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Live chat: Stranger things – What the round-one upsets tell us

Join Rohan Connolly to talk all things footy after a terrific opening round: Upsets, rule changes, big improvers, worrying signs. Post a comment now at the bottom of this article.
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One of the oldest rules in the AFL analysis playbook is “don’t go the early crow”.

Round one can throw up some unusual results as teams that haven’t played a competitive match for premiership points for more than six months lock horns, the unknowns and elements of surprise greater than they’ll be all season.

So it’s as tempting to write off some of the surprises in this weekend’s opening to the new season as aberrations just as much as to read great significance into them.

How many people, perhaps even inside Port Adelaide, would have considered the Power a reasonable chance of beat Sydney, last season’s runner-up, on the Swans home patch?

Power surge: Port’s Darcy Byrne-Jones takes on Sydney’s Zak Jones. Photo: Mark Kolbe

Or Melbourne, once the Demons slipped four goals in arrears against St Kilda, slam on the next 10 goals? Or Essendon go on a similar spree against Hawthorn after the Hawks had seized control in the second quarter. Or Brisbane boot 11 of the first 14 goals against Gold Coast?

Perhaps those happenings will prove to be outliers as the season unfolds. Or perhaps not.

The “strange things happen in round one” theory is based purely on anecdotal evidence. To see how well it holds up in practice, I’ve done a little number-crunching. And they don’t support it. In fact, quite the contrary.

Prior to this weekend, since 2000, we’d had 141 round one matches. How often did the side that won finish below the team it beat after the last of the home-and-away games? Just 43 times. Or a pretty miserable 30.5 per cent.

So to flip that figure, nearly 70 per cent of the time, the winner of a round one game has gone on to finish the regular season higher than the side it defeated. Yes, there are some bizarre results. Last year, for example, Melbourne managed to defeat GWS. The Giants finished within a kick of a grand final, the Demons 11th. In 2014, GWS beat Sydney, which ended the home-and-away rounds on top of the ladder, the Giants 16th.

The Swans have been a common denominator in the round one turn-ups. Back in 2006, they managed to lose to Essendon in round one. The Bombers would win just three games for the season and finish second-last, Sydney end up within a kick of a second successive flag. Indeed, Sydney went six seasons between 2006-11 without winning one of their first-round clashes.

That’s not to suggest Port Adelaide’s impressive upset on Saturday should be taken with a grain of salt. The Power were terrific, their midfield brigade as potent as they’ve been at any time since 2014.

Perhaps the message out of what might have been considered round one turn-ups this season is about the losers having to pull up their socks. And the winners? Well, maybe we’ve got even more decent teams in 2017 than we’d thought. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframe_afl_video’);

Dallas ‘dog attack’ in Broadmeadow leaves teen in surgery, dog caged

Dog facing life in cage after ‘unprovoked attack’ Pamela and Lachlan Smyth at home with their dog Dallas. Picture: Marina Neil
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FAMILY: Pamela, Lachlan and Paul Smyth at home with their dog Dallas. The 16-month-old Maremma-German shepherd cross has been declared a dangerous dog and must be kept in an enclosure. Picture: Marina Neil

Dallas, a 16-month-old Maremma-German shepherd cross. Picture: Marina Neil

The 16-month-old must be kept in an enclosure. Picture: Marina Neil

Pamela, Lachlan and Paul Smyth at home with their dog Dallas. The 16-month-old Maremma-German shepherd cross has been declared a dangerous dog and must be kept in an enclosure. Picture: Marina Neil

Pamela, Lachlan and Paul Smyth at home with their dog Dallas. The 16-month-old Maremma-German shepherd cross has been declared a dangerous dog and must be kept in an enclosure. Picture: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookNewcastleHerald, he was not aware of the allegation the dog had bitten, and it was not in the council’s report.

“It hasn’t been a thorough and fair process,” he said. “We ring all the time to talk to someone at the council and nobody is available. It’s not really a satisfactory position that we’re just left in the dark and ignored.It’s unfortunate that the council seems to adopt a closed-door approach to this. It’s not fair and just.”

