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How drink driving arrest made McGregor a better coach

Monday, 14 January, 2019

Here, in the vacant home dressing-room at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, Paul McGregor falls silent.
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He’d reluctantly agreed to this interview in the first place – talking about himself is not his style – but when you raise his drink-driving charge from this time last year he finds it difficult to talk altogether.

“I’d like to forget about it,” the Dragons coach says with a softened voice, eyes at the ground. “It affected me and when it affects you personally, it takes over your life. It’s not who I am. I made a really poor error of judgement. A glaring error of judgement that I fully take ownership of.”

McGregor had attended an Anzac charity race day on the Saturday afternoon, had a few more drinks at home that night, got up the next morning, worked away on his laptop for an hour and a half, decided he wanted to train, drove the same road to WIN Stadium he’s driven hundreds of times, the same road where he knew the booze bus would be, and even when he saw the police had no fears about being over the limit.

He blew 0.063, was arrested for low-range drink driving, coached his side to victory over the Roosters on Anzac Day the following afternoon, was fined $10,000 by his club, and, in October in Wollongong Local Court, was placed on a bond with no conviction recorded.

The incident is a lesson for those of us who think we’re fine to drive the next day even after a few drinks the evening before. How many times have you done it?

But for our purposes it explains where the season started to unravel for the Red V last year. Mary McGregor going DUI wasn’t the reason the Dragons couldn’t score points, but by his own admission it influenced his coaching.

“I’m a strong character but I go into silence if I am hurting,” McGregor says. “I shut down – because I was hurting a lot. As the boys will tell you, I’m the first to arrive and last to leave. They know how disciplined I am around what I put into the team and the club. If you look at my football team over the last three years, we’re one of the most disciplined in the competition for penalties given away. We drive a tight ship around discipline and I certainly compromised that.”

Last summer, though, the coach got his groove back. In exhausting heat, he stood shoulder to shoulder with his players.

“Not many people know,” says international backrower Tyson Frizell, “but he did most of the conditioning with us in the pre-season. He was mixing it with all of us. I’ve seen coaches in the gym but to hold his own with us boys was good to see.”

Teammate Joel Thompson chimes in: “Mary did it while Tyson was sitting back on holidays. It was my ninth pre-season and it was easily the hardest. You dug deep and really found out what you were about and what you’ve got inside you. Mary jumped in and when they see your coach get in beside you, there’s some added respect.”

One of the players McGregor stood alongside was new hooker Cameron McInnes.

“He’d be talking to me and I couldn’t breathe,” the South Sydney recruit laughs. “But he wanted to help me get through. He’s a real player’s coach.”

When I tell McGregor that last line – “a player’s coach” – his eyes light up like I’ve just told him his off-contract stars Josh Dugan and Gareth Widdop have signed four-year deals to stay.

Because last year, when the Dragons finished three points out of the top eight but were as exciting to watch as a test pattern – he was was anything but “a player’s coach”.

According to almost everyone around the club including himself, McGregor turned himself inside out managing all aspects of the football department. After an off-season review, he went back to doing what he relishes most: coaching.

“I was overseeing everyone’s role and I stepped over the mark to be totally honest. I was across everything and did nothing. I take full responsibility. I’m the head coach. It’s my fault. But I lost the connection with the players. I’m a man’s man. I stopped being that last year.”

Details man: McGregor addresses the player group. Photo: Adam McLean

According to former teammates, McGregor’s gear on away trips would be perfectly laid out in the hotel room and then the dressing room. “He’d have an outfit with matching colours for every day we were away,” reveals former Illawarra and then Dragons teammate Trent Barrett.

I ask McGregor if he’s a “control freak”.

“I can be,” he says. “I can be a perfectionist. I’ve certainly tried to put a handle on that. I just went, ‘Stuff it it all’. I’ve got to go and reconnect with the players. So I went and trained with them in the pre-season.”

He’ll turn 50 at the end of this year but still looks as fit as he did when he played his final match in 2001. He had surgery on a degenerative neck problem two years ago as well as 14 operations throughout his career. Like many old footballers, if he stops training his body seizes up.

“When you’re the coach you can pick and choose what you want to do with the players,” he smiles. “I did most of the running, but none of the contact.”



Any spews?

