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Motley Fool: Glenn Stevens leaving the economy in good shape

RBA Governor Glenn Stevens is leaving the economy in good shape. Photo: Louie DouvisThanks, Governor.
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Reserve Bank supremo, Glenn Stevens, will vacate the big chair in just over a week, having been at the helm during one of the most challenging economic periods in living memory, and has come out of it with the regard of economists, central bankers, politicians and investors — no small feat, given the fractious nature of each of those groups… let alone trying to have those groups agree with each other on anything.

Oh, not everyone agrees, of course. But then, we’re all armchair experts. We opine with the luxury of knowing our opinions will never be tested in the real world. Generally, though, it’s hard to find many people who have a real and abiding disagreement with the way Stevens has run the central bank.

It’s something of a thankless task. Stevens worked for a small fraction of what he could have earned in business. He was scrutinised on an almost-daily basis in our media, and had submit to grillings by parliamentary committees. And, lest we forget, he has precisely one real tool in his toolkit — the official cash rate.

Compare that to the federal Treasurer of the day. He has income tax, indirect taxes, welfare programs, government rebates, industry assistance, procurement policy and scores of other tools at his disposal. Having too many options may be a curse in itself, but Stevens (and his replacement, the incoming governor, Phillip Lowe) has a single lever, with only three positions: hike, hold or cut.

A blunt tool

And here’s the thing: Stevens knows just how blunt that tool is. Cutting rates lowers the cost of borrowing, and so stimulates business investment. But he also knows that it adds fuel to an already overheated housing market, and significantly reduces the incomes of retirees. Plus, he has to think about the impact on business and consumer confidence, the exchange rate, and the fact that changes tend to take three to six months to really roll through the economy, so he needs to be part-forecaster, too.

Of course, he also has the most talked about skeletal feature of any public figure in the country: the fabled jawbone. As well as setting official policy, Glenn Stevens spent countless hours giving speeches and answering questions, knowing that his comments would be analysed and picked over. Both a blessing and a curse, one of his early attempts at humour was completely misunderstood by investors and traders who, frankly, really should get out more. But he turned that to his advantage, taking opportunities to comment, however obliquely, on the exchange rate, lending policy and — even more obliquely — giving a little advice to the Treasurer.

His appearances in Canberra were always fun to watch (well, if you like that sort of thing). With the wit of someone who knows the impact of their words on the market, Stevens’ answers — and more frequently his non-answers — both delivered with a wry, knowing smile are the stuff of legend.

A vital cog

Glenn Stevens steps down as Governor just as Australia celebrates its 100th consecutive quarter without a recession — a result that’s bettered only by one country, the Netherlands. That’s a record we’re likely to break by this time next year. That success is in part a result of thoughtful government policy (think: reforms that made our economy more flexible and resilient) and in part due to our geographic and natural resources luck — we had what China wanted, even as the rest of the world slumped into the GFC.

He played a critical role during that period, too — both by being prepared to cut rates, hard, when needed, but also to instill that most precious and important factor: confidence. While most people focus on the economic statistics — GDP, exports, spending and the like — these are outputs. In today’s globalised and services-heavy world, the single most important element of our economic circumstance is confidence. Without it, our wallets snap shut and the economy plunges into recession. That we avoided recession in 2008 and 2009 is, in very large part, a result of the faith Australians had in our economic circumstances, and the man with his hand on the rates button.

Foolish takeaway

Governor Stevens will leave his post with an economy in very good shape, thanks in part to his management of interest rates. But it’s not without risk. House prices are high, thanks largely to the availability of cheap credit. Central bank governors’ reputations are solidified in the years after their terms end, and a housing crash could well tarnish Stevens’, just as the low rates and low regulation sullied US Fed chief Alan Greenspan’s.

Still, based on what we know today, Glenn Stevens can leave his post with his head held high. He may not be solely responsible for our economic well being, but he has contributed meaningfully to the Australian economy we enjoy today.

Go well, Governor, and thank you.

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Scott Phillips is the Motley Fool’s director of research. You can follow Scott on Twitter @TMFScottP. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).

Stephen Moore gives critics short shrift as Wallabies seek to arrest form slump

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore says he has not taken notice of criticism hurled his way in recent weeks but insists he still has plenty of self-belief in his game as Australia look to reverse the “embarrassment” that is 2016 against the Springboks in Brisbane.
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In the wake of the Wallabies’ defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington, Moore was asked if he had lost confidence in his lineout throwing, or in other words, whether he had the yips.

