October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Ange Postecoglou promises A-League stars will get shot at world champions

Ange Postecoglou promises A-League stars will get shot at world champions

Poised for Socceroos call-up: Melbourne City’s Aaron Mooy. Photo: Jonathan CarrollSocceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is set to reward some of the A-League’s most in-form players with a call-up to the national team for their back-to-back European friendlies against Germany and Macedonia later this month.
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While seven members of the 23-man squad that won the Asian Cup in January were plucked from domestic competition, that figure could swell again as the side’s overall rejuvenation continues.

Heading the queue for next week’s selection is Melbourne City midfielder Aaron Mooy – seen as the unluckiest player to miss the Asian Cup – whose form has gone to another level in recent weeks.

With Postecoglou’s penchant for long-term options no secret, he may consider Brisbane’s Luke Brattan and Perth’s Rostyn Griffiths, while defenders like Josh Risdon and Osama Malik may come into the calculations. Boom youngster Alex Gersbach and Danny De Silva are also being monitored.

However, the matches may come too soon for Mitch Nichols as he works his way back from a torn hamstring.

“From my perspective it’s about trying to create some more depth and there are two or three in the A-League who are on the radar and maybe a couple overseas as well,” Postecoglou said. “I’ll just see how this weekend goes and we’ll make our selections [afterwards]. Certainly, some of the form in A-League has been pretty good so it at least gives you something to think about.”

The manager conceded the squad “for the most part” would be the same as the one that went to the Asian Cup, albeit with some forced changes.

“We’re pretty close. Obviously we just have to get through this weekend and then we’ll announce the squad next week and we’ll go from there,” he said. “For the most part, guys like Robbie Kruse, Chris Herd and obviously “Bresh” [recent retiree Mark Bresciano] will all miss out. Everyone else seems fit and healthy.

Right-back Ivan Franjic, who strained his adductor in the Asian Cup semi final and then pushed it too far in the Asian Cup final, taking him out of contention for his club side, Torpedo Moscow, is another who may miss out.

“I think defensively at the Asian Cup we were down on numbers,” Postecoglou said. “Across the back four, we need to find some more players and expose some players there, so that will probably be the key area.”

Bresciano’s retirement will give others an opportunity not only to take his place in the squad but to fill the leadership void his departure creates.

“There’s others outside the squad who have an opportunity with Bresh retiring. Even within the squad, we now need players to step up and take leadership roles as well,” Postecoglou said. “Bresh was a pretty big influence on this group of players, not just on the field. There needs to be somebody to step up and fill those shoes and that does create an opportunity for someone in that area of the park.

Asked if it was “too soon” for 18-year old left-back Gersbach, a standout for Sydney FC this season, Postecoglou said age would not count against the Illawarra-born youngster, confirming he “is on the radar”.

“It’s not too soon for anyone. Alex is doing really well,” he said. “He plays in an area of the park where we don’t have a lot of depth.”

While Germany are reigning world champions and the No.1 ranked side, Postecoglou said the Socceroos would only improve by continually taking on the world’s best.

“We accepted this game in the middle of last year when things weren’t going well because we always want to measure ourselves against the best and that’s what we’ll do,” he said. “There’s no point trying to dodge teams that we feel are going to be too strong for us. We did that in the lead-up [to the Asian Cup], playing away from home against strong nations and this is a great test for us.

“We’re looking forward to the game, we’re all excited about it and we’ll go there and take the game to them and see where we measure up. That’s served us really well in previous friendlies and we’ll do that in this game.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

 

October 28, 2018

Comments Off on TARNYA DAVIS: Three is one too many

TARNYA DAVIS: Three is one too many

AS I kissed my husband goodbye on Sunday night, he gazed quizzically into my eyes as I explained I was off to Melbourne to learn about infidelity. Thankfully it was not a practical exercise (although I hear they were big in the ’70s), but to gain an understanding of the explosion infidelity often causes to intimate relationships.
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It is, of course, difficult to be clear about the frequency of infidelity today because of the unreliability of self-report, but it is estimated that about 25 per cent of men and a similar amount of women have at some stage been unfaithful in their relationship. Of course, what defines being unfaithful can vary and is certainly determined by the parameters set by each couple, some of which may allow for a relationship of an emotional or sexual nature to occur outside the bounds of the relationship. Yet even within this context, there can be breaches of trust.