“A little one. I swallowed one one day. You don’t want to show too much hurt. I can see a player who is struggling and I can run with him and give him encouragement along the way. That’s connecting. It’s not about me doing it, but more about me getting involved and getting to see and feel how much they’re hurting and talking them through it.”

Pedigree: Paul McGregor. Photo: Fairfax Archive

McGregor has changed as a coach this season but Barrett remembers the change in him as a player.

“He had a metamorphosis,” Barrett, now Manly coach, laughs. “He used to be a kid who lived in Dapto who wore a flanno, had long hair and smoked and drank like a fish. Then we had the merger with St George, we had Choc [Anthony Mundine] in the team who was a snappy dresser, and he shaved his head and started dressing in better clothes ??? But he was always an organised player. He always did whatever he put his mind to.”

McGregor describes pressure as a “privilege”. When he was being earmarked as the first coach to be sacked following the Charity Shield loss to Souths, we spoke about the pressure he was under and he didn’t flinch.

The reason is where he came from. He played five seasons of first grade for Dapto before joining the Steelers in 1991. In those days, bush footy was a brutal initiation. It hardened players before they reached the big league.

Now, under-20s players start earning big dollars as teenagers, have their heads filled with misguided encouragement from player managers, and then come into the senior system with a sense of entitlement that baffles the older brigade.

What’s also changed is the player market. The Dragons aren’t in the eye of the current storm but they’re not far from it with Dugan and Widdop undecided about their futures.

Of all the jobs McGregor gave away during the off-season, the most important was recruitment and retention and managing the complicated game of Jenga that has become the salary cap.

That’s now the brief of Ian Millward, who was assistant coach to Graham Murray when McGregor was a player. He is now the director of rugby league pathways at the club.

Despite this, the questions from media about the futures of Dugan and Widdop have not abated.

It reached a flashpoint at media opportunity earlier his week. It had been called to promote the Anzac Day clash. For 11 minutes, McGregor was peppered about his belief that Dugan is best suited to fullback while Millward has openly said he considers him to be a centre and will be paid accordingly if Dugan re-signs.

It’s an easy kill for reporters. On the surface, it looks like a rift between coach and recruitment man.

The confusion has come from the club attaching a value to a position. Millward considers Dugan to be a centre, while McGregor will play him wherever he needs him. Right now, it’s fullback.

But let’s be brutally honest: Dugan won’t care where he plays in the future, as long as he can sign a contract that comes near the dollars the club will pay halfback Ben Hunt when he arrives from the Broncos next year.

“I don’t see him [Dugan] as a centre or fullback but a player,” McGregor says. “If he plays right centre, he’ll play good football. If he plays fullback, he’ll play good football.

“Nobody agrees on everything. I’ve know Ian for a very long time and I trust his judgement. He made a statement about Josh and he was referring to Josh playing right centre for Australia. So the value that he’s put forward is about what a right centre for Australia gets paid. As a coach, I put a value on what he means to our team.”

He’s cast off the role of recruitment manager but that doesn’t mean McGregor doesn’t talk to Millward about recruitment at all.

He also had to recently address the noise surrounding Dugan and Widdop, who is being pursued by the Storm and Wests Tigers although the Dragons remain confident of retaining him.

“I spoke to the leadership group three weeks ago,” McGregor says. “I asked them, ‘I’m your coach now. What support do you need in and around your contracts?’ They all said to stay out of it.”

What about Dugan?

Marquee man: Josh Dugan. Photo: Getty Images

“I’ve talked to him once and it was about if he was playing here, I think he’s a fullback because he’s the best in the club – right now.”

At no stage during our interview does McGregor talk about his own future. He’s off contract this year, too, but he has more pressing issues away from footy.

When he abruptly left this week’s media conference, many assumed he was being a cranky coach who no longer wanted to answer questions about recruitment. In truth, he had somewhere more important to be.

His 79-year-old mum, Jean, had open heart surgery a year ago. Eleven weeks ago, she suffered a stroke.

“Four weeks later, she had another one,” McGregor says. “So she’s being treated treated as a palliative care patient because she’ll never come home. She’s paralysed down one side and hasn’t been out of bed for 11 weeks. My sister and I take my father [Frank] every day in rotation to see her.

