Gold loses century of pricing tradition to technology

The first gold fixing took place in 1919 in a wood-paneled room at Rothschild’s offices in London. Dealers each had small Union Jacks to signal the need to change orders. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe Almost a century of tradition will disappear from the gold market as technology takes over. Thursday will be the last day that traders at four banks agree by phone twice-daily on prices used by miners to central banks to deal and value bullion. Gold will be the last precious metal to drop the London fixings after silver, platinum and palladium made way for electronic auctions last year. More firms able to participate in the benchmark will make the $US18 trillion ($23 trillion) global market more transparent, said ICE Benchmark Administration, which will start running the LBMA Gold Price on Friday. Anyone can follow auctions online, rather than needing a line to a fixing dealer. “The important thing is that information can be pushed out to a wider audience,” said Ross Norman, chief executive officer of dealer Sharps Pixley and who was at N.M. Rothschild & Sons in the 1990s, when it was part of the fix. “If they can bring greater depth to the market, that is a change that will be welcomed.” The first gold fixing took place in 1919. Meetings had been held in a wood-paneled room at Rothschild’s offices in St. Swithin’s Lane until the process was switched to a telephone conference call in 2004. Dealers who met in the room each had small Union Jacks, the UK flag, to signal the need to change orders. Those gathering were known to keep yearly price predictions on pieces of paper in an old clock case. The usual offering of coffee and biscuits was bettered by a glass of sherry after fixings on New Year’s Eve, Steve Garwood, a trader at Baird & Co., a precious-metals dealer in London and who first took part in fixings more than three decades ago, said last year. Gold market
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About $US18 trillion of gold circulated globally in 2013, according to CPM Group, a New York-based research company. Gold was fixed at $US1,147.25 an ounce on Wednesday afternoon. Deutsche Bank triggered the reforms last year when it withdrew from precious metals benchmarks. That left Societe Generale , Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC Holdings and Barclays to set gold prices. The London Bullion Market Association said last month that Chinese banks are among those in talks to take part in the new method, with a “more diverse pool” of participants. Spokesmen from the LBMA and ICE declined to comment this week on which banks will start setting prices from Friday. Market tradition

The process will still take place at 10:30 am and 3 pm London time, with buy and sell orders submitted electronically in rounds until a price is found. Like now, ICE says a chairperson will determine a price for each round and it will then consult on developing an algorithm to do so.

Silver, platinum and palladium use algorithms to start auctions, while the London Metal Exchange, which runs the platinum and palladium procedure, also has a committee that can step in if necessary. As tradition cedes to technology, a human aspect will also be lost, said James Moore, who took part in fixings for about five years from 1996. “The inter-personal aspects of the market is being lost in the name of automation, liquidity and transparency,” said Moore, an analyst in Kettering, England at FastMarkets. While a necessity, calls were also an opportunity “to build up relationships over time and that often opened doors.”


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

Bachelor NZ contestant Poppy lets off wind on first date with Arthur Green

Poppy in a compromised situation in a screengrab from the show. Photo: Supplied Bachelor: Arthur Green. Photo: Supplied
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Embarrassing: Yoga instructor Poppy. Photo: Supplied

There are countless things that can go wrong on a first date; from turning up late, to forgetting to wear deodorant, to making a move too soon, but in the case of an unfortunate female contestant on The Bachelor New Zealand, her worst nightmare was confirmed with a small amount of unwanted gas.

English yoga teacher Poppy was settling into a romantic beach date with Bachelor Arthur Green, when she tried to relieve herself at just the wrong time.

Most likely unaware about what was about to unfold, Poppy let out an audible fart, at a time when the couple would be seriously considering whether or not they had any chemistry.

Unfortunately, the chemistry within her stomach didn’t agree with what she had eaten, prompting Poppy immediately to put her hands to her face in sheer embarrassment.

It’s the age-old question: should you own up to a fart of your own? Can you blame it on someone, or an animal for that matter?

“Did you just fart?” Arthur asked. With her back against wall and in deep trouble, Poppy attempted to offload the blame.

