A deputy party leader since 2007, could Julie Bishop’s time have finally arrived?You’d be hard pressed to accuse Julie Bishop of disloyalty.
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For more than 10 years, the West Australian lawyer with the killer stare and snappy suits has been the Liberal Party’s second in command.

She has served as deputy to three leaders, watching from close proximity as each copped the knife.

But it’s never been Bishop bearing the fruits of the killing by stepping into the outgoing leader’s shoes and should she succeed Malcolm Turnbull, it would be after joining a leadership race in which he wasn’t running.

The idea of taking the top job can’t be too unfamiliar to the 62-year-old, who was once mooted as a possible WA state Liberal leader.

But that came after she joined federal politics at the 1998 election as Perth’s member for Curtin and it’s where she opted to stay.

Though WA is her political home-ground, Bishop was born to cherry farmers in Adelaide and attended the city’s St Peter’s Collegiate Girls’ School.

She studied law at Adelaide University and practised as both a solicitor and a barrister before moving to WA with her husband, property developer Neil Gillion.

They later divorced but Bishop stayed put.

Years later in parliament, Labor would query Bishop’s role during her legal days in defending building product company CSR from compensation claims by asbestos victims.

She claimed she only acted in accordance with her client’s instructions and on advice from some of WA’s most senior barristers.

It was in the Howard government in 2003 that Bishop joined the frontbench as aged care minister.

John Howard rewarded her with the education portfolio and made her responsible for women’s issues in 2006 but it was short-lived with the government falling in the November 2007 Ruddslide.

She was elected deputy Liberal leader under opposition leader Brendan Nelson after the 2007 poll and was handed the shadow employment and workplace relations role.

When Nelson’s leadership imploded 11 months later she remained deputy under Malcolm Turnbull and took on the shadow treasury role.

Widely considered a failure in the portfolio, she stepped aside months later and shifted to foreign affairs – a job in which she has thrived to this day.

Incoming leader Tony Abbott kept her by his side after his one-vote party room win over Turnbull in December 2009 and she kept the portfolio after Labor scraped into minority government in 2010.

As Abbott shunted the train wreck that was federal Labor in 2013, Australia’s first female foreign minister faced some tough challenges.

But she reaped the benefits of Labor’s lobbying for a United Nations Security Council seat, making the most of it to tackle issues including Iran, Islamic State’s rise in Iraq and Syria and shaming Russia over the MH17 tragedy.

The families of the Malaysian Airline disaster victims appreciated her deep and ongoing interest and sympathetic response.

She undoubtedly played a key role in healing the damage caused to relations with Indonesia by Labor’s live cattle debacle, turning back boats and the Indonesian president phone tapping scandal.

At times, her profile has put her ahead of Turnbull in the popularity stakes.

In a March 2017 poll by Roy Morgan, 30 per cent of people surveyed said she was their preferred Liberal Party leader, compared to 27 per cent for Turnbull and 5 per cent for Peter Dutton.

But however her fate plays out in the party, there seems little chance the eager runner, whose Instagram account bears no shortage of evidence of her fashionable wardrobe, will slow down any time soon.

Asked in 2013 if she could withstand several terms of government as foreign minister, the reportedly indefatigable Bishop was unwavering.

“Absolutely,” she said without a moment’s hesitation.

“You have to have inexhaustible supplies of energy to be a federal politician from Western Australia anyway.”

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Collingwood’s Adam Treloar is getting closer to a return for the MagpiesCollingwood midfielder Adam Treloar expects to take a major step next week as he pushes for an AFL finals recall.
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While Magpies coach Nathan Buckley remains unsure when the star onballer might return from the hamstring injuries he suffered in round 14, Treloar is upbeat.

If Treloar can make a successful comeback next month, it would be a massive boost for the Magpies in their first finals series since 2013.

“Next week, I know I will be pretty much straight into the full swing of things,” he told a club podcast.

“I’d imagine the week before the finals we’d have a pretty big match simulation in the bye week.

“I’m sure I will be involved in that.”

But before the Magpies can think about the finals and Treloar’s return, they must confirm their top-four finish.

Collingwood are third and will start strong favourites in Saturday’s Optus Stadium clash with Fremantle.

They will field an unchanged side – a welcome development, given their bad run of injuries this season.

The Dockers are coming off the biggest losing margin in their history, a 133-point walloping from Geelong.

Buckley expects Fremantle to rally from last week’s disaster.

“You don’t make it to this level without an element of pride in your performances,” he said.

“I dare say there would be a bounce back from last week.”

Buckley added the key is that Collingwood stay focused on what they want to achieve in their last match before the finals.

“We just need to make sure we’re ready to go,” he said.

