Transparency International Australia chairman Anthony Whealy wants bribes to foreign officials to be classed as a crime. Photo: Peter RaeAustralia has become “complacent” about corruption and the failure of successive federal governments to stamp out foreign bribery has resulted in the country plummeting in a global corruption index, a former judge who presided over NSW corruption inquiries has warned.
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Anti-corruption organisation Transparency International released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index on Wednesday, which showed Australia had slid in the rankings for the third consecutive year.

It now sits at number 13 in the index of 168 countries, behind New Zealand in fourth place and the United Kingdom in 10th spot, but ahead of the United States (16) and Japan (18).

“It’s not a good look for Australia,” said Anthony Whealy, QC, the new chairman of Transparency International Australia and a former Supreme Court judge.

Mr Whealy, who presided over an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry involving former NSW Labor ministers in late 2013, said successive federal governments had been “complacent in addressing corruption” and urgent laws were required, particularly to crack down on foreign bribery.

He said there was a perception in the business community that “Australia more or less has to go along with paying bribes or large sums of money in other countries to get contracts for business purposes”.

“That complacency in the business world is really brought about by complacency at government level, where it has the capacity to introduce legislation, and indeed it’s in the course of doing it now,” Mr Whealy said.

A Senate economics references committee inquiry into foreign bribery is expected to release its report by July 1.

Mr Whealy said new laws were needed to make it a criminal offence to pay bribes to foreign governments to get contracts, as well as laws requiring companies to keep a record of all payments made.

Denmark, Finland and Sweden, which appear regularly among the “cleanest” countries, took out the top three spots in the 2015 index. North Korea and Somalia tied for the last spot.

The index does not measure actual corruption, but is a reflection of international perceptions drawn from 12 different sources including the New York-based Political Risk Services group and a survey of business executives conducted by the non-profit World Economic Forum in Geneva.

Australia has only appeared outside the top 10 on two other occasions – last year and in 1998.

Countries in the index are given a score from one (“very corrupt”) to 100 (“very clean”). Australia scored 79 points in the 2015 CPI, down from 80 points in 2014 and 81 in 2013.

View the full Corruption Perceptions Index for 2015.

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Semi-finals – implying play-off matches of equal gravitas – doesn’t really cut it as a signpost for this stage of the 2016 Australian Open.
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In another sport, they might be called major and minor semis, or heat and repechage. One features two players with a total of 27 major championships between them, the other at most Andy Murray’s two.

Thursday night’s first semi could worthily be the final; it was at the past two majors.

Friday night’s second semi – without knowing the combatants at the time of writing – could have been held over from the Kooyong Classic. Murray or no Murray, on the other side of the net will be a player ranked outside the top 10. That’s way down in Bernie Tomic territory.

Thursday’s match takes precedence chronologically, hierarchically and at the weigh-in. No tournament in this time is over until Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have played one another.

By night’s end, theirs will be the most prolific rivalry at major championships in the open era. In all tournaments, they have played 44 times, for 22 wins apiece. That’s rivalry, as distinct from what Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova share, which is more like servitude.

Djokovic has also played Rafael Nadal 47 times and Andy Murray 30 times. Federer has played scores of matches against Nadal and Murray, too. But Federer also played eight matches against Andre Agassi and even one against Pete Sampras, at Wimbledon, and beat him. That was in 2001. In 2001 Djokovic was playing under-14s.

That is the fascination about their competition and Thursday night’s match: Djokovic and Federer are peers, but not contemporaries. Djokovic is a dominant No.1 now, but so was Federer at Djokovic’s age. When Djokovic is Federer’s age, will he be in some new gang of four?

Contemplating Federer’s historic standing, some critics mark him down because he has a losing record against Nadal and a break-even record against Djokovic. That implies that, say, Rod Laver was dominant against every opponent, at all times. He wasn’t.

Federer’s is great not just because he has always been a pleasure to watch, but because he was in the mix at 21 and he still is at 34. To some minds, he is improving again, defying gravity. One such mind is Djokovic’s. He notes this new-old Federer is more intent on getting to the net, shortening rallies and games, messing with the prevailing defensive paradigm. To Djokovic, the great fidei defensor of baselines everywhere, the surveillance tapes must have been fascinating.

“He hasn’t really dropped the level at all, I think, in the last seven, eight years that I’ve been playing against him on the top level,” Djokovic said. “He’s been playing always consistently well.

