Jewish community welcomes Netanyahu at Bondi Synagogue on controversial visit

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken warmly of his country’s relationship with Australia on a visit to the Central Synagogue in Bondi Junction on Wednesday evening.


It comes after a day spent fielding questions over the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.

“There’s no better friend for the state of Israel,” Mr Netanyahu said of Mr Turnbull as the pair appeared before a 2000-strong Jewish congregation.

“But he’s had some standard bearers before him. John Howard and Tony Abbott.”

Both former prime ministers were seated just behind Mr Netanyahu in the synagogue and received huge applause from the congregation, which included NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, prominent lawyer Mark Leibler, retail billionaire Solomon Lew and Jeanne Pratt, widow of the late industrialist Richard Pratt.

Such adulation is harder to come by back at home for Mr Netanyahu, whose Likud party has been slipping in the opinion polls while he remains under police investigation into claims he wrongly accepted gifts from billionaires.

Mr Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing, has also faced months of criticism over Israel’s rapid expansion of settlements on Palestinian-owned land in the West Bank – a move condemned by the United Nations.

Mr Turnbull spent much of the day defending Israel against the UN’s criticism.

Facing the congregation at his “local shul” – as he calls the synagogue in the heart of his Wentworth electorate – Mr Turnbull said Australia disassociated itself from the UN resolution because it attributed fault only to the state of Israel.

Mr Netanyahu said while he knew Israel was “much maligned” in the UN, he saluted Mr Turnbull for “standing up for Israel”.

“You refused to accept this hypocrisy,” he said.


The Israeli leader sparked huge applause for speaking out about the need to “battle against those who seek to demonise Jews”, referring to a resurgence in anti-semitism in many parts of the world.

“It is something we need to fight together,” he said.

“I think this is important in Europe. It’s important in America. It’s very important that President Trump took a strong stand against anti-semitism.”

Mr Netanyahu left his crowd with an invitation.

“I want all of you to come to Israel. I want you to visit your friends and your families, I want you to walk the streets of the old city in Jerusalem and the Golan.

“We are part of you, you are part of us.”

Earlier, just hours after landing in Sydney for an historic four-day visit, Mr Netanyahu slammed suggestions by Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd for wanting Australia to join 137 other countries in giving diplomatic recognition to an independent Palestine.

“What kind of state will it be that they are advocating?” Mr Netanyahu asked during a press conference at Kirribilli House after holding bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday.

“A state that calls for Israel’s destruction? A state whose territory will be used immediately for radical Islam?”

Landed in Sydney for 1st-ever visit of an Israeli PM to Australia. Thanks for the warm welcome. I’m far from Israel, but feel at home. 🇮🇱🇦🇺 pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/qmUEuSKcJO

— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) February 21, 2017

The calls from Mr Hawke and Mr Rudd – both strong supporters of Israel and backed by former foreign ministers Gareth Evans and Bob Carr – are largely driven by concerns Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements on land it occupies on the West Bank is damaging the prospects of peace with Palestinians.

The United Nations last December branded Israel’s settlements illegal under international law.

Australia at the time was a lone voice in defending Israel and accused the UN of being “one-sided”.

“Australia has been courageously willing to puncture UN hypocrisy more than once,” Mr Netanyahu said.

“The UN is capable of many absurdities and I think it’s important that you have straightforward and clear-eyed countries like Australia that often bring it back to earth,” he said after meeting Mr Turnbull.

Welcome to Australia Bibi & Sara! @netanyahu pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/ZoL8JqSzmb

— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) February 22, 2017

Mr Turnbull said he still believed that to be the case and that Australia still hopes a two-state solution with Israelis and the Palestinians living alongside each other can be achieved.

Referring to the Israeli leader’ by his nickname Bibi, Mr Turnbull suggested the circumstances could be right for both sides to restart peace talks, which last stalled in 2014.

One of the major sticking points in establishing independent states has been the Palestinians’ refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state.


