Tuesday, 19 April 2005
Tragedy in Western Australia
Australia's commanding lead in the test against the All-Blacks was washed out today, with Australia only requiring 17 runs off 35 overs to win. The series will be declared a draw.
Bushfires Continue in Sydney
A number of Bushfires continue to burn to the North and West of Sydney, despite the cool conditions and significant helicopter waterbombing support. Fire officials state that they appear to have been deliberately lit.
Flights Back to Normal (Sort of)
After a week of chaos and confusion, lost luggage and "racial profiling", normal flights out of Sydney have been restored as of today.
With one major exception - due to the State of Emergency in Indonesia, all flights transiting Indonesian Airspace have been cancelled or re-routed. These account for nearly 40% of all International Flights, including virtually all services to SE Asia, Europe and the UK.
The Check-in process has been streamlined, with many frequent fliers managing to board without delay after their identity has been confirmed by biometric techniques.
The Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs has stated that all tourists stranded as the result of the new security measures have now been repatriated, with the exception of some Indonesians. These have been granted special permission to remain in Australia during the duration of the Indonesian State of Emergency. In addition, there are an unspecified number of people who the Department has not been able to contact who appear to have deliberately overstayed their visas.
Huge Cost of Compensation Revealed
The Government stated today that the special compensation scheme for passengers stranded by the Sydney Bombings has disbursed an estimated $72.6 Million in accomodation vouchers, airline tickets, and cash payments over this period, and will now be wound up. The estimated cost of the scheme is approximately $87 Million. It has been stated that a substantial proportion of the cost will be spread over the next 5 years, as it consists of non-transferrable discount coupons for future travel to Australia, and is also expected to be offset by increased tax revenues.
"Some of our visitors came for a 2-week holiday, got an extra week here all expenses paid, and vouchers for discounts on a 2-month holiday in the future" said one official. "They didn't seem too displeased at the inconvenience."
"Call it an investment for the future" said a Government spokesman.
Security Force to Guard Upper on Foreign Junket
A small contingent of the ADF and AFP will be sent to Timor Leste to provide additional security for Foreign Minister Upper during his visit, it was announced today.
First Sale of Prepaid Mobile Phones to start in June
Bligh Photographics have announced that supplies of their photo ID equipment to retail communications outlets are starting to trickle through, and that the program will be completed in mid-May. The resumption of prepaid mobile phone sales is scheduled for 1st of June.
The Opposition has demanded an enquiry into the "unconscienably rushed" tender process which gave a "multi-million dollar windfall" to this company.
Arson Suspected in Homebush Bakery Blaze
A Homebush bakery was superficially damaged by a Firebomb attack this morning. Two suspects were arrested on the scene, and are currently assisting police with their enquiries.
Court Adjourned in Uproar
The hearing in the NSW Supreme Court to determine whether Hazee Ibn Waqin is an "Enemy Combatant" was interrupted when a demonstrator managed to enter the Court and set off a smoke bomb. Amidst wild scenes outside, the demonstrator was taken into custody, and in the scuffle to take him to a waiting police van, several police and one demonstrator sustained injuries requiring hospitalisation. Three of the demonstrators were arrested and are expected to appear in Sydney Magistrate's court on a variety of charges.
The hearing was adjourned for the day and an application will be filed to change the venue to a more secure location. Council for the Defence stated that this application would be vigorously opposed.
Arrogant PM Contemptuously Dismisses No Confidence Motion
The Prime Minister declared the Opposition's forthcoming motion of No Confidence to be nothing more than a "tawdry political stunt", and that he had "More important things on my mind at the moment".
When asked whether they were more important than his political career, he cryptically replied "Yes, of course."
Political pundits are still puzzled at the Prime Minister's bizarre remark.
Observers expect the motion to be defeated on party lines.