“I slipped in the sand,” she said. It was a commendable effort, but Arthur wasn’t convinced.

“Squeaky sand, hey?” he said cheekily. “It is always a matter of time before someone farts in front of someone else, isn’t it?”

With seemingly no other option, Poppy owned up to her unfortunate bowel movements and tried to make light of the situation.

“Usually not on the first date,” she said.

In the real world, it’s usually pretty hard to come back from farting on the first date. Males aiming to press their claims with a new woman might as well put a black line through their name.

But, in this instance, Poppy can consider herself extremely lucky as she received a rose from Arthur and a second chance at true love.

“I love the way she owned up to it – it was hilarious!” Arthur, who runs a paleo diet company, said in an interview after the date.


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

Owner has Country Championships hopes crushed but still in the Golden Slipper

Big week: Trainer Nick Olive with Golden Slipper starter Single Gaze. Photo: Graham Tidy
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Big week: Trainer Nick Olive with Golden Slipper starter Single Gaze. Photo: Graham Tidy

Big week: Trainer Nick Olive with Golden Slipper starter Single Gaze. Photo: Graham Tidy

Big week: Trainer Nick Olive with Golden Slipper starter Single Gaze. Photo: Graham Tidy

Owner-breeder Wayne Oxford had his week planned after drawing the barrier for late entry Single Gaze in the Golden Slipper on Tuesday, and it had included a trip to Goulburn for the Country Championships on Friday.

That is off the agenda, with his charge Halfpenny Gate only third emergency for the $100,000 heat.

“It cost us, as a group, 150 grand to get into the Slipper but at least we got a run,” Oxford said. “These Country Championships races are tough to get in.

“We have missed a couple of runs elsewhere to have Halfpenny Gate in this race and now we have missed out, which is disappointing. It means I’m concentrating on Saturday and Rosehill.”

Single Gaze’s trainer Nick Olive will still hope to do the Goulburn-Slipper double as Without A Shadow fronts up in the Country Championships heat after her first-up fourth in the National Sprint on March 8.

“This race was what we had in mind for her and the run at Canberra just topped her off well,” Olive said. “She actually went very well there.

“She is [a] really nice type and she was placed in an Albury Guineas and runner-up in the Wagga Guineas over this trip as a three-year-old. I think she should [get] the right run from a good draw and prove hard to beat.”

However, it is hard for Olive to get away from having his first Golden Slipper runner on Saturday. Single Gaze continued her habit of drawing poorly but the owners thought it was worth the gamble of paying up.

“It wasn’t on the plans originally but when they win more than $200,000 they have earned the right to be there and I think she will run [a] better race than a lot of people expect,” Olive said.

“It was actually a shock to me that [they] wanted to pay up but we are there. She worked great the other day and the owners were keen to give her her chance.”

Oxford was given the task of drawing the barrier and during Tuesday’s event he was getting more deflated as all the inside barriers disappointed before Single Gaze’s name came out.

“She has never drawn a good gate and by the time I got up the other day 11 was the best I could do. She is out there with Vancouver, so hopefully she gets a good run and can get home late,” Oxford said.

“It is quite exciting to be racing a horse we bred in the Slipper and she is due a bit of luck.”

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

Blacktown mayor’s 90-storey tower plan to block Badgerys Creek airport ‘stupid’

Determined: Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali wants to build towers to sabotage the second airport at Badgerys Creek. Photo: Fairfax-Media-Australia Anti-airport: Stephen Bali has invited developers to build 90-storey towers in the heart of Blacktown. Photo: Phyllis Macgraw
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A western Sydney mayor’s scheme to sabotage the building of the new airport at Badgerys Creek by advocating building new apartment buildings up to 90 storeys high to block planes’ routes has outraged neighbouring councils.

“The only real way 90-storey buildings would stop planes would be if you built them actually on the runway,” said Penrith mayor Ross Fowler. “And, in any case, if you were against the airport, it would be better to put up logical, sensible arguments rather than this stupidity.”

Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said on Tuesday he was inviting property developers into his area to build massive towers in the hope of scuppering the airport. He feels the planes will be too noisy and will disturb locals at night.