Mr Netanyahu said recognition was mandatory along with Israel having security control of all territories.

“If Israel is not there to ensure security, then that state very quickly will become another bastion of radical Islam,” he said.

“Other than that, I want the Palestinians to be able to govern themselves and to have all the freedoms to do so, but not the freedom to destroy the Jewish state.”

The Israeli leader and his wife Sara arrived in Sydney from Singapore on Wednesday morning, accompanied by a large business delegation to help develop trade and security ties with Australia.

His first official port of call in Sydney was the governor-general’s official residence Admiralty House, where he arrived by boat under police escort for talks with Sir Peter Cosgrove and Mr Turnbull.


“We feel we are in the friendliest country possible,” Mr Netanyahu told Mr Turnbull as they sat down for talks on security, trade and the Middle East.

Mr Netanyahu paid tribute to the Light Horse Brigade’s liberation of Beersheba during World War I and Australia’s help in creating the Jewish state in 1947.

He later joined Mr Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at business luncheon, saying Israel was keen to develop an innovation partnership with Australia.

At the lunch, Mr Turnbull said Australia “deplored” the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which he said was designed “to delegitimise the Jewish state”.


Climate change harms ocean hot spots:study

Six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a study has found.


An international study published in the journal Science Advances looked at 2100 species of fish, seabirds, marine mammals and even plankton to calculate Earth’s hot spots of marine biodiversity.

It also found overfishing and warming temperatures were hurting the lush life in these areas.

“In those hot spots, the changes are already happening,” says study co-author Andre Chiaradia, a senior scientist and penguin expert at the Phillip Island Nature Parks in Australia.

“They are the most at risk,” he said.

Researchers found the liveliest ocean hot spot also happens to be where the science of evolution sprouted: the Pacific Ocean off the central South American coast.

Other hot spots include the the southwestern Pacific off Australia’s southern and eastern coast, southwestern Atlantic Ocean off Argentina; the western Indian Ocean off the African coast; the central western Pacific Ocean surrounding Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines and the Oceania region of the Pacific around the international date line.

Four of the six hot spots are in the Pacific; all are either in the southern hemisphere or just north of the equator.

“What makes this biodiversity? It’s the isolation,” Chiardia said.

“On land, we have kangaroos and weird animals like the platypus. And in the ocean it’s not different.”

Penguins, which are near the top of the food chain, were a good example of the impact of changing water temperatures and currents, Chiardia said.

Warm El Nino waters have decimated Galapagos penguins and the population of southern African penguins had dropped by about 90 per cent in just 20 years.

Leaks, not Russia ties, worry Republicans

Rank-and-file Republicans are more concerned about leaks of conversations between Trump advisers and the Russian government than they are about the conversations themselves, according to a new opinion poll.


The Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted between February 16 and February 20, shows US President Donald Trump has shifted opinions within a party where national security has been a top issue since the Cold War, the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato says.

“Republicans have now put a higher priority on their partisan identification and support for their current leader than principles they have had for many decades,” Sabato said.

“We live in such a polarised era.”

The poll asked people to pick one of two statements that was “the most concerning to you”.

The first statement cited “reports that Trump advisers were in repeated contact with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election”.

The second cited “US intelligence agents leaking details of conversations between Trump advisers and the Russian government to reporters”.

Overall, 43 per cent of Americans said they were most concerned about reports of the contacts with Russia.

Another 39 per cent said they were concerned about the leaks and 19 per cent said they did not know.

However, people who identified with the Republican Party appeared to be much more troubled by the leaks.

About 57 per cent said the leaks were the bigger concern, while 23 per cent said it was the Russian contacts, and another 20 per cent did not know.

Trump asked his national security adviser Michael Flynn to resign in February after reports he had discussed US sanctions with a Russian diplomat while Barack Obama was still president.

Yet, while the media focused on the contacts with Russia, Trump blamed Flynn’s departure on “criminal” leaks.

“The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” Trump said in a tweet.

