Monthly Archives:July 2019

Australian politicians are setting a bad example for the nation’s youth through their poor behaviour in Parliament, the head of Victoria’s new Commission for Children and Young People has said.
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Principal commissioner Bernie Geary linked concern about bullying among young people and the ”dreadful” way federal politicians treated each other.

”I was watching the way our parliamentarians were screaming at each other,” Mr Geary said. ”How the heck can our kids learn to be respectful to each other when at the very top of the tree in Canberra, people treat each other like wild animals?”

Mr Geary, who took up the post at the start of March, said the same principle applied to concern about alcohol abuse by young people and the way alcohol was used by adults.

”The biggest problems in our community around behaviour isn’t young people’s behaviour it’s adult behaviour – and young people model their behaviour on adults,” he said.

”We shouldn’t be standing back and vilifying young people. If we get adult behaviour fixed and proper, children’s behaviour will follow.”

Mr Geary served as Victoria’s child safety commissioner for eight years but his new role comes with increased powers and independence from the government of the day. Mr Geary will be able to initiate his own inquiries and will report to State Parliament.

His criticism of the standards of behaviour of federal MPs reflects growing concern after a particularly bitter period in Federal Parliament, characterised by acrimonious debate and personal attacks.

The National Council of Women of Australia petitioned Federal Parliament last October demanding a more dignified and civilised approach by MPs. ”The increasingly crude, juvenile, disrespectful and overly combative behaviour of many members, degrades parliamentary process, creates an inappropriate behavioural model for our youth and causes ridicule in the eyes of world nations,” the 900-signature petition said.

Mr Geary said he had recently spoken to a young person who had tuned into question time. ”They couldn’t believe that men and women were screaming at each other the way they were,” he said.

Mr Geary said there was no doubt of the impact of the behaviour on young people. ”It all trickles down,” he said. ”If we get the adults right, the kids will follow. Stop picking on the kids, look at yourselves.”

He said that, generally, he did not think behaviour by MPs in the Victorian Parliament was as bad, where he said there seemed to be a ”bit more humour attached to the state mob”.

One of the priorities in his new role would be to improve the way young children in marginal situations were listened to, adding that, at present, ”I don’t think we do that very well”.

”Sometimes our systems override our capacity to listen to children,” he said.

Mr Geary said he also wanted to improve how government departments and community service organisations worked together.

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

Emotional night: Tigers players remember Mosese Fotuaika before kick-off. Photo: Max Mason Hubers   Asked what he would offer to the debutant Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter, the 658-match veteran Wayne Bennett, thought for a moment, smiled slightly and uttered: “Welcome.” Bennett’s Newcastle Knights had dished up a lesson for Potter’s Tigers, and the newcomer to the premiership was scratching for positives.
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He found some. Potter, and Tigers captain Robbie Farah, would prefer to be talking about such a performance in round one than late in the season, but the hooker acknowledged his disappointment.

“We need hard work [to turn it around],” said Farah. “It’s not going to be easy, but we can turn it around, and we’ll stick together to turn it around. It’s a long year. The good thing is, we’ve got time. We’ve got next week.

“But we can’t make a habit of that. We need to turn things around quick, or otherwise it’s going to be a long year for us. We’ll work hard and we’ll stick together and we’ll be better than we were [on Monday] night.” Added Potter: “It was disappointing. In a lot of areas, we could have done better, but the scoreline doesn’t read very well. I thought early, everything was going to plan, but we just slowly deteriorated. We came up with errors and we came up with some silly errors, and conceded a lot of possession. We need to fix up some areas in defence as well.

“We’re looking to rectify what we did. The season’s not over in round one.” Potter, who took over from another veteran in Tim Sheens, maintained the squad had “no excuses”, even though the club only days earlier farewelled clubmate Mosese Fotuaika. “How unlikely it is, it’s part of life that things occur – you get on with it, and you try to put it at the back of your head,” he said. “But there’s no excuses. We were out there to play rugby league. The players tried to give the best account of themselves, and I don’t think as a group we performed to our best.” That, of course, was an understatement. Bennett, meanwhile, is never one to be overstating things, but his team produced a performance of note from the opening weekend. Even if he denied the Knights, who were disappointing in their first season under the coach last year, had made a “statement” through the win.

