Law and justice

  • 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

  • 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

  • Key quotes from Russia’s annual presidential Q&A

    Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual live question and answer session on Thursday (local time) where he touched on a range of pressing issues. Mr Putin takes questions from a large audience and even responds to queries over the phone. Here are the highlights. On whether he has become tired of the presidency “No, otherwise I wouldn’t have run for this term.” On arrests related to economic crimes “I would like to say: you ... ► 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

  • Controversial Hong Kong extradition bill may lapse

    The head of the Hong Kong Government, Carrie Lam, has indicated that a controversial bill to allow extradition to mainland China may lapse following the region’s most violent protests since 1997. In a press conference on Tuesday, Ms Lam apologised for the political turbulence and said that the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 would not be reintroduced during her time in office if concerns cannot be adequately ... ► 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

  • Israeli First Lady convicted of misusing state funds

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara has admitted to misusing state funds. Mrs Netanyahu was accused of spending US$99,300 ($145,000) on restaurant-cooked meals while falsely claiming there were no cooks available at the prime ministerial residence. She dodged goal-time by taking a plea deal which reduced a fraud charge to a lesser offence. The Israeli First Lady will need to pay the state 45,000 shekels ($18,000) in reimbursement and a 10,000 shekel ($4000) fine. ... ► 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Boris Johnson ordered to appear in court over £350 million Brexit claim

    Conservative MP Boris Johnson has been ordered to appear in court over claims he lied during the Brexit campaign by saying the United Kingdom gave the European Union £350 million a week. The frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of misconduct in public office after making the claim during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. Campaigner Michael Ball crowdfunded £200,000 to launch the private prosecution of the ... ► 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

  • Iraqi court sentences three French IS members to death

    An Iraqi court sentenced three French nationals to death on Sunday, after finding them guilty of joining Islamic State (IS). Thousands of suspected IS members are being tried in Iraqi courts, including hundreds of foreigners arrested as the militant organisation’s strongholds collapse throughout the country. Kévin Gonot, Léonard Lopez and Salim Machou were extradited to Iraq in February and were among the 14 French nationals included in a group of 280 detainees handed over by ... ► Read more

  • US announces new charges against Julian Assange

    The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced 17 new espionage charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as it seeks to extradite him from the United Kingdom. The new indictment charges Mr Assange for violating the US Espionage Act of 1917 by publishing thousands of classified documents. In the 18-count superseding indictment, the DOJ alleges Mr Assange directed former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in ... ► 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

  • UN demands UK hand Chagos Islands to Mauritius

    The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution demanding that the United Kingdom give control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius. The non-binding resolution was supported by 116 states, with only six voting against the resolution, and 56 abstentions, including France and Germany. Mauritius claims it was forced to give up the Indian Ocean archipelago in 1965 in exchange for the country’s independence from the UK. Today, the islands form the UK’s British Indian ... ► Read more

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

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

  • Swiss voters back EU gun control regulations

    Voters in Switzerland have approved a referendum to tighten gun laws in conformity with European Union regulations. Almost 64% of voters in Sunday’s referendum to introduce tougher restrictions on semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it risked being removed from the open-border Schengen Area if it had voted against “no” in the referendum. Switzerland ranks highly by private gun ownership in Europe, with an estimated 48% of Swiss ... ► Read more

  • Trump signs order barring US telcos from using foreign equipment

    United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday (local time) intended to bar American telecommunications networks from using equipment provided by foreign suppliers. Executive order 13873 declares a “national emergency” and claims that “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services”. The order directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to prepare rules that restrict the purchase of information and communications technology from companies “owned by, controlled ... ► Read more

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

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

  • Serial killer Ivan Milat diagnosed with terminal cancer

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

  • Election: Labor promises new wage theft tribunal

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

  • Serial killer Ivan Milat transfered to Sydney hospital

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

  • Sweden reopens rape investigation involving Julian Assange

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

  • Chelsea Manning released from jail after refusing to testify

    Former United States intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been released from jail, despite refusing to testify before an investigation into Wikileaks. The 31-year-old was held in custody for 62 days after a Virginia judge found her in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena. Ms Manning will be required to appear before a grand jury on 16 May, having been served with another subpoena prior to her release on Thursday. “Today marked ... ► Read more

