Law and justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Week in Brief: 9 – 15 September 2018

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

  • Skripal poisoning suspects speak on Russian state TV

    Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the two men identified by the British Government as suspects in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March, have spoken to Russian broadcaster RT, claiming they travelled to the UK simply as tourists. In the interview with RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, the pair confirmed that they are the men in the images released by UK authorities last week and said they travelled to Salisbury — the location of the attack ... ► Read more

  • CommInsure negotiated penalty for misleading heart attack cover advertising

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

  • Roman Quaedvlieg demands Dutton withdraw “disgusting” grooming comment

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

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

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

  • Banking Royal Commission reveals ClearView’s abusive sales tactics

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

  • Massive class action suit launched against Australian banks

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

  • ClearView under fire for junk life insurance policies

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

  • Banking Royal Commission: insurers admit substantial misconduct

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

  • Saipov defence cites Trump tweets in argument against death penalty

    The defence team of accused “bike path terrorist” Sayfullo Saipov has argued that tweets from US President Donald Trump and the President’s criticisms of the Department of Justice would make it impossible for Attorney-General Jeff Sessions to fairly and impartially seek the death penalty. Mr Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, is accused of driving a rented pickup truck into cyclists and runners in Lower Manhattan, New York City, killing eight people and injuring 11 others ... ► Read more

  • Indian Supreme Court decriminalises consensual gay sex

    The Supreme Court of India decriminalised consensual gay sex in a unanimous decision delivered in New Delhi on Thursday afternoon (local time). A five-judge bench determined that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which punishes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” with up to life imprisonment, shall no longer apply to homosexual activity. “Any discrimination on the basis of one‘s sexual orientation would entail a violation ... ► Read more

  • Former Victorian Greens leader accused of sexism

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

  • Skripal poisoning: UK names Russian nationals as suspects

    British investigators have named two Russian nationals as suspects in the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday (local time) the men, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are believed to be officers of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). She said the poisoning was “not a rogue operation” and was “almost certainly” approved at a senior level of the Russian ... ► Read more

  • Trump criticises Attorney-General for indicting Republican congressmen before mid-term elections

    United States President Donald Trump has publicly criticised Attorney-General Jeff Sessions and suggested that the Department of Justice has jeopardised Republican hopes for the upcoming mid-term elections by indicting two Republican congressmen. The President tweeted: “Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not ... ► Read more

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

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

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

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

  • EU and UK clash over Brexit negotiations

    Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, “strongly” opposes key parts of the British Government’s proposals for a future trade deal between the United Kingdom and the EU. Mr Barnier’s comments follow an article penned by British Prime Minister Theresa May and published in The Sunday Telegraph, in which the Prime Minister insisted she will not make compromises on the Government’s plan to leave the EU that are against the “national interest”. Included in ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 26 August–1 September 2018

    Coalition suffers worst opinion poll result in a decade An opinion poll conducted by Newspoll indicates the Coalition’s primary vote has fallen to 33%, the lowest since Brendan Nelson was opposition leader in 2008. See OPMG’s coverage of this story here. Three dead and 13 injured in shooting at video game tournament in Florida Three people have been killed and 13 injured after a gunman opened fire at an online video game tournament being live-streamed ... ► Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Trump warns American economy would crash if he was impeached

    United States President Donald Trump has warned that any attempt to impeach him could result in the crash of the American economy. The President made the claim as the White House struggles to manage the fallout after Mr Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, entered into a plea deal on behalf of Mr Trump’s former campaign chairperson, Paul Manafort, who was convicted of financial offences this week. The President, who is incensed at Michael Cohen’s ... ► Read more

  • New Zealand passes law banning foreign non-residents from buying houses

    The New Zealand Parliament yesterday passed the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill 2018, which bans many non-resident foreigners from buying existing housing, as part of the Labour Government’s election promise to tackle housing affordability. During the election campaign last September, now-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pledged to stem rising house prices and reduce growing homelessness, partly by banning foreign buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker, who introduced the bill in December last year, described the bill’s passing ... ► Read more

  • Man arrested on suspicion of terror offences after Westminster car crash

    The driver of a Ford Fiesta that was involved in a collision in front of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster yesterday morning (local time) has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences and is being held in a south London police station, according to Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu. At 7:37am the vehicle collided with cyclists and pedestrians, resulting in the hospitalisation of two people with non-life threatening injuries. The man was alone ... ► Read more

