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Qld bikies can fill out 'resignation' form

Written By kemala yuspita on Selasa, 24 Juni 2014 | 17.52

QUEENSLAND bikies and their associates can fill out a form to declare they are no longer part of an outlaw group.

THE Queensland Police Service website has a questionnaire asking people to describe the steps they have taken to "disassociate".

The form asks participants to circle yes or no boxes to indicate if they have returned or destroyed their club colours, if they have a club tattoo, and whether it's been removed.They are also asked to declare if they are an office holder, general member or associate of a bikie chapter.New laws are coming into effect from July 1 banning bikies from working as used car sellers, security guards, locksmiths, tow truck drivers, bookmakers, pawn brokers, tattoo artists and bar workers.More than a dozen lines on the form are set aside so people can describe their future intentions with an outlaw group and the steps their organisation has taken to disassociate from them.A declaration section asks participants to give an undertaking to provide documents to the police within 10 business days.Earlier this month, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced the government would delay a controversial plan to ban people with bikie links from working in the building industry.This means plumbers and electricians with suspected bikie links won't be banned from having a trades licence until July 2015, after a federal royal commission into unions.But new licensing requirements will apply to other industries under the Tattoo Parlours Act 2013.Bikies can call a police hotline for help on filling out the form, which is subject to the Information Privacy Act.The Queensland police website promises that applications to disown bike membership would be assessed "in a timely manner".But participants are advised that delaying a response to a letter could jeopardise their ability to hold an industry licence.The form has to be witnessed by another signature.Queensland police say two people have filled out the form to distance themselves from a bikie group since they were posted online on June 10.

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Senator breaks into song during farewell

Senator Ursula Stephens has burst into song during her valedictory speech. Source: AAP

LEAVING parliament may be a blessing in disguise for Labor Senator Ursula Stephens, who looks prepped to shine on another stage - in showbiz.

THE Irish-born Australian stopped short of doing a jig during her valedictory speech in the Senate on Tuesday, instead providing the house with a shaky duck analogy, a famous Australian poem and a wee Irish melody.

After tipping her glass to the Irish ambassador, Senator Stephens burst into song to bid farewell to her colleagues."For all the comrades e'er I had, they would wish me one more day to stay," she reverberated clearly across the chamber.A little less clear was the duck analogy which the senator used to back into her message about caring for the 51 million people displaced around the world.The story goes: Canberra traffic was banked up on Senator Stephens' way to work recently because a duck had been injured and another duck had stayed by its side."And I thought to myself, yes, even a duck looks after its mate," she said.That was followed by the senator reciting Dame Mary Gilmore's Nationality poem which famously declares "this loaf is my son's bread"."We must find a way to feed our own son and also look after our fellow human beings in need."Leader of the opposition in the senate, Penny Wong, congratulated Senator Stephens on her 12-year term and said ending in song was a nice touch.

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China FTA to be completed this year: Robb

Trade Minister Andrew Robb is confident free trade agreement with China will be completed this year. Source: AAP

TRADE Minister Andrew Robb is confident the free trade agreement with China will be completed this year.

MR Robb and Treasurer Joe Hockey are in Beijing this week for the inaugural Australia-China Strategic Economic Dialogue.

Part of that visit included discussions with the chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Xu Shaoshi, a body that plays a central role in setting China's strategic economic direction and manages investment within and outside China.Mr Robb said the chairman has indicated the NDRC will be active in concluding the FTA."The conclusion was it was do-able this year, it could be completed and both governments are determined to bring it to completion later this year," Mr Robb told reporters.Earlier this year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed FTAs with South Korea and Japan, which allow for liberalised two-way trade with Australia.Mr Hockey said the meeting had been very productive where discussions included the economic growth target that was agreed in Sydney earlier this year under Australia's G20 2014 presidency.There was also an aim for closer financial relations, including Australia's desire to have a clearing bank for renminbi trading."There are tremendous opportunities to deepen the relationship at a number of levels, in particular expanding services exports from Australia to China," Mr Hockey said.Under a suggestion made by Chairman Xu, there was an agreement to create an investment co-operation framework which is expected to be completed by the time of the G20 summit in November."It will give us a significant road map going forward on significant investment issues," Mr Robb said.

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Vatican overturned bishop's ban on priest

Brian Lucas has been asked to explain why he didn't take notes when interviewing abusive priests. Source: AAP

IT took almost 20 years for the pope to defrock an Australian priest for allegedly indecently assaulting a boy, the royal commission into child sex abuse has heard.

AND when his bishop banned him from saying Mass in public after complaints against the priest, the Vatican overturned the decision.

