December 4, 2018

Comments Off on OPINION: Got a tone to pick with you

OPINION: Got a tone to pick with you

LITERALLY JAB: Muhammad Ali surprised his opponents. NOW listen. But I already was listening. Did you have to say that? Make you feel important did it?

Now that you have commanded me to listen with your best uppity school principal tone, I am going to sit here and look interested but won’t be thinking about anything that spills into the vapour from your pompous gob. I’ll be dreaming about cat videos while nodding away and surreptitiously looking for the nearest exit and planning how quickly I can use it.

The only time I want to ever hear “now listen” is just before Ross Wilson cranks out “Oh we’re stepping out”, providing timeless and sage advice regarding a dance move generations of awkward, sober (awkwardly sober?) and unco-ordinated Australian men – whether they be metro, hetero, or retro – can manage without embarrassing partners, children, innocent bystanders or those who actually can trip the light fantastic. “I’m gonna turn around. Gonna turn around once and do the Eagle Rock.” Yes brother, we can all manage the Eagle Rock. The turn itself can be tricky if done at anything resembling quarter-Michael Jackson speed whilst nursing a dodgy hip or footy knees, but if you take it slowly enough there is a reasonable likelihood there will be little need to seek medical treatment for acute self-inflicted humiliation the following day.

But “now listen” is just one of the everyday sayings that has permeated the language and gets up my goat, which should never be confused with getting on my goat.

What about “I’ve got a bone to pick with you”? Oh spare me days, Nanna. This one buries the passive and privileges the aggressive. Why not say “I cannot legally physically punch you in the head with my clenched fist so I am going to punch you in the brain with a pointless and ordurous idiom as preferred by the most tiresome dolts in the English speaking world.”

“I’ve got a bone to pick with you” is the particularly annoying person’s way of sending a signal that you have annoyed them, winning them an annoyance boxed quinella comprised of being simultaneously both annoying and annoyed in any order.

I never want to hear this tedious phrase again, unless of course you are going to literally pick a bone with me, in which case a courteous invitation to a carnivorous feast may be acceptable, depending upon prior commitments and the nutritious parameters of the fad diet I am failing to comply with at any particular time. You would be welcome to pick my brain at such an occasion.

What about “with all due respect”? Like Muhammad Ali jiving his head quickly to the right before unloading a lethal left jab, this pearler signals something untoward is coming. This is the go-to passive aggressive insult par excellence spurted by attack weasels before they scarper back to their burrows.

Literally is the new “like”. I literally don’t, like, like you using literally. It’s 2015’s “absolutely” and is most often used to sabotage and poison an otherwise tolerable auditory ambience in a situation where an agreeable silence would be just dandy. Please shut up.

Now it’s election season and the Baird government is regularly wheeling out Laura Norder and her get tough promises in the usual cavalier fashion of those attempting to win the hearts of talkback shock-jocks and the Murdoch table thumpers, how about mandatory life sentences for misuse of the word literally? Like, literal life sentences.

“Can I ask you a question?” What? Besides that question you just asked, asking me whether you could ask me a question? I am not sure if I can answer that question without taking it into full consideration that you didn’t ask me a question whether you could ask me a question regarding the asking of a question. Just ask the question.

“I know this sounds like a dumb question, but…” Why are you asking me a question that you are apparently pleased to qualify with a disparaging announcement? Why not rethink the question and make it sharp and focused? Why not pass on asking it at all? Otherwise I’ll take it as a comment and refer the matter to Tony Jones where the Twitterati will joyfully pass comment on the validity of the question’s merits. On the other hand, maybe you could just ask the question without an introductory clause outlining unnecessary anxiety. Verbal oxazepam.

“It is what it is.” Oh Jebus. Just shoot me. Not literally.

“Thanks in advance.” That one means I have flicked you a task by email so intolerable that I would rather chew wasps than do it myself.

“Just sayin.” Arrrrgggh.

Paul Scott is a lecturer in the School of Design, Communication and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle


December 4, 2018

Comments Off on IAN KIRKWOOD: Revel inShow and tell

IAN KIRKWOOD: Revel inShow and tell

IAN KIRKWOOD: Revel in Show and tell All the colour abd fun from the Newcastle Show. Pictures: Marina Neil/Peter Stoop/Phil Hearne/Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald sports writer James Gardiner observed, for ‘‘a fifth straight game the Jets were fiercely competitive’’.

