Australian universities are dealing with the “unacceptable” results of the world’s largest survey into sexual assault on campus. The Australian Human Rights Commission released its report yesterday, having surveyed 31,000 students across 39 Australian universities, attracting 1849 submissions. 

The report found 1.6% of students reported sexual assault in a “university setting” — which includes travel to and from university and off campus university events — in the past two years and 26% said they were sexually harassed. Overall figures found 51% of respondents reported experiencing sexual harassment last year and 6.9% said they had been sexually ­assaulted in the past two years across all settings.

As Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins puts it: “To put this in context, in a lecture theatre containing 100 students, at least one, and possibly two, students have been sexually assaulted in the past two years.”

The results in Sydney and Melbourne were damning; more than a quarter of students at the University of Sydney and 21% at UTS and Western Sydney University reported being harassed, while in Victoria, 30% of La Trobe students said they were sexually harassed at university and at Deakin University and RMIT, 2.3% and 2.1% reported being assaulted on campus — while the Australian National University in Canberra had the worst results in Australia, with 35% of students reporting being sexually harassed and 3.5% assaulted.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham released a statement saying the government would “work with universities to ensure they address the findings and recommendations” of the report.


The annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia report has been released and it’s not good news for anyone below 40. The ABC reports mortgage debt for 18- to 39-year-olds had almost doubled since 2002 from $169,201 to $336,586, and childcare costs are skyrocketing. Pia Akerman writes in The Australian that home ownership has plummeted among couples with dependent children from 55.5% of the group owning their own home to 38.6% over the same period. But then, as The Australian Financial Review points out, home ownership is down for everyone below 40 and households have less money than they did in 2009.

The survey, which polls the same 17,000 people each year, also shows continued increasing support for marriage equality, with every demographic apart from men over 65, agreeing that same-sex couples should have the same rights as straight couples.


Perth: Education Minister Simon Birmingham to address the media at Australind Senior School following the release of May’s NAPLAN literacy and numeracy results.

Melbourne: Actor Rachel Griffiths, Hagar CEO Jo Pride and former child slave Sophea Touch to appear before the federal parliamentary inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.

Sydney: Child abuse royal commission chair Justice Peter McClellan to address the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions NSW conference.


Adani royalties deal: Queensland’s ‘transparent policy framework’ kept secret

Barwon Darling Water Sharing Plan: Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair tries to change irrigation laws after farmer given extra river rights

Rates on hold as RBA eyes wage growth risk and rising dollar

Labor MP  Justine Keay joins list of dual citizenship doubtfuls


Gay and lesbian people deserve to be married just like every other Australian — Warren Entsch (The Daily Telegraph $): “Be under no illusion, irrespective of what you call it, any form of plebiscite is dead, cremated and cannot be resurrected. In my view, the only way to resolve this issue once and for all is with a vote in the Parliament.”

Liberals need leadership, discipline on same-sex marriage — Paul Kelly (The Australian $): “Any delivery of same-sex marriage by a small group of Liberals crossing the floor to join the Labor Party and defy the Coalition’s plebiscite will see at least one and possibly more MPs defect to the crossbenches and turn the Turnbull government into a minority government.”

Report shows universities fail the most vulnerable students — Wendy Tuohy (Herald Sun $): “Critics would have you believe American university “culture wars” have been imported here and the issues in this report are a symptom of activists taking over universities and of men being falsely targeted. It’s an oddly old-school reaction, and predictable.”


New Zealand has a new opposition leader, with Jacinda Ardern becoming the youngest ever head of the Labour Party. National elections are less than two months away and Ardern faces the daunting task of overcoming National Party PM Bill English while also dealing with a challenge on her left flank from a resurgent Greens party. Ardern is Labour’s fifth leader since Helen Clark lost government in 2008. — New Zealand Herald

A suicide attack has killed more than 50 worshippers at a mosque in western Afghanistan. The Taliban has denied responsibility for the attack, which targeted the country’s minority Shia community. — Al Jazeera

Two influential opposition figures have been jailed in Venezuela in an escalation of the socialist government’s crackdown on dissent. Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were accused by the government-aligned Supreme Court of planning to flee the country, and of breaching conditions of their house arrests by making political statements. — Reuters

Three suspects have been killed after a group of alleged gang members attempted to violently flee their trial in Moscow. The assailants were accused of being members of the GTA gang responsible for a series of execution-style killings. — BBC


Emmanuel Macron’s businesslike media strategy is worrying the French press (New Statesman): “From the start, Macron made it crystal clear that his style was different. ‘I will take some distance from the media circle,’ he said during the presidential campaign. ‘When one presides, one isn’t friends with journalists.'”

The world fears the US more than Russia or China (Quartz): “Even in Europe, where most countries were generally more concerned about Russia than the US, there were some countries—Germany and Spain—that expressed more worry about the White House than the Kremlin.”

‘The worst it’s been’: children continue to swim as raw sewage floods Gaza beach (The Guardian): “Without electricity to power its lagoons, treatment works and sewage pumps, Gaza’s waste managers have been forced to make a choice, permit the cities to flood – or allow raw sewage to escape the overflows into the sea.”

We need to talk about genetic engineering (Commentary): “The speed with which this scientific milestone was reached has outpaced society’s ability to process it. Already, the outlines of a conflict over the nature of this practice — its ethicality, its utility, and its displacing effects on the American workforce — are visible, but no one seems prepared to talk about them. What was once science fiction is perfectly thinkable today. It’s time to do some thinking.”



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Peter Fray
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