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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ‘could face international court’

by admin on 04/12/2018

Bangkok: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte could face international criminal charges as the death count in his relentless war on drugs tops almost 2000, human rights advocates say.
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Comments by the tough-talking former provincial mayor such as “all of you are into drugs, you sons of bitches … I will kill you” could be used as evidence to prosecute him, they say.

Sam Zarifi from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) says it is likely that as the killings continue lawyers will gather evidence to initiate legal proceedings against Mr Duterte like 9541 victims of the late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos did in the United States in the 1990s.

In 1995 a US court awarded the victims $US1.9 billion after finding that Marcos, who died in exile in 1989, was responsible for massive human rights abuses, including torture, murder and “disappearances of fellow Filipinos”.

At the time lawyers said the verdict set a ground-breaking precedent upholding the principle that military “command responsibility” for wartime misconduct is applicable in a class-action suit alleging peacetime human rights abuses by the agents of a political leader.

Mr Zarifi, the ICJ’s regional director for Asia and Pacific, told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand that the killings in the Philippines since 71-year-old Mr Duterte was swept into office at May elections are widespread and systematic, meeting the criteria under international law of crimes against humanity that could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

He said while anyone can submit a case to the International Criminal Court, prosecutors there would be unlikely to initiate proceedings unless pressed by a global political movement.

But he said criminal charges could be laid against Mr Duterte in any country.

“I am not holding my breath for international action but if these (killings) continue at the same velocity I would expect cases to start popping up,” he said.

Mr Zarifi said Mr Duterte has made many comments that could be used against him in foreign courts, including several weeks ago declaring: “My order is to shoot to kill. I don’t care about human rights … this is a war against drugs and we have to fight it.”

Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch’s Asia director, described the first weeks of Mr Duterte’s rule as “nothing less than absolute human rights disaster”.

“We have the highest elected official of the land openly, actively, aggressively calling for the extrajudicial killing of criminal suspects,” he said.

“The numbers are absolutely shocking.”

Mr Duterte promised during the election campaign that 100,000 people would die in his drugs crackdown and that fish in Manila Bay would grow fat from eating bodies.

But amid condemnation from human rights groups, the United Nations, the United States, the Catholic Church and some politicians, Mr Duterte has in recent weeks denied security forces have carried out extra-judicial killings, saying police have only killed in self-defence.

The latest police data shows that around 1000 accused drug suspects have been killed in police operations and another around 1000 in shootings by unidentified assailants.

Opinion polls show approval of Mr Duterte continues to hover around 90 per cent in the country of 100 million people with one of Asia’s highest rates of illegal drug use and crime.

Mr Duterte claims there are more than three million drugs users in the country.

More than 600,000 have surrendered to police since July 1, packing prisoners into already overcrowded jails.

Claudia Karvan to star in new ABC drama; Are You Being Served? remake savaged

by admin on 04/12/2018

Brett Tucker, Claudia Karvan and Toby Schmitz will star in Newton’s Law for the ABC. Photo: Lachlan MooreDrama for Judge Judy
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Television judge Judy Sheindlin, who presides over the long-running televised small claims court show Judge Judy, is to become the subject of a scripted drama. Her Honor will be based on Sheindlin’s own life as a young New York judge who presides over a turbulent family court. The pilot is being developed for CBS Studios by Law & Order writer Michael Chernuchin; Sheindlin is credited as a story co-writer on the project. Though her earlier career as a serving judge was legendary, television has been generous to Sheindlin: the deal for her daily court show Judge Judy is worth more than $US50 million ($66 million) per year and is secured until 2020 under its present agreement. The 73-year-old Brooklyn-born Sheindlin has also written several books, including the memorably named Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining. (The sequel: Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever.) Spin on music awards

In a dramatic demonstration of the shifting sands between traditional and streaming television, the MTV Video Music Awards posted a steep decline of roughly a third of their television audience. The music network spun the bad news to say the streaming numbers were up, but when coupled with audience declines for the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes overall, it signals a weakening in the power of “live television events” – once billed as traditional TV’s salvation – on the digital landscape. MTV roadblocked the telecast across 11 channels and drew just 6.5 million viewers; compare that with 2013 when, with just the one channel, they managed to pull 10.1 million viewers. The good news was all social media: trending on Twitter, record Facebook streams and almost all TV-specific social media posts while they were on air. Now someone just has to work out how to turn all that noise into money. Top cast for ABC series

Claudia Karvan will headline a new Australian drama, Newton’s Law. The series, from Every Cloud Productions, the company behind the ABC’s hit series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, will also star Toby Schmitz, Georgina Naidu, Sean Keenan, Brett Tucker and Miranda Tapsell. Karvan will play Josephine Newton in the series, a “suburban solicitor with an over-developed sense of responsibility who attempts to return to her briefly glorious stint at the Bar.” The series will be produced by two of Australia’s best drama producers, Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger, whose collective credits include SeaChange, Crash/Burn, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Gods of Wheat Street and The Society Murders. Newton’s Law will be filmed in Melbourne and will air on the ABC in 2017. ‘Dreadful’ remake