The injured boy’s mother did not want to comment on the dangerous dog conditions, but said the incident had been very distressing for her son, who spent 24 hours in hospital and still struggled with the sight of large dogs.

“The incident was incredibly traumatic and unprovoked …the dog leapt at my son and tried to bite his face,” she said. “He was quick to turn away so it could tear his ear. The force of the dog was so much that he struggled to stay on his feet. It was totally unprovoked and in terms of consequences, there has to be some.”

She praised the council.“I was really comforted by …how seriously the council officers took our call and kept us informed,” she said.

A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said the dangerous dog declaration followed an “unprovoked attack”.

“The child sustained an injury on the right ear that required hospitalisation and surgery,” the spokesperson said. “The attack was investigated by council and from that investigation the decision was made by council to declare the subjectdoga ‘dangerousdog’ within the meaning of the Companion Animals Act, 1998.”

The spokesperson said the council considered evidencegathered during the investigation including from the victim, thedogowner, the investigating ranger and medical evidence.

When asked if the council thought it cruel to keep a dog in an enclosure for 23 hours a day, the spokesperson said the council “applies and enforces the statutory requirements mandated by the state government to ensure the safety of the public from declareddangerousdogs”.

The spokesperson said the owners could appeal to the local court, something the Smyths were reluctant to do for fear of a worse outcome.

“From what we have been told …in 90 per cent of those instances the magistrate will seize the dog and terminate the dog,” Mr Smyth said. “It’s a catch 22 you know, … whichever pathway you go down, it’s going to end up in the same situation.”

Elias mocks Tigers over Big Four signing deadline

Balmain great Ben Elias has mocked suggestions a deadline will be put on offers to Wests Tigers’ ‘Big Four’, Luke Brooks, Mitchell Moses, James Tedesco and Aaron Woods. Elias, who as a former director has been scathing in his criticism of the joint-venture’s administration, told Set Of Six in relation to a story in the Sun-Herald: “The right time is the right time for both player and coach. Why are we putting a time limit on it? You’re dictating to these people. They don’t want to be dictated to. They’ve got options. Now they’re trying to bully them into a position. The coach is the boss!” Elias also said billionaire Harry Triguboff would come to the club’s rescue if asked. “Bloody oath! You’ve got no idea how much he loves the club. If I was CEO I’d go and camp outside his office.”
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Should they stay or should they go?

According to two of the greatest halves ever, it would be no tragedy if Wests Tigers’ ‘Big Four’ – including six and seven Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks – are forced out of the club. Asked on the Sunday Footy Show whether the joint venture could retain the pair along with Tedesco and Woods, Brad Fittler said: “No I don’t and I don’t think they should either. They need to stand up on their own.” Andrew Johns also suggested Moses and Brooks would be better of elsewhere, saying: “You can only pay for potential for so long”. The pair was certainly not shying away from controversy – they also put forward Jim Dymock and Dean Pay for the Canterbury job if Des Hasler was to be sacked. And another retired player-turned-pundit, Jimmy Smith, raised eyebrows on Saturday by tipping Tommy Trbojevic to be an Immortal!

Keep it simple, stupid

When it comes to giving rugby league a little bit of colour, some coaches are actually setting a good example this year. Shane Flanagan admitted on Saturday he had made up a couple of things to help motivate Cronulla against Parramatta in their first visit to ANZ Stadium since winning a premiership there. And Manly’s Trent Barrett said on Triple M on Sunday part of the secret to consecutive wins was “dumbing things down a bit for the players”. “We watch so much video nowadays it tend to over-complicate things and we find things that aren’t there,” said Barrett. “The game hasn’t changed that much. It was good to get out of Sydney last week. There was a lot going on off the field. You’d like to say it doesn’t affect you but it does.” Asked to define the most important qualities for a coach, Barrett said: “You’ve got to be extremely confident in your ability.”

Wayne’s world suffers global warming

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou was right on television when he said Wayne Bennett had enjoyed a rather good run with the media in comparison to, say, European managers in his own sport. Bennett knows his way around people like no one you’ll ever meet but he he has only ever understood the media as it relates directly to him and his club. Telling a roundsman to get the paparazzi to lay off is like telling a traffic cop to do something about a Royal Commission. And the punishment – not answering a certain media outlet’s questions? No reporter worth his salt asks a decent question in the presence of his direct rivals anyway! In truth, we often ask questions at post-match media conferences as a favour to the game and the two poor men sitting at the top table. The answers are only very rarely of any use to us.

