‘Reckless conduct’: Government reacts strongly to North Korea nuclear test

Australia wants North Korea to pay a significant price for its latest nuclear weapons test.

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The federal government is upping pressure on countries such as China to cut economic ties with Pyongyang following the powerful test of an advanced hydrogen bomb over the weekend.

China is hosting an economic conference this week – involving Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa – which President Xi Jinping sees as a demonstration of its international leadership.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, August 29, 2017.AAP

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says if China was to cut oil supplies to the rogue nation it would be unprecedented and would have a significant impact on North Korea.

“This is exponentially a more powerful test than we have seen in the past. It would be North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, we are still varifying if it was a hydrogen bomb, or what type of nuclear device, but nevertheless these tests are in direct defiance of the United Nations Security Council,” she told the Seven Network on Monday.

“We have to bring unprecedented pressure to bear because North Korea will have to pay a significant price for this latest nuclear test.”

0:00 Bishop warns North Korea after nuclear test Share Bishop warns North Korea after nuclear test

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A shallow, 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook North Korea on Sunday with Pyongyang later confirming it had successfully tested a bomb that possessed “great destructive power”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes China is best placed to bring that pressure to bear, saying the latest test is a direct affront to Beijing.

“The Chinese are frustrated and dismayed by North Korea’s conduct, but China has the greatest leverage, and with the greatest leverage comes the greatest responsibility,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during the WA Liberal State Conference in Perth on Saturday, September 2, 2017.AAP

“Right at that moment, Kim Jong Un has chosen to affront China, to defy China, and this calls for a strong Chinese response.”

Mr Turnbull released a joint statement earlier with Ms Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne claiming North Korea’s conduct was reckless.

“North Korea’s reckless conduct poses a grave danger to global peace and security,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in the statement.

The government says the UN Security Council should urgently consider further action against North Korea.

It has asked the council’s five permanent members and the international community to apply the maximum possible pressure to the “dangerous pariah regime”.

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“Now is the time for strengthened resolve by all members of the international community,” Mr Turnbull said.

The opposition joined the condemnation, describing it as a “provocative and extremely dangerous act”.

“North Korea’s repeated defiance of international law and UN Security Council resolutions is unacceptable,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said in a statement.

“All countries must fully implement UN Sanctions as agreed by the UN Security Council.”

Xenophon, Nash referred to the High Court over dual citizenship

Cabinet minister Fiona Nash’s eligibility to sit in parliament has been referred to the High Court because of her dual-citizenship.

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It was revealed in August she held British citizenship which under the constitution disqualifies anyone from being elected to parliament.

Attorney-General George Brandis on Monday said the government’s view was that Senator Nash was not ineligible to sit.

Crossbench senator Nick Xenophon has also been referred to the court following revelations he was a British citizen by descent.

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Senator Xenophon said he renounced any potential rights to citizenship of Greece or Cyprus before running for parliament in 2007, but it came to his attention in August that he may have British citizenship.

“I have always considered that I am only an Australian citizen,” Senator Xenophon told parliament, insisting he had since renounced any British citizenship.

Senator Brandis said the government supported Senator Xenophon’s referral to the court but was of the view that he was not disqualified.

“Senator Xenophon’s case illustrates how silly this has become,” he said.

Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher also sought to clarify her position on Monday, following media speculation she held Ecuadorian citizenship.

Senator Gallagher said despite her mother having been born in the South American country, she had never received an Ecuadorian birth certificate and was never an Ecuadorian citizen.

She had since sought legal advice from two experts to confirm earlier legal advice that she too had never been an Ecuadorian citizen.

She had also renounced any entitlement to British citizenship through her father, she said.

“I am not a citizen of Ecuador, I am not a citizen of the United Kingdom. I am eligible to serve in this parliament,” she said.

Seven parliamentarians have now been referred to the High Court over holding dual citizenship, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, former cabinet minister Matt Canavan, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts and two former Greens senators.

Meanwhile, a failed attempt by Pauline Hanson to establish an audit of the citizenship of all senators has been described as a “desperate stunt”.

The One Nation leader disrupted Senate business on Monday morning after the chamber rejected her plan, insisting the public had lost confidence in politicians.

Labor’s Doug Cameron slammed the move as a desperate stunt to cover for the fact there were doubts about the eligibility of her own senator, Malcolm Roberts.

Diamonds punished by New Zealand’s Mes

Bailey Mes’s value to New Zealand netball isn’t limited to her undoubted talents in the shooting circle and Australia’s Diamonds have seen that firsthand.

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Better known in the black dress as a goal shoot, Mes stepped up in Sunday’s 57-47 quad series win over Australia with a stand-out performance at goal attack.

She sunk 17 from 18 attempts, backing up Te Paea Selby-Rickit’s 35 from 41, but it was the 28-year-old’s work further up the court which proved a game-changer for New Zealand.

