ALLIANCE: The Prime Minister has treated Senator Matt Canavan and deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce very differently in the citizenship furore, Mr Fitzgibbon argues. In my 21 years in the federal Parliament I’ve experienced some very interesting sitting weeks. For balance, many of them occurred during the 43rdParliament when Labor was in minority-government and Tony Abbott was making the most of every opportunity.
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But I believe last week’s sitting takes the prize as the most bizarre.

Behind all the political battle lines lay some very serious issues. When the two Greens declared their dual citizenship they immediately left the Parliament.

The Prime Minister admonished them for their “sloppiness” and declared their departure the right thing to do.

But he was happy to embrace somewhat of a lower standard for the National Party’s Senator Matt Canavan.

He was asked to step-aside from his Cabinet post and declared he would not exercise his vote in the Senate until the High Court determined his fate.

For the time being, he remains in the Senate.

When Barnaby Joyce rose to his feet in the Parliament to declare he is a citizen of New Zealand, the Prime Minister adopted a different and lower standard.

Joyce was allowed to retain his roles as deputy Prime Minister and cabinet minister.No satisfactory explanation was given to explain the different treatment for Canavan and Joyce.

Of course, the difference can only be their respective parliamentary chambers.

Governments are made and unmade in the House of Representatives. It’s where the numbers matter most.

Subjecting Barnaby Joyce to the same standard as Matt Canavan would have cost the government a vote in the house where it has the barest of majorities, just 76 of the 150 seats.

After providing the Speaker the number is just 75 seats.

Allowing the number to fall to 74 seats poses an existential threat to the government, and the Prime Minister was not prepared to take that risk.

This political expediency puts the government’s political interests ahead of the national interest.

We already have somethingof a crisis of confidence and a lack of community trust in our political system and institutions. Allowing members who appear to be in breach of the Constitution to continue to exercise their vote threatens to undermine that trust further.

It is likely to be late October before the High Court rules on the validity of Barnaby Joyce’s election.

In the meantime, he plans to vote on a number of crucial bills which affect all of us. He should not.

I’m yet to speak with a constitutional lawyer who believes Joyce’s prospects in the Court are good.

Like Matt Canavan, he should not exercise his vote until the verdict is known.

Just when we thought the Parliamentary sitting week could not grow crazier, Pauline Hanson donned the burqa.

Senator Fiona Nash also declared herself a Scot.

Like her party head, the Nationals’ deputy leader has no intention of giving up her vote or her cabinet post.

And we wonder why people are shaking their heads!

Joel Fitzgibbon has been the federal member for Hunter since the 1996 election. He is Labor’s shadow minister for rural and regional Australia, spokesman for the country caucus and shadow minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry.Read More →


Rome: An earthquake hit the tourist-packed holiday island of Ischia on Monday night, killing two people, injuring dozens and trapping three young brothers who survived for up to 16 hours before being rescued.
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Tourists and residents on the island off the coast of Naples ran out onto the narrow streets after the quake wrecked a church and several buildings. Fearing aftershocks, many decided to leave the island early.

Rescuers found a baby boy called Pasquale in the wreckage and pulled him out alive in his nappy early on Tuesday, seven hours after the shock. There was a hush followed by loud applause.

Fire crews found his brothers Mattia and Ciro, aged seven and 11, stuck under a bed nearby. They kept talking to them and fed water to them through a tube.

“I promised them that after this was all over we would all go get a pizza together,” one emergency worker said on Italian television.

They freed Mattia late on Tuesday morning and later extracted Ciro more than 16 hours after the quake hit. The parents were safe because they were in another room.

They said Ciro had probably saved his brother’s life by shoving him under the bed when the quake struck.

“The rescuers were great. We really have to thank God for this miracle,” said the island’s bishop, Pietro Lagnese.

About six buildings in the town of Casamicciola, including a church, collapsed in the quake, which hit at 8:57pm local time on Monday. The walls of one were ripped open, exposing a kitchen with a table still set for dinner.

Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology put the magnitude at 4.0, revising it up from an initial 3.6, but both the U.S. Geological Survey and the European quake agency estimated it at 4.3.

It struck three days before the first anniversary of a major quake that killed nearly 300 people in central Italy, most of them in the town of Amatrice. Falling masonry

The director of the island’s hospital said two women were killed and about 40 injured. One of the victims was hit by falling masonry from the church of Santa Maria del Suffragio, the Civil Protection Department in Rome said.

