Archive for September, 2019 | Monthly archive page

Big Bash League: Hopes high for Chris Gayle’s return after dazzling finish to controversial season

Friday, September 20th, 2019

Cameron White hopes Chris Gayle will rejoin him at Melbourne Renegades next season after his bludgeoning half-century on Monday night gave his team a chance to pinch a Big Bash League semi-final berth.
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The Renegades’ hefty challenge of scoring 171 in 16 overs against top-placed Adelaide, in order to overtake fourth-placed Sydney Thunder, became a distinct possibility when opener Gayle clubbed sixes from six of his first nine deliveries.

Gayle’s seventh six, from his 12th delivery, saw him equal the record of fastest half-century first set by India’s Yuvraj Singh.

The innings was in vain as only one other player in the Renegades’ top seven, wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, was able to reach double figures. They were eventually bowled out for 143 in the 16th over, giving the Strikers a 27-run win.

“It was unbelievable. It was probably the innings we needed chasing 171 in 16 overs. It gave us a chance, but unfortunately none of the rest of the top four could stick with him,” acting captain White lamented.

“I’ve seen it playing for Australia against the West Indies, I’ve seen it in the IPL numerous times. He’s done it in all the leagues he’s played around the world … and he’s done it against the best as well.

“It wasn’t the right result for us tonight, but for the fans it would’ve been a good game to watch I imagine.”

Strikers coach Jason Gillespie said he was not perturbed when captain Brad Hodge turned to the part-time spin of Travis Head in the aftermath of their team having conceded 1-53 from the first three overs.

“We probably didn’t have much to lose, really,” he said. “Our seamers didn’t quite get their skills right, so he thought he’d bowl Travis – golden-arm Travis Head.

“His first ball went for six . . . but he managed to pick up a couple of wickets, turned the ball, so for us it was great.”

In Head’s first over he bowled White and Dwayne Bravo with consecutive deliveries. In his next he had Gayle caught for 56 from 17.

“The moment Bravo was out first ball I just felt ‘We’ve got this now, we’re well and truly in now’, given they were 1-53 after 3 overs,” Gillespie said.

White said he hoped Gayle would return to the Renegades next season but said the decision was out of his hands and would rest on negotiations between the team and the West Indies player’s management.

Furthermore, Cricket Australia has also flagged the possibility of not registering him for next season on character grounds. Such an outcome would be controversial based on the rapturous response Gayle got from the Etihad Stadium crowd of 25,227 not only during his innings but as he walked off after being dismissed.

White said he had enjoyed his first season at the Renegades. Even though he arrived there after an acrimonious split with Melbourne Stars, the team he was the foundation captain of, he wished them well in their home semi-final against Perth on Friday night.

“I won’t lie: I miss the Stars. I hope they play well in the finals and I hope they win, especially for the boys out there. They’re a good bunch of blokes,” White said.

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Police investigate terror threat in Bali

Friday, September 20th, 2019

A woman lays flower outside the Starbucks cafe where Thursday’s attack took place in Jakarta. Photo: Tatan SyuflanaPolice are investigating a threatening letter that warns the Balinese cities of Denpasar and Singaraja could be the next targeted by terrorists responsible for the Jakarta blasts.
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A letter delivered to a local government office in the Balinese regency of Buleleng warns the terror network responsible for the blasts outside the Sarinah shopping mall were “ready to blow up these cities in the name of Allah”.

“Our members are currently present in Denpasar and Singaraja,” it said. It warned they would attack shopping centres, offices and tourism destinations.”

Buleleng police chief Heri Heriyadi told Fairfax Media the police were conducting a full investigation, including taking witness accounts and scanning CCTV footage.

He said that since the Jakarta attacks the whole of Bali was on the highest possible alert for a terrorist attack.

“Regardless of whether the letter is serious or not, we always take it seriously,” Mr Heriyadi said.

“Once we have something, we will notify the media.”

He said police normally conducted daily patrols and now they were being conducted four to five times a day.

Mr Heriyadi said the letter had been delivered to the local government office at Buleleng before 9am this morning.

“When the letter was opened by administration staff the situation turned quite chaotic,” he said.

“It was a threatening letter, one of our team was there, saw the letter and the ruckus, they immediately took the letter and witnesses to police station, so we can do an immediate follow up.”

The Australian government website smarttraveller苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 advises Australia to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack.

It updated its advice on January 14, saying a number of explosions had occurred near the Sarinah Plaza on Thamrin St in central Jakarta.

However the overall level of advice has not changed since the attacks.

