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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Comments Off on Federal department made aware of Bronwyn Bishop’s charter flight to Nowra

Federal department made aware of Bronwyn Bishop’s charter flight to Nowra

Federal department made aware of Bronwyn Bishop’s charter flight to Nowra

Refused to stand down: Bronwyn Bishop answers questions about the helicopter flight. Photo: James BrickwoodEmbattled federal Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has revealed a federal department is examining two more charter flights she has admitted could have been used to attend party political events.
Nanjing Night Net

The development comes as Fairfax Media can reveal that Mrs Bishopcharged taxpayers almost $1000 a day to travel in luxuriousprivate limousines during her $90,000 fortnight in Europ

The Speaker finally conceded on Saturday that she made an “error of judgment” when shechartered a $5227 helicopter to make the short journey from Melbourne to Geelong for a Liberal Party fundraiser last year.

Mrs Bishop refused to say sorry to the Australian taxpayer over the episode, saying her refund was apology enough. Despite admitting the only reason she travelled to Victoria on November 5 last yearwas for the party event at agolf club,she dismissed any suggestion she would resign her position as head of the federal Parliament.

“One doesn’t resign for an error of judgment that is within the guidelines,” she said.

Mrs Bishop revealedshe had also asked the Department of Finance to look into two other charter flights she had taken since becoming Speaker –one to Young and one to Nowra –for the sake of “completeness”.

“There were certainly public meetings, there could have been a fundraiser as well,” she said.

But the charters are far from the only extravagance in Mrs Bishop’s expense reports.

Fairfax Media can reveal the Speaker racked up a $14,000 limo billin a little over a fortnight during her European trip in October.

On the same trip, Mrs Bishop’s four fellow delegates spent between $1200 and $2800 each on ground transport. They typically travelled by public transport or in more modest embassy-arranged cars.

“There was a black BMW carting her around like royalty,” said a source involved with the trip. “She wasn’t about to take her eight-inch heels on the subway.”

The Speaker’s chief of staff and spokesman Damien Jones, who was on the trip with another staff member, confirmed the spending on Saturday.

“All presiding officers get their own transport,” he told Fairfax Media. “In fact I think any head of delegations gets their own transport. So yes, that accounts for the $14,000.”

Mrs Bishop and her staff also spent $42,000 on flights and $25,000 on meals and accommodation. The other parliamentarians – the Coalition’s Nola Marino and Cory Bernardi​, and Labor’s Glenn Sterle​ and Tony Zappia​ – each spent a fraction of those amounts.

The trip was partly aimed at securing Mrs Bishop a plum new job. She was running for president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a democracy group based in Switzerland. She lost the vote to Bangladesh’s candidate.

Reminded the Treasurer had said the helicopter charter “failed the sniff test”, Mrs Bishop said: “Joe [Hockey] says some funny thing sometimes, doesn’t he? I think he said poor people don’t drive cars or something.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott was standing by his hand-picked Speaker on Saturday.In his first public comments on the expenses scandal, Mr Abbott said he would not ask her to step down.

“No.She’srepaidthemoneyandshedoesagoodjob,”MrAbbotttoldreportersinQueensland.

“Bronwynadmitted it was probably an error of judgement and she’s repaid the money.She has my confidence.”

Mrs Bishop repaid the $5227 cost of the charter –plus a $1300 penalty –amid intense political and public pressure on Thursday.

Mr Abbott dismissed a suggestion she should standaside as the department conducts its audit. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to stand aside simply because the finance department might be having a look at something.”

He also dismissed suggestions that Mrs Bishop was being treated differently to former speaker Peter Slipper, who faced criminal chargesover his expenses.

Labor has called on the Australian Federal Police to investigate the Bronwyn Bishop expenses scandal without further delay, saying the Department of Finance’sinternal audit should not stand in the way of a criminal inquiry.

Oppositionwaste-watch spokesman Pat Conroy hashas written to the AFPfor a second time, urging it to probe the chopper episode.The AFP has referred the matter to the finance department under what is known as the Minchin protocol​, which allowsthe department to conduct an audit to determine whether allegations are credible. If it decides there has been serious and deliberate wrongdoing it can refer the case back to the police.

But Labor believes the protocols do not apply if allegations are referred directly to the AFP.