“She’s talking and, just like Mum always is, she’s apologising for the state she’s in – for a state she’s got no control over.”

Because he got out of Sydney so late on Wednesday, he didn’t get back to Wollongong in time to see her. He will see her after Tuesday’s Anzac Day match.

“If we get the result,” he says, “you will see a smile on her face. That’s enough for me.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Robert Dillon: Sporting Declaration

Monday, 14 January, 2019

UP WE GO: Brighton and Hove Albion’s Anthony Knockaert celebrates his team’s long-awaited promotion to the Premier League. Picture: Getty ImagesTHE great author and Arsenal fan Nick Hornby summed it up perfectly in his best-selling tomeFever Pitch: “When you support a football team,agonyis the only currency that can purchase real ecstasy.”
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Sporting Declaration would take that logic one step further and suggest that for some football fans, they are never happier than when their team makes them truly miserable.

It’s a cultural oddity I first noticed attending an Arsenal game at Highbury in the Christmas-New Year period of 1993-94.

It was freezing, drizzling with rain, and the Gunners were living up to their nickname of “boring, boring Arsenal”.

Playing against Sheffield Wednesday, or perhaps it was Sheffield United, both teams appeared incapable of scoring a goal.

The two blokes in front of me were analysing the game, and in particular the Arsenal players, withscathing critiques.

“I’ve worked overtime all week to payfor my ticket,’’ said one. “Then I’ve travelled for an hour on the tube to get here. And they dish up this utter shite.”

Deep into injury time, the great Ian Wright popped up with a matchwinner and the two sad sacks in front of me leapt to their feet and punched their air.

“We didn’t deserve that,’’one admitted. “See you next week.”

A few years later, I was at Old Trafford watching Manchester United –the defending two-time Premier League champions –playing in a pre-season friendly against Inter Milan.

The abuse the home-team fans directed at their players was mind-boggling.

Imagine if they were supporting a team of no-hopers, such as, for example, the Newcastle Jets.

The Novocastrian faithful have endured seven consecutive seasons as finals spectators, and another wooden spoon campaign that cost coach Mark Jones his job.

All of which gives them licence to whinge and vent to their heart’s content.

At the other end of the spectrum are Real Madrid, surely one of the top two or three most glamorous clubs in the footballing universe.

During the week they won a European Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick.

Ronaldo, for those who have no interest in the round-ball code, recently won theBallon d’Or, awarded to the world player of the year.

Along with Lionel Messi, he is perhaps the only current player worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Pele, Maradona, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.

In 260 games for Real, he has scored 279 goals and helped them win every piece of silverware worth collecting.

Yet on Tuesday, Madrid fans whistled him –a sign of disrespect –and apparently it was not a one-off.

It prompted Ronaldo to put his finger to his lips after one of his goals: “I don’t tell them to be quiet, never, I only ask them not to whistle because I always give my best in every game …I don’t know who doubts Cristiano Ronaldo.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal supportersstage protests and chant songs that ridicule manager Arsene Wenger, who has overseen the most successful two decades in the club’s history.

Yet in a week when fans around the world were revelling in their own despaircame a feelgood story that overshadowed decades of doom and gloom.

Brighton-Hove Albion have returned to the Premier League.

Big deal, you might say. Well, it just so happens I have a tenuous emotional attachment.

It was 1994, and my good mate Bradley Bannister and I were in England, playing cricket. Our game was washed out and, looking to fill the void, we drove to Brighton to watch their division-two game against mighty Port Vale.

Brighton were doing it tough that year, and their home ground, Goldstone, was normally closer to empty than full.

But this was the final game of the seasonand Port Vale, chasing a win for promotion, brought thousands of supporters.

The terraces were bursting at the seamsand every Port Vale goal –they scored four or five –was celebrated with a pitch invasion.

It was a great day and remains a special memory.

Ever since, they’ve been my “second” team. I check for Arsenal’s result, then Brighton’s.

There have been some grim timessince. In 1996, they needed to sell their stadium –which is now a shopping centre –to pay off debts, and played for several seasons at Gillingham, 100 kilometres away.

In 1996-97, they needed a miracle goal in the last round to avoid relegation to the abyss known as non-league football.

