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Backyard cricket reaches fever pitch

Written By doni donian on Selasa, 23 Desember 2014 | 23.09

Cody and Brodie Eccles get in some sneaky practice on their special Christmas Day backyard cricket pitch at their home in The Basin. Picture: Valeriu Campan Source: News Limited

TRADITIONAL backyard cricket has been hit for six by the Eccles family, who have elevated their game to a whole new level — and that's no spin.

The family from The Basin take their backyard cricket very seriously, and have a dedicated pitch which is specially prepared and can only be used for their Christmas Day match.

They have three cricket pitches on the property; the 'Cool Yule', a second one they use for matches throughout the year and a third synthetic deck they use for batting practice.

Mum Debbie described her family as "cricket-mad" and said her sons Brodie, 15, and Cody, 13, who attend St Joseph's College in Ferntree Gully, were the envy of their cricket club friends.

Their Christmas Day backyard cricket match involves the extended family and is a serious affair.

Mrs Eccles and husband John set up several cameras around the yard each year, and edit the footage at the end of the day — complete with dubbed commentary and game highlights.

And this year will be the first year they use a spidercam to get footage from the game play.

Yep, a moving camera, suspended in the air, just like the international coverage.

The Eccles' warm up deck. Picture: Valeriu Campan Source: News Limited

"My kids have been playing cricket in the backyard since they learnt to walk," Mrs Eccles said.

"The pitch gets mowed down on the night before Christmas to make sure it's all prepared.

"They usually try to start before lunch and it usually goes for about four hours."

Mrs Eccles said they used a standard car tyre to roll out the pitch, and a small hand mower to get the lawn to the perfect length.

A garden hose marks out the boundaries, and they use a half-taped tennis ball instead of a cricket ball to avoid breaking any roof tiles, car windows — or bones.

Hopefully no one will be bowled out for a duck this year.

After all, it's a day for turkey.

Leader's new cricket-dedicated Facebook page, Leader Local Cricket, put out a call for your best backyard pitches.

And readers didn't disappoint, with some brilliant examples that would put a turf pitch to shame.

If you've got a backyard pitch you'd like us to see, head on over, like the page and send it to us.

You'd be happy to have a hit on Ben Hodgart's well manicured cricket pitch. Source: Supplied

Ben Hodgart's awesome deck at his Hoppers Crossing home also gets the camera treatment.

That thing looks like every blade of grass has been waited on with a pair of nail clippers, not one is out of place.

Here's a clip of Ben versus Dan, complete with Channel 9 commentary, action replays and even a sneaky hot spot appearance.

The boys watch the action at the Seehusens. Source: Supplied

The view from the bowler's end at the Seehusens. Source: Supplied

The VIP viewing area from the deck at Peter Seehusen's backyard cricket pitch is prime position.

The deckchairs are lined up for those not involved in the action, so they can get an up close and personal view of the brilliant performances produced when the Seehusens battle it out with friends and family.

It's a fairly scenic set up too.

The pitch backs directly onto the home, which gives views that almost look like they could be on canvas.

The Seehusens even employ a traditional cricket roller, to keep their deck perfectly flat for the batsmen, with some noticeable green to give the bowlers some hope.

We can just envisage the epic battles on Christmas Day.

So much fun.

The backyard deck at the Hookeys' home is about 14m long. Source: Supplied

"It's all happening here at the HCG" – That's the fabled Hookey Cricket Ground, in Cranbourne.

Lovingly tended to by 18-year-old Craig Hookey and his family, the backyard battles are more a daily occurrence in summer, than just a Christmas staple.

"About four years ago I started making a backyard cricket pitch out the back for the family Christmas party," Craig said.

"Over time, it has started late November and ended late February due to mates always wanting to have a game!"

"The pitch is about 14 metres long.

"Rules are windows on full are out and the most important rule, which my dad came up with, is lemon tree on the full is out!

"I can't think of anything better to do over summer than play backyard cricket!"

Benjamin Luca's backyard pitch looks like it would be home in Mumbai, India. Plenty for spinners and nothing for the quicks. Source: Supplied

Blake John Papas reckons if you win the toss you bowl in his backyard. Source: Supplied

And sometimes backyard cricket is more serious than just the odd knock around on Christmas Day.