The BBC’s remake of the iconic comedy Are You Being Served? has made its debut in the UK to scathing reviews. The remake was one of several one-offs commissioned to mark the 60th anniversary of sitcom as a form, but even when the plan was announced last year it was met with some scepticism. The reboot was well cast – notably John Challis from Only Fools and Horses and Niky Wardley from The Catherine Tate Show – but that wasn’t enough to save it. Fans of the original series piled on social media to voice their objections (“Unfunny, canned laughter, dreadful acting. Why do they think they can do it?” said one) and London’s venerable Daily Telegraph newspaper punished it with two stars and said it was loaded with “mothball-worthy gags”. Footnote: the BBC’s comedy commissioner Shane Allen said the script was “a riot”; one imagines he didn’t mean would literally provoke one.

‘Woefully inadequate’: lack of text message policy for NSW Police criticised in budget estimates

by admin on 04/12/2018

NSW Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn leaves the Lindt Cafe siege inquest earlier this month. Photo: Michele Mossop Commissioner Andrew Scipione and Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn fron a budget estimates hearing on Thursday. Photo: NSW Parliament
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Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn has revealed she has a setting on her mobile phone that automatically deletes text messages.

The revelations came in a budget estimates hearing on Thursday in which Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the police force has no policy or rules to stop officers from deleting work-related texts.

Ms Burn and Mr Scipione were grilled on the subject after Ms Burn deleted two potentially-important text messages from the night of the Lindt Cafe siege.

The deleted messages became the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism earlier this month as the inquest into the December 2014 siege examined possible failings by police during the 16-hour standoff.

In an unexpected and embarrassing twist, they were discovered in Ms Burn’s email inbox on the morning of her second day in the witness box.

In several fiery exchanges with Mr Scipione on Thursday morning, Greens MP David Shoebridge asked whether the police should have a policy for not deleting work-related text messages.

“To the extent that they’re records for policing work, they could well be essential,” he asked.

Mr Scipione said officers must keep emails, under the State Records Act, but text messages are often private, short or inconsequential texts such as “see you in five minutes”.

He said it wasn’t always necessary to keep texts.

Mr Shoebridge suggested it was “woefully inadequate” for the police to have no policy on retaining text messages.

“Given the nature of the 21st century, often critical information is retained by way of text message. It may well be ‘I will see you there in half an hour’ but that may ultimately be critical information,” he said. Crucial police information is no doubt communicated in police text messages, but there is no policy to protect this information #nswpol— David Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeMLC) September 1, 2016

He then asked Ms Burn if she had a policy of routinely deleting text messages. She replied that she retains very few texts.

“Those that I retain are normally retained in hard copy or email format,” she said.

Asked why she routinely deletes messages, she said one reason was that phones can be set to automatically delete text messages.

On an iPhone, it can be set to 30 days or one year.

“I don’t keep emails either but there’s a storage system that retains them,” she said.

Mr Shoebridge suggested it was “grossly inadequate” for her to be routinely deleting text messages that may be essential.

The State Records Act does not include any reference to text messages.

Mr Scipione said he would look into whether they should be any guidance on the issue for police officers.

Tomi Juric helps Socceroos to victory over Iraq at NIB Stadium

by admin on 07/08/2019

Tomi Juric of Australia celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between the Australian Socceroos. Photo: Will RussellA goal and assist from Socceroos striker Tomi Juric was enough to grab a 2-0 win over Iraq in the opening game of the final qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup at Nib Stadium on Thursday.
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A high possession first half to the Socceroos left little to the imagination with a number of missed chances – although a couple counter-attacking scares from the visitors, did leave a feeling of concern for the home crowd at the half time break.

It was looking to be the type of night for Juric where hard work was only going to lead to missed opportunities, but a second half spree from the striker gave life to the 18,923 crowd.

Juric missed a close range sitter from a low Mathew Leckie cross, but the 25-year-old was able to redeem himself soon after.

The striker was able to create a stunning assist for Massimo Luongo, who blasted the pass into the net for the opening goal on the 58-minute mark.

The Socceroos striker soon made the game into his night with his third international goal as he poked home from close range on the back of Aaron Mooy’s corner that was helped on by Mark Milligan.

Ironically he was subbed off right after the celebration to finish the game on a high.

A win for the Socceroos was critical, with the likes of an away clash to the UAE, then back to Melbourne against Japan. Juric showcased the home team’s intent – almost opening the score seconds after kick off.

The number nine’s shot forced keeper Mohammed Hameed into a save 15 seconds after the start, but the shot blasted into the Iraq keeper.

Past the quarter hour Iraq warmed into the game for a brief period, a diving block from Mark Milligan on the end of an Ali Husni shot inside the box preventing an opening goal for the visitors.

The momentum quickly swung back to Australia, which dominated possession in the first half with 76.9 per cent of it.

