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SYDNEY, Australia - A doctor diagnosed with terminal cancer in Sydney has come up with a treatment that is keeping him in good shape, and free of disease.

He's had such good success with it he has formed a network of associates and others who are getting similar results for a variety of ailments.

The story began when Dr. Maxwell Strong PhD in 2005 began researching a potential link between inflammation and unrelated chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Since then other researchers have also identified the link, including the American Association for Cancer Research, which is researching a link between inflammation and cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This was a topic in a major symposium this year at the association's annual general meeting.

Dr Strong's experience involved the examination of thousands of published research papers, and he was able to determine oxidative stress and systemic inflammation as common factors, or in his terms, as "the evil twins."

His research for information and conclusions was made more urgent by his own cancer diagnosis. Dr. Strong now had the three evils of oxidative stress, systemic inflammation and chromatin dysregulation to combat.
Dietary considerations were a major aspect that Strong addressed as many diseases, as are treatments, are linked to diet.

In 2007, Strong accessed research by scientists from the Harvard Medical School, including Dr Norman Hollenberg, in conjunction with researchers from the University of Panama, in Panama City.
Their study conducted over 4 years from 2000 to 2004 revealed a startling incidence of longevity, good health and low blood pressure among the population known as the Kuna in the San Blas Islands archipelago off the coast of Panama City.

The Kuna was found to have the lowest age-adjusted death rates in the world.

After discounting other lifetsyle aspects, the researchers cottoned on to the Kuna's diet, a key ingrediant of which is a simple beverage made from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree, indigenous to the islands.
The beverage was found to be very high in polyphenol flavonoids, the highest of any population in the world at 900mg/ day. This compares to the dietary flavonoid intake of adults in the United States which is around 187.9 mg/ day.

Dr Strong found that flavonoids had potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and had demonstrated toxicity against cancer cells whilst at the same time, were protective of normal cells and the three evils: oxidative stress, systemic inflammation and chromatin dysregulation.

The only problem was dietary flavonoids are only found in raw cocoa, red wine and green tea, which themselves have long been touted as beneficial to good health. To get a sufficient daily dosage however would require one to drink copious quantities of these beverages every day.
The challenge for Strong was to identify, extract, concentrate and standardise the key ingredients, and then combine the all-natural components into a single soluble powder that could be taken daily to bring the dietary flavonoid and fibre intakes from a lowly 18mg /day up to long-living Kuna population levels which co-incidently conform with dietary parameters set by the American Heart Association.
Dr Strong put all his efforts and the results of his research and that of others, including that of the Harvard Medical School, into the development of a powder he calls Neurolex for which he has a patent pending.

He himself, his friends and associates, and associates of theirs, have been taking the powder for a number of years with the results in many cases astonishing. Strong himself has returned to excellent health despite his advanced years and others with chronic disease are reporting wholesale recoveries.

Neurolex, which contains prebiotic dietary fibre (a special blend of inulin and oligofructose) and potent antioxidant/anti-inflammatory grapeseed polyphenol extract, is taken with coffee or tea or with a teaspoon spread over cereal, twice a day.

Dr Strong said he noticed a sense of enhanced wellness from the very outset and since he started taking the powder, his blood results have improved markedly. His PSA reading began to fall dramatically and now, from >250 ug/L over ten years ago, to 15 March this year of 0.29 ug/L, his cancer has disappeared altogether and his blood chemistry is that of a man decades younger.

Strong has made his research available to other researchers and medical practitioners. He can be contacted at 61 418 413657 or Email: mendel_inst@prontomail.com
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KINGS CROSS, Australia - Sergeant James Asimacopoulous has been named Kings Cross Police Officer of the Year for 2015.

The award, an annual event hosted by the Rotary Club of Kings Cross, was made at a presentation dinner at the Holiday Inn Potts Point, last Monday.

Kings Cross Local Area Command senior police officers, including Kings Cross Police Local Area Commander, Superintendent Michael Fitzpatrick, were on hand for the presentation.