Welcome to the BBL ...

No, not the KFC T20 Big Bash League, the Backyard Bashes League, of course.

Set in the suburbs of Melbourne, the clubs battle it out throughout the summer for the BBL title.

It's a fun league that doesn't take itself too seriously, headed by a group of inventive chaps who treat it with a bit of schtick, as the video in the Facebook post below attests.

Lucas Butcher's poolside pitch. Source: Supplied

The deck at Dylan Rhys-Jones' home. Source: Supplied

Paddy Inglis roped off his square. Source: Supplied

The Wyatt Recreation Reserve, located in Drouin. Source: Supplied


23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

Abbott ponders decision on Credlin

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and chief-of-staff Peta Credlin. Source: News Corp Australia

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott is taking soundings from confidants about how to resolve controversy surrounding the power and reach of his chief-of-staff, Peta Credlin.

The move comes as he replaced the head of his media office, Jane McMillan, with senior ABC chief political correspondent Mark Simkin.

In a statement, the PM's office confirmed Ms McMillan would take up another, unspecified role in the PM's office.

Deputy chief-of-staff Andrew Hirst will take on a new role that combines strategic communications with overall responsibility for the Prime Minister's Press Office.

Mr Abbott has been on a "barnacle removal'' strategy since Parliament rose early in the month, getting rid of or amending political problems such as the $7 GP fee, and has indicated he would drastically overhaul his unpopular paid parental leave scheme.

Senior Coalition MPs have been expressing concern for months that Mr Abbott has devolved too much influence to Ms Credlin.

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Mr Abbott attempted to deflect the controversy by suggesting it was sexist, and told his colleagues to take a "long, hard look at themselves" when they were criticising her.

But privately, Mr Abbott has been speaking to trusted colleagues and confidants about how to resolve the controversy and whether Ms Credlin's role in his office needs to change.

One suggestion is that she could move into a role similar to that of a principal private secretary and a new chief-of-staff appointed.

Others have suggested she may need to leave his office altogether.

Mr Abbott is understood to have accepted it would be a problem if media attention continued to focus on Ms Credlin into the new year.

Ms Credlin has been a senior staffer for Liberal MPs for 15 years and has been with Mr Abbott since Opposition days.

ellen.whinnett@news.com.au


23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

The phones of the future will blow your mind

When it comes to smartphone technology, you ain't seen nothing yet. Source: AFP

IN 30 years since the first mobile phone went on sale we've seen it morph from a bank-breaking, basic brick into a slim super computer that can do anything from entertain to tell us what we should be doing next.

With the next-generation (and several generations after that) of mobile phone innovation already being tinkered with by engineers and scientists in hi-tech labs the future of the device is set to change at warp speed. Come with us as we look at what our favourite gadget could do in years ahead.

This is today's Microsoft Surface Pro 2. But where will technology take us in the future? Picture: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan Source: AP

1-2 years

Mobiles were uglier back in the day but at least they could withstand a bashing. Recent years have seen a trade in resilience for beauty but the future will see a turnaround with unbreakable devices. Weatherproof handsets are proving a surprising hit with consumers calling for their precious phones to be made of tougher stuff. Manufacturers look to use the latest materials including scratch and shatter-proof ion-infused glass as well as liquid metal for cases, which is nigh-on indestructible as it bounces back to its original shape after being dented.

Modular mobile phones will hit the market whereby customers can buy a handset made from features they pick and choose to go on it. There's already a project underway that will allow consumers to decide what their custom handset can do and what it will look like so you can create a phone that perfectly fits your needs. For instance if there's a phone out there that has a great camera but you don't need the whizzy other stuff, this modular approach could let you have the best of everything or let you cherry pick the bits that are important to you. Expect to see the pick 'n' mix smartphones to shift the goalposts in the not-too-distant future.

Storage sizes and capabilities are always improving. Source: News Limited

3-5 years

With smartphone screens getting bigger and people spending more time on mobiles than any other device expect to see super-high resolution, cinema-quality displays rock handsets. A far cry from the monochrome, one-line displays of the 90s our eyes will be treated to full 4K screens (that's four-times the resolution of High Definition) right in the palm of our hand. This visual feast is only just reaching our living rooms today but mobile makers are already eyeing it up for our pocketable gadgets. We doubt mobile sizes will continue to grow at this stage (around five-inches seems to be the Goldilocks zone) but within three years a stunning 4K screen will be de facto.