His response was a blunt “no” but there is no hiding from the 57 per cent throwing record he has returned in his previous two Tests.

Moore was asked again on Friday, after the Wallabies captain’s run at Ballymore Stadium, how he felt about the criticism directed at him.

“Has there?” Moore asked. “I haven’t really looked much at that, so if you start looking at that stuff you take your mind off what’s important. There’s a lot of belief in the team.

“I have got a lot of self-belief about my role in the team and we’re just worrying about what we can control internally so anything else is peripheral.”

Moore will need to generate belief quickly so he can formulate a solid partnership with his second-rowers and lineout generals as Australia attempt to get their set-piece sorted.

The skipper has backed new blindside breakaway and renowned jumper Dean Mumm, who has replaced Moore’s Brumbies teammate Scott Fardy, saying: “Deano’s done really well in the last few weeks when he’s come on and he’ll do a good job.”

Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss said it would be foolish to write a player of Moore’s calibre off and is expecting the Wallabies lineout to be much improved.

“Amazing player, great individual rugby player and a great hooker,” said Strauss of Moore, who will run out in his 108th Test on Saturday. “He knows how to throw the ball into the lineout so that’s definitely not an area of his game that is lacking and we know they’ll fine-tune their lineouts and be back.”

Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham, who is Moore’s mentor in Canberra, said the 33-year-old was playing the best football of his life.

“He’s still regarded as one of the best hookers in the world,” Larkham said. “He had a super-strong Super Rugby campaign, probably the best rugby I’ve ever seen him play. He’s making sure that his performance this week is as good as can be.”

After a shock 3-0 home defeat to England, Saturday presents as the Wallabies best chance to snap a six-game losing streak.

It is a dip in form that Larkham has described as an “embarrassment”, but statistics are on the Wallabies’ side.

For the first time since the England series they are favourites with the bookies and have won eight of nine games against the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium.

South Africa has only beaten Australia three times this century away from home, but facts and figures aside, Larkham reckons the Wallabies have had their best training week of the year.

“Motivation’s high, the energy’s high,” Larkham said. “We’ve carried a fair bit of embarrassment out of the last five games [this year] so the guys are very focused on trying to put a good performance out on the paddock.

“We felt we started something over in New Zealand in that last Test and we need to continue that.”

The Wallabies finalised their bench on Friday, opting for a 5-3 split with winger Drew Mitchell coming back into the frame to provide the backline with greater balance, according to Larkham.

RBA governor Glenn Stevens’ parting shot – hosing down the $A emphasis

Glenn Stevens was careful in his final interview as governor to downplay the exchange rate’s role in the transmission of monetary policy. Photo: Louie DouvisThere’s more than a little irony in at least some of the Australian dollar’s latest gyrations being attributed to Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens’ exit interview. He actually dissed monetary policy’s exchange rate power.
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While the Australian dollar’s relative strength remains a constant concern for the RBA, at various times over the years the bank has tried to explain that it doesn’t move interest rates to specifically move the Aussie.

Yes, lowering interest rates and judicious use of the governor’s jawbone have had an impact, but Stevens was careful in his final interview as governor with Fairfax Media to downplay the exchange rate’s role in the transmission of monetary policy.

Asked specifically how much of monetary policy’s stimulus comes through its effect on the exchange rate, Stevens said:

“It’s very hard to be precise, because there are so many other things affecting the exchange rate, so identifying the interest rate effect is, you know, really a mug’s game, I think. But I guess I have to believe that having lowered the cash rate for five years, and also made the odd comment, exchange rate is lower than it was going to be otherwise. The terms of trade are taking it down as well. How much of that’s the interest rate? Impossible to be precise.”

The RBA view has been that the exchange rate movements follow the thrust of why monetary policy is moved, rather than just the actual interest rate adjustment. Obviously it all goes into the mix, as the governor implies, but trying to be specific about it is indeed a mug’s game.

Much, maybe most, market commentary has never accepted that. Time and again in this cycle, the commentariat has called for a rate cut or explained one as being necessary to lower the dollar. And when the Aussie has proceeded to go on its own sweet way despite a rate move, that argument gets put away until the next RBA meeting.

