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LEGISLATION that would enable the lease of the Port of Newcastle was debated in the NSW upper house late on Tuesdaynight.
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However, the debate was adjourned, as it is understood the government still has not received an indication from the two Shooters and Fishers Party MPs, Robert Borsak and Robert Brown, about whether they will support the bill.

The pair share the balance of power in the Legislative Council, which is in its final sitting week before Parliament’s winter break.

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird will be in Newcastle today to sell his plan for the long-term lease.

Mr Baird will meet Port Corporation management, staff and union representatives to ‘‘quell some of the broad concerns’’ about workers’ entitlements and jobs.

He also plans to address the reservation of public space.

In last week’s budget, the state government said it would seek to lease the Port of Newcastle for 99 years, and use $340million of the $700million it expected to earn to build light rail between Wickham and Newcastle.

Another $120million had already been promised to improve the city centre.

Any cash left over from the $460million would stay in the Hunter for spending on other regional projects.

Mr Baird said issues surrounding dredging, pilotage, security and environmental protection would be addressed in the study, to be completed this year.

The port is expected to be leased before the next budget.

Mr Baird called on Labor to end its opposition to the plan, which he described as a ‘‘once in a generation opportunity for Newcastle’’.

‘‘It’s time Labor got on board with the revitalisation of Newcastle. It seems to me their plan is to leave everything unchanged,’’ he said.

THE player-points system slated to come into effect next Northern NSW State League season is causing confusion and concern among clubs.
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But is the gain worth all the pain?

Clubs have provided a list of their top 20 players, and the points they would accrue, to Northern NSW Football to give the federation an idea of where to set the first-year benchmark for admission into the National Premier League.

A presentation of club submissions will be made to the National Competition Review implementation committee tomorrow night.

Each club is given 200 points for their top 20 players. Each player is assigned 10 points, and points are added or subtracted from there to favour under-25, home-grown and loyal talent.

Only three of the nine clubs, Weston (176), Charlestown (180) and South Cardiff (187), would fit under the cap if it was in place now.

NNSWF, however, has said the 2014 cap will be higher to ease the transition then be wound back over the following few years to 200.

Figures such as 230 or 250 have been discussed as a starting cap, but even those will be difficult to achieve for some.

Lake Macquarie (337), Lambton Jaffas (300) and Edgeworth (280) would go through significant upheaval to get near them.

Promoted clubs are given 30 points’ dispensation, but that won’t help newcomers the Jaffas in their second season.

Broadmeadow (212), Hamilton (224) and Valentine (230) are not far away and would seemingly have little trouble getting under a revised target.

But, it must be said, not all those figures are guaranteed to be correct. Some of it is guesswork. In many cases clubs have claimed dispensation for developing elite players or keeping home-grown talent in the hope they followed the guidelines correctly.

This has added to concerns over how clubs will deal with the change and, more importantly, how it will be policed.

But perhaps the better question is: does the competition need it?

The player-points system is one of the criteria set out by the nationwide NCR for entry into the NPL.

It is designed to improve youth development and curb excessive player payments.

But the Emerging Jets program is already aligned to the State League and grabs the best juniors from under 10s onwards, so who are the clubs developing?

Surely, any talent worth the Jets’ interest will be picked up long before they turn 20, and anyone older than that is very long odds to progress past State League level.

As for curbing player payments, most see the benefits, but when was the last time a State League club went bust?

Edgeworth in 1978?

Bloated payments have regularly killed rugby league clubs in Newcastle, but soccer teams have shown far greater restraint. Also, the promotion-relegation system provides a safety net of sorts for those who overreach.

Despite their concerns, most clubs see the benefits of encouraging junior development and discouraging big-money battles for players.

However, everyone is questioning the need to drive out older players when they are still among the best in the league. Starting points penalties at age 28 or 30 appears to make more sense.

As it stands, the points system will only improve lower divisions and damage State League standards.

And what’s the point of that?

Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards has unequivocally backed James Sutherland to continue as chief executive, saying his management team had done all it could to avoid the cultural meltdown that has befallen Australian cricket.
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Sutherland is contracted until 2015 and on Monday said he had no reason to review his own position in light of the on and off-field malfunctions that led to Mickey Arthur’s shock axing as coach.

