Consumer prices surged in the March quarter, beating market expectations, suggesting that interest rates may be going up soon, economists say.

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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 1.6 per cent in the March quarter for an annual inflation rate of 3.3 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported on Wednesday.

The market forecast had been for a CPI of 1.2 per cent for the quarter for an annual pace of 3.0 per cent. ICAP senior economist Adam Carr said the ABS figures suggested that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) must act soon to put a lid on inflationary pressures.

The RBA adjusts the cash rate to keep inflation in a target band of two to three per cent over the medium term. “The RBA has to hike rates – they don’t have a choice,” Mr Carr said.

“The arguments for them to hike are compelling (and) the arguments for them to hold are non existent.

“I still think, because of the politics of the decision, they’ll potentially hold off until June but it’s very clear that inflation pressures have spiked higher.” Mr Carr said the higher than expected core inflation figure should not be interpreted as being due to the effect of flooding in Queensland.

“For people who want to blame this on the floods, they need to get their head out of the sand because that’s not the reality.

“The reality is food prices are rising around the world.

“The RBA has a job to do and they need to just do it, rather than focusing on this dribble that people are pumping out about depressed consumers and one-off flood impacts from CPI – that’s not a reality.”

Nomura chief economist Stephen Roberts said the price increases in the CPI were broad based. “Of 11 major CPI categories, seven of the 11 inflated by more than one per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis,” he said.

“It was high on the underlying inflation rates so, if you get my way of thinking, the Reserve Bank will have to go sooner rather than later with another rate hike.”

Mr Roberts said he expected the headline rate to stay well above three per cent for the remainder of 2011 and into 2012, driven by Australia’s historically high terms of trade, the renewed mining boom and price rises elsewhere in the economy.

“There’s very strong fundamentals and there’s been underlying price pressures running through most services sectors,” he said. Macquarie Group senior economist Brian Redican said the more volatile components of the CPI were drove up overall inflation in the March quarter.

“We had higher fresh food prices as a result of the cyclone,” he said.

“We had a higher petrol price coming through, with oil prices jumping up. “We had the seasonal increases in education and health prices and even things like the reduction in term deposit rates by banks came through in the form of higher financial services prices.”

Mr Redican said inflation may cool off later in the year.

“As we get to the second half of the year, you get the reversal of those fresh food prices coming down and people would be surprised by how low inflation is at that time. “But that said, if the Reserve Bank does want to tighten policy, then this provides them a good excuse to do that.”

Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe, footballer David Beckham and his pop star wife Victoria and “Mr Bean” actor Rowan Atkinson are among the glittering line-up for the service in London’s Westminster Abbey on Friday.

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In a nod to William’s military background and status as second in line to the throne, there will also be a British veteran of the war in Afghanistan and the families of soldiers killed in that country and in Iraq. The seating plan revealed that William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals will be the front row, with the Middleton family on the other side of the aisle. Kate’s mother Carole will sit directly opposite the queen. The Spencer family of William’s mother Diana, princess of Wales, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, will sit behind the Middletons. However, as expected there is no place for Sarah Ferguson, William’s aunt and the ex-wife of his uncle Prince Andrew, following a series of tabloid newspaper scandals. More than 40 foreign royals from countries as diverse as Brunei, Thailand, Morocco and Swaziland are among the “confirmed attendees”, said St James’s Palace, William’s official residence. There is an unexpected appearance by Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain after reports that the Gulf state’s rulers would withdraw to avoid embarrassment after a bloody crackdown on protesters there. But Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni cannot attend the wedding, Phnom Penh’s foreign ministry said, although it denied reports in Britain that he had ignored the invitation. A St James’s Palace spokesman said inviting other crowned heads of state was a long-held tradition but the Foreign Office’s advice was sought on issues. Since the wedding is not a formal state occasion, world leaders such as US President Barack Obama have not been invited. There are however several heads of government including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her New Zealand counterpart John Key, along with governors-general from 15 Commonwealth realms where the queen is still the monarch. Key figures from the British government and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also attend. The wedding is expected to be watched by a worldwide television audience of around two billion people. Celebrities feature heavily on the guest list, and also include Guy Ritchie, the film director and ex-husband of Madonna. Elton John – who sang the hit “Candle in the Wind” at Diana’s funeral in the abbey – will be accompanied by his partner David Furnish. William met former England captain Beckham as part of England’s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Mario Testino, the official photographer for the engagement, will be there along with singer Joss Stone, who performed at a Diana tribute concert. Sports stars include Clive Woodward, the World Cup-winning former England rugby union coach; Gareth Thomas, the Wales rugby back; and the former England football midfielder Trevor Brooking. Former British prime minister John Major, who was appointed a guardian to Princes William and Harry after their mother died, will attend, as will Julia Samuel, chair of the Child Bereavement Charity. A number of William’s colleagues from his job as a search and rescue helicopter pilot for the Royal Air Force will also be attending, along with members of charities he supports. There will also be space for Lance Corporal Martyn Compton, a British soldier who served with William, and who was so badly burned in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan in 2006 that he lost his ears and nose. William has also invited members of the families of two colleagues from the military officer training school at Sandhurst: Joanna Dyer, who was killed by a bomb in Iraq in 2007, and Major Alexis Roberts, killed four years ago in Afghanistan. Most of the invitees are family or private friends of William and his fiancee, and her guests reportedly include the butcher, the postman and the greengrocer from the rural English village of Bucklebury where she grew up. Inside Westminster Abbey itself, only the bride and groom’s nearest and dearest will be able to witness the ceremony close up. Most guests will be behind the choir screen, a partition in the abbey which restricts the view of the altar to those behind it. They will have to watch on video screens to see the moment when William and Kate exchange their vows.