On Wednesday Mr Bali told Domain: “If that’s what it takes to make people think again about the airport, then I’d welcome any developers contacting me.”

“I’ve already had a number come to me since then about proposing 20 storeys or more, but if anyone comes up with a 90-storey building, we’re happy to go through all the planning processes,” he said.

“We don’t want four million people living around the airport being subjected to 24-7 noise.”

But his words have brought condemnation from fellow mayors in western Sydney. Mr Fowler said: “Everyone recognises the benefits of the airport in terms of the investment and job opportunities and the chance for people to work closer to home.”

Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun said Mr Bali’s comments show why such decisions “should be left to the experts, rather than politicians”.

“Our council is 100 per cent in favour of the airport because of the investment and jobs it will bring,” Mr Mannoun said.

“At the moment, 70 per cent of the workforce have to travel outside the local government area to go to work, which is unsustainable.

“This airport will bring us a lot of economic benefits.”

Such massive towers would be equally unwelcome in Campbelltown, says its mayor, Paul Lake.

While he feels the airport at Badgerys Creek should have a night curfew, like Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, and there should be a trial of flights 24-7 in Sydney before allowing them in western Sydney, he said the airport is already decided.

“It’s going to happen but we want to safeguard the quality of life of the residents,” he said. “And as for 90-storey towers … I’d be buried alive if we were to agree to that!”

Even where such lofty towers are actually being proposed and debated – in  Parramatta – the mayor Scott Lloyd is unsympathetic. By the time the plans actually got through anywhere else, the airport could be operational, he said.

“It’s ludicrous to say that,” he said. “There’s already legislation in place stopping new developments in the flight path anyway. And we are looking forward to Western Sydney Airport. We’ll benefit with jobs, infrastructure, satellite industries, services transport, logistics …”

Mr Bali’s remarks have, however, drawn attention to local reservations about possible noise problems for western Sydney, believes Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone. “If people in Blacktown, 20km away, are going to be so impacted, then what about the noise levels for those closer to the airport?” he said.

“I’m in favour of the airport, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions, like the noise, infrastructure, grants to improve the acoustics for people’s homes, and the need for better community consultation. But I’m not supportive of 90-storey buildings that, in my view, will bring the slums of the future.”

That’s not to say developers would be so eager to build 90-storey blocks in Blacktown, either. Developer Theo Groutsis of Better Buildings, which has already developed apartments in the area, such as the 20-level Centralis tower, is unmoved by Mr Bali’s comments.

“We don’t make decisions based on stopping things going ahead,” he said. “We make them on economic viability and whether a lot of factors stack up.”

Tony Hadchiti, the president of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, also says such towers should be built only when they’re needed.

“We should be planning our cities based on what our cities cater for, not saying we want buildings to stop airports,” he said. “Both sides of government have committed to this airport and we should allow the process to take place. This is set to be the biggest game-changer for western Sydney.”

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

Herald Breakfast – March 19 2015

Morning Shot: Instagram’s @mickloxleyphotography shared this sunrise on Thursday. Weather:Mostly sunny in Newcastle (27 degrees) and Maitland (33 degrees) with sunshine in Scone (35 degrees).
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Trains:Passengers travelling on the 5:45am Central to Hamilton train were advised to allow an additional 20 minutes travel time due to the train requiring mechanical repairs at Thornleigh earlier.

Traffic: No major incidents reported on Hunter roads.

Beachwatch:It’s going to be warm and partly cloudy today so another goodpretty day beachside. The wind will be south-west to south-east with the swell from the east around half to one metre. Mostopen beaches will be feeling the effects of the wind with thesouthern ends being the better value.

Morning Shot:Instagram’s @mickloxleyphotography shared this sunrise on Thursday.

Ten penalised in widespreaduni cheating scandal:THE University of Newcastle has expelled two students and suspended a further eight after its investigation into a widespread cheating scandal centred onan online essay writing company.

Massive medical costs in the Hunter:THE Hunter is home to some of the biggest medical bills for people who visit their family doctor 12 or more times per year in Australia.

