“Booval House”, on Cothill Road, is Ipswich’s oldest two-storey house. “Booval House”, on Cothill Road, is Ipswich’s oldest two-storey house.
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“Booval House”, on Cothill Road, is Ipswich’s oldest two-storey house.

“Booval House”, on Cothill Road, is Ipswich’s oldest two-storey house.

An historic Ipswich estate going to auction on Friday could be the heritage-listed bargain of 2017.

“Booval House” at Cothill Road, the oldest two-storey home in Ipswich, would likely be worth $10 to $15 million in Brisbane but will sell for a fraction of that, its marketing agent says.

Aidan Wales of Ray White Ipswich says the property, an Ipswich landmark, reminds him of Vaucluse House in Sydney with its grand architecture and stately grounds.

“Of course, this isn’t Sydney and the prices here are very different. Even in Brisbane, something like this would be worth $10 to $15 million,” he says.

“I can’t actually think of a house in Brisbane that rivals it when you take into account the size, the history and the land size.”

The property is being auctioned, so by law Mr Wales can’t name any price expectations. He says while it’s hard to find comparable recent sales because of Booval House’s unique heritage, it’s probably not as expensive as some might expect.

“We do find sometimes with these unique properties that buyers just assume they can’t afford it,” he says.

“They might think a property is going to go for $4 million when it in fact goes for $2 million or even $1.5 million. Related: The most beautiful country QueenslandersRelated: Renovating QueenslandersRelated: Brisbane’s ‘most beautiful Queenslander’

“What I can tell you that two nice homes nearby sold for $800,000 to $1,000,000, although they weren’t a patch on Booval House’s land size and they were not even National Trust properties.”

Ipswich is renowned for its proliferation of historic Queenslanders but Booval House would have to be one of the most impressive.

Set on an immaculately landscaped 4818 square metres of private grounds, the original house was built between 1857 and 1859 and stands as a rare Queensland example of colonial Georgian architecture.

Originally owned by a prominent Ipswich banker, the house passed through two other families before the Sisters of Mercy purchased it in 1931 and turned it into a Catholic convent.

Its current owners, John and Helen Jackson, bought the property 20 years ago and spent the best part of two decades painstakingly restoring it back to its now glorious state.

Their conservation work won them the National Trust of Queensland’s highest award ??? the John Herbert Memorial Award for Excellence in Conservation.

Apart from the five-bedroom, three-bathroom Booval House, the property also includes the two-storey east wing annexe, a garage/workroom wing, sulky shed and lean-to, fernery, orchid house and a leafy summer house.

The Special Uses (SU) 80 zoning adds opportunity to use the grounds commercially with some potential uses being a function centre, catering caf??, accommodation (Airbnb), religious/musical/education centre, professional/medical offices to name a few.

The auction is scheduled to take place at Ray White Corporate, Level 26, 111 Eagle Street, Brisbane, this Friday August 25 at 10.30am.

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Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis has attempted to dismiss new questions over her possible dual citizenship, after an incoming passenger card from 1966 – filled out when she was 10 years old and re-entering Australia – emerged in which she listed her nationality as “British Australian”.
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Ms Sudmalis last week declared that she had “confirmed that I do not hold, and I have never held British citizenship” after Fairfax Media approached her about her possible status as a dual national.

Ann Sudmalis during question time in Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

After seeking urgent clarification from the UK government – following Fairfax Media’s story – Ms Sudmalis said she had been advised that she was in the clear.

The member for Gilmore was born in Australia in 1955, to an Australian father and a British mother. Her mother, Valerie Pybus, came to Australia in 1951 and did not become an Australian citizen – and renounce her British citizenship – until 1989.

Under section 44, part (i) of the Australian constitution, a person is disqualified from standing for Parliament if they are “under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power”.

On Monday night, the Guardian reported that: “an incoming passenger card from 25 July 1966 – found in the National Archives – showed Sudmalis listed her nationality as ‘British Australian’ when she returned to Australia as a 10-year-old after travelling overseas.

Ms Sudmalis was travelling with her father, Norrie Hardinge, at the time.

Fairfax Media called Ms Sudmalis twice on Monday night and was hung up on both times.

In a short statement sent out by the Prime Minister’s office soon afterwards, Ms Sudmalis attempted to put the questions over possible dual citizenship to bed, again.

“The UK Home Office have confirmed to me that I do not hold and have never held British citizenship,” she said.

“My Australian father filled out the incoming passenger card on my behalf in 1966. He labelled my nationality as British-Australian because my mother is British. I did not travel on a passport of any sort for that trip to Australia.”

It’s understood that Ms Sudmalis parents were, at the time, going through a divorce and that a British court had ruled she could travel to Australia without a passport after her parents had separated.

