England players talk up ‘workaholic’ Jones

Eddie Jones was appointed coach of England’s rugby national team in November 2015.England rugby players have spoken of the obsessive habits of “workaholic” coach Eddie Jones ahead of the opening of their Six Nations defence this weekend.
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Former Wallabies boss Jones has steered England to 22 wins in 23 matches since taking over the team in late 2015 – with the only defeat coming against Ireland in last year’s Six Nations when they already had the championship wrapped up.

Jones was said to have mellowed in his ways after suffering a stroke five years ago, which left him temporarily paralysed on one side of his body and changed his perspective on life.

But in a series of interviews with the BBC, England players have painted a picture of an intense rugby fanatic who is utterly relentless in his pursuit of improvement, works around the clock and often sews doubt into the minds of those around him to keep them on edge – even when he is not around.

“If you’re not working hard enough, you’ll get a good kicking,” centre Jonathan Joseph said.

“He calls and texts. When I see his name come up on my phone, I hope it’s a good message.

“Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.

“He could be watching you in your club game, and after 72 minutes he’ll spot you doing something he likes or dislikes, and he’ll text you there and then.

“You’ll come into the changing room and see when he’s texted you, and know that he’s definitely been watching.

“He’s pretty invincible. He lives and breathes rugby, and he knows exactly what he wants from his team and his individual players.

“He knows every single bit. And he loves it.”

Jones has steered England to five consecutive wins over Australia and has relished in prevailing in his ongoing mental battle with his ex-Randwick teammate Michael Cheika.

England are second-favourites to win the 2019 World Cup – only behind New Zealand, who they are due to meet for the first time during Jones’s reign later this year.

They open their Six Nations campaign against Italy in Rome on Monday morning.

So, you want to get away but not travel overseas?

Photographer Jonathan Carroll captures the people and the spirit of Broughton Island.Marg Moore sits on abed in asparsely furnished hut. Above her on the wall hang two clocks and a barometer. One of the clocks has stopped.
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But that is one reason why Moore travels from Sydney to Broughton Island a few times every year. For on this dramatic lump of land that piercesthe Tasman Seanorth-east of Port Stephens, you can feel as though time doesn’t matter.

“You can lead a very simple life here,” says Moore, who is visiting the island for 10 days.

The connections to contemporary civilisation are tenuous on Broughton Island. The hut Moore occupies is namedBroughton Hall, andit is one of eight strewn along the head of Esmeralda Cove, like debris carried in on the tide.

Mobile phone reception is sporadic, Broughton Hall’s toilet and shower are outside, solar batteries provide the power, and television doesn’t exist in the hut.

“People ask, ‘What do you do all day? Watch the seagulls?’,” Moorehad chuckled a little earlier, as she strolledalong ProvidenceBeach on the island’s north shore.

READ ABOUT ISLAND WILDLIFE: Seabird call to Broughton

But in this moment, as she gazes out the hut’s front window, Moore is silently answering that question. She is absorbing the view. The water in the cove has been polishedby the afternoon sun into something opalescent. Over to the left is the island’s highest point, Pinkatop Head, while straight ahead, beyond the cove’s calming influence, the sea is still heaving from a fierce southerly earlier in the week.

Marg Moore in the hut that four generations of her family have used. Picture: Scott Bevan

The views alone arean indication of why those in the huts have tenaciously held onto them for many years, through generations. Marg’s parentscame here, her siblings come here, her children and grandchildren come here.

“We’re just privileged,” muses Moore. “But it’s not privileged in an elitist sense, it’s just luck; we’re lucky.”

Yet on this island where time can mean nothing, those with the holiday huts wondered for years whether they were living on borrowed time, and they were worried their luck was about to run out.

The string of huts at the head of Esmeralda Cove. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Broughton Island has always demanded effort to reach it.

But the island’s promise of bountiful fishing around its fringes, the natural beauty of its terrain, and the reassurance of protective coves and sandy beaches on which to land has enticed many to put in that effort.

For many generations, the Worimi people paddled over from the mainland, which, at its closest point, is about two and a half kilometres across the water.

From the late 1800s, Italian and Chinese fishermen camped on the island. In the early years of the 20th Century, fishermen put down roots in the sand. On the island’s north side, a group of Greek fishermen established a settlement, which came to be known as Little Salonika, while along the south-eastern shores, in Esmeralda Cove, British-Australians built shacks.

Yet it seems science beat the fishermen to building near the beach.About 1906, a team of biologists searchingfor a way to kill off Australia’s ballooning rabbit problem was conducting experiments on the island, and a laboratory and living quarters were built on a site overlooking Esmeralda Cove.

The experiments didn’t work and the scientists left, but the rabbits didn’t. They flourished on the island, creating a century-long environmental problem until they were eradicated in 2009.

Apart from fishermen, the sea has carried to Broughton Island a range of characters, from sailors seeking shelter and shipwreck survivors to property developers with dreams of creating a tourist resort, and even an alleged Soviet spy.

And like the sea itself, the characters on the island were constantly shifting. While a few hardy souls lived on the island, the huts became rough holiday accommodation.

Broughton Island wasa place of escape, of seclusion, of rest and recreation, where there were plenty of fish and very few rules. And for those reasons, the island has also been a place of tall tales and true.

Author and long-time visitor to Broughton Island, John “Stinker” Clarke, in the water at Esmeralda Cove. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“Everything around here reeks with history,” declares John “Stinker” Clarke.

