Month: September 2019

Hackers target Vic parliament website

More than 6000 hacking attempts have been made on the Victorian parliament website in April.Hackers have launched almost 20,000 cyber attacks on Victoria’s parliamentary website in the past two months, sparking calls for tightened security.
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The website was targeted 13,712 times in March and a further 6029 times in April, according figures released by the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee on Tuesday.

Lower house Speaker Colin Brooks told the committee it was possible to tell from which country the cyber attacks had originated.

He said while efforts were being made to address security, the issue was ongoing with “six thousand hacking attempts on the parliament Victoria system in just April 2018 alone”.

“That is of great concern to us to ensure the integrity of our IT systems here in parliament Victoria and it goes to that issue I was talking about, that work our IT do in ensuring behind the scenes that our systems are protected.”

But it’s not just cyber attacks, with 205 in-person “incidents” or security concerns at parliament since July 2017 with more than 100,000 people visiting Spring Street during the same period.

Almost 12,000 items have been seized by parliament house security, including knuckledusters, knives and handcuffs.

In 100 cases, police were called in after the item was seized.


March: 13,712

April: 6029


Since July 2017

* 205 incidents (compared to 135 in 2016/17)

* 104,677 visitors (94,733 in 2016/17)

* 11,969 items seized (12,690 in 2016/17)

* 100 cases referred to police after prohibited items seized (58 in 2016/17)

Source: Public Accounts and Estimates Committee data

Australian Associated Press

Smith’s decision left Lockyer shocked

Darren Lockyer with Cameron Smith and Ashley Harrison back in their Maroons playing days.Queensland selector and Maroons legend Darren Lockyer admits he was left shocked by Cameron Smith’s decision to vacate his Queensland State of Origin throne just weeks out from the series opener.
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Smith’s decision to walk away from representative football stunned the NRL on Tuesday, giving Queensland two weeks to find a new hooker and captain before going into camp for Game I.

Smith only discussed his possible retirement with those closest to him as he weighed up the decision, and informed coach Kevin Walters over the weekend.

But while Walters admitted he had an inkling it was coming, Smith’s former teammate in Lockyer was as surprised as anyone when told on Tuesday morning.

“I was shocked,” Lockyer told AAP.

“I didn’t know until three hours before the press conference that it was happening.

“He’s 35 this year so I guess people would be starting to talk about when he was retiring but I don’t think anyone would have envisaged it was now from rep footy.”

By Lockyer’s own admission, Queensland are now in a rebuilding phase for the first time in more than a decade following the retirements of Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.

“Cameron’s record speaks for itself,” Lockyer said.

“You look at all the stats around Origin and Australia. It’s unrivalled. To only miss one game over that period of time in that arena is mind-boggling.

“It leaves a massive void. You don’t just lose the best hooker the game has ever seen, you lose a great leader and a goalkicker.

“There are candidates there, (Andrew) McCullough, (Jake) Friend and (Jake) Granville. We’ve got options, but the gap between Cameron and the others is quite significant without disrespecting those guys.”

Lockyer praised Smith’s composure and demeanour on Tuesday, after he took over the captaincy of the Kangaroos and Queensland sides following his own retirement in 2011.

Greg Inglis, Matt Scott and Darius Boyd now appear the likely favourites to take over from Smith, but Lockyer indicated there were two approaches the Maroons could take.

“It’s a bit of a rebuilding phase,” he said.

“There are two trains of thought. Do you go with someone who is experienced and has leadership qualities, or do you look at someone who can potentially be skipper for the next 10 years?

“No decision is going to be made in the next 24 hours. It’s about sitting down, consulting and working out the best strategy going forward.”

Lockyer wasn’t alone in his surprise.

Maroons great Wally Lewis predicted a painful time ahead on the Nine Network, while Queensland legend Billy Moore admitted on Fox Sports he first thought it was a joke.

Meanwhile Smith’s long-time mentor, Mal Meninga, paid tribute to his Queensland and Australia captain.

“He will be missed but what he has done over 56 matches for the Kangaroos as well as during his time with the Maroons will leave an important legacy for future players and future leaders,” he said.

