‘s big banks are expecting to face a royal commission some time in this or the next term of government, if momentum is maintained.
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The banks reached this conclusion some months ago, and the argument for an official probe into such an economically and socially crucial sector has only grown since then, with the latest revelations of egregious malpractice by the Commonwealth Bank sparking an unprecedented public inquiry by one of the industry’s regulators, the n Prudential Regulation Authority, into its culture, governance and accountability.

This and other fallout, including the announcement of the chief executive’s departure, from the CBA’s alleged failure on more than 50,000 occasions to report deposits that might have involved money laundering by organised criminals and terrorists, has caused investors to cut the company’s shares significantly in recent days, toppling CBA from the perch of ‘s biggest company.

This lack of investor confidence is mirrored by declining trust in the banks in the broader community. That will not be restored by APRA’s investigation into CBA, although that is welcome. APRA and corporate watchdog the n Securities and Investments Commission have been reasonably criticised for an insufficiently robust response to the scandals.

Although royal commissions are costly and lengthy, the well-documented weight of evidence against the banks has become compelling. Their argument that malfeasance, fraud, forgery, inappropriate commissions, prudential failure, collusion, cheating life insurance policyholders and other transgressions are the result of “a few bad apples” long ceased to have credibility.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has turned on CBA, citing a dozen compliance issues, as well as failures by the board and management to meet public expectations that the culture will be cleaned up. In a highly unusual intervention, Reserve Bank governor Dr Philip Lowe in recent days attacked the banks – not just CBA – for a flawed culture and for being unduly driven by short-term profit. ASIC chief Greg Medcraft said he was “a little stunned” that CBA neglected to mention to him the alleged breaches of anti-money laundering rules. ASIC is now investigating whether the bank and its board breached the Corporations Act in their handling of the scandal.

These moves by ASIC and APRA can be seen as insufficient and belated. Given the importance of confidence in the financial sector, a royal commission is justified. The banks know it. But the buck stops in Canberra. A note from the editor – Subscribers can get Age editor Alex Lavelle’s exclusive weekly newsletter delivered to their inbox by signing up here: www.theage苏州夜总会招聘.au/editornote

Victory: Players rush to Darren Albert after he scored the winning try.ReporterBrett Keeble covered the Knights for 24 years for the Newcastle Herald. That included their unforgettable last-gasp victory over unbackable favourites Manly-Warringah in the 1997 n Rugby League grand final, the unhinged excitement in the build-up to the game, and the euphoriathat followed.
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Rising to the momentWHAT seemed at the time like the worst possible preparation for the biggest game of their lives ultimately provided their greatest source of strength.

The Newcastle Knights had qualified for their first grand final in just their 10th season – against reigning premiers and nemesis Manly, no less – and had barely a moment to themselves.

Andrew “Joey” Johns, their best player, spent most of the week in hospital nursing three broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Paul “Chief” Harragon, their inspirational skipper, was struggling with a strained hamstring.

Every day was spent signing autographs, posing for photographs, attending sponsors’ and supporters’ functions, answering questions from fans, reporters and well-wishers – all while being swept along in a rising, raging red-and-blue torrent.

Matthew Johns recalls a meal and a meeting with senior players including his brother Andrew, Paul Harragon, veteran prop Tony Butterfield, coach Malcolm Reilly, and club officials about four weeks before the finals, at which they dared to dream the impossible dream.

“’Chief’ was always big on why,” Johns told Weekender in the lead-up to the 1997 grand final team’s 20-year reunion celebrations – a private lunch on Saturday then as guests of honour at the Knights’ last home game of the season against Cronulla on Sunday. (A complete list of where those players are now is on Page 7.)

“The players were talking about the town and the people and how much it would lift the town, because there were so many raw emotions at the time with BHP closing, the Rio Tinto miners’ strike, the Super League war and so on.

“We wanted to do it for the town, and I remember one of the board members sort of chuckled a little bit and rolled his eyes and he said, ‘Don’t worry about the town, boys, just do it for yourselves’.

“But we walked away from that and said, ‘No, that’s not enough’. For us, it was about the team, but it was about the town. To play for the Knights that year, it really was a noble cause.

“When grand final week came around, Mal threw a few options at us. One of those was to go into camp, but at our first training session after we beat Norths, we had a talk and agreed to stay and enjoy the week.

“We had a lot of commitments but the biggest thing was we had all these people genuinely patting us on the back, grabbing us, and saying, ‘Just f ––– ing beat these blokes’, so for us, that fed us.

