Fair Trading cracks down on illegal tongue studs at Paddy’s Markets

Consumer protection officers from the NSW Department of Fair Trading force a stall owner at Paddy’s Markets to remove magnetic tongue studs which pose a swallowing danger. Photo: Ben Rushton A stall at Paddy’s Markets selling tongue studs. Photo: Ben Rushton
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A stall at Paddy’s Markets selling tongue studs. Photo: Ben Rushton

You may not have heard of it, but an illicit trade in fake tongue studs is alive and well in NSW – and the Department of Fair Trading is cracking down on it.

Plainclothes consumer protection officers from the department conducted a sting on sellers of the illegal studs at Paddy’s Markets in Sydney’s Haymarket on Thursday.

Although the tongue studs may not appear to be a pressing issue for consumer protection bureaucrats, the items in question – namely magnetic or suction suds – are potentially quite dangerous, the department says.

“There is a strong concern that consumers could be harmed by these small devices and we are strongly urging people not to purchase or use these,” Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said.

Unlike traditional studs, which poke through a  hole in the tongue, these newer studs do not require a piercing, instead using magnetic or suction force to stay attached. Because they are not permanently fixed, they can be swallowed.

In the case of the magnets, the department is concerned they can do bowel damage if they connect up with each other, because of their strength.

The woman who sold the earrings, which have been illegal since 2010, claimed she did not own the market stall.

She claimed they were not for tongues, but for earlobes.

“What [the sellers] tell you is rubbish,” director of Fair Trading’s Consumer Protection, Compliance and Enforcement Division, Michael Cooper, said.

“These items are [often sold by] spray-on tattoo artists, and fake tattoo artists,” Mr Cooper said.

They were often sold at fairs, he said,

The department fined the stall $550 for each piece of jewellery sold for “supplying a good in contravention of a prohibition order”, Mr Cooper said.

Consumer protection officers procured two items from the stall, so issued a fine of $1100. Offending sellers can contests the fines.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser dead at 84

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser.Obituary: a towering figure who crossed the political divideMalcolm Fraser condolence bookMalcolm Fraser: full coverageLive coverage
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Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has died.

“It is with deep sadness that we inform you that after a brief illness John Malcolm Fraser died peacefully in the early hours of the morning of 20 March 2015,” a statement from Mr Fraser’s office read.

“We appreciate that this will be a shock to all who knew and loved him, but ask that the family be left in peace at this difficult time.”

Mr Fraser was prime minister of Australia and leader of the Liberal Party from 1975 to 1983.

He was Australia’s 22nd prime minister, taking the job in events so dramatic they still reverberate decades on.

Mr Fraser was sworn in as caretaker prime minister in 1975 after the Whitlam government was dismissed in a constitutional crisis that followed months of budget deadlock in the Senate.

He led the Liberals to victory in the 1975 election before being succeeded by Labor’s Bob Hawke in 1983.

While the political left loathed Mr Fraser for his role in the 1975 “coup” against Gough Whitlam, the pair developed a close friendship post politics.

Mr Whitlam died in October last year.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, said Mr Fraser’s death marks “a sad moment for all Australians”.

“It’s a particularly sad day for all who cheered Malcolm Fraser on in those stirring days when he led the fight against what many of us thought was a bad government, the days of 1975,” he said.

“He was, as he put it, determined to turn on the lights and to restore Australia’s economic fortunes.”

Treasurer Joe Hockey said “history will be much kinder to Mr Fraser than many of his critics have been over the years”.

“He was a very strong character who was not afraid to stand up for what was right. The Liberal Party will be mourning his passing.”

“I think many Australians will be mourning his passing because he provided stability and reassurance at a time when Australia had gone through incredible upheaval,” he said.

“It is the end of an era, two towering figures,” he said, in reference to the deaths of political rivals Mr Whitlam and Mr Fraser.

Former prime minister John Howard, who also served as treasurer in the Fraser government, spoke to the media, paying tribute to the “remarkable strength and capacity Malcolm Fraser displayed in holding the Coalition together” during the constitutional crisis of 1975.

“Anybody who achieves what Malcolm Fraser achieved in his life deserves respect as a quite extraordinary Australian. He brought to the government of this country, he brought great integrity. As chairman of cabinet he had a fiercer knowledge of any submission that came across the cabinet table and pity help any minister who hadn’t sufficiently read the submission that had been prepared for him or her by the respective department,” he said.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard issued a statement of condolence, saying: “Malcolm Fraser in and beyond politics was a leader in the fight for racial equality.