  • Trump blocks release of unredacted Mueller report; House Judiciary Committee finds US A-G in contempt

    United States President Donald Trump has invoked executive privilege to prevent the release of the unredacted report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee sought the unredacted report from Attorney-General William Barr, but negotiations between the committee and the Justice Department broke down on Tuesday (local time). The Judiciary Committee has now recommended that the House of Representatives find Mr Barr in ... ► Read more

  • Election: PM egged by protester in Albury

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

  • No enforcement of death penalty for gay sex, claims Brunei

    Brunei will not enforce the death penalty for persons convicted of having gay sex, following fierce global criticism of the country by international human rights organisations and celebrities. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah extended a moratorium on the death penalty to legislation prohibiting gay sex, after celebrities called for tourists to boycott a string of luxury hotels owned by the country, of which the Sultan, as absolute monarch, is both head of state and head of government. ... ► Read more

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

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

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

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

  • Assange sentenced to 50 weeks’ imprisonment over bail breach

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

  • Mueller frustrated over portrayal of Russian interference report

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller is frustrated over the way his findings on Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election are being portrayed, according to a US Department of Justice (DOJ) official. Mr Mueller wrote to the DOJ after US Attorney-General William Barr issued a four-page summary of the special counsel’s conclusions about whether the campaign of current President Donald Trump colluded with Russia and whether the President had attempted to obstruct the investigation. ... ► Read more

  • US police officer who shot Australian woman Justine Damond found guilty of murder

    Mohamed Noor, the former American police officer who shot and killed Australian woman Justine Damond, has been found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was found not guilty of second-degree murder. For these charges, Mr Noor is likely to face 10-15 years in gaol. The defence is yet to confirm whether an appeal will be lodged. On 15 July 2017, Ms Damond made an emergency call to report what she thought may have ... ► Read more

  • Sniper at Lindt Café siege sues NSW Police

    The chief sniper during the Lindt Café siege in Sydney in December 2014 has filed a civil lawsuit against NSW Police. The officer, who can only be identified as Sierra 3-1, alleges he and his team were hampered by senior officers, and the lives of café manager Tori Johnson and barrister Katrina Dawson could have been saved. A police spokesperson said NSW Police are aware of the matter, but said “it is inappropriate to comment” ... ► Read more

  • Sri Lanka: Easter attack death toll lowered by more than 100

    Sri Lankan authorities have lowered the death toll from last Sunday’s Easter bombings by 100 fatalities, blaming a calculation error for the mistake. The final death toll is now officially 253, with the Sri Lankan Government admitting that more than 100 bodies had been double-counted. “Many of the victims were badly mutilated,” the Health Ministry said. “There was double counting.” The initial death toll was reported as 359 but autopsies and DNA crosschecks resulted in ... ► Read more

  • New IRA apologises for killing of journalist

    The New Irish Republican Army (New IRA) militant group has apologised for the killing of journalist Lyra McKee. It is the first acknowledgement that a New IRA member was involved in the death, which the organisation described as “tragic”, offering “full and sincere” apologies to her partner, family and friends. On 18 April 2019 the 29-year-old journalist was observing Irish nationalists attack police following a raid in Derry (Londonderry) when a gunman opened fire in ... ► Read more

  • Saudi Arabia beheads 37 people after “sham trial”

    The Saudi Arabian regime beheaded 37 citizens on Tuesday (local time) in a mass execution for alleged terrorism-related offences. Most of those killed were minority Shiites, however, in one case, Saudi authorities publicly pinned the executed body and severed head of a convicted Sunni extremist to a pole as a warning to others. Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi dissident who runs the Gulf Institute in Washington, identified 34 of those executed as Shiites, based on the ... ► Read more

