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Police charge 51-year-old man with murder of Nicole Cartwright

<p>A Sydney man has been charged with the murder of Nicole Cartwright, whose body was found dumped in a suburban car park in 2018.</p> <p>Police announced that detectives arrested a 51-year-old man at Parramatta Police Station around 12:45pm.</p> <p>He was charged with murder, refused bail and is due to face Parramatta Local Court today.</p> <p>According to Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty, Ms Cartwright met the man through dating apps and social media.</p> <p>Police believe the murder occurred on October 1 but the body was dumped two days later on the morning of October 3.</p> <p>"It will be alleged this man took her from an address to the reserve and, unfortunately, dumped the body like some piece of unwanted refuse," the homicide squad commander told reporters.</p> <p>"It's a cold-hearted act. It's a callous and heinous criminal act."</p> <p>Det Supt Doherty revealed Ms Cartwright was “brutalised” before callously murdered. Her body was found wrapped in a bed sheet.</p> <p>Yesterday, Ms Cartwright’s brother Ben thanked authorities and the public on behalf of the family for their part in the arrest.</p> <p>"It's hard to express in words what our family has been through since Nicole's death," wrote Ben Cartwright.</p> <p>"Nicole was very much loved as a sister and daughter; a cherished member of our family.</p> <p>"We grieve daily for Nicole and the life she never got to live, and we are still struggling to comprehend that she will never be coming home.</p> <p>"On behalf of our family, we want to thank the community for sharing our appeals for information, and also thank those who provided information to the police.</p> <p>"Thank you also to the NSW Police Force detectives, who have supported our family during this time and worked tirelessly to help bring justice for Nicole.</p> <p>"As we continue to process this news, our family has requested privacy at this time."</p>

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Schapelle Corby tells of her new life 15 years after her arrest

<p>This week marks 15 years since former Gold Coast beauty student Schapelle Corby was found guilty of importing 4.2kg of marijuana to Bali in a boogie board bag.</p> <p>Speaking to<span> </span><em>7News</em>, Corby said she had made it through “some very hard, dark times” and was grateful to be back in Australia with her family where she is exploring a new venture.</p> <p>“Fifteen years and yes it feels it. I’m so thankful to be in Australia,” Corby said, reflecting on the past decade and a half.</p> <p>“I made it through some very hard, dark times, which I don’t ever forget.”</p> <p>Corby has been self-isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been keeping herself busy by making epoxy resin art, mostly in the form of clocks.</p> <p>“I’m with Mum, I’m with family, I’ve updated, revised my book <em>My Story</em>, I’m in Queensland moving forward in life and I’m happy,” Corby said.</p> <p>The 42-year-old has maintained her innocence ever since her arrest 15 years ago, and was forced to spend nine years behind bars in Bali and another three on parole.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the judge who gave the verdict and slammed the jail door shut, says he remains sure he made the right decision.</p> <p>Speaking to<span> </span><em>7News</em><span> </span>from North Sumatra, where he is now a High Court judge, Judge Linton Sirait said he was unconcerned that Corby maintained her innocence.</p> <p>“If she argues like that, that’s fine. No problem. However, as the judge, we handle the case and take the decision based on evidence. And I feel very sure,” Judge Sirait said.</p> <p>Corby was arrested at Bali airport on October 8, 2004 after arriving on a flight from Australia.</p> <p>She was caught with 4.2kg of marijuana during a customs search of her bag and was quickly labelled the “ganja queen” or marijuana queen by the Indonesian press.</p> <p>She was jailed for 20 years on May 27, 2005 but was released on parole at the start of 2014 but had to stay an extra three years in Indonesia before her term officially expired.</p> <p>On May 27, 2017 she left Bali and arrived in Australia the next day.</p> <p>Now, Corby is exploring new passions by showcasing her new clocks on her Instagram account.</p> <p>She described herself as a “Middle Aged Woman With A New Passion”, saying she would post new creations every Thursday or Friday for those who wanted to buy them.</p> <p>“Hand made with #love by Me.”</p>

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Keep your nose out of it: why saliva tests could offer a better alternative to nasal COVID-19 swabs

