Man evades police over 900km in north west Queensland

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LONG RIDE: Police eventually caught up to the offender in Charters Towers after he stole fuel in Camooweal and a car in Julia Creek. Photo: stockA Victorian man has been arrested for stealing a motor vehicleand a string of other offences afterPolice tracked him over900 kilometres through north -Queensland.
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Police pursuedthe driver of a stolen vehicle just before midday onMarch 1after he stole petrol from a service station at Camooweal.

He was monitored through Mount Isa and Cloncurry before stealinga vehicle in Julia Creek and driving all the way to Charter’s Towers.

The 23-year-old man has been charged with various offences includingunlawful use of a motor vehicleand stealing, and has been remanded in custody, facing court on March 9.

Acting Detective InspectorSean Wade from Mount Isa Police says it was not a “police chase” as police were unsure whether the man carried a firearm.

He described it asan intercept operation involvingpolice teams across the district.

“Upon intercepting the vehicle in Camooweal for a fuel drive off, the vehicle drove in an erratic manner and sped off towards Mount Isaat a rate of knots,” Inspector Wade said.

Unfortunately police were not able to catch up to him in Mount Isa, and the vehicle continued on toJulia Creek where the offender jumped out and stole another vehicle.

Inspector Wade blamed radio communications for their failure to apprehend the driver in Mount Isa.

“Onceofficers inCamoowealreachedradio reception they notified Mount Isa and Townsville police,” Inspector Wade said.

“We tried to intercept him before he got into Mount Isa but due to the tyranny of distance and the lack of communication, he got throughbefore we received that information,” he said.

Police put interception strategies in place outside Cloncurry, which were ineffective in stopping the car.

Inspector Wade said police kept their distance, as a chase could have put the public’s safety at risk.

“When we try and intercept vehicles we have considerations to take into account, including the safety of our officers and the public.”

“We have to consider all the possible implications of intercepting, what the offence might be, who they are, whether we can readily IDthem, whether they are carrying any weapons.”

Inspector Wade said that in ruraltowns, there may only be one or two officers covering a lot of ground.

“We don’t have police on every corner in small country towns unfortunately, and as luck would have it police weren’t in the location where he dumped the vehicle, so we weren’t able to apprehend him before he got into another vehicle,” Inspector Wade said.

Residents of Julia Creek advised the police about the second stolen vehicle, and Inspector Wade said members of the public are often instrumental in solving crimes in the rural areas of Queensland.

“We were able to then identity the vehicle that he had stolen, and we were also able to identify that he was not in possession of a firearm,” Inspector Wade said.

Police forRichmond, Hughenden, and Charters Towers took over the operation once it was established they had enough resources.

The abandoned vehicle was located early on Thursday morningby an off duty police officer west of Charters Towers.

Shortly after this the manwas arrested ata business in Charters Towers and taken into custody.

He has been charged with three counts offailing to stop a motor vehicle,one charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, one charge of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, one charge of bringing stolen goods into Queensland for the second stolen car, one charge of stealing, and various other traffic offences.

The Victoria man is due to appear incourt in Townsville on March 9.

North West Star, Mount Isa

Papua and Montara oil spill raised with Julie Bishop in Jakarta talks

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Jakarta: The sensitive topics of Papua and the impact of the worst oil spill in the history of Australia’s offshore petroleum fields have been raised in talks with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Indonesia.
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The Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said the “openness of Papua” had been discussed and revealed Ms Bishop had agreed to visit the province later this year.

“We love to see other countries visit Papua to have a look at what is really going on,” Mr Pandjaitan said.

The proposed visit comes as seven Pacific nations last week called on the United Nations to investigate allegations of widespread human rights violations in Indonesia’s restive Papuan province.

Vanuatu’s Justice Minister Ronald Warsal said various UN bodies had raised concerns about extrajudicial executions and beatings of West Papuan activists committed by Indonesian security forces.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry replied last week that Vanuatu’s statement did not reflect the current situation in Papua, which had seen big changes under the leadership of President Joko Widodo, with infrastructure development boosted to improve the quality of life of the Papuan people.

Ms Bishop said she planned to return to Indonesia later this year for a range of reasons including the opening of the new Consulate General in Surabaya.

“There hopefully will be an opportunity for me to visit Papua at that time,” she said.

