A second lockdown currently in place the Australian city of Melbourne and its surroundings has been extended by two weeks, with officials saying new Covid-19 cases had not dropped enough.
Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions would be in place until September 28, with a slight relaxation.
A gradual easing of the measures will be implemented from October.
Victoria has been the epicenter of Australia’s second wave, accounting for 90% of the country’s 753 deaths.
Australia has recorded a total of 26,000 cases in a population of 25 million.
The greater Melbourne area entered a second lockdown on July 9 after a rise in cases. A 3 mile travel limit and night time curfew was imposed while shops and businesses were closed.
The current stage four lockdown was originally set to end on September 13.
Melbourne’s curfew will be expanded from 21:00 to 05:00. Single people will be allowed to form a bubble and visit each other, and the current travel limit will not apply to these meetings.
Premier Andrews said at a news conference: “There is only one option and that is to do this in a series of steady and safe steps. You can’t run out of lockdown. Because all you are doing is running into a third wave and we’ll all be locked up again.
“We can’t open up at this time. If we were to we would lose control very quickly… I want a Christmas that is as close to normal as possible and this is the only way, these steps are the only way that we will get to that point.”
If the daily average number of cases is between 30 and 50 by September 28, Melbourne will enter stage three of restrictions.
Under this stage, public gatherings will increase to five people from two households and there will be a staged return to schools for some years and specialist schools.
If the daily average number of cases falls below five by October 26, then the curfew would be ended.
Outside of the greater Melbourne area, the rest of Victoria State will have restrictions eased slightly quicker.
From September 13, up to five people from two households will be able to gather outdoors. Outdoor pools and playgrounds will open and religious services can be conducted outdoors with a maximum of five people.
The announcement comes a day after anti-lockdown protests were attended by hundreds of people across Australia.
In Melbourne, about 300 people marched through the city in defiance of the measures.
Premier Andrews said: “It is selfish to protest and it is unlawful. Any behavior from anyone that contributes to more virus than less and more restrictions than less is not in anyone’s interests.”
Some states, including Victoria, have signaled that they want to close
Seven people have died across Australia so far from Covid-19.
The new restrictions come after large crowds gathered on Sydney’s beaches
including Bondi on March 21, flouting social distancing advice.
PM Morrison said that the federal and state governments had decided to act
because Australians were not obeying guidelines.
However, the prime minister added: “We
are not putting in place lockdowns that put people in and confine them to their
“That is not a measure that has
been contemplated at this point.”
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said people, especially the young, had
to realize that they needed to live “very differently” and stop going
out in order to control the virus.
PM Morrison also announced new
stimulus measures to boost the country’s economy.
South Australia, Western Australia
and the Northern Territory will close their borders from Tuesday. Under the new
rules, anyone arriving will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days.
Tasmania, an island state, has
already imposed similar travel restrictions.
The Australian Football League suspended its 2020 season, with no fixtures until at least May 31. The women’s league has also been halted. In contrast, the National Rugby League says it will carry on with matches as planned.
Relocating to another country is a huge and tough decision to deal with. There are a lot of things you need to consider prior to your move. And one of the major things you need to think of is where you plan to live.
Apparently, Australia is an amazing country to reside in with your whole family. If there is one destination you can choose to relocate in, then this could be your best option. Living in the Land Down Under is a great opportunity for everyone. It is definitely a wonderful place to dwell in with your loved ones.
Here are the reasons why you should opt to live a good life with your family in Australia:
High standard of living
Truth be told, living in any cities in Australia is quite costly. But the minimum wage of each employee is doubled as compared in the United States. It might be expensive to migrate here, but everything is worth it because of the high standard of living it offers to every resident. This also proves that the economy is at its best since it can provide the citizens with all they need.
Another major reason to settle in Australia is the kind of education it offers to students. In fact, the country is highly regarded as one of the best higher learning systems worldwide. Every permanent resident gets the chance to study in public schools without having to pay a single centavo, for the Australian government provides it for them. More so, there are some private schools that are made affordable for everyone.
Traffic is never a problem in this huge country as the transportation is extremely efficient. You can take public transportation, such as trams, buses, and trains any time. Bicycles are also widely used here, which you can rent or own yours to go from one city to another. Also, regular flight going to different states by air are available each day.
There is nothing to worry about once you get sick in Australia. There are public and private healthcare facilities of high quality that will take care of you. Each hospital offers cutting-edge equipment and tools as well as provides top-notch services to all the residents. In case you don’t own a health card, then you can rely on state-provided care any time.
