Archive for January, 2019
18 Jan

Phelps draws poor ballot spot in Wentworth

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Independent Kerryn Phelps concedes her chances of taking Wentworth from the Liberal Party in the looming by-election have taken a hit, with the Sydney city councillor being drawn near the bottom of the 16-candidate ballot paper.

Dr Phelps is considered one of the most likely to steal the seat from the Liberals for the first time in the party’s history, but she drew 15th spot when the draw was conducted by the n Electoral Commission on Friday.

“Being down near the bottom of the ballot form might make it a little bit of a harder task from here,” she told reporters. “It is what it is.”

Licia Heath, a fellow independent, is 13th, while Liberal candidate Dave Sharma is ninth and Labor’s Tim Murray is fifth.

Robert Callanan from Katter’s n Party is No.1 on the ballot paper for the by-election, which will be held on October 20.

Asked if he was relieved to see his main rival down the bottom of the ballot, Mr Sharma said he believed voters were more than capable of picking out who they wanted to support from a list.

“Obviously the voters are going to decide who they support and I’m sure they’ll find whichever candidate of the 16 they want to support,” Mr Sharma told reporters.

“It will be a tough by-election, I’ve been saying that all along, I know that, the government knows that.”

Mr Sharma confirmed he had spoken to deposed prime minister, and former member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull on a few occasions during this campaign.

“He has been very supportive…it’s great to have him willingly offering me his advice and his support,” Mr Sharma said.

“He’s got a lot of valuable things to offer me.”

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore – who in 2017 had a public falling out with Dr Phelps who was serving as her deputy on council – has backed Ms Heath in the Wentworth poll.

Dr Phelps wouldn’t be drawn on whether she thought Ms Moore’s decision was personal.

“I think people can endorse whoever they like,” she said on Friday.

“I’d rather not comment on other people’s alignments, I think it’s really important that I stay with the policies that I think are very important.”

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18 Jan

NRL grand finals between the top two teams

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The Melbourne Storm have played three of the NRL grand finals between first and second-placed teams.PAST FIVE GRAND FINALS BETWEEN FIRST AND SECOND

* 2012: Melbourne (2nd) bt Canterbury (1st) 14-4

It looked like a one-horse race when the Storm won their opening nine games of the season, but the bubble burst as they lost six of seven through the Origin period. That opened the door for the Bulldogs to claim the minor premiership on the back of their own winning streak of 12 games, led by Ben Barba’s Dally M-winning campaign. The grand final is best remembered for James Graham biting the ear of Billy Slater, later resulting in a 12-game ban. Cooper Cronk won the Clive Churchill medal, and it was Craig Bellamy’s first legitimate title.

* 2008: Manly (2nd) bt Melbourne (1st) 40-0

It was billed as a clash of the top two teams, but in the end it was a non-contest as Manly took revenge for the previous year’s defeat by trouncing over a Melbourne side without suspended captain Cameron Smith. Sea Eagles winger Michael Robertson got a hat trick, but the decider is best remembered for retiring champion Steve Menzies bowing out with a grand final try. The 40-0 scorelines remains the biggest grand final margin in history, and the first time a team was held scoreless since 1978.

* 2007: Melbourne (1st) bt Manly (2nd) 34-8

It was the last time first beat second, but it comes with an asterisk after the Storm were later stripped of the title due to salary cap cheating. Greg Inglis, playing at five-eighth, picked up the Clive Churchill medal in a team that had nine State of Origin stars, including Israel Folau, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, Brett White, Matt King, Matt Geyer and Michael Crocker.

* 2004: Canterbury (2nd) bt Sydney Roosters (1st) 16-13

Arguably the biggest rivalry of the early noughties, this grand final proved heroes don’t always get the fairytale finish they deserve as retiring champion Brad Fittler failed to get the job done against a Bulldogs side missing injured skipper Steve Price. Willie Mason claimed the Clive Churchill in a team that had Sonny Bill Williams and a young Johnathan Thurston, who gave his premiership ring to Price.

* 2003: Penrith (1st) bt Sydney Roosters (2nd) 18-6

The last time the a legitimate minor premiers side knocked off second place to lift the trophy. The Panthers finished with one more regular season win than the Roosters but entered the decider as underdogs. However that failed to deter an inexperienced side inspired by Scott Sattler’s unforgettable chasedown tackle of flying winger Todd Byrne.