Elvis has left the building…

It was a big weekend for try scoring debutants. On Friday night, Sitiveni Moceidreke got one for South Sydney, on Thursday it was Corey Harawira-Naera for Penrith, and on Saturday Gideon Gela-Mosby crossed the stripe for North Queensland. There was an amusing moment on radio Triple M when Ryan Girdler – named a life member of the Panthers – asked Harawira-Naera at fulltime “Congratulations on your debut. It looked like your coach kept your role pretty simple – just run straight and hard on that left edge and you certainly did that tonight.” Haraweira’s Elvis-like answer? “Thank you very much mate, it was a good night. Thank you very much.” Then ??? silence. “Are we done?” caller Dan Ginnane can then be heard asking on the tape. “I think so,” says Girdler. Co-commentator Michael Ennis described the exchange as one of the funniest things he’d heard.

Farewell Leon

Conversely, it’s been a sad week for the game away from the field. A couple of days after the Kimmorleys lost wife and mother Sharnie, between one and two hundred people farewelled Leon Goodwin – brother of Bryson – in Wollongong on Sunday. The Goodwins have strong ties to both Aboriginal and Maori rugby league communities and both were well represented in a ceremony that featured a haka. Identities outside one the sport’s royal families who were sighted at the funeral include Michael Maguire, Mark Ellison, Steve Edge, Aiden Tolman and Jim Dymock.

Black cockatoos sensed the demolition of Munmorah Power Station stacks

Full Flight: Black cockatoos fly past rising dust from the power plant demolition. The black cockatoos knew. They could sense something in the air.
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Something big was about to happen. We’re talking about the demolition of Munmorah Power Station’s stacks.

For a good half hour before the explosions that brought down the stacks, the black cockatoos were squawking their primitive squawk.

The area around the power station is part of their territory. They like to hang out in the pine trees. So perhaps the demolition simply coincided with their daily travels.

Butyou know how dogs can sense storms. It felt like the cockies could sense the demolition. They seemed restless. Perhaps they were just spooked by all the people around. Usually the place is deserted.

In the minutes before the demolition, dozens ofblack cockies flew close to the stacks. And after the stacks fell, more cockies flew past the rising dust cloud.

When they’re in flight, the black cockies look like prehistoric creatures, their wings flapping like pterodactyls.

Sixth SenseSo did the black cockatoos have some kind of sixth sense?

Studies have shown that animals can sense a change in the weather. Birds, for example, appear to be sensitive to air-pressure changes(andpending power-station demolitions, apparently).

Researchers in Florida once discovered that tagged sharks fled to deeper water before a big hurricane arrived. And worms have been shown to flee rising groundwater.

There’s also a myth that if cows are lying down on grass, rain is coming.The story goes that they’rekeeping an area of grass dry to eat after the rain.

Of course, there’s also the famous story of Punxsutawney Phil in Groundhog Day. Phil the groundhog has an uncanny ability to predict the likelihood of an extended winter.

And some believe animals can detect, from a distance, the sound waves created by storms and earthquakes. But, naturally, scientists have expressedscepticismthat animals have a sixth sense.

As for the cockatoos at Munmorah, perhapsit was nature’s way of farewelling (or saying good riddance to) the stacks. The power station hasn’t exactly been kind to the surrounding natural areas. But ironically, buffer lands surrounding the plant have ensured some habitat remains. And the cockies seemed to be doing OK.

A Solar FutureAs we watched the power station’s stacks fall, we couldn’t help but think this was a symbol of the end of coal.

Of course, industry lobbyists will tell you coal has years ahead of it. And perhaps it does. But the other coal-fired power plants in the region are also expected to close over the next 20 or so years.

Malcolm Turnbull piped up in February, saying a new clean-coal-fired power station was needed. The feds would even invest in it, he said. Fast forward to March (presumably after he realised private investors didn’t want a bar of new coal-fired plants) and the PM had changed course. Now he was talking up a $2 billion expansion of Snowy Hydro.

