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18 Jan

Phelps draws poor ballot spot in Wentworth

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Independent Kerryn Phelps concedes her chances of taking Wentworth from the Liberal Party in the looming by-election have taken a hit, with the Sydney city councillor being drawn near the bottom of the 16-candidate ballot paper.

Dr Phelps is considered one of the most likely to steal the seat from the Liberals for the first time in the party’s history, but she drew 15th spot when the draw was conducted by the n Electoral Commission on Friday.

“Being down near the bottom of the ballot form might make it a little bit of a harder task from here,” she told reporters. “It is what it is.”

Licia Heath, a fellow independent, is 13th, while Liberal candidate Dave Sharma is ninth and Labor’s Tim Murray is fifth.

Robert Callanan from Katter’s n Party is No.1 on the ballot paper for the by-election, which will be held on October 20.

Asked if he was relieved to see his main rival down the bottom of the ballot, Mr Sharma said he believed voters were more than capable of picking out who they wanted to support from a list.

“Obviously the voters are going to decide who they support and I’m sure they’ll find whichever candidate of the 16 they want to support,” Mr Sharma told reporters.

“It will be a tough by-election, I’ve been saying that all along, I know that, the government knows that.”

Mr Sharma confirmed he had spoken to deposed prime minister, and former member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull on a few occasions during this campaign.

“He has been very supportive…it’s great to have him willingly offering me his advice and his support,” Mr Sharma said.

“He’s got a lot of valuable things to offer me.”

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore – who in 2017 had a public falling out with Dr Phelps who was serving as her deputy on council – has backed Ms Heath in the Wentworth poll.

Dr Phelps wouldn’t be drawn on whether she thought Ms Moore’s decision was personal.

“I think people can endorse whoever they like,” she said on Friday.

“I’d rather not comment on other people’s alignments, I think it’s really important that I stay with the policies that I think are very important.”

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18 Jan

NRL grand finals between the top two teams

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The Melbourne Storm have played three of the NRL grand finals between first and second-placed teams.PAST FIVE GRAND FINALS BETWEEN FIRST AND SECOND

* 2012: Melbourne (2nd) bt Canterbury (1st) 14-4

It looked like a one-horse race when the Storm won their opening nine games of the season, but the bubble burst as they lost six of seven through the Origin period. That opened the door for the Bulldogs to claim the minor premiership on the back of their own winning streak of 12 games, led by Ben Barba’s Dally M-winning campaign. The grand final is best remembered for James Graham biting the ear of Billy Slater, later resulting in a 12-game ban. Cooper Cronk won the Clive Churchill medal, and it was Craig Bellamy’s first legitimate title.

* 2008: Manly (2nd) bt Melbourne (1st) 40-0

It was billed as a clash of the top two teams, but in the end it was a non-contest as Manly took revenge for the previous year’s defeat by trouncing over a Melbourne side without suspended captain Cameron Smith. Sea Eagles winger Michael Robertson got a hat trick, but the decider is best remembered for retiring champion Steve Menzies bowing out with a grand final try. The 40-0 scorelines remains the biggest grand final margin in history, and the first time a team was held scoreless since 1978.

* 2007: Melbourne (1st) bt Manly (2nd) 34-8

It was the last time first beat second, but it comes with an asterisk after the Storm were later stripped of the title due to salary cap cheating. Greg Inglis, playing at five-eighth, picked up the Clive Churchill medal in a team that had nine State of Origin stars, including Israel Folau, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, Brett White, Matt King, Matt Geyer and Michael Crocker.

* 2004: Canterbury (2nd) bt Sydney Roosters (1st) 16-13

Arguably the biggest rivalry of the early noughties, this grand final proved heroes don’t always get the fairytale finish they deserve as retiring champion Brad Fittler failed to get the job done against a Bulldogs side missing injured skipper Steve Price. Willie Mason claimed the Clive Churchill in a team that had Sonny Bill Williams and a young Johnathan Thurston, who gave his premiership ring to Price.

* 2003: Penrith (1st) bt Sydney Roosters (2nd) 18-6

The last time the a legitimate minor premiers side knocked off second place to lift the trophy. The Panthers finished with one more regular season win than the Roosters but entered the decider as underdogs. However that failed to deter an inexperienced side inspired by Scott Sattler’s unforgettable chasedown tackle of flying winger Todd Byrne.

