Qld Labor has secret plan to govern

by admin on July 30th, 2019

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Queensland Labor claims it has kept a secret plan to make the transition to government since before the election.

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There have been reports the shock results of the state election on Saturday night also caught the party, reduced to seven MPs three years ago, completely by surprise.

Former Labor treasurer Keith De Lacy even says the inexperience of the party’s potential ministers could have a destabilising effect on the economy.

But a spokesman says Labor has had a plan “known to only a handful of people”, including former long-time treasurer Terry Mackenroth, to move to government since before the election was called.

Labor Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s office drew up the plan with input from Mr Mackenroth and other senior state Labor figures.

“It is ready to be implemented should Labor be called on to form government,” the spokesman told AAP.

However, neither the Liberal National Party (LNP) nor Labor has secured the minimum 45 seats needed to form a majority government.

Labor held 42 seats and the LNP 38 with five seats too close to call on Tuesday afternoon.

Two Katter’s Australian Party MPs – Rob Katter and Shane Knuth – and independent Peter Wellington could hold the balance of power.

The three crossbenchers are set to hold formal talks with Ms Palaszczuk and an LNP negotiation team on Wednesday.

The potential kingmakers have highlighted firmer scrutiny of government as their key priority.

Mr Knuth said both major parties had used their huge majorities in the past to “smash through legislation” that “devastated this state”.

“We are not in love with the Labor party or the LNP,” he said.

“I have not seen good governance in this last 11 years and we are welcoming of the fact that it (the election) is bringing back a balance.”

In the event of a hung parliament, Mr Wellington would only support the party that was committed to bringing back strong oversight powers.

“That’s front and centre,” he told AAP.

Mr Wellington also took aim at political donations and said there needed to be a proper investigation into the previous LNP government.

“There have been some serious allegations raised during this election that have to be investigated by an independent body that we all have confidence in,” he said.

“People do not make sizeable donations to a candidate or a political party unless they want something in return.”

No matter if Labor forms a majority or a minority government, senior Labor MP Jackie Trad promised it would be a mature, disciplined government focused on jobs growth.

“We will roll up our sleeves and we will get to work, working, listening and collaborating with everyone, the business community, unions, everyone,” Ms Trad said.

The LNP continued to lie low on Tuesday, insisting they would elect a new leadership team when the count was complete.

Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck flaps into Melbourne

by admin on July 30th, 2019

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Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck has landed in Melbourne, bringing all its sensory delights with it.

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The internationally renowned chef’s three Michelin Star restaurant has made the journey from Bray in Berkshire, England, to Melbourne, where it will remain for three months while its Bray residence gets a makeover.

And there’s a reason the maverick chef chose this particular corner of the world.

“Australia has gone food crazy!” Blumenthal said. “They get so excited, so excited about food!”

The famous 15 course menu, centred around molecular gastronomy, will remain the same during its sojourn, although diners will get a taste of Australia too.

“Australia has gone food crazy! They get so excited, so excited about food!”

“We’ve got some beautiful marron from Western Australia,” said head chef Johnny Lake.

“Our lamb is coming from South Australia.”

There’ll also be local wine and whiskey from Tasmania.

The multi-sensory menu, which includes The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Snail Porridge and Sounds of the Sea, reads like a story book, and that’s no accident considering Heston Blumenthal’s inspiration.

“Alice in Wonderland’s the one that does it for me, because the way Lewis Caroll writes, the metaphor side of it is really power and also I love the way he gets Alice to make logic out of surreal situations.”

“It’s theatre, it’s going down the rabbit hole into another land – it’s fun, it should be fun.”

From $525 a head, or $725 with matching wines, dining at The Fat Duck isn’t exactly cheap.

But that didn’t stop more than 250,000 people entering the ballot. Of them, 15, 000 were randomly selected.

“It’s theatre, it’s going down the rabbit hole into another land – it’s fun, it should be fun.”

Ryan Perry was one of them, flying in from Sydney with three others for the opening lunch.

“They’re things you’re not going to eat every day,” he said.

“It’s just a once in a lifetime opportunity, he’s only out here for six months, you know why wouldn’t you want to come here and experience it.”

Stephanie Grentell feels the same way.

“It’s not about the money it’s about the experience, this is something we’ll talk about for the rest of our lives.”

 

Watchdog bites back at bugging inquiry

by admin on July 30th, 2019

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NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour has warned a parliamentary inquiry any rushed judgment could jeopardise his long-running and much-criticised inquiry into a police bugging scandal.

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Mr Barbour defended his two-year probe into a controversial internal police phone tapping operation in which more than 100 officers were bugged, saying critics had failed to understand the huge scale of the investigation.

The independent public watchdog also rejected the claims of NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas that he had tried to silence whistleblowers in the 15-year-old scandal that reaches to the highest levels of the NSW police force.

Mr Barbour faced the NSW Upper House inquiry into his investigation, Operation Prospect, after criticism from police and journalists, that he was hunting down whistleblowers.

Operation Prospect is examining the handling of investigations into Operation Mascot and Operation Florida – two police internal affairs operations from 2000 that allegedly obtained warrants to bug more than 100 officers using false information.

Subjects of bugging found out their names were on warrants after receiving them anonymously through the mail.

Mr Kaldas said he was targeted by officers with whom he was in conflict.

He said the ombudsman humiliated and denigrated him during questions that focused on how he got the leaked warrant rather than any bugging.

But Mr Barbour said he rejected the claims of Mr Kaldas and other critics.

“The conclusions that they have drawn from the durations and subject matters of their own examinations are baseless,” he said.