Previous questions, including whether she was entitled to citizenship by descent under British law, have not been conclusively answered, and she has not released documents.

The Turnbull government has been rocked by revelations that deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash and former cabinet minister Matthew Canavan have all held dual citizenship.

The High Court will hear a directions hearing later this week about the eligibility of Mr Joyce, Senator Canavan, One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts and former Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam.

Ms Nash and independent senator Nick Xenophon have also revealed they may be dual nationals.

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After 66 episodes, some things in Game of Thrones have become par for the course. Dragons will fly (just like in real life), Cersei will screw someone over (preferably straight after screwing them), Jon Snow will get out of an impossibly tight situation – you know, like death. He’s done that so often now that he’d have to stay dead for a REALLY LONG TIME for us to believe he was actually gone. A couple of centuries at least, I’m thinking. Even then, I’d have my doubts
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But this week, there’s a genuine surprise – at least for those of us who do not spend every spare moment scouring the internet for leaks, or hunting for hi-def torrents of the episode HBO accidentally uploaded in Spain and Sweden last week. Duffers.

We’ll get to the surprise, but not until we have spent 72 minutes trudging through snow and ice and Very Meaningful Dialogue. There is never any reward in Game of Thrones without a great deal of suffering first.

We’re up in t’deepest north, beyond the Wall, where Jon and his band of not-very-merry men have gone in search of the undead. They plan to capture one and bring it back to King’s Landing, where it will either convince Cersei of the threat he and his kind represent or make her a rather decent husband. Maybe even both.

Our chaps are a Magnificent Seven – Jon, Jorah, Gendry, The Hound, Beric, Thoros and Tormund – plus a few ring-ins whose function is to carry the gear and die in spectacular anonymity when the white walkers finally arrive.

It’s bitterly cold, and Gendry asks Tormund the question on everyone’s lips. “How do you keep your balls from freezing?”

“You keep moving,” says Tormund. “Walking’s good, fighting’s better, f—ing’s best.”

How do you keep your balls from freezing out here? Photo: HBO / Foxtel

But, notes Jon, there’s no woman “within a hundred miles of here”. Tormund drops his voice and eyeballs Gendry. “You have to make do with what you’ve got.”

Jon and Jorah bond over fathers and swords, specifically Longclaw. Jon offers it to Jorah, since it’s rightfully his, but Jorah will have none of it.

“I brought shame onto my house, broke my father’s heart,” he says. “I forfeited the right to claim this sword. It’s yours. May it serve you well, and your children after you.”

There’s so much man love going on out on the tundra I’m not sure where to look. Now Tormund is trying to make nice with The Hound. “I don’t think you’re truly mean,” he says. “You have sad eyes.” Hey, get a snow cave, you two.

“You want to suck my dick, is that it,” Clegane asks.

But dick, it seems, is not a word the wildling is familiar with.

“Cock,” The Hound says helpfully.

“Ah, dick,” says Tormund. “I like it.”

“I bet you do.”

Tormund tells The Hound it’s not like that. He has a beauty waiting for him back in Winterfell – blonde, blue eyes, tall, “almost as tall as you”.

The Hound recognises the description straight away. “You’re with Brienne of Tarth?”

“Not ‘with’, not yet. But I’ve seen the way she looks at me.”

“Like she wants to carve you up and eat your liver?”

“You do know her.”

There’s yet more man love as Jon and Beric discuss the meaning of life.

“I don’t think it’s our purpose to understand,” says Beric, who probably should have a bit more insight than that given that this is his seventh go round. “Except one thing. We’re soldiers. We have to know what we’re fighting for.”

Now into his seventh life, Beric ought to have afew more answers than he does, surely. Photo: HBO / Foxtel

Death is the enemy, he says. “The first enemy, and the last.” They’re fighting for the living, not some idiot on a throne. “Maybe we don’t need to understand any more than that,” he adds. “Maybe that’s enough.”

“Aye,” says Jon, seemingly at peace with this. “Maybe that’s enough.”

Really? That’s it? And I thought 42 was a letdown. Sheesh.

Compared to all that ice, dreary old Dragonstone is looking like something from a Martha Stewart catalogue, especially for those lucky enough to be nestled in front of a roaring fire with a fine glass of Chateau Verdeflor in hand and a gorgeous woman whispering sweet nothings in your ear.

I love what you’ve done with the place. No, really. Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

“I like you because you’re not a hero,” Dany tells Tyrion. “Heroes do stupid things and they die.” Talk about backhanded compliments.

Up in Winterfell, Arya and Sansa finally have the showdown that’s been coming since the moment they were reunited.

It starts chattily enough, with Arya reminiscing about a day she was practicing archery in the courtyard, even though girls weren’t supposed to do that kind of thing. After countless misses she hit the bullseye, and her father, who’d been secretly watching, clapped.

