Monthly Archives: July 2019

Turnbull son spoke with ALP after knifing

Just days after his father was deposed as prime minister, Alex Turnbull asked the Labor candidate hoping to become the next member for Wentworth “What can I do to help?”.

Tim Murray says he contacted his friend Alex Turnbull shortly after Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal leadership to Scott Morrison.

“He said ‘What can I do to help?’ and I said ‘Oh I’m not sure it’s early days’ and then boom off he went,” Mr Murray told AAP on Monday.

Alex Turnbull took to Twitter to encourage people to donate to the Labor Party ahead of the Wentworth by-election saying it’s the best “bang for the buck” they’ll get.

He is also sharing ALP campaign material via social media.

“I was surprised at the end of the day – I think that’s had a really big impact on people,” Mr Murray said.

“Alex is a pretty independent thinker just like his dad. I doubt Malcolm is feeling a lot of love for the Liberal party at the moment.”

Malcolm Turnbull says his son is entitled to express his own political views.

“Now that he’s no longer the son of the prime minister, he’s able to express his views on all sorts of issues in a way that he hasn’t been before,” Mr Turnbull told the Seven Network in New York.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was reluctant to comment on Alex Turnbull’s intervention when quizzed on Sunday but eventually stated: “It strikes me as a democracy.”

While still favourites to retain the seat in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, the Liberals face a battle in Wentworth, with a recent opinion poll placing them even with Labor on a two-party preferred basis.

The Liberal Party pre-selection battle is a three-way contest.

Former Business Council of executive director and same-sex marriage campaigner Andrew Bragg is considered the favourite. AAP understands he’s the moderates’ consensus candidate.

Former Wentworth MP Peter King – who lost the seat to Malcolm Turnbull in 2004 – and David Sharma, ‘s former ambassador to Israel, are also in the running.

City of Sydney councillor Kerryn Phelps is considering whether to stand as an independent.

Tony Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster, won’t run for Liberal preselection after the Sydney councillor’s short-lived campaign was said to be creating division within the party.

“That is not the case, but to avoid any such perception, I will be standing aside and giving my full support to the successful candidate,” she posted on Facebook on Monday.

Former prime minister Mr Turnbull formally resigned on Friday. A by-election date is yet to be set but will likely be in mid-October.

Could fake news infect the Victorian election?

Andrew Kilmartin in Buninyong. Picture Luka KauzlaricIt was a bad stumble by a political novice who, in his first interview as Liberal candidate for Buninyong, let slip the Coalition’s secret plan to frack for gas in Victoria.

“We will allow gas fracking, which is going to be good,” 31-year-old Andrew Kilmartin told a reporter from The Courier.

Gas fracking involves injecting water and chemicals into the earth to extract gas and is electoral poison in the regions, opposed by farming and environmental lobby groups alike.

So Labor pounced.

Kilmartin had “let the cat out of the bag,” the Andrews government said, “and confirmed that the Liberals will reverse Victoria’s ban on fracking the first chance they get.”

Labor MPs from Premier Daniel Andrews down promptly posted the video footage of Kilmartin’s policy fumble on their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

“Next time the Coalition claims to care about the health of our farmlands – don’t believe them. We banned fracking. They will reverse it,” Andrews posted on Facebook, where he has more than half a million followers.

Except that it isn’t true.

The Coalition voted with Labor in 2016 in favour of the fracking ban and this week said “the Liberal Nationals support the ban on fracking”.

Kilmartin, who was visibly nervous in the interview, corrected himself almost immediately and apologised. The Courier did not run with a story at the time because in the live facebook interview he corrected himself.

“Ah no fracking, sorry,” he said.

Labor snipped that part of the interview out, in an act Kilmartin labelled a “dirty trick”.

You can watch the full video here.

Social media, particularly Facebook, has emerged as a powerful tool for politicians, who can use it to project their message to voters without filtering it through journalists.

