Dr Clarke Jones (from left) Professor Greg Barton and Professor Rodger Shanahan leave the Lindt Cafe siege inquest. Photo: James Brickwood Monis: sought to join the Rebels Motorcycle Club. Photo: NSW Department of Justice
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The aging Le Salle 12gauge sawn-off shotgun used by Monis during the siege. Photo: Department of Justice

Dr Clarke Jones (from left) Professor Greg Barton and Professor Rodger Shanahan leave the Lindt Cafe siege inquest. Photo: James Brickwood

Man Haron Monis was so desperate to be accepted into any group or cause that the Lindt Cafe siege might never have occurred if his efforts to join the Rebels bikie gang had succeeded, a terrorism expert says.

Dr Clarke Jones from the Australian Intervention Support Hub told the ongoing inquest into the siege that he did not believe Monis was correctly categorised as a terrorist despite his claimed affiliation to Islamic State.

“He was willing to join whatever he could join – Hizb ut-Tahrir … he made moves to try and assist Australian intel agencies which regarded him as a serial pest,” Dr Jones said, while participating in a panel session with two other terrorism experts.

“I think his wanting to join something is evident with his membership of the Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Club. I wonder whether, if he had been accepted, would we be here today?”

“I think [his connection to ISIS] was a very late development. ISIS was the only one that might accept him.”

Professor Rodger Shanahan from the Australian National University said the choice of the Lindt Cafe was not consistent with a terrorist act driven by political or religious ideology.

“If he wanted to make a statement why didn’t he kill 20 people next to the cenotaph – the main symbol of Australian soldiers overseas?” Professor Shanahan said.

“Why did he go into the Lindt Cafe? Why did he hold them hostage for nearly 18 hours, nearly loose control, let some of them escape. That’s not something that IS asked for.”

He told the inquest that the evidence suggested that Monis’ “narcissism” and mental health issues played a greater role in the siege than terrorist ideology.

This had simply been an “external justification” for his own “internal processes”.

But Professor Greg Barton of Deakin University said he believed the siege had many of the objective features of a terrorist act, including that it was in keeping with the IS strategy of targeting those with mental health issues.

“Al-Qaeda tended to be careful about weeding people out with mental instability,” Professor Baton said.

“IS is different – it gets people with no connection and says, ‘You do something in our name and we’ll recognise it’. It goes after damaged goods.”

He said that as a result of this, the community could expect more “lone wolf” attacks such as the recent Amsterdam-Paris train attack.

“We should now expect many more unpredictable attacks in the future,” he said.

He also noted that Monis had been highly critical of the Australian government for eight years prior to the attack.

But Professor Shanahan said these attacks had been characterised by confusion and contradiction.

“On the one hand he’s praising Islamic State and on the other he doesn’t know who the leader is,” he said.

“Can you believe anything he really says? He says one thing and then turns around 180 degrees the next moment.”

“Who is the real Monis?”

The inquest continues.


Trophy Eyes are celebrating their return from the US with a headline tour of the nation.NEWCASTLE alternative punk act Trophy Eyes are celebrating their homecoming from a triumphant US Vans Warped Tour with an Australian headline tour.
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The five-piece, who released their debut album Mend, Move On in late 2014, will be back on home soil after two months in North America on the Vans Warped Tour, playing alongside bands such as The Wonder Years, Pvris, The Amity Affliction and Beartooth.

Returning for their first national tour since January, Trophy Eyes will be sharing their live show with Australian fans in major cities but are not forgetting to make a stop in Newcastle and Wollongong as well.

Joining Trophy Eyes will be Melbourne punk rock veterans Apart From This and Adelaide post-hardcore Racoon City Police Department.

After the Australian tour, Trophy Eyes will embark on a six-week tour with American punk rockers Anti-Flag and Red City Radio in the UK and Europe.

Trophy Eyes play a licensed and all-ages gig at The Cambridge on October 9. Tickets at Bigtix.

San Cisco on the road

San Cisco are having a busy year on the national tour scene.