“His brave stance against the evil of South Africa’s apartheid helped changed the world for the better. Malcolm will always be remembered kindly for his commitment to multiculturalism and his specific actions to resettle Vietnamese boat people in Australia.”

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd issued a statement honouring Mr Fraser’s achievements in fighting apartheid in South Africa, advancing the interests of Indigenous Australians and the passage of the Human Rights Act in 1981.

“Prime Minister Fraser will be remembered as a compassionate Australian, who cared for people at home or abroad, who had little or nothing to protect them,” he said

In recent years, Mr Fraser had become an outspoken critic of the Liberal Party and quit the party in 2010 over the party’s lurch to the right on issues such as immigration.

In a statement, former prime minister Paul Keating described Mr Fraser’s death as a “great loss to Australia”

“He detested what he saw as our strategic subservience to the United States and our willingness to be easily led from the path of a truly independent foreign policy.

“His public life also enshrined other important principles: no truck with race or colour and no tolerance for whispered notions of exclusivity tinged by race. These principles applied throughout his political life,” Mr Keating said.

Just last month, Mr Fraser wrote in Fairfax about what he saw as a worrying expansion of ministerial powers over asylum seekers.

Mr Fraser was a prolific user of Twitter in recent years.

His last message, a day ago, linked to an Australian National University website story: “Time for a new China vision – Asia and the Pacific – ANU” MPs pay tribute

In a statement, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Mr Fraser would be remembered, among many achievements, for introducing the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in 1976 and for his fight against racism.

Mr Turnbull said Fraser’s passionate belief in immigration and multiculturalism enabled large scale migration from Asia, including more than 50,000 refugees from Vietnam, and the establishment of multicultural broadcaster SBS.

“In office and out of it he showed himself to have a big and compassionate heart,” he said.

“Modern Australia would be very different without his vision and leadership.

“Whether one agreed with him or not, in whole or in part, one thing was never in doubt. Malcolm Fraser was a passionately patriotic Australian with a big, liberal vision for our country and its people.”

Attorney-General George Brandis credited Mr Fraser for inspiring him to enter politics when as a teenager he was struck by his dramatic resignation from the Gorton government in 1971.

“Although in his older years he was a very emollient figure, perhaps even more fondly thought of by the left than by the right, in his early days he was actually a divisive and rebarbative figure. He was the opposition leader who was responsible for the blocking of supply in 1975, so it just goes to show that in the course of a long life and in the course of a long career, people can mellow and soften as Malcolm Fraser undoubtedly did.”

Father of the House, Philip Ruddock, pleaded for people to look past the way Mr Fraser came to office in the wake of Gough Whitlam’s dismissal.

“Those who recall the manner of his election discouragingly should remember Malcolm as a liberal on issues of race and human rights,” Mr Ruddock tweeted.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne said: “Vale Malcolm Fraser. A life dedicated to the service of our country. We will be poorer without him. Thoughts are with his family.”

Assistant Education Minister Simon Birmingham wrote: “Though many disagreed with him at different times #MalcolmFraser was a man of conviction & compassion who gave much to public life – vale.”

Human Services Minister Marise Payne tweeted: “Vale Malcolm Fraser. A Liberal leader, great Australian, mentor to many in the political generations who followed him.”

Labor senator Doug Cameron was shocked to hear of Mr Fraser’s death on Friday, having only recently dined with the former prime minister and his wife Tamie.

“I am just devastated that Australia has lost a great voice for human rights,” Senator Cameron told reporters in Canberra.

Liberal Party pollster Mark Textor passed on his condolences on Twitter.

“Rest In Peace Malcolm #Fraser. A Man of considerable dignity and rare gravitas.”

Senior Labor MP Michelle Rowland tweeted: “Malcolm Fraser provided strong leadership on matters of multiculturalism and racial equality. May he rest in peace.” Time for a new China vision – Asia and the Pacific – ANU http://t上海龙凤419/vbSJiGDcmW — Malcolm Fraser (@MalcolmFraser12) March 18, 2015The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

YVONNE CAMPBELL: Taxout of house and home

THE NSW Greens propose to reinstate the vendor duty introduced by the former Labor government in 2004 but abolished in 2005.
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The 2.25per cent tax was payable by the seller of land where the sale value exceeded the purchase value by more than 12per cent. (The family home or farm was exempt).

