Surgeon fails to block damning expose

An investigation has exposed a raft of potentially illegal and unethical practices by cosmetic surgeons, after a failed court challenge held up publication of the story.

What we know:

  • Australia’s biggest cosmetic procedures group, Cosmos Clinics, has been accused of botched surgeries, poor aftercare and breaches of social media guidelines (SMH); 
  • Whistleblowers allege dangerous work practices including potentially illegal surgeries in conditions that “resemble an abattoir”, with scenes described as “barbaric” and “worse than the Wild West” (Nine); 
  • Social media influencers are given free or discounted procedures in return for endorsements of their clinic, often without disclosing their secret arrangements;
  • Multiple influencers who had botched surgeries were threatened with legal action, or signed non-disclosure agreements to stop them speaking out;
  • Before-and-after images on social media lured customers to book surgery, with dozens reporting their surgery ended in disfigurement, pain and deformity;
  • One woman said she was left bleeding internally, screaming and immobilised for five hours until staff let her call an ambulance;
  • The 60 Minutes expose and associated news stories were due to air in May, but legal action by Dr Joseph Ajaka, of Cosmos Clinics, delayed their release (TV Black Box); 
  • Ajaka on Thursday lost his second legal attempt to have the program hand over draft copies before it aired (The Guardian). 

Visa and passport lines blow out

Australians are waiting for months for passport applications to be processed, while a visa backlog for migrants is keeping new arrivals from filling the national skills shortage.

What we know:

  • Passport processing times have blown out to two months or longer, with the volume of applications doubling on pre-pandemic levels as global travel rebounds (The Age); 
  • Queues at Sydney and Melbourne passport offices are snaking around the block, with many applicants forced to return day after day;
  • Some applicants have resorted to offering individuals on marketplaces such as Airtasker up to $150 to queue in their place;
  • Foreign Affairs assistant minister Tim Watts said hundreds more passport office staff are being hired, but it will take six weeks for them to be trained;
  • It comes as businesses warn a backlog of more than 140,000 migrants waiting on their visas has exacerbated Australia’s skills shortage (; 
  • The wait times for a visa for engineering graduates has blown out to 41 months, with Australia’s engineering job vacancy rate increasing 97% in the space of a year (The Guardian); 
  • Scott Morrison’s pre-parliament former boss, picked by the former government to attract global talent to Australia, has quietly left the program after it awarded almost no visas in key priority growth sectors (Innovation Aus). 

Dutton’s loose lips could sink subs

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton may have jeopardised his own plan to buy nuclear submarines from the US by revealing key details to the media.

The former defence minister used an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper to urge Labor to make an early purchase of two nuclear submarines from the US before 2030 (ABC). 

National security figures have privately expressed alarm over Dutton’s disclosure of specific vulnerabilities of the current Collins-class diesel-electric submarines.

One national security official said Dutton's editorial had “buggered” plans for a joint announcement by the end of the year between Australia, the UK and US.

“The United States can’t even do what Mr Dutton is claiming they can, that is provide two nuclear boats out of the Connecticut production line,” the official added.

The new Defence minister and deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, slammed Dutton for engaging in “rank politics”.


ACT to decriminalise drug use

The ACT is set to become the first Australian state or territory to decriminalise small amounts of illicit drugs such as ice, heroin, cocaine and speed.

The bill, proposed by a private member, will see people caught with small quantities of drugs subject to $100 fines rather than criminal charges (Canberra Times). 

A person could choose to attend a drug diversion program instead of the fine.

The thresholds in the bill include 0.5g of MDMA; 50g of dried cannabis; 2g of cocaine; 2g of methylamphetamine; 2g of psilocybin (found in mushrooms); and 0.002g of LSD.

“Treating drug addiction as a health issue improves outcomes for everyone in the community,” said ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.

Drug trafficking would remain illegal, and police would continue to target dealers and try to disrupt Canberra's drug trade.


Culled brumbies found in national park

Parks Victoria has refused to comment on claims it is shooting brumbies and leaving the carcasses hidden in Barmah National Park.

A local brumby preservation group claims they have found more than 30 carcasses in the park located on the NSW-Victoria border (ABC). 

Parks Victoria last year announced a plan to reduce brumby populations through a combination of trapping, rehoming and ground shooting.

It comes amid a growing political fight over the issue, with the Victorian Liberal opposition announcing it will scrap Labor’s feral horse cull if it wins power.

The party says the horses are an intrinsic piece of Australia’s heritage and should be protected.

But ecologists and rangers counter that brumbies are introduced pests that endanger vulnerable native plants and animals.

In Barmah, the Yorta Yorta people fear the horses pose a significant threat to sacred Aboriginal sites.


This is a crisis. Cabbage isn’t the same as lettuce. That’s just wrong. I’ll put it on the list for the cabinet meeting today.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese reacts to the news that iceberg lettuce is so expensive that KFC has swapped it out for cabbage in its burgers. After former Labor leader Bill Shorten was savagely mocked for his awkward lettuce banter in a supermarket, Albanese knows all too well the political danger the humble leaf vegetable presents (The Age).


Postscript: Life ban for South African club who scored 41 own goals

Four clubs were banned for life from the fourth tier of South African football after fixing games ... Kotoko Happys Boys’ players simply left the field in their 33-1 thrashing, while it emerged that Nsami Mighty Birds had scored 41 own goals during their 59-1 mauling — despite finishing the game with only seven players (BBC).


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