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.


May 7, 2019

Comments Off on Activist in High Court ‘free speech’ bid

Activist in High Court ‘free speech’ bid

Far-right activist Blair Cottrell, who made a video beheading a dummy in protest of a Bendigo mosque, has flagged he aims to fight for free speech in the High Court.


The United Patriots Front leader briefly appeared in the County Court of Victoria on Thursday for an appeal mention after he was convicted in September of inciting contempt and ridicule of Muslims alongside supporters Neil Erikson and Christopher Neil Shortis.

Magistrate John Hardy previously said the trio had “crossed the line” with the October 2015 stunt.

During the video, the men beheaded a mannequin, with red liquid flowing from its head and body, outside the Bendigo City Council offices while chanting “Allahu Akbar”.

Mr Hardy said the video was made to induce “as many like-minded people” as possible to their anti-mosque rally planned for six days later.

He convicted the men and fined them $2000 each plus $79.50 in statutory costs – the first convictions under Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001.

The trio initially indicated they would each appeal their conviction but only Cottrell will continue with his bid.

On Thursday his lawyer John Bolton asked for the appeal to be adjourned after lodging an 18-page notice of a constitutional matter.

He said Cottrell had been charged with an “invalid law” under the Australian Constitution.

“I say the law’s invalid so why should my client have to defend anything?” Mr Bolton said.

The appeal hearing, which had been set down for August 27 and 28, has now been vacated while Cottrell attempts to take the matter to the higher court.

Mr Bolton told AAP “free speech” was protected under the constitution, “which protects political discourse”.

He also described the charge on which Cottrell was convicted as an “Islamic blasphemy law”.

“My position is my client shouldn’t have to go to trial on a law that is invalid,” he said.

Cottrell previously said his conviction had set a dangerous precedent, claiming “blasphemy charges” destroyed his freedom of speech.

Cottrell is due back at court on November 27 for a further directions hearing.

During that hearing, the court will be updated on the success of Cottrell’s High Court constitutional bid.


May 7, 2019

Comments Off on Raiders ‘no clue’ on NRL kicking duties

Raiders ‘no clue’ on NRL kicking duties

Canberra’s Josh Hodgson says they still don’t know who will assume kicking duties against Cronulla.Canberra are still guessing who will assume the kicking duties against Cronulla with injuries to star Raiders Jarrod Croker and Aidan Sezer.


Back-rower Jack Murchie, 21, will make his NRL debut by coming off the bench in place of Sezer after the halfback injured his hamstring at training on Tuesday.

Sezer was locked in to do Canberra’s goal-kicking after slotting in seamlessly to the job when Croker was injured early in the Raiders’ victory over North Queensland.

But with Croker out for the remainder of the season because of a dislocated knee cap and Sezer on the sidelines indefinitely, the Raiders are forced to finding fresh kicking options.

Hooker Josh Hodgson, who will captain the Raiders in Croker’s absence, has ruled himself out of performing the duty but did throw surprise candidates into the mix.

Hodgson says he would love to see forwards Josh Papalii and Junior Paulo take some kicks, revealing their kicking game was more than capable.

“We’ve got absolutely no clue at the minute,” Hodgson said.

“I’m tipping big Papa (Papalii) or Juns (Paulo)… honestly no-one believes me but they can kick goals.

“I was going throw my name in the hat but I’ll stick to football.”

Blake Austin comes into the starting line-up for Friday night’s game following Sezer’s injury after the team had been named.

Canberra will be missing five key players for the trip to Southern Cross Group Stadium, with Shannon Boyd, Joseph Tapine and Jack Wighton already on the sidelines.

The Raiders sit two games outside of the top-eight, while Cronulla are three games ahead in sixth on the ladder.

“We know it’s going to be tough going there for the result with a few people out,” Hodgson said.

“The Sharks are obviously going to be favourites but we’ve just got to go out there and put our best foot forward.”


May 7, 2019

Comments Off on Public ownership models that introduce competition into the energy market

Public ownership models that introduce competition into the energy market

BRIGHT LIGHT: NSW politicians should note the great success of publicly owned energy retailer Robin Hood Energy in the UK, the author says. History moves in cycles, like fashion.


In the early 1800s energy was normally provided to towns and cities by private Joint Stock Companies; they brought gas-light into towns and cities throughout Britain, Europe, America and Australia.

By the second half of the 19th Century, however, the provision of essential services by private companies had fallen out of fashion; for good reason.

Australia and Britain had both experienced price gouging by monopolies; the same market failures recently reported by the ACCC in the Australian energy sector.

