Bronwyn Bishop: ‘Sin binning’ record breaker

  • 02/19/2019

Bronwyn Bishop has stepped down as Speaker, a role considered the most important job in the House of Representatives and one responsbile for ensuring parliament follows proper procedure in an orderly manner.

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The Speaker is elected by the House of Representatives and Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that the election of Mrs Bishop’s replacement will be “a matter for the party room”.

“The party room will choose a nominee and obviously the Government’s nominee then go before the parliament and the parliament ultimately determines who the Speaker will be,” he told reporters on Monday.

Mrs Bishop resigned from the coveted position on Sunday, after setting multiple records in relation to the use of Standing Order 94a.

The Standing Order allows the Speaker to take action against disorderly MPs, directing them to leave the chamber for one hour, and its use – or “sin binning” – has rapidly increased since its introduction in 1994.

Opposition politicians have historically been heavily targeted by 94a since its introduction in 1994, but analysis of actions taken by Speakers and Deputy Speakers over the past decade has shown that Mrs Bishop was the Speaker most inclined to target MPs from the opposing party.

From her appointment of Speaker on November 12, 2013 to her last sitting day in June, Mrs Bishop has sent out 400 politicians under Standing Order 94a. Of those booted out, 393 (or 98.25 per cent) were Labor politicians, and seven were Coalition MPs

By comparison, her predecessor – Liberal turned Independent Peter Slipper – ordered out a total of 73 MPs during his tenure as Speaker and Deputy Speaker from September 28, 2010 to October 9, 2012. A total of 59 – or 80.8 per cent – were Coalition members.

Other Speakers and Deputy Speakers over the past decade include:

Labor’s Anna Burke, who ordered out 119 MPs in total. 112 (94%) – were Coalition membersLabor’s Harry Jenkins, who ordered out 251 MPs in total. 226 (90%) – were Coalition membersNationals’ Ian Causley, who ordered out 35 MPs in total. 30 (85.7%) – were Labor membersLiberal’s David Hawker, who ordered out 188 MPs in total. 183 (97.3%) – were Labor members

Note: The above chart and totals consist primarily of 94a ejections, but also include 94, 94b and 94e.

Mrs Bishop – who faced down a motion of dissent over perceived bias earlier this year – also holds the record for the greatest number of politicians sent out under 94a in a single day.

Previously held by Mr Hawker in 2005, Mrs Bishop broke the record on November 27 last year when she dismissed 18 MPs under 94a. The preceding two days also saw 12 MPs expelled on each day, also breaking Mr Hawker’s previous record of 11.

Mrs Bishop has sent out 400 politicians under Standing Order 94a with Labor MPs accounting for 98.25 per cent

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described Mrs Bishop as “perhaps the most partisan party political Speaker” that parliament had seen since federation.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Mr Shorten said the “hyper-partisanship” had turned parliament into a laughing stock.

“I hope that Mr Abbott doesn’t impose his captain’s pick as he did with Mrs Bishop,” he said.

“I hope that he doesn’t pick someone from the extreme right of the Liberal Party more interesting in scoring political points than fostering good sensible debate about the future of this country.”

Clive Palmer had been intending to move a motion of no confidence against Mrs Bishop if she did not step down and told SBS that he took issue with her perceived bias as well as expenditure.

“I think the next speaker will be on notice that he has to act a lot differently to what Bronwyn Bishop did,” he said.

“She threw out nearly 400 members of the opposition from parliament for really no reason at all… That doesn’t do parliament any good, it doesn’t help out with democracy.”

The Palmer United Party leader said he wanted the next Speaker to stay out of party room discussions and be left out of debate on legislation.

Mrs Bishop has had vocal support from Christopher Pyne, who previously helped dismiss a motion of dissent against her as Speaker in his role as Leader of the House.

At the time of the failed motion, Mr Pyne said Labor should be “congratulating” Mrs Bishop for her performance.

He has also accused Labor of bullying Mrs Bishop, saying some party members had issues with strong women.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also remained supportive of Mrs Bishop, saying on Sunday that he was “not going to sit in judgment of a friend and colleague”.

The Coalition will meet on Monday to vote for a new Speaker, who will be the fifth in less than four years.

Backbenchers Tony Smith and Andrew Southcott have emerged as favourites to replace Mrs Bishop, while veteran Liberal and former chief whip Philip Ruddock has put his hand up for the job, saying he would “be available” for the position.

