Exempting ACT police from anti-corruption commission oversight could “open the dorr” to others

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Daniel Burdon

Allowing the territory’s police force to be exempt from an ACT anti-corruption commission’s oversight could “open the door” to other agencies looking for a way out, the Canberra Liberals leader says.

Opposition leader Alistair Coe also said he was “not convinced” the territory’s contracted police force should be allowed to be exempt from such oversight, despite ACT Policing’s push for the exemption.

His comments follow The Canberra Times reporting this week on a series of emails released under Freedom of Information which raised questions about whether or not Police Minister Mick Gentleman has privately supported the police’s push.

Mr Gentleman met Chief Police Officer Justine Saunders earlier this year, a meeting which she later wrote included Mr Gentleman supporting her “approach” on the commission, but redactions in documents released mean it is unclear whether she was specifically referring to the exemption.

Neither Mr Gentleman, nor CPO Saunders, have answered questions directly on whether an agreement was reached on the exemption.

But both parties have said they agreed ACT Policing would provide an “independent submission” to the Legislative Assembly committee currently considering the anti-corruption commission.

Irrespective, Mr Coe said if any one area of government was not subjected to the commission’s scrutiny, “it may open the door to other agencies also seeking an exemption”.

“It is up to Mick Gentleman to provide a justification for why ACT Policing should not be subject to these investigations should a need arise,” Mr Coe said.


Source :  The Canberra Times

Socceroos defender Matthew Jurman suspended for ‘bribe’ gesture

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OCTOBER 14 2017 – 1:36PM

Ian Ransom

Australia defender Matthew Jurman has been suspended from the South Korean top flight for two matches after making a “bribe gesture” at an opponent during a K-league match earlier this month.

Suwon Bluewings centre back Jurman approached Jeonbuk Motors’ Lee Dong-gook and “rubbed his fingers together” as the veteran striker prepared to take a spot kick after earning a penalty late in the Oct. 1 match, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing the K-League’s discipline committee.

The committee also said that Lee heard Jurman saying “how much”, Yonhap said. He was fined two million won ($1,600).

Jurman, who started in Australia’s 2-1 win over Syria in Sydney on Tuesday, told reporters after the 1-1 draw with Jeonbuk he had said “you will miss” to Lee, the news agency added.

Jeonbuk were disqualified from defending their Asian Champions League title in January following revelations that one of their scouts had bribed referees in 2013.

The scout, who was given a six-month suspended jail sentence in September last year, was found dead at Jeonbuk’s home stadium in June.

Jurman’s suspension may imperil his selection for Australia’s intercontinental World Cup playoff against Honduras next month, with Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou often reluctant to pick players lacking match fitness.

Australia play Honduras in a two-leg playoff for a place in the 32-team finals in Russia next year.



Source  :   The Canberra Times

Ange Postecoglou and the wildest week in Australian soccer

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OCTOBER 14 2017 – 4:00PM

Michael Lynch

Has there ever been a wilder week in Australian soccer?

Mystery surrounds the future of national coach Ange Postecoglou, who has kept mute, neither confirming nor denying the shock revelation that he planned to stand down later this year.

The Socceroos scraped into the final World Cup play-off against Honduras by the skin of their teeth, Tim Cahill’s header two minutes from the end of extra-time on Tuesday giving them a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Almost as an afterthought, Football Federation Australia’s board further fanned the flames of enmity with just about everyone else in the game by flagging an emergency general meeting so it can push through proposals for a reform of the voting process for its congress.

That action alone would have generated headlines and debate for days as it would appear to make FIFA intervention in Australia inevitable.

Should that happen all the signs from other examples of FIFA involvement elsewhere in the world are that it would not end well for chairman Steven Lowy and his colleagues, who have now been threatened with legal action by clubs who believe that the FFA board’s proposals for widening the electoral franchise simply do not go far enough.

The clubs, the players’ union (PFA) and other critics believe Lowy’s move is a naked attempt to legitimise what they claim is an existing gerrymander in the voting process whereby the state federations – widely regarded as proxies for the FFA board and leadership – would confer majority power on the board and its chairman irrespective of the wishes of other significant stakeholders in the game.

