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Scott Morrison banned from entering Queensland for election campaign


Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be banned from entering Queensland for the duration of the state election campaign unless he is prepared to pay $2800 to quarantine for 14 days in a government facility.

Nearly seven weeks after he last entered the sunshine state, there’s no signs that the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will lift the border bans before the October 31 election.

Queensland’s border ban will effectively stop the Prime Minister, Labor leader Anthony Albanese and any other frontbenchers from entering the state for the duration of the election unless they are prepared to spend a fortnight in quarantine.

It follows an ugly war of words between the Prime Minister and the Queensland Premier over the plight of hardship cases including a young woman who was unable to attend her father’s funeral.

Last week, the Queensland Premier hit back at the Prime Minister, accusing him of “bullying” her to intervene in the case of a woman who was unable to attend her father’s funeral.

“I will not be bullied nor will I be intimidated by the Prime Minister of this country who contacted me this morning and who I made [it] very clear to, the fact that it is not my decision,” she said.

“The Prime Minister at the time said to me that he had not gone public, but Mr Speaker, I knew that he would go public.

“To use the tragedy of this personal family is disgusting.”

Both leaders have confirmed they have no plans to travel to Queensland while the tough border restrictions remain in place.

The current border closures, which prohibit anyone from a ‘hotspot’ area including Canberra coming to Queensland without a 14 day quarantine period will be reviewed at the end of every month.

The only alternative is to fly from Canberra to “COVID-free” Adelaide, which reopened the border to the ACT this week and spend a fortnight there, before travelling on to Brisbane.

According to Queensland Health Department guidelines, the border will remain shut to NSW, ACT and Victorian residents unless there are 28 days without community transmission in those jurisdictions.

And while there is provision for MPs’ to enter the state to conduct their work, the requirement they complete a quarantine period is non-negotiable.

“(Elected representatives) can enter Queensland from a declared COVID-19 hotspot, such as the ACT, to return to their electorate or to perform official duties,” a Queensland Health spokesman said. “They must enter via air and will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival as per global quarantine requirements.”

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has previously defended the decision to declare Canberra a hotspot despite the fact the nation’s capital hasn’t had a case in months.

“Canberra is declared a hotspot because it is in the middle of NSW,” Dr Young said, adding that many people in Canberra have holiday homes on the NSW south coast where there have been cases more recently,’’ she said.

In July, the Prime Minister unveiled a $400 million package to attract international blockbusters to film in Australia on the Gold Coast.

However, the Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington did not attend the event as she had a prior engagement.

“I let her know I was coming up here today, and she was pleased with the announcement we were making today for Queensland,” Mr Morrison said.



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Tablet interactive: US presidential election 2020



Trump to formally accept nomination, attack Biden on final day of convention.



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Local News - Victoria

Daniel Andrews says he’ll lead Labor to the next Victorian state election


Mr Andrews has faced criticism in recent weeks, particularly over the quarantine hotel saga that led to most of the state’s deadly second wave of coronavirus cases and prompted an inquiry.

The Premier has repeatedly refused to release information related to quarantine hotels, although he told reporters he would be accountable for mistakes made.

Hearings for the inquiry before Justice Jennifer Coate will continue on Monday, with evidence from a returned traveller and two security guards.

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Mr Andrews’ commitment comes after tensions within the Victorian Liberals as Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien struggled to make gains against the Premier, despite Victoria’s stage four lockdown.



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Northern Territory election night 2020


Wildcard Territory Alliance is flailing on primary votes with leader Terry Mills in third place in his own seat of Blain.

Mr Mills, who has only 275 votes so far, trails Labor candidate Mark Turner on 421 votes and Country Liberal Party (CLP) candidate Matthew Kerle on 384.

The incumbent Labor government, which went into the polls the favourite, must win 13 of its 16 seats if it is to maintain power.

Analysts are predicting Labor will secure at least 12 seats.

But in the knife-edge seat of Braitling CLP candidate Joshua Burgoyne has 417 primary votes, compared to Labor MLA Dale Wakefield on 260 votes.

