Monthly Archives: August 2018

More power to you Rosie Batty, Victoria’s Australian of the Year

IF ever there was a deserving recipient of Victoria’s Australian of the Year it is Rosie Batty.
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Ms Batty, whose son Luke was murdered by his father Greg Anderson at cricket practice in February, has become a beacon of hope to the many victims of family violence thanks to her courage in speaking out about the issue.

The community would have understood if Ms Batty had decided to retreat into her shell after suffering the loss of her beloved 12-year-old boy under such horrific circumstances, instead she has become an inspiration.

In the hours after her son’s murder, Ms Batty laid the issue of family violence firmly on the line as an issue that demanded urgent attention when she said it did not matter how rich you were or how intelligent you were, you could still be a victim.

The death of Luke and the courage of his mother forced Australia to sit up and listen.

Family violence is no longer a hidden crisis shrouded in shame and stigma, it is being discussed openly and has become an election issue in Victoria with both sides of politics promising to find bigger and better ways to tackle it.

The state’s chief police commissioner, Ken Lay, has publicly commended Ms Batty for her stance and he too has vowed to play a leading role in fighting it.

Family violence happens every day in Australia and it is mainly women and children who are the victims.

The physical, emotional and social cost of it is immeasurable but it continues to fester in communities causing untold damage to families.

The National Australia Day Council said Ms Batty had transcended personal tragedy to give a voice to victims.

Not everyone has the courage of the new Victorian of the Year and there are many women who are forced to suffer in silence at the hands of their abusers, but they should take heart because there is hope and it is being driven by strong, resilient women like Ms Batty.

Ms Batty received a standing ovation when she accepted her award.

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UTAS deal a key factor: new mayor

POSITIVE LEADER: Burnie’s newly elected Mayor Anita Dow is getting used to her new title. She plans to be a positive leader and has foreshadowed strong community consultation on further developments in the controversial foreshore land saga. Picture: Meg Windram.NEW Burnie Mayor Anita Dow has foreshadowed strong community consultation on further developments in the controversial foreshore land saga.
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The council’s deal with UTAS involving the Makers’ Workshop arts-tourism centre, land and student accommodation units is widely seen as the key factor in Alderman Dow toppling Mayor Steve Kons.

Essentially, he paid the price for community angst on the issue, while Alderman Dow was not badly damaged despite also supporting the plans.

Speaking while Alderman Kons remained a slim mathematical chance of holding on, Alderman Dow said the UTAS deal was a very important factor in the results.

“The decision has been made now around the accommodation being the first stage of that process,” she said. “I think there’s a lot more work to do.

“It’s such an important project for our city and I think that for the next stages of that project with the master planning for the site and future development for that site, the community really needs to play a role in consultation with UTAS and council.”

Asked if it was fair Alderman Kons took the heat for the controversy when the council was united in support of the deal, Alderman Dow said she never denied where she stood on the issue.

“I don’t think any of us have shied away from it . . .”

She said many people dissatisfied with the process had approached her.

She believed having previously being deputy mayor had helped people know what she stood for.

She detected a mood for change in the community and suggested her “different approach” to leadership might have played a role in her strong vote.

She said she tried to be a positive leader.

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Kons accepts public’s choice

“THE public’s always right; that’s all I can say,” beaten Burnie Mayor Steve Kons said yesterday.
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He had been asked if the controversial UTAS Makers’ Workshop and land deal had cost him the job.

Alderman Kons had just conceded he had lost the mayoral race to challenger Anita Dow.

Asked if it was fair an apparent mood for change in Burnie had hit him harder than it did Alderman Dow, he said: “I’m the mayor, so, at the end of the day, it’s the mayor that fronts up to the council, that makes the decisions and doesn’t sit back and say nothing.”

“The mayor always accepts responsibility.”

Alderman Kons was easily re-elected as an alderman and said he would stay on the council.

“There’s a commitment to the public, there’s a whole heap of people who voted for me,” he said.

He did not say whether he would run for mayor again, saying four years was a long way away.

He said he preferred the former system of two-year terms for mayors.

On his term in charge, he said: “We fixed so much stuff, it’s not funny.”

He said the UTAS expansion was the best thing Burnie had ever seen.

Asked if he paid the price for tough decisions, he said: “As mayor, you’re the principal spokesperson for council; it’s the job.”

Asked about how he would act as an alderman alone, he said: “I’ll do exactly what Anita did over the previous term.”

He did not elaborate.

Former mayor and former Kons rival Alvwyn Boyd was on track to replace Sandra French as deputy mayor when Alderman Kons was speaking, although that was far from certain.

“I’ve got to acknowledge Sandra was fantastic as a deputy mayor,” Alderman Kons said.

“I wish Anita well with her deputy.”

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Cancer shock sparks firefighter fund-raiser

A SORE throat and a general feeling of unwellness was all it took for volunteer firefighter Tony Hyde’s world to come crashing down around him.
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Throat Cancer patient and volunteer fire fighter Tony Hyde pictured with his granddaughter Izabella Waud 9months and Daughter Alexandra Hyde all of Latrobe.

