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Month: June, 2019

‘Unreal backstabbing’ splits Katherine CLP branch

UNDER FIRE: The political future of Member for Katherine Willem Westra van Holthe is under a cloud as members of his own branch engage in “unreal backstabbing” in a bid to strip him of his preselection, according to one Country Liberal Party source.INFIGHTING and“unrealbackstabbing” over the political future of Willem Westra van Holtheare creating heated divisionswithin the Katherinebranch of the Country Liberal Party.
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Followingemails and bank statements being leaked that showedhe planned to invest ina Vietnamese company with links to the Northern Territory government, Mr Westra van Holthe moved to the backbench on February 14 amid claims he had breached theministerial code of conduct.

While he continues to have the public support of Chief Minister Adam Giles and the party, theKatherine Timescan reveal at least four members of Mr Westra van Holthe’s own branch are lining up to replace him as the preselected candidate for August’selection.

Under the CLPconstitution, a branch can only make a recommendation to disendorse a candidate, so it would take eithera central council or management committee vote toformally strip Mr Westra van Holthe of the party’ssupport.

One source within the branch, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said deep rifts had formedas internal and external pressurecontinued to be applied tothe embattled Member for Katherine.

“It’s quite clear that the move to disendorse Willem by a small group in the branch is not about the good of the Country Liberals, but advancing personal agendas,” the source said.

“A number of individualson the branch executive have already indicated their interest in becoming the new Country Liberals candidate if Willem is disendorsed.”

The source added that internal opposition to Mr Westra van Holthe’s preselection represented a“clear conflict of interest” as potential replacements tested their political footing.

Chief Minister maintains public supportMr Giles maintained this week that his former deputychief minister“absolutely” hadhis support.

“I don’t get involved in the party side of things,” he said.

However, the Chief Minister did admit thathe stillbelieved Mr Westra van Holthe hadbreached the ministerial code of conduct by not advising him about the planned $630,000 investment.

“Look, I had a look at the ministerial code and looked at what it says, and had some concerns, as Willem did, and that’s why he stepped down,” he said.

“That alleviates that concern.

“If you’re thinking about doing it, you’ve got to let someone know.​”

MLA stands ground on preselection positionIn an exclusive interview with the Katherine Times on March 1, a defiant Mr Westra van Holthe said he would not yieldto branch pressure to stand aside, adding that the issue of a breach was“done and dusted”.

“Well, I am the preselected and endorsed candidate for Katherine,” he said.

“I still enjoy the support of the party, as a whole, so my full intentions at this moment in time are to move forward to the election as the CLPcandidate for Katherine.

“I’m not going to get into an argument with the Chief Minister over whether I did or didn’t breach the ministerial code of conduct.”​

When quizzed about speculation that a family member had invested in the CT Group on his behalf following his decision not to go through with a share offer, Mr Westra van Holthe rebuffedthe claim.

“I can absolutely say that neitherI nor my family members, my new partner, have any investments with any of my money,” he said.

“There is absolutely no link, financially or legally, between me and the CT Group through anybody.”

Another branch source, who also asked not to be named,said Mr Westra van Holthe’s assertion meant little.

“He’s got to go,” they said.

“The situation is a disgrace and gets murkier every time he opens his mouth.”

CLP presidentTory Mencshelyi confirmed that a special general meeting would be held within the next fortnight to discuss the“Katherine situation”.

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

Women must find the time to see their doctor

Women are failing to see their doctorswhen they have potentially life-threatening symptoms – mainly because they’re too ‘busy’ or are worried they’re overreacting.
Nanjing Night Net

According to a new study byOvarian Cancer Action,not enough women are going to see the GP when they need to. Aquarter of the 200 women polledsaid that work came first – while a third said it was more important for them to look after their family.

For others, the barrier to seeing a doctorwas to do with judgement.More a third of women said they found it difficult to speak to a doctor, with half saying they were embarrassed – especially aroundsexual health concerns. Others felt dismissed by their GPs and didn’t want to be seen as overreacting.

