• Aconex revisits float plans with smaller, discounted offering

    Date: 2019.06.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Aconex is back on track to float after its revised initial public offering secured $140 million from cornerstone investors.

    A few weeks ago, the construction industry software provider took the unusual step of abandoning a plan to raise $230 million at $2.20 a share, following advice the stock was unlikely to receive enough support to perform well at listing.

    But joint lead managers Macquarie and UBS have now completed the institutional book-build for the re-engineered Aconex IPO, raising $140 million at $1.90 per share.

    “We had covered the book for a $230 million raising, but then the market came off, risk aversion was on the rise, investors were displaying a bit of IPO fatigue, and we wanted to make sure it traded well,” Macquarie head of equity capital markets origination Mark Warburton said.

    “The pipeline of technology companies coming to market is stronger than it has ever been. We are developing a really good local tech sector, but for that to work out this deal has to trade up.”

    Macquarie and UBS returned to Australian and Asian institutional investors that had supported the original Aconex IPO deal to cornerstone the new smaller, more competitively priced raise.

    The new deal also doubles the amount of existing shareholder stock held under voluntary escrow arrangements to more than 85 per cent. A large portion of these escrow conditions will expire after the 2015 results are announced.

    An updated prospectus is expected to be lodged with the regulators as early as Monday, after the new deal was struck on Friday and inked at the weekend.

    Exactly how much additional stock is to be made available in a small retail offer was still being determined. The listing is slated for December 9, 2014.

    Australia’s top two investment banks may have managed to convince Aconex founders Leigh Jasper and Rob Phillpot to give up $90 million in value so the float could be re-priced.

    “We are currently working with a number of other large technology companies that plan to list in early 2015,” Mr Warburton said.

    One company Macquarie is advising is Singaporean online real estate portal PropertyGuru, which Mr Warburton confirmed is targeting a listing in 2015.

    “Expect to see an increase in the number of south-east Asian technology companies listing in Australia,” he said.

    The listing of OzForex in 2013 kicked off the strongest wave of local large tech listings since the dot南京夜网 crash in 2001, including 3P Learning, Urbanise and now Aconex.

    “Over the past decade, investors have seen online businesses like Seek南京夜网, Carsales南京夜网 and Realestate南京夜网 grow in to multibillion-dollar companies that are global market leaders,” Mr Warburton said. “So the willingness of investors to put in the work to understand the more complicated models used to value high-growth internet businesses is growing.”

    Aconex will be the biggest float of an unprofitable technology company in the history of the local market. At listing the company will have a market capitalisation of $312 million.

    “The Aconex deal represents the next stage in the development of Australia’s equity capital markets. It proves that the local bourse can compete with the Nasdaq in attracting globally significant companies,” Mr Warburton said.

    “It also shows that while the pricing has to be competitive, Australian investors are becoming more willing to accept valuations based on revenue multiples, rather than the traditional emphasis on profit.”

    Founded in 2000, Aconex is today considered the market leader in collaboration software for the global construction industry. The company has offices in 22 countries, serving customers in more than 70 countries. Profits from the Australian operations have been plunged into offshore expansion, with the group forecast to record a net profit in the year ahead.

    Major international projects using the platform include the expansion of the Panama Canal, Hong Kong International Airport, Dubai Metro, Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and Battersea Power Station.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Was this fertiliser group taken to the cleaners by insolvency group and ANZ?

    Date: 2019.06.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    “Find out what yanks their chain. Prepare to get PO in court as soon as possible. Wants dirt on PO” – ANZ chief risk officer Chris Page giving directions to liquidators PPB.

    “PO” is Pankaj Oswal, the flamboyant Indian petrochemical billionaire who came to Perth and set up the Burrup fertiliser plant. Burrup was trading profitably but ANZ put him into receivership and now Perth Federal Court judge Antony Siopis has ordered an inquiry into the conduct of the receivers PPB and how they managed to charge $34 million over 13 months, including $13 million on lawyers Freehills Herbert Smith.

