Monthly Archives: February 2019

Denis Napthine’s son wants dad’s Vic seat

The son of former Victorian premier Denis Napthine is hoping to follow in his father’s political footsteps.

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Tom Napthine has nominated for pre-selection in the South-West Coast seat made vacant after his father’s retirement from politics on Monday.

The 24-year-old wasn’t even born when Dr Napthine first won the seat in 1988.

Dr Napthine confirmed his son would stand and told AAP he was proud of him.

During a press conference to announce his resignation on Monday Dr Napthine indicated his son might seek to fill his shoes.

“Tom was certainly a great help on the campaign and certainly I think he did extraordinary work,” he said on Monday.

“I’m a very proud dad.”

Mr Napthine joined his father, then premier, on the campaign trail in the lead up to the coalition’s November 2014 election loss, sparking rumours at the time that he might make a move into politics.

Liberal Party pre-selection rules prevent the father and son talking about Mr Napthine’s nomination before a pre-selection ballot.

The South-West Coast ballot will be held on September 20.

A ballot for the seat of Polwarth, vacated by retiring Liberal MP Terry Mulder, will be held on September 19.

State Liberal leader Matthew Guy says he won’t endorse any candidate before the day.

“I want branches to choose candidates from the Liberal party who are sensible, who are of their community and who will champion for those local seats,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.

While both Dr Napthine and Mr Mulder held their seats at the November election with a 10 per cent swing, Mr Guy says by-elections can be “funny things”.

Former Upper House member Donna Petrovich is also expected to seek pre-selection in the seat, alongside Warrnambool City Council mayor Michael Neoh, solicitor Ray Reekie and vet Michael McCluskey.

The Greens and Australian Country Party, formerly the Australian Country Alliance, are also expected to field candidates although Labor is not.

The Victorian Electoral Commission has not set a date for the by-elections.

Campbell hopes family can keep swim award

Cate Campbell’s hold on the Australian Swimmer of the Year award is over but the title might yet remain in her Brisbane household for another year thanks to her little sister.

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Cate Campbell’s flatmate Bronte will hope to keep the award in the family for a third straight year by taking the top gong at Swimming Australia’s glamour ceremony in Brisbane on Saturday night after a breakthrough year.

But fellow dual champions Emily Seebohm and Mitch Larkin will provide tough competition after their golden run at last month’s world titles in Russia.

Bronte Campbell finally emerged from her sister’s shadow at the Kazan world titles, becoming just the third person in history to complete the 50m-100m freestyle double.

It marked the second time she had left her older sister in her wake at the world titles after snapping defending champion Cate’s unbeaten run since late 2012 in the 100m final.

Bronte earned a third gold as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay team plus a bronze.

However, fellow dual champions Seebohm and Larkin were a hard act to follow at Kazan.

Larkin was Australia’s male swimmer of the meet with two gold and a silver after becoming the first man in 10 years to claim the 100m-200m backstroke double.

Seebohm, 23, was the fifth woman since 1973 to take the 100m-200m backstroke world titles double.

She finally downed US nemesis Missy Franklin to clinch her first 100m backstroke gold at her fifth world titles campaign.

Cate Campbell had won the past two Swimmer of the Year awards, extending the women’s dominance of the honour.

Women have won nine of the past 11 titles.

Australia will have plenty to toast at the gala dinner.

The Dolphins finished second on the world titles medal tally with seven gold behind the United States (eight).

But on an adjusted medal tally featuring Olympic events ahead of Rio 2016, Australia would have finished on top with seven gold compared to the Americans’ six.

Tasked with regaining the world No.1 ranking by the 2020 Games in the wake of the “toxic” London Olympic campaign, Australian coach Jacco Verhaeren appears years ahead of schedule.

Apart from their gold medal rush, Australia also set six Commonwealth records and 10 new national marks at Kazan.

The Australian juniors will also be toasted after they topped the medal tally at the FINA world junior championships in Singapore with nine gold.

