Archive for March, 2019

ABC board meetings emerge as David Leyonhjelm’s latest ABCC bargaining chip

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Liberal Democract Senator David Leyonhjelm is crucial for the government’s bid to reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Photo: Andrew MearesThe Australian Broadcasting Corporation has emerged as the latest bargaining chip in the government’s frenzied bid to reintroduce a building industry watchdog before Parliament rises for the year.

As revealed by Fairfax Media on Monday, Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm has agreed to support the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) in exchange for changes to the way the ABC board conducts its meetings. Senator Leyonhjelm’s vote will be crucial for the government to pass its bill to reintroduce the ABCC, one of its double dissolution election triggers.

Under the deal with Senator Leyonhjelm, the government has agreed that the ABC and SBS will follow at least half their board meetings each year with open community forums. At least two would be held in regional areas.

Senator Leyonhjelm said the forums would make the ABC more receptive to the views of Australians who live outside the “goat’s cheese curtain” of inner city Sydney and Melbourne.

“There are certainly plenty of people who believe the ABC and the SBS for that matter is inclined to have a particular point of view that doesn’t necessarily reflect those people who are in the regional areas in particular,” he said.

The government will write to the boards of the ABC and SBS to advise them of the policy. If necessary the government will issue a written direction to SBS to hold the forums and introduce legislation to do the same for the ABC.

The deal could cause consternation within the ABC which fiercely guards its independence from government and tends to resist interference in its operations.

Another aspect of the deal would see the government take a “lead role” in reforming suppression order regimes which stop the media reporting court proceedings. The government has committed to take up the matter with state and territory governments through the COAG process.

Senator Leyonhjelm described the changes as “freedom offsets” for the coercive powers contained in the ABCC bill. He has said he will pull his support for the bill if the government agrees to increase flows to South Australia from the Murray Darling Basin.

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Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten link arms to stand up to family violence in Indigenous communities

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten came together to link arms at the No More event in support of ending family violence in Indigenous communities. Photo: Andrew Meares Representatives from Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land on the forecourt of Parliament House for the No More event. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten with representatives from Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

In Rirratjingu culture, there is a sacred, rarely seen ceremony that honours the two Djan’kawu sisters who created life on earth. On Monday at Parliament House, it was the powerful opening scene of an event demanding an end to family violence in Indigenous communities.

Dancers came from North East Arnhem Land to join the biggest achievement so far of the No More campaign, a gathering that saw Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, dozens of other MPs and Gurindji journalist Charlie King link arms to call for change.

“They were holy and sacred,” Rirratjingu elder Witiyana Marika said of the sisters. “Women are holy. Because they are creators, they bring life, our offspring.”

The No More campaign, led by King, has taken hold amid the appalling rates of violence facing Indigenous communities, where women are 11 times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be murdered as a result of family violence and 34 times more likely to be hospitalised.

The aim of the campaign – which has reduced violence in almost all the communities that have adopted it – is to stand up to offending men, imploring them to change, and encourage organisations to adopt domestic violence action plans.

It has been strongly backed by Northern Territory police, community leaders and prominent Aboriginal women Professor Marcia Langton and Josephine Cashman, a lawyer and member of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.

The Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation praised the show of unity as a way of elevating the issue to the national stage.

“Symbolism is important. And now we need action. That’s more important,” chairman Bakamumu Marika said.

“What we would like to see is a requirement for domestic violence action plans in government tender documents – if you don’t have a good plan, you don’t get a government contract.”

Some Indigenous and family violence policy observers have questioned the government’s commitment to solving the issues, pointing to sweeping funding cuts for community legal centres, women’s shelters and Indigenous programs since 2014.

The Turnbull government has unveiled a $100 million women’s safety package, including $21 million for Indigenous-specific programs. Last month, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion outlined $25 million for therapy, diversion programs, case management and legal services in communities.

Professor Langton said the ceremony at Parliament House shows family violence is not cultural: “The Rirratjingu are saying it’s exactly the opposite – we have to love and respect women because they created the world.”

“That the Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, all these senators and members of the House here today have linked arms and with Charlie King…is profoundly important to Aboriginal women and children across the country and to all those Aboriginal men who do not commit to violence and who are opposed to violence.”

King called on people and organisations across Australia to “march all the time” against these crimes and said the positive stories should be appreciated, observing the Rirratjingu community’s success at reducing family violence by 27.9 per cent.

“That’s extraordinary, isn’t it?” he said.

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Noisy Stolthaven works at Mayfield expected to finish next month

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

The noisiest period of construction at Stolthaven’s Mayfield terminal is expected to wind up next month.FUEL logistics company Stolthaven has guaranteed fed-upresidents who live near its Mayfield site that noisy pile-driving work is nearing completion.

The company announced on Monday that the noisiest period of construction at the Mayfield No 7 terminal was expected to draw to a close next month, possibly as early as December 21, in time for the Christmas break.

Stolthaven, which operatesfuel storage tanks at the western border of the former BHP steelworks site, has been upgrading its facilities since April.

Upon completion, ships will be able to pump directly into the terminal, instead of pumping fuel from a kilometre downstream.

But to do that, the company has had to drive large steel poles directly into the Hunter River usinghydraulic hammers, generating “banging” noises across Mayfield, Carrington and Stockton.

Crebert Street’s Jacqui Standen said residents had found it“impossible” to live peacefully with the noise, and felt powerless to do anything about it.

“Unless you live here, you cannot imagine what it is like,”she said.

Mrs Standen wrote to the company several times to complain about a lack of scheduled drilling times.

