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Abbott calls for lower immigration rates

Former PM Tony Abbott is expected to call for a reduction in the number of migrants in a speech. should drastically reduce immigration levels until migrants are better integrated into society and to prevent further pressure on wages and housing prices, former prime minister Tony Abbott says.
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The member for Warringah, speaking at the Sydney Institute on Tuesday evening, took a swipe at politicians from an increasingly well-off “talking class” who are becoming dislocated from ordinary ns.

Mr Abbott wants to see a cut in immigration numbers from 190,000 to 110,000 people a year, urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to take the issue to the electorate at the next election.

Cutting the number of migrants will help wages growth and make house prices more affordable, he said.

“My issue is not immigration; it’s the rate of immigration at a time of stagnant wages, clogged infrastructure, soaring house prices and, in Melbourne at least, ethnic gangs that are testing the resolve of police,” he said.

“It’s a basic law of economics that increasing the supply of labour depresses wages; and that increasing demand for housing boosts price.

“At least until infrastructure housing stock and integration has better caught up, we simply have to move the overall numbers substantially down. In order to win the next election, the government needs policy positions which are principled, practical and popular.”

Mr Abbott questioned whether ns were “too fussy” about the jobs they’re willing to work, or if they were willing to work at all given “don’t-ask-questions welfare”.

“If a high-end restaurant needs an executive chef, or if a university needs a world-class quantum physicist, or if a bank needs a new CFO, it might make sense to recruit someone from overseas on a high salary; and it’s good when people making a big contribution opt to stay here,” he said.

“But are we really so short of willing and capable workers that backpackers must pick our crops, overseas students serve our tables, and recent migrants run our IT?”

Asked whether needed to change its immigration policy, Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann said the intake was lower now than its peak under the previous Labor government.

“The most important thing with our immigration intake is that we attract the right people to make their home,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“In the end attracting appropriately skilled migrants with the right attitude also helps ensure our economic growth into the future.”

Mr Abbott warned a chasm was opening in western politics between a “talking class that’s never had it so good”, a working class trying to keep up and a welfare class “with a strong sense of entitlement”.

“It’s easy to dismiss street crime when you live in an up-market suburb and don’t have to use public transport or drive long distances for work,” he said.

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Thousands farewell Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai

Thousands have gathered in Zimbabwe’s capital to farewell Morgan Tsvangirai who died on February 14.In a sea of red T-shirts, thousands of Zimbabweans have bid farewell to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whose death has opened divisions in his Movement for Democratic Change party only months before elections.
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Tsvangirai died on February 14 aged 65 after a long battle with cancer and is due to be buried on Tuesday in his rural home of Buhera, 200km southeast of Harare.

Party faithful converged on a square in downtown Harare on Monday to bid farewell to a man whose career was defined by his rivalry with long-time president Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in November.

“This is the People’s General, who led the poor, the workers and the youth since 1988. We grieve with hope that the army that the general built will finish the work that he started,” former MDC legislator Munyaradzi Gwisai told the crowd.

McHenry Venaani, the opposition leader in neighbouring Namibia, described Tsvangirai as a “doyen of democratisation of Africa” who had “started a journey of a thousand miles into immortality”.

In life, Tsvangirai and his supporters were beaten, humiliated and accused of treason. In death, the ruling ZANU-PF party has accorded Tsvangirai rare respect, including a military helicopter to transport his body to his rural home.

Supporters chanted MDC slogans, including a popular song calling Tsvangirai to lead because ZANU-PF, the only party Zimbabwe has known since independence from Britain in 1980, had failed.

“Tsvangirai did not discriminate. He loved everyone,” said 59-year-old grandmother Chioniso Mazivanhanga, who said she had known Tsvangirai as a mining union leader since 1976.

Behind the public outpouring of grief, however, senior MDC officials are at war over control of the party.

The election of Nelson Chamisa, 40, as acting president has angered a rival faction led by party vice presidents Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe, who are also bidding to succeed Tsvangirai.

