Nick Kyrgios’ biggest win hurt him, says Rod Laver

Laver said Kyrgios’ stunning 2014 Wimbledon upset of Rafael Nadal appeared to have contributed to outrageous shot selection at times. Photo: Max RossiShanghai Australian tennis legend Rod Laver believes the biggest win of Nick Kyrgios’ career encouraged a low-percentage style of play that is now damaging his ability to win major titles, and regards part-time mentor Lleyton Hewitt as the wise head capable of overseeing his reform.
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Laver said Kyrgios’ stunning 2014 Wimbledon upset of Rafael Nadal appeared to have contributed to outrageous shot selection at times from the young Canberran, who meets sixth seed Kei Nishikori in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Wednesday.

“His charisma is that he likes to show off all the shots he’s got, and his great forehand and big serve, and I think because he won at Wimbledon against Nadal he feels that it’s gone up a little further, and that’s where he’s got to try and understand that that type of showmanship doesn’t win matches,” Laver said at Tuesday’s Australian Open launch.

“You need a whole range of different shots to win a match, and I think that’s potentially in my mind where he’s vulnerable; he’s got a lot to learn [such as] how do you win a point without exploring every shot that you’ve got. How about just keeping the ball in the court and making sure it’s a nice deep shot, and if I want to come to the net, don’t try and hit it like you’ve got to bust the ball, and hit the ground and put it over the stand somewhere, that sort of showmanship gets him in trouble.

“This last US Open, he could have won the tournament but he comes to the net [against Andy Murray] and he’s half-volleying it between his legs, and you figure well, ‘yes, if you don’t have any other way of hitting it, then you have to do it that way’.

“Maybe it’s boring for him, to be on the court not being able to show all the shots he has, but that’s not going to make him a champion and he does have the ability to be a champion, and I think it’d be a shame if he doesn’t allow himself to be that much better.”

While Laver predicts Hewitt, the soon-to-be Davis Cup captain, “could heal a lot of the things Nick has been doing”, Kyrgios believes his attitude has already been improved by his recent period of turbulence, the lowlight of which was the Montreal sledging incident involving Stan Wawrinka.

“I feel as if it’s helped me a little bit, everything that’s happened in the last couple of months,” Kyrgios said after an opening round 6-3, 6-2 win over Austrian world No.60 Andreas Haider-Maurer here. “I feel like I’ve definitely picked up my act a little bit. But I’m playing well and I’m enjoying myself, so that’s what matters.”

The 20-year-old was also defended by his friend Thanasi Kokkinakis, the day after the bizarre match against Haider-Maurer in which Kyrgios — who is on a six-month probation period from the ATP — received his second code violation warning in a week.

“To be fair, I’ve been watching him and he’s playing well and he’s probably a bit more switched on then I’ve seen him before,” Kokkinakis said. “He’s not going to change completely and not get frustrated. But he’s toning it down a bit.”

A semi-finalist in Kuala Lumpur and quarter-finalist last week in Japan, Kyrgios remains without a coach, but is in no great hurry to appoint one. He believes the mutual agreement to leave him out of last month’s Davis Cup semi-final after a controversial stretch in the headlines was “the best decision” for his welfare.

“I know what I need to get better at in my game. I don’t think a coach is necessary right now. I don’t think there’s any rush to get one,” he said. “The last few weeks have been really good. I think I’ve played some good tennis. I think I’m going OK at the moment.”

Linda Pearce is a guest of the Shanghai Rolex Masters

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Bill Shorten’s AWU ‘sold out’ workers for $300,000

Bill Shorten in Canberra on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares Witness Julian Rzesniowiecki outside the royal commission. Photo: Edwina Pickles
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Ex-Thiess manager admits company issued bogus invoices

A serious cloud hangs over Bill Shorten’s record as a union leader. He ran a union that took $300,000 from an employer in disguised payments based on fraudulent invoices as part of a deal that hugely benefited that employer.

That’s the damning conclusion from Tuesday’s evidence to the royal commission into union corruption, and documentary records, of former Thiess John Holland senior executive Julian Rzesniowiecki.

Unfortunately for Shorten and his then AWU sidekick, Cesar Melhem, Rzesniowiecki kept a detailed diary from his mid-2000s dealings with the AWU duo over the $2.5billion EastLink tollway in Melbourne.

In the diary he records that Shorten, now Opposition Leader, proposed in December 2004 that builder Thiess John Holland pay for four AWU staff on site at the tollway project.

That would have equated to at least $1 million to the AWU over the three years it would take to build the road through Melbourne’s south-east.

That figure was later negotiated down to $300,000 to, ostensibly, pay for one union organiser.