In the marginal seat of Brennan, Labor’s Tony Sievers is holding off CLP candidate Marie-Clare Boothby by 25 votes at 8pm ASCT.

It’s also close in the Labor-held seat of Katherine where MLA Kate Ganley is 24 votes ahead of CLP candidate Jo Hersey.

And in Port Darwin with MLA Paul Kirby 21 votes ahead of CLP candidate Toby George.

However, its still early days in the hotly contested electorate of Drysdale where less than 400 ballot papers counted so far.

The results are positive for the CLP who won just two seats at the 2016 election and appointed new leader Lia Finocchiaro six months ago.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner is leading the votes count in his seat of Fannie Bay with 963 to 570 primary votes for CLP candidate Tracey Hayeson.

THE RESULTS AT 7.30pm ACST

Arafura

No results yet

Araluen

Damien Ryan (CLP) 385

Robyn Lambley (TA) 317

Arnhem

Jackson Ankers (ALP) 204

Jerry Amato (CLP) 37

Selena Uibo (ALP) 26

Barkly

Steve Edgington (CLP) 142

Sid Vashist (ALP) 100

Blain

Mark Turner (ALP) 421

Matthew Kerle (CLP) 384

Terry Mills (TA) 275

Braitling

Joshua Burgoyne (CLP) 417

Dale Wakefield (ALP) 260

Kim Hopper (Ind) 245

Dale McIver (TA) 136

Chris Tomlins (GRN) 123

Scott McConnell (Ind) 59

Brennan

Tony Sievers (ALP) 258

Marie-Clare Boothby (CLP) 227

Casuarina

Lauren Moss (ALP) 511

Tony Schelling (CLP) 159

Danial Kelly (TA) 157

Daly

Ian Sloan (CLP) 400

Anthony Venes (ALP) 173

Drysdale

No results yet

Fannie Bay

Michael Gunner (ALP) 119

Tracey Hayes (CLP) 91

Fong Lim

Mark Monagham (ALP) 497

Kylie Bonanni (CLP) 344

Jeff Collins (TA) 116

Goyder

Kezia Purick (Ind) 388

Phil Battye (CLP) 364

Rachael Wright (TA) 187

Gwoja

No results yet

Johnston

Joel Bowden (ALP) 254

Gary Haslett (CLP) 152

Steven Klose (TA) 108

Karama

No results yet

Katherine

Melanie Usher (TA) 129

Jo Hersey (CLP) 116

Kate Ganley (ALP) 108

Mulka

Lynne Walker (ALP) 991

Yingiya Mark Guyula (Ind) 959

Namatjira

Bill Yan (CLP) 212

Matt Paterson (TA) 185

Sheralee Taylor (ALP) 181

Nelson

Gerard Maley (CLP) 310

Beverley Ratahi (Ind) 207

Steve Asher (ALP) 63

Nightcliff

No results yet

Port Darwin

Paul Kirby (ALP) 433

Toby George (CLP) 412

Gary Strachan (TA) 139

Sanderson

Kate Worden (ALP) 525

Amelia Nuku (TA) 180

Derek Mayger (CLP) 146

Spillett

Lia Finocchiaro (CLP) 492

Tristan Sloan (ALP) 293

Vanessa Mounsey (TA) 102

Wanguri

Nicole Manison (ALP) 603

Jed Hansen (CLP) 245

Michael Best (TA) 118

HOW ARE THE VOTES BEING COUNTED?

Thousands turned out at the ballot box on Saturday as the territory holds Australia’s first pandemic election.

The counting of votes made at early, remote and election day polling booths started at 6pm.

However, postal votes will be counted from 10am on Sunday due to social distancing requirements at counting centres.

More than half of voters, 53 per cent, had attended voting booths early which was a new record according to the NT Electoral Commission.

At least 65,000 people were due to vote on Saturday.

However, low participation rates meant the Commission expected more than 30,000 to turnout.