FREMANTLE wunderkinds San Cisco are keeping a steady pace in 2015, with a national tour and Groovin The Moo tour in April and May followed by a singalong set at Splendour in the Grass in July and an upcoming regional tour in September.

The four-piece released their sophomore album Gracetown in March which debuted at No.2 on the charts. The album shows off a more grown-up side to the band who first made waves with pop songs Awkward and Fred Astaire. Their second album explores the tyranny of love, displacement, homesickness, heartache and heartbreak through disco, funk, soul and even hip-hop.

Made with producer and long-term collaborator Steve Schram, the album has a deeper, looser feel that signals a new sophistication and maturity, a deeper exploration of the ache, paranoia and hormonal rush that is love.

Kicking off on September 30, San Cisco are heading on the road for 15 regional dates covering nearly all the east coast, from Cairns to Geelong and plenty of places in between.

Catch them at the Bar on the Hill on October 16. Tickets at Oztix.

Sedaris at the Civic

US humorist David Sedaris.

AMERICAN humorist and best-selling author David Sedaris will bring his third Australian tour to the Civic Theatre in January.

Dubbed one of the US’s pre-eminent humour writers, Sedaris’ works include Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and his most recent book Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls.

In An Evening with David Sedaris, the humorist treats audiences to readings from a selection of his renowned essays, focusing on new, unpublished work and diary entries (which he updates daily).

Catch Sedaris at the Civic Theatre on January 17. Tickets at Ticketek.

The Bennies coming

IF you’re a fan of “psychedelic reggae ska doom metal punk rock from hell”, be sure to catch The Bennies at The Small Ballroom in November. They have been busy touring Australia already this year and will head to the US before returning home for an 18-date tour, including a show at The Small Ballroom on November 26. Tickets from kingdomsounds.oztix. com.au.

Soundwave-bound

ON the back of their third album which debuted at No.2 on the album charts, Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus have been added to the 2016 Soundwave line-up.

Their record Aesthesis debuted at No.2 on this week’s chart, following on from The Catalyst Fire which also landed at No.2 on the charts when it was released in 2013.

Can’t wait until Soundwave? Catch Dead Letter Circus at The Cambridge on October 18. Tickets at Oztix.

The Story So Far

CALIFORNIAN punk act The Story So Far will make their highly anticipated return to Australian shores next month with co-headliners pop-punk act Man Overboard for the Suppy Australia national tour.

Sydney hardcore heavyweights Relentless join the bill with almost a decade of experience under their belts.

Also on the line-up for the Newcastle show is emotive-melodic hardcore band Pasha Bulka.

Catch The Story So Far and Man Overboard, joined by Relentless and Pasha Bulka, at The Cambridge for a licensed and all-ages show on September 7.

Tickets are available from tickets.destroyalllines上海夜网m.


Former Telstra CEO David Thodey will chair the $190 million Jobs for NSW fund, aimed at funding employers in the state. Photo: Louie Douvis Former Telstra CEO David Thodey will chair the $190 million Jobs for NSW fund, aimed at funding employers in the state. Photo: Louie Douvis
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The NSW Government has picked former Telstra chief executive David Thodey to chair a new $190 million fund that aims to help employers create thousands of jobs over the next four years.

The Jobs for NSW fund will consolidate a range of existing taxpayer dollars and spend it on opportunities to be picked by leading figures in the private sector. At least 30 per cent of the fund will go to regional areas.

The state government, led by Premier Mike Baird, has committed to creating 150,000 new jobs over the four years ending March 2019 and the fund is designed to help it reach the target.

NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts said start-ups were a key focus for the fund, which will have the final say on whether investments go ahead.

“I am to be bold and I’ve said to David [Thodey], David is to be bold,” he said. “We need to take some risks, we need to back the best and brightest and not everyone is going to be a winner but the beauty of start-ups is that if you get one winner in every ten you’re talking about a huge win.

“Government’s role is to create an environment to enable these great minds, this great talent to be nurtured to grow, create wealth and create jobs.”

Mr Thodey told Fairfax Media he was approached to take on the job about two weeks after announcing his retirement in late February, adding that the first Jobs for NSW board meeting was due in November.