The diaries also show that Shorten’s proposal came at a time when the parties were negotiating an industrial agreement that halved the number of mandatory rostered days off for workers.

“Politically the AWU has sold out the 36 day [hour] week,” Rzesniowiecki wrote in his diary, noting also questions about how to publicly “package” the workplace deal to avoid criticism and how to “pay it out”.

There is no doubt the workers were paid well on the project, their actual pay being above then current rates.

But the ground-breaking “flexibility” around weekend work and rosters was worth huge money to Thiess John Holland, tens of millions of dollars in fact, and possibly as much as $100 million.

The project was completed as much as six months ahead of time.

EastLink was celebrated by employers and conservative institutions like the Institute of Public Affairs because the builder had been able to minimise the influence on site of militant union the CFMEU, and reduce the conditions it had gained over many years.

In return the AWU got its kickbacks.

As Rzesniowiecki admitted on Tuesday, Thiess John Holland was prepared to receive and pay false or inflated invoices from the AWU for work either the company did not need or was not done.

That included for seminars and forums organised by the union, for AWU magazine advertisements and back strain research.

The true purpose was to disguise payments for an AWU organiser on the project.

Yet the builder had so little interest in what it got for its $300,000 it did not care if an organiser even turned up on EastLink.  “It wasn’t a concern to me,” Rzesniowiecki admitted.

The AWU could spend the $300,000 as it saw fit, he told the royal commission.

From Rzesniowiecki’s evidence and records, the payments were suggested by Shorten but implemented by Cesar Melhem, now an embattled Victorian MP.

Shorten on Tuesday said he struck no such deal for payments. True there is no document headlined “deal for dodgy payments”.

Yet it was Shorten who ran the union as its state and national secretary when the money started to pour in from Thiess John Holland. His denials, and failing memory, are becoming harder to believe.

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Throat and tongue cancers linked to sexually transmitted virus on the rise

Dr Matthew Magarey, a surgeon who uses robotic technology to remove cancer from people’s throats. Photo: Simon O’DwyerThe sexual revolution is producing a new wave of throat and tongue cancers among middle-aged people, who are falling victim to a rare side effect of the “common cold of sexually transmitted infections”.
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A growing number of Australians with oropharyngeal cancer are testing positive to the human papillomavirus (HPV), suggesting it has caused their disease rather than smoking or heavy drinking – factors responsible for many head and neck cancers in the past.

Oropharyngeal cancer is usually found in the back third of the tongue or the tonsils. In 2014, about 125 Victorians were diagnosed with it. Most were men.

An Australian study of 515 patients diagnosed with the condition between 1987 and 2010 found that the proportion of people with an HPV-related diagnosis increased from 20 per cent between 1987 and 1995 to 64 per cent between 2006 and 2010.

Over the same period, the proportion of people diagnosed with throat cancer who had never smoked increased from 19 per cent to 34 per cent, suggesting HPV may overtake smoking and drinking as a cause of the cancer in future.

American doctors say more oral sex following the sexual revolution of the 1960s probably spread HPV to more people’s mouths and throats. Actor Michael Douglas said he believed oral sex was to blame for his HPV-related throat cancer in 2013. 

But Dr Matthew Magarey​, an ear nose and throat surgeon at Epworth and Peter MacCallum hospitals in Melbourne, said while HPV-related throat cancers were occurring in more people aged 40 to 60, it should not necessarily be associated with oral sex because scientists believe HPV may be transmitted through kissing or simple hand to mouth contact as well.

Up to 80 per cent of the adult population is thought to have had some sort of HPV infection during their life (there are more than 100 strains) and most of them will not have experience any symptoms. Many people clear the virus within months of getting it.

Dr Magarey said a tiny proportion of people will get an HPV-related cancer, such as cervical, anal, or throat cancer. He said HPV in the throat probably took 30 to 40 years to turn into a cancer in the minority of people it affects in that way.

He said treatments were getting better for the cancer, which has a high survival rate if found early. Depending on the circumstances of the cancer, radiation, chemotherapy and sometimes surgery are used to treat it.

While the surgery has been long and complicated in the past, Dr Magarey said a new robotic procedure available at Peter Mac and Epworth was helping surgeons remove cancers more precisely and in less time. This was reducing long-term recovery problems such as difficulty eating and drinking and swallowing.

Dr Magarey said the most common first sign of throat cancer was a lump in the neck that persists for more than two or three weeks. Symptoms can also include a sore throat that persists for more than three weeks and difficulty swallowing.

“If you have these symptoms, see your GP and get a referral to a qualified ENT surgeon who can properly examine the throat. Just looking in the mouth is not enough,” he said.

