SYN News at 4 – October 8, 2013

Coming up in the next fifteen minutes:

  • PM defends his use of taxpayers’ money
  • Some relief for Australian job hunters
  • Ten people injured after an explosion in Sydney
  • And the AFL approves Buddy’s nine-year deal with the Swans.

Good afternoon, I’m BRIANNA PIAZZA.

And I’m WILL HIGGINBOTHAM. Welcome to SYN News at 4…

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended using taxpayers’ money to fund his participation in the Pollie Peddler charity bike ride, as well as his trip to Port-Macquarie, where he competed in the Ironman championships

A report that surfaced today shows that MR ABBOTT claimed 941 dollars on flights and a further 349 dollars for overnight accommodation.

The revelation comes after the Prime Minister refunded tax payers for attending the weddings of former MPs Sophie Mirabella and Peter Slipper in 2006.

Speaking from Bali, Prime Minister Abbott defended his right,

“I believe that all of my claims have been within entitlement.”

Mr Abbott also claimed the Ironman and Pollie Pedal were acts of ‘community engagement’.

“I suspect that most of the places I visited on this year’s Pollie Pedal would not have seen a politician, other than their local member, in decades, let alone a leader of the opposition.”

BRIANNA: Australian online and newspaper job advertisements have reached a seven month high, according to a private survey.

ANZ’s monthly survey showed ads had risen 0.2 percent in September after a drop in August.

However, it’s not all good news for Australia’s unemployed and those looking for extra work, as online job advertisements still remain 15 percent lower compared with this time last year.

Meanwhile print advertisements are down more than 32 percent on last year.

Economists say the modest rise could be a sign of the economy picking up.

While the survey indicates improvement in most Australian states and territories, 21-year-old communications student, Rebecca Cunningham, says while the prospect of finding a job is worrying, the new figures make her feel more optimistic about finding employment when she graduates in a few weeks’ time.

“I have heard jobs are advertised more around September/October particularly for the New Year … but if there is a higher rate of job ads it makes me feel better that there are more jobs for me to apply for later in the year.”

The Bureau of Statistics will release its official employment figures for September on Thursday.

WILL: Ten people have been injured after a supermarket explosion in Western Sydney this morning.

Two men who were inside the Wentworthville building when it exploded and caught fire just after 4.15, are in serious but stable conditions.

Meanwhile, eight police officers suffered burns and smoke inhalation when entering the building to rescue those inside.

Police told ABC News it was “remarkable” nobody died in the accident, and are still trying to determine the cause of the explosion and fire.

BRIANNA: One in eight homes are selling for less than what they were bought for, according to new figures released by a PR data report.

The report said that 12 per cent of homes sold since July had fetched a lower price.

Together the sold houses incurred a total loss of 531 million dollars.

Regional Queensland stood out as the biggest loser, with more than 27 percent of houses selling for less.

But it is not all bad news, with 88% of Australian houses overall selling above their purchase price.

WILL: Victorian Police are on the hunt for a 30 year old man who breached his parole.

Wayne Leslie Norris was arrested and put behind bars for the 2005 murder of a disabled man.

Norris served 6 and a half years before being released on parole.

Premier Dennis Napthine said that under the states new Parole laws, Mr Norris will be caught and put back behind bars.

BRIANNA: Victorian Senator-elect RICKY MUIR might be wishing he’d never run for parliament. The 32 year-old stood for the Senate with the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts, and was surprisingly elected after winning less than one per cent of the vote.

But as EDDIE WILLIAMS explains, MR MUIR’s election has driven the Motoring Enthusiasts into turmoil…

“The Victorian branch of the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts was sacked over the weekend, due to “differing directions” to the rest of the party.

But former Victorian chairman SCOTT MCDONALD has spoken out against the party, telling the ABC today that the party’s Federal Council lacks transparency.

“Since the election, everything has gone into lockdown, and every attempt made to be open and honest with people has been shut down.”

Senator-elect Robbie Muir has avoided the media, and MR MCDONALD says no one in the party has been able to contact him for almost a month.

