What will happen to Treasurer Joe Hockey if Tony Abbott is deposed?

Child cheer: Joe Hockey at a Childcare centre in Padstow. Photo: Nick MoirHe was once tagged as a future Prime Minister, but what will happen to Treasurer Joe Hockey if Tony Abbott loses the leadership next week?
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Chances are he will lose his portfolio. The Prime Ministership is out of the question.

In modern Australia, great Treasurers and Prime Ministers are tied together, like a songwriting team.

Voters remember the classic pairs. Hawke and Keating. Howard and Costello.

But Hockey’s record as Treasurer has not been good – as budget salesman, economic visionary, or policy wonk – and he has not been helped by his Prime Minister’s political missteps and lack of economic nous.

They have both struggled from the moment they delivered their first budget, and their colleagues have had to spend a lot of time fending off accusations that the government’s budget is unfair.

One of Hockey’s biggest problems has been bad luck.

He has faced some of the most difficult economic circumstances in decades – just like his predecessor Wayne Swan – so he has had to spend his energy convincing Australians that life is about to get a lot tougher.

But he has not helped himself. There is more than one way to construct a budget. Yes he has had to cut down on spending, but his decision to go after the poor and less well-off in the way that he did has had political ramifications well beyond federal politics.

If someone replaces Abbott as leader on Tuesday and appoints a new Treasurer, that Treasurer will have to deal with the negative legacy of Hockey’s budget.

But who could replace him?

Assuming Turnbull becomes Prime Minister, it’s hard to imagine it being Julie Bishop, given how badly she did as Shadow Treasurer.

Some have been endorsing Andrew Robb as Treasurer. He has an economics degree and could probably do the job but he’s hardly a compelling communicator.

He’s unlikely to inspire the troops, let alone the punters.

And Turnbull does not like him much, given the role he played in precipitating the spill against Turnbull.

It’s hard to imagine them having the sort of working relationship you would need between a Prime Minister and a Treasurer for that to be successful.

There are some on the right of the Coalition who would like Scott Morrison to be Treasurer because he’s their darling after Abbott.

But whether Morrison can count beyond the number of boats remains to be seen.

The other name that some people mention is the younger Christian Porter, the former Treasurer of Western Australia.

Like a WA version of Peter Costello, he jumped shipped to federal politics because he came to the view that WA Premier Colin Barnett would never step aside for him so his best chance of advancing his political career was to go federal.

He’s regarded as having the capacity to do the job, but it would say something about the depth of talent within the Parliamentary Liberal Party if they had to reach down that far to find the right person for the second-most important job in the government.

These are the types of conversations that are going on in Canberra.

However, the problem for any prospective alternative Treasurer is that the effectiveness of good Treasurers has always been enhanced by the ability of their respective prime ministers to communicate economic messages.

Does Turnbull fit that bill? Does Julie Bishop?

These are interesting times. Meanwhile, the next budget is due in three months.

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Royal commission: Rabbi let man flee because he ‘did not know’ about sex abuse allegations

The head of a Sydney rabbinical college says he was not aware that inappropriately touching a child could be criminal when one of his students left Australia amid accusations of child sexual abuse.
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Rabbi Yosef Feldman, whose father, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, is the head of Sydney’s orthodox Chabad community, also told the royal commission into child sexual abuse on Friday that he believed: Child sexual abuse was “not common” and did not affect more than 30 per cent of societyUnderstanding the nature of abuse and responding to abuse allegations were largely a matter of “common sense”.Since he and his father failed to prevent his student, known as AVL, from leaving Australia, he said he had not undertaken formal training in child sexual abuseRabbis, he said, should be trained in how to deal with child sexual abuse. But the rabbinical curriculum now only mentions abuse as it relates to Jewish law

Rabbi Feldman was the administrative director of the rabbinical college at orthodox Jewish institution Yeshiva in Sydney in 2002, when a parent complained that a man – known as AVL – had massaged their child while lying beside them.

Within two days of the complaint, AVL had left the country. Before leaving, AVL told Rabbi Feldman and his father he intended to return to America. They did not prevent him from doing so, and did not inform police when he left.