Mr Abbott said that he expects “quite a number of good people” to nominate for the position. 

Acting Speaker Bruce Scott is one possibility, though Parliamentary Secretary Steve Ciobo said “it would be great if it could be a woman”.

Sharman Stone had been rumoured to be in the running for the position, but has since withdrawn.

Dr Stone has previously called for the axing of Question Time, which she described as “screaming matches”.

Of the 1,386 people kicked out under 94a since its introduction in 1994, the majority occurred in Question Time. Question Time has been cancelled for the first parliamentary sitting day after the winter break, with politicians to only address the election of a Speaker and a condolence motion on Monday.

There is some question as to whether 94a is effective in maintaining order. Rob Lundie from the Parliamentary Library said “members view it as little more than a slap on the wrist and of little deterrent value”.

Concerns have also been raised regarding the level of control it gives the Speaker, which were also foreshadowed by former politician Wilson Tuckey before its introduction.

“Honourable members would not be surprised that I am not very much in favour of the ‘sin bin’,” he said in 1993.

“I do not really think that would be very wise and, in fact, it would be a situation that might make it just a bit too easy for the Speaker when it is a prerogative of the parliament.”

Mr Tuckey was also the first politician to be sent out under 94a in February 1994, after interjecting three times during a speech by then Prime Minister Paul Keating.

Nick Champion remains the member who has received the most instructions to leave under 94a, the majority given by Mrs Bishop

Nick Champion remains the member with the dubious honour of receiving the most instructions to leave under 94a at 63. The majority of the orders – 44 – were given by Mrs Bishop. Mr Champion was both Mrs Bishop’s first and last ejection.

Until the appointment of Mrs Bishop as Speaker, Christopher Pyne held the record for most disciplined member at 45 counts, followed by Anthony Albanese on 34.

No prime minister has been kicked out under 94a, though the then Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan was ordered out of the chamber in March 2012.

The current Prime Minister Tony Abbott was also “sin binned” in August 2012, after failing to withdraw an unparliamentary remark when asked. He was Opposition Leader at the time, and was the first in that position to be sent out under 94a.

Other Opposition leaders – including John Howard, Robert Menzies and Joseph Cook – have been sent out of parliament, but Mr Abbott was the only one dismissed under 94a.

The number of MPs speakers threw out has been updated since this article was first published.

Kopua, McCaw combine for Kiwi causes

  • 02/19/2019

On the surface, cross-overs between netball and rugby are few and far between.

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But Silver Ferns skipper Casey Kopua and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw found plenty in common when they met briefly at Sydney’s Olympic Park on Friday.

The All Blacks, in town for the first Bledisloe Cup match, are staying just across the road from the Silver Ferns as they begin their netball World Cup campaign.

The two captains exchanged gifts and spoke briefly about what motivates them ahead of their respective World Cups.

At 1.88m tall, Kopua tops McCaw by a centimetre but the inspirational loose forward holds the advantage in terms of Tests played.

Kopua, who made her debut in 2005, will play her 91st Test against Barbados on Friday while McCaw – whose career began in 2001 – will equal Brian O’Driscoll’s world record on Saturday with his 141st Test.

The defending world champion All Blacks dominate rugby the same way Australia has the upper hand in netball, but McCaw said that was something which could change in a heartbeat.

“The big thing is, no matter who’s been winning previously, both teams in rugby and I think it’s the same in netball, are capable of winning,” he said.

“It comes down being able to nail it on the day. If you’re just off a little bit, they’re capable of knocking you over – if you don’t get it quite right, you end up second.

“If you go in there believing you can win, that’s the big thing and that’s what makes trans-Tasman games so interesting and exciting.”

Kopua said the Silver Ferns, looking to win their first World Cup since 2003, would draw inspiration from McCaw’s All Blacks.

“It’s all about making the most of your opportunities, because obviously you can’t do it forever.”

Campbells on song at world titles

  • 02/19/2019

At each major swimming meet, Australia’s world beating Campbell sisters pick a theme song.

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And if Cate Campbell lives up to the title of their latest selection – Australian DJ Flume’s `On Top’, she will be making some history at the world championships in Russia on Friday.

Cate is hoping to become the first woman to defend the world 100m freestyle title in 40 years.