Dr Marcus Chen, a sexual health specialist with Alfred Health, said the Australian government’s HPV Gardasil vaccination program for young people will reduce such cancers in future. In the meantime, he said testing for HPV – the “common cold of sexually transmitted infections” – was not recommended because there is no way of treating the virus or preventing it from being passed on to others.

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Metadata legislation will affect us all

METADATA. For many Australians, you can only wonder if they fully understand what the term means and how it will soon affect them.
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In short, metadata is the information you leave behind when you make a phone call or send an email. In essence, it’s the number you call, the location you call it from, and how long you spoke for. It’s not what was said during the call.

Under the federal government’s metadata legislation, which was due to come into effect yesterday, it will mean that this information will be stored for two years by your telco, and will be freely available to law-enforcement agencies, who will no longer require a warrant to access this information – as was the case previously.

The government says the laws will help protect us against terrorist activities, cyber attacks and other crimes such as child exploitation.

Not surprisingly, civil libertarians are up in arms because there will be no judicial oversight when accessing our metadata. Joe and Joanne Average may feel somewhat violated by those in authority having access to this type of personal information.

And as the country’s new data retention laws come into effect, there remain many obvious, unanswered questions.

Questions such as: How will Australia’s telcos collect and store this information?

While ISPs have had six months to plan for the introduction of the metadata laws, more than 80 per cent say they’re simply not ready and won’t be in a position to collect and encrypt the data as required by law.

That’s a staggering and somewhat frightening figure, particularly when you fully consider the word “encrypt”.

If the information isn’t encrypted correctly, it is more susceptible to being hacked or accessed illegally.

In a world where almost all our personal information is already stored online, digital security is incredibly important. Having even more of our private details open to cyber criminals is less than ideal.

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Is everything OK? – Magistrate asks murder accused about black eye

A MAN charged over the Tamworth street-fight murder of one of his associates has allegedly been bashed in jail.
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Steven John Johnson appeared in Tamworth Local Court via video link from the maximum security wing of Cessnock Correctional Centre yesterday, where he was sporting an injury to his eye.

“I see you have a black eye there, is everything okay?” Magistrate Michael Holmes asked.

“Yes, your honour,” Johnson replied.

Johnson has been in prison since he was arrested and charged on May 17 by detectives from Strike Force Leasingham – the police operation launched by Oxley detectives and the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad following the death of 52-year-old Kenny Matthews.

Mr Matthews died in Tamworth hospital 24 hours after he was allegedly bashed on Goonoo Goonoo Rd by Johnson on May 15.

Johnson is charged with one count of murder and another of assault causing death while intoxicated, but has not been required to enter aplea while investigators prepared and served an extensive brief ofevidence on his legal team.

Solicitor Patrick Kennedy said during an earlier telephone call yesterday morning his client had not wished to appear on screen for the brief mention.

“I need to know if these people are assaulted in jail,” Mr Holmes told the court yesterday.

“I was instructed only this morning,” Mr Kennedy said of the assault.

The court was not told of the details surrounding the alleged assault, but Mr Holmes urged Johnson to talk to his solicitor if he was having “any problems in the jail”.

“Are the authorities in jail looking into your assault?” he asked.

“Yes, it’s already been looked after,” Johnson replied.

Mr Kennedy said there was a joint application with the DPP for an adjournment to allow both sides more time before the case could proceed to the supreme court for trial or sentence. Mr Holmes granted the adjournment with the case to return to court for committal mention later this month.

Johnson made no application for bail and remains in custody.

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Reg Kelly Shield gala day successPHOTOS

FRONT FOOT: Thornton Public School’s Noah Green plays the ball square against Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWENThornton Public School were among the winners at the Reg Kelly Shield Gala Day at Maitland Park on Tuesday.
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Thornton scored 8-66 in defeating Largs by nine runs at Louth Park in the annual primary school cricket competition.

There were nine round matches played in total, featuring 16 schools across five venues.

Metford scored a major win over Beresfield, scoring 3-114 compared to 54 at SMR, but it was a closer encounter between St Phillip’s Christian College, Cessnock (6-67) and Pelaw Main (5-58) at Robins Oval.

Gresford experienced mixed results at GUOOF with a 16-run triumph against Seaham in the morning but then went down by 12 runs to Karuah in the afternoon.

Reg Kelly Shield gala day success | PHOTOS Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

Reg Kelly Shield action between Thornton Public School and Largs Public School. Picture by CATH BOWEN

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Dry spring fails beef markets

DARKclouds of disappointment forming over a failing spring have maintained the pressure on southern cattle prices this week.
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With saleyard supplies ramped up by 25 per cent at major regional and interstate markets compared to a fortnight ago, and direct to works selling opportunities limited to a month in advance, the downturn in physical market demand has trimmed some quotes by as much as 30 to 60 cents a kilogram liveweight compared totwo weeks ago.

