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Gillian Triggs hits back at ‘deeply misleading’ Malcolm Turnbull over 18C claims

Written By: admin - Dec• 12•18

n Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs has hit back at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Andrew MearesThe president of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, has hit back after an extraordinary attack by Malcolm Turnbull, accusing the Prime Minister of not being briefed and misunderstanding how the organisation operates.
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Mr Turnbull on Monday called on the commission to urgently review the way it manages race hate cases after “bringing” a case against three students that was last week thrown out by a Federal Circuit Court judge for having no reasonable prospect of success.

“What the judge was saying to the Human Rights Commission is, ‘you’ve been wasting the court’s time. You’ve been wasting government money’,” Mr Turnbull told ABC radio.

He urged the organisation to reflect on whether it was acting in a way that was undermining public support for the commission and its promotion of human rights.

But Professor Triggs said the commission had no power to instigate court proceedings and revealed she had been urging the government to introduce a higher threshold before the commission was obliged to investigate hate speech complaints.

“The Prime Minister was deeply misleading in suggesting that we had brought the case. We never bring cases and we are purely passive in that sense. We don’t prosecute, we don’t pursue, we don’t instigate proceedings,” she told Fairfax Media.

“The judge did not make any comment on the Human Rights Commission and made no such extreme, provocative statement.”

The government is poised to announce a parliamentary inquiry into the operation of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” someone because of their race or ethnicity.

Critics say the law places an excessive curb on free speech and argue the Federal Circuit Court’s decision in the QUT case and the commission’s handling of a complaint against News Corp cartoonist Bill Leak demonstrates the need for reform. The Leak matter is unresolved.

But Professor Triggs argued the campaign is being orchestrated by News Corp and politicians “who have deliberately misunderstood the law”.

“There is no doubt that they have deliberately undermined a process that proceeds quietly, with 20,000 matters, plus formals complaints, each year,” she said.

She predicted a massive backlash from those who opposed changing the law during Tony Abbott’s prime ministership.

“There will be a huge political response by the Jewish Board of Deputies, the Chinese community, the Vietnamese, the Muslim community. There are many, many groups who spoke up last time. Why you would expect that to have changed, I’m not sure.”

The executive director of the /Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, Dr Colin Rubenstein, has mounted a strong defence of 18C after the court decision, while accepting the conciliation process may “require further consideration and review”.

“Especially at a time when xenophobia in is rising, this legal provision continues to be essential in helping to maintain social cohesion while providing victims of racism with a just method for seeking redress where they have been the target of racial vilification,” Dr Rubenstein said.

Professor Triggs said while the Federal Circuit Court had adopted a high threshold in ruling on breaches of section 18C, the commission was required by law to investigate and attempt to conciliate all written complaints. It did this in 74 per cent of formal complaints, with only one or two per cent going to court.

“Our statute requires us to accept the matter, as distinct from the Federal Court, which has got a much higher threshold,” she said.

“Even if I know it would fail at the Federal Court, we are bound to accept the complaint in the hope of conciliating it. It’s a form of social justice. It costs the complainant nothing and it costs the respondent nothing, unless they choose to go to lawyers.”

Professor Triggs said the commission had urged the government for some years to change the legislation and introduce a higher threshold before the commission investigated complaints, without success.

She welcomed the prospect of an inquiry, saying the commission would make a submission supporting “a stronger 18C that gets the message out even more effectively that abuse on the grounds of race in the public arena is unacceptable”.

Professor Triggs also defended the commission’s handling of the QUT case, saying the complaint met the threshold when it was lodged. “We kept on with it because we had every belief in the university and the students and Ms (Cindy) Prior (the complainant) that they were acting in good faith and would conciliate.

“After twelve or thirteen months it became very clear that we could not conciliate and therefore we terminated it, which allowed the parties to go to court if they wanted to.”

Malcolm Turnbull’s half-hearted push for marriage equality

Written By: admin - Dec• 12•18

Cold feet? There has been no landmark speech setting out Malcolm Turnbull’s modern n vision. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Same-sex marriage reform has been allowed to disintegrate.
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 In Aussie rules they call it “putting in the short steps”: a faux dash to the ball when a blood nose looms.

Malcolm Turnbull might have put in a few of these on his marriage equality plebiscite. Few doubt the member for Wentworth’s heart is in the right place, but how strongly is it beating?

The Prime Minister’s desultory path to the present is no secret. He opposed Tony Abbott’s plebiscite but then agreed to keep it as a condition of getting Abbott’s job. He then took that plan to an election, formed government, and has since pushed the legislation up to the Senate, where its demise is assured.

But why? For all the valid pre-election arguments against the plebiscite, there are stronger arguments for it now than he has advanced. One is that whichever way the question is decided, it requires the assent of heterosexual , either through MPs representing the broader community – i.e. Parliament – or directly via the plebiscite. So for all their divergent procedural characteristics, the qualitative moral differences claimed by the plebiscite’s trenchant opponents are exaggerated.

