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Peter Dutton defends comparing pro-Palestine rally to Port Arthur massacre

<p>Peter Dutton has doubled down on controversial comments he made comparing a pro-Palestine rally to the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. </p> <p>The leader of the opposition sparked fierce criticism fort he remarks he made when discussing the rise of anti-Semitism in Australia as the Israel-Palestine war rages on. </p> <p>He compared a pro-Palestine protest that took place outside Sydney Opera House on October 9th, just days after the first attacks by Hamas, to the deadly massacre in Tasmania in which 35 people were killed which prompted major gun reforms in Australia under the Howard government.</p> <p>Dutton later repeated the comments, insisting Mr Howard’s response had been “strong” and claimed Mr Albanese has not done enough to stem the rise in anti-Semitism.</p> <p>The Opposition Leader appeared on <em>Today</em> on Friday morning where he again defended his comments when asked if he had gone too far with the comparison. </p> <p>“The point I was making, which is absolutely a legitimate one, is that I thought this was a time for the Prime Minister (Anthony Albanese) to show leadership and to step up,” Mr Dutton said.</p> <p>“I think, with John Howard, who stood up at a point of national importance for our country, demonstrated leadership and changed the course of history for the better. The Prime Minister has allowed this rise of anti-Semitism in our country.”</p> <p>“I don’t resile from that at all.”</p> <p>Mr Dutton’s fury was sparked by comments made by the Foreign Minister Penny Wong in her own speech earlier this week, which left the door open for Australia to back Palestinian statehood in the UN. </p> <p>“Penny Wong never went to cabinet with this proposal. It’s not agreed to by the Palestinian leaders here in Australia,” he said. </p> <p>Government Services Minister Bill Shorten then chimed in on the debate, arguing there was nothing new in Senator Wong’s comments as the war in Palestine continued to claim thousands of innocent lives. </p> <p>“Labor has had as its policy for a very long time, the whole time I’ve been a member of the Labor Party, support for a two state solution,” he told Nine. </p> <p>But he said it was a grave mistake to conflate Port Arthur with the “unacceptable” rise in anti-Semitism.</p> <p>“I think probably if he had his time again in the privacy of his own head, he would probably not do (that),” Mr Shorten said. </p> <p>“They’re two separate issues. Port Arthur was a shocking, murderous, evil act in Australia. And John Howard certainly spoke up about it."</p> <p>“I think Peter, you know, has got to make his point. That’s his job. But I think he should work with the Prime Minister to call out inflammatory language here.”</p> <p>Mr Dutton went on to clarify he was just trying to make a parallel between the two leaders’ responses. </p> <p>“John Howard stood up for our country at a time when he needed moral clarity. He did that he changed the course of history with gun laws,” he said. </p> <p>“That’s the parallel that I’m making to the absolute absence of leadership from the Prime Minister at the moment, which has given rise to those in the Jewish community talking about feeling unsafe in our country.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <div class="media image" style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: inherit; margin-bottom: 24px; display: flex; flex-direction: column; align-items: center; width: 705.202209px; max-width: 100%;"> </div>

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Property tycoon sentenced to death over $27 billion fraud

<p>A Vietnamese billionaire was sentenced to death on Thursday in one of the biggest corruption cases in history, an estimated $27 billion in damages - a figure equivalent to six percent of the country’s 2023 GDP. </p> <p>Truong My Lan, chair of major developer Van Thinh Phat, was found guilty of embezzlement, after looting from one of the country's biggest banks, Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB) for over a decade. </p> <p>“The defendant’s actions... eroded people’s trust in the leadership of the (Communist) Party and state,” the verdict read at the trial in Ho Chi Minh City. </p> <p>After a five-week trial, 85 others were also charged for their involvement in the fraud, with charges ranging from from bribery and abuse of power to appropriation and violations of banking law. </p> <p>Four were given life imprisonment, while others received jail terms ranging between 20 years and three years suspended. Lan's husband was Hong Kong billionaire Eric Chu Nap Kee, was sentenced to nine years in prison.</p> <p>Lan and the others were arrested as part of a national corruption crackdown.</p> <p>Lan was initially believed to have embezzled $12.5 billion, but on Thursday prosecutors have said that the total damages caused by the fraud now amounted to $27 billion. </p> <p>The property tycoon was convicted of taking out $44bn in loans from the bank, according to the <em>BBC</em>, with prosecutors saying that $27 billion of this may never be recovered. </p> <p>The court ordered Lan to to pay almost the entire damages sum in compensation. </p> <p>It is also <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-68778636" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported</a> that she is one of very few women in Vietnam to be sentenced to death for a white collar crime. </p> <p>“In my desperation, I thought of death,” Lan said in her final remarks to the court, according to state media. </p> <p>“I am so angry that I was stupid enough to get involved in this very fierce business environment -- the banking sector -- which I have little knowledge of.”</p> <p>Police have identified around 42,000 victims of the scam, and many of them were unhappy with the verdict. </p> <p>One 67-year-old Hanoi resident told the AFP that she had hoped Lan would receive a life sentence so she could fully witness the devastating impact of her actions. </p> <p>“Many people worked hard to deposit money into the bank, but now she’s received the death sentence and that’s it for her,” they said. </p> <p>“She can’t see the suffering of the people.”</p> <p>The resident has so far been unable to retrieve the $120,000 she invested with SCB. </p> <p>Police have said that many of the victims are SCB bondholders, who cannot withdraw their money and have not received interest or principal payments since Lan’s arrest. </p> <p>Authorities have also reportedly seized over 1000 properties belonging to Lan. </p> <p><em>Image: Twitter</em></p> <p> </p>

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New search commences for Samantha Murphy’s body