<p>Saliva is one of our biggest foes in the COVID-19 pandemic, because of its role in spreading the virus. But it could be our friend too, because it potentially offers a way to diagnose the disease without using invasive nasal swabs.</p> <p>Our research review, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4418/10/5/290">published in the journal Diagnostics</a>, suggests saliva could offer a readily accessible diagnostic tool for detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and might even be able to reveal whether someone’s immune system has already encountered it.</p> <p>COVID-19 testing is a crucial part of the pandemic response, especially now countries are gradually lifting social distancing restrictions. This requires widespread, early, accurate and sensitive diagnosis of infected people, both with and without symptoms.</p> <p>Our review looked at the results of three different studies, in Hong Kong, the nearby Chinese mainland city of Shenzhen, and Italy. All three studies found SARS-CoV-2 is indeed present in the saliva of COVID-19 patients (at rates of 87%, 91.6%, and 100% of patients, respectively). This suggests saliva is a potentially very useful source of specimens for detecting the virus.</p> <p>Saliva <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016041202031254X">spreads the SARS-CoV-2 virus</a> via breathing, coughing, sneezing, and <a href="https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25769/rapid-expert-consultation-on-the-possibility-of-bioaerosol-spread-of-sars-cov-2-for-the-covid-19-pandemic-april-1-2020">conversation</a>, which is why guidelines suggest we maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from one another. We also know <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7094991/">SARS-CoV-2 can survive in tiny droplets of saliva</a> in an experimental setting.</p> <p>Saliva is an attractive option for detecting SARS-CoV-2, compared with the <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-seeing-a-doctor-getting-tested-faqs#diagnosis">current tests</a> which involve taking swabs of mucus from the upper respiratory tract. Saliva is easy to access, which potentially makes the tests cheaper and less invasive. Saliva can hold up a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19726214">mirror to our health</a>, not just of our mouth but our whole body.</p> <p>For this reason, saliva has already been widely investigated as a diagnostic tool for chronic systemic diseases, as well as for oral ailments such as periodontal disease and oral cancers. But less attention has been given to its potential usefulness in acute infectious diseases such as COVID-19, perhaps because researchers and clinicians don’t yet appreciate its full potential.</p> <p><strong>What a mouthful</strong></p> <p>When we get sick, much of the evidence is present in our saliva – from the germs themselves, to the antibodies and immune system proteins we use to fight them off. Saliva also contains genetic material and other cellular components of pathogens after we have broken them down (for the full biochemical breakdown of the weird and wonderful things in our saliva, see pages 51-61 of our <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4418/10/5/290">review</a>).</p> <p>Saliva is also hardy. It can be <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=High-yield+RNA-extraction+method+for+saliva">stored at –80℃ for several years with little degradation</a>.</p> <p>This means it would be relatively straightforward to track the progression of COVID-19 in individual patients, by collecting saliva at various times during the disease and recovery. Saliva tests from recovered patients could also tell us if they have encountered the disease for a second time, and how strong their immune response is.</p> <p>However, there is no research yet available on using saliva to monitor immune responses. This will be well worth investigating, given the pressing need for a reliable and cost-effective way to monitor the population for immunity to COVID-19 as the outbreak continues.</p> <p><strong>Could saliva testing replace nasal swabs?</strong></p> <p>An ideal saliva test would be a disposable, off-the-shelf device that could be used at home by individuals, without exposing them or others to the risk of visiting a clinic.</p> <p>One drawback with the research so far is that it has involved small numbers of patients (each of the three studies we reviewed involved no more than 25 people), and there is little published detail on exactly how these studies collected the saliva – whether from the mouth or throat, whether by spitting, drooling or swabbing, and whether collected by the patient or by a clinician.</p> <p>Nevertheless, based on the modest amount of research done so far, saliva looks like a promising candidate for COVID-19 testing. More research is now needed, in larger groups of people, to learn more about how to confidently test for SARS-CoV-2 in the saliva of both symptomatic and non-symptomatic people.</p> <p>Earlier this month the US Food and Drug Administration <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/08/health/fda-coronavirus-spit-test.html">approved the sale</a> of saliva-based COVID-19 test kits that will allow people to collect their own samples and send them to a lab for analysis.</p> <p>A reliable test would offer a cheaper, less invasive and potentially even more accurate way to detect the virus, which would also reduce the risk posed by routine COVID-19 checks to both patients and front-line medical professionals.</p> <p><em>Written by Pingping Han. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/keep-your-nose-out-of-it-why-saliva-tests-could-offer-a-better-alternative-to-nasal-covid-19-swabs-138816"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Celeste Barber responds to Supreme Court ruling on $51m bushfire donations