Julia Gillard’s tour of Japan takes on a sombre note today when the PM visits one of the communities hardest hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

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Minami Sanriku was once a quaint fishing town but it’s been all but wiped off the map with up to half the town’s 20-thousand residents losing their lives.

Ms Gillard will view the devastation from a helicopter before landing to visit an evacuation centre to talk with locals who lost homes and loved ones.

She’ll be accompanied by Rob McNeil the leader of the Australian search and rescue team that helped Japanese authorities search for survivors in the Minami Sanriku wreckage.

Japanese may train with Aust troops: PM

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Japanese troops could be allowed to train in Australian defence units under a new vision for greater military co-operation by both countries.

The Prime Minister outlined her vision in The Weekend Australian newspaper in an interview in Tokyo on Friday, saying she’s open to exploring the idea of Japan’s soldiers gaining direct experience from their more combat-ready Australian peers, 66 years after World War Two.

Gillard sits down to dinner with Kylie

At a fundraising dinner in Tokyo overnight also attended by Aussie songbird Kylie Minogue the prime minister has announced three initiatives from Australia to help Japan recover from last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

Ms Minogue says she chose to continue with the Japanese leg of her world tour despite ongoing aftershocks and the Fukushima nuclear crisis but she didn’t perform at last night’s gala.

Julia Gillard’s announced a new program will help fund university students academics and professionals from those areas most affected by the disaster to spend some time in Australia.

Ms Gillard’s also announced an ongoing program of 10 Endeavour Scholarships a year for Japan.

The government will also begin a study for an exchange program to allow young Japanese people to teach Japanese in Australian schools.

India will use all its “might” to ban cow slaughter across the country, interior minister Rajnath Singh said in a speech to spiritual leaders, as the Hindu nationalist government moves to fulfil a poll promise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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A renewed thrust by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protect cows, worshipped by majority Hindus, has led to a clamp down on beef trade run mostly by Muslims.

India is the world’s second largest beef exporter and fifth biggest consumer.

Maharashtra, India’s second most populous state, extended a ban on the slaughter of cows to bulls and bullocks this month.

Other BJP-led states such as Jharkhand and Haryana have also tightened curbs.

“How can we accept the fact that cow slaughter is allowed in this country?” Singh said on Sunday. “We will use all our might to ban it. We will try to build a consensus.”

Critics say tougher anti-beef laws discriminate against Muslims, Christians and lower-caste Hindus who rely on the cheap meat for protein, and fear they could pave the way to a nationwide ban that would threaten thousands of jobs.

India has some 300 million cattle, and animals foraging for food are a familiar sight on the rubbish-strewn streets of towns and villages. Their numbers could swell by 200,000 in Maharashtra alone as farmers abandon animals they can’t sell, according to the beef trade.

Modi, who in his election campaign last year criticised the previous government for promoting beef exports, in 2011 spearheaded a ban on beef trade in his home state of Gujarat that he led for more than a decade.

