Turnbull’s coal call part of a global game

IN the years before he became prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull was a politician who liked to burnish his environmental credentials, all the while touting the inevitable rise of renewable energy.
Nanjing Night Net

But like Labor’s Kevin Rudd before him, Mr Turnbull in power has found that cutting Australia’s reliance on the black gold of coal is not as easy as he might have imagined.

And for valid reasons.

For all of the compelling concerns aboutcoal combustion and its role in the warming of the planet, the political reality is that climate change is no longer –if it ever was –the only political game in town.

Yes, scientists are predicting planetary death and disaster if governments around the world do not get serious about cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But politicians of all persuasions have to balance long-term concerns against immediate needs, which is why Mr Turnbull can so confidently say that coal will be part of Australia’s energy mix for “many, many decades to come”.

If renewable energy sources do have the potential to replace coal as the world’s bedrock fuel for power generation, then they will. In the meantime, there will be a struggle asadvocates oneither side prosecutetheir cases, and not only in the court of public opinion.

Mr Turnbull’s re-entry into the coal debate comes as his government pushes for laws to restrict environmentalchallenges to the federal approval of resource projects. Delays to the Adani Group’s Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin are citedas justification. While the government’s frustration over delays to the Adani mine is understandable, the reality is that modern environmental groups have international links –and international financing –in the same way that resource companies jealously protect their ability to operate across borders.To suggest a litigant should be barred from a court simply because of their identity does not hold water in a democracy, and the government would be far better off letting projects stand or fall on their merits than trying to thwart the efforts of those whose ideas they oppose.

Even so, Mr Turnbull is correct to say that any coal that Australia does not sell will be supplied from elsewhere, and probably at a greater environmental cost than if it was mined here.The more technologically complex our society becomes, the more dependentit is on electricity. And for the time being at least, that means relyingon coal.

ISSUE: 38,372

Dreamworld emergency: multiple deaths confirmed

The Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld. Photo: YouTubeRefresh regularly for the latestBRISBANE 7:15PM
Nanjing Night Net

As the investigations move into full swing, here is what we know so far

Four people are dead after an incident on Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Paramedics say two people were thrown from the ride and two people were trapped inside when the ride malfunctioned.

The victims are aged in their 30s and 40s.

Witnesses have described the tragic events, while Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk describes it as a “dark day” in the state’s history..

The theme park has been closed “until further notice”

Ardent Leisure, the operator of the Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast, had its share price fall by as much as 8 per cent

Police and workplace safety officers are investigating.

Our live coverage has concluded. Please check the main site for the latest developments.

BRISBANE 6:45PM: Tony Moore

Dreamworld’s car park is empty of holidaymakers now,.

It is virtually dark and the main lights come from television news crews still doing live crosses.

Inside Dreamworld, police and accident investigation teams can be seenmaking their way inside the first section of the theme park.

But other than that, night has now fallen on a day when two men andtwo women have died in an accident at one of Australia’s main theme parks.

Investigators at the scene where four people died on a ride at Dreamworld. Photo: Tony Moore


Theme park closed until ‘further notice’Dreamworld hasannounced the parkwill be closed until further notice after a tragic ride incident killed four people.

Dreamworld is currently closed until further notice due to an incident at the park.

— Dreamworld (@Dreamworld_AU) October 25, 2016What we know so farFour people have died on theThunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld.

Paramedics saytwo people were thrown from the ride and two people were trapped inside.

Police and workplace safety are investigating

The Gold Coast theme park has been closed to the public.

Police and emergency crews remain outside Dreamworld after the horrific accident on the Thunder River Rapids ride. Photo: Tony Moore

BRISBANE 5:42pm:Cameron Atfield

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who wasin Queensland today, has issued a statement on today’s Dreamworld tragedy.

“I’m very saddened to learn of the tragic accident at Dreamworld earlier today,” he said.

“Theme parks are a place for family fun and happiness, not tragedy.

“This is a very, very, sad, tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives.

“This is a verysad day, and we trust there will be a thorough investigation into the causes of this accident over the days to follow.”

BRISBANE5:40pm:Georgina Mitchell

There was a problem with the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld several hours before one part of the ride flipped over, a witness said.

On Tuesday morning, visitors were left waiting as engineers were called in to inspect the ride.

