Australasia

Australia becoming more corrupt, warns former judge

Australia is becoming more corrupt because successive federal governments have failed to create an effective national anti-corruption body similar to the NSW Independent Commission against Corruption, a… Nick O’Malley The Sydney Morning Herald Writing in support of a national anti-corruption body, David Harper, a former Court of Appeals justice at the Supreme Court of Victoria, noted that in 2012 Australia ranked seventh in… “The lack of a federal anti-corruption agency remains a reason why we have never come close to ... Read More »

Trolley man Michael Rogers gets a new phone and an epic feed as charity money rolls in

Australia’s terrorist-fighting superhero is slowly beginning to turn his life around with an enormous sum of cash. Here’s how he plans to spend it. Ben Graham news.com.au It has been a rollercoaster week for Melbourne’s latest superhero Michael Rogers to say the least. It was just five weeks ago that the homeless legend — who has come to be dubbed as the trolley man for his jihadi-fighting credentials — was released from jail for stealing a bike. Now he is ... Read More »

Paul Keating says raising superannuation to 12 per cent will ‘barely cut it’

Former prime minister Paul Keating has rejected a Grattan Institute report that suggested scrapping plans to raise compulsory super payments from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent, and raising the… ABC Mr Keating, whose government introduced compulsory superannuation contributions, said Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley had a “miserable view” of the world. Mr Keating told 7.30 that super payments had to be raised to 12 per cent, though that would “barely cut it”. “When I introduced super 32 years ago, people retired ... Read More »

Judge tears up $35m settlement between ASIC and Westpac in lending case

The corporate regulator and Westpac Banking Corp have been forced back to the drawing board after the Federal Court threw out the bank’s offer to pay a $35 million settlement for contravening responsible lending laws. Sarah Danckert WAtoday Federal Court judge Nye Perram tore up the settlement between the parties on Tuesday on a technicality after finding the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Westpac could not agree on exactly how, or how many times, Westpac broke the… The ... Read More »

Child refugees to return to Nauru

Scott Morrison says child refugees relocated from Nauru to Australia for medical attention will be sent back to the offshore processing centre. Richard Ferguson The Australian The Australian reported earlier this month that the Prime Minister plans to transfer all children off Nauru by the end of the year. Mr Morrison said there are only 30 children on the island now. But he said this morning that those remaining 30 children will be left on the island unless they need medical help ... Read More »

Bangladesh-Myanmar: The Danger of Forced Rohingya Repatriation

Bangladesh and Myanmar have struck a deal for the involuntary repatriation of over 2,000 Rohingya refugees. ICG But the agreement is rushed and threatens stability on both sides of the border. Myanmar and Bangladesh should halt the plan and instead work to create conditions conducive to a safe and dignified return. What’s new?  Bangladesh’s government is preparing to return several thousand Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. Under pressure from China, the two countries have agreed to start implementing a repatriation agreement ... Read More »

Preserving historical buildings: the most sustainable thing is not to build new stuff

Making heritage buildings sustainable is just as important as preserving their history – and they can offer energy-efficiency lessons of their own Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore The Guardian After grinding grain since 1897, Sydney’s Crago Flour Mill finally cranked to a halt in the mid 80s. Over the years, this handsome industrial Newtown site became rundown, a dusty labyrinth of rooms sprawled over four buildings. Given the job in 2008 of transforming the mill into 47 strata studios, architects Allen Jack+Cottier (AJ+C) ... Read More »

Government slashes charity Foodbank’s funding by half

A food charity says a federal government funding cut will put in danger its ability to get essential items to needy Australians. AAP – SBS A charity feeding 710,000 Australians every month says the federal government has cut its budget almost in half just weeks before Christmas. Foodbank says funding for its Key Staples program, which makes sure essential supplies like rice, bread and vegetables get to hungry people, will drop from $750,000 to $427,000. “We are dumbfounded,” Foodbank chief ... Read More »