Rabbi Feldman told the commission that he had told AVL he believed his conduct was “highly inappropriate” under Jewish law. But he did not know the conduct was sexual or that AVL could be charged with a crime under Australian law.

“I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t think much about it from the legal perspective. As I said that wasn’t my involvement … and I don’t deal with that sort of thing,” he said.

Had Rabbi Feldman known then that AVL had also been accused of touching the child’s genitals, he would have thought the conduct was criminal, he said.

The rabbi told the commission that while he had at that time been the administrative director of the college for about a decade, he was not aware of laws requiring mandatory reporting of child abuse.

As a “young man” of 33 at the time, he had relied on his father to tell him of such obligations: “I assumed he would tell me what’s necessary.”

He conceded that he was unfit to hold the position of director at the time given his lack of knowledge: “If that’s the case that’s the case. If you are telling me that’s the case then I accept it.”

Since then, the rabbi said he had read more about child sexual abuse, but had not undertaken any formal training. Detection of child abuse was, he said, largely a matter of “common sense”: “I’m an extremely busy person so yes, I haven’t had that feeling that I need to make it the highest or very high priority.”

He now believed that under Jewish law “all child sex abuse allegations should be dealt with by the authorities, no matter what sort of outcome that would bring”.

But Rabbi Feldman maintained that if a person other than the child’s parent had heard a child may have been abused, without “reasonable grounds”: “I feel that the first and main person should be a rabbi.”

The hearing continues.

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Canberra man Liam Rudd recovering from serious motorcycle crash in Bali

Liam Rudd was left with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain after a motorcycle crash in Bali last Sunday. Photo: act\clare上海龙凤419lleyJust one week after Canberra man Liam Rudd arrived in Bali for holidays, a motorcycle crash left him lying in a hospital bed with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.
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The 24-year-old’s shocked family and friends are rallying to raise money to help pay mounting hospital bills of at least $20,000 after the crash last Sunday, with fears he will be stuck in Bali until the medical expenses are paid.

Initially the hospital demanded $7000 upfront for Mr Rudd’s surgery from his twin sister Tanika Rudd, but due to the seriousness of his injuries they went ahead with the operation to insert a plate in his skull and stop internal bleeding after he crashed his bike into a tree.

Mr Rudd’s friend and Common Grounds Gowrie cafe workmate Corey Garcia is helping to raise funds to cover the medical costs through an online page set up with help from workmate Nathan Reynolds.

“We’ve tried everything we can do, we don’t know what else to do,” Mr Garcia said.

“At first it felt a bit distant, but once I saw photos and spoke to him over the phone it was pretty upsetting.

“He doesn’t sound like himself at all, he repeated himself a few times and he couldn’t build conversation.”

Mr Rudd started working as a cook at the cafe after moving to Canberra last August.

He recently left his job to go travelling, but Mr Garcia said the cafe staff had been looking forward to his return.

Mr Rudd’s aunt, Virginia Wood, from Kambah, said it took a while for the reality of Mr Rudd’s “horrific” accident to sink in when she was contacted by his Sydney-based twin.

“It sort of spun me because they wanted $3500 before they operated and then [another] $3500 before they let him out of hospital and that’s got to be paid,” Ms Wood said.

“Because his injuries were so bad they had to operate or otherwise he would have died.”

Ms Wood said she couldn’t bear to look at the graphic photos of her nephew lying in a hospital bed.

“As soon as I saw it I cried, I can’t look at those photos,” she said.

“They [the twins] lost their mum 12 years ago and she [Miss Rudd] just can’t lose Liam.”

Until she arrives in Bali, Miss Rudd won’t know the full extent of her brother’s injuries or if he has insurance to offset his medical bills, which currently sit at about $20,000, including a $7000 surgery bill and $1000 for each day of his stay in intensive care.

She has learned his teeth and eyes were unharmed in the crash, but he still has swelling on the brain and short-term memory loss.

Ms Wood covered the cost of a fast-tracked passport for Miss Rudd to fly to Bali on Saturday to be by her brother’s side.

