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Republic;Sydney;980807;Photo;Robert Pearce;SMH NEWS;story;Tony Stephens.The Republican movement celebrated it’s seveth birthday with a cake in it’s Park St offices.Pic Shows;Malcolm Turnbull blows out the candles, watched by [left] Wendy Machin and Neville Wran.It’s our Prime Minister’s birthday today. In a spirit of charity, we should wish him many happy returns. We must acknowledge, though, that, at the moment, he’s not in a sweet spot politically. He never will be.
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To thrive in the job, a prime minister must be a canny politician. Yet Malcolm Turnbull, even though he has held the office for more than two years, has only ever exhibited a limited mastery of the art and craft of politics.

Evidence of Turnbull’s fitful strike rate as a political performer can be drawn from past decades as well as more recent events.

Back in 1999, a masterful John Howard easily outfoxed Turnbull’s badly organised republican campaign. In an eerie near-reprise 18 years on, the poorly plotted same-sex marriage postal survey looks like being carried partly because Turnbull is running dead on the issue.

The tricky politics of energy policy undid Turnbull’s first stint as Liberal leader in 2009 and this issue is equally problematic for him eight years on. Highlighting the need for reliable energy was meant to embarrass Bill Shorten but has instead further emboldened Tony Abbott.

Abbott has every right to be cranky with Turnbull. Knifing Abbott in 2015 has led to endless complications. Abbott won a thumping victory in 2013. Three years later, it was Turnbull who called on an interminable double-dissolution election that ended in near defeat for the Coalition and produced an even more interesting Senate.

Turnbull twice tripped himself up when, in the early 1980s, he first sought to become a member of parliament – any parliament, in fact.

In 1981, a vacancy in the federal seat of Wentworth triggered a by-election. The Liberals needed to preselect a candidate. Turnbull ran, buoyed by his connection with media mogul Kerry Packer, for whom Turnbull had worked as a journalist.

Quite a few of the preselectors, though, were offended by Turnbull’s association with Packer, who was then seen as a friend of NSW Labor premier Neville Wran. Turnbull did not have the agility to brush the animus aside. He lost the preselection ballot.

In 1983, Turnbull settled for a tilt at being preselected for the safe Liberal seat of Mosman in the NSW state parliament. He ran his usual, unfocused campaign. His biographer, Paddy Manning, quotes Liberal Party notable Nick Greiner’s comment that Turnbull was “arguably petulant” when dealing with individual party members in Mosman. He lost again.

Turnbull was no good at retail politics but had many splendid qualities nonetheless. There was self-belief and a work ethic. He had married well. He was, to use words applied to him by Paul Keating, utterly fearless and brilliant.

Blessed with these attributes, Turnbull enjoyed worldly success after he switched from party politics in 1983 to focus on law and investment banking. He made heaps of money. He became richer than any one sitting in Federal Parliament.

Federal parliamentarians usually need to retire from electoral politics if they wish to truly beef up their material assets through consultancy or lobbying. With Turnbull, the exact opposite happened. He enriched himself before rather than after parliamentary life.

In the late 1990s, Turnbull began to use his own money in a bid to do good and buy affection along the way. Hence his involvement in the republic push.

In 2000, Turnbull again lacked the numbers when the Liberals held another preselection vote in Wentworth.

Three years later, though, he won a bitter preselection contest in the same seat. He now had the resources to barnstorm his way to victory. In retaliation, many local Liberals voted for his ousted predecessor, Peter King, who ran as an independent.

Turnbull invested more than $600,000 of his own money to become member for Wentworth with a reduced Liberal majority. This was a foretaste of the 2016 federal election campaign, which saw the Prime Minister reportedly donate more than $1.75 million as he sought re-election.

So we have a pattern whereby much money is spent to produce mediocre results. Something is wrong here.

Success outside politics propelled Malcolm Turnbull into The Lodge even though he lacks basic qualities needed to sustain success as a prime minister. He is very rich precisely because he is no good at politics. There is, as a result, a fearful asymmetry at the heart of n government.

On this day of all days, we wish Turnbull a happy and speedy retirement from politics, as well as a very happy birthday.

Stephen Holt is a Canberra writer. [email protected]

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A crackdown on polluting industries in northern China for an unprecedented five months over winter is not a one-off and could hit n iron ore and coal exports.
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The winter pollution shutdown, which began in September and will run until March, is set to continue, China’s environment minister says.

n iron ore and coal exports have been hit by a slowdown in Chinese demand since the crackdown on pollution. Steel mills and cement makers in some provinces have had to cut production by 50 per cent, and the sale and use of coal is banned in other cities.

In previous years, the winter shutdown has only lasted a few weeks.”This is not a one-off, it will continue in the future,” said environment minister Li Ganjie of the new measures.

Chinese cities have a deadline of the end of the year to meet clean air goals set five years ago. Some financial analysts had regarded the government-enforced shutdown as a seasonal impact as the government tries to head off air pollution which worsens in winter.

But Mr Li said: “These special campaigns are not a one-off, instead it is an exploration of long-term mechanisms. They have proven effective so we will continue with these measures.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for China to become an “ecological civilisation” and pursue green growth in his report to a twice a decade meeting of the Chinese communist party.