WHAT ARE THE SEATS TO WATCH?

Labor holds five marginal seats in the NT: Katherine, Brennan, Port Darwin, Braitling, and Drysdale.

The CLP holds two marginal seats Daly and Namatjira, and Territory Alliance has one, Blain.

However, contests are expected to be on in other seats including Araluen, Fong Lim, Barkly and Gwoja.

HOW MANY SEATS DOES EACH PARTY HOLD?

There are 25 seats in the NT Legislative Assembly. Labor holds a majority with 16 seats, Territory Alliance has three, CLP has two and there are four independents.

Thirteen seats are needed to gain a majority. Labor has announced it will not do any deals with the other parties to form government.

CLP and Territory Alliance have some strong differences, including on energy policies, but have not ruled out forming a Coalition.

WHO WAS THE FAVOURITE TO WIN GOVERNMENT?

Burt the psychic crocodile was reported to have taken a number of swipes at pictures of the candidates before finally tipping Lia Finocchiaro as the next Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.

While the market showed odds in favour of Labor to win the Territory election at $1.35 with Chief Minister Michael Gunner tipped to hold onto his top job, according to bookies.

The Country Liberal Party was the second favourite at $4.00, followed by the Territory Alliance at $8.50.

WHAT ARE THE EXPERTS SAYING?

Charles Darwin University Professor Rolf Gerritsen told the NT News CLP candidate Bill Yan would win the seat of Namatjira and that Labor MP Chansey Paech would win the seat of Gwoja.

However, he said the seats of Araluen and Braitling were too close to predict.

WHERE DO THE PARTIES STAND ON THE BIG ISSUES?

Budget

Current figures suggest the NT’s debt is set to reach $8.2 billion this year.

Labor said one-third of the recommendations made in a budget repair plan – with 74 recommendations – were implemented by March this year.

This included a reduction in public service executives by 10 per cent and a salary freeze for executives and politicians.

CLP plans to have contracts terminated for department chief executives who overspent their budgets.

TA promised to review the budget repair roadmap then decide what recommendations to enforce.

Jobs

All parties say they want to boost private investment.

Labor, which set up the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission in May, said it would act on recommendations from the commission’s full report, which is not due until after the election.

CLP aims to create a taskforce to halve approval times across government and reduce mining taxes.

TA will have the Chief Minister take over the agriculture portfolio and will focus on diversification of pastoral leases.

Crime

Labor plans to increase bail compliance checks, review penalties for property crime and expand it’s Back on Track diversion programs. However, no extra funding has been announced.

CLP has pledged changes to the Bail Act which will see mandatory electronic monitoring for those on bail.

TA said it would introduce a new community court and a youth curfew in Alice Springs.

Education

Labor said four more remote communities would have access to its Families as First Teachers program.

CLP will address non-attendance by reintroducing truancy officers and will start a phonics trial.

TA promised $100 million for school infrastructure which would be distributed between schools based on their needs.

Health

The Labor government has signed off on funding to design and upgrade a health clinic and morgue in Gunbalanya, which Mr Gunner announced while campaigning.

CLP will look into the viability of mobile surgeries to visit remote clinics and create a cardiothoracic surgery program at the Royal Darwin Hospital.

TA said it would look into delivering a new Alice Springs Hospital before 2032 and would secure federal funding for a dedicated ice rehab centre in Darwin.

It also plans to legalise and regulate vaping and provide $5 million in seed funding for medicinal cannabis.

Aboriginal affairs

All parties say they support the development of treaties with Aboriginal people.

Labor said it would update its Aboriginal Affairs Strategy to include new Closing the Gap targets. CLP plans to set up a community-controlled housing body.

TA promised to establish a Chief Minister’s Aboriginal Reference Group within 100 days of being elected and strengthen the Treaty Commissioner’s office.



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Newspoll suggests Queensland’s upcoming election will be a close race


Three months from today Queenslanders will head to polling booths, making a crucial decision on the direction of the Sunshine State.

