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North Shore byelection: Barry O’Farrell’s former chief of staff Anna McPhee in preselection bid

Written on January 20, 2019 at 17:59, by

Anna McPhee is seeking special permission to run for Liberal preselection in North Shore. Photo: Australian National Retailers AssociationFormer Premier Barry O’Farrell’s chief of staff in the year before his resignation, Anna McPhee, has launched a bid for Liberal preselection in the North Shore byelection.
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However, Ms McPhee, who is chief executive of the Retail Council, has been forced to seek special permission to nominate because she rejoined the Liberal Party on only Friday.

On Monday she asked the NSW Liberal state executive for special dispensation to nominate because party rules state that preselection candidates must have been members for at least six months.

It is understood a ballot of the state executive will take place in the next day so that Ms McPhee can nominate by the closing date of February 13.

Ms McPhee was Mr O’Farrell’s chief of staff for 10 months before he quit in April 2014 over giving false evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption about the gift of a $3000 bottle of Grange from businessman Nick Di Girolamo.

If allowed to nominate, as expected, Ms McPhee will be regarded as a strong contender in the preselection race.

Last week Mr O’Farrell said Ms McPhee “would be a superb candidate”. She also received an endorsement from another ex-boss, former Senator Bill Heffernan.

Other potential candidates include Felicity Wilson, a former Property Council executive and immediate past president of the party’s NSW Women’s Council, who would have the backing of the left faction.

Tim James, a former chief of staff to NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, aligned with the right faction, is also being mentioned as a potential starter.

The Liberal party holds North Shore by 21.9 per cent.

The byelection – for which a date has yet to be set – was sparked by Jillian Skinner’s announcement she would retire from politics after Premier Gladys Berejiklian told her she would not retain the health portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

How income, age and education affect your world view

Written on January 20, 2019 at 17:59, by

“I know I’m really privileged and really lucky”: Rachel Katterl. Photo: Wolter Peeters “I’m getting sick of the elitism that is everywhere”: Darryl Coventry. Photo: Mark Jesser
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Architect Helen Day feels “very positive”. Photo: Simon Schluter

It’s the difference between being stuck or being able to escape when society and politicians have let you down.

High-income earners are half as likely as low-income earners to think that the world is changing too often and too fast, and low-income earners are twice as likely to feel let down by society, according to new research from the Political Persona Project.

Commissioned by Fairfax Media and done in conjunction with the ANU’s Social Research Centre and political research company Kieskompas, the project is one of the most comprehensive attempts to profile different types of Australians based on their lifestyles, social values and politics.

The results of an ANU survey of 2600 Australians, undertaken as part of the project, revealed an Australia divided into “haves” and “have-nots” by income, education and age.

Rachel Katterl, 31, is one of the “haves”. The senior health policy analyst has a postgraduate degree, a room in a house near Bronte beach and a pay packet of nearly $100,000 a year.

Ms Katterl, who describes herself as “left-leaning”, says she is disillusioned with politics in Australia – a view shared by 75 per cent of Australians, according to research from the project.

But unlike many less privileged Australians, Ms Katterl is able to retreat into her own world and find cause for optimism when the broader political and economic situation turns sour.

“I think [Australian politics] is pretty dire … Watching all of it play out just increases my desire to reinforce my own bubble,” she said. “I have knowingly changed my frame of reference, what I’m thinking about day-to-day, to become narrower, to focus on my immediate life.

“Now I tend to think about that, instead of the world more broadly, because I know I’m really privileged and really lucky, and I need to take stock of that and focus on the things I can control … rather than get upset about these macro events.” Being wealthy and in control

Low-income Australians – those earning between $15,600 and $52,000 – were twice as likely to say they felt let down by society, with 36 per cent feeling this way compared to 17 per cent of those on high incomes of $91,000 or more.

They were also nearly twice as likely to agree or strongly agree with the statement “everything is changing too often and too fast”. Nearly 50 per cent of low-income earners fell into this group, compared with just 26 per cent of high-income earners, according to the survey.

“Richer people are able to adapt because they have the means to do so,” said Ariadne Vromen, Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Sydney.

“They’ve got disposable income, they can buy new technology when they need to, they can even buy more education and training when they need. And they’re the people who are behind a lot of social and economic change as the leaders of society, as well.”

It comes down to a sense of feeling in control, with those who have more economic security enjoying greater control of their futures, Professor Vromen said.

In Melbourne, architect and consultant Helen Day, 47, said she felt “very positive” and believed Australia’s population growth presented countless opportunities.

“There’s just more potential for people to create a livelihood out of their passions and their true interests, whether that be a niche service, a new product or a specialisation if you’re an academic,” said Ms Day, who holds a masters degree from the London School of Economics, lives in the inner city suburb of Clifton Hill and earns more than $90,000 a year.

