This isn’t school, Cormann tells senator

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has avoided saying by how much the budget deteriorated during the second half of 2016, telling a Senate committee it was all clearly presented in the mid-year review.

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Under questioning from Labor during a budget estimates hearing in Canberra on Tuesday, Senator Cormann was asked for the total deterioration in the budget over the four-year estimates between the pre-election economic and fiscal outlook released in May and December’s mid-year budget review.

“It’s written on page one,” the minister said, referring to a table which shows individual financial years, but not a cumulative total.

Labor Senator Katy Gallagher said she just wanted the difference in aggregate deficits, to which Senator Cormann encouraged her to deduct one set of figures from the other.

“So you are just not going to tell me that?” Senator Gallagher asked.

“This is not a school class, the information is published very openly and transparently,” Senator Cormann replied.

Senator Gallagher asked the minister if he could confirm the aggregate deficit was around $10 billion.

Senator Cormann said the numbers were all published, reiterating it is “very openly and transparently” in the half-year budget update.

“Is that a yes?” Senator Gallagher asked.

“I’m not going to go around around in circles, the numbers are printed in the mid-year budget update,” he replied.

Taking Senator Cormann’s advice, the aggregate deficit was actually $10.4 billion.

It was only the first set of questions Senator Cormann faced on his primary portfolio.

It looks like being a long day.

Indigenous communities turn to renewable energy to break cycle of welfare

They came from near and far to a two-day National Community Energy Congress at Melbourne Town Hall to discuss tackling energy issues in their communities.

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Melina Loubicon-Massimo, from the Lubicon Cree First Nation in Canada, says her community has achieved incredible results with renewable energy.

“My community is severely impacted by fossil-fuel extraction, but we have decided to make our transition to renewable energy and have put up solar installations to power a health centre, a 20.8-kilowatt system,” she said.

It’s one of Alberta province’s biggest solar projects, and it’s built in one of the most unlikely places – in the heart of Canada’s oil sands.

The 80-panel solar project was developed in a bid to create more green jobs and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

But community energy projects are still in the early stages in Australia, says Kado Muir, director of the Katampul Aboriginal Corporation in Leonora, Western Australia.

“My community is going through putting on renewables, so, by June we’ll have panels on our roofs and battery packs in the buildings,” he said.

“We’ve got about nine or 10 buildings in a community of about 200 people, so hopefully by then people will be able to see a significant savings in their household budget.”

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He’s keen to help break the cycle of welfare via renewable energy.

“What we find is that the residents are on low incomes, socio-economic levels, and, therefore, a lot of their household expenditure goes on power,” Mr Muir said.

“And what we’re hoping to do with putting in, installing, the solar panels and the batteries is to reduce the household power expenditure.”

It has become known as energy poverty, where a higher proportion of household income is spent on energy costs.

In some remote Indigenous communities, household energy bills can reach up to $2,000 per quarter.

Installing solar panels can contribute to a 75 per cent saving.

Tom Nockolds, a volunteer with community energy organisation Pingala, says renewable energy will also provide an opportunity to upskill and make money.

“They create jobs at a much higher rate than any other form of energy, like coal-fired power stations, and so those jobs tend to be where they’re needed,” Mr Nockolds said. “There’s a great opportunity to create a local industry for these communities. 

“Someone needs to install the panels, someone needs to maintain them, someone needs to check that they’re working fine. All of those are opportunities for local jobs, and local jobs means money stays in the local economy.”

OPINION

He says community energy organisations like Pingala are hopeful of overcoming the hurdles to getting those projects underway.

“We don’t have the sort of supportive policy environment that’s required to make these projects a straightforward process,” Mr Nockolds said.

“Essentially, we’re sitting at the junction of the heavily regulated energy industry and a heavily regulated financial sector. Throw in the complexity of dealing with social housing and local Aboriginal land councils and all of the complexity and regulation that overlays across the top, and we can see that it’s very difficult to get that sort of project across the line (approved).”

But there were encouraging words from Ms Loubicon-Massimo, whose community in Canada has helped lead the way.

“(I) hope that other communities will be able to learn from it, because I know communities here want to transition to renewable energy,” she said.

“And so it’s my hope that, by sharing my story of our community, (it) will inspire other communities to know that they can be empowered to do the same and that it’s possible. And I think renewable energy is a beacon of hope.

