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Detective awarded for work catching child sex offenders

Detective and childrens champion, 55-year-old Jon Rouse of Ashgrove, has been named as Queenslands Australian of the Year.

Detective Inspector Rouse has 34 years service with Queensland Police.

In 1996 he began investigating crimes against children and in 2001 started Task Force Argos, where he implemented Australias first operation to proactively target internet child sex offenders.

The 2019 Queensland Australian of the Year Award winners were announced on Friday at a ceremony held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Other category winners were:

2019 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year – James Dale
2019 Queensland Young Australian of the Year – Angel Dixon
2019 Queensland Local Hero – Elijah Buol

The Queensland winners will join other state and territory award recipients from around the country as finalists in the national Australian of the Year awards, announced on January 25 in Canberra.

Detective Inspector Rouse has dedicated significant time to global a..

Detective and childrens champion, 55-year-old Jon Rouse of Ashgrove, has been named as Queenslands Australian of the Year.

Detective Inspector Rouse has 34 years service with Queensland Police.

In 1996 he began investigating crimes against children and in 2001 started Task Force Argos, where he implemented Australias first operation to proactively target internet child sex offenders.

The 2019 Queensland Australian of the Year Award winners were announced on Friday at a ceremony held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Other category winners were:

  • 2019 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year – James Dale
  • 2019 Queensland Young Australian of the Year – Angel Dixon
  • 2019 Queensland Local Hero – Elijah Buol

The Queensland winners will join other state and territory award recipients from around the country as finalists in the national Australian of the Year awards, announced on January 25 in Canberra.

Detective Inspector Rouse has dedicated significant time to global awareness of online child exploitation, delivering training and presentations to law enforcement officers across Australian and internationally.

He is sub-group chair of the Interpol Covert Internet Investigators Group and a director with the Society for the Policing of Cyberspace. In May, he received the Champion for Children Award in New York from the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

Professor James Dale

The 2019 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year is 68-year-old scientist, Professor James Dale of Moggill.

A scientist, researcher and humanitarian, Professor Dale has led significant research programs in agricultural biotechnology.

He was the inaugural Director of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Bio-commodities at Queensland University of Technology and founded Australias first molecular farming company, Farmacule Bioindustries.

His ground-breaking work includes seeking a solution to Vitamin A deficiency, which leads to death of an estimated 670,000 children in developing countries, and blindness in another 400,000.

Professor Dale led a project to genetically modify bananas – the staple diet in many poor countries – to boost their pro-vitamin A levels. The release of these lifesaving bananas is planned for East Africa in four years.

He has also led developments including medical technology that enables rapid testing for genetic diseases, and molecular farming technology that aims to produce edible, plant-based vaccines.

Angel Dixon

Angel Dixon

The 2019 Queensland Young Australian of the Year is model and activist, 28-year-old Angel Dixon of the Gold Coast.

The first agency-signed model with a physical impairment to feature in a national television campaign, Angel Dixons mission is to challenge societies perception of disability.

The two-time Mercedes Benz Fashion Week model is a passionate activist for disability inclusion and human rights.

Aware of the power that the media has in forming perceptions, Angel is advocacy manager for not-for-profit organisation, Starting With Julius, and CEO of the Attitude Foundation.

Both organisations seek to accelerate the inclusion of people with disability through the creation of authentic media and education on inclusive principles.

Angel is also a member of the steering committee for NOW Australia, a not-for-profit that provides support for people who have experienced workplace sexual harassment.

A remarkable public speaker and blogger, Angels other passion is design. Shes currently working on a line of walking canes that will be marketed as a fashion accessory – making buying a mobility tool a more positive experience and helping change attitudes towards disability.

Elijah Buol

Elijah Buol

The 2019 Queensland Local Hero is advocate for young and disadvantaged people, 33-year-old Elijah Buol of Regents Park.

Since arriving as an unaccompanied minor from South Sudan, Elijah Buol – a criminologist, father of four and director of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland – spends much of his time helping young and disadvantaged community members integrate successfully into Australian society.

With qualifications including a Master of Law, Master of Justice in Intelligence and a Bachelor of Human Services this former refugee has held senior and volunteer positions in community and not-for-profit sectors.

