Meet Neil Symes. He’s 23, he lives at home with his parents and he’s one of Queensland’s newly elected members of parliament. Mr Symes, who has a degree in criminology and human services – said he was in a strong position to relate to the people who elected him – having previously worked at the Woolworth’s deli. “I know that petrol prices go up, I know that the cost of food goes up and electricity and water . . . so that’s where I can relate to the people because I’ve seen it firsthand,” he said. “I was actually working in the supermarket sector through the seafood and delicatessen departments, so that’s what I bring to Parliament is a good work ethic.”
Mr Symes – who is the youngest LNP MP – is one of 46 new MPs in Queensland.
There’s a push in the South Australian parliament to legalise the use of specially trained sex workers for people with a disability. Kelly Vincent, who is behind the push – says she feels it would benefit disabled people. “For those people who are feeling frustrated and alienated and alone and sad because they can’t access this experience, and for those people for whom the services of a sex worker could make a genuine huge, positive difference to their lives, in a private, intimate manner, then I don’t see why that can’t be allowed,” she said. Opponents say the campaign risks stigmatising those who it is trying to help. A private members bill will be put to parliament next month.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe will launch a ‘HELP ME’ app through iTunes today. They’re the parents of Daniel Morcombe, who vanished more than eight years ago when he was 13 years old. The app features a panic button which alerts nominated contacts of the user’s exact location via SMS. The app costs 99 cents.
“We’ve come back to ‘What is it that would have helped Daniel?’ One thing was a phone and the option of conveying ‘I feel threatened’,” Mr Morcombe said. “‘Run’ would have been our first instruction to Daniel…But then, when he was at a safe location, maybe 200m down the road, he could have pushed a button on his phone that would have sent a message saying ‘I am here and I need help urgently’.”
Bruce and Denise Morcombe have previously spoken about the ’7 safety tips to teach your kids’ which you can read here.
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Treasurer Wayne Swan Federal says government programs will be scaled back or scrapped all together in a bid to return the budget to surplus. In a speech to business economists today, Mr Swan will say there will be substantial spending cuts to come, and that the lead-up to this year’s budget is the most difficult the government has faced. ‘The reality is that we will need to cut and cancel existing programs if we are to meet our targets, and we’ll need to redirect some spending to where it is needed most. I can also tell you there won’t be a lot of new spending,” he will say.
It means the government will not be able to use budget handouts to attract voter support – despite low opinion polls and Labor’s devastating result in last year’s election.
The latest social trends report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found Australians are marrying older, having children later and often living together before marriage. The report found the number of people living together before marriage has risen from 56 per cent in 1990 to 79 per cent in 2010. It found the median age for marriage increased from 26.5 years for men and 24.3 for women to 29.6 for men and 27.9 for women. The seven-year itch (the median length of time before separating) was a 7.5 year itch in 1990. That’s now stretched to 8.8 years. Relationships Australia NSW operations manager Lyn Fletcher said the statistics show people are not making quick decisions.
UPDATE: The body of the 14-year-old boy missing since yesterday has been found at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.
Police and lifesavers are rushing to the scene. Matthew’s distraught parents are also on the beach.
Through the night police in dune buggies and surf life savers in four wheel drives patrolled the shoreline and the Gold Coast police helicopter, which has night vision and infra red search capabilities, scoured the water.
This morning three rescue choppers, more than 200 lifesavers and over 30 inflatable boats and jet skis joined the search effort.
Earlier we reported:
Surf Life Saving Australia has come under criticism after a 14-year-old boy disappeared during a competition yesterday at Queensland’s Kurrawa beach. Two years ago, Nineteen-year-old Saxon Bird died during the same carnival at the same beach and under similar circumstances. After his death, Surf Life Saving Australia was criticised by a coroner for failing to call off the event in the event of rough weather.
CEO Brett Williamson said conditions had been closely monitored yesterday. “We are confident from a surf life saving perspective that all our risk-management systems and decision-making processes were very robust and in place,” he said. He added the swell was not as large as it was when Saxon Bird died two years ago.
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