Tech-savvy career banker was part of Narev’s inner circle

Since he was in his mid twenties, new Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn has worked on an almost uninterrupted basis for the country’s largest bank.
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The appointment of a career banker – in contrast to his predecessor Ian Narev, a former management consultant – is being viewed as a sign CBA is keen to make sure it does not disrupt its position as a profit-making powerhouse, which may have been a risk with an external CEO.

Mr Comyn, 42, comes to the job after running the bank’s vast and highly-profitable retail banking division for the last five and a half years, a job where he reported to Mr Narev.

In this role, Mr Comyn has been responsible for a business that accounts for more than half of CBA’s near $10 billion in annual profit, and he is well regarded among bank-watchers in the financial markets.

Mr Comyn, who is married, has three children and lives in Sydney, is one of a group of several young tech-savvy senior executives appointed by Mr Narev to his inner circle.

Given the size of retail banking and its importance to CBA, Mr Comyn has long been seen as a potential contender to replace Mr Narev, but his chances appeared to have been dealt a setback by the money laundering compliance scandal that has engulfed CBA since last August.

The general view among bank-watchers was that internal candidates including Mr Comyn had been tainted by the Austrac scandal, which involved alleged money laundering via ATMs, which partly fall under the retail banking division.

Yet CBA chair Catherine Livingstone on Tuesday signalled the board had opted for stability, saying Mr Comyn had the best mix of skills needed to restore its reputation and deal with longer-term challenges created by technological change.

One banking investor said the appointment of Mr Comyn suggested the board did not see a need for drastic changes at CBA, aside from the need to improve its reputation.

“If Narev had left in normal circumstances then he would have got the job anyway,” the investor said.

Technology is viewed as one of Mr Comyn’s strong-suits. It is generally accepted that CBA’s digital banking systems are ahead of those of rivals’ systems, and on Monday Mr Comyn said he wanted to maintain this leadership. Before running retail banking Mr Comyn was head of its online stockbroking unit, CommSec.

CLSA analyst Brian Johnson said it was a “significant” point that in Mr Comyn, the CBA board had opted for a banker with deep banking experience, as opposed to a management consultant. An internal candidate and long-time banker such as Mr Comyn woud be less disruptive than an external appointment, Mr Johnson said.

“He’s got retail banking skills. The value is in CBA as it is,” Mr Johnson said. “They’ve got the most profitable bank in . The issue of disruption and slowing down momentum is a real issue.”

After joining CBA in 1999, Mr Comyn oversaw a period of market share growth at CommSec between 2006 and 2010, before leaving to briefly run Morgan Stanley’s wealth business in . He returned to CBA after about six months, running the bank’s small business lending.

Mr Comyn has a Bachelor of Aviation and Masters of Commerce from the University of New South Wales, and has also completed MBA, and studied in the United States.

After university, Mr Comyn worked for an aviation business, before joining CBA in 1999. He initially worked at CommSec, working his way up to become managing director of the stockbroking business in 2006.

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Auction action resumes around the region

LOADED WITH POTENTIAL: This home in original condition in Warners Bay’s popular James Street will go under the hammer today.Auction action resumes around town this weekend and good results are expected in various locations.
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Global Property’s Anthony Birt is marketing 19 James Street in Warners Bay, which will go to auction at 11am.

The three-bedroom residence on around 540 square metres is located one block back from Lake Macquarie and has only ever had one owner.

A price guide is yet to be set but Mr Birt said land value in the area was around $600,000 but newly developed properties were selling for over $1.2 million.

“It’s a really up and coming street. It’s one street back from the water and a lot of original homes are being bought along there and redeveloped into luxury residences,” he said.

“It’s only had one owner and is in very, very original condition. It’s a blank canvas for someone to come in and build their dream home.”

Steady interest has been seen for a modest weatherboard home on over 1300 square metres inEdgeworth.

Paul Jones, of Dowling Wallsend, is marketing 26 Neilson Street, which is set for auction at midday today.

He said it provided an opportunity for investors or developers.

Dowling Wallsend will also take two villas to auction in Longworth Avenue,Wallsendat 9am.

