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Liberal ministers lament gender imbalance

by admin on 17/12/2018

Senior federal government minister Marise Payne concedes the Liberals have a “very serious” problem with the number of women in parliament.
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Less than a quarter of federal Liberal MPs are women, compared to almost 50 per cent of Labor politicians.

Liberal frontbencher Sussan Ley believes her party should consider adopting quotas to address the pitifully low percentage.

“If you look at our party, the picture tells its own story,” Ms Ley said.

While stopping short of explicitly endorsing the proposal, which the party has long opposed, Senator Payne bemoaned having to cast her mind back a long way to recall a rosier time for Liberal women.

“I think that we do have a very serious issue concerning the role of women in the parliamentary process and also in efforts to engage more across the community,” the foreign minister said on Friday.

“We did a very good job in 1996 … in the election of the Howard government to ensure we had a very broadly representative team facing the community.

“We’ve proven we can do it, I know that we can do it again.”

Ms Ley admits she is no fan of quotas, but wondered whether the party should consider them.

“We don’t have enough women. The issue has to start long before you get to parliament.”

However, Victorian Liberal Leader Matthew Guy is confident there are no such issues in his state.

“I’ve got plenty of women – I think it’s nine of 13 marginal seat candidates are women – I’ve said I want to get more women into parliament, and I do. After this election, I hope I will,” he told reporters.

“We’ve had a 50:50 system in our branch networks, in our electorate council networks, in our administrative committee since 1944.”

The gender imbalance has bubbled alongside claims from Liberal MP Julia Banks and Senator Lucy Gichuhi that they were bullied and harassed by male colleagues during last month’s bitter leadership coup.

The behaviour forced Ms Banks to resign from parliament.

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said it was unacceptable senior Liberal Party figures responded by telling Ms Banks to “toughen up”.

He also took aim at Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly for telling her to “roll with the punches”.

“It was a particularly bad choice of words,” Mr Pyne said.

“What we all need to do is be a lot more caring of each other … people need to grow up.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists the Liberal Party has the right structures in place to deal with bullying, and rejected claims Ms Banks mistreated her 2016 campaign staff.

Manu gets set to erase finals heartbreak

by admin on 17/12/2018

Joseph Manu says getting dropped for last year’s NRL finals series was the best thing for him.After being the Sydney Roosters’ hard luck story of last year’s NRL finals, rising star Joseph Manu is ready to make up for lost time.
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The New Zealand native comes into Saturday’s qualifying final against Cronulla in blockbusting form, leading Roosters coach Trent Robinson to declare he has come of age.

Last week the bulldozing centre terrorised Parramatta defenders in the Tri-Colours’ 44-10 win to clinch the minor premiership, carving out 179 metres as well as scoring a first-half try.

The week prior he nearly pulled off one of the tries of the year when he barrelled over three Brisbane defenders before agonisingly being denied by a desperate Darius Boyd cover tackle which forced him to tread on the sideline.

But wind back the clock 12 months ago and Manu was relegated to reserve grade on the eve of September, denying him his first taste of NRL finals football.

Despite playing in the side’s final round win over the Gold Coast, he was overlooked in favour of Ryan Matterson for the club’s finals series.

“I feel like I’ve grown,” Manu said.

“Last year getting dropped was tough but I’ve think it was the best thing for me.

“Just learning a few things that I had to do. This year has been a big year for me and I’m really proud of how far I’ve come.”

Robinson praised Manu following last week’s win over the Eels and he was earlier in the year rewarded with a contract extension until the end of the 2020 season.

Manu has been a grand final specialist coming through the grades at the Roosters – winning titles with their SG Ball and under-20s sides.

Next year there will be heated competition for spots in the Roosters backline with English veteran Ryan Hall and Brett Morris replacing Parramatta-bound Blake Ferguson.

Robinson will have the difficult task of fitting six first-class players – also including James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell and Daniel Tupou – into five spots.

Manu said he hadn’t considered his place in the team next season but felt like he’d grown as a player this year.

