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Sydney weather: The moment the southerly buster swept in to end high temperatures

The return to more typical October daytime temperatures follows Sydney’s hottest trio of days this early in the warming season on record. Photo: Nick Moir Classic ‘roll cloud’ over Turrmimeta Beach. Photo: John Grainger, via BoM
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A roll or shelf cloud over the northern beaches in 2014. Photo: Nick Moir

You might have set your alarm clock by it – or the southerly buster may have woken you up anyway.

Meteorologists predicted the strong cool change would hit the city from the south at about 5am on Wednesday, and that’s precisely when it swept over Sydney Airport, Anthony Duke, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said.

Minutes later, as shown in the Doppler radar image in the video above, the strong winds had reached Sydney Harbour, buffeting any boaties mad enough to out for an early sail.

The Bureau of Meteorology has since cancelled its severe weather warning for damaging winds that it had issued late on Tuesday for a region stretching from the south coast up to the Hunter district

Wattamolla, on the cliffs of the Royal National Park to Sydney’s south, recorded the day’s strongest winds of 95 km/h, also just before 5am.

Around Sydney, the harbour recorded 76 km/h and Norah Head up the coast collected 78 km/h gusts, the bureau said.

“The winds will gradually ease through the day,” Mr Duke said, adding that the haze, dust and pollen kicked up by the change will start to settle.

Unlike in Melbourne, where the cool change sent temperatures tumbling about 13 degrees in just eight minutes, Sydney’s buster arrived around sunrise, leaving the mercury hovering just below the 20-degree mark.

The bureau defines classic southerly busters as bringing wind gusts of at least 54 km/h and a temperature drop of at least five degrees over three hours.

Instead, maximum temperatures for the city may remain close to the 21.5 degree peak reached just after 9am for the most of the day, with a similar top forecast for Thursday. Gusty southerly change in #Sydney shown on the doppler radar. Gusts have reached up to 76km/h at @SydneyAirportpic.twitter上海龙凤论坛m/r5NTYGHajz— Weatherzone (@weatherzone) October 6, 2015

Sydney typically receives about five such abrupt changes, also known as southerly busters, each year, the bureau said.

Tasmania, New Zealand and even Argentina lay claim to similar events.

In Sydney’s case, cool air gets trapped against the Great Dividing Range, intensifying the severity of the winds. A “roll cloud” often accompanying the change as it moves north.

Wednesday’s return to more typical October daytime temperatures follows Sydney’s hottest trio of days this early in the warming season on record, according to Weatherzone.

For any time of the month, the three days were hottest in October since 2004, Mr Duke said.

NSW fire authorities are not expecting the gusty winds to cause major flare-ups among the 15 fires still burning uncontained in the state as of Wednesday morning, a NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman said.

The RFS dispatched two of its main firefighting aircraft from Richmond air base to Victoria for a single drop of fire-retardants on Tuesday, the spokesman said, adding the planes remain ready to fly south again if needed by Victorian counterparts.

The string of record-breaking heat across south-eastern may prompt many in NSW to consider their fire plans.

“This may be the trigger they needed to think about the fire season,” the spokesman said. “We’re in the fire season and we need to be prepared.”

The powerful El Nino developing the Pacific – already one of the most intense on record – is combining with Indian Ocean conditions that have become less conducive for rainfall over the n continent.

Last month was the country’s third-driest September on record, with only about one-third of the typical rain falling across the nation.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website


High Court upholds state-wide ban on political donations from property developers

Former Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy outside the ICAC in 2014. Photo: Cole BennettsThe High Court has upheld a state-wide ban on political donations from property developers, bolstering a corruption inquiry into secret donations from Nathan Tinkler and other business figures.
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In a judgment delivered on Wednesday, a majority of the court rejected a claim that the ban was an impermissible restriction on the implied freedom of political communication in the Constitution.

It also upheld the validity of caps on the maximum amount that can be donated to individual candidates and parties in NSW, which are set at $2000 and $5000 respectively.

The decision removes a major obstacle to the Independent Commission Against Corruption releasing findings following its explosive inquiry last year into illicit political donations.