“Overall I’m positive but I do note that with any growth of a city there are issues around social disparity and violence. With the good, there will always come bad.” The young and the pessimistic

The same dynamic of control plays out across differences in age and education, with younger Australians and those with university educations much more likely to feel comfortable with change.

For example, 52 per cent of Australians whose highest level of education was high school felt everything was changing too fast and too often, compared with only 27 per cent of university-educated Australians.

Ms Katterl, who has a Masters degree, is among those advocating for greater change.

“Australia is moving way too slowly, particularly on same sex marriage. It’s a little bit ridiculous – we’ve been discussing it for such a long time,” Ms Katterl said.

“Even the discussion around climate change. Fifteen years ago when I was still living in North Queensland, I remember campaigning to save the Great Barrier Reef … I am amazed that we haven’t moved forward on that debate at all.”

However, the research also found young adults were the most pessimistic of any age group, bucking a long-term trend in previous studies. Nearly 45 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I feel let down by society”, compared with 25 per cent of people aged 55 and older, according to the ANU survey.

Only 49 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement “I sometimes feel the future holds nothing for me”, compared with more than 70 per cent of people aged 65 and older.

Professor Vromen said pessimism among young people was rising both in Australia and globally.

“Younger people usually tend to be more optimistic … [But] in some ways the sentiments in this survey are a realistic reaction to growing inequality, housing unaffordability, job insecurity and so on,” she said. The educated, the poor and the altruistic

On the other hand, young people were the least likely of any age group to support offshore processing of asylum seekers, the survey showed. Just under 35 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “offshore processing of asylum seekers should continue”, compared with 65 per cent of people aged 65 and older.

“With young people, we tend to find they worry about the world at large and how politics affects people other than them,” said Jill Sheppard, a researcher and lecturer in politics and international relations at ANU involved in the project.

“Across the Western world, young people have much more progressive social attitudes, and part of that is that they weren’t brought up to worry about their hip pocket first. They’re the kids of the people who were around during the civil rights movements, the women’s liberation movement, and often they’re even more liberal than their parents.”

The only group more likely to oppose than support the continuation of offshore processing were those with university degrees, with 47 per cent opposed and 41 per cent in favour, according to the ANU research.

“The more well-educated people are, the more likely they are to prefer positions that benefit society at large,” Dr Sheppard said.

“It comes from a ‘hierarchy of needs’ approach – the better you’re able to support yourself, the better you’re able to look after ‘higher order’ needs, such as those of asylum seekers or other marginalised groups.”

However, the survey also found lower-income earners were more likely to oppose offshore processing of asylum seekers than high-income earners, with 41 per cent disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the policy, compared to 35 per cent of high-income earners.

Dr Sheppard said this may reflect “a fairly well-documented phenomenon … that people on low incomes tend to be more compassionate and altruistic”. The city versus the bush

When it came to the divide between the city and bush, the treatment of people living outside our cities elicited one of the largest differences in opinion.  Seventy-six per cent of Australians living outside a capital city agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “politicians ignore people in rural and regional areas”, compared with 57 per cent of people in capital cities.

Darryl Coventry, 49, who lives in Albury’s working class suburb of Lavington, thinks people in Sydney and Melbourne do not realise the wealth disparity existing in regional Australia, and that politicians are just as city-centric.

A former policeman who spent much of his career in rural Queensland, Coventry now delivers parcels and gets a pension but is struggling to find consistent work, having moved to be closer to his two young children who live with their mother.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, I’d just like to be a bit better off,” he said. “But people don’t know that once you go out of the big cities to Lavington there’s not a lot of people at work, there’s a lot of arguments and even street violence.”

“I’m getting sick of the elitism that is everywhere,” he said. “I think Australia needs to work out what it’s good at and start learning how to make it, because there’s so much talent here,” he said.

The research also showed that people in regional areas were more likely to feel pessimistic about the future, with 29 per cent agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement “I sometimes feel that the future holds nothing for me”, compared with 23 per cent in capital cities.

“People outside the cities are much further away from the centre of power, from the decision-makers. It’s probably not a surprise that people in regional and rural areas feel left behind or not understood,” Professor Vromen said.

However, she pointed out that the attitudinal rift between the capital cities and regions was far less stark than between rich and poor, young and old, and higher and lower levels of education.

