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.
He relied on expert evidence, he wrote in his judgment, about the importance of a child’s relationship with their biological family and the issues often experienced by adopted children such as questions of identity and rejection.
Fairfax Media reports that he accepted expert evidence that it “is inevitable the child will gravitate to her biological family and grow to resent her adoptive carers.”
While she was allowed to keep her first name he ruled that her surname be changed from Blaze-Darnley to Grady-Harper.
3. Woman who attacked Muslim woman given suspended sentence.
A young woman who ripped a hijab from a Muslim woman’s head shouting, “get out of our country, you terrorist” has received a suspended jail sentence.
Yesterday Ann-Maria Bunce faced the Adelaide Magistrates Court over the violent attack upon the Muslim woman in Rundle Mall in September this year.
Bunce, 34, became angry after she and the victim accidentally bumped into each other reports The Advertiser, Bunce then attacked the other woman yelling “oh you wanna go?” she then ripped the other woman’s hijab from her head and waved it around, shouting “get out of our country, you terrorist”
Bunce pleaded guilty to charges including assault causing harm, disorderly behavior.
Bunce, was sentenced to four months’ prison but the magistrate suspended the sentence on the condition that she adhere to the conditions of an 18-month good behaviour bond.
4. Dead woman found near Coogee Beach in Sydney.
Hundreds of beach goers have gathered at the top of a cliff to watch police remove the body of a dead woman found at Coogee Beach.
The Daily Telegraph reports that police believe the woman had been deceased for some time.
Walkers found the woman’s body about noon yesterday at the northern end of Coogee Beach.
Police Rescue officers and paramedics scaled down the cliff to retrieve the body with a stretcher oogled by hundreds of curious holidaymakers.
Police have determined the identity of the female, who is believed to be an adult, or whether her death was suspicious.
5. Childcare centers new year fee rise.
Childcare centres could rise their prices by as much as $5 a day predicts the Australian Childcare Alliance as centres in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, the ACT and the Northern Territory are required to meet new educator-to-child ratios.
Gwynn Bridge, the President of the ACA said fee increases will vary.
“Services are doing their best to remain affordable for families as the government continues to pursue its agenda of increased regulation without consideration on the impact of families’ hip-pockets,” Ms Bridge told News Limited.
“This is coming at a time when parent’s subsidies have not increased, but have decreased with freezes, and they have to wait until 2017 for any relief.”
6. Airstrikes hit “Islamic State leaders linked to Paris attacks” Pentagon confirms.
Airstrikes from a US-led coalition have killed 10 Islamic State leaders in the last month, including at least one with links to the Paris attacks in November.
US Army Colonel Steve Warren said:
“Over the past month we’ve killed 10 Isil leadership figures with targeted air strikes, including several external attack planners, some of whom are linked to the Paris attacks.
Others had designs on further attacking the West.”
One of those killed by an air raid on 26 December was Abdul Qader Hakim, who Col. Warren claimed had links to the militants responsible for the atrocities in Paris.
7. Lemmy Kilmister, the pioneering frontman for Motorhead, has died.
Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, founding member and singer in the British heavy metal band Motorhead, has died at the age of 70 two days after learning he had been diagnosed with cancer.
Kilmister was the bass player, songwriter and sole consistent member of Motorhead since forming the band in London in June 1975.
The band announced on their Facebook page that Lemmy was at home when he died.
The band released 23 studio albums and are best known for their 1980 single Ace of Spades.
“There is no easy way to say this … our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. He had learned of the disease on 26 December, and was at home, sitting in front of his favourite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made it’s way down the street, with his family.
“We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness; there aren’t words.
“We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please … play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy’s music LOUD. Have a drink or few.
“Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself.
“HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT.”
The band signed off: “Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister
“Born to lose, lived to win.”
8. A third of gift cards go unused.
A survey has shown that an estimated 20 million Christmas gifts in Australia – valued at more than $600 million – are unwanted or don’t meet the expectations of the receiver – and a third of gift cards go unused.
According to Consumer Affairs Victoria the most inquiries about gift cards come in January as people are reminded of a gift card given to them the Christmas before and which they now realise has expired.
“[That’s] hundreds of millions of dollars that are basically flushed down the toilet because people don’t check the expiry dates on the gift card and don’t use them in a timely fashion,” Minister for Consumer Affairs Jane Garrett told The Age.
“That’s hundreds of millions of dollars – dollars people have earned hard throughout the year and then given to people in forms of a gift card,” she said.
“Once those expiry dates pass, you really have thrown away your money or the money of someone else who gave you that gift card,” she said.
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