By 1891, the Sydney Morning Herald was editorialising that electricity supply should be in public hands. The NSW Parliament agreed and gave the rights to generate and distribute electricity to the Sydney Municipal Council. This type of “municipal socialism” emerged in Britain during the 1870s when Joseph Chamberlain became Mayor of Birmingham. Elected on a Liberal platform, Chamberlain forcibly purchased two companies supplying gas to the city and set up the publicly owned Birmingham Corporation Gas Committee, providing inexpensive energy while still turning a profit.

Australian public ownership of energy generation evolved, as technological change allowed, from individual municipalities to the state-wide NSW Electricity Commission.

Although widely derided by proponents of privatisation as a cumbersome and inefficient government dinosaur, the NSW Electricity Commission more than trebled the state’s power capacity in its first decade.

The dinosaur also produced the cheapest and most reliable power supply in the world.

Then fashion changed again.

From 1992, successive stupid and/or corrupt state governments, espousing the dogma of privatisation providing customer choice, competition and cheaper electricity, embarked on a process to dismantle a successful utility and offer its components to corporate raiders.

A measure of the foolishness displayed in this privatisation can be seen in the disposal of the stateowned coal mines which supplied NSW power stations. In 1992 these mines were split off into a separate entity; Powercoal. In 2002 the Carr Government sold Powercoal to a private company, Centennial Coal, for AU$306 million. In 2010, Centennial Coal was sold to a Thai company, Banpu, for US$2 billion.

At today’s exchange rate, that’s a transfer of more than $2.4 billion Australian dollars in value from the taxpayers of NSW to the shareholders of Centennial Coal; nice work if you can get it.

The transfer of coal supply to foreign ownership is just one of the factors that have contributed to the failure of privatisation to deliver any of the promised benefits and the market failures listed by the ACCC.

Similar conditions have prevailed in the British energy market which was also privatised in the 1990s. Control of their power supply fell into the hands of an oligarchy known as “The Big Six;” companies who now control over 80% of their market.

As in Australia, this concentration of ownership and consequent market failure has resulted in unaffordable price gouging and “energy poverty”. In response to the failure of British privatisation, in 2015 the Nottingham City Council set up a publicly owned energy retailer called Robin Hood Energy.

Although criticised by opponents as a “naive” adventure sure to cost the Council money, Robin Hood has been able to offer energy at over $420 p.a. less than the Big Six and still repay their startup costs within three years.

In fact, Robin Hood’s success has spawned a number of similar municipal enterprises across Britain, including London, Bristol, Liverpool and Islington.

With a state election due next year, Luke Foley and the Labor Party could do worse than look at these examples of public ownership introducing actual competition into the energy market.

The pendulum of history has swung in that direction.

Chris Craig is a Lake Macquarie author and commentator


May 7, 2019

Comments Off on Refugee advocates target political leaders

Refugee advocates target political leaders

Vigils are being held outside the offices of politicians including the prime minister and opposition leader to mark the fifth anniversary of offshore processing.


“We remind politicians from both old parties that these five years has condemned 12 people to early death through violence, medical neglect and despair,” refugee support advocate Pamela Curr said in a statement.

The Refugee Council says more than 3000 children and adults have endured “enormous mental and physical harm”, yet the government continues to hail the policy as a success.

Other countries are seeking to mirror the policy as refugee numbers rise around the world.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters earlier this week the government restored control over Australia’s borders, after Labor allowed 50,000 unauthorised arrivals and at least 1200 people died on dangerous sea voyages.

“The bottom line is we have got our immigration system working exclusively for Australia – the Australian government controls our borders, once again, and so it’s going very well,” he said.

Labor’s Mark Butler said the coalition had made the processing centres into “centres of indefinite detention”, rather than temporary residences while resettlement places were sought.

Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim said there were children born in offshore detention who had “spent their whole lives in exile” and it was time to let those remaining in the system come to Australia.

“Labor locked them up, and the Liberals threw away the key.”

When Kevin Rudd seized back the prime ministership in mid-2013 he toughened the Labor party’s stance on “stopping the boats”, to counter then-opposition leader Tony Abbott’s mantra.

On July 19 of that year the prime minister announced Australia had entered into an arrangement with Papua New Guinea to have all boat arrivals to be transferred there for processing and subsequent settlement in PNG or a participating regional country.

He later struck another deal with the remote Pacific island nation of Nauru.


May 7, 2019

Comments Off on Man charged over Canberra Hospital shots

Man charged over Canberra Hospital shots

A man who allegedly wrestled a gun from a police officer and opened fire while under guard at a hospital in Canberra has been charged with attempted murder.


The man is accused of assaulting police about 4pm on Wednesday, taking one of their weapons and firing it as he tried to escape.

