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Book review: Australia Under Surveillance, by Frank Moorhouse

Sleepless: David Irvine said threats to our security were so serious that they kept him awake at night.AUSTRALIA UNDER SURVEILLANCE ByFrank Moorhouse Vintage, $32.99
Nanjing Night Net

I wish I still had that very old Disney comic that showed ducks in raincoats on a beach, hiding one behind the other under a jetty, all peering around the pylons through binoculars. Even before I understood the perennial question, “who will guard the guardians themselves?” I found the idea of spies, counter-spies, and counter-counter spies absurd.

David Irvine does too, he admits, in an interview edited in Frank Moorhouse’s new book. But as he prepared to retire as Director-General of ASIO, Irvine candidly told audiences around Australia how threats to our security were so serious that they kept him awake at night. Then he reassured them with examples of how ASIO was protecting them. I was reminded of a former employee of the US National Security Agency who joked to an audience in Washington that the job of the NSA was to scare people so they would go on paying for it. Australians pay vastly increasing amounts for ASIO.

Shortly before Irvine retired, ASIO and the AFP deployed more than 800 officers in night-time raids on houses in Sydney and Melbourne, which resulted in several arrests but just one prosecution. Was this a fishing expedition that failed, a training exercise, a tactic to scare would-be terrorists, or an anticipatory demonstration of ASIO’s and the AFP’s need for even more powers, which were soon to come before parliament? It may have been all four. We cannot know, because the raid was one of many activities about which we have few details, and ASIO is exempt from Freedom of Information applications.

Two other possibilities: either we are paranoid, or we have learnt from 1949 of enough egregious stuff ups not to trust ASIO. Moorhouse supplies a list of these, and Meredith Burgmann’s 2014 collection, Dirty Secrets: Our ASIO Files, contains more. An agency screened from public scrutiny, no matter how well intentioned, will inevitably develop contempt for those outside its select community, even while it owes its existence to the public, and is tasked to protect them.

Irvine, Moorhouse points out, sits on the Council of the National Archives, and his former deputy at ASIO is the Archives’ Director-General. The Archives, Moorhouse observes in one of the most disturbing sections of his book, are the only historical record the public has of the workings of ASIO and our five other intelligence agencies. Yet ASIO can refuse requests for release of files on grounds of “national security” even after the normal 25-year withholding period is over. ASIO can destroy information, and can decide which of its records to make available to the Archives. In practice, Moorhouse says, that means none.

So what, after Communism, does ASIO now protect us from? Terrorism, of course, and extremism or fanaticism, we are told. These labels are loose enough to provide the national security agencies with the ill-defined enemy necessary for their perpetual operation. They appeal to moral panic. Terrorism is already “the new normal”, according to Dick Cheney. It is an intractable threat that, Moorhouse observes, seems to excuse democratic governments behaving as badly as some terrorists. Yet in the 50 years to 2005, less than 1000 Australians died from wars and terrorism (Moorhouse cites Paul Sheehan), while 134,548 deaths on Australian roads were not considered a threat to national security. Moorhouse lists nine “terrorist” incidents in Australia since 1970. By my count, of the four deaths that occurred, only one did not involve the security agencies themselves.

ASIO has for long had a negative reputation among Australians old enough to remember the Cold War, to have seen their file, and to know if they lost a job, a promotion, or a government grant because of its contents, accurate or not. Younger Australians, however, may approach Moorhouse with reasonable, contemporary questions: if I have nothing to hide, why should I fear ASIO surveillance? If others plan acts of violence, shouldn’t ASIO intercept them by whatever means? If national security is endangered, isn’t it appropriate to reverse the onus of proof onto the suspect? Doesn’t ASIO need to operate in secrecy?