While the state government has said its current focus is on addressing the impacts of the coronavirus by continuing to manage the state’s health response, a Newspoll released on Friday indicates it’s going to be a close-run race.

The Newspoll, published in The Australian, was conducted between July 23-29 and asked 1000 Queensland voters who they would vote for if the state election was held today. The LNP ranked top at 38 per cent but Labor was behind on 34 per cent.

But it showed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was preferred as the better premier with 57 per cent to the LNP’s DebFrecklington on 26 per cent.

Ms Palaszczuk also secured the approval of 81 per cent of those polled who approved of the job she has done handling the coronavirus.

One thing is for certain, it will be a tight race in Queensland on October 31. And voters will be more serious than ever in light of a global health crisis, high unemployment and mediocre economic growth.

Here are the key issues going into the election and what the major parties promise to deliver.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY

Rebuilding the state’s economy will be at the forefront of many voters minds as the state, along with the rest of Australia, struggles to cope with the financial blows the coronavirus pandemic continues to dole out.

Figures from CommSec’s most recent State of the States Report revealed Queensland had suffered second-weakest relative economic growth among all states and territories – landing an 18.9 per cent growth rate. South Australia was the only state to trail behind.

The economic growth rate is the percentage change in the value of all goods and services produced within the economy and it’s used to measure the health of the economy over time.

The Palaszczuk Government said the best and fastest way to return the economy to strong growth would be to deliver on its health response to COVID-19.

“The first step to restore the economy is to keep the virus contained so we can open up,” a spokesperson for the Labor government said.

“That’s what we’ve done by managing our borders.

Shadow Treasurer and LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander said the LNP had an ambitious plan to stimulate the state economy.

“Our vision is to make Queensland the economic powerhouse of Australia once again, the best place to get a job, get ahead and raise a family,” he said.

“And there will be no new taxes under the LNP Government.”

HEALTHCARE

Following months of struggle to contain the coronavirus, healthcare will no doubt be a key issue.

A state government spokesperson said Queensland’s strong health response to COVID-19 was the initial step in a Palaszczuk-led government’s economic recovery strategy.

The Palaszczuk government has announced $250 million for elective surgery and promises to deliver more than 750 additional hospital beds throughout Queensland over the coming three years.

The LNP’s plan is to partner with the private sector to clear surgery wait lists across the state and promises to deliver a masterplan for a state-of-the-art hospital and health precinct on the Gold Coast.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Both parties have big ideas about key infrastructure required to stimulate the economy.

If the LNP comes into power, its New Bradfield Scheme will be the largest water infrastructure and irrigation project in Queensland’s history.

Another aim of the opposition is to put forward the SEQ Congestion Program, funding $1 billion of new road and rail projects throughout the state.

The Palaszczuk Government says it will deliver $51.8 billion in infrastructure over the coming four years.

JOBS

According to CommSec’s State of the States report, Queensland’s unemployment rate was 7.7 per cent for the June quarter, up from 5.7 per cent the previous quarter. Virus lockdowns, border closures and struggling businesses have had a massive impact on unemployment, which will mean jobs will be one of the most important factors of the election.

The LNP says it has an ambitious plan to stimulate the economy and promises to remake Queensland into the “economic powerhouse” it once was. The SEQ Congestion Plan is meant to create 3100 new jobs and its New Bradfield Scheme is also meant to stimulate job growth.

The Palaszczuk Government says its massive infrastructure plan will support a whopping 41,500 jobs over the coming four years.

And while creating jobs is a key part of their economic growth plan, training new workers is also significant to their policies.

Labor plans to introduce a $90 million skills package that will support businesses who hire young people, trainees and apprentices with financial benefits.



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Victoria’s Master Builders Association escape penalties over election scandal


The operation, sparked by a whistleblower’s allegations of a cover-up, found the association’s president, Richard Hansen, and his predecessor Melanie Fasham were both ineligible to hold the prestigious position when they were elected by a vote of its 15-member council in 2018 and 2016 respectively.