On Saturday, a swell that brought sizeable and picture-perfect waves to every beach on our part of the coast continued to pour in from the ocean depths, as it had on Friday.

And it was still there on Sunday, a great run of surf, even if it was a fortnight too late for Surfest.

Also on Saturday, the Newcastle Knights ran out for the first game of the season, scoring a spine-tingling 24-14 victory over the Warriors, fighting their way back from a 14-6 deficit and doing it with a man in the sin bin for 10 minutes in the second half.

There were 16,000 people cheering the home team on at Hunter Stadium, but I listened to the game through one earphone while negotiating my way with a mate and three children through the Newcastle Show.

Ah, the show!

Beloved by children, and looked at by many of us with a weary and wary eye.

Picture: Simone De Peak

A day out, yes, but once you get sucked into the sideshow alley, you can kiss goodbye to $100 or $150 a child without even blinking.

For those on limited budgets, it’s best to hand over the folding stuff and console yourself that it’s only once a year, and that the smiles on those little, and not-so-little faces are worth the wallet-full of redbacks that it’s cost to put them up on top of whatever ride is now scaring the daylights out of them.

As the word itself suggests, the ‘‘sideshow’’ started out on the ‘‘side’’ of the ‘‘show’’. An addition to the main attraction, in other words.

But the way the Newcastle Show is nowadays – and I am pretty certain it’s the same with a lot of regional shows – the ‘‘sideshow’’ appears to be the main game, especially if the weight of numbers is any indication.

All up, show organisers expect the three days of good weather this year will have brought more than 50,000 people through the gates, an increase of about 30per cent on the 35,000 of last year and 2013.

I was there from mid-afternoon until 9.30pm on Saturday and through all of that time, the crowds were much thicker over on the amusements side of the showground than they were over on the traditional side, where the goats and the chickens and the horses were doing their thing.

The main animal sheds were shut on Saturday afternoon – the cattle exhibitor had to cancel, as I later learnt – and I left with the feeling that the agricultural and industrial part of the Newcastle Show was on a noticeable decline.

So I went back on Sunday to talk to Newcastle Show Association president Roger Geary and his dedicated – and mostly volunteer – band of helpers, who told me that, yes, it was a battle, but a battle they were determined to win. It’s definitely a show of two worlds, financially.

While $20 and $50 notes disappear hand over fist on rides and amusements, those showing their goats and ponies are doing so for a love of the game, and for precious competition points to gain entry to the Royal Easter Show.

To make the most of the show, I would definitely recommend picking up a program. I was too distracted by the pull of three nine-year-olds dragging us relentlessly towards the rides and the sugar, and when I did finally drag the group over to the show ring, it was a bit hard for an untutored novice to know what was going on.

But I know one thing. I’m glad we stayed for the fireworks. In January I had a whinge about Newcastle’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, which, for most of the crowd, were like distant paintings on a near-silent sky.

Not so at the show. Let loose on Friday and Saturday nights from the centre of the show ring, it was an explosive rain of explosion and colour, the air thick and grey with the sulphurous reek of gunpowder.

As the kids said on the way home: Best fireworks ever!


December 4, 2018

Comments Off on EDITORIAL: The year of living equally

EDITORIAL: The year of living equally

AS long as gender inequality exists in society, there will always be a need for International Women’s Day.

It’s true, women are highly visible in positions of power; in politics, on television, in the workplace. But the reality is that men still rule the world, or think they do, and still make up most of the rules that govern the world.

Yes, Julia Gillard was Australia’s first female prime minister, and deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop is one of those named as a likely successor to prime minister Tony Abbott.

But they are the exceptions that prove the rule. Their high profile makes it seem as though women are equal players on the political field.

But the reality is that most of the positions that matter in Australian governments are still held by men.

Indeed, the latest global measures of gender inequality – a ‘‘gender gap index’’ compiled by the World Economic Forum – shows that Australia is slipping in relation to other countries. We ranked 24th last year from 142 nations, a steady decline from 2006, when we were 15th from 115 countries.

In everyday fields, most women still live lives that depend, to some extent, on the goodwill and largesse of men. Parenting is now much more of a shared experience than it was a generation or two ago, but women are still often cast in the role of the primary caregiver, while the man’s image remains that of the bread-winner. Some men – and perhaps some women – will say that is how it should be, and that gender roles are bequeathed to us by nature, not society. They may even say this division is not one of inequality, but of intrinsic, natural difference.

