Abbott predicts more casualties in citizenship crisis

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has predicted more MPs will be implicated in Parliament’s ongoing citizenship fiasco, which has already eliminated six federal politicians and seen the major parties launch internal audits to weed out any others.
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In the past week, Turnbull government frontbenchers Josh Frydenberg and Alex Hawke have been forced to deny they could have inadvertently acquired dual citizenship through their mothers. But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has strongly resisted a Parliament-wide probe despite growing calls for a full-scale audit, including from Coalition MPs.

Tony Abbott has predicted more chaos in Parliament over the citizenship fiasco. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott said it was up to the Prime Minister to decide how to resolve the situation, but warned the government and country could not afford an “ongoing circus”.

“Every day it’s someone else. It was Josh last week, now it’s Alex Hawke. It will probably be someone else tomorrow. That’s why this matter does need to be resolved,” he told radio station 2GB.

Mr Abbott’s staunch ally Kevin Andrews, who was defence minister under the former leader, has called in recent days for an audit and questioned whether the Prime Minister was providing strong and decisive leadership.

After resisting a parliamentary audit, Labor has come around to a “universal disclosure” of citizenship documents and the Greens will move next week to establish a committee that could compel all senators to prove they have complied with section 44 of the constitution.

Days after the High Court ruled five MPs – including former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce – were invalidly elected, Senate president Stephen Parry also revealed his own British citizenship.

Last week, the government angrily rejected questions over the eligibility of Mr Frydenberg, the Energy and Environment Minister, whose mother arrived “stateless” as a Jewish refugee from Hungary. The central European country, which has since changed its laws to open citizenship to Jewish refugees, grants citizenship by descent.

Mr Hawke, the Assistant Minister for Immigration, has insisted he is in the clear despite his mother’s Greek background. He said he was “an n citizen only and [has] never held or acquired or sought Greek or any other citizenship”.

Over the last few months, the Liberal and Labor parties have been conducting internal audits that have required legal checks and MPs to hand over necessary documents.

McGrath shares tumble 17.2%, ‘significant’ cost cuts flagged

Real estate services company McGrath’s shares have dived 17.2 per cent after the company announced a 25 per cent profit downgrade and an internal review to help stem the problems.
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They closed down to 50.5?? and were trading down by as much as 25 per cent during the day.

McGrath says its financial underperformance is largely in company owned sales, impacted by lower volumes of listings and agent numbers.

The loss of key staff who sold the “big ticket” homes, changes in government regulation for inbound Chinese investors and a 50 per cent collapse in the project marketing pipeline – being flats off the plan – will see the embattled group now engage in a major cost cutting exercise.

While the company has not provided an earnings guidance for the 2018 full year, it says it does not expect to reach Bell Potter’s estimate of $16.6 million.

Instead, McGrath forecast its earnings will be between 20 per cent and 25 per cent lower than that estimate, due to high restructuring charges and cost savings.

In early trade, shares are about 25 per cent lower at 46??.

“In order to deliver a result that would align with forecasts in the market of $16.6 million, EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) in 2018 financial year, we would be required to make significant cost cuts that may not be in the best interests of the business in the long term,” McGrath chief executive Cameron Judson said.

“All we can do is focus on what we can control, which are performance of our business and people and improve productivity.

“We must trade out of this. It’s a tough market and there are many influences that are impacting the business.”

The business, which was founded in 1988 by “Mr Sydney” real estate agent John McGrath, floated in December 2015 but has struggled since with a fall in market listings, tighter lending regimes by the banks and the changes in government regulations.

It is an integrated business operating with company-owned project management and sales as well as the franchised McGrath Estate Agents, which has 99 offices throughout the east coast .

There has been market speculation that the large investors, shareholders and some board members have been looking at buying back the business and making it private, but Mr Judson declined to comment directly on any proposal.

He did say the group’s ambitions to expand the business through mergers and acquisitions had been shelved.

“It’s off the table. We need to focus on people, productivity and performance,” Mr Judson said.

As part of the review, McGrath said it planned to remove about $5 million of annualised costs from the business at a one-time restructuring cost of between $1.4 million and $1.6 million.

McGrath said most of the savings would be achieved by restructuring the board, executive and leadership team, and removing management associated with company-owned office expansion and non-revenue generating roles across the organisation.

“The discussions with major shareholders may inform the board and executive about options to further accelerate, slow or add to the plan,” Mr Judson said.