“I feel like I’m a bit more confident there and calling the ball and playing outside awesome players has helped me out for the whole season,” Manu said.

“It’s been a long season and I’ve improved a lot. I’ve still got a lot to improve in my game.”

Call for crane audit after Melbourne death

by admin on 17/12/2018

The construction union is calling for safety inspections of dozens of cranes across Victorian worksites following the death of a man in Melbourne’s east.
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The 46-year-old died after he and a co-worker were submerged in concrete which fell from a crane at a Box Hill construction site on Thursday afternoon.

The other man, 28, remains in the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical condition.

The CFMEU’s Gerard Ayers has called for the operator of the crane, Clark Cranes, to suspend the operation of between 80 and 100 cranes at Victorian worksites until they are audited.

“We’re calling for a thorough, comprehensive inspection to make sure all of those Clark Cranes are operating to their manufacturers’ specifications before they recommence work,” Dr Ayers told AAP on Friday.

‘We hear this all the time … that there are mechanical issues with different cranes.

“We suspect that this crane might also have some mechanical faults that are also recorded in the log book.”

The CFMEU says Clark Cranes was also involved in a crane collapse at Richmond in July.

Clark Cranes declined to comment when contacted by AAP.

The mother of the 46-year-old worker killed on Thursday was “extremely traumatised,” Dr Ayers told reporters. The man was not married and did not have children.

The union says he’s the seventh person to have died on a Victorian construction site this year.

“We cannot continue the way we are; we have to take a deep breath, slow down and look at how we are doing the work,” Dr Ayers said.

A third man suffered minor injuries in Thursday’s incident, while counselling has been organised for workers who were at the site and those nearby who rushed to assist.

WorkSafe investigators were at the scene on Friday investigating the crane and other work systems.

“Cranes are complex, so there is a lot of careful work required to determine the cause of this tragic incident,” acting health and safety executive director Paul Fowler said.

In a separate incident on Thursday, a woman in her 40s died after being run over by a prime mover loaded with an excavator at Donvale.

There have been 18 workplace fatalities in the state this year, WorkSafe says.

Dogs and cats protected in spring? Tick

by admin on 18/09/2019

Searching your pet every day for ticks is the optimal way of preventing tick paralysis.Ticks may be small, but they can be deadly. Making sure you protect your pet from these pests is imperative, especially at this time of year, when ticks are actively prowling to find a host.
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There are many types of ticks, and several of them have the potential to cause illness in cats and dogs, with paralysis ticks being the most dangerous of them all. These little critters attach themselves to your dog or cat, bury under their skin, and inject a deadly poison into your pet’s body while they feast on their blood. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to help your beloved pooch or kitty stay safe this tick season.

Firstly, if you are in an area with ticks, use tick control products to provide one line of defence. There are many such products on the market, so it’s best to talk to your vet or pet product retailer to find the right one for your pet. Don’t be tempted to use your dog’s tick control on your cat, though, as these can be highly toxic to cats.

Avoiding walking in tick habitats such as bushland and scrub, as well as keeping your lawn short and removing compost material, will help reduce exposure to ticks.

Most importantly, searching your pet every day for ticks is the optimal way of preventing tick paralysis.

No doubt your dog or cat will love the attention and a good rub, so this should be enjoyable for them, too! When searching your pet for ticks, look for a small, round or flat shape sticking out of your pet’s skin – they might look a bit like a skin tag. These creatures especially like to dig in behind ears or on the face and neck, so pay extra attention to these areas.

Remove your pet’s collar and run your fingers through your pet’s fur, including under the legs, between the toes and in folds of skin, feeling for any lumps or inconsistencies. Paralysis ticks, when engorged with blood, have a blueish to light-grey/grey colour. You can easily search for an image of the paralysis tick online, to see exactly what to look for.

If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately and keep your pet calm and quiet. When removing a tick, it’s best to wear disposable gloves and remove it by its head at the point of insertion into the skin (don’t squeeze the body) because if its mouth parts are left in, they are likely to cause a local infection.