NRL rise cold comfort for gutted Dragons

At some point, Paul McGregor knows he will be able to see the positives out of the 2017 NRL season.


But that point isn’t likely to arrive any time soon.

McGregor was a shattered man following St George Illawarra’s 26-20 loss to Canterbury on Sunday, which ended the Dragons’ finals hopes.

The Dragons were widely tipped to go closer to the wooden spoon than the play-offs at the start of the season, making their ninth-place finish a significant result.

But that would be cold comfort to McGregor, who watched his side become just the third in 23 years of the top-eight system to go from first spot after seven rounds to missing the finals.

“Right now I’m actually gutted,” McGregor said.

“But I’m sure once I assess the year there is a lot of good things to look at.

“If you look at our development throughout the year, how much we’ve improved from this time last year, there is only one way for the club, and that’s forward.

“But we all start the pre-season in October to play finals footy … That’s why you like to be involved in the game to play in the best time of the year.

“And that starts next week, and we’re not going to be a part of it.”

The Dragons had their chances to book a finals spot on Sunday.

They led 20-14 with 20 minutes to play, before the Bulldogs sealed it with two late tries.

Josh Dugan was also held up by Will Hopoate after he looked certain to score a try which would have created a 10-point lead

But McGregor said their early post-season holiday couldn’t be blamed on Sunday’s result.

“There’s six games this year that come to mind that could’ve went each way and we didn’t win any of them,” he said.

“The competition is that tight, when you don’t win the close ones continually you don’t play finals footy.”

Dragons captain Gareth Widdop echoed McGregor’s sentiments.

“We played some good football, that’s for sure – we certainly improved on last year,” he said.

“But you want to play finals and we didn’t. I’m certainly disappointed.”

The Dragons will welcome halfback Ben Hunt to the club next year, while star centre Dugan will depart for Cronulla.

Dugan shed tears on the field following the loss, but refused to talk to waiting media following his return match after being dropped for missing the team bus.

Vettel still smiling after difficult day

With the Italian team’s home crowd cheering as he stood on the podium, despite trailing in third and half a minute behind race winner Hamilton, Vettel said he was energised for the battles ahead.


“For sure, they are giving us a very, very hard time, especially at the moment, but we’ll see,” the German told reporters. “It’s a long journey still.

“I’m still full of adrenaline from the podium, the atmosphere was amazing. You can ask whatever you want now, I don’t care. You will always get a positive answer.”

Ferrari had arrived for their home race knowing that it was likely to favour Mercedes but encouraged by a strong showing in Belgium the previous weekend when Vettel was on Hamilton’s tail all the way.

There have been races this season where the Italian team have dominated, and they could well do so again in Singapore in two weeks’ time, but Monza was the equivalent of a bucket of cold water in the face.

“I think we just screwed up,” Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne told RTL television. “The set-up for the car was wrong. I think we underestimated the circuit.”

Vettel is three points behind Hamilton with seven of the 20 races remaining; Ferrari are 62 points adrift of Mercedes.

“For me, it looks like this weekend Ferrari have taken a step back,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff after another one-two finish for the ‘Silver Arrows’.

“I think we were very solid, but they (Ferrari) have not performed in the way everybody expected.

“Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo started from the back of the grid, and almost finished third, which suggests something is out of synch here and not how it should be.”

Vettel, who had started in sixth place, said his Ferrari simply did not have the pace to match Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the fastest track on the calendar.

But he also knew Ferrari had a strong car and would be competitive to the end of the season.

“Overall you could say it was a bad day, but I know the team is on the right way and there is a lot of stuff that is going to improve,” said Vettel.

“I know that we only get stronger, so I’m in a very, very positive mood,” added the German.

“I am not worried… it was a difficult weekend but I know that there is still a long way to go and we have got the people behind us so it is a great feeling.”

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Global condemnation after Korea nuclear test

World reaction to North Korea’s biggest nuclear test to date: :

United States

US President Donald Trump tweeted “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they (North Korea) only understand one thing!”

