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.
Nanjing Night Net

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.
Nanjing Night Net

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.

Another cricket death provides guidance in Phillip Hughes aftermath

The key figure in shepherding cricketers through another traumatic loss of a teammate, Tasmanian batsman Scott Mason, almost a decade ago has urged cricket administrators and supporters to allow teammates of Phillip Hughes to set their own pace in coming to terms with his death.

Mason, a 28-year-old with two Sheffield Shield centuries to his name, had just completed an entire season on the sidelines as he recovered from open heart surgery to repair a dangerous valve defect.

In the first week of April 2005, a time shield players were due to be on their post-season break, he was already beginning his preparation for the following season by hitting throwdowns in the Bellerive Oval nets from Tim Coyle, a longtime mentor who was Tasmania’s assistant. It was during that session, Mason’s first with the bat since his surgery, that he collapsed due to ongoing heart problems. He died a few days later.

For Brian McFadyen, the Tigers’ head coach who had just accepted a senior coaching role at Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, it was “horrific and, up until now [with Hughes], I’ve never had any experience like it”.

Mason fitted the category of player whose lack of public recognition was balanced by a high level of respect from his peers, particularly his teammates. One of those state teammates was a then little known all-rounder named Shane Watson. So too was Michael Di Venuto, Australia’s batting coach.

Being based in Australia’s smallest state capital city has long made the Tasmanian team close knit, even out of season. Coyle, a now widely respected coach who delivered the eulogy at Mason’s funeral, said that camaraderie proved valuable in coping with the death of ‘Maso’.

“That’s one of the strengths of playing cricket in Tasmania, that you basically stay around the group 12 months of the year . . . they play golf together, they socialise together, their wives and girlfriends are mates,” Coyle said. “At that time it was really important for us to stick together and stay strong and work through that.”

McFadyen, who still works at the National Cricket Centre, reckoned the way Coyle marshalled the players afterwards was a reason he was promoted to the top job, after which then the Tigers broke their shield drought with three titles in eight years, for which Mason was cited as an inspiration.

While Mason remains an admired figure in Tasmanian cricket – a large picture hangs in the Tigers’ dressing rooms – Coyle said for the first year or two afterwards players were still upset about his death, as some still are.

“Time does heal, but those first couple of years there were often times when you thought about him and how good it would be to have him around, not just as a person but as a cricketer.”

Coyle said he struggled to predict what would have occurred had Mason died during the season, as Hughes has, “just on the verge of such a lot of cricket”.

“With what’s transpired, for some people cricket would be the last thing on their mind, but at the end of the day life and cricket will go on. I think Phillip Hughes would want cricket to go on,” he said.

“Some people might come out and say ‘The best thing I can do is come out and play cricket because that’s what Phillip would want me to do and I want to play the best cricket in his honour’, but others will say ‘This game’s too hard’. We just have to respect everyone is going to be a little bit different.”

While not declaring himself an expert, Coyle said his advice to players currently grappling with their emotions in the aftermath of Hughes’ death is to “get as much help as you can”.

“There’s plenty of people out there who are there for you to talk to, be they professional people or people that you trust,” he said.

“One thing you can’t afford to do is just let it bottle up.

“Everyone’s different. Some will take longer than others, and we’ve got to respect that.”

Phillip Hughes: Luck meant doctor was on hand to help

Doctor Tim Stanley at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital. Dr Stanley assisted with treatment of cricket player Phillip Hughes at the SCG. Photo: Simone De Peak Doctor Tim Stanley at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital. Dr Stanley assisted with treatment of cricket player Phillip Hughes at the SCG. Photo: Simone De Peak

Doctor Tim Stanley at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital. Dr Stanley assisted with treatment of cricket player Phillip Hughes at the SCG. Photo: Simone De Peak

Doctor Tim Stanley at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital. Dr Stanley assisted with treatment of cricket player Phillip Hughes at the SCG. Photo: Simone De Peak

Clarke breaks down while addressing mediaDay a blond kid made everyone waitFirst Test up in the airWaugh shares impact death had on his sonTeammates bid farewell in middle of SCGPhillip Hughes, a cut above the rest

It was only  “sheer chance” that Dr Tim Stanley was at the SCG  on Tuesday.

