest. The three who did unfurled banners calling for action on climate change. Police removed the last of the three suspended ... ► Read more

  • US-China trade war: global markets tumble

    Global equities have tumbled amid an escalation in the United States-China trade war that saw more than $US1 trillion wiped off stock values overnight. China announced it will impose tariffs of 5%-25% on $US60 billion worth of US goods, including frozen vegetables and liquefied natural gas. “China’s adjustment on additional tariffs is a response to US unilateralism and protectionism,” the Chinese Ministry of Finance said. “China hopes the US will get back to the right ... ► Read more

  • Election: PM promises subsidies for low-income first-home buyers

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised up to $500 million in subsidies to help low-income first-home buyers ahead of the federal election this coming Saturday. A Liberal-National Coalition Government would offer guarantees to reduce the required deposit for first-home buyers to 5% of the purchase price, instead of 20%, Mr Morrison announced at the Liberal Party’s campaign launch in Melbourne on Sunday. Singles earning up to $125,000 and couples with a combined income of up ... ► Read more

  • Adani’s Carmichael coal mine faces Qld Gov’t hurdle

    Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine project faces another hurdle, with the Queensland Government seeking a further review of the company’s groundwater plans for the project. Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price approved Adani’s groundwater plans just before the start of campaigning for the federal election. The approval followed eight months of assessment, including reviews by the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia. However, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) requested a further review last Friday, according ... ► Read more

  • Victorian Liberal candidate resigns over rape comments

    Federal Liberal candidate for the Victorian seat of Scullin, Gurpal Singh, has resigned over comments he made last year on Facebook dismissing a woman’s claim she had been raped by her husband. Mr Singh said he had “no sympathy” for the woman who shared her experience in an SBS Punjabi article, and called the alleged rapist the “real victim”. “It’s shameful that a married woman suffering family violence can go to such extent,” he wrote. ... ► Read more

  • Chinese media mocks Australian Government in WeChat posts

    The Australian Government has been targeted by online propaganda emanating from social media accounts linked to the Chinese Communist Party, a research paper delivered at today’s Safeguarding Australia Summit found. “Our evidence suggests that accounts aligned more closely with the Government in Beijing have a clear anti-Liberal story coming out of them,” said Dr Michael Jensen, a senior research fellow at the University of Canberra’s Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, who co-authored the paper ... ► Read more

  • M4 in chaos following fatal crash

    Citybound traffic on the M4 is backed up 15km following a fatal crash near Parramatta involving a truck and eight cars this morning. The incident happened at the 5.50am at the Church Street off-ramp at Mays Hill. All four citybound lanes have been closed and one westbound lane has been reserved for emergency vehicles. Investigators are still examining the scene but it is understood at least one person has died. Transport Management Centre Dave Wright ... ► Read more

  • Shorten hits back at News Corp for “gotcha shit” story on his mother

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has slammed The Daily Telegraph for its Wednesday front-page story about his mother. Under the headline “Mother of Invention”, the popular News Corporation tabloid accused Mr Shorten of skipping parts of his mother’s career while talking about the sacrifices she made to raise her children. During his appearance on the ABC’s Q&A on Monday, Mr Shorten spoke of how his mother, Dr Ann Shorten, continues to inspire him despite her passing ... ► Read more

  • Election: PM egged by protester in Albury

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison was egged by a protester at a Country Women’s Association (CWA) event in Albury. A 25-year-old woman walked up behind the Prime Minister and threw an egg at him, which bounced off his head without smashing. The protester, who the CWA says is not a member, had a carton of eggs with her and was tackled to the floor by security. An elderly lady was knocked over during the struggle was ... ► Read more

  • Morrison admits budget remains in deficit

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has acknowledged that the budget will be in deficit as Australians go to the polls despite repeatedly declaring the country’s finances are “back in black”. It took four questions from Leigh Sales on ABC’s 7.30 program, before the Prime Minister admitted that a deficit would be recorded for this financial year. “The accounts, as of right now, are still in deficit and next year they go into surplus and it’s taken ... ► Read more

  • First charges laid under Western Australia’s new “revenge porn” law

    A man who posted intimate images of his ex-girlfriend on social media has become the first person charged under Western Australia’s new “revenge porn” legislation. During their relationship the 24-year-old took consensual intimate images of his ex-girlfriend. WA Police allege that after the couple broke up, the man created an Instagram account in the victim’s name and posted seven intimate images of her without her consent. “It will be further alleged when the Instagram account ... ► Read more

  • Election: MP Kerryn Phelps targeted with “disturbing” emails

    MP for Wentworth Dr Kerryn Phelps says she has referred “disturbing” emails about her to the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Emails sent yesterday to an unknown number of voters contained incorrect voting information, claims that Dr Phelps is ineligible for election, and several anti-Semitic remarks. The emails falsely claim that Dr Phelps is ineligible to stand for election because she is an Israeli citizen. The emails say “Kerryn Phelps has been disqualified from election, she ... ► Read more

  • Facebook was right to ban Milo & company

    This is a conversation I have had many times with many people, and one thing I’ve observed is that there never seems to be one answer. That isn’t surprising because both core arguments make compelling cases. Basically, it comes down to whether you believe we should live in a society where individuals are allowed to say whatever they think or a society where community standards restrict what can be said. Here in Australia, section 18C ... ► Read more

  • Election: scandals, gaffes, resignations and disendorsements

    As Australia approaches a federal election on 18 May, there have already been plenty of scandals, gaffes, resignations and disendorsements. OPMagazine has helpfully made a summary of the current scandals and gaffes that are yet to be resolved and the resignations and disendorsements that have already happened barely a week after nominations closed — including the overt racists, sexists, homophobes, liars and dodgy dealers that have somehow made it onto ballot papers. Candidates clinging onto ... ► Read more

  • Assange sentenced to 50 weeks’ imprisonment over bail breach

    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks’ imprisonment for disobeying an order to surrender to court in 2012. Mr Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 after the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that he should be extradited to Sweden for questioning over an alleged sexual assault. He claimed he was seeking political asylum because he believed his extradition to Sweden would eventually see him extradited ... ► Read more