Australian intelligence determined China was responsible for a cyber-attack on its national parliament and three largest political parties before the general election in May, five people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Australia’s cyber intelligence agency – the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) – concluded in March that China’s Ministry of State Security was responsible for the attack.
Australian authorities are sounding the alarm about the health of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral. The government agency in charge of managing the reef has downgraded the long-term outlook for the reef’s ecosystem from “poor” in 2014 to “very poor” in 2019. A World Heritage-listed natural wonder, the reef contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs.
An Australian tourist has been found shot dead inside a camper van outside the popular New Zealand surfing town of Raglan on the west coast of the North Island. The male offender fired a number of shots into the van where the 33-year-old victim and his 32-year-old Canadian fiancee were sleeping, after 2am on Friday. The shooter stole the van and drove around for an hour with the dying man inside.
The family of an Australian man reportedly detained in North Korea say they have not heard from him since Tuesday, but that they have not received confirmation that he has been arrested by the repressive regime. Reports emerged on Thursday that Alek Sigley, a 29-year-old living and studying in Pyongyang, had been arrested in North Korea. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed it was providing consular support to the man’s family, and was “urgently seeking clarification” about Sigley’s whereabouts.
The Australian Federal Police on Wednesday raided the headquarters of the country’s public broadcaster, the ABC, in connection with a story the network broadcast in 2017 detailing misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. The 2017 report uncovered allegations of unlawful killings of unarmed civilians, including children, and other misconduct by Australian special forces soldiers in Afghanistan. It also quoted from military documents that expressed concern about a deterioration of organizational culture within the elite special forces and a “willingness by officers to turn a blind eye to bad behavior.”
Australia’s Liberal National coalition government under Prime Minister Scott Morrison has won a historic victory, taking his party for a third term in government against all expectations. It is still unknown if Morrison will form a majority or minority government, but swings to the coalition across large Australian states, especially Queensland, have ensured he will remain prime minister. In a triumphant speech Saturday night, Morrison said he had “always believed in miracles.” After losing an election which many analysts described as “unlosable,” Labor leader Bill Shorten conceded and announced he would be stepping down as head of the party.
Australia’s latest A$50 note comes with a big blunder hidden in the small print – a somewhat embarrassing typo. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) spelled “responsibility” as “responsibilty” on millions of the new yellow notes. The RBA confirmed the typo on Thursday and said the error would be fixed in future print runs. But for now, around 46 million of the new notes are in use across the country. The A$50 note is the most widely circulated in Australia, and the most commonly given out by cash machines.
A father has saved his son from a dingo attack after the toddler was dragged from a campervan at an Australian tourist island, say officials. The 14-month-old boy was sleeping inside the vehicle on a remote area of Fraser Island in Queensland when the wild dog entered and bit his neck. The father immediately ran out and snatched him from the dingo’s jaws. The toddler suffered two deep cuts to the top of his neck and minor cuts to his scalp in Thursday’s incident. He was airlifted to hospital for treatment.
Australians will head to the polls on May 18, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Thursday. The vote could deliver the country its seventh leader in just over a decade. Morrison, a former Tourism Australia director, and his center-right Liberal National Coalition government are seeking re-election on a platform of tax cuts and economic stability. The prime minister, who came to office following a bruising intra-party putsch in August last year, faces a fierce challenge from the opposition Labor Party, led by former union leader Bill Shorten.
Australia is set to introduce new laws that could imprison social media executives if they allow violence to be streamed on their platforms, following the New Zealand terror attack. The bills have been proposed in response to the 15 March mosque attacks in Christchurch, which were livestreamed on Facebook. Executives of platforms that do not remove “abhorrent violent material” quickly could face three years in prison. Companies could face a fine of A$10.5m (£5.6m) or 10% of the site’s annual turnover – whichever is larger. Abhorrent violent material is defined as acts of terrorism, murder, attempted murder, torture, rape and kidnapping.