The harrowing story of a broken Border Force officer and his desperate wife

Normal text sizeLarger text sizeVery large text size Nightmares have ravaged Mike Pritchard for the past 18 months. He screams in his sleep, waking with bleeding knuckles after punching the headboard or smashing a lamp. One night he ripped the sheets, another he accidentally punched his sleeping wife. Mr Pritchard is on leave from Australian Border Force. He spends most days on the couch in his Perth home. He enjoys virtually nothing, and contemplates suicide often. A child’s cry triggers sickening flashbacks. His wife, Kathy, is beyond desperate; sometimes suicidal…

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Low rates won’t boost wages, RBA and government warned

Ms Masters pointed to the US, where the unemployment rate was at a 50-year low and there were 1 million more vacancies than people out of work and yet wage growth was only now starting to lift. In NSW there were 115,000 more people looking for work than available vacancies, in Victoria 98,000 and in Queensland 128,000. While there were substantial vacancies in some industries, particularly administration, and healthcare, there had to be an investment in skills training to match those out of the workforce with potential jobs. Ms Masters…

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There’s more than one way to mislead the public

Loading There’s more than one book for the writing about the extent to which journalists, by the way they choose to report matters, deliberately influence the debate. It is quite possible to seriously mislead the public without actually telling a direct lie. Every journalist knows that. Some of the choices of words might seem small beer. But make no mistake, journalists can have a dramatic impact by the language they choose. They know this very well. There’s a big difference between describing something as a backflip and describing it as…

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‘There’ll be no deals’ on drought relief bill, says Scott Morrison

At stake is a $3.9 billion cash reserve, called the Building Australia Fund, which has been dormant for six years under the Coalition after being set up by the former Labor government to pay for road and rail projects. The government stance may force Labor to acquiesce to the policy to avoid the risk of voting against drought relief. Mr Morrison said Labor needed to “answer a simple question” about whether it would support farmers. “Labor are out of excuses on opposing our Drought Future Fund. They need to tell…

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Another chance looms to transfer refugees to New Zealand

“We’ve consistently made it,” Ms Ardern said. “The Australian government knows that it’s there. We’ve always said that it’s a matter ultimately for them. Loading “However, of course we’ve always said as well it would be an offer for refugees. So that’s the area where we would make sure New Zealand’s input would be.” The offer was first made by former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in February 2013 and was continued under his successors, Bill English and Ms Ardern. While the Gillard government accepted the original offer, Tony…

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Indigenous recognition is a moral imperative

As Justice Gleeson notes, though, what is proposed is “voice to Parliament, not a voice in Parliament”. This has never been about creating a third chamber of Parliament. That was the somewhat hysterical language of misguided and uninformed critics, including former National Party leader Barnaby Joyce. Nor is the notion of enshrining a voice for Indigenous people about elevating one group of people above another or, indeed, above the Parliament. It is about ensuring there is a body, guaranteed by the Constitution, which (on the version promulgated by Professor Anne…

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Make nuclear power free, Barnaby Joyce says

Mr Joyce said nuclear technology had come a long way in the past few decades and rejected claims that even if Australia’s nuclear ban was overturned, communities would refuse to host reactors over safety and environmental concerns. “You just have to come up with the right policy settings and they will accept it … People will think with their wallets,” he said. Mr Joyce floated a potential policy whereby “if you can see the reactor [from your house], your power is for free. If you are within 50 kilometres of…

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Advocates warn of ‘payback’ for marriage equality in extra religious freedom bill

Equality Australia’s legal spokesperson Lee Carnie said the amendments appeared to be similar to those proposed by then-treasurer Scott Morrison and Liberal MP Andrew Hastie during the parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage, but which were voted down. “In 2017, the Australian community legitimately and overwhelmingly voted for marriage equality. It’s clear to us that these amendments are payback.” Carnie said LGBTIQ+ advocates were particularly worried the old definition of marriage could be put back into Commonwealth legislation and “undermine marriage equality by stealth, using technical legal detail”. They noted there…

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Doctors in stand-off over plans to shake up specialist billing

Melbourne GP Mukesh Haikerwal said time-based billing “detracts from the fact you’re providing a clinical service”. Loading “You’re not looking after patients, you’re looking after the clock,” he said. Dr Haikerwal said the MBS review had descended into a “farce” and had always been about “cutting costs, reducing services and giving the presence of innovation – which just will not happen”. The current system of Medicare rebates – focused on “episodic care” – was poorly suited to dealing with Australia’s ageing population and rising burden of chronic disease, he said.…

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