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Accusations that the MBA’s former general manager, Leanne Edwards, covered up her bosses’ ineligibility for their jobs were referred by the commission to the AFP, which confirmed on Thursday that they would not be pursuing charges because of a lack of evidence.

Mr Hansen, Ms Fasham and Ms Edwards all declined to comment.

The Master Builders had a legal exemption allowing it, and not the Victorian Electoral Commission, to hold its own elections and preventing the ROC from imposing fines for irregularities in ballots held under the exemption.

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But under the weight of the investigation, the association agreed in April to surrender the exemptionm, and its upcoming elections and all subsequent votes will be conducted by the VEC.

The association’s chief executive, Rebecca Casson, said she had ordered a thorough review of the organisation’s governance procedures and that both the group’s rules and its constitution were being updated in line with recommendations from the ROC.

“Master Builders Victoria is committed to implementing any further changes to its processes and procedures to ensure the best possible outcomes for our members and the organisation,” Ms Casson said.

The Registered Organisations Commission told The Age that Mr Hansen and Ms Fasham had been elected to their positions unopposed and that Ms Edwards had been referred to police because the commission does not investigate alleged criminal conduct.

“The evidence indicated that in each case the ineligible candidates were apparently elected unopposed, and in the absence of any eligible nominees,” a ROC spokesperson said.

“The conduct of one individual, which may have contravened criminal offence provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009, were referred by the Commissioner to the Australian Federal Police.”

An AFP spokesman confirmed the force had not found enough evidence to pursue an investigation into Ms Edwards’ conduct.

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Donald Trump’s coronavirus briefings might be over after ‘sarcastic’ suggestions about drinking disinfectant – US Election 2020


Updated

April 27, 2020 14:06:19

On Friday AEST, US President Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectant as a way to treat coronavirus at one of his then-daily press briefings.

In the days since, manufacturers of disinfectant scrambled to tell Americans not to drink or inject their products. Mr Trump’s own Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement warning people to “not ingest disinfectant products”, as did the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Even Australia’s own Chief Medical Officer made headlines for his reaction to the suggestion.

And the fallout from the comments doesn’t look like it’s over yet. Starting with …

Trump’s daily press conferences might be over

According to the White House, Mr Trump has held 49 press briefings since the end of February.

Most have been on a daily schedule, and many have lasted hours as the president took questions alongside health experts like Doctor Anthony Fauci and sparred with reporters about his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

After his claims about disinfectant went viral, Mr Trump kept the next briefing to a 30-minute statement and took no questions from journalists. At a later White House event, Mr Trump said he was being sarcastic when he made the comments.

He hasn’t held a press briefing since, instead tweeting that the daily briefings are “not worth the time & effort!”:

New White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has said the decision to keep holding the press conferences would be “entirely” up to Mr Trump.

The suggestion to inject disinfectant was the latest of a string of claims from the press briefings that Mr Trump has walked back or dropped entirely — including assurances the US economy would be open by Easter and promotion of an anti-malaria treatment that hasn’t been the subject of large-scale study.

The White House is reportedly now debating whether to continue to hold the briefings without Mr Trump, according to the Associated Press.

Former allies are on the outer

Both the Wall Street Journal and Politico have reported that the Trump Administration’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is on the way out.

Mr Azar is the current head of the government department tasked with leading the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

According to Politico, Mr Trump’s coronavirus co-ordinator Deborah Birx is in line to replace Mr Azar. She went viral for her own reaction to his disinfectant comments.

Mr Trump has called the reports of Mr Azar’s departure “Fake News”:

On Twitter, Mr Trump has even lashed out at Fox News by claiming the network “don’t get what’s happening” and calling for his supporters to switch to an alternative network. It’s not the first time.

Trump hasn’t left the White House in ‘many months’

At least according to the US President himself.

Responding to a New York Times story that alleged the President spends many hours of his day watching cable television, Mr Trump gave his own version of what his day looks like:

In lieu of a press briefing on Sunday (local time), Mr Trump fired off a string of tweets attacking media organisations as “third rate”, “Lamestream Media” and “total slime balls”.

