The BBC has bigger problems than a misbehaving interviewer


RELATIONS BETWEEN the British Broadcasting Corporation and the government have always been delicate. Stanley Baldwin bridled at the BBC’s coverage of the General Strike of 1926. Margaret Thatcher was infuriated by its reporting from the Falklands. Hugh Carleton Greene, the corporation’s boss in the 1960s, confessed that, when dealing with Harold Wilson’s government, “I found my experience as head of psychological warfare in Malaya in 1947 extremely useful.”

The latest spat pits the BBC against not just Downing Street but the royal family, as well as many viewers. An independent inquiry released on May 20th found that one of its most famous scoops, an interview in 1995 in which Princess Diana claimed that “there were three of us in this marriage”, was secured partly by deception. Martin Bashir, the interviewer, forged documents to persuade the princess that she was being spied on. A BBC probe at the time led by Tony Hall, who later became director-general, covered it up.

The BBC promises a review of its editorial practices and another report into its dealings with Mr Bashir, who left the corporation earlier this month citing ill-health. Two former executives, including Lord Hall, have quit their new jobs. Prince William declared the revelations proof that the interview “established a false narrative” about his mother….

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Adelaide man loses Supreme Court bid to get out of a speeding fine he claims was caused by ‘bigger tyres and rims’


An Adelaide man has lost a Supreme Court bid to get out of a speeding ticket by claiming that his car had “bigger-than-standard tyres and rims” which impacted the speedometer.

In March 2019, David Scylla was caught speeding at 68 kph in a 60 zone on The Grove Way, at Golden Grove, by a speed camera.

He elected to be prosecuted and pleaded guilty to the traffic offence in August 2020, but asked Magistrate Derek Sprod if he could reduce the number of demerit points incurred by two.

Magistrate Sprod refused before Scylla appealed that decision to the South Australian Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court was told that between December 2016 and August 2020, Scylla had elected for 12 speeding offences to go to court — and in 10 of those cases, he had successfully argued to have the number of demerit point issued reduced.

Scylla told the court that his car — a Mitsubishi Magna — was originally fitted with 15-inch rims, but he replaced them with 16-inch rims and a “higher profile tyre” about six months after purchasing it in 2014 or 2015.

Driver claimed rim size impacted speedo

“He opined that that change meant that the car was, from then on, travelling faster than the speedometer indicated,” Supreme Court Justice David Peek said.

He said Scylla tendered photographs comparing tyre sizes, along with printouts of information he had found on the internet, during his case in the Magistrates Court.

Justice Peek said the Magistrate rejected Scylla’s application on the grounds he was not “appropriately qualified to give expert advice”.

During his appeal, Scylla told the Supreme Court that he put “new rims on from a factory”.

“I put factory alloys so I can get better tyres, and that threw out the speedo a bit, and I said ‘OK, I was speeding’, like, you know, you can see here one wheel is quite a lot larger than the other,” he told the court.

The South Australian Supreme Court rejected the appeal.(

ABC News: Michael Clements

)

Scylla told the Supreme Court that Magistrate Sprod stated that was “not evidence”.

“I run the wheel on the left, that makes the speedo — he said it’s not evidence, [but] I said Pythagoras and physics, a small circle spins faster than a big circle, what evidence do I need, it’s mathematics,” Scylla told the court.

“I don’t have evidence that Amelia Earhart is dead, but I just presume we all know she is, you know what I mean?

“I didn’t get it off the internet, I’m not some jerk that gets everything off the internet, it’s physics, big circles and small circles.”

Justice Peek asked Scylla why he did not come to court with an expert witness that could give evidence about the tyre and rim sizes.

He responded: “I’m not going to pay eight grand (sic) for an expert to come.

“My record indicates I do sit above the speed a fair bit now and again and get busted for it. But there’s so much bad driving out there that doesn’t get picked up. I’m a good driver.”

