Latest National news

Five-minute calls to Centrelink come with a catch

Centrelink employees face a range of issues when answering speaking on the phone with customers.

Noel Towell 11:08 PM   Centrelink phone lines have their best day in years - while the heat is on.

Bankstown woman the latest jihadist who wants to come home

Leading military voices say Islamic State is on the rise.

Natalie O'Brien 12:15 AM   A former Bankstown woman who had her passport cancelled when she left Australia wants to return and provide information about terrorist groups.

Support grows for medical marijuana before Federal Parliament vote

Medical marijuana is illegal in Australia but Queensland and Victoria have joined NSW in a $9 million trial of cannabis oil for patients suffering epilepsy, end-of-life pain and chemotherapy-related nausea.

Adam Gartrell 12:15 AM   A new survey will add to the momentum behind a bill to legalise medical marijuana.

Bushfire laws risk lulling people into a false sense of security

The bushfire laws were introduced last August and since then thousands of trees have been cleared across the state.

Natalie O'Brien and Sean Nicholls 12:15 AM   Home owners in built-up urban areas appear to have misused the code to clear land for development and to improve harbour views.

Can you dream too big?

Unrealistic dreams are the enemy of contentment.

John Elder 12:15 AM   "Follow your dreams" may be a hackneyed cliche but a realistic outlook will keep your life interesting.

Courting Warnie and Liz: Clyde Campbell's big-spending celeb fest

Accused of misappropriating funds: Clyde Campbell.

Mark Hawthorne, Chris Vedelago 12:15 AM   The former Australian boss of automotive giant Fiat Chrysler, Clyde Campbell, has been accused of misappropriating and misusing more than $30 million in company money to fund an extravagant lifestyle for his family and business associates.

Down, down, wages go down

Coles

Ben Schneiders and Royce Millar 12:15 AM   Thousands of low-paid workers will be worse off under a deal struck between supermarket giant Coles and the shop assistants union.

Women more likely to drop out of surgical training than men

Deb Colville, an ophthalmologist and president of the Victorian Medical Women's Society says casual sexism discourages women from entering surgery.

Julia Medew 12:15 AM   Women are at least twice as likely to drop out of surgical training programs as men, fuelling concerns the prestigious profession is too patriarchal and in need of a cultural revolution.

Future beef: CSIRO technologies transform cattle production and meat

The Brahman cattle of northern Australia have been the subject of work in genetics and methane gas reduction.

Esther Han 12:15 AM   From imported dung beetles to friendship-detecting collars, Australia's beef industry is in an innovation frenzy to boost cattle welfare and the quality of what we eat.

Time for heritage council to drop all-or-nothing approach to development

Blundell's Cottage, Canberra

The Canberra Times 11:30 PM   Preserving the city's heritage should not require locking away vast swathes of land that are no longer useful as public housing.

Planes, fame and automobiles

Cricket greats, including Shane Warne, assemble at the SCG ahead of Ch 9's launch of their coverage of the cricket season.
10th November 2014
Photo: Wolter Peeters
The Sydney Morning Herald

Mark Hawthorne 12:15 AM   SHANE WARNE AND LIZ HURLEY CARS It is alleged that a company called Motortrak arranged for a Chrysler car to be provided to Shane Warne in September and October 2013 at Clyde Campbell's request. It is alleged Campbell not only had an interest in Motortrak, his wife Simone is a former director. Motortrak also invoiced Fiat Chrysler Australia for the purchase of Jeep and Chrysler cars for "the use of Shane Warne, Elizabeth Hurley, Harry Kewell and Sheree Kewell as ambassadors for the brand" in Britain. Invoices for "vehicles supplied to these individuals did not accurately describe the transaction but purported to be invoices issued by Motortrak in the course of its usual business". Fiat Chrysler also claims "cars were provided to three celebrity ambassadors in the United Kingdom without any evidence of written contracts" and despite the fact the company had "no commercial presence in the country".

Women find healing in ink

The Age, News, picture by Justin McManus. 15/05/2015. Nadia Cimino had tattooing over her breast after she had a double mastectomy for breast cancer.

Beau Donelly 12:15 AM   Anne Hulett wears a bold emblem on her new left breast, a bright red love heart with a teardrop beneath.

Crackdown on enrolments as NSW public schools burst at the seams

NSW will need an extra 386 primary school classrooms every year for the next decade to cope with enrolments.

Alexandra Smith 12:15 AM   Some schools projected to enrol more than twice as many students as they have space for within four years.

The legal case that not only rests on sex - but how much sex.

North Sydney Council has launched legal action to close an underground brothel.