She appears on song after being at world record pace in the 100m semis before easing back to qualify second fastest behind Swede Sarah Sjostrom.

Her younger sister – “dark horse” Bronte – is third quickest.

Cate is usually not one to make bold predictions but if there were any doubts about her intentions she made them clear after the semis with their song choice.

“The lyrics are ‘I want the top’ and that’s definitely what I will be telling myself in the last five metres because it is bloody hard,” she said.

The Campbell girls have already stood atop the world titles podium in Kazan after helping guide Australia to 4x100m freestyle gold.

But they couldn’t quite get their head around standing side by side on the 100m dais despite shining in a star studded semi-finals.

Besides 2013 silver medallist Sjostrom, the women’s 100m final field also boasts Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo (fifth fastest qualifier).

Even American great Missy Franklin had to scrape in at eighth fastest qualifier after earlier picking up her 10th career world titles gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay, eclipsing Australia’s Libby Trickett’s mark for most by a woman at the championships.

“It’s something I dare not think about…but it’s in the back of our minds,” Cate Campbell said of sharing a podium again.

Cate Campbell clocked 25.35 at the first turn in the 100m semis – inside the 25.46 world record pace of supersuit assisted German Britta Steffen in 2009 – before easing off.

Campbell said picking the brain of head coach Jacco Verhaeren – ex-mentor for Kromowidjojo and the great Pieter Van Den Hoogenband – had added yet another string to her bow ahead of the final.

“I have definitely been working on starts and turns (with Verhaeren) – it is paying off a little bit,” she said.

“Those little things take people from being good to the best.”

Bronte Campbell inspired Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay gold with the second fastest split in history (51.77 seconds).

Only Cate Campbell had gone faster.

But she had sounded her intentions way back at April’s national titles when she upstaged her famous sister for the first time by claiming the 50m freestyle title.

Still, she was just happy to feature in the stellar 100m final field.

“I almost wish I didn’t have to swim it so I can watch it,” she laughed.

“But tomorrow it will be all guns blazing.”

Relaxed Eels ready for Top End NRL battle

  • 02/19/2019

They haven’t been home since Sunday but Parramatta coach Brad Arthur says being out of Sydney is exactly what his NRL team needed.

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After Monday night’s loss to the Titans, the Eels flew straight to Darwin from the Gold Coast in what is the final leg of a gruelling three-game stretch that began in Townsville.

But after taking in the sights and sounds of the Top End on Thursday, Arthur hopes a more relaxed squad can break a three-game losing streak against Penrith on Saturday night.

“A few of them went and did a little bit of fishing yesterday and saw some crocodiles. So it’s been good to take their mind off footy,” Arthur said on Friday.

“Every week there’s been something with us, so it’s good to get up here and be away from the spotlight.”

The 13th-placed Eels have been boosted by the return of their left-edge combination of Will Hopoate, Brad Takairangi and Corey Norman from injury.

It is Norman’s first game back since hurting his knee against Canterbury in round 19, and his first game at his regular position of five-eighth since round 14.

“I don’t think we’ve had our left edge all together for a long time now,” Arthur said.

“That edge seems to be our strike edge. Those boys sit pretty high in the NRL for tries scored as an edge, so it’d be nice and positive.”

Temperatures are predicted to reach a steamy 32 degrees on Saturday, and with both sides all but out of the running for the finals, Arthur predicted a free-flowing game for the Darwin locals.

“Come 7pm on Saturday night, the temperature should be good,” he said.

“It should be a dry pitch. Both teams like to throw the ball around, so I think it’ll suit that style of footy.”

A season-ending hamstring injury to young gun Robert Jennings forced Penrith coach Ivan Cleary to shuffle Lewis Brown into the second row, with Api Koroisau added to the bench.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Semi Radradra has failed to score in three straight games just once in his 44-game career. His 17 tries this year is more than the selected Panthers backline this week.

* Penrith’s first-choice spine of Matt Moylan, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace and James Segeyaro have played just three games together all year – one of them for 11 minutes.

* Jamie Soward will make his 200th NRL appearance after debuting in 2005. His current 15-game tryscoring drought is the longest of his career.

Signs of hope for McDowell after a ‘rough year’

  • 02/19/2019

The Northern Irishman, who has recorded just one top-10 and six missed cuts in 18 starts worldwide during his 2015 campaign, ground out a four-under-par 66 to end the opening round at a firm and fiery Firestone Country Club one shot off the lead.

