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Australia has its first female Prime Minister after Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd at a partyroom meeting this morning.

In an unprecedented move, Ms Gillard will replace Mr Rudd less than six months out from this year’s federal election.

Once she is sworn in by Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Ms Gillard will become Australia’s 27th prime minister since Federation.

Ms Gillard, a Victorian who represents the Melbourne seat of Labor, will be joined by Treasurer Wayne Swan as her deputy. Mr Swan is from Queensland, like Mr Rudd.

After the caucus meeting this morning, Ms Gillard emerged with Mr Swan by her side.

She said she was honoured to be Australia’s first female PM.

“I feel very honoured and I’ll be making a statement shortly,“ she said.

A smiling Mr Rudd emerged from the partyroom 20 minutes later with Senator John Faulkner by his side. He refused to comment to the throng of reporters which chased him back to his office.

After it became clear that Mr Rudd’s support in the ALP was evaporating, he decided against standing for the PM position this morning.

All elements of the Labor Party swung behind Ms Gillard in the face of opinion polls which show the Government still in a winning position but with dire satisfaction ratings for Mr Rudd.

The Labor Party’s returning officer for the meeting, NSW senator Michael Forshaw, said Mr Rudd, Ms Gillard and Mr Swan had given gracious speeches.

Declaring Ms Gillard would lead the Labor Party to victory at the next election, Senator Forshaw conceded the events of the past 24 hours had been tough

“This has been a difficult time for the Prime Minister and has been a difficult time for the party,” he said.

A visibly tired Senator Forshaw paid tribute to Mr Rudd.

“He led us to victory in 2007, a victory that was achieved when many people thought we still would be spending more years in opposition,” he said.

“That was a great achievement.

“We now have a new team and I’m looking confidently forward to the next election.”

Brand MHR  Gary Gray, who according to a recent Westpoll would lose his seat despite sitting on a 6.1 per cent margin, said ahead of the poll that a change was needed to turn around the Government’s electoral chances.

“It’s necessary to have both a fresh pair of hands, fresh eyes and a different approach to the management of government,” he told ABC radio.

It is understood Mr Swan will remain in the Treasury portfolio.

Source : www.thewest.com.au

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA — The first gold has been poured and the initial copper concentrate shipment made at the Boddington mine belonging to Newmont Mining of Denver. At full production, this will be Australia’s largest gold mine.

The Boddington mine is a large open pit 130 km southeast of Perth within the Saddleback Greenstone Belt. Newmont believes Boddington has significant exploration potential, with gold reserves increasing from 16.6 million oz in 2007 to 20.1 million oz in 2008 and an expected mine life in excess of 24 years.

Source  :  www.canadianminingjournal.com

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The Reserve Bank has raised its key interest rate, making Australia the first developed nation to reverse the cycle of cuts triggered by the global financial crisis. Analysts say more increases are on the way.

Today’s 25-basis-point rise pushes the central bank’s cash rate to 3.25 per cent in a move that will add $40 to the average monthly payment for a typical $300,000 mortgage if it is passed on by commercial banks. The extra cost may stretch household budgets at a time when unemployment remains on the rise.

All four of the big banks – Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ – said they have placed their variable interest rates under review.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left interest rates on hold at 3 percent as predicted.                                                 reserve_bank_400

A  survey by AAP had expected the RBA to leave the cash rate at the lowest since 1960.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said last weekend that it was obvious that rates will rise, while Minister for Financial Services, Chris Bowen, warned yesterday that rates can’t stay low forever.

Some economists believe the first rate rise could come this year, but the general view is that rates will remain on hold until the middle of next year.

In a statement released after the announcement, governor Glenn Stevens said the risk of “severe contraction” in the Australian economy had abated.

“Economic conditions in Australia have been stronger than expected a few months ago, with both consumer spending and exports notable for their resilience,” the statement says.

“Measures of confidence have recovered a good deal of ground.”

The statement adds: “The board’s judgment is that the present accommodative setting of monetary policy is appropriate given the economy’s circumstances.

“The board will continue to monitor how economic and financial conditions unfold and how they impinge on prospects for sustainable growth in economic activity and achieving the inflation target.”

 

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THE champagne corks will be popping for two lucky winners of Australia’s biggest ever lotto draw.

The winners from Queensland and South Australia will each add $53 million to their bank accounts from the Oz Lotto $106 million first division prize.

And another 60 people will each get more than $33,000 from the second division pool.

The huge payouts are eclipsed only by the record $58.7 million win by a single Powerball entry in June 2008, by a syndicate of workmates who bought the winning ticket in the Melbourne suburb of Reservoir. 

Ticket-holders only had a 45 million to one chance of winning, but that did not stop Australians buying 10 million entries for the record draw.

Tattersalls spokeswoman Karen Anning said the two winners would be notified before the agents they purchased tickets from were revealed.

A massive 10 million entries were made in the competition nationally.

Victoria posted close to three million entries, while Queensland recorded over 2.2 million entries in the draw, Ms Anning said.

Lotto officials estimated that one in three Australians would enter the draw.

The winning numbers were 12, 3, 38, 21, 23, 29 and 40, with 43 and 22 as the supplementary numbers.