The church was rebuilt after it, like most of Casamicciola, was destroyed by an earthquake that killed about 2,000 people in 1883.

Most of the damage was in the high part of the volcanic island. Hotels and residences on the coast did not appear to suffer serious damage but fire brigades were checking to see if they were still habitable.

The island has a year-round population of about 63,000, which swells to more than 200,000 in summer, with many people from the mainland owning holiday homes.

Civil Protection Department head Angelo Borrelli said about 2,600 people could not re-enter their homes, pending checks.

Helicopters and a ferry boat brought in more rescue workers from the mainland. Some civil protection squads were already on the island because of brushfires.

Three extra ferries were provided during the night for about 1,000 residents and tourists who wanted to leave. As daylight broke, dozens of people went to the island’s ports, having decided to end their vacations early.

Many who were due to take ferries from Naples on the mainland to start their vacations cancelled their plans, local officials said.

Ischia, about a one-hour ride from Naples, is popular with German tourists, and Chancellor Angela Merkel has stayed there often.

Reuters /**/

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Clear skies: Blackall-Tambo mayor Andrew Martin is looking forward to the day when, rather than searching for a signal, he can operate his business “in the cloud”.Residents of the Blackall-Tambo region are on the cusp of a technological shake-up its leaders say will be the envy of regional communities around Australia.
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An exhaustive search by the region’s mayor for a communications solution to what he described as an “unreliable and expensive” satellite internet service has led to the announcement of a partnership with South Western Wireless for the provision of “superfast internet”.

“The fast backhaul offered by this idea would allow a company as big as BHP to set up here,” mayor Andrew Martin said. “It’s a blueprint for remote communities around the world to have the option of very fast internet.”

Although the bold project is not yet fully funded –it relies on a $500,000 grant from the federal Building Better Regions fund to become reality –Cr Martin is confident it will succeed.

“The applications are all intertwined, every level of government is aware of the other parts,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s a fait accompli but it’s unusual for these sorts of things not to get full support.”

The Blackall-Tambo Regional Council committed $125,000 to the project in its 2017-18 budget, to be used in conjunction with $500,000 from the state government’s Building Our Regions fund.

The scheme uses optic fibre cableat Barcaldine, bypassing Telstra’s fibre running through both Blackall and Tambo, and 24‘point to point’ microwave towers to transmit a wireless signal equally around the region.

As well as internet packages, even the most remote resident will be able to choose whether to continue with existing landline services or move to Voice Over Internet Protocols, and possibly use their mobile phone via wifi hotspots.

The 20-year deal will be hosted and maintained by South Western Wireless at no cost to the council.

“For the first time, people living on properties will be waiting for technology to catch up,” Cr Martin said.

The offering doesn’t stop there –not only will government departments, especially emergency services, be offered use of the network for no charge, grey nomads will be able to pull into laybys in the region and access wifi hotspots.

Council’s existing infrastructure will be upgraded, including rebroadcast capability for digital television and radio, UHF repeaters, and even its telephony services.

South Western Wireless CEO, Geoff Peach, described it as the BTRC Metro Area.

“Wifi hotspots and emergency telephones will be deployed at council’s roadside amenities stops to provide communications for travellers and monitoring of equipment at the sites using CCTV and other remote monitoring equipment.

South Western Wireless CEO, Geoff Peach

The scheme is an opt-in one, meaning people can choose to stay with their SkyMuster retail service provider or Telstra service but Mr Peach expected that 80 per cent of the shire’s residents would say they weren’t happy with their current service.

He is callingon organisations to offer services, based on the speeds and prices on offer.

As a vertically integrated organisation, it’s the subscriptions from users and companies with add-on services that South Western Wireless relieson for its profit.

“People on the network can have their telephones provided by us as well –it’s a whole of communications solution,” Geoff said.“People will be able to import their telephone number –everything is identical from the point of view of the subscriber.”

Geoff described South Western Wireless as the first company to bring in a facility that “deals with the needs of a whole region in one hit”.

“I think this will bring people back, and stop people from leaving,” he said.

Cr Martin has similar high hopes. He used the example of rural businesses not being able to use a custom-designed world-acclaimed accounting package on current internet systems, and shifting their businesses elsewhere.

“People are currently paying $90 a month for internet that’s sometimes unusable.”

Geoff expected they would start deploying infrastructure before the middle of August and hoped to have the first dozen of 24 towers in operation before Christmas.

Ongoing tower maintenance will be provided by South Western Wireless.

Two other councils have already asked for a similar deal for their communities.

