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Police tight-lipped on debris

Written By kom nampul on Kamis, 24 April 2014 | 16.43

National
Shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft is seen on low cloud cover while it searches for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

Shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft is seen on low cloud cover while it searches for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Photo: AP

Police are remaining tight-lipped about debris found on a West Australian beach that was investigated for links to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has said the item was not part of the doomed aircraft but few details about what the debris actually is have surfaced.

A Busselton man and his son are understood to have found the debris while fishing and four-wheel-driving on a beach near Augusta.

It is understood the man immediately made a possible connection between his discovery and the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 but when he initially contacted police officers, it is believed they did not take great interest in it.

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But after an aviation enthusiast was shown photograhs of the item, the matter was taken to Busselton police and the matter was referred to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The ATSB will not provide any details as to what the debris is or even if it could be part of an aircraft at all – they have said it is not likely to be part of a Boeing.

An underwater search for MH370 continues north-west of where the debris was found and 1500 kilometres north-west of Perth. The plane disappeared on March 8, carrying 239 passengers.


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Heavy traffic after crash on M1

NSW

Traffic remains heavy on the M1 Pacific Motorway but all lanes have reopened after an accident on Thursday afternoon.

The Transport Management Centre said northbound traffic was queued more than seven kilometres between Mount White and the Hawkesbury River Bridge.

The accident, which involved a van, closed all northbound lanes for a period just before 3pm.

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It happened as Sydney residents prepare to leave the city for the Anzac Day long weekend and join traffic that is already being described as very heavy.


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Merger raises fears for Attorney-General role

Brad Hazzard

Shake-up: Fears Brad Hazzard will be under the thumb of the police minister. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

The state opposition has warned of a "law and order auction" after the Baird government axed the department of the Attorney-General and brought it under the control of the police minister.

Under a shake-up of departments by new Premier Mike Baird, announced on Wednesday, the Department of Attorney-General and Justice has been replaced with the Department of Police and Justice.

The department is headed by Police Minister Mike Gallacher, who is more senior in the hierarchy of ministers than new Attorney-General Brad Hazzard, formerly the planning minister.

"This suggests the Attorney-General is subservient to the Minister for Police," shadow attorney-general Paul Lynch said.

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"Before the last election this government promised to stop the law and order auction. This decision is the latest of several to demonstrate that that decision was completely hollow."

The former attorney-general, Greg Smith, was dumped from cabinet after the shock resignation of former Premier Barry O'Farrell last week.

A former deputy director of public prosecutions, Mr Smith had been criticised by law-and-order hardliners for being "soft on crime" and for his previous opposition to mandatory sentencing.

Mr Lynch said the abolition of the Attorney-General's department "reflects the government's concern for administrative convenience and budget savings over the rule of law".

A spokesman for Mr Gallacher said police interests were not being prioritised over the office of the Attorney-General.

"Only the opposition really knows what a law and order auction looks like," the spokesman said.

"Labor have failed to engage in a meaningful way in the debate on law enforcement in this state. Remarks like these demonstrate they aren't about to start any time soon.

"Given the widespread support for tough anti-organised crime and alcohol-related violence measures, the NSW government rejects the assertion that we're pandering to anyone."

A spokeswoman for the Attorney-General said: "The Attorney-General will continue to carry out, with full and appropriate independence, his office and functions within that framework.

"Administrative changes aimed at a more seamless approach to ensuring the community has the benefits of the full ambit of the legal system is a positive."

Agencies that are related to the Department of Police and Justice under the new organisational structure include the Crown Solicitor's Office and Fire and Rescue NSW.

A spokesman for the NSW Bar Association said: "The association trusts that the Attorney-General will be given all the respect and regard in cabinet that is traditionally given to the first law officer of the state and the government's most senior lawyer."

The restructure of government departments has also hit the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, which has been replaced with a new Department of Planning and Environment, incorporating the environment and local government portfolios that were previously within the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Environment groups were cautiously optimistic that change ''presents an opportunity'' to put environmental protection at the heart of planning decisions.

''While there is a serious risk that the interests of the environment and local communities will be further subordinated to those of the powerful development and mining lobbies, this need not be the case,'' the Nature Conservation Council of NSW's campaigns director Kate Smolski said.

Stephen Albin, the chief executive of developer lobby Urban Development Institute of Australia, said bringing the areas together was a ''logical move''.

''It's going to be tough with three cabinet ministers responsible for one department. The Premier will have his hands full,'' he said.


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Coalition puts figure on climate change policy

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Unveiled: Direct Action white paper

Cross bench support is crucial to pass the emissions reduction scheme, and the government is confident of its support. Nine News.

PT3M29S http://www.smh.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-376qr 620 349

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said the government will easily meet its 2020 target of a 5 per cent reduction on emissions, despite concerns that the government is not spending enough on its "direct action" scheme and that it will have trouble passing the legislation through a hostile Senate. 

