Dajarra health focus

ALTERNATIVE transport solutions could be in store as part of improved health services for the North West community of Dajarra.
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The Dajarra community will meet key health stakeholders twice a year, after a health forum was hosted by the North West Hospital and Health Service earlier this month.

North West Hospital and Health Service chief executive Sue Belsham praised the Dajarra community and key stakeholders after their meeting at Jimberella Hall in Dajarra.

“The Dajarra health forum was a fantastic example of constructive and open discussion with our communities,” Mrs Belsham said.

“We had a roundtable discussion and received insightful feedback from all attendees.

“For example, we circulated a breakdown of local patient travel use and expenditure.

‘‘During our discussions, a possible alternative transport solution was put forward that we will definitely explore.

“The topics discussed were broad, but clearly community driven. We covered electronic records, Primary Health Networks, Royal Flying Doctor Service schedules, telehealth services, patient travel support and how to inform the North West HHS Strategic Plan.

“We also provided data on baseline health statistics and trends specific to Dajarra and alerted the community to upcoming changes to our services.

“Whilst the North West HHS is geographically large, diverse and sometimes challenging to get out and about, our board and executive are committed to personally staying in touch with our communities, patients and staff.’’ Mrs Belsham said.

Representatives from the Cloncurry Shire Council, Phosphate Hill, Queensland Police Service, Royal Flying Doctor Service and Central and North West Queensland Medicare Local had also travelled to Dajarra to take part in the health forum with local residents.

Cloncurry Shire Council brought valuable local governance expertise to the health forum discussions.

Council chief executive David Neeves said: “Council is committed to advocating for the development of health services in our shire.

‘‘As custodians of our communities, we understand the importance of good health services for the ongoing wellbeing of our community.”

The Dajarra community met with key North West Hospital and Health staff earlier this month.

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CCTV solution: MP calls for urgent funding following spate of crime in The LeveePOLL

CCTV THE ANSWER: Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon.A spate of break-ins and thefts in central Maitland has prompted renewed calls for CCTV cameras to be installed in the CBD.
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Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon says the federal government should give Maitland City Council funding to install security cameras in the Levee precinct.

Thieves stole $25,000 worth of tools from construction workers between 3.30pm on March 21 and 5.30am, March 23.

The tools had been secured in a High Street office.

The Mercury reported last week that six Maitland CBD businesses had been broken into and robbed in the past two months.

These included five beauty outlets and an op shop.

“With the spate of break-ins and theft that has taken place in and around The Levee and CBD within the past two months, it’s now time for Mr [Tony] Abbott to restore the funding based on a need, not onpolitical partisanship,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“I won’t rest until Maitland and Singleton councils’ funding is restored.”

The previous Labor government earmarked $186,340 for Maitland City Council in 2013 as part of the National Crime Prevention Program.

The money was to be used to buy and install CCTV cameras in Central Maitland’s shopping strip and Rutherford’s retail precinct.

But Labor did not ­deliver the funding before it lost government to the Coalition.

The Abbott government replaced Labor’s initiative with the $50 million Safer Streets Program.

Maitland missed out on its application for the first round of funding last September.

Port Stephens council installed six CCTV cameras in Raymond Terrace CBD, in the vicinity of William Street, in 2011.

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures show that the number of assaults and robberies on roads, streets and footpaths in Raymond Terrace dropped for two consecutive years after the cameras were installed.

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Regatta really oarsome

IT has been many years since Spinifex State College could hold its annual Canoe Regatta because of drought conditions in Mount Isa.
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But with Lake Moondarra flourishing after rainfall this year, it was all systems go for the students and teachers on Sunday.

Teams of six raced around buoys with three laps in total covered by the paddlers in a fun-filled relay-style event to build camaraderie and mateship within the students and staff from the junior and senior campus.

The North West Canoe Club members helped out by patrolling the water for safety as more than 60 paddlers got among the action.

TeacherKristen Curd, who organised the day, said she was impressed to see the students from both campuses interacting and rivalling staff teams on the water.

It is one of a few opportunities for the students to come together as one from both campuses.

There was only one capsize on the day, by a team of teachers – a moment which was enjoyed by the students.