Crakanthorp cranky over snapshot, voter claims: A HEATED exchange involving Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp on one side and Liberal booth workers and a retired “swinging voter” on the other has been investigated by the police and the NSW Electoral Commission.

Kade Snowden’s push for pack leadership:His role is uncomplicated and unglamorous but should never be underestimated.

Thurston shocked at Newcastle tackle: The Queensland playmakerfeared he might have suffered a neck injury after a dangerous tackle by Newcastle players and believes they should have known better considering the injury suffered by Alex McKinnon.

Herald Half-Time: Do the Jets have anything left to play for?ONLINE SHOWJoin the panel as theydiscuss the 4-0 thumping against Melbourne City and where the Jets go from here.

Unlawful share trade by blue chip broker earns millions

Baillieu Holst director Stephen Macaw (right) and NewSat Limited CEO Adrian Ballintine (centre). Federal National Party senator John Williams has vowed to grill ASIC officials over the Baillieu Holst shares matter Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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A director of blue chip stockbroking firm Baillieu Holst unlawfully sold 17 million shares that earned millions of dollars for an entity associated with his brother.

But Fairfax Media can reveal the prestigious Collins Street firm was never punished by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, despite the deal breaching Australia’s market integrity laws that ban the trading of unquoted securities.

Dealing in unquoted shares is outlawed to ensure fair trading and the timely disclosure of important information that may affect a company’s share price.

In a decision that has incensed its critics, ASIC allowed Baillieu Holst to handle the matter after the firm “self-reported” the breach. Under ASIC’s rules, Baillieu Holst could have been publicly sanctioned and fined $100,000.

Baillieu Holst has impeccable stockbroking pedigree and was formed after the 2012 merger of two of Victoria’s 19th century broking firms E.L & C Baillieu and F.W Holst. Although the firm was founded by the ancestors of former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu and still carries the famous family’s name, it has not had a Baillieu on the board since 1999.

Its breach of ASIC’s rules involves the trading of 17 million shares in the Melbourne satellite company NewSat, which has $400 million in US and French government-backed finance to fulfil its ambition of launching Australia’s first privately owned and operated satellite.

But as Fairfax Media revealed last month, NewSat’s questionable corporate governance and high spending — including its financial dealings with the motor yacht company of NewSat chief executive Adrian Ballintine — has led to a deteriorating relationship with its lenders.

Baillieu Holst director Stephen Macaw traded the 17 million NewSat shares to clients of the firm on the morning of 29 October 2013 at 52¢ apiece, generating $8.8 million for an offshore entity associated with his brother.

Fairfax Media has confirmed the NewSat shares had not been formally quoted as required under Australian law. NewSat only advised the market it had issued the 17 million shares seven hours after they already had been sold.

NewSat had promised the shares as a form of repayment to an offshore entity associated with Mr Macaw’s brother, Scott Macaw.

In July 2013, New Zealand-registered Orbital Capital made a secret 180-day, $5 million loan to NewSat to bridge a funding shortfall of $2.9 million.

As part of the deal – which was not disclosed to the market at the time – NewSat agreed to pay Orbital a fixed interest fee of $1.4 million, which was an extraordinary interest rate of 56 per cent.

To repay the loan and interest, NewSat agreed to provide Orbital with 17 million shares at a 25 per cent discount to their market value.

NewSat and Orbital agreed to end the loan deal early in late October 2013, a time the company’s share price was the highest it had been in months. With Baillieu Holst immediately selling the shares at 52¢ apiece, Orbital made a profit of $2.4 million in addition to its $1.4 million interest fee.

It is understood that the loan was negotiated directly between NewSat and Orbital and did not involve Baillieu Holst or Stephen Macaw, who had led NewSat’s equity raisings.

Orbital’s principal, Zurich businessman Christoph Dietsche, is on the board of a Danish company with Scott Macaw. Orbital was also associated with now defunct New Zealand company, Kiwi Deposit Building Society, which was co-directed by the Denmark-based Scott Macaw.