“These are provisions which support and enhance equality of access to government, and the system of representative government which the freedom protects,” Chief Justice Robert French and Justices Susan Kiefel, Virginia Bell and Patrick Keane said in a joint judgment.

In a separate judgment, Justice Stephen Gageler said the provisions met the “compelling statutory object … of preventing corruption and undue influence in the government of the state.”

Justice Michelle Gordon arrived at the same conclusion, saying in a separate judgment that the “burden on the freedom of communication in relation to a property developer is slight” and would not stop developers voicing their support for a party or candidate.

But in a dissenting judgment, Justice Geoffrey Nettle said the ban on developer donations was constitutionally invalid, while the caps on donations were valid.

Premier Mike Baird said the state government had “argued the case for the validity of our state’s stringent campaign finance laws during the High Court challenge” and it was pleased with the result.

“The decision opens the way for consideration of national reforms to political donations laws at COAG,” Mr Baird said.

The Labor Opposition and the Greens said the majority decision pointed to the need for Parliament to act immediately to extend the caps on donations to local government elections.

“The High Court has put beyond doubt that these caps are legally valid,” Opposition Leader Luke Foley said.

“It’s crazy that Mike Baird and I can run for Premier and be subject to strict caps, while at the same time you can run for a ward of a suburban council without any limits on what you can raise and spend.”

The Greens’ anti-corruption spokesman, Jamie Parker, went further and said the donations bans “should also be extended to the mining sector where the potential for corruption has been exposed by the ICAC”.

“Elections should be about the contest of ideas, not the contest of cash. Whether it is cash in a brown paper bag or buying a table at a fundraising event the community needs to be sure that politicians aren’t being bought,” Mr Parker said.

The challenge to the political donations laws was brought by developer and former Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy, who admitted at ICAC to giving envelopes stuffed with $10,000 in cash each to then Liberal candidates Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell in the back of his Bentley.

The corruption watchdog had delayed releasing its report in its inquiry into political donations, dubbed Operation Spicer, pending the High Court’s ruling. However, it may still have to wait until the Supreme Court rules on a separate case brought by Mr McCloy, who is seeking an order restraining ICAC from delivering its findings because of an alleged appearance of bias.

In 2009 the Rees Labor government passed laws banning property developers from making political donations. The laws took effect on January 2010.

The same section of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act that bans donations from developers also bans donations from the alcohol, tobacco and gambling industries.

Operation Spicer resulted in 10 NSW Liberal MPs joining the crossbench or resigning from politics. It investigated allegations the NSW Coalition accepted money from developers before the 2011 election.

One of the donors was former coal billionaire Nathan Tinkler, whose property development company Buildev was lobbying for approval for a coal loader in the Newcastle suburb of Mayfield.

ICAC heard Mr Tinkler donated about $45,000 to the Nationals and another $66,000 to an alleged Liberal Party slush fund, Eightbyfive.

Chief Justice Robert French and Justices Susan Kiefel, Virginia Bell and Patrick Keane noted that ICAC and other bodies had published “eight adverse reports since 1990 concerning land development applications”.

“Given the difficulties associated with uncovering and prosecuting corruption of this kind, the production of eight adverse reports in this time brings to light the reality of the risk of corruption and the loss of public confidence which accompanies the exposure of acts of corruption.”

They also noted that “the risks that large political donations have for a system of representative government have been acknowledged since Federation”, adding that “capping of political donations is a measure which has been adopted by many countries with systems of representative government. It is a means that does not impede the system of representative government for which our Constitution provides”.

Mr McCloy was ordered to pay costs.

with Emma Partridge


Samsung, Ikea, Coca-Cola, NAB and Kleenex head list of Choice Shonky Award winners for 2015

All the winners. Photo: suppliedIkea’s “leather” couches, Kleenex’s “flushable” wet wipes and NAB’s “low” rate credit cards have each snagged a Shonky Award for delivering the opposite of what was sold to consumers.
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At its annual awards ceremony, consumer advocacy group Choice bestowed its nameand shamegongs on what it rated the eight dodgiest products and companies in2015, including Coca-Cola and Arnott’s.

