It’s not every day that Cory Bernardi and Amnesty International are on the same page.
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But the conservative senator and the human rights organisation have both flagged major concerns about the Turnbull government’s plans to ratify an extradition treaty with China.

Ten years after the Howard government signed the extradition treaty, and days before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Australia to discuss the legal agreement, the senator and the human rights group have questioned the protections in place to stop the death penalty being implemented for serious crimes. China executes more people than any other nation.

The treaty was quietly tabled on March 2, is on track to be ratified by July, and will facilitate each of the nations returning an accused criminal to the other to face trial.

Liberal-turned Australian Conservatives leader Senator Bernardi told Fairfax Media that he did not know why ratification had been delayed 10 years but “no public case to justify it [the treaty] has been made”.

In 2015, a staggering 1.232 million people were found guilty by Chinese courts, while 1039 people accused were found to be innocent – a conviction rate of 99.92 per cent – a fact that Senator Bernardi said made him question the impartiality of the legal system.

“This is a red flag to my support for the rule of law and I cannot justify an extradition agreement with China any more that I can with Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan,” he said.

An Amnesty submission on the treaty flagged a number of concerns about the human rights safeguards that were in place.

“How would Australia monitor what is happening in China to ensure the Chinese government is upholding its undertaking? Would the Australian government continue to ensure whoever is subject to extradition has not been in fact been sentenced to death or executed?”

Labor, the Greens and the Senate crossbench will have 15 sitting days of parliament to disallow the treaty. Combined with Senator Bernardi’s support, just two more Senate votes will be needed to block it coming into effect.

Australia will be the first member of the “five eyes” intelligence community to ratify an extradition treaty with China, and one of the few Western countries, alongside France and Spain, to do so.

Last December, the treaties committee recommended ratification while recommending safeguards to “strengthen the protection of individual human rights”.

A spokesman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the treaty would allow Australia to refuse extradition where a person could face the death penalty, torture, cruel treatment, or face political charges.

“All extradition requests are considered by the relevant minister on a case-by-case basis. The safeguards in this treaty combined with the Extradition Act enable the minister to consider all relevant humanitarian considerations.”

The Law Council of Australia has also warned the undertakings from China not to carry out the death penalty are not legally enforceable.

“There is no consequence,” it said in its submission last year. What is Australia going to do? What is the reality? Is Australia going to try to haul China before the International Court of Justice? It is a joke.”

The extradition treaty would not operate as a prisoner swap, so would not facilitate the return of Australians who had been convicted of breaking laws in China.

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Collingwood youngster Jordan De Goey will miss at least the first six weeks of the season – and probably more – after receiving a three-week club ban to come into effect only after the hand he broke in a bar fight and lied about has repaired.
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It has emerged that the Collingwood players had agreed on Friday that a week out from their first game it would be wise not to drink on the weekend. Only hours later De Goey got in a fight in a St Kilda bar and broke his hand.

He initially told the club an implausible story of a freak injury while playing with his dog and hitting his hand on a door knob, but late on Monday he finally contacted the club to come clean about the real cause of the injury.

De Goey asked for a meeting with coach Nathan Buckley and football manager Geoff Walsh because he had to correct the story he gave them and to deal with the consequences of having lied to them and embarrassing Buckley by having him publicly defend him with the flimsy alibi.

De Goey, a top-10 draft pick, admitted to Buckley and Walsh at Tuesday’s meeting that he had made up the dog story but was adamant he had not been drinking. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframe_afl_video’);

De Goey, who turned 21 last week, told the club that while his friends were drinking on Friday night he had not been when he got in a fight and broke his hand.

“He was with mates and they were drinking but he was not. He had plenty of time to change that story if it was not true and he is adamant he was not drinking,” Walsh said. Well here I was thinking the ratpack was done and dusted at the pies…#warmstheheart??? Dane Swan (@swandane) March 21, 2017

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AFR, GENERIC, ATO Australian Taxation Office, tax, taxpayers, money, Government revenue, budget. Wednesday 18th December 2002S photo Louie Douvis / ldz ***AFR FIRST USE ONLY*** Photo: Louie DouvisEvicted tenants discover former Kirribilli rental unit on AirbnbWant to be an Airbnb host? This Aussie start-up will help organise everythingMurray Cox: The Australian pricking Airbnb’s global bubble
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People who rent out their houses on Airbnb stand to make, on average, less than half of what they charge, new figures based on the company’s data and checked by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) show.

Apartment-owners fare only slightly better, likely to make a little over half the price they tend to charge, after paying income and Capital Gains Tax when they finally sell their property.

And if either group doesn’t declare their participation in the sharing economy in a bid to avoid tax then they’re “likely to receive a ‘please explain’ letter from the ATO,” warns Mark Chapman, director of tax communications at H&R Block.

“[The ATO] is able to data-match rental income with third party data, not least the Airbnb website itself, which discloses information about you and your property, which the ATO can then match with your tax return,” he says.