The new fund is yet to work out its investment criteria, which will outline the types and sizes of companies that can apply for money and assistance.

“I don’t think we’re seeing a lot of job creation in the top 20 ASX-listed companies of Australia at the moment, I think it’s in the mid-corporate and start up area,” he said. “That does not say we’re precluding that area … because there could be a large corporation doing a big start-up that we may want to support.”

“We will take proposals from anywhere in the private sector and look at it as an investment opportunity for both an investment and job creation.”

The fund will also consider providing some start-ups with Series A funding in exchange for equity in the companies. But Mr Thodey said it was unlikely that it would compete against his previous company’s Telstra Ventures wing.

“This is not political for me – this is purely a commitment to creating jobs in NSW and I think it’s a great way of using the funding that had been used in many different ways in a more managed and controlled fashion,” he said. “Jobs for NSW should not be involved in politics, it should stand above that and that’s why we’re having private sector people involved.

“The CSIRO and this thing were two ways I wanted to give back to the community.”

The Jobs for NSW fund will have five members from the private sector who are picked by the NSW Government and the secretaries of the Departments of Industry and Premier and Cabinet.


Looking for growth: Pact Group chief executive Brian Cridland. Photo: Josh RobenstoneAustralia’s biggest plastic packaging manufacturer, Pact Group, says it has a “sizeable pipeline” of acquisition opportunities as the company aims to deliver higher returns to shareholders in the next year.
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Pact, which is controlled by billionaire Raphael Geminder, posted a 17 per cent jump in full-year net profit to $67 million, while revenue leapt 9.3 per cent to $1.25 billion.

Pact chief executive Brian Cridland attributed the gains to the company’s aggressive acquisition strategy.

That has included snapping up Barry Smorgon’s Jalco, and the Sulo and Cinqplast businesses.

He said without acquisitions, the company’s growth would be at a similar rate to Australia’s economy.

Mr Cridland said Pact had a “strong pipeline” of businesses on its shopping list to help deliver higher returns to shareholders.

“I wouldn’t say we are a machine, but we are a highly energetic acquirer of businesses that’s practised at integrating them and getting more out of them than what they did before,” Mr Cridland said. “Look to the past and that’s what you’ll get in the future.

“The markets that we service are not highly volatile like the mining industry. Our existing business can and does have organic growth but it is at the GDP level.

“We superimpose upon that our initiatives and our actions in mergers and acquisitions and our growth in total will be much higher.”

Despite delivering higher revenue and profit, the company’s shares slumped as much as 5 per cent to $4.17 on Wednesday, albeit on thin volumes, compared with the broader market dipping as much as 1.7 per cent.

Mr Cridland declined to name the deals it was in the process of making, citing confidentially.

The company was set to formally take over Jalco, a fast-moving consumer goods manufacturer it bought for $80 million in June.

“That’s an example of one that was in the pipeline, and there is a sizeable pipeline of opportunities like that, that we are working on.”

Pact Australia’s sales rose 8.2 per cent to $890 million, which Mr Cridland attributed to the contribution of Sulo, a waste and recycling bin maker it bought for $34.8 million in August 2014.

Pact International’s revenue also was higher, rising 12.1 per cent to $359 million.

Mr Cridland said increased sales from Sulo New Zealand and favourable currency swings were partially offset by softer agriculture sales across the Tasman and weaker demand from industrial customers in China.

However, he was unconcerned about Pact’s Chinese customers “pulling back quite savagely” and the uncertainty surrounding the country’s economy.

“Our Chinese business in the scheme of things is very small. I could argue that it’s sort of irrelevant,” he said.

“But if we were to do more in China, it would be in the consumer market. Our industrial customers are pulling back and pulling back quite savagely . . . the consumer in Asia is a different matter.

“We haven’t seen any adverse effect on that to date. Were it to occur in the future, that would be [a] problem.”

Pact generated earnings per share of 23¢, compared with 35¢ in the 2014 financial year.

The company will pay a final dividend of 10¢ a share – a 5.3 per cent increased compared with 2014 – on October 5.