Then there’s the fact that despite the plebiscite having been a delaying tactic in 2015, the delay now is the insistence on a parliamentary vote – which could be years away. Justice delayed is justice denied.

There are other arguments too. But, curiously, Turnbull has put few forcefully and none systematically. Compare this with his advocacy of a lifetime visa ban on Manus and Nauru refugees. Announced only a week ago, he’s been pushing that divisive little wedge relentlessly in the days since.

A key element missing in favour of the plebiscite – and more importantly the legal discrimination it could quickly consign to history – has been the cogent, public case for reform.

Where is the Redfern Address setting out Turnbull’s modern n vision? The landmark speech outlining his case for the plebiscite; the more durable socio-political legitimacy it offers; the unfinished business of equality; and, crucially, the reassurance to those nervous about defeat (the great unspoken in this argument) that Turnbull will deliver. Instead, all most voters have heard is that the “yes” case would prevail as if it is not in doubt.

Even gathering crossbench numbers in the Senate is easier if the public is engaged. Yet this reform, like the shambolic republic debate in the late 1990s – at which Turnbull was also at the helm, incidentally – has been allowed to disintegrate, to sink under the weight of procedural mechanics, rather than soar on the uplifting promise of fairness and civic advancement.

No doubt the PM will argue that he held up his end, did what he could. But did he?

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Pauline Hanson supports move to refer One Nation senator Rod Culleton’s election to the High Court

Written By: admin - Dec• 12•18

Senator Pauline Hanson addresses the Senate on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares Senator Rod Culleton speaks in the Senate on the issue of his eligibility to serve in the Senate. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Senator Hanson listens on as Senator Culleton speaks on the issue in the Senate. Photo: Andrew Meares

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has backed the referral of one of her senators to the High Court, saying her integrity and accountability to the n people offered her no other choice.

A visibly emotional Senator Hanson spoke slowly as she reaffirmed her personal support for West n senator Rod Culleton, but said her fight to return to the Parliament had been too long and too hard to not act.

Senator Culleton’s election to the Senate has been put in doubt over a conviction he held at the time of the July 2 poll. That conviction, over the theft of a $7.50 tow-truck key, has since been quashed. In his own impassioned speech to the Senate on Monday, Senator Culleton argued that meant the conviction had never existed.

His party leader wasn’t taking any chances.

“I have always stood for honesty, for integrity, for what is the truth, and the people deserve no less, especially from this chamber,” she said.

“It goes to the very heart of our democracy and now with this at hand, it is a question over Mr Culleton’s, Senator Culleton’s, eligibility to hold a seat in this place. I was of the opinion when he was nominated for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation as a Senate candidate that he stated that he was eligible to stand under the requirements of the constitution section 44.

“I took that to be his oath and it was signed and witnessed; his signature was witnessed by a JP.

“My fellow colleagues and I support Mr Culleton, Senator Culleton, but we have seen on too many occasions politicians in this place and the other place who have not been accountable to the n people, and I will not stand here and be of the same ilk.

“I believe that it should go to the High Court to make the ruling on this matter and I hope the findings are, and I would dearly love to see Senator Culleton here again as a One Nation senator.

“I believe that I have the support of my other senators and I know that Senator Culleton will not be too happy with what I have just said. But I think that my integrity and my honesty – and I have fought for 18 years to be on the floor of this Parliament as a representative of the people – and I cannot sit back and disregard what may have been a wrong judgment. But I will leave it up to the courts to make the final decision.”

Senator Hanson tabled the declaration Senator Culleton had signed at the time of his candidacy, which stated he was eligible to stand.

The referral was passed by the Senate several hours later.

Prior to Senator Hanson’s statement, Senator Culleton had called on the chamber to “right the wrongs [and] recognise that natural justice has not been served in the Court of Disputed Returns over these spurious charges, which were annulled. There was no conviction on the matter, thereby acknowledging that they never existed.”

He blamed the move on political machinations and the two-party system, despite his spot in the Senate, should the court rule his election to be invalid, probably falling to his brother-in-law, Peter Georgiou, who was next in line on the One Nation West n ticket.

“Parliamentary representatives who actually stand up and represent their constituents will always be under attack from within and from without,” he said.

“That is all too often the nature of the political climate in this country. The preference in the party arena is for the confirmative to just warm those seats with respect to those parties, with no tolerance for true representation of constituent interests. This is not a democracy and that is not in the interests of the true representation in this place for all ns.

“Certain parties believe they have a vested interest in the Senate seat; their actions and reactions today reflect that vested interest in securing this West n Senate seat for which I was elected to serve my constituents in Western n for the next three years.

“Whether or not a concise vote is allowed in this chamber on this issue, it is clear from the reaction of many senators towards me today that their consciences are already affecting their votes and their demeanour.

“In due course, what has been going on behind closed doors will thoroughly be disclosed – both the skulduggery and the acts of integrity and character, that mateship, that separates the n national ethos in a league of its own, refusing to allow such acts of bastardy, without a challenge or an indication of support or solidarity.”

