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Hockey's get out of jail card

Written By kom nampul on Rabu, 23 April 2014 | 12.03

Analysis

Sigh of relief: Treasurer Joe Hockey now has more room to move as he prepares his budget.

Sigh of relief: Treasurer Joe Hockey now has more room to move as he prepares his budget. Photo: Andrew Meares

The March quarter consumer price index result is a get out of jail card for the markets, the Reserve Bank and the Australian government as it prepares a Budget for 2014-2015 that needs to very finely balanced.

The CPI was expected by the market to rise by 0.8 per cent in the March quarter after a higher than expected 0.8 per cent rise in the December quarter. The December quarter increase took annual inflation to 2.7 per cent, close to the top of the Reserve Bank's 2 per cent to 3 per cent inflation target. A 0.8 per cent rise in the March quarter would have pushed annual inflation to 3.2 per cent, above the target.

The CPI rose by only 0.6 per cent in the March quarter, however, and by 2.9 per cent in the year to March – still underneath the 3 per cent upper limit of the Reserve Bank's inflation target.

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The average of two other consumer price measures closely watched by the Reserve Bank, the trimmed mean and weighted median, rose by 0.5 per cent and 2.65 per cent in the year, comfortably below the central bank's 3 per cent upper limit.

A fall of almost half a US cent in the value of the Australian dollar summed up the relief over the news.

If inflation had run as strongly as expected in the March quarter, it would have increased speculation that the Reserve Bank's next interest rate move would be upwards.

That in turn would have added to the upward pressure on the Australian dollar. It fell from 96.7 US cents to 86.7 US cents between late October last year and late January this year, a down-shift that pleased the Reserve.

After the release of the December quarter inflation numbers on January 22 it began to rise however, to a high of about 94.3 US cents on April 10. It was still strong at 93.7 US cents immediately before the 11.30 AM release of the March quarter inflation numbers.

The Reserve announced that its cash rate  was on hold days after the release of the December quarter inflation result. It has been saying since then that rates seem set for a period of stability mainly because it sees signs that the transition from the mining boom to non-resources growth in the economy is underway, but also recognises that the process is not locked in.

Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens said late in March that the central bank did not see persistent and serious inflation pressures as the change occurred, despite the strong December quarter inflation result. Inflation would however have moved more squarely onto the Reserve's radar screen if its 3 per cent upper limit target for annual inflation hade been breached by the March quarter CPI result. The odds on a rate rise later this year would have shortened.

A higher likelihood of a rate rise later this year would in turn have pressured the construction of the 2014-2015 Budget, which will be handed down by Joe Hockey on the night of Tuesday May 13.

Hockey is walking a tightrope as he attempts to fashion a Budget that does not hurt the economy too much this year, but also begins the task of repairing government finances that blew out during and after the 2008-2009 global crisis.

His options for cuts and other budget deficit-reducing measures would narrow if rates were more likely to increase later this year, because rate rises would also place downward pressure on economic activity.

Now that the result is out, the multiple, related pressures are eased, at least for the time being. That was reflected in the quick fall in the value of the $A, although it remains worryingly high, and a weight on economic growth.

Hockey has more room to move as he frames the government's first Budget. The Reserve Bank has more time to use low rates to stimulate economic activity, and restrain the Australian dollar's demand-depressing strength: and investors have dodged the sharemarket retreat that inevitably comes when rate rises become more likely. Rates will rise, sometime. The latest inflation result does however give everyone breathing room.


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Million times thinner than paper

An illustration of a graphene sheet at the atomic scale.

An illustration of a graphene sheet at the atomic scale. Photo: iStock

Kids, do not try this at home: scientists have found that they can create high-quality graphene sheets using a kitchen blender and ordinary dishwasher detergent.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Materials, outline a fresh way to create large amounts of this remarkable material – which could speed up the process of putting them into future computers, smart coatings and solar cells.

Graphene is a two-dimensional lattice of hexagons made up of graphite, the most stable form of carbon under standard conditions. The carbon atoms join to create these single-layer, crystalline sheets with extraordinary properties. It's strong but light (which is why it's used in carbon-fibre bicycle frames), conducts both heat and electricity extremely well and is nearly transparent in its purest form.

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It's a "wonder material", according to the American Physical Society, "a million times thinner than paper, stronger than diamond, more conductive than copper."

