Spinning finger injury no sweat for Lyon

The last time Nathan Lyon suffered a cracked callus on his spinning finger in India, it led to a career-best haul of 7-94 in Delhi.


As such Lyon isn’t overly worried about the injury he is nursing ahead of the third Test, which starts in Ranchi on Thursday.

Lyon is expected to be on restricted duties during the squad’s training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, ensuring his dinged-up digit is given the best possible chance to recover.

The offspinner grabbed a record-breaking haul of 8-50 in the first innings of the second Test, but failed to conjure a single wicket as India seized control of the clash in their second dig. The hosts went on to level the series with a 75-run win.

Bowling coach David Saker noted last week the niggle clearly “impacted the way” Lyon bowled in India’s second innings.

But the tweaker, who needs eight more Test scalps to surpass Richie Benaud’s career haul of 248 wickets, insists he will be ready to turn the ball as per normal in Ranchi.

“I’ve bowled a lot of balls over the summer and it usually happens once or twice a year,” Lyon said of the setback.

“The last time I was here, the same thing happened in the third Test and I was able to play three days later.

“So I’m more than confident in turning out for the next Test.”

Lyon had an extended batting session in the nets on Sunday but didn’t roll the arm over.

The most experienced member of the touring squad isn’t expected to bowl much in the coming days, but team management say he is in no doubt for the third Test.

“It was pretty painful there for a bit. And you can’t bowl with tape on, there’s rules and laws out there,” Lyon said, having repeatedly scuttled off the field for treatment during India’s second innings in Bangalore.

“I’m able to bowl cross-seam and stuff, so I can still try to spin it.

“But for variations and trying to get drift and drop … it does impede it a little bit.

“But we’ve gone through that now and moved on from the second Test.”

The injury cloud is far from ideal for the tourists, who already have to make two changes to their XI because of series-ending injuries to Mitchell Starc and Mitch Marsh.

Labor on track to win 41 of 59 WA seats

Labor remains on track to win 41 seats in WA’s 59-seat parliament after Saturday’s landslide election win.


Seven seats are in the balance including those of Liberal leadership hopeful Joe Francis, who must win his Jandakot seat first, and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls in Pilbara.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation looks like it will get a second upper house seat despite polling well below expectations with 4.7 per cent across the board.

Labor’s task of 10 seats and a 10 per cent swing to win government was considered extremely difficult, but it has already picked up at least 16 seats, including nearly all of the Perth suburban seats identified as battleground mortgage belt areas.

There was a 16 per cent swing against former premier Colin Barnett’s Liberals, a loss of about one third of their primary vote.

Labor was ahead in another five Liberal-held seats, including the metropolitan seats Jandakot, Joondalup and Kingsley, and rural Murray-Wellington south of Perth and Pilbara in the north, as the electoral commission resumed counting votes on Monday.

In regional Geraldton, sitting Liberal Ian Blayney was slightly ahead of Labor’s Lara Dalton, while Liberal Kyran O’Donnell had a small lead over sitting Nationals MP Tony Crook in Kalgoorlie.

The shape of the previously Liberal-National dominated 59-seat parliament is set to be 41 seats to Labor, the Liberals’ presence will fall from 31 to 13 and the Nationals from seven to five.

Several government ministers lost their seats, including Health Minister John Day, Environment Minister Albert Jacob and Local Government Minister Paul Miles with Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell trailing Labor.

One Nation leader Colin Tincknell is assured of a seat in the upper house and the party may get a second in the legislative council, according to ABC election analyst Antony Green.

The biggest swing was 23.4 per cent in Bunbury, where former senior public servant Don Punch turned a previously safe Liberal seat into a safe Labor one.

The 10 Perth metropolitan seats the Liberals still hold are mostly in Perth’s more affluent western suburbs, such as Mr Barnett’s Cottesloe and deputy leader Liza Harvey’s Scarborough.

The upper house is still to be sorted, including the effect of the preference deals among micro parties and whether the Fluoride Free WA party, which opposes water fluoridation, will get a seat.

However Mr Green is predicting a more balanced upper than lower house, with WA Labor to win 14 seats, the Liberal Party 10, the Nationals four and the Greens a chance to increase their representation from two to three seats.