There is no federal law on cattle slaughter though various states have brought in their own legislation. 

Maharashtra’s latest ban has been widely ridiculed on social media and traders in Mumbai have shut abattoirs for days in protest.

Mohammad Ali Qureshi, president of the Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers Association, said a nationwide ban on beef will fail as people in several regions enjoy the meat that is a cheap source of protein.

“A nationwide ban on cow slaughter is impossible,” Qureshi said. “If the government takes any such decision we won’t sit quiet and their will be nationwide protest. They will have to regret their decision.”

       

(Additional reporting by Meenakshi Sharma in Mumbai; Editing by Michael Perry)

 

A second woman has approached Queensland’s Labor government to make domestic violence allegations against dumped MP Billy Gordon.

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The premier’s office says it was contacted by a woman on Monday, and the woman’s concerns were immediately referred to police.

“Information came to us by another person and we’ve referred that to the appropriate authorities,” a spokesman for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told AAP on Tuesday.

AAP is seeking comment from Mr Gordon.

On Sunday he issued a statement asking to be afforded natural justice pending a police investigation into the first woman’s claims he’d assaulted her when they were a couple.

Mr Gordon was forced to quit the Labor party on Monday after he failed to tell the premier and the party about his criminal history as well as allegations he’d assaulted his former partner and not paid child support.

Ms Palaszczuk also wants him to quit parliament to allow a by election in his far north Queensland electorate of Cook.

The controversy over Mr Gordon has put the future of the Palaszczuk government in doubt.

Without Mr Gordon, Labor only holds power with the support of independent Speaker Peter Wellington.

AAP has sought comment from police about whether it has received a referral from the premier’s office.

Ms Palaszczuk is in the far north Queensland region on Tuesday and is expected to be quizzed later in the day about the second woman’s allegations.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg is also headed to the region, saying voters will want to tell him what they think of the political paralysis gripping the state just two months after the general election.

“Many people will want to talk to me about how they feel very let down, I would imagine, about Labor and their selection process and the fact we now have a government which is in turmoil because of their inability to sort out their own affairs,” he told the ABC.

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott says Mr Gordon has lost the trust of the voters who elected him, and must resign from the parliament.

“Unfortunately, because these things have come to light, I think people have lost trust in Billy. That is, to me, the primary reason why he has to consider resigning now.”

Ahmed and Voges earned selection following strong domestic seasons, with the 33-year-old leg-spinner the leading wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield with 48 wickets and 35-year-old Voges the leading run-scorer with 1,358 runs at an outstanding average of 104.

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“Adam Voges and Fawad Ahmed had sensational seasons at domestic level and their performances just couldn’t be ignored,” selector Rod Marsh said in a statement on the release of the squad on Tuesday.

“They thoroughly deserve their call-up and the opportunity to be a part of this squad. We believe that both can play important roles in the side if required.”

New South Wales wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Nevill has also been selected in the test squad for the first time as Australia seeks to groom a successor for the eventual retirement of 37-year-old Brad Haddin.

The 29-year-old Nevill scored 764 runs at 76.40 throughout the Shield season including a top score of 235 not out against Tasmania in February.

“Peter Nevill has been on our radar for some time and deserves his opportunity through weight of runs and performances behind the stumps,” Marsh added.

“He has also demonstrated impressive leadership qualities which have caught our eye.”

Local media had speculated explosive batsman Maxwell might be given a place after enjoying a fine World Cup campaign that culminated in a fifth triumph on Sunday.

Maxwell struggled in two tests in 2013 against India and was brought back for one match against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last year but dropped from the squad for Australia’s 2-0 series win over India in the home summer.

Pace bowler Ryan Harris was listed in the 17-man squad but will sit out the tour of the Caribbean to be home for the birth of his first child.

Fast bowler James Pattinson was ruled out of the West Indies tour with an injured left hamstring sustained during the recent Shield final, which Victoria won.

He would require “intensive rehabilitation” over coming weeks, the statement said, but would be reassessed for his availability against England.

Australia play two tests against West Indies in June before the five-test Ashes series starts in England in July.

Squad – Chris Rogers, David Warner, Steven Smith, Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson, Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris*, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Nevill, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Fawad Ahmed

* only for England series

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

A Facebook page showing videos of South Australian school students beating each other up has been pulled down.

