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Starc reminder: Smith floored as China ponder pace stocks

Mitchell Starc has given England another indication of what he has in store for them by putting Steve Smith on his backside, but ‘s depth in sheer pace is looking dangerously thin following the latest breakdown of Nathan Coulter-Nile.
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England have already suffered fast bowling fitness setbacks in the lead-up to the first Test with Steve Finn sent home and Jake Ball rolling an ankle in their tour match in Adelaide.

now have their own concerns after Coulter-Nile suffered a flare-up of a previous stress fracture in his back.

With James Pattinson already sidelined for the Ashes with another back problem, the loss of the 30-year-old could have significant implications for ‘s fast bowling plans this summer.

The stock of bowlers with the ability to rattle England with 145km/h to 150km/h pace is all of a sudden very limited.

‘s Plan A is for the express Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins to play the entire series, along with Josh Hazlewood, but it shapes as a gamble to try and push Cummins, in particular, through all five Tests.

Tasmania’s Jackson Bird is joining the frontline Test trio in Brisbane next week for a bowling camp and will be in Steve Smith’s 12-man squad for the first Test at the Gabba.

While he could be a very handy asset for he does not possess the outright speed of Starc and Cummins. There are few that do. Western ‘s Jhye Richardson was clocked at 148km/h – quicker than both Starc and Cummins – and claimed six wickets in the Sheffield Shield game against NSW in Sydney this week, but the 21-year-old has played only three first-class games.

To ensure the balance of their attack is not jeopardised may have to more seriously weigh up managing their risk. The desire for Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood to play all five Tests must now be a major consideration for selectors in their decision whether or not to include a No.6 batsman who can offer Smith a fifth bowling option, such as Hilton Cartwright.

Depending on workload one other option they may have to look at is resting Cummins for the second Test in Adelaide and bringing in Bird or another bowler such as 2013-14 Ashes winner Peter Siddle or South ‘s Chadd Sayers, who impressed with the pink ball against a star-studded NSW last month.

Cummins, 24, is preparing to make his home Test debut and while he has strung together back-to-back Tests on two occasions this year even he admits that the assignment of playing five in succession in a series is “pretty brutal”.

Hazlewood has a well-earned reputation as the ironman of the n attack – he played 22 Tests in a row including the last two home summers before suffering a side strain against Bangladesh in August. But Starc has only figured in every Test of an n season once, when he played all six against South Africa and Pakistan in 2016-17, and a foot fracture led to him being withdrawn from India midway through the Border-Gavaskar series in the autumn.

There is certainly no doubt about how well Starc is travelling right now.

The left-armer this week created history by claiming two hat-tricks in the one shield match and he demonstrated on Friday he is just as difficult to handle when at his fiery best for the world’s best batsmen as well.

Smith is certainly in that category but during NSW training at the SCG twice lost his balance getting out of the way of Starc thunderbolts, on one occasion being left on his backside.

Smith and Starc traded barbs throughout as the captain and his deputy, David Warner, took on the three Test quicks.

“That’s what they’re always like. They’re always into each other. Patty and I just do our thing. But it’s pretty easy to fire Starcy up, so I think Smithy takes it on,” Hazlewood said.

“It’s always good fun and they’re obviously two world-class players, so it keeps you on your toes. There is no real ‘go through the motions’ when you’re bowling at those two guys.”

Hazlewood, described as “an absolute genius” by Smith after his eye-catching return from injury against Western , is content to sit out the Blues’ final pre-Ashes match against Queensland starting on Monday.

“I’m pretty happy with where it’s at now so I don’t think there’s a need to play another game,” Hazlewood said. “I’m ready to go now.”


25/04/2020 0

Bylong mine proposal up against history

Coal versus heritage Picturesque: The Planning Assessment Commission weighs up Bylong Valley’s heritage values in a coal mine assessment.
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Challenge: A Korean coal mine proposal has already gutted Bylong Valley’s population.

Heritage: The ridgeline view from iconic Bylong property Tarwyn Park.

