€18,000 raised for families of couple who died within hours of each other

Thousands of dollars have been raised to help the families of a British couple who died within hours of each other in Australia.

Jason Francis was hit by a car, reportedly driven by a pizza delivery worker, near the home he shared with partner Alice Robinson in Perth.

Following his death, Ms Robinson, who was said to have been left “heartbroken”, was found dead.

More than A$29,000 (€18,000) has been raised for the families.

Mr Francis had been on a day out with friends from his rugby club, who organised a taxi home for him on Saturday.

The 29-year-old was on the carriageway in the suburb of Scarborough when he was hit by a car driven by an 18-year-old man, Western Australia Police said.

Sam Diamond, president of Cottesloe Rugby Club, said he understood Ms Robinson had gone to investigate when she saw flashing emergency lights. He said: “We don’t know what happened to her after this.”

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Hundreds evacuated from Sydney apartment block over fears it might collapse

Hundreds of residents have been evacuated from an apartment block in Sydney, amid structural fears.

Police and fire services in New South Wales have reported that over 100 people have been evacuated from the newly opened 33-storey building.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that residents have been evacuated after loud “cracking noises” were heard coming from the building.

A number of other buildings in the vicinity have also been evacuated.

Concerns were raised, it says, at around 2.45pm local time over the building, which is located near to Australia Avenue.

Fire and Rescue New South Wales reported that an emergency services operation was underway “following concerns about structural integrity of a 30-storey residential building”.

Exclusion zones are in place, it said, while it is on scene with specialist equipment designed to monitor the building for any more movement.

“It’s not going to be done in minutes, hopefully it doesn’t take much longer than hours,” said Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman Greg Wright.

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From ScoMo and Xi to Goop and #MeToo: Australia Looks Back at 2018

The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau chief. Sign up to get it by email.


Another year on its way out the door, and what a year it’s been.

Australia lost a prime minister. The United States gained a congressional check on President Trump’s power and China found itself with a leader for life in Xi Jinping.

Power shifted elsewhere too. The world’s technology dynamos, especially Facebook and Tesla, battled stiff headwinds and criticism as they continued to reshape how we all interact, for good or ill, while abusive men continued to fall like dominoes in year two of the #MeToo movement.

Here at The New York Times, we tried to keep you up to date and add our particular perspective — global, nuanced, fair — at least as often as we could.

So to finish off 2018, we’ve pulled together some of our most popular articles and themes for Australian readers, with some additional links from Crikey, the (very) independent Australian news source we’ve partnered with in our Morning Briefing, Australia Edition.

If you’ve enjoyed free access to those Crikey articles via the briefing, Crikey has a special offer for you: you can save $40 and get an additional two months for free when you take out an annual membership and use the promocode NYTXCRIKEY.

You’re also welcome, of course, to purchase a New York Times subscription for yourself or that special someone you’ll be arguing with over the holidays.

Here’s how to make sure you’re prepared: Our Big Stories of 2018, from Australia and the great beyond.


Shifting Leaders

Australia got a new prime minister this year. Again. We looked for answers in Canberra with Scott Morrison, and even in his church, while Crikey had a lot to say about Malcolm Turnbull.

• Scott Morrison Is a New Kind of Australian Prime Minister: An Evangelical Christian: Australia’s new leader has talked openly and often about his evangelical Christian faith — a rarity in Australian politics.

• Opinion | Trump Finally Makes a Friend: Maureen Dowd sits down with Scott Morrison and discovers that while the president may be shunned nearly everywhere, in Australia, he has finally found a loyal mate.

• Crikey: Thus Passes the Goriness of the World. Malcolm Turnbull, the wheeler-dealer son of a pub broker, finally ended up in a room he couldn’t pass through on the way to something else.


#MeToo, Year Two

In 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker set off an unprecedented movement that forced out some of the world’s most powerful titans of industry. But did the movement turn out to have limits?

• #MeToo Brought Down 201 Powerful Men. Nearly Half of Their Replacements Are Women. After Harvey Weinstein’s spectacular fall (and all those who toppled after), companies were left with vacant leadership positions. Who would be less “risky” to fill them – men or women?

