MP’s suspended over corruption inquiries

FORMER NBS energy minister Chris Hartcher and other Central Coast MPs Chris Spence and Darren Webber have been suspended from the NSW Liberal Party after being named in two major corruption inquiries.
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Acting state director Simon McInnes announced in a statement on Wednesday morning the trio had “voluntarily withdrawn” from the party after the O’Farrell government was dragged into the scandal surrounding the family of former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, with an announcement that public hearings would begin in weeks.

A senior government source said the Liberal Party had decided on Tuesday night to begin proceedings to suspend the trio.

The MPs had just renominated for preselection in their central coast seats for the March 2015 state election.

But on Tuesday members of Mr Spence’s electoral conference for The Entrance were told a meeting scheduled for next Monday to confirm his candidacy was cancelled until further notice.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption will hold a public inquiry, starting on March 17, into allegations of corrupt conduct by public officials and ’’persons with an interest’’ in the Obeid-linked company Australian Water Holdings.

A second inquiry will be held from April 28 into allegations Mr Hartcher, who is the member for Terrigal, Mr Webber, who is the MP for Wyong, and Mr Spence ’’corruptly solicited, received and concealed payments’’ in return for favours.

Australian Water, which became one of the largest donors to the NSW Liberals before the 2011 state election, was allegedly one of the sources of the payments.

ICAC says the first inquiry, Operation Credo, will look at whether, between 2004 and 2012, interests in Australian Water benefited by inflating charges to state-owned Sydney Water corporation.

It will examine allegations ’’public officials and others’’ were involved in falsifying a cabinet minute relating to a public-private partnership proposal by Australian Water to mislead a budget committee of cabinet.

Mr Obeid and his fellow former Labor ministers Joe Tripodi and Tony Kelly are alleged to have ’’misused their positions as members of Parliament’’ to try to influence public officials over the deal.

It is alleged that, in November 2012, Liberal Party identity Nick Di Girolamo – a former chief executive and major shareholder in the company – and Eddie Obeid jnr tried to mislead ICAC’s investigation into whether Mr Obeid snr tried to use his position as an MP to influence public officials over the proposal.

Within hours of the Tuesday announcement, Mr Di Girolamo resigned as a director of the state-owned State Water Corporation.

The second inquiry, Operation Spicer, will look at whether between April 2009 and April 2012 Mr Hartcher, Mr Webber and Mr Spence, along with two former staff of Mr Hartcher – Tim Koelma and Ray Carter – corruptly solicited payments for political favours.

It will also examine whether, between December 2010 and November 2011, the MPs and Mr Carter solicited banned political donations.

The inquiry will consider allegations Australian Water Holdings, through Mr Di Girolamo, made ’’regular payments’’ to Eightbyfive, a company owned by Mr Koelma in return for Mr Hartcher favouring Australian Water interests. The payments were allegedly claimed to be for public relations advice.

Mr Hartcher suddenly resigned from the cabinet in December after ICAC raided his office.

In 2012 Mr Carter and Mr Koelma resigned and Mr Carter was suspended as Terrigal electorate officer after the party referred allegations they had breached donations laws to the Election Funding Authority.

A $5000 payment to Eightbyfive, from Wyong builder Matthew Lusted, sparked the referral by the party.

Mr Lusted was approached for the payment by Mr Carter shortly before the March 2011 election. It is understood Mr Lusted’s name and others were given to Mr Carter by Wyong mayor Doug Eaton, who has refused to comment.

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Modern Family brings Australian social media storm and high hopes for tourism dollars

Behind the scenes of Modern Family posted on Twitter today … is this filming for the episode leading to the Pritchett-Tucker’s holiday in Australia?Modern Family’s casting call for extras
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Sydney remains in the grasp of Modern Family madness, with the show’s stars spotted in Manly, Bondi Beach and Circular Quay yesterday.

This morning, filming has reportedly begun at Woolloomooloo and the restaurants at Finger Wharf.

And tourism bosses are hoping the filming of the one-off episode of the hit comedy will follow the success of other lucrative visitors such as the Oprah and Ellen shows.

Tourism Australia head of corporate affairs Karen Halbert said: “Inviting Oprah [Winfrey] and Ellen [DeGeneres] to film Down Under brought huge global audiences and showcased the best of our country and I’m sure this will be no different with Modern Family.