Scylla asked the court to ‘cut me a break’

He asked the court to “cut me a break as a blue-collar guy not on welfare”.

“I’m not some crackpot in town intimidating people … I’m a guy that drives around in a V6 aerodynamic car, I pop over the speed limit now and again, granted,” he said.

But Justice Peek found the speeding offence was “of an ordinary type and not atypical”.

“The offence was not of a trifling nature … and there is no proper cause to reduce Scylla’s demerit points for the subject offence,” he found.

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Big issues require big commitments, and even bigger dollars – Mental Health Australia welcomes the 2021 Federal Budget


Mental Health Australia has tonight welcomed the 2021 Federal Budget, at a time when the mental health of our nation has never seen such need, nor experienced such a willingness to address the issues and challenges at hand.

“Over the last decade or more, our mental health ecosystem has advocated tirelessly for systemic reform, for change and ultimately for the right to be heard,” said Mental Health Australia CEO Dr Leanne Beagley.

“At the heart of such advocacy has been those with lived experience of mental ill health, and their families and carers. These courageous, persistent and persuasive voices have become critical to ensuring all governments not only listen, but act to improve our mental health system.

“Tonight, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s Budget speech identified a record $2.3 billion will be invested in Australia’s mental health over the next four years.

“There is no doubt this is real action.

“The numbers are big, and the commitments are certainly welcomed, but we also know that to tackle and deliver true national mental health reform will mean big commitments on many fronts, not just in health, and not just at a federal level.

“There are also of course gaps, and there are of course more questions to ask and we will do so over the next days and weeks.

“At Mental Health Australia, where our focus is always on national systemic reform across the entire lifespan and across the care continuum from prevention to acute clinical treatment, we see these Budget announcements as the start of what must become a national wave of true mental health reform.

“After decades of under-investment across the entire ecosystem, new mental health funding can sometimes be like rain after a long drought — it is welcomed but gets absorbed into the dry earth so quickly that it seems to disappear. It’s only when there is consistent rain that a drought truly breaks.”

 

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Public housing shortage a ‘much bigger problem than people imagine’ but Brisbane Housing Company has big plans


Ms Mitchell is a pensioner and knew finding something suitable they could afford could prove almost impossible.

“The difficulty on the Gold Coast is it’s virtually impossible to get anything at all, certainly for affordable rent,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Some of the things that are affordable rent, you really wouldn’t commit to — the streets would be a better option.

Ms Mitchell recalled the first time they tried to put their names down on the wait list for public housing.

“There were people in there — women who’d been sleeping in cars with their children,” she said.

“On the Gold Coast, it’s impossible to get anything — they said ‘look, you’re better off going to Brisbane’.

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Trbojevic factor bigger than Johns and JT


Tom Trbojevic’s impact on Manly is statistically greater than what Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston had on Newcastle and North Queensland respectively, with the Sea Eagles 16 points better off in recent years when he’s playing.

Trbojevic’s value was on show again on Saturday, as his try and two assists propelled the previously struggling Sea Eagles to a 36-0 flogging of Gold Coast.

But even that doesn’t paint the full picture of how important the fitness of his problematic 24-year-old hamstrings are to Manly.

Since his full-time shift to fullback in 2016, Manly have won 51.35 per cent of games with Trbojevic in the side as opposed to just 30.56 per cent without him.

Under Des Hasler since 2019, the situation is even more critical with Manly’s probability of winning almost three-times higher with Trbojevic, going from 28.12 per cent without him to 75 per cent with him.

That goes far beyond Newcastle’ jump from 44.16 per cent to 61.79 with Johns as their chief half between 1994 and his retirement in 2007.

It also towers over the Cowboys’ drop of 53.74 per cent with Thurston after he arrived in 2005 until his 2018 retirement compared to 36.36 per cent without him.

“You could certainly say that (he’s as important as Johns and Thurston) at the moment,” teammate Martin Taupau told AAP.

“It’s the influence with the relationships and combinations he has with certain players.