• The Cost of Telling a #MeToo Story in Australia Yael Stone’s account of Geoffrey Rush’s alleged sexual harassment, as told to Bari Weiss, was widely discussed due to the story’s complexity of complicitness. What if you had encouraged your harasser?

• Crikey: The limits of Me Too and the traumatic Personal Narrative: #MeToo isn’t a movement, Helen Razer argues. It hasn’t moved for a year.


Climate Catastrophe

• Australia Wilts From Climate Change. Why Can’t Its Politicians Act? Why, despite Australia’s reputation for progressiveness on gun control, health care and wages, do its energy politics seem forever doomed to devolve into a circus?

• Where Do Birds Flock Together? Australians Are Mailing In Feathers to Help Find Out: A fun story about clever crowdsourcing of climate change research — by asking Australians to pick up feathers and put them in the post.

• Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change: A long but essential read, worth revisiting over the holidays. A tragic story of this planet and how nothing stood in our way to save it – but ourselves.

• Crikey: Australia Can’t Afford Another Decade of Climate Inaction: There are many ways Australia can turn this all around, Chris Wood writes. But we can’t sit on our hands any longer.


China Rules

The New York Times’s most ambitious international series this year, China Rules, showed how a country mired in poverty beat the odds to become a superpower. It was one effort among many to explain China’s strengths and weaknesses.

• The Land That Failed: The West was sure the Chinese approach would not work. It just had to wait. It’s still waiting.

• How China Walled Off The Internet: Censorship and why it works for China.

• China Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal: ‘Transformation.’

• In China, Desperate Patients Smuggle Drugs. Or Make Their Own. Despite health insurance, terminally ill patients have to hunt around the world and on the internet for ways to stay alive.

• Crikey: What Are Morrison’s Chances of Reconciling With China? Scott Morrison is quietly continuing Malcolm Turnbull’s attempts to mend relations with the wannabe regional hegemon, but he has his work cut out for him.


Tech’s Dystopian Year

So much to discuss…

• Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble: Yes, it’s driven by greed — but the mania for cryptocurrency could wind up building something much more important than wealth.

• A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge: “I am convinced the devil lives in our phones.”

• Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis

• Crikey: My Health Record Could be Our Worst Government Data Breach Yet


People You Need to Know

Get to know the already-known.

• Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father One of the Times’s biggest investigations of 2018 blew the lid once and for all off President Trump’s false claim to be a self-made billionaire – revealing he in fact received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father.

• How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million Jade eggs? Moon juice? Psychic Vampire Repellent? The more you laugh, the more Gwyneth Paltrow laughs all the way to the bank. An essential celebrity profile of 2018.

• The Comedy-Destroying, Soul-Affirming Art of Hannah Gadsby The Year of Hannah Gadsby seems set to roll right into 2019, with whispers of her even hosting the Oscars. Read how the creator of tragicomedy “Nanette” is navigating her phenomenal ascent.

• Australians Can’t Get Enough of the Barefoot Investor It’s a cult, people joke, with its members identifiable by their orange bank cards and babble about “mojo accounts” (I should know, I’m one of them.) This profile on Scott Pape reveals just how a financial advisor managed to become an adored national celebrity.

• Crikey: I Spent a Week Living by Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life “By Tuesday I wanted to die.” (A preview of how Helen Razer’s week went writing this article.)


…And We Recommend

• The 10 Best Books of 2018 Lounge chair? Cold drink at the ready? Time to start working your way through this list (Tommy Orange’s “There, There” is a perfect place to start).

• How to Be Better at Parties A challenge for 2019 – don’t get out your phone when the small talk peters out. Here’s how to navigate the holiday fun with minimal anxiety!

• Melissa Clark’s Summery Peach & Raspberry Pie Summer is great, but wouldn’t it be better baked in a buttery, golden crust?The 65 Best Songs of 2018 Don’t @ us. (Warning: this may end friendships.)

• In Suburban South Australia, Real-Deal Mexican Hides in Plain Sight One of our favourite of Besha Rodell’s restaurant reviews of the year (and yours too!). Packed with surprise, delight and tacos “Mexican” or “Aussie-style.”