Related: Auctioneer’s tips to make sure you’re ready for auction day

First National Newcastle City will auction 266 Beaumont Street, Hamilton South with a price guide of $840,000 to $900,000 at 11.15am.

RENOVATED: This three-bedroom home in Hamilton South’s Beaumont Street has a price range of $840,000 to $900,000.

PRDnationwide Newcastle Lake Macquarie will an auction night on February 7 at The Arc in Watt Street Commercial Centre.

Hamilton South’s 33 Silsoe Street, a four-bedroom home built circa 1928 on 1084 square metres, has a price guide of $1.75 million.

A five-bedroom home with a pool at 73 Curry Street, Merewether has a guide of $2.2 million to $2.4 million.

BEACHSIDE LIVING: This Merewether residence with five bedrooms and a pool has an auction guide of $2.2 million to $2.4 million.

A circa 1880s terrace in Laman Street, Cooks Hill and a unit in Church Street, The Hill are also set for auction.

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David Lowe: The Lowedown

SHOVE OFF: Melbourne City’s Daniel Arzani and Newcastle’s Nikolai Topor-Stanley race to win the ball on Thursday night. Picture: AAP
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And the winner was Sid-er-nee, if I can paraphrase honest Juan Antonio, in the mini top-four contest, held in Melbourne on Thursday and Friday nightlast week.

Round 18 in the A-league marked exactly the two-thirdsof season completed, with each team to play every other side in the competition once in the last nine rounds.

That hasn’t always been the case, due to the vagaries of the draw, shared stadiums and the like, and I have to say I am a fan of the concept.

It reduces the impact or influence that two games against out-of-contention sides, in a matter of weeks, or two games against those noticeably strengthened in the January transfer window, can have.

It potentially also removes advantages or disadvantages gained by playing twice against teams with Asian Champions Leaguecommitments, so kudos to the FFA for making the final third of the season as equitable as possible.

With that in mind, the Jets v Melbourne City clash, and the Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory contests on consecutive evenings at AAMI Park, assumed a deal of importance.

No matter how you dress it up, defending champions Sydney FC emerged from the top four-festshining the brightest, but the Jets certainly would have been much happier than either of the Melbourne sideswith their result.

The racefor the Premiers Plate is all but over.

Ernie Merrick has conceded it, you know it, I know it, so the real race is all about second place and the advantages that provides in the quest for grand final participation.

And though the Jets will feel a tinge of disappointment about twice leading at Melbourne City and drawing, they will know on the balance of play, they did a good job to garner a valuable point.

That they denied City a chance to eat into the four-point gap between the sides is doubly important, when you consider the Jets will have Dimi Petratos back this week, may well be comfortable selecting Roy O’Donovan as well, and Ronny Vargas is nearing a return.

In contrast City are potentially losing their leading scorer Ross McCormack, unless a loan deal can be arranged with his club Aston Villa, and then that deal can be squeezed under the salary cap.

Of course Bruno Fornaroli, an absolute gun in this competition, could compensate for the departure of his injury replacement McCormack.

But even if he is fully recovered, it’s a lot to ask a player to perform at his peak after five months without football, straight away.

Particularly if timing and touch are key to his contribution.

The Jets can do themselves a huge favour by grabbing three points against Melbourne Victory on Saturday afternoon/evening, and all but eliminate the southern powerhouse from contention for a top-two finish.

That scenario would leave Kevin Muscat’s side 11 points in arrears with eight games to play, and even though seven of those eight are in Melbourne, surely that’s a bridge too far?

I know we pundits place a lot of emphasis on the top two, and I also know that City and Victory are capable of coming to Newcastle and winning a sudden-death match in late April.

But I’d certainly fancy Newcastle’schances much more at home, rather than down in Mexico.

Oh, and the fact that in 12 seasons, only two teams outside of the top two finishers have made it to the big dance, and neither has saluted, carries considerable historical weight.

There will be key battles in a number of areas of the pitch.Victory paid close attention to Petratos when the teams last met, and how Newcastle combat Leroy George and Kosta Barbarouses in wide areas is vital in an individual sense, and also in halting the supply to Besart Berisha.