I hoped for answers from Moorhouse’s book, following his prizewinning Griffith Review essay, The Writer in a Time of Terror (2006-7). I found a discussion of what he calls the Dark Conundrum, the sly behaviour of a democratic government that contradicts its own espoused values, justifying behaviour of dubious legality in the name of political necessity and national security. This since Vietnam has become increasingly obvious to most alert Australians. He doesn’t mention the much more troubling Special Intelligence Operations, about which Australian citizens are not allowed to ask questions, and which journalists can be jailed for unwittingly revealing. He doesn’t refer to the Deep State, a linked intelligence community in the Anglophone countries that, according to Canadian author Peter Dale Scott, operates as an unchallengeable, permanent authority in parallel with impermanent governments. He doesn’t cite Glenn Greenwald or Jennifer Robinson, whose views on private ownership of information would illuminate his Conundrum. He admires the leakers Manning and Snowden, but calls Assange a hacker. In fact, WikiLeaks does not hack, but publishes information leaked to it, just as the news media do (and some of them hack).

Moorhouse burrows into his Conundrum, wandering down the dark passageways of his personal predilections: censorship, the politics of sexual preference, the French Revolution, nihilism, the human condition and more. His research assistant advised him to order his material chronologically, but that thread is abandoned. Every so often he comes up from the mine with a nugget of a question, asking, for example, if a secret agency is needed for the safety of a democracy; and whether a modern state can any longer keep its own secrets, let alone those of its citizens. But these reflections are left dangling, and Moorhouse admits his proposals for reform are unlikely to be adopted. Appending an extract from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he notes that Australia is a signatory, but doesn’t point out that its provisions have not been incorporated into Australian law. Neither have those of the Convention on Civil and Political Rights nor of the Rights of the Child. Australia is alone in the OECD in having no charter or bill of rights, a situation our political leaders show no inclination to change.

As “national security” is increasingly used to justify the erosion of such privacy and liberty as Australians have, many of us, like Moorhouse, are concerned about state surveillance of individual academics, writers, filmmakers, journalists, and particularly Muslims. But as Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs has recently argued, the situation of Australia’s democratic institutions is worse: national security is being used to marginalise and overpower the judiciary, to concentrate power in the executive, to allow the armed forces to be deployed as and where the prime minister wishes, and to imprison people without charge or trial. The deep state is the new normal.

Alison Broinowski was a Senate candidate in NSW in 2013 for the WikiLeaks Party.

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

Book reviews: Strange Country; 100 Moments in Australian Painting

STRANGE COUNTRY: WHY AUSTRALIAN PAINTING MATTERS By Patrick McCaugheyThe Miegunyah Press/Melbourne University Publishing, $49.99.
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100 MOMENTS IN AUSTRALIAN PAINTINGBy Barry Pearce NewSouth Publishing, $49.99.

Two profusely illustrated books have recently appeared, both in one way or another offering an account of the past couple of centuries of Australian art and both, coincidently, limited to a consideration of painting only.

Patrick McCaughey is an art critic, art academic and long serving director of the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and of the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Yale Centre for British Art in the United States. His Strange Country: Why Australian painting matters presents a most readable account of Australian painting; one which dips into art historical research, but also has a journalistic flair in the expression of strongly held convictions.

McCaughey was born in 1943, and when he was 17 he saw the inaugural Helena Rubinstein Travelling Scholarship Prize exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1960. From then on, he was hooked on Australian painting. His book commences with a quick overview of the modern Aboriginal art movement and then moves into a broad survey of early colonial painting, in which Nicholas Chevalier and ST Gill do not rate a mention. From here the account moves straight into the Heidelberg School, where we encounter interesting insights, such as the suggestion that the swagman in McCubbin’s Down on his luck (1889) is modelled on the pose of Durer’s Melencolia I (1514), but shown in reverse. Such quirky, but interesting observations are scattered throughout the book.

