Marking environment day in our own way

UNDER WAY: Work to remove trees along Newcastle Foreshore has started, ahead of the Supercars race in the city’s East End in November. Picture: Simone De PeakNEWCASTLE has a peculiar way of celebrating World Environment Day;it cuts down 170 mature trees along Wharf Road and concretes a good section of Foreshore Park land.
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In addition, it plans to run with the big-time polluters and allow a race through built-up areas without giving any consideration to the concerns of the residents. It is time for Newcastle City Council and state politicians to wake up to the needs and ails of our environment and abandon this event other communities elsewhere did not want.

If Newcastle wants to become a smart city, some smart ideas have to be implemented, not actions that are pathetic samples of environmental vandalism and don’t comply with what the large majority of the concerned and caring citizens demand.

Martin Schlaeger,EleebanaCouncil ‘vandalism’I AM dismayed by the comments which the Herald published from the Newcastle City Council’s interim chief executive, Jeremy Bath, who appears to have adopted the political propaganda that I have come to expect from Supercars and the Lord Mayor (‘Council out to avoid repeat of figs’, Herald,6/6). How can he say “it’s part of delivering an event that is going to be a huge economic boon”when none of the colluding organisations using this argument to justify their vandalism have ever released a business plan for their event?

According to the article, Mr Bath said the council had learned it needed to communicate more clearly about why trees were removed. Can he please explain to me why it was necessary to cut down the tree that became part of the Resilience sculpture setting which was supported by public donations and dedicated to people affected by suicide and other mental health conditions? The destruction of this unique contemplative setting is just a callous act of vandalism by our council.

Peter Howe,Newcastle EastWhy not nativesG’DONYA Newcastle City Council. You’re sacrificing established native trees and replacing them with 230 “mostly six-metre Norfolk Island pines” (‘Cut Down’, Herald, 6/6).

D’ya know these exotic species provide neither food nor habitat for almost all Aussie native birds and animals? D’ya realise they’re fast becoming a dominant species around the harbour – subject to mass die-back and resultant widespread deforestation when the right disease or pest appears? That the area is one of the first seen in Newcastle by many tourists – wishing to see a bit of Aussie flora – and fauna?

How about a re-think? How about instead you use “mostly native trees” – like several of the many suitable Eucalypts and Corymbia (gums), Casuarina (she-oaks), Melaleuca (paperbarks) and Grevillea, etc?

All are native insect, bird and animal attractants, food and shelter sources. And most will produce usable shade faster. D’ya know that most native trees host native birds which resist the inexorable invasion of the even greater pest, the Indian myna?

Please, have a thought for the environment and the ratepayers – not just the needs of a temporary event sponsor. And please; no more figs either.

Peter Cousins,StocktonDrivers crash carsREGARDING John Gilbert’s comments (Letters, 6/6), I recall having a conversation with what I thought at the time was an old police man, probably close to 60 years ago. The discussion was about what caused an accident, with me suggesting road conditions and he suggesting driver error. His parting statement I still remember well, “you can place a car, faulty brakes, bald tyres and faulty steering on a rough slippery road with serious corners, no accident will happen until a driver gets in the car”. His last words: it is the nut holding the wheel that causes the crash.

Fred McInerney,KaruahTwisted equalityTHE homosexual fraternity and their promoters continue to abuse our natural time-honoured way of life and attempt to shove their twisted view of “equality” down our throats (Letters, 6/6).

There is an old saying: “He doesn’t know whether he is Arthur or Martha” which, of course, was merely a way of describing a person with a dilemma, not necessarily of unnatural tendencies.

The common facetious answer to that saying used to be, “well, he just needs to have a look”. That response, applied in today’s context, would easily display the natural inequality which is being denied.

Bruce Brown,Marks PointClose the bordersWELL, it goes on and on –our limp-wristed political leaders on both sides still ignore the majority and concern themselves with so-called political correctness. What do we have to do to get them to listen to the concerned populous and bite the bullet?

Close our borders for at least three years to all races and religions and then, on opening, offer the privilege of conditional residency, based on our country’s needs.

Forget what the out of touch United Nations say and start to run our country the way we want it run. We want our leaders to lead and make sure we don’t wind up like England, who appears to now be breeding home-grown terrorists.

