The battler of Point Piper: Labor plans its attack on Malcolm Turnbull

‘Tony Abbott in an expensive suit’: Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Nic Walker ‘Tony Abbott in an expensive suit’: Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Nic Walker
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‘Tony Abbott in an expensive suit’: Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Nic Walker

‘Tony Abbott in an expensive suit’: Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Nic Walker

Live: Tony Abbott faces leadership challengeLuke Simpkins’ email to colleagues calling for spill against Tony AbbottAnalysis: Abbott’s leadership has entered the killing zone

Tony Abbott in an expensive suit. New salesman, same government. The man from Struggle Street, Point Piper.

Labor is already sharpening its lines to greet a Malcolm Turnbull prime ministership – even before Mr Turnbull had indicated whether or not he would contest a leadership vote if one follows the spill motion to be considered by the Liberal party room on Tuesday.

According to a number of ALP figures who spoke to Fairfax Media, the weaknesses of Mr Turnbull’s they would seek to exploit include the perception he is out of step with the core of the federal Liberal Party on issues such as climate change, same sex marriage and the republic.

A shadow minister nominated Mr Turnbull’s Achilles heel as simply: “His big f–king ego.”

“He convinces himself that he is the smartest person in the room in every situation – and sometimes he is. But when you believe you are the only one who truly understands an issue it is pretty hard to listen to anyone else around you,” said the source.

“His big ego killed him before. What will his ego be like if he believes he is being called to the country’s top job?”

But the shadow minister also conceded Labor would have a tougher time opposing a Turnbull-led Coalition. “He’s smarter than Abbott, more grounded than Abbott and he’s an adult, unlike Abbott.”

Mr Turnbull is favoured as leader by twice as many people as Mr Abbott, a string of IPSOS Fairfax polls have found.

Another Labor source with experience of the Gillard–Rudd war said Mr Turnbull had weaknesses to exploit but said he would be a more formidable prime minister to oppose.

“Absolutely he is more popular in the middle ground with voters, the place where elections are won,” the source said.

“This whole thing has reminded me of Gillard vs Rudd. A party stuck with a leader it knows cannot win an election and an alternative leader who is not liked by the party. But in the end, MPs will vote for their own survival, which is why I expect Malcolm Turnbull PM by mid-next week.”

Bruce Hawker, the longtime ALP campaigner who led Kevin Rudd’s doomed bid for re-election in 2013, said Mr Turnbull would take the Liberal Party back to towards the centre ground but that would eventually expose divisions within his own party.

“For Labor, Turnbull is a much harder character to deal with, he won’t score the same own-goals that Tony Abbott has become famous for,” Mr Hawker said.

“The danger for him is that he will start with a burst of popularity and relief in the electorate and he will try to steer his party back to centre ground. But he will have to deal with the Cory Bernardis of his party who are not going to sit back and watch a small-L liberal like Malcolm Turnbull do what he likes. That will open up the divisions for Labor to exploit.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has been relegated to a low profile since the government began to tear itself apart after Australia Day, but his language at his daily press conference has begun to dig away at any notion that a change of leader would mean a fresh start for the Coalition.

Mr Shorten said on Friday: “They all voted for the budget. On budget night when Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott brought down their budget, they were slamming the desks and cheering and that’s the issue.

“Malcolm Turnbull may wear nicer suits but he’s just Tony Abbott in a nicer suit.”

On Tuesday he said: “They should stop worrying about which sales person they put up the front of the queue, and all of them should actually go back and take their foot off the throat of families.”

A senior player behind Mr Shorten said there would be no great recalibration of strategy if a change occurs. “There’s been a lot of talk about the effect of Turnbull taking over but we’re actually not all that worried.”