I sense this contest will be more about mentalitythan science.

Victory led early before puncturing in a 4-1 defeat at McDonald Jones Stadium earlier in the season, and both sides were happy to run and gun in the post-Christmas clash at AAMI Park, which Melbourne won 2-1.

Both sides are more than capable of playing on the counter, but both will want to be on the front foot in general play. The midfield battle will decide who is, as usual.

In a season where every week seems to throw up a vital clash for the Jets, this one looms as absolutely key for both squads.

On the subject of importantgamesand season-defining results, a heartycongratulations to coach Craig Deans and the womenin the Jets’ W-League squad.

They qualified emphatically for the finals series with a game to spare, by thrashing Canberra 5-1 in the nation’s capital.

The first appearance for the W-League team in the finals since the inaugural seasonis just reward for a team that has worked hard, recruited well, and scored plenty of goals.

The other big news, of course, was the appointment of Bert van Marwijk as the Socceroos coach for the upcoming World Cup finals.

It’s a choice that makes a lot of practical sense.

Vastly experienced, decent knowledge of the n team through his work in opposition with Saudi Arabia in the Asian qualifying group, and a big enough name to command instant respect.

Where Ange Postecoglou had to somewhat prove himself at the last World Cup, whileencouraging his team to believe they could express themselves at this level, all while planning for a home Asian Cup (which we won), I’m sure van Marwijk will be 100 per centfocused on results in this campaign, rather than style or aesthetics.

You sense there will be a different level of pragmatism this time around.

Being bold and brave, but conceding three goals in each of the group games won’t be permissible in the Dutchman’s planning.

We certainly won’t suffer through a lack of planning or tactical nous, with a coach who went within a goalkeeper’s outstretched leg of winning the World Cup with Holland in 2010.

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William Tyrrell’s biological mum spat at cop in ‘panic attack’

Three years after losing her son in one of ‘s most high profile missing child cases, a tearful Karlie Tyrrell has blamed her panic attacks for spitting at a police officer.
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The troubled biological mother of toddler William Tyrrell had pleaded guilty to assaulting an officer and using offensive language in public during an incident at a suburban Sydney shopping centre last month.

William Tyyrell’s biological mother, Karlie, has blamed her panic attacks for spitting at a police officer.

The emotional 29-year-old, who has a long criminal history, faced Burwood Local Court on Monday but won’t learn her fate until March 19 when sentencing proceedings continue.

Her three-year-old child, widely pictured wearing his iconic Spiderman costume, disappeared while playing in his foster grandmother’s yard south of Port Macquarie in September 2014.

The boy was removed from the care of his birth mother as a seven-month-old following domestic violence and drug use concerns.

Police arrested Tyrrell at the Top Ryde mall around 9pm on December 22 after security guards reported her acting aggressively towards customers and repeatedly swearing in front of children.

Police facts say the accused became very angry when an officer asked one child in her company about marks on his legs, saying “none of your f***ing business”.

She then spat on a second female officer’s right eyebrow and cheek after shouting “Ryde coppers lost my son you c****”.

Tyrrell wiped tears from her eyes in court earlier on Monday before a pre-sentencing report was ordered.

Court documents reveal an extensive rap sheet of previous crimes including assaulting officers and civilians, resisting arrest, damaging property, shoplifting, breaching bail and using offensive language.

In a handwritten note from Tyrrell also tendered on Monday, she said her mental health problems were behind the assault.

“I recently found out I suffer from panic attacks which played a major part into my behaviour but I’m not making any excuses,” she wrote.

Police spent days scouring bushland and neighbouring houses in Kendall after William vanished to no avail and an unprecedented $1 million reward for information leading to his return remains on offer.

William would now be six, and his carers remain hopeful of finding him alive.