APRA has played down the case for city-specific restrictions to curb the booming Sydney and Melbourne housing markets. Photo: Michel Bunn APRA chair Wayne Byres has raised concerns over bank lending. Photo: Ben Rushton
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The banking regulator has played down the case for city-specific restrictions to curb the booming Sydney and Melbourne housing markets, in contrast to the approach taken by New Zealand regulators in Auckland.

Wayne Byres, chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, also flagged a potential delay in the next wave of bank capital rules, as complex global negotiations take longer than expected.

In a speech on the $1.3 trillion home loan market, Mr Byres on Wednesday signalled risky home lending had been wound back and responded to suggestions that APRA should consider measures specific to Sydney and Melbourne, as this is where the property markets have been hottest.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has forced investor buyers in Auckland to have larger deposits than buyers in other parts of the country.

While he did not rule it out, Mr Byres outlined several reasons against this approach, and signalled APRA was keen to first assess the impact of recent moves by banks to tighten lending and raise interest rates for investors.

“Our mandate is to preserve the resilience of the banking system, not target housing prices in a particular region of the country,” Mr Byres said.

He added there were risks in the home loan market in other parts of the country, and ensuring higher lending standards was just as important in areas with weak property markets as those experiencing booms.

“Sound lending standards – prudently estimating borrower income and expenses, and not assuming interest rates will stay low forever – are just as important, and maybe even more so, in an environment where price growth is subdued as they are in markets where prices are rising quickly,” Mr Byres said.

Latest figures from CoreLogic RP Data show Sydney home prices are up 18.4 per cent in the last year and up 11.5 per cent in Melbourne, amid very strong demand from investors.

After National Australia and ANZ Bank recently reclassified billions of loans as investor loans rather than owner-occupier loans, Mr Byres said such changes were “definitely to be avoided in the future”.

APRA is forcing banks to slow growth in their housing investor loan portfolios to less than 10 per cent a year, which has prompted banks to tighten credit and raise interest rates for investor customers.

Mr Byres welcomed moves by banks to test borrowers’ sensitivity to higher interest rates more rigorously, saying they gave “greater comfort” about the quality of new loans being written.

However, he said the moves by the major banks to raise interest rates “may well have limited impact on loan growth given the tendency for competitors to match pricing changes”.

Aside from curbing loan growth, banks are also being forced to hold billions more capital against mortgages, and some analysts have predicted a further increase in their capital requirements due to the next wave of global regulations known as Basel IV.

It had been expected some of these would be finalised by the end of this year, but Mr Byres said this was a “very ambitious” timetable and instead flagged a “a slightly longer period of uncertainty” for banks.


The Smith Street Band. Picture: Ian LaidlawIT’S not just the fans losing themselves at The Smith Street Band gigs, it’s the band members too. Whether it’s the drummer singing along with fans in the front row or a wayward bassist falling off the stage, the Melbourne four-piece are pumped for what each show might bring.
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The Melbourne band – Wil Wagner, Lee Hartney, Michael “Fitzy” Fitzgerald and Chris Cowburn – formed in 2010. Named in a nod to a local suburban street, the band has released three albums and three EPs, including last year’s top 20 album Throw Me in the River and the 2015 EP Wipe That Shit Eating Grin Off Your Punchable Face. Over the five years they’ve been together they’ve also done the hard yards touring Europe, America and Australia. Luckily for Newcastle punters, we’ve been treated to many shows from the four-piece over the years and the band’s popularity in Newcastle has echoed their nationwide and worldwide success.

“We’ve gone from a tiny little DIY sort of place which felt like playing in someone’s loungeroom to playing these massive shows at the Great Northern then to The Small Ballroom, which is a little bit bigger, and then The Small Ballroom to The Cambridge, which we sold out. It’s pretty wild because early on we played a show at The Cambridge and we walked into that room and we were like, ‘Woah this is so big.’

“There were like 50 people there so it was too big,” drummer and vocalist Cowburn said.

“To continually come back somewhere and have more and more people come to the shows is great … I can distinctly remember the last tour which was the Get High See Everyone tour, the show at The Cambridge was one of the best vibes of the whole tour.