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18 Jan

Education minister denies funding ‘threat’

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Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has denied threatening to withhold school funding from states and territories if they don’t sign up to a new deal by December.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino has accused the federal government of “holding a gun to the head” of states and territories through the tight deadline.

Mr Tehan said he was simply seeking assurances from his state counterparts that funding would still be provided to schools as negotiations continued.

“It’s not a threat,” Mr Tehan told ABC Radio on Friday.

“Now it’s fairly sad, unfortunately, that James Merlino sought to leak that letter to the press and beat it up for what it wasn’t.”

The public feud erupted between the two ministers over how much the federal government puts towards state schools, after the announcement of a $4.6 billion peace-deal for Catholic and independents.

The Victorian Education Minister is pushing for an additional five per cent from the federal government to ensure state schools also get a boost.

In the leaked letter to Mr Merlino, the federal minister rejects the proposal and says investment to Victorian state schools is increasing.

Mr Merlino, who is also Victoria’s Labor deputy premier, says the federal government is demanding states and territories immediately sign a deal, which is unfair.

“Essentially holding a gun to the head of states and territories by inventing deadlines,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“The carelessness with which he (Mr Tehan) has ruled out funding the final five per cent of the schooling resource standard shows complete ignorance to the inequality set out in his own legislation.”

Mr Tehan says he has offered to brief Mr Merlino over the changes, but has been told by his office he is too busy.

He believes the Victorian is using school funding to play political games ahead of the November state election and said discussions with other state and territory ministers have been “incredibly constructive”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, when asked about the coalition’s backup plan if the state’s don’t agree to the new arrangement, said it will spend money that has been committed.

“We spend the money, that’s the plan,” he told ABC Radio on Friday.

Acting federal Labor leader Tanya Plibersek says Mr Morrison has been using “desperate bully boy tactics” against state governments.

“This is a new low even for Scott Morrison – holding n schoolchildren to ransom,” she told AAP in a statement on Friday.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes says he will “very forcefully” argue for extra state school funding over 10 years when he meets with Mr Tehan on Friday.

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18 Jan

ABC board must regain trust: acting chair

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The ABC’s new acting chair Dr Kirstin Ferguson says the board of the national broadcaster has always had its best interests at heart, but accepts they must rebuild trust among ns.

“Actions speak louder than words. We need to knuckle down now and really focus on the future of the ABC,” she told ABC TV on Friday.

ABC chairman Justin Milne quit on Thursday amid reports he called for journalists to be sacked because the government didn’t like their reporting.

The resignation came three days after former managing director Michelle Guthrie was fired, with the board claiming it was “not in the best interests” of the broadcaster for her to continue in the role.

The prime minister on Friday announced he had nominated Dr Ferguson for the role of deputy chair, with the Governor-General endorsing his recommendation soon after.

The appointment means Dr Ferguson, who was appointed to the ABC board on 2015, will be acting chair until a permanent chair is found.

Dr Ferguson said she was “grateful” to Mr Milne for resigning and is now focused on stability, echoing faith expressed in her by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Kirstin will be able to step up into that role as recommended and I think restore some stability there which is very necessary,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek says there is a cloud hanging over the entire ABC board, as they only asked Mr Milne to step down when allegations against him became public.

“I think other board members really do need to examine whether they have fully discharged their responsibilities to protect and defend the ABC,” Ms Plibersek said.

“Or whether, in fact, they’ve been voluntarily or involuntarily complicit in the government’s political interference.”

The former chairman denies he asked Ms Guthrie to fire senior journalists Emma Alberici and Andrew Probyn because the government didn’t like their reporting.

“This draws a real question over the entire membership of the ABC board as it stands,” Mr Albanese said.

Dr Ferguson said an inquiry ordered by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, which is due to report back within days, will shed light on when the board learnt of the allegations.

“This is something that will all come out in the departmental inquiry which has been announced, so it’s difficult for me to now go through that in detail.”

Mr Milne has denied demanding any journalist be sacked, but maintains he was entitled to intervene on issues of editorial accuracy and independence.

In one email to Ms Guthrie, Mr Milne reportedly said the government hated Ms Alberici and the ABC should “get rid of her”.

Mr Milne is also said to have ordered Ms Guthrie sack Mr Probyn by telling her “you just have to shoot him” because Mr Turnbull hated the journalist.

The ABC board met without Mr Milne on Thursday and asked him to step aside, but he resigned instead.