Gradually they clawed their way back up the ranks, thanks largely to successiveowners who invested in players and a new state-of-the-art stadium, which seats 31,000.

After a couple of heartbreaking near misses in recent seasons, on Tuesday they beat Wigan Athletic 2-1 to secure automatic promotion into next year’s Premier League. The last time they were in the top flight was way back in 1983.

Their fans mustsurely rate as the most long-suffering in all England.

I’d like to think that, deep down inside, as they celebrated, secretly they were enjoying it.

Swans look to Heeney to spark derby revival

Monday, 14 January, 2019

BACK: Isaac Heeney chase down a ball for Sydney in last year’s losing grand final to Western Bulldogs. Picture: Graham DenholmCOACH John Longmire believes Hunter product Isaac Heeney can make an impact for the struggling Swans in his long-awaited AFL return against Greater WesternSydney on Saturday at the SCG.
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Heeney, a former Cardiff Hawk and Maitland schoolboy, has missed the first month of the season because of glandular fever and in his absence, Sydney have slumped to 0-4.

Longmire was excited to welcome back Heeney and Gary Rohan for the clash with GWS.

“They have had a couple of weeks of really strong training now, including a really strong hit-out on the weekend and they pulled up well,” Longmire said.

“They have just been getting better every session so they have done enough work now to warrant selection.

“We think that both of those players have the ability to be able to have an impact this week to help us be as competitive as we can be this week.”

Greater Western Sydney are unlikely to be claiming they are the harbour city’s best AFL team, even if they score their first SCG win over the Swans and deal their rivals a potentially season-smashing loss.

For the first time in 12 Sydney derbies, the Giants will start favourites in Saturday’s game.After Sydney had dominated the early years of their growing rivalry, the pendulum has started to swing westward.

The Giants are 12 points clear of Sydney, who they have convincingly beaten in their past two games and they no longer have a massive disadvantage in experience as in their first few years.

Sydney will field seven first or second-year players at the SCG, while the Giants will have just one.

A Swans loss would send last year’s minor premiers and losing grand finalists tumbling to 0-5 –a mark that invariably spells doom for a team’s finals aspirations.

Giants forward Devon Smith said that prospect wouldn’t be an additional motivating factor for his side.

“They’ve got the credit in the bank and obviously a great contested side,” Smith said.

“Any team with Buddy [Lance Franklin] in it, they are going to be dangerous so I’ve got full respect for them.

“I still think they are the best in the comp at contested footy and we match that tomorrow and we should win.”

One key match-up will be in-form Giants key defender Phil Davis up against Franklin, who needs just three goals to reach the 800 mark.

Despite their season seemingly on the precipice, Sydney remain confident they can regain form.

“We haven’t lost confidence at all in the standard of football that we can play,” Swans vice-captain and midfielder Luke Parker said.

“We’ve been a good team for a number of seasons and you don’t just lose that in a month of football, so I have full faith that we’ve got the right team to be able to bounce back and get our season back on track.”

Sydney also welcome backruckman-forward Kurt Tippett.The Giants also get a significant dose of X-factor and experience back with the return of veteran forward Steve Johnson.

–with AAP

Meet the interchange’s newest neighbourphotos

Monday, 14 January, 2019

Meet the interchange’s newest neighbour | photos TweetFacebook A glance at Wickham’s history, and future.Some of these photos are from Fairfax archives and other have been supplied by the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections with the help of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund. Others are from Newcastle City Council’s draft Wickham Masterplan.For more information visit https://uoncc.wordpress南京夜网/vera-deacon-fund/ and to donate to the fund visit: http://libguides.newcastle.edu419论坛/benefactors/new It’s seven storeys high, worth $22 million and branded‘The Millhorn’.
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And it offersa glimpse ofwhat’s nextforWickham,as the suburb undergoes a seismic shiftfrominner city industrial hubto the next frontier of Newcastle’sapartment boom.

At least six new developmentsare either under construction or in the pipeline for the precinct between the Newcastle transport interchange and Throsby Street.

The latest to be unveiled by Colliers International,The Millhorn, includes 40one- and two-bedroomapartments on Wickham Street.

The bottom floor will be devoted to commercial space and Colliers Director Dane Crawford said he expected it would eventually house“bespoke”retailers.