“Not yet,” Bennett mused. “There’ll be some people looking over their shoulders, but we haven’t made a statement.” If they can add consistency to the ability they showed against the Tigers, five-eighth Jarrod Mullen and fullback Darius Boyd will ensure the Knights are a potent squad. Centre Dane Gagai, with two tries, and winger Akuila Uate, were hard to stop.

“I didn’t have any great expectations except [for us to] play well, and we played well, so we got some rewards,” Bennett said. “But what starts off in March doesn’t really equate to what’s going to finish up in September.

“I’ve seen teams go off on day one and look like … ‘how are you going to beat them?’ and by the end of the season, they haven’t even made the eight. There’s a lot out there in front of us, for all of us.” Mullen left the field late in the second half, and was icing his wrist, but Bennett maintained he took the playmaker off the field as a precaution only. “It’s a long season in front of us,” Bennett said.

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

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It wasn’t by coincidence that Mickey Arthur described Monday’s stunning development in India as Australia’s ”Kevin Pietersen” moment.

The standing down of four players – including vice-captain Shane Watson – is the head coach’s undeniable statement that enough is enough. It has already echoed around the cricket world.

Unlike England’s punishment of Pietersen for those text messages, the South African has turned the blowtorch on an under-performing Australian squad.

Known to be intolerable towards bad attitudes or players who put themselves before the team Arthur spelled out a few home truths.

At home it was met with incredulity. How could professional sportsmen be treated as children? How can they be sacked for not completing homework?

The quartet’s failure to complete the task asked of them – to deliver a presentation, by email or in person, explaining their virtues – was simply the trigger.

The attitudes among some had been slipping before this assignment was handed out. Not all players are completing the ”wellness reports” that they are meant to fill in every morning, and the management team – Arthur, captain Michael Clarke and team manager Gavin Dovey – argue discipline has been on the slide for some time.

If the dumping of the four players seems rash, then consider this: How difficult is it for a full-time athlete, with lots of free time every day, to do what they are asked?

This is tough love of the most brutal kind – declining someone a Test cap is basically an indictable crime to a cricketer – but on this occasion it is the players that must be held accountable.

Requesting players to put together arguments about their selection and value might seem wacky to many. People might scoff at the wellness reports too.

But whatever the case, this point is inescapable. The players in question have not done what they were told. If Australia was leading 2-0, coming off a big victory in Hyderabad, maybe things could be different. Maybe Arthur, Clarke and Dovey – a former England rugby team manager and qualified lawyer – could have forgiven some slackness here and there.

Yet with the Australian team in such a bad way less than four months away from the Ashes, they have taken appropriate action.

The ramifications are potentially enormous. Arthur is under no illusions about how big a step it is to stand down players for a Test when the indiscretion does not involve a nightclub, a trip in a paddy wagon or a swing and a miss at the coach but even he might be surprised when he hears Watson, who left India on Monday night, is considering quitting Test cricket.

Australia will slap together a makeshift XI on Thursday but the match itself may be just a sideshow. Arthur hopes this will be a turning point – his ”line in the sand” – but how Australia can drag itself out of this mess quickly is anyone’s guess.

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

Manly have been busy defusing rumour after rumour that they are going to be the next club to feel the heat from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, and here is the proof that they may be under the pump. Only two rugby league teams have been targeted for their involvement with Stephen Dank, according to ASADA’s initial letter to Dank’s legal team, and they are Cronulla and Manly.
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We’ve seen the blowtorch on the Sharks over the past week, but Manly insist, as they have done all along, that they are only of low interest to the drugs body.

It was no coincidence that Steve Menzies tweeted over the weekend to say he hadn’t rolled over and given evidence to ASADA. He received a phone call before his tweet from Manly chief executive David Perry to inquire whether the wild rumours that Manly would be stripped of their premierships because Menzies had given evidence were true.

This column isn’t saying that Manly has done anything wrong – it is merely pointing out that, along with the Sharks, they are the team that will need to answer questions because of their direct association with Dank.