  • Helloworld boss gave $200,000 to Liberal Party during government tender

    A private company co-owned by Helloworld CEO Andrew Burnes donated $200,000 to the Liberal Party during the tender process for a $1 billion government accommodation contract that was awarded to Helloworld. Mr Burnes, who is also the Liberal Party’s federal treasurer, co-owns Burnewang Pastoral Company, paid a further $120,000 for tickets to a Liberal Party dinner in 2017, while contract negotiations remained ongoing. This money was treated as an attendance fee rather than a donation. ... ► Read more

  • US threatens to veto UN resolution on wartime rapes

    The United States is threatening to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution on combatting rape as a weapon of war because it refers to reproductive and sexual health, senior UN officials and European diplomats say. Germany, which holds the presidency of the Security Council this month, hopes the resolution will be adopted at a special Security Council session on Tuesday. However, the US is threatening to veto the resolution because it makes reference to ... ► Read more

  • “My wife and my daughter were on the floor”: Australian man describes moment bomb detonated in Sri Lanka

    An Australian man whose wife and daughter were killed in the Sri Lankan terrorism attacks has described the moment a bomb went off during an Easter Sunday church service. At least 290 people were killed and 500 injured in a series of coordinated blasts in churches and hotels, in Sri Lanka’s deadliest violence since a devastating civil war ended in 2009. Australian woman Manik Suriaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexendria were killed in the attack ... ► Read more

  • Sri Lanka bombings: Government confirms knowledge of imminent attack

    The Sri Lankan Government has confirmed it had “prior information” of an imminent attack on churches up to 10 days before the Easter Sunday bombings. At the time of this report, 207 people have died and at least 450 others left injured following a series of explosions that tore through churches and luxury hotels in three Sri Lankan cities, including the capital Colombo. It is estimated that 30 foreigners are among those killed. The Department ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 14 April – 20 April 2019

    2019 election: Morrison and Shorten to debate on 29 April Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will go head-to-head in a debate set for 29 April. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Fire tears through Notre Dame Notre Dame’s spire has collapsed after a fire engulfed the iconic Parisian cathedral on Monday (local time). See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. North Korea tests new “tactical” weapon, says DPRK state media ... ► Read more

  • “I’m fucked”: Mueller report made public

    When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told United States President Donald Trump that a special counsel was being appointed to investigate potential links between his campaign and Russian meddling in the election, Mr Trump said: “This is the end of my Presidency”. The revelation is one of many after the long-awaited 448-page Mueller report was released with redactions. Key quotes from the Mueller report “When [former Attorney General Jeff] Sessions told the President that a Special ... ► Read more

  • Columbine High School in lockdown days before shooting’s 20th anniversary

    A manhunt is underway in Colorado for a young woman suspected of making threats against Columbine High School, just days before the 20th anniversary of the school’s infamous mass shooting. The undisclosed threats prompted Columbine High School and more than 20 nearby schools to go into lock down for three hours. The schools have confirmed all students are safe. The 18-year-old suspect, Sol Pais, travelled to Colorado on Monday night (local time) and attempted to ... ► Read more

  • Cancer cure con artist Belle Gibson ordered to court over unpaid $410K fine

    Cancer cure con artist Belle Gibson has been summoned by the Federal Court to explain why she hasn’t paid a $410,000 penalty for breaching consumer protection laws. Ms Gibson will appear in the Federal Court on 14 May for examination of her financial affairs, following her failure to comply with the order to pay the fine. She has previously been warned that she faces imprisonment if she fails to pay the penalty — which was ... ► Read more

  • Ecuador’s allegations “outrageous”, says Assange’s lawyer

    The lawyer representing Julian Assange has slammed Ecuador’s claims about the jailed Wikileaks founder’s behaviour inside its London embassy. Jennifer Robinson told Sky News on Sunday that Ecuador was making some “pretty outrageous allegations” to justify inviting British police into the embassy to arrest Mr Assange. Mr Assange sought asylum at the embassy in 2012, defying an order to surrender to court. He remained there until taken into custody by the Metropolitan Police last week. ... ► Read more