But modern experience tells us this is not the case. A crucial aspect of child care is that it provides women with choices if they want to contribute to the workforce, who wish to build careers for themselves.

Whether we realise it or not, the truth of the matter is that many of society’s conceptions of male and female roles are preconceptions, shaped by an often subtly acting group of biases and prejudices that we are often not even aware of until they are deconstructed.

And if there is one area of society that proves the amount of ground that men are yet to give, it’s in domestic violence.

Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators, and the act itself – of male violence towards women – is always wrong. There are no excuses, ever, and we should not need an International Women’s Day to remind us of this.

Nor is the right to a life without violence something we should think of only once a year.

Australian society, indeed all society, benefits from gender equality. In 2015, the idea that a woman should enjoy exactly the same rights and privileges as men is not feminist dogma, it is simple common sense.


October 9, 2019

Comments Off on Vic brother apology to sex assault victims

Vic brother apology to sex assault victims

An elderly Catholic brother who admitted molesting five young boys while giving them “sports massages” has read an apology to his victims in a Melbourne court.


Gerard McNamara, 80, used the hot sports balm Dencorub to assault his victims – aspiring athletes – between 1970 and 1975 at St Paul’s Catholic College at the Latrobe Valley centre of Traralgon.

On Thursday in the County Court of Victoria, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault on males under the age of 16.

Former sports master McNamara, who is still a Marist brother, previously described himself as “healer” and said that’s why he had massaged his students.

All five of his victims were present in court on Thursday, with three of the men reading statements and prosecutor Brett Sonnet reading the other two.

One of the men said his relationship with his mother broke down after the offending, describing McNamara as “evil”, and that he ended up a ward of the state, living in a boys’ home and on the streets.

Another victim described how he felt ashamed and dirty after the offending.

“Brother Gerard was an imposing, scary person to me then and I was intimidated by him and what he was doing.”

Another man described how he was bullied by students for being one of Brother Gerard’s “chosen ones”.

Students who smelt like Dencorub would be teased by others, another victim added.

“It was impossible not to know. Every student in that school knew.

“That was so humiliating.”

“I’ve made a number of attempts at suicide in my life all as a result of shame and degradation.”

McNamara stood to read out a prepared apology.

“I wish to offer a sincere apology to each of these men,” he said.

“My subsequent training and qualifications in student welfare and the experience of working with students in that area for 50 years, together with the help I’ve received from psychologists over the past 14 years have made me very aware of the gravity of my behaviour.

“I am deeply sorry for the hurt and the heartache I have caused to each of you.”

Judge Duncan Allen condemned the “appalling culture that existed” at Marist schools of the era.

He extended McNamara’s bail and adjourned the matter for further plea on July 25.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636


October 9, 2019

Comments Off on Sam Poolman, Katie Ebzery and Amy Harrison combine to give future stars lessons on business and sponsorship

Sam Poolman, Katie Ebzery and Amy Harrison combine to give future stars lessons on business and sponsorship

FORGING PATHWAYS: Super Netball star Sam Poolman believes fledgling sports stars in the Hunter deserve a “clear pathway” for sponsorship and business acumen as well as sporting talent.For many female sporting stars achieving at a high level in their codes, the option to move on to a national level has never really been an option.


Now, with the rise of competitions like the Super Netball, the W-League, the Women’s National Basketball League and even the AFL Womens in the past two years, doors are opening all over the country to make sporting codes a professional career.

Despite the multitude of options becoming available, many women find themselves walking the path to sporting stardom, and professional status, without a helping hand from those that came before.

That’s something Sam Poolman, Katie Ebzery and Amy Harrison are looking to change in the Hunter, with an upcoming event geared towards helping young women understand how to usesponsorship to support their careers, and develop the necessary business acumen to succeed well into the future.

“It’s about how we can help the next generation of sports stars find out key knowledge that they might not just have readily available,” Poolman explained. “We wanted to have a range of sports on the panel, and so we got Katie and Amy on board.”

Katie Ebzery is currently in China with the Opals as they contest the Four Nations tournament, but will return to the Hunter as part of the seminar on sports sponsorship and business management.

Poolman believes that “education before you get to a top level” is key for any aspiring sporting star.

“I don’t think a lot of that crucial information is getting delivered when players are coming through the ranks,” she said. “I think it’s a pretty awesome panel, there’s a lot of knowledge there.”

