Australia

  • PM says permanent migration must be cut to reduce congestion

    The Federal Government is likely to cut Australia’s permanent migration cap, in a move it says will ease congestion in the major cities. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in a speech on the future of Australia’s cities, said Sydney and Melbourne had been overwhelmed with population growth. “The roads are clogged, the buses and trains are full, the schools are taking no more enrolments,” he said. “I hear what you are saying, I hear you loud ... ► Read more

  • Jarryd Hayne charged with aggravated sexual assault

    Rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has been charged with aggravated sexual assault after an alleged incident in the New South Wales Hunter region on NRL grand final night. NSW Police confirmed the charge, which came after a 26-year-old woman lodged a complaint to the NRL Integrity Unit earlier this year. Mr Hayne, 30, was questioned at the Ryde Police Station on Monday afternoon and later charged with “aggravated sexual assault inflict actual bodily harm on ... ► Read more

  • Three men arrested over alleged terror plot

    Three men have been arrested for allegedly plotting a terror attack in Melbourne. Authorities say the men, aged between 23 and 30, were planning to use a semi-automatic rifle to kill as many people as possible in a crowded place. Two of the men are brothers and all three had their passports cancelled earlier this year and have been people of interest since “early 2017”, according to Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, Graham Ashton. “There was ... ► Read more

  • Fairfax shareholders give Nine takeover green light

    Fairfax shareholders have overwhelmingly backed a takeover by Nine Entertainment, paving the way for both companies to merge by the end of this year. At the Fairfax annual general meeting today, more than 80% of votes were in favour of the deal. Antony Catalano, the former head of real estate website Domain, tried to block the deal by submitting a last-minute bid for 19.9% of the newspaper publisher’s shares on Sunday evening. In a letter, ... ► Read more

  • Banking Royal Commission: Commonwealth Bank CEO defends variable remuneration

    Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn defended his bank’s use of “variable remuneration” to reward employees for signing customers up to more services, despite the Banking Royal Commission hearing this has led to serious misconduct. Mr Comyn told the Royal Commission that short-term variable remuneration is necessary to motivate staff — to encourage what the Commonwealth Bank calls “discretionary effort.” When asked by Rowena Orr QC why “paying an adequate and appropriate level of fixed remuneration” ... ► Read more

  • APEC 2018: US-China divisions deepen worrying world leaders

    Deep divisions between the United States and China have derailed the APEC meeting in Port Moresby, with regional leaders failing to agree on a final communique for the first time in the summit’s history. The two superpowers clashed repeatedly over the language on trade in the final document, with Beijing angrily rejecting paragraphs that called for an overhaul of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and warned against unfair trade tactics. The Trump Administration has repeatedly ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 10 November – 18 November 2018

    UK, EU agree on draft Brexit deal In a diplomatic breakthrough, UK and European Union officials have agreed the draft text of a Brexit agreement after months of negotiations. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Morrison reverses “foolish” decision to cut Foodbank funding Prime Minister Scott Morrison has intervened to boost the Government’s food relief budget to ensure a charity that feeds 710,000 people a month retains its funding. See OPMG’s coverage of this ... ► Read more

  • Moving Australian embassy to Jerusalem could increase terror attacks, warn Indonesia and Malaysia

    Indonesian and Malaysian politicians have warned that moving the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could result in increased Islamist terror attacks against Australians. Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated in October 2018 that the Australian Government is considering relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv to the de facto capital Jerusalem, although Jerusalem is not recognised by the United Nations. The potential policy change has caused concern regarding Australia’s relationship with Muslim-majority nations, ... ► Read more

  • Morrison Government downplays Israel embassy move amid tensions with Indonesia

    The Government is reportedly downplaying the chances it will go through with a proposal to move Australia’s embassy in Israel in its private conversations with Indonesian ministers. Canberra is still trying to finalise a highly anticipated trade deal with Indonesia, ideally this year, but is facing a backlash from Jakarta over its announcement it would “consider” a shift in Middle East policy. Fairfax Media reports the Australian side have told Indonesian ministers in Singapore, where ... ► Read more

  • Amyl and the Sniffers: it’s still passion

    Amyl and the Sniffers are an enigma. The very first time we got the pleasure of seeing these guys play was when they were opening for cult favourites Cosmic Psychos in Sydney. We stood watching the stage for the space of what felt like a millisecond before being electrocuted into the world the Sniffers projected. It was unreal. After showcasing our over excited, mountain-goat-style jumping up and down and ridiculous dance moves for the duration ... ► Read more

  • Fiji votes in second democratic election since 2006 coup

    Polls have opened in Fiji, which is holding its second democratic election since a military coup ousted the Government 12 years ago. While the Pacific island nation has made strides away from its troubled political history, which saw the military overthrow four governments in the space of two decades, today’s general election sees two former coup leaders vying for the prime ministership. Incumbent Frank Bainimarama leads the FijiFirst party, which is looking to retain power ... ► Read more

  • UK, EU agree on draft Brexit deal

    In a diplomatic breakthrough, UK and European Union officials have agreed the draft text of a Brexit agreement after months of negotiations. A cabinet source told the BBC that the document has been agreed at a technical level by officials from both sides after intensive discussions this week. A special cabinet meeting will be held at on Wednesday (local time) as British Prime Minister Theresa May seeks ministers’ backing. Ms May has been meeting ministers ... ► Read more

  • Cyber security chief: Austal hacking “attribution can take months, even years”

