Archive for September, 2018 | Monthly archive page

Sydney weather: Make the most of sunshine before school and the rain return

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Last chance kids: Holidays are almost over but there is still some sunshine left. Photo: Edwina Pickles Beach-perfect weather in store until Thursday before a low pressure trough brings rain to last the weekend. Photo: Nic Walker
Nanjing Night Net

The countdown for the return of school is well and truly underway, but a few more days of blue skies and mid-30s temperatures should distract you long enough to forget – just for a moment.

Sydney is set to enjoy warmer than average temperatures through to Thursday, before a low pressure trough in the west of the state moves through, bringing the wet once more.

But until the rains are here, kids across the state should enjoy their last weekday opportunity to frolic in the sun, surf and sand.

“We have some pretty nice days coming up, especially Tuesday, where around the city will be 29 degrees,” said Kim Westcott, Weatherzone meteorologist.

“It will be warmer again on Wednesday at 32 degrees, and Thursday will be the warmest, about 34 for the city, and even warmer temps in the western suburbs, [reaching] around 38 degrees in Richmond.”

Despite rain setting in, warmer temperatures should remain on Friday with a top of 31 degrees.

The low pressure trough at the end of the week will bring a couple of millimetres of rain on Thursday, around 10-15 millimetres on Friday and up to 10 millimetres on Saturday.

Ms Westtcott said, as most of Sydney has already seen “at least their average January rainfall,” this weekend will “add a bit of icing to the cake and really get the grass going.”

NSW school kids may be less pleased about said “icing”, as they bid farewell to their summer holiday freedom with a wet Monday also.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, the publisher of this site.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Politics in 2016: the search for substance

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Illustration: Jim Pavlidis Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is on a three-week tour of marginal seats. He visited Woolworths in Queanbeyan to put forward his views about a possible hike in the GST. He chats with the Grant family of Royalla NSW.– Photo: Graham Tidy
Nanjing Night Net

 It was a good question, but Bill Shorten let it pass as he embarked on a three-week national tour of fruit and veggie markets in marginal seats on his first day back after the Christmas break. “If 2015 is the year of ideas, what’s 2016 going to be?” a reporter asked on Tuesday.

“This is the year we convince the Australian people to return us to government,” was the obvious answer, one that would have given the Labor leader a platform to present a broad brush case for re-election.

Shorten didn’t offer it, almost certainly because many of the positive themes he developed in 2015, like promoting science and innovation, have been appropriated by an opponent who is massively more popular.

The Turnbull honeymoon might be coming to an end but, then again, it might not. If there is one sentiment that sums up the mood of the electorate, it is an overwhelming desire for Malcolm Turnbull to succeed and for politics to go back to the way it was, stable and predictable. Now is not the time to compete on feel-good, big picture visions.

A more direct response from Shorten might have gone something like this: “2016 will be all about finding something for voters not to like about Malcolm Turnbull and, as a consequence, improving my own approval ratings.”

This, after all, was the strategy deployed against Tony Abbott with devastating effect, largely because Abbott made it so easy. Faced with a choice between Abbott and Shorten, voters had little hesitation in nominating Shorten as their preferred PM. Now, against Turnbull, he is Mr 15 per cent.

Rather than be so direct, Shorten is doing what the political playbook says is the next best thing: identifying the prospect of a 15 per cent GST as the problem with, or for, Turnbull (with the threat to Sunday penalty rates a distant second), and running a national scare campaign.

While Turnbull prepares to be flattered by the most powerful man in world when he visits Washington next week, Shorten is doing the hard yards in the malls and markets, making small talk about lettuce and being ridiculed on Facebook and Twitter over a “Don’t touch me!” rebuke that wasn’t from a boy in short pants.

As it happened, the seven-year-old in question is autistic and battling leukemia. His mother has four other kids and lost her husband to cancer. The “rebuke”, in a gruff Batman voice, was the boy’s way of engaging with Shorten, who was later invited to his home for a cup of tea.

While the episode highlighted the dangers of such interactions in the digital age, where a few seconds of out-of-context footage can go viral in a matter of moments, the Shorten strategy is aimed beyond the Twitterverse: at those in the middle who now make up Turnbull’s army, many of them traditional Labor voters.

“The Liberal Party need to rule out increasing the GST to 15 per cent, and every day Labor will be on their case to make them rule it out, or we’ll fight an election on it,” is how Shorten answered Tuesday’s question, and almost every other question put to him this week.

