Mystery surrounds South Aust plane crash

Flight charter company Rossair says it doesn’t know what went wrong in the moments before one of its planes plunged to the earth in South Australia, killing all three people on board.


The Cessna Conquest came down near Renmark on Tuesday afternoon during a training flight, killing the company’s chief pilot Martin Scott, 48, fellow pilot Paul Daw, 65, and Civil Aviation Safety Authority inspector Stephen Guerin, 56,

Rossair has grounded its operations, and says it will cooperate fully with investigations by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and CASA.

Chief executive Warren Puvanendran would not speculate on a possible cause of the crash while those investigations were underway.

“At this stage, we simply don’t know what happened,” Mr Puvanendran told reporters on Wednesday.

“As a precaution, we have voluntarily grounded our operations.”

Mr Puvanendran said the company had an “impeccable safety record”.

“We have the people, the processes, the resources to make sure our operations run safely,” he said.

“We’ve never had a major issue or an incident. So this a surprise.This is an incident that no-one can prepare for.”

He said it was unclear when the company would resume flying, with that decision to be based on advice and recommendations from CASA.

“We’ll have to take stock of what happened,” he said.

“My priority at the moment is not to delve too deeply into the incident but to look after the families of the deceased and also our current employees.”

The ATSB said the plane crashed near the Renmark Airport shortly after take-off on a return leg back to Adelaide.

A team of five investigators had been sent to the site to examine the scene, the wreckage, interview witnesses and to gather relevant data, including radar and radio transmissions.

The bureau plans to issue a preliminary report within 30 days and a final report within 12 months.

Rossair said the training flight had been planned for some time and the 37-year-old plane involved had flown other routes earlier on Tuesday without incident.

There were no issues with maintenance as far as Rossair was concerned.

While he had more than 40 years experience as a pilot, Mr Daw was training as he prepared to rejoin the company after working for some time as chief pilot at Adelaide’s Bruce Hartwig Flying School.

The school said it was deeply saddened by the death of the “well-known, highly experienced and respected senior pilot”.

“We will all miss our dear friend and valued colleague,” it posted on Facebook on Wednesday.

Rossair also paid tribute to Mr Daw and, as chief pilot, said Mr Scott, had helped the charter company expand.

“The role of any chief pilot in an aviation organisation is one that requires leadership, mentoring and robust flying skills – and Martin delivered on all those accounts,” it said.

CASA said Mr Guerin would be remembered by his colleagues as “passionate about aviation, meticulous about safety and widely respected”.

Russia risk to elections: police chief

The federal police chief says it would be “naive” to dismiss the threat of Russian interference in a future Australian election.


AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin will head to the United States soon for talks with his counterparts on counter-terrorism and cyber security.

American intelligence and security agencies say there was Russian interference – ranging from the spreading of disinformation to data theft – in the 2016 US presidential elections and 2017 French elections.

Mr Colvin said the issue would be on his agenda.

“I think we would be ignorant and naive if we didn’t think this is a real threat,” Mr Colvin told the National Press Club on Wednesday.

The commissioner said he was “saddened and surprised” at the firing of his US counterpart, FBI director James Comey.

“My experience with James Comey is he is a man of incredible integrity and a man who the organisation wanted to follow and was a good leader,” Mr Colvin said.

“As a partner in the challenges that we’ve got in transnational crime and terrorism, you couldn’t have asked a better partner than the FBI or director than James Comey.”

However he said the depth of the US-Australian relationship when it came to national security and policing went “well beyond politics”.

The commissioner voiced concern about the extent of Australians seeking to bribe foreign officials, saying there were 37 cases of foreign bribery under way.

Foreign bribery involves providing or offering a benefit – such as cash, gifts, holidays or a job – to a foreign public official with the intent of getting a business advantage.

Mr Colvin said because of the complexity of such offences the average foreign bribery investigation was taking seven and a half years to complete.

The commissioner defended the agency’s independence in investigating politicians, as the AFP continued to “evaluate” allegations against Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party.

“We take our job seriously and act completely independently of government,” he said.

