Police boo and heckle WA Premier

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has been booed and heckled in front of Parliament House by hundreds of police officers, who are demanding a higher pay rise.

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Officers are angry that Labor has broken an election promise to stick to the previous Coalition government’s 1.5 per cent wage deal for all public servants.

Mr McGowan announced in May that public servants’ pay increases will be capped at $1000 a year, because the state budget was in a dire state with the highest debt in the nation.

“If we do anything different, all we’re doing is borrowing money so that yourselves, your children and grandchildren will have even more debt to pay off into the future,” he told the rally.

He was booed, with some police shouting out that the state’s financial problems were not their fault and pointing out Labor party employees recently got a 9.5 per cent pay rise over three years, although that was not taxpayer-funded.

People at the rally held placards depicting bloody images of police injuries, including an officer who was recently struck with a samurai sword, fracturing his skull.

The government has leaked details about the confidential negotiations showing the union has asked for a 6.5 per cent pay rise over two years.

Union president George Tilbury said that was merely its initial counter offer at the start of negotiations months ago but he did think police deserved a higher pay rise than the $1,000 the rest of the public sector was getting.

“The job we do is difficult and dangerous, police officers put their lives on the line, they are the only public servants that have to act when an offence is committed whether they witness it on or off duty,” he said.

The union has threatened to launch a third phase of industrial action on top of measures already taken that will hit the government’s hip pocket, such as issuing cautions rather than fines for minor offences, but strike action is not being considered.

WA’s public servants, including its police officers, are the best paid in the country dating back to the mining boom.

Suns to start search for Eade replacement

Gold Coast assistant coach Dean Solomon is the best man to lead the Suns this weekend, but chief executive Mark Evans says the AFL club has not given a thought to who will coach them beyond this season.

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Speaking on Tuesday as they announced the sacking of Rodney Eade, Evans and club chairman Tony Cochrane were adamant they had not started the search for his replacement.

Current AFL assistant coaches Stuart Dew (Sydney), John Barker (Carlton) and Brett Ratten (Hawthorn) are among the contenders being thrown up to take over from Eade.

Admitting there was an “experience vacuum” at the club, Cochrane would not be drawn on whether they would attempt to lure a veteran coach or take a chance on someone new.

“We honestly have not considered a replacement, I promise you we have not spent a known second of time considering who his replacement may be,” Cochrane said.

Cochrane said the board unanimously endorsed the decision to part ways with Eade after Evans presented the findings from an ongoing review on Monday.

Solomon will coach the side for the remaining three games of the season, Eade closing with 16 wins from 63 games to his name since arriving on the Gold Coast at the start of the 2015 season.

“I haven’t spoken to anybody about being senior coach of Gold Coast Suns for next year,” Evans said.

“He (Solomon) has that level of respect for them and they have that for him and that makes him quite clearly the best person to galvanise what we need to do now.”

Eade told the Herald Sun that he was disappointed, but accepted the decision.

“I’m too experienced and been through a lot to be bitter – bitter is not an emotion,” he said.

The remainder of the football department is under serious examination following another underwhelming season, in which the Suns sit 15th.

The Suns sacked inaugural coach Guy McKenna at the end of the 2014 season, bringing in Eade from Collingwood where he was an assistant to Nathan Buckley.

While the Suns have struggled and never finished higher than 12th in six seasons, fellow expansion side Greater Western Sydney have excelled in the past two years, making the preliminary finals last year and sitting second in 2017.

Evans indicated there could be more changes as they seek to emulate the Giants’ rise.

“Rodney took us to a level and now we’ve decided it’s time to have a change of senior coach to go to the next level,” he said.

“Of course we’ll get the best coach to take us to that.”

Adding to the Suns’s woes, co-captain Tom Lynch will miss the last three games of the season with a knee injury.

Tensions high as Kenyans vote in election ‘too close to call’

President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second and final term in office and is facing his long-time rival, Raila Odinga.

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The election has already been subject to violence and claims of vote-rigging.

Opposition Leader Raila Odinga says a lack of high-speed mobile phone coverage in some areas means the electronic voting system being used could prove unreliable.

“We are saying that the law says Kenyans must cast their ballots through the electronic voting system which is called EVID, Electronic Voter Identification Devices, and we have said that if that system does not work, this vote count cannot go on. This is what we have said to our supporters everywhere, because what was going to happen was not valid. We are saying that if this happens, that polling station should be shut down until the changes are made. That is the law.”

Kenya’s electoral authority, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, says it will use satellite phones to transmit electoral results in areas without 3G or 4G mobile coverage.

The Commission’s chairman is Wafula Chebukati.

“We wish to assure you all that we have taken steps to ensure that the results are electronically transmitted from all the polling stations through satellite transmission. We have provided satellite capability to all the 290 tallying centres from where presiding officers will take their results for transmission in any event.”

A computerised voting system used in the 2013 election failed, forcing the manual counting of votes.

Afterwards Mr Odinga turned to the courts, alleging electoral fraud but lost his case.