“I think his backhand is better than it was maybe five, six years ago. He’s playing some terrific tennis on the hardcourt.”

Federer admits going back to go forward (or is that advancing to return to a heyday?).

“I’m playing good tennis, fun tennis for me anyway,” he said. “I really enjoy being able to come to the net more, like back in the day.”

To most on the circuit, this is the day.

Djokovic, on the face of it, has changed nothing. Confounding insanity theory, he does the same thing over and over, for an ever-improving result, not least four wins in the past six majors.

Of course, he is making adjustments and refinements all the time. One this week was to skip a day’s practice, not because his work ethic is wavering but because he is attuned to himself.

“Less is more sometimes,” he said. “You need to recognise the moment. I’ve played a lot of tennis – maybe even too much. There was no concern for me that I would not feel the ball.”

Intuitively, Djokovic should win this monster semi, by a margin. He is the better player now. His 2015 was titanic, Federer’s merely excellent. But there remains a feeling in tennis’ water that Federer has one more major left in him. If not at Wimbledon, here is as likely as anywhere.

Hence, this finale before the final, and a following quivering with anticipation. Friday night: the postscript.

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Family farewell David Petersen, who was shot by a policemen at Quakers Hill, at a funeral in Sydney’s west on Wednesday. Photo: Edwina Pickles Relatives and friends perform the haka outside David Petersen’s funeral on Wednesday. Photo: Edwina Pickles
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David Petersen was a devoted father, great brother and a man’s man who never failed to make his family laugh.

But underneath it all, Mr Petersen struggled to find peace.

A week after Mr Petersen walked into Quakers Hill Police Station with a knife and was shot dead by police, his family have farewelled the New Zealand-born father-of-four.

His children remembered their father as a best friend who taught them how to swim, ride a bike and to love unconditionally.

“You only ever loved me and I am eternally grateful for everything,” Mr Petersen’s eldest daughter told the funeral service in Minchinbury on Wednesday.

“I pray to God that you are at peace.”

On Tuesday, January 19, Mr Petersen’s children received the news that their father had been shot dead in the foyer of the police station.

Mr Petersen, known affectionately as “Uncle Dave”, parked his car outside the Lalor Road station before he walked inside with a large knife and got into a confrontation with police.

He was shot once by a sergeant with 24 years’ experience in the force.

CPR attempts were made on the 45-year-old scaffolder, who lived on nearby Highfield Road, but he died soon after.

A friend of Mr Petersen’s partner, Lisa, told the service, which spilled out of the chapel doors, that David’s painful struggle was finally over.

“… and he may finally find the peace he fought so hard to find,” she said.

His brother, Alex Petersen, said he wished his sibling could see all the people who loved him.

He described him as a great brother, provider to his family and a “man’s man”.

His sister, Tina, wrote in a letter read out to the service that Mr Petersen always made her laugh.

“Now all I do is fight back tears,” she said.

“I never did tell you how much I love you and that’s because I thought we would grow old together.”

Friends and relatives performed a moving ​haka outside the Pine Grove Memorial Park chapel before the coffin was placed into the hearse.

Minister Ken Fischer said Mr Petersen’s family knew the events on January 19 were completely out of character for him.

He said the past few months had been particularly tough for Mr Petersen, as he battled various health issues, and his family.

“He longed for peace and a way out of his troubles,” he said.

The Homicide Squad is carrying out a critical incident investigation into the shooting.

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KohliThe Australian Cricketers’ Association will seek clarification from TV networks over what constitutes acceptable player engagement during matches after the furore created by Steve Smith’s dismissal on Wednesday night.
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Channel Nine came under fire on social media with many accusing the network of being responsible for the star batsman losing his wicket in the first Twenty20 international.

The incident took another twist on Wednesday when David Warner asked why Virat Kohli did not receive more scrutiny for his feisty send off to Smith.

Smith had been doing a live interview with Channel Nine commentators Mark Nicholas, Ian Healy and Michael Hussey in the over of his dismissal but was not spoken to in the lead-up to the ball which got him out.

This is in keeping with the guidelines given to networks regarding when they can communicate with players, one of which is they cannot speak to the facing batsman while the bowler is in his approach to the crease.