A tick remover is a handy tool to have on hand – it lifts the tick out easily. Use antiseptic to clean the area after removal, and place the tick in a zip-lock bag to show your vet. Remember to continue to search for more ticks as your pet may have more than one.

If your pet has been bitten by a paralysis tick, don’t offer food or water or give anything orally as they cannot protect their airway when they swallow (as a result of the toxin). Take them straight to the vet as a matter of emergency – tick paralysis is a life-threatening condition, and every minute can count.

Even if you can’t find a tick on your pet, there are certain symptoms to look for that give an indication that your pet might be suffering from tick paralysis. These symptoms include:

weakness or loss of coordination in the back legs or not being able to stand; a change in the sound of their bark or voice;retching, coughing or vomiting; excessive drooling; loss of appetite; and difficulty breathing. If your pet displays any of these symptoms, rush them to the vet immediately.

The best line of defence against all types of ticks is prevention. Being tick-aware and proactive is the best way to protect your beloved pet from suffering the effects and potential lethal consequences of tick paralysis this season.

RSPCA , an independent, non-government community-based charity providing animal care and protection services. It relies ondonationsfrom the public to carry out its work.

Newcastle rugby: Captain goes headlong into battle for Greens

by admin on 18/09/2019

HEAVY TRAFFIC: Merewether fullback Jay Strachan takes on the Maitland defence at Townson Oval. Picture: Stewart HazellMICK Gill joked that Merewether captain Jay Strachan must have a magnet on his head.
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The inspirationalfullback was onthe endof a high shotin the Greens’ 36-28 loss to Hamilton in the major semi-final–one of several this season.

In the tackle for which Hamilton winger Fiso Vasegote was cited and found not guilty, Strachan ran another 10metres to score.The judiciary ruled thatinitial contact was on the ball and slipped up.

“It’s the way he runs,”Merewether co-coach Gill said.“I have never seen a bloke cop as many high tackles.It is his balance and ability to wrong foot people. They think they have him in the tackle zone and he wrong foots them at the end. He keeps balance in contact and is still able to maintain speed.He copped a high shot on the weekend and ran another 10metres to score. He has that explosive power.”

Gill stopped short of suggesting that Strachan needed extra protection ahead of the preliminary final against Maitland at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday.

“We always get penalties for the high tackles on him,” Gill said. “Whether the tackles warrant more is up tothe refereeto judge on the day.That’s footy. The referee will call it how he sees it.”

Newcastle rugby: Captain goes headlong into battle for Greens TweetFacebook Jay StrachanPictures: Stewart HazellBut there is nodoubting the skipper’s importance tothe Greens, highlighted by his two tries against the Hawks.

“He leads by his actions,” Gill said. “If we need a tough carry he always puts his hand up.He gets you on the front foot. For a fullback that’s unique.”

Strachan, who has been managing a knee-issue all season, was a member of the Greens side which went through undefeated in 2011 but was in the US the following season andmissed the46-0 thrashing to Hamilton in the decider.

“He hasn’t played in a grand final for seven years and knows the importance of the position we are in,” Gill said.

“He can probably see the end of his career more than he has in past years. He is definitely not taking anything for granted.”

Merewether have made one change from the loss to Hamilton. Joe Crawford comes in on the wing for Ed Clifton.

“Crawf injured his knee against Maitland out at Marcellin Park (round 14) and returned in reserve grade last week,” Gill said. “He got through 60 minutes and the knee was good. He was playing good rugby before the injury so we bought him straight in.Eddie has been great and will have a role off the bench.He can play wing, halfback andfullback and is very good on the counter attack.Crawf is bigger and fasterand gives us a bit more.”

The Greens came from 15-7 down against Maitland in the qualifying final to win 31-29. They also fell behind early against Hamilton. Though proud of the way the Greens’fought, Gill said it was not the script for Saturday.

“It’s good to be able to withstand that pressure, but you also have to apply it and keep kicking on,” he said. “We have to look at getting on the front foot and holding it for longer periods. We have spoken to Eli and Brighty about playing smarter. It falls on their shoulders as the halves. We have been playing dumb in some areas of the field.”