  • American man charged with Sydney murder to remain in custody

    An American man charged over a murder in western Sydney last year will remain in custody until his next court appearance in June. Alex Dion, 38, was extradited from California yesterday and faced Sydney Central Local Court this morning, where he did not apply for bail. Mr Dion, a former tiler, is accused of murdering 33-year-old Thai national Wachira “Mario” Phetmang and dumping his body on the side of Sydney’s Homebush Bay Drive. On 6 ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 7 April – 13 April 2019

    2019 election: Australians to vote on 18 May Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced 18 May as the date of the 2019 federal election, giving parties just over five weeks to sell their plans for the nation. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Construction of Adani mine receives final federal approval, despite allegations Minister was threatened Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price has given Adani the final federal approval needed to begin construction of its ... ► Read more

  • Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange arrested in London, faces US extradition request

    Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange was arrested in London yesterday after almost seven years of refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy. Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped. He claimed that the extradition proceedings were a ploy to facilitate eventual extradition to the United States on espionage charges. In May 2012 the Supreme Court of the ... ► Read more

  • Christchurch terror suspect sent death threat two years before mosque attack

    A Melbourne man has revealed suspected Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant sent him a death threat after he criticised the far-right United Patriots Front (UPF) extremist group in 2016. Screenshots of a Facebook Messenger conversation between the man and Mr Tarrant show the alleged right-wing terrorist defended the anti-Islamic UPF as “the leading ethno-nationalist group within Australia.” “When you speak against the UPF you speak against my right to a home for my people and my ... ► Read more

  • Construction of Adani mine receives final federal approval, despite allegations Minister was threatened

    Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price has given Adani the final federal approval needed to begin construction of its proposed coal mine in central Queensland. The project now requires final approvals from the Queensland State Government before construction can commence. The proposed coal mine in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin has been controversial, with environmentalists clashing with MPs and Senators who want it approved to bring jobs to the area. The Environment Minister was under pressure from ... ► Read more

  • US labels Iranian Revolutionary Guard as terrorist organisation

    United States President Donald Trump has taken the controversial step of designating the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. The IRGC was established after the 1979 revolution and, according to the Constitution of Iran, protects the country’s Islamic Republic. But Mr Trump has accused the IRGC as being the terrorist wing of the Iranian Government. “The IRGC is the Iranian Government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” ... ► Read more

  • Double murderer who breached parole conditions taken into custody

    New South Wales Police have tracked down a convicted double murderer who removed his ankle monitor while on parole. On Sunday afternoon Damien Anthony Peters disappeared from the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick, and his tracking device was later located outside a monastery in Kensington. Mr Peters was living freely in the community while being tracked by the electronic device. Detective Superintendent Rohan Cramsie confirmed that “Mr Peters was free to come and go ... ► Read more

  • 38 arrested as animal rights protest causes chaos in Melbourne

    Police have arrested 38 people over an animal rights protest that blocked a major Melbourne intersection during the morning peak hour. The protesters blockaded the intersection of Flinders and Swanston streets on Monday morning, with more than 100 activists chanting “what do we want? Animal liberation — now!” and holding signs that read: “This is a peaceful protest” and “SOS animal emergency climate emergency.” Protesters also sat on the tram lines near the intersection, causing ... ► Read more

  • Australian residents interrogated by Chinese officials over ASIO investigation

    Two Australian residents have revealed they have been interrogated by Chinese officials about an investigation into China’s influence in Australia. Chinese intelligence agents interrogated Yang Hengjun and Feng Chongyi for information on John Garnaut, who led the top-secret investigation with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) in 2016. A joint investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners programme, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald revealed both men were detained and interrogated over the ASIO probe. Mr Yang, a former Chinese ... ► Read more

  • NSW Police search for convicted double murderer on parole

    New South Wales Police are searching for a convicted double murderer who removed his electronic ankle bracelet while on parole. Damien Anthony Peters was last seen at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick at about 4:15 pm yesterday, and NSW Police said he would have needed “a great deal of effort” to remove the tracking device. The 50-year-old pleaded guilty to murdering and dismembering two ex-lovers in 2001, and received a 21-year sentence. He ... ► Read more