It’s radicalisation, not refugees: ASIO boss clarifies refugee-terrorism link remarks

The chief of Australia’s domestic spy agency, Duncan Lewis, has clarified his controversial remarks that there is no link between refugees and terrorism.


Mr Lewis has faced criticism from conservative circles after debunking such a link during questioning by One Nation’s Pauline Hanson at a Senate Estimates hearing last week.

While Mr Lewis sought to “give context” to his remark on Wednesday, he also defended his stance.

“I’ve not said there are no terrorists who…have not been refugees or not been the sons and daughters of refugees born in this country,” he told ABC radio.

“The reason why they are terrorists is not because they are refugees but because of the violent, extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam that they have adopted.”

Mr Lewis said Australia’s refugee program was not the source of domestic terrorism, nor were they statistically more susceptible to terrorism.

“We have had tens of thousands of refugees come to Australia over the last decade or so and a very few of them have become subjects for interest for ASIO and have been involved in terrorism planning,” he said.


However, the majority of the thwarted terrorist attacks in Australia were planned by those with a radical interpretation of Sunni Islam, the ASIO boss said.

“In all of those cases they were not terrorists because they were refugees. They were terrorists because of this warped violent extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam,” Mr Lewis said.

Most of those who were radicalised became so as a result of online viewing, he said.

“They are getting online in their lounge rooms, in their bedrooms at a very young age and absorbing some of this very objectionable and very brutal material and all of this is being published by sources internationally,” Mr Lewis said.

“That is the material that is driving them towards radicalisation – not because they are refugees.”

But the support of the Muslim community was critical to ASIO’s work, Mr Lewis added.

“I’m not here to vilify the Islamic community – I’m here to keep the Australian community safe,” he said.

The clarification came after Senator Hanson vowed she would try to bring Mr Lewis back to another hearing to explain his comments.

Senator Hanson called Mr Lewis “weak” over his response debunking the links.

“I was just absolutely gobsmacked with the response I got from him, it’s not what the Australian people want to hear,” she told 2GB radio on Tuesday.

“I’m sick of these people in these positions who are not doing their job.

“People are constantly ringing up my office, pulling me up in the streets because they’re in fear. They want some answers.”

Senator Pauline Hanson on @2GB873 with @StevePriceMedia and @theboltreport. #auspol苏州美甲培训学校,长沙SPA,/B2SRdfcrbX

— Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) May 31, 2017

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has also weighed in, saying ASIO must command the confidence of the community, adding there was a strain of “death to the infidel” within Islam.

“We keep tiptoeing around this subject and the problem is that nearly all of the terrorist incidents are associated with people yelling out ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they kill,” he said.


Kelly not focusing on ‘$9m AFL offer’

In demand Greater Western Sydney midfielder Josh Kelly will balance the lure of more cash elsewhere against potential AFL premierships at the Giants, but won’t put a time frame on when his decision will come.


With his father Phil having played for North Melbourne, the Kangaroos have reportedly offered the 22-year-old a nine-year, $9 million deal.

Kelly says he’s trying not to think about the price tag or be distracted by the huge amount of external buzz about his situation.

On Wednesday, Kelly declared his love for the Giants and his teammates, but wouldn’t be drawn on when he would make his decision.

“There will be a whole bunch of factors that come into my decision when that time is right, but I love it here,” says Kelly, whose contract expires at the end of this season.

However, he agreed it was likely to come down to weighing up the lucrative financial offers from outside suitors against the potential of the talent-stacked Giants to win multiple premierships in coming years.

“They are, I guess, the factors that need to be considered eventually,” Kelly said.

“But it’s 10 rounds into the season. I’m still contracted for this year with the Giants, so I can’t afford to think about those things right now.”

Kelly praised the Giants for not putting him under any pressure and was enthusiastic about their prospects.

“It is a special group, we’ve got great teammates, great coaches, great support staff, so it is exciting,” he said.

“We’re focusing on this year at the moment and, hopefully, we’ll be able to do some damage come the end of the year.”