They were led by Kazan sprint rookie Kyle Chalmers and world junior record holder Minna Atherton (both three gold).

The night will also honour the Paralympic team who finished top 10 at the IPC world titles, winning nine gold and setting three world records.

Swans to treat Suns game like AFL final

Sydney co-captain Jarrad McVeigh is expected to be fit for the AFL finals despite withdrawing from Saturday’s home clash with Gold Coast, which the Swans have pledged to treat like a finals match.

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Veteran McVeigh has some minor calf soreness and will be replaced in the side by Dean Towers.

“We have elected to take a conservative approach with him ahead of Saturday night’s match,” Swans general manager of football Tom Harley said.

“At this stage, we expect him to be available for the first week of the finals.”

A win at the SCG guarantees Sydney of finishing no lower than fourth, irrespective of what happens in the other final-round fixtures.

The Suns, coached by former Swans mentor Rodney Eade, have lost all five previous games against the Swans, never getting closer than 35 points.

After losing 14 of their past 16 games, the injury ravaged Suns have enjoyed slightly more success in the past five rounds.

They beat fellow stragglers Brisbane and Essendon and drew with competition heavyweights West Coast, but lost all nine games outside Queensland this season.

Gold Coast languish in 16th place on the ladder with just four wins, but the Swans are determined not to fall into the trap of taking them lightly.

“No, not at all – we spoke about it during the week and we’re treating it as a finals match a week early,” Swans forward Brandon Jack told AAP on Friday.

“Because they are a really strong contested footy team and that’s what finals football is, so it’s a great opportunity for us to come in and practise that part of the game.”

McVeigh, defender Nick Smith and midfielder Luke Parker are the only injured regulars missing from the Swans’ team, with coach John Longmire opting not to rest anyone.

“Realistically, Sydney are playing at home and they’ve got a full-strength side just about. It’s going to be a difficult task,” Eade said on Friday.

“We’ll try some different things and, if the effort and work ethic is there, you never know what could happen.”

Sydney appear to be lifting at the right time, having won their past three games and kicking 20 goals in their 89- and 97-point thrashings of GWS and St Kilda respectively.

“We had those few bad losses and I think we responded really strongly,” Jack said.

“We didn’t hide – we were honest with each about who needed to lift and what needed to improve.

“I think our talls have definitely made a big impact the past few weeks, with Sam Reid, Kurt Tippett and Mike Pyke – they have been instrumental in our form.”

Longmire plans to give forwards Lance Franklin and Gary Rohan more game time in each man’s second match back from injury.

Gold Coast have recalled defenders Trent McKenzie and the retiring Greg Broughton in place of Harley Bennell (calf) and Clay Cameron (concussion).

Citizen laws need major overhaul: inquiry

Prime Minister Tony Abbott may have to overhaul proposed laws allowing dual nationals to be stripped of their Australian citizenship.

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A bipartisan report released by federal parliament’s intelligence and security committee found flaws in the government’s bill due to be debated next week.

The committee said stripping citizenship should be limited to people “engaged in relevant conduct offshore” or who were “engaged in relevant conduct onshore and left Australia before being charged and brought to trial in respect of that conduct”.

On people still in Australia, the committee says the laws should only apply to those who have been convicted of a terrorist offence with a sentence of at least six years in jail, or retrospectively to terrorists jailed for 10 years or more.

The committee, chaired by Liberal MP Dan Tehan, took a dim view of the government’s broad-brush approach to the type of criminal offences covered by its legislation.

Mr Tehan said “damaging commonwealth property” did now warrant loss of citizenship.

The report said “unlawful drilling” and “urging violence against groups” would have also been unnecessarily caught up in the laws.

The report said if a conviction is quashed or overturned the minister should consider providing citizenship back to that individual.

“It is now up to the government to consider those recommendations and then obviously they will advise the parliament of that and then the bill will progress through the parliament,” Mr Tehan said.