“Whatever the family members get up to, I’m sure many of our iconic attractions will end up playing a starring role and help generate fantastic global exposure for our country.”

Twitter was abuzz with photos of the stars around Sydney, posted by fans and by the actors themselves.

After being mobbed on arrival at Sydney Airport yesterday morning, Sofia Vergara was spotted near her hotel in Circular Quay and in Manly, including dining at the restaurant Hugo’s.

Nolan Gould, who plays Luke, armed himself with a surfboard, headed to Bondi and bragged on Twitter that he had made it to the beach within a couple of hours of arriving in Australia.

It took me all of three and a half hours to make it to the beach after we landed in Sydney. http://t爱上海同城论坛/pLOOMLUf10— Nolan Gould (@Nolan_Gould) February 18, 2014

Eric Stonestreet (Cam) was spotted around the CBD and was happy to be photographed with fans. He also nominated the Playfair Cafe as having the “best coffee in The Rocks”.

Ed O’Neill bemused fans greeting him at the airport by wearing a Rabbitohs hat, to which the club declared on Twitter that they would love to host him.

@russellcrowe The Modern Family guys have arrived to shoot in Sydney… Check out Ed O’Neill’s hat! pic.twitter爱上海同城论坛m/I1XFjmJjYL— Rabbit (@RabbitOnNova) February 18, 2014

Winfrey’s 2010 filming here saw almost half of subsequent US visitors saying they had been inspired to visit Australia because of the Oprah show, while Qantas reported a 22 per cent increase in inbound flights following DeGeneres’ trip last year.

It comes at a time when US arrivals have hit record figures, an all-time high of 508,700 last year, beating the previous high around the Sydney Olympics, by more than 20,000.

As well as filming in Sydney, the production will shift to Hayman Island for two days next week. Show co-creator, director and writer Steven Levitan said: “We just had to go to the Great Barrier Reef since, like Sofia Vergara, it’s one of the natural wonders of the world.”

ON THE BLOG: @ModernFam stars share the love in Sydney #ModernFamilyAUS. Details here –>http://t爱上海同城论坛/vdfBOZWKXU— Jayden Forster (@CelebrityLane1) February 18, 2014

MT “@WoollyBayHotel: #ModernFamilyAUS filming on the wharf! Star watching at its best! pic.twitter爱上海同城论坛m/IzMgTeFYYv”— 2DayFM 104.1 (@2DayFM) February 18, 2014

The Australian special, which is expected to score 125 million viewers worldwide when it’s first broadcast, will be filming in Sydney and Queensland until February 28.

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Footy star goes from hero to zero over pub fight

Source: The Border Mail
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HUME football premiership hero Kylin Morey is facing charges over two serious assaults at a Lavington hotel in October.

Morey, who kicked eight goals for Brocklesby-Burrumbuttock in their premiership win against Holbrook, was at the Boomerang Hotel’s beer garden about 8.45pm on October 26.

Albury Local Court heard yesterday how Morey argued with members of another group and a fight started.

Security film showed Morey punching an unknown man who was wearing a blue jumper as he stood near an ATM.

The man fell and Morey continued punching him while he was on the ground and not retaliating.

Morey also punched another man in a black singlet who tried to intervene.

Security staff and friends tried to lead Morey away, but he threw a table in the direction of the man in the singlet.

About that time, a friend of Morey, Benjamin John Hall, who had been ordered to leave the beer garden, ran back in.

He punched an unknown man to the face with his left fist.

The man fell backwards on to a concrete floor unconscious.

Morey, 22, of Valverde Court, Thurgoona, and Hall, 22, of Cattlin Avenue, Albury, both pleaded guilty to affray charges.

Magistrate Tony Murray has ordered pre-sentence reports on both and adjourned sentencing until April 1.

“You are very fortunate the person you punched did not suffer any injuries when he fell to the concrete,” he told Hall.

He said this was “exactly” the type of offence that outraged the community.

“The consumption of alcohol is not an excuse for behaving like this,” Mr Murray said.

Police identified Hall from the hotel’s security footage.

He said when they phoned him on December 23 that he had not been in Albury and did not wish to go to the police station about the matter.

The hotel’s manager had identified Morey, who is an apprentice glazier.

Morey’s victim was seen to be bleeding from the left temple when leaving the hotel.

Police went to Albury and Wodonga hospitals but no one had sought treatment for that injury.

