Australia

  • Family Court expert charged with child sex abuse

    An expert used by the Family Court in custody disputes involving allegations of child sexual abuse has been charged with the very same offences. The psychologist, who has been charged with the sexual abuse of three children, was appointed by the Family Court to make recommendations concerning custody in cases where one parent accused the other of sexual abuse. The offences are alleged to have occurred many decades ago. According to family law expert Professor ... ► Read more

  • Pell expected to appeal to High Court

    Convicted child sex offender Cardinal George Pell will appeal his conviction to the High Court, according to reports. Last week the Victorian Court of Appeal upheld the Cardinal’s conviction for five child sex offences, rejecting arguments that the jury could not have found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Cardinal Pell has now reportedly instructed his legal team to seek special leave to appeal to the High Court, the court of final resort in Australia. It ... ► Read more

  • Man confirmed dead after NT mine wall collapse

    A man who was buried under a collapsed wall of dirt and rock at the Bootu Creek mine in the Northern Territory has died, his employer confirmed on Monday. In a statement, Singapore-based OM Holdings Ltd (OMH) — the parent company of OM (Manganese) Ltd (OMM), which runs the Bootu Creek mine — confirmed the death. The man, 59, was fatally injured when a wall failed at the Tourag pit of the mine, some 110 kilometres ... ► Read more

  • ICAC hears Chinese billionaire gave $100K to NSW ALP official, breaching electoral laws

    Chinese billionaire property developer Huang Xiangmo gave $100,000 in cash to a senior NSW Labor Party official in breach of electoral funding laws, an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry has heard. The ICAC has begun six weeks of public hearings to investigate whether NSW Labor received money from illegal sources. The donation was disguised as a series of $5,000 donations made during a “Chinese Friends of Labor” fundraising dinner. Scott Robertson, counsel assisting the ... ► Read more

  • Deputy PM apologies for saying Pacific islanders will survive climate change by picking fruit

    Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has apologised for saying that Pacific Islanders will be able to survive climate change by working as fruit-pickers in Australia. Mr McCormack made the comments last Friday in response to criticism at the Pacific Islanders Forum that Australia is ignoring the threat of climate change to low-lying island nations. On Friday last week the Deputy Prime Minister said he got “a little bit annoyed when we have these sorts of ... ► Read more

  • Cardinal George Pell loses child sex offences appeal

    The Victorian Court of Appeal has upheld the conviction of Cardinal George Pell for child sexual offences. Cardinal Pell was appealing his conviction by a jury in March that resulted in a sentence of six years’ imprisonment for five offences when he was the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. In a two-one decision the Court of Appeal ruled that the former Vatican treasurer’s conviction will stand. He will be eligible for parole in ... ► Read more

  • ADF looking to deploy military tech to Antarctica

    Speaking notes obtained by the ABC have revealed the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is seeking to deploy civil and military technology in Antarctica. The notes, which were contained in a briefing document, describe “valuable opportunities to enhance military capability by implementing certain technologies in the Antarctic”. “Australia and other likeminded states need to maintain a collective influence in the Antarctic Treaty System in order to prevent the gradual undermining of its strength,” the documents read. ... ► Read more

  • ASIC promises lawsuits against banks by end of 2019

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will file lawsuits against some of the country’s biggest financial institutions by the end of the year. ASIC Deputy Chair Daniel told the Australian Financial Review on Monday that the regulator has “a very large number of investigations on foot and there will be cases being issued in coming weeks, which are the result of those investigations.” In a report published on Sunday, ASIC said it intends to ... ► Read more

  • One woman dead, another injured in Sydney CBD

    The body of a 21-year-old woman has been found a short distance from where civilians restrained a man armed with a knife who stabbed another woman in Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday afternoon. Police do not believe the attack is terror-related or that the suspect, 21-year-old Mert Ney, has links to any terrorist organisations. The ABC reported that the suspect is an escapee from a mental health facility, and police have confirmed Mr Ney has a ... ► Read more

  • Qantas, Virgin cancel flights to Hong Kong amid protests

    Qantas and Virgin Australia on Monday cancelled all flights to Hong Kong due to ongoing pro-democracy protests in the Chinese special administrative region. The cancellations were announced after peaceful protesters staged a sit-in at Hong Kong International Airport — one of the world’s busiest airports. The airport was forced to cancel all departing and arriving flights. Virgin Australia said in a statement: “At this stage, all other Virgin Australia flights are operating as expected however ... ► Read more

  • ATO whistleblower launches crowdfunding campaign for legal defence

    Australian Taxation Office (ATO) whistleblower Richard Boyle has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for his legal defence against 66 criminal charges totalling a maximum sentence of 161 years’ imprisonment. The former public servant told ABC News that he will continue his fight against the “excessive and unjust” charges. As part of the GoFundMe campaign launched today, Mr Boyle said his case may be the first to test whistleblower protection laws “and could be ... ► Read more

