Dad charged after girl, 3, found shot dead

The mother of a three-year-old girl shot dead in their Sydney home has blamed the child’s father, screaming that he shouldn’t have had a gun in the house.


“Not my baby girl, not my baby girl,” the mother screamed as she raced from the Lalor Park home into the street on Sunday night, neighbours recalled.

“I hate you.”

It’s unclear how the girl sustained the single fatal gunshot wound, but police are investigating whether she accidentally fired the weapon herself.

Neighbours spoke of hysterical scenes after the shooting.

“The mother came out, she was … really angry. And she was just screaming,” the neighbour Mark Tapua told reporters on Monday.

“She was just saying it was his fault, he shouldn’t have had a gun in the house.”

The girl’s father, who emerged from the house covered in blood, was charged on Monday with possessing an unregistered sawn-off shotgun and not storing the weapon safely.

The 43-year-old Arncliffe man, who did not live at the house, was also charged with contravening domestic violence orders.

“When police arrived … they found the child had suffered a fatal wound to her neck,” police Superintendent Paul Carrett said.

The mother and daughter and three other children, aged between three and eight, had been in the house at the time.

The father appeared before Blacktown Local Court on Monday and did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

He is scheduled to appear before the same court again on Friday.

Television footage from the scene showed a woman, thought to be the mother, screaming “I hate you… may you rot in hell”, as she was taken away in an ambulance, while a man was sitting in the gutter with his head in his hands.

Dependable skipper Smith falters in Dhaka

So often Australia’s saviour, Steve Smith showed that even he is fallible when he threw his wicket away at the worst possible time during the first Test against Bangladesh.


The visitors resumed on day two in Dhaka at 3-18 after David Warner, Usman Khawaja and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon were all dismissed within 10 balls in the previous day’s final session.

Australia badly needed a steady hand, and who better than Smith, who averaged an astonishing 71.28 during the tour of India earlier this year to cement his status as the world’s premier Test batsman.

Smith started the day looking confident, crunching a half-volley from Shafiul Islam through the covers for four in the second over.

But the following over he was gone for eight after charging down the pitch to a delivery from right-arm off-spinner Mehedi Hasan that went straight past the inside edge and hit leg stump.

It was an uncharacteristic dismissal for Smith, who has proven his ability to grind out big scores under pressure on the subcontinent.

With top-scorers Matt Renshaw (45) and Peter Handscomb (33) both unable to go on after promising starts, the Australians will look to Glenn Maxwell and Matthew Wade to rebuild their innings after reaching 6-123 at lunch.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann spoke ahead of the Test of the importance of his batsmen sacrificing their egos for the good of the team.

“At times, you’ve certainly got to put your ego away with the bat and go slowly, if that makes sense,” Lehmann told FiveAA radio.

“We’re still looking to score but sometimes the game goes slowly and sometimes it goes quickly.

“We’ve just got to really be able to oscillate between those speeds of the game.”

Turnbull calls in energy bosses again

Malcolm Turnbull says the government is taking short and long-term steps to put a lid on power prices.


But the electricity sector says the retail market is not the problem and the prime minister continues to ignore the biggest hurdle – a clean energy target to give investors certainty.

The prime minister flew by helicopter to Cooma on Monday to discuss feasibility work on Snowy Hydro 2.0 with key players.

The project – which would provide 2000MW of underground generation and 29km of tunnels between existing reservoirs in the Snowy Mountains region – will take about six years to complete, depending on geological problems encountered along the way.

Following a cabinet meeting in Canberra on Tuesday, Mr Turnbull will eyeball electricity chiefs for a second time in Sydney on Wednesday to discuss progress on getting power prices down.

“We know there are at least a million households, probably a lot more, that are paying more for electricity than they need to because they are on the wrong plan,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.

“So we are taking action right now to ensure Australians right now are not paying more for their electricity than they need.”