Queensland Country Life

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Facebook’s global vice-president of tax and treasury Ted Price said the US company had been under Tax Office audit. Photo: APFour of the world’s largest companies have been under investigation by Australian tax authorities, amid new evidence from US executives about how Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft are shifting money to offshore tax havens.
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Appearing before a highly anticipated public hearing into corporate tax evasion, the executives endured questions about why so much of the revenue generated in Australia ultimately ended up booked elsewhere.

Microsoft’s corporate vice-president of worldwide tax, Daniel Goff, said some of the $1.8 billion revenue generated in Australia had been transferred to Microsoft’s regional headquarters in Singapore and Ireland to fund research and development.

He also revealed the global tech giant had reached a last-minute confidential settlement with the ATO ahead of the hearing – a development Australian Taxation Office commissioner Chris Jordan described as “awfully coincidental”.

Explaining the various audits, Mr Jordan told the inquiry that “enough was enough” and publicly accused multinational companies of shirking their obligations.

“We were fed up with those corporate taxpayers choosing to engage in behaviour amounting to gaming and stooging tactics to avoid their tax obligations,” he told the inquiry.

Facebook’s global vice-president of tax and treasury, Ted Price, confirmed the ATO was conducting an audit of the US-based company, covering “most of the years it had been in operation in Australia”.

Despite the social media giant’s predominantly online interface, Mr Price said advertisers had to meet face-to-face with Facebook in their offices in Sydney and Melbourne for advertising revenue to be booked in Australia for tax purposes.

The comments suggest the actual revenue figure from Australian advertising could be much larger than the sudden tenfold increase the company recorded after an ATO crackdown last year.

Facebook paid $3.4 million in tax last financial year after its revenue jumped from $33.5 million to $327 million over the space of just 12 months.

The chair of the committee, Chris Ketter, told Mr Price: “The average person in the street would look at that and say ‘Up until now you haven’t been reporting your true revenue in Australia’.”

Independent senator Nick Xenophon said Facebook’s claimed $327 million revenue was “not credible”.

Mr Price said prior to the introduction of Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law last year, Facebook’s Australian revenue would have been booked in Ireland, where the company tax rate is 12 per cent.

At a separate inquiry on Tuesday, Melbourne Business School professor Mark Ritson gave evidence that up to $6 billion in advertising revenue was being divided between Facebook and Google in Australia.

Google’s director of international tax, Damon Richardson, told the inquiry Google had placed its headquarters in tax havens Singapore, Ireland and Bermuda for several reasons.

In Ireland he said the company’s 6000 employees needed to “speak a multitude of languages to connect with advertisers across the European region”.

He said until this year the company’s Australian revenue had been booked through its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore, but from now on all advertising from an Australian postal address would be taxed through Google Australia.

Google Australia made up 0.9 per cent of the company’s global profits, 0.4 per cent of Australian taxes and 0.3 per cent of global tax, Mr Richardson said.

Senator Ketter said the figures “seem misaligned”, given Australia made up to 2 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product.

“We believe that we’re paying the correct amount of tax,” said Mr Richardson.

“What happens outside in terms of the Irish structure has no impact on how much tax we pay in Australia.”

Apple Australia’s managing director, Tony King, said neither the introduction of the Diverted Profits Tax or the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law had caused the technology giant to change its business model.

The hearing was told Apple Australia’s cost of sales – the price it pays to purchase products from global Apple subsiduaries – is 50 per cent higher in Australia than the global average.

Apple’s yet-to-be released 2016 report will show company revenue of$7.5 billion, while earning a profit of $400 million in Australia during that time. That would put its income tax bill at $120 million – $30 million less in tax than it paid last year.

Mr Jordan appeared to suggest Apple had brough its practices up to date through its most recent audit.

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The Walker brothers, Ipswich Jets coaches Ben and Shane, have put their hands up to replace Neil Henry in the belief they are capable of doing what no other coaches could – consistently get the best out of Jarryd Hayne.
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The Walkers have emerged as the latest contenders for the head coaching role at the Titans as the fallout on the holiday strip continues.

Henry’s former assistants, Terry Matterson and Craig Hodges, will take over in an interim capacity for the remaining two rounds and will be considered if they apply for the role on a full-time basis.

Kevin Walters is the early front-runner for the vacant position, with reports out of Queensland on Tuesday indicating the Maroons coach was keen to replace Henry.

Others in the mix include Penrith reserve grade coach Garth Brennan, former Manly mentor Geoff Toovey and South Sydney assistant Anthony Seibold. Canterbury coach Des Hasler and South Sydney mentor Michael Maguire would also come under consideration if they parted ways with their current clubs.