  • Two rock climbers killed in remote area of Flinders Ranges

    The bodies of two rock climbers have been discovered at a popular but remote rock-climbing location in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. Emergency crews were called to the Moonarie climbing area in Wilpena Pound on Sunday afternoon when two men from Adelaide did not return to their camp. According to police, their bodies were later found dead in the area. Both are believed to have fallen to their deaths. An operation to recover the bodies began ... ► Read more

  • NSW Lower House passes abortion bill

    A historic bill to decriminalise abortion has passed the New South Wales Lower House after it was introduced two weeks ago. Members of Parliament were granted a conscience vote on the bill, which aims to remove abortion from the Crimes Act 1900 and define it as a medical procedure in its own legislation. The bill was passed just before 11:00pm on Thursday with 59 in favour and 31 against. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian voted for ... ► Read more

  • Diplomatic row after MP Andrew Hastie warns of Chinese mobilisation

    Coalition backbench MP Andrew Hastie has sparked a diplomatic row after he compared China’s mobilisation to that of Nazi Germany. Mr Hastie, who chairs the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, warned that Australia’s economic and national security will be tested by China’s expanding regional influence. “Right now our greatest vulnerability lies not in our infrastructure but in our thinking. That intellectual failure makes us institutionally weak,” Mr Hastie wrote in an opinion piece ... ► Read more

  • 75th anniversary of the Cowra breakout

    On 5 August 1944 Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) interned at Cowra staged the largest breakout of the Second World War. At the time, the No 12 POW Compound at Cowra in NSW held 1,104 Japanese prisoners, as well as Koreans, Taiwanese and Italians. In the early hours of 5 August a bugle sounded and more than 1,000 Japanese POWs launched an attack on the guards. Armed with knives and improvised weapons, they began breaking ... ► Read more

  • Five Eyes nations vow to step up efforts to counter online child abuse material

    Security officials from the Five Eyes security alliance have called for tech giants to allow backdoor access to encrypted content on WhatsApp and other communications platforms in order to combat sex offenders and the circulation of child abuse material. The “Five Eyes” nations — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States — say urgent action is needed from the companies to combat live-streaming of child sexual abuse. Executives from Google, Facebook, ... ► Read more

  • Clive Palmer settles with largest creditor in Qld Nickel case

    Clive Palmer has reached a settlement with the largest creditor of his failed Queensland Nickel company. Barrister Shane Doyle QC, who acts for the liquidators of the company, told the Queensland Supreme Court that a “resolution” had been reached on the $90 million claim of Aurizon Holdings Ltd. The details of the settlement have not been made public. According to Mr Doyle, talks are also continuing between the liquidators and the billionaire mining magnate to ... ► Read more

  • ASX 200 hits record high

    The ASX 200 share index has soared 0.6% to 6,867 points in early trade, beating a 12-year-old intraday high of 6,851.5. The previous record was made on 1 November 2007 — just before the Global Financial Crisis. This is a developing story. ► Read more

  • Shayna Jack releases in-depth statement following failed drug test

    Australian swimmer Shayna Jack has released an in-depth statement regarding the failed drug test scandal, where she tested positive on both A and B samples to the banned substance Ligandrol — a drug used to aid muscle growth and treat osteoporosis. In the statement, Ms Jack said when she heard the news she had tested positive to a prohibited substance, she felt her heart break “instantaneously.” She said: “I was in complete shock, asking myself how ... ► Read more

  • Bill legalising abortions to be introduced to NSW Parliament this week

    New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said it is “time for change” when it comes to abortion law, ahead of the introduction of a new bill which would see pregnancy terminations regulated as a medical procedure around the state. Currently, abortions in NSW are dealt with under the Crimes Act 1900. The Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019 — a private member’s bill — will be introduced to the NSW Parliament this week by the independent ... ► Read more

  • Dutton to push for child abuse material crack down at Five Eyes meeting

    Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will push for the Five Eyes (FVEY) countries to prioritise preventing online child exploitation material at a meeting in London on Monday. FVEY is an intelligence-sharing network which includes Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Canada and the United States. “There needs to be greater international engagement in the battle against child exploitation,” Mr Dutton told The Australian ahead of flying to London. “Now with the internet, pay-per-view, [offenders] can direct material ... ► Read more

  • UK’s Boris Johnson eyes Australia’s immigration points-based system

    United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed an interest for amnesty for illegal immigrants on Thursday (local time), telling the House of Commons the UK must “continue to attract the best and brightest talent from around the world.” He added he wanted to introduce and Australian-style points-based system for visas for skilled overseas workers. Mr Johnson said he would ask the British Government’s Migration Advisory Committee to review the Australian system “as the first step ... ► Read more