“Bear in mind too that the ATO shares information with State Revenue Offices. That has led the Tasmanian SRO to attempt to levy land tax on some Airbnb renters in that state – a legally dubious challenge but one that other states could follow if a precedent is set.”

The calculations were done by officers of the Our Strata Community, Our Choice (OSCOC), an organisation that is lobbying the NSW Government for apartment buildings to be allowed to continue to decide themselves – by a 75 per cent majority vote – whether to permit Airbnb to operate in their buildings. All their figures were run past by the ATO as well as H&R Block and then reworked to take in their amendments.

But the final results stunned them. “We were shocked to find that people renting out their homes on Airbnb and presumably other organisations too like Stayz will make so little profit on it in the long term,” says Michael Mangan, OSCOC chairman.

“I think a lot of people haven’t really figured that out yet. Most people won’t make much profit after tax and then, on top, they’ll have cleaning costs, the costs of making good any wear and tear on their property and any damage. In some areas where the value of property has gone up by a lot over the past couple of years, we actually found some people, when they come to sell their home, making a loss.”

The figures are based on average wage-earners, living in average priced homes whose value has risen by an average percentage, and letting out rooms, or their whole home, for an average 28 days a year, on Airbnb-supplied numbers, and charging an average $160 a night.

Those in houses were discovered to have a $1462 income tax bill in 2016 and owe another $1352 in capital gains tax if it were sold. It meant they’d end up receiving just $60.17 a night.

Apartment-owners did only marginally better, making $89.91 a night.

An ATO spokesman said: “If you earn money from renting out a room or house you need to declare it because it counts as assessable income. Any money earned through accommodation sharing, where you rent out all or part of your house or even a car space, should be included in your individual tax return as rental income.

“We are focused on supporting those participating in the sharing economy through accommodation rental by making it easier for them to understand their obligations.”

An Airbnb spokesman declined to comment on the figures but said that, while every host’s financial situation was different, the company recommends they seek advice from their accountant or a tax professional.

“The average income for Australian hosts is just $5000 a year, and while this may not sound like a lot, we know the impact can often be life changing,” he said. “Our hosts tell us this modest extra income helps pay off the mortgage, cover bills and household expenses. Others list their home to pay for their own holiday away with the family once or twice a year.

“Many of our hosts make a modest income from Airbnb, which will of course be offset by the deductions they are entitled to. We make it easy for hosts to declare their income by proactively providing them with a summary of earnings every year before tax time.”

But Chapman has urged anyone contemplating, or actively renting out their homes or rooms on services such as Airbnb, to sit down and work out the financial implications early on.

“As time consuming and difficult as it may be, take the time at the start to work out your post-tax financial returns – not just from the rental itself but over the whole life of your ownership of the property,” he advises. “That way, you will be walking into your Airbnb arrangement with your eyes open and will avoid any unpleasant financial shocks down the road.” Unit rented out on Airbnb in 2016 – According to Airbnb numbers

If last year you were an average wage earner in NSW ($80,132) who owned and lived in an average apartment in Sydney (worth $711,256), which increased the average value that year (6.3 per cent or $42,367), and you let it out for the average number of days on Airbnb (28 days), and you received the average amount of income from that ($4500), you would be liable for: A $1462.50 income tax bill this yearAnother $519.93 capital gains tax bill when you sold it

In order to comply with tax law, you would actually have a tax bill of $1982.43 against an income of $4500, which works out as a profit of just $2517.57, or $89.91 per night it is rented out.

Assumptions:

* Assuming unit held for 12 months, by individual/s (not superannuation), apply 50% CGT exemptionHouse rented out on Airbnb in 2016 – According to Airbnb numbers

Issue:

If last year you were an average wage earner in NSW ($80,132) who owned and lived in an average home in Sydney (worth $1,123,991), which increased the average value that year (10.7 per cent or $108,532), and you let it out for the average number of days on Airbnb (28 days), and you received the average amount of income from that ($4500 ), you would be liable for: A $1462.50 income tax bill this yearAnother $1352.72 Capital Gains Tax Bill when you sold it

In order to comply with tax law, you would actually have a tax bill of $2815.22 against an income of $4500, which works out as a profit of $1684.78 a year, or $60.17 per night that you rent out your house, and a tax rate of 87 per cent.

Assumptions:

* Assuming house held for 12 months, by individual/s (not superannuation), apply 50% CGT exemption

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A security consultant who was charged after a listening device was found in the All Blacks’ Sydney hotel room in August has pleaded not guilty.
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Adrian Gard, 51, was charged with one count of false misrepresentation resulting in a police investigation in February. Police will allege Mr Gard gave a false statement to authorities that he had found an “unlawful listening device” in a chair in an All Blacks team meeting room which then resulted in an unnecessary investigation.