The workplace is the most common soils for infidelity to grow while technology such as Facebook, emails and SMS in turn renders contact with new “friends” as well old flames more accessible. Pornography is also certainly more accessible and this too can be seen as a betrayal or an infidelity, dependent upon what is considered acceptable within the relationship.

Of course betrayal needn’t be confined to sexual contact outside of the relationship and can include non-sexual affairs (i.e. emotional connections), lying, disrespect, withdrawal of sexual interest.

Of those people that enter an affair, only about 10 per cent develop into the primary intimate relationship (i.e 90 per cent stay with their partners). Of those 10 per cent, interestingly, about 75 per cent of those end because of … yep, difficulties with trust.

Believing in the “soul mate” myth leads people to think, if they notice they are attracted to someone else, that they must not love their partner. The truth is, that’s just a part of life.

Some also think that there are no safe friendships with someone of the gender they are attracted to, but the litmus test to the friendship is making sure the friend is also a friend to the relationship – that they value and support the relationship.

Most people who have an affair report that they have started out as just a friend, but for those who don’t, they maintain boundaries which are both windows and walls – windows of transparency to their partner and walls to those outside the relationship, for the protection of the relationship.

Tarnya Davis is a clinical and forensic psychologist and principal of NewPsych Psychologists. (4926 5005, newpsych整形美容医院m.au). She is the author of All Things Considered, a collection of her columns. It is available at theherald整形美容医院m.au.

 

October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Intergenerational report: Government’s productivity assumptions ‘overly optimistic’

Intergenerational report: Government’s productivity assumptions ‘overly optimistic’

Health spending to soarReport accused of ignoring climate changeAnalysis: How Labor was framed
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Economists are warning that the federal government’s assumption for Australia’s rate of productivity growth in coming decades is overly optimistic and that future living standards are likely to decline.

The Abbott government’s intergenerational report, released on Thursday, assumes productivity growth of 1.5 per cent over the next 40 years, down from 1.6 per cent in 2010 and 1.75 per cent in 2007.

Productivity growth accounts for the bulk of improvements in Australians’ living standards, being the most important of the three drivers of long-term economic growth, ahead of population growth and workforce participation.

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But the 2015 intergenerational report – produced with help from Treasury – has assumed that average annual labour productivity growth will be 1.5 per cent over the next four decades in Australia.

Economists are warning that, though the figure is slightly lower than it was in the last report, it will be hard to meet it without serious technological innovation and economic reform.

They also warn that it is probably overly optimistic.

“The two big drivers of productivity are new technologies and new reforms, and there are risks on both fronts,” Deloitte Access Economics director Chris Richardson told Fairfax Media.

“That 1.5 per cent figure assumes that something rides to the technological rescue. It also relies on new reforms, and Australia’s productivity performance has always been a lagged function of the courage of its politicians.”

Mr Richardson, a former Treasury official, says the assumption of 1.5 per cent productivity growth will require political bipartisanship to push ahead with competition reform and industrial relations reform, and the co-operation of a population that accepts the need for reform.

If these things do not occur, then Australian living standards could fall, he said.

Mr Richardson’s view was also shared privately by Treasury officials, who warned on Thursday that the assumption of a 1.5 per cent productivity growth rate was probably too high.

Commonwealth Bank economist Diana Mousina said on Thursday that the slowdown in productivity in the 2000s – from an estimated average of 2.2 per cent in the 1990s – had reflected the surge in investment in the mining sector and parallel slowdown in economic growth because of the GFC.

“The increase in [mining] investment is only yielding the returns [from resource exports] now which has resulted in a fall in productivity growth,” Ms Mousina said.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann admitted on Thursday that the government did not know where the next technological positive shock could come from.

“We don’t know what we don’t know,” Mr Cormann said.

“From where we sit, 1.5 per cent, we put it on the table as being the assumption we’re working with and, obviously, if we can do better, we should, and if there is a technological advance that helps us improve productivity by more, even better.

“But we think we need to be open and transparent about what the current working assumption is.”

