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A SPECIALIST integrity unit has been formed inside the Department of Immigration to deal with widespread fraud in the working holiday visa program, on which industries such as fruit growing depend.

More than 200 internet advertisements have been found offering to buy or sell documents allowing backpackers to claim they had worked in rural jobs without them leaving Sydney, and thus extend their working holiday visas. The standard fee is $400. So far, 64 visas have been cancelled over the fraud and at least 19 more are being reviewed.

One man, an Irish national, has been convicted of fraud. ”There’s been more than 100 fraudulent claims identified this financial year,” a spokeswoman for the department said. ”The answer is we don’t know [the full extent of the fraud]. At this stage it’s too early to determine and we will be looking at it over the next six months.”

The working holiday visa (subclass 417) allows people to extend their stay in Australia by a year if they can prove they have worked in a rural area for three months. Applications are lodged online but have been abused by people selling Australian business numbers linked to farms so backpackers can falsely claim they worked on farms.

”Second year visas for sale,” one ad read. ”Will email completed 1263 form and add your details to my books so you can gain second year visa with ease.”

Another ad offering similar services, posted on the Gumtree website on Saturday, had received more than 2000 hits by last night. Unlike visa scams targeting international students, mainly Indians, this fraud is used mainly by European visitors.

One backpacker told the Herald he had been offered the false documentation as soon as be arrived in Australia, by people staying at the same hostel.

”People told me about buying the documents – getting the numbers to put in,” he said. ”When I arrived here people said you can go there [to a farm] or you can buy. Everyone knows about it. It’s easy. All the people who are here know about that.”

The federal Opposition spokeswoman on immigration, Sharman Stone, said the widespread fraud reflected under-resourcing of the department.

Source  :  www.smh.com.au
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A man became glued to the seat of a public toilet in Cairns in an embarrassing prank.                                                                                                    

The 57-year-old man found he had become stuck to the seat after using a cubicle in a male bathroom at the Cairns shopping centre on Saturday.

Ambulance workers and police were called to free the man, who was taken to Cairns Base Hospital with the toilet seat still attached.

He sustained minor injuries.

“It appears at this stage that an unknown offender has placed an adhesive on the toilet seat,” a police spokeswoman said.

Police are investigating.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Allegations of cheating by students in immigration exams has seen the launch of a corruption investigation.

Australia’s largest international student service, IDP Australia, is investigating possible corruption among its staff after students in Sydney were caught cheating on exams it conducts for the Department of Immigration, The Sun-Herald newspaper reports.

Copies of the May International English Language Testings System (IELTS) exam were sold for between $12,000 and $18,000, one source claims.

“These have been leaking out for months,” the source told newspaper.

“It’s like a chain of command. It came from the official service who gives it out and takes his cut.

IDP would not confirm how many people had been caught cheating.

“Cheating in IELTS tests is not commonplace,” an IDP Australia spokeswoman said.

“‘However given the high stakes involved, attempts to cheat or engage in other fraudulent activity such as identity fraud do occur.

“Recently in Australia a number of test takers have been detected in their attempt to cheat in the IELTS test. Whether or not it was an internal problem, we don’t know.”

IDP is investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Department has defended its outsourcing of English tests, which have been handled by IDP since 1994.

Source  :  www.ninemsn.com.au

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A sick snake has been stolen from Perth’s northern suburbs, sparking a police hunt.                                                snake-article-420x0                                                       

The two-metre long carpet python was being cared for by the Department of Environment and Conservation at its wildlife research centre at Woodvale.

The centre was broken into some time between Friday and yesterday morning and police believe the python was taken then. It was being cared for due to illness and there are concerns for its welfare.

A police spokeswoman said it was not ordinarily considered dangerous, but was capable of causing a “nasty bite” which could be “particularly dangerous” to young children.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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Chef Gordon Ramsay has cancelled his planned visit to Perth at the end of this month.           

A spokeswoman for the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre which is hosting the $1000-a-head dinner and a $125-a-head motivational breakfast with the star,

said it had received an email from event management company Diablo Events saying Ramsay would not appear at the two events at the convention centre.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Colin Barnett is on the brink of caving in to worried Liberal backbenchers and accepting an 8pm closing for weeknight shopping rather than the 9pm time he took to the election last year.
  
The Premier has been softening the public up for an 8pm closing time in recent days and again said yesterday that it was an acceptable alternative. 
  
