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Advice would have cost client $500,000

Dishonest conduct by NAB advisers has included impersonating customers, executive Andrew Hagger says A staffer from Sam Henderson’s (r) financial advisory firm allegedly impersonated clients.
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An industrial umpire would have lost $500,000 in superannuation if she followed the advice of a celebrity “financial guru” whose employee impersonated her on phone calls.

Fair Work commissioner Donna McKenna rejected the “risible” advice of planner Sam Henderson, whose regular media appearances include hosting a TV finance show.

The banking royal commission heard when Ms McKenna complained to the professional body for financial planners, Mr Henderson described it as a “storm in a teacup” and labelled her as hostile and aggressive.

He also asked the Financial Planning Association not to share his response as the lawyer would find being labelled nitpicking inflammatory.

Senior counsel assisting the commission Rowena Orr QC asked: “Mr Henderson, is it really nitpicking for Ms McKenna to make a complaint after receiving advice that if implemented would have cost her half a million dollars?”

Mr Henderson replied no.

A staffer of his advice firm Henderson Maxwell impersonated Ms McKenna on a number of phone calls to gain information from her super fund, with recordings of two calls played to the royal commission on Tuesday.

Mr Henderson could not recall if the staffer spoke to him while one of the calls was on hold but said he was not aware of the impersonation.

“I was quite disappointed and actually apologise for the behaviour of my staff member,” he said.

“It was inexcusable. I was horrified.”

The commission heard Ms McKenna would have lost $500,000 “just like that” if she had followed the advice, as she would have forfeited her rights to that entire deferred lump sum benefit if she accessed her superannuation before the earliest retirement age of 58.

Mr Henderson blamed the problems with the advice on an error in the research conducted by a paraplanner.

The commission heard Mr Henderson had wanted the FPA to keep Ms McKenna’s March 2017 complaint confidential given his media presence and potential financial loss as a result of any publicity.

But the chair of its independent conduct review commission wanted tougher sanctions including a one-year ban on media appearances.

The complaint and disciplinary process has not been finalised.

Mr Henderson, described on his website as a financial guru, has hosted a Sky News Business program and regularly appears on Network Ten’s The Project and the Nine Network’s Today show.

The Henderson Maxwell CEO also writes general financial advice articles for a number of Fairfax publications including the n Financial Review and Money Magazine.

The royal commission earlier heard an ANZ financial adviser used clients’ money to buy a property in the name of a company of which he was the sole director and allegedly took money from their accounts.

A number of customers of the sacked adviser of ANZ planning subsidiary millennium3 complained about unauthorised withdrawals or transfers from self-managed super funds and investments in the unit trust set up to buy the marina property.

The commission heard ANZ has notified West n police of allegations by three of Mr A’s customers that he withdrew funds totalling $234,590 without their authority in 2011 and 2012.

Demons coach demands more against Tigers

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin expects his Demons to rebound with a strong showing against Richmond.It’s been a long nine days for the Melbourne football club, forced to stew on one of their worst AFL losses.
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But redemption day arrives on Tuesday when they face Richmond on Anzac Day eve.

The Demons threw away a handy lead against Hawthorn in round four, conceding 14 of the last 15 goals in a wretched run to lose by 67 points.

It was a significant setback for the Demons, expected to play finals this season.

And while the Tigers’ undoubted class might make it hard for Melbourne to rebound with four points, coach Simon Goodwin made it clear he won’t accept a repeat performance.

“Sometimes you want a game to come around quick so you can actually do something about it,” he said.

“We’ve had nine days.

“Last week we had a game that didn’t resemble the way we wanted to play. Our responsibility is to get that back.

“That might take some time but we’re looking forward to tomorrow night and making sure we get it back pretty quick.”

Goodwin said he could understand if Demons fans couldn’t trust his team to perform after such a major fade-out.

“That’s the reality and we deal in realities,” he said.

“People can only make judgements on what they see. We’ll always hold that tag until we do something about it consistently.

“That’s not for one or two weeks it’s over a period of time.”

The MCG have set an estimated attendance at 87,000 for the fourth staging of the Anzac eve match, which has grown into a blockbuster in its own right.