He was soon restrained by police, and no-one was injured during the incident.

ACT Policing say the man has now been charged with two counts of attempted murder, assault and attempting to escape custody.

The 26-year-old was being held at Canberra Hospital after being arrested over a serious traffic incident on Wednesday morning.

Witnesses told the Nine Network they heard shouts of “Code Black!” as the hospital was put into lockdown.

“My wife couldn’t get in to see her little boy for about an hour and a half. It was a little bit (scary),” said Dane O’Connell, who was in the emergency department with his young son.

“I couldn’t do anything really … police were everywhere.

“My phone was flat, so I couldn’t even call my wife to know what was going on.”

Police have launched a critical incident investigation, but say a preliminary assessment has found no misconduct by the officers involved.

“We will obviously look into all our procedures, but it’s too early to speculate,” Acting Superintendent Marcus Boorman told reporters outside the hospital on Wednesday night.

The 26-year-old is expected to appear before ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Canberra Hospital said the emergency department is still operational, with minor damage to just one area.

“This has been cordoned off while further assessment of the damage is undertaken and repair work commences later today,” it said in a statement.

The hospital encouraged anyone with non-life threatening injuries or illnesses to consider alternative treatment options such as GPs and Walk-in health centres.


April 8, 2019

Comments Off on Ask Noel: How safe is super?

Ask Noel: How safe is super?

Are superannuation savings more protected from outside influences such as a global financial crisis than say a pension fund? I am 60 years old, working full time with about $400,000 in super. In the GFC I lost about 20 per cent of the paper value of my super. Is there any way of preventing that loss by shifting super to a pension fund before the predicted downturn. And, would my money be protected from fluctuations in a pension fund?


Superannuation is not an asset class like property or shares but merely a vehicle which lets you hold assets in a concessionally taxed environment. Therefore, at least in theory, it should not matter whether you are in accumulation mode or pension mode – the outcome would depend entirely on the asset mix you have chosen. It is true that some pension funds automatically opt for a more conservative asset mix unless the member chooses otherwise. I think your best course of action is to discuss your asset allocation with your adviser and agree on a mix which suits your goals and your risk profile.

My wife and I have family, including grandchildren, in New Zealand. Last year we bought a small house there so we can spend time grandparenting. We are Australian citizens and residents for tax purposes, and we own our own apartment in Sydney. If we sell our NZ home will that trigger capital gains tax in Australia?

As you are Australian residents for tax purposes, any capital gain on assets sold overseas will need to be included in your assessable income in Australia.

I read with great interest your article on women’s super and thought you should highlight another barrier unique to married women who have followed tradition and changed their names. I have used two different ‘‘find my super’’ services – one I paid $90 – and both came back that I had no missing/inactive super. Having at least six accounts that had not been used for at least six years I was surprised and frustrated. It was later revealed to me that as I had changed my name when I got married and these accounts were in my maiden name they had not been found in the search. I was wondering if the Tax Office data match you mentioned would be able to overcome this barrier that many Australian women are facing.

I’m pleased to report that progress is being made in this vital area. An ATO spokesperson tells me that the Tax Office has now achieved a high level of data matching across the superannuation industry. As a result, it is now able to data match the vast majority of records provided by super funds to individuals and display their super accounts and ATO Online which is available through myGov. The ATO Online service also displays separately any super that has been paid to the ATO as unclaimed monies on an individual’s behalf. ATO Online is a free service available to all individuals through their myGov account. Even though the ATO has a sophisticated data matching system to match up personal information provided by super funds to the personal information they hold, in a small number of cases they are not able to do so as a super fund has not reported their super account details to them. It is important to ensure your super fund has your tax file number – you can check to see if they have your TFN by looking at the statements they send you.

When a mortgaged principal home is rented can the interest on the loan during the time the home is rented be claimed as a tax deduction?

It’s a general principle that for the interest on a loan to be tax deductible the purpose of that loan must be to buy an income producing asset. But a loan can change character – once your residence is available for rent the interest, and other outgoings such as rates insurance and maintenance become tax-deductible.

I refer to your recent article about claiming a tax deduction for personal contributions to super. I am looking at contributing to my super through salary sacrifice and wasn’t aware of the personal contribution option. Is there any financial benefit from doing fortnightly salary sacrifice or a lump sum personal contribution at the end of the financial year.

If you make the contributions by fortnightly salary sacrifice you would be taking advantage of the strategy of dollar cost averaging, and also have the benefit of automatic payments. If you chose to invest in one lump sum, it is possible that financial circumstances could prevent you making a contribution when you wished to do it. My advice would be do it by salary sacrifice – it’s then automatic.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance.


