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.

Cricket’s pay fight: Have players been wedged in?

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Wedge politics was how one observer described Cricket ‘s pay offer to its players in a bid to end an ongoing dispute, and it’s hard to argue against that.
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The sport’s governing body has made a bold appeal to its elite talent, through more than doubling the pay of international female players and delivering a 30 per cent rise to international men, with room for bonuses, as a trade-off for what shapes as removing domestic male players from the set-percentage model embraced since 1997.

While CA chief James Sutherland admits there is work to be done on the details, under chief negotiator Kevin Roberts CA has made a cunning move – and it’s now up to the n Cricketers Association to truly show how hard it is prepared to fight to retain the status quo.

Is industrial action a real option? CA says the current model is outdated and domestic players – primarily those in the Sheffield Shield and Matador Cup but excluding the Big Bash League – don’t deliver any financial benefits. CA argues those players have enjoyed a healthy rise of 53 per cent over the past five years and will still get an 18 per cent increase over the next five years in what shapes to be from a guaranteed pool. The average retainers will jump from $199,000 to $235,000 by 2022. On paper, that’s not too bad, for that equates to a 3.6 per cent rise annually. It should be pointed out average weekly earnings for workers rose 2.2 per cent last year, the slowest pace since World War II.

Where CA wants domestic players to enjoy greater pay is through the burgeoning BBL, which is still loss-making but that’s expected to change when a new broadcast rights deal is brokered and the salary cap rises.

Players argue shield cricket is the cornerstone of the sport, providing the next generation of Test stars, and those players overlooked for BBL contracts will be impacted.

That the shield fixture already feels like an add-on highlights where priorities now sit, but the bottom line is shield cricket doesn’t pay the bills. CA insists it’s international cricket that does, and that’s set to be reinforced in new local and international broadcast deals, with the Indian market firmly on the agenda.

The ongoing tight and tense Test series against India, complete with on and off-field drama, could not have come at a better time with CA preparing to sell its television rights on the subcontinent. A better-than-expected deal could also reap players bonus payments under the proposed new pay deal. By initially appealing to the male kingpins with a 30 per cent pay increase, ensuring the expected average income, including BBL payments, will be $1.45 million by 2022, CA is testing the players’ resolve. Do stars such as Steve Smith and David Warner, already earning about $2 million a year, want to fight for their shield brethren, as short-form master blaster Aaron Finch said they would on Tuesday?

Is there a chance CA could pull its offer if the players take major action? That’s where CA may have inflicted its first wedge. The feel-good aspect of what Sutherland hailed as a “landmark” submission was that the average wage of a top female player would immediately jump from $80,000 to $179,000, including Women’s Big Bash League payments. By 2021, the average wage of an international female cricketer would be $210,000.

The average retainer for a state female player, featuring in the Women’s National Cricket League and the WBBL, will go from $22,000 to $52,000. On face value, the money set to be poured into women’s cricket is going to be a difficult proposition for the rank and file to resist – another CA wedge.

That Sutherland says cricket will “offer for the first time a genuine opportunity for our women cricketers to pursue a full-time career in our sport” is also hard to argue against, coming at a time when the AFL Women’s competition is seeking the best young athletes and netball also has a new league.

CA has clearly delivered a strong first-innings score. It’s now over to the players to rebound in a manner they see fit, beginning with a scheduled meeting between the parties on Thursday.

NRL: Knights winger Ken Sio shifts into gear with no fuss

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TRY TIME: Ken Sio slides in to ground the ball for the Knights against the Tigers at the Auckland Nines. The winger scored his first NRL try for the club in the 24-18 loss to South Sydney on Saturday. Picture: Getty ImagesNATHAN Brown refers to them as low-maintenance players.
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They come totraining, go about their business and gohome. No issues.

It is the same on game day. You know what you are going to get.

“They are very nice to have,” Brown said.

It is a tagKen Sio wearswith pride. Not that he would tell you.