Damien Cave is the Australia bureau chief for The New York Times. He’s covered more than a dozen countries for The Times, including Mexico, Cuba, Iraq and Lebanon. Follow him on Twitter: @damiencave.

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Actress says Rush used mirror 'to watch her as she showered'

Geoffrey Rush, the Academy award-winning actor, yesterday faced fresh allegations of inappropriate behaviour by an actress, amid his defamation battle with a newspaper over separate claims.

Australian actress Yael Stone (33) said Rush danced naked in front of her in their dressing room when she starred opposite him in ‘The Diary of a Madman’ in 2010 and 2011. She said he used a mirror to watch her as she showered, and accused him of sending her erotic texts.

Rush (67) said in a statement published by ‘The New York Times’ that Stone’s allegations were “incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context”.

He is suing Sydney’s ‘Daily Telegraph’ after a story in November last year reported the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint about him when he was working there.

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Squirrels ‘smuggled by plane to Australia’

A man was intercepted at an Australian airport after flying from Indonesia with two live squirrels smuggled in his luggage, authorities say.

The Australian resident may face criminal charges after the animals were detected at Brisbane Airport last week.

Both squirrels were put down after being deemed a biosecurity risk, Australian authorities said.

The nation has strict quarantine laws that famously caught out actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in 2015.

The squirrels allegedly travelled in checked-in luggage from Bali, which is about six hours by plane from Brisbane and a popular holiday destination for Australians. Authorities have not named a possible motive.

“The frightening thing around that case around the two squirrels is that half of his Instagram followers thought it was a great idea to do that,” Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told the Australian Associated Press.

“These animals bring pests and diseases that could actually hurt many Australians so it’s important that we aren’t ignorant to biosecurity.”

People who violate Australia’s biosecurity laws face fines or up to five years in prison, according to the Australian Border Force.

In 2016, Depp and Heard had to record an apology video after smuggling their dogs, Pistol and Boo, into Australia and becoming embroiled in a row that drew much attention.

Last month, former NBA player Lamar Patterson was also stopped at Brisbane Airport with his pet dog. The dog was seized and deported.

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Australian Government Passes Contentious Encryption Law

CANBERRA, Australia — The Australian Parliament passed a contentious encryption bill on Thursday to require technology companies to provide law enforcement and security agencies with access to encrypted communications.

Privacy advocates, technology companies and other businesses had strongly opposed the bill, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government said it was needed to thwart criminals and terrorists who use encrypted messaging programs to communicate.

“This ensures that our national security and law enforcement agencies have the modern tools they need, with appropriate authority and oversight, to access the encrypted conversations of those who seek to do us harm,” Attorney General Christian Porter said.

Opponents of the bill argued that it not only compromised Australians’ privacy but was vaguely written in a way that could lead to abuses. They also said it was being rushed through Parliament without proper consultation with the public. Lizzie O’Shea, a human rights lawyer, called it “a terrible truncation of the process.”

Ms. O’Shea has written that the bill has global implications, arguing that the United States and other allies want Australia to “lead the charge” in giving security agencies access to encrypted data.

“Once you’ve built the tools, it becomes very hard to argue that you can’t hand them over to the U.S. government, the U.K. — it becomes something they can all use,” Ms. O’Shea said on Thursday. She was referring to the English-speaking countries that share intelligence under the so-called Five Eyes agreement: Australia, Britain, Canada New Zealand and the United States.

Rodger Shanahan, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, said the bill addressed a legitimate need to give the authorities access to encrypted data.

“I know it’s a very sensitive issue, but the people arguing privacy just don’t have a handle on how widespread it’s used by the bad people,” he said. “It’s pretty universal.”

Mr. Shanahan said he had been privy to many national security cases in which suspects used encrypted messaging services to communicate with people overseas. “They’re on WhatsApp and Telegram and Kik, that’s how they do it,” he said.

Fergus Hanson of the Australian Security Policy Institute said that the bill had largely been framed as an antiterrorism measure, but it really had more to do with fighting crime on the state and federal levels.

“I think the police forces are looking at this through the lens that it’s hard, much harder for them to get access to content now, and so they want to address the ‘going dark’ problem across the board,” he said.