Australian Associated Press

Brad Hill dumped as AFL leader at Dockers

Fremantle midfielder Brad Hill has lost his leadership position at the AFL club.Fremantle midfielder Brad Hill has been dumped from the club’s leadership group and banned for one AFL match after his recent run-in with police.
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Hill, who crossed from Hawthorn to Fremantle at the end of 2016, was elevated to the Dockers’ leadership group on the eve of this season.

But he has been stripped of that title and ordered to undergo an alcohol education program after committing a series of breaches during a night out on May 6 in Scarborough.

He has also been fined $5000.

Hill was spoken to by police after jumping a barrier at a Scarborough nightspot to try to get into the venue.

He is being investigated for breaching a move-on notice, and for giving officers a false name.

Damningly, Hill didn’t tell the club about his run-in with police until a TV station contacted Fremantle a number of days later about the incident.

Hill also broke the team’s alcohol policy by drinking while injured.

There are also reports he had been drinking alcohol in public on at least one other previous occasion.

Fremantle football operations manager Chris Bond said he was disappointed with Hill’s choices and actions.

“As a member of the leadership group in a club, where more than a third of our list are young first and second year players, Bradley is required, without exception, to be at the forefront of upholding our values and behaviours at all times on and off the field,” Bond said.

“Clearly on this occasion, that was not the case and a significant sanction was required, which Bradley has accepted without question.

“Bradley is a young man who we hold in high regard and we are confident he will learn some valuable lessons from this and go on to be a better person and a better leader in the future.”

Michael Johnson, Brennan Cox, Luke Ryan and Harley Bennell are other Dockers players who have also been involved in alcohol-related misdemeanours over the past 18 months.

Hill has been sidelined since injuring his knee in round two.

The club initially expected Hill to miss only one or two weeks with bone bruising.

But Hill is struggling to overcome the injury, and no definitive timeline has been set for his return.

Hill enjoyed a standout debut campaign last year at the Dockers, winning the club’s best-and-fairest award.

He also has three flags to his name from his time at Hawthorn.

Hill’s off-field misdemeanour comes at a bad time for Fremantle, who are still dealing with the fallout of the sexual harassment storm that has engulfed coach Ross Lyon.

The club’s hierarchy have publicly backed Lyon, but the negative attention has severely damaged Fremantle’s brand.

Dockers chief executive Steve Rosich said the club’s staff were undertaking extra training on the AFL’s respect and responsibility policy.

Australian Associated Press

The march of science and cold case crimes

AS a crime of the most tragic sort, thehorrific murder-suicide at Margaret River on Friday has drawn media attention from around the world.
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We look on, as outsiders, at the grief of afather, aghast at the deaths of his children bythe hand of a grandfather who should have protected them, but who shotthem, his daughter, his wife and then himself.It’s an intensity of pain and anguish that most of us will hopefully never have to experience.

But there’s another type of anguish that can come with violent death– the anguish of uncertainty, of long years spent waiting and hoping that police will find anelusive clue needed toclosethe book on an unsolved crime.

As a rule, the longer a crime remains unsolved, the less chance there is of a resolution, but if there’s one thing that has aided the forensic effort in recent years, it’s the extraordinary progress made in DNA testing. According to University of Newcastle forensic criminologist Xanthe Mallett, police reviewing some 570 NSW “cold cases” will have access to a new DNA technology, including a genealogy data base of a type that led to the arrest of a former policeman suspected of being the infamous “Golden State” serial killer in California in the 1970s and 1980s.

More than 20 of the NSW cold cases are from the Hunter. They include such high-profile crimes as the suspected abduction and murder ofCardiffschoolgirl Gordana Kotevski (pictured), who disappeared in 1994, the“gentleman grocer”, Frank Newbury, bashedto death in his Cooks Hill shop in 2007 at the age of 87, and the trio of young Lake Macquarie women, Leanne Goodall, Robyn Hickie and Amanda Robinson, who all went missing in late 1978 and early 1979.

Cases such as this become burned into the region’s psyche. We remember them each time the police revive their efforts. Each time a reward is posted. Each time a relative speaks outon a fateful anniversary.

