Latest National news

Identity of 'poison-pen' emailer set to be revealed

You can write a book in a month.

Kate McClymont 6:05 AM   The identity of the person or persons responsible for sending extremely defamatory poison-pen emails about senior staff and councillors at Hurstville may be revealed this week.

Abbott's 'absolutely crystal clear' claim shattered

Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Phillip Thomson 11:12 PM   Payslips unravel PM's pledge to the men and women vacuuming public service buildings.

Boris Nemtsov's 'ghastly' murder could hurt Putin: Alexander Downer

Nemtsov's murder creates an atmosphere of instability in Russia: Alexander Downer.

Nick Miller 10:56 PM   Two of Australia’s senior diplomats, including former foreign minister Alexander Downer, have expressed their admiration and respect for murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

Seeking divine inspiration as leadership tensions dog the PM

SMH/MERCURY.   NEWS. Nan Tien Institute Official Opening Event with special Guest Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Photo shows Tony Abbott with Wollongong Mayor Gordon Bradbury.  pic by sylvia Liber.  March 1, 2015

Emma Partridge 12:00 AM   Tony Abbott's days as PM may be numbered, but he adopted a beatific demeanour as he attended the opening of a Buddhist college in Wollongong.

ATO's $14 million private health stuff-up

Slow off the mark: The Australian Tax Office wrongly assessed 24.700 taxpayers.

Noel Towell 9:15 PM   Thousands of taxpayers have been allowed to keep hundreds of dollars they over-claimed.

Move to give CSG whistleblower air

Gas tangle: senators clash over gag on whistleblower.

Peter Hannam 7:07 PM   Efforts will resume this week to make public documents and comments by a Queensland whistleblower about the controversial approval process involving two giant coal seam gas projects worth almost $50 billion.

Digital inventory in wills allows online access after death

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Chris Johnston 5:36 PM   There is a booming trend towards making a written plan of what happens to your social media pages and other digital assets after you die.

Jetstar flight returns to Melbourne due to unruly passenger

Dan Bray, Alistair Walsh and Chloe Booker 2:50 PM   A Melbourne to Perth Jetstar flight returned to Melbourne after about an hour in the air, due to a disruptive passenger.

Prince Harry - which regiment will he join?

Reports say Prince Harry, 30, who is to leave the armed forces this year,   will move to Australia and later spend time in New Zealand before his active military duties end.

Tim Barlass   He has already been dubbed 'The Digger Prince' and likely deployment for Captain Harry Wales, reportedly soon to be seconded to Australian units for 'several weeks', could be to Darwin or Melbourne.

Public servants shell out $3.6 million for paid parking

Malcolm Snow.

Matthew Raggatt   Motorists pay $1.2 million a month as drives to the the heart of the capital decline.

Australian killed in Thailand identified as Independent Reserve CEO

Died while holidaying in Thailand: Adam Tepper.

Australian businessman Adam Tepper has been named as the person who died in a motorcycle crash in Thailand last week.

'I can't apologise for who I am'

Dorothy McDonald

Jill Stark   In the struggle to be who she was, Dorothy McDonald lost everything. At times, it felt as if she had  fallen into a "waking coma".

Analysis shows two-tiered system for aged care

Boyd Fraser and his mother Valerie Fraser at the non-profit Darvall Lodge Nursing Home in Noble Park.

Timna Jacks   Australia is facing the emergence of a two-tiered system in residential aged care, with the commercial sector dominating major cities.

Who's responsible for detainees?

Manus Island.

Chris Vedelago   The Abbott government's offshore refugee policy is facing a new legal challenge that seeks to hold the Commonwealth legally responsible for conditions in its overseas detention camps because the decisions to open and operate them were made in Australia.

Food label revamp will tell consumers where products originated, were processed and packed

Consumer advocates want more certainty in food labeling.

Darren Gray   Amid concern over an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries, Australia's food packaging laws are set for a long-mooted overhaul. What has driven the change, and what might it mean for consumers? Darren Gray explains.