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Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot names Halle Berry as ideal love interest in sequel

Written By: admin - Oct• 13•19

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot. Halle Berry at a Revlon event at New York’s Rainbow Room in November 2015. Photo: Charles Sykes
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Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), and aunts Antiope (Wright) and Menalippe (Lisa Loven Kongsli) Photo: Clay Enos/DC Comics

After the recent revelation that Wonder Woman is bisexual, actress Gal Gadot has revealed who she’d like to play her love interest: Halle Berry.

In an interview on Israeli talk show Good Night with Guy Pines, Gadot – who plays the character in next year’s Wonder Woman film – didn’t hesitate when asked who her leading lady would be.

“I saw her the other day, Halle Berry. She’s so beautiful,” Israeli-born Gadot said in Hebrew, according to comic site, Batman News. “She’s gorgeous. So, yeah, I could do it with her.”

While the Amazonian warrior princess’ sexuality isn’t discussed in next year’s standalone film, there’s certainly scope for it to be a central theme in the sequel.

Last month, DC comic writer Greg Rucka confirmed a long-held assumption in the comic community when he revealed Wonder Woman – also known as Diana Price – identified as queer.

Rucka used Wonder Woman’s home island of Themyscira​, where men are banned, as his rationale.

“When you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, ‘How can they not all be in same sex relationships?’,” Rucka told website Comicosity. “It makes no logical sense otherwise.”

“It’s supposed to be paradise. You’re supposed to be able to live happily. You’re supposed to be able – in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner – to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women.

“Are we saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women? As Nicola and I approach it, the answer is obviously yes.”

Responding to Rucka’s comments in a Variety interview earlier this month, Gadot said Wonder Woman’s bisexuality was not implied in the upcoming film but made perfect sense.

The 31-year-old actress first starred as the DC comic superhero in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

“When you talk theoretically about all the women on Themyscira and how many years she was there, then what he said makes sense,” she said.

“In this movie she does not experience any bisexual relationships. But it’s not about that. She’s a woman who loves people for who they are. She can be bisexual. She loves people for their hearts.”

The speculation comes after NBC confirmed in March that Xena would be openly gay in their reboot of popular 90s television series, Xena: Warrior Princess.

Michaelia Cash and John Lloyd needed a win, they copped a belting

Written By: admin - Oct• 13•19

If the Fair Work Commission orders a settlement with terms outside the Coalition’?s tough rules, then the whole public sector bargaining framework could be fatally undermined. Photo: Alex EllinghausenA win would be handy for Michaelia Cash and offsider John Lloyd right now.
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On Monday at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Employment Minister and Public Service Commissioner couldn’™t even get close, despite departmental boss Mike Pezzullo, not known for his subtlety, throwing the kitchen sink at the campaign to convince his restive workforce to accept a new enterprise agreement.

The failure, with a whopping no-vote of 82 per cent, means there will be compulsory arbitration at the Fair Work Commission.

It’s the outcome Pezzullo was desperate to avoid and the department’™s decision to call in the industrial umpire in the first place to put the kybosh on airport strikes does not look smart after all.

The Commission, unlike the department, is not bound by the bargaining framework and if it orders a settlement that includes terms or conditions outside the Coalition’™s tough rules, then the whole public sector bargaining framework could be fatally undermined.

After the crushing defeat at DIBP, with perhaps worse to come, and the humiliation last week at the hands of the ABC, which agreed to a deal with its workforce well outside the terms of the bargaining policy and then raised a middle finger at the government’s helpless protests, Cash and Lloyd need to take a trick.

The close yes-vote at Environment was a decent result for the government and bosses at Agriculture are in with a shout of getting their agreement voted-up next week, given they’ve come so close before.

But Agriculture’s right to hold that vote is being challenged in the Fair Work Commission so it might not go ahead as scheduled.

There are about 7500 public servants working in Agriculture and Environment and those numbers, if they can be delivered, are important to help Lloyd try to convince the 97,000-odd public servants who still haven’™t accepted agreements that they’™re isolated and they should just take what’™s been on offer.

One of Lloyd’™s problems though is they’™re nearly a two-thirds majority.

There was a hint of desperation last week when Lloyd’™s offsider Deputy Commissioner Stephanie Foster produced a press release trumpeting a yes-vote at Cancer .

Yes, the Cancer , all 70 of them.

On a brighter note, the Defence Department’s 19,000 are set to vote within weeks.

They’ve voted no twice but it was close on both occasions amid definite signs that the government’s attritional approach might be working.

A win at Defence would put close to half of the n Public Service signed up to enterprise agreements.

Not much to crow about nearly two-and-a-half years since the old agreements expired, but it might, just might, prove to be a psychological tipping point.

Another problem for the Commissioner is how often these days we hear the words ‘Fair’ ‘Work’ and ‘Commission’ in relation to the ongoing disputes.