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Uniting Church ministers face pension shock after being caught welfare crackdown

Friday, September 20th, 2019

Ron Reeson, a retired Canberra-based Uniting Church minister, says the pension cuts will be felt keenly. Photo: Jay CronanMore public service newsPublic service pension shock35,000 public servants kicked off the pension
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More than 1200 retired Uniting Church ministers have been kicked off the age pension or had their payments slashed after being caught up in a government crackdown on former public servants claiming welfare payment.

The churchmen and their widows have had their access to the Centrelink age pension drastically reduced as the government moves to stop retirees accessing generous “defined benefits” super plans while also claiming the pension.

The vast majority of the 35,000 retirees who have been hit so far are retired state and federal public servants and the church believes the cuts to its former ministers’ retirement incomes are an unintended consequence of the government’s move .

The Uniting Church’s clergy began paying into a defined benefits super scheme when the organisation was formed in the 1960s through the merger of Australia’s Presbyterian and Congregation faiths.

But the former ministers and widows of Uniting Church clergy, many of whom are entitled to full or part age pensions have now found themselves caught up in the broader sweep of welfare reform.

The new “10 per cent cap”, which came into force on January 1, means they can only exempt 10 per cent of their super payments from the Centrelink income test, down from the previous 50 per cent.

Only one group of retirees, former Australian Defence Force personnel who benefit from their own generous defined benefits super schemes, have secured an exemption to the change after a political backlash against the then Abbott government.

Ron Reeson, a retired Canberra-based Uniting Church minister, said that many of his colleagues were far removed from the former bureaucrats, cited by the federal government, with six figure incomes who were still claiming the age pension.

“I know of one minister whose pension has reduced by $8,000 per annum,” Mr Reeson said.

“Most of these retired ministers worked at a time when their spouses, mainly women, were not in paid employment. They were one-income families. Such cuts will be felt keenly.

“It is hard to imagine that church ministers were a target group for such legislative changes.”

The Uniting Church itself also believes the government did not envisage the retired ministers being hit by the changes and has written to Social Service Minister Christian Porter asking for their position to be reconsidered.

A spokesman for the church confirmed there was a dialogue developing.

“The Uniting Church is now considering the minister’s response and anticipates an ongoing dialogue,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Porter said the changes were about ensuring that retirees with defined benefits super savings were treated like everyone else.

“This change is about ensuring fairness in how income is treated when deciding how much taxpayer income support a person should receive,” the minister’s spokesman said.

“Defined benefits are a generous form of income for the income test.

“We are fixing an unintended consequence of a previous change to enable fairer assessment of a person’s need for income support.”

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Hey Dad! paedophile Robert Hughes seeks High Court appeal

Friday, September 20th, 2019

Robert Hughes lost his appeal against child sex convictions in December. Photo: Janie BarrettRobert Hughes from Hey Dad! sentenced to six years in jail for child sex abuseRobert Hughes loses appeal over child sex offences
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Former Hey Dad! actor and convicted paedophile Robert Hughes has applied to clear his name in the High Court.

Hughes was sentenced in the Sydney District Court to at least six years’ jail in 2014 after he was found guilty of molesting four girls between 1984 and 1990.

His youngest victim was six or seven years old and another was a fellow cast member of Hey Dad!, a popular Australian sitcom. Hughes was also convicted of a number of indecent assaults.

“The offender engaged in a systematic pattern of sexual abuse upon young girls over a number of years,” Judge Peter Zahra said at sentencing. “His conduct was brazen.”

Hughes continued to deny any responsibility, taking his case to the NSW Criminal Court of Appeal last year. His barrister, Phillip Boulten, SC, said the actor’s trial had miscarried for a number of reasons, including publicity on social media.

Hughes lost his case on December 21 last year. The 67-year-old filed through his lawyers on Monday an application to seek the High Court’s leave to appeal.

“The CCA erred in respect of how it dealt with the issue of tendency evidence,” Hughes’ solicitor Greg Walsh said.

Mr Walsh said the Crown had illegitimately relied on allegations about Hughes sleeping naked in his change room or exposing himself.

Mr Walsh also criticised the “inflammatory nature” of the crown prosecutor’s address at trial and media reports. He said one journalist had reported from a jail saying it was where Hughes would be incarcerated after his conviction.

Hughes is seeking to have his sentence reduced as well. In his first appeal, the court heard evidence he had had boiling water thrown over him at Goulburn jail.

But the Criminal Court of Appeal justices Margaret Beazley, Monika Schmidt and Richard Button did not accept his claim that his sentence should be reduced because of his treatment in custody.

They did refer the evidence to the Justice Minister and the Commissioner for Corrective Services.

“The affidavits received from both parties raised disturbing matters as to the conditions under which the applicant is being kept in custody,” the judges found.

The trial judge said he had taken into account the likelihood Hughes would be treated more harshly in prison.