The Walkers could be a left-field solution. Ben and Shane Walker have revolutionised the way rugby league is played in the Queensland Cup since taking over at the Jets. While most teams focus on completion rates, their emphasis is on time with the football in hand, with their homespun philosophy resulting in an attractive attacking style and a 2015 premiership.

The siblings recently engaged a manager and believe their methods are transferable to the Gold Coast.

“We’ve done a fair apprenticeship and we know we’re ready to take on an NRL role,” Shane Walker said.

“There’s a lot of potential there [at the Titans]. They haven’t won a comp, which is certainly what motivates us, winning comps. That’s why we do what we do.

“There is a really good roster too.”

One of the biggest challenges for the incoming Titans coach is managing Hayne. The enigmatic fullback fell out with Henry, who was the casualty when the relationship was damaged beyond repair.

Given Hayne is on $1.2 million next season, the Titans are stuck with him until his contract expires. However, the Walkers believe they can succeed where other coaches have failed.

“He’s a good player and I think we could get the best out of him,” Shane Walker said.

“In our time so far as coaches, I can say with my hand on my heart that there hasn’t been anyone we haven’t been able to get the best out of. I’m not saying we’re the sole reason but Benny Hunt came back to us well and truly out of form. In his week with us, we certainly returned him a much happier footballer who is playing well at the moment.

“Ben Hannant did his time and it was the same thing. We get the best out of people.”

The Walkers have made a successful transition from the playing to coaching ranks and believe they are ready for the next step. While some may view them as a potential risk at the highest level, the siblings don’t see it that way.

“For the guys who run the club, they are driven by commercial outcomes,” Shane Walker said.

“Our chairman relayed some stats that when the Jets play a Channel Nine game, there is a 27 per cent spike in viewers.

“People enjoy the way we play and being entertained. Commercially, I don’t think it would be a brave decision and football wise it would make sense.”

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Australia’s largest chicken producer Inghams Group has emerged as the victor from last year’s supermarket chook war, crediting the price cutting with driving demand for its birds during its first year as a listed company.
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Inghams’ chief executive Mick McMahon said Coles and Woolworths slashing the price of roast chickens from $11 to about $8 in close succession last year contributed to a 13 per cent jump in poultry volume sales in Australia. That beat its prospectus forecast by 4.3 per cent.

“It’s good for us from a volume point of view ??? we’re not investing in those lower prices – our customers [the supermarkets] are – and for us it drives higher volumes off the back of that investment,” Mr McMahon said.

“For us it works out positively, although it does cause a few challenges when you get rapid growth through the supply chain. It can give you a few headaches – but growth is better than the opposite.”

Mr McMahon said sales had also been helped by relatively high red meat prices that saw more shoppers turn to chicken, and strong demand from the fast food restaurants it supplies, which includes KFC and McDonald’s.

High feed prices had increased product costs but that was being passed on to customers during recent weeks, he said.

“We wouldn’t see too much change in the price points that the end consumer sees, but there will be some price inflation that flows through,” he said.

Mr McMahon said the high volume growth seen in 2017 would moderate and return to “historical” trends as it cycles pricing initiatives over this financial year.

Volume sales in New Zealand were about 0.3 per cent softer than forecast in its prospectus, and revenue was 2.8 per cent behind its forecast.

UBS analyst Ben Gilbert said Ingham’s cost-cutting this financial year looked likely to be offset by rising electricity costs, rising feed costs, and falling beef prices, which would attract shoppers over chicken.

Mr Gilbert said predicted earnings would fall between 2 and 5 per cent and cut his valuation from $3.75 to $3.70 with a buy rating.

Statutory net profit was $59.1 million, up 134 per cent on 2016, and up 22.8 per cent to $102 million on a pro forma basis.

Ingham’s declared a fully franked final dividend of 9.5?? per share to be paid on October 4, bringing its total 2017 dividend to 12.1??.

Shares, which listed on the ASX in November at $3.22, closed down 4 per cent on Tuesday at $3.36.

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Stevie Johnson may be fit and available for a potential last game at Simonds Stadium, but he is no guarantee to come in to the Giants team to take on the Cats in a critical top-four game.
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Johnson is still to be cleared fit to play after his troublesome knee, but with an understanding of a venue that is difficult for visiting teams, the former Cats star would be a logical selection. But who goes out to fit him in is the issue.