“I knew what I was doing was against the rules, but he was smiling, so I knew it wasn’t wrong. The rules were wrong. I was doing what I was meant to be doing and he knew it. Now he’s dead, killed by the Lannisters – with your help.”

Arya confronts Sansa with a few home truths. Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

She shows Sansa the note she’s found in Littlefinger’s room, the note to Robb begging him to come to King’s Landing to pledge fealty to the Lannisters. Sansa pleads for understanding – she was just a girl, she was scared for her family, she thought it was the only way to save them. Arya is having none of it. “I didn’t betray our entire family for my beloved Joffrey.”

Sansa glances it off. “You should be on your knees thanking me. We’re standing in Winterfell again because of me. You didn’t win it back, Jon didn’t win it back – he lost the Battle of the Bastards.”

And there it is. She’s finally said it; she does think the north is rightfully hers, not her brother’s.

Where were you while all this bad stuff was going down, Sansa asks?

“I was training.”

She might as well have said, “I was in an ashram aligning my chakras” or “I was backpacking with this great chick from Canada, and we had some really scary moments, like that time we had to wait for, like, three hours for a ride outside Thessaloniki”.

Sansa is so not impressed.

But Arya has the letter, even though she hasn’t decided what to do with it yet. Show Jon? Nah, he’ll forgive her. Ooh, what about the northern lords? I bet they wouldn’t be so understanding???

“You’re angry,” says Sansa. “Sometimes anger makes people do unfortunate things.”

“Sometimes fear makes them do unfortunate things,” counters Arya. “I’ll go with anger.”

Later, Sansa tells Littlefinger she’s worried about the northern lords. “Bloody windvanes,” she calls them. Yeah, so easily swayed by the littlest things, like the fact she contributed to her father’s death and she married two sworn enemies of her house. They are just so fickle.

Littlefinger has a cunning plan, because he’s Littlefinger and he always has a cunning plan. Get Brienne involved. Isn’t she sworn to protect you both? Hmmm. When Sansa is invited to King’s Landing, she sends Brienne in her place. Quite how this will play out to be seen. And as for Tormund’s lusty plans…

Speaking of Tormuns, he and Jon and co have laid a cunning trap of their own: they’ve lit a fire in the snow to attract the walkers. Where exactly did they find logs in this treeless landscape, you might well ask, but only if you want to be a party pooper. Are you going to play nicely now or would you rather go to your room? Without any dinner? I thought so.

Anyway, Jon and his men do battle with a small advance party of the creatures, and as they duke it out, things take an unexpected turn. When Jon cuts their leader down, the others disintegrate. That’s a bit of information that could come in handy down the track – if they survive long enough to use it.

One of them doesn’t crumble to dust, but that’s OK because now they’ve now got what they came for. A captive undead soldier. Quick, someone call an Uber and let’s get the hell out of here.

So here’s the plan. We get ourselves surrounded by the undead. That’s all. Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

But as they truss him up, he gives a squeal that could wake the dead. It wakes the dead. The horde pours through a mountain pass, and Jon and co are once again on thin ice. Literally. The frozen lake begins to crack beneath their feet. But what could be their doom becomes their salvation, as the weight of the undead opens up a crack into which they tumble.

Jon and co reach an outcrop, and are for now safe – if freezing slowly to death while surrounded by a zombie horde counts as safe, that is.

Gendry has been sent to the Wall for help, and collapses just shy of the gate but has breath enough to demand Davos send ravens to Daenerys.

In Dragonstone, Dany hears the call, but Tyrion begs her not to go. “The most important person in the world can’t fly off to the most dangerous place in the world,” he says. I can imagine Kanye having the same conversation with himself as he’s about to board a flight to a concert in Detroit.

She ignores him, and heads off with all three dragons, and just as well because The Hound’s brilliant plan of tossing rocks at the army of the dead-undead hasn’t worked out so well.

Fly away Peter, fly away Paul, but who will return, to sit on the Wall? Photo: HBO

Emboldened by the realisation the ice has reformed, a skeleton – who has no brain but is apparently able to reason – leads an attack on the outcrop. As the horde surges, all is doomed – until Dragon Force One flies to the rescue, laying waste to the undead and the ice sheet, and finally providing an airlift for our once magnificent seven, now reduced – thanks to Gendry’s rescue mission and Thoros’s death – to a famous five.

But before Drogon can take off, the Night King tosses a giant icy toothpick at one of the other dragons, Viserion. It hits him in the flank and he instantly crashes from the sky in a trail of flame and blood and gore before hitting the ice and sliding slowly to a watery grave.

Jon eyeballs the Night King, and notices he has another spear. “Go,” he yells to Dany, but before he can join the others atop Drogon he is tackled by the dead and sent crashing through the ice.