April 8, 2019

Comments Off on Knights at home and much more in your weekend planner

Knights at home and much more in your weekend planner

Main Event: Fresh from their nail-biting win over Parramatta last week, the Newcastle Knights host the Gold Coast Titans at 3pm Saturday in an attempt to record back-to-back victories for the first time since April.


SATURDAYEvolving Wetlands 9.30am to 1.30pm, Hunter Wetlands, Shortland. The past springs to life in an interactive exhibition showcasing a unique collection of dinosaur fossils and replicas with a focus on the wetlands environment. Final day of the exhibition.

Harry to Hunter Valley 6pm to 9pm, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Lovedale.The wizarding world meets wine country this winter at the magic-themed cocktail party.

National Rugby League 3pm, McDonald Jones Stadium, Broadmeadow. Newcastle Knights vs Gold Coast Titans.

Orchestra Nova 2pm, Saturday & Sunday, Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre, Warners Bay.The Hunter’s longest-running community orchestra performsmusic by Mozart and selections from Berlioz (Les Troyens), Offenbach (La Belle Helene) and Purcell (Dido and Aenaes).

Raise Love Charity Ball 6.30pm to 12am, Wests NEX, Newcastle. Dress up in your best black tie formal wear and help raise money for sick children at the Ronald McDonald House. Hosted by NBN weatherman Gavin Morris.

SeaSide Singers – 10th Anniversary Concert 2pm, Soldiers Point Bowling Club.

Snow Time in the Garden 9.30am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday, Hunter Valley Gardens, Pokolbin. This weekend is your final chance to visit thewinter wonderland and its frosty activities for children of all ages.Glide on thegiant ice skating rink, swoosh down theice toboggan orexperience a 9D snow adventure.

SUNDAYAustralian Ice Hockey League 4pm, Hunter Ice Skating Stadium, Warners Bay. Newcastle North Stars vs Sydney Bears.

Hope For Halle 10am to 5pm, Shinnies Hotel, Boolaroo. A charityjoy ride on anything with two wheels starting from Cameron Park service station and ending at Shinnies Hotel wherethere will be a barbecue, live band, raffles and best bike awards. All funds raised go towards four-year-old Halle Lambert who suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder.

Winery Running Festival 6.30am to 11am, The Vintage Golf Resort, Pokolbin.Main races are a marathon, half marathon,10km,6km and2km kids marathon.

SAVE THE DATEThe smell of freshly-ground coffee beans, rich melted chocolate and decadent dishes descend on Maitland mall on August 11 and 12.

The Aroma Coffee and Chocolate Festival is one of the tastiest events onthe calendar andthe perfect way to shrug of the winter chill. Itfeaturesexpert chocolatiers, talented baristas and the best of theregion’s winemakers.

MARKETSHandmade in the Hunter Markets Saturday, 9am to 3pm,Kevin Sobels Wines, corner ofBroke and Halls Rd, Pokolbin.

Hope Sunday Markets Sunday, 9.30am to 2.30pm, Hope Estate, Pokolbin.

Hunt and Gather Markets Saturday, 9am to 2pm, Foreshore Park, Newcastle East.

Hunter Street Organic Food MarketSaturday & Sunday, 10am to 3pm, Hunter Street Mall.

Newcastle City Farmers MarketSunday, 7am to 1pm, Newcastle Showgrounds, Broadmeadow.

Newcastle Flower Markets Saturday, 9.30am to 12pm, Sandgate.

Singleton Farmers & Craft Markets Saturday, 8am to 1pm, Singleton Showground.

The Rectory Markets Sunday, 9am to 2pm,The Rectory, 48 Sturgeon St, Raymond Terrace.

Hunter Valley Gardens: It’s your last chance this weekend to chill out at the Hunter Valley Gardens’ Snow Time in the Garden. Try building a snowman or ice skating or even slide down the mega toboggan ride.

ART & CULTUREArt Systems Wickham Between, ends July 29.

Wollombi Sculpture in the VineyardsThis free public exhibition is open 10am to 5pm, seven days a week. Sculptures will be displayed in the village of Wollombi and Stonehurst Cedar Creek, Wollombi Wines, Wollombi Village Vineyard, Undercliff Winery and Noyce Brothers Wines. All works are for sale. Until December 4.

Sculpture Workshops @ the Hunter BotanicGardensSaturday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm.Hunter Region Botanic Gardens hosts artist in residence sculpture workshop where participants have an opportunity to play with mud.

Lake Macquarie City Art GalleryHunter Red –Re(a)d Earth, Razzamatazz & Corpus. Ends Sunday.