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

 

October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Grant for Maitland Repertory theatre

Grant for Maitland Repertory theatre

COMMITTED TO ARTS: Maitland Repertory Theatre president Robert Comber and Liberal candidate for Maitland Steve Thomson. Picture: Belinda-Jane DavisMAITLAND’S performing arts scene will soon have a new rehearsal space after the state government granted the city’s repertory theatre $100,000 to enhance its facilities.
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The theatre has operated in a 150-year-old church on High Street since the 1960s, but because of a lack of space there two rehearsals cannot be held at once. Also, there is no room for training.

President Robert Comber said the plans for a rehearsal space, storage room, kitchenette, toilet facilities and disabled access would transform the way they trained the region’s budding actors.

The footings for the new building, which will be built at the back of the existing space, have already been installed.

Mr Comber said the development application had been approved a few years ago, and the committee had been waiting for funds to make the project a reality.

He was shocked that all of the money had been granted at once through the ClubsGRANTS application they lodged last year.

Liberal candidate for Maitland Steve Thomson made the announcement on Thursday and confirmed the Baird government was committed to youth and performing arts in Maitland.

He said the project needed to go ahead because it would provide a better space where rehearsals and training courses could take place for the city’s actors.

Children from the age of seven up to adults use the space, and there are six productions every year.

Mr Comber said actors who had trained in Maitland had gone on to train at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and work professionally in Sydney.

“Even if they aren’t working in theatre, they have picked up skills which makes them more outgoing and employable,” he said.

“It also gives our young people an alternative to playing sport.”

Work is expected to start in the coming weeks.

NEWCASTLE’S Tantrum Theatre Co-Operative has received $22,873 from the NSW state government.

Liberal upper house member Scot MacDonald announced the funding in Newcastle on Thursday, accompanied by Karen Howard, the Liberal candidate for Newcastle.

Tantrum is a professional youth arts company that develops contemporary performing arts projects led by young people.

 

October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Why the Aussie dollar is still a troublemaker for economy

Why the Aussie dollar is still a troublemaker for economy

The strength of the Australian dollar relative to sinking commodity prices remained one of the main obstacles to Australia’s economic pivot away from resource-related investment, despite the currency’s slide against the greenback, according to one of Australia’s most bearish economists.
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Goldman Sachs’s head of economics, commodities and strategy research for Australia and New Zealand Tim Toohey said exporters and import-exposed industries set to benefit from the lower currency had been stymied by falling exchange rates and currencies around the world, and by capital flows into Australian financial assets such as bonds.

This means that although falling sharply against the US dollar, the Aussie had dropped much less on a trade-weighted basis, which is against a basket of currencies reflecting Australia’s main trading partners and competitors.

This measure should mirror the huge drop in commodity prices since the middle of last year, but has become distorted by extreme monetary easing around the world and Australia’s attractiveness to international financial investors.

“When we think about financial conditions, we think about it in reference to the real exchange rate versus commodity prices, and that’s the thing that has really opened up,” Mr Toohey said.

“So you can’t make the case that the currency has actually moved appropriately with the fall in national income, [which reflects] falling commodity prices.”

Although the Aussie is trading closer to what many – including the Reserve Bank of Australia – have deemed an ideal level, Goldman Sachs believed the local unit could slip to US72¢ this year, from around US78¢ at the moment.

It also forecasts a slump in gross domestic product growth this year to just 2 per cent, compared with 2.5 per cent in 2014.

The bank’s calculations are based on continued decline in resources-related investment, weak commodity prices – including for LNG – and subdued consumer spending and business investment.

Fourth-quarter and full-year GDP figures released this week showed the annualised pace of GDP growth slowed to 1.7 per cent during the second half, the worst since the onset of the global financial crisis.

Real gross domestic income, a measure of value of goods and services produced by Australians whose proceeds stay in the country, has slowed to zero according to official statistics.

External demand for services such as education and tourism would have to pick up, along with internal consumption and business investment, before Australia returned to the pace of growth which created jobs, said Mr Toohey.

He fears unemployment may continue to climb from its current 12-year high of 6.4 per cent.

“The income side is always more important – it drives 80 per cent of consumption,” he said.

“We’ve seen wages at record lows.

“It’s the combination of the excess supply in the labour market and that fragility that’s in people’s minds.