“The board and executive will seek to best balance short- and long-term imperatives, but note that the short-term imperatives demanded of a listed real estate services company are often at odds with long-term capacity building and market share growth. This, too, will be discussed with shareholders.”

The McGrath annual general shareholder meeting will be held in Sydney on Wednesday, November 22.

Trengove joins Power, Thomas next

Port Adelaide have continued their aggressive off-season recruiting with the acquisition of former Melbourne captain Jack Trengove as a delisted free agent.
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Trengove played 86 games for the Demons after making his debut in 2010, but has been plagued by injuries over the past four seasons, only managing seven games since the start of 2014.

The move will reunite him with former Melbourne teammate Jack Watts, who was also picked up by the Power during the trade period. The club now boasts the top pick in the 2008 draft as well as the second pick in 2009.

The former Demon was born in South and told the Port Adelaide website he was elated about the one-year deal.

“I am so appreciative of Port Adelaide providing me with another chance to play the game I love,” said Trengove.

“I still feel as though I have plenty to offer with my experience and leadership and I can’t wait to start this new phase in my career.

“And to come home and be back around family and friends will make the transition so much easier.”

It was an unexpected move by Port Adelaide, who have already brought Tom Rockliff, Jack Watts, Steven Motlop and Trent McKenzie to Alberton in the off season. But list manager Jason Cripps is excited at the prospect of having Trengove at the club, saying that the 26-year-old still has plenty to offer.

“The football world knows that Jack has had some much-publicised injury setbacks over the last couple of years but we are confident that he still has plenty of upside and will contribute positively to our playing group both on and off the field,” said Cripps.

“We are all well aware of the skill level and pure football ability that Jack possesses, but most importantly he also brings great character, integrity and leadership to our club which will be invaluable to our entire playing group.”

The recruitment of Trengove has become comical, as the Power recently lost Jackson Trengove to the Western Bulldogs during the free agency period, prompting the Dogs recruit to comment on Port Adelaide’s announcement on Facebook.

“I have a box of stuff with your name all over it if you want it,” Trengove joked.

The Power are also one step closer to securing North Melbourne forward Lindsay Thomas, after he reached an arrangement with the Kangaroos to have him delisted in order “to pursue other opportunities”.

The 29-year-old goalsneak had a year to run on his contract with the Kangaroos, but with the club employing an aggressive list management strategy in recent years with a heavy emphasis on youth, Thomas didn’t fit their plans beyond 2017.

North Melbourne football manager Cameron Joyce thanked Thomas for his 11 years of service to the Kangaroos.

“‘Linds’ has played some outstanding footy in his time and was widely regarded as one of the most potent, electric small forwards in the game,” Joyce said.

“He is an intelligent and determined footballer that played with a tremendous amount of passion and desire.

“He played with his heart on his sleeve and overcame some huge challenges to carve out a fantastic career at North at the highest level.”

Thomas played 205 games and kicked 325 goals for the Kangaroos since debuting for them in 2007.

He was originally selected with pick No.53 in the 2006 national draft and led North’s goalkicking in 2010 (29) and 2013 (53).

[email protected]: 6000 in sight for ASX

The information of stocks that lost in prices are displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg MARKETS. 7 JUNE 2011. AFR PIC BY PETER BRAIG. STOCK EXCHANGE, SYDNEY, STOCKS. GENERIC PIC. ASX. STOCKMARKET. MARKET.
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Stock information is displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

We start the new week with the ASX 200 eyeing a move into 5971, with SPI futures closing 16 points higher on Friday night and traders asking how much supply will come into the market if and when we test 6000.

1. 6000: Recall, 6000 is of course just a round number, so breaching and closing above here is psychological. However, if we go back to the period between March and April of 2015, we can see that on four times we tested and rejected this level, before we saw a 20% sell-off into the February 2016 lows. The ASX 200 trades on a 12-month price-to-earnings multiple of 16.3x, which as punchy, but has the juice to push above 16.5x and the leads we have been provided and certainly, the macro backdrop continues to favour upside here.

2. Westpac: Westpac have just reported FY earnings and cash earnings of $8.06 billion are on the light side of expectations. FY Net interest margins of 2.06% and cash ROE of 13.6% also won’t be taken well by the market, while the 94c dividend is inline. On the headline numbers alone there seems little to inspire and that will disappoint the index bulls given the ASX financial sector is failing to contribute to the ASX rally, with falling 0.3% last week. All the buying is in energy, industrials, and materials at present.