Maitland Regional Art GalleryLuminous Maitland, until August 12; Stuart Scott –Faces of Maitland from the Mrag Collection, ends August 12;Wendy Sharpe –Secrets, until August 19; All That Glitters, until September 2.

Newcastle Art Gallery Patricia Williams-Adams –Stain Me With The Intensity of Black, until August 26; Hunter Red, ends Sunday.

University GalleryStill Life in Yellow, Steel and Mandarins, by Dani Marti. Until November 12.

Newcastle MuseumVoyage to the Deep is about undersea exploration and adventure – of the kind immortalised by Jules Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and celebrated in popular culture from Jacques Cousteau to the Octonauts.

THEATREDisney’s Aladdin JrMusical version of the classic story about a street boy who falls in lovewith a beautiful princess and is helped by a genie. Hunter Drama presents the show atCessnock with a local young cast. Cessnock Performing Arts Centre,Saturday, at 2pm and 7pm.

The Girl With The Golden LocksAmusing family show by American playwright Brian D.Taylor, with fairy tale characters as secret service agents and the suspicious characters they areinvestigating. Maitland Repertory Theatre, at its theatre. Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm.

I Hope It’s Not Raining in LondonTwo people trapped in a room piece together memories fromtheir lives; moving and amusing new play by Newcastle’s Nicholas Thoroughgood, with differentactors at each performance. Bearfoot Theatre, at Tantrum Studio, Merewether.Saturday 2pm and 7pm.

PeepshowThe lives of seven people living in an apartment building, including two pairs oflovers, two female friends seeking relationships, and a lone man, become intertwined inIsabel Wright’s comedy. Newcastle Theatre Company, at the NTC Theatre, Lambton. Saturday at 2pm.

PinocchioEngaging musical adaptation by Novocastrians William Ford and Glenda Price ofCarlo Collodi’s novel about a wooden puppet who becomes a live person. Young People’sTheatre, at its Hamilton theatre. 2pm Saturday andSunday.

Rowan ThambarThe Newcastle-born title comedian mingles musical comedy andbig-hearted stand-up on his journey to discover the kind of man he wants to be. RoyalExchange, Newcastle. Saturday, at 8pm.

Which Way HomeCity-dweller Tash and herIndigenous dad are heading by car tohis birthplace, talking, arguing and joking onthe way; writer and actor Katie Beckett’stribute to her father. Ilbijerri Theatre Company, at the Civic Playhouse. Saturday 2pm and 8pm.

MUSIC5 SawyersSaturday, AK Morris.Sunday, Matt McLaren Duo.

Adamstown Uniting ChurchSaturday, King Single, Bitchcraft, Moonsign, Lonelyspeck..

Albion Hotel WickhamSaturday, Lachlan Edwards.

Anna Bay TavernSaturday, Outerphase.

Australia Hotel CessnockSaturday, James Naldo.

Avon Valley InnSaturday, Barracuda.

Bar PetiteSaturday, Danny & Jake.

Battlesticks BarSaturday, Aqwa.Sunday,Codi Kaye.

Bay Hotel Bonnells BaySaturday, Code Red.

Belmont 16sSaturday, Loko,Hayden Johns. Sunday, The Blue Water Cowboys.

Belmore HotelSaturday,Misbehave.

Beresfield Bowling ClubSaturday, Pocket Aces. Sunday, Red Dirt Country Band.

Blackbutt HotelSaturday, Hornet.

The BradfordSaturday, Witchery.

Burwood InnSaturday, Ngariki.

Cambridge HotelSaturday, Polaris,Justice For The Damned,Diamond Construct,Junkhead (glasshouse),The Chats, Boing Boing,Wavevom (warehouse). Sunday,Goodnight Japan, Lachlan X. Morris, Good Grief.

Catho PubSaturday, Ben Woodham.Sunday, Crawfish Stew Band.

Central Charlestown Leagues ClubSaturday, Pete McCredie.

Central HotelStroudSaturday, Doctors Of Rock.

Cessnock LeaguesSaturday, 2GoodReasons.

Charlestown Bowling ClubSaturday, Something From Nothing –Foo Fighters tribute.

Club KotaraSaturday, Full Throttle.

Club LemonTreeSaturday, Matty G.

Colliery InnSaturday, Roxy.Sunday, Kevin O’Hara.

Commercial HotelBoolarooSaturday, Steel City.

Commercial Hotel MorpethSaturday, Presidential Sweet.

Criterion Hotel CarringtonSunday, Boney Rivers.

Croatian Wickham Sports ClubSunday,Jamming With You.

Crown & Anchor HotelSaturday, Devultra,Bobby C.

Customs HouseSaturday, DJ Angelo. Sunday, Jake Davey.