Labor has called for the appointment of a permanent chair to be a bipartisan process, and will join with the Greens in trying to initiate a Senate inquiry into the leadership issues.

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17 Dec

Eagle Shuey’s dog rumour is half true

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West Coast Eagles’ Luke Shuey has been chuckling over rumours his dog injured his ankle.Finals time always sends the rumour mill into overdrive, but did you hear the one about Luke Shuey and his dog?

Shuey is a certain starter for Saturday’s grand final against Collingwood despite injuring his left ankle in last week’s win over Melbourne.

After injuring his ankle in that game, whispers emerged that Shuey may have actually tweaked it in the lead-up – and that his dog played a part in the saga.

As it turns out, the rumour is half true.

“I had to chase my dog in the backyard and I tripped over, and my missus thought I might have hurt my ankle,” Shuey said with a chuckle.

“But it was fine. It wasn’t as bad as what people thought.

“I don’t know how the rumour got out. And the dog’s fine.”

Another rumour doing the rounds is that Jeremy McGovern has broken ribs.

West Coast have flatly denied that is true, saying the star defender is merely nursing a corked hip.

September has already been a big month for Shuey after welcoming his first child into the world – a boy named Oliver.

Shuey wants to cap off the month with premiership success.

“The new bub’s good. I’m very lucky to have him out happy and healthy,” Shuey said.

“My partner (Dani Orlando) has taken a fair share of the load and taken him into the spare room and let me have my seven or eight hours sleep every night.

“Hopefully I can bring something back to show off to him.

“It would be pretty special to win the grand final. It’s really the only reason you play football.”

Shuey tallied 26 disposals, six clearance, and a goal in the 46-point loss to Hawthorn in the 2015 grand final.

The 28-year-old is confident the Eagles are far better prepared this time around to deal with the big occasion.

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17 Dec

War of words between AFL stars erupts between Mo Hope and Mick Malthouse

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A grand final luncheon in Ballarat today resulted in controversy after AFLW star Moana Hope stormed out of the function over comments made by league legend Mick Malthouse.

The feud at the luncheon, hosted by the North Ballarat Sports Club, started over commentsHope labelled as “disgusting”.

Hope wasfront and centre of the event when she stormed out and did not return.

The furore erupted over a discussion regarding proposed rule changes in the AFL and injuries to women.

Hope says she took offence to the comments, but Malthouse claims his words were taken out of context.

Watch The Courier’s interview with Malthouse, Hope and Jason Akermanis before the function.

After the event, Hope told AFL苏州楼凤.au she felt Malthouse was insinuating women shouldn’t play football.

“He was saying stuff about how women get injured and women should just not play AFL because it’s a man’s game,” Hope told AFL苏州楼凤.au.

“When he was asked about the AFL changing the rules of the men’s game and the square (goalsquare), he then went onto talk about the game back in his day and if the AFL did change the rules, they may as well put skirts on the men, let them play netball and call them women.”

Hope posted this on Instagram on Thursday afternoon.

“The fact he said it’s a man’s game and women shouldn’t be playing and only should play without contact, it really upset me.

“I put my mic down and left the appearance, something I’ve never done before. I was so disgusted and embarrassed, I almost cried, I almost had a panic attack.”

Malthouse responded on Thursday night, believing Hope had taken his comments out of context.

“It was a very unprofessional way of approaching this… clearly she had the opportunity to talk, and to get up and walk out because of a different opinion, I’ve never seen it before.”

“I was asked about the rules and I said the 18-metre rule is ridiculous,” he told Fairfax Media.

The AFL Competition Committee has recently signed off on recommendations that would see the length of goal square extended from nine to 18 metres, and six-six-six starting positions enforced at every centre bounce.

READ MORE:Malthouse sets a challenge to hasten assault on cancer in Ballarat

“Two, I said a game divided up into divisions is netball and they wear a skirt. We do not want to make it into divisions… we do not need a football ground broken into divisions.”

He said he would “never apologise” for his opinion that there should be a modified game for women.

“As far as AFLW, I don’t like it in its present format… they subject themselves to massive injuries. I suggested the ball should be smaller and should be no bumps and only tackle, not go to ground, that would make it uniquely women’s football,” he said.

“I’m all for women playing sport, however the casualty wards in hospitals have too many girls with broken collarbones, busted knees etc.”

In a now deleted post on Instagram, Hope’s partner – model Isabella Calstrom- also spoke out against the former Carlton coach.