<p>Comedian Celeste Barber has responded to a Supreme Court ruling that millions of dollars raised in her bushfire appeal cannot be split for charities she was trying to support.</p> <p>Barber’s bushfire fundraiser raked in $51.3 million in January, rising past her initial target of $30,000 to become Facebook’s largest-ever charity drive.</p> <p>She directed the appeal towards NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades Donation Fund, but many donors expected the money to go to victims and other charities such as the Australian Red Cross and WIRES.</p> <p>The NSW Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the donations could not go towards other charities or interstate rural fire services.</p> <p>“Some donors may have intended or hoped that the money they donated would be used for purposes beyond those which the court has advised are permissible,” said NSW Supreme Court Justice Michael Slattery.</p> <p>But he said honouring those wishes would violate the law around how trusts operate.</p> <p>Justice Slattery ruled the money could be given to families of fallen firefighters and used for trauma counselling as well as equipment, training and administrative costs. But it could not be diverted towards other fire services, animal welfare groups and other causes.</p> <p>Barber addressed the ruling in a statement on social media. “I had hoped, because it was such a big and ‘unprecedented’ amount, that it could have been distributed to other states and charities,” she wrote.</p> <p>“Turns out that studying acting at university does not make me a lawmaker.</p> <p>“So the money will be in the very capable, very grateful hands of the NSW RFS.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">An update <a href="https://t.co/OtfV1G3iR1">pic.twitter.com/OtfV1G3iR1</a></p> — Celeste barber (@celestebarber_) <a href="https://twitter.com/celestebarber_/status/1264831815782563840?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>She thanked the donors “from all walks of life that heard us and helped us, whether it was a hand full of gold coins or a big fat cheque”.</p> <p>NSW RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said he was grateful for Barber’s fundraising efforts and would make sure the money was put to good use.</p> <p>“We’re going to be very transparent and actually say exactly what every dollar has been spent on,” he told <em><a href="https://7news.com.au/sunrise/on-the-show/nsw-rural-fire-service-reveals-what-it-will-do-with-celeste-barbers-bushfire-millions-c-1059079">Sunrise</a></em>.</p> <p>“There will be no secrets and there will be no administrative costs taken from this money.”</p> <p>Rogers also told <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/celeste-barber-bushfire-fundraiser-money-only-for-rfs/12282016">ABC Radio Sydney</a> there was “no animosity” between the RFS and Barber’s team, which he was in contact with regularly.</p>

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Man pleads not guilty to murder of newlywed daughter

<p><span>A Melbourne dad has pleaded not guilty in court to killing his newly-married daughter and her husband in a shooting on New Year’s Eve.</span><br /><br /><span>Osman Shaptafaj says he was mentally impaired when he allegedly shot Lindita and Veton Musai on the morning of December 31 in 2018, while they entered the Musai family home which they had been living in Yarraville.</span><br /><br /><span>His daughter Lindita, 25, died while still at the scene, and Veton, 29, died the next day in hospital.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836091/15.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c4c74790ec7442ffa86c56ea18fd4031" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Lindita and Veton Musai</em><br /><br /><span>The loved-up couple had just returned from a trip away to celebrate their first wedding anniversary when they were allegedly shot from behind the front door.</span><br /><br /><span>Mr Shaptafaj was charged with two counts of murder but on Thursday pleaded not guilty due to mental health.</span><br /><br /><span>The father appeared by video link for a brief hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court.</span><br /><br /><span>Mr Shaptafaj is due to return to the Supreme Court for a directions hearing on May 29.</span><br /><br /><span>If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.</span></p>

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Mum ripped away from toddler at COVID-19 protest now under investigation

<p>The NSW Police Commissioner has defended the arrest of a Sydney mother at a protest against coronavirus restrictions, saying “she caused this” by refusing to give police her details.</p> <p>Renee Altakrity, 36, was arrested on Sunday afternoon after flouting social distancing rules along with dozens of other protesters outside NSW Parliament on Macquarie Street.</p> <p>Footage circulated on social media of Altakrity resisting arrest while clinging to her crying four-year-old son.</p> <p>The cosmetic nurse was arrested for not giving police her name and taken to Surry Hills Police Station, where she was issued a $1,000 fine for breaching social distancing restrictions. Her son was taken home by a family member, according to <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/crime/coronavirus-sydney-mum-lashes-disgusting-police-at-lockdown-protest/news-story/b9a3eddcbb328790a98fb012653f7366">News.com.au</a></em>.</p> <p>“That lady was approached by police, asked to provide some particulars so a very simple process could then take place but for whatever reason she became quite hysterical,” said NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys.</p> <p>In a mobile phone video, Altakrity said: “I cannot believe this is happening. They’ve left me in the back of the paddy wagon at the police station. They’ve taken my son inside.”</p> <p>NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller defended the actions of his officers.</p> <p>“I think the police showed an enormous amount of restraint. I certainly hope she pleads not guilty so that [police body camera] footage comes out,” he told 2GB on Monday.</p> <p>“If this woman had given police her details at the scene, she would’ve been given a ticket and would’ve left … but she refused to do that. She caused this.</p> <p>“They all went there knowing it was an unlawful protest so why you’re taking a four-year-old into that situation is beyond me.”</p> <p>Commissioner Fuller said the protest was unlawful because the protesters had not informed authorities and were breaching coronavirus restrictions.</p> <p>Altakrity is also under investigation for allegedly operating her business in contravention of the state’s restrictions.</p>

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Businesses can refuse service to sick customers as containment efforts continue

