O Olé noticiou que Felipão havia convocado Robinho por gostar de figurinhas, mas a história é outra. O advogado do Fluminense, Mário Bittencourt, foi contratado pela Panini para entrar com um recurso e para que Robinho fosse convocado. O motivo é óbvio: legitimar o álbum de figurinhas oficial do evento, que deixaria de ter figurinhas de jogadores que não estão na Copa.
“O Felipão tem 24 horas para inserir o nome do Robinho na lista de convocados, ou a CBF pagará 600 mil reais por minuto em que ele não estiver entre os escolhidos”, disse Bittencourt.
O advogado ainda explicou a motivação para aceitar o trabalho. “Muitos me perguntaram o que me motivou, além da recompensa financeira. Tenho diversas crianças na família, que ficaram decepcionadas com a situação. Uma delas chorou copiosamente quando tirou a figurinha do Robinho. Eles me pediram para resolver e eu resolvi”, gabou-se.
O advogado aproveitou o recurso para colocar mais jogadores do Fluminense na lista. Diego Cavalieri, Gum, Diguinho e Walter vão se juntar ao atacante Fred e representar o Brasil no Mundial.
OLÉ DO BRASIL .COM .BR
O Atlético-MG parece mesmo estar disposto a sair da má fase. Depois de, em menos de 5 meses, perder o mundial de clubes, o campeonato mineiro e ser eliminado da Libertadores da América, o alvinegro quer voltar a dar alegrias à sua torcida, e para isso utilizará uma velha tática de guerra que diz que “se não pode derrotar um inimigo, junte-se a ele”.
O grande inimigo da vez é a famigerada cor verde. O que para muitos pode soar como esperança, para o Galo é encarado como desespero, desde que os jogadores do clube foram infectados com o Rajasius Casablanquisis, que é um vírus muito raro que causa medo da corverde.
Depois de saber que o Cruzeiro pretende usar verde no clássico do domingo, o Atlético contra atacou e já sabe como vai impedir que isso aconteça. Quem explicou a verdadeira manobra de guerra foi o presidente Alexandre Kalil: “Eles lançaram um uniforme comemorativo verde para jogarem com a gente, não foi? Então nós também acabamos de lançar um uniforme verde para jogar contra times que jogam de verde. Assim, quando formos os mandantes, como no caso do domingo, obrigaremos o outro time a jogar com um uniforme de outra cor. E com isso tenho certeza que pelo menos um empatezinho nós vamos abocanhar.” disse com um sorriso maroto.
Clubes da série A, como Palmeiras, Goiás, Chapecoense e Coritiba lamentaram o caso.
OLÉ DO BRASIL . COM .BR
Singapore Airlines‘ low-cost offshoot Scoot is set for a flood of Boeing 787s next year, taking delivery of as many as one per month from February to June 2015 in order to become the world’s first ‘all Dreamliner’ airline.
The airline will receive its first Boeing 787-9 in November this year, parent group SIA confirmed in its Financial Year 2013-14 report released overnight.
Scoot says the first destinations for its Boeing 787-9s, which is expected to make its inaugural flight in December, will “include Australia, Japan and Taiwan”.
A second 787-9 will also arrive before the end of February, SIA says, with one of the airline’s Boeing 777-200s being decommissioned in the same timeframe.
Scoot aims to retire all six of its Boeing 777-200s, which were handed down from Singapore Airlines, by the middle of 2015 and shift to an all-Boeing 787 in order to parlay the Dreamliner’s increased fuel efficiency into a healthier bottom line.
This would require the delivery of one Dreamliner per month from February through June, on top of November’s debutante Dreamliner, to fully replace Scoot’s six Boeing 777s.
A spokesperson for Scoot told Australian Business Traveller this evening that “the delivery of Scoot’s Dreamliner fleet remains on schedule… we expect to transition to an all 787 fleet by middle of 2015.”
The airline has 20 Boeing 787s on order, split into ten of the original Boeing 787-8 and ten of the larger, longer-range 787-9.
Scoot’s Boeing 787-9 will be kitted out with 35 ‘all-leather’ premium seat sin ScootBiz class, arranged in a 2-3-2 layout.
Each features include an extendable leg-rest and a ‘cradle’ recline position.
There’ll also be AC power sockets for every traveller.
The bulk of the bird will of course be given over to a sea of 340 economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, for a total head count – or should that be bum count – of 375.