Morey told police when interviewed on December 6 he could not recall the incident.

Police showed him footage of the incident and he expressed his remorse.

Mr Murray told Morey: “This is a bad example of this type of offence.”

Kylin Morey won man of the match in the Hume league grand final between Brocklesby and Burrumbuttock last year.

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SEEK shares surge on new Asia buy

SEEK shares surged by more than 20 per cent after announcing a $580 million purchase of Jobstreet’s online employment unit, giving the company a stronger foothold in Asia.
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The news came as SEEK reported a 64 per cent jump in first-half net profit to $111 million.

Revenue in the six months ended December 31 rose 48 per cent to $343.3 million from $231.2 million in the year-earlier period, the company said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange. Net profit in the previous half year totalled $67.5 million.

The job-search website giant said its Asian arm was buying the online employment businesses of JobStreet Corporation for a valuation of $580 million.

Chief executive and co-founder Andrew Bassat said the transaction marked an ongoing focus in Asia, including China.

“In the near term, we expect revenue residing in Asia to comprise over 50 per cent of SEEK’s overall revenue which further cements SEEK as a global leader in online employment,” he said in a statement.

Citigroup analyst Justin Diddams said the result exceeded expectations as it was boosted by currency gains in its international business and by a strong performance from its education business.

“The outlook statement suggests positive momentum in each business,” he said while also pointing out that second half net profit is expected to be only marginally ahead of first-half profit.

Mr Bassat praised the company’s ability to perform strongly, despite a weakening local labour market.

“We’ve been seen for some time now as a cyclical business exposed to the Australian unemployment rate and we’ve had a really negative performance in the Australian unemployment rate over the last six months but despite this we’ve seen a really clear record result,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

“We’ve seen SEEK International come through really strongly, SEEK Education come through really strongly and the employment business perform credibly and basically hold flat.

“Overall we’re just really proud the group has delivered a record result in tough conditions.”

The interim dividend, payable to shareholders of record on April 30, is held at 14¢.

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Unregistered hearse halted in funeral fuss

Source: The Daily Advertiser
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AN UNDERTAKER was forced to transfer a body to another hearse after police ordered his vehicle off the road as it made its way to the Wagga crematorium.

A highway patrol officer nabbed the hearse driving unregistered as it headed north on the Olympic Highway towards Wagga last month.

The incident saw the undertaker driving the vehicle forced to call another hearse and move the body to the second vehicle at the side of the highway.

The family of the deceased was left distressed by the way police handled the incident.

Wagga police Superintendent Bob Noble said he sympathised with the family over the situation but has backed the officer’s handling of the situation.

“Another person might’ve dealt with it a different way but another person wasn’t there,” he said.

“An officer has a responsibility to make decisions at the time and I respect the individual authority of that person to do that.”

Superintendent Noble said the officer was in no way trying to add to an already difficult time for the family, admitting the circumstances were “regrettable”.

“No officer would want to exacerbate or compound grief in those circumstances,” he said.

Police have spoken with the funeral company involved in the incident and no formal complaint has been made with regards to the actions of the highway patrol officer involved in the incident.

It’s understood the funeral company had only recently purchased the hearse second-hand and had been told by the seller that it had come with 12 months’ registration.

But when the highway patrol officer pulled it over, its registration was found to be out of date and it was ordered immediately off the road.

The Daily Advertisercontacted the funeral company in question for comment, but they declined to do so.

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Egypt bombing could end country’s already fragile tourism industry

“The pilgrims always come … but what about the other tourists?”: The Chapel of the Burning Bush Photo: Sandra Harrison “The pilgrims always come … but what about the other tourists?”: The Chapel of the Burning Bush Photo: Sandra Harrison
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“The pilgrims always come … but what about the other tourists?”: The Chapel of the Burning Bush Photo: Sandra Harrison

Sharm el Sheikh: Terrorism has returned to the wild and beautiful Sinai Peninsula, and the region that not long ago was one of Egypt’s most-visited destinations is facing a catastrophic collapse of its already fragile tourism economy.

Businesses reliant on tourism – from restaurants to tour operators, dive shops and souvenir sellers – have only just weathered a deathly quiet winter season after a horror three years of political unrest. They had been counting on better times.

