Monthly Archives: August 2019

Bill Shorten backs Nova Peris despite rort allegations

Email leak: Nova Peris has had private emails leaked by NT News. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has backed Nova Peris despite the allegations. Photo: Alex Elinghausen

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says senator and former Olympic athlete Nova Peris has his full support, despite allegations she used taxpayers’ money to bring Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon to Australia for an extra-marital affair.

The allegations, published in the Northern Territory News, detail Boldon’s visit to Australia in 2010 leading up to the London Olympics.

Boldon has labelled the allegations ‘‘gross fabrications’’ and has threatened legal action over the article.

The newspaper claims to have obtained explicit email exchanges between Senator Peris, who at the time was an Athletics Australia ambassador and communication officer with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and Boldon, a four-time Olympic medal winner from Trinidad and Tobago.

Senator Peris personally selected Boldon for the 10-day ‘‘Jump Start to London’’ program, and  sought funding from Athletics Australia and other sources to bring him to Australia.

But the newspaper claims Senator Peris, who at the time was married to Australian sprinter Daniel Batman, exchanged emails with Boldon in which they discussed their impending affair.

‘‘Ato … tell me babe … what u want … Make a bit of money and spend time together … I will take time of [sic] from work to be with u,’’ Senator Peris wrote in the email exchange, according to the paper’s report.

In other emails, Senator Peris reportedly said she was getting the money for his trip through the ‘‘indigenous grants mob” and  he would not have to pay tax on his payment.

The exact amount of money Boldon received is unclear but in an email from mid-March in 2010, Senator Peris reportedly wrote  she had managed to round up $22,000 for him, on top of the money Athletics Australia paid, the newspaper says.

In a statement, Senator Peris said she ‘‘categorically rejects any wrongdoing’’.

‘‘During his trip Mr Boldon promoted athletics, attended and promoted specific events and conducted clinics for young indigenous athletes,’’ she said.

‘‘The highs and lows of my athletic career – and now political career – are public,’’ she said.

‘‘The highs and lows of my private life are matters for me and my family.’’

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described Senator Peris as a ‘‘great Australian’’ who had his full support.

‘‘Again, I think that Nova Peris is a very special person, an amazing Australian and she has my support,’’ he said.

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Greens storm into semis with shock win

Bentleigh Greens pulled off a dramatic comeback to see off the challenge of Adelaide City in extra time and book themselves a semi final berth in the inaugural FFA Cup in an incident packed quarter final at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Wednesday night.

Adelaide looked to be heading towards the last four after Alex Rideout’s goal early in the second half, but Greens skipper Wayne Wallace lifted his team off the canvas and salvaged extra time when he levelled with an 88th minute header.

And Bentleigh winger Jamie De Abreu ensured it was a night of joy for the Greens and  misery for the South Australians when he struck the winner in the 103rd minute after cutting inside, creating space and firing past City goalkeeper Ryan Veitch.

It was a lively contest in front of a big – for the hosts – crowd of almost 2000 as both Bentleigh and Adelaide fashioned chances which on other nights might have hit the target.

The fans got full value for turning up on a midweek night, and they can now dream of even bigger things with a home semi final tie against A-League opposition. Adelaide United and Central Coast have already qualified for the last four, while Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory were due to kick off in WA after this game finished.

Adelaide’s pacy teenager Thomas Love accelerated towards goal in the opening minutes and looked threatening early, while City’s burly striker Anthony Costa made space well for himself by beating two defenders before firing over as the visitors made a positive start

Former Melbourne Victory man Luke Pilkington then went close for the hosts with a header from a Christian Cavallo corner as Bentleigh began to threaten.

Costa then tried his luck from an acute angle while at the other end Liam McCormiick shot when he might have been better employed cutting the ball back to one of his team-mates.

It was an entertaining, end to end affair with neither side able to stamp their authority over the other in the opening period.

Rideout got free down the right for City but no-one could get on to his cross, while Nick Budin shot wide for the visitors.

Bentleigh responded with a fine move involving Wallace and Luke O’Dea (who as a youth player was on the books of both Melbourne Victory and City) who set up De Abreu for a shot which was blocked on the line by City’s Paul Blefari.

City broke the deadlock shortly after the restart with a well worked move after skipper Matthew Halliday fed the ball forward to Costa. The striker then played in Shannon Day, wide on the left. His cross was met by Rideout, whose run left him unmarked and able to finish from close range.

Greens almost got the chance to level straight after the restart when De Abreu broke down the right but no-one could get on to his cross in front of the Adelaide goal.