Bought: Bylong’s church has already been bought by Korean energy company KEPCO.

TweetFacebook Coal versus heritage in new mine battlefrontBylong Valley weighs up its historyIT was coal versus foals in the battle over the Drayton South mine in Muswellbrook, and now it’s coal versus heritage in Bylong Valley between Denman and Mudgee.

Minutes of an October meeting of the NSW Heritage Council show the NSW Planning Assessment Commission has requested greater scrutiny of Bylong Valley’s heritage values, as the PAC considers Korean energy company KEPCO’s proposal for an open cut coal mine.

The request comes after the PAC said it was persuaded the iconic properties Tarwyn Park and Iron Tank had “greater heritage significance than has been previously documents by the applicant, or considered by the Department of Planning or Heritage Council”.

The minutes show the Heritage Council has until January to complete an expert assessment of Bylong Valley as a whole, after the council earlier assessed Tarwyn Park –home of Peter Andrews’ natural sequence farming –and found it was not under “immediate threat”.

But the October minutes show Tarwyn Park, which was bought by KEPCO in 2014, no longer operates using natural sequence farming. They also show KEPCO is disputing a highly-regarded expert assessment indicating Tarwyn Park could be of state significance, and should be on the State Heritage Register.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Nic Clyde said the Bylong Valley was “no place for a coal mine”.

“The Bylong Valley has been voted into the top 10most scenic n drives and listed by the National Trust for ‘significance as prime agricultural land with a rural landscape of exceptional scenic value,’” Mr Clyde said.

Legal advice from the NSW Environment Defenders Office supported a decision on heritage values before the PAC determines the KEPCO proposal.

“In the absence of a formalised listing on the State Heritage Register, a consent authority is unlikely to have sufficient formalised guidance to understand the impacts of the proposed project on the built environment and the site generally,” Mr Clyde said.

“We call on the NSW Heritage Council and Planning Minister Gabrielle Upton to recognise the outstanding cultural, scenic and heritage values of the Bylong Valley and protect these values via a State Heritage Register listing,” said Bylong Valley Protection Alliance spokesperson Warwick Pearse.


25/04/2020 0

Census data reveals the suburbs home to Newcastle’s workaholics: Newcastle East, Bar Beach and Cooks Hill topping list

THE INNER CITY, Bar Beach and Cooks Hill have topped a list of the city’sworkaholicpostcodes, with Novocastrians living in well-heeled suburbs along the coast clocking up the most hours of overtime.
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But experts have warned the trend towards a longer working weekand more overtime hours is being seen acrossthe board in , regardless of the industry or geographic area.

“People have to draw the line,” said Jim Stanford, an economist and the director of the Centre for Future Work at the Institute.

“We weren’t put on this planet to work, we were put on this planet to live. We have to keep work in context.”

Census data compiled for theNewcastle Heraldby the n Bureau of Statistics shows thatNewcastle East has the highest proportion of residents who work 55 hours a week or more, at 10.2 per cent.

It was followed by Newcastle West (10 per cent),Bar Beach (9.1 per cent) and Cooks Hill (8.5 per cent).

Maryville and Merewether rounded out the top six.

According to census data, Newcastle East has about double the number of professionals (40 per cent) as the state average, and the most common fields of employmentare the medical profession or tertiary education.

But it is a suburb with a sharp divide in itsworking population. It also madea list of thetop 10 suburbs by proportionof residents who work 15 hours a week or less.

That list was taken out by Birmingham Gardens (21.7 per cent) and Jesmond (20.7 per cent), both peppered with student sharehouses due to their proximity to Newcastle University.

Merewether Heights (19.6 per cent), North Lambton (18.9 per cent) and Windale (18.7 per cent) also made the top five for the shortest working weeks.

Mr Stanford said he would be cautiousabout drawingany conclusions from data relating tothe affluence of an area and how many hours its residents worked.

“People could interpret that in all kinds of ways …I would be very careful about ascribing this to some sort of work ethic,” he said.

