Lib MP takes swipe at party’s disastrous 2018 election campaign


“I was incredibly worried that some members of our community, perhaps many members of our community, interpreted our law and order policies in a particular way,” Mr Bach said.

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“I’ve heard, and our party has heard from especially members of the African community in Victoria, that they felt that the way in which we communicated some elements of our policies at the last election wasn’t correct.”

The MP, who was recently promoted to junior shadow minister for education, last year released a book titled Combating London’s Criminal Class: A State Divided, 1869-95, assessing the effectiveness of repressive and punitive measures on habitual criminals.

His book, the publisher’s blurb states, highlights the inconsistent and unsuccessful ways in which penal punishments were doled out to repeat offenders in 19th-century London.

Dr Bach concludes his book by comparing 1800s English criminal law to populist policies that still persist in modern-day Australia to detrimental effect. He pointed to measures such as mandatory minimum sentences and registers of offenders as examples of such policies.

“Knowledge of the course of British penal policy in the 1850s and 1860s makes it unsurprising that support for repressive measures continues,” Mr Bach states in his conclusion.

“But an understanding of legislation designed to suppress the criminal class in the mid- and late Victorian period should also lead us to be sceptical of the specific measures advocated by [Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party] in Australia and countless other organs of the press, pressure groups and politicians in any number of other countries.

Then-opposition leader Matthew Guy pledges a crime crackdown in 2018.Credit:Daniel Pockett

“This is despite the fact that many mid- and late Victorians undoubtedly came to think that the measures contained in the Habitual Criminals Act 1869 and the Prevention of Crime Act 1871 were ‘just common sense’.”

The prison population has almost doubled in the past decade and the annual cost of running the state’s jails is now more than $1.6 billion, triple the outlay in 2009-2010, because of tough-on-crime policies embraced by Labor and Liberal governments, a 2019 Age investigation reported.

Despite the mammoth spending on Corrections, 43.3 per cent of Victorian prisoners released in 2016–17 returned to prison within two years, according to Sentencing Advisory Council data released last year.

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The Liberal campaign leading up to the 2018 election was built around dozens of tough-on-crime policies with a pledge to “jail the gangs” and “get back in control” of law and order.

Then-opposition leader Matthew Guy pledged a Liberal government would introduce mandatory minimum sentences for repeat violent offenders, despite mounting evidence suggesting they do not work to prevent crime.

Following Mr Nutt’s election review, Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said in November 2019 that the Liberal Party would “never walk away” from keeping Victorians safe.

Dr Bach said the party needed to get back to its “traditional” roots on law and order, and put rehabilitation at its core in reforming the criminal justice system.

He cited the Baillieu government’s establishment in 2012 of Parkville College to educate children in youth detention facilities as a successful Liberal Party policy that focused on rehabilitation and restorative justice.

“We’ve known for many years you need to approach individuals who over a period of time have a history of offending with a whole range of evidence-based interventions,” Dr Bach said.

“Deterrence has to be an element, punishment has to be part of the system and in Victoria we need to do far better to rehabilitate offenders for a whole range of reasons: for themselves, their families, but ultimately to keep the community safe.”

Mr O’Brien was contacted for comment.

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Come and Play Netball campaign launched statewide – 16 News


Netball NSW is excited to launch a new campaign entitled Come and Play Netball which aims to help the sport rebound after a difficult 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign, which starts on Monday 18 January, will work with the organisation’s affiliated Clubs and Associations – as well as incorporated media and advertising platforms – in the hope of returning playing numbers to pre-pandemic levels.

Come and Play Netball can be broken down into three pillars – paid media, owned assets and local area marketing – and will have an estimated reach of over five million people, targeting key metro and regional areas.

Netball NSW has appointed agency Benedictus Media to help deliver the campaign which will feature state-wide radio and outdoor advertising as well as strategic digital placement. It will also incorporate the organisation’s two professional teams, the NSW Swifts and GIANTS Netball.

Swifts and Australian Diamonds midcourter Paige Hadley and fellow Diamonds Kiera Austin and Kristiana Manu’a from the GIANTS will feature in the campaign.

The vast NSW netball community will also play a key role with Netball NSW providing each Association with a suite of promotional material to ensure Come and Play Netball reaches all levels of the game across the state.

Netball NSW Executive General Manager of Community & Pathways Darren Simpson said the campaign was a huge, but necessary and exciting, undertaking.