“You’ve got to get insurance on those hamstrings alone … It’s a huge asset.

“I said to him when he came off (against Titans), you’re playing fullback, halfback, hooker and front row at the same time.

“There’s so many things that he brings along. Confidence as well knowing he can bring a quick play-the-ball a try or a try assist.”

Trbojevic’s impact is surprisingly bigger in defence and attack, despite the fullback being renowned for his ball-playing skills.

While Manly have scored an extra five points on average with him in the side since 2019, they go from conceding 26.9 points without him to just 15.6 when he’s setting the line at the back.

That overall swing of 16.2 points in attack and defence is again beyond Johns’ 10.6 at Newcastle and Thurston’s 9.9 at the Cowboys.

“Defensively he doesn’t get a big enough rap,” winger Reuben Garrick said.

“He is so cluey with his numbers and sending players where they need to be.

“Even his defence, his tackling. It’s so underrated. He saves a lot of tries and he’s in the right position all the time.”

MANLY WITH TRBOJEVIC (SINCE 2019):

Win rate – 75 per cent, Points scored – 22 points conceded – 16

MANLY WITHOUT TRBOJEVIC (SINCE 2019)

Win rate – 28 per cent, Points scored – 17, points conceded – 27

NEWCASTLE WITH ANDREW JOHNS (1994-2007)

Win rate – 62 per cent, Points scored – 26, points conceded – 21

NEWCASTLE WITHOUT ANDREW JOHNS (1994-2007)

Win rate – 44 per cent, Points scored – 20, points conceded – 26

NORTH QUEENSLAND WITH JOHNATHAN THURSTON (2005-2018)

Win rate – 54 per cent, Points scored – 23, points conceded – 20

NORTH QUEENSLAND WITHOUT JOHNATHAN THURSTON (2005-2018)

Win rate – 36 per cent, Points scored – 17, points conceded – 24

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Cabinet reshuffle sees new, bigger focus on women, so who has ended up where?


The main theme out of the latest Cabinet reshuffle is that women should be, and will be, embedded in all areas.

The idea, Minister for Women Marise Payne says, is that for the first time ever women’s issues are going to be treated as a whole-of-government priority.

That means their safety and economic security, among other things.

In essence, it sounds like the government is going to start applying a gender lens — where it looks at how a law will affect women specifically — to its policies, something advocates have long been calling for.

So, how’s it going to do that exactly? Here’s what’s changing.

Minister for Women’s Safety

The changes outlined by Scott Morrison on Monday come in the wake of ongoing scrutiny and attention at the way women are treated not only in politics, but around the country.

To firm up his commitment to keeping women safe, a new portfolio has been created within Cabinet called Minister for Women’s Safety.

Anne Ruston stands in front of a mural responding to journalists' questions
Anne Ruston will now also be the Minister for Women’s Safety.(

ABC News: Nick Haggarty

)

Anne Ruston, who’s also the Social Services Minister, will take this on given, as the Prime Minister says, she’s pretty much responsible for it already.

Senator Ruston is also joining the leadership team in the government — the 10 most-senior ministers who meet on a regular basis.

‘Cabinet taskforce’

As well as a new portfolio Mr Morrison also announced he was creating a new “Cabinet taskforce”

“To drive my government’s agenda in response to these key issues involving women’s equality, women’s safety, women’s economic security, women’s health and wellbeing,” he said.

It’ll be co-chaired by himself and the Minister for Women Marise Payne.

Marise Payne looks into the distance with an Australian flag behind her
Marise Payne will co-chair the new taskforce along with the Prime Minister.(

ABC News: Nick Haggarty

)

Exactly how the taskforce will operate isn’t totally clear, but at the table will be every woman in the government’s ministry.

The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham will also be on the taskforce.

Senator Payne says the taskforce is a way of putting these issues right in front of — literally — the leaders in the government on a regular basis.