If you think 4G browsing on your phone is pretty speedy today, just wait a few years and you'll be blown away. The next-generation wireless mobile network could be quick enough to download a high-def movie in just 30 seconds. This also means it could make storage sizes obsolete as everything from your apps to entertainment could be accessed from the cloud within the blink of an eye. The infrastructure of this technology is being readied for a 2020 release.

The camera will evolve in our smartphones to do far more than your standard selfie. 3D technology using wide-angle lenses and sensors will be able to map your surroundings, meaning you could actually walk around inside your photos. Mobile cameras will understand and process the space around you and then remodel it in a 3D image. You could revisit old birthday party pictures, explore old holiday snaps or take a look around hotels, houses for sale or eBay items in great detail. The technology is currently being tested in projects in both mobile handsets and a larger system called Matterport, who worked on Microsoft's Kinect sensor.

The unbreakable smartphone is closer than you think. Source: AFP

6-10 years

The fabled foldable mobile has been floating around almost as long as the flying car but breakthroughs in material technology — in particular the super thin, super strong and conductive wonder material, Graphene — will make this more than a crazy concept. There are already mobiles on the market that have a slight bend and we've seen manufacturers show off flexy displays at gadget shows but within ten years we could see mobiles that change shape to suit our needs and roll up right into our pocket. There wouldn't be a need for both tablet and mobile, or the decision of what screen size to go for — imagine being able to unravel a screen to different sizes whether you want more space for browsing or less to just make a call. We know mobile makers are keen on this flexible, wrappable, mouldable, unbreakable form factor and research labs like the Human Media Lab at Queen's University in Canada have already produced a primitive folding handset.

Our phones have truly become an indispensable part of us. Source: ThinkStock

Batteries last about as long as an asthmatic in a sprint race these days but in the hi-tech future we could see our devices run for 20 years on a single charge. A team at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a titanium dioxide gel that is a dab hand at storing lithium ions in its nanostructure. In non-sciencey words: it's very efficient at storing its charge. Of course, this Holy Grail of an everlasting battery is being chased after by many so there are other alternative battery technologies being developed. There's a team in Korea looking to transform the heat generated from our bodies into electricity to power phones; there's also the idea of piezoelectricity which converts movement into energy so we could walk and charge; and researchers in California have made a tattoo that generates electricity from our own sweat. So it looks like the future phone's power supply might be something we won't have to sweat about (literally).

Many technologists have postulated the idea of singularity. Source: News Limited

10-15 years

If sci-fi films have taught us anything it's that holographic floating displays will burst out of our mobile devices in the future. They're not wrong. A 3D screen materialising in thin air we can prod and manipulate is already in development from start-up Ostendo Technologies. Their 'Quantum Photonic Imager' is a Tic-Tac sized projector unit that can beam a high-resolution image into the open like something from Iron Man. In ten-years' time the technology would be finetuned to a point where we're fully interactive with the floating screen — we could watch sport play out in front of us, get inside maps and play games in a whole new way. And Tinder sure is going to be interesting ….

Wearable technology is already trying to bridge the necessity to carry a phone and in years going forward we will see the physical handset disappear from pockets altogether. Just as the smartphone managed to evaporate the hardware of things like sat navs, MP3 players, wallets and — to some extent — watches and compact cameras, new smartwatches and smartglasses operated by spoken command will become the primary communications device to make the mobile vanish. If you're thinking 'where's the screen?!' it could be displayed on glasses lenses or perhaps that pill-sized holographic projector could unfurl it in midair for you. How do you take a selfie would be the next one to answer …

3D holograms, anyone? Source: ThinkStock

20-30 years

In twenty years we'll look back and laugh at how we once had to actually hold our phones to operate them. Going way beyond wearables, a smart contact lens could offer a device-free experience to display messages, web pages, directions and video literally right in front of your eye. A lens with basic computer circuitry is currently being tested, which contains sensors to alert diabetics to dangerous glucose levels. With nanotechnology having the potential to build robots the size of blood cells the prospect of developing computing components small enough to fit on a contact lens is a distinct possibility.