There has been a deep-seated mistrust of Australia’s position on Papuan independence among some elements of Indonesian society ever since Australia’s intervention in East Timor in 1999.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull emphasised that he had assured President Jokowi, as he is popularly known, of Australia’s commitment to Indonesia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during his visit to Sydney last month.

He said the 2006 Lombok Treaty, which recognises Indonesian sovereignty over Papua, was “the bedrock of our strategic and security relationship”.

Meanwhile Mr Pandjaitan said he and Ms Bishop had also discussed the 2009 Montara oil spill, which fishermen and seaweed farmers from East Nusa Tenggara say devastated their livelihoods.

More than 13,000 seaweed farmers have launched a $200 million class action in the Federal Court in Sydney against PTTEP Australasia, a subsidiary of Thai state-owned oil company PTTEP.

The Indonesian Government is also planning to file a lawsuit against PTTEP Australasia in the Central Jakarta District Court.

“Australia as a very good partner can do something also to help the people of the area in eastern part of Indonesia especially in that Montara area,” Mr Pandjaitan said.

Ms Bishop said the Australian Embassy was continuing to work with Indonesian authorities in relation to the oil spill.

“It will be a matter before the courts so there is a limit to what I can add to it,” she said.

“But we most certainly had a very open and frank discussion about the matter and we will continue to work closely with Indonesian authorities to the extent we can.”

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Moama tragedy: NSW Police told snatched boys’ gran to call Victoria, lawyer says

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A mass search of the Murray was carried out. Photo: Luke Hemer/Riverine HeraldNSW police told a Deniliquin woman whose grandchildren had been snatched by their mother on Thursday morning that she should contact their Victorian counterparts in Echuca, her lawyer has claimed.
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One of the children is now dead and the other recovering in hospital in Melbourne after their mother allegedly tried to kill them that afternoon in the River Murray at Moama in NSW.

The 27-year-old mother has been charged with the murder of her five-year-old son and the attempted murder by drowning of her nine-year-old son.

The body of the five-year-old boy was found in theMurrayRiver, near Moama, on Saturday morning.

The motherrefusedto appear via video link in the Deniliquin Local Court on Monday morningwhere, in abrief hearing, the charges were revised to formally include murder.

Her lawyer, Peter Hebbard, asked the court if a psychological assessment of his client could be completed before the next court appearance on May 2.

Outside the court, he told reportersthat his clienthad been cryingand sounded “very remorseful”, but still didn’t understand what had happened.

“The words she used to me was ‘I would never hurt my children, I do not know what happened’,” Mr Hebbard said.

“She knows that something’s happened and she knows she’s done something. She was crying and she wanted to know how the little fellow was going down in Melbourne.

“I told her to the best of my knowledge he was okay, that her mother was down there with him and she seemed happy with that.”

Lawyer, Dale Brooks, who represents the boys’ grandmother, said his client was “absolutely devastated”.

“There was ample time to save these children,” Mr Brooks said.

“There’s a running joke here among criminals that if you want toavoidpolice you simply head for the border.”

The two boys had lived with their grandparents in Deniliquin for more than 18 months, and were only reunited with their motherin the past few weeks.

The grandparents are understood to have been forced to takeout an apprehended violence order against their daughter last May and had recently alerted NSW Police, the Department of Family and Community Services in NSW and Corrective Services about her deteriorating mental state.

Mr Brooks said several “warning signs” had been ignored.

“[The mother] was obviously a very troubled woman, the mother of these kids, and there just does not appear to have been enough action taken about some of these early warning signs.”

NSW Police hasbeen contacted for comment.

NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward said her department was undertaking a comprehensive reviewas a result of the incident.

“The death of this little boy and the serious injury suffered by his older brother are a tragedy,” Ms Goward said. “This incident has shocked us all, and [Family and Community Services] staff are supporting the family.

NSW homicide detectives are expected to complete their brief of evidence by April 17.

The woman handed herself into police in Echuca at about 10pm on Friday,and is understood to have made a range of admissions before she was extradited to the NSW town of Deniliquin.

The woman is understood to have collected her two boys on Thursday evening and taken them fishing at a spot on the Murray River near Moama.

It has been alleged in court that she first attempted to drown the older boy, who managed to break free when his mother was distracted by her younger child’s terrified screams.

As he returned to the riverbank, the older brother was mauled by a dog. He was later flownto Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.

Bernadette Murphy, principal of St Michael’s Primary School in Deniliquin, where the younger boy had only recently joined classes, said the school community was devastated.