3. Earnings: I have been an advocate that we need new news to fuel the fire, given markets are fantastic aggregators of all known news and much is in the price now. European and US and earnings are largely discounted and shouldn’t get too much focus in the week ahead, although it will be interesting to see if there is a further tailwind to the market leader, Apple, after strong earnings and we see this name now having to add just 13% to its market cap until they command a market cap of $1 trillion. The wash-up though (in the US specifically) has been that once again it’s been an inspiring reporting quarter. With 81% of the S&P 500 having now reported we see 76.9% have beaten on earnings, by an average of 4.7%, while on the sales line we can see 67% have beaten the street’s forecast. In terms of growth, we see aggregate EPS of +7.1% and sales growth of +5.6%, so both metrics are higher than what was originally forecast.

4. Growth: Global growth is a mature them, and notably, we have seen real improvement in Europe, while in the US the data is humming along nicely and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Q4 GDP of 3%, although there is a lot of data to pass until we get this release. The economic data flow on Friday came in thick and fast, with the payrolls report detailing that 261,000 jobs were created in October, although this was lighter than the 313,000 eyed. On a more positive note, we did see an upward revision to the September print (from -33,000 to +18,000), while the unemployment rate fell to 4.1%, courtesy of a 765,000 drop in the labour force. Perhaps the bigger issue was that the U6 unemployment rate (the broader measure of unemployment that the Fed regularly focuses on as a sign of genuine slack in labour market) fell a sizeable 40 basis points to 7.9%, matching the December 2006 lows. Also, importantly average hourly earnings came in below expectations, which in turn brought down the year-over-year rate to 2.4%.

We also saw the October ISM services index printing a very robust 60.1% and this has certainly supported risk sentiment, given we also solid factory orders and durable goods data. The wash-up after all the data flow was a further belief that the Fed can lift the fed funds rate in December, with this implied probability now sitting at 92%. Looking at the US Treasury complex and despite the scale of the data flow, we saw limited ranges (the US 10-year traded in a four basis point range) and on the session only very modest net buying. That said, traders preference is still to be long duration and we can see the 2’s vs 10’s Treasury curve now the flattest since November 2007 and looking ominously like it will head even lower.

5. Volatility: Implied financial market volatility also took a bath on Friday, with the “VIX” momentarily trading below 9%. The Bloomberg US financial conditions index (which aggregate a number of key market indicators) is now at the highest levels since 2007 and the Fed would absolutely have noticed this.

6. US: US tax reform is the key talking point at present and this, along with communication from the Reserve Bank and China data flow will be the main focal points this week. The idea of tax cuts, estimated to be $1.5 trillion over the coming ten years (according to the House Ways and Means Committee plan) is having a positive effect on sentiment and while many are optimistic, there is still a healthy skepticism about what the final package actually looks like. The House plan should be a talking point tonight, with insights around the package itself and any potential amendments, which once agreed upon needs to make its way for a vote on the House floor and then onto the Senate in the weeks ahead. The market expects a sturdy test in the Senate and we could see an increase in noise around this package.

Despite limited moves in US fixed income we can see the USD finding buyers on Friday and currency comes into the new week with a solid platform to build, with the daily chart of the USD index looking quite constructive. AUD/USD hit a high of $0.7716 on Friday but was offered through European and US trade and price action has all the hallmarks that traders are looking to sell rallies in this pair here. The pair is clearly a ‘must watch’ pair in G10 this week given tomorrows RBA statement and Friday Statement on Monetary Policy.

7. Commodities: Commodity markets are finding good traction here too and we should see this resonate in the ASX 200 energy and materials space, although the S&P 500 materials sector closed 0.1%. US and Brent crude both closed up over 2% and should be supported this morning with the Baker-Hughes rig count falling by a sizeable eight rigs on Saturday, taking the total reduction to 40 rigs from the August high. One suspects the news flow that the Saudi crown prince is cracking down on corruption may influence Brent prices to an extent too. Elsewhere, spot iron ore closed up 0.2%, while iron ore, steel and coking coal futures closed +2.2%, +0.9% and +1.6% respectively. BHP’s ADR actually closed lower by 0.5%.

8. Market watch:

SPI futures +0.27%, or 16 points, to 5955 points

AUD -0.7% at US76.58??

