Public servants often end up as the meat in the political sandwich in election campaigns. That has never been more true than it is in 2019, even though we're not even yet into a formal campaign.What makes this year's public servant sandwich a particularly gourmet feast, however, is that the public servants involved are not just senior officials from Treasury or the Department of Finance as they have been in the past, but our most senior national security officials.Senate estimates hearings yesterday heard extraordinary evidence from ASIO head Duncan Lewis and the powerful Department of Home Affairs head Michael Pezzullo, in which both made it extremely clear how unhappy they were that their organisations had been dragged into the political fray by the selective leaking of classified advice to the Government — advice leaked in a way that favoured the Government's political message on border protection.The two senior bureaucrats sent clear shots across the bows of our politicians … [Read more...] about Senior bureaucrats send a message to the Government and the Opposition
It is now looking more likely that Cyclone Oma could approach Brisbane and the south Queensland coast — but a lot of uncertainty remains. The system that brought devastating, record-breaking rain to north Queensland a fortnight ago is refusing to go away.It is now circling off New Caledonia as a category three cyclone and its impact is expected to be felt along the southern Queensland coast late this week.An update from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) on Tuesday afternoon said there was "high confidence" that Cyclone Oma would move in a west-southwesterly direction towards Australia over the next few days.From Thursday, however, there is a "big model spread" when it comes to predicting what the cyclone will do, according to Diana Eadie from the BOM's extreme weather desk."As a result, there is significant uncertainty in terms of the movement of this system," she said."There are two more likely scenarios, the first of which is that the system adopts a more south-easterly … [Read more...] about Cyclone Oma could approach southern Queensland coast from Thursday, BOM says
The national peak body for waste management says Victoria's recycling crisis is likely to get worse as pressure continues to pile on the industry.The comments from the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) follow a ban on one of the state's biggest recyclers, SKM, from accepting materials at its facilities in Coolaroo and Laverton North.The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) imposed the ban due to fire risks, forcing some of the councils which deal with SKM — more than 20 in total — to start sending tonnes of recyclable material directly to landfill.WMRR chief executive Gayle Sloan said SKM's non-compliance has been caused, in part, by the failure of the recycling market — a drop in demand for materials processed by such companies has led to stockpiles building up."The next stage in the supply chain is that we have manufacturing facilities purchase that [recycled product] to put back into packaging content," Ms Sloan said."We … [Read more...] about Victoria’s recycling crisis set to worsen, WMRR warns, after SKM plants sanctioned by EPA
Australia has a new strategy to win over its Pacific neighbours: reality television.Last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $17 million package to broadcast commercial television throughout the region as part of Australia's Pacific Step-Up.The Government has framed it as a soft power push that will lift Australia's profile by beaming top-rating programs into Pacific nations.Department of Communications and the Arts secretary Mike Mrdak told a Senate hearing on Tuesday the package would include "the full suite of programs that are available on Australian networks"."That would cover the variety of programs that are available on commercial networks, ranging from drama, Australian comedy, Australian documentaries and Australian reality television programming," he said.Reality television exportsReality programs Married At First Sight, My Kitchen Rules and The Block were Australia's most popular television shows last year, according to audience measurement group OzTam.Greens … [Read more...] about Could Married At First Sight be part of Australia’s soft power push in the Pacific?
The injuries to a two-and-a-half-month-old baby girl who died in northern Tasmania two years ago indicate she was likely murdered, an inquest has heard.Charlotte Lukendlay died on February 25, 2016 at the Royal Hobart Hospital (RHH), four days after she was rushed to the Launceston General Hospital after being found unresponsive by her father, Gaurav Endlay, at their home in Newnham.Counsel Assisting the Coroner Rebecca Lancaster told the inquest a post-mortem examination revealed the baby had multiple rib fractures, a broken left clavicle and her brain had been starved of oxygen, resulting in a severe hypoxic brain injury.Ms Lancaster said the baby's injuries happened over the span of several weeks and there was evidence of recent trauma."The baby quite obviously suffered from trauma when the parents were the only occupants in the home."Ms Lancaster said the baby's mother, Rong Lu, told medical and child protection staff at the RHH that she had suffered violence from the baby's father … [Read more...] about Injuries to two-month-old baby in Tasmania indicate she was likely murdered, inquest hears