The argument over the rights and wrongs of this one – whether it is a power grab by Lowy and his colleagues, the spark that will guarantee their downfall, or a move by clubs to form a breakaway A-League – will rumble on until or when FIFA gets involved or the matters end up in court.

But it is the intrigue and surprise over Postecoglou’s plans that has generated so much  hysteria, as Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat termed it on Friday.

That is not surprising given the roller-coaster ride the Socceroos have endured since the moment of their greatest triumph in Sydney nearly three years ago, when Postecoglou led them to an extra-time win over South Korea in the final of the Asian Cup in January 2015.

At that point the coach had the keys to the castle.

He wasted few opportunities to articulate his vision, even publishing a book outlining why the game had such an important social and cultural role to play and how it should be developed in coming decades. Many of his comments won widespread support from soccer fans steeped in the history of the local game but would have hardly been welcomed by his FFA paymasters.

Postecoglou had an enormous stack of credits in the bank after the Asian Cup, but he has been steadily drawing down on them since. Results have not gone to plan, the Socceroos have struggled for goals and the critics have circled, with condemnation of his selections, tactics and approach to the job intensifying.

He stuck to his guns throughout, but clearly there was a growing sense of dissatisfaction under the surface and, perhaps more importantly, with the way the game was being run and the power games that were taking place.

Postecoglou has never been a man to suffer fools and has always been confident of his own ability. I have known him for 20 odd years and always found him an articulate, polite and thoughtful student of the game, one who would always make time for debate not just about the on-field aspects but also its place in society.

But in recent months he has grown more prickly and withdrawn, at least in public.

His press conferences have become terse and on one occasion he simply got up and walked out, although he was clearly in an emotional state following the narrow win over Thailand and may have left so as not to say something he might later regret.

It beggars belief that the leak to News Limited journalist David Davutovic about his intention to step down was not made without his knowledge and any journalist given such a scoop would want to make sure that the information was nailed on, given its explosive nature and the potential for career-defining ignominy if it was wrong.

But suggestions that Postecoglou was having a hissy fit and quitting because of media pressure are surely wide of the mark.

A confidant of Postecoglou’s confirmed the thrust of the story, saying that his friend wanted to move back into clubland and prove himself in Europe, but scoffed at suggestions that any decision would have been motivated by criticism from former Socceroos like Robbie Slater or Mark Bosnich.

“Ange is too thick skinned for that,” he said.

The fact that FFA issued a press release on Wednesday, quoting the coach looking forward to the final play-off against Honduras, was significant not for what it said but what it didn’t say.

FFA chief executive David Gallop was as taken aback by the story when it broke as anyone else, but surely, after subsequently talking to his coach, the organisation would have issued a statement along with Postecoglou rubbishing the rumours if he was not going to quit.

All this may have an unsettling effect on the players, but their determination and desperation to get to the World Cup should ensure that it doesn’t matter who coaches them in that final game, whether that be Postecoglou, Graham Arnold (widely tipped as the preferred local successor) or any other stand in coach.

As is the way of things, some players will be sad to see him go, others won’t.  Postecoglou never made a point of being friends with his players and always wanted to ensure they took nothing for granted. He wasn’t seeking approval, he was seeking performances and results.

For Australian soccer, nothing else now is more important than a win over Honduras next month.

Whatever else it is, the game here is never dull – at least off the field.


 Source  :  The Canberra Times

Canada formally declares interest in buying RAAF Hornets

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An F/A-18A Hornet from No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit performs a handling display for the crowds at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Canada has formally expressed its interest in acquiring Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18 Hornet multirole fighter aircraft as it explores options to supplement its CF-18 fleet.

According to a statement from Public Services and Procurement Canada dated October 9, Canada entered discussions with the Australian government in late August to assess the potential purchase of Hornet aircraft and associated parts that Australia plans to sell.

Canada submitted an expression of interest (EOI) on September 29 that formally registered its interest in the equipment.

“Canada expects to receive a response by the end of this year that will provide details regarding the availability and cost of the aircraft and associated parts that Canada is considering,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the possible sale to Canada of 10 F/A-18E and eight F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters has been approved by the US Department of State, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated on September 12.

That said, the Public Services and Procurement Canada statement declared that while the Canadian government is continuing to engage with the US government as it looks at “all options moving forward”, separate discussions with Boeing relating to an interim Super Hornet purchase “remain suspended”.