“I’ve had no thankyou for giving him the seat. I’ve had no correspondences as to how he’s going, if he’s okay… nobody knows where he is, what he’s doing or what’s happening.”

But party founder and national secretary KEITH LITTLER told the ABC that MR MUIR has been busy undergoing training. MR LITTLER has also hit out at his former colleague MR MCDONALD, describing him as a “disgruntled man” who couldn’t “handle the pressure” of politics.

But despite all these internal difficulties, SENATOR-ELECT MUIR’s vote may be pivotal to government legislation, when he begins sitting in the Senate next year.


BRIANNA: A national survey has revealed Australian doctors face significantly higher chances of depression and stress compared to the general population.

The BeyondBlue study of more than 14,000 doctors and medical students revealed one in 10 doctors experienced depression in the last 12 months, while the figure for medical students is one in five.

Nearly four percent of doctors are experiencing high levels of psychological stress, with cancer doctors being the most distressed.

Meanwhile, young female doctors are most at risk of mental illness.

This follows a study revealed yesterday, showing that a majority of female doctors have experienced sexual harassment at work.

WILL: A civil court case against Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, for her conduct as head of a multi-billion dollar family trust, has been delayed until tomorrow.

Two of Ms Rinehart’s children have accused her of deceiving them and changing the date when they can access money from the trust.

Ms Rinehart has denied any wrongdoing.

The supreme court was told that Rinehart last night offered to be replaced by a new trustee.

According to Fairfax, the family’s lawyers hope to agree on a new head of the family trust tomorrow.

WILL: The human death toll from the Italian refugee boat disaster has now reached 232, making it one of the area’s deadliest boat accidents on record.

So far there are 155 survivors, but not all bodies have been recovered from the sunken boat, which was carrying up to 500 African migrants, mostly from Somalia and Eritrea.

Somalia has been ravaged by two decades of war, while Eritrea now has 10,000 political prisoners behind bars, and young people in the country face conscription.

Tens of thousands of African migrants make the same boat journey each year, and the UN estimates around 20,000 people have died trying to cross to Europe since the late ‘90s.

WILL: The United States of America have entered their second week of ‘shutdown’.

Republicans have resisted funding the government so far, leaving President Obama’s signature health care scheme in limbo.

Neither side are backing down, with Democrats upping their criticisms of Speaker and Republican, John Boehner for failing to schedule a vote that could end the shutdown.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer said the Democrats were willing to negotiate:

“We want to negotiate without a gun to our head. Speaker Boehner comes in and is like…let me put it this way. Someone goes into your house, takes your wife and kids hostage and says let’s negotiate”.

With the 17th of October deadline fast approaching, the US faces a decision to raise their debt ceiling or risk a potentially catastrophic default.

BRIANNA: Australian entertainer Rolf Harris is likely to face trial in April next year over 13 child sex offences, a London court has heard.

Harris was excused from attending a preliminary hearing on Monday and is likely to appear in court for a plea and case management hearing in January.

The 83-year-old is facing six counts of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl between 1980 and 1981.

Harris could face up to 10 years imprisonment if found guilty of three charges of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 1986.

WILL: The concerns of Australians have been heard by the United Nations in New York, with Australian Youth Representative ADAM PULFORD addressing the General Assembly last night.

Mr Pulford urged the UN to not lose focus on ending discrimination and achieving equality for all.

The 23-year-old previously spent five months travelling to each Australian state and territory to hear the concerns of young people throughout Australia.

Over the next five weeks, he’ll continue to represent the voices and opinions of Australia’s young people at the UN.

Australia is one of the few countries that has a youth representative to the UN.

BRIANNA: In science, new research has shown that applying sunscreen to our skin protects a ‘super gene’ that helps fight the three forms of skin cancer.

The Queensland University of Technology conducted the study, looking at the effects of sunscreens at a molecular level.

Head researcher, Dr Elke Hacker said that becoming sunburnt regularly meant we compromised the P53 gene, preventing it from fighting potential skin cancers.

The study is a further reason to be sun smart this summer.

