Monthly Archives: September 2019

Sexual abuse of foster daughter 

A NEWCASTLE man who used his foster daughter as a virtual sex slave had ‘‘a total disregard for her as a human being’’ at a time when she was ‘‘utterly alone and had nowhere to turn’’, a prosecutor told the district court yesterday.
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The paedophile, who cannot be identified, claimed to have no memory of at least a year of sexually assaulting the teen despite him buying her lingerie, pornographic magazines and regularly forcing her to drink alcohol before the assaults, Newcastle District Court heard.

The sexual encounters were part of a heinous household routine on Tuesdays and Saturdays with the offender, aged in his 60s, having to inject his penis with prescription medication in order to achieve an erection, a statement of facts said.

Prosecutor Greg Coles said the girl, who was aged 14 and 15 at the times of the assaults, was in desperate need of support, but was instead subjected to a ‘‘sexual predator’’.

‘‘What she found was not protection, but exploitation,’’ he said.

‘‘The victim here was utterly alone and had nowhere else to turn … she was helpless.’’

She had been in the care of the offender and his wife from the age of eight, but the wife suffered a lengthy illness and died in 2011.

The assaults started before the wife’s death with detectives from the child abuse squad discovering the offender increased the number of script repeats for his erection medication about two months before the wife’s death.

By September last year the girl had had enough and telephoned a friend for help before the friend’s mother rang police.

The girl was removed from the home while police seized lingerie, pornography and the offender’s medication.

The victim told police that she went along with the abuse for so long because she didn’t know how to say no.

She wrote in a victim impact statement that she was cutting herself and performing other acts of self-harm while being subjected to the abuse.

The offender eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years.

Judge Raymond McLoughlin will sentence the offender tomorrow.

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Upper Hunter rainfall fortunes

A TALE of two towns has emerged in the Upper Hunter after lashings of rain reached the region’s farmland yesterday.
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While Singleton beef farmer Sonia Alexander watched the rain disappear into the cracked earth at her feet, Scone’s Suzanne Henderson saw the storms only from afar.

‘‘We haven’t had any decent rain probably since June,’’ Mrs Henderson said.

‘‘It is a drought. We are pretty desperate.’’

The Hunter’s big wet: your pics

Mrs Henderson, whose family has operated Middlebrook Station since 1926, said she was frustrated at the lack of political will to support people on the land.

‘‘We’re not whingeing farmers, we love what we do, but just at the moment there doesn’t seem to be state or federal government making any noise,’’ she said.

At Singleton, Mrs Alexander said the commercial beef property she runs with husband Michael gained about 37mm of rain on Sunday and yesterday.

The rain provided a reprieve to the parched times Mrs Alexander said had prompted her family to thin their herd to 90 cattle.

‘‘We need a lot more but it’s a start,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s nice but you can’t see where it’s gone – it’s soaked straight in.’’

Weatherwatch meteorologist Anthony Cornelius said cold fronts in southern Australia had factored into the region’s dry spring.

‘‘When you get those cold fronts coming through you get a lot of westerly winds in the northern areas,’’ Mr Cornelius said.

‘‘Obviously westerly winds don’t carry much moisture.’’

Mr Cornelius predicted 10mm to 15mm could fall between Maitland and Scone over the next three days but inland areas to the north and south of the Hunter would probably receive more.

WHERE IT FELL

Merewether 77mm

Adamstown 74mm

Blacksmiths 71mm

Newcastle Uni 63mm

Lake Macquarie 48mm

Nelson Bay 41mm

Nobbys Head 29mm

Gresford 18mm

Maitland 17mm

Cessnock 17mm

Dungog 17mm

Jerrys Plains 15mm

Williamtown 13mm

Singleton 4mm

Denman 3.6mm

Rouchel Brook 0.2mm

Scone 0mm

SMILING: Beef farmer Sonia Alexander watches the rain soak into the land with her dog, Ellie, on her property at Glendonbrook, near Singleton. Picture: Simone De Peak

Rainfall for 24 hours to 2pm yesterday

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Dropulich joins Palmer’s alliance

Wayne Dropulich. Photo: Philip GostelowWest Australian senator-elect Wayne Dropulich has joined Clive Palmer’s alliance.
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Fairfax Media has learned Mr Dropulich, of the Australian Sports Party, will be in attendance at Mr Palmer’s speech to the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.

Mr Dropulich, who scraped into a senate seat after the WA recount – but may not survive the expected re-run of the election – will be joined by Victorian senator-elect Ricky Muir.

Mr Muir, representing the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, announced in October he will vote with the Palmer United senators-elect – currently, Glen Lazarus and Jacqui Lambie.

Mr Muir and Mr Dropulich will be seated at a table with Glenn Druery the so-called “preference whisperer’ responsible for the preference swap deals that enabled the rise of microparties in the next Senate.