“It actually is more in line with Indigenous philosophy and values, because it’s regenerative energy, it’s not extracted, and it comes from an infinite source, not finite source.”

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Insight: The Valley. What happens when a town’s major industry shuts down?

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Almond grower bullish despite profit slump

Almond grower Select Harvests has maintained bullish expectations on demand growth despite a plunge in half year profit.

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The company has announced it will buy South Australia-based Jubilee Almond Orchards and a 22 per cent stake in almond hulling and shelling facility Laragon Processing, for a total $26.5 million.

The acquisitions would increase its volumes by 1,400 tonnes annually, it said.

Select Harvests made a net profit of $11.6 million in the six months to December 31, a drop of 51 per cent from a year earlier, on the back of lower than expected almond prices.

“Current earnings momentum remains in line with our expectations,” managing director Paul Thompson said.

“Select Harvests is structured and managed to withstand and capitalise on short term commodity price and currency fluctuations.”

The company is one of Australia’s largest nut growers, and expects to produce between 15,750 and 16,250 tonnes of almonds in 2016/17.

That is expected to increase to 20,000 tonnes by 2019/20 under its expansion plan.

The company said the 2017 harvest is running two to three weeks behind schedule due to milder spring and summer weather, but growing conditions overall have been favourable.

It said prices have stabilised and increased from the lows experienced in the six months to December.

The nut grower also operates a food division marketing its Lucky, Sunsol and Soland brands, and has signed a distribution agreement in China for its consumer packaged goods that is expected to commence in March.

Select Harvest shares were down 15 cents, or 2.8 per cent, at $5.29 at 1310 AEDT.

WEAK PRICES HIT PROFIT AT SELECT HARVESTS

* Half year net profit down 51 pct to $11.6m

* Revenue down 24 pct to $126.5m

* Dividend down 11 cents to 10 cents, fully franked

Daley tipped to remain in coaching

Laurie Daley won’t be lost to coaching and hasn’t ruled out a move to an NRL club somewhere down the track, according to his manager.

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Daley was on Friday dumped as NSW State of Origin coach by the NSWRL board following their State of Origin series loss to Queensland this year.

Despite Daley having more wins on his resume than any NSW Origin coach other than Phil Gould, the NSWRL decided they needed a fresh start after four series defeats over the last five years.

Over the last decade Daley has also coached NSW Country, the Prime Minister’s XIII and Indigenous All Stars.

Daley’s manager Steve Gillis said while his client hadn’t had time to cast his thoughts to his next challenge, he expected him to remain in coaching.

“He hasn’t given any great thought to it,” Gillis told AAP.

“Personally, I think coaching is on the menu somewhere for him. It’s something he will consider down the track.

“He enjoys it, he’s good at it and he’s had some success at it. It’s certainly hasn’t been ruled out going forward but it’s still early days.

“The time would need to be right, the opportunity would need to be right, the club would need to be right.”

Daley coached NSW to six wins and nine losses and was responsible for guiding them to their drought-breaking 2014 series victory.

After taking game one in Brisbane this year, the Blues appeared to have the ageing Queensland side on the rack before Kevin Walters’ Maroons staged a stirring series fightback.

The NSWRL board considered extending Daley’s contract however opted not to renew his deal and to restructure the Blues coaching set up.

Gillis said club football remained an option for the former Canberra, NSW and Australian great once the dust settles on the fallout.

“He’s a great competitor so I think he feels there’s probably something to prove to some people,” Gillis said.

“It’s something he’ll probably explore further as times goes on.”

‘Not OK’: Meghan Trainor blasts use of image in anti same-sex marriage campaign

The image, posted on Facebook but since deleted by the Vote NO Australia group, featured Trainor alongside the caption: “My vote is no, you need to let it go.

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A fan took to Twitter to inform the entertainer of the campaign.

Trainor responded with a series of tweets, saying her image was being used “illegally” while also stating her support for marriage equality.

@Meghan_Trainor did you realise that your face was being used in Australian anti gay marriage propaganda?? pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/OBG3daQH0E

— melanie morgan (@melanie_mogs) August 23, 2017            I SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY!Someone in Australia is illegally using my picture for a campaign against marriage equality. So wrong. Not okay

— Meghan Trainor (@Meghan_Trainor) August 23, 2017I’ve said it before, Everyone should be able to love who they want. I support equality, period. 💖👬👭💖

— Meghan Trainor (@Meghan_Trainor) August 23, 2017Celebrity chorus

Trainor’s support was the latest in a string of celebrity endorsement for the ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming Australia postal survey around marriage equality, which asks the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

Kylie Minogue has joined Hollywood stars Chris Hemsworth and Russell Crowe in backing a vote to allow gay marriage in Australia.

