Crazy brave or crazy crazy? Crossbenchers laugh off suggestions of a double dissolution election

How the current Senate stacks up.The Pulse Live: Stephanie Peatling blogs live from ParliamentTony Abbott canvasses prospect of double dissolutionExplainer: what you need to know about double dissolution elections
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Double dissolution election speculation is not “crazy brave” but “crazy crazy talk” aimed at preserving Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership, independent Senator Nick Xenophon believes.

However other crossbenchers are taking the threat more seriously. Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir feels the “writing is on the wall” for an early election and Palmer United Party senator Zhenya “Dio” Wang is urging the government to make good on its threat if it believes the crossbench is defying the will of voters.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm confirmed on Thursday that the prospect of a double dissolution had come up during discussions with Education Minister Christopher Pyne over the government’s higher education reforms.

The government plans to resubmit the same bill to uncap university fees, which was defeated in the Senate on Tuesday night for the second time in three months time. If it is rejected again it will provide the Coalition with a trigger.

“He wants that trigger to be available, he didn’t say they were going to use, it, he just wants that trigger to be available,” Senator Leyonhjelm told reporters on Thursday.

Senator Leyonhjelm told Mr Pyne be believed a double dissolution election was an “empty threat” and added the government “would have to have rocks in its head” to call an early poll because it would lose.

A spokesman for Mr Pyne said the assertion the government had deliberately attempted to create a trigger was false.

“The government wants the bill passed,” the spokesman said.

The government already has a double dissolution trigger because its bills to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation have twice been rejected by the Senate.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann sought to quash the speculation and said the government wanted to serve a full term ahead of the next election, due in the second-half of 2016.

Senator Xenophon said talk of an earlier poll was “crazy crazy talk” from the Prime Minister.

“This talk of a double dissolution election is more of a threat to nervous Coalition backbenchers than it is to the crossbench,” Senator Xenophon said.

“It seems not so much crazy brave talk but crazy crazy talk.”

But Senator Leyonhjelm believed talk of 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.

Senator Wang said the PUP 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.

Senator 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” and said the government should 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.”

Family First senator Bob Day said the idea of an early election didn’t faze him.

“No I don’t think so because the threshold [for a Senator to be elected] is halved so it makes it easier for minor parties,” he said.

Senators Lazarus and Madigan were contacted for comment.

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

Same-sex marriage debate to reignite in Federal Parliament

Senator David Leyonhjelm is calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow Liberal MPs a conscience vote on the issue. Photo: Andrew Meares Senator David Leyonhjelm is calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow Liberal MPs a conscience vote on the issue. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Senator David Leyonhjelm is calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow Liberal MPs a conscience vote on the issue. Photo: Andrew Meares

Senator David Leyonhjelm is calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow Liberal MPs a conscience vote on the issue. Photo: Andrew Meares

Senator David Leyonhjelm is calling on Tony Abbott to allow Liberal MPs a conscience vote on the issue. Photo: James Alcock

Chris Teoh and Ivan Hinton from Australian Marriage Equality, with LDP senator David Leyonhjelm on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Chris Teoh and Ivan Hinton from Australian Marriage Equality, with LDP senator David Leyonhjelm on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Chris Teoh and Ivan Hinton from Australian Marriage Equality, with LDP senator David Leyonhjelm on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Chris Teoh and Ivan Hinton from Australian Marriage Equality, with LDP senator David Leyonhjelm on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Pressure is mounting on the Liberal Party to allow a free vote on same-sex marriage, with libertarian senator David Leyonhjelm saying it was time for government MPs to discuss the matter.

Senator Leyonhjelm will make his second-reading speech on his “freedom to marry” bill next Thursday, and says that the Liberal Party should decide whether it will allow a free vote on the issue at their party room meeting next Tuesday.

He said this meant Prime Minister Tony Abbott could not “stand in the way”.