“From payday lenders that prey on the vulnerable to laundry products that just don’t work, it is clear business still needs to sharpen up its act,” said Alan Kirkland, chief executive of Choice.

It criticised electronics giant Samsung for its ineffective recall of washing machines with a fault that has sparked house fires. There are 58,000 machines yet to be fixed, replaced or refunded across the country.

Coca-Cola was blasted for funnelling money to the front groupGlobal Energy Balance Network thatcontends consumersworry too much about what they eat and not enough about how much they exercise.

“We think funding an organisation that suggests we should keep drinking sugary drinks and just exercise more is a load of fizz,” Choice said.

It slammed Swedish furniture giant Ikea for flogging “leather” couches on its n websitethat turned out to be made out of polyester and polyurethane.

The groupalso derided Kleenex for falselyclaiming its “flushable” cleansing cloths would disintegrate like “toilet paper”. Used wipes are causing sewer chokes.

“Wipe-related damage to sewerage systemsis estimated at $15 million annually. We think the ‘flushable’claim misleads consumers,” it said.

Big bank NAB collected a Shonky for failing to pass on official interest rate cuts to credit card customers. It also hiked rates for its “low” rate card customers from 12.99 per cent to 13.99 per cent.

Also in the financial sector, the payday lending industry nabbed an award.The federal government is in the middle of reviewing the laws regulating the loan sharks, which can offer rates of more than200 per cent, typically to cash-strapped borrowers.

“In one recentcase,Cash Converters irresponsibly issued a pensioner 63 loans over six years. We think payday lenders are a school of predators, telling consumers to take out high interest loans so they can devour them in frenzy of debt,” it said.

Choice gave an award to Nanosmart for spruiking laundry balls, priced at $50 a pop,it misleadingly claims allows you to wash without detergent.

“[Our] test found water alone did a better job. [We have]informed Consumer Protection Western which is taking action,” it said.

It also bestowed an award onArnott’s forcreating its own “school canteen – meets amber guidelines” logo. It said the logo gave a “healthhalo” to Tiny Teddies that are “littered” with 100s and 1000s and classified as confectionery.

Mr Kirkland said more than 400 dud products were in contention this year.

“We hope the Shonkys encourage consumers to look critically at the goods and services they use, question poor service, hidden costs and the fine print beneath claims that seem too good to be true,” he said.

Samsung for its recall efforts of faulty washing machinesKleenex for its “flushable cloths” that donot disintegrate for yearsCoca-Cola for its gifts to front group Global Energy Balance NetworkIkea for selling “leather” couchesmade of polyester and polyurethaneNAB for hiking rates on its “low” rate credit cardsPayday lending industry for preying on vulnerable nsNanosmartfor flogginglaundry balls that do not workArnott’s Tiny Teddiesfor creating a false impression of health

Consumers concerned about their washingmachine should call Samsung’s Product Safety Hotline on 1800 239 655 or visit thecompany’swebsite.

The affected models are SW75V9WIP/XSA SW65V9WIP/XSA SW70SPWIP/XSA SW80SPWIP/XSA WA85GWGIP/XSA WA85GWWIP/XSA.


Landmark High Court ruling on BRCA1 gene patent as pensioner wins legal case

Yvonne D’Arcy, who fought to have the breast cancer gene patent overturned, outside the Federal Court after it first ruled that mutations in the BRCA1 gene could be patented. Photo: Peter RaeA 69 year-old pensioner from Queensland has succeeded in a David-and-Goliath battle against a multinational corporation that claimed a patent over the “breast cancer” gene.
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‘s highest court has unanimously ruled that a mutated gene that causes cancer cannot be subject to a patent, or the right to control use of the gene.

The decision has been hailed as a “revolution in intellectual property” and a victory for public health and medical research.

The case is a massive win for cancer survivor and grandmother Yvonne D’Arcy and the law firm that represented her, Maurice Blackburn, which took the case all the way to the High Court after repeated losses in the Federal Court. It argued that mutations in the so-called “breast cancer gene” BRCA1 were naturally occurring component of the human body that had been discovered, rather than an invention that could be patented.

