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Archive for March, 2019

Netflix launches in Australia

(Transcript from World News Radio)


Australians can now access the US internet streaming service Netflix, the third streaming service to launch in Australia this year.



But the company has confirmed the catalogue available to Australian consumers will be much smaller than their offering in the United States.


Greg Dyett reports.


(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)


About 200,000 Australians already subscribe to Netflix but they’ve been accessing the US catalogue by using what’s known as a Virtual Private Network (VPN).


A VPN makes their IP address appear to be located in the United States, enabling them to get around the geoblocking measures that stop people living outside the US from accessing the American Netflix library.


Using a VPN is in breach of the Netflix Terms of Service and some copyright lawyers argue it’s a breach of Australia’s Copyright Act because it enables Australians to access content that Netflix is not licensed to provide in Australia.


Subscribing to Netflix via a VPN costs about 15 dollars per month.


That’s more expensive than the subscription to the basic Netflix service now available in Australia for nine dollars per month.


One of the VPN providers has emailed its Australian customers saying the Netflix Australia offering will be around 1600 titles compared with more than 15,000 titles available to US subscribers.


Cliff Edwards from Netflix wouldn’t reveal the exact size of the Netflix Australia catalogue but did confirm that it will be smaller than what’s on offer in the US.


“We do not ever discuss quantity in any of our catalogues. We always will tell you that the US market with 40 million consumers and having been in service for seven years is always going to be larger but that is tailored to the 40 million American consumers. What we focus on is quality and quality is everything from our originals which everyone gets day and date around the world and a lot of content that again is important and tailored to the local market.”


Cliff Edwards says VPNs will eventually be a thing of the past.


“Well anybody who is using a VPN can just see for themselves. I mean at the end of the day the focus is on quality not quantity and you’re going to find a great catalogue here and be paying less money than if you were using a VPN and again with a VPN you’re not guaranteed quality of service whereas the quality of the service that you get on the local level is going to be much higher.”


Size of the catalogue aside, IT journalist Angus Kidman from Lifehacker Australia says streaming services like Netflix can be more convenient for viewers than traditional television offerings.


“An entire series is there at once so you’re no longer thinking I’ve watched this, I’ve got to wait another week for the next episode, it shows up immediately so it gives the viewer a lot more control and that’s almost as appealing as the fact that it’s really cheap.”


Netflix is undercutting the two existing streaming services with a three-tier pricing system that starts at nine dollars per month.


Rival Stan, which is owned by Fairfax and the Nine Network, is priced at 10 dollars while Presto, backed by Foxtel and the Seven Network, is $9.99 per month.


Australia’s largest subscription TV provider Foxtel says it welcomes more competition.


Bruce Meagher is Foxtel’s Director of Corporate Affairs.


“No, we’re not worried at all. We think that competition is a good thing, that the Australian consumer is learning more about subscription television services and they’ll make their own choices.”



(Transcript from World News Radio)


With New South Wales’ state election this weekend, candidates – many from culturally diverse backgrounds – are intensifying their campaigns.



Premier Mike Baird launched the Liberal party’s official campaign in Sydney on Sunday.


Latest opinion polls show the Coalition leading Labor – but Mr Baird’s record majority in the state’s lower house appears under threat.


Julia Calixto reports.


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“I’m Raman Bhalla. I’m the NSW Liberal Candidate for Blacktown.”


“I’m Jihad Dib and I’m the NSW Labor Candidate for the seat of Lakemba.”


Raman Bhalla and Jihad Dib are among a growing number of migrant-background candidates running in the New South Wales election.


Both men were born overseas: Mr Bhalla from Bangladesh and Mr Dib from Lebanon, and they represent community groups that make up a large proportion of their electorates in Sydney’s west.


The region was once considered Labor heartland, but in recent years has transformed into contested political territory.


At the last state election, tens of thousands of people switched their vote allowing the Coalition to snatch ten western Sydney seats from Labor.


Mr Bhalla came to Australia from India in 2000.


An accountant by trade, he says the economy is weighing on voters’ minds.