He said companies had been rewarded by shareholders “to take costs out”, which equates to job cuts, or hiring freezes at best.

“There’s also a fiscal element,” he said.

“Consumers know, perhaps not individually but as an aggregate, that either benefits will be cut or taxes will rise in order to align the fiscal position.”

However, it was not all bad news, Mr Toohey said.

Further cuts to the cash rate by the RBA should bring the Australian dollar down further, and house construction and investment was going some way to offsetting the sharp fall in resource-related activity.

The tide of foreign portfolio flows that were helping prop up the currency also appeared to be turning, he said.

“One of the reasons we’re still optimistic the currency can fall is that it appears that those flows are starting to dissipate somewhat,” he said.

However, filling the hole left by the end of the mining infrastructure boom remained challenging.

“The traditional thing you’d be saying at this point is that the currency will move to a weak enough point where you see investment in areas that obviously get the benefit: education, tourism, to a degree, manufacturing,” he said.

“Unfortunately, you’re not really seeing much sign of these – even in net tourism flows, departures have had a resurgence.

“In terms of education flows, we even had an education provider which had a bit of a profit warning,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

 

October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Rachel Hetherington keen to make up for lost time at NSW Open

Rachel Hetherington keen to make up for lost time at NSW Open

Former LPGA player Rachel Hetherington mentoring junior players in Canberra Photo: Jay Cronan Former LPGA player Rachel Hetherington mentoring junior players in Canberra. Photo: Jay Cronan
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Former LPGA player Rachel Hetherington mentoring junior players in Canberra Photo: Jay Cronan

Former LPGA player Rachel Hetherington mentoring junior players in Canberra Photo: Jay Cronan

The NSW Women’s Open will tee off at Oatlands on Friday as the last tournament in the ALPG major season.

France’s Joanna Klatten is a favourite to win consecutive titles but an Australian veteran is also back in the fold. Rachel Hetherington has returned to the ALPG tour after retiring from the LPGA in the United States in 2010.

She said she was looking forward to the challenge after spending the past five years getting her coaching accreditation and raising a family.  “When I finished playing in the States I wasn’t enjoying my golf, I wasn’t performing at the level that I wanted to,” the multiple LPGA winner said.  “Now I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well, I’d like to finish up on the leaderboard.”

She said that the Oatlands course would be challenging with its narrow tee shots and small greens. Hetherington will be up against some tough competition in defending champion Joanna Klatten, who fired a course record nine-under-par 63 to win last year.

She will also be up against Australian’s Sarah Kemp and Rebecca Artis. In all, 107 players will compete, including 29 amateurs. The Open has developed a reputation for producing young talent since then 14-year-old amateur Lydia Ko shocked everyone to take out the title in 2012.

At 17, Ko is now the top-ranked female golfer in the world.  She might have another youngster nipping at her heels before too long though, with 12-year-old Belinda Ji making her debut at the Open.

Hetherington, 42, said that she did not even start playing golf until she was 14.  “Young players have such a great work ethic. These days as amateurs they have a lot more opportunities to play in professional events.”

While Ji may be the youngest in the field, 16-year-old Rebecca Kay and Shelly Shin have the credentials to be serious contenders. Shin was part of the Australian team that took out the World Amateur championships, while Kay has qualified for the RACV ladies masters.

“It’s very exciting for the sport,” Hetherington said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

 

October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Calvary Mater denies mould danger

Calvary Mater denies mould danger

CALVARY Mater Newcastle says staff and patients were not put at risk from mould detected in an airconditioning vent in its medical records department last month.
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Mater chief executive Greg Flint confirmed work had been carried out in February to test an airconditioning system believed to have traces of mould, ultimately finding it was on the surface of a vent and not airborne.

Twenty-five samples were then taken from the work environment in the clinical information department, returning “satisfactory” results, Mr Flint said.

Ten of the samples were found to be below the limited detection rate, 11 were low and four were found to be in the category of normal mould ecology.

However, a staff member at the hospital, who didn’t want to be named, has told the Newcastle Herald that some employees in the department are worried and had been having breathing issues.

“A number of medical records staff have suffered upper respiratory illnesses they cannot seem to get rid of – also asthma and sinus problems,” they said.