Mr Li said the progress made in addressing air pollution was not enough and China’s energy mix was “still dominated by coal” and the proportion of heavy industry too high.

Speaking to media at a press conference during the party’s 19th national congress, Mr Li said the environmental campaign may have a short term impact on economic growth “but in the long run, the big picture, the impact is minimal”.

He said his ministry was closely tracking economic data in cities where it sent in environmental inspectors, who are closing hundreds of factories, and it showed environmental protection has had no impact on unemployment levels.

“In my view there is a positive correlation between environmental and economic performance,” he said. He also rejected complaints the government was taking a “one-size fits-all approach” with pollution restrictions, and said they were being tailored to different cities.

Companies that were able to correct their mistakes would be put on probation before being shut down for environmental breaches, he said.

Mr Li didn’t specify which of the suite of measures being imposed on northern cities over winter would continue long term.

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MURDERER: Left; Daniel Petryk, 25, of Windale, was on Monday found guilty of murder over the shooting of Robert Parry at Wickham in March, 2015. Right; police investigate the home invasion shooting in Dickson Street. DANIEL Petryk’s problems started with a poker machine.
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The day before he snuck into the home of small-time cannabis dealer Robert Parry armed with a .22 shortened single-shot firearm,Petryk sat down in the pokie room of the Lambton Park Hoteland began to play.

He didn’t know it, but the decision to have a flutter on that Friday in March, 2015, would set in train a series of events that would lead to Mr Parry’s violent death in the botched home invasion“drug rip” and Petryk facing the prospect of life in jail.

After an often dramaticfive-week trial in Newcastle Supreme Court–during which Petryk’s co-accusedJesse Nikolovski was acquitted of murder and Petryk was forced to change his legal counsel after trying to change his story–the jury took a little over nine hours to find Petryk guilty of murder and armed robbery on Monday.

With no physical evidence tying Petryk to the scene, the prosecution case rested on the shoulders of one witness; a woman who said she was with Petryk and Nikolovski, 24, of Mayfield, during the home invasion.

The witness, who cannot be identified, told the jury she was armed with an axe when she snuck into the home behind Petryk and watched as he pulled the trigger and Mr Parry, a well-known Wickham identity who was deaf in one ear and left his front door unlocked,fell to the ground.

Petryk had maintained he wasn’t there that night.

But the trial heard that the day before the home invasion,hewas having a punt on the poker machines.

TRIAL: Main; Robert Parry (right) with his late father, Alan Parry. Left; Jesse Nikolovski was acquitted of murder, but pleaded guilty to armed robbery over the home invasion at Wickham. Right; Robert Parry’s sisters, Susie and Lynda Parry, after Daniel Petryk was found guilty of murder on Monday.

CCTVfootage played during the trial revealed that Petryk’s gamble at midday on March 6, 2015,was unsuccessful.

And frustrated at losing his cash, he decided to urinateinto a schooner glass and pourthe contents into a couple of the machines.

The licensee confronted him, watched the footage and called the police.

Petryk, on parole and thenundertaking the Drug Court program, knew any offence could land him back in jail.

“I’m f—ed,” Petryk texted a mate at 4.03pm that day.“I’m getting charged so I’ve gotta take off to Queensland.”But first,Petryk would need a firearm.

Petryk, then 23 and living at Windale, had been after a gun for a while and had been hassling this mate to provide one.

And on this night, only hours after the incident with the poker machine, the mate relented, agreeing to leave a.22 shortenedsingle-shot firearm and some ammunition in a bag outside his home.

Petryk swung by to collect it after midnight on March 7.

With him was Nikolovski, then 21, ofMayfield, and a young woman, who would later become the key witness in the murder trial against the two men.

Petryk had a plan to make a quick score before he fled north to avoid his problems.

“He said that he knew a house that his brother used to buy pot from,” the woman told the jury.“That the door would be open and that we would just sneak in and grab the pot.”

Petryk directed Nikolovski, driving a white Holden Commodore, to Wickham, where he parked a block away from Mr Parry’s Dickson Street home.

The trio got out, put on gloves and covered their faces. Petryk grabbed an axe and tried to hand it to Nikolovski, but he wouldn’t take it.

Instead, the woman was armed with the axe, while Petryk had the gun, the woman told the jury.

When asked by Crown prosecutor Lee Carr what the plan was, the woman replied: “Daniel was going to sneak in and if there was no one around he was just going to grab the pot and if there was someone around we were there to just look scary so he could take it”.

She said she was “a metre or two” behind Petryk in the loungeroom of Mr Parry’s home when she saw a man.

“He was holding a can in his hand,” the woman said.

“He went to whack Daniel. “I think I recall him telling us to f— off out of his house.

“Daniel let the gun off.

“[The man] dropped to the ground.”

Petryk’s defence disputed her account and always maintained he wasn’t there that night.

But ultimatelythe woman’s evidence sunk him and wholly exonerated Nikolovski on the murder charge, with the woman telling the court Nikolovski didn’t know the firearm Petryk was carrying was loaded.

That evidence led to Justice Helen Wilson giving the jury a directed verdict of not guilty in relation to the murder charge against Nikolovski.