A colleague asked the Newcastle intensive care specialist if he could swap shifts, so with the day off, he headed to the NSW-South Australia Sheffield Shield match with two of his children, Sophie and Dominic.

He couldn’t have imagined the drama that would unfold.

From putting his feet up, watching Phillip Hughes try to bat his way into the Test team, to being out on the ground, trying to save the batsman’s life.

“I saw Phil get hit and he looked like he’d taken a heavy blow,” said Dr Stanley, who works at the Calvary Mater Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Private Hospital.

“I, like everybody else, assumed he would rub it off, be a bit stunned and be OK, but then unfortunately he collapsed forward.”

He recognised Hughes was unconscious in the moment he fell and knew it was serious when umpires and players signalled for help.

Without thinking he made his way to the front of the Members Stand to ask if there was a doctor on hand.

He saw Hughes loaded onto the medicab and went to wait out the front of the SCG where he thought he’d be put into an ambulance.

When no one arrived, he went back to the grounds and saw Dr (John) Orchard giving Hughes mouth-to-mouth.

“Clearly that meant he was much more seriously injured than what I imagined,” Dr Stanley said.

“My first priority then was to establish that he had a pulse – and he did.

“I then asked one of the players if they could keep their hand on his pulse and let me know if it disappeared.”

Dr Stanley called for a medical bag to be brought out to the field.

“There was specialised airway equipment in the bag which was able to provide breathing and ventilation to Phil,” he said.

“It meant Dr Orchard could stop doing mouth to mouth.

“Medical teams and resuscitation work a little bit like cricket teams.

“Everyone has a role to play and it works because you’ve got a group of people doing the work, not necessarily one person on their own.”

Dr Orchard, the NSW cricket team’s doctor, singled Dr Stanley out as being “unbelievably helpful” in the moments before the ambulance arrived.

Dr Stanley said he wanted to extend his deepest sympathies to the Hughes family.

“I did speak very briefly to his mother at the grounds,” he said.

“She didn’t know me and I didn’t know her.

“I couldn’t give her any real information apart from to reassure her that he was stable on his way to hospital, which is where he needed to be.

“Obviously they’re distraught and I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to them and his teammates.”

Dr Stanley said his attention was focused on Hughes the entire time he was treating him and he didn’t want to comment on criticism levelled at Ambulance NSW for taking 23 minutes to arrive after the first triple-0 call was made.

“The time of transport, as it turned out, would have made no difference to Phil,” Dr Stanley said.

“As we later found out he’s had a very rare and freakish injury which was catastrophic.

“At the time, the equipment I had available was more than I needed to provide care for him until the ambulance arrived.”

Dr Stanley, who is also specialises in emergency medicine, said his actions were what anyone in his profession would have done.

“Most of the general public like me don’t know Phil as a person,” the father-of-four said.

“But we recognise him as a young man who’s a prodigiously talented sportsman and it’s very difficult for people to make sense of what’s a rare and tragic event that takes someone’s life at that age.

“It’s not the first tragic incident that I’ve been involved with, but working in this job doesn’t make you immune to the tragedy or the emotion of what’s really a very sad event.”

Newcastle Herald

Fairfield residents fear post-storm asbestos threat

Residents fear asbestos blown into their street by the storm will become airborne. Photo: suppliedFairfield residents fear dried-out asbestos, which became dislodged during Thursday’s powerful storm, has dried out and become airborne.

And they say Brisbane City Council had not acted on calls before the potentially deadly substance began breaking up on Saturday.

The southside suburb was one of the worst affected in Thursday afternoon’s powerful storm, which Premier Campbell Newman described as the biggest to hit Brisbane in almost 30 years.

The damage bill was expected to top $100 million.

Brougham Street, Fairfield, resident Gavin Jacobi said the material, which he and his neighbours believed to be asbestos, had blown off the roof of an auto-repair garage across the road.

Mr Jacobi said he understood there had been a lot of damage across Brisbane, which was taking up a lot of the emergency response time, but asbestos should be treated as a priority.

“A whole crap-load of the stuff blew on to the road,” he said.

“Everyone rang council and said ‘Look, there’s asbestos on the road – it’s wet at the moment but when it dries out, things are going to start to get nasty’.

“The council said they’d get on to it within an hour, and that was yesterday. Now we’ve got powdered asbestos blowing through the area here.”

Mr Jacobi said asbestos posed a serious health threat and needed to be dealt with.

