“Clearly what’s happened here is we have ended up with an issue where we probably became overly transactional and there were clearly breakdowns in communications,” he said.
Mr McIntosh, a 30-year Rio Tinto veteran and one of the company’s most respected executives, added that Rio had lost the trust of traditional owners and must now work to repair those ties.
“Trust is an asset that you work incredibly hard to get but it disappears extraordinarily quickly when you don’t meet the aspirations of all your stakeholders,” he said. “The key is you’ve got to have deep and meaningful dialogue with all of your key stakeholders.”
Rio Tinto’s ill-fated decision to blast two culturally significant rock shelters at WA’s Juukan Gorge, which had evidence of continual human occupation dating back at least 46,000 years, left the land’s traditional owners devastated, prompted a federal parliamentary inquiry and ignited a shareholder revolt that eventually forced the resignation of chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two of his deputies.
The blast was legally sanctioned, but went against the wishes of the traditional owners – the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people – who said they were not aware of Rio’s intention to destroy the site until it was too late for the explosive charges to be removed.
Rio Tinto has conceded multiple failures in its engagement and heritage-protection processes in the lead-up to the blasting of the gorge. The company has publicly apologised and is seeking to repair its relations with Indigenous stakeholders across its mining operations.
Mr McIntosh said the leadership of Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest mining company, should not be judged solely from the failings at Juukan Gorge.
“I think it’s important that we don’t define all of the things that go on at Rio Tinto by this one tragic event.”
A federal parliamentary inquiry launched into the Juukan Gorge disaster has questioned executives from Rio Tinto as well as a string of other resources companies, including BHP and Fortescue Metals Group about their approaches to cultural heritage and mining works that impact sacred Indigenous sites.
Tuesday’s budget included massive expenditure on other rail infrastructure including $2.2 billion for the Suburban Rail Loop, $2 billion for Geelong Fast Rail and $1.248 billion for 100 new trams but there was no funding boost for the Western Rail Plan, raising concerns it has been put on the back burner.
Commuters in the west rely on a V/Line service which runs every 20 minutes in peak periods and was, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, often unreliable and chronically crowded.
Under the Western Rail Plan, the V/Line and Metro train tracks would be separated and new electrified lines built enabling larger, faster trains to run from the city to Wyndham Vale and Melton.
Last year the government set aside $100 million for the planning and design works but allocated no new money for key elements of the project in the 2020/21 state budget.
A further $30 million was tipped into the project by the Commonwealth this year but neither the state nor federal governments have mentioned the Western Rail Plan in press releases for more than a year.
The proposed upgrades – which were intended to be planned alongside the airport rail link – also did not feature in public statements about the new line to Tullamarine which was announced by the Premier and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the weekend.
Melton Council says residential estates are being built in six new suburbs directly aligned to the rail line and will bring an extra 183,500 residents within the rail line’s catchment.
The council is calling for electrification to be done by 2025 with Infrastructure Australia predicting that demand for Melton trains will grow three-fold by 2031.
“We’re concerned to see it left out of this state budget, especially following the announcement of the Suburban Rail Loop, Melbourne Airport Link and Geelong Fast Rail,” said Melton mayor Kathy Majdlik.
“We’d like reassurance that these projects will not come at a cost to providing additional and much-needed metropolitan rail services to Melton.”
Wyndham, which had a population of 217,122 in the 2016 census, is set to grow by 80 per cent by 2036.
“Trains are regularly overcrowded at Wyndham stations and there aren’t enough stations to service our growth areas,” said Wyndham mayor Adele Hegedich.
Cr Hegedich said while the money for Geelong Fast Rail was welcome, “we need assurance that the additional capacity that the Wyndham community will need will be catered for through the Western Rail Plan as a priority”.
The $2 billion the government set aside for the first stage of Geelong Fast Rail would see Geelong lines run on new express tracks between Werribee and Laverton, creating capacity for an extra three peak hour trains to run via Wyndham Vale.
No new funding was set aside for electrification and new tracks between the city and Sunshine –which would have opened up more capacity for electric trains to Melton and Wyndham Vale – have been ruled out of the plans for the Airport Rail Link.