The unexpected selling of 17 million shares – which was about five times NewSat’s average daily trading volume at the time – was a disaster for shareholders, who saw the share price fall from 57¢ to 38¢ in less than two weeks.

To conceal the debacle, NewSat released a series of misleading statements to the Australian Securities Exchange and ASIC which failed to disclose that the Orbital shares had already been sold. “Our statements were an attempt to paper over a pile of shit,” a former senior NewSat executive told Fairfax Media recently.

But just as no regulatory action was taken against Baillieu Holst for breaching market integrity rules, NewSat has also not been asked to account for its statements. ASIC declined to answer questions about its actions.

Federal National Party senator John Williams has vowed to grill ASIC officials over the Baillieu Holst shares matter when they appear before a parliamentary committee on Friday. Greens leader Christine Milne said the case reinforced a perception that “it seems that there are two laws in Australia, one for the big end of town and one for everyone else”.

NewSat legal counsel Bill Abbott said on Tuesday that in hindsight it would have been advisable to have advised the market that Orbital had immediately sold the shares. But he added that he was busy ensuring “the legalities got in place as soon as humanly possible”.

Prior to trading the shares, Baillieu Holst’s Stephen Macaw is believed to have been assured by NewSat that he was legally able to do so. However, he failed to check whether NewSat had actually submitted all the paperwork to make the share trade legal.

In a statement, Baillieu Holst said it took immediate action once it became aware an “administrative error” had been made. This included reporting the breach to ASIC, engaging external lawyers to conduct a review and taking “appropriate action” internally.

The firm said neither it nor Stephen Macaw had a conflict of interest in relation to its role raising capital for NewSat. It said NewSat had its own relationship with entities associated with Scott Macaw that provided finance.

“To the extent that these entities used Baillieu Holst as a broker, they did so on normal commercial terms and with appropriate disclosure by Stephen Macaw to Baillieu Holst management.”

Scott Macaw’s Kiwi Deposit also traded NewSat shares and held $2 million worth of them at the time it went out of business in April 2013. Kiwi Deposit also has an outstanding $440,000 loan to Mr Ballintine’s yacht company.

Kiwi Deposit ran into trouble in New Zealand in 2012 when ASB bank moved to terminate its relationship and close dozens of accounts. A senior ASB executive told New Zealand’s High Court of his bank’s concerns about certain Kiwi Deposit transactions, including a US$ 1 milion transfer from a Tunisian company to an Islamic bank in the United Arab Emirates via a Kiwi Deposit account.

with Mark Hawthorne and Lucy Battersby

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

Entertainment from when radio was king

Film stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were also popular radio performers in the 1950s.Radio has been around for almost 200 years but podcasting is a relatively recent form of communication. The Boxcars711 Old Time Radio Pod combines media, taking recordings of radio programs created between 1930 and 1970 and making them available as podcasts.
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The podcast originates from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is hosted by veteran radio DJ Bob Camardella, although his recorded input here is mostly limited to occasional episode introductions. According to hosting site Podomatic, Boxcars711 pushes out more than 4.2 million downloads a year.

It’s amazing that so many shows have been preserved, and for the most part sound quality is good to excellent. At worst, some programs sound as if you’re listening to a scratchy old phonograph record. Several shows are released each day; I’ve been listening for several years and am still hearing new material. The Old Time Radio Radio Researchers Group database lists more than 212,000 individual episodes of about 2250 series that were produced.

If you’re old enough to remember a time before television, when radio was a vital part of the average family’s home entertainment, you’ll enjoy renewing the experience. For children of the 1950s and early ’60s, it’s fun discovering the roots of many of popular TV shows of the time. But if you just want to listen to some great stories, without being tied to a screen, and let your imagination run, you’ll love these podcasts. Most were recorded in studios and distributed to affiliated stations for rebroadcast, but many – especially comedy programs – were performed and recorded in front of audiences and you can hear their reactions and even, occasionally, actors flubbing their lines.