Dan Fleming, Glenaroua, sold 12 Angus to $1010 at Euroa, which was a personal best. “I got $700 for steers last year that weighed less,” he said.

The beef industry’s benchmark indicator, Eastern Young Cattle Index, (EYCI) which closed Tuesday trading at 542.75c/kg, has measured this week’s price tumble at 36.26 points or 6.25pc.However gauging its performance over the past fortnight the downturn has now run beyond 9pcafter peaking at a record high of 595c/kg on September 29.

Selling agents however remain optimistic the current spate of the over-supply and cheaper markets could be relatively short-lived.Most agreethat after basking in a winter of exceptionally strong demand, booming demandand record prices that the depth to this current tearawaysupplymaybe relatively modest and adapt for another solid rebound.

That said there are several reasonsfor thesavaging of recentprices.

A weekend of public holidays that darkened abattoirs inall eastern states two weeks ago was followed immediately by a blast of hot and windy30-degree days that sapped limited sub-soil moisture after below-average winter rain.

Add to thisthe revised strengthening of the El Nino weather pattern forecast forthe summer which hasunnerved producers with market-ready cattle. And, on the international scene an equally severe correction in US-market beef and cattle prices and a surge in the Australian dollarto 73 US centshas tipped the bucket on a previously buoyant export demand that drove winter’s higherprices.

Inlocal markets,Pakenham’sMonday sale had aseasonal release of F1-Limousin-crossvealers, with best sales topping at 325c/kg lwtand drafts averaging295 and 305c.

EverittSeeley Bennettsprincipal Les Seeley said although prices were back considerably, they were reduced off recentlofty highsin a market checked by 20-30c. He said yearling steers met reserved demand making 285-312c/kg lwt while yearling heifers made 248-310c/kg.

Bullocks made 270-295c/kg lwt and were back by 10c for equivalent quality.

At Wodonga onTuesday, supply fell by one-third to 2700 after being hammered last week. But a reduced buyer field saw trade prices trimmed by a further 20-25c as steers made 275-310c/kg lwt and heifer sales averaged 266c. Bullocks and grown steer prices again fell sharply to average 278-279c.

At Shepparton onTuesday, cow prices slumped by 25-44c/kg and grown steers by 14-27c as supply numbers remained seasonal high at 3000 head. However the inclusion of a Queensland cow order atWagga Wagga, NSW, on Monday failed tohold cow values as heavy high yielding gradesfell to 203-235c/kg lwt and lean grades lost50c.

Buyers at the rails at Euroa store sale last Wednesday, where prices were cheaper as a result of the sudden hot weather.

Swan Hill agents battled on AFL grand final-eve selling to a restricted buying field, and this Thursday they are set to sell an even larger penning advised at 1853 head.

Barry Ingram, Margni Park Angus, Euroa, and Andrew Green, Red Hill Herefords, Euroa, shared many people’s concerns about the season.

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Terror-related evidence could be kept from ‘control order’ subjects

Attorney-General George Brandis said the new legislation would provide greater protection for sensitive information. Photo: Andrew Meares NSW Premier Mike Baird has pushed for an extension of the period terror suspects can be held without charge. Photo: Louise Kennerley
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Australians subjected to “control orders” on terrorism grounds – which can restrict their movements and communications – could be denied access to some of the evidence against them for security reasons, under changes proposed by the Turnbull government.

Attorney-General George Brandis flagged on Tuesday a fifth tranche of major counter-terrorism laws. The laws to be introduced in the next fortnight would mean children as young as 14 could be subjected to control orders – down from the current age limit of 16 – and authorities would be able to monitor subjects more closely to ensure they were complying with the orders, Senator Brandis said.

The laws would also create a new offence against “incitement of genocide”.

Senator Brandis told Parliament that the new legislation would “provide greater protection to sensitive information in control order proceedings”.

Meanwhile, NSW could go it alone in extending the period terrorism suspects are held without charge to up to 28 days after Senator Brandis effectively rejected a push by Premier Mike Baird for such a change.

Senator Brandis told ABC radio the extension from the current eight days could breach the Commonwealth constitution but suggested there was nothing to stop NSW changing state laws.

A spokesman for Mr Baird responded by saying that “if nationally consistent measures are not implemented, NSW will consider changing its own legislation to ensure that our law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to respond to terrorism threats”.

