1. Overhaul to welfare system
The social services minister, Kevin Andrews has labeled Australia’s welfare system ‘unsustainable’ and announced that it will be overhauled.
The two main areas of focus of the welfare reforms are the disability support pension and Newstart, with the government looking to move people from the payments into the workforce.
Over five million people received government payments in 2012 with the age pension making up almost half that number though the Minister has ruled out changes in that area.
Andrews has estimated the cost of Australia’s welfare system at $70bn and ruled out returning single mothers with children older than eight to the single parent pension, saying there was too much debt.
2. Asylum seeker claims Navy beat them
The ABC has obtained footage of asylum seekers being treated for severe burns after they were allegedly forced to hold on to a hot pipe on their boat as punishment for wanting to go to the toilet.
The asylum seekers also allege the Navy personnel beat them.
The footage shows the seven men receiving treatment in Indonesia. However the Immigration Minister says that the Australian Navy has not acted inappropriately.
3. NSW one-punch laws
The new measures to be introduced to NSW to curb alcohol related violence do not go far enough according to the NSW opposition. But the parents of Thomas Kelly, who died after being punched in Kings Cross in 2012, say they are happy the new laws go “way above what we were asking for”.
“Mandatory is the key word here. The judge has no choice now. It’s welcome news,” Kelly’s father Ralph said.
The new laws include mandatory eight-year jail sentences for fatal one-punch attacks fuelled by alcohol or drugs, expanded Sydney CBD lockout zones, a freeze on new liquor licences, and the statewide closure of bottle shops at 10:00pm.
4. Sex Predator
Victorian police are hunting for a man they believe is responsible for three sexual assaults in inner Melbourne. In the latest attack a 22-year-old was attacked in a building stairwell around 6am on Saturday after she was dragged from Southern Cross Station.
The man is described as Asian or South American in appearance, aged in his late teens to mid 20s, and with a slim build. He is believed to be about 165 centimetres tall. He has spoken with an accent that could be South American.
Anyone with information is asked to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
5. Thailand state of emergency
The government of Thailand has declared a state of emergency that gives security forces wide powers to crackdown on protesters following escalating violence in Bangkok.
The 60-day emergency decree gives security agencies the power to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare areas off-limits.
The decree applies to Bangkok and surrounding areas and came into force this morning.
6. Suicide of teen prompts debate
The suicide of a 19-year old Ivy League teenager in the US has sparked debate about the reporting of suicide, and the pressure of University. For more read this post here.