Matt de Boer has played well and applies defensive pressure. The other alternative is Devon Smith.

Rory Lobb is likely to be fit, which puts pressure on Harry Himmelberg to keep his spot.

The Cats will certainly welcome back Tom Hawkins after suspension.

Geelong football manager Steve Hocking said Rhys Stanley and Mark Blicavs would be tested later in the week and were both reasonable chances to be fit.

Essendon’s former captain Jobe Watson is almost certain to play against Fremantle on Sunday. The Bombers must win to stay in the eight but against lowly Fremantle that would seem likely.

Josh Green has a suspected fractured foot and will not play again this year. Travis Colyer is likely to come in for him. Jake Long would have been in the mix to come into the side but he was suspended for three matches in the VFL.

For Melbourne, co-captain Jack Viney has recovered slower than expected but he will be assessed and push to play this week against Collingwood in a game the Demons must win to stay in the eight. The bye the week after this last round will be a consideration for managing his foot.

“Jack’s probably been a little bit slower than we thought he’d be,” Melbourne’s high-performance manager David Misson told Melbourne TV. “He had a little bit of soreness after not having a long time [on the sidelines] after his initial surgery.

“He’s been loading that foot up with those games that he’s played, so he’s improving every day. As [coach] Simon Goodwin’s been saying, we’re taking it day-by-day and we’ve been encouraged by how much he’s improved in the last couple of days, but we’ll assess him later in the week.”

Demons ruckman Jake Spencer is a chance to play weekend after missing the past two matches in the VFL with an abdominal injury.

“Jake is looking really good,” Misson said.

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The Australian Rugby Union has rejected an offer of around $50 million from billionaire mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest to save the code and look after the financial burden of the Western Force.
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Forrest, who first pledged support for the Western Force after the club’s last match against the NSW Waratahs in July, was flanked by former ARU director Geoff Stooke and West Australia’s first homegrown Wallaby, John Wellborn at the meeting. The trio met with ARU chairman Cameron Clyne, deputy chairman Brett Robinson as well as director and former Wallabies captain John Eales.

During a three-hour meeting in Adelaide, Forrest told the ARU there would be no financial risk to the game’s governing body if the Force were able to continue in Super Rugby.

Fairfax Media has been told Forrest put an offer of around to $50million on the table to the ARU to help them out of financial trouble.

When contacted, the ARU said it would not comment on the dollar figure put forward by Forrest.

The ARU, however, is in a difficult predicament given it has already told SANZAAR it will cut a team from Super Rugby next season. With the Melbourne Rebels’ license in the hands of the Victorian Rugby Union, meaning the ARU has no constitutional right to axe them, the Force were named earlier in the month as the team in the firing line.

The ARU rejected Forrest’s offer at the meeting and made it clear they were committed to cutting the Force.

“We had a long discussion with Andrew today and have provided in detail the position of the ARU and the factors that have led to our decision to discontinue the Western Force Super Rugby licence,” said Clyne.

“We were genuinely appreciative of Andrew’s generous offer to back the Western Force and Australian Rugby, however, given the position we are in we are unable to work towards retaining five teams in Super Rugby.”

Although disappointed, Forrest said he was pleased the ARU outlined its commitment to working with the Force to develop a new international competition based in Western Australia.

During the Force’s supporter rally last Sunday, Forrest had thrown up a curve ball by saying he would start his own Asian rugby competition, headed by the Force, if the Supreme Court appeal failed. Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry said the idea had merit.

“This is a really exciting concept and picks up on some interesting rugby we’re seeing in Asia,” Sinderberry said.

“Certainly Twiggy’s vision is one we’d be very excited to understand. It’s an embryonic idea, but one worth exploring. There’s a number of cities and countries in Asia that do play rugby at the moment and are looking at ways to develop their own programs. So we think it would be very well received.”

RugbyWA will find out on Wednesday whether their appeal against the ARU’s decision to axe the Force will be heard in the NSW Supreme Court. If not – or if the appeal fails – the Force will be left with no other choice but to explore playing elsewhere.

With AAP

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NEWS: Series on Men and Woman suffering PTSD. Chris May . .31st October 2013… Photo by MELISSA ADAMS of The Canberra Times. US Secretary of Defence James Mattis and US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson meeting Julie Bishop and Marise Payne at Government House, Sydney.Pictured is Marise Payne5th June 2017.Photo: Steven Siewert
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The United States is expected to ask Australia to commit more troops to Afghanistan and Defence Minister Marise Payne has not ruled out returning to a combat role as part of a renewed strategy to beat back a resurgent Taliban.