Although the growing Islamist insurgency in North Sinai has stuck several times in the heart of Cairo in recent months, locals held onto the hope that the tourists who dive along the Red Sea coast or the pilgrims who visit St Katherine’s Monastery near Mount Sinai would go unharmed.

Yet Sunday’s bus bombing in the resort town of Taba, which killed three South Korean tourists and the bus’ Egyptian driver and injured 15 others, has dashed all hope that the region would escape the fallout from the country’s political turmoil.

The explosion, thought to have been caused by a suicide bomber who police say boarded the bus and detonated the device, ripped through the coach carrying South Korean tourists returning from a visit to St Katherine’s.

The tourists are believed to have been members of the same church group from Jincheon, Agence-France Presse reported, and were about to cross the border from Taba in Egypt into Israel when the blast occurred.

After two days of speculation, the al-Qaeda inspired Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the attack. “Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has successfully sacrificed one of its heroes to detonate the bus headed toward the Zionists, and this comes as part of our economic war against this regime of traitors,” the group said in a statement.

It is the latest attack in a steadily escalating Islamist insurgency that has gained pace since the Egyptian military forced the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president Mohamed Mursi to step down on July 3 last year.

Until now the wave of bombings and targeted assassinations have been directed at security, police and government installations, killing dozens of police officers, many from the North Sinai.

But as the unrest across Egypt grows, so too does the air of desperation at many of the country’s prime tourist sites.

At the Giza pyramids, animal rights groups have stepped in to feed the starving horses that used to pull tourists in carriages around the site, while along the waterfront of Dahab, tourists are so scarce that businesses are lucky to make one sale in a day.

A restaurant owner in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el Sheikh said business had been slowly picking up after a devastating two years – “last year was the very worst” – but after the Taba bombing?

“Who knows?” he said. “We were slowly getting back to around 70 per cent [capacity] but now, maybe the tours will cancel, maybe people will be scared away again.”

There is precious little traffic on the desert road that winds through the rugged mountains and valleys of the Sinai towards the ancient St Katherine’s Monastery on Monday.

An armed police escort takes a small convoy of tourist vehicles – a mix of sedans, mini-buses and a couple of small coaches – in and out of the World Heritage site and about 60 kilometres along the road towards the Red Sea towns of Dahab, Sharm el Sheikh and Nuweiba.

Security is both overwhelmingly present but alarmingly lax at the multiple checkpoints along the way. Some cars are searched by hand, not a single piece of luggage is electronically screened and buses pass through unchecked.

At the St Katherine’s Monastery, which according to UNESCO dates back to AD560s, tourist traffic is depressingly light despite the clear blue skies.

Men with tattered guidebooks in English, German and Russian compete with young children touting alabaster eggs, but no-one is buying.

“The pilgrims will always come,” a staff member at the monastery’s museum said, gesturing to the dozen or so Russian Orthodox visitors standing in reverent silence in front of the Chapel of the Burning Bush. “But what about the other tourists – they have still not returned.”

Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou recently described the country’s tourist towns as “ghost cities” as he charted the catastrophic drop in the numbers of visitors coming to Egypt.

In 2013 just 9.5 million tourists visited, compared to nearly 15 million in 2010, while some hotels in Luxor, Abu Simbel and Aswan had zero occupancy rates, The Guardian reported.

Many small business owners on the Sinai peninsula were putting on a brave face on Monday, crossing their fingers that cancellations would be at a minimum following the Taba bus bombing.

One hotel manager in Dahab said despite the security concerns he had so far had no cancellations of tours coming from the airport at Sharm el Sheikh. “We will see,” he said, “I hope it will be OK.”

But given tourism provides for 12.5 per cent of Egypt’s employment and 11.3 per cent of GDP in a country where more than one-quarter of its 85 million population lives below the poverty line, even a tiny a downturn in an already dying industry will be devastating.

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Police raid Channel Seven over Schapelle Corby interview

Released from prison: Schapelle Corby covered her face when she left jail. Photo: Justin McManus The offices of Channel Seven were raided by the AFP this morning. Photo: Tamara Dean
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Media gather outside the Pyrmont office of Channel Seven. Photo: Ben Rushton

Mike Willesee: he says Channel Seven has not made any payment to Schapelle Corby. Photo: Justin McManus

The Australian Federal Police raid on Channel Seven’s Sydney office “will find no payment for Schapelle Corby because no payment has been made”, network personality Mike Willesee has declared in Bali.

