Chocolate, along with pizza, chips and ice-cream, has been identified by researchers as one of the most addictive of foods.There are foods you cannot seem to stop eating, no matter how hard you try. The concept of food addiction has been employed without a clear definition for some time, with associations made between certain types of food being consumed and the physiological and behavioural effects of drug use, such as increased impulsivity and emotional reactivity as well as specific patterns of brain activity.
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Now, recent research completed by the Icahn School of Medicine, in Mount Sinai, and published online by the Public Library of Science, has furthered knowledge in this area.

Some highly processed foods (including fast food, chocolate, ice-cream, cakes and biscuits) have post-consumption effects similar to those of drugs, therefore researchers hypothesised that they could also be linked to addictive eating behaviours. It was thought that foods that contain concentrated amounts of physiological stimulants (sugars and fats), and had quick absorption rates in the body (high glycaemic load), would create pronounced physiological, addictive experiences.

Two studies investigated which foods were rated as most and least addictive by participants. Participants then applied these highly and lowly rated foods to the Yale Food Addiction Scale.

They described their food-related experiences using statements such as “I eat to the point where I feel physically ill”.

This allowed researchers to identify links between particular types of food and associated addictive food behaviours. Foods were then rated from most to least problematic when it came to their addictive tendencies.

As expected, the most highly processed foods rated most highly for their addictive properties, while more nutrient-dense, low-calorie options such as salad vegetables and wholegrains were ranked least addictive.

The findings support the consumption of plain, unprocessed foods, which control feeding behaviour long term.

Here are some of the most and least addictive types of food:


Rich in processed carbs, fat and salt, the mix of flavour, processed starches used to make the base, and fatty ingredients, give the brain a stimulation overload. If you love pizza, control your intake by choosing thin, baked bases with minimal toppings.


We are not talking about 85 per cent cocoa chocolate here, but the sickly-sweet milk variety many of us cannot stop eating once we open a block. If chocolate is your vice, stick to small serving sizes and the darker the better.

Potato chips

Another carb and fat overload packed with appealing flavours, which may explain why an entire bag disappears in no time. Again, purchase smaller packets if you must indulge, and plain is much better than flavoured options.


Less popular in Australia, the mix of white flour, sugar and fat gives the brain a stimulation overload. Make your own with natural ingredients.


With so many flavours to choose from, and with confectionery, syrups, nuts and chocolate often added, it is no surprise that we cannot stop at a single scoop. Seek out lower calorie sorbets or gelato in a single scoop when the lure of ice-cream calls.


Mostly water, adding a cucumber a day to your diet will help reduce bloating and boost your fibre and potassium intake for very few calories.


Another nutrient-rich salad vegetable that will boost your beta carotene and fibre intake with minimal calories.


Legumes are a protein and nutrient-rich option that can benefit all of us, not just the vegetarians – add to salads, mince dishes and soups to boost your nutrition.


Need a sweet hit? Look no further than a humble apple, which can serve as a perfect sugar hit mid-afternoon, especially if enjoyed with a little cheese or a nut spread.

Brown rice

Though relatively high in carbs, for active people, a little carb with your lunch or dinner may even help to prevent sugar cravings later on.

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Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua will consider changing call plays against the Western Force on Friday night. Photo: Quinn RooneyThe ACT Brumbies are preparing to outwit the Western Force and will consider changing their plays to prevent former players Zach Holmes and Ian Prior from using inside information to their advantage.
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The Brumbies won’t be taking the Force lightly as they aim to extend their perfect record against Australian teams at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.

The Force knocked off the Brumbies 31-21 in a trial game in January, with Holmes and Prior identifying the Brumbies’ plays to help nullify their attack.

Both players spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Brumbies before making the move to the Force last year in search of greater opportunities.

Holmes has established himself in the No.10 jersey for the Force, while Prior is coming off the bench at scrumhalf.

Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua kept a bit of mystery with his team’s tactics, suggesting they could switch things up to keep his former teammates on their toes.

“We’ve heard them call out plays out there during the trial matches, so we might change calls or we might double bluff them and keep them the same, we’ll see,” Toomua said.