“The time has come for the Prime Minister to reveal whether the word ‘liberal’ actually means anything to him or it’s just a brand name like Datsun or Krispy Kreme,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“I support marriage equality because I believe people should have the freedom to choose their own life path.”

Senator Leyonhjelm introduced his bill, which would amend the Marriage Act to allow marriage between same-sex couples, as well as transgender and intersex Australians, last November. But he has not yet given the major second-reading speech, which triggers a parliamentary debate on the bill.

He has previously threatened to block government legislation if MPs are not allowed to properly debate his proposed legislation.

Labor MPs are allowed a conscience vote on the matter, but Liberal MPs currently are not.

While Mr Abbott is a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, he repeatedly said prior to the 2013 election that the question of a free vote on the issue would be a matter for the post-election party room.

Senator Leyonhjelm said the Liberal Party should use their next party room meeting – scheduled for Tuesday – to discuss a free vote.

“Once a matter, a bill, is listed for debate, they have to have a position on it,” he said.

Last year, Mr Abbott cautioned that Senator Leyonhjelm’s bill may not necessarily be discussed by the Liberal party room, noting that “normally, opposition private members’ motions in the Senate are dealt with without a vote [in the party room]”.

On Wednesday, with Labor’s support, the Senate passed a Greens-initiated motion that all MPs and senators be given a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.

Senator Leyonhjelm said that in discussions he has had with Liberal MPs – including ministers – there was significant support for a free vote.

He said Queensland Coalition MP Wyatt Roy would sponsor his bill in the lower house and that there would be a government MP to co-sponsor it in the Senate, but would not name who.

Senator Leyonhjelm conceded that it was unlikely his bill would get enough votes to pass the Parliament, adding that he would not bring it on to a vote until he was confident of success.

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

87 Estell Street, Maryville: Perfectly thought out and a great location

Perfectly thought out and a great location Privacy on Throsby Creek: 87 Estell Street, Maryville.
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Privacy on Throsby Creek: 87 Estell Street, Maryville.

Privacy on Throsby Creek: 87 Estell Street, Maryville.

Privacy on Throsby Creek: 87 Estell Street, Maryville.

Privacy on Throsby Creek: 87 Estell Street, Maryville.

Privacy on Throsby Creek: 87 Estell Street, Maryville.

Privacy on Throsby Creek: 87 Estell Street, Maryville.

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Offers above $1.15million

Address: 87 Estell Street.

House: Brick, render, steel and Colorbond on 297square metres.

Inspect: Today, 11am to 11.30am.

Agent: Josh Mana, Raine & Horne Newcastle, 0414589900.

SITUATED in one of Maryville’s best streets, at the head of a cul-de-sac with Throsby Creek alongside, this stunning master-built home is tranquillity plus.

Designed to capture water views from both ground and top levels, it is a beautiful build which sits sensitively within the landscape.

The clever layout, which orients windows and doors throughout towards the river, captures natural canopy-filtered light which, combined with top-quality finishes, creates a restful space within.

The ground floor has been designed as a functional space which lends itself to visitor or extended family accommodation or a work-from-home proposition.

An open living area greets the visitor on entry, which flows out through bi-fold doors to a private outdoor covered balcony.

An office space, double garage with dedicated storage rooms, two double bedrooms and a kitchenette – as well as a bathroom – are included on this level. To the rear is a private, low-maintenance courtyard.

A wide stairwell leads to the upper level and a huge contemporary family living space with high louvred windows, built-in storage and a huge covered balcony.

The elegant kitchen is anchored by a granite island bench with waterfall ends, and has a well-located butler’s pantry, a vertical pantry and Smeg appliances, including an induction cooktop, oven and dishwasher.

The kitchen opens out to the private upstairs balcony which overlooks the soft backdrop of treetops and sparkling water views.

A luxury master suite towards the rear of this level has a large walk-in wardrobe and an en suite with a tempered glass shower recess, granite vanity and an under-bench hidden laundry chute.