With more than 120 Australians fighting for Islamic State and 170 people actively supporting extremist groups in Australia “the terrorism threat is real”.

“We need to give the necessary instruments to our police and security agencies to confront this threat,” Mr Tehan said.

The laws were heavily criticised by constitutional lawyers who argued they would not stand up to a High Court challenge.

But the report included a letter from Attorney-General George Brandis which gives an assurance “the government has received advice from the Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson SC that in his opinion there is a good prospect that a majority of the High Court would reject a constitutional challenge to the core aspects of the draft bill”.

Labor immigration spokesman Richard Marles said the opposition would support the draft laws – subject to caucus approval – if the committee’s changes are made.

“These mean that only persons who have been convicted of a terrorist-related offence or who are overseas collaborating with terrorist organisations can have their citizenship removed,” he said.

“This represents a far narrower and more targeted set of amendments than those which were first considered by the (Abbott) cabinet.”

However Labor retains concerns about whether the bill would stand up in the High Court, given that the government has refused to release the full advice of the Solicitor-General.

The federal cabinet is likely to be divided on the changes when it meets next week.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Friday said she had a problem with any laws being retrospective, but was prepared to look at specific circumstances where it could apply.

Fellow cabinet minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year voiced concerns about the bill’s constitutionality.

Vic daughters support dad who killed mum

Two daughters of a Melbourne man who claimed sleeping pills caused him to stab his wife to death have stood by him despite a jury finding him guilty of murdering their mother.

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A pre-sentence hearing for Brian Robert Browning, 54, who killed Catherine Elizabeth Browning, his wife of 21 years, heard statements of support from the couple’s daughters.

Rhiannan, 19, and Amy Browning, 21, continue to visit their father in prison, the court heard.

Defence barrister George Georgiou SC said it was significant they maintained a close relationship with Browning, despite their close relationship with their mother.

“That says something about his role in their lives,” Mr Georgiou said.

Rhiannan Browning described her father as “the most supportive dad”, in her reference tendered in court.

“He’s apologised multiple times for what he’s done,” her reference said.

Amy Browning said in her written reference she knows she can’t believe what he’s done.

Whenever Mrs Browning comes up in conversation he changes the subject because it’s too painful, she said in her reference.

Both daughters were in the Victorian Supreme Court for the hearing on Friday.

Browning denied killing his wife, but was found guilty of her murder by a jury in May.

Police found the body of Mrs Browning, 47, in the bedroom of their family home on December 19, 2013.

The couple’s close relationship broke down due to financial stress, the court heard.

Mr Georgiou told Justice Lex Lasry Browning had no history of violence but was taking sleeping pills known to cause unusual behaviour.

The prospect of divorce made Browning depressed and he treated his sleeplessness with doxylamine, a drug known to have “adverse effects”, Mr Georgiou said.

He quoted a psychological report that said there was evidence of an acute, severe deterioration in Browning’s mental health in the days before the attack.

“His attempts to quell (his problems) with sleeping pills and cigarettes seems to have had the opposite effect,” Mr Georgiou said.

Victim impact statements read to the court from Mrs Browning’s siblings and mother detailed their grief and feelings of betrayal.

“I cannot understand how someone who’s been in my life for such a long time … could do something so violent,” Mrs Browning’s sister Sue Satchwell said.

“She was defenceless, fighting back against a huge man standing over her.”

Mrs Browning had worked for Family Life, a support service for disadvantaged families.

Browning will be sentenced on October 9.

Explainer: Inquiry review of citizenship bill

Parliament’s joint Intelligence and Security committee review of citizenship bill recommendations:

 

Parliament approve the Allegiance to Australia Bill, subject to amendments.