Known officially as the Police Excellence Award for the Kings Cross LAC, James (Jimmy) Asimacopoulous was commended for his outstanding service to the command.

Jimmy was also one of the first respondents to the Lindt Cafe siege where he spent the next 14 hours.

Prior to the presentation Assistant Governor John Given, the District Police Officer of the Year Chair, spoke about the history and significance of the Award, the commitment shared by Rotary and the Police to community service, and how the two had forged a strong relationship in working together. Importantly, he said the Award is about recognising and rewarding excellence in policing.

Superintendent Fitzpatrick in his address said all officers who have received the Award in the past have been outstanding and that this year's recipient, Sergeant James Asimacopoulous, was without doubt the best police officer currently stationed at Kings Cross.

Jimmy's successes included breaking down barriers between junior police and students at Plunkett Street Public School, a long string of drug-related arrests when working as Crime Team Leader in 2014, and organising an undercover operation resulting in the charging of a major drug dealer. He was also the first respondent to the Lindt Caf siege where he spent the next 14 hours in very dangerous circumstances.
In his response to the award, Jimmy told the gathering of his parents' arrival at Woolloomooloo docks 50 years ago from Greece seeking a better future and how he goes down there to acknowledge his good fortune. He also told the assembly he first served in Woolloomooloo when he joined the force and took the opportunity to return to Kings Cross when he had the opportunity.
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PORT KEMBLA, Australia - An horrific smash in the early hours of Monday morning has left a teenage girl dead, and two males fighting for their lives. Lake Illawarra Local Area Command police officers were called to the scene about 1:00am Monday on Flinders Road, Port Kembla, about 8 kilometres south of Wollongong where a Holden Commodore sedan carrying three occupants crashed into a tree. The girl who was a passenger in the front seat died at the scene shortly after the crash. The driver was in critical condition, and the a back seat passenger was described as being in serious condition. They were both airlifted to St. George Hospital. Police say they believe speed was a factor in the crash.
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SYDNEY, Australia - Westpac's No. 1 economist Bill Evans has just presided over the 20th Federal Budget he has surveyed from the Federal Government.

On Tuesday night he was giving his appraisal of the 2015-16 budget to his bank's customers at a dinner in Sydney.

This year's Budget needed to be "a circuit breaker", he said, given the low state of consumer confidence, job security fears, and a lack of investment.

After opening with a rundown on Budget history - including the fact that conservative governments had recorded 11 surpluses out of 21 (10 under Howard and Costello), while Labor had recorded three, all under Paul Keating - he launched into his appraisal of this Budget by saying "the numbers were pretty impressive".

"We were expecting that the deficit would be much more than it turned out to be," he said.

With a deficit of $35.1 billion for 2015/16 compared with an expectation of more than $40 billion, and a forecast of $12 billion instead of $30 billion in four years time "they really did outperform in terms of market expectations".

But he said one of the reasons was that the Government had picked a much higher iron ore price than expected - US$48 a tonne, where the market price is about US$55. They were taking a position that the iron price could fall again, he said.

In terms of Budget initiatives, he said it was a real contrast to last year.

Pensions would be indexed again, and the young would no longer have to wait to get the dole, the auto industry would get a boost, the profits taken overseas by some 30 big multi-nationals would be targeted, and drug companies would not get so much under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

New policies were costing $8.8 billion but that was being offset by the winding back of parental pay of $10.4 billion.

Over all, he said there were some great things for small business in the Budget, with the 1.5% tax cut and the $20,000 up-front depreciation allowance, compared to the previous $1000 limit,  particularly as lack of investment was holding back the economy.

Infrastructure was "way, way under-serviced" but at least there was a little bit more for Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Victoria.

The child care system was an improvement, he said, but there was huge question mark about whether it would be implemented in the current political environment, given that the $3.2 billion cost of the new scheme depended on winding back $4 billion from the old scheme.

Of $36 billion in savings measures over four years, $20 billion was "still hanging around the Senate" and they were unlikely to get through, even though the Budget numbers assumed they would.