“We called a couple plays and they knew exactly what was going on.

“(Holmes) knows my game quite well, I know his game quite well.

“You do a lot of review on every guy every week, but having that inside knowledge with a guy like Zach helps, but I’m sure he says the same thing about me.”

The Brumbies are leading the Australian conference, a two-point loss to the Waikato Chiefs a fortnight ago their only blemish.

They are coming off a gritty 20-15 win on the road against the Melbourne Rebels, while the Force slipped to 1-2 after being thrashed 42-13 by the Wellington Hurricanes.

It is the Brumbies’ second of four straight games against teams from the Australian conference leading into their first bye.

They take on the Queensland Reds in Brisbane next weekend before facing defending champions, the NSW Waratahs, in Sydney.

“It’s massive,” Toomua said.

“You top your conference you go into the finals, so any local derbies are always big ones.

“We don’t want to look too far ahead, but we know we’ve got three to go then we’re on a break.

“Four points you get is four points you take off them, which is important in the conference, it’s much more than just a normal game.”

The Force will welcome back Wallabies winger Nick Cummins for his first game of the season after recovering from ankle surgery.

Openside flanker Chris Alcock is also likely to return, blindside flanker Gus Cottrell is in doubt with an ankle injury and captain Matt Hodgson is still a few weeks away with a hamstring injury.

Brumbies fullback Robbie Coleman said the Force was renowned for its tough play in the forwards.

“They can really get you caught in that grindy style of rugby and they’ve had a really good start to the season,” Coleman said.

“They can force you into a sloppy game, so we want to play our style no matter how they’re doing it.

“It’s a huge game for us and we want to put in a good performance.”

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Benn Robinson has instructed Michael Cheika to tear up his contract if the Waratahs prop ever loses his “hunger”.
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In his 10th season of Super Rugby and a few days out from a game that will make him the most-capped Waratah in the province’s history, Robinson said he had lost none of the drive that propelled him to the top of Australian rugby.

“I said to the coach before: ‘When I start losing that hunger, I’ll let you know and you can tear up that contract of mine’,” he said.

“If I lose that hunger, then I know it’s probably not the place to be around any more.”

Robinson will overtake his idol and former captain Phil Waugh when he plays his 137th game in a Waratahs jersey against the Reds in Brisbane this weekend.

The 72-Test veteran said he found the milestone hard to come to terms with.

“It’s a difficult one to fathom. When I first started playing footy, I just loved what I did, and I still love what I do now,” he said.

“It still feels like my first couple of years of playing rugby. I think that’s got to do with the group I’m in at the moment, making me work really hard, making me strive to become a better person and player.

“I don’t think any player goes out there and tries to break records.”

A strong scrummager but victim in recent years of the selection axe at Test level, Robinson said he had never let the disappointing days get him down. The worst of those came in 2011, when a knee injury ruled him out of the Wallabies’ world cup campaign.

“You could say it’s a judge of character or trait of mine, I don’t know,” he said. “When things are down, I’m not one to shy away or hide from that challenge. Whether there’s been a drop [in form], or an injury or whatever it is, I’ve always had that belief that I can get back.”

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The media were detained in a pen to observe Jillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission appear before a Senate Committee in Canberra on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares Members of the media almost trip over a bollard after a Parliamentary security guard put it in their way while interviewing Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Malcolm Turnbull described journalist Latika Bourke as the Florence Nightingale of the press gallery after she cleared away a potential tripping hazard. Photo: Andrew Meares

Journalists were kept in a pen to observe Gillian Triggs appear at Senate estimates last month. Photo: Andrew Meares

Reporters seek comment from Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday morning. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The media were detained in a pen to observe Jillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission appear before a Senate Committee in Canberra on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares

The media were detained in a pen to observe Jillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission appear before a Senate Committee in Canberra on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares

Media pen at ministerial entrance at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Like seagulls on a hot chip, journalists will swoop on Malcolm Turnbull at any opportunity. Whether he’s waiting for a bus near his Point Piper home or downing a banana split with Clive Palmer, the Minister for Communications always draws a crowd.