A keen angler and Port Stephens Examiner fishing columnist for more than 30 years, Clarke has been beguiled by Broughton Island ever since he first visited in late 1979. And he has shared that fascination, writing a book titled Broughton Islanders.

When we catch up on the island, “Stinker” is holidaying with his family.

“I haven’t been here since 2001, and it hasn’t really changed,” says JodieClarke, “Stinker’s” daughter.Her nine-year-old son, Archie, has just been feeding fish to acouple of stingrays in the shallows and declares, “the animals are so friendly”.

REFRESHING: Author and long-time island visitor John “Stinker” Clarke is given an impromptu shower after a swim. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Yetthe holiday community on Broughton Island has changed through the years. For one thing, “Stinker”says, the island hasn’t always been so family-friendly.

As Clarke’s book vividly details, there was a time when it wasn’t history that reeked around the huts. The buildings were rough and ready, and apparently so was the atmosphere. The odours of fish, rotting bait, rubbish and grog were pervasive.

Broughton Island, “Stinker” says, was “wild” and “blokey”.

“That was the mentality of this place; drink until you drop. If you saw a woman step ashore, you’d think, ‘Here’s trouble’.”

Yet the community gradually changed, and the huts were cleaned up, if not furnished with modern conveniences, whenwomen and children began steppingashore with the men for island holidays.

Marg Moore was first taken to the island as a four-year-old in 1963 by her father, Doctor Gerry Sertori.

The huts at the head of Esmeralda Cove. Picture: Scott Bevan

When the young doctor arrived in Nelson Bay in 1960, he was taken on the 19-kilometre boat ride to Broughton and fell in love with the place, and not just because of the fishing.

“Dad loved getting away to here, because he could get away from the phone,” recalls Marg.

“He loved the detachment, and it’s something I love.”

Not that Dr Sertori could leave the medical work behind.

“Whenever he was here, there’d be a string of patients, people getting cut on the rocks and needing stitches,” she says.

The hut that became the Sertori family’s bolthole was given to them by a fisherman.

“He was walking away – ‘Here, you have it’,” says Marg Moore. “It’s not something we acquired, it’s not about being rich, it’s just rolled over.”

“Broughton Islander” Marg Moore. Picture: Scott Bevan

Yet the ground shifted for the “islanders” after Broughton Island was gazetted as part of Myall Lakes National Park in 1972. In effect, they becameprivate property owners on public land. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service wanted the huts gone, and, in 1984, the plan was to remove them.

But the hut owners and users fought back. To them, it was about more than buildings; it was about preserving a tradition, protecting the island and providing a shelter for mariners. They formed into a group, which eventually became the Broughton Island Conservation Society Incorporated.

“They took their opposition to the politicians,” says Jeff Pettifer, the current president of the Broughton Island Conservation Society Incorporated.“They managed to convince them that they provided a significant and essential service to the island.”

Jeff Pettifer has been coming to Broughton Island for about half a century, since he was a teenager. His father, Noel, had bought a hut from Wally Clayton, the alleged Soviet spy who was caught up in the Petrov affair in the 1950s.

Jeff and his loved ones still use the hut, which is called Esmeralda, although it has been updated and modified. It even has aflushing toilet inside: “Women, they love a flushing toilet.”

Broughton Island Conservation Society Inc President Jeff Pettifer outside the hut his father bought. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Jeff’s father also remains close to the island.

“My Dad’s ashes are out there,” says Jeff, pointing beyond the cove to a bombora.

Noel Pettifer was part of the fight for the Esmeralda Cove settlement. He wasn’t alone then, and his memory isn’t alone now. Attached to the side of one hut are a few memorial plaques for islanders who have died. The plaques praise those departed men for being part of “the struggle” to retain the huts.

After about 10 years of struggle, the huts’ ownersreached an agreement with National Parks in 1994. The buildings could remain, and theowners couldkeep using themfor casual recreational use. Not that they were called hut owners anymore. They weremembers of the Broughton Island Conservation Society Incorporated (BICSI), which owns the huts and has a licence with National Parks for the use of the sites.

The BICSI memberspay about $1500 a quarter for each hut. That money is used by BICSIfor maintaining the island’s essentials, including the sewerage system, and by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to help fund management programs, such as weed eradication.

National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Susanne Callaghan on Pinkatop Head, the highest point on Broughton Island. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Susanne Callaghan is the NPWS ranger who takes care of Broughton Island.

She acknowledges the battle over the huts meant the service and the “islanders” were at loggerheads for many years. But the relationship has improved,and is still improving,as everyone learns how to balance conservation and recreation on the 114-hectare island.

“Currently, it’s fantastic,” Callaghan says of the relationship. “We’re all together in the national park, and we’ve got to learn to live together.

What’s more, the NPWS has become part of the community in a physical sense; the service’s hut was erected just a few years ago at the northern end of the trailof the seven older shacks.

“I think that community feel is there; for instance, helping each other unload boats,” Callaghan says.

“The huts themselves, they do add character to the place – and so do the characters within them. I’m always hearing stories about Broughton I didn’t know, and there’s always someone to have a yarn and laugh with.”

“Broughton Islander” Steve Brown with his grandson, Beau.