WILL:  A 118  carat white diamond has sold for 31.8 million dollars at an auction in Hong Kong

The diamond, called ‘Magnificent Oval Diamond’ was mined from a southern African country in 2011 and was estimated to be worth  $25-30 million.

The diamond was sold to a private collector.


BRIANNA: And now here’s NICK DUXSON with sport

NICK: IN BREAKING AFL NEWS, former Collingwood director of football Geoff Walsh is set to return to North Melbourne as head of football.

Walsh, who quit the Pies in July, will be joined at the Kangaroos by new senior assistant coach and backline general Leigh Tudor.

IN TRADE NEWS, the AFL has approved the lodgement of Sydney’s mammoth nine-year contract offer to Hawthorn superstar Lance Franklin.

Hawthorn now has three days to match the offer, or the dual premiership forward will head north and join Kurt Tippett in a power-packed Swans’ forward line.

The nine-year agreement will apply to Sydney’s total player payments for each of the nine years, regardless of how long Franklin actually plays.

In other AFL news, Greater Western Sydney has made a massive play for Collingwood defender Heath Shaw, reportedly offering a five-year deal worth four million dollars – while Hawthorn has stated they are open to offers for another premiership star, Brad Sewell.

Fremantle are looking at key forwards including Essendon’s Scott Gumbleton and Geelong’s James Podsiadly, while West Coast assistant coach Scott Burns has left the club to join the Collingwood coaching panel after missing out on the Eagles senior job to Adam Simpson.

IN CRICKET NEWS, Australia’s limited overs team has arrived in India, but again all eyes are on David Warner.

The Test batsman has received a one game suspended sentence from Cricket NSW, after skipping a club match for Randwick-Petersham on Saturday.

Warner missed the day’s play to squeeze in extra batting practice, but made a duck in yesterday’s Ryobi Cup match against Victoria.

The 26-year-old was dropped last month from Australia’s limited overs sides, who play their opening match against India on Thursday.

TO CYCLING, and Australian Cadel Evans says he is unlikely to compete in next years Tour De France.

The 36-year old Victorian took out the prestigious race in 2011, but looks set to concentrate on next year’s Giro d’Italia instead.

Evans’ possible absence from the Tour de France is a move he feels would improve his chances at finally claiming victory in the Italian race, which begins next May in Northern Ireland.

AUSTRALIA’S NETBALLERS have regained the Constellation Cup after winning their third consecutive match against New Zealand.

The 52 to 47 win gives Australia an unassailable 3-1 series lead with one game to play, and their biggest winning run against the Kiwis for four years.

The Diamonds fought off a late New Zealand comeback, with Caitlin Bassett playing a starring role, converting 40 of her 44 attempts on goal.

FINALLY, AUSTRALIAN BASEBALLER Grant Balfour has caused a stir in the Major League Playoffs series between Oakland and Detroit.

The Oakland A’s pitcher got into a heated slanging match with Tigers’ hitter Victor Martinez, forcing the home plate umpire to intervene as both sides gathered on the field.

Balfour had the last laugh, his side claiming a 6-3 victory in Game 3 of their playoff series.

And that’s all for sport, Now back to WILL with the forecast

WILL: Thanks NICK. We’re heading for an overnight low of 13, before a mostly sunny day tomorrow with a top of 27. Thursday will be cloudy with isolated showers and a top of 22. And Friday will be cloudy with more showers; a top of 18 degrees.

BRIANNA: And for those on public transport, there are currently delays on the Alamein line. And Route 19 trams towards North Coburg are terminating at Moreland Road due to a road accident blocking tracks.

WILL: To recap our top stories this afternoon, Ironman Abbott defends his use of taxpayer money

BRIANNA: Rinehart court case delayed to tomorrow

WILL: Job ads on the rise

BRIANNA: And CADEL EVANS unlikely to compete in next year’s Tour de France

BRIANNA: That’s all for our bulletin this afternoon. When we’re off air, you can keep up with the news by following us on twitter at News S-Y-N.

WILL: Panorama’s coming up at 4.30 and we’ll be back with an update at 5pm.

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Brianna Piazza

Journalist and travel writer.

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