“Even just a couple of years ago something like this being around for me would have been pretty helpful,” she added with a laugh.

Although the three panel experts represent high-participation sports in the Hunter like netball, soccer and basketball, Poolman made it clear the seminar is “open invitation to all sporting codes”.

In recent sporting newsRosebuds break silverware drought withWomen’s State Cup glorySouths out to show Wests are beatable in bumper post-break clashCooks Hill secure premiership as untouchable season continuesDue to the rising popularity in sports like AFL and rugby league, Poolman knows many of the young women looking to take steps up the professional ladder may not be from the same umbrella as her sport, but said she wants to “help everyone”.

“We want to get as much information to girls across all sports, there’s so many women across so many codes that are pushing that next level now, and they have to have an understanding of sponsorship, and how to represent themselves.

“I think that’s something that gets lost a lot, women come through with a small knowledge of working with money, but they haven’t had any skills or practice promoting things, or how they represent themselves to clubs and teams.

“All three of us [Poolman, Ebzery and Harrison] know that if you don’t show yourself off well, you don’t know who sponsors your team and you don’t have that experience with it already, you can miss that opportunity to get to the upper levels of the sport you love to play.”

Matildas and Sydney FC midfielder Amy Harrison brings a unique perspective to the upcoming seminar, after the beginning of her career was shadowed by an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

The event idea first came about whenKylie Frearson, a local business woman who foundedProperty Solutions 101, saw there was no clear way for young women to further their understanding of sponsorship or sports business.

She believes the rise in women’s sporting codes around Australia should come hand in hand with “bridging the financial gap” that has developed between male and female sports professionals.

“All evidence demonstratesfemale athletes generally earn far less than their male counterparts, even when they reach the same levels of success,” Ms Frearsonsaid.

“This means female elite athletes need to find other income streams until this disparity is removed, and sponsorship is a key way to do this.

“Unfortunately sponsorship education is not something that is focused on during the developmental years of our athletes, meaning they are behind by the time they reach elite level. We wanted to help our young, localfemale athletes get on the front foot.”

The event is sponsored byProperty Solutions 101, Crosbie Finance, Jenkins Legal Services and The Marketing GP, all of whom came on board as soon as they heard Ms Frearson’s seminar plans.

The seminar will be held at the Harbourview Function Centre inNewcastle (150 Wharf Road) on Wednesday, August 1. The event will begin from 5pm.

To RSVPhead to the Sponsorship Education Seminar’s Facebook listing. All tickets will be $5, and ticketing proceeds will be combined in a fund for a local female athlete. Details will be provided at the event.


October 9, 2019

Comments Off on Cox return gives Magpies giant AFL boost

Cox return gives Magpies giant AFL boost

Collingwood’s Mason Cox averages 4.4 marks per game and almost 10 disposals this season.Collingwood will welcome back sorely-missed big man Mason Cox for Saturday’s AFL clash with North Melbourne at the MCG.


The 211cm ruck-forward was a late withdrawal for last week’s loss to West Coast with a hamstring complaint but proved his fitness at Thursday’s training session.

Cox looms as a key inclusion for the Magpies as they prepare to tackle a Kangaroos side which has the potential to stretch opponents with Majak Daw playing up forward in recent weeks alongside Coleman Medal leader Ben Brown.

“We expect him to be right. He got through the session and he’s come good,” coach Nathan Buckley told reporters.

“He was touch and go last week but it wasn’t worth the risk because he just simply wasn’t ready to go in our medicos’ eyes.”

While his absence wasn’t the only factor, the Pies’ 35-point loss to West Coast showed just how important Cox has become to their structure.

The Eagles repeatedly intercepted Collingwood’s forward entries and dominated the marking contests across the ground.

Cox’s improvement has been a huge positive for the Magpies but Buckley is conscious of ensuring they can also manage without him.

“He’s massive in more ways than one … (but) we need to continue to find ways of being able to get around any reliance on any one individual,” Buckley said.

“His role in particular, we weren’t able to replace due to availability and we missed him last week.

“But that wasn’t the whole picture for us; there’s plenty of (room for) improvement.”

Gun midfielder Adam Treloar hit the track on Thursday as he continues his bid to return from a rare double-hamstring injury.

The Magpies have listed Treloar as still being seven to eight weeks away from returning but the 25-year-old is desperate to overcome the odds.

“He broke into a jog today,” Buckley said.

“He’s a bullish character, always trying to beat expectations to be ahead of the curve.