Australian tech companies have said that the bill could hurt their business overseas, because customers would doubt their promises to protect encrypted data. The industry has also argued that any “back door” that companies are required to create for law enforcement to access encrypted data would also be vulnerable to hacking.

In a submission to Parliament, Apple challenged “the idea that weakening encryption is necessary to aid law enforcement.” It added, “In just the past five years alone, we have processed over 26,000 requests from Australian law enforcement agencies for information to help investigate, prevent and solve crimes.”

The Australian Information Industry Association, an advocacy group representing digital companies, said it had “no confidence” in the government as far as the bill was concerned.

“The proposed powers are unprecedented, their remit unnecessarily broad, and the consequences of their use completely unknown,” said Kishwar Rahman, general manager of policy and advocacy for the group.

She said its members were committed to working with the authorities “to address operational concerns identified as arising from the use of encrypted technologies,” but that they would “use all available mechanisms to push back if the overly broad notices impact the security or privacy of their customers.”

The bill was nearly derailed on Thursday by an unrelated issue: Australia’s widely criticized offshore detention policy, under which migrants who try to reach the country by boat are held on remote islands and denied permission to settle in Australia.

A few migrants who have been detained offshore for years have recently been allowed to enter Australia for medical treatment. Legislation debated Thursday, which Mr. Morrison opposed, would have allowed more migrants to do so.

The reason a fight over refugees nearly stalled the unrelated encryption bill is a little complicated. The encryption bill had passed the lower chamber of Parliament, the House, and was being debated in the Senate. Opposition senators wanted amendments that would have required sending it back to the House.

But that would have also led to a vote on the migrant legislation, which almost certainly would have passed. Rather than allow that to happen, Mr. Morrison let the session in the House expire without a vote. Parliament will not reconvene until February.

In the end, the opposition Labor Party dropped its amendments to the encryption bill, after the government promised to take them up in the new year. The opposition seemed to be swayed by the government’s argument that the bill was needed before the holidays, when terrorist attacks could be more likely.

“I’m not willing to go home and see a terror event happen — which we’re told is less likely than more likely — but I’m not going to have on my conscience Morrison’s hostage-taking tactics where he cancels his own work, goes home and lets Australians swing in the breeze,” the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, told reporters late Thursday.

Vicky Xiuzhong Xu contributed reporting.

Jamie Tarabay covers Australia for The New York Times. @jamietarabay

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Ex-archbishop’s cover-up conviction quashed

A former Catholic archbishop in Australia has had his conviction for concealing child sexual abuse quashed.

A judge in New South Wales said there were reasonable doubts about Philip Wilson’s conviction.

Mr Wilson, 68, had become the world’s most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of covering up sexual abuse when his trial ended in May.

But he consistently denied knowing that paedophile priest James Patrick Fletcher had abused boys in the 1970s.

Mr Wilson launched an appeal at which Judge Roy Ellis was asked to consider whether prosecutors had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Wilson had failed to report allegations against Fletcher after the priest had been charged.

Fletcher was convicted of nine child sexual abuse charges in 2004, and died in jail in 2006.

At the earlier trial, Magistrate Robert Stone said Mr Wilson had stayed silent out of a desire to protect the Church’s reputation. Mr Wilson avoided jail after his conviction and was serving home detention.

But Judge Ellis said Mr Wilson had been honest and consistent.

The judge said he had considered whether Mr Wilson had taken the “reasonable position of having an open mind about the allegations, so that he would not have reported them to police until he had a strong belief they were true”.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide released a statement saying: “We welcome the conclusion of a process that has been long and painful to all concerned.”

Mr Wilson resigned as archbishop in July, remaining an ordained bishop with no official role.

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In Sydney, an Arrest and a Podcast Break Silence Around High School Sexual Misconduct

SYDNEY, Australia — The 36-year-old cold case had always been memorable: Lynette Dawson, a nurse and child care worker, vanished from a suburb of Sydney, leaving two young daughters behind. Days later, her husband, an athlete turned teacher, moved in with the couple’s 16-year-old babysitter. She was his student, and they were having an affair.

These details and others are at the center of “Teacher’s Pet,” a podcast whose investigative journalism has catapulted it to 27 million downloads and the top of the charts of true crime.

