Australian company Optus apologises for ‘Anglo-Saxon’ job ad

An Australian telecommunications company has apologised for posting a job advert that stated a preference for “Anglo-Saxon” candidates.

Optus, the nation’s second-biggest provider, had included the description in a posting about a vacant position in a Sydney store.

The advert was shared on social media, where it was criticised as racist.

Optus responded by removing the posting and saying it would investigate the “completely unacceptable” error.

“[We] will be investigating how this occurred with a view to taking disciplinary action against those involved,” spokesman Vaughan Paul said in a statement.

Skip Twitter post by @bomotweets

@optus seeks Anglo Saxon in Neutral Bay area… I can't even 🙈 What were they thinking! @seekjobs pic.twitter.com/DqKa2vB2X0

— Catherine Snelson (@bomotweets) April 13, 2018

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Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, also responded to the incident.

“Under the Racial Discrimination Act, it is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of race in employment,” he tweeted.

Pacific Dawn: Woman missing after fall from cruise ship

Australian authorities have called off a search for a Brisbane woman who fell overboard from a cruise ship in the Coral Sea.

The 47-year-old fell from the Pacific Dawn about 16:00 local time (06:00 GMT) on Thursday, about 300km (186 miles) west of New Caledonia.

The ship, bound for Brisbane, turned around immediately to search for the woman, operator P&O Cruises said.

Australian maritime authorities decided to end the search on Friday morning.

“The difficult decision to suspend the search was made only after expert advice that survival after this length of time in difficult sea conditions, and after a full night at sea, was not considered possible,” a P&O Cruises spokesman said.

“Pacific Dawn had searched throughout the night and into the morning after first light without success.”

Queensland police said they would meet the Pacific Dawn when it docked in Brisbane on Sunday, to investigate the incident.

“No suspicious circumstances have been identified at this time,” police said in a statement.

The Courier Mail newspaper reported the woman had appeared to be seasick before she fell from the vessel amid rough seas. P&O Cruises said it could not confirm any details.

Authorities in Australia and New Caledonia said they had issued a call for other vessels to assist in the search, but the ship was in remote waters.

The rescue effort was hampered by challenging conditions, including swells up to 4m (13ft) and high winds.

The ship left Australia last Saturday on a week-long cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It has now resumed its course for Brisbane.

Australia’s biggest winemaker bought by US equity firm

Australia’s biggest winemaker, Accolade Wines, is to be bought by a US private equity firm.

The Carlyle Group has agreed to buy the maker of Hardys wine from Australia’s Champ Private Equity for 1bn Australian dollars ($769m; £546m).

The deal comes as Australia’s wine exports to China, its biggest market, expanded by 63% to A$848m last year.

Australia is the fifth largest exporter of wine in the world.

Accolade is the number one winemaker in Australia by volume, and the fifth largest winemaker in the world.

Champ created the firm in 2011 when it bought two separate divisions from Constellation Brands for A$290m – less than one-third of its agreed sale price to the Carlyle Group.

Accolade delivers 38 million cases of wine to 140 countries, including China, the US and the UK, and has a suite of well-known labels including Hardys, St Hallett and Grant Burge.

The firm’s biggest rival in Australia is Treasury Wine Estate – one of the world’s biggest publicly listed winemakers and the makers of Penfolds wine.

Israel Folau: Rugby player criticised for anti-gay post

Rugby Australia says it does not support the views of star player Israel Folau after he suggested that gay people would end up in hell.

The Wallabies player was widely criticised for the comment, which he wrote on Instagram on Wednesday.

Rugby Australia said it supported “all forms of inclusion”, while major sponsor Qantas said Folau’s opinion was “very disappointing”.

Folau has not responded to the backlash.

Last year, Folau sparked disagreement within the national rugby union team after he tweeted about his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Skip Twitter post by @sydneyconvicts

Disappointing to see these comments from Israel but his statements do not reflect Rugby Unions attitude to gay people. @qantaswallabies @NSWWaratahs @pocockdavid and more are all allies of ours and our community https://t.co/7xfk3mB6wr

— sydneyconvicts (@sydneyconvicts) April 4, 2018

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“Folau’s personal beliefs do not reflect the views of Rugby Australia,” the sport’s national governing body said in a statement on Thursday.