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Limit laws to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship to individuals who have engaged in relevant conduct offshore; or engaged in relevant conduct onshore and left Australia before being charged and brought to trial in respect of that conduct.Explicitly require the minister to be satisfied before declaring a terrorist organisation.Allow parliament to disallow any declaration.Allow the committee to conduct a review of each declaration and report to the parliament within 15 sitting days.Clarify the intended scope of the term “in the service of” a declared terrorist organisation, and exclude the provision of neutral and independent humanitarian assistance, and acts done unintentionally or under duress.Exempt staff members or agents of Australian law enforcement or intelligence agencies are exempted when carrying out actions as part of the proper and legitimate performance of their duties.Minister be given discretion to revoke a person’s citizenship following conviction for a relevant offence with a sentence applied of at least six years imprisonment, or multiple sentences totalling at least six years imprisonment. The minister should be satisfied the person’s conviction demonstrates that they have repudiated

their allegiance to Australia, and it is not in the public interest for the person to remain an Australian citizen.Exclude offences that carry a maximum penalty of less than 10 years imprisonment and certain Crimes Act offences that have never been used – such as the 1914 offence of inciting mutiny against the Queens Forces.Be applied retrospectively to convictions for relevant offences where sentences of 10 years or more have been handed down by a court.Any notice to an affected person must include the the reasons for the loss of citizenship, and an explanation of the person’s review rights.Clarify that citizenship is taken never to have been lost if a finding of fact is subsequently found to have been incorrect.Minister have the power to annul revocation if the relevant conviction is later overturned on appeal or quashed.That no part of the bill applies to conduct by a child aged less than 10 years; limited exemption for child aged under 14 years.The government to publicly report, every six months, the number of times a notice for loss or revocation of citizenship and provide a brief statement of reasons.Extend functions of the committee to include monitoring and reviewing the performance by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of its functions under the bill.A review of the new laws by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor by December 2018.A review by the committee by December 2019.

(Source: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security)

Govt faces pressure on Syria refugee help

As the image of a drowned Syrian toddler continues to cause soul searching around the world, differences have emerged within the federal government about how much Australia can help the humanitarian crisis in Europe.

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Cabinet minister Barnaby Joyce believes there’s room for more Syrian refugees, despite Tony Abbott’s insistence more space has already been created.

But veteran Liberal Philip Ruddock says the crisis has reached such a tipping point any increase in intake will do little to help.

Mr Ruddock earlier this year called for a Kosovo-type solution where Australia would accept masses of Syrian and Iraqi refugees who would return home once it was safe.

But now he says it’s up to international partners to do more to solve the problem, the scale of which he says hasn’t been seen since World War II.

“When you talk about 14 million people being displaced, let’s be realistic, whatever Australia does is not going to ultimately resolve this issue,” Mr Ruddock told AAP on Friday.

“It’s of the size and dimension well beyond our capacity.”

The Anglican Church in Australia on Friday wrote to the prime minister and the immigration minister pleading for them to allow another 10,000 Syrian refugees before Christmas.

Bishop Huggins, chair of the national church’s working group on refugees and asylum seekers, said something must be done given the lack of any immediate diplomatic or political solutions.

Mr Joyce also advocated for more refugees, touched by a man whose plastic bag of water bottles and a packet of biscuits were his only possessions in the world.

He said he felt a sense of sympathy for the accountant who’d had his life destroyed.

But Mr Abbott says the government has already raised Iraqi and Syrian refugees places by 4400 thanks to tighter border control policies.

“We’re doing exactly what Barnaby has suggested,” he said.

He said the tragic drowning of Aylan Kurdi was a warning to stop the flow of boats and put an end to illegal migration.

The “very sad” images of children “tragically dead at sea” were a reminder that keeping people safe relied on stopping the boats.

“As long as people think if they can get here and they can stay here … we’ll have the tragedies at sea,” he said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia was considering a refugee increase and will work with other countries on possible solutions.

“Australia will play its part along with other countries and I’m sure this matter is under review by the minister for immigration,” she said.

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles accused the government of turning its back on international duties to refugees.