“He just kept on asking for her and wondering why she wasn’t there,” Ms Wood said.

“He had a bit of short-term memory loss so he was getting really agitated.

“As soon as she’s over there he will calm down instantly – as soon as he sees her.”

Mr Rudd lived with Ms Wood and her family in Kambah when he first moved to Canberra, before he found a share house at Richardson.

The family are relieved Mr Rudd’s memory appears to be improving and Ms Wood said he had even began asking after his beloved cat Gizmo, who was being taken care of by his housemates at Richardson.

Donations towards Liam Rudd’s treatment can be made online: www.giveforward上海龙凤419m/fundraiser/qck7/liam-rudd-s-motorcycle-accident-treatment-fund.

– With Tracey Prisk

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ARB chief Peter McGauran reviews steroid rule after backflip

“Why a substance was found to be an anabolic steroid when it was later ruled not to be one is of concern and we are already reviewing that.”: ARB chief executive Peter McGauran. Photo: Paul Rovere
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“Why a substance was found to be an anabolic steroid when it was later ruled not to be one is of concern and we are already reviewing that.”: ARB chief executive Peter McGauran. Photo: Paul Rovere

“Why a substance was found to be an anabolic steroid when it was later ruled not to be one is of concern and we are already reviewing that.”: ARB chief executive Peter McGauran. Photo: Paul Rovere

Australian Racing Board chief executive Peter McGauran has launched a review into how a synthetic hormone was deemed an anabolic steroid after the first set of random testing of yearlings last month.

A yearling colt sold at Magic Millions faced a 12-month ban after a test showed signs of altrenogest, a synthetic hormone, but it was reported by analysts to be an anabolic androgenic steroid because of its similar structure.

The ARB banned the use of anabolic steroids from birth to retirement in racehorses in May and ruled a mandatory one-year ban for any horse breaching the rule. At the time it was proclaimed a world-first rule.

But the first suspected positive test, which become public on Monday, has led to an embarrassing backflip.

“It has been challenged by breeders and it has been scientifically assessed and the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion is that it is not an anabolic steroid,” McGauran said.

“Why a substance was found to be an anabolic steroid when it was later ruled not to be one is of concern and we are already reviewing that.”

Fairfax Media has learned there is no list of substances that fall under the steroid rule and McGauran doesn’t see a need for one.

“I think there has been an air of panic on this issue,” McGauran said.

“We don’t need to change a rule. We don’t list what anabolic steroids are, that is up to the laboratories to tell us. The laboratories have to be more assured of their findings.”

Racing Queensland’s integrity department turned to the ARB more than a fortnight ago when the finding of an irregularity to altrenogest, which is in a commonly used product called Regumate that regulates reproductive cycles in fillies and mares, was discovered. However, it took Racing Queensland to clear the yearling colt, and therefore not ban it, rather than ARB on Thursday.

“Upon considering veterinary advice and the Australian Racing Board notice, stewards determined that altrenogest is not an anabolic androgenic steroid, and is therefore not prohibited in male horses if present in a sample taken out of competition,” Racing Queensland general manager of stewards and integrity operations Wade Birch said.

“Despite having a similar chemical structure to an anabolic androgenic steroid, the advice we received satisfies us that altrenogest does not have a similar biological effect.”

Birch will prepare a report into the saga and has indicated a list of prohibited substances will be useful in this case.

The World Anti-Doping Authority provides a list of banned substances in its code and it was included in an explanatory note in the ARB media release in May. It did mention altrenogest by name, offering it was still permitted in fillies and mares.

The WADA list finishes with “other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s)” to allow inclusions of other substances.

The racing rule almost certainly needs classification to prevent another incident such as the colt from Magic Millions. Leading members of the breeding and bloodstock industry have labelled the incident a farce that was waiting to happen.   

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Malcolm Turnbull’s date with destiny

Will the Liberal Party turn to Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday? Photo: Rob Homer Will the Liberal Party turn to Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday? Photo: Rob Homer
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Will the Liberal Party turn to Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday? Photo: Rob Homer

Will the Liberal Party turn to Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday? Photo: Rob Homer

The Pulse Live: Tony Abbott faces a leadership challengeAnalysis: When it finally came, its direction was tellingHow will the spill motion work?