“Rugby supports all forms of inclusion, whether its sexuality, race, or gender, which is set out in our Inclusion Policy (2014).”

Qantas said: “We’ve made it clear to Rugby Australia that we find the comments very disappointing.”

Some social media users called on the airline to end its sponsorship of the team.

Last year, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce won an award for his vocal campaigning in favour of same-sex marriage – which Australia legalised in December.

Australia ‘shocked’ by 2,400 sheep deaths on export ship

The Australian government says it will investigate how thousands of sheep died on a live export ship last year.

About 2,400 animals succumbed to heat stress while travelling from Perth to three nations in the Middle East in August, according to the government.

One minister said he was “shocked and deeply disturbed” after seeing footage supplied by an animal rights group.

On Friday, Canberra threatened to block an upcoming shipment if welfare requirements were not met.

The deaths in August comprised 3.76% of the 63,800 sheep on board the ship, almost twice the percentage that requires formal investigation, the government said.

It said the animals had endured extreme heat on the voyage to Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the industry must be conducted “properly and sustainably”.

“This is the livelihoods of Australian farmers that are on that ship,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr Littleproud did not give details about the footage, which had been provided by Animals Australia.

Although acknowledging the trade’s importance to farmers, Mr Littleproud said whistleblowers should be supported to come forward “so we can nail those who do the wrong thing”.

Animal rights groups in Australia have previously called for the suspension of live exports due to welfare concerns.

In 2011, Australia suspended its live trade to Indonesia for six months after a TV documentary showed graphic footage of animals being mistreated.

Block threat

The government said it would block another shipment of 65,000 sheep, due to leave Perth on Monday, if the exporter fails to meet animal welfare measures.

They include reducing the number of livestock by at least 15%, travelling with an independent observer, and providing images for each day of the journey.

The Australian Livestock Exporters Council, an industry body, said it was committed to improving animal welfare.

According to the body, nearly 12,400 of 1.74 million sheep died during exports last year – a mortality rate of 0.71%.

“The range of livestock mortalities… is trending down, but our industry is determined to achieve better outcomes,” the group said in a statement.

Quokka selfies: Is Instagram’s welfare warning ‘overkill’?

The quokka is renowned as a popular photo subject for tourists in Western Australia. But a recent warning posted by Instagram on a popular hashtag has raised discussion about whether such photos could cause harm.

The cheerful-looking marsupial, chiefly found on Rottnest Island near Perth, regularly features in selfies with sightseers.

Famous examples include tennis player Roger Federer and actress Margot Robbie, both of whom have shared photos with their millions of followers.

Last month, the state’s government even talked up “quokka selfies” as part of a renewed push for domestic and overseas tourists.

But now visitors to #quokkaselfie on Instagram – a hub for almost 22,000 pictures – are warned that some images “may be associated” with animal abuse.

Instagram has not explained its concerns about #quokkaselfie specifically, but in December it announced plans to post such warnings on certain hashtags “associated with harmful behaviour to animals or the environment”.

The move followed research by National Geographic magazine and the animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection about animal exploitation in the Amazon rainforest.

So should the warning be applied to quokka photos? The BBC asked local officials, animal experts and tourists for their views.

Protection ‘taken seriously’

Quokkas have no predators on Rottnest Island, where signs warn people that touching and feeding the species is prohibited.

Offenders can face criminal charges and up to A$10,000 (£5,500, $7,500) in fines for interfering with wildlife.

In 2015, two French backpackers were fined for deliberately setting a quokka on fire. Other cruelty includes instances where the cat-sized animals have been kicked.

But there are no specific rules about taking photographs. Indeed, the Rottnest Island Authority has asked Instagram to remove its warning.

