Woman charged over alleged sale of synthetic cannabis – Mayfield

A woman appeared in court today charged over the alleged supply of synthetic cannabis from a tobacconist near Newcastle.

Officers from the Police Transport and Public Safety Command attached to Newcastle commenced an investigation after receiving information regarding prohibited drugs in Mayfield.

Following inquiries, a search warrant was executed at a tobacconist on Hanbury Street, Mayfield, about 10am yesterday (Thursday 17 October 2019).

During the search, police located and seized 1.25 kilograms of cannabis, 52 glass water pipes, cash and documentation.

A 56-year-old woman was arrested at the scene and taken to Waratah Police Station where she was charged with supply prohibited drug, knowingly supply psychoactive substance for human consumption, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime and display waterpipe in shop.

The woman was refused bail and appeared before Newcastle Local Court today (Friday 18 October 2019), where she was granted conditional bail to appear before the same court on Thursday 19 December 2019.

Major parties tested by introduction of Greens Parliamentary Standards Bill

The introduction of the Greens Parliamentary Standards Bill in the Senate today will be a strong test of whether Labor and the Liberals genuinely want to stamp out corruption and restore public trust in democracy.

The bill creates a binding, independently enforced code of conduct for all Federal politicians and staff.

The Australian community’s trust in politicians and government has plummeted to 31 per cent, with less than a quarter of the community expressing trust in Federal Ministers and MPs [1].

Greens Co-Deputy Leader and spokesperson on democracy, Senator Larissa Waters, said the community can no longer tolerate the ongoing scandals and politicians’ misbehaviour.

“Alarming levels of disrespect have been allowed to flourish in the Australian Parliament, from appalling behaviour in the chambers that would not be tolerated in any other workplace to outright corruption and selfish opportunism,” she said today.

“Today the Greens will introduce a much-needed Parliamentary Standards Bill in the Senate to help lift the bar, as a large step towards restoring public trust in democracy.

“The centrepiece of the new bill is a binding, enforceable code of conduct for all Ministers, parliamentarians and senior staffers.

“The Greens bill requires all politicians to respect others, to avoid conflicts of interest, to act with integrity, and to ensure that power and public resources are always used in the public interest.

“It would establish new independent enforcement agent with teeth, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, who can investigate breaches of the code of conduct and take action when politicians’ behaviour fails to meet public expectations.

“For serious allegations, the new Public Standards Commissioner could refer the matter to the Greens proposed National Integrity Commission for a more comprehensive investigation.

“The bill is a large step towards restoring public trust in democracy, but more needs to be done. The bill also sets out a process to review and strengthen existing standards for lobbying, post-parliamentary employment, political donations, and campaign financing,” Senator Waters said.

Full copy of National Integrity (Parliamentary Standards) Bill 2019 available here: http://bit.ly/NationalIntegrity

[1] Democracy 2025’s Trust in Democracy Report, December 2018 https://www.democracy2025.gov.au/documents/Democracy2025-report1.pdf

Greens Slam Labor and Liberal Collusion to Scrap Education Investment

Greens Senator for NSW and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has slammed Labor and the Liberals for striking a deal to sell out TAFEs and universities. The two parties voted today to abolish the $4 billion Education Infrastructure Fund, which was focused on building research and education infrastructure.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Labor and the Government have teamed up to stab education in the back by abolishing billions in education funding.

“I don’t expect any better of the regressive Liberals who have cut education funding at every turn, but Labor used to be the party of education. Now they are just selling out communities and young people to remain politically relevant.

“Labor are so eager to please the Liberals they voted to abolish the infrastructure fund they themselves established. The reality is unis, TAFEs and research have all suffered under this Liberal-National Government. Education in Australia is being dangerously underfunded.

“I’ve seen with my own eyes the impact of the fund in Port Macquarie where I lived and worked and where the fund contributed to the Joint Health Education Facility which is training doctors to meet demand for care in rural and regional areas.

“We must fund disaster relief and support communities facing the brunt of the climate crisis, but the Greens will not be party to the Government’s long-running campaign to cut our universities and TAFEs to the bone while their climate inaction endangers all of us,” she concluded.

NEW PARKING APP A WIN FOR DRIVERS

Drivers in parts of Sydney can now pay for parking and top up using their phones, with the launch of the NSW Government’s Park’nPay app.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello was joined by Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance today at The Rocks to announce the new technology, which goes live today in The Rocks, Liverpool Council and parts of Darling Harbour and Pyrmont.

“This app is a game changer for drivers, eliminating the need to search for loose coins and walking to the nearest meter to pay for parking,” Mr Dominello said.

“The technology is hassle free and makes life easier for drivers by putting more power in their hands.”

Mr Constance said the app will help drivers avoid parking fines because they will be notified when their meter is running low or their park is about to turn into a no stopping zone.

“Park’nPay will reduce the stress and pressures of getting a ticket from parking inspectors as you can check your meter in real-time,” Mr Constance said.

“When a meter is about to expire, users simply top up their account through the app so they don’t have to stop what they are doing to rush back to their car.”

The app is free and available on iPhone and Android phones. Drivers simply download the Park’nPay app, create an account with their licence plate and payment details. Users have the option of paying with Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Parking inspectors will check to see if a meter has been paid by searching licence plate details using an app on their phone. Parking meters will continue to accept coins and credit cards.

Drivers have a 10 minute grace period for not getting fined after paying for at least one hour of parking.