Living in Australia won’t be much of a hard time to anyone because it is a diverse country. You won’t feel like an outsider wherever you stay here, for the locals always treat you right and warmly welcome you. Whatever your race might be, it will never be an issue in Australia.
Indeed, Australia is such an exciting country to live in. This developed country offers a lot of great opportunities to its residents, so grab the chance to migrate here right away. If you are looking for a place to relocate in, there is a Lendlease home and land package near Brisbane, QLD that you can check out. It is certainly an ultimate spot to start anew with your family.
Australian authorities have arrested a man for allegedly acting as an economic agent for North Korea.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) said that Chan Han Choi, 59, has been charged with brokering illegal exports from the country and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction.
Police allege Chan Han Choi has broken both UN and Australian sanctions.
The case against Chan Han Choi, who has lived in Australia for more than 30 years, is the first of its kind in the country.
It is the first time anyone has been charged under Australia’s 1995 Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act.
Police say there was evidence that Chan Han Choi had been in contact with “high ranking officials in North Korea”.
They allege he had brokered services related to North Korea’s weapons program, including the sale of specialist services including ballistic missile technology to foreign entities, in order to generate income for the North Korean regime.
Chan Han Choi also was charged with brokering the sale of coal from North Korea to groups in Indonesia and Vietnam. He is facing six charges in total after being arrested at his Sydney home on December 16.
In a news conference, police confirmed the man was a naturalized Australian citizen of Korean origin who had been in the country for over 30 years.
They described him as a “loyal agent” who “believed he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose”.
However, police insisted Chan Han Choi’s actions did not pose any “direct risk” to Australians, with the actions occurring offshore.
“I know these charges sound alarming. Let me be clear we are not suggesting there are any weapons or missile component that ever came to Australian soil,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said.
“Any individual who attempts to fly in the face of sanctions cannot and will not go unnoticed in Australia.”
Chan Han Choi could face up to 10 years in prison and has been denied bail.
In October the Australian government said they had received a letter from North Korea urging Canberra to distance itself from the Trump administration.
North Korea had previously warned that Australia would “not be able to avoid a disaster” if it followed US policies towards Kim Jong-un’s regime.
The Future Fund of about $130 billion will be in a state of isolation for a maximum of ten years to prevent an impulsive search on its finances and a rocketing bill for years to come to protect the cost of benefit pension payouts of many public servants.
Scott Morrison revealed that he would delay drawing down on the fund at least up to 2026 so that the government can cover up the entire cost of the unfunded liabilities.
The action will demand the government to utilize an additional borrowings over the medium term to slightly pay for what will rise to an $8 billion annual cost to the taxpaying citizen.
During an exclusive interview with The Weekend Australian, the Treasurer stated that the Future Fund does not have, at this time, the sufficient resources to cover the absolute cost of the public sector pension payouts and that starting to reduce it from the legislated date of July 1, 2020, would exhaust the fund.
He stated it made no sense to reduce the Future Fund’s assets, which normally secures earnings for at least 7 percent annually when the government could borrow for hardly 2.8 percent.
Days out from delivering his second budget, Morrison stated, “I’m doing this to respect future taxpayers. A decade or 15 years down the road, the unfunded super liability issue would still be there. We want the Future Fund to be capable enough of performing the work for which it was set up.”
The conclusion received the support of former treasurer Peter Costello, which is now the chairman of the Future Fund. The chairman claims putting off the maturity date would enable the fund, which is the seventh biggest sovereign fund in the world, to increase to a predicted $300 billion by the year 2030.
Costello told The Weekend Australian, “Scott wisely decides to delay the drawdown to continuously increase the fund and supply for these liabilities right up until the year 2050. It is very wise. It provides the Future Fund the chance to create a long-lasting supply for all generations.”
Morrison stated that the settlement carried a lesson for Labor that the Future Fund was not there to provide funds for repetitive spending. The treasurer also said that if we are serious about not leaving an unjust burden on the future generation, then let the Future Fund do its work and do not touch it.
He also said that “A labor treasurer at a notion could raid the fund, and that would cost a lot for the future generations.” The resolution will add to both the budget shortage and to the government’s debt beyond the forward estimates.
However, Costello backed the decision to utilize medium-term borrowings to cover the interim accountabilities until the fund grows, reducing concerns that the government’s decision to trim its debt could stimulate it to tap into the resource at the earliest date.
