Foreign visitors flocking to Australia


* How many foreign tourists came here?

Overall numbers jumped nine per cent to a record 7.


9 million in the year to June.

* How much did they spend?

A record $40.6 billion, up seven per cent. Chinese visitors splashed the most cash, $9.8b. Tourists spent almost half their money before arriving on items including accommodation, transport, tours, food, drink and entertainment.

* Which countries were most from?

New Zealand pipped China to remain Australia’s biggest source of international tourists, 1.23m compared to 1.16m. However America posted the strongest growth, up 14 per cent to a record 706,000. There was also strong growth from India, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany and the Netherlands.

* Why did they come?

Mainly to holiday and visit family and friends. Holidaymakers accounted for half all international tourist arrivals and they spent $16.7m. Education was a key reason to visit for 550,000 international visitors, who spent $11b.

* Where did they go?

NSW was the top destination, with foreign numbers leaping 10 per cent to four million. Victoria was next with 2.8m followed by Queensland with 2.7m. The ACT was the least popular destination with just 221,000 foreign visitors.

* What did they spend on?

Accommodation, food and drink topped the list, with $12.3b, followed by $4.6b on package tours and $3.8m on shopping. About $5.7b was spent on education fees and $1.6b on local transport.


* NZ: 1.23 million tourists spent $2.7 billion

* China: 1.16m spent $9.8b

* US: 706,000 spent $3.8b

* UK: 682,000 spent $3.5b

* Japan: 391,000 spent $1.8b

* Singapore: 385,000 spent $1.5b

* Malaysia: 359,000 spent $1.3b

* Korea: 269,000 spent $1.5b

* India: 261,000 spent $1.4b

* Germany: 202,000 spent $1.2b

* Other countries: 2.2m spent $12.2b

* Total: 7.9 million tourists spent $40.6 billion

(Source: International Visitor Survey, Tourism Research Australia)

Far right protesters storm Melbourne council meeting over Australia Day decision

Protesters from a far right group stormed an inner Melbourne council meeting after its decision to scrap Australia Day ceremonies.


Seven men from the Party for Freedom group disrupted the City of Yarra council meeting in Richmond on Tuesday night, waving flags and chanting, Mayor Amanda Stone said.

“It was disruptive and it was disappointing … eventually they left after a few minutes and one even apologised for disrupting the meeting,” Ms Stone said.

“It was a bit strange to be honest,” she said.

There were concerns about violence because of the “unpredictable” nature of the protesters but everything resolved peacefully, the mayor said.

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Police were called and stayed at the hall for some time after the disruption but no arrests were made.

The council, in Melbourne’s inner north voted last month to move the traditional citizenship and citizen-of-the-year award ceremonies from January 26 to another date.

Instead a traditional smoking ceremony recognising the day as distressing for many indigenous people will be held.

It has also stopped referring to January 26 as Australia Day and was stripped of its ability to host any citizenship ceremonies by the federal government.

Neighbouring Darebin council also passed a motion to move citizenship ceremonies from January 26.

0:00 Federal MPs react to Australia Day change Share Federal MPs react to Australia Day change

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Dating app usage cited in divorce courts

Nearly 30 per cent of Brits say they’ve used a dating app despite being in a relationship, while more than half of those surveyed would dump their partner if they caught them seeking love online.


Law firm Slater and Gordon carried out the research on 2100 respondents in the UK after noticing a spike in the rate of dating apps usage being cited in divorce proceedings.

“Although a large number of people have admitted to using dating apps while in a relationship it’s apparent it is not something we are all willing to accept as part and parcel of the modern-day dating life,” Divorce lawyer Niamh McCarthy said.

“Previously these apps wouldn’t have been involved in relationships but within the last two to three years we have seen a steady rise in them being referred to in divorce proceedings.”

Of those surveyed some 30 per cent admitted using a dating app while in a relationship, with almost half of men (46 per cent) and just over one in five (21 per cent) women owned up to looking for romance behind their partner’s back.

Among men, the top reasons for straying onto dating apps were boredom (10 per cent), a dwindling sex life (nine per cent) and lots of arguments (seven per cent).

Women said they used the tools because they were bored (four per cent, embroiled in arguments (four per cent) or were lacking attention (three per cent).

One in five of those surveyed said they “wouldn’t mind” if their partner used a dating app, but half said they would expect their boyfriend or girlfriend to quit using the apps as soon as they became official.

Over half (53 per cent) of all those surveyed said they had been cheated on in the past, with 31 per cent finding out after discovering secret messages, a quarter learning of the betrayal from a friend, and one in five catching their cheating partner in the act.

North Korea warns of ‘gift packages’ for the US

Han Tae Song, ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, confirmed that North Korea had successfully conducted its sixth and largest nuclear bomb test on Sunday.