In 2007, more than 1,100 Kenyans died and 600,000 were displaced after elections results were disputed – an outcome neither candidate wants repeated.

President Kenyatta has made a televised address urging Kenyans to respect the result and not resort to violence.

“No matter the result of this election, we must stand together as one people. Above all, we must reject intimidation. We must reject violence or any attempt to divide us.”

The opposition also says the deployment of at least 150,000 members of the security forces is designed to intimidate voters, an accusation rejected by Kenya’s Interior Minister, Fred Matiangi.

“Our security forces are not at the polling stations to hurt the people, they are there to facilitate our people, they are there to ensure the citizens of this nation enjoy, exercise and they are free to do so as their democratic right in terms of voting.”

The lead-up to the election was marred by violence with an election official in charge of the computerised voting system, Chris Msando, tortured and strangled to death.

There are eight presidential candidates and if there’s no outright winner, a run-off election will be held between the top two candidates.

 

Opening salvo set for Swift ‘grope’ trial

Lawyers on both sides of a trial pitting pop star Taylor Swift against a Colorado radio personality she accused of groping her are expected to deliver opening statements to jurors hearing the case in a federal courtroom in Denver.

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The process of selecting an eight-member jury was due to conclude early on Tuesday, with presentations to follow from attorneys for the 27-year-old singer and David Mueller, who lost his job at Denver radio station KYGO-FM over Swift’s allegation.

Mueller, 55, says he was falsely accused.

US District Judge William Martinez and lawyers for the two parties spent Monday quizzing members of the jury pool to detect any bias, asking, for example, if any were fans of Swift or regular listeners of KYGO.

Swift, one of America’s top-selling recording stars, attended Monday’s proceedings, turning to face the prospective jurors when introduced by the judge, then taking notes on a pad of paper during the selection process.

She made it into the courtroom without being spotted by the media outside the downtown Denver courthouse. Her mother, Andrea Swift, was also present. The singer is expected to take the witness stand during the trial.

The litigation centres on her allegations that Mueller slipped his hand under her dress and grabbed her bare buttocks as the two posed during a meet-and-greet session before a June 2013 concert in Denver.

“It was not an accident, it was completely intentional, and I have never been so sure of anything in my life,” Swift said in a deposition.

Mueller sued first, saying Swift fabricated the allegation and pressured station management to oust him from his $US150,000-per-year job.

His case cites tort claims of interference with contractual obligations and prospective business relations.

His lawsuit denies anything inappropriate occurred during the brief backstage encounter in which he and his girlfriend stood on either side of the pop star.

Swift countersued for assault and battery, and the two civil complaints were merged for trial. In court filings, Swift said her representatives informed KYGO management about the incident, but she did not demand Mueller be fired.

Swift, one of the most successful contemporary music artists, earned $US170 million between June 2015 and June 2016, following a world tour and her best-selling 1989 album, Forbes Magazine said.

Bird-Smith wants walk medal in London

Australian walker Dane Bird-Smith has every intention of leaving the world championships in London with another medal to add to the bronze he won in the 20km last year in Rio.

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And this time, he wants to ensure his coach and father is actually on hand if and when it’s draped around his neck.

Dave Smith was a walker with enough ability to compete at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, although he did not reach the heights of his son.

But Smith inadvertently upstaged Bird-Smith at the worst possible moment in Rio last year.

Smith was arrested by military police as he tried to get through a security checkpoint without the necessary pass so he could celebrate with his son at the finish line of the 20km race.

He was eventually released after paying a $3000 fine, but not before missing the medals ceremony.

“He was pretty devastated as you would be because we’d been working towards this for so long,” said the 25-year-old Bird-Smith.

“For his journey as well as an Olympian he knows how much it means and there was this moment that he was so disappointed that he was not able to be there for me.

“But I came straight in and said ‘that moment getting that medal wasn’t the moment that I needed you for’.

“You were there for me every other day, every time we were out rain, hail or shine.”

Jared Tallent has long been the public face of Australian race walking, but he will miss the London championships after withdrawing from the 50km event on Tuesday due to a hamstring injury.

That leaves Bird-Smith as the only standout medal chance among the walkers, where he is among the favourites in the shorter race on Saturday.

He equalled his PB in his most recent 20km race in February and has been thrilled with the times he has been setting in training.

In a 5km time trial at the pre-championships training camp in Tonbridge, Bird-Smith defied wet and windy conditions to better the Australian record by five seconds.

“I know I am strong and that I have got the speed at the end,” he said.

“I am chasing medals, I am here for the business end.”

And if that chase ends successfully, Bird-Smith trusts his dad will be there for the big moment.

“Every single time at plane security, or if you hear a police siren or anything, I joke ‘hey dad – they must be after you’,” said Bird-Smith.

“I think he has learned his lesson for jumping fences and we have all learned a lesson that if you are going through secure areas you have all your credentials and you take it slow.

“I don’t think it will be a problem here.”