The fit and healthy Latrobe man was preparing to run a half-marathon in Melbourne when a consistently sore throat and a feeling of a lump in the back of his throat sent him to his GP, where he received earth-shattering news.

Mr Hyde was diagnosed with advanced throat cancer in July.

A 13-centimetre tumour was found growing in Mr Hyde’s throat, which he described as a very confronting experience.

Since then, Mr Hyde has been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment and the upbeat man said his tumour had been responding to the treatment and his prognosis was good.

“It looks like it’s shrunk a bit and the doctors think that it will be shrunk to nothing and be gone by the end of my treatment,” he said.

He said he thought it was important to share his story and raise more awareness among the residents of not only the North-West Coast but more widely in the state.

In 2010, Tasmania had 94 reported diagnosed cases of head and neck cancers, and of those 94 cases, there were 40 deaths.

Cancer Council Tasmania chief executive Penny Egan said head and neck cancers such as throat cancer were often referred to as “forgotten cancers” as they didn’t have the profile of others but said when the statistics were like that it was not “an insignificant thing”.

Ms Egan said risk factors for head and neck cancers were alcohol consumption and smoking, and said reducing risk was about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and knowing your own body.

“It’s really all about understanding your body and early detection,” Ms Egan said.

As part of his awareness efforts, Mr Hyde will be holding a fund-raiser for Cancer Council Tasmania, which he couldn’t praise more highly. The information and support services the organisation offered were second to none, Mr Hyde said, and were easy to access when he needed it.

The fund-raiser will be held in conjunction with the Latrobe Fire Brigade, which will hold demonstrations for patrons.

There will also be a raffle and other prizes and activities for families but Mr Hyde said he hoped the community would get behind him. The family is looking for businesses to donate prizes for the raffle.

The Cancer Council Tasmania fund-raiser will be held on November 2 at the Latrobe Fire Station, Gilbert Street, Latrobe, from 8am to 2pm.

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Karmichael Hunt has no regrets over concussions

As a rugby league player, Karmichael Hunt was famous for his fearless charges. When returning a kick, confronted with a descending army of opposing players, he would often grit the teeth,  hit the bags and barrel headlong into the storm.
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It quickly won him respect from his peers, as well as plaudits from coach Wayne Bennett, whose advice to get the ball up the field as quickly as possible was taken to extremes.

It also earned Hunt more than his fair share of knocks to the head. In an era where the shoulder charge was applauded, not banned, he quickly became a target for rival defenders eager to end his run as abruptly as possible.

In his Test debut for Australia in 2006, Hunt was famously floored by Kiwi forward Frank Pritchard. He remembers some of the occasion, not all of it, and even with the benefit of hindsight, regrets nothing.

Now at the Queensland Reds, Hunt said if he could zoom back in time he would change nothing about the way he attacked the advantage line with scant regard for his health.

Even if he knew then what he knows now about the potential long-term impact of concussions, Hunt said he was always enjoyed the raw physicality of the game and little would have differed with his playing style.

“Yeah, I definitely would (have played the same). It’s just in my DNA, to play footy,” Hunt said.

“The biggest thing in rugby league I loved was the contact. I was kind of disappointed when they took out the shoulder charge, to be honest with you. It’s taken some sting away, although I understand the thinking behind that.

“The only reason I started running the ball back like that was because Wayne said to get the ball back as fast and quickly as you can. That as the only way I could think of doing it. It got me a few headaches and concussion but that was all part and parcel back in the day.”

Somewhat surprisingly, considering the manner in which he played rugby league, Hunt’s biggest issues with concussion came in AFL following his switch to the Gold Coast Suns.

He suffered a series of knocks in quick succession in a final season that was also hampered by injury. Hunt remains convinced there are no ongoing concerns but did suffer some issues after returning to the game too quickly.

“I probably had my worst bout of concussion this year. I copped three head knocks in the space of 30 minutes. It put me on my bum for a month. That was the worst I had,” Hunt said.

“It had long-term effects because I played too early. I made the mistake of coming back a week too soon. When I was playing the game, I couldn’t see the footy. I knew something was up then but they put me on ice for a couple of weeks so I could get my head back on track. Since then, I’ve been fine.”

While Hunt wants the physicality to remain part of his game in his new code, don’t expect him to return the ball with a stinging, no-holds-barred run for the Reds each time he fields a kick.

The tactics of rugby, as well as his maturing as a player, means he will play it as he sees it, hitting a gap when it’s there but playing the percentages when the situation demands caution.

“I love contact. I think it’s great. In terms of this transition, I don’t think I’ll play the same way I did back at the Broncos. It’s not that I don’t want to get smashed, it’s just that I’ve added a few more strings to my bow and can play a different style of footy,” Hunt said.

“When I played fullback at school in rugby, the amount of times I ran the ball like I did at the Broncos was rare, purely because you don’t want to get isolated and turn the ball over. Tactically, it’s not a great move.

“I’m sure there are going to be moments where I get a little bit of contact but I’m not going to go out of my way to find it.”

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