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The “Adelaide Box Ons” page featured violent fights, with at least one student left unconscious.

The Education Department and police are trying to track down the boys and girls in the videos.

Susan Cameron, the department’s director of review, improvement and accountability, said it was uncertain how many schools had been involved in the fight clubs, which also involved girls.

“We are very confident that the schools have the policies in place to actually deal with the matters as they emerge,” the former high school principal told Radio 5AA on Tuesday.

She said she was surprised the reported initial reaction from Facebook was that the videos did not breach community standards.

The department contacted the site to ask for the page’s removal because they wanted to discourage fights becoming a spectacle or entertainment.

Ms Cameron said she was shocked to see vision of two young girls involved in a fight at a shopping centre.

She believed the principals of the schools would take firm action.

“Some of them already have. Kids will be suspended, some kids will be excluded.

“If parents are worried that their young person has been a victim of one of these attacks I would really strongly urge that they go to the police as well.”

She referred to the increase of bullying and other inappropriate acts by young people being played out in the digital world because they haven’t quite learnt yet how to make sensible choices.

“The danger is those acts will be public and online for a very long time.”

Gender identity in Australia

Sydney resident Norrie today won a case in the High Court of Australia recognising a third category of gender.

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In 2003, Australian Alex MacFarlane was granted the right to replace the gender on his passport with “X”.

The “X” identified Mr MacFarlane as intersex and is the third and only other gender category recognised under International Civil Aviation Organisation guidelines.

In Victoria, people are allowed to identify their gender as “indeterminate” or leave the field blank on their birth certificates if they are intersex.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a similar policy, allowing Australians to identify as “X” on their passport with a letter from a physician or psychologist. In 2013, it revised the policy to broaden gender definitions.

According to the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, published in 2013, government departments that collect personal records must allow for a person to change their gender to “X” if they provide certain documentation such as a medical statement and a travel document with the preferred gender.

In 2013, the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Act 2013 was passed in Australia

Under the amended legislation, intersex people were recognised as a falling under a separate gender category to male and female.

Global recognition of alternative genders

As of November 2013, Germany was the first European country to allow babies who have both male and female characteristics to be registered as neither sex.

Parents are able to leave the gender blank in an effort to alleviate pressure on the parents when it comes to making decisions about sex reassignment surgery for their child.

Several south-east Asian countries also recognise alternative genders.

In India and Bangladesh, transgender communities, called Hijras, are given a third gender option on passports.

In 2007, a Supreme Court of Nepal decision established a third-gender category for the country’s citizens.

The 2011 census in that country was the first in the world to allow people to identify as a gender other than male or female.

Pakistani transgendered people can choose from a number of genders to be included on their identity card and Nepal also allows for an alternative gender on identity cards.

New Zealand allows applicants to use “X” to represent an indeterminate gender on a passport.

In Samoa, Fa’afafine – men raised as girls – are recognised as third-gendered people and make up an important part of the island nation’s society and culture.

Gender online

This year, Facebook began to allow its American users to select their gender from 56 different options and the preferred pronoun (i.e. he, she, they). 

Betty Churcher wanted everyone else to experience art in the same way she first did as a seven-year-old.

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As a ground-breaking arts administrator she won plaudits for bringing some of the world’s best art to Australian audiences, earning her the nickname “Betty Blockbuster”.

Whether through blockbuster exhibitions, television shows or her drawing notebooks, Churcher always wanted to share the feeling she experienced during a visit to the Queensland Art Gallery as a child.

It was there she found her first love: Blandford Fletcher’s painting Evicted.

“I’m sure that my enthusiasm for special exhibitions when I was an art gallery director had a lot to do with that first encounter with art,” she wrote in Notebooks.

“I wanted people, especially schoolchildren, to see and feel the magic of art.”

Elizabeth “Betty” Churcher, who died on Monday aged 84, was born in Brisbane in 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression.

During her final weeks, she described her life as busy, long, fruitful and with no regrets.

She began drawing at an early age as a way of “creating order in a confusing world”, and later remembered being surprised to discover other children didn’t necessarily have the same natural ability to draw.

After a private school education enabled by a bequest from her grandmother, Churcher won a position to study art in England.

She graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1956 with a first class pass, the drawing prize, a travelling scholarship and a husband, fellow painter Roy Churcher.

The couple returned to Australia intending to stay six months, but Roy fell in love with the country.

They had four sons between 1959 and 1966 – Ben, Paul, Peter and Tim. Churcher decided from the start to give away painting when she became a mother.

“I know that my babies sapped my emotional energy and artistic ambitions,” she wrote in 2011. Nevertheless, she didn’t regret the decision.

Although she did not paint seriously again. In 1971 she returned to her early career as an art teacher, this time at tertiary institutions.

Undertaking a masters degree led Churcher to realise that what she really ought to be doing was working in a gallery and in 1987 she was appointed director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Churcher made history three times during her career: she was the first female head of a tertiary institution, first female director of a state gallery and the first woman to be appointed director of the National Gallery of Australia.

Initially she wasn’t interested in the NGA job, feeling she had unfinished business in the west.

But it was her approach to transforming the gallery’s public appeal and significance as a cultural exhibition that cemented her place in Australia’s arts history – and the nickname.

Before Churcher’s tenure, the gallery’s major exhibitions were largely “packages” curated from other institutions around the world.

That changed in 1992 with the Rubens and the Italian Renaissance exhibition, curated by the NGA’s own David Jaffe.

Churcher described it as the best exhibition Canberra had ever seen and recalled queues stretching hundreds of metres out of the gallery every day.

It was the first of a dozen blockbuster exhibitions that brought together the best of art collections from around the world.

She took the attitude “what we couldn’t afford to buy, we could borrow – and we could borrow the very best”.

Every exhibition aimed to arouse the curiosity in the viewer Churcher recalled from her own childhood.

Churcher left the gallery in 1997 but did not retire from the public consciousness.

She hosted television programs about art – Take Five and Hidden Treasures – and published notebooks of her drawings and recollections about her favourite paintings.

The latter project started when her sight began deteriorating in the mid-2000s and she was afraid of losing the joy of drawing, painting and observing the world.

“The thought of near-total blindness plunged me into black despair,” she said.

Since childhood, sketching paintings was the best way Churcher found of embedding them in her memory, so she began a tour of the world’s galleries to revisit her favourites.

Her aim, as ever, was to bring her enthusiasm for the great works to a wider public.

“Everything I do, whether it’s doing a blockbuster exhibition or a book, is towards educating, getting people curious to really look at a work of art as they may never have looked before,” she said recently.

“That obsession has just jerked me through life to this point.”

Homophobia is rife among Australian teenage boys, with many saying they feel anxious around gay peers and don’t want them as friends.

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New research commissioned by Beyond Blue paints a disturbing picture of attitudes among teenage boys and the way they treat their same-sex peers.

The mental health organisation is reviving a campaign to educate boys against homophobia.

The survey of 300 teenage boys, aged 14 to 17, shows just over a third don’t want gay friends.

A quarter think it’s OK to use the word gay as a derogatory term to describe something they don’t like.

And 40 per cent suggested they had feelings of anxiety when they were around peers who were attracted to the same sex.

Approximately 1/4 of teenage boys think it’s ok to describe something they don’t like as “gay”. 南宁桑拿会所,南宁夜生活,/ii59R6qxGU #StopThinkRespect

— beyondblue (@beyondblue) March 30, 2015

Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman says it’s a sad fact that teenage boys are more likely to hold homophobic views than the general public.

“This is particularly concerning given young LGBTI people are already three to six times more likely to be distressed than their straight peers. If we want to reduce their distress, we must reduce the discrimination they face,” she said.

“We know that high levels of distress have a strong link to depression, anxiety and suicide.”

Beyond Blue is reviving an education campaign first aired in 2012, to challenge the views of the next wave of teenage boys.

Ads, due to screen in cinemas and appear on social media, feature a group of boys bullying a left-handed peer, and calling him a freak. It’s an attempt to highlight the absurdity of discriminating against people for being themselves.

“There’s a new audience of teenage boys who clearly need to hear its messages,” Ms Harman said.

OTHER SURVEY FINDINGS:

– 25 per cent said they found it hard to treat same-sex attracted people the same as others

– 60 per cent said they’d seen people being bullied for their sexuality

– 40 per cent said they’d seen people bullied online over their sexuality

A blood-stained carpet is one of the only clues Minh Phuoc Nguyen left behind following his mysterious disappearance 11 months ago.