He said the prime minister was only offering “ignorant” and “gratuitous” three-word slogans which Europe was treating as a joke.

But asked if he’d turn back a boat full of Syrian refugees, Mr Marles conceded he would.

Mr Abbott said he had not read a scathing critique of Australia’s immigration policies by The New York Times.

The paper in an editorial urged Europe not to replicate Australia’s hard-line approach to asylum seekers, labelling the government’s policies inhumane.

The newspaper said Mr Abbott’s policies were also “strikingly at odds” with the country’s tradition of welcoming people fleeing persecution and war.

Fletcher ends longest AFL career

Inspector Gadget is finally beyond repair and the AFL’s longest playing career is over.

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Dustin Fletcher has confirmed his retirement, with the Essendon defender unable to recover in time from injury for a farewell game this Sunday against Collingwood.

Fletcher made his AFL debut in 1993 as a 17-year-old schoolboy and at 23 years, no one has played at senior level for longer.

The 40-year-old ends with 400 games, fourth on the all-time list behind fellow legends Michael Tuck (Hawthorn, 426), Brent Harvey (North Melbourne, 405 and counting) and Kevin Bartlett (Richmond, 403).

Bombers fans christened their much-loved defender Inspector Gadget – after the cartoon character – for an uncanny ability to spoil opposition forwards’ marking attempts with his long arms.

The tall, gangly red head was an unlikely-looking AFL player, especially when matched up against key forward brutes such as Tony Lockett.

But Fletcher was one of the game’s toughest players and rarely lost a one-on-one duel.

Essendon fans also loved Fletcher for his quirkiness – a quiet character, he was notorious for not being a prolific trainer.

He would delight them with his occasional booming shots on goal from outside 50m.

Kevin Sheedy, who coached Fletcher for most of his career, rightly led the praise and described him as one of the greatest players to play the game.

“He’d regularly beat the toughest and strongest forwards to have played the game,” he said.

“His shut down speed, ability to read the game and competitiveness was something he never lost.”

Sheedy also referred to how humble Fletcher is and the circumstances of the retirement are typical.

The club announced his departure and coach Matthew Egan was unsure whether Fletcher will even have a send-off at Sunday’s season-ending game against Collingwood.

“I think we respect Fletch and leave that up to him,” Egan said.

Fletcher reached the 400 milestone in round nine, where he also suffered the groin injury that has kept him out of action since.

It is a testament to Fletcher’s durability that this is the first season in his career where he has not played at least 13 games.

He was a member of Essendon’s 1993 and 2000 premiership teams, also won the club best-and-fairest award in 2000 and is a two-time All-Australian.

Fletcher has made the goalkeeper role in the Australian international rules team his own and he hopes to do it one last time later this year on the Ireland tour.

Fletcher’s father Ken also played 264 games for Essendon and they have the record for the most AFL games by a father and his son.

“I can walk away knowing I gave everything I could for this club,” Fletcher said.

“Its been a huge honour to play at the same club as my dad and the team I supported as a kid, and to pull on the jumper for more than twenty years is something that I’m very proud of.

“I’ve loved every minute of playing for Essendon, I’ve been fortunate to win a couple of premierships and shared some great memories with my teammates and good friends.”

Halep, Wawrinka beat the heat while Sock wilts

After the sun set on Flushing Meadows, fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki played in cooler conditions but was unable to repel a red-hot Petra Cetkovska, the 149th ranked Czech repeating her 2013 Wimbledon upset of the Dane with a 6-4 5-7 7-6(1) win.

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Cetkovska had looked to be cruising to victory when she led 4-1 in the second set but the injury-prone 30-year-old lost her way and then saved four match points in the decider before she was ultimately rewarded for being aggressive on vital points.

Leading off the night session, second seed Roger Federer was neither troubled by the weather nor his opponent as the Swiss maestro easily dispatched Steve Darcis of Belgium 6-1 6-2 6-1 in just 80 minutes to stay on course for a sixth U.S. Open crown.