The visitors looked the stronger of the teams, both of whom have had a difficult preparation because their respective National Premier Leagues finished weeks ago. City almost doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute when Joel Allwright unleashed a well struck drive which Greens goalkeeper Alastair Bray did well to get down low to and keep out.

McCormick blazed over more in hope than confidence as the clock ticked past the hour mark, De Abreu’s shot was then blocked and youngster Luke Gallo came agonisingly close to levelling with a long range effort that hit the bar. De Abreu then squandered a gilt edged chance to equalise when his shot tricked agonisingly past the far post. It looked costly _ until Wallace’s last gasp intervention.

With both sides lacking match practice tiredness became a major issue in extra time. Cavallo almost put the hosts in front with a wonderful free kick which beat the wall but crashed off the crossbar.

Halliday had the ball in the net for Adelaide but the effort was ruled out for offside. Both teams went at each other hammer and tongs and it seemed either a mistake or a moment of inspiration would decide the contest. De Abreu’s drive was enough to make the crucial difference, and Bentleigh can continue to dream of Cup glory.

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GREG RAY: Just crumbs for Hunter

I GOT a bit excited there, for a moment.

I thought the state government had listened to my endless whining.

A story in The Sydney Morning Herald said the government wanted to shift some cultural spending out of the middle of Sydney.

The Powerhouse Museum, the report said, is apparently being encouraged to move to a regional location.

Parramatta. Sigh.

That just about sums it up, really. From the government’s point of view, going regional means a cab ride to Parramatta.

Hunter people will recall that Western Sydney is now officially a region, a development that suddenly occurred a couple of years ago when the government had an out-of-character brain snap and set aside some funds specifically for “regions”.

Somebody in the bureaucracy must have noticed that this concept came with a serious risk of dollars leaking out of Sydney, so the solution was to spot-rezone Sydney’s western suburbs as a region in their own right.

That instantly rescued millions of dollars that might otherwise have accidentally flowed to places other than Sydney.

In its desire to recognise that the heritage and culture of NSW doesn’t finish at central Sydney, the government is to be encouraged.

But, if its vision ends at Parramatta, then it only reinforces what I keep saying about the problem our present electoral system creates for everywhere in the state that isn’t Sydney.

What should happen, in my opinion, is that Newcastle Regional Museum ought to be pulled under the Powerhouse Museum umbrella and automatically get state funding every year. It should not have to depend on poor old Newcastle City Council and its hapless ratepayers.

Same with the Art Gallery, which has a fabulous collection languishing in inadequate accommodation. Our gallery ought to be funded directly by the state.

Same with our main library. Newcastle’s place in the evolution of Australian literature is very significant. You’ve heard of Lancelot Threlkeld’s incredible Australian Language – the codification of the Awabakal tongue, co-written with Aboriginal mentor Biraban. That’s a milestone work of Australian publishing, done here, in Newcastle.

How about the Skottowe Manuscript, the Macquarie Chest?

How about The Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux? The Adventures of Ralph Rashleigh?

If you haven’t heard of them, look them up. In any country with a fair dinkum electoral system, Newcastle’s cultural facilities would be generously funded by the state.

I wrote yesterday about the Bogey Hole, and how the government spent $350,000 bolting an unsightly steel monstrosity onto this amazing cliff-foot bathing place that the notorious commandant Morisset had convicts carve from the living rock for his personal use.

Our local National Trust people told me yesterday how they begged the government’s Heritage Branch people come to Newcastle to have a look at the Bogey Hole before they committed money to this mistake, but they couldn’t be bothered.

And now their scrap-metal is storm-damaged and they can’t be bothered fixing it.

Spare a thought for the hundreds of hard-working volunteers who turn up every week to put their valuable labour into the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens at Heatherbrae.

They never know from one year to the next whether they will get a single cent from the government, which throws money at Sydney Botanic Gardens without a quibble.

Newcastle’s first botanic gardens site was by the harbour. You can see it on old maps.

But BHP wanted the land, so that was that, with no replacement provided.

If you haven’t visited the gardens, you ought to. It’s a tribute to the sweat and vision of hundreds of Hunter people.

I admit the government has tipped in some dollars. Apparently they funnelled $50,000 via the Sydney Botanic Gardens in 1996 and that’s been somewhat grudgingly maintained until now (not indexed, you’ll notice).

The gardens people tell me they’re hoping for a breakthrough soon to guarantee some annual money, but I’m not holding my breath.

Unless we get electoral reform or a charter of budget equity in NSW, then I’m afraid Woolloomooloo will be gazetted a region before we get more than crumbs.

