We’ve rounded up all the latest stories from Australia and around the world – so you don’t have to go searching.
1. Former Staffer of Jamie Briggs says he was “sexist.”
A day after the government lost two Ministers with Cities Minister Jamie Briggs quitting after admitting to inappropriately dealing with an Australian public servant in a Hong Kong bar and Mal Brough standing aside until the Australian Federal Police concludes its investigation into the Special Minister of State’s involvement in the copying of the diaries of the former speaker, Peter Slipper details have emerged about he “incident” involving Jamie Briggs.
Fairfax Media reports that Mr Briggs had complimented a female public servant he had invited out to a bar, on her “piercing eyes”, put his arm around her and kissed her on the cheek during the Hong Kong incident in late November. Channel Nine said the alleged kiss had been on the neck.
Mr Briggs said their interactions at the bar were informal.
“At no point was it my intention to act inappropriately and I’m obliged to note for the record that nothing illegal has been alleged,” he said.
Meanwhile a former staffer of Jamie Briggs who will run against him as a candidate for Nick Xenophon’s party has told The Australian Mr Briggs was sexist.
Rebekha Sharkie, said she “voted with her feet” and left his office after sexist comments.
“Certainly, I didn’t feel that Jamie and my personal values were aligned. There were things said that were misogynist in nature,’’ she said. “His was typical of the attitude of the Abbott government: that women were either beauty queens or ironing ladies.
“As a person living in Mayo I found it disappointing and I certainly feel for (Mr Briggs’) family, particularly his wife. I also feel for the public servant who showed great courage in speaking up.”
The PM will hold a cabinet re-shuffle till when the country gets back to work in February.
2. Lesbian couple ordered to return baby to biological parents.
The biological mother of a little girl, now aged three, has been awarded custody of her daughter after she changed her mind about allowing a lesbian couple to adopt her.
Fairfax Media reports that the couple, known as Ms Blaze and Ms Darnley had been unable to have their own children and entered into an arrangement with a friend, called Ms Grady.
In a parenting plan drawn up by a lawyer, referred to in court as a “quasi-adoption”, Ms Grady requested that she and her three other children have “some ongoing relationship” reports Fairfax media.
The women – who are all are profoundly deaf communicate using Auslan sign language.
Three months after the baby was born Ms Grady discovered another man was the biological father. The man, known as Mr Harper, said he wanted a relationship with his daughter and would give financial support. In October 2013 Ms Grady said she had changed her mind and decided she wanted her daughter back, along with the support of Mr Harper.
She then “reclaimed” the baby six months later. In an interim judgment the Federal Circuit Court ordered the girl live primarily with Ms Blaze and Ms Darnley.
But in a trial proper Justice Michael Kent overturned that ruling while it is in the child’s best interest to have meaningful relationships with both Ms Blaze and Ms Darnley the toddler live primarily with her parents, initially spending one weekend a month with Ms Blaze and Ms Darnley, however they will have no legal parental responsibility for her.