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“I drove it well today, especially on the front nine,” McDowell told reporters after mixing five birdies, four of them in his first seven holes, with one bogey. “Struggled a little bit on the back nine.

“The golf course is a pretty tricky set-up this year. The rough’s pretty gnarly and the greens are pretty firm, so a real premium on accuracy off the tee and coming into these greens. I really hung in there well with some short game coming in.”

Former U.S. Open champion McDowell, whose world ranking has slipped to 60th after he began the year in the top 20, said he had asked himself a few soul-searching questions in a bid to resurrect his game.

“It’s been a rough year, no doubt about it. Definitely been some time for reflection and some questions being asked of myself,” he said. “It’s how you answer the questions and how you come out the other side really.

“I’ve just been working hard on the game and trying to find a direction forward. I feel like I’m starting to do that now, and it’s just a case of shooting some numbers and getting the confidence back a little bit and getting the juices flowing.

“I feel like I’ll know what to do when I get back there, but it’s all about the process of getting there now,” said the Northern Irishman, who won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. “Days like today will certainly help in that direction.”

(Editing by Andrew Both)

Mayweather defends upcoming Berto fight

  • 02/19/2019

Mayweather, coming off his victory over Manny Pacquiao in May, is gearing up for what he says will be the final fight of his career on Sept.

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12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Victory would take him to 49-0 and match the record of former heavyweight great Rocky Marciano, though Mayweather has been criticized for choosing what many consider an easy opponent for his swan song.

“I hear I’ve been getting backlash. I chose Berto because he’s exciting,” Mayweather told reporters from his podium.

“The difference between Berto and Pacquiao is you guys put all the hype in Manny. But this fight is a very intriguing matchup.”

The fight is a far cry from Mayweather’s ‘mega-fight’ clash with Pacquiao, which took five years to finalise and became the richest bout in boxing.

There was less fanfare on Thursday with both Mayweather and Berto in casual dress and flanked by the boxers confirmed for the undercard while the 38-year-old Mayweather took time out to pose for photos with fans.

The 31-year-old Berto, who has known Mayweather since he was a amateur, has a 30-3 record and is a two-time welterweight world titleholder, but is just 3-3 in his past six bouts.

Despite the impressions that Mayweather ignored several more qualified boxers, Berto promised if the fight does not deliver a good show he would not be to blame.

“Have you ever seen a boring Andre Berto fight? Everyone needs to question Floyd,” Berto said in relation to reaction from the outcome of the clash with Pacquiao where Mayweather was criticized for being too defensive and the fight failed to live up to expectations.

“Every time I fight it’s exciting. Every time Pacquiao fights it’s exciting. There’s one common denominator that’s making it (boring).”

For his part, Mayweather does not seem fazed by the muted interest in the fight.

“No one is forced to buy this fight,” Mayweather added.

“Andre Berto is going to push Floyd Mayweather to the limit. That’s one thing I do know.”

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Van Ryn complains of jail overcrowding

  • 02/19/2019

Ex-Bega Cheese boss Maurice Van Ryn has complained of overcrowding in NSW jails at his sentencing for the repeated sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy.

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The 60-year-old kept his back turned to the public gallery when he appeared at Sydney’s District Court and pleaded guilty to four extra charges relating to the abuse of the teenager.

The charges, which includes two counts of indecent assault and two counts of aggravated sexual intercourse, are in addition to 10 other charges that he has pleaded guilty to.

A further three charges will be taken into consideration when he is sentenced.

In total, Van Ryn has abused nine boys and girls aged eight to 16 over the better part of a decade.

Speaking at his sentencing hearing, his barrister John Heazlewood raised the issue of overcrowding in jails and tendered a Justice NSW report entitled “Full House: The growth of the inmate population in NSW”.

Under these conditions, Mr Heazlewood said his client would benefit from a smaller term in custody and greater time spent on parole.

But crown prosecutor Michael Fox said that was just “general evidence” of over-crowding, and not specific.

Mr Fox submitted Van Ryn’s attacks between January and December 2010 when the boy was 15 increased in severity.

“As he became more familiar with the complainant, you can see the escalation of offending,” Mr Fox said.

He said the offences were also part of a wider history of predatory behaviour on children.