“Until an open and transparent competition can be completed to replace Canada’s legacy CF-18 fleet, Canada is exploring options to supplement the current CF-18 fleet and address an existing fighter capability gap,” the statement said.


Source  :  Australian Aviation


Qantas to purchase 30 million litres of biofuel for ex-Los Angeles flights

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A file image of Qantas aircraft at Los Angeles Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas plans to fuel up its flights from Los Angeles to Australia with biofuel from 2020 thanks to a 10-year deal to purchase some 30 million litres of the renewable fuel as part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The fuel would be produced by US-based SG Preston and comprise of a 50:50 split of renewable jet fuel and traditional jet fuel, Qantas said in a statement on Friday.

Qantas international and freight chief executive Gareth Evans said the company was also looking at adding biofuel flights beyond Los Angeles.

“The partnership with SG Preston is part of our commitment to lowering carbon emissions across our operations and sees us becoming the first Australian airline to use renewable jet fuel on an ongoing basis,” Evans said in a statement.

“As an airline group we are constantly looking for ways to become more fuel efficient and embrace new technologies and this partnership is a significant step on that journey.

“Through our biofuel program we are also exploring renewable jet fuel opportunities in Australia and continue to work with suppliers to develop locally produced biofuels for aviation use.

The airline said the SG Preston-produced biofuel was produced from non-food plant oils and was chemically equivalent to and met the same technical, performance and safety standards as conventional jet fuel emitted half the amount of carbon emissions per gallon over its life cycle.

Further, the renewable plant oils used to produce the biofuel did not compete with food production and met Qantas’s stringent sustainability certification requirements.

“Qantas is showing great leadership in its commitment to biofuels. We look forward to providing a high-performance renewable fuel for one of the most important routes on their international network,” SG Preston chief executive Randy Delbert said.

IATA director for environment Michael Gill congratulated Qantas and SG Preston on the initiative.

“Deals such as these are critical to the development of an aviation biofuel sector globally and the achievement of the aviation industry’s climate goals,” Gill said.

Qantas, and its low-cost-carrier unit Jetstar operated its first biofuel flight in 2012. The biofuel was made from used cooking oil.

The move follows the recent announcement of a two-year trial blending sustainable aviation fuel, or biojet, with traditional jet fuel for use on flights departing Brisbane as part of an initiative with Virgin Australia, Brisbane Airport, the Queensland Government and fuel supplier Gevo Inc.

Virgin Australia, which is coordinating the purchase, supply and blending of the fuels and will use the fuel on its flights departing Brisbane, said in a statement the initiative was the first time in this country that biojet would be supplied through an airport’s regular fuel supply system.

Further, Virgin Australia said the fuel was already being used on Virgin Australia flights departing Los Angeles to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

In October 2016, an overwhelming majority of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) 191 member states agreed to the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

The landmark agreement has among its targets for the industry to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020, and a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, compared with 2005 levels.

ICAO has also come up with a CO2 emissions standard, where aircraft will have to meet a maximum fuel burn per flight kilometre baseline which must not be exceeded. The standard would apply to new aircraft designs from 2020, while new deliveries of current in-production aircraft models would be subject to the CO2 standard from 2023.

Further, the ICAO measure also recommended a cut-off date of 2028 for production aircraft that did not comply with the standard.

Moreover, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set a target of an average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5 per cent per year from 2009 to 2020, as well as aspirations to build an aircraft that produced no emissions within 50 years.

Figures from IATA Showed air transport accounted for about two per cent of global man-made CO2 emissions. The figure has been relatively constant over the past 20 years and was not expected to increase beyond three per cent by 2050.


Source  :  Australian Aviation

World Cup 2018 qualifying: Socceroos may set up camp in Miami to avoid Honduran hostilities

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 Dominic Boss

It’s been 12 years since Australia beat Uruguay to qualify for the World Cup, but the success of that play-off is still influencing the Socceroos’ approach to playing Honduras in their quest to reach Russia.

Fairfax Media understands the Socceroos are looking at holding their pre-match training camp at a nearby neutral venue before flying into San Pedro Sula, Honduras, immediately before the game. It is a similar approach to how Australia prepared for their first leg tie against Uruguay in 2005, training in nearby Buenos Aires in Argentina before travelling to Uruguay for the match in Montevideo.