“It is a dark time for students, staff and parents,” Ms Murphy said.

“While he had only been in our school community for six weeks, the start of his learning journey has left a footprint in all our hearts.

“We are a close-knit community and this tragedy has had a profound affect that will require much support.”

Mr Brooks said he would hold PremierGladys Berejiklian to account on her pledge to investigate the government agencies responsible for dealing with the boy’s mother before the tragedy.

“A lot of these departments express their condolences and then go to ground and deny any responsibility for what happened. It’s just not good enough,” Mr Brooks said.

He also called for greater co-ordination between Victorian and NSW police on the border.

At the weekend, the father of the two boys, who lives in Brisbane, launched a crowd funding campaign to raise $5000 to fund a trip to Melbourne to visit his injured son.

He has not seen the boy for about six years and never met his five-year-old son who drowned in the Murray River.

Jack’s stock is on the rise

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THERE were probably more spectacular tries in round one of the NRL season, but I doubt anyone gained more satisfaction from getting the ball over the stripe than Jack Stockwell.
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TRY TIME: Newcastle’s Jack Stockwell crashes over to score against the Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday. Picture: Getty Images

Front-rowers aren’t renowned for scoring many “meat pies” and in Jack’s case this was only the third of his 54-game career.

He certainly picked the ideal time to put his stamp on ourgame against the Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium last Sunday.

Trailing 20-8 early in the second half, we desperately needed a special effort from someone, and the big fella kicked off our fightback, bursting onto a quick tap, finding a slight opening with some clever footwork, powering through two defenders and reaching out one-handed to touch down.

I reckon any prop in the NRL would have been proud to call that try his own.

For Jack, it was a reward for hard work, positive attitude willingness to learn and dedication to the club. These are the people you want to be playing with.

It has been well-documented that last season was a tough one for him, and the easy option might have been to try his luck at another club.

But he kept believing in himself, busted his backside during pre-season training and his performance against the Warriors was a bit of a statement.

He’s got some confidence under his belt now and hopefully he continues to build on that.

At 25, I’ve got no doubt his best football is still ahead of him and he can become one of the best big men in the competition.

His try gave us a massive lift on Sunday and suddenly we had all the momentum. I was lucky enough to add a couple of tries, which put us 22-20 in the lead after 66 minutes. From there we should have pushed on and won the game.

A couple of handling errors, a big kick-return from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and before we knew it Ryan Hoffman had scored and the Warriors were back in front.

A lot of fans are telling us it was a brave effort, but much as their support is appreciated, we don’t deserve any pats on the back.

Last year we might have accepted that result. That’s not what we’re about this year. We want to start winning games, and not just every now and again, but consistently.

It needs to start on Saturday when we host Gold Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Our fans are the most loyal in the competition, and they have backed us for the past two seasons, no matter how tough things got.

They part with their hard-earned at the turnstiles, and our job is to repay that with 100 per cent desperate effort.

It will take 80 minutes of working together as a team for the victory, but we believe in ourselves, and getting to represent this great town is motivation enough. So be loud this weekend. Can’t wait to see you there.

‘Do I want plastics for dinner?’ Impact of plastic pollution revealed

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More than half the world’s turtles and two-thirds of some bird species along Australia’s east coast are being found to have ingested plastics as the toll from pollution mounts, a leading CSIRO researcher said.
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With plastic production almost doubling each decade, the world’s oceans are receiving a proportional increase in plastic waste.

On current projections, by mid-century, some 95 per cent of all sea birds will be found with plastic inside them, said Denise Hardesty, a senior CSIRO research scientist, said.

“Birds are top predators and a really good indication of the eco-system health of our oceans,” Dr Hardesty told Fairfax Media. “Humans are increasingly reliant on our oceans for our food and livelihood.”

The threat of rising marine pollution will this week be discussed at a workshop of the G20 group of nations for the first time. “It’s clearly an issue that’s gaining increased global attention,” she said.

While Australia contributes a relatively small share of the world’s marine plastic pollution, waters near the continent are among the areas where wildlife is suffering disproportionately.

According to a research paper Dr Hardesty co-wrote in 2015, the impacts on sea birdlife are expected to be concentrated in regions such as the southern Tasman Sea and the south-west Indian Ocean. These areas deserve particular attention because they are currently relatively rich in biodiversity and face multiple threats.