“The Instagram block notice is unhelpful in that it does not serve to educate or inform the public about our conservation efforts or direct people to how they might develop a better understanding of this native species,” a spokesman told the BBC.

“The RIA takes seriously its responsibility to protect the quokka population on the island.”

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#quokkaselfie 🇦🇺

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State Tourism Minister Paul Papalia told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last month: “You can’t get a quokka selfie anywhere in the world other than in Western Australia and that means we can leverage off that to attract people.”

What do experts say?

Wildlife researcher Dr Catherine Herbert said feeding quokkas certainly caused harm, but it remained unclear whether taking selfies with them was also detrimental.

“Sometimes, animals can be quite approachable and behaviourally may not look like they’re affected, but we don’t necessarily know what their underlying stress response is,” said Dr Herbert, from the University of Sydney,

It was up to visitors to act responsibly, according to experts.

“If a quokka is comfortable, not showing any signs of distress and approaching the person, then taking a photograph is probably fine,” said mammal expert Dr Christine Cooper, from Curtin University.

“What we don’t want to see is people harassing them and chasing them for a picture.”

Dr Cooper described promoting them for tourism as “a bit of a doubled-edged sword”.

“There can be a really positive spin-off in terms of raising awareness and allowing people to see them up close,” she said. “But if you promote these things, you also have to ensure they are managed in the right way.”

What do tourists think?

The BBC saw some tourists feeding quokkas on Rottnest Island, but others heeded warnings not to touch the animals or leave food.

One visitor from Perth, Sharna, said she thought the selfie warning was “overkill”.

“There are worse things on the internet than that [quokka selfies]. And there are worse things happening to quokkas than that,” she said, referring to abuse such as kicking.

A tourist from Adelaide, Sam, said she had not seen anyone bothering the animals.

“If any quokka walks away [from someone taking a selfie], they let them go,” she said.

“I know I’m not out to harm or chase them.”

Instagram did not respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by the BBC’s Frances Mao and Anna Jones

Australia cricket scandal: A body blow to an incredulous nation

What were they thinking? It’s a simple question that has consumed many Australians since the nation’s cricket team was engulfed in a cheating scandal in South Africa.

This weekend, captain Steve Smith said his team’s “leadership group” had hatched a plan to deliberately tamper with the ball during a Test in Cape Town.

The revelation has embarrassed a nation where elite athletes are often adored and even feted as “legends”.

The reaction here to those extraordinary events in South Africa has been furious. There is anger, disbelief and disappointment, even among some Australians with little interest in sport.

“Clearly this scandal will tarnish Australia’s sense of fair play, and moreover it will linger for many years,” said Prof David Shilbury, from Melbourne’s Deakin University.

Skip Twitter post by @fatzgorrie

I can not believe that Steve Smith & Cameron Bancroft attended that media conference wearing the Baggy Green. They, in no way represent one of the most iconic and highly sort after symbols of Australian sport. I hope they don’t wear them again for a very long time.

— Fatz (@fatzgorrie) March 24, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @fatzgorrie

Skip Twitter post by @TheNTNews

WE CAN’T EVEN COME UP WITH A FUNNY TWEET ABOUT THE AUSSIE CRICKET BALL TAMPERING SCANDAL IT’S SO BAD #SandpaperGate

— The NT News (@TheNTNews) March 25, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @TheNTNews

Skip Twitter post by @AndyMaherDFA

Kids. If your skipper ever asks you to cheat. Say no. You’ll be better for it in the long run. #balltampering

— Andy Maher (@AndyMaherDFA) March 24, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @AndyMaherDFA

Australia has an enviable stable of globally renowned scientists, authors, entrepreneurs and artists. However, in the eyes of many, a special place is reserved for its sporting royalty.

An appreciation of athletic endeavour and, crucially, excellence often enters discussions of national identity. Revered are those at the top of Australian rules football, the rugby codes, football, netball and horse racing, not to mention the Olympics, Paralympics and Commonwealth Games.

But dominating this competitive landscape, at least in national terms, is cricket.