The giant Department of Human Services is voting this, with another Fair Work challenge in the background, and you’™d struggle to get odds on a no-vote, if you fancied a flutter.

The CPSU and its allies in Parliament will try to pile on political pressure this week with its Senate inquiry into the government’s approach to bargaining.

The inquiry will come to nothing.

It is political theatre, but it is part of a pattern of more and more things happening on this issue that, like the pesky Fair Work Commission, Cash and Lloyd cannot control.

This is all about control now.

Pezzullo lost it for good on Monday.

Cash and Lloyd need something to go their way if they are to avoid the same fate.

Jacqui Lambie and Pauline Hanson plan super plebiscite at the next election

Written By: admin - Oct• 13•19

Tasmania senator Jacqui Lambie wants a range of plebiscite questions at the next federal election. Photo: Andrew Meares One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has joined the discussions. Photo: Supplied
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Why have just one plebiscite when we could have three?

The government’s national vote on same-sex marriage may have been rejected by the Senate late on Monday, but a group of crossbench senators believe the door could be opened to a series of plebiscites on hot button social issues.

Senate crossbenchers Jacqui Lambie and Pauline Hanson want three plebiscite questions to be put to n voters at the next federal election, on same-sex marriage, Indigenous recognition in the constitution and voluntary euthanasia.

Senator Lambie told ABC radio she held talks with the One Nation leader, NSW senator Brian Burston and Ms Hanson’s controversial staffer James Ashby over dinner on Monday night, ahead of a bill being introduced to the Senate in coming months.

The Senate killed off the government’s planned plebiscite on same-sex marriage, voting 29-33 in a late-night vote.

Senator Lambie voted with the government, saying while she opposed same-sex marriage on religious grounds she would have respected the popular vote of the Tasmanian people after a national vote.

She blamed a lack of will for the $200 million plebiscite being blocked.

“We’re talking now about putting a bill through so we have dates and we have times, so we can get this bill and take the vote at the next election and also looking at reconciliation and euthanasia for those that are terminally ill,” she said.

“Let’s give these people a peace of mind. Let’s give them another direction and tell them when they can take the vote because they want to take this vote.”

Any new plebiscite proposal would be unlikely to pass Parliament. Senator Hanson has previously advocated for a referendum on marriage, despite the constitution’s silence on the issue.

Senator Lambie said Labor, the Greens, Nick Xenophon party senators and Derryn Hinch had killed off “people power” in blocking the planned February 11 plebiscite.

“I find that astonishing that we can’t have referendums, that we can’t have plebiscites in this country.

“We could have had this over and done with. As a matter of fact we could have taken this to the last election and had it on a separate piece of paper from the voting form and had this already done with.

“It’s the lack of will that doesn’t get things done up here in the Senate,” Senator Lambie said.

A referendum on Indigenous recognition in the constitution is planned for 2017 but could be delayed as the government considers timing, the referendum question and the push for a formal treaty with Indigenous communities, being called for by some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders.

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Rich-listers Zac Fried, Morry Fraid snare prime Masters development sites

Written By: admin - Oct• 13•19

Part of the deal will see new Spotlight and Anaconda stores opening in existing Masters buildings once they have been converted. Photo: Chris Hopkins Rich-lister Zac Fried, pictured, and his uncle Morry Fraid, the owners of the Spotlight retail group, have gained control of the bulk of Masters’ development portfolio. Photo: Wayne Taylor
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Two BRW rich-listers behind the Masters property buyout have secured exclusive rights to the defunct hardware chain’s development sites and plan to begin building homemaker centres on them next May.

In an audacious property play, rich-lister Zac Fried and his uncle Morry Fraid, the owners of the Spotlight retail group, have gained control of the bulk of Masters’ development portfolio – 19 blocks of prime real estate that were earmarked for future stores.

The pair are part of a group of wealthy private families behind the Home Consortium, which outfoxed larger property players to snare the failed hardware chain’s 61 stores and 21 development sites when Masters’ owner Woolworths offloaded them as part of a complex three-way deal for $830 million in August.

At the time, Woolies initiated a $500 million fire sale of all the store’s hardware stock, a move that followed its decision to separately sell the Home Timber & Hardware division to Metcash for $165 million.

The unwinding of the disastrous Masters foray amid billion-dollar losses has propelled Woolies and its US-based joint venture partner Lowes into a bitter legal wrangle, casting a cloud over deals inked for various bits of the business.

Home Consortium, led by UBS banker David Di Pilla, bid up to $830 million for 40 freehold sites with existing Masters stores on them, another 21 development sites up to 60,000 square metres in size and the rights to 21 leasehold sites.

Excluding the leasehold sites, the $830 million price tag puts an average value of $13.6 million on each Masters landholding.

Details of who controlled which property assets in the consortium have been hazy, but Spotlight has emerged with a significant interest in the valuable development portfolio.