They say reinstating the duty would raise $645million a year. But this is flawed thinking.

Last time round, the vendor tax stalled the real estate market.

Then the thriving investment property market, driven largely by mums and dads, turned into a ghost town overnight. That extra tax on the already over-taxed property market caused them to flee to other asset classes.

Scroll forward a decade and little has changed. The industry is still heavily taxed and much of the burden falls on owners.

In recent times, we’ve been given the message ‘‘don’t rely on a pension, invest to prepare for retirement’’. And many mums and dads have done just that – buying investment properties to fund their own retirement and, in the process, providing much needed housing stock for renters.

Investors bear a heavy burden – stamp duty, lender’s mortgage insurance, legal fees, interest, maintenance costs, property services costs, and capital gains tax when they sell.

Is it any wonder many see a more liquid, less costly share portfolio as a better bet?

But that doesn’t increase housing supply.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said, as before, the vendor duty would not apply to the family home or farm, and would help prevent first-home buyers being priced out by another housing bubble.

But that is simplistic, to say the least.

First-home buyers are not being priced out of the market by increasing property prices alone, but by general economic circumstance.

Those first-home buyers who choose to buy new property are supported into ownership through grants and stamp duty relief.

Those who are struggling to get onto the property ladder do so for reasons other than purchase price. The lack of employment, too little deposit, too many debts or not enough income to qualify for a loan are common reasons. Or they are resistant to buying new properties over old, better located ones that don’t attract grants and stamp duty relief.

The Greens assume revenue would be in the order of $645million a year, over four years.

But that is assuming that investors continue to buy property. History shows they do not.

With unemployment now over 6per cent, the Reserve Bank has been confronted with a dilemma: how to stimulate job growth without fuelling a renewed property bubble in Sydney.

The Greens say their package offers a unique response: ensuring that lower interest rates and new spending will stimulate jobs, not speculation.

Stimulating jobs should be the focus of any policy, but it should not involve taxing those who are trying to plan for their retirement.

Jobs growth needs to be aimed at our youth, not at infrastructure schemes that benefit big business, which can then argue a need to employ foreign skilled labour at the expense of our own unemployed.

And while the Reserve Bank may have its hand on the interest rate brake, that is of no use in controlling Sydney’s property market.

What will, though, is the market forces.

Major banks will eventually put a brake on that market by tightening lending criteria, so they are not exposed to too much risk.

Real Estate Institute NSW president Malcolm Gunning has warned that the government should not turn to the property market every time it needs money.

“The data from the last time we had a vendor duty is clear. The NSW government will be significantly worse off, as revenue from total tax collected will reduce because the property market will freeze up as it did last time,” Mr Gunning said.

NSW Labor’s policy to allow first-home buyers to pay stamp duty in instalments is also flawed. Many elect to roll that cost into their home loan. When interest rates rise, which they will, those young homeowners may find the looming stamp duty instalment difficult to pay, along with other regular housing costs such as insurance, rates and maintenance.

Deferring paying a tax that shouldn’t be as high in the first place is not going to pave an easier path for next generation home owners.

Anglican church responds to clergy claims

The Anglican Church has rejected complaints about the status of Bishop Peter Hollingworth.Melbourne’s Anglican diocese rejects suggestions it has ignored complaints about former governor-general Bishop Peter Hollingworth linked to his handling of sexual abuse cases.

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The denial comes as Victorian Reason Party MP Fiona Patten backs calls for Dr Hollingworth to stand down amid reports of survivor complaints about his continued status in the church.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne rejected any implication it ignored complaints about Bishop Hollingworth.

“All complaints against clergy are taken very seriously,” the church said.

The former Brisbane archbishop became governor-general in 2001 before resigning in 2003 following pressure over his handing of child abuse cases.

He apologised in 2016 during the child sexual abuse royal commission for failing to take action against pedophile priest John Elliot.

The commission last year found Dr Hollingworth made a serious error in judgment in allowing Elliot to remain in the ministry following an abuse complaint.

It also found he failed to take into account psychiatric advice that Elliot was an untreatable pedophile.

Ms Patten noted Dr Hollingworth was allowed to continue working as a minister following his evidence at the commission.