  • Smith fined and banned for one Test
  • The key questions for Australia after ball-tampering
  • Five memorable ball-tampering moments

    “It is ingrained in our society over summer, along with the beach. The tones of cricket commentary on radio and TV fill the airwaves during the summer period in a soothing manner. That soothing background noise has now become foreground drama,” said Prof Shilbury.

    “The team represents Australia, and given our interest in sport and winning, it is important to the nation for the team to do well. Generally, the Australian Test captain is regarded as the second highest leadership post in the land behind the prime minister.”

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has chided Smith and those teammates who allegedly colluded with him, saying the scandal “beggars belief”.

    But so lofty and privileged is the position of Australian Test captain that they can become detached from reality, according to Steve Georgakis, a senior lecturer of sports studies at the University of Sydney.

    “I assume that people like Steve Smith and some of the other former captains develop a god-like complex that they can get away with anything,” he told the BBC.

    “We are usually the nation that fights against corruption in sport, but here we have the captain of the Australian cricket team involved in cheating. We see ourselves as this great sporting nation and this has really tarnished that image.

    “It is a big shock when our heroes do something wrong.”

    Australia lost the third Test at Newlands by 322 runs, but the result hardly matters as Cricket Australia (CA), the governing body, begins an internal investigation into the crisis.

    It will be a pivotal investigation. What senior CA officials uncover in South Africa and whatever the response is that follows will help to shape the way this sports-obsessed country heals. There is an expectation here that cheating must be purged if cricket is to be forgiven.

    Skip Twitter post by @MClarke23

    WHAT THE …….. HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream.

    — Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 24, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @MClarke23

    Skip Twitter post by @TomChadwickFox

    Never thought I’d say I’m ashamed to be an Australian cricket fan

    In a really strange way I’m heartbroken they did that#SandpaperGate

    — Tom Chadwick (@TomChadwickFox) March 24, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @TomChadwickFox

    But great damage has been done.

    “It is going to take a long time for Australia to repair its reputation internationally,” said Prof Catharine Lumby from Macquarie University.

    “Australians have a great investment in the fair go and the idea that we do the right thing and we don’t engage in underhand behaviour. It is a bit of a mythology, really, but it goes to the core of the way many people understand our national identity.”

    Clearly, there will be Australians who care little about cricket and a controversy about a scuffed ball across the Indian Ocean. But Matthew Beard, a philosopher and fellow at the Ethics Centre in Sydney, believes this is a scandal that goes to the heart of virtue and temperament.

    “All the way back to the ancient Greeks, the entire purpose of sport was to test character and practice overcoming challenges and struggles in a fictional, contrived environment,” he told the BBC. “[That was] so that when we were faced with challenges in the real world we would be able to overcome them there as well.

    “There is a sense of seeing our heroes fall and seeing that they weren’t the people of character we thought they could be.”

    Australia has a golden sporting legacy that includes the annual Boxing Day Test, the 2000 Sydney and 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the Formula 1 Grand Prix and feverish Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Finals.

    The Commonwealth Games on Queensland’s Gold Coast start next week.

    Will it restore some sporting faith, or perhaps be a welcome distraction? For many, the ball-tampering affair has heaped shame on a proud nation.

Australia-UK: First non-stop flight arrives in London from Perth

The first scheduled non-stop flight between Australia and the UK has touched down in London’s Heathrow Airport.

Qantas Flight QF9 completed its 14,498km (9,009-mile) journey from Perth in just over 17 hours.

It is part of ambitious plans by Qantas to add ultra long-haul flights to its schedules.

The Australian flag carrier’s Chief Executive, Alan Joyce, has called the new service a “game-changing route”.

  • How UK-Australia travel evolved to one flight
  • The low-cost airline changing the way we fly
  • Can long-haul air travel also be low cost?

    Speaking at an event ahead of the inaugural flight, he said the earliest Qantas flights between Australia and the UK – known as the “kangaroo route” – had taken four days and involved seven stops.

    Western Australia’s state government is also hoping to see an increase in tourist numbers as a result of the new direct route.