In his farewell interview, Stevens revisited a key point from his final speech about the burden of monetary policy stimulus falling on households:

“I think most of the domestic effects of cheap money comes through the household sector. Higher house prices than otherwise, more borrowing than otherwise, wealth effects, lower saving rate, etc, etc. That’s where I suspect the bulk of the domestic demand impetus comes from.

“It doesn’t come from businesses saying: ‘Quarter point less on funding costs relative to my hurdle rate. I’m now going to do the project.’ You know, there’s no evidence that that occurs or ever did. So it comes from the households. And as you know, the thing that I’ve tried to grapple with is – that’s where we get the effects, but do we actually want households to engage in a major levering-up from here. It’s not that what they did before was disastrous. That clearly hasn’t been. But from here how much more do you want?”

And that’s why Stevens has urged governments to borrow more to invest in the nation while still needing to rein in its recurrent budget deficit.

As to some perspective on Stevens’ RBA stewardship, at his farewell dinner on Tuesday, one of the fathers of modern Australian finance remarked how rare and pleasurable it was to be at a function for an institution that was held in near-universal respect. By implication, it’s hard to think of any other.

I began the week in this space previewing Australia’s incredible achievement of cracking the ton, of scoring 100 consecutive quarters of GDP growth, not out. That success had many fathers, as success tends to, but certainly there in the delivery room has been the RBA.

We are indeed fortunate to have such a fine central bank, a credit above all to its culture of service and intellectual honesty. That culture has both provided and nurtured by several decades of fine leadership, none better than that of Glenn Stevens.

It’s not entirely coincidental that for 20 of our 25 years of unbroken growth, Stevens has been a, or the, key player in our monetary policy. As the governor-designate, Philip Lowe, recounted on Tuesday, Stevens has attended 215 RBA board meetings – for 10 years as governor, for five years as deputy governor and for five years as chief economic adviser to the board.

Lowe’s speech was comprehensive, but I think the core of it about Stevens the man was this:

“Those of you who don’t know him might feel like you do: there are few Australians whose public utterances are so closely scrutinised and so widely covered by our media. But whether you know him personally, or through the media, I am sure you will have formed the same impression of Glenn.

“That is of an incredibly dedicated servant of the public over a career that spans 36 years, and a man of the highest integrity.

“Glenn has relentlessly served the interests of the Australian people. He has brought a very high level of analytical rigour to the task. He has exercised an independence of thought that is not always seen in public life. He has patiently explained difficult economic issues to Australians. He has talked to us about the challenges that Australia faces, but also the opportunities we have.

“In a world where optimism has sometimes been in short supply, he has more than once reminded us that the glass is at least half full. He has been deliberate, logical, thoughtful and measured in his remarks. He has done this all without fear or favour. He is a man of courage, prepared to say things that are true, even when they are not popular. And last – but not least – he helped successfully navigate our economy through the biggest resources boom in a century and a global financial crisis.”

And given his chance to reply, Stevens was quick to deflect credit to the many relatively anonymous workers at the RBA.

We have been fortunate to have him as governor and to have our central bank continue with its culture intact.

ICAC chief Megan Latham rejects plan to restructure agency

ICAC Commissioner Megan Latham gives evidence at state parliament on Friday. Photo: Daniel MunozThe head of the NSW corruption watchdog has criticised a proposed restructure of the agency that would see her role replaced with a panel of three commissioners, saying it would increase costs and leave “a couple of people sitting around twiddling their thumbs”.
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Megan Latham, a former Supreme Court judge who took over as head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 2014, told a parliamentary inquiry on Friday that splitting her role between three commissioners would “involve unnecessary cost and complexity”.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet says in a submission to the inquiry that a “best practice” model would be for ICAC to adopt a panel structure with three commissioners.

It suggested some decisions, such as whether to hold a public inquiry, could require the unanimous approval of the panel.

The proposal has been viewed as a way to curb the power of any one commissioner to influence the direction of the agency.

But Ms Latham said the model was “untested” and “does not represent current best practice for anti-corruption agencies”.

“No other anti-corruption agency in Australia requires unanimous or even majority decisions between commissioners and assistant or deputy commissioners before investigations can be commenced or statutory powers exercised,” she said.

Equivalent bodies in other states, including the Victorian Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission, vested powers in one commissioner “who may be assisted by a deputy or assistant commissioners”.