“Many seabird species in this region also suffer from other sources of mortality, including ongoing bycatch in fisheries and predation by invasive species on breeding colonies, and achieving effective management in these remote and often international regions is a significant challenge,” the paper noted.

While the findings were “a bit of wake-up call”, the CSIRO is leading the response such as by developing techniques to detect plastics within birds. These include swabs that can identify plasticising chemicals found in the preening oil birds produce naturally to waterproof their wings, Dr Hardesty said.

The research agency’s modelling has also been used by US agencies and will soon be made available to about 20 nations from India to South Africa and Thailand to China to help them model and managed plastic waste ending up in their coastal waters.

“It’s a tractable, solvable problem,” Dr Hardesty said. “Most of what ends up in the oceans was in somebody’s hand at some point.”

Since sea birds are often near the top of the food chain, their health can also be indicator of the condition of other marine life – much of which is also ingesting plastics.

“Do I want plastics on my dinner plate?” Dr Hardesty said, noting that while consumers would be unlikely to eat the digestive tracts of fish, many of the toxins and chemicals contained in plastic are absorbed in the tissue of fish.

The physical effects on sea birds that consume plastic include gut obstruction and death. Those that survive typically experience reduced available stomach volume that may lead to lower weight.

The poor condition of fledglings is also likely to lead to increased mortality among juveniles. In addition, high plastic loads are correlated with increased organic pollutants, straining bird populations further, the paper noted.

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Biff’s not back: NRL warns players still face bans for punching

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The NRL is adamant it has not “left the door open” for a proliferation of punching to return to the game after two players were fined rather than suspended for offences in round one under a shake-up to the judiciary system.
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Melbourne’s Will Chambers and Canberra’s Joseph Leilua were fined $1100 and $1350 respectively after pleading guilty to grade one contrary conduct charges from the weekend.

They were the first players to be hit in the hip pocket since the off-season judiciary revamp, which has been introduced as a way of players avoiding suspension for minor offences.

Former Test forward Anthony Watmough described Chambers’ attack from behind on Canterbury’s Sam Kasiano as an attempted “dog shot” but while the Storm centre was sent to the sin bin at Belmore Sportsground he escaped a ban. Leilua’s punch on North Queensland’s Gavin Cooper, meanwhile, was missed altogether by referees in Townsville, which irritated the veteran Cowboys forward.

Bulldogs front-rower Aiden Tolman said on Monday that the changes to the penalty system potentially left the game vulnerable to more punching if players knew they would only be fined and not suspended.

“The fine (for minor offences) I suppose was brought around after Issac Luke missed the (2014) grand final,” Tolman said.

“For players like that to miss a grand final for a grade one is a pretty big thing. They banned the punching for a reason and I suppose they’ll probably bring in another rule sooner or later to stop the punching coming back. They might get a grade two or they might not be able to pay the fine. I’m not too sure what they’ll do around that.

“I think it’s to stop guys who didn’t deserve the week in a big game to be able to pay the fine and get out. But I suppose it does leave the door open for those sort of things as well.”

The NRL insisted on Monday that its crackdown on punching – enforced since 2013 in a season that was marked by a notorious State of Origin altercation between Paul Gallen and Nate Myles – remained in place, and if anything had been strengthened.

“The game’s stance is clear – punching will not be tolerated. This has not changed and will not change,” an NRL spokesman said.

“In fact, the penalty for forcefully punching another player has increased, rather than decreased.

“If a player forcefully strikes a player, he can be charged with striking, which carries a 200-point base penalty. The base penalty for striking was 125 points in 2016.

“The sin bin also remains a strong deterrent for any team or player. Losing a player for 10 minutes can have an enormous impact on a team.”

Canterbury winger Brett Morris said the Chambers punch from behind was a bad look for the game.

“It was banned for a reason,” Morris said.

“It’s not a good sight (for) the game. While there are a lot of old-school blokes that don’t mind it, it’s not something you want the kids to see and try and repeat. It’s a shame it happened. It’s happened now and we can get over it.”

Meanwhile, Manly are staring at a further blow after a round-one defeat to Parramatta on Sunday, with forwards Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake facing sanctions for shoulder charges.

Both Taupau, who was the Sea Eagles’ enforcer-in-chief against the Eels, and Fonua-Blake stand to be rubbed out for three matches if they challenge the charges and lose and will be suspended for two games with early guilty pleas. Manly have until midday on Tuesday to make a decision. Compounding Manly’s early-season problems is a suspected fractured eye socket suffered by another prop, Lloyd Perrett.