It’s understood Smith does not blame the broadcaster for his wicket, which sparked a dire batting collapse that crippled Australia’s run chase. The Test and one-day international captain did not appear uncomfortable at any stage during his interview, at points even sharing a laugh with Nicholas.

The controversy comes days after a boundary-bound shot by Kohli struck Channel Nine’s Spidercam, an aerial camera, and was ruled a dead ball, costing India four runs. Indian captain M.S. Dhoni later said networks should be fined $2000 every time this occurred.

While the ACA have no qualms with the circumstances leading to Smith’s departure, the players’ union said it would seek feedback from players and speak to networks over the appropriate times they are spoken to.

“We think players have been really accommodating,” ACA chief Alistair Nicholson said.

“Being miked up, there is the right time and place to do that but there’s a greater level of feedback we need to seek from players over when that engagement is going to be acceptable.

“It’s very difficult for players in a live environment to push back on what they’ve been asked to commentate on.”

“Clearly we need to get more feedback. We’ve seen it evolve over a couple of seasons, the insight on the field is growing and growing and growing, there needs to be more work done to identify what areas can be strayed into.”

Television interaction with players in Twenty20 matches is a feature of both the Nine and Ten networks’ coverage of the format, and welcomed by viewers, who appreciate being taken inside the mind of the player in the heat of battle.

Players are not obliged to wear microphones if asked by a broadcaster and have the right to say no. No Indian player was miked up in Adelaide.

There was an instance in the Big Bash League when the Melbourne Stars’ Kevin Pietersen asked Ten’s commentary team not to speak to him until he was settled in, a wish granted by the network. He was run out moments later.

Warner said he had no problems with being connected to Channel Nine during games, nor did he feel under extra pressure.

“Not at all,” Warner said. “We’ve done that for the past couple of years. Obviously it’s not in the interests of Channel Nine to disturb us while we’re out there and for us to be dismissed.

“It’s upon us to be responsible and professional to actually understand that’s what happens out there.

“It’s about entertainment. We’ve seen it during the Big Bash, we’ve done it plenty of times through Channel Nine. It gives a great insight for people at home, to get an understanding of how we are dealing with situations when we’re out there.”

Channel Nine declined to comment.

Warner, however, could not hide his frustration when asked if he felt Australian players were judged more harshly for their on-field behaviour compared to their rivals.

“I’m going to bite my tongue on that situation,” Warner said.

“If the umpires feel they can take action they will take action. If they don’t, we’ll just sit there and take it on the chin.”

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Overseas: Molly McPhee is unavailable to play for the ACT under-20s team after signing to play with US college St Mary’s. Photo: Jamila ToderasBasketball ACT officials are confident Canberra’s absence from the under-20 female national championships will be a one-off after being forced to withdraw its team for the first time in recent history.
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As the Canberra Capitals fight through their worst season in WNBL history, a lack of players and not wanting to “make up the numbers” led to the under-20s pulling the pin.

Basketball ACT executive manager Dan Jackson confirmed the women’s team would not be part of the tournament in Ipswich next month.

However, it is sending a men’s under-20s and intellectual disability teams with the view to adding two female teams to the under-20s program next year.

“We could have sent a team just to make up numbers, but that’s not what it’s really about at a national championships,” Jackson said.

“We want to try to represent ourselves as best as we can. We thought for this year we’ll take one year off and focus on getting the group together next year and get them competitive.

“We’re certainly hoping we’ll be in a position next year to send a men’s and women’s under-20 and a men’s and women’s teams for the Ivor Burge competition.”

The Capitals have fallen from their perch as a recent WNBL powerhouse and are languishing at the bottom of the ladder after 19 consecutive defeats.

They return to the AIS Arena on Sunday for a clash against the Adelaide Lightning as they fight to end the worst losing streak in the club’s history.

Jackson is confident women’s basketball in Canberra will bounce back at a junior level, citing a strong under-18s team which will graduate to the under-20s program next year.

Two of Canberra’s best female players have also moved abroad to start college careers in the United States.

“Molly McPhee went over to St Mary’s … at that age group for us. It’s a tough age group for females for whatever reason,” Jackson said.

“But looking to the future, our under-18s team is extremely strong. It’s just a temporary mishap and definitely not for the future in the under-20s.

“Tasmania aren’t sending teams, it’s just the way it is this year.”


Sunday: Canberra Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at AIS Arena, 3pm. Tickets available at the door.

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