Woman tells royal commission of the night she realised her husband Grant Davies was a paedophile

The former wife of dance teacher Grant Davies fought back tears as she told a royal commission about the night she discovered her husband of more than a decade was a paedophile.

The woman, given the pseudonym BZB, gave evidence that she was at home with the couple’s young daughter in April 2013 when she checked Davies’ computer.

She found messages he sent to a student, then aged about 13, and photos the student sent to him.

“The content of the messages was sexually explicit,” she said.

“There were messages in which Grant was saying ‘Delete the messages so your mum doesn’t see’. It seemed to me that Grant was grooming [the student]. I also found various photos of [the student] wearing a g-string.”

BZB printed out the material and contacted Davies’ sister and business partner in the RG Dance school, Rebecca Davies.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard BZB and Ms Davies reported the matter to police, against the wishes of other family members.

“[Grant’s parents] didn’t necessarily feel like it was something we needed to go to the police about,” she said.

Davies was arrested and charged with 63 child sex offences in May 2013, pleading guilty to a string of charges in September last year. He is in custody awaiting sentencing in May.

BZB told the commission Davies was violent towards her during their marriage and was the subject of two apprehended violence orders but, before her discovery of the material on his computer, she did not believe he would sexually abuse children.

“Even though I knew he was emotionally and physically abusing me, I never once through that Grant was capable of harming a child,” she said.

“He convinced me that he was a loving father, that he genuinely cared for his students and that he could be relied upon to have these children’s best interests at heart.”

She accused police and the Department of Family and Community Services of failing to properly address allegations about Davies which first surfaced in 2007 after parents complained he sent sexually explicit messages to teenage students.

“I believe that the authorities who had knowledge of both his domestic violence and the full nature of the allegations laid against him in 2007 did not do enough to protect those around him,” she said.

“I believe that the system failed us by not informing us of the danger he posed.”

Representatives from NSW Police and the Department of Family and Community Services are due to give evidence at the hearing into performing arts schools later this week.

BZB, a primary school teacher who used to perform comedy routines with Davies, said he would belittle her if she questioned his behaviour with students.

“I ended up feeling like I was the crazy one,” she said. “I ended up feeling like I was being silly.”

BZB divorced Davies in the middle of last year.

Rebecca Davies told the commission she could have done more to protect children at the school.

“I failed to do the right thing in seeing [Davies’ behaviour] as a red flag of paedophilia,” she said.

The inquiry before Justice Jennifer Coate continues.

For help or information call Lifeline 13 11 14; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 or the Royal Commission 1800 099 340.

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Australia sends asylum seekers back to Indonesia

Indonesian crewmen Isai Rano (left with blue towel) and Lajimu (right) from Kupang at the East Nusa Tenggara water police office. Photo: Joy Christian Three Bangadeshi nationals wait at the East Nusa Tenggara water police office after being returned to Indonesia.3 Bangladeshi2 indonesian crew with blue towels. Isai rano (brown shirt) lajimu (grey shirt) both from kupang. Photo: Joy Christian

People smuggler cash scandalBoat turn-back payment to people smugglers the first of its kind

Jakarta:  Six Bangladeshis were returned to Indonesia on Indonesian fishermen’s boats after being intercepted by the Australian Border Force, according to an Indonesian police officer.

East Nusa Tenggara water police chief Teddy J.S. Marbun told Fairfax Media the six Bangladeshi “suspected illegal immigrants” left Kupang with two Indonesians on March  3. “They made it to Australian (waters) but their boat sunk,” he said. “The eight people then were rescued by an Australian customs ship for three days.”

Mr Teddy said the men were then transferred onto nearby Indonesian fishing boats that were fishing near Ashmore Reef. “They can’t understand each other’s language, so they just used sign language,” Mr Teddy said. “The fisherman were given fuel and supplies, they know if you breach Australian waters, they will turn you back. So they took the eight people back.”

Australian Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg tweeted that Australian Border Force maritime patrol had assisted an Indonesian vessel in distress.

“The vessel was NOT scuttled – was unseaworthy and sank. Pax (passengers) assisted & okay,” he tweeted. The boat’s skipper, Isai Rano, 34, said he had been offered 92 million rupiah (about $AUD9000) to take the six Bangladeshis to Australia.

“We used 35million rupiah to buy a boat. We kept a fee of 10million and gave 47million to our family.”

Mr Isai said they left for Australia on the morning of March 3. “After sailing for three days, our boat sank, the Australian navy saved us. We were interrogated aboard the navy ship. When they found Indonesian fishing boats, we were transferred onto them on monday. We were given rice and life jackets and the fishermen were told to take us back to Kupang.”

The incident comes two weeks before the main regional forum to combat people smuggling is held in Bali. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will attend the Bali process, which is co-chaired by Indonesia and Australia.

