Latest National news

NSW mulls ban on international students at inner-city school

Eryk Bagshaw 7:17 PM   The government may ban international students to address a shortage of places in at least one inner-city primary school.

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Union whistleblower accused of setting up secret slush fund

Former HSU head Kathy Jackson.

Nick Toscano 6:29 PM   Former high-profile unionist Kathy Jackson used a secret slush fund to ensure her lavish spending sprees and a slew of unauthorised payments were hidden from oversight, a court has heard.

Dawn Fraser apologises 'unreservedly' for Nick Kyrgios comments

Dawn Fraser on Today.

David Polkinghorne and Kate Aubusson 6:00 PM   Australian sporting icon Dawn Fraser has "unreservedly apologised" for her controversial comments about Australian tennis stars Nick Kyrios.

Police shooting linked to Williams crime clan

Police

Rania Spooner, John Silvester, Tammy Mills 5:56 PM   Victoria Police are examining links between the wounding of a young police officer in Moonee Ponds and a firebomb attack and drive-by shooting targeted at family members of slain underworld figure Carl Williams.

El Nino tracks path of most intense event

The El Nino remains on course to be particularly strong this year.

Peter Hannam 5:43 PM   The El Nino climate pattern taking hold in the Pacific remains on track to be one of the strongest on record - a trend that may be lost on many Australians in the coming couple of weeks as a cool spell arrives.

Dawn Fraser's comments about Kyrgios and Tomic were racist, say experts

Dawn Fraser on Today.

Angus Holland 5:11 PM   Dawn Fraser's comments about two Australian tennis players are clearly racist despite her denials, according to an RMIT associate professor.

The Big Picture reader photo competition: now part of Clique

Enter your best travel photo to win a trip to Japan.

Traveller 4:25 PM   Here's how to enter Traveller's fourth The Big Picture competition for amateur photographers.

New Zealand photographer finds supernatural worlds in limestone caves

Joseph Michael's series, <i>Luminosity</i>, captures the light of glow-worms in limestone caves of northern New Zealand.

Ella Rubeli 12:15 PM   Real images of cave interiors lit by glow-worms resemble imaginary landscapes

'I want to cut open ISIS' stomach and pull out their intestines'

A member of the Kurdish "peshmerga" forces takes part in an intensive security deployment after clashes with Islamic State militants in Jalawla, Diyala province November 23, 2014. Iraqi forces said on Sunday they retook two towns north of Baghdad from Islamic State fighters, driving them from strongholds they had held for months and clearing a main road from the capital to Iran. There was no independent confirmation that the army, Shi'ite militia and Kurdish peshmerga forces had completely retaken Jalawla and Saadiya, about 115 km (70 miles) northeast of Baghdad. Many residents fled the violence long ago.  REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY)

Rory Callinan 11:50 AM   Kurdish supporters are using social media to rally foreign fighters - including Australians - to join them in the fight against Islamic State.

Mafia figures given free rein at Queensland casinos

Casino

Chris Vedelago, Cameron Houston 10:38 AM   Bans imposed by Victoria and NSW police to stop money laundering and other criminal activity at the country's largest casinos are being circumvented by underworld figures, who are increasingly travelling to Queensland to gamble.

Loss of a daughter haunts a grief-stricken family

Nikita Chawla's parents Umesh and Sunila and brother Tarang hope their story can help other sufferers of abuse.

Tammy Mills 7:36 AM   The last conversation Tarang Chawla had with his sister was so very ordinary.

Australian Mafia: the more it changes, the more it stays the same

Francesco 'Little Trees' Barbaro confronts AFP officers outside his son Pat's Griffth property.

Michael Bachelard, Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker 12:58 AM    Perhaps as befits a godfather of the Italian-Australian Mafia, Frank Barbaro was, in 2003, attending a funeral every fortnight.

Freeze-that-wasn't finally ends

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Public Eye 11:45 PM   In the first three days of the thaw, agency heads exercised their newly recovered autonomy by publishing 150 job ads.

Madafferi's son facing theft and weapons charges

Johnny Madafferi.

Cameron Houston, Tammy Mills 8:55 PM   The son of prominent Mafia figure and convicted drug trafficker Francesco Madafferi has been charged with serious weapons and theft offences.

$2.2m in Mafia bribes to NSW judges alleged in top-secret police reports

The Mafia poses an "extreme" organised crime risk to the nation, police reports warn.

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard 8:26 PM   An Australian Mafia boss allegedly paid $2.2 million in bribes to NSW judges to get lighter jail sentences,  top-secret police intelligence reports reveal.

Abbott's career echoes his hero Santamaria's

B. A. Santamaria

Stephen Holt 11:45 PM   The Prime Minister's willingness to be associated with the late Alan Reid's novel shows a high level of self-awareness.

'The other girls in the office exclude me'

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Yvonne Richards 11:45 PM   Public service advice column: we put your workplace conundrums to an executive coach.

Who pays the price for employment disputes?

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John Wilson 11:45 PM   Refusing a reasonable settlement exposes a party to significant risk.

Pork barrelling and the failure of process

cctv

Richard Mulgan 11:45 PM   Officials can lose their way when election promises conflict with the requirements of professional administration.

Dodging black holes: how NSW kept its election honest

calculator

Stephen Bartos 11:45 PM   Independent policy costings help build public trust in democracy.

Government debt is a serious problem right now, not a challenge to be left for later

piggy bank debt iou

Mikayla Novak 11:45 PM   We have forgotten the 'golden rule' of debt management: borrow only to fund genuinely value-added investments.

Death by slogan: Abbott's 'good government' is lost

Illustration: Pat Campbell

Paddy Gourley 11:45 PM   The PM said he could do better than Rudd and Gillard. He hasn't.

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The trouble with 'independence' in government authorities

Gillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission appeared before a Senate Committee in Canberra on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares

J. R. Nethercote 11:45 PM   'Independence' in parliamentary government is rarely the simple matter it is often presented to be.

Judge bribes, military arms sought: Mafia's alleged Australian operations

Plaintiff law firms argue contingency fees could enhance the class actions regime, but they are staunchly opposed by defendant firms.

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard 8:18 PM   An Australian Mafia boss allegedly paid $2.2 million in bribes to judges to get lighter jail sentences, and have approached defence force personnel to supply them with military grade weapons, top-secret police intelligence reports reveal.

Canberra: a perfect canvas for the future of transport

A depiction of a SkyTran pod, in which one or two people travel. Image courtesy of www.skytran.us

Arthur Davies 11:45 PM   So why is this city buying trams, which are a 130-year-old idea?

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Not one more Niki: a brother's plea

Tarang Chawla with his sister, Nikita.

Tarang Chawla 7:40 PM   My sister Nikita was killed in January. If she hadn't been killed, she would have just turned 24 years old.

Mormon chief fought ‘disease of profanity’

Boyd Packer.

Boyd Packer was a religious leader who railed against the triple 'threat' of feminists, homosexuals and intellectuals.

Remembering victims of violence 2014 - present

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 17:  A young girl lays a bunch of flowers as a Floral tribute at Martin Place on December 17, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Fairfax Media)

Tammy Mills and Miki Perkins   They were somebody's mother, daughter, child, colleague, friend. Victoria was their home, from tiny rural townships through to the bustling heart of Melbourne.

Weeks of chill ahead as polar air moves in over Australia

This will be the dress code for the next couple of weeks.

Peter Hannam   Sydney's run of exceptionally chilly mornings will take a break for a few days but a return to sustained milder conditions may be weeks away.