“With asbestos, if we breathe the stuff in, who knows what will happen 30 years down the road?” he said.

“There’s so much traffic here, you can actually hear the crunching of it breaking up.”

Council crews arrived on Saturday morning after Mr Jacobi had contacted Fairfax Media.

A council spokeswoman said its workers had been co-ordinating with the Queensland Police Service to clear the area.

“As a precaution, some residents and businesses directly adjoining the area where the materials are have been asked to temporarily remain indoors while the clean-up works are undertaken,” she said.

“Temporary traffic control is in place, with signage and direction on site.”

Brougham Street had been closed between the Fairfield Gardens Shopping Centre and Mearns Street, the council spokeswoman said.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said people should immediately dampen asbestos with water, and keep it wet, if they saw any of the material among storm debris.

“We ask that if people are concerned about building materials that may be asbestos, to please water it immediately, before contacting council,” he said.

“We will act as quickly as we possibly can, but I just ask people to understand that there is an enormous clean-up task across the city.

“Many homes across the city do still have asbestos in them, so if people do observe building material that has been disturbed as a result of the storm that could be asbestos, please report it so that it can be investigated.”

Claims Goulburn police academy recruits unprepared to use firearms

Teachers at the Police Academy say recruits are being left dangerously unprepared for crime-fighting duties. Photo: Alex EllinghausenLives are being put at risk on NSW streets because of a dumbing-down of teaching programs at the state’s Police Academy, according to insiders at the training college.

And the tertiary education union alleges a culture of bullying, abuse and cronyism at the Goulburn Academy’s School of Policing Studies is further damaging the training of the next generation of NSW cops.

Teachers at the Police Academy say recruits are being left dangerously unprepared for crime-fighting duties after a new curriculum was hastily introduced early this year in a process said to have been driven more by police politics than operational needs.

But NSW Police Force commanders denied on Thursday that there were any problems at the Academy and said any issues with the teaching program at Goulburn had been resolved months ago.

With about 350 rookie cops set to graduate from Goulburn in less than three weeks, police and civilian instructors at the Academy say it has covered up failings in the teaching program, risking lives by putting improperly trained junior officers on the streets.

One firearms trainer has told how a class, toward the end of their training course, showed up for “Tactical Options Scenario” weapons instruction without any knowledge of the legal requirements for using guns or tasers.

There is also trouble among staff working for Charles Sturt University, which delivers the academic modules of the police training course at Goulburn, with the National Tertiary Education Union alleging a culture of bullying and cronyism.

The university denies the union’s claims.

Fairfax understands that senior NSW Police commanders have been briefed about the problems at the Academy but after several months, no action has been taken.

“The curriculum will produce probationary constables unable to perform police work safely and legally (and) it’s creating a risk to the safety of people in NSW,” according to briefing notes prepared by one academy staffer.

A report sent to the leadership of the NSW Police Association by its branch at the Academy and obtained by Fairfax was also blunt in its assessment of the new curriculum which was introduced in January.

“The training of police recruits in NSW is moving backwards,” the report states.

“As the students join the frontline, it is expected this negative impact will have an obvious effect on frontline police, the NSWPF as an organisation and the wider community.”

Officers teaching at the Academy also accuse it of being engaged “in a damage control exercise which seeks to cover up these major problems and hail this curriculum as an outstanding success.”

Fairfax has been told that Education and Training Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy was briefed several months ago on the Academy’s staff concerns.

But in response to a series of questions, Commander Corboy said on Thursday that any problems with the teaching program at Goulburn had been resolved months ago.

“The NSW Police Force resolved the issues surrounding our nationally recognised curriculum several months ago and we have regular reviews involving the Police Association,” the senior officer said in a statement.

A spokesman for Charles Sturt University said the NTEU’s report of bullying and harassment among university workers at Goulburn was flawed and that an internal review by the uni had found the school was a safe working environment.

“An internal review found no evidence to support a finding that bullying or harassment is prevalent in the work environment at the Charles Sturt University School of Policing Studies in Goulburn,” the spokesman said.

“An independent review of workplace health and safety, and workplace culture, within the School of Policing Studies is currently underway, and CSU is confident this will confirm the findings of the internal review.”