    The head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) said on Tuesday an investigation into the hacking of defense contractor Austal could take years, rejecting a report by the ABC that his agency had concluded the attack originated from Iran. Austal said earlier this month hackers had breached its defences to gain access to ship designs and that some staff email addresses and mobile phone numbers were accessed. The attack triggered an investigation by the ... ► Read more

  • Melbourne CBD’s Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar reopens following terror attack

    Melbourne’s Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar reopened on Tuesday for the first time since co-owner Sisto Malaspina’s death in Friday’s terror attack. The stool at the bar where the 74-year-old would sit is empty. A coffee, newspaper and candle sat on the bench as scores of people lined up for a coffee to pay their respects after the doors opened just before 8:00am. “It’s been a good experience, a strange experience. I see today as the beginning ... ► Read more

  • Morrison reverses “foolish” decision to cut Foodbank funding

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has intervened to boost the Government’s food relief budget to ensure a charity that feeds 710,000 people a month retains its funding. Foodbank was facing the prospect of cutting services for the needy after it was told about a redistribution of the relief budget which amounted to a funding cut of more than $250,000 a year. Mr Morrison announced the reversal on Twitter: [1/3] Yesterday I promised to review the Foodbank ... ► Read more

  • Nearly $100,000 raised for man who charged terrorist with trolley

    An online fundraiser has raised over $100,000 for a homeless man who confronted the Bourke Street terrorist with a shopping trolley during the attack on Friday. Michael Rodgers has drawn widespread attention since he repeatedly pushed a trolley at Hassan Khalif Shire Ali while the 30-year-old man attempted to stab police. “I ran, threw the trolley straight at him, got him, but didn’t get him down,” Mr Rogers told 7 News. “I did that motion ... ► Read more

  • Newspoll: Labor far ahead of Coalition

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison knows he has a “mountain to climb” to win the next election but polls are showing voters keep making that mountain even steeper. The Coalition has sunk further below Labor to 45-55 on a two-party preferred basis, sitting just one point higher than it did in the days following the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull in August. The Newspoll published in The Australian shows the Liberal-National primary vote is similarly in trouble ... ► Read more

  • Queensland woman to face court over strawberry contamination

    A Queensland woman has been charged over the strawberry needle crisis that forced supermarkets to pull fruit from shelves and farmers to dump it by the truckload. The woman, from Caboolture in Brisbane’s north, was charged on Sunday evening with seven counts of goods contamination. Police say one occasion of aggravation contamination will be alleged, meaning the 50-year-old woman will face a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted. She was arrested amid a ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 4 November 2018 – 9 November 2018

    US midterm elections held Although some seats have still not been declared, the results of the 2018 United States midterm elections are already clear: the Senate remains in Republican hands, but the House of Representatives is now controlled by Democrats. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Bourke St attack: one dead, two others in hospital Police have shot a man in the chest in Melbourne’s CBD after he allegedly stabbed three people. See OPMG’s ... ► Read more

  • Bourke St attack: one dead, two others in hospital

    UPDATE: Police are treating the incident like a terrorist attack. Police have shot a man in the chest in Melbourne’s CBD after he allegedly stabbed three people. In a statement, police confirmed one victim died at the scene. The two other victims are being treated in hospital and OPMagazine understands one is in a critical condition and is suffering from a neck injury. The status of the other victim is unknown. The suspect, a male described ... ► Read more

  • BREAKING: Man arrested following explosion and stabbings in Melbourne CBD

    Police have arrested a man after responding to reports of an incident at Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD. “Police are currently at an incident on Bourke Street in the CBD,” Victoria Police said in a statement. “Police initially responded to a report of a care fire near the corner of Swanston Street about 4:20 pm (AEDT).” Police confirmed the man was shot in the chest and arrested at the scene and has been taken to ... ► Read more

  • Christopher Pyne: Turnbull conspirators “have to be responsible for their actions”

    Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s appearance on the ABC’s Q&A has reignited tensions inside the Liberal Party, with frontbencher Christopher Pyne declaring Cabinet colleagues “have to be responsible” for their actions in the ousting of Mr Turnbull. During the hour-long Q&A special, Mr Turnbull called on Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Health Minister Greg Hunt and former prime minister Tony Abbott to explain why they challenged his leadership in August. Appearing on Channel ... ► Read more

  • Turnbull names Liberal insurgents, demands they explain why they “blew up the Government”

    Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has named nine key figures responsible for his ousting, and challenged them to explain why they “blew up the Government”. During a special appearance on the ABC’s Q&A, Mr Turnbull told the audience he still could not explain why he was rolled as prime minister, and claimed he did not see it coming. “I think those people who are responsible for taking a successful, competitive government and literally blowing it ... ► Read more

  • Australian Government announces $2 billion Pacific development fund to counter Chinese investment

    The Australian Government has announced it will establish a $2 billion fund for infrastructure development in the Pacific in response to increased Chinese investment in the region. The announcement comes ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Port Moresby next weekend. The Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility will assist the Pacific in developing energy, communications and transport projects. Speaking in Townsville on Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his Government would make sure Australia is ... ► Read more

  • Mark Latham to run for One Nation in NSW state election

    Former federal Labor leader Mark Latham has joined One Nation and will contest the New South Wales state election next year. He will lead the party in NSW and be the first of One Nation’s NSW Legislative Council candidates on the ballot. Mr Latham is standing for election because he believes voters need a third option, he told Alan Jones on 2GB radio on Wednesday morning. He said he intends to campaign on issues including ... ► Read more