<p>People with flu-like symptoms can be turned away from any shop or workplace as part of measures to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.</p> <p>Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy said he would “protect” and “defend” the rights of business owners and employers to turn away customers and staff members who are unwell.</p> <p>“All of us over our lives have been on occasions wanting to soldier on with a cold and a flu, flu-like illness – we cannot do that anymore,” he told reporters on Sunday.</p> <p>“If one of your colleagues, or an employee, or a client turns up you have every right to say, ‘go away, I am not going to let you in, I am not going to treat you’ ... unless you’re a doctor, of course.”</p> <p>Professor Murphy also warned Australians against hanging out in shopping centres as states and territories begin easing their coronavirus restrictions.</p> <p>“We have also seen pictures of people crowded in shopping malls, in other circumstances where they have not been observing the social distancing norms that are part of our new way of behaving,” he said.</p> <p>“So if you’re going to a shopping centre to buy something, go and buy something but don’t hang around the shopping centre for half-an-hour mingling for no purpose – go home.”</p> <p>Professor Murphy said Australia could risk seeing another widespread community transmission, also known as “second wave” of coronavirus, if people fail to uphold social distancing norms and hand hygiene practices.</p> <p>“It is as much about the rules and regulations as it is about personal responsibility and I really want to emphasise that point,” he said.</p> <p>Preventing widespread community transmission is vital to protect the elderly and those with chronic conditions, he said.</p> <p>“People have said to me, why don’t you just protect really carefully all those with chronic conditions and the elderly; make sure they are well cocooned away from everyone else in society?” he said.</p> <p>“As we have seen already, that’s just not possible, if you’ve got widespread community transmission. This virus is incredibly infectious.”</p>

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Twin ordered to pay sister $170,000 over sneeze

<p>A sneeze has cost an NSW woman more than $170,000 after her twin sister successfully sued her over a traffic accident.</p> <p>Caitlin Douglas, budding lawyer, was awarded a six-figure sum by the NSW District Court after she suffered lower back pain as a result of a crash in October 2016.</p> <p>Judge Leonard Levy found the 21-year-old’s future earning capacity had been reduced by $150,000 because she was unable to lift more than 10kgs and would be hindered in her ability to work long hours.</p> <p>“The regular or intermittent experience of pain and the need for tailored and defined working restrictions along with the practical need for ergonomic furniture, and the need to make provision for regular breaks, is likely to be seen by a prospective legal employer to be negative factors in a competitive employment market,” Judge Levy said.</p> <p>“Even if the plaintiff continues to do well academically. Rightly or wrongly, the reality is that often, without over-explanation, able-bodied candidates are preferred to those with a disability.”</p> <p>She was awarded a total of $172,500, including $10,000 for future domestic assistance, $7,500 for future treatment costs and $5,000 for out-of-pocket expenses.</p> <p>The court heard that Ms Douglas was injured when she was the front-seat passenger during a car accident in which her twin sister Brighid was the driver.</p> <p>Her sister sneezed and lost control of the car before hitting a tree, which caused Ms Douglas to experience whiplash-like injuries and experienced lower back pain.</p> <p>Judge Levy found that in the future, Douglas would be hindered in her chosen profession because she had difficulty sitting for long periods and carrying heavy objects.</p> <p>“If illustration of the lifting and carrying component of legal work was required, it would be sufficient to recognise that the weighty folders that were provided to the court, weighed several kilograms,” Judge Levy said.</p> <p>“It is well-recognised from observing litigation over a long period that trolleys laden with such materials are most commonly pulled and pushed by the most junior members of a legal practice.”</p>

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City council slammed for issuing parking warnings to hospital staff

<p>Council parking inspectors have been criticised for handing out “official warning” tickets on the cars of hospital staff in Melbourne’s inner-north suburbs.</p> <p>Employees of St Vincent’s Hospital in Fitzroy have seen council infringement notices tacked on to the windscreens of their cars, which were parked in a green zone, the <em><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/melbourne/melbournes-city-of-yarra-slammed-for-handing-out-parking-warnings-to-inner-city-hospital-workers/ar-BB13BDIH?li=AAgfYrC">ABC</a> </em>reported.</p> <p>One employee left a note on their dashboard which read: “Where else are we supposed to park then?”</p> <p>The “official warning” notices do not attract a fine as the City of Yarra offered a temporary reprieve from parking penalties for hospital staff amid the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>Mayor Misha Coleman has defended the parking inspectors, saying clearways and no stopping areas were not included in the exemption.</p> <p>“In the clearways, it’s really dangerous to have cars parked there all day,” she told the outlet, adding that the cars parked there would normally be towed away and attract a $600 fine.</p> <p>“We’ve told the hospitals where staff can park without getting warning notices and we call on the hospitals to open up their own carparks for their staff.”</p> <p>Parking inspectors will start issuing parking fines again on Monday, with hospital workers continuing to be exempt.</p> <p>The City of Melbourne will also be handing out tickets for zones with green signs again starting Monday. Lord Mayor Sally Capp said up to 8,000 temporary permits would be made available for staff at eight hospitals, police officers and workers at the Melbourne Assessment Prison.</p>

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Is slowing Australia’s population growth really the best way out of this crisis?