“Refusing to investigate the allegations against Mrs Bishop would be inconsistent with the approach taken in the Slipper case,” Mr Conroy said.”In any event, the Minchin protocol is no impediment to a police investigation into Mrs Bishop’s conduct.”

Laborbelieves the case hinges on whether Mrs Bishop signed a Presiding Officer’s Charter Certification form. The form requires the Speaker to confirm that a charter is for her”office holder duties” and states that knowingly giving false or misleading information is a serious criminal offence.

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

Comments Off on Apartment buyers seek ‘walkable’ neighbourhoods that are a step up from the rest

Apartment buyers seek ‘walkable’ neighbourhoods that are a step up from the rest

Apartment buyers seek ‘walkable’ neighbourhoods that are a step up from the rest

The humble Australian backyard is becoming a historic relic of fading aspirations for the quarter-acre block.
Nanjing Night Net

Melburnians are increasingly shifting to apartment living for its affordability and convenience.

The neighbourhood is the new backyard.

Apartment-dwellers are taking a more communal approach to their recreational spaces both inside and surrounding their buildings and anywhere they can walk to is now part of their territorial claim of “home”.

That includes neighbourhood cafes, shops, markets, parks and public transport and all the other places we walk to as part of our day-to-day lives.

“You can’t have a walkable neighbourhood if you haven’t got anywhere to walk to – that’s the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker,” explains Professor Billie Giles-Corti, the director of the University of Melbourne’s McCaughey VicHealth Unit for Community Wellbeing, who has led studies of the city’s walkability.

“It’s the mix of destinations that is really important and the first thing to have is connected streets.”

Another pre-condition of walkability is density as low-density suburbs do not have enough population to support a large mix of shops and services as walkable destinations.

Developers often trumpet the “walk score” of their prized location as a selling point for their inner-city apartment projects.

What does it all mean? The Walk Score website was founded in the US but provides walk scores for Melbourne suburbs assessing how easy it is to get around on foot to various amenities.

The site ranks Melbourne’s most walkable suburbs with scores in the 90s as Carlton, Fitzroy, Fitzroy North, Melbourne, St Kilda, South Yarra, East Melbourne, South Melbourne, Collingwood and Windsor.

At the other end of the walkability scale, the most car-dependent suburbs with scores in the 30s are Derrimut, Narre Warren South, Belgrave South, Roxburgh Park, Rosebud West, Mount Evelyn, Endeavour Hills, Altwood, Lilydale and Croydon North.

It’s not just students and young people who are seeking car-optional neighbourhoods.

Health-conscious Baby Boomers who have finally emptied the nest want to enjoy their newfound freedom on foot now they have removed the shackles of their more remote suburban homes.

“We see that when people come out of large homes into apartments, they want an increased lifestyle because they’ve got more time on their hands not having to maintain large properties and backyards and pools,” the managing director of 360 Property Group John Meagher says. “The café culture is a massive driver.”

Professor Giles-Corti says the health benefits of living in walkable neighbourhoods is significant, with evidence of lower rates of obesity and chronic disease where residents are less reliant on cars. “It’s really the good news story,” she says.

Young families are joining the shift to apartments in highly walkable suburbs reducing the need for the “mum taxi”, although heavy traffic in high-density neighbourhood acts as a deterrent to walking particularly for children.

Domain Group senior economist Dr Andrew Wilson says that despite the rise of telecommuting allowing people to work from home, they still want to get out and about, which is why digital services like online grocery shopping have limited demand.

“I think there is a move towards areas where you can compartmentalise all the things you need to do within walking distance,” he says. “I don’t think we are ever going to just live in our own little bunkers as there will always be a need for personal interaction with the things that we do.”What makes a suburb “walkable”?A well-connected street network that allows plenty of pedestrian routes encourages walking.A good variety of shops and services, including supermarkets and medical centres, encourages walking for all the needs of day-to-day living.Cafes, restaurants and bars in close proximity encourage people to get out on foot.Traffic has a large impact. Busy roads deter people from walking, especially children.While parks are good for mental health and exercise, too much public open space can reduce walkability as there are a lack of other destinations.Density is necessary for walkability. Low-density areas do not have the population to support a variety of shops and services as destinations.A walkable neighbourhood has good public transport that promotes less reliance on the car.Outdoor facilities that accommodate the needs of all ages of children, such as play equipment for young children and basketball courts or skateboarding parks for adolescents.