“These days, coaches would say it saps energy, but it was the opposite for us. Everywhere we went to we were met by people who were just desperate for us to win.

“That gave us a clear indication of why we were doing it, so the important factor for us what that it was bigger than ourselves.”

DAYS OF THEIR LIVESTHERE was more than a hint of destiny in the spring air in Newcastle and the Coalfields.

The scent was obviously undetectable on Sydney’s northern beaches, or anywhere south of the Hawkesbury it seemed.

After all, Manly had won their previous 11 meetings against the Knights. Why should a Bob Fulton-coached team full of representative superstars playing in a third straight n Rugby League grand final be worried about these upstart underdogs from Newcastle?

But hey, this was “Our Town, Our Team”, and these sons of coalminers and blue-collar battlers were determined to give their citizens the 200th birthday celebration they never had.

“Timing is everything. That’s why it was so good,” Harragon said.

“We were down and out, we were reeling from all those job losses with BHP closing, the Super League war, it was our Bicentenary and we’d had nothing to celebrate, so all that collective cause just magnified the situation.”

Harragon said the players took every event in their stride.

“First off, it took a day or two to come to grips with being in a grand final. As far as winning it, there was no expectation or pressure because we were just going, ‘Wow, we’re here’,” Harragon said.

“So it wasn’t until the back end of that week, and leaving for Sydney on the bus on that Saturday morning before the game, that we realised this was bigger than the game and bigger than all of us.

“There was a bit of magic happening, and it wasn’t a burden hanging around our neck. This was uplifting; it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something great for all these people.

“This was a chance for us to represent the region, and stand up in front of the whole of and say, ‘Look at us’. By being there all week, we absorbed all that, we carried it with us into the game, and it made a big difference.”

Centre Mark Hughes, just a skinny kid from Kurri Kurri at the time, felt bulletproof.

“I couldn’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else but Newcastle,” Hughes said.

“It was so uplifting to see the red and blue everywhere, and it really did make you feel stronger and better than you actually were.

“The underlying confidence you get from that, I look back now and think, ‘I was only 20. How was I feeling so strong and confident in that situation?’ but you knew you just had the whole town behind you, and an amazing group of senior rugby league players around you.”

The players travelled by bus to Sydney on Wednesday afternoon to prepare for the grand final breakfast at the Regent Hotel on Thursday. It was a taste of things to come.

“The bus trip before the breakfast, people were already lining the streets to wish us well as we left Marathon Stadium,” Cessnock-born utility forward Bill Peden said.

“It was then that we knew it was more about our town than just sport. It was about community pride and we had an obligation to give everything we had for our families and friends and our community. At that time, I just felt lucky and proud to live where we live.”

On Saturday, players made their way to Marathon Stadium for their last ride to Sydney as also-rans.

“There were probably a thousand people in the carpark to see us off, then thousands more lined up all the way along Newcastle Road and the link road out to the freeway,” said foundation forward Marc Glanville, who was about to play his 188th and final game for the club.

“Older blokes like myself, Chief, Butts, ‘Crowey’ (Stephen Crowe) were all quite emotional, because you could see on our faces how important it was for us to win. We had always imagined what it would be like if we made a grand final, then what it would be like if we could win it.”

Glanville broke down again at a team meeting in Harragon’s room at their Coogee hotel that night, convincing every player there that no matter what, the Knights could not, would not, lose.


THE rugby league world knew Andrew Johns was hurting.

As Novocastrians painted the town red and blue, their influential playmaker was in Lake Macquarie Private Hospital attached to a tube to keep his punctured lung inflated. Johns would need a miracle to play in the grand final, and Knights fans held their breath, praying for Joey’s bung lung.

Back-page banner headlines suggesting “HE COULD DIE” – a doctor’s warning if Johns played – only added to the drama.

Thriving on the theatre of it all, Johns crawled out of bed and on to the field for the team’s final training session, joined them on the bus to Sydney the day before the game, played through the pain, set up the winning try, and was last man standing after weeks of celebrations.

That included stage-diving and crowd-surfing as The Screaming Jets entertained a packed Civic Park after the tickertape parade and City Hall civic reception two days after the grand final.

Harragon’s gammy hammy was kept under tighter wraps.

“I had a bit of trouble with it that week but I was managing it and it certainly wasn’t going to keep me out,” Harragon said.

“I could have had one of my legs missing and I still would have played.”


IT started with brutality and ended with brilliance.

Unable to run flat out, urged on by his coach’s gentle reminder that “you don’t get sent off in grand finals”, Harragon was like a wrecking-ball in the opening 15 minutes. Undeterred by the penalties he conceded, he launched himself into anyone wearing a Manly jersey.