As well as being a partner in the overall consortium, Mr Fried told BusinessDay Spotlight Property Group had picked up 19 of the 21 development sites, with the two remaining sites in Sydney staying with Home Consortium.

The family’s property arm has a long history of developing large-format homemaker centres, often with Spotlight and Anaconda stores as anchors, making it ideally placed to benefit from the Masters debacle.

Most of the sites, concentrated on ‘s eastern seaboard apart from one in Perth, would be converted to homemaker centres, although some had residential development potential as well, Mr Fried said.

“We’ll start doing stuff hopefully by May next year if it all goes to plan. There’s a number of sites we want to start building on straight away in Sydney and Queensland, some of the larger sites,” Mr Fried said.

The acquisition, if it clears the maze of Woolies and Lowes’ fallout, would boost Spotlight’s development portfolio by 50 per cent, he said.

During its rollout, Masters was criticised for purchasing sites in the wrong locations, a position Mr Fried disputed.

“I would say Masters have brought the sites extremely well. Each site is on average around 45,000 to 60,000 square metres. They are generally on high-profile corners and main roads. There’s nothing wrong with what they’ve done.”

Mr Fried said there was huge appetite for more homemaker centres, particularly in NSW, and the acquisition was part of a “long-term” development play.

“I’ve been waiting for some of this land for a long time,” he said.

Part of the deal will see new Spotlight and Anaconda stores opening in existing Masters buildings once they have been converted. The group would roll out up to 20 new stores next year, he predicted.

Other individuals in the Home Consortium include Melbourne-based Chemist Warehouse owners Mario Verrochi and Jack Gance, Mr Di Pilla’s parents-in-law Mary and Alex Shaw, Greg Hayes and UBS directors Robbie Vanderzeil and Matthew Grounds.

REA listings hit by property market stagnation

Written By: admin - Oct• 13•19

REA’s chief executive, Tracey Fellows, said: “This has been a strong first quarter for REA Group given the softer market conditions in .” Photo: Paul JeffersListed property site REA Group has increased earnings in the first quarter of the financial year, despite a drop in the number of properties for sale, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.
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There was 8 per cent fewer listings in the quarter compared with the same period in 2015, according to REA, and management expects this stagnation to continue until the end of the year.

REA shares were trading 6.7 per cent higher at $51.76 at 11.30am on Tuesday.

“The decline in listings was initially due to uncertainty surrounding the n federal election, however, listing volumes remained lower for the entire quarter as the lack of stock deterred potential property sellers from entering the market,” the companies statement to the stock market stated.

“Listing volumes have remained at these levels in October and we expect these conditions to continue for the remainder of the first half.”

Last week, Fairfax Media revealed its real estate site Domain had also been affected by a “temporary blockage” in listings, but revenue at Domain still increased 2 per cent. Sydney listings were down 18 per cent in the three-month period and Melbourne listings down 5 per cent, according to Fairfax, which publishes BusinessDay.

On Tuesday, REA revealed its revenues were up 16 per cent for the three-month period, thanks to the inclusion for the first time of revenue from Malaysia-based iProperty.

Pre-tax earnings increased 9 per cent to $90 million. But REA Group, which runs realestate苏州夜总会招聘.au and is majority owned by News Corp, is spending more on marketing than usual this half. The cost of incorporating iProperty results also added to expenses.

News Corp is also expected to release its first-quarter results on Tuesday.

“Excluding the impact of iProperty, we expect the rate of full-year revenue growth to exceed the rate of cost growth,” the company said.

REA’s chief executive, Tracey Fellows, said: “This has been a strong first quarter for REA Group given the softer market conditions in . Our focus on continuously improving consumer experience and creating value for our customers saw us deliver an increase in depth revenue.”

Why it’s time to ask for a rent reduction

Written By: admin - Sep• 14•19

The Reserve Bank says new apartment construction is changing the balance of rental supply and demand. Photo: Dean OslandYou never forget your first time.
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My first – and last, so far – appearance on the ABC’s Media Watch program was in February 2007.

It had been a particularly hot summer. John Howard discovered climate change. And in capital cities across the country, would-be tenants jostled for position at crowded open inspections.

On a quiet news day, just after New Year’s, we splashed the paper with a story of mine with the headline “Through the roof: rents to soar 20%”.

It was, necessarily, a condensed summary of a longer story about how generous new tax breaks on superannuation taxes were tipped to encourage investors to dump investment properties and plough the money into super instead. The Treasurer predicted as much.

The head of the Real Estate Institute of NSW told me landlords would look to increase rents by “as much as 20 per cent” – a figure so fantastical sounding it attracted the attention of Media Watch’s producers, who ran an omnibus story critical in general of the media’s reporting of the national rental squeeze, particularly by media outlets with a financial interest in spruiking property.

Friends chastised me in the pub for giving their landlords ammunition to lift rents.

Turns out, however, the prediction wasn’t too far off in magnitude, if perhaps a little premature.