But Medicines and some intellectual property lawyers say the decision could slow access to new drugs.

Ms D’Arcy said she was extremely excited and relieved.

“I have had breast cancer twice, and although mine’s not genetic, I’ve always been of the view that you can’t own a part of me, or anyone else,” she said.

BRCA1 mutations put a woman at far higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Many carriers, such as actress Angelina Jolie, choose to test for it so they can have preventative surgery if they are a carrier. The patent was held by US company Myriad Genetics, which had licensed it for use in by a company called Genetic Technologies.

Maurice Blackburn principal Rebecca Gilsenan said the case would end years of uncertainty for people with BRCA1 mutations.

“The High Court has found that a company cannot lay claim to ownership to our genetic information,” she said. “[It] recognised that genetic information is not something that is ‘made’ or ‘artificially created’.  Myriad did not ‘create, make or alter’ the genetic code. This is what we have argued since the outset,” she said.

“Justice Gordon stated that the specific mutations and polymorphisms are indicative of a predisposition to breast cancer and ovarian cancer is a fact. That fact existed before Myriad worked it out.”

“This judgment invalidates the patent on the BRCA1 gene. It provides certainty that testing and research on the BRCA1 gene cannot be monopolised in and can be carried out widely and cost-effectively.”

Director of Public Policy at Cancer Council Paul Grogan said the decision would hopefully also give certainty to other people who needed genetic testing.

“It has been a very emotional and difficult journey, and I really want to acknowledge the courage of Yvonne D’Arcy in this case, as it really was a David and Goliath battle,” he said.

Mr Grogan said cancer patients had been in limbo since 2008, when Genetic Technologies had written to providers of public testing programs to tell them that they could no longer test for BRCA mutations as it was enforcing its patent. It eventually withdrew the claim after public outcry.

“They only did it because it was a PR disaster,” Mr Grogan said, noting that other cancers that attracted less advocacy and support may not have been able to win a public relations battle.

“[It] was always our biggest concern, that because of the out-dated nature of patent law, that we were going to see [it impact on the] rapid acceleration in the development of genetic testing and the importance of biomarkers for the risk of future diseases.”

Matthew Rimmer, a professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation Law and the Queensland University of Technology, said the victory would be a boon for research and innovation.

“There was concern in the scientific community about the threat of patent litigation,” he said. “The ruling will also be an important precedent for public health administration. It will mean that the provision of genetic testing will be for public good, rather than private profit.”

He said the ruling was also likely to be important in regards to other international cases, including one underway in Canada challenging a patent on the mutation causing Long QT Syndrome, a rare heart problem.

“The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry will be upset about the decision,” he said. “The biotechnology industry will perhaps consider an action under investor-state dispute settlement – like big tobacco did after losing the plain packaging case.”

But Grant Shoebridge, a partner at Shelston IP who has a PhD in immunology, said he believed the judgment may still leave room for patents on genetic material that had been isolated from nature.

Maurice Blackburn had previously suffered two crushing victories, with the Federal Court first finding that genes are the same inside and outside the body, but the act of removing them means they can then be subject to a patent.

On appeal, the full bench of the Federal Court found in February last year overturned the first decision, but decided that the very act of isolating a gene from the body means that it is no longer in its natural state and so is subject to a patent.

Dr Shoebridge said naturally occurring materials other genes that could be isolated could still be patented, and it may if that genetic material isolated was then used as a product rather than a test it would still qualify.

“I think there would be a strong argument that would probably still be eligible,” he said.

He said patents on genetic material did not stifle innovation, but researchers needed the money that came from patents to ensure that they could develop new treatments.

Krystal Barter, a BRCA mutation carrier and founder of Pink Hope, said the decision was a win for the people, while Sally Crossing from the group Cancer Voices said she was thrilled.

“After all these years of being involved and thinking this was the commonsense ethical thing to do, it really gives you faith in the judicial system,” she said.

The Consumers Health Forum said gene patents were an “indefensible barrier” to both research and ultimately patient treatment, as medicine became more personalised it was more important than ever the patents were overturned.


