Tech and media entrepreneur Justin Milne appointed chair of national broadcaster

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Justin Milne, the new chairman of the ABC, is a former filmmaker and serial entrepreneur who has been thinking about how television could be delivered over the internet for more than 20 years.
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Milne emerged as the government’s anticipated pick to helm the public broadcaster on Tuesday. He comes having carved a career rich in technology and broadcasting as well as blue chip corporate experience.

In an interview in 1995 about the potential for shopping via CD-ROM or over the internet, Mr Milne said: “Over time, new media will become the province of cash-rich, time-poor people, who will be prepared to pay to get the information and entertainment they want. Free-to-air TV will increasingly become the province of cash-poor, time-rich people.”

When he made those comments he was a co-founder of Globe Media, a content company that developed the first online car-shopping site in for Sydney City Toyota, including a classifieds section for selling used cars. Before that he was an Adelaide-based documentary maker.

After Globe Media, Milne went on to be a director of Microsoft’s MSN in , before leaving to start up his own company InfoBox, which was soon shut down by funder Kjerulf Ainsworth due to a lack of returns.

He resurfaced as head of datacasting at OzEmail in April 1998, after the internet company had listed on NASDAQ and when it wanted to buy digital spectrum and become a major datacasting player.

In December 1998 OzEmail was purchased by WorldCom (now part of Verizon) for $520 million – a deal that famously turned OzEmail’s then chairman and now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s $500,000 investment into $57 million.

Mr Milne became general manager of OzEmail by 1999 and was soon appointed chief executive.

But in November 2002 he jumped ship to rival Telstra, where former chief executive Ziggy Switkowski (now chair of NBN Co) recruited Mr Milne to run the retail internet BigPond division, which soon absorbed Telstra Media, the division that owns Telstra’s 50 per cent stake in Foxtel. (OzEmail was purchased by iiNet in 2005 after World Com went bankrupt in 2002.)

Mr Milne spent eight years at Telstra, where he introduced the T-Box – Telstra’s low-cost internet pay TV platform – before leaving in March 2010 to join the directors’ circuit.

Since leaving Telstra Mr Milne has been a director of the Sydney Children’s Hospital and Basketball .

In 2011 he became deputy chair of Quickflix after it purchased BigPond’s customers and library of DVDs. Mr Milne cut his ties with Quickflix in late 2012.

Former chair of Quickflix Stephen Langsford says of Mr Milne’s new appointment that he “brings to the ABC board passion and understanding of media, content and digital technology”.

Mr Milne is also non-executive chairman of ASX-listed accounting software company MYOB and of Netcomm Wireless, which recently won a multimillion contract to supply NBN Co with equipment for its fibre-to-the-curb [FTCC] rollout. And he is a director of Members Equity Bank.

He sits on the board of gaming giant Tabcorp, where he has been a member of the Tabcorp Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee and Tabcorp Nomination Committee since 2011.

Tabcorp was recently ordered to pay a $45 million fine for 108 breaches of ‘s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 over the past five years.

In November 2013 Mr Milne was appointed to the NBN Co board after the incoming communications minister, Mr Turnbull, cleared out the board appointed by the previous Labor government. Mr Switkowski was appointed as chair in October 2013.

Mr Milne was recently re-appointed for another three year term at NBN Co.

And now he has been appointed chairman of a publicly funded free-to-air network, which, in his own words is the “province of cash-poor, time-rich people”.

What this intelligent “netrepreneur”, content-loving chairman and former Google-executive managing director Michelle Guthrie plan to do to old Aunty in coming years will be very interesting to see.

Sword of Damocles hangs over Turnbull

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Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson during the debate on the Temporary Budget Repair Levy Bills in the Senate, at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 16 June 2014. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Photo: Alex EllinghausenCome Thursday a royal commission or commission of inquiry into the scandal-ridden banking sector will be a genuine live issue in the Federal Parliament.
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From that point, the sword of Damocles will dangle precariously over Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s head, waiting for the right moment to fall.

All it will take is one more Coalition MP in the lower house to cross the floor. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

The clock was set on Tuesday when a bill was tabled in the Senate with the backing of a majority of the upper house.

The bill’s signatories include Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson, independents Derryn Hinch and Jacqui Lambie, Nick Xenophon and One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.

Nationals senator John Williams has agreed to cross the floor, while the Labor Party is also on board. It is now a waiting game.

Ironically, it seems almost everyone – including the banks – think that a royal commission or judicial inquiry is inevitable.

As Senator Whish-Wilson says in a second-reading speech, “trust has broken down and it urgently needs to be repaired”. Senator Whish-Wilson didn’t gild the lily. He said the various scandals have revealed issues that go to the stability of the n financial system and the performance and resilience of the n economy.