One Nation is set to do no better than the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, which are set to win two seats each and the Liberal Democrats could win one.

Machete attacker denies he meant to kill

Muhumed Samow Ali split a woman’s head with a machete after deliberately smashing his car into hers and was stopped from further attacking her by a man with a wheelie bin.


But he has told his Brisbane Supreme Court trial he didn’t mean to kill her in the domestic attack, only to harm her.

Ali has pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and dangerous driving over the September 2015 assault, but not guilty to attempted murder.

He had known his victim for about three years, having met her in Townsville after she arrived from Somalia in 2011.

The court heard he would visit the woman on weekends but around July 2015, when both lived at separate homes in Brisbane, he said he didn’t want to see her anymore.

However, on the morning of September 10, he went to the woman’s Wacol street address and, as she was driving home, smashed his car into hers.

“(She) got out of her car, she left one of her shoes behind in her haste, she left the engine running and she ran screaming towards houses calling for help,” Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden told the jury.

The woman told the court she then saw Ali take a large knife from the boot of his car.

“I tried to run behind him,” she said, giving evidence through a Somali interpreter, on Monday.

Brandishing the weapon, Ali chased her, cornered her and wielded his machete.

“He hit me seven times and when he hit me the seventh time … that’s when I fell,” she said.

The woman was struck with the blade across the back of the head and knocked to the ground, suffering a six-centimetre cut that went down to the skull, the jury heard.

As she lay in the middle of the road, a neighbour ran to help the crying woman.

Clinton Holgate said it was too dangerous to treat her so he grabbed a nearby wheelie bin and used it to fend off Ali.

Other residents then took the woman into their garage and kept her safe until emergency services arrived.

Most of the facts of the trial are not disputed, but the defence says Ali used the dull edge of the blade in a bid to injure, but not kill.

Defence lawyer Ben Power told the jury they had been assigned to a difficult case.

“My client has pleaded guilty to all of the physical actions,” he said.

“The charges of attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm are a step beyond his physical actions and their consequences.”

Doctors, police and five eye-witnesses are set to give evidence as the trial continues before Justice Roslyn Atkinson.

Fortescue Metals flags dividend boost

Fortescue Metals is likely to join mining giant Rio Tinto in raising dividends as the price of iron ore remains elevated.


The miner’s chief executive Nev Power said on Tuesday that with the company enjoying strong margins on the back of improved iron ore prices, it needs to balance returns for debt holders and shareholders.

“We flagged at the time of the interim dividend that we would be reviewing the payout ratio at the time of final dividend. The board will consider this in two weeks,” he said on the on the sidelines of the Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Fortescue currently has a payout ratio of 30 to 40 per cent of net profit, and declared a sharply higher interim dividend of 20 cents a share in February, representing 38 per cent of profit.

Earlier this month, Rio Tinto paid a record interim dividend after its underlying half year profit more than doubled due to stronger commodity prices.

The higher returns reflect a reluctance among big miners to splash money on new mines or businesses, and come on the back of higher but volatile prices of the steel making ingredient, helped by rising demand from China’s steel industry.

Iron ore currently trades around $US75 per tonne.

“The Chinese steel industry has maintained production consistently around 800 million tonnes and we believe it will do that for decades to come,” Mr Power said.

He attributed the recent volatility in the iron ore price to significantly larger stocks at Chinese ports in recent months, but said he expects those stocks to taper over the next 6-12 months and reduce some of that volatility.

The miner last month said it expects to trim costs further this financial year and is targeting steady iron ore shipments in 2017/18.

Fortescue will release full-year results on August 21.

Its shares dropped 10 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $5.77 on Tuesday.

UN warns of ‘escalating crisis’ on Manus Island after death

The United Nations is warning of an escalating crisis on Manus Island after the death of a refugee.


The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says it is gravely concerned by deteriorating conditions at the Manus Island regional processing centre as authorities shuffle detainees around ahead of its October closure.

“The UNHCR is deeply saddened by the tragic death of a young refugee yesterday, which also highlights the precarious situation for vulnerable people on Manus Island,” the agency said on Tuesday.