Goodwin said drawing on the Anzac spirit was a part of his build-up.

“You certainly allow them to draw on that … mateship is really important for us as a footy club,” he said.

“We’re going to need everyone to go about it in a manner that resembles some of that spirit.

“We can’t go out there and honour them but we use some of that spirit that they generate within that to lift our team.”

The Dees made four changes after last week’s horror show, with Dom Tyson, Sam Weideman and Jayden Hunt returning.

Jordan Lewis is injured (broken hand), Tomas Bugg played in the VFL – ruling him out – and Sam Frost and youngster Bayley Fritsch were the other omissions.

Tyson missed last week with gastro while Hunt was dropped after round two for poor form.

“He’s had a difficult summer for a whole range of different reasons but we feel like his edging closer to his best footy again,” Goodwin said of Hunt.

Wills and Kate don’t know baby’s gender

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expect a baby in April but don’t know if it’s a boy or girl.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be waiting on tenterhooks to see if their new baby is a boy or a girl – as the couple do not know their child’s gender.
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During routine scans William and Kate did not ask if they would be welcoming a son or daughter – opting to be surprised as with the duchess’s previous pregnancies.

The baby is expected in April and, although a due date has not been released, it is thought the infant will be born in the second half of the month.

The couple are said to be hugely grateful for the warm wishes they have received from UK fans and those across the globe since Kate’s pregnancy announcement last year.

There was speculation Kate might opt for a home birth, but when she goes into labour she will again be cared for in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, where Prince George and Princess Charlotte were born.

And just like her previous pregnancies, she is likely to have a team of more than 20 top medical experts and other staff working or on stand-by from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs St Mary’s.

Consultant obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston and consultant gynaecologist Alan Farthing will be among the team, two senior medics who were involved in helping to deliver Kate’s previous children.

Preparations for the media coverage of the birth begin in earnest on Monday, with crowd barriers going up in the street opposite the Lindo Wing in Paddington, central London, and parking restrictions coming into force in the area.

Bookies believe Kate will have a girl and a large number of punters have placed bets on the baby being named Mary.

Once news of the birth has been announced on the official Kensington Palace Twitter and Instagram accounts, a bulletin notice declaring the birth will go on display on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Kate is likely to take an extended period off to recover and nurse the latest addition to her family but is expected to attend Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on May 19.

As a mother of three children under the age of four, the duchess’s role as a parent is likely to be her focus for the next few years.

Senate committee approves Pompeo

Mike Pompeo is expected to be approved as US secretary of state by a US Senate committee.The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved the nomination of President Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, after a Republican senator switched his support behind the nominee.
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The committee approved Pompeo’s nomination on a party-line vote, with all 11 Republicans backing him, nine Democrats opposed and one Democrat, Chris Coons, voting “present” because of Senate procedural rules.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there were enough votes in the full Senate to confirm Pompeo as secretary of state this week. That would allow Pompeo to attend a NATO summit on Friday.

Pompeo became one of Trump’s most trusted advisers during his 15 months as CIA director. Most recently, he has been deeply involved in preparations for Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, including meeting with him three weeks ago.

While Democrats opposed Pompeo because they consider him too hawkish and worry about his past harsh statements about homosexuality and Islam, he has the support of at least three Democrats not on the committee, all but assuring he will be confirmed for State because no Senate Republican has announced opposition.

“I don’t believe that Director Pompeo will always be someone who values diplomacy over conflict,” said Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Paul’s late switch meant the nominee could avoid the embarrassment of being the first person nominated for secretary of state known to fail to secure the panel’s endorsement.

That would have cast a cloud over Trump’s push to overhaul his national security team, after firing his first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, last month.

The White House and Republican Party had thrown their weight behind the nomination, with a series of attacks on Democrats for opposing Trump’s pick.

“I have changed my mind. I decided to go ahead and vote for Director Pompeo,” Paul said before the committee vote after announcing on Twitter he had abruptly ended weeks of opposition.

Paul has been known to threaten opposition on major policy positions staked out by Trump, including healthcare reform, only to change his mind at the last minute. Trump recently expressed confidence that the senator from Kentucky would come around to support Pompeo.