“I question whether there is another employer who would permit their staff member to continue working with children after such allegations were levelled against them, and as an act of contrition he should be asked to resign,” the MP said in a statement on Wednesday.

She also questioned how Dr Hollingworth was granted a Working With Children Check.

Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier said complaints against clergy were handled by independent professional standards body Kooyoora Ltd.

“My role is to respect that independent process and allow it do do its work, free of interference or public commentary from the church,” he added.

Jets coach welcomes FFA Cup date with Melbourne City

SUPERB: Dimi Petratos was among the Jets’ best in the hard fought 1-0 win over Gold Coast Knights in the FFA Cup round of 32 on Tuesday night. They have drawn Melbourne City in the next round. Picture: AAPNEWCASTLE coach Ernie Merrick was not disappointed when the Jets weredrawn to play Melbourne City rather than one of the non A-Leagueclubs in the next round of the FFA Cup.

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On the surface, a date with one of the 10 National Premier League outfitswould seem an easier task in the knockout competition.

But Merrick pointed to the difficulty the Jets encountered in a1-0 win over third-tier Gold Coast Knights on Tuesday night as an example of the danger a minnow can pose.

Admittedly the Jets were decidedly flat, having returned 24 hours earlier from Spain, where they played three games in five days.

“I am happy we are playing an A-League side,” Merrick said. “It is of more benefit tous. Sometimes when you play another A-League side, you are at the same stage in preparation.The Knights got stronger as the game went on. They are virtually at the end of their season, were well organised and match fit.We are not match fit.There was no doubt our boys faded in the final 20 minutes andwere pretty tired.Credit to Gold Coast, they really pushed us to the end.

“It was the first time Newcastle has got through the first round of the FFA Cup. We had to dig deep to do it, whichwas a credit to the boys.We are now pretty keen to beat Cityand take another step forward in the FFA Cup.”

A date for the City clash is yet to be finalised. The round of 16 will be played on August 21 and 22 andthe following Tuesday and Wednesday.

Apart from being better rested, the Jets will welcome back Ronny Vargas and Nigel Boogaard, who sat out the Knights game.

“We really missed Ronny,” Merrick said. “Nigel would have structured the backline a bit better. Both will be on deck for City. [Against the Knights]Glen Mosswas outstanding and so was Dimi Petratos. Dimi ran the show in midfield and was a real threat with his shots and freekicks. To get Ronny inas well, we virtually play with two No.10s in those two.”

The Jets beat City 2-1 in the preliminary final last season and were scheduled to meet them in a friendly in Melbourne next week, which has been canned.

The Jets also have friendlies planned against the Mariners and Sydney.

The clash against the Central Coast at Maitland Sportsground on August 25 is a week after Usain Bolt begins training in Gosford.

A Mariners official ruled out an appearance,on or off the field,by the eight-time gold medalist in Maitland much to the displeasureof Merrick.

“If he was playing it would be a good experience for the boys,” he said. “It would certainly attract a crowd.I reckon if a ball went in behind our back four, he would be first there.Hopefully it works out for the Mariners. It has created a bit of excitement.”

The Jets could have a couple of additions of their own by the Maitland hit out.

“We need two attacking players and another goalkeeper,” Merrick said. “The window in most European leagues closes at the end of August. There is nothing really on the radar that is close yet.”

David Jones debuts Spring Summer season

David Jones served up a diverse catalogue at its Spring Summer 2018 Collections Launch rehearsal.The show started with a bang and ended with a strike of elegance – a taste of the reinvention David Jones wants to inspire in its upcoming season.

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Dramatic thunder and lightning-like strobes were just the beginning of a diverse, colour-filled showcase of clothes at David Jones Spring Summer Rehearsal on Wednesday at Fox Studios.

As the storm cleared and summery sounds drifted from the speakers, Sundanese-Australian model Adut Akech emerged as the show opener popping in an emerald green, strapless bikini as she walked the nature-filled catwalk.

With more than 200 looks, the show served up a diverse catalogue with bold prints and interesting cuts for swimwear and slouchy suits, bold athleisure and frilled florals in day wear.

Evening wear featured attention-grabbing gowns of soft floating silks, gold-trimmed sequinned dresses and glittery blazers.

David Jones ambassador Jessica Gomes said the internationally focused show delivered classic, luxurious looks while also maintaining an effortless, cool feel.

“Designers really want to be part of culture,” Gomes told AAP.