One measure of whether he is cutting through will be the decision Turnbull makes on election timing. If the Prime Minister decides to cash in on his popularity by going early and rules out a GST, as he is being urged to do by some senior colleagues, it will represent a win for Shorten, but a pyrrhic one.

The Coalition would surely be returned, Turnbull would have the next term to implement a reform agenda (though he would be marked down by voters for his opportunism) and Labor would look to someone else to take them to the next contest.

This scenario is unlikely because Turnbull’s intention is to run full term.

Another measure of Shorten’s GST campaign success will be how long the option is left on the table by the Prime Minister and his Treasurer, Scott Morrison, who is yet to vindicate his reputation as one of the Coalition’s better performers.

If it is ruled out, it will also be a victory for Shorten, but one that will remove Labor’s most potent weapon (though the idea that the Coalition wants to increase the tax will endure).

If the polls suggest a lop-sided election-year contest between a resurgent Coalition led by the man who ticks all the boxes (honesty, intelligence, strength and so on) and a Labor outfit headed by a one who fails to inspire, the reality is likely to be very different.

Turnbull’s challenge is to be the leader the voters think he is: the intelligent persuader of the middle ground. One difficulty he faces is that significant numbers in his own ranks either don’t share this view or cannot abide his small-l liberalism.

His instincts are to focus on the big issues of national security and transitioning the national economy by encouraging innovation, but his political skills and authority will be tested on a more basic level by how he handles the threat of factional warfare in his home state; the disaffected Abbott backers in his party room and the looming reshuffle of his ministry.

The biggest challenge of all for Turnbull is to use his huge bank of political capital to lay out his plan of on tax reform and budget repair, knowing that any changes on the GST, or superannuation, or pensions will provide ammunition for his opponent. As legendary Hawthorn coach John Kennedy would say, he has to “Do something!”

Shorten’s challenge is no less daunting: to persuade voters he is not the awkward, risk-averse man many have come to think he is, but rather someone who is empathetic, intelligent and engaging. Unlike Turnbull, there is no brooding bunch of malcontents in his party room out to undermine him.

If he succeeds in convincing voters that Turnbull’s way is problematic, the onus will be on Shorten and his shadow treasurer Chris Bowen to outline a viable alternative.

The common denominator then for Turnbull and Shorten, and the media too, is that they will ultimately be judged on performance, not perceptions, which is why the coming year of politics promises to be so absorbing.

What is 2016 going to be about? The search for substance.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Frame Drive Bridge project given $2m boost

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

CLOSED: Frame Drive Bridge at AbermainNationals Duty Senator for Hunter John Williams has said Cessnock City Council will receive $2 million towards the cost of replacing Frame Drive Bridge at Abermain.
Nanjing Night Net

The sum was one of two major funding announcements for the Hunter in round two of the national Bridges Renewal Program, with another $2.2m allocated to turn the one-lane Fosters timber bridge on Sandy Creek Road at Mount Vincent into a two-lane bridge.

This is half the estimated money required to replace both bridges.

Muswellbrook Shire Council will receive $75,000 towards the $150,000 cost of strengthening the load limited on Williams Bridge at Martindale to enable access for heavy vehicles and emergency services.

The Frame Drive Bridge was closed in May due to damage from the April 2015 super storm. Initial estimates to upgrade the bridge were $3.9m, a sum that required government funding to reach.

Cessnock City Council announced on Monday that it planned to have the Frame Drive Bridge project shovel ready for when all the funding was available.

This included $100,000 allocated to investigation and design work.

“A detailed survey is complete and a review of environmental factors, including a flora and fauna assessment and geotechnical investigation is currently under way,” the statement said.

The bridge’s closure has caused upheaval for Abermain residents.

Frame Drive had become a busy connection to the township after the opening of the Hunter Expressway.

Drivers are now forced to travel through Weston, Sawyers Gully or unsealed Bathurst Street.

The council would not comment on a timeframe for the reopening of the bridge.

Abermain resident and creator of the “Fix our Frame Drive Bridge” Facebook page Chantelle Farnham is concerned that no estimate for reopening has been given.

“The closure of the bridge doesn’t just affect locals, people from neighbouring communities are also affected,” Ms Farnham said.

