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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-14 16:28:43
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-14 06:28:43
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28020" align="alignnone" width="300"] Lismore City Council ranger Craig Devonshire with the new body cameras worn by compliance staff.[/caption]

Lismore City Council compliance staff will permanently wear body cameras following a successful six-month trial of the surveillance equipment.

Lismore has been trialling the technology among compliance staff including rangers and environmental health compliance officers.

The cameras are used whenever a staff member is engaged to undertake an activity – from picking up a dangerous dog to issuing a parking fine – and the footage is then stored in an off-site location to prevent tampering.

Each of the high-definition cameras can record 21 hours of video and audio, and compliance coordinator Matt Kelly said often simply having the cameras switched on can de-escalate potentially volatile scenarios.

“Everyone tends to act more reasonably when they know they are being recorded – the cameras can often take the heat out of a situation because people are more conscious and aware of their actions,” he said.

“From both a staff perspective and for members of the public, it provides transparency and ensures everyone is 100% accountable for their behaviour.”

Matt said neighbouring councils had shown interest in the technology and he was pleased to report the trial had already been met with approval by the community and staff.

“The feedback we have had so far has been very positive,” Matt said.

“We want our community members to feel protected and we also want our staff to feel secure in performing their duties. The body cameras are a simple and effective way to provide peace of mind for everyone.”

                    [post_title] => Body cameras the new normal for compliance staff
                    [post_excerpt] => Lismore City Council compliance staff will permanently wear body cameras.
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                    [post_date] => 2017-08-21 11:45:30
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                    [post_content] =>  

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has identified a number of labour hire intermediaries sourcing illegal labour and sending money derived from this exploitation overseas.

Following an Australia-wide operation codenamed Bonasus, more than 225 people working in breach of their visa conditions were also located during the operation. Video footage of the operation can be viewed here.

ABF officers inspected 48 properties, including businesses and residential premises, as part of the operation targeting organised visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign nationals.

The illegal workers were from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam Tunisia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They were located working in industries ranging from agriculture to retail and hospitality.

In addition, more than 300 individuals were refused entry into Australia as part of the operation.

ABF Commander Field and Removal Operations Robyn Miller said the operation should act as a warning to both employers of illegal workers and non-citizens who are, or are intending to, work illegally in Australia.

"The facilitation of, and engagement in, illegal work can have lasting negative impact on Australian communities and individuals," Commander Miller said.

"This includes significant underpayment and substandard living conditions for foreign workers, and reputational damage for rural and metropolitan industry sectors.

"Small and medium businesses are also disadvantaged due to the unfair competitive advantage gained by those who do not adhere to the law."

Investigations into these labour hire intermediaries are continuing. Penalties for businesses organising illegal work range up to ten years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $210,000.

Individuals caught working illegally may be detained and removed. Individuals also face being banned from re-entering Australia for three years and may be liable for the costs of their removal.

A majority of the unlawful non-citizens and foreign nationals caught working illegally have been removed to their country of origin. A small number of the group are assisting the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to resolve their immigration status.