    The historic flight, on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner carrying more than 200 passengers and 16 crew, departed from Perth at 18:49 local time on Saturday.

    Skip Twitter post by @Qantas

    A momentous occasion on the flight deck of #QF9#QantasDreamliner pic.twitter.com/dRTh79ZxUb

    — Qantas (@Qantas) March 24, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @Qantas

    Michael Smith, a pilot and author who was a passenger on the flight, said it removed the “drudgery” of changing planes and disturbing sleep.

    He told BBC Breakfast: “This way you get on in one place and land where you want to to go.”

    Mr Smith said the aviation “holy grail” would be to fly direct from the east coast of Australia to London or New York.

    One man, who said he and his partner fly from Australia every year to visit family in Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire, said the trip “flew by”.

    He said: “It was amazing, the best flight we ever had, we feel fresh as daisies.”

    Another man said: “It was great not to have the stop and 17 hours was very comfortable.”

    One woman returning to the UK said there had been a “lot of excitement” on board.

    She said not having the stop “made such a difference”, adding: “You want to get back, you don’t want to be hanging around terminals.”

    To minimise the discomfort of such a long flight, the plane is equipped with features that provide improved air quality and lower cabin noise.

    Some of the passengers agreed to share data on their sleeping and activity patterns with researchers from the University of Sydney.

    They wore special monitors and devices that also recorded data about their mental state, eating patterns and hydration levels.

    Some aviation fans in the UK were up early tracking the plane’s flight path and anticipating its landing.

    Skip Twitter post by @evansjrichard

    @Qantas not long to go! pic.twitter.com/jkRTdbwhQr

    — Richard Evans (@evansjrichard) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @evansjrichard

    “We have a touchdown!!” wrote Twitter user Andrew Leong, who said it was “a milestone in the aviation industry”.

    Another user, Leigh Mason, said the achievement was “amazing”, adding: “Hope to fly this one day.”

    The Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, tweeted on arrival in London: “A new era of travel and opportunities for Western Australia’s economy has officially begun.”

    Those arriving in London in the early hours following their historic flight shared images of the welcome they received at Heathrow Airport.

    Skip Twitter post by @AusAviation

    A warm and cheery welcome on a chilly Sunday morning at #London Heathrow for those arriving on #Qantas flight #QF9 from #Perth #qfdreamliner pic.twitter.com/5TMzIC4FYo

    — Australian Aviation (@AusAviation) March 25, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @AusAviation

    The new Perth-London flight is around three hours faster than other routes that involve stops in the Middle East to change planes or refuel.

    The flight is the world’s second-longest after Qatar Airways’ route from Doha to Auckland, which spans 14,529km, according to the International Air Transport Association.

    Other carriers, including Emirates and United Airlines, have also flown non-stop journeys greater than 14,000km.

    In 2017, United Airlines launched a route from Los Angeles to Singapore, offering the longest-distance non-stop flight available from the US.

    But Singapore Airlines has provided the world’s longest flight, travelling more than 15,300km from Singapore to New York on a direct route that was discontinued in 2013.

Australia cricket scandal: A body blow to an incredulous nation

What were they thinking? It’s a simple question that has consumed many Australians since the nation’s cricket team was engulfed in a cheating scandal in South Africa.

This weekend, captain Steve Smith said his team’s “leadership group” had hatched a plan to deliberately tamper with the ball during a Test in Cape Town.

The revelation has embarrassed a nation where elite athletes are often adored and even feted as “legends”.

The reaction here to those extraordinary events in South Africa has been furious. There is anger, disbelief and disappointment, even among some Australians with little interest in sport.

“Clearly this scandal will tarnish Australia’s sense of fair play, and moreover it will linger for many years,” said Prof David Shilbury, from Melbourne’s Deakin University.

Skip Twitter post by @fatzgorrie

I can not believe that Steve Smith & Cameron Bancroft attended that media conference wearing the Baggy Green. They, in no way represent one of the most iconic and highly sort after symbols of Australian sport. I hope they don’t wear them again for a very long time.