“Businesses in Abermain can no longer use that bridge for delivery purposes, parents that live on the Sawyers Gully side now need to go through Weston or Bathurst Street to get their children to Abermain primary school or Cessnock schools or to bus services in Abermain.

“All travel time is being affected and emergency services access is made longer.

“Surely someone in the council knows exactly how long the bridge renewal project would take – but they won’t tell us?”

Cessnock City Council said it planned to “bring Frame Drive up to a regional road standard, with no heavy vehicle restrictions, with the planned new bridge providing two traffic lanes with pedestrian access on both sides”.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Scenic to launch its first ocean cruise ship: Scenic Eclipse ultra-luxury mega yacht for Arctic and Antarctica sailing

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Scenic has announced the launch of the world’s first discovery yacht – Scenic Eclipse – dubbed a ‘six-star ultra-luxury mega yacht’. It is the first ocean cruise ship for the company that specialises in luxury river cruises.
Nanjing Night Net

Speaking at an event over the weekend, Scenic chairman Glen Moroney said the new luxury yacht will improve tourist access to remote ice regions of the world that only a “fortunate few” are able to visit.

“In many cases only the supremely wealthy or explorers and adventurers could’ve travelled to the Antarctic hinterland or have ventured below the surface to witness polar wildlife in their natural habitat but now we are making these experiences accessible to our guests whilst they travel in the utmost luxury and safety,” he said.

The new yacht is an ambitious undertaking for an Australian travel operator that runs a 21-river-cruise-ship-fleet throughout Europe, Russia and South-East Asia.

Scenic Eclipse, which will launch in August 2018, is said to offer luxury that exceeds five-star. It will feature 114 suites all with verandahs, ranging from 32sqm-Verandah Suite to a 233sqm-two-bedroom Owner’s Penthouse Suite, and can cater for up to 228 guests.

The 165-metre long, eight-deck vessel will have jacuzzis on its sun deck, a 450sqm-spa with indoor and outdoor jacuzzis and plunge pools, and a gym with a separate yoga and pilates studio. It will offer six onboard dining options, including French, Pan Asian and Italian cruise, ranging from fine dining to casual al-fresco dining.

The ships interiors, designed by Karen Moroney, will be elegant and opulent in style, and said to be inspired by some of the world’s leading luxury hotels.

Like other Scenic cruises, Eclipse will offer all-inclusive itineraries that include: all meals (no surcharge for any on board dining venue), complimentary top-shelf beverages, butler service, cocktails to your room, on board entertainment in a 240-seat theatre, all tips and gratuities, complimentary Wi-Fi, expert local guides for included shore excursions, a choice of included Scenic Freechoice activities and Scenic Enrich special events. Eighteen different itineraries will be available.

Eclipse will also be one of the most technological advanced ships at sea. It has been designed with innovative zero speed stabiliser fins said to be 50 per cent larger than standard stabilisers to provide greater stability when navigating through rough seas. The stabilisers are usually found on large private super yachts. It will also be rated Polar Class 6 (Ice Class 1A Super), the highest passenger ship ice class rating.

The ship will be able to sail into the Arctic and Antarctica regions where passengers can use the two-on-board seven-seater helicopters or a seven-seat submarine to access remote areas. Zodiacs and kayaks are also available, as is scuba diving and snorkelling excursions.

The ship will have a 200-passenger capacity limit of for Arctic and Antarctica cruise to allow a number of landings per day for each guest.

Eclipse is being built in Croatia and will launch on 31 August 2018 on a maiden voyage from Istanbul to Venice. It will then sail to destination including the Americas, Antarctica, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the Arctic and Norwegian Fjords.

A second ship is expected to be delivered in June 2019.

See also: Eight things I learnt on my first river cruise See also: The top 10 suites on board river cruise ships

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Homeless man had $70 in his wallet but $30,000 in the bank when his body was found

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Dawn, the sister of homeless man Reginald Mullaly, holds a photo of him. Photo: Kate Geraghty The shelter under Denison Bridge in Bathurst where Reginald Mullaly slept and where his body was found. Photo: Kate Geraghty
Nanjing Night Net

A bag where Reginald Mullaly’s body was found. Photo: Kate Geraghty

A hat where Reginald Mullaly was found. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Reginald Mullaly was last seen getting out a taxi on September 17 last year. Photo: NSW Police

Detective Senior Constable Adrian Graham stands near the shelter where Reginald Mullaly’s body was found. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Reginald Mullaly’s sister Dawn holds a lock of his hair. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Every day Reginald Mullaly would stir from his makeshift shelter under the Denison Bridge and take the $8-$9 cab ride into Bathurst’s CBD.