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Simona may not face life ban for betting after fronting NRL

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Tim Simona may escape a life ban from the sport for betting on matches after meeting with the NRL on Monday in an attempt to salvage what is left of his rugby league career.
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Simona still will be deregistered from the NRL, however Fairfax Media understands the door for a return to the game might not be shut completely with the governing body considering allowing him to apply for registration after a suspension of between two to four years.

Fairfax Media understands Simona made admissions about his gambling in a three-hour meeting at League Central on Monday, which was attended by his manager Isaac Moses and Rugby League Players Association boss Ian Prendergast.

It is understood the 25-year-old Simona opened up on his gambling addiction that has left him battling financially for some time, placing enormous pressure and stress that led to his decision to bet on rugby league.

Simona met with NRL integrity unit chief investigator Karyn Murphy, who asked the Tigers centre to provide further written information over the next few days to support his case.

Murphy will compile a report into the investigation and provide it to NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and new chief operating officer Nick Weeks to make the final call on a punishment either later in the week or early next week.

The NRL had originally earmarked a life ban as the suitable sanction given the strength of the evidence they had compiled after a tip off from Simona’s former friend last year.

However the governing body has slightly softened its stance after meeting with Simona and is now weighing up whether to enforce an indefinite deregistration of between two to four years.

The NRL would require Simona to undergo education and prove he has overcome his gambling issues before even considering allowing him to return to the sport.

Given his age, an indefinite deregistration would still provide him the opportunity to return to the sport for a number of years.

The NRL has a gentleman’s agreement in place with the English Super League that will see both competitions enforce any suspensions imposed.

The Australian Rugby Union recently stepped in to stop Ben Barba from playing in the Brisbane Tens, however there was little they could do about him taking up a deal with Toulon.

It looks likely overseas rugby union would be the logical step for Simona, allowing him a platform to continue his sporting career and rehabilitation.

His contract termination will solve the Tigers’ salary cap problem and won’t require the club to shed a player given his contract will be taken off the books for 2017.

Simona faced allegations that he arranged bets to be placed on opposition players he was marking to score tries against the Wests Tigers last season.

It is believed the alleged betting activity was made up of numerous minor bets, revolving around the opposition tryscorers in Tigers matches in 2016.

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F-35A Joint Strike Fighter is introduced to the Hunter at RAAF Base Amberley

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In sight but no sound: first look at F-35As bound for Hunter | photos, video PROUD PILOTS: Wing Commander Andrew Jackson and Squadron Leader David Bell in front of Wing Commander Jackson’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighter “001”. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers
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COMBAT READY: Williamtown RAAF Commander Air Combat Group, Zed Robertson, describes the F35-A to a mixed Queensland and Hunter audience at Amberley.

Secuirty patrol one of the newly arrived F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

MPs Kate Washington, Meryl Swanson, Sharon Claydon and Tim Crakanthorp and Commander Air Combat Group Williamtown Zed Roberton listen to F-35 pilots Wing Commander Andrew Jackson and Squadron Leader David Bell. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Commander, Air Combat Group Williamtown, Zed Roberton speaks to media at an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Air Commander Ken Robinson speaks to media at t F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Air Commodore Craig Heap, Senior ADF officer at Williamtown RAAF, explains a delay in departure to passengers waiting at Williamtown RAAF base. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

One Nation Senator Brian Burston in conversation with Air Commodore Craig Heap. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Air Commodore Craig Heap, Senior ADF officer at Williamtown RAAF, explains a delay in departure to passengers waiting at Williamtown RAAF base. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Air Commodore Craig Heap, Senior ADF officer at Williamtown RAAF at an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Amberley Air Base, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Air Commodore Craig Heap, Senior ADF officer at Williamtown RAAF, explains a delay in departure to passengers waiting at Williamtown RAAF base. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Air Commander Ken Robinson (Amberley Air Base) speaks to reporters beside one of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Air Commander Ken Robinson speaks to media at t F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 pilots Squadron Leader David Bell (L) and Wing Commander Andrew Jackson (R) speak to reporters beside one of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets at a press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 pilots Squadron Leader David Bell (L) and Wing Commander Andrew Jackson (R) speak to reporters beside one of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets at a press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp alights from an RAAF Wedgetail aircraft. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Air Commodore Craig Heap, Senior ADF officer at Williamtown RAAF at an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Amberley Air Base, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Security guard and dog shelter from the sun under the wing of one of the newly arrived F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets at a press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Security guard and dog shelter from the sun under the wing of one of the newly arrived F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets at a press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebook F-35As on display at Amberley – Pictures: Max Mason-HubersA selection of photographs from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet press event at RAAF Base Amberley, QLD. Picture: Max Mason-HubersA GROUP of Hunter MPs and community representatives flewto RAAF Base Amberley base on Monday for an up-close look at an F-35A Joint Strike Fighter –the futuristic jetbound for RAAF Base Williamtown from December 2018.