Sources have told Fairfax Media they consider it likely Australia will receive a request for more military help beyond the present commitment of 300 training and advisory forces after US President Donald Trump vowed on Monday “we are not nation-building again, we are killing terrorists”.

In his much-anticipated speech outlining a fresh strategy 16 years since the US-led coalition toppled the Taliban, Mr Trump pledged a boost to American forces and said he expected allies to do the same.

A further request is not regarded as certain, however. Senator Payne stressed Australia was already making a “very considerable contribution” to the fight against various Islamist groups around the world but said the government would discuss potential increases.

“We will speak with our US colleagues and see what their expectations are on counterparts,” she said.

When asked whether the government would consider a return to a combat role, Senator Payne said: “We would always engage any consideration of any request on its own merits and in the interests of Australia.”

Australian troops in Afghanistan were dedicated to training and advising and there was “no contemplation of a change to that at this point in time”, she said, but added that “we will continue to work closely both with NATO and with the United States in terms of what Australia is asked to do and able to contribute”.

Defence Secretary James Mattis said he would consult with NATO and other allies and noted that “several of which have also committed to increasing their troop numbers”.

The ADF has about 270 troops training and advising in Afghanistan and has already committed to sending another 30, though it is waiting to co-ordinate with NATO and the US before sending those additional forces.

A possible training role for the Australian Defence Force in the Philippines, where local forces are fighting Islamic State-affiliated groups, is likely to factor into the government’s thinking on any request on Afghanistan.

Australia also has more than 300 trainers and several dozen special forces advisers in Iraq. And the RAAF is flying P-3 Orion spy planes over the southern Philippines to help local forces against a fierce and bloody Islamic State-backed insurgency.

Mr Trump, whose speech at a military base outside Washington was broadly well-received by defence analysts, did not specify US troop numbers. Mr Trump said he would not set targets or withdrawal dates that the insurgents could wait out.

He said Washington would ask allies and partners “to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own” and added, “we are confident they will”.

US media have reported Mr Trump will increase American troops by 4000 – a rise of nearly 50 per cent on the roughly 8400 US forces there now.

In the past, Australian special forces soldiers have carried out raids to kill or capture high value Taliban targets. They have ended this role but US forces are still carrying out these raids.

Mr Trump’s long-awaited strategy also included putting more pressure on Pakistan to stop harbouring Taliban fighters, and giving greater authority to military commanders on the ground to run the military operations.

Afghanistan veteran Chris May, who served two tours between the ages of 19 and 21 and suffered a fractured neck followed by post-traumatic stress disorder after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb, said many soldiers felt the previous coalition draw down had been premature.

Mr May, who now runs a group called Young Veterans, said when Diggers he knew saw parts of Oruzgan province retaken by the Taliban after Australia withdrew, “a part of their heart fell out because blood, sweat and tears went into fighting on that ground”.

“It wasn’t for us – it was for the Afghans. But our impact in that small part of the country was such a big impact.”

By some estimates, the Afghan government now controls less than 60 percent of the area of the country.

Former Chief of Army Peter Leahy, who now heads Canberra University’s National Security Institute, said the new approach was an improvement and would “give them a chance to win but it won’t happen quickly”.

“Potentially this is decades,” he said. “It’s not going to be a military victory. That’s the best element of the strategy is he’s talking not just about military but diplomatic and economic power as well.”

Jacinta Carroll, a defence expert with the Australian National University’s, said she was “encouraged” by Mr Trump’s speech.

“Overall, it’s very sensible and encompasses the range of things that are at play,” she said.

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Canberra quick Nick Winter’s time as a poor student helped him cope with being a poor cricketer.
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The 24-year-old signed his first full state contract for South Australia on Tuesday and had to spend a couple of months training full-time unpaid while the Aussie cricket pay dispute raged.

But Winter spent last season without a contract, going to university and playing district cricket on the injury comeback trail, which meant nothing had changed.

While his form playing for Adelaide University warranted a contract with SA – he was the club champion – he had to wait until Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association argued over the new pay deal before he could sign one.

Winter spent three years on a rookie contract with the Redbacks, but the left-arm quick tore a muscle in his side about 18 months ago.

He rushed to get back to play for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League only to tear it again on his return.

It meant he missed out on a contract with SA, but after a season playing district cricket he’s back.

“I found out in April that I was looking likely, but the MOU negotiations meant that they couldn’t put anything in writing,” Winter said.