  • Assange set to be expelled from Ecuadorian embassy, says WikiLeaks

    WikiLeaks says high-level sources within Ecuador are signalling that Australian Julian Assange will be expelled from the country’s London embassy within “hours to days”. In a tweet, WikiLeaks said Ecuador already had an agreement with the United Kingdom for Mr Assange’s arrest. Another tweet, posted an hour later, confirmed it had received “secondary confirmation from another high-level source”. It has been reported that Ecuador’s President is trying to surrender the Australian in exchange for debt ... ► Read more

  • Backlash over laws targeting “abhorrent” social media content

    Lawyers, rights groups and the technology industry have criticised legislation passed by Parliament on Thursday that requires Internet companies to quickly remove “abhorrent” content or face criminal penalties. The Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Bill 2019 is aimed at preventing the “weaponising of social media platforms” and will become law once it receives Royal Assent. It is part of the Government’s response to the Christchurch terror attack that took place in New ... ► Read more

  • Brunei introduces stoning for gay sex and adultery

    The Sultan of Brunei has introduced new laws that make anal sex and adultery punishable by stoning to death. In a move towards stricter interpretation of Islamic law, the new measures came into force on Wednesday, and also include harsher punishments for other offences. The new measures will primarily apply to Muslims, which account for about two-thirds of the country’s population of 420,000. Brunei is an absolute monarchy in which Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is both ... ► Read more

  • Macquarie Park scaffolding collapse kills apprentice

    One man has been killed and another critically injured after scaffolding at a Macquarie Park high-rise collapsed on Monday. The deceased, Christopher Cassaniti, was a formwork apprentice who only just turned 18 last week. Despite efforts to save him, he died at the scene. The second worker, 39, was freed from the rubble and taken to Royal North Shore Hospital under a police escort. Mr Cassaniti’s parents attended the scene shortly after the collapse. NSW ... ► Read more

  • Zuckerberg calls for governments to play a “more active role” in Internet regulation

    Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg has called for governments to play a “more active role” in making rules to regulate the Internet. In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Mr Zuckerberg wrote that a “standardised” approach for removing content would help keep Internet companies such as Facebook “accountable”. “By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs ... ► Read more

  • Police offer $1m reward for fresh information about Janine Vaughan’s disappearance

    Police are offering $1 million for fresh information about the disappearance of Janine Vaughan 18 years ago. The 31-year-old woman was last seen entering a red car on Bathurst’s Keppel Street after leaving a nightclub in the early hours of 7 December 2001. In 2009, a NSW coroner concluded Ms Vaughan had been murdered, however the circumstances remained a mystery. Her family have pleaded Bathurst residents to share anything they know with investigators. “Janine was ... ► Read more

  • IS sympathiser Saeed Noori sentenced to life for 2017 Flinders St attack

    Islamic State sympathiser Saeed Noori was today sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2017 Flinders Street attack that killed an 83-year-old grandfather and injured 15 others. On 21 December 2017 Mr Noori, 37, drove his mother’s SUV into pedestrians outside Flinders Street station in Melbourne’s CBD. He was sentenced in the Supreme Court of Victoria to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 30 years. Justice Elizabeth Hellingworth said it was “sheer good fortune” that ... ► Read more

  • Neo-Nazi pleads guilty to 2017 Charlottesville car attack

    The admitted neo-Nazi who deliberately drove into a group of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 pleaded guilty to hate crimes in federal court on Wednesday (local time). As part of a plea deal, James Alex Fields Jr, 21, pleaded guilty to 29 of the 30 charges brought by prosecutors relating to the 2017 attack, which killed one woman and injured 35 others. In return, prosecutors agreed that they would not seek the death penalty. ... ► Read more

  • Iran, Arab world condemn US’ Golan Heights recognition

    United States President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights has united Washington’s Gulf Arab allies and regional foe Iran in condemnation. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait criticised Monday’s (local time) move to recognise Israel’s 1981 annexation and said the territory was occupied Arab land. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi said it was an impediment to peace. Iran echoed the comments, describing Mr Trump’s decision as unprecedented ... ► Read more

  • Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer charged with extortion, embezzlement, fraud

    Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels in her claims against United States President Donald Trump, has been charged with extortion, embezzlement and fraud, according to US federal prosecutors. The US attorney’s office in New York charged Mr Avenatti with trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike, following his arrest on Monday (local time). It is alleged that he and an unnamed co-conspirator told Nike’s lawyers on 19 March that they had ... ► Read more

  • Trump campaign did not collude with Russia, says Mueller report

    Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election found no evidence of criminal activity on the part of President Donald Trump’s campaign but stopped short of exonerating the President, according to a summary of Mr Mueller’s report released by US Attorney-General William Barr. After two years of investigating allegations that Russia interfered with the 2016 election to secure victory for Mr Trump, Mr Mueller provided his report to ... ► Read more

  • EU agrees Brexit delay plan

    All 27 European Union leaders have backed a Brexit delay plan that gives the United Kingdom two options — pass Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week for an extension until 22 May, or decide by 12 April whether it will participate in the upcoming European Parliament elections. If the UK opts not to participate in the elections and the deal has not passed the House of Commons, the EU would let Britain drop out ... ► Read more

  • Erdogan’s Christchurch comments “taken out of context”

    The senior spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the leader was “unfortunately taken out of context” in comments in which he appeared to threaten violence to Australians and New Zealanders after the Christchurch massacre. Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a white supremacist, was charged with murder after a lone gunman opened fire in attacks on the two mosques during Friday prayers, killing 50 people. In a campaign rally ahead of local elections on 31 ... ► Read more

  • Teen released without charge after egging Senator Fraser Anning

    The Melbourne teen who egged Senator Fraser Anning on Saturday has been interviewed and released by police without charge, pending further investigations. Will Connolly — dubbed “Egg Boy” — was hit in the face by Senator Anning after the teen slapped an egg on the Senator’s head. The 17-year-old’s action came after the Queensland Senator blamed Muslim immigration for the Christchurch Mosque attacks that killed 50 people on Friday. Mr Connolly’s lawyer Peter Gordon said ... ► Read more

  • “Very offended”: PM to summon Turkish ambassador over Erdogan’s ANZAC comments

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison will summon Turkey’s ambassador today after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mocked the Gallipoli campaign and threatened Australian and New Zealand citizens. Mr Erdogan said the terror attacks in Christchurch last Friday were part of a wider attack on Turkey and indicative of global anti-Muslim sentiment. The Turkish President took aim at the Anzacs’ participation in the Gallipoli campaign, threatening that Australians and New Zealanders with anti-Islam sentiment who visit Turkey ... ► Read more

  • Dutch police arrest man for tram shooting

    Dutch police have arrested a Turkish man suspected of killing three people and wounding five on a tram in Utrecht on Monday. Gokmen Tanis, 37, was taken into custody after a manhunt lasting several hours, and was known to police. The city was put into lockdown after the shooting, and police warned the public not to approach Mr Tanis. Although authorities initially said it was an apparent terrorist attack, the motive remains unclear. A prosecutor ... ► Read more

  • The psychology of fear and hate, and what each of us can do to stop it

    As an immigrant to New Zealand, I am saddened and outraged by the events in Christchurch. The apparent innocence of New Zealand has been stripped away by acts of cowardice and evil. Police remain on high alert and authorities are still responding to events following the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch that took the lives of 50 people and seriously injured many more. Three people have been arrested, and one, an Australian living in ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 10 March – 16 March 2019

    49 killed in NZ mosque shootings Three suspects are in custody following deadly shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Major parties launch NSW election campaigns On Sunday the New South Wales branches of the Liberal and Labor parties officially launched their election campaigns, two weeks ahead of the 23 March polling date. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. George Pell ... ► Read more

