Roos ‘won’t take any risks’ with Wells return

29/11/2018 // by admin

North Melbourne is closely monitoring brilliant midfielder Daniel Wells today as it tosses up whether to pick him for the blockbuster game against Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
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Wells, who missed last week because of a calf muscle strain, is close to resuming but coach Brad Scott said today’s main session would tell a story.

“Everyone knows we’re a better side with Daniel Wells in it, and we’re really keen for him to come back in,” Scott said today. “We’re certainly not treating this game as one we’ll rest him. If he’s right to play, we’ll play him. We’ll give him as long as he possibly can.

“The scans came back that there was a bit of damage there, but we didn’t think it was significant. There’s always the risk that it could become more significant, so we certainly won’t take any risks with him. He’s a really explosive player. His strengths are that he’s got pace and he’s got agility. He’s got to be able to function at his optimum otherwise there’s no point playing him anyway.”

It remains more likely the Roos, who are safely ensconced in the finals with 13 wins and a healthy percentage, will give Wells another week to recover. But their coach is not even allowing his players to accept that they are guaranteed of September action. Mathematically if North lost to Fremantle and Greater Western Sydney in the final round they could drop out of the top eight, and as slim a possibility as that might be, Scott is reminding his players to keep pushing.

“While everyone says we’re going to play finals, that’s not assured either. We’ve got to make sure we put in a good performance this week and keep playing the style of footy we’ve been playing, and make sure we can overcome a terrific defensive side in Freo.”

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Stardust radio ruffles feathers

29/11/2018 // by admin

A NEW pop-up digital radio station from Southern Cross Austereo went live yesterday as the broadcasting industry prepares to mark the third anniversary of permanent DAB+ broadcasts in Australia this week.
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The new Stardust Radio channel, launched yesterday afternoon, will feature a playlist from what the broadcaster describes as the great American songbook, with staples such as Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Nat King Cole, Harry Connick jnr and Elvis Presley.

Southern Cross Austereo closed down its Mainstage Soul format station last week and put in a temporary pop-up station of continuous birdsong, labelled simply Bird Radio.

However, the broadcaster was bracing itself for complaints because the placeholder station was an unexpected hit with listeners, many of whom phoned the station or even tweeted support.

“The response to the temporary birds station was insane,” said Jaime Chaux, digital radio content director at Southern Cross Austereo.

“Even in my time working as a music director on FM radio, I never got this type of response to anything we did on-air.”

He arrived at work on Monday to find his voicemail full. They called in at the weekend after reading the scrolling text, exhorting digital radio listeners to phone in their reaction to Bird Radio.

“We didn’t publicise it anywhere, we just quietly turned it on,” Mr Chaux said.

“The message is the same –  people love it and, amazingly, listeners find it very relaxing.”

Breakfast and morning radio hosts from commercial and public stations will stage outside broadcasts across five cities tomorrow morning to mark three years since the launch of digital radio broadcasts in the five mainland state capitals.

The location for the Melbourne outside broadcasts is Federation Square. The event will run between 5am and 9am.

Listeners to commercial radio will be able to enter a contest to win one of three models of Toyota vehicles, now equipped with digital radio as a standard feature.

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Assange should go to Sweden, says Carr

29/11/2018 // by admin

Shelter from the storm … police stand guard outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Julian Assange is seeking asylum.Foreign Minister Bob Carr says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should go to Sweden to face questions about alleged sex offences.
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Mr Assange has been in the Ecuador’s London embassy for two months. Ecuador has granted him asylum, saying his human rights might be violated if he is sent to Sweden. But Britain has refused him safe passage out of the country.

Speaking in Canberra today, Senator Carr said he did not understand why Mr Assange feared the US would seek to extradite him from Sweden.

“What is the basis for saying he’s going to be extradited from Sweden?” he asked.

“He’s been in the United Kingdom for two and a half years. The United Kingdom has a robust extradition treaty with the United States. Why would the United States try to extradite him from Sweden when they could do it more easily from the UK?”

Senator Carr said Sweden had been a refuge for US draft dodgers during the Vietnam War era, and had not extradited these people.

“The Swedish government has said through its ambassador in Australia that they won’t extradite in circumstances that involve intelligence or the military. That they won’t extradite where there is no comparable offence in Swedish law, and where there’s a capital offence involved. I believe that the government of neutral, democratic, Sweden, a liberal democracy, is not part of some fully blown CIA conspiracy.”

Senator Carr said Mr Assange had Australia’s sympathy and had been contacted 62 times by Australian consular officials.

But he said Mr Assange should answer the Swedish authorities’ questions to “quickly settle this matter”.

Senator Carr made the comments at a press conference with Michelle Bachelet, the executive director of UN Women and the former president of Chile.

Asked whether she thought Mr Assange should travel to Sweden to answer questions, Ms Bachelet said: “I believe in due process.

“I believe that wherever it is, and whoever it is, women’s rights should be respected.

“You have the possibility of due process, but you also confront responsibilities if there are responsibilities.”

Senator Carr also announced Australia would provide $6.7 million to support women in developing countries who had suffered violence such as acid attacks, rape and physical assault.

He said Australia would work with UN Women to deliver shelter and counselling for women disfigured by acid attacks in domestic assaults in Cambodia and Uganda, and would help women raped or assaulted during civil wars such as the 15-year conflict in Liberia. It would also support women seeking their legal rights after suffering physical violence in some central and southern Asian communities.