Leckie was unfortunate not to register a fourth international goal following a jumping header that crashed on the inside of the woodwork and back out.

It was a simular result minutes later for Mile Jedninak, his header flying over the crossbar on the end of a Mooy cross.

Following Juric’s second half moments the Socceroos were able to take control of the game after the second goal, but failed to capitalise on their dominance to see out a 2-0 win.

It will be a quick turnaround for the Socceroos with their next match away to the United Arab Emirates.

Their next home game will be in Melbourne against Japan in October.

World Cup qualifiers: Australia get off to a solid start with 2-0 win over Iraq

by admin on 07/08/2019

The Socceroos got off to a solid start on the road to Russia with a 2-0 win over Iraq at Perth’s NIB Stadium in their opening World Cup qualifier of the final Asian phase.
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Second-half goals to Massimo Luongo and Tomi Juric ensured three points for Ange Postecoglou’s men. The teams went to the interval on level terms after Australia hit the bar and created a number of chances that were not converted.

They now travel to Abu Dhabi for a game against the United Arab Emirates in the early hours of Wednesday morning (AEST), a fixture that will be a test of this squad’s depth and resilience given the heat and travel involved.

Australia almost got off to a dream start with a goal inside the first 10 seconds as the Socceroos drove forward straight from the kick-off.

Tom Rogic’s pass found Juric in front of goal with just Mohammed Hameed to beat, but the goalkeeper was able to turn away the Swiss-based striker’s shot.

Postecoglou’s men kept up their breakneck pace in the opening exchanges, with Aaron Mooy, Mile Jedinak, Mathew Leckie and Milos Degenek linking well down the right only for the fullback’s cross to be blocked.

Both Degenek on the right and Brad Smith, the Bournemouth left back, were getting forward on the flanks to provide width at every opportunity.

Aaron Mooy looked distinctly combative – perhaps a side-effect of his move to the robust English championship where he has been starring for pacesetters Huddersfield Town.

But the shaven-headed midfielder was farcically booked after just 10 minutes when Faisal Al Hisnay threw himself to the ground after what seemed the merest of touches.

Australia made all the early running, and Smith cut back to Luongo only for the QPR midfielder to drive wide.

The Socceroos, however, then went off the boil slightly as too many passes began to go astray and the possession was given away through turnovers, allowing Iraq to regroup and get numbers behind the ball.

Still, the Arab nation posed little threat until the 24th minute, when Mark Milligan, pressed into service in this game as a central defender, had to slide across and provide a crucial covering tackle to deny Al Hisnay the chance of a shot after the forward was played into space. From the corner Alaa Ali Mhawi blazed over.

Leckie was desperately unlucky not to put his side in front in the 28th minute when he hit the bar with a header from a Smith cross after the fullback had been played into space by Rogic.

Five minutes later Luongo went close when his slaloming run carried him past several challenges in the Iraq penalty area only for his shot to be blocked. From a short corner just afterwards Jedinak headed over from Mooy’s cross.

The Iraqis grew in confidence the longer they kept a clean sheet and showed they too could be dangerous on the break when Ahmed Yaseen Gheni shot just wide.

In the second half, Australia continued to search for an opening and Postecoglou’s men almost got it in the 55th minute when Mooy’s slashing first-time drive cannoned off the woodwork after Leckie’s pass found him in space.

Ali Abbas, the former Sydney FC wide man, then tested Mat Ryan for the first time with a long-range drive that the goalkeeper flung himself to the left to deal with.

But just seconds later Luongo got the goal that Australia had been desperately seeking, sweeping the ball into the roof of the net after Juric, who had earlier missed an easy close-range opportunity, slid a pass across goal.

Luongo’s effort came in the 58th minute, and Australia  doubled the lead in the 64th minute when, from Mooy’s corner the ball was flicked on by Milligan for Juric to finish.

Juric’s reward was to be immediately substituted for Robbie Kruse – not often that a player scores in a World Cup game with his last touch of the ball.

Rogic drove forward to create space only to have his shot blocked as Australia went in search of a third to bolster their goal difference in a tightly matched group where such niceties may play a part.

Fiji, Australia in talks to add Fiji team to National Rugby Championship

by admin on 07/08/2019

Western Sydney Rams coach John Mugggleton, second-rower Will Skelton and assistant coach Jeremy Paul. Photo: Quentin Jones Waratahs forward Senio Toleafoa trains with the Rams. Photo: Quentin Jones
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 The Fiji Rugby Union is in talks with their Australian counterparts and World Rugby about entering a Fijian team in the National Rugby Championship as early as next season.

The team would be based on the island and play home and away games under a possible expanded NRC competition in 2017, and would be made up of Fiji-based players.

The plan, hatched some months ago by Fiji coach John McKee, ARU high performance boss Ben Whitaker and World Rugby high performance general manager Peter Horne, would see World Rugby fund the team under its Oceania program.