New charges delay ex-Qld mayor’s trial

by admin on 18/09/2019

A trial for “unwell” suspended Ipswich mayor Andrew Antoniolli has been delayed after initial fraud charges were dismissed and replaced by 14 new ones.
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Antoniolli was charged by the corruption watchdog with seven counts of fraud relating to allegations he used ratepayer funds to obtain charity auction items in May.

Those charges have been dismissed and replaced with the new charges relating to similar allegations after prosecutors reconsidered their brief.

His trial – set down for six days from September 17 in Ipswich Magistrates Court – has been pushed back until at least next month.

The lawyer for Antoniolli, who appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday, called for the trial to proceed as scheduled to allow the 47-year-old to clear his name.

“My client has obviously suffered enormous reputational damage as a result of these allegations,” his solicitor Dan Rogers told the court.

“He is unwell.

“He has a right to have his matters heard expeditiously.”

Mr Rogers said 10 witnesses in Antoniolli’s favour were “ready to go”.

But magistrate Anthony Gett, who will oversee Antoniolli’s trial, ruled the prosecution should be given more time.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. Courts are loath to grant unnecessary adjournments,” Mr Gett said.

“(But) in my view, the nature of the case and the way (the prosecution) has indicated fresh material may be forthcoming … I do find the adjournment should be granted.”

Antoniolli did not comment on his way out of Brisbane Magistrates Court, where his matter will next be heard on October 26 when a new trial date could be set.

He remains on the same bail conditions as previously, meaning he cannot attend the Ipswich City Council building or contact councillors, who were sacked by Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

Antoniolli is fighting charges brought by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission which claims he used council funds “for his own use to purchase auction items from charitable organisations” between October 2011 and June 2017.

Antoniolli has also been accused of breaching his bail conditions.

He’s the second Ipswich mayor in less than a year to be charged with criminal offences.

His predecessor Paul Pisasale, who resigned last June, is facing allegations including corruption and misconduct.

Pisasale’s matter was also heard in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday. It was adjourned to October 5.

A total of 15 councillors and staff have been charged with corruption and fraud offences, prompting Mr Hinchliffe to dismiss Ipswich council last month.

Tradies tuck in at Build for a Cure thank you BBQ as the house construction work finishes up

by admin on 18/09/2019

DONE: Kai Bennett, Mark Burrows and Craig McWilliams from Steel City Painting at the Build for a Cure on Friday. The trio were part of the 100-plus tradies who volunteered.Final alterations are being made to the Build for a Cure house at Medowie with the majority of construction work now completed.
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Built at The Bower estate by McDonald Jones Homes on land donated by the McCloy Group, the housewill be sold at auction next month to raise funds for the Children’s Cancer Institute.

More than 100 tradiesvolunteeredon the projectover the past few weeksand they were rewarded with a celebratory BBQ on Friday.

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No child should have to go through cancerBuild for a Cure house construction starts at MedowieBuild for a Cure house to go up in just 21 daysThey tradies werefueled each day with foodpreparedby members of the Kurri Kurri, Williamtown, East Maitland and Raymond Terrace Rotary Clubs who were operating an on-site kitchen.

For painter Daniel Hudson, the chance to be involved for a second year was one he could not pass up.

“It’s a good feeling to be involved, you know when its sold the money’s going towards kids,” he said.“I’ve got two kids and I know how I’d feel if one of my kids ended up with a [cancer] problem.”

Mr Hudson and his father spent five days working on the house, which will be auctioned on October 21.