The Anticipation Of The Decade
Costello stated, “If we were to delay draw down to 2026, we can anticipate that we could raise it to $300 billion by the year 2030. It will secure the cost of the entire unfunded liabilities and save tens of billions of dollars of the budget annually. It will also take all the responsibilities off from the taxpayer permanently.”
Morrison mentioned that the additional debt needed to cover the pension payouts would incur at a time when the budget was returning to surplus, and the comprehensive level of net debt was dropping. The December mid-year report papers illustrate that the net debt peaks at 19 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2018-19.
He stated that the price for the budget cash balance would reach $200 million by 2020 and 2021. It will arise because budget rules do not permit the government to book the unrealized profits on the Future Fund’s share and infrastructure portfolio.
Morrison and Costello have agreed to appeal to lower the Future Fund’s mark return of between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent on top of the consumer price index as legislated, with these rates to be reduced by 0.5 percent.
Though the Future Fund has surpassed its target return over its first ten years of operation, the Ashe Morgan campaign gathered support by the extended fall in international interest rates.
With interest rates increasing, Costello has asserted that they can meet the measurable return by taking excessive risks with the investment portfolio. “It is still going to be a very challenging ruling but more realistic.” Costello verbalized.
He started the Future Fund in 2006 to allocate budget surpluses from the mining boom to help secure the cost of defined benefit public sector superannuation programs.
The last of these programs shut to fresh members in July, but the payouts do not maximize until the years 2049 and 2050, when they attain $20 billion per year, while the liability will not be entirely paid to opt until about the year 2100.
Morrison stated the Howard government had expected that, by the year 2020, the Future Fund would acquire enough capital to meet all pension needs. It fails to anticipate the $60 billion introductions to the fund and the sale of its current stake in Telstra would be the ultimate contributions from any government.
Modelling by the Parliamentary Budget Office illustrates that if the government commenced drawing down the fund from the year 2020, it would be drained by 2052 while the outstanding pension liability would remain at $250 billion.
The PBO (Projected Benefit Obligation) predicted that delaying tapping the Future Fund for just another four years would allow it to gather enough assets to meet the needed payout for the rest of the century.
Morrison stated that the government had decided to leave the Future Fund alone only during the four-year forward approximate period, but it was his “disposition” to permit it to sustain building its asset base for an unspecified period.
During which the government needed to keep the versatility to utilize the Future Fund resources in case the rate of change will skyrocket. Morrison also stated that the budget’s projections for medium term will only display the government borrowing, instead of using the Future Fund to pay superannuation.
“Until they hear more from us, their presumption should be that the Turnbull government is not touching the Future Fund,” he verbalized. The resolution to decrease the fund’s target return indicates a concern that the investment perspective will become a lot more difficult as global interest rates start soaring.
The extended fall in global interest rates since the Future Fund started operating has created enormous profits for investors in bonds, while the Future Fund had a tiny investment in shares at the time of the international financial crisis and had made significant gains from the equity market recovery.
Costello argued that allowing the minimum mark return at 4.5 percent more than the expansion rate would force the fund to take unreasonably risky investment choices. The 0.5 percent cutback still leaves the fund at risk to a rise in global rates. However, Morrison stated he was confident that Costello would reach the goal.
Morrison said, “The fund has an excellent history of surpassing their target, and so we have real confidence in Peter and the fund to hit its goal, and I have no doubt that Peter will tell me when he has surpassed it.”
Future Fund would perhaps need a couple of years without the government raiding and interrupting their process for them to completely cover all the superannuation for years to come which is very beneficial for the future generations.
Kate Hill from Australian has given birth to twins conceived ten days apart.
She was told she might never become pregnant before receiving hormone treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that meant she was not ovulating.
Kate Hill apparently conceived twins at different times despite only having unprotected intercourse once during that time.
It is very rare for a woman to conceive a second time when already pregnant.
Image source Flickr
Most twins are the result of a woman releasing two eggs at the same time, or, less commonly, a fertilized egg subsequently splitting into two.
According to reports, the twin girls, Charlotte and Olivia, were born 10 months ago with different sizes, weights and gestational development.
Kate Hill told Australia’s Seven Network: “We actually did not realize how special that was until they were born.”
Pregnancy normally stops the monthly cycle of ovulation but very rarely a woman can release another egg after conceiving. If this is fertilized it could also implant and develop into a healthy pregnancy.
It is believed only 10 cases of the phenomenon, known as superfetation, have been documented across the world.
Speaking about the rare conception, Kate Hill’s husband Peter joked: “Hole in one, maybe.”
