Fox Street McDonald’s attack: Wagga man sentenced to prison

DEEP FRIED FRACUS: A group of mates were set upon by car thieves in the car park of the Fox Street McDonald’s.THEY were just a few mates waiting for their friend to knock off work for the night.

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Little did they know they were about to be set upon by a group of men desperate to take their wheels.

Kooringal man Joshua Claude Phillips and his co-accused claimed “racism” when their victims expressed surprise that they were hiding in the bushes of the Fox Street McDonald’s at night.

“S***, there’s people there,” said the driver, according to agreed police facts, of the men hiding out in front of his car.

The quip would be the catalyst for a horror turn of events, where the three mates were told to get out of the car, while the driver was threatened with “shanking”.

“He (one of the men) asked us ‘do you want to die?’ and I said no, not really,” one of the victims, Jade, told theAdvertiserin 2014.

When a late-night Macca’s run turns into a life and death experience “They told me to get out.”

The driver, Nick, who was 21,tried his best to conceal the keys by his lap, but was unsuccessful.

One of the attackers had seen it.Within minutes, the trio had stolen the Holden Rodeo and were on their way out of Wagga, as had been their plan for days.

Police facts said Phillip’s mates had arrived from Sydney and Canberra to help him move but in doing soran out of money, and were unable to find their way home.

A day before the McDonald’sattack, the men attempted to return home on the XPT service, but were booted off at Junee and Harden by train staff for fare evasion.

With a set of wheelsand no one to stop them, they were on the road to Gundagai.

But fuel would be the fatal flaw in their plan.

Running empty, they stopped at the South Gundagai Shell where they refuelled with $90 in petrol, failingto pay.

At 3.21am, just three hours after stealing the ute, a service station attendant reported the theft.

It matched the car’s registration.

Highway patrol officers found the ute on the side of the road near Yass and arrested the men.

On Monday, Phillips, the only Wagga accused, was sentenced to seven months’ prison, with a two-month non-parole period.

At the time of the ordeal, controversy ensuedbecause McDonald’s staff refused victims entry into the store.

But owner Tony Aichinger was unapologetic and saidstaff followed safety and security protocol. Mr Aichingersaid.

Daily Advertiser, Wagga

Windred breezes through day one plan for Lake Macquarie Amateur

POSITIVE: Blake Windred was the leading Hunter golfer on day one following a three-under 69. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.BLAKE Windred followed his Lake Macquarie Amateurgame plan to a tee on Thursday bykeeping in touchwith the leaders,despitedrawingadifficult afternoon tee-off.

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The 18-year-old Charlestown member’s three-under 69 was the second-lowest score of the afternoon group at Belmont and placed him eighth andfour strokes behind Western Australian leader Ben Ferguson (65).

Temperatures reached 35 degrees in the afternoon, but Windred still managed four birdies and one bogey.

Windred will tee off in the morning on Friday and sees that as his best opportunity to chase down the leaders.

“When I saw that I was off in the afternoon and saw how hot it was going to be, I thought I’ve got to get through today a couple under and set it up for the next round when I’m off in the morning,” Windred said.

“Definitely tomorrow morning if I can get some good conditions and turn through nine a few under and hole some putts on the back nine, thenyou never know.”

Ferguson was impressive in the morning, carding an eagle, seven bogeys and two bogeys. Daniel Kolar (66), Cameron John (67) and James Grierson (67) also tamed Belmont’s seaside layout.

The Vintage’s Dylan Perry (70) keptHunter hopes alive when he carded a near flawless round, before bogeying the 18th.

The South Koreans were expected to dominant the women’s division and the prediction proved correct.

MISTAKE: Hannah Green’s round was ruined by a tee shot on the seventh, which sailed over the fence and resulted in a triple bogey. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

Last week’s Australian Amateur champion,Min-Ji Park, opened with five-under 68 in the morning groupto take a one-shot lead over fellow KoreansHye-Jin Choi andGa-Young Lee.

West Australian and Belmont favourite, Hannah Green, was breathing down Park’s neck at five under through her first 15holes.

On the sevenththe Australian No.1unravelled when she sliced theball off the tee and over a fence. Green finished with a triple bogey and then lostanother shot on the next holeto beeighthon 72.