The West Australian understands that most Liberals don’t want 9pm and would prefer a 7pm closing time but are prepared to accept 8pm to save the Premier the embarrassment of being rolled by his own party.
  
Mr Barnett has been canvassing his MPs one-on-one in recent days and knows that 9pm is beyond his reach.

The Nationals say they will not support changes to shopping hours, which they fear would deliver a crucial blow to WA producers because it would increase the market share of big supermarkets
   
The Government will rely on Labor to get legislation on later weeknight shopping hours through Parliament but the ALP took a position of 7pm to the election and is not guaranteed to support a later closing time. A Labor spokeswoman said yesterday that shadow Cabinet and caucus would discuss the party’s position once the Government’s preference was known.
 
Cabinet discussed the shopping hours issue last Monday and Mr Barnett is expected to take his preferred position to the party room on Tuesday, but the Upper House is not sitting, and the meeting will be only for Assembly MPs, meaning that a vote on the issue will probably be delayed a week.
  
Mr Barnett said yesterday that most people in the retail industry, including the unions, favoured a 9pm closing time from Monday to Friday to bring all weeknights into line with existing late-night shopping.
  
“That’s a position I think is logical, however a number of people are saying 8pm might be better. I don’t think there’s a big difference between the two,” he said.
  
“To simply extend it to 7pm would be pointless.
  
“So, 8pm, yeah that’s OK, 9pm might be better but at least either of those would be a significant extension to weeknight shopping.”

But backbenchers are under pressure from small businesses to wind back the closing time, believing that the later hour is supported only by Coles and Woolworths.
  
Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief James Pearson urged politicians from both sides to “stand up to vested interest groups, which are determined to deny West Australians more choice and lower prices when they shop”.  

ROBERT TAYLOR, PETER KERR and AMANDA BANKS

Source www.thewest.com.au

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Cocaine Energy Drink launched in Australia

A CONTROVERSIAL energy drink called ‘Cocaine’ and billed overseas as being more than three times stronger than Red Bull has gone on sale in Australia.

While the drink does not contain any actual cocaine, the US and UK versions have 280mg of caffeine for every 250ml can – a concentration that is illegal in Australia and New Zealand.

Local distributors say Cocaine Energy Drink is being targeted at young people in a marketing ploy that has been roundly condemned overseas. cocaine drink

“Cocaine is synonymous with energy,” John Mancini from Wize Distributors told news.com.au.

“People over 30 or 40 have got a different view (of the word), but to anyone between 16 and 30, they go ‘I’ll try that’.”

But Paul Dillon from Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia said it was abhorrent that people were trading on such a controversial name.

“I find it despicable that people are importing these sorts of products,” Mr Dillon said

“I think what the public have to realise is that these people are all about making a quick buck.

“Something like this that is out there attracting attention is going to be more appealing for a certain group.”

Over the past fortnight, several shipments of the drink – originally advertised as a legal alternative to drug of the same name – have arrived from New Zealand and cans are being sold across Sydney’s western suburbs.

The Australian version of the drink contains just 80mg of caffeine per can to comply with regulations.

A spokeswoman for Food Standards Australia said that as long as the amount of caffeine in Cocaine adhered to regulations and the cans contained correct labelling, the product was legal.

The spokeswoman for Food Standards Australia said that as long as the amount of caffeine in Cocaine adhered to regulations and the cans contained correct labelling, the product was legal..

At the time New York, a city councillor called for a boycott of the drink.

“There are only two reasons that you would seek to use this infamous and insidious name to market your so-called energy drink,” councillor James Sanders said. “Either you are woefully ignorant of the horrors of cocaine addiction, or your god is the dollar bill.”

David Raynes from the UK National Drug Prevention Alliance also criticised the manufacturer soon after the launch.

“It is people exploiting drugs,” Mr Raynes said. “It is a pretty cynical tactic exploiting illegal drugs for their own benefit.

“The fact is that subliminally, it is making the image of drug use cool and that’s what kids what to be, cool.”

The drink was temporarily pulled from shelves in the US after complaints, but has since returned to sale.

www.news.com.au

My Comment :

What ever next !

I would like to see the government take it off the market.

The Distributors  are saying   ” Don’t do the drug – Do the drink ”

I say Don’t do either

What a bloody ridiculous name for a drink.

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