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‘Transformed’: Hundreds of Ultimo students to start school at new ‘pop-up’ campus

What has been hailed by the NSW government as a “clever solution for Ultimo Public School” will be opened on Tuesday for the students, families and staff on their first day back at school.
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They will be returning to a “pop-up” school located and built temporarily at Wentworth Park on Wattle Street, opposite the original site of the school on Quarry Street.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes unveiled the temporary “pop-up” solution on Monday, as the former site of the public school is redeveloped to accommodate an extra 500 students. About 800 students are expected to walk through the gates of the new school this year, a rapid increase from its original 360 students.

The grounds of a temporary school in Ultimo. Photo: Brook Mitchell

Ms Berejiklian said the new temporary school had been “cleverly designed” to fit into one of the city’s most densely populated suburbs.

“Ultimo has been transformed over the last decade into a cosmopolitan urban community, which is reflected in the design of this brand new school,” said Ms Berejiklian.

The redeveloped school will be a single storey on the side facing Jones Street and reach three storeys at the side facing Wattle Street.

The new school will feature 30 new classrooms, a library and a hall. It will also contain after school facilities and indoor and outdoor spaces for sport and recreational purposes.

“This is to make sure that we have all of our children have the best education possible, even with having their new school built across the road,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Mr Stokes said the new school should be seen as a demonstration of their commitment to build “bigger and better” schools for the future as more “pop-up” schools are being planned for the city .

“There will be more than 120 major projects either in planning, in design or in delivery right now so we are going to see more of these sorts of innovative approaches,” said Mr Stokes.

Ultimo principal Nic Accaria said the temporary school had been met with great support by the families and staff.

“With my staff and a lot of our colleagues and with our families that I’ve spoken to over the holidays, we’ve really taken note of the fact that this is such an inviting environment,” said Mr Accaria.

The students are expected to be in the “pop-up” school until the end of the 2019 school year.

High-rise schools, “modular classroom blocks” and facilities being shared by students and the community are all part of the department’s $5 billion plan to meet an expected enrolment spike of 21 per cent, or 164,000 students, in NSW schools by 2031.

The Sydney local government area has one of the highest projected enrolment increases of 66.9 per cent, with an extra 9600 students expected by 2031.

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‘A very successful man’: Hunter motorcycling community in mourning after death of Newcastle businessman Jeff McLeary

‘He taught me everything I know’: Motocross champion Brock McLeary said his dad was his best friend.THE Hunter’s motorcycling community has been left devastated after the death of successful businessman Jeff McLeary, who was killed on Day in a car crash near his Buchanan property in what senior police have described as a “terrible waste of life”.
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The father-of-two ran the booming KTM motorcycles dealership at Lambton and previously owned leading air-conditioning company M&H Air.

Mr McLeary, 52, died in the Werekata National Park after the Ford Falcon “bush-basher” he was travelling in struck a tree shortly before 8.30pm.

He was a passenger.

The driver, a 20-year-old man, suffered seriousinjuries and remains in John Hunter Hospital.

Mr McLeary’s devastated son, former junior supercross champion Brock McLeary, described his father as his “best friend”.

“He taught me everything I know,” he said.

“There is not a bad word you can say about Dad.

“He was a great man.”

Brock, who worked alongside Mr McLeary at KTM, said his father worked tirelessly to ensure the business succeeded.

Shane Place, right, described his business partner Jeff McLeary, left, as a man ‘who strove for perfection’.

“Every day he would be up at 5.30, he’d get himself a coffee and he’d go and work on the property,” he said. “Then he’d be in at work a few hours later. Every single day he knew what had to be done and he did it.”

Mr McLeary’s business partner, Shane Place, said the tragedy had left a “massive hole” in Newcastle’s motorcycling community. He paid tribute to Mr McLeary as a “very driven” and “highly intelligent” businessman.

“He was a very successful man but he never showed it,” Mr Place said. “He probably didn’t need to work anymore … he did this because he wanted to have fun, enjoy it and be part of the team. He had direction and strove for perfection –that’s what he was well-known for.

“Jeff was the anchor.”

Brock McLeary said his friend, who was driving the car at the time, was expected to make a full recovery from head and abdominal injuries.

Crash investigators launched an investigation and seized the Ford Falcon as part of their inquiries into how the car lost control.