The standard economy seat is a slimline slab sans headrest.
However, the seats in the extra-legroom Stretch rows and child-free ‘Scoot in Silence’ cabin will sport adjustable headrests.
Pleasingly, all seats from tip to tail will enjoy access to AC power and “streaming Internet connectivity.”
Scoot will receive only Boeing 787-9s until the middle of 2015, at which point the first of 10 smaller 787-8s will arrive. These will pack the same seats but with a total seatcount down to around 330, the airline predicts.
Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson believes the 787s will gives Scoot the flexibility to launch new routes, or add more flights to existing routes, where economics might not favour the larger and less fuel-efficient Boeing 777.
“They’re operationally interchangeable so there’s no efficiency impact, but the different capacities open more options with respect to network and deployment” Wilson said.
Scoot joins Jetstar as one of the low-cost carriers stumping for the Boeing 787, based on its reduced running costs via lower fuel consumption and longer time between major maintenance checks.
“The economic advantages of this later generation aircraft – including a fuel-burn saving of around 20% per seat – ensure that costs and thus airfares can be kept low so that more people can travel more often” Wilson promised.
Source : Australian Business Traveller
May 9, 2014 – 12:00PM
Lynley Marshall, chief executive of ABC international. Photo: Dom White
The head of the ABC’s international division has told staff any cuts to the Australia Network will not a fair reflection of the performance of the service.
The Abbott government is expected to scrap funding for the international broadcasting service in next Tuesday’s budget following a cabinet decision on Wednesday.
The ABC has a 10-year, $223 million contract to run the network, which broadcasts to more than 44 countries in the Asia Pacific.
The ABC, which is finalising new partnership deals with Chinese and Indonesian broadcasters, has been lobbying publicly and privately for the government to continue to fund the service.
“Until we hear a formal announcement from government we will not know exactly what the impact on funding is,” ABC International CEO Lynley Marshall said in an email to ABC international and Asia-Pacific staff on Friday. “But let’s be clear – any decision to cut funding to the Australia Network cannot be justified on the basis of performance.
“Growth in Australia Network audiences continues. Overall the results being achieved by our International Converged Media service are unequivocal, backed by hard data and evidence and these results have been delivered through your efforts.”
The Commission of Audit recommended the network be scrapped in its report earlier this month because it is too expensive “given its limited outreach to a small audience”.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who has oversight of the network, has said there are more cost-effective ways, including social media, to promote Australia abroad.
In late 2011 the Gillard government controversially terminated the tender process for the Australia Network and handed the contract to the ABC in perpetuity.
An independent panel had twice recommended commercial operator Sky News be awarded the contract.
Source : The Sydney Morning Herald
May 9, 2014 – 5:22PM
Kevin Rudd has maintained that blame for the decision to walk away from the scheme is shared by Ms Gillard and Mr Swan. Photo: Andrew Meares
Kevin Rudd suffered a panic attack and was driven to “meltdowns” by then opposition leader Tony Abbott’s relentless campaigning in the final days of his first prime ministership, a new book has revealed.
The book by journalist Philip Chubb, titled Power Failure, sheds new light on the paralysis over climate policy that gripped the former Labor government in the lead-up to the 2010 election.
In extracts of the book published by Fairfax Media, Mr Chubb – who won a Gold Walkley for the ground-breaking documentary Labor in Power – zeroes in on the period in early 2010 when Mr Rudd switched his focus to reform of the hospital system and avoided addressing the failure of his carbon pollution reduction scheme to pass through the Senate.
Chubb’s research, including interviews with 74 people involved with climate policy under Labor, has led him to clearly come down on the side of former prime minister Julia Gillard, treasurer Wayne Swan and their supporters who have blamed Mr Rudd for the paralysis and dysfunction in the government as he delayed a decision on whether to proceed with his emissions trading scheme. He paints a damning portrait of Mr Rudd as agitated, angry and chaotic.
Mr Rudd has maintained that blame for the decision to walk away from the scheme is shared by Ms Gillard and Mr Swan, saying that during the February 2012 leadership contest that the pair urged him to drop the scheme – though the decision was ultimately his.
Chubb writes: “Sometimes Rudd’s behaviour in meetings was genuinely worrying. Several sources describe independently how he sometimes physically froze and was unable to continue. He took trips around the garden to help regain his composure.