    Besides the instructions from ANZ executive Chris Page to get “dirt” on Oswal – contained in a file note of a conference call – a slew of embarrassing revelations has emerged in the Federal Court proceedings in Perth.

    Here’s a taste: the Oswals claim PPB spent 48 hours filling out a form (a “second form 524”) and charged $19,240. Further high charges were incurred for the filling out of another form (a “third form 524”), a task which apparently endured for 19 hours though, according to the allegations, the form was still not filled out correctly.

    Before we delve further into the detail of these meaty charges, some context. Belligerent billing by liquidators and lawyers is hardly news but there is broader significance in the Burrup case as it is one of two epic legal battles afoot where judges have actually stepped in and investigated the behaviour of the insolvency profession – even to the point of lifting the veil of legal secrecy.

    The other is the Homeric year-long legal battle between John Viscariello and the Adelaide establishment, where judgment is slated to be handed down next week in the Supreme Court of South Australia.

    In an interim judgment in August 2012, Chief Justice Chris Kourakis dealt the liquidator of Viscariello’s home wares business (Peter Macks, then also from PPB) and his solicitors, Minter Ellison, a brutal blow.

    “I have formed the view that the proceedings were prosecuted recklessly, indifferent to the possibility that they might be an abuse,” he found.

    The liquidator had chewed up $500,000 chasing a debt of just $28,000. That $28,000 debt belonged to Viscariello’s girlfriend at the time, Tanya Hamilton-Smith. The case got personal. PPB and Minters tried to get at Viscariello’s assets by bankrupting Hamilton-Smith and a plethora of lawsuits ensued.

    In the Viscariello case, the dogged plaintiff, John Viscariello, became a lawyer and funded the cases himself. In Burrup, the lawsuits have been funded by Oswal, a billionaire who feels slighted by the system – though his own conduct as chairman of Burrup had certainly not been beyond reproach.

    Responding for this story, ANZ said Oswal’s wife has previously admitted in court documents her husband forged security documents and they had “refused to return to Australia to face these serious allegations”.

    “Mr Page’s colloquial language shouldn’t distract from the serious fraud and tax allegations Mr Oswal is currently facing,” it said. “Given the gravity of the situation, it was incumbent on ANZ to ensure these allegations were fully investigated.”

    A statement from PPB Advisory said the firm “looks forward to addressing the matters you and Mr Oswal have raised in the appropriate forum: the Federal Court. The receivership of the Burrup Fertilisers assets involved very great complexity. PPB is proud of the outcome of the receivership and of the integrity of its people carrying out their roles”.

    The Oswals claim the receivership of the Burrup fertiliser plant ought to have been a relatively straightforward affair. The plant was not put up for sale. Aside from departure of Pankaj Oswal, there were no major changes in its 100-strong workforce. It was sitting on millions of dollars of cash and made a profit of $10 million a month. This was no distressed asset. Yet, according to Oswal, what resulted was a no holds barred fee frenzy in respect of which he was obliged to pick up the tab.  He has petitioned the court for a refund. He also wants each of the receivers deregistered, fined and banned from practice.

    Had not these actions – both Burrup and Viscariello – been well funded and pursued with high indignation, however, the behaviour of the liquidators and the lawyers might never have come to light.

    The central question for Siopis in the Burrup matter is whether there was a “proper purpose” for the charges incurred by PPB and its assorted advisers.

    Of the $34 million in receivership costs over just 13½ months, PPB raked in $14 million in fees, including $2.2 million in the last six weeks. PPB claims the receivership was a complex one with litigation to resolve. Legal fees in the last six weeks of the receivership were $1.4 million, mostly accruing to Freehills.

    Here is a sample of some of the claims about the receivership.