Robyn Choi, from the Gold Coast’s Royal Pines, carded 70 to sit fourth and isthe only Australian in the top seven.

Last image of Jaafa Dawlat released before body found in Duck River

Police have released security footage of Jaafa Dawlat, whose body was found floating face down in Sydney’s Duck River. Photo: NSW Police Security footage of Jaafa Dawlat’s car. Photo: NSW Police

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Jaafa Dawlat, whose body was found floating face down in Sydney’s Duck River. Photo: Supplied

A fisherman found Jaafa Dawlat’s body floating face down in a Sydney river – a waterway previously used by criminals as a dumping ground.

One month later, police still have no idea how he died.

There were no visible signs of injury and the results of his autopsy were inconclusive.

But police have pinpointed his last known movements and released security footage of him and his car to see if anyone saw anything in the lead-up to his death.

Mr Dawlat was last seen parking his car on Gifford Street, Silverwater, on Sunday, December 27, about 4.30pm.

Four days later, his body was found face down in the Duck River – close to where he left his car. He was wearing dark adidas shorts and a dark Everlast T-shirt.

Detectives have also released footage of Mr Dawlat’s silver Mitsubishi Lancer with the number plates BLW33P.

Water police retrieved the body from the river at Clyde near an old oil refinery close to Silverwater Correctional Complex.

He was identified after a friend recognised his tattoos, including one that read “JD” on his right hand.

“It’s an unusual situation, but we are not treating it as suspicious; it’s just unusual,” Rosehill police acting crime manager Adam Wharfe said.

The body was found close to where Darren Galea’s body was found under the Duck River Bridge in Auburn.

Mr Galea, 34, was shot in the head at close range two years ago in what police said was most likely a case of mistaken identity.

Police are urging anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. \n”,colour:”green”, title:”Car found”, maxWidth:200, open:0},{lat:-33.82929, lon:151.04589, text:”

Body found*/]]>

Man charged after shot fired at Queanbeyan home

Fragments from the bullet that was fired into a Queanbeyan home. Photo: Melissa Adams Bullet marks at the home. Photo: Karleen Minney

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A man has been charged with 10 offences including stalking and assault after a shot was allegedly fired at the window of a home in Queanbeyan.

Paul John Barnes, 46, was refused bail at Queanbeyan Local Court on Thursday.

When refusing bail the registrar said she had considered the safety of the occupants of the house and the community, and the serious, violent nature of the charges against the accused.

She said she believed these to be unacceptable risks, and there were no bail conditions that would mitigate the risks, with the accused’s only place of residence in close proximity to the victims’ home.

On Wednesday at about 1am, police were called to a property on Fergus Road after receiving reports a gun had been fired at the house.

The occupants, a 31-year-old man, an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl, were uninjured.

Police from Monaro Local Area Command established a crime scene at the property.

Following further investigations, officers arrested Barnes in Anne Street, Queanbeyan, at about 7.45pm on Wednesday, and took him to the police station.

Officers searched the home on Anne Street, where they allegedly found illicit drugs and other items connected to the offence.

Police said they seized nine cannabis plants ranging from 30cm to two metres tall and hidden under a blue tarpaulin.

Police also allege the accused had on one occasion pointed a shotgun at the 17-year-old girl, and on another occasion pointed a shotgun at the 31-year-old.

On the second occasion, the 31-year-old man said the accused had threatened to shoot him. The 31-year-old said he didn’t care and heard a click when the accused pulled the trigger, police will allege.

The accused has denied owning a shotgun.

On another occasion, the 31-year-old man alleged Barnes threw a coffee over him and his dog.

Barnes was charged with four counts of stalking/intimidation, three counts of common assault, two counts of cultivating a prohibited plant and one count of possessing a prohibited drug.

He is due back in Queanbeyan Local Court on January 25.

Police said investigations into the matter are continuing.

The Ridiculous Six review: lazy, racist and woeful pastiche of westerns

Adam Sandler is a joke in the Ridiculous Six.Even 12-year-old boys would have to concede that the jokes in this Adam Sandler abomination are too stupid for the schoolyard, let alone a Netflix original movie.

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Take the running gag with the donkey that sprays diarrhoea with the force and volume of a fire hose. Or the Native American characters being given names like Beaver Breath and Never Wears Bra.