”The recent self-defense measures by my country, DPRK, are a gift package addressed to none other than the US,” Han told a disarmament conference, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s formal name.

A first look at #NorthKorea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site–multiple landslides visible in initial post-test imagery苏州美甲培训学校,长沙SPA,/GpszJ6Gdnm

— 38 North (@38NorthNK) September 5, 2017

“The US will receive more ‘gift packages’ from my country as long as it relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK,” he added without elaborating.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday accused North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of “begging for war” with a series of nuclear bomb and missile tests. She urged the 15-member Security Council to impose the “strongest possible” sanctions to deter him and shut down his trading partners.

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But Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Tuesday that a US bid for the Security Council to vote on Sept. 11 on new sanctions is “a little premature.” Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and wields veto power.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to rush it so fast,” Nebenzia told reporters. Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier on Tuesday said imposing more sanctions was a “road to nowhere.”

Wall Street stocks fell on Tuesday as US trading reopened for the first time since the North Korean nuclear bomb test, and the US dollar and Treasury yields fell. “It’s a more risk-averse picture,” said Vassili Serebriakov, FX strategist at Credit Agricole in New York. “North Korea accounts for most of it.”

Sanctions have done little to stop North Korea boosting its nuclear and missile capacity as it faces off with US President Donald Trump who has vowed to stop Pyongyang from being able to hit the mainland United States with a nuclear weapon.

Haley acknowledged on Tuesday that further sanctions on North Korea are unlikely to change its behavior but would cut off funding for its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

“Do we think more sanctions are going to work on North Korea? Not necessarily,” she told the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington. “But what does it do? It cuts off the revenue that allows them to build ballistic missiles.”

More sanctions? 

North Korea said it tested an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile on Sunday, marking a major step in its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile that puts the U.S. mainland within range.

Satellite imagery appears to show the blast caused numerous landslides at North Korea’s Punggye-ri test site, according to 38 North, a Washington-based North Korean monitoring project.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday that Trump continues to see denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as the priority in how it responds to North Korea’s latest nuclear weapons test.

Sanders said “all options are on the table,” including diplomatic and economic measures, but said talks with Pyongyang were not the current focus for the White House.

Diplomats have said the Security Council could consider banning North Korean textile exports, barring its airline and stopping supplies of oil to the government and military.

USS Theodore Roosevelt exercises with #USNavy and #MarineCorps aviation as the Carrier Strike Group prepares to deploy to @USPacificFleet pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/YsZmtpi0pD

— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) September 6, 2017

Other measures could include preventing North Koreans from working abroad and adding top officials to a blacklist aiming at imposing asset freezes and travel bans.

China accounted for 92 percent of North Korea’s trade in 2016, according to South Korea. China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday it would take part in Security Council discussions in “a responsible and constructive manner”.

Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed in a telephone call on Tuesday that China must do more to persuade North Korea to cease its missile tests, a spokesman for May said.

South Korea said an agreement with the United States to scrap a weight limit on Seoul’s warheads would help it respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat.

South Korea’s Asia Business Daily, citing an unidentified source, said North Korea had been seen moving a rocket that appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) toward its west coast.

South Korea’s defense ministry, which warned that North Korea was ready to launch an ICBM at any time, said it was not able to confirm the report.

Analysts and South Korean policymakers believe North Korea may test another weapon on or around Sept. 9, its founding day.

North Korea says it needs to develop its weapons to defend itself against what it sees as U.S. aggression.  

South Korea, after weeks of rising tension, is talking to the United States about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula, and has been ramping up its own defenses.

Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, agreed on Monday to scrap the warhead weight limit on South Korea’s missiles, South Korea’s presidential office said, enabling it to strike North Korea with greater force in the event of war.

South Korea and the United States are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Each side has thousands of rockets and artillery pieces aimed at the other across the world’s most heavily armed border.

Inside Hurricane Irma: Incredible footage from the eye of the storm

Researchers flew the Orion on its first flight into the intensifying hurricane over the Caribbean on Tuesday and recorded footage of the Category 5 storm.


Irma was generating 300km/h winds before 2pm on Tuesday and has been upgraded to a category 5 storm, the highest intensity, as it approaches the US coast only days after Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas.

The NOAA time-lapse footage shows the plane approaching the storm during a smooth flight.

Video of a flight through the eye of #Irma on #NOAA42. Flights on both the WP-3D Orion and G-IV #NOAA49 continue. Credit Nick Underwood/NOAA pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/9ini4bOnYF

— NOAAHurricaneHunters (@NOAA_HurrHunter) September 5, 2017

As the pilots edge closer to the wall of the storm, vision becomes obscured, clouds darken and the plane shakes violently.

More footage from the reconnaisance flight shows the Orion battered in severe winds and rain.