Sitting out the front of Esmeralda is Steve Brown, who is a farmer near Tweed Heads. His father and Jeff Pettifer’s dad were best mates. So they shared this hut. And their families still do. The 61-year-old is holidaying in Esmeralda with his wife, Jane, their son, Scott, and grandsons, Beau and Vinny.

“This is like a farming community,” says Steve Brown.“You certainly look out for the other hut people.”

Marg Moore, with a beer in hand, joins us. She and Steve list the huts around the cove, starting from the south: Gull’s Way, Marlin Hut (because it has a marlin sculpture attached to the the front of it), Nevo’s, Westybrook (a combination ofWest Wallsend and Muswellbrook), Esmeralda, Broughton Hall, Snapper Tracker, and the National Parks hut.

Marlin hut and its neighbours along Esmeralda Cove. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

For those who know aBICSI member, it is possible to receive the keys to what feels like the kingdom, at least for a week or two. But advertising the huts as holiday accommodation is not allowed.

“You can’t have random people ina hut,” explains Marg.“You have to be very responsible tenants. You have to be careful and respect the rules.”

Fishing mates Jeff Nevin, Larry Timmins, Steve Nevin and Mick Edwards outside the Snapper Tracker hut. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Staying in Snapper Tracker before Christmas are four blokes who are friends of the hut’s occupant. They sit near a water tank, poetically called the “Tank of Knowledge”, while enjoying a beer and a yarn.

“There’s a lot of big fish caught around that tank, I can tell you,” smilesJeff Nevin, from East Branxton.

Jeff says he and his son, Steve, have been coming out here each year for the best part of two decades. Steve adds that he celebrated his 21st on the island: “We were stranded. Four-metre seas. So a lot of tequilas.”

Island visitor Steve Nevin outside a hut. Picture: Scott Bevan

They come for the fishing.

“And the relaxation,” says their mate, Mick Edwards, from Greta.

“Without women,” nods Jeff, his comment perhaps reflecting that the old days haven’t entirely disappeared.

“You don’t get nagged out here,” offers his son.

“It’s a privilege we’re allowed to come here,” says Jeff Nevin. “We look at ourselves as being very privileged. You’ve got to look after the place.”

The “Tank of Knowledge” outside one of the huts. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Looking after Broughton Island is becoming more complex. For it’s not just the hut users and the National Parks rangers who are on the island. Scientists, volunteers and researchers stay in the National Parks building, and campers pitch tents on specially built platforms overlooking Little Poverty Beach, the next cove around from the huts.

The number of camping visitors is growing, from 844 in 2016 to 1040 last year. But Susanne Callaghan adds that a maximum of 30 campers are allowed on the island at one time, to minimise environmental damage.

Among those camping on a recent weekend were three sea kayakers, who had paddledfrom Jimmy’s Beach at Hawks Nest, pressing against a headwind and riding the swell for five hours.

“By the time we arrived, it was a big relief – ‘We’re here!’,” says Dee Ratcliffe, one of the paddlers.

Sea kayakers paddling into Esmeralda Cove to camp on Broughton Island.

The Sydney-based kayaker says being able to paddle to an offshore island and camp on it makes Broughton an extraordinary destination for anyone.

“It’s within reach of that massive population base; driving up from Sydney that morning, and to be on that beach by 5 o’clock,” she says. “I just find it really special.”

There are also the day trippers who arrive on commercial vessels for a few hours in paradise – or the nearest thing to it. Susanne Callaghan emphasises there are controls on the commercial operators, including visitor numbers.

Thenthere are those who make the journey in their own boatsand,as Callaghan concedes,“we’ve really got no control over the private day use [of the island]”.

So Broughton Island is becoming more prominent on the tourist map, andwith increased popularity comes new pressures.

Passengers arrive and leave the island by boat. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Jeff Pettifer says sometimes older visitors disembark from the tourist boats, look at the rough terrain and don’t move off the beach. A few can’t even get as far as the public toilets a couple of hundred metres away, so the “islanders” allow the visitors to use their toilets.

Marg Moore recounts the time a group of seasick visitors lurched off a commercial vessel, grabbed doonas and blankets off her washing line, and curled up in front of her hut.

Butshe doesn’t see the day trippers as an intrusion.

“I think you could say we all co-exist very nicely,” Marg Moore says.

Yet these are all signs that the tyranny, and the security, of remoteness is shrinking for Broughton Island.

“We’re becoming more and more less remote,” says Jeff Pettifer. “Then the weather turns, and we’re remote again.”

When Mother Nature gets angry, the various communities are pushed together on the island. Occasionally, campers come knocking on the huts’ doors, seeking shelter. Just the week before, Stephen and Jane Brown say, three campers slept in Broughton Hall after their tent was flattened in a storm.

The hut usersalso maintain an emergency radio, they tow stricken boatiesinto the cove, and sailorsknow they can finda havenon the island, if the seas turn wild.

NPWS ranger Susanne Callaghan talks with hut user Marg Moore. Picture: Scott Bevan

Susanne Callaghansays the presence of the huts and their users has benefited both the island, in helping keep an eye on the place, and mariners.

“Everyone knows Broughton Island is a welcoming place,” she says.

Yet while they have a rich tradition and believe they continue to play a vital role in protecting the island and those who visit it, some of the hut users can’t help but wonderabout the future, as their life on Broughton depends on a licence.

“We just live year by year, obey all the rules, and be optimistic,” says Marg Moore.