Aussies! #loveislove & it’s for everyone. Today is the final day to make sure you’re enrolled. Don’t wait! ❣️长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/6FNRm0uNXJ

— kylie minogue (@kylieminogue) August 23, 2017

The three celebrities have urged their countrymen and women to ensure they are signed up for the postal survey. 

Hemsworth posted on Instagram: “Dear open minded, free speaking, laid back, life loving aussies. Marriage is about love and commitment and, in a country based on equal citizenship, it should be available to everyone! Vote now for marriage equality.”

Crowe tweeted: “Hey Australia , I love you. Thanks for being you. Please send a clear message with your vote and your voice … love is love.”

Hey Australia , I love you . Thanks for being you . Please send a clear message with your vote and your voice … love is love. #SSM2017

— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) August 24, 2017

Stephen Fry, Tim Minchin and Ellen DeGeneres were other famous faces who urged voters to register and back the call for marriage equality.

DeGeneres posted: “Australia, I love you. It’s time for marriage equality. Make sure you’re enrolled to vote right now,” while Fry called on people to support their LGBTIQ friends, family and community.

Australia, I love you. It’s time for marriage equality. Make sure you’re enrolled to vote right now. 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/O9XeCFljVq

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 23, 2017’Muddy waters’

Australia’s Defence Minister Christopher Pyne used an appearance on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Thursday to expound a perspective on same-sex marriage seemingly at odds with the conservatives within his own party.

“It’s got nothing to do with freedom of speech, nothing to do with religious freedom,” Minister Pyne said. 

“What the people who are advocating a ‘no’ vote are doing with that red herring, of course, is trying to make the question about anything other than the simple question of: do you think people of the same sex should have the same rights as people of opposite sex?”

0:00 Pyne clarifies same-sex marriage stance Share Pyne clarifies same-sex marriage stance

The result of the vote will be revealed on November 15.

-With AAP

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Agar can fill O’Keefe’s Test shoes: Lyon

Nathan Lyon has endorsed a vastly-improved Ashton Agar to fill the shoes of Steve O’Keefe and help spin Australia to success in Bangladesh.

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Left-arm spinner Agar is the hot favourite to partner Lyon in the first Test in Dhaka starting on Sunday, with selectors unlikely to gamble on uncapped legspinner Mitchell Swepson.

With spin likely to play a big role throughout the two-Test series, it was a bold decision to dump O’Keefe after his match-winning heroics in the first Test against India in Pune.

But Lyon, whose 15 Tests in Asia are the most of any player in the Australian squad, says Agar has refined his craft since debuting as a teenager in the 2013 Ashes in England.

“I’ve seen him improve out of sight, really,” Lyon said on Friday.

“I think he’s bowling really well at the moment.

“I think he’s confident in his own game and he’s expressing himself, which is what you have to do. You have to believe in yourself and go out there and express yourself.

“He’s in the right mindset, so if Ash gets the nod, I’ve got no doubt he’ll perform well for us.”

The partnership between O’Keefe and Lyon on a crumbling dustbowl in Pune that Lyon described as the worst pitch he’d ever seen was one of the highlights of Australia’s 2-1 series loss to India.

Lyon claimed five wickets, while O’Keefe took 12 to claim man-of-the-match honours.

But 32-year-old O’Keefe was overlooked for the Bangladesh tour, a series of off field incidents not helping his cause as selectors said they were looking to the future.

Steve Smith’s men held their main training session on Friday morning ahead of the first Test, taking to the main ground at the Sher-E-Bangla stadium for the first time.

The Australians remain largely in the dark about the pitch, with curators apparently preparing several options.

Lyon, who needs just two more wickets to surpass Richie Benaud as the second-best spinner in Australian Test history behind Shane Warne, believes Agar can play a comparable role to O’Keefe.

“I think we can work in a pretty similar partnership,” Lyon said.

“We bowled together up in Darwin at similar times, and no doubt Smithy has a plan on how he’ll use his spinners.