In another tweet he said North Korea’s “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States” and the regime “has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.


Later when asked by reporters if the US would attack North Korea the president said: “we’ll see”.


Australia condemned North Korea’s “flagrant defiance” of UN Security Council resolutions and urged the world body to take further action against the “dangerous pariah regime”.

“We call for the UN Security Council to urgently consider further strong measures that would place pressure on North Korea to change course,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a joint statement with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Australia called for all countries, especially the five UN veto powers “to apply the maximum possible pressure to this dangerous pariah regime”, according to the statement.

I guess Donald Trump is now preparing to launch a tweet. It will lift off in smoke and fire, and then with a roar disappear into nowhere.

— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) September 3, 2017France

President Emmanuel Macron: “The international community must treat this new provocation with the utmost firmness, in order to bring North Korea to come back unconditionally to the path of dialogue and to proceed to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear and ballistic program.”


China, the only North Korean ally that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, urged its neighbour to stop “wrong” actions that worsen the situation. It said it would fully enforce UN resolutions on the country.


The Russian foreign ministry: “In the emerging conditions it is absolutely essential to keep cool, refrain from any actions that could lead to a further escalation of tensions,” it said on its website, adding that North Korea risked “serious consequences”.


Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said North Korea’s “nuclear and missile development programs pose a new level of a grave and immediate threat” and “seriously undermines the peace and security of the region”.

South Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said North Korea’s sixth nuclear test should be met with the “strongest possible” response, including new United Nations Security Council sanctions to “completely isolate” the country.

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Nations Security Council should urgently look at imposing new sanctions and speed up implementation of existing ones.

“This latest action by North Korea is reckless and poses an unacceptable further threat to the international community,” May said in an emailed statement.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel said North Korea’s provocations have “reached a new dimension” with the nation’s sixth nuclear test.


The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has no access to North Korea, called the nuclear test, Pyongyang’s test is “an extremely regrettable act” that is “in complete disregard of the repeated demands of the international community.”

United Nations

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the test as “profoundly destabilising for regional security” and called on the country’s leadership to cease such acts.


UN to meet after North Korea’s nuke test

The United Nations Security Council is set to meet and discuss North Korea’s nuclear test at the request of the United States, Japan, Britain, France and South Korea, but Russia is pushing for talks rather than more sanctions.


North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, which it said was an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile.

The UN will meet on Monday morning, the US mission to the United Nations said.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea in early July over its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

The sanctions were said to have the potential to cut the Asian state’s $US3 billion ($A3.8 billion) annual export revenue by a third, but Russia questions their effectiveness.

“The imposed sanctions have not created any positive outcome. On the contrary, the situation leaves something to be desired,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

Peskov said it was premature to speak of “specific modalities” of Russia’s possible actions ahead of new talks on North Korea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is now in China for a summit of BRICS leaders, discussed the bomb test with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier on Sunday. Both leaders expressed their deep concerns about security on the Korean Peninsula.

Later on Sunday Putin also had a phone call with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and they both condemned Pyongyang’s bomb test, Peskov said.

“Vladimir Putin said the international society should avoid being overwhelmed by emotion, it should act calmly and prudently. He also highlighted that a complex settlement of the nuclear and other problems of the Korean Peninsula could be achieved solely by political and diplomatic means,” Peskov said.

Australian Copts voice hope for brighter future as Pope Tawadros II continues outreach

At a Coptic Christian church service in Sydney, the parishioners follow the same liturgy they have for centuries.


One of the world’s most ancient churches, Coptic Christianity broke from other branches of Christianity in 451 AD, with differing beliefs about the nature of Christ.

“We say that his divinity never parted from his humanity for a single moment, or a twinkling of an eye, actually acknowledging both natures exist in Christ,” Coptic priest Father Joshua said.

The Pope describes his church as a church of martyrs, but its priests admit there is also growing fear.

Nehad Kelada lived through that fear.

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Back home in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, she was an accountant – until the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power in 2013.

