Monthly Archives:March 2019

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Assange set to sue PM

March 1st, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

JULIAN Assange has hired lawyers to find a way of suing Prime Minister Julia Gillard for defamation over the claim that WikiLeaks acted illegally in releasing a quarter of a million US diplomatic cables.
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In an interview from Ecuador’s embassy in London, Assange said Ms Gillard’s comment, made in late 2010, influenced MasterCard Australia to join an online financial blockade of the organisation.

Since November 2010, WikiLeaks has released more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

The White House and the Gillard government denounced the release.

”I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website,” Ms Gillard said several days after WikiLeaks began releasing the cables.

”It’s a grossly irresponsible thing to do, and an illegal thing to do.”

Australian activist group GetUp! recently interviewed Assange in his makeshift home inside Ecuador’s embassy. He has been sheltering at the embassy since June 19 as part of a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations.

Assange said he would be vulnerable to arrest in Sweden by the United States Justice Department, which is examining the possibility of charging people associated with WikiLeaks with espionage over the online publication of the classified cables.

He told GetUp! that WikiLeaks’ work had been stymied by Ms Gillard’s comments.

”MasterCard Australia, in justifying why it has made a blockade preventing any Australian MasterCard holder from donating to WikiLeaks, used that statement by Julia Gillard as justification,” he said.

”So the effects of the statement are ongoing and they directly affect the financial viability of WikiLeaks. We are considering suing for defamation. So I have hired lawyers in Sydney and they are investigating the different ways in which we can sue Gillard over that statement.”

Assange said the comments were particularly damaging because they ”licensed” other forms of attack on him and WikiLeaks.

During the interview, he also spoke of the impact of the past two years on his family, saying his children – a boy and a girl, of whom no details are known- have had to move homes and change their names.

The Age reported last month that declassified US counter-espionage reports revealed the US military considers Assange and WikiLeaks to be enemies of the United States under the terms of American military law.

GetUp! national director Sam McLean said the interview was the first step in a campaign calling on the Australian government to seek a commitment from American authorities that they will not attempt to extradite Assange over WikiLeaks.

”For too long the Prime Minister and the foreign ministers have put the interests of the US government ahead of Australian citizens. That is not good enough,” Mr McLean said.

”Our government must demand a binding agreement from the US that they will not seek the extradition of this Australian citizen for his work as a journalist and publisher.”

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Slipper believed he was spied upon

March 1st, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

Peter Slipper arrives at the Federal Court in Sydney.
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THE man who introduced Peter Slipper to former aide and accuser James Ashby was told by the stood-aside Speaker that he believed he was being spied on.

The Age has obtained 200 pages of court documents detailing every SMS sent between Mr Slipper and Mr Ashby – who is suing the Speaker and former employer for sexual harassment – over a nine-month period.

The text messages – which reveal a one-time close and ribald relationship between the politician and the former staffer – were filed by Mr Ashby’s legal team in the Federal Court on Friday but are not public.

Rhys Reynolds, who briefly worked in Mr Slipper’s office in 2011, took Mr Ashby with him to a cocktail function at Mr Slipper’s Buderim home about the middle of last year, several months before the independent MP hired Mr Ashby as his media adviser in December.

The new evidence tendered to court by Mr Ashby’s defence team reveals Mr Reynolds – Mr Ashby’s one-time school friend – visited Canberra in November last year and met with Mr Slipper.

Mr Reynolds then advised Mr Ashby by text that Mr Slipper had asked if Mr Reynolds was gay and that he thought he was visiting him ”to spy on him” in order to feed information to the local Sunshine Coast media. Mr Slipper also inquired as to whether Mr Reynolds was homosexual and if he and Mr Ashby were ”still together”.

”Lol that’s Peter. He is very intrigued by the whole gay thing,” Mr Ashby replied in a text message after Mr Reynolds recounted the conversation. ”Wtf? That’s very bizarre to think about the spy thing!!!”

As part of his defence to Mr Ashby’s sexual harassment claim, Mr Slipper told the Federal Court this week he believes Mr Ashby ”was placed” in his office or ”contrived a situation where he was able to come to my office” as part of an elaborate political conspiracy driven by the Liberal National Party as payback for leaving the LNP to accept the Speaker’s position in November last year.