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Defiant Joyce loses WA Nationals support

Barnaby Joyce says suggestions he be dumped as Nationals leader amount to a witch hunt (File).Barnaby Joyce says he’s not going anywhere but has lost the support of the West n Nationals who say his leadership is “no longer tenable”.
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The deputy prime minister, who’s taken personal leave after his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion was made public, played down the significance of a nationwide phone hook-up between Nationals officials on Monday afternoon.

But on Tuesday the WA Nationals became the first state to officially withdrew support for the federal leader.

WA Nationals state leader Mia Davies issued a statement saying she told Mr Joyce he is now a distraction.

“Mr Joyce’s actions have caused pain for his family but it is the ongoing damage Mr Joyce is causing the Nationals organisation that is of greatest concern to me as WA leader,” Ms Davies said.

The WA branch of the party does not have any federal MPs and will play no role in any potential vote on the leadership, but it was second only to the NSW branch in political donations last financial year, receiving $1.785 million.

Mr Joyce shot back in a statement to Sky News, pointing out WA didn’t have any federal MPs and the eastern states, which had more “skin in the game”, supported him.

His federal Nationals colleague Matt Canavan said there was a “level of disappointment” about the situation, but party supporters wanted Mr Joyce to keep fighting for regional .

Asked about Ms Davies’ statement, Senator Canavan said: “It’s a sentiment I’ve heard from lots of people … (but) it’s obviously not 100 per cent in one direction.”

Barnaby Joyce is taking his first day of personal leave in the wake of a tumultuous week.

He said the vast majority of Nationals MPs backed Mr Joyce as leader, but a spill was a matter for the party room.

Mr Joyce said the nationwide phone hook-up was not an official meeting, reiterating the leader of the Nationals is decided by party MPs.

“People are starting to see this as a witch hunt. I’m not going anywhere, I never would,” Mr Joyce told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who will be acting prime minister when Malcolm Turnbull heads to the US on Wednesday, said Mr Joyce’s future is up to his colleagues.

But he was very confident Mr Joyce and Mr Turnbull will continue to work together, despite their sometimes “robust relationship”.

“Barnaby’s had a difficult week, there’s no two ways about it,” Senator Cormann told reporters in Canberra.

Senator Cormann left a voicemail message with the deputy prime minister in the last few days but said the pair haven’t had a chance to talk.

Mr Joyce’s NSW Nationals colleague Michael McCormack, who’s been touted as a potential replacement, refused six times to explicitly back Mr Joyce’s leadership.

“There is no challenge at the moment … he has the party’s support,” the minister told Sky News on Monday.

A Newspoll published by The n on Monday found 65 per cent of n voters believe Mr Joyce should quit as Nationals leader and either go to the backbench or quit politics.

News Corp reports friends of Mr Joyce’s wife Natalie say she doesn’t want him to lose his job.

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Thompson seeks career security at Manly

Manly recruit Joel Thompson is excited to be joining the club he supported in his youth.Joel Thompson has taken a subtle dig at St George Illawarra but emphasised he harbours no ill feelings towards his former NRL club.
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Thompson will run out in Manly colours for the first time in Saturday night’s trial against Sydney Roosters on the Central Coast.

The 29-year-old back-rower was signed to the Dragons for 2018 but a two-year contract offer from Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett was too good to refuse as he prepares to enter the twilight of his career.

Thompson said the security of the extra year offered by Manly prompted him to seek a release.

Asked if he felt like he was unwanted at the Dragons, Thompson said: “I thought I deserved that extra year for what I did on the field but I understood their position.

“I’ve been around footy long enough. They’ve got some great young guys coming through.

“We were honest throughout all the conversations. I respect their decision.

“Do I agree with it? Probably not. But that’s footy and we left on good terms.”

The central NSW product was signed by Manly despite the prospect of sanctions for alleged salary cap breaches hanging over the club.

Thompson said it was hard to uproot his family and move to his third club in six seasons but the security of a multi-year deal gave him piece of mind.

“To be totally honest, Manly offered me another year on my contract,” Thompson said.

“I grew up supporting Manly and I like the squad they’ve got here and what they’re doing. I wanted to be a part of it.

“It gave me a bit of security, I’m not young anymore, I’ll take what I can get.”