Ms Latham said having three full-time commissioners would at times leave “a couple of people sitting around twiddling their thumbs” and the existing system of ad hoc commissioners was preferable.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet has suggested the panel structure “may assist in alleviating tensions that can arise between a single Commissioner and a single Inspector”.

Ms Latham has butted heads with ICAC Inspector David Levine, QC, a former Supreme Court judge who has been a vocal critic of the agency.

Inaugural ICAC Inspector Graham Kelly told the inquiry of the spat between the pair: “It is heartbreaking for me to see the mess that has ensued. It didn’t need to ensue.”

Mr Levine has recommended ICAC hold its hearings behind closed doors to minimise reputational damage to targets.

But Mr Kelly said the government and parliament should “stand condemned if such retrograde steps were undertaken”.

He also queried whether the ICAC inspector should be a former judge, saying “it all becomes too legalistic”.

“You need an acute understanding of the law but you need an understanding of how organisations work and you need an understanding of management issues,” Mr Kelly said.

Ms Latham said it was worth considering appointing an ICAC inspector from a different background.

Having a commissioner and an inspector drawn from the same “bear pit” could be a recipe for disaster and “egos can be strong”, she said.

“I think there is scope for a different kind of relationship between the inspector and the commissioner where you haven’t got someone in the role of the inspector who potentially thinks they could be doing a better job,” Ms Latham said.

Super Rugby 2016: Police want to speak again to stripper at centre of Chiefs scandal

New Zealand police say they will speak again to Scarlette, the stripper at the centre of the Chiefs scandal after an interview with her was played on New Zealand radio on Friday.
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Police said they would investigate after Scarlette said in the interview that players from the Hamilton-based Super Rugby team threw gravel at her, touched her genitals and chanted obscenities as they crowded around her.

But New Zealand rugby players’ association boss Rob Nichol says was nothing new in the information and that allegations broadcast were looked at during the investigation and refuted by the players.

“They were not substantiated by the investigation,” Nichol said.

“If the police deem that they need to look at this again, then they absolutely should.”

Politicians have slammed the “bogus” investigation, while organisations including the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network and the Human Rights Commission urged New Zealand Rugby to sort out how it deals with women.

Following the initial allegations, police said they had spoken to Scarlette on two occasions.

“At the time she was offered further information and support by police. However, based on those discussions, which included consideration of her wishes and the information that was available to us, police at the time were not able to take the matter further.”

There was now potential to take the issue further, considering the information released to the public on Friday.

“Given what has been reported in the media today, we will again reach out to her to see if there is any further information she wishes to provide for police to assess,” a police spokesperson said.

In an interview with RNZ last month, further details of which have now been released, Scarlette spoke about the ordeal says she faced on the night.

When she arrived, the players were “beyond drunk” so she had to perform in a garden bar outside, rather than the main building, she said.

“The first thing they said when they saw me was show us your —- so straight off the bat, I went, right, I’ve got to handle these guys how they want to be handled, because they’re not going to listen to me.”

After she started her performance, the man she was performing on hit her when she slapped him as part of her routine, she said.

“He hit me back, I told him not to hit me which he did again,” she told RNZ.

“He proceeded to touch my vagina multiple times with me telling him not to and eventually having to fight him off. That didn’t deter him though, he kept going.”

During the performance, Scarlette the players crowded around her with “a real pack mentality kind of thing”, she told RNZ.

She said they tried to get their penises out, while they were throwing gravel at her during the performance.

“I’d normally stop just from that, but I felt that I couldn’t stop because I’ve been in situations before where I’ve been held in rooms, had knives held to me and I didn’t want this one to go that way, because if you show your vulnerability they do attack it,” she told RNZ.

– Stuff

Harriet Wran set to walk free from Silverwater jail

Harriet Wran after she was sentenced last month Photo: Michelle MossopHarriet Wran, the daughter of late former premier Neville Wran, is set to walk free from Silverwater jail within days after being granted parole.
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The NSW State Parole Authority granted her release at a private hearing at Parramatta on Friday.

“The offender has served more than two years of a maximum four year sentence,” the authority said in a statement on Friday.

As part of her release Wran must abstain from alcohol and must not be found in possession or using illegal drugs.

She must also participate in psychological or psychiatric treatment and must not contact the victim’s family or her co-offenders.

The authority said Wran will be released within the next seven days.