He also said he had spoken to Corby for the first time and though she had suffered mental illness she had been fine when they spoke.

As police were still searching Channel Seven’s headquarters, Willesee emerged in Bali to say “there is no deal” with the Corby family. Seven, he said, had bought nothing yet: “But we have, through a lot of hard work, positioned ourselves so that if there is an interview, we’ll be first in line”.

Seven’s “hard work” so far includes exclusive access to the paroled drug smuggler, renting luxury villas alongside the Corby family in Bali and providing three or more security guards to protect Schapelle from other media in the area.

Federal police raided the Pyrmont and Eveleigh offices of Channel Seven as part of a proceeds of crime investigation on Tuesday morning. Officers remained inside the building at 1.30pm.

The network is reporting that it is to do with its dealings with Schapelle Corby.

An Australian Federal Police spokesman said: “The AFP can confirm it has executed a number of search warrants in Sydney in relation to an ongoing Proceeds of Crime Act matter. As this matter is ongoing it’s not appropriate for the AFP to comment further.”

Twelve AFP officers arrived at the Pyrmont offices about 8.55am. Channel Seven tried to prevent the officers from coming into their Pyrmont office, where the company’s executive and corporate arms are located.

The network aired footage of a Channel Seven worker refusing them entry, saying “you are on our premises”.

Staff proceeded to film police executing the search warrants, which included taking documents and speaking to employees.

In the footage, an AFP officer became angry that Channel Seven staff were filming them.

“There are rules that, umm, allow us to do our duty and the biggest thing in the search warrant is the hindrance of our duty,” the officer said.

Channel Seven reporters tweeted pictures of police inside and outside the network’s headquarters.

Gus Brusno, who described himself on Twitter as a media student, tweeted: ”Something pretty big is happening #Schapelle Corby wise right now” followed by a picture 20 minutes later of at least eight black-suited officers gathering in the foyer of a Channel Seven building.

Seven reporter Damien Smith tweeted the same picture, saying the AFP officers were ”executing #Schappelle search warrant” at the Pyrmont building.

An AFP spokeswoman confirmed that more than two warrants were being executed but she would not say where because the operation was ongoing.

Police also raided the magazine arm of Seven West Media in Eveleigh and it is believed they searched the office of Kim Wilson, editor of New Idea, which has a rumoured partnership deal with Corby and Sunday Night.

They were also filmed asking where the executive producers of Sunday Night are located. If the Corby interview goes ahead, it will be shown on the Sunday Night program.

An AFP spokesman said Sunday Night’s offices in Paddington had not been raided nor had Seven’s offices in North Sydney and Martin Place.

However, Channel Seven said it expected the Martin Place premises to be visited by police.

Commercial director Bruce McWilliam told News Corp that documents were handed over last week as part of a Proceeds of Crime production order and Monday’s raids were a “gross over-reaction” by “some heavy-handed goon”.

He said a senior government minister called him to apologise for the raids.

#BREAKING: AFP officers are currently raiding Seven West offices in an investigation into #Schapelle Corby proceeds. pic.twitter爱上海同城论坛m/mSUiliNff2— 7News Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) February 17, 2014

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37 treated after school bus crashVideo

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive. The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.
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PORT Macquarie Base Hospital has confirmed 37 patients were admitted for assessment following Tuesday afternoon’s bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

Tuesday, 7.40pm:

A spokesman for Port Macquarie Base Hospital said triple triage was required to treat 37 patients through the hospital’s emergency department.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The hospital’s general manager and network coordinator, Robert Pegram, said extra staff were called into the hospital to assist throughout the afternoon and evening.

“We had to mobilise triple triage, which means we bring in three times the number ofstaff for the patients,” Dr Pegram said.

Nursing and medical personnel were involved in treatment in the acute wards, while social workers and other staff contacted the family of patients.

The gargantuan task did not daunt those waiting to assist at the hospital, Dr Pegram said.

“The training kicks in and the staff just mobilise,” he said.

“We’re lucky because we have exceptional staff who are always ready to go.

“I am honestly the conductor of a truly skilled and talented orchestra.”

Tuesday, 5pm:

A spokesperson for Busways has confirmed the school bus involved was Bus 35 (the bus is howevermarked School Bus 38).

The spokesperson said nine people including the driverwere transported to hospital by ambulance, and a further 25 children were taken via bus to hospital for precautionary assessment.