An Iranian refugee with a history of mental illness took his own life in the township of Lorengau on Monday before he was due to move from detention into the Papua New Guinean community.

Refugee advocates have described the man’s suicide as a preventable tragedy.

The refugees in #Manus are calling for an independent investigation into Hamed’s death. The refugees argue that its suspicious.

— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) August 8, 2017

Tensions are high on Manus Island, with water and electricity cut off to some compounds at the centre as demolition works gather steam.

The UN believes the looming closure of the processing centre, along with the withdrawal of medical care, torture and trauma support and security services, is exacerbating a highly stressful situation for those on the island.

The agency says many of the nearly 800 refugees on Manus Island fear for their safety outside the centre following violent incidents in recent years.


Greens senator Nick McKim tried to disrupt parliament on Tuesday to label Manus Island and Nauru unsafe and demand the immediate evacuation of all refugees.

The situation on Manus Island was becoming more dire and dangerous by the hour, he said.


“The only safe place for these people is to be evacuated from Manus Island and Nauru and brought here to Australia,” he told senators.

Senator McKim read aloud the names of eight people who have died while in offshore detention since 2013, before pausing for a minute’s silence.

Cabinet minister Michaelia Cash labelled his move “way worse than disgusting”.

The UN insists critical services on Manus Island must continue, warning any further reduction of fundamental supports for refugees and asylum-seekers would add to the serious health and security risks of detainees.

The Iranian refugee’s death is being investigated by PNG authorities.

Adding to tensions on Manus Island and Nauru is the release of a leaked transcript of Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump discussing a people-swap deal in January.

The prime minister assured the new president the US was not obliged to accept a single refugee, needing only to process those held in detention to honour the bargain.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467. MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.


60th anniversary of Japan-Aust trade ties

Former prime minister John Howard has hailed the foresight of Australia and Japan’s post-WWII leaders in putting the bitterness of conflict behind them to build trade ties.


It’s 60 years since Robert Menzies and his Japanese counterpart Nobusuke Kishi – the grandfather of current leader Shinzo Abe – signed the Japan-Australia commerce agreement.

Mr Howard and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo are marking the anniversary at a function with the Japanese Ambassador Sumio Kusaka in Canberra on Tuesday.

Menzies and Kishi signed the deal only 12 years after the end of WWII – a conflict in which Australia had come under attack from the Japanese on home soil on multiple occasions.

Australian soldiers also fought the Japanese in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific islands.

“This was no mean feat,” Mr Howard said of the deal.

“Many members of the coalition government at the time, such as Reginald Schwartz, a senior minister and Alick Downer, father of Australia’s longest serving foreign minister, had been prisoners of war.”

He noted some sections of the Returned Services League opposed the agreement, along with the Labor Party as well as some parts of Australian industry.

“The trade relationship between Australia and Japan immeasurably strengthened our countries’ economic performance over the following decades,” Mr Howard said, adding that it was only in 2008 that China surpassed Japan as Australia’s principal export market.

Mr Ciobo said existing Australia’s economic relationship with Japan was the result of a “grand vision” and “remarkable political bravery”.

“Free trade and open markets are the ticket to prosperity and key to driving future jobs and growth,” he said.

Australia and Japan reached a free trade deal in 2014.

Boyd praised for heart as AFL end looms

Captain Bob Murphy has hailed Matthew Boyd as the self-confessed grump who shone brightest when times were toughest at the Western Bulldogs.


Boyd is the latest AFL veteran to announce his impending retirement, humbly saying he is embarrassed to be calling it quits at the same time as Luke Hodge, Nick Riewoldt and Sam Mitchell.

But Boyd’s career stacks up in comparison – former captain, three-time All-Australian, three-time club best-and-fairest winner, premiership player.

With 291 games, he holds the record among rookie-drafted players.

Starting on the rookie list meant Boyd did it tough and he developed a well-earned reputation for his intense, driven character.

“The real man is much more rounded than that,” Murphy said.

“The grumpiness is now kind of his badge of honour, but it’s something we tease him with.

“It’s exaggerated, because he has such a big heart and a genuine care for people and this place.

“You can still see the claws occasionally and he has been my attack dog.”