Two of the long-awaited and controversial strike fighters made theirAustralian debut on Friday at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon airport at Geelong.

The RAAF had originally announced that the jetswould circleover Newcastle on Sunday, en route to Amberley, but concerns over lightning meant this trip was cancelled.

The Newcastle invitees assembled at Williamtown at 8am on Monday, expecting to fly to Amberley in a C-130 Hercules, and to be there before the F-35As, which were flying from Geelong.

But a problem with the first plane meant leaving later in a plane with fewer seats –an E-7A Wedgetail– so some of the invitees had to stay behind. When the Newcastle group arrived the two F-35As were already parked up –one on display, one in a hangar –meaning it was a visual inspection only, with a perimeter barrier and a guard dog to ensure no-one came too close.

Despite these limitations, all who made the tripsaid they were glad the RAAF had reached out to them and the community, and that the visit to Amberley was worthwhile, even if those who were worried about aircraft noise didn’t get to hear the plane in action.

The head of the Amberley base, Air Commodore Ken Robinson, said the federal government had approved the purchase of 72 aircraft, together with weapons and support materiel.

Air Commodore Robinson said the first public flight of the F-35A at Avalon was “quite an extraordinary moment” and there was a definite “mood of excitement” at the airshow.

He said it was “usually decades between celebratory drinks” when it comes to acquiring new fighter aircraft –and it was definitely time for a celebratory drink.

Military personnel guard the the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Air Commodore Zed Roberton of Williamtown RAAF described the F35-A as “the world’s greatest 5th generation aircraft”, and he thanked the plane’s manufacturers, Lockheed Martin, and its other “US partners”.

Asked about the cost controversyover the F-35A, Air Commodore Robinson said its “unit costs continued to reduce”, and the average cost of an Australian plane off the production line was now $US90 million ($119 million at current exchange rates).

The two planes that had flown to Australia had been used for training purposes since December 2014. They were going back to Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona, where more Australian pilots were being trained.

ARRIVAL: Port Stephens MP Kate Washington looks across to the F-35A on the tarmac, followed by Sue Birch of Medowie and Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp.

The two Australian pilots who brought their planes across are Wing Commander Andrew “Jacko” Jackson, 39, and Squadron Leader David Bell, 37, both of Williamtown base.

Wing Commander Jackson had been at Williamtown from 1999 until his posting to Arizona in 2014, and Squadron Leader Bell, a test pilot, had been at Williamtown for more than six years.

Describing the plane, the pair said it flew at Mach 1.6, or almost2000 kilometres per hour. But it was the “situational awareness” that the pilots had in their helmets, which gave them 360 degree vision without having to move, and the weaponry, that set it apart, rather than outright speed.

Queensland media at Amberley on Monday were keen to talk up the potential for F-35As to be at the Ipswich base, but Wing Commander Jackson said: “We’ve had a long association with Newcastle, it’s a fantastic place to live, and it’s been the home of the fighters for a long time and that is going to continue into the future.”

Williamtown base commander Air Commodore Craig Heap said the RAAF was working closely with the community both on the preparations for the F-35A and the firefighting foam contamination problems.

Air Commodore Heap said Williamtown’s runway extensions meant the F-35A would be able to take off without its afterburners –the main noise concern with the plane.

The Labor federal member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson, said the visit had been worthwhile but she and the members of the Williamtown Advisory Group and the Community Reference Group who had made the trip were disappointed that they did not get to hear the plane.

One Nation Senator Brian Burston said noise was a secondary concern given how much Williamtown did for the defence of the nation

University of Newcastle criticised for reporting of sexual assault complaints

Posted April 20th, 2019 by admin and filed in 南京夜网
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“DEFINITELY MORE HAS HAPPENED”: University of Newcastle women’s convener Lucinda Iacono. Picture: Simone De PeakThe ‘red zone’: O-week a danger time for female university students
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THE University of Newcastle has been criticised for disclosing “the bare minimum”about itssexual assaultand harassment complaints, and offering a “one-size-fits-all”processfor victims, following 14 official complaints in the past three years.