The modest 26-year-old winger has operated with minimum fuss since arriving in Newcastle after two years at Hull Kingston Rovers in the English Super League.

His four games for the Knights have yielded 336 run metres, behind only Nathan Ross (479m) and Dane Gagai (348m), and have come at a cost of three errors.It was a similar output for Sio in England and previously in the NRL at Parramatta.

At KR, he crossed for 30 tries in 48 games.In 57 games for the Eels from 2011-14,Sioscored 37 tries.

“I just try and keep it low key,” Sio said.“Be humble about my performance and what I do around training.”

Sio, Knight #281, crossed for his first try in red and blue in the 24-18 loss to Southson Saturday, rushing through to ground a Jamie Buhrer grubber kick.

“To score a try in my new colours was brilliant,” he said.“Hopefully there are many more to come.”

Skills from Ken Sio!#NRLKnightsSouths#NRLpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/bmNnHrLKje

— NRL (@NRL) March 18, 2017

Sio can sense the new combination on the right edge–Brock Lamb, Buhrer, Dane Gagai and Sio–is close to clicking.

“It’s a matter of getting Gags early ball, and lettinghim do his magic. I will feed off the end of that. Be in the right spot at the right time.”

Brown said Sio ticked all the boxes when the coach was looking to add depth to the outside backs.

“Having coached in England, Ifollowthe game quite closely and knew how well he played over there,” Brown said.“He played quite well for Parramatta before he went, so we knew he could handle the NRL. He is a good age, 26, and he is a good family man.Kenny is a low-maintenance player. Very consistent and we are rapted to have him.”

It was familythat brought Sio back from England.Sio’s partner, Victoria, gave birth to twin boys, Roman and Rico, in July and they wanted to be closer to their support network.

“It was a tough decision to make butI have always been a family man and do things around my family,” he said.“The boys are full-on and we made the call to come back here where it is centralto both families.”

Sio said his time abroad had helped him grow as a player.

“It was good that I went over there at a young age,” he said.“It gave me a bit of independence and taught me to be smart with my training and having accountability for my performance.”

Oncologist’s jail term for drugging and assaulting colleague slashed

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A disgraced former senior oncologist, who indecently assaulted a junior colleague after spiking her drink, has had his jail term slashed after judges took into account his decades of outstanding medical work before his psychological decline.
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John Henry Kearsley will be eligible for parole in May, 18 months earlier than under his original sentence, after a successful appeal in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Thursday.

Kearsley, the former director of radiation oncology at St George Hospital, put benzodiazepine into the woman’s wine glass during dinner at his house in Glebe, in Sydney’s inner west, in November 2013.

The woman, a registrar at the hospital, who cannot be named for legal reasons, woke to find Kearsley sucking her nipple.

Kearsley was sentenced in August 2016 to a minimum of two years and three months in jail with a maximum of four years and three months.

He had pleaded guilty to using an intoxicating substance to commit an indictable offence and assault with an act of indecency.

In reducing his jail sentence to a minimum of nine months, the appeal judges took into account his outstanding medical career over several decades before his psychological decline in the months leading up to the crimes.

Justice Ian Harrison said any jail sentence should be wholly suspended.

He said the original sentence was invalid because the trial judge did not specifically determine the “objective seriousness” of the offence of administering an intoxicating substance with intent.

However, Justices Robert Macfarlan and Monika Schmidt agreed some jail time was appropriate.

Justice Macfarlan said Kearsley “had rendered extraordinary service to the medical profession, and, through it, to the community at large”.

He said his moral culpability was reduced to a limited extent due to a major depressive disorder he was suffering at the time and he took into account Kearsley’s genuine remorse and attempts to rehabilitate himself.

He said it was relevant that Kearsley “has lost his profession, his position of good standing in the community, and has been the subject of adverse media publicity”.

The court heard Kearsley, now 65, had experienced “exceptional difficulties” in jail, in part due to being an “older person of a professional background” and his worsening mental condition.

