‘I’m very sorry’: Joe Hockey apologises for comments about poorer people not driving cars

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Treasurer Joe Hockey Photo: Peter RaeTREASURERJoe Hockey has delivered a grovelling apology for suggesting the “poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far” and that the government’s proposed fuel excise increase was a progressive tax measure.

Mr Hockey had initially stood bythe commentshe had made on Brisbane radio on Wednesday, stating he was sorry if they had been callous but insistinghe had statistical evidenceon his side.

But in an embarrassing rebuke for the Treasurer,Prime Minister Tony Abbott saidon Friday that “Well plainly, I wouldn’t say that” before adding the Treasurer had his full support.

[Joe Hockey appears on 2GB on Friday to apologise for his comments.]

Joe Hockey appears on 2GB on Friday to apologise for his comments. Photo: @BenFordham

Senior front bench colleagueChristopher Pyne also said on Fridaythat Mr Hockey had his “full support” six times, but then declined six times to back Mr Hockey’s inflammatory comments.

Mr Hockey told his close friend and 2GB broadcaster Ben Fordham on Friday that: “I am really genuinely sorry that there is any suggestion, any suggestion at all that I or the government do not care for the most disadvantaged in the community.”

“I’m sorry about the interpretation, I am sorry about the words.

“All of my life I have fought for and tried to help the most disadvantaged people in the community.”

Mr Hockey conceded that his government’s message about the need for budget repair had been lost because of his misstep.

“In the case of fuel excise, I am sorry the words came out like they did,” he said.

“I accept responsibility.

“We are about building a more prosperous nation, a more caring nation.

“What has been said can’t be unsaid. I can only apologise for any hurt I have caused … we are trying to do our best for people who are disadvantaged.”

– With SMH

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Bear in hibernation: Cooper’s suspension includes anger management course

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HALTED: Blayney Bears captain-coach Terawhiti Cooper is tackled by the Orange Hawks defence in their round 14 Group 10 premier league clash. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0720sgleague2BLAYNEY Bears captain-coach Terawhiti Cooper has to complete an anger management course as part of his sentence handed down by the Group 10 judiciary this week.

Cooper will sit out at least the opening round of the 2015 Group 10 season following Thursday night’s judiciary hearing where he was given a four-week suspension.

Cooper was charged with serious misconduct and entered an early guilty plea following a bizarre incident during the premier league match between Blayney and Bathurst Panthers on August 3.

The prop was sin binned for backchat during the match at Carrington Park, but as he left the ground he threatened members of the crowd.

The judiciary handed Cooper a four-week sentence, however two weeks of that are suspended on the condition he completes an anger management course.

He must start the course within a month and the Bears have to support him while he completes the course or the club will be fined $1000.

The sentence means Cooper will sit out Sunday’s clash with Cowra, along with the first round of the 2015 season, as Blayney will miss this year’s finals series.

Blayney president Adam Hornby said the club had no hesitation in supporting Cooper while he dealt with his issues.

“He’s going to have to sit down and talk to people. That’s part of the deal,” Hornby said.

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“We’re happy with the sentence and we’ll do whatever we can to help him, but he has to want to help himself too.”

Cooper was stood down by the Bears following the incident and missed last Sunday’s match against Oberon.

Hornby said he had been impressed with the way Cooper had taken responsibility for his actions.

“I really do think justice was done. It didn’t warrant months and months and months. He did the wrong thing and he put his hand up straight away,” Hornby said.

“Last week he wasn’t allowed to coach or even run water. Most blokes wouldn’t come to the ground if that was them. He came to the football and he worked in the canteen all day. He hasn’t hid from it.”

Cooper was given a 50 per cent discount on his sentence for having a five-year clean record. He was given a further 25 per cent discount for his early guilty plea.

Hornby said the club had no plans to dump Cooper.

“He’s a big part of our plans for next season,” Hornby said.

“From the outset, we were going to stand by him. He is a good bloke and he’s shocked a lot of people with his coaching. He’s very knowledgeable. And good front rowers are hard to find.”

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A chilly dragon hunt

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Caught between the cross-hairs, this Weedy Sea Dragon.

On a cold and blustery day in August five volunteers braved the cold to go on an underwater expedition to find a dragon.

Water temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius would not deter these brave souls from their mission. Luck was with them on this day as they were able to not only find a dragon but they found over eight and managed to capture them on camera.

This dragon is none other than the Weedy Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), a beautiful and iconic fish; yes it is a fish, which is endemic to Australian waters. The Sea Dragon is related to the sea horses and lives amongst the weeds in southern Australia. It has appendages on its body that assists it in camouflage amongst sea weed; this is its only form of protection from predators.

