The Australian National University (ANU) Acton campus will be closed tomorrow, Monday 26 February, following weekend flooding.
The closure is to ensure the safety of all students and staff as the University conducts essential safety checks on infrastructure including bridges, creek banks and electrical switchboards.
All classes and all events on campus will be cancelled on Monday 26 February and all ANU libraries will be closed.
Students should not come onto campus, and residential students should stay away from affected areas.
Staff should not come onto campus unless requested by their Directors for essential work. All ANU staff should check their emails for updates from their directors and for instructions. All meetings and interviews should be rescheduled.
Childcare centres on campus and University House will open as usual on Monday.
Students will be advised by course conveners of make-up arrangements for missed classes.
Students and staff should continue to check emails and the ANU web page for updates.
Unless advised otherwise, the ANU campus plans to re-open for normal activities on Tuesday 27 February.
This week, most attention has been focused on Barnaby Joyce and his conduct. There has been a lot of discussion about whether he complied with ministerial standards. Whether he complied with the requirements for disclosing use of government entitlements. Barnaby has given me - as I said in the House - an unequivocal assurance that he has complied with the ministerial standards and with both the use and reporting of ministerial and other entitlements.
But I think we know that the real issueis the terrible hurt and humiliation that Barnaby by his conduct, has visited on his wife, Natalie and their daughters and indeed, his new partner.
That's the real issue for the government of Australia is it Mal?
Turnbull is in power only because Barnaby Joyce and his Nationals not only retained all their seats at the last election, they gained one seat. Turnbull reduced Tony Abbott's 30+ seat margin in the House of Representatives to a one seat buffer retaining government courtesy of that National seat won by Barnaby et al.
Thanks to the incomparable Seeker of Truth for writing up another episode in the criminal history of the CFMEU.
Hi Michael This little matter slipped under the radar last week, as did a previous announcement in December 2017, of fraudulent misappropriations in Comet Training Pty Ltd, an associate entity of the CFMEU NSW branch.
“Labor councillor charged with more than $220,000 fraud” - 23 February 2018
A NSW government minister has called for a Labor councillor charged with allegedly defrauding a training organisation part owned by the CFMEU of more than $220,000 to step aside from his public duties. NSW Police has confirmed Hills Shire councillor Ray Harty has been charged with dishonestly obtaining more than $220,000 by deception from Comet Training, which is jointly owned by the NSW divisions of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the Master Builders Association. The 72-year-old former general manager of Comet Training, who received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2012 for services to the construction industry, will face the charge of allegedly dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception at Burwood Local Court on Thursday April 12. Comet Training's former financial controller, Amy Cai, has also been charged with fraudulently obtaining more than $200,000. Police said a 56-year-old woman was charged on Thursday with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception. She was granted bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Thursday, March 1. Flemington police investigated complaints by Comet which last year reported a number of accounting irregularities. Police will allege a number of fraudulent payments totalling $445,000 were made into two personal bank accounts between 2011 and 2017. The company has since gone into liquidation. NSW Corrective Services Minister David Elliott said Mr Harty should step down from his position on the local council. "Like any politician, once he is charged, he should step aside until he is given a clear verdict," Mr Elliott said. The Federal Court of Australia found Mr Hardy rigged his election as secretary/treasurer of the NSW Public Service Association in November 1988. In declaring his election to the position as void, Justice Murray Wilcox said at the time that Mr Harty was not worthy of holding office in any union. "It will be for others to judge, but my own opinion is that people who debauch the electoral process are unworthy of office in any union," Justice Wilcox said. Fairfax Media contacted Mr Harty for comment but he said: "I have no comment, contact me lawyer". http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/labor-councillor-charged-with-more-than-220-000-fraud-20180222-p4z18k.html The fraud first made news on 12 December 2017 – “……Allegations of fraud totalling almost $450,000 at an organisation part-owned by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and whose general manager is a Labor member of The Hills Shire council and Medal of the Order of Australia recipient, have been referred to the NSW police. Comet Training – jointly owned by the NSW division of the CFMEU and the Master Builders Association NSW – is alleged to have been defrauded of one amount of $223,000 and another of $220,000 over the course of more than a year.” http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/unionowned-training-organisation-referred-to-police-over-alleged-450k-fraud-20171211-h02gve.html
The above link states that there will be a two year lease back arrangement written into the Contract. Therefore the CFMEU will be staying on site for a further two years. Comet Training would have done likewise except that it was found that its books were crook and so it had to go.