Or the idiot who is blind in one eye but gouges out the other one so he can join a gang of one-eyed bandits.

It’s almost too depressing to go on, particularly when you consider that the budget of $85 million was 10 times that of Netflix’s powerful child-soldier movie Beasts of No Nation.

But part of the Netflix business model is to make content that appeals to each individual demographic – including, quite clearly, the mouth-breathers.

Here Sandler plays a character named White Knife, a white ‘‘orphan’’ who was raised by a Native American tribe. Or rather, Sandler doesn’t play him.

He merely mopes about in White Knife’s clothes, occasionally exploding into stupid, fast-forward kung-fu action. In any case, White Knife is about to meet his real father, an old rogue by the name of Frank Stockton.

Frank is played by Nick Nolte, who is really acting, and the contrast between his performance and Sandler’s is striking. Frank gets kidnapped by a baddie (Danny Trejo, who is also really acting), so White Knife has to save him.

His plan ends up involving the five half-brothers he never knew he had: Mexican Ramon (the criminally unfunny Rob Schneider), slack-jawed simpleton Pete (Taylor Lautner), mute ogre Herm (Lost’s Jorge Garcia), piano-player Chico (Terry Crews), and failed presidential bodyguard Danny (Luke Wilson, who deserves better).

Others turning up to pocket a pay cheque include Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, David Spade and Vanilla Ice.

The thing goes on and on – for two whole hours – without ever acquiring any sort of momentum or consistency.

The cringe-inducing comedic scenes are interspersed with far too many interminable ‘‘dramatic’’ ones, and incongruous acts of violence occur without warning. Sandler and his long-time collaborators in writer Tim Herlihy and director Frank Coraci seem to think that

The Ridiculous 6 is a satire. It’s not. It’s a lazy pastiche of westerns and western spoofs, replete with lazy, racist jokes that can’t just be waved away with a waft of the irony card. Woeful.

The Ridiculous 6 is currently streaming on Netflix.

Australia Day clash with Sydney looms as tough test of Melbourne Victory’s form recovery

Is Melbourne Victory’s form slump officially over?

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The Australia Day match with Sydney FC should confirm it one way or another, but on recent evidence it’s hard not to think the champions are on the way back.

Victory have netted seven times in the last three halves of soccer they have played, coming back from a 3-0 interval deficit against Central Coast Mariners to draw 3-3, then seeing off A-League leaders Brisbane Roar 4-0 at AAMI Park last Friday night.

Kevin Muscat’s team is averaging a goal every 19 minutes at the moment, a statistic which suggests they have certainly regained their mojo after a disappointing run of five matches where they picked up only one point from a possible 15. In their last three games, however, they have accrued seven points out of a possible nine.

The public holiday clash at Etihad Stadium represents a classic meeting of styles. Victory are the league’s second highest scorers (with 24 goals in 15 games), while Sydney have the tightest defence, having conceded just 13. Still, the titleholders – and everyone else – look blunt-edged compared to the prolific Melbourne City, who have scored 37 so far this season.

A key part of Victory’s recent resurgence has been Kiwi forward Kosta Barbarouses, who netted twice against Brisbane.

The pacy wide man has always been a threat and is confident that Victory can provide Sydney – whom they beat 4-2 at Allianz Stadium the first time the teams met this campaign – with another searching test this time.

“We look forward to Sydney, it’s always a really good game against them. The fans turn up in numbers because they know what’s on the line,” Barbarouses said.

“I don’t think they really change the way they play too much. They are a bit like us, they have their structure, their method of playing. Arnie (coach Graham Arnold) has them playing really tough to break down. It’s just going to come down to our quality in certain areas and how we can break them down. I think we can hurt them.”

He is happy enough to be playing at Etihad, a venue where Victory has a tremendous record. The last time the champions lost at the roofed stadium was two years ago, when Sydney won the corresponding fixture 5-0 – a rare blip on the Victory record.

The ground simply seems to suit Victory, says Barbarouses, that 0-5 reverse aside.

“I’m not sure if that comes down to anything, a lot of the boys are used to playing there by now, it’s quite a big pitch, maybe it makes a difference. A lot of teams this year have tried to sit back against us and Etihad gives us a little more space .”