However, he has come under scrutiny as the chief of an organisation that has failed to meet the standards set out in the Argus review, and because he was slow to take control of the behavioural issues that bubbled to the surface in India.

He waited until after the 4-0 drubbing to gather the facts. A long-awaited public show of leadership came when he slammed the behaviour of David Warner and his fellow drinkers at the Walkabout in Birmingham, describing it as despicable.

Edwards said Sutherland had driven major achievements for the business and governance of Cricket Australia including landmark media rights and sponsorship deals. He said the team’s operations and performances were ”probably the only area that we haven’t achieved above what we hoped to achieve but that’s not to say we won’t”.

”That’s the reason for changing coaches, that things were not progressing the way we wanted, so that hard decision was made. That came initially from management. It would have been easy to ignore, to say let’s leave it for another year or six months and let the contract run its course, but we didn’t. That is what I call managing the business,” Edwards told Fairfax Media in England.

He said Sutherland had trusted team management to deal with the India fiasco on the ground. ”That was a difficult time, no question, and it’s in those circumstances that the stress levels rise and issues that exist burst forth. That is what happened. We all wish that hadn’t happened, but it did happen. There are probably still issues there to be

resolved. We will see how the new coach and new structure works.”

”In hindsight you can always do things better, but at the time it was a fast-moving issue and management and the board grappled with it as best we could with the information we had. We did what we thought was right at the time and backed management on the ground.”

Asked if Sutherland had the support of the board, Edwards said: ”Absolutely, without question. We are very comfortable with the way things are tracking at that level.”

Sutherland had been armed with powers to do anything it took to bring a solution to the disharmony and ill-discipline that had been dogging the Australian team along with poor on-field performance.

Fairfax Media understands that members of the Cricket Australia board and other senior staff even discussed whether more players had to be sanctioned for the debacle, even questioning at one point two weeks ago whether sending particular squad members home was a viable option.

These conversations never reached to the point where that was a serious alternative – Arthur ended up being the fall guy with his sacking announced on Monday – but the CA hierarchy had become disturbed and disappointed at the state of affairs.

Sutherland has made little secret of his anger not only at the conduct of David Warner, who was fined and suspended for punching England’s Joe Root in a Birmingham nightclub this month, but at the fact six players were out until 2.30am after a woeful loss to England in the Champions Trophy.

There has also been top-level concern about former vice-captain Shane Watson’s place in the team and his relationship with captain Michael Clarke.

The team’s performance on and off the field in India so alarmed the board that the behaviour of Clarke’s men was discussed at length at their past two meetings, including one in May.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Case in point: Kiesha Weippeart. Photo: SuppliedOnly 30 per cent of NSW’s most serious child abuse cases are fully investigated with a visit by a case worker because of staff shortages, says the Public Service Association, which represents social workers.
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That means as many as 70 per cent of cases potentially like Kiesha Weippeart’s may be closed without a visit from a social worker.

These cases were usually shut with the note ”due to competing priorities”, said Robin Croon, an organiser with the Public Service Association of NSW.

”The system is failing the children of this state,” she said, while stressing case workers were doing their best with limited resources.

On Tuesday, the government refused to say exactly how many caseworkers were employed, or whether this number had dropped in recent years. Instead, a spokeswoman said there were ”over 2000 Community Services caseworkers in NSW, as there have been for a number of years”.

The Department of Community Services also refused to comment on the management of Kiesha’s case, as did Community Services minister Pru Goward.

Ms Croon said there might be 2000 positions but the real issue was the ”number of bums on seats”.

In some parts of the state, as many as 20 per cent to 50 per cent of caseworker positions were vacant. In the past two years, not one new social worker had sat the department’s entry test, a requirement for any new caseworker.

Ms Croon said if there had been more caseworkers, more may have done more to protect Kiesha.

A report by the NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour earlier this year into reviewable child deaths in NSW found two-thirds of the families of the 77 children who died or were suspected of dying of abuse, neglect or in care in 2010 and 2011 had a child protection history.

”In some cases, families had been the subject of frequent reports,” he said. ”We found that risk was not adequately assessed, or not assessed at all because of competing priorities and gaps in casework.”

Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward has said caseworker numbers go up and down and has promised more detailed figures later this year.

Court documents revealed Kiesha had only attended school four times in her life and she had suffered repeated bruising and abuse, including cigarette burns inflicted by her mother. ”She shouldn’t have been out of school for that length of time,” Ms Croon said. ”And if there were enough case workers, then more children would be in safe placements.”

