Quade Cooper fit to play Super Rugby opener

Just four days after being stretchered from Ballymore in a neck brace, a thankful Quade Cooper has declared himself ready to take on the Brumbies in Queensland’s Super Rugby opener in Canberra on Saturday night.
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There was justifiable concern for Cooper late in the trial against the Rebels, when he took a knock to the back and fell to the turf. He was swamped by medical staff, put into a brace and taken to hospital for scans.

The news, since then, has been all good, with Cooper being cleared of any serious spinal damage.

The injury was likened to a whiplash, which has left him sore and sorry but ready to compete by the weekend.

“I feel pretty good. I feel like a footballer. I’m sure there’s a lot of guys in the front row who are scrummaging every morning who are feeling a lot worse than I am. I’m grateful to be up and about and be able to join my teammates,” Cooper said on Tuesday morning.

“I’ve been given the all clear. It’s up to me. From a medical point of view, there’s no damage to say I shouldn’t be able to play.”

Cooper said he was in shock and scared as he was taken to St Andrews Hospital. But he thanked Reds medical staff and doctors for taking all of the right precautions to ensure there was nothing more sinister at play.

“It was one of the scariest moments of my footy career. The medical staff did a great job to make sure everything ran smoothly, and all the doctors and medical staff at St Andrews Hospital,” Cooper said.

“I was pretty scared and in a position you’d hate to see anybody in. I’m very grateful to be standing in front of you with no serious or severe damage.”

Reds coach Richard Graham was bullish after the game that Cooper could be available for selection but will be delighted with the medical reports he has received about his star playmaker.

The Reds will need his services against the Brumbies as they try to bounce back from a flat trial against the Rebels. It started off with a sluggish effort on the park and almost ended in disaster when Cooper went down.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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Online drinking game ‘neknomination’ linked to man’s death

Bradley Eames drank two pints of gin in two minutes before his death.A man who filmed himself downing 30 shots of pure gin has become another casualty of the worldwide craze “neknomination”, according to English media reports.England’s Bradley Eames, 20, posted a video of himself drinking two pints of gin within two minutes on February 6, finishing the stunt by telling his friends: “This is how you drink”.”Neknomination”, the new digital chain mail game that encourages a person to film themselves “necking” or skolling a drink, then nominating a friend at the end of the film to take up the same challenge, has swept across the globe, with increasingly disastrous consequences.In the video – which has since been taken down – Mr Eames tell the camera that he has been watching his friends “do the neknominate, but to me, I don’t think they’re good, so I bought myself some gin and this is how you drink”.According to the UK’s Daily Mail, initial autopsy results were inconclusive, and police will conduct an investigation into the cause of death.Mr Eames’ death follows that of 19-year-old Irish national Jonny Byrne, whose body was found in a river County Carlow, Ireland, earlier in February, after he reportedly jumped in after taking part in neknominate the night before.A day before Mr Byrne’s body was found, Ross Cummins, 22, a Dublin DJ, died after a night of heavy drinking. Irish media reported his death was also linked to the game.Men in particular are sharing their drinking escapades on social media, trying to out-do each other and come up with more outlandish ways to complete the challenge.On Monday, Radio 3AW obtained footage of a young boy, still wearing his school uniform, skolling from a beer bottle.The video, which was posted on YouTube, was filmed by the the boy’s father.National Policy Manager for the Australian Drug Foundation, Geoff Munro, said neknomination was “just the latest extension of our drinking culture”.”Our society teaches young people that getting drunk is the aim of drinking,” he said.”We are very concerned about people dying across the world from this, and we worry that if this continues, it is inevitable that we will see Australians die from the same behaviour”.Mr Munro said neknomination was a form of bullying “which was particularly threatening, because it involved people demanding their friends consume potentially lethal quantities of alcohol”.In January, police were sent a video by Crime Stoppers showing a 21-year-old Eltham man getting out of the boot of a car to “neck’ a full schooner of beer before getting back into the boot while the car zoomed off.
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New motorway will derail commuters

Improving public transport will relieve road congestion. Photo: Thinkstock.Most people will tell you it is just commonsense.
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Morning trains arriving in the city from the western suburbs are packed with passengers like tins of sardines. There’s no room for more commuters. We need more rail capacity. The roads are full too but a road lane only accommodates 2000 cars, or 2400 people, per hour, while the same amount of space given over to a rail line accommodates about 20,000 commuters. If we improve public transport services in western Sydney, we will relieve road congestion too, because people will have another commuting option.