“If you look around this electorate, these are mostly small businesses. These businesses don’t want to pay higher taxes. Rather they will employ someone, increase the payroll, rather than paying taxes, that’s what the Labor policy is.”


The sitting MP for the seat, John Robertson, says public transport is a major issue.


He stepped down as leader of the state Labor Party after admitting he’d signed a letter requesting the Sydney siege gunman, Man Haron Monis, be allowed supervised vists with his children while subject to an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order).


But he says voters understand he was just acting on behalf of a constituent.


“I think when you go to parliament it’s a very daunting task and I think they want someone who they know is experienced, that they can have confidence is able to advocate on their behalf.”


There are 11 Liberal-held seats held by a margin of less than 6 per cent.


Pundits inside both parties estimate that Labor could pick up anywhere between 9 and 17 seats, many of those in western Sydney.


That could dramatically reduce the Coalition’s historic 69 seats in the 93-seat lower house.


Liberal Premier Mike Baird has conceded federal issues will be a factor at the polls.


Former principal of Punchbowl High School, Jihad Dib, says that includes the federal government’s plans to deregulate higher education fees.


The senate refused to pass that bill last week.


Mr Dib says higher education reforms need to be addressed with caution.


He says students from disadvantaged backgrounds need special attention.


“We got so many great kids, so many great programs, but some of these programs are getting cut. And you know I think that’s a a dangerous thing. Once we start cutting programs well then what we’re basically doing is we’re saying to people who are already disengaged, well we’re shunning you. And you know we’re opening up the doors for all sorts of other people to prey upon them.”


The Lebanese community is the largest migrant group in the electorate.


One of the fastest-growing is the Bangladeshi community.


Mr Dib’s Liberal opponent, Rashid Bhuiyan, says locals want better health services to care for big families.


“The Governmnent is fully committed to improve the nursing and aged care facilities around the area. The first generation is working very hard to establish their future generation and obviously there are a lot of Bangladeshi families.”


Both candidates are Muslim and born overseas, a first for the electorate of Lakemba.



A 30-year-old who last played a NRL game in 2009 has been named to replace Kangaroos flyer Dylan Walker by defending champions South Sydney.


Even poker-faced Rabbitohs mentor Michael Maguire could see the amusing side of veteran ex-Canterbury player Daryl Millard slotting into the undefeated ladder leader’s star-studded backline for Friday night’s clash with Parramatta.

“He spent some time out in Catalans in France (but) I think he is off the wine now and got the boots ready to go,” Maguire laughed.

“We’ve got a good fill-in there.”

Millard – who last played a NRL game six years ago for the Bulldogs – held out young gun Aaron Gray to book his South Sydney debut in the centres.

Millard replaces Walker who faces a month on the sidelines after playing 80 minutes and scoring two tries with a broken hand last round.

“Walks is making a name for himself about how tough he is,” Maguire said of Walker.

Parramatta are unchanged despite having Nathan Peats, Isaac De Gois (concussion), Will Hopoate (shoulder) and Brad Takairangi (ankle) under an injury cloud.

At Manly, Jamie Lyon (leg) and Kieran Foran (hamstring) have been named to make their return on Saturday night against St George Illawarra after missing last round’s loss to the Bulldogs.

George Rose is on an extended Dragons bench after missing last round due to the birth of his child, while Trent Merrin will start at lock, replacing Jack de Belin.

At Cronulla, Wade Graham is at pivot for Ben Barba (suspension) while young gun Jack Bird is set to make his NRL debut off the bench in Saturday night’s home clash with Gold Coast.

The Titans will show off their own rising star, with ex-NYC Player of the Year Kane Elgey set to make his debut in place of halfback Daniel Mortimer (wrist, two weeks).

At Wests Tigers, prop Aaron Woods (knee) has been named while winger Delouise Hoeter will make his debut replacing Pat Richards (suspension) against the Bulldogs on Friday night.

At Newcastle, prop David Fa’alogo replaces Korbin Sims (suspension), Jarrod Mullen (concussion) and Beau Scott (ankle) have been named and Four Nations bolter Sione Mata’utia is 18th man against Penrith on Saturday.