It is still some months off official approval but would represent a major coup by the ARU. Australia and New Zealand are often criticised for drawing players from the region but doing little to help Pacific Island nations strengthen their own programs.

Fiji see joining the NRC as a way to help stem the talent drain from the island nation by building their own pathway for home grown players. Eventually, they hope it will also help lure back players plying their trade all over Europe.

The move comes as the Western Sydney Rams prepare to welcome to their roster high profile new recruit and Fiji sevens Olympic gold medallist, Vatemo Ravouvou, who has represented Fiji more than 100 times in sevens and scored 44 tries in the 2015/16 World Series.

Ravouvou and Fiji Warriors player Cyril Reece are waiting on visa approval, expected this week, before they fly out to join the Rams for their next home game against Perth Spirit, at Concord Oval next week. They will join Wallaby Will Skelton and Waratahs Hugh Roach and Senio Toleafoa in the Rams squad.

Rams coach John Muggleton says the prospect of Fiji joining the NRC would be a major boost for the country and for the game in western Sydney, which is home to the largest population of Fijians in the world outside Fiji.

“There is great potential out here for Australian rugby that it hasn’t tapped, but also for World Rugby,” he said. “This is a big catchment area for the islands and if people can play for clubs out here and we can offer a pathway, there’s no reason why people should be going to the islands and just stealing their players.”

Thanks to the hard work of Muggleton and Rams tournament director Milo Arona, rugby appears to be enjoying a long overdue mini-renaissance in western Sydney.

The pair, aided by former Wallaby and Rams co-coach Jeremy Paul, are staging a Pacific Islands tournament as curtain raisers to Rams home games across the NRC season, with the NSW Fijian, Samoan, Tongan and New Zealand Maori communities agreeing to take part.

In a sign of the huge latent interest in the area, more than 200 people turned up to trial for the NSW Samoa side, forcing the NSW Samoa Rugby Union to cut off registrations early and run 14 trial teams across seven games.

“I knew it would be big but I didn’t expect it to be that big,” Arona said. “The Pacific Island nations have always known that rugby is our first sport, so [staging this tournament] is a no-brainer. If you look at the Wallabies, half the team are Pacific Islanders and a third of them are from western Sydney. We all know it in our community, but nobody says it.”

Among the aspirants were 60 rugby league players who, Muggleton said, grew up playing rugby but switched to league because clubs out west offered them $50 a game.

“There’s great potential out here for rugby that it hasn’t tapped,” he said. “If World Rugby were serious about the player drain in the Pacific Islands they would set up an academy in western Sydney and tap into the massive populations here, and they’d do the same in south Auckland,” he said.

North Stars share secret to their success

by admin on 07/08/2019

Newcastle may seem like the unlikely home to Australia’s most successful ice hockey side but that is exactly the case.
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The North Stars cemented themselves as the premier club for ice hockey when they claimed back-to-back championships in the Australian Ice Hockey League last monthand, in the process,their sixth national crown.

DOMINANT: The Newcastle North Stars after collecting a record sixth Australian Ice Hockey League championship. Picture: Mark Bradford

Newcastle North Stars general manager Garry Dore has been on board since the town’s ice hockey venture began and said the secret to their success was what they offered players.

Dore said that was a combination of an envious Newcastle lifestyle, passionate administration and a strong development program.

“We set up the ice rink back in 2000 and one of the goals was to get the sports of ice hockey and figure skating going, and they both grew so quickly, ice hockey in particular,” Dore said.“We had a lot of ex-pat Canadians and Americans in Newcastle and they really helped develop it …We brought out a professional coach to teach us at that level how to be competitive and how to win and how to recruit and develop.”

That coach was Rob Barnes and he took the North Stars to victory in 2003.

“Over the next 10 or 11 years we focused on his principles and ideas and systems and we recruited very well,” Dore said.

“Newcastle is an attraction to import players because of the beach and the lifestyle.They really love Newcastle and they can enjoy what we have to offer and we take really good care of them.

“But we expect them to give a lot back to our younger guys and girls coming through,we really drove that very hard …our local players are actually making an impact now.”

Dore said six championships out of 12 seasons was“pretty awesome”. The North Stars have also won five minor premierships.

“They’ve been playing ice hockey in Australia since 1906,” Dore said.“In Melbourne they have eight clubs, in Adelaide they have four clubs, in WesternAustralia they have three rinks, in Sydney they have eight clubs.

“Wehave one club, so we’re really quite vulnerable and so we arevery protective of our development; we have to make sure we give guys a reason to play and I think we do that very well.”

Dore said the input of AIHL players in theNorth Stars Academy was“taking hockey in Newcastle to a new level”.

“We’re the benchmark,” Dore said.

“At the final the other general managers and team owners were asking the question, ‘What are you doing to keep getting it right?’

“If you’ve got the right people, doing the right things, believing in them, you won’t win every year but you always have impact.”