Oh no, not this again.

Somehow, he drags himself and his waterlogged bearskin coat out of the water, but he’d still be doomed if not for the convenient arrival of … “Uncle Benjen?!!” On horseback, no less.

He dismounts and puts Jon in the saddle, sends the horse packing and wades into the horde swinging his giant hippy candle. You’d say it was yet another case of “he gave his life so that others may live” except that Benjen was technically dead already (sort of). At any rate, it’s the most outrageous moment of deus ex machina since – well, since Jaime was hoisted out of the water by Bronn last week.

So, this appears to be working out pretty well, right? Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

In Winterfell, Sansa sneaks into Arya’s room, where she discovers a bag full of faces and is understandably freaked out. Her little sister was always a bit unusual, but this is seriously creepy.

“Tell me what they are.”

“We both wanted to be other people,” Arya says. “The world doesn’t just let girls decide what they’re going to be. But I can now. With the faces I can become someone else, speak in their voice, live in their skin. I could even become you.”

She grabs the Valyrian dagger Bran gave her. She is undeniably menacing. “All I’d need ??? is your face.”

And then she hands Sansa the dagger and leaves. Which might just be the creepiest thing she’s done all episode.

On the ship back to Dragonstone, Jon is taken out of the freezer to thaw, and when he wakes up he tells Daenerys, “I wish we’d never gone”.

“I don’t,” she says. “You have to see it to know. Now I know.”

It’s like that, travel. The Acropolis, the Pyramids, the armies of the dead. Really does broaden the mind.

Again, Dany tells Jon the dragons are her children, but this time she’s getting at something else. “They’re the only children I’ll ever have – do you understand?”

It’s important information to share with the man you might be thinking about taking as your husband, even if he is your nephew (not that she yet knows this).

Finally, she pledges her total support in the war on the undead. “We are going to destroy the Night King and his army. We are going to do it together.”

“Thank you Dany.”

“Dany? Who was the last person to call me that? My brother? Not the company you want to keep.”

“All right, not Dany. How about my queen? I’d bend the knee, but???”

She takes his hand. “I hope I deserve it.”

“You do.”

Don’t call me Dany. My brother called me Dany, and look how that turned out. Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

They exchange a look full of longing, desire and inappropriate, vaguely incestuous impulses. But given no deformed offspring can result from this union, perhaps it doesn’t matter all that much.

Back in Ice-land, the dead-undead have formed orderly lines and are dragging four massively oversized metal chains over their shoulders. Where did they even get those chains? It’s not as if you can just pop down to Super Cheap Auto for supplies up here, is it?

They’re dragging the dead dragon from the water. The Night King wanders over, lays his chilly hand on its head, and it opens an eye. It’s blue.

An undead dragon. It will presumably spit ice rather than fire. The Night King will presumably ride on its back, swooping low over King’s Landing and dispensing icy death, dogfighting with Dany and Drogon.

Nothing can stop it. Except maybe Valyrian steel. And dragon glass. And dragon fire. And maybe one or two other things we don’t yet know about, or do and have forgotten.

Whatever. The stage is officially set. On the one side, Ice and Fire – Dany and Jon – are together, one way or another. On the other, Ice and Fire are about to face off. Drogon v dragon, alive v dead.

It will be the smackdown to determine the fate of the Seven Kingdoms, and it will be huge. Bring it on.

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2X Haydens Road by Mockridge Stahle and Mitchell, is still standing and retains much of the mid century aesthetic It wasn’t exactly a scene of anger-charged citizens wielding pikes and intent on physically defending their patch – but the hundreds who turned out for the relaunch of a period housing preservation group in Beaumaris last week have the same objective.
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Wearied of watching the destruction of some of the Modernist architectural gems ??? that from the 1950s turned Beaumaris into a laboratory of architectural experimentation and one of the greatest concentrations of unique, mid-century homes in Australia ??? the Beaumaris Modern group launched its official website and told the crowd that with so little heritage protection, it is going to be up to collective action to save what’s left.

Speaking to the group ??? and to his surprise, appointed its official patron on the spot ??? comedian and passionate defender of Modernist architecture Tim Ross said community action “is the best thing that can happen in terms of looking after our mid-century buildings”.

“It’s a local fight. It’s not about carrying placards and chanting. It’s about community. You look after them as they come up (for sale) in your neighbourhood,” he said.

What is going to be vital in preserving the last houses by the likes of Robin Boyd, Anatol Kagan, David Godsell, Chancellor and Patrick, Mockridge Stahle Mitchell, and some of the 50 other architects who made the bayside suburb their home from the ’50s ??? and therefore, according to Ross, constituted “the greatest concentration of architects in the southern hemisphere ??? is to explain why they are important and what’s so important about this suburb”.