The government unveiled on Thursday its long-awaited white paper detailing its emissions reductions fund, the key plank of the "direct action" policy intended to replace Labor's carbon tax.

Mr Hunt expressed confidence that the new Senate would pass the legislation, despite comments this week by the Palmer United Party that "direct action" was "hopeless" and the party would use its numbers to help Labor and the Greens block it.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt says companies that exceed carbon emission benchmarks will face no penalties before 2015 under "direct action".

Environment Minister Greg Hunt says companies that exceed carbon emission benchmarks will face no penalties before 2015 under "direct action". Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Hunt said there were "no surprises" in the funding laid out in the paper.

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The government will pay $1.55 billion over three years to polluters who reduce their emissions and $2.55 billion over four years.

The emissions reduction fund will be managed by the clean energy regulator through a reverse auction process, with payments made only when companies can demonstrate a genuine emissions reduction.

But it remains unclear how other crucial elements of the scheme will work, given that companies which exceed carbon emission benchmarks will face no penalties before 2015 at the earliest.

The government failed to lay out any detail on compliance or penalties in Thursday's announcement and signalled that only the biggest polluters may be subject to such measures.

Mr Hunt said the government was yet to finalise details on safeguards and penalties and that these would be considered over the next 12 months in consultation with business. 

Mr Hunt said he would produce draft enabling legislation in coming weeks and revealed he was preparing to negotiate with hostile crossbench senators, as well as Palmer United Party head Clive Palmer.

"We will not stop until we repeal the carbon tax, and we are committed and we will not stop until we've implemented the emissions reduction fund," he said.

Mr Hunt signalled the government was not considering a more ambitious target than the 5 per cent, but said he believed the "direct action" scheme was capable of achieving greater reductions if needed.

"All the signs are we will not just achieve our targets but do it easily, on the basis of early indications in the community," he said.

Leading economists have rejected the Abbott government's direct action plan, claiming it cannot achieve its 5 per cent target within the budget set out.

Ken Henry, Bernie Fraser and Ross Garnaut are among the economists who say a carbon price is the most effective way for Australia to reduce its emissions. 

Labor senator Penny Wong was critical of the timing of the white paper, tweeting soon after the announcement: "Release of Direct Action White Paper the afternoon before Anzac Day long weekend. A vote of no confidence. Not even the govt believes in DA."

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Sydney basks in final burst of summer

Weather NSW
People enjoy the warm weather at Pirrama Park in Pyrmont.

People enjoy the warm weather at Pirrama Park in Pyrmont. Photo: Tamara Dean

Sydneysiders enjoyed a final burst of summer on Thursday, experiencing the warmest day for this late in autumn in 28 years.

Temperatures in the city reached 29.6 degrees at lunchtime, eight degrees above the late-April average and half a degree warmer than May 5, 2012.

The last time Sydney has been warmer later in the autumn season was in 1986, when the city reached 29.7 degrees on Anzac Day.

Pyrmont local Lyn, her granddaughter Janne, 7 and their dog Roxy enjoy the warm weather.

Pyrmont local Lyn, her granddaughter Janne, 7 and their dog Roxy cool down. Photo: Tamara Dean

Residents made the most of the warm day by flocking to parks and beaches in numbers not seen at this time of year in decades.

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North-westerly winds have been dragging very warm air from western NSW, where heat has been able to build due to a lengthy run of northerly winds under clear skies (western NSW has been reaching the low-to-mid 30s).

The warm weather will not last long with a gusty southerly change this evening cooling the city by 7 to 10 degrees.

Anzac Day will only warm up to 21 or 22 degrees across the city because the southerly winds will bring cloud and a few showers.

Looking further ahead, there is some good news for those who like the warm days. Temperatures in the mid 20s are expected on Saturday and Tuesday just ahead of cooler changes.

Elsewhere in NSW, Thursday was also the warmest day in 28 years for this late in the season in Newcastle, which hit 30 degrees.

Weatherzone


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It's not just who you know, but who knows you know them

Written By kom nampul on Selasa, 22 April 2014 | 16.44

Game of Thrones' Lord Varys.

Game of Thrones' Lord Varys. Photo: HBO

The central theme of the TV show Game of Thrones has dominated NSW politics for the last week and is summed up by the oily eunuch Varys: "Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow."

In the case of Macquarie Street, the very large shadow is Nick Di Girolamo, the "king-slayer" who dethroned Premier Barry O'Farrell.

Paul Sheehan yesterday quoted a Liberal party insider describing Di Girolamo, as "a name-dropping spiv", yet he was one who managed to ingratiate himself into the highest levels of NSW politics.

Nick De Girolamo after giving evidence at ICAC, the day Barry O'Farrell resigned.