In 2001, Australia played Uruguay in Montevideo for a place in the 2002 World Cup and were subjected to an intimidating reception from supporters, including fireworks ignited around the hotel to disrupt the players’ sleep. That prompted a different approach in 2005 to avoid any potential disruption, by keeping the players away from the hostilities of local fans and media.

The 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Honduras will be played in one of the most dangerous cities in the world, at a venue that is notoriously intimidating. Should coach Ange Postecoglou choose to go down a similar road as Guus Hiddink did in 2005, Miami is firming as the most likely venue that Australia will use as a training base.

Football Federation Australia has already made tentative plans for the team to stay in Miami for several days before making the two-hour direct flight to San Pedro Sula on the eve of the match. It’s understood the national team coaches will make the final decision next week on where the team will be based.

While the chance of interference remains possible, the coaches are confident their players are more accustomed to difficult surroundings as a result of their experiences throughout this qualifying campaign. The most challenging environments the 2001 and 2005 teams that played Uruguay had previously experienced during qualification was in cities such as Honiara. By contrast, the 2018 hopefuls played in Bangladesh during a period of terrorist attacks targeting Westerners and required high-level security.

The Socceroos could charter a flight to take them from Honduras to Sydney after the first leg to afford the players as much recovery time before the second leg. The FFA assisted the Socceroos’ preparations for their AFC play-off tie against Syria with a chartered flight from Malaysia to Sydney and have not ruled out doing so for the final intercontinental play-off to get to Russia.

However, it may not be necessary as there are commercial flights available that could see the team arrive in Sydney only a few hours later than a chartered plane.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

Emirates dropping Brisbane and Melbourne to Auckland services

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Emirates says it is further reducing trans-Tasman services in favour of more Qantas-operated flights as part of the pair’s global alliance.

The airline will cease daily Melbourne-Auckland and Brisbane-Auckland flights by March 2018, leaving Sydney-Christchurch as its only trans-Tasman service, having dropped Sydney-Aucklandin June.

Further, Emirates has also flagged more nonstop services between Dubai and New Zealand as part of its network changes. It currently operates an Airbus A380 Auckland-Dubai nonstop service, the second-longest scheduled airline flight in the world by distance.

In their place will be seven more Qantas flights a week on the Melbourne route, and two additional services on the Brisbane route, the two carriers said in a joint-statement on Wednesday.

The move represents a capacity reduction on the Tasman given Qantas operates a mix of Boeing 737-800s and Airbus A330s on its Australia-New Zealand services, which have fewer seats than Emirates’ A380 flights.

Emirates said the end of its own flights between Auckland and Australia would allow for schedule changes for a “better spread of departure times” on services to and from its Dubai hub.

Further, the airline said it was “evaluating potential new direct services between New Zealand and Dubai”.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the changes reflected “customer demand, new aircraft technology and our respective network strengths”.

“The premise of the partnership has always been that we could serve our customers better together. That’s certainly been true for the past five years and now we’re evolving our joint network so we can serve them even better for the next five,” Joyce said in a statement

The changes are part of the the pair’s application to authorities in Australia and New Zealand to extend the alliance that was first struck in 2013 for a further five years, and which also cover previously announced return to Sydney-Singapore-London Heathrow flights and the start of Melbourne-Perth-London Heathrow Boeing 787-9 services.

“Reauthorisation of the partnership will allow us to leverage our combined network strengths to offer customers even more flight choices and reciprocal benefits for our millions of frequent flyer members,” Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said.

That pullback in seats should be welcomed by Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia, who have a joint-venture on trans-Tasman routes.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon noted recently the airline’s trans-Tasman network had been “very challenged for about a year” and suffered a weak 2016/17 first half due to increased competitive capacity and a decline in connecting passengers because of new direct services to New Zealand. However, Luxon there have been some improvements since then, albeit off a low base.

In addition to the cuts from Emirates, some fifth-freedom operators have also decided to pull out of the trans-Tasman market. China Airlines is due to end its Sydney to Christchurch service at the end of October, with Sydney-Auckland to wind up at the start of December.

And Philippine Airlines is switching its Manila-Cairns-Auckland rotation in favour of a nonstop Manila-Auckland offering from December 6.


Source  :  Australian Aviation