Eamonn Duff 12:30 AM   A Sydney council has launched legal action to close an underground brothel. To win, it not only has to prove that sex is being sold on the premises - but lots of it.

Senior surgeon accused of bullying

There is growing concern among junior and senior surgeons that bullying and harassment is driving bright, capable doctors out of the prestigious field.

Julia Medew 8:47 AM   A senior surgeon who has been responsible for training junior doctors at Victoria's largest public hospital service has been accused of bullying, triggering multiple investigations into her conduct.

Over-crowded schools accept international students

International students

Alexandra Smith 7:16 AM   International full-fee paying students are studying the most over-crowded schools in Sydney at the same time as the NSW Department of Education clamps down on out-of-area enrolments.

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Atul Gawande: unfixable problems and being mortal

Atul Gawande, from Boston, is in Sydney to talk about his most recent book <i>Being Mortal</i>.

Amy Corderoy 2:18 AM   Atul Gawande is thinking about death. Which is a funny thing, really, because he's the type of doctor who gives you the feeling he would definitely save your life.

Cannabis kids: the long wait for change

At the home of Cherie and Trevor Dell who treat their 3-year-old daughter Abbey with cannabis oil to treat CDKL5, a rare genetic condition.

Scott Hannaford   Across Australia increasing numbers of families are turning to cannabis to relieve their children's suffering. But it's still illegal.

Gridlock increase bolsters case for light rail

Congestion warning for Canberra

Tom McIlroy   The ACT government says a new report highlighting booming congestion on Northbourne Avenue has bolstered its case for light rail as gridlock on some of Canberra's busiest roads increases as much as 20 per cent by 2031. 

Why the empty guardhouses at Parliament House?

Four unused security guardhouses on the perimeter of Parliament House are unkept and dirty.

Ross Peake   Why are new gatehouses being built at Parliament House as part of a $108 million security upgrade when four of the original guardhouses are disused?

Mass dance protest against cuts to Australia Council funding

About 300 people turned up to the protest.

Michael Koziol   Arts leaders have stepped up their campaign against the federal government's cuts to the Australia Council at a national day of protest that included a "mass dance action" to demonstrate their displeasure.

How times have changed for Parliament House's security

Australian Federal Police officers lockdown the ministerial entrance to Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 22 September 2014. Photo: Andrew Meares

Ross Peake   What would Robert Menzies think if he was still around to see a police officer carrying a rifle at the front door of Parliament House?

Danish chief executive defends donation secrecy and expansion plans

Bjorn Lomborg.

Paul McGeough   Amid uncertainty over his planned expansion into Australia, sponsored and part-funded by the Abbott government, the Danish climate contrarian is unapologetic over secret donor funding and his own, at times, very large salary.

My life in a Centrelink call centre

After doing a post-graduate degree, men find jobs more easily than women.

I answer the phones for Centrelink. I see abuse, tears and anguish. And new measures mean it's not getting better.

Law change sought to protect transgender kids

Male/female generic.

Clare Kermond   Time-sensitive second-stage treatment for transgender kids is costly and subject to delays, which is causing massive distress to to this vulnerable group.

Anzac Day parking snub proves costly

A pay parking fine given on an ACT Government Anzac Day 'holiday' on Monday April 27, 2015.

Phillip Thomson   'Pay up or we'll see you in court': Thousands had day off work but NCA says it was no public holiday.

Machine that 'uncooks eggs' used to improve cancer treatment

Professor Colin Raston of Flinders University. Inventor of the vortex fluidic device, which can 'uncook' egg whites.

Marcus Strom   A machine invented by an Australian scientist that can "unboil an egg" by unfolding the proteins in egg whites back to their natural state has been hailed as a potential game-changer for the targeted delivery of chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment.

Public servants' pay 'safety net' leaves a long way to fall

What a difference a fortnight makes. Social Services Minister Scott Morrison was the savior of the government when he announced proposed changes to the pension regime before the budget.

Markus Mannheim   New minimum wages are far below what all government staff now receive.

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Cambodia approves taking four refugees from Australia as part of $40m deal

Former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng toast the $40 million agreement last year.

Lindsay Murdoch   Iranian couple and two men were the only Nauru refugees who agreed to go to - if no others agree, Australian taxpayers will fork out $10 million for each of the four.

Santos cops government agency flak over CSG plans

Santos has been told to resubmit plans for the Leewood Produced Water and Beneficial Reuse Project in northern NSW.

Peter Hannam   Santos's plans to treat and dispose of coal seam gas waste water from its $2 billion project in northern NSW would pose a "significant environment risk" and face rejection, government agencies said.