Jeff Pettifer. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Jeff Pettifer says the current licence should rununtil 2024, and he expects the hut users’ relationship with National Parks will continue beyond then.

“What we’ve tried to do is make sure we’re an asset to the national park,” he says. “It’s a community on the island, and as far as I’m concerned, National Parks are part of that community.”

Susanne Callaghan says the challenge to protect the island’s natural beauty while making it accessible to visitors is ever growing, but she knows that to all who journey to Broughtonview it as a gem: “There’s not many places like it.”

Children rowing on the waters of Esmeralda Cove. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

As for those who identify themselves as Broughton Islanders, they may not always be physically there, but the feel of the place is always with them.

“You’re able to watch the sea,” explains Jeff Pettifer of his unceasing love of Broughton Island.

“You can get back to nature out there, and the community is self supporting.

“And, yes, it’s still an escape.”

Melbourne world’s happiest city: survey

Melbourne has been ranked the happiest city on earth and the fourth most exciting in a survey.Melbourne’s not just the world’s most liveable city. It’s also the happiest, a new survey shows.
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A poll of 15,000 people from 32 cities – including Barcelona, Berlin, Tokyo and New York – showed the Victorian capital outranks its competitors for happiness, a Time Out City Life Index said.

Melbourne was also rated the world’s fourth most exciting city behind New York, Porto and the winner, Chicago.

Meanwhile, Sydney came in at number 28.

The survey looked at anonymous data across seven categories: food and drink, culture, relationships and community, neighbourhoods, affordability, happiness and liveability.

It found 89 per cent of Melburnians enjoyed living in the city, and nine out of 10 reported feeling happy in the previous 24 hours.

But go back a few years and Melbourne didn’t even rate a mention in National Geographic’s happiest cities schedule, with the Thai island of Koh Samui handed the crown.

Melbourne was in 2017 named the world’s most liveable city for the seventh consecutive year by The Economist, while Sydney again finished outside the top 10.

But the NSW capital beat Melbourne as Australia’s best destination in 2017, according to TripAdvisor.

When it came to the world’s top 25 places to go, nowhere in Australia made the cut.

CITY SNAPSHOT ACCORDING TO TIME OUT

* Melbourne – happiest

* Dubai – longest working hours

* Washington – most singles on the dating scene

* New York – best nightlife scene, most stressed

* Paris – most sleep-deprived, most sex

* Chicago – most exciting

McLachlan files defamation proceedings

Craig McLachlan has been cleared of misconduct claims on the set of the Doctor Blake Mysteries.Gold Logie winning actor Craig McLachlan has filed defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media and the ABC after they reported on allegations he sexually harassed several former colleagues.
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One of McLachlan’s accusers, former co-star Christie Whelan Browne, is also named in the defamation suit, according to media reports.

The Seven Network says McLachlan’s statement of claim was lodged in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon and principally targets Browne.

The claim states Browne was “herself a notoriously foul-mouthed person who publicly distributed offensive matter and had expressed interest in deviant sexual practices,” according to Seven.

McLachlan has engaged prominent barrister Stuart Littlemore QC to run the case, News Corp Australia reports.

A Fairfax Media and ABC joint investigation in early January reported several cast members of the 2014 run of The Rocky Horror Picture Show accused 52-year-old McLachlan of touching them or exposing himself to them.

A woman and a man who worked as part of the crew have also gone to Victorian police who are investigating the allegations.

McLachlan previously described the allegations by Whelan Browne, Erika Heynatz and Angela Scundi as “baseless” insisting they were “all made up”.

He also vowed to fight the allegations.

“By God, I will fight this,” he told News Corp Australia.

Browne said that during Rocky Horror in 2014, McLachlan, who played transvestite Frank N Furter to her character Janet, indecently assaulted her on stage during a sex scene.

After the allegations were aired McLachlan withdrew from the current production of the Rocky Horror Show in Adelaide.

McLachlan, meanwhile, has been cleared of sexual harassment claims made by some colleagues on the set of popular TV series the Doctor Blake Mysteries.

Cast and crew of the made complaints about the actor’s on set behaviour which allegedly included holding a banana to his crotch and thrusting it into the faces of cast and crew, according to the ABC and Fairfax.

But an investigation by workplace consultant Fiona Bigelli, who was hired by the show’s production company December Media, has cleared McLachlan of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and workplace bullying claims.

However, Ms Bigelli found many of the show’s cast and crew had described the workplace culture and humour on the Doctor Blake set as “Benny-Hill- esque” for its sexual, lewd, bawdy and crude humour.

“Some of the behaviour relating to this humour may be offensive to people regardless of the fact no formal complaints have been received,” December Media said in a statement.

Fairfax Media and the ABC on Thursday told AAP they wouldn’t be commenting on the legal action.

Mr Littlemore said he would “absolutely not” be commenting.

Comment has been sought from Mollison Keightley Management which represents McLachlan.

Labor’s Feeney resigns from parliament

Federal Labor MP David Feeney could possibly resign from parliament over the citizenship saga.Labor faces the loss of one of its federal seats to the Greens after MP David Feeney quit politics over the citizenship fiasco.
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The government says Labor leader Bill Shorten has been humiliated by the party’s first citizenship casualty and faces a test in what will be a tough by-election in Mr Feeney’s marginal Melbourne seat of Batman.

The High Court had asked Mr Feeney to produce documents by Thursday showing he had renounced his British and Irish citizenship.