Race placings were:

1: Brian Silayo, Oliver Desvaux, Khrystal Santos, Jessie Pitkin, Kody Donnelly and Danica Crebbin

2: Anthony Bulgarelli, Korey Trott, Quiana Busch, Warren King, Callum Barr and Caleb Pigliafiori

3: Kira Macleod, Rosie Yalinatoba, Hingaia Hahipene, Jessica Griffin and Nivedita Chetty


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Robin Williams banned use of image for 25 years after his death

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The incomparable talent of Robin Williams will remain a sorely missed presence in feature films in years to come, but it appears his image or name won’t appear in advertising or even referenced in future works in a unique legal move which bans his appearance until 2039.

As the family of Robin Williams continues to battle over the late actor’s estate, it has emerged that Williams had restricted any use of his image for 25 years after his death.

In a move which would nix any use of Williams in advertising or in any future movies through digital insertion or even by name, it appears to be a pioneering measure to protect his estate against future tax liabilities, says The Hollywood Reporter.

In the innovative legal step, Williams had transferred all rights to his identity to a nonprofit organisation in the event of his death. All ownership rights to Williams’ “name, voice, signature, photograph, likeness and right of privacy/publicity” come under the charitable Windfall Foundation and cannot be used until August 2039.

The Hollywood Reporter suggests it was a move to avoid problems such as that facing Michael Jackson’s estate, which apparently owes more than $US500 million ($653 million) in taxes and $US200 million in penalties due to taxes from publicity rights.

Details emerged following court proceedings on Monday in San Francisco, where a legal document outlining the Robin Williams Trust and establishment of the Windfall Foundation featured as one of the exhibits.

Signed on January 31, 2012, the Robin Williams Trust laid out the above set-up as well as provisions for his family and other beneficiaries.

Williams’ widow Susan Schneider Williams and his three children Zelda, Zachary and Cody are currently battling it out in court over the actor’s personal effects.

The children are arguing against Susan Williams’ claim that items from the couple’s home in Tiburon, San Francisco Bay, are excluded from the objects to go to Williams’ children.

Susan Williams’ lawyer told the court on Monday that she wanted to keep wedding presents, the tuxedo that he wore at their wedding and photographs from his 60th birthday.

The two parties have agreed to attempt to resolve the case out of court before April 10, says E! Online. 

Robin Williams committed suicide on August 11, 2014, aged 63.Williams’ will:


For help or information visit beyondblue.org.au, call Lifeline on 131 114.

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David Beckham spoofs underwear ads in appearance on James Corden

David Beckham and James Corden in their spoof advertisement for “D&J Briefs”. Photo: YouTube David Beckham and James Corden in their spoof advertisement for “D&J Briefs”. Photo: YouTube
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David Beckham and James Corden in their spoof advertisement for “D&J Briefs”. Photo: YouTube

David Beckham and James Corden in their spoof advertisement for “D&J Briefs”. Photo: YouTube





“… Sexually aroused.”

David Beckham has starred in a spoof of his own underwear advertisements during an appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden on Monday.

The retired footballer, whose semi-clad body has advertised the briefs of brands including Armani and H&M, joined with comedian James Corden to create a video campaign for their spoof line of underwear, D&J briefs.

The advertisement, shot in the black-and-white style of Beckham’s Armani ads, features the pair both in their knickers, rattling off nonsensical lines about male self-confidence.

“Beauty is skin-deep, it’s underneath that counts,” Beckham says.

Throughout the piece the men are shown in a series of bizarre artistic poses, with Corden at one stage jumping across the set and performing the worm.


The Beckham clan have decided to spend the Easter school holidays stateside this year.

The 39-year-old former England captain visited Miami, where he is currently part of a group bidding to start a new soccer team for the American competition.

His sons Brooklyn, 16, Romeo, 12, and Cruz, 10, also had official duties to fulfill. The three brothers attended the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday in what is believed to be their first red carpet appearance without their famous parents.

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iiNet blames Telstra for slow Netflix connection speeds

Slow internet connection speeds have been blamed on Telstra’s use of copper, something that will be alleviated when the network is upgraded to fibre optic connections. Photo: Glenn HuntiiNet has blamed Australia’s biggest telecommunications company, Telstra, for the slower internet connection speeds that have hit some of its customers since the arrival of Netflix.
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The US video streaming giant launched its Australian service last week and proved to be a hit with iiNet customers, accounting for 15 per cent of its total consumer traffic.

