New app helps migrant parents spot dangers children face online

The idea and the proposal for the app was born out of a series of community workshops and a pilot program run by the Australian Multicultural Foundation, or AMF.


During the workshop participants discussed online safety and how best to monitor their children’s online usage.

The app looks at the internet itself, social media, some of the websites and apps that young people use, such as WhatsApp, Twitter and Telegram.

AMF Executive Director Hass Dellal says the workshops revealed that many parents wanted to learn how to best help their children navigate the online world.

“We felt that, look, parents are obviously anxious about the risks the internet poses and want to protect their children from the dangerous material, unwanted contact, online grooming, cyber bullying and radicalisation. And we also felt that if you wanted to deal with these issues, or these behavioural issues, or problems that may arise from the use of the internet – don’t get me wrong – it’s obviously a wonderful tool and there’s so much benefit in it but also we undoubtedly it’s necessary to be aware of some of the risks and dangers of the internet as well.”

Mr Dellal says the app aims to develop protocols, communication techniques and skills for parents, as well as practical tips such as the meaning of some of the acronyms their children use.

“There’s about a set of 80 different acronyms they use online. They’ve actually made that available for parents, you know, things like ‘POS’ meaning parent over shoulder, or ‘PIR’ parent in room. So the families are really excited about that one. That is probably the most popular section of the app, is to get hold of those acronymns!”

Somali born Australian mother Leila Sheikh has had to learn to navigate the online world of her children.

She says many challenges exist but she makes it a priority to monitor her son’s usage.

“I sit with him I do my work next to them while they’re playing a game or getting access. At the same time I have a chat with them about how important it is to be aware of resources they are looking at, or if someone is bullying me to come and tell me. Show me if he is chatting with someone, who that person is and what age they are.”

Her son 12 year-old Ibrahim Abdullah welcomes his mother’s input about his internet usage.

“Yeah I think it’s a good thing because then you won’t be bad in the future and change in your attitude and if your parents help you it will help you be a better person.”

Federal eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant says it’s essential that parents are engaged in their children’s online life from an early age.

“We’re now growing up with a generation of children as young as two or three swiping the IPAD and that’s the time we should start having those conversations about the digital do’s and don’ts. So if we start those conversations early and build those expectations with our kids that we are going to be engaged with their online lives then that sets them up for much more guidance and resilience in the future when they go on major social media platforms at the age of 13 and beyond, and potentially face that digital online onslaught of cyberbullying, potential sexting and image based abuse.”

The AMF says while a person’s ethnic, religious or cultural background should be a considered a strength, they’re also factors that can make young people even more vulnerable to discrimination, isolation and cyber bullying.

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, says it’s an issue that needs to be taken seriously.

“Unfortunately we have seen a decided lack of online civility in everyday life on social media these days. So you do see the contours of misogyny, of racism. Particularly those who are more vulnerable, we want to make sure that we are giving them the tools to not only protect their voices online but to help them promote their voices online.”



Three former NSW Labor ministers engaged in serious misconduct: ICAC report

After the resignations of a former state minister, senator and a premier, New South Wales’ corruption monitor has released its report into water infrastructure company, Australian Water Holdings.


The long-anticipated assessment from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found three former state Labor ministers – Tony Kelly, Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi – engaged in serious corrupt conduct.

Staffer Laurie Brown was also found to have engaged in serious corrupt conduct.

A former minister for fisheries, Mr Obeid is currently serving a prison sentence for misconduct, after previously being found guilty of lobbying a senior public servant over lucrative Sydney waterfront leases without disclosing his family’s stake in the outlets.

Senior politics lecturer at Sydney’s University of Technology, Dr Bligh Grant, says the report’s release will be a relief to New South Wales residents.

“There’s a general feeling of disbelief with consecutive NSW governments so it’s very important that ICAC – and I think there will be a perception that ICAC has conducted at least something approaching due diligence in this regard – because consecutive NSW governments have really suffered a major legitimacy crisis over the last, almost decade.”

No findings were made against former Senator, now cabinet minister, Arthur Sinodinos.

The former chairman of the privately-owned A-W-H stood aside as assistant treasurer to the Abbott Coalition cabinet in 2014 over allegations he stood to gain financially if a deal between the company and the state-owned Sydney Water went ahead.

He was reinstated 18 months later.

He told the ICAC inquiry that it never occurred to him to reveal that he would benefit if the agreement was approved, because it was not relevant as to whether the proposal had merit.

In April of that year, Liberal NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell resigned amid controversy surrounding a $3,000 bottle of wine he was gifted by another former AWH head, Nick Di Girolamo.

Current Premier Gladys Berejiklian has welcomed the findings, calling it another example of the corruption of the former state Labor government.

It’s now up to the Department of Public Prosecutions if charges are to be laid.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Troy Grant says he hopes legal action is taken.

“The restoration of public confidence in our political class has never been more necessary. The way to restore that is to hold people to account, so I hope the book gets thrown at them.”

U-T-S’ Dr Grant says he expects the public is hoping for a similar outcome.

“I would expect that the Department of Prosecutions would be under serious pressure to pursue those criminal charges, absolutely. In particular because there’s been widespread dissatisfaction with the outcomes of these kinds of inquiries before, also you have members of a non-sitting government, a previous government there, so I would imagine that they would be perceived to be more prosecutable, they’re also extremely high profile.”

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten insists he won’t stand for claims of misconduct against his party.

He says he expects the rest of the nation’s politicians feel the same.