“Even in lower wage jobs or more traditional blue collar jobs, there’s still a lot of pressure to work long hours.

“But there’s a certain arithmetic relationship, that if you work more hours you have more money. The poorest areas are where people have no work at all.”

According to Mr Stanford, the stereotype that only chief executives or top managers worked excessive hours was no longer accurate.

The problem was filtering down toemployees on all rungs of the career ladderand across allindustries.

“I think it’s a reflectionof the growing insecurity of work across .At least a third of workers have jobs that are very precarious and they are desperate for more hours,” hesaid.

“Then we have a group on the other hand with a relatively secure job, but they see all those insecure people hungry for work and think: ‘I better work harder’.

“It would absolutely be a no-brainer to put those together and share work in a more equal and sustainable way, but that would require employers to change.”

UNDER THE PUMP: Woodrising resident Mato Demir works a 55 to 60 hour week, running his own business in the competitive construction industry. He admits the job still plays on his mind after hours. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Mato Demir is one of the Novocastrians burning the midnight oil. As the owner of Beresfield-based firm Demato Construction, he estimates he wouldn’t work anything less than a 55 to 60 hourweek.

“When you’re sitting at the top of the tree, the clock just keeps ticking,” said Mr Demir, of Woodrising.

The 45-year-old was supported by a good crew, but said the competitive nature of the construction industry meant the job was often relentless.

“You’re not the only one in the trenches …but the market’s so tight at the moment,” he said. “You’ve got to put the hours in at the front to get the rewards at the end.”

Mr Demir said he tried to create a good work-life balance, but admitted the job often played on his mind after hours.

“It’s hard to switch off on the weekend,” he said.

“I go home at night and I’m still texting the guys …you sit down and have dinner and your mind is elsewhere, thinking about what happened today and what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Mr Stanford said there was no doubt that overwork had a “myriad” of negative consequences for an employee’s health and well being, and on productivity.

“Even at an individual level, people should feel justified at pushing back at this expectation,” he said.

“For many workers they’re not even getting paid for the overtime,particularly in office jobs and professions.

“The reason that employers can get away with that is because the labour market is such an unforgiving place.”

The owner of 23hundred cafe in the city’s East End, Peter Johnston, was skeptical about the figures relating to his patch.

In his experience,tradiesslogging awayon the Supercars track, the light rail lineand the Bather’s Way projects appeared to be putting inthe longest hours.

Newcastle East was also home to a large number of retirees,Mr Johnstonsaid.

“[But] there are the medical professionals, they tend to do big hours, they come in here,” he added.


25/04/2020 0

The leafy suburb that is Melbourne’s answer to the Rorschach blot

Hawthorn is Melbourne’s answer to the Rorschach blot. For some people, it evokes the n Rules football club and its Glenferrie Oval home ground.
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For others, it’s indelibly associated with Melbourne’s private school belt. And in the minds of many, it stands for the heroic Victorian architecture that helps make it a member of Melbourne’s two million dollar club.

Hawthorn was first gazetted in 1840, although back then it was spelled with a final “e”. The name is believed to have one of two origins: either a remark from then-superintendent Charles LaTrobe that the native shrubs resembled flowering hawthorn bushes, or in honour of a Lieutenant Hawthorne of the Frigate Phantom or the Frigate Electra, which visited the port between 1852 and 1854.

The nomenclature remains shrouded in mystery but it’s never been much of a secret that Hawthorn is a place where money puts down its roots. The gold rush of the 1880s saw the first expansion, when the exclusive St James precinct around Shakespeare Grove was developed.

Later came exclusive subdivisions such as the Grace Park Estate, based around Chrystobel and Linda crescents, where 33 homes were built in the ornate Queen Anne style (with turrets and Tudor-style woodwork) between 1908 and 1912. These days they command prices upwards of $3 million.

Like the Hawthorn Football Club, which won its most recent premiership in 2015 (let’s not talk about its twelfth placing in the 2017 season), the wider suburb is going through a renaissance.