While there was some good news in the Budget, he said the issue was whether it would trigger a surge in confidence. Consumer spending was all right in Victoria and New South Wales but dropping away in Queensland and Western Australia.

People felt more sustained concern about job security than they had during the Global Financial Crisis. And that meant when interest rates were cut, they were not spending that extra money and stimulating the economy. They were saving it for a rainy day.

"Wealth has been increasing at 50% of household disposable income for the last three or four years yet they haven't been taking it and spending it because of concern for their jobs," he said.

Confidence was a particular concern for small business - which provides 46% of private employment and makes up 96% of business. Although they had benefited from the Budget, would they invest in more jobs if people were not spending and demand did not pick up?

In fact, he said, many companies were cutting wages.

"That's the problem. Businesses are saying, 'why should we invest and employ when our sales are so weak?

"You're caught in this bind where consumers are cautious and they're not spending and businesses are responding."

He said there was a good story, and it's about building approvals.

"It's on fire. What's driving it is apartments. Normally you build about twice as many houses as apartments and units. Now they're shaking hands.

"We know what's driving a lot of that. High rise. We've never seen a boom in high rise the way we're seeing it today."

New South Wales and Victoria were at the forefront, and part of the boom was being driven by foreign demand, especially Chinese, because their housing market was so weak. With interest rates showing no signs of moving upward for some time, the boom  would continue.

He said there was "huge pent up demand in Australia" for new homes to meet population growth, though the problem in NSW was lack of available land.

In other comments, he said the big story has been the collapse in the terms of trade, and there is a direct relationship between income and the terms of trade.

Our export prices have averaged 2% growth in the last 20 years and that's meant that national income has averaged about 6% growth. This year terms of trade have fallen 10% which means national income is going to be a nominal 1.7%, which will not lift consumption.

To compound the problem, whereas the mining boom had been adding 1% of GDP every year for 10 years, it was now taking 1% off a year.

But he said he did not believe the nation's AAA rating was in jeopardy as the rate of deterioration in the deficit was slowing down and our ability to fund our foreign debt was improving dramatically.

The big story for this year, he believed, was America, where wages were rising, unemployment was now in the full employment range of 5 to 5.5%, and inflation was a prospect.

The market was "way, way too complacent" and in denial about interest rates being hiked by the Federal Reserve. But he felt it would not affect our interest rates.
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Australia will send an additional 300 troops to Iraq to train specialist Iraqi soldiers in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Tuesday. As part of a joint training mission with New Zealand, who revealed their intentions to send 143 soldiers overseas last week, the 300 new arrivals will join a 200-strong Australian contingent already present in Iraq, Xinhua reported. Speaking to reporters in Canberra on Tuesday, Abbott said Australian forces had already enjoyed success in their fight against IS militants, but that more aid was needed to continue training Iraqi troops. "We have slowed Daesh's (IS) advance, but Iraq's regular forces now require support to build their capacity to reclaim and to hold territory," he said. The troops, who will be based in northern Baghdad, are expected to be overseas for two years as per the government's timeline of their involvement in Iraq. Abbott also revealed that the decision to send more troops abroad had come with the support of Iraq Prime Minister Haider Al- Abadi, but that Iraq "do not want foreign combat troops on the ground". Therefore, just like the 200 Australians already in Iraq, the new group will occupy strictly advisory roles. The prime minister also suggested that security can only be guaranteed domestically by providing international support. "What the Australian people want is security at home, but you can't have that security at home without doing your bit for security abroad," he said.
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We have had five polls released since last Friday night, and Labor leads by at least 55-45 in all of them except Essential, which has a well earned reputation for being slow to change. The previous Newspoll was taken in mid-December, while the other polls were previously taken in the last two weeks. Here is this week's poll table.

Abbott's 61-39 win at Monday's spill motion was a weak win for him, and it makes it more likely that he will be replaced long before the next election. His low ratings, combined with the clear divisions within the Liberal Party, make a Coalition recovery under his leadership very difficult to see.