It’s tempting to see the half-time interval of that game in Geelong, where Victory were three down to the bottom team, as a seasonal turning point.

“I think that was a massive wake up call. Before that the results weren’t going our way, I think we were playing really well in patches, not the full game. Since then, we’ve really woken up and the boys have responded fantastically, in that second half against Brisbane, to put in a full 90 minute performance was really pleasing,” says Barbarouses.

“The scary thing is that’s what the team is capable of … I feel like we were doing ourselves an injustice with the quality we had in the team, hopefully we can continue that going forward.”

The win against Brisbane was particularly pleasing, as were his two goals.

“Everything that we expected to happen happened, we took our chances really well. Personally I think my form has been pretty good over the last few weeks … it’s really good to get on the scoresheet again and I want to get a few more before the season finishes.”

Barbarouses agrees that the return of Nick Ansell to shore up things at the back has contributed to Victory’s change of fortunes.

“Nick was really unlucky, I thought he had an amazing year last year and that (the injury that kept him out until the Mariners match) was a massive setback for him. You can see he’s come back very strongly, he looks very confident.”

With Australia’s elimination from the Olympic qualifying tournament, Victory’s five Olyroo squad members will return home in time to be considered for the Sydney match.

“It’s a massive boost for us to have them back. All the boys who stepped in, Stefan (Nigro) did an amazing job, Rashid (Mahazi) has been doing a great job as well so to have those boys back to give us even more options is really good for us.”

Nevertheless it is an old stager in Archie Thompson who Barbarouses believes could still have a huge role to play in a crowded end-of-season schedule which encompasses the last 12 A-League fixtures, almost certainly a finals campaign, plus half a dozen Asian Champions League games.

“Archie’s a guy that doesn’t age at all. His football remains amazingly consistent – I’m not sure what that’s down to, I’m sure he has a lot of confidence in himself and for good reason, he’s an amazing player.

“The same with this Nick (Ansell) situation, having Archie in the team is a massive boost for us and I’m sure he’s going to help us a lot in the coming months along the way.”

World Economic Forum 2016: IMF highlights fears over global volatility

Stock traders at the New York Stock Exchange: The recent market rout may just be a foretaste of what may happen with rising US interest rates, warns IMF deputy Photo: Mark Lennihan Ex-Chinese central banker and now deputy head of the IMF Zhu Min: “Lquidity could drop dramatically, and that scares everyone.” Photo: Louise Kennerley

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​The International Monetary Fund is increasingly alarmed by signs that market liquidity is drying up and may trigger an even more violent global sell-off if investors rush for the exits at the same time.

Zhu Min, the IMF’s deputy director, said the sharemarket rout of the past three weeks was just a foretaste of what might happen as the US Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates this year, pushing up borrowing costs across the planet.

He warned that investors and wealth funds have clustered together in crowded positions. Asset markets have become dangerously aligned, amplifying the effects of any shift in mood.

“The key issue is that liquidity could drop dramatically, and that scares everyone,” he told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“If everybody is moving together, we don’t have any liquidity at all. We have to be ready to act very fast,” he said. Recipe for trouble

Mr Zhu said the worry was that policymakers still did not understand the complex interactions in the global financial system, where vast sums of money can move across borders at lightning speed.

What the IMF had observed was that market correlations were near a historic peak, with aligned positions in the US equity markets four times higher than the average since 1932. This was a recipe for trouble when the Fed was tightening.

“When rates go up, market valuations have to adjust,” he said.

Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff said the fear in the markets stemmed from a dawning realisation that the Chinese authorities were not magicians after all, and that this time the Fed might stand back and let the blood-letting run its course.

“What is driving this is that the central banks are not coming to the rescue,” he said, speaking at a Fox Business event.

Rates are already zero or below in Europe and Japan, and quantitative easing is largely exhausted, leaving it unclear what they could do next if the situation deteriorates.

Professor Rogoff said these anxieties were causing companies to hold back investment, entrenching a slow-growth malaise. The Fed may be forced to halt its tightening cycle and even cut rates again if the wild sell-off continues for much longer.

He said events of the past year had demolished the myth that China is a “perpetual growth machine”.

It was the last domino of the “debt supercycle” to fall, and the scale of it was the haunting spectre now hanging over the global economy.

