Terror victim Kirsty Boden farewelled

Friends of London Bridge terror victim Kirsty Boden have remembered her as someone who never gave up – whether she was chasing her dreams overseas, saving lives as a nurse or running to help others the night she was killed.

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The 28-year-old, dubbed the “Angel of London Bridge” for trying to help victims of the June attack before she herself was fatally stabbed, was on Saturday farewelled in an emotional memorial service in Sydney.

Friends paddled into the ocean off Tamarama Beach and threw sunflowers into the waves as one of Ms Boden’s favourite Ed Sheeran songs played and up to 100 mourners watched on.

The young nurse, originally from South Australia, had lived and worked in the UK since 2013 but before then spent a number of years in Sydney where she was a volunteer at the Tamarama surf life saving club.

One of her former Sydney housemates, Kate Williams, said on Saturday she didn’t know how to go on knowing her friend had “become the angel we all know she was”.

“I have never met anyone else like her and I know I never will,” she said.

“The only thing I am holding onto … is the strength and sheer bravery she had every day of her life.”

Another housemate, Sarah Misdom, remembered endless laughter in their Randwick share house, where there was “always an excuse for a drink and a night out – along with a good story for the next morning”.

“We often heard Boden coming in at odd times, whether it was after night shift, drinks, her morning swim or a random adventure,” she said.

“She made the most of every day.”

Malcolm Turnbull paid tribute to “a beautiful young Australian with so much of her life ahead of her”, in a message read aloud by Waverley Mayor Sally Betts.

“On that awful night, when Kirsty Boden ran towards the injured and the dying to render aid, she showed the world the best of our Australian character,” the prime minister said.

Federal-state spat over cyclone funding

The future of Queensland government post-Cyclone Debbie infrastructure projects are in jeopardy after the Commonwealth committed to covering just a quarter of the recovery funds the state had asked for.

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Deputy Premier Jackie Trad on Saturday lashed a federal government decision to cough up just $29.3 million of the $110 million sought by Queensland, labelling it “mean-spirited” and a “slap in the face”.

Malcolm Turnbull said most of the money in Queensland’s proposed $220 million Debbie recovery program was for infrastructure projects that could not be considered disaster relief.

The prime minister accused the state of trying to use the assistance package as a slush fund.

“It (the disaster funding scheme) is not designed to fund new infrastructure. It is designed to fund recovery and repairs and reinstatement and so forth,” Mr Turnbull told reporters on the Gold Coast.

“The request from Queensland was carefully assessed in accordance with the rules and funding has been applied in accordance with the rules.”

The state had sought $60 million for a flood levee in Rockhampton to prevent a repeat of this year’s floods, and $40 million to upgrade the Whitsunday Coast airport.

But Ms Trad said previous federal governments had agreed to fund mitigation infrastructure as part of disaster relief funding, singling out money provided to upgrade Brisbane’s ferry terminals in the wake of the 2011 floods as an example.

“If that application had been put in now, it would have been rejected. This is the kind of mean-hearted federal government that we have under Malcolm Turnbull,” she told reporters in Brisbane.

Ms Trad said the state had covered half the cost of the $220 million package in its state budget last month, and would have to decide how best to spend that money.

“Our money is there, it’s in the budget, that won’t change … so we’re going to have to go back and re-look at this,” she said.

“We’re going to have to talk to the communities and the mayors of these councils and have a conversation about where we go to from here.”

Greens senator’s oversight remarkable: PM

Malcolm Turnbull won’t say whether Scott Ludlam will be asked to pay back nine years of salaries and allowances after ruling himself ineligible for office.

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The Greens senator on Friday resigned from federal parliament after discovering he still holds New Zealand citizenship.

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Under the constitution, a dual national cannot stand for election.

The matter will be referred to the High Court, which is likely to formally disqualify him and order a recount of ballot papers from the 2016 election.

The prime minister hoped it will be dealt with as quickly as possible.

“It’s obviously Senator Ludlam’s oversight,” told reporters on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

“It’s a pretty remarkable one when you think about it, that he’s been in the Senate for so long.”

The former deputy Greens leader was first elected in 2007 and retained his West Australian seat at the 2013 and 2016 elections.