While Federer barely broke a sweat, players spent most a sizzling day session with ice packs draped over their shoulders, chugging on water bottles and searching for shade.

British hopes Andy Murray and Johanna Konta, however, enjoyed a productive day in the sun as both went the distance to score second round victories.

Third seed Murray appeared frozen to the spot on a broiling afternoon but caught fire when he needed to and rallied for a 5-7 4-6 6-1 6-3 6-1 win over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Konta, meanwhile, provided the early upset, toiling for three hours and 27 minutes to see off ninth-seeded Spaniard and Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza 7-6(4) 6-7(4) 6-2 in what was the longest women’s match ever at the U.S. Open.

“I noticed after the first set — it was incredibly long, but then after I had a couple glances on the clock, I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. We have been here for a while.’ But we deal with it as best we can,” said Konta. “It was the same for her and the same for a lot of players playing out there at this time.”

As courtside temperatures pushed past 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Romanian second seed Halep wasted little time finishing off Ukraine qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3 6-4 in 76 minutes before escaping to the air-conditioned comfort of the players’ lounge.

SOCK DOWN

Fifth-seeded Swiss Wawrinka outslugged promising South Korean teenager Chung Hyeon, but still needed three tiebreaks to sweat out a 7-6(2) 7-6(4) 7-6(6) second round decision.

“Today was a really tough day with the conditions,” Wawrinka said. “I know that I’m ready physically to battle for long hours in that condition. Today was hot, was humid, but still we play three hours and I’m feeling OK.”

Next up for the French Open champion is Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium, who advanced when Sock retired due to cramping while leading 6-4 6-4 3-6 1-2.

Sock had looked in control of the match but began to show signs of distress in the third set, then sent shockwaves through the crowd when he began to cramp and dropped to the court as medical staff rushed to his aid.

A wheelchair was brought out but after several minutes, Sock was helped to his feet and, assisted by a trainer under each arm, limped off the court.

Australian Sam Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champion and last player to beat world number one Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows four years ago, looked ready to make another run at the title as she crushed Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina 6-1 6-1.

But it was the end of the road for 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt, the tenacious Australian dragged kicking and screaming to the Flushing Meadows exit by countryman Bernard Tomic in what was his final U.S. Open.

A player who constructed a career around a relentless fighting spirit that became his calling card, Hewitt was never going to leave the U.S. Open without a struggle and went down swinging until the very end, falling 6-3 6-2 3-6 5-7 7-5.

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes/John O’Brien)

Hockey says Aussie dollar not too weak

Treasurer Joe Hockey says the Australian dollar, now sitting below 70 US cents, isn’t too low.

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Mr Hockey said he would leave judgment of fair value of the Australian dollar to the markets.

But many Australian exporters had struggled when the Australian dollar was near parity with the US dollar, he told Bloomberg Television from Turkey where he’s attending a G20 finance ministers’ meeting.

Asked if the dollar was too weak, he replied: “No, as the head of our central bank identified the other day, he’s not upset about the current level.”

“The fact is we can cope with a currency that continues to fall, because it is going to empower our exporters and in the main Australia is always a beneficiary of better export prices.”

Mr Hockey said Australia had a diversified economy, much more diversified than people appreciated.

“Therefore we will be able to cope with whatever happens in China or more particularly in other parts of the world, so long as it’s not a global-wide phenomena,” he said.

Mr Hockey said the budget forecasts, formulated before the downturn in China, were about right.

National accounts, released this week, showed modest growth of 0.2 per cent growth, which economists said was much worse than they were expecting.

Mr Hockey said they were missing the full year data plus more recent data which indicated strong growth in services which represents 70 per cent of the economy.

He said mining and resources represented 10 per cent of the economy and agriculture under five per cent, through they were a big part of exports.

“We are seeing pretty strong employment growth, even in the wake of us not getting our economic growth back to what is our trend growth rate of around 3.25 per cent,” he said.