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  • Newcastle candidates: what their campaigns cost

    Jaimie Abbott - Liberals Sharyn Claydon - ALP
    Nanjing Night Net

    Michael Osborne - The Greens

    THEY were unprecedented campaigns for federal Hunter seats, rumoured to have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for some candidates.

    But according to Australian Electoral Commission returns released yesterday, the war for voters’ hearts and minds didn’t cost many of the major party candidates a cent in the critical final weeks of last year’s federal campaign.

    Candidate returns published yesterday showed, for example, that Liberal candidate Jaimie Abbott spent $850 on publishing advertisements in her campaign for the seat of Newcastle between the issuing of the writs on August5 and the September 7 poll.

    Miss Abbott’s return, signed by then NSW Liberal Party director Mark Neeham, records ‘‘nil’’ for donations made directly to her campaign.

    Her successful Labor rival, Sharon Claydon, didn’t receive any donations or spend any money on advertisements or election material either, according to her return.

    Yet Palmer United Party candidate Yegon Dally McLellan reported spending $4312 on campaign material, $733 on publishing advertisements, and $407 on broadcast advertisements.

    Greens candidate Michael Osborne’s return had no spending or donations to declare.

    Election returns for parties are due to be released in February.

    Mr Osborne said the disclosure requirements needed to be made more transparent.

    ‘‘Personally I’d like to see all the donations made public before the election so voters know who is supporting candidates,’’ he said.

    The seat of Newcastle attracted an unprecedented campaign from the Liberal Party.

    Mr Osborne estimated the Greens spent $20,000 on his campaign.

    ‘‘I think Jaimie would have easily spent 10 times that,’’ he said.

    Ms Abbott said she did not know how much the campaign cost, but ‘‘that would be covered in the party’s return’’.

    She had spent her savings from her posting in Afghanistan with the Defence Force and had been unemployed for months while she campaigned.

    ‘‘If you’re serious about campaigning you’ve got to attend every business lunch, every public function you can,’’ she said.

    ‘‘That’s money I won’t get back.’’

    The seat of Hunter was the scene of another major campaign between Labor and the Nationals.

    But neither MP Joel Fitzgibbon (Labor) or Michael Johnsen (National Party) spent or received a cent in the relevant periods, according to their returns.

  • Hives one match away from men’s tennis title

    ZOE Hives has become the first female tennis player to top the rankings of the Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre’s men’s singles competition.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The 17-year-old upset current open men’s singles champion Jake Dunn 6-4 6-4 in the second last round on Friday to assume the number-one mantle.

    Hives and Dunn are now both top of the rankings with 80 points apiece, 10 points clear of James Millikan in third.

    “It was a good match. it was good to beat Jake. I do a lot of training with him but had never played him in a match before,” Hives said.

    “It feels good to have that title, but it wasn’t something I thought about at all.”

    Hives has had a stellar summer of tennis, making the quarter-finals of the junior girls doubles at the Australian Open and finishing runner-up at the Australian Girls Under-18 Singles Championships.

    She believes that her involvement in men’s tennis in Ballarat over the past several months has been a direct contributor to her improved performances on court.

    “It’s been really fun playing men’s pennant,” she said.

    “They have much bigger serves and they are much stronger around the court. It’s a different style of tennis to what I’m used to but it’s definitely helped my return of serve.”

    Hives has only to win her match in the final round on Friday to take the title.

    Zoe Hives is one win away from winning the Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre’s men’s pennant competition. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

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  • Dragons blow: Dugan to miss four rounds

    Nanjing Night Net

    St GeorgeIllawarra fullback Josh Dugan joins a long list of NRL stars set to miss the opening four rounds after a preseason marred by high-profile injuries.

    Dugan suffered a lateral ligament injury and will miss at least the first month of the season.

    He is set to return for the Dragons in their round-five clash against South Sydney.

    It was against the Rabbitohs when Dugan injured his knee: during the Dragons’ 38-20 loss in the annual Charity Shield at WIN Stadium on Saturday.

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    ‘‘Josh has had scans and a surgical review and has suffered a lateral ligament injury following a collision on Saturday,’’ said Dragons high performance director Andrew Gray.

    The injury will leave Adam Quinlan and Gerard Beale as potential replacements, after Quinlan impressed at fullback following Dugan’s departure on Saturday.

