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Why the front pages of today's newspapers are blacked out, & more in News in 5.

– With AAP.

1. Why the front pages of today’s newspapers are blacked out.

Media companies from across Australia have united today to fight for press freedoms and the public’s right to know what’s going on in our country.

Australia’s Right To Know coalition of more than a dozen media outlets are campaigning on the front pages of their papers this morning, against six critical areas of law which could result in a veil of secrecy being thrown over important Australian stories.

Today’s action was prompted by raids on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst who is now facing possible criminal charges for reporting about the government’s consideration of new powers to spy on all of us, and a raid on ABC headquarters over a report detailing incidents of Australian special forces killing men and children in Afghanistan.

The government is withholding information relating to aged care abuse, these proposed new spying powers and the terms of land sales to foreign companies – and this protest is Australia’s media outlets telling the authorities that this information is something the public has a right to know.

All of the outlets involved have asked the question: “When government keeps the truth from you, what are they covering up?”

2.”He’s got nothing to confess.” Ivan Milat is refusing to give a deathbed confession.

Ivan Milat, widely known as one of Australia’s worst serial killers, has been asked by his family for a deathbed confession, according to 10 News First.

Milat was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the oesophagus and stomach in May 2019, and was transferred from Long Bay Correctional Centre to the intensive care unit at Prince of Wales Hospital last week, where he is reportedly preparing to die.

Serving seven consecutive life sentences, Milat has been imprisoned since July 27, 1996. Despite overwhelming evidence, he has always maintained his innocence.

On Saturday, 10 News First reported his brother and sister-in-law asked if Milat, widely known as ‘The Backpacker Killer’, would confess to being guilty.

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“No, he is quite adamant that he has got nothing to confess. He said he absolutely had nothing to do with it whatsoever,” his brother told the news company.

He told Milat the public were awaiting a confession, but Milat maintains his innocent.

“He said definitely not, ‘I told you that all along that there was no way I had any involvement at all.”‘

Milat’s brother added: “He’s got nothing to confess, so that’s as far as I’m concerned… that matter is closed.”

Milat is convicted of seven murders, taking place between 1989 and 1993. Their bodies were found in the Belanglo State Forest in New South Wales.

3. A woman has stabbed a man who sexually assaulted her in a Melbourne park on Saturday night.


A man who sexually assaulted a woman in a Melbourne park has been left with a stab wound after she managed to turn his own knife on him and escape.

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The 32-year-old victim had been walking a friend’s dog at Thornbury on Saturday night when she crossed the road into Mayer Park to avoid a man acting suspiciously.

But the man followed her, claiming he needed help finding something before pulling out a knife, pushing the woman to the ground and sexually assaulting her.

She managed to grab the knife and stab him before running with the dog onto the road and flagging down a passing car.

“It’s quite frightening. I think he was on a mission and he saw the woman coming and he pursued her,” Detective Acting Inspector Janet Mitchell told reporters on Sunday.

“When he could see that she was trying to get away, he’s tried to divert her attention, appealing to her good nature to assist him.

“It could have ended up much worse. I think the woman was very brave to act the way she did.”

The woman was taken to hospital but has since been released.

The attacker fled and detectives are urging people to be on the lookout for a Caucasian man in his early 20s with a stab wound.

He has brown hair and was wearing loose pants and a hoodie. Police have released a computer-generated image of the man they’re looking for.

The attack occurred about 10.30pm and police want anyone with dash cam footage or CCTV from Normanby Avenue or Leinster Grove to contact them.

It follows a string of high-profile assaults on woman in public places across Melbourne.

Courtney Herron, 25, was bashed and killed at Parkville’s Royal Park in May. Henry Hammond is charged with her murder.

In January, 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe was raped, murdered and set on fire near a Bundoora tram stop. Her attacker, 21-year-old Codey Herrmann, is awaiting sentence.

Budding comedian Eurydice Dixon, 22, was raped and murdered while walking home through Princes Park at Carlton North in June last year.

Jaymes Todd is appealing against his life sentence over the attack.