<p dir="ltr">A new search for the body of Samantha Murphy is set to take place on Thursday in the dense bushland in Victoria. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Ballarat mother, 51, went missing without a trace in February when she left home for her morning run and never returned. </p> <p dir="ltr">Since various sources came forward with fresh intelligence, authorities will lead a search through bushland in the Enfield State Park area, about 25km from Ballarat where she was last seen. </p> <p dir="ltr">"The search will focus on an area highlighted by intelligence derived from a number of sources," Victoria Police said in a statement on Thursday.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Since Samantha's disappearance over two months ago, a range of searches and other enquiries have been undertaken in the Ballarat area as part of this investigation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"This includes extensive large-scale searches such as we have planned this week, but also smaller targeted searches focused in very specific areas.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"I want to assure those in the Ballarat community that police remain focused on doing everything we can to return Samantha to her family."</p> <p dir="ltr">Police have urged members of the public not to join in the search, but assured concerned locals they will share updates on the search as they see fit. </p> <p dir="ltr">In March, 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson was charged with Murphy’s murder, as police allege he killed Murphy while she was on a run through the Canadian State Forest, but have not publicly identified any further details of their case.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

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Sunrise rocked by allegation of "fraud"

<p><em>Sunrise</em> and the Seven Network have been rocked by an investigation by their biggest competitor, who exposed both allegations of "fraud", as well as threatening emails to a young journalist at Nine who was chasing the story. </p> <p>The scandal began when a reporter for the <em><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/new-seven-expenses-affair-rocks-sunrise-top-network-executives-20240408-p5fi6w.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sydney Morning Herald</a></em> was alerted to an investigation being conducted by an independent law firm into the Sunrise program. </p> <p>According to reports by Nine, the law firm began an investigation, which was also conducted by a financial and corporate auditor, into reports that Sunrise staff members had grossly misused travel benefits. </p> <p>The allegations claimed that a small number of Sunrise staffers, as well as some of their friends and family, had taken flights and stayed in hotels on trips not related to their work duties, using benefits provided to the network by Qantas as part of a multimillion-dollar advertising and sponsorship deal.</p> <p>When business reporter for the<em> Australian Financial Review</em> Zoe Samios, a publication owned by Nine, reached out to Seven’s long-time commercial director Bruce McWilliam to chase the story, she was allegedly met with threatening emails saying her probes into the allegations had caused Seven’s star executive producer Michael Pell to self-harm.</p> <p>“This is what your unfounded reports have caused Michael to do,” Mr McWilliam wrote to Ms Samios in October last year.</p> <p>Attached to the email was a graphic image of him, bloodied and in a hospital gown, with a noticeable head wound.</p> <p>“Why don’t you keep it up so he kills himself. You are a complete disgrace. That law firm you name didn’t conduct any investigation. If you publish untrue allegations … and he tops himself. It’s on you. We are determined to protect him,” the email read.</p> <p>Speaking exclusively to <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/media/sunrise-rocked-by-fraud-investigations-that-top-tv-exec-tried-to-keep-secret/news-story/4b755d82167f825140c63b6e07107745" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a></em> on Thursday as the investigations were made public for the first time, Mr McWilliam defended the email and said he was defending a colleague and “friend” against “false allegations”.</p> <p>However, several months before the email, Mr Pell had stepped down as the boss of Sunrise and was appointed Seven's Senior Vice President of Entertainment Content in North America, and he moved to Los Angeles shortly after.</p> <p>On Thursday, Mr McWilliam told <em>news.com.au</em> that he became incensed when Mr Pell’s name was linked to the investigation, prompting his fiery email to Samios.</p> <p>“The accusations against Michael were exaggerated,” he told <em>news.com.au</em>.</p> <p>“I make no excuse for having acted to protect a colleague, against whom false allegations were being made. Michael Pell has been a friend of mine for many years.”</p> <p>The newspaper subsequently agreed to kill the story over concerns for Mr Pell’s mental health and wellbeing.</p> <p>While the findings of the alleged expenses investigation were delivered to Seven and described as "serious", a source close to the investigation insists that while the accusations are significant, they do not constitute "fraud" in the legal sense. </p> <p>Despite that, it’s understood that a small number of staff left the network following the findings being delivered to Seven, with the staffers signing nondisclosure agreements upon their departure.</p> <p>The scandal's reemergence comes 18 moths after the initial allegations, as Seven finds itself in another controversy over its flagship current affairs program <em>Spotlight</em> and its handling of an exclusive interview with Bruce Lehrmann.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Sunrise</em></p>

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Millions of phones at risk of being cut off from calling triple-0

<p>Over a million Aussies may be unable to contact triple-0 as two major telcos cut their 3G networks. </p> <p>Telstra's network will be closed on June 30 this year followed by Optus, which will shut their 3G network in September.</p> <p>While most late model phones are now serviced by either 4G or 5G networks, there are many devices that still rely on 3G. </p> <p>Approximately 113,000 Telstra customers have not upgraded their 3G handsets, while Optus have not disclosed a figure.</p> <p>The greater concerns lie for older 4G-enabled handsets that may not be able to call triple-0 once the 3G networks are switched off, because of the way those phones are configured.</p> <p>In March, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland was informed that 740,000 Australians were in that category.  </p> <p>A month later, that figure was revised to over a million. </p> <p>"I welcome the industry’s first report to government but am concerned around their disclosure of around one million potentially impacted consumers,” the minister said. </p> <p>“I am considering the detail provided and next steps, and the government will have more to say about the 3G switchover soon.”</p> <p>She also said that they were open to delaying the switchover  "if warranted in the public interest”.</p> <p>“Options exist under law for the government to consider proposals to delay the planned switchover, subject to consultation and procedural processes,” she said.</p> <p>Telstra has informed customers about what to do if they are affected, and how they could check. </p> <p>“If your mobile device doesn’t have Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology, even if it uses 4G data, it will not be able to make voice calls on our network after 30 June 2024,” they informed their customers. </p> <p>“Not all VoLTE enabled devices support emergency VoLTE calling, meaning they will not be able to make an emergency call to triple-0 once 3G closes." </p> <p>“Without taking the recommended action you won’t be able to connect to a network after 30 June 2024,” they warned. </p> <p>Customers who are worried that they might be impacted, are encouraged to text 3 to the number 3498, so that the telco can inform the customer on their connection status.</p> <p>Optus have also encouraged customers to contact them if they think they may be affected. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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"You were our whole damn sky": Tributes flow after alleged murder of young teacher