Anyone who is aware of an individual, business or employer who may be facilitating visa fraud or illegal work is urged to contact Border Watch on 1800 009 623 or visit Information can be provided anonymously.
State/Territory Number of warrants Illegal workers located Locations
Victoria/Tasmania 14 More than 50 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Melbourne, Mildura, Shepparton, and Sunbury.
NSW/ACT 16 More than 110 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Mittagong and Griffith.
Queensland 4 More than 25 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Brisbane, Bundaberg and Mareeba.
Western Australia 12 Almost 40 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Perth.
South Australia/Northern Territory 2 Fewer than 5 Warrants occurred in Golden Heights and Whyalla Stuart.   
Total 48 More than 225  
The Department does not report on cohorts fewer than five for privacy reasons.   [post_title] => Customs targets employers of illegal workers [post_excerpt] => ABF officers have inspected businesses and residential premises targeting organised visa fraud and illegal work. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => customs-targets-employers-illegal-workers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-21 13:31:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-21 03:31:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27814 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-14 13:24:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-14 03:24:12 [post_content] => New research released by The Australia Institute identifies significant gaps in federal anti-corruption measures, as calls grow for a federal ICAC ahead of a major national conference on the issue. The report finds that:
  • There are significant gaps in the jurisdiction and investigative powers of the federal agencies responsible for scrutinising the public sector and government.
  • No agency has the power to investigate corrupt conduct as defined by state-based commissions.
  • No agency can investigate misconduct of MPs, ministers or the judiciary.
  • The only agencies that have strong investigative powers can only use them when investigating criminal charges.
  • No agency holds regular public hearings, meaning that corruption and misconduct is not properly exposed to the public.
  • To fill these gaps, a federal anti-corruption commission will need strong investigative powers and broad jurisdiction similar to NSW ICAC and other successful state-based commissions.
“We already know that 80% of people want a federal ICAC, and our research shows that in fact this is critical to filling the gaps in our integrity system,” executive director of The Australia Institute Ben Oquist said. “The types of corruption being revealed in NSW ICAC are currently falling through the gaps of our federal anti-corruption measures. Corruption doesn’t stop at the border, and a federal ICAC is needed to make sure it is investigated and exposed. “A federal ICAC must have strong powers and broad jurisdiction to make sure it can expose corruption in the highest levels of government. This means it needs to be able to investigate politicians, and it must have the ability to call public hearings. “At a time of growing electoral disillusionment, a federal ICAC would be good not just for accountability but could help restore some faith in politics overall,” Mr Oquist said. [caption id="attachment_27825" align="alignnone" width="620"] Table 1: Comparison of jurisdiction of integrity bodies. Sources: Law Enforcement Integrity Act 2006, Auditor General Act 1997, ACC Act 2002, AFP Act 1979, Public Service Act 1999, Auditor General Act 1997, Ombudsman Act 1976.[/caption] On Wednesday August 17, experts from across legal and academic fields will gather at Parliament House for the Accountability & the Law Conference to discuss the weaknesses in the current federal accountability system and suggest mechanisms for reform, including the establishment of a federal anti-corruption commission.   [post_title] => Federal corruption a dog’s breakfast: TAI [post_excerpt] => There are significant gaps in federal anti-corruption measures, a Federal ICAC is needed to fill the gaps. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-corruption-dogs-breakfast-tai [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-14 21:39:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-14 11:39:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27798 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-10 15:36:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-10 05:36:04 [post_content] => The NSW Government has voted down Labor legislation that would decriminalise cannabis possession. The proposed legislation was to ensure that sufferers of terminal and serious medical conditions who rely on medicinal cannabis to ease their pain, would no longer be treated as criminals. The legislation would also create the mechanism to create a safe and lawful supply chain of product, to make access a practical reality for sufferers. The legislation sought to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of cannabis (up to 15 grams) for treatment of chronic and serious medical conditions for medically certified sufferers and their carers, requiring them to receive photo identification and medical certification from NSW Health in order to possess medicinal cannabis. These amounts could be adjusted by regulation, according to medical treatment need. Currently, people who purchase cannabis to alleviate the pain and distress associated with chronic and terminal illnesses face criminal penalties under the Crimes Act (1900). The proposed legislation adopted the key recommendations from a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which received unanimous support from five political parties including NSW Labor, Liberal Party, National Party, the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. "The unanimous recommendations of the Parliamentary inquiry were delivered in 2013,” said Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council Adam Searle. “Labor has always been ready, willing and able to work with the NSW Government to make access to medicinal cannabis a reality.” “Those who are suffering from terminal and serious medical conditions deserve sympathy and support- and they should not be treated like a criminal for seeking respite from relentless and unwavering illness,” said Opposition Leader Luke Foley. “It is deeply disappointing that the Government has denied legislation that will restore dignity to those people seeking temporary relief from the pain and suffering of their affliction.” A number of other states have already legalised medicinal cannabis use (including Victoria and the ACT), and at one point NSW was expected to  overtake Victoria with the legislation. Illnesses that would be taken to be terminal or serious medical conditions:
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV);
  • motor neurone disease;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • the neurological disorder known as stiff person syndrome;
  • severe and treatment-resistant nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy;
  • pain associated with cancer;
  • neuropathic pain;