“I cannot believewhat this disgrace of a man just said while on stage in front of so many kids and my partner. It’s sickening. How can you have a daughter and speak so poorly of woman and woman in sport,” she wrote.

Onlookers at the event toldThe Courierthe event continued with little fuss after Hope’s dramatic exit.

Hope and the North Ballarat Sports Club did not respond to requests for comment.

– with The Age

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17 Dec

Rooster Ferguson set to break 5km barrier

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Blake Ferguson is set to crack 5000 metres run in 2018 during the NRL grand final.Sydney Roosters star Blake Ferguson isn’t just eyeing a maiden premiership and an n recall, he can also claim a share of NRL history during Sunday’s grand final.

After the best season of his 10-year career, the Roosters winger is on the cusp of becoming just the third player to break the 5000 metre barrier in a single season.

According to Fox Sports Stats, the 28-year-old goes into the game with 4878m from his 26 appearances.

And considering he has gobbled up 188m per game, he’s expected to make the requisite 122m at ANZ Stadium against the Storm.

The only two players to achieve the feat are Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (5795m), in his magical final season with the Roosters in 2015, and Jason Taumalolo (5050m) when he led North Queensland to the grand final last year.

Roosters fullback James Tedesco is second in the league for running metres with 4306m and even he was floored by his teammate’s output.

“That’s so good,” Tedesco told AAP.

“I’ve been feeling for him for a bit because he had a rough start to the year. But he’s played consistently throughout the year.

“He’s one of my favourite players to play with. I’m going to miss him next year.

“Whenever we get the ball on our 10 metres or inside our own 20, he’s there taking that carry, creating that quick play-the-ball to start our whole set.

“He’s huge for our team and I don’t think a lot of people see that.”

The Parramatta-bound 28-year-old has bounced back in emphatic fashion after the twin disappointments of being dropped from the n squad for last year’s World Cup and losing his NSW State of Origin jersey this year.

After swearing off alcohol and getting his life right off the field, he was rewarded on Tuesday night when he was named the Dally M winger of the year.

Despite being overlooked for state selection, Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has said he was keeping an eye on Ferguson.

He has plenty of competition to earn an n recall in the likes of Valentine Holmes, Josh Addo-Carr, Tom Trbojevic and Dane Gagai.

However he’s put his best foot forward – sitting in the top five for tries (4th, 18), linebreaks (2nd, 24) and runs (1st, 516) this year.

“He’s been massive,” Ferguson’s right-side partner Joseph Manu said.

“He’s been doing it consistently. He takes those hard carries, he does them all game.

“He’s special for me and he’s been special for the team.”

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17 Dec

Slater dreaming of fairytale NRL finish

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Billy Slater is hoping for the ultimate send-off in the NRL grand final.It’s his chance at a fairytale finish that was almost taken away from him.

But now Billy Slater could bow out a premiership-winner when he runs out for Melbourne for the last time in Sunday’s NRL grand final against the Sydney Roosters.

In his first interview of grand final week, Slater spoke about the emotional toll of having to defend a shoulder charge citing at the judiciary on Tuesday night.

After a mammoth three-hour hearing, Slater was found not guilty and cleared to play.

“It was quite an emotional start to my preparation and quite draining to be honest,” Slater said on The NRL Footy Show on the Nine Network.

“It wasn’t a great first four days of grand final week for me. It was really important for me to voice my perspective of the situation and I’m glad the judiciary members understood that.

“For me now it’s important to go out and prepare myself to be able to play the best I can on Sunday. I didn’t do any preparation before the hearing in terms of playing.

“It was all about the hearing.”

Now the 35-year-old will appear in his 319th and final NRL game spanning 16 seasons, including 31 State of Origin games for Queensland and 30 Tests for .

He has also scored 229 tries in a career that looked over when twin shoulder reconstructions limited him to just eight games across the 2016-17 seasons.

“It’s obviously my last game. For that to be in a grand final is pretty special,” Slater said.

“The last few years have been a rollercoaster for me.

“To be able to finish my career with a healthy body and to go out in a grand final and hopefully a premiership, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Slater said teammate Cameron Munster would be key to finishing with the title, making the Storm the first side in over 25 years to win back-to-back premierships in a unified league.

“He handles things pretty well, Cameron,” Slater said.

“He doesn’t get overawed by any situation – we saw that in State of Origin III last year when he made his debut and he was the best player on the field.

“He’s a bit old school, nothing seems to faze him and he’s pretty jovial about how he goes about his preparation as well.