NSW government admits to looking at changing operators for 70 years of school camps

by admin on 07/08/2019

Milson Island Sport and Recreation Centre at the Hunter. Photo: Nic Bailey NSW Premier Mike Baird. Photo: Edwina Pickles
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Premier Mike Baird’s reputation as a penny pincher on Macquarie Street is legendary and one developed before he took the top job.

But it seems not even beloved school camps are safe from his government’s privatisation push.

The NSW government is considering privatising the operation of sports and recreation centres that have initiated generations of Sydney schoolchildren into the outdoors.

The government admitted this week it is floating “market testing” and “consultation” about the centres’ future management, which the opposition says are an obvious prelude to privatisation.

For up to 70 years, the “sport and rec” camps have been an integral initiation into NSW schools and the outdoors. Bushwalking, orienteering, archery, abseiling and evading so many spiders who inhabited cabin walls.

The government denies plans are so advanced. It says options are being investigated and has noted that it would not sell any land, merely the right to operate the centres, which would likely go to an NGO.

But the problem in the government eyes is the centres are too costly. Last year they ran at a $2.6 million loss, though the government notes their management is improving.

“How much profit should we be expected to make from the education sector, particularly physical education at a time of rising obesity and diabetes,” said Anne Gardiner the general secretary of the Public Service Association.

Critics argue public health and outdoor activity is a public good that requires expenditure at a time of high investment in elite sport and when children are spending increasing amounts of time watching various screens.

“These cater for lower socio-economic kids; private schools have their own,” said Associate Professor Tonia Gray from the University of Western Sydney, an expert in children’s activity and public health. “It’s an investment in their [health]. We don’t expect National Parks to make money.”

Labor frontbencher Lynda Voltz said the government was coming close to “putting a price on the great outdoors”.

“This government is determined to sell everything in this state and Sport and Recreation camps are just the next item on its hit list,” she said.

Fewer than 70,000 NSW school children take camps or excursions to the 11 centres, which are built around areas such as the state’s North Coast, Snowy Mountains and South Coast.

Nearly 120,000 members of the community use the halls each year, including for sporting events.

“The Office of Sport is investigating service delivery model improvements for Sport and Recreation Centres across NSW,” a spokeswoman for Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said. The government said it would not sell any land and was considering major upgrades of some facilities including a water jump ramp at Jindabyne.

Attendance at the centres is up 15 per cent year-on-year and 95 per cent of those surveyed would recommend the centres to a friend.

Ms Gardiner argued NGO or any non-government management would be pressured to cut services offered or vulnerable to later corporate take overs.

Bizarre tale of Tromp family road trip cloaked in mystery

by admin on 07/07/2019

Mitchell and Ella Tromp speak to the media on Thursday. Photo: Eddie Jim ‘Out of character’: Mark and Jacoba Tromp.
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Sergeant Mark Knight addresses the media on Thursday. Photo: Eddie Jim

The Tromp children: Mitch, Riana and Ella.

The Tromp family’s expansive home in Silvan. Photo: Tom Cowie

“When I see them,” said Yarra Valley policeman Sergeant Mark Knight, referring to the bizarre tale around Silvan farming family the Tromps, people he knows well, “I’ll sit them down and ask: ‘What the hell happened there?'”

In a strange and escalating chain of events with no real clues of what might have led there, four members from the family of five emerged from an ill-fated road-trip north cloaked in mystery and mounting concerns from family and police.

“It’s out of character,” said George Tromp, father of missing man Mark Tromp and grandfather to his shell-shocked children. “He’s just a normal bloke like me.”

Mr Tromp was last seen running away from the ditched family Peugeot in Wangaratta. A young couple who were out in their own car playing Pokemon Go on Wednesday night, after 10pm, says he “stalked” them.

“I could barely see his headlights because he was that close to my car,” said the young man, who asked not to be named. Whenever he pulled over, the Peugeot stopped right behind them. Then the man they insist was Mr Tromp got out and ran towards them, but stopped in the middle of the road and stared. They watched him walk into Wangaratta’s Merriwa Park and disappear into the night.

Police believe he had changed his clothes. He left the keys in the Peugeot’s ignition.

His wife Jacoba Tromp, 53, is in hospital in Yass, NSW – near Canberra – after being found wandering in an agitated state on Thursday. She had caught public transport, a train or a bus, from Wangaratta on her own.

Prior to all this, children Ella, 22, Riana, 29 and Mitchell Tromp, 25, separately escaped the road-trip, starting on Tuesday. Riana was found distressed beside a highway near Goulburn and is now in Goulburn District Hospital. Ella drove a car back to the family home in the Yarra Valley from Goulburn – a car she did not hire. The silver Peugeot the family set out in is hers.

Mitchell had got out of the car at Kelso, a suburb of Bathurst. He caught trains to Sydney then back to Melbourne. The children have suggested their parents had become more and more anxious and panicked on their way out of Victoria.

Mitchell said there was a “build-up” of pressure that had caused his parents to become “paranoid”, thinking they were being followed. He said the road-trip was supposed to be technology-free. He had brought his mobile phone, but threw it out the car window in Warburton.