The allegations, madeby the advocacy group End Rape on Campus Australia, stem from the group’s submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission and five years of data from freedom-of-information requests.

Ofalmost600 official complaints of sexual assault and harassment made toAustralian universities in the past five years, 14 were atthe University of Newcastle between2014 and2016.

Following five complaints of sexual assault or harassment at the university in 2016, two students were expelled, two were excluded from accommodation, one was suspended, one was referred forthe university’s “ethics training” andonestudent waswarned.

There were sixcomplaints at the universityin 2015, resulting in asuspension, three students being excluded from accommodation, four being referred for ethics training, and four warnings.

Afterthree complaints in 2014, three students were referred for ethics training. The university didn’t discloseany data from2012 or 2013.

“Newcastle did comply, but they gave the absolute bare minimum. Other universities included full reports of thesecases, and detailed descriptions of what the complaints were. Newcastle gave very basic, summary data,” Nina Funnell,co-author of the End Rape on Campus report, said.

“It’s disappointing that their records areincomplete, anddon’t even distinguish between sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

In a statement to theNewcastle Herald,the university said, “the University of Newcastle has no tolerance for sexual assault or harassment”.

The universityreports itssexualcomplaintsin“aggregated form”, a spokesperson said, toprotect the confidentiality of those involved.

The university said it encouragesstudents to report criminal matters to the police, and thediscloseddata for 2012 and 2013doesn’t includecomplaints where the victimrequested no actionby the university.

“Last year the University of Newcastlehas partnered with Universities Australia and other universities across Australian in a national campaign –‘Respect. Now. Always.’–to prevent sexual assault and harassment,” the spokesperson said.

MORE TO BE DONE: Nina Funnell is a co-author of the End Rape On Campus Australia report, ‘Connecting the dots: Understanding Sexual Assault in University Communities’.

While avictimmight expect a legal outcome against their rapistto take two years, Ms Funnell, co-author of theEnd Rape on Campus report, said it was “concerning” that a “Student Complaints” section of the universitywebsiteadvises“discuss your concerns directly with the person involved and attempt to resolve the matter”.

Another section, headed “Complaints Process: our three-tier resolution model”, says, “we encourage you to informally resolve your concern or issue at the lowest level possible”.

“It’s a one-size-fits-all resolution model that is entirely inappropriate for a victim –to tell them to informally reconcile with the offender,” Ms Funnell said.

“The universityshould have invested the time, money and effort to devise a more informed, trauma-appropriate resolution model. It’s not like they haven’t beengetting complaints.”

The university said itsstudent complaints portal is for allegations ofacademic and non-academic misconduct, and thosewithsexual assault and harassment complaints are encouragedto tell staff, the Dean of Students andon-campus doctors.

TheHeraldwas directed to a “Campus Care” section of the universitywebsite, withadvice for victims of inappropriate and threatening behaviour, and lists ofcontacts.

But a link for “advice and support for victims of sexual assault” didn’t work.

The university women’s convener, Lucinda Iacono, said the 14 sexual complaints to the university in the pastthree years didn’t represent the scale of the problem.

“I could name more women who’ve come to me. The rate of women reporting these issues is low, and definitely more has happened,” Ms Iacono said.

“There’s a plethora of things, from people saying things [to victims] that are inappropriate, to people doing things. It’s important to recognise it isn’t always someone pulling a woman into the bushes.”

The End Rape on Campus report is one of 1845submissions toaHuman Rights Commission survey.

The survey is supportedby Universities Australia, includingNewcastle.

David Lowe: The Lowedown

Posted March 20th, 2019 by admin and filed in 南京夜网
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Well, where do I start? Make a list and prioritise, David, I can hear an old teacher of mine preaching. Bugger that, sounds like hard work I reckon. Let’s start with something completely left field.
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Happy 65th birthday Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, cool cat, hero to millions, and cricketing genius. I trust the Antiguan age pension will supplement your lifestyle comfortably!

Sorry for that indulgence, relieving my youth momentarily.