But by 2007, the new supply had worn off, population growth was surging and interest rates rose to near double digits. According to the rental component of the consumer price index, rents nationally rose by 8.4 per cent in 2008.

But times have changed.

And to prove I am not in the pocket of the real estate lobby, here it is: “Through the floor: rents to slump in 2017”. I won’t be so bold as to offer a numerical prediction. Once burnt, twice shy.

But the slump in rents is upon us. Rents are rising at their slowest annual pace in nearly two decades, according to last week’s Reserve Bank statement on monetary policy, which also notes the value of new building approvals has reached a record share of GDP.

Perth is the epicentre of landlord pain, with slow population growth and the end of the mining boom dampening demand for rental properties.

In other capital cities, particularly in inner Melbourne and Brisbane, booming apartment construction has sparked concern about oversupply and rising settlement failures on off-the-plan developments.

According to the Reserve: “Further increases in housing supply over coming years is expected to result in a protracted period of low rent inflation.”

Indeed, weak rent increases have been a major driver of the recent surprising weakness in general price inflation. According to the Bureau of Statistics, which surveys a national sample of real estate agents about rent increases, rents increased nationally by just 0.7 per cent over the year to the September quarter.

The NSW Tenants’ Union has begun producing a quarterly “Rent tracker” report, based on a survey of rental bonds lodged with Housing NSW which has been running for 26 years.

It finds the average value of rental bonds lodged in Greater Sydney rose 5 per cent last financial year and just 3 per cent in the rest of NSW.

As with all things property, there are a range of data sources for renters looking to compare their rent.

On the lower side of estimates, a “Rental Review” by Core Logic RP Data as at August 31 estimated median weekly rents had fallen half a per cent over the previous year, to be 1.4 per cent lower than their peak in May 2015.

Surveys of advertised rents by Domain Group/n Property Monitors, owned by Fairfax, and SQM Research paint a similar picture of weak rental growth.

“Renters are now in a much better position to negotiate,” according to Core Logic’s head of research, Cameron Kusher: “As long as wages growth continues to stagnate, coupled with historically high levels of new dwelling construction and slowing population growth, landlords won’t have much scope to increase rents.”

Rents are still at historic highs, but the heat is out of the market.

Now is the time to haggle before signing your next lease. And if your landlord comes knocking for a rent rise, feel free to show them this article.

McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks, KFC, Starbucks, CBA flee Swanston Street ahead of $10.9b Melbourne Metro Rail project

Written By: admin - Sep• 14•19

Multiple buildings behind Young & Jackson’s hotel will be demolished to make way for CBD South station. Photo: Andrew De La Rue Starbucks is among retailers who’ll be forced out of their prime, high-trading Swanston Street stores to make way for the Melbourne Metro Rail project. Photo: Andrew De La Rue
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Fast food chains McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks, KFC and Starbucks and banking giant CBA will be forced out of their prime, high-trading Swanston Street stores to make way for the government’s $10.9 billion Melbourne Metro Rail project.

The business behemoths will join a growing exodus of key retailers abandoning the city’s main shopping core, Swanston Street, ahead of years of disruption expected from work on the project’s centrepiece tunnel and two city stations.

Metro authorities are negotiating the compulsory acquisition of four Swanston Street properties between Young & Jackson’s Hotel on Flinders Street and the Nicholas Building on the corner of Flinders Lane.

All four buildings – along with the Port Phillip Arcade behind – will be razed to make way for the rail project’s CBD South station.

Plans for the new city tunnel have already seen a number of retailers take flight, looking for other locations nearby to set up shop.

Men’s clothing store Tarocash, shoe retailer Foot Locker and Brunetti’s Cafe are in negotiations, or have announced, new trading locations.

Starbucks is being forced to move from a site at the base of Westin Hotel at the rear of City Square due to looming construction that will see City Square overtaken as a staging base for much of the tunnel project.

The nine-kilometre twin tunnel will have five underground stations – Domain, CBD South, CBD North, Parkville and Arden – expected to take half a decade to complete before they become operational in 2026.

McDonald’s owns the three-storey building at 9-11 Swanston Street and will be hard pressed to find a store in an equally prominent location to replace what has been a jewel in its trading crown.

McDonald’s confirmed it was approached by the Metro Rail authorities and were “working through the process”, a spokeswoman said. “We are keen to maintain a presence it the area,” she said.

Hungry Jacks is believed close to sealing a deal to replace one of the two trading locations it will lose on Swanston Street, but would not comment.

As well as being required to move from a two-level building at 15-19 Swanston, it is also being forced to vacate its store at the northern end of the strip on the corner of La Trobe Street, which will be demolished to make way for CBD North station.

Colliers International retail director Cam Taranto said the rail project was pushing retailers to open shops in other high-traffic locations such as Elizabeth and Bourke streets.

Another agent, Jarrod Herscu, said other retailers were taking advantage of the perceived disruption to secure better, long-term deals. Rozzi’s Italian Canteen recently leased an entire building at 157 Swanston at below market rates, Mr Herscu said.