“That was a little bit disappointing, just because you like to secure your future, but when that was all sorted out and I was given the contract last week that was really good … I was pretty excited.

“It was a pretty unique situation … for me the good thing was because I wasn’t getting paid from cricket from the last year being delisted it was no real different situation for me.”

Winter has played two 50-over domestic games, along with four Twenty20s in the BBL, but was yet to make his Sheffield Shield debut.

That’s his goal for this summer, when he wants to use the upcoming one-day domestic competition to launch his career in the four-day game.

His cause will be helped by the absence of Kane Richardson, who was named in the Aussie T20 squad alongside fellow Canberran Jason Behrendorff.

With Richardson off to India in September, it opened the door for Winter to stake a claim for a spot when the ODDs start in Brisbane next month.

“I’ve played two one-day games since I’ve been across here. I was in the 12 for a Sheffield Shield game last year and didn’t get to play,” he said.

“That’s a bit of a step that I want to do this year is make my Sheffield Shield debut.

“Obviously before that we’ve got the [ODDs] so hopefully I get an opportunity there.”

While missing out on a contract due to injury and spending a season playing at a lower level might seem like a setback, Winter felt it helped with his life balance.

It allowed him to concentrate on his uni – he’s studying a Bachelor of International Studies and Politics – which he expected to complete this year.

He felt it gave him something to “fall back on” if the cricket career didn’t go according to plan.

Winter joked it could also see him perfectly placed for a return to his native Canberra for the start of a diplomatic career.

“It’s been good because it helps that life-away-from-cricket balance and my family were pretty keen on me always having that back-up plan,” he said.

“So however long I have left in my cricket career, I’ve got something to fall back on as soon as that’s done.”

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FOCUSED: Lakes United centre Jacob Gagai scored two tries in his return match from a hamstring injury against Kurri Kurri. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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JACOB Gagai is accustomed to being known as “Dane’s little brother”.

The tag has followed him from their home town Mackay to the Newcastle Knights and Brisbane Broncos.

Five years the junior, Jacob is immensely proud of whatKnights and Queensland star, Dane, has achieved.

“I still pinch myself when he plays for Queensland,” the 21-year-old said. “To see a sibling of mine doing something like that. For him to receive player of the series, I was way proud.”

Jacob, while admiring Dane,is hisown man, with his own goals.

“I will always be looked at as Dane’s little brother,” Jacob said.“You hear it from the sidelines …I’m not the type of person who lets that stuff get to them. We are two completely different people.He has his life and his football career.If I worry about that, it can take distract me from what I want to achieve.”

Jacob, who came through the juniors at the Knights and Broncos, is in his second season at Lakes United.

The centre scored a double in his return from a seven-week hamstring injury in a 18-16 win over Kurri Kurri on Saturday.

Although Lakes and a successful final series is the focus, Gagai has a long-termgoal of playing in the NRL.

YEAH BABY: Jacob Gagai slides in for a try in the win over Monaro in the final of the NSW Country championships. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“It has been a dream of mine since I was a boy,” he said.“Seeing my brother and cousin, Josh Hoffman, playing in the NRL, it gives you that bit more motivation.I feel like through the juniors, SGball and under-20s, I wasn’t mature and just thought it would happen.Now, I realise how badly I want to play in the NRL and make it my career. It is all I will be working towards until I get it.”

Lakes coach Dean Noonan has noticed a change in Gagaion and off the field.

“His approach to the game – his preparation and how he looks after himself – has gone up in spades,” said Noonan, who also works for the Knights and has known Jacob for five years.“When he was there last time he was a young kid and didn’t really put the pieces together. He has finally recognised, if you are going to have a crack at anything you have to work at it. Credit to himbecause that is what he has done. He still has a way to go but he recognises that.If anotheropportunity comes, I’m confident he will grab it.”

Gagai has taken confidence from his return match.

“As the game rolled out I started to get more comfortable with it,” he said. “I had zero pain and was just glad I got through 80 minutes.”

Gagai is one of eight players from the Newcastle Rebels selected in the NSW Country under-23s side for games against Samoa in Wagga (October 13) and Scotland in Balina (October 20).

“With the World Cup coming up they need a couple of trials,” he said.“Being under-23s it gives young blokes like myself and opportunity against players who play in the NRL.”