As the memory of clunky, manual mobile handsets fade into a world of invisible communication devices plugged straight into our bodies we will also see highly sophisticated operating systems that we can talk to like another human. Built-in personal assistants are becoming more intuitive knowing what we like, where we've been and what we're doing. If our mobiles can already work out and tell us when to leave work in order to catch our usual train while reminding us to say happy birthday to Brenda on our way and warning us how many calories are in that biscuit before we've even eaten it can you imagine what else it'll be able to do as this intelligence continues to grow? The movie Her does a great job of showing us how operating systems could evolve to a point where we can freely converse with the OS rather than the simple experience we know today. Forget asking if it's going to rain, you can have full convos about the state of the weather. A computer has already managed to dominate the television game show Jeopardy providing complex human-like answers to questions. Some might find this petrifying but us technophiles can't wait. Artificial intelligence is coming so get your small talk ready.

Originally published as The phones of the future will blow your mind
23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

Lodge toilet troubles add to reno bill

Prime Minister Tony Abbott outside The Lodge in Canberra. Source: News Limited

TOILET troubles at The Lodge have contributed to a growing renovations bill, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott unlikely to move in until late next year.

Documents quietly posted on the Government's tenders website show the cost of renovating the historic building has more than doubled, now costing taxpayers $6.3 million, up from the original published price of $3.1 million.

The renovations on the PM's official residence, built in the 1920s, were originally expected to be finished in September this year, but could now stretch on until next December.

The Herald Sun understands part of the delays are due to difficulties finding bathroom and toilet fittings that meet strict heritage requirements, but reach modern safety standards.

These are thought to include non-slip 1920s-style tiles, and difficulties installing handrails to make bathrooms accessible for those in wheelchairs.

The Lodge has been closed since 2013 for long-overdue renovations, including asbestos removal, replacing the slate roof, repair to ceilings damaged by possum infestations and the replacement of dangerous old wiring.

It stood empty after former PM Kevin Rudd and his family moved out following their September 2013 election loss.

Mr Abbott never moved in, and has instead been bunking down in a $110-a-night room at the Australian Federal Police college in the Canberra suburb of Barton.

Public servants had rented him a $3000-a-week luxury home in Canberra for the duration of the renovations but he refused to move in, a move that cost $65,000 in lease termination fees.

The Government never revealed the full contract price, saying it was commercial in confidence, but the first published head contract was for $3.1 million.

The costs have been rising in recent months, with the original contract and costs now amended more than 15 times since April.

Labor's Waste Watch committee chair, Pat Conroy, criticised the growing costs, saying it demonstrated that: "Tony Abbott isn't fit to compete on a home renovation TV show, let alone run the country."

"I'm sure people are now wondering why they are expected to pay higher prices for their petrol or to see a doctor, but it's OK for Tony Abbott to spend millions more than originally planned on renovating The Lodge,'' he said.

A spokeswoman for Michael McCormack, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, said there was no cost blowout and the project was "tracking to budget and schedule.''

ellen.whinnett@news.com.au


23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘Terror chatter’ puts us on high alert

Speaking on the eve of the Christmas break, Tony Abbott said that Australian's should go about their business as usual over the festive season even though there is a heightened terror chatter according to security agencies.

AUSTRALIA'S spy chiefs have detected an increased level of "chatter'' among terrorists, sparking a grim pre-Christmas security warning from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Mr Abbott has warned the Martin Place siege on December 15 had sparked increased communications from "people we would normally think of as terrorist ­sympathisers".

The warning came after ASIO chief Duncan Lewis and AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin briefed the National Security Committee of Cabinet.

"As we prepare to join family and friends to celebrate Christmas, we do need to be conscious of the fact the terrorism threat remains high,'' Mr Abbott said.

"There are people who would do us harm, and can do us harm.''

He would not say whether any direct or specific threats had been made.

A number of major events are to kick off in Melbourne and elsewhere in Australia, including the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, World Cup cricket events and Australian Open tennis.

Security and police forces have been ramping up security preparations ahead of the events that will be attended by hundreds of thousands of people over several weeks.