Other inclusions of this home are a fully ducted airconditioning system, additional covered off-street parking for two cars, recycled rainwater to the gardens and toilets, as well as several energy-efficient details.

Newcastle Knights re-sign Mata’utia brothers

Knights until 2018: Pat, Chanel and Sione Mata’utia. Picture: SuppliedTHE Knights have kept three of their prized possessions from the clutches of the Bulldogs by re-signing brothers Sione, Chanel & Pat Mata’utia for three more years.
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Off contract at the end of this year, the brothers have signed new deals that will keep them at Newcastle until the end of the 2018 season.

“By re-signing the three brothers, we show we have and will continue to work hard on retaining our best young juniors,” Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said in announcing their retention on Thursday morning.

The three boys signed letters of intent with the Bulldogs last September for four-year contracts beginning next year, but under NRL rules, the Knights had until round 13 this season to convince them to change their minds.

Eighteen-year-old Sione became Australia’s youngest-ever Test representative after playing the last seven NRL games last season, Chanel played in the same seven games and looked comfortable at that level, and Pat has been tipped to make his senior debut later this season.

Sione said staying together in Newcastle and developing their careers was always their priority.

Knights re-sign Mata’utia brothershttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd上海龙凤419/transform/v1/crop/frm/storypad-D8vFkr4DfTRK2kpdPpAQJC/da6d11a5-e0a1-48b9-a509-1f12c9c374df.jpg/r2_137_3837_2304_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgNewcastle confirms that it will keep its prized possessions – Chanel, Pat and Sione Mata’utia.news, local-news, newcastle knights, chanel Mata’utia, pat Mata’utia, sione Mata’utia2015-03-19T09:50:00+11:00https://players.brightcove上海龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4120513335001https://players.brightcove上海龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4120513335001″Mum didn’t want to leave Newcastle and being together as a family is important to us,” Sione said.

“The club means a lot to me because of what everyone here has done for my mum and our family over many years.

“I get what the club is trying to do now and for the future and I want to be a part of that. I hope I can be a one-club player.”

The news of their retention comes a weekafter promising prop Korbin Sims signed a new two-year deal, and a fortnight after utility Tyler Randell re-signed for two more years.

Swiss plan for Europe’s tallest skyscraper

The proposed 381-metre-high luxury hotel would be built outside Val, a tiny village that sits at 1219 metres above sea level in the Swiss Alps. Photo: The Telegraph, UK Developers are aiming to build Europe’s tallest building on the outskirts of Vals, a Swiss spa village of 1000 people. Photo: The Telegraph, UK
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Plans are being drawn up to build the tallest skyscraper in Europe at a remote spa resort high in the Swiss Alps.

The proposed 381-metre-high building would tower over London’s Shard, which measures a mere 304 metres.

Developers want to build it on the outskirts of Vals, a tiny spa town of just 1000 people, nestled 1219 metres up in the Swiss Alps.

It is not the headquarters of some particularly secretive Swiss bank. It is a proposed luxury hotel, aimed at guests from the Middle East and Asia.

The proposed tower will reportedly contain around 100 suites, with the cheapest priced at around 1000 Swiss francs ($1313) a night, and the most expensive at an eye-watering 25,000 Swiss francs ($32,821).

The project, which will reportedly cost around 200 million Swiss francs ($262.57 million) is to be officially unveiled next week in Zurich.

According to a report in Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper, the developers have chosen a plan by the prize-winning American architect, Thom Mayne.

The tower will rise from an extremely small base, measuring just 30.48 metres by 15.24 metres, and will have to anchored in the ground by unusually deep foundations.

The project is the brainchild of Remo Stoffel, the owner of the Vals spa, and Pius Truffer, a local quarry entrepreneur.

“I know we’re reaching for the stars. We want to build one of the five best hotels in the world,” Mr Truffer told 20 Minuten newspaper.

