Chinan Federal Police launches investigation into media tip-offs

The n Federal Police has launched an investigation into the leaking of information about the raids on the n Workers Union headquarters this week.
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The office of Employment Minister MichaeliaCash, still weathering a political storm over the involvement of one of her staff members in tipping off the media about the raids, has been notified of the leak investigation.

Attorney-General George Brandis said the government and representatives of the Registered Organisations Commission would no longer answer questions on the matter while the police probe is underway.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Senator Cash’s senior media adviser David De Garis quit on Wednesday, after admitting he had tipped off members of the media that the raid was imminent – allowing them to be in place when the federal police arrived at AWU offices.

His confession came after Senator Cash repeatedly told a committee her office was not involved.

The federal police raided the Sydney and Melbourne offices of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s old union, the n Workers Union, on Tuesday as part of an investigation into donations made a decade ago to activist group GetUp!

Union lawyers have launched a Federal Court lawsuit, to try to obtain copies of all correspondence between the Registered Organisations Commission and Senator Cash’s office.

“Disturbingly, the [commission] has refused to hand over all file notes of its communications with Minister Cash and her office,” Maurice Blackburn principal Josh Bornstein said, after a directions hearing at the court on Friday.

“We will continue to seek all such documents as part of the Federal Court case.”

If the union’s bid for the documents is successful, the commission will have to turn over the correspondence by November 10.

The AWU’s legal action is claiming that the AFP’s raids on union offices were illegal, and that the Registered Organisations Commission’s investigation is also illegal “because it is politically motivated”.

The AFP has committed to not turn over any of the documents it seized during the controversial raids to the regulator until the case is heard in court at a later date.

Labor has accused Senator Cash of misleading Parliament, a potentially sackable offence.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday declared she had “acted entirely properly” in response to the media leak controversy that has rocked her office.

Senator Cash has refused to front up to a third day of hearings into the affair on Friday, saying she has commitments in Perth.

Senator Brandis is filling in for her at an additional estimates hearing in Canberra.

Senator Cash wrote to the Registered Organisations Commission on Thursday to suggest it ask the federal police to investigate the matter.

The raids are linked to an investigation by the Commission, which is also examining donations by the AWU to Labor campaigns in three seats at the 2007 election, including the seat of Maribyrnong, now held by Mr Shorten.

Registered Organisations Commission officials have said a “caller” gave the agency information which raised suspicions that documents relevant to the investigation may be being concealed or destroyed.

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Mad Max lists her Botany gem for $1 million

Joy Smithers: actor, ceramicist, and skilled home renovator. Photo: Tim Bauer
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Actor and ceramicist Joy Smithers should probably add home renovator to her list of talents given the job she’s done on her home.

Having bought what was a rundown weatherboard cottage in Botany with a studio and rear-lane access in late 2013 for $752,000, she has transformed it into something far more glamorous.

When she wasn’t filming Mad Max: Fury Road, the renovation of the three-bedroom home included adding a new bathroom, kitchen, walls, facade and a beautifully landscaped garden by her partner, former INXS manager Gary Grant.

“I love renovating,” Smithers tells Title Deeds. “I grew up in a big Federation house and took on the job from a young age. I like to keep the home’s charm and I’m big on re-using and recycling things.” And that’s where Botany has appeal.

“It hasn’t been gentrified yet. There are so many gems,” she says.

Given plans for another home renovation in the neighbourhood, but with her Batch Ceramics studio now moved to a larger premises, she has listed it with George Faris, of The Sydney Property Agency.

Expect to pay about $1 million at the auction on November 11. The home is expected to sell for $1 million or more at auction. Photo: SuppliedBig step on property ladder

As first home purchases go, a $5 million Double Bay apartment is a pretty good start. And so it is for property developer Nicholas Gazal, who has paid just that amount for a three-bedder on level six of The Cosmopolitan.

The result through Di Jones’ Chantal Hooper is well up on the $3.7 million it last traded for two years ago, and was sold within two weeks of hitting the market. Related: Ellen DeGeneres spends $23.8m on beach houseRelated: Edgecliff trophy home breaks suburb recordRelated: Bell buys pal Emdur’s Dover Heights houseNicholas Gazal (right), pictured here with brother Nabil Gazal, has bought in Double Bay. Photo: Luke Fuda

Gazal and his brother Nabil are co-directors of the family’s Gazcorp property development outfit, which was behind the Orange Grove factory outlet at Liverpool.

