Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk

New electricity provider could save you hundreds of dollars from today

Gold Coasters could slash their household bill by hundreds of dollars each year, thanks to a new player in the electricity market.

Alinta Energy will offer new residential and small business customers a two year discount of 25 percent from today as part of its joint venture with government-owned CS Energy.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government had been sparked into action by soaring power prices which are causing about 460 Queenslanders a week to be disconnected.

“This new venture will inject new competition into the retail market and I am pleased our government-owned corporations like CS Energy are actively helping to put downward pressure on power prices to benefit consumers,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Now is the time for all retailers to step up and see if they can match these lower price offers. They are welcome to discuss potential opportunities with our government-owned generators for similar creative and structured products.”

Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government’s Powering Queensland Plan had helped deliver the lowest wholesale prices in the national electricity market.

“I also encourage Queenslanders to check their eligibility to a range of concessions and rebates, including the increased $340.85 annual electricity bill rebate,” Mr Pitt said.

To check your eligibility for Queensland Government concessions and rebates visit www.qld.gov.au/smartsavings

Australian Defence Force under attack over gender recruitment strategy

Men are reportedly losing out on jobs within the Australian Defence Force as it looks to increase the number of women in its ranks.

News Corp has reported staff were told to only recruit women for upcoming roles and have been threatened they’ll be reassigned if they don’t comply.

In the last week, of the 50 army jobs posted, only 15 were available to men.

The numbers are similar for the air force and navy.

Only one of the 18 navy jobs currently listed is open to males. And in the Air Force, all seven jobs listed are for women.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the women already working in defence will inspire the next generation.

“If you can’t see it you can’t be it. You’re being it, you’re being seen and others will follow in your footsteps,” Turnbull said in March.

“There are so many young girls that will look at you and say: ‘I can do that, and that is important.'”

In a lengthy post on his website former Army Officer Bernard Gaynor said that despite the Australian Defence Force working to recruit women, we shouldn’t “expect to see battalions of females marching around anytime soon”.

“The Army might want ‘em but the love is only one way. The vast majority of Australian women are simply not interested. And you know what, that is actually normal and natural,” Gaynor said.

“Of course, Army recruiters have been told that if there are no suitable females but a qualified male is ready to go, they still cannot enlist him,” he continued.

“I hate to tell it to you guys, but you’re being ignored even if you are stronger, fitter, faster.”


Cassie Sainsbury’s plea deal rejected by Colombian court

UPDATE @ 7.40am: A COLOMBIAN judge has formally rejected Cassie Sainsbury’s plea deal for a reduced sentence of six years.

The decision was handed down by Judge Sergio Leon in a Bogota court this morning.

The 22-year-old was caught with close to six-kilograms of cocaine in her luggage in April.

The accused Australian drug smuggler is now facing the possibility of spending a potential 20 year sentence in a Colombian prison.


EARLIER @ 7.15am: Accused drug smuggler Cassie Sainsbury has arrived at a Colombian court to offer a plea deal.

Under the new deal the Australian would serve six years behind bars at El Buen Pastor Jail, if the judge signs off on the agreement she reached with prosecutors.

Judge Sergio Leon suspended a hearing back in July after Sainsbury said she’d only agreed to smuggle the cocaine after her family had been threatened.

Her lawyer Orlando Herran said she plans to stick by this story when she appears in court, meaning her case will likely go to trial.

He also said Sainsbury was worried about her reputation and what Australians think of her, as she refused to back down on her story.

The plea is a risky move however, if she is unable to prove the claim she was threatened she’ll go to trial and face between 21 and 30 years in jail.

The 22-year-old was caught with close to six-kilograms of cocaine in her luggage in April.



More to come…

Government’s same-sex marriage plebiscite rejected by the Senate

UPDATE @ 11.00am: For the second time, the Senate has rejected the Turnbull Governments same-sex marriage plebiscite.

The postal vote is now likely to go ahead following the decision on Wednesday morning.

The postal plebiscite is expected to cost $122 million and would see ballot papers, asking Australians if they believe same-sex couples should marry, arriving in letter boxes by September 12.


EARLIER @ Aug 9, 7.45am: The Turnbull government will resubmit their same-sex marriage plebiscite to the senate today.

It’s the second time the bill will be voted on by the Upper House.

If it is again rejected, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann revealed on Tuesday that a postal plebiscite will be put forward.

The postal vote is expected to cost $122 million and would see ballot papers, asking Australians if they believe same-sex couples should marry, arriving in letter boxes by September 12.

“Strong leaders carry out their promises. Weak leaders break them. I’m a strong leader,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra yesterday.

The postal vote will be run by the the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

EARLIER @ Aug 8, 7.50am: Debate continues in Canberra over same sex marriage, after the Liberal Party held a series of meetings on Monday.

Liberal MPs met for two hours last night, where they voted to put a plebiscite before Parliament for a second-time.

If the legislation fails to pass the Senate, a voluntary postal vote which would give Australians the option to vote for or against same sex marriage, would likely be the next step.

The government is committed to keep faith with the promise we made at the last election,” Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann told reporters.

“If that were to fail, the government believes that we have a legal and constitutional way forward to give the Australian people a say on whether or not the definition of marriage should be changed through a non-legislated, voluntary postal plebiscite”.

Sky News reports the postal plebiscite is likely to cost in excess of $40 million.


Man charged with murder after fight at Gold Coast hospital

A man has been charged with murder following a brutal fight at the Gold Coast University Hospital on Friday.

The violent altercation is alleged to have broken out just after 8.00am, while two men, aged 53 and 38, were both attending the Southport Hospital.

“It will be further alleged that as a result of the altercation, the 53-year-old Townsville man suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital on Sunday,” police said in a statement.

The 38-year-old man has since been charged with one count of murder and is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court this morning.

Police said the men were not known to each other.