Friday, September 07, 2018

NAB faces $1b penalty over super fees scandal

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is taking the National Australia Bank to court over the superannuation fees-for-no-service scandal. NAB had agreed to pay $100 million in compensation to customers when the misdeeds of its super trustees Nulis and MLC Nominees were revealed in the banking royal commission. Now, the potential civil penalty from Federal Court proceedings could see NAB repay up to $1 billion to customers, and a declaration that the NAB trustees broke the law.

ANZ Bank and the Commonwealth Bank have both decided to raise mortgage interest rates by 16 and 15 points, respectively. The news comes a week after Westpac raised its home loan interest rates by 14 points; it’s expected that NAB, the only remaining of the big four banks not to have raised rates, will soon follow. The new rates will take effect from September 27 for ANZ customers, and October 4 for CBA customers. Both banks said they had carefully considered the rate rise, and ANZ said its 70,000 drought-affected home loan customers would be exempt.

The Dutton au pair saga continues with the Home Affairs Minister fending off claims made by Roman Quaedvlieg, the former Australian Border Force commissioner. Quaedvlieg lodged evidence with the Senate committee saying that Peter Dutton’s chief of staff, Craig Maclachlan, had called him about “the boss’s mate”, whose soon-to-be au pair had been detained over visa issues. Quaedvlieg said the au pair was released shortly after. Dutton has denied all of Quaedvlieg’s assertions, saying the evidence is “a fabrication” and that the call couldn’t have happened since Machlachlan did not work for him at the time. Dutton went further, suggesting he may need “support to address his personal or mental health issues”. Quaedvlieg said he would reconcile his version with correct dates, suggesting that the dates may not match because he may have mixed them up with another intervention that “which may not yet be in the public domain”.

Hollywood actor Burt Reynolds has died aged 82 in Jupiter, Florida. He is known best for his films including Boogie NightsDeliverance and Smokey and the Bandit. He is survived by his adopted son, Quinton.

US president Donald Trump is furious about a New York Times opinion piece purportedly written by an anonymous “senior official” who declares: “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.” The piece claims many senior officials in the Trump administration have been working from within to impede the president’s “worst inclinations”. The president called the piece a “gutless editorial” and tweeted “TREASON?” following its publication on Wednesday US local time. A search for the identity of the writer has begun, with the president demanding the New York Times reveal the identity of the official. Both vice-president Mike Pence, and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo have denied authorship.

Several people have died and many more are still unaccounted for after a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s northern island Hokkaido at 3.08am local time. Along with damage to roads and homes, almost 3 million households are without power on the island. The earthquake is Japan’s second natural disaster this week – just days ago, Japan experienced its strongest typhoon in 25 years.

A man has died and two others have been injured in a nightmarish construction site accident in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill. A tub of concrete fell from a crane onto two men, trapping them in a pit, and killing one. Paramedics raced to rescue the other man from the wet cement, in which he was partially submerged. He was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital with extensive injuries to his head, chest and abdomen. Another man with minor injuries was also taken to hospital.


“Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are known for many things; being fashion plates isn’t one of them. When the Apollo 11 astronauts made their giant leap for mankind in 1969, however, they were wearing a type of ‘space couture’ that shared a history — and, indeed, many of the same seamstresses — with what was essentially the Spanx of the time.”


“Seven years later, ‘3/11,’ as many Japanese people now refer to it, remains only the latest deadly tsunami of more than 60 in the country’s recorded history, and the fourth in what is roughly a thousand-year cycle associated with the subduction of the Pacific tectonic plate beneath Japan. The Pacific plate is one of many possible tsunamigenic quake sources, and scientists believe the Nankai Trough, another subduction zone much closer to the Japanese coast than the source of 3/11, will produce a similar megaquake and tsunami within the next 30 years.”


“Mama Cax has always loved fashion, but that love blossomed when she started dressing up her prosthetic leg, choosing different colors and covers for it. Her favorite? The very first one, bought from Alleles, in part because of the sentimental value and also the regal autumn gold and maroon colors because fall is her favorite season. Her decision to style her prosthetic and wear it proudly has inspired other amputees.”


“A coalition of survivors, pastors and community advocates has been circulating a petition calling for a crackdown on the practice. But when asked about the petition on Monday, Morrison refused to either endorse or condemn the practice [of conversion therapy]. Saying he had ‘never really thought about it’, the prime minister said people should ‘make their own decisions’ about their lives. ‘I respect people of all sexualities, I respect people of all religions, all faiths. I love all Australians,’ he said.”


“ ‘My name is Evie Macdonald, I'm 13 years old and I'm a transgender kid. And this is what I want to say to the prime minister,’ a young face said in a prerecorded message. ‘There are thousands of kids in Australia that are gender diverse. We don't deserve to be disrespected like that through tweets from our prime minister. I went to a Christian school where I had to pretend to be a boy and spend weeks in conversion therapy. We get one childhood and mine was stolen from me by attitudes like this.’ ”


“To celebrate Threatened Species Day this coming Friday the Threatened Species Commissioner Sally Box is holding a bake off with a twist— all baked goods must be of your favourite threatened species.”

Anna Horan
is a Melbourne-based editor and writer.