Kevin Bonham's poll aggregate is now at 55.8% Two Party Preferred (2PP) to Labor, up 0.8% on last week, and up 3.2% in the last three weeks. The Poll Bludger's BludgerTrack gives Labor a 56.1-43.9 lead, a 1% gain for Labor on last week. Primary votes are 41.7% for Labor, 36.5% for the Coalition and 11.3% for the Greens. Since last week, the Coalition primary vote has lost 1%, with almost all going straight to Labor. Graphs show that, while the Coalition primary vote was this low in the post-budget period, Labor's primary is now higher than during that period. Abbott's net approval ratings have plummetted to -41.6%.

Notes on These Polls

Newspoll gave Shorten a net approval of 2, up from -6 in mid-December; this is Shorten's first positive net approval since mid-May. Shorten's current 48-30 better PM lead over Abbott is the second highest margin for an opposition leader, but the only opposition leader to better Shorten's current 18-point lead was Alexander Downer, who led Paul Keating by 20 points in July 1994. Abbott's -44 net approval rating is the worst for a PM since Gillard's -45 in September 2011, though Keating performed worse after the "horror" budget of August 1993.

Morgan's respondent allocated preferences were 57.5-42.5 to Labor, a 1% gain for Labor on this measure, and 0.5% better for Labor than the previous election preferences.

Essential had Abbott's approval down 8 points to 29%, and his disapproval up 9 points to 62% for a net approval of -33, down 17 points from January. Strangely, Shorten's net approval fell to -5 from 6; other polls have not shown this. By 59-25, voters approved of Abbott's decision to drop the paid parental leave plan. 59% thought same sex couples should be allowed to marry, with 28% disagreeing; support is up from a 55-32 margin in December. 44% agreed with a negative viewpoint on governments retaining personal information, while 38% agreed with a positive viewpoint. Questions on asset privatisation find negative attitudes that perhaps explain the Queensland election result.

(The writer Adrian Beaumont is a PhD student at the University of Melbourne's Department of Mathematics and Statistics).
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SYDNEY, Australia - A boy as young as twelve is known to police investigating terrrorism-related suspects.

The boy is among 18 males named as being in communication with Ahmad Saiyer Naizmand. who was intercepted in the UAE last year and returned home to Australia. He went before the courts in December pleading guilty to the theft of his brother's passport.

At the time the court ordered he not communicate with the 18 males which included a 12 year old boy. Another person on the list was an 18 year old boy who remains in custody after a series of raids which followed the shooting death of police employee Curtis Chen at NSW Police headquarters at Parramatta.

"We're shocked that a 12-year-old is on the police radar for these type of matters, absolutely," Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin told the state-owned broadcaster, the ABC, on Wednesday night.

"The age of the people that we're concerned about is very concerning. The problem is getting worse for Australia, not better," the commissioner said.

Separately, NSW Police on Wednesday denied recent media reports indicating that a 15-year-old Sydney boy Farhad Jabar had been in online communication with ISIS terrorist Neil Prakash.

"The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) can confirm the online material reported in media this week does not involve the teenager who was shot by a NSW Police special constable following the murder of police worker Curtis Cheng," a statement from NSW Police said.
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MELBOURNE, Australia - Support for the Australian Coalition has soared in the awake of the elevation of Malcolm Turnbull to the Liberal Party leadership and the Australian prime ministership.

In late September Coalition support jumped 12%, and at the sam time the Australian Labor Party dropped 12%.

A poll by Roy Morgan Research now has the Coalition leading Labor 55% to 45% on a two-party preferred basis, an almost complete reversal of fortunes of the two major contenders, one year out to the next election.

Primary support for the coalition rose 11% to 46% (the highest support for the Liberal National Parties since the 2013 Federal Election at which they gained 45.5% while ALP support fell to 29.5% (down 7%)  the lowest ALP primary support for more than three years since July 2012.

Support for the Greens fell to 13% (down 3%), the Palmer United Party at is 1.5% (unchanged), Katter's Australian Party 1.5% (up 1%), while Independents/Others are at 8.5% (down 2%).