  • Government releases exposure draft of encryption-breaking legislation

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

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

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

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

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

  • Canadian ambassador expelled as relations with Saudi Arabia rapidly deteriorate

    Canadian ambassador Denis Horak has been expelled from Saudi Arabia after Canada called for the release of human rights activists. Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists. — Foreign Policy CAN (@CanadaFP) August 3, 2018 Saudi Arabia has also frozen all trade with Canada and its state airline ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 29 July – 4 August 2018

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

  • US sanctions Turkish officials over jailed pastor

    The United States Government has imposed sanctions on Turkey’s justice and interior ministers over the ongoing detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. Mr Brunson has been held in custody for almost two years over alleged links to political groups. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the US Government believes Mr Brunson is “a victim of unfair and unjust detention”, adding that the Government has “seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong.” ... ► Read more

  • Trump on Mueller investigation: ‘Stop this rigged witch hunt right now’

    US President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to condemn special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, calling for his Attorney-General Jeff Sessions to end the probe. Mr Trump said in a tweet Mr Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further” and accused special counsel Mueller of being “totally conflicted”. ..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff ... ► Read more

  • Government announces increased privacy protections for My Health Records

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

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

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

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

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

  • Accused Claremont serial killer pleads not guilty

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

  • UK will not oppose death penalty if alleged IS members are extradited

    In a letter leaked to The Telegraph, Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he would not seek any assurance that American prosecutors will not seek the death penalty if two alleged Islamic State members are extradited to the United States. Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, of west London, were captured in Syria in January. In a statement on behalf of the Prime Minister, Downing Street said it is the “long-standing position of the government ... ► Read more

  • World Court orders provisional measures in UAE-Qatar expulsion dispute

    The International Court of Justice ordered provisional measures to prevent Qataris from being expelled from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday. Qatar alleges that on 5 June 2017 the UAE implemented a policy of expelling all Qataris from the country within 14 days and denying entry to all Qataris, and that this policy violates the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). In its order, the Court ruled that ... ► Read more

  • Ex-Trump aide denies FBI claims he was a Russian agent

    A former foreign policy aide to US President Donald Trump has denied allegations he colluded with the Russian Government during the 2016 US election, calling them “misleading”. According to the FBI, Carter Page was “collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government” at that time. Court applications highlighting his alleged relationships with Russian intelligence officials have led to Mr Page being put under surveillance. The FBI released the previously classified document cache after several US organisations made ... ► Read more

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

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

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

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

  • Google appeals $5 billion dollar fine imposed by the EU

    Google is appealing a €4.3 billion (AUD $6.8 billion) fine imposed by the European Union, ordering the company to stop using its search system to block competition rivals. The EU official in charge of competition policy, Margaret Vestager, told reporters in June that Google parent Alphabet Inc had artificially and illegally promoted its own price comparison service in searches, denying its customers real choices as well as blocking other competition from being able to operate ... ► Read more

  • MGM Resorts seeks injunction against Las Vegas shooting victims

    MGM Resorts International, owner of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, insists it bears no liability for last year’s shooting in Las Vegas, and has sought protection from any legal action that may be brought by victims. The company named 1,000 shooting victims as defendants in two separate federal lawsuits, seeking an injunction to prevent it from being sued. It has only named individuals who have already sued or given notice that they intend to do so. ... ► Read more

  • US charges Russian gun activist for conspiracy to act as a foreign agent

    The United States Government has charged a 29-year-old Russian woman for allegedly being an undisclosed foreign agent. Maria Butina developed close ties with gun rights advocate groups, including the National Rifle Association, while allegedly working at the direction of a high-level Kremlin official. Ms Butina, originally from Siberia, arrived in the United States several years ago on a student visa to study at an American university. She had previously founded the Russian gun rights group, ... ► Read more

  • WTO: China files complaint against US, US files complaint against everyone else

    China has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the United States, responding to the Trump Administration’s plan to impose new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, measures that China says are protectionist and in breach of international law. In a statement on its website, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced it is pursuing remedies against the US, saying: “The slander of the US against China about gaining extra advantage through ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 8 – 14 July 2018