But it helps my left-field theme, which probably started with Mark Jones’s starting selection on Sunday. I have to say I was more than surprised to learn that he had left captain Nigel Boogaard out of the starting at 11, and also relegated Morten Nordstrand to the pine.

It’s hard to say whether that move worked or not, the Jets leading 1-0, courtesy of a debatable penalty, when the whole flow of the game changed with the sending-off of Jason Hoffman on 32 minutes. Regardless it left me scratching my head pre-game.

COLLISION COURSE: Newcastle’s Jason Hoffman and Brisbane’s Brett Holman clash on Sunday. Picture: Getty Images

In searching for a reason, I can only guess that Jones wanted the yard of extra pace that Jackson and Koutroumbis possess, to cope with the impressive movement and mobility of Roar striker Jamie McLaren.

That choice, plus the inclusion of Wayne Brown for Nordstrand , suggested the Jets would look to play a little more directly through or over Brisbane’s press.

To be fair to Brisbane, they played forward earlier and with more purpose, than they often do, and Maclaren was a lively beneficiary of that mindset. By the same token, it was justifiable reward for some clever and incisive movement off the ballfor Brisbane’s No.9.

The sending-offmakes it a difficult game to critique or analyse.

Would Brisbane have tired towards the end of 90 minutes 11 v 11, given the schedule they have endured recently?

Would the Jets have been pegged back by the Roar, who were already creating good chances for Maclaren, and getting Brett Holman on the ball too comfortably in front of the Jets’ back four, before Hoffman’s departure?

I don’t think anyone can answer that question definitively, and therein lies the frustration for fans.

A decent game of football was brewingbefore the send-off, but its shape altered and twisted permanently in one (or I guess two) moments.

For one very mild piece of dissent (and cruelty to a football), punching said sphere with the heel of ahand, and a flailing arm, being used to shield the ball, not swinging with intent, Newcastle were punished for almost an hour.

Compare that to a fortnight ago when dangerous tackles, threatening serious injury to both teams, and only yellow cards resulted, and you will understand my beef.

That said, could the Jets have done a better job of preserving the half-time lead? I think they could have, despite the fact that Brisbane are a well-structured possession side, adept at taking advantage of numerical superiority.

The home side weren’t helped by the penalty for Andrew Hoole manhandling Thomas Broich at a defensive corner. I have no problem with that award, as long as you punish every instance at every set piece, because the practice is a blight on the game.

Memo to match officials and lawmakers, it’s quite simple to police. Just remember, the attacking team wants to have a free heading contest, the defensive team does not.

Any contacts or grappling will be initiated by the defender. Any player not facing the ball at the moment of contact is in the process of fouling or preparing to foul his or her opponent.

Apply the rule equally at both ends, send off persistent perpetrators, and awardpenalties by the bucketload if players don’t respond.

Don’t please, pick out one per game in the 62ndminute .

Feel free to penalise the attacking team if they attempt to block off the goalkeeper’s opportunity to come and claim any crosses.

Is it naive or ancient to hope for reward for accuracy, good jumping ability and heading technique to triumph at set pieces?

Sorry, off the high horse, and back to the Jets, and their management of the second half.

I think they got caught a bit half-and-half in approach, one eye on attacking to try and slip into the top six, make the home fans happy, and one eye on protecting the lead for as long as possible.

Everyone is different in philosophy and approach in situations like these. Some in my group at the match were adamant that the Jets still had to try and win the game, not just sit back and defend.

Others felt sitting in, frustrating the Roar as much as possible, then springing on the counter was only way to go.

There are many considerations, first and foremost the quality of the opponent, and your own players’ best assets.

I’m not sure how much communication Jets coach Mark Jones was allowed or afforded to his team at half-time, or during the remainder of the match, but it seemed to me that the Jets tried to have an each-way bet tactically.

Theywent with their most mobile midfield combination, hoping to get up and support striker Kokko after protecting the back four.

The alternative wasprobably playing very narrow, using Hoole or Nabbout up front to threaten in behind, sacrificing a forward-type player to play a third defensive midfielder, and allowing Brisbane freedom and time to cross from wider areas, essentially relying on Boogaard and Jackson to win everything aerially.

Then relying on perhaps two chances on the break in a half of football to provide another goal.

That approach requires acceptance of a draw as not too bad a result, and some would disagree with that totally.

Considering the teams around the Jets could largely only draw, perhaps a conservative point would have been fine.

Could it have been scrounged with a more cautious approach? Or even a more aggressive one? We will never know.