Faulty electrical cabling in 40,000 homes may start failing next year

Only a tiny fraction of potentially dangerous electrical cabling fitted in households across Australia has been replaced in the six months since a national recall was announced.
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The cabling does not comply with ageing requirements because it has poor quality plastic coating that could become prematurely brittle if exposed to heat, potentially causing electric shock or sparking a fire. Although, there have not yet been any reports of the cables failing, experts say safety problems may start to arise from 2016.

The latest figures from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reveal Infinity and Olsent-branded cabling has been removed from fewer than 150 of the estimated 40,000 affected homes and businesses. And 16 of the 27 companies that sold the Chinese-made cabling between May 2010 and August 2013 have not started replacing the faulty wiring.

“It’s terrible. We are really concerned about the progress,” the ACCC’s deputy chair, Delia Rickard, said. “But we do believe it’s about to ramp up. We’ve been contacting the suppliers that put the recall in place every month and pushing them.”

Ms Rickard said consumers also had a vital role to play in identifying whether the cabling was used at their property, and urged them to contact their electrician or building contractor.

“It’s really important we get the message to consumers because we know that a whole lot of electricians who used it have just got no idea where they put it,” she said.

Just 0.4 per cent of the 4000 kilometres of defective cabling had been replaced by the end of January after two recalls were announced last year when testing found the product failed to meet safety standards.

The cables were imported by Infinity Cable Co, which has gone into liquidation, and sold to major hardware stores and smaller suppliers in all states and territories except the Northern Territory.

It was used for electrical wiring in new and old homes, air-conditioning units and power points and was fitted in an estimated 40,000 buildings nationwide. In Victoria, it was sold in 2012 and 2013 through Masters, Home Timber and Hardware, Plants Plus, Thrifty-Link Hardware, Mitre 10, Go Electrical and six smaller retailers.

Home and business owners who recently had wiring installed at their property are urged to contact their builder or a licensed electrical contractor to arrange an inspection to confirm if Infinity cabling was used. If Infinity cable was supplied, the cable supplier will arrange for an inspection and remediation free of charge. Infinity cabling located in roof spaces, under flooring or close to a heat source will need to be replaced.

The ACCC, which is co-ordinating the national response in conjunction with state regulators,  will release updated figures next month. The Infinity Cable regulatory taskforce of electrical, building and consumer law regulators will then meet and discuss progress to date and the implications of that progress when the data has been gathered.

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Julie Bishop admits role with Triggs was discussed

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop during question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop during question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop during question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop during question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Pressure mounting: Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop during a division in question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Triggs denies she sought another job

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has undermined the government’s stance that there had been no inducement to Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs to leave her job, confirming an international posting for Ms Triggs had been the subject of discussions.

The revelation has raised fresh questions about the government’s handling of the Human Rights Commission’s presidency, and brought forward claims that the government had misled parliament over the affair.

Ms Bishop’s statement in a fiery question time fuels opposition claims Ms Triggs was enticed to resign ahead of the release of a report critical of government policy of keeping children in immigration detention.

The continuing furore over Professor Triggs came amid reports of further backbench rumblings about Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership, including a Channel 7 report that backbenchers had approached Mr Turnbull and were calling on senior ministers to bring on a leadership spill.

On Thursday afternoon Sky News tweeted that government sources were suggesting Professor Triggs had wanted to be “looked after” if she quit the commission. However, in a statement to Fairfax Media, Professor Triggs said she “categorically denies any suggestion that the issue of a job offer and resignation came at [my] instigation”. Professor Triggs told the Senate hearing this week she considered the offer made to her a “disgraceful proposition”.

After three days of scrutiny, Ms Bishop conceded on Thursday that an “international” role was in fact discussed with Professor Triggs in early February, during a meeting in her office with the secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Chris Moraitis. However, it is unclear how specific the discussion was, and which side raised the international option.

The February 3 meeting was the same one in which Professor Triggs was told – according to her version of events – that the Attorney-General George Brandis had lost confidence in her and wanted her to consider her position.

Under questioning earlier in the week, the legally trained Professor Triggs had stopped short of categorising the alternative posting as an “inducement”.    Offering an inducement carries a five-year jail term.