In July this year Wran was sentenced to a minimum of two years jail for her involvement in a robbery and acting as an accessory after the fact to the murder of small-time drug dealer Daniel McNulty.

Mr McNulty was murdered by Wran’s boyfriend of two weeks, Michael Lee, and another man, Lloyd Haines, during a botched ice deal at a public housing unit in Walker Street, Redfern on August 10, 2014.

She has been in jail since her arrest in August 2014.

At the time of her sentencing Justice Ian Harrison found that Wran played no role in the events that unfolded in unit B30 once she had knocked on the door.

“Once entry to the unit had been gained, the robbery escalated well beyond the scope of the offence to which Ms Wran was a party.

“Indeed, it escalated unexpectedly and quickly in a manner that she did not anticipate or foresee,” he said.

He described Wran’s accessory offence as “harbouring Mr Lee for a period of three days and failing to bring him to the attention of police”.

Wran was originally charged with the murder of Mr McNulty but the charges were downgraded by the Crown on July 6.

Wran then pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of accessory after the fact to murder – knowing that Lee had murdered Mr McNulty – and robbery in company.

At her sentencing hearing Wran spoke for three hours explaining to the court how she went from private school girl who abused Ritalin to an ice junkie who ended up in the middle of a bloody murder.

“I’m ashamed to have been involved in anything like that. I can’t believe someone died,” she told the court.

“I regret every step I took that night.”

Lee pleaded guilty to murder on June 16 while Haines pleaded guilty on June 21.

“I never thought in a million years I’d end up in jail, let alone for murder. I’ve never intended for anyone to get hurt in my life,” she said.

“If I hadn’t knocked on the door perhaps it wouldn’t have happened.”

Justice Harrison handed down a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years for robbery in company, and a one-year term for acting as an accessory after the fact.

Racing: Makybe Diva Stakes preview

Big chance: Black Tomahawk, right, at Moonee Valley last month. Photo: Vince CaligiuriRace 1 12.25pm Sofitel Girls’ Day Out Handicap (2500m)
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Black Tomahawk is well overdue for a win with placings at his last four starts and gets his chance coming back to Flemington. The Darren Weir-trained gelding was beaten by a nose two starts back over the same course and distance as this week’s contest and last start was second again over 2500m at Moonee Valley. O’Lonera comes to Flemington looking for four wins on the trot and is stepping up in distance on her last-start win over 2000m at Caulfield. Refectory is looking for a hat-trick after wins at Sandown and Moonee Valley.

Race 2 1pm Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m)

The Robbie Laing-trained Missrock showed her class with an impressive win in the group 3 Percy Sykes Stakes at Randwick during the Sydney autumn carnival. Her fresh record is two from two and she will be hard to beat first up again. My Country was spelled after winning in Listed company at Eagle Farm during the winter carnival and is certain to be competitive again. Ariaz is stepping up to harder company after a second in a midweek Sandown BenchMark 70 and Getemhel is back to Saturday class after winning her maiden at Geelong last start.

Race 3 1.35pm Starlight Express Room Stakes (1400m)

Tessera made up ground from the back when seventh to stablemate Astern in the group 2 Run to the Rose and will be better suited here. Good Standing is also better placed here but is also an acceptor in the group 1 Golden Rose at Rosehill.

Tessera during early morning trackwork at Richmond. Photo: Peter Rae

Seaburge will wear the winkers for the first time after a first-up fourth in the group 3 McNeil Stakes at Caulfield. Promising colt Yu Long Sheng Hui will also wear winkers and Throssell is a winner of two from three starts and will take plenty of benefit from his first third in the Listed McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley. Sydney colt Detective has the job ahead from a wide barrier.

Race 4 2.15pm The Sofitel (1400m)

Tashbeeh is facing a huge class drop after running fourth to Black Heart Bart in the group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield last start and will be hard to beat in the Listed Sofitel. The Mick Price-trained Brook Of Brooklyn is racing consistently with four seconds and a win from his last five starts and heads to Flemington on the back of a second over 1400m at Caulfield. Bon Aurum will take a lot benefit from his first-up third at Caulfield and is a winner over the same course and distance as The Sofitel and Cool Chap will be running on while fresh.