This is why regular public opinion surveys tell us most people — about 60 per cent to 70 per cent — think money being spent on roads should be spent on public transport instead. NSW Government plans to spend $11 billion on the WestConnex tollway – a tollway that widens the M4 and M5 and builds a six-lane tunnel between the two — doesn’t jell with what most people want.

There’s good science to back up the commonsense view. It goes like this: public transport operates to a fixed speed, a timetable. Most people will take whichever transport option is fastest. They don’t care about the mode. If public transport is quicker they’ll catch a train or a bus, freeing up road space. If driving is quicker, they’ll jump in their car, adding to road congestion. In this way, public transport speeds determine road speeds. The upshot is that increasing public transport speeds is one of the best options available to governments and communities wanting to reduce road traffic congestion.

There is plenty of evidence to prove the point. When Sydney’s train service reliability disintegrated in 2004 and the unusual decision was made to slow the city’s rail network, embedding the slower speeds in the 2006 timetable, road speeds fell and congestion increased. Average road speeds were sitting on 34 km/hour before things went pear-shaped on the rail network. Afterwards, road speeds dropped to about 30 km/hour and have basically stayed there.

The new timetable has made rail travel quicker for many areas throughout Sydney but it is still too early to see if there have been improvements in parallel road speeds.

This relationship is one of the key mechanisms that make city systems tick. It is basic microeconomics, people shifting between two different options until there is no advantage in shifting and equilibrium is found. We can see this relationship in data sets that make comparisons between international cities. Cities with faster public transport speeds generally have faster road speeds.

With all this evidence behind us, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to build the WestConnex tollway.

The $11 billion earmarked to expand existing motorways that filled up with traffic not long after they were first opened, could be far better spent on public transport. A project like a second Sydney Harbour rail crossing is one of the things we won’t see because of WestConnex. It would improve operations across the network by freeing up the bottleneck in the central business district that’s stopping Sydney Trains from putting on more services across a whole suite of lines. If you free that strategically significant choke point, existing spare capacity on outer network links could be used to increase capacity across the entire network by a staggering 50 per cent to 60 per cent.

That’s how you make big improvements and a genuine dent in the problem of road congestion and cut petrol bills for car commuters.

Dr Michelle Zeibots is a research principal at the University of Technology, Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, specialising in the analysis of sustainable urban passenger transport systems.

For more Brink stories go to http://newsroom.uts.edu.au/brink

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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Stars paint London red at BAFTA after parties

The stars headed out to celebrate their wins and commiserate their losses at BAFTA after parties around London.
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12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyongo and director Steve McQueen attended the Entertainment One party at the London Edition hotel alongside Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

British rapper Tinie Tempah, who performed at the BAFTAs ceremony, took the opportunity to get some snaps with Pitt and Jolie.

Cate Blanchett attended the Weinstein Company’s party, celebrating her leading actress win for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.

Amy Adams had a change of costume for the party, swapping her black Victoria Beckham gown for a figure-hugging electric blue number. Adams posed for pictures with her Julie & Julia co-star Stanley Tucci and Gillian Anderson, who wore a strapless blue gown.

Rita Ora wore a floor-length, pink and black sequined Gucci jumpsuit to the event. The 23-year-old singer missed the ceremony to see Prince perform, but stopped by the bash to rub shoulders with Oprah Winfrey and Naomi Campbell.

British singer Jessie J also attended the party, although she didn’t join Ora on stage for an impromptu performance.

Other stars attending the Weinstein Company’s party included Steve Coogan, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson.