Mr Barbour revealed that while he had questioned Mr Kaldas for one day he had questioned Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn – the team leader on Operation Mascot – for four days.

He said he did not ask the targets of bugging about how decisions to bug them were taken because they would not have useful information.

“To suggest that my inquiry is focused on targeting whistleblowers is quite simply false,” Mr Barbour said.

Mr Barbour defended the time his $4.9 million investigation has taken, saying it had accumulated more than one million pages of evidence.

He revealed that he is investigating 80 warrants in which Mr Kaldas was named, not just two that had been mentioned previously, and 52 warrants in which a journalist, Steve Barrett, was named.

He refused to tell the committee whether any officer he interviewed had claimed to have a reason for bugging Mr Kaldas.

Mr Barbour stood by his questioning of bugging targets about the leaks, however, saying the removal and distribution of confidential police records had to be investigated.

He warned the committee to not to pass judgments based on incomplete evidence, saying it could make final resolution of the bugging scandal “all the more difficult and possibly impossible”.

Mr Barbour said he would release his report in June.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione will appear before the committee on Wednesday.

Phipps happy to stay put while rivals go

by admin on July 30th, 2019

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Incumbent Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps has no intention of joining his major rivals for a World Cup spot on the European rugby gravy train and wants to stay in Australia for the long term.

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It was reported on Tuesday that Australia’s most experienced Test halfback, Will Genia, was believed to have signed a three-year deal with French club Stade Francais, starting after the World Cup.

Also heading to France after that tournament to join Montpelier is Brumbies halfback Nic White, who was the main rival to Phipps during the Wallabies 2014 campaign.

Happily staying put in Australia is 26-year-old Sydney-born Phipps, who enjoyed a breakout year in 2014, when he returned to the Waratahs after three seasons with Melbourne Rebels.

Phipps was a prominent part of the NSW Super Rugby title-winning team and played in all 14 Tests last year, doubling his tally of caps to 28.

He started the last nine Tests, after coming off the bench behind White in the first five.

Phipps signed a two-year contract extension with Australia and NSW in the final week of 2014, tying himself to those teams to the end of the 2017 season.

“I’m very happy with the position I’m in at the moment,” Phipps told AAP on Tuesday.

“I love NSW and I feel I was playing some of my best footy last year, just because I’m back home around my parents and my family and friends from school and uni.

“For me it was a no-brainer.

“I want to stay here. I’ve worked so hard to get into the position I am now why would I go off overseas when there’s still a lot here to complete?

“It’s not like I’ve done anything in the game yet that I can really hang my hat on.

“I just want to be around and working hard at getting Australia back to that top position in the world and NSW back where they belong and try to be a part of it all in the long term.”

Phipps felt both he and NSW would need to improve greatly.

“I don’t think you can be comfortable with what happened last year, and sit back on your heels about that,” Phipps said.

“The improvement that we’re going to need as a team in the `Tahs just to be competing again and improvement in my game that I’m going to need, is pretty astronomical at the moment.”

Phipps is set to make his first pre-season appearance in the Waratahs final trial on Friday against the Chiefs.

Black Caps overwhelm Pakistan in Napier

by admin on July 30th, 2019

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New Zealand have banked two thumping wins over Pakistan heading into the World Cup following a 119-run rout in the second One-Day International in Napier.

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In the last official ODI for both teams before the tournament begins next week, New Zealand accrued a mammoth 369-5 before dismissing the tourists for 250 in 43.1 overs.

Rapid centuries to Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor helped build the Black Caps’ fifth-largest score.

Pakistan maintained a slim chance of chasing it down on a flat McLean Park pitch when Mohammad Hafeez (86) and Ahmed Shehzad (55) put on 111 for the opening stand.

However, they capitulated as the required run rate grew, losing steady wickets with only captain Misbah-ul-Haq (45) getting past 13.

Daniel Vettori (1-41 off 10 overs) was at his miserly best, removing danger man Shahid Afridi cheaply, while fellow-spinner Nathan McCullum and seamers Tim Southee, Adam Milne and Grant Elliott all bagged two wickets in a cohesive attack.

Following a seven-wicket loss in Wellington on Saturday, Pakistan’s stocks sunk lower on Tuesday, including news that frontline pace bowler Junaid Khan has been ruled out of the World Cup after failing a fitness test on a thigh injury.

Apart from towering paceman Mohammad Irfan (2-52), their bowlers were picked off with ease, firstly by openers Martin Guptill (76) and Brendon McCullum (31) and then by Williamson (112 off 88 balls) and Taylor (102 not out off 70).

Williamson enhanced his world class reputation while Taylor’s rollicking knock finished with 10 runs off the last two balls of the innings to reach the 100th ODI century by a New Zealander.

It was a 12th ton for Taylor and the sixth for Williamson, who has scored 1014 runs from his last 16 innings at an average of 67.6.

Captain McCullum says his team improved on their 4-2 win over Sri Lanka last month.

“You have to be happy with where we’re at. We’ve played probably a couple of perfect games,” he said.

“We’ve had an outstanding schedule in our conditions, it’s the ideal World Cup preparation for us so there’s no excuses.

“The challenge is to maintain that freshness and momentum that we’ve built up over the last little while.”

Counterpart Misbah has overseen four losses in New Zealand, including setbacks in two warm-ups against an invitation team.

He says his team’s batting is seriously underdone while their bowling at the death needs considerable improvement.

“It was really tough work, I think we’re nowhere near our best, he said.”

New Zealand play unofficial warm-up games against Zimbabwe and South Africa in Christchurch next week before hosting the World Cup opener against Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval, Christchurch on February 14.

Pakistan play their first game against India in Adelaide a day later.