“Between cities and rural areas, there were very few issues where people felt very differently,” she said.

with Derrick Krusche and Bhakthi Puvanenthiran

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

A weak watchdog focused on parliamentary expenses is a stopgap only

Written on January 20, 2019 at 17:59, by

Sussan Ley announces her resignation last month after her travel expenses sparked a scandal. Photo: Mark Jesser A history of perks: then speaker Bronwyn Bishop was forced to resign in 2015 after her dubious spending on helicopter flights was exposed. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
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Illustration: Alan Moir

The row over former health minister Sussan Ley’s use of parliamentary travel entitlements and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to establish an independent parliamentary expenses authority will yield a valuable addition to the federal government integrity regime. For too long, the issue has been allowed to fester without strong government action. But, this time, a number of factors were conveniently aligned.

First, the scandal erupted in the depths of January, whenmembers of the press gallery are desperate for copy. The daily drip-feed of revelations about Ley’s various trips to the Gold Cost were journalistic manna from heaven, prompting a stream of further juicy stories about other parliamentarians. As the evidence steadily mounted and media-inspired anger intensified, Turnbull was forced to act, not only referring Ley’s conduct to his department’s secretary, Martin Parkinson, but also promising significant reforms to the entitlements system. At any other time of the year, the issue could have been safely parked in the non-urgent basket. But not in January.

Second, though the general issue was parliamentarians’ expenses, Ley was a minister as well as a member of Parliament. As such, she was subject to the ministerial code of conduct that is overseen by the Prime Minister. This allowed Turnbull to step in and directly involve his departmental secretary. Parkinson’s report on Ley’s conduct has not been released. But we may presume he took a careful, objective view of the issues and the code. He will then have played an active role in shaping the eventual recommendation for a new independent authority to oversee MPs’ expenses. If Ley had been an ordinary backbencher, however, such a strong executive response wouldn’t have been so easy. Members of Parliament don’t have their own code of conduct and are accountable only to Parliament. Issues of MPs’ behaviour are caught up in either the partisan conflict of adversarial politics or the cosy consensus of self-serving privilege, neither of which are conducive to the sensible assessment of ethical procedures. The focus on a minister fortuitously helped Turnbull impose a new level of external scrutiny on all MPs. The Public Sector Informant: latest issue

Third, the Prime Minister and his advisers had plenty of relevant material to draw on. The government was already developing a response to an independent review of parliamentary entitlements co-chaired by John Conde and David Tune. This review was established by then prime minister Tony Abbott in August 2015 as a response to the “choppergate” scandal involving then speaker Bronwyn Bishop. The review team produced its final report a year ago. Its main recommendations were to change the terminology from “entitlements” to “work expenses'”, to introduce a simplified principles-based system for assessing expenses, and to require more public transparency.

In addition, the government could look to the experience of Britain, which had its own parliamentary expenses scandal in 2009 over blatant misuse of housing allowances and established an independent parliamentary standards authority. In his press conference, Turnbull referred explicitly to Britain as a source of useful precedents. Britain also figured prominently as a model in a 2011 discussion paper by the House of Representatives’ privileges and members’ interests committee on a draft code of conduct for members of Parliament. That paper canvassed the possibility of an independent parliamentary integrity commissioner overseeing a members’ code of conduct on British lines, issues that were championed by independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor as part of their compact with Labor prime minister Julia Gillard. Like so many promising initiatives on parliamentary ethics, it eventually went nowhere, withering under the weight of major-party indifference. But it laid some useful groundwork and helped keep the issue alive.

Turnbull has already announced that the authority will have a governing board including an auditing expert, someone with experience in remuneration (for the time being, the Remuneration Tribunal president), a former judicial officer and a former MP. It is to be a “compliance, reporting and transparency body” that will “monitor and adjudicate all claims by MPs, senators and ministers”. The Prime Minister also indicated reforms to the administration of the system to allow monthly disclosure of parliamentarians’ expenses. (He also strongly endorsed the recommended change in terminology from “entitlements” to “expenses”.)

The new expenses regime, we can presume, will follow the simplified principles-based approach recommended by Conde and Tune. Contrasting with a reliance on specific and detailed rules, the principles-based approach is now standard practice in most codes of professional ethics, not just for politicians. The situations in which particular ethical problems arise are so complex and varied that they can’t be covered by detailed rules and prescriptions. Ethical professional judgment involves a few broad principles (e.g. equity, accountability, honesty), which are then used to guide a careful assessment of a particular issue and to justify an eventual decision. Responsibility for the decision lies with the person making it and can’t be shifted on to someone else.

Individual ethical judgment of a particular situation is crucial in the case of parliamentary entitlements, where the relevant factors are so complex. The principles may be clear (e.g. claim expenses only for work performed predominantly in the public interest) but their application is far from straightforward. The key point is to make individual politicians responsible and accountable for their own decisions and to prevent them from hiding behind a set of bureaucratic rules and precedents that may or may not be appropriate to their case. For too long, politicians have been able to escape responsibility by claiming that a given expense is “within the rules” regardless of its ethical propriety.