“No doubt we can have a similar partnership as what SOK (O’Keefe) and I did and how it worked in Pune.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get over the line in India, but I’m confident enough that we’ve got the right squad to get the job done here in Bangladesh.”

New Diamonds look to shine in Quad Series

They may have a new look team but world No.

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1 Australia have demanded the same old result in the Netball Quad Series starting in Brisbane on Saturday — victory.

And recently appointed Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett wouldn’t have it any other way.

Australia will have the most inexperienced Quad Series squad when they line up for their opener against world No.3 England, with one eye on the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

However, Bassett said the aim was still claiming a third-straight Quad Series trophy.

“While we are trying to blood some young players and got a fairly inexperienced team, for us, it is all about the win,” Bassett said of the tournament which also features world No.2 New Zealand and South Africa.

“To be chased is something we are kind of used to at the Diamonds and being world No.1 is very important to us.

“We know we have a target on our back but that pressure is a privilege.

“We are working hard to embrace that pressure.”

The Diamonds have a squad featuring a total of 240 Test caps, at an average of 20 games each.

In contrast England have a total of 825 caps, at an average of 55 games per player.

England are daring to dream of notching their first win in Australia since 1981 before lining up against a developing Diamonds outfit.

Their squad features eight players who played in Australia’s inaugural Super Netball tournament this year.

But Bassett is looking to add to an already stellar year by starting her captaincy with a bang.

She will lead Australia for the first time on Saturday after taking over from Laura Geitz, who took time out to start a family.

Bassett became the 24th Diamonds captain after leading the Lightning to the 2017 Super Netball title on debut.

Queensland Firebirds’ Gabi Simpson and Collingwood’s Madi Robinson are her deputies.

“I think it is fantastic we can take some young girls away with us here because it is about creating experience for them ahead of the Commonwealth Games,” Bassett said.

“But regardless of how many Test caps we have in this team everyone is keen to get out there and have a run at these next three games.

“England and South Africa have improved massively over the last couple of years and I can’t wait to see what New Zealand brings out after having their own competition this year.”

New Zealand are expected to notch their 30th win in 31 Tests against South Africa in the other match of the Quad Series doubleheader.

The series then moves to Canberra where the Diamonds will play South Africa on August 30.

AUSTRALIA V ENGLAND

* Head to head overall: Played 71 – Australia 66, England 5

* Head to head in Australia: Played 23 – Australia 22, England 1

* Australia have an average winning margin of 15 goals against England

* England have an average winning margin of four goals against Australia

Man arrested after baseball bat attack at Australian National University

Three women and one man were assaulted and sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries at the Australian National University in Canberra on Friday morning, ACT Police’s detective superintendent Ben Cartwright said at an afternoon press conference.

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An 18-year-old Caucasian man has been taken into custody and is yet to be charged, Det Supt Cartwright said, adding there was no ongoing threat. 

Crime scene is being investigated by @ACTPolicing #ANU pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/YQ7hc4kinp

— Jolene Laverty (@Jolene_Laverty) August 25, 2017

The alleged attacker was in a statistics class when he stood up at the back of the room and approached the female lecturer with a baseball bat, detective superintendent Cartwright said during the press conference.

Other students intervened, with one wrestling the bat from the alleged attacker, and restrained him with the help of campus security.

‘Incredible bravery on their behalf. I believe one of the students has actually taken the baseball bat from the other student [who had the bat] and ran away. They then returned later to give it to the police,’ detective superintendent Cartwright said.

Three students and a female lecturer were “seriously” hurt and all four are in Canberra hospital with one believed to have a broken arm.

‘They appear to be defensive injuries, we believe to have a couple of broken bones, a broken arm, but I’m not sure who has got what injuries,” Det Supt Cartwright said.

Police were unable to provide a reason for the attack was but are “not ruling out” any motive, including a racial motive. At least “some” of the hurt students were Asian, detective superintendent Cartwright said.

Police also said in a statement that the alleged attacker was not known to police or intelligence agencies. 

ACT Policing has responded to an incident at the ANU this morning (25 August 2017). For more info visit 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/BjTLiMsLA5

— ACT Policing (@ACTPolicing) August 25, 2017

The university’s deputy vice-chancellor, Marnie Hughes Warrington, paid tribute to ANU’s students, saying they displayed “remarkable bravery”.  

Support was thrown behind the university by Education Minister Simon Birmingham on Twitter.