It is a protected species in NSW waters; it is listed in the 1997 IUCN Red List in the Data Deficient category. Due to the categorisation of this species as data deficient scientists are now trying to gather data on as many populations in Australia to develop a deeper understanding of population sizes, longevity and breeding habits.

Professor David Booth from the University of Technology in Sydney is leading the research and has enlisted the help of local dive group the Sapphire Coast Underwater Research Group (SCURG) to collect photographic data and DNA samples from local populations of Weedy sea dragons. David Booth will be presenting at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre Marine Science Forum in May, 2015.

The SCURG dive team was able to find, photograph and collect tissue samples of the Twofold Bay Weedy Sea Dragon population that will be sent to David Booth for analysis. The photos are extremely important as they allow researchers to identify individuals within the population. Weedy Sea Dragons have vivid yellow spots on the side of their body in a pattern that is unique to each individual and work like a fingerprint. Scientists are able to use computer software to analyse the photos and recognise individuals. With dive surveys photographing the population over time the scientists will be able to estimate population sizes and longevity of the species in each location.

This dive would not have been possible without the generous contribution from the Merimbula Divers Lodge who has offered ongoing support to local marine research and the SCURG group.

Whilst under the water the SCURG team conducted research for a second project, two birds with one stone. As part of an ongoing Marine Ecology project run by the Atlas of Life and the Sapphire Coast Marine Society the divers set up data loggers to measure water temperature and thirty metre transect lines to record and monitor the sea weed in the area.

These are both ongoing research programs and SCURG will be doing more dives locally to collect more data. If you are interested in being involved please find us on Facebook or email us [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au.

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Nerve damage for Templeton after arm break

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ELI Templeton has revealed he suffered nerve damage after breaking hisleft arm in round 6, an injury thatended his debut AFL season.

The Burnie product, who will turn 19 next week, told the AFL website that he had experienced ‘lazy fingers’ and a weak wrist on his left side since the incident, side effects he has been assured will pass with time.

Templeton broke his left arm just above the elbow tackling Brisbane midfielder Sam Mayes in the early stages of St Kilda’s Anzac Day loss to the Lions in Wellington, with the injury being compared to something out of a car accident by his surgeon.

”I’m back doing full weights and I’ve started doing some contact training last week,” said Templeton, who is preparing to return to full training next week.

“It was a spiral fracture, not really a perfect break, so that set me back a little bit.”

”I did a pretty good job of it and needed a plate and 15 screws.

”One of the main challenges I’ve had so far – and it’s still ongoing – is the nerve damage.

”I went and saw a neurosurgeon the other day just for a check-up and he said it’s all fine, so I’m working around that and training with that as it is.

”I’ll just need time to fix that.”

After failing to be selected in the national draft, St Kilda swooped with the third pick in the rookie draft.

He made his debut in its opening round clash with St Kilda, playing every game up until his injury, averaging eight touches, four marks and one tackle game, adding some spark and energy to the Saints’ forward half.

His moment in the sun came in round 2 against Greater Western, when his two late goals ensured victory for his side.

Eli Templeton.

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BHP shares up after demerger suggestion

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Shares in Australia’s biggest company, BHP Billiton, have risen sharply this afternoon after the resources giant confirmed that a demerger is its preferred way of simplifying its global portfolio.

Reports suggest the demerged business could be valued at $US14 billion.

While no decision has been made to push ahead with a demerger, BHP published a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange confirming a demerger was the preferred way to divest from non-core businesses.

Any demerged entity is likely to include aluminium assets at the very least. Other prime candidates for the demerged entity include manganese and possibly nickel operations.

Those three divisions have numerous assets located within Australia, particularly nickel which has a cluster of mines, a refinery and a smelter located in Western Australia.

There has been speculation some of BHP’s thermal coal assets could be included too, particularly the ones in South Africa.

The Australian Financial Reviewhas reported that the demerged business would be worth approximately $US14 billionand would have its headquarters in Perth.

Perth already hosts the largest number of BHP employees in one building.

In a statement to the ASX, BHP said a company containing just iron ore, coal, petroleum and copper was sufficiently diversified and could generate “stronger growth in cash flow”.

As it has said many times before, BHP said potash remained a possible fifth pillar of the business.

The miner said it had considered many options, but it ultimately preferred bundling its laggard commodities into the single demerged entity.

”The board has continued to study various structural alternatives including at its meeting this week. A demerger of a selection of assets is our preferred option,” the statement says.