Under control orders, which have been used six times since they were introduced in 2005 – four of those times in the past year – people can be forced to wear tracking devices, observe curfews and have their movements and communications restricted.

They must be sought by a senior Australian Federal Police officer – with the consent of the Attorney-General – by an application to a court.

Fairfax Media understands that under the changes, the AFP could ask the judge to withhold some evidence from the subject of the order if it is deemed highly sensitive.

This could include information that exposes police methods, reveals sources or comes from foreign governments who would be deterred from sharing intelligence with Australian authorities in future if their methods risked exposure.

The final decision would rest with the judge.

Police have long expressed concern that they may increasingly be unable to present certain evidence in control order hearings because they cannot risk it becoming known to potential terrorist networks.

The new laws come in the wake of the Parramatta shooting, in which 15-year-old Farhad Jabar shot dead police accountant Curtis Cheng, but have been in the works for several months.

Senator Brandis said the use of control orders against teens would be “subject to appropriate safeguards”.

It is understood this includes the appointment of independent advocates who would represent the best interests of the child, similar to a system that currently exists in the Family Court.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the Opposition would continue to work with the government on terrorism but would not promise any blank cheques.

“Whilst on one hand it sounds draconian to have control orders on 14-year-olds, I also get that the police are trying to work through the issues,” he said.

Senator Brandis told ABC radio that he was comfortable with the idea of control orders being imposed on children as young as 14.

Police and security agencies have spoken repeatedly in the past six months about the dramatic downward trend in the ages of Australians suspected of or associated with terrorism activity.

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New senator Robert Simms talks of struggle to come out

Greens senator Robert Simms delivers his first speech to the Senate on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Member for Canning Andrew Hastie delivers his maiden speech in the House of Representatives. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Mr Hastie is congratulated by former prime minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

When Robert Simms was growing up in Adelaide, there was one thing the self-confessed “nerd” who loved debating and student politics would never have considered talking about in a speech, let alone his first speech in the Senate.

While Senator Simms had a happy childhood, there were times when he did not feel as though he quite fitted in.

In his first speech to the Senate on Tuesday evening, the new Greens senator for South Australia, who recently took over from Penny Wright, said he was about 12 when he realised he was gay.

“I stand here today as an out and proud gay man. But I certainly wasn’t always so,” the 31-year-old said.

“It was a secret I carried for a long time — indeed I didn’t tell anyone until I was in my early 20s.

“I had no conception of what a gay life might look like and was scared for the future.”

Senator Simms, who has previously worked for Greens senators Sarah Hanson-Young and Scott Ludlam and was an Adelaide City councillor, said things had since changed.

“These days, I’m very comfortable in my own skin.”

But he told the Senate that it was important to talk about his experience because “it is still not an easy thing for many young people today.

“I want to say today to any young person who might be struggling with their own journey with sexuality or gender identity, things really do get better.”

There are only two other openly gay MPs in Federal Parliament — Labor senator Penny Wong and Liberal Party senator Dean Smith. Greens senator Janet Rice, whose wife, Penny, is a transgender woman, is bisexual.

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, who won the Canning by-election last month, also gave his first speech on Tuesday evening.

Taking the seat held by the late Don Randall, Mr Hastie, 32, spoke of how he had been moved to join the Australian Defence Force in the wake of 9/11.

Watched on by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former prime minister Tony Abbott, the former SAS soldier told the House how terror had touched his life when the daughter of his primary school teacher was killed in the 2001 attack.

“I had to respond.”

Mr Hastie, who deployed to Afghanistan and the Middle East, said his experience in war had shown him the best and worst of human nature.

“I am now far more circumspect about the ability of military power to change people and societies,” he said.

“Politicians who contemplate sending young men and woman into foreign lands would do well to reflect on this truth about war.”

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Weragoda fronts final hearing

SOBERING: He was referred to a code of conduct panel by Cr Helen Leach [left] after being convicted of drink driving in May, but Cr Mark Weragoda says council should move on. Related:Weragoda fronts councillor conduct panel
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COUNCILLOR Mark Weragoda says he regrets drink driving but that the City of Greater Bendigoshould move on and leave the matter to the courts.

The councillor for Eppalock fronted his secondCouncillor Code of Conduct panel last Friday in relation to anoffence in March for which hislicence was suspended for 12 months and he was fined $627.

“It’sbeen too long now, that was seven months ago and we don’t need another councillor conduct issue hanging over this council,” he said.

Cr Weragoda said he unreservedly apologised for the incident but had “paid the cost”before the law.

“I got suspended for driving for 12 monthsso every day I wake up, I think about it,” he said.

“It does change your life –there isn’t a day that at least some little aspectisn’t hindered.”