High Court case challenges government’s power to run offshore detention centres

The detention centre on Nauru. Photo: Angela WylieNauru rape victim begs Malcolm Turnbull for abortion in Nauru ‘safer than ‘, local justice minister claims
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The n government asked Nauru to establish a detention camp, organised a perimeter fence to keep people inside and effectively controls the detention of asylum seekers at the island, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

This argument is central to a legal challenge to the lawfulness of n-funded detention centres at Nauru and Manus Island, which argues the federal government does not have the power under the constitution to detain people in other countries.

But lawyers for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and the government’s detention centre operator, Transfield Services, say the centre was established under Nauruan law, and a new “open centre” arrangement means asylum seekers are no longer detained.

The test case is being run on behalf of a woman from Bangladesh who was brought to from Nauru in August last year for medical treatment. Her daughter is now 10 months old and supporters say the mother is “terrified” of returning to Nauru.

Cases have also been brought for about 200 people who have been detained offshore and are now in temporarily, including men who have been victims of violence on Manus Island, women sexually assaulted on Nauru, and more than 50 children.

The case, which was heard by the full bench of the High Court on Wednesday, followed the Nauru government’s decision on Monday to fling open the gates of the detention camp to create an “open centre” 24 hours a day.

Counsel for the Commonwealth Justin Gleeson SC said asylum seekers were now “under no obligation to remain at the centre” and it is simply an optional place of residence.

However counsel for the plaintiff Ron Merkel QC told the court the laws surrounding detention on Nauru remained unchanged and a “critical event” might occur that caused the Nauruan government to say “the open centre is now finished”.

Mr Merkel told the court that through a contract with Transfield Services, the Commonwealth funds, controls and implements the powers of detention. The plaintiff claims this contract is unlawful and invalid.

Mr Merkel questioned if Nauru had any involvement in the day-to-day operation of the centre, saying “this is effectively detention provided … at the will of the Commonwealth”.

Lawyers for the plaintiff submitted to the court that the Commonwealth caused the detention of the woman by asking the Nauruan government to create the camp and selecting who is detained there.

The Commonwealth procured the construction of a perimeter fence and other security infrastructure that kept the detainee inside, and applied and paid for a type of Nauruan visa that required her detention.

Commonwealth contractors controlled her movements and if it weren’t for the federal government, Nauru “would have had no interest in the detention of the plaintiff,” the submission said.

Lawyers for the Commonwealth submitted that the plaintiff “lacks standing to challenge” the Commonwealth’s conduct, and said the conduct is authorised by the Migration Act and other laws.

They say under the law, the woman should be taken to Nauru “as soon as reasonably practicable”.

Mr Gleeson told the court that the woman would be free to come and go from the detention centre should she return to Nauru, but would require separate permissions to leave the island.

He asked the court to reject the plaintiff’s claim that Nauru centre was “the Commonwealth’s detention”, saying this would mean Nauru had become a “territory” of .

Mr Gleeson said the logic of the plaintiff’s case meant no arm of the n Commonwealth has the power to ask another country to process asylum seekers, if this would involve detention – even though has the power to detain asylum seekers onshore.

The hearing continues on Thursday.

Outside the court before the hearing, Human Rights Law Centre legal advocacy director Daniel Webb said the case looks at the lawfulness of both past and future detention.

“Irrespective of [the open centre] changes there remain important and untested constitutional questions about the power of the n government to pay and control the detention of innocent people in other countries,” he said.

“Without doubt the questions at the heart of this case really strike at the core of the current offshore detention arrangements … the answer to these legal question will have significant implications going forward.”

Mr Webb said while the government has the power to detain people in and remove people from the country “it’s quite an extraordinary thing … to then fund and control the detention of those innocent  people in the territories of other countries and it’s that detention and that spending that this case challenges”.

” should not be warehousing anyone on remote Pacific islands, especially not 10-month-old babies.”

He welcomed the open centre policy at Nauru but said “allowing people the freedom to go for a walk” does not address the “fundamental injustice inherent in leaving them languishing indefinitely”.

Mr Webb said under the separation of powers between the courts and the government “there are very clear limits on the power of the government to lock people up … the question is are those limits exceeded by our government’s involvement in detention offshore”.