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$13 million blowout for Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter bridge is not our fault: Heritage Council

Nearing completion: the Albert “Tibby” Cotter Bridge across Anzac Parade. Photo: Janie Barrett The Heritage Council says the bridge’s limited usefulness is a waste of money. Photo: Janie Barrett
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Nearing completion: the Albert “Tibby” Cotter Bridge across Anzac Parade. Photo: Janie Barrett

The bridge’s construction costs have blown out by $13 million. Photo: Janie Barrett JEM

The Heritage Council says the bridge’s limited usefulness is a waste of money. Photo: Janie Barrett

Nearing completion: the Albert “Tibby” Cotter Bridge across Anzac Parade. Photo: Janie Barrett

The Heritage Council says the bridge’s limited usefulness is a waste of money. Photo: Janie Barrett

Nearing completion: the Albert “Tibby” Cotter Bridge across Anzac Parade. Photo: Janie Barrett

The Heritage Council says the bridge’s limited usefulness is a waste of money. Photo: Janie Barrett

No Albert “Tibby” Cotter bridge over Anzac Parade would have been the best outcome.

That is the view of the NSW Heritage Council, which is upset by the $13 million blowout in construction costs –  from $25 million to $38 million – for the pedestrian and cycling bridge, which is due to be completed in time for this month’s ICC Cricket World Cup.

The chair of the NSW Heritage Council, Professor Lawrence Nield, has slammed Roads Minister Duncan Gay for suggesting the blowout was the fault of the Heritage Council. The council says the bridge’s intrusiveness and limited usefulness is a waste of money.

“It was a cheap shot for a very expensive structure that was expensive from the beginning,” Professor Nield said of Mr Gay’s comments this week that the blowout was imposed by the Heritage Council and a “tough pill to swallow”.

“The requirements of the Heritage Council would not have produced a cost increase. The change of the requirements were not going to cause that increase.

“The best solution would be to have no bridge.”

Mr Gay reiterated his stance that the $13 million increase was the work of the Heritage Council, citing an extra 100 tonnes of steel added to the bridge as the main reason for the overspend.

“The extra costs were almost entirely the result of conditions imposed on us by the Heritage Council,” Mr Gay said. “About two-thirds of the additional costs were due to aesthetic changes to the bridge design required by the Heritage Council to make the structure more elegant.”

The NSW Heritage Council has been in consultation with the Roads and Maritime Services since construction began. Many refinements the Heritage Council requested, including ways to make the bridge less intrusive and to reduce its width, were not accommodated.

Professor Nield said: “As a professional in this area, I think that [the $13 million blowout] is due to the tendering, the weather and the inherent design of the building, not our modifications. There were many ways it could have been made cheaper.

“You could have left the bicycle track out to make it a lot thinner, given a lot of bicycle groups say they don’t need it anyway. But [the NSW government] were set on the World Cup and having it built.”

The bridge is being built between Moore Park Road and Cleveland Street, and there are concerns it is not ideally placed to carry pedestrians to the Sydney Cricket Ground on game day.

The 52 per cent cost increase has further irritated cycling and other lobby groups that have strongly opposed the plans.

“The bridge is Duncan’s monorail, it’s the wrong infrastructure in the wrong place and will sit there unloved,” said David Borella, the president of Bike Sydney.

“The bridge was rushed through by the RMS with no genuine consultation or approval and will cost a huge chunk of the entire state’s skinny cycling budget.”

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Victoria ready for travel stint in pursuit of shield

Victorian captain Matthew Wade reckons their influx of Test players for the second half of the season will benefit them not only on the field but off it too in coping with an onerous travel schedule.
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The Bushrangers resume their Sheffield Shield campaign on Saturday, away to Queensland. Their necessity to play three home matches interstate, and the lack of suitable training venues unaffected by the World Cup, means they are only due to train in Melbourne twice in the next six weeks. Their playing schedule involves trips to Brisbane, Wagga, Glenelg and Alice Springs.

Victoria’s bid to buttress their position atop the shield ladder should be helped by the availability of James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Chris Rogers for the rest of the season. Wade said the trio would be influential in helping their teammates cope with the travel schedule, as each had completed longer stints on the road with the national team.