But the proposed skyscraper has already come in for heavy criticism in Switzerland.

“Skyscrapers in the Alps are an absurdity,” said Vittorio Lampugnani, Professor of Architecture at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

There is no need to accommodate people in such a small space in the mountains, he said.

“It’s marketing,” Benedict Loderer, an architecture critic, told Basler Zeitung newspaper, adding that he did not believe the project would come to fruition.

“It’s a question of the skyscraper’s position. If you put it in a valley, that’s relatively meaningless,” he said.

The project still has to get planning permission before it can go ahead.

Under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, it will be put to a vote of local citizens in the autumn.

Telegraph, London

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

My Kitchen Rules 2015 episode 28 recap: One of the few likeable teams must go

It was Sheri and Emilie versus Eva and Debra, and just like Alien v Predator, whoever wins, we lose. Photo: My Kitchen Rules FacebookIn a show which has always weighted its selection policies heavily towards the obnoxious and insufferable end of the human spectrum, likeable My Kitchen Rules teams are as rare as nutritionally sound Pete Evans recipes; meaning a sudden-death elimination battle between two of these rare doubles is a disaster for anyone who likes a little bit of loveability to leaven the hatred of humanity generated as a matter of course. Yet this is what we had on this darkest and most depressing of nights: it was Sheri and Emilie versus Eva and Debra, and just like Alien v Predator, whoever wins, we lose.
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Now that the prophecy has been fulfilled and the Instant Restaurant rounds have been ended by causing Fenrir the Wolf to release the sun from his jaws, MKR has entered that blessed phase of the series known as “the Masterchef rip-off phase”. So E&D and S&E are battling each other in kitchen headquarters, which does have the drawback of involving rather more footage of people cooking food than would be ideal in a cooking show. Eva and Debra spend much of their entrée preparation time scrubbing mussels, which at first just seems like a form of community service, but apparently is actually a part of the process of rendering the revolting little blobs edible. Their starter is a mussel broth, also known as The Peter Slipper Special.

The judges discuss Sheri and Emilie’s entrée. “The thing about beef carpaccio is it’s raw beef,” says Pete, excited by the thought of the total rejection of civilisational advances that serving uncooked meat involves. Manu nods, his admiration for Pete’s ability to define words out loud unstinting. In the kitchen Sheri and Emilie are running out of time, which seems pretty ridiculous when you’re not even cooking your meat. Carpaccio should be pretty simple: slice the beef, say a quick prayer that nobody dies from parasites, and serve. But they just have to complicate everything. They’re putting beetroot on it, which, as with any dish that includes beetroot, is a massive mistake.

At entrée-judging, it’s revolting sea-blob soup up against disgusting slivers of raw meat. Trying to suppress their gag reflexes are the usual pack of judgmental snobs. They try the mussels first. “It’s the type of food you get excited about,” lies Karen Martini. Colin declares the mussels have “woken him up”, which is bad news for us all. However the mussels were not cleaned properly, and some still have their beards on, a sentence which somehow makes mussels even more nauseating than they already were. Meanwhile the carpaccio is beautifully seasoned. At least the judges say it is: we wouldn’t really know, we’re just watching on TV. They could all be lying. And they probably are.

In the main course, E&D serve up chicken curry, while S&E make prawn linguine, so they’ve swapped around the roles of real food versus alien marine garbage. The curry means a lot to Eva, but nobody ever said she had her priorities straight. The prawn linguine doesn’t seem to mean a lot to anyone, and Emilie is working on dessert anyway. “Prawns can freaking well take care of themselves”, that’s Emilie’s motto.

Bianca can see the panic set in for Eva, which is interesting because I don’t recall anyone asking for her damn opinion. On the other side, Sheri and Emilie continue to tell each other they can do this, believing if they say it often enough it might be true. Drasko is worried, but nobody cares even a little bit.