Helen Mirren and Tom Hanks were just two of the stars that attended the official BAFTAs after party at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

Emma Thompson, who missed out on a BAFTA, took her whole family along to the party, greeting Noel Gallagher who attended with his wife Sara McDonald.

Lily Allen lost her crazy hairpiece but kept her hyper-coloured ball gown for the bash. Allen had attended the awards ceremony with her mother, Alison, who was nominated for a producing award.

Also in attendance were Andrew Lloyd Webber and Steven Fry. Nyongo and Blanchett made appearances before heading to other parties in London.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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PHOTOS: Pollies tour drought-stricken Australia

Prime Minister Tony Abbott swapped C1 for a farm ute driven by grazier Phillip Ridge of ‘Jandra’ as part of a drought tour near Bourke. Picture: Getty Images Prime Minister Tony Abbott is met by local MP Mark Coulton on arrival in the ute of graziers Phillip and Di Ridge of ‘Jandra’ as part of a drought tour near Bourke. Picture: Getty Images
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott emerges into a downpour from his RAAF aircraft at Bourke airport as part of a drought tour with Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce. Picture: Getty Images

Prime Minister Tony Abbott meets graziers Phillip Ridge of ‘Jandra’, near Bourke, as part of a drought tour with Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce. Picture: Getty Images

Local MP Mark Coulton awaits Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrival at Phillip and Di Ridge’s property ‘Jandra’, near Bourke, as part of a drought tour . Picture: Getty Images

Phillip Ridge escorts Tony Abbott around his property, ‘Jandra’, near Bourke. Picture: Getty Images

Standing on a wool scale in the ‘Jandra’ shearing shed, Tony Abbott speaks to graziers from the Bourke region. Picture: Getty Images

Ben Ritchie and daughter Georgina, 1, are as thrilled with the rain as Tony Abbott is. Picture: Getty Images

Phillip Ridge, on his property ‘Jandra’ near Bourke, speaks to agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce . Picture: Getty Images

Tony Abbott meets with graziers and Longreach community members at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame while touring drought-stricken areas with agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce . Picture: Getty Images

Barnaby Joyce poses for The Land newspaper while touring Bourke with the prime minister. Picture: Getty Images

Prime Minister Tony Abbott meets graziers Phillip and Di Ridge of ‘Jandra’ as part of a drought tour near Bourke. Picture: Getty Images

Campbell, 5, Alexandra, 3, and Georgina, 1, are thrilled with an ironic but much-needed downpour on the day Tony Abbott headed to Bourke for a tour of drought-affected areas. Picture: Getty Images

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After INXS, which Australian musicians are next in line for the TV treatment?

INXS: Never Tear Us Apart has renewed interest in the Australian rock band. Photo: SuppliedReview: Brace portrayal of band in declineTelemovie ‘trashes’ Hutchence’s families, says half-sister
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On Sunday night the concluding episode of Channel Seven’s INXS: Never Tear Us Apart drew a vast national audience of about 2.6 million viewers. On Monday morning it was confirmed that INXS’s Very Best Of was atop the national album charts, a mere 24 years after their last number one.

If you noticed network difficulties yesterday afternoon while trying to use your mobile phone it might have been because of the volume of calls between television network executives, band managers and ageing Australian musicians.

So who will be next? Here – with apologies to Uncanny X-Men devotees – are five miniseries candidates.AC/DC: It’s a Long Way to the Top

Pros: Formed in Sydney, they became one of the biggest bands in the history of popular music, selling more than 200 million albums (INXS, in comparison, achieved sales of 40 million). They continued as a hard rock institution despite the death of frontman Bon Scott in 1980. It would be one famous guitar riff after another.

Cons: AC/DC – specifically sibling guitarists Malcolm and Angus Young – are renowned for saying no to nearly everything (they kept their music off iTunes until 2012) and maintaining their privacy. What does anyone know about Angus Young except that he performs in a schoolboy’s uniform?Cold Chisel: Forever Now

Pros: It’s the definitive Australian pub rock band, complete with readily identifiable personalities, from wild-man lead singer Jimmy Barnes to philosophical chief songwriter and keyboardist Don Walker. They fought a radio ban for Khe Sanh, Countdown and sometimes each other, splitting at the height of their powers in 1983 before subsequently reforming.