Cypress LakesSaturday, Mark Wells.

D’Albora MarinaSunday, Ben Travis.

Duke Of WellingtonSaturday, Greg Bryce Duo.

East Cessnock Bowling ClubSaturday, Vivian solo.

East Maitland Bowling ClubSaturday, MardMax Trio.Sunday, Roxy.

Edgeworth Bowling ClubSunday, Kempy.

Edgeworth TavernSaturday, Brazillian Brothers Duo.

Exchange HotelSaturday, Lithium. Sunday, Hornet.

Family Hotel MaitlandSaturday, Pete Gelzinnis.

FinnegansSaturday, Indigo Starlight.

Gallipoli Legion ClubSunday,Shivoo.

Gateshead TavernSunday, Outerphase.

George TavernSaturday, Bandditts.

Grain StoreSunday, JJ King.

Grand Junction HotelSunday,Australian Beef Week Show,Handsome Young, Strangers.

Gunyah HotelSaturday, Paperboy.

​Hamilton Station HotelSunday,Yev Kassem, Natalie Henry, Spencer Scott.

Harrigan’s PokolbinSaturday, Roxy.

Hexham Bowling ClubSaturday, The Snape Trilogy.

Honeysuckle HotelSaturday, Prestige Inc.Sunday, From Creedence to Cougar.

Hotel DelanySaturday, Phonic.

Imperial SingletonSaturday, Ash Mountain.

Jewells TavernSaturday, The Years, plus Tina Turner show.

The Junction HotelSaturday, Jason Bone.

Kent HotelSaturday, Loose Bazooka.

Lake Macquarie Yacht ClubSunday, Jamie Martens.

Lakeside Village TavernSaturday, Viagro.

Lass O’GowrieSaturday,The Hedonists,Shrimp,Boots Porter & The Passion Pops,Lu Quade.Sunday,Tim Richards,Sunset Blush,John Tennyson.

Lizotte’sSaturday, Jeff Martin (CAN). Sunday, Aleyce Simmonds & Brad Butcher.

Lochinvar HotelSaturday, Matt Gaudry.

Lucky HotelSaturday, Howie & Alex. Sunday, Prestige Inc.

Mary EllenSaturday, Sundays Record. Sunday, Chad Shuttleworth.

Maryland TavernSaturday, Counterpart.

Mavericks On The BaySaturday, Tim Broadway. Sunday, Greg Bryce.

Mavericks On DarbySaturday, Matt McLaren.

Mayfield Ex-ServicesSaturday, Early Daze.

Mezz Bar at Wallsend DiggersSaturday,Triple Zero.Sunday,Bonnie Rai.

Morriset Country ClubSunday, Mark Lee.

Murray’s BrewerySaturday, Adam Gear. Sunday, Tom Blake.

Nag’s Head HotelSaturday, Kevin O’Hara.

Neath HotelSaturday, Mick Jones.

Nelson Bay DiggersSaturday, The Big Bang. Sunday, Bobby C.

Nelson Bay Golf ClubSaturday, Ryan Daley.

Newcastle Art Gallery Saturday,String Loaded Celtic Fiddle Band.

Newcastle Cruising Yacht ClubSunday, Mick Jones.

Northern Star HotelSaturday, Rooney West, Nano.

Paxton Bowling ClubSaturday, Daniel Arvidson.

Pedens CessnockSaturday, Mardmax Trio.

Pelican RSL ClubSaturday, The Crawfish Stew Band.

Pippis At The PointSaturday, Jake Davey. Sunday, Mardy Leith.

Premier HotelSunday, Code Red.

Queens Wharf HotelSaturday, Anyerin Trio,Matt Semmens.Sunday, Mark Wells Trio,Wharf Life.

Royal ExchangeSaturday,RowanThambar.Sunday,Totally Gourdacious – Mal Webb & Andrew Clermont.

Royal Federal HotelBranxtonSaturday, Kempy.

Royal Hotel SingletonSunday, Katie N Feff.

Royal Motor Yacht Club TorontoSunday, Gary Wallace.

Rutherford HotelSaturday, Zane Penn.

Seabreeze HotelSunday, Matt Bowles.

Shenanigans at the ImperialSaturday, Joy Duo.

Shoal Bay Country ClubSaturday, ABBAlanche.Sunday, Aqwa.

Shortland HotelSaturday, Joel Oakhill.

Small BallroomSaturday, Hayden Shepherd, Will Freeth, Special K, Hooey, Kurtis Elms.

Soldiers Point Bowling ClubSaturday, Jumpin’ Jukebox.

South Newcastle Leagues ClubSaturday, Pistol Pete.

