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Bigot? Snob? Not me, says Carr

Written By kemala yuspita on Kamis, 10 April 2014 | 15.02

A Labor frontbencher believes it was a mistake to recruit Bob Carr (pic) to federal parliament. Source: AAP

WHATEVER you think of Bob Carr - snob, bigot, high-flyer, avid organic oats eater - don't accuse him of being shy.

Revelations in his tell-all Diary of a Foreign Minister has prompted mirth and scorn, especially from less-than-impressed Labor colleagues.

Mr Carr insists his breakfast oats are steel-cut, moans about airline food and the rules that limit him to business class when flying overseas.

First Class Tosser was how one metro daily newspaper described him, emblazoning the title across its front page on Thursday.

It prompted an unrepentant Mr Carr to deny he was a snob.

The tome was intended to show Australians how government worked, he said - an observation largely unappreciated by others in the Labor Party.

Michael Danby accused Mr Carr of being a bigot over claims the pro-Israel lobby had an "unhealthy" level of influence over the Gillard government.

The federal MP said it had been a mistake to parachute Mr Carr from "obscurity" into a Senate vacancy and with the foreign affairs portfolio to boot.

Mr Carr responded to the bigot accusation by citing a record of supporting Israeli causes.

However, there was one description the former NSW premier was prepared to accept.

"You're not going to get into any position of leadership if you're a shy person," he said about his assertion that he had more energy than 16 gladiators.

Whatever, Mr Carr reckons if you haven't got a sense of humour then you shouldn't crack open his book.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More

Rain across Victoria creates road chaos

IT'S raining in Victoria. Not record-breaking rain or the kind to cause major flooding, but enough to create havoc on the roads.

Severe weather warnings are in place for parts of Victoria because of the downfalls.

Melbourne has copped its heaviest rainfall since November with 20mm falling over the past two days.

The main impact has been on the roads, with cars colliding in the slippery conditions.

There haven't been any serious injuries, Ambulance Victoria said in a tweet on Thursday, but paramedics have been called to 24 collisions across the state in the space of eight hours.

VicRoads says there's been 33 lane closures in Melbourne over three days because of the rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned of heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding for the Mallee, Northern Country and North East districts on Thursday evening.

Severe weather warnings for the central district around Melbourne, the Wimmera and North Central districts have been cancelled.

Warrenbayne, near Benalla in northeast Victoria, copped the highest amount of rain with 13mm on Thursday, the bureau said.

Melbourne should get another 5-15mm of rain on Friday before it eases to a few showers over the weekend.

The State Emergency Service has had more than 70 calls for help on Thursday, mainly for building damage and fallen trees.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More

Bureaucrat warned about batts evidence

A senior bureaucrat has told an inquiry he warned superiors the home insulation scheme wasn't safe. Source: AAP

A RUDD government bureaucrat has been warned against giving false or misleading evidence at the royal commission into the troubled pink batts scheme.

Will Kimber, a former assistant director in the home insulation policy team who says he repeatedly flagged installer safety risks to his superiors, received the warning when he resumed his evidence on Thursday afternoon.

Counsel Assisting Keith Wilson said Mr Kimber should be reminded about his obligations under the Royal Commissions Act given his "lack of recollection" about matters earlier in the day.

Commissioner Ian Hanger QC said: "Mr Kimber there is some concern about some of the evidence you're giving as to whether it's reliable or not."

Mr Kimber said he understood it was an offence for a witness to knowingly give false or misleading evidence at a royal commission.

The offence carries a penalty of up to five years imprisonment or a fine as large as $20,000.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Hanger cautioned Mr Kimber about the "very serious" evidence he was giving.

"Be careful to be accurate," Mr Hanger said.

Mr Kimber had told the inquiry that he repeatedly warned his superiors about installer safety risks in the home insulation program before the deaths of four workers.

Queenslanders Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney, and Marcus Wilson from NSW, lost their lives working under the stimulus scheme rolled out on July 1 2009.

Mr Kimber said he had been worried about installers using metal staples to secure foil insulation, a dangerous practice linked to three New Zealand deaths in 2007.

Mr Fuller, 25, was electrocuted doing that on October 14, 2009.

Mr Wilson asked why the use of foil wasn't immediately suspended after Mr Fuller's death.

"I can't say way it was done, only that I made representations to that effect including before the death happened and that practice continued," Mr Kimber said.

The government should have taken "time out" from the program because of the risk of further deaths and fires, he said.

Mr Kimber said throughout 2009 he raised concerns about the program with his superiors, including environment department assistant secretary Kevin Keeffe, both privately and via email.