<p>The family of a young teacher from Victoria are in mourning after the body of 23-year-old was found in a burnt-out car just hours after she was reported missing. </p> <p>Hannah McGuire was found near State Forest Rd in Scarsdale, an area near Ballarat surrounded by bushland, on Friday after her family had reported her missing just before. </p> <p>On Sunday, two young men were arrested over her death, and on Monday, a 21-year-old was charged with one count of murder.</p> <p>The young man is believed to be Hannah's ex-boyfriend, who had been living with Ms McGuire for about a year before their recent separation.</p> <p>Police will allege the man drove her body to a remote national park and set the car on fire, before posting a loving tribute on social media and telling her friends she had taken her own life. </p> <p>The man will appear in Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.</p> <p>As news of Hannah's untimely death broke, her parents shared a heart-wrenching tribute to their daughter on Facebook. </p> <p>Her parents run the National Hotel in the regional town of Clunes, and shared their tribute on their business Facebook page to inform patrons that the pub will remain closed until Wednesday. </p> <p>"Thank you everyone for your love, support and kind words. Our hearts are broken," the post read."</p> <p>"You weren’t just a star to us. You were our whole damn sky. Miss you Princess!"</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-hannah-mcguire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page has been set up by the Clunes Cricket Club supporting McGuire’s family, and has already raised over $45,000. </p> <p>“As a community we send our deepest love and condolences to Glenn, Debbie, Jude and Fletcher,” the club said.</p> <p>“Hannah was known by many as a bright young woman and had a heart of gold.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / GoFundMe</em></p>

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"Out-of-touch" Project stars slammed over clash with renter advocate

<p>Social media users have slammed <em>The Project </em>hosts,  following their recent interview with a renter advocate who encourages Aussies struggling with the housing crisis to squat in empty homes. </p> <p>Jordan van den Berg,  founder of the S*** Rentals website shared a video over the weekend outside a rundown house in Chadstone, Melbourne, saying: “Are you sick of rich people hoarding empty houses during a housing crisis? I know I am." </p> <p>“Here’s how you can do something about it.” </p> <p>He then encouraged people to submit information on empty homes in their suburbs via a form on his website, which he plans to promote on his socials so those struggling to find a home could squat in them. </p> <p>“Fun fact – squatting in Australia is not necessarily illegal, which is the best type of legal, especially if the front door doesn’t actually lock," he said. </p> <p>On Monday, he appeared on The Project to talk about his controversial plans, and was grilled by the show's hosts. </p> <p>“I know we’re in a pretty serious housing crisis, but do you really think encouraging people to squat in private properties is the way to fix it?" asked co-host Sarah Harris. </p> <p> “Let me answer your question by asking you a question. Do you think it’s right we have thousands of vacant, abandoned homes while we have people living on the street?” van de Berg replied. </p> <p>Harris said she didn’t and asked whether the solving the housing crisis should be focused on policy instead.</p> <p>Later in the interview, panellist Steve Price casted his doubts on whether there actually were a lot of vacant homes, but van de Berg replied that he'd received over 300 submissions from Aussies about empty homes in their suburbs. </p> <p>van de Berg also said that desperate people are even squatting in abandoned properties, and added: “If someone needs a house, they can reach out to me and I’ll send them [details about] an empty home."</p> <p>Harris was shocked that people would “basically camp out in abandoned houses with no power" which van den Berg argued that “camping out inside” was likely better than sleeping on the streets or in a park.</p> <p>Co-host Waleed Aly then asked whether van de Berg  was encouraging people to break the law, but he pointed out that squatting – done properly – isn’t technically illegal.</p> <p>The interview has been slammed on social media, with Writer and comedian John Delmenico posting on X: “Watching the rich out-of-touch panel on the Project realise in real time that not everyone is rich is so bizarre.</p> <p>"Especially the part where Pingers has to explain that being in a house is safer than sleeping on the street. How do they host the news with no connection to reality?”</p> <p>Others agreed mocking the panellists’ shock that “shelter without electricity is better than no shelter with no electricity”.</p> <p>“She was laughing at the fact that ppl would camp out in abandoned houses with no power/water, until he put her in her place by reminding her they’re better off camping under shelter than outside. Mic drop moment," one wrote. </p> <p>“Homelessness exists … it’s quite a big problem actually," another added. </p> <p>However, a few others agreed with the <em>Project</em> hosts. </p> <p>“Encouraging people to squat, who does he think he is?" one wrote. </p> <p>“He thinks he’s doing a good thing, but he’s given absolutely no critical thought to the implications of encouraging people to take over ‘empty homes’," another added. </p> <p>Leo Patterson Ross, chief executive of the Tenants Union of NSW, said that van den Berg was “drawing attention to issues that government should be acting on”.</p> <p>“In the middle of a housing crisis with growing levels of homelessness, we should be looking to ensure homes are not left vacant,” Patterson Ross said.</p> <p>“If a person leaves a property unattended and empty for 12 years, then I think many of us would agree it seems fair that the community can reclaim usage to provide a home, whether that be individuals or government.”</p> <p><em>Image: The Project</em></p>

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"I haven’t seen someone that terrified": CCTV of brave schoolgirl after attempted abduction

<p>A chilling incident has shaken the quiet streets of Doncaster East in Melbourne's east, reminding us of the importance of vigilance and community support in ensuring the safety of our children.</p> <p>Depicted clearly in heart-wrenching <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/cctv-emerges-of-schoolgirl-who-hid-in-bushes-during-attempted-abduction-in-doncaster-east-melbourne-c-14243163" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CCTV footage</a> that surfaced recently, an 11-year-old girl's brave escape from a potential abduction has sent shockwaves through the neighbourhood.</p> <p>On March 28, the young girl was making her way home from school along Landscape Drive when a grey Audi Q3 SUV made an abrupt U-turn, pulling up dangerously close to her. The driver, a male stranger, allegedly demanded her to enter the vehicle.</p> <p>But the brave young girl, instead of complying with the stranger's demands, made a split-second decision that possibly saved her life; she sprinted away, seeking refuge in nearby bushes as the car ominously circled back.</p> <p>The harrowing moments that followed were captured on CCTV as the girl, trembling with fear, looked back at the street, her only lifeline a stranger passing by. It was a local dad, accompanied by his own daughter, who extended a helping hand to the distressed child. Recalling the encounter, he described the girl's sheer terror:</p> <p>“She was shivering and shaking and I haven’t seen someone that terrified and petrified like that,” he told 7NEWS. And when the young girl kept apologising to him over and over for asking him to escort her home, he responded: “I said: ‘I’m so proud of you, getting help is a really good skill’.” </p> <p>Meanwhile, the girl's parents, undoubtedly consumed by anguish, expressed their profound gratitude to the stranger who intervened in their daughter's moment of peril. Their daughter, though physically unharmed, had endured a trauma no child should ever have to face.</p> <p>As authorities launched a manhunt for the assailant, details of the suspect emerged. Described as a man in his 30s, of Middle Eastern descent with distinctive features including tan skin, black hair and a prominent beard, the perpetrator remains at large. A computer-generated image has been released by Victoria Police in hopes of eliciting information from the public.</p> <p>In the aftermath of this chilling incident, Detective Senior Constable Brooke Miller echoed the sentiments of the community: “It’s horrible," he said. "A little girl should feel safe to walk home from school.”</p> <p><em>Images: Victoria Police</em></p>