Thoughts are with injured students & witnesses of this concerning event at ANU. 1/2

— Simon Birmingham (@Birmo) August 25, 2017Having spoken with the acting VC I am confident that all is being done to support those affected & that all is now safe on the campus. 2/2

— Simon Birmingham (@Birmo) August 25, 2017

ANU say they will step up security for Open Day but stress it was an “isolated” incident. 

First priority of ANU is wellbeing of affected staff and students who have been provided with counselling and support.

— ANU Media (@ANUmedia) August 25, 2017

Students took to social media to express dismay at the attack. 

“Holy crap that’s so messed up,” Jack Kennedy wrote on Facebook.

“Didn’t think this type of stuff would happen at ANU let alone in Australia.”

Alexander Vuong arrived on the scene shortly after the assaults. 

A friend of his saw students and a lecturer attacked by a man wearing a hooded jumper.

“He saw a man attack a few other students with a baseball bat,” Mr Vuong told Jolene Laverty in a video on Twitter.

0:00 Student reacts to attack at university campus Share Student reacts to attack at university campus

Artful Dananjaya earns India’s respect with Pallekele spin

India, chasing 231 to go 2-0 up in the series, were cruising at 109 for no loss in the 16th over when Dananjaya struck, dismissing Rohit Sharma for 54.

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That was just the appetizer, however, as it was in his next over that the spinner would inject fresh drama into the game and life into the gloomy stands.

Dananjaya slipped in three googlies to dismiss Kedar Jadhav, Kohli and KL Rahul in the space of five balls, bringing his side back into the match.

“You have to give credit to a guy who bowled an outstanding spell,” Kohli said afterwards, dismissing suggestions that rejigging the batting order led to their collapse.

“If I had gone at number three, I still would have missed the ball, because he was bowling that well in that spell,” the India captain, who batted at number five, said.

“The batting order did not really matter.”

Dananjaya is another product of Sri Lanka’s seemingly endless reserves of special bowlers, an off-spinner who can also bowl leg-spin, googly, ‘doosra’, and even the carrom ball.

His full range of tricks was on exhibition on Thursday against a team traditionally very comfortable against spin.

The Indians did not help their own cause by staying on the back foot as Dananjaya curled googlies through their gates.

“I realised my off-spin was working better, I kept using all the variations in my first eight-over spell,” Dananjaya said after collecting the man-of-the-match trophy.

Kohli said his team now had a better idea about what to expect from the bowler.

“We thought he was the off-spinner bowling an odd leg-break, but he picks up four wickets on googlies,” a bemused Kohli said.

“It’s difficult when you have not seen the guy at all. He has not played us before. But now we saw how the ball was coming out of his hand,” he added.

The teams meet again on Sunday with India, who whitewashed Sri Lanka in the preceding test series, hoping to clinch the five-match series with two one-dayers to go.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

Up to 60 per cent of young Australians have experienced race abuse online

Now 20 years old, Jess Vaughan has experienced online abuse due to her sexuality.

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“Most of the time they’re commenting either back to me when I have commented on something. Generally when I have commented on something that’s a political stance.”

Jess Vaughan said this would then lead to targeted abuse.

“I have had some comments saying things like ‘you have been brainwashed’, ‘you’re a dyke’. I could go into more horrible terms but, they can get quite derogatory and I have been threatened as well.”

And it’s an issue affecting some groups more than others.

Almost 2,500 young people across Australia aged between 12-17 were surveyed for research commissioned by the Office of the eSafety Commisioner and the Department of Education and Training.

The research revealed young people from different religious and cultural backgrounds, Indigenous people and youth who identify as LGBTI were the most frequent targets of online hate.

The most targeted group was Muslims, with 53 per cent responding that they had faced harmful online content.

That was well ahead of asylum seekers and Indigenous people at 37 per cent respectively.

Behind them, in order, were refugees, Asians, LGBTI people, Africans, Jews and Christians.

Respect, responsibility and empathy

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the research has led to the creation of new online resources for young people to help them cope with the problem.

‘The age most people should be starting social media is 13, but we know there is a lot of peer pressure by young people to join Instagram and Snapchat at the age of 12.”

“Parents are always the frontline defence for protecting their children online”: Julie Inman Grant .AAP

Ms Inman Grant said ‘So the Young’ and eSafe initiative was set up to help young people build critical thinking skills, resilience and teach them more about respect, responsibility and empathy online.