Graphene does occur naturally; the lead in your typical graphite pencil is made up of slippery layers of flat graphene sheets. But making the ultra pure graphene necessary for future applications is very difficult, particularly if you are trying to suspend the graphene flakes in a liquid – which would be useful to develop spray-on smart coatings.

Essentially, researchers have managed to create high-quality graphene in small amounts, or lower-quality graphene in larger amounts, but not large amounts of high-quality material.

"The commercial development of graphene and related two-dimensional materials is at present restrained by the lack of production techniques ready for industrial scale-up," James Tour of Rice University in Houston wrote in a commentary on the study.

A team of scientists led out of Trinity College, Dublin, came up with a way to take graphite powder, dump it in a laboratory blender with a surfactant mixture and create pure sheets of graphene at far larger quantities than previous methods, the scientists said.

In the future, with scaled-up processes, the production rate could easily be hundreds of times higher than many current outfits.

To test exactly how robust their method was, the scientists also tried the method using a Kenwood kitchen blender and dishwashing fluid and the process largely still worked.

"This clearly shows that even very crude mixers can produce well exfoliated graphene," study co-author Jonathan Coleman and colleagues wrote in the paper.

Tour, who was not involved in the paper, called the work "a hands-on guide for chemical and materials engineers practitioners to make assessments of cost and efficacy".

The findings are a significant step towards being able to mass produce high-quality graphene, which could help spur the development of graphene-related technology, the authors said.

"In the next decade, graphene will find commercial applications in many areas from high-frequency electronics to smart coatings," the authors wrote. "Some important classes of applications, such as printed electronics, conductive coatings and composite fillers, will require industrial-scale production of defect-free graphene in a processable form."

Los Angeles Times


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Mystery shadow at Gallipoli cemetery

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Haunting picture captured in Gallipoli cemetery

An inexplicable photograph shot by Fairfax photographer Joe Armao on the the old Anzac battlefields of Gallipoli shows a ghostly shadow momentarily appearing.

PT0M59S http://www.smh.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3737f 620 349

Dusk had settled and night was closing in on Beach Cemetery at Hell Spit, on the old Anzac battlefields of Gallipoli, when Fairfax photographer Joe Armao opened the shutter on his last series of pictures for the day – and captured something inexplicable.

Only three people were at the cemetery, or anywhere, so far as we were aware, within kilometres: Armao, guide and local author Celal Boz, and me.

The frame before.

The frame before. Photo: Joe Armao

Celal was standing among the silent graves, the only person – no more than a silhouette in the gloom – in the camera's field of vision.

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By the time the shutter closed, what appeared to be another ghostly figure had been captured by the camera.

The shadowy silhouette of a figure in a wide-brimmed hat appeared in the frame.

And the inexplicable, hair-raising frame that no one can explain.

And the inexplicable, hair-raising frame that no one can explain. Photo: Joe Armao

In the foreground is a flower that grows between the gravestones.

The spectral figure appears in only one of a series of three near-identical frames shot by Armao over 40 seconds. The camera angle had changed no more than 15 centimetres over the series of pictures, and the shutter had been set for a 2.5-second exposure because of the gathering dark.

Armao saw the unexplained apparition when he checked the frames a few seconds later.

He could offer no explanation, but he said the hair stood up on the back of his neck. When he showed Celal and me, we packed up and left the empty cemetery.

Armao, a Walkley-award-winning photographer of 25 years' experience, said he had never seen anything remotely like the picture that appeared on his screen.

Hours of close and sceptical inspection of the frame, including extreme digital enlargement, comparison with other frames and lively discussion of a number of theories about shadows from the flower, tricks of the light and movement of the camera during the 2.5-second exposure offered no conclusive explanation.

It was simply a moment in a darkening graveyard, 99 years since Anzac soldiers stormed ashore at nearby Anzac Cove, captured by a closing shutter.

We offer it for your judgment.


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'Dud decision': Lib MP attacks party over jets

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Joint Strike Fighter: why now?

Australia is buying 58 more next-generation fighter jets. Defence correspondent David Wroe explains why.

PT3M24S http://www.smh.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-373jk 620 349

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen has launched an extraordinary attack on the Abbott government's multibillion-dollar purchase of fighter jets, suggesting his colleagues lacked the competency and the courage to stop the order.