In response, the Herald’s own industrial reporter Ian Kirkwood wrote that: “In the end, there may only be two ways to keep the lights on: coalor nuclear”.

But we can’t help but think back to an article that futurist Vivek Wadhwa wrote in the Washington Post a couple of years ago. It was titled, “The coming era of unlimited – and free – clean energy”.

Vivek compared solar energy to mobile phones. In the 1980s, he said, market analysts were sceptical.

“The handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy and the cost per minute was exorbitant,” he wrote.

The highly-rated consultancy firm McKinsey & Company predicted that mobile phones would number about 900,000 units in the year 2000.

They were badly wrong.There were more than 100 million mobile phones in use in 2000, Vivek said.Now there are billions.

“The experts are saying the same about solar energy now,” Vivek wrote, adding that solar will become as ubiquitous as mobile phones.

Only last year, futurist Ray Kurzweil said solar would become the dominant force in energy production in 12 years.

So what will be our energy future?

* [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

Black cockatoos fly past the power station stacks, shortly before they were razed.

15 years later, the Hughes finish their dream homephotos

A long journey to paradise Cheerful: Kirralee and Mark Hughes enjoy a cuppa in matching Nelson leather chairs, one of their favourite spaces. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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Merewether.

Adamstown.

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Arcadia Vale.

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Belmont.

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Black Hill.

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Bolwarra Heights.

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Caves Beach.

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Chisholm.

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Cooks Hill.

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Soldiers Point.

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Dudley.

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Hamilton.

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Lakelands.

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Merewether.

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Mindaribba.

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New Lambton.

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Newcastle East.

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North Lambton.

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Redhead.

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Stockton.

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The Hill.

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Tingira Heights.

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Toronto.

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Wallsend.

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Wallsend.

Wallsend.

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TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald Weekender magazine this Saturday, dedicated entirely to trends and ideas for home living in the Hunter Region.

Home writer Jacqui Jones offers a piece on building and interior design trends as well as a story about a Mayfield family’s solar energy installation.

Cheerful: Kirralee and Mark Hughes enjoy a cuppa in matching Nelson leather chairs, one of their favourite spaces. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Historian Mike Scanlon surveys the Hunter’s greatest historic mansions, including Jesmond House, Belltrees and Minimbah House.

Trending columnist Linley Wilkie provides a colourful double-page spread looking at the latest garden goodies.

And we provide another look at 10 outstanding dwellings featured as Weekender’s popular “Home of the Week” over the last year.

The Domain property liftout will be wrapped inside the Weekender, providingan opportunity to act on thosedreams.

Buy the Saturday edition of the Newcastle Herald and enjoy the best in Hunter news, sport, features and real estate.

Here’s a tip: just ignore commercial TV’s deluded ‘work-life balance’ advice

As with most bulk-billing clinics, there was an old TV in the waiting room. A lifestyle program blared at full volume, to drown out the wheezing pensioners and wailing toddlers. First, the panellists interviewed a washed-up pop star. Then, a demonstration of how to cook spaghetti in your microwave (hint: don’t). But it was the next segment that made an old bloke shuffle over and stab the off button.
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Look. I can hardly throw stones at cheap daytime filler.

I spent the 1990s not in a haze of teenage drug experimentation, but in a Channel Ten-induced state of catatonia. School holidays were spent glued to The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, Donahue and Oprah. “You’re not respecting my authentic self,” I told my startled father – parroting an Oprah “life expert” – when he ordered me to switch off the damn television and get some exercise.

It’s one thing to defile the food of my ancestors. But when commercial TV proffers comically bad “self-care tips” – tone-deaf to its own viewers – it can no longer wonder why those viewers are disappearing.

Back in the waiting room, incredulity turned to anger as a guest on the show explained how to “beat work stress”. A former corporate executive, she’d become burned out after 20 years of highly-paid employment. So she took stock in the south of France, then reinvented herself as a “work-life balance consultant”.