This week, the Andrews government bypassed print, TV and radio and used Andrews’ Facebook page to break the news of what might be the defining promise of November’s election: its pledge to build the 90-kilometre, $50 billion suburban rail loop.

“It’s a devastatingly effective way of communicating, because they are presenting the message they want to present, without having to go through the filtration of news processes they had to go through in the past,” said Zareh Ghazarian, a lecturer in politics and international relations at Monash University.

But social media’s unfiltered nature also makes it a means to spread misinformation.

Did you know, for example, that the Andrews government has “quietly been developing secret plans to reduce lanes on the Monash Freeway to build bike paths and urban forest”.

You might have read this if you follow the Facebook page of Liberal upper-house MP Gordon Rich-Phillips.

“This government is more concerned about pondering a ‘green utopia’ where you can no longer own your own car than it is about improving your commute to work, and helping you to get home quicker,” Rich-Phillips posted on August 17.

His source was a discussion paper on automated vehicles government agency Infrastructure Victoria put out in August.

Luke Donnellan, Victoria’s Roads Minister, said the claim was false.

“Are you joking?” he said. “What we are doing is putting 36 kilometres of new traffic lanes on the Monash, in addition to the 30 kilometres of new lanes we opened earlier this year.”

With just 1555 followers, Rich-Phillips’ audience is tiny compared with the Premier’s, whose rail loop announcement had reached 1½ million people byThursday.

But despite the extraordinary potential reach of social media, there are no laws governing Victorian politicians’ use of the medium.

A parliamentary inquiry into the impact of social media on Victorian elections found it would be impractical to even try to legislate against misuse.

“Victorian legislation will always struggle to keep pace with technology and how social media is used for political and electoral purposes,” the committee found in its 2014 report.

The Victorian Electoral Commission has no authority to regulate material that seeks to influence the political judgment of voters, online or otherwise.

In a statement, the commission said that the Electoral Act 2002 prohibited the production of electoral material that misleads or deceives in relation to casting a vote.

Dr Ghazarian said there were few examples of Victorian politicians using social media to spread outright lies, despite the absence of regulatory control.

“It’s a new battleground that the parties in have been using generally quite properly because we have struggled to find many clear examples of misinformation,” he said.

The University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre published a digital news report in June, which analysed examples of fake news in .

It argued that in the absence of regulation, the “wisdom of the crowd” might be the best corrective.

“At the collective level, the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, once decried as unreliable, could now be advanced as the means to vet information claims: the Wikipedia model could conceivably be applied in other domains, such as social media channels.”

Kilmartin said he keeps the full video on hand, having been confronted by several people over his assumed support for fracking.

“A number of times in the community I’ve had people approach me and have a go at me about fracking, and I’ve gone to the trouble of showing them the video,” he said.

“Then they become angry that Daniel Andrews has lied to them.”

A government spokesperson wasn’t backing down from the poston Friday, stating: “If given the chance the Liberals would absolutely lift the ban.”

The Age

Kate crowned top royal style influencer

Kate, rather than royal newcomer the Duchess of Sussex, had the biggest impact on shopping habits.The Duchess of Cambridge has taken the crown as this year’s top royal style influencer.

Kate, rather than royal newcomer the Duchess of Sussex, had the biggest impact on shopping habits, according to eBay’s annual UK Retail Report.

Her maternity style while pregnant with Prince Louis ensured she generated more online searches on eBay than any other royal over the past year.

Searches for tailored maternity coats more than tripled in November 2017, while Kate was expecting her third child.

In April, searches for designer Jenny Packham more than doubled when Kate appeared outside the Lindo Wing in a red Packham smock dress for Prince Louis’s debut.

Throughout the year, Kate’s go-to choices Jenny Packham, Alexander McQueen and Seraphine saw a 20 per cent upsurge in searches year-on-year, with as many as 43 searches every hour.

Meghan, who is known for her signature boatneck necklines, came a close second.

Her fashion influencing power peaked at her wedding in May, when the Givenchy dress she wore to marry the Duke of Sussex led to a more than 60 per cent increase in searches for the designer on eBay, hitting 55 an hour.