"Now and always while the terror threat is heightened, our police and security agencies will be very active and very ­vigilant,'' Mr Abbott said.

As well, tens of thousands of people will attend churches for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has urged people to be alert.

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CABINET RESHUFFLE: SUSSAN LEY PROMOTED, DAVID JOHNSTON AXED

Two new ministers joined the National Security Committee on Tuesday — new Defence Minister Kevin Andrews and new Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

Mr Abbott said he believed it was important they were briefed on the domestic and international security situation "as quickly as possible".

"The briefing from the ­security agencies indicated that there has been a heightened level of terrorist chatter in the aftermath of the Martin Place siege," the PM said.

"That's why it's important that people remain alert and aware as well as reassured that our police and security agencies are doing everything they humanely can to keep us safe.

"I'm alerting people to the fact that the terror threat ­remains high and, as you will all understand, at this level an attack is likely.

"We don't know when and how an attack may come but we do know there are people with the intent and capability to carry out further attacks.''

Anyone with information should contact the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.

ellen.whinnett@news.com.au


23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

Boxing Day concert ticket sale

Grand sale ... Frontier have made select tickets to Ed Sheeran's sold out tour available for their Boxing Day sale. Picture: AP Source: AP

MUSIC lovers can buy cheap concert tickets in the Boxing Day sales without leaving home.

Frontier Touring have announced their first Boxing Day sale, starting at 8am on Friday and running until 11.59pm on Sunday (unless all sales are exhausted) at boxingdaysale.mushroom.com

Extra tickets for previously sold out shows by Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith will also be released on Friday.

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Last chance ... Extra tickets for previously sold out shows by Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith will also be released on Friday. Picture: Kevin Kane/Getty Images for iHeartMedia Source: Getty Images

There will also be temporarily reduced ticket prices for concerts by acts including Kylie Minogue, The Eagles, Billy Idol and Cheap Trick, Rod Stewart, The Script and The Vamps.

Prices will also be dropped for the Future Music Festival, headlined by Drake and Avicii, the under 18's Good Life Festival and the indie Sugar Mountain Festival with rapper Nas.

There will also be selected reduced price tickets for A Day on the Green winery concerts including Sting and Paul Simon.

Frontier's Michael Gudinski said the sale is an experiment as well as a thank you to punters.

"Live concerts have become such a big part of people's lives of all age groups," Gudinski said.

Bargains ... There will be temporarily reduced ticket prices for concerts by acts including Kylie Minogue, The Eagles, Billy Idol and Cheap Trick, Rod Stewart, The Script and The Vamps. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

``This sale is all about the fans. We'd like to think we're a fan-friendly company. We've put on some very limited tickets to shows by Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith which have been sold out for ages.

``And we've heavily discounted certain shows, and it's not just nose bleed seats, there's some good seats across a cross section of concerts in all different states."

Gudinski said the offer was also an antidote to buying cheap tickets online which turned out to be scalped or forgeries or relying on secondary ticket selling sites.

"I've seen too many instances of people buying a ticket to a show online and being disappointed and losing their money."

Originally published as Boxing Day concert ticket sale
23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

Police freeze $10m after takeover deal

ACG says it is co-operating with a joint federal and state police investigation. Source: News Corp Australia

POLICE have frozen $10 million paid for the takeover of one of Australia's biggest ­security companies.

Australian Federal Police swooped on the $10 million paid to ACG Security after catering giant Spotless bought its operations.

ACG is mired in a major police investigation and faces security licence suspensions.

Spotless announced the purchase of ACG contracts and assets in October, a day after the Herald Sun revealed ACG was the subject of an investigation by the Trident taskforce, a joint law enforcement body that works on the docks.

Part of the investigation ­involves allegations of black money wage payments.

Police are analysing ­material, including documents and computer records, seized in a raid on ACG premises and a suburban home.

ACG has denied any wrongdoing and says it is co-operating with police.

POLICE SUSPEND ACG SECURITY'S LICENCE

ACG SECURITY PROBED OVER DOCKS WAGE PAYMENTS

An AFP spokeswoman said: "The restraint of any funds is subject to an ongoing investigation, therefore it would not be appropriate to comment."

ACG founder Harry Korras and chief executive officer Peter Kyriopoulos could not be contacted yesterday.