"It's a dud decision," said Dr Jensen, a former Defence Department analyst, on Wednesday after the Abbott government revealed it had ordered 58 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of $12 billion.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the cockpit of a replica Joint Strike Fighter. The government will buy 58 jet fighters.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the cockpit of a replica Joint Strike Fighter. The government will buy 58 jet fighters.

"No one has had the balls to call a halt to it or to even call for a full capability analysis against requirements."

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed on Wednesday that Australia would join the US and a select few other countries in adopting the fifth-generation stealth fighter as the backbone of its air combat power.

On top of the two fighters that Australia has already paid for, and a further 12 that have been ordered, the large new purchase will deliver the Royal Australian Air Force three squadrons of the planes and cement its place as the dominant air power in the region.

Dr Dennis Jensen has attacked the purchase of Joint Strike Fighters as a ''dud'' decision

Dr Dennis Jensen has attacked the purchase of Joint Strike Fighters as a ''dud'' decision

But Dr Jensen, who has studied the Joint Strike Fighter for years, said the purchase of the planes had been a "bipartisan stuff up", set in train by the Howard government, continued under Labor and completed under his own government.

Dr Jensen said: "The last couple of [US operational testing] reports ... have shown very, very significant problems with this aircraft."

While most experts say the Joint Strike Fighter is set to be the most advanced fighter for years to come, critics have pointed out the many flaws, delays and cost overruns that have emerged during its development.

The Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter boss, Lieutenant-General Chris Bogdan, said during a recent visit to Australia that many problems were still being ironed out, particularly the complex software – requiring more than 8 million lines of code – which he said was ''still a risky, risky business''.

He also said the planes were still unreliable and needed too much maintenance, with "pieces and parts ... coming off the airplane way too regularly because they are breaking".

Dr Jensen said: "Once you've made a decision like this, it takes more balls to actually say the emperor's got no clothes than to continue pretending that the emperor in fact has clothes.

"We should be ensuring that this aircraft is defined as fit for purpose before we purchase it.

"We haven't done that."

The West Australian MP said he had warned his colleagues about the Joint Strike Fighter purchase in the most recent party room meeting but lamented that Defence Minister David Johnston had said nothing.

"I wouldn't be critical of the Defence Minister only," Dr Jensen said. "It shows a lack of judgment on so many levels."

Successive Australian defence ministers had lacked the "technical expertise" to cut through Lockheed Martin's "extremely convincing" sales pitches, Dr Jensen said.

He also blamed Defence Department officials, whom he said had been "acting as salesmen for the Joint Strike Fighter" rather than doing their jobs and being "critical buyers".

Responding to the criticisms, a spokesman for the Defence Minister said: "Obviously Mr Jensen's views do not reflect those of the Coalition government."

The first Joint Strike Fighter – also called the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II – will be delivered in 2018 and begin service with the RAAF in 2020.

In making the announcement, Mr Abbott said: "The fifth-generation F-35 is the most advanced fighter in production anywhere in the world and will make a vital contribution to our national security." 

Senator Johnston said the purchases would give Australia's air combat capability ''the sort of technological edge that it must continue to have''.

He said on Wednesday that the Joint Strike Fighters had "no identifiable rival".

The spending comes less than a month before Treasurer Joe Hockey delivers a budget with expected cuts to health and welfare, saying the money for the fighters had been put aside since the government's initial order of 14 aircraft.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten backed the decision, saying the previous Labor government believed the Joint Strike Fighter was the ''right way to go''.

The lifetime cost of the new batch of fighters, which includes maintenance, weapons and spares, will reach $12.4 billion, making it one of Australia's most expensivemilitary acquisitions alongside the Collins Class submarine and the long-retired aircraft carriers.

The JSF will replace the ageing Hornet F/A-18, which is due to be retired from 2022. It means the RAAF will have a mixed fleet of fighters for the foreseeable future, with the JSF operating alongside 24 Super Hornets and 12 Growler radar-jamming aircraft.

The purchase continues the direction set out by the previous Labor government's 2013 Defence White Paper, which foreshadowed three operational squadrons beginning from 2020.

But not everyone from Labor welcomed the purchase. West Australian senator Sue Lines tweeted on Wednesday: "12bl+ on fighter planes, PPL for the rich, paid for cuts to welfare, charge on Dr visits. Disgraceful!"

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Rethink if MH370 not found in days

Shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft is seen on low cloud cover while it searches for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

Shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft is seen on low cloud cover while it searches for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Photo: AP

Investigators frustrated at failing to make headway into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 are preparing to start all over again from scratch if the plane is not found within days.

