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Allegations of Australian war crimes in Afghanistan ‘being taken seriously’

The Turnbull government says allegations that members of Australia’s elite special forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan are being taken seriously, after a confidential report was leaked to the media. Labor says it is seeking a briefing from the government about the “deeply concerning” allegations, and it wants the report to be made public to the extent possible. Fairfax Media reported on Friday ...

Australia’s CommBank accepts record penalty in money-laundering case

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) agreed to a record penalty of A$700 million ($529.3 million) to settle explosive money laundering charges brought by Australia’s financial intelligence agency. The fine is almost double the amount CBA had set aside to finalize the matter and represents a record penalty for money-laundering and terror finance breaches, the Australian government said on ...

Australia must stay cool on China, and press the reset button

Australia’s response to China’s continuing rise mixes anxiety, even a touch of paranoia, with anticipation of the riches that derive from the sale of vast quantities of commodities. Economic dependence on China is two-edged and potentially policy-distorting. To put this in perspective: Australian exports of goods and services to China in 2016-17 were worth $110.4 billion. That accounts for nearly 30 per ...

Richest taxpayers get $12.7bn windfall from Coalition plan, thinktank says

The final stages of the Turnbull government’s plan to dramatically flatten Australia’s income tax scales will provide a multibillion-dollar boon to the top 20% of income earners, and they deserve further scrutiny by parliament, a progressive thinktank says. The Australia Institute has produced new modelling of the most expensive elements of the government’s income tax plan, saying the Senate needs ...

Australia to seek diplomatic backup against Russia over MH17 atrocity

Australia could ask European and American allies to help with a mass diplomatic retaliation against Russia, if Moscow refused to accept responsibility for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, an atrocity which killed 298 innocents, including 38 Australians citizens and residents. The push is likely to poison relations with Russia even further after Moscow’s Ambassador to Australia on Sunday angrily denied ...

Golden age for Kylie as Australia’s pop princess turns 50

SYDNEY — From teenage soap sensation to pop royalty, over Kylie Minogue’s three-decade career she has sold 80 million records, survived breast cancer and become a gay icon whose fanbase spans generations. The pint-sized Aussie superstar celebrates her 50th birthday on Monday, another milestone for the singer who is one of the few celebrities known simply by their first name. ...

Malcolm Turnbull’s by-election candidates face uncertain futures

Malcolm Turnbull has kick started his Super Saturday by-election blitz with an embarrassing cloud hanging over a likely Coalition candidate. And, another female government MP faces a likely pre-selection challenge from a male. The prime minister was in the Tasmanian seat of Braddon today, supporting the Liberals’ Brett Whiteley. But the favoured candidate for the Longman by-election, Trevor Ruthenberg, still ...

Australia completes world’s largest cat-proof fence to protect endangered marsupials

The world’s largest cat-proof fence has been completed in central Australia, creating a 94 square kilometre sanctuary for endangered marsupials. The 44km fence – made of 85,000 pickets, 400km of wire and 130km of netting – surrounds the Newhaven wildlife sanctuary, a former cattle station that has been bought by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. Endangered species such as the bilby, the burrowing bettong ...

Contaminated Australian defence sites put spotlight on environmental record

Most of the non-residential sites being offloaded by the Department of Defence in its land disposal program are contaminated, a legacy of past environmental failings. Defence has eight unwanted non-residential properties listed for disposal across Australia, including former rifle ranges and armaments factories. Defence has confirmed it is conducting investigations at the majority of the sites to determine the “nature and extent” of contamination. ...

Australia’s high earners will benefit most from tax reforms, says thinktank

The Turnbull government’s plan to pursue billions of dollars in income tax cuts over the next seven years will radically alter Australia’s progressive income tax system, shifting more than 80% of workers to a flat tax, according to analysis. The analysis shows the major beneficiaries of the government’s plan will be Australia’s highest income earners, with the top 10% of ...