“He’ll continue to do that but there’s still a fair bit of time for him and there’s also a fair bit of work to be done as well.”

Buckley’s men are third on the ladder but their tough schedule, including games against Richmond, Sydney and Port Adelaide, could scupper hopes of a top-four finish.


October 9, 2019

Comments Off on Haas took less pay to stay: Bennett

Haas took less pay to stay: Bennett

Payne Haas had to endure some financial pain to stay at Brisbane, says Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.It’s the richest NRL deal in history for a teenager.


But Wayne Bennett has revealed 18-year-old Payne Haas knocked back more lucrative offers to re-sign with Brisbane on a bumper six year, $3.4-million extension.

And the Broncos coach reckoned Haas’ deal will pay big dividends, leading to more signatures from his young brigade of off-contract forwards.

Bennett admitted he once claimed he would never pay more than $300,000 a year for a forward.

But the Brisbane mentor believed Haas was a special exception, comparing the towering teen with the likes of the NRL club’s greats Darren Lockyer and Karmichael Hunt.

“That (not pay forwards top dollar) was a long time ago, that was before the salary cap changed,” Bennett said.

“But it’s all relevant to your ability. The more ability you have got the more relevant it is.

“And I think the really good ones have always got it (ability).

“Karmichael Hunt came out here at 18 and was outstanding, Darren Lockyer was 18 here when he played and was outstanding.”

Bennett reckoned Haas took less money than the lucrative rival offers on the table.

“I don’t think anyone realises our offer was small compared to other clubs,” he said.

“Well maybe not small but not as high as other clubs that offered.

“He is a player in great demand. We see a long-term future for him here.

“I don’t think he (Haas) was always a Broncos supporter as a kid growing up but he’s here and wants to stay here.”

Bennett was confident off-contract forwards Tevita Pangai, Matt Lodge and Jaydn Su’A would follow Haas’ lead.

“We have a great history of not losing our young players so that is not going to happen hopefully – certainly on my watch it hasn’t happened,” Bennett said.

“It’s not to say it won’t happen but we want to keep them. They are our future.

“They are decade players some of these.”

Bennett – off contract next year – was tightlipped on his own future after tabling a proposal about his next move to the Broncos board.

Bennett reportedly wants a football director role.

“Ask the CEO. I am not privy to that. That is up to them,” Bennett said of his future.

Meanwhile, Bennett said it was sad to see Broncos forward Korbin Sims link with St George Illawarra on a three-season deal next year.

“We resurrected his career a little here,” he said.

“I would have loved to have kept Korbin. I love what he brings.

“But with the salary cap no-one is getting less every year so we have to keep making decisions like that.”


October 9, 2019

Comments Off on Matured Holmes is Sharks’ new man at back

Matured Holmes is Sharks’ new man at back

Coach Shane Flanagan believes Valentine Holmes can lead Cronulla’s premiership charge.Valentine Holmes has matured to the point where he can now lead Cronulla’s premiership assault from the back, according to Sharks coach Shane Flanagan


Flanagan confirmed this week that Holmes would retain Cronulla’s No.1 jersey when Josh Dugan returns from a leg injury in the centres shortly.

But with the Sharks poised to fly from under the radar and make a serious bid for a top-four spot over the final rounds, Flanagan has seen a change in Holmes since he first moved him from fullback to wing to accommodate Dugan at the start of the season.

“He’s come out the other end playing really well at the moment,” Flanagan said.

“He’s playing better now and the maturity that’s come with Val has been the biggest improvement.

“Not his football, just understanding what he has to do to be a fullback in the NRL. The penny has dropped.”

Dugan is due back as soon as next week against Brisbane, although Flanagan may opt to hold him a further 10 days to face Manly on August 5.

Holmes has been exceptional at the back during Dugan’s absence.

Combined with four tries in three State of Origins on the wing for Queensland, he’s crossed six times in his past six games wearing the Sharks’ No.1 jersey.

“He’s one of those players that when he is in good form he’s in really good form,” Flanagan said.

“And coming out of the Origin series, even though Queensland lost the series, Val came out of it pretty chuffed with himself and the way he played.

“The players know if they perform well they will keep their position. If they don’t perform well someone will come and get it.”

Cronulla have largely been forgotten about in premiership talk this year but they stand poised to strike in sixth, just two points behind second-placed Melbourne.