Mr Flint said it was “very unlikely” this was linked to the mould issue.

“Precautionary measures were taken at all stages and implemented promptly to protect staff at all times whilst the matter was being investigated.”

The airconditioning system at the centre of the mould issue operated as a single unit in the clinic information department, he said.

“Firstly, this is not a patient area, therefore there is not an issue surrounding patient safety,” Mr Flint said.

“Staff safety is paramount and a proactive risk management approach was implemented where staff were given personal protective equipment to ensure their safety.

“Instructions were given to staff to ensure their comfort within their work environment, and portable airconditioning units were brought in to further ensure their comfort.”

Mr Flint said an independent specialist was engaged to undertake the testing of mould and normal working operations resumed last Friday.

The mould was thought to be due to recent wet weather conditions causing a moisture build-up through the external wall in the area, Mr Flint said.

He said the wall had been fixed and would be undergoing waterproofing this week.

 

October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Bali nine executions: Prisoner swap ‘unthinkable’ says Indonesian Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo

Bali nine executions: Prisoner swap ‘unthinkable’ says Indonesian Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo

Australian Consulate staff assist Helen Chan, the mother of Bali Nine member Andrew Chan, followed by his brother Michael Chan as they arrive at Yogyakarta airport. Photo: Kate Geraghty Myuran Sukumaran on the plane that took him from Bali to Cilacap. Indonesians see drug traffickers as mass murderers. Photo: Kompas TV
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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Tony Abbott during a candlelight vigil for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran on the forecourt of Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

A prisoner swap suggested by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in a last ditch bid to spare the lives of the Bali nine ringleaders is “unthinkable”, according to Indonesia’s Attorney General.

And Defence minister Ryamizard Ryacudu even suggested Australia execute Indonesian drug smugglers.

Ms Bishop raised the prospect of a prisoner swap with her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Tuesday.

The deal could involve three Indonesians in prison in Australia over their role in an infamous 1998 drug bust.

However Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo said a prisoner swap was irrelevant to Indonesia’s plans to execute Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

“What is certain is that it has never been done and is unthinkable,” he said.

“Other countries must obviously respect the Indonesian law enforcement.”

Mr Ryamizard told news website detik整形美容医院m: “If the Indonesians are drug smugglers just execute them too so it’s equal. If there was a swap the Indonesians would be executed here but there is no guarantee the Australians would receive the death penalty.”

Meanwhile bizarre photographs of a grinning Denpasar police chief apparently posing with Chan before he left on his final flight have emerged as anguished family members arrive in Cilacap to say their final goodbyes.

The media circus surrounding the executions of the Bali nine ringleaders and eight other drug felons intensified as the “happy snap” was plastered over local media.

Senior Commissioner Djoko Hari Utomo denied the photograph of himself with his arm draped around Chan’s shoulder was a heartless selfie saying he had no idea it was being taken.

“It was not a selfie moment,” he said. He said he was patting the men’s shoulders and urging them to “Be tough, be strong, and keep going”.

Meanwhile Indonesian diplomats told the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday that a moratorium on the death penalty could be reintroduced – just as the country prepared to execute 10 drug felons including Chan and Sukumaran.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Indonesian president Joko Widodo said the executions would not be held this week but would take place soon.

Chan and Sukumaran are now incarcerated in isolation cells in Besi prison on Nusakambangan, which means ‘iron prison’, a reference to the original iron walls and roof.

There are seven prisons on Nusakambangan, housing 1,500 inmates, all of whom are serving over five years’ imprisonment. Of the 1500, 50 are on death row.

The head of the Law and Human Rights Ministry’s Central Java office, Mirza Zulkarnain, said isolating the convicts was necessary to help them focus on themselves in the days ahead of their executions.

Chan and Sukumaran were being kept in Besi prison because it was the closest to the killing field, Mirza was quoted saying in the Jakarta Post.

The 10 condemned prisoners who have been earmarked for the next round of executions will be given 72 hours’ notice of their deaths.

Their families, lawyers and consular staff will be able to visit them until 6pm on the night of the executions, which typically take place just after midnight.

The condemned men will also be granted one last wish, such as the choice of a final meal, provided it is considered possible by the Indonesian prison authorities.