“I see it as likely to be a…small little cafe or a hole-in-the-wall deli,” he said.

Deposits have now been taken on all of the apartments, which are expected to be completed in late 2018. The homes have been designed by renownedarchitectJohn Streeter.

“It’s already been really well received and we haven’t gone to the public market yet,” Mr Crawford said.“We’ve had a couple of hundred pre-registrations.

“It’s got a couple ofopen communal terraces on level five and that’s been a big drawcard.”

He added that it had been“nice to see” that many of the deposits had been put down by first home buyers.

Across the road from the Millhorn will be the WestEnd, a 122-apartment development. On the next block is Bishopsgate, which will bring 37 new apartments online next year. It’s understoodfurther projects will be announced incoming months.

Hunter director of the Property Council Andrew Fletcher said the high rise waspart of a phenomenon known as “transport orientated development”.

“It’s a bit of a global trend and it’s hitting the Hunter,” he said.“People want to live close to transport links.”

But he didn’t expect itto spell the end of light industry in Wickham.

“There’s no reason light industrial and residential can’t be neighbours. Light industrial means very different things now to what it did 20 and even 10 years ago.”

Jamie’s plan to salvage Australian restaurants still alive

Monday, 14 January, 2019

News: Chef Jamie Oliver visits his Canberra restaurant Jamie’s Italian. 28th of March 2014. Canberra Times photograph by Katherine Griffiths Photo: Katherine GriffithsCelebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s plan to salvage his Australian Jamie’s Italian restaurant chain has narrowly avoided collapse with a court granting administrators and receivers extra time to complete the takeover from failed hospitality company the Keystone Group.
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The buy-back decision by the star chef, who has built an empire from being an apprentice cook in his dad’s pub in Essex, Britain, came after Keystone was put into receivership in June last year owing more than $100 million.

But Oliver’s plans to bring his eponymous restaurants back in-house under his British parent group hit a snag when the sale was not finalised by the April 11 deadline for a creditors’ meeting mandated under the corporations law.

During an urgent hearing the NSW Supreme Court heard that if an extension of time was not granted, the Jamie’s companies – which are insolvent – would proceed into liquidation, with the loss of more than 300 jobs.

Administrator Katherine Barnet told the court both parties agreed to the sale on December 31 but there had been a delay in finalisation for a number of reasons, including the complexity of the transaction and negotiations with the respective landlords at each restaurant.

Justice Fabian Gleeson agreed on Friday to a four-week extension to reconvene the second meeting of creditors for the Jamie’s entities in order to allow the sale to be completed.

Under the terms of the agreement with Jamie’s Italian International Limited – an English company of which Oliver is a director – all employees will be offered the same or similar jobs with the same terms and conditions.

In January receivers Ferrier Hodgson announced 16 of Keystone’s 17 venues had been sold, with the Dixon Group buying Bungalow 8, Cargo Bar, Manly Wine, The Rook, The Winery, Kingsleys Woolloomooloo and Kingsleys Brisbane.

The Gazebo and Sugarmill Hotel were sold via private sales and Chophouse Sydney was sold to the Solotel Group, which is part-owned by celebrity chef Matt Moran.

The Keystone Group was placed in receivership when it failed to renegotiate an $80 million loan with its financiers, the private equity group KKR and Olympus Capital.

Ms Barnet told the court at least 257 proofs of debt have been received by the administrators worth a total $118 million.

Following Keystone’s shock collapse, Oliver said the Australian franchises were some of the best performing Jamie’s Italian restaurants worldwide and Keystone’s woes were not a reflection on the performance of the restaurants.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Malcolm Turnbull dampens talk of affordable housing focus in budget

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 20 April 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has cooled expectations of an affordable housing “centrepiece” in the budget, even as junior minister Michael Sukkar promised a policy to help first home buyers save a deposit without raiding superannuation.
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For months, senior government sources have privately briefed that the housing affordability package would be the centrepiece of the budget – though they have carefully avoided saying this in public.

But in a clear sign the government is still grappling with rapidly diminishing policy options before the May 9 budget, Mr Turnbull tamped down expectations that housing affordability would be at the heart of the budget.