Mr Gard’s lawyer, Simon Joyner, made a short statement outside Waverley Local Court on Tuesday, saying his client would plead not guilty when he returned to court on May 2.

“He has participated with the police investigation and he respects the All Blacks and what they represent,” Mr Joyner said.

Mr Gard declined to comment to the media.

Mr Joyner requested a two-day hearing to coincide with the availability of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and his management.

He also said he would issue a subpoena.

It is not clear whether Hansen will be required to give evidence, however there is the possibility he may be able to do so via a teleconference rather than make his way to Sydney.

New Zealand Rugby Union did not respond to a request for comment.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen described the charge last month as “bizarre and unbelievable”.

“It’s very hard to understand,” Hansen said. “The charged man has worked for the All Blacks, and many other organisations, for a long time and is someone who is trusted and well-respected by us.”

It is understood there was a device of some description, given NZRU chief executive showed Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver a picture of it just before the story came out in the media.

However, police believe it may have not been in a chair, as Mr Gard alleged.

News of the incident, which broke on the morning of the first Bledisloe Cup Test between Australia and New Zealand in August, sent shockwaves through the rugby world.

While no one from New Zealand Rugby said they thought the device was planted by someone from within the Australian camp, Pulver and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believed there was an implication of foul play.

“I knew one thing was definite … the inference was that we were involved, I know that was ridiculous,” said Cheika in February. “It’s not nice to have to answer questions from police and stuff like that, especially when you’ve got absolutely nothing to do with it.”

The incident left a sour taste in trans-Tasman relations for the remainder of the year.

Cheika’s frustration came out in the aftermath of Australia’s loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park in October, accusing New Zealand of inferring that he or his team were behind the device.

While it was first reported by New Zealand media the device was “sophisticated”, later reports suggested this was far from the case.

Gard has worked with the All Blacks as a security guard for more than 10 years whenever they have toured Australia as well as at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

He has also worked for a number of high profile clients, including Paris Hilton, Schapelle Corby and former US President Bill Clinton.

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Controversial West Coast recruit Drew Petrie has been confirmed to make his debut against his old club North Melbourne in Sunday’s season opener at Etihad Stadium.
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Eagles coach Adam Simpson has disclosed the 34-year-old rookie import will play after a highly impressive summer training campaign with crucial ruck support performances in practice games this month.

Simpson announced on his regular Seven News interview on Monday night the experienced Petrie will start on Sunday.

“We will go with Drew. He will play his first game for the club on the weekend,” he said.

The highly popular former Roos big man has been earmarked all summer to make a debut against his old outfit as West Coast plans for a flying start to the away engagements this season.

He will share ruck duties with another import as injury-plagued former Geelong big man Nathan Vardy also makes his Eagles debut after crossing last October in a trade deal from the Cats.

Petrie and Vardy team with another stunning Eagles recruitment coup from last season as champion midfielder and heavily decorated Hawthorn superstar on-baller Sam Mitchell takes his Eagles inauguration on Sunday.

West Coast look capable of beating the Roos to launch the new premiership season and celebrate Petrie’s introduction.

Petrie was a shock rookie draft selection to West Coast last November after almost two decades and 316 games at North before an unceremonious departure along with Roos legend Brent Harvey and tough defender Michael Firrito in an uncompromising cull of aged stars.

Petrie will be elevated onto the senior Eagles playing list ahead of selection confirmation later this week as replacement to lead ruck duo Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett who have long-term injuries.

Naitanui is out for the 2017 season as he recovers from a full knee reconstruction while Lycett faces a 12-week rehabilitation from a badly dislocated left shoulder.

Lycett was playing just his first practice match after a four-month recovery from knee surgery when he damaged his shoulder making a tackle playing with affiliate WAFL outfit East Perth.

Another back-up ruck candidate Jon Giles has battled on-going knee soreness as well as a broken thumb in summer training.

“It’s been fortunate for us with Scott coming back from his knee and hurting his shoulder and then Jonathan Giles hurting his thumb during the pre-season and it’s just not quite ready yet,” Simpson added.

The Eagles boss floated prospects to add an extra tall defender depending on North’s forward troops.

Rising intercept back liner Tom Barrass was a surprise omission from an Eagles defensive battery for the final pre-season game against Melbourne in Perth.

Simpson instead opted for resumption of a successful defensive structure with just two tall key backmen surrounded by a battery of smaller, running defenders that proved efficient in 2015 when West Coast bucked the odds and made a grand final, before copping a belting from a powerhouse Hawks unit.

Barrass, 21, as well as experienced defensive experts Will Schofield and Sam Butler are in for selection consideration with at least one of them tipped to travel with the squad ahead of a final make-up of the starting line-up on Sunday.

“It’s a good problem to have with our defenders in particular,” Simpson said.

“North traditionally play pretty tall up forward so we need to look at that and see how we handle match committee and see what advantages there are in playing small or tall.”

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