Before Friday’s home clash with Canberra they have won nine of their past 11 and have just two games of their remaining games against top-eight sides with a number of stars returning fresh from injuries.

“The club and team believe we’re a top four team but there’s no use believing that if you can’t put it into action,” Flanagan said.

“We haven’t been spoken about a lot because we haven’t shot the lights out as yet.

“We’ve had moments and halves and the game here and there where we’ve played really well and haven’t put a score on.

“But we haven’t done it week after week and that’s what we need to do over the next block of football.”


* The away team has won the past 10 Cronulla-Canberra matches.

* Both teams are aiming for a third straight win.

* Holmes has scored in five of his past six games against Canberra.

* Stats: Fox Sports Stats


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Hall set to light up NRL with Roosters

Hall set to light up NRL with Roosters

Winger Ryan Hall is better placed than any other English back before him to become a superstar of the NRL when he joins the Sydney Roosters.


While English forwards Sam Burgess, James Graham and Josh Hodgson have all become household names in Australia, backs have traditionally flopped when switching from the English Super League.

English-born five-eighth Gareth Widdop is a star for St George Illawarra, but he’s played his entire career in the NRL.

Joe Burgess, Zak Hardaker, Sam Tomkins and Greg Eden are just some of the players to give the NRL a go before heading back to play in their homeland after having limited or no impact.

Irish winger Brian Carney enjoyed some success in a season with Newcastle in 2006 after transferring from Wigan, before bailing on a contract with Gold Coast in 2007 to never play for the Titans.

But with Hall’s signature, the Roosters are hoping they have found a like-for-like replacement for Blake Ferguson, who is headed to Parramatta next season on a three-year deal.

Hall comes with a most impressive CV and has signed a two-year deal, starting from next season.

The 30-year-old has scored a mammoth 231 tries in 327 games for Leeds, debuting in 2007.

England’s leading international try-scorer with 35 tries in 38 games, Hall is known as one of the hardest men to stop in the game out wide as he weighs 105kg and is 188cm tall.

“Ryan has expressed a desire to test himself in the NRL, and we are pleased to have secured his services,” Roosters recruitment manager Adam Hartigan said.

“A natural finisher blessed with size, speed and strength, we believe that Ryan will be a terrific fit within our squad and we look forward to welcoming him to the Club later this year.”

Hall also arrives with the experience of having won six Super League grand finals (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017) and two Challenge Cup titles (2014, 2015) with Leeds.


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Cats vs Dogs vs sparkling vs wine

Cats vs Dogs vs sparkling vs wine

According to a recent survey of over 1700 pet owners bywine retailer Cellarmasters, cat owners drink more than double the amount of sparkling wine than dog owners, while pooch pals prefer to drink big red wines like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.


“A lot of our customers fall into one of two camps; they’re either lovers of whites and sparkling, or fans of big, bold reds,” Cellarmasters cellar director Christine Ricketts said.

It’s surprisinglyblack and white, and reminded us of the divide between dog and cat lovers. So when we got the survey results, it blew us away that there’s a correlation between these two camps.”

The survey also showed cat owners drink more Sauvignon Blanc than dog owners.

Dr Robert Zammit of Vineyard Vet said he was not surprised by the findings.

“Cats are the aristocrats of the world, and regal cat owners especially are quite sophisticated, so I’m not surprised cat owners enjoy bubbles,” said Dr Zammit.

“Dog owners like to spend time outside with their furry friends, and there’s nothing better than coming home to a glass of warming red wine, so it makes complete sense,” he added.

Dr Zammit added that this disparity is especially visible in the pet show circuit.

“In between shows, cat owners will take their pets with them and enjoy lunch and bubbles, while dog owners tend to stay ring-side with a glass of red,” he said.

The Vineyard Vet himself has several cats, 14 dogs and other pets such as birds.

“I guess that means I like to drink a bit of anything – and I have two wine fridges full to the brim.

Joking aside, if I had to choose, I am definitely more of a dog person and just like the data suggests, I prefer reds,” he said.

The name of Dr Zammit’s practice – Vineyard Vet – comes from the namesake area in NSW where it is located. This was the region where the first vines were planted in Australia.

The survey was conducted among 3649 wine lovers in June 2018 by leading wine retailer Cellarmasters, and 49.5 percent of the people surveyed stated they owned a cat or a dog.

Christine’s wine recommendation for dog owners: Cat Amongst the Pigeons Alley Cat Barossa Shiraz 2016.