“We were waiting there for about half an hour and the engineers had to come,” a witness told Nine News.

“They drained all the water out and then had to refill it back up. Then we were allowed to go. We were stuck there for about 30, 40 minutes at least.”

A witness said the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld was drained on Tuesday morning. Photo: Nine News

BRISBANE5:23pm:Carolyn Cummins

Ardent Leisure, the operator of the Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast, had its share price fall by as much as 8 per cent following news of a tragedy at the venue.

In a short statement on Tuesday afternoon the group confirmed there had been at least three fatalities at its theme park in Queensland on Tuesday.

BRISBANE 5.20pm:Jorge Branco

Witnesses have described shock and confusion in the aftermath of the accident as first responders reacted.

“They just told us to evacuate, ‘you’ve gotta go’,” one park-goer told Ten News.

“Then as we got down other people said they heard a massive big bang and it sounded like an explosive big bang.”

Emergency crews on the scene. Photo: supplied

BRISBANE 5.12pm:

‘Everyone is in deep shock’: PremierQueensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said police and workplace health and safety were doing a “thorough” investigation and expected that to continue into the early hours.

“I understand there were many witnesses and I want to thank paramedics and police who were there,” she said.

“I have been told the scene was horrific.

“Everyone is in deep shock that this has actually happened at one of our most popular theme parks, our heart goes out to family and victims.”

BRISBANE 5.04pm:

Inspector and regional duty officer Todd Reid confirmed two males and two females were confirmed dead, however would not confirm whether the adults were related to each other.

“Workplace health and safety officers and the Forensic Crash Unit of Queensland Police in attendance along with state coroner,” he said.

“We are working with park to determine how tragic incident has occurred.”

BRISBANE 4.52pm:Dreamworldchief executive Craig Davidson said the park had been closed.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this and our hearts and our thoughts go to the families involved and their loved ones,” he said.

Inspector Todd Reid speaks to media about the accident at Dreamworld. Photo: Queensland Police

Paramedics said two people were thrown from the raft and two people were trapped inside.

Queensland Ambulance Service Officer Gavin Fuller said the people were aged from 32 to their early 40s.

He said park staff attempted first aid but weren’t able to save them.

Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson speaks to media about the accident at the park. Photo: ABC News

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has launched an investigation into the tragedy, with an investigations team and the chief engineer on site.

It’s understood the chief engineer will be looking into the mechanics of the ride and what went wrong.

Authorities and Dreamworld representatives have spoken about the tragic incident at Dreamworld. It begins about 5.20 minutes:

BRISBANE 4.19pm:The Queensland Police Service has issued a statement ahead of the press conference.

“Police are currently investigating an incident that occurred this afternoon at a theme park on the Gold Coast.

Police were called to the site at Coomera around 2.20pm following reports that a number of people had been injured by a conveyor belt.

Four adults have been confirmed as being deceased.”

The incident comes about six months after a near-drowning on Dreamworld’s popular log ride.

A man was on the log ride when he fell out in April.

He was treated by the theme park’s medical staff after he swallowed water and suffered cuts to his head before paramedics arrived.

4.57pm:Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said it is a “very sad day for our city”.

“Our thoughts are with the families of those affected – and the emergency staff in attendance,” he said.

“I urge everyone to show the respect needed as the relevant authorities undertake investigations in to what has occurred.

“A truly sad day for all.”

4pm: Dreamworld has confirmed “at least three fatalities” at its theme park.

“Dreamworld confirms there has been at least three fatalities at its theme park in Queensland today,” the statement read.

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate. Photo: Supplied

“Dreamworld is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts around the incident and is working closely with emergency authorities and police to do this.

“Dreamworld’s focus and priority is with the families of those involved in this tragedy and will be providing an update to the public as soon as information becomes available.”

People were “hysterically crying” and running after the accident, witnesses say.

One woman who spoke to media at the theme park said a young girl was crying and being comforted at the ride.

“We think it was her mum that was involved,” the woman said.

“There was just police and lifeguards everywhere.

“It happened on the Rapids ride. I spoke to a guy and he said he looked behind and the whole thing flipped over.”

Another witness said she believed three adults involved in the accident were from the same extended family.