The bill seeks to appoint a commission to establish the “causal factors for this misconduct, including misaligned incentives, culture, inadequate regulation and regulatory power, and ‘moral hazard’ extending from government guarantees”.

The Coalition, for its part, is trying to prosecute the argument that self-regulation, beefed-up regulatory powers and bank bosses fronting Parliament twice a year will fix these deep-seated problems.

However, as each day goes by and more and more scandals emerge, their arguments are looking increasingly hollow and people are questioning what they are afraid of.

One only needs to look at the growing use of “independent” experts reports that are being used to get companies off the hook. The companies set the terms of reference and pay for the report. Their findings don’t fool anyone. They are essentially guns for hire that are constrained in their investigations by the terms of reference.

And the appearances by the bank bosses only served to prove that a holistic examination of the culture inside the financial system is needed and past behaviour addressed.

Despite all the protestations by the banks that the behaviour is down to a few bad apples, if a list of the scandals of the past few years were made, it would show that this is system failure.

Yet not one senior executive has been punted from their job. Where are the boards on this? The guardians of the social licence?

ASIC sometimes uses enforceable undertakings as punishment for wrongdoing, but given the lack of transparency in enforceable undertakings, it is hard to know how effective they are.

Each of the banks bosses has done a number of variations on the theme of mea culpas. But if change is to occur, it will require more than a few mea culpas, self-regulation, Senate inquiries and reviews conducted by bank-funded independent experts.

There needs to be accountability. Heads need to roll, remuneration needs to change, a proper compensation scheme needs to be rolled out and banks need to reset their culture.

The terms of reference are wide ranging, which is as it should be.

National Senator John Williams will cross the floor to support a bill that he says is necessary. Senator Williams has long supported a royal commission into the banks. Now he wants it opened up to include life insurance. The sort of evidence spilling out of the life insurance sector has toughened his stance on the need for a royal commission or commission of inquiry.

The inquiry into the $44 billion life insurance industry was called in response to the CommInsure scandal in March 2016 that exposed wrongdoing in Commonwealth Bank’s life insurance division, including the sale of life insurance policies that had decade-old medical definitions, allegations of file tampering and the denial and delaying of legitimate claims for profit.

“More evidence will come out in the future that I think needs further investigation,” he said.

The bill proposes a single commissioner, who is a former judge, who has the powers to compel witnesses and the production of evidence. This is light years away from the various Senate and parliamentary inquiries, which are limited by resources, time and powers.

The second reading of the bill concludes with a line that the Turnbull government would do well to think about: “This bill reiterates that the n people are the masters of the broader economy. We are not its servants.”

Grandmother charged with manslaughter over diabetic boy’s death

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The grandmother of a six-year-old diabetic boy who died after being deprived of insulin and food in a Sydney “self-healing” course has been charged with manslaughter.
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The 64-year-old woman, arrested on Tuesday, has become the third member of the same family arrested over the death.

Police last week charged the boy’s father, 56, and mother, 41, with manslaughter after arresting them at their home in Prospect in Sydney’s west.

The year 1 student, who cannot be named as an alleged victim of crime, attended the Tasly Healthpac medical centre in Hurstville in April 2015 for a week-long course with his parents.

Emergency services found him unconscious in a nearby hotel room, where he was staying, on April 28, 2015. He died at the scene.

Police will allege the parents and grandmother, who was looking after the boy before his death, were all “grossly negligent” in allowing the fasting and insulin deprivation during the $1800 course.

It was run by the self-described “healer” Hongchi Xiao, a Chinese-born man who continues to travel the world spruiking a therapy he calls paidalajin.

Paidalajin involves slapping the skin to the point of bruising, stretching and fasting to clear “meridians” in the body, allowing the dissolution of toxins, according to promoters.

“You have to be hard a little bit, cruel a little bit, but not too much,” Mr Xiao said when describing paidalajin in a video last year.

Mr Xiao, who was allowed to leave in the days after the boy’s death, continued to promote his so-called therapy and was last year linked to the death of a diabetic British woman.

Danielle Carr-Gomm, 71, died during a weekend retreat run by Mr Xiao in south-west England last October.

He was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, then released on bail and was originally due to appear again in January before the date was set back.

His blog has promoted recent courses with him in Hong Kong and one in Malaysia in late March.

The blog says paidalajin is not meant as a “substitute for medical care” but Mr Xiao elsewhere promotes it as such, deriding Western medicine.

After the Sydney boy’s death, he denied responsibility on Facebook and posted a link to an Indian study purportedly showing improvements in diabetics after they went through paidalajin’s fasting and “healing crisis”.