In the period leading up to the crimes, he was under “extreme stress” caused by under-resourcing at the St George Cancer Care Centre.

His relationship with his wife was deteriorating and he was drinking to excess.

Kearsley was the victim’s supervisor for three months in 2012 and they maintained a working relationship when she moved hospitals.

She had accepted an invitation to his home hoping to talk about a mentoring program and her future as a doctor.

Justice Harrison accepted that Kearsley didn’t lure the victim to his home in order to assault her, but that he formed the intention after she arrived.

Kearsley’s lawyers had asked for a suspended sentence or intensive correction order, whereby the sentence is served at home under strict conditions.

The court ordered Kearsley to be released on parole on May 26.

Power Rangers review: Painfully slow, uninsightful comic-book silliness

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??????(M) 124 minutes
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A kids’ adventure show that briefly became a pop culture phenomenon in the 1990s, the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a reworking of Japan’s long-running Super Sentai, combining dubbed action sequences – with the characters’ faces conveniently hidden behind colourful helmets – and new footage featuring an American cast.

This might not seem a promising starting point for a 2017 blockbuster. Indeed, only a couple of years ago the prankster director Joseph Kahn satirised the whole “reboot” craze with an internet short film that purported to imagine what a dark and edgy interpretation would look like.

What Kahn treated as a joke, Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) plays mostly straight in his new Power Rangers, which sets out to be all things to all viewers and winds up achieving considerably less than Josh Trank’s??? unfairly maligned Fantastic Four movie did with a roughly similar plot.

Set in the nondescript small town of Angel Grove, the film moves with painful slowness through its ritualised origin story, following five misfit teenagers as they get to know each other, acquire superpowers, and learn of their destiny as protectors of the universe from their alien mentor Zordon (Bryan Cranston???), who must train them to “morph” into their alternate, costumed selves.

In the process, the film itself morphs from relatively realistic teen soap opera – often shot handheld – to comic-book silliness once the team are suited up and pitted against an army of rock monsters led by alien witch Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks, in a performance of pure screechy camp).

Just now, the door is open for some filmmaker to score a smash hit by fusing this sort of fantasy-adventure with the close observation of modern teenage life found in something like Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen.

Unfortunately, Israelite is not that filmmaker: even when his heroes sit around and bare their souls to each other, he seems less interested in fresh insight than in paying tribute to The Breakfast Club.

The only member of the central quintet with much personality is Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler???), a vulnerable geek with a range of compulsions and a gift for electronics.

Billy accounts for his oddities by explaining that he is “on the spectrum”, and the portrait does manage to subvert the stereotype of people with autism as cold fish – even if Israelite and his writers still seem unsure how far it’s acceptable to play the condition for laughs.

Medich’s barrister launches tirade of insults at Crown’s star witness

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 10: Ron Medich arrives to King street court for his murder trial on March 10, 2017 in Sydney, . (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media) Photo: Daniel MunozA jury has heard a blistering tirade of insults about the credibility and character of the Crown’s star witness, Lucky Gattellari, in the closing stages of the murder trial of property developer Ron Medich.
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Winston Terracini, SC, representing Mr Medich, described Gattellari as a vile, wicked, evil, manipulative, lying scum whose “infected fingers” had been used to “rip off” everyone he had come across.

“His tongue is dripping with lies,” Mr Terracini said in his closing address to the jury about the quality of Gattellari’s evidence.

“You can say something until you are blue in the face, it doesn’t make it true,” he said of Gattellari’s repeated claims that Mr Medich had ordered, and paid for, the execution of Mr Medich’s one-time business associate Michael McGurk.

Gattellari has previously given evidence that Mr Medich, after initially complaining about the cost, gave him two lots of $250,000 for murdering Mr McGurk and later intimidating his widow Kimberley.

Gattellari has claimed that Mr Medich was furious at the number of legal battles McGurk and Mr Medich were engaged in during the months before the murder.