The company's security ­licence and those of eight ­employees were last week ­revoked by Victoria Police after allegations ACG had used unlicensed staff and sub­contractors.

The company's contracts cover major public venues, ­including Etihad Stadium and Federation Square.

It also provides services for BHP, Coca-Cola Amatil, ­Patrick Stevedoring, John Holland, Myer and Toll.

The national security business has an annual turnover of $80 million.

A source close to the takeover said Spotless was aware of the federal investigation before it bought the contract and had held discussions with federal authorities.

Spotless had completed the sale and the funds had landed in ACG's accounts.

Spotless chairwoman Margaret Jackson said ACG was a market-leading business that would strengthen the caterers' balance sheet.

"This represents a great opportunity for Spotless to broaden its reach and expand its service offering to clients,'' she said when announcing the takeover.

mark.buttler@news.com.au


23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

Qantas worker sues over crucifix ban

Written By doni donian on Selasa, 21 Oktober 2014 | 23.10

Georgina Sarikoudis with her crucifix outside St Raphael Greek Orthodox Church in Bentleigh. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin Source: News Limited

A FORMER Qantas employee has accused the airline of banning crucifixes while allowing Muslim women to wear head scarfs.

Georgina Sarikoudis claims the airline discriminated against the Christian faith by demanding she and others discard the religious insignia.

Mrs Sarikoudis, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, claims in tribunal documents she was subjected to "threats and ridicule" by managers who ordered her to cut off her prayer-knot bracelet and remove her necklace with a crucifix on it.

"The Qantas uniform policy allows for head scarfs by Muslim females but no allowance for the wearing of crucifixes, religious bracelets or other religious ... artefacts. Qantas staff have a religious belief other than Muslim," Mrs Sarikoudis claims.

The Ormond woman, who says she wore a crucifix during 19 years at the airline, says she was confronted after Qantas changed its uniforms late last year.

The carrier's staff dress code — which didn't change — prohibits visible necklaces and bracelets, except for medical alert purposes.

Women are allowed to wear head scarfs for "cultural, religious and medical reasons".

The former Melbourne Airport customer service agent claims she was "grilled" about her devotion to her beliefs, her reasons for wanting to wear religious symbols, and even how often she attended church.

She claims other staff — including a woman who wore rosary beads — were ordered to remove jewellery with Christian icons.

Mrs Sarikoudis, who accepted a redundancy offer earlier this year, said she refused to take off or hide the items of jewellery despite months of bullying.

"For Christians, this is our uniform. Everyone should be allowed to manifest their religion as they see fit," Mrs Sarikoudis said.

In her claim before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Mrs Sarikoudis is demanding the airline change its uniform policy to allow "religious items of significance" to be worn, as well as an apology from her former employer.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the uniform standards didn't ban religious jewellery worn under the uniform.


23.10 | 0 komentar | Read More

Gough Whitlam: Legend in our lifetime

onight the nation mourns one of the giants of Australian political history following the death of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam

GOUGH Whitlam has been remembered as a courageous reformer, a visionary and a political giant who changed Australia forever.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten led tributes in Parliament House to the 21st prime minister of Australia, who died on Tuesday in Sydney at the age of 98.

All the PMs who followed Mr Whitlam — Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard — acknowledged Mr Whitlam for his vision, bravery and the sheer force of his personality. Mr Abbott described Mr Whitlam as a "giant figure'' in Parliament and public life.

"He was only prime minister for three years, three tumultuous years, but those years changed our nation and, one way or another, set the tone for so much that has followed,'' he said.

"It was his vision that drove our politics then and which still echoes through our public life four decades on.''

Mr Shorten said: " Like no other prime minister before or since, Gough Whitlam redefined our country — and in doing so he changed the lives of a generation — and generations to come.

"The Whitlam government should not be measured in years but in achievements.

"By any test, our country is better because of him,'' he said.

Gough Whitlam Former prime minister Gough Whitlam has been hailed as a larger-than-life leader. Picture: Peter Brew-Bevan, Snapper Media

One after another, MPs spoke about Mr Whitlam and his legacy — establishing Medicare, starting the Aboriginal land rights process, universal healthcare, abolishing the death penalty for Commonwealth offences, ending conscription, introducing no-fault divorce, decolonising PNG, and even introducing sewerage systems in western Sydney.

