I cannot see myself losing: Mundine prepares for fight of career

In an exclusive interview with NITV News, Mundine said he is still young in the sport and won’t be hanging up the gloves any time soon.

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Mundine announced his return to the ring last week, with a bout scheduled for November against undefeated knockout master Rabchenko.

“I cannot see myself losing, I seriously can’t,” he said.

“So I’m looking forward to the next stage in my career, this fights going to set up the mega fights that I yearn for so it’s do or die.”

At 39, Mundine is 11 years his opponent’s senior, but he says age is just a number.

“Don’t talk about age, I don’t want to hear that,” he said.

“You tell me I’m too old and I’ll keep doing what I do and that’s how it’s going to be.”

He has left the country, en route to Las Vegas for three weeks of intense training as he dismisses rumours that his health might be at risk.

“I don’t get hit, I’ve never been beaten up,” he said.

“The only scratches I have are from elbows. I mean look at me, I’m looking and feeling 25.”

In his most recent fight against Joshua Clottey, Mundine was knocked down five times. He says this was due to a lack of mental preparation.

“There has been three times where I haven’t turned up mentally prepared in my career and that was one of them,” he said.

“I’ve got to be a lot more attentive and do things over and over to make sure my defence next time is impregnable.”

He says the loss has brought him one step closer to a battle against undefeated American boxer Floyd Mayweather.

“When the Clottey fight knocked me off course I fell into this predicament and now I have an opportunity that better,” he said.

“Floyd won’t fight me but i would like to fight Alvarez and after I beat him I will have earned that right to fight the very best.”

Mundine told NITV News he won’t consider retirement until that opportunity arises.

Malaysia refuses Sydney protester entry

Natalie Lowrey, a New Zealander who calls Bondi home, arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Bali on Sunday night to observe the court hearing scheduled for Tuesday of 15 Malaysians who were arrested along with her in June outside the plant of Australian miner Lynas Corp.

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They have been charged with illegal assembly and rioting and if found guilty could be jailed for up to two years.

Sydney-based Lowrey was refused entry to Malaysia on the grounds that she was blacklisted by police. She was detained at Kuala Lumpur International Airport for almost 15 hours before being put on a flight back to Bali early Monday, activists said.

Rights group Voice of the Malaysian People (Suaram) and anti-Lynas movement Himpunan Hijau in a joint statement condemned Lowrey’s exclusion and criticised immigration authorities for allegedly denying the 40-year-old water for 13 hours.

Lowery was held by police for almost a week in June but escaped criminal charges.

Immigration authorities and police could not be reached for comment.

Activists say the rare earth plant in the eastern state of Pahang produces radioactive waste that threatens the environment and local people.

Environmentalist groups have staged a series of protests against the plant. Lynas insists it is safe, saying any radioactive waste would be low-level and safely disposed of.

Rare earths are vital for many industrial and hi-tech processes such as the production of smartphones, hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, steel and low-energy light bulbs.

The Australian miner hopes the plant can help break the Chinese stranglehold on the market for rare earths.

Lynas started processing rare earths in an industrial park outside the state capital, Kuantan, in late 2012 after a delay of more than a year because of strong local opposition.

ICAC hears of betrayal in Labor’s ranks

An apparent own goal by fallen NSW Labor powerbroker Joe Tripodi in his government’s dying days was the “ultimate act of betrayal”, former premier Kristina Keneally says.

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The long-running Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (ICAC) cash-for-favours probe on Monday diverted its attention from alleged corruption in Liberal ranks as Mr Tripodi, Ms Keneally and ex-NSW Labor Treasurer Eric Roozendaal followed one another into the witness box.

The ICAC has heard claims Nathan Tinkler’s Buildev funded a smear campaign against sitting Newcastle MP Jodi McKay because she opposed a proposed coal-loader that would have been worth a fortune to the company.

Central to the alleged plot was the distribution of a pamphlet, headed ‘Stop Jodi’s Trucks’ which claimed a rival plan favoured by Ms McKay would clog suburban streets with 1000 trucks a day.

Mr Tripodi has admitted contributing to the leaflets but denies he was doing Buildev’s bidding to try to set up a career after politics.

He said any assistance he gave Buildev was because “I’m an obliging type of person.”

Giving evidence on Monday, Ms Keneally said she had a good idea what she might have said had she learned of Mr Tripodi’s manoeuvres.

“I’m not entirely sure the language I would have used should be repeated in this room,” she said.

“It is an ultimate act of betrayal for a member of the Australian Labor Party to campaign against or work against an endorsed member, an endorsed candidate.

“It just is unthinkable.”

She said she confronted another high-powered Labor figure, Mr Roozendaal, about the damaging leak of a treasury document to Ms McKay’s local paper but he “emphatically” denied having a hand in it.

“He was furious that he appeared to be implicated in that,” Ms Keneally said.

Mr Roozendaal himself has finally had his turn in the ICAC witness box after spending weeks in the public gallery.