Australia’s boat push-back policy is a sore point in the Indonesia-Australia relationship. Indonesia considers the policy an affront to its sovereignty and an example of one country pushing its responsibility onto another.

Mr Teddy said two days into the journey back to Indonesia some of the fishermen’s boats had engine problems. “That was when the water police found them. We evacuated them to the water police post.”

Mr Teddy said the skipper, Mr Isai, and the second Indonesian crew member were being interviewed by police. He said the six Bangladeshis were suspected illegal immigrants and were now being detained at an immigration detention centre in Kupang.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: “The government doesn’t comment on operational matters.”

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Western Sydney Wanderers marquee Dario Vidosic reveals Swiss hell at FC Sion

Doesn’t miss Swiss league: Wanderers star Dario Vidosic. Photo: Mark KolbeThe grass isn’t always greener for footballers aspiring for Europe, just ask Dario Vidosic.

Misdiagnosed injuries, late payments, undelivered win bonuses and a short-tempered interventionist owner who made seven coaching changes in two years made his Swiss foray seem like torture. Despite making 51 appearances over two seasons with FC Sion and establishing himself as an entertaining player in the league, Vidosic has no plans to return to Europe. At 28, he plans to remain in Australia where for all the gulf in stature, players are afforded much greater working conditions than other more established leagues.

After an impressive six months at FC Sion, the problems began to surface. The fractures began with their outspoken and volatile president Christian Constantin who was twice so furious with performances of coaches that he took charge of the coaching duties and officiated games from the dugout.

“We had this one guy who does what he wants. There were times he delayed payments, win bonuses were promised and he wouldn’t pay. It was a circus. You leave your family, you leave your friends, you want professionalism and good coaching. I can’t even describe how we were treated at times,” Vidosic said. “He was probably the most crazy [football] president in Europe, I’d say.”

It continued with the club’s coaches ignoring medical advice, diminishing a ruptured posterior ligament in his knee as a simple knock. A month-long stint on the sidelines extended to 14 weeks due to their refusal to allow proper medical treatment.

Amid the pressure of a president happy to sack coaches, it wasn’t long before players became scapegoats for poor results. Vidosic was publicly said to have given up on the club and lost interest when absent from a game despite being hospitalised with a serious virus.

“I was sent to hospital, had a bad rash, vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating, had a bad virus. My face was swollen and turned purple and even my teammates feared for me a little bit,” Vidosic said. “I was sick for two weeks in hospital and then the coach comes out and says I was saving myself for the World Cup.”

Despite having other options to remain in Europe, the experience at FC Sion prompted Vidosic to return to Australia. He says the standard of the A-League is not far off that of the Swiss league with the fewer number of games the only major detraction. However, the standard of player welfare offered in the A-League is significantly greater than he experienced at Sion.

“The A-League provides a level of professionalism that sometimes Europe doesn’t. When you’re young you just think of going to Europe. There’s a lot of leagues there, a lot of good football and a lot of good coaches. You want these things but you don’t always get that,” he said.

Vidosic missed the Wanderers’ 3-2 defeat to Brisbane Roar last weekend due to a hamstring injury the previous week against Perth Glory but is confident of returning to play Newcastle on Sunday having returned to full training on Wednesday. 

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No panic at Sydney FC despite slipping out of top six, says David Carney

Glass half full: David Carney of Sydney FC, left. Photo: Quinn Rooney
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A-League chief Damien de Bohun resigns from FFA

Sydney FC’s title challenge has diminished spectacularly over the past few months but David Carney believes the team is only a win or two away from getting their season back on track.

The Sky Blues play host to Wellington Phoenix at home on Saturday evening and with the New Zealand side one of two whose season is already over, Graham Arnold’s side cannot afford anything less than a resounding victory in the race to the finals.

Having gone winless in their past seven A-League games, Sydney have fallen into the bottom four for the first time this season, with the rampaging Perth Glory a point ahead in sixth following their win over the Newcastle Jets.

But Carney doesn’t feel there’s a mood of panic among the players despite recent results.

“We definitely need results, but what’s done is done,” the utility player said before training at Macquarie University on Thursday.

“The performances have been good, so there’s still a lot of positives with the players. Everyone backs everyone and we can beat anyone.

“We’re not nervous but we’ve just got to make sure we start delivering and take it game-by-game. We’ve got five games left, and like Graham Arnold said, it’s a mini-tournament for us now. We’ve got to make sure we win on Saturday and kick on from there.

“We’re at home. It’s a game that we must win, so basically all that [recent results] is out the window. When we play them we’ve just got to concentrate and we really need the points.”

The former Socceroo rejects the idea that Sydney are out of form, and reckons they should have beaten Melbourne City, despite losing 3-0 to their hosts.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve ‘struggled’ – we’ve just had a great win against the Asian champions [Guangzhou Evergande]. The performance against City was good but we just didn’t get that early goal that we deserved,” he said. “We’ve done our analysis of the last few games and there’s a lot to be positive about. We kept the ball really well from Melbourne City.