In this respect, the most important element of the new structure is probably that it removes oversight of expenses from the Finance Department. So long as public servants are asked to authorise politicians’ expenditure, they will inevitably fall back on bureaucratic rules as a means of self-protection. Public servants can’t be expected to evaluate individual ethical judgments made by politicians, especially ministers. They are naturally more comfortable applying supposedly cut-and-dried rules and precedents. The present system therefore represents a collusive compact between public servants who are unwilling to ask hard questions and politicians who are unwilling to answer them. A change in institutional structure requiring politicians to justify their spending to an independent authority will help force a change of attitudes and practice.

Equally important will be the improved transparency requirements, giving the public, including the media, full and prompt access to politicians’ individual expenses. The reforms arise out of public disgust at the extent to which politicians are benefiting themselves at the public expense. The clinching argument is always that a particular level of expenditure doesn’t meet the so-called “pub test”, i.e. the ethical judgment of the average citizen. (Average citizens, of course, are not to be found only in pubs!) In justifying their expenses, politicians will need to have in mind the need to satisfy a sceptical and cynical public.

On its own, the expenses authority is unlikely to enforce these standards. Drawn from the great and the good, who do their own share of wallowing in expenses, it will inevitably have a more complaisant attitude than the average citizen (“the chairman’s club test” is much softer than “the pub test”). The authority’s decisions will therefore need to be regularly exposed to the blowtorch of tabloid outrage.

The main weakness in the authority as currently proposed is its limited scope. Focusing solely on parliamentarians’ work expenses, it overlooks a number of other issues usually considered relevant to promoting ethical standards among parliamentarians. In Britain, for example, the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is responsible for overseeing the register of members’ financial interests. It also monitors the operation of the House of Commons code of conduct. Australian parliamentarians still have no code of conduct, an omission that is becoming steadily more anomalous. Codes of conduct can be oversold as mechanisms for improving ethical standards. But as the Ley case reminds us, they provide useful standards for assessing the behaviour of those suspected of crossing the line.

Extending the new authority’s purview and introducing a code of conduct can wait for another day and another set of scandals. At least, with the authority in place, future prime ministers, when cornered over the issue of politicians’ impropriety, will have an obvious solution at hand: strengthen the authority.

Advocates of a federal anti-corruption agency have been quick to link the crisis over parliamentarian expenses to the wider anti-corruption cause. Greens leader Richard Di Natale, for example, welcomed the new authority as “a positive step” while signalling his party’s intention to legislate for a national anti-corruption watchdog, within which the authority would sit. The move for a “federal ICAC” is certainly gaining ground, with Labor softening its previous indifference. The sight of politicians flagrantly abusing their travel allowances will have strengthened public support for stronger measures against corruption.

But a government-wide anti-corruption agency would need much bigger fish to fry than politicians engaging in minor rorting within the law. Only when ministers or senior bureaucrats are caught taking bribes or engaging in other forms of serious illegality will the case for such an agency become compelling. Supporters of a federal ICAC should be hoping that some accountability agency uncovers major wrongdoing in a Commonwealth agency. If the scandal were to break in January, so much the better.

Richard Mulgan is an emeritus professor at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy. [email protected]论坛

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Open energy markets failing households

Written on January 20, 2019 at 17:59, by

“While some consumers are taking advantage of competition to get better value for money, the majority are not”: Rosemary Sinclair. Photo: Leanne Pickett LJP Consumers wary of electricity and gas markets: Few families are chasing alternate energy suppliers. Photo: Acton Mount Lawley
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Opening up the electricity market to competition may have been touted by government as paving the way for lower bills, but many households have refused to take part, which has resulted in only a modest number of families nationwide chasing cheaper power suppliers.

At the same time, households say that the value for money of their electricity services ranks behind gas and all other utility services, including banking, mobile phones and internet services, said Rosemary Sinclair, the chief executive of the government-backed Energy Consumers Australia.

“While some consumers are taking advantage of competition to get better value for money, the majority are not,” she said.

One difficulty can be the challenge of changing supplier even if you find a better priced offer, Ms Sinclair said, with a “general wariness about the market and the sense that it is not working in [consumer’s] interests”.

“The consumers who are switching – who are actively engaging in the market – are not reporting higher levels of satisfaction with value for money than those who are not. This points to the need to place the retail market – where there are questions about value for money, the nature of the services being offered and where innovation is going to come from – at the centre of thinking about the transformation of the energy system.”

Consumer wariness over how electricity and gas markets work have resulted in large numbers of households deciding not to engage at all, a survey by the consumer body released Tuesday has found, with nearly half of all households in NSW and Queensland never having switched supplier (47 per cent and 52 per cent respectively) while even in Victoria, which is touted as among the most competitive markets globally, 36 per cent of households have never changed their supplier.