However, Mr Feeney has been unable to locate sufficient evidence proving his British citizenship renunciation – which he thought had been registered 10 years ago.

“On this basis having regard for my duty under section 44 of the constitution I have today written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives resigning as an MP effective immediately,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Evidence concerning his Irish renunciation was “intact”, Mr Feeney said.

Mr Shorten, who had insisted his team was clear of any citizenship issues, said he was shocked when Mr Feeney initially came to him saying he may have issues.

“I asked him to find material that corroborated his explanation – as he has explained today, he has been unable to do so,” Mr Shorten said.

“This decision is the right one and spares the valuable time and resources of the High Court.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Toowoomba the resignation was “long overdue”.

Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne said it was a “day of humiliation” for Mr Shorten and the Labor leader should also seek the resignation of another MP, Queenslander Susan Lamb, over her dual citizenship.

By-elections could then be held in the seats of Longman and Batman on the same day, saving taxpayers’ money.

Mr Feeney’s margin in Batman was cut to one per cent at the 2016 election as Greens candidate Alex Bhathal secured a higher primary vote than Labor.

The sitting member was saved by Liberal Party preferences.

While Ms Bathal has already been selected as the Greens candidate, Mr Pyne declined to say whether the Liberals would stand but hinted it was inclined not to.

He said the by-election was a “test for Bill Shorten”.

The Greens only current member of the lower house, Melbourne MP Adam Bandt, tweeted “David Feeney has just resigned — IT’S ON!”

Asked about Labor’s chances, frontbencher Mark Dreyfus said: “Of course Labor can win this seat. It’s been a Labor seat for a very long time.”

One of the possible replacements being flagged for Mr Feeney is ACTU president Ged Kearney, who considered running for preselection in the seat in 2013.

A by-election could be held as early as March 10.

After his brief statement, Mr Feeney embraced his wife and son Ned as two protesters held up “Stop Adani” signs and asked him what Labor was going to do to stop the mine.

Fare to fuming

TAKING THAT JOURNEY: Getting conditioned to change can be exhausting in the early stages of the learning curve.SIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive
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I made a mistake the other day.

It wasn’t a big one, on the scale of,say, testingdiesel fumes on monkeys and humans, like Volksagen admitted to this week. But it did involve diesel fumes.

My mistakewas taking on the rejigged Newcastle bus system and thinking there wouldn’t be emotion, because there was always going to be a learning curve.

So I tookan open mind and a stop watch. I should have included a damp cloth to mop the brow. Because the first thing I noticed about mynew routes and bus stops was that no matter how many choices I now have, they’re all 15 minutes walk from my house. Talk about gettingconditioned to change. With all this new walking, I’ll be well fit.

The buses I tried turned up within Keolis Downer’s promised 15-minute window (after the 15-minute walk) and someeven added15 minutes of new territory traversed, which was educational in terms of time taken.But not as eye-opening as the now unique Hunter Street drop-off process. Most buses that head down what’s open of Hunter Street now turn right at Steele Street towards Marketown, leavinganyone who used to getdropped off further up alighting 450 metres earlier and walking, or waitingfor a connector bus that hopefully doesn’t turn right at Steele Street. Otherwise, tack on 10 more minutes of Life Be In It.

Like I said, itwas a mistake to think there wouldn’t be emotion, but there I was walking again.And as I did, I Googled Transport Newcastle to try and ease my emotions, but it wouldbe another mistake to think it did, because the trip planner confirmed I needed to repeat the walking process in reverse that afternoon. As I pondered that I made note of the cars whizzing past and thought“I could be in one of those cars if I hadn’t left mine home today.’

I reminded myself it was only day one of my relationship with the rejigged Newcastle bus system, and thatif you don’t have a sense of humour, you probably don’t have much sense at all, butit would be another mistake to think I was looking forward to day two. So next day Itried the “Park and Ride” free service from McDonaldJones Stadium and was transported to a world of wonder, mainly about where and when I was going to get dropped off and picked up. And would there be more walking? (Answer: yes).

A robust discussion with a colourful character outside Marketown that afternoon queried whether the needs of the people were being served by privatisation, and given he said he’d been waiting six hours for his bus you’d have to wonder. On the other hand, those kindof robust discussions at the bus stopoutside Marketown aren’t unusual. When a second Park and Ride service that I didn’t know about(for the uni) drove past my outstretched pleading arms I had another robust discussion, with myself, along the lines ofWTF.

I eventually got home a little later,after several more walks, talks, changes and exchanges, than if I’d driven,butit would be another mistake to think I won’t keep trying because as with all change, experience is a great teacher, and as VW knows, it’s only a mistake if you get caught out.

Sex boasts led to Qld man’s perjury charge

Peter Mauric has pleaded not guilty to a perjury charge over a bikie brawl on the Gold Coast.A former Bandido’s boast about sharing sexual partners with a man at the centre of the infamous 2013 Broadbeach bikie brawl led to him being charged with perjury.
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Prosecutors allege Peter Mauric knowingly provided false and contradictory statements about his relationship with Jason Trouchet, the man allegedly targeted by fellow Bandido Jacques Teamo before the infamous Gold Coast brawl.

Mauric, 48, is standing trial on one count of perjury, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

During the second day of the trial at Southport District Court on Thursday, crown prosecutor Michael Connelly said evidence given during a 2015 Magistrates Court trial involving Mauric was “irreconcilably different” to evidence he’d given at a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing in 2013.