Telegraph, London

A snapshot of what’s on the food and wine menu in and around Newcastle NSW.

NEWCASTLE’S food scene is well and truly thriving, if the number of new venuesis anything to go by.

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Portafilter is a prime example.Danny and Ofa Fitzgibbonsopened the Mayfield cafe earlier this month and it is already a hit with coffee lovers.

And in Islington, The Tailor’s Workshop espresso bar has opened. The Macedonian-influenced menu offers everything from sweet pastry treats to huge breakfasts and burgers. Locatedat10 Beaumont Street, Tailor’sis open Monday toFriday,6am to5pm; and 6am to 3pm on weekends.

Newly openedSupper Lanehas been granted a liquor licence which means no more BYO. It isa collaboration between Alice Lees from Uprising Bakery and chef Kyle Liston and, in their words, is a celebration of “crust and curd”. Located at 14 Pacific Street, Supper Lane is open from 6pm on Mondays, and from noon Thursday to Sunday.

The Edwardskicked off a new Monday night venture this week with Mulga Bill’s US-style firepit barbecue. From 5pm you can enjoy enjoy slow-smoked brisket or pork neck on a roll with mustard slaw, home-made pickle and a special sauce. More about The Edwards, soon to celebrate its second birthday, in an upcoming edition of theNewcastle Herald.

Charlestown Square’sFifi La Femme has introduced five new flavours for its cupcake and Melting Moments range, and vegan options are now available. Fifi La Femme also has a new range of Lovers Cakes which are designed to be shared with that special person in your lifejust in time for Valentine’s Day.

Scotties Fish Cafe in Newcastle East now offers a gourmet picnic hamper for a relaxing outdoor dining experience. A $100 hamper includes items such as a brioche roll and Moreton Bay bug and potato salad, and King Island triple cream brie with oat crackers and fresh summer fruit. Scotties, at 36 Scott Street, is openWednesday to Friday,11.30am until late; and 8am until late on weekends.

Newy Burger Co. at The Cambridge Hotel continuesto push boundaries with its towering burgers as well as its “see it to believe it”donut desserts. This week, the “Dirty Fries” option is a fresh take on the classic meat pie, complete with meat sauce and cheese.

In the heart of Newcastle city, Reserve Wine Bar has been partly renovated to providemore seating and a cosier, more intimate atmosphere. There is also a new wine list and menu.Try the murukku on the bar snacks menu,a crunchy Indian delicacy.And Hunter Street Mall’s Cazador has a new menu, with beef carpaccio, zucchini flowers, kingfish cerviche and snapper among the ingredients added.

NEW FACES: Portafilter is a newcomer in Mayfield, and can be found on Hanbury Street. Picture: Marina Neil

Best hotel in the world named in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for 2016

Tripadvisor best hotelsTravel review site TripAdvisor has named the best hotel in the world in its annual Travellers’ Choice Hotel Awards.

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The luxurious Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, in India, took out the number one slot for 2016. The property is considered one of the last great palaces of India and is one of the largest private residences in the world – set on 26 acres of gardens.

Built between 1928 and 1943 for H.H. Maharaja Umaid Singh, the art deco hotel features 65 luxurious rooms (at an average price of $1055 per night according to TripAdvisor, though prices can drop to $561 per night in low season), a private museum and marble squash courts. The property was taken over by Taj Hotels and Resorts in 2005. In 2007, the hotel played host to the lavish wedding of model and actress Liz Hurley to Indian businessman Arun Nayar (they divorced in 2011).

Of the 842 reviews on TripAdvisor for the property, 767 rate the palace as excellent, with just 10 giving it the lowest rating: ‘terrible’.

Most reviewers cite the hospitality of the staff as the highlight of their stay. “From the moment we checked in to the time we left, we were made to feel like royalty. The staff was very attentive and nothing was too much,” wrote guest PriyankaGandhi.

See: 10 amazing former palaces and castles you can visit

Asia was well represented in this year’s list with four of the top 10 located in the region. Shinta Mani Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia took out second slot and offers a much more affordable option than Umaid Bhawan Palace, with rooms averaging $286 per night.

But there were a couple of even cheaper options on the list: Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa in Vietnam (No.4) offers rooms from about $156 per night and you can stay at Achtis Hotel (No.5) in the Greek village of Afitos from as little as $115 per night in October (average price is $144).