He said in the long-term, renewable energy – supported by projects such as Snowy Hydro 2.0 and a possible third stage – would make power more reliable and affordable.

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren, who will be one of the bosses at Wednesday’s meeting, said enabling investment in new power generation was the best way to drive down energy bills.

“Retailers recognise that many customers are doing it tough, and will be stepping up their efforts to draw attention to the cheap energy market deals which are on offer,” he said.

“The current spike in electricity bills is the result of a shortage of supply in the generation or wholesale market.”

The key to fixing power bills was to adopt the independent advice of chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel and bring in a technology-neutral clean energy target, Mr Warren said.

Mr Turnbull said the government was “working through” the issue of a CET and awaiting a report from the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the government had yet to deliver on its promise to halve gas prices, let alone cut electricity bills.

“Australia is in the midst of a gas and energy price crisis,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

Noting the prime minister was travelling to the Snowy Mountains by chopper for an announcement, Mr Shorten said: “A joy-ride in a helicopter doesn’t help families with their energy bills.”

Mr Turnbull said Labor had failed to put in place protections for domestic gas supply when Mr Shorten was a government minister.

Amaysim eyes cross-selling future

Amaysim has racked up one million mobile subscribers for the first time, helping drive the diversifying telco provider’s full-year underlying earnings up more than 20 per cent.


Amaysim’s underlying earnings for the year to June 30 rose 22.9 per cent to $43.5 million, with the group’s total broadband subscribers rising to about 5,000 and its mobile subscriber base rising 11 per cent.

But net profit fell 6.5 per cent to $11.5 million due to the cost of acquiring online energy retailer Click and further broadband investment through May’s launch Amaysim’s own-branded NBN service.

In August 2016, Amaysim also acquired Australian Broadband Services (AusBBS), adding to its broadband capabilities.

The group plans to incorporate the energy business into its single sign-in platform in FY18 as part of a strategic push to cross-sell.

The Australian energy market is “ripe” for Amaysim’s disruptor approach, chief executive Julian Ogrin said.

“Looking to the future, energy provides us with a terrific opportunity to cross-sell our products to 800,000 households in the group as public awareness of energy costs increases consumers seek better service price and more transparency,” Mr Ogrin said.

The group is now “a more diversified and resilient business” than when it listed on the ASX in July 2015, Mr Ogrin said, with “scope for significant growth.”

The addition of Click – with subscriber growth up 25 per cent at 165,000 – contributed two-month statutory net revenue of $45.7 million.

Mr Ogrin said lower cost customer acquisition helped drive down mobile costs for the year by eight per cent, with the junior telco ‘s average revenue per user (APRU) – a key industry measurement – in line with expectations at $22.46.

The number of exiting customers – the annual churn rate – was also steady at two per cent, with industry surveys recording high customer satisfaction and low complaints.

The company delivered a fully-franked final dividend of 5.1 cents per share, compared to an unfranked 5.3 cents the previous year.

The full-year payout for 2017 was a partially franked 9.1 cents per share.

Amaysim shares closed up 7.5 cents, or 4.5 per cent, at $1.74.


* Net profit down 6.5pct $11.5m

* Underlying profit up 6.3pct to $121,185.

* Revenue up 29pct to $326.7m

* Final dividend of 5.1 cents, taking the total year to 9.1 cents

Iraqi artist’s visions of home strike a chord

The winner of the 19th Liverpool Art Society Exhibition Hedar Abadi says he paints with the intention of capturing the experience of being a refugee in Australia.


Earlier this year his collection entitled ‘Save Our Fish From Drowning’ was exhibited at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Sydney’s south west – the prize for winning the Arts Society’s competition.

The works were informed by Mr Abadi’s early life in Babylon,  fleeing from war-torn Iraq and migration to Australia in 1992.

“My passion for painting started from the river near my house. I used to get the mud when I was five-years-old and I use to make sculptures with it and speak to my works. That’s how it all started, and I call it the ‘toy for the poor’.”