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Kochie called out over "disgusting" remarks

<p>Port Adelaide president David Koch has come under fire over remarks he made while discussing Jeremy Finlayson's homophobic slur towards another player. </p> <p>Finlayson is under AFL investigation after he admitted to aiming a homophobic slur at an Essendon player on Friday’s game at Adelaide Oval.</p> <p>The player Finlayson directed the comment towards is not yet known, but on Saturday night, Port Adelaide confirmed that a “contrite Finlayson made the club aware during the three-quarter time break” of the incident “and apologised to the victim on the field after the final siren last night”. </p> <p>On Sunday morning, Koch appeared on <em>ABC’s Offsiders</em> to discuss the incident with host Kelli Underwood, veteran journalist Caroline Wilson and AFL footy boss Laura Kane. </p> <p>“There’s no excuse for it. Jeremy was incredibly remorseful, actually told the coaches at three-quarter time that it was inexcusable, went and apologised to the player after the game,” Koch said. </p> <p>“That’s no excuse whatsoever. It’s in the heat of the battle, should not have done it and we’ll wait for the AFL to go through its process.”</p> <p>When discussing what sort of punishment the league could hand down to Finlayson, footy boss Kane questioned whether it may be similar to Taylor Walker's six-week ban after he used a racial slur. </p> <p>But Kochie wasn't on board with linking the two incidents, and said that the the league had set a precedent with the ruling it handed down to North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson.</p> <p>“Not ruling it out (an internal investigation), but, umm, you know, if you look at comparisons and benchmarks that have been set,” Koch said.</p> <p>“With a 55-year-old coach premeditated, target the player, walk up to them is very different to a player in the heat of battle when there was a lot of niggle in the game, the pressure again - absolutely no excuse, not condoning it whatever, and should not be part of the game, but if you’re going to look at a comparison, that would be the benchmark there.”</p> <p><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">ABC’s Offsiders</em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> host </span>Underwood pressed further and asked him: <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">“If </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">I put it to you, it’s in the same category as Taylor Walker’s racial slur, what would your response to that be?”</span></p> <p>Koch responded: “I don’t think that’s realistic. I think the benchmark has been set in terms of...”</p> <p>Wilson interjected: “With Alistair Clarkson which I thought was too light." </p> <p>But Koch insisted:  “OK. But the benchmark has been set.”</p> <p>The comments from the former Sunrise presenter was slammed on social media. </p> <p>“This is pretty disgusting from Koch," wrote Columnist Greg Jericho. </p> <p>“Yeah nah @kochie_online. A slur is a slur is a slur. You say you don’t condone a player using a homophobic slur on the field and that there’s no excuse but in the same sentence practically excuse it by saying it occurred ‘in the heat of battle’ and a ‘niggle’. So disappointing," another user wrote. </p> <p>“Terrible take from Koch. We are benchmarking abuse now. Not making excuses but … homophobia and racism have no place in the game," a third added. </p> <p>“@kochie_online as a leader of our football club this statement is beyond disappointing. A slur against a marginalised group is exactly the same the nature of it is irrelevant. You need to do better!” a fourth commented. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty/ ABC</em></p>

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Do parolees really ‘walk free’? Busting common myths about parole

