Powerful investor group lashes corporate Australia amid IOOF harassment claims


The IOOF allegations were made in an unfair dismissal case brought by the woman in the Federal Court. The woman also alleges Mr Yeo repeatedly touched her breasts at an after-party for IOOF’s Christmas party in 2018 and at another offsite work event in 2019 pinched her on the bottom twice.

Another executive at IOOF, Osvaldo Acosta, is alleged to have made derogatory remarks, including telling the woman when she offered her opinion on an investment decision: “not only do I have a wife at home, I have you here in the office”.

The allegations against IOOF and Mr Yeo come just months after rival wealth manager AMP faced criticisms over its handling of a sexual harassment claim brought by former staffer Julia Szlakowski against AMP Capital executive Boe Pahari.

In that case, AMP promoted Pahari to CEO of AMP Capital despite having docked his bonus following an investigation into Ms Szlakowski’s allegations. AMP’s approach to the matter sparked an investor outcry and led to the resignation of AMP chairman David Murray and the demotion of Mr Pahari.

IOOF has for years battled allegations of poor governance and cultural issues, including its handling of whistleblower complaints and its oversight of conflicts of interest in its superannuation business.

A spokeswoman for IOOF said it took the sexual harassment allegations very seriously.

“IOOF is committed to providing a safe and secure environment that embraces diversity. Once the complaint was raised, which was after the complainant’s departure, IOOF immediately commenced its formal grievance handling processes.”

“IOOF is confident that it has acted appropriately at all times and continues to support the legal process.” Both Mr Yeo and Mr Acosta were individually contacted for comment.

ACSI’s 37 members own on average 10 per cent of every ASX 200 company. The organisation believes that the way companies manage sexual harassment can present a ‘non-financial’ risk for companies.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has recommended that ASX-listed companies report how they handle sexual harassment and discrimination complaints, following the success of rules regarding female representation on boards.

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‘We will not be SILENCED!’ Donald Trump lashes out after permanent Twitter ban


Twitter has announced the permanent suspension of Donald Trump‘s account following a number of temporary locks on his account this week.

“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said in a statement.

Soon after his account was blocked from Twitter, Mr Trump tried to post a tweet from the official presidential account.

Donald Trump has been blocked from using Twitter. (AP)

“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me – and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me,” he wrote.

“We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future.

“We will not be SILENCED!

“Twitter is not about promoting FREE SPEECH.

“They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely.

The tweet was swiftly deleted.

“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action,” the statement from Twitter said.

“Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.”

“However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things.”

Donald Trump has conceded he will not be president come January 20.
Donald Trump has conceded he will not be president come January 20. (Twitter)

Twitter cited two tweets sent in recent days as against its glorification of violence policies.

“On January 8, 2021, President Donald J. Trump tweeted:

“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

“Shortly thereafter, the President tweeted:

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

“Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilised by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behaviour from this account in recent weeks.”

Mr Trump has also been banned from posting on Facebook and Instagram for the remaining 11 days of his presidency.

Twitter has also suspended the accounts of Mr Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and his legal advisor Sidney Powell.

Trump supporters listening to a speech from the president calling on them to march on Congress.
Trump supporters listening to a speech from the president calling on them to march on Congress. (AP)

One of Mr Trump’s top advisers Jason Miller took to Twitter to criticise the platform.

“Disgusting. Big Tech wants to cancel all 75M @realDonaldTrump supporters,” he tweeted.

“If you don’t think they’re coming for you next, you’re wrong.”

Mr Trump’s son Donald Jr also lashed out.

“So the ayatollah, and numerous other dictatorial regimes can have Twitter accounts with no issue despite threatening genocide to entire countries and killing homosexuals etc… but The President of the United States should be permanently suspended,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Apple has issued an ultimatum to the social media platform Parler, which has become a refuge in the past year for conservatives too toxic for Twitter.

Apple has told Parler it needs to implement stricter moderation of its platform or it will be removed from its App Store.

Parler, founded in Nevada in 2018, bills itself as an alternative to ‘ideological suppression’ at other social networks. (AFP via Getty Images)

“We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property,” Apple wrote to Parler.

“The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”

Parler has been given 24 hours to submit a moderation improvement plan.

But Parler’s CEO John Matze has shown no sign of backing down.

“We will not cave to pressure from anti-competitive actors! We will and always have enforced our rules against violence and illegal activity,” he wrote in a message on his own platform.

“But we WONT cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!”

Google has been less patient, immediately suspending Parler from its Google Play store.



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State MP lashes ‘undemocratic’ party processes, boundary redraws


One of state parliament’s four crossbenchers has railed against the mandated four-yearly redistribution of electoral boundaries, saying a “tiny sliver” of a single suburb is all that’s left of the seat she first won more than 20 years ago.

Former Labor MP Frances Bedford – who quit the party before reclaiming her northern Adelaide seat of Florey as an independent – says she’s yet to decide which seat to contest at the 2022 election, or even whether she’ll run at all.

That’s a shift from her long-held position that she will run again, although she concedes her preferred option remains to stand for re-election.

“I still want to run, but we need to think about every option,” she told InDaily.

“The first thing is to decide if I’m running… the next thing is to decide where I’ll run.”

The recent final report of the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission shifted almost 12,000 voters from neighbouring Playford into Bedford’s seat, while sending various parts of her electorate into other districts, including Enfield, Torrens, Wright and Newland.

The latter now includes the key suburb of Modbury, for whose hospital Bedford has long advocated, prompting speculation she could instead opt to contest the marginal Liberal-held seat against incumbent Richard Harvey.

“It’s an option [but] it’s going to be a lot of work to win as an independent in a marginal seat in Newland,” she said.

“I’ve got to go find the money [to campaign] and to work out exactly what we want to achieve.”

She suggested the role of independents was less crucial if they didn’t wield the balance of power, saying her push for a “progressive agenda” has frequently been thwarted in the current parliament.

“The issues I think are important, they go nowhere – and that’s a problem… you can’t beat your head against a wall forever,” she said.

“Maybe I’ll get more cachet with people if I wasn’t in parliament.”

She cited a recent push for a lower house COVID Committee “to examine what’s worked and what hasn’t”, which was shot down by the Marshall Government as the recent Parafield cluster wound down.

Bedford’s decision to quit Labor was prompted in the first place by a boundary redraw, with the previous redistribution spurring then-Health Minister Jack Snelling to leave Playford and challenge her for preselection in Florey, claiming it now contained a significant proportion of his former electors.

This allowed Snelling’s Right faction colleague Michael Brown to enter parliament in Playford – but backfired when Bedford fought on as an independent, after which Snelling quit parliament altogether.

Bedford says the regular redraws are problematic for democratic representation.

“A tiny sliver of Para Vista is all that’s left of my original 1997 seat,” she said.

“It’s an issue because I represented those people for 20 years – they know me and trust me [and it] gets us back into the conundrum, are you voting for a party or a person?”

She said she was going to “look at the boundary stuff” further, saying: “The whole thing only works if everyone votes the same way twice.”

“What are we trying to do? Are we trying to manufacture results? Or should political parties go and do some work?”

She was also critical of both major parties’ candidate selection processes, saying “I don’t think the candidate selection process in any party necessarily selects the best candidate”.

“If you have to be in a faction and have to basically agree to do everything you’re told, if that’s how you get in and that’s how you push ‘start’… you won’t find people who are prepared to have opinions and rock the boat,” she said.

“Both major parties should have a look at how they preselect [because] it should be a contest of ideas.

“I understand why we have parties, but I want to have a view… I don’t care if I lose in a democratic fight [but] at the moment we don’t have that.”

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Sydney news: Woman pinned in caravan as wild weather lashes Sydney and the Central Coast


Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Woman rescued in caravan

A 26-year-old woman has been rescued after a tree fell onto a caravan during yesterday afternoon’s storm on the Central Coast.

NSW Ambulance and CareFlight’s rapid response unit worked to pull the woman from the wreckage at Wiseman’s Ferry.

She was freed after about 90 minutes, and suffered neck and lower limb injuries.

The woman was airlifted to Westmead Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition.

The woman was freed from the caravan wreckage after 90 minutes.(Supplied: CareFlight)

New venue, advice for COVID-19

NSW Health has urged anyone who visited the Earlwood Bardwell Park RSL at Bardwell Park on Monday, December 28 from 8:52pm to 10:30pm to get tested.

Anyone who was in the gaming area for an hour or more is a close contact and must immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.

NSW Health also extended their advice for BWS Berala, and now says anyone who visited at any time during December 20 and December 31 should be tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received.

The Berala cluster now totals 15 cases, and was traced back to an international strain which entered the community via a patient transport worker.

Water deaths prompt safety warning

A diver searches for the body of a man who drowned at Wattamolla in the Royal National Park.
A diver discovered the man’s body at Wattamolla in the Royal National Park.(ABC News)

Surf Life Saving has renewed calls for safety after a third person drowned in two days in water accidents in Greater Sydney.

The body of a man aged in his 20s was pulled from the water at Wattamolla in Sydney’s Royal National Park shortly after 6:00pm.

A woman, also aged in her 20s, was rescued and another person was able to climb out on their own.

It follows the death of an off-duty NSW police officer and an international student who were sucked into a whirlpool while canyoning at Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains on Sunday.

Teen critically injured

Police mill around in front of a house in a suburban street, police tape in front of them
Police are appealing for information about the Kellyville teen’s injuries.(ABC News)

A teenage boy has been found on a street critically injured in Sydney’s Hills District overnight.

The 16-year-old boy was found lying on the ground with head injuries about 10:30pm last night.

He has been taken to Westmead Hospital, where he’s reported to be in a critical condition.

Investigations are continuing to establish the cause of his injuries.

Masks to help in bushfire smoke

A woman walking with a face mask.
Some Sydneysiders donned masks as the 2019-20 bushfire smoke descended on the city.(AAP: Steven Saphore)

For the past year, Abrar Chughtai has been researching how masks prevent the spread of coronavirus.

But the epidemiologist from the University of NSW has wound back the clock to focus on how masks can help with a pre-pandemic problem.

A study presented to the Australian Bushfire Royal Commission estimated the smoke was responsible for 417 deaths and more than 3,000 hospitalisations.

Dr Chughtai is delving into whether surgical masks could drastically decrease these numbers.

Quiz to help New Year dieters

The CSIRO has launched a quiz to help dieters understand their weight-loss motivations and their diet mindset.

The Start Strong Diet Quiz uses behavioural psychology and is aimed at helping dieters overcome slumps in motivation and assessing their readiness for change.

Dr Gilly Hendrie, CSIRO nutrition scientist said it had been common for people to gain weight during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So 2020 was a tough year. It took its toll on people’s minds and bodies and we wanted to really play a part in helping Australians to reset and get back on track in the right mindset for a healthy 2021,” she said.

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Parts of Victoria’s south-west inundated after a sudden-summer storm lashes the town


Shops and homes in Warrnambool were inundated by water after a severe stormed lashed the south-western Victorian town on Saturday afternoon.

The State Emergency Service said it received more than 90 calls for assistance after the sudden downpour hit the region shortly after 2pm.

More than 50 millimetres of rain fell in the town over a 30-minute period.

The Bureau of Meteorology said severe thunderstorms were expected to continue into the evening in western Victoria.

More rainfall and thunderstorms were forecast for eastern Victoria on Sunday.

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CFMEU boss lashes Anthony Albanese for waving the white flag on industrial relations, demerger bill


The construction division of the militant CFMMEU has unleashed at Opposition leader Anthony Albanese for “waving the white flag” and not “showing backbone”, as the powerful union’s civil war looks set to spill onto Labor.

It followed the Federal Labor caucus moving to back draft laws, without dissent, which could allow a split between the mining and energy division of the union from the construction, forestry and maritime branches.

It comes as the head of the mining and energy division Tony Maher accused the construction branch of “self-interest”, “hostile number crunching” and steamrolling smaller branches.

In all but a declaration of war, CFMMEU construction boss Dave Noonan took aim at the Opposition leader, who is already working to regain support from blue-collar workers.

“We are disappointed that Anthony Albanese has put up the white flag to the first of a series of industrial relations measures that the government is putting to Parliament this week,” Mr Noonan said.

“We hope that he shows a bit more backbone when it comes to fighting penalty rate cuts, which are under attack and casual work, which is under attack.”

Labor’s caucus supported the proposed demerger bill, pending final details, which will allow divisions of a union vote to split from the whole, in cases where there were issues of illegality or unlawful behaviour. It is expected to pass Parliament this week.

The mining and energy branch of the CFMMEU is considering a split from the construction and maritime division at the union’s March convention, following a fallout of heavyweights Tony Maher and Michael O’Connor with controversial construction union figure John Setka.

Mr Albanese took action to have Mr Setka expelled from the Labor party for involvement in a range of activities in breach of the party’s values, including a harassment conviction against his wife, but the union boss quit before it happened.

In a message sent to members, Mr Maher said they would explore the options the Bill presented, while accusing the construction division of replacing solidarity with self interest.

“The construction division has made it clear that they will use their numbers to steamroll smaller divisions, force decisions in their favour and run the CFMMEU as a construction union,” he said.

Mr Albanese’s office was contacted for comment.

The CFMMEU donated almost $100,000 to Queensland Labor in the past two years alone.

Courts handed down $1.7 million in fines against the CFMMEU in cases brought against it by the Australian Building Construction Commission in 2019-20.

It comes as the Federal Government is expected to introduce broader industrial relations reforms to Parliament today, including streamlining the “better off overall test” (BOOT) for enterprise agreements.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said proposed changes to the BOOT include requiring the Fair Work Commission to decide applications within 21 days.

“Unions and employers know the system is broken and want it fixed,” he said.

But there will also be provisions which could essentially allow the test to be bypassed for two years, in limited circumstances based on COVID-19 impacts.