Inside the eye of #Irma on WP-3D Orion #NOAA42. This is referred to as the “stadium effect” 苏州美甲培训学校,长沙SPA,/iofV4p56DE Credit CDR Kibbey/NOAA. pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/dlUta2IbDL

— NOAAHurricaneHunters (@NOAA_HurrHunter) September 5, 2017

It begins inside the plane, showing the instrument panel, then shows one the plane’s engines, under intense pressure from intensifying wind and rain.

Finally the plane breaks through the wall of the storm and into the clear air of its eye, surrounded by a huge swirl of clouds, which hurricane experts call the “stadium effect”.

NOAA is issuing Storm QuickLooks for Hurricane Irma. View near real-time ocean & meteorological conditions: 苏州美甲培训学校,长沙SPA,/OpdINDeUdW pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/hONc873tpE

— NOAA’s Ocean Service (@noaaocean) September 5, 2017

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The National Hurricane Centre forecasts the storm will approach Cuba and Florida by day four or five on Saturday.

GWS’ Williams ready to play AFL idol Betts

Greater Western Sydney young gun Zac Williams grew up idolising Eddie Betts.


Come Thursday night’s AFL finals opener at Adelaide Oval, Williams is likely to be tasked with curtailing the small forward who inspired him as a young Indigenous Australian.

Williams still speaks with a giddy sense of reverence when asked about Adelaide star Betts.

It’s understandable.

Long before he developed into one of the league’s most potent rebounding defenders, Williams was using his trademark pace to hurt opposition sides all over the field.

Betts was an inspiration then, as he is now for the the 22-year-old who grew up in the Riverina town of Narrandera.

“I love watching him. Every chance I get to watch him on TV, I do it,” Williams told AAP.

“I’ve always looked up to him.

“I used to go for Carlton as a young bloke.

“I’ve watched his whole career, watched him do what he does best and kick amazing goals.

“To get the opportunity to play on him … it’s unbelievable.”

GWS coach Leon Cameron has already suggested Williams, who was one of the Giants’ best in their season-opening loss to the Crows, could spend time on Betts.

“We really value Zac Williams’ offensive game but the last six weeks his defence has really gone through the roof,” Cameron said last week, adding Heath Shaw and Aidan Corr were other options.

Williams admitted finding the right balance of attack and defence would be tricky for whoever is responsible for the three-time All Australian forward.

“You always have to be wary of what Eddie Betts is doing. He’s a very classy forward and if you don’t keep an eye on him, he can easily kick a bag,” Williams said.

Williams said lessons learned from retiring teammate Steve Johnson during the past two years would also come in handy.

“As a young backman, he’s given me a few ideas and helped me with ball movement and stuff like that,” he said.

“He’s done a fair bit for me over the last couple of years.”

Uni rankings raise warning over cuts

Australia’s universities are steady performers on the international stage but fast-rising Asian competitors are overtaking them.


And that could happen more quickly if the Turnbull government’s proposed funding cuts clear parliament.

The University of Melbourne (32nd) and the Australian National University (48th) again top local entrants on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

All up, 35 of Australia’s 40 universities made the rankings.

Out of these, 11 jumped ahead, 14 held steady and 10 fell compared with their results last year.

By comparison, Chinese universities are rapidly climbing the rankings each year.

In 2017, Tsinghua University overtook the University of Melbourne while the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology now outperforms ANU.

“Australia’s leading institutions are already falling behind peers in mainland China and Hong Kong, which receive high and sustained levels of state funding,” global rankings director Phil Baty said.

“Funding cuts proposed by the government could seriously harm the country’s institutions in future editions of the rankings.”

Australia had to continue to invest in its universities and stay a welcoming place for international students and staff if it wanted to remain a key global player, Mr Baty said.

The government wants to cut funding from universities in 2018 and 2019 and lift student fees.

Its proposed changes to temporary working visas have also raised concerns about the impact on academics and researchers coming to work in Australian institutions.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the results showed Australian universities punched above their weight.

“These rankings highlight that Australia’s university sector continues to go from strength to strength,” he said.

“In a competitive world Australia and our universities cannot rest on their laurels. We need to adapt and respond to student needs and ensure our universities are set up for the future.”

He insists the government’s funding overhaul will maintain a strong level of investment in universities.

Opposition education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek called on the government to shelve proposed university cuts.

“We know that student education will be compromised,” she told reporters in Canberra.

“They’ll be expected to pay more, sooner, for a poorer quality education. We won’t be attracting students from around the world if our university rankings continue to slide.”


* University of Melbourne (32)

* Australian National University (48)

* University of Sydney (61)

* University of Queensland (65)

* Monash University (80)

* University of New South Wales (85)

Wilkinson out to reverse Trestle surf woes

Matt Wilkinson’s world surfing title hopes faded dramatically at Lower Trestles last year but the top-ranked Australian believes he’s learnt his lesson.