Stag and Hunter Hotel Saturday, The Craw, Southern End.

Stockton Bowling ClubSunday, Nomie James & Steve Cowley.

Swansea HotelSaturday, Shaka. Sunday, The Jungle Kings.

Swansea RSLClubSaturday, Maryanne Rex Duo.

Swansea Workers ClubSaturday, Solid Gold Dance Party.

At Lizotte’s: Golden guitar-winning country duo Aleyce Simmonds (pictured) and Brad Butcher have teamed up to perform solo and together across the country. Catch their show on Sunday at Lizotte’s.

Tilligerry RSLSaturday, Cotton Sax and Strings.

Toronto DiggersSaturday, John Noble.

Toronto HotelSunday, Kellie Cain,

Toronto WorkersSaturday, The Remedy.

Town Hall HotelSaturday, Chris Saxby.

Victoria Hotel HintonSaturday, Chad Shuttleworth.Sunday, Zane Penn.

Wangi Wangi RSLClubSunday, Reg Sinclair.

Warners At The BaySaturday, All Access 80’s.

Weston WorkersSaturday, Deborah Sinclair.

Wests CardiffSaturday, The Jungle Kings.

Wests New LambtonSaturday,Cruzers.Sunday,British Invasion.

Wests NEXSaturday, Iguana.

Wickham Park HotelSaturday,Lachlan’s Show – Fundraiser.Sunday, John Larder,Rose Carleo + Len’s Theory.

Windsor Castle HotelSaturday,Codi Kaye.

MOVIESAdrift(M) A young woman sails into the eye of a hurricane to save the man she loves.

Ant-Man and The Wasp(PG)As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission.

Back To Burgundy(M)After a 10-year absence, Jean returns to his hometown when his father falls ill. (Tower)

Breath(M)Two teenage boys, hungry for discovery, form an unlikely friendship with a mysterious older adventurer who pushes them to take risks that will have a lasting and profound impact on their lives. (Lake Cinema)

Deadpool 2(MA)When a super soldier arrives on a murderous mission, Deadpool is forced to think about friendship, family and what it really means to be a hero – all while kicking 50 shades of ass. (Event, Glendale)

Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation(G)Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury monster cruise ship so he can take a vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom(M) It’s been four years since Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again(PG)In this sequel to Mamma Mia! Sophie learns about her mother’s past while pregnant.

Mary Shelley(M)While staying in the home of Lord Byron at Lake Geneva, the guests are challenged to write a ghost story, which leads Mary to conceive her classic novel, Frankenstein. (Tower)

Ocean’s 8(M)Debbie Ocean gathers a crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

Overboard(PG)A spoiled, wealthy yacht owner is thrown overboard and becomes the target of revenge from his mistreated employee.

Show Dogs(PG)Max, a macho, solitary Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped show dog in a prestigious Dog Show, along with his human partner, to avert a disaster from happening.

Skyscraper(M)On assignment in China, USwar veteran Will Ford,finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze.

Tag(M)A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.

Tea With The Dames(M)Dames Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith have let the cameras in on a friendship that goes back more than half a century. (Lake Cinema)

The Equalizer 2(MA)A sequel to the the 2014 film, “The Equalizer”, which is based on the TV series about a retired agent who’s a hired gun for vengeance.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society(M)A writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island in the aftermath of World War II when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war. (Tower)

The Incredibles 2(PG)Bob Parr is left to care for Jack-Jack while Helen is out saving the world.

The Leisure Seeker(M) Arunaway couple go on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call The Leisure Seeker. (Tower)


April 8, 2019

Comments Off on Cambage rips WNBA for ‘ladylike’ attempts

Cambage rips WNBA for ‘ladylike’ attempts

Australian basketballer Liz Cambage has ripped into the WNBA about its treatment of players.Australian basketball star Liz Cambage has ripped into the WNBA about its treatment of players, the pay disparity with men in the NBA and attempts by referees to suppress emotion in games to make them “more ladylike”.


In a wide-ranging interview a day after breaking the WNBA’s scoring record with 53 points in a game for the Dallas Wings, Cambage also joked about her rocky relationship with Andrew Bogut and defended Thon Maker’s role in the recent “sickening” melee involving the Boomers and the Philippines national team.

The 26-year-old and former NBA player Bogut have had an ongoing social media feud, but after her record 53-point game on Tuesday he sent out a congratulatory tweet.

“I didn’t see that, but thank you Mr Bogut,” Cambage, when told about the tweet, said.

“He’s softening up to me these days.”

Maker was criticised for kicking out at Filipino players, but Cambage said “Thon was just trying to protect his team-mates” and praised assistant coach Luc Longley for saving Boomer Chris Goulding.

