Crusaders snatch late win over Sharks

A late try to captain Kieran Read has carried the Crusaders to a tense 19-14 win over the Sharks in Durban, leaving no unbeaten teams in Super Rugby.

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The South African side suffered their first loss, starved of possession by a dominant Crusaders forward pack who bossed the scrums and snatched a swag of lineout possession.

However, the visitors failed to translate their dominance into points, eventually needing Read’s try in the 72nd minute to see off the stubborn hosts, whose two tries were long-range, opportunistic scores to winger Lwazi Mvovo.

The Sharks record drops to three wins, one draw and a loss while the Crusaders have now won three in a row after dropping their opening match against the Chiefs.

It also means New Zealand teams are unbeaten in their last 11 games against offshore opponents in the expanded competition.

The Crusaders cause wasn’t helped by sloppy goalkicking display from first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga, who missed four of five shots, including three handy penalty chances.

His one success was the conversion of a 25th-minute try to fullback David Havili, who capitalised on a slick offload from winger Nemani Nadolo.

Mvovo levelled the scores 7-7 just before halftime when he intercepted Mo’unga’s pass and raced 60m.

The speedy winger was at it again just after the break, pouncing on a loose ball 40m out and outpacing the cover defence.

The Crusaders’ hopes appeared to nosedive when Havili was shown a yellow card for a relatively innocuous push off the ball.

However, they responded with a try to Nadolo and nearly had another to wing Johnny McNicholl from long range but centre Kieron Fonotia put his foot on the touchline.

It took a short pass from Ellis to put Read across, cracking a Sharks defence which hadn’t conceded a second-half try in any game this season.

The Crusaders’ tour continues with games against the Lions and Force.

Southern Stars through to World T20 semi

The Southern Stars have advanced to the World Twenty20 semi-finals with a little help from New Zealand.

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Australia crushed Ireland in their final pool game, restricting the winless minnows to 7-91 then hauling in the target in 13.2 overs with seven wickets in hand at New Delhi.

South Africa could have leapt into second spot on the group A table if they defeated both NZ and Sri Lanka.

But the White Ferns walloped South Africa on Saturday night by seven wickets, ushering themselves and Australia into the knock-out phase of the tournament.

The Southern Stars, shooting for a fourth straight T20 title, will return to Feroz Shah Kotla for Wednesday’s semi.

England, currently the top-ranked side in Group B, are their most likely opposition.

“It’s always a good match-up whenever we play England,” Megan Schutt said, having been named player of the match against Ireland after grabbing figures of 3-29.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a game when either of us has blown the other out of the park.

“No matter what the conditions are, we will both have to adapt, but I think it will be a cracking game.”

It will be Australia’s third World T20 match at the ground, while England are yet to play at the venue during this tournament.

“Obviously it’s a bit of an advantage to see the ground before the opposition,” Schutt said.

Ireland, who finished the tournament without a victory, briefly threatened to cause a boilover after losing the toss.

Clare Shillington and Cecelia Joyce belted Australia’s attack, powering their side to 0-33 in the fifth over.

Schutt created the initial breakthrough when Shillington popped up a catch to Beth Mooney at mid-off.

Legspinner Kristen Beams and left-arm tweaker Jess Jonassen both recorded miserly figures of 0-14 from four overs.

“Our bowlers really set the tone early. They certainly got away in the powerplay but I thought we dragged it back really nicely,” skipper Meg Lanning said.

Alyssa Healy and Lanning fell cheaply but Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry shared a 54-run stand.

Lanning was confident her side was hitting form at the right time in the tournament, having banked two wins following a six-wicket loss to NZ.

“We’ve got some really good momentum over the last couple of games. Our batting has clicked a lot more,” she said.

“Semi-finals are always tough … anything can happen.”

Self-belief key to sinking Smith: Kohli

India maestro Virat Kohli has implored his teammates to attack with self-belief when they’re bowling to Steve Smith.