Experts said the sheer number of cases was swamping social workers, causing many experienced caseworkers to leave because they had become burnt out and had been traumatised by the cases they had seen.

Across Australia, there were more than 300,000 calls to child abuse help lines in 2011-12, often concerning the same children.

According to Martha Knox-Haly, who has studied child abuse in NSW for nearly 20 years, everyone is under pressure.

”When you have got this kind of volume, it is hard to keep track and effectively triage,” she said. ”We clearly have a social problem of failing to support families and we are stripping away institutional support for them.”

Dr Knox-Haly, an organisational pyschologist who runs MKA Risk Mitigation, said the number of working parents living below the poverty line had increased, the availability of foster care was limited, and more families at risk were slipping through the net as they moved from rental property to rental property in search of affordable housing.

According to Tim Beard, the head of child welfare data with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the number of substantiations (serious cases) rose by nearly 8000 in 2011-12 to 48,000 cases after falling for the previous four years.

A substantiation occurs when an investigation finds there is enough evidence to show a child has been or is at risk of abuse or harm.

He said this jump could indicate caseworkers had got better at identifying children most at risk and were also clearing a backlog of more serious cases.

”There can’t be a sudden spate of child abuse and neglect – you don’t suddenly see 8000 new cases,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

$30 million: Estimated budget cut at Prince of Wales Hospital. Photo: Nicolas WalkerDoctors have warned that Prince of Wales Hospital is facing an unprecedented reduction in services to meet a 10 per cent budget cut, estimated to be about $30 million.
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An internal hospital email obtained by Fairfax Media reveals that an amalgamation of cancer departments would be accompanied by a $300,000 cut to the cancer unit budget. It said the stroke unit will also be ”dismantled”.

The email says at least 11 nursing positions would be lost and senior doctors have also been asked to reduce staffing levels. The cancer unit is considering no longer seeing patients from outside the area to reduce their patient load.

Professor James Colebatch, the chairman of the hospital’s medical staff council, said the changes were part of a $30 million budget cut for the Randwick hospital.

”We’ve never been in a position before where we have had to close services. That is unprecedented.”

Hospital director of operations Jon Roberts said the budget would not be finalised until August.

”However, it is clear the hospital needs to reduce its costs to ensure the cost structure of the hospital is more in line with its peer hospitals.”

Mr Roberts said he has asked all units in the hospital to review costs and identify potential savings. A range of strategies are being identified to improve efficiency, but Mr Roberts said the hospital ”has no plans to reduce patient access to cancer services”.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner said frontline services ”are going up, not down” and Prince of Wales Hospital would receive an increased budget this financial year. ” [It] will undertake more activity than any previous year,” she said.

The internal email said the cancer program has to ”somehow fit” patient demand for 27 beds into 20 beds which would result in cancer patients being distributed to other hospital wards.

Professor Colebatch said the hospital’s stroke unit was being relocated, but said it was too early to tell how this might affect patients. ”All the medical staff are aware demand on our services are increasing, but we are being told we must limit the amount we provide.”

Professor Colebatch said departments including the cancer unit were considering limiting patient access to people from the local area.

The president of the Australian Medical Association NSW branch, Brian Owler, said patients in the south east ”need to be very concerned about the sorts of cuts being made because these cuts are clearly cuts to frontline medical services”.

”Despite reassurances from the government, it appears these are the sorts of cuts being instituted at Prince of Wales.”

Opposition health spokesman Andrew McDonald said Prince of Wales Hospital ”is struggling”.

”For a major university teaching hospital to consider denying care to patients referred to it simply because of their postcode just shows how desperate they have become,” he said.

A medical staff member who did not want their name published said the budget cuts would affect a range of services, but cancer services would ”bear a significant part of the cuts”.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Plans for an ‘integrated connected resort’: ECHO Entertainment chairman John O’Neill. Photo: Janie Barrett Echo’s vision for Sydney plans. Photo: Supplied
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Rival bid: James Packer. Photo: Louise Kennerley

Packer’s proposal: Crown Sydney at Barangaroo.

Sydney’s high-stakes casino battle has been too focused on dollars to the detriment of ”proper planning”, the Australian Institute of Architects says.