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

  • China: backlash after woman who defaced poster of President disappears

    Public images of Chinese President Xi Jinping have been defaced in protest over the disappearance of a young woman who splashed ink on a poster of the leader in Shanghai. The woman livestreamed herself splashing black ink onto the poster of Xi Jingping on Twitter, influencing others to do the same. #紧急关注这位女士# 刚刚微信朋友圈看到这个视频,为这位女士担忧,担忧她的安全,这个直播视频已经在国内流传,我想知道她的名字,请上海的朋友多打听她现在的状况,拜托大家关注,不要让她无声无息地消失,“捍卫宪法,言论自由无罪!” pic.twitter.com/idwO8lxNwj — 华涌 (@HuaYong798) July 4, 2018 “I oppose Xi Jinping and his authoritarian dictatorship,” she said, denouncing the Communist Party before ... ► Read more

  • Tax office says Australians underpay $8.7 billion a year

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

  • Senator Hanson-Young to sue Senator Leyonhjelm for defamation

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

  • Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court

    US President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the country’s Supreme Court on Monday (local time), to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy who last month announced his retirement from the Court effective from 31 July. Judge Kavanaugh is presently a judge of the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and clerked for the outgoing Justice Kennedy. In making the nomination, the ... ► Read more

  • Father who killed his two children in West Pennant Hills found dead

    A father who shot and killed his two teenage children in a northwest Sydney suburb has been found dead. The teenagers were found dead in their home on Hull Road in West Pennant Hills on Thursday night, sparking a massive manhunt for the suspect. Their father, 68 year old John Edwards, was eventually found dead only a few kilometres away in a house in Normanhurst on Friday morning. Police officials have stated that the shooting ... ► Read more

  • European Parliament reopens debate on controversial copyright directive

    The European Parliament voted to reopen debate on the controversial Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market on Thursday, giving Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) more time to debate the directive ahead of another vote in September. The directive is part of a bundle of proposed legislative measures to harmonise certain aspects of copyright law across the European Union’s member states. Copyright owners, creators, publishers, record labels, journalists, and their respective representative industry ... ► Read more

  • Malaysian ex-PM Najib Razak charged with corruption

    Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with corruption over his role in the 1MDB state development fund scandal. Following his unprecedented election loss in May, a new investigation into Mr Najib commenced. The former Prime Minister has long been accused of pocketing $700 million from 1MDB. Mr Najib was arrested by anti-corruption authorities on Tuesday and detained overnight.   He faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment if found guilty. 1MDB, set ... ► Read more

  • Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced to 12 months detention for child abuse cover up

    Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, 67, has been sentenced to 12 months detention by the Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday. Archbishop Wilson is the most senior Catholic official to have been convicted of concealing child sexual abuse. He will serve half of the maximum sentence of two years imprisonment. The Archbishop was previously found guilty for failing to report to the police the historical indecent assault of two altar boys by the hands of priest Jim ... ► Read more

  • Holocaust-denying daughter of Hitler’s right-hand man dies aged 88

    Gudrun Burwitz, daughter of Heinrich Himmler, the architect of the Holocaust and Hitler’s second-in-command, died in or near Munich on 24 May aged 88, German media reported over the weekend. Burwitz, sometimes called a “Nazi princess”, denied the Holocaust until her death, remaining unrepentant and loyal to her father, and gave assistance to former Nazis convicted of or suspected of war crimes. Himmler would often have his blonde-haired and blue-eyed daughter by his side as ... ► Read more

  • Alleged child molester Malka Leifer has been denied bail

    Malka Leifer, an alleged child molester wanted in Australia, has been denied bail in a decision handed down by the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday (local time). Ms Leifer, who is a former principal at an ultra-Orthodox girls school in Melbourne, fled to Israel after she was accused of molesting dozens of school children. The former principal is wanted on 74 charges of child abuse in Australia and is expected to face an extradition hearing ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 24–30 June 2018

    Labor announces, reverses, plan to repeal legislated tax cuts After announcing on Tuesday that Labor would repeal the tax cuts legislated by the Government for businesses with a turnover of $10 to $50 million if they won government, Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten has reversed his position, stating that the proposed repeal was “creating great uncertainty”. See the ABC’s coverage of this story here. Government concedes final stage of tax cuts won’t pass Senate ... ► Read more

  • WTO rules for Australia in tobacco plain packaging dispute

    Australia’s Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 has contributed to improving public health, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel ruled on Thursday. The panel rejected arguments brought by Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Indonesia that alternative measures would be equally effective, and disagreed that Australia’s law unjustifiably limited the exercise of intellectual property rights. The four complainant countries alleged that Australia had breached article 2.2 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which prohibits ... ► Read more