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Kohli and Smith, two of the best batsmen in the world, will play a big part in deciding whether Australia or India advance to the World Twenty20 semi-finals.

The two sides clash at 1am AEDT on Monday at Mohali in a virtual quarter-final.

Smith isn’t capable of muscling the ball over the rope with ease but a captain’s knock of 61 not out against Pakistan was a reminder of his immense value in the format.

“Top quality players around the world do tend to have answers for them more often than not. You just have to make life as difficult as possible for them and take up the challenge,” Kohli said of Smith.

“(Think that) yes he is a very good player. He’s a world-class player but I’m going to get him out today.

“It’s all about the mindset.

“How you prepare for a particular game and how much you believe you can actually get the opponent out. I believe it all boils down to that.”

Smith and Kohli both dominated the 2014-15 Test series in Australia, scoring four tons each.

“It’s just one of those things. It just happens sometimes you can get on a bit of a roll against an opposition and you’re hard to stop,” Smith said earlier this month.

“If we come up against India again it’d be nice to get on that sort of roll.”

Kohli has likewise saved his best for Smith’s side.

The 27-year-old’s average against Australia is better than his overall average in all three formats.

“They play with a lot of passion and I believe in playing the same way so I like that challenge,” Kohli said.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing against Australia but … you just can’t sit in your dressing room thinking that if it’s Australia I’m going to end up scoring runs.

“You still have to respect the conditions, the bowlers.”

Kohli added that Smith played an underrated role in T20 cricket.

“Smith gives them that solidarity in the middle overs. Which is great for any team,” he said.

“You can have a person who can play the least number of dot balls and still keep the scoreboard ticking, while the others are having a go at a few bowlers.

“It always helps.”

Hooper happy to hold Test reins for Moore

Michael Hooper says he’s more prepared for his second coming as Wallabies skipper, even if it’s only temporary.

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Hooper will lead Australia out on to AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon against Fiji almost three years after he was first handed the role as a 22-year-old.

Then he replaced Stephen Moore because of a serious knee injury but this time the veteran hooker has been relegated to the bench through form.

While proud to get another opportunity, Hooper said Moore was still the Wallabies captain and he would happily hand the title back.

“Steve is the captain of this team and he has done a great job for the last couple of years and will continue to do a great job so I’m super keen to keep learning off him,” Hooper said.

“I’m very proud to lead the team and if that takes a bit of weight off Steve’s shoulders then great, and when he steps back into the role I will be there to support him.”

Hooper was forced to lead the Wallabies through a period of turmoil in 2014 when teammate Kurtley Beale was involved in a texting scandal with team official Di Patston, which ultimately led to the resignation of coach Ewen McKenzie.

Also the Waratahs skipper, Hooper felt it was his making as a captain.

“I wouldn’t change anything from then,” the 25-year-old flanker said.

“I always understood the privilege that it was but if I look at myself then, I was young and it was tough but that’s why I wouldn’t change it because I did learn a lot.

“I probably aged 20 years in that time but you’re sometimes put in these positions and you do the best you can I believe I did that.”

Moore was confirmed on the bench following the final training session at AAMI Park, while two other players were named to make a possible Test debut in baby-faced Brumbies halfback Joe Powell and Namibian-born, Perth-raised backrower Richard Hardwick.

With code-hopping inside centre Karmichael Hunt and blindside flanker Ned Hanigan named in the starting side, that means four players could earn their first Test caps.

Hooper said the team had been working hard in the few days they had had together to bed down their plays and patterns, predicting Fiji to be a formidable opponent in the forwards as well as the trade-mark razzle-dazzle from their backs.

“Last time we played them in Wales at the World Cup in 2015 it was a really tough hit-out,” he said.

“They’re obviously big guys who can run and tackle but the challenge at the set piece was definitely up there.

“It will be a big focus for us tomorrow, to try to get our set piece on the front foot in all facets.”