  • an illness or condition declared by the regulations to be a terminal or serious medical condition.
  [post_title] => NSW medicinal cannabis bill fails [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government has voted down legislation that would decriminalise cannabis possession. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-medicinal-cannabis-bill-fails [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:05:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:05:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27743 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-02 14:33:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:33:30 [post_content] => Andrew Hudson The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton used his opening address at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) Industry Summit on Monday morning (31 July 2017) to assure those in the private supply chain and their clients that the current work agenda would be maintained under the proposed Home Affairs department. Along with the Acting Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Minister Dutton reiterated that the ABF would continue in its traditional ‘Customs’ role and the ABF, as part of the DIBP, would also continue its vital engagement with industry and development of trade facilitation measures to assist in the legitimate trade in goods and movement in people. At the time of the announcement of the creation of the new Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the focus of the commentary was on national and border security issues with no comment on the traditional ‘Customs’ role of the ABF or its ongoing engagement with industry and the facilitation of international trade at the border. Naturally, there were some concerns that the failure to address these important roles could mean that the importance of those roles was being downgraded and that momentum on various initiatives here and overseas could be lost with an increased focus on security and intervention in trade. Both speakers made the point that the involvement of the ABF with the DHA would allow the ABF to have access to additional information at an earlier stage than is presently the case, which would actually enhance the ability of the ABF to carry out its roles. These outcomes were all consistent with the theme of the industry summit being “Border Innovation: strengthening our nation’s economy, security and society.” In terms of the work of the DIBP and the ABF in the engagement with industry in relation to the movement of goods, there was reference to recent achievements and future commitments with such initiatives as:
  • The creation of a ‘single window’ for trade such as in Singapore and New Zealand.
  • The expansion of the Australian Trusted Trader Program (ATTP).
  • The recent completion of four Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other customs services for those in the ATTP.
  • The promise of more MRA with customs services in other trading partners.
  • The development and implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) to improve the use of those current and future FTAs by the adoption of robust Rules of Origin, enhanced border clearance facilitation.
  • The increased use of more advance technology and reporting systems.
There were similar references to commitments in the migration space as relating to the movement of persons. The comments provide a degree of assurance to industry that the current work agenda would be maintained and developed and that the engagement with industry remained a priority. While the reference to the achievements and initiative represents only a reiteration of those developments currently known to industry, their clear support from the Federal Government filled in a gap in the story that arose with the announcements relating to the DHA. Industry looks forward to continued engagement on these projects and its ongoing collaborative work with government, whether the DIBP, the ABF or other agencies that have a role at the border. Andrew Hudson is Partner with Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Litigation Team, specialising in all areas of trade including international trade conventions, dispute resolution and arbitration, trade financing options, commodity and freight contracts as well as dealing with regulation of the movement of goods at the border by all Government agencies. He is also a member of many of the consultative bodies established by Government in the trade space, including the National Committee on Trade Facilitation convened by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the International Trade Remedies Forum convened by the Anti - Dumping Commission (ADC) as well as associated sub-committees. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Export Council of Australia (ECA) and the Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA) and works closely with other industry associations representing those in the supply chain. [post_title] => When all things change, Customs stays the same [post_excerpt] => Minister Dutton has assured those in the supply chain that the current work agenda would be maintained under the Home Affairs department. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => things-change-customs-stays [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-02 14:36:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:36:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27740 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-01 10:32:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-01 00:32:28 [post_content] => Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Ministerial Advisory Panel (the Panel) has been working on developing a safe and compassionate voluntary assisted dying framework for Victoria. The Legislative Council’s Legal and Social Issues Committee (the Parliamentary Committee) provided a broad policy direction for voluntary assisted dying that focused on allowing a person to self-administer a lethal dose of medication. The role of the Panel was to consider how this could work in practice and to ensure only those making voluntary and informed decisions and at the end of their life could access voluntary assisted dying. The Panel determined that voluntary assisted dying implementation should be considered in the context of existing care options available to people at the end of life. Guiding principles In formulating its recommendations, the Panel relied on a number of guiding principles. These principles are that:
  • Every human life has equal value.
  • A person’s autonomy should be respected.
  • A person has the right to be supported in making informed decisions about their medical treatment and should be given, in a manner that they understand, information about medical treatment options, including comfort and palliative care.
  • Every person approaching the end of life should have access to quality care to minimise their suffering and maximise their quality of life.
  • The therapeutic relationship between a person and their health practitioner should, wherever possible, be supported and maintained.
  • Open discussions about death and dying and peoples’ preferences and values should be encouraged and promoted.