    * PPB flew wives and personal assistants interstate for New Year Eve celebrations;

    * The unlawful charging of pre-appointment fees;

    * Discrepancies between time sheets and invoices;

    * Charging for work that was allegedly never performed;

    * PPB staff recording exactly 7.5 hours a day;

    * Charging for dry-cleaning, groceries, snacks, stationery and even a traffic infringement notice;

    * Using Burrup’s corporate box at the Fremantle Football Club;

    * Charging for the solicitation of post-receivership work;

    * Resourcing the receivership with its staff from Melbourne whose travels cost Oswal a staggering $2.8 million.


    PPB invoiced partner Brendan Rew for $765 to “trip to Dalkeith and Peppermint Grove personal properties to conduct surveillance” on Pankaj Oswal. Another employee, Royden Saldana, was charged out for $620 for “travel to and from the directors’ properties”.

    Among the large unitemised invoices to ANZ was $149,000 spent in last three days of receivership. Partner Jeff Herbert spent 14 hours doing “privileged”. Partner Simon Theobald also spent five hours doing “privileged”; examples of what the Oswals’ claim describes as “alleged activity”.

    Among the $2.8 million in travel costs was a hotel bill, $948 per night, for a Joshua Stacks, an “Analyst/Intermediate 1”.

    The receivership was also billed for “government liaison” – some $13,200 by Robert Fisher who urged that Burrup renew its sponsorship and box at the Fremantle Football Club from September 2011 to January 2012.

    “One of the reasons Mr Fisher identified for such renewal was that PPB staff had used the table at the President’s Suite along with the ‘prime position seating’ to the games and obtained access to government officials and business leaders,” claims the Oswal pleadings.

    Then there were charges of $172,000 for PR firm Hintons, including $58,654.75 for “media monitoring services and press releases” in the last six weeks of the receivership.

    Also included in the travel expense was a traffic infringement notice. Some $1.4 million went on “professional fees” for professionals travelling and conducting while undertaking “travel-related activities”. Of this, $573,000 was incurred for activities carried out while on an aircraft.

    Although PPB chose to send a lot of staff from Melbourne to Perth to conduct the receivership, there were still bills for flights to Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and London.

    Partners, of which there were many, flew business class. Also, their personal assistants were flown to Perth and put up in hotels. Emily Bruce was flown from Melbourne to Perth to for four nights over New Year’s Eve 2010 and was accommodated at the Duxton Hotel, and again in January. No activities related to Burrup have been cited, according to the claim.

    Another PA, Emily Smith, also flew to Perth around New Year’s in 2010 for four nights.

    Siopis has reserved his judgment in an application by receivers and PPB partners Ian Carson, David McEvoy and Theobald to keep out of court many of the embarrassing allegations of misconduct made against them.

    In a hearing on October 15, Oswal’s barrister, Martin Goldblatt, used the term “tantamount to fraud” a number of times. He said the  PPB documents obtained under discovery had “lifted the veil of secrecy under which this receivership was conducted” and “reveal a systematic failure of administration and integrity right from the outset and until the very end”.

    PPB’s legal team asked the court to limit the scope of the inquiry.

    The Oswals’ legal team has accused ANZ of “aiding, abetting of being knowingly concerned … in breaches of duty … by the receivers and others” and “conducting the receivership for improper purpose”.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Sri Lanka raises the tax stakes on James Packer’s casino proposal

    Date: 2019.06.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    James Packer’s Crown group faces a new set of hurdles in his quest to open a $US400 ($457) million casino in Sri Lanka after threats by the country’s president that new gaming levies will be imposed should he win the upcoming January elections.

    Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is set to seek an unprecedented third six-year term, announced new funding measures in his latest budget.

    This includes a $100 entrance fee and a 10 per cent gaming levy on three proposed casino resorts, including one venture that includes Mr Packer’s Crown Ltd.

    Crown confirmed that it is still in discussions with the Sri Lankan government and did not comment further.

    Mr Packer has been actively pursuing clearance for his proposed mixed-use resort development in Sri Lanka.

    In May this year the government gave approval for all three projects to go ahead, without the casinos, and also granted 10-year tax breaks – despite strong opposition.

    The opposition UNP and some of Mr Rajapaksa’s own coalition partners who broke ranks voted against the tax concessions but the government has a comfortable majority in the 225-member legislature and the legislation was passed.