    The woe comes as a double blow to St George Illawarra coach Steve Price, who needs a strong start to the year to ensure he has a chance of extending his contract beyond this season.

    ‘‘It is always disappointing when you see high-profile footballers go down, but that is the game we play and it’s just the way it is,’’ Price said after the match.

    Dugan joins the likes of Jarrod Mullen, Luke Lewis, Lee Mossop, Dene Halatau and Sika Manu, who will all miss the start of the year.

    Halves Jamie Soward, Todd Carney and Cooper Cronk are fighting to be fit for the season proper, while Carney’s Cronulla teammate Jeff Robson will miss at least six weeks with multiple facial injuries.

    The Knights received some good news with Mullen set to miss up to four months with a hamstring tear. Initially, it was feared that Mullen would spend the season sidelined after he tore his hamstring at the Auckland Nines.

    Newcastle performance director Jeremy Hickmans said it was expected that Mullen needed surgery.

    ‘‘This is a much better outcome than what we anticipated following the initial scan results last week,’’ Hickmans said.

    ‘‘The surgeon was able to look at the scan and confirmed it was a partial tear. That means no surgery but a conservative rehabilitation program.’’

    Meanwhile, Manly could be without wingers Jorge Taufua and David Williams for their round-one game against Melbourne, who will be minus Ryan Hinchcliffe.

    Williams will miss the game with a knee injury, but could be fit for round two despite initial fears he had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear at the Auckland Nines. The Sea Eagles were sweating on positive news for Taufua, who dislocated his shoulder in Manly’s 28-24 trial win over Parramatta on Saturday.

    Canberra will be down a prop after David Shillington was ruled out for at least two weeks with rib cartilage damage.

    ‘‘From what I’m hearing it’s a two-to-four week injury,’’ Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said.

    Dragons fullback Josh Dugan is helped from the field after being injured in Saturday night's Charity Shield match against Souths. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

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  • Port Fairy out to win first premiership since 1969

    THE last time Port Fairy won a division one Tuesday pennant flag, Henry Bolte was in charge at Spring Street and John Gorton was ruling the halls of Canberra.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The victory came in the 1968-69 season. Today the side will try to break its 45-year premiership drought when it faces Warrnambool Gold in the grand final.

    The two clubs have already met three times this season.

    The first was in round seven, when Port Fairy got the upper hand 71-63.

    Warrnambool Gold turned the tables in round 14 with a 74-70 victory, before it forced Port Fairy to take the hard road in the search for an elusive premiership when it claimed the semi-final.

    Port Fairy was undefeated until round 12 and finished the season on top of the ladder.

    Warrnambool Gold had three losses and a draw to finish second.

    Despite looking the favourite on paper, Port Fairy skipper Gill Phillips said her side would go in feeling like the underdog.

    “Warrnambool Gold are a very experienced team. They know how to win,” she said.

    “It’s been a long time coming for us. We have made finals in the past five season, but haven’t progressed.

    “We feel like we are going in as the underdog, but everyone will be on their games.”

    In their arsenal will be skipper Kay Miller, whose rink didn’t drop a game all season.

    Phillips said the key to victory would be the number of bowls in the head.

    “We need to get a good number of bowls in the head, not just one or two,” he said.

    “We need to think positive and keep a clear head. That is what will be the difference, I think.

    “Everyone is looking forward to it.

    “We are going out to win.”

    Warrnambool Gold skipper Maree Lynch said her side was settled and confident heading into today’s match.

    “We have a good settled group and we are ready to go,” she said.

    “We’re thrilled to be in the grand final.

    “We are expecting Port Fairy to come out with all guns blazing.

    “They have built a strong side and are going to be tough to beat.

    “The last few times we have played them it’s been close, so we are expecting that again this time.

    “We will need to concentrate as a group and play our best bowls.”

    In other Tuesday pennant grand finals at the Warrnambool Bowls Club today, Mortlake will take on Lawn Tennis Green in division two and Terang will face Warrnambool Red in division three.

    Port Fairy Gold members (from left) Patti Murray, Margaret Meade, Sue Gavin, Gill Phillips Lauris Blackmore and Kay Miller hope to help their club to its first premiership in 45 years.