When you become overwhelmed by meetings, she urged viewers, take 10 minutes to meditate. Brew a pot of peppermint tea. “Centre yourself” with a walk in the sun. Book a day spa treatment. Have the “courage” to ask for a raise. Above all, “learn” to leave the office by 6pm – and don’t answer if your boss calls at night. You know, just work less.

This was not well-received by the patients.

“Actually,” a 60-something woman snapped at the screen, “I need to work more.” A man in a chain store uniform suggested the advice-giver stick her tips (and her teapot) in an anatomically improbable place. Then the old guy got up and hit the power button, prompting sighs of relief.

Bizarre tips to please “him”, your family and you were once the preserve of women’s magazines. But it was Oprah who turned this into an art-form – and made television a major advice-dispensing medium. No matter the problem, from wrinkles to cancer, her guests had scientifically-unsound solutions at hand.

Her influence is evident in modern-day TED Talkers, with their easily digestible “life hacks”. All those internet listicles promising instant calm or happiness. And, of course, her daytime and cable TV disciples, suggesting pricey indulgences as a salve for career pressure.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a $300 day spa (if you have the time and money). As for peppermint tea and walks in the sun: I enjoy both, at every opportunity.

But do the networks actually know who watches their programs? Have they seen their own news bulletins?

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. One in three ns now feels insecure in their employment. Many are working more for less, and wage growth is low. Full-time jobs are declining, with most new positions part-time, contract or casual. (Those workers, of course, get less sick leave, holiday pay or superannuation. Sometimes, they get none.) Penalty rates are being cut. So is welfare. We have a housing affordability crisis. And renting is a nightmare for many who can’t buy.

People experiencing such economic hardship are often found in bulk-billing clinics. Or other places where infotainment and lifestyle shows are foisted upon them.

Imagine their frustration when a white-pantsuited TV guest preaches that working less is a “learnable” choice. Problem solved!

Maybe this is an option for Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg, or those in middle to upper management. But for the vast majority of ns (i.e. those who watch commercial TV), their lives do not resemble the high-powered high-jinx in Boston Legal. Or a parable from Lean In.

Unscheduled meditation breaks are a perk for a certain class of employee. (Try that at Bunnings, with a long queue of customers, and you’ll be leaning in all the way to Centrelink.)

I know childcare workers who’d love to take a stroll in the sun at will, shaking off the snotty toddlers clinging to their pants. Doing so, however, could attract the ire of parents. And possibly A Current Affair.

Under-resourced teachers do their best to help students learn. Suggesting they “learn” how to quit unpaid overtime (which these teachers do for fun, presumably) is insulting.

My friends in hospitality actually need a raise, but instead face a cut in Sunday penalty rates. They know damn well that working up the “courage” to ask for more money could see their casual shifts slashed. Perhaps down to nothing. And my pals who work as paramedics or railway repair casuals would be silly to ignore late-night calls from the boss. Last-minute jobs help pay their bills (while playing havoc with sleep and family life).

Just adopt TV Lady’s well-intentioned suggestions during a lunch break, I hear you say! That sounds great. In theory. But mandated rest breaks didn’t always occur in the fast food restaurant I worked in. Even now, many workers don’t get their full break entitlements.

After work? The weekend?

The Uber driver I met recently – working 70 hours a week to pay off his car, while supporting his sick partner and child – spends all his “leisure” hours cooking and washing clothes. He’s not alone.

I laughed like a drain when a social worker mate posted on Facebook: “Five Self-Care Strategies That Aren’t F—ing Mani-Pedis.” Her job is gruelling and underpaid. Fairer wages and better conditions would do much more to “beat work stress” than a face massage.

TV programs keep telling us the best way to improve our lot is to indulge in a buffet of lifestyle choices. (It’s no coincidence many are advertised during commercial breaks.)

But a bigger problem is that people in TV Land tend to universalise their experiences. These days, we don’t just expect our hosts to be competent or funny or interesting; we demand they act “relatable”. Which is why we get lots of stories about So-and-So’s “fight” to renew a lucrative, multi-year contract with a major broadcaster. For celebrity watchers, this can be a source of amusing gossip. For workers in insecure low-paying jobs, it’s irrelevant.

In their comfortable bubble, TV’s talking heads assume their own Inspiring Examples can be followed by all. Which simply helps shift the responsibility of work stress onto individuals with little bargaining power. Solutions such as collective action or policy change are left unexamined.