The Government will work with local Councils over the coming months to come on board. For more information visit www.parknpay.nsw.gov.au

Man charged over alleged armed robbery – West Wallsend

A man will face court today charged over an alleged armed robbery in West Wallsend.

About 10.50am yesterday (Wednesday 16 October 2019), a 28-year-old man entered a store on Carrington Street, West Wallsend.

Police will allege the man – armed with a knife – threatened a 31-year-old female employee and demanded cash.

He then fled the scene in a Toyota Camry with alleged stolen number plates.

While officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were responding to the initial call, a Traffic & Highway Patrol vehicle noticed the Toyota Camry allegedly travelling at speed.

Officers stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver.

A subsequent search of the vehicle allegedly located clothing and cash.

He was arrested and taken to Toronto Police Station.

He was charged with robbery whilst armed, goods in custody and two counts of fraud.

He was refused bail to face Toronto Local Court today (Thursday 17 October 2019).

Man charged with close to $40,000 of alleged fraud – Broadmeadow

A man will face court next month after allegedly defrauding a Newcastle business of close to $40,000 over a one year period.

In September 2019, detectives from Newcastle City Police District commenced an investigation into several alleged fraudulent transactions at a business on Lang Road, Broadmeadow between September 2018 and September 2019.

Following extensive inquiries, yesterday (Wednesday 16 October 2019), a 48-year-old man presented to Newcastle Police Station where he was arrested.

Police will allege the man, who was an employee at the time, fraudulently obtained $38,620.30.

He was charged with steal property as clerk/servant more than $15,000 and dishonestly obtain property by deception. He was granted conditional bail to face Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 28 November 2019.

Investigations are continuing.

Man to face court on alleged sexual assault offences – Gateshead

A man has been charged with alleged sexual assault offences in the Lake Macquarie region.

In September 2019, detectives from Lake Macquarie Police District commenced an investigation after reports a 14-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted by a man known to her.

Following extensive inquiries, yesterday (Wednesday 16 October 2019) a 44-year-old man was arrested at a Gateshead address.

He was taken to Belmont Police Station and charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault under 16 years of age.

He was refused bail to face Belmont Local Court today (Thursday 17 October 2019).

Investigations are continuing.

Greens Senator Calls for University Research Human Rights Review

Greens Senator for NSW and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called for universities in Australia to undertake a human rights review of all their research partnerships following allegations Australian universities are contributing to the surveillance state in China.

Senator Faruqi said:

“It is completely unacceptable for Australian universities to be involved in projects that could impede the human rights of ethnic minorities and political dissidents.

“The Greens are calling on all universities to review their partnerships and research projects to ensure that their work is not contributing to oppression and abuses of human rights in China or anywhere else in the world.

“Let’s not pretend foreign influence is restricted to the Chinese Government. University partnerships with the likes of Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other companies who profit from war and support the US military-industrial complex have gone without scrutiny for far too long.

“Universities accepting funding from any organisation or Government to develop weapons of mass surveillance technology likely to result in oppression are ethically compromised.

“The Greens want to see all universities have a proper review of all their research and assess whether or not it is compatible with human rights and global peace,” she concluded.

Senate Backs Greens Call for Rent Assistance Review

Greens Senator for NSW and Housing Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has welcomed the Senate supporting her call for the Commonwealth to review the adequacy of Commonwealth Rent Assistance payments. The Productivity Commission has found that two thirds of low-income renters in Australia are in rental stress – spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

Senator Faruqi said:

“It is fantastic to see the Senate supporting the Greens’ motion to review the level of rent assistance, particularly during Anti-Poverty Week.

“It is unacceptable that so many people already on low incomes are falling into financial stress just to put a roof over their head. Everyone has the right to a safe, secure and permanent home.

“When even the Productivity Commission concludes that rent assistance hasn’t kept up with rising rents, you know we have a problem.

“We know low-income renters in particular are being squeezed between soaring rents and a lack of proper social support. I urge the Government to act immediately and announce a review so we can get on with resolving this long-running issue,” she concluded.

The motion

I give notice that on the next day of sitting, I shall move—That the Senate:

1. Note that:

a. Anti-Poverty Week runs from 13th to 19th of October.

b. The Productivity Commission has found that two thirds of low-income renters in Australia are in rental stress – spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

c. 170,000 Australian households are left with less than $35 a day after covering their rent

d. The Productivity Commission has stated that Commonwealth Rent Assistance has not kept up with rising rents.

2. Calls on the Federal Government to review the adequacy of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

Senate calls on Feds to rule out funding NSW dams that bypass enviro laws

The Senate has today passed a Greens’ motion calling on the Federal Government to rule out giving any public funding to dam and water infrastructure projects that circumvent environmental assessment and don’t abide by proper environmental protections.

The motion moved by Greens Spokesperson for Water and the Environment, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, was in response to the NSW Government’s plans to water down environmental rules to fast-track approvals for new dams and pipelines.

“The Murray-Darling River is in environmental collapse and bypassing environmental protections will do more harm,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“Plans to override environmental protections will have negative impacts on downstream communities and the health of the River system.

“The NSW Government has itself admitted its building dams “for the future and to give hope” to communities that are running out of water. Its own allocation rules mean water in any new dams won’t even be used for the community or the environment.

“All evidence shows spending more public money on these dams will only deliver more water for big corporate irrigators. Building dams will not make it rain.

“The Federal Government’s decision to spend public money on new dams that won’t go through proper environmental and economic assessment is reckless and they should follow the will of the Senate and rule it out.”