NATION Same sex marriage call splits Abbotts
A HIGH Court challenge could delay the Turnbull Government’s plans to hold a national ballot on same- sex marriage.
Labor, the Greens and Nick Xenophon Team senators yesterday blocked the Government’s second attempt at passing laws to enable a $ 170 million compulsory plebiscite.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann shortly afterwards said the backup plan — a $ 122 million voluntary postal ballot run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics — would go ahead.
Ballot papers are due to hit mailboxes from September 12.
But independent MP An- drew Wilkie and marriage equality advocates Shelley Argent and Felicity Marlowe have initiated High Court action to head off the ballot.
They have been advised there are constitutional problems with the ABS running the poll and the Government paying for it without parliament’s approval. Senator Cormann said the Government’s advice was there were no constitutional or legal problems.
Yesterday Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster hit back at her brother’s call for Australians to vote ‘ No’ in the same sex marriage ballot.
The former prime minister fired the first shot yesterday morning in what will be a SHE’S the little bear leaving a big impression at Sea World.
The only polar bear cub in the country, the baby girl has already captured the hearts of Sea World staffers as well as the broader community.
Following a public competition she has been named Mishka.
“Mishka is a great name for the adorable little cub as it has heritage in both the Russian and Inuit cultures, which ties in nicely to her parents Liya and Hudson,” Polar Bear Shores supervisor Tacha Mulligan said.
At 3 ½ months old and the size of a staffordshire terrier, she is certainly a little bear for now, but will grow to be a giant like her mum and is likely to become a key figure in future captive breeding programs for the threatened species.
For now, Mishka is growing increasingly confident in the Gold Coast park’s winter wonderland.
She is expected to go on public display in the coming weeks.
Ms Mulligan said the team had been overwhelmed by the response to the naming competition.
“The cub is becoming quite the inquisitive little bear and the name Mishka really suits her personality,” she said. STUDENT protesters angry about university fee hikes have attempted to hijack Question Time at Parliament House. Security guards immediately descended on the four protesters yesterday when they began yelling “No cuts, no fees, no corporate universities” in the Senate Question Time. One female protester was forcibly removed from the chamber by three security guards when she refused to leave. It’s the third time protesters have interrupted Question Time since November, when a group hijacked the session for 40 minutes by supergluing their hands to rails in the Lower House public gallery and shouting slogans about closing Australia’s offshore detention centres. Christine Forster and Tony Abbott fierce public battle over coming weeks. “Obviously I will be voting no, but in the end this is not about the politicians, this is about the people, it’s about your view,” Mr Abbott said outside Parliament yesterday.
“And I say to you if you don’t like same- sex marriage, vote ‘ No’,” he said. “If you’re worried about religious free- dom and freedom of speech, vote ‘ No’, and if you don’t like political correctness, vote ‘ No’ because voting ‘ No’ will help to stop political correctness.”
Ms Forster responded, urging Australians to vote ‘ Yes’.
“If you value mutual respect: vote yes. If you want all Australians to be equal: vote yes. If you believe in free speech: vote yes,” she tweeted.
Ms Forster, who has been engaged to her partner Virginia Edwards since 2013, also said: “If you want the person you love to be in every sense a part of your family: vote yes.”
Earlier Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said the parliament should debate and pass changes to marriage laws now, PAULINE Hanson has referred her own One Nation colleague Malcolm Roberts to the High Court over his citizenship and eligibility for parliament. The One Nation leader moved a motion in Parliament yesterday after mounting pressure from the Greens and Senate crossbench. Senator Hanson said Senator Roberts ( pictured) had her “full support” but she believed that it was in the public’s interest for the case to go before the Court of Disputed Returns. Senator Roberts’ eligibility is in doubt because it is unclear whether he still had British citizenship at the time of the 2016 federal election. rather than wait for the results of an “expensive stunt”. Senator Wong, who is in a same- sex relationship, said many in the Coalition could not countenance equality.
Senator Wong objected to the Australian Christian Lobby describing the children of same- sex couples as the “stolen generation” and rejected Senator Cormann’s statement the plebiscite could be a “unifying” decision for the country.
“You talk about unifying moments? It is not a unifying moment. It is exposing our children to that kind of hatred.” Senator Cormann said it was important for the debate to be conducted with “courtesy and respect”. KING of the Cross John Ibrahim was nowhere to be seen when his girlfriend, son and cousin appeared at a Sydney court charged respectively with possessing a Glock pistol and being linked to a multimilliondollar international drugsmuggling crime syndicate.
John’s youngest brother, Michael Ibrahim, who was arrested in Dubai with another brother, Fadi, is the alleged mastermind behind the syndicate which was the subject of multiple raids across Sydney on Tuesday.
Details of the family’s alleged tobacco- smuggling dealings were outlined at Central Local Court yesterday.
A man accused of handling $ 1.45 million on behalf of Michael and Fadi Ibrahim was “punished” when he allegedly kept $ 30,000 for himself, the court heard. Jaron Chester, 34, “had his head forcibly shaved and he had his eyebrows plucked ... and taken as trophies,” his lawyer Charles Waterstreet said.
Mr Waterstreet said Chester, who was eyebrowless when he appeared via audio- visual link, was “an unfortunate victim, not a mover or shaker”.
John Ibrahim’s son, Daniel Taylor, is another relatively minor player in the operation, the court heard.
Taylor, 26, has been charged with dealing with money intended as an instrument of crime for his alleged involvement in transferring a bag with $ 2.25 million cash to buy smuggled tobacco.
John Ibrahim’s model girlfriend, Sarah Budge, 27, is not involved in the drug- smuggling syndicate but faced the same court on firearms and ammunition charges.
Court documents suggest she was in possession of a Glock 26 pistol that had its identifying serial numbers removed when she was arrested at Double Bay on Tuesday.
Michael Ibrahim and his cousin, Fares Derbas, 30, are alleged to have avoided paying $ 11 million in duty and taxes by distributing smuggled cigarettes across Sydney.
Derbas and Chester were refused bail, while Taylor and Budge were granted strict conditional bail. Two other men, Mohammad Jeda and Hassan Fakhriddine, who faced court on commercial drug charges, were also refused bail.