‘Chilling effect’: Charities slam foreign donations ban

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media during a joint press conference with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Attorney-General George Brandis, at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 5 December 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex EllinghausenHousehold-name charities receiving overseas funding would be prevented from advocating for social and environmental causes if their activity is deemed political, under a Turnbull government plan.
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The government on Tuesday announced a foreign influence and interference package to “strengthen our democracy and … ensure that decisions are made based on Australia’s national interest, not anyone else’s.”

The measures include a bill to ban foreign political donations to all political campaigners, including interest and advocacy groups that “spend millions of dollars each year to influence voters”.

The government will also seek to introduce a new class known as “political campaigners” into the Electoral Act. Such organisations would be forced to comply with the same disclosure and reporting requirements as a political party.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the changes would not prevent charities in Australia from receiving and using foreign donations for non-political activities.

The Australian Electoral Commission defines political expenditure as involving money spent on expressing views on a political party, candidate, MP or election issue.

It also includes the printing and distribution of certain material and conducting opinion polling or other research relating to a federal election or the voting intention of electors.

Communities Council for Australia chief executive David Crosbie said similar laws introduced in Britain had a “chilling effect” on the charity sector.

The council’s board includes the chief executives of World Vision, White Ribbon Australia, Save the Children, the RSPCA, the Smith Family and Wesley Mission. Some of the organisations receive overseas funding.

“All of a sudden any charity advocating for its cause, whether it be education, health, housing, the arts, welfare – is going to be deemed a political actor if they spend any significant resources on that,” he said.

Global Health Alliance executive director Misha Coleman said research for cures and treatment for diseases such as HIV and malaria was largely funded by European and American sources, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“It’s a subjective decision as to what constitutes raising awareness of [diseases] versus what is political campaigning,” Ms Coleman said.

Philanthropy Australia chief executive Sarah Davies said registered charities should be exempt from the foreign donations ban.

“Trusts and foundations based overseas often take a global approach to achieving change and tackling social and environmental issues, and this may involve funding advocacy by charities in Australia,” she said.

Political campaigners would be defined as an organisation that has incurred more than $100,000 worth of political expenditure in any of the previous four years, or which has incurred $50,000 or more in political expenditure where that represents at least half their annual budget.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said GetUp! was plainly “a political campaigning organisation”, which had a political expenditure of more than $10 million in the lead up to the last federal election.

Get Up! campaigning helped defeat conservatives such as the Tasmanian Liberal Andrew Nikolic in the 2016 election, and the group is planning a 10-fold increase in its electoral reach in a bid to unseat more conservatives at the next election. The group says just 0.5 per cent of its donations have come from overseas, and it voluntarily discloses more financial information than is required by law.

GetUp! national director Paul Oosting said the government’s legislation attacks those who speak out against its policies and “does nothing to address the influence big business has on our politicians”.

“The rivers of gold flowing from corporate donors like Adani, Exxon and Chevron stay open and industry bodies like the Minerals Council of Australia can continue to campaign unimpeded,” he said.

“In stark contrast, the government is trying to weaken organisations that represent and support everyday people.”

The Greens have pledged to move amendments to ensure charities and not-for-profit groups “can continue to advocate for policy outcomes, including those that receive international philanthropic donations”.

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Loyal no more: crew of InfoTrack say maxi can break record

The crew of Sydney to Hobart favourites InfoTrack are confident they can not only defend the title but break the race record this year.
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Tech entrepeneur Christian Beck bought 2016 line honours winner Perpetual Loyal this year and rebranded it after his software company.

Perpetual Loyal, skippered by celebrity accountant Anthony Bell, set a new race record of one day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds last year.

“We’d like to try to keep the record,” said Beck, the new owner and skipper of InfoTrack.

“If the conditions are right we’d like to try and hold on to that record. I think if it’s windy we have a chance of winning,” he said.

Beck is estimated to be worth more than $600 million and was named Ernst and Young entrepeneur of 2017 last month.