As a result, it appears that much of the switching involves only a small number of households who change supplier regularly, the survey found, a finding which was reinforced by the fact that 74 per cent of households surveyed do not intend to change their supplier in the next 12 months. This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Bullsharks snap gold at championships

Written on December 20, 2018 at 10:41, by

Gold medallists: Wauchope-Bonny Hills claimed the under-23country championship title at South West Rocks on Saturday.Photo: Sheenah WhittenLAST year Wauchope-Bonny Hills Surf Club were pipped in the under-23 men’s division for a country championship title.
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History wouldn’t repeat in 2017after they claimed a Country Championship gold medal at South West Rocks ahead of Minnie Waters from Wooli on Saturday.

Boat captain Tony Kee was thrilled with the performance of the crew who row regularly in the open men’s division in the North Coast Surfboat Series.

“Because the North Coast Surfboat Series is an ongoing competition, there’s no doubt the country championships are the highlight,” he said.

“The boys went one better this year and any time you can bring home some bling is always a good effort especially when it isa country title.”

Kee said the under-23 crew was made up of the same rowers who fell agonisingly short last year.

“Last year we focused more on our technique, but this year they were building up their training and it’s shown.

“It was good to see them improve on last year’s performance.”

Wauchope-Bonny Hills also claimed a silver medal in the reserve grade men’s division against some high-quality opposition.

“It was a really tough competition because the top three crews were Yamba and Mollymook,” Kee said.

“Yamba usually compete in the Queensland competitionand Mollymook usually compete in Sydney. We don’t usually race against crews like them so it was a great effort.”

To cap off a successful day for the club, the master’s women surprised everyone and won a silver medal as well.

“The girls snuck into the final and got better and better as the day went on,” Kee said.

“They finished fourth, then third and then second throughout the day.”

Kee was thrilled at the performance of the girls after current Australian champions Woolgoolga took out the gold medal.

“There’s nothing wrong with coming second to them,” he said.

Kee said the under-23 men put together a beach relay team on the day and finished with a silver medal to go with their gold.

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Malcolm Turnbull’s company tax cut is even more unpopular than his government

Written on December 20, 2018 at 10:41, by

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says his business tax ideas are ‘not rocket science’. Photo: Jessica HromasVoters in two pivotal Liberal seats are at odds with the Turnbull government over its core economic initiative for 2017 – an ambitious $48 billion plan to slash the 30 per cent corporate tax rate to 25 per cent over 10 years – with many inclined to see companies pay more tax, not less.
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And voters are also offside over green energy, with some six in 10 favouring policies closer to Labor’s steep 50 per cent renewable energy target for 2030.

A survey of voter attitudes in Malcolm Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth, and Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah, found 57 per cent of respondents think current company tax at 30 cents in the dollar for most companies, is either about right or perhaps too low.

That suggests the political case in Australia against multinational tax avoidance, tax minimisation, and profit-shifting, led by Labor and the Greens, has tapped public opinion more than the government’s claim that cutting business taxes automatically leads to higher wages for employees and to more of them.

A ReachTEL poll of electors in the two Sydney Harbour-based seats on February 1, sought responses from residents on whether the current company tax rate was too high, too low, or about right.

It then asked voters if the 30-cent tax rate should be increased; stay the same; be cut for all businesses – as the government is attempting to legislate – or be cut but for small businesses only.

Labor favours a cut in business taxes to 27.5 per cent only for businesses with an annual turnover below $2 million.

The government wants that definition broadened to encompass those with annual turn-over up to $10 million.

In Wentworth, the percentage of voters who think the current rate is about right plus those who think it is too low, amounted to a staggering 56.7 per cent. That’s well more than half of voters in the Prime Minister’s own well-to-do constituency who think companies could and perhaps should, pay more.

The result underscores the depth of the government’s political/communications challenge.

Mr Turnbull was asked about that task last week and remarked that selling the link between lower businesses taxes would lead to stronger growth, more jobs, and higher wages, was “not rocket science”.

“This is actually a pretty straightforward proposition . . . if you want more of something, lower the tax on it,” he had said. “If you want more investment, you lower business taxes and you will get more investment . . . it is not rocket science, believe me.”

But the findings of the automated telephone poll commissioned by the left-leaning Australia Institute suggest that selling a tax cut for big companies, could be almost as difficult as teaching rocket science because some Coalition voters are yet to come on board.

In Warringhah, there was strong support for the small business cuts at 46 per cent but just 17 per cent of the 723 voters surveyed wanted the relief to extend to all companies.

