Call for an end to Victorian duck hunting - plus more 9am zedlines

Federal Labor MP Kelvin Thomson agrees with animal rights activists who call for an end to Victorian duck hunting. (photo: Sharron Woodward)

2016 already a busy year for domestic violence helpline

A Queensland based domestic violence helpline has already received over 2022 calls within the first four days of the new year.

DV Connect’s chief executive, Di Mangan says the rise in calls in only four days has left staff stunned.

Ms Mangan says 775 calls were made on Saturday, which far exceeds the daily average which is between 360-400.

Ms Mangan says the rise in calls could be partly attributed to the greater media coverage of the issue over the last year.

Anyone needing to talk to somebody about domestic can call 1800 811 811.


Qld government respond to medicinal marijuana petition, but makes no promises

The Queensland government has restated its plans to stage a trial of medicinal marijuana, but not offered any more details in response to a petition presented by Buderim MP Steve Dickson in parliament.

The petition, signed by 12,000 people, claims that the government not allowing medicinal marijuana supports offshore pharmaceutical companies in place of local farmers; increases the cost of the PBS scheme; entrenches the cannabis black market; is wasteful of public resources; that prosecution of medicinal cannabis use was not in the public interest and fails to facilitate research.

Health Minister Cameron Dick restated a previous promise to trial cannabis for children with severe epilepsy, though he did not offer any details. He says he appreciates there is growing community interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis-derived compounds.


Federal MP calls for an end to Victorian duck hunting

Federal Labor MP Kelvin Thomson has called on the Victorian state government to cancel the 2016 duck hunting season and put an end to the practice.

Duck hunting season in Victoria is between March and June, and is often the target of animal rights activists attempting to disrupt hunts.

Mr Thomson says said duck shooting was not a genuine sport and had no place in the modern world. He also cited environmental concerns relating to the current drought, and pointed out it is not possible to ensure animals are killed humanely or that no threatened species are targeted.


Smartphone app for new refugees

A new smartphone app titled ‘New Roots’ has been developed to help refugees adjust to a new life in Australia.

The New Roots app is the first of its kind in Australia and has been developed by Settlement Services International in conjunction with Beyond Blue, and funded by donations from the Movember Foundation.

The apps development comes as nearly 12,000 Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in Australia over the coming months.

The app includes a number of features such as online training for caseworkers in settlement services, along with tips for eating well and managing finances.


Call for Japan to lower minimum age for electoral candidates

Katsuya Okada, the leader of Japan’s main opposition party the Democratic Party of Japan, will submit to parliament a bill to lower the minimum age of people running in elections.

Currently Japanese law says candidates must be at least 25 years old to run for House of Representatives, mayoral, and village chief elections; and at least 30 years old to run for upper house and governor elections. Mr Okada wants these ages lowered.

Last year the minimum voting age in Japan was reduced from 20 to 18.