The court heard audio from the CCC hearing where Mauric was asked if he knew the man confronted by Teamo at a Broadbeach restaurant on September 27, 2013.

“No I didn’t,” Mauric says.

“Never seen him in my life until that night.”

The court was then played audio of Mauric during the trial at the Magistrates Court on May 14, 2015 where he was asked by his own lawyer if he knew Mr Trouchet.

Mauric says he has known Mr Trouchet for over 20 years.

“We used to – let’s be honest – bed the same girls together,” he says.

“One week I’d have her and next week he would. That’s how close we are.”

Defence barrister Scott Corish used his closing address to argue the CCC question was open to interpretation and didn’t specify that they were asking about Mr Trouchet.

“Surely there’s a question missing in the CCC hearing. Do you know Jason Trouchet?,” Mr Corish told the court.

“They couldn’t even bother to do that.”

Mr Corish disputed Mr Connelly’s suggestion it was obvious who counsel assisting the CCC had been referring to and added Mauric wasn’t given the benefit of being shown CCTV footage of the build-up to the brawl which could have cleared up any confusion.

“That’s more like a seance than the inquisition,” Mr Corish said.

“Somehow Mr Mauric is supposed to read their mind and know what they’re asking about?”

Mr Connelly argued Mauric knew on each occasion what he was being asked about and had altered his story for “his own purposes”.

The trial will continue on Friday with the jury likely to retire to consider its verdict.

Sydney FC out to ‘destroy’ Phoenix at home

Graham Arnold expects Sydney FC to keep building towards an A-League premiers plate win.They improved against Melbourne Victory, now Sydney FC have set out to “destroy” cellar dwellers Wellington and open up a 12-point A-League lead.
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Ready to build on a 25-match unbeaten streak at Allianz Stadium, the Sky Blues will have the premiers’ plate in their sights on Friday night.

Two straight draws against Adelaide and Central Coast had given second-placed Newcastle a sniff of the minor trophy in recent weeks.

But Graham Arnold’s defending champions re-stamped their authority on the table last Friday via an emphatic 3-1 Big Blue triumph.

Now, against the Phoenix, the coach is hoping for a contest that mirrors its top-versus-bottom status.

“Our performance against Melbourne (Victory) last week was a big improvement, and I expect a great performance tomorrow night,” Arnold said.

“Play to our structure and we will destroy teams. With structure comes fluency. With fluency, the connection between players is at its greatest.

“When we play with great structure the opposition can’t stop us. We expect to do that on Friday night.”

Sydney have amassed nearly triple the points of their Kiwi counterparts and a goal difference 38 goals superior.

Despite sitting rock bottom, the Phoenix have enjoyed a mini-revival this January, with one loss from their last four games.

Yet memories of December’s 4-1 flogging by the Sky Blues – and Bobo’s hat-trick – in Wellington will be fresh in the memory.

With Brandon O’Neill suspended, Paulo Retre will almost certainly be given the nod to start alongside in-form Josh Brillante.

The only concern is Luke Wilkshire, who is on four yellow cards and would be sorely missed in next weekend’s away clash to Melbourne City should he be shown a fifth.

“He’s got to get through another two games and he gets another three,” Arnold said.

“The plan is to keep Lukey cardless and keep him on the pitch performing the way he has been.”

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Sydney are undefeated in their last five games against Wellington (W4, D1), scoring 3 or more goals in three of their last four meetings

* Alex Wilkinson (110) is the only player league wide to have made more than 100 clearances

* Andrija Kaluderovic has made 22 headed shots at goal, nine more than any other player

Carb counting made easy in pregnancy

Health in hand: Amy Ashman, 20 weeks pregnant, is using an app developed by the University of Newcastle nutrition and dietetics research team to help women keep track of their diet during pregnancy. Picture: Jonathan CarrollPREGNANT Hunter women will get the first bite of the cherry when it comes to nutrition research aimed at improving thephysical and intellectual healthof their babies.
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The University of Newcastle is using “augmented reality” technologyto help prevent gestational diabetes and excessive weight gainvia a studylooking to improve thehealth of both the mother and the child.

Related reading: Excessive weight gain to blame for rise “The effects of what you eat in pregnancy last a lifetime, and world wide, there are studies that show that what a mum eats while she is pregnant impacts on a child’s intelligence up to agesseven-to-eight,” Professor Clare Collins said.

“Our own studies have shown that what mum eats relates to the baby’s body composition, and theirblood pressure up to ages three-to-four. We did one study that showed that mums who ate healthier food had toddlers with lower blood pressure.”

The research team is recruiting women between12-to-22 weeks of pregnancy to use an appto better understand what a carbohydrate portion size looks like.

PhD candidate Hannah Brown said she hoped it would help “beat the confusion” surroundingcarbohydrates, as there was a lot of inaccurate informationavailable on the internet.

“There is evidence that high blood sugar levels in pregnancy, even for women who don’t have gestational diabetes, can still have negative effects for the woman and the baby as well,” Ms Brown said.

“We’ve focused on carbohydrates, not just which ones to eat, but how much, by looking at the portion sizes.”