Nick Di Girolamo after giving evidence at ICAC, the day Barry O'Farrell resigned. Photo: James Brickwood

My guess is Di Girolamo is the classic watching-over-your-shoulder-to-see-who-else-is-in-the-room-type. He's your best mate until somebody more connected or senior steps up to the bar and that's the last you'll see of him.

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This might be a blessing in disguise - you don't have to buy him a beer - but it still doesn't explain how people like Di Girolamo ooze their way into favour.

As has been extensively reported, Di Girolamo was spruiked by some of the most powerful men in the state as "our replacement board member" despite having a resume that seemed to consist of simply being a lawyer and eating at good restaurants.

In this respect, Di Girolamo is ahead of 95 per cent of us because he understands the nature of politics - whether in parliament or a palace - that what you do away from the "office" can often be as valuable as what you do while there.

This can be frustrating if you're a head-down, not-so-great-at-socialising personality.

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're one of the remaining 178 people in the country who've decided to actually go to work this week and not glue together the Easter and Anzac Day long weekends and thus pull a ten day, mid-year vacation out of their now sand-covered patootie.

Does that make you a sucker or next in line for promotion? In the scheme of things, does anyone even notice you're first in and last out of the office? Or are you better off turning up to work drinks every week to "get your face seen"? 

Again, this is thing the Di Girolamos of the world understand and it's why employers are so enthusiastic about "off-sites". Out of the office, you're much more likely to "open the window" and be the real you, make connections with colleagues, and form authentic relationships.

You're also much more likely to do favours and go the extra mile for people you share interests and experiences with - even something as prosaic as backing the same football team - like O'Farrell and Di Girolamo, who both are mad for Wests-Tigers.

Politics is all about relationships and in business, particularly as you reach the higher rungs of management, the relationships you forge are paramount.

Of course, the next best to thing to actually having these relationships is projecting them, like a shadow on the wall, which is why "name-dropping spivs" can be so effective, particularly in the paranoid, game of thrones that is politics. 

Pretending you have power can often be as effective as actually having it. Di Girolamo understood this implicitly: it's not just who you know, but who knows you know them.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.


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The GoT lesson that Di Girolamo knew

Game of Thrones' Lord Varys.

Game of Thrones' Lord Varys. Photo: HBO

The central theme of the TV show Game of Thrones has dominated NSW politics for the last week and is summed up by the oily eunuch Varys: "Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow."

In the case of Macquarie Street, the very large shadow is Nick Di Girolamo, the "king-slayer" who dethroned Premier Barry O'Farrell.

Paul Sheehan yesterday quoted a Liberal party insider describing Di Girolamo, as "a name-dropping spiv", yet he was one who managed to ingratiate himself into the highest levels of NSW politics.

Nick De Girolamo after giving evidence at ICAC, the day Barry O'Farrell resigned.

Nick Di Girolamo after giving evidence at ICAC, the day Barry O'Farrell resigned. Photo: James Brickwood

My guess is Di Girolamo is the classic watching-over-your-shoulder-to-see-who-else-is-in-the-room-type. He's your best mate until somebody more connected or senior steps up to the bar and that's the last you'll see of him.

Advertisement

This might be a blessing in disguise - you don't have to buy him a beer - but it still doesn't explain how people like Di Girolamo ooze their way into favour.

As has been extensively reported, Di Girolamo was spruiked by some of the most powerful men in the state as "our replacement board member" despite having a resume that seemed to consist of simply being a lawyer and eating at good restaurants.

In this respect, Di Girolamo is ahead of 95 per cent of us because he understands the nature of politics - whether in parliament or a palace - that what you do away from the "office" can often be as valuable as what you do while there.

This can be frustrating if you're a head-down, not-so-great-at-socialising personality.

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're one of the remaining 178 people in the country who've decided to actually go to work this week and not glue together the Easter and Anzac Day long weekends and thus pull a ten day, mid-year vacation out of their now sand-covered patootie.

Does that make you a sucker or next in line for promotion? In the scheme of things, does anyone even notice you're first in and last out of the office? Or are you better off turning up to work drinks every week to "get your face seen"? 

Again, this is thing the Di Girolamos of the world understand and it's why employers are so enthusiastic about "off-sites". Out of the office, you're much more likely to "open the window" and be the real you, make connections with colleagues, and form authentic relationships.

You're also much more likely to do favours and go the extra mile for people you share interests and experiences with - even something as prosaic as backing the same football team - like O'Farrell and Di Girolamo, who both are mad for Wests-Tigers.

Politics is all about relationships and in business, particularly as you reach the higher rungs of management, the relationships you forge are paramount.

Of course, the next best to thing to actually having these relationships is projecting them, like a shadow on the wall, which is why "name-dropping spivs" can be so effective, particularly in the paranoid, game of thrones that is politics. 

Pretending you have power can often be as effective as actually having it. Di Girolamo understood this implicitly: it's not just who you know, but who knows you know them.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.


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