NT grog reform 'shelved to placate hotels'

Rory Callinan - The Australian

Proposed changes to the Northern Territory Liquor Act that would have empowered police to shut bars to head off violence were shelved to avoid upsetting the powerful hotels lobby, according to the man who helped draft the new laws. The NT government, which is grappling with some of the worst alcohol abuse problems in the nation, boasted in 2005 that it had commissioned a new framework to deal with the issue and promised a rewrite of the Liquor Act.

Retiring MPs blast Keneally

Imre Salusinszky - The Australian

Kristina Keneally has shredded the goodwill of some retiring Labor MPs by suggesting they were "shown the door" rather than retiring voluntarily. The NSW Premier made the comments during a forum in western Sydney on Wednesday evening, when she cited the exit of 23 Labor MPs as evidence she had renewed the party.

Losing 'loony Left' badge vital to Greens

Drew Warne-Smith - The Australian

It has been a sobering week inside the NSW Greens headquarters. Statewide support for the party has contracted by 6 per cent in less than a month according to the most recent Newspoll. The Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers are likely to hand the conservatives control of the upper house.

School crucifix display 'not a breach of human rights'


The Vatican has welcomed as "historic" a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that said displaying crucifixes in schools in Italy does not breach the rights of non-Catholics. "It is an important and historic ruling," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said. "The sentence... has been welcomed with satisfaction by the Holy See." The European Court of Human Rights ruled that displaying crucifixes in schools in Italy did not breach the rights of non-Catholic families, overturning a previous decision.

Refugee damages - lawsuit as rioters run amok

Shelley Hadfield and Steve Lewis - The Daily Telegraph

The Federal Government's asylum seeker woes deepened last night with Christmas Island detainees threatening more riots and a former refugee now suing for the pain and suffering of being locked up more than four years. Siavash Mossavian, 32, alleges the Australian Government breached its duty to him during his time in detention, resulting in physical, psychological and psychiatric harm. He wants damages, interest and costs in an action which could prompt other similar cases.

MCG gunman recalls 'computer game' rampage

Sarah Farnsworth - ABC

A 20-year-old man has told a Melbourne court he felt like a hero in a computer game when he went on a rampage with a shotgun last year. David Rowntree of Colac forced a lockdown around the MCG sports precinct when he went on a two-day crime spree. Armed with a shotgun, he burgled several homes in the Balwyn area, held up a petrol station, and stole cars.