Metro Rail confirmed it was in discussions with building owners.

The compulsory acquisition process was likely to be triggered early next year once planning approvals were received, a spokesman said.

Some CBD roads – including sections of Franklin and A’Beckett streets – will be permanently closed once tunnel work is underway.

Scotland’s Chinan coach Matt Taylor wants team to get in face of Wallabies

Written By: admin - Sep• 14•19

Edinburgh: There is an n coach within the Scotland rugby setup who wants his team to get in the face of the Wallabies in order to disrupt the attacking rhythm they boasted against Wales last week.
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Matt Taylor, the former Queensland Reds defence coach, is now Scotland’s assistant and has been giving his players the inside lowdown ahead of a World Cup quarter-final rematch on Saturday at Murrayfield.

Taylor was there that day at Twickenham when Bernard Foley broke Scottish hearts with a penalty in the final minute to help the Wallabies clinch a miraculous 35-34 win.

Because of his n connection, despite being in the other coaching box, Taylor felt sorry for one Wallaby in particular on that day.

“James Slipper was the one who gave that intercept try,” said Taylor, referencing the moment Scotland drew level in the 74th minute before edging ahead with a conversion.

“At the time I was so happy for us as a group because I was thinking with four minutes to go that we had a good chance of winning. From a personal level, I probably felt for him a little bit because I know him pretty well and to give that pass [would have been hard].

“It’s always a funny one against . A lot of my family, who are Scottish, will all be going for Scotland. There’s a number of them at home who are quite proud ns as well. So it’s always a funny Test match but I’m really looking forward to the occasion.”

Taylor has done his homework on how to shut down the likes of in-form n backs Bernard Foley, Israel Folau and Dane Haylett-Petty, particularly given Scotland had the benefit of not playing on the weekend.

He says being aggressive is the way to go against Michael Cheika’s team while also trying to keep their shape in defence or run the risk of being exposed early in the contest.

“We’ll be looking to get up in their faces, do our best to disrupt – and that starts at set-piece,” Taylor said. “Defence starts at set-piece and that filters through. The teams which have shown how to disrupt them [] is to really get up and try and stop that. We as a group need to focus on that.

“The advantage that we’ve had is that for the last week we’ve been totally focused on … we’ve had an extra week’s preparation.”

Taylor plans to catch up with a number of Reds players he mentored when he was there but assured there would be “no talking about tactics or giving away too many secrets”.

Asked whether the World Cup quarter-final last year had been spoken about in preparation for Saturday, Taylor said: “It’s a motivating factor in the sense that if we’d done other things well we could’ve won that game.

“Whenever you play a Test match you’re always highly motivated. We’re at home, we’re in front of a [possible] record crowd, so that’s going to be a great occasion. Whenever you’re playing the top three or four sides in the world you’re always highly motivated to do well.

“On that day, we weren’t good enough and that’s what the history books show.”

Taylor has not ruled out a return to coaching in after the 2019 World Cup when his contract expires but for the time being, Scotland is home.

“I love it here,” Taylor said. “I’ve just signed on for another two years with Scotland and I’m hoping if everything goes well that I get through at least to the World Cup. As a professional coach you’re just always looking to do your best.

“My family’s very settled here, my kids love it here and I love it here but I suppose rugby coaching in any regard, you’re just on to your next contract aren’t you? We’ll see what happens.”

China vs South Africa Test cricket: Hosts feeling the pinch as Proteas’ confidence soars

Written By: admin - Sep• 14•19

Confident South Africa believe they have landed a psychological blow on an n team that coach Darren Lehmann concedes is feeling the pressure from their long run of poor form.
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The days of South African sides freezing in big moments against appear a distant memory. After smashing Steve Smith’s team in a one-day series last month, the Proteas are now one win away from securing their third consecutive series victory on these shores.

The visitors overcame numerous hurdles – not least the loss of Dale Steyn – to win in Perth, leaving the ns in disarray.

The belief in the Proteas’ dressing room is in stark contrast to the uncertainty in the n camp.

‘s most pressing concern is their batting. Their top six were all back in the shed before the second new ball in each innings in Perth.

The biggest question marks hang over Adam Voges and Mitchell Marsh. Neither player is guaranteed a spot in the second Test at Hobart.

Joe Burns secured a squad recall with a century two weeks ago but is coming off twin failures, while Callum Ferguson is untried at Test level.

The Proteas struggled on day one against David Warner and Shaun Marsh, who is out of the rest of the series, but did little wrong from there – despite being down to two fit fast men.

“That is the big positive for us. We know if we execute our plans well enough we have a good chance against their top order at the moment,” South Africa coach Russell Domingo said.

The Proteas know from experience what impact a belting on the subcontinent can have. They were well-beaten in India 12 months ago then suffered a rare series loss at home, to England – a scenario that now confronts .