The debate over the rival bids to command the city’s casino market is shifting to crucial urban design issues and follows criticism that the two glitzy proposals belong in Dubai or Las Vegas.

Star casino owner Echo Entertainment wants to transform the Pyrmont site into an ”integrated connected resort” comprising two upmarket hotels, luxury villas and a rooftop water park.

The proposal is vying with James Packer’s Crown Casino bid at Barangaroo. A panel will advise the government on which plan offers the greatest economic benefit to NSW.

The Star plan includes a $130 million investment in public works – a clear pitch to regular Sydneysiders rather than VIP high rollers. It incorporates a footbridge from Darling Island to south Barangaroo, which Echo says would improve connections between the precincts and reduce commute times for inner west light rail users.

Public parks and the harbour foreshore would be ”enhanced” and include a sculpture walk and other public art.

But the NSW president of the Australian Institute of Architects, Joe Agius, said both casino proposals ”run counter to proper planning processes”.

”The government should be considering social and environmental factors in assessing these proposals, not just their economic viability,” he said.

He called for a master plan that distinguished public and private space to be developed, saying parks surrounding the Star were not a ”forecourt” to the casino.

University of NSW design expert James Weirick has said the Star’s proposed public domain works were a ”Vegas-style playground”.

However, Sydney Business Chamber executive director Patricia Forsythe described the bridge as ”a stroke of genius”.

The Crown proposal has been criticised as a Dubai-style structure that will dominate the public space.

Echo Entertainment’s head of corporate affairs, Geoff Parmenter, said the proposed public domain works were ”just artist impressions” and it would consult with the City of Sydney council, the public and other stakeholders.

Committee for Sydney chief executive Tim Williams welcomed the ”raising of the bar on urban design thinking”, adding ”it’s good the debate is focusing now on the impact on Sydney, rather than just on gambling”.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Hazel Hawke. July 3 1990Picture: Andrew De La Rue Photo: Andrew De La Rue Paying his respects: former prime minister Bob Hawke. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
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Fondly remembered: Hazel Hawke

Damien Murphy

Hazel Hawke lived the life of an ordinary wife and mother in a postwar Australia that became so less and less ordinary that when the country came to say good bye five prime ministers honoured her.

The changes she was forced to go through so publicly as Australian politics turned presidential made many want to protect her but she remained the constant mum, her own woman.

As her close friend, Wendy McCarthy told her State Memorial Service in the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday, Hazel Hawke took her marriage vows seriously and she cherished her family.

“She lived through the shifting landscape of being female in Australia,” McCarthy said.

When her marriage ended, friends mattered a great deal but McCarthy explained she also found independence, a second career, a great social life.

Hazel Hawke died on May 23 from Alzheimers complications.

The great and good joined hundreds of friends and ordinary men, but mainly women, to honour her memory and the Concert Hall.

The venue was special. McCarthy said her friend had become a mature age groupie and the Sydney Symphony,”her favorite band”. They played Mozart’s Concerto in F for three pianos, K242, Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers from Nutcracker; The Sydney Children’s Choir sang a traditional Torres Strait song and Waltzing Matilda.

Bob Hawke, his children Sue, Stephen and Rosslyn, sat with his grandchildren while the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, Lieutenant Governor Tom Bathurst, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Premier Barry O’Farrell, Julie Bishop (representing Opposition leader Tony Abbott), John Howard, Janette Howard and Kevin Rudd also occupied the front seats. Paul and Anita Keating were behind. Laurie Brereton was nearby.

From Hazel Hawke’s Melbourne years, came Bill Kelty, Gareth Evans, Barry Jones. The former Queensland premier Anna Bligh was there. So too was former South Australian senator Nick Bolkus.

Most mentioned her crackling laugh. Bob Hawke’s former ACTU research assistant Ralph Willis remembered her Australian accent and recalled a riddle that went around Oxford when her husband to be was on a Rhodes scholarship concerning the difference between buffalo and bison – the latter was what Hazel called abasin. Everybody laughed.

Willis also recalled entering the Hawke home in the Melbourne suburb of Sandringham with his wife Carol in 1971 when his boss had just been named Father of the Year and how Hazel had been less than impressed with the award.

Sue Peters-Hawke, her eldest daughter, said her mother had an instinctive tendency to see the best in people and situations.