This week's Morgan Poll on Federal voting intention was conducted last weekend, September 19/20, 2015, with an Australia-wide cross-section of 2,059 Australian electors.

Co-inciding with the popularity of the leadership change, confidence by Australians, lacklustre for more than a year, rocketed higher, climbing 17 points with 42.5% (up 7.5%) of Australians saying Australia is 'heading in the right direction' and 39.5% (down 9.5%) saying Australia is 'heading in the wrong direction.'

The Coalition now has a two-party preferred lead in 4 Australian States. Tasmania: Coalition 64% cf. ALP 36%, Queensland: Coalition 59% cf. ALP 41%, New South Wales: Coalition 58.5% cf. ALP 41.5%, Western Australia Coalition 55.5% cf. ALP 44.5%, Victoria: Coalition 50% cf. ALP 50% and South Australia: ALP 53% cf. Coalition 47%.

"Malcolm Turnbull becoming Prime Minister last week has given the L-NP (Coalition) 55% (up 12% since September 12/13, 2015) a huge boost and its largest lead over the ALP 45% (down 12%) on a two-party preferred basis since winning the 2013 Federal Election," Roy Morgan said Monday. "In addition a special Snap SMS Morgan Poll conducted last week showed Turnbull (70%) with a huge lead over Shorten (24%) as 'Better Prime Minister' while 6% support neither/ other or can't say."

"In further good news for the new prime minister  the Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has jumped to 103pts (up 17pts) with 42.5% (up 7.5%) of Australians saying Australia is 'heading in the right direction' compared to only 39.5% (down 9.5%) that say Australia is 'heading in the wrong direction'. This is the first time the Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has been in positive territory since April 2014  just before former Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered his deeply unpopular first Federal Budget. Tomorrow's ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating will give the first indication of how Turnbull's ascent to the top job has impacted on Australian consumers."

"Turnbull's first major act as prime minister was an overdue Cabinet reshuffle," said Morgan. "A star performer of the Abbott Government, Scott Morrison, has been rewarded with a promotion to Treasurer in place of the departing Hockey who has signaled his intention to leave public life. Morrison's promotion came despite his support for Abbott in last week's leadership ballot and he, along with Turnbull, faces a huge job to advocate for the significant reforms  including industrial relations and taxation reforms  that former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Hockey failed to make."

"The positive response for Turnbull gives our new prime minister and his team a strong mandate to tackle the 'cash economy' and the wage rorts that go hand-in-hand. The recent examples of 7-Eleven  United Petroleum show major industrial relations reforms are required to limit the 'cash economy'  in particular tourism, retail  hospitality employees and tradesmen," said the Roy Morgan Research chief.

"Turnbull has also promoted several women into Cabinet including Marise Payne, Australia's first female Defence Minister, Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment and the new Minister for Women replacing Tony Abbott and Kelly O'Dwyer now the Small Business Minister and Assistant Treasurer. Already in Cabinet are Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Health  Sport Minister Sussan Ley. Joining Abbott and Hockey on the way out are former Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, former Employment Minister Eric Abetz, former Industry  Science Minister Ian Macfarlane, former Small Business Minister Bruce Billson and former Minister for Veterans Affairs Michael Ronaldson."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is facing speculation about his future in the wake of the change. On QA on Monday night Shorten said it was a god thing for the country now that Tony Abbott is no longer prime minister of Australia.

"I would have liken to have been the one to replace Tony Abbott because whoever did would always have got a big jump ion the polls," he said.

"What the country needs is a change direction, not a change of salesman," he said.
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MELBOURNE, Australia - An early Sunday morning car crash near Melbourne has claimed the life of  Hawthorn Hawks assistant coach Brett Ratten's 16-year old son.

Cooper Ratten who played Under 18s with the  Yarra Glen Football Netball Club was a passenger in a car which overturned on Sunday morning at around 3 o'clock, at Yarra Glen, about 40 kilometres north-east of Melbourne.

Young Cooper was seriously injured in the crash and was being rushed to hospital by ambulance when he passed away.