Thunder River Rapids isconsidered a quite tame family ride.

Photo: Twitter / Nine News

Up to six people are strapped into one circular cart with a loose belt around the abdomen, then the ride travels down a water track.

According to the Dreamworld website, it travels up to 45 kilometres an hour through “turbulent rapids”.

Earlier: One person has reportedly died and three others are injured after an incidenton a ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

Police say it appears one person had become caught in a conveyor belt at the Coomera theme park.

Paramedics said four people were injured, though they couldn’t confirm media reports one person had died.

It’s believed the accident occurred on the Thunder River Rapids ride with a six- person circular raft flipping over onto the conveyor belt.

Emergency services workers and police at the scene of the incident at Dreamworld. Photo: Nine News

“The situation is unfolding,” a Queensland Ambulance spokeswoman said.”The QAS is working with other emergency services to assist at the scene.”

– with Georgina Mitchell

Four people have been critically injured at #Dreamworld. There is nothing further we can confirm at this stage.

— QPS Media Unit (@QPSmedia) October 25, 2016

Confusion over new Maitland hospital

Health Minister Jillian Skinner. Picture: Edwina PicklesConfusion reigns over plans for the new Maitland hospital.
Nanjing Night Net

Hunter doctors believe they are not being consulted about services and Health Minister Jillian Skinner insiststhe facility willhave “upwards of 350” beds –despite a leaked confidential document indicating otherwise.

TheNSW Health Infrastructure brief, obtained by Fairfax Media, showed the facility dubbed“Maitland’s incredible shrinking hospital”, could be just that.

The Lower Hunter’s population willgrow by more than 43,000 people in the next 20 years, but the new hospital could only have 88 more beds than the current Maitland Hospital by 2022.

That’s 180 fewer than the 462 that the original business case recommended at a cost of $316 million less to get up and running, according to the August 2015 document.

But Health Minister Jillian Skinner told Fairfax Media on Tuesdayshe expected a public-private partnership would mean “upwards of 350 beds”, including public and private beds. “Any operator will be required to treat all public patients who present at the hospital,” she said.

“There will be no designated limit or proportion of beds allocated for public as opposed to private patients.

“This means that, if necessary, 100 per centof the hospital’s bed capacity would be utilised for the treatment of public patients.”

Fairfax Media reported last year that Maitland Hospital Medical Staff Council had heard plans for the facilityhad been reduced from the promised 450 beds, but the government hadremained tight-lipped about the issue since then.

Ms Skinner told 1233 ABC radio on Tuesday morning she “would expect [the new Maitland hospital]to be much bigger than the current Maitland hospital, which is about 200 beds”.

Australian Medical Association presidentProfessor Brad Frankum said Maitland Hospital doctors believedthe government had not properlyconsulted them about which services the region needed.

Professor Frankum said the region needed better critical care services.

He said the size and complexity of the emergency department and intensive care unit at the new hospital was important to get right.

“The clinicians at Maitland seemed to be getting a whole lot of different messages over the last few years about exactly what the hospital size and complexity was going to be,” he said.

“The Ministryof Health and Local Health Districtdo seem tohave changed their mind on a numberof occasions and that creates quite a bit of uncertainty.

“Big projects like this only succeed if they are done with good clinician engagement–that’s not just doctors but nurses and Allied Health professionals as well.

“Those are the people who understand the needs and if they’re not on board, you’re not going to succeed.

“There’s been very significant lack of engagement with clinicians in this whole thing so far.”

Professor Frankum said the planning process needed to change or the hospitalwould “not be up to the task” of catering for the region’s rapidly growing population.

“Doctors at the hospital have been alarmed for some time about the way the government has approached the redevelopment,” he said.

“They know they need a bigger facility than is currently planned to cope with the growing and ageing population.

“It’s the same story across NSW–more people, who are older and sicker, are presenting to hospital emergency departments every quarter.

“Maitland Hospital is very important to get right because it supports nine other hospitals, including Kurri Kurri, Scone, Muswellbrook, Cessnock and Singleton.”

He said no hospital in NSW was“an island” butneeded to provide a minimum level of care for their communities.

“For that to happen in Maitland, the government needs to get it right from the outset,” he said.