Based on his original sentence, Hughes would first be eligible for release in April 2020.

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Women and memoirs dominate Indie shortlists

Friday, September 20th, 2019

Geraldine Brooks lives with her family on a rural property at Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts, where they grown organic vegetables and have pet alpacas. Photo: Randi BairdGail Jones interview Charlotte Wood interviewStephanie Bishop interviewGeraldine Brooks interview
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Women writers look likely to dominate the fiction awards this year, as they pushed men aside from the Indie Book Award fiction shortlists announced on Monday.

The Indies, which are awarded by Australian independent booksellers, are the first national awards of the year and often a guide to the books that will win big awards such as the Miles Franklin.

This year they celebrate a revival of confidence among booksellers.

“Readers are moving back to print,” says Jon Page, of Pages and Pages Booksellers in Mosman, Sydney. “It had been tough when the dollar was at parity and there was talk of the death of the print book, but research in the past 12 months shows people are ditching their e-reader. They like coming into bookshops to discover new authors.”

Mark Rubbo, of Readings bookshops in Melbourne, agreed: “The disruption seems to have stopped for the moment.”

On the Indies fiction shortlist are four strong contenders: A Guide to Berlin by Gail Jones, a cool psychological mystery about a group of Nabokov-inspired visitors in Germany; The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, the fiery feminist story of 10 victims of sexual assault imprisoned on a country property; The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop, a lyrical study of a migrant couple torn between Australia, England and India; and The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks, a deeply researched and imagined life of the Bible’s King David.

The impressive debut fiction shortlist also features four women, three of them mature beginners: Relativity by Antonia Hayes, a young former book publicist; Rush Oh! by filmmaker Shirley Barrett; Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar, a long-time student and teacher of writing; and The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader, an academic in creative writing and medieval literature.

Richard Glover, an ABC radio presenter and Sydney Morning Herald columnist, is the only man on the non-fiction shortlist, in which family memoir is the only genre after the dominance of world war history last year. Glover’s Flesh Wounds joins One Life by novelist Kate Grenville, Reckoning by comedic actor Magda Szubanski, and The Anti-Cool Girl by TV blogger Rosie Waterland.

It seems the Stella Prize for women’s writing, started in 2013 to counter a perceived bias towards men’s books in major prizes, has helped to make judges aware of the strengths of women’s writing. And a large number of women are writing particularly well.

“Women’s fiction really stood out this year,” says Kate Becker at Thesaurus Books in Melbourne’s Brighton who is judging the debut fiction winner.

Male writers storm back in the kids’ books categories. A new award for young-adult books, responding to the booming field, features Cloudwish by Fiona Wood, Prince of Afghanistan by Louis Nowra, Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years 1: The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan, and Soon by Morris Gleitzman.

On the children’s shortlist are Olive of Groves by Katrina Nannestad and Lucia Msciullo, The 65-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, The Bad Guys, Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey and The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan.

Independent bookshops make up a third of the Australian book retail market, compared with 10 per cent in the US and less than 5 per cent in Britain, where Amazon has consumed sales.

Page says the independents champion literary books that might not be sold by the discount stores, which focus on sales volume, and he sees a resurgent willingness by publishers to back new authors.

As for the huge sales of adult colouring books that boosted book sales in 2015, he says, “They were a bonus, like sudoku 10 years ago. They were an easy go-to add-on gift but they dropped off after Christmas.”

Rubbo says, “We experienced the colouring book thing mid-year and by Christmas it had died down. It was a very strong Christmas season for us in ‘real’ books.”

The Indie winners and overall book of the year will be announced on March 23.

FICTION SHORTLIST

A Guide to Berlin by Gail Jones (Random House Australia)

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin)

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop (Hachette Australia)

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (Hachette Australia)

NON-FICTION SHORTLIST

Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover (HarperCollins Australia)

One Life by Kate Grenville (Text Publishing)

Reckoning: A Memoir by Magda Szubanski (Text Publishing)

The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland (HarperCollins Australia)

DEBUT FICTION SHORTLIST

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (Penguin Australia)

Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar (Pan Macmillan Australia)

The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader (HarperCollins Australia)

CHILDREN’S SHORTLIST

Olive of Groves by Katrina Nannestad & Lucia Masciullo, Illus (HarperCollins Australia)

The 65-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton, Illus (Pan Macmillan Australia)

The Bad Guys, Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic Australia)

The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)

YOUNG ADULT SHORTLIST

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood (Macmillan Australia)

Prince of Afghanistan by Louis Nowra (Allen & Unwin)

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years 1: The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan (Random House Australia)

Soon by Morris Gleitzman (Penguin Australia)

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