Tuesday, 4.40pm:

Ambulance officers on the scene have confirmed that six children have been taken to hospital including the bus driver.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

While two children were transported to hospital on spinal boards, police media reports confirm the injuries sustained are not life-threatening.

Hastings River Drive remains closed to traffic.

It is understood all parents are being contacted by telephone.

Busways has not yet confirmed the number of the school bus.

Tuesday, 4.30pm:

CHILDREN are being treated on the side of the road, after a school bus smashed on to its sideand into agully in Port Macquarie this afternoon.

The Port News can confirm the accident has occurred on the corner of Hastings River Drive and Willow Crescent.

Ambulance and State Emergency Services have set up a triage on the edge of Hastings River Drive, where half a dozen or more kids are receiving treatment.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

The scene of Tuesday afternoon’s school bus crash on Hastings River Drive.

At this stage, the extent of their injuries are unknown, but theyappear to be minor.

Police, Ambulance Paramedics and State Emergency Service vehicles are on the scene.

Traffic has come to a stand-still on both sides of Hastings River Drive.

The Port News advises motorists to avoid the area.

Busways has not yet confirmed the bus number.

Tuesday, 3.45pm:

Police have confirmed a school bus accident has occurred at Fernbank Creek Road on Hastings River Drive this afternoon.

Police and ambulance are currently on the scene. There are no reports of serious injury but several students are receiving treatment.

Motorists are urged to avoid the area while the road is closed.

More news as it comes to hand.

Additional reporting:Tracey Fairhurst, Mel Pretorius

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Tony Abbott must achieve ‘concrete results’ or risk losing G20 influence, says Wayne Swan

Former treasurer Wayne Swan says Tony Abbott must achieve results when G20 meets in Sydney. Photo: Louie DouvisFederal politics: full coverage
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Former treasurer Wayne Swan has warned that Australia risks losing global influence unless this year’s G20 summit achieves concrete results on issues such as multinational tax avoidance.

Ahead of this weekend’s meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers in Sydney, Mr Swan also urged the Abbott government not to play “tacky domestic politics” while global leaders are in Australia.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has flagged he will press for an international crackdown on tax avoidance by companies such as Google, Apple and resources firms at this year’s G20 leaders’ meeting in Brisbane.

”The G20 simply can’t afford to have an average outcome at this meeting because there are many sceptics and if the G20 loses its way we will be back to the G7, G8 or G10 and you can be sure Australia won’t be at the table in that arrangement,” Mr Swan told ABC radio on Tuesday morning.

”I certainly hope that the larger nations at the table – both developed and developing – put forward a very aggressive agenda to deal with profit sharing and (tax) base erosion.

”You see, there are multinational companies that aren’t paying tax at all. Or there are multinational companies that are avoiding tax in domestic jurisdictions and domestic taxpayers are missing out . . .

”What we need to see is some concrete actions from the larger economies to make sure [a global deal has] got some teeth.

”One thing we could do to put some bite into it is an Australian initiative where you change the law to make sure companies publish not just the tax paid but their taxable income.”

Mr Swan, now a Labor backbencher, acknowledged the G20 had produced some “disappointing outcomes” following its lead role co-ordinating the global response to the 2008 financial crisis.

He criticised Mr Abbott for using a speech at a World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland last month to criticise Labor’s stimulus spending.

”I think it’s very unfortunate the prime minister would use his first [international] outing on to play partisan domestic politics.

”I’d certainly welcome a more mature discussion free of the really blatant partisanship that we see from Mr Hockey and Mr Abbott not just locally but now internationally.

”That’s got to stop and should stop while we have international leaders in Australia this week. We should be talking our show up not down like the government has been doing every month.”

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One person dead, others seriously injured during violent Manus Island clashes

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison addresses the media on the Manus Island breakout. Photo: Alex EllinghausenFederal politics: full coverageMichael Gordon: Demonising and secrecy must stop, Mr Abbott
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Serious questions have been raised about Australia’s responsibility to asylum seekers held in offshore detention centres after violent clashes on Manus Island that left one asylum seeker dead, another shot and scores of others severely injured.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed 77 asylum seekers had been injured on the second night of violence in a vicious clash between locals and the PNG police on Monday.

The asylum seeker died on the way to Lorengau Hospital, Mr Morrison said.