Two other 18-year-old men were in the car at the timebut only suffered minor injuries.

Rescue efforts were hampered by the remoteness of the crash scene, with emergency services gaining access through Mr McLeary’s adjoining property.

The Westpac rescue helicopter was dispatched to the scene and flew the driver to hospital in a serious condition.

One senior police officer described the tragedy as a “terrible waste of life”.

In a promotional video for KTM, Mr McLeary described how he welcomed his staff to the purpose-built dirt bike track at his Buchanan property.

“I have the utmost faith in every time they come they are going to do the right thing by me at home or in the shop,” he said. “That’s what I call family.”

He also described how building KTM Newcastle took “a lot of blood, sweat and tears” after initially believing the business would be easygoing.

The business had won awards, he said, but recognition“doesn’t paythe bills”.

“The perception that’s out there is not the reality,” he said.

“It takes a hell of a lot of work; a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

TRAGIC: Newcastle businessman Jeff McLeary, the director of KTM Newcastle at Lambton, is being remembered as a ‘great man’. Mr McLeary died last week in a crash in the Werekata National Park at Buchanan.

“You’ve got to be prepared to dig in and dig deep.”

Mr Place described his business partner as “wise” and a man who “did everything” for his family.

“It was always about doing things for his family and setting life up for them,” he said.

“They had only just come back from the tennis in Melbourne and were celebrating Day together [before the accident].”

Steve Hamilton, who went on a rally with Mr McLeary in New Zealand last year, recalled how on the last day of the trip he spoke fondly of his wife Maree, daughter Shae and son Brock.

“He talked warmly that day when having a break of his love for his family, so proud he had his wife Maree with him at the event,” he said.

“He was so looking forward to riding one day soon on an adventure bike rally with his 20-year-old son Brock once his motocross days were behind him.

“I’m sad they’ll never get to do this together.”

Mrs McLeary was too heartbroken to speak publicly on Monday but wrote on Facebook: “I would give anything to have your arms around me and to see your face again. Don’t know how to do life without you and wish I didn’t have to.”

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We’ve had ‘significant failures,’ ANZ Bank tells royal commission

ANZ Bank chief executive Shayne Elliott says the bank’s initial submission to the royal commission underlines “significant failures over the last decade,” as the industry prepares for a wave of fierce scrutiny into misconduct.
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The big four banks on Monday all lodged submissions with the inquiry summarising instances of misconduct over the past ten years, or areas where banks had fallen short of community standards, in response to a request from commissioner Kenneth Hayne.

The call for submissions from the banks is one way in which the royal commission, which has wide terms of reference, is identifying areas where it will focus. It is also taking submissions from members of the public consumer groups, and others.

While none of the banks released their submissions on Monday, Mr Elliott said seeing all the issues it raised in one document was “confronting,” even if many of the problems were already known.

Mr Elliott said in a note to ANZ staff that it was “completely unacceptable” the bank had caused some of its customers harm, and he was ultimately accountable for the failures.

“While I firmly believe we are now on the right path, our submission shows we’ve had significant failures over the last decade,” Mr Elliott said.

“We need to do more to make sure we meet our promises and keep up with changing community standards.”

Other major banks confirmed they had lodged their submissions, and signalled they had acted to deal with the instances of misconduct.

CBA chair Catherine Livingstone said the bank aimed to be “absolutely transparent” with the royal commission, and fixing problems that were identified.

“It is far better that we are aware of the issues and that we have identified the issues and that we are working on addressing the issues, than waiting for others to identify them,” Ms Livingstone said.

Westpac said its submission included instances where it had made mistakes, while it also set out how these had been addressed by the bank. “

National Bank’s chief legal and commercial counsel, Sharon Cook, said the bank would fully co-operate with the royal commission, and it respected the rights of NAB customers to make submissions to the commission if they wanted to.

“We will respect the processes that the Commissioner puts in place and now look forward to hearing from the Royal Commission as it considers all responses and submissions – and outlines the next steps,” Ms Cook said.