Ms Bishop’s concession came after Labor highlighted the inconsistency of Mr Moraitis telling a Senate committee that a specific role was discussed, while the Ms Bishop and Mr Abbott maintained to parliament that no resignation was sought, and no inducement had been offered.

The Bishop admission appeared to contradict repeated denials by both Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop that any offer of any other role was made to the Human Rights Commission president.

The government has strenuously denied “inducing” Ms Triggs to fall on her sword despite its criticisms of her impartiality.

“I repeat, the president of the Human Rights Commission has not been asked to resign,” Mr Abbott again told question time on Thursday.

“No inducement has been offered as the president herself has declared to Senate estimates, but Madam Speaker, the government has lost confidence in her – we have lost confidence in the president.”

Under sustained opposition attack on Thursday, Ms Bishop said, “There was no job offer made to the president of the Human Rights Commission”.

“There was no request for her to resign and there was no inducement offered,” she told Parliament.

“A role was raised that related to international affairs, the details of which … as the secretary of the Attorney-General’s department said in Senate estimates, it was a sensitive matter that he did not wish to give details of in Senate estimates so I don’t give details of it.”

Asked the difference between a specific role and a job offer, Ms Bishop suggested it may not have been the government’s idea anyway.

“There is a world of difference, Madam Speaker, it depends on who raised the issue of a role and no specific job offer was made” she said.

The Australian Human Rights Commission report, The Forgotten Children, was tabled on the February 11, sparking a furious response by the Abbott government which believes it has unfairly targetted the Coalition rather than Labor.

Mr Abbott told Parliament the government had lost confidence in Professor Triggs’ conduct because she had informally discussed undertaking her review with “Labor ministers” in early 2013, shortly after commencing her five-year statutory term, but had held off for fear of the review being caught up in politics of an election year.

Liberals believe that was a thin justification for a biased decision to shield Labor from criticism and direct the blame for detaining the children of asylum seekers on the incoming Coalition government.

The government argues it has dramatically reduced the number of minors detained by stopping the boats, after Labor locked up nearly 2000 over its time in office.

The parliamentary scrutiny has exposed Ms Bishop – as the minister representing the Attorney-General in the House of Representatives – to fierce criticism for the combative actions of Mr Abbott and Mr Brandis after both men launched politically motivated attacks on Professor Triggs’ performance.

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Critics whip me now, for Fifty Shades has won a fan

Fifty shades of power: For Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), love is a battlefield. Flight of fantasy: Christian Grey is certainly a projection of a certain romantic stereotype.
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I saw Fifty Shades of Grey last week and I liked it. May God forgive me. I should be taken out and flogged – which would at least be appropriate.

Given the worldwide controversy, denunciations from feminists (a number of whom admit they haven’t seen it), campaigns on social media and general hubbub, buying a ticket felt a bit like letting the side down. I expected a piece of trash; five more lashes to me for prejudging it.

The movie I saw was sober and thematically rich. I didn’t find it that erotic, but I’ll admit to a little swooning. British director Sam(antha) Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Man) has ensured that it is gorgeously photographed, with sensuous lighting and delicate close-ups. A beautiful young woman, played by Dakota Johnson, enters a dangerous relationship with a rich man (Jamie Dornan), who’s somewhere between a model and a psychopath. Some of the criticisms are fair, but misleading. Yes, it does conflate the tropes of romantic fiction – the heroine who falls for a stranger who’s worth $2 billion and flies a helicopter – with an abusive relationship, but surely that’s the point? If the film is about anything, it is about consent and coercion, in its many forms. Fifty shades of power, in fact.

Anastasia Steele is attracted to someone she wouldn’t normally go near. Christian Grey is a little older, vastly experienced in sexual matters and incapable of love – all of which he makes clear at the start. She is about 21, a virgin, smart as a whip and fully capable of looking after herself – no victim. I haven’t read the books but I’m guessing that a lot of the readers connect with this depiction of a modern woman struggling with the tension between doing what’s good for you and taking what you desire.

Ana resists him, but her heart says “this is the one”. He pushes her away, saying ‘I’m not the man for you”. Yet he can’t stay away from her either. At every step, he warns her of his exotic tastes, his inability to do “romance”. He even shows her his “play room” before they get past kissing. He also showers her with expensive gifts and tries to control her life, most of which she finds troubling. She won’t be bought. Diamonds are not this girl’s best friend.

