Archive for February, 2019

Feb 10 2019

He’s wrong, historians say as Tony Abbott reignites history wars

Election Live with Judith Ireland
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Educators have responded to Tony Abbott’s attack on the national history curriculum by accusing him of politicising the subject.

In an address to the National Press Club on Monday, Mr Abbott bemoaned the national history curriculum’s “focus on issues which are the predominant concern of one side of politics”.

“I think the unions are mentioned far more than business,” he said. “I think there are a couple of Labor prime ministers who get a mention, from memory, not a single Coalition prime minister”

An HSC-level unit in the curriculum on Australian history from 1919 to the Second World War, explicitly refers to former Liberal prime minister Robert Menzies.

Students also study labour movements in topics on the industrial revolution, conscription and the emergence of political parties.

Dr Louise Zarmati Wood, from the University of Western Sydney, one of the writers of the national curriculum, defended it against Mr Abbott’s criticism.

“They need to sit down and read it before they make these statements because that is factually incorrect,” she said.

“[The Labor movement] is one of the foundational points in our country, but we look at the Menzies era too.

“It’s an attempt to put his own political stamp on [history].”

Labor said Mr Abbott was planning to intervene in the curriculum and reignite the so-called “history wars”.

“Disregarding the years of work by curricula experts and months of consultation, Mr Abbott foreshadowed his intention to insert lessons on Coalition prime ministers,” Education Minister Bill Shorten said.

He said the curriculum had been developed independently and approved by all state governments.

But Mr Abbott ruled out dictating any changes.

The so-called history wars flared up under prime minister John Howard and led to a resurgence in debates between liberal and conservative thinkers on how to accurately characterise Australia’s colonial past. Disputes arose between historians, including over the treatment of the stolen generations and the extent of white murder of Aboriginal populations.

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Feb 10 2019

Young blood happy to go one-on-one and soak up pressure in first final of his career

Pick of the crop: Dane Rampe (left) is relishing his first season of senior football. Photo: Wolter PeetersDane Rampe would most likely have been on Mad Monday celebrations instead of preparing for his first final had Sydney not made what has proved to be one of the most astute selections in last year’s draft.
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The 23-year-old, selected with pick No. 37 in last year’s rookie draft, began the season just hoping for a taste of senior football, but is now set to play a key role for Sydney in the finals.

“It could have been Mad Monday, I’m definitely more happy being here,” said Rampe, who has featured in 20 of the club’s 22 games this year, including the last 19 in a row.

Such has been Rampe’s rise, the defender last month signed a new two-year deal tying him to the club until the end of 2015.

Rather than be daunted by his first final, Rampe said he will embrace the challenge, which is the approach he has taken to his debut season.

Rampe’s strong start to his career is unlikely to stop Hawthorn from trying to isolate the least experienced member of Sydney’s defence in the goal square – a ploy they tried last week at times with newly crowned Coleman medallist Jarryd Roughead.

“‘Roughy’ took me to the goal square on the weekend and gave me a little wink and I was like, ‘Yeah, here we go mate’,” Rampe said. “He got one on me in the goal square but having that opportunity to do that I’ve got a few things to work on with ‘Blakes’ [John Blakey] our defensive coach just to combat that.

“If I make a mistake I make a mistake, I’m going to have to learn eventually. It may as well be now.”

Peculiarly for a defender, Rampe enjoys being left one out with some of the most dangerous forwards in the competition despite the threat of being made look foolish.

“I feel as if there’s less pressure because I’m younger, I’m giving away 10 to 15 centimetres to the bigger guys, it’s almost like no one’s expecting it,” said Rampe, who spent most of last week’s game on Jack Gunston.

“That takes a load off my shoulders. That’s the way I’m trying to look at it anyway.

“I genuinely enjoy the challenge. I know most of the time I’m going to have help come across. My job is to compete and not make anything easy for anyone.

“If I’m playing on a Roughead or Franklin and they mark over me in the goal square, they’re some of the best players in the competition so these things are going to happen.”

Rampe said matches in the past fortnight against Geelong and Hawthorn had helped steel him for the rise in intensity in the finals.

“You can just feel it, the hits are harder, there’s more direction, more manic pressure, that’s what makes it fun,” Rampe said.

“The last two weeks have been really fun even though at Geelong we got smashed, it’s good to be part of the big games where the crowd’s against you and you have a good team to play against.”

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Feb 10 2019

Halves the key to top of table clash

“Both Mitchell and James have had good seasons this year”: John Sutton. Photo: Anthony JohnsonOne side has the incumbent NSW halves, while the other has the combination many believe could be the pairing who could end Queensland’s State of Origin domination.
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Sydney Roosters’ James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce will square off against South Sydney’s pairing of John Sutton and Adam Reynolds, with the performances of the key men integral to whoever will finish on top on Friday night, the Rabbitohs’ duo declaring the match up a “good challenge”.

South Sydney skipper Sutton didn’t want to be drawn into the contest.

“Both Mitchell and James have had good seasons this year,” Sutton said. “It’ll be a good challenge for me and Adam. I think if our whole team gets on top of them we will get the win. [Maloney and Reynolds] both have got very good kicking games but I think Adam’s is a tad bit better. He finds the ground a lot. In saying that both Mitchell and James are good kickers.”

Pearce bore the brunt of criticism for the Blues’ failure to win back the Origin shield earlier this year with Reynolds in line should the incumbent be dumped. Reynolds has been strong in recent weeks, leading his side back to form.

“I’m not too worried about the match-up between me and him,” Reynolds said. “If I focus too hard on that I’m sure I won’t have a good game or do my part for the team.