On Saturday he turned out for his footy club. On Sunday teammates and friends, and the Under 18s coach Adam Easton, got together at Yarra Glen football oval where Cooper played his last game just a day earlier.

"This world is so cruel," the young footballer's girlfriend posted on Facebook. "I love you forever."

Police believe speed, and possibly drugs and alcohol, may have played a part in the crash. The car may also have been stolen. The other occupants in the car, Cooper Ratten's teammates, both 17, were hospitalised with minor injuries. Police are anxious to interview them.

"It was an absolute miracle that two people got out of that car alive," Victoria Police Detective Sergeant David Yeoman said at the crash scene.

"Driving is not a game. You don't go for a joyride under these circumstances. It has tragic consequences with very severe custodial sentences attached to them."

The trio had been driving in dense fog and were believed to have been speeding at the time of the crash.

"All at Hawthorn Football Club extend their deepest condolences to Assistant Coach Brett Ratten and his family at this tragic time," a statement from the Hawthorn Football Club released on Sunday said.

"We are shocked and saddened by the passing of his beloved son Cooper, whose life has been cut short in tragic circumstances."

"The club's primary focus will be supporting Brett and his family during this devastating time," the statement said..

"We ask that you continue to keep Brett and his family in your thoughts and prayers."

Yarra Glen Football Club president Vincent Erickson said Cooper and two teammates were in the car when it veered off the road and flipped over. All three had played together in the Under 18s side on Saturday and attended a player's function on Saturday night.

"It's a tough day for the club," he told Fairfax Media.

"We've just got to get behind each other. Our thoughts are with the families who have been directly impacted by this tragedy."

"The Yarra Glenn community is very tight knit and this will have a profound impact," he said.
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SYDNEY - The Australian Federal Police has defended its cooperation ...
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A new express service created by MSC Shipping will link Australian trade directly with markets in the Middle East, Europe and India without the need for inefficient transhipment through Singapore.
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made two key pledges in recent weeks  to begin "good government" and to no longer give "the benefit of doubt" to people suspected of planning terrorist activities in Australia.

If Abbott is serious about these promises, and the return to national security is not a politically motivated diversionary tactic, his government's 2014 record provides two important lessons for his 2015 legislative agenda in this field.

In 2014, federal parliament passed three pieces of legislation that significantly reformed and expanded Australia's counter-terrorism laws. The government's expedited passage of these new laws demonstrated an underlying disrespect for the legislative process.

The short timeframes imposed by the government undermined the ability of parliamentary committees to conduct proper scrutiny and meaningful public consultation, particularly in the area of human rights protection. The Abbott government was able to truncate legislative scrutiny throughout 2014 because, as is common in the national security sphere, Labor offered its bipartisan support for the measures.

The first 2014 bill expanded the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation's (ASIO) powers to access computer networks, provided it with immunities for "special intelligence operations" and introduced a new offence of disclosing information about such an operation, accompanied by a 10-year prison term.

The government did not follow the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security's (JCIS) recommendation that it release an exposure draft of the reforms for extensive public consultation and targeted liaison with the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM) and Inspector-General for Intelligence and Security (IGIS). The INSLM post  the independent statutory officeholder tasked with reviewing national security laws  was left vacant for most of 2014.

The government's attitude to parliamentary scrutiny was similarly poor. The bill was passed within two-and-a-half months of being introduced. The JCIS conducted the only public inquiry on the bill. It initially gave eight business days for public submissions, although it eventually extended that by five days.

This would be the longest time the public was given to provide submissions on any of the bills. Operating under tight government deadlines, the JCIS allowed only six and then eight days for public submissions on the next two bills.

The second bill, the so-called "foreign fighters bill", was in many respects the most significant. Its measures included the creation of offences for travelling to or remaining in a "declared area" and advocating terrorism, broadening the definition of a terrorism offence, and changing the control order and preventative detention order regimes.

In response to the short timeframes allowed to consider the bill, religious, community, legal and human rights organisations and academics issued a public statement requesting that parliament not pass the bill until there had been an opportunity for further consultation and scrutiny of its measures.