    There has been speculation that the three projects would be able to operate as casinos by transplanting the licences already held by local partners.

    Crown is undertaking the push into Sri Lanka with a local partner, Rank Holdings, which holds two casino licences.

    Mr Packer has previously remarked that Sri Lanka’s ambitious tourism targets were “only achievable with the right tourism infrastructure and attractions” and cited the success of Singapore in turning around its performance as a tourism destination with the development of two casino resorts.

    At the Crown annual general meeting in mid October, Mr Packer said: “As I have spoken about in the past, Crown is also looking at the rise of the middle class in other parts of Asia, including India. We are negotiating with potential joint venture partners and the Sri Lankan government to target this market by building the country’s first luxury integrated resort in Colombo and that work continues”.

    Crown’s projected opening in Sri Lanka is 2018, and it is being billed as the country’s first integrated resort with 450 luxury rooms, a signature restaurant and bars, a spa and pool and a “thematic lake water feature”.

    Mr Packer’s push into South East Asia follows the success of his Macau venture, Melco Crown Entertainment.

    Crown is also looking at expanding into Philippines and Japan, as well as a new property in Las Vegas.

    But Crown is also growing in Australia with a “six star” hotel and casino at Barangaroo in Sydney, which got the green light for a restricted gaming licence for Crown Sydney, from the NSW government in May.

    Lend Lease, which is developing the $6 billion Barangaroo site, has said it is in “ongoing discussions” with all the “stakeholders” in the project.

    “Nothing has changed [with Crown’s plan] … it is a very significant piece of land and we must consider a whole lot of options with a range of land owners,” Lend Lease’s chief executive Steve McCann said after his group’s annual general meeting last Friday.

    Crown has also entered into an agreement with a subsidiary of the international Chinese diversified property group, Greenland Holdings Group, to jointly prepare a detailed proposal to bid for the development of the Queen’s Wharf precinct in Brisbane.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Eddie Obeid: the weapon of choice in Auburn preselection stoush

    Date: 2019.06.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Eddie Obeid wrote a letter of support for Barbara Perry when she was campaigning in the 2001 byelection which saw her elected to the NSW Parliament. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer MP Barbara Perry said Eddie Obeid’s endorsement letter was a campaign initiative of ALP head office.

    Corrupt former Labor minister Eddie Obeid has become the latest weapon in the increasingly bitter ALP preselection battle for the state seat of Auburn, with the emergence of a glowing letter of endorsement he wrote for incumbent MP Barbara Perry.

    Mr Obeid penned his letter of support for Ms Perry when she was campaigning in the 2001 byelection which saw her elected to the NSW Parliament.

    In the letter, Mr Obeid noted Ms Perry is the daughter of Lebanese migrants to Australia who speaks fluent Arabic and whose maiden name is Abood.

    “Barbara is one of us,” Mr Obeid wrote. “She understands migrants and the issues which confront them, especially problems facing our youth at school and work. I am very proud to support Barbara Perry.”

    Mr Obeid has since been expelled from the Labor Party after having several official corruption findings against him and may face criminal charges.

    The potentially embarrassing endorsement has emerged just days after Ms Perry charged her opponent in the preselection, former Auburn mayor Hicham Zraika, with branch stacking offences under Labor party rules.

    Ms Perry is demanding the party investigate allegations that Cr Zraika paid for memberships and has been recruiting members who do not live at their claimed addresses to influence the ballot.

    If the allegations are found to be true, Ms Perry wants him suspended or expelled from the party. Cr Zraika denies the allegations.

    Ms Perry said the endorsement letter was a campaign initiative of ALP head office which it paid for and distributed.

    She said an endorsement letter from then Premier Bob Carr was also circulated to the community before the byelection.

    “Attempts to try and link me personally to a former minister found by the ICAC to have acted corruptly is nothing more than a sideshow distraction from the current spotlight on the serious local branch membership irregularities that I have been raising with head office for more than three-and-a-half years,” she said.