Rescuers racing to free beached humpback whale on NSW mid-north coast

Between 6.

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15am and 7 am this morning, Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) received multiple calls about a beached whale at beached in Sawtell, in northern NSW.

The 10-tonne whale was found stranded on the sandbar at high tide.

ORRCA vice president Shona Loriga said experts arrived on site “very quickly” following the phone calls.

There is currently a team of up to 60 people assisting the whale including volunteers from ORRCA, Dolphin Marine Magic, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Police.

#sawtellwhale update: est 1-2 years old, no obvious injuries. Vet assess to come on outgoing tide. NPWS @ORRCA_Inc & Marine Magic on site.

— Environment+Heritage (@OEHmedia) June 9, 2017

The priority is to complete a veterinary assessment on the whale.

Ms Lorigan said assessments can take time and high tide presents several challenges to vets completing assessments.

“We currently have the best-trained rescuers there,” she said.

Humpback whale beached at Sawtell, NSW.Office of Environment and Heritage

The young whale’s lack of experience in migration, poor health, east coast blows and rough surf conditions are possible reasons for its beaching.

The stress of stranding and constant “rolling in the surf” has taken its toll on the whale’s health, Ms Lorigan said.

#sawtellwhale: trained experts re-positioning whale to assist its breathing @ORRCA_Inc pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/tfrHWCBMbt

— Environment+Heritage (@OEHmedia) June 9, 2017

Senior Wildlife Officer Susan Crocetti said as they learn more about the whale’s health, experts will be able to plan a safe way to assist it in getting back out to sea.

The mid-north coast has seen previous success in assisting beached whales, although each situation is unique.

Long day ahead @ORRCA_Inc + Marine Magic + NPWS + vet onsite @ sub-adult #sawtellwhale. Low tide now. Assessing options for high tide. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/2DnpRhXpbr

— Environment+Heritage (@OEHmedia) June 9, 2017

Ms Crocetti said if beachgoers see a beached whale, their first priority should be personal safety.

“We don’t want anyone becoming injured trying to help a whale,” she said.

Ms Lorigan said it would be a “life-threatening” situation if someone became trapped underneath a whale.

“Situations like these require a multi-agency response,” she said.

Injured or distressed marine mammals should be reported to ORRCA’s 24-hour hotline on 02 9415 3333.

Stranded humpback whale at Sawtell, NSW. Stranded humpback whale at Sawtell

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Bombers launch bid for AFL Women’s team

Essendon have joined the growing number of clubs clambering to join an expanded AFL Women’s competition in 2019.

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The Bombers officially launched their bid, which includes an $18 million redevelopment of their Tullamarine headquarters, on Friday.

The AFL last month decided against expanding the women’s league next year despite the success of its inaugural season.

All 10 AFL clubs who didn’t participate in the first season were given the opportunity to apply for a licence to field a team in an expanded competition in 2019.

Geelong, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast were granted provisional licenses for the inaugural season but were ultimately unsuccessful in their bid to join the eight-team league.

A minimum of two new clubs will be introduced in 2019 with those five clubs given priority weighting in the selection process.

But Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell believes his club has put together a strong case for inclusion.

“It’s been something the club has had great intent to do for some time … (but) we’re probably 12 months behind where we would have liked to have been,” he said.

“There are some pretty natural elements that are going to make up our submission … linking strongly to indigenous remote communities and the north-west of Melbourne.”

The Bombers are pledging to play an AFLW game at a remote indigenous community, as well as Craigieburn and the club’s spiritual home at Windy Hill if successful.

Club legend Michael Long’s daughter Michaela has already spurned interest from other AFLW clubs and is pinning her hopes on running out for the Bombers in 2019.

“The Essendon footy club is the be-all and end-all for me … I didn’t want to be anywhere else,” Long said.

“I looked at GWS and the only reason why was because (former Bombers performance boss) John Quinn was there … I remember him working with dad when I was young.