“The Labor Party has no time for corruption. It doesn’t matter if it’s politicians, unions, employers or banks, for example. We want to make sure there is no place for corruption, zero tolerance. No doubt the matters that you’ve referred to will take their processes through the courts. But let’s be very straight. This country and none of the political parties in it should have any time for corruption, wherever it shows its head, full stop.”



Turnbull shines light on power companies

Malcolm Turnbull will sit down with the chiefs of Australia’s major electricity companies next week to discuss rising power prices.


The prime minister earlier this year met with gas company chiefs which led to intervention in the industry which the government hopes will keep a lid on escalating gas prices.

Mr Turnbull said his letter to eight bosses the rise in power prices has put “serious strain on Australian households and businesses”.

As well, disconnections had risen and more needed to be done by power companies to help those suffering hardship from steep bills.

“Since families are feeling price pressures now, it is important to ensure no family pays a cent more for electricity than it needs to,” Mr Turnbull wrote in his invitation letter.

“I am particularly concerned by reports that consumers are being pushed from discounted market rates to higher priced standard contracts or non-discounted plans often without realising it.”

Those invited to the meeting include Energy Australia, Origin Energy, AGL, Snowy Hydro, Momentum Energy, Alinta Energy, Simply Energy and the Australian Energy Council.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is due to release its interim report on competition in the electricity sector in September and a final report in June 2018.

However the Australian Energy Market Commission has found 47 per cent of residential users and 54 per cent of small businesses have not switched electricity retailer or plan in the last five years.

Mr Turnbull said one reason for people not shopping around for a better deal is a “lack of appropriate information” on costs and consumption.

The Australian Energy Regulator recently found households could save $900, $1400 and $1500 respectively in Queensland, NSW and South Australia by moving from the worst to the best offer.

In Victoria the figure was just over $800.

Pujara, Rahane tons put India on top in Colombo

Pujara’s 50th test turned out to be an eventful one as India’s number three nearly perished in the slip early in his innings and ran out partner KL Rahul before making amends with his burgeoning 211-run stand with Rahane.


Pujara, who also completed 4,000 test runs in the process, was batting on 128 at stumps, his 13th test century containing 10 boundaries and a pulled six off debutant spinner Malinda Pushpakumara.

Rahane, who survived a couple of reviews, hit 12 boundaries in his fluent 103 not out, as India utterly dominated the opening day of the contest to reach 344 for three.

Alarmingly for Sri Lanka, still smarting from their comprehensive defeat in the series opener in Galle, lone frontline paceman Nuwan Pradeep left the field in the final session clutching his left hamstring.

India got off to a brisk start after skipper Virat Kohli opted to bat on a dry surface with Rahul, who missed India’s victory in Galle with high-fever, and Shikhar Dhawan scoring freely against a spin-heavy Sri Lankan attack.

Dhawan clobbered Rangana Herath for a six in the spinner’s first over and also hit five boundaries in his brisk 35 before Dilruwan Perera trapped him leg-before.

Rahul was on 19 when the right-hander was given out leg-before to Dimuth Karunaratne but the batsman used review to successfully overturn the decision and went on to make his sixth successive test half-century.

Rahul fell on 57 after a horrible mix-up with Pujara and was soon joined by Kohli in the pavilion as India slumped to 133-3.

Pujara, who struck 153 in Galle, and Rahane ensured Sri Lanka did not get any momentum, however.

Renowned for their impeccable temperament, the right-handed duo deftly used the crease to punish the Sri Lankan bowlers who endured a wicketless final session.

Sri Lanka welcomed back skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who missed the Galle test with pneumonia, and effected three changes overall in their bid to level the three-match series against the top ranked Indian team.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Alison Williams)

Sprint queen Thompson ‘feeling great’ ahead of 100m quest

The 25-year-old Jamaican is passing up the chance to become the first woman to hold the 100m and 200m titles at the Olympics and World Athletics Championships as she focuses only on the 100m in London.


“I’ve been doing a lot of 200s this season, so my coach decided that we go only for the 100m this year and I’m pretty excited because last year’s double was really difficult, so I’m looking forward to the 100m and 4×100 and it’s going to be a great championship,” Thompson told Reuters.

Since placing second over 200 metres in her World Championships debut in 2015 in 21.66 seconds, Thompson has been the dominant sprinter and now has a win steak of 14 races over 100m finals.

This include Diamond League races and last summer’s Olympic final in Rio de Janeiro.

But it is not just that Thompson has been the winning big races against her top rivals, it is the seemingly effortless way she does – even while nursing an Achilles injury this season.

She said new spikes had been giving her some discomfort after the Eugene Diamond League meet in late May.

“… so I got some training flats, which I tried in London, just to try, but I’m back in the shape now that I’m supposed to be in so hopefully by Saturday you’ll see me in the spikes I’m supposed to be in,” Thompson said.

She aims to join compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown as the only Caribbean women to win the 100m world title.

“I’m in good shape, of course. I’m feeling great, I reached London safe and I’m looking forward (to the 100m), I’m confident and feeling great,” Thompson said from the Jamaican team hotel.

“There’s always going to be pressure, especially from the fans, but you can’t let them pressure you, you know your job is to go out there and execute and do your best,” she said. “All I need to do is just go out there in this my second world championships and have fun.”

She says she maintains her respect of her competitors even as he tries to remain dominant. “I respect everybody I compete with because of it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be heading to the (start) line competing with them … but I’m still looking forward to keep up the fight against them.”

(Reporting by Kayon Raynor; Editing by Alison Williams)