“We were just really unlucky to concede right at the end of the first half but if anyone deserved to win, looking at that performances, especially in the first half, I think it was us. But we just need to take our chances and hopefully we can do that this week.”

Carney said if there was anything that needed to be improved upon, it was converting early chances.

“Scoring an early goal would be nice, which would then give us the confidence for our performance [in terms of] keeping the ball and possession,” he said. “If you get an early goal, I think we’d win that game comfortably against Melbourne City, who are one of the best in the league. I think it’s just a confidence thing at the minute and a bit of luck. If we can have a bit more luck, we’ll be fine.

“But we showed character against Melbourne Victory in the game before. We were down to ten men and they probably should have won it, but we got a goal back, so that gave us a lift and then we went into the Champions League. Last week was obviously a bit of a hiccup result-wise but the performance was still there, so there’s definitely a lot of positives.”

The pressure is on Carney and the rest of the attacking quartet to find the back of the net having scored just 27 goals in 21 games, a figure even lower than this week’s opponents’ and only one ahead of wooden spooners-in-waiting, the Central Coast Mariners.

They’ll have to do it the hard way against Ernie Merrick’s team, with Matt Simon in doubt due to a rib injury and Alex Brosque out for at least another month with a recurring hamstring problem.

“It’s definitely hard losing those players. Matty Simon is a different player to Brosque, he gives us that physical presence, but we’ve got Shane Smeltz, who is class,” Carney said. “Losing ‘Brosquey’ is hard but hopefully we can get him back for the playoffs. I think any team would be upset at losing Brosque, he’s one of the best players in the A-League, but that’s part of football. We’ve just got to carry on and get in the finals and hopefully he’s back by then.”

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ASX locked in epic battle between bulls and bears

Volatility is being driven by a battle for supremacy between the market bulls and bears, both unsatisfied with a low growth paradigm, T Rowe Price’s David Eiswert says. Photo: Wayne TaylorGlobal sharemarkets are trapped in an epic battle between bulls and bears, both equally frustrated by the lack of justification for their views, creating the recent wild swings that are stunning investors.
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Global growth is slow, but not contracting; inflation is low, but deflation is kept at bay, and China’s landing, hard, soft or otherwise is unknown.

Every shred of economic data is being pounced on by both sides eager to add weight to their view of the world, resulting in volatility, David Eiswert, a US-based portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price told Fairfax Media on a visit to Melbourne.

“The world is not leveraging up and creating as much debt as it was prior to the global financial crisis, causing a very unsatisfactory paradigm of very low growth,” he said. “It’s not low enough for there to be a major crisis, and it’s not high enough to get people satisfied that it is breaking out.”

Investors have become used to six-monthly crises, a post-GFC phenomenon that has resulted in a short-term view on previously tightly held stocks, including financials.

The resulting volatility means investors hop from one stock to another, buying in dips and selling when they become overvalued on the recovery. Renting, not investing

“You’re renting things and you’re not really investing and it drives people really crazy,” Mr Eiswert, who manages T Rowe Price’s Global Focused Growth Equity fund, which holds about 70 stocks, said.

Those not wanting to play the game moved into “crowded” trades such as healthcare, industrial and technology stocks, which are anything but a value buy.

The Australian sharemarket is susceptible to these plays because is a highly concentrated index, he said.

The evidence can be seen in the high forward price-to-earnings ratios of the growth stocks including Domino’s Pizza Enterprises which is trading on a forward P/E ratio of up to 57-times versus the broader markets’ 16-times earnings. Local bulls, foreign bears

The ASX also may be caught in its own tug-of-war between bullish local investors and bearish overseas investors.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the lower Australian dollar had attracted investors to short-sell the Australian market.

“If you are a US investor, if you sell the index at 5100, and the Australian dollar falls to US73¢ and it stays at 5100, you’ve got a profit anyway,” he said.

Australian investors, who have turned less pessimistic on their own market were being “pitted against” the bearish international investors, clashing in banking and mining stocks.

The resulting wild swings in the share prices of heavyweight miners such as BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group are evidence of this.

Fortescue’s share price rallied 24 per cent on Monday, the result of short-selling activity and a surge in iron ore future prices, the company said in a response to a ‘please explain’ from the Australian Securities Exchange. Lift in ore prices

Terry Campbell, chairman of the Australian Foundation Investment Company also said much of the pain endured by mining stocks was caused by international investors using them as a proxy for their bearish view on China. Short sellers target Australian stocks linked to China because it was a liquid and well-ordered market.

The materials sub index has risen 15 per cent since the market fell into bear territory in February, led in part by a lift in iron ore prices, which have posted a remarkable recovery.