They were broadcast on commercial radio networks and most of the preserved recordings have had the advertising content removed. But when the ads have been left in, it’s a real eye-opener for how attitudes have changed. Children’s shows such as the western Wild Bill Hickok were sponsored by breakfast cereals whose claim to fame was the huge amount of sugar they contained, and children were encouraged to snack on them all day long (childhood obesity, anyone?). Cigarette companies were also big sponsors (doctors attest that one brand is less irritating to your throat).

Most of the programs are about 30 minutes long and they include drama, western, comedy, crime, horror, medical and science fiction. There are even programs in which the main characters are newspaper journalists. By far the most popular genre was detective and police stories. The best-known of those making the transition from books to radio include Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes, but there were others such as The Falcon, The Whisperer, The Blue Beetle, The Shadow and Boston Blackie. Westerns were also popular, and familiar titles include Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, and Have Gun, Will Travel. As for comedy, shows by Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, George Burns and Milton Berle are as funny today as they were 60 years ago.

Radio had its very own star performers, many of whom, such as Jack Webb, were able to move over to television as the little screen gradually consumed the home audience, but several film stars also worked in radio. Frank Sinatra featured as an adventurer named Rocky Fortune, James Stewart played a cowboy known as The Six Shooter, and Vincent Price was The Saint. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall starred in a show called Bold Venture that lasted for more than 50 episodes.

Most of the shows originated on American radio networks but the collection includes series from Britain, South Africa and, from Australia, the Caltex Theatre.

Boxcars711 is available via iTunes or from http://boxcars711.podomatic整形美容医院m/

Old Time Radio Radio Researchers Group: http://www.otrr整形美容医院/pg02_otrdb.htm

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

Crakanthorp cranky oversnapshot: voter

The advertising trailer in a prominent position across the road from the pre-poll station. Picture: Peter StoopA HEATED exchange involving Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp on one side and Liberal booth workers and a retired “swinging voter” on the other has been investigated by the police and the NSW Electoral Commission.
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Tempers flared at the Newcastle pre-polling station in Darby Street on Tuesday over the way that Mr Crakanthorp had parked an advertising trailer with his photos on it, hitched to a station wagon, in a prominent position across the road from the pre-poll station.

While Mr Crakanthorp says he had checked with Newcastle City Council compliance officers before leaving the vehicle parked for extended periods of time, his Liberal challenger, Karen Howard, disagrees.

“The council compliance officer told everyone that cars with advertising trailers could only stay parked like that when the driver for the day was in the vicinity,” Ms Howard said.

The disturbance began when one of Ms Howard’s campaign workers tried to photograph Mr Crakanthorp, apparently as he was about to leave in another vehicle, which could show he was “not in the vicinity”.

Mr Crakanthorp said: “Yesterday as I was leaving pre-poll, I was approached by a Liberal volunteer seeking to photograph me.

“Another man got involved, there was an exchange of words and I have reported the matter to the Newcastle returning officer, the police and parliamentary security.”

Ms Howard declined to say what happened, saying she was not there at the time, but the person Mr Crakanthorp referred to, Honeysuckle resident Tim Lees, alleged Mr Crakanthorp had “an aggressive and threatening attitude towards the young volunteer”.

Mr Lees, who describes himself as a 65-year-old swinging voter who moved to Newcastle a few years ago from Sydney’s northern beaches, said he intervened to tell Mr Crakanthorp to calm down.

He said Mr Crakanthorp then “turned his venom” on him, and that at one stage the pair were “nose to nose” in conflict.

“Seems the pressure may be getting to the member for Newcastle,” Mr Lees said.

Mr Crakanthorp disputed Mr Lees’ account and alleged that the voter had been the aggressor.

He said the council’s senior compliance officer had verified there was “no issue with the campaign car being parked where it was”.

“Polling booths can involve some rough and tumble, however it will be the people of Newcastle who decide who will represent them,” Mr Crakanthorp said. “Until then, everyone should act respectfully.”

Newcastle returning officer Ashley Cooper confirmed he had written a report about the incident and sent it to the electoral commission’s Sydney head office.

A commission spokesman confirmed the report had been received but said he was unable to release it or to detail its contents.

Ms Howard said she, too, had contacted police, having received “very third-hand information” about what had happened at the pre-poll station.