But several customers vented their frustration on social media and to Fairfax Media, saying the surge in demand Netflix hasslowed their internet connection speeds.

iiNet has signed an unmetered deal with Netflix, meaning time spent viewing the US streaming giant isn’t included in monthly data allowances.

“Uggggh Internet has been unusable the last few days. Yay for unmetered Netflix @iiNet but also thanks for the congestion,” one consumer wrote on Twitter.

“Might this explain why my iiNet ADSL speeds seem to have slowed in the last week or so?,” another told Fairfax Media. “That is, there is a bunch of new streamers online, and they are clogging the system up?”

Another wrote: “the start of Netflix has also shown up the poor state of our current internet infrastructure. Almost immediately Netflix came on line, my evening business grade service slowed down so other stuff I was streaming … began having buffering issues and slowing load up.”

But iiNet chief executive David Buckingham pointed to what he called “mass service disruptions” on Telstra’s copper network as the reason some customers suffered slower connection speeds.

“We are having countless mass service disruptions on the Telstra copper network right now, so it might be people caught up in those who are commenting,” Mr Buckingham said.

“Any technical issue would quite easily affect Netflix streaming, just like any other video download.”

Mass service disruptions (MSDs) have a variety of triggers, such as severe weather. But a Telstra spokesman said it was difficult to determine whether a MSD had slowed the internet connection speeds for some of iiNet’s customers.

“There are many factors which affect network performance, including distance from the exchange, a customer’s equipment and software, and the number of people using a connection,” the spokesman said.

But he acknowledged the network had experienced “higher-than-usual fault rates” during summer.

“In line with the multiple extreme weather events across Australia this summer, including cyclones, high rainfall and bushfires in different parts of the country, we have been experiencing higher-than-usual fault rates.  However, last month, we still achieved an average service availability of 99.69 per cent for voice services on the copper network and a fault free rate of 98 per cent.”

The spokesman defended the company’s copper network, saying it could service the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have subscribed to video streaming services, such as Netflix, Presto and Stan this year.

“Most Telstra customers should be able to stream high definition video, with typical download speeds up to 8Mbps for ADSL and up to 20Mbps for ADSL2+,” he said.

“Five years ago hardly any video traffic was carried over Telstra’s fixed network. Now it accounts for 30 per cent of our overall fixed network traffic.

“Each month there is more than 27.5 petabytes of video traffic carried over our fixed network. That’s equivalent to watching more than 13 million hours of high definition videos each month.”

Ovum analyst David Kennedy said video streaming was unlikely to hinder internet connection speeds.

“I’m not actually anticipating a lot of problems because the telcos have seen this coming, years off,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Basically every exchange has fibre connected to it. They can carry gigantic amounts of traffic.

“All that’s required to upgrade that capacity is to upgrade the electronics and in a lot of cases that can actually be done by software.”

Foxtel, which is half-owned by Telstra, launched a streaming joint venture – Presto Entertainment – with Seven West Media in January. The telecommunications company has an unmetering deal with Presto.

Mike Sneesby, chief executive of Stan – a partnership between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media, owner of BusinessDay and The Australian Financial Review – said Australians had embraced video streaming.

He said Stan, which also launched in January, has more than 100,000 customers and is streaming more than 1 million hours of content a month.

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NRL: Knights’ Rochow to put surgery on back-burner

Robbie Rochow will delay back surgery, with spasms keeping him out of last weekend’s clash with the Panthers. Pic: Jonathan CarrollKNIGHTS coach Rick Stone said back-rower Robbie Rochow will delay backsurgery and instead treat a bulging disc with a cortisone injection,with a view to returning in two weeks.
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Rochow suffered back spasms while warming up before Newcastle’s gameagainst Penrith at Hunter Stadium last Saturday and missed their 26-14victory over the Panthers.

The 24-year-old Country Origin representative was expected to undergosurgery this week to have the swollen disc shaved, which would haveruled him out for six to eight weeks.

But Stone said Rochow saw a specialist on Monday and has decided totreat the injury conservatively with a cortisone injection andphysiotherapy.