Mr McGurk was shot dead outside his Cremorne home in September 2009. His wife was threatened almost a year later. The Crown has alleged the threat was because she refused to settle her late husband’s court cases with Mr Medich.

Mr Medich has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Mr Terracini said that the “spiv Gattellari” and his sidekick, “the thug [Senad] Kaminic” were so “noble” that they claimed to have received nothing for their roles in the murder of Mr McGurk.

Mr Terracini described as “fantastical” Kaminic’s evidence that Mr Medich’s final payment for the murder was by way of a cheque for $150,000.

The Crown doesn’t give any explanation as to where the money went and to whom it went, Mr Terracini said.

Gattellari and Kaminic, who was Gattellari’s driver, both received a substantial discount on their sentences in return for giving evidence against Mr Medich in the murder trial.

The trial continues.

Sussan Ley releases report, mounts defence over scandal

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Health Minister Sussan Ley The minister is launching the one-stop-shop, cradle-to-grave Brain and Mind Centre moving in with USydPsych schoolIt screens and treat people from early childhood through adolescents to old age for psych issues including childhood mental problems, suicide risk, gambling etc. 8th December 2016 photo by Louise Kennerley SMH?? Photo: Louise KennerleyTurnbull government MP Sussan Ley has broken her silence on the travel expenses scandal that ended her frontbench career, releasing a report that shows only one Comcar ride fell outside parliamentary rules.
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Ms Ley resigned as health minister in January after nearly two weeks of public anger over her travel expenses, primarily to the Gold Coast where she had bought an $800,000 investment property.

The affair prompted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to announce sweeping changes to the parliamentary entitlements system, but he declined to release a Department of Finance report into her conduct.

Ms Ley on Wednesday released the report herself, after delivering a 10-minute speech in Parliament defending her actions.

The report found one example where a claim was inconsistent with the rules, when she travelled in a government car to the auction where she bought the apartment: “On 9 May 2015, Ms Ley travelled by Comcar from the place of her overnight accommodation on the Gold Coast to the site of a property auction. Her attendance at this auction was of a personal nature and not official business.”

After it emerged she had bought an apartment while on a taxpayer-funded trip, Ms Ley’s office defended it by saying it had been an impulse buy, rather than the main purpose of her Gold Coast trip.

“I know that the notion of buying a property on impulse may seem quite strange to some and while the purchase of this particular property was on impulse, the decision to purchase a property was not,” Ms Ley said in her speech.

She had been considering purchasing a property for some time and had been given pre-approval for a loan months earlier, she said.

“So on Friday night, when my attention was drawn to something suitable and when I was going to be on the Gold Coast as a matter of course, I went along to the auction. It was an entirely incidental and unplanned activity to what was an otherwise busy weekend schedule,” she said.

“The first time that I saw the apartment was 20 minutes before the auction commenced and the first time that I spoke to an agent about this property was when I registered, as I walked through the door.”

Ms Ley voluntarily repaid the full cost of the Comcar journey, as well as the travel allowance she claimed for that night, with a 25 per cent penalty on top. She has also voluntarily repaid a number of other travel expenses totalling $5232, even though the other examples were within the rules.

She did so after realising “the parliamentary expenses guidelines did not align with the community standard”.

“When I resigned as minister I did so because the facts could not overcome the story. The repayments I have chosen to make – entirely voluntarily – are because I recognise I have fallen short of community standards and I want to put the matter beyond further commentary,” she said.

“In no way do I seek to complain about my situation, or how events played out.”

But Ms Ley said she believed the facts had been lost in the “search for a good story”.

“The front page news and the associated conclusions drawn about me talk of someone who bears no resemblance to me.”

She said under the current system MPs sometimes found it hard to assess when the “line of public expectation is crossed”. That decision-making will be taken out of their hands under Mr Turnbull’s changes.