After almost four decades of speculation, the police arrested Chris Dawson, 70, and on Wednesday he is expected to be charged in Sydney with the homicide of his wife. It was an “important step forward” toward justice for the Dawson family, said Mick Fuller, the New South Wales police commissioner.

The arrest has vindicated the suspicions of those who believe that Mr. Dawson killed his wife in order to be with his girlfriend. Greg Simms, Mrs. Dawson’s brother, told The Australian the family was “completely over the moon” with the development.

Since his wife’s disappearance in 1982, Mr. Dawson has maintained his innocence, saying that she abandoned her family. On Wednesday, his family said it was “disappointed” with the decision, adding, “We have no doubt whatsoever that Chris will be found not guilty as he is innocent.”

But the podcast has also sparked a conversation for women and men who came of age in the 1980s about a pervasive culture of impunity, which enabled Mr. Dawson to date his student. As the podcast has become more popular, former high school students have spoken out about teachers who exploited their positions to enter sexual relationships with students, and many adults who turned a blind eye.

Kate McAuley was one such teenager, at Beacon Hill Public School in the late 1980s, a time when she struggled with problems at home and felt like she was on the periphery. At 14, she said, she was targeted by a male teacher, who began asking her to stay after class and touching her inappropriately. Like Mr. Dawson, he was in a romantic relationship with another woman, one of his former students, Ms. McAuley said.

“I just thought it was normal,” she said. “Now, looking back, it’s not O.K. None of it was O.K.”

The extent of the predation was “disgusting,” she said. “People were more worried about a man’s reputation than protecting women.”

Now, the silence is breaking. Angered by the lack of consequences and emboldened by the conversation around “Teacher’s Pet,” a class of women and men who grew up targeted by predatory teachers are sharing their stories and calling for accountability.

“When a man in his 30s has any kind of intimate relationships with a girl who is 16, 17, that’s sexual assault,” said Robyn Wheeler, a former student at Cromer High School, where Mr. Dawson taught his family’s babysitter, Joanne Curtis, who was 16 at the time.

Ms. Wheeler has led the charge to expose the extent of sexual abuse at the school in the 1980s, and alleged that at least six teachers were in relationships with students while she studied there. During an overnight trip for a sporting tournament, she said, teachers brought alcohol and encouraged girls to drink.

“The environment was compounded by a lack of unwillingness by those in authority to exercise a duty of care,” she said, alleging that the Department of Education and the police had turned a blind eye.

Since the podcast’s release, more people have come forward to share their experiences, and at least 20 teachers have been accused of misconduct. “Its been quite cathartic to be able to sit down with some of the people who have been victims and say, ‘You do realize you did nothing wrong,’” Ms. Wheeler said.

“A woman’s life is not indisposable like it was in the past,” said Susan Harris Rimmer, a law professor at Griffith University in Queensland. “I think institutions now have to prove their moral worthiness where they just didn’t before.”

A new police task force was formed in July to investigate these historical sexual assault allegations, The Australian reported. Ms. Wheeler said she had been working with the police investigation into allegations.

For those following the case of Mrs. Dawson’s disappearance as it grew colder over the decades, the arrest was a shockingly tangible update. In 2001, a coroners’ inquest concluded that a “known” person had killed Mrs. Dawson. A second inquest in 2003 recommended that Mr. Dawson be charged in her death, but the director of public prosecutions declined to press charges, citing a lack of evidence.

The case stagnated until 2015, when the police opened another investigation, and in April, officials submitted a new evidence brief to the director of public prosecutions. In September, officials excavated the Dawsons’ former house in search of her body, to no avail.

The release of “Teacher’s Pet” in May rekindled public interest in the case — the podcast has topped charts in Australia, the United States and Canada, and won Australia’s most prestigious journalism award — and its popularity seemed to ramp up with developments in the case.

On Wednesday, the police thanked the news media and the public for playing a role in the arrest, saying that while the attention was not “crucial,” the interest had helped them uncover new evidence. They will continue to search for Mrs. Dawson’s body.