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Nationals MP not sorry for gun-toting post

Nationals MP George Christensen refuses to apologise for posting a gun-toting photo to social media.Nationals MP George Christensen is refusing to apologise after copping widespread condemnation for publishing a photo of himself pointing a pistol with the caption “do you feel lucky, greenie punks?”
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Even though he has removed it, Mr Christensen does not accept there is anything wrong with his apparent attempt at a Dirty Harry-inspired joke, which has prompted a complaint to federal police by the n Greens.

“Putting a joke up on social media, if that’s doing something wrong, then there’s a lot of people that are going to be in trouble because it happens every day, every hour in this country,” Mr Christensen said.

His Facebook post, which came just days after a high school shooting massacre in Florida, has given Malcolm Turnbull another Nationals-induced headache as he deals with the fallout from the Barnaby Joyce scandal.

“It was very inappropriate and he took it down after he was spoken to about it,” Mr Turnbull told 3AW radio on Monday.

Liberal MP Warren Entsch was far more blunt.

“I think it was bloody stupid,” he told reporters.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has referred the post to the AFP while the minor party’s Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has lodged her own complaint over a death threat she received from someone she believes is a supporter of Mr Christensen.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the colourful north Queensland MP might not have broken the law but it was not his job to stoop to the lowest common denominator with cheap gags.

“He’s a member of parliament, not some galah down in the front bar carrying on with a few jokes,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Townsville.

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‘Quadzilla’ is after sub-10 second run

Trae Williams trusts in his massive quads to power him below the magical 10-second markTrae Williams believes his massive quads are capable of eventually powering him below the magical 10-second mark but admits he will have his work cut out in the more immediate future against a crack Commonwealth Games field.
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The 20-year-old clocked 10.10sec – the fastest time by an n in 11 years – to win the national 100m title on the Gold Coast on Friday.

Nicknamed ‘Quadzilla’, Williams sheepishly claimed this week he could hack squat 525kg.

The muscle-bound sprinter is sure to gain cult status when he takes on a 100m Games field that could include Canadian superstar Andre De Grasse and Jamaican pair Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell.

“My time would have medalled at the past four Commonwealth Games but I know this one is going to be a lot faster,” he said.

“They’ve all run 9.9 and lower so it’ll be an interesting final.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the fastest.”

Williams hopes to shave further time off before April’s Games at the same Carrara Stadium track but says the end goal is a sub-10 second time at Tokyo’s 2020 Games.

Only three countrymen have gone faster than Williams did last Friday, with Patrick Johnson’s 9.93sec effort in 2003 the only in-competition, sub-100m time recorded by an n.

“There’s still a lot of things I need to work on technically,” Williams said.

“Point one (of a second) doesn’t sound like much but when you’re racing, it makes a big difference but hopefully in a few years, come Tokyo … I think it’s in me.”

Pushing him is Rohan Browning, Jack Hale and Josh Clarke, with Hale hopeful of overcoming a hamstring flare-up in Friday’s final to help ‘s push for 4x100m relay gold.

“We’ve got a good group coming through; lot of years left in us and they’ve been pushing me to the line for five years now,” he said.

“On the track we’re not mates with anyone, but off the track we’re all pretty tight and the relay has helped bring us together.”

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Trump for improved gun checks: White House

US President Donald Trump supports improving background checks for gun owners, the White House says.The White House says President Donald Trump supports efforts to improve federal background checks for gun purchases, days after a shooting at a Florida school killed 17 people.
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Trump spoke to Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, on Friday about a bipartisan bill that he and Democratic senator Chris Murphy introduced to improve federal compliance with criminal background checks, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday.

“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,” Sanders said in a statement.

Previous mass shootings in the United States have also stirred outrage and calls for action to tighten US gun laws, with few results in congress.

Students are mobilising around the country in favour of stronger gun laws after the deadliest high school shooting in US history took place on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a former student is accused of murdering 17 people using an assault-style rifle.

Trump, who visited survivors of the shooting and law enforcement officials on Friday night, is a strong supporter of gun rights and won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby group, for his 2016 presidential campaign.

Many Republicans generally oppose measures to tighten gun restrictions, citing the US Constitution’s Second Amendment protection of the right to bear arms.

