WA flood victims targeted by online scammers

Flood victims in Western Australia’s Kimberley region are being targeted by a social media scam promising thousands of dollars in relief funding, AAP reports.

The scam uses an image of a Serbian politician and contains a link to a phoney Facebook page promising victims $20,000 but actually intended to steal personal information.

Eventually, the scammers request fees be paid up-front to receive the funds.

WA commerce minister Sue Ellery says the messages, in order to look genuine, appear to come from a friend who is encouraging the target to contact an agent because they and others have already received the payment.

She said:

We strongly advise people in flood-affected areas to be extremely careful and not click on links or give out personal information such as bank details in response to random messages received via text or social media.

It is unbelievable that criminals have sought to exploit vulnerable people at a time when many of them have lost everything.

Ellery said there had also been reports of social media commentary about relief funding from the “Australian Flooding Agency”, when no such agency exists.

People were also being targeted by fake charities set up to steal money from would-be donors.

In one instance, an Instagram account posing as a legitimate registered charity in Fitzroy Crossing was asking donors to buy Amazon e-gift cards.

WA commerce minister Sue Ellery. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

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Boxing kangaroos crash family’s tent

Two boxing kangaroos have crashed into the tent of some unsuspecting campers on NSW’s Mid North Coast.

Nine News have shared the video from Trial Bay Gaol Campground:

NSW records its biggest intake of junior doctors

The medical graduates starting work in NSW hospitals this week are the biggest cohort on record, according to the state department of health.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the almost 1,100 interns will be a “tremendous” boost to their colleagues already in the hospitals after a very challenging three years.

The new interns will also help the bush health crisis, with almost one third (396) of the positions in regional Australia.

Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor said the 176 positions available through the Rural Preferential Recruitment pathway was an increase of 13 from last year.

Albanese discloses helicopter flight to Lindsay Fox lunch

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has updated his register of interests.

Albanese disclosed that on 7 January he received a “helicopter flight from Avalon to Portsea return to attend private lunch courtesy of Lindsay Fox“.

The Coalition went on the attack about the flight earlier in January accusing him of “prioritising billionaires over flood victims” by not travelling to the Kimberley until two days after.

Earlier this month, when asked by reporters what had been discussed at the event, Albanese said: “I have private meetings all the time. And I have private meetings which are private meetings.”

Albanese had attended Fox’s house with Daniel Andrews, who said said it was a “social event” and rejected any suggestions “there was anything inappropriate” as “simply wrong”.

Albanese has also declared on 18 January he received tickets to see Elton John in concert in Sydney from Allianz Australia Insurance Ltd.

Ben Doherty

Ben Doherty

US could seize ex-marine’s Australian properties if convicted of training Chinese pilots

The US government is seeking to seize two country properties in Australia from former fighter pilot Daniel Duggan if he is convicted, as it argues in court for his extradition on charges of arms trafficking and money laundering.

The US alleges Duggan, a former US citizen now naturalised Australian, trained Chinese fighter pilots to land fighter jets on aircraft carriers, in defiance of arms trafficking laws, and engaged in a conspiracy to launder money.

Duggan, who maintains his innocence and is fighting his extradition, is in custody. His case returns to court next month.

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WA flood victims targeted by online scammers

Flood victims in Western Australia’s Kimberley region are being targeted by a social media scam promising thousands of dollars in relief funding, AAP reports.

The scam uses an image of a Serbian politician and contains a link to a phoney Facebook page promising victims $20,000 but actually intended to steal personal information.

Eventually, the scammers request fees be paid up-front to receive the funds.

WA commerce minister Sue Ellery says the messages, in order to look genuine, appear to come from a friend who is encouraging the target to contact an agent because they and others have already received the payment.

She said:

We strongly advise people in flood-affected areas to be extremely careful and not click on links or give out personal information such as bank details in response to random messages received via text or social media.

It is unbelievable that criminals have sought to exploit vulnerable people at a time when many of them have lost everything.

Ellery said there had also been reports of social media commentary about relief funding from the “Australian Flooding Agency”, when no such agency exists.

People were also being targeted by fake charities set up to steal money from would-be donors.

In one instance, an Instagram account posing as a legitimate registered charity in Fitzroy Crossing was asking donors to buy Amazon e-gift cards.