If that treatment is successful, Rochow could miss only one or twogames, Stone said.

“Robbie has seen a specialist and his back may be not quite as bad aswhat we thought,” Stone said.

“We’re going to try to manage him over the next couple of weeks andsee if we can get some more games out of him possibly for the rest ofthe year rather than having surgery, but we’ll assess that as we goalong in the next few weeks.”

Stone indicated former Cowboys back-rower Tariq Sims, who will makehis Knights debut after serving the last four games of a five-matchsuspension, would replace Rochow in the pack for the game against theDragons at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.

The coach said winger James McManus, who missed the victory over thePanthers due to an eye infection, would return against the Dragons.

The Knights are the NRL’s outright leaders after opening the seasonwith four straight wins.

James Packer sells Perisher ski resort to US company Vail Resorts

The acquisition includes the resort areas of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega. Photo: Supplied Perisher’s Freedom Pass will now include entry to a range of Vail-owned skifields in the US.
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US-based Vail Resorts has bought Australia’s Perisher ski resort for $176.6 million from James Packer subsidiary, Murray Publishers and Transfield Corporate.

The deal includes the resort areas of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega. Also included are the ski school, lodging, food and beverage and retail/rental and transportation operations.

The resort is on a lease till 2048 with a 20-year option to review.

Under the deal, Perisher’s Freedom Pass, which goes up for sale this week at $749, will now include access to Vail resorts with unlimited skiing at a range of US ski fields – including Breckenridge in Colorado, Park City and Canyons in Utah and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the California and Nevada – subject to traditional holiday restrictions.

The deal, which was announced to the New York Stock Exchange this morning, is expected to be finalised in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, subject to approval by the New South Wales Government.

In a statement, Vail Resorts chief Rob Katz said the company was looking forward to moving into the Australian market.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the guests and employees of Perisher, Australia’s largest and most iconic resort, into the Vail Resorts family and deepen ties with one of our most important international markets,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

More to come 


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Yemen civilian death toll mounts, as families flee Saudi-led air strikes

Fire is seen at a military site after it was hit by an air strike on the Faj Attan mountain of Sanaa on Saturday. Photo: Reuters/Mohamed al-Sayaghi People rally against the war in Yemen, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Monday. Pakistan sent a plane on Sunday to the Yemeni city of Hodeida to try to evacuate some of its 3000 citizens living in Yemen. Photo: BK Bangash
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Yemen ports under blockade as Saudis vow to intensify air strikesSaudi coalition forces pound Yemen rebels for a fifth night

Beirut: Five days into the Saudi Arabia-led aerial bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, the civilian death toll is mounting and hundreds of families are on the run, fleeing the nightly attacks that have shaken the already struggling country.

At least 40 people were killed on Monday and 200 wounded when an air strike hit al-Mazraq Camp for displaced people the country’s north, International Organisation for Migration spokesman Joel Millman said.

It appears the target was a nearby base for the Iran-backed Zaidi Shiite Houthi rebels, who have controlled much of northern Yemen since September.

Home to about 5000 people who had fled the capital Sanaa after years of fighting between Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government, al-Mazraq Camp, established in 2001, provides shelter to some of Yemen’s most vulnerable people, many of them malnourished and in desperate need of help.

There was no immediate response from Saudi Arabia to the deaths, or from the other countries involved in the air strikes aimed at forcing the Houthi rebels to hand back power to President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi – United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Morocco and Sudan.

Yemen’s state news agency Saba, which is under the control of the Houthis, said the camp at Haradh was hit by Saudi planes. It said the dead included women and children, and showed the bodies of five children laid out on a blood-streaked floor.

A Saudi military spokesman said the kingdom was seeking clarification on the incident.

“It could have been that the fighter jets replied to fire, and we cannot confirm that it was a refugee camp,” Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri said. “We will ask the Yemeni official agencies to confirm that.”

Mr Hadi’s foreign minister, Riyadh Yassin, earlier blamed Houthi artillery for the explosion. Pakistan and Egypt are reportedly providing naval support while the United States is understood to be providing intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition.

President Hadi escaped from Sanaa to the southern port city of Aden earlier this month and last week fled to the Saudi capital Riyadh, calling for military intervention to help end the crisis in his country.

