Furious winds sweep through parliament

Unexpected political and natural calamities have added challenges to what was already going to be a big week for Malcolm Turnbull.

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The final week of parliament before the May budget was set to be a showdown over changes to racial discrimination law changes, penalty rates for the low-paid and corporate tax cuts.

But Cyclone Debbie swept across the political landscape as it wreaked havoc in north Queensland.

A commercial dispute between sugar miller Wilmar and marketer QSL also made its way into and out of Turnbull’s in-tray.

And a long-dormant extradition treaty with China ended up being the political equivalent of juggling a steamed dumpling.

Despite its massive damage, the cyclone received relatively little attention in parliament.

Turnbull was asked one question about it, on Tuesday, before attention turned to issues of the day and on Wednesday it was off the question time radar altogether – apart from a Greens question linking the disaster to the coal industry.

However by the end of the week Turnbull and Bill Shorten flew to Bowen to see the damage first-hand and reassure residents of federal support.

The sugar growers’ dispute has been a simmering issue in north Queensland for some years.

But it has failed to register in Canberra until the Nationals started to fear One Nation was taking the lead on the issue.

On Wednesday night – just hours before Turnbull headed to the sugar-rich region of north Queensland where canegrowers were fretting about their cyclone-hit crops – Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed the industry would be covered by a mandatory code of conduct.

While it is a form of re-regulation of the industry, Turnbull and Morrison have copped it on the chin in order to keep the Nationals on side, north Queensland voters happy and One Nation at bay.

It also gave Turnbull a sweetener to talk about on Thursday’s trip.

The extradition treaty with China has sat on the shelf since John Howard signed it 10 years ago but didn’t ratify it.

The treaty regulations were tabled just ahead of a visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Chinese leaders have raised its ratification with the Australian government at every available opportunity, and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was keen for it to happen.

But a few minutes before she was due to talk to the government’s leadership group, Shorten phoned Turnbull to say the shadow cabinet had decided not to back the ratification.

A short time later Turnbull confirmed to Shorten the treaty would be pulled from the parliament’s agenda.

The prime minister was already under pressure from within coalition ranks and faced the possibility of the treaty being “disallowed” in the Senate, with the support of Labor, the Greens, crossbenchers including former Liberal Cory Bernardi, and potentially several coalition senators.

To make things worse, Tony Abbott wrote a newspaper article condemning the treaty he once spruiked as vital to Australia-China relations.

Embarrassingly, ministers were still talking up the treaty as Turnbull was telling Shorten it was off.

On Thursday, the government was seeking to return to its two priorities: watering down race-hate laws in the name of free speech and passing at least part of its plan to cut company taxes.

However, compromise was expected before MPs headed out of Canberra for the pre-budget break.

A deal on small business tax cuts, temporarily shelving breaks for big business, looked the most likely scenario.

Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act appeared almost certain to fail, despite there being unanimous support for reform of the way the Human Rights Commission handles complaints.

A messy week for the government can only feed into voter perceptions Turnbull is floundering – shown in weak personal approval ratings and Labor’s solid two-party preferred lead in the polls.

The prime minister will now have a five-week parliamentary break ahead of the May 9 budget to show he hasn’t been blown off course.

Electromagnetic work linked to form of MND

Workplace exposure to electromagnetic fields has been linked to a higher risk of developing the most common form of motor neurone disease, Netherlands research suggests.

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Experts noted an association between exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

ALS causes weakness and wasting in the limbs and people only tend to live for two to five years from first experiencing symptoms.

In the new study, Professor Roel Vermeulen, from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues, examined data for 58,279 men and 6,573 women aged 55 to 69, who were followed for 17 years.

Some 76 men and 60 women died of ALS during the study.

The research found that high levels of electromagnetic field exposure were largely confined to the men, and depended on their jobs.

Those whose jobs had exposed them to high levels of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields were more than twice as likely to develop ALS as those who had never been exposed through their work, the study suggested.

Furthermore, those in the top 30 per cent of cumulative exposure (duration multiplied by intensity) were nearly twice as likely to develop the disease.

“Those whose jobs had exposed them to high levels of extremely low-frequency magnetic fields were more than twice as likely to develop ALS as those who had always been exposed to only background levels through their work,” Prof Vermeulen said.