Although on occasion it is difficult to agree with some of McCaughey’s opinions, it is impossible not to admire the literary flourishes with which he discusses some of his selected paintings. When writing on Hugh Ramsay’s The sisters (1904), he observes “The compression of the composition, the closeness of the sitters to artist, breeds an airless claustrophobia. The alternating alertness and ennui of the sisters, bored by having to dress up in evening gowns in the middle of the day and pose in the over-heated studio, adds to the ambivalence of the painting. Far from being an essay in the feminine, the dying painter/brother is under scrutiny of his sisters, even as they fall under his gaze. A suffocating pall hangs over the work.”

His broad brush approach to Australian art history certainly takes few prisoners. In one sweeping overview sentence he notes “Hall and Lambert are now curiosities; perennial attempts to revive ‘late Streeton’ have petered out, and Heysen is hardly taken seriously outside Adelaide.” McCaughey champions Sidney Nolan and Fred Williams as the two giants of Australian painting and concludes with a rather cursory glance at contemporary art practice and with the tactful statement “all of these painters … they stand as representative for many who must go unmentioned …” Much is unmentioned in this book, but that which is mentioned is discussed with passion and understanding.

Although I was occasionally frustrated by the laconic nature of some of the discussion, as a whole, this account of Australian painting sparkles with intelligent insights and with some very memorable expressions in which wit and perception are united in flowing prose.

Barry Pearce in 2012 retired from his position as Head of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales after 33 years in the job. This book is his personal final tour of the collection, pausing to discuss some of his favourite paintings. Apart from personal preference, the 100 selected paintings present something of a chronological account of the development of Australian art as held at the Sydney gallery, a collection which Pearce help to form and develop.

Except for a single bark painting, Indigenous art is excluded from this selection, in part, because he saw his brief as the curator for “Anglo-European Australian” art, but also in part because he felt that Indigenous and non-Indigenous art don’t really mix and when they are put together they do not really make sense. He writes “The intention [to combine Aboriginal and non-Indigenous art] was worthy, but in the end I believe nothing much was gained, other than a temporary frisson of aesthetic confusion in an attempt to identify similarity”. This is not an argument which I personally find particularly convincing simply because so many Australian artists, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, draw on each other’s traditions and it is this, that to some extent gives Australian painting some of its distinctive character.

The strength of this book is that it is written by a person who has the eye of a curator, a person who is perceptive, passionate and at times possesses a forensic knowledge of the provenance of a particular painting under discussion. We are given wonderful accounts about the hunt for long-lost paintings involving ingenious detective work leading to profound joy on their rediscovery. There are also many passages of detailed observation of paintings and speculation on their evolution, sources and influences. Take for example the discussion of Ralph Balson’s Portrait of Grace Crowley (1939), where we learn not only the artist’s probable source, Millet, but also where he saw a reproduction of this source, an issue of the Studio magazine in the Sydney Art School library, and the reason of why he turned to this source, Julian Ashton’s teaching.

Pearce writes with passion on the paintings which he admires, for example Hugh Ramsay’s wonderful painting, The Sisters (1904), which the young artist painted virtually from his deathbed. Pearce writes “The Sisters shows not so much virtuosity or glamour in its dazzling render of gold and cream fabric, as a dance with the brush about transient beauty and an underlying sense of mortality.” It is such wonderfully evocative and insightful passages that make this book so rewarding to read.

Australian painting, which only a few decades ago in some of our art schools was pronounced dead and obsolete in the context of contemporary Australian art practice, in Patrick McCaughey and Barry Pearce has found two wonderful advocates who guarantee its high profile and ongoing viability.

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

Book review: The Peaceful People, by Paul Malone

Stewards of Sarawak: The Penan have survived British and Malaysian invasion of their forests. Photo: Phyllis Webster Only 20 per cent of the Penan people’s forests remain.
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THE PEACEFUL PEOPLE: The Penan and Their Fight for the Forest. By Paul Malone. Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, Malaysia. $27.

A theme in world history is Europe’s great colonial expansion and the resulting dispossession of indigenous peoples. Regular Canberra Times columnist Paul Malone documents the ironic variation wrought upon Sarawak’s indigenous Penan. They can “fondly recall” the relatively light touch of British Sarawak on their lands and lifestyle. With the Malaysian takeover of 1963, only 20 per cent now remains of the primary Sarawak forests they used to roam.