“The chances of me being leader again are negligible.”

So said Malcolm Turnbull in 2012. Labor was again tearing itself apart over leadership and Tony Abbott was ascendant as opposition leader.

Yet, even then, he held out hope of again leading the party that rejected him in 2009. Turnbull’s self-belief is a flame that cannot be snuffed out.

“I can’t say there is no chance … but if I leave this place not having been leader again, I would not regard myself as having failed.”

A mere three years later, the role that has seemed his destiny since he entered politics a decade ago – the prime ministership – is finally within reach. The Prince of Point Piper has never been so close.

Staggeringly intelligent, urbane, short-tempered and convinced of his own brilliance, no other politician can match Turnbull’s breadth of achievement in the “real world”. He’s been a journalist with The Bulletin, Kerry Packer’s adviser, the swashbuckling lawyer defending free speech in the Spycatcher case, a Goldman Sachs investment banker and a venture capitalist.

Which other politicians could wear a leather jacket on to Q&A and get away with it?

It captures something of the glamour that surrounds Turnbull that Abbott once claimed he “virtually invented the internet in this country”. (Turnbull was an early investor and chair of internet service provider OzeMail.)

Although Paul Keating had hoped to lure him to the Labor Party, Turnbull has been interested in being a Liberal MP since 1981 when he unsuccessfully ran for the seat of Wentworth (an affluent electorate in Sydney’s eastern suburbs).

In 2004, he finally righted that wrong – but only after booting out the sitting member, Peter King, in a bitter preselection battle.

After being elevated to cabinet in his first term in Parliament, Turnbull ran to succeed John Howard as Liberal leader after the 2007 election. Brendan Nelson defeated him by three votes.

Less than a year later, with Nelson struggling to dent Kevin Rudd’s popularity, Turnbull unseated him by four votes.

As opposition leader, Turnbull oversaw one of the most tumultuous periods in Liberal Party history.

In the “Utegate” affair, he famously called on Rudd to resign on the basis of fraudulent evidence concocted by Treasury mole Godwin Grech.

His commitment to an emissions trading scheme infuriated his more conservative colleagues and eventually led to the party terminating his leadership.

Turnbull announced that he would retire from politics but reversed his position after two months following pleas from Liberals including Howard.

He eventually returned to the frontbench as communications spokesman, then minister. He worked hard, eschewed bitterness, and won praise internally for neutralising Labor’s advantage on broadband policy.

Now the Liberal Party is pondering another dalliance with Turnbull as leader. Not because he’s beloved – for many conservatives his support for gay marriage and a price on carbon makes him simply too progressive to bear. But the polls show he is easily the most popular senior Liberal with the public.

Turnbull has not been counting numbers or undermining Abbott. But he has carefully kept his options open. If next week’s spill motion succeeds, few have any doubt. Turnbull will run if he believes he has the numbers to win. This is not a man who dodges a date with destiny.

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#libspill spills into social media frenzy of political protest

Social media went into a frenzy at the news of Tony Abbott’s impending leadership challenge. Photo: Christopher PearceTwitterphere awash with reactions
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Confirmation of the challenge to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership to take place on Tuesday sent social media into a frenzy on Friday.

The hashtags #libspill, #spill and #itson spent most of the afternoon at the top of Twitter trend charts.

According to analytics site Topsy杭州龙凤419m, in 24 hours to 3pm, #libspill had amassed more than 20,000 tweets, with 4900 just in the hour between confirmation of the spill and Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s extremely brief press conference at 3:30pm. By 5pm the tag featured more than 42,000 times.

The more playful #itson, featured in less tweets – some 3500 in 24 hours – and was quickly upstaged by the simple #spill. The perennial #auspol continued to accompany most of the leadership tussle tweets, adding 3700 just in the hour prior to publishing.

By 4:30pm leadership related hashtags dominated all of the top 10 Australian Twitter trends, with “Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard” – after a slip of the tongue by Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews.