Banks abruptly changed their position and called for a royal commission last year as the government was losing political control of the issue in parliament. Mr Elliott said he hoped the inquiry would be a “watershed moment” that restored community trust in banks.

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Stabbed detective John Breda now facing new enemy

Critically injured detective John Breda briefly opened his eyes, smiled and squeezed his wife’s hand on Monday before being placed back under heavy sedation as infection becomes the decorated investigator’s new enemy.
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As the mental state of his attacker Nick Newman, himself shot dead by two police officers after the attack in the Maroubra pub on Friday, was being placed under the microscope, family and friends of Detective Sergeant Breda were becoming “cautiously optimistic” about his condition.

After receiving dozens of blood transfusions and undergoing several lengthy operations, Detective Sergeant Breda remained in a serious but stable condition with surgeons so concerned about infection they placed the officer back under heavy sedation, intubating him to assist in his slow recovery.

Police sources also reported how Detective Sergeant Breda remained conscious after being stabbed to help guide two pubgoers to keep pressure on his wounds as they waited for paramedics.

“If it wasn’t for their actions in keeping that pressure, and the fact the paramedics got there so quickly, we would be looking at an entirely different story,” the source said.

The attack occurred after Child Abuse Squad detectives arrived at the Junction Hotel at Maroubra on Friday afternoon after receiving information Newman was inside.

The 33-year-old is believed to have known he was wanted by police regarding a series of child sex charges.

He had not been issued with an interim apprehended violence order, which was briefly mentioned in Penrith Local Court last Wednesday.

An arrest warrant was issued on the same day over charges including six counts of aggravated sexual assault, one count of intentionally choking and one count of indecent assault after detectives became aware Newman was actively avoiding them.

He had not been charged with any of the offences and had no history of violence.

But Newman’s mental state at the time of the stabbing and shooting remains unclear.

He had a history of taking medication for depression but it was unknown whether he was taking it while running from police.

He was seen to have had two beers at the pub before police arrived. Toxicology tests, which would determine whether Newman was under the influence of any substances, are still several weeks away.

Together with several partners, the Penrith man had set up the business Strategic Threat Solutions, which sold combat gear and spruiked being able to provide “knowledge, gear and skill sets to individuals in order to better equip them against any potential threat that they may encounter”.

Strategic Threat Solutions announced on its Facebook page on Monday that it would cease trading “for the time being” and confirmed it had stood Newman down before his death.

“As by now people are aware that a former member of STS was involved in a serious incident on Day in Sydney,” the statement said.

“Prior to the incident the team was made aware and contacted by police about that member and the investigation, STS stood that team member down pending the police investigation and assisted police with their inquiries.”

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IPA joins forces with GetUp! to condemn ‘unprecedented and dangerous’ donations law

The right-leaning Institute of Public Affairs has joined the Greens, charities and activist group GetUp! in slamming the Turnbull government’s “unprecedented and dangerous” bid to clean up the political donations system.
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The think tank, which is often aligned with the Coalition on key policy questions, blasted the plan as unnecessary and excessive, arguing the legislation was so poorly drafted as to go “way beyond” its declared aims.

Under the bill before Parliament, political parties, associated entities and all organisations engaged in political advocacy would be banned from receiving foreign donations, and would be subject to more rigorous disclosure and transparency requirements.

IPA research fellow Gideon Rozner, who advised former special minister of state Michael Ronaldson during the Abbott government, said the potential reach of the bill was “extremely concerning” and could effectively silence contributions to the public debate.

“This bill represents a dangerous restriction on freedom of speech, and sets a very bad precedent,” he said. “The apparent aim of the bill is to regulate entities that actively campaign at elections … but the way the bill is drafted goes way beyond these aims. Charities, religious organisations, industry associations, service clubs and other groups could all be affected.”

Of particular concern to the think tank was the expansion of disclosure obligations to the n Electoral Commission. For the first time, any group spending more than $100,000 advocating on potential election issues will be subject to the donations disclosure regime, and will not be able to use foreign money for any political expenditure.

In its submission to the government, provided to Fairfax Media, the IPA argued this arrangement was “extremely wide and poorly-drafted”. It said compliance costs would be severe, and would favour groups who are “prominent, entrenched and well-funded”.