Nabil made his foray into the local market last November when he paid $7.11 million for his Darling Point spread, where he was later seen kissing his ex-girlfriend Roxy Jacenko, the happily married wife of insider trader Oliver Curtis.

Not to be left out, his sister Nicole O’Neil, of Real Housewives of Sydney fame, made her own $7-million purchase in March of a house in Vaucluse around the corner from the family home where mum Maud holds court. From Hillsong to oceanfrontHillsong musician Darlene Zschech has purchased an oceanfront property in Terrigal. Photo: Mike Ticher

Former Hillsong singer and songwriter Darlene Zschech and her husband Mark have bought on Terrigal’s oceanfront reserve for $3.85 million.

The clifftop residence – sold by Belle Property Killcare’s Cathy Baker – is expected to be a permanent home for the senior pastors at the local Hope Unlimited Church, and follows the recent sale of their waterfront home on Terrigal Lagoon for $2.2 million.

Records show the new digs were previously a holiday home for New Yorker Joanne Low and Daryl Wright, who paid $4.5 million for it 10 years ago. The clifftop residence is expected to be Zschech’s permanent home. Photo: SuppliedSt John family landmark up for grabs

As the film adaptation of Madeleine St John’s classic n novel The Women in Black goes into production under the direction of Bruce Beresford, it is perhaps timely that her family’s Mosman home is for sale.

Vino del Mar is the 1930s residence designed by architect Alan Stafford for Wrigley’s boss George Ekblade. It was bought by St John’s barrister and Liberal politician father Ted St John in 1960.

Madeleine St John, who died in 2006, never lived there, but stayed in the maid’s quarters when visiting from London. Vino del Mar, the Mosman home formerly owned by the family of Madeleine St John, is now for sale. Photo: Supplied

The Clifton Gardens property has traded on a biennial basis since 2013, when cinematographer Peter Menzies and his wife Denise sold it for $4.5 million to medicos Allan and Maya Molloy. They sold it in 2015 for $4.7 million to author and accountant Brett Kelly and his wife Rebecca.

Records show the Kellys have recently paid about $7.8 million for a Phillip Corben-designed house on Balmoral slopes, prompting them to list the landmark Spanish Mission home with Tim Foote, of Belle Property Mosman. Expect to pay $5.8 million to $6.38 million. The Spanish Mission residence is expected to fetch $5.8 million to $6.38 million. Photo: SuppliedAnd they’re off …

Prominent racehorse owner and breeder Peter Horwitz has settled on a new Mosman home, paying $8.2 million for the home of former Netscape Australasia head-turned-yoga devotee Clive Mayhew-Begg and his wife Eriko Kinoshita. Peter Horwitz has paid $8.2 million for this Mosman residence. Photo: Supplied

Sold after a campaign by Ray White Mosman’s Geoff Smith, the price was well up on the $7.35 million it raised when sold four years ago by gold and bullion dealers Kurt and Nathalie Jaggard. Horwitz now just needs to sell his Balmoral slopes home on Stanton Road.

It is being shopped around by McGrath’s Michael Coombs for $7.5 million to $8 million. Boatanica blows on to the marketWindsurfers Anick Graveline and Tom Lucedecke have listed their Avalon digs. Photo: Supplied

In Avalon, the Pittwater home of former champion windsurfers Anick Graveline and Tom Luedecke is up for between $10 million and $11 million.

Boatanica, as it’s called, is a complete rebuild since they bought it in 2011 for $3.6 million and yet another architect Richard Cole-designed collaboration with Luedecke’s Touchwood D.B, who is known locally for his high-end developments.

The contemporary sandstone, concrete and glass residence with a pool and boatshed is listed with McGrath’s Jonathan Fletcher. The pair hope to get between $10 million and $11 million through the sale. Photo: SuppliedRecord toppled

The Balgowlah Heights record has been smashed by more than $1 million just months after coal-industry expert Malcolm Maclennan and his partner Kim Turner paid $9.75 million for their waterfront reserve home. However, there’s no water lapping the boundary of the hillside home of Penny Ford, wife of Curwoods Lawyers partner Peter Ford. The Fords have set a Balgowlah Heights records at close to $11 million. Photo: Supplied

The three-level sandstone residence with home theatre, art studio, billiards room, pool and sauna on 1200 square metres was commissioned by the Fords following their purchase of it in 1996 for $999,600.

