SYDNEY (Reuters) – An Australian politician at the centre of a corruption probe told an inquiry on Wednesday that he had received envelopes full of thousands of dollars in cash at his parliament office as part of a scheme for Chinese nationals to fraudulently acquire visas.
Daryl Maguire, who quit the New South Wales (NSW) state parliament in 2018, agreed with the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption that the scheme, where Chinese nationals paid large sums for a business in NSW to pretend they were employed there, was a scam.
Maguire and his business associate, Maggie Wang, received up to A$20,000 ($14,000) for each business they recruited to the scheme. He agreed it was a breach of public trust.
Wang had told the inquiry on Tuesday that she had shared profits from the scheme with Maguire, and also admitted lying to investigators.
Maguire accepted another allegation heard by the inquiry
Major investors and super funds will lead a push for the private sector to make much deeper cuts in national greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 than planned by the Morrison government, including setting a target based on what scientists say is necessary.
The newly created “climate league 2030” is calling on investors, insurers, banks and companies to sign up to a goal of reducing national emissions by at least 230m tonnes a year more than the government forecasts by 2030.
It is equivalent to about a 45% cut by 2030 compared with the 2005 benchmark used by the government – the minimum short-term target recommended by the government’s Climate Change Authority for Australia to play its part in keeping average global heating below 2C. They say action is needed now to put the country on a path to net zero emissions by
Australia’s race discrimination commissioner has urged the federal government to consult with key community stakeholders on a new English language requirement for partner visas, warning it could serve to “segregate” migrant couples.
Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan on Tuesday said the inclusion of the requirement in last week’s federal budget came as a surprise to those leaders in the multicultural sector.
The peak body for migration agents in Australia, the Migration Institute of Australia, has also told SBS News it received no prior warning.
Commissioner Tan said the requirement has led to “justifiable concern” among the community.
“I support a government position that promotes and encourages all migrants to Australia to acquire English,” he said.
“But where there is a policy that enforces and sanctions the rights of partners under the Partners Visa to remain in Australia based on their English proficiency, then that requirement may be unfair and may
I am an Australian, but I have been studying in Barcelona since September 2019. When cases of Covid-19 first rose in March, I considered leaving, but I shared a lease with my then-partner, and the time difference meant I would have had classes at 2am. By July, I had finished my thesis and my lease. With no hope of work in Spain, I booked a flight.
Australia hugs the edge of the world, and Melbourne is closer to Antarctica than Bali. The federal government’s decision to limit entry to 4,000 people per week (now 6,000) shattered the fragile air corridors connecting Australia to the world. With only 30 seats per flight sometimes, airlines started encouraging passengers to upgrade to business to guarantee a seat.
By September, I was squatting in someone’s spare room, with the tenuous promise of a make-up flight in November. My flight had been cancelled twice already.
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The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year disrupted businesses across sectors. Six months later, many businesses have not only survived but some have even thrived. A case in point is video conferencing platform Zoom.
But what about the companies that weren’t fortunate enough to be in an essential industry? For these businesses, it all came down to strategy.
Australian furniture company Luxo Living is one such company. Like every other retail business, they were worried at the outbreak of the pandemic.
“I can remember that first weekend when the NSW premier told everyone to stay home. Our showroom was empty. It was eerie,” says CEO Winston Tu. “I knew we needed to do something if we were going to get through this.”
The Australian government this week unveiled its $574 million Digital Business Plan that includes seven-figure grants for distributed ledger technology initiatives.
Announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of next week’s Federal Government budget, the plan outlines $4.95 million in support for “two blockchain pilots directed at reducing business compliance costs.” Morrison said:
“The plan supports Australia’s economic recovery by removing out-dated regulatory barriers, boosting the capability of small businesses, and backs the uptake of technology across the economy.”
Piper Alderman partner Michael Bacina told Cointelegraph that these two projects are important “to help demonstrate and unlock the value of blockchain”:
“With blockchain adoption accelerating around the world, this funding is a very welcome boost to the Australian blockchain industry and our local expertise.”
As part of the plan, $480 million has been designated for various technological initiatives that could intersect distributed ledger technologies, including $183 million towards a new