A government spokesperson said the $2 billion it invested in Geelong Fast Rail was delivering on key objectives of the Western Rail Plan.
“The Western Rail Plan clearly outlined Geelong Fast Rail as its first priority – the plan is only possible once you get the Geelong project underway.”
Rail Futures Institute’s secretary John Hearsch said the electrification works were a greater priority than Geelong fast rail and the government’s argument that those improvement needed to be done first meant electrification was “clearly donkey’s years” away.
“We’d always assumed the opposite – that electrification to Melton and Wyndham Vale would be done before the Metro Tunnel opens in 2025,” he said.
Swinburne University’s director of urban design Ian Woodcock said it was “very disappointing” the Western Rail Plan did not get extra funding in the budget. COVID-19 may have moderately slowed population growth he said but “we were playing catch up anyway” with upgraded rail services.
Opposition transport infrastructure spokesman David Davis said the government had “dropped the ball on the Western Rail Plan”.
“This is sorely needed given the huge population growth that has occurred in the Melton and Wyndham Vale corridors … this could have been proceeded with quickly, instead the government seems intent on a focusing on long-term grandiose proposals that will take many years to deliver.”
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Hawthorn is paying more than lip service to the need to develop coaches who are female and who can coach teams across the gender divide in the future.
Of the 14 AFLW teams currently in the competition, only one has a female coach — St Kilda’s Peta Searle— while in the VFLW, there are five.
Joining Goddard are assistant coaches Christina Polatajko and Hayley Gregory alongside development coaches Lou Wotton, Natasha Beck and Steph Carroll.
Club president Jeff Kennett says it is not about “gender-based recognition”.
“I don’t like the term ‘breaking a ceiling’ because they’ve earned their position based on merit.
“But I do think it’s wonderful as we move towards equality in sport, people are given the opportunity based on their professionalism, based on their enthusiasm, based on their qualifications to get the opportunities Bec and the team are getting.”
Goddard told The Ticket: “It’s a really significant announcement.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot during COVID about one day when they put me in the ground, how will I be remembered in footy and what contribution did I make?” she said.
“And I really wanted it to be more than just the 14 games of AFLW that I coached, I really wanted to be able to start to open doors for women coming through and to have a powerful football club like Hawthorn back this, and actually have this initiative, to be brave, and have such overt leadership, I think it’s really, really important.”
During the COVID-19 shutdown, VFLW coaching staff lost their jobs but Goddard says that sparked a conversation that has led to the club committing to invest in the future of the women’s game.
“All of the women’s coaching staff had their contracts terminated, there was no competition, so we couldn’t stay on staff and during that time I was able to start having conversations with the CEO Justin Reeves about what the future of football looks like at Hawthorn,” she said.
“It became really clear that women were a really big piece of that and not just in the playing role — if you want to be the CEO, you can be the CEO, you want to be the head of comms, you can be the head of comms, you want to be a coach then we’ve got those leadership positions available to you.”
Hawthorn chief executive Justin Reeves said he was not going to let 2020 put a handbrake on the VFLW program.
“In the current industry climate, there is a significant gap in the development pathways available to female coaches,” he said.
“By implementing an all-female coaching panel, in a structured environment with the right support and development opportunities built in … we will be making a significant and meaningful contribution to the furtherment of women’s participation in the AFL.”
Women in catch-22 over experience required to fill coaching positions
Despite having instant success as a coach in the inaugural AFLW season, Goddard struggled to find other coaching positions as she confronted all-too-common difficulties of juggling the need for a full-time job to support her part-time coaching position.
“I think there are a number of barriers that are in the way for women in coaching in the AFL and the first one of those is it’s still a part-time competition,” she said.
“None of the athletes are full time and therefore a lot of the coaches are not either.
“I simply couldn’t stay in Adelaide for another year as well as manage my full-time employment, and that was the priority.
“So I left and I suppose I’ve been trying to get back into the industry, I believe I have a lot to offer in coaching and I’ve ended up at Hawthorn where I feel really valued … I feel like they’re really innovative in the way they’re treating their women’s program.”