<p>After weeks of pressuring the government to do more to support temporary migrants who fall outside the criteria for government support, the opposition took a surprising stance in <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/do-we-want-migrants-to-return-in-the-same-numbers-the-answer-is-no-20200501-p54p2q.html">The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald</a> on Sunday.</p> <p>Labor immigration spokesperson Kristina Keneally called for a rethink of our migration program and asked:</p> <p><em>when we restart our migration program, do we want migrants to return to Australia in the same numbers and in the same composition as before the crisis?</em></p> <p>She said Australia’s answer should be “<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/do-we-want-migrants-to-return-in-the-same-numbers-the-answer-is-no-20200501-p54p2q.html">no</a>”.</p> <p>To me, as an economist, the answer should be a resounding “yes”.</p> <p>Keneally’s piece covered a lot of ground – in addition to making claims about whether or not permanent migrants take the jobs of local workers (<a href="https://www.ceda.com.au/CEDA/media/General/Publication/PDFs/TemporaryMigrationAppendix.pdf">they don’t</a>) she broached the topic of reconsidering our temporary migration intake and held open the possibility of further lowering our permanent intake.</p> <p>Migration is a complex often convoluted area of policy</p> <p><strong>Temporary migrants can’t just turn up</strong></p> <p>Ms Keneally’s comments imply that coming to Australia as a temporary migrant is easy.</p> <p>As the following (rather long) flowchart indicates, it is anything but.</p> <p>Temporary migration is uncapped: there are no in-principle limits on the number of temporary migrants who can come here. This is by design, so the program can meet the skill needs of our economy at any given time.</p> <p>However, the government has a number of tools it uses to contain the program and target the right skills.</p> <p>Keneally makes the point that the arrival of migrants has made it easier for businesses to ignore local talent.</p> <p>But there are requirements that Australian businesses to tap into the Australian labour market before hiring from overseas.</p> <p>She is right when she says unions and employers and the government should come together to identify looming skill shortages and deliver training and reskilling opportunities to Australian workers so they can fill Australian jobs.</p> <p>But no matter how good our foresight and our education and training systems, we will always have needs for external expertise in areas of emerging importance.</p> <p>Training local workers for projects that suddenly become important can take years, during which those projects would stall.</p> <p><strong>Permanent migrants don’t take Australian’s jobs</strong></p> <p>Keneally says Australia’s migration program has “hurt many Australian workers, contributing to unemployment, underemployment and low wage growth”.</p> <p>Australian research finds this to be untrue.</p> <p>Research I conducted for the <a href="https://www.ceda.com.au/CEDA/media/General/Publication/PDFs/TemporaryMigrationAppendix.pdf">Committee for the Economic Development of Australia</a> updating research coducted by Robert Breunig, Nathan Deutscher and Hang Thi To for the <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/assets/documents/hilda-bibliography/working-discussion-research-papers/2015/migrant-intake-draft-supplementc-1.pdf">Productivity Commission</a> found that the impact of recent migrants (post 1996) on the employment prospects of Australian-born workers was <a href="https://crawford.anu.edu.au/files/uploads/crawford01_cap_anu_edu_au/2018-05/policy_note_-_immigration.pdf">close to zero</a>.</p> <p>If anything, the impact on wages and labour force participation of locals was <a href="https://www.ceda.com.au/CEDA/media/General/Publication/PDFs/TemporaryMigrationAppendix.pdf">positive</a>.</p> <p><strong>Flexibility gives us an edge</strong></p> <p>Australia’s migration program is the envy of other countries. Indeed, its success has prompted Britain to consider changing its system to an Australian skills-based system <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uks-future-skills-based-immigration-system">assessed through points</a>.</p> <p>Temporary migration is certain to look very different over the next few years than it has over past few. That’s its purpose – to adapt to changing circumstances.</p> <p>It is difficult to see how a sustained cut in temporary arrivals could assist our recovery.</p> <p>The bridge to the other side of this downturn will depend on migration. It will depend on us continuing to welcome migrants.</p> <p><em>Written by Gabriela D’Souza. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-slowing-australias-population-growth-really-the-best-way-out-of-this-crisis-137779">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Sydney nurse went on $36k shopping spree with credit cards she stole from patients