  • US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement after 30 year long career

    US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement, ending a 30-year long career in the court. Mr Kennedy, who is now 81 years old, said on Thursday morning that he will step down from his position, giving US president Donald Trump the chance to fill the vacancy in the country’s top court with a more conservative Justice. The soon-to-be former Supreme Court Justice, who’s retirement will take effect on July 31, has become ... ► Read more

  • Amnesty International accuses 13 Burmese officials of atrocities

    Amnesty International has accused 13 officials, including Burmese Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlang, of playing a key role in the murder, rape and deportation of Burma’s Rohingya minorities. Following a nine-month investigation into the treatment of the Rohingya in Burma’s western state of Rakhine, the human rights group says its report is the most comprehensive account of how the military forced 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh after 25 August 2017. The Rohingya are ... ► Read more

  • US Supreme Court upholds Trump’s travel ban

    The Supreme Court of the United States upheld President Donald Trump’s policy of denying entry to arrivals from several predominantly Muslim countries on Tuesday. The decision — Trump v Hawaii (US Sup Ct, No 17-965585, 26 June 2018) — vindicates the President’s powers to control immigration at a time when his administration is under fire over the treatment of migrants and illegal immigrants. President Trump called the outcome a “tremendous victory for the American people ... ► Read more

  • Indonesian terrorist Aman Abdurrahman sentenced to death for 2016 attack

    Aman Abdurrahman, the radical Indonesian cleric behind a 2016 attack on a Starbucks café in Jakarta, was sentenced to death on Friday. Abdurrahman ordered militants affiliated with Islamic State to carry out attacks, including the Starbucks suicide bombing that left seven dead. Considered to be Indonesia’s most dangerous terrorist, he formed the group responsible for suicide bombings in Surabaya last month, which were carried out by families, including young children. Prosecutors have called Abdurrahman a ... ► Read more

  • Israeli PM’s wife charged with fraud and breaches of trust

    The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breaches of trust on Thursday, over allegations that she misused state funds at the couple’s official residence. Sarah Netanyahu, 59, allegedly spent USD $100,000 (AUD $135,000) of state money to pay for meals at the Prime Minister’s residence, according to an indictment filed in the Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Thursday. On top of those expenses, Ms Netanyahu also illegally paid approximately ... ► Read more

  • Former Auburn Deputy Mayor Salim Mehajer sentenced for electoral fraud

    Former Auburn deputy mayor Salim Mehajer was sentenced to 21 months of imprisonment for electoral fraud on Friday, and will spend at least 11 months in prison before being eligible for parole. Mr Mehajer was convicted of 77 instances of electoral fraud, relating to the rigging of the 2012 local government election. Magistrate Beverley Schurr described Mr Mehajer’s offences as striking “at the heart of the electoral system”. In the space of on hour in ... ► Read more

  • Senate approves Turnbull Government’s income tax plan

    Personal income tax will be cut by $144 billion over the next seven years, after the Senate voted to pass the Government’s Treasury Laws Amendment (Personal Income Tax Plan) Bill 2018 on Thursday. The bill passed 37 to 33 with nine cross-bench Senators voting with the Government; Labor, the Greens, and independent Senator Tim Storer voted against. Those opposed to the Bill argued that it was too generous to high-income earners, who Labor Senator Penny ... ► Read more

  • Australia to conduct world first inquiry into workplace sexual harassment

    The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reached a new world first with its plan to launch an independent national inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace. The investigation, which will last for 12 months, will be conducted by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins. “The timing was right, the appetite for change is there, and we have all the functions to make sure we can help Australia lead the globe on finding new solutions for sexual ... ► Read more

  • Italian Minister calls for expulsion of non-Italian Roma

    Far-right Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has called for a census of the country’s Roma population, and for all non-Italian Roma to be expelled. Faced with outrage — both domestic and international — Mr Salvini defended his plans, vowing to turn “words into action”. “I’m not giving up and I’m pushing ahead! The Italians and their safety first,” Mr Salvini tweeted. The move continues Mr Salvini’s hard line against migrants into Europe, which included a ... ► Read more