So it was at Parliament House on Tuesday when Turnbull emerged from an International Women’s Day breakfast. While Prime Minister Tony Abbott evaded media questioning, Turnbull entertained the press pack with tales about his use of the self-destructing messaging service Wickr. It was a cordial affair until one security guard placed a rope bollard behind the mass of reporters, photographers and camera operators.

It was a dangerous decision given the media were walking backwards and many were clutching heavy, expensive equipment. The guard smiled, acknowledging he knew what he was up to. This happened in the Mural Hall, an area where media access is classed as unrestricted.

Channel Nine’s bureau chief has written a letter of complaint about the incident; so has the Press Gallery Committee.

“We have asked the sergeant-at-arms for an explanation of what happened this morning and to clarify whether this was a deliberate attempt to trip up media crews,” Sky News’ David Speers, the president of the committee, said.

A skirmish such as this could – like the fight for the Liberal Party leadership or alleged job offers for the President of the Human Rights Commission – be dismissed as “Canberra insider nonsense”. But this was no isolated incident.

Press gallery veterans insist that, under the guise of improved security, journalists are increasingly being corralled, controlled and restricted in their efforts to inform the public about what is happening in Parliament House.

“I fear the terrorist threat is being used as an opportunity to manage the media,” Fairfax Media’s chief press gallery photographer Andrew Meares said.

While security arrangements may have been too lax before – epitomised by NSW Senator Bill Heffernan smuggling a replica pipe bomb into the building – there is a fear the pendulum has swung too far the other way since the Australian Federal Police took over internal security last September.

Once allowed to roam relatively freely, journalists and camera crews now find they are regularly placed in cordoned-off areas, penned in by velvet ropes. It was announced a week ago that a restricted area for filming would be introduced outside the ministerial entrance to Parliament House. The routine task of filming the Prime Minister and other senior politicians arriving at Parliament is now circumscribed.

Journalists can no longer use the ministerial entrance and must tell security guards who they are meeting with in order to access the ministerial wing.

A veteran radio reporter said waiting for politicians at the airport is now the best shot journalists have at an impromptu press conference with senior politicians.

Parliament House, he said, is “becoming more organised, structured and artificial”.

A similar cordoned-off system has been introduced for the morning doorstop press conferences. And photographers at last week’s electric Senate estimates hearing starring Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs and Attorney-General George Brandis were held behind rope – an unusual decision.

It goes on. As Laurie Oakes recently reported, politicians including Tony Abbott have set up broadcast-quality equipment in their offices so interviews are conducted on their turf, not the media’s. This allows them to avoid the “walk of shame” through the press gallery, minimising the chance of any surprise encounters with reporters.

The atmosphere has also changed. Guards with large guns now patrol the entrance to Parliament House; police officers routinely prowl the exterior of the building with sniffer dogs. Many thought the security crackdown approached high farce in January when West Australian journalist Nick Butterly was asked by a guard to remove a T-shirt featuring the “offensive” New York Post headline “Headless body in topless bar”.

Meanwhile, this reporter accidentally brought a 30-centimetre, razor-sharp kitchen knife through Parliament’s security scans last week. It could certainly have done more damage than a T-shirt.

Not a question was asked, not an eyebrow was raised.

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Senator Ian Macdonald. Photo: Andrew Meares Senator Ian Macdonald. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Senator Ian Macdonald. Photo: Andrew Meares

Senator Ian Macdonald. Photo: Andrew Meares

A senior government senator has continued to attack Gillian Triggs over the Human Rights Commission’s report on children in immigration detention despite admitting he had not read the report.

Senator Ian Macdonald raised the report during the meeting of government MPs yesterday, describing it as “unnecessary, irrelevant and inaccurate” and “not worth the paper it was written on”.

During questioning on Professor Triggs before a Senate committee last week, Senator Macdonald boasted that he had not read the report. He later issued a statement claiming he read an an addendum that confirmed his decision “not to waste my time on a report which was clearly partisan”.

His comments came as the Senate passed a motion commending the commission and its president, Professor Triggs, on the report and noting that allegations of abuse of children in detention had been referred to police for action.