Police said said officers investigated a “verbal altercation” on Darby Street but on the information they received they believed no offence had been committed and so no formal action was taken.

Police confirmed the argument began over “the taking of photographs” and said extra patrols were being sent past the pre-poll station.

Extra patrols were also sent past one candidate’s home, as requested by the candidate.

You’d have to ‘be on crack’ to believe double dissolution talk: Eric Abetz

Employment Minister Eric Abetz Photo: Andrew Meares Employment Minister Eric Abetz Photo: Andrew Meares
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Employment Minister Eric Abetz Photo: Andrew Meares

Employment Minister Eric Abetz Photo: Andrew Meares

‘On crack to believe reports’: Senator Eric Abetz. Photo: Andrew Meares

‘On crack to believe reports’: Senator Eric Abetz. Photo: Andrew Meares

‘On crack to believe reports’: Senator Eric Abetz. Photo: Andrew Meares

‘On crack to believe reports’: Senator Eric Abetz. Photo: Andrew Meares

Cabinet minister Eric Abetz says you would have to “be on crack” to rely on “gossip columns” reporting Prime Minister Tony Abbott has recently considered calling a double dissolution election.

Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday evening Mr Abbott has weighed up the possibility as one way of breaking the deadlock in the Senate.

Labor senator Glenn Sterle began Senate question time asking the government’s most senior figure in the upper chamber about the report.

“I refer to observations by a cabinet minister who said quote “We would need to be on crack,” to go to a double dissolution election…does the Minister share these views?” Senator Sterle asked.

“You’ve got be on crack to read the gossip columns and then take them seriously like Senator Sterle does to regurgitate them in this place,” Senator Abetz responded.

“I do not intend to use my days and hours reading these gossip columns. It is simply of no interest to me,” he added.

Earlier Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government intends on serving a full term ahead of the election, sometime in the second half of 2016.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon said the idea of a double dissolution was not “crazy brave” talk from the Prime Minister but more “crazy crazy” talk.

He said the speculation was more aimed at nervous backbenchers considering having another tilt at ousting the Prime Minister in winter, after the budget is handed down in May.

But Senator Leyonhjelm said he believed talk of a double dissolution was deliberately aimed at the crossbench.

“There’s no doubt that some of the crossbench is feral, I think that’s true and they won’t engage with the government, they won’t be productive, they won’t be constructive and I can’t blame the government,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

Family First senator Bob Day said the idea of an early election didn’t faze him because it could make it easier for the independents and minor parties to be re-elected.

“The threshold [for a Senator to be elected] is halved so it makes it easier for minor parties,” he said.

Senator Zhenya “Dio” Wang said Palmer United had been constructive with the government on a broad range of issues, including the abolition of the mining and carbon taxes and asylum seeker visas.

But Senator Wang urged the government to make good on its threat because it would be a “good opportunity” to “listen to the voters” and “put themselves to the test of democracy”.

“If they think the Senate is defying the wishes of the public, they should go to a double dissolution,” Senator Wang told Fairfax Media.

Motoring Enthusiast Ricky Muir said while the government has not raised the possibility of a double dissolution election with him personally, the “writing seems to be on the wall”.

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie told Fairfax Media she found the talk “disturbing”, but the government should first ask itself three questions.

“One, do we have the best leader? Two, do we need a complete reshuffle of our cabinet and three, why aren’t our policies getting through the Senate?” she said.

“Until they are smart enough to realise that these are their three major problem areas and be big enough to admit they themselves are in chaos, then they themselves will remain their own worst enemy.”

Independent senator John Madigan said threats of an early poll wouldn’t influence the way he voted and said he was worried about doing his job and not losing his seat.

The government already has a trigger to call a double dissolution because bills to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation have been defeated twice.  But it is likely to have another if it brings in its already rejected higher education bill and it is voted down again.