It is long past time that we start to concern ourselves about our way of life and treat our populous with the dignity and safety that we as Australians take for granted.

Dennis Crampton,Belmont NorthCall for apologyTHE letter from Brian Ladd on behalf of the Newcastle Inner City Residents Group (Letters, 6/6) I believe highlights the “alternate facts” and “fake news” I have come to know from this group.

In Mr Ladd’s letter he says Jeff McCloy broke electoral laws whilst he was a Liberal Lord Mayor in 2011.If you check the 2012 LGA election records, Mr McCloy did not stand as an endorsed Liberal mayor in the 2012 elections. Instead he stood as an independent candidate during this election, and remained an independent afterwards Further to this, Mr McCloy wasn’t even mayor of Newcastle in 2011. At this stage John Tate was still the lord mayor.

Given these clearly inaccurate comments on behalf of the group, perhaps the Newcastle Inner City Residents Group should issue an apology to Mr McCloy for making these incorrect statements.

Mitchell Griffin,East Maitland

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Crisis is about supply, but not of houses

PLENTY: While rhetoric around the housing affordability crisis continues to focus on supply, one contributor argues it’s taxation and lending that need addressing. “SUPPLY, supply, supply”, was the answer provided by the Premier of NSW to the affordable housing crisis recently. In addition, at least twice this month I recall the Property Council of Australia Hunter chapter has also identified a lack of supply to be the Achilles heal of Newcastle’s apparent investment boom. In a simplified world, this supply-demand equation is one of those “no-brainers” that motivate us to invest.Demand is strong. Increased demand usually puts pressure on supply. Nothing unusual here, right?
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But weneed to look at the other more important factor; the supply and demand of credit (ie, bank loans for property). The supply and demand for debt-to-invest is where the housing crisis has become amplified.The current tax arrangements for landlords to offset losses on investment properties were instigated to provide rental stock for the growing population. The concept makes sense – but it has created a monster.

If you web search homeless numbers in comparison to empty homes in Australia, you will be in for a shock. We have enough housing stock to accommodate everyone and have homes left over. Rather than see this as a supply issue, many economists are now acutely aware the crisis is created at the investment level. Lenders are falling over each other to lend to existing home owners. This has created an ‘over-supply’ of credit, fuelling an ‘over-demand’ for property.

Narrow this formula down further and we see an over supply of credit fuelling investment, not in homes to rent out – we are seeing increasing investment in properties to ‘flip’. The buy and sell of property is easy money if you can get a shoe in. A $1 million property needs to yield at least a 3 per cent to be better than a term deposit. That means the tenant needs to pay $650-$750 per week, if not, the house remains empty. Thecapital gainis the return, as losses are tax deductible. This powder keg scenario makes property unaffordable for many and creates the perverted reality of 2017 where there are more empty houses than homeless people.

These economic rationalist outcomes are not what the Australian ethos was built upon. The ‘fair go’ is now a pipe dream. Increasing housing supply is not an answer when the supply already exists. Increasing fairness in the lending, investing and taxation regulations is the only place to start.

Scott Cooper-Johnston,NewcastleThe antidote to terrorismWHEN one hears about a terrorist attack, it’s in a country where the governments are reluctant to accept refugees. One doesn’t hear about terrorist attacks in Brazil, for instance, apart from one time to do with the World Cup, which was averted. Other countries in South America have accepted refugees, and do not have a problem with terrorism. Germany has had several teething problems with their influx of refugees, although many attacks have been from right wing extremists.

Terrorist attacks have occurred mainly in the countries that vocally try to reject refugees. Countries such as UK, USA and Australia hear about terrorism to such an extent that much of the news concerns it. Attacks from Muslim extremists have recently occurred in UK (Theresa May), USA (Donald Trump) and France (Marine le Pen).It is a relief Australia is so far away from the areas that terrorism abounds. We are so secluded, few terrorists are that bothered by us. But that could change in an instant. Several terrorism groups have made warnings against Australia for their actions.

This makes acceptance of refugees even more valuable for Australia. By accepting refugees and rejecting the rhetoric on terrorism, our problems with terrorism will melt away.

Tracie Aylmer,Perth WASupport for victims slowIT has been over four years since the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Sexual Abuse began. Thousands of hourswork and millions of dollars have been spent.

