SA powering on during hot spell

The power should stay on across South Australia during this week’s heatwave but it may be close thing.

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The Australian Energy Market Operator says SA should have sufficient electricity despite temperatures in the mid to high 30s forcing up demand.

But AEMO has warned that unexpected generator or network issues could change things fast.

Such are the slim margins the energy market operates on, AEMO also pointed to minor shortfalls in electricity reserves for a three-hour period on Tuesday night and across an hour on Wednesday afternoon.

Temperatures are likely to be the highest on those two days with the mercury in Adelaide hitting 38C on Tuesday and tipped to reach a similar level on Wednesday.

Conditions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are forecast to be slightly cooler.

“Given the dynamic nature of the power system, changes in weather forecasts and or equipment failures, all can impact the situation quite quickly,” AEMO said in a statement.

“AEMO is engaging closely with local generators, network businesses and the South Australian government regarding reserve levels, generator availability, network outages and the forecast conditions to securely manage the power system.”

Earlier in February power was cut to 90,000 homes or business in SA for about 30 minutes during a heatwave.

The blackout was a result of load shedding ordered by AEMO when demand for power went higher than originally expected because of errors in forecast temperatures.

In an initial report on the incident the market operator said load shedding was the only viable option at the time to avoid damage to the electricity network and a “potentially disastrous” impact on power customers.

The Bureau of Meteorology said this week’s hot spell was being driven by high pressure systems sending northerly winds across SA.

“I imagine we’ll see an extended period of dry weather, with warmer than average temperatures, right through to the early part of next week,” senior forecaster Mark Anolak told AAP.

Despite the hot conditions, the Country Fire Service said total fire bans were unlikely because of light winds.

Perk scandal leads Nardella to retirement

Victoria’s former deputy Speaker Don Nardella is quitting politics, but he’s not going to repay or apologise for the $100,000 allowance he claimed to not live in his Melbourne electorate.

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Mr Nardella told his Melton electorate’s local Star Weekly newspaper the backlash over his perks scandal was a “catalyst” for his decision to leave at the next election.

“I think it’s probably time that Melton had somebody new,” he told the paper.

“But the difficult time that I’ve had has influenced that decision.”

He has represented the electorate since 1999 and was first elected to parliament in 1992, making him entitled to the maximum parliamentary pension rate.

Despite being the member for the suburban electorate, Mr Nardella has been claiming a second residence allowance since April 2014 to live about 90km away in Ocean Grove.

But he will not be apologising or pay back the money because that would would suggest he did something illegal or rorted the system, Mr Nardella told Star.

His comments come after Premier Daniel Andrews called for Mr Nardella to pay back the $100,000.

Mr Andrews says he expects Mr Nardella will fully co-operate with the audit committee investigation into the parliamentary expense claim.

“He should pay that money back. He should do exactly the same thing Telmo Languiller has done, which I think most Victorians would say is the right thing,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Nardella and former Speaker Telmo Languiller both resigned on Saturday after it emerged they claimed about $140,000 between them to live in seaside towns instead of their western Melbourne electorates.

Cabinet discussed entitlement reforms on Monday, including restricting the second residence allowance to only regional MPs.

Country MPs will also have to prove they live 80km from Melbourne if they want to claim a second residence allowance under a shake-up of parliamentary perks.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy said it had taken Mr Andrews three days to acknowledge that Mr Nardella should pay the money back.

“If Don Nardella refuses to pay this money back then Daniel Andrews needs to kick him out of the Labor Party, otherwise he will be be accepting a tainted vote,” Mr Guy said.

“This is his Labor MP and he needs to make sure Don Nardella pays this money back urgently.”

As well as an audit committee inquiry on the scandal, Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings will investigate his Labor colleagues and the entitlements system more broadly.

Figures show attacks on migrants rising sharply in Germany

Young refugees attacked on the streets, live grenades thrown into migrant shelters and homes burned to the ground.

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Those were just some of the 3,533 reported attacks on asylum seekers and migrants living in Germany in the last year.

It amounts to an average of almost 10 hate crimes every day.