Once the home of glorious real estate but little to do after dark, the student culture of Swinburne University has helped quicken Hawthorn’s pulse. So, too, have the industrial areas alongside the railway line which have become sought after spots for in-fill development.

High-spec apartments are attracting young adults who grew up in the area in those two-million-plus houses and are loath to leave in their pursuit of a place to call home. Related: The pull of HawthornRelated: Hawthorn East is a charming pocketRelated: Collingwood’s colourful past

It’s very much a best-of-both-worlds scenario in an area where heritage values are keenly protected by Boroondara council.

Wander down Glenferrie and Burwood Roads on any weekend to hail the new Hawthorn: crowds spilling out of Axil Coffee Roasters, slurping ramen at trendy Hakata Gensuke and grabbing craft brews and burgers at Beer De Luxe.

The icing on the Hawthorn cake is the art house Lido Cinema, which opened two years ago in a building dating from the 1880s, complete with eight screens, a rooftop bar and choc tops from local artisan gelato maker Piccolina Gelateria.


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Wallabies don’t boast psychological advantage over Wales: Cheika

Cardiff: may boast a 12-game winning streak over Wales but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has brushed aside the suggestion his men will possess a psychological edge over their opponents this weekend.
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The Wallabies have a brilliant record against the Welsh, having won every match between the two sides since 2009.

The latest victory was a clinical 32-8 result on last year’s spring tour and the fixture before that will be remembered for the Wallabies’ dogged defensive display in a 2015 Rugby World Cup pool match.

Since 1991, Wales have beaten just twice from 27 attempts, however, Cheika is a man who lives in the moment and believes the hosts will be ultra physical in a bid to snap their torrid run against the Wallabies.

“I’ve never been a believer in this thing that momentum or the last game [counts for something] ??? it’s all about consistency,” Cheika said. “The game starts at 0-0. There’s different guys in the opposition jerseys, there’s different players in our jerseys, there’s a whole different combination and the minute you start to think like that is the minute you’re giving the opposition an opportunity.

“We know how hard the games are when we come here. Last year the score certainly did not reflect how tough the game was. We got away to a good start and after that first bit it was even stevens, hammer and tong. We know how physical it will be.”

Wales have failed to win the first game of an autumn series since 2002 and coach Warren Gatland is well aware of the uphill battle they face to chalk up a confidence-boosting victory.

“We haven’t begun these series that well in the past,” Gatland said. “And we are playing a team that has had eight games together in the last couple of months and beat the All Blacks three weeks ago. We are going in cold.”

There is added interest around this clash given it is Gatland’s first match back with Wales after his stint as British and Irish Lions coach.

Gatland and Cheika have had their fair share of scrutiny in the New Zealand press during the past 12 months. The pair were both depicted as clowns in cartoons in a New Zealand newspaper during respective tours there.

A 1-1 Test series scoreline was a major achievement for Gatland and the Lions and there is a view that players involved in that tour will continue their good work when they start playing for their respective international sides, beginning this weekend.

“He’s had an unbelievably good season,” said Cheika of Gatland. “The Lions were excellent in New Zealand I thought. They managed it really well. He’s a class act.

“I feel like he would have enjoyed that for some reason. I don’t know him very well but he looked like he enjoyed it. We know better than anyone how hard it is to play New Zealand three times a year. I think he did a great job out there. Now it’s a new challenge.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to the sets of players. Saturday is a holiday for the coaches – game day is the players’ day.”

Gatland has picked two playmakers at No.10 and No.12 in Dan Biggar and Owen Williams, which is a shift from Wales’ tendency to pick a big ball-running player at inside-centre, like the Wallabies have done with Samu Kerevi for the match at Principality Stadium.

“He’s a fine player, Williams,” Cheika said. “He’s got a good kicking game, he’s got good footwork and he’ll threaten our defence for sure. It’s going to be a challenge as it always is against Wales defensively.”