    Cr Zraika has received endorsements from federal shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and Werriwa MP Laurie Ferguson.

    Mr Bowen’s October 20 letter stated he had “no hesitation in attesting that Cr Zraika is a fit and proper person to represent our party in the state election” and found him to be “honest, trustworthy and appropriate at all times”.

    Mr Ferguson, a senior figure in the rival left faction, said he was confident Cr Zraika “would be a fitting representative, attuned to the area’s constituents”.

    Ms Perry said she had seven endorsement letters from community members but did not approach MPs.

    On Friday, Ms Perry’s charge was referred to the party’s internal tribunal for investigation. The preselection is due on December 6.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Murder trial with a twist: defamation jury to decide if Gordon Wood killed Caroline Byrne

    Date: 2019.06.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Gordon Wood was acquitted of murdering his girlfriend almost three years ago. Photo: Adam HollingworthAlmost three years after Gordon Wood was acquitted of murdering his girlfriend Caroline Byrne, a court has been asked to decide the question again – this time, with a lower standard of proof.

    The murder trial with a twist is the result of defamation proceedings brought by Mr Wood against newspaper publisher Nationwide News for alleging he did kill the Sydney model, whose body was found at the base of cliffs at The Gap in the early hours of June 8, 1995.

    A former chauffeur to stockbroker Rene Rivkin, Mr Wood was acquitted of the murder of Ms Byrne by the Court of Criminal Appeal in February 2012 after spending three-and-a-half years behind bars.

    The acquittal, which followed a guilty verdict in 2008, appeared to mark the final chapter in one of the state’s longest-running cases.

    But Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum said on Friday that the defamation case against Nationwide News would, in effect, involve the publisher “re-running the Crown case in the criminal trial” with a lower standard of proof that applies in civil cases.

    Nationwide News is defending the case on the basis that the allegation of murder is true. A 12-person jury will have to decide whether it has proven that Mr Wood killed Ms Byrne “on the balance of probabilities”, that is, it is more likely than not that he did.

    In a criminal trial where the liberty of an accused hangs in the balance, the Crown is held to a much higher standard and must prove guilt “beyond reasonable doubt”.

    Mr Wood brought defamation proceedings against four media outlets last year, including radio stations 2GB and 2UE. The court heard on Friday the Nationwide News case is now the “last one standing” after a string of settlements.

    Mr Wood’s barrister, Sue Chrysanthou, told Justice McCallum on Friday that he had settled his case against Channel Seven Sydney, which was to be tried at the same time as the case against Nationwide News.

    In September this year, Justice McCallum ordered that the case should be decided by a jury of 12 rather than four.

    “The determination of an allegation of murder is one which weighs heavily on those who have to determine it,” Justice McCallum said in a preliminary judgment.

    “In my view, a group of twelve jurors rather than four is better equipped to bear that responsibility.”

    She added the original trial received “a great deal of media attention” and a larger jury might help “dilute the influence of any single juror whose passions or antipathies may be aroused for or against one of the parties”.

    The court heard on Friday that Mr Wood had been resisting providing written answers under oath to questions, known as interrogatories, served on him by Nationwide News as part of its preparation for the case.

    At least one of the questions related to his movements on the night of Ms Byrne’s death and his answers would form part of the evidence in the trial.

    Ms Chrysanthou said it would be “oppressive” and “vexatious” to require Mr Wood to recall events from 20 years ago and he had already provided statements to police and journalists that could be used in the case. He did not give evidence in his murder trial.

    Justice McCallum ruled on Friday that Mr Wood should answer the questions.

    In 2012, the Court of Criminal Appeal found there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Wood had murdered Ms Byrne, then 24. The court said it was unclear how Ms Byrne fell to her death or whether Mr Wood had any involvement.