As a cyclone halts a search in the Indian Ocean 1584 kilometres west of Perth, Malaysian authorities say they are set to regroup to plan the next phase of the investigation into the most baffling mystery in modern aviation.

The failure to find any debris from the plane has fuelled doubts among officials in Kuala Lumpur that the autonomous underwater vehicle Bluefin-21 has been searching in the right area.

The vehicle has made nine missions searching an area identified from "pings" believed by experts to have come from the plane's black box recording device.

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Two-thirds of the search area has now been scoured by the vehicle.

Malaysia's acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein has made clear that a review of the search will involve Australia, which has been leading a multi-nation search effort in one of the most desolate oceans on earth.

But the government-controlled New Straits Times newspaper has again questioned whether all of the information has been handed over that is available from Pine Gap, the US spy satellite base near Alice Springs.

"We can't be forcing them to show us data, as they had already said there was nothing," the newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying.

The newspaper also quoted sources close to the investigation as saying investigators might even have to reconsider the seemingly impossible scenario the plane "landed" somewhere else than the Indian Ocean.

"The thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible as we have not found a single debris that could be linked to MH370," the newspaper quoted sources as saying.

A spokeswoman for the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, an Australian government body coordinating the search, would not confirm any plans for a change in the search.

"At the moment, we are focused on pursuing the best lead we have in relation to missing flight MH370," she said.

"The search of the focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10 kilometres radius around the second towed pinger locator detection on 8 April.

"It is important this lead is pursued to its completion so we can either confirm or discount the focused underwater area as the final resting place of MH370. 

"This is clearly of great importance to the families of those on board."

The spokeswoman said the search for any sign of the plane would continue.

"We are currently consulting very closely with our international partners on the best way to effect this for the future."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday that "our expert advice is that the aircraft went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean".

"[A]t the moment we are conducting an underwater search with the best equipment that we have currently available of an area of just under 400 square kilometres. If at the end of that period we find nothing, we are not going to abandon the search. 

"We may well rethink the search but we will not rest until we have done everything we can to solve this mystery. We owe it to the families of the 238 people on board, we owe it to the hundreds of millions, indeed billions, of people who travel by air, to try to get to the bottom of this."

But Malaysian officials are known to be deeply concerned about raising the hopes of the relatives of passengers who were on board the plane, some of whom refuse to believe their relatives are dead.

Many object to the possibility of authorities issuing death certificates for the 239 people on board the Boeing 777 that disappeared on a scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

They say they want to see evidence of the plane before any determination is made about the fate of the passengers.

In an e-mail to the government, relatives also criticised authorities for not seeking an independent scientific review of the technical analysis that led the search to focus on the current area. 

The analysis conducted by the satellite company Inmarsat and an international investigation team concluded the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean thousands of kilometres off course after running out of fuel.

Officials in Kuala Lumpur have released only scant information about the criminal investigation into the plane's disappearance after initially announcing there was credible evidence of a "deliberate" action on board to cut communications and turn the plane around.

But they have indicated that unless the plane's black box recorder is recovered they may never discover what happened on board the ill-fated flight.

with Aleisha Orr, Matthew Knott


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Reshuffle a preparation for next election

Written By kom nampul on Selasa, 22 April 2014 | 12.03

ANALYSIS

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

New cabinet for NSW

Premier Mike Baird says his new team brings experience and a hunger to transform the state.

PT1M40S http://www.smh.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-371kc 620 349

Mike Baird's first cabinet is indeed, as promised, a mixture of youth and experience.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner - one of the government's most solid if unspectacular performers - has survived. Youthful up-and-comer Dominic Perrottet has been brought into the fold and handed the important finance portfolio.

NSW Premier Mike Baird.

Facing a real contest next March: NSW Premier Mike Baird. Photo: Kate Geraghty

But there's also no denying the reshuffle has been undertaken with a close eye on next year's election.

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For a start, two of the ministers whose performances Labor was lining up to highlight at next year's poll - Greg Smith and Robyn Parker - are gone.

Smith's ouster robs the opposition of the chance to accuse the government of having an attorney-general who is "soft on crime" and unwilling to drive through laws to ban outlaw motorcycle gangs and combat gun crime.

"The unholy alliance (of opposition parties) has jeopardised the housing supply our community needs": Brad Hazzard.