“It slowly got worse as the days went by. They were just fearing for their lives, and then [we] decided to flee.” Their parents pushed on to Jenolan Caves, then Wangaratta, where they were seen together at a shopping mall. Police believe they separated again after this sighting and may be suffering from mental health issues.

However Sergeant Mark Knight of Monbulk is baffled. He knows the family and say they have no diagnosed mental health problems, or drug issues. No-one in the family has accessed a doctor or psychologist recently, or been issued a prescription, he says. They do not belong to any churches, or sects and do not have debts.

Two of the children live at home and all three work seven days a week in the family’s successful businesses – a berry farm and an earthmoving company. Daughter Ella has her own company as well supplying trucks and drivers to Yarra Valley farms.

The family moved to Silvan from nearby Macclesfield 10 years ago. Mr Tromp’s brother Ken is a police sergeant in Monbulk and is believed to be helping in the search for his brother.

“I am asking myself ‘what is going on?’,” said Sergeant Knight. “It’s a mystery. But there’s nothing sinister.”

Sergeant Knight said when he checked their home after the first reports of Riana being found near Goulburn, the house was open and keys were in car ignitions, but there was no sign of any struggle.

“This is just a massive melt-down, I’m sure of it. Something triggered them.” Timeline

Monday, August 29: The Tromps leave the family home in Ella’s Peugot to go on a technology-free road trip. During the course of the drive, it’s discovered Mitchell has brought his phone with him. He throws it out of the window near Warburton, about 32 kilometres from the family home. The family continues driving towards Bathurst.

Tuesday, August 30: Mitch decides he wants to go home. He leaves the family at Kelso, a suburb of Bathurst, about 7am and makes his way to Sydney.

The rest of the family continue on to the Jenolan Caves. That afternoon, they decide to split up. Ella and Riana make their way to Goulburn, but go their separate ways. Riana is found along the highway and is taken to the local hospital due to stress-related issues. Ella somehow acquires a car and drives back to the family home. Parents Mark and Jacoba are reported missing, and that afternoon police attend the family home to find credit cards and mobile phones lying around the house, and car keys in ignitions.

Wednesday, August 31: Mitchell arrives at the family home in the morning after catching the overnight train from Sydney. That afternoon, police search the Jenolan Caves area for Mark and Jacoba, but are unable to find them.

Thursday, September 1: Police are notified in the early hours of the morning that the family car has been located in Wangaratta and that a lone man was seen running the vehicle. It is believed this man was Mark. Later in the day, Jacoba presents herself to Yass District Hospital after a local found her wandering around town. Police continue to look for Mark during the evening, and have no reason to believe he has left the Wangaratta area.  

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Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration

by admin on 07/07/2019

WHAT is the world coming to?
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Let me just re-visit the allegations. A 69-year-old man, with his arm in a sling, is punched in the face by a stranger almost 40 years his juniorand kicked several timeswhile he is on the ground.

His 68-year-old wife, is knocked to the ground and injured by the same man’s motorcycle.

Both are, not surprisingly, left injured and traumatised, and aretaken by ambulance to John Hunter Hospital to be treated forcuts and bruising.

All apparently because they felt compelled to advise some revhead feralsthatthe outfield of their local cricket ground was not a motocross track.

It is a story most people would find appalling and atrocious, regardless of who was on the receiving end.

But when I learned the victims were former Test cricketer Robert “Dutchy” Holland his wife Carolyn, my emotions escalated from shock and disbelief to outright disgust.

Dutchy Holland is a Novocastrian icon and was one of my heroes long beforeI’d ever met him.

Any cricket tragic who experienced the West Indies’ reign of terror from the late-1970s to the mid-1990s will never forget that magical SCGTest of 1984-85.Those four glorious dayswhen a 38-year-old leg-spinner from Lake Macquarie humbled arguably the greatest team of all time.

It was a miracle, a fairytale, starring the most unlikely of saviours, a down-to-earth family man whose Test career did not start until an age when most players havelong since retired.

I’vebeen privileged to interview Dutchy a number of times over the years. Often enough toform the impression that he is just an absolute gentleman.

To give you an insight into the type of person he is, I’ll share a couple of anecdotes.

Twenty-odd years ago –a good while after his top-level career had finished and he was nurturing youngsters in second grade athis beloved Southern Lakes –I played against him for Lambton-New Lambton at Ron Hill Oval, Toronto.

It was an honour just to share the same turf.

In the first innings, I scored a few runs and even managed to hit him for a streaky boundary, which remains a rare highlight of my underwhelming career.

In oursecond innings, before I had scored he produced a ball that bounced (possibly the topspinner),flickingmy pad and glove before popping up for short leg to claim the catch.

Dutchy and the opposition fielders appealed. Not out, was the verdict from the umpire.

At that point the man who had bamboozled greats likeViv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge andIan Botham just looked at me and smiled.