This elegant style of 2016 Barossa Shiraz is made from a few small parcels of fruit, and the result is a rich and spicy palate of dark berry and cassis fruit, with fine-grain tannins on the finish.

Christine’s wine recommendation for cat owners: Riversdale Estate Crux Sparkling NV.

Tasmanian sparkling is renowned for being on par with the quality of French Champagne.

She says this sensational “Tassie” sparkling comes from an award-winning boutique winery that’s been gaining acclaim for the quality of their cool climate wines.

“With pleasant soft fruit and yeast flavours that linger, the quality of this Australian sparkling gives French champagne a run for its money.”


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Hunter’s ARTC rail maintenance workers strike over EBA pay dispute

Hunter’s ARTC rail maintenance workers strike over EBA pay dispute

DISPUTE: Australian Rail Track Corporation maintenance crews will strike for 24 hours from 3am Monday.Maintenance workers at theAustralian Rail Track Corporation will walk off the job on Monday to protest against what they see as the company’s refusal to bargain reasonably on a new enterprise agreement.


The 24-hour protected industrial action from 3am Monday will include about 180Rail, Tram and Bus Union members across the state, about 50 of whom are based in the Hunter.

It follows a five-hour stoppage last week.

Enterprise bargaining talks between the union and the federal government-owned corporation have dragged on for 18 months.

The union’s NSW secretary,Alex Claassens, said the ARTC was refusing to provide workers with fair wages and conditions, including adequate living-away-from-home allowances.

RTBU state secretary Alex Claassens

“The company’s offer includes an approximately 2.65 per cent pay increase and no back pay,” he said.

“In refusing back pay, management is out of step with the industry and punishing employees for not endorsing earlier proposals from management that cut their conditions.”

An ARTC spokesperson said the corporation did not anticipate that the strike would affect any train services on Monday.

“Where employees wish to participate in protected industrial action, we respect their right to do so,” the spokesperson said.“We are committed to finding a resolution on this matter, and enterprise agreement discussions with staff and union representatives continue.”

Mr Claassens said ARTC management had left workers with no choice but to take action.

“These workers keep our railways safe. They maintain our track and railway infrastructure to the highest standard. They deserve to be fairly compensated for the vital work they do.”

He said the workers had to spend long periods away from home to maintain tracks in regional and remote areas but were not being adequately compensated.

“Management at this federal government corporation are refusing to budget on vital issues, like allowances.Workers can’t simply sit by and let ARTC management eat away at their living wage.

“No one ever wants to take protected industrial action, but until ARTC management come to the table with a fair offer, we don’t have any choice.”


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Burraduc Buffalo Farm wins kudos for luscious mozzarella

Burraduc Buffalo Farm wins kudos for luscious mozzarella

Simply the best: Burraduc buffalo mozzarella, winner of a 2018 delicious Award for best in NSW.Buffaloare strong-willed creatures –they don’t like to be pushed. Even whenafraid, cows can be pushed into the milking belt. The same cannot be said for buffalo.


“They will only take so much, then they will turn on you if you’re being unfair or push them too much,” saysElena Swegen, owner of Burraduc Buffalo Farm at Bungwahl on Lakes Way near Forster.

“They can break through everything. You cannot contain a buffalo if it doesn’t want to be there,” Swegensays. “So you need to have a good relationship with them rather than trying to push them.”

Swegen’s buffalocome willingly to be milked. They like it. Sometimes she has a hard time getting them out of the dairy.

To get the buffaloon side, Swegen does things differently than most dairy farmers. She does not separate the babies from their mothers. “This means we don’t upset the mothers and we don’t have to try to put the buffalo babies on the bottle,” she says.

When it comes to dairy cows, the calves will quite happily feed from the bottle from day two. Buffaloon the other hand, will often refuse. “We are happy to share the milk with the babies,” Swegen says,“because we don’t have to feed them by the bottle, they grow much better and the mothers come to the dairy happily in the afternoon.”

Happy owner: Elena Swegen of Burraduc.

Swegen says it’s all about having a partnership with the buffalo, rather than exploiting them. This ethical farming style has even attracted vegan customers.

Swegen’s happy buffalowhich graze Burraduc’s lush, nutrient-dense pastures, produce outstanding milk, which she transforms into buffalo mozzarella and scamorza (a drier, saltier version of mozzarella), pot set full cream natural yoghurt, docenina, fetta, pure whey ricotta and clarified buffalo butter.