The boy’s parents were granted conditional bail after court appearances last week. They are due to appear before court on separate dates.

The grandmother, who appeared before Blacktown Local Court on Tuesday, was granted strict conditional bail. She is due to face Downing Centre Local Court on May 11.

All three face a maximum of 25 years’ jail if convicted.

Restrictions on electronic devices on flights: What you need to know

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The United States and the United Kingdom have both banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from cabins on flights from some Middle Eastern and North African countries.
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While the measures – enacted in response to an “unspecified security concern” – should not stop passengers on direct flights to and from bringing laptops, e-readers and other devices on board, there could be flow-on effects that will make travelling to America or the UK more of a hassle.

As for , a spokeswoman for Minister for Infrastructure Darren Chester said on Wednesday that his department, which regulates air safety, had no current plans to implement similar bans for flights heading here.

Luckily for n travellers, British authorities have not followed their US counterparts in applying the ban to flights that originate or stop over in the big Middle Eastern hubs of the UAE (including Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and Qatar.

If the UK did, passengers flying from to London on Qantas, Emirates, Etihad (and its code share partner Virgin ) and Qatar Airways would have to leave their laptops in their checked baggage.

Most ns heading to the US travel across the Pacific, so they aren’t affected either. Which countries are affected?

The US has banned large electronic devices on flights from airports in the following countries: JordanEgyptTurkeySaudi ArabiaKuwaitQatarMoroccoJordanthe United Arab Emirates

The UK’s ban, announced overnight, is less restrictive and only applies to flights from the following countries: TurkeyLebanonJordanEgyptTunisiaSaudi ArabiaBrace for longer queues

While most ns don’t travel to the US via the Middle East, an exception are passengers from Perth, many of whom choose to fly to the US via the Middle East rather than connecting through Sydney or Melbourne.

“They find it’s not much difference in time for them to hop on a flight from Perth to Abu Dhabi with Etihad, to Dubai with Emirates or to Doha with Qatar, and then they can bounce back to the US from there,” David Flynn, editor of n Business Traveller told Fairfax Media.

“Those people will now not be able to have their laptop or their iPad or their camera or their Kindle or electronic games in the cabin with them.”

ns can also expect to be hit with delays when transferring through Middle Eastern airports, Mr Flynn said, caused by US-bound passengers being stopped at security screenings because they have brought electronics with them from connecting flights.

“I would be prepared for much longer queues and for much more irate passengers in those queues,” he said. Do these devices pose a greater threat than mobile phones?

Only physically, not technologically.

A computer or a tablet is larger than a smartphone, which would theoretically provide more room for terrorists to cram in components like bomb parts or weapons, said Bill Marczak, a senior fellow at the Citizen Lab, a research group that follows technology and policy.

Multiple terrorists could then each take a computer on a plane containing an explosive component and, hypothetically, put it together in the cabin, he said.

Yet a smartphone may also pose threats. As Samsung demonstrated last year with its Galaxy Note 7, smartphones – and anything with a lithium-ion battery – are capable of exploding and causing safety hazards.

Technologically, a smartphone is a miniature computer that is just as powerful as a laptop. There is also a risk that a terrorist could use a smartphone to remotely detonate a bomb that is hidden inside a computer checked in as cargo, said Nick Feamster, a computer science professor at Princeton University. So why ban computers and tablets?

Other than preventing terrorists from smuggling components onto planes, the device ban may create additional surveillance opportunities. It is common for airport security officials to search checked luggage. In theory, if a computer is checked, airport officials can do more thorough searches, including a data frisk.

“Who, if anyone, takes control of your device while it’s not in your sight or possession?” Feamster said. “A search of your device is not outside the realm of possibility.” What should I do?

If you are flying on an affected airline and concerned about your privacy, consider protecting your data while crossing the border.

For one, you could encrypt your files with an app like BitLocker or FileVault. That way, if someone did try to gain access to your data, a passphrase would be needed to decrypt the files, Marczak of the Citizen Lab said.

In addition, travellers could seal laptops in a tamper-evident bag, Marczak said. Once you reach your destination, you can see if anyone tampered with the laptop by inserting a physical surveillance device into it, for example.

You could also consider travelling with an inexpensive computer that lacks any of your sensitive data, Feamster added. And you could back up your data to the cloud and purge it from the inexpensive computer before checking it in with your luggage.

If he were travelling to those countries now, Feamster said, “I wouldn’t even bother taking my main laptop. I’d take my clean laptop that doesn’t have any data on it.”

