What will happen to Treasurer Joe Hockey if Tony Abbott is deposed?

Child cheer: Joe Hockey at a Childcare centre in Padstow. Photo: Nick MoirHe was once tagged as a future Prime Minister, but what will happen to Treasurer Joe Hockey if Tony Abbott loses the leadership next week?
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Chances are he will lose his portfolio. The Prime Ministership is out of the question.

In modern Australia, great Treasurers and Prime Ministers are tied together, like a songwriting team.

Voters remember the classic pairs. Hawke and Keating. Howard and Costello.

But Hockey’s record as Treasurer has not been good – as budget salesman, economic visionary, or policy wonk – and he has not been helped by his Prime Minister’s political missteps and lack of economic nous.

They have both struggled from the moment they delivered their first budget, and their colleagues have had to spend a lot of time fending off accusations that the government’s budget is unfair.

One of Hockey’s biggest problems has been bad luck.

He has faced some of the most difficult economic circumstances in decades – just like his predecessor Wayne Swan – so he has had to spend his energy convincing Australians that life is about to get a lot tougher.

But he has not helped himself. There is more than one way to construct a budget. Yes he has had to cut down on spending, but his decision to go after the poor and less well-off in the way that he did has had political ramifications well beyond federal politics.

If someone replaces Abbott as leader on Tuesday and appoints a new Treasurer, that Treasurer will have to deal with the negative legacy of Hockey’s budget.

But who could replace him?

Assuming Turnbull becomes Prime Minister, it’s hard to imagine it being Julie Bishop, given how badly she did as Shadow Treasurer.

Some have been endorsing Andrew Robb as Treasurer. He has an economics degree and could probably do the job but he’s hardly a compelling communicator.

He’s unlikely to inspire the troops, let alone the punters.

And Turnbull does not like him much, given the role he played in precipitating the spill against Turnbull.

It’s hard to imagine them having the sort of working relationship you would need between a Prime Minister and a Treasurer for that to be successful.

There are some on the right of the Coalition who would like Scott Morrison to be Treasurer because he’s their darling after Abbott.

But whether Morrison can count beyond the number of boats remains to be seen.

The other name that some people mention is the younger Christian Porter, the former Treasurer of Western Australia.

Like a WA version of Peter Costello, he jumped shipped to federal politics because he came to the view that WA Premier Colin Barnett would never step aside for him so his best chance of advancing his political career was to go federal.

He’s regarded as having the capacity to do the job, but it would say something about the depth of talent within the Parliamentary Liberal Party if they had to reach down that far to find the right person for the second-most important job in the government.

These are the types of conversations that are going on in Canberra.

However, the problem for any prospective alternative Treasurer is that the effectiveness of good Treasurers has always been enhanced by the ability of their respective prime ministers to communicate economic messages.

Does Turnbull fit that bill? Does Julie Bishop?

These are interesting times. Meanwhile, the next budget is due in three months.

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Royal commission: Rabbi let man flee because he ‘did not know’ about sex abuse allegations

The head of a Sydney rabbinical college says he was not aware that inappropriately touching a child could be criminal when one of his students left Australia amid accusations of child sexual abuse.
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Rabbi Yosef Feldman, whose father, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, is the head of Sydney’s orthodox Chabad community, also told the royal commission into child sexual abuse on Friday that he believed: Child sexual abuse was “not common” and did not affect more than 30 per cent of societyUnderstanding the nature of abuse and responding to abuse allegations were largely a matter of “common sense”.Since he and his father failed to prevent his student, known as AVL, from leaving Australia, he said he had not undertaken formal training in child sexual abuseRabbis, he said, should be trained in how to deal with child sexual abuse. But the rabbinical curriculum now only mentions abuse as it relates to Jewish law

Rabbi Feldman was the administrative director of the rabbinical college at orthodox Jewish institution Yeshiva in Sydney in 2002, when a parent complained that a man – known as AVL – had massaged their child while lying beside them.

Within two days of the complaint, AVL had left the country. Before leaving, AVL told Rabbi Feldman and his father he intended to return to America. They did not prevent him from doing so, and did not inform police when he left.

Rabbi Feldman told the commission that he had told AVL he believed his conduct was “highly inappropriate” under Jewish law. But he did not know the conduct was sexual or that AVL could be charged with a crime under Australian law.

“I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t think much about it from the legal perspective. As I said that wasn’t my involvement … and I don’t deal with that sort of thing,” he said.

Had Rabbi Feldman known then that AVL had also been accused of touching the child’s genitals, he would have thought the conduct was criminal, he said.

The rabbi told the commission that while he had at that time been the administrative director of the college for about a decade, he was not aware of laws requiring mandatory reporting of child abuse.

As a “young man” of 33 at the time, he had relied on his father to tell him of such obligations: “I assumed he would tell me what’s necessary.”

He conceded that he was unfit to hold the position of director at the time given his lack of knowledge: “If that’s the case that’s the case. If you are telling me that’s the case then I accept it.”