“What’s impressive and important here goes beyond architecture, because what we have is a series of buildings that people’s mothers and fathers built,” he said.

“It won’t happen again. But it’s such a rich part of our history … Your history. These houses are a part of our collective photo album and our history is not to be demolished!” Related: Modernist Caulfield home faces wrecker’s ballRelated: Boyd house in Chirnside Park for saleRelated: Government urged to fund heritage protection

That there is already a massive groundswell of interest and concern about the multiple threats to mid-century buildings is demonstrated by new owners to the suburb, very carefully restoring rather than ripping apart the features of these spare-boned, big-windowed, open space houses that oriented themselves to the light and their gardens. Ross’ television exploration of the provenance and consequence of mid-century architecture, Streets of Your Town, became one of the ABC’s highest-rated programs last year.

“That was remarkable for a show about architecture and social history,” he said.

Yet as Fiona Austin, president of the group that started some years back as a neighbourhood Facebook page, says, also remarkable was that 30 years ago when so many of Melbourne’s inner city councils were levying heritage protections on their loveliest period neighbourhoods, “mid-century modernism wasn’t considered for heritage listing”.

“Over time so many of the houses have been demolished and once they’re gone, they’re gone,” she said.

At the meeting, both the Beaumaris Modern group, and its sister organisation the Beaumaris Conservation Society “which opposes the mowing down of trees”, solicited for membership, starting at $30 and $10 respectively per year, to make more effective a grass roots movement determined to stopping thoughtless redevelopment replacing the best of the original houses and remnant bushland with the blandest of volume townhouse builds.

The purpose of Beaumaris Modern’s work is, through information and education, to promote understanding of the remnant Beaumaris gems.

“We hope to save as many of these properties as we can. And in doing so, bring like-minded people together to share their passion for mid century architecture.”

And, perhaps, not a moment too soon?

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ACT Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has backed flyhalf Christian Lealiifano to hit the ground running when he returns from a stint with Northern Irish giants Ulster in his comeback from leukaemia.
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Lealiifano is making a temporary move to Ireland in a bid to get professional game time and continue his journey after going into remission.

The 29-year-old is in line to start the Pro 14 season on September 1 after finalising a deal with the Brumbies, Ulster and the ARU.

The inspirational leader was diagnosed with leukaemia 12 months ago and his rugby career was nearly over but now he’s packing his bags to take the next step in his career.

He made a shock return in the Super Rugby finals series and now Lealiifano is preparing to get some valuable minutes under his belt in Europe with the Brumbies’ blessing.

McKellar is keen to see Lealiifano write the next chapter in his remarkable comeback story abroad before he returns to Canberra in January.

“He’s had a bit of time this year with us which is remarkable considering where he’s come from,” McKellar said.

“I think it’s just an opportunity for Christian to get away and play rugby at a very high standard, at a good competition for a good club.

“The reality is he is back fit and healthy, he played 30 minutes in Singapore and 40 minutes in a quarter-final.

“We just felt we needed to get some more game time into him but also felt a new experience, new environment, new culture for him and his family to enjoy was something he was denied last year when he couldn’t go to Japan.

“This experience allows them to go away and have some time to themselves, and at the same time play some good rugby.

“He’s grateful for the opportunity, he’s grateful for the support he’s received off the Brumbies, and he’s excited.”

Lealiifano will return to Brumbies camp in January when McKellar welcomes back his Wallabies representatives from their off-season break.

The inspirational co-captain is set to be joined in ACT colours by superstar flanker David Pocock, who will return from a 12-month sabbatical.

The presence of Lealiifano, Pocock and co-skipper Sam Carter will give the Brumbies valuable leadership in McKellar’s first year in charge of a Super Rugby franchise.

The Brumbies have made the finals five years in a row and a stint overseas will be invaluable as Lealiifano looks to help the Brumbies to a third championship.

“Having missed almost an entire season whilst recovering, I feel that it’s important that I get some minutes playing competitive rugby ahead of the 2018 Super Rugby season and Ulster have provided a great environment for me to do that,” Lealiifano said.

“They are a well-respected club and are genuine challengers for the PRO14 title. I have heard good things about the set-up there and am looking forward to working with the Ulster coaching team and squad.

“With this opportunity, I feel I can come back to the Brumbies in great shape ahead of the build-up to the new Super Rugby season. Dan and the Brumbies staff have been very supportive of this idea and I am excited by the challenges that lay ahead.”

The Brumbies are poised to re-sign 32-year-old centre Andrew Smith on a one-year deal on Tuesday morning as the roster edges towards its final form.

McKellar still has a few contracts up his sleeve with Western Force players set to spill onto the open market after their club was cut from the Super Rugby competition.