“I looked at Geelong, they didn’t get their licence but maybe playing VFL with them, but I’m happy to wait as long as it takes to get a gig at Essendon.”

The AFL is expected to make a decision on AFLW expansion in late July.

‘Stupid, useless, racist’: Former president of Mexico’s message for Donald Trump

After catalysing one of the more poignant viral hashtags at the beginning of this year, Vicente Fox has returned to deliver a message to the President of the United States amid the noise surrounding James Comey’s testimony.

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“Mexico will not pay for the f—– wall,” Fox opens the video, shared on social channel Super Deluxe.

“Donald, under no circustances will we pay for this stupid, useless, racist monument.”

The video, posted on Wednesday, has since amassed more than 21 million views, surely in part due to the former president’s directness.

“I know when you came up wih the idea, all the experts thought it would work.

“But the ‘bad hombres’ have gotten more sophisticated since then. They are even sharing plans on the internet,” he said, holding up a hand-drawn “schematic” of a ladder.

“You’re going to build a $25 billion wall that can be defeated by a $25 ladder?

“Be honest, Donald. This wall isn’t going to stop anyone who really wants to cross the border. It’s just going to make your country weaker, and poorer, and less respected by the rest of the world.”

In January, the day after Sean Spicer proclaimed Mexico would fund Trump’s vision of the wall, Mr Fox tweeted, “Mexico is not going to pay for that f—— wall,” punctuated by the hashtag #F——Wall.

The hashtag struck a chord with Twitter users globally, trending worldwide.

Sean Spicer, I’ve said this to @realDonaldTrump and now I’ll tell you: Mexico is not going to pay for that fucking wall. #FuckingWall

— Vicente Fox Quesada (@VicenteFoxQue) January 25, 2017

However this time, Mr Fox extrapolated, detailing ways in which the US could better spend the estimated $25 billion it would cost to construct the border wall – roughly $10 billion more than was initially quoted.

“For $25 billion, you could provide clean drinking water to the entire planet for three years,” he says in the video. “Isn’t that a better legacy than a pointless wall of hate?

“Here are some other options for the $25 billion: you could end world hunger for one year; you could hire 50,000 teachers for a decade, or pay for the college educations for 250,000 students.”

Mr Fox also rubbished the conditions upon which the US stipulated Mexico would build the wall.

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“What would be the point of us paying for something beautiful, if we cannot even see it? That would be like marrying a model who won’t even sleep in the same city as you,” he says in the video.

Fox then turned to a framed photo of a young Donald Trump.

“Donald, instead of building a wall, build a bridge across the oceans of time, and walk back across it to find this small boy and tell him, and tell him, that just because his father doesn’t love him, doesn’t mean he cannot love the world.”

Mr Fox was president from December 2000 until November 2006, the first leader of Mexico’s National Action Party to be elected into the position.

While the party is associated with a more conservative political stance, the party does not consider itself fundamentally conservative, developing contextually responsive, rather than ideologically-driven policy.

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Faulkner praises Smith’s captain’s knock

It wasn’t a traditional Twenty20 innings but Steve Smith delivered a classical captain’s knock to revive Australia’s hopes of winning a tournament they never have.

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Smith’s unbeaten 61 powered Australia to a total of 4-193 and a 21-run win over Pakistan in Friday’s World Twenty20 clash in Chandigarh.

The result means Australia’s final pool game against India, which starts at 1am AEDT on Monday, will effectively be a quarter-final.

The winner advances to a semi-final, while the loser will be eliminated.

Smith only struck seven boundaries but brought up his half-century in 35 balls and finished with a strike-rate of almost 150.

“Steve batted exceptionally well today but I am not surprised. I have seen him play T20 over here in the IPL and he does that all the time,” allrounder James Faulkner said.

“He was a class act.

“After losing the first two wickets it was beautiful timing to get a bit of a platform.”

The 26-year-old was under immense pressure, with a loss likely to have ended his side’s World T20 title hopes.