The constant chatter has had no adverse impact on his form as he has been racking up career-best numbers, emerging as one of he stars of an injury-riddled but highly placed side.

“Come game day, it’s not a factor. It gets spoken around a bit of banter at the club – it’s nothing more than that,” Kelly said.

“It doesn’t really weigh me down.”

Kelly’s price tag and situation have led to constant ribbing from his teammates.

“There’s no sympathy from them,” he said.

One notorious Giants serial pest has led the ribbing.

“(Ruckman Shane) Mumford, just like with everything else, his annoying side comes out,” Kelly quipped.

He said he wasn’t discussing his contract situation with his father, who played 61 games for North from 1981-85.

No changes for Hawks, Power in AFL

Hawthorn will field an unchanged line-up for the first time this season in Thursday night’s AFL clash with Port Adelaide.


The Hawks have opted to stick with the side after their morale-boosting victory last week over Sydney at the SCG, while the eighth-placed Power will also go in unchanged from last round’s two-point loss to Geelong.

A cagey Alastair Clarkson had earlier declined to reveal whether 14th-placed Hawthorn would swing changes for the Adelaide Oval clash.

Young key forward Tim O’Brien had been considered a chance to play after recovering from hip soreness, but will miss another week, with the Hawks backing in last week’s debutants James Cousins and Dallas Willismore.

“We’ll settle our side tonight. We’re not going to reveal anything now,” Clarkson said on Wednesday morning at Melbourne Airport.

“We face another confronting challenge again tomorrow night against Port Adelaide, who on their home patch are particularly hard to beat – that’s why we’re so cagey around our side and all that sort of stuff.

“We’ve had a very, very short break – two interstate travels (and) a six-day break.

“We need to use every minute that we’ve got to actually make sure that the side that we pick is the right one to play against Port Adelaide tomorrow night, and gives us the best chance of victory.”

Former Richmond big man Ty Vickery has been retained and is likely to offer assistance to Ben McEvoy against Port’s Paddy Ryder, who Clarkson labels the season’s most-influential ruckman.

Clarkson said the six-point victory over the Swans, capped off by skipper Jarryd Roughead’s match-winning goal, had lifted spirits after a tough start to the year.

“We lost our first four games of the season – that’s a challenge that we haven’t had to confront very often in the last 10 years, and that’s not easy to confront,” Clarkson said.

“It’s given opportunities to some of our younger players, (with) some of the injuries that we’ve got at the present time, and that’s what was really pleasing about last week’s victory against a really respected opponent in Sydney on their home track.

“When you have those sort of victories, it does a lot for the morale around the footy club and says you’re heading in the right direction with your next crop of players.”

Power coach Ken Hinkley said the decision to line up unchanged against the Hawks rewarded his players’ consistency.

“We’ve played strong footy in every game we’ve been in, we’ve had a couple of down quarters but, other than that, we’ve been pretty honest,” he told FIVEaa radio in Adelaide.

“You back the boys in to keep playing the footy they have been playing.”

Schoolgirl farewelled after Baghdad blast

A Melbourne schoolgirl killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber was remembered as the “life of her family” as friends and family paid tribute.


Zynab Al-Harbiya, 12, was farewelled on Wednesday in a fatiha, a traditional Muslim prayer service, attended by her uncle Ahmed Al-Saabry in the northern suburb of Fawkner.

The year seven girl was killed when a bomb exploded in a busy ice cream parlour in Baghdad on Tuesday. Her mother and uncles were also injured in the blast.

Her death has sent shockwaves through Melbourne’s Muslim community.

Family friend Yasser Alaskary said Zynab was known for being the “life of the family”.

“She was the cheeky one in her family and was funny,” he said.

Zynab was buried on Tuesday in the Najaf cemetery, outside Baghdad.

It is likely the surviving family, including Zynab’s two younger brothers, will remain in Iraq for some time.

“It’s very hard time for them and they are just in shock,” he added.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull condemned the terrorist bombing in Baghdad, which killed 17 people.