  • Judge rejects Daily Telegraph’s request to call mystery witness in Rush defamation trial

    In the Federal Court today, Justice Michael Wigney rejected The Daily Telegraph’s request to call a new witness to give evidence in the defamation case brought against the newspaper by actor Geoffrey Rush. Mr Rush is suing the newspaper over two articles and a newsagent poster that alleged he was involved in “inappropriate behaviour” toward a fellow actor during a production of King Lear in 2015–16. Justice Wigney said that he would not permit the ... ► Read more

  • Australians to be able to join UK military without having lived in Britain

    Australians and citizens of other Commonwealth countries could soon be fighting wars and risking their lives for the British military, despite never having set foot in the UK. Britain’s Armed Forces are loosening the rules for entry and are aiming to lure more than 1,000 troops from Commonwealth nations, under a program announced on Monday (local time). In the past, citizens from Commonwealth countries could only apply to join Britain’s military after they had resided ... ► Read more

  • Man dies after being “viciously mawled” by shark in Cid Harbour

    A 33-year-old man has died after being attacked by a shark in Queensland’s Whitsundays at about 5:30pm on Monday. The attack happened at Cid Harbour, and the man was airlifted with critical wrist and leg injuries to Mackay Base Hospital, where he was rushed to surgery upon arrival. “He’d suffered very serious bites, significant blood loss, as well as cardiac arrest,” Central Queensland rescue crewman Ben McCauley said. “When we arrived he was already being ... ► Read more

  • Angry Anderson’s son dies in alleged assault

    The son of Australian rocker Gary “Angry” Anderson has died after an alleged assault in Sydney’s north. A fight broke out between Liam Anderson and another man in a reserve off Pavilion Street in Queenscliff early on Sunday morning. Police and paramedics attempted to resuscitate the 26-year-old victim, but he died on the way to hospital. The alleged attacker, aged 20, was arrested and taken to Manly Police Station to be interviewed. In a statement, ... ► Read more

  • Week In Brief: 28 October – 3 November 2018

    Total fire bans in eastern NSW as temperatures soar Total fire bans are in place in four areas of eastern New South Wales as temperatures hit 37 degrees Celsius in parts of Sydney on Friday. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. NSW Nationals faces threats over plan to expel white supremacists, neo-Nazis A man has been charged with making threatening phone calls to the NSW National Party office on the day the party moved ... ► Read more

  • Liberal MP Felicity Wilson may lose North Shore preselection

    Federal MP Felicity Wilson may lose the Liberal Party preselection in Sydney’s North Shore electorate next week, after key local branches withdrew their support. The Mosman, Clifton Gardens, Mosman West and Cremorne Point branches will not back Ms Wilson’s preselection because she has failed to provide their members with a complete account of her residential history and full answers about her academic record. According to a senior Liberal member, Ms Wilson has “lost the middle ... ► Read more

  • Total fire bans in eastern NSW as temperatures soar

    Total fire bans are in place in four areas of eastern New South Wales as temperatures hit 37 degrees Celsius in parts of Sydney on Friday. The fire danger rating in the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Illawarra/Shoalhaven and Southern Ranges regions was upgraded from “very high” to “severe”, and a total fire ban is in place in those areas. The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) warned that high temperatures and strong winds of up to ... ► Read more

  • Google employees walk out in protest of sexual harassment policies

    Google employees worldwide have walked out in protest of the tech giant’s sexual harassment policies. Employees gathered in major cities around the world — including Silicon Valley, New York, London, Berlin, Hyderabad, Singapore and Sydney — in response to a report in The New York Times last week that Google had paid millions of dollars in exit packages to executives accused of misconduct, while staying silent about the complaints. “I am here because what you ... ► Read more

  • Six members of Afghan Invictus Games team may seek asylum in Australia

    Six members of Afghanistan’s Invictus Games team did not board their return flight home from Sydney last Sunday, and are believed to be planning to seek asylum in Australia. A spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs did not confirm whether any applications for asylum have been received from the team members, but told SBS News: “The Invictus Games competitors and officials may remain lawfully in Australia until the expiry of their visas. Their visas ... ► Read more

  • Tourism Australia rollout another Hemsworth as US tourist numbers dwindle

    Tourism Australia is spending an extra $5.8 million on a new Dundee campaign featuring Luke Hemsworth, as it tries to drive up the number of American tourists visiting Down Under. New figures from Tourism Australia reveal spending from US tourists in Australia fell approximately $100 million in 2017/18 compared with the year before, marking its lowest point since the height of the global financial crisis. Total US spending was $3.7 billion, down from $3.8 billion ... ► Read more

  • Report: demand for Australian coal to plummet in future

    Economists are predicting Australia’s thermal coal exports to plummet faster than expected, due to falling demand across Asia that appears permanent and irreversible. A study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found Australia’s top four export markets — China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea — were shifting rapidly to renewables. The study found New South Wales, the source of nearly 70% of thermal coal exports, should brace for disruption in energy markets. IEEFA ... ► Read more

  • George Brandis: children to be off Nauru by year’s end

    Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK George Brandis says he expects there will be no children of refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru by the end of the year. More children have been transferred for treatment, with Government sources confirming there are now 40 on the Pacific Island — down from 52 last week. Political pressure has been mounting on the Coalition to transfer all children off the island, as top medical professionals warn of ... ► Read more