This is the first year the German interior ministry has released official data on attacks against migrants, but it marks a sharp increase from previous information by human rights groups.

The Bavarian Refugee Council’s Stephen Dunnwald says the rise in hate crimes is not surprising.

“We guessed that the numbers will be high, and we criticised that, during the past years, every single attack of a migrant towards Germans is entering in a big debate in German TV shows and newspapers but the attacks on migrants – on refugees, in particular – they are not really discussed in public.”

Figures show 280,000 people applied for asylum in Germany last year, a large decline from the almost 900,000 people in 2015.

The largest group of those arriving were Syrians, followed by Afghans and Iraqis.

In a statement, the Interior Ministry has strongly condemned the attacks against migrant communities.

“People who have fled their home country and seek protection in Germany have the right to expect safe shelter.”

But Amnesty International’s deputy Europe director, Gauri van Gulik, says the German authorities are not doing enough to keep migrant communities safe.

She says many of the hate crimes have not been investigated thoroughly.

“We actually need to see that kind of physical protection, so more police guarding some of these centres that have particularly been under threat. But always, the best prevention is prosecution of these cases. You know, no-one should be getting away with this type of crime.”

German chancellor Angela Merkel has come under attack from nationalist political parties over her policy of welcoming large numbers of refugees.

The Alternative for Germany party has been growing in popularity and is expected to capture around 10 per cent of the vote in parliamentary elections in September.

Just last month, a member from a different nationalist party was jailed for eight years after burning down a hall in Berlin housing asylum seekers.

But Ms Gulik says it is not known how many of the increasing number of hate crimes are being committed by organised political groups.

“We don’t know exactly who is behind them. We haven’t seen conclusions of in-depth investigations into these attacks at a large enough scale. So that’s something that the government has to find out. Is this structural? Is there a particular group behind many of them? Is this organised in any way? And that’s what the government now has to find out.”

 

 

Calls for a national day to remember domestic violence victims

It’s a long way from Ireland to Canberra, but it’s not the first time domestic violence survivor Emma Murphy has gone to great lengths to share her story.

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In 2015, the Irish mother of two, posted a video of herself to Youtube, sharing her expereince of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband.

“I finally realised this is not acceptable, no man has a right to put his hand on a women. No man at all, no matter how big how small.”

The impact was immediate.

“It was hectic, from posting that video, my phone wouldn’t stop ringing. It was constant. It wasn’t just from Ireland it was from all around the world. It was from kids, parents, other women going through it.”

Emma’s video has been viewed over 50 million times around the world.

And she says, two years on, the impact is still being felt.

“They get courage from my story, from listening to that video. Only recently, I had a girl mail me ad she said ‘I’ve watched your video six times today because I’m looking for strength to leave my relationship,’ which she did.”

At the National Family Violence Summit taking place in Canberra, she’s hoping to pass on that courage.

The annual event, which began last year, has been facilitated by the Tara Costigan Foundation,

It was set up by Michael Costigan in memory of his niece, who two years ago [28th of Feb] was murdered by her ex-partner.

Mr Costigan says the main goal of the summit is to bring services and resources from across the country together, to create a national framework to tackle domestic violence.

“We will put that together to serve the sector and to help the sector be better at marketing and engaging and setting up funding streams, just giving the sector support, bringing it together.”

That goal is being backed by domestic violence survivor, Rebecca Poulson.

“We really need to work together to get a unified voice. Something like a national framework that we can all work towards, like what is the best practice, what can we do here. And we really do need victims voices in that plan. “

The former Australian of the Year, David Morrison also wants a national focus.

The the former chief of army has proposed Australia establish a national day to remember victims.

“We need to pause, I think, at last on one day of every year, to think about the millions of Australians who’ve had almost no say in their lives, but whose potential, whose aspirations, whose dreams have been squandered as a result of domestic violence.”

The two-day summit is addressing best practice to defeat the issue.

Ms. Poulson says it starts with education, particularly among the youth.

“It would be so wonderful to have family violence and awareness of family violence, what it looks, what it feels like in every single school in Australia. Just like we have stranger danger awareness in schools and we don’t have family violence awareness in school.”