“Those first five minutes when ‘Chief’ was going mad is still my favourite part of the grand final,” Matthew Johns said in Harragon’s 1999 autobiography One Perfect Day.

Despite Newcastle’s physical dominance in the middle, Manly’s experience and class on the edges were obvious as the Sea Eagles scored two early tries to lead 10-0 after 25 minutes.

Newcastle’s most experienced outside back, fullback Robbie O’Davis, finally gave Knights fans something to cheer about in the 34th minute. After a scrum win deep in Manly territory, O’Davis danced past Toovey and Terry Hill to touch down.

Sea Eagles fullback Shannon Nevin snatched back momentum with a converted try in the shadows of half-time to stretch Manly’s lead to 16-8 at the break, but the favourites would not score again.

O’Davis, the Churchill Medallist, stepped, propped, bobbed, weaved then stretched out to score next to the posts just six minutes from full-time, and Andrew Johns converted to tie the scores at 16-all.


The noise inside the stadium had become deafening. Manly were out on their feet and, though they survived a couple of failed field-goal attempts, were powerless to stop what was coming.


As the final seconds ticked towards the inevitability of extra time, Andrew Johns darted out of dummy-half down the blind side, dummied outside to Hughes, then passed inside to Darren Albert.

The speedster from Scone sprinted away to score the try that gave him – and a community crying out for a shot of self-esteem – something to dine out on for the rest of their days.

“Senior players like Chief, Tony Butterfield, Marc Glanville, they lived and breathed the Knights since 1988, so to be there and to share it with blokes like that was so special,” Hughes said.

“There was no panic and there was an amazing sense of self-belief throughout that whole week, and then again during the game no matter what the situation, so it was like it was meant to be.

“Somehow the rugby league gods smiled on us, everything fell into place at the one time, and the ‘Scone Thoroughbred’ galloped over the line with a couple of seconds to go.

“You couldn’t write a script to beat that.”


EXHAUSTED and elated, the players, staff and a select few significant others on board the team’s Sid Fogg’s charter coach enjoyed a private party for the first 80 kilometres of their trip home.

They were given a glimpse of what was to come when the bus slowed down approaching Gosford.

“Back in those days, there used to be those roundabouts at Gosford, and that was the halfway mark coming back from Sydney,” Matthew Johns recalled.

“We got to those and the bus driver told us to look out the window, because there were people having a party in the middle of the Gosford roundabout. All the way home, there were people having parties on the sides of the road and in the roundabouts, then by Wallsend, we’d slowed to a crawl.”

It was there where Andrew Johns practised his surfing skills atop a police patrol car.

“I’ll go on the record to say Andrew was on the cop car. I was on the cop car trying to get Andrew off the cop car,” Matthew laughed.

“As the bus got to the centre of Newcastle, there were masses of people – tens of thousands out on King Street in front of the Workers Club – so the bus was going so slow, there were blokes jumping out of the trees on top of the bus.

“The top of the bus was smashed but it wasn’t vandalism, it was just mass hysteria. Everyone was just so happy and there was so much goodwill.”

Players spent “Mad” Monday on another bus stopping at as many suburban pubs and watering holes as they could get to, then on Tuesday it was a tickertape parade in open-top cars through streets crammed with smiling people. They started at Stockland Jesmond and finished on the balcony of City Hall in front of a sea of Hunter punters packed into Civic Park and King Street.

“I spoke to blokes that had been around at the end of wars and they said they’d never seen anything the likes of this, so I think it was the biggest celebration our town has ever had,” Harragon said.

Matthew Johns, who now lives on Sydney’s northern beaches but forever considers himself a Novocastrian, said every person in every pub had a celebratory story to share.

“One bloke said he didn’t know what to do when we won,” Johns said.

“He said, ‘I just started screaming, then I went into my garage and sat behind the wheel of my car and hit the horn for five minutes’. In Cessnock’s main street, the fire brigade went up and down with the siren on.

“There’s just a special bond between the club, the town and the people. Craig Johnston said in his book about Liverpool, about how important the 12th man – the Kop – was to them out on the pitch, and it was the same for the Knights that year. They just gave us that incredible momentum.

“You still see it now. There’s such goodwill for the Newcastle Knights in Sydney, and I think it’s got a lot to do with that time back in 1997, because on that day, every person in n sport wished they were a Knights supporter.”


Until his early 20s, James* had no idea the internet existed.
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It was only after he escaped from North Korea that he learnt about Google and Facebook.