“It reflects our very busy lives,” explains Katherine Taylor, chief executive of the charity. “Women are typically on the frontline whether it’s working, caring for children, or for older relatives. We’re all very busy all the time so sometimes health issues can get overlooked. All of us feel that urge to put our families first but it’s really important we look after our own health as well.”

A lot of people may turn to Dr Google instead of their GP out of fear of wasting their time –but don’t turn to Google – it could give you the wrong information.

“What we’d say to women worried is it’s important to keep track of your symptoms,” says Taylor. “As women we know our bodies. We know when there’s something wrong. Don’t feel you can’t take that to the doctor. We shouldn’t feel embarrassed talking about our bodies – we should feel empowered.”

If you’re struggling to see your GP you need to make the time. Your health is important and employers should understand. If you still feel unable to take time off, try an out of hours appointment or a walk-in clinic. It might be an effort, but it’s worth it.It’s your body.

Radhika Sanhhani wrties for the Telegraph, London

Nuclear waste dump: Sleepless nights, tears and stress as communities fight Turnbull government plan

South Australians Kellie Hunt, Sue Woolford, Peter Woolford and Toni Scott have visited Parliament House to oppose a nearby nuclear waste dump. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Greens nuclear spokesman Scott Ludlam Photo: Andrew Sheargold
Nanjing Night Net

When Peter Woolford’s son died in a motorbike accident 12 years ago, the rural community of Kimba united to help the farmer and his wife through their personal cataclysm.

But that was then. Now, old friends in the community no longer speak, and people on the streets of the South Australian town are afraid to talk about the issue that has driven a wedge between neighbours: a proposed nuclear waste dump.

Cortlinye, near Kimba, is one of six sites across Australia the federal government has shortlisted to host the nation’s first permanent nuclear dump for low-level and intermediate waste.

The others are at Sallys Flat near Hill End in NSW, Hale in the Northern Territory, Pinkawillinie and Barndioota in South Australia and Oman Ama in Queensland.

If sites are approved, landowners who volunteered their property would receive up to four times the value of their land, and the community would receive about $10 million for infrastructure or services.

But this fight is “not about money”, said Mr Woolford, who was in Canberra on Tuesday with waste dump opponents from the other five communities to voice their concern. They say Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg refused to meet them, however they met other senior officials.

“[My wife and I] have a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of tears and stress, feeling sick,” Mr Woolford said.

“The mental health issues that the process has created, the stress and the anger and the deep division in our community is real.”

He said after the death of his teenage son, the townspeople paid regular visits, brought food and helped with the family’s harvest.

“My wife and I wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t been [for] the community support of Kimba … to see what’s happening to our community now, it’s so distressing,” he said.

Mr Woolford supplies grain to export markets. He fears that a nuclear waste dump near his home would damage the reputation of crops from his rural region on the Eyre Peninsula.

The government says Australians benefit from nuclear technology and each week, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation research reactor at Lucas Heights, NSW, delivers 10,000 doses of potentially lifesaving nuclear medicines to over 250 hospitals and medical practices across Australia and overseas.

Australia has accumulated the equivalent of more than two Olympic sized swimming pools of low-level radioactive waste from research, medical and industrial use. It has also accumulated intermediate level waste, such as from the production of radiopharmaceuticals.

In a statement, Mr Frydenberg said the government was “committed to safely and responsibly managing the by-products from these processes by establishing a permanent, national radioactive waste management facility”.

More than 100 sites across the country, such as hospitals and universities, are licensed to store such waste on an interim basis.

Mr Frydenberg said a 120-day consultation period, which ends on March 11, was engaging the six affected communities and had so far been “constructive”.

“While I respect the views of those who may want to truncate this process, and appreciate their feedback, all members of the community should be given the continued opportunity to provide their views, including those who have shown their support for a proposed site, and those who seek further information,” he said.

Mr Frydenberg said feedback from the initial consultation process will help inform the government’s next steps, which would involve further community consultation, technical assessment and a shortlist of two to three sites.