I knew I was out. He knew I was out. That smile was perhaps the only time I felt guilty about dishonestly profiting from a favourable umpiring decision.

There was no need to sledge me. One knowing smile spoke 1000 words.

Mind you, I would be surprised ifDutchy sledged anyone during a career that spanned 50-odd years.

If you want to look up a definition of “good sportsmanship” or “ornament to the game”, I expect the dictionary will say: “See Robert Holland.’’

Fast-forward another 15 years or so and, after a lengthy retirement/hiatus, I found myself back at Ron Hill Oval making an ill-advised comeback.

In the second over, I chased a ball across the outfield and, just as I approached the speed of a startled snail, felt an excruciating “pop” in the back of my leg.

I’d torn my hamstring, which was a surprise, given that I didn’t know I had one.

No sooner had I limped from the field than I was greeted by none other than Dutchy Holland, who helped me to a seat andreturned several times with well-stockedbags of ice.

“I’ve never torn a hammybefore,’’ I told him sheepishly.

“It happens to all the good players,’’ he replied with a straight face.

Memories of thecare and concern he showed for my well-being that day came flooding back when I heard of the awful allegations of last weekend.All I can do is express my heartfelt sympathyto bothCarolyn and Robert, wish them speedy recoveries and hope there are no lingering ill-effects.

As for the 31-year-old man and 21-year-old woman who will appear in Belmont Local Court to face charges ofaggravated robbery,inflicting actual bodily harm andcommon assault, I’d like to think the legal system will deliver appropriate justice.

ICON: Former Test cricketer Robert “Dutchy” Holland and his wife Carolyn were the victims of an alleged assault last weekend. Picture: Marina Neil

NIGHT OF KNIGHTSWHO was the last NRL winger to be voted as his club’s player of the year?

That’s the question I’ve been pondering in the countdown to the Knights’ annual presentation function next week.

On his performances this year, Nathan Ross has to be a front-line candidate.

Dane Gagai is perhaps the favourite, on the strength of his try-scoring heroicsfor Queensland Origin.

Jeremy Smith, Daniel Saifiti and Sione Mata’utia will also come under consideration.

But as Newcastle’s leading tryscorer, and having averaged more metres in attack than any other teammate, the man they call “White Lightning” could well wind up collecting the club’s highest individual honour.

Canberra Raiders bloodlines, but they are chasing a rugby union dream

by admin on 07/07/2019

Noa Nadruku, Tom Ross and Jackson Stuart all have Canberra Raiders bloodlines. Photo: Rohan ThomsonThey’ve got Canberra Raiders premiership heroes in their blood, but three kids from the Green Machine golden era have rugby union glory on their minds.
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Rusted-on Raiders fans will feel like they’ve stepped back in time when Noa Nadruku runs on to Viking Park for the under-18s schoolboys rugby grand final on Sunday.

But they won’t see the try-scoring cult hero from the 1990s. Instead, they’ll see his son, Noa Junior, line up alongside Jackson Stuart, the son of Raiders coach Ricky Stuart, in the St Edmund’s College team.

The man standing in the way of Nadruku and Stuart’s premiership bid is Daramalan College skipper Tom Ross, the nephew of two-time Clive Churchill Medal winner Bradley Clyde.

So it’s fitting that as Ricky Stuart and the Raiders chase a historic 10th consecutive win in Sydney on Father’s Day, generation next will run out at the same time for ACT schoolboy grand final action.

Nadruku was known as a try-scoring whiz with speed to burn, crossing the line 73 times in 92 games for the Green Machine. But Noa Junior, 17, has traded family speed for power as a rugby union No. 8.

“It is a bit bizarre with the Raiders connection,” Noa Junior said. “[Dad] doesn’t really talk about rugby much with me and my brother [Neori]. It’s more just my brother and I bouncing stuff off each other.

“Dad just gives us pointers about vision and stuff. In our family all of our cousins are backs and Neori and I are the only forwards. I only saw replays and videos of dad playing … I just wish I was as fast as he was.”

St Edmund’s wants to continue its Canberra schoolboy rugby dominance after winning all but three first XV grand finals since 2003.

The under-18s clash against Daramalan is the feature game of a blockbuster weekend of junior grand finals from the under-9s to the first XV at Viking Park.

The Raiders links add extra spice to a battle between powerhouse St Edmund’s and the undefeated Daramalan squad.

Raiders fans usually find Ricky Stuart on the sidelines at Canberra Stadium. But when the NRL schedule opens up, he’s standing on the sidelines at St Edmund’s matches to watch winger Jackson.

Jackson was playing rugby league last year and was set to commit to the 13-man game, but decided to have a crack at rugby union and was picked in the first XV.

“Dad gives me a few tips every now and then, just tells me to enjoy it and not to let everything get to me,” Jackson, 17, said.

“He gets out to every game but we’ve had a clash in times the last couple of weeks … he hasn’t been able to watch me and I haven’t been able to watch [the Raiders].