– with New York Times

See also: Why you should never pack valuables in your carry-on luggage

CBA’s Bankwest in corporate banking retreat

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Commonwealth Bank subsidiary Bankwest will shut its corporate banking services outside of its home state as it retreats to its core customers in Western .
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Bankwest revealed on Wednesday it would be rolling “relationship managed” business clients based outside of WA into its parent company’s business and private banking division.

The bank will still offer corporate banking in WA and will serve small business customers nationwide, Bankwest managing director Rowan Munchenberg said.

He said the move would help Bankwest focus on its core clients: retail and small business customers and corporate banking in WA.

Bankwest said staff in its east coast corporate banking division would move across to CBA’s BPB team or other positions where possible. It was too early to say if there would be job losses, a spokesman said.

“CBA’s growth plans and existing footprint, combined with excellent products and services means that it is well-positioned to support Bankwest non-WA based relationship-managed business customers and help them grow,” Mr Munchenberg said.

Bankwest’s business lending arm has been problematic for CBA since it bought the Western n bank in 2008.

A 2011 parliamentary heading heard CBA committed “fraud” by deliberately impairing more than 1000 commercial Bankwest loans, combined worth more than $8.2 billion, enabling it to foreclose the loans despite customers never missing payments and having adequate security. CBA denied any wrongdoing at the time.

Bankwest has made several changes to its loan products over the past two months, as regulators voiced concerns that the property investor market may be overheating.

In January it announced it would no longer be accepting applications from new customers looking to refinance standalone investment loans from other banks, and it has since hiked rates on variable investor property home loans by 15 basis points.

And last month Bankwest revealed it would no longer include negative gearing benefits when calculating loan eligibility for property investors. The move means investors will qualify for lower loan amounts.

Mr Munchenberg said the two banks were working to ensure a smooth transition for customers moving from Bankwest to CBA. Bankwest customers and employees will start migrating to CBA during 2017.

PIMCO sees higher global growth

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Pimco has joined the chorus of global investors turning bullish on global growth prospects, saying the Trump administration’s war on trade is “more symbolic than real”.
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The global bond fund manager has raised its growth forecast to between 2.75 and 3.25 per cent (a rise of 0.25 per cent on both the lower and upper estimates from December).

This is due to lower-than-expected risks of a global trade war, weakened expectations of economic upheaval in China, lower expectations of US inflation and optimistic signs on European populism after the failure of far-right candidate Geert Wilders to oust the political establishment in the recent Dutch election.

The major downside risk to the Pimco forecast is the monetary tightening taking place around the world.

“With improved growth and inflation prospects, exhausted central banks are likely to move closer to the exit from ultra-accommodative monetary policies,” wrote Pimco’s Joachim Fels and Andrew Balls.

“And it’s not certain whether highly leveraged private and public borrowers around the world will be able to keep dancing when the music stops.”

At the moment, the Federal Reserve’s statements have prepared the market for two further interest rate cuts this year.

But that’s not including the impact of the US administration’s much-mooted fiscal stimulus plans, which leaves open the possibility of the Fed rapidly changing its tune.

However, Pimco does expect this stimulus to be smaller than previously expected, and to not be finalised until early 2018.

“Repealing and replacing Obamacare will keep Congress busy for a while, and comprehensive tax reform will take time and is hard to do given the rising opposition to the border adjustment tax from the adversely affected importing industries and in the Senate. Thus, any fiscal boost is likely to be smaller and come much later.” Deals, not war

In Europe, expectations are for the European Central Bank to scale back its asset purchases by early 2018.

This “raises the spectre of sharp adjustments in euro-area sovereign yield levels and peripheral sovereign spreads over Bunds”.

Pimco’s shrugging off of the odds of a trade war is counter-intuitive, given the G20, at the urging of the United States, removed a phrase signalling its commitment to fight protectionism over the weekend.

Mr Fels told Fairfax Media the removal of the phrase was “no surprise given the protectionist leanings of the Trump administration”. But he played down its impact.

“We expect the administration to push trading partners like China for more market access for US companies rather than imposing high tariffs or naming China a currency manipulator. Trump wants to strike deals rather than starting a trade war.”

Key to Pimco’s reduced expectations on trade risks is what the administration hasn’t done despite the opportunity to do so.

Despite antagonistic rhetoric, the administration hasn’t sought to impose trade sanctions through executive orders, suggesting, Pimco’s analysts write, “that President Trump’s statements on tariffs may be more symbolic than real”.

Pimco’s head of n portfolios Robert Mead told Fairfax Media the n economy was somewhat out-of-sync with this global picture.

“Our housing market has been very strong, but is likely to slow in terms of new developments. The n consumer is excessively levered, so the RBA has limited degrees of freedom in terms of adjusting policy settings,” he said.