“Ultimately we are looking for a site which has broad based community support,” he said.

A final site is expected to be identified by the end of this year.

Aboriginal woman Regina Mackenzie said the proposed Barndioota site in the Flinders Ranges threatened important cultural heritage sites.

“There was no consultation whatsoever … we just feel it’s an attack on our belief system,” she said.

Hill End spokeswoman Robyn Rayner owns and runs a merino stud with her husband, and said the proposed site was across the road from their home.

“We are here today as a united group. We are from all different walks of Australia but we all share the same [concern], we are totally against this,” she said.

“We want the government to listen. No means no.”

Greens nuclear spokesman senator Scott Ludlam said communities were told the dump would not be built if locals largely objected.

“There’s strong opposition in all six communities [and] the government needs to abandon this idea,” he said.

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

RBA leaves official cash rate at 2 per cent

On hold: Markets weren’t expecting a rate cut on Tuesday. Photo: Nicholas RiderThe Reserve Bank of Australia has hinted it is slightly more inclined to cut the cash rate again – despite holding it at 2 per cent for the ninth board meeting in a row.
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In a statement which was almost a carbon copy of his February commentary, governor Glenn Stevens said benign inflation, moderating house price growth and Australia’s successful transition away from mining investment made the case for interest rates to remain low.

However, weak consumer price growth would also facilitate another cut if that were necessary, he said.

“Continued low inflation would provide scope for easier policy, should that be appropriate to lend support to demand,” governor Stevens said.

The board’s decision was universally expected, and the Australian dollar, which had been under pressure from weak fourth-quarter economic data earlier in the day, remained steady around US71.20¢ before later inching up.

In late local trade it was fetching US71.35¢, little changed from the same time on Monday. Jobs market focus

The jobs market will remain the central bank’s focus over the coming months, after a surprise jump in the unemployment rate, from 5.8 to 6 per cent, in January.

“Certainly the commentary around the labour market was more subdued,” said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans.

“In this statement, it noted that labour market conditions improved in 2015, whereas in February the board noted that ’employment growth picked up and the unemployment rate declined’.”

Global market upheaval, driven in part by growth fears, would also weigh on future decisions, the RBA said.

“Over the period ahead, new information should allow the board to judge whether the improvement in labour market conditions is continuing and whether the recent financial turbulence portends weaker global and domestic demand,” Mr Stevens said in the statement.

Economists remain divided on whether or not the central bank will be forced to cut the cash rate again this year, with some pointing to a subtle change in language in Tuesday’s statement –swapping “may” for “could” – to support predictions of further reductions.

Capital Economics’ chief economist for Australia Paul Dales described Mr Stevens’ language as “a bit more dovish”, which means more inclined to use low inflation to justify another rate cut.

“This is a very subtle change to the RBA’s implicit easing bias,” he said, “but it suggests that the RBA has become more convinced that underlying inflation will remain close to the bottom of the 2 per cent to 3 per cent target range for longer.

“We expect that the RBA will cut interest rates to 1.5 per cent this year, perhaps starting with a reduction in May,” said Mr Dales.

Economists, meanwhile, were also busy on Tuesday revising down their estimates for gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the December quarter after another set of weaker than expected figures. Surprise jump in imports

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday net exports’ contribution to GDP would be zero after the trade surplus came in smaller than forecast following a surprise jump in imports.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a 0.3 percentage point contribution from Australia’s trade and foreign income position.

The fourth-quarter current account deficit also blew out further than expected, adding to downward pressure on the income measure of GDP, which includes company profits, wages and rental and interest income. Some economists began tweaking their GDP estimates after Monday’s surprisingly weak corporate profits and inventory results.

The worse-than-expected data, coupled with a sharp fall in building approvals in January, could also pile pressure on the RBA to cut the cash rate again.

“Building approvals were weaker than expected in January, supporting our view that the pipeline of planned housing construction is narrowing,” ANZ Bank economist David Cannington said.