“It’s so fantastic, whatever I type, there is a result,” James, 25, said. “My new hobby in South Korea was searching YouTube and I saw the videos and [I’d go], ‘oh, what is that?’

“We can use computers in North Korea; there was a PC room but there was no internet.”

James is one of five North Korean students who arrived in Sydney last month to begin an intensive 30-week English course under the University of Technology Sydney’s UTS:INSEARCH language program.

He is currently studying mechanical engineering at a university in South Korea and wants to work on developing sustainable energy sources after he graduates.

Besides the internet, James said having time to himself also helped him realise what he wants to do.

“[At first] I was so nervous about free time, because in North Korea we had no free time,” James said.

“After class, we [had to] work for the government. Since you were 10 years -old, you were carrying sand, maintaining the roads, building an apartment.”

James said he would now be in the North Korean military if he had stayed in the country.

“You have to do 10 years of military service,” he said. “I would have lost my 20s, it would be terrible.”

Ann*, 25, who escaped from North Korea in her early teens, said she would also most likely be in the military if she had stayed.

Instead, she is completing a degree in international trade in South Korea and wants to work for the United Nations World Food Program.

Growing up in a small town during the North Korean famine of the 1990s, Ann said that one of her favourite memories was of a team from the UN delivering food and supplies to her school.

“My family was suffering from hunger and I always worried about meals,” she said of the famine that began when she was four.

“When I was nine or 10, they provided some candy and cookies and a yellow pencil with an eraser on the back. I still remember the taste of the cookies and the shape of the pencil.

“And I remember all the people had smiles on their faces. We were gathered together exchanging cookies for pencils.

“I don’t remember all the details but the impact [of that] was huge.”

Ann said that she now wants to “work all around the world” helping other people in need and she has been given advice that learning English is one of the most important things she can do to get to the UN.

She said she still can’t believe she is in Sydney.

“[We only knew about ] because we learnt in science that kangaroos only live in ,” Ann said. “Sometimes when I wake up I pinch myself.

All five students are in under a fully funded scholarship program for North Korean defectors that is running for the second time.

UTS’s director of the masters of not-for-profit and community management program, Bronwen Dalton, said the scholarships are important for improving the lives of people who have left North Korea.

“There’s very high unemployment among North Koreans living in South Korea because they often don’t have the skills that translate to success in a capitalist economy,” Dr Dalton said.

“In South Korea, they expect you to speak English and be a global citizen and of course, North Koreans have had no opportunity to do either. We’re just trying to get these young leaders to get good jobs and show there’s hope for the rest of them.”

Dr Dalton said meeting North Koreans can help ns get a better understanding of the country.

“It’s a window into the humanity that’s behind all this politics and by actually getting to meet these students, we can think more deeply about the consequences of demonising the whole country all the time,” she said.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the students and their families.

Giants firebrand Toby Greene has vowed to keep playing his natural game despite a growing reputation as the AFL’s bad boy, but said he’s learned harsh lessons this season about what’s acceptable on the field.
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Speaking for the first time since he was fined for booting Western Bulldog Luke Dahlhaus in the face this month, Greene stressed he would not be changing his style on the eve of the club’s second AFL finals appearance.

The Giants’ travel to face minor premiers Adelaide next weekend in a bid to make their second-straight preliminary final.

Greene escaped with a fine from the match review panel after the Dahlhaus incident, avoiding a third suspension for the year when his raised boot struck the Bulldogs livewire in the face as Greene reeled in a handball.

“I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the Dahlhaus thing, if your eyes are on the footy, I thought you’re entitled to do what you want to protect yourself, that was my thoughts on it,” Greene said.

“Obviously it copped a lot of media speculation. That’s a natural reaction of mine to protect myself when I go for marks, that’s all I thought it was.

“It’s unfortunate that he got hit in the head but I obviously didn’t mean to kick him in the head.

“I can’t guarantee in my next marking contest I won’t protect myself with my knee. That’s just how I play footy and from what I’m aware of you’re allowed to do it.”

The Dahlhaus incident was the latest in a chequered season for Greene, who has been named in the AFL’s 40-man All n shortlist.

In round six against the Bulldogs he copped two weeks for striking Caleb Daniel in the mouth and was suspended for another fortnight in round 18 after a jumper punch on Richmond’s Alex Rance.

Greene hoped the Rance incident, where he sought out the Richmond fullback who moments earlier had given away a free kick for flooring Steve Johnson, was the turning point of his on-field discipline.

“I’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I don’t think my actual playing footy, I don’t need to change anything,” Greene said.