25/04/2020 0

Dutton issues warning ahead of Manus deadline

Refugees and asylum seekers protesting inside the now-closed regional processing facility on Manus Island, which they refuse to leave.Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says the n government does not want any violence on Manus Island after Papua New Guinean authorities threatened to forcibly evict hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers from the now-decommissioned detention centre.
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On Friday, PNG officials began dismantling makeshift shelters and emptying water supplies used by the detainees over the 10 days since the centre was shut down. The government has called on the men to leave by Saturday and warned that “force may be used” if they don’t comply voluntarily.

Mr Dutton has also cautioned that, according to the government’s intelligence, the ongoing stand-off is being closely monitored by people in south-east Asia looking for a chance to travel to aboard a people smuggling boat.

“We’ve got group of core agitators, of organisers, who I think will try and provide some sort of scene where there is a confrontation with police. They will do that because they want that footage broadcast back here,” the Immigration Minister told radio station 3AW on Friday.

He made clear would not be shifting its policies and said the government, in consultations with PNG over the Manus shutdown, had “made it very clear we don’t want to see any violence, we want to see people move voluntarily”.

Since Thursday, local authorities have been removing the security fencing surrounding the compound and the detainees’ improvised facilities.

“Police and Immigration destroyed our shelters. Inside the rooms is very hot without power for fans. We built these shelters to provide shade and cover from tropical sun and rain,” Kurdish-Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani said from inside the centre.

“They destroyed the rubbish bins where we have been collecting water too.”

Detainees have been refusing to relocate to new “transit centres” established closer to the island’s main town of Lorengau. While the n and PNG governments insist they are ready for an influx of 600 people, refugee advocates and UN refugee agency UNHCR have disputed this.

The protesting men – the vast majority of whom have refugee status – have cited fears for their safety around Lorengau and their desperation for permanent resettlement in a third country.

Fresh footage and images – covertly captured by activist group GetUp! and published on Friday – has laid bare the brutal squalor that has developed inside the decommissioned compound since its power, water, food and sanitation services were terminated on October 31.

Dismissing the new material, Mr Dutton suggested the detainees had intentionally “trashed the accommodation”.

“The conditions we see in the photographs today do not resemble at all the conditions in which people have been living over a long period of time,” he said.

Amid renewed calls for the detainees to be evacuated, Mr Dutton said: “All of the intelligence that I see and there’s chatter at the moment up in Indonesia and elsewhere … says people are watching this very closely and their view is that if they can hold it out on Manus or Nauru for a couple of years and then come to , that’s worth paying the people smugglers for.”

A spokeswoman for UN refugee agency UNHCR, which has been visiting Manus in recent days, warned that “forced movement of these refugees and asylum seekers is inappropriate and should be avoided”.


25/04/2020 0

Trusted Newcastle accountant Ray Walker went to the funeral of one of his victims, knowing that he had taken her money

STILL IN SHOCK: David Bartholomew is disgusted by the actions of his former accountant and friend Ray Walker. Picture: Jonathan CarrollWHEN family and friends gathered to farewell David Bartholomew’s mother, Judith Manning, in 2014, Ray Walker was there.
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He attended the funeral offering condolences and comfort to Mr Bartholomew, who he’d known for decades.

Mr Bartholomew considered his long-time Newcastle accountant a genuine friend.

What hedidn’t know was that Walker was a fraudster whose stock in trade was not just his accounting ability, but also the trust he inspired in his clients, mostly retirees, so he could fleece them oftheir life savings.

Judith Manning

Perhaps Walker’s biggest asset was self-confidence. Heloved people to think he cared. The father of three and grandfather of seven sat through Mrs Manning’s funeral knowing that he had already stolen her$150,000 nest egg thathe hadbeen trustedto invest.

It was all Mrs Manning, who died aged 71, had.

RELATED:Ray Walker’s friends burnt by more than loss of their life savings

“My mother had the greatest respect for him,” Mr Bartholomew said. “The part that I can’t get over is that he sat in the church at my mother’s funeralknowing that the money was not there. That he’d taken it all from her. What kind of person does that? Only the lowest form of scumbag I have ever seen in my life.”