  • Australia ratifies CPTPP membership

    Australia has officially joined a massive trade deal that the Federal Government says will deliver a windfall to farmers and businesses. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on Wednesday, making it the sixth country to come on board. The step means the CPTPP will come into effect on December 30. The deal strips 98% of tariffs for 11 countries with a combined GDP of more than ... ► Read more

  • “Australian Alcatraz”: business group lobbies for private terrorist prison in NT

    Central Australia could be the location for an “Australian Alcatraz” that houses high-level terrorists, if an Alice Springs business group proposal goes ahead. The Alice Springs Major Business Group (ASMBG) is currently lobbying for a privately-run detention centre to be built in the middle of the Red Centre, with the facility purposely designed to detain criminals who have broken federal terrorism laws. It hopes the project will garner private investment and create a new industry ... ► Read more

  • NSW Nationals faces threats over plan to expel white supremacists, neo-Nazis

    A man has been charged with making threatening phone calls to the NSW National Party office on the day the party moved to expel white supremacist elements from its ranks. At the time, the party officials were meeting to discuss sending letters to 20 members asking them to justify why they should not be expelled from the party for alleged links to neo-Nazi groups and white supremacist views. Police arrested a 55-year-old man at a ... ► Read more

  • Berejiklian to set up migration panel to reduce NSW intake

    The New South Wales Government has set up an expert panel to build a case for less immigration amid growing population pressure. Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday appointed the three-member panel to develop a NSW population policy to take to the Federal Government next year. The group, consisting of Western Sydney University Chancellor Peter Shergold, Infrastructure NSW CEO Jim Betts and NSW Department of Planning Secretary Carolyn McNally, will be given two months to advise ... ► Read more

  • Refugee advocates: Nauru detainees quietly flown to Adelaide

    Asylum-seeker families are being quietly flown from Australia’s offshore processing centre on Nauru to Adelaide, according to some advocates. Nauru Airlines does not fly commercially to Adelaide, but its planes have been seen at the airport as recently as Monday. The latest monthly figures from Border Force are for the month from September 1 to September 30, when there were no asylum seekers transferred to Australia or any other country. However, some families may have ... ► Read more

  • UK immigration to fast-track Australians from 2019

    Australians will be able to be fast-tracked through immigration upon arriving in the UK from next year, the British Government has announced. Chancellor to the Exchequer Philip Hammond made the surprise announcement when delivering the UK’s budget at the House of Commons, saying those with electronically-enabled passports will be able to pass through e-gates at airports. “We’ll open the use of ePassport gates at Heathrow and other airports, currently only available to EEA nationals, to ... ► Read more

  • Brian Owler to run for Bennelong on Labor ticket

    Former AMA President Brian Owler is the Labor candidate for Bennelong in next year’s election, opposition leader Bill Shorten announced on Tuesday morning. Doctor Owler is a neurosurgeon and the former president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), and lobbied strongly against the Abbott Government’s Medicare co-payment in 2014. Labor’s former candidate Lyndal Howison wrote to party members this morning, telling them she had withdrawn from the race to make way for a better candidate. ... ► Read more

  • NSW Nationals move to expel members with neo-Nazi ties

    The NSW Nationals will write to 20 members asking them to justify why they should not be expelled from the party over their alleged links to white supremacist and alt-right movements. The party has investigated 35 members, after the ABC revealed a push by people involved in the alt-right movement to join mainstream Australian political parties in order to influence their policy agendas from within. Some of those under investigation allegedly shared social media posts praising the ... ► Read more

  • PM announces $5bn drought fund

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil the first federal drought fund of its kind in Canberra on Friday. The $5 billion Future Drought Fund aims to provide relief to farmers, help them recover from the so-called ‘green drought’ on the east coast, and assist with their long-term resilience. “There are people in trouble,” Mr Morrison told SBS in an exclusive interview. “They need help. It’s the Commonwealth Government’s responsibility to look after the people.” The ... ► Read more

  • Over 800 Australian paedophiles refused passports

    More than 800 paedophiles have been denied Australian passports since tough new laws aimed at stopping child sex tourism were introduced late last year. Ross Tysoe, from the Australian Passport Office, says 857 child sex offenders have been denied passports and another 39 have been stopped at the border. Nine registered paedophiles have been charged with 10 offences since the legislation was passed in December, Mr Tysoe told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday. Federal ... ► Read more

  • Seven students stabbed with syringe at Plumpton High School

    Seven students are expected to undergo urgent blood tests after being stabbed with a syringe during a brawl at Plumpton High School in Sydney’s west, NSW Ambulance says. Emergency services were called to the school just before midday, to find several students had sustained injuries to their hands and legs. Three ambulance crews remain at the scene. Police are investigating the incident, and have been told a student appeared to be doing “a prank which ... ► Read more

  • AMP to sell insurance arm to Britain’s Resolution Life for $3.3bn

    Financial services company AMP has announced it will sell its Australian and New Zealand wealth protection and mature businesses to London-based insurance firm Resolution Life for $3.3 billion. The company, which came under intense scrutiny after the banking Royal Commission uncovered it had regularly engaged in misconduct, said it was also contemplating an initial public offering for its New Zealand wealth management and advice businesses in 2019. The sale value of its Australia and New ... ► Read more