However the royal commission does not have copies of those emails.

Mr Hanger warned Mr Kimber to be careful not to put the commonwealth lawyer onto a chain of emails that didn't exist.

But Mr Kimber maintained he sent the emails, although he couldn't be precise about their content.

The Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) will conduct a search for the emails.

The inquiry resumes on Friday.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More

Father of missing girl distraught

A frantic search has begun for a three-year-old girl feared abducted from her south Queensland home. Source: AAP

THE father of missing three-year-old Chloe Campbell believes someone who knows the family took her.

Garth Campbell says there is no way his youngest daughter could have left their family home alone.

When he awoke on Thursday morning, Chloe, who usually sleeps in the lounge, was missing.

A window was open and when he looked out, an adult-sized footprint was on the car.

Chloe's sleeping bag - patterned with wizards and dragons - was gone as well as her trusty companion, a stuffed toy dog named Gnarly.

"I don't think there's any possible way she's wandered off," Mr Campbell told AAP.

"She wouldn't leave the yard by herself."

The family usually shuts the windows of their Childers' home at dusk each night to keep out mosquitoes, but on Wednesday Mr Campbell believes one of the latches must not have caught.

"That's why we are blaming ourselves," he said.

Chloe's two older sisters Janae, eight, and Britney, five, have their own room in the two-bedroom Childers house.

But on Wednesday all three girls slept in the lounge.

When Janae awoke to go to the toilet in the morning, Chloe wasn't in the lounge room, Mr Campbell said.

Janae had thought Chloe had sneaked into her parent's room as she had been sick lately.

A distraught Mr Campbell believes that someone who knew where Chloe slept took her.

"I think it's got to be someone who knows me, in how they got in, where she sleeps," Mr Campbell said.

"They knew she was sleeping in front of the TV."

Mr Campbell is asking for prayers and is clinging to hope that if Chloe's been abducted, she is being cared for.

"I hope someone that's taken her is looking after her," he said.

"Giving her brekky, lunch, I don't know, I don't know what to think.

"Maybe someone took her who can't have kids or something like that."

Mother Tammy Campbell reported Chloe missing at 7am Thursday.

A major land and air search is underway and will go into the night.

Police tape has been placed around the house and the nearby showground is being searched.

"We hold very serious concerns for the safety for the little girl, as we do for every missing person reported," Inspector Kevin Gutteridge said.

Childers, about a half hour drive southwest of Bundaberg, has a population of less than 1500.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More

Jobless might stymie rate rise: ACCI

Written By kemala yuspita on Senin, 07 April 2014 | 15.02

ACCI economist Buchell Wilson has warned that the jobless rate could hit 6.5 per cent this year. Source: AAP

DIFFICULT business conditions could push the jobless rate above government predictions to 6.5 per cent this year, a key business group has warned.

As such, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) acting chief economist Burchell Wilson believes it is still too early to completely rule out another interest rate cut.

The chamber's latest survey of investor confidence showed sales and profits remained weak in the first three months of 2014, the later falling back towards a recent record low.

Such trading conditions are undermining the willingness of business to invest and employ.

"This challenges the view that there is going to be an upswing in non-mining investment that will offset the downturn in the resources sector in the year ahead," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

The business conditions index eased to 49 points in the March quarter from 50.6 points in the previous quarter - back below the key 50-mark that separates contraction from expansion.

The survey's employment index has been sub-50 since June 2010.

"There is a risk that we see (unemployment) moving towards more like 6.5 per cent by the end of the year," Mr Burchell said.

This would be the highest in nearly 12 years and above the 6.25 per cent forecast by Treasury.

Labour force figures for March are released on Thursday.

Some economists expect an increase from the six per cent rate recorded in January and February.

However, ANZ chief economist Ivan Colhoun is somewhat more optimistic after his bank's own data showed job advertisements rose by another 1.4 per cent in March, on top of a 4.7 per cent jump the previous month.

"This suggests the peak in the unemployment rate may be close, although the rate of improvement in job advertising does not suggest a rapid fall in the unemployment rate," Mr Colhoun said.

Separately, the Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association performance of construction index posted a third consecutive monthly increase, rising two points in March.

However, at an index of 46.2 points, it also remains below the critical 50-point mark.

"The rebalancing of the construction sector as mining-related activity slows still has a considerable way to go," Ai Group director Peter Burn said.

Respondents to ACCI's survey fear interest rates will rise in the next 12 months and now see this, along with lending charges and raising a loan, among the top 10 of perceived constraints in doing business.

