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January, 2019

Saturday serve: Canberra United the losers in FFA decision to move W-League kick-off

The FFA heat policy says if it’s above 31 degrees then there should be drinks breaks. Photo: Brook MitchellHow did the the most successful club in W-League history get shunted to an ugly 8pm timeslot for their semi-final clash against Melbourne City on Sunday?
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At a time when women’s sport is enjoying an unprecedented boom and just hours before the new AFL Women’s season started, the FFA brought down the sledgehammer on the W-League.

Officials decided ti implement a heat policy, forcing Canberra United to move their kick-off to 8pm rather than 2pm while an A-League fixture at Canberra Stadium will remain at 5pm.

The winners are the W-League players, who will not be forced to play in scorching conditions at Canberra Stadium.

But they are also the biggest losers after the FFA opted to move the women’s game instead of the men’s in an A-League and W-League double-header.

The decision to prioritise the men’s regular season schedule above of the women’s semi-final came just hours before the historic AFL women’s game, which was a sellout in Melbourne.

The debacle started last weekend when the FFA ruled that Canberra United needed to play at Canberra Stadium instead of at McKellar Park.

The reasoning was to allow broadcaster Fox Sports to set up at one venue on one day rather than having to move their television equipment less than seven kilometres down the road.

It also forced Canberra United fans to pay a higher ticket price to watch the A-League fixture, even if they weren’t interested in the Central Coast Mariners’ clash against Adelaide United.

Canberra officials were concerned that it would cost the club a $15,000 bonus after losing an almost certain sell-out crowd at McKellar Park. It might not seem like much, but it’s a pretty big hit on a shoestring budget.

The next curveball was the weather, with temperatures expected to reach 37 degrees on Sunday and the Canberra-Melbourne fixture scheduled to start in peak heat at 2pm.

Instead of shifting the A-League game back and allowing Canberra United to start two or three hours later, the club’s fans must now wait until 8pm. On a Sunday.

Some fans have already asked if they can get a refund because the kick-off is too late for their children. Others asked if they had to pay the full price of admission even if they only wanted to watch the W-League.

Whatever way it’s twisted, the main question being asked was why did the A-League take priority?

If Canberra United wins and secures a grand final berth, the championship match will also be played at Canberra Stadium at 7.30pm next Sunday.

Why at 7.30pm next Sunday? Because the broadcasters have to accommodate the men’s A-League game on Sunday afternoon and they want the game at Canberra Stadium for ease of television access.

Canberra Stadium has a 25,000 capacity. So instead of playing in front of a passionate, packed crowd at McKellar, the players will be able to hear echoes around the venue.

The saddest element of all this is that it seems like the women were forgotten and pushed to the back of the line. Again. Even at a time when female athletes are banging down doors everywhere else.


Scope 2017 economic survey: No budget bonanza, weak year ahead

Economic survey Photo: Karl HilzingerOne a one-trick pony or unicorn? Full resultsThree way tie for forecaster of the yearCommodity run is probably done’General glumness’ to keep shares flatHouse price will rise, don’t expect a crash
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Few of ‘s leading economists expect the government to deliver the cut in the budget deficit promised.

The annual BusinessDay Scope survey of 27 of ‘s most successful forecasters from financial markets, academia, consultancy and industry – reported exclusively in the Fairfax business pages on Saturday – finds that just seven expect the government to cut this year’s deficit to the $29 billion promised. Most expect a much higher deficit, some as high as $50 billion.

Approaching its 40th year, the BusinessDay survey includes the forecasters for each of ‘s big four banks and is regarded as the most authoritative. Over time its average predictions have proved to be more accurate than those of its individual members.

The predicted blowout in the deficit comes despite a doubling in the price of coal and a record trade surplus.

The panel expects the coal price to fall back from about $US80 to $US70 a tonne and the current account deficit to halve. But it believes the boost to corporate incomes won’t flow through to tax revenues for some time and will first be written off against tax losses built up expanding mines.

Wages rises, which boost tax revenue through bracket creep, are expected to be low. The panel is forecasting wage growth of just 2.1 per cent in 2017, only slightly higher than the record low increase of 1.9 per cent recorded in 2016.

“Those jobs that are being created are overwhelmingly part-time,” said Newcastle University labor market specialist Bill Mitchell, responding to the survey. “Their occupants are un-unionised, with little bargaining power.”

The panel expects economic growth to be just high enough in 2017 to enable the Reserve Bank to hold interest rates steady. The end-of-year forecast of 2.4 per cent is a big improvement on the post-crisis low of 1.8 per cent recorded in the year to September, but a long way short of the 3 per cent calendar year forecast implied in the Treasury’s mid-year budget update.