“Another innocent killed by this violent tendency, this violent terrorist movement, that is gnawing away, seeking to destroy and pervert and blaspheme one of the great religions of the world,” Mr Turnbull told parliament of the attack.

In a Facebook post Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said his thoughts were with the family of the 12-year-old who was visiting her sick grandfather overseas.

“All terrorism is evil, but there’s something truly insidious about targeting children,” he said.

Teachers at Sirius College in Broadmeadows said she was loved by all her friends and dedicated to her studies.

“Before she went overseas she actually asked me for extra homework. She really cared about her studies and she was extremely excited to go overseas,” teacher Kiralee Mladenis told reporters.

“I think everyone’s in a state of shock, we’re all just trying to be there for each other as much as we can.”

Year seven co-ordinator Esra Alver said the attack happening at such a holy time on the Muslim calendar was particularly upsetting.

“It’s not part of Islam, it’s not part of our culture,” she said.

CCTV captured the blast, showing a building on a busy street engulfed in a huge fireball as drivers scramble to get away.

Other videos of the attack posted on social media show wounded and bloodied people crying for help on the footpath outside the ice cream parlour.

A second car bomb went off during rush hour, killing 14 and wounding at least 37 people.

IS claimed responsibility for the two attacks, in statements released online, saying its suicide bombers had targeted gatherings of Shi’ite Muslims.

Mental health ‘challenging’ for AFL clubs

Alex Fasolo’s depression struggle reinforces the need for clubs to help players manage the scrutiny of AFL life, Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says.


Collingwood forward Fasolo this week revealed he was suffering depression and would take a short break from football to manage the condition.

The 24-year-old will miss Sunday’s clash with Fremantle in his home state of Western Australia, and it is unclear whether he will be available for the traditional Queen’s Birthday match against Melbourne the following week.

Lance Franklin, Mitch Clark, Wayne Schwass and Nathan Thompson are among past and present players who have battled mental health issues in recent years, and veteran coach Clarkson says social media has added to the challenge.

“We’re confronting a different sort of landscape all the time and, unfortunately, some find that really, really difficult to cope with – that increased scrutiny and, in some cases, critique,” Clarkson said on Wednesday.

“(For) professional footballers, that makes it particularly demanding, challenging and, in some cases, confronting. It’s very, very difficult to manage and, as a football club, it’s just another layer of stuff that we have to help try to manage with our players and our staff.

“It isn’t easy but just bit by bit, we try to do the best we can to assist these players with what is a pretty tough environment.”

Clarkson said the AFL had provided a positive platform for awareness of gender inequality and issues affecting indigenous players, and he hoped it could have the same effect for mental health awareness.

Fasolo has kicked 118 goals in 91 games for Collingwood since his 2011 debut, including two in the Magpies’ 45-point victory on Sunday over Brisbane.

The Magpies have said Fasolo will continue to train and prepare “with the expectation of a swift return to playing”.

Australian readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Call in army to deal with terror: Hastie

Former SAS commander-turned-politician Andrew Hastie says the Lindt Cafe siege suggests police and state governments are “not up to the task” of dealing with terror threats, and it should be easier for the military to become involved.


The NSW Coroner, families of siege victims Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, siege survivors and some security experts have been critical of NSW police for letting the December 2015 Sydney siege drag on for too long before storming the cafe and killing gunman Man Haron Monis.

While Sydney-based Australian Army commandos practised storming the building by using a replica of the Lindt Cafe on the day of the siege, they were never called upon by NSW police.

Mr Hastie, a Liberal MP who previously served in Afghanistan with the military, said the “threshold” for states asking for Commonwealth help in dealing with terror and security situation was too ambiguous.

States have the primary role for law enforcement under the Australian constitution, but the NSW response was clearly inadequate in relation to the Lindt siege, he told 6PR radio.

“It’s the state’s responsibility, they have lead on law enforcement, but if they are going to continue to respond to these sorts of terror threats they need to demonstrate adequate capacity and capability,” he said.

“The Lindt Cafe siege suggests they are not up to the task.”

Mr Hastie said if it was established a terror incident was being conducted by an organisation “listed” by the Commonwealth, it should be considered an attack on the Australian people, and the federal government should automatically take control.