0:00 Greens Senator Scott Ludlam resigns Share Greens Senator Scott Ludlam resigns

It’s unclear whether he will have to repay the money he earned during his tenure, a decision Mr Turnbull has left to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

“(That) is my recollection as the way it’s dealt with in the past,” he said.

“I’ll leave that to be dealt with by him.”

The Department of Finance sought to have Bob Day and Rod Culleton pay back their salaries and allowances after the High Court decided they were invalidly elected for constitutional reasons.

They ultimately waived Mr Day’s debts and gave Mr Culleton the option to have his waived too.

Senator Ludlam said he didn’t have the money to pay back his salaries and allowances.

“It’s going to be millions of dollars and my total assets amount to a fast computer and some nice shoes,” he told reporters in Perth on Friday.

Trump lets in Afghan girls robotics team

Twice rejected for US visas, an all-girls robotics team from Afghanistan has arrived in Washington after an extraordinary, last-minute intervention by US President Donald Trump.

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The six-girl team and their chaperone completed their journey just after midnight on Saturday from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, to enter their ball-sorting robot in the three-day high school competition starting on Sunday in the US capital.

Awaiting them at the gate at Washington Dulles International Airport were a US special envoy and Afghan Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib, who described it as a rare moment of celebration for his beleaguered nation.

“Seventeen years ago, this would not have been possible at all,” Mohib said in an interview.

“They represent our aspirations and resilience despite having been brought up in a perpetual conflict. These girls will be proving to the world and the nation that nothing will prevent us from being an equal and active member of the international community.”

The girls’ case has drawn global attention and become a flashpoint in the debate about Trump’s efforts to tighten entrance to the US, including from many majority-Muslim countries. Afghanistan isn’t included in Trump’s temporary travel ban, but critics have said the ban is emblematic of a broader effort to put a chill on Muslims entering the US.

It also renewed the focus on the longer-term US plans for aiding Afghanistan’s future, as Trump’s administration prepares a new military strategy that will include sending more troops to the country where the US has been fighting since 2001. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday the strategy was moving forward but “not finalised yet.”

Earlier in the week Trump used a rare “parole” mechanism to sidestep the visa system to end a dramatic saga in which the team twice travelled from their home in western Afghanistan through largely Taliban-controlled territory to Kabul, where their visa applications were denied twice.

The US won’t say why the girls were rejected for visas, citing confidentiality. But Mohib said that based on discussions with US officials, it appears the girls were rebuffed due to concerns they would not return to Afghanistan.

Cricket pay talks to resume on Monday

Australian cricket’s pay stoush will continue on Monday, with a marathon round of talks unable to break the revenue-sharing deadlock.

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Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) are attempting to thrash out a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The previous MoU expired at the end of the financial year on June 30, leaving 230 players unemployed and prompting the cancellation of this month’s Australia A tour to South Africa.

There has been progress this week, with CA chief executive James Sutherland injecting himself into negotiations in an attempt to end the saga.

Friday’s session wrapped up at approximately 7.30pm, and the discussion resumed on Saturday morning then ended shortly after lunch.

The governing body and players’ union are expected to meet again on Monday.

“The increased involvement of CA CEO James Sutherland has been pleasing,” ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said.

“A better understanding has been established on both parties’ positions.”

There is more goodwill at the negotiation table, raising hopes of a compromise, but it’s understood CA and the ACA remain ideologically opposed regarding revenue sharing.

CA has declared the model that has shaped players’ salaries since the first MoU was agreed 20 years ago is no longer viable, with Sutherland opining it is responsible for a “chronic underfunding” of grassroots.

Dr Ross Booth, one of Australia’s eminent sports economists with no ties to CA or the ACA, described that argument as a “bit of a red herring”.

ACA player liaison manager Simon Katich noted players understood the need to modernise the revenue-sharing model.

“To not only include the female players for the first time but also to ensure the growth of the game,” former Test opener Katich told AAP.

“Cricket has not only survived by giving players a percentage of revenue but thrived in the process.

“The benefit of having a structure that rises and falls with the money available is it ensures the players never take more than the game can afford.”

Both CA and the ACA are starting to feel pressure from a range of stakeholders, with unemployed players having missed their first pay packet.

The ACA has set up a hardship fund for domestic players in need of financial assistance.

CA has declared it will not backpay players. It plans to instead direct that amount, approximately $1.2 million every fortnight the impasse drags on, to grassroots. The union is upbeat CA’s stance on this will change.