Archive Month: October 2018
Oct 28 , 2018 / By :

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the launch of the book, ‘A Strong Australia’.Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has launched a collection of his old speeches in what he has termed a ”landmark book”.
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On Wednesday morning, Mr Abbott presented A Strong Australia – a 146-page tome of nine key speeches he has given over the past year, including his budget reply and National Press Club addresses.

Mr Abbott told a crowd of Coalition MPs at Parliament House that he was very proud of the book. ”I represents a lot of intellectual toil,” he observed, noting that all his frontbenchers and the Coalition’s backbench committees had contributed.

Perhaps that’s why the book does no specifically state who the author is (although a note on the back page states it is ”copyright Tony Abbott”).

Mr Abbott said the book represented a distillation of the Coalition’s ideas and values – covering ideas about the economy, environment, border security and infrastructure.

It also comes with several glossy photos of the Opposition Leader at work and at home – including a sombre picture of him looking out of a plane window, a photo of the Mr Abbott reading to a child and a shot of him talking to his wife, Margie, against a bushland backdrop.

Mr Abbott said the Coalition had a three year plan for re-election. He said year one was about establishing values, year two was for developing plans and year three ”will be the year of our policies”.

As Mr Abbott ran through the opposition’s policies today, his pledges to cut the carbon tax and strengthen border security received the biggest ”hear, hears” from the audience.

The book comes as the opposition tries to counter government attacks that Mr Abbott is too negative.

Introducing Mr Abbott, Nationals Leader Warren Truss said the Coalition had ”a positive plan and we’re lead by a positive man”.

A Strong Australia is published by the Liberal Party, and will be available as a free e-book.

This is Mr Abbott’s fourth book. In 2009 he published Battlelines, part memoir of the Howard years, part policy manifesto. In the 1990s, at the height of the republic debate, he wrote two books on constitutional monarchy.

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Oct 28 , 2018 / By :

Lucky escape … crane operator Glen. The crane jib collapsed onto the UTS building.
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The crane on fire.

A crane that caught fire and toppled on a building site at University of Technology Sydney will be removed in a complex operation requiring several other cranes and major road closures.

A spokesman from WorkCover, which is leading the investigation into Tuesday morning’s crane collapse, said inspectors, emergency services, building representatives and union officials have met to discuss its removal.

They are in the early stages of planning a complex engineering operation to remove the damaged crane at the site on Broadway and Wattle street, Ultimo.

The spokesman said it was too early to know how long the damaged crane will remain at the site, managed by Lend Lease, and when the operation would begin.

On Wednesday morning emergency services will take down damaged signage on the Wattle Street side of the building which was crushed by the crane’s jib, the spokesman said.

“WorkCover is satisfied that there is no further risk of debris or the crane falling from the building,” he said in a statement.

The crane operator, a man named Glen, has been hailed a hero for ensuring the crane didn’t fall near bustling Broadway.

Glen appeared shaken when he told Channel Ten: “The fire just began … just started.

“I got down. I tried to extinguish it, but it needed more than an extinguisher.”

It’s believed Glen, who is employed by Lend Lease, swung the arm of the crane around so it fell on scaffolding, away from the busy road below.

CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker said it was lucky no one was injured or killed.

“If this crane was pointed out on the street … and it caught fire there could have been hundreds of innocent bystanders killed here today,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“That jib could have collapsed onto the road. It could have been motorists, it could have been pedestrians … It’s just by chance that it wasn’t facing that way when it’s caught fire.”

It is understood the crane is owned by a Sefton company, Marr Contracting. It was then leased to Lend Lease, which employed the driver.

On Wednesday morning Wattle Street remained closed between Broadway and Thomas street.

“There is no definitive forecast as to when the road will be fully reopened due to safety concerns,” the Transport Management Centre said.

The slip lane from Broadway is open, so eastbound motorists can turn onto Wattle Street, but there is no access for westbound motorists.

Drivers are urged to be cautious, expect delays and allow extra travel time.

Mr Parker said workers had complained three weeks ago about the crane leaking oil, which was dripping onto their hard hats and clothes. The union asked Lend Lease to investigate the problem.

Lend Lease released a short statement confirming that a full investigation was being undertaken.