Women take on senior ministries 

As well as getting everyone in the same room, the Prime Minister has elevated some to the highest ranks in the government.

Michaelia Cash will become the Attorney-General and Industrial Relations Minister, replacing Christian Porter.

Karen Andrews will be the Home Affairs Minister, as Peter Dutton moves to the Defence Ministry.

A blonde woman in a tigerprint jacket speaks standing in the House of Representatives
Karen Andrews will become the first woman to be the Home Affairs Minister.(

AAP: Lukas Coch

)

Linda Reynolds is staying in Cabinet, switching to Government Services and the NDIS, while Stuart Robert takes Senator Cash’s former employment roles.

“The big change here is this — previous governments, previous Cabinets have had a Minister for Women who is expected to cover every single issue that relates to challenges confronting women in the government,” Mr Morrison said.

“I don’t think that, from experience, is a very constructive way to get outcomes and results for women. The whole government needs that.”

Other extra roles

Continuing in the ‘put women across government’ idea, there are a few other positions that’ve been created to put a greater focus on women’s issues at a portfolio level.

Jane Hume, who’s currently the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy — but isn’t in Cabinet — will also take on a new position as Minister for Women’s Economic security.

A woman with brown hair mid-sentence
Liberal Senator Jane Hume is one of many women being given extra responsibilities.(

ABC News: Matt Roberts

)

Despite the closing gender pay gap, women retire with considerably less superannuation than men and no doubt this role will see a renewed focus on the issue.

Amanda Stoker, who is the Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General, adds Assistant Minister for Women and Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations.

‘Prime Minister for Women’

As well as co-anchoring the task force, Senator Payne will be what the PM dubbed “the Prime Minister for Women”.

In short, she’s going to be the ringleader for the women now in Cabinet and those that’ll be consulted more broadly as part of the taskforce.

“It is her job to bring together this great talent and experience across not just the female members of my Cabinet team and the outer ministry and executive, but to draw also on the important contributions, especially in areas such as health and services and aged care,” Mr Morrison said.

Senator Payne, who would remain the most senior woman in the government, said the PM was right that women’s issues touched across every portfolio.

One more woman in Cabinet

The Prime Minister said he was pleased that, once again, the representation of women in Cabinet was the highest it had ever been.

But overall the number of women will grow by one — Melissa Price moves back into Cabinet while staying in her Defence Industry portfolio.

Melissa Price speaking in Parliament.
Melissa Price will become the seventh women in Cabinet.(

AAP: Lukas Coch

)

As for the other promotions, they’ve all been given to the women already in assistant minister or outer ministry positions, meaning there’s no total increase to the number of women across the teams.

It means the ministry will stay at 27 per cent female. In the federal parliament, 23 per cent of Liberal members are women.

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Bigger weddings, funerals allowed in Queensland as COVID-19 restrictions ease from today


It’s been a tough time for Queenslanders eager to tie the knot with their beloved or say goodbye to a loved one who has died.

This means you could fit 200 people into a 100 square metre venue, but if you had 201 people then you would need a venue with 402 square metres of space.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she hopes these changes will make a huge difference.

“I know that’s going to mean a lot, especially to our regional communities where there might be someone special from their community who has passed away,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Friday.

“We know many people who have large weddings as well and this is wonderful news.

“Those easing of restrictions mean basically they’re almost back to normal.”

At the weekend, Queensland Health renewed calls for people to wear their masks in airports and on flights, after three recently positive cases travelled through Brisbane Airport.

“It is absolutely critical everyone follows the rules and wears a mask if they’ve got plans to travel,” Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said.

“Not only can you be fined $200 on the spot [if you do not follow the rules], it is a safety precaution for you and for the people around you.

“It could be the difference between catching COVID-19 or not.”

The government usually provides updates on a monthly basis, on or around the end of the month.

Basted on that pattern, you can expect an update in three to four weeks.