“This isn’t a game we’re going to manage through, this is a game that we need to attack and win.”

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Fremantle’s Danyle Pearce has not been given an AFL farewell in Saturday’s clash with Collingwood.Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says out-of-favour veteran Danyle Pearce was left somewhat scarred after becoming a “whipping boy” amongst football fans.
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Pearce will be delisted by Fremantle at season’s end, and wasn’t selected for an AFL farewell in Saturday’s clash with Collingwood at Optus Stadium.

The 32-year-old enjoyed a strong start to his Dockers career after crossing from Port Adelaide at the end of 2012.

But Fremantle fans have turned on the 258-game veteran in recent years, with his unreliable kicking drawing the biggest criticism.

Pearce has played only three games this year – the last of which was in the round 10 loss to North Melbourne when he tallied just 13 disposals.

He played just seven games last year after falling victim to the club’s rebuild.

Lyon is a fan of giving farewell games to veteran players, with retiring defender Michael Johnson afforded the chance to play against the Magpies.

But Pearce hasn’t been given the same opportunity.

Lyon said rumours that Pearce was unhappy were off the mark.

“Some people are a bit more embarrassed by it (a farewell game),” Lyon said.

“What happens is when he played, he became a whipping boy pretty quick. There’s no doubt that hurt him. They are human, the players.

“He heard all the criticism. I’m sort of impervious to it because I’ve been in the game for 30 years.

“But when you’ve got kids, and they go to school, and you’ve got a lot of pride and you’ve been at a high level, you’re not impervious to it.

“There’s no doubt he’s been scarred by that. He’s balanced that up, ‘Do I need all that headache, or do I just keep enjoying myself (at Peel Thunder)’.

“I’ve heard all the rumours (like) he’s disgusted. It’s all garbage.”

Fremantle lost to Geelong by 133 points last week, but have been boosted by the returns of Stephen Hill and Joel Hamling.

However, star forward Michael Walters was ruled out through injury.

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Billy Frampton is finally set to debut for Port Adelaide.Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley says he’s excited about the AFL debut of ruckman Billy Frampton against Essendon on Friday night.
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The 21-year-old West Australian has been picked to debut as Port seeks to salvage their season.

The Power, to sneak into the finals, must down Essendon at Adelaide Oval and hope Geelong lose to lowly Gold Coast on Saturday.

Hinkley said Frampton’s debut, in his fourth season on the Power’s list, will allow lead ruckman Paddy Ryder to be deployed in attack more frequently against the Bombers.

“They will share the (forward) role around a little bit,” Hinkley said of Ryder and Frampton.

“It helps give us a bit more of a focus in our forward line because we understand we haven’t got Charlie (Dixon) there, so we’re trying to cover that using a bit of Paddy, a bit of Billy in that spot.

“Billy also kicks goals. He does go forward and clunk a couple in the SANFL so hopefully he can do that in his AFL debut.

“It’s pretty exciting … this is his opportunity and I’m sure he’ll take it.”

Frampton is among three changes to Port’s side which lost against Collingwood last weekend – the Power’s fifth defeat in six games.

Midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper and Jake Neade have been recalled with Riley Bonner and Aidyn Johnson dropped and Tom Rockliff sidelined by injury.

Ex-Brisbane captain Rockliff will soon have shoulder surgery, ending his season regardless if Port pinch a finals spot.

Hinkley said irrespective of his club’s long-shot finals chances, Port will be at full-throttle on Friday night.

“It’s really important to play well whenever you play,” he said.

“That is the key to any football side, you want to represent your team and each other really strongly.

“There will always be winners and losers in a football season. But every time you play, there should be a way you want to play and we want to play really strong, tough footy.”

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James Frawley is poised to return from injury for the Hawks in week one of the AFL finals series.Hawthorn expect premiership defender James Frawley to be among several reinforcements for the first week of the AFL finals.
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Frawley will miss Saturday night’s hotly-anticipated clash with Sydney after jarring his back during the Hawks’ win over St Kilda last week.

The 29-year-old has been a constant fixture of the Hawks’ backline this season and would have been likely to spend time on Lance Franklin at the SCG.

“We’ve given James every opportunity to get himself right, but unfortunately he’s still experiencing some soreness,” Hawthorn football boss Graham Wright said.

“He’ll miss this week, but we’re hopeful he’ll be back to 100 per cent fitness come the first week of finals.”

Franklin has been named by the Swans despite having been on restricted duties at their final training session of the week.

The Swans have indicated they will give Franklin until game day to show he has overcome a groin injury.

Hawks skipper Jarryd Roughead is a certain starter against the Swans after overcoming an ankle issue that has sidelined him for the past two games.