Race 5 2.50pm Danehill Stakes (1200m)

Defcon scored a brilliant first-up win in the group 3 McNeil Stakes at Caulfield and looks the one to beat in the Danehill Stakes. Hardham has the blinkers on after a disappointing last start sixth behind Defcon and the stable is expecting plenty of improvement. Highland Beat also chased home Defcon when runner-up in the McNeil Stakes to record his third second placing in his last three starts and deserves a change of luck. Valliano ran a solid race last start for fourth in the group 3 Vain Stakes and Archives will wear the blinkers when he resumes. The market will be the best guide for Kiwi colt Saracino who is a last-start group 2 winner in New Zealand.

Race 6 3.30pm Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m)

Under The Louvre was strong to the line when second to Redzel in the group 3 Resimax Stakes and the Stradbroke Handicap winner will be amongst the top-end of the prize money again.

Dwayne Dunn rides to victory in the Stradbroke Handicap on Under The Louvre. Photo: Tertius Pickard

Santa Ana Lane was making up plenty of ground when third to Redzel and is certain to be one of the main players as well. Kiwi sprinter Xtravagant has group 1 winning form in New Zealand but did fail at his only run at Flemington when unplaced in the Australian Guineas during the autumn carnival. Kinglike is struggling to regain the early potential he showed as a three-year-old, but has won over this course and distance when he took out group 2 Danehill Stakes 12 months ago.

Race 7 4.10pm Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m)

Black Heart Bart has the form on the board and is the one to beat after an impressive first-up win in the group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield. The Memsie Stakes was his second group 1 victory and a lot would have to go wrong for him not to secure his third group 1 win in the Makybe Diva Stakes. Rising Romance chased home Black Heart Bart in the Memsie Stakes and will be doing her best work again at the end of the 1600m. Palentino is back to the scene of his best win in the group 1 Australian Guineas over the same course and distance as the Makybe Diva Stakes and a finish in the placings is on the cards. A better effort from Tarzino is expected back at the bigger Flemington track after a first-up eighth in the Memsie Stakes.

Race 8 4.50pm Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m)

The Mick Price-trained Badawiya and Tony McEvoy’s Don’t Doubt Mamma look set to fight out the Let’s Elope Stakes on the track and in the betting ring. Both mares are battling for favouritism in wide betting in the capacity field of 16 mares. Badawiya is a winner over this course and distance four starts back and is first-up since running 11th to Precious Gem in the group 1 Sangster Stakes at Morphettville in May. Don’t Doubt Mamma will have benefited from her first-up fifth in the Cockram Stakes at Caulfield. Thames Court and Telopea are also in contention after finishing second and third in the Cockram Stakes.

Race 9 5.25pm Spring Is The Season Handicap (1700m)

Royal Rapture can make it four wins on the trot if he can take out the Spring Is The Season Handicap. The Darren Weir-trained seven-year-old has won twice at Flemington recently, once over the same distance as Saturday’s assignment and heads back to Flemington on the back of a win over 1500m at Moonee Valley three weeks ago. The lightly-weighted Pilote D’Essai is overdue for a win after being runner-up at his last two starts at Flemington and Moonee Valley. Tally will find this a lot easier than his first-up 12th of 12 in the group 1 Memsie Stakes and will expect a better result. It wouldn’t surprise if Big Memory and Howard Be Thy Name put in eye-catching runs at their first outings for the spring.

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Wallabies buck trend by meeting with referee Nigel Owens before Springboks clash

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika caught up with referee Nigel Owens before the Test against South Africa in Brisbane but only did so to ensure an even playing field given it was the visitors who asked for the meeting.
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The meeting was initiated by South Africa and, as per World Rugby regulations, an invitation was extended to the Australians.

Friday’s meeting was only the second time this year Cheika has met with a referee – the other time being when England coach Eddie Jones requested a sit-down ahead of the second Test in Melbourne in June.

Cheika has previously said he does not think a whole lot is gained from the exercise.

The Wallabies, however, were offered to join in on discussions after it emerged the Springboks sought out Owens to chat about a number of issues heading into the Rugby Championship fixture at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday evening.

Cheika was pleased that correct protocol had been followed after dramas were brought up following the second Bledisloe Cup match in Wellington.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had a pre-game meeting with assistant referee Jaco Peyper, and while it was not with head referee Romain Poite, the Wallabies were upset the invitation was not extended to them, even if World Rugby regulations stipulate this only needs to happen if the main man with the whistle is involved.