“I couldn’t live my life freely, even at work I couldn’t live freely,” she said. “I was scared for my life.”

She says followers of the Brotherhood still pose a threat in Eygpt – and now there is also the threat from IS.

Members of Coptic congregations at churches say they feel safe here in Australia, but many also say they worry about family and friends back home.

Australian Coptic Christians at a church service in Sydney (SBS)SBS

Former immigration minister Philip Ruddock has been embraced by Australia’s Coptic Christian community.

He was behind the first programme for their migration to Australia in 1997.

“The problems are more dynamic now, particularly when you’ve had the firebombing of churches and some of the terrorist acts that have occurred,” he said.

“And one of the difficulties Egypt has had to deal with is containing that sort of violence. Not all of Copts – 10 million out of 90 million – are going to be able to be resettled around the world.”

Over the coming days, Pope Tawadros II will travel to Wollongong, Melbourne and Canberra, where he will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

‘Blockbuster’ WWII bomb defused after massive evacuation in Frankfurt

The 1.


8-tonne British bomb, which German media said was nicknamed “Wohnblockknacker” — or blockbuster — for its ability to wipe out whole streets and flatten buildings, was discovered during building works last Tuesday.

The operation in central Frankfurt to get residents to safety was the biggest evacuation of its kind in post-war Germany, the city’s security chief Markus Frank said.

After hours of delay as police struggled to get the area cleared, bomb disposal experts finally managed to disarm the explosive in the evening.

Police then began lifting the evacuation order progressively, giving priority for patients in two hospitals within the affected district to be brought back to their wards.

Close to the city centre, the bomb was discovered in the Westend district, home to many of Frankfurt’s top bankers, including European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi — who is known to spend his weekends away from the city.

Related readingWar memories

The massive operation began at dawn, as homes and buildings within a 1.5-kilometre radius of the site were ordered cleared by 0600 GMT.

But some people were still in the evacuation zone well past the deadline as police carried out door-to-door checks. 

At one building where officers were ringing doorbells and using loudspeakers to announce the evacuation, a man and a woman emerged, saying they were unaware they were in the affected district.

At midday, emergency services were still unable to give the all-clear for bomb disposal units to move in.

After a delay of at least two hours, experts were finally able to start disarming the bomb, an HC 4000, a high-capacity explosive used in air raids by Britain’s Royal Air Force during World War II.

Some elderly residents affected by the evacuation recalled poignant memories of the war.

“I was here in Frankfurt’s Westend during the war. I heard the bombs falling when I was in the basement, and I helped to extinguish the fires. So I knew how it feels and for me it’s not a new experience,” said Doris Scheidt, 91. 

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Another resident, Eva Jarchow, said the evacuation “reminds me of our flight from Berlin when the bombs were still falling during the war. Here, at least, it’s calm and sunny.”

Giesela Gulich, meanwhile, had a “queasy feeling about it (as) the bomb stayed in the soil for so long, but now, when it’s being moved, you don’t know what can happen.”

City officials had readied halls as temporary lodgings, while museums were offering free entry. 

Others had packed their bags and were ready to head out for a full day. 

David Hoffmann, 29, who works at a bank, was loading up luggage in his car. 

“I have the essentials with me — the most important documents,” he said, though he complained that he had not received any leaflets about the evacuation.

Unexploded WWII bombs 

More than 70 years after the end of the war, unexploded bombs are regularly found buried in Germany, legacies of the intense bombing campaigns by the Allied forces against Nazi Germany.

On Saturday, 21,000 people had to be evacuated from the western city of Koblenz as bomb disposal experts defused an unexploded American World War II shell.

In May, 50,000 residents were forced to leave their homes in the northern city of Hanover for an operation to defuse several WWII-era bombs.

And one of the biggest such evacuations took place on Christmas Day 2016, when another unexploded British bomb, containing 1.8-tonnes of explosives, prompted the evacuation of 54,000 people in the southern city of Augsburg.