“The board expects to consider this, and other matters, when it reconvenes next week. If any material decisions are made they will be announced immediately.”

BHP shares have leapt from $38.35 to $39.09 since the statement was published. The stock was 93 cents higher than Thursday’s closing price shortly before 3pm.

If allowed to focus solely on its most important businesses, BHP said it would be able to “more quickly improve the productivity and performance of our largest businesses”.

The preference for a demerger comes after 25 months of asset sales, during which BHP raked in proceeds of $US6.5 billion.

Many of the assets to be included in a demerger simply could not be sold.

Most of the poorly performing assets came to the company via the merger with Billiton, a fact that emboldened rumours the demerger is effectively an undoing of what happened in 2001.

Operating around the constraints of the dual-listed structure has been a key challenge over the months of deliberation.

Aluminium, manganese and nickel collectively contributed just $US915 million of the $US28.4 billion of EBITDA the company reported for the 12 months to June 30, 2013.

Speaking prior to today’s announcement, Deutsche analyst Paul Young said investors had been more focused on share buybacks in recent months than the prospect of a demerger.

‘‘If they decide to go along the demerger path that will be a step in the right direction, but it may actually not be material to BHP given the value of the assets being talked about’’ he said.

Pengana Capital fund manager Tim Schroeders said the demerger was a worthy exercise, but he said the divestment of a collection of struggling assets won’t do much to ensure the company’s long-term primacy as the China boom evolves away from steel production.

‘‘You still have three divisions contributing circa 90 per cent of the earnings and the commodities for those three divisions have been falling,’’ he said, in reference to iron ore, petroleum and copper.

‘‘It is unclear how are they going to reposition the business for longevity from here on. The spin-out is part of that but it is more of a short-term filip than a long-term strategic decision.”

‘‘It gets you part the way toward the repositioning without truly being transformational.’’

BHP is scheduled to publish its full year financial results on Tuesday.

Holroyd cabbie Hassan honoured for bravery

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Merrylands cabbie Hassan Chahrouk was recognised in the Australian Bravery Awards today. Picture: Natalie Roberts.When taxi driver Hassan Chahrouk spotted a burning house in Merrylands last year, he hit the brakes.

As flames and smoke billowed from the Como Street home, a distressed young woman pointed frantically inside from the front lawn.

Without hesitation, Mr Chahrouk leapt from his cab and followed her finger into the flames to save the day, emerging minutes later carrying an 87-year-old wheelchair-bound great grandmother, who had been unconcious inside.

‘‘There was no stopping me from going in,’’ recalled Mr Chahrouk, 45.

‘‘Then the police arrived and the fire brigade arrived, so I continued driving and dropped off my passenger.’’

Today, the father of five received a commendation for his act of bravery from the Commonwealth Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove in the Australian Honours bravery awards.

Asked if he’d do it again, the 45-year-old said he ‘‘absolutely’’ would, ‘‘without a doubt’’.

‘‘If you can help somebody, you do it,’’ he said.

Hassan’s daughter, Jehan Chahrouk, 12, of Wentworthville, said she was very proud to call Mr Chahrouk her dad.

‘‘I’m very proud of him and I’m very glad nothing bad happened to him, he’s just a really good dad,’’ Jehan said.

A spokesman from Holroyd police thanked Mr Chahrouk for his heroic efforts on behalf of the local area command.

‘‘Without his assistance, the outcome of this event could have been tragic… Anytime someone is prepared to go and help their fellow man, it deserves recognition, so on behalf of the police, thank you very much,’’ the spokesman said.

The elderly woman was treated at Westmead Hospital for smoke inhallation and recovered from the ordeal.

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Mark Kruger not required for 2015 Farrer season: Temora

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Temora coach Mark Kruger has been told he isn’t required by the club past the current season.Farrer League

TEMORA has made the shock decision to part ways with the man who brought the club from zero to hero and delivered consecutive Farrer League premierships.

Mark Kruger sat down with the Kangaroos committee on Thursday night and was told his coaching services will not be required past the current season.

It ends a three-year relationship with Temora.

After arriving at the club in November 2011, Kruger took the Roos from the bottom of the competition to their first flag in 52 years.

He went on to lead them to premierships in 2012 and 2013, and is currently shooting for three in a row as Temora sits second on the ladder one week out from finals.

He told The Daily Advertiser a fortnight ago he wouldn’t be making a decision on his future until after the current season.

But Temora’s committee made the decision for him.

Kruger admitted he had been partially blindsided by Thursday’s announcement.

But he denied any talk of ill-feeling between coach and club.