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Detectives suspect Mr Nguyen – also known as Paul – has been murdered and believe his organised crime links might have something to do with it.

Mr Ngyuen was last seen driving out of the Hilton Hotel in the Sydney CBD on the night of May 1, 2014.

However, detectives received information the 50-year-old may have later visited a unit block in Bankstown.

A search of the Dudley St apartment earlier this year uncovered a large blood stain on the carpet police believe came from Mr Nguyen.

A white truck, similar to one seen at the units at the time, has also been seized for forensic examination.

Mr Nguyen was a familiar face around Bankstown and often visited the local sports club as well as Oscars Sports Hotel.

“Whilst we don’t know for certain, we believe it may be Mr Nguyen’s associations with the organised crime element that may have made him a target,” Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Jason Dickinson said on Tuesday.

Insp Dickinson wouldn’t elaborate on the links, only saying they weren’t direct.

A search of a room at the Fountainbleu Motel at Casula, in Sydney’s southwest, three days after Mr Nguyen was last seen uncovered an airline boarding pass and hire car rental agreement in his name.

Insp Dickinson said there were people in the motel room when the documents were found and they had spoken to police.

Mr Nguyen’s gold Renault Latitude hire car hasn’t been seen since last May either.

The Vietnamese migrant had only just reconnected with his three brothers and sister after becoming estranged from them when he moved to Australia in his 20s, got married and had a child.

Jacqui Lambie is looking for Facebook friends to join her new political party.

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The independent senator has applied to register the Jacqui Lambie Network as an official party, with goals of highlighting Tasmanian issues and getting more members elected to state and federal parliaments.

Senator Lambie says anyone interested in becoming a party member should get in touch with her via Facebook.

“There will be a number of core beliefs that will bring supporters of the Jacqui Lambie Network together,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

Chief among those is that party members must always put the interests of their state first.

The network’s proposed constitution says the party’s objectives are to represent the people of Tasmania and to focus on local issues.

The party will also push for changes to electoral laws to give more information about the affiliation of candidates.

Other core issues include a special interest in issues affecting serving and veteran Defence personnel, opposition to Sharia law, requiring dedicated seats in parliament for indigenous representatives, cutting the foreign aid budget to fund universities, and the creation of special economic zones to help out regional areas.

The senator will soon release a book containing her parliamentary speeches and more policy information.

If Senator Lambie quits her own party, a clause in the constitution requires its management to immediately remove her name from the party’s title.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Senator Lambie’s new political party was an interesting development.

“We are a very exciting and vibrant democracy and anyone can run for parliament, anyone can start a new party,” he said.

“One way of becoming immediately registered, as I recall, is to have a representative in the federal parliament, and so she ticks that box immediately by being a senator.”

The theory that Collingwood pair Lachie Keeffe and Josh Thomas could have eaten beef contaminated by clenbuterol in New Zealand has been rejected by the NZ beef industry.

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Keeffe and Thomas tested positive to the banned drug several days after returning from a week-long training camp in Queenstown, New Zealand, where they reportedly ate out several times, including a steak meal.

Australian cyclist Michael Rogers was cleared after testing positive to clenbuterol in 2013 when authorities accepted he could have eaten contaminated meat while racing in China two months earlier.

While clenbuterol is used in livestock in some countries, New Zealand beef industry association chairman Bill Falconer was adamant that was not the case in his country.

“It’s just not something that has cropped up in New Zealand,” Falconer told Radio 3AW.

“Obviously you can read stuff to say that there had been rumours of it happening in China and Spain but not in New Zealand.”

Former ASADA head Richard Ings also dismissed the possibility.

“Clenbuterol is not present in the Australian food chain. It is not present in the New Zealand food chain, it has occurred in China and Mexico but it is not an issue here,” Ings told 3AW.

“So the players will need to find the right explanation where this Clenbuterol came from.

“It’s a veterinary drug in Australia, it’s a veterinary drug in New Zealand, it’s only approved for use in racehorses.

“But as with all these performance enhancing drugs you can get it online and there is a person at the back of some gyms that will sell it to you. It is commonly abused in bodybuilding and other sporting activities.”

Keeffe and Thomas have denied knowingly taking the drug and have sought independent legal advice through the players’ association.