“Chris Goulding could have died if Luc Longley didn’t come out and get those people off the top of him,” she said.

In a WNBA-organised conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Cambage criticised the way they are forced to play back-to-back games in different US cities while flying in economy class planes.

“The WNBA is constantly called the best league in the world, yet we don’t get treated like the best athletes in the world,” she said.

“We sign $1-million contracts in Asia and Russia and get treated like royalty but when we are here in America we are flying in the back of the plane in economy, playing back-to-backs.”

The average WNBA player earns around $US71,000 ($A96 000) a season and elite players $US114,000 ($A154 000).

Cambage, a 203cm tall centre named an All-Star on Tuesday, is the WNBA’s second top scorer averaging 21.4 points per game and has Dallas in fourth place.

Cambage accused referees of trying to “suppress” WNBA games by hitting players with technical fouls for showing emotion, including flexing after making a big play.

“We are women and we are passionate and we are playing hard,” said Cambage.

“Let us play our game and try not to soften it because it is making it boring and right now it makes me feel like they are trying to make it more ladylike.

“That’s not how we play. We play like fierce women. Stop trying to suppress our game.”


April 8, 2019

Comments Off on Accused Russia agent jailed pending trial

Accused Russia agent jailed pending trial

Maria Butina(L) has been ordered jailed pending trial over allegations of acting as a Russian agent.A judge has ordered an accused Russian agent jailed until her trial after US prosecutors argued she has ties to Russian intelligence and could flee the United States.


Prosecutors have not charged the agent they identified as Maria Butina with espionage, but said she had been in contact with Russian intelligence operatives and kept contact information for several Russian agents.

During a preliminary hearing in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the lead prosecutor in the case showed a photo of Butina in a Washington restaurant meeting with someone whom they believe is a Russian intelligence agent.

The 29-year-old former American University graduate student wore an orange prison jumpsuit in court and showed no emotion as her lawyer entered a not-guilty plea.

The government also displayed a copy of a handwritten note uncovered by the FBI at Butina’s apartment asking how to respond to an employment offer from a Russian intelligence agency, as well as a photo of her standing in front of the US Capitol on the day Donald Trump was sworn in as president 18 months ago.

“We do not believe she was here … just to attend American University,” said lead prosecutor Erik Michael Kenerson, adding that Butina was engaged in a “covert influence campaign.”

The case coincides with an investigation by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether members of Trump’s 2016 election campaign coordinated with Russian officials.

Butina’s lawyer, Robert Driscoll, said she is not a Russian agent and poses no flight risk. She was arrested on Sunday without warning. In a statement after the hearing, Driscoll declared his client is innocent.

Butina has been accused of working with a high-powered Russian official and two unidentified US citizens, trying to infiltrate a pro-gun rights organisation in the US and influence US foreign policy toward Russia.

The gun rights group was not identified. However, her social media accounts show she attended many National Rifle Association events and met with top officials of the lobbying group.

The unidentified Russian official appears to match the description of Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in April. The central bank has declined comment on the case.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said there were no grounds for Butina’s arrest and that its embassy in Washington has requested a meeting with her.


April 8, 2019

Comments Off on Three people are in hospital after a head-on collision at Stroud

Three people are in hospital after a head-on collision at Stroud

Two people have been air lifted, and a third has been transported by road,to John Hunter Hospital after a high-speed, head-on collision at Stroud on Wednesday afternoon.


NSW Police and Ambulance crews were called to the scene at around 2.20pmon The Bucketts Way, approximately93 kilometressouth-west of Taree, afterreports a Toyota Corolla and a Toyota Hilux had collided.

The driver of the Corolla and sole occupant, a 62-year-old woman, was flown by rescue helicopter to John Hunter Hospital having suffered a suspected fractured pelvis,where she remains in a critical condition.

The driver of the Hilux, a 74-year-old man, and his passenger, a 69-year-old woman, also sustained injuries.

The woman, believed to have suffered head and chest injuries,was flown by rescue helicopter to John Hunter Hospital, where she remains in a critical condition.

The man was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics at the scene for injuries to his chest, leg and lower back,before being taken to John Hunter Hospital. He remains in a stable condition.

Officers from the Newcastle Crash Investigation Unit established a crime scene and launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.

The details of this report are developing. It will be updated.In the news todayICAC asks former Awabakal Land Council board member Richard Green to explain a series of payments he received from Nick Petroulias(July 19, 2018)The boys rescued from a Thai cave have been released from hospital(July 19, 2018)Aged care double murderer Garry Steven Davis launches appeal against convictions(July 19, 2018)