Aide fired after Parliament House ‘sex videos’ shock Australia

The crisis engulfing Australia’s “toxic” politics has continued to grow following the emergence of videos showing staff members performing sex acts in parliament, leading to one senior aide being fired. One video showed the aide performing a sex act on a female MP’s desk. Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the videos as “disgraceful”. It comes after a former staff member revealed how she feared losing her job following an alleged sexual assault. Brittany Higgins alleges she was raped by senior colleague in an office in March 2019, but says she felt pressured not to report the incident to police. It … Continue reading Aide fired after Parliament House ‘sex videos’ shock Australia

Sex consent app proposal sparks backlash

Australians have derided a suggestion by the News South Wales (NSW) police commissioner that an app could be used to register sexual consent. On Thursday, Mick Fuller championed the idea of an app where people could digitally record their mutual agreement to have sex. He said the technology could be used to establish “positive consent”. But many people have criticised the proposal as short-sighted and potentially open to abuse. Concerns have also been raised about whether it could be used for state surveillance. In recent weeks, Australians have reignited a national discussion about sexual assault, abuse and harassment of women, … Continue reading Sex consent app proposal sparks backlash

Tsunami warnings lifted after New Zealand earthquake

Three powerful earthquakes struck off the coast of New Zealand on Friday, triggering tsunami warnings that were later stood down. Evacuation orders were issued for residents living in coastal areas of the North Island after the third and strongest earthquake hit. The national emergency agency warned of a tsunami threat along the east coast, there were reports of chaos in some towns as hundreds of people tried to reach higher ground. But by Friday afternoon, authorities said the largest waves had passed. Residents were told they could return home but were warned to stay off beaches. The South Pacific archipelagos … Continue reading Tsunami warnings lifted after New Zealand earthquake

Christian Porter, Australian attorney general denies rape allegation

Australia’s Attorney General Christian Porter has identified himself as the cabinet minister at the centre of a rape accusation – an allegation he strongly denies. A letter sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week alleged Mr Porter raped a 16-year-old girl in 1988. The woman took her own life last year, New South Wales Police have closed their investigation into the matter. Mr Porter, 50, said he retained Mr Morrison’s support as attorney general. “The things that are being claimed did not happen,” he told reporters in Perth on Wednesday. “Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever … Continue reading Christian Porter, Australian attorney general denies rape allegation

Australian music industry icon dies aged 68

Michael Gudinski, an Australian music industry icon who helped shape its sound for decades, has died aged 68, the Mushroom Records owner and veteran tour promoter died in his sleep at his home in Melbourne on Monday night, his label said. Gudinski was best known for championing local talent, helping to create stars such as Kylie Minogue and Jimmy Barnes. He also brought some of the world’s biggest acts to Australia with his pioneering touring company. Frontier Touring led the way in luring international stars to Australia in the 1980s and 1990s, among them Frank Sinatra and The Rolling Stones. … Continue reading Australian music industry icon dies aged 68

Missing fraud suspect’s foot found on Australian beach

Australian police say they have found the partial remains of a fraud suspect who vanished from her Sydney home four months ago. Businesswoman Melissa Caddick’s disappearance has captivated public attention, amid allegations she stole millions of dollars from her clients. Police had found no trace of her until last week when campers spotted a shoe containing a decomposed foot on a beach 400km (250 miles) south of Sydney, DNA testing matched it to Ms Caddick. The financial adviser’s “time and cause of death” would now be determined by a coroner, New South Wales Police assistant commissioner Mick Willing said on … Continue reading Missing fraud suspect’s foot found on Australian beach

New Zealand lashes at Australia in citizenship row over terror suspect

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accused Australia of “abdicating its responsibilities” amid a row over a woman accused of having links to the Islamic State (IS). The woman is facing deportation to New Zealand after being caught entering Turkey from Syria with two children. But Ms Ardern says the dual national should be sent to Australia. The 26-year-old held both Australian and New Zealand citizenship until Canberra revoked it last year. However, Ms Ardern pointed out that the woman – who the Turkish Ministry of National Defence has identified as a member of IS – had not lived … Continue reading New Zealand lashes at Australia in citizenship row over terror suspect

Fiji deports university leader in blow to regional relations

The leader of the University of the South Pacific and his wife were asleep at their Fiji home when a ruckus awoke them around midnight. About 15 plain-clothed government agents had surrounded their house in the capital Suva, Vice-Chancellor Pal Ahluwalia said. After an argument at the door, four of the agents chased him through the house as he frantically tried to use his phone, he said. The agents confiscated all their devices, even their smart watches, and gave them minutes to pack. The professor had vowed to root out corruption since beginning his job two years earlier at the … Continue reading Fiji deports university leader in blow to regional relations

Australia suspends New Zealand travel bubble amid new virus strain

Australia has suspended a travel bubble with New Zealand after its first Covid-19 case in months was confirmed to be the South African variant. The infected patient had served 14-days in quarantine and tested negative twice before developing symptoms later. Travellers coming from New Zealand to Australia in the next 72 hours will now have to go through hotel quarantine, health Minister Greg Hunt said the suspension was done out of an “abundance of caution”. “It is recommended all passengers from New Zealand with a flight scheduled in the next 72 hours reconsider their need to travel,” he told reporters, … Continue reading Australia suspends New Zealand travel bubble amid new virus strain

Australia to kill pigeon that survived 13,000km journey from US

A racing pigeon survived an extraordinary 13,000-kilometre (8,000-mile) journey in the Pacific Ocean, crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia, but authorities now consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird said on Thursday he discovered the exhausted bird in his back yard on December 26. It had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on October 29. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention of the Australian media but also of the notoriously strict Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. Celli-Bird said quarantine authorities called him … Continue reading Australia to kill pigeon that survived 13,000km journey from US

Woman dies in rare suspected shark attack

A young woman has died after a suspected shark attack in New Zealand, the victim was rushed out of the water still alive but died at the scene despite efforts to save her life. Police said it appeared she had been injured by a shark. The attack happened at Waihi Beach on North Island not far from the country’s biggest city Auckland, shark attacks are rare in the country and it is thought to be the first fatality since 2013. Local media cited witnesses as saying the woman had been swimming right in front of the lifeguard flags on Thursday. … Continue reading Woman dies in rare suspected shark attack

New Zealand Police introduce hijab to uniform

New Zealand Police have introduced a hijab into their official uniform to encourage more Muslim women to join, new recruit Constable Zeena Ali will become the first officer to wear the official hijab. A spokesperson said they aimed to create an “inclusive” service reflecting the country’s “diverse community”. Other forces such as the Metropolitan Police in London and Police Scotland offer the option of a uniform hijab. In the UK, the Metropolitan Police in London approved a uniform hijab in 2006 with Police Scotland following in 2016. In Australia, Maha Sukkar of Victoria Police wore a hijab in 2004. New … Continue reading New Zealand Police introduce hijab to uniform