“More important than anything is trying to find the time to get away from the game in the next little bit, whether that’s a training day you have off here or there . . . to find time to get away and relax and get your mind off the game,” the captain said.

“It’s as hard a program we’ve seen for a while with all the travel. Luckily enough we’ve got a lot of blokes who’ve done it before with the Australian team and they know how to deal with being away from home and how to get away from the game while you’re on tour. It’s not going to be easy but we’ve got to keep the fun in the game as much as we can.”

When the Bushrangers players reconvened after the Big Bash League the captain’s first move was to remind them, particularly the bowlers, of what they had the chance to achieve in the second half of the season.

“Obviously with where we’re sitting on the table, if we can put a couple of performances together we’re right up there and in with a chance of making the final,” he said.

“I spoke to the bowlers as soon as we got back together and went through that, that we’ve got two Test bowlers coming back . . . means people who’ve already done a good job are getting pushed out, but that everyone in the next five games is going to get an opportunity with the schedule the way it is.

“It’s good to have competition for spots. It means everyone is going to be firing . . . there’s no room for any complacency.”

Wade said he was proud that younger members of the squad such as Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis and Scott Boland had been so influential in getting the Bushrangers to top spot at the break. He backed all three of them to continue to thrive.

“It’s one of the reasons we’ve gone from a poor year to having a good year right now. That’s not to say that things are going to come easy and roll along because we’ve got three Test blokes coming back, but if our younger players can keep performing . . . at that level our more experienced guys will obviously get the job done as well, and that puts us in good stead,” he said.

Wade is not expecting Pattinson will have any bowling workload restrictions imposed on him in what will be his first appearance in a first-class match for 11 months.

While the Gabba typically favours fast bowling, Wade said he hoped Fawad Ahmed retained his place, declaring the leg-spinner was clearly the best spinner in Australia after Nathan Lyon.

Queensland will have stand-in leaders on and off the field, due to coach Stuart Law’s resignation and captain James Hopes’ withdrawal with a rib injury. Their roles will be filled by assistant coach Justin Sternes and wicketkeeper Chris Hartley. The elevation of all-rounder Simon Milenko to the squad, in place of Hartley, will mean the Bulls could have three debutants for the second time this season. They have also selected 28-year-old batsman Michael Philipson, the younger brother of now-retired batsman Craig Philipson, and 25-year-old Charlie Hemphrey, an all-rounder born in England who has played 2nd XI county cricket.

QUEENSLAND (from): Chris Hartley (c), Cameron Boyce, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Luke Feldman, Peter Forrest, Peter George, Charlie Hemphrey, Chris Lynn, Simon Milenko, Michael Philipson, Mark Steketee.VICTORIA (from): Matthew Wade (c), Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Daniel Christian, Peter Handscomb, John Hastings, James Pattinson, Rob Quiney, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron White.

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Inside Malcolm Turnbull’s Point Piper mansion

Agents say the Turnbulls’ Point Piper home is in a similar price range to its waterfront neighbour Altona, which sold recently for $52 million. Photo: Michele Mossop
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Agents say the Turnbulls’ Point Piper home is in a similar price range to its waterfront neighbour Altona, which sold recently for $52 million. Photo: Michele Mossop

The Turnbulls sold the neighbouring house, pictured left, for $13.5 million, in 2011. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Malcolm Turnbull in the driveway of his house in 2009 when he was opposition leader. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Agents say the Turnbulls’ Point Piper home is in a similar price range to its waterfront neighbour Altona, which sold recently for $52 million. Photo: Michele Mossop

Agents say the Turnbulls’ Point Piper home is in a similar price range to its waterfront neighbour Altona, which sold recently for $52 million. Photo: Michele Mossop

Malcolm Turnbull and family. Source: Malcolmturnbull上海龙凤419m.au

If Malcolm Turnbull does become Australia’s next prime minister he will be trading down big time if he moves to the Lodge, given the sort of digs he is used to calling home.