Since then, the rabbi said he had read more about child sexual abuse, but had not undertaken any formal training. Detection of child abuse was, he said, largely a matter of “common sense”: “I’m an extremely busy person so yes, I haven’t had that feeling that I need to make it the highest or very high priority.”

He now believed that under Jewish law “all child sex abuse allegations should be dealt with by the authorities, no matter what sort of outcome that would bring”.

But Rabbi Feldman maintained that if a person other than the child’s parent had heard a child may have been abused, without “reasonable grounds”: “I feel that the first and main person should be a rabbi.”

The hearing continues.

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Canberra man Liam Rudd recovering from serious motorcycle crash in Bali

Liam Rudd was left with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain after a motorcycle crash in Bali last Sunday. Photo: act\clare杭州龙凤419lleyJust one week after Canberra man Liam Rudd arrived in Bali for holidays, a motorcycle crash left him lying in a hospital bed with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.
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The 24-year-old’s shocked family and friends are rallying to raise money to help pay mounting hospital bills of at least $20,000 after the crash last Sunday, with fears he will be stuck in Bali until the medical expenses are paid.

Initially the hospital demanded $7000 upfront for Mr Rudd’s surgery from his twin sister Tanika Rudd, but due to the seriousness of his injuries they went ahead with the operation to insert a plate in his skull and stop internal bleeding after he crashed his bike into a tree.

Mr Rudd’s friend and Common Grounds Gowrie cafe workmate Corey Garcia is helping to raise funds to cover the medical costs through an online page set up with help from workmate Nathan Reynolds.

“We’ve tried everything we can do, we don’t know what else to do,” Mr Garcia said.

“At first it felt a bit distant, but once I saw photos and spoke to him over the phone it was pretty upsetting.

“He doesn’t sound like himself at all, he repeated himself a few times and he couldn’t build conversation.”

Mr Rudd started working as a cook at the cafe after moving to Canberra last August.

He recently left his job to go travelling, but Mr Garcia said the cafe staff had been looking forward to his return.

Mr Rudd’s aunt, Virginia Wood, from Kambah, said it took a while for the reality of Mr Rudd’s “horrific” accident to sink in when she was contacted by his Sydney-based twin.

“It sort of spun me because they wanted $3500 before they operated and then [another] $3500 before they let him out of hospital and that’s got to be paid,” Ms Wood said.

“Because his injuries were so bad they had to operate or otherwise he would have died.”

Ms Wood said she couldn’t bear to look at the graphic photos of her nephew lying in a hospital bed.

“As soon as I saw it I cried, I can’t look at those photos,” she said.

“They [the twins] lost their mum 12 years ago and she [Miss Rudd] just can’t lose Liam.”

Until she arrives in Bali, Miss Rudd won’t know the full extent of her brother’s injuries or if he has insurance to offset his medical bills, which currently sit at about $20,000, including a $7000 surgery bill and $1000 for each day of his stay in intensive care.

She has learned his teeth and eyes were unharmed in the crash, but he still has swelling on the brain and short-term memory loss.

Ms Wood covered the cost of a fast-tracked passport for Miss Rudd to fly to Bali on Saturday to be by her brother’s side.

“He just kept on asking for her and wondering why she wasn’t there,” Ms Wood said.

“He had a bit of short-term memory loss so he was getting really agitated.

“As soon as she’s over there he will calm down instantly – as soon as he sees her.”

Mr Rudd lived with Ms Wood and her family in Kambah when he first moved to Canberra, before he found a share house at Richardson.

The family are relieved Mr Rudd’s memory appears to be improving and Ms Wood said he had even began asking after his beloved cat Gizmo, who was being taken care of by his housemates at Richardson.

Donations towards Liam Rudd’s treatment can be made online: www.giveforward杭州龙凤419m/fundraiser/qck7/liam-rudd-s-motorcycle-accident-treatment-fund.

– With Tracey Prisk

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ARB chief Peter McGauran reviews steroid rule after backflip

“Why a substance was found to be an anabolic steroid when it was later ruled not to be one is of concern and we are already reviewing that.”: ARB chief executive Peter McGauran. Photo: Paul Rovere
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“Why a substance was found to be an anabolic steroid when it was later ruled not to be one is of concern and we are already reviewing that.”: ARB chief executive Peter McGauran. Photo: Paul Rovere

“Why a substance was found to be an anabolic steroid when it was later ruled not to be one is of concern and we are already reviewing that.”: ARB chief executive Peter McGauran. Photo: Paul Rovere

Australian Racing Board chief executive Peter McGauran has launched a review into how a synthetic hormone was deemed an anabolic steroid after the first set of random testing of yearlings last month.

A yearling colt sold at Magic Millions faced a 12-month ban after a test showed signs of altrenogest, a synthetic hormone, but it was reported by analysts to be an anabolic androgenic steroid because of its similar structure.

The ARB banned the use of anabolic steroids from birth to retirement in racehorses in May and ruled a mandatory one-year ban for any horse breaching the rule. At the time it was proclaimed a world-first rule.

But the first suspected positive test, which become public on Monday, has led to an embarrassing backflip.