The think tank has been reluctant to report its own sources of funding, but believes it would be exempt from the new rules as an academic organisation. News media organisations are also exempted, which the IPA argues is arbitrary and a “double standard”.

The Turnbull government has already copped criticism from the charities sector, which has been included in the shake-up, and by activist group GetUp, which is regarded as the government’s main target under the new regime. Government ministers have repeatedly singled out GetUp! as a quasi political party in bed with Labor and the Greens – an assertion rejected by GetUp!

A ban on foreign donations to political parties is supported across the political spectrum but the extent of the crackdown is disputed. Momentum for the ban was aided by the foreign influence scandal that sank former Labor senator Sam Dastyari – but the IPA argued in its submission Mr Dastyari’s downfall was evidence that “the system, such as it is, works”.

Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann said the bill was modelled on overseas precedents and the design was necessary to stop foreigners “channelling” money into n politics through alternative means. He said the number of charities actually affected would be “very small” and rejected the IPA’s characterisation of the bill as burdensome.

“The new rules are proportionate, necessary and apply to all relevant political actors equally,” Senator Cormann told Fairfax Media. “The integrity, real and perceived, of ‘s electoral system is critical to our system of government.”

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Jets set for Socceroos’ audition

IN-FORM Jets Dimi Petratos and Andrew Nabbout could get a chance to catch the eye of new Socceroos coach Bertvan Marwijk when Newcastle host Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
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TALENT SEARCH: Bert van Marwijk

Van Marwijk, appointed six days ago as replacement for Ange Postecoglou,is expected to arrive in this weekto start assessing A-League players he thinks are worthy of inclusion in his squad for this year’s World Cup in Russia.

A Football Federation spokesman said on Monday it was not confirmed which gamesvan Marwijk would attend this weekend, but there was “a good possibility” he would be in Newcastle.

GOALS: Dimi Petratos

If so, Petratos and Nabbout –both uncapped – are unlikely to get a better opportunity to impress the new boss than by starring against a Victory side depleted by the surprise exit of Socceroos mainstay Mark Milligan.

Petratos has been a revelation since joining Newcastle from Brisbane this season, scoring seven goals, including some long-range screamers. Former Socceroos skipper Ned Zeliclabelled him “the best player in the competition” in November and added:“You have to find a spot for him in the [national] squad if he continues to play like this.”

BOLTER: Andrew Nabbout

Nabbout has producedeight goals in 18 games and, for the second successive season, is Newcastle’s leading scorer.

While the majority of the 23-man line-up would appear settled, van Marwijk is reportedly searching for bolters with the potential to enhance the firepower of a team who, in recent years, have relied heavily on veteran Tim Cahill for goals.

New Jets signing Riley McGree might also come into contention.

McGree has joined Newcastle as a loan signing from Belgium’s Club Brugge, and he helped createa goal on debut in last week’s 2-all draw with Melbourne City.

The 19-year-old midfielder has only 18 A-League games to his name, and one goal, but he is highly rated after his performances for the n under-23s.

“When he came onto the field, he changed the game,”Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard said of McGree.

“His ability to get in between the lines and really drive at their back four, I think that will put us in good stead. Hopefully we see more of that as he integrates more into the team. It’s positive signs from him.”

Meanwhile, Irish striker Roy O’Donovan trained strongly on Monday and appears ready to return from a groin injury against Victory, which will be his first game in two months.

“He’s always hungry at training and he’s always looking dangerous,” Boogaard said of O’Donovan, who scored seven goals in his first five games for Newcastle.

“Hopefully for our sake he’s ready and raring to go, but I guess that’s up to the boss and the medical team.”

Newcastle will be hoping to capitalise after Victory agreed to grantskipper Milligan an immediate release on Sunday.The 32-year-old midfielder has signed withSaudi Arabian clubAl-Ahli in a deal that will reportedly deliver Victory a$US600,000 ($742,000) transfer fee.

Milligan was sent off in his most recent visit to Newcastle, a 4-1 hammering in round eight.

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