Independent social researcher Tiphereth Gloria was not surprised by the Twitter frenzy. She said Australians were using the hashtags as a form of protest.

“Everyone is pent up with frustration, and it has erupted under this #libspill hashtag. People are saying ‘can we chuck out his other policies’. People are using it as away to make their opinions heard socially,” Gloria said.

Using a number of social media monitoring tools to observe the trends, Gloria said it was “going crazy.”

“What was interesting is that #libspill actually started when #knighthood started. People were already calling for it, because they had the idea it was an event of that magnitude.

“That’s probably the most interesting thing – it seems to be directly connected to the knighthood [of Prince Phillip]. Everyone’s said it was Tony Abbott’s last idiotic move.”

The #auspol tag, in turn, is used to encapsulate everything that happens in Australian politics. The use of such national term was unique to Australia, with other countries not appearing to have an equivalent, she said.

“It’s one of the most interesting ongoing hashtags. It’s been going for years. It’s like an umbrella term for anyone talking about Australian politics on Twitter,” Gloria.

Despite some believing that Twitter was limited to a circle of media-obsessed users, she said it pointed to informed and strong political opinions.

“Even though there’s less people on Twitter than on Facebook, the ones that are there are more engaged and have very firm opinions. It’s not only the influencers.”

The Prime Minister’s Facebook account posted a transcript of his five-paragraph speech shortly after his TV appearance. Within 20 minutes it had more than 2000 likes. Post by Tony Abbott.

Within half an hour of the PM’s brief appearance, another hashtag began trending: #ThingsLongerThanAbbottsPressConf. Tony Abbott’s nose #ThingsLongerThanAbbottsPressConf — Sir Tony LiesAlot (@liarabbott) February 6, 2015

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Homes fit for baby Bingleton

3-13 Holdsworth Street, Woollahra, Sydney. The grand, four bedroom property has a children’s wing, a cocktail bar, sun-lit living areas, a marble fireplace, rainwater shower and designer bath in the master ensuite, a Villeroy and Boch marble powder room, multiple courtyards and a freestanding cabana overlooking the pool with its own powder room and steam room. Photo: Supplied 3-13 Holdsworth Street, Woollahra, Sydney. The grand, four bedroom property has a children’s wing, a cocktail bar, sun-lit living areas, a marble fireplace, rainwater shower and designer bath in the master ensuite, a Villeroy and Boch marble powder room, multiple courtyards and a freestanding cabana overlooking the pool with its own powder room and steam room. Photo: Supplied
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Darling Point, Sydney – address withheld. Modeled to be akin to living in a resort, the property in a prestige pocket of Sydney has two kitchens with sculleries, staff accommodation, Grecian stone floors, winding staircases, his and hers changing rooms beside the pool, a theatre and a steam room. Photo: Supplied

Darling Point, Sydney – address withheld. Modeled to be akin to living in a resort, the property in a prestige pocket of Sydney has two kitchens with sculleries, staff accommodation, Grecian stone floors, winding staircases, his and hers changing rooms beside the pool, a theatre and a steam room. Photo: Supplied

3/133 Alexandra Avenue, South Yarra – a short walk to Chapel Street’s boutiques, where Bingle can sate her love of designer style. The home has three bedrooms and all the mod-cons and upmarket flourishes you’d expect in this deluxe price bracket, including an American oak feature wall, under-floor heating and Italian fittings in the bathroom. Photo: Supplied

16 Boandyne Court, Toorak. Kay & Burton agent Tim Blackett emphasises the “substantial wardrobes” in the main bedroom, which we think would be a prerequisite for the well-heeled and style conscious Bingle. The property has a lift for ease of access between the floors, a wrap-around terrace, horizon pool and manicured gardens. Photo: Supplied

16 Boandyne Court, Toorak. Kay & Burton agent Tim Blackett emphasises the “substantial wardrobes” in the main bedroom, which we think would be a prerequisite for the well-heeled and style conscious Bingle. The property has a lift for ease of access between the floors, a wrap-around terrace, horizon pool and manicured gardens. Photo: Supplied