Ms Palaszczuk told a press conference on Sunday there was only one new case of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine in Queensland, 24 active cases, and 4,110 tests had been carried out.

Meanwhile, the AstraZeneca vaccine has arrived in Queensland, with vaccine hubs to open today in Bundaberg and Logan. Frontline health care workers, quarantine workers and residents in care facilities will be at the front of the queue.

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Seeing the bigger picture


BIG Picture Fest 2021 is scheduled to kick off next month.

The annual festival sees artists come to Frankston to create giant murals. 

Frankston councillor Suzette Tayler says “the Big Picture Fest was initially held in 2018, with the artworks transforming drab walls in high profile locations and hidden laneways into an epic spectacle of storytelling, colour and vibrancy.”

“Showcasing Frankston’s evolving arts and culture edge, Frankston City is now home to over 30 larger than life street art pieces and murals created by some of the world’s best street artists. Dotted throughout the city’s streets and laneways, these artworks are all just waiting to be discovered,” she said.

Those artworks can be seen as part of a guided tour. Council’s tourism coordinator Amy Parsons said “Frankston’s Street Art Walking Tours are a great way for people to discover the creative energy within Frankston City.”

“Our street art helps create a sense of place, an identity for Frankston that builds on the reputation that our city is evolving. You’ll be fascinated by the inspiration behind these artworks, created by some of the world’s best street artists. Our local guides share these stories. It’s a vibrant urban art experience that you don’t have to travel to Melbourne for,” Ms Parsons said.

Street Art Walking Tours cost $15 and run for 90 minutes. To book visit discoverfrankston.com/things-to-do/tours/frankston/street-art-walking-tours

First published in the Frankston Times – 16 February 2021

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Eagles, Dockers want bigger home crowds but quarantine looms for Freo players


Three non-Victorian clubs are fixtured to play at Optus Stadium in the first three rounds of the regular season but it was Fremantle’s round one fixture against Melbourne at Marvel Stadium that could force Dockers players into two-week isolation upon their return to Perth and, subsequently, affect the opening stanza of the 2021 season.

“If it tracks the way it’s going, then we’re heading in the right direction,” Mr Dawson said.

The challenge will be Fremantle coming to Victoria to play Melbourne.

AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld

“It would be a week or two before the season starts proper, that we might know [how to address quarantine regulations].

Travis Auld, the AFL’s executive general manager of clubs, admitted the fixture could be in a state of flux after round one.

He said with Fremantle travelling to play Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday March 20 and West Coast due in Victoria the following week for its round two clash with the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium, changes could be needed should current WA government restrictions remain in place.

“The challenge will be Fremantle coming to Victoria to play Melbourne for example,” he said.

“We’ll explore every opportunity; it is what we did last year. Start the season and where we encounter speed bumps find a way around those.”

Currently, people entering WA from Victoria must self-quarantine for two weeks, as Victoria is categorised as a “low risk” state, having fewer than five community cases per day on a 14-day rolling average.

All other states and territories are categorised by WA as “very low risk” – no community cases in at least 28 days – and travellers are not required to quarantine.

WA Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said he was not too concerned about recent cases linked to the Holiday Inn cluster in Victoria as the cases occurred in hotel quarantine.

“Hopefully teams will be able to travel in and out,” he said on Friday.

WA is yet to announce whether its 28 days no community spread rule will be relaxed to allow travel into WA from states with minor, controlled outbreaks.

The AFL has released venue details for the first six rounds only of the 2021 season as it plays a cautionary game, with the possibility of further COVID-19 outbreaks and restrictions in mind.

The league said today crowds would be capped at 50 per cent at the MCG and Marvel Stadium for round one.

West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said the 2018 premiers were hopeful Optus Stadium’s current capped capacity of 35,500 would be increased before their opening-season clash with Gold Coast on Sunday March 21, while Fremantle football operations boss Peter Bell was confident most Dockers members would get a seat to their first home game of the season against GWS a week later if it went ahead as anticipated.