Van Ryn would “ingratiate” himself with a young person to the point where the offending became routine.

Van Ryn has previously told the court there had never been a time in his life when he wasn’t sexually attracted to children and he just wasn’t able to resist the urge.

The hearing continues.

Warriors expect Benji at his best

  • 02/19/2019

Warriors centre Jonathan Wright says the Warriors know any nodding off against a Benji Marshall-inspired St George Illawarra in Wellington could come at a heavy cost.

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Wright has been moved in for his defensive qualities, taking over from Konrad Hurrell, who was dropped after the 18-14 NRL defeat to Cronulla last weekend.

While that loss was the Warriors’ third in a row, the Dragons will head to Westpac Stadium on Saturday having last weekend snapped a seven-match losing streak.

The Dragons got back to winning ways by downing Newcastle 46-24, with Marshall running for 155 metres, assisting in three tries and scoring a spectacular effort himself, complete with outrageous dummy.

Wright agrees the former Kiwis skipper is sure to put an additional strain on the Warriors’ edges.

“That’s exactly right and we want to make sure we have pride in our defence,” he said.

“We’ve been really good in most of the games and all of sudden we just switch off for one or two plays and get stung.

“It’s come to the point of the season where we need to make sure we have an 80-minute performance in our D.”

The Warriors’ losing run has dropped them from inside the top four to outside the top eight, although they trail the seventh-placed Dragons only by points differential.

“The boys were very disappointed after the weekend, but we can’t get down on it,” Wright said.

“We’ve got five more weeks to make a good hit at it.”

Coach Andrew McFadden also remains upbeat about the Warriors’ chances of making the play-offs, even if others have written them off after star playmaker Shaun Johnson’s season-ending ankle injury.

“We still have the same opportunity that we had last week – we have to win three,” he said.

“Losing is always disappointing, but we’ve still got something to play for, that’s for sure.”

Although the Warriors have scored a total of just 26 points over the last three rounds, McFadden said defence remained their priority and, against Marshall, patience would be key.

“He obviously makes the whole line accountable,” McFadden said.

“He’s got a lot of options, he’s got good deception. We’re going to need some real patience in our defensive line and minimise the opportunities he gets.”

The Dragons welcome back NSW forward Trent Merrin after a four-game ban for a dangerous throw on Corey Parker in last month’s State of Origin decider.

But they will be without Kiwis winger Jason Nightingale, who rolled his right ankle against the Knights.

They will take a formidable record against the Warriors into the clash.

The Dragons have won 18 of 22 meetings between the sides, and all 10 since the Warriors beat them in 2007.

Back together – but no mention of the Bali 9?

  • 02/19/2019

It was, of course, only a matter of time.

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Truth be told, the parlous relationship between Jakarta and Canberra probably healed long before Foreign Minister Julie Bishop met in Kuala Lumpur with her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, after which the two women gave every indication publicly that all is forgiven.

But perhaps the revitalised relationship can be used this time around to achieve some good – abolishing the death penalty in Indonesia, for starters. 

It’s hard to argue that Canberra and Jakarta being good friends is not a good thing, for trade and general co-operation. But both countries have had a lot to grumble about in recent years.   

Jakarta was miffed that in 2009 the Australian Signals Directorate had bugged the telephones of the Indonesian leadership, including the President himself and his wife. That probably caused Jakarta more upset than the Abbott government’s commitment to turn back boats bearing asylum seekers making their way from Indonesian ports to Australia: a policy that is all upside for Canberra and all downside for Jakarta.

As Jakarta suspended co-operation on people smuggling, as well as military and intelligence co-operation, it looked like a very low point had been hit. 

But Indonesia’s decision to execute two seemingly reformed Australian drug smugglers – Andrew Chan, a Christian pastor and the artist Myuran Sukumaran – earlier this year, lowered the bar even more and left both nations feeling embittered.

The Indonesians felt affronted when Prime Minister Abbott suggested Indonesia should let the men live because it owed Australia a favour, given how much we’d contributed to its post-tsunami recovery.

Australia felt affronted Indonesia ignored the deep feeling here that Sukumaran and Chan’s reformation could have been acknowledged and the men granted a reprieve.

When at midnight on April 29th, they were taken out in to a field on Nusakambangan Island and shot alongside other felons, its not gilding the lily to say Australia’s heart broke. Canberra responded by temporarily withdrawing our Ambassador from Jakarta. 