These jobs included electric line installers, welders, sewing-machine operators and aircraft pilots.

“These are essentially jobs where workers are placed in close proximity to appliances that use a lot of electricity,” Prof Vermeulen said.

“The present study adds evidence to previous studies that have suggested that extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields is related to ALS risk.”

Brian Dickie, director of research development at the Motor Neurone Disease Association said while the results suggested high exposure to low frequency magnetic fields is associated with the risk of MND, it was subtle.

“This only becomes apparent when relatively large numbers of people are studied, indicating that any such effect is a very subtle one.

“It does not mean that exposure causes MND.

Warm weather to stretch into winter: BOM

Don’t pack away those summer clothes just yet – warmer-than-usual weather is on the cards for the rest of autumn and the start of winter.

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The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest climate update forecasts above average temperatures for most of the country between April and June.

Below-average rainfall is expected across southern Australia, but plenty of rain is tipped to drench the east coast, Tasmania and the far north.

BOM forecasters say most climate models are continuing to suggest an El Nino will develop this winter as a result of warmer sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

“Days and nights are likely to be warmer than average for much of Australia but cooler in some areas of the far north,” senior climatologist Andrew Watkins said on Thursday.

“Below average rainfall is likely over much of Australia but it might not start out that way in several places.

“In April, tropical air may continue to bring rain to the eastern and northern coastal fringes.”

The bureau’s latest update comes after the summer heat extended into the start of autumn, with Victoria and Tasmania recording their warmest March temperatures.

And while it remained warm in much of NSW, the state’s northeast recorded two to three times as much rain as usual by mid March.

Northern Australia has also seen above average rainfall during its annual wet season, largely as a result of a monsoon trough and tropical lows.

And while Cyclone Debbie wreaked havoc in parts of north Queensland this week, there have been far fewer cyclones than usual in the region with just five recorded so far instead of the usual 11.

Earlier this month, the bureau said recent changes in the tropical Pacific Ocean and atmosphere combined with international climate model outlooks suggested there was a 50 per cent chance of an El Nino forming by July.

El Nino is associated with below average winter-spring rainfall over eastern Australia and warmer than average winter-spring maximum temperatures in southern states.

As well as a shift in temperature extremes, El Nino can increase the chances of bushfires in southeast Australia.

The El Nino that spread from 2015 into 2016 was one of the three strongest on record, causing drought and driving temperatures higher.

Temperatures were nearly 1C above average in 2016, making last year the fourth-warmest on record.

Roos captain Ziebell out of Dons AFL clash

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says he has to leave battered skipper Jack Ziebell out of their AFL clash with Essendon to protect him from himself.

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Scott said Ziebell had been carrying multiple injuries for a number of weeks and needed a match off to recover, so would sit out Saturday afternoon’s Etihad Stadium match.

The Kangaroos’ coach said if it was up to his combative first-year captain, he would play, so he took the decision out of his hands.

“We just need to leave Jack Ziebell out this week. He needs to be protected from himself,” Scott said on Thursday.

“He’s just battered and we’ll manage him this week, much to his disgust but, as I said to Jack, if he was on crutches, he’d still want to go out there and lead the team.

“I haven’t seen anyone in my time in footy do what he’s been able to do so far this year, in terms of carrying things that would keep lesser players out and it’s not just one thing – it’s a multitude of things.

“He’s just not doing himself or the team any favours so I’ve had to make the call.”

Mason Wood and Marley Williams are also out, while ruckman Braydon Preuss is also very doubtful, but veteran forward Jarrad Waite is set to return from a calf injury.

Preuss’ back complaint means Scott will continue with out-of-form first-choice ruckman Todd Goldstein.

Scott said he wanted to try to help Goldstein rediscover his All Australian form but didn’t have many options.

“Clearly, we’re hamstrung with Preuss – we’d like to get Braydon in but it’s enormously frustrating to us and to him as well that he’s not fit and available,” Scott said.

“Goldy sets really high standards for himself and, if he’s not going to get up to the level, then I’ve got to work out a way to get him back to his All Australian form because clearly he’s not happy with the way he’s playing and neither are we.”

North have had a disappointing season to sit second last but have a strong record against their geographical neighbours, who are just outside the eight in 10th spot.