663 Chapel Street South Yarra  $460,000 – $6.9 million

AN elegant new addition to the ever-rising skyline of South Yarra is the 21-level Royal Como development on Chapel Street featuring spacious apartments aimed at downsizers.

Adjacent to Melbourne High School in one of the city’s most walkable suburbs, the 112-apartment project by Chinese developer C&L International Holdings is close to South Yarra’s swanky fashion boutiques, restaurants and cafes and is only 100 metres from South Yarra train station.

Designed by Bruce Henderson Architects with interiors by Nexus Design, Royal Como and will have an Australian theme with artworks commissioned from Australian artists on every floor creating an art gallery feel.

The building’s exterior of silver reflective glass and a diagonal motif was inspired by the nearby Yarra River.

“We wanted to give the façade that sense of movement, a bit like the ripples of the Yarra,” says Bruce Henderson Architects director John Scaramuzzino. “It helps give the building a sense of visual energy.”

The apartments are generously sized with one-bedrooms from 46 to 69 square metres internally, two-bedroom apartments 75 to 109 square metres, three-bedrooms 180 to 210 square metres and a four-bedroom penthouse sized at 326 square metres. Outdoor spaces range from six-square-metre balconies to 190-square metre terraces.

The sixth level of the development features a pool overlooking Chapel Street, a gymnasium, a residents lounge and an outdoor terrace with barbecue facilities.

Royal Como is being marketed by Knight Frank, 0438 346 313. A display suite at 663 Chapel Street, South Yarra, is open daily from 11am-3pm.

  Stepping out in style

Doug Eastick is rather fond of walking. So much so, he once set out to do a lap around the Tan walking track which soon became three, then six, and finally 11 laps to walk a full marathon distance – just for fun.

“I’m 49 and I like walking – to the Tan, to the city, to the MCG. That’s part of my health,” the private school property manager says.

His desire to live within walking distance of supermarkets, parks, restaurants and the MCG to see his beloved Tigers play was a key factor in his search for the right apartment.

That quest ended in the off-the-plan purchase of a two-bedroom apartment at the Royal Como development in South Yarra.

“It’s just a great location right on Chapel Street,” Eastick says. “You’ve got all the restaurants, Richmond, the MCG and all the other major sporting grounds and you’ve got Fawkner Park, the Botanical Gardens and the Yarra Trail for cycling and walking along the river.”

Eastick was also impressed with the size and layout of the apartment and looks forward to the low-maintenance lifestyle. “Because I’m in property myself, the last thing I want to do when I retire is maintain properties which I’ve done my whole life,” he says. ]]>DomainThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments Off on Blueheelers end their losing run

Blueheelers end their losing run

Blueheelers end their losing run

DOMINATING: Yenda’s Peter Rameka barrelling over for his second try of the day in Yenda’s round 12 victory at Wade Park on Sunday. Picture: Anthony Stipo.
Nanjing Night Net

The Yenda Blueheelers have put a halt to their three-game slide with a comprehensive 34-6 win over Yanco Wamoon Hawks at Wade Parkon Sunday.

Sitting in sixth place on the ladder and just one point behind Yanco, this was a vital match for both clubs if they had hopesto play finals football.

Ten minutes into the gameYenda found themselvesright on Yanco’s goal line.

Yenda had three sets on the trotand eventually found the line through a barging Peter Rameka.

Just five minutes later Yenda were on the attack again after a Yanco knock-on gifted them field position.

A beautifully weighted kick to the corner saw Todd Granger go over for Yenda’s second of the day.

On the ensuing kick-off Jake Melvin made it clear that Yenda had the momentum, leaving a trail of Yanco players behind him on the way to half-way line.

It wasn’t soon after that Rameka found thetry line once again, going over for his second ofthe day and his team’s third.

William Hannon converted to remain perfect up to that point and push the score to 18-0.

Yanco still had some life in them as they ran in a try of their own thanks to Sean McDowell.

With just five minutes until the end of the half, Yanco knocked on inside their own 10, gifting Yenda field position.

It took them no time at all to pounce on the opportunity as Geoff Cook scooted over in the corner for his first of the day.