This is what was said by the Comet Board at the time the financial discrepancies were reported to the police in late 2017 – "Independently from becoming aware of this issue and prior to this information being received by the Board from its financial adviser, the Board had already had resolved to wind up the company and cease operation due to the premises where the Company is located being sold. "This matter is being independently investigated, and all further action as appropriate will be taken to ensure any damage to the organisation is mitigated fully. The Company is able to meet all its legal obligations to all staff and creditors". http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/unionowned-training-organisation-referred-to-police-over-alleged-450k-fraud-20171211-h02gve.html
It turns out that the Board was telling untruths as to the reason for Comet’s liquidaton. It had nothing to do with the premises being sold but everything to do with the discovery of discrepancies in the financial records.
This is what the liquidators Worrells reported on 13 December 2017 – “The liquidation was prompted by financial irregularities reported to the board by the company’s external financial adviser and shareholders resolved to complete the final step in the business’s wind down of the business.”
It was no coincidence that the liquidator was appointed on 28 November 2017 then a fortnight later Comet makes the news that the police were called in.
The fraudulent payments totalling $445,000 were made into two personal bank accounts between 2011 and 2017. It doesn’t say much for the auditors of the Comet Training Trust's accounts for the period 2011 to 2016. The audited accounts were presented to the CFMEU NSW branch. The CFMEU NSW branch along the the Master Builders Association each hold a 50% shareholding in Comet. The CFMEU received $74,104 from Comet Training Trust up to 31 March 2017 – shown as receivables. It doesn’t say what the receivables relate to. It is possible that it is for rent of premises 6-8 Railway Street, Lidcombe owned by the CFMEU NSW branch.
This is from the CFMEU NSW Financial Statement to 31 March 2017 –
“Loan – Comet Training Trust - $362,544”
“The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union Construction and General Division New South Wales Divisional Branch had previously advanced funds to an associate, the Comet Training Trust. The funds advanced have no set repayment date, with the timing of cash flows uncertain and dependent on the profitability of the associate. Each balance date an assessment of the recoverable amount is performed, with any excess over the carrying value provided for and charged to the statement of comprehensive income, thus ensuring that the carrying value does not exceed its recoverable amount. For the three month period ended 31March 2017 no movement of the provision was required (year ended 31 December 2016: decreased by $8,486).”