Scott said it was a game his team usually lifted for.

“We always enjoy playing them and I’m sure they enjoy playing us too as there’s great history,” he said.

“There’s always been a rivalry there but they’ve been in really good touch and we’re going to have to be at our best to be competitive.”

Woodside’s output and revenue slip

Oil and gas giant Woodside Petroleum’s production dropped 6.

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6 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 due to outages at some of its facilities and a lower share of pipeline gas from the North West Shelf.

The company produced 20.7 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) in the three months to June 30, down from 22.2 MMboe a year earlier.

Sales revenue rose 5.1 per cent to $US867 million in the quarter, as higher realised prices offset a four per cent decline in sales volume.

Royal Bank of Canada analyst Ben Wilson said Woodside’s production modestly missed expectations, and the fall was spread among a number of the company’s assets.

Woodside said there was a temporary unplanned outage at its Karratha gas plant, and a scheduled four day turnaround at its Pluto liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia.

The company said it had progressed plans to expand Pluto, with a trial run completed during the June quarter.

“Results of the cold high-rate trial confirmed there is additional available pre-treatment capacity which may be utilised through expansion,” it said.

Chief executive Peter Coleman said the company also achieved a major milestone after joint venture partners at the North West Shelf project agreed to process third party gas from the Karratha gas plant.

That is expected to pave the way for the development of the offshore Browse gas fields, which had been under a cloud since the company and its partners there indefinitely shelved plans for a $50 billion offshore floating LNG project in March 2016.

Woodside in March outlined its plans to boost cash flow through expansion of existing projects over the next few years and ruled out investment in any major new projects in the near term.

Its shares were up 27 cents, or 0.9 per cent, at $30.00 at 1410 AEST.

Magpies have plenty to play for: Buckley

The storm clouds may be gathering over Collingwood and its besieged AFL coach, but Nathan Buckley still sees plenty of reasons to get out of bed.

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The most optimistic fan might struggle to see the upside in the club’s 2017 campaign.

At 6-10 in the win-loss, the Magpies are set to miss the finals for the fourth-straight year with a playing list designed to reach September this season.

A warts-and-all football department review will decide on the future of Buckley as senior coach at season’s end.

And a bruising run-in with five of six matches against top eight sides also allows for the potential of an ugly finish to the season.

But Buckley isn’t buying into the gloom, outlining a long list of players or changes that should excite club supporters.

“We’re paying AFL footy. These boys have dreamed about this their whole lives. We don’t take it for granted. I don’t take it for granted,” he said on Thursday.

“Jordan de Goey going through the midfield.

“Josh Thomas coming back in, what an amazing story with a couple years off.

“Ben Reid as a forward, what can he do in the next six weeks?

“Seeing (Daniel) Wells, (Travis) Varcoe and (Jamie) Elliott in the same side which hasn’t happened that often and we’d like to see that as often as we can in the next six games.

“Brayden Maynard … can he finish the year off with what’s been a really strong growth period for him?

“We may see some younger players. Rupert Wills is in the mix this week

“Brodie Grundy – can he finish off what was touted as an All-Australian year?”

Buckley also saluted his leadership group of Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams and Jeremy Howe for their “great integrity in their attitude”.

“It doesn’t feel like we’re under siege. But we are,” he said.

“Every time you get yourself out of bed there’s something to achieve and every time you take to the training track there’s an opportunity to get better.

“It’s just reminding yourself of that and not getting yourself caught up in some of the stuff you can’t influence.”

New artefacts extend arrival of First Australians to 65,000 years ago

Humans arrived in Australia 10,000 years earlier than was previously thought, casting doubt on the theory that they killed off the giant kangaroo and other unique animals, scientists believe.

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New artefact evidence suggests that the continent was first occupied about 65,000 years ago, long after the ancient ancestors of modern humans emerged in Africa.

The discovery challenges the theory that people caused the extinction of Australian megafauna including giant kangaroos, wombats and tortoises which disappeared more than 45,000 years ago.

“Previously it was thought that humans arrived and hunted them out or disturbed their habits, leading to extinction, but these dates confirm that people arrived so far before that they wouldn’t be the central cause of the death of megafauna,” lead scientist Dr Ben Marwick, from the University of Washington, said.