Pamela Rodoreda, Liverpool Art Society’s 2016 exhibition coordinator, says his winning painting ‘Migration’ captured the complexities of the human experience.

‘Migrating’ won Hedar Abadi the Annual Liverpool Art Society scholarship prize.Facebook/Hedar Abbas Abadi

“His art is unique partly at least, because it is often very personal, coming from a place of deep emotions, lived trauma and cultural displacement,” she said.

For the 61-year-old who graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1988, memories of his childhood in Babylon influence his sense of displacement.

“I feel like I’m a fish in an aquarium because I’m living in Australia and everything is beautiful, but I would like to swim in my water – the Al Forat River.”

Power and the natural order of the world are also prominent themes in Mr Abadi’s artworks.

“We live in a world of fish where big fish eats little fish – like America invading Iraq.”

Ms Rodoreda says Mr Abadi is a prolific and accomplished artist who is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects.

“He works hard and I believe he will keep going from strength to strength as he continues to explore the depths of human experience through his painting.”

Hedar Abadi beginning one of his creations.Facebook/Hedar Abbas Abadi





Residential construction boosts Lendlease

Lendlease built a record number of apartments as a big lift in housing completions helped the property giant to an annual profit of almost $760 million.


Lendlease’s net profit for the year to June 30 rose 8.7 per cent as the company finished major commercial projects in Australia and New York and more than doubled the number of completed residential apartments.

“Residential development was a highlight, with a 20 per cent increase in completions to 5,769, driven by the delivery of a record 2,533 apartments,” Lendlease group chief executive Steve McCann said in a statement on Monday.

“We have settled approximately 90 per cent of these apartments to date, with a default rate of less than one per cent.”

Lendlease also finished building New York’s tallest residential tower and some large projects in Australia, including Sydney’s International Convention Centre and Tower One at Barangaroo South, and the Sunshine Coast University and New Bendigo hospitals.

The company said its investments division, which includes interests in retirement living, office blocks and military housing, has also performed well, generating 36 per cent of the group’s operating earnings.

Funds under management grew by 11 per cent to $26.1 billion.

Mr McCann said Lendlease was well placed for the future, with the company the preferred bidder in more than $10 billion of construction work, including the Google headquarters in London.

The company is working on urbanisation projects in Chicago, Boston, New York and Kuala Lumpur and has secured new projects in Milan and San Francisco.

Also, the Haringey Council in London has selected Lendlease as its preferred partner on the $7 billion Haringey Development Vehicle , a 50:50 partnership between Haringey Council and Lendlease to develop some of the council’s land.

Lendlease said it is progressing well in the residential-for-rent sector, with three buildings under construction in the Americas

“These projects further support our stated objective of rebalancing capital and earnings towards out international operations to drive growth,” Mr McCann said.

Lend lease shares closed 10 cents higher on Monday at $16.55.


* Full-year net profit up 8.7pct at $758.6m

* Revenue up 10.4pct at $16.7b

* Final dividend of up three cents to 33 cents per security

Shoe-seller RCG looks to online sales kick

RCG Corporation, owner of The Athlete’s Foot shoe chain, will use three-hour delivery as a drawcard for its online operations to combat the presence of Amazon and amid weak consumer spending.


The shoe retailer, which is also distributor of a string of footwear brands including Vans, Platypus, Merrell and Dr Martens, impressed investors on Monday with earnings at the top of its guidance.

The group’s underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $78.3 million for the year to July 2 was up 30 per cent on the prior year, while its underlying profit rose 21 per cent to $39.9 million.

RCG had downgraded its earnings guidance twice, first in February and then in May from an initial target of $90 million down to $74 million to $80 million.

Co-chief executive Hilton Brett said a decline in consumer spending had hurt sales, particularly during the key December and January trading period.

“We are pleased with the result but we certainly did not achieve what we set out to achieve at the beginning of the financial year,” Mr Brett told AAP.

