Monthly Archives: December 2018

Slater held by police after altercation

The venue: The Mojo nightclub in Bridge Street, Manchester, where the scuffle took place. Photo: Michael Carayannis .
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Billy Slater’s wife defends star’s actions

Australian fullback Billy Slater was detained by British police – and then released without charge – following yet another incident involving the Kangaroos in Manchester.

Just weeks after Canberra enforcer Josh Papalii was robbed by two men while withdrawing £200 ($342) at an ATM, Slater was arrested and placed in custody after a scuffle outside a nightclub. After co-operating with police, he was released on Monday evening (Sydney time). Police say the Melbourne player was the victim and will not be charged.

“A verbal altercation took place between two men outside Mojos on Bridge Street,” A police statement said. “One of the men threw a punch at the other, so the victim retaliated and punched him back in self-defence. The police were called, and both men, a 30-year-old old man from Australia and a 40-year-old man from Manchester, were arrested on suspicion of affray.

“Officers have now viewed CCTV of the incident, and the 30-year-old man has been released with no further charge. The 40-year-old remains in police custody for questioning.”

The Kangaroos were given a night off to celebrate their 50-0 flogging of Ireland in Limerick. With a week between games, it’s understood some of the players had a few drinks. The evening appeared to begin harmlessly enough, with Slater posting footage of the festivities on Instagram. A 15-second clip shows teammate Greg Bird on the dancefloor performing a cartwheel. The Gold Coast forward then breaks into a spirited rendition of the Belinda Carlisle hit Heaven is a Place on Earth, with dance moves. However, the night took a turn for the worse.

“Australian Rugby League team management can confirm player Billy Slater was detained by police this morning and has been released without charge,” a Kangaroos statement said. “After reviewing CCTV footage of a scuffle outside a Manchester nightclub, police have determined that Slater was the victim who then acted in self-defence, and has informed him of his right to press charges.

“Billy was returning to the venue to collect his jacket that he left behind when he was attacked. Both men were detained for several hours while police reviewed footage of the incident. The Australian team players were free of official duties after returning from Ireland.”

Fairfax Media was told another player’s actions could warrant investigation but this could not be confirmed on Monday night.

In another incident a fortnight ago, Papalii was targeted by thieves. Papalli could not clearly recall what happened but it’s believed his assailants were armed.

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DVD: Man of Steel 

MAN OF STEEL (M)
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Warner Bros, 143minutes

MAN of Steel, the latest film version of Superman, is not just any origin story, it’s the origin story.

Deeply serious, it presents Henry Cavill’s grown Kal-El, the interstellar refugee from the planet Krypton who arrived on Earth as a baby, as a Christ-like figure. When exiled to save him from Krypton’s destruction, the infant’s mother, Lara (Ayelet Zurer), fears he will be considered a freak on the distant blue world, while his noble father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), believes he will be treated like a god. No pressure to deliver, then.

This 3D blockbuster was directed by Zack Snyder, whose previous films include 300 and Watchmen, but it was conceived, plotted and eventually scripted by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, the creative mainstays of a Batman reboot that gave us a stern Dark Knight trilogy obsessed with simplistic moral dilemmas and major cape fear.

The previous attempt to relaunch the DC Comics character, Bryan Singer’s now shunned Superman Returns from 2006, was very much in the tradition of Richard Donner’s Superman, the pleasurable 1978 film that possessed a healthy sense of humour when it came to Christopher Reeve’s Kal-El hiding out as bespectacled reporter Clark Kent and tangling with Gene Hackman’s villain Lex Luthor.

There are no gags to be enjoyed here, and even smiles are in short supply. This is as serious as a superhero movie gets – Tony Stark’s Iron Man would never hang with this guy – and, at a certain point, you may wonder if the stoic self-regard of Man of Steel occasionally stifles the picture. Even Nolan’s Batman, played by the intense Christian Bale, had a yen for gadgets and a cover as a playboy to lighten his dark demeanour.

Yet the strongly edited first 80minutes of this 143-minute epic are as good as Snyder has achieved. The digital effects are numerous, but for once Snyder has offset them with natural light and outside locations, and the film achieves a purposeful opening with Jor-El sending his newborn son (and Krypton’s genetic tree of life, the Codex) to safety even as a military coup rages against a ruling hierarchy that has condemned the planet to destruction.

On Earth, Clark wanders from the cornfields of Kansas to various extremes, reflecting on a childhood where he was urged to hide the great powers our sun bestows on him by his adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner respectively). They baldly reiterate themes that Clark also later muses on, such as how humanity will treat this messiah, but strong performances from the pair cushion the sometimes obvious material.