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North Korea has warned Australia it is “suicidal” to conduct military drills with the United States after a handful of Australian troops began an annual war game with the US and South Korea on Monday.
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Tens of thousands of military personnel are involved in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, a 10-day exercise in South Korea that simulates war on the Korean Peninsula.

About 25 Australian troops join 17,500 from the US and 50,000 from South Korea, as well as a small number from Canada, Colombia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

On Saturday, a spokesman for North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told state news agency KCNA that Australia’s participation is aggravating the situation in the region.

The North Korean spokesman referred to the ANZUS military treaty between Australia, the United States and New Zealand, saying if Australia follows the US into war it will feel the “counter-measures of justice”.

“Not long after the Australian Prime Minister had stated that they would join in the aggressive moves of the US, even referring to ANZUS which exists in name only, the Australian military announced that they would dispatch their troops to the aggressive nuclear exercises of the US,” the spokesman said.

“This is a suicidal act of inviting disaster, as it is an illustration of political immaturity unaware of the seriousness of the current situation.

“Australia followed the US to the Korean War, the Vietnamese War and the ‘war on terrorism’, but heavy loss of lives and assets were all that it got in return.

“The Australian government had better devote time and energy to maintaining peace of its own country, instead of forgetting the lessons learned in the past and joining the US in the moves for nuclear war.

“Countries like Australia that join the military adventure against the DPRK [Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea], blindly following the US, will never avoid the counter-measures of justice by the DPRK.”

On Monday evening, Malcolm Turnbull said North Korea needed to be brought to its senses.

“North Korea has shown it has no regard for the welfare of its own population, no regard for the security and good relations with its neighbours and no regard for international law,” Mr Turnbull told the ABC.

“We call on all countries to redouble their efforts, including through implementation of agreed UN Security Council resolutions, to bring North Korea to its senses and end its reckless and dangerous threats to the peace of our region and the world.”

The comments come at a time of tension between the US and North Korea, after US President Donald Trump promised to answer North Korean aggression with “fire and fury”.

Last month, North Korea launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and threatened to launch a third toward the American territory of Guam.

Despite this, the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills are proceeding as planned.

The exercises are the world’s largest computerised war-simulated drills. They involve no field training like live-fire exercises or tank manoeuvring but instead feature alliance officers sitting at computers to practise how they engage in battles and hone their decision-making capabilities.

The allies have said the drills are defensive in nature.

South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, said on Monday that North Korea must not use the drills as a pretext to launch fresh provocation, saying the training is held regularly because of repeated provocations by Pyongyang.

North Korea typically responds to South Korea-US military exercises with weapons tests and a string of belligerent rhetoric.

During last year’s Ulchi drills, North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile that flew about 500 kilometres in the longest flight by that type of weapon. Days after the drills, the North carried out its fifth and biggest nuclear test to date.

with agencies

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After years of massive investment, Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue is about to harvest dividends.
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It will be a huge reward for many of its loyal shareholders who have ignored the company’s critics and religiously followed the dream of being the third force in iron ore. They lapped it up on Monday, pushing the share price up 6.5 per cent.

Fortescue’s previously parsimonious strategy on paying dividends came to an end as it declared on Monday that up to 80 per cent of profits will be earmarked for paying shareholders going forward.

Forrest himself could be counting on a yearly pay cheque of more than half a billion US dollars from 2018 if current profit levels are maintained and more if profits improve.

Fortescue’s generosity to shareholders marks the final stage in its evolution from a highly speculative, entrepreneurial upstart to a mature company with reliable positive cash flow – albeit volatile thanks to movements in the iron ore price.

Until now, the company had been squirrelling profits to pay down the billions in debt it had taken on to develop the West Australian mines and infrastructure.

The other leg of its strategy had been to cut its operational costs – at which it has been so successful that it is ahead of its larger rivals in iron ore – Rio Tinto and BHP.

The release of Fortescue’s full-year results on Monday coincided with yet another strong gain in the price of iron ore – which if sustained – would improve profits in 2018.

It told investors that net direct (C1) cash costs should fall again in 2018 to between $US11-12 per wet metric tonne and that the company would continue to work to get below even these levels.

But there is always the caveat that this will depend on fluctuations in the Australian dollar exchange rate (which is now stubbornly higher than Fortescue’s assumptions of US75??) and fuel prices of $US53 a barrel.

The 2017 result of a $US2.1 billion net profit was more than double that which was inked in 2016, primarily due to the better iron ore prices from its Chinese customers.

The result would have been better but for the price discount Fortescue wears because its iron ore grades are lower than its major competitors’.

And with debt now down to near optimal levels and no major repayments due until 2022, the familiar mantra of Fortescue pumping its cash into debt repayments has given way to a new emphasis on shareholder returns.

In 2017 alone, net debt was cut in half, to $US2.63 billion from $US5.19 billion a year earlier.