On Wall St: Dow +0.1%, S&P500 + 0.3%, Nasdaq +0.7%

In Europe: Stoxx 50 +0.4%, DAX +0.3%, FTSE +0.07%, CAC 40 +0.1%

Spot gold $US1,269.46 an ounce

Brent crude +2.4% to $US62.07 a barrel

Iron ore +0.2% at $USUS59.88 a tonne

LME aluminium +0.5% to $US2,185 a tonne

LME copper -0.5% to $US6,895 a tonne

This column was produced in commercial partnership between Fairfax Media and IG

Melbourne’s new airport hotel offers quick, easy (and free) access

The place
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Hyatt Place, Essendon Fields

The location

Ostensibly an airport hotel, Hyatt Place is actually located at Essendon Fields, next to Essendon Airport, not at Melbourne International Airport. It’s about 10 minutes away by car, taxi or shuttle bus (the hotel provides a complimentary shuttle). The area, which only officially became in 2008, is still under development. Mostly used for commercial buildings, some retail and other sites are starting to open in the area.

The place

Opened in June this year, this is the first hotel under the Hyatt Place brand in and it still looks and feels like it’s brand new. Hyatt Place is aimed squarely at business travellers and the Essendon Fields building has all the sleek, minimalist design you would expect from a business hotel. The large lobby of white marble offers a lounge and several meeting places, as well as being where breakfast is served. There are 166 rooms in total, some offering views of the city, while others let you watch the planes come in to land (though you won’t hear them through the solid walls and windows). There’s also a 24-hour gym.

The room

It’s spacious, comfortable and bright, with a queen bed, large corner sofa, long desk and ample storage space. The minibar is empty apart from some milk for those wishing to use the tea and coffee making facilities. A large flatscreen TV is mounted on the wall above the desk. The desk chair is comfortable but being able to adjust its height would be useful. The bathroom is roomy enough, with a large shower (no bath) and as many towels as you could possibly want. One quibble is the lack of soap dish – it’s clear from the circular marks on the benchtop that previous guests have also not known what to do with it.

The food

The hotel’s restaurant Mr McCracken has just opened, under the supervision of chef and owner Matt Dawson. It aims to strike a balance between corporate and casual, which it achieves through a mix of fine dining dishes and pub grub. The Napoli-style pizzas, featuring slow fermentation, 72-hour dough (resulting in low yeast, lighter crust) are a highlight.

Meals can be also ordered from the Gallery, a small kitchen located in the hotel lobby which serves up a limited menu of sandwiches, pasta, curry and salads. Rather than room service, you order over the phone and then collect your meal yourself. While this means there’s little delay (I have experienced some interminably long waits for room service at some hotels) it also can be a little impractical trying to get your meal back up to your room. The hotel may not do room service, but they need to offer trays with lids for guests to transport their food (my pasta was getting cold by the time I got back). Breakfast is complimentary and is a small buffet, including hot bacon, sausages and scrambled eggs, along with continental choices.

Stepping out

While you’re quite close to the airport and some distance from town, it’s not all that difficult to get into the city. Rather than fight the traffic, take the No. 59 tram (which runs right by the hotel) to Essendon Station and switch to a train. Alternatively there’s a free Essendon Fields bus that also takes you to the station. The travel time is about 40 minutes, which in peak hour is just as fast as driving.

Closer to the hotel itself, the vast DFO factory outlet shopping centre is a few minutes’ drive away for those looking for bargains. See dfo苏州夜网.au/essendon/

If you want to get in a flying mood before heading to the airport, a short walk across the street takes you to the Trans Airlines Museum. Supported by Qantas and located at the airline’s training centre, this small museum is dedicated to TAA, the former domestic airline that merged with Qantas in 1992. See taamuseum苏州桑拿.au

The verdict

While not located at Melbourne Airport itself, Hyatt Place is a stylish new property for those looking to avoid battling traffic to get a flight. The complimentary shuttle and breakfast are great selling points, along with relatively quick public transport access to the city (something Melbourne Airport doesn’t have). Some minor teething problems will likely be sorted quickly.

Essentials

Rooms at Hyatt Place start from $195 per night. See melbourneessendonfields.place.hyatt苏州夜网

Highlight

Getting to the airport in just 10 minutes for an early morning flight, despite heavy traffic.

Lowlight

Struggling to carry my room service back to my room.

The writer stayed as a guest of Hyatt Place Essendon Fields.