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Charlestown import Callum Jackson thrown in Villawood, sent home over visa

Callum Jackson CHARLESTOWN cricket club’s English recruit Callum Jackson was refused entry to Australia and spent a night in Villawood Detention Centre before being sent home after a visa wrangle this week.

The 20-year-old Sussex wicketkeeper, pictured left, flew into Sydney Airport on Monday afternoon to begin his second summer with Charlestown in Newcastle district cricket.

But he was detained at the airport due to an incorrect visa.

Jackson was then transferred to Villawood Detention Centre, before he was released on Tuesday night to board a flight back to London.

It is understood Jackson had a tourist visa and was told he needed to return home to apply for a working visa.

Jackson was due to live with Newcastle cricket great Greg Arms, whose son Daniel plays for Charlestown.

‘‘As far as we know we’re expecting himto be back as soon as the visa is approved,’’ Arms said.

‘‘It’s just one of those things that there was an irregularity.’’

The Herald attempted to contact Jackson on Wednesday through social media, but he spent the majority of the day flying to London and had not replied at the time of publication.

The former England under-19 gloveman, who made his first-class debut for Sussex in a tour game against Australia on last year’s Ashes tour, was a revelation in his debut season for Charlestown.

He scored 484 runs at an average of 60.5 to finish dual winner of the Herald cricketer of the year award with Merewether’s former NSW Blues quick Mark Cameron.

Jackson’s return to Australia was delayed due to finger surgery in England four weeks ago.

Before the visa problems, Charlestown had hoped Jackson would play in their round-five game against Stockton-Raymond Terrace on November 8.

Charlestown president Chris Oliver was busy throughout Tuesday night attempting to sort through the visa impasse with Sussex and an immigration lawyer in London.

What happens next will hinge on the Englishman’s desire to return to Australia.

‘‘I’d say we’re 48 hours away on deciding if it’s tenable that he re-applies and comes back,’’ Oliver said.

‘‘At this stage we’re pessimistic about the outcome.’’

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Auva’a could be on the move from Redfern

South Sydney centre Kirisome Auva’a is effectively a free agent after triggering a clause in his contract that allows him to test his market value.

Auva’a is one of the season’s most unlikely success stories, picking up a minimum-wage contract with the Rabbitohs after being deemed surplus to requirements at Cronulla. At one point Auva’a – who can bench press 150 kilograms – considered a career as a professional bodybuilder until the Rabbitohs offered him a lifeline.

Instead, he won a premiership in his rookie NRL year, scoring the match-clinching try in his side’s breakthrough grand final win against Canterbury. In the process he played his 21st NRL game, activating a clause in his Bunnies deal allowing him to exercise  his options if he made more than 20 first-grade appearances. The 22-year-old retains the right to see out his two-year deal at Redfern, which will guarantee him a pay increase but is still understood to be below his market worth.

“He’s really enjoyed his time at Souths and we do have another year there,” said Auva’a’s manager, Andrew Purcell. “The clause was put in to ensure he is paid his market value. We’ve fielded a little bit of interest. Souths have been great about the whole thing. They’re in a difficult situation and are doing their best to help the young fella out by upgrading him and keeping him.”

Auva’a was born in Samoa and had the opportunity to represent his country of birth, but instead pledged his allegiance to New Zealand. His omission from the Kiwis’ Four Nations squad was considered a surprise and prompted the nation’s former skipper, Hugh McGahan, to describe him as unlucky. Auva’a feared he would not ever get a look in when he signed for the Rabbitohs and was overlooked for the opening five rounds. However, he ended up scoring nine tries and averaging 105 run metres per game in an unforgettable start to his NRL career.

“When I didn’t get named in that round-one team I had a lot of head noise going on,” Auva’a said after his grand final heroics. “[Coach Michael Maguire said] ‘I believe in you, keep chipping at it and when you get a chance, don’t look back’. When I got my chance in round six, well it’s all history now.

“I’m speechless, I can’t put into words how I’m feeling. To win a ring in the first year along with the other rookies in our team is something special. It takes a lot of work, a lot of sacrifices and a lot of pain. And it’s all worth it when you get there.

“A lot of belief has been put into me by Madge and the coaching staff and you can’t let them down when they put that much faith in you. I tried to perform every week to keep my spot.”

Veteran three-quarter Lote Tuqiri is yet to decide whether to play on, while Souths will begin their premiership defence without Ben Te’o, Beau Champion, Apisai Koroisau and Nathan Merritt. The Rabbitohs will also be without chief financial controller Joe Kelly, who replaced David Perry as the boss at Manly.

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