Cons: They are still, less deceased drummer Steve Prestwich, a going concern, so may be unwilling to see actors portraying youthful versions of themselves. Younger audiences may also find it hard to believe the kamikaze lifestyle Barnes lived during the group’s heyday. Never cracked it internationally.Reckless: The Australian Crawl Story

Pros: It would be a drama-filled story: seventies band from Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula became chart-toppers, headlining vast outdoor shows in the early eighties before rhythm guitarist and songwriter Guy McDonough died from viral pneumonia at the age of just 28 in 1984. The band was bankrupted by an expensive album that stiffed (1985’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place), and frontman James Reyne infamously detoured into acting with the 1983 mini-series Return to Eden.

Cons: They were hugely popular for a few years, but the group’s legacy hasn’t fully endured despite Reckless becoming a Triple M mainstay. Band co-operation would be zero, as guitarist Simon Binks has long been vitriolic about Reyne.You’re the Voice: John Farnham

Pros: The most successful male solo artist in Australian popular music, Farnham is known to multiple generations. After being a clean-cut pop star in the 1960s and 1970s, Farnham and manager Glenn Wheatley had to struggle to relaunch his career with 1986’s Whispering Jack, an album that went on to sell a staggering 1.7 million copies in Australia. Since then he’s been ubiquitous, and your mum loves him. Wheatley would be a juicy role, too.

Cons: Quite possibly too nice for a four-hour drama and, as INXS: Never Tear Us Apart demonstrated, topless women in hotel rooms are now required historical fact. Also, where to end? Farnham has done many a final tour.Midnight Oil: The Power and the Passion

Pros: The most revered Australian rock’n’roll band, furiously intense live and makers of innovative records, Midnight Oil had a renegade manager, Garry Morris (seen in INXS: Never Tear Us Apart), and a political stance that tied them to modern Australian social history. They broke the States and had a singer who stood as a Senate candidate for the Nuclear Disarmament Party.

Cons: Good luck finding a charismatic bald beanpole who can capture Peter Garrett’s barbed humour and intensity, let alone dance like him.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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Bumper profits but sounds of silence in Canberra

Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann have kept silent over recent bumper profit results. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen / FairfaxFoFA: Arthur Sinodinos knows how it works, you can bank on it
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Another day, more bumper profits as most of Australia’s major companies continue to surprise on the upside.

Yes, it looks like the latest federal Treasurer is proving just as bad at forecasting as his predecessors and that his budget predictions will be as hopelessly wrong.

The difference, of course, is that Joe Hockey is lucky enough to have Treasury’s forecasting imperfections displayed on the upside, rather than the downside that plagued Wayne Swan and then, briefly, Chris Bowen.

Thus, no-one will mind much at all. Besides, investors (and that’s the vast majority of Australians through their superannuation funds) should be too busy cheering to notice.

The first two days of this week have taken up where the corporate reporting season left off last week. The scorecard that AMP chief economist Shane Oliver keeps showed that, after the first 20 per cent of the ASX had reported, profits and dividend growth were running very nicely and strongly ahead of last year.

What’s more, the analyst community had been caught out being too pessimistic, with 55 per cent of companies exceeding expectations, compared with an average of 43 per cent over the past decade.

Some 73 per cent of companies have reported higher profits, compared with an average of 66 per cent over the ten years, and a massive 78 per cent of companies have increased dividends.

If these trends hold – and they seem to be – there are a number of implications ranging from the impact of dividend hunting on boardrooms to a lower peak in unemployment and Joe Hockey being able to go into the next election with the promise of a surplus in 2015-16.

First, the big picture: more evidence that the Treasurer’s dour mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) delivered two months ago is seriously out of date.

The Reserve Bank belled that on February 7 when it upgraded its economic forecasts. The economy was turning the corner in the December quarter while the official forecasters were still trying to make sense of the soft September period.