Emilie is freaking out. She’s got so much pasta to make and still hasn’t finished her crostatas. Sheri is still de-veining prawns and has yet to figure out that a food that needs to be de-veined is a food that should be avoided. Meanwhile Eva and Debra are working in an atmosphere of eerie calm.

Tension is high. “It’s tearing me apart,” says Vicky, who can’t stand the sight of people she barely knows struggling to complete unimportant tasks.

Judging time, and S&E’s pasta impresses, but their prawns are undercooked. God knows how you can tell that a nightmarish ocean-floor chestburster is underdone, but there you go. Clearly the chicken curry is the better dish, despite Guy and Colin’s pettifogging pedantry.

Dessert time. Eva and Debra make a steamed banana cake. Manu worries that they’ll not have enough time to steam it. Pete worries that cavemen didn’t eat cakes. Vicky worries that she’s about to vomit all over Celine. Sheri is unhappy with her cream to ginger ratio, which is a fairly intimate detail to share with a national audience. Vicky starts screaming at Sheri. Manu orders both teams to “create something beautiful”, but it’s far too late for that. Ash and Camilla gloat smugly from the balcony. The horror of losing one of these two teams while Ash and Camilla stay hits us all.

Time to judge dessert, if one can ever truly judge something so ethereal. Sheri and Emilie’s crostatas meet with broad approval. Eva and Debra’s caramel doesn’t have enough salt in it, which sounds like a good thing but inexplicably is not. Pete finds the sweetness overwhelming, inasmuch as there is any, and deplores the total absence of bone broth in the dessert.

It is time for the final judgment, and the consensus is that Emilie is great but Sheri undercooked the prawns and needs to take a long hard look at herself. Sheri and Emilie score 41 out of a possible 60. Debra is worried that this is an excellent score, because Debra can’t count. The judges liked Eva and Debra’s dishes except for the dessert and also the beards on the mussels, which were horrifying beyond belief to anyone with a soul. And yet, Eva and Debra score a 45, thus proving that the judges’ comments are utterly meaningless and should never be trusted, so we’ve learned something tonight.

“We’re not walking away with nothing. We have friendship to walk away with,” says Emilie, which is a pretty dumb thing to say. I mean they would’ve had that anyway. Eva and Debra pretend to be very sad their friends are leaving, yet another lie to pile on the compost heap of dishonesty that tonight’s episode has built.

And so the teams, now on average more unpleasant than previously, move on. Tomorrow night: running around a supermarket like idiots!

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

An unlikely murderer: how police caught Daniel Jack Kelsall

Daniel Jack Kelsall’s parents Mark and Lynne (in black) outside court on Wednesday. Photo: Daniel Munoz Mr Huxley’s ex-girlfriend Jessica Hall (in stripes) and family members spoke after the verdict. Photo: Nic Walker
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Kelsall guilty of murdering HuxleyLife ‘stolen by worthless psychopath’Who is accused Daniel Kelsall?Huxley ‘texted ex-lovers in final hours’Kelsall a nice young adult: mother

In the weeks after Morgan Huxley was found dead in his Neutral Bay flat, police were interviewing former girlfriends, his flatmate and her boyfriend, and his colleagues.

A young man seen in CCTV footage running after Mr Huxley as he left The Oaks Hotel early on September 8, 2013, was identified as Daniel Jack Kelsall, a kitchen hand and cleaner from the local Sydney Cooking School.

The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Dukes, said that when Kelsall was first voluntarily interviewed by police he was not considered to be Mr Huxley’s murderer.

“I just thought he was just strange, to be honest, sorry,” Detective Dukes told a pre-trial hearing in the NSW Supreme Court, glancing at Kelsall in the dock.

It only took a matter of hours for a NSW Supreme Court jury to find on Wednesday that Kelsall stabbed Mr Huxley more than 20 times, declaring him guilty of murder.

After speaking to Kelsall formally that first time on September 24, 2013, when he told them he had never been in Mr Huxley’s apartment, police continued looking at other people.