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/monique-moffa-1380936">Monique Moffa</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alyssa-sigamoney-1375881">Alyssa Sigamoney</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-stratton-161122">Greg Stratton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jarryd-bartle-441602">Jarryd Bartle</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michele-ruyters-18446">Michele Ruyters</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>Parole is a hot topic in politics and in the media at the moment, fuelled by several high-profile parole applications.</p> <p>Recently, <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/no-parole-for-convicted-baby-killer-keli-lane/xoykrtvxe?cid=testtwitter">Keli Lane’s</a> attempt to be released on parole after years in jail for the murder of her baby daughter was unsuccessful. <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-victoria/how-frankston-serial-killer-paul-denyer-will-apply-for-bail/news-story/4613d1b3fced1f4aeaa9c4e08e8b81e0">Paul Denyer</a>, known as the “Frankston Serial Killer” for murdering three women in the 90s was also denied parole.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Snowtown accomplice <a href="https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-sa/bodies-in-the-barrels-helper-mark-haydon-released-on-parole/news-story/fdfbbbe7b59267d8009c6910249de585">Mark Haydon</a> was granted parole with strict conditions, but is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-01/snowtown-accomplice-mark-haydon-still-in-custody-after-parole/103653934">yet to be</a> released.</p> <p>Some media coverage of such well-known cases is littered with myths about what parole is, how it’s granted and what it looks like. Here’s what the evidence says about three of the most common misconceptions.</p> <h2>Myth 1: people on parole walk free</h2> <p>Parole is the conditional release of an incarcerated person (parolee) by a parole board authority, after they have served their non-parole period (minimum sentence) in jail. This isn’t always reflected in headlines.</p> <p><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/snowtown-murders-bodies-in-barrels-murders-mark-haydon-release-south-australia/f4b62a72-ec3d-4238-94d2-64697fbcdef3">Some coverage</a> suggests people on parole are released early and “walk free” without conditions. This is not true.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/what-parole/purpose-and-benefits">Adult Parole Board of Victoria</a>: "Parole provides incarcerated people with a structured, supported and supervised transition so that they can adjust from prison back into the community, rather than returning straight to the community at the end of their sentence without supervision or support."</p> <p>Parole comes with strict conditions and requirements, such as curfews, drug and alcohol testing, electronic monitoring, program participation, to name a few.</p> <p>People with experience of parole highlight its punitivism and continued extension of surveillance.</p> <h2>Myth 2: most parolees reoffend</h2> <p>Another myth is that the likelihood all parolees reoffend is high. Research over a number of years has consistently found parole reduces reoffending.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004865815585393?journalCode=anja">a 2016 study in New South Wales</a> found at the 12 month mark, a group of parolees reoffended 22% less than an unsupervised cohort.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Publications/CJB/2022-Report-Effect-of-parole-supervision-on-recidivism-CJB245.pdf">2022 study</a> by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found parole was especially successful in reducing serious recidivism rates among incarcerated people considered to be at a high risk of reoffending.</p> <p>More recently in Victoria, <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/system/files/inline-files/Adult%20Parole%20Board%20Annual%20Report%202022-23_0.pdf">the Adult Parole Board</a> found over 2022–23, no parolees were convicted of committing serious offences while on parole.</p> <p>In contrast, unstructured and unconditional release increases the risk of returning to prison.</p> <h2>Myth 3: parole is easy to get</h2> <p>While the number of parolees reoffending has dropped, so too has the total number of people who are exiting prison on parole.</p> <p>Over a decade ago, Victoria underwent significant parole reforms, largely prompted by high-profile incidents and campaigns. In just five years following Jill Meagher’s tragic death in 2012, the Victorian government passed <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10345329.2018.1556285">13 laws reshaping parole</a>.</p> <p>The result is the number of people on parole in Victoria has halved since 2012, despite incarceration numbers remaining steady.</p> <p><iframe id="maNRy" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/maNRy/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>These reforms have made it more difficult for people convicted of serious offences to get parole, as well as preventing individuals or specific groups from being eligible for parole (such as police killers, <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-body-no-parole-laws-could-be-disastrous-for-the-wrongfully-convicted-191083">“no body, no parole” prisoners</a>, and certain high-profile murderers).</p> <p>Similar laws can be found in other states. For example, no body, no parole was introduced in all other Australian states and territories, except for Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.</p> <p>As a consequence, more people are being released at the end of their full sentence. This can be detrimental not only for the incarcerated person but the wider community, because they are not receiving the reintegration support parole provides.</p> <p>Aside from restricted access due to political intervention, parole is facing a new crisis, which has nothing to do with eligibility or suitability.</p> <p>Last year, 40% of Victorian parole applications were denied, often due to reasons <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/system/files/inline-files/Adult%20Parole%20Board%20Annual%20Report%202022-23_0.pdf">unrelated to suitability</a>.</p> <p>Housing scarcity played a significant role, with 59% of rejections (or 235 applications) citing a lack of suitable accommodation as one of the reasons parole was denied. This is playing out <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-11/women-on-bail-parole-increased-risk-of-homelessness-qld/102717002">across the country</a>.</p> <p>Parole is vulnerable to community and media hype, and political knee-jerk reactions in response to high profile incidents involving a person on parole. Because of the actions of a few, parole as a process has been restricted for many.</p> <p>While the wider community are active in advocacy efforts to restrict parole from certain people or groups (for example, this petition for <a href="https://www.change.org/p/lyns-law-no-body-no-parole">Lyn’s Law in NSW</a>), public efforts to restrict parole seem at odds with its purposes.</p> <p>Despite this, research suggests when the public are educated about the purposes and intent of parole, they are more likely to be <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3125829">supportive of it</a>.</p> <p>The susceptibility of parole to media and community influence results in frequent, impactful changes affecting individuals inside and outside prisons. Headlines such as “walking free” have the potential to mislead the public on the purpose and structure of parole. Coverage should portray parole beyond mere early termination of a sentence by accurately reflecting its purpose and impact.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226607/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/monique-moffa-1380936">Monique Moffa</a>, Lecturer, Criminology &amp; Justice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alyssa-sigamoney-1375881">Alyssa Sigamoney</a>, Associate Lecturer in Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-stratton-161122">Greg Stratton</a>, Lecturer - Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jarryd-bartle-441602">Jarryd Bartle</a>, Associate Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michele-ruyters-18446">Michele Ruyters</a>, Associate Dean, Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/do-parolees-really-walk-free-busting-common-myths-about-parole-226607">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Seven's insane plan to ambush Lisa Wilkinson exposed

<p>A bizarre plan pitched by Channel Seven for Bruce Lehrmann to ambush Lisa Wilkinson has been revealed. </p> <p>According to several close friends of Mr Lehrmann, Channel Seven's <em>Spotlight</em> program suggested that Lehrmann hover around the Sydney suburb of Cremorne in the hopes of catching Lisa Wilkinson unawares. </p> <p>They proceeded to explain to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/sevens-plan-for-bruce-lehrmann-to-ambush-lisa-wilkinson-in-public/news-story/1e6df346affc123ad23f1f7efcb12136" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a> how they wanted Lehrmann to confront Wilkinson while a cameraman stood close in the hopes of manufacturing a must-see TV moment. </p> <p>Mr Lehrmann's friends said he was not keen on the idea, although the program continued to suggest the ambush. </p> <p>As the fallout continues over untested allegations in the Federal Court that Mr Lehrmann leaked Brittany Higgins’ private text messages to the current affairs program, the former Liberal staffer’s mates are spilling the beans on claims of the program’s bizarre plan.</p> <p>“Bruce very much wanted a third program. But that was a bridge too far," another friend said.</p> <p>“Seven were desperate for ideas. They raised it several times. On many occasions I met with Bruce after meetings and they were pushing for it."</p> <p>“The plan as described was (they) wanted Bruce to be at a local cafe that they knew Lisa Wilkinson would go to and they would have a TV camera confront her.”</p> <p>When asked what Mr Lehrmann planned to say during the ambush, the friend admitted, “I dunno. I don’t know if they thought that far ahead.”</p> <p>Mr Lehrmann’s inner circle claim that it was just one of a number of wild ideas floated by <em>Spotlight</em> producer Steve Jackson as they pitched ideas for future programs about Lehrmann. </p> <p>Another confidante of Mr Lehrmann’s said the Wilkinson plan was “bizarre” and joked it seemed to involve Mr Lehrmann jumping from behind a pot plant to startle the TV star, an idea the former Liberal staffer wasn't keen for, despite the Seven “ideas factory”.</p> <p>“It wasn’t something that Bruce (Lehrmann) pushed," the source said.</p> <p>“<em>Spotlight</em> had a million viewers and so they were always looking for any excuse for a third program. The plan was to spark some sort of public row.”</p> <p>Mr Lehrmann’s criminal trial was delayed in the wake of Wilkinson’s ill-fated Logies speech, but his barrister Steve Whybrow SC has hailed the speech as keeping him out of jail.</p> <p>“Frankly, if it wasn’t for Lisa Wilkinson’s speech at the Logies, Bruce would probably be in jail. Thank God for that speech," Mr Whybrow said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Rebel Wilson's memoir "pulled from shelves"