If commercial TV producers think stagnant wages, job insecurity and unaffordable homes are not mainstream issues, they’re wrong. Across Europe and the West, extreme right-wing parties are exploiting these problems to the full.

Viewers are content to watch rich people give each other appalling advice. (Thus explaining the global success of the Real Housewives franchise.) But when it’s directed at them, there’s a limit. And nobody needs another reason to switch off.

Unless you have an exclusively wealthy audience, you might want to cool it with the day spa recommendations.

Twitter: @Michael_Lallo

Hanson threatens to halt government’s agenda over sugar dispute

Senator Pauline Hanson in the Senate at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 15 February 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Photo: Alex EllinghausenOne Nation leader Pauline Hanson is threatening to hold the government’s $50 billion corporate tax cut plan to ransom, saying her party will withhold their crucial Senate crossbench votes until the Queensland sugar dispute is resolved.
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The challenge in the final sitting week before the budget follows Monday’s Fairfax-Ipsos poll showing 44 per cent support for the tax cuts, a 10-year plan to reduce the big business tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent by 2026-27.

The plan was a centrepiece of Coalition’s 2016 budget and re-election campaign.

Senator Hanson restated her threat on Monday to not vote for any legislation before Parliament until the government resolved a three-year crisis over sugarcane supply contracts in Queensland’s Burdekin region, south of Townsville.

The Singapore-owned conglomerate Wilmar, which bought CSR Sugar’s mills six years ago, is seeking control over marketing as well as milling, while growers want flexibility to use a single-desk system.

Until an agreement is reached, sugarcane growers have been unable to secure a price ahead of the June harvest.

The One Nation leader has previously ruled out doing deals to progress or block government legislation, including the reintroduction of the building industry watchdog.

“I don’t do horse-trading,” she said in October.

The government had been expected to secure support for a cut for companies with a turnover of up to $10 million from One Nation and the Nick Xenophon Team, while other Senate crossbenchers have indicated they could move up to $50 million.

The Fairfax-Ipsos poll found 39 per cent opposition to the plan.

Labor will back a cut only for companies with a turnover of up to $2 million, while the Greens do not support the lowering of the rate from 30 to 27.5 per cent.

One Nation’s growing influence has put Coalition MPs, including local Liberal-National backbencher George Christensen, under pressure.

Senator Hanson blamed the ongoing stalemate on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his deputy and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

She told the Seven Network on Monday the situation was a headache in north Queensland, where growers had “their backs to the wall”.

“This has been going on for nearly two years now, especially since the end of last year, Barnaby Joyce promised the cane growers it will be fixed by Christmas last year and nothing has been done,” she said.

She said Mr Joyce was “crazy as bat-poo” for not standing up for growers, echoing his criticism of Senator Hanson’s comments calling for a Muslim immigration ban.

Fellow Queensland One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts will join his leader in the planned blockade.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said work was ongoing, including with industry and the state government.

“I don’t think ns expect their parliamentarians to go on strike. I think they expect them to turn up to work and do the job,” Mr Morrison told ABC radio.

Mr Morrison said One Nation was “a bit behind the play” on the dispute. He expected a draft agreement to be reached as soon as Monday.

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Bennett Hotel Centurions win C&S D5’s grand final without Brian Lara

WINNERS: The Bennett Hotel Centurions after Saturday’s grand final win. THE Bennett Hotel Centurions –the lower-grade cricket team that made headlines last year when they signedWest Indian great Brian Lara–have won the Newcastle City and Suburban D5’s grand final. Now imagine if they’d had “The Prince” batting at No. 3? The Centurions chased down Waratah Mayfield’s 77 with five wickets in hand on Saturday to claim the major premiership to go along with their minor premiership.
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But absent from the score book was one B. Lara, who signed a registration form to play with the Centurions back in November.

Quick thinking from some of the players –who are known for getting celebrities and sports stars to pose for photographs in their team’s cap–combined with Lara’s laid-back and approachable nature led to the Centurions snaring easily the biggest signing in competition history at the Albion Hotel at Wickham.“What time do we play tomorrow?” Lara, 47, asked his new teammates after signing on the dotted line.