Women at all levels of sport are in a perpetual catch-22, being constantly told they do not have the experience required for vacant positions yet being unable to get the experience to start with.
“I had some feedback provided to me once, ‘Oh well, you haven’t played 200 games of AFL and you don’t have a direct relationship with an AFL head coach, I have empathy for you because you won’t be able to coach in the industry’,” Goddard said.
“And to me, that should just not be a blocker. When we look at merit and what we want in a coach there should be nothing that immediately rules out such an important part of our community.
“There’s just no diversity and it needed to change … I mean, there is no timeframe on diversity but there is a timeframe on the door being shut.”
The club president agrees.
“At Hawthorn it’s not always about games played, it’s about an individual’s character, it’s about their knowledge, it’s about their enthusiasm,” Kennett said.
“For any job at all I don’t look for the person who’s played the most games, who’s got the most degrees, I look for the people that have sufficient knowledge, passion, enthusiasm and values that they’re going to seize this opportunity and grow it.
Kennett was ‘turned upside-down’ for prediction about women in footy
Asked when Hawthorn might have an AFLW team, Kennett says, “You’ll have to ask Gil McLachlan that cause I’ve asked him many, many times, but you know what? The AFL are like a socialist organisation and perhaps because we are operating on a commercial basis … we are not part of the mould of a typical AFL club at the moment, I’m sorry to say, but you’ll keep that to yourself, won’t you?”
He says as one of the unassisted clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic, not needing bailouts from the AFL, Hawthorn is one of the best placed to have an AFLW team.
“We will put in whatever is necessary to be successful, we will do our best,” he said.
“It won’t necessarily win a premiership in either division, but the bigger test to me is the quality of the people that we have, how they feel as part of the Hawthorn family and where we can encourage them while they are with us to prepare for life after football.”
And does he ever see the day when the best coach to guide the men’s team is a woman?
“Some years ago when I was first the president of Hawthorn I made what was considered then to be an outrageous comment — that I wanted to be the first AFL male’s club to have a female player,” he said.
“I was hoo-haa’d, boo-haa’d, turned upside-down, attacked, etc … I actually think it’s possible one day that a female will play in a men’s side.
“And the reason I said it then is not only because I’ve always supported the opportunities for people regardless of gender but because in order to survive you’ve got to be commercially alive.
“Things have changed, and things are changing, so no, I don’t rule that out at all.”
Goddard is hoping she’s at the right place at the right time and the AFL allows Hawthorn to field an AFLW team in 2022.
“I’ve really changed my views about how many teams we should have in the comp … initially I was really worried about the competition expanding too quickly and what the product would look like to get the fans and sponsors on board but we’ve gone well beyond that,” she said.
“We’ve got the fans, sponsors are coming on board, people want to watch women’s sport on TV, they want to hear about it, they want to read about it in the newspapers, and if all of the AFL clubs want a licence now, the talent is there and I think we can do it.”
Victoria and Western Australia are the only jurisdictions left in Australia where the use of group voting tickets allows Mr Druery’s strategy to affect the outcome of elections.
In 2014, Mr Druery’s group of candidates won five of 40 seats and in the 2018 election he was paid by at least six of the 11 crossbench MPs currently in the upper house.
Ms Patten said the practice amounted to “a corruption of our democratic process” and said she would seek to amend the Electoral Act to make it an offence to work for more than one candidate or party coordinating preference deals.
“People should not be able to buy their way into parliament,” Ms Patten said, “but effectively that is what has been happening.”
“Group voting tickets exist for a reason, but currently they are being manipulated for profit. This is a corruption of our democratic electoral process and does not reflect the will of voters.”
Ms Patten paid Mr Druery $20,000 to help get her elected in the 2014 election, but did not use his services in the 2018 campaign. She referred Mr Druery to authorities for planning group voting tickets while he was working as a staffer to then-senator Derryn Hinch.
The leader of the Liberal Party in the upper house, David Davis, said Mr Druery subverted representative democracy, an indication that the bill had a chance of gaining upper house support, but the preference whisperer himself labelled the potential laws “oppressive”.