Elijahs advocacy work was instrumental in helping remove children from adult prisons in Queensland.

Through motivational speaking and leadership training, Elijah has inspired many disadvantaged Indigenous, refugee and migrant young people.

He established the African Australian Womens Network, now the African Australian Womens Association, to improve the wellbeing of African women living in Australia. He has mentored through the prestigious Young African Australian Star Awards, celebrating high performing young African Australian Queenslanders, as president of Queensland African Communities Council.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this years state recipients were remarkable Queenslanders who had positively influenced our communities, our state and our nation.

“This prestigious annual awards program celebrates the achievements and contributions of Australias finest,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge these remarkable individuals as Queensland recipients who have impacted the lives of many.

“I would like to personally congratulate the 2019 recipients and wish you all the best of luck at the national announcement in Canberra.”

National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand said the Queensland award recipients work was making a real difference for people in the community.

“We look forward to welcoming these great Queenslanders to Canberra in January for the national awards,” she said.

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NAB chief Andrew Thorburn takes a $2.1m pay cut

National Australia Bank chief executive Andrew Thorburn has copped a $2.1 million pay cut as a result of the fallout and potential criminal misconduct emerging from the financial services royal commission.

Key points:

NAB cited a failure to quickly fix mistakes highlighted at the royal commission as partly behind the cut
The board also pointed to “control issues” and policy breaches in the CEO's office in the decision
Staff bonuses across NAB were also cut by $114 million

While the haircut is the biggest of any major bank chief executive, Mr Thorburn still made $4.3 million in the year to September 2018, down from $6.4 million in the prior corresponding period.

The penalty comes as chief executives including Mr Thorburn prepare to face an intense grilling at the royal commission, which begins its final round of hearings on Monday.

In its remuneration report released this morning, the NAB board considered Mr Thorburn to have “performed strongly” in a difficult environment.

H..

National Australia Bank chief executive Andrew Thorburn has copped a $2.1 million pay cut as a result of the fallout and potential criminal misconduct emerging from the financial services royal commission.

Key points:

  • NAB cited a failure to quickly fix mistakes highlighted at the royal commission as partly behind the cut
  • The board also pointed to "control issues" and policy breaches in the CEO's office in the decision
  • Staff bonuses across NAB were also cut by $114 million

While the haircut is the biggest of any major bank chief executive, Mr Thorburn still made $4.3 million in the year to September 2018, down from $6.4 million in the prior corresponding period.

The penalty comes as chief executives including Mr Thorburn prepare to face an intense grilling at the royal commission, which begins its final round of hearings on Monday.

In its remuneration report released this morning, the NAB board considered Mr Thorburn to have "performed strongly" in a difficult environment.

However, the board signalled factors including some stemming from the royal commission meant that Mr Thorburn could not be rewarded at the top of the bonus range.

"The group CEO has accepted accountability for NAB's failure to fix mistakes quickly, remediate customers promptly and set things right," the remuneration report said.

"These failures have impacted NAB's reputation."

'Policy breaches and control failings' in CEO office

The renumeration report also pointed to an investigation into an alleged fraud involving a former employee, without naming Mr Thorburn's former chief of staff Rosemary Rogers.

"These [matters] include certain control failings and breaches of policy in the Office of the CEO and a small number of unintended breaches of policy by the Group CEO," the report said.

"These matters have been resolved and closed to the Board's satisfaction."

In addition to Mr Thorburn's pay pain, bonuses across the National Australia Bank were reduced by $114 million as commissioner Kenneth Hayne weighed admissions and evidence that part of the financial sector put the interests of shareholders ahead of customers.

Mr Thorburn's pay reduction means he is no longer the highest-paid NAB executive, with chief technology officer Patrick Wright earning $4.4 million.

Former NSW Liberal premier Mike Baird, now NAB's chief customer officer, earned $2.6 million in his first year at the bank.

NAB shares were 0.6 per cent lower at $23.72 after the release of the renumeration report at 10:47am (AEST).

Follow Peter Ryan on Twitter @peter_f_ryan

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ASX puts Myer in trading pause, retailer denies breaching market rules

The ASX has taken the unusual step of placing Myer in a trading “pause”, after a media report this morning revealed unreleased figures showing a slump in sales.