Her buffalo mozzarella was a state winner in the 2018 delicious. Produce Awards, ahuge accolade for outstanding Australian producers.

Swegentravelled to southern Italy to learn the art of making fresh buffalo mozzarella.

“I needed to have confidence that my handmade mozzarella was as close as possible to the authentic product of Campana,” she says.

Swegendescribes how around Naples, buffalo farms sell hundreds of kilograms of freshly made mozzarella each morning from farmgate shops.

“Real, fresh buffalo mozzarella is a big addiction in Italy, especially in the South.”

Her customers with Italian backgrounds get very emotional over her mozzarella and scamorza. “One Italian lady was nearly crying when she found the mozzarella was exactly like the one her mother used to buy back in Naples,” Swegensays.

Australian customers share the passion for the product.“It was amazing, we had so many messages, emails and phone calls from the first customers who took the time to let us know how they felt about discovering new flavours of buffalo milk, and how the freshness reminded them of their childhood and how much they appreciated our way of farming,” she recalls.

Primary producers: Burraduc’s buffalo.

The freshness and clean flavours of her productsshe credits to the quality and richness of the milk her buffalocan produce in thehigh rainfall climate of the Great Lakes.

Her job is to handle and process the milk without interfering too much; turning it into cheese without any artificial aids and preservatives.The result is flavours that simply cannot be found in heavily processed products on supermarketshelves.

Restaurants incorporating Burraduc products into their menu include Moor andLizotte’s in Newcastleand Moby’s Beachside Retreat at Boomerang Beach.

Swegen’svision includes educational farm tours and connecting people to the principles of organic farming and the importance of bio-diversity and co-existing with wildlife, including predators. The farmtours arepart of The Great Lakes Food trail (thegreatlakesfoodtrailnsw杭州桑拿

Find Burraduc products at Newcastle Sunday Farmers Markets, Blueys Cellar Door ordirectfrom the farm,2014 The Lakes Way, Mayers Flat (0416 027 683).


September 8, 2019

Comments Off on Lake Macquarie council to consider proposal for interim heritage order on Catherine Hill Bay jetty

Lake Macquarie council to consider proposal for interim heritage order on Catherine Hill Bay jetty

Lifeline proposal for Catho’s historic jetty Options: Sue Whyte is hopeful an adaptive reuse plan for the town’s historic jetty can be developed. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers


TweetFacebookLake Macquarie City Council looks set to support a proposal to buy another 12 months for the historicCatherine Hill Bay jetty.

The proposal involves investigatingadaptive reuses of the 240-metre jetty, either in whole or in part.

“We are asking for an interim heritage order of one year to give us time to document the jetty and look at ways of saving the jetty,” Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association Sue Whyte said.

“It is tall, old and skinny.It’s a bit of an ask butit is absolutely iconic.”

The jetty, which was used until 2002,is the most recent of three coal loading structuresthat have stood on the site since the 1870s.

A cafe or restaurant appear to be the most likely options for a future commercial operation on the jetty.

The jetty, which is owned by Lake Coalhas been earmarked for demolition several times over the past 15 years.

Ms Whyte said the companyhad indicated it would contribute funds towards a suitable adaptive reuse project.

“Catherine Hill Bay is one of two heritage towns in the state and the jetty was the reason the town existed,” Ms Whyte said.

“Just ripping it out and coming up with a clean slate would be ridiculous.”

Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Faser indicated council supported the application for an interim heritage order in a recent letter to the group.

“Council recognises that the Catherine Hill Bay jetty is of potentially state heritage significance and that a full heritage assessment of the jetty including archival recording, professional heritage assessment, further research regarding maritime archaeological issues and the development of an interpretation strategy should be undertaken before the long-term future of the jetty is determined,” Cr Fraser wrote.

A spokeswoman for Lake Coalsaid the company was not in a position to talk about the notice of motion to be put to the council on Monday night.

“Lake Coal is committed to working with all stakeholders, both local and government, over the former Moonee Colliery site,” the statement said.

“Lake Coal will continue to work within the scope of its obligations under the approved mine closure plan for the site.”

An underwater dive park built on the seabed at the foot of the jetty, was among the options that have been considered in recent years.

The park would have concrete swim-through pipes, statues, sunken train carriages and small boat or aircraft wrecks.

The jetty’s heritage significance increased after a section of it was lost in afire that ravaged the town in late 2013.