<p>Fans hoping to get their hands on a copy of Rebel Wilson's memoir have been left disappointed after the book has been pulled from shelves in Australia. </p> <p>The book, titled <em>Rebel Rising</em>, was released on Wednesday, although numerous retailers have removed the book from their websites, halting sales indefinitely. </p> <p>One of Australia’s biggest book retailers, Amazon, have made the memoir unavailable to order, and noted to customers: “We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”</p> <p>On Booktopia.com the book is currently listed as “Unavailable” with no date listed as to when the memoir will be back on-sale.</p> <p>Wilson took to Instagram to celebrate the release of her book, but her post was inundated with comments from frustrated fans in Australia and New Zealand who were questioning why it was no longer available in the region. </p> <p>“I am in Australia and can’t get a copy,” wrote the frustrated fan. “Just went to my local book store and they said it has been recalled to be possibly be re-printed and have parts redacted!! Can we get it in the US?”</p> <p>Fans in the UK appeared to be having the same issue, with many questioning why they couldn’t pick up the book in their own country either.</p> <p>Many were quick to speculate that the reason the book has been pulled from shelves was due to ongoing legal issues with actor Sacha Baron-Cohen, who Wilson named and shamed in the book for acting inappropriately while they were working on a movie together. </p> <p>When the news broke that Wilson was calling out Baron-Cohen for his alleged behaviour, the Aussie actress claimed that Baron-Cohen "threatened" her over the book's release. </p> <p>Taking to her Instagram, Rebel wrote, “I will not be bullied or silenced with high priced lawyer or PR crisis managers. The ‘a**hole’ that I am talking about in ONE CHAPTER of my book is Sacha Baron Cohen.”</p> <p>"Now the a**hole is trying to threaten me. He’s trying to stop press coming out about my new book. But the book WILL come out and you will all know the truth.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Astonishing drug and prostitute claims surface as Lehrmann case reopened

<p>The ongoing defamation case involving Bruce Lehrmann, a central figure in the Brittany Higgins saga, has been thrust back into the spotlight with shocking new allegations.</p> <p>The reopening of the case stems from claims made by former Seven Network producer Taylor Auerbach, which seek to shed light on a series of dealings surrounding Lehrmann's interactions with various media outlets.</p> <p>The allegations put forth by Auerbach paint an astonishing picture of Lehrmann's recruitment by Seven Network for an exclusive tell-all interview. It's alleged that Lehrmann, in a bid to secure his cooperation, was lavishly reimbursed for expenses that included not only extravagant meals and travel but also expenditures on illicit drugs and prostitutes.</p> <p>The details emerged through affidavits filed by Auerbach with the Federal Court, just days before a judgment was expected in Lehrmann's defamation case against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson. The case originated from a February 2021 report on <em>The Project</em>, where Brittany Higgins accused Lehrmann of rape within a Parliament House office in 2019.</p> <p>According to Auerbach's affidavits, Lehrmann breached a so-called Harman undertaking by leaking private and confidential texts from Higgins to Seven Network, violating an agreement that restricted the use of evidence from an abandoned criminal case against him. These texts allegedly facilitated Lehrmann's negotiations with Seven Network and formed a crucial part of his interview on the <em>Spotlight</em> program.</p> <p>The allegations take a darker turn with claims of financial reimbursement for illicit activities. Auerbach asserts that Seven Network reimbursed Lehrmann for expenses related to drug purchases and visits to brothels, implicating the network in what can only be described as deeply troubling conduct.</p> <p>"I recall that monies paid by (Lehrmann) for illicit drugs and prostitutes that evening at the Meriton and the following evening at a brothel in Surry Hills were reimbursed to (Lehrmann) by Seven," Auerbach states in his affidavit, according to <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/lehrmann-defamation-case-reopened-evidence-163000287.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Yahoo News</a>.</p> <p>The reopening of Lehrmann's defamation case underscores the gravity of these allegations and their potential implications. Justice Michael Lee's decision to admit fresh evidence indicates the seriousness with which the court regards these claims and the need for a thorough examination of the facts.</p> <p>In response to these allegations, both Lehrmann and Seven Network have vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Lehrmann maintains his innocence, asserting that he did not leak texts to Seven Network and denying any involvement in the misconduct alleged by Auerbach. Seven Network, for its part, denies authorising or condoning the alleged payments to Lehrmann and says that any unauthorised expenses were promptly rectified.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Pauline Hanson slams Woolies' controversial Anzac Day decision