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Chinan movies set new box office record

Michael Caton in Last Cab to Darwin, which has helped steer n movies to a record haul at the local box office. Damon Gameau, actor-turned director, whose That Sugar Film set a new record for a non-IMAX documentary. Photo: Wayne Taylor
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Streets ahead: Mad Max: Fury Road is the biggest-grossing n movie of the year.

Family fave: Shane Jacobson in Oddball, which has now passed the $8 million mark.

Movie session timesFull movies coverage

n cinema has bounced back, with local films setting a new record at the box office in this country on the weekend, and achieving their highest share of overall box office since 2001.

Total revenues for n movies at the n box office in 2015 now stand at $64.09 million, according to figures collected by the Motion Picture Distributors Association of . That passes the previous record of $63.4 million set in 2001 (note that these figures are not adjusted for inflation – for the adjusted figures, see table below).

The n share of box office is 6.8 per cent, also the highest since 2001, though a long way short of the all-time record of 23.5 per cent, set in 1986, the year in which Crocodile Dundee swept all before it, with a decent supporting turn from Malcolm.

This year’s figure is a little more than half a million dollars short of the combined totals of 2013 ($38.5 million) and 2014 ($26.2 million), years when n audiences stayed away from n movies in droves.

Screen chief Graeme Mason hailed this year’s result, and suggested that with Jocelyn Moorhouse’s eagerly anticipated The Dressmaker just around the corner, there was more to come.

“My prediction is that we’ll reach over $70 million by the end of 2015, setting a new benchmark.”

The new record was set over the weekend thanks to the continuing success of family film Oddball, whose box office has now passed $8.12 million, Blinky Bill ($$2.33 million) and Last Cab to Darwin ($7.14 million).

The biggest n film of the year by a long shot is George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, with receipts of $21.65 million. Next is Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner, which took $10.18 million this year (and a further $5.65 million last year, after its release on Boxing Day).

Damon Gameau’s That Sugar Film, with $1.71 million, this year set a new record for box office receipts for an n documentary (excluding IMAX films).

Mr Mason hailed the diversity of the films that had drawn ns back to the cinema this year. “We’ve seen films about nostalgia and heroism, good-humoured family larks, personal struggles and social conscience,” he said. “In a year that’s seen a lot of turmoil, ns have looked for stories that reflect their darker side as well as their care for social issues and their need to laugh.”

Richard Harris, head of business and audience at Screen , added that it was especially heartening that the industry was not “over relying on one film to bank your results” this year.

“What is clear to me is that each of these films had real clarity about the audience they were targeting,” he said. “I think there will be a lot of lessons learnt by filmmakers about the importance of doing that in the future.”n box office high points: dollars and shares

(NOTE: the figure in brackets is adjusted for inflation, as at June 2015, using the n Bureau of Statistics consumer price inflation calculator)

1982 $34.5 million ($110.37 million)Share: 16.4 per centMajor releases:The Man from Snowy River, Mad Max 2, The Year of Living Dangerously

1986 $44.4 million ($107.5 million)Share: 23.5 per centMajor releases:Crocodile Dundee, Malcolm

1988 $39.8 million ($83.56 million)Share: 17.8 per centMajor releases:Crocodile Dundee II, The Man From Snowy River II

1994 $46.6 million ($79.76 million)Share: 9.8 per centMajor releases:The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Muriel’s Wedding, Lightning Jack

2001 $63.4 million ($90.39 million)Share: 7.8 per centMajor releases:The Bank, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Lantana, The Man Who Sued God, Moulin Rouge

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World famous ‘Harperman’ Canadian public servant Tony Turner quits after YouTube controversy

More public service newsCanadian public servant likely to be sacked after folk song goes viral
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The Canadian public servant who fell foul of his bosses when his protest song about the nation’s government went viral on YouTube, has walked away from his job.

Singer-songwriter Tony Turner, who was also a geographer with Environment Canada, was suspended and under investigation for allegedly breaching the bureaucracy’s ethical code.

The case sparked a national debate about freedom of speech and the right of public servants to take part in political activities.