Australia, having suffered middle-overs collapses of 6-57 and 4-22 in their previous two World T20 matches, slipped to 3-57 against Pakistan before Smith steadied.

“We had a massive focus on batting through the middle and obviously here in India it is something you really need to nail,” Faulkner said.

“To keep some wickets in the shed for the last four, five or six overs.”

Shane Watson was the man to prosper from the platform laid by Smith and Glenn Maxwell, clubbing three sixes in an entertaining knock of 44 not out.

It was the first major score of the tournament for both Smith and Watson, who shuffled down to No.6 in a new-look batting order.

“People see figures. Yeah he (Smith) missed out the first couple of games but at the same time, every time he walks into the nets he hits the ball exactly the same,” Faulkner said.

“That’s the same with Shane, he missed out in the first couple games but he came off a hundred (in a T20 against India in January).

“Coming in when he did, under the pump, to hit the ball from from ball one was exceptional … it’s no surprise he whacked it tonight.”

Radovan Karadzic jailed for 40 years for Srebrenica genocide

Karadzic, 70, the former president of the breakaway Bosnian Serb Republic, was found guilty on 10 out of 11 charges brought by war crimes prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

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He would appeal the decision, his legal adviser said.

“The accused was the sole person within Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serb Republic) with the power to prevent the killing of the Bosnian Muslim males,” said presiding judge O-Gon Kwok, in a reference to the 8,000 killed at Srebrenica.

“Far from preventing it, he ordered they be transferred elsewhere to be killed,” the judge said.

Listen to the SBS Radio report on this story:

Karadzic was acquitted of one count of genocide in various towns across Bosnia during the war of the 1990s.

The three-judge panel said Karadzic was “at the apex of power,” heading the self-styled Bosnian Serb Republic and Supreme Commander of its armed forces, when crimes were committed by his troops.

Judges said the 44-month siege of Sarajevo could not have happened without his support; that he committed crimes against humanity in an attempt to purge Muslims and Croats from parts of Bosnia; and that he had intended to eliminate the Bosnian Muslim males of the town of Srebrenica.

Karadzic’s legal adviser Peter Robinson said Karadzic was “disappointed by the verdict, astonished by the reasoning and he wants to appeal.”

As the judges described the siege of Sarajevo, Karadzic looked pained and his face tightened into a grimace.

Victims’ tears

Victims’ families in the courtroom, some of then elderly, listened intently when the genocide at Srebrenica was discussed. One wiped away tears as the judge described men and boys being separated from their families.

When Karadzic was ordered to stand for sentencing, he listened with eyes mostly downcast. After judges departed, he sat back heavily in his chair.

Listen to survivors tell their stories:

Victims’ families embraced before quietly leaving the courtroom.

Outside, Hatidza Mehmedovic, who lost her entire family at Srebrenica, said she was enraged by the verdict, and no punishment could have been harsh enough.

“He can live in a cushy prison while I have to live in Srebrenica, where his ideology is still in place,” she said.

“I have no sisters, no brothers, no husband.”

Karadzic was arrested in 2008 after 11 years on the run, following a war in which 100,000 people were killed as rival armies carved Bosnia up along ethnic lines that largely survive today.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he would stand by the Serbs of Bosnia.

“We will stand by our people and we will protect their existence and their right to have their own state,” he said.

Serge Brammertz, the court’s chief prosecutor, said he hoped the ruling would make populist politicians in the region more reluctant to hail convicted war criminals as heroes.

“There is nothing heroic about raping persons, about sexual abuse in camps,” he said. “There is nothing heroic about executing 7,000 prisoners which have been detained in impossible circumstances. There is nothing heroic to kill with snipers children who are playing.”

He said prosecutors may appeal Karadzic’s acquittal on the second genocide charge.

World opinion

The only more senior official to face justice before the Tribunal was the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who died in custody a decade ago before a verdict was reached.