John Gerard Nestor was found guilty in court but was later acquitted of indecent assault charges against the boy in the NSW parish of Wollongong.The commission is currently looking at how the Catholic Church under its own law - canon law - deals with priests or religious against whom allegations have been made, but no convictions obtained.In particular it is looking at the case of Nestor, 50, who was a priest in Wollongong when he was found guilty of indecent assault of a teenage altar boy in 1996.The priest admitted he had slept on mattresses on a floor with the boy and his younger brother in July 1991, but he denied assaulting the boy.He was acquitted on appeal in 1997.A series of investigations ensued, involving canon lawyers, Australian church processes, the NSW ombudsman and the highest echelons of the Vatican.Ultimately, Pope Benedict XVI dismissed Nestor from the priesthood in October, 2008.When more complaints emerged, Bishop Philip Wilson asked Nestor to stand aside from public ministry while the church's professional standards office assessed them.Nestor, who ran summer camps for altar boys, was alleged to have watched boys showering, and playing inappropriate games. One boy had complained that he had seen "Nestor touch his brother ... 'on the penis and the bum'".Bishop Wilson, who is now Archbishop of Adelaide, said Nestor rejected a recommendation by church assessors he go for psychological assessment.Bishop Wilson decreed Nestor not celebrate Mass publicly.Nestor challenged the decree and two years later, the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy ordered he be reinstated.The commission heard another Vatican judicial body, the Apostolic Signatura took five and a half years to consider an appeal to the finding."There was a lot of confusion about procedures within the church (at the time)," the bishop said in reply to a question about rights under canon law.Nestor asked Bishop Wilson to release him from the diocese so he could go elsewhere. Bishop Wilson said he refused and wanted Nestor to voluntarily stand aside from the ministry.Nestor went to the US and Africa without the bishop's permission.Earlier at Tuesday's hearing, Brian Lucas, the secretary-general of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference gave evidence of a confidential conversation with Nestor in 1993.Fr Lucas, who has been criticised by the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry for his failure to take notes when he interviewed alleged clerical abusers, did not take notes in the Nestor case.The senior cleric repeated on Tuesday this was because it helped the men he interviewed tell the truth.He said Nestor denied the allegations and said he experienced "a level of discomfort" about what Nestor told him about conversations of a sexual nature he had with boys.Nestor's explanation was he was teaching them about conscience.Fr Lucas may be asked to return to this hearing which is ongoing.

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Tax, security info at cyber attack risk

TAX and social security records and national security information remains vulnerable to cyber attacks, a new report shows.

AN auditor-general review of seven major government agencies found that none complied with the required cyber security measures which were due to be in place by mid-2014.

The agencies included the Australian Tax Office, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Customs, Australian Financial Security Authority, the Department of Human Services and IP Australia.The agencies hold a wide range of personal, national security and economic information.The report said that in 2012 there were more than 1790 security incidents against Australian government agencies, of which 685 were considered serious.While the audited agencies had put in place internal security safeguards to protect their information "the selected agencies had not yet achieved full compliance with the top four mitigation strategies" mandated by the government in 2013.And none was on track to meet the mid-2014 compliance date.The agencies were found to have a "reasonable" level of protection from breaches from internal sources, but "vulnerabilities remain against attacks from external sources to agency systems"."In essence, agency processes and practices have not been sufficiently responsive to the ever-present and ever-changing risks that government systems are exposed to," the report concluded.The four strategies agencies have been asked to put in place include protections against malicious programs, security "patching" of applications, devices and operating systems and keeping administrative privileges to a small group of users.

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Salvos sorry for abuse 'greatest failure'

Written By kemala yuspita on Senin, 23 Juni 2014 | 17.52

The Salvation Army will again give evidence at the child sex abuse royal commission in Sydney. Source: AAP

THE Salvation Army says it is profoundly sorry for the abuse suffered by children in its care, and events revealed by the royal commission into child sexual abuse represent the greatest failure in its history.

HOWEVER, the organisation maintains sexual abuse was not widespread after the commission heard evidence of more than 100 cases of children suffering horrendous abuse in homes run by the Salvation Army in Queensland and NSW in the 1960s and 1970s.