Australia’s contribution of $6.7 million over three years would be supplied to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women beginning in the 2012-13 financial year.

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PM defends conduct as lawyer

29/11/2018 // by admin

Prime Minister Julia Gillard: “I have been the subject of a very sexist smear campaign.”The Pulse – Katharine Murphy blogs live from Parliament
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PRIME MINISTER Julia Gillard has broken her silence on the two decade-old controversy which was reignited last week when claims surfaced of questionable conduct during her time at solicitors firm Slater & Gordon.

Ms Gillard has refused to answer questions previously, saying it had been thoroughly dealt with 17 years ago, but changed her mind when The Australian today republished ”a false and highly defamatory” story which they have since retracted and apologised for.

”I had taken the view over the past few days that given no new assertions of any worth have been made that I should not dignify this campaign with a response either,” she said.

”However, this morning something changed on that.”

She said the claims were first published on the Sunday before the federal election in 2007 under a ”headline banner of ‘Conman broke my heart’.”

The claims were retracted and apologised for at the time.

”For a number of months now there has been a smear campaign circulating on the internet relating to events 17 years ago,” Ms Gillard. ”Much of the material in circulation is highly sexist.”

The Prime Minister today declared her conduct had been entirely ”ethical” and said it was routine to provide free advice to union officials and trade unions at Slater & Gordon.

Ms Gillard said it was her understanding that the association she helped set up for then boyfriend and then Australian Workers’ Union state secretary Bruce Wilson – which was later discovered to have been used for fraudulent purposes – was for the purpose ”supporting the re-election of union officials”.

Asked why she had not opened an official file on the establishment of the assosciation – as is the usual practice – Ms Gillard stressed her involvement was to ”provide advice” but conceded with ”hindsight” she perhaps would have logged the action.

”There would be a number of things I would do differently,” she said. ”Life doesn’t afford you that opportunity.”

Ms Gillard said when she realised she had been “deceived” on a series of issues by Mr Wilson, she ended their relationship.

Ms Gillard said she would not be making a statement to Parliament as she had attended three question times this week and no questions on the matter had been directed at her by the opposition.

The Prime Minister told a packed news conference that by the time she left Slater & Gordon there was considerable friction and tension in the partnership.

Her involvement in setting up the controversial AWU entity was ”to provide advice as a solicitor”. ”I provided legal advice for the establishment of the association.”

Asked whether she had benefited from the fund, Ms Gillard said she had paid for all renovations in her Abbotsford home and there had been no evidence in three investigations over the 17-year-old affair to prove otherwise.

Ms Gillard said she remains satisfied with her professional conduct as a lawyer.

More to come..

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Labor boosts refugee intake

29/11/2018 // by admin

Julia Gillard announces the boost to Australia’s humanitarian intake at Parliament House.The Gillard government will increase Australia’s humanitarian intake to 20,000 – a key recommendation of the Houston report on asylum seekers.
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The announcement, made today by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, comes as two boats carrying 107 suspected asylum seekers were picked up in Australian waters and transferred to Christmas Island overnight.

The move means Australia will increase the nation’s annual refugee intake from 13,750 to 20,000 places in this financial year – a 40 per cent rise and the biggest boost to the intake in 30 years.

Ms Gillard said the government would immediately resettle an additional 400 refugees from Indonesia to underscore Australia’s commitment to offering safe alternatives to dangerous boat journeys.

”This increase is targeted to those in most need: those vulnerable people offshore, not those getting on boats,” she said.

”People who arrive by boat will get no advantage. It’s not worth the risk to life and it’s not worth the money, because there is absolutely no benefit to getting on that people smuggler’s boat.”

The government has allocated $10 million immediately for rebuilding the asylum seeker processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island. The centres have fallen into disrepair since Labor unpicked the Pacific Solution in 2008.

Mr Bowen said he had spoken to Nauru’s Foreign Minister and reported that the island nation would be capable of housing 500 asylum seekers by the end of next month.

Thirty defence personnel would be sent to Nauru to start setting up temporary accommodation once the government formally approved Nauru as an offshore processing destination, he said. It is expected the team will leave within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the opposition has today tried to force the government to officially designate Nauru and Papua New Guinea as regional processing countries for asylum seekers.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison wrote yesterday to Mr Bowen asking him to table the legislative instruments needed to reopen the centres.

”I note your earlier comments to me that you prefer to finalise an agreement with Nauru and Papua New Guinea before introducing the legislative instrument,” he wrote. ”However, you would also be aware that this is not a mandatory requirement of the legislation to enable such countries to be designated.”

Mr Morrison said this morning Mr Bowen ”has until 4.30pm today to make Nauru and Manus Island legal”, adding: ”There are no excuses for this not to happen.”

If it didn’t happen it showed the government ”was dragged kicking and screaming to announce they were going to reopen Nauru” and was still dragging its feet, he said.

Mr Bowen said his opposite number’s machinations were ”nothing but a little stunt”.

Last week Parliament passed legislation that would let the government of the day designate countries to be used for processing asylum seekers who arrive in Australian waters by boat.

It implemented part of the recommendations from a panel led by former Defence Force chief Angus Houston.

Since then, the government has sent Defence and departmental teams to Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to look at what work is needed to re-establish processing centres.

– with aap

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