“While the prime minister was focused on hospitals, he knew he could not just give up on climate policy. But what was to be done? The senior figures in the government, it seemed, were talking about it non-stop. But they could not get through to Rudd, and his paralysis seemed to be worsening.”
One Abbott press conference caused a “meltdown”, as an observer described it, when the opposition leader promised to fix the hospital system if elected at the 2010 poll. Ministers and senior staff gathered at the Lodge watched as “Rudd hyperventilated and froze so seriously that his chief of staff, Alister Jordan, helped him to his feet and took him for a walk. It seemed he had suffered a debilitating panic attack.”
At one point in March 2010, senior Rudd staffer David Fredericks worked with the Department of Climate Change on a package of Direct Action-style measures that could achieve the government’s 5 per cent emissions reductions target without putting a price on carbon.
But the proposals were rejected by Mr Swan and deputy prime minister Julia Gillard, with Ms Gillard describing them as “just nonsense” that could not reach the 5 per cent target.
On April 27, 2010 Fairfax Media’s Lenore Taylor broke the news that the Rudd government would walk away from its carbon pollution reduction scheme. Mr Rudd tried to pretend the government’s commitment remained unchanged – “but of course this was untrue”, the author concludes.
Months later Mr Rudd was dumped by his party and replaced by Ms Gillard.
Source : The Sydney Morning Herald
May 9, 2014 – 10:03PM
Treasurer Andrew Barr said homes in the rail corridor were expected to increase 25 per cent in value with the new train line.
The ACT government will consider a levy on home owners and a special rating zone to fund the massive Capital Metro project, expected to cost at least $614 million but perhaps much more.
The government has not released an updated figure on the cost of the project and would not confirm the possibility of a city-wide levy and rating zone.
But Treasurer Andrew Barr said homes in the rail corridor were expected to increase 25 per cent in value with the new train line.
The Canberra Times understands it is this value increase the government will try to “capture” through measures that could include a new rates zone in the Flemington Road and Northbourne Avenue corridor, where the first stage of the rail line will run.
It is also believed to be working up options for a levy, which could be extended to the 125,000 households across the territory to raise sufficient funds. But one of the problems with charging Tuggeranong residents such a levy is the possibility their property values would fall as Canberra’s housing demand is sucked up by development in the Northbourne corridor.
“Value capture” is at the core of the government’s thinking to fund Capital Metro. A rail line is expected to boost the value of land and homes up to 1 km either side of the rail line, although a rating zone could be applied to a tighter area, say 400 metres each side. Overseas experience suggests increases in value of anywhere between 5 per cent and 30 per cent for homes near rail lines, although there is also the risk that nearby properties could lose value (a concept known as “worsenment” in planning circles, as opposed to “betterment”).
The government will also capture higher land values by selling buildings and land on Northbourne Avenue.
Other options could require developers to take on the cost of developing the public areas around new ventures and the cost of upgrading water and sewerage, selling “air rights” to any links between buildings, and a scheme known as “tax increment financing”, which involves the government offering subsidised loans for developments in the rail corridor.
All of these options have been mooted, but little detail has been released on the Capital Metro project, which the government has committed to start building by 2016 – a deal it made to secure the support of Greens minister Shane Rattenbury.
Asked whether the government was considering a levy, Mr Barr responded, “Capital Metro is not just a rail project, it is a transformational urban renewal project …
“There are numerous ways that light rail projects are procured and funded around the world. We are yet to determine the funding and procurement model for Capital Metro and it is appropriate that all options are considered.”
The Liberal Opposition brought on a debate about the project in the ACT Assembly on Wednesday, and Leader Jeremy Hanson insisted it did not stack up. It was being driven by Mr Rattenbury and Environment Minister Simon Corbell, who were on “some form of green crusade”, Mr Hanson said, but in reality there was little or no difference from an environmental perspective between light rail and buses. “What it does is give a grand appearance that Simon Corbell and Shane Rattenbury are making some huge difference,” Mr Hanson said, describing light rail as a “feel good” project and akin to the ban on plastic bags.
The cost, an “extraordinary” $614 million, was equivalent to $4500 a household, he said, with better ways to spend that kind of money.
“This is not the time when we should be going out and borrowing hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars.”
ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr will travel to Hong Kong in June where he will court lenders as part of what looks to be the territory’s biggest borrowing program since self-government. Arguing that Canberra is well placed to borrow, with the lowest debt levels of any jurisdiction, Mr Barr is borrowing to fund a range of big infrastructure projects and in the process shield the territory economy from a federal king hit.