No politician fought harder to keep the two alive than Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.  There were written representations and direct pleas. There was even an offer made to swap Indonesian nationals jailed in Australia for Sukumaran and Chan. All of it fell on deaf ears. 

Just before the executions went ahead, the Foreign Minister said that she’d spoken with two European foreign ministers with citizens who had either been executed by Indonesia or were on death row, and they’d agreed the issue of the death penalty was a priority. It was doing little to nothing to curb drug trafficking in and out of Asia. All were committed to stopping Indonesia’s use of the death penalty and perhaps none more so than Australia, Indonesia’s closest western neighbour. At least it has some leverage.

As Julie Bishop told the parliament on February 12th this year: 

“Australia and Indonesia work in partnership to address drug-related crime at all levels. No country has done as much as Australia to support Indonesia in this area. Not only is there co-operation between our police and law enforcement authorities, but Australia also supports drug rehabilitation and harm reduction programs in Indonesia. These programs have saved Indonesian lives,” she said. 

Now, with relations soothed after the executions, there is an opportunity for the Australian government to take its commitment to help Indonesia fight its drug problem a step further. It would be a double whammy win because it would prove the Abbott government is committed to the global abolition of a barbaric practice. 

As Dr Andrew Carr of the Strategic and Defence Studies Unit at ANU has argued, Australia has a long history of being able to influence the policies of our Asian neighbours. All it has ever needed is an argument, a platform and a strategy. Julie Bishop now has two out of three.

There is to date no evidence to support the oft cited claim that the death penalty acts as a deterrence to drug smuggling. Amnesty International examined 26 countries where the death penalty applies for drug crimes and found that in those which have actually carried out executions, it is not aware of any evidence of a “decline in trafficking which could be clearly attributed to the threat or use of the death penalty.”

There is no evidence it works in Iran or China or Malaysia, the most enthusiastic users of execution for drug crimes.

Armed with that kind of empirical evidence, perhaps Jakarta will be open to a little quiet whispering, out of the spotlight of imminent executions, from the Foreign minister of a valued neighbour about how best to tackle the drug problem and enhance your international reputation.

Julie Bishop too has the chance to show how well developed her diplomatic muscle is. She has a good argument to put and with relations now mended, a platform in which to put them. 

Now for a strategy.

Monica Attard is a Sydney based freelance journalist and former ABC foreign correspondent and senior broadcaster.  

Virgin cuts Bali routes on path to profit

  • 02/19/2019

Virgin Australia is overhauling its loss-making international operations as it targets a return to profitability in 2015/16.

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The airline will cut services from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to Bali, handing the routes off to its low-cost subsidiary Tigerair Australia, and will also axe its Perth to Phuket services.

Virgin will also add additional flights on Trans-Tasman routes as well as between Australia and Samoa, Fiji and the Solomon Islands during peak periods.

The decision to use Tigerair Australia on international routes for the first time comes after weak demand for premium air travel from budget-conscious Bali travellers helped drag Virgin’s international division to a full year loss.

The division posted an underling earnings before interest and tax loss of $68.9 million, which offset a better performance from the airline’s domestic operations and frequent flyer business.

Virgin posted an underlying group loss of $49 million for the 2014/15 financial year and a net loss of $93.8 million, which is an improvement on the $353.8 million it lost the previous year.

Chief executive John Borghetti said the airline was on track to return to profitability in the 2015/16 financial year, assuming a turnaround in the international business.

“As a result of the progress on our strategy to date, we are now on a positive trajectory and on track to significantly improve financial performance again for the 2016 financial year,” he said in a statement.

“Based on current market conditions, all fundamental business metrics are on track for the group to return to profitability and report a return on invested capital in line with its cost of capital for the 2016 financial year.”

Analysts expect the airline to post an underlying profit of around $147 million for 2015/16, which would be its first profit in four years.

Virgin’s domestic business lifted underlying earnings by $210 million to $111 million for the year, helped by lower fuel prices and the end of its so-called “capacity war” with rival Qantas.

Its Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty business lifted revenue by more than 18 per cent and underlying EBIT to $81.2 million after adding an average of 2,400 new members per day during the year.

Tigerair Australia, which Virgin took full ownership of in October, showed an EBIT loss of $8.6 million during the year but is expected to post a profit in 2015/16.