Mr Huxley had been dating several women at the same time, one of whom he described as a “psycho”, and at least two of them had found out about each other.

The 31-year-old had also been having disputes at work, after the man Mr Huxley rented his business premises from grew enraged when he “mooned” – flashed his bottom – in front of clients.

On September 26, Kelsall rang police to admit he hadn’t been entirely honest in his interview.

Kelsall asked Detective Dukes to meet him in the car park of Woolworths in Neutral Bay, where he told them he had gone to Mr Huxley’s apartment after striking up a conversation with him as he left the pub that morning and the pair had sex.

He told police Mr Huxley fell asleep, so he left the unit, and saw a blonde woman approaching.

“She saw me coming out and I think that’s why he got murdered,” he said, crying.

But soon, Kelsall got legal advice and stopped talking to police. The jury never heard about that conversation in the car park, which was deemed inadmissable.

Forensic tests later showed that Kelsall’s DNA was on Mr Huxley’s penis, his fingerprint was on Mr Huxley’s bedroom door. A shoulder bag Kelsall was seen carrying in the CCTV footage had spots of Mr Huxley’s blood on it, and appeared to have been cleaned.

Investigators also discovered that 16 months earlier, Kelsall had told a GP and a psychiatrist he was having violent, intrusive thoughts about stabbing someone on the way home from work “for the thrill of it”.

The case against him was strong.

But Kelsall appeared to be an unlikely murderer – he was fine-featured and thin, compared to Mr Huxley who worked on wharves, stood at 181 centimetres tall and weighed 90 kilograms.

When Kelsall was arrested on October 4, he was carrying a fantasy novel called Magician. The book, by Raymond E. Feist, tells the tale of Pug, an orphan boy who is apprenticed to a master magician.

Kelsall was adopted by his parents Lynne and Mark, and was raised in New Zealand, where he trained as a chef, before moving to Sydney with his family and working in a restaurant at Balmoral.

His mother, who carried Kelsall’s Pikachu doll – a Japanese comic character – around with her during the trial, said her son was loving, caring and often left sweets on the kitchen bench for her when he got home from work.

His boss at the cooking school, Brett Deverall, told the trial Kelsall quietly tolerated chiding from his workmates about his odd behaviour, his sexuality and his curly red hair.

“The whole time he never raised his voice, even in [celebrity chef] Gordon Ramsay-type situations.”

Kelsall was the only defence witness at the trial and appeared to enjoy the attention, as all eyes in the packed courtroom fixed upon him.

He said that he and Mr Huxley engaged in a deep conversation as they crossed Military Road that night and Mr Huxley invited him into his flat.

It was there, Kelsall told the jury, that Mr Huxley agreed to go upstairs and have a sexual encounter, which was interrupted by a random, unknown attacker.

When Kelsall was under cross-examination and asked about why he didn’t notice the attacker approaching, he smirked and said: “I was concentrating on other things.”

His testimony explained away the forensic evidence and the CCTV footage.

But, perhaps one of the biggest sticking point for the jury, there was overwhelming evidence that Mr Huxley was sexually interested in women and nothing to suggest he ever desired men.

Crown prosecutor Peter McGrath, SC, told the jury that Kelsall’s violent fantasies about murder were a “prophecy”, carried out on Mr Huxley.

“There was no reason for it at all.”

As the jury handed down their verdicts, also finding Kelsall guilty of indecent assault, he did not look at his mother, who was trying to catch his gaze.

He briefly nodded at her as he was taken down to the cells.

Kelsall will face a sentencing hearing next month.

He was also later charged with two counts of possessing child abuse material, to which he has pleaded not guilty, and which will be dealt with in another court.

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

Lang Walker commits $600 million to redevelop Adelaide city centre

Property developer Lang Walker is to undertake a $600 million project to upgrade the centre of Adelaide, including the development of a new Festival Plaza, offices and an expanded retail precinct.
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It is the first time in more than 40 years that the city area has been redeveloped. The project is valued at about $1 billion. The South Australian government is also committing funds.