“It shifts the idea of humans charging into the landscape and killing off the megafauna.

“It moves toward a vision of humans moving in and coexisting, which is quite a different view of human evolution.”

Supplied image obtained July 19, 2017, of an edge-ground hatchet head being excavated at the Madjedbebe rock shelter in the Kakadu National Park. (AAP)GUNDJEIHMI ABORIGINAL CORPORATIO

Since 1973, digs at Madjedbebe, a rock shelter in Australia’s Northern Territory, have unearthed more than 10,000 stone tools, ochres, plant remains and bones.

A dating technique called optical stimulated luminescence (OSL) was used to determine the age of the oldest buried artefacts.

The process can show the last time a sand grain was exposed to sunlight up to 100,000 or more years ago.

This and other tests built up a picture of the environment and showed that when the first humans arrived, northern Australia was wetter and colder than it is today.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, support the theory that our species Homo sapiens evolved in Africa before dispersing to other continents, Dr Marwick said.

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Giants coach Cameron locked until 2020

Greater Western Sydney have jumped at re-signing coach Leon Cameron to 2020, believing stability will bring consistent AFL dominance.

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Cameron has set his sights on top-four finishes every year for the rest of his tenure, with the Giants locking him in well before his contract had been due to expire in late 2018.

The Giants’ highly rated football manager Wayne Campbell will also remain to 2020.

Giants chief executive David Matthews said the decision to re-sign the pair was not taken lightly, believing in the importance of on-field success to help the fledgling club thrive.

“We can’t afford to make major mistakes with major decisions,” Matthews said.

“We don’t want our club to be characterised by any sort of instability at all. It’s just really important that we have that in place to underpin future success.”

Cameron said his decision to stay had nothing to do with convincing the club’s in-demand stars to do likewise, rather being based on the prospect of success.

“I am very confident that I’m the person who can help lead our footy club to constant finals and the aim is to finish in the top four every year,” Cameron told reporters on Thursday.

“The really powerful clubs all around Australia that have done that year after year – it puts them in really good stead.

“Stability is a big thing at any football club and to extend to 2020 no doubt gives the playing group confidence that these are the people who are going to be around them and guiding them to the ultimate prize one day.”

Cameron, who succeeded foundation coach Kevin Sheedy at the end of 2013, took the club into the playoffs for the first time last year before they narrowly lost to premiers the Western Bulldogs in the preliminary finals.

The Giants sit third ahead of Sunday’s MCG clash with Richmond, having not won since June 24, recording two draws and losing last week to Sydney.

Star GWS forward Jeremy Cameron will miss a second-straight match with a hamstring injury, while Stephen Coniglio (ankle) and Matt De Boer (concussion) are 50 per cent chances to play.

The fifth-placed Tigers, after beating Brisbane last week, are rated by Leon Cameron as the most-consistent team this season. He says their heavy loss to St Kilda a fortnight ago has been long forgotten.

Havaianas: the new symbol of corruption in Brazil

Recently the footwear find themselves linked with a more sombre aspect of Brazil that has been grabbing headlines – corruption.

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Last week, to pay off a mega $3.2 billion fine over 25 years for various graft cases, the Brazilian brothers Joesley et Wesley Batista started selling off assets they controlled through their J&F group, whose main business is being the world’s biggest meat processor.

J&F had a 54-percent stake in Alpargatas, the parent company of Havaianas. That was purchased by three holding firms: Itausa, Cambuhy Investimentos and Brasil Warrant.

The Havaianas success story started in 1962, riding the sudden international popularity of flip-flops in the post-WWII boom.

Inspired by traditional Japanese rice-straw sandals, the origin of the rubber-soled flip-flops is variously claimed by Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

But it was Havaianas that emerged as the most recognizable brand of the toe-strap footwear. The brand name comes from the Portuguese spelling of another tropical playground: Hawaii.

‘Cool’ for all classes

It was a big marketing push in the 1990s that burnished the Havaianas name, along with a colorful range of designs.

The Brazilian firm now sells more than 150 different models, from the basic beach pair for $5, to ones with tropical motifs and a tiny Brazilian flag for $9, right up to custom Swarovski gem-encrusted luxury options for more than $60.