<p>Pauline Hanson has slammed Woolworths and their decision to not stock commemorative Anzac biscuit tins ahead of this year's Anzac Day. </p> <p>The supermarket giant has chosen not to stock the limited edition tins this year, after making the decision to stock Anzac biscuits all year round, and donating to the RSL in other various ways. </p> <p>In previous years, Woolies have sold the tins that feature designs commemorating different wars and conflicts and are collectable items, with a portion of the profits supporting the RSL to aid veterans and their families.</p> <p>The decision not to stock the tins has outraged Senator Hanson, who has decided to continue her boycott of Woolies, which began when the supermarket didn't stock Australia Day merchandise in January. </p> <p>“I haven’t shopped at Woolworths ever since they announced they wouldn’t be supporting Australia Day,” Senator Hanson wrote online.</p> <p>“Now that I have learned Woolworths has also refused to stock the RSL’s special Anzac biscuit tins, It reinforces my original decision.</p> <p>“If Woolworths isn’t interested in celebrating Australia and doing everything it can to support our veterans through organisations like the RSL, then I’m proud to continue to boycott Woolworths and I hope others will join me in taking their business elsewhere.”</p> <p>Some veterans have also shared their upset in hearing the news, as World War II veteran Jack Bartlett said he was “horrified” to hear of Woolies decision. </p> <p>“I collect those tins and value them greatly because of my association. I’m very, very sorry to hear that Woolworths won’t do it (sell them),” Mr Bartlett told 2GB’s Ben Fordham. </p> <p>“It’s such a small thing for such a big shopping conglomerate to do. I don’t think it’s very, very much to ask them to continue what they’ve done for some time."</p> <p>Woolworths have since responded to Senator Hanson's accusations, with a spokesperson telling <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/woolworths-responds-to-pauline-hansons-accusations-over-stocking-of-anzac-day-commemorative-tins/news-story/92d04438600a19f61837026198c81b4e" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a> that the supermarket giant was selling multiple items for Anzac appeals and has raised almost $13 million for the cause over the past decade.</p> <p>Woolies confirmed that while it will not be stocking the limited-edition tins this year, they will be selling Anzac Appeal badges and supporting veterans and the RSL.</p> <p>“We are the only supermarket to be selling the badges,” Woolworths said in a statement.</p> <p>“We sell Bakers Finest Anzac biscuits in our stores all year round, this product is endorsed by the RSL and generates revenue for the RSL to support veterans and their families. </p> <p>“We’ve been proud partners of the RSL for the past 10 years, supporting the ANZAC Appeal in April and the Poppy Appeal in November. Almost $13 million has been raised at Woolworths in the past 10 years for those appeals.”</p> <p>"This support continues in 2024, with Woolworths once again stocking ANZAC and Poppy Appeal badges for purchase, providing direct and crucial support to the veteran community nationwide."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Shutterstock</em></p>

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Grieving families targeted in callous gravesite robberies

<p>Four families in Victoria have been left devastated after the gravesites of their loved ones have been callously burgled. </p> <p>Maurice D'Alberti was visiting the grave of his son Adam at the Fawkner Memorial Park in North Melbourne when he noticed sentimental items had been taken. </p> <p>Adam passed away six years ago after a battle with cancer, and his father was visiting his son's resting place on what would've been his 10th birthday when he made the discovery that toy cars, along with an engraved ribbon and a photo of Adam were gone. </p> <p>"As a parent that's lost a child, we hang on to things, that they've touched, and things that they've loved," D'Alberti told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/families-targeted-in-series-of-gravesite-robberies/39898523-e8cb-41c8-a5d5-2feb044492ba" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a></em>.</p> <p>"You can't get any lower. He's already been robbed of his life and now he's been robbed of his possessions."</p> <p>At least three other graves had also been ransacked, with the families feeling "great distress" over the stolen items. </p> <p>Jake Maurici noticed that precious items had been taken from his father Vince's grave, and wants to see better security installed in the memorial park. </p> <p>Jake was devastated to learn that the brazen thieves had taken off with a football scarf and pins from his dad's grave, given their sentimental value to both him and his father as diehard Carlton fans. </p> <p>"Things I get emotional about, going to the footy with my dad... we did it when I was younger," he said.</p> <p>"Having stuff that was with him is what I remember him by."</p> <p>"I think the security needs to be improved...my mother comes here late at night," Maurici said.</p> <p>The families are calling on the culprits to do the right thing and return the stolen items.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

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New details shed light on Rebel Wilson's allegations against actor

<p>New details have emerged of Rebel Wilson's allegations against Sacha Baron-Cohen, with the Aussie actress claiming he acted inappropriately towards her while filming a movie in 2014. </p> <p>In the days after Rebel took to Instagram to expose Baron-Cohen for allegedly "<a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/rebel-wilson-exposes-a-lister-who-threatened-her-over-book-release" target="_blank" rel="noopener">threatening</a>" her about the publishing of her tell-all memoir, excerpts of Rebel Rising have been published to further detail when the actors worked together on the film <em>Grimsby</em>. </p> <p>The pair both starred in the comedy film 10 years ago, with Rebel detailing in her book how the Hollywood actor, known for his controversial roles as Borat and Ali G, acted inappropriately towards her on set. </p> <p>Once filming began for the movie, Wilson claims that Cohen (SBC) would keep requesting her to go “naked” in a scene, according excerpts of the book obtained by <em><a href="https://people.com/rebel-wilson-details-allegations-about-sacha-baron-cohen-he-calls-false-exclusive-8620597" target="_blank" rel="noopener">People</a></em> magazine. </p> <p>She wrote, “It felt like every time I’d speak to SBC, he’d mention that he wanted me to go naked in a future scene. I was like, ‘Ha, I don’t do nudity, Sacha.’ ”</p> <p>Wilson alleges that Baron-Cohen's behaviour and strange requests only intensified throughout the shoot, coming to a head while they were filming a scene in Cape Town at a soccer stadium. </p> <p>“SBC summons me via a production assistant saying that I’m needed to film an additional scene. ‘Okay, well, we’re gonna film this extra scene,’ SBC says. Then he pulls his pants down … SBC says very matter-of-factly: ‘Okay, now I want you to stick your finger up my a**.’ And I’m like, ‘What?? … No!'”</p> <p>Wilson then continues to allege in the book, “I was now scared. I wanted to get out of there, so I finally compromised: I slapped him on the ass and improvised a few lines as the character.”</p> <p>Sacha Baron-Cohen released a statement via his representatives saying the claims are "demonstrably false", denying the pair had any tension while working together. </p> <p>“While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of The Brothers Grimsby,” a statement from Cohen’s team said in response to Wilson’s allegations.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Rebel took to Instagram to say she was being "threatened" by Baron-Cohen over the release of such information in her book, which is set for release on April 2nd. </p> <p>Rebel named and shamed the actor, writing, “I will not be bullied or silenced with high priced lawyer or PR crisis managers. The ‘a**hole’ that I am talking about in ONE CHAPTER of my book is Sacha Baron Cohen.”</p> <p>"Now the a**hole is trying to threaten me. He’s trying to stop press coming out about my new book. But the book WILL come out and you will all know the truth.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Homeowner fined just $667 over fire that killed six people