Malone had visited a remote Penan group in 1974. Back in Sarawak in 2006, he was talked out of repeating the experience. His inner reporter was galvanised to revisit the Penan the following year. He filed a Canberra Times story about Penan elder Kelesau Naan’s campaign to stop the logging. Naan’s suspicious death months later prompted further visits and ultimately this book.

The title clearly sums up the author’s view of  the Penan. “The world can surely learn something” from their peaceful society and its non-violent protests.

Malone notes the pitfalls of romanticising indigenous groups. But the colonial, ethnographic and missionary records locate the Penan as “starkly different” from other Sarawak tribes. They took no human heads nor animal sacrifices, lived by rotational hunting and sago gathering not rice cultivation, and kept to smallish jungle bands whoavoided rivers andharsh sunlight. They also memorised their significant campsites and gravesites down the generations, but their kind of land stewardship didn’t cut much ice at the land titles office.

Other tribes thought them fair game. Malone recaps several massacres of the Penan dating from as recently as the turn of the 20th century. Things got tough again when logging took off in the 1970s. Short of violence, the Penan used “every available means” of protest and blockade to halt the logging or at least get compensation. Charismatic Swiss activistBruno Manser communicated their cause to the outside world, but the deforestation went on.

Again, Malone trawls the records, re-interviewing Penan who knew Manser. The Penan being generally resistant to outside influence, he disputes that Manser manipulated them. He verifies Manser’s own reports of events.

The Penan have continued to be further displaced by a supply-side development strategy to dam Sarawak for “inexpensive hydropower” to attract industry. In Malone’s current assessment, a few Penan are still nomadic while a few hold good jobs. Most fall in between, their limited access to the cash economy constituting a shaky exchange for formerly self-sufficient lives. Groups that opted for “collaborative” negotiation seem to be better compensated than groups that resisted logging outright. But Malone visits one village that’s going its own way yet going well.

If Australia has a Sarawak, it’s Tasmania, another island economy in thrall to logging and hydropower. Critics looked askance at the cosy relationship between the Tasmanian government and former forest titan Gunns Limited. In Sarawak, critics have focused on the forest and financial interests associated with Abdul Taib Mahmud, long-term Chief Minister and now Governor of Sarawak. Malone re-presents some of this material. It is examined in depth in the Swiss Lukas Straumann’s Money Logging, recently co-launched in Sarawak with The Peaceful People.

Despite the ruthless upheaval of the Penan by capital and development, Malone ends on a buoyant note. To improve the lot of the settled Penan villagers of today, he recommends practical measures in curriculum, schooling, employment and tourism.

Paul Malone will talk about The Peaceful People at the Asia Bookroom on December 1. Lawry Place, Macquarie, 6pm. RSVP by November 30, 625 15191. Gold coin donation to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

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

Work not quite so daunting

Bhawani Subedi and Mon Poudel now have a handle on some of the mysteries of English. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICKENTERING the workforce is no longer quite the task it was to a group of Bhutanese residents.
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They now have their certificate II in general education for adults, giving them the skills to find work.

Mon Poudel, who hopes to become a taxi driver, said the course had helped him greatly with his English.

He moved to Albury from Nepal four years ago.

“My sister was working in Albury and told me it was a good place to live,” he said. “The environment is so good here, everything is so green.”

Bhawani Subedi has already landed a job with the Albury Volunteer Resource Bureau as an interpreter.

Edge Workforce trainer Shirley Buttery said the six-month course was structured to break down language barriers, teach problem-solving skills and “everything to do with the workplace”.

“Bhawani was great helping others with their English,” she said.

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

Brakes stall grain sell-off

ONLY 25 of the 100 sites GrainCorp had listed as being excess to its future operations have been sold or licensed.
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The company called for expressions of interest in May, with a closing date of June 30, but the clearance rate has been slower than expected, which director, government and media relations, Angus Trigg puts down to seasonal conditions.