“I think that’s really important to embrace diversity. I think that’s where fashion is heading towards.”

Gomes said she hopes people feel inspired by the season’s fresh looks and the idea of reinventing yourself.

“That’s what fashion is about. It’s about splashing colour into the world and getting everyone’s mind off the crazy things that are happening and just enjoying beauty,” she told AAP.

The star-studded show featured Anwar Hadid, the younger brother of supermodels of Gigi and Bella, and former Victoria’s Secret model Karolina Kurkova.

Finishing the show Kurkova stunned in an elegant black gown, followed by models sporting elaborate race day hats.

The Czech beauty said she is a huge fan of Australian designers citing Zimmermann, Ellery, Camilla and Marc, Dion Lee and Bianca Spencer as some of her favourite brands.

“I love your style and way of being – you’re nice, you’re genuine, you care,” she said on Australia.

The retailer previously said it chose the star as part of this season’s shifting focus to “health and wellbeing”.

“That’s the way I grew up – I love to be healthy and strong and to have a great energy. Life is better when you feel good.”

SOME of Aussie basketball’s all-time greats have jumped aboard three-time Olympian Suzy Batkovic’s campaign to raise funds for the nation’s drought-stricken farmers.

CHAMPION: Newcastle’s three-time Olympian Suzy Batkovic celebrates after winning last season’s WNBL title for Townsville Fire. Picture: AAPAN array of Australianbasketball’s all-time greats have jumped aboard three-time Olympian Suzy Batkovic’s campaign to raise fundsfor the nation’s drought-stricken farmers.

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Batkovic, the Newcastle born-and-bred veteran who captains WNBL champions Townsville FIre, has launched herown Buy A Bale page to provide starving livestock with truckloads of hay.

Within days, she has already raised almost $11,500 and attracted donations from superstars like Andrew Bogut, Lauren Jackson andMichelle Timms.

Each truckload of hay, plus diesel, costs $5500, and Batkovic said her goal was to fund “as many as possible”.

“I just wanted to help and make a difference,” she said.

“We’re onto our third truck now and I’m so grateful for the support. The drought is a crisis, a national disaster, and it’s been heart-breaking for so many good, hard-working people.

“I’m just hoping that withmy platform I can raise awareness and help these people continue to put the food on our tables.”

Batkovic’s Buy A Bale page can be accessed online via Facebook, or her Twitter and Instagram profiles.

More than $1.7 million has flowed into The Big Dry Drought Appeal since February to help farmers across NSW survive the unprecedented conditions.

The appeal is a partnership between Fairfax Media, Macquarie Radio and charity Buy A Bale and the funds are going out as quickly as they are coming in. The appeal has Buy A Bale campaigns in the Hunter,New England-North West, Western NSW and Southern NSW. It also has one in Queensland.

TheNewcastle Herald, Maitland Mercury, Dungog Chronicle, Scone Advocate and Hunter Valley Newsstarted the Buy A Bale Hunter campaign with the charity in February.

DONATE HERE: Suzy Batkovic’s Buy A Bale page.

Search for Qld chopper wreckage called off

Honeymooners Peter and Sue Hensel perished in a helicopter crash near the Whitsunday Islands.The search for a helicopter that crashed off Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands killing two American tourists has been called off, with authorities unable to find it.

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Honeymooners Peter and Sue Hensel died when the Eurocopter 120 crashed into water 250 metres from Hardy Reef Pontoon.

They were pulled from the wreckage by the pilot and another passenger but died at the scene.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau says the helicopter sank in about 60 metres of water near Hardy Reef but a cyclone soon after hampered search efforts.

Recovery operations by Queensland police and a salvage company in the two months following the crash failed to find the helicopter, the ATSB said on Wednesday.

The bureau believes the wreckage may have spread across a vast area.

“Personal belongings of one of the passengers were recovered from a beach at Cape Flattery … about 660 km northwest from Hardy Reef,” it said.

“This further demonstrated to the ATSB the potential distribution of the wreckage.”

The ATSB said given the length of time the aircraft had spent in the salt water any evidence that could be collected would be of little use.

A preliminary investigation by the ATSB found that as the helicopter approached the pontoon the pilot noticed a warning light before feeling a thud through the aircraft.

The nose of the helicopter then pulled sharply left causing the pilot to make a number of manoeuvres to regain control, the bureau said.

However the pilot was unable to control the aircraft and it crashed into the water before rolling onto its right side.