The Associated Press reports a limited travel schedule is now being drawn up for Mr Trump in the coming months — a symbolic showing that the American economy is re-opening.

It’s not know which states might be on Mr Trump’s list to visit.

And in the background, the election is looming

The race to be Donald Trump’s opponent in November is over. And despite the victor being confined to his literal basement in Delaware, the campaign is never far away.

A string of polling in crucial midwestern swing states like Wisconsin and Michigan found support from the states that delivered Mr Trump the White House in 2016 is slipping away to his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Even in Florida, where the Republican Governor has been one of the Mr Trump’s biggest allies in the push to re-open the economy, a new Fox News poll found the race between Mr Trump and Mr Biden is almost neck-and-neck.

The same poll found a majority of respondents believed Mr Trump was too slow to respond to coronavirus.

Congressional Republicans are also reporting significant fundraising disadvantages compared to their Democratic opponents, while some Republicans have expressed concerns Mr Trump’s performance could put the US Senate in reach of Democrats.

Next week, it will be six months until Americans head to the polls in November (local time).

ABC/AP

Topics:

donald-trump,

person,

covid-19,

diseases-and-disorders,

government-and-politics,

world-politics,

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First posted

April 27, 2020 13:41:32





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Judges dismiss legal challenge over Chinese language election signs politics


A legal challenge against the election of two sitting federal coalition MPs over the use of Chinese language signage has been dismissed.

But a former Liberal party director could still face action.

The cases against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Victorian Liberal MP Gladys Liu were dismissed in the Court of Disputed Returns today.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. (AAP)

Mr Frydenberg and Ms Liu’s election wins in May were challenged over purple and white Chinese language signs telling voters in Kooyong and Chisholm, respectively, the “correct” way to vote was to put the Liberal Party first.

Failed Kooyong independent candidate Oliver Yates and climate campaigner Vanessa Garbett had argued the corflutes were likely to mislead or deceive voters in the electorates, which have large Asian populations.

But Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Andrew Greenwood and Justice Anthony Besanko dismissed the challenge.

“Even if the display of the corflutes next to the AEC signage was far more widespread in both electorates than the evidence reveals, it could only have been a very small group of people who would have felt that they should follow the direction on the corflute,” the justices wrote in their decision.

They said there was “no real chance” the result of either of the Kooyong or Chisholm elections in May was affected.

However, former Victorian Liberal party director Simon Frost must now show reasons why the court should not refer him to the High Court for breaches of electoral rules.

Gladys Liu.
Federal Liberal MP Gladys Liu. (Getty)

“We find that Mr Frost caused or authorised the printing, publishing and distribution of the corflutes which were matters or things that were likely to mislead or deceive an elector in relation to the casting of a vote,” the justices wrote.

The trio of judges found the “deliberateness of the attempt” to make the signs look like they were from the AEC by someone in that position suggested there was an advantage in doing so.

They also found the corflutes were not an “encouragement” to vote Liberal, but a statement that in order to vote correctly, a person “must vote” for the Liberal Party.

“They are purporting to tell electors something unrelated to their choice or political judgment: that a correct or valid vote must be by voting for the Liberal Party and that they must vote for the Liberal Party, irrespective of what their preferred choice might be,” the justices wrote of the signs.

Mr Yates took to social media to slam the decision, saying it appeared the court concluded that “not enough people saw the signs” to warrant a byelection, but did “confirm the LNP conduct was illegal, misleading and deceptive”.

“The LNP [Liberal National Party] have a blatant disregard and disdain for the electors,” he said.

“There is increasing concern that our democracy is being undermined by misleading and deceptive practices of self-serving politicians and political parties selfishly pursuing a ‘win at all cost’ strategy.”

Mr Frost was ordered to put submissions to the court why he should not be referred to the High Court for “any finding of the committal of an illegal practice” relating to the corflutes.

He has until February 7 to file his reasons and did not speak outside court.



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