On Monday the benchmark price of iron ore for delivery to Qingdao rose 19 per cent, however it swung back on Thursday, retreating 9 per cent.

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Litbits, March 9 2016

George Megalogeniswill be the guest at a Canberra Times/ANU event on March 22. Photo: ClemsonTHE 2016 JOLLEY PRIZE
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Entries are open for the 2016 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize with a first prize of $7000. Entries must be a single-authored short story of between 2000 and 5000 words, written in English. Stories must not have been previously published or be on offer to other prizes or publications for the duration of the Jolley Prize. Entries close at midnight on April 11. Website: australianbookreview南京夜网419论坛. What’s on

March 15: Join economists Tom Bentley and Stephen Koukoulas in conversation with Guardian Australia political editor Lenore Taylor as they discuss how and why Australia needs a new way to develop its competitive advantage in a globalised economy. Muse Canberra, 6pm. Tickets $10 includes a drink. Bookings: musecanberra南京夜网419论坛.

March 16-20: The Noted Writers Festival will take place in Canberra with authors, poets, journalists, publishers, editors and more. Website: notedfestival南京夜网.

March 17:Playing the game: The memoirs of Grand Chief Sir Julius Chan will be launched at 5.30pm in the Springbank Room, Level 1, J.G. Crawford Building, 132 Lennox Crossing, ANU. Registration at crawford.anu.edu419论坛/events. Phone 6125 7922.

March 17: At 6pm in the Theatre, lower ground 1, National Library of Australia, Dr Stephen Whiteman, lecturer in Asian Art at the University of Sydney, discusses the significance of printing and publishing in the articulation of Qing imperial authority. Tickets $15 includes refreshments. nla.gov419论坛.

March 18: 7.30am: At Smith’s Alternative, 76 Alinga Street, Canberra, join Noted for some intimate live poetry readings – grab a coffee and share a table to experience one-on-one and small-group performances. Until 9am.

March 18: At 7.30pm in the Main Hall, Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon, The Salt Room is a showcase of writers and performers including The Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary, Jennifer Compton and the BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! team.

March 19-20: In the weekend event at the National Library, Writing China, explore the impact of China on Australian writing. Some events free, some paid, 10am to 5pm daily. nla.gov419论坛.

March 20: At Muse Canberra, Taste Text at 3.30pm features Bryan Martin, Marion Halligan and Michelle Brotohusodo​ talking about food and writing in a panel talk moderated by Fergus McGhie. Tickets: $10 (includes a drink). musecanberra南京夜网419论坛.

March 21: At 6pm in the National Library Bookshop, The Gatekeepers of Australian Foreign Policy 1950-1966 by Adam Hughes Henry will be launched.Bookings: nla.gov419论坛.

March 21: In a Canberra Times/ANU event, Niki Savva​ will discuss her new book, The Road to Ruin. How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin destroyed their own government, with Kerry-Anne Walsh at 6.30pm in Manning Clark lecture theatre 2, ANU. Free but bookings required at anu.edu419论坛/events or call 6125 8415.

March 22: In a Canberra Times/ANU event George Megalogenis will be in conversation with Laura Tingle on his new Quarterly Essay, Balancing Act: Australia between Recession and Renewal. 7pm. Manning Clark lecture theatre 2 ANU. Free but bookings required at anu.edu419论坛/events or call 6125 8415.

Contributions to Litbits are welcome. Please email [email protected]南京夜网419论坛 by COB on the Monday before publication. Publication is not guaranteed.

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Betting preview: Quarter of a century on and David Hayes eyes another Australian Cup

Rising Romance is no Better Loosen Up, let that be known. But she might not have to be. Not in this Australian Cup in particular.
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Twenty-five years after Hayes’ grand stayer added the Antipodean feature to his Japan Cup win the previous year, a slightly greyer version of the trainer – with a nephew as a training partner in tow too – will gang tackle the Australian Cup. Of 11 hopefuls this year the Hayes-Dabernig tag team has three at Flemington.

It only takes one to win though – although most agonised over which one long after stablemates Spillway and Extra Zero hit the line locked together in the group 1 last year – and it wouldn’t surprise to see Hayes add a fourth Australian Cup to the mantelpiece.

Sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same. Extra Zero ($41) is again the despised outsider. Happy Trails ($21) is back at his favourite hunting ground. An import who has already impressed in Australia is at the top of betting.

And maybe the winning trainer will be making a familiar walk to the winner’s stall.

Rising Romance was only fleetingly tested in the traditional Peter Young Stakes lead-up – won so impressively by Godolphin’s Bow Creek ($3.20) – but it was enough to suggest the Australian Cup should be her peak. Her closing sectionals when finally unfurled for a gap made impressive reading. The extra 200 metres and $8.50 make appeal, even allowing for the testing material in Bow Creek.