Living cost, health preferred over tax cut

Ai Group CEO Innes Wilox wants the government to keep pushing for corporate tax cuts.Personal income tax cuts are meant to be a centrepiece of this year’s federal budget, but a new poll shows ns view the cost of living, health and job creation as higher priorities.
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The latest Essential poll published on Tuesday showed 51 per cent of voters rated addressing the cost of living as the number one priority for the federal government, with only 15 per cent mentioning income tax cuts.

Next priorities on the list were improving the health system, creating jobs and addressing housing affordability.

Reducing the budget deficit was a priority for 14 per cent of people, while cutting corporate tax was preferred by six per cent.

Asked about the main problem for cities, two-thirds of voters cited housing affordability, while 62 per cent said a lack of spending on roads and rail and a shortage of job opportunities.

Infrastructure is expected to be a focus of the May 8 budget.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to unveil hundreds of millions of dollars in spending on road and rail projects during a visit next week to Western .

WA has loudly complained about being short-changed over its share of GST revenues.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten recently committed a Labor federal government to a $1.6 billion “Fair Share for WA” fund, pumping money into Perth and regional infrastructure.

Labor transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said government spending on infrastructure was due to halve as a proportion of GDP, from 0.4 per cent to 0.2 per cent over the next decade.

“They simply haven’t done the work to create a pipeline of projects,” he said.

However, the government says its program includes about $50 billion in spending between 2013/14 and 2020/21, including a recently announced $5 billion for a Melbourne airport rail line and $1 billion for Queensland’s M1 motorway.

Liberal frontbencher Angus Taylor said what ns wanted above all was economic leadership.

“(Voters) want a government that is wanting to drive jobs, helping to drive investment, at the same time living within our means,” Mr Taylor told Sky News.

The n Industry Group says cutting business taxes must remain a high priority for this budget.

Releasing a survey of large and small businesses, they put corporate tax cuts ahead of infrastructure spending, bringing the budget back to balance and measures to address current and future skilled shortages.

Ai Group’s chief executive Innes Willox said these priorities have been consistent over the past five years.

The survey found most industries rank the reduction of the business tax burden as either top or the second highest priority.

“This is an unambiguous expression of support for the government to stay on course with the proposed phase-down in the corporate tax rate over the coming decade,” Mr Willox said in a statement.

He said this should be the centrepiece of a program of far-reaching and comprehensive tax measures, including personal tax reform targeted to lower and middle-income households.

NSW State of Origin captain Boyd Cordner has reached out to former teammate Mitchell Pearce as he begins his long recovery from a pectoral injury.

NSW State of Origin captain Boyd Cordner has reached out to former teammate Mitchell Pearce as he begins his long recovery from a pectoral injury.
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ADVICE: Boyd Cordner has spoken to former teammate Mitchell Pearce about recovering from pectoral surgery.

Pearce will go under the knife on Tuesday in Newcastle, with the hope to return within 10 weeks from his ruptured pectoral – some six weeks earlier than the club predicted on Sunday.

Regardless, the injury will rule him out of contention from keeping his Blues State of Origin jersey, which he had again become a frontrunner for after leading the Dally M Medal count over the opening seven rounds.

Both Cordner and Pearce remain close friends from their time together at the Roosters, and the Tri-colours’ co-captain said his ex-teammate was “shattered” after scans confirmed the blow.

Cordner overcame a similar injury in just three months in 2016, giving Pearce hope he could still play a significant role in the Knights’ push to return to the finals for the first time in five years.

“I spoke to him yesterday and we had similar injuries,” Cordner said.

“Mentally it’s a big injury and it takes its toll on you, especially to happen to someone as crucial as a team member as Mitchell is to the Knights, I really feel for him.

“I really believe most of it is mental. And he is one of the most mentally strong people I know. So I’m sure with the right help up there he will make a quick comeback.”

Pearce’s injury is the latest setback to hit the Blues before the beginning of the Origin series.

The other main contender for the No.7 jersey, Nathan Cleary, is racing the clock to return from a knee injury for Penrith’s round 11 clash so he can push his Origin case.