At least 300 families – or about 1500 people – have been forced to flee the city of Hawta, the capital of Lahej Governorate in Yemen’s south, a humanitarian worker based in Aden told Fairfax Media.

Stressing the numbers of displaced were only preliminary and were sure to rise, the aid worker, who asked not to be named, said they were from three villages – al-Waht, al-Majahfa and Thaalab.

There were “severe food shortages and water scarcity”, he said, while the central hospital in Hawta had closed, preventing malnourished children and their families from accessing food and treatment.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have already detailed dozens of civilian deaths since the air strikes began on March 26, calling on both the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels to protect civilians from attack.

The rising death toll comes the day after Arab leaders threw their support behind the Saudi-led coalition and agreed to the formation of a joint Arab military force to deal with some of the conflicts tearing apart the region.

Egyptian officials say the proposed Arab force would be made up of 40,000 elite troops and backed by jets, warships and light armour, but the next set of discussions over the formation of the force are not scheduled for another month.

In the meantime, the Yemen is at war and with both al-Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates joining the fight in the south, its instability is threatening a region already in crisis, the International Crisis Group warned in its latest briefing.

Divided between the Houthi movement, which controls the north and is rapidly advancing south and the anti-Houthi coalition, Yemen’s situation is “rapidly worsening”.

“The external intervention is aggravating the potential for protracted violence,” the group said.

“Unless this deterioration is halted, the result is likely to be a war similar to those decimating other Arab countries.”

The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs says minors appear to be taking part in hostilities on all sides.

A devastating editorial from the Yemen Observer noted the there were an “estimated 320,000 combatants spread across 11 factions in Yemen and all are preparing for war”.

“The majority of these combatants are young people between the ages of 15 and 24,” the editorial said. “They are underfed, underequipped, and undertrained youngsters who have little knowledge of where this is heading.”

with Reuters

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Essendon’s drug scandal: The verdictRolling coverage

Jobe Watson the captain of the Bombers, flanked by his team mates talk aftrer the AFL’s anti-doping tribunal announced that 34 past and present Essendon Bombers AFL players have been found not guilty of taking a banned substance. Pic: Quinn Roone, Getty ImagesBackground:Your Guide to the Essendon saga
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NOT GUILTYThe AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal has found all 34 current and former Essendon playersnot guilty of taking a banned substance.

The AFL’s anti-doping tribunal case involving Essendon, the AFL and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authoritybegan in December last year and concluded on February 17.

Essendon’s drug scandal: The verdict | Rolling coverage Jobe Watson on Tuesday afternoon. Pic: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images

Jobe Watson and Essendon players front the media. Pic: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images

Kicking the footy at Essendon on Tuesday. Photo: Michael Dodge, Getty Images

Bombers head coach James Hird drives into the Essendon Bombers headquarters after Essendon players were found not guilty from the AFL’s anti-doping tribunal today from the investigation into alleged use of banned substances. Pic: Michael Dodge, Getty Images

Dyson Heppell arrives at Essendon on Tuesday morning. Photo: Michael Dodge, Getty Images

“Well, we’re very pleased and we all had a very fair hearing and we’re happy with the result obviously,” said David Grace QC.

Mark Harvey and Mark Neeld arrive at Essendon on Tuesday morning. Photo: Michael Dodge, Getty Images

Mark Harvey arrives at Essendon on Tuesday morning. Photo: Michael Dodge, Getty Images

Paul Chapman arrives at Essendon on Tuesday morning. Photo: Michael Dodge, Getty Images

D-Day: The comings and goings at Essendon on Tuesday morning. Photo: Michael Dodge, Getty Images

TweetFacebook4:25pm:Essendon CEO Paul Little and coach James Hird will speak at Tullamarine at 5:30pm.

4:06pm:The Western Bulldogs have rekeased a statement following the verdict:

“The Western Bulldogs welcome the verdict handed by the AFL anti-doping tribunal today.”

“The Club is proud of how the Club and its affected staff have worked together to achieve a just outcome for them.”

3.55pm:Full statement from Paul Marsh

“The AFL Players’ Association welcomes today’s tribunal decision, in which all 34 current and former Essendon players have been cleared of an anti-doping rule violation.

