Gangs infiltrate Qantas

Crime agencies believe an “Aussie cartel” earns an estimated $1.5bn a year by coordinating with corrupt government officials, and that Qantas workers have been enlisted to import drugs into the country.

What we know:

  • Up to 150 Qantas staff are linked to criminality, including almost 60 to “serious drug offences” or “organised crime groups” (SMH);
  • That includes a Comanchero motorcycle gang affiliate working in a mid-level Qantas managerial position at Sydney airport;
  • A Qantas freight contractor in Perth repeatedly used “his trusted insider status” to make large drug deliveries;
  • The Qantas departments at the highest risk are its air freight division and ground crew and baggage handling divisions;
  • Qantas chief security officer Luke Bramah said authorities had not notified the company of “current investigations of Qantas Group employees”;
  • Two members of an “Aussie cartel” are believed to be connected to government insiders (The Age); 
  • Labor has called for an independent review of security at Australia’s international airports (Canberra Times); 
  • The party, however, opposes transport security laws enabling criminal intelligence to be used to stop workers receiving aviation and maritime government security clearances.
  • UNSW research finds legalising drugs would largely eliminate the criminal networks associated with the drug trade and generate significant tax revenue for governments (UNSW). 
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G7 targets tax havens

Finance ministers from the G7 collection of wealthy countries over the weekend agreed to a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15%.

What we know:

  • The proposal says the home country of major companies apply a tax rate of at least 15% in a bid to crack down on offshoring to tax havens (BBC); 
  • If a major company generates at least 10% profit, the next 20% of profit would also be subject to tax in the countries where it makes sales rather than where it is based;
  • The tech giants ostensibly targeted by the proposal have largely thrown their support behind it;
  • Oxfam warns the plan largely benefits rich countries and sets the “bar so low that companies can just step over it” (The Independent); 
  • Business lobbyists are already using the proposal to argue that Australia should cut its 30% rate as it is “double” the international minimum (AFR); 
  • The proposal now needs to win the backing of the G20 group of nations, which will meet in Venice next month;
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who will attend the G20 meeting, welcomed the plan;
  • The G7 ministers also agreed to make it mandatory for companies to report climate exposure risks (Edie). 
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More Covid in aged care

Victoria recorded four new positive Covid-19 cases on Sunday, including two in an aged care home in Melbourne’s west.

A 79-year-old aged care resident had two vaccine doses and is asymptomatic, while the nurse had received one dose (ABC). 

They were both known primary close contacts of existing cases.

Meanwhile in WA a man tested positive to Covid-19 after being released from the state's quarantine hotels (Nine).

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Women let down by GPs

Women are more than twice as likely to feel dismissed by their doctor over health concerns than men, according to the Australia Talks National Survey 2021.

The survey found that more than one in three women say they’ve had health concerns dismissed by a GP, and have less confidence in Australia’s health system (ABC). 

There is growing evidence of knowledge gaps in women’s reproductive health, menopause and more general health issues.

“We have evidence heart disease in women is not recognised as early, not treated as effectively and women receive less evidence-based treatments than men do,” said GP Karen Magraith.

Experts have called for governments to only fund trials if they include criteria about gender and for better training about women’s health for trainee doctors.

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Roberts-Smith case begins

Former SAS corporal Ben Roberts-Smith begins defamation proceedings in Sydney’s federal court against three newspapers today.

He is suing The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times for defamation over articles that suggested he committed war crimes in Afghanistan (The Guardian). 

Roberts-Smith’s statement of claim says his “business, personal and professional reputation has been and will be brought into public disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt” by the coverage. 

The newspapers’ defence states that Roberts-Smith is “a person who broke the moral and legal rules of military engagement; a bully; a hypocrite in that he held himself out publicly in a manner not consistent with how he conducted himself within the SASR”. 

Justice Anthony Besanko will hear the case without a jury.

It is scheduled to run for eight weeks, but could go for up to three months, with more than 70 witnesses set to testify.

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We are here because we are against this passage but also against a model of tourism that is destroying the city, pushing out residents, destroying the planet.

With cruise ships on the horizon of Venice for the first time since the pandemic began, life is returning to normal for locals —  who can resume their traditional pastime of being hopelessly outnumbered by tourists (Reuters).

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Postscript: Stuck Noah’s Ark sparks international incident as Government urged to aid rescue

The British Government is being urged to wade into an “extraordinary” international incident involving the replica of Noah’s Ark currently stuck on Ipswich Waterfront … it has emerged in documents obtained via Freedom of Information laws that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency does not deem the Ark seaworthy (East Anglican Daily Times).

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Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.