Friday’sevents followed a hearing in JuneandCr Weragodasaid the panel would now retire to make its decision.

“They well truly aware of the fact that I had already publicly apologised and that it’snot a council matter and I’m surethey’ve taken all that into account,” he said.

Councillor Helen Leach referred Cr Weragoda to the panel after he was caught driving with a blood alcohol reading of 0.125 on March 6, initially denying the offence to theBendigo Advertiser.

Cr LeachandCouncillor Elise Chapman alsorequesteda Code of Conduct Panel last week overCouncillorPeter Cox’sgeneral conduct in his role as mayor.

Cr Cox would be the fourth member of the current council to face aCode of Conduct Panel this term– a recordCr Weragoda said wasjeopardizing council’sability to do its job.

“In this day and agemediation seems a much better outcome thanwastingenergy and money [on conduct panels],” he said.

“The quicker we can deal with these issues and move on the better.”

In August, a Code of Conduct Panelordered Cr Chapman apologisefor tweeting an image of children with mutilated genitals to a supporter of Bendigo’s proposed mosque in February.

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Losing not on agenda

DIFFERENT age group, same result.
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That’s how best to describe the Ulverstone under 16 girls basketball team, who have swept all before them again in 2015 on their way to another nomination in The Advocate-IGA Junior Sports Awards.

Starting as a bunch of Under 14 players in 2013, the Robert Bourke-coached side has not lost a game in three seasons, both at local and state level.

They capped off this year with a resounding 61-29 win over Devonport in the NWBU junior inter-town grand final, followed by a tough 50-46 triumph over Penguin for the Tasmanian title.

Bourke said the group, which contains state players Shelby Rayner, Sarah O’Neill, Phoebe Buchwald and Molly Synnott, has been able to produce such consistent results thanks to a stable playing list and plenty of hard work.

“The uniqueness of the team is that we’ve had a core group of seven players all the way through and we’ve picked up three new players each year,” he said.

“It’s very rare that you get so many kids coming through at the same age that stick together and follow it all the way through.

“We also just work a little bit harder than anyone else – these girls train a couple of mornings a week, as well as their usual team trainings, so they are all trying to improve themselves individually.”

In bad news for all the other teams in Tasmania, it looks like the group will all front up again in 2016 to keep the unbeaten streak going.

“They’ve all indicated that they want to go on and play next year, so that bodes well for our association,” Bourke said.

“The ultimate aim is for Ulverstone to have a team of locally developed players to participate in the senior women’s competition.”

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Top-weight Protectionist draws barrier 12 in Caulfield Cup

Strapper Bob Bowe with 2014 Melbourne Cup winner, Protectionist.Defending Melbourne Cup champion Protectionist will jump from barrier 12 in the Caulfield Cup on Saturday.
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The top weight was drawn midfield for the $3 million group 1 on Tuesday afternoon with Aberglasslyn-based owner Luke Murrell philosophical about the outcome.

Murrell, who manages the Australian Bloodstock syndicate along with Belmont business partner Jamie Lovett, said this weekend’s 2400 metre journey was merely a warm up for their German stayer in a bid for back-to-back Melbourne Cup victories.

“Realistically this is not his grand final but an important lead up race because he has been trained for one thing only – the Melbourne Cup,” Murrell said.

“The draw will let him settle in the last third of the field without being last and as long as he is

hitting the line we will be on track to run top four in the Melbourne Cup.”

The six-year-old stallion has struggled to find form during the last 12 months after suffering from bone bruising and has raced four times in the last month, including the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 4.

Brenton Avdulla has the ride on Protectionist carrying 58 kilograms.

Fellow Kris Lees-trained charge Lucia Valentina will launch from gate 20 in this year’s Caulfield Cup after finishing third in the same race last year.

Early 2015 favourite Mongolian Kahn did his chances little harm by landing gate nine, which could end up a further two inside if the emergency runners don’t start.

Fame Game has drawn barrier one with Royal Descent out at 22. In between them will be Snow Sky (3), Grand Marshal (6), Gust Of Wind (13), Set Square (16) and Melbourne Cup third placegetter Who Shot Thebarman (21).

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2016 Democratic debate: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders to clash constructively

Hillary Rodham Clinton visits a rally hosted by the Culinary Workers Union outside the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. Clinton’s polling has suffered after a summer of Republican attacks. Photo: New York Times Preparations ahead of CNN’s Democratic presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas. Few observers believe the event will be as combative as the earlier Republican debates. Photo: New York Times
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Is the Tea Party leading the GOP into electoral oblivion?

For a candidate with such a commanding lead in the polls, Hillary Clinton has a staggering amount riding on the upcoming Democratic presidential debate.