Almost 300 asylum seekers prevented from sailing to Australia in past year

Exclusive: Documents show international authorities ‘disrupted’ 10 alleged attempts from international ports Helen Davidson The Guardian International authorities, with the assistance of Australia, have “disrupted” at least 10 alleged attempts to transport almost 300 asylum seekers to Australia by boat in the… The documents, from the federal home affairs department, record the number of “foreign law enforcement agency” (FLEA) disruptions since 2013. FLEA disruptions were set up as one of three components of the Abbott government’s border policy – alongside boat ... Read More »

Bourke St attack: More than $50k raised for ‘Trolley man’ who assisted police

A crowdfunding campaign has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the man who heroically attempted to assist police with a shopping trolley during the Bourke Street mall attack. SBS The man dubbed by the internet as “Trolley man” for attempting to ram a supermarket trolley into Bourke Street mall attacker Hassan Khalif Shire Ali has been identified as 46-year-old Michael Rogers. Mr Rogers, who is believed to be homeless, has been hailed as a hero after video footage showed him attempting ... Read More »

Feted as hero after life of crime, Trolley Man just wanted to do something right

Michael Rogers has been feted as a “homeless hero” after he tried to ram a shopping trolley into the terrorist in the Bourke Street attack. Jewel Topsfield The Age Since earning the title “Trolley Man” on Friday, he’s been mobbed by strangers wanting selfies, hunted by the media and lionised in tributes at the site of the tragedy. A crowdfunding campaign “Not all heroes wear capes” had raised more than $90,000 by Sunday evening to thank him. But in an ... Read More »

World War I ended 100 years ago, but what if it happened now?

Meet James, he is 21 and a labourer. He loves the cricket, hopes to start his own business and hangs out with his mate Harry on weekends. Laura Gartry ABC He’s been dating his girlfriend Ashleigh for six months, and she’s told her best friend Lucy she’s pretty sure he’s the one. James has never considered joining the army and the closest he’s come to violence is seeing a fight at the pub. Then war breaks out on the other ... Read More »

His face was that familiar, his presence in so many lives that real

“Let’s go get coffee at Pellegrini’s” is about as Melbourne a thing to say as “Meet you under the clocks at Flinders Street” – maybe more so if you had fallen under the cultural sway of the Italian immigrants who helped make Melbourne’s urban fabric more urban-seeming in the… Matt Holden The Age There was a time not so long ago when there weren’t that many places to go for a coffee in the CBD, especially outside the nine-to-five. But ... Read More »

Labor promises $160m republic ballot as first step to constitutional change

Australians will be asked to vote on a republic in a $160 million national plebiscite under a Labor plan that rejects a postal survey in favour of a public ballot to resolve decades of dispute. David Crowe Brisbane Times Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has signed off on the funding plan to ask voters a “yes or no” question in the next term of Parliament, without any funding for official campaigns for or against the change. The plan assumes the same ... Read More »

Women return to abusive partners as low welfare payments force them into poverty

SINGLE mothers are returning to abusive relationships because miserly welfare payments are forcing them and their children into poverty, they say. Lauren Novak The Advertiser Women representing the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children told a federal parliamentary inquiry in Adelaide yesterday that almost a quarter of mothers it recently surveyed had returned to an abusive partner because they could not survive… This was largely because the federal welfare system cuts payments to single parents when their youngest ... Read More »

Human rights lawyer Julian Burnside flips support for Wynne to Greens

Planning Minister Richard Wynne has lost a high profile supporter as he battles to defend his inner city seat of Richmond from the Greens at the state election. Noel Towell The Age Barrister and asylum seeker advocate Julian Burnside QC, a long-time supporter of Mr Wynne, has defected to the Greens and written to Richmond residents calling on them to vote for the party’s challenger in the seat Kathleen Maltzahn. Mr Burnside will not be voting for either candidate in Richmond, ... Read More »