Initially, there were a few signs that justice would be served to deserving victims/survivors. While some victims have had satisfactory results, there are many who have described the ordeal as another level of abuse and have brought themediation to a sudden conclusion by exiting the belittling experience, and requesting they (thehard nosed panel) pay the bills and give them what is left.

This is an example of whymany survivors/victims are criticising what has been their experience of recommendations so far from the royal commission. I believe it is important when we look back and say “how did this happen”, that we recall the followingnewspaper articles to determinethe fundamental attitude of the Catholic Church and some state run institutions. ‘Holy delete’, (Herald,19/6), ‘Catholic archbishop intervenes in schools war’, (Sydney Morning Herald, 22/6), ‘Marist Hamilton head guilty of sexual abuse’(Herald, 22/6),‘Punched after child abuse’ (Herald,22/6),‘Pell’s man quits job’ (Herald,22/6),‘Schools breached gravest contracts of all’(Herald,22/6).This has been only one week of media which has encompassed an array of headlineswhich, I think, demonstrateit’s “business as usual” for the Catholic Church. Their inactivitywhen it came to investigatingcomplaints of sexual abuse is already well documented.

I think support for those suffering sexual abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese has been sparse and slow.Is there any joy for these people in the near future and what form will it take?

Pat Garnet,Newcastle EastSurviving after sell-offTHE back slapping and high fives continue for the NSW Liberal government as they congratulate themselves for the massive budget surplus.

Now with the majority of the people’s public assets sold off and gone forever, we can enjoy the “sugar hit” as infrastructure and services aplenty are created for the state. Well, for Sydney, anyway. But after the sugar sweetness fades, the bills will still need to be paid for the running of the state.

With the lion’s share of our income-producing assets gone, we will be heavily dependent on duties and tax.

Well, at least the Liberals know how to reduce spending to allow for the pending income cuts.

Simply buy everything from overseas where it’s cheaper. After all, it’s the federal government who will pick up the tab for the then created unemployment costs.

Hats off to Luke Foley for daring to suggest Hunter manufacturing should be utilised for ambulance construction. It’s a step in the right direction, albeit a very small one.

John Gilbert, Lake Macquarie councillor

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Nothing ‘smart’ about butchering city assets

TIMBER: Work started last week on the removal of trees on the Newcastle Foreshore ahead of the Supercars race meeting to be held in the East End in November.ALMOST all of us in the Greater Hunter have an association with Newcastle, the region’s capital. My tertiary education was at Charlestown TAFE where I studied urban horticulture.
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Our field excursions involved studies in major Newcastle parks including the foreshore. It was in the early stages of planting back then and our teachers accurately described what it would be like in the future. I was also in the foreshore last week.

Those people attempting to justify the destruction, claiming all is well because of proposed shade plantings, need to swallow their words. This award-winning park is or was much more than that. A gift for the whole of the Hunter, ample open space was left for regular and major events. Shielding from roads and traffic was achieved by medium height shrubberies and mass plantings. Such shrubberies elsewhere had a dual purpose of creating “nooks and crannies” for private picnics and acted as windbreaks. This put an end to wind tunnels and created what are known as “winter sun traps”. The linkages and blend between the beach, river and city were superb as was the balance between formal and informal. While establishment took years due to the poor soil and sea exposure, it had just reached its designed potential.

Such parks are the second step beyond our backyard where, as toddlers, we are safely introduced not only to nature but the human world. They are essential for a society’s well being.

You would be in for a shock if you visited this long weekend. Locals and others from outside Newcastle have been warning us for months, only to mocked and labelled as liars. I really did think common sense would prevail, but alas it did not. This work is,in my opinion, not only morally deplorable but comes at a huge financial cost.

What a disgrace. Those responsible for allowing the butchery of a major asset of the third oldest, seventh largest city in a peaceful first world country ought to be ashamed and utterly embarrassed. “Smart City” – what a laughing stock.

Christian Patteson,Hawks NestWhat growth bought us”TWENTY-six years of economic growth” must be the greatest fraud ever inflicted on a democraticcountry in history.

Where are the factories/industries that powered our nation after WWII, which at one time meant we were over 80 per cent self sufficient in everything? People were paid a reasonable wage, goods were affordable, even though some had to be paid for, bosses probably received 50 per cent to200 per cent more than workers not 1000 per cent or much more. Everyone seemed to pay some tax and many great improvements and much infrastructure was completed.

