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"It's time for change." A bill to decriminalise abortion will be introduced to NSW parliament this week, & more in News in 5.

1. “It’s time for change.” A bill to decriminalise abortion will be introduced to NSW parliament this week.

A private members bill which could see abortions decriminalised and regulated as a medical procedure in NSW will be introduced to parliament this week.

Currently abortions in the state are dealt with under the Crimes Act 1900.

The Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019 will be introduced by independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich.

Under the bill, a woman would not commit an offence if she procures a termination within the framework provided.

It would also repeal provisions of the Crimes Act relating to abortions and common law offences relating to abortion.

The bill would allow for terminations for women up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, and after this time if two doctors believe it should be performed considering medical, physical, social and psychological circumstances.

It would also create a new criminal offence under the Crimes Act for those who assist in terminations who are not authorised to do so – attracting a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

“The bill ensures women in NSW have access to safe and lawful terminations without the threat of criminal convictions and provides doctors with the legal clarity they have long sought,” Mr Greenwich said on Sunday.

Based on laws in Queensland and Victoria, the bill is supported by the Australian Medical Association NSW and the NSW Pro-Choice Alliance.

It was developed by a cross-party working group with the oversight of Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

Mr Hazzard on Sunday said doctors have had to make decisions based on interpretations of the courts as to what the law allows which “always leaves open the possibility” that the doctor or the woman may be convicted under the Crimes Act.

Women should have the “absolute clarity of black and white legislation” around the issue as they do in some other states and territories, he said.

“I believe the time has come for us to be respectful in the debate but to also recognise that it’s time for change,” Mr Hazzard said.

While there will be “people who have very strong views” in the parliament, Mr Hazzard says he’s sure these will be expressed “carefully and respectfully”.

He believes there will be a conscience vote on the bill and hopes it receives the approval of parliament.

2. Victorian man in court over cold-case murder.

More than 30 years after a young nurse was found dead in her Melbourne home, a man will face court charged with her murder.

Ina-Doris Warrick, 25, was slaughtered in the bedroom of her Ringwood home in March 1986.

The champion gymnast was found four days after her death with several stab wounds to her back.

She was due to start her first night shift at Heidelberg hospital after taking a year off following the death of her husband from cancer.

The cold case was reopened when police named two suspects during a 2017 episode of TV show Million Dollar Cold Case.

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A $1 million reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction was up for grabs.

A viewer called and said one of the suspects had confessed to killing Ms Warrick.

In November last year, Bairnsdale man and former hospital porter Colin Earl Graham – now in his 60s – was arrested at his home and charged with one count of murder.

Graham is due to face a committal hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday, which will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to send him to trial.

3. Many on ‘inadequate’ Newstart skip meals.


People on Newstart are being forced to skip meals, go without heating during winter, and reduce showering to just once a week to save money.

These are just some of the bleak findings in a survey of Newstart recipients conducted by a peak welfare body pushing to increase the benefit by at least $75 a week.

Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie says Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

“Yet we have people skipping meals, staying in abusive relationships and showering once a week because they are on the grossly inadequate Newstart payment,” Dr Goldie said while releasing the findings on Monday.

The survey of 489 people on Newstart or Youth Allowance found more than four out of five (84 per cent) respondents skipped meals to save money, and about 44 per cent went without more than five meals a week.

Two-thirds could not afford to use heating during winter, while 68 per cent only had enough money to buy second-hand clothes.

More than half had less than $100 left per week after housing costs.

The federal government has refused to consider an increase to Newstart, despite repeated calls from ACOSS, business groups, unions and economists.

Labor, the Greens, crossbench politicians, coalition backbenchers and even former Liberal prime minister John Howard have also called for a rise.

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Aside from twice yearly adjustments to Newstart in line with inflation, it has not seen a real increase for 25 years.

“People can’t afford rent, food, energy, clothing, transport, haircuts, dental care or internet access, which severely hampers their chances of getting a job,” Dr Goldie said.

“Especially as there is only one job available for every eight people looking.”

The single rate of Newstart is $282 per week, which ACOSS says is more than $100 below the poverty line and less than 40 per cent of the minimum wage.

Labor and the Greens joined forces last week to initiate a Senate inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and other welfare payments, which is due to report back next year.

4. British woman in Cyprus rape case arrested.

A 19-year-old British woman has been arrested on suspicion of filing a false complaint of gang rape for which a dozen Israeli teens were held, Cyprus police say.

Seven of the Israelis were released on Sunday, a police official said. Five were released last week.

The 12 individuals had initially been detained on a court order in mid-July after the woman said she was assaulted in a hotel room in the resort of Ayia Napa. The youths denied the claim.

“Rape never took place,” one police source said. The woman is being held on suspicion of public mischief after giving another statement to police.

A lawyer for some of the suspects, Ioannis Habaris, said a civil lawsuit would be filed on behalf of the youths.

“The alleged victim has refrained from her statement and will be charged with public nuisance for giving false testimony,” Habaris said.

By law, Cypriot authorities are required within 24 hours of an arrest to take a suspect before a magistrate where an extension of remand can be requested.

5. Swim CEO’s distress for Horton and Jack.

Swimming Australia chief Leigh Russell has revealed her distress when Mack Horton staged his world titles anti-doping protest in South Korea, knowing that Shayna Jack had tested positive.

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But one of the few others who knew about Jack’s plight at the time, Australian team head coach Jacco Verhaeren, says he didn’t feel awkward and would have joined Horton’s podium protest if he could.

Jack had been sent home from the world titles team training camp in Japan after initially failing a drug test on June 26.

She sensationally revealed via social media on Sunday that her B sample had also tested positive on July 19 for Ligandrol, a non-steroid anabolic agent popular with bodybuilders.

Russell said confidentiality required by SA’s agreement with national anti-doping body ASADA didn’t allow it to reveal Jack’s initial positive test.

Australian team swimmers competing at the world championships in South Korea weren’t told about her positive A sample until the news broke on Saturday, a month later.

Russell said she understood Jack had been planning to reveal the A positive test later this week, after the world titles ended, when it would not be a distraction for the Dolphins.

But Russell acknowledged feeling “distressed” when Horton staged a podium protest last weekend against controversial Chinese star Sun Yang, who served a 2014 doping ban .

Asked if she had her “head in her hands” when Horton failed to acknowledge Sun, Russell said: “Yes, it was such a difficult one.

“I absolutely support Mack. He’s entitled to say and do on an issue that he is passionate about and we are too. This has not changed our thinking on a zero-tolerance approach or our policy.

“But I certainly was watching Mack (protest), distressed about what would befall both Shayna and Mack in the coming days and week (once positive test broke).”

Verhaeren did not believe Jack’s positive test had tarnished Horton’s protest message and claimed the Olympic champion would still have done it if he knew about Jack’s test.

“The question is going to be asked ‘should he have done that?’,” Verhaeren said in Gwangju.

“I think yes because that is a totally different subject as well. This is about someone standing up for clean sport and we still do that.

“If the meet started tomorrow with this knowledge he would stand there again and if I could I would stand next to him.”

Horton told Seven Network Jack’s positive test hadn’t changed his stance.

“I was disappointed to learn late yesterday that a fellow Dolphins team member had recently returned a positive A sample,” he said.

“I applaud the decision to immediately withdraw the athlete in question from further competition until this matter is resolved.

“My position remains firm – clean sport must be a priority for all athletes, all sports and all nations.”

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