The Newmarket Handicap? No prizes for predicting Chautauqua, benefiting so much from the softly, softly methods of the Hawkes team, will add a fourth group 1 in Australia’s greatest sprinting handicap despite lumping the 58kg topweight – a winning handicap almost exclusively reserved for Black Caviar and her great sparring partner Hay List in the modern era.

At the $2.50 though it’s backers beware. Japonisme ($3.90) looks the obvious quinella candidate, but maybe ex-West Australian Black Heart Bart ($18) – with the magic touch of Darren Weir now – is worth an each-way nibble.

The Golden Slipper has usually been a Victorian vacuum in recent years. Success this time of year in Sydney is rare. But before Mick Price boasts the two favourites in the world’s richest two-year-old race next week, a couple of Price’s fellow Caulfield trainers will stand shoulder to shoulder with top Coolmore Classic hopes at Rosehill.

Perhaps Ciaron Maher’s Azkadellia ($5.50) is the way to go. Third-up and with her supporters still wondering how she made ground on Flemington’s conveyor belt on Derby Day last campaign, she is well worth entertaining with just the 53kg of Brett Prebble to carry.

Favourite Ghisoni ($4.60) will have to carry even less with another Asian-based ex-pat of Corey Brown steering, but perhaps the more seasoned mares – chief among them Lucia Valentina – should be given more respect in early markets despite the filly’s obvious class.

* Odds supplied by Ladbrokes


Flemington (race 6): Black Heart Bart ($4.30 place)

Flemington (race 7): Rising Romance ($8.50)

Rosehill (race 3): Calliope ($3.80)

Rosehill (race 7): Azkadellia ($5.50)

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

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Jon English honoured as ‘national treasure’

Missed: Jon English will be remembered at Beaumont Street Carnivale with one minute of silence. He last performed in the region in December 2015 at Wests.
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JON English has beenremembered across the world as a multi-talentedsinger-songwriter, actor and star of bothrock musicals and theatre.

But the many Hunter friends he made on regular trips to the region are also cherishing the off-stage memories they madewith their mate,whothey describe as warm, humble, generous andlarger than life.

“He was mymentor, friend, bandmate, inspiration and a really easy guy to get along with,” said Newcastle-based musician Amy Vee.“He had so many great stories to tell because he lived such a rich and wonderful life.”

The British-born Logie and ARIA winner, aged 66,died on Wednesday after post-operative complications. He had reportedly been taken toNewcastle’s John Hunter Hospital with broken ribs, but suffered anaortic aneurysm.

English was in the middle of an Australian tour andwas due to appear at the Beaumont Street Carnivale on Sunday, but announcedon Monday he had to cancel the show “on the advice of his doctors”.

He had also been planning to spend Saturday watching Amy Vee perform in the closing night ofEvitaat the Civic Theatre.The pair met when English saw Vee performinRentat The Playhouse.

Vee said theyhad been in close contact over the past week and she had brought him flowersin hospital.

“I commented when I saw him that he looked well, all things considered,” said Vee, who described herself as “utterly broken” by English’s death.

“We sat and chatted and he was in great spirits.

“He was scheduled to have surgery but it should have been pretty routine, so this is a shock to us all.”

English cast Vee in his 2009production Buskers and Angels.She has toured with him since 2011.

“I’ve got so much to thank him for and owe him so much,” she said.“He took me under his wing and I learned so much from him, it was a great opportunity to hone my craft.He’sa national treasure and made such a lasting impact on all the people who met him.”

Lizotte’s proprietor Brian Lizotte wasworking in catering onJesus Christ Superstar when he met English.

English, who started in the 1990s TV sitcom All Together Now,became a regular fixture over the past 12 yearson the Lizotte’scalendar and performed at the venues abouttwice a year.

“He became part of our family,” Lizotte said.“He loaded in his own gear and wasthe first one to get there and the last one to leave after meeting fans and having a few drinks with staff.”

English was one of the last musicians to perform at the now-closed Kincumber venue and spent an afternoon commiserating on the deck.

Rock City Event Marketing director Peter Anderson said his company had worked with English since about 1980 and booked performances in the region every 18 months to two years.

“Jon was a regular visitor to the Hunter and his death is a loss for the region,” Mr Anderson said.

“Most people over 35 would have seen a Jon English performance.”

Mr Anderson said English played at venues including theformerNewcastle Workers Club, WestsLeagues Club, in Muswellbrook, Cessnock and the Central Coast and in musicals at the Civic Theatre.He often stayed at the Boulevard On Beaumont.

“He had a very strong following here,” Mr Anderson said.“He had aunique voice, he does not sound like anyone else, he sounds like Jon English.

“He had a number of strong hits over the years that he mixed with more recent material and had quality musicians around him.He was just larger than life and absolutely able to engage with an audience and share his enthusiasm.”