Boyd was a key member of last year’s premiership team, only two years after the club was on its knees – again.

“We’ve gone through a lot of tough times and you need people with the steady hand,” Murphy said.

“When things are at their absolute worst, that’s when Matty is at his absolute best.”

But there was no avoiding that grumpiness on Tuesday, much to everyone’s amusement.

With wife Kate and their three children Chloe, Asher and James looking on, Boyd noted in his retirement speech that their elder daughter had picked up on Dad’s serious side.

“She (Chloe) knows the day before a game, because she says ‘Dad, you’re even more grumpy than usual’,” Boyd said.

He still sometimes pinches himself about last year’s historic flag, but Boyd is also proud about how he has handled himself since.

Boyd has no regrets about going on for another season, even though he has managed only nine games and will miss Friday night’s blockbuster against GWS as he nurses a leg injury.

“I feel really fulfilled with my career, given the year I’m going through now,” he said.

“I’ve been able to handle myself in the right sort of way and let my character show through and handle myself with integrity.

“That makes me feel really good about my career.”


* DOB: 27/8/82 (34)

* No.23 selection in the 2002 rookie draft

* 2003 AFL debut, 291 games (most by a rookie-drafted player)

* 2016 premiership player

* Captain 2011-13

* Three-time All-Australian

* Three-time club best-and-fairest winner

Protest against uni cuts taken to streets

Hundreds of protesters have rallied at events across Australia challenging the federal government’s “deeply flawed” cuts to higher education.


In Melbourne police watched on as about 200 university students and staff met outside the city’s state library on Tuesday before marching down Swanston Street for a sit in.

The group chanted “no cuts, no fees, no corporate universities” and held up “education is a right, not a privilege” banners and placards as part of the hour-long National Tertiary Education Union demonstration.

The union had called for Australia-wide protests on university campuses in addition to planned National Union of Students rallies in cities centres.

“If the government’s higher education reform package passes the Senate, there will be an immediate detrimental impact on staff and students through job losses, bigger class sizes, less course choice, more support services cut and even more employment insecurity,” NTEU president Jeannie Rea said.

“We are meeting on campuses because we also have a message for our university managements.

“Hard-working staff have had enough of being treated as a soft target every time there are calls for ‘belt tightening’ or ‘budget repair’.”

The Turnbull government wants to impose a 2.5 per cent “efficiency dividend” on universities in 2018 and 2019.

It also plans to increase student fees by up to $3600 over a four-year degree and link a portion of university funding to performance and transparency measures.

Under this plan, the government argues real per-student funding will be $18,958 in 2018 compared with $17,623 in 2009, when all universities had surpluses, or $18,024 in 2011, when all but Central Queensland University did.

‘Guardian visas’ boosting interest among Chinese property buyers

Receiving an Australian education and being near a good school are major drawcards for foreign investors when considering property.


From July 1, students aged six and above would be able to apply for student visas regardless of their country of citizenship – and their guardians can also apply for Guardian visas (subclass 580). 

Currently, the system assesses applications based on immigration risk and most Chinese students are ranked at level three, the highest risk, requiring the most evidence to support applications.

These visa-rule changes, which were announced during Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to China in April, also mean non-residents can buy several new properties or one existing property.

Related reading

Dave Platter, from the leading Chinese international-property portal Juwai长沙桑拿按摩论坛, said there has been a nearly 20 per cent jump in inquiries for properties in Australia since Mr Turnbull’s announcement.

He says the portal does not arrange visas, but offers advice about applying. 

“We’re already seeing inquiries about these new visas from Chinese families who want to have their children study here,” he said.

While that may increase demand, Mr Platter said it would also result in the construction of new homes.

“In school catchment areas, where there’s potential for new development, Chinese interest actually increases the supply of housing by making it possible for developers to build new buildings, and that creates new supply, which can help keep prices down,” Mr Platter said.

“The government has done studies on this, and they’ve found that Chinese buyers actually keep prices down by encouraging new supply.”

The visas are valid for two years, and visa holders cannot work, nor apply for different visas while they are in Australia.