Indeed, it now boasts a very healthy looking balance sheet, having avoided (unlike BHP and Rio) the pitfalls of blowing up capital on poor acquisitions.

There was no talk of any large capital outlays from Fortescue nor of increasing the production of ore beyond its current 170 million tonnes a year, although it will need to replace some reserves over the coming years.

Fortescue is almost starting to look like a yield stock.

It’s a formidable achievement for a company that only a few years back was battered by lower ore prices and too much debt, and being read last rites by some commentators.

If one assumed a steady-state for Fortescue, investors should be feeling pretty comfortable with the reduced risk level complete with net gearing of around 21 per cent.

But this is a company that is probably unable to shed its entrepreneurial culture, which is dominated by Forrest. He will not be content with sitting back and enjoying the fruits of the past 15 years of hard slug and just harvesting dividends.

Analysts are now bracing themselves for Fortescue 2.0 – a company which, armed with enormous cash flow, is looking for new opportunities, new commodities and new ways to get bigger.

The company’s chief executive, Nev Power, has to balance the branding of the company as one with growth options beyond West Australian iron ore but at the same time not willing to take on too much risk.

At this stage, Fortescue has barely dipped its toe into potential new developments and Power insists it won’t grow for growth’s sake. Time will tell.

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Goodman Group will use a potential windfall of $2 billion from looming asset sales to develop highly automated logistics centres where artificial intelligence will boost efficiency for tenants.
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Despite not commenting directly on strong speculation that online giant Amazon will lease a site at Goodman’s Eastern Creek estate in Sydney, Goodman chief executive Greg Goodman said the retail “disrupters are here and the followers are on their way”.

“With $8 billion of asset sales over the last three years, we’ve positioned our business in line with structural changes. We’re now looking to the future. We are seeing and we are planning for rapid technology and behavioural changes for both business and consumers as the use of automation and artificial intelligence increases,” Mr Goodman said.

“AI in warehouses is accelerating with not just robotics, but data collection where trucks can be sent out at the right traffic times, bar coding to ensure the customer can track the parcels and a more efficient layout internally.”

He said although the evolution of e-commerce and supply chain transformation was still at an early stage, “we are seeing increased demand for our expertise in providing high-quality logistics facilities in prime locations. This is a trend we expect to accelerate over the next five to 10 years”.

“We are recalibrating the business and see that AI and technology have raised consumer expectations around price, product availability and delivery,” Mr Goodman said.

The group has also inked a deal with NSW Ports, the custodian of Port Botany and Port Kembla, to develop NSW Ports’ industrial estate at Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre. It is set on 60 hectares of industrial zoned land on Mainline Road, Strathfield South, Sydney.

“Now while disruptive for some businesses, the early stages of the evolution of e-commerce and supply chain transformations are providing us with opportunities.”

The assets sales and a focus on costs has seen Goodman report an operating profit of $776 million, up 8.6 per cent on the 2016 year and operating earnings per share of 43.1??, up 7.5 per cent on the previous corresponding period. The interim dividend of 13.2?? will be paid on August 28.

The results included $1.6 billion of revaluation gains and 14.4 per cent total return from its partnerships and joint ventures. Since 2014, assets under management have grown to $35 billion despite $8 billion in asset sales.

Mr Goodman said he would continue to look at recyling older, non-core land and buildings to apartment developers.

He said the results are supported by the development-led strategy that leverages growing online consumerism in key global gateway cities through Goodman’s $3.5 billion workbook. The group has also agreed terms with a partner in Brazil.

“We’ve taken advantage of the property cycle to make $3.5 billion of asset sales across the platform this financial year, redeployed this capital into strategic developments and reduced group leverage to 5.9 per cent,” he said.

“This has provided us with greater financial flexibility and enabled us to improve the quality of our global portfolio by focusing on strategic locations in gateway cities, placing our customers close to their customers.”

Analysts said the results were in line with expectations.

According to Peter Zuk from Shaw & Partners, it was another strong result for Goodman, which again benefited from high development margins as well as performance fees in the development and management businesses, offsetting the loss of income from investment property sales.

“Goodman is incredibly well capitalised, with significant reinvestment potential, including $2.1 billion of cash, that should help keep its earnings growth ticking along nice over the medium to long term,” Mr Zuk said.

But JP Morgan’s Richard Jones said while Goodman is in “good shape”, its medium-term challenge is maintaining its earnings growth when yield compression no longer underpins above-trend development margins.

“Goodman has look-through gearing of about 20 per cent and heading lower, plus it has $10 billion of available capacity to fund acquisitions to maintain growth,” Mr Jones said.

The share price was down 11?? to $8.43 a security.