Brian Parker is a Director of Comet Training Pty Ltd. Could it be the unexpected announcement of his resignation from his role of Secretary of the CFMEU NSW branch has something to do with Comet’s troubles? Comet came up in evidence at the Trade Union Royal Commission –
U-Plus-Coverforce-MFI-7.pdf … 429,095.00 8531 Advance - Comet Training Trust 362,544 … 4,503.56 8537 Shares-Comet Training 100 8610 Motor … 436,126.00 8531 Advance - Comet Training Trust 362,544 … Date: 3/11/2016 Size: 1MB http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au … -15-October-2015/U-Plus-Coverforce-MFI-7.pdf
UPlusMFI1-V2-Tab61.pdf … respect of the operations of COMET, particularly in relation … Harty further reported that COMET was still pursuing a training … to increase the profile of COMET more generally. A number … Date: 3/11/2016 Size: 502KB http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au … Evidence-24August2015/UPlusMFI1-V2-Tab61.pdf
DAMFI-4-Tab00-Part3.pdf … Advances to Associate- Comet Training Trust LESS: Provision … Advances to Associate - Comet Training Trust The … also has an interest in the Comet Training Trust in which … Date: 11/08/2015 Size: 9MB http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au … Evidence10August2015/DAMFI-4-Tab00-Part3.pdf
DAMFI-4-Tab00-Part1.pdf … Advances to Associate- Comet Training Trust (ii) LESS … also has an interest in the Comet Training Trust in which … During the year the loan to the Comet Training Trust was reviewed … Date: 20/10/2015 Size: 9MB http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au … Evidence10August2015/DAMFI-4-Tab00-Part1.pdf
U-Plus-Coverforce-MFI-8.pdf … NSW Pty Ltd UPlus Pty Ltd Comet Training Committee to Defend … 194 NON-CURRENT Loan - Comet Training Trust 362,544 362 … funds to an associate, the Comet Training Trust. The funds … Date: 20/10/2015 Size: 7MB http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au … -15-October-2015/U-Plus-Coverforce-MFI-8.pdf
DAMFI-4-Tab00-Part4.pdf … Advances to Associate- Comet Training Trust Provision … II) Advances to Associate - Comet Training Trust 2011 … Union has an interest in the Comet Training Trust in which … Date: 11/08/2015 Size: 6MB http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au … Evidence10August2015/DAMFI-4-Tab00-Part4.pdf
DAMFI-4-Tab00-Part2.pdf … Current Advances to Associate- Comet Training Trust (i) 362 … also has an interest in the Comet Training Trust in which … During the year the loan to the Comet Training Trust was reviewed … Date: 11/08/2015 Size: 9MB http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au … Evidence10August2015/DAMFI-4-Tab00-Part2.pdf
UPlusMFI1-V4-Tab03-Part2.pdf … 15 Jun Direct Credit 301500 Comet Training lnv#5654 15 Jun … 15 Oct Direct Credit 301500 Comet Training lnv#5745 15 … 15 Oct Direct Credit 301500 Comet Training lnv#5745 15 Oct … Date: 14/08/2015 Size: 8MB http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au … ce-24August2015/UPlusMFI1-V4-Tab03-Part2.pdf
Next Saturday their weekends radio show moves to 2GB after 15 years at 2UE.
What a team - and what a lovely pair of blokes.
George and Paul have been a phenomenal success at 2UE - in spite of being at 2UE. It speaks volumes about the place that their slot is the only one on the station that's remained "unimproved" by the Errol Flynn management that's turned 2UE into a shadow of the Sydney institution we loved for decades.
George and Paul have been on top of the weekend ratings for as long as I can remember - as Jason Morrison pointed out to me over the weekend, that's no mean feat when you're on the number 10 station.
Here's Jason's recording of their last moments on 2UE - along with sounds like the latest Morrison addition in the background!
It’s Thursday afternoon on a suburban side street in Preston and Ged Kearney is running along the pavement to knock on the door of one more house before driving across Melbourne in peak-hour traffic to meet Labor’s deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek.
The union boss turned Labor candidate does not have time to visit another house but promised a woman who spoke to her farther up the street that she would look in on her son before heading off. With just over four weeks until the Batman byelection on 17 March, she will risk being late if it means one more vote.
The visit is successful. The son, who was already going to vote for Kearney, has now pledged to volunteer for her campaign as well.
Running back up the street, Kearney clambers into the 4WD she shares with her partner and adult children for the purpose of transporting dogs and grandchildren and, just lately, journalists. She doesn’t own her own car, preferring to catch public transport to get around the city. Her house in Brunswick, which has been the subject of some criticism because it is located on the wrong side of Merri Creek, in the neighbouring electorate of Wills, was chosen in part because it sits on a bus line.
In 40 minutes, the 4WD, with an electoral map of Batman stuffed into the car seat usually occupied by Kearney’s two-year-old granddaughter, pulls into a carpark next to Labor’s Victorian headquarters in Docklands.
Upstairs sit more than a dozen women, volunteers who have already begun calling houses in Batman identified by the Labor party machine as belonging to “persuadable voters” that might be inclined to lift its sinking primary vote in the inner city.