“When you look at what the last 12 months have thrown at our netball community it’s very important that we put significant investment into helping the game bounce back,” he said.

“Netball across NSW had around a 15% drop in playing numbers in 2020 which compared to other sports was actually not a huge fall-off. However, when you note how much netball grew before COVID-19 we really want to get back on that path as quickly as possible.

“Netball’s grassroots numbers are among the biggest in the state but we should never rest on our laurels and we hope this campaign will help kick-start growth again in 2021.

“I would also like to thank our NSW netball community for committing to support Come and Play Netball, and our two elite teams in the NSW Swifts and GIANTS Netball for adding their voices too.”

Netball NSW Executive General Manager of Commercial & Marketing Steve Neal gave some more insight into how the campaign would work:

“In terms of radio in metro areas we’ll have a large presence on both Smooth FM and NOVA, while the campaign will also be heard on local radio stations from Wollongong to Orange, Lismore to Wagga Wagga and Newcastle to Dubbo, just to name a few.

“Our outdoor advertising will start in February and be placed on retail panels and outdoor furniture at a combined 145 locations across the state, which will rotate on a fortnightly basis.

“We will also be harnessing the full power of the Netball NSW, the NSW Swifts and GIANTS Netball’s marketing and social media platforms and providing all Associations with creative they will be able to use in their own environments along with suggested copy and helpful hints around sharing the campaign.”

Come and Play Netball will run for six weeks from mid-January to the end of February.

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Coon Cheese rebrands in Australia after anti-racism campaign


Pre-riot speech was ‘totally acceptable’ – Trump

The US president is facing impeachment for inciting insurrection before last week’s Capitol riot.

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The NT pioneered voluntary euthanasia before the law was overruled. Now there is a campaign to restore it


Sharon Cramp-Oliver has boxes full of her mum’s old diaries.

In them, 77-year-old Liz Holmes wrote about the adventures of her three children, what made the nightly news and — in the years leading up to her death — the unbearable pain she experienced and detailed plans to end her own life.

WARNING: This story contains content that some readers may find distressing.

Liz spent 12 years battling breast cancer, had a broken back and suffered through two painful hip replacements, one of which dislocated itself in early 2017.

“This is hell on earth,” she wrote, just months before she took her own life in September, 2017.

Liz Holmes’s diaries detail how much pain the 77-year-old was in the years leading up to her death in September, 2017.(ABC News: Dane Hirst)

Liz also wrote that if she could have accessed voluntary euthanasia, she would have.

But Liz lived in New South Wales, one of the six Australian states and territories that do not allow assisted dying.

Liz’s daughter Sharon, who lives in the Northern Territory, said if voluntary euthanasia was permitted in the NT, she would have brought her mum up to die surrounded by people who loved her.

She decided to share her mother’s story for the first time in the hope it may spark a new conversation about assisted dying.

“Wouldn’t it have been nice for her to have gone to sleep with her family around her, rather than do that by herself?” Sharon said.

A brief period of legalisation

In 1995, the Northern Territory became the first place in the world to legalise voluntary euthanasia.

It was a private bill put forward by then-chief minister Marshall Perron, which came into effect in 1996.

Black and white photos of Liz Holmes can be seen on the lap of her daughter Sharon.
Liz Holmes worked in a bank, as a model, and in retail — but her daughter Sharon said Liz’s greatest joy was being a mother.(ABC News: Dane Hirst)

In the nine months voluntary euthanasia was legal in the Northern Territory, four terminally ill people used it to die: one Territorian and three others who travelled up to the NT to end their lives.

But in 1996, federal Liberal MP Kevin Andrews put forward a different bill — passed by the Commonwealth in 1997 — which overrode the right of the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory to legalise assisted dying.

Mr Andrews argued in Parliament that legalising voluntary euthanasia sent a “powerful message” to the Australian community that vulnerable people were “expendable” and not valued, and the law could expose patients to “pressure, abuse and a loss of autonomy”.

A woman in silhouette using a mobility walker.
In 1996, Mr Andrews argued that assisted dying legislation sent a message to Australia’s most vulnerable people that they were “expendable”.(AAP: Alan Porritt)

Doctors maintain objections as political pressure mounts

Australian Medical Association NT branch president Robert Parker said while he wanted the NT to have the power to make its own laws on assisted dying, the AMA believed doctors should not be involved in interventions which had the “primary intention” of ending someone’s life.

In its position paper on the subject, the AMA calls on governments to invest in and adequately resource palliative care facilities to improve the end of life care for Australians, no matter where they live.