“It was definitely the best live show we’ve had in Newy so we’re pumped to get back.”

Pumped they are. Addicted to the feeling of seeing the crowd go crazy and sing along to their songs and creating shared memories each night at each gig. How does it feel to look out and see a writhing mass losing themselves to a Smith Street Band song?

“It’s indescribable, it totally is. It’s a feeling that doesn’t get old. It just makes me smile from ear to ear. A lot of the time I sing along with people in the front row. I try not to get distracted because I’m having a great time but I’ve also got stuff to do up there,” Cowburn said.

“When I think about music and the music that I love and that I grew up with, it’s all about having fun. I like to see personality in music, whether it’s people making little mistakes or on a knife’s edge, it’s that stuff which is showing that they’re human.

“Stuff which shows they’re as affected by what’s going on in the room as the crowd.

“We try to make our music as communal as possible. We want that feeling to be part of our shows, that it’s not us up on stage playing down to the crowd, but that everyone is part of it.”

The Smith Street Band takes the same raw and real approach to their recordings. Cowburn agreed they’re wary of over-thinking or over processing their music when it comes to laying down their tracks in the studio. They want to keep the unpredictability and realness of their live shows at the heart of their records, whether it’s achieved by tracking completely live as they did for their 2013 EP Don’t F- – – With Our Dreams or very close to it as they did with the 2014 album Throw Me in the River.

“A lot of bands use a click track, like a metronome, to play along to but we purposely don’t to get that live flow, the natural flow of the song,” he said.

“I think any band would say the same thing, that they want to capture the live feeling and essence of the song on record. It’s a super hard thing to do, it’s really tough.”

Staying motivated on the road can prove difficult too. Cowburn admitted the band was “in a bit of a bad place” at the end of 2014 during a lengthy touring run. But this year, despite months spent away from their Victorian base, the band found their groove. Plus, as the drummer explained, they do have pretty awesome jobs.

“At the end of the day you’re on the other side of the world playing music, you can’t get much better. Anything you do is going to have bad points in life, so I just try and look at the positives and stay pumped on it.”

Other days, it might be memories from previous tours which will get them through or lighten the mood. Especially their last Manchester show when bassist Fitzy fell off the stage.

“It was the most memorable show for all the wrong reasons, we all might have had a few too many beers and didn’t play very well and one of us fell off the stage,” Cowburn said with a huge laugh.

“It was quite a high stage, he fell off the stage and was off and couldn’t get back on. It wasn’t so funny at the time, but we can all laugh about it now.”

The Smith Street Band play at the Cambridge Hotel on September 10 with Andrew Jackson Jihad (USA), The Sidekicks (USA) and The Sugarcanes. Tickets at Bigtix.


Treasurer Joe Hockey, pictured at the National Reform Summit in Sydney on Wednesday, will co-hair a new parliamentary group to build support for an Australian republic. Photo: Louie Douvis Peter FitzSimons, the new chair of the Australian Republican Movement, favours a very minimalist republican model with the head of state chosen by a two thirds majority of Parliament. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Five things that need to happen before Australia becomes a republicPM keep open same-sex marriage referendum option openRead Peter FitzSimons’ speech to the National Press Club

Treasurer Joe Hockey has agreed to front a new bipartisan political push for an Australian republic as part of an ambitious ten year map for constitutional change.

The new chair of the Australian Republican Movement, author and Fairfax Media columnist Peter FitzSimons, said it had been a generation since the unsuccessful 1999 referendum but the time had come to make the case for change again.

“It’s time for us to be entirely self-governing. We propose it starts with a simple question to be put before the Australian people some time in the next five years, ‘do you support replacing the British monarchy with an Australian citizen as the Australian head of state’,” Mr FitzSimons said in a speech to the National Press Club on Wednesday.

“Bingo, simple as that. We reckon the ‘yes’ vote will look like Phar Lap at Flemington, like Bradman at Lord’s, well ahead of the field and looking good.”

The organisation wants to see a plebiscite by 2020 followed by a referendum proposing a specific republican model by 2025.