A missed conversion from the sideline left the score at 22-6 going into the break.

Yanco needed a quick start in the second half if they were any chance of a comeback, but simple errors cost them dearly.

With 20 minutes to go it was Cook who barged over the line once again.

With the game all but over Cook once more found the try line, getting a hat-trick in the process.

Yenda coach Tom Sellars was pleased his team was able to play out the whole 80 minutes.

“At training we drilled the importance of the gameinto the boys and they responded great,” he said.

“This year we’vestruggled to finish teams off and today we did that well.

“We stuck it out and played the whole 80 minutes.”

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

Comments Off on No bite on Nats leader rumour

No bite on Nats leader rumour

No bite on Nats leader rumour

Michael McCormack
Nanjing Night Net

MEMBER for Riverina Michael McCormack isn’t buying into speculation he could be tapped to be an alternate contender to be the next Nationals leader following Cabinet fallout on the Shenhua mine decision.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s sustained criticisms of the decision to approve the Shenhua coal mine in his northern NSW electorate, madeby Environment Minister Greg Hunt, have raised questions about cabinet protocol and invited questions about his suitability to succeed current Nationals leader Warren Truss when he chooses to retire.

Mr McCormack, however, insists he hasn’t thought about the leadership issue, or when Mr Truss may choose to leave politics.

“That’s a matter for Warren and Lyn Truss,” he said.

“I haven’t thought about it –I’m concentrating on doing my very best for the Riverina.”

Neither, he says, has Mr Joyce done anything wrong by his fellow cabinet members in dissenting over the mine decision.

In the aftermath of the decision, Mr Joyce made a specific point in saying his criticism stemmed from his role as a minister, rather than just as a concerned local member.

“There are some ‘die in the ditch’ issues you just have to say, ‘I disagree with my side of politics’,” he said.

“Kay Hull did it (over the sale ofTelstra), I did it (over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan) and Barnaby Joyce has done it. Principles should always win out.”

Mr McCormack recalls being told his choice to cross the floor over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in late 2012 would be a “blot on his copybook”, but said the retribution promised at the time never eventuated.

“You do these things because you have to look people in the eye in your area –those who vote for you and those who don’t for you,” he said.

On the Shenhua mine approval, Mr McCormackstressed the Environment Minister had the sole call, rather than it being a collective cabinet process, and it represented only one of 17 steps in the process.

However, he lamented the decision being made the same day as the government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper was launched.“Why was the decision made about the precise time the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper was launched?” Mr McCormack said.

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

Comments Off on Calls for ice hotline

Calls for ice hotline

Calls for ice hotline

MESSAGE: Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs chair Kay Hull speaks at the Wagga Ice Forum on Thursday. Picture: Kieren L Tilly
Nanjing Night Net

CALLS to establish a national support hotline for those affected by the ice scourge have arisen as a result of a forum held about the drug’s growing influencein Wagga.

A frequent concern raised by audience members at the forum on Thursday night was the lack of support services available –not only for those who become addicted to the drug, but others left to pick up the pieces from the fall-out.

One woman angrily confronted panelists at the forum about the lack of support services for friends and family of addicts and education on the subject.

Kay Hull, the chair of the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs, a key member of the national ice taskforce and convenor of Thursday’s forum, said the creation of a national hotline was critical in the fight to curb the drug’s rapidly spreading reach.

“The number one gap for me is you need a national number –one number everyone knows, that’s in every pub, every phone book, every chemist, every place,” she said.

“One number you go to which will triage you through the area you need to be at. That’s what we need right now in Australia, right this minute.”

Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, who found Thursday’s forum a “raw and emotional” experience, has backed the call for the establishment of a national hotline.

“The thing I really took home from (the forum) is we do need a national hotline and it would be great to have a national service to be able to confront this problem,” he said.

“Hopefully that will be one of the recommendations out of the national taskforce –perhaps we can have a 1800-number where people seeking assistance can go.”

Mrs Hull said the sheer raw emotion displayed at the Wagga forum, combined with the amount of people willing to stand and identify themselves as having dealt first-hand with the ice problem, was something she hadn’t seen at events held elsewhere.

“One of the things that resonated very strongly with me was the sheer emotional frustration of one of the parents who were looking after the grandchildren,” Mrs Hull said.

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