The theme of the evening is women calling women but no one begrudges the one man who did not read the event description before arriving.
Middle-aged women, Kearney says, have been most open to changing their vote back to Labor. The kitchen table issues of education, health, and secure employment, which had been playing with limited success in younger, more gentrified areas of the electorate, still connect with mums.
She speaks to each of the volunteers individually, urging them to emphasise her professional background as a nurse and that she raised her children in the electorate. When Plibersek arrives, pressed flat from the first sitting fortnight of the parliamentary year, Kearney introduces her as a hero of the party.
The admiration – and apparent personal affection – is mutual. Kearney was one of the leaders of the campaign opposing WorkChoices and a champion of the labour movement, Plibersek says.
“Obviously this is a seat that we have to win, that Labor is committed to win,” she says. “But it’s more than that. I am here because I support Ged. I want Ged Kearney in the Labor party in Canberra.”
For Labor, the prospect of losing Batman, a seat that it has held for 84 years, is both unthinkable and quite likely.
The Greens candidate, Alex Bhathal, a social worker whose personal demeanour and sensible yet progressive politics are quite similar to Kearney’s, achieved a 9.8% uptick in her primary vote in the 2016 general election against former MP David Feeney and narrowed the margin from 10.6% to just over 1%.
Kearney was born in Melbourne, the eighth of nine children, and worked as both a nurse and a nurse educator for 12 years before being elected to the Australian Nursing Federation in 1997. She was made federal secretary of the federation in 2008 and became president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in 2010.
Despite eight years at the top of that powerful organisation, she remains a nurse down to her sensible shoes.
For the Greens, the 55-year-old is that most dangerous of adversaries: a practised politician with an excellent bedside manner.
“I can’t tell you what a huge difference it is to have a nurse putting her hand up for parliament,” Plibersek told Guardian Australia. “Politicians aren’t necessarily particularly well regarded by the general public but nurses are, and she was a nurse for 20 years … That is, for most people, a sign of character.”
Plibersek says the Liberal party’s decision not to run a candidate was a “cynical move” by Malcolm Turnbull who, after scandal-filled weeks caused by the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, “doesn’t want this to be a referendum on him.”
Kearney says she has not been promised a similar position if she fails to win Batman.
“No, there have been no political promises made to me at all if I lose this, and I do realise that I will be unemployed if I lose the election,” she told Guardian Australia. “But right now I just really want to win … I am not thinking about that at all.”
Winning would require persuading voters south of Bell Street in the suburbs of Northcote, Alphington and Thornbury, where the Greens won all but one booth in 2016. It is the same area covered by the state seat of Northcote, where the Greens candidate, Lidia Thorpe, beat union organiser Clare Burns with a swing of 11%.
Kearney says few people in the electorate has raised Adani as an issue with her and adds that Labor needs to be “sensitive to the communities” in Queensland that are facing a jobs shortage.
“I think I have been really upfront about my view of Adani that … I sincerely don’t think it stacks up, particularly financially,” she says. “What I have learned at the ACTU is you can’t just say, ‘Stop something’. There’s a whole complexity and a whole raft of social, economic and legal issues that has to be dealt with. It’s a hard message, it’s not a two-word slogan, it’s a complex message.”
Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers is another issue on which the Greens are beating Labor in the inner city. Kearney has criticised the policy in the past and said her personal position has not changed.
“The Labor party policy is what it is right now,” she says. “What I say to the people of Batman is that I will continue to be a progressive voice both within the party and hopefully within a party of government on these issues.”
Back at Labor HQ, Kearney is on the phone with a swinging voter who has questions around local school funding. Swinging around, she waves Plibersek over.
“Do you want to speak to Tanya?” she asks the caller, before holding the phone out to Plibersek, who is Labor’s education spokeswoman. Plibersek speaks about the loss of funding to schools in Batman, which will receive $9.5m less in the next two years than they would under Labor’s version of the Gonski model, before handing the phone back to Kearney, who says goodbye and puts it down with a smile.
