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Your Monday News: Victorian Premier Tells Turnbull to Scrap Plebiscite and Flight MH370 Conspiracy Accusations

Here's what happened in Australia over the weekend.
July 25, 2016, 12:00am

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Victorian Premier Tells Turnbull to Ditch the Plebiscite

On Monday morning the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews released a public letter across Twitter and Facebook, asking for Turnbull to scrap the plebiscite.

The letter opens "Dear Prime Minister," but then strikes out "Prime Minister" which is replaced by "Malcolm" in handwritten biro.

"You are proposing to spend $160 million of taxpayer's money on what amounts to the nation's most expensive opinion poll," writes Andrews, before describing his and Turnbull's marriage to their own wives a "privilege."

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"I realise now how precious that right is, because I'm witnessing so many people forced to fight just to be able to do what I did—marry the person they love."

The letter calls on Turnbull to scrap the plebiscite and produce a bipartisan bill to reform the Marriage Act within 100 days.

If this wasn't politically controversial enough the letter then ends with this final plea: "After a botched referendum in 1999 you accused a conservative prime minister of breaking the nation's heart. If you fumble at this crucial moment history will remember you for the same thing."

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NSW Police Seized a Lot of Ice Over the Weekend

On Friday afternoon a 26-year-old guy was pulled over in the Sydney suburb of Haymarket for driving on his phone. It's unclear what led police to search the car, but officers allegedly found 3 kilograms of methamphetamine valued at $1.2 million.

This chance bust led police to another man, this time carrying a suitcase along Canberra Street, St Johns Park, on Saturday afternoon. The bag contained 10 kilograms of meth. He was charged with two counts of supplying a prohibited drug (a large commercial quantity) and dealing in the proceeds of crime

At 8 PM that evening Police then raided a property on Canberra Street where they found $1.4 million in cash. A 21-year-old man was taken to Fairfield Police Station where he was charged with possession and knowingly dealing in the proceeds of crime.

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The day ended with another executed warrant on a property on Ann Street, Marrickville, where police found another 77.6 kilograms of meth.

The 26-year-old who precipitated the whole thing was refused bail. He was remanded to appear in Central Local Court on Thursday.

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Labor Minister Calls on the Government to Come Clean on MH730

Last Wednesday New York magazine released an exclusive article on the infamously missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. The magazine claims to have a received a report by Malaysian police, proving the plane's captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, used his home flight simulator to charter a course very similar to the plane's last known movements towards the Southern Ocean.

As New York journalist Jeff Wise writes of the simulator records: "Taken together, these points show a flight that departs Kuala Lumpur, heads northwest over the Malacca Strait, then turns left and heads south over the Indian Ocean, continuing until fuel exhaustion over an empty stretch of sea."

This journey uncannily matches the hypothesised fate of the lost plane.

On Sunday Labor transport spokesman Anthony Albanese told The Australian that the Federal Government should come clean on anything it knows. "My concern all along has been the need for clarity for the families affected by this tragedy," he told the paper.

The Government has neither confirmed nor denied it was aware of these allegations.

The news comes as Australia, Malaysia, and China wind up combing the allocated search area for the plane that went missing March 2014, carrying 239 passengers and crew.

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Turnbull to Introduce Indefinite Detention for People Jailed for Terrorism

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told state and territory leaders that introducing new measures to curb the threat of terrorism will be a first priority when parliament resumes in late August.

Responding to recent news from Orlando and Nice, Turnbull wants to see people jailed over terror charges remain indefinitely in prison when their terms end. This might operate in the same way that paedophiles are often released into assisted living arrangements, separated from the community.

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These measures were first tabled in April, but Turnbull has now asked Attorney General, George Brandis, to coordinate the legislation with the state and territory governments so the measures can be introduced urgently.

"This is a significant public safety and security issue and our governments must do all we can to protect the community from individuals posing a high risk of reoffending and/or those in need of continued rehabilitation," Turnbull wrote in a letter to state ministers.

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Airport Bomb Threat in Queenstown

On Sunday afternoon a cleaner at Queenstown Airport found a note on Qantas plane QF121, warning there was a bomb somewhere on the plane. The airport was subsequently evacuated and the plane, which was scheduled to return to Sydney at 1:25, was delayed until after 3.

A thorough search found nothing, while two Air New Zealand flights were cancelled. Fire fighters were also called as a precautionary measure. Stranded passengers being asked to wait outside the terminal building were offered blankets.

Police are now on a manhunt to locate the person who wrote the letter. There have been no arrests so far.

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