As the royal commission moved to finalise its investigation into the church on Monday, counsel for the Salvation Army, Kate Eastman, challenged a statement from counsel assisting the commission that sexual abuse was "widespread" at boys' homes it ran.In an apology to survivors, Ms Eastman read a statement from the Salvation Army saying the organisation was "profoundly sorry for failing to care for you as you deserved, for the neglect, hurt, abuse and deprivation of human rights that all children are entitled to".Ms Eastman said the church "acknowledges that this is the greatest failure in its history in Australia".She said that in the 113 years from 1883 to 1996, the Salvation Army had 17,831 children in its care across four homes in NSW and Queensland and there had been 157 claims of abuse from children in that time.She said 115 of those children were from boys' homes and of 23 perpetrators identified, 19 were Salvation Army officers."We don't for one moment seek to diminish or oversimplify or justify by historical circumstances but we do submit that the total number of claims against the total number of children reflects a relatively small number of children reporting sexual abuse during their time at the home," Ms Eastman said.Counsel assisting the commission Simeon Beckett said the number of children abused in Salvation Army homes would never be known because many had not come forward or had not been able to speak out.The commission heard evidence from survivors of extreme sexual and physical abuse meted out by Salvation Army workers at homes in Indooroopilly and Riverview in Queensland, and Bexley and Goulburn in NSW.Hearings held in January and February heard evidence that the Salvation Army failed to investigate complaints that its staff were abusing boys and did not refer matters to police.Boys who did report abuse to officials were punished and many did not report abuse for fear they would not be believed and would suffer further punishment.Ms Eastman also revealed the Salvation Army has dismissed an officer accused of abusing children in the 1970s.John McIver was suspended by the Salvation Army in February after allegations he sexually abused two boys in a NSW home in the 1960s and 1970s, and whipped a boy with a strap and dislocated his arm during a beating at a home in Queensland in 1975.On Monday the commission heard McIver had been dismissed from the organisation in June and matters had been referred to police.The commission will now prepare its report into the events that occurred at Salvation Army homes in the 1960s and 1970s, and into separate events of alleged abuse that have occurred since 1993.

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Vic firies will be paid for mine fire: MFB

Victorian firefighters have begun legal action to recover wages owed since the Hazelwood mine fire. Source: AAP

FIREFIGHTERS involved in battling Victoria's mine fire will be paid outstanding entitlements for their efforts this week, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) says.

THE United Firefighters Union (UFU) has started Federal Court action against the brigade to recover wages owing since the 45-day fire at the Hazelwood coal mine began on February 9.

The legal action concerns 240 MFB firefighters, who are each owed an average $4000 out of a total overtime bill of more than $6 million.The MFB says all outstanding payments it is aware of will be paid this week."We have provided assurances to staff that everyone will be paid all of their entitlements," acting deputy chief officer David Bruce said in a statement on Monday.The UFU says firefighters worked up to 20-hour days on their days off during the Hazelwood coal mine fire but that the MFB is unable to account for who was there.However, Mr Bruce said it had taken considerable time and effort to recognise and verify attendance records, given the size and nature of the incident.The summer's fire season involved the largest deployment of firefighters outside the MFB's immediate area of responsibility, he said."Understandably, the MFB's focus at that time was to provide assistance to the community through efficient and effective deployment of resources across the state," he said.The UFU's Peter Marshall said the legal action for firefighters' entitlements would continue despite the MFB's assurances they would be paid this week."They've been saying that every week. Show me the money is the response to that," he said."If in the interim period they pay, that's good. but to date we ain't see the money despite many assurances."Firefighters shouldn't have to wait that long and the MFB should meet their legal requirements."

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Vic 'palm reader' jailed for assaults

A VICTORIAN man who used an offer to read women's palms as a ruse to sexually assault them while travelling on a train has been jailed for at least 10 months.

AJAY Chopra, 41, had pleaded guilty to all five charges relating to the assaults on five women over a three month period in 2011.

The Bendigo man targeted young women who were travelling alone on the Melbourne to Bendigo V/Line train, with each crime starting with an offer to tell their fortune."All of this was a ruse and what you were attempting to do was either to put their hand in your crotch area, or put your hand in their crotch area," Victorian County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly said.Jailing Chopra for 21 months, Judge Mullaly said his actions were shameful and dishonourable."The fact they were conducted on public transport adds to the unfortunate sense of fear that women have that public transport is not safe," he said."This fear is corrosive and impacts on women's rights to go about their lives freely."Prosecutor Neil Hutton said once Chopra had hold of a woman's hands he would resist any efforts by them to pull away.In one case, he held his hand under a woman's dress. In another, he held his victim's hand against his penis."She could feel the man's erect penis on the back of her hand," Mr Hutton said."This activity happened for most of the trip to Bendigo, where he got off the train."He turned and said `have a nice life` as he did so."Another incident was cut short - with Chopra moving to a different carriage - after the woman managed to make a mobile phone call.Defence lawyer Mark Hird tendered to the court character references which he said showed Chopra was a gentle person and the incidents were completely out of character.He said his client had entered an early plea of guilty to all charges - three counts of indecent assault, and two counts of attempted indecent assault."They are clearly quite serious offences ... and it is conceded they were carried out in circumstances of coercion," Mr Hird said.Chopra, who was supported in the court by his wife, was placed on the sex offenders register for life.