  • Conversations about treatment and care preferences between the health practitioner, a person and their family, carers and community should be supported.
  • Providing people with genuine choice must be balanced with the need to safeguard people who might be subject to abuse.
  • All people, including health practitioners, have the right to be shown respect for their culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics.
The Panel recognised the need to balance respect for autonomy with safeguarding individuals and communities in relation to voluntary assisted dying. The Panel believes that the eligibility criteria, the process to access voluntary assisted dying, and the oversight measures recommended appropriately balance these aims. Eligibility criteria To access voluntary assisted dying, a person must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:
  • be an adult, 18 years and over; and
  • be ordinarily resident in Victoria and an Australian citizen or permanent resident; and
  • have decision-making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying; and
  • be diagnosed with an incurable disease, illness or medical condition, that:
    • is advanced, progressive and will cause death; and
    • is expected to cause death within weeks or months, but not longer than 12 months; and
    • is causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable.
The recommended eligibility criteria ensure voluntary assisted dying will allow a small number of people, at the end of their lives, to choose the timing and manner of their death. There is no intention to give people who are not dying access, and the legislation will not give these people an option to choose between living and dying. The eligibility criteria ensure the voluntary assisted dying framework provides a compassionate response to people who are close to death and choose to request voluntary assisted dying to give them greater control over the timing and manner of their death. The Panel recommends that a person must have decision-making capacity throughout the voluntary assisted dying process. This requirement is fundamental to ensuring a person’s decision to access voluntary assisted dying is their own, is voluntary, and is not the product of undue influence or coercion. The Panel recognises that this will mean some people who may want to request voluntary assisted dying will be excluded. People with dementia who do not have decision-making capacity, for example, will not be able to access voluntary assisted dying. People will also not be able to request voluntary assisted dying in an advance care directive. This may disappoint many people in the community, but the Panel is of the view that having decision-making capacity throughout the voluntary assisted dying process is a fundamental safeguard. In addition, the Panel sets out detailed guidelines as to the qualifications of the medical personnel involved in the approval process, as well as the actual procedure and safeguards in regards to the handling and disposal of the medications used in the voluntary assisted dying process. The full report is available here. [post_title] => Voluntary Assisted Dying: how the Victorians will do it [post_excerpt] => Victoria has developed a safe and compassionate voluntary assisted dying framework. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => voluntary-assisted-dying-victorians-will [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-01 11:33:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-01 01:33:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27681 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-24 18:00:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-24 08:00:17 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23593" align="alignnone" width="300"] Centrelink is using the services of spyware company, Cellebrite.[/caption] Monique Mann, Queensland University of Technology; Adam Molnar, Deakin University, and Ian Warren, Deakin University An Australian Tax Office (ATO) staffer recently leaked on LinkedIn a step-by-step guide to hacking a smartphone. The documents, which have since been removed, indicate that the ATO has access to Universal Forensic Extraction software made by the Israeli company Cellebrite. This technology is part of a commercial industry that profits from bypassing the security features of devices to gain access to private data. The ATO later stated that while it does use these methods to aid criminal investigations, it “does not monitor taxpayers’ mobile phones or remotely access their mobile devices”. Nevertheless, the distribution of commercial spyware to government agencies appears to be common practice in Australia. This is generally considered to be lawful surveillance. But without proper oversight, there are serious risks to the proliferation of these tools, here and around the world. The dangers of the spyware market The spyware market is estimated to be worth millions of dollars globally. And as Canadian privacy research group Citizen Lab has noted, spyware vendors have been willing to sell their wares to autocratic governments. There are numerous examples of spyware being used by states with dubious human-rights records. These include the surveillance of journalists, political opponents and human rights advocates, including more recently by the Mexican government and in the United Arab Emirates. In Bahrain, the tools have reportedly been used to silence political dissent. Commercial spyware often steps in when mainstream technology companies resist cooperating with law enforcement because of security concerns. In 2016, for example, Apple refused to assist the FBI in circumventing the security features of an iPhone. Apple claimed that being forced to redesign their products could undermine the security and privacy of all iPhone users. The FBI eventually dropped its case against Apple, and it was later reported the FBI paid almost US$1.3 million to a spyware company, reportedly Cellebrite, for technology to hack the device instead. This has never been officially confirmed. For its part, Cellebrite claims on its website to provide technologies allowing “investigators to quickly extract, decode, analyse and share evidence from mobile devices”. Its services are “widely used by federal government customers”, it adds. Spyware merchants and the Australian Government The Australian government has shown considerable appetite for spyware. Tender records show Cellebrite currently holds Australian government contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the specific details of these contracts remain unclear. Fairfax Media has reported that the ATO, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Department of Employment , Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Department of Defence all have contracts with Cellebrite. The Department of Human Services has had a contract with Cellebrite, and Centrelink apparently uses spyware to hack the phones of suspected welfare frauds. In 2015 WikiLeaks released emails from Hacking Team, an Italian spyware company. These documents revealed negotiations with the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the AFP and other law enforcement agencies.