  • Prime Minister rejects proposed refugee compromise

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison will not compromise on the Government’s plan to introduce legislation that will ban refugees held on Nauru and Manus Island from ever entering Australia. Labor announced on Tuesday that it was willing to agree to the legislation if the Government accepts New Zealand’s offer to resettle up to 150 refugees, so long as the lifetime ban only applies to that group of refugees. But Mr Morrison maintains that the Government will ... ► Read more

  • Footage: alleged Saudi operative walked out of consulate in Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes

    On the day Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a man walked out of the building apparently wearing his clothes, according to surveillance footage acquired by CNN. The new footage emerged amid reports that a top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ran the interrogation of Mr Khashoggi via a Skype call. The CCTV footage has put ever-increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia to clarify what happened ... ► Read more

  • Government moves to set default power prices

    The Government has announced it will follow a recommendation made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to set a default price for electricity in an effort to reduce the burden of energy costs. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) will act on Tuesday to require power retailers to set their prices against a default market price. This could help households save hundreds of dollars, and businesses thousands. “The default offer will ensure customers are ... ► Read more

  • Wentworth by-election: Kerryn Phelps victorious as Liberals see historic loss

    Independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps has won the Wentworth by-election, forcing the Coalition into a minority government. The Liberals suffered a swing of almost 20% against candidate Dave Sharma, losing the eastern Sydney seat after holding it for over 100 years. Ballots are still being counted, but the latest numbers show that fewer than 900 votes separate Dr Phelps and Mr Sharma. The final results will be announced in the coming days. Dr Phelps danced ... ► Read more

  • Banks slow to respond to misconduct, says corporate regulator

    The chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has criticised banks for failing to swiftly address misconduct. Despite assurances from bankers that they would address revelations of the Banking Royal Commission, ASIC says they are taking too long to respond. ASIC chairperson James Shipton told the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services on Friday that he accepted the Royal Commission’s criticism of ASIC, but said banks need to take urgent action ... ► Read more

  • Canberra believes Labor state government behind ASIO Jerusalem advice leak

    The Australian Federal Police is investigating the leaking of a classified ASIO briefing that warned any move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel could provoke unrest and violence in Palestinian territories. According to Fairfax Media, the Federal Government believes a state Labor government leaked the briefing to The Guardian. Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament on Thursday ASIO “as a matter of routine practice provides this advice to Commonwealth and state governments on ... ► Read more

  • Pompeo listened to recording of Khashoggi murder

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has heard an alleged audio recording of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a senior Turkish official has told ABC News. Speaking exclusively and on condition of anonymity to the American broadcaster, the official claimed the recording was played in meetings in Turkey on Wednesday (local time), and that Mr Pompeo was given a transcript. Turkish officials believe that Khashoggi was killed and ... ► Read more

  • Littleproud denies National Party leadership spill rumours

    Federal MP and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has dismissed speculation of an imminent National Party leadership spill, saying he is not interested in leading the party. Mr Littleproud told ABC’s AM programme through a spokesperson: “There’s no chance of a leadership contest and even if there was, I am not interested in any leadership position.” Although one MP described Mr Littleproud as “the new kid on the block, the fresh apple off the tree so ... ► Read more

  • Queensland Parliament votes to legalise abortion

    The Parliament of Queensland voted on Wednesday night to legalise abortion in the state, in an historic reform to the centuries-old prohibition. The Queensland Government’s proposal to legalise abortion passed through the Parliament with 50 votes to 41, after all MPs were given a conscience vote. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 will ensure that abortion services can be accessed and performed without fear or stigma. “It’s taken a century to ... ► Read more

  • Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan dies aged 78

    Environmental campaigner and co-founder of Clean Up Australia Ian Kiernan has died aged 78, having been diagnosed with cancer in late July. Clean Up Australia co-founder Kim McKay said Mr Kiernan “lived life hard and lived it well.” “It’s quite a shock to a lot of people because Ian was only diagnosed with the cancer [quite recently] and it took hold of him quite rapidly,” Ms McKay told the ABC. “He was a larger-than-life figure, ... ► Read more

  • Liberal MPs urge PM to evacuate all families and children from Nauru

    Three government backbenchers are urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to bring more than 80 children and their families detained on Nauru to Australia for processing. Craig Laundy, Russell Broadbent, and Julia Banks argue the situation on Australia’s offshore detention centre on the Pacific island nation has reached a “tipping point”, as hundreds of doctors added their voices to calls for a medical evacuation in recent days. Their proposal would see the children and their families ... ► Read more

  • PM says Liberal senators’ support for “it’s OK to be white” motion is “regrettable”

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called Coalition senators’ support for a motion declaring it is okay to be white “regrettable”, while the Coalition’s leader in the Senate has apologised and blamed an “administrative error”. The motion, moved by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson on Monday, was narrowly defeated 28 votes to 31, despite the Coalition’s backing. It called on the Senate to acknowledge the “deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation” and that ... ► Read more

  • PM considering recognising Jerusalem as Israel capital

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reportedly said he is open to moving Australia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem following talks with Dave Sharma, Liberal candidate in this weekend’s Wentworth by-election and former ambassador to Israel. According to the ABC, nearly 13% of voters in Wentworth are Jewish and the Government needs to win the seat to retain its one-seat majority in the Lower House. Speaking at a forum in Bondi on Monday, ... ► Read more

  • Sk8ergrrrl: Don’t say cya later

    Sk8ergrrrl are an all girl five piece from Sydney’s inner suburbs. The band consists of members Ida (Vocals), Sophia (Lead/Rhythm Guitar), Lucia (Lead/Rhythm Guitar), Jess (Bass) and Charlie (Drums), and even though they’re still in high school these girls are a force to be reckoned with! Their passion for music and their amazing talent is resonated in their debut single ‘“Marinate”. We found the tune to be extremely refreshing. From the opening chords you’re hooked, guided by ... ► Read more

  • Duke and Duchess of Sussex land in Sydney ahead of Invictus Games

    Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have arrived in Sydney for their debut royal tour. The couple had a modest reception consisting mostly of media and security and were briskly bundled into a car bound for Admiralty House at Kirribilli. Prince Harry gave a quick thumbs up as he and Meghan departed Sydney airport, as they begin their tour ahead of The Invictus Games. Follow @tendailyau for details on the Aussie royal tour #TenNews #royalsdownunder ... ► Read more

  • Week In Brief: 7 – 13 October 2018

    Government promises to fast track company tax cuts ahead of federal election The Morrison Government has promised to fast track company tax cuts ahead of the next federal election, with legislation to be introduced to Parliament in the next fortnight. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. AFP raids Home Affairs Dept over au pair scandal leaks Federal Police are raiding the Department of Home Affairs over suspected leaks in relation to the au pair ... ► Read more

  • Religious schools shouldn’t expel gay students, Prime Minister says

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he would “not be comfortable” with gay students being expelled from religious schools, he said in response to leaked recommendations of the Ruddock review into religious freedoms. A list of 20 recommendations leaked to the media on Friday included the recommendation that amendments be made to the Sexual Discrimination Act to ensure religious schools can discriminate against both students and staff “on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or ... ► Read more

  • AFP raids Home Affairs Dept over au pair scandal leaks

    Federal Police are raiding the Department of Home Affairs over suspected leaks in relation to the au pair affair that embroiled Cabinet Minister Peter Dutton last month. AFP officers entered one of the Department’s buildings in Canberra this morning, with suggestions they were seeking to secure evidence on departmental computer systems. Police received a complaint from the Department last month about an “unauthorised disclosure of information”. Emails between Mr Dutton’s office, Home Affairs personnel and ... ► Read more

  • Government promises to fast track company tax cuts ahead of federal election

    The Morrison Government has promised to fast track company tax cuts ahead of the next federal election, with legislation to be introduced to Parliament in the next fortnight. The tax rate for companies with a turnover under $50 million was reduced from 30% to 27.5% for the 2018–19 financial year, and is scheduled to drop to 25% for the 2026–27 financial year. On Thursday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the Liberal-National Coalition Government intends to expedite ... ► Read more

  • Assault, arson and abduction: NSW Police manhunt ends in the Hawkesbury

    A police manhunt has ended with the arrest of three men in connection with a domestic-related incident that took place in the state’s central west on Tuesday. The three men were arrested in the Hawkesbury area on Tuesday night, about 500 kilometres from Ootha, where the incident occurred. Earlier that day police responded to reports of an assault and arson at a property in Ootha, near Condobolin. They were told that two men armed with ... ► Read more

  • “Australia is a stimulant nation” according to Criminal Intelligence Commission report

    A comparison of 23 countries shows Australia ranks second in estimated stimulant consumption, according to a report released by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) on Tuesday. The fifth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program included comparisons with the United States, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and 18 European Union members, and found that Australia is a leading consumer of MDMA, cocaine, amphetamine, and methylamphetamine. The ACIC noted a decrease in methylamphetamine consumption between December ... ► Read more

  • Morrison Government to announce new migration settlement plan

    The Morrison Government will unveil long-promised changes to Australia’s visa system on Tuesday, implementing a plan to require migrants to spend years in regional areas before they can move to a city like Sydney or Melbourne. The move, advocated by the Nationals and key lobby groups like the Farmers’ Federation, is part of the Government’s bid to tackle population growth in the country’s congested capitals while stimulating regional areas needing more labour. Scott Morrison’s newly appointed “congestion-busting” ... ► Read more

  • Alan Jones says he “regrets” attack on Opera House boss

    Broadcaster Alan Jones says he now regrets calling for the sacking of the Sydney Opera House’s chief executive Louise Herron, as opposition to the promotion of a horse race on the sails of the iconic building mounts. The 2GB talkback host ran a pro-racing segment on Friday, and called for Ms Herron to be sacked over her opposition to projecting an advertisement for the Everest race onto the iconic building. But on Tuesday morning, Mr ... ► Read more

  • Controversy over planned use of Opera House as billboard to promote horse race

    The New South Wales Government’s plan to use the Sydney Opera House as a digital billboard to promote the $13 million Everest Cup horse race has proved controversial, despite being backed by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Late last week the Premier intervened after broadcaster Alan Jones publicly criticised Opera House executive Louise Herron, who said that words or branding promoting the Everest Cup should not be projected onto the Opera ... ► Read more

  • Survey: 65% of airline cabin crew have experienced sexual harrassment

    A survey by The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has found that up to 65% of airline cabin crew in Australia have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. The survey also revealed one in five of the respondents who reported they had been sexually harassed had experienced it more than 10 times. Respondents revealed reports of serious sexual assault, workers being pinned down and assaulted, passengers exposing themselves to the crew and workers being touched on ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 30 September 2018 – 6 October 2018