Going back further to the late 1800s, great progress was made with schools and hospitals, roads and massive railway investment. Migration was in bursts and everyone was productive, sea ports were built, mining was in progress – mainly for the benefit of Australia. We had our battles but we carried on and progressed, with the leadership most times considering Australia first.

Twenty-six years of economic growth led by Hawke, Keating, Howard, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and Turnbullhas taken much of what many decades of our hard working people had created;white anted, sold off, closed down, privatised but mainly lost to the Australian owner “our people”.

For the last 26 years looking on they see what they had created sold off to foreignerbillionaires and governments, powered only by a so-called mining boom, ultra high immigration and another so-called boom in housing. Not homes but housing. Which, once again weak governments crucified the chances of great numbers of good Australians owning their own home as they struggle to pay the much inflated rentsto the greatest number of landlords ever seen in this once fair country.

In the meantime, we see Australiawithby far the worstbudget debit in history.

Russell Schatz, NarrabriNot working with usJEREMY Flanagan calls on the EPA to monitor the work occurring in Newcastle East for the Newcastle 500 (Letters, 8/6). Don’t expect a favourable response Jeremy. Residents have been requesting information from the EPA, Safework and other NSW government departments for months now.

The usual response is that we should address our concerns to Destination NSW and Supercars. It appears to me Destination NSW’s only mandate is to make the race happen, no matter the cost to community, health and well-being.All the government agencies we have contacted say they are working with Destination NSW and Supercars to manage potential issues.They are not working with those directly affected by activities associated with this event.

Dominique Ryan,Newcastle EastInconvenient ‘truths’IN reply to my letter asking if there are any gods (Letters, 31/5), Peter Dolan commented that I seemed to be supporting Tony Abbott in criticising the Muslim religion regarding the Manchester bombing (Letters 3/6). Actually, I asked Abbott to fix his own religion first, but that sentence didn’t make it to print.The main problem is, if your white-bread Christian religion can have a God or gods, so can everyone else’s. Your God legitimises other peoples’ gods, even though it’s highly unlikely there are any gods. But let’s keep killing each other over religion to add to the stupid secular carnage.

Peter also asked: “Which man-made ethic” should we live by? Secular ethics is actually a science and moral philosophy, and is called modern or true or common-sense ethics. Firstly, ethics asks us to cause no hurt,and help out. If what I am doing hurts no-one, such as gay marriage, then this is not even an ethical issue. Imaginary hurt is not counted. Second, ethics asks us to live according to universal values, the top 5 of which are arguably Life, Love, Liberty or Freedom, Truth and Justice. But all life is precious. Third, the golden rule updated asks us to treat all living beings, and the planet, as we would be treated.

Toughest of all, true ethics requires us to recognise all available supportable knowledge. Inconveniently, ethics and science tell us that we human animals are not the only people or persons. Dogs, kangaroos, cows and sheep are feeling, intelligent people too. This is too hard for most self-interested humans – Bible-based bigotry is easier. Let us rightly mourn aborted unborn human foetuses but bashing kangaroo pouch and at-heel joeys to death is fine?

Les Hutchinson,South Maitland

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Ex St Pius X teacher set to face trial

ACCUSED: Former St Pius X maths teacher Ted Hall. Mr Hall has been committed to stand trial on 32 sexual and indecent assault offences dating back to the 1970s. FORMER St Pius X, Adamstown maths teacher,Ted Hall, has been committed to stand trial on 32 sexual and indecent assault offences dating back to the 1970s.
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Edward Smith Hall, 66, known as Ted Hall to St Pius students,appeared in Newcastle Local Court via audio visual link from Wagga Wagga Local Court charged with 40 offences against 11 St Pius students between 1973 and 1986.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions formally withdrew eight counts and Mr Hall, who was represented by solicitor Drew Hamilton, pleaded not guilty to the remaining 32 charges.

The matter was adjourned to Newcastle District Court on June 29 to set a trial date.

Mr Hall, who now lives in the Riverina region, is accused of nine counts of sexual assault (category 4), 20 counts of indecent assault on amale, two counts of sexual assault (category 3) person under the age of 16 years and attempted buggery, court documents state.