“It definitely came as a bit of a shock, I won’t deny that,” Kruger said.

“But I knew the process was happening…I actually promoted to the club three of four weeks ago that they should pursue any avenues they wanted to pursue.

“Some members of the committee were of the opinion four years would be too long.

“I’m disappointed, and I don’t necessarily agree with it…(but) I’m in total support of their decision.

Mark Kruger”We had a three-year plan and Mark has certainly over achieved.”

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Luck flows as Pamplona runs to victory

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RUN TO THE LINE: Garry Harpley urges Pamplona to the line, finished a head in front of the Shaun Snudden-trained Cams Victories. Pictures: Michael Frogley.Harness racing

LUCK was on the side of father and son combination Darcy and Garry Harpley at the Wagga Showground.

The Temora team combined to win the opening event on the big 12-race card with two-year-old filly Pamplona ($9.30).

In her fourth start, the daughter of John Street North was able to steer clear of early trouble before coming three wide to score a narrow victory.

Holding off the fast finishing Cams Victories ($3.20) she held on by a head to bring up her first win.

Driver Garry knew a win was within her grasp, but needed a bit of luck to go her way.

“We were probably unlucky not to win our first start, then we got checked in our second start before she overraced at Young,” Garry said.

“She’s been working very well and we just needed to get a bit of luck to go our way.

“We were lucky as a horse galloped on the turn and we missed it and in the last few weeks we’ve been getting run into.”

After a disappointing performance after overracing at Young last Saturday, the filly was forced to re-qualify.

Changing some gear including adding hopple shorteners and deafeners saw a big improvement, and the Harpleys were thankful steward for Travis Quickcoming to Temora so they could re-qualify her on Monday.

WINNING RETURN: Garry Harpley comes back victorious with two-year-old filly Pamplona for father Darcy Harpley at Wagga yesterday.

It’s been a long journey for the Harpleys to get the filly on the track, after having a lot of troublewith her dam Maid Of Misfortune.

The aptly-named Brioso Hanover mare was also bred by the Harpleys, but things never went right.

“We bred this horse’s mother and she kept hurting herself,” Garry said.

“She hurt herself as a foal, hurt herself as a yearling then she broke down as a five-year-old so we took her to stud so it’s probably been 13 years since that initial first breeding that we got one to the races.”

With a name synonymous with harness racing in the Riverina, Darcy and Garry have been taking more of a back step of late, focusing on breeding and pre-training before moving horses to other trainers.

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Small crowd attends ceremony to mark victory in the Pacific

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END OF THE WAR: Returned Services League representative Les McGaw and Councillor Ron Gander lay a wreath on the cenotaph at yesterday’s service to mark the end of the war in the Pacific. Photo: STEVE GOSCHIT was a day like no other, August 15, 1945 when the shops and businesses in Orange closed their doors and people flooded into Summer Street to celebrate the end of the war in the Pacific.

It was a conflict that affected almost every family in Orange, with almost a million Australians, both men and women, serving in World War II.

But in contrast to the growing number of people gathering to commemorate Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and Vietnam Veterans Day in Orange, only a handful of people gathered at the Cenotaph to stand beside ex-service personnel and RSL representatives to mark Victory in the Pacific (VP) Day.

RSL president Lindsay Wright said Orange celebrated a two-day holiday when victory in the Pacific was declared.

“It was Prime Minister Ben Chifley who made the announcement just after 9am,” he said.

An elderly Orange resident who was working at the Western Stores in Summer Street at the time said VP Day was unique.

“Someone ran into the shop and said the war was over,” she said.

“We shut the doors and went out into Summer Street and other people were doing the same.

“By the end of the day when the message had got around Orange people just all came down in to Summer Street and it was a great atmosphere.

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ICAC: Local government minister urges Jeff McCloy to “consider his position”

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Local government minister Paul Toole. Pic: Peter RaeICAC: August 2014 archive, Operation Spicer

LOCAL government minister Paul Toole has urged Jeff McCloy to consider stepping down as mayor, warning “every possible legal avenue” would be explored.

“As Minister for Local Government, I expect every Mayor and Councillor in NSW to adhere to the highest standards of honesty and integrity,” Mr Toole said.

“That is why I am today urging Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy to consider his position.”

“We are looking at every possible legal avenue to ensure the needs of the Newcastle community are put first.”

Mr Toole’s statement, released on Friday afternoon, follows his earlier calls on Tuesday for Cr McCloy to step aside.

Premier Mike Baird also said Cr McCloy should consider his position on Tuesday while urging former MPsAndrew Cornwell and Tim Owen to stand down from parliament.

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