“When you have some players with low confidence and one or two top performers not there it makes things very hard,” Domingo said.

“I’m assuming they might be in the same space at the moment. I don’t know what’s going on in their change room, I don’t know what’s happening in their team but I know we were in that type of position a few months ago and it takes some introspection to get out of that particular phase.”

have now lost six in a row in the Test and ODI arenas to the Proteas, who are without injured captain AB de Villiers.

“There is nothing like confidence in cricket. Having won some games of late against it gives us belief we can beat the side,” Domingo said.

“Like most things in life if you’re confident in your ability to do it more times than not you will get it right.

“It’s no different in cricket. There is a lot of improvement that can still take place.”

While the Proteas are coming off what their coach says is their best Test win in three years, the ns have just three more days to regroup in Hobart.

“[We’ll] try to clear their minds … everyone has pressure when they’re not playing well but also as a player you always have pressure to perform at international level,” Lehmann said.

“If you have a few bad performances there is always someone waiting in the wings. And that’s been the case for 100 years, that’s not going to change.

“We try and pick and stick where we possibly can and encourage the guys … we get in trouble when we don’t pick and stick, we get in trouble when we do pick and stick with you guys.”

China v South Africa cricket series: No split between Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith, insists Darren Lehmann

Written By: admin - Sep• 14•19

Perth: have rallied around struggling spinner Nathan Lyon as it emerged Hobart’s fickle weather could further dampen a summer already spinning out of control.
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Crunched by 177 runs in the series opener in Perth, the ns made their way to Tasmania on Tuesday under increasing pressure and with much to debate.

The make-up of the XI for the second Test, beginning on Saturday, remains unclear, with selectors opting to backflip on their insistence the 12-man squad selected for Perth would remain.

Shaun Marsh will miss the rest of the series because of a fractured little finger on his left hand, and is likely to be replaced by Joe Burns at the top of the order.

But South n batsman Callum Ferguson comes into a 13-man squad, and appears on the cusp of a Test debut, which could come at the expense of Adam Voges, who is nursing a sore hamstring.

Darren Lehmann, a coach and selector, said Ferguson was not in the squad as injury cover for Voges, and could play regardless of whether Voges, under increasing pressure with the bat, took to the field.

“He’s, obviously, a good player, Callum, and knows his game really well. Certainly, over the last three or four years he has been close on various occasions and then had the knee injuries at the wrong time for him,” Lehmann said.

“So, he’ll go really well if he gets his chance. A good young man. Played a lot of cricket and knows his game.”

Having endured their fourth straight heavy Test defeat, and facing a third straight home series loss to the Proteas, the ns are under increasing pressure. Ferguson could even replace under-performing allrounder Mitch Marsh, who has yet to rubber-stamp his spot at No.6, although his bowling in Perth was robust.

“I would say every spot is under pressure. That’s the nature of the beast if you don’t have success. I thought he batted quite well and was a bit unlucky with the decision, but that is part of the game as well,” Lehmann said.

“Getting down to Hobart, (we’ll) have a look at the wicket, we’ll make up the side. Any of the 13 can play in the game. That (Ferguson selection) gives us a middle order (batsman) or an opener.”

Lehmann was also forced to defend the relationship between Lyon and skipper Steve Smith, coming after Smith overlooked his frontline spinner on the crucial morning session on Saturday.

Smith and Lehmann weren’t afraid to express their disappointment publicly about Lyon’s performances during the losing winter tour of Sri Lanka, which appeared to rankle Lyon. Lehmann insisted there were no issues between NSW teammates Lyon and Smith, who are good friends off the field.

“Yeah, they always see eye to eye. He (Lyon) bowled very well in the first innings, got a couple of wickets for us. Then in the second innings the captain went with reverse (swing from the fast bowlers) and that was fine, and Nathan understands that there are no problems,” he said.

“He bowled 10 overs in the middle session and then didn’t bowl, the captain went with the reverse again in the last session. That’s just the nature of the game sometimes. And then he, obviously, bowled a lot (on Sunday) and probably didn’t get the ball in the right areas as much as he would like.

“It didn’t spin, to be perfectly honest, at all really, for the whole game. So, he (Lyon) had a good record down in Hobart last year, had a really good game, so he’s fine. He and the captain get on very well, I expect him to bowl well.”

Lyon posted career-worst figures of 0-146 in the second innings in Perth. He claimed 3-43 in the first innings against the West Indies in Hobart last year.

Heavy rain is predicted for the opening two days in Hobart, meaning ‘s hopes of knotting the series will become even harder. But at least they will know the conditions – the Proteas have never played a Test at Bellerive.

“A bit of an advantage, but we will have to turn it around with the bat, more so than anything else. They outplayed us. They bowled us out with two bowlers and a couple of spinners. We will have to bat a lot better, we know that,” Lehmann said.

“We know the conditions really well so that’s a bonus for us, as you said, Adelaide is the same. Let’s get back to some good cricket in Hobart first and foremost.”