ADF releases footage of RAAF bombing IS munitions tunnel in Syria

Australian aircraft have wiped out an Islamic State storage tunnel, destroying weapons and ammunition, in their deepest-ever mission into Syria.

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Defence has taken the unusual step of releasing “bomb camera” footage of the attack, along with another successful mission involving weapons storage warehouses in Iraq’s ISIS-controlled area of Anbar Province.

The aircraft lobbed eight 2000-pound precision guided bombs – the largest in the RAAF inventory – through a garage door-sized entrance to the IS storage tunnel, setting off explosions which obliterated the complex.

“Each strike of that nature is valuable,” Australian Defence Force chief of joint operations Vice Admiral David Johnston said on Thursday.

He said Australian missions were having an impact on ISIS, which now controls substantially less territory in Iraq and Syria.

A combination of strikes on ISIS weapons stores and leadership were having the greatest effect, he added.

IS fighters were most likely inside the Syrian storage facility near the stronghold of Raqqa when it was hit on January 17, although it’s not known how many.

Vice Admiral Johnston says it’s possible some of them survived, although no-one was observed after the pre-dawn airstrike.

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The attack, which destroyed a significant percentage of IS weapons and ammunition in that area, was the culmination of weeks of planning and surveillance.

In the second mission in Iraq’s Anbar province on March 3, four RAAF Hornets led 18 coalition aircraft to destroy an agricultural warehouse complex where IS manufactured and stored improvised explosive devices.

They dropped 10 2000-pound bombs – the most bombs dropped by RAAF aircraft in a single mission since combat operations started in October 2014.

Hit white-collar criminals harder: ASA

White-collar criminals should be pursued more vigorously and be subject to tougher punishment, according to the Australian Shareholders’ Association.

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The ASA says criminal convictions were rare for white-collar crime in Australia, and that potential penalties – and those actually imposed – have not been strong enough to deter offenders.

“The ASA believes there is a need for more criminal prosecutions and increased civil and administrative penalties for white-collar crime,” the ASA said in its submission to the Senate Economics References Committee inquiry into penalties for white collar crime.

The ASA acknowledged that prison terms for white-collar crime in Australia were consistent with those overseas, but said there appeared to be a reluctance to apply them in anything other than very exceptional cases.

“What we have seen is a penchant for weak punishments such as good behaviour bonds or community service orders, even when the admitted wrongdoing has been serious, deliberate and systematic,” the ASA said.

Inadequate criminal penalties, which were sometimes suspended, could also undermine public confidence in markets and the financial system.

The ASA said non-criminal penalties were too low and suggested they should range from at least the amount of the wrongful gain and up to 10 times the financial benefit.

If there was no clear quantifiable gain, the ASA said, the corporate watchdog should have the power to penalise the wrongdoer: for example, by up to $5 million for a body corporate and $1 million for an individual.

The ASA said the Australian Securities and Investments Commission also should be able to pursue both criminal and non-criminal penalties for the same instance of wrongdoing.

ASIC needed more money and resources to enable it to investigate and pursue more cases in a timely manner, the ASA said.

ASIC has not yet made a submission to the Senate Economics References Committee but expects to do so within two weeks.

An ASIC spokesman said the watchdog had long expressed the view that penalties for white-collar crime should be higher.

The Senate Economics References Committee is expected to report by July 27.

Bennett backs Roberts ahead of NRL derby

The fallout over James Roberts’ NRL defection won’t go away.

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Wayne Bennett argues the strike centre was right to leave a “deceitful” Gold Coast and claims the Titans are now jealous of Brisbane as a result.

A target was already on Roberts’ back as he prepared to meet the Titans for the first time since his controversial off-season departure in Friday night’s NRL derby on the Gold Coast.

And it seems Bennett has made sure it stays there with his passionate defence of the lightning quick three-quarter.

The master coach on Thursday endorsed Roberts’ decision to turn his back on the Titans and link with arch rivals Brisbane over an off-season contract forgery bungle.

Last November it emerged a senior Gold Coast staff member copied Roberts’ signature on a re-worked contract clause.

His defection ruffled feathers at the Titans. Veteran Greg Bird even claimed his once troubled teammate had used the botch-up as a convenient excuse to leave the rebuilding club for grand finalists Brisbane after the Titans had “turned his career around”.

But according to Bennett: “It wasn’t James’ fault what happened.

“If you had the situation he had, we would have all walked away from our contracts – you would take that opportunity.

“It was pretty deceitful what happened, he was affected by that.”

Titans coach Neil Henry had the right to be the most disgruntled after Roberts cheekily claimed in the pre-season he’d learned more in his first two weeks under Bennett than he had in two years at the Gold Coast.

Henry was still not impressed when reminded of Roberts’ comment on Tuesday.

“Jimmy has a habit of saying the first thing that comes into his head and that was an example,” he said.

Bennett could empathise with a frustrated Henry over Roberts’ departure – at first.

However, the Brisbane master coach then claimed the Titans’ discontent came from jealousy.

“It hurts a bit. You bring a guy through, you work hard with them to get them where they are, you get through the difficult moments (and they leave),” Bennett said.

“I can understand Neil’s position with it.”

But Bennett added: “A bit of envy and jealousy comes into all that as well because you are envious he is not there anymore.

“And you are jealous of what he can bring and you’d like to have it in your team.”

Roberts will chime into a full strength Broncos backline after Queensland hopeful Corey Oates (shoulder), Jordan Kahu (shoulder) and Jack Reed (eye) were cleared of injury.

Kahu raised eyebrows when he emerged at training on Thursday wearing a neck brace but Bennett said it was “just for show”.