“Do we live in China or Russia? Give me a break,” he said.
“Fiona advocates centre-left libertarian values and she wants to introduce this oppressive legislation … Without my services, she wouldn’t be in parliament.
“If [she] puts up legislation that harms minor parties’ chances of re-election, she will very likely face their preferential wrath at the next poll.”
Mr Davis said it was clear preference harvesting overturned the voting intention of the public because parties from opposing ends of the ideological spectrum preferenced one another.
“It makes no sense other than gaming of the system,” he said. “You want the democratic will of the people reflected in the parliament, not a lottery.”
Paul is a Victorian political reporter for The Age.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison signalled the tough new rules on Melbourne’s Kiss FM radio on Wednesday.
“We’re obviously working through those issues now, but look, where people have the choice of two weeks of quarantine or being vaccinated, I think that will be an incentive, unless there’s a genuine medical reason why,” Mr Morrison said.
The cost of quarantine can run to several thousand dollars for the fortnight in a hotel, depending on what city you quarantine in.
“We’ve got a lot of those issues to work through and so do all the other countries,” Mr Morrison said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has also hinted at the vaccination passport plan but stressed the policy was still under discussion.
“So there’s been no final decision, but we’ve been clear, and I’ve given guidance previously that we would expect that people coming to Australia while COVID-19 is a significant disease in the world will either be vaccinated or they will isolate. That’s early guidance,’’ he said.
“The likely course of events during 2021 is if somebody comes to Australia and a vaccine is widely available, either they’ll be vaccinated with verification or they’ll have to quarantine.”
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has signalled that proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be a non-negotiable condition of international air travel.
On Monday night, he told A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw that as soon as a vaccine becomes available it will be a condition of travel.
“For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft,’’ he said.
“Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity.”
If anti-vaxxers want to try alternative airlines, Mr Joyce predicted they won’t be travelling far.
“I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,’’ he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously suggested vaccination will be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it” before walking those comments back in recent months.
“There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis,” he said in August.
But just hours later, Mr Morrison told listeners on Sydney radio station 2GB that the Government would not make vaccination mandatory.
“It’s not going to be compulsory to have the vaccine,” he said.
“I mean, we can’t hold someone down and make them take it.”
“If there’s a lesson there for people, it’s that you don’t have to retire at 60, you can still be a useful member of the community at 80 or 90.”
Mr Harvey’s comments came after Harvey Norman’s annual general meeting on Wednesday where it revealed a 160 per cent jump in profit before tax for the first quarter of the financial year of $341.1 million.
Aggregated revenue rose 28.2 per cent for the 16 weeks leading up to November 21 or 27.5 per cent on a comparable basis. Almost all of Harvey Norman’s international locations grew their sales, with only Malaysia and Singapore reporting slight falls.
The company has been a major beneficiary of the pandemic due to many Australians buying new home office furniture and spending stimulus money on electronics. Mr Harvey maintained his shock at the consistently high profit figures, attributing the surge to a dearth of other spending options for shoppers.
“All that money people were spending on going out or going overseas is being converted into improving their houses or their gardens,” he said. “And people have a lot of money just sitting in the bank.”
Mr Harvey was also bullish on Christmas spending, saying he expects the end of year sales to be “booming” despite previously seeming reluctant to predict how it might play out in light of COVID-19.
“There’s no question, now that I know what’s in the pipeline,” he said. “It’s going to be very, very strong.”
Harvey Norman’s board has faced significant criticism at the company’s annual general meetings in past years and received a rare ‘second strike’ in 2019 over governance concerns.
At this year’s meeting the retailer received a small 11.5 per cent protest vote against its remuneration report. Executive director Chris Mentis received a sizeable 29.5 per cent protest vote with some proxy firms advising against his re-election due to board independence issues.
I look at Rupert Murdoch, and that bugger’s nearly 90, and he’s still mentally and physically ok, so he’s my measuring stick.
However, the appointment of new independent director and former Lynas chief financial officer Luisa Catanzaro was supported by almost 100 per cent of shareholders, a move Mr Harvey said was indicative of the “evolving nature” of the company’s board.