Ana has to choose what kind of pleasures she will accept. Christian makes that very clear when he insists on a kind of sexual contract. They go through it, item by item, in an erotically charged and funny “business meeting”, where she rules things in or out. Fisting of any sort? “Not under any circumstances,” she says. “What are butt plugs?” she asks. Her innocence attracts him; his experience attracts her. Not one second of the film is coerced. Each act is consensual – which is not to say that Ana finds it all to her liking. She walks out a couple of times, but keeps coming back – just like Bella in Twilight, which is the origin of the idea for E.L. James’ best-selling novel.

It started as a piece of fan fiction, with bondage and discipline instead of vampirism. James wisely took the girl’s age up to 21, the age of consent. Christian’s outlaw sexual tastes give the story tension. Bella risked her life to love Edward; so far Ana has just risked a sore bum and major damage to her heart.

E.L. James brings this back to a real issue. Ana falls for a man who can’t love; he won’t even let her touch him. Christian’s problem isn’t really his need to dominate – it’s his fear of love (apart from the fact that he’s a prize control freak and a genuine arsehole). That’s where the story hits every girl and woman with something she already knows: men are cowards about commitment.

Most of the feminist criticisms appear to my reading to be based on the way the books (and now the film) make all of this so pretty. It’s an abusive relationship dressed up to look like something desirable. Well yeah, otherwise Ana would never have to make hard choices. He’s grooming an innocent; he’s a classic abuser. Yes and she sees it. Implicit in that criticism is a belief that the women going to see the film (in the millions) can’t see that for themselves, and can’t defend themselves from this insidious confusion.

I don’t mean to be rude, but that’s what the censors among us always say about movies from which they want to protect us. You and I may be smart enough to see the irony/artistic worth/subtle messages of this or that film – take your pick, from Pasolini to Catherine Breillat – but it’s the young ones who are at risk.

I think what some of these critiques are saying is they don’t like the way the movie normalises porn for women, which is not the intent of the movie I saw. Pornography has a completely different aim and a lot of it is demeaning for both sexes. Fifty Shades dares to say that sex, even of an exotic sort, can be a lot of fun, and so far, the series is about where Ana draws the line. She says no several times, and Christian stops what he is doing immediately.

No really does mean no in this movie. I thought that was a message we had all agreed upon.

Twitter: @ptbyrnes

 

 

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Carlton Blues train in MandurahPHOTOS

Carlton Blues train in Mandurah | PHOTOS Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.
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Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

Carlton Blues trained in Mandurah.

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Narrabri combo makes it a family affair at Tamworth

NARRABRI combo Chris and Peter Shepherdson celebrated a winning treble at Tamworth Paceway yesterday.
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Sam Ison and Pirates Pearl swashbuckle their way home to win yesterday’s Northern Inland Credit Union Competitive Stakes.Photo: Barry Smith 260215BSE07

Chris drove drove Big Riddle, I Want Candy and Rockstar Ruler to victory for his uncle, Peter Shepherdson, who trains all three in a family effort.

Shepherdson was also celebrating the win of Big Riddle in the TAB南京夜网.au pace (1609m).

Chris Shepherdson also had a win away from the track recently when he and wife Elizabeth welcomed six pound 3 ounce Cohen Robert Shepherdson into the world.

“They are both fit and healthy,” Chris Shepherdson said of the mother and son combo.

“I hope he continues to bring me luck.”

Big Riddle led into the straight with race favourite Rosie O’Rourke and Geraldene Shannon becoming entangled on the turn and Peter Missen almost falling from the gig behind the favourite.

“I’m not saying we would have won it but Big Riddle was travelling and we would have gone close.

“He still had a bit left and Rosie had had a hard run. We’ll take that though.”

Then followed I Want Candy and Rockstar Ruler to make it a special day.

It was also a good day for two of the three Ison brothers when Tommy won the first race and older brother Sam the second.

Tommy drove Diamondsnstones for Inverell owner-trainer William Miller to win the Peter Jackson Bookmaker Pace (1609m) before Sam combined to win the Northern Inland Credit Union Competitive Stakes (1980m) for owners Rod and Dianne Hazell with four-year-old mare Pirates Pearl.

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