Ratko Mladic, the general who commanded Bosnian Serb forces, was the last suspect to be detained over the Srebrenica slaughter and is also in a U.N. cell awaiting judgment.

The Srebrenica massacre and the Serb siege of Sarajevo were events that turned world opinion against the Serbs and prompted NATO air strikes that helped bring the war to an end.

Karadzic defended himself through his 497-day trial and called 248 witnesses, poring over many of the millions of pages of evidence with the help of a court-appointed legal adviser.

Rejecting the charges against him, Karadzic sought to portray himself as the Serbs’ champion, blaming some of the sieges and shelling on Bosnian Muslims themselves. He says soldiers and civilians who committed crimes during the war acted individually.

Opponents of the ICTY say its prosecutors have disproportionately targeted Serbs as 94 of 161 suspects charged were from the Serbian side, while 29 were Croat and nine Bosnian Muslim.

Prosecutors have been criticized for not bringing charges against two other leaders of that era who have since died – Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic.

Many Serbs, both in Bosnia and Serbia, regard the court as a pro-Western instrument, say Karadzic is innocent and believe his conviction is an injustice for all Serbs.

Faulkner fires with ball after gastro

James Faulkner recovered from a bout of gastro to deliver, statistically speaking, the greatest Twenty20 bowling performance by an Australian.

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Faulkner was restricted to walking laps at Australia’s training session on Thursday because he was ill.

The allrounder was feeling much better on Friday, when he was named man of the match in Australia’s crucial World T20 clash with Pakistan at Mohali.

Faulkner was twice on a hat-trick as he stormed to figures of 5-27, piloting his side to a 21-run win.

Never before has an Australian claimed a five-wicket haul in a T20 international.

Faulkner played down the feat, noting four of his wickets came in his final two overs, when the run-rate required had become ridiculous and Pakistan were swinging at everything.

“I got pretty lucky. I just got a couple at the end this evening so I am not too worried about that,” the Tasmanian said.

“I was lucky there at the end.”

Faulkner was tight-lipped when asked how close he was to missing the crucial match.

“I was alright today so that was the main thing,” he said.

The 25-year-old has become one of the most important players in Australia’s limited-overs XI on account of both his batting and bowling.

Faulkner’s back-of-the-hand slower balls have taken a stack of wickets and are incredibly hard to score off.

“It is pretty basic for all bowlers in T20 cricket,” he said.

“Variations and change of pace.

“A good yorker and bouncer.

“If you can execute them, you can make it hard for the batsmen.

“But at the same time you can still execute and travel around the park.”

Paceman Josh Hazlewood, playing his first match of the tournament, legspinner Adam Zampa and offspinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell also impressed with the ball during the match.

“Glenn bowled well. I think as a group we bowled well,” Faulkner said.

“We knew they were going to come hard against us. It was about holding our nerve and holding our length against them.”

Zampa struck when the match was in the balance, removing dangermen Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi.

“Zampa has bowled beautifully,” skipper Steve Smith said in the post-match ceremony.

“He reads the batsmen well and is really smart, which is great for Australia.”

BEST T20 INTERNATIONAL FIGURES BY AN AUSTRALIAN

*5-27: James Faulkner v Pakistan in 2016

*4-15: Shane Watson v England in 2011

*4-18: Dirk Nannes v Bangladesh in 2010

*4-20: Stuart Clark v Sri Lanka in 2007.

What is a double dissolution election?

The Prime Minister’s threat to Senate crossbenchers to either pass industrial relations legislation or possibly face a double dissolution election may herald a rare political event.

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It has been criticised by some as either a move designed to intimidate smaller opponents, or to take control of the upper house of parliament.

Only six times since the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia over 110 years ago has the Constitutional measure been used.

Kristina Kukolja takes a look at what a double dissolution election is, and its place in Australian political history.

When a government finds itself without the ability to pass its legislation successfully through both houses of parliament, Australia’s Constitution allows for a special mechanism that can disrupt the electoral cycle – a double dissolution election.