27 Wooster Street 6B, SoHo/Nolita, New York City. From “bleach zebrawood cabinetry” in the kitchen to the “Toto Neorest toilet” (apparently a super fancy brand of loo), every inch of this three bedroom home in a trendy part of NYC smacks of a designer touch. The master bedroom has a double rainwater effect shower head and steam shower. The building has a 24-hour concierge desk – essential security for celebrities. Photo: Supplied

27 Wooster Street 6B, SoHo/Nolita, New York City. From “bleach zebrawood cabinetry” in the kitchen to the “Toto Neorest toilet” (apparently a super fancy brand of loo), every inch of this three bedroom home in a trendy part of NYC smacks of a designer touch. The master bedroom has a double rainwater effect shower head and steam shower. The building has a 24-hour concierge desk – essential security for celebrities. Photo: Supplied

Greenwich Village loft, New York City. This loft built in 1899 in a trendy part of Manhattan, where all the celebrities live, has three bedrooms, has had an upmarket renovation and features high ceilings and Washington Square Park. The kitchen opens to a playroom or study – perfect for little Bingleton – and the master bedroom ticks all the boxes, from a designer soaking tub to the generous wardrobe space and a retreat lounge. Photo: Supplied

Greenwich Village loft, New York City. This loft built in 1899 in a trendy part of Manhattan, where all the celebrities live, has three bedrooms, has had an upmarket renovation and features high ceilings and Washington Square Park. The kitchen opens to a playroom or study – perfect for little Bingleton – and the master bedroom ticks all the boxes, from a designer soaking tub to the generous wardrobe space and a retreat lounge. Photo: Supplied

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HUNTER HEALTH KICK: Workouts Week 1

SquatsSession 1: Test yourself
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Head to a park or oval and set your timer for 15 minutes. See how many laps you can cover in that amount of time. This might be walking or running or a combination of the two. Jot down somewhere how you went and in four weeks you will repeat the exercise to see if there has been any improvement. You could alternatively map out a road run/walk and see how far you get in 15 minutes.

Session 2: Strength and cardio

Workout: 30-45 minutes

If outdoors, walk or run between your sets if fitness allows. If at the gym, rest between sets and add 10-15 minutes of cardio before doing your strength work. This might be 5 minutes on the rower, bike and treadmill, for example.

10 squats with 1min rest/walk/running short shuttles. Repeat 1-2 times.

10-20 lunges (10 alternating stationary, 10 walking lunges or 10 on each leg) with 1min rest/walk/run. Repeat 1-2 times.

10 push-ups (wall, elevated, knees, toes, chest press machine at the gym) with 1min rest/walk/run. Repeat 1-2 times.

10 rows/pull-ups (seated horizontal row machine at gym, bent-over row with dumbbells, single arm row) with 1min rest/walk/run. Repeat 1-2 times.

10 opposing arm and leg or 20-30 second hover (on knees or toes) with a 30-60 second rest. Repeat 1-2 times.

Session 3: Intervals

Workout: Aim for 20 minutes of intervals at a 1:2 work:recovery ratio. This might be walk fast:walk slow; walk:jog; harder run:easy run. Start with 20 seconds harder:40 seconds easy. You could do this around an oval or around the block. At the gym you could do it in 5 min blocks using cardio machines. Modify as you go. If it feels too easy, work harder for longer and have less rest. If it’s too hard, rest more.

Session 4: Strength and cardio

Workout: This session is a circuit-style session. Add rests as you need and perform 2-4 through, depending on your level of fitness – ie, if you are just starting out stick to twice through, if you have been exercising for a while and are looking to improve your fitness further perform 3-4 times and limit your rests.

10 squats.

50 skips (with skipping rope. If you are not a confident skipper just jog or walk).

10 push-ups.

Walk/jog/run hard 200 metres.

10-20 lunges.

20 star jumps.

10 pull-ups/rows.

50 skips.

10 opposing arm and leg/20-30 second hover.

Walk/jog/run hard 200 metres.