With the police again trawling through the cold case files, those witha personal tie to these victims will have their pain made fresh again. But they will also have their hopes of closure revived.

And with the magic of DNA matching, those who know in their hearts the truth of these tragedies, might want to realise that the chances of them getting away with their crimes are getting that bit smaller.

ISSUE: 38,800.

Newcastle artist delves into intricate network of lace

RARITY: Maggie Hensel-Brown’s skill has introduced her to a global community dedicated to needle lace. Pictures: Simone De Peak Art is in Maggie Hensel-Brown’s blood. Born to visual artist Nicola Hensel and performance artist/mask-maker Ross Brown, Maggie was also raised in a house with her step-father sculptor John Turier and her brood of five brothers. As if testament to their creative upbringing, all six siblings now occupy space within the film, music, art, and even gaming industries.
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“It just kind of happened. Art school was sort of like finishing school for us,” she says.

While her relationship to her practice has been episodic, Maggie saysit has given her a constant lens with which to view the world.

“Everything always ends up feeding back to art and looking at things through that context,” she says.

In her latest experimentation with art making, Maggie has found herself as one of the youngest members of a virtually unknown international community dedicated to the dying art of needle lace.

Maggie first came into contact with needle lace at the National Lacemakers Conference in Melbourne after being awarded a professional development grant by Renew Newcastle.

“The first technique I learnt was reticella. It uses a solid piece of linen, which you remove individually counted threads from, before weaving in your own. It’s the most intense and insane process. Every tiny bit takes hours and hours,” Maggie says.

Maggie Hensel-Brown talking about her lacework

“I learnt there are pieces of this particular type of needle lace that have been found in Egyptian tombs, then it pops up all around Europe in all these really amazing varied ways from 1200 onwards.

HER STORY: Maggie uses traditional and modern symbols in her work.

“It was discovering the intense weird long history, that now just manifests itself in really smart tiny women’s groups [that hooked me in]”

Maggie is one of only three people in NSW to have mastered this technique.She went on to study three other types of needle lace; punto in aria, a technique from Burano originating the 1500s; aemilia ars which evolved from punto in aria around the 1600s; and Venetian gros point, a 3D style of lace from 1700s in Venice.

Maggie combines all four techniques to create work that is almost exclusively autobiographical; using the iconographic lace imagery to depict moments of frustration or joy in her everyday life.

“There is a long history of pictorial lace commissioned by the gentry to tell biblical tales or grand stories. But I have no interest in those stories so I just decided to tell my own,” she says.

In these works, nestled among the traditional symbols of fruits, lions and snakes, you’llfind modern imagery such as sunglasses or cars portraying the messiness of life as a woman in her late-20s.

Commissioned by The Lock Up to develop work for their upcoming exhibition inspired by protest and activism HUNTER RED: SEEING RED; Maggie has used the delicate poised patterns to communicate herquiet resistance to patriarchy. Each of the pieces highlighting moments of everyday feminist rage, existential exhaustion, humanist despair and joy.

“They are acknowledgements of things that every woman is going through all the time. I was thinking of protest banners when I made them.”

Maggie’s commitment to needle lace has seen her travel to England, Italy, New York; seeking out tiny pockets of lacemakers.

“I did a live-in course with a woman called Doreen in Somerset for a couple of weeks. She has this tiny 16th Century cottage nestled in rolling green hills … there were seven of us,” she says.

Social media plays a significant role in connecting this otherwise dispersed community.

“The [lacemaker community on instagram] is so deep. There are these old women in Italy and France who post one image a day of whatever they are working on.”

Maggie will travel this year to the Netherlands for the International Lacemakers Conference and will show her work as part of a contemporary lacemakers exhibition at Hunterdon Art Museum, New Jersey.

“I’ve scratched the surface of four different, very specific, techniques out of literally thousands. I genuinely think there is enough in this that I could do it for the rest of my life,” Maggie says.

Find Maggie’s work on instagram at @maggiehenselbrown

HUNTER RED: SEEING RED opens at The Lock Up on May 26 and runs until July 1.