NSW coach Brad Fittler concedes it might still be too late to rush in a rookie after a sizeable lay-off.

Winger Josh Mansour is also expected to be out for the season with a serious facial fracture, while Kangaroos prop Jordan McLean is also out of the series with an ankle injury.

“That’s footy at the end of the day,” Cordner said.

“You have to deal with these sorts of things. NRL isn’t an easy game, it’s a physical game. You’re going to get injuries around this time of year.

“It’s definitely frustrating from a NSW point of view but at the same time there is a lot of depth and I think a lot of the guys who pushing for a Blues jersey are playing well at the moment.”

On the eve of Anzac Day, war mural steals a town’s heart

During World War I, the small town of Devenish and district had a population of around 300, but 50 of its citizens – one in six – signed up to serve.
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Seven diggers died and never came home.

The war’s impact still resonates today. Many people in the wheat farming community, near Benalla in northern Victoria, have family ties to those 50 who served.

Art from the heart: the mural the people of Devenish, in northern Victoria funded on its old silos depicts two service women, 100 years apart: a WWI nurse and a modern day army medic. Photo: p1xels

Farmer Kevin Mitchell said locals were keen to mark the centenary of the end of the war, but also to bring visitors to the town ‘‘and make it a bit more vibrant’’.

More than 100 local people raised $20,000 to fund a striking 20-metre-high mural on disused grain silos, opposite the Railway Hotel.

Painted by Melbourne artist Cam Scale over 11 days, it depicts two women, 100 years apart – a WWI nurse and a modern-day army medic.

The modern soldier was to be male, but Scale said he thought a woman medic “would show the changing role of nursing and of women’s role in society and the military”.

It doesn’t depict a particular person, but two Devenish women were World War I nurses.

Mr Mitchell, chairman of the Devenish Silo Art Committee said the mural, which Benalla Rural City mayor Don Firth will launch on Tuesday, the eve of Anzac Day, was the biggest thing to happen in the town ‘‘for quite a while’’ and widely admired.

‘‘It’s very respectful and beautifully painted. It makes you think. It’s an excellent tribute to those who went away from our district,” Mr Mitchell said.

Cam Scale spent 11 days painting a 20m high mural on silos overlooking the tiny town of Devenish, near Benalla. Photo: p1xels

‘‘It’s a tribute to those who put the country ahead of themselves, both in the early days and currently.’’

It will be part of anew ‘‘silo art trail’’ that already includes the towns of Goorambat and Tungamah.

‘‘I think it will create a heck of a lot of interest,’’ Mr Mitchell said. ‘‘It’s certainly going to make everyone aware in Victoria, and wider, where Devenish is.’’

More admissions govt got it wrong on banks

Former Nationals senator Fiona Nash says the government was wrong to avoid a banks royal commission.Former Turnbull government minister Fiona Nash has admitted the coalition got it wrong in not calling a banking royal commission sooner.
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Ms Nash, who was forced out of parliament during the dual citizenship saga, joined other Nationals colleagues in offering the concession.

“I was in government at the time, I think we got it wrong,” Ms Nash said on ABC’s Q&A program.

“I think we should have done it sooner.

“n people intrinsically want to see things be fair and I really do think we should have done that sooner than we did when I was in government.”

Her admission follows former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce’s, as well as cabinet minister Matt Canavan – who too admitted he was wrong.

His colleague Mathias Cormann says the government had genuinely believed, before announcing the royal commission, that there had been enough inquiries into the sector and it was time for action instead.

But “with the benefit of hindsight” the inquiry should have been called earlier, he told Sky News.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson welcomed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying it was a political mistake not to call a royal commission sooner.

Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann has warned against “Blanket statements” about the banks.

“Let’s get on with the job now,” she told ABC TV on Tuesday.

“It’s no good going over it and over it.”

Senator Hanson wants the banks to cover the cost of the royal commission instead of the taxpayer and for it to be extended to liquidators and mortgage insurance.

Senator Cormann, who is in Berlin with Mr Turnbull for talks on security and trade, says he’s been “surprised” at the revelations unearthed by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne.

But the royal commission should be allowed to do its work before anyone jumped to conclusions.