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AFL commission chairman Richard Goyder says he “hates” pokies, and will seek to use his personal authority to wean clubs off them.
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“We’re going to have a good look and see whether there’s the opportunity to at least lessen the reliance,” Goyder told journalist Alan Kohler in an interview for his website The Constant Investor. “Some clubs have got a high dependency on them at the moment, and it’s not a matter saying, ‘Well let’s just stop it’. You’ve actually got to work through a way of doing it. It’s something we and the clubs are looking at, at the moment.”

Goyder admits it will not be easy. “That would be an outcome that I’d seek,” he said. “Whether that’s attainable, time will tell, but certainly we’ll work with the clubs to see if there’s ways we can, as I said, at least lessen the reliance.” Kohler said he hated pokies. “Yeah, so do I,” said Goyder.

Goyder’s remarks follow last week’s revelation that the AFL had formed a task force to find ways to reduce the reliance of clubs on poker machines, which account for up to 30 per cent of revenue of some clubs. The context is that Victorians lost about $94million last year on pokies owned by football clubs at 17 venues around Melbourne.

Called Project Fruit, the task force is chaired by former Tattersalls boss Ray Gunston and includes Richard Garvey and Mark LoGuidice, respectively presidents of Hawthorn and Carlton, two of the bigger pokie operators among clubs.

On pokies, Goyder is consistent. In his previous role as chief executive of Wesfarmers, he agitated for manufacturers to incorporate a $1 spin limit on machines owned by Coles, a Wesfarmers subsidiary.

Asked in ABC interview last February while still wearing his Wesfarmers cap if the company would get out of pokies, he replied: “We should be allowed to trial $1 spin limits, which we think would reduce the harm that comes from one end of the pokie industry. That would be our preferred course.”

But his plea fell on deaf ears.

Pokies are becoming a growing thorn in the AFL’s side. “It’s something we’ve talked about a lot,” chief executive Gillon McLachlan said last year. “We looked at one stage as an industry, could we exit them, but it’s challenging.”

All Victorian clubs except North Melbourne operate machines, and revenue from them grew by 3.3 per cent last financial year. Publicly, the clubs defend themselves on the grounds that they reinvest some of the profit into the community, and that they would would struggle to make ends without pokie money. Privately, most are uneasy.

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to pokies, left and right hand are not always in sync. The Victorian government noted recently that losses to pokies had fallen overall in the last year. But last month, it announced an expansion of the pokies footprint, doubling the number machines and the validity of licences to 20 years from 2022. Anti-gambling bodies fear this will tempt AFL clubs to increase rather than reduce their investment in pokies.

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It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when the only sexy thing about outdoor advertising was what appeared on the billboards.
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All that changed when the rest of the traditional media business started going backwards, and billboard vendors like APN Outdoor discovered digital.

The result is that APN’s share price has still doubled since its ASX debut in 2014, despite the proposed merger with Ooh! Media falling over in May. APN boss Richard Herring gets to walk away from the business next month with just under $10 million worth of shares. That’s rock star CEO territory.

When asked what the future holds, Herring said he played music, “badly”, and would work on that.

But what about a different gig, like comedy? Given he shares a name with British comedian-blogger, Richard Herring.

“I was sadly likened to him during his tour of Australia, which is entitled something like tour of the penis ??? anyway.”

And with a delivery like that, maybe our retiring CEO should stick to the directorship circuit instead.

Speaking of moving on.

BlueScope boss, Paul O’Malley, has also decided to retire after presiding over a result that could best be described as a meltdown – through no fault of his own.

All O’Malley’s good work on the cost cutting and productivity front were undone by the massive rise in BlueScope’s power bill, which we can all sympathise with.

It sent the company’s earnings, dividend, and share price into a ditch on Monday.

So, what is O’Malley planning to do next after a decade at the helm of the steelmaker?

“I’m hoping to be a failed professional bike rider,” said O’Malley, who has a young son who is happy to keep the old man company. Weiss guy

The Gary Weiss-led corporate raider, Ariadne, found something to do besides rubbish the Ardent Leisure board on Monday when it released its full-year results.

Weiss has plenty to crow about after the company’s share price nearly doubled in November after selling its stake in Secure Parking for a $67 million profit.

Other investments are a work in progress, it told investors. Which brings us back to Ardent.

“We consider that Ardent has some valuable assets, with good potential under the right board and leadership team,” said an unusually measured Ariadne.

The Kiwi group also found plenty to cheer about from the sporting success being enjoyed on the other side of the ditch.

“Following the winning of the America’s Cup by Team New Zealand in June 2017, there is a clear recognition of the urgent need to develop the necessary infrastructure to support the next competition for the cup in four years’ time and to capture the significant opportunities for New Zealand’s internationally recognised marine industry which will flow as a result. The Ariadne consortium remains uniquely positioned to respond to this challenge,” crowed Ariadne.

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