Archive for September, 2019

Sussan Ley releases report, mounts defence over scandal

By admin | 成都桑拿

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

By admin | 成都桑拿

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

By admin | 成都桑拿

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.

Bloomberg

Laptop ban on flights may not be about security

By admin | 成都桑拿

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

By admin | 成都桑拿

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.”