Asked about a levy and rating zone, Greens minister Shane Rattenbury said, “At the right time the government will start to have those conversations but no decisions have been taken on the financial aspect.”
Source : The Canberra Times
May 9, 2014 – 8:42PM
Australia Post will soon be open for business on weekends, its chief executive officer has said. Photo: Getty
Australia Post’s 700 corporate offices will open for Saturday trading from next Christmas, allowing customers to send and receive parcels on the weekends, Australia Post’s managing director and CEO Ahmed Fahour said on Friday.
Announcing the move Friday, Mr Fahour warned Australia Post would lose as much as $1 billion a year if it didn’t implement reforms and changes. He said the traditional letters component of the business “was bleeding money as the community shifts away from letters and towards digital forms of communication.”
” We lost $218 million in providing the letters service last financial year,” Mr Fahour said.
“This loss has been growing – every year – since our letter volumes started declining five years ago. In this current financial year we are now projecting a $350 million loss in providing the regulated letters business.
“Our projections show that with mail volume declines now accelerating to between eight and 11 per cent per annum over the coming years, our letters business, under current momentum, will lose over $1 billion annually in the coming years. We do not have the ability to absorb this.”
However, six day trading and delivery will soon be available from all corporate offices, Mr Fahour said, while many of the 2,895 licensed post offices may choose to expand their weekend hours, too.
The Express Post and Express Letter guaranteed delivery service will also be available six days a week by adding a Saturday delivery option.
In a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, Mr Fahour said these new services reflected a shift away from declining letters services to a growing market for parcels, express and retail services.
He told the lunchtime crowd that profits on parcels and express business had grown 20 per cent each year since 2010.
Mr Fahour said a quarter of the post office’s revenue was now generated from services that only been created in the past four years.
“For an organisation of our size, a quarter of revenue is a remarkable change. For a business that’s 205 years old I hope that indicates just how rapidly we are changing and handling the customer decline in the usage of letters,” he said.
The Saturday expansion coincides with continuing reports that the Federal Government may privatise the 205-year-old organisation to add more than $3 billion to its coffers.
The post office was established by Isaac Nichols, Australia’s first postmaster, in a “simple room” inside his own home on George Street.
“It was a trusted place where the 10,000 British soldiers and convicts who were living here in 1809 could connect with their loved ones on the other side of the world,” said Mr Fahour.
Source : The Sydney Morning Herald
Shock poll: Voters have deserted Prime Minister Tony Abbott in backlash over plan to raise the pension age.
Voters have categorically rejected Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s increase to the pension age of 70. A fresh poll shows two-thirds of voters oppose the plan.
Before a tough budget expected to include cuts to family payments and a rise in petrol excise, an exclusive Fairfax ReachTel poll has found strong opposition to extending the pension age. The backlash has led to the combined Liberal and Nationals vote dropping to 38 per cent before preferences compared to the ALP, which is on 40 per cent. That is a fall on the Coalition primary vote of 8 percentage points after it secured 46 per cent of first preference votes at the September 2013 election.
The Greens party remains around its election mark of 11 per cent, leading to a two-party-preferred result between Labor and the Coalition, based on preference flows at last year’s election, of 54-46 in favour of the ALP – virtually reversing the election result.
Photo: Fairfax Graphics
But the poll also shows the government has won support for its controversial deficit tax plan. More than half of all voters think a hit on high income earners is justified to rebalance the budget.
The survey follows a series of polls in recent weeks charting the government’s fast-waning popularity as it manages a difficult pre-budget period.
A stream of reports have signalled tax increases, a new user-pays focus for services, which means such things as GP visits will
attract up-front payments, and changes to virtually every level of federal government activity.
Asked ”would you support a deficit levy of between 1 and 2 per cent being imposed on high income earners to help reduce debt”, 54 per cent of respondents indicated support.
This compared to 32 per cent opposed, and 14 per cent undecided.
The deficit tax would add an extra 2¢ on top of the top marginal bracket of 45¢ in every dollar earned above $180,000 in order to raise between $4.8 billion and $5.2 billion over four years, according to experts.
Coalition supporters appear most relaxed about the measure despite this cohort being most likely to be hit.
Sixty-three per cent of Coalition voters back the tax plan and less than a quarter oppose it. Support is lowest among Labor voters but highest overall among voters of all loyalties aged above 65 years where it finds favour with 69 per cent.