Should a plebiscite on the republic be held within that time frame it could be the fifth time in as many years Australians were asked to go to the polls. Votes on marriage equality and constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians as well as two federal elections are also expected in that time frame.

Mr FitzSimons said it was essential republicans came together and agreed on a model before a referendum rather than face a repeat of the 1999 vote when arguments between republicans about different models contributed to the defeat of the ‘yes’ case.

Mr FitzSimons said he favoured a very minimalist model with the head of state, who would still be called the governor-general, chosen by a two thirds majority of Parliament.

“It is the most likely to succeed as it addresses the foremost concern of the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ crowd. Essentially we are not fixing it. We would be snipping one unsightly apron string,” Mr FitzSimons said.

The Australian flag would not be part of the debate.

Mr FitzSimons warned Australia would only make the change if Tony Abbott, a strong supporter of the constitutional monarchy, was no longer prime minister: “The reality of this is we won’t get this over the line without bipartisan support.”

Mr Hockey will be the co-chair of a new parliamentary group to build support for constitutional change among MPs.

Labor senator Katy Gallagher will be the other co-chair.

A spokesman for Mr Hockey said he “has long advocated his views on this issue”.

“They are a matter of public record and those views haven’t changed,” the spokesman said.

Earlier this year Opposition Leader Bill Shorten recommitted Labor to pursuing an Australian republic.

“Right now I’m focused on jobs, health and education and fairness in our community. But I do think that by 2020, it will be 250 years since Captain Cook came to Australia. I probably think now it’s time for Australia to have an Australian head of state,” Mr Shorten said on Wednesday.

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott joins the Remote School Attendance Strategy bus to collect schoolchildren in Bamaga during his Cape York visit. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Got it nailed: Mr Abbott, with nail in his mouth, helps build a cubby house at Bamaga Senior School. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Mr Abbott at work on the cubby house. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

PM keeps open same-sex marriage referendum option

Bamaga, Cape York: Tony Abbott has given Indigenous people some prospect of more control over how the money is spent in their communities after receiving a heartfelt plea from a regional leader on the tip of Cape York.

The Prime Minister was given a blunt reality check after arriving at communities where primary school attendance is improving but the gap in other areas between mainstream and Indigenous Australians is widening.

The mayor of the Northern Peninsula Area, Bernard Charlie, delivered his impassioned plea after Mr Abbott arrived at Bamaga, about 40 kilometres from the cape’s northern tip. He detailed his concerns during a meeting with the Prime Minister on Wednesday afternoon.

“I cannot continue to witness another generation of our families be exposed to an outdated system of governance and ancient thinking of paternalism and integration that continues to haunt and fail our community miserably,” Mr Charlie said in his speech welcoming Mr Abbott to the area.

“We continue to experience high levels of poor health outcomes, whereby our Indigenous people’s life expectancy is greatly reducing to around 45 years.

“Our people are considered ‘lucky’ to reach 50 years of age and continue to experience a high level of unemployment, low-skilled jobs and low standard of educational outcomes across all critical years of learning.”

Other concerns included the high cost of living and the trend towards government services being provided by outside providers “when we have the capacity and capability to deliver locally”.

The 40-year-old mayor is one of six children who grew up in a broken home. He told Fairfax Media how he was belted by the local sergeant for walking the streets after a 9pm curfew because his parents were drinking and fighting at home.

“The system failed me. Government decisions were made for us elsewhere and I couldn’t stand living that life. It made me become a politician.”

Mr Abbott replied that he could understand the feeling of powerlessness, but maintained there was “less and less reason for that today”.

He suggested that the government was looking at a trade-off whereby communities would be given more autonomy in return “for a serious effort to get the kids to school, the adults to work and the community safe”.

“Certainly we are prepared to consider allowing communities much more control over the discretionary government funding that goes into them,” Mr Abbott said.

The government received a blueprint for change called Empowered Communities: Empowered Peoples in March, crafted by several Indigenous leaders and aimed at driving change and ending wasteful spending. Mr Abbott on Wednesday promised a response by the end of the year.

He arrived with half-a-dozen ministerial colleagues and department heads in what he described as the “biggest official delegation ever to this part of the world”.

