The Labor MP who ‘forgot’ to declare a $2.3m house just gave a disastrous interview on his party’s election promises

Labor MP David Feeney, who is trying to fight off a strong challenge from the Greens in his inner-Melbourne seat of Batman, has a weekly spot on Sky News with political editor David Speers. With an election campaign underway, most politicians would consider that sort of platform gold, but the shadow minister’s interview today was a strange reverse alchemy.

Feeney missed his regular slot with Speers last week following revelations that he’d failed to declare a $2.3 million investment property, as required under parliamentary rules. The mistake lasted for three years, and it subsequently emerged that Feeney owns four properties with his wife, a lawyer, lives outside his electorate in an apartment worth nearly $3 million and negatively gears the other houses.

Speers asked if his mistake was Labor’s biggest own goal of the campaign.

“I think unfortunately that is a trophy I managed to secure last week,” Feeney said, before proceeding to take the pressure off the Coalition over an argument about election promise costings.

Some watching Feeney’s performance considered that Speers added his scalp to the list of hapless politicians who’ve appeared on the show, including George “metadata is the envelope” Brandis and Christopher “I’m a fixer” Pyne.

Aside from the house, Feeney revealed he knew little about Labor’s major election promises, saying in his defence that “I’ve been distracted over the past few days”.

Speers attempted to quiz him on a range of ALP policies, including pensions and family payments.

“You haven’t got the Cabinet on today David, you’ve just got me,” Feeney said, unable to provide answers.

And the MP demanded the Coalition cost its own policies, Speers probed again on the $4.5 billion school kids bonus.

Feeney wasn’t sure what he was talking about, referring to the baby bonus instead.

“I refer you to the relevant shadow [minister]. I don’t have the answer,” Feeney said.

Here’s some of the exchange:

When it came to not declaring the $2.3 million property, despite having three years to do so, Feeney said it was “human error, just simply a failure.”

Speers wondered if people would find that “hard to swallow”.

“When people forget to register their car, they don’t forget they have a car,” Feeney said. “I never forgot I had a home.”

While taxpayers face fines and other penalties when they fail to declare assets to the government, Feeney said “all that mistake on my part created was three days of humiliation for me. Now that’s fair cop”.

Speers quoted the MP, asking him “Is it still your view that negative gearing is still, quote ‘a scheme for rich investors that reduces housing affordability’?”

The MP replied he was “completely supportive” of Labor’s plan to limit negative gearing and didn’t know whether his investment property was negatively geared when first asked about it because his wife looks after the family finances.

Speers moved in for the kill. So are you “then a rich investor making housing less affordable?”

“I think that would be the objective assessment of ah… that’s certainly the free character assessment I was getting last week,” Feeney said, going on to explain that 20 years ago he lived with his parents for a year, but now, he figured it would probably be five years.

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The building housing one of Sydney’s best restaurants just sold for $6.7 milllion

The food is Argentinian, the chefs are Australian and the landlords are Chinese after the site of Surry Hills restaurant Porteño sold last week for $6.66 million.

The vendor was also a Chinese investor and Andy Hu, associate director at agent Knight Frank said Cleveland Street property was an excellent investment with a yield of 5.36%.

“Surry Hills is a growth area at the fringe of the Sydney CBD and a good investment location. The high-profile tenancy’s lease to Porteno Restaurant until 2020, plus a further five-year option, was a huge drawcard for investment,” he said.

The site was Dimitri’s Greek restaurant before Porteño, owned by chefs Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz, opened in 2010. The restaurant is sale comes 16 months after the two-storey bar and Argentinian grill restaurant was extensively damaged in a fire and closed for several weeks for repairs.
The upstairs bar, Gardels, has been named Sydney’s best bar and the ‘two hat’ restaurant is regularly named one of Australia’s top 50 restaurants.

Porteño is Spanish slang for a native of Buenos Aires native and pays tribute to Abrahanowicz’s family heritage. The meat is cooked on adjustable charcoal grills and open fire pit is used to slow-cook whole lambs.

Andy Hu from Knight Frank said it was rare for a property like this to come up for sale.

“Surry Hills is historically a tightly-held market so this was a great find for the buyer,” he said .

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Chinese commodity futures just got crushed

Chinese bulk commodity futures endured another bloodbath on Monday, recording falls of 5% or more.

The most actively traded September 2016 iron ore future on the Dalian Commodities Exchange finished the session at 353 yuan, representing a decline of 4.97%.

Earlier in the day it traded down to 350 yuan, or 6%, its maximum allowable daily decline based on existing exchange rules.

The sell-off corresponded with news that Chinese iron ore port inventories swelled to over 100 million tonnes last week, the highest level seen since March 2015.

According to Bloomberg, citing data from the Shanghai Steelhome Information Technology Company, inventories swelled 1.6% to 100.45 million tonnes, leaving them up 7.9% from levels seen at the start of 2016.

That, along with signs that Chinese steel production may be slowing after hitting a record-high in March, may have contributed to Monday’s weakness.

Hinting that the decline was related to the steel market rather than iron ore specifically, rebar and coking coal futures were also hammered, falling 5.21% and 5.37% respectively.

Like iron ore, they too traded limit down earlier in the session.

Mirroring the movement in Chinese futures, the spot iron ore price tumbled on Monday, recording one of its largest one-day losses on record.

According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines fell by $3.67, or 6.69%, to $51.22 a tonne, extending its losses from April 21 to 27.3%.

It was the third largest percentage decline registered in the past two years, and left the price at levels last seen on March 3.

Despite the recent sell-off, the price has still risen 17.6% over the course of 2016.

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Telstra is still facing problems two days after its last network failure

Australia’s biggest telco is still facing problems with its network, more than two days after its NBN and ADSL broadband went down on Thursday evening.

A number of users have already taken to Twitter to report the issue with some saying that have not been able to access the internet since Thursday.

According to aussieoutages.com, problems with Telstra began surfacing at 5:57 AM EST on Sunday.

The telco released a statement on Saturday evening saying they were working to restore NBN and ADSL services but said today that “residual issues are taking longer than expected to resolve”.

More than 375,000 customers have been affected by the spout of outages from the telco this year which has led to two free data days.

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Victoria is banning e-cigarettes in smoke-free places

E-cigarettes will be banned in smoke-free places across Victoria under new laws by the Andrews government.

The anti-smoking laws will treat e-cigarettes as tobacco and will prohibit vaping in outdoor dining areas such as restaurants, cafes, festivals as well as sporting events.

The measures will also mean that children under 18 won’t be able to purchase e-cigarettes. The aim is to curb young people from developing an early habit of smoking and becoming addicted to nicotine in their later years.

“We’re going to regulate them like they are a tobacco product and also make sure that we’re not really using e-cigarettes as a starting point for people to get a habit to then start cigarettes and then get addicted to nicotine,” minister for health and ambulance services Jill Hennessy told the ABC.

“We don’t want e-cigarettes being used to glamorise smoking by people under 18.”

Quit.org.au estimates that around 4,000 people in Victoria die every year from diseases caused by smoking.

The new laws are set to be introduced into parliament on Tuesday.

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