He said as a former SAS soldier people wanted to hear his view.

“The most lethal means of statecraft resides with the ADF,” Mr Hastie said.

“Contain and negotiating which was the approach in the Lindt cafe siege isn’t going to work (in dealing with Islamic terrorists).”

The federal government is reviewing the military call-out powers in relation to terrorism events, but federal police chief Andrew Colvin has played down the need to make it easier.

Aust not ready for China slowdown: Citi

Australia lacks a list of large, ready-to-go infrastructure projects needed to be ready for an impending downturn in China that will have a significant impact on the local economy, a senior economist has warned.


And an infrastructure-driven investment buffer is even more important given the threat posed by Australia’s “quite spectacular” housing debt bubble, chief economist at international bank Citi, Willem Buiter, says.

“I am surprised that there is no long list of shovel-ready infrastructure projects, with impact assessments done, NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) considerations dealt with, only waiting for a yes and the money” Mr Buiter told reporters on Wednesday during a visit to Australia.

Such a project list could be activated whenever a cyclical downturn occurs, he said.

“Apparently such a list doesn’t exist, and won’t be around until 2020 or thereabouts,” Mr Buiter said.

While the federal government has recently outlined plans to invest in several public infrastructure projects, it has been widely criticised for not taking advantage of record low interest rates globally to spend more on the sector.

Australia has been the best-performing of the advanced economies globally but, Mr Buiter said, it will also be the most affected by China’s slowdown because of the commodities-heavy trade between the two countries.

Mr Buiter believes a cyclical downturn in China is waiting to happen, with the two main ingredients in place – massive leverage in the economy and excess capacity in most major sectors.

While its government is taking steps to address the issues, these are not likely to be adequate or timely and China is unlikely to dodge the bullet, he said.

In Australia, there is still some monetary policy elbow room left to deal with future crises, with the the Reserve Bank of Australia still holding the cash rate at 1.5 per cent.

However, there is a lot more scope in terms of fiscal stimulus.

Mr Buiter said Australia’s economy suffers, however, from two major obstacles to growth – the unpreparedness for huge infrastructure investment, and the housing debt overhang.

Tributes pour in for Australian schoolgirl killed in ice cream parlour attack in Iraq

Australian 12-year-old Zynab Al Harbiya had only been in Iraq for a few days with her parents and siblings, to visit her sick grandfather, when she was killed by a bomb after going to get ice cream with her family.


Now her family, class mates and federal ministers are expressing their anguish for her to be lost in such tragic circumstances.

Cousin Layla Al Saabary said Zynab had expressed fears about going to the Iraqi capital before she left Melbourne.

“She was going to get ice cream after she broke her fast. And I was running after her [back in Melbourne], and she was saying, ‘Layla, I’m scared. There might be bombs in Iraq.’ And I said, you know, ‘That’s okay, you’ll be fine.'”

She added: “It just shows that terrorism can target everyone and that everyone can be a victim of it, and I really hope that no-one ever, ever experiences something like this ever again.”

0:00 Share

Zynab was a student at Sirius College in Broadmeadows.

The students have held prayers, and the school has brought in counsellors for her classmates. 

Principal Halid Serdar Takimoglu said it is a devastating time.

“All of us are deeply distressed that one of our smiling students has been taken from us in a cruel act of violence that is beyond understanding,” he said.

IS claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said it is a tragedy that shows IS has absolutely no respect for anything.

“This tragedy underscores the brutality of this terrorist organisation that shows no respect for religion, nationality, sovereignty, borders, no respect for humanity,” Ms Bishop said.

0:00 Share

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has expressed similar sentiments, saying those responsible “aren’t acting in the name of their faith.”

“They’re just criminals motivated by murderous ideology, and I think every Australian feels so much for this little 12-year old girl from Melbourne’s northern suburbs,” Mr Shorten said.

Zynab was buried last night in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf.

The family is holding a private ceremony on Wednesday at their house and the mosque the family attends in Fawkner.

Related reading