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In a Copacabana shop, Solange Brascher, a 55-year-old employee in a telecoms company, bought an average-priced pair for her daughter.

“Before, there was an idea of them being for poor people,” she said. “But now all social classes wear them because they’re cool.”

Havaianas sells more than 200 million pairs each year, 16 percent of them exported.

For sheer Brazilian-ness, they rank up there with soccer and samba.

“They’re the first thing I bought when I arrived, to give to friends,” a young Portuguese tourist, Beatriz Rodrigues, said. “I’ve already bought 10 pairs and I’m going to buy another 10 because they’re much more expensive in Europe.”

Today, Alpargatas, whose headquarters is in Sao Paulo, has more than 700 sales outlets in more than 100 countries.

“Havaianas represent the Brazilian soul, and is an object of desire, synonymous with a Brazil that works,” opined Claudio Goldberg, economic professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation.

Celebrity feet

Certainly they have attracted star power. Havaianas have adorned the feet of Madonna, David Beckham, and Kim Kardashian, who flaunted ones designed by the jeweler H. Stern with gold settings worth $18,000.

When Havaianas rolled out their first pairs they were a basic white rubber sole with blue toe straps. Then in 1969 an employee accidentally painted the straps green. To Alpargatas’ surprise, the variation took off, and from then on Havaianas started playing with colors and then designs.

The company asserts that two-thirds of the people in Brazil – total population 200 million – buy on average one pair of Havaianas a year. And that if all the pairs it had sold in its history were laid end-to-end they would circle the Earth 62 times.

But how will the whiff of corruption wafting from its former owners affect the brand?

“It’s already a good thing that such a brand is remaining Brazilian,” Goldberg said. The company “won’t lose its identity.”

As for the new owners, they’ve said they want to expand further into the US market. And the current management of the famous footwear won’t get the boot.

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Full-time employment rise ‘fantastic’

The number of people in full-time work surged by 62,000 in June, continuing the recent run of strong employment data.

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But on their own the results are not enough to stir immediate worries about the need for higher interest rates, economists say.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash calculated that in the first half of 2017 about 27,000 full-time jobs have been created each month.

“That is a fantastic thing for the Australian people,” Senator Cash told reporters in Perth on Thursday.

Commonwealth Securities chief economist Craig James says the combined May-June result of 115,400 additional full-time jobs was the biggest back-to-back gain in almost three decades.

It put to rest concerns insufficient work is available, he said.

“Should the Reserve Bank start thinking about lifting rates? Perhaps the Reserve Bank can start thinking, but it is still too early to lift rates,” Mr James said.

While jobs are being created, wages aren’t rising just yet.

The rise in full-time employment was partly offset by a 48,000 drop in part-time workers in June.

That left the jobless rate unchanged at 5.6 per cent after the May result was revised up from 5.5 per cent.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief James Pearson said while unemployment has remained steady, there are 728,100 people out of work and 1.1 million people underemployed.

“Today’s result underscores the need to make it easier for business to hire and make it easier for businesses to grow,” he told AAP.

The latest job results have come at a time of heightened discussions surrounding interest rates.

Minutes of the Reserve Bank’s July board meeting, released this week, included an assessment of what is considered to be a “neutral” cash rate if inflation is stable and the economy is growing at around three per cent.

That rate is now estimated to be 3.5 per cent compared with five per cent prior to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and the record low 1.5 per cent cash rate now.

Malcolm Turnbull believes the central bank is sending a prudent signal about future interest rates rises.

“They are not saying they are going to do that tomorrow,” the prime minister assured Neil Mitchell on radio 3AW.

“But I think they are sending a signal, which is probably prudent, which is to say … rates are more likely to go up than go down.”

Borrowers should be aware of that, Mr Turnbull warned.

Financial markets are betting on a 0.25 per cent rise in the cash rate to 1.75 per cent in the middle of next year.

Lifestyle changes may stave off dementia

Learning new things, eating and drinking well, not smoking and limiting hearing loss and loneliness could prevent one-third of dementia cases, health experts say.

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In a wide-ranging analysis of the risk factors behind dementia, the researchers highlighted nine as particularly important.