The Dawsons lived in the Northern Beaches district, a suburb of Sydney known for its oceanfront real estate and wealthy residents — and as the original setting for Liane Moriarty’s novel turned TV show, “Big Little Lies,” which depicts domestic violence.

“A lot of beautiful places in Australia have a bit of a dark side,” Ms. Harris Rimmer said.

Sitting at a cafe near Dee Why Beach in the district, Amber Cooper, a local resident, said that as a high school student in 2001, she remembers a phys-ed teacher being fired for inappropriate behavior. “Everyone knew he was a creep,” she said.

Because of the #MeToo moment, she said, people are starting to speak up — even though some do not like talking about the problems under the neighborhood’s surface. “It’s a great area, but people don’t realize that the problems that happen in bad areas happen here,” she said.

More recent students, though, said the high schools here seem to be safer now.

Five minutes from the beach, Cromer High School, now named Cromer Campus, stands on a remote road surrounded by tall trees. At the soccer pitch across the street, a few students were waiting for a lesson. “I think it was such a long time ago, it doesn’t really affect anyone of our age,” said James Kain, a 21-year-old coach. He caught bits and pieces of the case through the news, but has never heard of any faculty misconduct at the high schools he attended in the Northern Beaches.

“It’s a good place to grow up,” he said.

But for those who remember Cromer High School during the 1980s, the experience left scars. Ms. McAuley said it made her certain that life was better outside of the Northern Beaches. “It made me want to find home, or the idea of home elsewhere,” she said. At 19, she moved away from Australia, vowing never to live here again.

“From the outside, I grew up in an idyllic environment,” she said. “The beaches are so beautiful, we have the sun, the great weather. But part of it was rotten.”

Follow Isabella Kwai on Twitter: @bellakwai.

Want more Australia coverage and discussion? Join us in our Facebook group, sign up for the weekly Australia Letter and start your day with the Australian Morning Briefing.

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Australia’s ‘cull or be kind’ dilemma

Wild animals in Australia that pose a threat to humans or livestock have been systematically shot, trapped and poisoned for more than two centuries.

Crocodiles, sharks and dingoes are among Australia’s most feared wild animals, subject to major culls following attacks on humans. Kangaroos, which feature on the national coat of arms, have been killed to protect grazing land and even racetracks.

But an embryonic movement to live more harmoniously with native and some non-native animals is slowly taking hold in scientific and government circles, and in some parts of the country, scientists, farmers and local authorities are working together to find kinder and more effective ways to live with wildlife.

Culling controversies

At the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in New South Wales, Dan Ramp heads the Centre for Compassionate Conservation. He says the theory of compassionate conservation has moral, scientific and economic credibility.

“Years of research shows us that killing animals often makes no difference to the conservation targets we have set ourselves, so we need to think about other ways of engaging.”

A prime example of the failure of programmes that try to control animals by culling can be found in Western Australia.

Last summer, following a spate of fatal attacks by great white sharks, the state government instituted a 13-week trial where baited drum lines were set off Perth beaches.

During the trial, which cost the government A$1.3m (£710,000; $1.14m), 68 sharks were caught and shot, but none of them were great whites.

In New South Wales, Mr Ramp is working with Bathurst Regional Council, after its 2009 cull of kangaroos near the Mount Panorama motorcar racing circuit provoked an international outcry.

Bathurst Regional Councillor Jess Jennings says that about 90% of the 6km track has now been fenced and the council has retained UTS scientists to monitor kangaroo behaviour so they can be better managed when races are held.

“Culling all the local kangaroos would hurt tourism – and still couldn’t guarantee that a single lost kangaroo travelling through the area wouldn’t jump the fence onto the track,” says Mr Jennings.

In Victoria, tourism and local governments have protected a population of penguins by introducing a pair of Maremma guardian dogs, a breed whose natural territorial behaviour deters local foxes that had previously devastated the colony.

Since the dogs arrived in 2006, penguin numbers have climbed from 10 to nearly 200 – and it has been done without wiping out foxes.

“It’s a great project that the whole community is very proud of,” says Peter Abbott, Warrnambool City council tourism manager, although he admits that baiting and shooting foxes is still carried out beyond the penguin colony.