He hasn’t done offshore ocean racing before and admits it’s a “whole new world”.

“It’s all about the crew because I don’t know what I’m doing, so I really need a good crew,” Beck joked.

InfoTrack has assembled a star-studded crew with decades of Sydney to Hobart experience and Olympic medals.

Some of the crew were meeting Beck for the first time at Tuesday’s InfoTrack launch.

Crew member Iain Jensen won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics and silver at the Rio Olympics in the 49er sailing event.

“I’ve always wanted to do the Hobart, it’s an iconic race in Australia,” Jensen said. “To come home with a Hobart win would be up there for sure.”

Jensen received a call from InfoTrack helmsman Ben Lamb asking him to join the crew.

“He sort of asked if I was interested in doing it. He told me who else was on board and which boat it was and it seemed like a really good opportunity,” Jensen said.

InfoTrack boat captain Ty Oxley will compete in his 15th Sydney to Hobart this year and is confident the 100-foot supermaxi can break the race record if the weather conditions suit.

“It took four hours 50 minutes off the record last year so anything’s possible.”

“It’s definitely capable of winning again and it’s definitely proved itself to be capable in those strong conditions,” Oxley said.

Beck isn’t concerned about being the new owner and skipper of last year’s winner.

“That doesn’t worry me because I don’t have a reputation in sailing. So I don’t really see that as a lot of pressure,” he said.

Beck is also keen to organise a weekly race between supermaxis in the style of the start of the Sydney to Hobart, where the yachts race to be first out of the Sydney heads.

InfoTrack, Comanche, Wild Oats XI and Black Jack are the four supermaxis in the 107-strong fleet.

“It’s going to be quite a competitive year this year. Comanche will be a hard boat to beat,” Jensen said.

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Stockton ferry’s potential as a harbour run

CITY-BOUND: A Stockton ferry heading towards Queens Wharf, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan CarrollIN the years when the future of the Newcastle heavy rail line was still a subject of heated debate, there were parallel fears that a Sydney-centric state government was just waiting for an opportunity to save a bit more of its transport budget by axing the Stockton ferry.
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Thankfully, this didn’t happen, and the ferry continues to operate, run by theFrench/Australian joint-venture Keolis Downer, which is also operating the government’s Newcastle buses and will run the light rail once construction is completed.

Keolis Downer is promising to revolutionise the way the city’s public transport operates, and the early indications are that it plans to do this by increasing the number of services on offer, rather than cutting them. As things stand, it is running more than 40 ferry services in each direction on weekdays, based on a half-hour frequency but with slightly smaller gaps at the morning peak into Newcastle, and the afternoon peak backto Stockton.

Fears over the future of the ferry were fueled by falling patronage, with theNewcastle Herald reportinga dropof about 100,000 passengers between 2008 and 2011, when the number of annual ticketed boardings fell from 532,000 to 448,000.

The latest Opal card data shows the service is still carrying some 450,000 passengers a year, so in general terms, at least, it appears that the earlier decline in patronage has been stopped. This is good news, and an important consideration in a steadily growing push to have the Stockton ferry service expanded to includeat least one –and possibly more –extra stops. As things stand, the government has marked an expanded ferry service as worthy of investigating in the coming “10 to 20 years, subject to business case development”:in other words, it doesn’t see enough demand at present. This is disappointing, because if the government is serious about having thousands more people live and work in a public-transport-oriented CBD, then expanding the ferry run to at least include a stop within easy walking distance of the Wickham transport interchangewould seem to be a logical first step.

In its pitch to the government, and to the Hunter public, Keolis Downer made a lot of its commitment to creating seamless, multi-modal public transport systems. Finding a way to turn the Stockton ferry into a broader harbour service could be an early test of its abilities.

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Brumbies learn to cook before launching Super Rugby hopes

Peeling carrots and cooking chicken hardly sounds like a recipe for Super Rugby title success.
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But the ACT Brumbies hope teaching their young players how to cook and having them send photos of their meals to a nutritionist are the ingredients for something special.