Laws and licensing

In Australia, the legality of spyware use varies according to government agency. Digital forensics tools are used with a warrant by the ATO to conduct federal criminal investigations. A warrant is typically required before Australian police agencies can use spyware. ASIO, on the other hand, has its own powers, and those under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, that enable spyware use when authorised by the attorney-general. ASIO also has expanded powers to hack phones and computer networks. These powers raise concerns about the adequacy of independent oversight. International control of these tools is also being considered. The Wassenaar Arrangement, of which Australia is participant, is an international export control regime that aims to limit the movement of goods and technologies that can be used for both military and civilian purposes. But there are questions about whether this agreement can be enforced. Security experts also question whether it could criminalise some forms of cybersecurity research and limit the exchange of important encryption technology. Australia has export control laws that apply to intrusion software, but the process lacks transparency about the domestic export of spyware technologies to overseas governments. Currently, there are few import controls. There are also moves to regulate spyware through licensing schemes. For example, Singapore is considering a license for ethical hackers. This could potentially improve transparency and control of the sale of intrusion software. It’s also concerning that “off-the-shelf” spyware is readily accessible to the public.

‘War on math’ and government hacking

The use of spyware in Australia should be viewed alongside the recent announcement of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s so-called war on maths. The prime minister has announced laws will be introduced obliging technology companies to intercept encrypted communications to fight terrorism and other crimes. This is part of a general appetite to undermine security features that are designed to provide the public at large with privacy and safety when using smartphones and other devices. Despite the prime minister’s statements to the contrary, these policies can’t help but force technology companies to build backdoors into, or otherwise weaken or undermine, encrypted messaging services and the security of the hardware itself. While the government tries to bypass encryption, spyware technologies already rely on the inherent weaknesses of our digital ecosystem. This is a secretive, lucrative and unregulated industry with serious potential for abuse. The ConversationThere needs to be more transparency, oversight and strong steps toward developing a robust framework of accountability for both the government and private spyware companies. Monique Mann, Lecturer, School of Justice, Researcher at the Crime and Justice Research Centre and Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Group, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology; Adam Molnar, Lecturer in Criminology, Deakin University; and Ian Warren, Senior Lecturer, Criminology, Deakin University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Spyware merchants: the risks of outsourcing government hacking [post_excerpt] => The distribution of commercial spyware to government agencies appears to be common practice in Australia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => spyware-merchants-risks-outsourcing-government-hacking [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-25 12:20:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-25 02:20:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27512 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-29 11:25:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-29 01:25:51 [post_content] => This week has seen the discovery of over a tonne of precursor drugs potentially worth $650m and 92kg of cocaine worth $30m in what authorities hope will be “disruptive” to the drug trade, but may just be an indicator of Australia’s drug problem. Cocaine in the cargo Police and border protection agencies say they have significantly disrupted an international criminal syndicate allegedly involved in the importation of illicit drugs into Victoria. Seven men were arrested in Melbourne for their alleged role in attempting to import approximately 92kg of cocaine earlier this week. The drugs have an estimated street value of $30 million. Approximately $580,000 cash was also seized by police as part of the operation. The operation was conducted by investigators from the Trident Taskforce, who have been investigating an international criminal syndicate for more than a year. On Monday evening (26 June 2017), a cargo vessel arrived at the Port of Melbourne. The sea cargo container was taken to the Melbourne container examination facility where three suspicious black duffle bags were found concealed in a container from Panama. Inside each of the bags were 26 blocks. The substance concealed within the blocks returned a positive result for cocaine. Tactical officers from the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police assisted Taskforce Trident investigators as they executed a number of search warrants across Melbourne. Seven men were arrested at various locations, of whom three were foreign nationals. The men have been charged with a number of offences related to the importation and attempted possession of commercial quantities of a border controlled drugs, and also money laundering offences. Bikies busted In the same week, an investigation into a threat by bikies has resulted in the largest seizure of ephedrine on record and the arrest of a drug supply syndicate during a multi-agency operation in NSW and ACT. Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Gangs Squad commenced an investigation in December 2016 following reports of an extortion involving members of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG). Their inquiries revealed a significant drug supply network, which included OMCG and other criminal groups planning large-scale importation of border controlled drugs. As a result of further investigations, a shipping container was intercepted at Port Botany last Saturday (24 June 2017). The consignment was examined and 1.4 tonnes of ephedrine was located concealed in buckets labelled as sea salt. This is the largest ephedrine seizure on record and the biggest seizure of precursor chemicals at the Australian border. It is estimated the amount of ephedrine could make up to 1.3 tonnes of ice, with an estimated potential street value of $650 million. Police officers executed 28 simultaneous search warrants at properties at Kurrajong, Glenwood, Londonderry, Cabramatta, Canley Vale, Georges Hall, Merrylands, Minchinbury, Seven Hills, Fairfield, and Penrith, and Forde, ACT. A clandestine laboratory was located at the Georges Hall address. During the warrants, officers seized five handguns, 6kg of ice, 10kg of ephedrine, a portable clandestine laboratory, and more than $2 million cash. Investigators arrested 12 men – aged between 23 and 44 – who were taken to local police stations. Acting ABF Commissioner Michael Outram said the seizure meant that 13 million individual hits of ice would now be destroyed. “The 1.4 tonnes of ephedrine was seized before it crossed our border, before it could be used to make 1.3 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine and before it could make its way into the community.” In the past six months alone, Australian law enforcement agencies are said to have set new records for the seizures of cocaine, ice and ephedrine. [post_title] => Week of arrests, seizures net $680 million in drugs [post_excerpt] => This week has seen the discovery of over a tonne of precursor drugs and 92kg of cocaine in what authorities hope will be “disruptive” to the drug trade, but may just be an indicator of Australia’s drug problem. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => week-arrests-seizures-net-680-million-drugs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-30 11:31:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-30 01:31:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27457 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-22 13:45:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-22 03:45:57 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27458" align="alignnone" width="279"] Julie Inman Grant is the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.[/caption] The Federal Government will rename the Children’s eSafety Commissioner just the eSafety Commissioner, entrusting the office to “enhance online safety for all Australians and provide clarity for reporting online safety issues”. The changes allow the eSafety Commissioner to be tasked with improving the digital confidence and skills of senior citizens as well, and to establish a national online complaints mechanism where victims can report cases of intimate photos or videos being posted without consent (image-based abuse) and access support. The changes will make it easier for the public to identify where they can seek assistance and advice on a range of online safety issues. The amendments only relate to the general functions of the commissioner and do not relate to the cyberbullying complaints scheme, which addresses material that is targeted at children. Prior to the last election, the Liberals promised to spend $50 million to improve the digital literacy of seniors and improve their safety online, by developing a digital inclusion and online safety strategy for them. The digital literacy strategy’s aim is to complement existing programs and draw on the expertise and knowledge of the community sector to develop an appropriate package of support to improve the digital literacy and safety of seniors online. It targets seniors who have access to existing devices and aims to support them to learn how to take full advantage to keep in touch and stay connected, without exposing themselves to online abuse. The government had also promised to spend $10 million on:
  • Establishing a national online complaints mechanism where victims can report cases of intimate photos or videos being posted without consent (‘revenge porn’) and access immediate and tangible support.
  • Countering the impact of pornography in society with targeted information and educational resources to shift attitudes and behaviours in young people.
  • Identifying gaps in, and impediments to, information sharing about victims and perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence between jurisdictions.
  • Strengthening research and data collection around the forms of violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
These initiatives will now also fall under the authority of the eSafety Commissioner. Feedback sought In addition, the government is currently seeking feedback on implementing civil penalties for the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (‘revenge porn’). Submissions can be made through the Department of Communications and the Arts’ ‘Have your say’ website. [post_title] => Children’s eSafety Commissioner to look after all ages [post_excerpt] => The Children’s eSafety Commissioner will be renamed just the eSafety Commissioner, to “enhance online safety for all Australians”. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => childrens-esafety-commissioner-look-ages [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-23 13:41:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-23 03:41:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27429 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-19 12:45:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-19 02:45:11 [post_content] =>   A senior public official from Victoria’s Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB) executed an elaborate deception to employ her two sons by encouraging them to change their names and falsify their CVs. The Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass’ report into the scam, released today [Monday], uncovered a case of naked nepotism within the metropolitan Melbourne fire service that she said had cost the public more than $400,000 over a number of years.     The MFB’s Chief Information Officer, Mary Powderly-Hughes, hid her relationship to her son, David Hewson, when she hired him in July 2014. She employed her other son, Barry Robinson, two years’ later to backfill Mr Hewson’s position after she handing him a permanent role as the Manager of IT Administration, Finance, Procurement and Projects. Leaving nothing to chance, Ms Powderly-Hughes typed her sons CVs, faked their employment history and told them the interview questions beforehand. She also pretended to carry out reference checks after interviewing them. To make doubly sure her second son got over the line for a procurement manager role, Mrs Powderly-Hughes ‘interviewed’ Mr Robinson at her home and drilled him in IT finance packages, despite him being woefully underqualified for the role and ordinarily working as a motor mechanic. The three were sprung after a whistleblower reported their concerns to the Ombudsman. “I have my suspicions that Mary Powderly Hughes has hired her son, or family member, or someone with a very close connection and I think she’s manipulated things to make sure he got the job when it became permanent. When he was a contractor he quickly got a rate rise, which is quite rare for most people,” the manager told Ms Glass. The Ombudsman investigated the tangled web the trio had weaved using social media and official records. Officers matched Mr Hewson’s mobile phone number listed on his MFB emails with his role as Treasurer of the local cricket club. They then matched his personal email address with a Facebook account for a Mr Hughes, which revealed the suburb he lived in, the same as the cricket club. The Victorian Electoral roll listed a David Patrick Powderly-Hughes in the same suburb. Mr Hughes Facebook account also showed he had previously worked for Parks Victoria, which Mrs Powderly Hughes had also listed in her past jobs on her LinkedIn account. A search of the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages showed that the men were her sons and had both changed their names a few weeks’ before starting work at MFB. Ms Glass said the case was an egregious example of self-interest. “Some cases I have investigated over the years seem so unlikely you could not make them up. Except, as in this case, they did,” Ms Glass said. “The facts of the case are that a senior public official at the Metropolitan Fire Brigade hired her son, not declaring the relationship, having falsified his CV and coached him prior to interview, three weeks after he changed his name to conceal the relationship.  “After giving him a pay rise and moving him into a permanent role, she then hired her second son, also falsifying his CV and “interviewing” him at her home after he, too, had changed his name to conceal the relationship,” said Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass.  Ms Glass said she had rarely come across such blatant and calculated behaviour. “Often the cases are minor, although wrong. Not this time, this was a case of deception where the family nest was feathered, plain and simple.”  Unsurprisingly, all three have left MFB since the investigation blew up. Ms Powderly-Hughes resigned on the day of her interview with the Ombudsman and both of her sons have since been sacked. Ms Glass said cases were often difficult to detect and she underlined the importance of colleagues raising the alarm if they saw anything suspicious going on at work. “The case also serves as a salient reminder of the importance of disclosers acting on suspicion that something is awry in their workplace. More often than not, as the saying goes, where there is smoke, there is fire.” She said that while the agency could not be held responsible for the deception perpetrated upon it in this case it needed to beef up its conflict of interest policies. [post_title] => Senior public official secretly employs sons after name changes and doctored CVs [post_excerpt] => Pretend reference checks and pay rises for the family. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => senior-public-official-secretly-employs-sons-change-names-falsify-cvs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-19 14:22:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-19 04:22:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27374 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-06-13 12:52:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-13 02:52:02 [post_content] =>   By Lucy Marrett  The 7-Eleven wage repayment scheme has so far repaid over $110 million in unpaid wages. However former wage repayment chairman Professor Allan Fels has raised concerns about minimal fines. The current payout has eclipsed penalties under existing laws and raised questions about a new law that the Federal Government has proposed, Sydney Morning Herald reported. Mr Fels said the fines imposed under the existing laws would be minimal in comparison to the 7-Eleven payouts. “The far stronger deterrent effect for others is if they know they have to make up the underpayments in full – in this case $110 million plus, compared to if they just have to pay a fine,” he said. “The Fair Work Act system just imposes fines and very limited compensation on the individuals whose cases are considered. But the court system works quite badly for systematic underpayment of thousands of people.” Read more here. This story first appeared in C&I Week.  [post_title] => 7-Eleven compensation claims hit $110m [post_excerpt] => Payouts better than fines, says Fels. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 7-eleven-compensation-claims-hit-110m [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-13 12:58:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-13 02:58:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27361 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-13 11:10:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-13 01:10:21 [post_content] =>   Affordable housing, infrastructure spending, mental health, new schools, family violence and drug courts and 6,000 more public servants are expected to be some of the cornerstones of Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt’s budget today (Tuesday). It is a budget with real heart, with a focus on people doing it tough, whether it is people battling drug addiction or poor mental health, children in unsafe situations or those who cannot afford a secure place to live and one likely to help Ms Palaszcuk's bid for re-election in around six month's time. One of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s biggest ticket items in today’s budget, which will be announced around 2.30pm, will be $1.8 billion for social and affordable housing under the state’s new 10-year Queensland Housing Strategy. The money will be used to build 4,522 new social homes and 1,034 affordable homes and introduce targets for social and affordable housing of between 5 to 25 per cent for new homes built on state land. It also includes $20 million for new Youth Foyers in Townsville and the Gold Coast and expanding the Logan foyer. The service, run by Wesley Mission, provides supported accommodation and social and emotional support for marginalised young people aged 16 to 25. The government has also committed to creating housing and homelessness hubs; $30 million to reform the housing system and $75 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander home ownership. It is expected there will be 450 full-time construction jobs created a year. Ms Palaszczuk called the $1.8 billion investment ‘a launch pad for opportunity and aspiration’. “Secure housing enables young people to finish their education. It provides the stability that keeps families together. And it gives people the secure base they need to get and keep a job,” she said. Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said state-wide expressions of interest for initial projects would be online from today. “Our ten-year construction program provides industry with a stable and predictable program of work so they can have certainty,” Mr Pitt said. “This is about best practice procurement, working to match projects to appropriate partners, creating opportunities for small, medium and large businesses. Whether you are a small home builder or one of the state’s largest developers there is something in this construction package for you.” Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the strategy would leverage investment from the private sector create ‘genuine affordable housing’ in the state on underused government land. “This strategy is a big win for local builders and tradies in the residential sector across the state,” Mr de Brenni said. “This strategy is about partnering with the private sector and community housing providers to create genuine affordable housing, something that hasn’t been done at scale in this country in decades.” Housing affordability has been a key component of state and federal budgets of late. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a suite of housing measures earlier this month but the reforms were focused more on helping out first home buyers with stamp duty concessions and grants, increasing duties and taxes for foreign property investors and speeding up development applications. Housing was also top-of-mind for Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison in his May Budget when he announced a bond aggregator scheme, which hopes to attract large-scale private investment into affordable housing by helping not-for-profit community housing providers borrow more cheaply. Mr Morrison also introduced a super deposit scheme to enable first home buyers amass a deposit more quickly and but he pointedly refused to touch either negative gearing or capital gains tax discounts. Other Queensland Budget measures include: • Another $2 billion towards Brisbane's $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, a 10.2km inner-city rail link between Dutton Park and Bowen Hill, taking the state’s contribution to half • $75 million for the Townsville Port expansion • Upgrading the Sciencentre at the Queensland Museum on the South Bank ($9.4 million) • $16 billion for