The surprise finding may ultimately vindicate Mr Abbott’s politically risky decision to break a solemn and repeated election pledge of no new or increased taxes.
With his government already bleeding supporters and trailing Labor, the ReachTel poll of 3241 respondents suggests that trend could become even more pronounced once the delayed pension age becomes official.
Taken on Thursday night, the survey showed two-thirds of voters – or 68 per cent – opposed lifting the retirement age to 70, notwithstanding that it is already moving in increments from the present age of 65 to 67 by 2023. The government’s plan will see that incremental advance continued until 2035 when a retiree would need to be 70 to obtain the pension.
In recent days, government ministers from Treasurer Joe Hockey down have been warning of across-the-board pain in the budget. Some suggest the controversial debt levy, which seemed unthinkable only a fortnight ago, would be among the least objectionable aspects of the budget.
Taken on Thursday night, the survey showed two-thirds of voters – or 68 per cent – opposed raising the retirement age to 70, notwithstanding that it is already moving in increments from the current 65 to 67 by 2023. The government plan will see the incremental advance continue until 2035 when a retiree would need to be 70 to get the pension.
The ReachTel poll showed that in every age bracket and in the three established voter groups – the Coalition, ALP, and the Greens – a firm majority remained opposed to the 70-year-old eligibility.
The most marked difference was among Greens supporters who opposed the plan decisively with 82 per cent against to just 7 per cent in favour. Eleven per cent were undecided. Among Labor voters, 82 per cent opposed the older age compared with 10 per cent in favour.
Coalition supporters were more evenly split with 46 per cent opposed to and 40 per cent for the change.
Source : The Sydney Morning Herald
Day of reckoning: Rolf Harris arrives with his wife Alwen Hughes and daughter Bindi at Southwark Crown Court. Photo: AFP
Rolf Harris was a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character, whose immense talent and public generosity to children and animals hid a darker side – he was sexually attracted to young girls, a court has been told.
Harris allegedly repeatedly approached girls in a friendly way, then took advantage of his close physical contact to indecently assault them.
One of those he befriended, then allegedly assaulted and “groomed” for more than a decade was a friend of his own daughter, Bindi Harris.
Prosecutor Sasha Wass, QC, has opened the case at Southwark Crown Court in the trial of the 84-year-old Australian entertainer, giving new detail of the allegations against him.
Harris faces 12 charges of indecent assault against four girls, from 1968 to 1986. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“You will see a pattern during the course of this case of Mr Harris approaching girls in a purely friendly way and then, once he is in close physical contact with them, taking advantage of the situation in order to indecently assault them,” Ms Wass said.
“Concealed behind this charming and amicable children‘s entertainer lay a man who exploited the very children who were drawn to him.”
At Channel Seven in Australia he was known as “the octopus” for putting his hands on women, Ms Wass said.
‘She felt as if she was his little toy’: the first complainant
The first complainant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was a friend of Harris’ daughter Bindi.
The complainant claims she was first abused by Harris in December 1978 when only 13 years old, at a hotel in Hawaii when she was on holiday.
Harris pretended to tickle her when she was wrapped in a towel having just stepped out of the shower.
“[He] wrapped his hands around her and put his hands inside the towel,” Ms Wass said.
He then put his fingers inside her.
“[She] was stunned,” Ms Wass said. “She stood still. She was unable to speak. She was 13 years old. She had always been in awe of the defendant who was already a well-known and popular celebrity.”
Two days later, at the beach, Harris assaulted her again, putting his hands inside her bikini bottoms. He continued similar behaviour in Australia, against the same complainant.
“He would do this whether or not there were family members nearby,” Ms Wass said. “You will hear other instances in this case where Mr Harris touched children and women alike in quite brazen circumstances.
“Maybe that was part of the excitement for him … knowing that he could get away with it.”
Back in the UK, Harris started visiting the complainant, then 14, in her home. He would abuse her in her bedroom. She would drink a “shed load of gin” to deal with her “anxiety and panic” at his visits, Ms Wass said.
The complainant got the impression that Harris “enjoyed the thrill of the risk he was taking”.
Harris even twice assaulted the complainant when his daughter was asleep in the same bed.
“The risk of doing this so near to his daughter was exciting him,” Ms Wass said.
From age 19 to 29, the complainant consented to Harris’ “sexual requirements”, the prosecutor said. “[Her] psychological resistance had been destroyed.”