  • Medevac repeal bill passes Lower House

    The Government has cleared the first hurdle to repealing the asylum seeker medical evacuation (medevac) provisions attached to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2019. The so called medevac repeal bill sailed through the Lower House on Thursday — courtesy of the Morrison Government’s majority. However, the Coalition now needs to contend with a tougher Senate, where a committee will scrutinise the bill before it is debated in November. With Labor and most of ... ► Read more

  • All Ordinaries index closes at record high

    Australia’s All Ordinaries index has closed at a record high of 6,862.4 points — about nine points above its previous record from 1 November 2007. The local market has received a boost on the back of strong performances on Wall Street and a lower Australian dollar, which is hovering just below 70 US cents. However, the All Ordinaries stopped shy of breaking its intra-day record of 6,873.2 points, which was also set on 1 November ... ► Read more

  • Australian tennis great Peter McNamara dies aged 64

    Australian tennis great Peter McNamara has died at age 64, succumbing to his battle with cancer. The former world number seven won five career singles titles and 19 career doubles titles during his 14-year career from 1974 to 1987. Mr McNamara won three grand slam titles in his career. He won the Australian Open doubles title in 1979 with his doubles partner, fellow Australian Paul McNamee, and the Wimbledon doubles title twice, in 1980 and ... ► Read more

  • Foreign fighters bill sparks concern over Dutton’s growing power

    New legislation to prevent foreign fighters from returning home has sparked concern over Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton’s growing powers. Mr Dutton is pushing to have the Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Bill 2019 passed by Parliament by the end of the week, as national security is high on the Coalition Government’s agenda. The Bill is a redraft of legislation introduced earlier this year, following a review by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security ... ► Read more

  • PNG Prime Minister to discuss Manus Island with Morrison and Albanese

    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape has arrived in Australia for his first official visit since being elected in late May. Mr Marape wants a deadline for the ending of the offshore detention on Manus Island. “We would like it to end as soon as possible,” Mr Marape said. Mr Marape will receive a ceremonial welcome in Canberra before meeting for talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. However, he ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 14 July – 20 July 2019

    Adani prosecuted over Carmichael mine report The Queensland Government is prosecuting mining company Adani for allegedly providing false and misleading information in its 2017–18 annual report to the Environment Department. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. “Defensive action”: US warship shoots down Iranian drone A United States amphibious assault ship has shot down an Iranian drone after the unmanned aircraft flew within 900 metres of the American warship, US President Donald Trump announced on ... ► Read more

  • NAB appoints Ross McEwan CEO

    Veteran banking executive Ross McEwan has been appointed CEO of National Australia Bank, ending a five month search to fill the bank’s top job after former CEO Andrew Thorburn resigned over the Banking Royal Commission’s findings. NAB’s acting chief executive Phil Chronican praised Mr McEwan’s appointment, saying he “is the ideal leader for NAB as we seek to transform our operations and culture firmly around leading customer service, experience and products”. Mr Chronican said: “Ross ... ► Read more

  • Yang Hengjun: Australian writer detained in China charged

    Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has been detained in China since January, has been charged with endangering national security, according to his lawyer. Mr Yang has also been moved to criminal detention in Beijing and is no longer under house arrest. The Chinese Ministry of State Security formally charged Mr Yang through a formal notice at 10:00am Thursday (Chinese local time). The notice says Mr Yang has been detained under section 85 of the Chinese ... ► Read more

  • DFAT “formally” requests Beijing let family of Australian Uyghur man leave China

    The Australian Embassy in Beijing has “formally requested” the Chinese Government allow the wife and son of Uyghur Australian man Sadam Abudusalamu to leave China so they can be reunited in Australia, Foreign Minister Marise Payne has said. The request follows Mr Abudusalamu’s appearance on the ABC’s Four Corners programme earlier this week, through which he spoke out against the persecution of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s supposedly autonomous Xinjiang region. According to the ... ► Read more

  • Brisbane: Clem Jones Tunnel shut down as police negotiate with armed man

    Queensland Police are negotiating with a man armed with knives on the roof of the M7 Clem Jones Tunnel (Clem 7) in inner Brisbane. Both the entrance and exit of the Clem 7 tunnel were closed at Shafston Avenue in East Brisbane just before 7:30am, and surrounding roads have also been blocked. The man has reportedly been on the tunnel roof since around 9:30am, while the standoff with police has been ongoing since around 7:00am. ... ► Read more

  • Adani prosecuted over Carmichael mine report

    The Queensland Government is prosecuting mining company Adani for allegedly providing false and misleading information in its 2017–18 annual report to the Environment Department. “The prosecution relates to information contained in Adani’s 2017/2018 annual return for its Carmichael mine,” the Environment Department said in a statement. “The annual return requires information about planned and actual disturbance of land at the mine. “The department alleges that Adani’s annual return contained false and misleading information about the ... ► Read more

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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