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Archive for February, 2019

Metadata evidence ban could be ‘catastrophic’ for family violence cases

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

A federal government ban on retained phone and internet records being used as evidence in family violence civil proceedings has been warned to have potentially “catastrophic” consequences.
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Legislation requires telecommunications companies to keep data for at least two years.

Law enforcement and security agencies are able to access the data under strict controls and use it in criminal proceedings, but the government has ruled out allowing admission in civil cases following a review which considered more than 260 submissions.

Federal Attorney-General George Brandis said the review had found there was insufficient reason to justify making exceptions.

The ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate submission asked for exceptions to be made in “serious civil proceedings”.

The directorate said communications records had been subpoenaed previously in domestic violence matters, coronial inquests and workers’ compensation cases involving bullying.

The ACT submission argued the impact of prohibition in some civil proceedings could be catastrophic.

“The rationale … is that these types of proceedings can lead to criminal sanctions and the behaviour of concern is often akin to, or overlaps with, criminal conduct [eg stalking, harassment],” the directorate said.

“Family and children’s safety is supported through the protection order process, which relies on the ability of the system to make fully informed assessments of risks.”

The directorate said there were sometimes related civil and criminal proceedings where inconsistent evidentiary rules could cause confusion, delay and higher cost.

The Commonwealth’s response points out the ACT did not provide details on how telecommunications data had been used in past proceedings.

“Given the limited practical evidence about the degree to which telecommunications data has been useful in these types of matters, it is difficult to determine the strength of the case for access in these circumstances at this time,” the response says.

“Further consultation and evidence would be needed to properly assess the case for exceptions to the prohibition in such circumstances.”

The government also rejected an Australian Federal Police suggestion to exempt law enforcement-related civil proceedings from the ban.

The AFP cited examples including proceeds-of-crime matters, child protection orders and apprehended violence orders.

The government said exceptions could be considered later if new evidence emerges.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Prices surge in some Brisbane areas as four suburbs gain $1m median

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

The biggest drop in Brisbane house prices since 2011Was it really easier for Baby Boomers to buy a house?Apartment construction outpacing houses in Australia
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Saint Lucia, Samford Valley, Chelmer, and Auchenflower have joined (and in some cases re-joined) the likes of Ascot and New Farm as some of Brisbane’s most sought-after suburbs.

Fourteen Brisbane suburbs now have median house prices above $1million, up from ten last quarter.

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said despite more suburbs joining the $1 million+ club, a low ceiling meant Brisbane prices remained relatively affordable.

“There’s 78 suburbs in Sydney with median over $2 million dollars,” he said. “It just shows the value aspect at the top of the market and the bottom, affordability is also about the top end.”

“If you’ve got $2 million, gee whiz, you can get something great in Brisbane but in Sydney and Melbourne, not so much.”

Agents in Auchenflower and Saint Lucia said they were pleased, but not surprised, by the findings.

Space Property Paddington principal Judi O’Dea said she had actually expected the Auchenflower median to be higher.

“Because there’s larger land sizes, character homes and it’s got city views in certain properties as well,” she said. “There’s just a feel of a lovely village about it.”

Ms O’Dea said those who could afford to buy in the suburb often spent a little extra to make the most of their patch of Brisbane’s inner west.

“The land per square metre is very important and very expensive, people invest in the land,” she said. “There’s lots of architecturally designed homes in this area.”

Good schools and a relaxed lifestyle draw people to the suburb, Ms O’Dea said. “I’ve seen this area transition in the last ten years into something that is extremely valuable.”

In Saint Lucia, Harcourt Graceville’s David Gowdie said the suburb’s steadily growing appeal with Chinese buyers and investors was sustainably growing the area’s median and profile.

“It’s a bit of an anomaly, but what we’re finding is Chinese interest market in that market is huge,” he said. “They want to live there and move in there.”

Mr Gowdie is marketing 49 Dell Street, and said Chinese buyers had expressed the most interest in the property.

“We’ve had four people put in offers above $1 million and they were all Chinese,” he said.

The overseas interest was driven by the University of Queensland’s efforts to develop a dual living and education precinct in the surrounding streets, and Mr Gowdie said it was also driving local interest.