The former Suits star’s Stella McCartney halter-neck evening wedding dress doubled searches for the brand.

The duchess’s ice-pink off-the-shoulder Carolina Herrera dress at Trooping the Colour in June was also popular, with searches for the designer almost doubling.

Princess Charlotte, who was top in 2017, came third, with the flower crown she wore as a bridesmaid at Meghan and Harry’s wedding prompting a 60 per cent increase in searches for similar products on eBay成都夜场招聘.uk.

There was almost a 40 per cent spike in searches for floral print dresses after she wore one to the polo in June.

Charlotte’s five-year-old older brother Prince George was fourth, with his trademark Peter Pan collar shirts inspiring searches throughout the year.

There was a 30 per cent spike in searches for similar outfits on eBay after he appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony in June.

But George trumped his sister in the memorabilia stakes.

The release of a special coin for his fifth birthday in July prompted a surge in listings on eBay, with more than 4300 Prince George-related products on site, compared with around 1700 for Princess Charlotte.

The Queen also made it into the top five royal style influencers.

Media attention on the meaning behind her brooch selections contributed to a renaissance for this traditional piece of jewellery in 2018, according to eBay.

As many as 16 brooches are sold every minute on the site, with an almost 20 per cent increase in searches in February.

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who wore demure headwear to the royal wedding, were not placed in this year’s rankings.

Eugenie’s pale blue Fiona Graham pillbox hat and Beatrice’s teal Stephen Jones headband did not spark a discernible rise in searches or sales, eBay said.

On-demand buses and ride-sharing apps are ways Newcastle can become a city with fewer cars

NO PARKING: The demolition earlier this year of the former David Jones car park on King and Perkins street, Newcastle. Picture: Marina NeilPARKING tensions across Newcastle are increasing, as many commuters and businesses struggle to adjust to life without parking. Over the last 12 months, Newcastle has lost hundreds of parking spaces, including the closure of two major car parks, as the city goes through rapid urban renewal to create a sustainable and integrated transport network.

This has led to many new developments being built with less available parking. For instance, the new Honeysuckle campus for the University of Newcastle has made an allowance onsite for a total of 12 parking spaces, yet it’s set to have more than 6500 people engage with the campus.

This is something we’re going to have to get used to, as the city brings in a new era of sustainable transport, such as active travel, public transport, ride-sharing, and park and ride.

RELATED:University Honeysuckle campus without parking is ‘crazy’: McCloy

In order to support the increasing number of people living and commuting into Newcastle, the city needs to ensure it has the right transport solutions in place that can scale with population growth. Building more parking doesn’t necessarily fit this strategy, as it’s an expensive limited solution that takes up critical urban space.

So, what can we expect as the city ushers in a new era of transport?

There are two smart mobility solutions that will change the game when it comes to transportation within the city, enabling greater scalability as well as complementing Newcastle’s current public transport system.

The first is carpooling. The University of Newcastle has adopted a carpooling solution that helps students and staff get from A to B, without increasing congestion and reducing demand for car parking spaces.

Drivers or passengers download an app, put in their destination and the carpooling platform automatically matches them with other students or staff that are along their route. The University of Newcastle encourages people to use the platform by offering fuel vouchers and a guaranteed park upon arrival.

RELATED:OPINION: Queens Wharf Tower demolition sends right message

Not only has this dramatically reduced the number of cars requiring parking, it has also helped reduce congestion and harmful carbon emissions, whilst building companionship among users.

Forward thinking businesses, universities, hospitals and construction firms are implementing this technology, helping them improve commutes whilst reducing congestion and carbon emissions.

The second solution is on-demand buses. On-demand buses provide more flexibility to commuters in the last mile of their travel. Across some areas of Sydney and the Central Coast, these new on-demand buses are already complementing the existing public transport system by connecting more people to the existing transportation hubs.