Walker fleeced 70 unsuspecting creditors, most of them ageing clients in the Hunter, of more than $10 million under the guise of acting as their trusted accountant. Many of them considered him a friend.

Ray Walker

Many of the clients have told Fairfax Mediathat there was little about Walker to arouse suspicion – and so much to inspire trust.

Mr Bartholomew said he never suspected a thing.

“I put my mother’s life savings in his hands in good faith and he used it like it was nothing,” he said.

“I’m totally devastated, I’d known him for 20-odd years, you lose faith in people. The only saving grace is that I never had to tell mum what happened. How could I have ever explained that to a woman that used to pay her bills the day she got them?”

RELATED:The secret life of Newcastle accountant Ray Walker

The fallout from the news the accountant was behind a $10 millionPonzi scheme has been widespread.

Most of the investors believed their money was safely locked away in term-deposit accounts with major banks.

Instead, Walker – who took his own life with a stab wound to the heart at his $1.3 million holiday home in 2015 after being found out – diverted the money into his own account and frittered it away.

Walker’s bankruptcy trustee Ray Tolcher said thescams were convincing because they appeared safe. He is tracingthe money trail in the hope of securing a return for creditors.

Do you know more? [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au


25/04/2020 0

Dynamic duo itching to get back on field together

Returning Wallabies vice-captains Will Genia and Bernard Foley are keen to help get their tour of Britian off to the best possible start when they take on Wales.
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were forced to make a number of late changes last week in Yokohama after Genia (calf), Foley (illness) and Karmichael Hunt (neck) were ruled out of the historic match against Japan.

Genia passed a fitness Test on Tuesday and returns as the Wallabies’ starting halfback for his 11th outing against Wales.

“It’s back to 100 per cent,” Genia said of his calf. “I’m just looking forward to playing on Saturday. It’s pretty tough when you have to sit back and watch training and then watch the games, but I just try and contribute as much as I could in a positive way to the guys who were playing.”

Foley was quarantined from teammates last week and probably could have played in Japan, but Wallabies medical staff decided to rest him before the three big fixtures against Wales, England and Scotland.

“It was shame to miss last week,” Foley said. “It was an historic occasion for the guys and it was tough to watch from the sidelines. When you miss a game you probably realise how special they all are.

“By the back-end of the week I was itching to go but they made the call and I just prepared myself for this weekend.”

Foley has resumed in his No.10 spot, which was briefly filled by Reece Hodge against Japan in a performance that proved he has what it takes as chief playmaker at international level.

“He’s definitely a contender for that spot,” Foley said. “I thought he showed great composure in how he managed the side and a guy who is more known for his ball running. He was able to distribute and play the guys around him really well.”

Foley has a new man outside him this weekend in Samu Kerevi, who scored two tries in Yokohama.

While Kerevi won’t have the same physical advantage over his opposite number Owen Williams, Genia hopes his roommate continues his damaging form.

“He got stuck in a cycle,” Genia said, “where he kept questioning everything, saying, ‘should I do that?’ I just told him, ‘If you’ve done the work, you don’t question yourself, just get out on the field and back yourself to make the right decision’.

“He went out there and just backed himself to carry hard and played to his strengths. He played very well.”


25/04/2020 0

New homes: Southside spotlight

Gillespie Park, Oaks Estate
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People who live in Oaks Estate like it so much that many of them have actually bought at Gillespie Park.

“The people that live there love it,” says developer Steve McCloskey, “what we’ve found through our sales to date is a lot of people who live in Oaks Estate are actually purchasing a villa.”

Often overlooked, the Estate sits in a prime location just on the ACT side of the border. The suburb enjoys a balance between an lifestyle and city conveniences, bordered by the Molonglo River but a short walk to the Queanbeyan shops. Canberra is still close to hand, with the city centre just a 20-minute drive away.

“It’s a very prominent location, and its proximity to the airport and the CBD or the city is great,” says McCloskey. “The block that we have on Railway Street is a great location, with some really nice old significant trees around the perimeter.”