Mrs Skinner’s statement to Fairfax Media did not respond to Professor Frankum’s comments.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Couple attacked by ‘ice junkie with shovel’

Lee Walker in hospital on Monday after being attacked with a shovel. Photo: FacebookA young Bunburycouple attacked outsidetheir home on Monday by a stranger allegedly suffering a drug psychosis have spoken about their terrifying ordeal.
Nanjing Night Net

Mother-of-one Stephanie Skilbeck told Radio 6PR she feared for her life aftera 41-year-old man allegedlyjumped their fence and stolea shovel from their backyard before attacking her partner, Lee Walker.

“It was about 7.30am in the morning and my partner’s car wouldn’t start, thank goodness, otherwise I would have been there by myself,” she said.

“We were out the front trying to start it and our neighbour came over and said someone’s just jumped your fence.

“[The man] just walked around the side of the house and he already had a shovel in his hand which was from our backyard and came straight up to me and told me to be quiet and said he would hit me.”

Ms Skilbeck, 19, who was holding her 10 month old baby at the time, screamed for her partner and raced next door to give her son to her neighbour.

By the time she returned, her partner was wrestling with the man on the ground..

“I just jumped straight in and tried to grab the shovel off him and Lee was still wresting him so between the two of us we managed to get the shovel away.”

Ms Skilbeck said she warned the man she would hit him with the shovel if he did not get off her partner.

“He refused so I hit him about four or five times with the shovel before he let go of him.

“I don’t even think he even realised he was being hit, I don’t think the pain registered.”

Mr Walker, 24,remained in hospital on Tuesday after requiring surgery for his injuries on Monday night.

In a Facebook post, he described the man who attacked him as an “ice junkie”.

Police later told the couple they believed the man had suffered a drug-related psychotic episode and may have thought he was being chased.

It took two police officers and a neighbour to hold himdown to be cuffed.

Police also allege the man hadearlier that morningpunched a doctor in the face and stolen her car outside Bunbury Hospital.

He has been charged with aggravated robbery, stealing a motor vehicle, making threats to kill, acts intending to cause grievous bodily harm and trespass.


Pressure mounts on George Brandis to salvage some honour in legal bunfight

Pressure is mounting on Attorney-General Senator George Brandis to withdraw the new regulation. Photo: Andrew Meares Justin Gleeson is universally admired for his keen legal mind. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Nanjing Night Net

 It may look like George Brandis is the last man standing, but there have been no winners and no positives in the public scrap between the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General, Justin Gleeson.

It is tempting to think this problem is now resolved.

The latter has withdrawn, citing irreconcilable differences over a legal services direction (LSD) tabled by Brandis in the Senate in circumstances viewed by Gleeson as tantamount to an ambush.

That direction summarily ended the custom of the SG providing legal advice to other ministers, mandating instead that all future requests be ticked off by the AG himself.

In the wake of the Gleeson resignation, the opposition has called for Brandis’ scalp. Its main charge is that Brandis misled Parliament when tabling the LSD by claiming it had been formulated in consultation with Gleeson.

Gleeson has since denied this, prompting Brandis to roll out a legal backstop argument. In the end, he told a Senate inquiry the dispute between the two officers turned on a narrow definition of the word “consultation” (Gleeson’s) compared with a broader definition of the word (his).

Such vagueness is embarrassing and puts Brandis in “vibe” territory.

Either way, senior lawyers are aghast that a public disagreement going to probity has forced the resignation of a solicitor-general for the first time in 100 years.

The outgoing Gleeson is universally admired for his keen legal mind and for his adherence to proper process.

Attention has turned to a replacement and most particularly to the negative impact of this affair on the prestige and perceived independence of the office.

The Senate could strike out the LSD in any event, a prospect even government senators acknowledge as likely – perhaps desirable.

Within the law, however, pressure is mounting on Brandis to withdraw the new regulation to restore trust – to take the honourable course and accept that it had been an error and one over which procedural questions continue to hang.

If it is to be reinstituted, this must follow proper consultation with the new solicitor-general – as a matter of law.

That Malcolm Turnbull has kept Brandis is unremarkable, but the Attorney-General would be more vainglorious than even his critics suggest if he assumes his grip on the portfolio is not materially weakened.

Rather, he might show the profession, and the government, the common courtesy of displaying at least some contrition.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.