But Mr Ashby’s barrister, Michael Lee, SC, tendered to court 200 pages of documents as part of his client’s defence against claims made by Mr Slipper that the aide was ”grooming” the Speaker, not the other way around.

The 200 pages of new evidence also reveal Mr Slipper asked his aide in December, ”Want to go to kings cross/taylor sq in syd?”

Mr Ashby told a friend he had been advised against taking the position in the Speaker’s office by the wife of Queensland cabinet minister Mark McArdle, Judy, who had worked in Mr Slipper’s office previously. In October last year, Mr Ashby suggested Mr Slipper aim for the speakership. Mr Slipper appeared surprised at the suggestion, sending Mr Ashby an SMS that read: ”Range of options open … Where did you get the idea I could become Speaker?”

The documents also reveal Mr Slipper distrusted the local media in his electorate as he believed his LNP rivals – including Mal Brough, now the preselected candidate in the seat of Fisher – were involved in a co-ordinated campaign to smear his reputation.

The affidavit includes every text message – notated with the words ”read” or ”sent” accompanied by editorialised explanatory remarks by Mr Ashby’s legal team. The hearings continue this week.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Washer calls for wheat bill deal

March 1st, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

West Australian Liberal backbencher Mal Washer.WEST Australian Liberal backbencher Mal Washer has condemned the ”agrarian socialists” in the Nationals for making life difficult for the Liberals on the controversial issue of wheat deregulation.
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As the Coalition deals with its internal fracture over the government’s bill to complete deregulation of the export industry, due to be debated this week, Dr Washer said: ”I would have thought the Liberal Party would have supported more deregulation. But we are dealing with agrarian socialists”.

He hoped for a compromise before there was a vote on the bill. Most wheat farmers in WA wanted deregulation, he said.

The Coalition is committed to opposing the bill, saying there should be a transition to deregulation, but WA Liberals are unhappy about this. If the bill passes the lower house, WA Liberal senator Dean Smith said he would cross the floor to support it in the Senate.

But the Nationals are split too. WA National Tony Crook said he, too, would cross the floor to support it. The eastern states’ Liberals are also divided – New South Wales Liberal Alby Schultz plans to abstain.

Dr Washer said he would consider crossing the floor only if there was a majority in both houses in favour of the bill. Its fate will depend on the crossbenchers in the lower house, who have different positions.

Former Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey, who lost his seat to Mr Crook in 2010, yesterday called for Tony Abbott to give Liberals a free vote. A strong backer of deregulation when he was in Parliament, Mr Tuckey said: ”In political terms, do you feed a boil, or do you lance it?”

WA Liberal senator Alan Eggleston called for a compromise – federal deregulation but state control for those who wanted regulation.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

JOHN Watson, owner of the Copper Lantern Motel in Rosebud, expected his power bills to rise by about 10 per cent under the carbon price, which was the amount forecast by the government for household increases.
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Last month he discovered the figure was considerably more than that. His provider has put a 2¢ carbon charge per kilowatt hour on top of his electricity charges. Because he is on a bargain tariff and his guests consume a lot of cheap, off-peak electricity, Mr Watson’s latest bill rose about 24 per cent.

”That’s $320 a month I no longer have, and it’s meant I’ve had to cut the hours of my casual cleaner,” he said after expressing his frustration in writing to his local MP, the federal Coalition’s Greg Hunt.

One hundred days since the Gillard government introduced its carbon price, power bill rises are a visible and indubitable impact.

As for the rest of the dire predictions, from Barnaby Joyce’s $100 roasts to Tony Abbott’s forecast that the steel town of Whyalla would be ”wiped off the map” – they are refusing to come true.

The prices of beef and lamb have fallen since June, according to Meat & Livestock Australia. A 1.7-kilogram leg of lamb from Woolworths online was last week going for just over $18.

Meanwhile, Whyalla’s main employer, Arrium, previously OneSteel, has been the target of an Asian takeover bid – a vote of confidence in Australia’s steel industry. The town, according to independent mayor Jim Pollock, is ”kicking goals”.

Countrywide, the economic data is solid. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index climbed from 95.6 points in June to 98.2 in September. Unemployment has fallen from 5.3 per cent in June to 5.1 per cent in August. There are 2900 more Australians employed now than there were before the carbon price.