Michael Clarke and Cherie Humel of Clarke & Humel, were gagged by orders from confirming the widely rumoured $11 million sale figure, but did confirm it as sold. Igloo weekender

Still in Avalon, Samuel Littlemore, aka record producer/songwriter Sam La More, has returned from his expat life in LA producing hits for the likes of Gwen Stefani and Nelly Furtado and The Potbelleez, to buy a Pittwater pad for $2.35 million. The record producer and songwriter known as Sam La More has snagged an Avalon Beach weekender. Photo: Supplied

The five-bedroom house on Riverview Road with a domed roofline – billed an “igloo” on his Instagram account – is expected to be a weekender for the Watsons Bay-based artist.

Littlemore had no sooner taken the keys to the property than he and the rest of the members of electro dance group PNAU were nominated for an ARIA for best dance release. Nick Littlemore (left) and Sam Littlemore (right) are members of the electro group PNAU. Photo: AAP Image/Daniel Munoz

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NSW consumers continue to battle with Viagogo

“Find the perfect ticket,” the Viagogo site boasts.
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But consumers are finding the ticket resale website far from perfect, as it topped NSW Fair Trading’s complaint register for a second month.

Last month there were 36 new complaints about Viagogo, according to the register that lists businesses that are the subject of 10 or more complaints in a month.

In August, there were 59 complaints about the website, the highest number received about any trader in a single month since the register began almost a year ago, NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said.

The n Competition and Consumer Commission has launched action against the global ticketing company in the Federal Court, alleging it engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by failing to disclose steep fees in the price of tickets.

In one example given by the ACCC the total price for two Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens tickets increased from $450.00 to $579.95 when a $125 booking fee and a $4.95 handling fee were revealed late in the purchasing process.

The price of a Book of Mormon ticket increased from $135 to $177.45 after fees were included.

It was also alleged that Viagogo misled consumers by claiming tickets were scarce and sell-outs were likely, without revealing that referred only to sales on its website.

Mr Kean issued a public warning about Viagogo in August, after other complaints about the fees, failure to provide refunds, delayed delivery and event cancellations.

“I won’t tolerate this kind of shonky behaviour, and as the register clearly shows, NSW consumers have had a gutful as well,” he said.

Simone Mohr bought four tickets on Viagogo to see singer Adele perform in Melbourne in March for $3000, including a $448 booking fee. She had gone to the website after a sell-out on Ticketmaster.

When she and her family arrived at Etihad Stadium, staff told her the tickets had already been refunded by the original buyer and would not be accepted.

Ticketing staff found Ms Mohr another four seats, priced at $800, and warned her not to use the website again. In total, the experience had cost nearly $4000.

“I was crying and shaking and the kids were so upset,” she said.

Sydney luxury car dealer Clayton Bespoke made the Fair Trading list for the first time last month with 14 complaints, after a public warning relating to owners not receiving their money when cars were sold on consignment, or that cheques bounced.

The guidelines on the complaint register note that many complaints received by Fair Trading relate to poor customer service, and that appearing on the register does not necessarily mean a business has broken any laws.

It also notes that larger businesses and certain industries can attract more grievances, while media attention on an issue can generate more complaints.

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[email protected]: ASX to open higher; all eyes on Macquarie

The information of stocks that lost in prices are displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg ASX, n Stock Exchange pictured in March 2012.AFR Picture by ROB HOMER(NO CAPTION INFORMATION PROVIDED)
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Stock information is displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

The n market looks set to open higher after Wall Street gained overnight, recovering some of its losses from the previous session after a string of strong company results from the likes of Amazon, Google parent Alphabet and Vale.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.1 per cent, but the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.1 per cent.

In local company news, Macquarie Group is slated to post half-year results, ResMed is due to release first-quarter results while AMP is expected to provide an update on third-quarter funds under management.

Murray Goulburn, Carsales苏州夜总会招聘, WorleyParsons,Tabcorp, Regis Healthcare, GWA Group, APA Group and Qantas Airways have annual general meetings scheduled.