Their bodies will be expatriated to Australia after their deaths.

Matius Arif Mirdjaja, a pastor and close friend of Chan’s who has travelled to Cilacap to see the men, was told he could not visit Besi prison on Thursday.

He said on Tuesday he had visited Chan at Bali’s Kerobokan jail and told him to make sure he made contact with a senior priest on his arrival.

“[Chan replied] I’d be better accompanied by family. You’re family.” Arif said.

He said the prosecutor’s office in Cilacap was still waiting for the embassies and families to provide the names of their preferred religious counsellors.

Arif said Chan and Sukumaran had looked okay when he saw them on Tuesday.

Sukumaran was still preparing for an exhibition of his paintings to be held at the Hard Rock Cafe in Kuta on Saturday.

“Myuran was even joking with me saying, “You have to help with the exhibition.”

At that time they were unaware they would be transferred to Nusakambangan the following day.

Chan’s mother Helen and brother Michael and Raji, Chinthu and Brintha Sukumaran, Myuran’s mother and siblings have all arrived in Cilacap with other family members and supporters.

Arif said hope was not lost. “We will never say goodbye,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

 

October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Guy Sebastian ready for Eurovision

Guy Sebastian ready for Eurovision

OPPORTUNITY: Guy Sebastian is to represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest. Picture: Edwina PicklesGuy Sebastian was the first ever Australian Idol winner and now he’ll be the first ever Australian entrant at the Eurovision Song Contest.
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After weeks of speculation and conjecture, Guy Sebastian has been named as the artist who will represent Australia at Eurovision on May 23 in Vienna.

‘‘I’m pumped,’’ Sebastian said soon after Thursday’s announcement at the Sydney Opera House.

‘‘It beats the local RSL,’’ he said about the upcoming event, which is viewed by more than 200 million people across the globe.

Sebastian, who rose to fame after winning the first season of reality show Australian Idol in 2003, now has the daunting task of choosing a song.

‘‘I’m not quite sure what song yet … it will be something off my last album (Madness) that I haven’t released as a single,’’ Sebastian said.

‘‘I want it to be epic … I just want it to represent us as a nation well. But also just be fun or be emotional.’’

The singer has been performing on a bigger stage recently during his arena tour and feels like a ballad is the way to go.

‘‘I want to go huge with the screens,’’ he added.

Kylie Minogue, Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy and even ‘90s punk band TISM (This is Serious Mum) were among the possible contenders, so it was no surprise the choice of Sebastian left some people disappointed.

‘‘I think you all know which side of the TISM/Sebastian debate I would have come down on,’’ Davydd Griffiths davyddgriffiths tweeted.

‘‘You have Kylie but chose Guy Sebastian…. ????’’ said ThatDudeKyam.

Sir Gump Gump5000 wrote: ‘‘what an underwhelming choice …who picked this? I can’t even name one song his done.’’

But Sebastian is unfazed by the haters and says you just have to ignore the critics.

‘‘There’s way too many positives about his, you know. A huge audience, a massive production.

‘‘It’s a huge event, and, you know, the plus side is so much more than the negative. Of course, there’s going to be people saying whatever.’’

Last year, Jessica Mauboy was the first artist from outside the Eurovision contest to be asked to perform.

SBS managing director Michael Ebeid says Mauboy’s performance definitely helped Australia earn a place in the contest.

‘‘Jess’ performance really raised the bar,’’ Ebeid said.

Ebeid said Australia is a multicultural society and really deserved to be a part of this contest.

‘‘Australians love competing,’’ he said.

Bearded Austrian drag performer Conchita Wurst won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest.

Sebastian says he has no plans to follow in Wurst’s footsteps and won’t don a dress for his performance.

‘‘It’s very open, there’s no real boundaries and that’s what I love,’’ the singer said.

 

October 28, 2018

Comments Off on Karmichael Hunt cocaine scandal a lesson for the ARU in dealing with drugs issue

Karmichael Hunt cocaine scandal a lesson for the ARU in dealing with drugs issue

It will kill Australian rugby’s leather patch brigade to read this, but rugby league super coach Wayne Bennett offered the code some advice on Thursday it cannot ignore.
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In a warm but measured character reference tendered to Southport Magistrates Court after Reds star Karmichael Hunt pleaded guilty to a month-long cocaine binge as he hopped between codes last year, Bennett hit on the eternal dilemma facing professional footballers and other elite athletes.