Carb counting made easy in pregnancy The university nutrition and dietetics research team: From left, PhD candidate Rachel Zoetemeyer, Dr Tamara Bucher, Dr Megan Rollo, Professor Clare Collins, and PhD candidate Hannah Brown. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Hands on health: Amy Ashman, 20 weeks pregnant, demonstrates the new app. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Hands on health: Amy Ashman, 20 weeks pregnant, demonstrates the new app. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookWhile women all over Australia could complete theonline survey, only Hunter-based participants would have access to the augmented reality app, which allows them to see what a standard serve of carbohydrate looks like in comparison to what ison their plate.

“I used it at a restaurant and countedseven standard serves,” Ms Brown said. “It is not saying that’s all you can have, but it’s about being aware of how much is there. In pregnancy it is recommended women have8.5 standard serves per day from the grains and cereals food group. With breakfast, lunch and snacks, you may have already had six serves, and then if you’re then having seven serves at dinner, it’s a crazy amount.”

The research team is also calling for women who are 28-to-36 weeks pregnant and having their baby at John Hunter Hospital, to fill in a diet survey and allow them access tomedical record outcome data.

“We want to show it will cost less money if women get the right advice to eat healthy during pregnancy, that it is not only good for mum, and good for the baby, but good for the health system as well,” Professor Clare Collins said.

“We’re trying to give women what they have told us they want, which isto know that the information is from trusted health professionals, and that it isright for them.”

Professor Collins said when an expectant mother had a healthy diet, research had shown she would beless likely to have high blood pressure in pregnancy, less likely to gain an excess of weight, less likely to get gestational diabetes, and it would be less likely that the baby wouldend up in neonatal intensive care.

“We know if we could support all of the women at John hunter Hospital’s antenatal clinics we could prevent one baby goingto neonatal intensive care unnecessarily.

“The technologystudyis trying to give women the skills to deal with the obesogenic environment and to deal with the confusion about what’s in food and what is the right food to eat for them while they are pregnant,” Professor Collins, achief investigator for the study, said.

“It’s the future. If we can look after mums from a nutrition point of view, we are looking after the future generation, preparing them to take on the world because they will have theirbest physical and intellectual health if we look after mums as well as we can in pregnancy.”

If you are interested in participating in any of the three research projects, find out more via the following links:

To participate in the carbohydrate portion size and smartphone pregnancy app study, visit:https://tinyurl南京夜网/pregnancystudyUON.

For the diet quality during pregnancy and maternal and infant health and health care costs study:http://bit.ly/costdiet.

And for apost-gestational diabetes study, visithttp://bit.ly/pastGDM.

Turnbull tops list of political donors

Disclosure returns show Ros Packer made a $500,000 donation to the Liberal party last year.Australian political parties netted more than $207 million in the past financial year, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull by far the biggest individual donor.
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Figures released by the Australian Electoral Commission on Thursday confirm Mr Turnbull shelled out $1.75 million to his federal party – more than three times more than its next biggest donor.

While his money helped bankroll the Liberal Party’s 2016 federal election campaign, it is only being formally disclosed more than 18 months later because it was handed over after July 1, 2016.

Roslyn Packer, the widow of Kerry Packer, also donated $500,000 to the Liberals.

Overall, the Liberals, including Queensland’s Liberal National Party, received $95.1 million, while Labor pocketed just over $70 million.

The Greens received $16.3 million, the Nationals $12.2 million and other parties $13.1 million.

The disclosures also reveal Labor returned more than $2000 to mining giant Adani.

According to the AEC, Australian Labor Party national secretary Noah Carroll returned two amounts of $1100 to the mining company on January 18.

The money appears to be payment for attendance at ALP events rather than a direct cash donation.

Adani declined to comment.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson mostly relied on taxpayer funding, rather than donations, to prop up her 2016 federal election campaign.

The disclosures show her party received $1.75 million in public funding out of its total receipts of $2.2 million.

Candidates and parties receive $2.68 for every formal first preference vote, if they receive more than four per cent of the total vote in their electorate.

Philip Morris donated $20,000 to the Liberal Democratic Party and $15,000 to the National Party.

Labor banned tobacco donations in 2004, while the Liberals followed suit in 2013.

Chinese billionaire Chau Chak Wing’s Hong Kong Kingson Investment donated $30,000 to Labor frontbencher Tony Burke’s campaign last May.

The federal government has drafted laws which will ban donations from foreign bank accounts, non-citizens and foreign entities to all types of political campaigning.

It says the changes will ensure only those with a meaningful connection to Australia can influence domestic politics and election campaigns.

But Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said under the proposed definition of foreign donations, only $80,000 would have been identified as coming from a foreign source.

“That means only 0.53 per cent of total donations would have been banned last year under the government’s so-called electoral funding reform,” she said.

Senator Rhiannon also flagged concerns more than $200,000 was donated in the two days between the end of the 2015/16 financial year and close of polls for the 2016 election.

Lunar showstopper awes and wows

The world has been treated to a lunar showstopper with a rare Super Blue Blood Moon.The moon has put on a rare cosmic show: a red blue moon, super big and super bright.
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It’s the first time in 35 years a blue moon has synced up with a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse, or blood moon because of its red hue.

Australia and Asia had the best seats, along with Hawaii, Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. The western US also had good viewing, along with Russia.

At the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, hundreds gathered on the lawn in the wee hours under clear skies. Sky-gazers also lined the beach near the Santa Monica Pier, and in San Francisco’s Marina district, a crowd gathered to watch the super blue blood moon, as NASA calls it, set over the Golden Gate Bridge.