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universal law

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RESPECT: New Zealand’s beautiful Whanganui River has some pretty serious legal rights. Picture: Tourism New ZealandThere is so much bad press about the environment almost daily – dire predictions of climate change and species extinction for example. While devastatingly true, it is hard to not desensitise or feel like I’m only one person what can I do, or it’s all too hard.
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That’s why, when I heard the party-popper good news last week from our neighbour across the sea, my heart leapt in hope at the possibility of an emerging new worldview about the natural world.

In a world-first decision, a New Zealand river has been granted the same legal rights as a human being. A Maori tribe of the north island has fought for the recognition of their river – Whanganui – as an ancestor for 140 years. Hundreds of tribal representatives wept with joy when their bid to have their kin – the third longest river in New Zealand – awarded legal status as a living entity was passed into law, bringing the longest-running litigation in New Zealand’s history to an end.

The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it, the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same. The Whanganui River, will be represented by one member from the Maori tribes, known as iwi, and one from the Crown.

The Act uses the Maori language about the river having its ownmana — its own authority, and its ownmauri or life force, and an identity in and of itself.

The implications of this decision are potentially revolutionary. The Maori tribes regard themselves as part of the universe and at one with and equal to the mountains, the rivers and the seas. Instead of human sovereignty over the environment, this law radically embraces the indigenous wisdom of nature itself having an equal right to life as us.

It is a decision in line with the Bolivian government’s Law of the Rights of Mother Earth passed in 2010. The law declares both ‘Mother Earth’ and life-systems, both human communities and ecosytems, as titleholders of inherent rights, such as the rights of water and air to remain clear and uncontaminated.

Ecuador was the pioneer, enshrining rights for nature in its 2008 constitution. In 2011, a team of lawyers used the country’s new laws in court toforce a government to repair damage to a river from a road-building project.

Currently the n Earth Laws Alliance is pushing for ‘s rivers, forests, ocean waters, flora and fauna to have their own legal rights, in a movement that has become known as ‘wild law’.

“Wild law suggests we look at the world as a community of subjects – that we are only one of many players in the ecological sphere,” says founder Michelle Maloney.

I might call on John Lennon’s Imagine to help expand our sense of possibilities here – a lucky country for all.

Claire Dunn is the author of My Year Without Matches: Escaping the city in search of the wild. You can contact her at [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

This may be the day the Trump trade died

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Maybe investors should forget the Trump trade and start prepping for the Trump correction.
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Wall Street had its worst day since October. The US dollar can’t seem to find a bottom. There’s no rebound in sight for oil. Havens such as US Treasuries and gold are back in vogue.

There’s an undeniable “risk off” vibe reverberating through markets.

The optimism that accompanied Donald Trump’s US election victory was built on a trinity of lower taxes, infrastructure spending and regulatory reform. Now, doubts are rising about any of those being realised, even with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress.

The Obamacare replacement bill is struggling to gain support from House conservatives and Senate Republicans, and some Republican lawmakers argue that a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul the US tax code with cuts for businesses and individuals depends on the outcome.

Bank, industrial and technology shares – some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Trump trade – are suddenly the biggest losers.

It’s a nerve-racking time for investors, who have pushed share prices to record highs. Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller recently said the last time he remembers equity investors being as bullish as they are now was in 2000, and that didn’t end well.

“The amazing run the market has had since the election left no room for error, delay or issues of any kind,” Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at Lindsay Group, wrote in a research note on Tuesday. Dollar capitulation

If markets truly believed that Trump’s policies would juice the economy and spark faster inflation, then the greenback would be a prime beneficiary – except it’s on an epic slump.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index has fallen for five straight days, the longest stretch of declines since the week before the election. The gauge dropped overnight to its lowest level since November.

Bank of America said that based on what it sees in terms of market positioning, sentiment surveys conducted with its clients, and publicly available futures data, bullish US dollar positions put on after the election have completely disappeared.

What makes the recent weakness even more compelling is that it comes largely at the expense of gains in the euro, which is on a tear even as Europe faces its own political uncertainty with pending elections in France and Germany, as well as new debt troubles in Greece. Oil’s echo

Concerns are also rising over the oil slump and its ripple effect through markets. Crude fell again overnight, approaching $US47 a barrel as a Bloomberg survey before a government report to be released on Wednesday showed US supplies probably rose to a record last week.