“Many Australians have been appalled by the Abbott government’s hysterical attack on the Human Rights Commission and now the Senate has taken a stand,” Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

Meanwhile, the President of Nauru has criticised “faceless” refugee advocates of trying to provoke violence in the detention camp in order to achieve their “political agenda”. On Friday around 150 asylum seekers were reportedly protesting on the small Pacific island, saying they were not safe in the community. Refugee advocates claim that there were a small number of minor injuries as a result.

But President Baron Waqa said all refugees living in the country were safe and that reports contrary to this were “blatant lies spread by Australian advocates and lawyers”.

“The government of Nauru is doing what we can to make their stay here pleasant and productive, and it is greatly distressing that these political activists are trying to stir up trouble,”  Mr Waqa said in a statement.

“There has been no violence against refugees from police, but police will continue to enforce the law which includes preventing mobile protests that endanger lives,” he said.

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Tony Abbott delivers rebuke to former Health MinisterAnalysis: Co-payment may be gone but reservations over bulk-billing remain

Tony Abbott has declared the GP co-payment as “dead, buried and cremated” after it was finally dumped on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister’s office emphatically rejected a claim, first reported by Fairfax Media, that Mr Abbott had chided his former health minister Peter Dutton in cabinet on Monday over the bungled co-payment “barnacle”..

The government has now abandoned the patient charge, or “value signal in health” as it was described at one point, with Mr Abbott invoking his post-WorkChoices formula to brand the 2014 budget’s $7 co-payment as “dead, buried and cremated”.

Its demise followed several iterations which included reducing it to $5 in a failed attempt to soften its impact, and even briefing media that it had been dropped altogether in December before resuscitating it the next day.

An unusually chastened Mr Abbott moved to assume the blame for the politically disastrous policy in question time, declaring he had listened and learnt and that he should have known that wider consultation was needed to undertake such significant reform.

He also acknowledged that it should always have been a matter of working with doctors, rather than being seen to work against them.

A source had told Fairfax Media that in cabinet, Mr Abbott had characterised the sales job as “mishandled until now”, which was interpreted as a swipe at Mr Dutton, who is now Immigration Minister.

The new Health Minister Sussan Ley had been charged with consulting with doctors but, with no sign of their support, the government decided it had taken enough water over the plan.

In its place, Ms Ley has been asked to work with GPs and the medical profession to find other savings in the system.

That is unlikely to secure the longer-term structural savings needed to rein in Medicare, which is projected to cost $34 billion within a decade, up from its current $20 billion cost.

Doctors’ groups welcomed the move and have now called for an end to the freeze on the indexation of rebates as well.

Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler said the freeze could lead to doctors shortening their consultations, or charging more patients the full cost of their visit upfront. Because the freeze also applies to rebates for specialists, Associate Professor Owler said it would also increase out-of-pocket costs for surgical procedures, including for people who have private health insurance.

But Associate Professor Owler praised Ms Ley’s “constructive and consultative approach” and said he was hopeful of persuading her to lift the freeze.

“We’ve already had very productive discussions with the Minister, around ways that we might try and curtail the freeze to indexation. I think that issue is not at an end,” he said.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners vice-president Morton Rawlin said the government had acted in the best interests of patients by dumping the co-payment, but he called for an end to the freeze on rebate indexation.

“Continuing the freeze will force GPs to pass on increasing out-of-pocket costs to patients; threaten the provision of quality clinical services; place recurring pressure on the business viability of practices; and increase health system costs downstream,” Dr Rawlin said.

Terry Barnes, a former health advisor to Mr Abbott whose submission to the Commission of Audit placed the co-payment on the political agenda, said taking the co-payment off the table was “sensible and overdue”.

“It clearly was a barrier to making progress towards comprehensive structural reform of Medicare,” he said.

But while he praised Ms Ley’s consultative approach, he said the AMA “should not have a right of veto over the direction of health policy in Australia”.

Mr Abbott said he had learnt from not bringing stake-holders into the policy-making process. “As a former health minister I suppose I should have been more conscious of this,” he said.

“I accept, I accept that it’s taken us some time to come to this position. I do accept that it’s taken us some time to come to this position.”