Then, two days later, in the jury’s absence, Nikolovski pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of Mr Parry and disappeared from the court dock.

After the directed verdict, Petryk spoke with his counsel,Public Defender Mark Austin and his instructing solicitor Mandy Hull, with that discussion leading Mr Austin and Ms Hull to withdraw from the matter.

Mr Austin was too polished a practitioner to air the dirty laundry in court, but Justice Wilson made it clear later that the parting of ways related to Petryk wishing to “change his version of events”.

A week of wasted court time later, and with new legal counsel, the pressure was on Petryk to decide whether he was going to run a defence case or not.

After Petryk claimed he was too sick to follow the evidence on Tuesday last week, Justice Wilson dismissed the jury for the day.

But after the final juror had filed fromthe courtroom, Her Honour made it clear to Petryk how she felt about his delaying tactics.

“I want to make it very clear, that this court’s patience is now at an end,” Justice Wilson said.

“This comes about, it seems to me, from everything that has been said, by him having a change of mind as to what his version of events might be and how he wants that version of events portrayedto the court.

“I do not propose to allow this court to be manipulated or held to hostage by an accused who cannot make up his own mind.”

Petryk returned to court on Wednesday and his new counsel, Public Defender Angus Webb, told Justice Wilson there would be no defence case.

Then, once closing arguments were out of the way, the jury retired at 12.50pm on Thursday to begin deliberating.

They returned on Monday to deliver their verdict, finding beyond reasonable doubt that it was Petryk who pulled the trigger and killed Mr Parry.

The verdictwas a huge relief to Mr Parry’s family, includingtwo of his sisters Susie and Lynda Parry, who sat through much of the trial.

“Robert is dearly missed by us all,” Lynda Parry said in a statement on behalf of the family.

“We particularly miss his smiles and his ever-ready willingness to help us and others in the community.

“There is a hole in our hearts and lives which can never be filled.

“The loss and pain of losing Robert can not be measured.”Petryk will be sentenced on February 2and faces the prospect of life imprisonment.

Nikolovski will be sentenced for the armed robbery on the same date and faces the maximum of 25 years in jail.

But before he is sentenced for his involvement in robbingMr Parry, Nikolovski will appear in CampbelltownDistrict Court to be sentencedfor three armed robberies and a conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

One thing the jury in the murder trial wasn’t told was that in the months after the bungled home invasion at Mr Parry’s house, Nikolovski and a crew of armed thieves got to work holding up Sydney pubs.

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Rather than celebrating the ASX’s recent solid year-long run, strategists have started to seriously question whether it will continue.
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The S&P/ASX 200 index has climbed 9 per cent in 12 months, and while this pales beside the gains recorded in some global equity markets, it’s a solid performance for the n market. When dividends are included, shareholders of the broad index have enjoyed returns of 15 per cent.

The ASX advance has been made in an environment that’s been “kind to risk assets”, Deutsche Bank n equity strategist Tim Baker said.

“Global growth has accelerated while subdued inflation has kept policy tightening at bay. Valuations are high, and volatility is low, both globally and in ,” Mr Baker said.

But this environment is set to turn, Mr Baker believes, with policy uncertainty “quite high” and central banks set to try to get monetary policy back to more normal settings.

He questioned whether the ASX could now enter into a period of prolonged losses, or a “bear market”, given the expected change of backdrop.

After looking across a range of indicators which acted as warning signals in the past he said “overall, the data suggests that the odds of a bear market in in the next six months are low.”

However, Goldman Sachs’ n equity strategist Matthew Ross is cautious about the n equity market, despite the bourse’s recent powerful run.

Stretched valuations and softening earnings momentum mean the outlook for the market appears challenged, Mr Ross said.

More worryingly, the prospect of interest rate hikes has increased in line with brightening prospects for the economy and waning disinflationary forces.

Mr Ross has recently held meetings with investors, where the debate was all about how to defensively position in a dislocated market.

“Positioning for a pullback has historically been very simple,” Mr Ross said, with “low risk” stocks significantly outperforming in each of the largest market corrections over the past 25 years.

However, “given the distortions of unprecedented central bank actions, we doubt this pattern will repeat.”

Valuations for defensive stocks were a lot more accommodative in prior periods of market weakness and also they’re unlikely to get a tailwind from central banks lowering interest rates this time around as most central banks are already at record lows with rates.

Expensive, highly-leveraged “defensive” firms will likely come under pressure in a market downturn for the first time since Mr Ross and colleagues have been collecting data, he noted.

Options for investors going forward in this environment include finding a new slew of “low risk” stocks and hedging with banks and miners, he suggests.

But Mr Baker at Deutsche Bank said that, while valuations are above average on a forward price to earnings basis, Deutsche Bank’s fair value model indicates that’s justified, he said.

In addition, valuations have been “fairly stable” over the past six months instead of rising as they have tended to do when approaching bear markets in the past, according to Mr Baker.

Earnings growth is still holding up, interest rates are low and stable and market leadership is not yet a concern with small caps and value only just beginning to outperform.

“Yield curves remain positive, investors are not flocking to safe-haven commodities, the US dollar has fallen and volatility is not picking up,” Mr Baker said.