We have always been of the view that these players have done nothing wrong and this has been confirmed by the Tribunal today.

This decision does not absolve the Essendon Football Club of blame. Players were placed in an unacceptable position that put their health and careers at risk.

For over two years these players’ lives have been hijacked by this issue through no fault of their own, and today’s decision brings a sense of overwhelming relief and vindication of the players’ consistent position of innocence throughout this saga

The players have withstood enormous uncertainty, public scrutiny and speculation over their health, their careers, and their reputations. This decision finally brings that uncertainty and speculation to an end.

I would like to commend the players for the way in which they have conducted themselves over the past two years. Players have honestly, candidly and transparently cooperated with the process and can hold their heads high that this decision has cleared them of any wrong doing.

We are relieved this matter is now closed and we, as an industry, can get on with the footy. We believe this matter provides an opportunity for genuine industry reflection to ensure this type of situation never happens again.

The PA will continue to work with the AFL and Clubs to do everything we can to make sure no player’s health is ever put at risk again in the pursuit of on-field success.”

“This decision does not absolve the Essendon Football Club of blame.” – @Marsh_Paulhttp://t.co/expdwcYGDv

— AFL Players (@AFLPlayers) March 31, 20152.43pm:ASADA boss Ben McDevitt: “What happened at Essendon in 2012 was, in my opinion, absolutely and utterly disgraceful.It was not a supplements program but an injection regime and the players and the fans were so poorly let down by the club.”

2:38pm:The World Anti-Doping Agency has 21 days to appeal.

“The World Anti-Doping Agency’s director-general says he will review the “entire” Essendon drugs investigation and has also declared his plans to discuss “all elements” of the affair directly with the Australian government, and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.”

I’ve been as bitchy and scathing as anyone but good luck to the @EssendonFC players. Hope decision stands. Nightmare over.

— Tony Wilson (@byTonyWilson) March 31, 20152:32pm:ASADA will conduct a press conference on Wednesday at 11amin Canberra.

2.29pm: From the Bombers’ chief executive:

I am so proud of our players

— Xavier Campbell (@XCampbell79) March 31, 20152:13pm:Expect a massive betting plunge on the Bombers this week now with their stars free to play.

2.07pm:The AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal has found all 34 current and former Essendon players not guilty of taking a banned substance.

No decsision yet on Stephen Dank.

2:01pm:Fair to say the football world is holding its collective breath at the moment.

1:52pm:So many parties with so much at stake today:

The 34 playersStephen DankJames HirdEssendonThe AFLASADAThe AFLPAWADAWestern Bulldogs and Port AdelaideOther AFL clubsState league clubsTop-up playersLawyersSupportersMediaHave we missed anyone?

1:41pm:James Hird remains, quite literally, the last man standing from the so-called coaching ‘dream team’ that came together during the latter stages of 2010. This occurred after an inner-sanctum of Bombers inspired by Mark Thompson and encouraged by Tim Watson began plotting the rebuilding of the Essendon Football Club.

Prevention is better than punishment

The AFL needs to build a culture of prevention rather than punishment for players taking illegal performance enhancers according to a professor who advises them on illicit drugs.

Jacqui Lambie Network: former Palmer United Party senator registers new political party

Senator Jacqui Lambie. Photo: Andrew MearesLambie resigns from Palmer United PartyJacqui Lambie considers new voting blocGlenn Lazarus quits Palmer United Party
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Independent senator Jacqui Lambie has taken the first step towards forming her own political party.

The Australian Electoral Commission published on its website on Tuesday a notice of application from Senator Lambie to form the Jacqui Lambie Network.

“The application for registration is made by all the Parliamentary members of the party and includes a statement that the party wishes to receive election funding,” the AEC’s notice said.

In a statement, Senator Lambie urged people wanting to join her new party to contact her via Facebook and floated the prospect of fielding candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives.

The Jacqui Lambie Network would oppose sharia law, advocate for clear labelling for Halal products and halve the foreign aid budget.

It would also support dedicated seats in Parliament for Indigenous Australians, have a “special interest” in Defence families and support a financial transactions tax.

But Senator Lambie said the party’s main focus would be that “members must always put their states first in all decisions they make”.