While obviously painful for oil bulls, the drop in crude is weighing on the shares and bonds of junk-rated energy companies. Bonds and gold

How nervous are investors? Just take a look at the market for US government debt.

Demand for the ultimate safe haven is so high that yields on 10-year Treasuries are not only lower than when the Federal Reserve raised interest rates last week, but also lower than when the central bank boosted rates in December.

Gold, which is another safe haven asset, advanced for a fourth straight day in its longest rally since early February. The 3.65 per cent gain is the biggest over a four-day period since June.

Recent headlines out of Washington “play well into one of our core assumptions about the year ahead in terms of the potential for Trumponomics to disappoint – namely that as The Donald navigates the minefield that is DC politics, he risks quickly burning through his political capital and eroding his effectiveness as an agent of change,” the bond strategists at BMO Capital wrote in a report on Tuesday. China

And don’t forget about China. The news out of the world’s second-largest economy has been relatively positive of late for investors – except for this week.

China’s central bank on Tuesday injected hundreds of billions of yuan into the financial system after some smaller lenders failed to make debt payments in the interbank market, according to people familiar with the matter. The injections followed missed interbank payments on Monday, those sources said.


Laptop ban on flights may not be about security

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From Tuesday on, passengers travelling to the US from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries will not be allowed to have iPads, laptops or any communications device larger than a smartphone in the cabin of the plane.
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If you are travelling from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or the UAE on Egypt Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, or Turkish Airlines, and you want to use your laptop on the flight, you are probably out of luck.

So why is the United States doing this, and how can it get away with it? The US says it’s all about security

The Trump administration says the new rules were introduced because of intelligence that shows terrorists are continuing to target airlines flying to the United States.

An unidentified person familiar with the issue has told The Washington Post that officials have long been worried by a Syrian terrorist group that is trying to build bombs inside electronic devices that are hard to detect.

However, as Demitri Sevastopulo and Robert Wright at the Financial Times suggest, non-US observers are skeptical of this explanation. They note that the United States has not been forthcoming about whether the ban is based on recent intelligence or long-standing concerns.

There is also no explanation for why electronic devices in the cabin are a concern, and electronic devices in the baggage hold are not. There is another explanation

It may not be about security after all. Three of the airlines that have been targeted for these measures – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – have long been accused by their US competitors of receiving massive effective subsidies from their governments.

These airlines have been quietly worried for months that President Trump was going to retaliate. This may be the retaliation.

These three airlines, as well as the other airlines targeted in the order, are likely to lose a major amount of business from their most lucrative customers – people who travel in business class and first class.

Business travellers are disproportionately likely to want to work on the plane – the reason they are prepared to pay business-class or first-class fares is because it allows them to work in comfort. These travellers are unlikely to appreciate having to do all their work on smartphones, or not being able to work at all.

The likely result is that many of them will stop flying on Gulf airlines, and start travelling on US airlines instead.

As the Financial Times notes, the order doesn’t affect only the airlines’ direct flights to and from the United States – it attacks the “hub” airports that are at the core of their business models.

These airlines not only fly passengers directly from the Gulf region to the United States – they also fly passengers from many other destinations, transferring them from one plane to another in the hubs.

This “hub and spoke” approach is a standard economic model for long-haul airlines, offering them large savings. However, it also creates big vulnerabilities. If competitors or unfriendly states can undermine or degrade the hub, they can inflict heavy economic damage. Weaponising interdependence

As we have argued in the past, and talk about in forthcoming work, the US move can be understood as a variant form of “weaponised interdependence.”

We live in an interdependent world, where global networks span across countries, creating enormous benefits, but also great disparities of power.

As networks grow, they tend to concentrate both influence and vulnerability in a few key locations, creating enormous opportunities for states, regulators and non-state actors who have leverage over those locations.