“We continue to see the S&P/ASX200 at 5900 by year-end and 6000 by June 2018,” he said. In contrast, Mr Ross’s 12-month target for the benchmark measure is 5800 points.

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THERE’S been a bit of good news around Boolaroo lately.
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In August, $2.2 million in federal funding was announced for a 700-metre extension of Munibung Road to link the suburb with Cardiff.

Just a few days ago, the NSW Court of Appeal found in favour of Bunderra Holdings, the developer of a residential estate on part of the former Pasminco smelter site, hopefully ending a long-running drainage dispute that has stopped property owners in the estate from building their homes.

But when it comes to the situation facing householders in lead-contaminated houses nearthe former smelter, it still looks very much like the ordinary person in the street is being left to pay the price of an expensive clean-up that should never have been their responsibility in the first place.

Over time, the Newcastle Herald has reported the travails of many residents, left bewildered and near-broke in trying to deal with the legacy of lead contamination on their properties.

In the latest example, Boolaroo residents Trudi Field and Martin Robertson have been forced to spend almost $70,000 just to get the rear of their property ready to accept the dwelling they’d been wanting to build as a retirement nest egg.

Had they been forced to remove the contaminated soil –rather than cap and contain it –the cost would have been even greater.

After pressure from the Herald’s Toxic Truth campaign, the government has waived a $138.20 a tonne waste levy, but dumping contaminated soil at Summerhill will still cost $275 a tonne –a substantial impost for households left holding the can through no fault of their own.

Pasminco collapsed in 2001 owing $2.6 billion, but the parent company was refloated a year later, as Zinifex, after jettisoning the Boolaroo smelter and other problematic assets. n Securities and Investments Commission records indicate that Pasmincois still under voluntary administration. By early 2015, administrators Ferrier Hodgson had collected more than $33 million in fees, having overseen the clean-up of the main site.

But out on the streets of Boolaroo, hard-stretched householders are still paying the price. In the words of Boolaroo Action Group spokesman Jim Sullivan: ‘‘There is no fairness in any of this. The residents have been completely dudded throughout the whole process.’’

ISSUE: 38,632.

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Green is good: “We are all looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint and choosing organic products is just another way,” says Alison Mercer.You’ve left your career as a primary school teacher to launch The Green Cube, which delivers premium organic wine to people’s doorsteps. Why?
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I loved my days as a primary school teacher (kindy kids are the most revitalising medicine to me) but since having my own children I decided to venture into another passion of mine, wine. I’ve always liked the idea of creating and building a business so I’ve been searching for the right idea for some time. The freedom of being your own boss appealed, coupled with the ability to spend more time with the kids.

Your husband Aaron is winemaker at Tamburlaine organic wines. Is that how you got into organic wines?

I grew up in the Hunter Valley and worked in wineries there independently of my husband, however, he does have an infectious passion for quality winemaking. As for organics, it started in the South of France, where I worked on an organic vegetable farm picking, planting and learning the naturalist French way of life. My love of organic produce came from the simple joy of tasting delicious, summer food straight from the farm. It’s not until you taste a warm strawberry picked by your own earthy hands that you realise how food can – and should – taste.

Why are you so passionate about organic wines versus standard wine?

I love wines that are not only exceptional quality butare created with the health of our bodies – and our planet – front of mind. I’ve met some top growers and winemakers while building our partnerships who exude passion and authenticity. The word ‘organic’ isn’t just a trendy, buzz word for them, our partners live and breathe their products and practises – that’s why we work with them.

Alison MercerHow many organic producers do you retail; are they local or abroad?

Currently, we have dozens of wine partners although we discover new suppliers daily, so our brand partners are endless. Wines are primarily from , along with select NZ and international brands. The Green Cube wants to support local Aussie producers but also educate our members through a global wine journey.

Beyond profits, what are your business goals?

I want to see more organic wine in ’s wine glasses. It’s a win for wine lovers, the industry, our environment and our palate.

What are your favourite organic wines?

In building relationships with producers, it makes this question tough because the people are just as important as the wines. Cape Jaffa from the Limestone Coast, Kalleske from Barossa Valley and Stefano Lubiana from Tasmania are some of my favourites this week.

Does drinking organic wine lessen a hangover?

For people sensitive to sulphur, maybe. Organic wines have about half the amount of sulphur when compared to non-organic wine but to set the record straight, regardless of your reaction to sulphur, if you drink a couple of bottles of wine – organic or non-organic, you’ll still feel it in the morning.

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Assisted dying bill: Lynda Voltz addresses members in the Wallsend electorate and answers questions about the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill at a community forum in Fletcher on Tuesday.THEVoluntary Assisted Dying Billwould give some terminally ill patients the choice to end their severe pain and suffering on their own terms, the Hon Lynda Voltz MLCtold a community forum in Fletcher on Tuesday.
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The shadow minister for sport and veterans’ affairs, and member of the NSW parliamentary working group on assisted dying, told a packed room the bill, to be debated in the Upper House on November 16, had safeguards in place to prevent cases of abuse and coercion.

Ms Voltz said patients needed to be aged over 25,in severe pain, and expected to die from a terminal illness within 12 monthstoqualify forassistance.