health, including expanding mental health services and replacing the Barrett Centre, Queensland’s only residential centre for youth with severe mental health problems • $13 billion for education to build new high schools in Fortitude Valley and South Brisbane and buy land for four more regional high schools • New domestic and family violence courts at Townsville and Beenleigh and making Southport court permanent ($69.5 million) • Reinstating the Drug Court in Brisbane to help rehabilitate offenders and overcome substance dependence ($22.7 million over four years) • A $200 million child safety package including 292 child safety staff, money to recruit an extra 1000 foster carers and $7.4 million to support families where a person has become addicted to ice • $155 million for counter-terror policing with 30 more police officers in Brisbane and 20 in the regions and $46.7 million for a counter-terrorism facility at Wacol • $1.1 billion for electricity projects and subsidies [post_title] => A Queensland budget with heart: Palaszczuk prepares for re-election [post_excerpt] => Cash for health, housing, kids and courts. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => queensland-budget-prepares-palaszczuk-re-election [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-13 11:10:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-13 01:10:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27233 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-26 05:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-25 19:00:00 [post_content] =>   By Andy Young The Liquor Stores Association NSW (LSA NSW) has welcomed the proposed changes to the state’s Three Strikes Disciplinary Scheme, which are currently before Parliament as part of the Liquor Amendment (Reviews) Bill 2017. The Bill is the State Government’s response to the comprehensive review undertaken by the Hon Ian Callinan AC QC last year, which recommended a range of reforms to NSW’s liquor laws, including changes to the Three Strikes Scheme. LSA NSW Executive Director Michael Waters has welcomed the proposed changes, calling them “sensible and pragmatic”. “The proposed changes to the Three Strikes Scheme as part of the Liquor Amendment (Reviews) Bill 2017 are sensible, pragmatic, and have been long-awaited by industry," Waters said. “Having provision for a proper appeals process, and strikes for serious breaches of liquor laws to be incurred by individual licensees, rather than being attached to the actual licence, are important and common sense improvements that reinforces the importance of making servers directly accountable for their actions.     Read more here.  This story first appeared in The Shout.  [post_title] => Changes to NSW Three Strikes Scheme welcomed [post_excerpt] => Breaches attached to licensees, not licenses. 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By Andy Young The NSW RSL is set to face an independent inquiry, which will look into allegations of financial misconduct which have plagued the organisation. The NSW State Government will reveal the details of the inquiry later today, but it will be headed by former NSW Supreme Court justice Patricia Bergin SC. It is expected the inquiry will have royal commission-like powers to compel witnesses to appear and be able to seize evidence. The inquiry comes after a series of allegations of financial rorting by the RSL's NSW branch, which have already seen an inquiry by Australia's charities watchdog. In December former NSW RSL president Don Rowe was referred to NSW Police over claims he used his corporate credit card to withdraw $200,000 in cash. NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean today told the ABC, that enough was enough and it was time to be clear on what was happening at the RSL. "We will get to the bottom of these allegations once and for all," Kean said. "These are serious complaints and the fact that they've allegedly been committed in the name of one of our oldest and most respected institutions is totally unacceptable. "We want to clean up the mess and make sure it never happens again." Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott told Fairfax Media that he was "completely fed up". "Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW, as well as their sub-branches, there is overwhelming support for the government to intervene," Elliott said. "It is heartbreaking to see the NSW RSL trashed in such a way and this is an opportunity to restore public confidence in this iconic organisation." Ministers Elliott and Kean will address media this afternoon to announce the full details of the inquiry.   This story first appeared in The Shout. 
[post_title] => NSW Government to launch independent RSL inquiry [post_excerpt] => Amidst allegations of financial rorting. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-launch-independent-rsl-inquiry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-16 15:50:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-16 05:50:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28019 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-14 16:28:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-14 06:28:43 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28020" align="alignnone" width="300"] Lismore City Council ranger Craig Devonshire with the new body cameras worn by compliance staff.[/caption] Lismore City Council compliance staff will permanently wear body cameras following a successful six-month trial of the surveillance equipment. Lismore has been trialling the technology among compliance staff including rangers and environmental health compliance officers. The cameras are used whenever a staff member is engaged to undertake an activity – from picking up a dangerous dog to issuing a parking fine – and the footage is then stored in an off-site location to prevent tampering. Each of the high-definition cameras can record 21 hours of video and audio, and compliance coordinator Matt Kelly said often simply having the cameras switched on can de-escalate potentially volatile scenarios. “Everyone tends to act more reasonably when they know they are being recorded – the cameras can often take the heat out of a situation because people are more conscious and aware of their actions,” he said. “From both a staff perspective and for members of the public, it provides transparency and ensures everyone is 100% accountable for their behaviour.” Matt said neighbouring councils had shown interest in the technology and he was pleased to report the trial had already been met with approval by the community and staff. “The feedback we have had so far has been very positive,” Matt said. “We want our community members to feel protected and we also want our staff to feel secure in performing their duties. The body cameras are a simple and effective way to provide peace of mind for everyone.”   [post_title] => Body cameras the new normal for compliance staff [post_excerpt] => Lismore City Council compliance staff will permanently wear body cameras. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => body-cameras-new-normal-compliance-staff-lismore [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:34:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:34:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 112 [max_num_pages] => 8 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 6d1bc50563fc709f9adb18a083b62d6c [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )