‘God bless Canberra, but…’: Joyce’s reasons for APS move

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce wants a new, ‘genuine’ parliamentary inquiry into decentralisation to show its benefits as criticism of the controversial project mounts.
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The Coalition government moved on Thursday to form a select committee to probe the policy that would force public servants to leave Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne for bush towns.

As Labor accused the Coalition of controlling the inquiry by drawing committee members only from the House of Representatives, where it has a majority, Mr Joyce said a separate Senate probe into the policy was already stacked with Labor and Greens senators.

“Now we’ve got the opportunity to have a genuine inquiry,” he said.

The committee could travel to more regional areas to show how the Coalition’s decentralisation project would benefit them, Mr Joyce said.

“God bless Canberra. It’s a wonderful place, but we want other parts of our nation to grow,” he said.

Invoking Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam as an advocate for Albury-Wodonga, Mr Joyce accused the Labor party of “inertia”.

The Coalition will establish a new parliamentary inquiry with six Coalition members, three Labor MPs and a crossbencher, likely to be independent MP for Indi Cathy McGowan.

But Labor has warned the inquiry would be an exercise in political spin for the government, which used the Senate inquiry into the troubled relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to encourage regions to show their support for decentralisation.

Labor member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh, said the Coalition had shown it couldn’t come up with a regional development plan that didn’t hurt Canberra.

“Labor has always believed in strong regions, but it doesn’t need to involve decimating the bush capital,” he said.

“Barnaby Joyce’s decision to shift the APVMA to his own electorate will cost taxpayers more and deliver worse services.

“There’s no reason to think that the Coalition’s next hare-brained scheme will be any better.”

Dr Leigh said comments from Queensland LNP senator Ian Macdonald on Tuesday that federal public servants should face the sack if they refuse to go to work in Darwin were “ludicrous”.

“Six out of 10 public servants already work outside Canberra, filling roles in a range of roles in Centrelink, Customs and Medicare,” he said.

“But the policy-making role should stay in the nation’s capital. The nation’s public servants deserve our praise, not condemnation.”

The new inquiry will look at how moving public servants to the bush would “improve governance and service delivery”, identify the characteristics of agencies that would be suited to relocating, and towns suitable to host them.

It will also consider different models of decentralisation, including moving individual roles and parts of agencies.

Ms McGowan, who pushed for the inquiry in late May, said it would develop best practice for moving public service jobs to the bush.

“Decentralisation has incredible potential to deliver growth and prosperity in the regions if done properly,” she said.

“This is a huge win for regional policy and an opportunity to develop a plan towards more cohesive, vibrant, inclusive regions.

“What we want to see at the end of this is a process that embeds regional Australia into policy making and recognises the regions’ individual strengths and circumstances.”

*Please keep in mind the above interactive is just a bit of fun*

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We have cyber weaknesses but we’re improving

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a meeting on cyber security at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 31 May 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares In April last year, the federal government released Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy, seeking to enable innovation, growth and prosperity. While not a perfect document (I’d argue ASX100 companies have the bench strength to sort out their own cyber-security issues) and with a focus on national security (I’d argue the attention should be on economic security), it’s a solid effort at placing Australia at the global forefront. Indeed, it’s significantly better than the 2009 attempt.
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The online environment is changing rapidly. Whether it’s the way we now use mobile smart devices, interact via social media, consume government services or use ride-sharing apps, many could not predict four years ago the way technology changed how we now work and play. So creating a four-year cyber-security strategy was always going to be difficult to design, let alone implement. The Public Sector Informant: latest issue

We’re now seeing a refreshingly open dialogue from the government on cyber security. The Prime Minster has acknowledged publicly that Australia has the capability to “hack back” against cyber adversaries attacking the nation’s assets and infrastructure – marking a significant change in government posture and communications policy. We also saw a review into the 2016 eCensus, which focused on cyber security becoming a core platform for digital transformation and acknowledged that public confidence in the government’s ability to deliver on public expectations was diminished.

The first annual update of the strategy includes many positive results, scoring actions against actual deliverables. Of course, it’s only year one and, like all service delivery implementation, the results were never going to be lineal; rather, it will be lumpy as stakeholders get used to working with each other and new ideas are tried and tested. Most notably, the conversation has started: in government, businesses and among individuals. Cyber security has become mainstream dialogue.

Unfortunately, some, such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, have been overly critical of the results thus far, blaming the design of the strategy, ad hoc government communications, insufficient expectations with industry partners and difficulty in quantifying success. It’s easy to pick holes in the delivery of 33 initiatives at their first gate, but let’s wait until processes fully bed down and cultural change starts permeating across government, business and society.

Protecting Australia’s critical information assets is a journey, not a destination. It will require many more strategies, coordinated by government, but largely led by the private sector – as custodians of our economy. This collaboration will take time; some wins will be quick, some a slow-burn.

The online environment is ever changing. There is a constant discovery of threats and vulnerabilities. However, to get the benefits of digital, we must all play our part to improve the nation’s cyber security.

Adjunct Professor Nigel Phair is director of the Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra. Twitter: @nphair

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See the world differently

Experience: India’s Holi Festival will be just one of the local sights travellers will experience with Jayes Travel Experiences.Travel can be a wonderful thing. Yet organising visas, researching places of interest and finding those hidden treasures that turn a holiday into an experiencetakes time and lots of it.
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Jayes Travel in Newcastle are passionate about providing great travel services and have been fulfilling customerswishes for decades now through their gamut of services that include corporate travel, weddings and honeymoons, womens’travel, cruising and touring holidays.

Current owner Michelle Barkersays that while the business has built happy and loyal customers there has been one key group that were looking for something a little different.

“We noticed agap between those that were looking for say a Contiki tour and those perhaps considering a river cruise. These people wanted to truly immerse themselves in the culture and day to day life of a destination to get the most from the trip and see life through a local’s eyes,” says Michelle.

Out of this came Jayes Travel Experiences, an end to end travel service that enables travelers to tap into a destinations’ true culture. With itsconnections with local tour guides having in-depth knowledge of the chosen location, customers enjoy an itinerary that delves into local culture, food, history and lifestyle that most wouldn’t ordinarily find.

With so many hot destinations to discover, Jayes Travel select locations based on their own rich travel experiences along with the feedback customers give them about where they would like to go. Each grouppermits up to 20 people, whether it be friends traveling together, individuals, or couples, tours attract all types of people, after all age is an attitude not a number.

Transfers from Newcastle, flights, visas, day trips, accommodation and usually 2meals a day, are all inclusive, as is a professional photographer in the guise of your tour guide –able to capture your holiday, leaving you to enjoy the moment. Photos are provided to travelers at the end of their trip.

“So many times I’ve taken groups away to find that everyone is clambering to take a photo or selfie at a popular spot, which led me to think we should take care of this element too and let people enjoy the moment safe in the knowledge that they will have some spectacular photos to show everyone when they get home,” added Michelle.

Jayes Travel have earmarked Cuba and India as it’s next destinations of choice and is taking bookings now. Customers are encouraged to drop in to speak to the team at Hunter Street Mall and share their thoughts on destinations of choice or any particular needs they might have.

With tours also tailored to suit everytraveler, there’s not much to do but day dream, oh and pack.

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Dutton defends ASIO boss Lewis on refugee terror link

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Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has come to the aid of Australian Security Intelligence Organisation head Duncan Lewis over his controversial statement that there was “no evidence” of a link between refugees and terrorism.

Mr Dutton would not explicitly agree with Mr Lewis’ remarks, but urged critics to cut the spy agency boss some slack after nearly a week of heavy criticism from the likes of Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott, Andrew Bolt and others.

“The point Mr Lewis was making, that others have made, and I’ve made on a number of occasions, is that we do have problems where people are indoctrinated online, where they have an impressionable young mind,” Mr Dutton said on Thursday. “They can be of any background, they can come to this country on any visa.

“They can be born here, as was the case in the UK, and we saw this recently in Manchester, where people are radicalised not because of the pathway that they came to our country, but because they have had their minds influenced by people over the internet or by rogue preachers or whatever it might be.”

Mr Dutton also noted the “clarification” from Mr Lewis this week, when he explained on ABC radio that the handful of refugees who became terrorists were radicalised not because they were refugees but because of an extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam.

The intervention from Mr Dutton, as Immigration Minister and a senior conservative member of the Coalition cabinet, is a repudiation of the critics who have dismissed Mr Lewis’ evidence as “denying the obvious” or “not what the Australian people want to hear”.

Mr Dutton, whose department works closely with ASIO, said the government had rejected 30 asylum seekers on national security grounds as part of its special intake of 12,000 Syrian refugees, proving the system worked.

He also repeated his previous concerns about the radicalisation of “some” descendants of Lebanese migrants who entered Australia in the 1970s.

“All of that is fact. It’s not to be critical of Duncan Lewis or anybody else,” Mr Dutton told 2GB shock jock Ray Hadley.

“He is a good, decent man who has the absolute best interests of our country at heart. He has served this country loyally for his entire adult life. So I don’t criticise him.”

Mr Dutton later told reporters Mr Lewis’ detractors should direct their complaints towards him, Mr Dutton, instead.

“If people want to criticise this government in relation to the refugee program, criticise me. I’m the person in charge of this portfolio,” he said.

“But I don’t get too much criticism, in terms of people saying I need to harden up or take a tougher stance in relation to security checks.”

Mr Dutton said that as far as he was aware, the government was not considering the introduction of a special “terrorism court” for returning jihadis, as floated by former prime minister Tony Abbott in an opinion piece on Thursday.

But it would be a matter for Attorney-General George Brandis, Mr Dutton said.

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An open letter from Martina Navratilova: Time to rename Margaret Court Arena

Dear Margaret Court Arena,
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Sporting venues named for athletes, or any place, really, named for whoever, are so named for one reason. That reason is their whole body of work. In other words, it is not just for what this person did on the field, on the court, in politics, arts or science, for instance, but also for who they are as human beings.

When you were named after Margaret Court, it seemed like the right thing to do. After all, Rod Laver already had the big stadium and Court is one of the all-time greats. I had long ago forgiven Court for her headline-grabbing comments in 1990 when she said I was a bad role model because I was a lesbian.

What I did not know about until now were the unabashed racist statements she made in the ’70s about apartheid in South Africa. Saying that South Africa dealt with the “situation” (meaning people of colour) much better than anywhere else in the world, particularly the US: what exactly did she mean by that?

Fast forward to today and Court’s announcement of her boycott of Qantas because of its chief executive’s support of same-sex marriage, which basically means support for the LGBT community in general. That was bad enough. Now she is doubling down with her ridiculous comments about older women luring young girls on the tour to parties to turn them into lesbians. It’s a good thing she didn’t name anyone as I am pretty sure she would be sued for defamation.

It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe. Her vitriol is not just an opinion. She is actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights (note to Court: we are human beings, too). She is demonising trans kids and trans adults everywhere.

And now, linking LGBT to Nazis, communists, the devil? This is not OK. This is in fact sick and it is dangerous. Kids will suffer more because of this continuous bashing and stigmatising of our LGBT community.

How much blood will be on Margaret’s hands because kids will continue to get beaten for being different? This is not OK. Too many will die by suicide because of this kind of intolerance, this kind of bashing and yes, this kind of bullying. This is not OK.

We celebrate free speech, but that doesn’t mean it is free of consequences – not punishment, but consequences.

We should not be celebrating this kind of behaviour, this kind of philosophy. The platform people like Margaret Court use needs to be made smaller, not bigger.

Which is why I think it’s time to change your name. And I think the Evonne Goolagong Arena has a great ring to it. Now there is a person we can all celebrate. On every level.


Martina Navratilova

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