“So I’ll have to make sure we call him at half-time and give him an update of how we’re going. Mum’s pretty happy with everything, I think.”

St Edmund’s has won the past three ACT junior premierships in a row, but Daramalan is undefeated and intent on winning their first title since the late 1990s.

Ross is an Australian schoolboys prop and will lead the Daramalan charge to end the school’s premiership drought.

“If you look back over the last 10 years, St Eddies has dominated the competition, so it would be good for us to steal one,” Ross said. “We’re coming in as underdogs because of that, but you’d like to think we’re a good chance.

“I looked up to Brad [Clyde] and that got me into playing rugby league, but when I went to Daramalan I started playing rugby union.

“He gives me a bit of advice now but it’s more about life goals rather than how to play footy, which has been good.”

There will be 22 junior grand finals on Saturday and Sunday, with teams from 18 clubs competing for titles at Viking Park. The under-18s match will start at 1.30pm and be the curtain-raiser to the National Rugby Championship match between the Canberra Vikings and NSW Country Eagles.

Indigenous WA Senator Pat Dodson calls for tolerance in maiden speech

by admin on 07/07/2019

Senator Pat Dodson has made his maiden speech in parliament. Photo: Peter Eve / Yothu Yindi FoundationIndigenous WA Labor Senator Pat Dodson has delivered his maiden speech to parliament calling on members to resist any push to create laws that oppress or discriminate against race, religion or sexuality.
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The 68-year-old Yawuru man from Broome spoke of the difference of opinions within the chamber – but says any debate needs to informed by respect for Australia’s diversity. He spoke amid the backdrop of a challenging week in Australian racial relations, with a riot taking place in Kalgoorlie’s main street on Tuesday after alleged manslaughter of indigenous teenager Elijah Doughty.

“We must exercise the greatest diligence in making sure that every action, every word we speak, has as its object building consensus and not distracting,” Senator Dodson told parliament.

“We know, as a fact, that some Australian legislation in the past was founded on outmoded patterns of thought and belief. Our laws have, at times, been based on ingrained paternalism and racial superiority, denying our shared humanity.

“Such mind-sets justified repeated acts of greed that grabbed the lands of our people without negotiation, settlement or compensation.

“And at times at great human cost, with many lives being taken or cut short. Those laws built bureaucratic systems and processes that controlled the lives of our people; stifling life choices; creating the sorrow, pain and anguish of children ripped from the arms of their mothers.”

Senator Dodson spoke of childhood memories of watching ” age-mates being taken by welfare and police” and looking on in fear as white people “vented their hatred and anger against Aboriginal stock-workers” from Wave Hill Station for demanding justice and equal wages.

“The Australian laws of that time were unarguably founded on a social outlook that was highly ethnocentric even racist. Many of the laws were genocidal in intent, application and consequence.

“These laws and regulations cannot be permitted to emerge once more in our precious democracy. Our Australian democracy evolves and grows as our nation matures.  In times past, people of a different race, a different colour, a different religion, a different sexuality were subject to exclusion, oppression or even discrimination under the laws made in this Place.

“Such laws cannot and must not return to this place.”

Caitlin Munoz will miss upcoming W-League season after rupturing ACL

by admin on 07/07/2019

Canberra United striker Caitlin Munoz, right, will miss the upcoming season after suffering an ACL injury. Photo: Jay CronanCanberra United has signed United States star Stephanie Ochs but her arrival will be offset by a devastating knee injury to veteran Caitlin Munoz.
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Munoz will miss the entire W-League season after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament last weekend for the fourth time.

Coach Rae Dower said it was “shattering” news just two months before the start of the upcoming season.

“Unfortunately she’ll miss being on the field this year but she will play a pretty important role off the field being our spiritual leader, but it’s shattering news for her and certainly for the squad,” Dower said.

“She worked really hard over the last 12 months and was obviously a bit unlucky to miss out on selection to Rio for the Olympic squad.”

Ochs was a prominent striker during United’s last championship two years ago and Dower said she would also provide experience and team-first passion.

“She scored in our most recent grand final win over Perth, she scored a great goal there, she played a major role in scoring goals and assists,” Dower said.

“She’s a lovely person as well, good team character. She’s a good team player, so we’re excited that she’s going to come back to join the green family.”

United starts its season on November 12 at Canberra Stadium against last year’s champions Melbourne City as part of a double-header, with an A-league match between Central Coast and Wellington to follow.

The Remembrance Day clash will be one of 19 double-headers for the season, and Dower said it was a good way to promote the league.

“The more visibility that female players get within the mainstream football community then the more people will see what a quality product it is,” she said.

United will have a bye in the first round, giving Dower and her side a chance to assess the competition and the new set-ups of each team.

“It will be a transitional year for the club, there are a few players with study or work commitments that are having to have a year off,” Dower said.

“There will certainly be a few new faces to the squad, some more youth players coming through as well, which will be good.”