Bill to take away corruption watchdog powers in Indonesia - plus more 9am zedlines

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is under pressure to oppose a restriction of anti-corruption powers (image: creative commons)

Funding boost for Qld community legal services

The Palaszczuk Government has announced a short term funding boost for several Queensland community legal services, equaling nearly 3 million dollars.

The funding targets shortfalls in services for families, domestic and family violence, child protection, as well as disadvantaged and marginalised groups.

The funding was provided by the Commonwealth Government under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services, and is available until mid-2017.

Rockhampton MP in SMS gaffe
The latest politician embarrassed by a text message gaffe is Capricornia Liberal MP Michelle Landry.

Ms Landry’s electorate officer inadvertently sent members of the public an SMS meant for LNP members giving a list of suggested messages they could write to the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin newspaper.

All of the proposed messages criticised Labor Keppel MP Brittany Lauga and Labor candidate for Capricornia Leisa Neaton. One example is “Leisa - can you confirm that your campaign hasn't received any money from Union 'Slush Funds'."


Federal government promises media reform
Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has flagged media reform as imminent on the Turnbull Government’s 2016 agenda.

Mr Fifield says Australia’s current suite of media laws are outdated, with regional operators expected to have some of their concerns addressed.

Without going into specifics, the Minister told the ABC any changes to the ‘reach rule’ limiting broadcasters to reaching 75% of the population would have safeguards for local producers.


Investigation into Western Sydney cemetery

One of Australia’s largest and most culturally diverse cemeteries is under investigation over its governance and pricing.

Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney’s west charges different prices for graves based on faith, and allegedly spends more on marketing than providing services, which led members of the Jewish and Muslim communities to call for an independent inquiry.

The first part of the inquiry is expected to be finalised by the end of March.

211 arrested after anti-immigration riot in Leipzig:

211 people have been arrested for rioting and property destruction in the wake of an anti-immigration protest turned riot organised by Leriga, an off-shoot of far right party Pegida.

Leriga’s stance is that Germany’s refugee policy was to blame for the mass sexual assaults in Cologne recently, and protested accordingly.

The Leriga protesters had constructed barricades, smashed windows, set off fireworks, and set a building on fire.

Police put the arrestees on a bus, which was then attacked by anti-fascist protesters opposing the Leriga group.


Proposed restriction of watchdog powers in Indonesia

In Indonesia, public pressure is mounting on President Joko Widodo to oppose a proposed restriction of the corruption watchdog powers.

The Indonesian House of Representatives is pushing through a law that would take away the right of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to use surveillance or to prosecute those accused of corruption.

The KPK has been a controversial issue in Indonesian politics in the last year. An investigation into the national Police chief led to KPK officials being criminalised in what many called political reprisals. There was also public criticism of the government’s selection of candidates for the KPK board last month.