Interestingly, there are three AFL teams named – Essendon, the Gold Coast and Geelong. How three AFL clubs have stayed under the radar, so to speak, in comparison to what’s going on at the Sharks is the subject of many theories. The letter also leads to the question of why six NRL teams have been put under the pump when it looks as though Dank’s association is only being questioned at two of them.

There is a strong line of thought that the NRL wouldn’t mind scrapping the Sharks and starting over again – they have been a basket case for so long in terms of off-field leadership, and the NRL’s ”rescue package”, installing hand-picked management, is an interesting step to say the least.

Take this as fact – the NRL would love to have a second team out of Brisbane and they are of the firm belief that the Sydney market is too congested. The Sharks would be the easy squeeze. If things continue to crumble at Cronulla, could we see the emergence of the Brisbane Sharks?

Not just yet

Those getting excited about Manly being somehow linked to illegal drug use should note a few things – firstly, no player tested positive; secondly, Des Hasler is a stickler for the rules; thirdly, the way Manly worked is that Dank would talk to Des, then Des would talk to his doctor – if it was not good with the doctor, then it was not going to happen. And from what this column understands, Dank had not even thought about peptides while at the club.

And take this as fact – if Dank wanted to dump a team into trouble it would be the Sea Eagles – he was not re-signed by the club and they are understood to have owed him wages and holiday pay. He also got lumbered with a huge phone bill.

Ire for Snowden

Former Shark Kade Snowden has been targeted by some of his old teammates as a player they believe has given evidence to ASADA. I chased down that lead last week and Snowden’s management said it was wrong. According to Todd Buckingham the front-rower has had no contact with the drugs body. It does indicate, though, that Snowden and the Sharks players are a long way from being tight.

Trent warfare

Making things more uncomfortable at the NRL is that Trent Elkin’s wife, Jane, is an employee of the game’s governing body, in the marketing department. She has been on maternity leave and is obviously struggling as her husband goes through the most difficult period of his life.

Classic combo

We are hearing that aside from the British Lions playing the Wallabies, there will also be a Classic Wallabies match against old timers representing the British Lions. Word is that both Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns will play for the Classic Wallabies. The pair excelled recently when they represented the Classic Wallabies, with Fittler an absolute superstar.

Young talent time

A couple of names to keep an eye on playing in the NSW under-15 Oztag team. Dylan Morris, the younger brother of the Morris twins, Brett and Josh, is in the team and is said to be every bit as good as his older siblings. Another name that caught the eye is Tristan Sailor, son of dual international Wendell. He will be appearing for NSW, which is interesting given that his Dad is a Queensland Origin legend, but played union for the Waratahs. Perhaps Laurie Daley needs to ensure that Tristan will be a blue through and through. If early reports are right he is going to be every bit as good as his father.

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

LAKE Macquarie City Council reaffirmed its commitment to prepare for rising sea levels on Monday night, despite concerns its policy was an overreaction.
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Cr Ken Paxinos was concerned the council was imposing unnecessary costs on residents.

“We’re overreacting,” Cr Paxinos said.

Cr Paxinos said the council was forcing residents to increase floor levels on new buildings in line with worse-case sea-level rise predictions, despite the council not increasing the height of roads and other infrastructure.

Such houses would be worthless if the lake rose as predicted because surrounding roads would be underwater, he said.

“The logic is lost on me.’’

Councillors were debating a Lifestyle 2030 strategy, which sets direction for the city.

They voted 9-2 against Cr Paxinos’s move to defer the strategy, amid concern about sea-level rise policy.

Cr Barry Johnston said the council could not be certain lake levels would rise, but there was a strong science-based chance they would.

’’It’s like taking out an insurance policy,” Cr Johnston said.

’’We need to make sure we protect the people.”

Cr Johnston said council infrastructure could be dealt with in future.

Cr Paxinos said residents could be given information about potential sea-level rise predictions, then be allowed to work with insurance companies and decide themselves whether to spend the extra money to raise floor levels.

Cr Barney Langford said the council’s sea-level rise policy was ’’simply good risk management”.

“Carbon dioxide is causing the Earth to warm,” Cr Langford said.

RISING: Councillors are trying for climate ‘‘insurance’’.