“The AMA as it currently stands, cannot support physician-assisted suicide and it says it is an issue for populations and governments,” Dr Parker said.

Two photos are pictured side-by-side. In one, Liz Holmes is with her dog Katie.
Liz’s daughter Sharon says her favourite photo of her mum is from her 60th birthday, when she embraced being a queen for the day.(ABC News: Dane Hirst)

In the 23 years since the Andrews Bill was passed, there have been several highly publicised movements to allow the ACT and NT to regain control of euthanasia laws.

And this year, with Queensland and Tasmania set to debate similar laws and a bill on voluntary assisted dying tabled in SA Parliament, the Northern Territory’s Federal Labor Member for Solomon, Luke Gosling, says his office has been discussing a bill to “restore the rights of Territorians to legislate on euthanasia” with his counterparts in the ACT.

NT Country Liberal Party Senator Sam McMahon has backed the call to allow the Territory to make its own laws about assisted dying, and said — given the right regulatory framework — she was “fully supportive” of voluntary euthanasia.

But former chief minister Mr Perron said it was time for Territory leaders to stop talking about introducing a bill and start actively campaigning for the NT to be allowed to make its own laws about the issue.

Mr Perron said as other states legislated assisted dying, it became more “absurd” that the Northern Territory — the pioneer of assisted dying laws in Australia — was denied the right to decide for itself about the issue.

Former chief minister Marshall Perron.
Former chief minister Marshall Perron wants to see “democratic justice” returned to the Northern Territory.(ABC News: Matt Garrick)

Both Chief Minister Michael Gunner and Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro agree the Northern Territory deserves the same power as states to determine laws on a range of issues, including voluntary euthanasia.

Now, Mr Gunner is calling on Territorians who agree to reach out to leaders in the nation’s capital.

“I need Territorians to help me here as well. Get on the phone or write an email to politicians in Canberra and tell them we want to decide this issue for ourselves,” Mr Gunner said.

But despite the bipartisan support in the Northern Territory, a spokesman for Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter remained firm, telling the ABC there were “no plans” to introduce legislation to repeal the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997.

NT treated as ‘second-class citizens’

Judy Dent’s husband, Bob, was the first person to die from a legal, voluntary lethal injection.

Speaking from the same suburban Darwin home in which her husband ended his life, Judy said she fully supported any renewed push to allow the Territory to make its own laws about assisted dying.

Jude Dent is looking seriously off camera. She has short grey hair and is wearing a blue shirt.
Judy’s husband Bob Dent was the first person in the world to die from a legal, voluntary lethal injection.(ABC News: Erik Havnen)

“I’m hoping that when more of the states have passed their own legislation, they will say it is not right to treat the citizens of the ACT and the NT as second-class citizens,” she said.

“They should restore our rights. Not restore the legislation, but restore our rights to ask for such legislation.”

Bob Dent died on September 22, 1996, after a long battle with incurable prostate cancer.

Judy and Bob Dent in an older photo. He is wearing a navy suit and she is wearing a long white dress.
Judy said while she didn’t want her husband Bob to die, she supported his right to die on his own terms.(ABC News: Erik Havnen)

Judy remembers holding his hand as he took his last breath and said the pain “just disappeared” from her husband’s face in the minutes before he passed.

“But certainly all the signs of pain just disappeared. All the frowns, it at all just disappeared. And then he stopped breathing. It was very calm, peaceful.”

Bob was a “strong willed” man, Judy laughed, and when he set his mind to something, he’d do whatever it took to achieve it.

And dying on his own terms was no exception, she said.

“I didn’t want him to die, but he was going to die anyway, so why not let him die on his terms, with him in control?” Judy said.

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Finch’s first ball duck paints picture of luckless Renegades campaign


Just two days after being bowled out for 89, the Renegades had the Strikers 4-72 and struggling to handle their tight bowling, then came a no-ball from spinner Noor Ahmad which was hit for six by Ryan Gibson (43 not out).

Much was made of the no ball but no one from the Renegades had a response and from there the bowling strayed and the Strikers plundered them in their final overs to finish on 5-171.

Strikers star Jake Weatherald made 51 off 25 balls teaming with Gibson to make 96 runs for the fifth wicket, the pair were patient early then used their surge overs and Weatherald’s power-hitting to extend the total.

Weatherald was especially savage on seamer Josh Lalor in the 19th over who went for 23 runs, aided not only by the thriving partnership but a wide and no ball.