Many speeches also made humorous reference to Mr Whitlam's healthy ego and wit, with Mr Shorten recalling Mr Whitlam's 80th birthday, where the former PM commented "I do seem to be eternal".

Mr Shorten recalled Mr Whitlam contemplating a meeting with his Maker: "He said, 'You can be sure of one thing, I shall treat Him as an equal'." Laughter filled the chamber.

The famed "It's Time'' election campaign and song — described by Mr Abbott as the only election song anyone remembers — was mentioned by a number of MPs.

Most recalled the extraordinary love affair between Mr Whitlam and his wife of almost 70 years, Margaret, who died in 2012. Mr Whitlam famously declared her "my best appointment".

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull brought tears to the Labor benches when he concluded his speech with: "One of the things we can be happiest about today is the fact that the old couple are no longer apart.''

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All sides of politics have united to honour Australia's 21st prime minister, Gough Whitlam, dead at 98.

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The couple's children — Antony, Nicholas, Stephen and Catherine — announced their father's passing in a statement issued just after 8am.

"Our father, Gough Whitlam, has died this morning at the age of 98,'' they said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and deputy Tanya Plibersek place a wreath at the steps of Old Parliament House with Labor Caucus members.

"A loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians." Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove said Mr Whitlam was "a towering leader of his time who made a significant contribution to the life of our nation. His legacy endures".

The man who replaced him after he was sacked as prime minister, Liberal Malcolm Fraser, went on to become a great friend of his former political enemy.

He described Mr Whitlam as warm, jovial, witty, always up for debate but never carrying personal animosity.

"He's going to be remembered as a giant of an Australian who contributed enormously to Australian life in so many ways," he said.

The first Labor PM after Mr Whitlam, Bob Hawke, said the country was a better place for Mr Whitlam's work.

"I remember him not only with immense respect but also with great affection,'' he said.

"Without any question, Labor's emergence in 1972, after 23 years in the political wilderness, owed more to Gough's imaginative, determined leadership and oratorical skills than any other factor," he said.

The PM has said that Gough Whitlam's election ushered in an era of change that still echoes today.

Another former Labor PM, Paul Keating, said Mr Whitlam had made Australia a more "inclusive and compassionate society at home — a more engaged and relevant country abroad".

"He snapped Australia out of the Menzian torpor — the orthodoxy that had rocked the country asleep, giving it new vitality and focus. But more than that, bringing Australia to terms with its geography and place in the region," he said.

Former Labor PM Kevin Rudd said Mr Whitlam was an extraordinary statesman who had left an "indelible mark on Australia".

"People often forget Gough's courage. People often forget that he proudly wore the uniform of Australia, flying with the RAAF in the Pacific war, playing his part in the defence of our country.

"Some also forget his political courage, profound foresight and sheer statesmanship," he said.

Australia's first female PM, Labor's Julia Gillard, said she had walked in Mr Whitlam's footsteps when she created the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which she described as a "companion'' to Mr Whitlam's Medicare.

"Every Labor leader and every prime minister who followed him has wrestled with his legacy," she said.

Gough Whitlam as prime minister.

"Because of what he did between 1972 and 1975, our leaders will always be judged on whether we drive for major changes, not how deftly we manage 'more of the same'."

Former Liberal PM John Howard said Mr Whitlam's 1972 election was his "greatest achievement".

"With flair, and notwithstanding considerable resistance, he reformed and modernised the Australian Labor Party,'' he said.

"Gough Whitlam was prime minister when I entered Parliament in 1974. His ready wit, eloquence and prodigious recall gave him an easy mastery of the Parliamentary arena."

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine called on all Australians to honour Mr Whitlam's "commitment to public service and his enduring legacy''.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews called Mr Whitlam was the father of a nation.

FLAGS AT HALF-MAST AS STATE PLANS FUNERAL

Labor leader Bill Shorten pays tribute to former Labor Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam.

A STATE funeral will be held for Gough Whitlam, as flags on government buildings nationwide flew at half-mast.

Mr Whitlam's four children said there would be a private cremation, but a public memorial service would follow.

