McDonald’s to mediate with Vic protesters

They’ve been ordered by Victoria’s highest court to burger off and mediate.


McDonald’s and a group of protesters fiercely against the fast-food giant’s plans for a restaurant at Tecoma have been ordered to go to mediation to settle the dispute.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Emilios Kyrou ruled on Friday that the matter be referred to a mediator before November 12.

Justice Kyrou also agreed to extend an injunction stopping protesters from trespassing or blocking workers from entering the site in outer Melbourne, which has been the subject of continued protests.

McDonald’s had originally sought damages in the Victorian Supreme Court from eight of the protesters over the costs brought about by the delay.

The company dropped its claim for damages but is still seeking legal costs and a permanent injunction at the site.

Justice Kyrou said protesters had tried to thwart demolition at the site by trespassing and obstructing workers, with some even planting themselves on the roof.

He described the group as “well organised” and says it existed well before the Supreme Court case began.

He said protesters were able to quickly mobilise hundreds of people to their cause through social media, including Twitter, Facebook and internet forums.

“The activities of the protest group are coordinated and strategic,” he said in his ruling.

Justice Kyrou said some of the activities have been “aggressive” and deliberately violated the company’s legal rights to the land.

The decision comes in the same week that a four-person delegation from the group brought a petition against the restaurant to McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago.

The online petition received more than 99,000 signatures.

Justice Kyrou has ordered that the mediator report back to the court by November 19.

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Euro zone break up inevitable – analyst

The partial break up of the euro zone is inevitable, but it’s unlikely to happen soon.


It’s an issue that has been talked about since before the nations started to adopt the euro in 1999.

Massive government debts and the massive bailouts that followed, in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland have seen the idea of a break up pushed further forward.

While it’s convenient to have the one currency for 17 different nations, the nature of those national economies and their strength is quite different and problematic.

Another issue is that while the 17 nations share the same central bank they do not have a central control on government budgets, nor central political control.

Colonial First State chief investment officer, fixed interest and credit Paul Griffiths does not want to put a time frame on the euro zone being shrunk but says it will eventually be very different from what it is today.

“I think what you’ll get is a core group,” he said.

“I’m not going to name the countries because I don’t want to miss one but if you take that group of countries generally in northern Europe.

“If you take those economies, they move in lock-step with one another and that is the pre-condition I’m talking about.

“There will be, what should have happened originally, a group of countries who are aligned and that can work.

“Even then, you’re going to have challenges because of the political diversity but its got more of a chance of success.”

Mr Griffiths said there is a huge political will behind the euro, and is seen as a natural progression for countries in the larger 28-member European Union.

“They will put huge resources on keeping Portugal, Greece and Ireland inside,” he said.

“I think ultimately a monetary union without fiscal or political union is doomed to failure.

“I do see that ultimate euro crisis coming, if you really push me for a date, I would put it in a multiple year time-frame.”

Mr Griffiths said a fiscal union of a smaller euro zone is also inevitable but will take an even longer time.

The first step would be rules about how member countries manage their budgets but the euro zone has had those rules and they have been broken.

“If they are just rules then there will be that concern, but if their economies are closely aligned it will probably not be a problem,” the London-based Mr Griffiths said.

“A full fiscal union would be possible if they spend a lot of years working together.”

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Alleged match fixer ‘has players in fear’

Players accused of fixing Victorian soccer matches are living in fear of the alleged kingpin of the Australian arm of a global betting syndicate, a court has been told.


Malaysian man Segaran “Gerry” Gsubramaniam has been accused of leading an operation to fix five games involving the Southern Stars club in the semi-professional Victorian Premier League between July and September this year.

Gsubramaniam, 45, has been charged with five counts of engaging in conduct that corrupts or could corrupt the outcome of a betting event, and five charges of facilitating conduct that corrupts or could corrupt the outcome of a betting event.

Four Southern Stars players from England and their Australian coach Zia Younan, 36, have been charged with similar offences.

At a bail hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday, Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Scott Poynder said police were investigating Gsubramaniam’s links to other clubs in Victoria, Queensland and overseas.

The court heard Gsubramaniam and the four charged players – Reiss Noel, 24, David Obaze, 23, Joe Woolley, 23, and 27-year-old Nicholas McKoy – are currently in Australia on working holiday and tourist visas.

Some of the players had expressed fear of Gsubramaniam, and one had put a chair against his hotel door to stop people breaking in, Det Poynder said.

“They fear Mr Gsubramaniam will arrange people to come and visit them,” he said.

Det Poynder said there was evidence that Gsubramaniam had received about $230,000 in money transfers in the past three months.

Gsubramaniam told police that the money he received was to pay the players’ wages, accommodation bills and car rental expenses, Det Poynder said.

Gsubramaniam also claimed in his interview that he was just the “small fry” in the syndicate, and had not been involved for very long.

Prosecutor Peter Rose SC said Gsubramaniam posed an unacceptable flight risk as he had no permanent ties to Australia.