Anyone who wants to formally oppose Senator Lambie’s bid has until the end of April to protest.

Senator Lambie has been one of the Parliament’s most outspoken members since entering the Senate in July 2014 as a Palmer United Party senator for Tasmania.

However she became the first of the two Palmer United Party senators to abandon leader Clive Palmer, who sits in the House of Representatives. She became an independent and was followed only months later by former PUP colleague Glenn Lazarus.

Under electoral laws, anyone wanting to establish a political party must have a written constitution, have at least one member in Parliament or have at least 500 members on the electoral roll.

In January, Fairfax Media revealed Senator Lambie was considering launching her own party, claiming Tasmanians, Defence personnel, veterans and Australians from other states “keep asking” for a Lambie brand in politics.

At the time, Glenn Kefford, a lecturer in political science at the University of Tasmania, said the notion of “Tasmania v the centre” would be a future Lambie party’s greatest strength, but it would struggle to get a second senator elected at next year’s election.

“There definitely seems to be something idiosyncratic about Tasmania when it comes to support for independents who play Tasmania off against the centre, people like Brian Harradine [the former balance of power senator in the Howard era],” Dr Kefford said. The Jacqui Lambie Network policies

1) Members must always put their state first in all decisions they make.

2) JLN will always have a special interest in all matters associated with veterans, serving members of the Australian Defence Force and their families.

3) JLN will fight to establish a National Apprentice, Trade and Traineeship system incorporating both the Australian Defence Force and TAFEs.

4) JLN supports the establishment of a Financial Transactions Tax to guarantee extra government revenue for the protection of pensions and entitlements of retired Australians and defence veterans.

5) JLN is opposed to sharia law being imposed in Australia either formally or informally and will promote a policy of undivided loyalty to the Australian constitution and people.

6) JLN will support the proper regulation of Halal and other food certification systems.

7) JLN supports dedicated Indigenous seats being established for Australian parliaments.

8) JLN supports conscience votes on all moral and ethical issues.

9) JLN supports a halving of the foreign aid budget in order to help boost federal government investment in higher education from 0.6 per cent to 1.0 per cent of GDP.

10) JLN supports the creation of special economic zones in regional and rural areas to help boost business profitability and job creation.

11) JLN supports the introduction of a carbon tax – only after our major trading partners introduce a similar tax on their coal-fired power stations.

12) JLN supports a monitoring and regulation system which ensures that our power and fuel prices for Australian consumers and businesses are not more expensive than our overseas competitors.  

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Group of 8 withdraws support for further compromise on university deregulation

Education Minister Christopher Pyne Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Education Minister Christopher Pyne Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Education Minister Christopher Pyne Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Education Minister Christopher Pyne Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Christopher Pyne’s bid to deregulate tertiary fees has suffered a major setback with the influential Group of Eight universities withdrawing support for any more compromises aimed at securing crossbench support.

The powerful coalition of Australia’s leading universities, which has been a key backer of the government’s proposals, said on Tuesday the federal Education Minister’s original package to uncap tertiary fees is being watered down to the point where the compromises being made to secure hostile Senate votes is defeating the purpose.

CEO of the Group of Eight Vicki Thomson called for a depoliticised back-to-basics review instead of a third attempt to pass the legislation but the self-declared political “Fixer,” Mr Pyne, immediately ruled this out via Twitter.

“The higher education sector has faced 33 reviews since 1950 and another review is not a substitute for action,” he said.

“I suspect from his perspective, he is still working on the basis that he’ll get his legislation through. We’re not quite as confident as he is,” Ms Thomson said in Canberra.

“He’s always the eternal optimist and usually we are as well but in this case I think we’ve seen the writing on the wall,

“The crossbenchers are giving us no indication that they want to actually change their position and they’re not giving us any indication they want to change their position on a compromise package either,” she said.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon, who has led calls for a comprehensive review of university funding, said: “This is a breakthrough moment in the debate.

“The Group of Eight is being sensible. The government should focus on getting a good practical outcome for students and universities, not an ill-considered ideological fix.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Go8’s position was “highly critical” of the Senate crossbench and not the government’s deregulation policy.

“My plea to the Senate crossbench is please engage with the Group of Eight as well as with the government,” he said.

