Australasia

Costello wants govt to run workers’ super

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The Turnbull government won’t say if it backs a call for it to assume control of billions of dollars in workers’ compulsory superannuation contributions now being managed by banks and industry funds Australian Associated Press Herald Sun Former treasurer Peter Costello is critical of the way default funds are being run and wants a new government agency to instead invest the money About $2.3 trillion in workers’ super is sitting in private accounts as part of the former Keating government’s ... Read More »

National Firearms Non-Agreement: Should kids have ‘permits’, ‘licences’ or no guns at all?

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Not one state government is prepared to say when it will fully comply with post-Port Arthur reforms, according to an ABC survey of state and territory ministers. By political reporter Jackson Gothe-Snape  ABC Instead many have disagreed with a report from University of Sydney academic Associate Professor Philip Alpers, which sets out areas where each state laws fall short of the National Firearms Agreement. This agreement, widely known as the NFA, sets out minimum gun regulations in areas such as ... Read More »

Police gun data shows extent of private arsenals in suburban Australia

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Private gun owners are stockpiling arsenals of more than 300 firearms in suburban homes in some parts of the country, according to new data obtained by the Greens. Exclusive by the National Reporting Team’s Lorna Knowles and Alison Branley ABC The trend is thought to be driving an overall increase in gun ownership nationally. Gun-control advocates say the private caches are “honeypots for criminals”, and also pose a public safety risk if their owners become mentally unstable. The most comprehensive ... Read More »

George Brandis slaps down Peter Dutton over ‘un-Australian’ lawyers attack

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Australia’s first law officer has delivered a sharp rebuke to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, and reminded government ministers of the need to respect the rule of law and authority of the courts In a Sunday night speech to the International Bar Association in Sydney that initially flew under-the-radar, Attorney-General George Brandis delivered a full-throated defence of the rule of law and the legal profession. James Massola The Sydney Morning Herald While he did not name Mr Dutton, Senator Brandis’ comments have been interpreted as a repudiation of his cabinet colleague, who ... Read More »

Would these people get help to die under Victoria’s proposed euthanasia laws?

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Would these people get help toIt could soon be legal to help some terminally ill Victorians die Our state MPs are expected to hold a conscience vote in mid-October on whether to allow voluntary assisted dying in certain circumstances. The Age The proposed laws are, in part, based on the findings of an independent panel of medical experts on when people should be given the right to die. We asked the panel’s chair, Professor Brian Owler, what would happen in six hypothetical ... Read More »

Let’s face it, we’ll be no safer with a national facial recognition database

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A commitment to share the biometric data of most Australians – including your driving licence photo – agreed at Thursday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will result in a further erosion of our privacy. That sharing is not necessary. It will be costly. Bruce Baer Arnold The Conversation But will it save us from terrorism? Not all, although it will give people a false sense of comfort. Importantly, it will allow politicians and officials to show that they are ... Read More »

Locking up 10-year-olds without trial barbaric, says human rights group

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The revelation that under new laws 10-year-olds could be held without charge for a fortnight shows politicians are badly failing to defend freedom while claiming to uphold it. In making this comment today, the president of the human rights group Liberty Victoria, Jessie Taylor, joined the Law Council of Australia and others in condemning this decision by federal, state and territory leaders. Justice Minister Michael Keenan says police have no powers to act against an 11-year-old would-be terrorist. Said Ms ... Read More »

Government risks over reach on tougher national security laws

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While, at first glance, uploading all of Australia’s drivers licence photos into a central data base in the name of national security seems logical, it is not without some serious… Editorial The Canberra Times The worst is the obvious potential for “big brother” style surveillance of individuals who may not represent threats to the safety of the realm through the rapidly growing national network of CCTV cameras in shopping centres, on streets and… Critics, including members of the Australian Privacy ... Read More »

LCA calls for funding to support lawyers’ ‘staggering’ pro bono efforts

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The millions of free hours lawyers across the country have dedicated to everyday people during their time of greatest need have been lauded by the Law Council of Australia Melissa Coade Lawyers Weekly “Staggering” is how the Law Council of Australia (LCA) has described 2.86 million free hours provided by lawyers since 2007. Responding to a new report published by the Australian Pro Bono Centre, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC said that contributions of such scale were unique to the ... Read More »

Miners leave themselves open to corruption, report finds

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US President Donald Trump described it as “draining the swamp”, a political promise he made to rid business and politics of deep-seated bribery and… Adele Ferguson The Sydney Morning Herald It could equally be applied to Australia, which has had its fair share of scandals and political capture in the past few… But understanding where the risks lie can be a useful first step in tackling the problem. Following a string of mining scandals, Australia’s biggest mining states Western Australia and ... Read More »

Helping someone die well is the final act of caring I can give as a doctor

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Supporting assisted dying takes nothing away from anyone, but provides enormous comfort to a very small group of people Nick Carr The Guardian Claire and Bob have been together so long it’s impossible to imagine one without the other. He’s a walking – well, waddling – textbook of modern medicine. With his impressive girth, arthritic hips, diabetes, hypertension and gout, I get to see a lot of Bob. So it was unusual when it was Claire who presented with some ... Read More »

How Tasmanians have four times more power than voters in NSW and Victoria

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There’s a creeping disparity in Australia’s democracy that gets surprisingly little attention Population growth patterns mean votes cast in our biggest states are becoming less potent at the federal level compared to votes cast in smaller states. Matt Wade Analysis by economist Terry Rawnsley of how many federal members of parliament there are per person in each state has underscored the discrepancy. The Canberra Times In Tasmania, the smallest state, there are just over 30,000 people for each federal seat ... Read More »

Here’s why you may not be able to bypass paywalls through web search anymore

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The era of using a Google search to bypass a news website’s paywall may be coming to an end Google has announced that subscription news websites will no longer have to provide users three free articles per day under its ‘Google first click free… ABC The move has been welcomed by media giants such as News Corp, which have paywalls in place and have long complained that the policy essentially forced them to give their content away for free if ... Read More »

We should beware of ceding tobacco to the criminals

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No one who has watched a loved relative die of a smoking-induced disease will have much sympathy for the tobacco industry To see someone with emphysema fighting for every breath, or to watch the painful decline of someone with lung cancer – these are harsh lessons that change lives. Editorial The Sydney Morning Herald Smoking doesn’t just kill; it kills with pain, horror and indignity. Many people will thus understand and sympathise immediately with Andrew Forrest’s new anti-smoking campaign, intended ... Read More »

Stonnington council suspends staff after tracking them via phone records

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A Melbourne council is using mobile phone records to monitor its staff, sparking a bitter workplace dispute over “Orwellian surveillance” that could have implications for anyone using a phone provided by their employer. Cameron Houston and Chris Vedelago The Age City of Stonnington recently suspended four enforcement officers who it accuses of rorting ratepayers by claiming to have been at work, when phone records indicated they were outside the… The officers could face dismissal if the allegations are upheld. Three of ... Read More »

Why didn’t I blow the whistle on harassment? Because I knew I’d never work again

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There seems to be one resounding question surrounding the controversial dismissal of Channel Seven Adelaide cadet reporter Amy Taeuber​, who was allegedly sacked after she made a complaint of sexual harassment, and that is: “How can this still be happening?” Wendy Squires The Canberra Times Well, I have an answer that comes in the form of another question, and that is: “How aren’t we hearing about instances like this more?” Because, in my near-on 30 years in the media, not only have ... Read More »