The most expensive stay on the TripAdvisor top 10 was Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (No.6) in the UK, with an average price of $1671 per night.

But even that seems cheap when compared to some of the properties on the top 10 Australian hotels list, where Emirates One&Only in Wolgan Valley ($1910 per night) topped the list and No.2, Hamilton Island’s Qualia, averages $1289 per night.

But there’s still a cheap option for those looking to stay in a top 10 hotel at a reasonable price. Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort came in at No.3 with an average price of just $140 per night.

The TripAdvisor awards are based on millions of reviews and opinions posted on the site from travellers over the past year. The awards take into account the quality and quantity of reviews specific to each award category, according to TripAdvisor.

See below for the full list of the world’s and Australia’s top 10 and click on the links to read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s own reviews of these properties. Take a look at the properties in the gallery above. The top 10 hotels in the world

1. Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur – Jodhpur, India. Average rate of $1055.77 per night. Most affordable month to visit: July ($561)

2. Shinta Mani Resort – Siem Reap, Cambodia – Average rate of $286 per night. Most affordable month to visit: May ($246). Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.

3. Bellevue Syrene – Sorrento, Italy. Average rate of $808 per night. Most affordable month to visit: November ($523)

4. Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa – Hanoi, Vietnam. Average rate of $156 per night. Most affordable month to visit: September ($135)

5. Achtis Hotel – Afitos, Greece – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $144 per night. Most affordable month to visit: October ($115)

6. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – Great Milton, United Kingdom. Average rate of $1671 per night. Most affordable month to visit: September ($1400).

7. Mirihi Island Resort – Mirihi, Maldives. Average rate of $1523 per night. Most affordable month to visit: June ($1103)

8. Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba – Palm Eagle, Aruba. An average rate of $673 per night. Most affordable month to visit: October ($479)

9. Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa – Lance aux Epines, Grenada. Average rate of $1159 per night. Most affordable month to visit: June ($774)

10. Hotel Ritta Höppner – Gramado, Brazil. Average rate of $266 per night. Most affordable month to visit: April ($230) Top 10 hotels in Australia

1. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley – Wolgan Valley, Australia (Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.)

2. Qualia, Hamilton Island (Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.)

3. Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort

4. Park Hyatt – Sydney, New South Wales. (Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.)

5. Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore, Palm Cove

6. The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart (Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review)

7. Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments, Kununurra.

8. Beach Club, Hamilton Island, Whitsundays (Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review)

9. Art Series – The Larwill Studio, Melbourne (Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review)

10. Sandcastles On The Beach Mooloolaba, MooloolabaTop 10 luxury travellers’ choice hotels in Australia

1. Saffire Freycinet – Coles Bay, Tasmania. Average rate of $2244.78 per night. Most affordable month to visit: September ($1902.63). Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.

2. Spicers Vineyard Estate – Pokolbin, New South Wales. Average rate of $546.68 per night. Most affordable month to visit: August ($527.80). Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.

3. Longitude 131 – Yulara, Northern Territory. Average rate of $1200 per person per night (all inclusive). Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.

4. Emirates One&Only – Wolgan Valley, New South Wales. Average rate of $1383.52 per night. Most affordable month to visit: March ($1910.70) Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.

5. Southern Ocean Lodge – Kangaroo Valley, South Australia. Average rate of $1100 per person per night (all inclusive).. Most affordable month to visit: May-September for cool season deals. Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.

6. Qualia Resort – Hamilton Island, Queensland. Average rate of $1289.36 per night. Most affordable month to visit: March ($1124.34). Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.

7. Islington Hotel – Hobart, Tasmania. Average rate of $510.72 per night. Most affordable month to visit: May ($457.87).

8. Park Hyatt – Sydney, New South Wales. Average rate of $1092.91 per night. Most affordable month to visit: June ($997.73). Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.

9. Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort – Cairns, Queensland. Average rate of $140.61 per night. Most affordable month to visit: March ($125.51).

10. Emporium Hotel – Brisbane, Queensland. Average rate of $271.51 per night. Most affordable month to visit: January ($227.05). Read Traveller杭州夜网.au’s review.