The n dollar has moved lower against a rallying US dollar, trading at 76.59 US cents this morning.

Markets will closely watch today’s High Court ruling on the issue of Barnaby Joyce and six other MP’s holding dual citizen status. Should the court vote against their case, we should see by-elections, in-turn increasing the prospect that the Liberals will be left with a minority government. The long and short of it

1. Central banks: The music that keeps investors buying will continue to play, just at a slower pace. That’s the message global central banks and economic data have sent around the world over the last 24 hours. The weak inflation data out of , with consumer prices up 1.8 per cent year on year, add further to the idea that the RBA will not be persuaded by other central bankers, who charged ahead with hawkish language only to pull back as the sustainability of an economic recovery has proven difficult.

The European Central Bank came out of the gates on Thursday with a commitment to halve the amount of its bond purchases, while at the same time extending the tenure of its bond buying program. The market read this as a sign that central banks may be buying less, but are no less active than they have been in working to ensure volatility remains low and confidence remains high.The market reaction tells you everything you need to know with the euro falling against the majority of G10 currencies and German Bunds going bid alongside shares. The line from ECB President Mario Draghi that the market appears to have liked the most is the assurance that there is no “sudden stop” of its program.

2. n shares: Our call for the ASX 200 sits at 5940 (up 0.5 per cent), so 16 points away from the high print from May and obviously 60 from the illustrious 6000 level. BHP is set to open up 8 cents higher (if we use the ADR), although the S&P 500 materials sector has gained 1.4 per cent. Aussie banks should open on a stronger footing, but it’s all eyes on Macquarie this morning, which is reporting first-half earnings. The market expects cash earnings of $1.14 billion, on revenue of $5.29 billion. However, keep in mind Macquarie is an absolute super star when it comes to earnings and in the last 18 half-yearly reports shares have only closed lower on the day of reporting once! The S&P/ASX 200 Index remains a shade below the year-to-date high traded at on May 1 at 5,956, with Thursday’s close at 5916.30.

3. Economic data: All eyes in will be on the producer price indexes (PPI) this morning in hopes that the recently weak inflation data was not a sign of things to come. PPI measures the prices received by producers at the completion of their supply chain and can echo the sentiments found from inflation data. RBA Deputy Governor Guy Debelle added to concerns about the slowing economy stating that the inflation data, as weak as it was, may be even weaker due to lagging rejigging of the index and substitution bias. Substitution bias is the idea that consumers will move to cheaper goods faster than indices like CPI can adjust for.

4. Wall Street continues to flash green with the SPX500 getting a lift on gravity-defying earnings. Since earnings season began in mid-October, investors have seen the top 30 stocks on Wall Street rise by 2.5 per cent. US economic data has been impressing since early September, and Friday’s US economic growth data is expected to keep the positive sentiment going, thanks in large part to economic bell weathers in the US raising forecasts. Technology firms remain a keen focus during earnings seasons after a shaky earnings season last quarter led by volatility surrounding the often-cited quartet of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google.

5. Currencies: The n dollar continues to be sold on the view that US dollars should be bought, not sold in anticipation of a new Federal Reserve head and the recent selling in the US sovereign bonds that have sent yields higher. The US Treasury 10-year yields are at the highest levels in 6-months, which brings the greenback higher in the hope that tightening is providing demand for the US dollar The Aussie fell against the greenback after the weak consumer inflation print pushed out the already lagging expectations for the next RBA hike.

6. Commodities have received exciting news for oil bulls: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince has called oil’s “new era” with supply control the key way to support prices. Recently, markets were encouraged by comments from Russia that it is open to extending cuts in alignment with Opec producers to the end of 2018. Despite impressive compliance between Opec on production cuts, US production showed the strongest rise in output since 2012.Given the rise in stocks, precious metals alongside the S&P Volatility Index (VIX) fail to hold relative spikes higher. The spot price of gold is currently trading near the low of the monthly range at US$1,306 to US$ 1,260.67 per ounce. Iron Ore remains under pressure on China’s concern about dirty steel mills, which has pushed miners to focus on mining higher-quality ore as lower-quality such as the 62 per cent iron ore content delivered to Qingdao continues to trade 20 percent below August prices.