Mr Harvey, who was up for re-election and is the 32 per cent majority shareholder, was comfortably re-elected, with just 5.8 per cent of voters dissenting.
Harvey Norman shares closed down 2.34 per cent to $4.59.
Goldman Sachs analyst Andrew McLennan said the trading update was positive, showing spending trends in Australia and New Zealand had continued largely unabated. “More importantly the group has also been attaining significant operating leverage from the sales growth, impacting profitability to a higher degree than forecast,” he said.
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Dominic Powell writes about the retail industry for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
The Melbourne Stars’ remarkable turnaround has continued after cruising past the Perth Scorchers by seven wickets to earn a place in their maiden WBBL final.
Last year’s wooden spooners crushed the Scorchers at North Sydney Oval on Wednesday night, securing the victory with 22 balls to spare, to advance to Saturday’s decider.
Captain Meg Lanning’s decision to bowl first paid dividends, with the Stars restricting dangerous openers Beth Mooney (27) and Sophie Devine (12) before running through the Perth line-up.
Spinner Alana King had the middle-order in knots, taking all the key wickets to finish with economical figures of 3-16.
Former Australia batter Nicole Bolton saved some face for Perth, compiling a vital 32 to help the Scorchers post 8-125 from their 20 overs.
The Stars experienced some nervous moments, particularly when medium-pacer Heather Graham clean-bowled Lanning (22) with a stunning seaming delivery.
But English allrounder Nat Sciver (47 not out) and teen sensation Annabel Sutherland (30 not out) guided the Stars home with a commanding 67-run partnership.
The Stars, who had previously never finished a season higher than fifth, will take on the winner of Thursday night’s semi-final between two-time defending champions Brisbane Heat and the Sydney Thunder in the final.
A convicted terrorist has been stripped of his citizenship ahead of his release from Victorian prison.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton confirmed Algerian-born Abdul Nacer Benbrika, spiritual leader of Australia’s largest terror network, had his Australian passport cancelled on November 20.
Benbrika was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years’ jail in 2008 for his role in plots targeting Sydney and Melbourne.
Mr Dutton said the Commonwealth deemed Benbrika a serious, ongoing risk to the public.
“This is a very serious conviction and the penalties highlight that. We believe it is appropriate in this circumstance to take the action that we have,” he said.
The tough stance from the Morrison Government was supported by the Opposition, with Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong saying the laws used to strip Benbrika’s citizenship were approved by her party in parliament.
“The cancellation of citizenship was a big step but a necessary step in certain circumstances and Mr Benbrika‘s activities and his conviction are well known to all of us,” she told the ABC on Wednesday afternoon.
“And that is why Labor supported the passage of that legislation.”
Benbrika is the first person to have their citizenship revoked onshore under the government’s terrorism-related provisions of the Australian Citizenship Act.
Benbrika was one of 17 men arrested during mass anti-terror raids in 2005.
He was convicted of intentionally being a member of a terrorist organisation and intentionally directing the activities of a terrorist organisation.
He was due for release this month, but will remain in prison as an interim detention order is enforced. The government has sought to keep him behind bars on an continuing detention order.
Mr Dutton would not confirm whether Benbrika would appeal the decision, but said the government may seek his deportation even if he had time left to serve.
“If there is the ability to remove threats from Australia or to stop them coming back to Australia to commit a terrorist act here, then of course we would look at any of those options,” he said.
“Generally speaking, people would serve out their sentence and then be deported, or be placed into immigration detention until they can be deported from Australia.
“The more we can stop these people from coming back to Australia, the quicker we can deport these people, the safer the Australian public remains.”
There are concerns the move could put Benbrika out of the reach of Australian authorities if he were to reoffend, but Mr Dutton said his top priority was keeping Australians safe.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, if it’s a person that is posing significant a significant terrorist threat to our country, we will do whatever is possible within Australian law protect Australians. That remains our priority in relation to Benbrika,” he said.
“We are taking action in the court that we believe will give us the best opportunity to keep Australians safe.”
The Home Affairs Minister said 20 dual-nationals have had their citizenship revoked due to terrorist conduct.