Phillip Hughes death: Michael Clarke breaks down while addressing media

Michael Clarke Photo: Channel NineLuck meant doctor was on hand to helpDay a blond kid made everyone waitWaugh shares impact death had on his sonTeammates bid farewell in middle of SCGPhillip Hughes, a cut above the rest

A distraught Michael Clarke delivered a touching tribute to Phillip Hughes, saying the Australian dressing room will never be the same without him.

The Australian captain held a media conference on Saturday morning at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the scene of Hughes’ last innings. Speaking on behalf of the Australian cricket team and its support staff, Clarke struggled to get through a prepared statement.

It lasted just two minutes and seven seconds but eloquently summed up the regard in which the Macksville cricketer was held.

“Words cannot express what we all feel as a team right now,” said Clarke, who choked back tears during his address.

“To Greg, Virginia, Jason and Megan, we share in the deep pain you’re feeling.

“Apart from when he was home on the farm with his beloved cattle, Hughesy was at his happiest playing cricket for his country with his mates.

“Things we always put into perspective when Hughesy said: ‘Where else would you rather be, boys, but playing cricket for your country?’

“We are going to miss that cheeky grin and twinkle in his eye.

“He epitomised what the Baggy Green was about and what it means to us all.

“The world lost one of its great blokes this week and we are all poorer for it.

“Our promise to Hughesy’s family is that we will do everything we can to honour his memory.”

Clarke revealed that, at his request, Cricket Australia had retired the left-hander’s Australian one-day-international shirt number, 64, as a mark of respect.

It means so much,” Clarke said.

“His legacy of trying to improve each and every day will drive us for the rest of our lives.

“We’d like to thank everyone both here and overseas for the touching tributes to Hughesy in recent days.

“Our dressing room will never be the same. We loved him and always will. Rest in peace ‘Brussy.'” Our captain @MClarke23 just stood tall again. — Karl Stefanovic (@karlstefanovic) November 28, 2014  

Ballarat region seats of Ripon, Wendouree and Buninyong crucial to Daniel Andrews or Denis Napthine winning Victorian state election

With the margin in Wendouree just 0.1 per cent after a redivision, victory in the seat for the Liberal Party is seen as crucial to the Coalition’s chances of remaining in power.

The Coalition is expected to take Ripon, also a marginal seat, from Labor but the ALP is favoured to win Buninyong, which takes in the majority of the former seat of Ballarat East held by Labor member Geoff Howard since 1999.

The Courier will have live coverage of the election tonight from 6pm – concentrating solely on ourlocal seats -with video streaming and crosses to both the Ballarat Labor and Liberal Party functions.

TODAY’S THE DAY: Ballarat residents are flocking to voting centres to cast their vote in the 2014 Victorian state election.

On a state level,the latest Fairfax Ipsos Victorian State Poll shows Labor still in front.

The poll of 1236 Victorians, conducted between 25-27 November 2014, shows the primary vote for Labor at 35 per cent(down 4) and the Liberal-National parties on 42 per cent(up 3). The Greens continue to lead the minor parties with a 15 per centshare of the vote (down 1) and other parties are on 8 per cent(no change).

“On a two-party preferred basis, Labor leads the Liberal-National parties by 52 per cent, down 4, to 48 per cent, up 4, based on respondent preferences, that is, how respondents said they would allocate preferences,” Ipsos Director Jessica Elgood said.

“The poll results show the Coalition regaining ground – in terms of leader approval, preferred Premier and positive perceptions of Dr Napthine as a leader – but it looks like it will not be enough for them to close the gap on Labor.”

The result may not be decided tonight however, with almost one million people have voted at pre-polling centres or by postal votes.

The majority of these votes will not be counted until Monday.

Victorian Election 2014: The regions vote


6pm: Nine News/Galaxy exit poll is suggestinga narrow ALPvictory.

The initial results are our from our exclusive #9News Galaxy poll. #VicVotes#9Newspic.twitter南京夜网/shB06BZw1b

— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) November 29, 20143.20pm: The Greens open ticket story develops.

Local greens telling me the decision to run an open ticket was not theirs & they are blaming Greens HQ! #vicvotes

— Philip Dalidakis (@philipdalidakis) November 29, 20142.30pm:The Greens are running open tickets in key marginal seats, angering Labor, which has accused the Greens of helping the Napthine government.

Open tickets are how-to-vote cards that have no instruction to voters about where to allocate preferences.