Walker Corporation chairman Lang Walker said the development would provide a new “heart for the city” and the square would be designed to be flexible and accommodate concerts, exhibitions, pop-up food and beverage stands, art and other cultural exhibitions.

“The new city centre would be integrated with many of the city’s facilities, including Adelaide Oval, Adelaide railway, casino, Festival Centre and convention centre,” Mr Walker said.

“The $1 billion project will feature a multi-purpose, dynamic 5000-square-metre city square, a 40,000-square-metre premium office complex behind old Parliament House and a two-storey podium precinct featuring cafes, restaurants and high-quality retail outlets.”

In addition, a 1500-bay car park will replace the dilapidated 300-bay facility, including 400 spaces to be used by parliament staff and a further 750 to be leased to the casino to support its redevelopment.

The development comes as Adelaide’s office vacancy in the CBD posted a slight decrease over the last six months, largely because of withdrawals.

The Property Council of Australia’s latest biannual Office Market Report, released in February, revealed vacancy in the Adelaide CBD dipped from 13.8 per cent to 13.5 per cent in the six months to January 2015.

Vacancy also decreased in the Adelaide fringe market, from 9.9 per cent to 8.3 per cent over the same period.

Property Council of Australia South Australian executive directorDaniel Gannon said tax reform was required to stimulate Adelaide’s office market.

“While these headline figures might suggest Adelaide’s office market is heading in the right direction, widespread tax reform will ensure these figures are even better going forward,” Mr Gannon said.

“In the CBD market, vacancy climbed in all grades except premium and B-grade, where withdrawals caused a drop in the six months to January 2015.”

Walker Corp has also thrown its hat into the ring for the carve up of the $500 million Leighton Properties, which is being sold by Leighton Holdings’ Spanish owner, Hochtief.

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

Sydney Opera House most expensive ‘go green’ attraction for St Patrick’s Day

Sydney Opera House charges more to ‘go green’ on St Patrick’s Day than any other of the world’s most famous landmarks.
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Around 150 buildings and monuments around the world went ‘go green’ as part of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Greenification of the World’ initiative costing the tourist board €95,000 ($A13,220) in 2014.

The initiative, first launched six years ago, is designed to showcase Ireland’s fun, scenery and heritage, and was spurred by Liam Neeson who, as a Hollywood A-lister and Irishman, put his voice to a Tourism Ireland film, urging everyone to ‘go green’ on St Patrick’s Day.

The Opera House was the first to participate back in 2010, and in 2014 charged Tourism Ireland $A11,132.

The London Eye charged $9045 to illuminate. Other fees charged included: $4174 for the Sphinx and Pyramids in Egypt; $3576 for South Africa’s Table Mountain; and $3310 for the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

Figures show that Irish landmarks cost disproportionately more to illuminate than international attractions.

However, a number of places went green for free, including The Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and the Las Vegas “Welcome” sign, as did Munich’s Allianz Arena, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland Paris, and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, among a host of other sites worldwide, according to Tourism Ireland.

Landmarks to go ‘green’ for the first time this year include Rome’s Colosseum, Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle and the top five floors of the Shard in London.

There is growing sentiment against the initiative, with many suggesting the greening ‘stunt’ is a waste of money.

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

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan says they are on the hunt for information to catch multinationals

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan said the ATO was working in sync with 38 countries to multinationals suspected of tax evasion. Photo: Louie DouvisTax Commissioner Chris Jordan says information sharing with foreign nations has allowed it to raise $730 million worth of tax liabilities over the past two financial years.
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In a speech to be delivered at the Tax Institute’s annual conference in Gold Coast on Thursday morning, Mr Jordan says he is confident that the number will significantly increase as the Australian Taxation Office gets better information through treaty and exchange agreements.