“Interest has been constrained by this year’s harvest, certainly around production, because there was a tight finish in a lot of areas,” he said.

“So that probably put a brake on the interest of some parties, such as groups of growers looking for additional storage options or stockfeed operators.

“But there is a possibility we will still be talking to people after the harvest.”

Mr Trigg said that 90per cent of all grain delivered to the company’s sites came from the 180 it would retain.

“We are going to be investing $200million into the network so it makes sense to be investing that money on the key sites we are using.

“The investment will go a lot further if it is done in that way.”

The company says about 180 sites will be grouped into 34 geographical clusters, reducing management duplication and giving greater local autonomy.

Export and domestic grain will be able to be purchased from all sites but will be executed from the most suitable site.

Primary sites will be export-focused, major sites domestic focused, and Flex sites will provide extra capacity when needed.

Mr Trigg said although harvest was well under way in the southern Riverina, activity had slowed early this week due to showers.

“Yields look to be good, which is great for local growers as the overall eastern Australian harvest is below average size and particularly regions further north in the grain belt are very dry,” Mr Trigg said.

“Canola is largely complete, barley about two-thirds through and wheat is just starting; quality looks good.

“GrainCorp is very happy because we’ve been able to concentrate more mobile receival equipment in the area due to the good-sized crop in the region. This has meant smooth turnaround of grain deliveries.

“We’ve had seven sets of bunker gear at our Oaklands site alone.”

Wanderers need team effort to roll Bruck

BRENTON Surrey is calling on his batsmen to lift when Beechworth Wanderers take on Bruck at Bruck Oval today.
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Last round Kayde Surrey posted his second half century in a row, but other than Mitch Howe (49), the Wanderers provided little support in a total of 186, which only just fell short as Corowa reached 197 to bank an 11-run victory.

“Bruck has been the perennial powerhouse of the competition over the past few years,” Surrey said.

“They haven’t started well but they’re starting to get themselves into gear now.

“So we’ll have to bat a lot better than we did last week, and if we put a reasonable total on the board I’d say we can take it to them.

“We bowled pretty well last week, I can’t really fault the effort of the bowlers and I thought all of them did a terrific job — we just didn’t have runs on the board to defend.”

Surrey said there was no focus on how his opposition was travelling.

“We just try to focus on ourselves,” he said.

“If we get most things right for ourselves things will take care of themselves.

“We’ve just got to make more runs to give ourselves something to bowl at.

“Kayde has been going very well but if he goes well and no one else contributes it’s not going to work — it’s a matter of everyone chipping in.

“Everyone needs to do their part, we have to make sure we’re busy at the crease.”

Matt Hunt will no doubt lead the attack with the ball once more, having returned figures of 7-30 last week.

With a pitch generally good for runs, the Wanderers will have to dig deep to come home with the points.

“We probably haven’t gone too well there for a few years,” Surrey said of Bruck’s home ground.

“They’ve been a very strong side and it’s always been tough there.

“But you always take the challenge up, you go in with your best foot forward and see how you go.

“We’re a different side to what we have been and I think if we can play well enough we can definitely beat them.”

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

Grandpa faces penalty appeal

AN Albury man jailed in August for 20 months over sexual assault offences involving two grandchildren is facing the prospect of having his jail time increased.
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An appeal has been lodged by the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions office over what Judge Martin Blackmore said was a breach of trust.

Judge Blackmore described charges of aggravated indecent assault and three counts of attempted intercourse with a child aged under 10 as “seriously wrong”, but at the lower end of the scale for such matters.

The appeal by the DPP was lodged on September 18 and the case has since been mentioned twice.

In the latest mention on November 6, the matter was allocated three hours for hearing in the Court of Criminal Appeal on March 18.

The man, 64, pleaded guilty earlier this year and his sentencing was adjourned until the Albury District Court sittings before Judge Blackmore.