“So they can demonstrate those values, but so they can also deal with conflict, hate and racism when they encounter it.”

The Young & eSafe resources were developed in consultation with the Australian Multicultural Foundation to make sure they were relevant to a broad range of young people.

Hass Dellal, the Executive Director for the Multicultural Foundation, says one of the benefits of the resource is that it was created for young people by young people.  

“It looks at the power to act so when there is an issue, who do you speak to? Who do you go to? Empowering other young people to unite together and oppose these sort of online hate messages.”

Mr Dellal also said the tool encourages more communication within families to combat the issue.

“I think it’s important for parents to be able to recognise early warning signs where young people are having difficulty or being troubled. And I think what the tool does is it teaches young people how to engage with your families.”

MORE NEWS:Life beyond online bullying

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant agrees parents needed to play a bigger role in monitoring their children’s online usage.

“I believe that parents are always the frontline defence for protecting their children online but for also encouraging them to demonstrate those values online that they’d like them to live as global citizens.”

Ms Inman Grant said parents need to start educating their children early about online safety.

“When kids start swiping the iPad at the age of three, they need to understand the digital do’s and don’ts.”

As someone who has lived through online abuse, Jess Vaughan said she wants young people to know that there is life beyond online bullying.

“Everyone tells you ‘it will get better. It does, it does’. At that point of time you don’t really want to hear that.

“Just take a breath, take a step and know you are being your true self and there are services out there that can help you reach out. It’s not silly to reach out, it actually makes you a stronger person than if you didn’t reach out. So reach out. It’s so important.”

The resource can be found here.

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Leveson’s parents speak at inquest about their loss

Faye Leveson’s son won’t be wearing his favourite suit when his family finally gives him a funeral.

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Parts of Matthew Leveson’s body will likely never be recovered from the Royal National Park south of Sydney and they can’t dress a skeleton, she says.

People in the courtroom cried on Friday as she delivered her closing statement to the inquest into the 20-year-old’s September 2007 death.

Ms Leveson said she saw her son exhumed piece by piece three months ago before his bones were arranged on a dirty tarp on the ground.

His skull was in pieces, and his hands and feet were among the body parts missing.

“We had to watch them pack Matty up and place him in white cardboard boxes that were then walked past us and placed in the boot of a car,” she said.

“Some of his bones were placed in brown paper bags and taken away on the final day of the search. No one should ever have to see that.”

Ms Leveson spoke with anger about her son’s then-boyfriend, Michael Peter Atkins, who last year agreed to lead police to Matthew’s remains in exchange for immunity from contempt of court and perjury charges.

She held a photo of her son’s bones on a table and another of him smiling for the camera and told Atkins’ legal team: “I want you to look.”

“If (Atkins) was truly genuine and loved Matt as he says, he would have told us where Matt was on September 23, 2007,” she said.

“The only reason he gave us back Matt in May this year is because he was under threat of having to go to jail on perjury charges.”

Atkins, now 54, was acquitted of Mr Leveson’s murder by a Supreme Court jury in 2009.

Police offered him the deal to take them to Mr Leveson’s remains in November 2016 after he admitted lying to police during their investigation and lying under oath while giving evidence to the inquest.

In a statement, Atkins gave a new account of the night Mr Leveson died, telling police he decided to bury the body to protect his reputation after he found his young boyfriend dead from a drug overdose.

Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott on Friday said she wouldn’t force Atkins to give further evidence at the inquest. She said he’d consistently lied and had no credibility as a witness.

She noted if Atkins was shown to have lied in his most recent statement to police he could again be at risk of perjury charges.

“I think that prospect is more likely that not,” she said.

However, she said calling Atkins for the purpose of exposing him to potential perjury charges was well outside her statutory functions.

The inquest has been adjourned until September 26.

Former Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour paid $10.8 million: 2017 report

Mr Fahour was paid $6.

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8 million in the 2017 financial year, according to the company’s remuneration report released on Friday.

That amount was boosted by an additional $4 million in incentives awarded from 2015 and 2016.

Mr Fahour’s parting pay included $1.75 million in superannuation, and much more than the estimated amount of $5.6 million estimate which did the rounds in the lead-up to his abrupt resignation in the face of criticism.