“The Rance thing was just stupid and that was probably a line in the sand, hopefully. You just can’t do anything off the ball these days.

“In the back of my mind I’m a lot more aware of it. If people are going to come after me and niggle me, it’s about just being cool, you can’t really do anything these days so there’s no real point.

“That’s just footy. If you’ve got a defender playing on you it’s all part of it.”

Greene has become a punching bag for opposition fans this year and was the subject of frequent heckling from the Geelong crowd in Saturday’s 44-point loss to the Cats.

He was also heavily targeted at Etihad Stadium two weeks prior against the Bulldogs, particularly after the Dahlhaus incident.

“The Cats crowd were all right, I actually didn’t notice it too much compared to the Bulldogs game,” Greene said.

“It’s all part of it, that’s footy, it is what it is. I’ve got a few notes to myself that keep me checked in. I guess you feed off the noise but I don’t take anything in that gets said.”

Jakarta: Malcolm Turnbull’s desire for a “high quality” free trade agreement with Indonesia will confront Jakarta’s protectionist impulses, with chief negotiator Deddy Saleh saying his country was shooting for a “good quality” agreement instead.
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“High quality” free trade was different to “good quality”, Mr Deddy explained to Fairfax Media, because, “A ‘high quality’ agreement suggests opening the markets fully”.

Mr Deddy told Fairfax Media that Jakarta questioned the purpose of opening its markets to n exports if it disrupted Indonesia’s domestic industries, saying “the biggest hurdle is the level of ambition”.

“I’m saying the agreement must be mutually beneficial. So that is where the negotiation lies right now. We are negotiating the ‘good’ (versus) the ‘high’ quality agreement.”

The two countries have two more negotiating rounds before a deadline they have set for themselves of signing an agreement by the end of the year.

But on a number of matters – including ‘s education exports and Indonesian nurses coming to work in – negotiations are still underway.

“In order to complete the negotiations we must compromise because our mandate as negotiating teams is to complete it by the end of this year,” Mr Deddy said. “So it takes mutual understanding.”

Asked if he was optimistic a deal would be reached in the time frame, Mr Deddy said: “I have always been optimistic as long as each country understands the situation”.

Indonesia is deeply suspicious of “neo liberal” policies, and the country’s political agenda is geared towards encouraging domestic production, with self-sufficiency goals for a number of key commodities including beef, sugar, rice and soybeans.

Mr Deddy said it was the right of every country to open or not to open its market.

He said there were sensitivities on both sides. For example, he said wanted 100 per cent access to the education sector in Indonesia, which was not permitted under existing policies.

The n Department of Education and Training said that, despite the great demand for education and training in Indonesia, barriers remained to expanding n education exports to Indonesia.

“Unlike in Singapore and Malaysia, no n higher education provider is able to operate a standalone campus in Indonesia,” it said in a submission to an n parliamentary inquiry into the trade relationship.

“n education and training providers face a host of barriers in prohibitive laws and regulations that undermine the value proposition of investing in Indonesia to deliver their services.”

Meanwhile, Mr Deddy said Indonesia wanted to send nurses to but it was difficult for them to meet the very high standards of English required. “So we are still talking about issues like these.”

The Indonesia- Business Partnership Group said Indonesian stakeholders believed that qualifications required to enter the n services market were unfair.

“For instance, Indonesian nurses find it difficult to practise in because of the stringent requirements which must be met,” it said in a submission.

The group also said Indonesian graduates from n universities had voiced concerns about the difficulties of obtaining post-graduation work experience or job opportunities.

In February Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said both countries’ leaders had committed to “intensify our efforts to achieve a high quality Indonesia- Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA)”, as the trade deal is called.

However analysts have warned that hopes of a meaningful agreement should be treated with caution given the protectionist political climate in Indonesia.

“Expanded n trade and and investment with Indonesia is limited by market access, unequal treatment for foreign and domestic service providers and market issues stemming from extensive state intervention in the economy,” Lowy Institute research fellow Matthew Busch told Fairfax Media.

“Restrictions are widely dispersed through the Indonesian legal and regulatory framework and will not be banished via a single international agreement – even one that applies an innovative approach.

“Indonesia is not an active trade negotiating country and so there could well be a sluggish or limited local response for behind the border commitments.”

However Mr Busch said that because the bilateral relationship is important and and Indonesia are “forever” neighbours, it may still be in ‘s interest to go through with a deal and lend “neighbourly assistance” with economic cooperation activities that do not come at great economic cost.

“But we should perhaps tamp down expectations of what IA-CEPA will immediately deliver for our trade and investment.”

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