Build for a Cure partnersMcCloy Group – Donating the land in The ‘Bower’ estateMcDonald Jones Home – Donating the build of the houseAustral Bricks – Donating the bricks for the build and founding partnerFreedom Furniture – Donating all the furniture and styling the interior of the houseWinning Appliances/Fisher & Paykel – Donating all of the appliancesPRDNationwide – Selling the house, no fees, marketing costs or commissionCooley Auctions – Damien Cooley from The Block will auction the houseKurri Rotary Club – They stay on site and ensure all of the tradies donating their time are well fed and hydratedJohn Hunter Children’s Hospital – collaboration with CCI and ZCC

Newcastle’s first light rail vehicle is due to arrive via cargo ship in the city’s harbour on Saturday

by admin on 18/09/2019

JOURNEY: The first of Newcastle’s light rail vehicles being loaded onto the ship in Spain. It couldbe the longest journey the Newcastlelight rail vehicles will ever take –Spain to via thePanama Canal.
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The city’s first light rail vehicle will arrive in the Port of Newcastle aboard the Norwegian-flagged cargo ship Hoegh Jeddah on Saturday afternoon.

The ‘Urbos 100’model tram was rolled aboard the specialistship at Spain’sPort of Santander in July.

The intercontinental journey across the North Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans has taken the tram –aboard the ship – more than 12000 nautical miles.

Stops were made in Auckland, Melbourne and Port Kembla, where the ship left on Friday afternoon.

It will dock at the West Basin 4 berth at Carrington.

The Newcastle Herald understandsthe ship will be unloaded on Saturdayand the first tram transported to the Wickham stabling yard early next week.

The Newcastle trams are produced by CAF as an option under the Sydney Inner West light rail contract.

The ‘Urbos 100’ model can carry a maximum capacity of 270 persons. It is 33m long and weighs 45 tonnes when empty.

The trams, which feature a low floor designto enhanceaccessibility, will be the first in NSW with surfboard racks.

Each tram carries an on-board energy source which is charged by an overhead bar at each stop.A regenerative braking system will also allow for energy to be transferred back to the tram’sonboard storage system.

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Newcastle’s first light rail vehicle leaves SpainHunter Street reopening to traffic after Newcastle light rail constructionTopics: First tram on the way, Robbo’s maiden speech, researchers find ‘civilisation’The trams are expected to be tested on the city’swire-free light rail system from next month. Work on the line is nearing completion.

Operation of the Newcastle light rail system will then begin in early 2019.

Fares will start at $2.20 for adults, $1.10 for children and $1.10 for concession passengers using Opal cards.

Cash tickets will be slightly more expensive, while passengers changing onto light rail from a bus or train will be charged another20 cents to use the light rail.

It is expected the Newcastle light rail will run every 7.5 minutes in peak time.

Income tax gets lower, fairer: treasurer

by admin on 18/08/2019

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says lower income earners will get more under the government’s tax plan.Workers are being reassured by the federal government their income tax is going down, after Labor used new budget analysis to argue the economy is not working in the interests of middle ns.
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People earning low-to-middle incomes will be hardest hit by rising average tax rates over the coming decade, the analysis released by the Parliamentary Budget Office found.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says under the government’s tax plan, low and middle income earners are receiving up to $530 in immediate relief each year.

“Our personal income tax plan is making income tax lower, fairer and simpler for all ns,” he told AAP.

The budget office’s analysis found tax rates will go up largely because as wages rise, people will pay more tax on their increased income.

It noted the government’s tax cuts will slow the process.

Mr Frydenberg said the government’s move to lift tax brackets is also designed to protect ns from the phenomenon, known as “bracket creep”.

Labor spokesman Jim Chalmers said the budget office’s report showed the government is not managing the economy for middle ns.

“At a time when wages are growing at record lows and households are struggling to keep pace with the cost of living, now is not the time to be prioritising tax relief at the top end,” he said.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said strong economic and employment growth will mean people’s pay packets get heavier in time.

“Of course wages over time are expected to go up, and it’s not just our view, that is also the view of the Reserve Bank governor and that is the orthodox view of how wages evolve,” he told Sky News on Friday.

The economy in 2017/18 expanded at its fastest annual pace in the latest quarter since the mining boom six years ago, figures released on Wednesday showed.