After two days highlighted by moving ceremony in the Torres Strait, the focus was on education and Mr Abbott began the day observing the “remote school attendance strategy” in action before sitting in on lessons in the classroom.

“I think everyone should be encouraged by what’s happening here at Bamaga and in many other parts of remote Australia right now. Certainly I’m encouraged,” he said.

Robbie Tamwoy, who manages the program, said the strategy focuses on home visits to families whose children are not going to school and has achieved remarkable results in the two local primary schools. At Bamaga Junior School about 50 of the 300 students had attendance rates of 90 per cent or better.

But Mr Tamwoy said the challenge was much greater at the local high school where attendance was about 50 per cent and “60 per cent on a good day”. One driver of low attendance was the area’s high unemployment level.

Mr Charlie said he was pleased Mr Abbott and so many ministers and officials were in the area “to experience what we have been saying all along”.

“In order to change, it has to go from inside out. They have to see how we want to change, rather than do what some uni student from down south thinks is best for us.”

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Dyson Heydon is taking more time to consider his position as royal commissioner into trade unions. Photo: Anna KuceraDyson Heydon will announce whether he will resign from the royal commission into trade unions on Friday.
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The commission has issued a statement saying Mr Heydon will announce his decision at 10am on Friday, and publish his reasons online “as soon as possible thereafter.”

The commissioner – who has been accused of creating the apprehension of bias – was scheduled to deliver his decision on Tuesday, but on Monday afternoon delayed this without issuing a new timeframe.

Lawyers for unions that have appeared before the commission argued last week that the former High Court judge should disqualify himself following revelations he had agreed to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have both said the commission can continue under another commissioner if Mr Heydon steps down.

Despite later cancelling his appearance, the ACTU’s barrister, Robert Newlinds, said on Friday that the “hypothetical observer” would think Mr Heydon harboured a political prejudice against the union officials before him.

Mr Newlinds also said he had not received all relevant documents, including emails, relating to the arrangements for the event, as the commission had promised.

Mr Heydon was billed as a speaker on an invitation to the event, which was named after former High Court Justice and Liberal MP, Sir Garfield Barwick.

He previously told the commission that he was asked to speak at the event last year, before the commission was extended for a year.

But he later “overlooked” the Liberal Party’s connection to the event when he received a follow-up email in March this year and the fact he had only agreed to speak if the royal commission had finished its hearings at the time of the event.

Mr Heydon had not read an attached donation form and flyer he received on the event in June, as he had been busy with royal commission hearings.

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott, currently in Cape York, says he may be too busy to visit the Canning byelection. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen BIll Shorten with Labor candidate Matt Keogh. Photo: Philip Gostelow
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott with Liberal candidate Captain Andrew Hastie in Perth last Friday. Photo: Thomas Davidson

Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison — the three Liberal ministers seen as leadership candidates in February’s failed spill motion — are all set to campaign in the Canning byelection over the next 10 days.

But Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is in Northern Australia for the rest of this week, would not say on Tuesday if he would make another appearance with Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie ahead of the crunch by-election contest because “life is pretty busy”.

In addition to Mr Turnbull, Ms Bishop and Mr Morrison, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann plan to campaign in the seat over the next week.

The Canning byelection is due to be held on September 19, but with Parliament to sit for two weeks from September 7, next week offers the most straightforward opportunity for senior ministers to participate in the campaign.

Given that the Liberal Party held the seat by a comfortable 11.8 percentage points at the 2013 election, a loss could be politically fatal for Mr Abbott after a rolling series of political missteps and scandals kept the government on the back foot.

A Reachtel poll published in the West Australian newspaper on Tuesday found the contest between Mr Hastie and Labor candidate Matt Keogh was neck and neck, predicting a swing of nearly 12 percentage points to Labor.

The poll of 768 voters in Canning found the ALP lead in the two-party preferred status, by 50.1 per cent to the Liberals on 49.9 with a little over three weeks until polling day.

Former Liberal MP Don Randall, who died last month, won the seat with 61.8 per cent of the two-party vote in 2013.