“It’s said that you’re lucky if you have a compass to hand that always points true, a voice that guides you in the direction of your most profound values and towards the best of what is possible. For me, that voice was Hazel.”

Shortly before she died on May 23, Bob Hawke lay next to her and sang Danny Boy.

Tenor Bradley Daley sang it to close the celebration and as the final words “And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me” swelled through the hall Hawke’s head dropped, his right fist tightened.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Vitamins away: Charlie Mgee, Katrina Button and Mal Webb do their sing. Photo: Jono Dropbear ChongWhat will be the highlights of this year’s Glastonbury music festival, which begins on Wednesday at Worthy Farm, in southern England? The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Smashing Pumpkins? How about the Australian band Formidable Vegetable Sound System?
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The three-piece from Fremantle, which puts gently funny lyrics about living a permaculture lifestyle to jaunty swing music, has been booked to play a remarkable eight times at Glastonbury, which is headlined by the giants of rock and alternative music.

This year’s Glastonbury, which closes on Sunday, has a strong Australian representation, with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds headlining and high-profile sets for WA’s Tame Impala and Sydney’s Jagwar Ma, bands the British music press have fallen hard for.

Australians Matt Corby, Xavier Rudd, Blue King Brown, the Bombay Royale, Deep Street Soul and Saskwatch also play.

But few bands – Australian or otherwise – will play as much as “the Vegetables”.

“I’m bracing myself,” says Charlie Mgee, 29, a drummer who started the Formidable Vegetable Sound System after doing a permaculture (sustainable design) course in Nimbin.

“It’s really exciting, but it’s also going to be a lot of work. It’s probably the biggest festival in the world [attracting 170,000 fans] and to have the opportunity to play to such a huge audience, singing about what I’m passionate about, that was always my ultimate goal.”

Mgee writes the music and lyrics and plays ukelele; Katrina Button DJs, and Mal Webb, a horn player who has played with the Cat Empire, Ani Di Franco and Nicky Bomba’s Bomba, plays brass instruments.

Mgee’s message is dark green – and generally delivered with humour, such as “I save my seeds and eat my weeds and feed the leftovers to ya mum” from No Such Thing As Waste – but it’s wrapped up in music so infectious that the most ardent climate sceptic would have trouble staying still.

“No one wants to be preached to,” Mgee says. “This is a way to make sustainability fun.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Unusual: Hundreds of bait fish lie stranded on a beach at South Durras. Photo: John PerkinsHundreds of bait fish have washed ashore mysteriously on the main beach at South Durras as wild weather continues to buffet the south coast.
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Friends of Durras spokesman John Perkins photographed the large school of beached bait fish, saying many were still alive at the time.

Mr Perkins, who has lived in the area for 20 years, said he had never seen anything like it. There were hundreds of fish layered along the beach and more in the shallows.

“When waves came in and washed them back, they didn’t swim away,’’ he said.

Mr Perkins said Durras Lake’s entrance to the sea, which had been opened since October last year, closed recently and he wondered if this had caused the fish’s unusual behaviour.

Narooma News editor Stan Gorton said the yellowtail scad and slimy mackerel were plentiful, but in all his years on the coast he had not seen them washed up like this.

The photos have been sent to NSW Fisheries to help solve the mystery.

Meanwhile, Batemans Bay residents are being urged to stay away from the waterfront area with king tides hitting the town on Tuesday.

Water from high waves are impacting on parts of Wharf Rd, Surfside, Beach Rd at Corrigans Beach and Casey’s Beach.

The SES is urging people to stay away from the promenade area in the central business district.

“Sightseeing is extremely dangerous,” a spokesperson said.

Just over 12 months ago high swells ripped-up granite slabs along the Batemans Bay promenade, a popular tourist walk.

Meanwhile, a minor flood warning has been issued for the Moruya River at Wamban.

Up to 144 millimetres of rain has fallen during the past 30 hours with heavy rain forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology for the next 12 to 24 hours. This anticipated rain is expected to cause minor flooding at Wamban.

Authorities say at this stage it is not possible to predict a flood peak due to uncertainty around how much more rain will fall.

with the Bay Post

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

How do you measure success when you grow fruit trees? Is it how quickly you can pick the first harvest? Is it the quantity or the quality of the fruit that is produced? Perhaps is it more about how hard or easy it is to grow the tree and care for the crop that is produced.
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I am often asked which fruit trees are the easiest to grow in Canberra. It is often a leading question because the person asking that question is just waiting for some confirmation on their existing preferences. How do figs rate against all of the above?