At the Warriors, rookie Tuimoala Lolohea replaces fullback Sam Tomkins (knee, six weeks) against Brisbane on Sunday.

The Broncos are unchanged despite the return of gun back Dale Copley (calf).

At Canberra, fullback Jack Wighton returns against the Sydney Roosters on Sunday – one week after suffering a fractured eye socket.

For North Queensland, winger Antonio Winterstein has been welcomed back for Monday night’s home showdown with Melbourne after the sudden death of his younger brother.

Winterstein replaces winger Kyle Feldt and Matthew Wright is in for Justin O’Neill (concussion, shoulder).

“He’s got his head back around playing footy again,” Cowboys coach Paul Green said of Winterstein.

A man jailed for persistent child sex abuse was told he couldn’t marry a 12-year-old girl he was interested in because he wasn’t an Australian citizen, a court has heard.


The man, 27, wanted to marry the girl and sought advice from sheikhs at his mosque.

“(The sheikh) said to me it was illegal because you are not citizen in Australia,” he said.

“He didn’t tell me it was illegal to have sex with her.”

The man was giving evidence in the trial of the girl’s father, who is charged with procuring a child aged under 14 for unlawful sexual activity and being an accessory before the fact to a serious indictable offence.

After spotting the girl at a mosque the man asked her father, 63, for her number and began pursuing her, with the father’s permission, the Sydney District Court heard on Tuesday.

The man said the father had consented, on the condition his daughter agreed.

The pair were “married” last year in an Islamic ceremony at the caravan park where her father lived.

After the wedding, the 27-year-old sexually assaulted the girl on numerous occasions between January 11 and February 5 last year.

He said he married the girl after she pushed him to seek consent from her father, who also can’t be named.

“If you love me, you have to fight for me,” he said she told him.

The man said he had never discussed sex with the girl or her father, but that her father did pass her phone number to him.

He also said the father phoned his daughter to inform her there was a man interested in marriage, despite the father’s defence lawyer questioning whether the call happened.

While giving evidence the man was directed by Judge Deborah Sweeney to answer a question about his sex life with the girl, which he said he couldn’t due to his religion.

The court heard the girl agreed to become engaged during the pair’s first meeting.

“It was mutual. We both wanted to know each other,” the man said.

Earlier in the trial it was alleged that on the wedding day, the father instructed the girl that neither she nor her partner were allowed to use contraception.

On the first weekend after the wedding, the court heard the father hosted the couple at his home where he allegedly arranged a marital bed.

The following morning, he asked his daughter if she needed to shower before prayers, in line with Islamic practice after sexual intercourse, the court heard.

The trial continues.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has promised his coalition colleagues that savings in his second budget will be responsible and fair.


Mr Hockey gave a slideshow presentation to a government parties room meeting on Tuesday in an attempt to clear up any confusion among edgy backbenchers over his budget strategy.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has clouded the run-up to the May 12 budget by predicting a “dull” affair, which business has taken to mean the government is going soft on reform.

The presentation shows the budget will aim to build a stronger economy through a small business package, childcare reform and infrastructure investment while reaping the benefits of recent free-trade agreements.

Mr Hockey argued the mid-year review showed the budget was on track to return to surplus, despite a weaker global outlook, a collapse in the iron ore price and the status of the Senate.

In this year’s budget, all new spending will be offset by savings that are responsible and fair, he said.

But he also said that monetary policy and fiscal policy must work “hand in hand”.

The Reserve Bank cut its cash rate to an all-time low of 2.25 per cent in February and economists expect more easing in coming months.

Even so, Mr Hockey promised to improve the budget bottom line “each and every year” through a continued sensible path of fiscal consolidation.

“We will get the budget back to surplus as soon as possible,” he said, he did not nominate a specific timetable for a surplus.

Mr Hockey’s intergenerational report shows that without further legislative action, the budget will come close to a surplus in about five years but then sinks into worsening deficits for the next 35 years.

It was the last scheduled meeting of government MPs before budget day.