<p>A nurse at a day surgery in Sydney has been found guilty of professional misconduct against three patients after taking their credit cards whilst unconscious and racking up $36,000 in fraudulent charges.</p> <p>Saeeda Kauser, 32, then managed to successfully trick police into closing the investigation into her, according to <em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://7news.com.au/news/crime/sydney-nurse-stole-patients-credit-cards-for-36000-spending-spree-c-1001345" target="_blank">7news</a>.</em></p> <p>Kauser made more than 78 fraudulent and attempted purchases in early 2018, including $330 of essential oils, a membership to her local F45 club and a $3,135 life coaching program.</p> <p>Her calculated behaviour was carried out “in a full understanding of what she was aiming to achieve”, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal said.</p> <p>“While the tribunal accepts (Kauser) might well suffer from some form of depression, it does not accept that this excuses her behaviour,” it said.</p> <p>“Her behaviour was particularly offensive in that she was dealing with vulnerable patients who were undergoing surgery, the acts being perpetrated while the patients were unconscious and she showed a remarkable lack of understanding of the harm that she was doing to others.”</p> <p>Kauser, who pleaded guilty to the charges and was convicted of fraud, admitted the misconduct charges and removed herself from the nursing register before the tribunal made a decision.</p> <p>She stole a card from a woman who was being operated on and made 55 purchases totalling $23,373 within a fortnight.</p> <p>Once the woman reported the theft to the clinic, Kauser rang back and asked the woman specific details about what she had told police.</p> <p>Kauser then called police, pretended to be the patient who made the claim and made up a story about her stepson being responsible for the charges. Her request that the case be closed was accepted.</p> <p>Kauser also tried to call Westpac’s fraud hotline but ended after she failed to properly verify her identity.</p> <p>She has said that the incident has been a “very big wakeup call”.</p> <p>“I am doing my best to rebuild my life from what I have left,” she said.</p> <p>She has been banned from practicing as a nurse in NSW until late 2022.</p>

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Mother falsely accused of bringing COVID-19 to China says it's like living in a nightmare

<p>Maatje Benassi has had her life turned upside down after conspiracy theorists falsely placed her at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that she brought the disease to China.</p> <p>These false claims are spreading like wildfire on YouTube every day, racking up hundreds of thousands of views and have been embraced by Chinese Communist Party media.</p> <p>Maatje, her husband Ben and her two children have never been tested positive for coronavirus or experienced symptoms but are now subjects of discussion on Chinese social media.</p> <p>The family’s home address has been posted online and they had to shut down their social media accounts as their inboxes were overflowing with messages from believers of the conspiracy.</p> <p>"It's like waking up from a bad dream going into a nightmare day after day," Maatje told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/27/tech/coronavirus-conspiracy-theory/index.html" target="_blank">CNN Business</a></em><span> </span>in an exclusive interview.</p> <p>Maatje works as a civilian employee at the US Army's Fort Belvoir in Virginia and her husband Ben is a civilian employee with the Air Force at the Pentagon. Despite the couple working for the US Government, Maatje believes it's too much. </p> <p>"I want everybody to stop harassing me, because this is cyberbullying to me and it's gone way out of hand," Maajte said while fighting back tears.</p> <p>The baseless claims initially began after Maatje participated in October 2019 in the Military World Games and was hosted by Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began.</p> <p>While hundreds of US athletes took part in the games, Maatje Benassi was plucked out of the group and named as the reason why COVID-19 hit the city.</p> <p>The claims have gained more traction due to George Webb, who’s a prolific American misinformation peddler. Webb, 59, regularly streams hours of misinformation on YouTube and has amassed more than 27 million views.</p> <p>Webb considers himself an “investigative reporter” instead of a conspiracy theorist, but Maatje’s husband Ben said that it’s “hard to hold Webb accountable”.</p> <p>"Law enforcement will tell you that there's nothing that we can do about it because we have free speech in this country,” Ben explained.</p> <p>“Then they say, 'Go talk to a civil attorney,' so we did. We talked to an attorney. You quickly realize that for folks like us, it's just too expensive to litigate something like this. We get no recourse from law enforcement. We get no recourse from the courts."</p> <p>Unfortunately for the Benassi family, the “damage is done”.</p> <p>"I know it [will] never be the same. Every time you're going to Google my name, it will pop up as patient zero," said Maatje sadly.</p> <p><em>Photo credits:<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/27/tech/coronavirus-conspiracy-theory/index.html" target="_blank">Heather Fulbright / CNN</a></em></p>

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Pauline Hanson clashes with Karl Stefanovic on Today