Essentially, people download an app, request an on-demand bus at a time that suits them to or from their door to a train station or major bus station. By extending the public transport network in this way, it can encourage more people onto public transport and away from using their cars – ultimately reducing the number of vehicles requiring car parking.

RELATED: One last climb up Queens Wharf Tower

Coupling these two technologies with active travel and public transport, gives travelers more options to get around Newcastle without the need of a car. It provides a scalable and sustainable model to transportation, future-proofing the city from population growth and laying the foundations for a digital, technology-driven transportation future.

It is critical that cities turn to new technologies to help them upgrade their transport solutions. Not only will it help scale their transport options to match population growth, but will also begin to lay the foundations for an autonomous vehicle future.

Kevin Orr is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Liftango

TOM GRIFFITHS: Staff staying the course for higher earning

As the University of Newcastle’s plans for a new campus at nearby Honeysuckle make clear, the University of Newcastle (UON) is an institution on the move.

But buildings are only a small part of what it takes to make a great university.

It’s the staff who are the heart of the university. As Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen has noted, the “university’s international reputation for excellence… is testament to… hardworking staff.”

But despite talking the talk about the university’s ‘hardworking staff’, management are yet to walk the walk on the reasonable and affordable claims to better support staff.

One example is domestic and family violence leave.An increasing number of universities in NSW now provide 20 days of additional, separate, paid domestic and family violence leave, to support employees.

In contrast, managementexhaust all of their personal leave – including sick leave – before accessing no more than 10 days of domestic and family violence leave.

This is not an expensive claim and domestic and family violence leave will be accessed by a minority of staff, most of whom will be women in dire need.

For people who need it, domestic and family violence leave is a critically important support during whatcan be extremely difficult anddangerous times for them and their children.

What a shining example domestic and family violence leave would set in our region, as part of our public commitment to gender equity, and to addressing this important public issue.

Another example is the insecurity of work at the university.Only one in three jobs at UON isongoing, leaving two thirds of jobs as casual or contracted.

There are many steps management could take to get more of these staff into more secure employment, andat little cost.

At a strike meeting earlier this month, one colleague shared her experience of being employed on annual contracts for 20years! Thishighly valued member of staff,along with many others like her,has lived with high a high level of job insecurity for a major part of her working life.

Is university management truly unable to find a better way to employ staff – ways that provide stability, and which reciprocate the commitment demonstrated by such staff?

Meanwhile, the university is in rude financial health. As the Chancellor noted in June, “we’ve… got a strong balance sheet, there’s no doubt about that.”

The National Tertiary Education Union’s (NTEU) view is that it is time to reset the balance at the University. After all, the way we spend money shows what we do – and don’t – value.

It is in pursuit of goals like these that members of the NTEU have recently taken industrial action, after more than a year of enterprise bargaining.

Incremental steps have been made toward agreement, but there is some way to go.There is a real risk that progress will again stall because of uncertainty and change at senior levels.

The Vice-Chancellor’s departure date has chopped and changed. In 2017, her departure was brought forward to “the end of 2018.” In June this year, a departure date of 4 November was announced.

In August, this jumped forward again to September 21, with an Acting Vice-Chancellorserving in the interim.

Last week thedate was brought forward again – to last week.

Meanwhile, other senior management figures are also leaving, presumably for greener pastures. Management’s bargaining team is led by a Pro Vice-Chancellor who will depart the month after next, and another Pro Vice-Chancellor is slated to depart this month.

The University of Newcastlegeneral counsel’s departurehas also been announced. It is feared this instability at the top may render management’s bargaining team rudderless for the foreseeable future.

This raises the very real prospect that bargaining will be left as unfinished business for the incoming Vice-Chancellor to mop-up when he arrives on campus in November.

The NTEU continues to bargain in good faith, underpinned by its commitment to defending the working conditions of all staff, which ultimately translate into good learning conditions for all students.

We will be staying the course – for as long as it takes.

Associate Professor Tom Griffiths is President of the National Tertiary Education Union, Newcastle Branch