Treasury’s MYEFO documents explained why it was drastically downgrading the budget outlook from August’s PEFO (pre-election fiscal outlook): “A softening in the economic outlook has resulted in significantly lower nominal GDP, which has largely driven the reduction in tax receipts by more than $37 billion over the forward estimates.”

It had mainly been a fall in corporate tax receipts that had undermined Swan’s quixotic 2012-13 budget plan. Given the amount of stick Treasury copped for being too optimistic, it looks like they have erred on the pessimistic side this time.

They have certainly factored in miserable times for Australian business, but we’re not seeing that reflected in this reporting season.

MYEFO shaved PEFO’s forecast of receipts this financial year from $369.5 billion to $364.9 billion and then predicted receipts would only grow by 4.9 per cent in 2014-15. The trend of lower wages growth accounts for some of that, along with December’s belief that household consumption was sliding – the latter now not substantiated by more recent data.

More specifically, PEFO’s company tax forecast of $69.2 billion was trimmed to an even $69 billion – but Shane Oliver reckons the current crop of results from Australia’s listed companies show they are on track to at least deliver the consensus forecast of 13 per cent earnings growth on the back of the massive turnaround by resources stocks and banks doing very well.

He also interprets the surge in dividend increases as a sign of companies being confident about the business outlook.

That would tie in with the NAB’s business conditions and confidence survey being on the up, but increased dividend payments also supports the belief of Bell Potter’s Charlie Aitken that dividend hunting by the self-managed super army is pushing boards to reward their shareholders that way.

That in turn has the effect of focusing the minds of boards and management to make the best use of what profits they retain, instead of blowing cash on hero takeovers.

Some of the profit growth has come from cutting costs – a reality that shows up in the headlines about job losses and helps explain our lack of jobs growth over the past year. But employment remains a lagging indicator – stronger, more profitable, more confident companies and consumers enjoying the wealth effect of appreciating assets have a history of subsequently spending more and creating employment.

As today’s RBA board minutes state:

“Members recognised that conditions in the labour market tended to lag economic growth, and that the labour market had remained weak following the period of below-trend growth in activity.

“If the economy evolved broadly as expected, the most prudent course would likely be a period of stability in interest rates.”

In any event, the better-than-expected results indicate stronger economic growth in the year ahead. The RBA is saying an extra quarter per cent of real GDP growth on top of the MYEFO predictions in 2014-15 and an extra half a per cent for 2015-16.

Combine the higher profits with that forecast and you have the best economic news in nine months – but our Treasurer and Finance Minister remain strangely silent about it.

It doesn’t fit their budget preparation narrative.

Michael Pascoe is a BusinessDay contributing editor.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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RailCorp: Only four of 54 employees reported loans to Joseph Camilleri

Only four RailCorp employees and executives out of 54 who were approached for money by highly paid executive Joseph Camilleri reported that he was asking for thousands of dollars in personal loans.
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That so few people reported the financial troubles of Mr Camilleri, RailCorp’s former general manager of maintenance contracts, is evidence of the organisation’s lack of a culture of disclosure, Mr Camilleri’s former boss told a corruption hearing on Tuesday.

“A reporting culture, I don’t think we’ve still got,” Gavin Campbell, the current director of maintenance at Sydney Trains, told the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

“It is a view I have now based on 54 people not coming forward,” Mr Campbell said.

The people who did not come forward included Rob Mason, RailCorp’s chief executive, who lent Mr Camilleri $10,000 in mid-2012.

In total, Mr Camilleri, who was in charge of RailCorp’s train maintenance “reform program” in 2012 and who oversaw contracts worth billions of dollars, borrowed more than $1.5 million from other RailCorp employees and contractors.

The money was for his daughter, Jessica Camilleri, who had a gambling problem. But Mr Camilleri requested the money from his colleagues and contacts on the basis of a number of other stories, including that his daughter was the subject of either credit card or identity fraud.

Mr Campbell was grilled on Tuesday by counsel assisting the commission, Nicholas Polin, about why he failed to investigate Mr Camilleri’s apparent financial distress.