Like so many Australians, the wealthiest member of federal parliament has much of his money tied up in the family home, which in his case is a vast waterfront estate in Point Piper on a scale and grandeur similar to the nearby mansion Altona which sold for $52 million.

Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull have proved to be savvy real estate investors.

The former Goldman Sachs co-chairman bought what was then a beachfront residence known as Le Gai Soleil in 1994 for $5,425,000, selling their Paddington home Alster House the following year for a then suburb record of $2 million.

The Point Piper beachfront home was sold by the late socialite Klara Saunders, wife of the late Westfield Holdings director John Saunders, who in turn had bought the property from Alan Bond in 1979 for $900,000.

The Turnbulls commissioned a renovation by architect Michael Suttor shortly after they bought it, promptly dropping the Le Gai Soleil name. They then purchased the adjoining property Gwandalan for $7.1 million in 1999.

It was a clever purchase next door because that enabled them to carve some 600 square metres off that title to expand his waterfrontage. The remaining property was then redeveloped into a duplex and sold off in 2011 for $13.6 million to Ben and Tiffany Tilley.

Agents familiar with the Point Piper market say the Turnbull home is in a similar price range to its waterfront neighbour. “It has all the same, key attributes as Altona in terms of size, quality of home, view and waterfrontage,” said Michael Dunn, of Richardson & Wrench Double Bay, who sold the adjoining property to the Turnbulls.

Bill Malouf, of LJ Hooker Double Bay, said internally the Turnbull’s home was a much better house than Altona. “It’s an outstanding residence and one of the best in that position.”

The Mediterranean-style home was built in the 1930s and has retained many of its ornate features, such as arched roof tiles, arched doorways and windows and juliet balconies, all set behind elaborate wrought-iron gates.

Set on 1940 square metres, it also has a swimming pool, boatshed and private jetty.

It is a far cry from The Lodge, in Canberra, where the $6.4 million worth of renovations by Prime Minister Tony Abbott have been delayed. Works to repair the slate roof, remove asbestos, upgrade security features and replace electrical wiring and climate systems were due to be complete last year but are now set to be finished later this year.

The other option for the Turnbulls is Kirribilli House, the two-storey, waterfront sandstone mansion that is the prime minister’s official Sydney base.

Mr Abbott has made good use of the historic neo-Gothic property. The Forestville family home that he bought in 1994 for $351,000 would now sell for about $1.5 million in the current market, agents say.

While Turnbull’s capital gain on his 1994 home purchase easily outstrips Abbott’s purchase the same year, the Forestville market has done better over the 21 year period.

The Forestville median house price is up 293.6 per cent since 1994 to $1,136,000, and Point Piper’s median is up 147.9 per cent to a median of $7.8 million.

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East Timor: political rival to be new leader as Xanana Gusmao resigns

Xanana Gusmao is likely to continue to play a role in East Timor’s government. Photo: Tom Allard Xanana Gusmao is likely to continue to play a role in East Timor’s government. Photo: Tom Allard
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Xanana Gusmao is likely to continue to play a role in East Timor’s government. Photo: Tom Allard

Xanana Gusmao is likely to continue to play a role in East Timor’s government. Photo: Tom Allard

East Timor’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has offered his resignation to the country’s president, paving the way for a new government that will share power among the country’s usually fractious political parties.

Rui Araujo, a leading member of the opposition Fretilin party and a former vice prime minister, is the overwhelming favourite to head a government of “national unity.”

Mr Gusmao is likely to continue to play a role in government, most likely as a minister in charge of strategic planning and development.

Just months ago, Mr Gusmao’s CNRT coalition government and Fretilin were engaged in a bitter political battle, much of it involving claims about corruption and gross financial mismanagement.

The apparent reconciliation is an extraordinary development, said Gordon Peake, author and long-time observer of East Timor.