In Mr Turnbull’s seat, where the sample size was 750, support for increasing the corporate tax rate was at 43 per cent and 33 per cent for cutting it. However, when those backing the current rate and those wanting it increased were combined, there was a solid 57 per cent-plus who are effectively opposed to the government’s tax-cut policy.

“Estimates of a growth dividend have not been made and even the Prime Minister’s own electorate is not convinced,” executive director of The Australia Institute Ben Oquist said.

“The plan to give $50 billion dollars in cuts is electoral poison. This research shows that even in blue-ribbon Liberal seats, voters think that companies don’t pay enough tax.”

The government has another headache on its hands over the renewable energy target with conservative-aligned electors fond of increased clean power even as Mr Turnbull swings behind coal as a bedrock energy source for the future.

In Warringah, where Mr Abbott advocates scrapping the current RET, 57 per cent support an increased target or at least retention. In Wentworth, just 28 per cent want the mandated target reduced.

“Everyone can see that the price of renewables is in free fall. The idea that we need to subsidise new coal plants in Australia is quite rightly a fringe one,” Mr Oquist said.

“Billions have been poured into carbon capture and storage, and it still doesn’t work. It’s still expensive. Renewables, combined with battery storage, means cheaper reliable clean energy is here right now.”

Mr Turnbull has indicated that rising household energy costs will be a key battleground area and plans to use the opening two weeks of Parliament to hammer home the message that Labor stands for more expensive, less reliable electricity.

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Smith and Wade on track for India

Written on December 20, 2018 at 10:41, by

Matthew Wade and Steve Smith during game five of the ODI series between Australia and Pakistan at Adelaide Oval. Photo: Morne de KlerkAustralia’s injury clouds are starting to clear before the four-Test tour of India, with Steve Smith and Matthew Wade both taking key steps in recent days.
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Skipper Smith, who was ruled out of the recent ODI series in New Zealand because of a medial ligament ankle injury, has arrived in Dubai and started batting.

Wicketkeeper Wade, who made the trans-Tasman trip but returned to Melbourne without playing a game because of back spasms, boarded his flight to Dubai on Sunday night.

‘‘They’re all good,’’ coach Darren Lehmann said of the injured duo.‘‘So that’s a bonus, everyone fit to pick from and fit to prepare.’’

Smith was always expected to be passed fit long before the first Test starts in Pune on February 23. Medicos are likewise upbeat about Wade’s back spasms, triggered when he took a catch at training in Auckland prior to the ODI series starting.

Wade will continue his rehab in the United Arab Emirates. The big question is how the 29-year-old’s back responds to a 14-hour flight.

Wade and team doctor John Orchard had been optimistic about the stumper’s prospects of playing the second game in the trans-Tasman series. An hour-long flight from Auckland to Napier proved a setback; the following day Wade was restricted to walking laps and sent home for scans.

‘‘He’ll be fine. He’s got on the plane,’’ Lehmann said.

‘‘If there was any doubt, he wasn’t going to get on the plane. So that’s a good thing.’’

Lehmann confirmed there were no plans to summon a second keeper to the training camp in Dubai, where the visitors will play an intra-squad game, or India.

NSW gloveman Peter Nevill, dumped as part of a mid-summer overhaul of the Test XI, has scored tons in two of his past three Sheffield Shield games.

‘‘Unless something flares up during the Dubai leg or tour game (in Mumbai), we’ll stay status quo,’’ he said.

‘‘The bonus with the squad is you’ve got someone who can keep pretty well. That’s handy, having that just in case something happens.’’

Back-up keeper Peter Handscomb took the gloves in New Zealand, working on his technique with Brad Haddin. Haddin toured as an assistant coach because some members of Lehmann’s support staff were already in Dubai.

Handscomb claimed three fine catches during Sunday’s match in Hamilton, scoring a total of seven runs in the ODI series Australia lost 2-0.

‘‘He was a bit rusty when he only got 10 minutes notice at Eden Park,’’ Lehmann said. ‘‘He had a good couple of sessions with Hadds, which was a bonus … he kept well (at Seddon Park).’’

Haddin briefed Handscomb about the challenge of keeping at short notice on the subcontinent.

‘‘We talked the other day about having a routine … that can switch him back into wicketkeeping mode,’’ Haddin said.

‘‘If he’s doing that routine once every couple of weeks, or once every week at training – it’ll only be 15 minutes, that’ll make sure he’s getting his head around having to keep if these situations come up.

‘‘He’s a natural catcher. It’s not foreign to him to keep.’’AAP 

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Prices point to confidence in season ahead

Written on December 20, 2018 at 10:41, by

THE RATES being paid at saleyards across SA indicate the confidence farmers have in the sheep and lambindustry, as well as the season ahead, believes Combined Independent Agents Association member Garry Willson.
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Last week a Dublin record was broken, with crossbred lambs making to $232.