Cheika’s rival Allister Coetzee and captains Stephen Moore and Adriaan Strauss were in attendance.

“It’s nice to be invited to meet the ref,” Moore told reporters on Friday. “It’s important. It’s been something that’s been spoken about but I think you can look into it a bit too much. We’ll just prepare as best we can for all parts of the game this weekend and the referees will do as good a job as they can.”

One of Cheika’s major gripes following the 29-9 defeat in Wellington was the treatment of Moore by Poite throughout the game.

Footage emerged during the week of Poite telling Moore to go away when the Australian captain was asking when might be an appropriate time to have a chat about some interpretations or rulings in the game.

Former Wallaby Rod Kafer even went as far after the match as saying there was a “bias” against Australia, highlighted by their inability to communicate effectively with the referee.

Moore, however, said he has reviewed his approach towards match officials.

“You certainly look at it every week, no doubt that’s part of reviewing your overall performance is looking at that part of the game as well and it’s no different this time around,” Moore said. “We’ve had Nigel Owens a lot so we know what type of referee he is and how he referees the game and every week you get things you need to work on as a team and individually so we’ve gone and done that.”

Assistant coach Stephen Larkham said a meeting with Owens would help to “create a better relationship there” but backed Cheika up by saying the treatment of Moore in New Zealand was not good enough, describing it as an “anomaly”.

“I don’t think the referees who were involved with that would be happy with the way that they handled that game,” Larkham said. “It wasn’t something that Steve did during the game, it was preconceived before he went in there. It was two minutes into the game and he [Poite] wouldn’t talk to him [Moore] – well, it wasn’t that but it was pretty close to the start of the game. We’re looking at all avenues just to get a better relationship there. It’s not about trying to trick the referee or anything like that, it’s just about being able to communicate with the referee.”

Racing preview: Golden Rose at Rosehill

Chance to bounce back: Dubaiinstyle. Photo: bradleyphotos上海m.auRace 1 12.10pm Pockit Block-It Handicap (1500m)
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The Hawkes racing team have brought Longkissgoodnight up from Melbourne searching for a second win after only visiting the winner’s stall on one occasion from eight starts. The O’Reilly five-year-old has been placed at her last two starts at the midweeks at Ladbrokes Park at Sandown and gets her chance to break through in Saturday class. The Gerald Ryan-trained Stilettoed Vixen is also stepping up to Saturday class after a Warwick Farm win and stablemate Love’s A Fantasy finds her way to Rosehill after finishing second to Trinity River at Wyong. Trinity River has been in great form at the provincials with a win at Wyong at her previous start.

Race 2 12.45pm Schweppes Handicap (1800m)

Dubaiinstyle failed to collect a hat-trick of wins when he went under as favourite in a 2000m BenchMark 78 Handicap at Randwick last Saturday after winning his two previous starts at Randwick and Rosehill. The Chris Waller-trained four-year-old gets his chance to bounce back into the winner’s stall with Joao Moreira in the saddle. Waller has a great chance to train the quinella with Antonio Giuseppe trying to make it three wins on the trot after wins in a midweek Canterbury BenchMark 67 over 1550m and a Saturday BenchMark 82 Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill.

Race 3 1.20pm #Theraces Handicap (1200m)

Sir Bacchus resumed from a spell with a solid first-up win at Rosehill in similar class as he is facing on Saturday and will be hard to beat again. His win as favourite last start will see him start as the top pick again even though he goes up 2kg. The Chris Waller-trained Sir Bacchus is unbeaten from three starts over the Rosehill 1200m course and Hugh Bowman will give the four-year-old every chance. Bullish from the Team Hawkes stable is undefeated from five race starts and is having his first run back since scoring over 1400m at Randwick in late May.

Race 4 1.55pm TAB Highway Handicap (1200m)

Moss My Name comes back to Rosehill after winning in similar class a fortnight ago and will be one of the main chances again. Moss My Name had the advantage of Deanne Panya’s 3kg claim last start but goes up 4.5kg this week with senior rider Jay Ford in the saddle. Fifteen Sunflowers, Charge Of Light and Farah finished second, third and fourth to Moss My Name and all three country-trained gallopers will meet her a lot better at the weights. Quatronic resumed from a break for a midweek win at Doomben and Diversifier is a last start Murwillumbah winner.