Walter Becker, co-founder of Steely Dan, dies aged 67

His death was announced in a brief notice on his official website, with no further details released.


Becker in July missed The Classic East and The Classic West — twin festivals in Los Angeles and New York featuring rock veterans including Steely Dan — with his bandmate Donald Fagen saying Becker was recovering from an unspecified ailment.


A New York native, Becker met Fagen while studying north of the city at Bard College. The pair moved to California where they gained both mainstream and underground recognition for their artistic brand of rock.

Steely Dan — named for a phallic toy from Beat novelist William S. Burroughs’ classic novel “Naked Lunch” — shared elements of jazz by enlisting a revolving cast of musicians and jamming out in winding tunes that gave ample space for solos even while keeping pop melodies.

Mourning his co-songwriter, Fagen said in a statement that Becker had a “very rough childhood” which he overcame with wit and singular talent. 

“He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny,” Fagen said.

Oct. 29, 1977, file photo, Walter Becker, left, and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, sit in Los Angeles. AP

“Like a lot of kids from fractured families, he had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people’s hidden psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art,” said Fagen, who promised to keep performing Steely Dan’s music.

With Fagen on vocals, Steely Dan created songs with literate and often cryptic lyricism. 

“Do It Again (at the Record Plant),” one of the band’s best-known songs, describes a character named Jack who attacks a man who stole his water but goes unpunished.

Rock by way of jazz and reggae  

Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 but never reached number one on the US charts, reaching a height of number four with the 1974 song “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number.”

Becker, who eventually also took up guitar, said he grew up listening to jazz greats including Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins.

While resisting the “jazz fusion” label, Becker acknowledged that jazz informed Steely Dan’s way of recording — smooth and polished.

“It was our perception that if you were going to use jazz harmonies, it had to sound tight, professional; nothing sounds worse (and) sloppy than kids playing jazz,” he told Time Out New York in 2008.

As Steely Dan gained fame, Becker’s life turned turbulent as he wrestled with drug use. He faced legal action after his girlfriend died of a drug overdose in his apartment in New York, where soon afterward he was hit by a taxi and injured.

Becker moved to Hawaii where he set up a studio and started a second career as a producer, notably for China Crisis, a pop group from Britain where Steely Dan enjoyed a particularly sizable following.

A reformed Steely Dan won the prestigious Grammy for Album of the Year for its 2000 album “Two Against Nature.” 

Becker released his second album, “Circus Money,” in 2008, in which the bassist experimented with his love of reggae.

In an interview for “Circus Money” with the blog No More Big Wheels, Becker described his fascination both with the rhythms of reggae and with Jamaican culture and said reggae had always been part of the mix for Steely Dan. 

“I used to describe what we did as disco-jazz-space-funk-muzak with a little bit of reggae. It is a sort of a polyglot thing.”

Labor’s priorities wrong in parliament: PM

Malcolm Turnbull believes Australians will be sickened by Labor’s games in parliament while the nation grapples with the possibility of war on the Korean peninsula.


But the opposition says the prime minister is just being melodramatic.

The dual citizenship debacle is expected to spark another fiery fortnight of parliament as Labor pressures the government over double standards applying to ministers whose eligibility is in doubt.

Seven MPs, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will be scrutinised by the High Court over their dual citizenship and eligibility to sit in parliament.

Mr Joyce and Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash have stayed in their senior positions while fellow minister Matt Canavan stepped down when he discovered his possible ineligibility.

The opposition is threatening to delay all votes in the lower house until Mr Joyce steps aside or the High Court makes its ruling.

Mr Turnbull suggested Labor’s priorities were skewed.

“You have (deputy Labor leader) Tanya Plibersek out there yesterday – is she talking about North Korea? Is she talking about how the opposition stands in support of the government in demanding stronger sanctions against North Korea?” he said on ABC radio on Monday.

“No, she is talking about playing games on the floor of the parliament.