“He never treated her as an equal or a human being … she felt as if she was his little toy.”
The victim told Bindi Harris in the late 1990s that her father had touched her, Ms Wass said.
“Bindi said that she blamed herself,” Ms Wass said.
‘Letter of confession’ to alleged victim’s father
Ms Wass said Harris once wrote a “letter of confession” to the alleged victim’s father. The letter avoided admitting the sexual relationship took place when she was underage. Ms Wass said it was like Bill Clinton confessing to smoking marijuana but saying he didn’t inhale.
In the letter, posted in March 1997, Harris says he was “in a state of abject self loathing”.
“(The complainant) told me that she had always been terrified of me and went along with everything that I did, out of fear of me.”
“I said ‘why did you never just say no?’ And (she) said how could she say no to the great television star Rolf Harris. Until she told me that I had no idea that she was scared of me.”
“(She) keeps saying that this has all been going on since she was 13.”
However, Harris said in the letter that “nothing took place in a physical way” until 1983 or 1984.
“When I see the misery I have caused (her) I am sickened by myself.”
He ends the letter by begging for forgiveness.
For years the complainant did not go to police because she thought going to court “would kill her”, however, she changed her mind after the Jimmy Savile revelations, and finally reported her alleged abuse to police in November 2012.
Harris admitted having a sexual relationship with the complainant but says it began when she was 18, Ms Wass said.
Last year, Harris told police that the complainant had tried to blackmail him, asking for £25,000 to set up an animal sanctuary and telling him her brother would ‘go to the papers’ if he did not.
Ms Wass said this was an attempt by Harris to “smear” the complainant.
Harris’ interest in the first complainant was not an “isolated aberration”, Ms Wass said.
“He used his position as a well-known and well-loved celebrity to access children and to touch them indecently in the knowledge and with the confidence that they would not make any complaints against him because of who he was,” she said.
Ms Wass said “Mr Harris was too famous and too powerful. His reputation made him untouchable.”
‘All the happiness had gone’: the second complainant
The second complainant says she was abused by Harris when she was about eight years old, in 1969.
She and her siblings went to a community centre in Portsmouth to meet Harris who was signing photographs for fans.
After he signed “to [complainant] from Rolf Harris” she “noticed that his hand went around her to her bottom and it was put quite forcibly between her legs,” Ms Wass said.
It happened a second time. “It was intrusive, it wasn’t a gentle gesture in any way at all. She was upset and threw the autograph away immediately.”
“All the happiness had gone” from the occasion, Ms Wass said. The second complainant tried to forget all about it, but later recalled it to her husband when she saw Harris on television in the 1980s. She went to police after the Jimmy Savile inquiry began in late 2012.
Harris said to police “I absolutely deny assaulting [the second complainant] as she alleges or at all. I would simply never touch a child inappropriately.”
Ms Wass said it was her word against his, however, there were similarities between the stories of the first two complainants.
‘She liked it’: Allegations of other assaults
Around the same time in 1969, Harris visited Australia where he stayed in a house where a girl aged around 11 or 12 was living, Ms Wass said.
He told the girl, “Come here, I want to be the first one to give you a tongue kiss”.
“He then walked over to her, grabbed her, ran his hand up and down her back and stuck his tongue in her mouth,” Ms Wass said. “(She) was shocked. She was terrified. She froze. She described the experience as vile and it made her gag.”
Harris has not been charged over the alleged incident, however, the
says there were similarities with the other allegations.
In 1970, when he visited New Zealand, he allegedly put his hands under the dress of a 16 or 17-year-old ‘MC’ at a function on the North Island while he was dancing with her. “She felt sick and confused and embarrassed,” Ms Wass said. “Another example of inappropriate touching in a public situation.”
“The experience of MC shows another step in the pattern of Mr Harris’ behaviour … He was targeting people who were in awe of him, he pushed the boundaries even in a public place, a dance floor. He knew he could get away with it.”
Also in 1970, Frances Igoe-Wales met Harris at a bar on holiday in Malta when she was 18. After taking her to another room to “see some paintings”, he pushed her against a door, fondled her breasts and put his hand in her knickers, Ms Wass said. The alleged assault is not the subject of a charge.
“Frances described the whole experience as surreal,” Ms Wass said. “Mr Harris behaved as if nothing had happened. You can see this is a pattern.”
Harris will deny that he touched her at all, but cannot explain why she has given such an account, Ms Wass said.