<p>A homeowner has been slapped with a fine for smoke alarm failure after a house fire killed six people. </p> <p>The 61-year-old woman has been forced to pay just $667 for failing to install legally required and compliant smoke alarms, after a father and his five children died in the property due to a deadly house fire. </p> <p>Donna Rose Beadel was the owner of the home on Russell Island where Wayne Godinet, 34, and his five sons were residing in August 2023. </p> <p>The house was engulfed in flames, also destroying two neighbouring homes and leaving several people needing treatment for minor burns and smoke inhalation, while the children's mother Samantha Stephenson, and another woman survived the blaze. </p> <p>Cleveland magistrate Deborah Vasta handed down the maximum fine of $667.25 to Ms Beadel for failing to comply with smoke alarm legislation, saying, "It seems a pittance, however it's not for me to comment on the laws."</p> <p>"It's absolutely no excuse that she failed to keep abreast of the laws required of an investment property owner in having the premises legally wired with smoke detectors after January 2022," Vasta said.</p> <p>The fine comes just weeks after the children's grandmother claimed her daughter had "begged" their landlord to <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/major-claim-in-investigation-into-deadly-house-fire-that-killed-five-children" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fix</a> the smoke alarms in the house.</p> <p>When Ms Beadel was charged for her involvement in the tragedy, Rebecca Stephenson claimed that her daughter had spoken to the landlord about updating the smoke alarms in the property just one week before the fire. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

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The shocking amount of compensation awarded to the Abdallah family

<p>The Abdallah family have been awarded a tiny amount of compensation, four years after the deaths of three young kids. </p> <p>In February 2020, Samuel William Davidson was driving in the Sydney suburb of Oatlands when he struck a group of four kids, killing Abdallah children Antony, 13, Angelina, 12 and Sienna Abdallah, 9, and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11.</p> <p>Now, four years on, father Danny and mother Leila have won a payout from Davidson totalling a mere $90,000. </p> <p>The NSW District Court ordering Davidson pay $60,000, plus costs, to Abdallah's three surviving children, Liana, Alex and Michael. </p> <p>Mr Abdallah sued Mr Davidson last year seeking payment for ongoing trauma to Liana, who was injured but survived the catastrophic accident, and his sons who suffered the psychological trauma of losing their siblings. </p> <p>The court order, obtained by <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13234123/Abdallah-family-compensation-Oatlands-crash.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daily Mail Australia</a></em>, said that the net sum for three children was to be paid to the NSW Trustee and Guardian for investment until each of them turns 18 years old. </p> <p>Following the deadly crash, Samuel William Davidson, who was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the incident, was sentenced in 2021 to 28 years' jail with a non-parole period of 21 years, which was reduced on appeal last year to a maximum of 20 years with a minimum of 15 years.</p> <p>Mr Abdallah's court action against Davidson, who will be in prison until at least 2035, is believed to have been lodged against the driver's insurance company which will make the payout.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

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Rebel Wilson exposes A-lister who "threatened" her over book release

<p>Rebel Wilson has slammed a Hollywood A-lister for allegedly threatening her over the release of her new memoir. </p> <p>The Aussie actress is set to release her autobiography <em>Rebel Rising</em> on April 2nd, which details her rise to stardom from Australia to the US. </p> <p>In the book, she has dedicated a chapter to one particular actor who she had an unfortunate experience with on the set of a movie in 2014. </p> <p>Now, Rebel claims Sacha Baron-Cohen, husband of Aussie actress Isla Fisher, has "threatened" her about the release of such information in the upcoming book. </p> <p>Taking to her Instagram, Rebel named and shamed the actor, writing, “I will not be bullied or silenced with high priced lawyer or PR crisis managers. The ‘a**hole’ that I am talking about in ONE CHAPTER of my book is Sacha Baron Cohen.”</p> <p>"Now the a**hole is trying to threaten me. He’s trying to stop press coming out about my new book. But the book WILL come out and you will all know the truth.”</p> <p>Sacha Baron-Cohen was quick to release a statement in response to the allegations, with his representative sharing the statement with <a href="https://www.tmz.com/2024/03/25/rebel-wilson-calls-out-sacha-baron-cohen-book-memoir/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>TMZ</em></a>. </p> <p>“While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of The Brothers Grimsby,” the statement said. </p> <p>Wilson and Baron-Cohen worked on the comedy film <em>The Brothers Grimsby</em> in 2014, where Rebel alleges that Baron-Cohen acted sexually inappropriate towards her for the duration of the shoot. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

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Surprising move after top cop busted for speeding

<p>Victoria Police found themselves facing embarrassment recently when one of their top-ranking officers, Glenn Weir, was caught speeding.</p> <p>Weir, who serves as Victoria’s Road Policing Assistant Commissioner, was captured by a hidden speed camera in an undercover police car on February 29, traveling at 58km/h in a 50km/h zone.</p> <p>What makes this incident particularly noteworthy is not just the fact that a high-ranking police officer was caught breaking the law, but also the response Weir himself has taken. Despite being eligible to have the charge downgraded to a warning due to his clean driving record, Weir has chosen to accept the consequences – a $337 fine and a single demerit point penalty.</p> <p>In a statement addressing the incident, Weir expressed remorse and took full responsibility for his actions. He acknowledged the severity of the mistake, especially given his position as an advocate for road safety throughout his career.</p> <p>"I take full responsibility for this error and am mortified it has occurred," Weir said. "I’ve spent my entire career advocating for road safety and this incident proves nobody is immune from making a mistake on the road."</p> <p>Weir’s willingness to own up to his mistake sets an important example for accountability, not just within the police force but for all members of society. Moreover, his case underscores the importance of adhering to speed limits, with Victoria Police having long advocated for the correlation between speeding and road accidents. According to their data, speed is one of the leading causes of car crashes in the state, with the rise in the state’s road toll by almost 12% February 2023 to February 2024 further highlighting the urgency of addressing speeding and other reckless driving behaviours.</p> <p>Weir’s decision to accept the consequences of his actions demonstrates integrity and a commitment to upholding the principles of road safety. </p> <p><em>Image: 7 News</em></p>

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