Two asylum seekers have been flown to Australia for treatment, one for a fractured skull and another for a gun-shot wound.

Refugee advocates say locals and the PNG police attacked the centre with machetes, knives and other weapons and have again condemned Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers in offshore detention centres, saying Manus Island is dangerous and lawless.

They say Australia has put the lives of people seeking asylum, who have already fled torture, war and gross human rights violations, at risk.

On Monday night, one asylum seeker from Lebanon who is in the Manus Island compound wrote in a Facebook message that the violence had started again.

”Tonight polices [sic] and g4s attack us again. Many peoples in the yard. Injure please we need one to help us. May be till morning they will kill us. We are human or animls [sic].”

Ghulam Murtaza, whose brother is currently in the detention centre, said his brother Ghulam Mustasa had rung him at 11.40pm crying, bleeding and terrified that he would be killed, saying the locals had come inside the compound as it had become dark.

“My brother was inside. He said ‘I am covered in blood’ and a stone hit his head,” Mr Murtaza said.

“He said, ‘they will kill us’. He was in the compound saying ‘I am going to run away to save my life.'”

The security firm G4S, which manages the detention centre, said claims of ”internal attacks” within the centre were unfounded.

In a statement, the firm said it had removed all ”non-essential” staff from the compound with asylum seekers who were not participating in the protest. The statement said that the asylum seekers were injured once they left the detention centre.

Inherently dangerous

Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, said it was obvious that Manus Island was an ‘‘inherently dangerous place that the minister cannot secure’’, saying there should be no question that these asylum seekers should be brought back to Australia.

The Refugee Rights Action Network’s Victoria Martin said: ”Last night’s attack was a massacre.”

”It was a pre-meditated attack on unarmed and defenseless asylum seekers some of which have escaped war and are now being put back into, what is essentially a war zone. Manus Island is lawless. These are dangerous people,” she said.

Mr Morrison, however, denied reports that the PNG police entered the compound, saying that asylum seekers who left the centre were putting themselves in danger and ”subjecting themselves to the response of the local law”.

”If people choose to remove themselves from that centre then they’re obviously putting themselves at much greater risk and in an environment where there is violent behaviour,” he told reporters at a media conference in Darwin.

”Those who are breaching the perimeter fence and going out of the centre, then this is a disorderly environment in which there is always great risk.

”When there are people who are charged under Papua New Guinea law to maintain law and order in that situation, now if you behave an unruly way and in a disorderly way, then you subject yourself to the response of law enforcement.”

Mr Morrison said the news of the death was a ”great tragedy” and ”our sympathies are extended to the transferees – that person’s family and friends who would have been in the facility as well”.

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles has called for an inquiry into the violence at Manus Island, saying it was “melting down” under Morrison’s watch, but maintained he would not back away from the PNG solution.

“I can’t stress enough how important the Manus Island detention facility is to Australia’s strategy for dealing with boats coming from Indonesia,” he said on ABC.

“It is the single piece of public policy which has made the biggest difference in seeing an end to the number of boats coming from Indonesia.”

Close Manus: Greens

The Greens have demanded that the Manus Island centre be closed.

Greens leader Senator Christine Milne accused the government of ”bragging” about poor conditions at the facility and said Mr Morrison needed to provide a full explanation.

”Ministerial responsibility has to mean something and Scott Morrison has to stop hiding,” Senator Milne said.

President of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, said Australia was not upholding its international responsibility to asylum seekers.

”Clearly there needs to be an inquiry into this,” Professor Triggs told Fairfax Media.

”The primary obligation that Australia has is to offer protection for asylum seekers and we cannot abdicate that responsibility by sending people to a third country, in this case Papua New Guinea, but it is clear that responsibility is not being met.”

Professor Triggs said the Australian government had exposed asylum seekers to these conditions and it was inevitable asylum seekers would suffer mental illness, stress and, in some cases, violence.

On Monday evening, asylum seekers said they were fearful of a violent attack by the local PNG police, which have been dubbed as the ”death squad”, and angry locals who they said would be wielding machetes, knives and guns.

At the same time, a spokesman from Mr Morrison told Fairfax Radio that any information about a second attack on Monday was ”completely untrue” and we should be ”more sceptical of stories coming from activists”.

On Sunday night, asylum seekers in Manus Island used pieces of bunk beds as weapons in battles with guards, destroyed fences and pulled down light poles.

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