However, the struggling department store chain has denied breaching its continuous disclosure obligations under Australian company law.

Myer shares are currently in a trading pause “pending a further announcement” to the stock market.

The company said, in a statement, it was “well aware of its continuous disclosure obligations and confirms it is in compliance with them”.

Myer's statement was in response to an article inthe Australian Financial Review, which reportedthat the company's first-quarter sales had fallen substantially in the 2018-19 financial year compared to the same period a year earlier.

The AFR also suggested that Myer may have breached its disclosure obligations by failing to disclose such a steep fall in sales, after the company decided in May to no longer provide the market with regular quarterly..

The ASX has taken the unusual step of placing Myer in a trading "pause", after a media report this morning revealed unreleased figures showing a slump in sales.

However, the struggling department store chain has denied breaching its continuous disclosure obligations under Australian company law.

Myer shares are currently in a trading pause "pending a further announcement" to the stock market.

The company said, in a statement, it was "well aware of its continuous disclosure obligations and confirms it is in compliance with them".

Myer's statement was in response to an article inthe Australian Financial Review, which reportedthat the company's first-quarter sales had fallen substantially in the 2018-19 financial year compared to the same period a year earlier.

The AFR also suggested that Myer may have breached its disclosure obligations by failing to disclose such a steep fall in sales, after the company decided in May to no longer provide the market with regular quarterly sales updates.

Myer's decision has raised doubts about its performance ahead of the company's annual general meeting on November 30.

Mid-September was the last time that Myer provided a financial update, with the release of its full-year results.

The retailer posted an annual loss of $486 million — the first time it failed to earn a profit since 2009, when it listed on the market.

The result was driven by total sales falling 2.7 per cent to $635.5 million.

Myer's shares last traded at 45 cents. Its current market value is around $370 million.

At their peak, Myer shares traded as high as $4.10 when it debuted on the share market in November 2009. Back then, the company was worth more than $2 billion.

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A government on the ropes acts impulsively — and so it is for Morrison

As the Morrison government thrashes around trying to stave off defeat or just save the furniture, it reminds one historian of the ill-fated McMahon administration.

The run up to the Coalition's 1972 ousting is detailed in a just-released life of Billy McMahon, titled Tiberius with a Telephone. McMahon, often rated at or near the bottom in rankings of modern Australian PMs, has been long overdue for a biography — now he has a 776-page tome.

Author Patrick Mullins, of the University of Canberra, says the “similarities between now and then are too conspicuous to ignore”. These include a history of leadership instability, party disunity, depleted Liberal finances, confused, reactive and inconsistent policy directions, a credible opposition and a feeling for change in the electorate.

Admittedly, as Mr Mullins says, there are differences. Mr Morrison has a benign economic environment, support in important sections of the media, and a much better image than the widely-ridiculed McMaho..

As the Morrison government thrashes around trying to stave off defeat or just save the furniture, it reminds one historian of the ill-fated McMahon administration.

Invitee looks at a portrait of William McMahon.

The run up to the Coalition's 1972 ousting is detailed in a just-released life of Billy McMahon, titled Tiberius with a Telephone. McMahon, often rated at or near the bottom in rankings of modern Australian PMs, has been long overdue for a biography — now he has a 776-page tome.

Author Patrick Mullins, of the University of Canberra, says the "similarities between now and then are too conspicuous to ignore". These include a history of leadership instability, party disunity, depleted Liberal finances, confused, reactive and inconsistent policy directions, a credible opposition and a feeling for change in the electorate.

Admittedly, as Mr Mullins says, there are differences. Mr Morrison has a benign economic environment, support in important sections of the media, and a much better image than the widely-ridiculed McMahon.

But the fundamental point is that those were desperate days for the Coalition and so are these. "McMahon was in survival mode," says Mr Mullins, and the same could be said of Mr Morrison.

Mr Mullins' observation of the McMahon government — "For every achievement and move towards new policy there was another fight, another muddle, another problem that should never have been cause for concern" — resonates when assessing the present one.

Jerusalem proposal born out of expediency

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrive for high tea.