Buckley backs returning Pies for AFL final

by admin on 18/08/2019

Tyson Goldsack’s marking ability will be a big positive for the Magpies’ defence against West Coast.Nathan Buckley admits Collingwood’s decision to pick Tyson Goldsack, Adam Treloar and Jeremy Howe for Saturday’s AFL qualifying final against West Coast is a gamble.
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But the Magpies coach is adamant the recently-injured trio will provide the right mix to conquer the Eagles at their Optus Stadium fortress.

Key defender Goldsack’s senior return comes just six months after the 31-year-old underwent a knee reconstruction, while Treloar has missed the past nine games after suffering a highly unusual double-hamstring injury.

Howe hasn’t played at any level in six weeks after copping a nasty cork to his thigh which required minor surgical intervention.

“Given that Tyson hasn’t played for a while, Adz has missed a bit of footy and Howie has missed our last five or six weeks, there’s some form of question mark in regard to that,” Buckley told reporters at Melbourne Airport on Friday.

“But if you had all the information and you’d seen the block of training these guys have put in, all three of them, you wouldn’t be concerned about their capacity to do what they need to do.

“Finals intensity goes up but that’ll be a test for all 44 players.”

The trio won recalls at the expense of Jack Madgen, Nathan Murphy and Adam Oxley who were all dropped for the trip to Perth to meet an Eagles side bolstered by the return of spearhead Josh Kennedy from a five-match absence because of a fractured shin.

Goldsack’s return is a shock considering his time on the sidelines but few teams have been able to stop the fearsome tandem of Kennedy and Jack Darling, and the growing likelihood that Kennedy would play reinforced Buckley’s convictions.

“We’re coming up against a side that’s got some real strength in the air,” he said.

“We’ve existed with a back six with some aerial capabilities but Goldy definitely strengthens that and so does Howie.

“That’s probably a part of our make-up that we feel like we’ve strengthened with these selections and it’s going to be an important part of getting the job done.”

West Coast also recalled speedster Lewis Jetta, while Oscar Allen and Will Schofield were omitted.

The Eagles’ uncontested marking and ability to retain possession has been a trademark this season but Buckley noted they were also capable of moving the ball at speed and supplying their dangerous small forwards.

He was also quick to rubbish talk of the Magpies’ preparations being thrown into “chaos” after a group of 13 early-departing players had a lengthy flight delay on Thursday night.

“I had a couple of red lights on the way here as well … everything seems to be against us,” a deadpan Buckley said.

“We’ll see if we can get over it and find a way.”

Companies fined over Hungry Jack’s death

by admin on 18/08/2019

Hungry Jack’s and two rubbish contractors have been fined after a man was fatally crushed by a bin.The death of an elderly man who was crushed by a bin outside a Melbourne Hungry Jack’s store has cost the fast food chain and its rubbish contractors $275,000 each.
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Rex Haysom, 86, was killed and his wife Moira injured in March 2013 as they crossed the Mill Park store’s car park, past a loading bay where a rubbish truck was emptying a recycling bin.

A Visy Paper driver, contracted by Veolia, had lifted the bin over the top of the truck to empty it and was placing it back on the ground at the front of the loading bay outside the store, just after midday on March 8.

He had checked his surrounds and not seen the couple as they crossed in front of the truck.

They were both struck by the bin and taken to hospital, where Mr Haysom later died.

Judge Trevor Wraight said Mr Haysom’s death had a profound effect on the man’s family, including his daughter who gave the court a victim impact statement.

The driver also made a statement about the severe depression he’d suffered since the incident.

He has been hospitalised several times as a suicide risk and continues to have nightmares.

Judge Wraight said steps had been taken since to reduce the risks, including arranging rubbish pick-up closer to the store opening time to avoid having trucks manoeuvring around the confined car park space during high pedestrian periods.

He said while he believed the incident was reasonably foreseeable, it was on the outer limits.

Hungry Jack’s, Visy Paper and Veolia were each found guilty at trial of failing to ensure a person other than an employee is not subject to risk, under occupational health and safety laws.

Each was fined $275,000.