“Australians will be sickened by the sight of the Labor Party’s failure to recognise the priorities of the Australian parliament.”

During a press conference on Sunday Ms Plibersek responded to North Korea’s latest nuclear bomb test.

The opposition’s chief tactician Tony Burke accused the prime minister of “a bit of melodrama”.

“He’s wanting to say somehow we shouldn’t be upset that we might have a deputy prime minister who’s not constitutionally allowed to be in parliament because of the threat from North Korea?” he told ABC radio.

“In terms of trying to draw a long bow … it’s only Monday but I think he’s already won for the week.”

Mr Turnbull heads to the Pacific Islands Forum in Samoa at the end of the week, leaving Mr Joyce leading the country.

Labor says there’s no way he should be acting prime minister while his eligibility is in doubt.

The High Court will hear the dual citizenship cases over three days from October 10.

The day in federal parliament


* Parliament returns on Monday for a four-day sitting week after a fortnight’s break.


* The sitting coincides with a High Court challenge to the government’s postal survey on same-sex marriage.

* The Senate will refer the eligibility of deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash and independent Nick Xenophon – both dual citizens by descent – to the High Court.

* Question time in both chambers at 2pm.


* Australia has condemned North Korea’s latest nuclear test and called on the United Nations to take further action against the “dangerous pariah regime”.

* Labor is preparing to cause chaos in parliament, especially if Barnaby Joyce is made acting prime minister later this week.

* Senate President Stephen Parry is expected to formally push for a stricter dress code after One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson wore a burka in the upper house chamber.

* Malcolm Turnbull has gained the biggest personal lead over Bill Shorten since last year’s election, leading 46-29 per cent as preferred prime minister in the latest Newspoll.

* West Australian Liberal Party members have passed a WAxit motion for a committee to examine if the state could become financially independent.


*The House of Reps: MPs resume debate on government bills including for liquid fuel emergencies; electoral law changes; abolition of Limited Merits Review for electricity companies; welfare reform.

* Senate: Senators resume debate on government bills for protecting vulnerable workers; repeal of four-yearly reviews; migration law changes; broadcast media ownership changes.


* Government spin: Our determination is that no Australian family should be paying more for their electricity than they need to pay.

* Opposition attack: It is absolutely untenable that Barnaby Joyce should be the acting prime minister while a cloud continues over his eligibility to sit in the parliament


“North Korea’s reckless conduct poses a grave danger to global peace and security.” – the PM.


@sarahinthesen8: WAxit? Really? Just sounds WAcky.

Ardent staves off board spill

Embattled theme parks operator Ardent Leisure has staved off a planned shareholder vote later on Monday by inviting two rebel shareholders onto its board.


Ardent said both sides had agreed that the extraordinary general meeting scheduled for Monday would not proceed after the company invited Gary Weiss and Brad Richmond to join the board effective immediately.

Two current directors will now step down no later than the 2017 annual general meeting in November, the company said.

Mr Weiss, executive director of Ardent’s largest shareholder Ariadne Australia and fellow director Brad Richmond, have sought seats on the Ardent board as part of a plan to turn around what they see as strategic errors at the company.

Mr Weiss has led a campaign Since June to install “new and highly experienced” directors on the Ardent board.

In July, he and fellow investor Kevin Seymour, a Queensland property developer, wrote to Ardent shareholders saying the company had “lost its way” and urging support for new directors to guide the company’s increasingly US-focused business.

Ariadne holds a 10.9 per cent stake in Ardent.

Ardent Leisure posted a $62.6 million loss for the 2017 financial year after steep falls in visitor numbers following a fatal accident on the Thunder River Rapids ride at its Dreamworld park in Queensland in October, 2016, and the park’s subsequent 45-day shutdown.

Ardent Chairman George Venardos, who has previously resisted the push from the rebel shareholders for board representation, on Monday said the two new directors will bring assistance and additional insight to the board.

“We are pleased that Ardent can now focus on executing its stated strategy to drive performance,” he said in a statement.