It mirrors similar cases in in recent years but, unlike ns, Canadians’ freedom of expression is protected by their constitution.

Turner, well known in the Canadian capital Ottawa’s folk music scene, recorded the protest song Harperman in June with an impromptu choir calling themselves the Crowd of Well Wishers.

The tune has been viewed almost 700,000 times on YouTube but was not a hit with Environment Canada, which placed its employee on suspension pending a full investigation.

But Mr Turner brought the process to and end, retiring from his job, effective Friday.

“When Environment Canada suspended me earlier this summer, I was assured a quick investigation and decision,” he told the Ottawa Citizen.

“That has not happened, and I have decided it better to retire and continue to express my views as all Canadian citizens are entitled to do.”

But he is adamant that he was within his democratic rights to write and perform his song, although he conceded he might have been more “circumspect” about its posting on the video sharing site.

“I did my job objectively, impartially and I did it well,” he said.

“I felt that anything I did outside of the context of my work was allowed to be done under the charter of rights and freedoms.

“I have no regrets about writing the song.”

Like the APS code of conduct, the Canadian government’s values and ethics code says staff must carry out their work “in a non-partisan and impartial manner”.

A former head of the Ontario provincial public service, Tony Dean, told The Globe and Mail in September that Turner’s song “well and truly” violated the bureaucracy’s apolitical nature, particularly given the looming election.

However, the president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, Debi Daviau, told the Ottawa Citizen that Turner’s expression of his political opinions did not interfere with his ability to perform his research, which was most recently on migratory birds.

She said the “rights of Canadians shouldn’t be different between the private and public sectors. The right to participate in the federal election is the same and so is the right to free speech.”

Most APS agencies warned n public servants of the risk of making political comments in 2013, in the wake of the Immigration Department’s decision to sack Michaela Banerji.

Ms Banerji had used an anonymous Twitter account to criticise the government’s refugee policies.


Man dies in hospital after assault at Grosvenor Hotel in Waterloo

Grosvenor Hotel, Waterloo.A man has died in hospital after he was allegedly assaulted at a hotel in Waterloo in Sydney’s inner south.
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Detectives have established a crime scene at the Grosvenor Hotel on Phillip Street, where the 52-year-old man was reportedly assaulted on Tuesday afternoon.

His death came a day after another man, father-of-one Kyle Watkins, died in hospital following a one-punch attack in Coffs Harbour.

In the latest attack, a NSW Police spokeswoman said detectives had been told the man was at the hotel in Waterloo when he was assaulted by an unknown person about 4pm.

The exact circumstances of the confrontation were not clear, however police had been told the man was struck on the head, fell to the ground and went into cardiac arrest.

A NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said paramedics were called to Phillip Street about 4.15pm to treat the man. He was taken to St Vincents Hospital in a serious condition.

Police said the man died in hospital about 1.30am on Wednesday. Hospital staff notified police, and detectives from Redfern Local Area Command are now investigating.

On Wednesday morning detectives established a crime scene at the hotel and forensic officers were examining the area. Police were investigating whether the attack was captured by a CCTV camera.

Mr Watkins, 27, died in hospital after he was punched in Coffs Harbour, on the NSW north coast. His life support was turned off on Tuesday following the attack on West High Street on Saturday night.

Friends described Mr Watkins, who had a young son, as a good father and a “kind soul”.

“In school he was that boy who was nice to those being bullied, he was nice to everyone,” a Facebook post said. “My heart goes out to his family… Fly high KW.”

Mr Watkins, from the small town of Ulmarra, about 95 kilometres north of Coffs Harbour, had been at a licensed premises in Coffs Harbour with friends.

Police said he left about 10.15pm and was walking west along West High Street, near the intersection with Lyster Street, when he and another unidentified man became involved in an argument.

Police say the unidentified man threw a punch, causing his victim to fall to the ground and hit his head on the road. The attacker ran from the scene while his victim lay unconscious on the road.

Mr Watkins was taken to Coffs Harbour Hospital with critical head injuries. He was later flown to John Hunter Hospital, where he died about midday on Tuesday.

Police are appealing for anyone with information about either assault to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.