Resetting of negotiations: Brad Hazzard has been shifted from planning. Photo: Andrew Quilty

Parker's dumping sidesteps the line of attack that she was all about the annexation of public land for private use – as we saw former prime minister Paul Keating accuse her of, in his response to the draft masterplan for the Royal Botanic Garden and the Domain.

She was also the minister who oversaw introduction of hunting in national parks - albeit not to the extent demanded by the Shooters and Fishers Party.

Shifting Brad Hazzard from planning allows a resetting of the negotiation over the overhaul of the NSW planning system.

Hazzard's much-anticipated legislation is dead, having been amended by the upper house to such an extent the government couldn't bring itself to vote for it in the lower house.

Hazzard had knocked heads with both the Shooters and Fishers Party and Labor's Luke Foley over the legislation. The change will allow his successor, Pru Goward, a fresh start.

It's easy to see the elevation of Nationals MP Paul Toole to cabinet as a way of smoothing the way for the sale of the electricity poles and wires.

As a backbencher, Toole spoke strongly against any proposed sale. Bringing him into cabinet makes that far more difficult to do, once a decision has been made.

Elsewhere, rewarding key members of the talented, occasionally restive backbench - particularly Hornsby MP Matt Kean and Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott - with parliamentary secretary roles lets them know they are valued and marked for greater things.

That's not to say challenges don't remain. One of the portfolio appointments to watch will be Hazzard as attorney-general.

Smith was eviscerated by law and order hardliners both within his own party and sections of the media.

Hazzard is a lawyer – but unlike his predecessor, who served as deputy director of public prosecutions before entering politics, he has no coal-face criminal experience.

In NSW, the land of the political law and order auction, this could present some challenges.

In many ways, this is a reshuffle Barry O'Farrell could have been planning - minus, obviously, the new Treasurer and Premier - given the way it sets up the government for what is increasingly looking like a real contest next March.

Mike Baird
Premier, Minister for Infrastructure and Western Sydney

Andrew Stoner
Deputy Premier, Minister for Trade and Investment, Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Minister for Small Business and Minister for the North Coast

Gladys Berejiklian
Minister for Transport, and Minister for the Hunter

Adrian Piccoli
Minister for Education

Mike Gallacher
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for the Central Coast, and vice-president of the executive council.

Duncan Gay
Minister for Roads and Freight

Anthony Roberts
Minister for Resources and Energy

Jillian Skinner
Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research

Andrew Constance
Treasurer

Pru Goward
Minister for Planning, and Minister for Women.

Brad Hazzard
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice

Gabrielle Upton
Minister for Family and Community Services

Katrina Hodgkinson
Minister for Primary Industries, Assistant Minister for Tourism and Major Events.

Kevin Humphries
Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water, and Minister for Western NSW.

John Ajaka
Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for the Illawarra.

Stuart Ayres
Minister for Fair Trading, Sport and Recreation, Minister Assisting the Premier on Western Sydney.

Victor Dominello
Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Veterans Affairs, Assistant Minister for Education.

Rob Stokes
Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning.

Troy Grant
Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, and Minister for the Arts.

Dominic Perrottet
Minister for Finance and Services

Paul Toole
Minister for Local Government

Jai Rowell
Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Health


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What 145km/h ball can do to a face

Sport
Ouch: DeLino DeShields Jr.

Ouch: DeLino DeShields Jr. Photo: Supplied

The first thing DeLino DeShields Jr wondered - after he'd regained consciousness - was whether any of his teeth had survived the 145kph (90 mile) fastball that had just slammed into the side of his face.

"If anyone knows me, they know how much I love my teeth and my smile. It's my money maker," the Houston Astros minor league baseballer told The Buzzer.

"I was on the ground, felt for my teeth, took a huge breath of relief."

His "money maker" was intact but DeShields' face quickly inflated until, he joked, he looked something like a Ninja Turtle or Professor Klump from Nutty Professor, vividly showing the devastating effect a baseball to the face can have.

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"I do have a good sense of humour about it because it could be a lot worse and I'm not dead," DeShields said. "I'm still able to enjoy what life has to offer and that's always something to be happy about."

Unexpectedly, a photo of DeSheilds' battered face went viral over the past two days after his friend had tweeted the picture on Sunday, DeShields re-tweeted it and it was re-tweeted thousands more times.