    The defamation trial is expected to run for up to eight weeks. A date will be set next year.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Tony Abbott seals free trade deal with Beijing

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    G20: full coverageCall me top trader Tony, as Abbott scores big time

    China’s President Xi Jinping has arrived in Canberra with what could be the most ambitious free trade agreement his country has signed since committing to the World Trade Organisation, promising billions of dollars in new markets for Australian exporters.

    The deal offered to Australian farmers and professionals, ranging from lawyers to aged-care providers, will meet and in many cases exceed what industry had hoped for.

    A last-minute breakthrough by Trade Minister Andrew Robb will give Australian dairy farmers tariff-free access within four years to China’s enormously lucrative infant formula market, minus any of the “safeguard” caps that currently restrict competitors from New Zealand, according to sources.

    Winemakers, currently selling more than $200 million worth of goods to China each year despite tariffs between 14 and 30 per cent, will also see tariffs eliminated over four years.

    Tariffs on horticultural products, seafood and other goods accounting for 93 per cent of Australian exports by value will also be reduced to zero by 2019. Shock tariffs recently imposed on Australian coal will be removed over two years.

    The Abbott government has given ground on labour, agreeing to a new case-by-case mechanism for Chinese investors to apply to bring in workers at Australian wage rates in areas of skills shortages.

    Private Chinese investors will have the foreign investment review threshold increased to a billion dollars, in line with Australia’s other FTAs.

    But the government has held its ground on all investments from politically sensitive state-owned enterprises, which will continue to be subject to automatic foreign investment review.

    This and other outstanding questions, most notably Australian sugar, will be reviewed within three years.

    Barring last-minute accidents, Mr Xi will sign the agreement with Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday afternoon after giving a historic speech to a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament.

    Mr Xi will sketch his vision of what he recently called his “Asia-Pacific Dream”, emphasising peace, prosperity and collaboration.

    He faces a tall challenge in attempting to rival the democratic and pluralistic principles and commitments that US President Barack Obama outlined for rapturous students at Queensland University at the weekend, before flying out on Sunday night.

    Mr Xi’s two-year tenure has been marked by oppression and an anti-corruption crusade at home, and confrontation abroad, but his global standing has been recently buoyed by a landmark climate change commitment with Mr Obama and a territorial truce, of sorts, with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    The FTA will highlight economic opportunities that the US cannot match, with China already buying nine times the value of  Australian goods exports as the US. Sources close to the deal say benefits are almost certain to exceed the $US18 billion over 10 years identified in an earlier feasibility study.

    The access offered to China’s service sector market place, in particular, is so unexpectedly extensive that government officials say the implications are potentially global.

    “China has sent a powerful signal that it is prepared to open and do business with a developed economy,” said a source close to negotiations.

    Industry representatives briefed on Sunday told Fairfax they were “shocked” at the breadth and depth of Chinese concessions.

    Subject to surprises in the fine print, health and aged care providers will be able to operate directly in China, leapfrogging providers from Japan, the US and Europe that had been queuing to service the vast, rapidly ageing but previously impenetrable market.

    Tourism and hospitality firms will be able to open hotels, law firms will be able to service clients directly from special Shanghai-zone headquarters and Australian universities will be able to market directly to Chinese students.

    Australia’s giant financial services companies, including ANZ and IAG, have received a boost with what appears to be preferential access not enjoyed by competitors in the US and Europe.

    Engineers, architects and dozens of other services sectors have made substantial inroads into what had always been a lucrative but exceedingly difficult market.

    “It looks on the face of it that we’ve got a sensationally good deal here for the Australian services sector,” chief executive of the Australian Services Roundtable Ian Birks said.

    “It’s so far beyond what anyone expected that it looks to me to be more than just a trade deal with Australia but a statement by the Chinese government to the world,” he said, speculating on whether Mr Xi had used this bilateral deal with Australia to kick-start a much-delayed wave of services-oriented economic reform.

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    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • NSW Premier Mike Baird to open medicinal cannabis symposium

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Premier Mike Baird will launch a symposium on the medical use of cannabis. Photo: Alex EllinghausenPremier Mike Baird will launch a symposium debating the medical use of cannabis on Friday.