— Fatz (@fatzgorrie) March 24, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @fatzgorrie

Skip Twitter post by @TheNTNews

WE CAN’T EVEN COME UP WITH A FUNNY TWEET ABOUT THE AUSSIE CRICKET BALL TAMPERING SCANDAL IT’S SO BAD #SandpaperGate

— The NT News (@TheNTNews) March 25, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @TheNTNews

Skip Twitter post by @AndyMaherDFA

Kids. If your skipper ever asks you to cheat. Say no. You’ll be better for it in the long run. #balltampering

— Andy Maher (@AndyMaherDFA) March 24, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @AndyMaherDFA

Australia has an enviable stable of globally renowned scientists, authors, entrepreneurs and artists. However, in the eyes of many, a special place is reserved for its sporting royalty.

An appreciation of athletic endeavour and, crucially, excellence often enters discussions of national identity. Revered are those at the top of Australian rules football, the rugby codes, football, netball and horse racing, not to mention the Olympics, Paralympics and Commonwealth Games.

But dominating this competitive landscape, at least in national terms, is cricket.

  • Smith fined and banned for one Test
  • The key questions for Australia after ball-tampering
  • Five memorable ball-tampering moments

    “It is ingrained in our society over summer, along with the beach. The tones of cricket commentary on radio and TV fill the airwaves during the summer period in a soothing manner. That soothing background noise has now become foreground drama,” said Prof Shilbury.

    “The team represents Australia, and given our interest in sport and winning, it is important to the nation for the team to do well. Generally, the Australian Test captain is regarded as the second highest leadership post in the land behind the prime minister.”

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has chided Smith and those teammates who allegedly colluded with him, saying the scandal “beggars belief”.

    But so lofty and privileged is the position of Australian Test captain that they can become detached from reality, according to Steve Georgakis, a senior lecturer of sports studies at the University of Sydney.

    “I assume that people like Steve Smith and some of the other former captains develop a god-like complex that they can get away with anything,” he told the BBC.

    “We are usually the nation that fights against corruption in sport, but here we have the captain of the Australian cricket team involved in cheating. We see ourselves as this great sporting nation and this has really tarnished that image.

    “It is a big shock when our heroes do something wrong.”

    Australia lost the third Test at Newlands by 322 runs, but the result hardly matters as Cricket Australia (CA), the governing body, begins an internal investigation into the crisis.

    It will be a pivotal investigation. What senior CA officials uncover in South Africa and whatever the response is that follows will help to shape the way this sports-obsessed country heals. There is an expectation here that cheating must be purged if cricket is to be forgiven.

    Skip Twitter post by @MClarke23

    WHAT THE …….. HAVE I JUST WOKEN UP TO. Please tell me this is a bad dream.

    — Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 24, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @MClarke23

    Skip Twitter post by @TomChadwickFox

    Never thought I’d say I’m ashamed to be an Australian cricket fan

    In a really strange way I’m heartbroken they did that#SandpaperGate

    — Tom Chadwick (@TomChadwickFox) March 24, 2018

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @TomChadwickFox

    But great damage has been done.

    “It is going to take a long time for Australia to repair its reputation internationally,” said Prof Catharine Lumby from Macquarie University.

    “Australians have a great investment in the fair go and the idea that we do the right thing and we don’t engage in underhand behaviour. It is a bit of a mythology, really, but it goes to the core of the way many people understand our national identity.”

    Clearly, there will be Australians who care little about cricket and a controversy about a scuffed ball across the Indian Ocean. But Matthew Beard, a philosopher and fellow at the Ethics Centre in Sydney, believes this is a scandal that goes to the heart of virtue and temperament.

    “All the way back to the ancient Greeks, the entire purpose of sport was to test character and practice overcoming challenges and struggles in a fictional, contrived environment,” he told the BBC. “[That was] so that when we were faced with challenges in the real world we would be able to overcome them there as well.

    “There is a sense of seeing our heroes fall and seeing that they weren’t the people of character we thought they could be.”