Mining investment will continue to slide for another year, slipping 13 per cent after 40 per cent in 201, offset by only a 3.5 per cent rise in non-mining investment.

Forecaster Stephen Anthony said the best thing the government could do to boost investment would be to borrow at low interest rates to build infrastructure and farm the work out. “Even with low interest rates, businesses aren’t finding it worthwhile to borrow on their own account,” he said.

Home prices should continue to rise, but more slowly. Sydney prices should climb 4.9 per cent and Melbourne prices 4.3 per cent after climbing 15.5 per cent and 13.7 per cent in 2016.

The sharemarket should grow by only 2 per cent after climbing 6 per cent in 2016.

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Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse case study 50day one

Catholic priest Dr Michael Whelan, who is the director of Aquinas Academy and parish priest ina Sydney diocese, has just given evidence about how he “nearly destroyed my life through idealising myself as a priest, trying to be the good priest”.
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4.06pm The Royal Commission has adjourned for today and will resume at 10am on Tuesday.1.38pm The Royal Commission has resumed.Dr Whelan has told the royal commission that “the good priest” was a “template”, and trying to be a good, but idealised priest, produced “enormous conflict between what I was discovering in myself and what I was supposed to be”.

Shine the Light: The Newcastle Herald’s complete coverage of the Royal Commission

Dr Whelan underwent therapy as part of his doctorate. He has given evidence about the tyranny of trying to live up to being an idealised person, rather than an actual human being.

“We develop conflicts and we seek consolation and we seek compensation, and generally are not able to be graceful free human beings,” Dr Whelan said.

He attended a Toongabbie seminary. He was very young and naive, but his experience was mostly a happy one.

“Mostly I was intent on becoming a priest and a Marist priest at that. It was only when I look back, there were quite intense conflicts,” he said.

He said he didn’t know why he wanted to be a Marist priest. He didn’t want to become a Jesuit because it would take too long, and “I didn’t want to become a diocesan priest because I felt they are lonely men”.

“You are presented with all these ideals, and then you are invited to use your will power to go and do it, and I think that is a very destructive way to live. I didn’t realise it at the time, I jut thought this was the way you became a priest,” Dr Whelan said.

He was sent to a Tasmanian school to teach, but hadn’t had any teaching training.

“Before I turned up in Tasmania the then principal had a meeting with me in Sydney and the only thing I remember about that meeting, apart from him saying I would be in charge of the junior school, was ‘Buy yourself an instrument of discipline’. So I went and bought myself an instrument of discipline,” Dr Whelan said.

Gail Furness: “What was it?”

Whelan: “A cane.”

Whelan said there was no mentoring.

“I just turned up with my cane and a lot of goodwill and naivety and set about probably being quite a bad disciplinarian and teacher,” Dr Whelan said.

“I say thank God I didn’t have a proclivity to misbehave.”

Furness has asked him why he said that.

Whelan: “Because the tensions that I was under and the opportunities that I had could have led me to that.”

Giving evidence on a panel with Dr Whelan is Broken Bay diocese priest Dr David Ranson.

Dr Ranson is explaining changes within the church over the past two centuries, and how they have affected both clerics and lay people.

He said the church’s view of where holiness can be found has changed over that time, with priests now understanding, and the church accepting, that holiness can be found in the outside world, and not just in cloistered communities or other structures within the church.

Dr Ranson’s evidence is about life in a monastery, where he ran the dairy farm.

He left the monastic community in 1998, then came to Sydney.

Furness has just asked Ranson why he’s come to have a particular interest in child sexual abuse in the church.

Ranson: “I received an invitation from the Jesuits to lead them in what I thought would be a once-off reflection on celibate sexuality. From 1992 to the end of the 1990s I was involved in every seminary in and many of the religious houses of formation.

“I think I had the sense at the time that seminary faculties or seminary staff were turning to me because I was the only one who was offering such workshops or such seminars.”

Ranson said his seminars sought to help people reflect on their actual experience rather than on their idealised experience.

He said he taught people a way of a more positive way of imagining celibacy, rather than celibacy being the source of people living “lives of quiet despair and isolation”.

He taught them “to try to develop emotional, and what I was calling at that time, sexual literacy”.

“That is to try to assist people to listen to what they were experiencing and to try to interpret that.”

Ranson said he would present different sexual fantasies and different scenarios that represented sexual misconduct.