The couple’s obstetrician Brad Armstrong said the condition was so rare he was forced to search for it online.
“I could not find any literature in the medical review websites at all,” he said.
Sydney will host the 2018 Invictus Games for injured, wounded and sick armed forces veterans, Prince Harry has announced.
The prince confirmed the chosen city in a video message, which ended with the backing of pop star Kylie Minogue.
The Invictus Games are a Paralympic-style multi-sport event ranging from archery and wheelchair rugby to road cycling and swimming.
The event began in London in 2014 and visited Orlando, Florida, in May ahead of Toronto in 2017.
Image source Wikimedia
In the video message, Prince Harry said: “We have raised the bar higher with each successive games. I am happy to say the Invictus Games journey won’t end there.”
The prince said the competition had “shown us what can be achieved when wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women rediscover their fighting spirit through sport”.
He has been heavily involved in the organization of the event, after attending the Warrior Games, a similar gathering held in the US.
Prince Harry himself served 10 years in the Armed Forces and saw action in Afghanistan twice.
The video message, filmed at the Tourism Australia offices in Australia House, London, shows Prince Harry’s mobile phone ringing to the sound of the Kylie Minogue hit I Should Be So Lucky.
Prince Harry, surrounded by members of the Australian military, announces to cheers that the caller is Kylie.
He says: “Hi Kylie, good timing, the 2018 Invictus Games is coming to Sydney, can I guarantee the Aussies are going to bring it?”
In her own video message in reply, Kylie Minogue says: “Hey Prince Harry, listen – we’re stoked the Invictus Games is coming to Sydney, but you don’t need to tell the Aussies to bring it – it’s guaranteed, no worries.”
Prince Harry, who is patron of the Invictus Games Foundation which oversees the delivery of the tournament, said Sydney was chosen because it is an iconic location with a proud military heritage and a population that is “absolutely sports mad”.
The 2018 Invictus Games are set to take place in New South Wales from October18-29.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has issued its first ever tactile banknote on September 1 after a campaign by a blind boy.
Three years ago, 12-year-old Connor McLeod filed a discrimination complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission and started an online petition with his mother which received more than 56,000 supporters.
The A$5 note goes into circulation with a tiny new feature designed to help people who are blind or visually impaired.
It has two raised dots on both of its long sides, allowing those who cannot see to identify its value, ABC reports.
It is Australia’s first note to feature the tactile markings, and is being hailed as a major breakthrough.
Bruce Maguire from the non-profit Vision Australia organization said: “For the first time in the history of Australian currency it will be possible for someone who is blind or vision-impaired to just pick up a note and know instantly what it is.”
He says the change will help 360,000 Australians.
Currently, blind or visually impaired people have to rely on others to identify the note and give the correct change. Some use a measuring instrument – which ABC News notes can be fiddly in a busy shop – or smart phone apps.
Connor McLeod, now 15, wrote on the news.co.au website: “Now when I grow up, I won’t have to rely on trusting that people have always given me the right change.
“I can feel the markings on the bank notes and tell them if they’ve given me the wrong change and also think to myself: I did that.”
Connor McLeod came up with the idea after receiving some money for Christmas when he was 11, “but had no idea how much it was and how generous or tight-arse the present-giver had been,” he said on September 1.
Volkswagen is being sued in Australia for allegedly misleading customers by selling modified vehicles that covered up emissions fraud.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims VW intentionally sold more than 57,000 such vehicles over a five-year period.
It is seeking a public declaration of misconduct, financial penalties and corrective advertising.
VW Australia said it is reviewing the ACCC claims.
In a statement, the company said it does not think that the court action “provides any practical benefit to consumers because software solutions for cars affected by the voluntary recall are expected soon”.
Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Michael Bartsch said: “The best outcome for customers whose vehicle is affected is to have the voluntary recall service updates installed.”
The ACCC lawsuit covers 10 VW car models including the top-selling Golf, Passat and Polo,
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement: “These allegations involve extraordinary conduct of a serious and deliberate nature by a global corporation.
“We expect higher standards of behavior from all companies that supply to Australian consumers.”
The world’s second-biggest auto maker is also facing several private class action lawsuits in Australia.
VW has suffered a global backlash since revealing last year that around 11 million of its vehicles had software or so-called “defeat devices” designed to bypass official emissions tests.
The company has since had to pay billions of dollars in fines and settlements with both regulators and customers around the world.