    Indonesia earthquake: death toll rises to nearly 1350 The number of confirmed deaths in Indonesia following Friday’s earthquake and tsunami has risen to 1,347, disaster response officials say. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. US Senate votes on Kavanaugh confirmation The United States Senate voted on whether to confirm Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, after President Donald Trump gave the Senate Judiciary Committee an FBI report on accusations of sexual misconduct ... ► Read more

  • Chin-Leong Tan appointed as next Race Discrimination Commissioner

    Former lawyer Chin-Leong Tan has been appointed as Australia’s next Race Discrimination Commissioner, and says he will not hesitate to call out racism in the role. Mr Tan has held a number of diversity-focused leadership roles and will take up his new post on Monday, replacing departing Commissioner Tim Soutphomassane, who in August warned that “race politics” is back in Australia. Although Mr Tan said he’s “not in the business of criticising people”, he said ... ► Read more

  • NSW towns relieved by rain, but the drought is still not over

    Some towns in western New South Wales have received more rain in 24 hours than they have all year, but more is needed to break the state’s ongoing drought. A trough moving across the state has brought significant rainfall, and is predicted to cross central NSW before moving into the Hunter Valley, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. “It’s going to give some brief respite, but unfortunately we need a lot more,” said meteorologist Simon ... ► Read more

  • Australia backs Britain’s condemnation of Russian military intelligence for cyberattacks

    The Australian Government has backed Britain’s condemnation of the intelligence arm of the Russian military for an alleged “pattern” of malicious global cyberattacks. On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accused Russia’s foreign military intelligence directorate of conducting a campaign of “indiscriminate and reckless” online attacks directed at political institutions, businesses, media organisations and sport bodies around the world. Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre identified Russian operatives as being behind several high-profile computer attacks, and ... ► Read more

  • Prison sentences proposed for breaching director identification laws

    Directors of Australian companies will be required to register for a lifetime identification number or face imprisonment under draft legislation released this week. Under the exposure draft of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Registries Modernisation and Other Measures) Bill 2018, directors will face up to a year in prison if they fail to register. A registrar will verify the identities of the directors and create a unique identification number that stays with the director for life, ... ► Read more

  • Labor pledges $1.7 billion in early childcare subsidies

    Three-year-old children will have access to 15 hours of fully-subsidised preschool care if Labor wins the next election, opposition leader Bill Shorten announced on Thursday. In pledging $1.7 billion to cover the cost over four years, Mr Shorten said it was about “reimagining childcare” as “early childhood education”. “We need to give all three-year-olds and four-year-olds the best jump start to going into school,” he said. “All the educational experts have made it clear that ... ► Read more

  • States and territories agree to scrap “tampon tax”

    The 10% tax on tampons and pads will be removed after states and territories agreed to make sanitary products exempt from the GST, bringing an end to an 18-year campaign calling for the tax to be scrapped. Treasurers met on Wednesday morning to discuss the matter and unanimously agreed to pass the Federal Government’s proposal. The products to be made exempt are expected to include tampons, pads, menstrual cups, maternity pads and leak-proof underwear, but ... ► Read more

  • Indonesia earthquake: death toll rises to nearly 1350

    The number of confirmed deaths in Indonesia following Friday’s earthquake and tsunami has risen to 1,347, disaster response officials say. The death toll jumped on Tuesday from a previously confirmed figure of 844. The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu. Police are guarding shops against looters as people desperately search for food, fuel, and water, according to the BBC. Officers ... ► Read more

  • Tesla battery delivers impressive dispatchable power, says Energy Market Operator, despite critics

    The huge lithium-ion battery constructed by tech giant Tesla in South Australia has proven it can dispatch power more rapidly and precisely than conventional thermal power stations, according to data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). The battery is located on a wind farm some three hours’ drive north of Adelaide and, despite criticism and derision, has helped stabilise South Australia’s electricity supply while reducing costs. “It’s ability to respond very, very quickly to ... ► Read more

  • Privacy groups and tech companies criticise Australian anti-encryption bill

    A group of mostly American privacy activists and technology companies has criticised the Australian Government’s proposed Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, arguing it could have serious implications for online security both domestically and overseas. The proposed legislation, introduced to the House of Representatives last month by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, would give law enforcement and intelligence agencies powers to compel companies to assist in decrypting communications. “The lack of ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 23 – 29 September 2018

    Judge Brett Kavanaugh faces second sexual misconduct allegation United States Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by a second woman, following allegations last week that he sexually assaulted a woman at a party in 1982. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Trump boasts met with laughter by UN General Assembly United States President Donald Trump gave a wide-ranging speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, which ... ► Read more

  • Government issues deadline for states to sign off on 2019 education funding plan

    State governments have until 7 December to agree to the Federal Government’s proposed private school funding changes or face education funding cuts, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan says. Victorian Education Minister James Merlino publicly released a letter he received from Mr Tehan on Wednesday, which reads: Should a bilateral agreement not be in place by [7 December], the Commonwealth will be unable to make the first 2019 payment to the relevant state or territory, including ... ► Read more

  • Former ICAC Commissioner calls for Liberal Party to support the creation of a federal integrity commission

    David Ipp, former Commissioner of the New South Wales Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) and Justice of Appeals, has called on the Liberal Party to support the establishment of a federal integrity commission with similar powers to that of the NSW anti-corruption body. The national integrity committee, a panel of former judges and anti-corruption commissioners brought together by the Australia Institute, released its proposed model for a national anti-corruption body on Friday. Ahead of the ... ► Read more