Chinan Cow Dog Challenge puts on a show in Tamworthvideo, photos

Watch what it takes to be the country’s top dog Craig Ervine from Narrabri with his dog Shady Acres. Photo: Gareth Gardner
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Paul Wroe from Central QLD with his dog Brutonvale Jatz. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Winning dog Shady Acres Zac. Photo: Tianna Barratt | Hickorwee Equine Photography

WATCHING ON: Lewis Wall, Thabo Alberts, Wade Miles and Ben O’Reilly. Photo: Gareth Gardner

OUT AND ABOUT: Gavin Sewell and his son Max Sadler-Sewell, 8, Clayton Avery and Jacob Avery 11. Photo: Gareth Gardner

WINNER: Robert Johnston and dog Shady Acres Zac accept $10,000 for taking out the $18,000 Cobber Open Trial. Photo: Tianna Barratt | Hickorwee Equine Photography

SAY CHEESE: Mac Crowe, 10. Photo: Gareth Gardner

IN THE STANDS: Mike Landgon from Woolomin and Jillian Sullivan from Mulla Creek. Photo: Gareth Gardner

TOP DOG: Paul Wroe from Central Queensland with his dog Brutonvale Jatz. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Cow dog in action. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Robert Johnston takes out the top prize. Photo: Tianna Barratt | Hickorwee Equine Photography

The 2017 n Cow Dog Challenge. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Sue and Chriss Crowell from Daruka. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Blue Robson, from Taroom, Brian Farell from Mclean, and Ray Smith from Myrtle Creek. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Henry Maslen, 6, from Gunnedah. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Cow dog. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Competition heats up. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Blake Galvin, of Kootingal, with Olivier Taaffe, of Tamworth. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Cow dog in action. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Spectators watch on. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Cow dog in action. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Cow dog in action. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Tim Mackie, Neville Dart, with Sally and Dick Perram. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Mac Crowe, 10, with his dad Peter Crowe, who came second overall with the only kelpie to make the final. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Judge Warren Jenkins came all the way from north Queensland.

TweetFacebookn Cow Dog Challenge Open Challenge FinalPost by n Cow Dog Challenge Open Challenge Final.

Cobber Open Trial Results:1stRobert Johnston with Shady Acres Zac2ndPeter Crowe with Capree Blue3rdDave Bennett with Benrose Spring4thPaul Wroe with Brutonvale Jatz5thCraig Ervine with Shady Acres TabNorthern Daily Leader

Broad’s actions seem criminal, why the small punishment?

In the words written at the command of a mind more sapient; more virtuous than mine: the more you see, the less you know; the less you find out as you go; I knew much more then, than I do now. And how!
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The longer I go on, I know less and less. Either that, or maybe it’s just that you come to understand all that you don’t know, if you catch my drift. You know that hypothetical question, about which superpower you’d pick over all others ??? I wouldn’t pick any. But oh, how I’d love a crystal ball that functioned as something other than an anger management tool.

But perhaps it’s just the sardonic mood of the room I’m in. I’m sitting here writing this column (with a fountain pen, as is my wont) in an Italian restaurant on Macquarie Street. As I begin scribbling, the opening bars of Speak Softly, Love hang in the background, wafting from the sound system. It’s the height of irony, actually. You’d never identify that arrangement by name. You might however recognise the instrumental, as the title theme from The Godfather. A production hardly known for either soft dialogue or love.

So many mixed messages! And on that topic, can someone please explain to me the outcome of the investigation into the circumstances of the circulation of a photograph, depicting a topless woman, wearing nothing much other than a Richmond player’s AFL premiership-winning medallion?

Based on the statements released this week by each of Tigers president Peggy O’Neal and Tigers player Nathan Broad, the latter is clearly the instigator who caused the unauthorised dissemination of a very personal picture of the said woman. In defiance of her explicit request that he delete the photo (and Broad’s untruthful assurance to her, that he had). Broad’s words warrant direct quotation:

“I take full responsibility for what I have done.

“I sent a very private picture without this young woman’s consent. I am ashamed and embarrassed. I made a very bad drunken decision.

“Not only have I let down my family, my friends and the Richmond Football Club, but most of all I let down a young woman who I cared about. A young woman who I spent time with before the grand final. A young woman who I liked and respected.

“I’m deeply sorry for the heartache that I’ve caused this young woman and her family. It was never my intention to hurt her or her family. By sending the picture I lied to her and broke her trust.

“This young woman deserves to have her privacy respected. To the media ??? the longer this story keeps running the more suffering it will cause her and her family. I am the one who deserves to be punished but this woman does not deserve any more pain.”

For all of this, Broad has incurred the featherweight penalty, of being suspended for the first three home-and-away matches of the 2018 season. No monetary penalty or financial recompense; no “hard toil” in the community. Just three matches, on the bench. That’s it.