Not only did she work endlessly as a midcourt link into the circle, she was outstanding in generating turnover ball further up the court with a superb defensive effort.

Australian coach Lisa Alexander admitted her team didn’t cope well with Mes at goal attack, where she’s only played four quarters in the black dress, most recently in 2014.

“Bailey Mes in that centre third made a hell of a difference,” Alexander said.

“Because of her athleticism, I think she actually provided two points to the zone that haven’t been there before.

“We didn’t respect her enough, we threw into her hands deep into our defensive third, and that’s just unacceptable.”

Mes’s stunning performance gives Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby a new range of options when veteran Maria Tutaia returns from bereavement leave.

“Bailey did a hell of a lot of work up court on attack, and particularly on defence,” Southby said.”We’ve always known that she’s a really strong defender, and to pick up three intercepts was fantastic.”

Australia next face New Zealand in the four-match Constellation Cup series beginning in Auckland on October 5.

Malthouse, Harvey want AFL finals bye gone

AFL greats Mick Malthouse and Brent Harvey have joined Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson in calling for the league to scrap the pre-finals bye.

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This is the second year the AFL has had the week off between round 23 and the opening week of the finals.

It was introduced to stop finals-bound teams resting large groups of players in round 23.

The Western Bulldogs exploited the bye week superbly last year, becoming the first time in nine years to win the premiership from outside the top four.

Malthouse, a three-time premiership coach at West Coast and Collingwood, said at Monday’s launch of the finals series that there are other solutions.

The AFL announced Malthouse as presenter of the Jock McHale Medal to the premiership coach, while Harvey, the games record holder, is the premiership cup ambassador.

It was already known that controversial former Essendon coach James Hird will present the Norm Smith Medal to the player voted best afield in the grand final.

“I wouldn’t have the bye – the thing I would have, the last round of the year should be played identically, all over the country, the same time,” Malthouse said.

“So no club is aware, outside of the information you get at quarter-time and three-quarter time by your coaches, ‘listen, we need to step on the accelerator, because over in Adelaide they’re three goals in front’.

“By having a bye, you really do rob the top-four sides of any advantage.

“I know they have the double chance, but I’m not 100 per cent sure the sides that win this weekend will like having another week off – it’s quite drawn out.”

Malthouse does not agree with the rationale for having the bye.

“I’m a bit confused why we have (it) – if it’s because of Fremantle’s last game a couple of years ago where two thirds of the side were rested, action could have been taken then and that would have eliminated any sort of problems,” he said.

Harvey, a 1999 North Melbourne premiership player, retired at the end of last season.

“The fact that teams who finish outside that top four can rest players and prepare for the finals, probably in a way they couldn’t do a few years ago, it disadvantages the top four,” he said.

“For me, my whole career was based around continuity – with training and playing.

“One week off, you’re advantaged because your body probably needs that rest.

“But you don’t need a rest two weeks after you’ve already had a bye.”

Clarkson, a four-time premiership coach at Hawthorn, said last month the post-round 23 bye should be scrapped because it affects the integrity of the finals system.

Hanson burqa stunt ‘no security risk’ but Senate president still orders dress code review

The review was sparked by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson wearing a black burqa into the Senate chamber in August.

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The garment completely concealed her face.

Senator Hanson said her stunt exposed a security flaw at Parliament House. 

But Senate president Stephen Parry stressed security was not the reason for the review. 

“Any person entering Parliament House is not permitted through the security screening areas unless that person is clearly identified,” Senator Parry said on Monday morning. 

“If it was not clear who the person was, then I would have requested that the person be removed.”

There are currently no dress code rules under the Senate’s Standing Orders.

“I have today written to the Procedure Committee asking that it considers whether this practice should be modified,” Senator Parry said.

Senator Parry also asked the committee to consider giving the president the power to remove senators if they breach the chamber rules.

The power would be similar to that already held by the Speaker in the House of Representatives.

“I must say from a personal perspective I am disappointed that the Senate will be asked to consider implementing rules, rather than rely upon the personal discretion and good judgement of all Senators,” the president said.

Pauline Hanson said she was “not surprised” her burqa stunt had triggered a review.

“I don’t believe anyone should walk into that chamber at any time with a burqa or full facial covering at all,” she told reporters at Parliament House.

Senator Hanson has repeatedly said the incident was a security concern.

She said Senate security guards never checked her face by asking her to lift the veil on the burqa as she entered the chamber.

But Stephen Parry said a Parliament House guard was asked to escort her from her office to the chamber, on her office’s request. Her identity was checked when she first entered the House, and then vouched for at the chamber entrance by her colleague Senator Brian Burston.

“I want it clearly known that at no point was the integrity of the security of Parliament House ever placed at risk by Senator Hanson, or for that matter or any other person,” Senator Parry said.

Pauline Hanson also questioned whether dress code rules should extend beyond face coverings.

“I don’t believe a hat should be worn, as it is by one member in the chamber … [Labor senator Pat] Dodson,” she said.

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