At the centre of it all, brooding even when he’s bare-chested, the 30-year-old English actor Henry Cavill is so impossibly handsome that it takes a while to appreciate how he underplays Kal-El/Clark.

As ace Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane, Amy Adams brings a welcome spark to the movie (nearly all the aforementioned smiles emanate from her), but there’s hardly a flirtatious bond between Lois and Superman.

The concept of a superhero turning his back on his destiny is a juicy one, but Man of Steel is too besotted with the character’s mythology to explore the notion.

Great mountains of rubble are generated, but the final act’s perpetual fighting is too loud and too desperate for the worthy comic-book movie that Man of Steel initially tries to be. It isn’t a failure but, in a movie fixated on explicitly contrasting choices, it ends up trying to please everyone.

Rating: ★★★

– Craig Mathieson

GOD COMPLEX: Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel.

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Perth Glory backs decision to sign former Arsenal captain William Gallas

New Perth Glory A-League recruit William Gallas Photo: Paul Kane New Perth Glory A-League recruit William Gallas talks to the media with club CEO Jason Brewer. Photo: Paul Kane
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Perth Glory manager Alistair Edwards has hit back to criticism of WA’s signing of former English Premier League star William Gallas.

Although he does believe that five international players per club is too many.

Gallas, 36, a former Arsenal captain, Chelsea and Tottenham defender and French international, arrived in to Perth over the weekend and signed to play for Glory this morning.

He is available for the clash against Adelaide United at nib Stadium on Saturday after passing a medical examination.

Edwards dismissed criticism from former Socceroo Craig Moore who suggested that the A-League should not be focusing on signing foreign defenders as marquee players who are at the end of their careers.

Moore said that he believes A-League club should be filling those positions with home-grown talent.

“I am a massive advocate for foreign imports into the league – particularly quality ones,” Edwards said.

“I believe the current number of five is too many and my preference is to decrease that so we can then develop our own Australian-based players.

“Having said that, we need the foreign talent to come in and it’s great that we can entice world class players into the competition.

“He’s coming in to an environment where we have a lot of young really driven players who want to make a success of their career and what better way to do that than with someone who has had or is still having such a great career.

“Some of the players in the backline in particular are pushing really hard for Socceroos’ selection and if they can harness some little insights in how to be a world class player and play in world class leagues, it’s going to be great for everyone.”

Gallas arrived in to the A-League from English Premier League club Tottenham, where he played 61 games. He also played 101 with Arsenal, 159 with Chelsea and 84 with the French national side.

The former Arsenal skipper played in the 2006 World Cup, where France finished runner-up to Italy.

He was also a senior member of the controversial 2010 team and scored the goal in the qualifying rounds to end the Republic of Ireland’s chances of reaching the finals, after Thierry Henry had handled the ball.

Around 100 Glory fans welcomed Gallas at the airport, which surprised him.

“I didn’t expect that. I want to say thank you to them. I hope at the end of the season, the fans will be very, very happy,” he said. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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OPINION Flow-on benefits boost wider community

Stephen Galilee is NSW Minerals Council CEO.
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The economic gains from mining have a long reach, writes Stephen Galilee.

IN some of the public debates about mining, it can be easy to forget the real people in the Hunter – the miners, their families and those working in businesses such as pubs, clubs, cafes and motels, and as electricians, plumbers and mechanics. They rely on mining to provide jobs and deliver economic stability.

New evidence shows the economic benefits of mining in the Hunter extend well beyond the mining sector and across the broader Hunter economy, helping to generate small business activity and support non-mining jobs.

Our recent survey of NSW mining spending found that mining companies spent $4.6billion in the Hunter last year with almost 5000 businesses that supplied goods or services to mining operations. This direct spending supported thousands of other businesses and jobs in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and engineering to retail and hospitality.

Across the Hunter, another $1.7billion was directly spent by mining companies on the salaries of 12,000 miners, who spent at least some of this money locally.

The total of $6.3billion in direct spending by mining companies on wages, and goods and services in the Hunter, was estimated to have contributed 35per cent of the gross regional product of the Hunter in 2012-13. It’s a big contribution to the economic strength of a region that underpins the strength of the state.

This $6.3billion of mining money is being spent across the region by mining companies and workers, with flow-on benefits across the broader economy. It means mining trucks repaired at Mount Thorley, family cars serviced in Cessnock, beer bought for mates in Newcastle, motels booked in Muswellbrook, meals ordered at restaurants in Singleton, and hair styled and cut in Cessnock.