She began the campaign with every possible advantage – universal name recognition, popular support from her time as secretary of state, a mighty political machine, near universal support of the Democratic Party’s establishment and a mountain of money.

But after a long summer of relentless Republican attacks over her use of a private email server while serving as Obama’s chief diplomat, the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi during that time and a surprisingly effective assault from the left by Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, she has seen her favourability plunge from the mid-60s to the low 40s.

Though most Democrats accept that the attacks on her over the email system and the Benghazi attack appear to be politically motivated – indeed a Republican leading the Benghazi investigation clumsily admitted so earlier this month – they have been shocked at how poorly Clinton has performed in her own defence.

Indeed it is this failing on her own behalf that has led to some Obama operatives – who are terrified she might lose an election to Republicans that will dismantle his legacy – to begin the push for a run by Vice President Joe Biden.

Clinton will use the debate to try to convince her party she is up to the job not only of connecting with and exciting Democratic voters, but taking on and defeating the eventual Republican candidate.

For all that, few observers believe the event will be as combative as the two Republican debates that have preceded it.

Clinton’s main adversary on the state in Las Vegas will be the gruff socialist Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who has insisted he is not interested in personal attacks.

With this no-nonsense approach Sanders has already managed to drive his support from around 8 per cent in June to 25 per cent now. He has a reputation for honesty and integrity that he is unlikely to surrender with attacks on Clinton in the debate.

And Clinton cannot afford to offend Sanders’ supporters, who she one day hopes to win over herself.

Also on the stage will be three long-shot candidates, Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee, all three of whom have barely registered in the public eye since their campaigns began. Simply appearing on stage alongside Clinton and Sanders will be a victory for them.

Who’s who

Hillary Clinton

A former secretary of state, senator and first lady, Clinton’s qualifications are utterly unimpeachable.

But her retail political skills have always let her down. She was expected to easily win her party’s nomination in 2008 before a little-known senator called Barack Obama snatched the prize from her.

Despite the challenge being mounted by Sanders this time around, most people think she will still win the nomination. But some fear she could be dangerously diminished by the race. Clinton’s evasive and changing answers to the email questions have demolished her personal standing, with most Americans now viewing her as untrustworthy and unsympathetic.

Clinton has fallen into second place in Iowa and New Hampshire, with reports that some in her campaign think she should abandon New Hampshire entirely.

Clinton’s strength is her relationship with minority voters, particularly African-Americans, who have fond memories of her husband’s presidency in the 1990s. Iowa and New Hampshire are two of the whitest states in the union, but beyond that are Nevada, where the Hispanic vote will be telling, and South Carolina, where the Democratic party is almost completely dominated by African-Americans.

While she originally planned to cite her centrist credentials and electability during the primary season, Clinton has moved sharply to the left on a number of issues, vowing action on gun control, climate change and abandoning her previous support for free trade to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Clinton’s campaign has shifted from hoping for a quick primary victory into a strategy of grinding out victory by relying on the votes of blacks, Latinos and working class whites. She remains the heavy favourite and the consensus candidate of the party establishment, particularly if the Vice President does not run. Clinton currently is at 42 per cent in the RealClearPolitics compilation of major polls.

Bernie Sanders

The 74-year-old socialist has been an independent member of Congress for almost 25 years and a senator from Vermont since 2007. An outspoken advocate for civil rights, universal healthcare and action to combat climate change, Sanders rose to national prominence with a 2010 marathon denunciation on the floor of the Senate against tax cuts for the wealthy.

With a stooped back, shock of white hair and the gruff demeanour of a prickly university professor, Sanders was originally given little chance when he announced his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination back in April. However, buoyed by growing liberal disenchantment with Clinton and his own reputation for no-nonsense straight talk, Sanders has surpassed the former secretary of state in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire and has narrowed the gap considerably in national polls.

A determined campaigner against the influence of money in politics, Sanders has shrugged off the hostility of Wall Street Democrats and instead copied the early example of Barack Obama in 2008 by raising enormous sums of money in small amounts by tapping a vast donor network of ordinary, middle class Americans.

Sanders has rejected attack ads, vowing to campaign strictly on the issues and any direct assaults on Sanders by Clinton are likely to backfire badly among a Democratic electorate that views Sanders very favourably.

Sanders’ biggest weakness may be his long-standing support for the rights of gun owners, an unpopular position with the Democratic faithful that Sanders now appears to be abandoning. The Vermont Senator is a non-observant Jew, though he has become fond of quoting Pope Francis. Sanders is currently at 25.4 per cent in the RealClearPolitics compilation of major polls.