Ricky Henderson and David Mirra are the other inclusions with Marc Pittonet and Conor Glass omitted, while Heath Grundy replaces Robbie Fox for Sydney.

Veteran backman Grundy has been sidelined for the past month while battling mental health issues but played at reserves level last week.

Frawley’s absence, as well as that of Grant Birchall and James Sicily, means the Hawks will line up with a highly-inexperienced backline.

Sicily (wrist) is listed as being two weeks away from returning while Birchall (knee) should also be available for the first week of the finals.

The winner of Saturday night’s game will secure a top-four finish and the Hawks could climb as high as second should other results go their way.

West Coast spearhead Josh Kennedy, Melbourne’s Jack Viney, Collingwood backman Jeremy Howe, Richmond’s Dan Butler and GWS forward Toby Greene are among the other big names earmarked for a week-one finals return.

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West Coast coach Adam Simpson is confident Jack Darling will play in Sunday’s crunch match against Brisbane, and he’s urging his players to go “full bore” in their bid to lock up second spot.
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Darling still needs to pass a concussion test after being knocked out in last week’s loss to Melbourne, but Simpson hopes it will be a mere formality and named the 26-year-old in his extended squad.

“He trained (on Thursday) and he looked pretty symptom-free … I think he’ll play,” Simpson said.

“He’s just got to tick the final box.”

The Eagles will again be without spearhead Josh Kennedy, who will miss his fifth straight match with a fractured shin.

Defender Lewis Jetta goes out with a calf injury, but Will Schofield was named in the extended squad after recovering from a hamstring injury.

West Coast will secure second spot and two home finals with victory over Brisbane, but a loss could see them tumble to fourth spot.

The Eagles have been slow off the mark in their past two matches, and Simpson says his side can ill afford to do the same against Brisbane.

Although the Lions have won only five games this year, they have been tricky to beat at the Gabba and are capable of scoring quickly.

“It’s probably not the full (first) quarter, it’s just the first 10 minutes in particular we’ve been jumped,” Simpson said.

“And Brisbane start well, so that’s a great challenge for us to get that on our terms.

“It’s going to be difficult, but we’re aware of it.”

Simpson knows the absence of Kennedy means he needs to keep experimenting with his attacking set-up.

But that’s where he wants the experimenting to end – especially with finals just around the corner.

“If we try anything it will be out of necessity, not flirting with our form,” Simpson said.

“We understand what Brisbane can present, especially at home, and what we need to do to get a win.

“It’s really important we go full bore this week.”

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Abbot Xuecheng faces censure from the Buddhist Association for ‘violating Buddhist precepts’.Chinese police have opened an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against one of the country’s best-known Buddhist monks whose case has highlighted the growth of the Me Too movement in China.
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A statement issued by the State Religious Affairs Administration on Thursday said police were investigating claims of sexual assault against Xuecheng. It said he also faces censure from the official government-backed Buddhist Association on suspicion of “violating Buddhist precepts.”

Xuecheng has denied the claims but earlier this month resigned as head of the Buddhist Association.

Fellow monks accused him of harassing and demanding sexual favours from nuns at his monastery in the outskirts of northwest Beijing, as well as embezzling funds. Their accusations, including testimony from the alleged victims, were posted online, prompting a public outcry and unusual coverage by state media.

A small but increasing number of academics, civil society activists and one of China’s best known television hosts have been called out for inappropriate sexual behaviour.

In addition to heading the Buddhist Association, Xuecheng was an influential political adviser to the central government. His monastery, Longquan in the northwest Beijing suburbs, is popular with educated Chinese, including many who give up high-paying jobs to devote their lives to religious study.

China has roughly 250 million Buddhists whose religion has suffered varying degrees of repression under the officially atheist communist government. That number is likely growing fast as some young Chinese turn increasingly spiritual and retreat to temples and monasteries.

Not all is so Zen-like, however. Some leading monks have been criticised for embracing China’s rampant commercialism, among them Shi Yongxin, abbot of the Shaolin Temple famed for its fighting monks.

Shi was accused by subordinates in 2015 of keeping mistresses and embezzling monastery funds while he jet-setted around the world seeking sponsorship and real estate deals for the 1500-year old cradle of kung fu.

In addition to the sexual misconduct allegations, Xuecheng’s temple is also under investigation for putting up buildings without construction permits, the religious affairs bureau statement said. Authorities are also looking into the issue of “the whereabouts of a large amount of funds,” the statement said.

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The Peter Dutton (r) campaign to be next prime minister backfired spectacularly.Peter Dutton insists he has no regrets after trying to overthrow Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and walking away holding nothing but his marginal seat.
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The former home affairs minister’s campaign to dethrone Mr Turnbull backfired spectacularly on Friday when Treasurer Scott Morrison defeated him in a leadership ballot 45-40.