This week, New South Wales followed Victoria’s lead to introduce stamp-duty and land-tax surcharges that will add about $50,000 to the average purchase price.

The average house price is already at around $1 million.

Related readingNo guarantee of permanent property ownership

Immigration lawyer Alex Kaufman stresses the scheme was not a gift to rich foreign investors.

“Anyone who’s got an ulterior motive, really, in this space, whether it’s property development or otherwise, property acquisition, will very soon find themselves having to deal with a higher level of scrutiny from the Foreign Investment Review Board,” he said.

“There are other state measures which are designed to perhaps cool (inhibit) entry.”

Mr Kaufman also pointed out that keeping the property permanently would require becoming an Australian citizen.

“It’s not a free pass, if you like, or a ticket to property ownership in perpetuity,” he said.

“You would necessarily need to convert that to permanent residency or citizenship at some stage in order to hang onto that piece of property.”

Related reading

Estate agents Vera and Geoffrey Wong have hosted an open home in Sydney’s Eastwood.

Most of their clients are either Chinese or South Korean investors, and Mr Wong says when they were choosing a property, there is no doubt their children’s education is considered most important.

He said buyers are planning purchases that cater for their children’s entire education.

“Schooling … that is – I can’t emphasise it enough – is one of the main factors,” he said.

“Our clients, I would say over 70 per cent, (are looking,) at schooling and the university afterwards.” 




Court to examine senators’ citizenship

The High Court will sit in judgement over a government senator and two former Greens members over their eligibility to sit in parliament due to citizenship issues.


As a cloud also hangs over One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, the Senate on Tuesday agreed that the court will look into former minister Matt Canavan and Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam of the Greens, who have resigned their Senate seats.

The court will test their eligibility under section 44 of the constitution, which bans dual citizens from parliament.

Senator Canavan’s mother signed him up to be an Italian resident abroad a decade ago, but he says it was only made known to him after the emergence of issues with the two Greens – who have resigned from parliament.

Attorney-General George Brandis told parliament on Tuesday the government would work to expedite the hearing.

“There is an overriding public interest in resolving the uncertainty around Senator Canavan’s status,” he said.

Senate President Stephen Parry said he had notified the governors of Western Australia and Queensland of the two Greens vacancies.

Senator Canavan, who has stood aside from cabinet but not parliament, told the chamber he would not vote in the Senate until the matter was resolved by the court.

He insisted that until three weeks ago, he had no knowledge or reason to believe he may have been registered as an Italian citizen.

Senator Brandis said the government’s preliminary view was that Senator Canavan was not in breach of the constitution.

The Greens on Tuesday lodged a notice of motion to refer Senator Roberts to the High Court, which is expected to be dealt with in the Senate on Wednesday.

Documents have emerged showing Senator Roberts once was a British citizen.

Senator Roberts and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson have denied on several occasions he ever held British citizenship.

But Buzzfeed has obtained an immigration department document signed by Senator Roberts and dated May 8, 1974, on which the then 19-year-old notes he is a “British UK and Cols (Colonies)” citizen.

The Queensland senator was born in Disergarh, India, in 1955 and his family arrived in Australia in October 1962.

While the documents confirm the Roberts family’s notifications to become citizens were approved by the immigration department, there is no mention of whether the British citizenship was renounced.

Senator Roberts has said he took steps to renounce any “possible” British citizenship before he ran for parliament, but did not receive a letter back from British authorities until December last year.

Senator Brandis told AAP he did not believe there was enough evidence at the moment to support a referral of Senator Roberts to the High Court.

IOOF eyes banks as it looks to expand

Financial services firm IOOF Holdings is on the hunt for acquisitions to add to its growing team of advisers and the billions of dollars it manages.


IOOF shares rose six per cent to a two-year high of $10.70 after it announced a 16 per cent drop in profit from its continuing operations to $116 million, and steady revenue of $908 million.

The company attracted 33 new advisers in the year to June 30, adding $976 million to its inflows, and its funds under management of $115 billion on June 30 were up $10.8 billion from a year ago.

Managing director Christopher Kelaher said the company hoped to grow that new adviser figure to around 50 over the next six months, counter to the industry trend.