Greens preference flows help Labor win in some marginal seats.

Greens state director Larissa Brown said that in two-thirds of the 88 lower house seats the party had preferenced Labor ahead of the Liberals.

But she said in the other seats local branches had decided to run open tickets. Read more.

2.18pm:Geoff Ablett, the Liberal trying to oust Labor’s Jude Perera inCranbourne, says some voters have told him they would vote Laborbecause they disliked the Abbott government’s budget.Mr Ablett, the mayor of the City of Casey and a former Hawthornpremiership player, said he had detected voters at the booths he hadvisited were leaning towards Labor.

“I know that some changes need to be made federally because you can’tkeep going further into the debt, but that has repercussed to peoplewho have said to me, ‘I’m not voting for you because of federalgovernment cutbacks’,” Mr Ablett said while campaigning at CourtenayGardens Primary School on Saturday.


Four hours down and things are going well. Not sure about the process? Look for someone dressed like this #VicVoteshttp://t.co/jpDQTxIURJ

— VEC (@electionsvic) November 29, 2014 Premier Denis Napthine and wife Peggy submit their votes at a Port Fairy polling booth. Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

1.50pm: It’sbeen a day of snags and smiles for Denis Napthine as the premier road-tripshis way around the South West Coast electorate to greet voters.

The Premier planned out anentire day travelling across south-west Victoria, spending the morning in Heywood, Yambuk and Portland before voting at Port Fairy alongside his neighbours and supporters.

Take a glimpse at his day here.

1.35pm: Never underestimate the power of the humblesanga sandwich…

I arrived to find long queue AND no #SausageSizzle so I changed my preferences & walked to the next suburb #vicvotespic.twitter南京夜网/EQCITSXQKb

— esurientes (@esurientes) November 29, 201412.55pm:An exit poll by theBendigo Advertiseris predicting aLabor victory.

The Addy has polled 50 people leaving the main polling booth in Bendigo Town Hall to get a feel for how the vote might go today.

Here’s theresults from those 50 votes:

Labour 27 votes (54 per cent)

Liberal 11 votes (22 per cent)

Greens 5 votes (10 per cent)

Animal Justice 5 votes (10 per cent)

Nationals 1 vote (2 per cent)

Sex Party 1 vote (2 per cent)

Voters said knowledge of the political leaders,promises toimprove townsand family voting traditions had influenced their decisions.

A small sample – yes – but will this ring true by night’s end?

12.42pm:The perils of politics…

I wonder how many snags @DanielAndrewsMP & @Vic_Premier will have to eat today so not to offend any schools? #vicvotes#springst

— Alana Schetzer (@schetzer) November 29, 201411.30am:A quickvote in the state election followed by a road-trip to Lorne for schoolies celebrations.

That was the plan for first time voter Josie Whiteford, 18, of Nerrina, on Saturday.

The recently graduated Loreto College student andself-confessed ‘greenie’ spoke toThe Courierat Black Hill Primary School and saidshe had been looking forward to her first vote for some time. Hear her thoughts here.

Josie Whiteford

10.30am:What’s been promised for Bendigo in this election? Check out the recap here.

Spoilt for choice in #castlemaine today #vicvotespic.twitter南京夜网/Jnmko3IMHa

— David Stretch (@DaveStretch) November 28, 20149.30am:Fantastic cartoon in The Standard in Warrnambool today. South-West Victorians have been wooed by an unprecedented election cash splash, with the Coalition pledging nearly $120 million to the South West Coast, compared with $5 million from Labor. It’s the biggest for an election campaign in the Western District.

9am:In Ballarat, the seats of Ripon, Wendouree and Buninyong will be crucial to Daniel Andrews or Denis Napthine winning the election.

The Coalition is expected to take Ripon, also a marginal seat, from Labor but the ALP is favoured to win Buninyong, which takes in the majority of the former seat of Ballarat East held by Labor member Geoff Howard since 1999.

Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews and Premier Denis Napthine.

8.30am:Welcome to Fairfax Regional’s coverage of Victorian Election day 2014. We will bring you updates throughout the day from Fairfax newspapers across Victoria. To kick off, here’s a video on how to vote from the Victorian Electoral Commission.

Jim Bright: Betrayed by best mate

To my horror, I discovered last week that I had been betrayed by my best friend, who had put me under surveillance for more than a month.