Wilkinson led the championship for much of 2016 but his 25th placing on the eighth tour leg at the famous Californian break appeared to hammer his confidence.

The world No.3 failed to progress past the third round of the remaining three events to finish fifth last year.

This season has been somewhat similar, with the 28-year-old taking the tour lead after winning in Fiji in June, but he relinquished to Jordy Smith after a fifth-round elimination at the last event in Tahiti.

“Last year, I started so well then slowly just let it slip away,” Wilkinson said before the Trestles competition window opening on Wednesday.

“But I definitely gave my best and learned a whole lot about myself.

“Now, being in that leading pack just makes me a little more hungry to get some more ground on people.”

Wilkinson has never reached the quarter-finals at Trestles but has worked out a strategy before his first heat against fellow Australians Bede Durbidge and Ethan Ewing.

“As a goofyfooter, you have hold off the temptation of going left a little bit,” he said.

“It’s one of the most rippable waves on tour and I think just keeping tempo on the waves is pretty key to hunting big scores out here.”

Wilkinson sits 1900 championship points behind South African Smith, with Hawaiian defending world champion John John Florence second.

In the women’s event, world No.2 Sally Fitzgibbons believes she’s primed to push for a maiden career championship having last been a genuine contender in 2015.

But she’ll have to wrest the lead off fellow Australian and defending world champion Tyler Wright, who claimed the Trestles crown last year.

The Lower Trestles event will be contested to September 17.

Hanson claims credit for Nationals debate over burqa ban stance

Federal Nationals MP George Christensen is proposing a motion at the party’s federal conference this weekend that calls for a ban on wearing the burqa and niqab in public.


He argues the Islamic garments are not conducive to the Australian way of life.

Senator Hanson, who controversially wore a burqa in parliament, believes the Nationals are falling in behind her campaign to ban the garment.

“After polls showed majority support for my actions Nationals have followed my lead & will vote on banning the oppressive burqa,” she tweeted on Wednesday.

After polls showed majority support for my actions Nationals have followed my lead & will vote on banning the oppressive burqa. -PH #auspol

— Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) September 5, 2017

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce is predicting a “jolly good debate” at the conference, but won’t say how he will vote.

“I’m never going to stand in the way of democracy but whether I support (the motion) is something completely different,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie expects a vigorous debate saying the supported and valued religious freedom.

“But we’re also very keen to ensure the safety and security of Australians,” she said.

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Nationals MP David Gillespie argued the burqa was not a religious garment.

“In most of Australia, people like to see people’s faces. I can appreciate the sentiment. In Islamic countries, it’s the norm but here it’s not,” he said.

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said having governments tell people what to wear was not on other than for specific situations where people need to be identified.

0:00 Frydenberg says he won’t back burqa ban Share Frydenberg says he won’t back burqa ban

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“Do (the Nationals) really think it’s convincing to say they support freedom of speech but they don’t support the freedom to wear what you want if you’re a woman in Australia?”

Liberal MP Trevor Evans doesn’t believe in banning things “full stop”.

“Blanket bans are poor and clunky policy and we live in a country where we should be trying to support freedom,” he said.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said Australia was meant to be a place where people respected beliefs different to their own.

“If the Nationals want to turn Australia into a place where everyone thinks the same thing and isn’t allowed to practice the religion they want then the Nationals want to turn Australia into a very different country,” he said.

Calls for probe after boy, 5, dies shortly after being discharged from Sydney hospital

Health authorities and the coroner’s office are investigating how a five-year-old boy died just hours after being discharged from a Sydney hospital.


The boy, from Wahroonga in the city’s north, was taken by his parents to Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital with stomach pain in the early hours of last Thursday, AAP understands.

The previous night he had struggled to eat dinner and sleep through the night, prompting them to seek medical help.

He was discharged about 7am and his parents were told to monitor him but by 2pm his condition had deteriorated and he was rushed to Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Staff worked to save him but at 4.15pm, he was declared dead.

A crime scene was established but his death was not found to be suspicious, a NSW Police spokeswoman told AAP.

A coroner will investigate the death, while the North Sydney Local Health District will carry out a pediatric review into the incident.

“Our deepest sympathies are extended to the family and friends of this little boy for their tragic loss,” NSLHD said in a statement on Wednesday.

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord has called for an independent investigation into the resourcing of Hornsby Hospital.

“Hornsby Hospital was under enormous pressure and has more than 40,000 patients go through its emergency department every year,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Hornsby Hospital lurches from crisis to crisis. Doctors, nurses and allied health workers say they are working with one arm tied behind their backs due to the lack of the much-needed upgrade.”