Latest National news

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

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


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.

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'


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?


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

Pork barrelling and the failure of process


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


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.

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

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

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 8:11 PM   The last conversation Tarang Chawla had with his sister was so very ordinary.

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.

6:59 PM   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 6:51 PM   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 6:44 PM   Sydney's coldest stint since 1983 in the offing, and the cool conditions may linger for quite some time yet, meteorologists say.

Planning rule change gives hope to Bulga, other communities facing big mines -

Alan Jones joins protesters against the Rio Tinto mine.

Peter Hannam and Sean Nicholls 12:00 AM   The Baird government will restore a balance between economic and environmental considerations for major mining projects in a move that has cheered communities such as Bulga in the Hunter but sparked alarm within the industry.

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

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

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard 6:38 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.

Nitschke's medical licence suspension unlawful: court

Philip Nitschke had earlier appealed unsuccessfully to have the board's decision to suspend him overturned.

Craig Butt 6:07 PM   A decision to suspend euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke's medical registration over his link to a suicide was unlawful, a court has ruled.

Mafia figures given free rein at Queensland casinos


Chris Vedelago, Cameron Houston 5:33 PM   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.

Power sector's emissions accelerate after carbon tax's demise

Power plants fired by brown coal have increased their emissions, a report has shown.

Peter Hannam 5:05 PM   Emissions from Australia's main power sector are rising at an increasing rate one year after the end of the carbon price, with plants in Victoria fired by brown coal the biggest contributors, according to an energy consultancy.

Abetz says vote should set example

Government leader in the Senate Eric Abetz opposes same-sex marriage.

Phillip Thomson 1:50 PM   How the Abbott government hopes one vote could force the main public service union into a retreat.

Labor expels figure linked with Mafia intimidation

Frank Madafferi and Michael Teti.

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard 12:37 PM   Victorian Labor party delegate and Moreland councillor Michael Teti allegedly supplied a gun to a Mafia henchman which was then used to threaten a woman, and has repeatedly moved funds on behalf of convicted crime boss Frank Madafferi.

School breaks century-old tradition to become co-ed

The Armidale School will the first GPS school to go co-ed.

Eryk Bagshaw 9:30 AM   After 123 years being a single-sex school, The Armidale School will enrol female students from next year.

Comments 59

Record support for Indigenous recognition ahead of summit

Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson.

Michael Gordon   Support for recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution has reached a record high of 85 per cent as the Prime Minister hosts an unprecedented summit of Aboriginal leaders to plot a "road map" to the referendum.

Ex-mayor runs Mafia cell, answers to Italy

Tony Vallelonga,

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard   A former Western Australian mayor is allegedly running a Calabrian mafia cell in Perth and answers to a mafia godfather in Italy, according to explosive court files.

The mafia, metadata and me

Australian Customs display some of the seized 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy (MDMA) tablets, in what they said was the biggest haul of the illicit drug anywhere in the world, in Melbourne on August  8, 2008. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said the seizure of the drugs, which were concealed in tins of tomato shipped to Australia from Italy, had resulted in the arrests of 16 people across the country in pre-dawn raids.  AFP PHOTO/HO/AUSTRALIAN CUSTOMS SERVICE - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

Nick McKenzie   When the phone vibrated in my pocket in September 2007, I had no idea the incoming call would plunge me into the middle of Australia's biggest mafia investigation in decades.