Finance firm TD Securities and the Melbourne Institute said last week they had ”still not noticed any broad-based impact of the 1 July introduction of carbon pricing spilling over into prices”.

Even the power price rises aren’t always so bad. Another small business owner in Mr Hunt’s electorate, Michael Carroll, who runs an injection moulding firm on the Mornington Peninsula, got a better result.

Told he faced a 47 per cent rise, he shopped around using a price comparison website. A different retailer offered him a favourable deal – his current rate locked in for three years. Though he is still wary, describing the carbon price as ”another nail in the coffin” for the manufacturing sector, he says he’s ”feeling a bit more confident” about his own power costs.

The Gillard government is growing in its confidence that the electoral albatross around its neck just might shrink to a bearable weight.

But is it crowing too early when it says the hip-pocket pain Tony Abbott forecast has proved a mirage? There are probably still some price rises to come. Bill Lang, head of Small Business Australia, and Innes Willox, head of the Australian Industry Group, both say it will take a few power bill cycles for companies to be able to figure out what to pass on to their customers.

Mr Willox acknowledges many businesses ”had expectations they would be impacted harder than perhaps they have been”. But he adds: ”People are still feeling their way.”

That said, Michael Chua of the Melbourne Institute said he would have expected to see more price rises by now.

”We are into the third month of the carbon price. We should see this happening already.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Shutdown … instead of a second harbour crossing, the Infrastructure NSW strategy recommends upgrading track, stations and signalling.TRAIN services into central Sydney would be shut for months and restricted for years under plans by Infrastructure NSW to avoid building a second rail crossing over Sydney Harbour.
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That is according to analysis by Transport for NSW which, for half a decade, has been trying to avoid the cost of the crossing estimated at $10 billion.

The shutdown, which would affect the daily commute of tens of thousands of workers, would be needed under plans to upgrade stations in the central business district and track infrastructure. The objective would be to run up to 30 single-deck trains an hour instead of the 20 double-deckers it can run now.

The department and the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, rejected this idea only in May after deciding the disruption would not be worth the benefit.

Train commuters to the CBD would need to be dropped off on either side of the city – at Redfern, Chatswood or North Sydney – and taken by bus to the city. A limited service would remain for years.

The idea was revived last week as part of Infrastructure NSW’s 20-year strategy. Infrastructure NSW, set up as an independent adviser to the government, disputes the analysis. It says its job is to challenge a bias in Transport for NSW towards new infrastructure such as another harbour crossing.

”The general focus of the NSW transport bureaucracy over a very long time has been about building stuff,” the chairman of Infrastructure NSW, Nick Greiner, said last week. He wants to eke more out of the existing network. ”No matter where you come out you cannot believe that the existing thing is run anywhere near capacity,” he said.

Mr Greiner’s plan rejected the idea of adding to the city’s train system in the next two decades, beyond the north-west and south-west rail links.

Instead of a second harbour crossing, which Transport for NSW now says is necessary, the strategy recommends spending $5 billion in the next 20 years upgrading track, stations and signalling between the city and the lower north shore to allow more single-deck trains to cross the Harbour Bridge. It says the work could be carried out largely while trains were still running.

But the proposal echoes those being developed within Transport for NSW since at least 2008, which it has ruled out because of the disruption they would cause.

Analysis the Herald has obtained shows Transport for NSW concluded that for about ”four years there will be significant changes to the network operation in the CBD, with major disruption to operations, including no City Circle services from Central to Wynyard for three to four years (option dependent)”.

In fact, the disruption could be more intensive under the proposal by Infrastructure NSW.

The Transport for NSW proposal assumed the construction of a ”city relief line” or extra tracks between Redfern and Wynyard. These would help mitigate the impact on services while the existing tracks were overhauled and rerouted. But Infrastructure NSW proposes no spending on new CBD tracks for the next 20 years.

Switching to single-deck trains may sound simple but getting any extra capacity out of smaller trains with more doors would require rebuilding Wynyard and Town Hall station platforms.

It would also require closing lines so the complicated criss-cross of tracks between Redfern and Central could be rebuilt. Infrastructure NSW acknowledges that ”junction remodelling” would be needed to link the inner west and north shore lines south of Central.

Internal Transport for NSW documents say the work would cause a big disruption on all lines for three to four years.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.