That’s it, in circumstances where prima facie, what Broad’s copped to doing amounts to a criminal offence in Victoria, carrying the possibility of two years in the big house. Though a custodial sentence in the circumstances would’ve been unlikely, this is a criminal act – even in the event the Victorian Police hadn’t ceded to the request from Broad’s victim, to drop the criminal investigation. That’s the prism through which this ought be viewed. Criminal behaviour, against a young female victim, who can’t fight back.

A simple Google search brings up various incarnations of the image in question; some redacted, others not so much. The Internet can’t easily be cleansed – once an image is floating around in cyberspace, it’s there forever more. It’s trite for Broad to propound the argument that the media risks prolonging the poor girl’s agony, should the story be reported on further. The ignominy of having the photograph in circulation won’t just dissipate, in line with the media’s future disinterest.

And for Broad to hide behind his apparent drunkenness, as some sort of excuse, is manifestly weak. Yes, Broad ought be ashamed, and embarrassed. But neither emotion ought be allowed to be diluted, just because he was sozzled at the exact moment he pressed “send”. And especially so after having promised the lady in question that he would do the exact opposite, and delete the image.

The outcome is potentially catastrophic, for the woman concerned. It’s irrelevant that she consented to the image being taken in the first place. And frankly, Broad would come across so much more a man, if he didn’t hide at all behind alcohol as an excuse. Just as words spoken or written can’t be taken back, for the victim in this situation matters can’t easily be put right.

To the sanction: a three-match ban is, in all the circumstances, manifestly light. Yet doubling or tripling the sanction would achieve no more. For it’s not about the penalty, so much as realising that no penalty can properly address the “heartache” (to use Broad’s words) and devastation that he’s caused; and that his actions will likely continue to cause, into the future.

It’s interesting in a way to draw a line between Broad’s actions and those of the English cricketer Ben Stokes. And for good measure, throw in the brawling by the “Italian” rugby league players James Tedesco and Shannon Wakeman. Tedesco and Wakeman’s post-match fisticuffs in a Cairns pub may yet result in some sort of sanction by Rugby League World Cup organisers, though neither combatant seems all that concerned, nor does the Italian Rugby League. It’s odd though, how such shenanigans can happen during a world cup campaign. Should Italy qualify for the FIFA World Cup next year, you can’t imagine the same goings on in Russia.

Stokes didn’t fly to with England’s Ashes squad. It’s highly doubtful he will be a late arrival, and he most certainly will not be unless the police investigating the circumstances of his late September brawl conclude their investigations without charging him. Recent reports of Stokes defending two men against homophobic slurs as being the catalyst for the fisticuffs might be truthful; they might be convenient explanations. But Stokes’ actions remain objectively vicious.

All three situations involve potentially criminal behaviour. But my point is this, whatever Tedesco, Wakeman or Stokes have done, each were fighting against someone who had at least some degree of opportunity – even if not an equal chance – of fighting back.

Broad’s victim had no such hope. She was totally blindsided, and lied to. And that’s utterly unfair.

Newcastle Signal Box up for commercial lease

Newcastle Signal Box up for commercial lease TweetFacebook Newcastle Signal BoxThe state government has called for expressions of interest about leasing Newcastle Signal Box in the middle of what will become the landscaped Market Street Lawn.
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The 1936 building is the latest commercial offering from Revitalising Newcastle, which announced last week it was seeking a commercial operator for the disused Newcastle train station.

The station will be leased on an 18-month trial, but the government will offer the signal box ona long-term contract, possiblyas a cafe, restaurant orbar.

“We are calling for operators that have an excellent retail offering that will enhance and add value to this bespoke heritage space,” Hunter Development Corporation chief executive Michael Cassel said.

“It isn’t often that you open up an opportunity for an operator to lease a beautiful heritage building that is surrounded by luxury landscaping.I really expect the market to be excited by this opportunity.”

Revitalising Newcastle is working on landscaping 8000 square metres of the old rail corridor to create the Market Street Lawn, which it hopes to complete by the end of next year.

Newcastle City Council approved a development application for the lawn redevelopment and signal box restoration work last month.

“The standards we are working to are above and beyond anything the city has ever seen before,” Mr Cassel said.

“There will be quality paving, seating options that look like artworks, garden beds, and planting of advanced trees to create shade and atmosphere.

“We are also building a really attractive water feature out the front of the signal box that will entertain the kids and onlookers during the day and light up at night time to activate the space.”

The signal box comprises 76 square metres of ground-floor indoor space and 265 square metres outside.

The heritage-listed signal boxonce controlled the rail lines east of Merewether Street.