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Cyclone Nivar: Heavy rain lashes India as storm approaches


In 2015,

widespread flooding in Chennai due to heavy rains and overflowing rivers brought the city to a standstill.



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Severe thunderstorm warning issued for parts Melbourne as rain lashes state


“The situation will continue to be monitored and further warnings will be issued if necessary.”

However, Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Richard Russell said Melburnians will likely see more rain over the next few hours before it eases to a drizzle on Monday morning.

“There will be rain with occasional thunder for the majority of Melbourne. In the next two hours [from 7pm] it will mostly clear the Melbourne area but we will still see further rain return to the city in the early hours of Monday morning and there may also be lightning,” he said.

“By the time most people get up it should have eased to drizzly rain and there won’t be much of it by late morning.”

There will then be a “rollercoaster of temperatures” throughout next week, however it will stay mostly dry.

Ballarat copped a drenching on Sunday, recording 26.4 millimetres of rain. Most of this – 22 millimetres – fell in the half hour to 5.45pm. The average November rainfall for Ballarat is 55 millimetres.

The weather station at Bullengarook, near Bacchus Marsh, recorded 19 millimetres of rain on Sunday in about an hour.

On Sunday night, the State Emergency Service was advising those in affected areas to check any loose outdoor items are secured and vehicles are under cover or away from trees.

They also advised residents to stay indoors and away from windows, and to avoid travelling if possible.

In the Melbourne area, the SES had 36 call outs in the six hours to 8pm, with the Melton and Craigieburn units the busiest. Of the 36 requests for help, 19 were for building damage, ten were for flooding and six for trees down.

A severe thunderstorm warning is also current for parts of the Central, Mallee, South West and North Central districts, with warnings for damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall.

The thunderstorms are being cause by a broad trough sitting right across Victoria, creating a warm and unstable air mass, Mr Russell said.

The strongest winds gusts recorded on Sunday were 89 km/h at Yarrawonga 1.06pm, 87 km/h at Rutherglen 1.44pm and 78 km/h at Albury Airport at 2.22pm.

Casterton recorded 10 millimetres of rain in 9 minutes around 3pm, and Hamilton recorded 9.4 millimetres in 6 minutes around 4pm.

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Severe thunderstorm warning issued for parts Melbourne as rain lashes state


“The situation will continue to be monitored and further warnings will be issued if necessary.”

However, Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Richard Russell said Melburnians will likely see more rain over the next few hours before it eases to a drizzle on Monday morning.

“There will be rain with occasional thunder for the majority of Melbourne. In the next two hours [from 7pm] it will mostly clear the Melbourne area but we will still see further rain return to the city in the early hours of Monday morning and there may also be lightning,” he said.

“By the time most people get up it should have eased to drizzly rain and there won’t be much of it by late morning.”

There will then be a “rollercoaster of temperatures” throughout next week, however it will stay mostly dry.

Ballarat copped a drenching on Sunday, recording 26.4 millimetres of rain. Most of this – 22 millimetres – fell in the half hour to 5.45pm. The average November rainfall for Ballarat is 55 millimetres.

The weather station at Bullengarook, near Bacchus Marsh, recorded 19 millimetres of rain on Sunday in about an hour.

On Sunday night, the State Emergency Service was advising those in affected areas to check any loose outdoor items are secured and vehicles are under cover or away from trees.

They also advised residents to stay indoors and away from windows, and to avoid travelling if possible.

A severe thunderstorm warning is also current for parts of the Central, Mallee, South West and North Central districts, with warnings for damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall.

The thunderstorms are being cause by a broad trough sitting right across Victoria, creating a warm and unstable air mass, Mr Russell said.

The strongest winds gusts recorded on Sunday were 89 km/h at Yarrawonga 1.06pm, 87 km/h at Rutherglen 1.44pm and 78 km/h at Albury Airport at 2.22pm.

Casterton recorded 10 millimetres of rain in 9 minutes around 3pm, and Hamilton recorded 9.4 millimetres in 6 minutes around 4pm.

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Hurricane Eta Lashes Nicaragua With Severe Rain, Causing Deadly Landslides



At least two people have died in Nicaragua after Hurricane Eta battered Central America on November 3, local media reported. Confidencial said two miners died due to a landslide caused by the heavy rain in the municipality of Bonanza. The storm also killed at least one person in Honduras, local media reported. Eta made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. Video filmed by Puerto Cabezas resident Rocky Maybeth Castillo shows trees moving in the strong winds, accompanied by heavy rain, after Eta made landfall in Nicaragua. A second video shows damage to the city as conditions remained severe. Credit: Rocky Maybeth Castillo via Storyful



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