Mr Druery, who describes himself as a “political consultant” for independent and microparty politicians, brokered the deal that saw Mr Muir join the Palmer forces.

Mr Dropulich’s vote would add a fourth vote to the Palmer bloc after the loss of PUP candidate Zhenya Wang after the WA Senate recount.

The presence of Mr Muir and Mr Dropulich on Tuesday, along with Mr Lazarus and Ms Lambie, is supposed to send a message to the Abbott Government of the strength and unity of the alliance. In particular, to Coalition Senate leader Eric Abetz, who has said he will negotiate with the crossbench senators on a personal basis, rather than as as a single voting group, as demanded by the alliance.

Mr Palmer has promised a “very, very, very cold winter” when the new Senate sits from July next year if Prime Minister Tony Abbott didn’t start taking his alliance seriously.

The government has already torpedoed a request to pool office and resources and legislative advisers among the Palmer bloc.

Mr Palmer, who flew into Canberra on a commercial flight on Monday “for lunch”, is on a collision course with the government on a number of issues, including the government’s consideration of reforms to the preference voting system that would make it harder for microparties to get elected in the future.

He described talk of reforming the system to allow optional preferential voting “an attack on democracy”.

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Boss confident of Lion deal with Saputo

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter. Photo: Glen WatsonWarrnambool Cheese & Butter boss David Lord is confident Kirin will be able to strike a deal with Canadian outfit Saputo to protect the viability of its entry-level cheeses.
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Kirin snapped up almost 10 per cent of WCB, which is the target of a three-way global bidding war, through its subsidiary Lion last month. The purchase was aimed at protecting Lion’s agreement with WCB, which supplies its entry-level cheese brands Coon and Cracker Barrel, rather than as emerging as a fourth player in the takeover battle.

Quebec-based Saputo is the suitor favoured by WCB’s board but is facing competition from Bega and Murray Goulburn which each owns 17 per cent of the company.

Mr Lord said the Lion stake had made a ”complex situation more complex”. But he was confident that Lion and Saputo would be able to strike a deal.

”From what Lion said their motivation to buy their stake was to get a seat at the table. Well they’ve done that,” Mr Lord said. ”Now, I think it’s up to the parties to sit down and talk about how they move forward, in particular Lion and Saputo.”

While WCB’s board is urging shareholders to support Saputo’s bid, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria says farmer shareholders should think again.

UDV has organised a meeting for farmers at the Warrnambool Showgrounds, warning them of the possibility of another Australian company becoming foreign owned. UDV president Kerry Callow said it was important Australia’s dairy industry had a locally owned player that could build significant scale to compete globally.

Ms Callow said this would ensure Australians would still control farm-gate prices. But she said even if Murray Goulburn, Australia’s biggest milk processor, took over WCB, it would still be a small player in the global dairy market. ”It would lift them into the top 20 in the world, not the top five, not the top 10, so we would still be a very small fish in the global market,” she said.

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Super funds set up news website

Gary Weaven of Industry Super Funds. Photo: Luis Enrique AscuiIndustry funds veteran Garry Weaven says the sector’s multimillion-dollar investment in a new general media site can be justified on commercial terms.
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He expects the site to be profitable within four years, despite indicating it will not allow advertising from rival financial services organisations.

”I’m the first one to understand that it is somewhat speculative,” Mr Weaven, a director of The New Daily, told BusinessDay. ”The market is moving all the time. But, on the numbers we’ve done, it can be justified as a commercial investment.”

Industry superannuation fund AustralianSuper, United Super, the trustee of building industry fund Cbus, and Industry Super Holdings, a company that owns various industry fund entities, have ploughed at least $3 million into the site, guided by Crikey backer Eric Beecher.

Mr Weaven said the site, to host content from national broadcaster ABC, will seek ”broad appeal” beyond the industry fund members who are being encouraged to subscribe.

AustralianSuper spokeswoman Susan Fairley said the fund saw the investment as a ”communications vehicle” in the marketing budget rather than a direct investment.

Asked if the site would allow rival financial services to advertise, Mr Weaven said he would ”prefer to see financial services that are completely aligned with industry funds’ objectives” and The New Daily shareholders would have the final say on the matter.

Of editorial independence, Mr Weaven said, advertising would be self-evident, advertorial would be made clear and finance content would not be dominated by ”guff about self-managed super funds”.

”If there’s a genuine story about a stuff-up of some kind in the industry funds community, it will be aired,” he said. ”[But] what I have faith in is if we stick to telling the truth, the truth will probably be pretty kind.”

The super industry is in a privileged position of receiving 9.25 per cent of Australians’ pay, with a bipartisan commitment to increase compulsory contributions to 12 per cent in the next decade.

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