In 1986, when Harris was having his make-up done at a Channel Seven TV studio in Australia, he allegedly repeatedly groped a 24-year-old make-up artist, sliding his hand under her baggy denim shorts, Ms Wass said. At one point he grabbed her hips, pulled her towards him and rubbed against her.
Her evidence would demonstrate “how brazen Mr Harris’ behaviour was”, Ms Wass said. “He had a feeling of entitlement when it came to touching girls.”
In 1991, in Hamilton in New Zealand, a 15-year-old girl went with her mother to see Harris at a promotion for British Paints at a local hardware store.
“[Harris] stepped towards [the girl] as if to hug her and then put his right hand into her blouse and touched her left breast. At the same time he put his left hand on her right buttock and squeezed it,” Ms Wass said.
The girl stepped back and Mr Harris laughed. Later she told her mother Harris was “a bit handy, mum”.
When they posed for a photo later, the mother felt Harris rubbing his groin against her buttocks. She stood on his foot, turned around and said “you are a disgusting creature”.
Harris replied in a whisper “she liked it,” referring to her daughter, Ms Wass said.
‘She was in awe of Mr Harris’ celebrity status so said nothing’: the third complainant
The third complainant in the case says she met Harris when she was working as a waitress in Cambridge, aged around 14, in the mid-1970s.
She saw Rolf Harris playing with a small terrier.
“He got up and noticed [the complainant] saying ‘Oh look who’s here’. He then started to rub down the back of her body, from her shoulders to the cheeks of her buttocks,” Ms Wass said. “She was shocked but … she was in awe of Mr Harris’ celebrity status so she said nothing to him.”
“He was completely undeterred by the fact that there were other people present.”
Harris will say that none of this happened, he was out of the country at the time, and can’t explain why the complainant would make such claims.
‘[She] was frozen and unable to move’: the fourth complainant
The fourth complainant, an Australian, says Harris assaulted her in 1986 when she was 15, on a theatre youth group tour to the UK.
“[She] was a small, skinny girl who looked younger than her age,” Ms Wass said.
The tour group had dinner with Harris in a London pub, where he told the children funny stories.
At one stage he invited the complainant to sit on his lap and tell him about herself.
“Mr Harris’ hands were under the table and he started rubbing himself against [her],” Ms Wass said. “He then put his hands between [her] legs and started patting her thighs with his hand.”
He then slowly moved his hands up her thigh and touched her intimately. She got up and went to the toilet, and was in shock. When she came out he gave her a cuddle and “got her into a corner and started to put his hands down her top”, Ms Wass said. He then put his hand down her tights.
“[She] was frozen and unable to move,” Ms Wass said. The abuse triggered a change in the fourth complainant’s behaviour including bulimia and, later, heavy drinking.
Mr Harris told police he was “shocked and distressed” by her allegations, and he denied them in the “strongest possible terms”.
He suggested to police that she had fabricated her story “for fame and financial reward” – she had sold her story for $60,000 to Woman’s Day and A Current Affair.
However, Ms Wass said, “You may well think it is unattractive to sell your stories to the newspapers and television – but does the fact that you have done so mean that the story is untrue?”
‘The Mr Hyde character that lurks within’: conclusion
“You have to ask yourself have all these girls, unknown to each other, made up these details or are they all telling the truth: describing the dark side of Mr Harris, the Mr Hyde character that lurks within?” Ms Wass said in conclusion.”
“What you have before you is a consistent pattern of sexual offending by Rolf Harris.”
“Mr Harris has a sexual interest in underage girls, a tendency to use his celebrity status to sexually touch females with impunity as if entitled to help himself to their bodies, (and) a tendency to touch females of all ages in a sexual manner in circumstances where they were trapped, unable to protest.”
She said the fact the allegations were historic did not diminish their criminality, and Mr Harris’ celebrity should be “put to one side”.
“These victims deserve to have a voice and should not be dismissed or ignored.”
Mr Justice Sweeney told the jury to put the case out of their mind over the weekend, and to ignore media reports.
Harris arrived at court with his wife Alwen, daughter Bindi, and other family and friends including his niece Jenny Harris.
He sat in the glass-panelled dock wearing a hearing loop to follow the court proceedings.
The trial before Mr Justice Sweeney is expected to last until late June.
The first witness is due to take the stand on Monday morning, UK time.
Source : The Sydney Morning Herald