“What I was trying to do there was simply create all these different scenarios that were possibilities, and to try to get people to understand what were the forces, what were the factors, what were the driving features underneath this,” Ranson said.

Priest Dr Michael RansonI think the church’s law of compulsory celibacy is misguided and it should not be in place.

Dr Michael WhelanGet rid of seminaries. Seminaries are like boarding schools and I don’t think they are healthy environments for maturation to take place.

Dr Michael Whelan.The church must have the humility to say ‘Teach us what we need to learn’.

Dr David Ranson, parish priest and theologian.Attempts to control sexual desire and sexual activity, in my view, led to sex-obsessed lives of terror in which the body was disavowed, sexual desire was a problem to be overcome and the moral superiority of vowed virginity was presumed.

Dr Marie Keenan on Catholic clerical child sex offenders.As Catholics, we hang our heads in shame.

Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council spokesman Francis Sullivan.Children were ignored, or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious were moved. The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past. Documents were not kept, or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed, as did cover-ups.

Counsel assisting the royal commission, Gail Furness

Furness is now referring to the similarity between the findings of the n Royal Commission and those of the Irish report of the commission of investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, published in 2009. It found that the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal and the protection of the reputation of the church and its assets took priority over the rights of children to be protected.

The Royal Commission looked at the Catholic Church Insurance and its operations.

In 2015 the commission required CCI to produce all documents where it had determined prior knowledge on the part of a Catholic Church authority of its abusers.

“The term prior knowledge was based on the definition used by Catholic Church Insurance in its investigations, which referred to knowledge held by a senior official of the relevant church authority,” Furness said.

“The Royal Commission received over 128,000 documents from Catholic Church Insurance.”

Furness said the Royal Commission had made 309 referrals to police in all states and the ACT in relation to allegations of child sexual abuse involving Catholic Church institutions. As a result there have been 27 prosecutions, and another 75 still being investigated. The victim or accused has died in 37 cases and 66 matters are pending.

The Royal Commission received more than 80 submissions in response to an issues paper before the final hearing.

“The Catholic Church’s structure and governance, including the role of the Vatican and issues related to the individual leadership of Catholic institutions featured heavily in the submissions as a factor that may have contributed to the occurrence of the abuse and certainly to the institutional response to it,” Furness said.

“The issues of a rigid hierarchy based on obedience to bishops and to the Pope, and lack of accountability to the faithful emerged as themes. The lack of women in positions of leadership was identified by many as a relevant factor.”

Furness has told the Royal Commission of a number of prominent Catholics, from overseas, who were asked to give evidence, or originally indicated they would give evidence at this hearing, but declined.

Justice McClellan invited two senior members of Pope Francis’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Cardinal O’Malley and Professor Sheila Baroness Hollins, to give evidence by video link at the hearing. Each declined to give oral evidence, and preferred to rely on a submission prepared by Baroness Hollins on the work of the Pope’s commission, and her opinion on factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of, or affected the response to, child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions.

In October the commission spoke with the United States’ executive director secretariat of child and youth protection, Deacon Bernard Nojadera. He was later invited to give evidence and accepted that invitation.

Deacon Nojadera informed the commission on January 25 that he was no longer able to participate in the hearing. He declined the commission’s offer to have him give evidence by video link and declined to provide a signed statement.

On July 27 Dr Marie Keenan was invited to give evidence at the hearing. She has conducted and reported on her research into issues related to child sexual abuse within the church. She accepted the invitation and confirmed her willingness to appear and give evidence by video link, Furness said.

On January 31 she provided a precis of the evidence she would give to the commission hearing.

“On 2 February Dr Keenan advised that she did not believe that the forum of the Royal Commission is the correct one to do justice adequately to the research she has done and to all parties involved,” Furness said.

Furness said she would read sections of Dr Keenan’s precis to the hearing today.

A member of the Jesuit order, Dr Gerry O’Hanlon, will give evidence by video link from Dublin on Wednesday night.


Good morning. It’s Joanne McCarthy back at the Royal Commission in Sydney, and the first day of the commission’s 50thpublic hearing, which is also the final hearing into the Catholic Church. The commission has conducted 15 public hearings into the Catholic Church so far, ranging from inquiries into individual dioceses like Maitland-Newcastle, and orders including the Marist and Christian Brothers. This hearing is almost a who’s who of the Catholic Church in , with some notable exceptions, including the former head of Sydney Archdiocese, Cardinal George Pell. This hearing has more than 60 witnesses, and will look at issues within the church that may have contributed to a disproportionate number of its clergy becoming offenders. It will look at canon law, celibacy, clericalism, governance within the church and its current practises relating to how it responds to child sex allegations.