“We are working closely with relevant authorities and unions to evaluate the incident.”

It said the UTS site was regularly audited to ensure on-site safety.

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Oct 28 , 2018 / By :

“I feel so embarrassed and humiliated” … a Korean student attacked in Melbourne.“They lied to me. At first they said the attackers were under investigation. Later they said they didn’t know who any of them were.”
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A South Korean student whose finger was chopped off in a brutal attack has spoken of his frustration with a police investigation into the incident.

Mr Chang, who is keeping his identity concealed, and a friend were attacked by a group of teenagers while walking through Box Hill Gardens in Melbourne at night in September.

The attackers severed his left little finger and broke his arm. Mr Chang, who has worked as a designer and is left-handed, fears the injury will affect his ability to work in future.

“I feel so embarrassed and humiliated,” the TAFE Box Hill Institute student, 33, said. “I don’t want to go outside alone. I haven’t even told my family about what happened. They don’t know.”

Over the past two months two other Korean nationals, a 33-year-old Sydney man and a 27-year-old man from Brisbane, have also been attacked, fuelling outrage in South Korea, with media reports questioning whether Australia is a safe place to visit.

Two weeks ago, French woman Fanny Desaintjores was threatened by passengers on a Melbourne bus for singing French songs. One man said “speak English or die”, while another commuter shouted: “I’ll f—ing boxcutter you right now, dog.”

Victoria Police is continuing its investigations into the assault against Mr Chang after the South Korean government requested they conduct a “more thorough and fair investigation”, capture the perpetrators and compensate the victim.

The Foreign Ministry of South Korea also demanded Australia “come up with measures to prevent future incidents”, the Korean broadcaster KBS reported.

Mr Chang, from Seoul, still believes Australia is a “safe and good country”, acknowledging every country has its share of offenders. But he said he was “unhappy” about the ongoing police investigation.

A spokesman from the Korean Consulate in Melbourne told Fairfax Media they formally requested Victoria Police to “carry out a thorough investigation that will also eliminate perceptions of unfairness and inadequacy from the victim and Korean public”.

Mr Chang had declared he was told by police he was responsible for the brutal attack because he “was in the wrong place at the wrong hours”, sparking alarm in Korea.

But the spokesman said that while police eventually apologised for the remark to Mr Chang, he may have “misunderstood the intention behind it, taken in the wrong way due to cultural differences”.

The Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported Mr Chang was approached by a group of teenagers who asked for a cigarette. When he refused, they assaulted him while shouting the words “f—ing Chinese”.

Mr Chang blacked out during the attack and was taken to hospital, where his little finger was reattached.

Victoria Police has told Fairfax Media a 14-year-old boy from Doncaster, Melbourne, was charged the day after the assault.

Mr Chang is now seeking compensation through the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Monday night said it was aware of the media reports of assaults against Korean nationals in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

“The Australian Government and Australian state and territory police forces take very seriously any allegations of racially-motivated crime,” the spokeswoman said.

“Regrettably, crimes occur in Australia as they do in all countries, and it is important to be very careful in reaching conclusions that they are racially motivated.”

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Oct 28 , 2018 / By :

Not content with the cut-throat competition being played out in flat screen televisions and other consumer electronics, the Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi battle royal is being taken to whitegoods, with the announcement on Wednesday morning that JB is rolling out JB “home” stores.
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At this stage, JB Hi-Fi is just dipping its toe into the fridges, freezers and ovens market, converting some of its existing larger stores by adding these categories, and presumably cutting back on the space being given to other products.

As the company points out, its Clive Anthony-branded stores already sell these products, so it should have the required supplier relationships, pricing and skills within the group to make the expansion relatively seamless.

Of course, seamless doesn’t necessarily mean easy, and the likes of Gerry Harvey’s Harvey Norman as well as Bing Lee, the Good Guys and others will be doing their best to avoid losing market share – and sales and profit – to the newly expanded JB.

The news won’t exactly make Gerry Harvey happy, after he suggested on Tuesday that his company would be “last man standing” as retail conditions continued to be tough. I’m sure he didn’t count on a new competitor in whitegoods – especially one with a formidable store footprint, category experience and a solid online strategy.