To understand how and why this works, it’s necessary to look at the history of Australia’s parliamentary democracy.

Based on the British Westminster system, the federal, or executive, government is responsible to the parliament, or the legislative arm of government.

In Australia the parliament comprises two chambers.

Federal elections are held every three years.

Government is formed by the party with a majority in the lower house – the House of Representatives.

The upper house, the Senate, is a house of review.

Professor of politics at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, Clem MacIntyre, says dissolving both houses for re-election – a double dissolution election – is a serious endeavour.

“A normal election sees all of the House of Representatives up for election — all 150 members — and half of the Senate. That’s half of the state senators. There are 12 senators representing each state and two from each territory. At a normal half-Senate election, as it’s called, six of those senators from the states are elected to six-year terms and the two from each territory are elected to three-year terms. At a double dissolution election all 76 of those seats become vacant and each state will elect 12 new senators to fill the state spots and the territories two each. Of the 12 state senators six will be elected to serve three-year terms, and six will be elected to serve six-year terms. So, that rotation of half the Senate going at each election is back in sync again.”

For a double dissolution election to occur, the government needs what’s known as a “trigger bill”.

Professor Macintyre explains it refers to a specific piece of legislation which the two houses of federal parliament cannot agree to pass.

“The Constitution says that if there’s a disagreement between the House of Representatives and the Senate over a bill, then the government has the capacity to seek an early election to resolve that. So, a bill must be passed in identical form by the lower house and blocked by the Senate twice, and there must be a three-month gap between the first block and the second block. If that happens, the prime minister has what’s called a “trigger bill” and can go to the Governor General and say, ‘The Senate is refusing to pass this bill which the lower house is supporting. I’m requesting a double dissolution to clean out the whole of the House of Representatives as well as the whole of the Senate – and have a fresh election, after which if we are elected, that bill could be reput to the parliament.”

The Governor General represents Australia’s head of state, the Queen, and is expected to act on the advice of the prime minister and dissolve both houses of parliament.

And only six times since the federation of Australia’s colonies in 1901 has this happened.

The first double dissolution election was called in 1914 over union employment in the public service.

The most recent was in 1987 – again by a Labor government, but this time using legislation proposing the introduction of a national identity card.

In 1950, the conservative Liberal-National government led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies had hoped a bill banning the Communist Party of Australia would act as a trigger for a double dissolution vote, but it was ultimately passed by a Labor-dominated Senate.

Dr Barry York is an historian at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra.

He says, in 1951 Mr Menzies tried again – using the failure of another bill to ultimately secure a majority in the upper house.

“Menzies’ government was opposed to the attempt by the previous Labor party government headed by Ben Chifley to nationalise the banks, and the dispute or deadlock in 1951 was to do with what was called ‘The Commonwealth Bank bill’ which, in effect, rescinded any of the attempts to nationalise the banking sector. And that was an example of where the risk involved in a double dissolution (election) paid off for the government because Menzies ended up back in power with – if I remember correctly – an increased majority.”

Dr York warns that the move doesn’t guarantee government control over both houses of parliament.

“It’s interesting from a politician’s point of view, or prime minister’s point of view who wants to go down that path – it’s almost like the toss of a coin because half of them have returned the government and half haven’t. Added to that is the complication, of course, the big risk which is that the Senate in Australia has considerable power compared to Senates in other Commonwealth countries and other parliamentary democracies. It’s a house of review, but also it can reject a bill from the House of Representatives and it can decline to pass such a bill, or it can amend a bill. So, even if a double dissolution results in the return of the government, there’s no guarantee the Senate will be a cooperative one.”

And if, even after a double dissolution election, the Senate refuses to pass the trigger legislation, both houses of parliament can be called for a joint sitting.

Australia’s current parliament expires on November 11, and an early double dissolution election must be called outside of its final six months.

 

 

Belgian police hold seven in bomb inquiry

Belgian police have arrested seven people in raids in their investigation into Islamic State suicide bombings in Brussels.