  • Woolworths ceases providing single-use plastic bags

    Supermarket giant Woolworths stopped providing single-use plastic bags to customers on Wednesday, ahead of a statewide ban in Queensland. From 1 July retailers in Queensland will be prohibited from supplying lightweight single-use plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns in thickness. This follows similar laws in the ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania, while Victoria and Western Australia will also introduce bans this year. New South Wales does not intend to introduce its own ... ► Read more

  • Australian nun permitted to remain in Philippines after deportation scare

    The Philippine Justice Department has nullified an order to deport Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox. Sister Fox’s visa was revoked by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration on the basis of alleged political activity. However, the Justice Department granted her appeal just hours before the 71-year-old nun was due to leave the country. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte personally ordered the investigation of Sister Fox for “illegal political activities”. The Bureau of Immigration arrested her in April ... ► Read more

  • Recording captures crying children after separation from their parents at US Border

    Image credit: ABC News News agency ProPublica has obtained an audio recording from within the US Customs and Border Protection facility, in which 10 Central American children can be heard crying and wailing after they were separated by their parents last week. The distraught children repeatedly cry out for their ‘Mami’ and ‘Papá’, while one Border Patrol worker makes a joke saying, “Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor.” A determined six-year-old ... ► Read more

  • Brawl breaks out at Liberal Party meeting in Arncliffe

    A man has been hospitalised following a brawl at a branch meeting of the New South Wales Liberal Party on Monday night. People were seen running from Naji’s Café in the south-eastern Sydney suburb of Arncliffe after police were called around 7:00pm. The café is owned by Liberal Councillor Michael Nagi, one of three councillors who represent Bayside Council’s Mascot Ward. An eyewitness, who does not want to be identified, claims that another member attempted ... ► Read more

  • Audi chief executive now the highest official arrested for emissions cheating scandal

    The chief executive of luxury auto manufacturer, Audi, was arrested on Monday morning on the suspicion of fraud in relation to the German car maker’s emissions cheating scandal. Rupert Stadler, 55, was detained a week after his residence was searched. German prosecutors have stated that Mr Stadler was a focus of their probe into any manipulation of Audi emission controls. The arrest has thrown parent company Volkswagen (VW) into further turmoil since it has attempted ... ► Read more

  • High Court clears way for search engine defamation case

    Search engines may be liable for defamation if search results suggest false information about a person, the High Court ruled on Wednesday. In 2016 the Victorian Court of Appeal dismissed Milorad Trkulja’s claim that Google had defamed him by displaying photographs of him when searches were made for phrases such as “Melbourne underworld crime”, as well as by displaying text and autocomplete predictions with similar suggestions. On Wednesday, the High Court of Australia unanimously allowed ... ► Read more

  • Meet Adam. He’s challenging Florida’s bump fire stock ban.

    In response to the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018 and the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017, lawmakers in Florida enacted a raft of new laws aimed at reducing gun violence in schools. Included among these new laws is a purported ban on “bump fire stocks”, to which many individuals and organisations in Florida have reacted negatively. One such individual is Adam Roberts, a native of Florida. Adam has decided to personally ... ► Read more

  • Abortion clinic “safe zones” introduced in NSW

    Photo credit: J Bar (Wikimedia) — CC BY 3.0 licence The NSW Parliament has passed legislation that imposes 150-metre “safe access zones” around clinics and hospitals that provide abortions, under which protesters face imprisonment for harassing people outside of the facilities. The Public Health Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2018, which now awaits assent from the Governor of NSW, aims to ensure the privacy and safety of women accessing the clinics, and ... ► Read more

  • Turnbull Government introduces tough new terror laws focused on cyberspace

    New Australian terror laws will now force tech service providers such as Telstra, Google and Facebook to co-operate with Australian intelligence and security agencies who are seeking to gain access to the encrypted data of suspected terrorists, hackers and cyber criminals. The tough new laws will be the most comprehensive legislative model to date, making this cyber-surveillance initiative one that will be observed by the world carefully. The legislation, which has been drafted by the ... ► Read more

  • US Supreme Court sides with baker who refused to serve a same-sex couple

    The US Supreme Court has reached a ruling in the favour of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple on the grounds of religious freedom. In July of 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins visited the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado to order a cake. The owner of the shop, Jack Phillips, said he refused to provide a cake for same-sex couples. The couple made a complaint to ... ► Read more

  • Trump: ‘I have the absolute right to pardon myself’

    US President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Monday (local time) that he has an “absolute right” to pardon himself from any federal crimes, but that he will not need to because he has not done anything wrong. Mr Trump wrote: As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ... ► Read more