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Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Kate Geraghty Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Kate Geraghty
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Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Kate Geraghty

The Abbott government is trying to strike a last-minute compromise deal with Senate crossbenchers on university fee deregulation by proposing the equivalent of a mining “super profits tax” for universities that increase their fees over current levels.

Under the proposal, originally suggested by leading education economist Bruce Chapman, universities would be allowed to set their own fees but would face a levy if they raise their fees over a set amount.

Universities that increase their fees above current levels would have their commonwealth subsidies reduced by 20 per cent while grants to universities that increase their fees by $10,000 would be reduced by 60 per cent.

While the government has abandoned other controversial policies such as the GP co-payment, it remains determined to deregulate university fees before the May budget. It has embraced the idea of a fee levy as a potential gamechanger in its efforts to win over a recalcitrant Senate.

A spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne confirmed that Professor Chapman’s proposal had been raised in negotiations with Senate crossbenchers.

“A number of proposals, including the submission by HECS architect Bruce Chapman to the Senate committee, are currently being discussed with crossbenchers,” the spokesman said. This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Australian troops will remain in Iraq for at least two years under a new and enlarged deployment that will bring a significant risk of deadly insider attacks, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced.

Confirming on Tuesday that the government intends to send 300 soldiers to help train the Iraqis to retake and hold territory from the Islamic State terror group, Mr Abbott said the troops included a “very strong force protection element” to prevent insider attacks by fanatics embedded within Iraqi forces.

About 300 infantry forces will be stationed at a base called at Taji, north of Baghdad, and are expected to be in place by May. The current deployment of about 170 special forces commandos, who are mostly “advising and assisting” Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service, are due to be rotated out of the country by September.

Flanked by the Chief of the Defence Force, Mark Binskin, and Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, Mr Abbott said the new deployment marked the “next phase” of Australia’s contribution to fight the brutal group causing upheaval in the Middle East.

“We have slowed Daesh’s advance but Iraq’s regular forces now require support to build their capacity to reclaim and to hold territory,” Mr Abbott said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

The Australians will, as expected, partner with New Zealand forces. The US, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark are also contributing forces to help with training.

Asked whether this would be the last addition to Australia’s contribution to the fight against the Islamic State, Mr Abbott declined to rule out future increases.

“It would be wrong of me to say that this is the last that we will do here, but nevertheless what we are doing at this stage is prudent, it’s proportionate,” he said.

Air Chief Marshal Binskin said insider attacks were a real risk but the deployment had been designed in the full knowledge of the harsh lessons learned in Afghanistan, where seven Australians were killed in such attacks.

“It’s a risk I take very seriously … and we’re making sure that we take all our lessons learnt after the last 10 or so years of operations in the Middle East into account when we’ve been planning,” he said.

The Opposition backed the move but not before an unseemly skirmish in Parliament after Mr Abbott tried to use the partisan political machinery of a “Dorothy Dix” question to unveil the mission in question time rather than the more standard format of a ministerial statement.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said in a statement: “Labor supports the government’s announcement that Australia is preparing to take part in the international Building Partner Capacity mission to combat Daesh in Iraq.”

Air Chief Marshal Binskin said Australia’s commandos had already helped Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service carry out ground offensives. But the country’s regular troops would be needed to hold the territory once it was retaken, he said.

The new Australian force will remain “behind the wire” on Taji base.

“Since October, Daesh have not made any significant territorial gains,” Air Chief Marshal Binskin said. “They’ve lost the ability to amass their forces in the open, they don’t fly their flags, their leaders aren’t wearing uniforms.”

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Andrew Constance: “Half the dividends will keep coming to government.” Photo: Michel O’SullivanNSW election 2015: full coverageSix MPs who have been “ICACtused”Big swing needed but Queensland shows the way
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NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance has criticised as “intentionally misleading” claims by Labor that the government would lose $1.7 billion annually in dividends and other payments from the state’s electricity network businesses if they are privatised.

But Mr Constance has conceded the state budget would take an annual hit of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars should the Baird government be re-elected and get its transaction through the upper house.

In his campaign launch on Sunday, Mr Foley said the Coalition had a “risky scheme to sell the electricity network that delivers $1.7 billion in revenue each year”.