“He must serve a sentence because that is the only penalty open to me,” Judge Blackmore said.

The assaults happened at the man’s home in 2011 on children aged five and three.

Judge Blackmore was told the man has been seeing a psychologist since June and now understands the damage his offending has caused his family.

Barrister Grant Brady tendered a list of the man’s community involvement.

Mr Brady said the vulnerability of the children was part and parcel of the offences.

Crown prosecutor Max Pincott said the age of the children was a highly aggravating factor.

Judge Blackmore said there was a long list of community organisations assisted by the man over the years.

He had previously been held in high regard by his own children before the offences became known.

“The offender has expressed remorse for his actions,” Judge Blackmore said.

“Recognition of the wrongfulness of his actions is the first step towards rehabilitation.

“He will benefit from a longer period on parole.”

Judge Blackmore said he took into consideration the man’s community involvement, his lack of any prior criminal offences and health issues he suffered.

A total term of three years and four months was imposed, with a minimum term of 20 months.

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

Daniel likes to do things on the quiet

Daniel Athanitis is enjoying playing for North Albury this season. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL
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NORTH Albury cricketer Daniel Athanitis knows a thing or two about leadership, having coached Rand-Walbundrie to the Hume Football League grand final.

But when it comes to cricket, Athanitis is enjoying just going about his game without the pressure of responsibility.

“I like to take a back seat,” Athanitis said.

“Kirky (Matt Kirkwood) is doing a great job as captain and Middo (Gerard Midson) as coach is leading really well. I like to do what I’m told.

“If called on to say something or help out, I am happy to do so.

“But speaking from experience at the footy, nothing is worse than someone butting in.”

Athanitis arrived at the Hoppers this year, following footy mates Brendan Simmons and Daniel Kadaoui.

He has played most of his cricket with Yarrawonga-Mulwala (formerly Mulwala) and Strathmerton in the Murray Valley.

“It was a natural progression,” Athanitis said.

“It helps when going to a new club that you know people.

“It’s definitely been a good move,

“The stepup in standard has been good. It’s a bit of a younger side and we’re looking to improve and keep getting better.

“The standard is probably more consistent — there are very good cricketers in the Wangaratta competition but in Albury there’s just a few more of them.

“The challenge has been great.”

But leadership role or not, Athanitis isn’t letting himself off the hook.

With a top score of 63 and four wickets this year, he said he could do better.

“It’s been on and off,” he said. “I didn’t really do a pre-season and started a bit late with footy commitments, but hopefully I’m improving.”

In fact, he said, the whole club was on the improve.

“North Albury is a proud club. It went through a bit of a down phase last year,” Athanitis said.

“We pushed Wodonga on Saturday and it was disappointing not to get over the line.

“But we are a young side and it’s going to take time.”

Today marks the chance to show how far the Hoppers have come with the start of a two-day game against Lavington at Bunton Park.

With Riverina rep cricket this weekend, both teams will miss players — Ashley Borella from North Albury and Sam Harris from Lavington.

“I think we play better two-day cricket,” Athanitis said.

“This will be another good challenge because the Panthers are very well led too.”

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

Flock is a prime teaching tool

Geoff Bromham checks the pasture quality for the ewes and lambs; Picture: KIM WOODSONE southern NSW prime lamb flock has to be not only commercially profitable but also play a role in educating the next generation of Australian sheep producers.
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The flock at the TAFE NSW Riverina Institute Primary Industries Centre, Wagga, turns off white Suffolk cross lambs at 25-26kilograms carcass weight, and comes under the gaze of hundreds of national and international agricultural students each year.

Although the primary aim of the Flockcare accredited sheep program is to be educational, it receives no government support and must be self-funding.

It caters for all levels of study, from Certificate II, III and IV to the Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Agriculture.

The institute has 265hectare of grazing country, set in a 550mm rainfall zone.

Head agricultural teacher Graeme Anderson said a flock of 300 border Leicester-merino ewes was used to mimic regional commercial operations.