7. Emerging markets: Volatility is picking up in emerging markets led by the rising concerns of a debt downgrade to South Africa after their Finance Minister signaled an intention to issue a slew of new debt to plug a widening budget gap. The troubles do not belong to that country alone. Looking across Emerging Market FX (EMFX), traders recognise the longest selling streak against the US dollar since April. There is traditionally an inverse relationship between trends in the US dollar and the US dollar-dependent borrowing emerging markets.

8. Market highlights:SPI futures up 10 points or 0.2% to 5908AUD -0.5% to 76.62 US cents (Day range: 0.7656 – 0.7719)NZD -0.6% to 68.46 US cents (Day range: 0.6834 – 0.6904)On Wall St: Dow +0.3%, S&P 500 +0.1%, Nasdaq -0.1%In New York, BHP +0.3% Rio +0.2%In Europe: Stoxx 50 +1.3%, FTSE +0.5%, CAC +1.5%, DAX +1.4%Spot gold -0.8% to $US1267.83 an ounceBrent crude +1.1% to $US59.06 a barrelUS oil +0.7% to $US52.53 a barrelIron ore -1.2% to $US61.47 a tonneDalian iron ore -2.2% to 444 yuanSteam coal -0.1% to $US97.10, Met coal +0.0% to $US181.50LME aluminium +0.2% to $US2190 a tonne

This column was produced in commercial partnership between Fairfax Media and IG

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Beale is key to managing Folau’s absence

How do you replace a player such as John Eales medal winner Israel Folau?
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The simple answer is that you don’t.

The Wallabies fullback was so explosive last weekend, so decisive, that it served as a reminder that in full flight there isn’t really anyone like him in either of the collision codes in .

When his dander is up – and it was in Brisbane – he is such a handful that you really have to be a world-class defender to do anything more than contain him.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read nailed him with one very good tackle last week but as the game went on, as Folau’s influence grew, we saw that familiar trait of defenders going high on the big No. 15 and really struggling to limit his metres.

We’re talking about high-quality opponents too – I’m thinking specifically of Ryan Crotty – who get caught upright in defensive situations against Folau, not because they are targeting him high but because when Folau decides to take you on his first stride forward is so long and so assertive that you get caught on the back foot before you can get into position.

I don’t think there is anyone quite like this in Test rugby at the moment. The closest athlete I can think of is the Blues’ Melani Nanai but his talents went strangely unfulfilled last season just as former Storm wing Matt Duffie was on the rise.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for the Wallabies on their northern tour as Folau takes a break from the game, a move that is good for him and hopefully decreases the chances of him playing injured at the next World Cup, unlike in 2015 when he was clearly compromised by an ankle concern.

The Wallabies can navigate their way through the period of Folau’s absence in part because of their talent pool and in part because of the versatility they already have in their back line.

I am not always a fan of Kurtley Beale dropping out of the defensive front line, but what that system means is that Beale already spends a lot of time in the back field, taking high kicks and looking for counterattack opportunities.

It would be no great disruption to have Beale move permanently to fullback while Folau is away. The position is familiar to him and the Wallabies attack is functioning so well because Folau gets them on the front foot when he returns the ball.

The ease of that switch, of course, relies on finding someone to step in to the No. 12 jersey and this is where Karmichael Hunt comes in.

There are changes happening in the northern hemisphere game, with even the Welsh choosing dual playmakers over crash ball No. 12s in their squads, but there is no doubt that Hunt’s front-on defensive starch has appeal on a northern tour.

But that aside, he has already shown some more creative touches in his limited time in the Wallabies jersey to indicate that the Wallabies would not lose much offensively with him at No. 12.

Of course, Michael Cheika might pick Hunt at fullback but you can be sure he would defend up in the front line anyway, so the numbers on the backs of Hunt and Beale are not as important as selecting them together to allow them to build some form of combination.

The strategy I would be less keen on would be shifting Reece Hodge to No. 15 just as he has found his feet as a wing, or the left-field option of picking Tom Banks at No. 15.

Banks should tour – he’s absolutely up to the job – but the Wallabies have done such a great job with the education of Marika Koroibete and Hodge on the wings that I believe this might be the best introduction for Banks, too.

The excellent strides the Wallabies have made since the first Bledisloe then beg the following question – even with Folau missing is it too much to ask for a Wallabies victory against England in the wee hours of November 19? Perhaps not.

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