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Boom times to bust for unemployed miner

Starting over: Former miner Brad Mort, with wife Kathy and children, from left, Rayna, 3, Hudson, 6, and Austin, 9, is looking for a new job.Brad Mort is the human face of the mining downturn.

The Stroud 38-year-old was retrenched from his job at the Abel mine near Black Hill in August last year, after the Yancoal operation shed about 170 workers, orclose to two-thirds of workforce.

Mr Mort, a former horticulturalist and vineyard supervisor, had landed what hethought was his dream job in mining less than four years earlier after trying for two years to break into the industry.

“Mining was going gangbusters and I wanted a piece of that pie,” Mr Mort recalls. “My old job was very satisfying, but once the kids came along, I needed something more to secure our future.”

“When I was interviewed at Abel, they told me the mine had 25 to 30 years’ life left in it. I was really excited and grateful; Ithought that was going to see me out.”

Mr Mort loved the camaraderie of his new job, the betterpay packet and the extrafamily time his flexibleroster allowed. But after the firstyear, rumours of cutbacks began to circulate and the roster tightened up.Then, in August 2015, the axe fell.

Determined not to join the swelling ranks of long-term unemployed miners, Mr Mort took a short breakthen immersed himself inretraining, undertaking Certificate IV and diploma courses in Work, Health and Safety.

However, after “40 or 50” job applications, Mr Mort has had very little response and no job offers.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I have invested in the training and committed to thisbeing my future, so I am not ready to abandon it yet,but I can see that in another month or so, if nothing comes up, I will have to look around for whatever work I can get.”

This week’s announcement that 270 jobs are to be shed from the Mount Arthur mine near Muswellbrook brings the number of jobs set to go from Hunter mines this year alone to at least 1000.The Herald reported yesterdaythere was growing support for governments to develop a formal strategy to help mining communities deal with the downturn and unemployed mine workers transition into new roles.

Muswellbrook Mayor Martin Rush has called on the state government to commit $30 million to establishing an Upper Hunter Economic Development Council to address the issues and federal Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon wants to see a regional strategy promoting economic diversity.

Mr Mort said the volatility of the industrywas the reason hedid notconsider another mining job.

“I did a lot of research and decided there wasn’t a lot of future in coal, especially locally. The money andconditions have goneandI think it will be a long time before it turns around in workers’ favour again.”

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Kim Churchill mesmerises crowd at album world premiereGALLERY

Kim Churchill mesmerises crowd at album world premiere | GALLERY CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel. Pictures by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel. Pictures by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel. Pictures by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel. Pictures by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

BIRTHDAY BOYS: Before Kim Churchill’s show kicks off, Grand Junction publican Ben Quinn wishes head chef Drew Fernie and Junkyard music fanatic Gerard Forde a happy birthday. Picture by PERRY DUFFIN

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

CHURCHILL IN SESSION: Kim Churchill premieres his next record at Maitland’s Grand Junction Hotel

TweetFacebookSilence/Win, is a step forward.

The songs are more intricate, stylistically at a crossroads of every folk tradition, from ’60s British pastoral to rhythmic roots.

The arrangements, spurned by Churchill’s kinetic guitar work, have a theatrical sensibility and a perfectionist’s attention to detail.

From the outset his vocal delivery is more diverse, traversing lower registers that evoke the velvet voice of Jeff Buckley.

The melodies and structures serve each lyrical sentiment, narrative and mood, delivered with humble restraint.

Though, of course, these are just the bare bones of each new song- the “unplugged” renditions.

On record they will feature lush arrangements withstring quartets and brass.

But here in the intimate setting of the Grand Junction’s dining room, in front of 60 near-catatonic fans, the stripped-back versions are nothing short of arresting.

Churchill affords the crowd glimpses of his technically capability; momentary flourishes where fingers ripple across the neck too fast to process, a brief flurry of harmonics, songs played entirely over the neck.

He might be Australia’s best guitarist, but he’s not about to prove it.

Intersected with the unreleased songs are some fan favourites, like Don’t Leave Your Life Too Long and Rage (the latter always performed at the publican’s behest).

Churchill also tells stories about the inspiration behind each new work, candidly conveying the rumination that spawned each new composition, from a Sri Lankan sojourn to his grandmother’s innocent romance during the final weeks of her life.

He brings the evening to a close with Window to the Sky, the tune voted to number 42 in last year’s Triple J Hottest 100 countdown.

It’s an appropriate choice.

If this album preview has been any indication, Churchill’s window to the sky is wide open.

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

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Victorian stranglehold on Golden Slipper might unearth another likely prospect

Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing

A Mick Price-led Victorian stranglehold on the Golden Slipper has certainly muddied the two-year-old picture, but another wildcard from south of the border is already eyeing off bigger fish later in the carnival.

Dominant Bendigo maiden winner Meridian Star will provide Jackie Beriman with her first ride at Rosehill, hoping to throw another spanner in the works in the strangest of Golden Slipper build-ups.