“Tuesday’s data highlights the risk that the Australian economy is unlikely to be able to rely on building construction to support jobs growth and economic activity for much longer.”

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

Davis Cup 2016: It’s ‘just a virus’ for Nick Kyrgios, says Lleyton Hewitt

Lleyton Hewitt has revealed that a virus, rather than ongoing back issues, has led to Nick Kyrgios’ quarantining from his Davis Cup teammates, while declaring both the “under the weather” Kyrgios and late-arriving Bernard Tomic should be fit to play against the US on Friday.
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Hewitt said Kyrgios would probably join the rest of the Australian squad on Wednesday morning, having earlier been confirmed as a no-show at the team dinner that night.

“He’s just had a bit of a virus, so at the moment he’s just taking it easy and just trying to get over that 100 per cent and then he’ll be right to go,” Hewitt said. “Obviously I didn’t want him around the other boys right at the moment if he’s a bit infectious as well. It’s kind of precautionary more than anything, He’ll be ready to go.

“The back and hip don’t seem to be a problem, which is really good news, but he did have a virus over in Dubai and sort of just trying to get over that, more than anything. He’s played a lot of matches, for he and Bernie they’re confident coming in with their ball-striking, and it’s about these guys just doing the small things to feel comfortable on the grasscourt, but come match day I’m backing both of those boys.”

In the absence of his singles partner, the encouraging news was that Tomic practised on the match court with Hewitt during the heat of the afternoon and showed no ill-effects from either the fatigue of a 9am arrival from Mexico or the wrist injury that required pain-killers during last week’s run to the Acapulco Open final.

“It was tough because I finished the final and I think I had to fly (out) five six hours after that, and it was busy with the flights, couldn’t get connections, so it was very tough to get here,” Tomic said.

“I’m happy I’m here and the hit today it was good to get on the court and it’s now on grass so I have to try and get ready as much as I can today, tomorrow, the next day, which I think I’ll be ready.”

The wrist had been bothering him since his Australian open loss to Andy Murray, Tomic said. “I just had some sort of pain. But it’s OK. I mean, I’ve been playing matches, I haven’t pulled out anywhere, I ‘m pretty confident, it’s just maybe a few matches where I felt pain ast week but I pushed through it and was on painkillers.

The last four five days has been OK. I had to strap it on the final when I played and it didn’t bother me to much, but I’m just happy I got here now on time because it was a tough tough schedule to get from Mexico to here in Melbourne. it was like all over the world, so I’m happy I’m here.

“It’s tough to say if I will be 100 per cent, but there’s not gonna be a lot of rallies if we play. It’s gonna be a lot of quick points, and I’m serving really good and playing very confidently.  “I’m very happy the way I’m playing and I think I’ll be very ready for sure on Friday.”

Earlier, US captain Jim Courier said he had limited “intel” on the health of both Kyrgios and Australian singles No.1 Bernard Tomic, who has a wrist injury, but was working on the assumption that both would be fit to play.

“The only thing that we’ve heard from the ITF is that Nick is not going to be here for press today and not going to be at the dinner. That’s the only news that we have as far as that goes,” Courier said, flanked by team members John Isner, Jack Sock and the Bryan brothers.

“But until Thursday in these things you can’t really count on anything. You can change two players off the team, so we’ll find out Thursday at the draw who we have, but … we have to prepare for what’s been presented to us.

“We’re not blind. The practice courts are right next to each other, we can see what they’re doing, they can see what we’re doing, we know who’s practising on their side and who hasn’t been practising, but a lot can change in these things come Thursday and we’ll really hunker down at that point.”

Courier also said he was pleased with the custom-built grass court laid over Kooyong’s regulation Plexicushion. “I haven’t hit a ball on it yet, so it plays great for me,” he quipped. “The centre court’s different than the practice courts; it’s a little slower, I would say. It’s pretty firm, though. It’s a pretty good court for a temporary grasscourt.”

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