Texas church shooting leaves 26 dead

A gunman massacred at least 26 worshippers and wounded 20 others at a white-steepled church in south-east Texas on Sunday, carrying out the latest in a series of mass shootings that have plagued the United States, authorities said.
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The lone suspect, wearing black tactical gear and a ballistic vest and carrying an assault rifle, opened fire after entering the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in Wilson County, about 65 kilometres south-east of San Antonio.

The gunman opened fire outside the church and continued to fire as he entered.

The victims ranged in age from five to 72, law enforcement officials said at a news conference.

After the shooting, the gunman, described as a white man in his 20s, was fired on by a local resident. He fled in his vehicle and was later found dead in neighbouring Guadalupe County.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the mass shooting was the worst in modern Texas history.

He posted on Twitter: “Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response.”

Police have not released a motive for the shooting.

Earlier, Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez, jnr, said that at least 27 were killed and more than 20 were injured.

Police told him the gunman was chased into the next county and was killed, but it was not clear whether the police shot him or he killed himself.

He added: “You never expect something like this. My heart is broken.” Gunman identified

The suspect in the Texas church mass shooting was a former member of the US military.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek says records confirm Devin P. Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge.

The date of his discharge and the circumstances under which he left the service were not immediately available.

The Pentagon has also confirmed Kelley was an airman “at one point”, but didn’t provide additional details.

Authorities in charge of the investigation into the shooting did not formally identify him at a press conference earlier on Sunday, except to say he was a white male in his 20s.

However, two officials – one a US official and the other in law enforcement – told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity the shooter was Devin Kelley.

The US official said Kelly lived in a suburb of San Antonio and did not appear to be linked to organised terrorist groups.

Investigators are looking at social media posts Kelley may have made in the days before the attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.

Texas Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar said law enforcement authorities told him the gunman came from Comal County, which is north-east of San Antonio.

“He went there [to the church], he walked in, started shooting people and then took off [to Guadalupe County, just outside Wilson County],” Cuellar said.

Wilson County Commissioner Larry Wiley said that, after the shooting, the gunman sped away in a car and was soon cornered by sheriff’s deputies in Guadalupe County.

He did not know if the gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot or was killed by deputies.

First responders converged on the town and helicopters were taking victims to hospitals.

Ernest “Skip” Hajek, another Wilson County Commissioner, told The Washington Post that the gunman began firing from outside the church and continued to shoot as he entered.

Hajek said the gunman eventually drove away and was followed by a local resident who called 911 to report which way the gunman was fleeing.

“About four or five miles away, he pulled his car over,” Hajek said of the gunman. “That’s where the police found him dead.”

Hajek said police were looking into whether the gunman’s wounds were self-inflicted.

Federal authorities, including from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI, were on the scene.

The Texas Ranger Division of the state’s Department of Public Safety is also involved in the investigation. Pastor’s daughter killed

The teenage daughter of the pastor of the church was reportedly among the dead.

Sherri Pomeroy, wife of Pastor Frank Pomeroy, said in a text message to the Associated Press that she lost her daughter, Annabelle, 14, “and many friends” in the shooting.

Ms Pomeroy said both she and her husband were out of town when the church was attacked and were trying to return.

The First Baptist Church is a fixture in Sutherland Springs, an area home to fewer than 900 residents, according the 2010 census.

The white-painted, one-storey structure features a small steeple and a single front door. On Sunday, the Lone Star flag of Texas was flying alongside the US flag and a third, unidentified banner.

Inside there is a small raised platform on which members sang worship songs to guitar music and the pastor delivered a weekly sermon, according to videos posted on YouTube.

In one of the clips, a few dozen people, including young children, can be seen sitting in the wooden pews.

The service began with a rendition of a song called Happiness Is the Lord.

It was reported earlier that the pastor was in church and told his parishioners to walk around the room and “shake somebody’s hand”.

“Tell them it’s good to see them in God’s house this morning,” he was reported to have said.

The church’s website, which was down shortly after the shooting, says the church schedule was for a fellowship breakfast on Sunday mornings, followed by Sunday School.

A morning worship service was scheduled for 11am. The first news reports of the shooting were between noon and 12.30pm. Community devastated

David Keen, a constable in Wilson County, confirmed there were casualties and said, “there were kids involved”.

He said that the gunman was dead and that he did not know how many people had died.

Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Centre in Floresville, Texas, said that she did not know how many patients the hospital had received, but that it was continuing to receive more.

The hospital had activated its emergency response team, she said.

Information about the conditions of patients was not available.