Twice a week, he would stroll into the Reliance Credit Union and withdraw a few hundred dollars from the almost $30,000 he had in his bank account.

This money would be spent on pies at a bakery, cans at the bottle shop and a loaf of bread to feed the ducks on the banks of the Macquarie River.

His spare change would go into the guide dog donation tin at Liquorland.

It is this money that police suspect might have led Mr Mullaly, who chose the life of a vagabond despite the thousands in his bank account, to be targeted in a vicious and fatal attack.

The 69-year-old homeless man’s body was found lying under the bridge he called home on September 20, 2015.

He was clutching a tissue and was holding it up against a bloody wound on his temple. Small blood spots dotted rocks that formed his sleeping nook.

A blanket, given to him by staff at the bakery, covered his bottom half and his boots were off, as if he had settled in for the night.

Days later, staff at the Newcastle Morgue removed his six layers of clothing and found 11 stab wounds on his body.

“It’s a cowardly attack on a vulnerable member of the community,” Detective Senior Constable Adrian Graham said.

Mr Mullaly was last seen about 3.15pm on Thursday September 17, when a taxi dropped him off at his usual spot near Lions Club Drive.

Police are still hunting for the person or persons responsible for Mr Mullaly’s death but they believe his financial status, in stark contradiction to the itinerant life he led, may have been a motive.

While detectives found about $70 in Mr Mullaly’s wallet at the crime scene, his attackers may have been disappointed to find he did not have a bank card to access the money in his account.

He inherited tens of thousands of dollars after his mother died a few years ago but resisted putting it towards accommodation.

It was no secret that Mr Mullaly had money but the exact figure would fluctuate depending on who you spoke to in town.

Twice a week he would withdraw enough cash to cover his daily routine, which seldom changed.

Some days he would sit beside Kerry Hodge, as he strummed his guitar and sang Johnny Cash songs on the Howick Street footpath.

“With his little bag alongside him, he would have a bit of a beer hidden and he kept it so nobody could see his beer,” Mr Hodge said.

“But I knew and I didn’t mind because he never, ever, ever, said anything to upset me.

“Then he would come along with bread and feed the little sparrows.

“Now that he is gone, I am feeding the sparrows for him.”

Mr Hodge, who was one of the last people to see “Reggie” alive, had heard that Mr Mullaly often knocked back offers for accommodation.

Despite his generosity, people would sometimes confront Mr Mullaly for money, Mr Hodge said.

One of five children, Mr Mullaly was well known in the area, having grown up fishing and shooting on a property near Newbridge, about 30 kilometres outside Bathurst.

He moved between the family property and his sister Dawn’s house in Bathurst and worked as a wardsman at the Bathurst Base Hospital and a shearer in adulthood.

But it was his penchant for a drink and Dawn’s loathing for alcohol that often caused their relationship to become unstuck.

“He lived with me for 13 months and just one day he would pick up with fellas that he knew,” Dawn said.

“He always knew he could come back [to my house] but the conditions were no drink and you smoke your rollies outside.”

They were simple conditions that would have put a roof over his head. Yet Mr Mullaly wanted to do things his way, even if it meant sleeping in the dirt between two bridge pillars.

“Say he lived with you and you had the TV too loud, if you started the mower or vacuum cleaner or you were watching Home and Away on TV, that would be enough to make him pack up and leave,” Dawn said.

“He packed up and left in what he stood up in.

“I just don’t understand it because Dad was a hard worker and mum was and the four of us girls don’t drink.”

Despite their differences, Dawn always kept a caring eye on her drifting brother and was there when he needed help.

On Wednesdays, Mr Mullaly would meet Dawn’s daughter at the river, where they would feed the ducks together. Sometimes he would return with his niece to Dawn’s neat and comforting home.

If he didn’t show up, Dawn would go looking for him. Once she reported him missing.

Those who knew Mr Mullaly conceded that, while sometimes he was gruff, he caused nobody any harm.

“It doesn’t matter if you live in a mansion or under a bridge, you don’t deserve to be murdered,” Dawn said.

“There is someone out there that knows what happened and I’m just hoping they come forward.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Bathurst police on 02 6332 8699.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.