Daily News - Wednesday 1 April 2015

Posted 1 April 2015 1:43pm
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Pressure builds for Tony Abbott over drought-hit farmers

Sean Parnell - The Australian

The Australian yesterday revealed Coalition MPs were lobbying Tony Abbott to form a ministerial taskforce to help primary producers and local communities survive the prolonged drought.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon yesterday added his weight to the cause, calling on the government to find a long-term solution, having had his own proposal for a Rural Reconstruction and Development Bank rejected by a Senate committee.

“Farmers are going to the wall, many are suffering mentally and so are their families, and yet we see inaction from government and at times cruelty from the banking sector, in the high number and way foreclosures are carried out,” Senator Xenophon said.

While the committee rejected the proposal, in a report tabled yesterday, it nonetheless recommended the government pressure the big banks to provide a better picture of rural debt to enable informed policy decisions.content

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Third Catholic church linked to paedophile priest burns in suspected arson attack

Marissa Calligeros and Nino Bucci - The Age

A third Melbourne Catholic church linked to a paedophile priest has been set alight in a suspected arson attack in as many days.

Two separate fires were lit at St Mary's Church on Foster Street in Dandenong - one in the main church at the altar and the other in a storage room containing cloaks - about 2am on Monday.

It took firefighters 90 minutes to gain control of the blaze, which caused extensive heat and smoke damage to the 151-year-old building.

Police are investigating whether the fire is linked to two other suspicious fires at Catholic churches in Brighton and St Kilda East on Monday. Fire gutted the 123-year-old St James Church in Brighton on Monday morning, but the blaze at St Mary's in St Kilda East caused little damage.

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Time for Tony Abbott to step up and tackle domestic violence in Australia

Susan Metcalf - The SMH

On Monday night Salwa Haydar was allegedly stabbed to death by her husband inside her Bexley home. In life, Salwa was a mother, sister, friend, counsellor, someone "highly regarded by her peers". But in death, Selma is now also one of a growing number of women killed at least weekly across the country by a partner or ex-partner.

Selma's family, her community, her friends, will feel the loss harshly. For Salwa's four children, including a teenage daughter whose hands were seriously injured in the incident, the impact will be devastating. As a society, as a country, we cannot allow these brutal and often preventable murders to continue.

While awareness of shocking rates and incidences of domestic violence has grown rapidly over recent years, government responses to the regular murders, terror and harm inflicted on large numbers of (mostly) women and children each day remain cruelly inadequate.

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Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie says dedicated Indigenous seats in parliament must become policy.

Michelle Lovegrove and Andrea Booth - SBS News

You tell me 'why we can't have Constitutional recognition [of Indigenous Australians] and why we can't have dedicated Indigenous seats in this country,' and you'd better give me a damn good reason why we can’t have both," Ms Lambie told NITV News.

Lambie's comments come after moves to set up her own political party which the Australian Electoral Commission confirmed today she wants to register as the Jacqui Lambie Network.

But Linda Burney MP - one of Australia's longest serving Indigenous politicians - says that while she admires Lambie's tenacity and acknowledged there were not enough Indigenous people in Australian parliaments, she questions whether mandatory quotas are the best way forward for Indigenous Australian rights.

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