Brumbies players have been spending time with AIS dietician Rebekah Alcock when they’re not at pre-season training to help them adjust to a professional environment.

The Canberra Raiders did something similar two years ago to rejuvenate their NRL side and make off-field preparation as important as on-field execution.

The Brumbies hope the results will deliver the fittest, strongest and best prepared side in Super Rugby as they attempt to end a 14-year championship drought.

Hooker Folau Faingaa moved away from his family in Sydney to chase his rugby dreams at the Brumbies, quitting his job as a concreter to launch his career.

“It was just about cooking for the week, meal preparation and how we could make cooking fun,” said Faingaa said.

“Robbie [Valenti] was pretty bad though. It just reinforces that you’ve got to have everything right off the field and that balance in your life as well. Boys are not just working hard on field to prep for next season…but also off field with [email protected] dietician [email protected] to ensure diet supports training goals…we’re eating for performance, not for body composition!!! pic.twitter南京夜网/4d96sxGvEW??? Ben Serpell (@BenSerpell1) December 4, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Mundine v Horn to become ‘biggest fight in Australia’

Anthony Mundine has described the prospect of taking on Jeff Horn as “the biggest fight in Australia” as the former footballer prepares to step into the ring for the first time since his controversial loss to Danny Green.
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Horn, struggling to make the weight for next week’s WBO welterweight world title defence against Brit Gary Corcoran in Brisbane, admits speculation over his next opponent is becoming a distraction. A win could give Horn a tilt at the likes of undefeated American Terence Crawford and ex-world champion Amir Khan, although few opponents would generate as much local hype as Mundine.

Mundine will return to the ring on January 17 in what will be his first fight in 11 months. The former footballer’s opponent is yet to be confirmed, with Renold Quinlan and Tommy Brown among the options being considered. Having given up on a third fight with Green, “The Man” views his next bout as a tune-up for potential mega-fights with the likes of Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez. However, one of the match-ups he craves most is a shot at Horn.

“I think it’s the biggest fight in Australia,” Mundine said. “I would love that opportunity. That’s the fight, the old bull versus the young bull. I’m sure with my experience and seasoning, I’d be too much for him.

“People want to see it, so let’s get it done. I’m too much for him.

“I’m too big, I’m too fast, my feet are too good. People are gonna say, ‘Can he do it?’ and have question marks over my age. But I see good, I’m like fine wine, I’m getting better with age.

“I feel like I’m getting seasoned now as a professional, I’ve only been in the sport since I was 25.

“He’s got commitments with Top Rank and I want to stay active, stay busy. I’m looking to fight in the new year and keep active. I’ll fight anybody, I’ll take the old out and the new too.

“I feel I’ve still got the goods to mix it with the best in the world. Hopefully I’ve got the name and the runs on the board to lure an Alvarez or Golovkin. I want to go out fighting the best.”

Horn is currently tipping the scales at 73 kilograms and must lose seven before the December 13 encounter with Corcoran. Another issue is the constant speculation over his future opponents, a constant since he upset 11-time world champion Manny Pacquiao. Mundine is one of several big names wanting a chance for a big-money fight with “The Hornet”.

“It’s a distraction when you hear all these guys wanting to fight you, but it happens all the time,” Horn said..

“I will just get used to it, worry about Gary and whatever happens after that if I get past him.

“There’s been a lot of awards nights and functions that I have had to attend, but training always comes first and I am fit and ready for a hard 12-round fight.”

The Queenslander said making the weight for fights was getting more difficult the older he got.

“It’s coming down, but it is always a difficult task,” Horn said.

“Sometimes I feel it just doesn’t want to come off like I want it to. I am about to hit 30 and they say it sticks on you a bit more.

“Hopefully I feel good on fight day after I make the weight.”

Horn’s weight loss battle was music to the ears of Corcoran.

“Losing a bit of weight, no matter what you say, it will make you weak,” he said.

“It happens to everyone.

“[But] I am ready for a hard 12-rounder.”

With AAP

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