“We’re sending more officers on the streets to help secure Connally Memorial while they’re bringing the casualties to the hospital,” Keen said.

Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are on the scene.

Photos taken by local media showed several police and emergency vehicles, as well as helicopters, outside the church.

A video shared on Twitter by a KSAT reporter showed people crying and holding hands as they waited to find out whether their loved ones were safe.

A parishioner, Sandy Ward, said in an interview on Sunday that a daughter-in-law and three of her grandchildren were shot. Her grandson, who is five, was shot four times and remained in surgeryon Sunday night. She said she was awaiting word on her other family members.

Ward said she did not attend services on Sunday because of her troubled knees and a bad hip. “I just started praying for everybody who was there,” she said.

Diana Segura, 69, was in the shower on Sunday morning about 11am when she was startled by a series of thundering bangs so loud she thought a truck’s engine had exploded on the highway behind her home.

Minutes later, sirens burst onto her quiet street and Segura walked outside and saw the unthinkable: multiple bodies on the ground outside the First Baptist Church, where she occasionally attends weeknight services.

Standing outside her home down the street from the church, Segura stared at the throng of police cars and emergency vehicles, her head shaking in disbelief.

“This is a small town and nothing never happens here,” Segura said. “We are family here, and that church is always filled with friends.”

Joseph Silva, 49, who lives about seven kilometres north-east of Sutherland Springs, said the police had instructed his family and neighbours to stay indoors.

In a phone interview on Sunday afternoon, he described Sutherland Springs as “a one-blinking-light town”.

“There is a gas station and a post office,” he said. “That’s about all there really is.”

Silva said he had been approached by a woman who said she had two loved ones at the church who were shot.

“There are a number of individuals just weeping and just wanting to know what’s happened to their loved ones,” he said. “Everybody is pretty grief-stricken. Everyone’s worried.”

US President Donald Trump, on a visit to Japan, tweeted his concern, saying he was “monitoring the situation”. May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.??? Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017With our greatest sorrow and compassion. Las Vegas stands with you with our hearts broken and ready to help in anyway we can. #SutherlandSprings??? Carolyn G. Goodman (@mayoroflasvegas) November 5, 2017FBI just arrived on the scene. The scene is getting pushed back. pic.twitter苏州夜网/vyIyNPZHou??? Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017

‘Unfinished business’: Dettori’s Cup mission

The charismatic Frankie Dettori has promised to rejuvenate his famous star jump dismount if he can win a first Melbourne Cup, claiming the race is “unfinished business” after jetting in for ‘s great race.
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The world’s most recognisable jockey will try to win the Melbourne Cup at his 16th attempt – he first rode in the race in 1993 – and will never have a better chance than with defending champion Almandin.

A weary Dettori arrived in Melbourne after riding at the US Breeders’ Cup meeting at Del Mar on Sunday, but left no one in any doubt what a victory in the one international race which has eluded him would mean.

“Well it’s one of the best races in the world. I’d like to put my name on that famous list of jockeys,” Dettori said on Monday. “My wife’s mother and sister are from and we’ve got some family here from her side. It’s a big topic in my family so we’ll try again.

“There’s some unfinished business. We’ll do our best [on Tuesday].”

Almandin was bumped from favouritism with some bookmakers by English stayer Marmelo on Sunday night as he looms as Lloyd Williams’ No.1 seed to win a sixth Melbourne Cup.

Williams will have a quarter of the field in Tuesday’s race, but there’s no doubt who his sentimental favourite will be as Almandin and Dettori chase Melbourne Cup history.

Dettori only secured the ride on Almandin last week after Damien Oliver was suspended for his Cox Plate ride on Happy Clapper.

Asked if he would reproduce his trademark star jump celebration if he can win the Melbourne Cup, Dettori said: “The star jump is the easy part and winning is the hardest part. It would be great.

“[Almandin] has been there before and he’s won it. Obviously I’ve known Mr Williams for a number of years and through different circumstances he asked if I was available and here I am.”

Dettori’s round-the-world odyssey to Melbourne didn’t start on the best note when vets scratched favourite Ulysses from the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar.

Almandin was clinging to favouritism with Sportsbet on Monday morning, rated an $8.50 chance ahead of Marmelo ($9).

Dettori’s last two visits to Melbourne have been his most adventurous, copping a $20,000 fine and month suspension for starting a chain reaction of interference on Max Dynamite when second in 2015.

He was then widely panned for his adventurous ride on Wicklow Brave last year from a wide gate when the horse beat only two runners home.