“Commodity prices have boomed, but the flow through to n companies and the broader n economy is limited. That leaves us with a less robust labour market, sluggish wages growth and an economy growing below potential.”

Is big money eyeing an equities exit?

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An exit from equities for big money could be on the cards after a record number of global fund managers reckon that stocks are overvalued, according to a survey.
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In Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s monthly survey of 200 global investors representing close to $US600 billion in assets under management, a net 34 per cent of managers said equities are overvalued, the highest reading in the 17 years that question has been asked, and up from 26 per cent in February.

Making matters worse, asset managers are heavily exposed to equity markets, with a net 48 per cent saying they are overweight stocks in their portfolios, meaning they hold more than their benchmarks would require.

“Investor positioning argues for a risk rally pause in March/April, with allocation to equities at a two-year high and bond allocation at a three-year low,” said Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.

Broken out by region, a net 81 per cent of investors identified the US market as the most overvalued, while 44 per cent and 23 per cent believe emerging markets equities and eurozone equities, respectively, are undervalued.

The survey’s results come amid growing worries that particularly US stocks are overvalued, with the S&P 500’s forward price-earnings ratio at its highest level since 2004.

Despite suffering its biggest fall in more than six months on Tuesday night, Wall Street’s main index, the S&P 500, is still up more than 12 per cent since the US election on hopes that President Donald Trump’s fiscal plans will stimulate higher economic growth.

“The S&P500 is ripe for a corrective selloff,” said Fat Prophets CEO Angus Geddes, adding he expects a retreat of up to 7 per cent from current levels.

“If Wall Street does indeed fall by 5 per cent to 7 per cent in a corrective selloff then it stands to reason the rest of the world may only sneeze this year and not catch the proverbial cold,” he said.

One sector that could suffer from any selloff is banks, which the surveyed fund manager consider to be the second-most crowded trade after their recent rally. First is the US dollar, which despite recent losses is still well above levels from last year.

Asked what they think is most likely to trigger an end of the eight-year equity bull market, 36 per cent point to rising interest rates, followed by 23 per cent citing weaker earnings.

Interestingly, the fear of protectionism has fallen sharply, from about 35 per cent in February, when it was seen as the biggest risk to the bull market, to 21 per cent. The survey was conducted just before the G20 finance ministers last weekend excluded a standard line on resisting protectionism from their final communique, apparently at the behest of the US.

A net 58 per cent of survey respondents expect the global economy to improve over the next year, down slightly from a 59 per cent in February, the March survey also found.

European elections raising the risk of disintegration of the eurozone remains the biggest tail risk for global growth, according to 33 per cent of investors, followed by trade at 20 per cent and a crash in global bond markets at 18 per cent.

The long-running survey, which is conducted each month, is considered one of the best barometers of big money investment opinion.

The NRL should consider banning the biggest deal in league history

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Anyone who has watched Jason Taumalolo campaign over the past two seasons know he’s the most outstanding forward in rugby league. A beast of a back-rower, with unmatched impact in his current form, it’s easy to understand why the Cowboys want to retain his services at any cost.
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Already, he’s flirted with the idea of the NFL, although given the conversion rate for league forwards (currently standing at zero) that sounds more like thinking out loud instead of a genuine bargaining chip.

Maybe it had the Cowboys spooked. Certainly, they knew that if their freak of a lock hit the open market, rival NRL clubs would have been emptying the piggy bank, just as they did when Kalyn Ponga decided to take his talents to Newcastle.

The result has been a 10-year deal. Ten years. Jason Taumalolo, now 23, has been nailed down to Townsville until he’s 33. It’s going to be the richest deal in the history of the game purely by its length and exceeds Lance Franklin’s nine-year stay at the AFL’s Sydney Swans.

And it should ring alarm bells at the NRL, who must seriously consider capping the length of deals for the protection of clubs and fans instead of openly fawning at the idea of keeping Taumalolo locked to the code.

So is it time to rejoice for those in the tropics? Perhaps, in the short-term at least. With Johnathan Thurston nearing retirement and Ponga leaving, here’s your superstar to build a team around. Every club needs one.

But make no mistake – this stands as an immense contracting gamble. The inherent risks are plentiful, obvious and to such an extent that there should be a genuine debate about whether the NRL should outlaw signings of such duration.

The details of the deal are sure to emerge over the coming days and the timing is curious, given the collective bargaining agreement has yet to be finalised and teams are waiting for the exact figures of their future salary caps.

It will likely be weighted towards the back of his contract, as was that of Franklin. For the first two years of his $10 million contract, the star Swans forward was paid around $700,000, which increased to $1.2 million, rising again in his seventh and eighth years before dropping slightly in his final season.