  • US Senate overturns Trump’s border emergency declaration, setting up veto

    The United States Senate voted on Thursday (local time) to overturn President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the southwestern border. Twelve Republican Senators joined the Democrats and independents in voting down the measure 59–41, arguing that the President had exceeded his authority by trying to build a wall on the border with Mexico without congressional approval. “Never before has a President asked for funding, Congress has not provided it, and the President ... ► Read more

  • PM says Australian IS members will not return home

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reiterated that his government will not allow Australian Islamic State members to return to the country. In response to pleas for help from an Australian woman trapped with her two children in a refugee camp for IS families, Mr Morrison declared that he would not put Australians at risk by helping home-grown extremists to return from the Middle East. The woman is being held at a refugee camp in north-east ... ► Read more

  • George Pell sentenced to 6 years in gaol

    Cardinal George Pell has been sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing two choirboys during his tenure as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. Mr Pell, 77, will serve a minimum of three years and eight months before he is eligible for parole. County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd described the cardinal’s offences as “a brazen and forcible sexual attack on the victims”. “The acts were sexually graphic, both victims were visibly and ... ► Read more

  • Venezeula: Juan Guaido investigated for sabotage

    Venezuela’s Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab says he has asked the Supreme Court to investigate opposition leader Juan Guaido for allegedly sabotaging the country’s electrical system. Much of Venezuela has been without power since Thursday (local time) afternoon. President Nicolás Maduro has said that “US technology” was used to sabotage the electricity grid and has pointed the finger at the opposition. Mr Guaido says it is down to government mismanagement. Mr Saab’s announcement came just hours ... ► Read more

  • House Democrats open corruption probe into Trump

    The United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary has opened an investigation into allegations of corruption against President Donald Trump and his administration. On Monday (local time) the Judiciary Committee demanded documents from the White House, and the President’s company, charity, transition team, and election campaign, as well as several of his associates and both adult sons. Committee chairman Jerry Nadler opened the probe with letters to 81 people and entities seeking documents ... ► Read more

  • Julian Burnside QC to run as Greens candidate against Josh Frydenberg

    Outspoken barrister and human rights advocate Julian Burnside QC will run as the Greens candidate for Kooyong against incumbent Liberal MP and Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Mr Burnside said he is concerned that the political system is “broken” and that his wife had urged him to run for office. He decided to join the Greens after determining that their policies are “consistent” with his views. “The Greens used to be regarded just as a party ... ► Read more

  • PM pledges $328 million to fight domestic violence

    The Morrison Government has pledged an extra $328 million to combat domestic violence, with much of that funding going towards safe houses and frontline services. The three-year funding commitment represents the fourth and final stage of the National Action Plan that was developed, in consultation with the states, in 2010. Announcing the “record Commonwealth investment”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will also unveil a new prevention strategy to target the negative attitudes that lead to violence. ... ► Read more

  • Prince Charles charity linked to Russian money laundering network

    Key points A Moscow-based investment bank called Troika Dialog managed a network of offshore companies which funnelled money across Europe and the US. Some of the offshore companies were involved in money laundering. Dirty money was mixed with legitimate money and distributed via screen companies, making it impossible to trace back to the source. End recipients most likely were not aware of any wrongdoing. A charity run by Prince Charles was one such recipient. It ... ► Read more

  • Venezuela: Guaido calls for mass protests on return

    Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called for mass protests across the country on Monday, following a week-long tour of South American allies. In January this year, the opposition-controlled National Assembly declared incumbent President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election fraudulent, and proclaimed Mr Guaido as interim President in accordance with the country’s constitution. Mr Guaido has been recognised by more than 50 countries as the interim President of Venezuela, and defied a travel ban imposed by President ... ► Read more

  • Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to be indicted on corruption charges

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, according to the country’s Attorney-General. Mr Netanyahu is alleged to have accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen and given favours to improve his press coverage. Among the allegations is that he accepted expensive gifts including cigars, champagne and jewellery from Israeli-born film producer Arnon Milchan in return for assistance with an American visa. The Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, says ... ► Read more