Bathurst sheep farmer Ian Whalan lost many lambs to foxes before he invented a sequential light system that deters the animals at night.

His Foxlights are now used to deter nocturnal predators worldwide, including protecting yaks from snow leopards in Nepal and deterring elephants from raiding crops in Zambia.

But despite isolated moves towards compassionate conservation, most wildlife management in Australia takes a terminal view.

“By far the option of choice for animal control in Australia is killing,” says Greg Baxter, president of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society, which represents wildlife researchers and practitioners in the Australian region.

He agrees lethal methods may be less effective in the long term but says landowners want fast, visible results.

“They want to see fox pelts and dingo pelts hanging on a string of barbed wire to show something has happened,” he says.

Adapting to ecosystems

Brad Purcell, a Churchill Fellow and now a lecturer in environmental management at the University of Western Sydney, spent years tracking dingoes in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, examining the role the wild dogs play in the local ecosystem.

He found that dingoes hunt selectively, controlling not just the population but also the behaviour of their prey, and affecting the whole ecosystem.

“Kangaroos become more cautious and more wary, and assign sentinel animals so they are constantly on the lookout and don’t forage simultaneously.”

“When a dingo comes, the mob will scatter, hiding in a shrubby area and then later feeding on a different hillside,” he says.

This wider distribution of species and their feeding habits has a huge impact on the landscape, he adds, and helps vegetation regenerate.

Wild dogs are currently a declared pest, with rangers and landowners obliged to eradicate them, often using costly poisoned baits. Mr Purcell says the strategy does not work because when one pack is cleared another usually moves into the area.

He says understanding the behaviour of dingoes is key to peaceful co-existence, and techniques like deterrent lights, marking territory with other dog scents and staggering livestock rotation to fit with dingo breeding seasons will deliver wider benefits.

“Ultimately, we need to adapt to the ecosystem rather than make the ecosystem adapt to us.”

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Gangland lawyer named as police informant

The convictions of some of Australia’s most high-profile criminals have been cast into doubt after a lawyer was revealed to be a police informant.

The defence barrister, who represented notorious organised crime figures, gave information to Victoria Police between 2005-2009, court documents show.

The state government have announced a public inquiry to determine how many convictions were directly affected.

The case came to light when court injunctions were lifted on Monday.

It was the culmination of a two-year court battle in which the police tried to prevent the disclosure of the lawyer’s identity to her clients, but the High Court ruled against them.

In a scathing judgement, the court said the Victoria Police department was guilty of “reprehensible conduct” by encouraging the lawyer to provide information about her clients.

“The prosecution of each convicted person was corrupted in a manner which debased fundamental premises of the criminal justice system,” the judgement said.

The barrister, who cannot be named for legal reasons, represented key figures in Melbourne’s criminal underworld during a period of heightened gang violence.

A vicious gangland feud that claimed at least 28 lives in the city ended more than a decade ago, but detectives say that tensions still fester.

The lawyer kept in daily contact with her police handlers and was given the code name 3838, according to court documents.

Her clients included the high-profile crime boss Tony Mokbel and six of his associates.

In 2012, Mokbel was jailed for a minimum of 22 years for masterminding a drug trafficking operation.

The documents show that the police tried to stop prosecutors from informing the convicted men about their lawyer’s role as a police informant.

But the High Court’s decision to lift injunctions on the case means criminals will now be sent a letter notifying them of the case.

They could then appeal against their convictions, meaning their sentences could be reduced or convictions quashed altogether.

While the documents only mentioned Mokbel and his associates, Australian media report that hundreds more convictions could be affected.

Speaking on Monday, Victoria Police Chief Graham Ashton defended the use of the lawyer as an informant.

“Melbourne was in the grip of what is now rightly known as the gangland wars,” he told reporters. “The risk to the community at this time was significant.”

He said that, in 2009, the police department changed how it deals with informants and so a similar incident would not be possible now.

He added that the department would cooperate fully with the public inquiry.

The inquiry was announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who said the public had a “right to know that every part of the justice system acts fairly and lawfully at all times”.

He said it will be given a budget of A$7.5m (£4.3m, $5.4m) and will begin investigating early next year with the aim of releasing a final report in December.

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