“This is very unusual,” said Dr Peake, who is in East Timor’s capital Dili. “It’s like Tony Abbott stepping down to become a minister in a government led by Bill Shorten.”

“It’s an example of the unpredictability of Timor’s politics. What’s also interesting is that there’s no sense of crisis. It’s been an orderly transition.”

The “restructure” of the government will also include a slimmed-down Cabinet and four senior co-ordinating ministers drawn from different political parties.

Mr Gusmao was a guerilla fighter imprisoned by Indonesia and is widely revered as the hero of the country’s independence. He dominates East Timor’s politics like no other since the country’s independence.

Approaching 70, Mr Gusmao has always been keen to ensure there is stability when he stepped down from the prime ministership.

He has been prime minister for more than seven years after holding the largely ceremonial post of president for five years. For much of his time as prime minister, Mr Gusmao has also been the minister for defence, intelligence and security.

“Members of government – staying, leaving and incoming – are all working together, prioritising the national interest of Timor-Leste and committed to respecting the dignity and legacy of Maun-Bo’ot Xanana”, said Minister of State Agio Pereira, referring to East TImor by its official name.

Mr Gusmao will remain Prime Minister until his replacement is sworn in, which is expected next week.

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Coe says hands off to those wanting to dump athletics events from Olympics

The man who wants to take over as the head of world athletics, Lord Sebastian Coe, has launched a spirited defence of his sport against a push to cut some traditional events from the Olympics.
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Coe, the IAAF vice-president who is a candidate to become the new IAAF president, warned the IOC and others sports to take their hands off the five events considered at risk from a push to trim the number of athletics events – the 20-kilometre walk, 10,000 metres, shot put, 4×200 metres relay and triple jump.

“I consider all of those events to be sacrosanct. They have historically played, and they still currently play, an important role in the overall shape of our sport,” said Coe, who is in Queensland attending the Oceania Athletics conference.

“It’s very dangerous to have these ad hoc conversations that focus on shot put or triple jump or race walking and often made by people who have no understanding of the nature of our sport.

“I am not going to take decisions from people in sports who have an nth of the global reach or interest out there and are not in the same sphere as my sport.”

Coe said athletics was the marquee event of the Olympics and it was not going to be bullied into making decisions about events by people in marginal sports.

“It must be remembered we are the No.1 Olympic sport here. This is not a marginal Olympic sport this is the No.1 Olympic sport and we should not be coy or shy in pointing that out at every opportunity,” he said.

“People are getting a little excited a little early about this. The IOC has only just in recent weeks begun their 2020 discussion of the Olympic program and any recommendations that come out of this discussion at IOC level have to be agreed upon after discussion and analysis by the sport.

“And there has to be an overwhelming and underpinning philosophy here that it is the primacy of the sport to make decisions for itself that must underpin all of this discussion.”

Not withstanding that position, Coe accepted that athletics globally faced a challenge to continue to grow to compete with other sports for athletes and audiences, and that to do so it needed to engage young people creatively.

He said the sport had to be mindful that its “product” was also in the entertainment business.

“We are completely alert and alive to how we can best be entertaining and to engage with young people in creative ways, but we will be the ones to make the decisions for our sport,” he said.

Former world and Olympic pole vault champion and fellow IAAF vice-president Sergey Bubka has also nominated as a candidate to replace IAAF president Lamine Diack when he steps down later this year.

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Aaron Finch’s star continues to rise after overcoming technical glitches

Blaze away: Aaron Finch has made subtle changes to his technique which have had a big effect on his game.Aaron Finch knew he had a problem 12 months ago. A big problem. Here was a player who knew he belonged on the world stage but was not considered good enough to be playing for his state. But instead of getting bitter, Finch got better. And after the next seven weeks he may prove to be one of the best in the world.
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Just weeks after peeling off two centuries last summer against England in front of big crowds and a national TV audience of over a million, Finch was dumped from Victoria’s Sheffield Shield team and playing grade cricket at a suburban ground in Geelong.