They are discussing with Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office a suitable, secular venue, probably in Sydney, for the nation to pay its respects to the Labor leader who governed the country for just three years but left an indelible legacy.

Mourners on Tuesday laid floral tributes, photographs, and national and indigenous flags on the steps of Old Parliament House, where Mr Whitlam made his famous "nothing will save the governor-general'' speech in 1975 after being dismissed by governor-general Sir John Kerr.

Handwritten notes thanked him for his policy reforms.

The Labor caucus and dozens of Labor staffers last night made an emotional pilgrimage to the Old Parliament to lay flowers and pay their respects.

Parliamentary proceedings were cancelled yesterday as a mark of respect after a string of condolence motions from across the political divide.

Bob Hawke says Australia is a better country because of the life and work of Gough Whitlam.

Mr Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten opened the tributes. Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer arrived more than an hour after proceedings started.

Earlier, Mr Shorten addressed the Labor caucus, followed by emotional party elder Senator John Faulkner, a close friend of Mr Whitlam, who declared it the hardest speech he had ever had to give.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull made a funny, warm and emotional speech in the House.

Opposition treasury spokesman Chris Bowen suggested in his speech that the Government consider acquiring the modest house in the western Sydney suburb of Cabramatta where Mr Whitlam lived with wife Margaret and their four children.

In Melbourne, La Trobe University students staged a lockdown of their vice-chancellor's office in protest against government attempts to deregulate higher education.

The students said that their protest action was in honour of Mr Whitlam, who had made university education available to all.

ellen.whinnett@news.com.au

Gough Whitlam outside Federal Parliament in 1975. Picture: ROSS DUNCAN


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He’s an idiot, say Aussie jihadist’s family

Video has emerged of an Australian man perpetrating the propaganda of ISIS. The fair-skinned, red-haired man called Abu Khaled Australia threatens to put ISIS' flag on Buckingham Palace and the White House.

A SYDNEY teenage Islamic State jihadist who threatened Australia in a chilling video has been condemned by relatives.

The federal government sought urgent briefings from spy chiefs yesterday after the release of the video but urged people not to be alarmed.

Abdullah Elmir, 17, ­vanished from his Bankstown home earlier this year after telling his family he was going fishing.

'Ginger jihadist' ... Abdullah Elmir's parents haven't seen him since June, soon after his 17th birthday. Source: Supplied

"What a stupid idiot," a relative said yesterday. The relative, who declined to give his first name, added: "We never associated with him, that guy was brainwashed, I don't know what these kids get into.

"They don't know how to fight ... they should be getting an education and building this country up."

Surrounded by IS fighters, the ginger-haired teenager — the son of an Australian-born mother and a Lebanese-born ­father — brandishes a ­machinegun as he stares at the camera and delivers a chilling call to arms.

"This message I deliver to you, the people of America. I deliver this message to you the people of Britain and I deliver this message to you, especially, the people of Australia," he begins.

"And I say this about your coalition — you threaten us with your countries, bring every nation that you wish to us, bring every nation that you want to come and fight us.

Holding court ... The ginger-haired Australian teenager is front and centre in the latest ISIS propaganda video. Source: YouTube

"Whether it's 50 nations or 50,000 nations, it means nothing to us. Bring your planes, bring everything you want to us.

"To the leaders, to Obama, to Tony Abbott, I say this: these weapons that we have, these soldiers, we will not stop fighting, we will not put down our weapons until we reach your lands, until we take the head of every ­tyrant, and until the black flag is flying high in every single land; until we put the black flag on top of Buckingham Palace, until we put the black flag on top of the White House.

"We will fight you and we will defeat you." The new threats from Islamic State followed an intelligence briefing last week warning of the use of propaganda to recruit ­extremists in Australia.

"This video again highlights the threat posed by ISIL," a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said.

"ISIL is a threat that reaches out to Australia and our allies and partners.

"That is why Australia has joined the coalition to disrupt and degrade ISIL in Iraq and is giving our law enforcement and security agencies the powers to keep Australia safe.''

Brainwashed ... Elmir's parents haven't seen him since June and believe he's been brainwashed. Source: Supplied

Originally published as He's an idiot, say Aussie jihadist's family
23.10 | 0 komentar | Read More
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