Finch’s hapless exit could have sparked another collapse for Melbourne, instead Harper (31 runs off 30 balls) and Harvey settled the innings, Harper will be kicking himself for attempting to sweep spinner Daniel Briggs in the 10th over only to be clean bowled.

That wicket also saw the Renegades fall three runs short of the bash boost point.

Pressure built on the Renegades and Harvey skied a ball from Wes Agar which Carey managed to chase down and catch making it 3-74 with nine overs to play en route to being bowled out for 111.

Peter Siddle (3-13) and Agar (3-23) led the wicket-takers for Adelaide.

Lost overs

The strength of the Renegades tight bowling in the opening six overs shouldn’t be disregarded as veteran left-arm spinner Imad Wasim was tight and to plan in the first over and it drifted through to his teammates.

Strangely Wasim was only used for three overs finishing with 2-13 while Jack Prestwidge, who was their only decent performer during Sunday’s thrashing in Perth only bowled two overs to go for 0-12.

Harvey promise

Mackenzie Harvey has already built a reputation as one of the world’s elite fielders with Finch describing him as the best in the world, now the 20-year-old has shown his batting has plenty of promise.

With Shaun Marsh out injured, Harvey moved up to open the batting and his 34 off 29 is an innings to build on and with six games to to go, let’s hope the brains trust keeps giving him such opportunities.

Future success can be built from the ruins of this campaign.

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Biden to campaign in Georgia on same day as Trump ahead of pivotal Senate elections


President-elect Joe Biden will campaign in Georgia the day before the Jan. 5 Senate runoff races there, the same day President Trump is scheduled to hold a rally for Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will also visit the Peach State on Jan. 3 as she and Biden stump for the incumbents’ Democratic opponents, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. 

DEMOCRATS SEIZE ON MCCONNELL’S STIMULUS BLOCK IN GEORGIA RUNOFF

Harris will visit Savannah, while Biden will travel to Atlanta on Jan. 4.

The visits from the president-elect and vice president-elect underscore the stakes of the Georgia Senate races — control of the upper chamber and how much say Republicans will have in the Biden administration’s agenda. 

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If Democrats win both Georgia races, they will bring the body to an effective 50-50 tie, allowing Harris to break ties on votes that fall along party lines. 



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Shinzo Abe Aide Faces Fine Over Campaign Finance Allegations in Japan


TOKYO — Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan apologized on Thursday for what he said were unintentionally false statements about a political spending scandal that has tarred the first months of his administration.

The apology came hours after Japanese prosecutors said they would seek to fine an aide to Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister, over alleged violations of political spending rules.

Prosecutors said Mr. Abe himself will not be charged in connection with the matter, an unusual statement that appeared to be aimed at quelling media speculation about his fate.

Mr. Suga, who succeeded Mr. Abe as prime minister in September, has not been accused of wrongdoing. Still, Mr. Suga spent Mr. Abe’s nearly eight years in office as his top spokesman and political fixer, defending him to the press and in Japan’s Parliament against accusations of wrongdoing.

The residue of Mr. Abe’s scandal — involving several alleged violations of the country’s election and political financing laws — has tarnished Mr. Suga’s administration, which is already reeling from public anger over its handling of the coronavirus. The prime minister’s poll numbers have dropped precipitously from a high of around 65 percent when he took office to 39 percent in a poll by The Asahi Shimbun, a daily newspaper, taken last weekend.

Prosecutors are calling for Hiroyuki Haikawa, a 61-year-old former aide to Mr. Abe, to be punished under an abbreviated legal process reserved for relatively minor infractions liable for fines under about $10,000. The announcement effectively ensures that the accusations will never be aired in a public court hearing.

Mr. Haikawa stands accused of underreporting by hundreds of thousands of dollars the true amount paid using campaign funds for banquets for Mr. Abe’s political supporters. The dinners were held over a period of four years at a luxury hotel in Tokyo ahead of an annual cherry blossom viewing party hosted by the prime minister.

Mr. Abe and Mr. Suga have both consistently denied any wrongdoing. But following the prosecutors’s announcement, both men found themselves apologizing for making false statements to Parliament, saying that they had unintentionally misrepresented the facts surrounding the scandal.

Speaking to reporters Thursday evening, a pale and trembling Mr. Suga said that in the process of defending Mr. Abe he had responded to questions from Parliament with “replies that differed from the facts. In regards to this, I express my deepest apologies to the nation.”