That type of structure has dangers of its own and rugby league is littered with back-ended contracts that have blown up in spectacular fashion. Robbie Farah was set to cost the Tigers almost $1 million in the final year of his weighted deal (Farah still gets $750,000 from the Tigers despite playing for Souths), while new coaches can inherit rosters with unworkable caps (think Geoff Toovey at Manly).

As a big man, there’s legitimate questions on how effective Taumalolo will be as he ages and his body changes. Age hasn’t been a barrier to some of the code’s more recent elite back-rowers but Paul Gallen and Corey Parker, smaller bodies with games built on immense workrates, are different footballers than the rampaging figure of Taumalolo.

“There are risks for both parties but the upside outweighs that,” Cowboys coach Paul Green told media at the official announcement. He also said the deal was thought up by Taumalolo’s agent and initially caught them by surprise.

At stages during the next decade, the Cowboys are going to be getting one hell of a bargain, especially once the new TV deal kicks into gear. Taumalolo will be playing for well under his market value and could be earning closer to $2 million a year if he took a shorter deal there or elsewhere.

On the flipside, the Cowboys could find themselves freighting a million dollars a season down the track for a player that may be performing like he’s worth half of that amount, or whose impact has been blunted by a mounting injury toll. By then, Green and perhaps all of the current players are likely to have moved on.

Overseas, in leagues such as the NBA, deals are capped at four years for a new player or five years for an existing player. It means players can take advantage of fat “max” deals but also helps ensure they get paid what the market determines at their prime.

At this stage, the Cowboys, Taumalolo and his management are to be congratulated for a deal that has set a new benchmark for rugby league. Whether that will be something worth celebrating in 2027 remains to be seen.

Arthur Sinodinos likens climate change denial to anti-vaccination movement

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Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Arthur Sinodinos has likened climate change denial to the anti-vaccination movement, saying that science and innovation are required to combat these views.
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“There is a lack of respect for the scientific methods in some quarters. We see the conclusions of some cast aside for selective use of facts,” Senator Sinodinos said in an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday.

“Denying the threat of climate change is a well-worn example. However, rejecting vaccinations – at the risk of children’s lives and health – we have seen this month.”

The comments from the senior Liberal – a key moderate ally of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – could rile up a handful of Coalition backbench figures, who have expressed scepticism about the science of global warming.

The area remains contentious in the Coalition, with a significant hardline group opposing any form of carbon pricing or emissions trading scheme. The government is currently considering how to meet its post-2020 emissions reduction targets, which are 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels.

In December, Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg was forced to rule out an emissions intensity scheme following rapid backbench mobilisation against the idea. These opponents included former prime minister Tony Abbott, who toppled Mr Turnbull as Liberal leader in 2009 following party divisions on climate change policy.

The issue of vaccinations re-emerged early in March after One Nation leader Pauline Hanson raised concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines..

“I advise parents to go out and do their own research with regards to this,” she told the ABC’s Insiders. “I think people have a right to investigate themselves.”

Her comments were heavily criticised by health groups.

“This is why innovation and science are more important than ever. As the portfolio minister, I am responsible for strengthening our commitments in these areas,” Senator Sinodinos said.

Climate change, which scientific consensus has found to be driven by human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, gradually lifts air and ocean temperatures, making weather patterns more unpredictable, raising sea levels and undermining critical environmental processes.

The average global temperature has already risen one degree celsius above pre-industrial levels and 2016 was the hottest year on record, knocking off previous record-holder 2015.

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Yamba: Easy to reach, easy to enjoy

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The growing ribbon of divided super highway along the eastern seaboard of NSW is bringing a lot of holiday destinations much closer.
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Yamba is one of those prime spots, now even more easily accessible.

This not-so-sleepy coastal village always has a buzz about it in the busy summer months.But the qualities that make it such a sweet spot do not disappear with the end of summer holidays.

One of the locals: Near Brooms Head, Yuraygir National Park. Picture: Jim Kellar

For starters, there is plenty of accommodation, from waterfront caravan parks with cabins, to quality apartments with ocean views on the hill above the town, to family-oriented resorts, to home rentals.

When it comes to entertainment, food and recreation, Yamba bats far above most coastal hideaways. The grand old Pacific Hotel finds locals and visitors mixing comfortably, whether in the front pub or the back dining area with its scrumptious food and great views of Yamba Beach.

The Yamba Shores Tavern is a short drive from the town centre, and somewhat off the beaten track through a residential subdivision. It’s riverside locationis ideal for boaties, or anyone searching for a breeze, a good feed and a cold beer.

The Yamba Bowling Club, located downtown, is geared up for crowds and has topgames and recreation offerings for children.