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beyondblue 1300 22 4636

Andrew James Benn plans to appeal against severity of maximum 40 year jail term

by admin on 18/08/2019

PREDATOR: After pleading guilty to 21 counts of rape, Andrew James Benn was jailed for a maximum of 40 years in Newcastle District Court. He has lodged an intention to appeal against the severity of the sentence to the CCA.SADISTIC rapist Andrew James Benn intends to appeal against the length of his maximum 40-year jail term, the Newcastle Herald can reveal.
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Benn, 29, who raped or sexually assaulted 14 young women and teenage girls who he met through Facebook, Tinder or Snapchat between 2012 and 2017, filed a notice of intention to appeal against the severity of his jail term to the Court of Criminal Appeal on August 28, less than two weeks after he was jailed for at least 30 years in Newcastle District Court.

The appeal does not yet have a hearing date in the Supreme Court.

Fundamentally, Benn’s defence, led by solicitor John Anthony, will have to prove the sentence was “manifestly excessive” in order to reduce his jail term.

Benn is the Hunter’s worst serial rapist and will have spent more than half his life behind bars when, at the age of 57, he first becomes eligible for parole in 2047.

During Benn’s sentencing on August 16, Judge Ellis read out his “indicative sentences” for each of the 33 counts, including 21 counts of rape, which he said, if imposed, would have totaled an “American Style number” of 169-and-a-half years in jail.

Instead, Judge Ellis imposed an aggregate sentence of 40 years, with a non-parole period of 30 years.

It is believed to be longest sentence that Judge Ellis, the experienced Chief Judge of Newcastle’s District Court, has ordered during his time on the bench.

The public gallery in Newcastle District Court was packed with victims and their supporters as Judge Ellis read his lengthy judgement which detailed Benn’s depraved acts, which included repeatedly raping women, forcing himself on girls using “extreme violence”, sex with girls as young as 15, blackmailing and threatening victims that the “Hells Angels” would “make them disappear” if they went to police and laughing in the face of desperate and crying victims. “The treatment of the many victims was nothing short of despicable,” Judge Ellis said. “His conduct over the four-year period was evil.He left a path of emotional and physical damage for the victims.The sentence I impose is unlikely to the mitigate the harm for the victims, but hopefully it provides some sort of closure.”

In interviews with theHerald six of the women revealed the profound impact the attacks had on them and encouraged other women who are the victims of rape or sexual assault to come forward and speak out.

The women who spoke to the Herald described the effects Benn’s attacks had on them, which included suffering PTSD, living in “constant fear”, losing or having to leave their jobs and their homes, moving out of the Hunter andcontemplating or attempting suicide.

Kavanaugh steers clear of Trump criticism

by admin on 18/08/2019

Some critics have expressed concern Brett Kavanaugh could be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump.US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he believes the judiciary has broad authority to check the power of the White House, but has refused to criticise the man who selected him, President Donald Trump.
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In a second day of testimony, Kavanaugh declined to comment on Trump’s criticism of the judiciary or offer praise of the president’s character.

Democrats at Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing also pressed the conservative federal appeals court judge over newly-released emails highlighting his views on abortion and racial issues after a partisan fight over the public release of the documents.

The documents released on Thursday dated from Kavanaugh’s service in the White House under Republican President George W. Bush more than a decade ago. Democrats had objected to an earlier decision by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican leadership not to make the emails public.

The third day of the confirmation hearing again was repeatedly interrupted by protesters hostile to Kavanaugh. The nominee, enduring back-to-back days of lengthy questioning, remained in good humor, making no gaffes that were likely to derail his confirmation in a Senate narrowly controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, despite the efforts of Democrats opposed to him.

Some critics have expressed concern Kavanaugh could be a rubber stamp for Trump and protect him from lawsuits and investigations.

Asked by Democratic Senator Cory Booker whether he was picked because of an expectation of loyalty to Trump, Kavanaugh responded: “My only loyalty is to the Constitution. I’m an independent judge.”

Kavanaugh refused to say whether he had “the greatest respect” for Trump, a phrase Booker said he had used when describing Bush.