Former president Barack Obama and many of his fellow Democrats unsuccessfully pushed to pass gun control legislation after a gunman killed 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

Cornyn and Murphy introduced their bill to improve federal background checks last November, days after a gunman killed more than two dozen people in a church in Texas.

The bill, called the Fix NICS Act, would ensure that states and federal agencies comply with existing law on reporting criminal history records to the national background check system.

Cornyn, of Texas, had complained when introducing the legislation that compliance by agencies was “lousy”.

Students are planning a “March For Our Lives” in Washington on March 24 to call attention to school safety and ask lawmakers to enact gun control.

Some students reacted with caution to Trump’s support on background checks.

“We want to prevent mass shootings from happening and while this could have happened with other types of weapons, NeverAgain believes school safety should be priority right now, not just background checks,” said Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Kali Clougherty, 18, referring to a campaign for gun control. “This is about the victims. Don’t forget that, we never will.” (

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UK don jailed 32 years over abuse photos

Matthew Falder, one of Britain’s most prolific pedophiles, has been jailed for 32 years.n authorities took part in the global manhunt for a British academic who blackmailed more than 300 victims into sending him depraved images, that he shared on dark web forums.
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Dr Matthew Falder, 29, a geophysicist employed as a researcher at Birmingham University in central England, has now been jailed for 32 years after admitting 137 offences, including encouraging the rape of a four-year-old boy.

He duped victims by masquerading as a depressed female artist on forums and mainstream online advertising websites.

He fooled them into sending him naked or partially clothed images of themselves before blackmailing them into sending more humiliating images by threatening to send the original pictures to their family, friends and employers.

Using the names “evilmind” and “666devil”, he then distributed the images on “hurt core” websites, hidden forums devoted to discussing rape, murder, sadism, torture, pedophilia, blackmail and degradation.

Britain’s National Crime Agency said he approached more than 300 people worldwide, with 45 victims represented in the charges against him.

The NCA set up a global task force with law enforcement officials from the United States, and Europol and enlisted the help of the UK’s eavesdropping spy agency GCHQ during a four-year hunt to track down Falder, who had used specialist anonymising techniques to remain hidden.

He was finally arrested in June last year and in October pleaded guilty to 137 charges which included encouraging rape, inciting sexual exploitation, making indecent images of children and voyeurism.

“It is a tale of ever-increasing depravity,” Judge Philip Parker said as he sentenced Falder at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday.

“The effects on the girls, women and men were devastating. The damage is ongoing for these individuals. It will never end. Time and again people begged you to stop. Time and again you ramped up the pressure.”

At least three of the victims, who ranged in age from early teens to people in their 30s, tried to take their own lives. Falder, a graduate of Cambridge University, also secretly filmed adults he knew when they were in the shower using hidden cameras he had installed at a number of locations.

“Dr Matthew Falder thought he wouldn’t be caught,” said NCA operations strategic lead Matthew Long. “He would stop at nothing to exploit (the victims), to make them feel sad, humiliated and unhappy. Ultimately that has devastated some people’s lives.”

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Call for China to become ASEAN member

A report has called for to join the Association of South East Asian Nations (File).A policy think tank has called for to maximise its future in Asia by joining the ASEAN club of southeast Asian nations.
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As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prepares to host leaders from the Association of South East Asian Nations in Sydney on March 17-18, a report released on Tuesday from the n Strategic Policy Institute makes the case for membership.

Report author Graeme Dobell suggests and New Zealand could take up a new form of membership as ASEAN community partners by 2024.

“Joining ASEAN is the best way to give full expression to our future in south-east Asia and in Asia more broadly,” he says.

“The Sydney summit can stir ambition into the symbolism, reaching towards substance.”

Mr Dobell says southeast Asia is feeling the pressure from Asia’s big beasts, the US, China, Japan and India.

“ASEAN, as a middle power grouping, needs extra middle power heft from and New Zealand,” he said.

The report acknowledges it will be an uphill battle to gain membership into the 10-country organisation, but one of the biggest hurdles will be ‘s own mindset.

” confronts a version of the Groucho Marx line, ‘I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members’, ” Mr Dobell said.