These are the types of businesses that contribute so much to the fabric of Hunter communities and make up the membership of chambers of commerce.

It’s businesses like these, along with the associated jobs, that make it critical for the state government to get the policy settings right for mining.

Good policies can foster opportunities for mining in NSW. Good policies include an efficient regulatory system, an uncomplicated and timely project assessment process, adequate public infrastructure investment, and a competitive tax regime.

Bad policies can strangle opportunity and cost investment and jobs. Bad policies include a lack of infrastructure investment, increased taxes, and a cumbersome regulatory system.

If we want mining to continue to drive economic activity in the Hunter, the NSW planning system must be fixed to provide certainty and stability for the future.

The government should also commit to an Industry Action Plan for Mining. In NSW we have such plans for professional services, manufacturing, education and research, the visitor economy, the digital economy, and the creative industries.

A plan for mining would be recognition of the strategic economic benefit of the industry for the Hunter and NSW economy, including for jobs, investment, trade, infrastructure, regional development and energy supply.

These policy measures will help ensure a strong and vibrant mining sector that continues to deliver economic strength and jobs for the Hunter and for NSW.

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OPINION Use of public land is under state scrutiny

Jacquie Svenson is a Newcastle solicitor who teaches at the University of Newcastle legal centre.
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THE Newcastle community is already fighting in the Land and Environment Court to prevent private development on an iconic piece of its Crown land heritage, in the form of a challenge to a wedding reception centre on King Edward Headland Reserve.

And now, as soon as the state government gets the numbers, the NSW upper house will debate legislation that, if passed in its current form, could fundamentally change the way you and I enjoy public land in NSW.

The Crown Lands Amendment (Multiple Land Use) Bill 2013, already passed in the Lower House, will give the government power to lease or license for any use it likes land that’s earmarked for public recreation, as long as it will not “materially harm” the public recreational use. And whether it does that will be a question solely for the Minister for Crown Lands.

The change will also give the minister the power to cure any current uses on public recreational land that are for a different purpose, but won’t “materially harm” that use. And if you want to bring a challenge to a private use as part of a planning challenge, you’ll have to give the Crown six months’ notice beforehand. Tricky when the limitation period on planning matters in the Land and Environment Court is three months at most.

At present the NSW government can only grant a private lease on public recreational land if it is in the public interest to do so, and “due regard” has been had to the principles of Crown land management.

To date, at least, it has mostly had too much political good sense to do so.

However, the tabling of this legislation suggests an alarming trend towards curing incompatibility with public use in the interests of income to the state, rather than addressing and preventing wrong use for the good of the people of NSW.

Much of the land affected would have been swallowed up long ago by development if it weren’t for protection under the Crown Lands Act.

The legislation has been expressly stated as being to prevent the perceived result of a Court of Appeal case (Goomallee) that, perhaps rudely, applied the NSW government’s own law to prevent grazing on public recreational land because grazing was “not” public recreation, nor was it “in furtherance of or incidental to” it.

Previously, the general legal consensus had been that secondary uses were lawful as long as they were not “inconsistent” with the use; so grazing was fine as long as, for example, you didn’t mind camping among a few sheep.

Goomallee meant that, unless the sheep themselves were camping, grazing would not be allowed there. As a result of Goomallee, suddenly all the leases the government has granted on public recreational land that weren’t for the purpose of public recreational land (and going by its reaction, there must be a few) are in the spotlight – and on the hotplate.

In fact the legislation will take the management of public recreational land back to a much lower watermark than “inconsistency” before Goomallee. Really, the excuse for the legislation – to cure current leases that are potentially unlawful after Goomallee – seems to be a bit of a storm in a teacup: many of the examples of the “8000” interests given in the minister’s second reading speech (the CWA halls, the Men’s Sheds, the libraries and community halls) probably could be characterised as, or as “ancillary to” or “in furtherance of”, public recreation. So they are not under threat from the case. As for the preschools, council chambers and Rural Fires Service and Marine Rescue facilities, there aren’t 8000 of those; wouldn’t it be simpler and less Machiavellian to gazette an additional purpose for those reserves, in accordance with the transparent and publicly accountable process under the Crown Lands Act?

These are ‘‘Ma and Pa’’ uses that most Australians would want to protect even though they are on recreational land. But passing legislation of this breadth and impact just to regularise those situations is major overkill.

It has to be speculated: the real purpose of the bill is to protect the lease rents and licence fees for private uses on public land that have been quietly adding to Treasury’s coffers for decades. Exclusive wedding reception centre on one of the best views in NSW, anyone?

King Edward Park headland reserve

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