“We are doing what we can to ensure that individuals and companies pay the right amount of tax here in Australia,” Mr Jordan says in the speech provided to Fairfax Media.

Australia has information-sharing agreements with tax authorities in 36 countries, as well as treaties with 44 countries.

In 2012-13 such exchanges resulted in $480 million in tax and penalties and interest.

This figure dipped to $250 million in 2013-14, but the Tax Office says there is often a lag between demands for information and actually issuing tax bills. It expects to raise significant liabilities from financial information exchanges this year.

Mr Jordan said the ATO was working in sync with 38 countries to multinationals suspected of tax evasion.

“With so many tax authorities committed to working closely together, at Australia’s instigation, we will have much more timely and detailed information available to us on aggressive tax avoidance,” he says.

The Tax Office has also benefited from informants and leaks. Some of these involved information it got through an informer on hundreds of Australians identified as holding HSBC bank accounts in the former tax haven of Switzerland, but there have also been other sources.

“Since 2006, we have identified about 1900 Australians and offshore promoters,” he says. “We have undertaken about 800 audits, reviews and nudge letters, resulting in $340 million in liabilities being raised and 18 successful prosecutions.”

Mr Jordan will also pledge to solve disputes with taxpayers faster and more fairly than has been the case in the past.

The Tax Office has faced widespread criticism for the way its staff have treated small business people and individual taxpayers in the past, with the federal inquiry into tax disputes hearing from people who have lost their livelihoods and contemplated suicide because of the way the ATO treated them.

Mr Jordan said that while most taxpayer interactions with the ATO do not end up in dispute, they “impact people’s lives”.

“We have a number of strategies in place to resolve disputes as early as possible – early face-to-face or telephone engagement, increased use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) … [and] sensible settlement guidelines,” he says.

Despite the ATO’s increased efforts to reduce the amount of money owed to it, the amount of collectible has continued to rise from $18 billion to more than $20 billion.

To avoid this, Mr Jordan says it will increase efforts to get this money by “taking legal action earlier when warranted”.

“This means initiating bankruptcy and wind-up action where there is evidence that a taxpayer is insolvent, and looking to use other statutory powers where businesses have failed to pay employee superannuation entitlements or pay amounts held in trust,” he says.

“Litigation is appropriate where … the behaviour is such that we need to send a strong message to an individual – or broadly to the community that we won’t sit idly by,” he says.

The Commissioner will also speak about the Tax Office leadership’s recent attempts to change the internal culture.

Mr Jordan has long advocated his desire to move to a system of “willing participation” – that is that most people willingly pay their due taxes.

He will announce a “Reinventing the ATO Blueprint” on Thursday that describes the kind of experience that Australians want to have when they deal with the ATO.

“It will guide everything we do in the coming years,” Mr Jordan says.

Individuals will for their 2016 return be able to use an app to capture tax-related deductions “on the go”. “The app will record, classify and upload work-related deductions data direct to their myTax return in time for Tax Time 2016 – which means the days of the shoebox full of old receipts are gone,” Mr Jordan says.

Half a million taxpayers will also get “OK letters” for “simple, straightforward affairs” that confirm their 2015 tax return is closed from further review or audit.

“By using pre-filling and background analytics, we can provide this confirmation to these taxpayers within about a month of them lodging their return – except in cases where there is good reason to suspect fraud or false claims,” he says.

Mr Jordan believes the word “dispute” is no longer relevant for the majority of taxpayers.

“Doesn’t that start us off on different sides, set us up to focus on our differences?” he says. “Perhaps it is just a matter of clarification or correction – not actually a dispute.”

Recent ATO data shows that the Tax Office settled on disputes with 34 large business – typically those with over $250 million turnover – that amount to over $1.2 billion.

This, according to a recent review into tax disputes by the Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi, has left the ATO open to allegations of favouritism – cutting deals with the top end of town but not with small companies, which lack the resources to effectively dispute claims.

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