However, Mr Constance on Tuesday argued that Treasury forecasts diminishing returns to government to 2017-18.

In the December budget update, Treasury said the draft Australian Energy Regulator’s decision to slash the revenue electricity companies couldraise over the next four years meant payments to government would fall substantially.

The payment to government in 2012-13 was $1.7 billion. The Treasury forecast says the figure for this financial year is $1.2 billion, falling to $736 million in 2015-16, $642 million in 2016-17 and $407 million in 2017-18.

But Mr Constance acknowledged the government would still lose half of the payments under the government’s proposal to privatise 100 per cent of Transgrid and 50.4 per cent of Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy.

“Half the dividends will keep coming to government as a result,” he said. “We won’t know the full returns in terms of the dividends until we know the final decision of the Australian Energy Regulator.”

If the AER sticks to its draft ruling, this means the government could lose at least $200 million in payments by the end of 2017-18, which is likely to be the first full financial year after the transaction is completed.

Electricity companies wholly owned or controlled by private companies would be likely to also cease to pay tax equivalent payments to the state government as they would be required to pay Commonwealth tax.

Asked how the government would recoup the dividends and other payments, Mr Constance said spending on infrastructure from revenue from the transaction would “see this economy become more productive”.

But shadow Treasurer Michael Daley said the Treasury figures could not be relied on. “These forecasts by Treasury appear to me to be tailormade for the sale of these assets,” he said.

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Joseph Pereira is part of the class action against medical giants DePuy and Johnson & Johnson. Photo: Steven SiewertWe were guinea pigs: victims
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The medical corporation that manufactured thousands of faulty hip replacement implants was well aware that the poor design of the device was causing serious medical complications years before it took any action to recall them, a major class action has been told.

And when the company did finally act, it initially issued a voluntary recall which it blamed on “inventory reduction”.

The revelations emerged on Tuesday during the largest medical implant class action in Australia’s history, which is taking place in the Federal Court.

Nearly 2000 people are suing the medical giants DePuy and Johnson & Johnson over the manufacture and distribution of two ASR implants, which they say has left them with horrific health complications such as heavy metal poisoning and chronic pain.

On Tuesday, counsel for the patients produced a stream of detailed medical studies dating back to 2006 – of which DePuy was fully aware – that revealed critical design flaws.

The flaws left the implants susceptible, the studies found, to wear of the metal components and thus the release of cobalt and chromium into patient’s blood streams, and damage to the bones and soft tissue around the hip.

“During 2007, an engineer employed by DePuy or one of its related companies gave a presentation at a medical conference in Dallas … in which he reported that, two years after one of the implants had been implanted, approximately 30 per cent of women and 7.5 per cent  of men had markedly raised metal ion concentrations in their blood,” the statement of claim for the patients states.

At the same time, the number of implant recipients forced to have the devices removed began to soar, increasing from 5 per cent to 39 per cent for one device in the space of five years.

Counsel for the patients produced a series of internal DePuy emails showing that, rather than moving to protect patients, the company was devising strategies to defend it.

In one document entitled “Situation Assessment” DePuy executives considered whether surgeon error or poor patient selection could be blamed for the failures.

Various options were considered such as “phasing out” the device for all but a “few surgeons who were big cutters”.

In 2009, more than three years after DePuy became aware of the design flaws, it issued a “voluntary withdrawal”.

Rather than coming clean about the problems, the company said the implants were being withdrawn as part of a “streamlining of the hip portfolio” and “inventory reduction initiatives”.

“The simple fact that they were seeking a return of the products seems to give the lie to the claim that it was an inventory reduction initiative,” counsel for the patients, John Sheahan, QC, said.

In 2010 DePuy finally issued a global recall of the ASR implant, citing “higher than anticipated revision rates”.

Johnson & Johnson and DePuy’s position in the class action is that the ASR implants are no more susceptible to wear than any equivalent device.

The companies say the devices were designed with skill and care and checked for any foreseeable risk.

They are expected to argue that many patients had become unnecessarily excited and some had undergone  “unnecessary” revision surgeries.

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