Under questioning from counsel assisting, Geoffrey Watson SC, he said Mr Tripodi had approached him as early as September 2010 about Buildev’s plans for a coal-loader at Mayfield, on the Newcastle foreshore.

“He was advocating, in a sense, for their proposal,” he said.

“I believe he thought it had some merit and it was worth investigating.”

He believed the Buildev proposal did not preclude the development of a container terminal at the same site, he said.

But Mr Tripodi never floated the possibility of another company being involved.

Mr Watson asked Mr Roozendaal whether it was good government policy to only consider a medium sized local company for a major infrastructure project.

“Well they were the only company that had the lease on that particular site,” Mr Roozendaal replied.

He denied destroying email records of his discussions about the Mayfield site, and is expected to be questioned further on the subject when he returns to the witness box on Tuesday.

Due to give evidence on Tuesday is Chris Hartcher, one of the former Liberal MPs forced onto the NSW Parliament crossbenches over corruption allegations.

Former NT deputy wants backing or will go

The former deputy chief minister of the Northern Territory has characterised his parliamentary colleagues as a back-stabbing “nest of vipers”, and says if he is disendorsed from the deputy role he may leave the party.

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Dave Tollner was forced to resign last Friday when homophobic comments he made to a gay staffer son of his colleague were made public.

“With such a lack of support I had no choice,” he told Mix 104.9 radio on Friday.

“Members of my own team were out there attacking me publicly.”

He said more than one person leaked his comments.

“There are (newcomers) in that team … that I feel extraordinarily sad for; they’ve come into what can be best perceived as a nest of vipers,” he said.

Mr Tollner said he wanted his Country Liberal Party colleagues to vote for his reinstatement at a parliamentary wing meeting on Monday afternoon that will determine the next deputy.

However, he said he is resigned to the fact that won’t happen.

“Because while I’m sitting there working my butt off… I’ve got a bunch of colleagues sitting behind me throwing knives in my back.”

He said that when he asked Attorney-General John Elferink on Friday morning if he could expect the support from a majority of colleagues in the ballot he was told “not a hope in hell”.

But Mr Tollner has shown no contrition over his comments, saying that the staffer was not angry with him and that he shouldn’t be publicly punished for joking comments made in private.

“Contrition for what? What have I done wrong?” he said.

“The reality was, I was doing a damn fine job… why wouldn’t they want that to continue?”

The government currently holds 13 seats in the 25-seat Legislative Assembly, and if Mr Tollner leaves the party it could be forced into a minority position.

“What’s become very clear is that Dave Tollner is the one-man wrecking ball of the CLP government,” said Ken Vowles, Labor’s shadow minister for government accountability.

“(Chief Minister) Adam Giles didn’t have the numbers to keep his deputy chief minister – his best mate – in the job; that means he’s desperately trying to hold on to his own leadership.

“I would not be surprised if come Monday we have a third chief minister in the NT in two years.”

Chief Minister Adam Giles said Mr Tollner’s possible departure was a matter for the former minister to decide.

“Nobody wants to see us govern with a gun to our head, doesn’t matter who that is,” he said.

“People need to grow up and stop looking at themselves and start looking at the rest of the Territory.

“I’ve had a gutful and so has everyone else.”

Batts staffers saw rollout as inflexible

Bureaucrats involved in Labor’s botched home insulation program were under the mistaken impression the scheme’s tight rollout date was non-negotiable, a royal commission has found.

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But the 300-page report contains few direct criticisms of the actions of former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

During his testimony to the inquiry, Mr Rudd blamed public servants for the program’s rushed rollout.

He accepted ultimate responsibility for the “deep tragedy” of the deaths of four young insulation installers.

The inquiry heard public servants were given just five months to devise the program in early 2009.

Public servants were already working at 100 per cent capacity when given the enormous job, witnesses told the commissioner.

The inquiry also heard staff were forced to work until 10pm and on weekends.

But Mr Rudd insisted the July 1 rollout date could have been changed if any bureaucrat raised serious safety concerns.

“I’m confident in saying the reaction of ministers would have been to say, `This has to be dealt with’,” he told the commission.

“And if that involved a delay, then that would have been the response.”

In his report, Commissioner Ian Hanger QC agreed the formulation and implementation of the program was “unduly rushed”.

He said he was satisfied there was a genuinely held belief, within both the environment department and the office of the co-ordinator general, that the rollout date could not be altered.

He speculated that public servants were unaware of the possibility of an extension.

“… there appears to have been either a miscommunication of that flexibility to DEWHA [Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts] and OCG [Office of the Co-ordinator General] officers or an unwillingness by those officers to ask” the report read.

Mr Hanger also stated that exactly how the July 1 date was reached remains unclear.

He pointed out that no public servant put in writing concerns about the government’s ability to meet the date.

The inquiry report says it was conceived “without proper thought being given to the practicality or achievability of that date”.

Four installers died under the scheme, which Mr Hanger said was rushed out, with planning and safety sacrificed for speed under a stimulus plan aimed at easing the economic pain from the global financial crisis.