1. Conscience vote on gay marriage
Outgoing Federal Senator Sue Boyce has told The Courier Mail she believes Prime Minister Tony Abbott will likely allow a conscience vote on gay marriage by the end of the year. “I would be reasonably confident that we will get to the situation by the end of the year that the Liberal Party will allow a conscience vote on (gay marriage),” Senator Boyce said. “On that basis, I would expect any legislation would come before Parliament quickly soon after that and it would get voted on. And I would hope that with the number of Liberals who would support same-sex marriage, also with those from Labor and the Greens who support same-sex marriage, that there would be a majority vote.”
2. Rolf Harris trial
The Judge has begun giving directions to the jury in the trial of Rolf Harris has said he will not accept a majority rule but only a unanimous verdict on each of the 12 indictments. Rolf Harris is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault against four separate women. He denies all charges. Judge Nigel Sweeney instructed the jury to find Harris guilty or innocent on all 12 or on some of the 12 but a decision on each had to be agreed to by all 12 jurors. He is expected to give further instructions tonight and then the jury will retire to consider its verdict.
3. Bayden-Clay was “broke”
Gerard Bayden-Clay told a police officer that he and his wife were “on the bones of their arse” and she had only $20 in her bank account according to evidence before the court yesterday. The 43-year-old QLD real estate agent is accused of murdering his wife Allison Baden-Clay, also 43, on April 19, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty. The jury also heard the he told a police officer the cuts across his cheeks were from a shaving mishap. The officer told the court that he searched for evidence of a shaving accident – such as blood or tissues – but did not find any. The case continues.
4. Baghdad under threat
Islamic militants are targeting a city one hour’s drive away from Baghdad. There have been scores of deaths after militants took control of parts of the central Iraqi city of Baquba before security forces eventually repelled the assault. The city, located just 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, is the closest the fighting has come to the capital.
5. New plan for Foreign Aid
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will today unveil her “new paradigm” for the $5 billion aid budget. The plan will focus upon stronger partnerships with the private sector to encourage companies to devise innovative ways of reducing poverty. AAP reports that gender programs will be made a priority, with the Foreign Minister’s emphasis on the economic empowerment of women and girls in past policy speeches.
6. Report on gender pay gap
A report on the gender pay gap to be released today by Graduate Careers Australia shows the gender pay gap was 9.4 per cent in 2013. Graduate Careers Australia has partly attributed the pay gap to men being over-represented in fields that attract higher starting salaries, such as engineering. The study shows that when fields of education were taken into account, the gap was only 4.7 per cent. Workplace Gender Equality Agency spokeswoman Clare Buttner told News Limited that career choices only explained half of the gender pay gap, which widened as a woman’s career progressed. “That 4.4 per cent could be due to conscious or unconscious discrimination but it can’t be explained by the choices that men and women make,” she said.