White Suffolk rams were chosen for their traits of easy lambing, quick maturity and market acceptability.

The ewes are joined in the first week of December for eight weeks to terminal sires from Keith Edyvean, Pambria White Suffolk and Poll Dorset stud, Wagga.

The rams are selected on their liveweight, raw eye muscle scans, fat depth, body length and structural soundness.

Farm manager Geoff Bromham said the white Suffolks easy lambing trait meant the breed was ideal for use over maiden and older ewes.

“We like to select rams with a moderate frame but with length and loin,’’ he said.

All ewes are placed on a rising plane of nutrition pre-joining, with the maiden ewes supplemented with pellets to ensure they reach condition score three. They are run on either lucerne or phalaris and subclover pastures treated with conventional and biological fertilisers, and regularly soil tested.

“We use pregnancy scanning as a teaching exercise to make sure the ewes get the right amount of feed to suit their pregnancy status,’’ Mr Anderson said.

“Pasture samples are taken monthly to test for protein and energy, and lambs weighed so feed supply can be matched with livestock nutritional requirements.

“Last year the lambs were gaining at more than 300grams a day — we want to ensure they are ready for sale and receive no setbacks.

“We source high quality lucerne hay and make our own Arrowleaf clover hay – all hay coming onto the place is feed tested.’’

Ewes are electronically tagged while all rams and a portion of ewes are blood typed to determine parentage of the off-spring.

The Pedigree Matchmaker system uses scanning technology to provide full pedigree information on lambs.

“At sale time, we can trace back to the mother and sire to identify the better performers for educational purposes,’’ Mr Anderson said.

“If a commercial flock is stocking at maximum levels, you don’t want to be keeping animals that are under performing.”

Last year, all ewes scanned at 134per cent and marked 123per cent lambs.

Mr Anderson encouraged his students to examine forward contracts.

He said a smart marketing strategy was about keeping repeat customers.

Some of the institute’s lambs are processed at Junee abattoir to enable students to study the supply chain.

Volunteers key to firefighting

THE Labor Party announced a policy on Tuesday November 18 that we believe will have grave and disastrous consequences for the CFA.
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Our concern with the policy is that it establishes external industrial interference with the CFA chief officer’s power to decide where and when and how he of she uses firefighters.

We are also concerned that the policy will reduce CFA’s volunteer firefighting force by thousands of volunteers, pushing volunteers out of stations and hundreds of trucks off the road when we need them for major fires such as Black Saturday.

Labor has grossly underestimated the cost and impact of its policy.

Labor’s promise of $150million and an additional 350 paid firefighters actually only provides 70 more paid firefighters on the ground at any time under paid firefighter rostering arrangements.

It will also come at the expense of thousands of highly trained and professional volunteers.

We support and welcome additional paid support and resources for CFA.

That is provided these resources are required and provided that the CFA determines the need — not a union.

We need a plan that will recruit and train more volunteers, provide trucks and equipment, invest in a modern firefighting fleet, give the CFA the flexibility to deploy resources when and where they are needed and remove industrial control over how CFA deploys its workforce.

Victoria is one of the most fire- prone areas in the world.

If Labor’s policy is allowed, Victoria will not have the fire-fighting force it needs for day-to-day incidents and certainly will not have the force to deal with major incidents when they occur.

— ANDREW WALPOLE,

For and on behalf of the board of volunteer fire brigades, Victoria

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

Deal means BJR can work on quicker cars

Brad Jones Racing #14 car and driver Fabian Coulthard will carry a new sponsors name next yearTHE red and black livery will stay but Brad Jones Racing’s leading car will have a new sponsor next year.
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What was the No.14 Lockwood car driven by Fabian Coulthard will carry the Freightliner name for the next two years after its launch on Thursday night.

Brad Jones said it meant the team could concentrate on making the cars go quicker.

“Having Freightliner commit for a number of years is invaluable because it gives us the chance to forward plan, which I am really excited about,” Jones told the V8 Supercar website.