A 34-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, along with the pilot survived the crash.

The investigation continues.

Supervision order for IS fighter’s brother

Ahmed Elomar will be subject to an extended supervision order for two years.The brother of slain Islamic State terror fighter Mohamed Elomar will be subject to a strict anti-terror order limiting what he can do, where he can go and who he can talk to following his release from custody.

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In a NSW Supreme Court judgment on Wednesday, Justice Geoffrey Bellew said Ahmed Elomar would be subject to the extended supervision order (ESO) for two years.

The order, issued with Elomar’s agreement, has more than 50 conditions including that he wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, live at an approved address and surrender any passports.

The 35-year-old can’t access R18+ material or transfer cash overseas without permission, visit unapproved places, drive heavy vehicles or have sleepovers at other people’s homes.

The judgment comes after Elomar won an appeal in June over a conviction for threatening to kill a spectator at a Sydney junior soccer match.

The appeal judge couldn’t be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the Crown had proved its case about what was said at the May 2017 game.

Elomar was on parole at the time of the match for assaulting a police officer in 2012 during the Hyde Park riots.

He’s one of the first people in NSW to be subject to the ESO under the Terrorism (High Risk Offenders) Act.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman said there were other applications on foot and he expected more in coming months.

“This is a very tough regime, but an appropriately tough regime with checks and balances,” Mr Speakman told reporters in Sydney.

“NSW makes no apology for having the toughest anti-terrorism regime in the country.”

Hewson urges defence contract transparency

John Hewson says the public has been given mixed messages about the future submarine program.Lack of government transparency around the $50 billion future submarines program has led the public to doubt its authenticity, says former federal opposition leader John Hewson.

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Dr Hewson, leader of the Liberal Party between 1990-1994, says the public has been given mixed messages about where the submarine construction would be carried out.

With initial suggestions up to 90 per cent of the work could be done in SA but then indications more than a third would be carried out overseas, the situation was confusing, Dr Hewson said.

“I think those sort of differences in the message are very important and they cause people to doubt the authenticity of the project itself.”

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has said at least 60 per cent of the build will be carried out locally – the minimum for a project to be defined as a local build.

But Sean Costello, the former local boss of French designer Naval Group, had in 2016 flagged that figure would be 90 per cent.

His successor, interim chief Brent Clark, would not recommit on that target before a Senate committee last year.

Dr Hewson said transparency in defence procurement had been an issue over many years.

“People need to know the detail,” he said.

“You can’t pretend that you shouldn’t have to provide that or that it’s commercial-in-confidence because, quite frankly, that’s nonsense.”

The first of the fleet of 12 submarines, which will replace the ageing Collins-class vessels, is due to enter service in the early 2030s.

Mr Pyne has said the program is expected to generate an annual average of 2800 jobs during its lifetime.

Gus Gould is old school, not me: Griffin

Anthony Griffin has hit back at Phil Gould in an explosive interview addressing his shock sacking from Penrith a month out from the NRL finals.

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In his role as Panthers general manager, Gould nominated Griffin’s “old-school approach” to coaching as the prime reason for his axing on Monday.

But – while stressing he was not out to assassinate Gould’s character – Griffin had his own shot back on Wednesday night.

“Gus (Gould) hasn’t coached for 20 years. He hasn’t had his head in the fire for 20 years. If there’s anyone old school in the conversation … he’d need to be there as well,” Griffin told NRL 360 on Fox Sports.

“I’ve got my own methods. I’ve been in the business now for six or seven years and part of (being) a coach, you need to have a belief in yourself and your strengths.

“But I wouldn’t be sitting here today if I didn’t know what I was doing and if I didn’t have a team over three years (that progressed from) playing off for a wooden spoon to finishing sixth, sixth and now being a genuine premiership contenders.

“So if that’s old school, I’ll take it any day.”

The now unemployed 51-year-old said he publicly responded to his sacking for the sake of his family.

Griffin said Gould’s claim that the coach had lost the dressing room was merely “spin” to justify his sacking to the Panthers board.

“I can handle getting axed but suggestions that I don’t get on with the players is absolute rubbish,” Griffin said, backing up what star playmaker James Maloney said on Tuesday.

“I’ve had a great relationship with the players … I’ve spoken to most of the players on the phone. I’ve had some nice text messages.”