Mr Camilleri, who was paid more than $300,000 a year, made about 30 successful requests to cash out leave or receive advances on pay between April 2010 and January 2013.

“The feeling was Joe was a long-term trusted employee, he had a family situation and he was using his built-up leave helping one of his children out,” Mr Campbell said.

Despite his executive salary, by the end of 2011 Mr Camilleri was asking to be paid in advance most months. The majority of the requests were to Mr Campbell, who approved early pay or cashed-out leave payments to Mr Camilleri on 19 occasions.

“Executives sometimes have kids with high expectations as far as spending money,” Mr Campbell said.

But Mr Campbell’s concerns were only raised when he was approached in June by another senior RailCorp executive, Tony Eid, who told him Mr Camilleri had asked to borrow thousands of dollars. Another executive, John Minchin, also told Mr Campbell that Mr Camilleri had asked for a loan.

Mr Campbell said he then asked RailCorp’s chief legal counsel Irene Rusak and head of HR John Cairns for advice, but they told him the loans were personal and RailCorp should not intervene.

However, Mr Campbell said he confronted Mr Camilleri about the loans, and Mr Camilleri said he would stop asking colleagues for money.

Mr Camilleri continued. In October, Mr Campbell was told by another senior executive, Tanya Johnstone, that a more junior employee felt intimidated when Mr Camilleri asked if he could borrow $2000 on one occasion and $15,000 on another.

Mr Campbell later requested a law firm conduct an independent investigation into Mr Camilleri.

In a letter to Mr Campbell in November 2012, Mr Camilleri said that he had been supporting his daughter with a “personal legal issue”, but she was due a settlement payout in December “which will cover all our loans and expenses”.

The letter listed RailCorp staff from whom he had borrowed. Some of the largest loans to Mr Camilleri on the list were from Barry Lovatt ($56,000), Glen McGinley ($51,500), Dave Spiteri ($40,000), and Peter McGregor ($37,370).

But Mr Camilleri did not disclose that he had also borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars from people with or seeking contracts with RailCorp. When it was discovered that he had, he was dismissed in February, 2013.

It is alleged Mr Camilleri repaid only about $100,000.

The hearing in front of ICAC commissioner Megan Latham is continuing. The ICAC is also inquiring into Mr Camilleri’s sister, Carmen Attard, an employee at the Department of Family and Community Services, who is alleged to have obtained about $180,000 from her colleagues.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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Climate change refugees a reality

A child surrounded by flood water in Bangladesh. Photo: DFID-Rafiqur Rahman Raqu.Australia needs to plan for an influx of climate change refugees from neighbouring countries that face ever increasing risks from cyclones, rising sea levels and more severe droughts, according to a researcher at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).
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Fears about waves of mass migration from climate change are unfounded, says the university’s Elaine Kelly. But Dr Kelly, a UTS Chancellor’s Post Doctoral Research Fellow, says Australia should start planning migration streams that include people who have lost their homes to climate change, in addition to those we already accept for other humanitarian reasons.

“The reality is climate change will provoke more displacement, and displacement of those who are most poor,” says Dr Kelly. “How are we going to plan for that?”

The international community is now talking less about how to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere and more about how to cope with the dramatic changes excessive amounts of CO2 will have on climate and temperatures, she says. One of the solutions is planned migration from those areas particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change to less vulnerable places.

It is a major shift in thinking that has yet to be adopted by Australian politicians.

“We need to think about local, regional and international ways of regulating migration if we want to do it well,” says Dr Kelly. “Australia needs to be involved in the [international] talks around climate change funding and how to initiate funds and implement these sorts of programs. But at the moment, we are withdrawing from those sorts of conversations,” she says.

Dr Kelly argues that because climate change is increasing the pressure for people living in south-east Asia to migrate to safer regions, it is more important than ever that the debate about migration, and particularly about refugees, should be based on ethics rather than politics or national security.