“[The university’s master plan] is on the lips of everyone around the place,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Manly pinch golden-point thriller against Raiders

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

It was testament to the type of leader Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker is, but Sia Soliola refused to allow his skipper to shoulder the blame for the heart-breaking, golden-point loss.
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A Dylan Walker penalty, which snuck in off the upright, proved the difference as it took until extra-time for Manly to beat the Raiders 20-18 at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.

Croker put his hand up after missing a conversion from the touchline after winger Jordan Rapana scored an amazing try in the corner and slipped when they had an overlap and were shooting for a golden try.

Soliola said it said a lot about Croker that he would even consider taking the blame.

“There’s a few boys that are taking it personally. In my opinion, they played their hearts out, all the boys did. There’s nothing we can do,” Soliola said.

“You can’t expect Jarrod to do everything and you can’t expect people not to make mistakes.

“We don’t go out there to purposely drop a ball or give penalties away, it’s just one of those things where things happen.

“We did that today, it was just one of those things where Junior could have scored, Jarrod could have scored, Jarrod could have finished it off.

“In saying that, that’s the type of character Jarrod is. That’s how much he loves the club, and that’s how much we value him as captain.

“That’s what he’s all about, he’s all about Raiders first and foremost, and that’s what you want from your captain.”

It was a tough, tight, even first half that only had a Walker penalty goal and a Croker try to show for it on the scoreboard – with both teams soaking up plenty of pressure.

Canberra struck first in the second half, with Josh Papalii – who continues to show why both Queensland coach Kevin Walters and Australia coach Mal Meninga think so highly of him – running over Daly Cherry-Evans and then through Tom Trbojevic.

It appeared to have given the Green Machine a comfortable lead until Manly struck twice in a matter of minutes to turn it into a thrilling second half.

The Sea Eagles got lucky with Cherry-Evans’ kick bouncing off Soliola into Jake Trbojevic’s arms, for the Manly lock to score.

Then Walker flew through the Raiders’ line to give the visitors an unlikely lead.

Croker levelled the scores from the kicking tee before Rapana produced a magic finish in the very back corner of the in-goal area.

“No one’s hurting more than me mate, but I’ve just got to take it. I had two chances there to win the game for the boys and couldn’t get through. We’ve got to get over it pretty quickly and move forward,” Croker said.

Having missed a penalty earlier, Walker had a chance to ice it in the dying minutes, but couldn’t convert Tom Trbojevic’s try to level the scores at 18-all.

The Raiders had the first chance in extra-time, with five-eighth Blake Austin almost producing the winning try with a brilliant run on the fourth tackle.

On the very next play, the Green Machine went wide and created the overlap, but Croker slipped when stepping back inside with winger Nick Cotric unmarked out wide.

Walker then converted a penalty from about 40-metres out to win it after Joe Tapine had been penalised for a two-man strip – although Josh Hodgson’s involvement as the second man was limited to touching the Manly player before stepping away.

In his up-and-down night, Walker was put on report for slamming Raiders halfback Aidan Sezer into the turf in a tackle, which added plenty of feeling to the game.

Cherry-Evans admitted the Sea Eagles were lucky to get away with the two points.

“It’s hard not to be a bit flinchy when you’re in those situations. They’re a really good side and to hold them out in a clutch situation, a lot of pressure, it’s going to do a lot for our confidence defensively,” he said.

“I thought we were very, very lucky there, very lucky.”


MANLY SEA EAGLES 20 (Jake Trbojevic , Dylan Walker, Tom Trbojevic tries; Walker 4 goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 18 (Jarrod Croker, Josh Papalii, Jordan Rapana tries; Croker 3 goals) at Canberra Stadium. Referees: Grant Atkins, Chris Sutton. Crowd: 15,976.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

When a grandmother is so much more than that

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

UNBREAKABLE BOND: Michelle Kearns at home with her grandchildren Justin Oliver, 7, and Christell Papadakis, 17. Picture: Kieren L Tilly
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When Wagga grandmother Michelle Kearns received a call to pick up her two grandchildren from the airport,she never imagined she would be spending her senior years doing the school run.

Mrs Kearns immediately took in her two grandchildren, now 7 and 17, after they were removed from their parents care.

After two years of gruelling FACS appointments, medical assessments, criminal history checks and trauma training, Mrs Kearns is now fighting the NSW governmentfor a grandmother title, with foster carer rights.

“We were immediately treated like foster carers with home visits –it was really quite invasive,” Mrs Kearns said.