Above all, visitors are drawn to Yamba for the recreational opportunities. Yuraygir National Park to the south has excellent beachside camping. The nearby village of Brooms Head has kilometres of friendly beachfront. The Sandon River, also in Yuraygir National Park, is an excellent trip for fishing, boating, or floating in the river, especially at the river’s mouth where it flows into the ocean.

On the north side of the Clarence (Yamba is on the south side), there is thelazy village of Iluka, good for browsing or getting a feed, or fishing or swimming.

West of Yamba is Maclean, which trades on its Scottish heritage. But the tidy village on the south side of the Clarence River is becoming more than a cozy retirement town, with chilled-out downtowncafes and one outstanding offering –Botero, a coffee roaster with atrendy restaurant.

My three best tips for eating out in Yamba:

#1 Wato’s Little Fish Bistro. Disguised as a fish and chips takeaway, there is much more than meets the eye, certainly when it comes to quality and creativity. Located smack on the downtown intersection of Yamba and Wooli streets, it’s stunning quality if you sit down for dinner.

#2 Thai Payu. Located in a laneway on Coldstream Street not far from the popular Yamba YHA backpackers inn (which has a rooftop bar), this little gem has been kicking goals for years with genuine Thai food and friendly service.

#3 Uptown Cafe & Bar. Super coffee and breakfast with lots of healthy, local food until noon, then trendy cocktails and dinner from 6pm. ANorth Coast vibe with no need for apologies.

Baldwin starring as a grown-up baby is weird and confusing

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Alec Baldwin and Miles Christopher Bakshi in The Boss Baby. Photo: DreamWorks Animation??????(G) 97 minutes
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It is hard to say which is the weirdest thing about The Boss Baby. Is it that Alec Baldwin was cast in the title role long before he rose to a new level of fame by playing Saturday Night Live’s edition of Donald Trump?

Or is it that following Nicholas Stoller’s??? Storks, this is the second animated children’s film of the past year that whimsically poses the question “where do babies come from?”

The answer in this instance is they come from BabyCorp, a mystical conglomerate staffed by thousands of talking infants in business suits (there’s a touch of authentic surrealism to this image – picture a live-action version and you have a scene straight from a wacky art movie such as Leos Carax’s??? Holy Motors).

These babies subsist on a special brand of formula that stops them ageing, and don’t deign to mix with adults. An exception is the Boss Baby himself, who allows himself to be born into an ordinary suburban family – one throwaway joke associates him with Jesus – as part of a spy mission against a dastardly plan to have puppies take over from babies as primary recipients of human love.

None of this makes a lick of sense – a fact that director Tom McGrath and writer Michael McCullers??? seem almost apologetic about, hinting that the story is unfolding in the mind of seven-year-old hero Tim, who resents the way his baby brother has turned their parents (Jimmy Kimmel??? and Lisa Kudrow???) into his slaves.

But it’s never entirely clear where reality begins and fantasy leaves off, and the confusion is only compounded by the voice-over narration from the adult Tim (Tobey Maguire) looking back on his 1970s childhood in the manner of The Wonder Years.

What is clear is that The Boss Baby is a concept that doesn’t work, whether it’s taken to be aimed at actual children or at the subgroup of adults who might get fleeting amusement from an allusion to Baldwin’s role in Glengarry Glen Ross.

Perhaps the problem is precisely the strain of trying to appeal to both audiences, which is more apparent than in most animated comedies of this ilk.

Family Guy has coasted on the premise of a baby who acts inappropriately adult for the best part of 20 years. But in a film for all ages, there’s a limit to just how inappropriate the Boss Baby can be.