“You can’t make a blanket statement across the board,” the minister said.

“Obviously the royal commission is working through what’s what and who’s done what, and to the extent there is wrongdoing, people have to have the book thrown at them.”

He took aim at politicians who have suggested all banks should be penalised by not allowing them the benefits of a corporate tax cut.

Asked about former prime minister Tony Abbott’s call for regulators to be sacked for not doing their job, the minister said the government would be making “considered judgments” at the end of the inquiry.

Commonwealth slams Qld tree clearing laws

Tree clearing legislation is urgently needed in Queensland, says new Climate Council report.The federal government has hit out at Queensland’s proposed laws to restrict tree-clearing, saying it would be devastating to farmers.
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However a new report from the Climate Council has found the laws are urgently needed to address climate change.

The Queensland Labor government is preparing to pass legislation to restrict the amount of land-clearing in the state, after regulations were relaxed under the previous Liberal National Party government.

A parliamentary committee has recommended the legislation be passed, but has made several recommendations including giving landholders support in navigating the application process to clear land, as well as investigating the establishment of indigenous community use areas.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the laws were an election promise, and her government will pass them by the end of May.

“The majority of farmers are doing the right thing, but we have seen very high rates of land clearing in this state and it’s got to stop,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Tuesday.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan has weighed in on the issue, saying the proposed laws would “criminalise” farmers.

Mr Canavan said, in particular, provisions to remove land being classified as high value agriculture as a reason for land clearing would have significant impact on farming.

“This is another example of where an ideological stance by a state government can stymie national ambition to further enhance the n economy and further develop northern in particular” he said.

His concerns were echoed by farming lobby group AgForce, which said farmers opposed to the laws who gave submissions to the committee were ignored.

It comes as a new report from the Climate Council shows an area of Queensland bushland more than seven times the size of Brisbane was cleared between 2012 and 2016.

International climate scientist Professor Will Steffen said the findings show the need for greater governmental regulation of land clearing.

“Just in the last year we’ve had 19 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly carbon dioxide, from the clearing of Queensland’s forests,” he said.

“So it’s very important that we tighten these laws up so that not only to we reduce emissions from fossil fuels but also from clearing.”

Toronto van attack suspect due in court

At least two people have been killed after a rented van mounted a pavement in Canada’s largest city.The driver suspected of killing 10 people and injuring 15 others when he ploughed a rental van into pedestrians in Toronto will make his first court appearance on Tuesday when details of a motive for the attack are expected to emerge.
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While the worst mass killing in Canada in decades has the hallmarks of other deadly vehicle assaults by Islamic State supporters in the United States and Europe, officials said it did not represent a threat to national security.

Alex Minassian, 25, identified by police as the suspect, will appear in a Toronto court at 10am (local time) Toronto police said. Charges will be made public at that time.

Minassian, who was not previously known to authorities, attended a high school program where one classmate remembered him as “absolutely harmless.”

People left flowers at a makeshift memorial, which grew as commuters returned to work on Tuesday morning. Blank white posters left against a stone wall were covered with messages.

The Canadian flag was lowered to half-staff at parliament and at Toronto city hall.

The officer who apprehended Minassian was praised for making a peaceful arrest eve as the suspect shouted “Kill me” and claimed to have a gun.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who called the incident a “tragic and senseless attack,” is due to speak to reporters 8.25am on Tuesday in Ottawa.

Canadians mourned as the victims began to be identified on Tuesday.

“We are a peaceful, tolerant, free society. The horrific violence on Toronto’s Yonge Street will strengthen rather than undermine these truths,” columnist John Ibbitson wrote in the Globe and Mail national newspaper.

The attack shook the usually peaceful streets of Toronto, a multicultural city with a population of 2.8 million. The city recorded 61 murders last year.

Downtown Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, which is normally lit up in the evening, went dark on Monday evening.

The drama started at lunchtime on a warm spring day, when the driver drove his vehicle into the crowds. The street was soon covered in blood, empty shoes and bodies.

Canada is still recovering from the shock of a highway crash in Saskatchewan earlier this month that killed 16 people on a bus carrying a junior hockey team.

Last October eight people died in New York when a man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path.

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