They need particular care in the first two years after planting, especially if you have purchased the small trees from local garden centres. One of my pet hates is to see a tree bought from a nursery that has had its main roots cut back savagely to fit the rooting structures into a round plastic pot. In the good, old days this was never done.

The trees were brought in from the propagation nurseries and “heeled in” to deep garden beds with plenty of soil and sawdust to keep the roots moist and all roots intact.

Cutting off the main roots to fit into a garden pot may help garden centre staff with potting up remaining trees at the end of the winter season but it certainly doesn’t help the little fruit tree. It sets it back for one or two seasons and often leads to heartbreak when a few hot summers days or low water supplies wring the life out of it.

What has this got to do with fig trees in particular? Well, fig trees are generally priced at the upper end of the market range so if you happen to be sold a tree without a good root structure, including adequate small fibrous roots, and the tree dies on you before Christmas, you will be sad, and often become quite angry. It’s an opportunity lost to become a backyard garden producer of fine fruit.

Our biggest black genoa fig tree was the most productive tree in the entire fruit orchard this past year. We sold 25 kilograms of fresh figs from this tree, on our annual apple festival day and through the Capital Region Farmers Market.

We also made 65 jars of fig jam and exchanged several trays with friends who wished to try roasted caramelised fig desserts or simply eat the delicious fresh organic fig.

Once established, they are a pretty hardy fruit. They can withstand temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius during the winter dormant period but late frosts on the emerging new spring shoots will impact severely on the tree for the following season. They do take a number of years to fill out their branches and produce a reasonable crop, but good tree care and regular summer waterings will help to push the tree growth along.

You can hope to pick three or four figs from your little trees within three years of planting. A reasonable crop can be expected after six or seven years. And there are few pest problems, apart from keeping the birds away from the ripening fruit.

There is a simple solution at hand: netting. Farm-supply businesses like our local rural suppliers at Hall will sell you a length of the white netting. Buy a length that will cover the entire tree and have some left over to lay on the ground around the perimeter of the tree.

John and Dora Andonaris are our local fig experts. Their property is just south of Queanbeyan and they supply the Capital Region Farmers Market.

They will have well-rooted black genoa and Dora’s supreme figs for sale each Saturday from now until the end of October – well, until their stocks last.

Owen Pidgeon runs the Loriendale Organic Orchard near Hall.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Top of the list: Stephen Dank. Photo: Tim ClaytonSports scientist Stephen Dank will be grilled by investigators after the Senate voted to bolster the coercive powers of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
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Interviews with Cronulla Sharks players – shelved last month – will also resume under the new powers, which have been described as a ”game changer” by a source close to the Sutherland club.

ASADA will be able to demand phone records, text messages, documents and medical prescriptions of players and others, including Mr Dank, regardless of whether they are self-incriminatory.

It is understood Mr Dank, who has refused to co-operate with ASADA to this point, is at the top of the list of interview targets once the law change takes effect within a month. He did not return calls.

The ASADA Amendment Bill passed the Senate late on Monday night. It is expected to clear the lower house by Thursday.

The law will give ASADA the power to compel people through a ”disclosure notice” to attend interviews and, importantly, force them to hand over any documentation requested, including records of communications.

Those who refuse face fines of $5100 for every day they refuse to co-operate.

The government had sought star chamber powers that would force people to answer questions even if the answers would incriminate them. Sport Minister Kate Lundy and Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare are under pressure to get results after the infamous ”blackest day in sport” press conference that launched the investigation.

But amendments secured by the Greens will mean interviewees keep the right to silence and can take a lawyer into the interview room.

Labor senator Jacinta Collins hinted at the focus on the sports scientists that have infiltrated sport.

She told Parliament: ”Importantly, a disclosure notice can go to anyone; not just athletes or their support personnel. This recognises that people outside the jurisdiction of Australia’s anti-doping regime may have information that would assist ASADA to identify and sanction those who commit anti-doping rule violations.”

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates, who has lobbied for beefed up powers for ASADA, welcomed the Senate vote.

”With this legislation and the new powers it provides ASADA, Australia remains at the forefront of the fight against doping in sport,” he said.