Price’s stablemates Extreme Choice and Flying Artie won’t be bundled from the top of betting, but Meridian Star can provide trainer Richard Laming with some food for thought in the Bede Murray Magic Night Stakes, the Golden Slipper’s last-chance saloon.

“More than likely we won’t go to the Slipper and will probably wait for the Sires [Produce], but you never know,” Laming said. “Everything has got to go right obviously.

“I don’t really have a lot of two-year-olds as I don’t push them early. This is the first main prep she’s put her hand up and she’s such a good doing filly in that she’s never left an oat.

“She’s shown a lot of natural ability and the first time we let her head go was at Bendigo the other day. There’s still more improvement there.”

Gai Waterhouse is tipped to press her claims to be three-handed in the Golden Slipper with Prompt Response a $3 favourite with Ladbrokes for the Magic Night Stakes where Godolphin’s Reisling Stakes late scratching Calliope is a $3.60 second elect.

Meridian Star, owned by the emerging Group 1 Racing syndicator, is a $31 chance of causing a boilover in the fillies division.

But it hasn’t deterred the enthusiasm of those attached to the filly, which was passed in for $55,000 at last year’s Easter sale in Sydney and picked up by Group 1 Racing’s Shaun Wallis, who was introduced to Laming through top jockey Michael Rodd.

“We started with one horse and now we’ve got about 10 [together],” Laming said. “We have just taken our time and before [Meridian Star] won we went there pretty confident and she won well.”

Wales will wear the Group 1 red and black colours in Monday’s Adelaide Cup.

The colts will have their chance to stake an 11th-hour Golden Slipper bid in the Pago Pago Stakes with the luckless Mount Panorama a $3.50 favourite in an open betting market.

“He has had excuses in all three starts to date whether it be through missing the start or wet tracks and it looks a nice race for him,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes said. “If we were to consider going onto the Slipper he would have to win and win well though.”

Fellow Rosehill lodger Gerald Ryan has already ruled out a Golden Slipper start for Aviator, a $16 hope in the Pago Pago Stakes, should he earn exemption for the $3.5 million scamper on Saturday week.

“I said to [Vinery Stud’s] Peter Orton, ‘I reckon this horse could measure up in the autumn’,” Ryan said. “Instead of overtaxing him in the spring we gave him five weeks off and started again.

“He worked very well [on Tuesday] morning with an older horse and I love when two-year-olds can do that. He’s going terrific, but he’s another where the Slipper was never on his agenda.”

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

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Anthony Caceres’ injury forces Melbourne City midfield reshuffle ahead of Adelaide game

The topsy turvy nature of this year’s A-League season has led to predictions a team that doesn’t finish in the top two could win the title for the first time, and Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip doesn’t disagree.

The Dutchman takes his City team to Adelaide on Friday night for a game which will have a big bearing on how City’s season pans out.

Van ‘t Schip has a full squad to choose from, barring long-term absentee Corey Gameiro and midfielder Anthony Caceres, who strained his quad at training earlier this week.

He will have to shuffle his midfield to cover for Caceres’ absence and also has the option of recalling defender Connor Chapman at the back.

The fact that City kept only their second clean sheet of the season last week in the 3-0 win over Sydney FC is, however, an argument for him to stick to the status quo, with Paddy Kisnorbo and Alex Wilkinson anchoring the backline.

So far this season Sydney, Melbourne Victory, Brisbane, Western Sydney and now Adelaide have been at the top of the ladder, and with six rounds to go there is plenty of scope for the current pecking order to change dramatically.

Adelaide are currently four points ahead of City, on 39 points. Win on Friday  and City are back in the battle for the minor premiership. Lose, and it is hard to see City regaining lost ground against the Reds, who are currently on the back of a club record 14 game unbeaten streak.

“At the end of the league the momentum where you are is very important,” said van ‘t Schip, at training before his team flew to South Australia.

“It’s that close, it’s changing all the time. Brisbane, Western Sdyney, now Adelaide is on top. If we have a good result in Adelaide we are there in the mix as well. It could all change in the play-offs.”

His sentiments would be shared by Kevin Muscat, coach of defending champions Melbourne Victory, who languish in fifth spot and face a potentially season-defining game in Brisbane on Saturday night, and Kenny Lowe, coach of rapid improvers Perth Glory.

The Glory knocked Sydney out of the top six when they defeated Newcastle Jets on Monday night and like Adelaide they are a team riding their form, having only lost one of their last eight matches.

For Perth a top-two spot is probably out of reach, but they can be a finals wrecking ball from the bottom half of the draw.

For City it is very much a possibility, especially if they can get three points at Hindmarsh and bring the Reds’ run to an end.

Inspired by Aaron Mooy, City ran out 4-2 winners early in the season when the teams met for the first time. Both were in very different places then: Adelaide were winless, and City wildly inconsistent.