NSW CHS beat NSW CCC in Schoolgirls Cricket Championship final in Maitland

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NSW Combined High Schools crowned champs NSW Combined High School’s Matilda Lugg balances herself to play a classic shot on the leg-side in yesterday’s NSW Schoolgirls Championship final against NSW Combined Catholic Colleges at Robins Oval in Maitland. Picture: Michael Hartshorn
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NSW Combined High School’s Matilda Lugg plays a classic shot on the leg-side in yesterday’s NSW Schoolgirls Championship final against NSW Combined Catholic Colleges at Robins Oval in Maitland. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW Combined High School opener Katelyn Beaumont punches the ball square for runs in the final of the NSW Schoolgirls Championship at Robins Oval in Maitland. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW Combined High School’s Matilda Lugg plays a straight drive during the NSW Schoolgirls Championship final against NSW Combined Catholic Colleges at Robins Oval in Maitland. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW Combined Catholic Collegel’s Olivia Porter waits for a new partner as NSW CHS celebrate the fall of a wicket in the NSW Schoolgirls Championship at Robin Oval in Maitland. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Olivia Porter top scored with 26 for NSW CCc in the final against NSW CHS at Robins Oval. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CHS celebrate a wicket at Robins Oval in Wednesday’s NSW Schoolgirls Championship. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s Pru Roebuck scrambles to make her ground. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s Pru Roebuck in action at Robins Oval. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s Pru Roebuck in action at Robins Oval. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s Pru Roebuck in action at Robins Oval. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Hannah Faux bowls for NSW CHS. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CHS bowler Chantelle Downey. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CHS wicket keeper Hannah Trethewi. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Olivia Porter’s innings comes to an end. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CHS players congratulate Chantelle Downey on taking the crucial wicket of Olivia Porter. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s Stepanie Ellsmore sets off for a run. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Pru Roebuck walks off after being dismissed. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CHS players celebrate. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CHS bowler Ashely Day delivers the ball. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CHS bowler Ashely Day delivers the ball. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s Stepanie Ellsmore lies on her back waiting for a run-out decision from the umpire. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s Stepanie Ellsmore receives the bad news from the umpire. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s Stepanie Ellsmore walks off after being run out. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Hannah Trethewy appeals for an lbw decision against Sophie Heat. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Sophie Heath leaves after being dismissed. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CHS celebrate the fall of the wicket. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s opening bowler Sophie Heath. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s opening bowler Sophie Heath. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s opening bowler Claire Murray. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW CCC’s opening bowler Claire Murray. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW Combined High School opener Katelyn Beaumont. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW Combined High School’s Matilda Lugg. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Claire Murray fields in the deep. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

NSW Combined High School’s Matilda Lugg. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

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NT approves ‘lawful’ abortions

admin | 苏州桑拿

Northern Territory women now have a legal right to an abortion.
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The NT Government last night passed new legislation allowing the lawful termination of pregnancy services.

The Health Minister, Natasha Fylessaid the new legislation allows Territory women access to the same medical services available elsewhere in .

”We believe all Territory women are entitled to control over their lives and access to high quality services.”

“That’s why we’ve introduced new legislation that gives Territory women the same access to medical termination drugs, like RU486, that other women in have.”

Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson supported the legislation.

“Today , the Termination of Pregnancy Law Reform Act 2017 was passed in parliament. This reform allows for provision and access of a medical Termination of Pregnancy. By passing this reform into legislation , Territory women now have access to more choices and options if and when they choose to terminate their pregnancy,” Ms Nelson said.

“This reform has always been about provision of contemporary healthcare options for women.

“I want to acknowledge the Katherine women that spoke to me over the last 18 months whether in support for the bill or opposing the bill. I especially want to thank the women that shared their very personal stories with me.”

The Opposition also supported the Bill.

Opposition health minister Lia Finocchiaro, said the Bill gives Territory women the same rights as women in all other n jurisdictions.

“Before today Territory women have not been given the opportunity to decide for themselves, based on factual and clinical information, whether they access medical termination,” Mrs Finocchiaro said.

“The Opposition believes it is time medical termination became an option for women facing one of the biggest decisions in their lives, subject to adequate clinical guidelines set in a Northern Territory context.

“It is our view the clinical guidelines should have been prepared and available for consultation with the Bill, however we have been advised by Government that they will be released for public consultation in May.

“The Bill is likely come into force in the middle of this year to coincide with the release of clinical guidelines. Once in force, women in the Northern Territory will be supported by modern legislation.”

The legislation will:

Remove the requirement for all termination of pregnancy procedures to be performed in a hospitalProvide opportunities for termination of pregnancy services to be provided in ‘out of hospital settings’ such as day surgeries andspecialistclinicsEnsure that early medical termination of pregnancy using drugs such as RU486 is possible in ‘out of hospital settings’Open the way for suitably qualified doctors (other than Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) to provide termination services for pregnancies under 14 weeksEnsure doctors and other health staff who conscientiously object to involvement in a termination of pregnancy refer women to a doctor who can provide these servicesInclude safe access zones around the premises where termination of pregnancy services are provided, to prevent women being harassed when attending and to give suitable protections to those working there.Change criminal offence provisions under theCriminal Code Act“The changes provide safe options for termination of pregnancy, bringing the legislation up to date with contemporary medical and legal practices,” Ms Fyles said.

“These are important community driven changes.

“There has been significant consultation across the Northern Territory with a Department discussion paper calling for public submissions and extensive consultations with MLA’s, stakeholders, community groups and interested individuals.

“We have allowed time for passionate debate, with parliamentarians given the rare opportunity to participate in a conscience vote.

“I acknowledge the respect my parliamentary colleagues have shown throughout this process.

“The new legislation will commence next month.”

Katherine Times