While the sale did not reach quite the same highs this week, Mr Willson said it was still strong.

“One line of lambs made $214, and another made $205,” he said.

“Most lambs made $160 to $180, which is still a very good return.Most heavy lambs made $6 a kilogram, which is where the hooks price is anyway.”

Mr Willson said store and light lambs were nocheaper than the previous week.

“Light lambs are making extremely good money, with graziers chasing them,”he said.

“They’re making up to $125 because there is a lot of feed out there, and a lot of cheap grain.

“Realistically, if you want to buy a good store lamb at the moment, you need $120 in your pocket. Even the ordinary types are making $100-$110.

“Merino lambs are also selling very well, making $140-$150 this week, and up to $194 last week.”

Mr Willson did not see prices comingback dramatically anytime soon because of supply and demand.

“There’s plenty of demand out there, and I don’t believe there’s much supply,” he said. “Most lambs have already been contracted.”

Mr Willson said seasonal conditions were also helping to buoy confidence.

“The season is looking very good, we’ve had more than 170 millimetres on the upper Yorke Peninsula in the past seven weeks, which is just unheard of for this time of year,” he said.

Pinkerton Palm Hamlyn & Steen director Robin Steen agreed there was plenty of confidence in the industry at the moment.

“I think it’s a pretty good time to be in agriculture full stop, but particularly in the livestock industry,” he said.

“The market will always fluctuate backwards and forwards, depending on the demands of the exporters, but I think we’re in for a good year.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Swimming club’s carnival success

Written on December 20, 2018 at 10:41, by

A squad of 13 swimmers for QASC competed at the 2017 Country Championships at Renmark SA in January. They brought home 14 medals including six individual medals, and two lots of relay medals, both won by the women’s 18 years and under relay team. The team, consisting of Jayde Finlay, Tayla Finlay, Chloe Hilder and Tori Kaesler won Bronze in the Freestyle Relay and Silver in the Medley Relay.
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Lorraine Hilder, one of the parents attending countries said “It is uncertain if the QASC has ever achieved relay medals at Country Championships before, but if they had it would have been over 35 years ago!”

By swimming in finals and medalling or making a top 8 placing, swimmers gained 158.5 points and put the club in 17th overall team placing from a total of 32 other clubs including nine interstate clubs.

Swimmers making the top eight in finals were Jarred Hilder (5 individual finals), Tori Kaesler (3 individual finals, 3 relay finals), Chloe Hilder, Tayla Finlay and Jayde Finlay (all swam 2 individual finals and 4 relay finals) and Chelsea Solomon (one relay final).

Out of these, individual medals were won by Tayla Finlay – Gold 50m Breaststroke, Tori Kaesler – Silver in 100m Breaststroke and 50m Breaststroke, Jarred Hilder – Silver 200m Butterfly and Bronze in 100m Butterfly and Jayde Finlay – Bronze in 50m Breaststroke.

The club also made up two other relay teams: a men’s open team with swimmers Joel Finlay, Anthony O’Loughlin, Jarred Hilder and Ben Hilder, and a women’s open teams with swimmers Zoe Solomon, Chelsea Solomon, Mackenzie Chapman, Dani Chapman and Lisa Rasmussen.

Quorn also had four Superfish who competed on the Friday night: Joel Finlay, Mackenzie Chapman, Anthony O’Loughlin and Zoe Solomon. All of them made PBs and Joel Finlay came third in the 50m Breaststroke. They also put in an amazing effort to swim in the relay teams in the open age group.

Ben Hilder was awarded the Swimming SA Acknowledgement Award for QASC which was a lovely embroidered towel, for making the effort to come to Countries so that the boys could have their own men’s relay team.

Quorn Amateur Swimming club coach Stuart Giles said that it was a great achievement by the club. “Tayla Finlay picking up a gold medal in the breaststroke was something she can look back on in many years to come. The girls relay team and Ben and Jarred Hilder done an excellent job in their swims gaining PBs. Chelsea Solomon and Dani Chapman helped out in the relay teams and Lisa Rasmussen for her first ever Countries done an excellent job.” Lisa is an international exchange student from Denmark who is attending Quorn Area School for 12 months.

Giles, or ‘Stewie’ as the kids call him, has coached swimming since 1978 and been the Quorn coach since 2010. For the past six years he has travelled to Quorn four times a week, for five months each year, to oversee his swimmers at training.

At the swimming club breakup in 2014, he announced that “we’re going to Countries!” No one had represented Quorn Amateur Swimming Club at the annual Country Championships in decades.

During this time, the only Quorn based swimmers who attended countries were swimming for other clubs, such as the Port Augusta Piranhas.

SWIMMING CLUB’S SUCCESS: Jayde Finlay, Tayla Finlay and Tori Kaesler with their individual medals for 50m breaststroke.