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“I’m sick and tired of hearing people say ‘that’s my money'”: Cheryl, who preferred not to give her last name, at Bankstown Central. Photo: Ben RushtonShe’s a Bankstown resident going through a tough time – relying partly on welfare while being treated for cancer.
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But Cheryl, who preferred not to give her last name, was part of a surprising number of local supporters for the federal government’s planned trial of random drug testing for welfare recipients in Canterbury-Bankstown.

“I one hundred per cent support it,” she said, taking a breather on a bench at Bankstown Central shopping centre. “Two hundred per cent.

“If you’re employed, employers have the right to do random drug-testing in certain areas. Why not where people rock up to ask for something for nothing?”

It’s not that Cheryl is a heartless hardliner. Having had to retire early from a human resources job for medical reasons, she said she knew how valuable welfare could be but was frustrated that people she knew had stayed on it for years.

“I’m sick and tired of hearing people say ‘that’s my money. How dare the government tell me how to spend it’,” she said.

“It’s not. It’s taxpayers’ money and they’re helping you get through a rough patch until you can get on your feet.”

Others held very different views in Bankstown on the day the government announced the area had been chosen for the trial next year because of an increase in welfare recipients and ice-related hospitalisations.

“Isn’t it taking your rights away?” said Samuel, who also preferred not to give his surname, on the steps of the Centrelink office. Having lost his labouring job, he has just started receiving benefits.

“They’re just making it more difficult,” he said. “It’s an excuse. Maybe they need to give people work.”

Another resident, who did not want to be named at all, questioned why Canterbury-Bankstown had been chosen.

“I don’t know why they’re targeting this area,” he said. “I grew up here and we’re always in the media.

“I shop here and I shop in Punchbowl and Lakemba. To me, it’s a lot safer than a lot of other areas.”

Cheryl, who has lived in Bankstown for 27 years, was not at all worried about being one of the trial locations.

“It’s probably because of the level of welfare here,” she said. “You’d expect that if it’s a high level, you’d target that.

“But given that it’s starting in a handful of areas – this being one of them – I’d expect it would eventually branch out to all areas. Somebody’s got to be a test case.”

Syrian refugee Marwan Almithyab, from Yagoona, believes other suburbs have a worse ice problem than Bankstown.

“There’s a bigger problem in other areas of Sydney, like Redfern and northern Sydney,” he said. But if it was a requirement to receive welfare, he would be fine with random drug-testing.

“It’s not about being intrusive,” he said. “It’s a right for the government if you have support from the government.”

Rod, who was applying for benefits after being laid off recently, was also happy to be drug-tested.

“No problem,” he said cheerfully. “All good.”

Bangladeshi immigrant Mohammad Moinulromn, from Lakemba, was just delighted that Australia had a strong welfare system to help people with health problems, including drug addiction.

“We appreciate the initiatives,” he said. “It’s a very nice system. In the USA, they don’t have a very humanitarian service.”

While without a job and unable to get welfare on his current visa, Mr Moinulromn would also be happy to be drug-tested.

“Of course,” he said. “I’m ready to do that.”

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Neil Cummins with the Kings Cross nightclub tsar John Ibrahim. A former bodyguard of Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim, who this week appeared on a list of Australia’s most-wanted, has handed himself in to NSW police.
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Neil Cummins, 42, walked in to Burwood Police Station on Tuesday after Operation Roam was launched the previous day to track down 20 alleged criminals on the run across Australia.

Cummins, the ex-husband of former Bardot singer Tiffani Wood, was charged over his alleged involvement in an extortion case at Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast in 2014.

He appeared at Burwood Local Court on Tuesday and was granted bail ahead of his next court date on August 29 at Coffs Harbour.

Crime Stoppers NSW boss Peter Price blamed “incorrect” contact details provided to police for the inability of officers to locate him.

Also on Tuesday, Jayson Aworth, 41, attended Dareton Police Station after he was named on the most-wanted list.

He was charged in relation to alleged aggravated indecent assault offences that occurred in the far southwest of the state in January.

Aworth was refused bail and scheduled to appear at Broken Hill Local Court on Tuesday.

Operation Roam is a national initiative seeking public help to track down 20 people sought by police across Australia.

So far eight people have been arrested as part of the operation – including two before it officially kicked off – while 12 others remain outstanding.

Also on Operation Roam’s radar is accused double-murderer John Victor Bobak, 67, who has been on the run for 25 years.

Bobak is wanted for his alleged involvement in the 1991 execution-style killings of bookmaker Peter George Wade and Maureen Ambrose at a Surfers Paradise unit.

Jonathan Dick, from Victoria, is wanted over the murder of his brother, David Dick, at a Melbourne shopping centre in February.


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