Lara – who has nearly 12,000 Test runs to his name, more than 10,000 runs from 299 one-day internationals and a top score of 501 not out in first-class cricket – was in the Hunter at the time for a number of scheduled appearances.

The paperwork was submitted to the Newcastle C&S Association, complete with an email stating“this is not a hoax” andpictures of Lara signing the contract to prove its authenticity.“Given our teams recent good form, he may find it difficult to force his way into our top 11 players,” the email addressed to the association read.They weren’t wrong. The Centurions were on fire most of the season, dropping only two games. But Lara never padded up, despite a real push from a sports betting agency to make it happen. Oh well, the Centurions have got the silverware and they can always say they didn’t need the help of one of the world’s best batsmen.

SIGN: West Indian great Brian Lara with members of the Bennett Hotel Centurions.

OLD RIVALRIES LONG DEADTOPICS likes its rugby league, and the more bitter the enemies, the better the clash.

Think Parramatta versus Manly.

Queensland versus New South Wales.

Brisbane versus anyone.

The NRL might be a national competition but it grew out of the old Sydney suburban competition, where some of the fiercest battles were between the working class heroes of the west against the supposed silvertails of the northern beaches.

Even if Narrabeen had its share of housing commission hardness back in the day.

Fans loved it whenever the Western Suburbs Magpies or the Parramatta Eels were up against the Manly Sea-Eagles.

You could smell the hatred from outside of the ground.

Which is why we could hardly believe our ears two weekends ago when a round-up of scores on the radio mentioned a lower grade game involvingBlacktown, which was described as “the feeder team for Manly”.

At first we thought the commentator must have slipped up but we heard it again on Saturday, and a quick check online revealed it to be true. Blacktown as the feeder team for Manly! Generations of league fans – rest their souls – are spinning in their graves as you read this.

Then again, Parramatta fans always used to accuse Manly of buying premierships – with Parra players, of course – back in the day, so in this case, they’re simply cutting out the middle man, and going straight to the wholesalers.

ORIGINS OF THE PHRASESPEAKING ofspinning in your grave.

Have you ever wondered where that term comes from? Weknow we have.

Checking online, Wikipedia says its earliest known use dates from 1801, when a parliamentarian in the House of Commons said “if our old Whig politicians were now to hear [what England was doing in a war at the time] they would turn in their graves”.

Topics thinks it must have been used before then. We like to think it might have had something to do with so-called premature burials, which used to happen a bit back in the days before doctors had modern devices to pronounce people dead or alive.

Back to Wikipedia again, and it cites the “almost certainly apocraphyl” case of a philosopher, John Duns Scotus (1266-1308), who was found, when his tomb was re-opened, “outside his coffin with his hands torn and bloody after attempting to escape”.

Now being buried alive would make you turn in your grave. If there was room.

Tale of two forwards in North’s loss to Eagles

Former Kangaroo Drew Petrie broke his hand against his old team, Sam Mitchell had 38 touches for his new team and Josh Kennedy kicked seven goals to embarrass Jarrad Waite’s one goal seven behinds.
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Kennedy’s seven goals to Waite’s one goal seven was, North Melbourne coach Brad Scott admitted, in simple terms a large part of the reason for North’s 43-point loss to the Eagles.

Scott said it was too simplistic to presume if his side kicked straight they would have won but “it would have made the game more competitive”.

“It sums up a pretty large part of it I think, but it doesn’t take into account the other opportunities that we missed that were simple opportunities. Obviously Waitey had a lot of shots and didn’t take the majority of them,” Scott said.

“Unfortunately too many times the ball went down the other end and we got scored against too so it was a double whammy.

“I didn’t get the sense we were taking pot shots from poor positions either they were pretty simple shots and pretty simple opportunities that we didn’t take. On the flip side Kennedy seven straight, including a couple from the pie stand and (Jamie) Cripps too they are skillfull players and took their chances and full credit to them.”

Former north forward and ruck Drew Petrie broke his hand in the first quarter but played out the game and kicked a satisfying goal at the end.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson said that Petrie, who played the last eight weeks last year with a broken hand, will need surgery to repair the break and will miss about a month.