WA commerce minister Sue Ellery.
WA commerce minister Sue Ellery. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

‘I’m not a seat warmer for anyone’: Dutton

Mitchell also put to Dutton comments floating in Victoria that he is “just warming the seat for Josh Frydenberg”.

Dutton says he wants Frydenberg to win back the seat of Kooyong, but quashes the idea of his own leadership being a stop-gap measure.

I want Josh to come back into parliament. I think he’s our best chance of winning Kooyong at the next election because I don’t think the member that’s been elected there has a great affinity with her electorate at all.

And I intend to spend a lot more time in Victoria. Speaking to potential candidates, including Josh, who is a great loss to our party.

I’m not a seat warmer for anyone. I’ve been in parliament for 21 years. John Howard identified me after my first term and I’ve been on the front bench since 2004. I’ve had a number of portfolios, I don’t give up, I stand up for what I believe in. And in this game, you can sit on the fence and be popular. I take the path to stand up and fight for what I believe in.

Is your seat warm? Josh Frydenberg and Peter Dutton in 2021.
Is your seat warm? Josh Frydenberg and Peter Dutton in 2021. Photograph: Sam Mooy/Getty Images

Dutton denies being ‘toxic’ in Victoria after state election loss

Peter Dutton has spoken to Melbourne’s 3AW radio as part of his visit to Victoria. Host Neil Mitchell doesn’t shy away from asking about the opposition leader’s reputation in the state.

Dutton defends himself, saying people often express their surprise at meeting him and denies he was personally responsible for the Coalition’s loss in the November state election.

Mitchell:

Even your own Liberal people say ‘Peter Dutton is a bit toxic’. What do you do to overcome that?

Dutton:

I think a lot of hype goes around politics and the reality is when you meet people for most people they say, ‘Geez, you’re nothing like we thought you were’. I think people will see more of me and they can make their own judgements instead of listening to social media and people forming their judgments based on something Anthony Albanese or Mark Dreyfus says about me.

Mitchell:

Except your own mates are saying in the Liberal party here. I mean, in the previous election they just about blamed you for losing over accusing Victoria of having African gangs.

Dutton:

I’m not sure that’s quite the case … I don’t think we (the federal Liberals) featured in that result, not in the slightest bit.

Dutton says now Victoria is a “huge opportunity to pick up seats, it’s a low watermark”, joking he is a “glass half full” person.

Free RATs now available from Victorian local councils

The Victorian health department says most local councils are participating in a scheme that allows people to collect free Covid rapid tests, as many times as they need.

From today, all Victorians can collect free rapid antigen tests from participating local councils to help with early detection and treatment of COVID.

Everyone can collect up to 2 packs of 5 RATs per person, and 2 packs per household member. You do not need a Medicare card. pic.twitter.com/DfYWMzJ2XH

— Victorian Department of Health (@VicGovDH) January 23, 2023

You can collect RATs as many times as you need. If you run out of RATs, you are welcome to collect more to make sure you are prepared.

— Victorian Department of Health (@VicGovDH) January 23, 2023

Caitlin Cassidy

Caitlin Cassidy

Peak body welcomes ratification of UN higher education treaty

The peak body representing independent education providers has welcomed the Australian government’s acceptance of the first global treaty in higher education.

The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) said the Unesco Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education, accepted by the education minister today, would ensure students who studied with Australian institutions had their qualifications recognised internationally.

The ITECA’s chief executive Troy Williams said:

We can be proud of the quality offered by independent tertiary education providers. This new treaty provides a platform for the qualifications awarded by them to be recognised … in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner worldwide.

With provisions on non-traditional learning modes, the Global Convention also facilitates the recognition of qualifications, prior learning and study periods earned remotely.

The Convention provides a clear framework for recognition of qualifications delivered online and backs Australia’s robust recognition of prior learning framework. In many respects, the Convention plays to the strengths of Australia’s tertiary education system.

The new treaty will be considered at the ITEC23 International Education Symposium convened on 8 June.

Man drowns at Sydney’s Curl Curl beach

A man has died after being pulled unconscious from the water in Sydney’s northern beaches, AAP reports.

Emergency services rushed to Curl Curl beach after a man was pulled from the water just after 7.30am on Tuesday.

Paramedics attempted to revive the man, however he died at the scene, NSW Police said.

The man is believed to be in his 60s, however he has not been formally identified.

Northern Beaches police are investigating the circumstances of the man’s drowning.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

The entrance to Curl Curl beach.
The entrance to Curl Curl beach. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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