Actor Mel Gibson will not be charged over allegations that he pushed and verbally abused Daily Telegraph’s photographer Kristi Miller in Sydney.
“At this stage, based on the evidence gathered, no formal action will be taken,” said a statement by New South Wales police.
Kristi Miller, 39, complained to police about an incident outside a movie theater on August 23, saying she thought Mel Gibson was “going to punch me”.
Mel Gibson’s publicist said the actor was “satisfied” at the police decision.
Photo Daily Telegraph
The star’s lawyer in Sydney, Christopher Murphy, was informed of the police decision not to press charges on September 3.
“Mel Gibson has totally denied from the onset these disgraceful allegations,” said a statement issued by publicists Rogers and Cowan.
“He is now satisfied that the police, after speaking to witnesses and reviewing CCTV footage and other evidence, have found there is no substance to the claim.”
Kristi Miller claimed Mel Gibson launched into a tirade after she took pictures of the actor and his 24-year-old girlfriend, Rosalind Ross, leaving an Israeli Film Festival screening at the Palace Verona Cinema in a suburb of Sydney on August 23.
Mel Gibson is currently shooting World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge in Australia.
Amber Heard has been charged with smuggling dogs into Australia.
The incident captured global attention after Australia’s agriculture minister angrily ordered the pooches to get out of the country or face death.
Johnny Depp’s wife was charged this week with two counts of illegally importing Pistol and Boo into Australia and one count of producing a false document, the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions said on July 16.
The importation charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of 102,000 Australian dollars ($75,000). The false document charge, which relates to information on an incoming passenger card, carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of AU$10,200.
The scandal began in May, after Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce accused Johnny Depp, 52, of smuggling the couple’s Yorkshire terriers aboard his private jet when he returned to Australia to resume filming of the fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
Australia has strict quarantine regulations to prevent diseases such as rabies from spreading to its shores. Bringing pets into the country involves applying for a permit and quarantine on arrival of at least 10 days.
Amber Heard has been summoned to appear in court over allegations that she smuggled the couple’s dogs into Australia.
Johnny Depp’s came under fire in April for failing to declare Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo to authorities on their arrival in Brisbane.
Australia has strict animal quarantine laws to prevent importing infections.
At the time, a minister said the dogs would be put down if they stayed.
“It’s time Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States,” agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce said.
The dogs left Australia unharmed at few days later.
However, a subsequent Senate hearing was told that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard could be sentenced to as long as 10 years in jail, or be forced to pay a fine of up to $265,000 if they were found guilty of illegally importing then.
Johnny Depp is currently filming the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on Australia’s Gold Coast.
It is Amber Heard who has been ordered to appear in court, Australia’s department of agriculture confirmed.
“Ms Amber Heard was served with a summons issued by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions on July 14,” a statement read.
“The CDPP’s action follows an incident where a biosecurity officer attended a Gold Coast property in April and found two dogs alleged to be illegally imported.
“All animals entering Australia must have an import permit, and have undergone relevant testing and health checks signed off by a government veterinarian from the exporting country to ensure pests and diseases from overseas are not brought here.”
Amber Heard previously criticized the way the case had been handled, and suggested she would not return to the country.
“I have a feeling we’re going to avoid the land Down Under from now on, just as much as we can thanks to certain politicians there,” Amber Heard told Australia’s NBC.
“I guess everyone tries to go for their 15 minutes, including some government officials.”
Twelve young women have tried to leave Melbourne to join the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group.
According to Australian police, the women, aged between 18 and 29, have been recruited on social media.
Five of them are now living with ISIS militants in the conflict zones, according to a special investigation by Victoria Police.
Concern has been rising since mid-2014 about Australians going to the Middle East to fight for ISIS.
Australia’s government will soon introduce legislation allowing it to strip dual citizens fighting in Iraq or Syria of their Australian citizenship.
People working in Australia to support militant groups will also be targeted by the changes.
Task Force Pax was established in April to monitor Victorians believed to be involved with insurgents.
Officials from the task force told local media on May 29 that another four Melbourne women made it as far as Turkey before being turned back by authorities.
One other was stopped by customs officers in Australia while two remain unaccounted for.
The young women are all from Melbourne’s northern and south-eastern suburbs.
According to Assistant Commissioner Tracy Linford, two forensic psychologists had been embedded in the task force to help investigators understand why the young women were trying to join IS.
“The use of psychologists provides us with a far more comprehensive risk assessment and also assists in identifying early intervention opportunities,” she said.