  • CBA to pay $700 million fine for breaching anti-money laundering, counter-terror financing laws

    The Commonwealth Bank will pay a $700 million fine for breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing laws. It comes after the financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC accused the bank in 2017 of serious and systemic breaches of the laws. According to a statement made by AUSTRAC, CBA has admitted to the late filing of 53,506 reports on transactions above $10,000 made through its intelligent deposit machines (IDMs), and that 149 suspicious matter reports were either filed ... ► Read more

  • Weinstein to face trial over sex crime allegations

    American film producer Harvey Weinstein has been indicted for sex crimes by a grand jury in New York and will face a full criminal trial, following a flood of accusations that began in October 2017. Mr Weinstein, 66, is charged with one two counts of rape and one count of committing a criminal sexual act, which allegedly occurred in 2004 and 2013. He faces between five and 25 years imprisonment for each offence. The charges ... ► Read more

  • Banking Royal Commission continues with focus on small business loans

    Spotlight on small businesses Michael Hodge QC, senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission, said that during this fortnight of hearings the Commission will seek information to answer three questions: What responsible lending obligations should apply to loans to small businesses? When would a bank taking action against a default on a small business loan be unfair, unconscionable, or fall below community standards? How have banks and regulators responded to calls for fairer dealings with small ... ► Read more

  • Investigators convinced MH17 downed by Russian missile

    The multinational Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has identified the missile involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as being of Russian origin. On its path from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam, Flight MH17 was struck by a missile on 17 July 2014 while over eastern Ukraine, just 50 kilometres from the Ukraine-Russia border. All 298 people aboard flight MH17 perished. The JIT claims that Russia’s 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade based in Kursk was involved. ... ► Read more

  • Trump blocking users on Twitter ruled as unconstitutional

    A federal judge in New York ruled on Thursday (local time) that US President Donald Trump blocking critics on Twitter is unconstitutional because it violates the right to free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The ruling was handed down by US district judge, Naomi Riece Buchwald, and came in response to a lawsuit filed against Mr Trump by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and several Twitter users. ... ► Read more

  • Archbishop Phillip Wilson found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse

    Image credit: Sky News Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson is now the most senior Catholic official to be convicted of concealing child sexual abuse after he was found guilty by a New South Wales court on Tuesday. The 67-year-old was accused of covering up abuse by priest Jim Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region in the 1970s in an attempt to protect the church’s reputation, Magistrate Robert Stone said. The archbishop could spend two years ... ► Read more

  • 104 year old Australian scientist has no hesitations in final hours before he ends his life

    Professor David Goodall, Australia’s oldest scientist at 104 years of age, held a press conference in the Swiss city of Basel to discuss his plans to end his life through a voluntary assisted suicide program in Switzerland. The end of life clinic has approved Professor Goodall’s application, following an assessment of the Professor’s mindset on Tuesday. Professor Goodall appeared before a large crowd of international media reporters, a sight which he was surprised to see. ... ► Read more

  • Dual citizenship crisis arises again: 4 MPs and 1 Senator resign

    Four federal MPs have announced their resignation following the High Court’s determination that Senator Katy Gallagher was ineligible for election to Parliament due to her dual citizenship status. The ruling against the Labor Senator was made because she did not renounce her British citizenship before the nomination deadline for the 2016 federal election. MPs Rebekha Sharkie (Mayo, South Australia), Josh Wilson (Fremantle, Western Australia), Susan Lamb (Longman, Queensland) and Justine Keay (Braddon, Tasmania), who are ... ► Read more

  • AMP faces two shareholder class actions

    Two separate class actions have been launched against AMP, ahead of the financial services company’s annual general meeting on Thursday. The actions are being instituted on behalf of aggrieved shareholders, in response to the damaging revelations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Current and former shareholders can register their interest with both law firms. Persons who held shares in AMP between 24 May 2013 and 13 April ... ► Read more

  • Breaking: Pell to stand trial for multiple historical sexual offence charges

    Image credit: Getty Images Cardinal George Pell will stand trial for multiple historical sexual offence charges, following a Magistrate’s decision in Melbourne this morning. Cardinal Pell has pleaded not guilty to any of the charges, strenuously denying all of them. While Magistrate Belinda Wallington has committed Cardinal Pell to face some charges, many, including the most serious charges, have been dismissed for lack of evidence. Among the charges dismissed were allegations of sexual offences by ... ► Read more