4. Tasmania to overhaul sex abuse laws and allow survivors to share their stories publicly.

Sex abuse survivors in Tasmania will finally be able to share their stories publicly, with the state planning to scrap laws banning victims from naming themselves in the media.

It follows a long-running #LetHerSpeak campaign by survivors demanding the right to identify themselves in the media without having to get a court order first.

Attorney-General Elise Archer said the reforms, which will bring Tasmania into line with the other states, allow adult survivors to tell their stories publicly if they give the publication written consent.

“It’s important because some victims of crime, as part of their own recovery, feel it necessary and feel that it’s therapeutic as well to be able to tell their stories,” she told reporters on Sunday.

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Under the changes, the victim must not have been coerced into agreeing and mustn’t have a mental impairment making them incapable of exercising reasonable judgement about being named.

A new offence will also be introduced for publications that breach the law.

“This has come about as a result of many victims expressing their concern that the laws don’t strike the right balance in Tasmania,” Ms Archer said.

Tasmanian and the Northern Territory are the only places in Australia where adult sex assault victims can’t name themselves in the media.

Mr Archer believes the island’s reforms will strike the right balance between empowering survivors and protecting those who don’t wish to be identified.

A woman who was abducted and gang raped at Burnie on Christmas Eve in 1993 is among those who have campaigned to change the law.

“As rape survivors, we didn’t get a choice in what happened to us, but we should get a choice in what we can say about it,” she said in a submission to the government earlier this year.

“Without my name or my face, it is not my story, it is just my words, and I am just another number. This is dehumanising in the extreme.”

Tasmania also plans to reword the crime of “maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person” after the use of the term “relationship” was criticised as inappropriate.

“I totally understand the concern that exists around describing something as a relationship because that should be used for positive relationships, not those that involve a crime,” Ms Archer said.

The state’s Labor opposition says it will support the changes.

5. Morrison ‘inoculates’ relationship with China after meeting on Sunday.


Scott Morrison believes China has a clear understanding of Australia’s approach to the important relationship, which has been in the deep freeze in recent times.

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The prime minister met with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan for nearly an hour – twice as long as planned – in Jakarta on Sunday, ahead of attending the Indonesian president’s inauguration.

He characterised it as constructive and positive, covering the full gamut of the relationship.

“It was a chat that we had very much in the spirit of the partnership that we have, and very much inoculated from all of the assessments that are made about the relationship,” he told reporters afterwards.

“I came out of the discussion pleased that there is, I think, a very clear understanding of where Australia is coming from, our commitment to the relationship and I think that’s understood and appreciated by China as well.”

Mr Wang said China’s leader Xi Jinping had authorised the meeting, but he noted twice in his brief remarks at its start that the Australians had requested the talks.

“I think the joint message that we send to the media and the public is that parties attach high importance to this relationship,” he said.

Mr Morrison is the only modern prime minister not to have received an invitation to visit China by this stage in his leadership, although a couple of his ministers have been.

He came under fire recently after using a speech in Chicago to call for China to be treated as a developed economy on the world stage.

China’s ambassador to Australia said his country had not yet reached that stage, while a visiting Chinese academic warned Australia would be the first sacrifice if the Asian superpower and the United States went to war.

And just over a week ago, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton linked China to cyber-attacks and hacking, and said its Communist Party’s values were inconsistent with Australia’s.

“We have a very important trading relationship with China, incredibly important, but we’re not going to allow university students to be unduly influenced, we’re not going to allow theft of intellectual property and we’re not going to allow our government bodies or non-government bodies to be hacked into,” Mr Dutton said.

Mr Morrison said on Sunday there had been too much “overanalysis” of Australia’s relationship with China.

“I simply made the point, which was well-received, that Australia is an independent, sovereign nation,” he said.

“Yes, we are very much proud of our Western liberal democratic tradition, our open economy and our engagement with the rest of the world and that gives us a set of eyes that look into the world, very much from our perspective.

“But what we also stressed today was, is that we will never feel corralled into any sort of binary assessment of these relationships … which says pro-United States or pro-China.”

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