“I respect their right to be a very important part of the legislative process but it’s not the government’s fault when the Senate crossbench go off on all sorts of tangents,” he said.

The government’s Leader in the Senate Eric Abetz said the Senate’s own “group of eight [crossbenchers]” should work with the official Go8 to come up with an agreed reform proposal.

“it would be nice to have a Group of Eight producing something that’s great,” the Prime Minister added.

The crossbenchers hold varied views on deregulating uni fees but many of them believe the government should take it to an election and seek the public’s approval before asking the Senate to pass the legislation for a third time.

Ms Thomson also called on Labor to announce its plan for the higher education sector and pointed out they had created the unsustainable funding environment in the first place.

“You can’t have a system where you deregulate student numbers, you encourage more students to come to our universities but you regulate funding so that we’re all funded the same.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that equation just doesn’t work,” she said.

The Group of Eight have been the strongest supporters of fee deregulation, which would allow them to charge significantly more for some courses due to the prestige attached to their degrees.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

White Bay cruise terminal: Sydney asset or harbourside error?

Steel Architecture at the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Photo: Sherrill Nixon Cruise ships, including the Pacific Pearl (pictured), berthed at White Bay Cruise Terminal have caused concern for local residents. Photo: Wolter Peeters WLP
Nanjing Night Net

The White Bay Cruise Terminal. Photo: Wolter Peeters, Wolter Peeters WLP

Earlier this year, the development of a cruise terminal at White Bay was found to be a “serious error” resulting in undeniable air, noise and vibration problems for neighbouring residents.

The NSW parliamentary inquiry into the performance of the Environmental Protection Authority found the facility had received hundreds of complaints claiming these issues were making residents sick.

The cause: cruise liners running their engines while berthed because of a lack of onshore power, not included in the facility’s design brief, and not available at any cruise facility in the southern hemisphere.

It found the decision to move the terminal from Barangaroo to White Bay to be “a serious error”, and noted the EPA “could have taken more proactive and persuasive action” during the approval process for the terminal.

While the facility’s location was found wanting, what the report didn’t do was find fault with the terminal building itself – lauded by many as an inspiring example of how to adapt Sydney’s very precious and increasingly overdeveloped harbourfront land for contemporary use while respecting our unique maritime heritage.

Designed by architects Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW) in response to a competition and brief by the Port Authority of NSW, the terminal last year won the nation’s top commercial architecture prize at the National Architecture Awards, along with a swag of other honours over the past 18 months.

It was “exhilarating, confident and joyful, a great new asset to Sydney’s shoreline”, the national jury found, and acted as “an evocative reminder of Sydney Harbour’s working history”.

JPW director Paul van Ratingen said the building responded directly to the site’s history and site itself – a flat concrete wharf apron bounded by a majestic sandstone escarpment and Balmain on one side and White Bay and the city skyline on another.

“This is a structure and site that’s been adapted over time,” Mr van Ratingen said. “The current transformation is a further, newest iteration or reinvention and the cruise terminal is a continuation of its maritime history.”

Key to the architectural design was a deceptively simple three part strategy.

Most importantly, the architects preserved and used two strikingly handsome industrial remnants: a twin pair of 300 metre long, half-century-old steel gantries, erected in the 1960s for the world’s first international containerised shipping service and slated for demolition since 2003.

The gantries were, the national awards jury said,’ “a powerful reminder of Sydney’s working port and its heroic engineering structures”.

JPW then slung, or inserted, a billowing, wave-like steel canopy between both, lightly draping it over an unencumbered column-free arrival space, designed to be both highly flexible and arrestingly beautiful.

“We looked at wind on ribbon, and leading edge and trailing edge that would give the roof a natural profile against the water,” Mr van Ratingen said.

To anchor the building back into the cliff, they created a series of amenities pods closest to the escarpment, while simultaneously opening it to the city and water views on three sides through full-height glass walls.

“Our brief was to get people off the boat as quickly and efficiently as possible, and this building does that extremely well,” he said. “This is such a legible building. You come off the ship and you know where you are and where you’re going.

The inquiry recommended the terminal be retrofitted with an onshore power source, and for cruise ship operators to develop noise-mitigation strategies.

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