Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says the NSW government has capitulated to a “ferocious campaign” from the media after his appointment to a clean energy board was overturned.
Last week, NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean had backed Mr Turnbull to lead the Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy board, adding he was a great friend.
This morning, however, Mr Kean released a statement saying Mr Turnbull could “distract” from the board’s goal of creating jobs in low carbon industries and reducing state emissions while growing the economy.
“The focus should not be on personality,” Mr Kean said.
“Malcolm Turnbull AC has contributed much to our country and I know will contribute more into the future.
“However, no person’s role on the Board should distract from achieving results for the NSW people.”
Before his appointment, Mr Turnbull had written a letter objecting to the expansion of a coal mine in the Mount Pleasant area, in the Hunter Valley, citing concerns for his nearby grazing property.
The former prime minister said he spoke with Mr Kean yesterday about the decision.
“Mr Kean said to me there was no conflict of interest between anything I have said or anything Lucy (Turnbull) has said or what we have written about coal mining in the Hunter,” Mr Turnbull told ABC Radio Sydney.
“The net zero board has nothing to do with coal mining approvals for a start. But he said he does not want personalities to be a distraction.”
Mr Turnbull, who has been a fierce critic of News Corp, said the government had caved to pressure from the Murdoch press reversing his appointment.
“There was a pretty ferocious campaign, a vendetta, really, in the characteristic way that News Corp operates,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Its goal was to bully the state government into not appointing me chair of this net zero board.”
Mr Turnbull last year joined another former prime minister, Labor’s Kevin Rudd, in backing a petition for a royal commission into media diversity and the role of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, saying they both believe “News Corp is a malevolent and partisan force in Australian political life”.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said on Nine Radio this morning that he was embarrassed he had agreed to Mr Turnbull’s appointment.
“I gave the benefit of the doubt to the Liberals and the benefit of the doubt to Malcolm Turnbull and he pulled my pants down within 48 hours,” Mr Barilaro said.
A woman whose body was found in a charity bin died after she became wedged in the opening mechanism while trying to remove donated items, Gold Coast police say.
The 43-year-old woman’s body was found dangling from the bin outside a busy Burleigh Heads shopping centre on Monday morning.
Police are not treating the woman’s death as suspicious.
“It is what we class as a death by misadventure,” Superintendent Rhys Wildman said on Tuesday.
“It appears as though a 43-year-old woman has attempted to attain or remove some items from those charity bins.
“She has unfortunately appeared to have been caught in the door mechanism while she was attempting to retrieve some of those items and has unfortunately passed away.”
The woman’s body was found by a member of the public who was donating clothes.
“These bins are designed for a one-way mechanism, they are designed for people to place items in,” Superintendent Wildman said.
“They are not play items those bins, obviously there is a risk as unfortunately we found out.”
Superintendent Wildman said while the practice known as bin diving was not unusual, it was against the law.
“It is an offence if there is a complaint forthcoming from those charity agencies for stealing,” he said.
“It is not an uncommon practice for people to remove items from bins and essentially scavenge items that have been left for less fortunate members of our community.
“We have, from time to time, had reports from around the country of people not necessarily getting trapped or dying in these sort of circumstances but we have had reports occasionally in winter time of people actually trying to climb into the bins and staying in them.”
A report is being prepared for the coroner.
Yellow Wiggle Emma Watkins has announced she is engaged three years after her split from Purple Wiggle Lachlan Gillespie.
The 31-year-old confirmed the news on Instagram on Monday night, posting an image next to musician and Wiggles bandmate Oliver Brian while showing off her engagement ring.
“When life gets more sparkly,” she wrote.
Watkins confirmed her romance with Brian, who plays the banjo for the group, in December 2019, telling Stellar magazine: “Yes, I’m in love and I feel very excited to tell you.”
Watkins revealed that she and her new beau had worked together for four years before he asked her to dinner, describing him as her “opposite”.
“He’s a very calm and thoughtful person and I’ve always been interested in his mind and his take on life, and his morals. He loves talking about the environment and food production.”
Watkins and her co-star Gillespie’s highly-publicised split dominated headlines in August 2018, but the two have remained close friends and co-stars since their marriage breakdown.
Gillespie has since had two children with his fiance, ballerina Dana Stephenson, after the pair met when she was a guest dancer for The Wiggles.
When Watkins and Gillespie first split, he said they were the best of friends — “we always have been, that’s how it started.”
He said they were like any other couple and just realised they had reached a stalemate in their seemingly picture-perfect relationship.
“To be able to realise as a couple that we were going different ways and to stay as close as we are is a real testament, I think, to both of us,” he told the publication.
“I love her more now than anything and she loves me more than anything.”
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