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Labor, coalition in cost of living battle

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will personally reintroduce a bill to axe the carbon tax. Source: AAP

LABOR and the coalition have traded blows over cost-of-living pressures as the government reintroduced its carbon tax repeal bills.

THE government is adamant the repeal will improve the cost of living for average families by $550 a year and drive down electricity bills.

But Labor has seized on new economic modelling which shows budget changes to welfare and seniors payments will erode family budgets by thousands of dollars each year.Prime Minister Tony Abbott intends to have the carbon tax repeal bills passed through the lower house this week, in time for a special four-day sitting of the new Senate from July 7.The government is quietly confident of securing six out of eight crossbench votes, including three Palmer United Party senators, to pass its legislation.PUP leader Clive Palmer will outline at a media conference in Canberra on Wednesday night what it will take for his senators to back the bills."He will be fully transparent on Wednesday," his spokesman told AAP.Mr Palmer also has concerns about pension cuts and the Medicare co-payment which he says will cost pensioners $2500 a year.Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Monday seized on statements by energy retailers AGL, Origin and Energy Australia that prices would come down once the carbon tax was abolished."AGL today confirmed that price reductions will flow through to residential and small business customers if the carbon repeal legislation is passed by the federal parliament," the company said, adding the cuts would start from July 1 regardless of when the laws passed.Mr Hunt said all six new senators had gone to an election promising to get rid of the carbon tax."All of the signs are that they will fulfil their commitment," he said.Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in parliament referred to new modelling showing a couple on a single income of $65,000 with two children would be $1700 worse off in 2014/15 and short-changed by $6300 in 2017/18."Why should Australian families have to pay for the prime minister's dishonesty?" he asked Mr Abbott in parliament.Mr Abbott told parliament Labor's family payments were unaffordable, but the government was still providing a generous system while getting the budget back under control.Meanwhile, defeated Labor leadership contender Anthony Albanese rejected reports he has been privately critical of Mr Shorten's handling of strategy, policy, communications and internal party reform."Bill has done a good job of holding the government to account," Mr Albanese said.Mr Albanese later told parliament the media reports were "absurd, wrong, without any attribution, unprofessional and contradicted by cursory examination of the facts and recent history".

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Peter Greste jailed for 7 years in Egypt

Tony Abbott has lobbied Egypt's new president for the release of journalist Peter Greste (pic). Source: AAP

AUSTRALIAN journalist Peter Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues accused of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood have been jailed for seven years in Egypt.

GRESTE and two other reporters working for Qatar-based Al-Jazeera English were among 20 defendants in a trial that has triggered international outrage amid fears of growing media restrictions in Egypt.

Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the authorities have been incensed by the Qatari network's coverage of their deadly crackdown on his supporters.They consider Al Jazeera as the voice of Qatar, and accuse Doha of backing Morsi's Brotherhood.Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and producer Baher Mohamed were tried with 17 others on charges of "spreading false news" and having Brotherhood links.The three have already been detained for nearly six months, along with six others.Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he spoke to Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over the weekend."I assured him - as a former journalist myself - that Peter Greste would have been reporting the Muslim Brotherhood, not supporting the Muslim Brotherhood," Mr Abbott earlier told the Seven Network on Monday.Mr Abbott said the president understood Australia's position."I made my point. I made it as clearly as I could," he saidThe talks between the two leaders follow similar lobbying by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who spoke with her recently appointed Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukri over the weekend.In Canberra, parliamentarians made a bipartisan plea for Greste's release.Greste's two brothers were in court for Monday's ruling.Al Jazeera says only nine of the 20 defendants are on its staff, including two foreign reporters who are abroad.A Dutch journalist, who is not working with the channel, is also among the defendants.Sixteen are Egyptians accused of belonging to the Brotherhood, which the military-installed government designated a "terrorist organisation" in December.The four foreigners are also alleged to have collaborated with and assisted their Egyptian co-defendants by providing media material, as well as editing and broadcasting it.Prosecutors demanded the maximum penalty for all defendants.The 16 Egyptians could be jailed for 25 years, while the foreigners could get 15 years, their lawyers say.A Greste family spokesperson said an appeal would be considered."A number of contingencies have been put in place because we had to consider this option," Heidi Ross told the ABC."I'm not really at liberty to discuss them, they need to be gone through privately by the family."Different things have different implications for Peter."It's going to take a couple of days of sitting down and going through again all of the stuff for real this time, rather than just speculating and then to decide which tactic to take."An appeal is certainly on that list."

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