They must also be able to give consent, rulingout sufferers of dementia and Alzheimers.

“We’drather get 70 per cent of something than 100 per cent of nothing,” Ms Voltz said.

Patients requesting assistance would also need to examined by two medical practitioners, as well as assessed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.

“The bill is restricted to the terminally ill whose deaths areimminent, and those who have the capacity toconsent,” she said.

The 2017 bill was based on the Oregon model in the US, which had not been amended for 20 years.

“In Oregon, 30 per cent of people who have accessed it have not used it,” she said.

“Some have changed their minds because just having that as an option has given them the strength to go through it.”

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery, who hosted the forum at Fletcher Community Centre, said 89 per cent of people in her electorate supported the idea of voluntary assisted dying.

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Fletcher Building shares have been placed in a trading halt at the company’s request, as the construction giant considers the financial performance of one of its key business units.
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In a statement to the NZX, Fletcher Building said it was reviewing the performance of the Building + Interiors business unit, including the findings of a KPMG probe into the unit’s two largest projects, and the impact this would have on its financial performance.

The company did not say which of its projects were covered by the review. Fletcher Building has had well-publicised problems with the Justice Precinct in Christchurch, which has been hit by a series of delays.

Other major projects in the division include the convention centre at SkyCity and Precinct Properties’ Commercial Bay development, both in Auckland.

Shares were expected to remain in the trading halt until Wednesday, Fletcher Building’s statement said, when the company would hold its annual general meeting and provide an update on its expected financial performance.

“The company is taking the necessary time to carefully consider this matter.”

Investors in Fletcher Building have had a difficult year, with shares falling by more than 15 per cent over the past 12 months. Over the same period, New Zealand’s benchmark NZX-50 has climbed more than 16 per cent.

In March the company cut its guidance for the 2017 financial year, which ended on June 30, by $110 million because of troubles in some of its major projects. In July it announced another profit warning as it announced chief executive Mark Adamson was leaving the company.

While Tuesday’s statement did not make it clear that more bad news was coming, Grant Davies, investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the recent performance of the company had left negative feelings in the market.

“Coming from a once bitten, twice shy, or twice bitten, thrice shy even, then it’s understandable people will be taking a fairly negative view until they get the actual numbers through,” Davies said.

In July, in the wake of Fletcher Building’s second profit warning, the New Zealand Shareholders Association called for all of the company’s directors to put themselves up for re-election at Wednesday’s AGM.

NZSA chief executive Michael Midgley said on Tuesday that it was difficult to read anything into Fletcher’s statement because of the limited information, but shareholders would await Wednesday’s announcement with interest.

“There’ll be an awful lot of people listening with acute interest.”

Fletcher Building said it expected to announce a new chief executive on Wednesday.

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Police uncover cannabis growhouse on Steel Street Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police
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Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookCANNABIS plants the size of Christmas trees have been removed from a“complex and well-established” grow house hidden inside an inner-city Newcastlebuilding.

As office workers on their lunch break watched on,police collected at least 40 bags of buds and a large number of plants at varying stages of maturity from the Steel Streetstorage shed on Tuesday, after executing a search warrant at the property at 2am and finding an elaborate hydroponic set-up.

Newcastle City Local Area Command Inspector Shane Buggy said the operationincluded an intricate electrical system, irrigation, ventilation and a large number of chemicals including a fertiliser called “Monsta Bud”.

“It’s acomplex and well-established grow houseacross several rooms,” Inspector Buggy said.“It’s a commercial premises, so it’s quite large in the scheme of grow houses. Any situation where we have a building which has illegal wiring,unattended lights designed to produce heat and aheap of chemicals lying around, it’s potentially dangerous.”

Specialist police, including detectives, target action group officers and forensic services were at thescene until late on Tuesday and may need to returnon Wednesday.

“It’s a large operation and this type of drug house – as far as dismantling and investigation – is labour intensive.”

Inspector Buggy asked for anyone with information or who saw anything suspicious to contact Crime Stoppers.

“It might not be suspicious activity – it might be a lack of activity,” he said.

“Quite often nobody lives in these places, they’re only attended to at times when people are working there sporadically.”

Images released by police showed a large crop of plants under heat lamps.

In another room, a mess of electrical cords andextension leadswere plugged into overloaded power outlets.

The discoverycomes a month after police dismantled a sophisticated cannabis grow house in Kotara.

Detectives and specialist police entered the five-bedroom Marshall Street property on September 6 following a tip-off and found it had been completely converted into a hydroponic cannabis factory. More than 150 plants were inside.

Meanwhile, three men have been charged after police allegedly found them in possession of 18.8kg of cannabis on Monday night. They are Vietnamese nationals unlawfullyin , according to court documents.

The Anh Hoang and Hoai Nam Nguyen,both 22,and Cuong Van Nguyen, 33, faced Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday.

Each was charged with possessing a prohibited drug and supply of a prohibited drug, after police allegedly found 18.8kg of cannabis in the vehicle they were travelling in during a stop atGlebe Road, Adamstown.

Officers pulled the vehicle over around 6pm and breath-tested the driver, who provided a negative result.