“As a former Queensland police officer, father and professional rugby league coach for the past 30 years, I appreciate that whilst young people always have the opportunity to make their own choices, it is rare for young people to always make the right choices,” he wrote.

The Queensland criminal justice system recognised it, and now it is time for the ARU to do the same and adjust its entire framework on illicit drugs to recognise this fact about the 150-odd young men in its care and employ. They are young and they will make poor choices. These are big questions facing the ARU, none of which ask it to dilute its strong stance on drugs in sport – namely that they have no place – but all of which require it to get real about the issue.

It is a community-wide problem that can no longer be dealt with from a moralist’s perspective, no matter what lies rugby likes to tell itself about its character and position in Australian sport. There is evidence to suggest this conversation has already started among the game’s stakeholders, with an official review in the works and agitators at the game’s highest levels urging change.

The review must take in not only the educational, welfare, testing and disciplinary procedures in operation within rugby, but also the fundamental assumptions on which they are built. The AFL’s controversial three-strike policy has come under renewed criticism in light of the Hunt saga, with the spurious implication that it exists to cover up drug use, not to identify, deal with and treat it. The merits of the policy and its implementation will continue to be debated, but as matters stand, it is the only document among Australia’s professional football codes which, as its starting point, recognises drug use as a community problem and not solely as a criminal offence.

Will the ARU be brave enough to make the same admission? That its players are not perfect, that they will continue in some instances to make poor choices, but that the very community to which they belong – Bill Pulver’s beloved “rugby community” – is no different?  Southport Magistrates Court 10 had one more lesson to offer rugby on Thursday. This time from Hunt’s parents, who made the following observation in their written character reference for their disgraced son: “Although difficult at times, nothing supersedes hearing the truth.”

Memo to Bill 

The advice is coming thick and fast for Bill Pulver this week. Western Force coach Michael Foley, a former Wallabies assistant coach and World Cup-winning Test hooker, delivered the following stinging assessment of the ARU board and management’s legacy of – well – stuffing things up at Wallabies level.  “One of the frustrations of Australian rugby over recent times is that the ARU has abdicated some of its responsibility to ensure the integrity of the [Wallabies] program,” Foley said in Canberra.

“Compare it to what New Zealand have done when they brought together All Blacks coaching triumvirate [Steve] Hansen, [Sir Graham] Henry and Wayne [Smith]. They put an unbelievable array of experts around them, but they were the coaches. They were all previous head coaches. You look at that a little bit enviously. New Zealand rugby is smart. Australian rugby has followed that lead to some extent with Michael [Cheika] coming in and saying let’s not appoint people who are good mates or whatever. Let’s try to get a good coaching team together. Anyone who loves Australia, loves the idea of us getting fair dinkum about it. [New assistant coach Stephen Larkham] is a huge fillip for the team and I think the ideas that Michael has in mind are great.”

Foley ventured that an official selector – in the vein of former All Black Grant Fox – could help in this regard.  “Ultimately the coach makes the decision, but someone like a Grant Fox would be invaluable. I’m sure Michael has people he uses as sounding board … I think there’s merit if someone was brought in officially.

Big smiles for a little delight

Waratahs forward Wycliff Palu was all smiles on Thursday after training at the Bus Loop at Moore Park – and not just because he was back in the side after missing the win against the Rebels in Melbourne due to a knee injury. Palu, who will start at No.8 against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday, was still on cloud nine after the birth of his third baby – and his third son – on Monday afternoon. Noting that: “This one is pretty light, only seven pound eight.” Palu also revealed that the newborn had been named Kei-va’ekoule after his uncle who died last year.

As Palu spoke it was noted by Fairfax Media during a cursory glance down at his feet, that his footy boots were either sporting a new design or were white but had been coloured in with black scribble by himself. Asked to explain, Palu laughed before saying: “These are the special ‘Cliffy Palu don’t like white’ shoes. I’ll leave the white shoes for the backs I think.”

Apparently they don’t make black shoes in Palu’s size, so he roughs up the white ones just to his liking. Gold!

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.