  • Australia drops out of top 10 countries in rule of law index

    Australia has dropped out of the top 10 in global rankings on adherence to the rule of law, with annual global results showing more countries declined than improved their performance. Australia now stands at 11th place out of 126 countries in the World Justice Project index. The score places Australia second out of 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region, and also 11th out of 38 high income countries. The country’s best result ... ► Read more

  • Cardinal George Pell may be stripped of titles and honours following conviction

    Cardinal George Pell may be stripped of his titles and honours, following his conviction for child sexual offences, with some institutions and organisations already moving to revoke his positions. In December Cardinal Pell was convicted of five counts of child sexual offences committed against two 13-year-old boys in late 1996, but this was subject to a suppression order that was lifted on Tuesday. Vatican spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti confirmed that Cardinal Pell is no longer the ... ► Read more

  • Institutional structures create monsters like Pell

    For those who haven’t heard, the verdict on Cardinal Pell has just come out. Shocker — he’s been found guilty. If you’ve been living under a rock, Cardinal George Pell — the highest ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Australia — was accused of sexually assaulting underage boys a while ago. Strangely enough, he denied this claim. Back in December he was found guilty, and now that verdict has been released to the public. It’s ... ► Read more

  • Cardinal George Pell convicted of sexually abusing two choir boys

    Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, has been found guilty of sexually abusing two choir boys while he was Archbishop of Melbourne. Cardinal Pell was convicted on all charges, including one count of sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16 and four counts of committing an indecent act with, or in the presence of, a child. The abuse took place in 1996 at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Cardinal Pell pleaded not ... ► Read more

  • Lawsuit claims Trump kissed campaign worker without consent

    A woman who worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has sued the President, accusing him of kissing her without consent before a 2016 rally in Tampa, Florida. Alva Johnson said in the lawsuit that the alleged incident was “part of a pattern of predatory and harassing behavior towards women” by Mr Trump. “This accusation is absurd on its face,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “This never happened and is directly contradicted ... ► Read more

  • Brexit could be delayed until 2021, as PM postpones vote

    Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union could be delayed until 2021, according to senior EU officials. The United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, but Prime Minister Theresa May has been unable to secure the support of the British Parliament for her Brexit deal. Extending the negotiating period by a further 21 months is the EU’s default position, but would mean that the UK remains within the EU while plans ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 17 February – 23 February 2019

    Liberals, Nationals, Labor targeted in “sophisticated” cyber attack, says PM The Liberal, National and Labor parties were all targeted in a recent cyber attack on Federal Parliament, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. ABF admits “human error” contributed to Hakeem al-Araibi’s detention Australian Border Force (ABF) officials have admitted “human error” in their agency’s handling of Melbourne refugee Hakeem al-Araibi’s case, saying processes that might have prevented ... ► Read more

  • Bourke St rampage killer sentenced to life imprisonment

    James Gargasoulas has been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 46 years, for a 2017 attack that killed six pedestrians. On 20 January 2017 Mr Gargasoulas used a stolen car to mow down pedestrians in Melbourne’s busy Bourke Street mall. Among those dead were a three-month-old baby and a 10-year-old girl. In the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday, Justice Mark Weinberg sentenced Mr Gargasoulas to life imprisonment for each of the ... ► Read more

  • Anita Cobby’s killer dies in prison aged 66

    A judge described Michael Murphy’s crimes as “horrifying” while the crown prosecutor called them “savage”. Now, the man who abducted, raped and killed Sydney nurse Anita Cobby in 1986 has died in jail, aged 66. Murphy was one of five men, including two of his brothers, given a life sentence over the infamous killing, which shocked Australia. The media dubbed the 45-day court proceedings as “the trial of the century”. At the sentencing, Justice Alan ... ► Read more

  • Personae non grata — how ISIS members are being stripped of their citizenship and potentially left stateless

    Neil Prakash, Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana share a lot in common. All three were born in western countries. They all left their home countries to join Islamic State. And they have all now been stripped of their citizenships. Mr Prakash was born in Melbourne, Australia. He converted to Islam in 2012 and left for Syria in 2013. Ms Begum was born in the United Kingdom and flew to Syria with two friends in 2015, ... ► Read more