In November, one of the strongest cyclones to hit the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyang, killed thousands of people and left millions homeless. A month earlier, in India, more than half a million people were evacuated from their homes before another cyclone hit. In May, one million people were evacuated as a cyclone hit Bangladesh, a country particularly vulnerable to cyclones and flooding.

Most climate change adaption will be local, says Dr Kelly. For example, migration from low-lying rural areas in Bangladesh to the capital, Dhaka, is expected to increase the city’s population to 40 million by 2050 from 15 million today.

Dr Kelly has observed a sense of hospitality in the international refugee program for those suffering political persecution, a sense sorely lacking in Australia.

“Hospitality to affected countries from the industrial countries responsible for climate change must be seen as either a mode of adaptation or a form of compensation for profound losses and damages caused by climate change,” she says.

“I would love to see a reasoned discussion of [the ethics of climate change] in Australia, one that isn’t polemic and isn’t driven by fear. I’d love to see a discussion that looks at the human issues and at the pragmatic approaches that government can take.”

She also wants to see research conducted in communities that have welcomed migrants and regional communities that want more people.

“How can we develop and implement welcoming policies at that level? I’d love to see conversations happening at local levels and then putting pressure on members of parliament, and the state and federal governments to engage in the conversation.”

For more Brink stories go to http://newsroom.uts.edu.au/brink

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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Arthur Sinodinos knows how it works, you can bank on it

Assistant Treasurer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, during Question Time in the Senate. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer”The role he (Arthur Sinodinos) is leaving at the National Australia Bank makes him an invaluable link to the top end of town when business has its doubts over the Coalition’s policy integrity,” Christian Kerr wrote in The Australian with considerable prescience back in September, 2011.
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It now seems that the Assistant Treasurer has also been an invaluable link for the top end of town, as well as to it.

Let’s be very clear about this: the most contentious reform of the still-young Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) legislation – bringing commissions back from the dead – is purely the work of the big banks and Senator Sinodinos.

It wasn’t part of the deal Senator Mathias Cormann worked out when he had carriage of the issue before the election. And, most tellingly, it’s not what the Financial Planning Association of Australia wants.

The FPA introduced a ban on its members accepting commissions back in 2009. The association’s focus is on financial planners becoming professionals, rather than product salespeople. It continues to be FPA policy that commissions are out, whatever changes Senator Sinodinos gets through parliament.

It has been the banks – the product manufacturers who, one way or the other, control the lion’s share of the financial planning industry – who wanted to get commissions back on the books. Given bankers’ demonstrated inability to control commission-driven sales forces, it’s an amazing demonstration of executives’ interest in their own performance bonuses winning out over their much-professed interest in putting the customer first.

Whether it was the extraordinary business being generated by individual bank managers making loans to Storm Financial victims, or the way the CBA’s own “financial planners” were making so many sales, the banks’ top management and, presumably, their chairmen and boards didn’t want to know.

But their success in pushing Sinodinos to re-open the door for conflicted remuneration indicates they all know perfectly well how it’s done.

And Senator Sinodinos himself does as well. His title at the NAB before taking up a Senate vacancy in November, 2011, was “Managing Director for Government, Education and Carbon Solutions, Institutional Banking, Business Banking Australia”.

Yes, he knows very well how to move product and maximise the bank’s profit and executive bonuses.

That’s why Peter Martin’s likening of Senator Sinodinos’ position to that of his fellow assistant minister, Senator Fiona Nash, is so apposite.

The coalition’s pre-Sinodinos FoFA changes had their critics, but they were not unreasonable as the pendulum swings.

FoFA, like any changes when there are billions of dollars at stake, has been a battle ground for various self-interests, as well as people genuinely wanting a better system to serve Australians who are under-advised.

The Cormann compromises calmed some parties’ concerns without changing the fundamental thrust.

But then along came the former NAB executive with the invaluable links with the top end of town.

Senator, you’ve blundered. Your reforms to the reform will have to be reformed. The bankers’ over-riding interest in flogging product will have to take a back seat as they simply can’t handle commissions.

Michael Pascoe is a BusinessDay contributing editor.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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