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The federal prosecutor’s office said six persons were held during searches in the Brussels neighbourhoods of Schaerbeek in the north and Jette in the west, as well as in the centre of the Belgian capital. Public broadcaster RTBF said a seventh man was arrested in the Forest borough of Brussels early on Friday.

Islamic State suicide bombers hit Brussels airport and a metro train on Tuesday, killing at least 31 people and wounding some 270 in the worst such attack in Belgian history.

The daily De Standaard said on Friday police had arrested a man who was filmed by security cameras in the airport terminal next to two bombers who blew themselves up there. Prosecutors did not confirm the arrest and it was not known if the man was among the seven detained overnight.

The attack in Brussels, home to the European Union and NATO, has heightened security concerns around the world and raised questions about EU states’ ability to respond in an effective, co-ordinated way to the Islamist militant threat.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Brussels on Friday for talks with Belgian and European Commission leaders to offer US assistance in security cooperation against terrorism.

The Islamic State militant group also took credit for co-ordinated attacks in Paris in November that killed 130 people at cafes, a sports stadium and concert hall.

Belgian public broadcaster VRT said investigators believed that Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, arrested last Friday, probably planned a similar shooting and suicide bomb attack in Brussels. The news website Politico Europe said investigators had only questioned Abdeslam for a single hour in the four days between his arrest on March 19 and the Brussels bombings.

Belgian daily De Morgen said investigators had identified a new suspect they believe played a role in the Brussels bombings, naming him as 28-year-old Syrian Naim al-Hamed.

The paper said he was on a list circulated to the security services of other European countries after Tuesday’s attacks along with Mohamed Abrini, Najim Laachraoui and Khalid El Bakraoui. Hamed was also suspected of involvement in the Paris attacks, De Morgen said.

One man was killed in a shootout with police on March 15 that led to the discovery of assault weapons and explosives and the arrest of Abdeslam, 26, and another suspect on March 18.

Belgium on Thursday lowered its security alert level one notch to three from the highest level, four, but officials did not say what that would mean in terms of security measures that have included a heavy police and military presence in Brussels.

Islamic State posted a video on social media calling the Brussels blasts a victory and featuring the training of Belgian militants suspected in the Paris attacks.

Second chances propel Shield finalists

Victoria and South Australia will look to make the most of second lives when the Sheffield Shield final begins on Saturday.

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Both teams’ seasons looked over at separate points in the past month, but now have the chance to win the covered title at Glenelg’s Gliderol Stadium.

South Australia in particular have walked a tightrope to the final, winning their last two games and relying on results in other games to fall their way.

However, it could have been a different story if an injured Nick Benton hadn’t edged them to a one-wicket victory over WA at the WACA earlier this month.

Nursing a dislocated shoulder, the No.11 held the bat in only his un-preferred left hand to score the match-winning runs in the must-win game.

“That was a big turning point for us,” Redbacks veteran Mark Cosgrove said.

“He could easily have said `no, I’m too sore,’ or batted with two hands.”

Full of painkillers, Benton flicked a single off his pads, then edged a boundary through slips to win the match.

“I had a lot of strapping on it,” he told AAP.

“I went in trying to use two hands, but I realised after the first ball I couldn’t.”

“I’m not a very good bat, I’m happy to admit that … It was more just a case of see ball, hit ball.”

Meanwhile, the Bushrangers could easily have missed the final despite almost being assured of a position with three games to play.

They lost rounds eight and nine, before an unbeaten final-day 332-ball 97 from Cameron White against NSW saved both last week’s match and booked a spot in the decider.

“There were definitely times where I didn’t think we were going to be here,” Bushrangers captain Matt Wade said.

“In the 10 years that I’ve played with Cameron I’ve never seen him play an innings like that.

“But that’s the thing, last week we didn’t know if we were going to be here. Now we’ve just got to go out there and play the way we play.”