Compare and contrast good backhanders with bad ones. Actually bad one only, that's because it's Alan Jones.

EXHIBIT ONE - The outrage industry shocked and disturbed over "backhanders"

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New audio has revealed the shocking severity of radio broadcaster Alan Jones’ tirade against New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

The outspoken commentator sparked anger last week when he suggested Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison 'shove a sock down' the Kiwi leader's throat.

And now audio aired by ABC's Media Watch last night showed Jones' original attack on Ms Ardern was far more brutal.  

On August 15, Jones could be heard saying: 'This lightweight New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern is challenging Scott Morrison over climate change. Now I hope Scott Morrison gets tough here with a few backhanders … hasn't got a clue this woman'.

The new audio has stirred up fresh calls for Jones to be sacked.


EXHIBIT TWO - not shocked, not disturbed - thanks to Keira Savage for these good backhanders


Cardinal Pell's appeal is dismissed - conviction upheld

2-1 decision.

Summary of the judgement here soon.

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"The complainant's evidence had the ring of truth".

Chief Justice Ferguson and President Maxwell personally examined the Cardinal's robes to test their "manoeuvrability".  They concluded that the robes could be "moved to one side".

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Justice Weinberg is the dissenting Judge. He believed there was real doubt about the complainant's evidence and reasonable doubt as to whether Cardinal Pell could have committed the offences charged against him.

Chief Justice Ferguson, "Take Cardinal Pell from the courtroom please".

The sound of a squeaking hinge was as close as we got to seeing Cardinal Pell.

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Justice Weinberg's visage of judicial impassivity appeared to admit a modicum of emotion.

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And by 10AM it was over - court adjourned.

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Reporter who stood up to Shorten in election campaign moved on by Peter Van Onselen’s channel 10

Jonathan Lea became an instant outsider in the Press Gallery when he stood up to Shorten. 

Today he finished up with the 10 Bureau under the leadership of hipster in chief Van Onselen. 
This was the moment: 


This email is from Ross Dagan, Ten Director of News. 


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And finally - because too many times is never enough!

Marise Payne secretly negotiating with UK high commissioner for more "ambitious" climate change action

The Guardian's story here.

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The British government has privately appealed to senior Coalition ministers – including Angus Taylor and Marise Payne – to develop a more “ambitious” climate policy, amid growing concern Australia is not doing enough to cut emissions.

As the government fends off criticism from Pacific island nations about its climate policies, Guardian Australia can reveal that the UK’s high commissioner to Australia, Vicki Treadell, has met with both ministers since the May election, using the introductory meetings to convey Britain’s view that it wants all countries, including Australia, to increase their climate ambitions.

The UK has prioritised climate action, and last month became the first G7 country to legislate a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Since 1990, the UK has reduced emissions by more than 40%, while the economy has grown by around 70%.

It is understood the high commissioner’s meeting with Taylor, who is the government’s emissions reduction minister, took place in early July and discussed the future of Australia’s energy policy after the Coalition dumped its proposed national energy guarantee in the dying days of Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership.

A bilateral meeting between Treadell and Payne, the foreign minister, also raised the need for more ambitious climate action, which has become a key concern of Pacific island nations, some of which face an existential threat from rising sea levels.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, last week fended off criticism about Australia’s climate position at the Pacific Islands Forum after refusing to endorse a statement that had called for a quicker transition to renewable energy and a pledge to end coal-fired power.

While Australia committed $500m in aid money to help respond to the climate emergency in the region, it has rebuffed calls for bolder emissions reduction targets and not to use carry-over credits to meet its 2030 Paris emissions reduction targets.

Like Australia, the UK is also stepping up its diplomatic activities in the Pacific region, opening new posts in Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga through what it has termed a Pacific “uplift” program.A spokesman for the UK high commission in Canberra said the call for more ambitious action on the climate emergency did not just apply to Australia.

“No countries’ targets have been ambitious enough and every country needs to do more, including both the UK and Australia,” the spokesman said.“The UK government believes we have a moral duty to leave this world in better condition than that which we inherited, which is why we have set ourselves a target of net zero emissions by 2050.”

The intervention comes as the Morrison government faces further international pressure to do more on climate, with the UN hosting a climate summit in New York next month, followed by the annual COP (Conference of the Parties) meeting for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which oversees global emissions targets.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has asked world leaders to demonstrate at the September summit that they have plans for achieving zero emissions by 2050.

