Tuesday's news in under 5 minutes.

We’ve rounded up all the latest news  from Australia and around the world – so you don’t have to go searching.

1. Is he “Australia’s version of Cecil the Lion?”

A Sydney-based millionaire businessman has been flooded with hate mail after Fairfax Media printed photos of him posing with a dead wombat he had shot, and a second photo of another wombat he had hunted and shot bleeding from a gunshot wound to its stomach.

Successful car dealer Tony Azzi posed in the images with a rifle over his shoulder, smiling and pointing at the wombat.

According to Fairfax Media Mr Azzi is being investigated over allegations that he used a high-powered rifle and semi-automatic pistols to kill wombats and other native fauna.

The investigation is being conducted by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The photos were allegedly taken on Mr Azzi’s country property Murrumbank, at Bookham, near Yass, about 300km south of Sydney in 2011 and 2013.

The car dealer who recently bought a $14 million waterfront mansion in Elizabeth Bay, owns the Larke Hoskins car dealerships in the Sydney suburbs of Rosebery and Homebush.

Another of the wombats allegedly shoot by Tony Azzi. (Mamamia has chosen to pixellate this image due to its distressing nature )

Under law wombats are classified as protected fauna and it is a criminal offence to harm them.

Mr Azzi responded to the allegations he had broken the law by writing on his Facebook page “I have and will continue as a matter of responsible land management eradicate (sic) feral pests from my land.


“Cats, foxes, rabbits and other animals are known to destroy flora and kill native animals by the tens-of-millions each year, and as a licensed gun owner it is my responsibility to keep them off my land.”

“For the record, I do not kill native animals, and any suggestion that I do is wrong. On one occasion I terminated the life of a seriously injured wombat” he wrote.

The RSPCA’s chief inspector, David O’Shannessy told Fairfax Media his organisation was opposed to the hunting of any animal for sport.

“What makes this particular case so much worse is the fact that the animal involved is a protected native animal.”


2. Neighbours actress who snatched son back from her former husband is in police custody.

Former neighbours actress Eliza Szonert.

Former neighbours actress Eliza Szonert, who snatched her young son from her former partner in Malaysia last week, with the help of a child recovery agency, was being held in police custody in Malaysia last night but had not been officially arrested reports Fairfax Media.

Her former husband Ashley Crick said that he hoped his ex-wife would comply with authorities to allow him to return to Australia with his son where he would fight for custody.

Ms Szonert had previously told Fairfax Media that she had taken her son to Kuala Lumpur to visit his father but Mr Crick kicked her out of their shared accommodation, refused to hand over her passport and refused to let her see their son.

3. Productivity Commission recommends cutting Sunday penalty rates.

A report by the Productivity Commission into Australia’s workplace relations system has recommended replacing higher Sunday surcharges by a single weekend rate for retail, entertainment and hospitality workers.


“Consumers would gain access to more services for longer hours and with higher staffing ratios,” the report said.

“Sunday surcharges would be likely to disappear, and average prices for consumer services throughout the week would likely be a little lower.”

But the reports says penalty rates for public holidays should remain in place, and the minimum wage should not be abolished.

The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association national secretary Gerard Dwyer told News Limited penalty rates were “very often the only reason a worker will give up time with their family to work on a weekend” and many workers relied on the extra pay to make ends meet.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the recommendations were was something the Fair Work Commission could adopt but it had nothing to do with the government.

“The government has no plans to change penalty rates,” Senator Cash said on Monday.

“Penalty rates are set by the independent Fair Work Commission, just as interest rates are set by another independent body [the Reserve Bank].”

4. Tasmania may lift smoking age to 21.

Tasmania might be the state to lead the way in the battle against smoking with a proposal to lift the legal smoking age to 21 or 25.


Tasmanian Health Minister Michael Ferguson told the ABC the government wants to stop young people taking up the habit.

“We are proposing that we lift the legal smoking age potentially above 18, to potentially 21 or potentially 25,” he said.

“There would likely be significant health benefits for the community and savings to the health system over time if the rate of people taking up smoking was reduced,” he said.

“No government in Australia has considered or contemplated the idea of lifting the smoking age … We want (this) to be a barbecue stopper and we want Tasmanians to tell us what they think.”

5. Two children in near drownings at Currumbin Beach.

Two children have nearly drowned at Currumbin Beach in unrelated incidents yesterday.

The ABC reports that emergency crews were called at 1:05pm after a five-year-old boy nearly drowned.

The boy was taken to Tweed Heads Hospital in a stable condition.

At 2:45pm paramedics were called to the same beach and a two-year-old boy was taken to hospital for treatment.

6. Giving birth in your 30s means babies are smarter and healthier.

Giving birth in your 30s means babies are smarter and healthier.

A study has found that women who give birth in their 30’s have offspring who are more intelligent and healthier.

The study, published in the journal Biodemography and Social Biology is a further study into how a mother’s age could have an impact on their child’s development.

Scientists found babies whose mothers were in their 30s had the highest cognitive scores, children whose mothers were in their 40s when they gave birth are more likely to be obese.


Dr Alice Goisis told The Times“First-time mothers in their 30s are, for example, likely to be more educated, have higher income, and more likely to be in stable relationships, have healthier lifestyles, seek prenatal care earlier and have planned their pregnancies.”

7. DJ locks himself into studio and plays Wham’s Last Christmas non-stop.

“I wanted to play it all day, but because I love my daughter so much I gave in to her request.”

This guy is really, really, really, really festive.

An Austrian radio DJ has caused a flood of complaints after he barricaded himself in the studio so he could play Last Christmas by Wham non-stop.

Joe Kohlhofer, 27, started his 8am show by telling listeners that he felt people were not in the Christmas spirit. So, he said it was time for a Christmas overdose.

According to the radio station he did not have permission for the stunt, and barricaded the door to stop anybody getting in. He then continued to broadcast the song until 10 AM when he opened the door to let his colleagues in.

The presenter only stopped after getting a call from his four-year-old daughter who wanted him to stop playing the song.

He said “I wanted to play it all day, but because I love my daughter so much I gave in to her request.”

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