Here's the intro at the top of The Australian's home page.
And here's the start of the 2,483 word piece authored by Emo in The Weekend Australian Magazine.
2,483 words, promoted as Emo opening up on his relationship with Gillard.
So what did he say about that matter?
In Canberra I formed a close relationship with Julia Gillard that, over time, developed into a romantic relationship. Cathy (his wife) asked me to leave the family home; we agreed to separate but that we would spare our three children any rancour. We continued to raise our children as loving parents. Julia and I bought a house in Canberra and stayed together for three years. We shared good times and hard times.
On Monday morning I will step down as the Leader of @The_Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. I would like to thank everyone for offering their support to me, especially the people of New England.
I will continue to fight for the people in the weatherboard and iron, for the people on the peripheral and the small regional towns. I used my experience of these towns and my goal in life will always be to try to make their lives better.
Justin Trudeau’s ill-fated trip to India has stumbled from bad to worse. The Canadian Prime Minister has been accused of fraternising with terrorists after his wife was photographed with a man convicted of shooting an Indian minister.
Mr Trudeau has been snubbed by Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, who almost a week after the Canadian’s arrival has still yet to meet his counterpart.
Mr Trudeau has also been mocked for the extravagant wardrobe of traditional Indian clothes that he and his family have brought with them.
The Canadian delegation is scrambling to limit the fallout from the latest debacle, when Indian hardliners were outraged by pictures of Sophie Trudeau alongside Jaspal Atwal, a notorious activist, at a function in Mumbai.
Mr Atwal, a Sikh separatist with Canadian citizenship, was convicted of the attempted murder of an Indian cabinet minister in 1986. He was part of a gang that opened fire on a car carrying Malkiat Singh Sidhu, who was visiting family in Vancouver, against the background of a violent campaign for Khalistan, an independent Sikh state, to be carved out of Punjab in northwest India. India has long complained that Canada shelters Khalistani separatists.
An invitation for Mr Atwal to attend a reception for the Trudeaus at the Canadian high commission in Delhi was hastily rescinded, but the damage had been done. Sections of the local press and hardliners on social media denounced Mr Trudeau as being soft on terrorism.
“The Canadians say that they do not support pro-Khalistan groups, so how did they allow him?” asked Subramanian Swamy, an MP with Mr Modi’s ruling party.
The gaffe has compounded the sense of unease surrounding the trip, which has been compared to the Queen’s visit in 1997 when the royal party travelled to Pakistan first and the Duke of Edinburgh was reported to have dismissed Indian estimates of the death toll at the 1919 Amritsar massacre as “exaggerated”.
Mr Trudeau has been criticised for the lavish wardrobe of traditional Indian clothes he and his family have worn.
The Prime Minister dressed more extravagantly than Bollywood A-listers at a function in Mumbai and wore a turban during a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, prompting critics to say that he should spend more time on foreign policy and less on fancy dress.
Mr Trudeau has previously boasted that he has more Sikh ministers than Mr Modi and much of his trip has appeared designed to court the votes of Canada’s Sikh community rather than rebuild bridges with Delhi.
Mr Modi is also alert to his domestic audience. After negotiations before Mr Trudeau’s arrival last Friday failed to secure a statement backing Indian unity, by implication withdrawing support for Khalistan, a junior minister was sent to meet the Canadians at the airport.
Mr Trudeau will meet Mr Modi at last today, with all eyes on the joint communique and body language between the two men. Mr Modi is renowned for the bear hugs he gives to favoured foreign leaders. Anything less than a warm embrace for Mr Trudeau will cement the impression of a relationship in trouble.
“This trip has gone from bad to worse so all eyes will be on the joint statement and the meeting between the two men,” Shivam Vij, a local journalist and commentator, said. “Both sides are playing to their domestic audience. Trudeau’s wardrobe is intended to show the Indian community in Canada that he is celebrating Indian culture, but here it has looked a bit ridiculous.”