MEDALS: Tayla Finlay, back, Tori Kaesler, Jayde Finlay, front, and Chloe Hilder with their bronze medals.

A squad of 9 swimmers attended countries in Mount Gambier the following January, with Tori Kaesler winning a bronze medal for 50m Breaststroke. 12 swimmers attended at Loxton in 2016 but no medals were taken home.

“I’m looking forward to seeing more swimmers going to Countries in Broken Hill in 2018 and really putting Quorn on the map in the swimming world,” said Mr Giles.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Focus on weight targets

Written on November 20, 2018 at 19:27, by

TAKING control of achieving weight targets has given the Bowman family newfound confidence when it comes to marketing their stock.
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Rob and Kathie Bowman, together with their son Lachlan and daughter-in-law Jodie, farm over 1800 hectares at Bully Acre, near Pekina.

Their property, Bully Acre Farms, is home to a 1200ha cropping program, which has been reduced in recent years in order to increase their prime lamb enterprise.

They currently run 1400 first cross Border Leicester/Merino ewes and 50 Angus/Simmental cows with calves at foot, while they also operate a contract spraying, seeding and harvest business.

With a rich history in farming, Rob and Lachlan account for the fourth and fifth generations of Bowmans to be farming in South Australia.

The family has proven to be very adaptable to the changing conditions of agriculture and their focus has shifted over the years to remain viable.

It’s changed even from 10 years ago, when the Bowmans were running Merino sheep on a pastoral station and cropping on another property, before they made the move into broadacre farming.

Rob said selling the sheep station allowed them to expand their cropping enterprise significantly and, at that time, they were also running 500 head of cattle.

He said after examining gross margins in cattle versus prime lambs, with the input and advice of their trusted Quality Livestock Jamestown representative, Brenton Jones, they adjusted the livestock mix accordingly.

Now they mate more than 1000 first cross Border Leicester/Merino ewes to White Suffolk rams, marketing prime lambs at an average age of 16 weeks old.

Rob said they had been sourcing ewes from a feature sale at Naracoorte before prices escalated and they thankfully found a local option.

“A neighbour has started breeding first cross Border Leicester/Merino ewes, so we’ve got our first line of 230 ewe lambs from him,” Rob said.

“When the 1.5yo first cross ewes got too dear at Naracoorte, we started buying first cross lambs and we were mating them at 10 months of age and were achieving lambing percentages of 120 per cent.

“You pay less for them and end up getting an extra lamb.

“The hardest part was getting them to lamb the second time, but now we’ve sorted that out because we’re buying the ewe lambs from our neighbour and they seem to be better adapted to our conditions.”

Rob said they used White Suffolk rams from the Piggott family’s Illoura Stud at Moorlands, a stud they were introduced to by Brenton, who they had been working with for about 10 years.

He said they purchased four to five rams each year, taking into account objective measurements and aiming to buy in the top 10 per cent of rams offered.

“We go for low birth weight for rams, which has eliminated any birthing problems we’ve had, and we don’t buy anything with a carcase plus index under 200.’’

“Objective measurement is something we’ve developed knowledge of over the last few years and now pay a lot of attention to.”

The rams and ewes are fed on clover pastures, drenched, dipped and assessed prior to being joined at a rate of 2pc during the first week of November for an April/May lambing.

Rob said this year they had achieved lambing percentages in excess of 140pc.

They have sold lambs to a variety of buyers in the past, including directly to abattoirs and also through auction. Rob said they were very much guided by Brenton when it came to their marketing strategy.

He said the established relationships Brenton had with buyers in the market had been a big benefit, often resulting in them receiving excellent prices for their lambs.

“We hold Brenton in very high regard, which is why we followed him when he joined Quality Livestock,” Rob said.

“He doesn’t wait for us to ring him. He knows exactly what stock we have and what the market is doing, so he’ll usually ring us and tell us when he thinks it’s a good time to sell and exactly what cents per kilogram we can get.

“We have a huge amount of respect for him, so we follow him nearly to the letter in what we do marketing-wise.

“We’ve actually always dabbled in turning over lambs, so it wasn’t a huge shock to go back into it.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with livestock and Brenton has been a huge help to us. We have a lot of confidence in him. He always does the right thing by us.”

Rob said a few years ago one of the buyers they met through Brenton gave them valuable feedback in relation to meeting weight specifications, and since then they had been paying a lot more attention to feeding their lambs.

They began sowing vetch for pasture, which had been very successful.

“Since we started doing that, we’re easily achieving our objective and our growth rates are really good,” Rob said.

WEIGHTY BOOST: Bully Acre producer Rob Bowman overlooks the automatic weighing and drafting system.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.