IOOF expects its purchase of National Australia Bank’s National Australia Trustees business to be finalised in the next six months, subject to regulatory approval, and he said the company is looking at further acquisitions.

“It’s fair to say that if you were looking at the universe in the wealth management sector, whether they be banks or otherwise, we would be active in looking at them right now,” Mr Kelaher told AAP.

“At the moment with the negative sentiment on some of the other larger institutions I think we’re in a very good spot.”

IOOF’s annual net profit of $116 million was down 41 per cent on the previous year, when it sold the Perennial Fixed Interest and Perennial Growth Management parts of its business to the Henderson Group.


* Profit from continuing operations down 16pct to $116m

* Revenue steady at $908 million

* Final dividend up one cent to 27 cents, fully franked

Transurban to start driverless car trial

Australia’s first trial of driverless vehicles on a toll road in real traffic conditions is set to start later in August on toll road operator Transurban’s Melbourne network.


Transurban, which operates Melbourne’s CityLink and roads in Sydney, and Brisbane, will also trial driverless vehicles on its roads around Washington in the US.

Chief executive Scott Charlton says the automated vehicles will not be marked but will have a professional driver inside to take control if needed.

The trials will involve a range of automated vehicles operating in peak hour, non-peak times and under all conditions.

“We’ll be testing those (vehicles) in a real-world situation – how they interact with our road and how they interact with drivers,” Mr Charlton said.

“Over the next two decades, you’re going to have the interaction of autonomous vehicles and non-autonomous vehicles.

“So, how is that going to play out?”

Mr Charlton said the automated vehicles are fairly good at reading static signs but have more trouble with electronic LED signs and experience some difficulty in tunnels, where no horizon is visible.

My Charlton said the tests will take place over 18 months.

The trials will assess the driverless vehicles’ level of autonomy, how the roadside interacts with the vehicle and its position, and levels of “platooning” where the vehicles travel within a few centimetres of each other behind a lead vehicle.

Transurban is also trialling mobile GPS tolling technology on 1,000 motorists in Sydney in a bid to make the toll system easier to use and encourage use of toll roads.

The new technology involves a mobile phone app that can be used to track where a vehicle has travelled on toll roads.

The system then relays a message to the driver’s mobile phone outlining payment options.

Palm oil blobs cover Hong Kong beaches

Hong Kong has closed more than a dozen beaches after a palm oil spill washed foul-smelling, Styrofoam-like clumps ashore, the latest major environmental disaster to blight the territory’s waters.


The Chinese-controlled city closed two more beaches in the south of Hong Kong island on Tuesday, bringing to 13 the total shut since two vessels collided in the Pearl River estuary.

It took two days for mainland Chinese authorities to inform Hong Kong about the collision, the government said. Media said the accident happened on Thursday.

The spill has sparked outrage among some residents and environmentalists and comes just a year after mountains of rubbish washed up on Hong Kong’s beaches, with labels and packaging indicating most of it had come from mainland China.

It also comes at the height of summer, when beaches and outlying islands are packed with daytrippers, campers and holiday makers, especially at weekends.

The Hong Kong government said it had collected 50 tonnes of oil so far, most of it congealed, while workers scooped up 110 bags of palm oil waste on one beach alone on the popular Lamma Island.

Conservation group Sea Shepherd said there had not been a spill on this scale in Hong Kong, as the clumps kept spreading.

The impact on fish farms, helping to meet huge demand in Cantonese restaurants in the densely populated territory, was not immediately clear.

Environmental groups said that oil has seeped up to 10 cm)deep into Hong Kong’s sprawling, sandy beaches making it difficult to clean.

Samantha Lee, conservation manager at the World Wildlife Fund in Hong Kong, said that while palm oil is thought of as non-toxic, it would oxidize under Hong Kong’s hot sun and it was not clear how harmful the new substance would become.

Apart from beaches which have been shut, the rest of Hong Kong’s verdant shoreline is likely to have been impacted with the feeding capabilities of many sea creatures such as barnacles, crabs and shells affected, Lee said.

Hong Kong’s coastal waters and beaches are often strewn with rubbish from mainland China, where some companies discharge waste into the sea to save the cost of proper disposal, according to conservationists.