Mr Dutton was philosophical after the embarrassing loss, describing the leadership coup as a turning point for the Liberal Party.

“I’m pleased that Scott Morrison has been elected prime minister – I think it’s a good day for our country,” he told the ABC at a Canberra restaurant, where he was dining with family.

“I think it’s a turning point and a healing point for the Liberal Party, I think we now look forward instead of back.”

Mr Dutton said animosity had run deep within the party ever since Mr Turnbull deposed Tony Abbott in 2015.

“We now draw a line under all of that,” he said.

Lack of loyalty in the days and weeks leading up to his second failed challenge drew a sharp slap from Mr Turnbull on his way out the door.

“Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott and others who chose to deliberately attack the government from within, they did so because they wanted to bring the government down,” the outgoing prime minister said.

Mr Dutton brushed off the fierce criticism from his former leader.

“I would rise above it because there’s a lot of emotion and rewriting of history,” Mr Dutton said hours after the spill.

“I only nominated because I believe that I was a better person and a person of greater strength and integrity to lead the Liberal Party.”

Mr Dutton lost to Mr Turnbull 48-35 on Tuesday after the prime minister’s snap spill caught almost everyone off guard.

Far from defeated, that level of support emboldened Mr Dutton’s supporters to renew their push to get a conservative warrior into The Lodge.

A brief charm offensive ensued, but Mr Dutton’s idea to take the GST off power bills went down badly.

Questions were also raised over his eligibility to stay in parliament over his financial interests in commonwealth-funded childcare centres.

Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue QC found there is “some risk” the High Court would find Mr Dutton has a conflict of interest over federal payments to the centres.

But Mr Donaghue found it was unlikely Mr Dutton would be disqualified by reason of payments made to his family trust.

Section 44 of the Constitution bans from parliament anyone who has “any direct or indirect pecuniary interest with the public service of the Commonwealth”.

Senior Liberal and close friend Mathias Cormann anointed Mr Dutton as the man to win back John Howard’s battlers.

Instead, the bruised Mr Dutton has to weigh up if he’ll be a part of Mr Morrison’s ministry after the incoming prime minister extended an olive branch.

Whatever his immediate future, a margin of 1.6 per cent in his Brisbane electorate of Dickson means Mr Dutton could have to lower his sights to the less ambitious target of staying in parliament.

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Turmoil at the Football Federation Australia could delay plans to add two clubs to the A-League.Plans to expand the A-League could become collateral damage in what looms as a period of huge uncertainty in Australian soccer over the next three months.
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Change at the top of Football Federation Australia – in one form or another – appears inevitable after FIFA’s endorsement of proposed governance reforms which are strongly opposed by chairman Steven Lowy and his board.

What it all means for A-League expansion, nobody can say for sure.

Two new teams are set to enter the competition in season 2019-20, with the nine bids to submit their final proposals to FFA by next Friday.

Team 11, based in Melbourne’s south-east, and the newly-merged Macarthur South West Sydney bid are believed to be the two clear frontrunners.

An announcement on which teams will enter the A-League is due to be made by the FFA board on October 31.

But the composition of that board is expected to change very soon, and the implications could see expansion delayed.

Lowy has announced he will not seek re-election at November’s annual general meeting.

But there’s a chance FFA’s directors could be removed sooner if the congress review working group’s recommendations are not adopted next month.

An extraordinary general meeting of FFA will take place sometime in September, at which the reforms will be put to a vote.

If the vote is not successful, those pushing for change could retaliate immediately by spilling the FFA board.

Six out of 10 votes are required to remove a director under the FFA constitution – and in NSW, Victoria, SA, WA, Queensland and the A-League clubs, the six votes are there.

Alternatively, if the reforms are not passed, it’s expected FIFA will intervene by sacking the FFA board and installing a normalisation committee, or suspending Australia’s membership.

Either way, there would be no board in place to make a decision on expansion in October as planned.

Even if the board does survive until November, AAP understands there are contrasting views within the A-League clubs as to whether their call should be abided by.

Some clubs are fully supportive of expansion and happy for it to go ahead as planned.

Others believe the process set out by FFA has been flawed from the start and that any choices made by an outgoing board are illegitimate.

There are also fears that with the A-League due to be spun off and run independently in season 2019-20, bringing in two brand new clubs at the same time is fraught with danger.

For the time being at least, FFA management is proceeding full steam ahead with expansion.

Meanwhile, AAP understands backers behind some bids are thinking twice about investing in the A-League given the events of the last few months.

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