  • Judge criticises Government plan to reform family law system

    The retiring Chief Judge of the Family Court of Western Australia has strongly criticised the Federal Government’s plans to reform the family law system, suggesting it has been devised by accountants and not those who work in the sector. The Federal Government is planning to merge the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court into one body, promising that this will alleviate cost pressures and lengthy delays. Chief Judge Stephen Thackray, who is retiring in ... ► Read more

  • Nyiyaparli community wins 20-year native title battle

    The Nyiyparli community has won a 20-year legal battle to be recognised as the native title holders of approximately 40,000 square kilometres of land in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which includes the mining town of Newman. The Aboriginal community lodged its first claim on 29 September 1998, and Federal Court Justice Michael Barker handed down his decision — which has not yet been published — in an on-country at Coondiner Pool (Kuntinha) hearing ... ► Read more

  • Labor still looking for candidate to replace Emma Husar in Lindsay

    The New South Wales branch of the Labor Party is still looking for a candidate for the seat of Lindsay, after incumbent MP Emma Husar announced she would not recontest the western Sydney seat following allegations she bullied staff. Some 17 people have expressed their interest in contesting the seat for Labor at the next federal election, but those have reportedly been rejected because none are “high profile enough”. Instead, the party has had to ... ► Read more

  • Business group says Indigenous public holiday could cost $3 billion

    The creation of a public holiday to recognise Indigenous Australians could cost the economy $3 billion, according to Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson. On Tuesday Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to growing calls that Australia Day be moved from 26 January by suggesting the creation of a separate holiday to recognise and celebrate Indigenous Australians. But Mr Pearson says that the potential cost in foregone economic activity must be taken ... ► Read more

  • NSW Health confirms fifth case of legionnaires’ disease in Western Sydney

    A fifth case of legionnaires’ disease has been reported to health authorities as Western Sydney’s outbreak continues. On Tuesday NSW Health confirmed an interstate resident had contracted the infection after visiting the Lidcombe area earlier this month. Western Sydney Local Health District officials have warned anyone who recently visited Lidcombe to be wary of symptoms including fever, chills, coughing, and shortness of breath. A water cooling system in the suburb was decontaminated on 17 September ... ► Read more

  • Federal Government announces free meningococcal vaccine for Australian teens

    Australian teenagers will receive a publicly-funded meningococcal vaccine against four strains of the potentially fatal disease, the Federal Government announced on Tuesday. The vaccine will be added to the National Immunisation Schedule from April 2019, and will be available to more than a million Australians aged 14–19 over the next four years at a cost of $52 million. The announcement comes as cases of meningococcal have risen in Australia, with 382 cases in 2017, up ... ► Read more

  • China blames United States for escalating trade war with “contradictory behaviour”

    The Chinese Government has accused the United States of bullying following the imposition of US $200 billion of punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, and Beijing has retaliated with US $60 billion in tariffs on American imports. China’s State Council released a white paper entitled “Facts about the China-US trade dispute and China’s stance” within hours of the tariffs coming into force, in which it blames the White House for escalating the trade war between the ... ► Read more

  • Prime Minister calls for special day to celebrate Indigenous Australians

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suggested the creation of a new national holiday to honour and recognise Indigenous Australians in response to growing calls for Australia Day to be moved from 26 January. His suggestion comes after his government stripped Byron Shire Council of its right to hold citizenship ceremonies for moving its Australia Day festivities, with Immigration Minister David Coleman saying the date should “not be politicised”. Mr Morrison wants a special day to ... ► Read more

  • “Advance Australia Fair”: we might not be responsible for the past, but we can do better for the future

    This is a response to “Harper Nielsen’s protest is nothing more than virtue signalling” by Greg Dewberry. It’s true that current generations are not to blame for the actions of their predecessors, but this does not mean that current generations should be complacent when it comes to correcting the effects of historical wrongs. I have to refuse to accept any blame for the effects of colonialism on Australia, because if I did it would undoubtedly ... ► Read more

  • Second threatening letter received by Perth SAS HQ

    A second threatening letter was received by the Perth headquarters of the Special Air Service (SAS) in June 2018, warning soldiers against assisting a Defence Inspector-General (DIG) inquiry into allegations of misconduct and war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. The Australian Federal Police is working with the DIG inquiry to investigate the anonymous threat. The letter was addressed to an SAS soldier who served in Afghanistan alongside SAS veteran and Victoria Cross recipient Ben ... ► Read more

  • Federal Government giving Catholic schools 10 times what they need, claims Grattan Institute

    The Federal Government’s controversial plan to give independent schools a funding boost of $4.5 billion would give Catholic schools more than 10 times what they need to remain an “affordable choice” for parents, the Grattan Institute claims. Under the proposal championed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, $1.2 billion of the funding injection will form a “choice and affordability” fund to help prevent an escalation of fees in the private ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 16 – 22 September 2018

    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. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. China levies new tariffs in response to US tariff hike China has announced it will levy tariffs on about US $60 billion worth of American imports in response to the ... ► Read more

  • Federal and NSW Governments clash over private school funding boost

    The New South Wales Government has rejected Canberra’s proposed education funding model, under which independent schools would receive a funding boost of $4.5 billion. In saying that the NSW Government would not accept “special deals” for independent schools, NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said the extra $4.5 billion over 10 years was “not fair”. “We welcome additional money into NSW schools — our simple message is, it’s got to be distributed fairly,” Mr Stokes said. ... ► Read more