    Australia has a golden sporting legacy that includes the annual Boxing Day Test, the 2000 Sydney and 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the Formula 1 Grand Prix and feverish Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Finals.

    The Commonwealth Games on Queensland’s Gold Coast start next week.

    Will it restore some sporting faith, or perhaps be a welcome distraction? For many, the ball-tampering affair has heaped shame on a proud nation.

Australia-UK: First non-stop flight arrives in London from Perth

The first scheduled non-stop flight between Australia and the UK has touched down in London’s Heathrow Airport.

Qantas Flight QF9 completed its 14,498km (9,009-mile) journey from Perth in just over 17 hours.

The airline is using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which is twice as fuel-efficient as the Boeing 747.

It is part of ambitious plans by Qantas to add ultra long-haul flights to its schedules.

The Australian flag carrier’s Chief Executive, Alan Joyce, has called the new Perth-London service a “game-changing route”.

Western Australia’s state government is also hoping to see an increase in tourist numbers as a result of the new direct route.

The historic flight, carrying more than 200 passengers and 16 crew, departed from Perth at 18:49 local time on Saturday.

Skip Twitter post by @Qantas

A momentous occasion on the flight deck of #QF9#QantasDreamliner pic.twitter.com/dRTh79ZxUb

— Qantas (@Qantas) March 24, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @Qantas

Michael Smith, a pilot and author who was a passenger on the flight, said it removed the “drudgery” of changing planes and disturbing sleep.

He told BBC Breakfast: “This way you get on in one place and land where you want to to go.”

Mr Smith said the aviation “holy grail” would be to fly direct from the east coast of Australia to London or New York.

One man, who said he and his partner fly from Australia every year to visit family in Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire, said the trip “flew by”.

He said: “It was amazing, the best flight we ever had, we feel fresh as daisies.”

Another man said: “It was great not to have the stop and 17 hours was very comfortable.”

One woman returning to the UK said there had been a “lot of excitement” on board.

She said not having the stop “made such a difference”, adding: “You want to get back, you don’t want to be hanging around terminals.”

To minimise the discomfort of such a long flight, the plane is equipped with features that provide improved air quality and lower cabin noise.

Some of the passengers agreed to share data on their sleeping and activity patterns with researchers from the University of Sydney.

They wore special monitors and devices that also recorded data about their mental state, eating patterns and hydration levels.

Some aviation fans in the UK were up early tracking the plane’s flight path and anticipating its landing.

Skip Twitter post by @evansjrichard

@Qantas not long to go! pic.twitter.com/jkRTdbwhQr

— Richard Evans (@evansjrichard) March 25, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @evansjrichard

“We have a touchdown!!” wrote Twitter user Andrew Leong, who said it was “a milestone in the aviation industry”.

Another user, Leigh Mason, said the achievement was “amazing”, adding: “Hope to fly this one day.”

The Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, tweeted on arrival in London: “A new era of travel and opportunities for Western Australia’s economy has officially begun.”

Those arriving in London in the early hours following their historic flight shared images of the welcome they received at Heathrow Airport.

Skip Twitter post by @AusAviation

A warm and cheery welcome on a chilly Sunday morning at #London Heathrow for those arriving on #Qantas flight #QF9 from #Perth #qfdreamliner pic.twitter.com/5TMzIC4FYo

— Australian Aviation (@AusAviation) March 25, 2018

Report

End of Twitter post by @AusAviation

The new Perth-London flight is around three hours faster than other routes that involve stops in the Middle East to change planes or refuel.

The flight is the world’s second-longest after Qatar Airways’ route from Doha to Auckland, which spans 14,529km, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Other carriers, including Emirates and United Airlines, have also flown non-stop journeys greater than 14,000km.

In 2017, United Airlines launched a route from Los Angeles to Singapore, offering the longest-distance non-stop flight available from the US.

But Singapore Airlines has provided the world’s longest flight, travelling more than 15,300km from Singapore to New York on a direct route that was discontinued in 2013.