“It has been challenged by breeders and it has been scientifically assessed and the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion is that it is not an anabolic steroid,” McGauran said.

“Why a substance was found to be an anabolic steroid when it was later ruled not to be one is of concern and we are already reviewing that.”

Fairfax Media has learned there is no list of substances that fall under the steroid rule and McGauran doesn’t see a need for one.

“I think there has been an air of panic on this issue,” McGauran said.

“We don’t need to change a rule. We don’t list what anabolic steroids are, that is up to the laboratories to tell us. The laboratories have to be more assured of their findings.”

Racing Queensland’s integrity department turned to the ARB more than a fortnight ago when the finding of an irregularity to altrenogest, which is in a commonly used product called Regumate that regulates reproductive cycles in fillies and mares, was discovered. However, it took Racing Queensland to clear the yearling colt, and therefore not ban it, rather than ARB on Thursday.

“Upon considering veterinary advice and the Australian Racing Board notice, stewards determined that altrenogest is not an anabolic androgenic steroid, and is therefore not prohibited in male horses if present in a sample taken out of competition,” Racing Queensland general manager of stewards and integrity operations Wade Birch said.

“Despite having a similar chemical structure to an anabolic androgenic steroid, the advice we received satisfies us that altrenogest does not have a similar biological effect.”

Birch will prepare a report into the saga and has indicated a list of prohibited substances will be useful in this case.

The World Anti-Doping Authority provides a list of banned substances in its code and it was included in an explanatory note in the ARB media release in May. It did mention altrenogest by name, offering it was still permitted in fillies and mares.

The WADA list finishes with “other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s)” to allow inclusions of other substances.

The racing rule almost certainly needs classification to prevent another incident such as the colt from Magic Millions. Leading members of the breeding and bloodstock industry have labelled the incident a farce that was waiting to happen.   

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Malcolm Turnbull’s date with destiny

Will the Liberal Party turn to Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday? Photo: Rob Homer Will the Liberal Party turn to Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday? Photo: Rob Homer
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Will the Liberal Party turn to Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday? Photo: Rob Homer

Will the Liberal Party turn to Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday? Photo: Rob Homer

The Pulse Live: Tony Abbott faces a leadership challengeAnalysis: When it finally came, its direction was tellingHow will the spill motion work?

“The chances of me being leader again are negligible.”

So said Malcolm Turnbull in 2012. Labor was again tearing itself apart over leadership and Tony Abbott was ascendant as opposition leader.

Yet, even then, he held out hope of again leading the party that rejected him in 2009. Turnbull’s self-belief is a flame that cannot be snuffed out.

“I can’t say there is no chance … but if I leave this place not having been leader again, I would not regard myself as having failed.”

A mere three years later, the role that has seemed his destiny since he entered politics a decade ago – the prime ministership – is finally within reach. The Prince of Point Piper has never been so close.

Staggeringly intelligent, urbane, short-tempered and convinced of his own brilliance, no other politician can match Turnbull’s breadth of achievement in the “real world”. He’s been a journalist with The Bulletin, Kerry Packer’s adviser, the swashbuckling lawyer defending free speech in the Spycatcher case, a Goldman Sachs investment banker and a venture capitalist.

Which other politicians could wear a leather jacket on to Q&A and get away with it?

It captures something of the glamour that surrounds Turnbull that Abbott once claimed he “virtually invented the internet in this country”. (Turnbull was an early investor and chair of internet service provider OzeMail.)

Although Paul Keating had hoped to lure him to the Labor Party, Turnbull has been interested in being a Liberal MP since 1981 when he unsuccessfully ran for the seat of Wentworth (an affluent electorate in Sydney’s eastern suburbs).

In 2004, he finally righted that wrong – but only after booting out the sitting member, Peter King, in a bitter preselection battle.

After being elevated to cabinet in his first term in Parliament, Turnbull ran to succeed John Howard as Liberal leader after the 2007 election. Brendan Nelson defeated him by three votes.

Less than a year later, with Nelson struggling to dent Kevin Rudd’s popularity, Turnbull unseated him by four votes.

As opposition leader, Turnbull oversaw one of the most tumultuous periods in Liberal Party history.

In the “Utegate” affair, he famously called on Rudd to resign on the basis of fraudulent evidence concocted by Treasury mole Godwin Grech.

His commitment to an emissions trading scheme infuriated his more conservative colleagues and eventually led to the party terminating his leadership.

Turnbull announced that he would retire from politics but reversed his position after two months following pleas from Liberals including Howard.

He eventually returned to the frontbench as communications spokesman, then minister. He worked hard, eschewed bitterness, and won praise internally for neutralising Labor’s advantage on broadband policy.

Now the Liberal Party is pondering another dalliance with Turnbull as leader. Not because he’s beloved – for many conservatives his support for gay marriage and a price on carbon makes him simply too progressive to bear. But the polls show he is easily the most popular senior Liberal with the public.

Turnbull has not been counting numbers or undermining Abbott. But he has carefully kept his options open. If next week’s spill motion succeeds, few have any doubt. Turnbull will run if he believes he has the numbers to win. This is not a man who dodges a date with destiny.

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