“This gives us the chance to focus on identifying those youths most at risk of radicalization and to engage with them or their families directly.”
Police said the young women were being sold a romantic view of life with ISIS, and had lied to their families about their travel plans.
Authorities were warning parents and friends of young women about the lure of ISIS, saying the women could end up in arranged marriages, or forced into s**ual servitude in the Middle East.
The Australian government believes at least 100 Australians are fighting with militant groups in the Middle East.
Another 150 people in Australia are known to be supporting such groups, while Australia’s intelligence agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), is investigating about 400 high-priority terrorist cases.
Australian broadcaster SBS has decided to fire presenter Scott McIntyre for “disrespectful” tweets about ANZAC Day.
SBS says Scott McIntyre’s remarks breached the organization’s code of conduct.
Tweeting on the centenary of the Gallipoli landings in Turkey during World War One, Scott McIntyre wrote that Australia’s and New Zealand’s soldiers had carried out “summary execution, widespread rape and theft”.
Some reporters criticized SBS’s move.
They suggested that firing Scott McIntyre was against the principle of free speech.
Scott McIntyre, who was SBS’s football reporter and TV presenter, put out a series of tweets on April 25.
The presenter wrote: “Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these <<brave>> Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan.
“The cultification of an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with is against all ideals of modern society.”
Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the posts as “despicable”.
“Difficult to think of more offensive or inappropriate comments,” he wrote.
Scott McIntyre has so far made no public comments on his sacking.
Australia’s PM Tony Abbot was filmed drinking a large glass of beer in only 7 seconds.
Tony Abbott was at a bar in east Sydney on April 18 along with players from the UTS Bats Australian Rules football team.
Some members of the team shouted chants encouraging the prime minister to finish his drink in one move.
Tony Abbott finished the schooner – around two-thirds of a pint – in a little more than 7 seconds.
One of the team’s coaches, Simon Carrodus, told Australian Women’s Weekly: “He proceeds to reach down and grab a schooner and he drank from head-to-toe the entire schooner, dribbling little bits on his shirt.
“He was proud as punch.”
One of Tony Abbott’s predecessors, Bob Hawke, boasted of breaking a world record by drinking two-and-a-half pints of beer in only 11 seconds.
In 2012, at the age of 82, Bob Hawke was filmed drinking a large beer in seconds at a cricket match.
Tony Abbott said last year he enjoyed “a drink on social occasions” but warned of the perils of binge drinking.
The prime minister wrote: “There’s a world of difference between having two or three drinks a night and occasionally a bit more on a Saturday night and this new binge culture.”
After the footage was posted, Tony Abbott came in for some criticism.
One Twitter user said: “Whoop dee doo Abbott chugged a beer. Still can’t run a government.”
Many of the responses were congratulatory. Ben Cubby, the deputy editor of the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, wrote on Twitter: “Say what you like, but Abbott did well with that beer.”
Guy Sebastian will represent Australia at its debut Eurovision Song Contest in May.
The announcement was made in a ceremony at the Sydney Opera House on March 5.
Australia was given a wildcard entry to the 60th edition of the competition, to be held in Vienna, Austria.
It has been fast-tracked to the final and so will not have to compete in the earlier rounds.
Guy Sebastian won the first ever Australian Idol competition in 2003 and has since had eight Top 10 albums and two No 1 singles.
He was a judge on Australia’s version of The X Factor between 2010 and 2012.
Guy Sebastian said he was “pumped” to be performing at the competition.
“It’s Eurovision, it’s huge and keeps growing here in Australia which is nice,” he told ABC news.
Guy Sebastian has yet to choose a song to perform.
“That is still being worked out,” he said.
“I know that I can’t sing something that has been released prior to September, so it doesn’t leave me with a lot.
“Luckily enough I released my album in November… which narrows it down a little bit or I could write something in the next few days.
“I want it to represent us as a nation well but also just be fun or be emotional. Either super fun or like a big ballad or something that showcases my voice.”
The annual song contest is hugely popular in Australia – three million watched the competition in 2014.
The European Broadcasting Union said Australia had been given a pass to the final “to not reduce the chances” of the semi-final participants.
Australia will be allowed to vote in both semi-finals, as well as the grand final.
The possibility of allowing the public to have a 50% stake in the Australian vote through televoting is also being explored.
Australians have participated in the Eurovision contest before, representing other countries. Olivia Newton John sang for the UK in 1974 – coming fourth – as did Gina G in 1996. Jane Comerford represented Germany in 2006.
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