"Then the next day, I honestly couldn't believe how fast and how many people saw my picture," he said. "I had friends calling me from across the country saying that my face was on local news and all sorts of stuff. … The power of social media is insane!"


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Reshuffle sees Libs get ready for next election

ANALYSIS

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

New cabinet for NSW

Premier Mike Baird says his new team brings experience and a hunger to transform the state.

PT1M40S http://www.smh.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-371kc 620 349

Mike Baird's first cabinet is indeed, as promised, a mixture of youth and experience.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner - one of the government's most solid if unspectacular performers - has survived. Youthful up-and-comer Dominic Perrottet has been brought into the fold and handed the important finance portfolio.

NSW Premier Mike Baird.

Facing a real contest next March: NSW Premier Mike Baird. Photo: Kate Geraghty

But there's also no denying the reshuffle has been undertaken with a close eye on next year's election.

Advertisement

For a start, two of the ministers whose performances Labor was lining up to highlight at next year's poll - Greg Smith and Robyn Parker - are gone.

Smith's ouster robs the opposition of the chance to accuse the government of having an attorney-general who is "soft on crime" and unwilling to drive through laws to ban outlaw motorcycle gangs and combat gun crime.

"The unholy alliance (of opposition parties) has jeopardised the housing supply our community needs": Brad Hazzard.

Resetting of negotiations: Brad Hazzard has been shifted from planning. Photo: Andrew Quilty

Parker's dumping sidesteps the line of attack that she was all about the annexation of public land for private use – as we saw former prime minister Paul Keating accuse her of, in his response to the draft masterplan for the Royal Botanic Garden and the Domain.

She was also the minister who oversaw introduction of hunting in national parks - albeit not to the extent demanded by the Shooters and Fishers Party.

Shifting Brad Hazzard from planning allows a resetting of the negotiation over the overhaul of the NSW planning system.

Hazzard's much-anticipated legislation is dead, having been amended by the upper house to such an extent the government couldn't bring itself to vote for it in the lower house.

Hazzard had knocked heads with both the Shooters and Fishers Party and Labor's Luke Foley over the legislation. The change will allow his successor, Pru Goward, a fresh start.

It's easy to see the elevation of Nationals MP Paul Toole to cabinet as a way of smoothing the way for the sale of the electricity poles and wires.

As a backbencher, Toole spoke strongly against any proposed sale. Bringing him into cabinet makes that far more difficult to do, once a decision has been made.

Elsewhere, rewarding key members of the talented, occasionally restive backbench - particularly Hornsby MP Matt Kean and Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott - with parliamentary secretary roles lets them know they are valued and marked for greater things.

That's not to say challenges don't remain. One of the portfolio appointments to watch will be Hazzard as attorney-general.

Smith was eviscerated by law and order hardliners both within his own party and sections of the media.

Hazzard is a lawyer – but unlike his predecessor, who served as deputy director of public prosecutions before entering politics, he has no coal-face criminal experience.

In NSW, the land of the political law and order auction, this could present some challenges.

In many ways, this is a reshuffle Barry O'Farrell could have been planning - minus, obviously, the new Treasurer and Premier - given the way it sets up the government for what is increasingly looking like a real contest next March.

Mike Baird
Premier, Minister for Infrastructure and Western Sydney

Andrew Stoner
Deputy Premier, Minister for Trade and Investment, Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Minister for Small Business and Minister for the North Coast

Gladys Berejiklian
Minister for Transport, and Minister for the Hunter

Adrian Piccoli
Minister for Education

Mike Gallacher
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for the Central Coast, and vice-president of the executive council.

Duncan Gay
Minister for Roads and Freight

Anthony Roberts
Minister for Resources and Energy

Jillian Skinner
Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research

Andrew Constance
Treasurer

Pru Goward
Minister for Planning, and Minister for Women.

Brad Hazzard
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice

Gabrielle Upton
Minister for Family and Community Services

Katrina Hodgkinson
Minister for Primary Industries, Assistant Minister for Tourism and Major Events.

Kevin Humphries
Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water, and Minister for Western NSW.

John Ajaka
Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for the Illawarra.

Stuart Ayres
Minister for Fair Trading, Sport and Recreation, Minister Assisting the Premier on Western Sydney.

Victor Dominello
Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Veterans Affairs, Assistant Minister for Education.

Rob Stokes
Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning.

Troy Grant
Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, and Minister for the Arts.