These included staying in education beyond age 15, reducing high blood pressure, obesity and hearing loss in mid-life, and reducing smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation and diabetes in later life.

If all these risk factors were fully eliminated, the experts said, one in three cases of dementia worldwide could be prevented.

“Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before,” said Gill Livingston, a professor at University College London and one of 24 international experts commissioned by The Lancet medical journal to conduct the analysis.

Latest estimates from the Alzheimer’s Association International show about 47 million people live with dementia globally and the cost of the brain-wasting diseases already hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Dementia is caused by brain diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s disease, which result in the loss of brain cells and affect memory, thinking, behaviour, navigational and spatial abilities and the ability to perform everyday activities.

The number of people affected is set to almost triple to 131 million by 2050, according to the World Health Organisation.

The researchers found that among the 35 per cent of all dementia cases that could be prevented, the three most important risk factors to target were increasing early life education, reducing midlife hearing loss and stopping smoking.

Not completing secondary education while young can make people less resilient to cognitive decline when they get older, the experts said, while preserving hearing helps people experience a richer and more stimulating environment, building cognitive reserve.

Stopping smoking reduces exposure to neurotoxins and improves heart health which, in turn, affects brain health, they said.

ACCC calls time on broadband speeds

The competition watchdog says a lack of transparency around national broadband speeds is hurting the industry and has placed retailers on notice that they may be penalised for misleading claims.

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Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has welcomed the entry of new mobile and fixed broadband competitors but says service providers are not being honest about broadband speeds.

“Right now, consumers are not getting the basic information they need to make an informed choice. Indeed, they are often being misled,” Mr Sims said in Sydney on Thursday.

With many households reporting slower internet speeds after buying access to the taxpayer-funded $49 billion NBN, Mr Sims said broadband was an enforcement priority and expects cases before court this year.

“We are investigating and expect to be taking action in respect of misleading conduct around broadband speeds,” he said.

The competition regulator plans to call out retailers that have sold or are selling broadband services at speeds they cannot deliver.

Addressing the Unwired Revolution Conference, Mr Sims suggested providers would soon be lifting their game when broadband speeds are made public under the regulator’s new Broadband Monitoring Scheme.

The regulator launched a call for volunteers to join the scheme’s testing panel last month and will begin publishing speed and performance data later this year.

“We will highlight – and customers will notice – whether companies are advertising in a transparent or a misleading way,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC is also examining the opaque relationships between the NBN Co and retail providers that can leave consumers without redress when the service is not up to scratch.

Mr Sims said it was unusual that currently, the ACCC regulates NBN Co’s prices, but not its service standard.

“If consumers are not obtaining redress for NBN Co-caused faults, either because of exclusions in retail contracts, or because of issues in the retailer recovering compensation from NBN Co under the wholesale broadband agreement, that would be of considerable concern to the ACCC,” Mr Sims said.

Audi under fire over commercial showing bride being ‘inspected’ at the altar

The commercial starts with a bride and groom at the altar reciting their vows, before being interrupted by the groom’s mother.

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She then roughly inspects the bride’s nose, ears and mouth, the guests looking on in horror, before gesturing that everything is “OK”.

Suddenly the mother looks at the bride’s chest while the woman gasps.

The video then cuts to footage of an Audi car driving, while a voiceover tells viewers that “an important decision must be made carefully”.

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According to the South China Morning Post, the video sparked backlash on Chinese social media, with many calling it sexist and urging the company to apologise.

Some even threatened to stop buying Audi cars.

CNN said Chinese social media site Weibo saw more than 300,000 views of the hashtag “Audi secondhand car ad” by midday on Wednesday.

One user from the city of Guangzhou speculated over the gender of the video’s producers.

“From the inception of this idea to its broadcasting, was there a single woman who worked on this commercial?” the person said.

A spokesman for Audi told the South China Morning Post that the company’s marketing in China was handled by its local joint venture partner, and that an investigation was being conducted.

It’s not the first time a company had been criticised for its marketing decisions in China.

Last year, a local firm apologised after launching a commercial for detergent which showed a black man being put into a washing machine, emerging as a light-skinned Asian man.

In 2012, Snickers also suffered repercussions when it released an ad featuring a tired woman on a bike transforming into an energetic man after eating one of the chocolate bars.

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