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

Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee seeks long-lasting Impact with Sydney fling

Imposing record: Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee will have Tosen Stardom (inside) and World Ace (middle) racing at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen Imposing record: Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee will have Tosen Stardom (inside) and World Ace (middle) racing at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
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Imposing record: Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee will have Tosen Stardom (inside) and World Ace (middle) racing at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Imposing record: Japanese trainer Yasutoshi Ikee will have Tosen Stardom (inside) and World Ace (middle) racing at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Punters will scramble for form guides, trackwork notes, videos .. anything to help them get a handle on just how good these Japanese actually might be.

But if the patriots reluctantly concede the quartet have some pretty handy credentials, then they better look away when delving into the history of trainer Yasutoshi Ikee.

Seven horses have completed the famed Japanese triple crown. Ikee, barely training for a decade and the freshest of fresh-faced 46-year-olds, is one. That was thanks to the deeds of champion stallion Orfevre. Ikee’s dad and mentor, Yasuo, is another triple crown winner.

“My dad used to be an ex-jockey and a champion trainer so I followed him into racing,” Ikee said from the other side of the divide at the Canterbury quarantine centre during the week. “There are only seven horses who have managed to complete the triple crown and both my father and I have done it.”

Yasuo’s triple crown hero was Deep Impact, whose soaring stallion career is fitting of a two-time Japanese Horse Of The Year and Arc de Triomphe runner-up.

And it is the desire to have his legacy spread to all corners of the racing globe which is behind Ikee’s three-strong presence in Australia for The Championships, two of which – World Ace (George Ryder) and Tosen Stardom (Ranvet Stakes) – will have pipe openers on Golden Slipper day at Rosehill.

“We want to spread the sire Deep Impact all over the world and it’s very important to win a group 1 in Australia,” Ikee said, attempting to emulate the likes of Hana’s Goal (All Aged Stakes) and Admire Rakti (Caulfield Cup) last year.

“That’s why we have brought them here.”

If the language barrier, expertly navigated by translator and Sydney-based jockey Yusuke Ichikawa, can sometimes pose a slight problem in trying to understand how good this travelling Japanese roadshow might be, it is not a problem when you speak to their Australian pilots.

Nick Hall has logged frequent flyer points almost as quickly as his charges dashed up the final three at Canterbury during the week, trying to glean as much as possible about the idiosyncrasies of each.

He’s figured World Ace, set to feature in a mouth-watering George Ryder alongside Noriyuki Hori’s Real Impact, has a tendency to flop out of the barriers. Hence Hall’s dash up on Thursday for a bit of 11th-hour barrier practice.

Waiting in the wings for Hall is To The World, whispered as the flashest of the Japanese four and set to make his Australian debut in The BMW next Saturday.

What does it mean for the Australasian and European-bred topliners over the next month?

“They should just blow them away,” Hall joked. “And you can see in the spring they can’t send their best ones because of their own spring, but now they’ve sent their good ones we’re in trouble.”

Yet bookmakers still can’t quite get a grip on where they actually fit in. World Ace ($7.50) and Real Impact ($11) are not even in the top three in George Ryder betting en route to the Doncaster Mile.

Sydney’s famously fickle autumn weather has been put on hold for a week, good news for Ikee and the supporters of World Ace, which last ran behind the world’s best miler Able Friend in the Hong Kong Mile.

“He’s about 80 per cent fit going into the race this week,” Ikee said. “The ability is there to win the race on Saturday anyway, but hopefully the weather is fine because he doesn’t like a soft track. He likes to be on a firm track and he should be competitive in the race.

“He’s been brought here to win the Doncaster and he should be very, very competitive and if the track is like the one at Canterbury he will be very competitive.”

Tosen Stardom will make Ikee’s first foray into Sydney racing a two-pronged one at Rosehill on Saturday.

The now four-year-old entire has finished well down the track in some of Japan’s biggest races in the Derby and St Leger, but an impressive win in the group 3 Challenge Cup at his last start is enough to have his camp buoyed.

“They’re a different sort of horse to the Australians and we’ve seen them perform well [in the past],” Tosen Stardom’s jockey Tommy Berry said. “But the group we’ve got here will be the best.

“He’s an exceptional horse. I hope he goes as well as I think he will because he’s pretty good and he will give them a pretty good shake on Saturday.”

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