Source   :  www.news.com.au

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EXCLUSIVE: SUPER 7s Oz Lotto has jackpotted to a staggering $90 million next week.

The new, all-time record lottery draw will take place next Tuesday after there were no first division winners in last night’s $50 million draw.

A rush for tickets for last night’s game saw the division one prize pool boosted to a massive $59 million.

Tattersall’s Lotteries PR manager Karen Anning said next week’s Super 7s Oz Lotto
draw will shatter all existing records for lotto games in Australia.

“We were expecting the game to jackpot to $60 million next week if there were no first division winners but, due to the unprecedented level of interest in last nights draw, the decision has been made to offer a minimum guaranteed jackpot level of $90 million, Ms Anning said.

“The lotto frenzy we have already experienced over the past week is expected reach epic proportions in the lead up to next Tuesday nights draw.”

source  :  www.news.com.au

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One of WA’s largest educational institutions has moved its students into the digital age.

East Perth-based Central TAFE is about to roll out its first student e-mail service, after signing a deal with Microsoft.

The TAFE will offer its 15,000 students the software giant’s Live@Edu application, after trialling it with about 500 of them.

It follows a nine-month process which began when WA TAFE’s issued a tender for the supply of student e-mail services. Microsoft was awarded the tender last month.

Central TAFE managing director Neil Fernandes said Live@Edu would offer “connectivity and collaboration right across our campuses”.

Other WA TAFE’s – who have about 120,000 students between them – are watching Central’s pilot program. Live@Edu offers 10GB-capacity mailboxes and the potential to send and receive 20MB attachments.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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AN MP wants Queenslanders to be buried in cardboard coffins in natural bush cemeteries where the decomposing bodies can promote vegetation growth.

coffinThe “green in death” approach has been advocated by Labor’s Barbara Stone who told Parliament about a body’s “natural nutrients.”

 

She suggested that more local authorities follow the lead of the Gold Coast City Council which is planning the state’s first natural bushland cemetery.

 

“The site will be an old quarry to be filled with suitable soil so that bodies can decompose and provide valuable nutrients that encourage the rejuvenation of native flora,” she said. 

Body disposal should have as little impact on the environment as possible after taking into account the deceased’s personal, cultural or traditional practices, Ms Stone said. If someone wanted to be buried in a cardboard box “under a shady tree” this should be permitted.

Ms Stone, who represents Springwood, said responsible Queenslanders should go to their grave in eco-friendly coffins made from fibre waste.

“Testing has shown that they release half the emissions of a standard coffin,” she said.

Of the 24,500 coffins used in Queensland last year, less than 100 were made from this alternative material.

This represented a waste of timber and valuable metals and exposed the environment to toxic embalming chemicals.

New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have bushland cemeteries where only native stone can be used as burial markers.

But Ms Stone said that if there was no stone the “savvy techno can have a GPS device placed in their hands so their families can return to honour the bushland settings and their loved ones”.

Queensland bans burials on private land although there are some exceptions – former premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen is at rest in the grounds of his home Bethany, near Kingaroy.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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A team of Google engineers from Australia has unveiled a prototype replacement for standard email that abandons the reliance on the chronological sorting and stacking of messages which has been the hallmark of one of the internet’s first and still most popular applications.

Christened Google Wave, the new feature was given its first public viewing in San Francisco earlier this morning Australian time at Google’s annual developers’ conference.

“I think you will see a form of interaction that you would not have previously imagined,” Google co-found Sergey Brin told a post-launch press conference.

Wave – which began life as a project codenamed Walkabout – is a combination of email and instant messaging and document-, maps- image- and video-sharing all housed under one roof.

Much like a conference call, it also allows for conversations between more than two people to happen simultaneous.

And because it all happens inside a web browser, there is no special software to download or plug-in – which means it can be used from any computer or internet-enabled mobile phone.

“Our communication space is very fragmented today. We have a million different tools for different things with lots of different kinds of overlaps,” said Lars Rassmussen, a senior software engineer with Google Australia

“The most natural way to try and solve that problem is to take all those different tools and try to make them smaller and fit into a single package and maybe integrate them across the boundaries.”

Wave is being released so that the developers – independent software creators – can help iron out the remaining bugs and cook-up a swag of new uses for the service and the platform upon which it is based ahead of a public release later this year.

But Wave is more than just another of Google’s ubiquitous free web services. It’s also a protocol – meaning that it is going after email’s mantle as the predominant internet communications tool.

And despite the recent growth of web-based email services like Hotmail and Gmail, most of the world’s email runs through Microsoft’s Outlook client.

And to encourage organisations to catch the Wave, Google is offering it up as an open source protocol, meaning that anyone – even a competitor – can box it up and host it on their servers.

Wave is the creation of Danish brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen, who together with Australian Noel Gordon and Stephen Ma – founded and later sold what became known as Google Maps to Google for an undisclosed sum in 2005.

Lars has worked for Google and lived in Australia since the sale and enticed Jens to leave Google’s headquarters near join him in 2007.

The pair and the Wave team – who have been given the full backing of Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page – have been working on the project out of Google’s offices in Sydney.

Stephen Hutcheon is attending the San Francisco conference as a guest of Google.

Source: www.watoday.com.au

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