Gillespie Park will be one of the first developments in the Oaks Estate in recent years. The design neatly blends with the area’s heritage while setting a standard for the future.

These 29 three and four-bedroom villas enjoy a prime location between Gillespie Park and the original Oaks Estate homestead. Homes are clustered throughout the site, creating an open setting that blends naturally with its surrounds.

Traditional facades open into homes purposely designed to suit a modern lifestyle. Open plan living dining areas offer flexibility, while some homes enjoy a separate living area. Proportions are comfortably generous, with 2.7-metre ceilings and full-height windows bringing light into the home.

Sliding doors to the rear courtyards smooth the transition to outdoors. Courtyards which blend comfort and style, the perfect place to relax on a long summer evening.

With three or four bedrooms, ensuites and double garages, homes at Gillespie Park tick all the boxes. “It’s just the package,” says McCloskey, “the location as well as the fact that we haven’t put as many units on the site as we could have, so we’ve allowed that internal space in the villa site to seem more spacious.”

Nine homes at Gillespie Park are still available for sale, with construction is expected to begin around the new year.

Address: 7 Railway Street

Price range: $399,000-$439,000+

EER: 6.0

Agent: Adam Jones, McGrath Estate Agents, 0407 777 601

Inspection time: Contact agent


25/04/2020 0

Speculation grows that Turnbull government MP John Alexander may resign

Voters in the federal seat of Bennelong could be forced to a pre-Christmas byelection amid mounting expectation that Liberal MP John Alexander will soon resign from Parliament over dual citizenship.
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The embattled MP broke his silence on Friday to claim the UK Home Office has not responded to his request for clarification about his status – nearly five days after Fairfax Media revealed he was likely a UK citizen by descent.

When asked how much longer it would take, Mr Alexander replied: “Well that’s the $64,000 question.”

Asked directly if he would resign, Mr Alexander said he did not deal in “hypotheticals”.

Mr Alexander would need to quit and trigger the byelection – which he plans to contest – no later than Monday to allow the minimum 33-day campaign required to hold the poll on December 16.

The weeks after that date – during the Christmas and New Year period,- would be impractical, pushing back the next likely date until at least early February.

A complication is that Mr Alexander would have to fully renounce his claim to UK citizenship before nominating as a candidate. If he failed to have written confirmation of his status before standing he could still be considered constitutionally ineligible.

The government is already fighting a byelection in Barnaby Joyce’s seat of New England on December 2, with the prospect of more to come as the citizenship crisis rolls on.

Citizenship experts agree Mr Alexander is likely a British citizen by descent because his father, Gilbert Alexander, was born in England before moving to as a young child.

The Bennelong MP had never renounced British citizenship and for days could not say for sure whether his father did so in the two year gap between the introduction of n citizenship in 1949 and his birth in 1951.

“My father, if he was still alive, would be 110,” Mr Alexander told reporters on Friday. “He died thirty years ago, so the records are all very old and are in archives.

“When I have any knowledge, which is conclusive, I will make a statement. But I can say anything else until then.”

While Mr Alexander could seek to delay the byelection by first seeking a referral to the High Court, as his case appears similar to those of Fiona Nash and Stephen Parry it would likely be pointless.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday that anyone who finds out they are a dual citizen should resign from Parliament.

“If you are satisfied that you are not constitutionally eligible to sit in the Parliament, you shouldn’t be sitting. That is fundamental,” he said.

Where there were “line ball” cases and people were not sure if they were ineligible they should be referred to the High Court, he told reporters in Vietnam.

Without Mr Alexander and Mr Joyce, the government would be down to a minority for the remaining two weeks of lower house sitting, which could lead to chaos on the floor as Labor seeks to test Mr Turnbull’s control.

Under the British Nationality Act 1948, people born to British men were automatically given British citizenship by descent.

This is the law that conferred British citizenship on former senator Ms Nash and former One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who were kicked out of Parliament by the High Court last month. Former Senate president Stephen Parry resigned last week after revealing he was a dual British citizen through the same law.


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