Griffin also suggested Gould, not him, was the control freak that caused their fractured relationship and denied Gould’s claims that he failed to utilise his assistants enough.

“My relationship with Gus was very good at the start and he’s got a brilliant football brain,” Griffin said.

“One of the main reasons I did come down was to work with him and obviously he’s a different style of football brain to me and I learned some things off him and he was really good to work with.

“But … I understand how brutal our game is, so we can spin it as much as we like about why or when, but why I’m not coaching anymore is because we had a difference in philosophy on how the team should be coached – not the structure or the use of staff or anything like that.

“The suggestion that I didn’t involve staff is totally untrue.”

Griffin declared his near-three-season tenure at Penrith as “very successful” and said he’d done everything – and more – asked of him when Gould head-hunted him to take charge of the Panthers in 2016.

“I was brought in to do a job from the inside out. Or that was my vision for the players – and it’s happening,” Griffin said.

“I know something Gus said about the next level or we couldn’t go to the next level (under my coaching). Well, we’re at the next level and we’re there quicker than I thought we would be.

“They’re a real good chance of winning the comp this year – and we’ve done that mainly with players we’ve produced.”

China, Germany defend business with Iran

China and Germany have defended their business ties with Iran in the face of President Donald Trump’s warning that any companies trading with the Islamic Republic would be barred from the United States.

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The comments from Beijing and Berlin signalled growing anger from partners of the United States, which reimposed strict sanctions against Iran, over its threat to penalise businesses from third countries that continue to operate there.

“China has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.

“China’s commercial co-operation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions,” it added in a faxed statement to Reuters.

“China’s lawful rights should be protected.”

The German government said US sanctions against Iran that have an extra-territorial effect violate international law, and it expects Washington to consider European interests when coming up with such sanctions.

The reimposition of US sanctions followed Trump’s decision earlier this year to pull out of a 2015 deal to lift the punitive measures in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program designed to prevent it from building an atomic bomb.

European countries, hoping to persuade Tehran to continue to respect the deal, have promised to try to lessen the blow of sanctions and to urge their firms not to pull out. But that has proved difficult: European companies have quit Iran, arguing that they cannot risk their US business.

In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by an Iranian newspaper as saying that a US plan to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero would not succeed.

US officials have said in recent weeks that they aim to pressure countries to stop buying oil from Iran in a bid to force Tehran to halt its nuclear and missile programs and involvement in regional conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

“If the Americans want to keep this simplistic and impossible idea in their minds they should also know its consequences,” Zarif told the Iran newspaper.

“They can’t think that Iran won’t export oil and others will export.”

AFL great says Mitchell has to learn grey

West Coast assistant Sam Mitchell is returning to Melbourne and may look for a gig with the Hawks.Before Sam Mitchell commits to any AFL club’s colours, coaching great David Parkin thinks he needs to learn the meaning of grey.

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Parkin, a major influence in Mitchell’s career, smiled on Wednesday when asked about what the aspiring coach should do next.

He compared Mitchell to Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, another famously-driven footballer, perfectionist and high achiever.

“Sam has the problem Bucks had early – he doesn’t know the difference between black and white,” Parkin said.

“There’s a thing called grey in between. Sam is smart enough to do what Bucks has done over time.

“It’s taken a while for Bucks to become the person he is, which has allowed him to become a better coach.

“He understands there’s a lot of grey in the world, which I don’t think he understood originally.”

Late last month, Mitchell confirmed that he wants to leave his role as an assistant coach at West Coast and return to Melbourne for family reasons.

There is strong speculation that Mitchell will return to Hawthorn, where he built his reputation as one of the game’s best midfielders.

Parkin acknowledges the argument that Mitchell should go to another club first and continue to build his coaching resume, perhaps at a struggling outfit such as Carlton or St Kilda.

But the Hawthorn and Carlton premiership coach thinks a more successful club might be a better option.

“You might go to a club that needs help and make a difference there,” Parkin said.

“My advice to him would be to go to fertile ground, where you know what’s there will help you develop personally, but then you can make a difference and help that club go where they want.”

Parkin was the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s MCG launch of a book commemorating the Norm Smith Medallists.

He has watched every grand final live since 1949 and said Gary Ablett Snr’s nine goals in the 1989 decider remains the best Norm Smith Medal performance.

“I was entertained, despite the fact he was in the opposition camp, like nobody has entertained me in any grand final before,” Parkin said.