Dominic Perrottet
Minister for Finance and Services

Paul Toole
Minister for Local Government

Jai Rowell
Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Health


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Mike Baird's NSW cabinet

Full report: Baird's cabinet reshuffle

Mike Baird
Premier, Minister for Infrastructure and Western Sydney

Andrew Stoner
Deputy Premier, Minister for Trade and Investment, Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Minister for Small Business and Minister for the North Coast

Gladys Berejiklian
Minister for Transport, and Minister for the Hunter

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Adrian Piccoli
Minister for Education

Mike Gallacher
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for the Central Coast, and vice-president of the executive council.

Duncan Gay
Minister for Roads and Freight

Anthony Roberts
Minister for Resources and Energy

Jillian Skinner
Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research

Andrew Constance
Treasurer

Pru Goward
Minister for Planning, and Minister for Women.

Brad Hazzard
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice

Gabrielle Upton
Minister for Family and Community Services

Katrina Hodgkinson
Minister for Primary Industries, Assistant Minister for Tourism and Major Events.

Kevin Humphries
Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water, and Minister for Western NSW.

John Ajaka
Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for the Illawarra.

Stuart Ayres
Minister for Fair Trading, Sport and Recreation, Minister Assisting the Premier on Western Sydney.

Victor Dominello
Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Veterans Affairs, Assistant Minister for Education.

Rob Stokes
Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning.

Troy Grant
Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, and Minister for the Arts.

Dominic Perrottet
Minister for Finance and Services

Paul Toole
Minister for Local Government

Jai Rowell
Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Health


12.03 | 0 komentar | Read More

Anzac Day ticket competition anger

Competition closed: a screen grab of the website.

Competition closed: a screen grab of the website.

The RSL has blasted as "insulting" a cosmetic surgery company's Anzac Day competition which urges women to rate their breasts for their chance to win two tickets to the AFL showdown between Collingwood and Essendon on April 25.

The Anzac Day Mateship Competition has also been condemned by a former defence member and wife of a war veteran, who said exploiting the meaning of Anzac Day to get more clients through the door was "quite appalling".

REAL Cosmetic & Plastic surgery, based in Melbourne, has been advertising the competition on its website and on social media, where it urges women to enter the competition to "celebrate happiness this Anzac Day".

"REAL wants you to take some time with a friend to remember the courage shown by our soldiers," the website states.

Advertisement

"Win a highly-sought after ANZAC Day football experience for you and your bestie valued at $1369..."

The package includes accommodation, entry to a pre-match event, full bar service, transport to the Melbourne Cricket Ground and reserve seating to watch "one of the biggest matches on the football calendar".

The winning woman and her "bestie" will also each receive a complimentary consultation with plastic surgeon Stephen Salerno, valued at $190 each, the website says.

"Sounds too good to be true? It is! But entering is easy! This is a game of chance - so simply complete the questionnaire below," it says.

Those questions include:

- How would you rate your breasts?

- What bra cup size would you love to have?

- How would you celebrate with your bestie after getting the breasts you truly desire?

Major-General David McLachlan, the Victorian RSL president, said the competition was entirely inappropriate to link to Anzac Day, and he would contact the Minister of Veterans' Affairs, Michael Ronaldson, to have it shut down.

"I find it insulting to those who have served, and it's something that should not have any connotation of Anzac Day attributed to it," Major-General McLachlan said.

"This is the first I've heard of it and I will be contacting the minister right now."

According to the Department of Veterans' Affairs, regulations were introduced in 1921 to protect the word Anzac, and any word which resembles it, from inappropriate use.

The regulations state that "no person may use the word 'Anzac', or any word resembling it, in connection with any trade, business, calling or profession or in connexion with any entertainment or any lottery ... without the authority of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs".

One woman complained on REAL Cosmetic & Plastic surgery's Facebook page that Anzac Day had nothing to do with a woman's breast size.

"As a former Defence member & the wife of a war veteran, I find this to be a truly insulting use of the ANZAC Day mateship [sic]," the woman wrote.

"I am sure to be disagreed with but to use ANZAC Day Mr Salerno as a way to get more clients through your door is quite appalling, you should be ashamed at your blatant disregard for what ANZAC Day represents & it doesn't represent bigger, smaller boobs etc."

Mr Salerno and REAL Cosmetic & Plastic surgery have been contacted for comment.

The company's website said the competition had closed early on Tuesday afternoon.


12.03 | 0 komentar | Read More
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