He could easily have lived in denial, blinded by his success for Australia. Surely a game that was good enough to dominate one-day international cricket should prosper at state level. They say a picture paints a thousand words though in Finch’s case his Shield numbers told the story: 0, 0, 5, 12, 5, 97, 4, 18, 7, 0 – 148 runs at 14.8.

While Finch had the backing of Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann at national level, Victoria’s selectors had run out of patience, though he was surprised they waited as long as they did to make the call. He is glad for their tough love otherwise his technical woes could have “spiralled out of control”. His head was in the wrong place, literally and metaphorically, which had a profound effect on his game.

“It’s always tough when you get dropped. No one likes it but the reality is I didn’t make any runs. It wasn’t like I missed out once or twice, I missed out for quite a while. The selectors and the coach probably stuck with me for a bit longer than they would have liked to,” Finch says.

“It’s always tough but in a weird way it was a relief I was dropped. At the time I was going through a pretty tough patch mentally, I was almost talking myself out of innings before I played them.

“Everything about my game was negative, there was nothing positive towards the red ball, four-day cricket, making runs in that format.

“Though I was dropped I was making runs in other formats which was also a frustrating thing.”

Finch, though, was not getting carried away by his success against England. Sure it gave him confidence he could succeed at international level, but he chose not to let it mask his deficiencies. One innings of 121 included lives on eight and 26.

Finch describes the time out as a “turning point” in his career as it gave him the rare opportunity to makes changes. They were subtle alterations but their effect was telling.

His head was back, so too his body weight, therefore his “bat face has to be open so you nick balls that you shouldn’t”, Finch explains.

“And keeping my hands in tight.”

Finch, Australia’s leading run-scorer in the ODI arena last year, was given a reminder in the tri-series final old habits can take time to erase. His hands were outside the line of the ball and he was caught at slip for a second-ball duck to James Anderson.

“They’re the two things I’ve worked on, they haven’t been difficult things to change but difficult things to be consistent at,” Finch says.

“Because my technique has changed slightly if I didn’t have the time to work on it I mightn’t have identified the changes or had time to change it before it spiralled out of control and before you know it nobody wants you to play for them in four-day cricket and it affects the rest of your game.

“While it was not a great thing to get dropped, it was a little bit of a turning point and a wake-up call.”

Finch is confident the change in technique will give him a crack at his “No.1 goal”, a baggy green. In his past seven first-class matches, for Yorkshire and Victoria, he has averaged 49 – well above his career mark of 29.

“We’ve touched before about my poor first-class record but if you’re playing international cricket and doing well in any form of the game it holds you in good stead that you can play at that level,” Finch says.

“If I get the opportunity to play more first-class cricket I can force my way into a spot if it becomes available.”

But Finch has more pressing goals at the moment – winning the World Cup.

“That’s what we’re playing for,” Finch says. “The whole squad’s no different. We’re there to win it, we think we’ve got the team to win it and I don’t see why if we play to our best we can’t be world champions again on March 29.”

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How Josh Mann-Rea inspired a High Court judge

Oldest Wallaby in 56years: Josh Mann-Rea. Photo: Jamila Toderas Oldest Wallaby in 56years: Josh Mann-Rea. Photo: Jamila Toderas
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Oldest Wallaby in 56years: Josh Mann-Rea. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Oldest Wallaby in 56years: Josh Mann-Rea. Photo: Jamila Toderas

When Justice Geoffrey Nettle was sworn in this week in Canberra as the 50th High Court Judge of Australia, he offered an explanation why he was the oldest ever to be appointed to the post.

“Josh Mann-Rea,” he said, without further explanation, although he gave a clue: the swearing in ceremony was in Canberra “where these things are better understood” and it was a name that would mean little to his Victorian colleagues.

Josh Mann-Rea is the oldest Wallaby to debut in 56 years. He went from being a coal miner to a Wallaby footballer and was the third-string hooker on the last spring tour. Injuries to other rakes meant he was the ninth in line to become the Wallabies hooker.