“I’ve read that in the press, but I don’t think that’s a fair description,” he said on Friday. 96NormalfalsefalseEN-GBX-NONEX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0cm;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

Asked why the Prime Minister was now talking down the housing package, Mr Alexander said: “I don’t know. Maybe he is taking the heat out of the budget.” This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jail school principal’s Facebook attack on her students

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

The principal of the school inside Darwin’s notorious juvenile detention centre went on Facebook to attack compensation payouts to four teenage detainees who had been tear-gassed during riots in the Darwin facility.
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Lisa Coon who is on leave from the Tivendale School said they were her private views and had nothing to with her post as principal.

She told the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory she had been outraged by the payouts that had ranged between $12,000 and $17,000.

“This was money being paid to boys who had caused thousands of dollars damage,” she said.

Ms Coon’s Facebook attacks on detainees was drawn to the attention of the royal commission by Phillip Boulten??? SC, counsel for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency.

She was confirming she had banned NAAJA representatives from coming to her school “until they became more professional” when Mr Boulten raised her frequent recourse to Facebook to attack detainees and make adverse comments about news stories in which young people allegedly committing offences would get off scot free.

Her comments came as the four teenagers tear-gassed at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in 2014 lodged an appeal seeking bigger payouts than awarded last year.

Meanwhile the new Labor NT government announced on Friday that a review of security arrangements at the centre had recommended improved security cameras and electronic surveillance, better training and a full security audit.

The Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield, said the spate of escapes at Don Dale in recent months – eight – was unacceptable and highlighted the urgent need to address security problems.

“Every Territorian has the right to feel safe and expects their homes and businesses to be secure, especially from young offenders being held in detention,” she said on Friday.

Conditions inside Don Dale and the treatment of youths in the centre sparked the ongoing royal commission.

Earlier on Friday, a former youth justice officer rejected suggestions he was “indifferent to his basic human needs” when he had not allowed detainee Dylan Voller to go to the toilet during a 500-kilometre vehicle trip between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek that resulted in his prisoner defecating in his shirt.

Bruce Evans and another officer transported Mr Voller, then 17, in handcuffs and he stayed in the back of a van throughout the journey.

He said this was because Mr Voller had been “extremely abusive and threatening” and that the decision to deny Mr Voller a basic human right “was not made lightly”.

He said Mr Voller was permitted to urinate out the back of the cage doors “in a secluded spot” on the Stuart Highway.

“You say that if Mr Voller did request to use the bathroom again, you did not believe this request to be serious. Do you recognise the absurdity in that remark?” said Peter Callaghan, senior counsel assisting the commission.

Mr Evans: “Well, yes; however, Mr Voller, due to his threats and swearing and carrying on, may have been trying to get himself out of the back of the vehicle.

“He was continually swearing and being disruptive throughout the journey, would often make false complaints in order to get attention.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Revamped HSC maths syllabuses to be delayed

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Students will not be taught the new advanced HSC maths courses until 2019, after teachers and academics were highly critical of the draft syllabuses and warned they should be delayed rather than rushed in.
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The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), formerly the Board of Studies, released new HSC syllabuses for English, history, science and some maths courses in February as part of the first major overhaul of the HSC in 20 years.

But NESA did not release syllabuses for the three higher-level maths courses because they were still being finalised.

Several prominent mathematicians and teachers had criticised the draft higher level maths syllabuses, and warned that the standards authority risked its credibility because the initial drafts were littered with poor mathematical language.

It is understood NESA had been trying to finalise the drafts over the school holidays but there were still concerns with them so the board took the decision to delay the introduction of the calculus-based subjects for another year.

A spokeswoman for NESA said the maths syllabuses would be delayed to ensure they “are of the highest quality, and schools have time to develop effective programs for teaching the syllabuses”.

“The decision follows extensive consultation with teachers, schools, universities and the community to review the calculus-based HSC maths syllabuses,” the spokeswoman said.

“Most recently this has included targeted consultation with experts from schools, sectors, and universities to strengthen the draft syllabuses, which are currently being reviewed by independent experts.”

As part of the overhaul to the HSC syllabuses, NESA said it would create a common marking scale for maths to discourage bright students from studying lower-level maths in order to boost their marks.

As part of the changes, the current general maths will be called standard maths and there will also be a life skills maths course. The mathematics course will be known as advanced maths.