Van ‘t Schip won’t put too much store in that last meeting, admitting that despite the scoreline the game could have gone either way.

“I think Amor [Reds coach Guillermo Amor] kept telling people that they were playing well. Maybe they were having transformation because of the coaching change [from Josep Gombau to Amor]. It was a very open game when we won there 4-2. They had chances … sometimes games get decided on certain moments, we just took the moments better than they did.”

He is under no illusion that the task this time will be harder.

“After they started winning it’s all going their way. You can’t be undefeated for 14 or 15 games in a row without being a good team. They have confidence, and they are on fire.”

Van ‘t Schip has urged consistency from his squad, but it has been hard as he has hardly ever been able to field the same starting 11.

“We used a lot of players, especially that first part. Connor Chapman is now fit. He could play a role,  but it’s now about competition and waiting for your chance. When you get it you have to be ready. If players are performing then they can continue.”

The clean sheet against Sydney was a significant boost for the side, says van ‘t Schip.

“It’s very important, the boys understand that if we get that part right [defending] we can really play a big role in the last part of the league and into the play-offs.

“If you don’t get it right it brings uncertainty to the team. We get a great test on Friday against a team that is always playing good football. “

Argentinan midfielder Marcelo Carrusca is the heartbeat of the Adelaide side but it is not just about keeping him quiet, van ‘t Schip says.

“He can set things up, he can dictate, he is intelligent, he is without a doubt a very important player for them. But it’s not all about him, it’s their whole team.”

French winger Harry Novillo, suspended for two weeks by the club for his involvement in a domestic dispute, returned last week against Sydney and is likely to play again.

Van ‘t Schip was reluctant to get drawn into a debate about the volatile striker, content to say he had integrated well on field on his return.

“We have done what we had to do as a club. We talked about it with Harry and the players. He fitted in well with the players, worked hard and that’s the best way to show that he wants to pay [the club] back.”

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Stella prize shortlist authors vie for $50,000 prize

Poet Fiona Wright at ‘Coffee and a Yarn cafe’, Newtown, Sydney. 24th March 2011. Photos: Tamara Dean Photo: Tamara Dean TKDFiction dominates the shortlist for this year’s Stella Prize, with two collections of short stories, three novels and one tranche of essays vying for the $50,000 award that is given to a book by an Australian woman writer that is “original, excellent and engaging”. There were 170 entries.

On the list announced today are: Six Bedrooms, by Tegan Bennett Daylight, a suite of 10 stories, four linked; Hope Farm by Peggy Frew, the second novel by a former Age short-story competition winner and member of Melbourne band Art of Fighting;A Few Days in the Country and Other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower, whose long-out-of-print work has been brought back into print to great acclaim in the past few years; The World Without Us, by Mireille Juchau, who won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for fiction in January; The Natural Way of Things, by Charlotte Wood, a dystopic novel that rages against the abuse of power in our society, and Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by poet Fiona Wright.

Brenda Walker, chair of the judges, said the prize was going from strength to strength.

“A common thread I see – it doesn’t apply to every title – is some kind of vital expansion of Australian women’s literature,” she said. “You can say that Fiona Wright connects her book to Christina Stead – she writes quite a bit about Stead – and you immediately think about Barbara Baynton when looking at a few of the titles. Elizabeth Harrower is part of that literary history and there she is vivid and present. So I see this as a burgeoning of women’s literary tradition, which has often been a little bit oblique to the mainstream, canonical stuff.”

Wright, whose previous work was a collection of poetry, Knuckled, started her essays about anorexia after she had emerged from her first spell in hospital for the eating disorder.

“I had to really reconsider a whole lot of things in my world and in my life and in myself. It felt like everything had been thrown up in the air and I was very much sorting through the pieces of the narrative I’d been telling myself. I think the essays really came out of that – they are such a good form for thinking through.”

But she was quick to point out that Small Acts of Disappearance was not a recovery narrative.

“I find that narrative frustrating. It’s too simplistic and it forces this linearity on a process that is anything but. And it also lends itself or forces a neat ending and I’m not sure that I believe in those.”

In the essays she equates the impulse to starve and the impulse to write. Hunger and writing, for her, are both “mediators”.

“I think that hunger is something that can stand between you and the world. Both as a kind of protection and as away of managing the complexity of the world. Writing, for me at least, is so often a process of making meaning and of finding patterns within things that happen. Hunger has that effect; it’s all about ritual and regularity and predictability, in a way.”

Wright says she has another poetry book in the pipeline but was still writing essays: “I think I’ve fallen in love with essays. I keep writing them, which I never expected to happen. It’s just such a fantastic and flexible form.”

All the shortlisted authors will this year receive $2000 and a three-week writing retreat. The winner of the Stella Prize will be announced on April 19.

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