Bail determination documents noted that all three men were illegally in , and were“liable for immigration detention”.

The bail determination for the older Mr Nguyen noted that he was“an extreme flight risk”.

None of the three men applied for bail on Tuesday –and it was formally refused.

According to court documents, Mr Hoang and the younger Mr Nguyen listed Teralba Road, Adamstown, as their home address, while the older Mr Nguyen was listed as living at Beaumont Street, Hamilton.

They will face court again, via audio visual link,on November 16.

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Rio Tinto’s new chief executive Tom Albanese at the Park Hyatt hotel in Sydney, 25 July 2007.SMH Picture by PETER MORRISAn American law firm based in Seattle has filed a class action lawsuit against Rio Tinto over the mining giant’s failed investment in a Mozambique coal project which cost the mining giant billions of dollars.
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The law firm Hagens Berman, which revealed the action on Monday, alleges defendants in the action made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information about the true value of Rio’s Mozambique coal investment made in 2011.

Rio acquired the coal assets for $US3.7 billion but the company’s plans for coal mining in the African country hit major hurdles, the assets crumbled in value, and the miner sold them in October 2014 for just $US50 million.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Rio Tinto’s former chief executive Tom Albanese and former chief financial officer Guy Elliott.

Hagens Berman, which describes itself as “a national investor-rights law firm”, has taken the action on behalf of purchasers of Rio Tinto plc American Depositary Receipts between October 23, 2012 and February 15, 2013.

The writ alleges: “Defendants’ wrongful conduct has inflicted significant damages on Rio Tinto investors.” The plaintiff is named as Anton Colbert.

“This action concerns a fraud previously unknown to investors and only recently revealed by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) in its complaint filed on October 17, 2017,” the writ says.

The class action lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, and comes just days after the United States Securities and Exchange Commission revealed it had charged Rio Tinto and Mr Albanese and Mr Elliott with fraud.

In a statement, the law firm said the complaint alleges that defendants “made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information regarding RTCM’s (Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique’s) true value,” during the period October 23, 2012 and February 15, 2013.

The writ, which echoes the SEC’s allegations, says: “Within months of the acquisition, Albanese and Elliott knew of material problems adversely affecting this asset’s (“RTCM”) multi-billion dollar publicly reported valuation. By early 2012, Albanese and Elliott knew of additional problems with RTCM requiring an impairment analysis and material reduction of its publicly reported value. Instead, Albanese and Elliott thwarted the required impairment analysis required by the relevant accounting rules and throughout the Class Period continued to promote RTCM’s worth to investors.”

The writ alleges Rio’s 2011 annual report “contained statements about RTCM that were materially misleading, and collectively depicted RTCM in a positive light that was not supported by the best information then known to Defendants and did not disclosure adverse developments at RTCM or the related valuation challenges. To the contrary, defendants falsely declared in Rio Tinto’s financial statements that the value of RTCM was the amount it paid to acquire Riversdale, i.e., approximately $US3.7 billion dollars.”

It also says: “Albanese and Elliott signed the 2011 Annual Report and were therefore responsible for the materially false and misleading statements and/or omissions.”

Rio would not comment on the class action lawsuit on Tuesday, but it is understood the miner is not surprised by the move and is confident the case has no merit.

Last week, in response to the SEC announcement, Rio and the two former executives all vowed to fight the charges.

Mr Albanese said: “There is no truth in any of these charges. I echo Rio Tinto’s confidence that these will be proved baseless in court.”

A spokesperson for Mr Elliott said: “Guy also fully refutes these charges and will be vigorously contesting them.”

Rio said it believed the SEC’s case was “unwarranted and that, when all the facts are considered by the court, or if necessary by a jury, the SEC’s claims will be rejected”.

It also said: “Rio Tinto intends to vigorously defend itself against these allegations.”

Rio said the timing of the impairment of Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique had been reflected in its 2012 end-of-year accounts.

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One year ago, Alfonso del Rio was 110 kilograms and on the path to diabetes. He couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without leaning on the handrail, exhausted and gasping for breath.
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Confronted with worrying health assessment results, he was spurred into action. The 55-year-old lawyer swapped chips for fruit, steak for fish and began walking 10,000 steps a day.

“I made changes and lost 30 kilograms,” the Clayton Utz partner said. “I now ‘swim’ in my old clothes, I can’t wear them and I can sustain greater levels of intense concentration. I’ve lengthened my life.”

Mr del Rio’s transformation, as well as his ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, reflects the results of a new study that shows the legal sector has the healthiest executives in , followed by the banking and consulting sectors.

Lawyer Alfonso del Rio’s headshots, before and after he lost 30 kilograms during a 12-month period. Photo: Keith Friendship

An analysis of 30,000 health assessments of senior employees at 500 organisations by Executive Health Solutions found white-collar sectors fared best overall, while blue-collar industries – specifically “transport, postal and warehousing” and “agriculture, forestry and fishing” – ranked low.

The study ranked 20 industries based on physical, mental, psychological and medical scores, which took into account blood pressure, fitness, alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI).

It said it was known blue-collar workers were generally less healthy, and with promotion through the ranks into management positions being more common, there was a greater risk of poor habits being carried through to the executive level.