Renee Valentine is a qualified personal trainer and mother of three. [email protected]杭州龙凤419m

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Drayton mine to shed 45 jobs

DRAYTON coal mine is cutting its workforce by about 10per cent, with at least 45 jobs set to go, owner Anglo American said on Friday.
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The company’s head of open-cut mining, Mark Heaton, said the failure to gain approval for its planned Drayton South extension was one of the main reasons for the job cuts.

The announcement has alarmed the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, with district president Peter Jordan saying the union was not consulted.

‘‘We had a delegates’ meeting on Wednesday and if it’s the case, as it looks like, that we’ve found out about this through the media, then that is pretty disappointing,’’ he said.

Mr Heaton said Drayton would run out of mineable reserves later this year.

“We had hoped Drayton South would have given smooth continuity of employment for our 500 workers and 140 local suppliers,’’ Mr Heaton said.

‘‘However, we now find ourselves in the difficult position of balancing depleting coal levels with extending the mine’s life for as long as possible without approval for Drayton South.

‘‘The redundancy positions will be subject to the business needs and in full consultation with employees.’’

A spokesperson said later that the job cuts were a mixture of employees and contractors.

Drayton is 10kilometres south of Muswellbrook.

The predicted impact of Drayton South on nearby horse studs was a major reason behind a Planning Assessment Commission decision to reject the project.

With coal prices in the doldrums, Anglo announced in December that its other Hunter mine, Dartbrook underground – closed on care and maintenance since 2007 – was on the market.

Asked on Friday, the company said Dartbrook was still on the market but Drayton was not for sale, regardless of the setbacks facing it.

Anglo lodged plans for a scaled-back third version of Drayton South in late December, with the company confirming on Friday that a new environmental impact statement was scheduled to be lodged with the Department of Planning and Environment by about April.

In early December, the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association said it was not ‘‘a fair system when endless applications are made’’.

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Is it safe to travel through Iraqi airspace?

Qatar Airways flies a safe route to Europe.I BOOKED A QATAR AIRWAYS FLIGHT FROM DOHA TO ATHENS AND HAVE JUST NOTICED ON FLIGHT RADAR THAT THIS FLIGHT TRAVELS THROUGH IRAQI AND SYRIAN AIRSPACE. I THOUGHT FLIGHTS OVER THESE COUNTRIES HAD STOPPED BUT IT SEEMS ONLY CERTAIN CARRIERS HAVE. ON THE ADVICE OF SMART TRAVELLER I CONTACTED THE CARRIER TWICE BUT HAD NO RESPONSE, BUT I DO FIND THIS UNSETTLING. WHAT MAKES A ROUTE SAFE FOR ONE CARRIER BUT NOT FOR ANOTHER? SHOULD YOU BE ABLE TO CANCEL A TICKET IF YOU BELIEVE THE AIRLINE IS PUTTING YOU AT RISK?
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J. SINGH, MELBOURNE

I’m tracking today’s Qatar Airways Flight QTR201 from Doha to Athens using Flight Radar 24 (flightradar24). From Doha it travelled north across Bahrain then turned west to cross the Arabian Peninsula, the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt and across the Mediterranean to Athens. This track takes it well south of Iraq, and nowhere near Syria. Looking at yesterday’s data on Planefinder (planefinder杭州龙凤419), flight QTR201 flew the same route. In the opposite direction, Athens to Doha, flight QTR202 follows a parallel track. It’s entirely possible that the airline has changed its route, as airlines do in response to perceived dangers, some more quickly than others. It seems that you don’t have to worry on this account, however your concern is justified, especially following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine.

Looking at the data on Flight Radar, it is notable that there are very few flights operating over Iraqi airspace. Most airlines operating between the Gulf States and Europe are either flying over Saudi Arabia and the Mediterranean or in the air corridor over western Iran, then turning west to cross Turkey. Over Syria there is practically no air traffic.

Of course you could cancel your ticket if you believe that your airline was operating on an unsafe route but it is doubtful that you would be able to claim a refund, or compensation. You would have to prove that an airline was knowingly flying a route that was likely to put you in harm’s way, and no airline is going to admit to that without an almighty tussle.

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