  • AMP Chair Catherine Brenner resigns

    AMP chairwoman Catherine Brenner has stepped down amid allegations of misconduct by the company’s staff, sparked by evidence presented at the banking royal commission. In addition to Ms Brenner’s resignation, a statement issued by AMP says directors will take a 25% pay cut until 2019 as a result of the commission’s findings. It is still considering disciplinary measures for staff directly involved in charging fees for no services. General counsel and company secretary Brian Salter ... ► Read more

  • Second round of Banking Royal Commission hearings wrap up

    Senior counsel Rowena Orr QC gave her closing statement to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry on Friday afternoon. Ms Orr summarised the hearings: “Over the last two weeks the Commission has heard evidence of misconduct, and of conduct falling below community standards and expectations in relation to the provision of financial advice by employees and authorised representatives of financial service entities.” Ms Orr then proceeded to review ... ► Read more

  • Bill Cosby found guilty on all counts of indecent assault in re-trial

    Image credit: Brendan McDermid (Reuters) Bill Cosby has been found guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault after 14 hours of deliberation in court on Thursday. A jury of seven men and five women reached a unanimous guilty verdict that could see Mr Cosby, aged 80, serving up to 10 years imprisonment on each of the three counts. The actor and comedian, famously known for his role on the television sitcom The ... ► Read more

  • Danish inventor Peter Madsen sentenced to life imprisonment for Kim Wall murder

    Danish inventor, Peter Madsen, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his submarine in 2017. The court found Mr Madsen, 47, guilty for the premediated murder and sexual assault of Ms Wall, 30. Ms Wall’s remains were found dismembered by Danish police at sea on 21 August 2017, 11 days after she interviewed Mr Madsen on his homemade submarine. Copenhagen City Court judge Anette Burkoe told the court, ... ► Read more

  • Financial planning regulator puts members before their clients

    The Financial Planning Association (FPA), which regulates financial planners, appears to have put the interests of their members above the interests of their members’ clients, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Thursday. This follows testimony from Fair Work Commissioner Donna McKenna on Tuesday, during which Ms McKenna told the Royal Commission that financial advisors Henderson Maxwell gave advice that would have lost her $500,000 in a ... ► Read more

  • ANZ executives failed to act on reports of significant misconduct

    ANZ’s head of wealth solutions and partnerships Kieran Forde appeared before the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry on Monday afternoon to answer questions about five financial advisors who are accused of fraud, misappropriation, and misleading or deceiving customers. An ANZ financial advisor known as “Mr A” advised his clients to invest in property. Mr Forde said Mr A should not have given this advice, but Mr A convinced ... ► Read more

  • NAB failed to report financial adviser fraud

    NAB did not report instances of financial advisers falsifying documents to either the corporate regulator or Financial Planning Association, allowing employees who were terminated for misconduct to find work elsewhere, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Tuesday morning. NAB senior executive Andrew Hagger resumed his evidence from Monday afternoon, being questioned by senior counsel Rowena Orr QC about why NAB failed to alert the Australian Securities ... ► Read more

  • ANZ, AMP financial planners gave inappropriate advice; AMP allowed planners to continue despite failing audits

    ANZ had a leaderboard that displayed the revenue generated by financial planners, the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard today. After asking why ANZ needed financial law reform to “to tell it to emphasise the best interests of the client over the growth of the business”, senior counsel Rowena Orr QC wryly asked Kylie Rixon, chief risk officer of ANZ’s wealth division, whether the bank had considered establishing ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 15–21 April 2018

    Story of the week ‘Disturbing’ revelations from Banking Royal Commission hearings This week showed a marked change in the nature of the hearings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. While previous hearings have uncovered relatively minor misconduct coupled with incompetent levels of oversight, this week’s hearings have ranged from tedious to absurd, revealing that the industry is riddled with systemic fraud and misconduct. In previous hearings the ... ► Read more

  • Banking Royal Commission: CBA charge dead people, Westpac admits giving poor advice

    The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard on Thursday that deceased customers of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) were being charged fees for services they did not receive. Court Financial, a subsidiary of CBA, charged these fees despite being aware that the customer had died — in one instance Court Financial was charging fees for more than a decade after the customer’s death. These revelations followed testimony ... ► Read more