The Senate's Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs performed no role in scrutinising the 2014 bills. An attempt by the Greens to refer the first bill to this committee was defeated. The foreign fighters bill was successfully referred to the committee, but it chose to (in effect) ignore the reference and not issue a report. It did so on the basis that the JCIS was conducting a parallel inquiry.

The parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), one of Australia's flagship human rights scrutiny mechanisms, did not report on the compliance of the first bill with Australia's human rights obligations until after it had passed both houses. When this committee asked for more information from the government, Attorney-General George Brandis claimed it was failing to perform its duty. In the absence of further information, the committee found a number of the measures incompatible with Australia's human rights obligations.

A similar pattern emerged with the other bills. The committee reported on the foreign fighters bill a day before it was passed in the Senate. A request for further information from the government went unanswered. Again, the committee found a number of the measures incompatible with Australia's human rights obligations.

Legislative review in the Senate was also curtailed. Debate on the first bill was brought only a week after the JCIS final report was released. When this debate began, senators had not been provided with a number of the government's proposed amendments.

Highlighting the rushed nature of legislative review, almost immediately after the enactment of the first bill, Abbott agreed to refer the bill for review by the INSLM.

Legislative responses to terror threats raise particular dangers that individual liberties will be sacrificed in the name of national security. As Australia has no Bill of Rights, its courts have a limited role in scrutinising government and legislative activity for human rights compliance.

This reinforces the importance of parliament's role in making sure legislation achieves the appropriate balance between defending national security and protecting individual rights. Parliament must be given time to perform this function.

The 2014 reforms further reveal an underlying governmental distrust of the courts' role in interpreting national security laws. Coupled with the laws' rushed passage, this increases the likelihood that legitimate activity, even in the public interest, will be caught within the scope of serious criminal offences.

The first bill introduced the controversial offence of revealing information relating to special intelligence operations. The government rejected suggestions for the inclusion of a public interest defence. This was despite concerns expressed by parliamentary committees, the media and the public that it might penalise  or at the least chill  legitimate reporting.

Brandis explained that such a defence would inappropriately shift power to the judges and juries to determine whether a particular disclosure would harm the public interest. The government overlooked that courts are already asked to make this type of judgement. For example, legislation already requires courts to assess whether the disclosure of certain material in court is likely to be a risk of prejudice to national security.

Brandis did agree to amend the Explanatory Memorandum to confirm that the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) must take into account the public interest before initiating a prosecution under the provision. However, such an amendment is glaringly inadequate.

The Explanatory Memorandum is unenforceable. The Commonwealth DPP is already required to consider the public interest when bringing prosecutions. Finally, prosecutorial discretion is not subject to judicial oversight.

The government knows that relying on prosecutorial discretion alone is problematic. The same bill introduced a statutory immunity for ASIO employees or affiliates during special intelligence operations. In insisting on a statutory immunity, the government claimed this was "preferable" to relying on prosecutorial and investigative discretion alone.

If Abbott is honest about a return to good government, we can hope to see more time provided for legislative scrutiny of proposed counter-terrorism laws and constructive responses to parliamentary committee requests for information.

We might also hope to see greater understanding and respect for the courts' role in ensuring the flexible application of legislation to unforeseen circumstances to avoid the potential prosecution of legitimate activity.

However, recent reports indicate that Abbott is continuing to pressure the opposition to pass the remaining counter-terrorism bill before parliament. This would require telecommunications companies to retain customers' metadata. The JCIS is yet to report on the bill, but already serious concerns have been raised about the need for, cost and scope of the bill, particularly given its incursions on personal privacy.

It would appear, then, that Abbott has learnt little about good government in the pursuit of national security.

(The writer Gabrielle Appleby is Associate Professor, UNSW Law School at UNSW Australia). This article was first published on The Conversation.
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Australian Herald has been serving Australia since 2002. Providing late breaking news from across the country, with individual coverage of major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and the capital, Canberra,