Blue-collar executives typically had higher-risk scores for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but some industries bucked the trend. The mining industry ranked second in psychological health.

“From the blue-collar perspective, it’s important to continue to invest in health from a culture point of view, whether hours worked or supportive environments,” said John Hall, chief executive of Executive Health Solutions.

“A healthy CEO doesn’t mean everyone in the company is healthy, but a CEO who values health will be more likely to have an environment conducive to good health, from stand-up meetings to better food in canteens.”

When it came to physical health, the “professional services and consulting” sector came out on top, while “agriculture, forestry and fishing” was at the bottom.

Those in professional services had an average BMI of 26.8, with fewer than one in five participants classified as obese.

Executives in agriculture, forestry and fishing, had an average BMI of 28.25, and were more likely to be classified obese. A “normal” range is between 18.5 and 24.99.

The report said executives at law firms were among the fittest, with only 7 per cent getting a below average or poor fitness rating.

In regards to medical health, which considered cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure test results, the legal, financial services and banking sectors were at the top.

The data showed the public sector performed poorly in both physical and medical sub-indices, with federal public sector executives ranking 15th in medical health and their state counterparts ranking 17th in physical health.

“Both industries were particularly affected by poor fitness levels coupled with elevated waist measurements resulting in lower than expected rankings for blood pressure and cholesterol,” the report said.

“This suggests the public sector may be falling between the blue and white-collar divide and would benefit from focusing on movement/activity and optimal nutrition.”

On mental health, “small business and individuals” category ranked last.

Dr John Lang from the Health and Productivity Institute of urged small business owners to not view time spent with family and exercising as a “cost in time”.

“They wear personal responsibility and their pay can be halved in tough times, so it’s more stressful for them and they may work after hours,” he said.

“But they’re junk hours that will compromise physical and psychological health and lower productivity, so it’s actually counterproductive.”

While the legal sector performed well overall, it dropped to 12th when it came to mental health. The mining industry ranked second-best.

​???

Alfonso del Rio lost 30 kilograms by exercising and changing his eating habits. Photo: Janie Barrett

In his Canberra office, Mr del Rio said mental health issues were a “scourge” on his industry, but that firms were working to provide greater support and investing in resilience training.

“We like to win, it’s what being successful in our profession is about, and scoring a victory means there’s a winner and a loser, and so inherently there’s a cultural issue we experience that has an enormous, draining impact,” he said.

“If you’ve got a couple of things that don’t fall your way, that dark cloud can descend upon you and it’s hard to get away.”

Pauline Wright, president of the NSW Law Society, said lawyers tried to put their clients, with all their problems, first, and found it hard to switch off from work, especially with time pressures.

“We’ve researched this and our journal has done articles on stress, but a lot of it is anecdotal and we are keen to investigate further,” she said.

“We have a special webpage with Lifeline for Lawyers information and a confidential 24-hour telephone crisis support service. There is help available.”

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HAIR’S TO DAPHNE: Daphne Partridge, of Telarah, with her hairdresser Robert Threlfo. Picture: Simone De Peak.She’s 93, soon to be94, loves to get her hair “tizzed” and enjoys a goodjitterbug.
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He’s 73, has recently beatenstomach and bowel cancer and,boy, does he know how tocha cha.

Meet Daphne Partridge and Robert Threlfo, the couple whose video has gone viral after it made national television this week.

The pair was filmed at Maitland’s Inspirations Hair Design recently cutting a mean rug on the salon floor after Robert had just finished styling his long-time client’s hair.Salon manager Kira Ryan captured on video the moment Daphne asked Robert to dance to Elvis’ Blue Suede Shoes.She sent the videoto Nine Network’s Today program and byTuesday afternoon it had received 218,000 views, 12,000 likes and 1500shares.

Salon owner,Mr Threlfo’s daughter Helen Stuckings, said the dancing duo wasgobsmacked with the reaction to thesalon salsa.

Daphne, of Telarah, loves dancing and often turns on the music at home and dances while she does the housework.

“I just can’t stop. I love to dance,” she said.

“I’m so surprised at how people have responded to the video. It’s just a wonderful thing to be able to dance.”

The mother of two, grandmother of four and great grandmother of six said her secret to a long and happy life was simple. “My husband John never goes out without me and we never have a cross word.” But this feel good story doesn’t end there.

Last year Robertwas diagnosed with bowel andstomach cancer.After intense chemotherapy, major surgery and a weight loss of 40 kilograms, Robert is back at the salon two days a week and, like Daphne, loving life.

-DONNA SHARPERead More →

The Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd with Opposition Education spokesperson, Stephen Smith and Opposition Communications Spokesperson Senator Stephen Conroy visit Hawker College, a Canberra secondary school.Photograph taken by Andrew Taylor on the 18th Jun2007.Kevin Rudd’s tome Not for the Faint-hearted shines a glaring light into the frenemy fiefdom that masquerades as the n Labor Party.
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Now the Liberal Party – or indeed any other big political party – is probably as dysfunctional, but Rudd’s autobiography, released today, lays it all bare for Labor.

The hate between MPs can be palpable. So is the distrust. And the ambition is naked and all-consuming.