“Over the last five years there have been basically no wage growth and now we are starting to see employment numbers improve and there are some signs of wage growth.”

However, he said rising power prices and interest rates are still holding back spending and RCG is focusing on digital strategy to boost sales, beat competitors and grow market share.

“We have been working on our digital strategy long before Amazon confirmed it was coming to Australia,” Mr Brett said.

Mr Brett said RCG, which has 430 stores across Australia and New Zealand, plans to launch three-hour delivery to most population centres this financial year, and to roll out more click-and-collect centres.

The rollout of 50 new stores and the August, 2016 acquisition of hip sneaker business Hype DC a year ago helped the strong underlying profit.

However, the group’s $29.2 million statutory net profit was down 2.6 per cent on the prior year after accounting for acquisition-related costs.

The group’s Accent business, which includes Platypus, Skechers, Vans and Timberland, delivered $67.1 million of underlying earnings, up 57 per cent on the prior year.

Earnings for The Athlete’s Foot fell eight per cent to $12.6 million as sales growth slowed while EBITDA in RCG Brands – which includes Merrell, CAT and Saucony – fell 62 per cent to $3 million.

Analysts from investment bank Citi said RCG’s like-for-like sales growth of one per cent during the first seven weeks of the current financial year was weaker than the 2.6 per cent growth it had a year ago.

RCG shares closed five cents higher – a 6.3 per cent gain – at 84 cents.


* Full-year net profit down 2.6pct to $29.2 million

* Underlying net profit up to 21pct to $39.9 million

* Revenue up 43.7pct to $636.15 million

* Final dividend of three cents a share, fully franked, up from 2.5 cents

Watchdog to ‘surgically’ focus on CBA

Malcolm Turnbull says the banking watchdog’s inquiry into Commonwealth Bank will take six months whereas Labor’s idea of a sector-wide royal commission would at best take three years.


The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority on Monday announced it was setting up an inquiry after a series of issues at the Commonwealth Bank that have raised concerns about its governance, culture and accountability.

It will run in tandem with money movement regulator AUSTRAC’s prosecution of CBA over an alleged money-laundering scandal.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described it as yet another inquiry into the banks.

“When will the Turnbull government finally do what it knows needs to be done … which is to have a royal commission into our banks,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

But the prime minister said APRA will “surgically” focus on the CBA and report back in six months.

“If you had a royal commission in the banks … you would be flat out getting an outcome in three years,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Cooma, southern NSW.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said it was appropriate the regulators undertake such inquiries.

“They are taking action now,” the treasurer said.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, while backing APRA’s investigation, is bemused Mr Morrison believes a royal commission is not required.

During the past 18 months alone there had been more than $300 million in fines and compensation paid from across the sector, Mr Bowen said in a joint statement with Labor’s financial services spokeswoman Kay Gallagher.

“The simple fact is we need to ensure Australia’s banking system is customer focused and the best it can be across the board,” they said.

Crowdfunding sought for WA GST legal fight

A West Australian Liberals-led High Court constitutional challenge over the state’s GST share will be financed by crowdfunding and attempt to force the hand of both federal leaders.


The state opposition has talked tough on the unfairness of the GST carve-up but failed to secure any changes during its eight years in government.

The party is now rattling the tin to cover the legal costs of its challenge as it continues to push for bipartisan support from Canberra to change the GST system.

Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said he tried as WA treasurer to get a better deal through negotiations with the federal Liberals and Labor, but the position in the eastern states had since “hardened”.

“Our argument will be the GST is discriminatory against Western Australia and other places, both in terms of the overall allocation and the way it’s administered, and we think we have a good case,” he told 6PR radio on Monday.

Dr Nahan will wait until the Productivity Commission report into the GST distribution is handed down in January and says he expects it to bolster the case.

He denied he was trying to blackmail Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who he said was the only federal leader fighting for a fundamental reform of GST through the Productivity Commission review.