    His appearance will add further weight to a controversial push to decriminalise the use of cannabis for the treatment of sick and terminally ill patients.

    Lucy Haslam, whose 24-year-old son Daniel has been using cannabis for relief of nausea, vomiting and poor appetite related to chemotherapy for the treatment of bowel cancer, has organised the symposium with the support of state government funding.

    To be held in Tamworth on Friday and Saturday, the symposium follows Mr Baird’s public support for finding a way to use cannabis as a medical treatment for illnesses such as cancer. The symposium will host a range of Australian and overseas health and legal experts to discuss the merits of the treatment.

    Earlier this year, Nationals MP for Tamworth Kevin Anderson drafted a private members bill to allow terminally ill patients to use cannabis.

    Mr Baird later announced the NSW government would run clinical trials of the drug. The trial will be devised by a working party that will report back to the government by the end of the year.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has thrown his support behind the planned trial.

    Mr Baird has also said the existing police discretion to not charge terminally ill adults if they are caught using cannabis for pain relief would be formalised through new guidelines.

    He said the clinical trial would “explore further the role cannabis can play in providing relief for patients suffering from a range of debilitating or terminal illnesses”.

    Last year, a NSW Upper House Inquiry recommended the state government approve use of cannabis for those suffering from chronic pain and amend the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act to add a defence to cover the authorised use.

    Health Minister Jillian Skinner indicated she would not support the recommendation but wrote to the federal government asking for further clinical research on the issue.

    Ms Haslam said Mrs Skinner and the Australian Medical Association had declined her invitation to the symposium.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Call me top trader Tony, as Abbott scores big time

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Abbott seals free trade deal with Beijing

    The title Tony Abbott applies to himself whenever possible is that of “the infrastructure prime minister”.

    As nomenclatures go, this is hardly pretty, rolling off the tongue with all the fluidity of building rubble.

    Besides, it is not even true yet, despite his government’s fast-tracking of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new projects.

    Like many of those in various stages of planning, “the infrastructure PM” is a work in progress – more rhetoric than reality.

    But on international trade, it is a different story. Here, Abbott is a world beater. Literally.

    Indeed, the first termer’s record on trade is unprecedented. Before even reaching the half-way mark of his first stint, Abbott has crashed through the wall of inertia and the tangle of befuddling technical difference that has stopped many before him, to conclude crucial free trade agreements with our most important partners.

    This year alone, he has signed landmark bilateral trade agreements with Japan and Korea, ending years of deadlocked negotiations. Ably assisted by the flinty Trade Minister Andrew Robb, whose commitment to staying the course is admired in trade circles world-wide, Abbott has succeeded where those before him failed to make ground. The secret ingredient is no secret at all: purpose.

    Australian exporters and consumers will be the winners. Together these deals are worth billions to the economy with tangible benefits in specific product lines and broader value in stability of markets and new opportunities yet to be imagined.

    On Monday, Abbott will unveil the latest and biggest addition to the free-trade trophy shelf: an FTA with China.

    This is the quintessential “big deal” removing and reducing tariffs and quotas in a market of 1.4 billion people within a $10 trillion economy.

    China’s economy is growing at more than twice the pale rates achieved by Australia and the US, and vastly more than Europe where the austerity hawks have all but killed the patient with cuts.

    China is already Australia’s biggest earner with two-way trade running at $150 billion annually.

    That is now set to accelerate with freer access by Australian producers to Chinese consumers of beef, wine, coal and dairy.

    But there will be big opportunities in service delivery too, which in many ways is the best aspect of the deal. Even Australian consumers will benefit with cheaper cars, high-tech products and more.

    Trade is central to Abbott’s foreign policy. He views it as the great enabler,  not just vital in raising living standards, but important to global growth and stability. Prosperous nations with open markets, he believes, have an increasing stake in protecting the international system of rules and norms.