The NESA spokeswoman said the standard syllabus would still be introduced next year but there would be no common scaling with the advanced course until 2020.

Head of SCEGGS Darlinghurst Jenny Allum and the Mathematical Association of NSW had urged NESA to delay the syllabuses for a year.

Ms Allum, a former manager of curriculum at the Board of Studies, said it was important that the review of the syllabuses was not simply a “proof-reading exercise” and more clarity was needed.

In response to drafts, the Mathematical Association of NSW said “after carefully reviewing” all the syllabus-related documents on the NESA website, it could not “confirm whether a number of the recommendations made in the first public consultation were fully or partially adopted.”

“This is mainly due to the lack of the availability of support, assessment and examination materials which play a critical role in the interpretation and implementation of syllabus documents,” the association said.

Education Minister Rob Stokes said: “The important thing here is to make sure that we get the maths syllabuses right, and NESA is taking the time necessary to ensure we maintain the high standards of our internationally-regarded HSC.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Das Hund Haus for sale by raffle

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Family focus: James Sneddon hopes to spend more time with partner Philippa Cave and their daughter Charlotte. He will also be developing his new business Stigma Health, an online sexual health clinic. Picture: Max Mason HubersEVER dreamed of pulling beers at your very own bar?
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Just $25 could make you the new owner of Das Hund Haus at Hamilton, which is being raffled for sale.

Owner of the German themed bar and restaurant James Sneddon hassecured a permit from Liquor and Gaming NSW to hold a trade promotion for two-for-one meal vouchers, which gives buyers five free entries into a lottery to win the business plus $30,000 cash.

He estimated the enterprise was valued at between $150,000 and $225,000.

“I investigated raffles after I saw an Australian couple raffle a tropical island resort last year,” Mr Sneddon said. “I was not even thinking about it for my venue, but when I decided to sellI realised the traditional method didn’t have certainty. I wanted the excitement of a raffle too, to see how it goes and test the entrepreneur in me. I’ve already had people buy tickets from Berlin, Western Australia and Victoria.”

Mr Sneddon said the business would be raffled on August 31 with 31 months remaining on the lease, no debts, less than $2000 worth of alcohol and an offer to train new staff.

The liquor licence will be transferred to the new owner.

He saidhe had the businesson the market for $200,000earlier this year but was unable to reach a deal.

He has sold about 200 vouchers from a goal of 2000, which would be equal to $50,000. “The vouchers encourage buyers to come in and spend more money in the restaurant, so I’m hoping for boost trade,” he said. “But whether I sell 200 or 100,000 tickets, it’s got to go.

“Anything you sell is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. A business takes 37 weeks to sell and I already had it on the market for six weeks before the raffle got approved, and it is open for 20 weeks. If I want to hold out for the full price it might take forever.”

A Liquor and Gaming spokesperson said the office was “reviewing this promotion to determine if it complies with the conditions of its permit and the NSW Lotteries and Art Unions Act”.

“While our inquiries are ongoing, we advise people who are considering taking part in the promotion to carefully review all relevant information including the terms and conditions,” the spokesman said. “The sale of a business or transfer of a lease are primarilycommercial matters not regulated by Liquor and Gaming NSW.”

Mr Sneddon said he had “mitigated risks in so many ways”. “I’m trying to pique people’s interest but I’ve got to earn their trust too,” he said. “I do understand why people are cautious about it, but I’m genuinely just trying to do something different.

“I’ll be looking after the winner and want this to work. If they get cold feet and decide they don’t want the bar, we’ll find someone to buy it in a fire sale.”

Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Alibaba say retailers won’t comply with GST change

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Online retail giants Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Alibaba say the federal government has severely underestimated the threat of rival foreign online retailers failing to comply with its planned GST changes, and consumers will be left worse off.
Nanjing Night Net

Goods bought from overseas sellers and imported to Australia worth less than $1000 are currently GST exempt, but Treasurer Scott Morrison wants to apply the 10 per cent tax to all sales from July 1 this year.

The online retailers on Friday appeared before a federal inquiry held in Melbourne into the proposed legislation.

They told the Senate Economics Committee inquiry that while they were in favour of low-value goods under $1000 attracting GST, the proposed collection method – a vendor-based model of collecting the tax rather than using agencies like Australia Post to collect it – was too difficult to comply with and near impossible to enforce.