Fellow Eagles recruit Sam Mitchell had 38 touches in his first game for his new club but admitted afterwards he still made errors.

“It took me a couple of months to figure out how we play and to fit into the system but there are still a few teething issues, even today I did a few things and blokes are like ‘Mitchell what are you doing you idiot?’ So I am doing plenty of things wrong. I will continue to play the system better as I play more games,” he said.

Mitchell, Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey all had more than 30 possessions while the Eagles overall had more than 80 more uncontested possessions than North which North said hurt his side as much as inaccuracy in front of goal.

“I didn’t think as a defensive group we covered ourselves in glory today. I think we were by our own admission we were very poor, with our one on one defending our zone defending and with our support for our defence.

“We had ruck dominance we didn’t get clearance dominance and the scores from stoppages were pretty even but they kicked 14 goals we kicked 4.

“We may be vulnerable at times game to game, quarter to quarter because youth finds it hard to sustain That doesn’t mean we are going to accept it and we will make the changes to get guys in who can sustain effort better,”

Already depleted of ruck options with Nic Naitanui out for the year and now with Petrie missing for a month Simpson said his side would need to continue to find ways to win while losing the ruck.

“We have to go to find a way to work off perhaps not winning too many hit outs we will continue to work on that. ??? we have a bit more depth in our midfield (this year),” he said

‘Good is going to win’: Love Actually sequel delivers poignant message

Love Actually’s highly-anticipated sequel has delivered a heartwarming message in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack in London that left four people dead and more than 40 injured.
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A star-studded cast that included the likes of Keira Knightley and Hugh Grant reprised their roles from the 2003 smash-hit over the weekend for a 15-minute comedy special to help raise money for Red Nose Day.

The short film opens with Keira Knightly and her on-screen husband Peter sitting on their couch. The doorbell rings and – surprise, surprise – it’s a now-bearded Mark (played by Andrew Lincoln) rehashing the famous cue cards.

After an awkward exchange, we learn Knightley’s character Juliet is still happily married. Mark, meanwhile, is somehow married to Kate Moss.

There are several laugh-out-loud moments as the audience learns what Love Actually’s other characters are up to in 2017. Billy Mac, for example, is still as jaded and inappropriate as ever. He jokes on-air about having slept with not just one, but two Kardashians.

Rowan Atkinson’s character, meanwhile, is still working in retail and still takes a hilarious amount of time gift-wrapping. We also find out that Jamie (played by Colin Firth) and his Portuguese wife Aurelia have children, while Sam – who is all grown up – is planning to marry his American childhood sweetheart Joanna.

But the comedy special takes a serious turn after Hugh Grant, back for his second stint as the British prime minister, delivers a heartfelt speech about the state of the world (but not before falling down the stairs while dancing to Drake’s hit single Hotline Bling).

“Obviously, times – for many people – have gotten harder,” he said. “People are nervous and fearful. And it’s not just in politics that things have gotten tough. Usain Bolt has run his last Olympics, the Harry Potter films are finished [and] Piers Morgan is still alive.”

Grant’s character points out that for all the tragedy in the world, “you see bravery too”.

“Wherever you see ordinary people in need, you see extraordinary people come to their aid,” he said. “Most people still – every day, everywhere – have enough love in their heart to help human beings in trouble. Good is going to win, I’m actually sure of it.” 14 years on and I still wish Hugh Grant was the Prime Minister … #RedNoseDay#loveactually#comicrelief??? Trish Bertram (@trishvoice) March 24, 2017After the week the country has had, what a very fitting Prime Ministers speech from Hugh Grant. ??? #RedNoseDay#loveactually#london??? Izzy (@IzzyCSCx) March 24, 2017That was a particularly poignant speech by Hugh Grant at end of #comicrelief Love Actually film. Seems appropriate after events of yesterday??? Gavin Hamilton (@GHmltn) March 24, 2017After the events from this week, this quote from the Love Actually sequel was absolutely perfect. #London#LoveActuallyIsAllAround?????? pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/18hy4xJkNB??? Hannah Verlander (@_hannahv) March 24, 2017