    As the world eyes a rising China with some trepidation, Abbott has helped it see the economic virtue of integration,  a record worthy of the title of “the trade PM”.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • Police on the scrapheap

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    Thousands of uniformed police officers rallied outside NSW Parliament in Sydney in November 2011 to protest against the government’s plans to slash compensation payments to officers who are injured or disabled in the line of duty.

    The officers were furious with proposed changes to the police death and disability scheme, which would restrict some compensation payouts and place a greater emphasis on rehabilitating injured officers back to work.

    Mike Gallacher, who was police minister at the time, said spiralling costs of the death and disability scheme were unsustainable and had delivered lump-sum payments of more than $400,000, which had discouraged officers from returning to work. He said the government’s priority was to get injured police officers working again.

    When the insurance scheme was overhauled in 2012, the government awarded the contract previously held by MetLife to another insurer called TAL. There are more than 230 injured police still waiting to have claims settled by MetLife.

    The NSW Auditor General found that injured officers had cost the NSW Police Force more than $110 million in 2006–07. In 2011–12 the scheme cost $260 million, more than 10 times what was anticipated in 2005.

    In a report released earlier this year, the Auditor General said up to 526 police officers a year were receiving large lump sum benefits and medical discharge following long-term sick leave under the old scheme.

    Since the introduction of the new scheme, the number of medical discharges have fallen dramatically under a policy to return injured officers to duty as soon as possible.

    The Auditor General reported the new scheme had reduced the length of time injured officers are on benefits. It has also decreased costly claims for psychological injuries and the number of injured officers returning to work on rehabilitation. This had been achieved through reducing the incentive to claim a lump sum and leave the police force.

    Metlife has said that in the last 12 months it had considerably boosted its dedicated assessment team and reduced the number of cases significantly.

    The new government insurer, TAL, said it recognised the complexity of some claims and was working with all stakeholders to finalise claims as quickly as possible.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  • G20: Menu offers nation’s finest for world’s leaders

    Date: 2019.05.17 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    World leaders attending the G20 in Brisbane are being offered some of Australia’s finest produce.

    At the Leaders’ retreat barbecue, with executive chef Ben O’Donoghue:


    Cairns Vannella Co. buffalo mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes and basil

    Seared asparagus, peas, broad beans, goat’s curd and Mount Zero wild olives

    Kale salad with broccoli, avocado and toasted seeds


    Freshly shucked Moreton Bay rock oysters

    Cooked Mooloolaba king prawns with lime mayonnaise


    Moreton Bay bugs, figs, pancetta and fresh bay kebabs with chimmichurri

    Smoked and spiced Flinders Island butterflied leg of lamb with yoghurt and eggplant

    Cripsy skin Tasmanian ocean trout, avocado, apple, radish and watercress salad




    The G20 Leaders Dinner at the Gallery of Modern Art, with chef Josue Lopez:

    Entree: Hervey Bay scallops with organic Lockyer Valley cauliflower, Mooloolaba squid broth and local beach greens.

    Main: Kenilworth VIP Gold Pure wagyu fillet, Kalbar carrot textures, organic black garlic and Symphony Hill shiraz jus.

    Dessert: Wattleseed custard with Daintree chocolate and vanilla curd.

    The G20 Leaders’ Summit lunch on November 16, with executive chef Martin Latter:

    Entree: Grilled Darling Downs lamb fillets, sweet potato, caramelised onions, bush tomato jus, mint and pea shoot salad.

    Main: Pan-seared south-east Queensland king snapper, butter-poached bug, citrus sabayon, glazed baby carrots, sugar snap peas and vanilla bean beurre blanc

    Dessert: Coconut meringue, green mango salad, compressed pineapple, passionfruit and kaffir lime sorbet, coconut crumble.


    Spousal programme:

    Spouses of leaders (including Mrs Abbott) visited Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary this morning.

    They watched a demonstration of sheep shearing and rounding up of sheep by sheep dogs.

    They fed koalas and kangaroos and had a morning tea. The spouses will attend the evening reception this evening at GOMA before attending a private dinner and cultural performance.

    The leaders’ dinner will be leaders only.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.