“He’s been playing some great football, especially in the back half of this year and he’ll be important for us on Sunday.”

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17 Dec

Qld backs car immobilisers after cop hit

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Queensland police will lobby nationally for officers to be able to remotely shut down the engines of cars they are pursuing after a constable was seriously injured while trying to stop a vehicle.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart and Police Minister Mark Ryan on Friday backed a call for vehicle immobilisers to be introduced as Constable Peter McAulay, 24, remains in an induced coma in Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.

He had just placed tyre spikes on a road to stop the car in Ipswich on Thursday when he was struck, receiving serious head and internal injuries and broken bones.

A 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl have been charged with attempted murder and unlawful use of a motor vehicle over the incident.

They faced the Queensland Children’s Court on Friday and were remanded in custody to reappear in November.

After the incident, Queensland Police Union renewed its calls for remote immobilisers to be fitted in new cars, which would allow police to remotely shut down the engine of a vehicle involved in a pursuit.

The commissioner on Friday said he supported the idea “100 per cent”.

“I think it’s time to seriously consider this. The union certainly supports that push and I think we can get the other police jurisdictions on board,” Mr Stewart said on Friday.

Mr Ryan said he had long been a proponent of remote immobilisers and he would raise the issue again with his state and federal colleagues.

“There’s a ministerial council of police ministers next month. Let’s put it on the agenda. Let’s get it done,” Mr Ryan said.

Federal cabinet minister and former Queensland police officer Peter Dutton has called for a national approach to police pursuit rules following the incident.

The minister and the commissioner defended Queensland’s pursuit policy, saying it was already in line with best-practice recommendations.

Mr Stewart said they were hoping for a good outcome for Const McAuley, with Friday seeing remembrance day services honouring officers killed in the line of duty across the country.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country’s thoughts and prayers were with the injured officer.

“It is a reminder, I think, of the work and the sacrifice and the risks that our police officers take all around the country every day,” he said.

Const McAulay’s family say while their focus is on his recovery, they are grateful to police and the wider community for their support.

“We would also like to thank the medical staff at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for their round-the-clock care of Peter as well as the paramedics who treated him yesterday,” they said in a statement.

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17 Dec

Woman crawled for 10 hours to safety after King Island fall

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Melissa Bee has been treated at multiple hospitals since breaking both her legs on King Island. Picture: Supplied

A woman who crawled to safety after breaking both her legs on King Island has been praised for her “Herculean effort”.

Melissa Bee, who moved to King Island in June, said she had been walking near Grassy Dam when shefell down an eight metre slope and broke her legslast month.

Ms Bee said it took her more than 10 hours to crawl more than fivekilometres and phone for help.

She said locals had advised herthe journeywould besafe, however, once she embarked she encountered rough terrain.

“It was an extremely steep slope that just ended with about a six foot drop from the end of the slope to rock below…there was no way I could get down safely, I was trapped,” Ms Bee said.

“I was unable to reverse back up but tried to make my way off to the left, which proved disastrous.

“I grabbed a tree sapling on my right, which came out of the ground completely, sending me hurling downwards and my leg snapped in sixplaces at that point.

“As I tried to stop falling further I was not able to and helplessly slithered downwards while my left leg did the same.”

Woman crawled 10 hours to safety Supplied image: Ms Bee

Melissa Bee has been treated at multiple hospitals since breaking both her legs on King Island. Picture: Supplied

TweetFacebookMs Bee said she yelled for help as shecrawledto a pumping station where she turned on a tap in a bid to raise an alarm.

After failing to draw attention she embarked on a trek towards the Grassy port area more than two kilometres away.

“I headed off dragging myself…the best method was on hands and knees,” Ms Bee said.

“I’d count to seven or 10 or 20 before collapsing or passing out in pain.

“I was wet and cold and it eventually got dark but I kept crawling.”

Ms Bee said after walking on her hands and kneesfor about 10 hours she foundan unlocked car,pulled herself inthen found a phone which she used to dial ‘000’.

She was later taken to King Island hospital, then flown to North West Regional Hospital for further care.

After undergoing multiple surgeries in Burnie, Ms Bee was transported to Smithton District Hospital, where she expects to remain for weeks.

Tasmania Police Sergeant Steve Shawpraised Ms Bee for herbravery and endurance.

“[Ms Bee] was particularly brave and focused on her survival which was a Herculean effort,” Sergeant Shaw said.

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