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  • Court’s ‘crazy’ $4.6m payout

    THE operators of Green Valley Farm have hit out at “legislation gone crazy” and vowed to keep the business open after a patron was last week awarded $4.6 million damages for a freak accident at the park.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The ACT Supreme Court on Friday ruled the Vickery family, which operates Green Valley Farm in Tingha, failed in its duty of care to Benjamin Ackland leading up to an accident at the venue in 2009 that left him a quadriplegic.

    Mr Ackland attempted a number of back somersaults on the “jumping pillow” ride and landed awkwardly, breaking his neck.

    On its official Facebook page, Brayden Vickery – grandson of the founder of Green Valley Farm – posted an emotion-charged missive defending the amusement park’s role in the accident.

    “All I can say is this man and the group which he was a part of had consumed enough alcohol to effectively negate their co-ordination and as such were asked to leave the park and not use any equipment,” Mr Vickery said.

    “Against our better judgement we allowed them to stay to cook lunch under the condition that they were prohibited from using our equipment and they left immediately following their lunch.”

    The park’s insurance company is liable for the payout and has 28 days from the ruling to appeal.

    Mr Vickery said the court’s decision was symptomatic of a society where the concept of personal responsibility was diminishing.

    “We need to take a stand against a trend in society which is leading toward every decision we make being dictated by legislations and bubble wrap,” Mr Vickery said.

    “I grew up falling over and grazing my knees. I got back up, kicked the damn rock I tripped on and then told myself to start watching where I was going. And needless to say, I gradually began to fall over less and less.”

    He said he was sympathetic to Mr Ackland’s plight.

    “I personally cannot begin to describe the sympathy which I feel for the person in question,” he said.

    “I think it is safe to say he didn’t get off that bus with the intention of becoming quadriplegic.”

    He added Green Valley Farm was “still going strong and isn’t going anywhere”.

    While the Vickerys would not speak to The Leader about the issue, Mr Vickery’s post received hundreds of “likes” from supportive locals.

    Graham Meonly summed up the views of many when he posted: “This is the world we live in. It’s always someone else’s fault.”

    THE operators of Green Valley Farm have hit out at “legislation gone crazy” and vowed to keep the business open after a patron was last week awarded $4.6 million damages for a freak accident at the park.

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  • Calling recruits for air force cadets

    JOIN NOW: Tamworth’s 310 Air Force Cadet Squadron is part of 3 Wing Australian Air Force Cadets who celebrated the successful completion of their promotion course with a parade at RAAF Base Richmond in January. Photo: Defence MediaTAMWORTH’S 310 Australian Air Force Cadet squadron is on the hunt and they want you.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The squadron is looking for staff members and cadets to join them on their adventures.

    Commanding officer Pilot Officer (AAFC) David Koppers said cadets joined the AAFC for many reasons, not just because they wanted a military career.

    “It’s for kids who have an interest in aviation, fieldcraft or just want to do something different,” he said.

    The 310 Squadron held its first information session last Tuesday and has another one coming up today, from 7pm at their Rentell St headquarters at Tamworth Regional Airport.

    People interested in joining can chat with other cadets and ask questions about the organisation.

    “It will be a completely open and frank discussion so they know potentially what they’re getting themselves into,” Pilot Officer Koppers said.

    “We want to give them as much information as we possibly can. It’s not going to be for everybody, but a lot of people enjoy it.”

    Pilot Officer Koppers said parents and prospective staff, and prospective cadets were all welcome to the information evenings.

    “We’ll show them through the facility, do a presentation on the organisation and it will all be cadet-focused,” he said.

    “We’ll then have half an hour where we’ll field questions from parents and cadets.”

    The 310 Squadron is part of3 Wing, which covers much of NSW and the ACT, and which has just won The Air Force Trophy for the most proficient wing.

    Chief of Air Force, air marshal Geoff Brown, presented the Air Force Trophy to Wing Commander (AAFC) Wayne Laycock, officer commanding 3 Wing at RAAF Richmond.

    Two leading cadets and a cadet sergeant from Tamworth attended the parade following a leadership course.

    The Air Force flew the cadets from Williamtown in Newcastleto RAAF Richmond in a C-17Hercules.

    Pilot Officer Koppers said anyone who wanted to share in these experiences should attend the information sessions.