Mr Burchell believes the Reserve Bank may yet have to step in a cut the cash rate if the economy does not pan out as it hopes.

"Growth remains below trend, the unemployment rate is rising, wages growth is moderating, so this isn't really an environment in which we would necessarily expect to see expectations of a rate hike on the horizon," he said.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More

Man arrested over Collombet case

THE man wanted by police for questioning over the Brisbane murder of French student Sophie Collombet is in custody.

Benjamin James Milward, 25, was arrested in Coffs Harbour, on the NSW mid north coast, shortly before 3pm after being spotted at a Coles supermarket, it has been reported.

He was later arrested outside a home.

Ms Collombet's naked and battered body was found in a park on the banks of the Brisbane River more than a week ago.

Mr Milward, who was described by police as an itinerant, is due to appear in a Coffs Harbour court on Tuesday and Queensland police are expected to seek an extradition order.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More

Firm donated $5000 to meet Newman: ICAC

Australian Water Holdings donated $5000 in 2007 to meet Campbell Newman, an inquiry has heard. Source: AAP

AN Obeid-linked company forked out $5000 to meet Queensland Premier Campbell Newman when he was lord mayor of Brisbane, a NSW corruption inquiry has heard.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is probing claims infrastructure firm Australian Water Holdings (AWH), linked to former Labor MP Eddie Obeid and his family, corruptly billed Sydney Water for limousine rides, luxury hotel stays and lavish salaries.

The inquiry heard on Monday that AWH and a related firm, Australian Water Pty Ltd, paid $225,000 to a company owned by NSW Liberal Party fundraiser and Australian Hotels Association lobbyist Paul Nicolaou.

Counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson SC has told the inquiry there is "hard and fast evidence" the money was charged back to Sydney Water as "administrative costs" incurred by AWH as it built sewerage and water infrastructure around the city's northwest.

"What work did you do that related to the northwest growth centre," Mr Watson asked.

"I didn't know anything about it," Mr Nicolaou replied.

Instead, his work involved providing advice and opening doors, he said, including in Brisbane, where he arranged a meeting between former AWH chief executive Nick Di Girolamo and Mr Newman in the lead-up to his re-election as lord mayor of Brisbane in 2007.

"The Lord Mayor of Brisbane is happy to see you. The person whom I am liaising with on your behalf would like you to donate the $5k as soon as possible," he wrote in one 2007 email to Mr Di Girolamo.

That amount was then paid out by Australian Water Pty Ltd to a fundraising entity with the "fabulous Orwellian title" Forward Brisbane Leadership, Mr Watson told the inquiry.

"There was a price on meeting Campbell Newman," he put to Mr Nicolaou.

"Yes, if you look at it that way," Mr Nicolaou replied.

"He would meet Di Girolamo if Di Girolamo paid $5000, correct?" Mr Watson asked.

"Correct," the witness said.

Mr Nicolaou said the money went towards Mr Newman's lord mayoral re-election campaign.

Mr Newman flew to China on Monday morning for a trade mission with other premiers and Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Deputy Opposition leader Tim Mulherin says the premier needs to explain if any favours were given as a result of any meeting.

"Was this the way business was done under Campbell Newman as Lord Mayor?" he asked.

"If necessary the premier should come back to Queensland and provide explanations to what are very serious allegations."

A spokeswoman for Mr Newman told AAP the premier never asked for money to go towards his re-election, nor was it habit to do so.

The Brisbane City Council said the LNP returned the $5000 donation last month following revelations concerning Australian Water Holdings.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More

Terrorist Bashir 'wants elections bombed'

SUSPECTED Bali bombing mastermind Abu Bakar Bashir has encouraged his supporters to attack this week's Indonesian legislative elections, according to a report.

The convicted terrorist has asked supporters not to be "unproductive" and to disrupt the polls, to be held on Wednesday, Police Lieutenant Colonel Adi Deriyan Jayamarta told Indonesia's Kompas news website.

He says police have already been warned by Indonesia's anti-terror forces that a terrorist network could be planning an attack.

The police chief, based in Malang, East Java, has ordered officers to stay in communication with religious leaders and approach any suspicious object with care, especially near polling stations.

"There's expert personnel who will handle it," he said on Monday.

"Don't think that you have some kind of 'blast-free magic' and handle it yourself."

According to Lt Col Adi, Detachment 88, Indonesia's counter-terror squad, had information from a terror suspect involved with a network "that has done military training for firearm and bomb usage".