A government on the ropes acts impulsively, looking to the moment, compromising sound policy-making and broader, longer-term interests.

So it has been with Mr Morrison's suggestion Australia would consider moving its embassy to Jerusalem, a proposal born out of political expediency that's brought him grief this week.

The Indonesian displeasure was felt as soon as the announcement was made before the Wentworth byelection. Subsequently, things have just got worse.

The free trade agreement with Indonesia, which Australia originally hoped would be signed this week when Morrison was in Singapore for the start of the summit season, has become hostage to the embassy decision.

Earlier the government tried to fudge the signing delay by a faux nonchalance about timing. Nobody was fooled. Now in public and private comments, Indonesia has made its position clear in the past few days, to Mr Morrison's embarrassment.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also piled on, saying he'd pointed out to Mr Morrison that "adding to the cause for terrorism is not going to be helpful".

Rather than having an easy ride on his international round, the embassy issue has put Mr Morrison on the back foot.

There was no immediate way out. The Government still has to declare what it will do. Mr Morrison says a "process" is underway — presumably bureaucrats' advice is being sought and examined, after they were initially bypassed. There's to be a decision before Christmas.

This can't end happily. Mr Morrison is caught between, on the one hand, the right of the Liberal party and the Jewish lobby, and on the other, the strongly-held view of our biggest neighbour in particular.

And the angst has been all for nothing — Wentworth was lost.

Free speech review reflects ideology, not need

The Jerusalem question isn't the Government's only looming no-win decision. It has yet to provide a response to the religious freedom report, a time bomb left by Malcolm Turnbull, who set the inquiry up to placate the right.

Scott Morrison talking to an Indonesian girl with a flag.

In the meantime negotiations with Labor remain unfinished over legislation announced by Mr Morrison (pre-Wentworth) to prevent discrimination against gay students.

The still-suppressed report has brought little but controversy for the government, and backfired on the right, even before we have a policy from it.

Yet this week we have a new inquiry that reflects ideology more than need, with Education Minister Dan Tehan's announcement of a review of freedom of speech in universities.

The right has been agitated about the unwelcome receptions some conservative speakers have received from demonstrators on campuses.

Adding to the right's broader anger with universities was the conservative Ramsay Centre's failure to persuade the prestigious Australian National University to accept funding for a proposed course on Western civilisation, which came with conditions the ANU felt would compromise its academic autonomy.

Threat are easy to make, hard to implement

Free speech street art

The freedom-of-speech inquiry seems little more than another manifestation of the culture wars, symptomatic of the anti-intellectual stance of some of the Liberal hardliners, who see tertiary institutions as seeding grounds for the left.

Mr Tehan said the inquiry, undertaken by former chief justice Robert French, would "outline realistic and practical options that could be considered to better promote and protect freedom of expression and freedom of intellectual inquiry".

It will "review existing material regarding free speech, including codes of conduct, enterprise agreements, policy statements and strategic plans". Justice French is to report in four months, so before a May election.

Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia, says vice-chancellors "are questioning of the rationale for the review" — they "do not see there is an issue to address. Every day on university campuses across the country there is vigorous debate across a wide range of issues," she says.

This inquiry could end up producing fresh pinch points for the Government, like the freedom of religion one has. At the least, it seems an odd priority — the issue wouldn't engage too many ordinary voters.

That's in contrast to energy policy, undisputed core business for government and public. But this remains ad hoc and fraught, as the government goes about strong-arming companies on price and searching for opportunities to support new investment in so-called "fair dinkum" power.

The highly interventionist approach is problematic on two fronts: it is contrary to Liberal philosophy, and it's unlikely to be effective.

The Grattan Institute's Tony Wood says: "In the absence of a stable climate policy and good management of the electricity market we seem to be left with nothing more than threats, which are easy to make but hard to implement, and subsidies, which may be popular but make no sense from a policy perspective".

A politically-inspired thought-bubble with serious fallout, an unnecessary bow to the right, a core policy that's unfit for purpose. Taken together the embassy issue, the free speech review, and the energy shemozzle point to a survival strategy that's not cutting it. Just as McMahon's didn't.

Michelle Grattan is a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra and chief political correspondent at The Conversation, where this article first appeared.

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