Call it optimism or desperation, the decision by JB to enter whitegoods is an interesting one. It may be a sign of a struggling retailer desperately trying to find a way to stave off declining sales, or a robust business finding more efficient ways of using its floor space.

One thing is for sure – shoehorning extra stock from a new category into its existing stores suggests either fewer other categories or smaller ranges, as the company makes room for large fridges and ovens.

The movie and music categories would have to be under significant pressure, given the continued move to digital downloading, while its wide range of small electronics may also be feeling some pressure – particularly the products that are both low value and low margin items.

Retail is all about the return on both the floor space in store and the stock you have on hand. Having a greater number of product categories should increase sales per square metre, assuming the company manages its stock mix correctly, and that consumers aren’t disappointed with narrower product ranges in its traditional categories.

It’s also likely that the less competitive whitegoods categories are higher margin products than items like flat screen televisions, which are suffering both price deflation and decreased margins – not a happy combination.

Whether those margins remain high is yet to be seen – the continued march of online retail is ever- threatening and Woolworths’ new Masters home improvement stores are making whitegoods one of its own core categories. Neither is good for profit margins of competing retailers.

JB Hi-Fi continues to be bullish – opening new stores despite the consumer reticence to spend.

That’s despite the company’s profit margins continuing to slide. There’s no doubting it operates in very tough categories, and you can’t blame the company for looking for new growth avenues.

Whether ovens and freezers can make a difference will become clear in the months ahead.

The downside is that JB Hi-Fi may lose its image as a busy, vibrant, cool place for teenagers and twenty- somethings to shop, and that the new business may distract it from its core operations.

While Gerry Harvey wouldn’t be welcoming the news, I can’t escape the mental image of him staring, Clint Eastwood-style at JB Hi-Fi, inviting his opposite number to “go ahead, make my day”.

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Scott Phillips is a Motley Fool investment analyst. He owns shares in Harvey Norman and Wool-worths. You can follow Scott on Twitter. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).

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

Oct 28 , 2018 / By :

Two surveys conducted by different research agencies have shown the live export industry has a majority of public support.
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In seemingly direct contrast to placards carried at the recent anti-live export rally in Fremantle stating 80 per cent of Australians wanted live exports banned, a combined industry letter sent to politicians this week highlighted recent survey results showing 69pc of Australians actually supported the live trade.

In November, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) commissioned Sexton Market Research to undertake 1000 interviews across Australia to uncover public attitudes towards live exports and the political ramifications of a phase-out or ban.

“Of the 1000 respondents, not one single person raised it,” the co-signed letter said.

“When prompted, two thirds of respondents supported continuing the livestock export trade, rather than banning or phasing it out, and of these, three quarters held that opinion strongly.

“Overall, 69pc of respondents support the continuation of the trade and working with industry to ensure continuous animal welfare improvements, while 21pc oppose the trade.”

The NFF survey also asked if respondents would be pleased or concerned if their Federal MP supported a ban or phase-out of the trade, with 60pc saying they’d be concerned and only 22pc pleased.

Among all voters, 44pc of respondents said they would definitely or probably vote against their MP should a trade ban or phase-out be implemented.

Similar issues were also covered in the independent, weekly Essential Research poll that was conducted online from November 14 to 18, based on 1036 respondents.

Aside from the poll’s standard question on voting intention, it also included questions on live exports.

Only 25pc of respondents said Australia should not export live sheep and cattle to any country at all.

But more than double that number (54pc) said the trade should only be done with countries that guaranteed they would be treated humanely.

In addition, 15pc said Australia should export live sheep and cattle to any country that wants them and 6pc said they don’t know.

Those most opposed to exporting live sheep and cattle to any country at all were Greens voters (35pc), women (29pc) and respondents aged 45 to 64 (30pc).

In questions about the treatment of animals, 61pc said they think animals deserve some protection from harm and exploitation – but it is still appropriate to use them for the benefit of humans.

Also, 30pc said they think animals deserve the same rights as people to be free from harm and exploitation.

Only 4pc think animals don’t need much protection from harm and exploitation since they are just animals.

Those most likely to think animals deserve the same rights as people to be free from harm and exploitation were Greens voters (40pc) and women (38pc).