To read more about thehearings into the Newcastle Anglican diocese, check the videoand links below.


Sir Henry Bolte and the hanging of Ronald Ryan

50 years: Melbourne prison escapee Ronald Ryan is taken to police headquarters in Sydney after his recapture, 5 January 1966. Photo: W. CroserAt 8am on Friday, February 3, 1967, a man wearing the eerie hangman’s uniform of white sandshoes, grey coveralls, a green cloth butcher’s cap and welding glassessent the convicted murderer Ronald Joseph Ryan crashing through the trapdoor at HM Prison Pentridgeto his death.
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Ryan was the last manhanged in , and the furore over his execution was widespread and vociferous.

Henry Bolte, the pugnacious and long-serving premier of Victoria, was determined to see Ryan go to the gallows after Robert Tait, a murderer sentenced to death previously, escaped the penalty through being found insane.

Bolte, the son of a German publican, was born in Ballarat and lived most of his youth in Skipton, attending Ballarat Grammar.

He had been premier for 12 years when his cabinet determined that Ryan would die, in the face of extensive and articulate opposition.

Although he lacked a university education, Bolte was a shrewd and canny politician, attuned to the popular sentiment of the general public, who for the most part supported the concept of capital punishment.

The cartoonist Les Tanner portrayed him savagely in an edition of The Bulletin,which its publisher Sir Frank Packer tried to pulp all copies of.

Watch National Film and Sound Archive footage of the Ronald Ryan story

He drew the premier as hangman, with Bolte saying,“I do not bow to mob protests – only mob support.”

Opposition to the execution came from all parts of n society. Churches, trade unions and even members of Bolte’s own Liberal Party expressed their revulsion for the insistence on the state-sanctioned hanging, after the government had commuted 15 previous death penalties.

Footage about Bolte and Ryan’s hanging.Journalist EvanWhitton was present at the execution. His recollection, The Necking Of Ronald Ryan, is stark, precise and matter-of-fact about the swift brutality of the execution, as were his colleague’s, journalists Ron Saw and Brain Morley, reports.

“They say if you blink at a hanging, you’re likely to miss the action. The hangman’s last four movements were so incredibly swift they stunned the eye, and I believe my glance must have been drawn by the hangman’s backward leap,” wrote Mr Whitton.

“At any rate, when my eyes came back, the hooded figure had his legs severed just below the knee, and that is the image that is fixed on the negative of my brain. Maybe I blinked then: Ihave no picture of him going the rest of the way down.”

Ryan died instantly. The Catholic prison chaplain Father John Brosnan attempted to give him the Last Rites as Ryan’sface turned black from constriction.

At the 1967 Victorian state elections the Liberals gained six seats.


Jayden Johnston is one cool cat

Animal advocate: Jayden Johnston plays with some of his current rescues. Picture: John VeageJayden Johnston is not like most teenagers.
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Animal advocate: Jayden Johnston plays with some of his current rescues. Picture: John Veage

The 17-year-old Sans Souci resident doesn’t spendhis money on going out or fast food; instead using his pay cheque to rehome rescue cats.

Growing up his home was always filled with animals; many were rescues that his vet nurse mum couldn’t bareto put down.

‘’I always had a connection with animals,’’ he said.‘’Growing up we always had dogs and cats around and now I’m old enough I’m starting to take it on.’’

Over the years the family hashelped rehome hundreds of catsfrom kill shelters; many of which would have no other chance to survive.

They take the catshome to rehabilitate them, get them treated, desexed, vaccinated and microchipped before they are ready to be sold.

Jayden pays for nearly everything out of his own pocket using money he earns from working at Petbarn and his own entertainment business.

The cats he brings in are often very sick with each costing around $310 to desex and vaccinate as well as getting a full vet check.

That doesn’t include the cost of housing the cats before they are adopted or fostered.

He shrugs off suggestions that it’s a special way of using his money.

‘’I always say that nothing makes you feel richer than looking into a cat’s face knowing you saved a life,’’ he said.

He said pounds and shelters are particularly busy in the warmer months between September and March.

He saidsome council pounds kill a large portion of cats brought in.

At the moment he has five cats in his home but it has reached as high as 14 before.

He said almost anyone can help.

‘’Adopting really is the best, so if you’re in the position now is the time,’’ he said.

‘’If you can’t adopt then foster. We always need more foster carers.

‘’For some people it might not be possible so you can always sponsor a cat or donate to food costs.’’

Anyone interested in helping can contact Jayden here.