“It is just a constant‘bang, bang, bang’, and it just goes on and on and on,”Mrs Standen said.“Maybe if there was some structure, if they didn’t start before a certain time, it would be better.

“We live two doors down from Industrial Drive, but never before have we ever heard anything like this.We have lost our quality of life.”

Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield Group convener John L Hayes said the suburb had become exceptionally noisy with both theStolthaven andTourle Street Bridge works running at the same time.

“It’s a combination of the two that has just builtup,” he said. “It’s been going on for a very long time. Residents shouldn’t have to be put to the sword with this sort of noise.”

A Stolthaven spokesman said the company had fully complied with state regulations on the project.

“Stolthaven is fully committed to minimising disturbances affecting local residents, and is fully complying with regulated stipulations including work hours and noise levels,” he said.

“Stolthaven apologises for any inconvenience that development activities cause during this period.”

The works are part of the Port of Newcastle’sMayfield Concept Plan.

Symbio Wildlife Park monkey theft: police search for third pygmy marmoset Gomez

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Police hopeful of finding missing monkey Gomez Gomez. Pictured in 2015.

Symbio Wildlife Park managing director John Radnidge (right) comforts park supervisor Ryan Leahy at a public appeal for information on Saturday. Picture: Robert Peet

Jo is the mother and breeding partner of the three stolen monkeys. Jo has shown signs of stress since the theft and zoo staff are unsure whether family’s complex social structure can be restored. Picture: Robert Peet

Pygmy Marmoset monkey Adora and her four-week-old sibling remain safe and well at the park, after their twins were stolen overnight Friday. Picture: Robert Peet

Symbio Wildlife Park managing director John Radnidge at the Pygmy Marmoset enclosure following Friday night’s break-in. Picture: Robert Peet

Jo is the mother and breeding partner of the three stolen monkeys. Jo has shown signs of stress since the theft and zoo staff are unsure whether family’s complex social structure can be restored. Picture: Robert Peet

Symbio Wildlife Park managing director John Radnidge (right) comforts park supervisor Ryan Leahy at a public appeal for information on Saturday. Picture: Robert Peet

TweetFacebookSymbio’s Matt Radnidge speaks on the return of two of the park’s monkeys.Post by Symbio’s Matt Radnidge speaks on the return of two of the park’s monkeys..

The crime manager was also unable to provide information on how police came to find the two monkeys that have been found, only saying it was “members of the public coming forward and providing information via Crime Stoppers”.

Police have revealed the baby monkey was found in a car at the rear of a hotel in Appin on Sunday afternoon.

A second monkey, Sofia,was found after police inquiries led officers to a home in Campbelltown on Sunday evening.

Detective Inspector Ainsworth reissued a public appeal to find the monkey that remains missing.

“We’re looking for the help of the public. The recovery of the two [monkeys] yesterday led to some good work and good information by members of the public via Crime Stoppers and we’re hoping that will continue today [Monday],”

Symbio’s general manager, Matt Radnidge, told the Mercury it was critical to get Gomez back as soon as possible to avoid the social structure of the family disintegrating.

“There’s a couple of people out there that must have given some information, and they’re the heroes of yesterday,” Mr Radnidge said.

“We’re ecstatic at the result thus far, but still very concerned about the remaining animal,” he said.

The zoo’s four-week-old baby marmoset was reunited with her mum late on Sunday afternoon.

A post on Symbio’s Facebook page said: “Mum cradled the baby straight into her arms and bub immediately began to feed.

“Early observations this morning are promising, with two bright-eyed twins observed on mums back – so a great result.”

Detective Inspector Ainsworth said CCTV footage from the zoo had been viewed by police, but the vision was of little assistance to investigators.

“There is footage there, but nothing that captures the enclosure the monkeys were taken,” he said.

Anyone with information, Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.

Illawarra Mercury

House of the week: 83 Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Romance of a bygone era | photos TweetFacebook Richmond LodgeThe 1930s mansion in New Lambton Heights. They don’t make them like this anymore.

This magnificent manor – with its chandeliers, tapestry brick fireplacesand servants’ quarters – would not look out of place in the English countryside.

Instead, ‘Richmond Lodge’ sits atop Lookout Road in New Lambton Heights, a stone’s throw from John Hunter Hospital.

The home was constructed in the 1930s by John Hall and his wife. The couple often featured in the social pages, with old newspaper clippings telling of the extravagant balls they would throw at the property.

Its guest quarters have hosted the likes ofDouglas Pratt and Blake Twigden, both renowned Australian artists.

The sprawling grounds accommodate a tennis court, saltwater swimming pool –the second ever constructed domestically in Newcastle – and an orchard with olive, macadamia and fig trees.

A circular driveway winds past arose garden to the grand residence itself. Much of the home is in original condition, including three art-deco bathrooms, a library and the maid’s scullery and flower room.

A sweeping staircase leads to six bedrooms, the master with a study nook and sunroom. Other period features include cathedral ceilings and leadlight windows.

The kitchen has been sympathetically renovated, with the addition of stone benchtops, two integrated fridges and a temperature-controlled wine cellar.

Aside from the vendors, the home has hadonly one other owner;Archie Lee, a partner in a well-knownHoldencar dealership and a former‘Rat of Tobruk’.


New Lambton Heights

83 Lookout Rd

7 bedrooms 4 bathrooms 4 garage

Price guide on request

Auction: Wed December 14 6pm, Watt Street Commercial Centre

Agent: PRDnationwide Newcastle Rodney Goodwin 4926 0600