In this context, the United States is plausibly leveraging its control over access to US airports, which are central “nodes” in the global network of air travel between different destinations.

It is using this control to attack the key vulnerabilities of other networked actors, by going after the central nodes in their networks (the hub airports) and potentially severely damaging them. What can Gulf airline carriers do?

Gulf airlines have tried to defend themselves against political attacks from US competitors by appealing to free trade principles. The problem is that standard free trade agreements, such as World Trade Organisation rules, don’t really apply to airlines (although they do apply to related sectors, such as the manufacture of airplanes).

This has allowed the Gulf airlines to enjoy massive subsidies, without having to worry too much about being sued in the WTO.

However, it also makes it hard for Gulf states or the states of other affected airlines to take a WTO case against the new US rules, even if these rules turn out to be motivated by protectionism and the desire to retaliate, rather than real underlying security questions.

If this were happening in a different sector, it would make for a pretty interesting case.

States preserve carve-outs from international trade rules when they feel that their security is at stake.

Would the United States prevail in a case like this, where there is a colourable security justification, but where there is also a very plausible argument that the real motivation doesn’t have much to do with security?

Or would the WTO defer to the United States’ proposed justification?

It’s very likely that the Trump administration will make more unilateral rules that are justified using the language of national security, but are plausibly motivated by protectionism, so we may find out.

Farrell is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. Newman is associate professor of international politics at Georgetown University. For other commentary from The Monkey Cage, an independent blog anchored by a group of political scientists from universities around the country, see www.washingtonpost苏州夜总会招聘/blogs/monkey-cage.

The Washington Post

Why gridlocked Sydney is being shortchanged

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Sydney has been denied its fair share of transport infrastructure funding over the past decade despite the growing economic and social cost of congestion.
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The city has received only 17 per cent of all new state and federal investment in road and rail over the past 12 years even though it generated about 24 per cent of ‘s gross domestic product last financial year, analysis by the Grattan Institute think tank shows.

Sydney’s share of Commonwealth support has been especially stingy – the city received only 5 per cent of Commonwealth funding for road and rail in the decade to 2015. The rest of NSW, which is about 8 per cent of the national economy, received 27 per cent of Commonwealth road and rail funding in that period.

Marion Terrill, the Grattan Institute’s transport program director, said Sydneysiders were “within their rights” to think a history of government underinvestment has led to worsening congestion.

“It is very striking that the Commonwealth has preferred NSW country over the city,” she said.

Congestion is forecast to cost the NSW economy $9 billion a year by 2020, the vast majority in Sydney.

The National Party in NSW has portrayed the large share of infrastructure spending going to regional areas as a political achievement. Duncan Gay, the former NSW roads minister and a National Party MP, said in a statement in January that “I have spent $38 billion on road, freight and waterway infrastructure since 2011 – the likes of which have never been seen in the history of this state – more than 65 per cent of this total investment has been delivered for projects in the bush”.

But the Roads to Riches report, released by the Grattan Institute last year, found n governments have recently spent far too much money on country highways “not especially important to the national economy.”

Regions outside of Sydney account for 35 per cent of the NSW population and about 25 per cent of the state’s economy.

Despite receiving a disproportionately low share of infrastructure spending Sydney’s economy grew by 4.5 per cent in 2015-16 and contributed almost 40 per cent of the increase in ‘s GDP. The remainder of NSW grew at just 0.4 per cent last financial year.

‘s four biggest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – account for 60 per cent of economic activity, nearly 60 per cent of the population, and 64 per cent of population growth and yet those cities received only 43 per cent of new investment in road and rail infrastructure in the decade to 2015.

“All other things being equal, one would expect new infrastructure to reflect areas of rapid population growth,” the Roads to Riches report said. “But neither bigger capitals nor faster growing cities appear to have been the impetus for choices about where to locate new infrastructure. Instead of concentrating new investment in large and fast growing Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, both Commonwealth and state governments spent disproportionately in country NSW and Queensland.”