See also: The 16 most amazing hotels opening in 2016 See also: The hottest 16 countries to visit this year

NOTE: An earlier version of this story listed the Australian Luxury Travellers’ Choice Hotels top 10 list as the overall Australian Travellers’ Choice top 10.

ICAC and Arthur Sinodinos silent on claims he has been ‘cleared’

Arthur Sinodinos outside ICAC during its investigation into his dealings with the Australian Water Holdings. Photo: Rob HomerThe NSW corruption watchdog says its high-profile inquiry into a company linked to Labor and Liberal figures including Arthur Sinodinos​ has not yet been completed, amid reports the Turnbull government minister has been cleared of corruption findings.

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Senator Sinodinos, a former chairman of controversial infrastructure company Australian Water Holdings, was called as a witness during the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s public inquiry into the company in 2014.

The NSW Senator and cabinet minister was not expected to face corruption findings.

Submissions from counsel assisting the ICAC, sent on December 18 and apparently leaked to News Corp by a third party, have reportedly indicated that he will not face such a finding.

However, it is not yet clear whether the watchdog will make critical comments about his time as non-executive chairman of the company.

On Thursday, Senator Sinodinos told Fairfax Media he was not able to provide a comment until the inquiry was finalised.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told ABC Radio on Thursday it was “very difficult” to comment on the situation because the final report – expected around March – had not been officially released.

But Senator Corman praised his fellow frontbencher as a “friend and valued colleague”.

“Arthur was only ever questioned as a witness,” he said. “He was never a target of that investigation. “

The ICAC released a statement on Thursday morning stressing it had not finished its investigation.

A spokeswoman said the Commission had “invited further submissions from relevant parties in Operations Spicer and Credo [which involve AWH and Liberal Party donations] as a result of recent changes to the ICAC’s jurisdiction.

“The submissions phase has not been completed. When it has, the commission will prepare and table a report to the NSW Parliament detailing its findings.”

The High Court ruled in April last year that the ICAC did not have the power to investigate a range of allegations against private citizens where no wrongdoing was alleged on the part of a public official.

Laws to amend the ICAC’s jurisdiction were rushed through the NSW Parliament to deal with the fallout from that ruling, but still left parts of Operations Spicer and Credo outside its jurisdiction.

Senator Sinodinos stepped aside and then resigned as Assistant Treasurer in 2014, following questions over his time as chairman of AWH.

The NSW senator has denied any wrongdoing but stood aside from the frontbench, explaining he wanted to avoid any distractions for the Coalition government.

He was reinstated to the frontbench as cabinet secretary by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in September, amid expectations that he would be cleared.

A former chief of staff to prime minister John Howard, Senator Sinodinos was appointed to the AWH board in 2008 and made chairman in 2010, while he was honorary treasurer of the NSW Liberal Party.

The ICAC heard he was earning $200,000 a year for “a couple of week’s work” and would have “enjoyed a $10 or $20 million payday” if AWH had won a lucrative government contract.

The inquiry into AWH has probed a range of allegations, including that the company improperly billed the state-owned utility Sydney Water for lavish expenses, including limousines and airfares.

The inquiry crossed party lines and examined allegations that the family of disgraced former Labor minister Eddie Obeid had a secret $3 million stake in the company, although the Obeids have insisted the money was a loan.

Former NSW Labor ministers Joe Tripodi and Tony Kelly face allegations they misused their positions by changing a cabinet minute in an attempt to benefit the company.The men denied the claims.

After the March 2011 election that swept Labor from power in NSW, Australian Water assiduously lobbied the state Coalition government. The commission was also investigating whether Australian Water paid $183,000 to an alleged slush fund set up by a former adviser to former Liberal minister Chris Hartcher.

The company’s former chief executive, prominent Liberal Party fundraiser Nick Di Girolamo, gave former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell the now infamous $3000 bottle of Grange that ended his premiership.

News Corp has reported that allegations of fraud relating to the expenses billed to Sydney Water will not be pursued against Mr Di Girolamo.

He had denied the claims and the subsequent High Court ruling on the ICAC’s powers made it clear that allegations of fraud against private citizens generally will not be within the watchdog’s jurisdiction.

However, he faces a potential allegation that he encouraged Mr Tripodi and Mr Kelly to change the cabinet minute to benefit the company.

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