Australia Post has nearly trebled its full-year profit to $95 million in Fahour’s final year as chief executive, boosted by another strong performance by its parcels unit.

Parcels’ pre-tax profit rose 4.8 per cent to $299.7 million in what Australia Post said was a very competitive market, but the number of letters sent in the 12 months to June 30 fell by another 11.8 per cent with that business losing $180.2 million before tax.

Overall net profit rose from $36 million in 2016 and Christine Corbett – who is acting chief executive following Mr Fahour’s departure amid a furore over the size of his pay – said Australia Post’s move to becoming a major player in delivering goods bought online was paying off.

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She said the success of the parcels business, which was the cornerstone of the turnaround from a $222 million full-year loss in 2015, was allowing Australia Post to reinvest in other parts of its business

“Last Christmas, we had our largest ever parcel delivery day, with more than two million parcels delivered in a single day, and we’ve continued to experience strong growth throughout what is traditionally a quieter second half,” Ms Corbett said.

“With new entrants to the market contributing to overall growth in e-commerce volumes, we expect our parcels business to continue to grow, allowing for reinvestment in customer initiatives like MyPost, parcel lockers and digital trusted services.”

December 12 was Australia Post’s biggest ever day for parcel delivery.

Strong parcels growth is expected to continue in the 2018 financial year but further declines in letter volumes will put pressure on Australia Post’s bottom line, Ms Corbett said.

“The letters business still presents a significant challenge, with our largest ever 12-month volume decline experienced this year,” she said.

“We need to continue to ensure this business is sustainable, while managing the declining foot traffic in post offices, and we are speaking with the community on how they may use the letters service in the future.”

Former Blackmores chief executive Christine Holgate has agreed to become Mr Fahour’s permanent replacement.

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Student attacks lecturer, other students with bat at ANU

A class at the Australian National University in Canberra has turned into chaos after a student confronted his lecturer with a baseball bat and students rushed to her aid.

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Police spokesman Ben Cartwright says the alleged attacker was an 18-year-old, white male.

“During the class, the student has stood up from his seat with a baseball bat and approached the lecturer at the front of the classroom. Other students in the class have intervened and attempted to restrain the student with that baseball bat.”

Three students and the lecturer were injured in the incident and taken to Canberra Hospital with serious injuries, including one with a broken arm.

Campus security and local police were quick to arrive on the scene.

Police say it is too early to determine the motivation behind the alleged assault, but they say the male was not known to police or intelligence agencies.

Some of the victims are believed to have been of Asian background, but police are not saying whether there is any indication the attack was racially motivated.

The Canberra Times has reported a spokeswoman for the Chinese embassy confirmed consular staff were meeting with the university, but the nature of their involvement is unknown.

The Chinese social-media site Australian Red Scarf says Chinese students were among the injured, which include two female students and one male student.

Ben Cartwright, the police spokesman, has offered few details, but says it appears to be an isolated incident.

“All indications at this stage are that it is an isolated incident. Everything is part of our investigation, we’ll go forward, but, at this stage, I can tell you the facts of the matter are that the student stood up at the back of the classroom with the baseball bat and approached a lecturer, where other students have intervened. And that is how the injuries have occurred.”

ANU student Alexander Vuong says he was due to attend class nearby a short time after the incident.

He says he arrived to find an ambulance and several police officers on the grounds.

“I got to uni at about 9:25, and my class is right next to where the incident happened. So I was sitting in the courtyard taking notes, and I saw about five police officers just walking around interviewing a number of people, as well as about a dozen ANU security people.”

Another student, Freya Willis, who lives on campus, says the incident has left many of her fellow students alarmed.

“I mean, I think everyone’s just really shocked and terrified. I think there’s not a lot of information yet about why it happened or any kind of details. We don’t even really know who was in the classroom or which classroom it was, and so I think there’s a lot of uncertainty and fear as a result of that. It’s very much that feeling of, I guess, an environment that you thought was safe, that you used to learn, like a classroom, then becoming a place of danger. And that’s really unsettling, I think.”

Deputy vice chancellor Marnie Hughes-Warrington has expressed shock over the incident.

“This was an unusual, a very, very unusual, incident in Canberra. We know one another, we care for one another, and our highest priority is to look after one another. Our thoughts are with, of course, the staff and the students involved in this incident.”

The ANU will hold its university Open Day tomorrow and says security will be stepped up for the event.