<p>Pauline Hanson and Karl Stefanovic have clashed over the Federal Government’s new coronavirus tracing app during a heated segment on the<span> </span><em>Today<span> </span></em>show.</p> <p>The COVIDSafe app, which is now live, is designed to help authorities track people who may have come across an infected person, but so far, it’s been proven controversial, sparking privacy and security concerns.</p> <p>Using Bluetooth technology, COVIDSafe keeps a list of other users you’re been within 1.5m of more than 15 minutes.</p> <p>Over one million Aussies have downloaded the app so far, but others are hesitant, including Hanson citing mistrust in the government.</p> <p>When questioned about her stance by Stefanovic this morning, Hanson was blunt.</p> <p>“I don’t want them tracking me. I don’t trust the Government,” she said, before citing the data retention laws of 2015 and claiming this latest app would also wind up passing personal information into the hands of other companies.</p> <p>“Why the hell would I let the Government give it to them personally to download my information?” Senator Hanson questioned, causing Stefanovic to fire back with a reminder about civic duty.</p> <p>“You have a responsibility to the Australian people if we want to try and control this COVID-19 and we want to try to track people,” he told her.</p> <p>But Hanson was adamant that she hadn’t been in contact with anyone who was infected.</p> <p>“I have a responsibility to myself first and foremost. I know damn well that I haven't been around people,” she insisted.</p> <p>“I've been self-isolating. I haven't got the COVID-19, besides when you have only a few cases in the blasted country and they lockdown the whole bloody country still and they want to put this app on your phone when we're on very much on the decrease … Come on, Karl. I don’t trust them.”</p> <p>A laughing Stefanovic then joked that anyone tracking his movements would likely find them underwhelming.</p> <p>“They’re going to track me – let me tell you where I go. I go to work. I go home. I go to Woolies. I go home. I go to work. I go home … That’s my whole life,” he admitted.</p>

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Porsche driver charged after “fleeing” scene of fatal car crash

<p><span>A Porsche driver who allegedly fled the scene of a crash site when four police officers were killed is due to face a Melbourne court where he has been charged with a long list of offences.</span><br /><br /><span>Richard Pusey, 41, is likely to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday where he will be forced to hear his 10 charges read out to him including speeding, drug possession and reckless conduct.</span><br /><br /><span>Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney all brutally lost their lives on Wednesday evening while they were dealing with the Fitzroy man on the Eastern Freeway in Kew.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B_VvNjTB2oC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B_VvNjTB2oC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Today Australia is grieving four fallen heroes who died in a horrific truck crash in Melbourne. May they Rest in Peace.</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/yahoonewsau/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Yahoo News Australia</a> (@yahoonewsau) on Apr 23, 2020 at 3:10pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><br /><span>It is alleged Pusey was driving at a speed of 140km/h when he was pulled over by police a little while before 5pm.</span><br /><br /><span>As the four officers stood in the emergency lane, a refrigerated truck travelling at 100km/h veered to the left and hit themz</span><br /><br /><span>Mr Pusey was arrested on Thursday morning outside of a chemist.</span><br /><br /><span>He has been charged with driving at a dangerous speed, failing to remain after a drug test, failing to render his assistance, failing to exchange his details, possessing a drug of dependence, reckless conduct endangering life, destruction of evidence and three counts of committing an indictable offence while on bail.</span><br /><br /><span>The truck driver had a medical episode after the accident and is in hospital under police guard.</span><br /><br /><span>He is believed to still not be fit for questioning.</span></p>

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Will the coronavirus vaccine be available to all?

<p>As the world stays inside and waits for a vaccine against coronavirus, one of the largest pandemic health innovation funding bodies has raised the alarm over inequity if a vaccine arrives.</p> <p>"We now have to think about issues around vaccine sovereignty," Jane Halton told<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-23/the-race-for-a-coronavirus-vaccine/12173222" target="_blank">7.30</a><span> </span>.</p> <p>"How do we ensure that the vulnerable populations around the world will get access to a vaccine?"</p> <p>Jane Halton is the former head of the Australian Department of Health and the chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI).</p> <p>The organisation is attempting to avoid what happened in 2009, where wealthy countries entered in contracts with big pharmaceutical companies and effectively monopolised the H1N1 swine flu vaccine at the expense of poorer nations.</p> <p>"Everybody will want this vaccine, everybody will want to be vaccinated to reduce their risk," she said.</p> <p>"So we have to negotiate this."</p> <p>According to CEPI, there are six candidates for a vaccine in clinical development right now. There are two in the US, three in China and one in the United Kingdom, with the UK trial expecting to begin testing on humans today.</p> <p>However, Paul Kershawn, head of Johnson and Johnson Asia Pacific Medical Affairs has warned that the vaccine is developing in an “extremely compressed time frame”.</p> <p>"We're accustomed to developing vaccines over a period of five, seven or even more years," he told 7.30.</p> <p>"And so doing this in 12 to 18 months is an extremely compressed timeframe.</p> <p>"It's basically an inactivated virus that allows us to deliver antibodies, creating the presence of antibodies which will fight the virus in patients.</p> <p>"It's a very safe vector. It's something that we have experience with.”</p> <p>However, the process is expensive and long, which means companies will be looking to market the drug and recoup costs.</p> <p>"That is the nature of drug development. It's a risky business," Mr Kershaw said.</p> <p>"We can't wait to finish the clinical trials and then start developing on manufacturing and distributing the vaccine. What we need to do is both of those activities in parallel."</p> <p>As for the 115 possible vaccines in development? It’s possible that multiple vaccines might succeed.</p> <p>"There will likely be a number of vaccines that become available," he said.</p> <p>"And that's all the better. We're playing a part."</p>

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Westpac accused of enabling illegal offences