The kids are not ok

Studio shot of half full beer glass

Clare Kermond and Timna Jacks   Parents who think their drinking doesn't impact on their children are probably fooling themselves. According to experts, every family, regardless of social class, should take a long hard look at their drinking habits.

Revealed: the gay pay gap

Gay men are paid up to 18 per cent less than their heterosexual counterparts, a study has found.

Matt Wade   A new dimension of workplace discrimination has been exposed: the gay pay gap.

Polls, wires and prices – smoke and mirrors

poles

Matt Wade   If there had been any doubt about the importance of electricity privatisation in this election it was dispelled when Mike Baird and Luke Foley went head to head for the first time.

Twins saved by surgery before birth

doctor

Amanda Dunn   Just 15 weeks into her first pregnancy and carrying twins, Jo and her husband Troy were given a terrible choice: terminate the pregnancy, or have surgery on the twins in utero in an attempt to save their lives.

Facebook introduces suicide prevention tools

Facebook teamed up with mental health organisations and the University of Washington to develop the new online tools.

Allison Worrall   Facebook has rolled out new suicide prevention and support tools for vulnerable users and their concerned family and friends.

Australian Jewish News turns 120, concerns over community safety remain

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Luke Malpass   As the Australian Jewish News celebrated its 120th anniversary, and in the wake of recent terror attacks around the world, community leaders say that the biggest concern for Australian Jews is safety.

'I wish the files could be found'

Knox headmaster John Weeks: 'unconscionable that documents would be destroyed'.

Rachel Browne   The headmaster of Knox Grammar School has told a royal commission that it is "unconscionable" anyone at the school would destroy documents relating to child sexual abuse.

Please call home, mother tells fugitive teacher

Former Knox old boy and teacher Chris Fotis.

Rick Feneley   The mother of fugitive teacher Chris Fotis wants him to call home and assure her that he is safe following his failure to appear before the royal commission into the responses to child abuse.

Parliament contracts poorly managed, in-house food under fire: audit

Carol Mills, Department of Parliamentary Services Secretary, during an earlier estimates hearing.

Primrose Riordan   A new report has attacked DPS over its management of $62.8 million worth of contracts, saying the business cases for the majority of them don't show clear value for money.

Why you should stop giving your kid a bath every night

An electron micrograph view of salmonella bacteria invading cultured human cells.

Lauren Knight   Washington Post: When my oldest son was just an infant, we, like so many other new parents, struggled to get him to sleep for long stretches of time at night. We tried everything, including incorporating a nightly bath as part of the "soothing routine" that so many parenting experts recommend. And while he seemed to enjoy the routine (especially as he grew older and could play in the tub), his skin did not. He developed rough, itchy patches of skin on his back and legs – a mild eczema that we treated with lotion after each bath.

CSIRO scientists threaten walk-out over pay, conditions

CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall has made it clear that the wage deal would be in line with the federal government's tough public sector bargaining guidelines.

Noel Towell   Thousands of CSIRO scientists have started a campaign of action to force their bosses to the negotiating table over pay and conditions.

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Albert 'Tibby' Cotter bridge open but not complete

Afghanistan veteran Scott Tate, wearing his relatives' medals earned in World War I and his own, attended the official opening of the  Albert "Tibby" Cotter walkway.

Tom Decent   It was the opening for a bridge that has not yet been completely finished.  

Looking for answers to family violence

Marcia Neave, the Commissioner into family violence.

Miki Perkins, Social Affairs Reporter   The head of Victoria's first royal commission into family violence is no stranger to delving into grim and untrodden territory.

A few of Hollywood's favourite songs

Favourite things: Lady Gaga, left, and Julie Andrews speak at the Oscars.

Peter Munro   Lady Gaga received a standing ovation at the Oscars this week for singing a medley of songs from The Sound of Music, in the classic movie's 50th-anniversary year. Then original star Julie Andrews joined her on stage and was similarly applauded.

The quiet shame of the long-term unemployed

Kevin Dalton has been in and out of work for the past 12 years.

Ben Schneiders   Chris Osborne didn't expect his life to turn out like this.