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  • Bargain buy a winner for Warrnambool trainer

    BARGAIN basement buy Hawaiian Princess could add more money to her owners’ coffers when it runs in a $15,000 restricted race over 1700 metres at Warrnambool today.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Warrnambool trainer Patrick Ryan parted with $3800 to buy Hawaiian Princess at a June Thoroughbred sale in Melbourne. The mare was formerly trained by Sydney trainers Guy Walter and David Vandyke.

    From its two runs for Ryan, the four-year-old mare was an unlucky third at Mount Gambier before scoring an easy win at Ararat earlier this month, giving the hobby trainer great confidence going into today’s race.

    “She was a certainty beaten at Mount Gambier at her first run for me. She was caught up on the rails and had nowhere to go when slow horses dropped back on her. She flew home over the concluding stages. We had a few dollars on her at the Mount. It was a crying shame she got beat,” Ryan said.

    “Hawaiian Princess’s win at Ararat was an excellent effort. She won by three lengths but there was a fair distance between the second and third horse. I expect she’ll run very well today. She’s drawn a good barrier and will appreciate the 1700 metres.”

    Ryan is no stranger to winning races with bargain basement buys. He won the 2008 Warrnambool Cup with Video Star after paying $4000 for her before selling her as a black type winning mare for $130,000. Electric Ernie, Maddison Lane and Caroun, cast-offs from other trainers, have won city races for Ryan.

    “I put in a fair bit of research before I buy any horses at the mixed sales. I suppose I’ve been very lucky with some of my purchases,” he said.

    “We’ve won $10,000 in stakemoney with Hawaiian Princess from two runs. I’m not sure how far Hawaiian Princess will go but at this stage she’s going well. We’ll get over today before making any further plans for her.”

    Top steeplechaser Man Of Class returns to Warrnambool on the flat in a highweight handicap over 3087 metres as a stepping stone to the Oakbank Great Eastern Steeplechase and the Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase.

    The 10-year-old ran second in last year’s Grand Annual and is following a similar path to running in the feature jumping race at Warrnambool again, according to his trainer Ciaron Maher.

    “We’re putting the miles into his legs. The run on the flat at Warrnambool today is another part of the process,” Maher said.

    “We’ll take Man Of Class back over to Oakbank at Easter before having another crack at the Grand Annual. His best efforts are on good tracks so we don’t want the weather to break too early.”

    The first of eight races today is scheduled to begin at 1pm.

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  • Warrnambool brothers bound for Moomba

    TWO Warrnambool brothers are bound for one of the biggest stages in Australian waterskiing, the Moomba Masters.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Warrnambool brothers Glen and Tim Martin are bound for the Moomba Masters waterskiing event.

    Glen and Tim Martin will feature at the annual competition on Melbourne’s Yarra River from March 5 to 10.

    Driver Glen, 25, will be in control of a boat for the first time, towing some of the biggest names in the sport in front of thousands of fans.

    Skier Tim, 23, will contest the jump and slalom disciplines. He made his debut in the competition 12 months ago, in the jump.

    The chance to immerse themselves in their sporting passion is reward for hours of dedication to the niche sport.

    Windy conditions on Warrnambool’s Hopkins River means the brothers must travel to Bridgewater for training each weekend.

    Tim said the chance to ski at Moomba was “definitely” one of the highlights of his career.

    “Growing up, sitting on the bank and watching it, they were my absolute idols out there skiing,” he said.

    “To be standing on the dock and skiing against them is a dream come true.

    “Last year I got to jump in the day and night, which I’m doing again, but this year I’m doing the slalom as well.”

    Tim, the 2013 national champion in jump, said his world ranking was about 120. He is ranked about 200 in the slalom.

    He said working at a water ski school in North Carolina during the past two northern summers had been a catalyst for his rise in the sport.

    “I’m definitely skiing the best I’ve ever skied in Australia. At the Australian Masters I jumped a personal best of 51.50 metres,” he said.

    “That’s the best I’ve ever jumped in a tournament, which was good. That was over the Australia Day long weekend.

    “And slalom, every time I’m going out there I’m pushing the limits to knock on the door of a new personal best in training.

    “It’s only a matter of time until that happens in a tournament. A lot of it is the time I spent in America. Being able to ski every day for five-and-a-half months really allows you to progress and work on things.”