Labor has called on the Turnbull Government to delay its implementation for one year, until 1 July 2018.

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said the Turnbull Government had botched its implementation, with Treasury admitting the lack of a Regulation Impact Statement was in breach of the Office of Best Practice Guidelines.

“The Australian Taxation Office, lumbered with a vague plan by the Government, were left to explain that jurisdictions like the USA and China will not enforce the measure on their behalf. Platform compliance is largely reliant on the goodwill of overseas operators,” Mr Leigh said.

Joo Man Park, eBay managing director and vice-president for Australia and New Zealand, addressed the inquiry. Ebay claimed that Treasury officials had told them they expect a 25 to 30 per cent compliance rate.

Mr Park said that eBay did not have tax collection capabilities and reiterated the threat of geoblocking – stopping Australian shoppers from buying goods from overseas – if the changes go ahead.

Amazon director of global trade services Kevin Willis said the collection model was “unworkable” and the bill as it stands may destroy competition and raise prices. He said there had never been a tax of this magnitude and complexity that he’d seen.

KPMG has completed modelling that suggests the government could collect about $930 million by 2019-20 by applying GST on goods purchased by households from overseas valued at less than $1000, but since there would be some level of non-compliance, the actual tax collected would be closer to $650 million if the same ‘logistics model’ was adopted as the collection mechanism. KPMG assumes there will be at least 30 per cent non-compliance among foreign retailers.

Etsy director of public policy Angela Steen said the collection method set “a dangerous precedent for Australian entrepreneurs who export their goods through platforms like Etsy”.

If passed, Australia would be the first country to require foreign sellers and marketplaces to collect and remit GST on any item, no matter how small.

This would significantly impact microbusiness exports around the world, especially through global marketplaces like Etsy. In Australia, more than 90 per cent of Etsy sellers are women and the majority are selling on Etsy to supplement income and pursue their creative passion, she said.

Alibaba director of business development Australia and New Zealand John O’Loghlen said the change would see some foreign retailers and smaller e-commerce players dodge the tax, leaving Australian retailers exposed to the same price pressures they experience now.

“We are strongly of the view that the proposed measures should be abandoned and replaced with a fairer, more effective model based on logistic providers being responsible for the collection of GST on low-value goods,” he said.

Otherwise there would be distortions between those that comply, and those that don’t.

“Given the time and cost associated with complying, coupled with there being no form of solution to identify goods on arrival at the border, modelling indicates that 75 per cent of goods (by value) imported into Australia will continue to go untaxed.”

He said foreign small businesses are particularly disadvantaged on compliance because of the $75,000 GST turnover threshold.

A Chinese hat merchant selling into Australia through AliExpress will see GST will be applied to every single sale, even if this Chinese seller’s entire Australian revenue is just a couple of hundred dollars for the relevant year.

“This is because the proposed measures force the threshold to be assessed at the platform level, in this case AliExpress reaching A$75,000 as a whole, rather than based on the individual seller’s turnover.”

“However, if that exact same hat merchant used their own platform in the form of an individual website, there is no GST unless and until they exceed $75,000 worth of sales in Australia. When they do exceed this mark, the onus will be entirely on them to report and collect the tax.

“The ATO is not equipped to monitor millions of Chinese businesses and because of this, it will create an incentive for some businesses to dodge the tax and cheat the system.”

He said a significant challenge was the many exemptions within Australia’s GST system.

“For example, GST allows basic food and beverages to be GST-free, however, interpretation of prescriptive rules and exemptions result in bizarre outcomes, such as ‘crackers being taxable and dried bread being GST free’. Educating businesses on this complex system would be near impossible.”

The complexities of compliance would result in many low-value goods continuing to be imported into Australia without being subject to GST, thereby not levelling the playing field for Australian businesses.

“Australian businesses will continue to be exposed to price pressures because of non-compliant businesses. For consumers, the proposed measures will reduce access to goods and increase costs.”

“Given the complexity of compliance, it wouldn’t be surprising if overseas vendors stop selling and shipping into Australia as they do not have the resources to comply. Those that do attempt to comply will likely be forced to increase prices or charge consumers an administration fee to bear the cost of additional paper work.”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.