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18 Jan

Education minister denies funding ‘threat’

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Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has denied threatening to withhold school funding from states and territories if they don’t sign up to a new deal by December.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino has accused the federal government of “holding a gun to the head” of states and territories through the tight deadline.

Mr Tehan said he was simply seeking assurances from his state counterparts that funding would still be provided to schools as negotiations continued.

“It’s not a threat,” Mr Tehan told ABC Radio on Friday.

“Now it’s fairly sad, unfortunately, that James Merlino sought to leak that letter to the press and beat it up for what it wasn’t.”

The public feud erupted between the two ministers over how much the federal government puts towards state schools, after the announcement of a $4.6 billion peace-deal for Catholic and independents.

The Victorian Education Minister is pushing for an additional five per cent from the federal government to ensure state schools also get a boost.

In the leaked letter to Mr Merlino, the federal minister rejects the proposal and says investment to Victorian state schools is increasing.

Mr Merlino, who is also Victoria’s Labor deputy premier, says the federal government is demanding states and territories immediately sign a deal, which is unfair.

“Essentially holding a gun to the head of states and territories by inventing deadlines,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“The carelessness with which he (Mr Tehan) has ruled out funding the final five per cent of the schooling resource standard shows complete ignorance to the inequality set out in his own legislation.”

Mr Tehan says he has offered to brief Mr Merlino over the changes, but has been told by his office he is too busy.

He believes the Victorian is using school funding to play political games ahead of the November state election and said discussions with other state and territory ministers have been “incredibly constructive”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, when asked about the coalition’s backup plan if the state’s don’t agree to the new arrangement, said it will spend money that has been committed.

“We spend the money, that’s the plan,” he told ABC Radio on Friday.

Acting federal Labor leader Tanya Plibersek says Mr Morrison has been using “desperate bully boy tactics” against state governments.

“This is a new low even for Scott Morrison – holding n schoolchildren to ransom,” she told AAP in a statement on Friday.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes says he will “very forcefully” argue for extra state school funding over 10 years when he meets with Mr Tehan on Friday.

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18 Jan

ABC board must regain trust: acting chair

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The ABC’s new acting chair Dr Kirstin Ferguson says the board of the national broadcaster has always had its best interests at heart, but accepts they must rebuild trust among ns.

“Actions speak louder than words. We need to knuckle down now and really focus on the future of the ABC,” she told ABC TV on Friday.

ABC chairman Justin Milne quit on Thursday amid reports he called for journalists to be sacked because the government didn’t like their reporting.

The resignation came three days after former managing director Michelle Guthrie was fired, with the board claiming it was “not in the best interests” of the broadcaster for her to continue in the role.

The prime minister on Friday announced he had nominated Dr Ferguson for the role of deputy chair, with the Governor-General endorsing his recommendation soon after.

The appointment means Dr Ferguson, who was appointed to the ABC board on 2015, will be acting chair until a permanent chair is found.

Dr Ferguson said she was “grateful” to Mr Milne for resigning and is now focused on stability, echoing faith expressed in her by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Kirstin will be able to step up into that role as recommended and I think restore some stability there which is very necessary,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek says there is a cloud hanging over the entire ABC board, as they only asked Mr Milne to step down when allegations against him became public.

“I think other board members really do need to examine whether they have fully discharged their responsibilities to protect and defend the ABC,” Ms Plibersek said.

“Or whether, in fact, they’ve been voluntarily or involuntarily complicit in the government’s political interference.”

The former chairman denies he asked Ms Guthrie to fire senior journalists Emma Alberici and Andrew Probyn because the government didn’t like their reporting.

“This draws a real question over the entire membership of the ABC board as it stands,” Mr Albanese said.

Dr Ferguson said an inquiry ordered by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, which is due to report back within days, will shed light on when the board learnt of the allegations.

“This is something that will all come out in the departmental inquiry which has been announced, so it’s difficult for me to now go through that in detail.”

Mr Milne has denied demanding any journalist be sacked, but maintains he was entitled to intervene on issues of editorial accuracy and independence.

In one email to Ms Guthrie, Mr Milne reportedly said the government hated Ms Alberici and the ABC should “get rid of her”.

Mr Milne is also said to have ordered Ms Guthrie sack Mr Probyn by telling her “you just have to shoot him” because Mr Turnbull hated the journalist.

The ABC board met without Mr Milne on Thursday and asked him to step aside, but he resigned instead.

Labor has called for the appointment of a permanent chair to be a bipartisan process, and will join with the Greens in trying to initiate a Senate inquiry into the leadership issues.

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