The shattering truth was not ameliorated when I realised that I had walked into this trap. Not unlike David Beckham’s underpants, it was a large package in my trousers that opened my eyes to this ambush and caused me such shame.

For lurking in those trousers, my erstwhile best friend, my iPhone, had been surreptitiously recording every step of my excuse of a life. Having bought my phone like my food, in supersized portions, I did not expect my beast of excess, the iPhone 6 Plus, to start haranguing me about my health.

I had noticed soon after the phone arrived that it contained an app called Health. Being a male, or perhaps more accurately and honestly being me, I obviously proceeded to ignore this app, assuming it was for those poor unfortunates who cannot take their health for granted, or at least are unable to act as though they do.

Ultimately my curiosity, or my boredom arising out of my barren social life, got the better of me and I opened this app. I staggered backwards in shock to discover that every step that I had taken, forwards or backwards, every staircase I was unable to avoid climbing, since buying  the bloated beast, was recorded dutifully.

And like Cilla Black, those records were truly shocking. Surely it is not possible to take fewer steps than the Australian government confronted with an Ebola crisis, but somehow I had managed it.

Despite moving recently into a place with stairs, my records suggested I lived on a salt flat that had been treated with the heavy roller. How could my companion that I had seen grow from a 2 to a 5s do this to me? I sprung into action and marched around the nearest lake.

I took to going upstairs for the sheer hell of it — and it felt like hell after the umpteenth time. I had to get those figures looking healthier than a Joe Hockey budget, or even a post-operative Joe Hockey.

After several days of unseemly activity, I realised I had been well and truly had. This wasn’t about health at all. I realised that to ensure that I got credit for every step, every climb and every eye blink, the phone was taken with me, literally every step of the way.

What a brilliant way to ensure that your Apple device never leaves your side. Then I started to wonder how far people take this? According to womansday南京夜网, 144 calories are expended in horizontal activities (interestingly menshealth南京夜网 reckon it is only 100, and 69 for women).

I bet there are some zealots out there strapping on their phones to maximise credit for their bedroom aerobics.

In the same way that performance measures at work often undermine and distort the very thing they are trying to measure. I suspect that I shall be so obsessed with looking at the graphs on the health app, I am likely to step in front of a bus while out walking. Healthy, that aint.

Jim Bright is Professor of Career Education and Development at ACU and a Partner at Bright and Associates. Email [email protected]南京夜网. Follow @DrJimBright. 

First Test up in the air as Phillip Hughes’ friends say he would ‘want them to bat on’

First Test up in the air as Phillip Hughes’ friends say he would ‘want them to bat on’ Indian players observing a moment of silence before a match in Kolkata.

David Warner and Michael Clarke arrive at the SCG. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Outpouring of grief: Cricket bats outside the Melbourne Stars head office in East Melbourne stand in tribute to Phillip Hughes. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Pakistani fans in Karachi.

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1234 – PHILLIPHughes’ extended family have given Cricket Australia their support to play the first Test next week, but the prospect of the match going ahead is likely to hinge on the welfare of Australia’s grieving players.

It could be several days before a decision is made on the staging of the Brisbane Test, which is scheduled to start on Thursday, as Australia’s Test squad comes to grips with this week’s tragic events.

Impromptu shrines and the simple mark of respect of putting a cricket bat on the front doorstep occurred at homes and cricket grounds around the country.

Around the world, the death of Hughes, announced on Friday after he was struck on the back of the neck by a cricket ball on Tuesday, was marked by a minute’s silence at cricket games in Pakistan, and wreaths were laid at the Grace Gate at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.

On Friday NSW Premier Mike Baird said a State Memorial Service at Sydney Cricket Ground would pay tribute to Hughes, with the date yet to be set.

Hughes’ close friends and members of his extended family gathered in the late player’s hometown of Macksville on Thursday night and agreed the first Test should be played.

The group, however, had not discussed the topic with Hughes’ immediate family, who are believed to be returning home to Macksville on Saturday.

While some believe the match would be the ideal forum for the public to mourn Hughes’ sudden passing, there are serious concerns that several players may not be emotionally and mentally ready to play a five-day game.

The commercial interests of TV networks, sponsors and India will have to be considered, and CA chief James Sutherland has praised his Indian counterparts for their understanding.