On the other side of the Pacific, where it was already nightfall, hundreds descended on the Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho complex, where telescopes and binoculars were plentiful. A TV monitor showed zoom-in views of the moon, and a university professor gave a run-down as the eclipse unfolded.

“It’s wonderful to be at this precious event and to have been able to see the moon looking so beautiful,” said Mayumi Kimura, a visitor.

The US East Coast, Europe and most of South America and Africa were out of luck for the total eclipse. At Cape Canaveral, Florida, where a rocket delivered America’s first satellite to orbit exactly 60 years ago – Explorer 1 – the blue super moon loomed large in the sky.

The second full moon in a calendar month is a blue moon. This one also happened to be an especially close and bright moon, or supermoon. Add a total eclipse, known as a blood moon for its red tint, and it was a lunar showstopper.

NASA called it a lunar trifecta: the first super blue blood moon since 1982. That combination won’t happen again until 2037. For those looking ahead, the next supermoon is in February, the next blue moon is in March and the next total lunar eclipse is in July, according to NASA.

Fight fire with fire: reduce pesticide use with insects

Vineyards have traditionally been managed as a monoculture relying on ever-growing inputs of fertiliser and pesticides to remedy decline in productivity, but times are changing.We are seeing increasing biodiversity in the vineyardwith cover crops, shelterbelts, birds, insects and soil organisms being encouraged, and Insectarium as the new buzzword.Much more than those sentinel roses to warn of fungal disease.
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Mark Davidson has long produced organic wines at Tamburlaine. He said:“Our approach to viticulture is to work with and maintain as much of the natural insect, fungi and bacteria ecosystems as possible, along with sown ground cover grasses which assist in N-fixing in the soil and the addition of new organic material, and biodegradable organically-certified stimulants and sprays to minimise the “disruption” or “collateral damage” associated with ‘normal’ petrochemical-derived inputs.”

Matthew Baileywas awarded Australian Viticulturist of the Year in 2014 for pioneering and successfully implementing the Insectarium concept – a planting of vegetation corridors within 50 metres of the grape vines to build large populations of beneficial predatory insects and reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides.Lady birds, wasps, damsel bugs, and other insects and spiders assist with the control of damaging insects and fungi.This provides a range of ecosystem services to improve vineyard health.A study by Melbourne University found 99 per cent of the 40 main species detected on the Insectarium over four years were beneficial.

Homework suggestions: learn about ecosystem services, visit Tamburlaine Winery to see this biodiversity in action, and read the Australian Native Bees Guide compiled by our Dani Lloyd-Prichard at NSWOEH and available from Tocal College.

Professor Tim Roberts is director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at the University of Newcastle.

Murder victim’s widow tells of her terror

Ron Medich complained a murder hit had “taken long enough”, a Sydney jury has been told. Michael McGurk’s widow Kimberley has testified she was terrified after a visit by a disguised man.
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The widow of a businessman gunned down outside their Sydney home has told a jury of her terror at being later approached by a disguised man who demanded she pay her husband’s debts.

“I was shaking, it was just a horrible experience,” Kimberley McGurk testified in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday.

She was giving evidence at the trial of millionaire property developer Ron Medich, 69, who has pleaded not guilty to murdering Michael McGurk, 45, on September 3, 2009, and intimidating his widow on August 8, 2010.

The businessman was shot dead at close range outside his Cremorne home after he pulled up in his car with a takeaway meal he’d just bought for his family.

The Crown contends that Medich directed his confidant, Lucky Gattellari, to arrange the murder contract and the intimidation, financing both crimes.

Medich had allegedly become angry, humiliated and frustrated at his protracted multi-million dollar legal disputes with Mr McGurk, after their previously-close relationship turned sour.

Prosecutor Sharon Harris told the jury that a man, known as Witness A, assisted police after being offered $30,000 to deliver the message to Ms McGurk, and hidden detectives recorded the exchange.

The widow told the jury that “as lovely as the police detectives are”, she was terrified at the prospect of somebody coming to her house who had possibly been involved in the murder of her husband.

While she was in the kitchen, police were in the adjoining room and she heard a rattling at the back doors so she gestured to the “very dark shape” to come to the door.

The man was “very, very heavy set and had a mop of hair which I thought was a wig and a hoodie over it”, she said.

He was of Middle-Eastern appearance and “had very thick legs”.

“He told me I had to do the right thing and pay my husband’s debts,” she said.

“I said ‘what are you talking about’ and he said ‘you know, you know what you need to do’.”

She said she had been “really, really scared – it was a pretty foreboding looking man”.

Earlier in her opening address, Ms Harris said Medich repeatedly complained about Mr McGurk to Gattellari saying his enemy had made him “the laughing stock of the eastern suburbs”.

Around March 2009 Medich allegedly told Gattellari: “I need to put an end to this guy … I want you to find someone to kill him”.

Gattellari then asked: “Are you sure about this because there’s no going back”, to which Medich replied: “I’m sure, I want it done”.

After the murder, Gattellari asked Medich if he was happy and was told “it’s taken long enough”, Ms Harris said.

Gattellari pleaded guilty to his role in the murder and was jailed for at least seven years six months in May 2013, receiving a 60 per cent discount for his plea and for undertaking to give evidence.

He entered the witness box late on Thursday and will continue his evidence on Friday.