Race 5 2.35pm Kingston Town Stakes (2000m)

The John O’Shea-trained Allergic gets his chance to make amends for his defeat as favourite when fifth in the Premier’s Cup over 1900m at Rosehill two weeks ago. Allergic was a winner two starts back over 1800m and is a winner over the same course and distance as Saturday’s race. McCreery comes back to town after winning the Rowley Mile (1600m) at Hawkesbury and has Joao Moreira to ride. The Chris Waller-trained stablemate Junoob didn’t show his age when a solid third behind McCreery and the nine-year-old will be better suited over the 2000m of the Kingston Town Stakes.

Race 6 3.10pm De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m)

A high-class field of three-year-olds to contest the group 1 Golden Rose with several runners with top chances. Astern goes into the race on the back of a win in the group 2 Run To The Rose but has to contend with a wide barrier. Omei Sword from the powerful Chris Waller stable was elevated to favouritism after drawing barrier three in the 14-horse field and has the magic hands of Joao Moreira to help her. Divine Prophet put himself into contention with a win in the group 3 Up and Coming Stakes when he beat Derryn and Thronum and El Divino will take a lot of benefit from his first-up fourth in the Run To The Rose.

Race 7 3.50pm Task Retail Theo Marks Stakes (1300m)

Rebel Dane chased home Winx and Hartnell in the group 2 Warwick Stakes at Randwick when he was last at the races and won’t be facing that calibre of opposition in the Theo Marks Stakes this week. Tommy Berry rides Rebel Dane and the seven-year-old gets the chance to win his first race in almost a year. Tycoon Tara is racing in outstanding form with wins at her last two starts in the group 2 Missile Stakes and in the group 3 Show County Quality. Southern Legend is in fine form stringing together four wins on the trot but steps up sharply in class.

Race 8 4.30pm Irresistible Pools Sheraco Stakes (1200m)

Pearls resumed from a break with a gutsy win in the group 3 Toy Show Quality three weeks ago but has a few things against her this week. Pearls has drawn barrier 12 in the 15-horse field and goes up 3kg for the win. Toy Show Quality runner-up Dixie Blossoms meets Pearls 3kg better at the weights but she also has to overcome a wide barrier. Ravi, from the Peter and Paul Snowden stable, is resuming but had terrific form before a break with three wins on the trot with big weights but is facing a steep rise in class. Heavens Above was group 1-placed in the autumn and will get a nice run from barrier three.

Race 9 5.10pm Rosehill Bowling Club Handicap (1400m)

Conarchie has been racing consistently with a win and two placings from his last three starts. He has finished third and second in similar Saturday class at his last two outings and Kerrin McEvoy will give him every chance from barrier two. The Chris Waller-trained Dinghu Mountain is stepping back up to Saturday class after resuming from a short break with a midweek win at Warwick Farm and has Hugh Bowman in the saddle. Stablemate Invinzabeel has the blinkers on for the first time and James McDonald will have him in the firing line from the inside gate.

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What are the dangers of lithium ion batteries on a plane?

Rechargeable lithium ion batteries are an indispensable part of modern life.
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They’re powerful, compact in terms of their energy output,  low maintenance, they can be recharged hundreds of times and they’re relatively environmentally friendly. Without them our laptops, phones, tablets, cameras and hundreds of other devices would grind to a halt.

However they’re also a potential fire hazard. A short circuit can result in high temperatures and combustion, as underlined by the recent problems experienced by Samsung Galaxy’s G7 phone.

Concern around this issue has led the International Air Transport Association to impose restrictions on the power rating, number and type of lithium ion batteries that can be carried on aircraft.

The group most likely to be affected by this restriction is photographers and cinematographers, who might carry several backup lithium ion batteries.

Most airlines will permit lithium ion batteries up to 160 watt hours to be carried as checked luggage provided they are installed correctly in the equipment they’re intended for with the on/off switch protected to prevent accidental activation.

Generally, spare batteries not installed in equipment or devices can only be taken on board as carry-ons, either in the original packaging or each battery placed inside its own plastic bag.

Cathay Pacific allows up to 20 spare batteries under 100 watt-hours in carry-ons, and only two spare batteries in the range 100-160 watt-hours.

Other airlines may differ in the number of lithium ion batteries that a passenger can carry. If you’re flying with spare lithium-ion batteries, check under “baggage information” on your airline’s website.