Bashir, the founder of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), is serving 15 years in Nusa Kambangan, a high-security jail off the coast of central Java dubbed the Alcatraz of Indonesia.

He was acquitted over the 2002 Bali bombings, but was jailed over his role in setting up a terror cell in Aceh.

Indonesia's counter-terrorism agency chief in 2012 told AAP Bashir was still giving orders from behind bars, albeit to a group with a different name, but the same radical ideology as JI.

The bombing of two Kuta nightclubs in 2002 killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More

Salvo boss 'delayed' reporting abuser

Written By kemala yuspita on Jumat, 04 April 2014 | 15.02

Salvation Army Commissioner James Condon did not report historical abuse, an inquiry has heard. Source: AAP

ONE of the Salvation Army's top leaders in Australia waited nine months before telling authorities about a known sex abuser, who was also his friend, an inquiry has been told.

Commissioner James Condon delayed reporting Colin Haggar, who was running an army crisis shelter for women and children in 2013, a witness told a royal commission hearing in Sydney.

The commission heard last week that Mr Haggar confessed in 1989 to the mother of an eight-year-old girl that he had sexually assaulted her.

He was dismissed by the army, but re-admitted in 1993 and promoted.

On Friday, the hearing was told that other army officers were concerned about Mr Haggar's continued contact with children and in early 2013 raised the matter with Mr Condon, commander of the army's eastern territory of NSW, Queensland and the ACT.

During this hearing, it has been revealed Mr Condon officiated at Colin and Kerry Haggar's wedding and went with Mr Haggar to police after he admitted assaulting the girl.

Simeon Beckett, counsel for the commission, said no records of that police report could be found.

On Friday, the commission heard it was nine months after concerns were raised with Mr Condon that Mr Haggar was involuntarily retired and demoted from lieutenant colonel to major.

Captain Michelle White, director of the army's Young Hope foster care service, said she was approached in early 2013 by two officers who had concerns about Mr Haggar.

They had told Mr Condon, but nothing had happened. Ms White explained there was a mandatory reporting obligation and followed up the matter with Mr Condon.

She pointed out she had a legal, ethical and moral obligation to report "my knowledge that we have an active Salvation Army officer with a known history of a child related sexual offence."

Ms White then met with Mr Condon who said: "Michelle, if what you are telling me is correct, there are hundreds of matters that should have been reported over the years, that haven't been reported".

He also told her "that couldn't be possible".

Ms White said she understood from Mr Condon it would now be reported, but later learned Salvation Army's obligations to report were being explored.

On August 23, she again wrote to Mr Condon and received a short reply that "this matter has been dealt with".

On September 4, she reported the matter herself to the Ombudsman and the guardian's office.

Ms White said Mr Condon wrote to her saying he wished she had not done it without telling them.

She interpreted it as a rebuke.

Ms White also said that she felt conflicted and was aware of the sensitivities and conflicts around friendships in the army.

In the days prior to the start of this hearing, she received an email on Facebook from Kerry Haggar, with whom she was friends.

Ms Haggar is a lieutenant colonel and on the army's executive committee.

The email said "the chain of events you set in place have caused devastation and incredible pain to many innocent people. In attempting to protect families you have caused irreparable damage to mine."

Ms White said she was upset and could understand Ms Haggar's distress, but thought it inappropriate.

Kate Eastman SC, counsel for the Salvation Army, said Ms Haggar had been stood down on Friday.

The commission also heard she will seek leave to be legally represented at the commission, which resumes on Monday.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More

Last drinks to last a little longer

The O'Farrell government's anti-violence measures, including last drinks at 3am and 1.30am lockouts, have reportedly seen assaults in the city fall since being introduced in February.

But Sydney's late-night revellers will have an extra hour to drink on Sunday thanks to daylight savings coming to an end.

At 3am on Sunday morning, clocks will have to be wound back an hour, giving people in the CBD and Kings Cross another hour to drink before last drinks are served.

Instead of drawing the line when the clock strikes 3am for the first time on Sunday morning, it's understood the O'Farrell government will not stop punters from having an extra hour of drinking.

Hospitality Minister George Souris says many people in NSW will likely use the extra hour to catch up on sleep, but his spokesman wouldn't comment on whether there were any concerns that drunken violence could rise that night.

Parliament this year passed a series of tough laws targeting drunken and drug-fuelled violence, including eight-year minimum mandatory sentences for fatal one-punch assaults if alcohol or drugs are involved.

The measures follow public outrage over the rise of serious drunken assaults in Sydney.

15.02 | 0 komentar | Read More
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