“He is, we say, part of a large international syndicate that is operating in this country,” Mr Rose said.

“If he goes out of the country, we have got no way of getting him back.”

But defence lawyer Michael Gleeson said Gsubramaniam had no criminal record and had entered the country legally and on his own passport.

Gsubramaniam’s bail hearing was adjourned until Tuesday.

The coach and the four players have been granted bail, and have been ordered not to attend any soccer matches sanctioned by Football Federation Australia (FFA).

Their case will next be heard in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in December.

The Southern Stars, based in southeast suburban Dingley, have played 21 games this season for just one win, with 16 losses and four draws.

Their final game of the VPL season, scheduled for this weekend, has been forfeited by their opposition Bentleigh Greens.

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Cooking fire claims Qld toddler’s life

A toddler has died in a house fire west of Brisbane after his 15-year-old aunt accidentally started the blaze during a cooking mishap while babysitting.


The single-storey house in Toowoomba was well alight when emergency services arrived on Thursday about 6pm (AEST).

Firefighters searched the burning house and found a two-year-old boy’s body.

Two other boys and two girls aged between seven and 15 were taken to Toowoomba Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

It’s been widely reported a 15-year-old girl was babysitting her siblings and nephew and had left cooking oil unattended on the stove, which caught alight.

She attempted to put it out with water, which only exacerbated the problem.

Detective acting Senior Sergeant Scott Stahlhut did not dispute the cause when it was put to him by reporters, but was reluctant to confirm or elaborate.

“Police are preparing a report now which will be provided to the coroner,” Sen-Sgt Stahlhut told reporters on the scene.

“Full details of how this terrible event unfolded will be made known in that report, so I can’t comment at this stage (about) what’s transpired.”

Neighbours tried to rescue the toddler, but the blaze, which had entirely engulfed the house within minutes, was too strong.

“A girl came out saying her nephew was still inside and as I went to break through the window to see if I could try to rescue him, I just thought `nah’, because the smoke was too big,” neighbour Terrance Mann told reporters.

“At that moment we realised there was just nothing we could have done.”

Police also wouldn’t confirm the children were left at home unsupervised.

Fire investigators remain at the scene on Friday.

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Dugan mocks Shillington after Raiders fine

Serial tweeter Josh Dugan has used the social networking site to mock David Shillington after the Canberra prop was fined by the NRL club following comments he made about the Raiders’ disastrous season.


Shillington spoke candidly to three journalists, including AAP on Thursday, when he revealed how a lack of discipline and accountability from certain players had derailed the Raiders in 2013.

St George Illawarra fullback Dugan along with Blake Ferguson were sacked by Canberra for serial breaches of club discipline in a chaotic year that culminated in the axing of coach David Furner.

“If a bloke mucks up and you don’t drop him from the team because you are worried they may leave the club or you’re worried you won’t win the game, that’s when you create the devil in players,” Shillington said.

“That’s what you saw at our club this year with a couple of players.

“It’s a delicate situation with younger players coming through. There’s increased media exposure; they are full-on superstars.

“That empowers them to think they are bigger than the team. That’s a really bad thing.

“You look at the really good clubs, the Roosters, Souths and Melbourne … if you stuff up off the field, you get dropped.”

NSW star Dugan joined the Dragons mid-season after being shown the door by the Green Machine for missing a recovery session to sink alcopops on his rooftop with Ferguson in March.

That move only came about after a deal to join Brisbane collapsed following his spat with a Raiders supporter on another social networking site, who he told to “end themselves”.

“I think shillington forgets he went DUI twice lol hes done some favors to get that Aussie jersey. Well done mate.”, Dugan tweeted. The post was subsequently deleted later on Friday.

Shillington also revealed senior Raiders players, when consulted by Queensland coach Mal Meninga, who was part of a sub-committee formed to find a replacement for Furner, threw their support behind caretaker coach and former U-20s mentor Andrew Dunemann.

However, the 30-year-old said he was happy to work under recently appointed coach Ricky Stuart and said the former Parramatta mentor was the perfect man to rebuild team spirit.

He also denied rumours there was an issue between him and his new boss.

“Mal rang a few of us and asked us who we would thought should be coach and we were pushing for Andrew Dunemann because of his relationship with our young talent,” Shillington said.

“But Ricky will be just what the doctor ordered in far as getting the team together … sort out the off-field stuff and ensure players are pulled into line … as the care factor has been down.”

Raiders chief executive Don Furner was fuming at Shillington’s claims and slapped him with an undisclosed fine.

“Comments made today across several media outlets by David Shillington were in breach of the club’s media policy that clearly states players may speak on issues relating only to their own performance and that of the team,” Furner said.

“They should not comment on issues outside of their immediate responsibilities as a player without prior approval from senior management.

“David is an experienced senior player at this club and should have known better.

“He’s been spoken to previously about errant comments he has made to the media and the negative impact they can have.”

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