Jim Webb

Webb has been an award-winning journalist, is an author of 10 books and taught at Harvard and the US Naval Academy. A former Republican, Webb is also a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran and served as Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. However, Webb was an early and prominent critic of the Iraq War, calling it “the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory” and turned against the GOP. He waged a long-shot campaign for the Senate in Virginia in 2006 and shocked the American political establishment by defeating the incumbent Republican.

He had a moment of fame in November 2006 when refused to stand in line with other newly-elected senators to have his photo taken with President Bush. When Bush approached Webb and asked about his son, who was serving in Iraq, Webb replied that he wanted to get his son out of Iraq.

During his six years in the Senate – he did not seek re-election in 2012 – Webb focused on veterans affairs, opposing the Iraq War and reforming America’s policies of mass incarceration. Webb is currently at 0.9 per cent in the RealClearPolitics​ compilation of major polls.

Martin O’Malley​

The former mayor of Baltimore and two-term governor of Maryland, O’Malley is waging a long shot campaign for the nomination. O’Malley was hoping to be the left-wing alternative to Clinton until Sanders occupied that space for himself.

As governor O’Malley carefully established his liberal credentials by backing offshore wind farms and backing gay marriage.

But – to the extent that it has been noticed at all – his campaign has been bruised by his record as mayor of Baltimore, where his tough-on-crime policies are seen by some to have contributed to the conditions that lead to the devastating riots earlier this year.

O’Malley is currently at 0.6 per cent in the RealClearPolitics compilation of major polls.

Lincoln Chafee​

Another former Republican, Chafee is a Yankee blueblood whose father was US Secretary of the Navy in the 1960s, governor of Rhode Island and Senator from Rhode Island from 1976 to 1999.

Chafee succeeded his father in the Senate as a Republican, but soon found himself at odds with the new right-wing administration of President George W. Bush. In 2004 Chafee refused to support Bush for president, instead writing in the name of Bush’s father, who served as president from 1989-1993. In 2006, Chafee ran for re-election, but with Rhode Island a very liberal state and the country in the grip of a ferocious reaction against the Bush administration, Chafee was defeated by a Democrat and lost his Senate seat. In 2007, out of office, Chafee abandoned the Republican party to become an independent and soon endorsed Barack Obama for president.

In 2010, Chafee ran for governor of Rhode Island and won. In 2012 Chafee was a co-chair of Obama’s re-election campaign and in 2013 he announced he was dropping his independent status to formally join the Democratic party.

Chafee declined to run for re-election as governor in 2014, instead declaring his intention to run for president as a Democrat. Chafee is pro-choice and pro-gay rights, opposes tax cuts for the wealthy, favours gun control, and action to combat climate change. In 2002 Chafee was the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the Iraq War. Chafee is currently at 0.2 per cent in the RealClearPolitics compilation of major polls.

Joseph Biden

The vice president, Joe Biden, is the wild card in the coming primaries. He is not appearing in the debate but is known to be considering making a run.

It is understood Biden, who will be 73 in November, is being encouraged by Obama supporters who are concerned that Clinton has so far failed to either connect with the Democratic base or adequately explain to voters why she broke regulations to use a personal email server as secretary of state.

Biden is Clinton’s political antithesis, warm where she is cold, happy on the stump and prone the sort of gaffes people willing to speak off-the-cuff make.

Biden is no stranger to presidential politics, having run unsuccessfully for the White House in 1988 and 2008. A long time member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden opposed the Persian Gulf War in 1991, but voted to authorise force against Iraq in 2002.

However, Biden soon became a critic of the Iraq War and opposed President Bush’s troop surge into the country in 2007.

Long one of the most resolutely middle class of all US Senators, Biden was known for taking the train home to his family in Delaware during breaks from his Senate duties. Biden lost a wife and infant daughter in a car accident in 1972 and then lost his 46-year-old son Beau to brain cancer in May this year.

A stout liberal, Biden came out in support of gay marriage before Obama did and is an environmentalist, opposing oil drilling in the Alaskan wildlife refuge and supporting action to combat climate change. While in the Senate Biden co-sponsored the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act with Bernie Sanders, the most stringent climate change bill in the Senate. Biden is a friend of organised labour, though he has been mostly supportive of free trade and if he does run, he might be the only Democrat pursuing the nomination to support the TPP.

It is widely believed Biden must make his intentions known within the next few days. Although CNN invited Biden to participate in the debate, he has not accepted. While it is uncertain how a Biden candidacy would affect the race, most observers believe he would pull the bulk of his support from Hillary Clinton, the other member of the political establishment running. Biden is currently in third place in the RealClearPolitics compilation of major polls, with 18.6 per cent.

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