“I had to get a medical certificate to say I could care for my own grandchildren.”

Mrs Kearns’ life suddenly transformed as she became the full time carer for her granddaughter, who suffers from a chronic genetic disorder and her grandson, who is on the autism spectrum.

“We were classed under the foster care banner but we weren’t getting the entitlements,” Mrs Kearns said.

“We want the government to advocate for our rights and recognise what we do.”

Mrs Kearns is battling, along with several other Riverina grandmothers, for five days respite a month and the same financial assistance foster carers receive.

“We have to go through FACS just to organise other family members to visit the kids,” Mrs Kearns said.

“The other day my grandson fell over and hit his head; I had to ring FACS to notify them of the bruise because you just don’t know what they could think.

“For a normal parent they would just put the band-aidon and be done with it.”

With four case workers in two years, Mrs Kearns said she wasfed up with the bureaucracy.

“It’s been a curve ball for every one of us but we love the children,” Mrs Kearns said.“We want recognition that we are special and we sacrifice a lot.”

Mrs Kearns and her husband have both had to reduce their working hours in order to care for their grandchildren, putting their own lives on hold.

“There are so many changes you go through which people don’t see,” Mrs Kearns said.

“I’ve lost a lot of friends who no longer call because I’m too busy –we need that adult support.”

When Mrs Kearns joins Wagga’s Grandparents Doing it Tough support group to protest for her cause on April 28, she said she hopes the community’s perception will shift.

“To have community support is just as important as our status,” Mrs Kearns said.

“We live here, we spend money here and I look after so many others in the community, I want to be known as more than a foster carer.”

Riverina grandparents will march from10am at the Wagga City Council Building.

The support group’s monthly meetings are held on the first Friday of each month.

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Why the Bulldogs may not have Foran and Woods just yet

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

The NRL won’t register the expected contracts of Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran at the Bulldogs until the club outlines how they plan to get under next year’s indicative $9.14 million salary cap.
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With Woods and Foran poised to sign lucrative deals to join the Bulldogs in 2018, the NRL is keeping a close eye on the player movement at Belmore given the likelihood they’ll have to part ways with several contracted players to accommodate the arrival of the superstar duo.

Those contracts, which are yet to be signed by Woods and Foran, won’t be registered by the NRL until the Bulldogs meet with the governing body and provide details of their plans to ensure they are salary cap compliant next year.

It’s also understood the NRL will require some indication from the likely departing players that they intend to leave the Bulldogs, not just a verbal commitment from the club.

It comes after NRL salary cap auditor Richard Gardham sent an email to all 16 club chief executives on Thursday highlighting the ramifications for those clubs that don’t heed the NRL’s advice regarding next year’s still unconfirmed salary cap.

“Clubs were provided with the indicative 2018 salary cap value on 30 March. At this time, it is the NRL’s expectation that this number is used by clubs for planning their 2018 rosters,” the NRL email said.

“Any club that contracts in excess of this number does so with knowledge of the proposed 2018 salary cap as it currently stands and risks contracts not being registered in line with PCR Rule 47.

“Any club which believes it is likely to exceed the 2018 salary cap based on current agreements should notify the salary cap auditor immediately with a plan to ensure the club is salary cap compliant for the 2018 season. Naturally, the NRL will provide support where appropriate.”

Of the big name off-contract players at the Bulldogs, it appears a certainty that Michael Lichaa and Will Hopoate won’t be at the club next season. However, the in-form Josh Reynolds, who a few weeks ago seemed likely to be on the way out of Belmore, now appears to be part of coach Des Hasler’s future plans.

That will likely mean his halves partner, Moses Mbye, will be the big money player shopped around to rival clubs alongside Bulldogs captain James Graham.

Graham is on a heavily back-ended deal for next season worth close to $1 million, and has attracted plenty of interest from Newcastle, who missed out on the services of Cowboys and Australian prop Matt Scott.

Rival clubs are also aware the Bulldogs will be desperate to offload talent to comply with the salary cap and will try and use that as leverage when they negotiate how much each club will fork out for players.

“The offer presented to the RLPA provides for $9.14m in salary cap and allowances for the top 30 players in each club [plus six development list players],” Gardham said in his email. “On a like-for-like basis this is almost 20 per cent more than the equivalent 2017 figure.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.