On the surface, to the TV cameras, it’s all smiles. Behind closed doors, it’s all knives.

“As a people we tend to be very good at tearing down,” Kevin Rudd says. “We are not so good at building up. And this judgment is rendered most harshly, and rightly so, for those who enter public life.”

The irony is that Rudd’s assessment of some on his team, including those to whom he awarded top jobs, is ruthless.

Just take his assessment of Stephen Smith, who served as a minister for foreign affairs and minister for trade as well as minister for defence for Labor.

“Stephen Smith was the most ice-cold politician I had ever met,” Rudd says. The man shared former ALP treasurer Wayne Swan’s deep cynicism for the “business of politics” and was so neat that he would be “discombobulated if anyone disturbed the plastic folders of papers that made up his universe”.

This was Labor’s foreign minister, the person charged with selling – and his prime minister’s vision – to the world!

Swan, Rudd says, was out of his depth in Treasury and failed to improve over time.

(At this stage, you are probably wondering why he didn’t get rid of him. I’m wondering that, too).

“Years later, one Treasury official would describe Swan as a small man with a big ego and a giant chip on his shoulder who ??? was not interested in and apparently incapable of being educated in the Treasury craft by his own department,” Rudd says.

Keating’s office christened the pair the “glimmer twins’, policy-free zones and the state secretaries’ club, good for polling rotten for policy”, we’re told.

And the pair, along with Rudd’s media minister Stephen Conroy, were known as the Roosters, who were “deeply accomplished in the dark arts” and who “loathed” Julia Gillard with a passion. “Their loathing for me ran a close second,” Rudd says.

Conroy “was a mercurial personality”. “From laughter to rage, from friendship to near-mortal combat, from highs to lows, and all in an instant.”

The three of them had “painstakingly constructed” a plan over the years to see Kim Beazley lead the party first, followed by Swan or Smith. They wanted to ensure Simon Crean never did.

Rudd says it was his refusal to back a challenge against Crean that broke off his relationship with Smith, Conroy and Swan. “I had refused to act as factional cannon fodder,” he says.

Rudd’s assessment doesn’t stop there, even towards those on his own side.

Mark Latham was one of the most divisive figures in modern n Labor politics. “Even his friends from that time, including Joel Fitzgibbon – who in time became a friend of mine – would later find, to their personal distress, that Latham had no difficulty whatsoever in turning on his own, including those closest to him.”

Rudd adds that he found Latham’s “utterly impenetrable tome” Civilising Global Capital an attempt to brand himself as the “new intellectual leader of the Labor movement”.

Closer to home, here in Queensland, his view of his colleagues is no less savage.

Take Bill Ludwig, for example. “In Queensland, the main right-wing faction was the n Workers’ Union, led by Bill Ludwig, whose views of the world ranged somewhere between Neanderthal and Neolithic,” Rudd explains.

And Bill’s son, former senator Joe Ludwig? He was sent to the Senate by his father, “the Cro-Magnon man of the n Labor movement and the closest came to having a Chicago boss controlling such a large slice of the party”.

Former ALP state secretary Cameron Milner was “a young thugster in training, working hard to become a senior, respected thug at the AWU finishing school for conservative party apparatchiks”.

Of course, thank goodness, some venom is left for the other side.

Former Liberal prime minister John Howard, Rudd tells us, was an abysmal failure as a political leader and misled the public on the reason we went to war. He had also “gone after my wife because he had failed in his pursuit of me” and his dirt unit would have had to watch 6400 hours of tape to find the footage of Rudd picking wax out of his ear.

Peter Costello would never have the “gumption to challenge” Howard, who recognised that “core weakness in Costello’s character” early on.

To be fair, Rudd has also given a big tick to some of his former parliamentary colleagues.

Anthony Albanese, “firebrand of the left, is the most gifted natural politician of his time”.

John Faulkner “had a withering eye for anything resembling posturing and puffery. He was a man elementally dedicated to the Labor cause”.

Alan Griffin was one of the best marginal seats campaigners in the country and Robbie McClelland was “himself the essence of common sense, decency and reason”.

Gareth Evans was “the most effective foreign minister in n history, rivalled only by Bert Evatt in the war and immediate postwar years”.

On the other hand, Alexander Downer was the “least significant foreign minister in n history”.

Rudd’s book is written in an entertaining way and gives his views from childhood, through to the desk of prime minister.

At times it’s funny, self-deprecating and downright intriguing.

But it also shows why voters are turning against the big parties. It shows how our leaders can stand in front of a camera and fulsomely support someone they despise.

This is part one of Rudd’s two-part autobiography. And it ends with Rudd still supporting, strongly, his colleague Ms Gillard.

She’s friendly. She does her job well. She has a wicked sense of humour. And she made mistakes – like the “strange request” of wanting to sit next to him at the front table in Parliament.

“I was lost for words. Julia said it would underline the fact that this was a team from day one. I was uncomfortable with the idea. Also thought it was nuts ??? she eventually relented,” Rudd says.

It’s just a hunch, but I reckon Kevin Rudd is setting Julia Gillard up for a big fall. We’ll just have to wait for volume two, to find out.

Kevin Rudd: Not for the Faint-hearted is out today.

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