Monthly Archives: February 2019

2019
02/15

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PUP to be a power in Senate

Mining magnate Clive Palmer’s political party looks set to hold the balance of power when the new Senate takes shape next July.

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The coalition will have 33 senators but needs six more votes to pass legislation.

Labor with 26 seats and the Greens with nine – possibly 10 after a recount – are likely to vote together to oppose government plans.

Both parties oppose repealing the carbon tax, which Prime Minister Tony Abbott has at the top of his legislative priorities.

The coalition would need to seek support from the eight senators on the crossbench, including five independent/micro party senators.

They’re independent Nick Xenophon (SA), Democratic Labor Party John Madigan (Vic) and three newcomers: Liberal Democratic Party David Leyonhjelm (NSW), Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party Ricky Muir (Vic) and Family First’s Bob Day (SA).

The other newcomers are Palmer United Party (PUP) senators Glenn Lazarus from Queensland, Jacqui Lambie from Tasmania and probably Zhenya Wang from Western Australia.

However senator-elect Wang is facing a partial vote recount in WA, requested by the man he seems to have ousted on preferences – Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam.

Mr Abbott will be able to count on the PUP senators, Mr Day and Senator Madigan since all have publicly opposed the carbon tax.

But Mr Abbott may have tough negotiations ahead with Senator Xenophon, Senator-elect Muir, and Senator-elect Leyonhjelm.

Senator Xenophon supports the repeal of the tax but wants it replaced by a model developed by Frontier Economics, which rewards low-emission industries and punishes high-emission polluters.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s policies state that, should evidence become compelling that global warming is due to human activity, the party would favour market-based options.

The Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party’s stance is not clear.

Its environmental policy is to support a balanced approach towards sustainability of the environment and the use of the environment, both for the survival of mankind and for the unimpeded recreational use of the environment.

However, the party also advocates removing the need for government to waste time on the introduction of “nanny-rules” to protect ourselves from ourselves.

Mr Abbott’s signature paid parental leave scheme may pass parliament before the changeover next year, if he agrees to the Greens push for a $50,000 payout cap.

2019
02/15

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Lynch shocked by Buddy’s big AFL deal

Alastair Lynch, the AFL star who signed an extraordinary 10-year contract at the age of 25, believes Sydney wouldn’t expect Hawthorn superstar Lance Franklin to keep playing until the end of his nine-season deal.

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Lynch, like most in the AFL, was shocked to learn 26-year-old Franklin is headed to the Swans on a $10 million deal instead of joining expansion side Greater Western Sydney.

The 45-year-old, who reluctantly left Fitzroy to join Brisbane after the 1993 season, knows first-hand how unusually long deals brokered by Andrew Ireland can work.

Lynch ended up signing a one-year extension to his landmark contract, bowing out of the game in 2004 with three premierships at the age of 36 – one year older than Franklin will be at the end of the 2022 season.

However powerhouse full-forwards like Lynch are rarer these days, and the former Brisbane captain senses Sydney won’t be banking on Franklin fulfilling the sum total of his deal.

“It’s a big aggressive move by a footy club to get someone over the line, so I understand that,” Lynch told AAP on Wednesday as Franklin confirmed he was Sydney-bound.

“I don’t think the Sydney Swans would expect Buddy to play for the whole term.

“They’d be rapt if he did, but I’m sure they have got in the back of their minds that it might only last six or so years.

“You’re still getting to a fair old age at 33. So six years would probably be a good result, if so they’d have to wear the last three years in the salary cap.

“But I’m sure that’s something they’ve considered long and hard over the last few months. If they can grab two more premierships in that time with Buddy, I’m sure they’d take the pain at the end.”

Lynch admitted he had “no thought of playing the 10 years out” when he first joined the Brisbane Bears.

“That’s where the guarantee was very attractive … it was impossible to knock back,” he recalled.

“It (the 10-year contract) worked beautifully for me … and hopefully the club felt it balanced out in the end.”

Brisbane’s retention allowance was abolished after winning three consecutive premierships, much to the relief of Collingwood president Eddie McGuire who declared “war on the AFL in regards to the salary cap” a day after his side lost the 2002 grand final to the Lions.

McGuire, long outraged over the Swans’ cost-of-living allowance (COLA), has been at the forefront of a swell of COLA angst after news of Franklin’s imminent departure broke on Tuesday.

“They work within the rules that have been provided by the AFL,” Lynch said of the Swans.

“It sounds like there’s an ongoing review of this allowance to live in Sydney, and this might bring it to a head.

“Once we (the Lions) started to become successful it was pretty swiftly knocked on the head – that may happen again.

“There has been talk over the last few years about it. At some stage it was deemed to be a valid competent of the salary cap for the Sydney-based clubs, so I’m not quite sure why it should change.”

2019
02/15

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Arthur in line for Eels coaching job

Parramatta are set to offer their vacant coaching position to Manly assistant Brad Arthur.

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Arthur worked alongside Stephen Kearney last year but left when Ricky Stuart was appointed at the end of a season that saw the Eels claim the first of two successive wooden spoons.

However, the 39-year-old impressed in his short time as caretaker coach when Kearney was axed, leading the struggling team to wins over Brisbane and the Sydney Roosters and AAP understands he’s the favoured choice of several board members and will be offered the job.

North Queensland were also interested in Arthur but opted for Roosters under-20s coach Paul Green as Neil Henry’s replacement leaving the door open for Arthur at Parramatta.

“He did a very good job when he was here and more importantly he worked well with Jarryd Hayne and a lot of our younger players,” an Eels insider told AAP.

