Daily News Roundup

April 20, 2018

FRIDAY, April, 20

The Queen has called on Commonwealth leaders to appoint her son as the next head of the organisation.

The ABC reported that while opening the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, she declared it is her “sincere wish” that Prince Charles take over “one day”.

After years of preparation and lobbying behind the scenes, the comments are the most explicit statement Her Majesty has made about the position, which she has held since 1952.

The role is not hereditary and representatives from the 53 Commonwealth countries are expected to make a decision on succession on Friday.

But the Queen’s remarks effectively signal that the Prince of Wales has already been chosen as the organisation’s next head.

“It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth continues to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949,” she said.

The Queen committed herself to the institution at 21.

This CHOGM, which comes two days before her 92nd birthday, is likely to be the last that she presides over.

Her Majesty avoids long-haul flights and it will be some time before the biennial summit returns to England.

Prince Charles already often stands in for his mother, including at the recent Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

But the Queen’s comments are so significant because it is exceptionally rare for members of the Royal Family or spokespeople from the Palace to publicly discuss what happens once Her Majesty’s reign ends.

Australia signalled its preference for Prince Charles to become the next head of the Commonwealth five years ago when Julia Gillard was Prime Minister.

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AMP’s chief executive officer Craig Meller has quit his job with immediate effect after a series of scandals were revealed at the banking royal commission.

The resignation was accompanied by an unreserved apology from AMP to its customers.

The royal commission heard AMP lied to the corporate watchdog ASIC for almost a decade to cover its practice of charging customers fees for advice that was never delivered.

Mike Wilkins, a non-executive director of the company and former CEO at insurer IAG, has been appointed as acting CEO, reported the ABC.

Mr Meller has become the first senior executive to lose his job as a result of the banking royal commission.

His fall was rapid, given AMP only started giving evidence on Monday.

The damning evidence the commission heard included a statement from AMP’s head of financial advice, Anthony ‘Jack’ Regan, that the company had lost count of the number of times it mislead ASIC.

The commission also released a mountain of documents showing AMP had sought to influence a supposedly independent review by law firm Clayton Utz to downplay the knowledge and involvement of senior executives in the scandal.

In a statement to the ASX, AMP said it would immediately establish a “comprehensive review” of the company’s regulatory reporting and governance process.

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Three Australian warships were challenged by the Chinese military as they travelled through the disputed South China Sea earlier this month, the ABC has revealed.

The confrontations with the People’s Liberation Army are believed to have occurred as China was conducting its largest ever naval exercises in the hotly contested waters.

Defence sources have confirmed HMAS Anzac, HMAS Toowoomba and HMAS Success were challenged by the PLA Navy as they were transiting towards Vietnam where they are now conducting a three-day goodwill visit in Ho Chi Minh City.

One official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, insists the exchanges with the Chinese were polite, but “robust”.

The Defence Department has refused to answer questions or discuss details of the interactions between the Australian warships and the Chinese military.

In a statement it has confirmed HMAS Anzac and HMAS Success recently travelled through the South China Sea after leaving Subic Bay in the Philippines, while HMAS Toowoomba also went through the disputed waters after departing from Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.

“The Australian Defence Force has maintained a robust program of international engagement with countries in and around the South China Sea for decades,” the Department told the ABC.

“This includes bilateral and multilateral military exercises, port visits, maritime surveillance operations and ship transits.

“As they have done for many decades, Australian vessels and aircraft will continue to exercise rights under international law to freedom of navigation and overflight, including in the South China Sea.”

During their port visit to Ho Chi Minh City, HMAS Anzac, HMAS Toowoomba and HMAS Success will conduct a logistic resupply and local engagement with Vietnam People’s Armed Forces and local government officials.

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