<p>In amongst all of the COVID-19 news and updates, it seems we’ve been distracted from a lot of other important social issues.</p> <p>Climate change and domestic violence, for example, as well as the fact that Westpac is being investigated over allegations that it’s banking systems enabled child sexual offenders to access <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/offences/sexual-offences/child-abuse-material/">child abuse material</a> via international transfers without raising any red flags.</p> <p>In November last year, the Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre – or AUSTRAC – accused the banking giant of facilitating transactions that enabled child exploitation in the Philippines.</p> <p>AUSTRAC is a federal agency established to monitor financial transactions in order to identify <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/money-laundering/">money laundering</a>, organised crime, tax evasion, welfare fraud and terrorism.</p> <p><strong>Failure to report</strong></p> <p>AUSTRAC alleges that Westpac unlawfully failed to notify it of 23 million international transactions that breached anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws. It has accused the bank of failing to comply with laws which required it to report more than 19.5 million international fund transfers over a five year period, valued at $11 billion.</p> <p><strong>Criminal</strong> <strong>Investigation</strong></p> <p>Investigations by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority ensued have resulted in proceedings that are before the Federal Court.</p> <p>The scandal has led to the resignation of Westpac Chairman Lindsay Maxsted and CEO Brian Hartzer, although Mr Hartzer was officially paid out his multi-million dollar severence.</p> <p><strong>Hypocrisy</strong></p> <p>Ironically, at the time the transactions were occurring, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/westpac-accused-of-enabling-child-sex-trafficking/">Westpac hosted a lavish business function with US-based human trafficking expert Christine Dolan</a> as the guest speaker. This, along with the present allegations, has led to accusations of hypocrisy and shareholders abandoning the organisation.</p> <p>One high profile customer, child protection advocacy group Bravehearts, said:</p> <p>“Child sexual assault and exploitation happens in the darkest of corners and Westpac had an opportunity to shine a light on it. Instead they showed an unbelievable and inhumane disinterest.”</p> <p><a href="https://amp.abc.net.au/article/12146360">The bank could be fined as much as $900m</a> – the highest fine ever given to an Australian  bank. CBA currently holds the record at $700m – paid to AUSTRAC in 2018 for systemically failing to report around 54,000 suspicious transactions made through its “intelligent deposit machines”.</p> <p>In its statement of claim, AUSTRAC outlined 12 customer cases where repeated suspicious payments were made to the Philippines in a pattern that should have raised red flags about potential child abuse.</p> <p><strong>How did it happen?</strong></p> <p>These customers were using Westpac’s LitePay – a low-cost overseas transfer option for sending money to Britain, the eurozone, India and the Philippines. There are regulations in place that banks are supposed to adhere to – careful monitoring of all overseas transactions. Anything suspicious – that could potentially be money laundering or financing a crime or terrorism – needs to be reported to Australian authorities for further investigation.</p> <p>Transfers to the Philippines should have been checked, primarily because the Philippines is well-known as a child-sex offending hot spot. In fact, according to reports, in December 2016 AUSTRAC provided banks, including Westpac, with a briefing outlining the typical financial profile of someone engaged in child exploitation that should sound the alarm in automated detection systems.</p> <p>Banks were told to be alert for people with no obvious family links to the Philippines or South-East Asia, who were sending small sums of money to lots of different people, often over a short period of time. Banks were also specifically told to report such transactions to regulators. In some cases, Westpac customers who made these transactions also travelled to the Philippines which the bank would also have been aware of because of activity on their accounts.</p> <p>But it was not until mid-way through 2018 that Westpac finally implemented a detection system that functioned correctly, allowing it to effectively monitor these transactions.</p> <p><strong>What about a bank’s duty to protect personal privacy?</strong></p> <p>While your bank does have a duty to protect the information it holds on current and former customers, each bank has its own privacy policy which outlines the circumstances in which your information will be given to a third party – one of these circumstances is when the banks are compelled by law to do so.</p> <p><strong>What will be the consequences?</strong></p> <p>Aside from the lack of reporting around suspicious transactions that should have raised child abuse red flags, AUSTRAC says the bank did not report around 19.5 million international funds transfers, plus numerous other alleged breaches of the law.</p> <p>In total AUSTRAC alleges 23 million breaches of the law. Each of these carries a maximum penalty of $17 to $21million, which means that theoretically the bank’s liability would end up amounting to trillions of dollars which it would never be able to pay.</p> <p>The more likely outcome is a settlement or court-determined penalty.</p> <p>Westpac’s directors and senior managers face potential bans from the banking industry as a result of investigations too.  But the sad fact is that as a result of its lack of oversight and adequate detection systems, many vulnerable children endured something preventable.</p> <p>What Westpac ends up paying, or how many of its senior people end up having to find new careers won’t make up for the unimaginable human suffering.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/westpac-accused-of-enabling-child-sexual-offences/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a> </em></p>

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