“Or Canberra muses on a complicated semi-Groucho conundrum: ‘Love the club. Think it’s a wonderful, vitally important club. But we’d never want to join. Oh, and they don’t want us.'”

Former n prime minister Paul Keating has advocated for to seek membership of ASEAN in order to find security in Asia not from Asia.

The foreign affairs department has previously raised concerns that if joined, it would have to refrain from criticism of ASEAN governments’ human rights records, which would cramp n independence.

With growing middle classes, southeast Asian countries are expected to become economic powerhouses in coming decades, particular Indonesia, which is tipped to become a global top seven economy by 2030.

ASEAN members are Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.

has had a “strategic partnership” with ASEAN since 2014 and before that was a “dialogue partner”.

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Hero rottweiler Basil saves girl who fell into Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin

Jarrad Houghton with his dog Basil came to the rescue of a child that fell into the lake at Kingston Foreshore. Photo: Dion GeorgopoulosJarrad​Houghton shudders to think what might have happened had he not let his dog Basil investigate a splash in the water at the Kingston Foreshore in Canberra.
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He was walking his faithful rottweiler through the busy restaurant strip of the foreshore on Friday evening when the dog heard a splash in the adjacent waters of Lake Burley Griffin and “insisted on checking it out”.

What they saw next, chilled Jarrad to the bone.

“We got close to the water’s edge to see a little hand sticking out of the water,” he said.

“[I] quickly reached down and the hand was attached to a [eight]-year-old girl.”

Jarradquickly pulled the girl out, and returned herto her parents who were inside at a nearby restaurant. No one else had noticed her go in.

Jarrad posted the story on theCanberra Notice Board Group Facebook pageon Friday night.

Some people were quick to condemn the parents but Jarrad said it was just a case “of kids being kids”.

The little girl had apparently been playing a game of balance on the edge of the boardwalk when she slipped in. Jarrad said he didn’t see her go in. It was the insistence of 10-month-old Basil that made him walk down to the boardwalk and the water’s edge.

“She was really struggling,” Jarrad said. “I liken it to a cat scrambling to get out. I still get goosebumps thinking about what might have happened if Basil had not been there with me.”

The family of the rescued girl, who did not wish to be named,offered their sincere thanks to Jarrad and Basil.

“She is a very competent swimmer or we would not have allowed her anywhere near the water,” the mother said.

“We have, in fact, talked to her about the places that you can get out if ever you fall in. Because she is very much an active kid and risk taker, we make sure we have these conversations.

“She would have been okay. That said, we are very thankful to Jarrad and his doggy who got her out quickly.”

Jarrad said the reason he posted the story was not to draw attention to himself or Basil or the parents, but to remind people that rottweilers got a bad rap, particularly in movies likeThe Omen. But like many so-called “scary” breeds, rottweilers were loving and faithful dogs if they were treated properly.

“Next time you see my ‘scary’rottion our walk, just remember, he saved someone’s life and daughter tonight.” he wrote on the post

Jarrad had grown up around rottweilers since he was six. He always approached anydogwith caution. But he believed dogs should not becondemned because of their breed or how they were portrayed in a movie.

“I’m a very firm believer it’s the environment they grow up in; the breed doesn’t matter,” he said.

“Basil is like any dog that has been loved and carefor. Big or small; greyhound or German shepherd, my approach is a firm and loving hand.”

Basil – who was deliberately named after the character inFawltyTowersto disarm people and get them comfortable – got a special treat and brush on Friday night.

“He eats duck and salmon and all kinds of things. I think I spend more on food for him than on myself,”Jarradsaid.

Jarrad was blown away by the support from people on the page, many rottweiler owners who agreed with his sentiments.

He followed it up with a post saying he would be back at the foreshore on Saturday evening.

“Come and say hellowith a new-found respect for my loving dogs who just so happen to be called rottweilers,” he said.

The story was the ultimate antidote to recent dog attacks in Canberra.

​”I just wanted to combat some of the negative press,” Jarrad. “I would hate for someone to ring up and complain about a dog because they didn’t like the breed based on what they had seen in a movie.”

Canberra Times

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