“It is great to be able to lock something in before Christmas.

“It means we don’t have to worry about what name will be on the side of the car and instead concentrate on developing the cars to go faster.”

The new livery won’t be on the car until the first official practice sessions next year.

It is expected Jason Bright will return to race the BOC Commodore next year, while Dale Wood will also continue for a second year in the third Holden.

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

Man hospitalised after violent East Albury raid

Police dusted the door of the unit for fingerprints after the violent overnight attack. Picture: TARA GOONAN
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A MAN has been hospitalised following a home invasion in East Albury.

The 57-year-old East Street resident was hit with an object in what police have labelled a “vicious” attack.

Officers were called to the home about 3am yesterday and stayed on scene until about midday.

Inspector David Cottee said two men had forced their way inside the home — one of three units — and left the man with a fractured arm, fractured cheek bone and cuts and bruises.

“It’s a vicious attack that left the man with fractures and lots of bruising,” he said.

“It’s certainly a serious attack.

“He won’t be in hospital for an extended period, but he’s received reasonably serious injuries.”

Inspector Cottee said police had not seized any weapons from the scene.

“It’s believed the attack was not random,” he said.

“There was something used to strike the man.

“Police are still looking into the motive behind the attack, but it appears to be targeted.”

Nearby residents reported hearing screams from the unit prior to police arriving.

Joanne, who asked for her last name to be withheld, said her sister had heard a loud bang.

“She said it sounded like a gate slamming or someone being pushed into a gate,” she said.

“The guy was yelling ‘get out of here, get out of here’.”

She said there had been a party several doors down from the victim’s house, and said the offenders could have come from the event.

Rachel, who also asked for her full name to be withheld, said the victim lived by himself and was surprised he had been targeted.

“He’s a pretty quiet guy,” she said.

“There’s never been an issue with him.

“It’s unexpected, it’s a bit of a shock.”

Inspector Cottee said there had been no arrests, and encouraged anyone with information about the attack Police dusted the to contact Crime Stoppers or Albury Police.

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

‘Too many deaths on our roads’

Acting Sgt Mal Burdett says motorists should take extra care.ANOTHER death on Border roads has led to police urging drivers to take extra care.
Nanjing Night Net

A Wangaratta woman was killed instantly when her car and a truck collided at Rutherglen on Thursday afternoon.

Her Ford XR6 sedan is believed to have pulled out in front of a grain truck heading east on the Murray Valley Highway.

The woman, 46, was driving south on Federation Way when the crash happened about 5.20pm.

The truck driver, a Rutherglen man, 39, was not injured.

Wodonga highway patrol police are investigating the crash.

Acting Sgt Mal Burdett said the incident was a reminder what can happen if drivers don’t take care.

“This is a tragedy and we don’t want anyone else to have to go through it,” he said.

The crash came three days after a Melbourne man, 58, died after a Hume Freeway collision at Springhurst.

The man died at Wangaratta hospital less than three hours after the car in which he was a passenger spun out of control in the south-bound lane, crashing head-on into a truck headed in the same direction.

The latest death is the sixth on Border roads since late September.

Sgt Burdett said conditions on Thursday evening were unlikely to have contributed to the crash.

“At 5.30 at night, you can’t get much better than that,” he said.

Sgt Burdett appealed for assistance from those who might have seen what happened.

“We’ve got a number of witnesses who we’ve actually identified from the scene,” he said.

“But we’re just asking that anyone who hasn’t already contacted police or been contacted by us to do so.”

Sgt Burdett said Border roads were starting to get even busier in the lead-up to Christmas.

“We’re just calling on everyone to take that extra couple of minutes to get where they’re going, to be vigilant in their driving,” he said.

“They’re not only driving for themselves but for everyone else on the road.

“That’s not pointing the finger at anyone in relation to this latest collision.

“Police are just asking for people to slow down and to take a step back.”

Any witnesses to Thursday’s crash are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

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

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