Next year, the annual COP will be held in London, where Australia can be expected to face further pressure from Britain and other signatories to bolster its climate targets.

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BlueScope Steel $700M US expansion - "Energy prices one third of what we pay in Australia".

Amazing that Labor-affiliated unions and their ACTU are advocating for even higher energy prices and a so-called carbon tax.

“We continue to be attracted to the U.S. as a place to build our business,” BlueScope Chief Executive Mark Vassella said.

Energy costs in the U.S. are roughly a third of what BlueScope pays in Australia, he said.

It's scandalous that a country so rich in coal is exporting jobs to the US.

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SYDNEY—An Australian steelmaker said it will spend roughly US$700 million to expand its U.S. business, joining American rivals that have outlined plans to add capacity domestically in the wake of President Trump’s import tariffs.

BlueScope Steel Ltd. BSL +6.08% said annual steelmaking capacity at its North Star facility in Delta, Ohio, would increase by 40%, or 850,000 metric tons, once the expansion is completed.

The North Star plant sells nearly all its steel to customers in the U.S. Midwest, in particular automotive and construction companies.

U.S. steel prices have fallen about a third since approaching a decade-high last summer, but BlueScope and other steelmakers are looking beyond the current weakness in commodity markets. Slowing global growth is deepening confidence among steel executives that the U.S. and other countries will resort to infrastructure spending to give their economies a boost.

Steel Dynamics Inc. plans to build a mill in the southwestern U.S. capable of producing 3 million short tons of flat-rolled sheet steel annually, which would make it one of the largest mills to open in the U.S. in decades. United States Steel Corp. is in the middle of US$1.5 billion program to repair and upgrade its facilities.

New low-cost capacity is being brought online at the expense of older steel mills. U.S. Steel, among the highest-cost producers of steel in the country, recently idled two blast furnaces in response to the sudden downswing in steel prices.

“We continue to be attracted to the U.S. as a place to build our business,” BlueScope Chief Executive Mark Vassella said.

Energy costs in the U.S. are roughly a third of what BlueScope pays in Australia, he said, and recent price increases introduced by U.S. mills appear to be sticking.

Since hitting a year-and-a-half low near US$500 a short ton on July 2, the price of hot-rolled coiled sheet steel in the U.S. has rebounded to approximately US$600 a short ton, according to S&P Global Platts’s price assessment.

Mr. Vassella said continued oversupply and the uncertainty caused by tit-for-tat tariffs continue to bedevil the steel industry. Also, prices for raw materials have been volatile.

“It’s part of the dilemma we have,” he said, referring to prices for steel, iron ore and coal. “The numbers are swinging wildly.”

For BlueScope, whose operations span from Australia and New Zealand to China, expanding in the U.S. was part of a strategy hatched in 2007 to reduce its reliance on its home market for profits. Since then, the steelmaker has continued to predict strong steel demand in the U.S., driven by construction and autos.

The company says its North Star business ranks fifth by volume in the production of hot-rolled coil in North America.

BlueScope’s growth in the U.S. included the 2007 purchase of IMSA Steel Corp. from Ternium SA for US$730 million and gaining of full ownership in North Star for US$720 million in 2015. It also exports more than US$200 million of metal to the U.S. each year from its Port Kembla steelworks south of Sydney.

BlueScope expects to finish construction work at the Delta plant in Ohio at the end of 2022, and then take roughly 18 months to ramp up to full production. There is the potential to increase capacity by another 500,000 metric tons later, but Mr. Vassella said that wasn’t a priority right now.

On Monday, BlueScope reported a 35% fall in annual profit reflecting one-time gains a year earlier. Stripping out one-time items, earnings rose 17% because of higher steel prices in the 12 months through June.

Court of criminal appeal gives axe-attack transsexual another 5 years behind bars

The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal has today allowed the Crown's appeal against the manifestly inadequate sentence handed to Evie Amati over a vicious, murderous axe attack on 3 innocent people.

Amati's head sentence has been increased from nine to fourteen years.

The non-parole period is up from four-and-a-half years to eight years.

Judgement in full below.

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Crown v Amati by Michael Smith on Scribd