In comments echoing Mr. Suga’s, Mr. Abe apologized for previous statements about the scandal, which he said “were contrary to the truth,” but added that he had not been informed about the underreporting and that the inaccuracies were unintentional.

The amounts involved in the accusations against Mr. Haikawa might seem small by the standards of political corruption in other countries, but they were big news in Japan, where politicians have been booted out of office for seemingly minor violations of campaign finance rules, such as giving away potatoes.

The cherry blossom viewing party, which has been hosted by Japan’s prime ministers since the 1950s and is paid for with public funds, became the center of a major public scandal late last year when it was revealed that Mr. Abe and his allies had invited thousands of political supporters to attend over the years. Mr. Suga helped set the guest lists for the events.

The issue gained steam after officials revealed that they had shredded the proposed guest list for this year’s party after opposition lawmakers requested to see it. Demands for an inquiry followed, and the affair continued to haunt Mr. Abe until he resigned from office in September, citing health issues.

In a statement, prosecutors said that they would not pursue charges against Mr. Abe in relation to the banquets or cherry blossom viewing party because of lack of evidence.

Local media widely reported that Mr. Abe had submitted to voluntary questioning by prosecutors about the issue on Monday.

On Twitter, users pilloried the prosecutor’s decision to forego charges against Mr. Abe. Tweets demanding that authorities press charges trended on Thursday morning, accompanied by the hashtag “#abenomics,” a play on the name of the former prime minister’s economic revitalization campaign. Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Sophia University and a vocal critic of the former leader, said his Christmas wish was for Santa Claus to imprison Mr. Abe in the North Pole.

The indignation reflected widespread frustration with Mr. Abe, who had weathered several influence-peddling scandals during his time as the country’s longest serving prime minister — a record that he achieved on the back of strong economic growth, in part through his reform efforts and his skillful handling of President Trump.

Most famously, he was accused of the improper sale of public land at steeply discounted prices to a political ally. A government functionary caught up in the scandal committed suicide.

The scandals were never conclusively linked to the former leader, who has denied any wrongdoing, but they fueled surging public anger that nearly cost Mr. Abe his job.

His reputation had also been tarnished by his allies’ run-ins with the law. Earlier this year, Anri Kawai, one of his political protégés and the wife of a former minister of justice in his cabinet, was charged with buying votes to win election to the upper house of Parliament. She is currently on trial in Tokyo, where she has plead not guilty to the charges.

Makiko Inoue and Hikari Hida contributed reporting.



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Donald Trump pardons former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Charles Kushner


US President Donald Trump has issued pardons and sentence commutations for 29 people, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law, in the latest burst of clemency in his final weeks at the White House.

The actions bring to nearly 50 the number of people whom Mr Trump in the last two days has granted clemency either by pardoning them or by commuting their sentences.

The pardons of Mr Manafort and Roger Stone, who months earlier had his sentence commuted by Mr Trump, underscore the president’s determination to use the power of his office in the final weeks to unravel the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and to come to the aid of associates he feels were wrongly pursued.

Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s onetime presidential campaign chairman, was convicted as part of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. (AAP)
Roger Stone exits federal court Washington, Friday, November 15, 2019. Stone, longtime friend of President Donald Trump, was found guilty at his trial in federal court in Washington.
Roger Stone, a longtime friend of President Donald Trump, was found guilty at his trial in federal court in Washington. (AP)
Mr Trump has now pardoned four people convicted in that investigation, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Mr Manafort had been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for financial crimes related to his work in Ukraine and was among the first people charged as part of Mr Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
He was released to home confinement last May because of coronavirus concerns in the federal prison system.

Mr Manafort, in a tweet, thanked Mr Trump and lavished praise on the outgoing president, declaring that history would show he had accomplished more than any of his predecessors.

In this March 4, 2005 file photo, Charles B. Kushner, flanked by his wife, Seryl Beth, left, and his attorney Alfred DeCotiis arrives at the Newark Federal Court for sentencing in Newark, N.J.
In this March 4, 2005 file photo, Charles B. Kushner, flanked by his wife, Seryl Beth, left, and his attorney Alfred DeCotiis arrives at the Newark Federal Court for sentencing in Newark, New Jersey. (AP)

Mr Kushner is the father of Mr Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and a wealthy real estate executive who pleaded guilty years ago to tax evasion and making illegal campaign donations.

Mr Trump and the elder Mr Kushner knew each other from real estate circles and their children were married in 2009.



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