An Optus Stadium spokesperson told WAtoday on Friday crowd capacity at the 60,000-seat venue would be capped at 35,500.

“That figure is in line with guidelines set by the government,” a spokesperson said.

Mr Nisbett remained optimistic crowd numbers would be increased before round one.

“Hopefully the state government will see their way clear to open up all venues, so that we can have 100 per cent,” he told Radio 6PR.

“If it’s less than that, hopefully it won’t be much less than that. There are certainly discussions with the Chief Health Officer about whether that can be increased, whether that’s from the start of the year or whether it’s from certain periods of the year depending on what’s happening in all states with all teams that are travelling to Perth.”

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Three clubs from Victoria and one each from South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales will travel to Western Australia to play during the first six rounds, with current quarantine requirements to remain in place unless there are further outbreaks or cases of community transition in the respective states.

The AFL has been contacted in regards to the testing and protocols of players and staff in Perth.

Mr Nisbett said at this stage seat allocation for West Coast members would operate as per last year. Members who want a ticket would get priority for a seat on a “first in, best dressed” basis until capacity is filled.

“People will have to be ticketed and if they can’t do it online they’ll have to ring in,” Mr Nisbett said.

Fremantle was hopeful seated members would be able to attend all 11 home games at Optus Stadium should the pandemic stay controlled across Australia.

Mr Bell said the club was confident it would be able to cater for all seated members, who would likely be spread across the 60,000-seat venue to ensure fixtures met social distancing guidelines.

“If there is a little bit of shuffling you’ll be put into a seat or an area as close to what you’re accustomed to,” he told Radio 6PR.

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Climate crisis bigger concern than pandemic for Australian businesses, survey finds | Business


Australian bosses say the climate crisis is the biggest challenge facing their businesses – in contrast to their overseas counterparts, who have ranked recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic their top concern.

“Climate change impacts” were rated the No 1 concern by 18% of 155 Australian executives surveyed by accounting firm Ernst & Young, followed by technological disruption (17%) and “the continuing Covid-19 pandemic” (15%).

Globally, the positions of climate change and the pandemic were reversed, with the pandemic considered the biggest challenge by 18%, the economy second with 12% and global heating a distant third at just 9%.

“We think this reflects both the fact that locally the pandemic has been handled comparatively well and also our C-suite consider Covid’s impacts to be short term,” EY’s managing director of strategy and transactions, David Larocca, said.

“It also reflects the priority position investors are now giving sustainability and climate change when making their decisions.”

Over the past few years investors, including large superannuation funds, have ramped up pressure on boards and executives to commit the companies they lead to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In response to investor pressure, Australia’s two big miners, BHP and Rio Tinto, have said they will attempt to reduce their emissions to net zero by 2050, while major banks ANZ and NAB have committed to reducing or eliminating their funding for coal projects.

The election of Joe Biden has also increased pressure on Australia and its corporate sector to do more on climate.

Biden has recommitted the US to the Paris agreement, which aims to limit global heating to 1.5c by 2050, and his environmental envoy, John Kerry, has said that the two countries are not on the same page and “coal has got to phase down faster”.

Mathew Nelson, a climate change and sustainability executive at EY, said that despite the progress made so far, there was “still a long way to go to educate Australian corporates about the opportunities associated with achieving net zero emissions”.

“While the market is increasingly alert to the economic upsides of decarbonisation, in the near term Australian businesses are acknowledging that the economic reorganisation required to achieve net zero will create losers as well as winners, and time is running out to ensure you are the latter.”

He said EY research also showed that investors were increasingly happy with the quality of the data companies gave them on their climate performance, “despite an increasing demand to understand climate risks in portfolios and companies”.

“This mismatch should be priority number one for the capital markets ecosystem in the years ahead,” he said.

The EY survey, conducted as part of its annual capital confidence barometer, received responses from 155 Australian executives and 2,515 globally.

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