In July last year, Mr Hallwas charged with indecently assaulting four St Pius students at Adamstown and Merewether between 1983 and 1986.

Police allege Mr Hall touched the four boys, aged 15, on the genitals while they were under his authority, and allegedly forced one boy to masturbate his penis and “continued to masturbate himself in his presence”.

In December, he wascharged with a number of fresh offences, including allegations he indecently assaulted a boy at Adamstown in 1979 and indecently assaulted another boy at locations including Stroud, Neath and Merewether in 1980 and 1981.

He has also been charged with two counts relating to the alleged sexual assault of a boy at Merewether during 1984.

The earliest allegation dates back to 1973 when Mr Hall is accused of indecently assaulting a male at Barrington, court documents state.

Mr Hall was a maths teacher at St Pius between 1973 and 1983.

He was known asTony Hall to students atNewington College in Stanmore, where he taught between 1989 and 2000.

Ina Newington College report after Mr Hall’s retirement in 2000, hewas described as a teacher whose previous experience includeda period as a teacher at Trinity Grammar School in Summer Hill.

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Third time around, MP changes her story again

Weeks after apologising for falsely swearing to have lived in her electorate for a decade, a rookie MP has watered down her retraction and revived questions about her truthfulness with a third account of her ties to her electorate.
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MP Felicity Wilson told Liberal preselectors for the plum seat of North Shore she had lived in the electorate for 10 years since 2005 in a statutory declaration that was also her nomination form.

But she apologised amid a media storm last month after Fairfax Media revealed electoral and Liberal party records put her at addresses outside the electorate in 2005 and at points across another five years with another three unaccounted for.

A chastened Ms Wilson submitted a revised statutory declaration shortly before a by-election last month and said: “I should have been more careful with my words and I’ve made an apology for that.”

But in her first major speech to the Liberal party members whose support she will need for preselection next year, Ms Wilson suggested she was punished for a simple rounding error.

“I had spent closer to nine years in the electorate … not 10,” Ms Wilson said in a speech to a private event on Monday, according to a record of the meeting made by one attendee and verified by another. “I had lived at 17 addresses in 17 years [and..] I had made an error.”

Records only definitively put Ms Wilson inside her electorate’s boundaries at points across only four years and she has repeatedly declined to provide her residential history or say how long she has lived in the seat.

But Monday’s speech is her third different account of her ties to the electorate in two months.

After Fairfax’s first story, Ms Wilson said she should have said she had lived “in and around” the “North Shore region”, as opposed to the seat of the same name, which encompasses only the lower north shore.

In her maiden speech, earlier this month, Ms Wilson provided another formulation of her residential history, saying she had lived in her electorate for the “better part of a decade”.

Ms Wilson’s ability to win over local branches is critical to her political future after she won preselection by only six votes before the story broke. Afterwards there were widespread reports the party was short on election day volunteers, in a seat that is the historic home of the Liberal party.

Ms Wilson also implied the Herald had placed her under undue pressure to respond to questions for a story published the Thursday before a Saturday by-election.

“On 6pm on Wednesday night I got a call from a [reporter, who]??? wanted a quick answer,” she said.

But Ms Wilson was first called before 1pm that Monday, records confirm. She received followup inquiries on Tuesday and, finally, via a Liberal party spokeswoman about 3.30pm on Wednesday with an additional query about her having told former Prime Minister John Howard she cast her first vote in a federal election for him.

She later apologised when it was revealed she had been enrolled to vote in Marrickville in the 2001 election, on the other side from Mr Howard’s then north sydney electorate.

Fairfax Media contacted Ms Wilson to ask if she had further misled Liberal preselectors.

She requested a meeting, which Fairfax agreed to on the condition that all discussions were on-the-record and for quotation, but did not show up.

Ms Wilson was dubbed “Duplicity Wilson” by talk radio king Alan Jones and “Fibbing Felicity” by Labor leader Luke Foley.

On her oath and in her original preselection form, Ms Wilson said she had first moved to the electorate at Waverton in 2005. But in that year she had recently registered to vote at an address in North Epping, about 30 minutes’ drive away from Waverton.

A member of the public reported Ms Wilson to the North Sydney police, they said they would decline to investigate because a single typographical error on the form rendered it unenforceable as a legal document.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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‘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*

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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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,
Nanjing Night Net

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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