Premier Mark McGowan said he did not want to discourage Dr Nahan, but was told the Barnett government received advice a legal challenge would fail because the current arrangements were “constitutionally sound”.

“Good luck to him and if he wants to take High Court action, I would welcome him proceeding down that course,” Mr McGowan told reporters.

Attorney-General John Quigley said he had received legal advice suggesting the idea was “wishful thinking”.

Mr McGowan has also urged the prime minister to bring a GST solution to the Liberal state conference this weekend.

Meanwhile, federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has derided as a “sugar hit” federal Labor’s plan for a $1.6 billion infrastructure fund to help WA through its GST woes.

Bill Shorten’s plan, announced at the Labor state conference on Saturday, would boost commonwealth funding for WA to the equivalent of a 70 cent floor.

WA’s share is currently about 34 cents.

Mr Morrison says the federal government has already provided top-ups for three years to “stop the drop” in WA’s GST share.

“Bill Shorten has just made another promise like Wayne Swan made promises about setting up funds and Kevin Rudd made promises,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“None of it ever happened.”

IS hold on Tal Afar almost completely gone

Tal Afar is one of the last IS-held towns in Iraq.


But after just eight days of fighting, the Iraqi army now controls 90 per cent of the city.

With militants cleared from all but one neighbourhood, celebrations have already begun.

The Iraqi national flag has been raised in the heart of Tal Afar, while soldiers have begun dismantling IS flags across the city.

Lieutenant General Abdul Jabbar, a commander in the Iraqi army’s 16th Division, has dismissed IS’s resistance.

“Today, we have advanced very quickly, because IS has been completely destroyed and our heroes have protected us from their car bombs and broken through their defences.”

Tal Afar is the latest offensive in the United States-backed war against IS, also known as Daesh.

It comes a month after Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, was fully liberated.

US military adviser Lieutenant Colonel James Downing says the operation to recapture Tal Afar, 70 kilometres to the west, has been swift because the militants are weakened now.

“I think a lot of it has to do with, you know, Daesh took a heavy loss in Mosul. And I think they threw a lot of their best fighters and things like that to help defend that location. And so, when you look at what’s different now versus Mosul, I think that’s a big chunk of it.”

In the weeks before the Tal Afar offensive began, up to 90,000 people were still in the city.

While many have fled, the United Nations has estimated 30,000 civilians are trapped.

Local resident Tarfa Hassan says the fighting has been relentless.

“The army has been fighting so much. Today and yesterday, it was very heavy fighting. It was like hell. They didn’t stop all night.”

Many of the civilians who have fled are being sent to displaced-persons camps across the country.

One of those is Rifaa Khilo, who says, if she had stayed, she would have died.

“There was no electricity, no food, nothing to eat. We were almost dying. There was no work and no medicine. My kidneys have almost failed. It has been three years without medicine or anything.”

In recent months, US-backed Iraqi and Syrian forces have advanced against IS on a number of fronts, although militants still control a few towns in Iraq and large areas in Syria.

In an IS enclave at the Syria-Lebanon border, where IS has fought the Lebanese army on one front and Hezbollah and Syrian troops on the other, a ceasefire has now been reached.

It comes as bodies believed to be those of Lebanese soldiers kidnapped by IS three years ago have been found near the border.

Lebanon’s chief of general security, Abbas Ibrahim, says he is waiting for the DNA test results but it is likely they are the bodies of the missing soldiers.

“We will hand over the bodies to the military hospital and await DNA tests. The science will end all doubts.”

The locating of the bodies was part of a deal reached between the Lebanese army and IS that allows militants to be evacuated to eastern Syria.

The Syrian army, along with Hezbollah, also agreed to the deal, declaring a ceasefire in their own attack against IS.

The deals indicate a level of weakness on IS’s part, with Lebanese sources saying the IS fighters have “succumbed under fire and asked for negotiations.”