ASADA interviews with Essendon players and club officials are almost complete but interviews with Sharks players have been stalled since second-rower Wade Graham attended but refused to co-operate.

Rugby League Players Association chief executive David Garnsey said he would need to read the detail of the ASADA Amendment Bill before commenting.

In its submission to a parliamentary committee that considered the bill, the Australian Athletes Alliance, which represents professional footballers, cricketers, swimmers and netballers, argued against granting ”unreasonably wide coercive powers” and said there should have been a greater period of public consultation.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Sports scientist Stephen Dank will be grilled by investigators within months after the Senate voted to bolster the coercive powers of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
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Interviews with Cronulla Sharks players – shelved in May – will also resume under the new powers for ASADA – described as a ”game changer” by a source close to the Sutherland-based club.

ASADA will be able to demand phone records, text messages, documents and medical prescriptions of players and others, including Mr Dank, regardless of whether those pieces of evidence are self-incriminatory.

Fairfax Media understands Mr Dank, who has refused to co-operate with ASADA to this point, is at the top of the list of interview targets. He did not return calls.

The ASADA Amendment Bill passed the Senate late on Monday night. It is expected to clear the House of Representatives as a priority by Thursday.

The law will give ASADA the power to compel people through a ”disclosure notice” to attend interviews and, importantly, force them to hand over any documentation requested, including records of communications. Those who refuse face fines of $5100 for every day they refuse to co-operate.

The government had sought star chamber powers that would force people to answer questions even if the answers would incriminate them. Sports Minister Kate Lundy and Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare are under pressure to see results after the infamous ”blackest day in sport” press conference that launched the investigation.

But amendments secured by the Greens mean interviewees retain the right to silence and can take a lawyer into the interview room.

Labor senator Jacinta Collins hinted at the focus on sports scientists.

She told Parliament: ”Importantly, a disclosure notice can go to anyone; not just athletes or their support personnel.”

The president of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, who has lobbied for beefed up powers for ASADA welcomed the Senate vote. “With this legislation and the new powers it provides ASADA, Australia remains at the forefront of the fight against doping in sport,” he said.

ASADA interviews of Essendon players and club officials are almost complete but, by comparison, interviews of Sharks players have been stalled since second-rower Wade Graham attended but refused to co-operate.

Rugby League Players Association chief executive David Garnsey said he would need to read the detail of the ASADA Amendment Bill before commenting.

In its submission to a parliamentary committee that considered the bill, the Australian Athletes Alliance, which represents professional footballers, cricketers, swimmers and netballers, argued against granting ”unreasonably wide coercive powers” and said there should have been a greater period of consultation.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

HARD TASK: Detective Inspector Graeme Parker and Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Humphrey leave the courtroom yesterday. Picture: Darren PatemanARCHIVE of Herald reports
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TRANSCRIPTS AND COURT EXHIBITS

A SENIOR Newcastle police officer denied having any animosity towards whistleblowing colleague Peter Fox, and didn’t consider him for a role on a taskforce investigating child sex abuse because he was working in a different command.

Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Humphrey appeared before the Special Commission of Inquiry in Newcastle yesterday and moved quickly to dispel suggestions that senior police had it in for Mr Fox.

“I have no animosity towards Peter Fox, not one single bit,” he told the inquiry.

“He is a good detective.”

Later, when asked why Mr Fox was overlooked for a role on the police strike force set up to investigate claims of sex abuse cover-ups by Catholic clergy, Mr Humphrey said “at no point was he shut out”.

“It was very important that DCI Fox and his material [that he had collected during earlier investigations] be included, but not at that point, not on day one,” he said.

Mr Humphrey said that Mr Fox was not considered for the strike force at first because he was working in the Port Stephens police command and the investigation was being run in Newcastle.

Asked later if he thought Mr Fox had leaked sensitive information to journalist Joanne McCarthy, Mr Humphrey said “it was fair to say that [the pair] had a relationship” which wasn’t within the boundaries of police media protocols.

Mr Humphrey also gave evidence that while acting in the role of commander in Newcastle, he attempted to extradite disgraced priest Denis McAlinden from Western Australia to answer questions regarding his abuse of young girls in the Newcastle area almost two decades earlier.

Told that Father McAlinden was sick, Mr Humphrey said, “I didn’t care how sick he was, I wanted him extradited.”

Father McAlinden died before he could face charges in Newcastle.