Consideration is being given to pushing back the start of the first two Tests by a day to give players extra time.

But some close family friends felt the Test should go on.

“We all got together near Phillip’s home and spoke about that topic; we all said Phillip would want them to bat on,” said close family friend of the Hugheses, Anthony Miles.

“He would appreciate and be very humble for the respect everyone is showing and he would be flattered, but Phillip would be saying ‘come on, let’s bowl the next ball’.”

Phillip Hughes: he was ‘someone special’Instagram tributes to Phillip Hughes #putoutyourbats | PhotosRIP Phillip Hughes: Leave your tributeMr Miles suggested one session could be abandoned, with Hughes’ bat and helmet left at the crease as a mark of respect, but he was happy for cricket authorities to make the decision.

“They’ve got a grieving process to go through just like we do. We said we’ve got to go back to work, and those cricketers’ jobs, they need to keep on moving because Phillip would want that,” Mr Miles said.

“He wouldn’t want them to stop and be mournful.”

While Cricket Australia is respectful of the family’s wishes, the organisation said it wanted to let the players grieve for their departed friend rather than think about a game of cricket.

The subject had not been broached, Mr Sutherland said on Friday morning, while Cricket Australia’s cricket boss Pat Howard said that Friday would be about grieving.

“We’re going to focus on people first rather than the cricket,” Mr Howard said.

Mr Sutherland said:”Phillip loved cricket more than anyone and he would want nothing more than for the game to continue, but the game will continue at Test level when we’re ready.”

Four of the 12 players selected in Australia’s Test squad – Brad Haddin, Shane Watson, David Warner and Nathan Lyon – played in the match where Hughes suffered his fatal injuries.

Dr Peter Brukner, Dr John Orchard and CA psychologist Dr Michael Lloyd spoke to the squad on Friday at the SCG about their approach to grieving.

“They’ve lost someone who is incredibly close to them. There’s enough we understand about grieving processes to know that it’s really important to give people time and people will respond in different ways to what they’re going through. It’s a time thing now for everyone,” Sutherland said.

“As I said, six or seven days is not a long time, but right now with where we all are it seems a million miles away.”

Australian Hotel to be dwarfed by new towers at Central Park

Old meets new: An artist’s impression of the proposed buildings, which will include 283 hotel rooms, 48 apartments, commercial office and retail space. Photo: Foster + Partners Glass giant: An artist’s impression of the next stage of Central Park at Chippendale. Photo: Foster + Partners


The heritage-listed art deco Australian Hotel, on Broadway, is to be dwarfed by a new hotel and apartment tower to be built on top of it.

The Department of Planning and Environment has put the plans on public exhibition, with new images showing that the 1938 building’s curved facade will be retained and restored at the base of a new glass block, which could be up to 19 storeys.

“The design makes the little hotel look like a mere toenail at the end of a tattooed, robotic leg,” said Chippendale resident, sustainability campaigner and former city councillor, Michael Mobbs. “I’m both sad and resigned to stuff like this. I love the changes here but when I’m confronted by brutishness like this I’ve learnt to look away.”

The plans are for the next stage of Central Park, on the former Carlton United Brewery site, being developed by Frasers Property Australia. The new building, dubbed Four North and designed by British-based architects Foster + Partners, will include 283 hotel rooms, 48 apartments, commercial office and retail space and a childcare centre. It will be in front of another block of new student accommodation.

The old hotel (also known as the Abercrombie Hotel) was one of only five brick hotels built in the Sydney CBD in the interwar Functionalist style, and was originally for the use of factory workers employed at the brewery and the industries nearby. It closed in January.

Frasers sales director Paul Lowe said he felt that it was important to keep the old hotel.

“It seems an interesting, innovative design concept in relation to both the old and the new,” he said.

“It’s important to create a cornerstone of integrity to the building, to encapsulate the hotel within a progressive building for the future.”

But with the plans on view until December 19, not all local residents appear likely to see it the same way. Jeanette Brokman, convenor of the local Chippendale residents group, said: “The beautiful heritage building is being absolutely dominated by the new building.

“The bottom line is that the site is being overdeveloped, which spoils the integrity of the heritage buildings. Some of the designs on the site are great, but this building would look more at home at the other end of the CBD – not on top of a heritage building and close by the beautiful St Benedict’s church.”

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