    Glen is also a skier but has developed into one of the best boat drivers in the world, leading to his selection for the Moomba Masters.

    He started driving about seven years ago and has featured at three world championships — over 35, disabled and open — in the past two years.

    “A fella by the name of Waldie Priekulis, he’s been the chief boat driver for the Victorian Water Ski Federation for a long time, he taught me all he knows,” he said.

    “I did my apprenticeship and built my way up. Now I’m getting selected for these world events at Moomba as well.”

    Glen said boat driving was more complex than it appeared. Drivers must keep the right speed and line to give skiers the best possible conditions.

    He made history at Yarrawonga on Sunday by driving when Melbourne skier Nick Adams set an Australian record slalom score on Australian water.

    “He got two-and-a-half buoys at 10.25 metres rope length. The Australian record is four at 10.25 but he did that in America.”

    Glen said the Moomba Masters also gave Australian competitors the chance to meet their counterparts from across the world.

    “The best thing about Moomba is it’s a massive international field, you meet a lot of international skiers, you have friends all around the world,” he said.

    “Because water skiing is a small, tight-knit community, if I go to Florida or California or England or France, normally you know someone from the area.

    “You can organise to have a ski with them. They’re more than happy to do that.”

    [email protected]南京夜网.au

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  • Former principal backs teacher training review

    A RETIRED Tamworth principal has welcomed the announcement of a far-reaching review into teacher training and education degrees, but said increasing minimal entry scores was not necessarily the answer.
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    CHANGES: Retired principal Anne Jacob would like to see education students undertake more practical experience earlier in their degrees. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 200214GOE02

    Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced the investigation, which will examine university course content, teacher education methods and training opportunities, on Wednesday, effectively thrusting teacher quality into the spotlight.

    Former Tamworth West Primary School principal Anne Jacob said attaining a high ATAR score did not guarantee a student would become a successful teacher.

    “Just because you score 98 does not mean you are going to be a good teacher,” she said.

    “I think there needs to be greater input from practising teachers in these courses ... and the whole issue of child development, classroom management and education needs to be looked at holistically and not as individual things.”

    She said schools often drew unfair criticism and were unrealistically expected to “fix all society’s woes”.

    “Our elected representatives should understand the extra roles schools now fulfil and look at ways to address some of the societal issues that schools are the frontline for, but that are not their core business,” Mrs Jacob said.

    “No one has ever increased the school day. In all my time teaching, nothing has ever been removed from the curriculum, only added.”

    She said in her opinion it was crucial education students begin practical experience early on – in the first semester – and universities take more credence from school reports outlining the abilities of a student who has undertaken a practicum.

    The review, which will be undertaken by an eight-member advisory panel lead by Australian National University vice-chancellor Greg Craven, is expected to be concluded by the middle of the year.

    In an opinion piece written for Fairfax Media, Mr Pyne questioned the resistance by some universities in implementing more stringent entry requirements or changing course content and suggested in some instances standards were too low.

    “There is evidence our teacher education system is not up to scratch,” the minister said.

    “We are not attracting the top students into teacher courses as we once did, courses are too theoretical, ideological and faddish (and) not based on evidence of what works in teaching important subjects like literacy.”

    His state counterpart, Adrian Piccoli, called for the review to examine whether all teachers should have post-graduate qualifications before entering classrooms.

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  • Support kit for bushfire victims

    IRYMPLE Secondary College students will deliver personal gifts to victims of the recent bushfires at Halls Gap.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Students have been busily creating small gifts in their textile class that will be donated at The Grampians next week to the 32 people who lost their homes in the bushfires.

    Textiles teacher Margo Impey said they had put together small sewing kits with the students’ own “personal touch”.

    “We wanted to do something that was nice and personal,” Ms Impey said.

    “In the little sewing kits, which students have handmade, we’ve put in some needles and a wheel of thread, pins, some tape measure, scissors and safety pins.

    For more of this story, purchase your copy of Tuesday's Sunraysia Daily 25-2-2014.

    Message of support: Irymple Secondary College students Jzarne Cochrane and Charlotte Amos, both 12, with their handmade sewing kits to be donated to bushfire victims.Picture: Clancy Shipsides

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