“We will have Will Hopoate here next year and that will put pressure on Jarryd at fullback and we hope he’ll react to that and have a great year.

“Financially we are in good shape the leagues club is making money and we have just signed two new sponsors. We just need to get the coach in place now.”

Test coach Tim Sheens was interviewed by the club on Tuesday but the younger Arthur is the favoured with his knowledge of the team’s younger players working in his favour.

The news will be a dent to Jason Taylor’s hopes of returning to the club.

Parramatta are also struggling with their salary cap for next season and aren’t likely to bring in any other players after South Sydney pair Nathan Peats and Justin Hunt, Hopoate and English prop Lee Mossop.

Knowing most of the squad is something else that works in Arthur’s favour with the board impressed at the way Trent Robinson turned around the Roosters two years after leaving his post as Brian Smith’s No.2.

The club announced on Wednesday they’ve secured a major sponsor after severing ties with long-term partner Pirtek.

Dyldam and UNIBET will don the front and back of the club’s shirt respectively for the next three seasons in a lucrative seven-figure deal.

Private residential group Dyldam were already a club sponsor, but have upgraded to become the main partner.

Recently-appointed Parramatta chief executive Scott Seward said the deals prove how strong a brand the club still are despite two awful seasons.

“Today’s announcement represents the faith shown in us from within by Dyldam upgrading to become our major sponsor and also how strongly we are positioned in the marketplace to be able to attract new corporate partners such as UNIBET,” Seward said.

“I hope securing the largest sponsorship deal in this club’s history off the back of two wooden spoons instils confidence in our members and fans in the job this administration and board are doing right now.”

2019
02/15

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De Jong impresses but Dutch recall hinges on role in side

On Wednesday, the Dutch media described him as a “windshield wiper” offering lateral protection in front of the central defensive duo of Philippe Mexes and Cristian Zapata.

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The solid performance came just days before Dutch coach Louis van Gaal finalises his squad for World Cup qualifiers against Hungary and Turkey, where the 28-year-old is hoping for a return to a side already qualified for next year’s finals.

He was named in a preliminary squad last week but whether he can force his way back into the starting line up for the first time since recovering from an Achilles injury, remains unclear.

Van Gaal has previously gone on record as saying he would prefer to use a defensive midfielder who could also provide assistance going forward rather than just being an extra lock on the defensive door.

“Last night’s game will have shown Van Gaal little that fits in with his tactical plans,” Dutch daily the Algemeen Dagblad said.

De Jong’s role at his Italian club precludes him from any adventure and whether van Gaal believes he can play differently in a Dutch shirt will only become clear next weekend when the side host Hungary in their penultimate World Cup qualifier.

That match will also be at the Amsterdam Arena where de Jong was hailed like a returning hero by a partisan crowd of more than 50,000 on what he said would be an emotional night.

“I ran around here for a long time. It is where I grew up,” he said prior to the match referring to his early career at Ajax.

Tuesday’s game was only his ninth after an extended spell on the sidelines after rupturing the tendon in a Serie A match against Torino last December, just five months after joining Milan from Manchester City.

De Jong, who won international notoriety for a kung fu-style challenge on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final that went unpunished by referee Howard Webb, claimed the last of his 67 caps in a friendly against Germany last November.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by John O’Brien)

2019
02/15

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Corby wins parole approval in Bali

Schapelle Corby has edged closer to parole after winning crucial approval from the Justice Ministry office in Bali.

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A spokesman for the office on Wednesday confirmed the 36-year-old’s parole application had been approved and would be immediately forwarded to Jakarta for further consideration.

“From the hearing yesterday, we have issued a recommendation which is approving Corby to receive her parole,” Justice Ministry office spokesman Made Badra said in Bali on Wednesday.

“Our consideration is that Corby has fulfilled a substantive requirement, which is she has served two-thirds of her sentence and behaved well.”

It’s still likely to be months before Corby, caught in 2004 attempting to smuggle more than 4kg of marijuana into Bali in a bodyboard bag, wins final approval for parole from the Justice Ministry in Jakarta.

Another hearing is expected to take place within the next two weeks in Jakarta at the office of the Director-General of Prisons.

“Based on previous experience, the answer of approval or rejection to parole should be received within 12 days after the documents are received by the Prisons Director-General,” Made Badra said.

However, even if Corby wins the support of the Prisons Director-General, the final approval for her parole application would still have to come from the Justice Minister.

In another promising sign, Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin has told AAP he does not believe there are any impediments to Corby being granted an early release.

“As long as she fulfils requirements in its regulation and has finished her obligation, and didn’t break any rules, no one can prevent her to get her parole,” he said.

Mr Syamsuddin also insisted the final decision would not be affected by critics in Indonesia, including anti-drug activists and some politicians, who are ardently opposed to Corby being granted any leniency.

“About this Corby thing, I always become the target of critics,” Mr Syamsuddin said.

“But I couldn’t prevent someone from getting their rights just because I’m afraid of critics. That can’t be happening.”

Corby must also obtain a letter from the Immigration Ministry confirming her visa status before she can be released from Bali’s Kerobokan jail, but this is expected to be just a formality.

“We have sent a letter to Immigration Directorate-General to ensure that Corby’s stay permit will be issued once she’s released from prison,” Made Badra said.

Corby is serving a 15-year jail term after Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last year granted her clemency on humanitarian grounds and slashed her sentence by five years.

The convicted drug smuggler would have to serve her parole in Bali, where she would live with her sister Mercedes and brother-in-law, Wayan Widyartha, in Kuta.