“He’s a great player and a great competitor, you can’t fault anything he’s done this year. He’s been one of the best halves this year . . . it’s a good rivalry, a good challenge coming up against good halves in the comp.”

The South Sydney No.7 has joined Michael Cronin as the only two players to score 200 points or more in their first two first-grade seasons.

Reynolds leads the NRL with try-assists, two ahead of Pearce on 21. Maloney has 20 while Sutton has laid on 10 tries. Pearce (18) is top of the crop in terms of line-break assists just two less than Reynolds and Sutton’s combined tally for this season.

“These games are usually won through the middle or built on field position,” Reynolds said. “It’s exciting playing against one of the best teams in the comp, they’ve been the form team.”

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Feb 10 2019

Gallen to step into the ring?

Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen has taken what is considered a serious step towards a professional boxing career – and a lucrative bout against Sonny Bill Williams – by sparring with heavyweight champion Solomon Haumono at a secret session.
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There has been speculation Gallen could fight Williams, who holds a version of the New Zealand heavyweight title, during the off-season.

In February, Williams beat South Africa’s Francois Botha, who, while ageing, was expected to get the better of the dual international before he linked up with the Roosters.

Haumono, a former top grade league player and, until recently, ranked No. 16 by the World Boxing Council, traded leather with the Origin star for three rounds. The footballer’s willingness to mix it impressed Dino Billinghurst, one of Australian boxing’s top trainers.

“He handled it pretty well,” Billinghurst, who trains Haumono, said. “Paul Gallen got in touch with us after Cronulla’s match against the Sydney Roosters and asked if he could do a few rounds.

“He jumped in for three rounds and, for the first two rounds, it was nice and easy, but in the third the tempo increased and Gallen got a taste of it. Paul handled it very well, though . . . like the hard man he is. [Gallen] showed respect to ‘Sol’ but he wasn’t scared to let his hands go. He likes the uppercut, he bores forward and likes to throw his right hand, too, but he needs more practice. At the end of it, they gave each other a hug, and that’s what true sportsmen do.”

Gallen has been coy when asked about a boxing career. When he watched Daniel Geale’s final public training session in Sydney last month, before the middleweight’s ill-fated campaign to defend his International Boxing Federation crown in the US, he played down the prospect of pulling the gloves on.

“I have other things to worry about [than fighting],” he said.

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Feb 10 2019

Gary Tweddle’s family prepare to receive his body in the Blue Mountains

Anika Haigh (centre) the girlfriend of Gary Tweddle, with her mother Jo (left) and sister Beth at Sublime Point in the Blue Mountains, near where a body has been discovered. Photo: Sahlan Hayes “My best friend has been taken from me and it’s so hard”: Gary Tweddle with his girlfriend, Anika Haigh. Photo: Supplied
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Anika Haigh held her mother’s hand and looked into the dense bushland where her partner Gary Tweddle spent his final moments.

One of her sisters gripped her shoulder tightly as she looked up to the helicopter that was carrying the body of the Sydney man who went missing in the Blue Mountains seven weeks ago.

”We just want him home, you know,” Ms Haigh said.

”I can’t believe this, that we are waiting here for him, it’s so surreal.

”You just don’t ever imagine you will be waiting for a helicopter to bring your partner home.”

Ms Haigh made the heartbreaking journey to a steep cliff in Leura on Tuesday where police believe the 23-year-old accidentally fell to his death.

The British-born computer sales representative, from Cremorne, disappeared from the Fairmont Resort, where he had been attending a work conference, in the early hours of July 16.

Police said they believed he had been heavily affected by something. They said it was most likely alcohol.

”Look this is just a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Blue Mountains police crime manager Mick Bostock said.

Ms Haigh huddled behind a police rescue truck with her mother Jo, and sisters Tessa and Beth, as police recovered Mr Tweddle’s body during a painstaking retrieval operation from a cliff ledge.

”We are just anxiously waiting for confirmation but we are really hoping it’s him,” she said. ”The not knowing where he was has been the worst part.”

She said it was a strange feeling being where Mr Tweddle had been but said she could not stand to be away from where he once was.

”I was in my room [at the Fairmont] and I could hear the helicopters hovering over and over and over again. I could not stand it, I had to come down here and wait, we had to see it for ourselves.”

Police had not formally identified Mr Tweddle’s body on Tuesday night but said they were confident it was him.

A shirt matching the description of the one he was last seen wearing was found close to his body, they said.

The body had been identified as a male in his 20s.

The underwear was Davenport, police said, the same brand worn by Mr Tweddle.

Blue Mountains rescue officers carried the body to the top of a cliff off Sublime Point Road after abseiling down to retrieve him.

He was then lifted with a winch to a Leura oval before he was taken to Sydney to be formally identified.

An ambulance rescue helicopter spotted his body on branches in a crevice about 30 metres down a cliff on Monday afternoon.

It was about two kilometres from where Mr Tweddle was staying at the Fairmont Resort.

Police said a taxi dropped him off at the resort after he had been to dinner at Silk’s Brasserie in Leura.

Security footage showed him running out of the main foyer without his jacket or glasses just after midnight.

Mr Tweddle told his work colleagues he was lost during a 17-minute phone call. He was last seen by a motorist on Watkins Road.

There had been speculation Mr Tweddle may have been affected by drugs but his family has pleaded for people to reserve judgment until the circumstances surrounding his death are heard before an inquest.

Mr Tweddle’s disappearance sparked the biggest search conducted in the Blue Mountains.

More than 1000 volunteers were involved in the search.

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