A Brumbies player, he debuted for Australia last year against Argentina aged 33 years, less than two years after almost retiring from the game.

Justice Nettle, aged 64, is the oldest High Court Judge appointed, a fact he acknowledged in a speech of thanks following glowing tributes on Tuesday.

He described how he “vaingloriously” took news of his appointment last December as a compliment, until one of his colleagues pointed out to him that he had taken longer to get appointed there than any other Judge in the history of a court. His Honour agreed and offered by way of mitigation: “I draw inspiration from Josh Mann-Rea’s example.”

Many in the audience would have missed the meaning.

Nor did His Honour disclose that as a young man he was an enthusiastic rugby player in Canberra, being a tight-head prop. Attorney-General George Brandis QC did point out that Justice Nettle had qualified as a rugby referee.

His father-in-law was Major General John “Punchy” Stevenson, who played for Victoria, the ACT and coached the ACT.

Like Mann-Rea and his Wallaby aspirations, Justice Nettle admitted he had almost given up hope of being appointed to the High Court.

But he good naturedly acknowledged that his age meant he would only serve a few years on the High Court before the mandatory retirement age of 70.

“The selectors may have picked a wild card but they have also capped the risk,” he said.

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Cricket World Cup 2015: Brett Lee slams flat pitches

Turf battle: Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, who has criticised Australia’s flat pitches, with old teammate Michael Bevan at a charity match at North Sydney Oval on Thursday. Photo: Brendan Esposito Turf battle: Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, who has criticised Australia’s flat pitches, with old teammate Michael Bevan at a charity match at North Sydney Oval on Thursday. Photo: Brendan Esposito
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Turf battle: Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, who has criticised Australia’s flat pitches, with old teammate Michael Bevan at a charity match at North Sydney Oval on Thursday. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Turf battle: Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, who has criticised Australia’s flat pitches, with old teammate Michael Bevan at a charity match at North Sydney Oval on Thursday. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee has warned the Cricket World Cup could suffer if curators around the country produced the same flat pitches that characterised the Australian summer.

“That is last thing we want,” he said. “I want the WACA to be flying through, I want the SCG to have a bit of grass, I want the Gabba to seam around. We should have the wickets that everyone expects to play on when they come to Australia.”

Stand-in skipper Steve Smith said the “excessively flat” SCG and MCG pitches made it hard for bowlers during the recent Test series against India. “It has been tough to get 20 wickets in this series,” Smith said.

Lee was speaking at the launch of the International Cricket Council’s Cricket World Cup video game on Friday, where he also opened up about the decision to take on a coaching role with Ireland. “If we have a strong World Cup it is going to better for the crowd,” said Lee. “This is an opportunity for me to pass on the tips and tricks that bowlers like Allan Donald, Courtney Walsh and Dennis Lillee passed on to me.”

It is not the first time that Lee has helped out an opposing minnow nation. The 38-year-old revealed that during Bangladesh’s 2004 Test tour of Australia he went to their training sessions to help the team’s struggling bowlers. “I wanted to teach them how to bowl slower balls and cutters just to make the game stronger. I’ve always been a firm believer in helping people. What goes around comes around.”

Lee ruled out taking on a full-time coaching role but said that he would be happy doing “little bits and pieces.”

Ireland coach Phil Simmons said Lee’s experience might give them a chance at upsetting a Test nation for the third World Cup in a row. “Brett Lee has a wonderful knowledge of fast bowling and his special insight of Australian pitches will help give our bowlers further confidence ahead of their group matches,” said Simmons.

Fellow former Australian Test player Michael Hussey also announced on Thursday that he would be a consultant for South Africa during the World Cup.

Lee rated Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand as the most likely team to stop Australia taking home the ICC World Cup trophy on March 29. “Their quicks have been superb and they’ve got so much batting firepower with the likes of Brendon McCullum, they’ll be hard to beat.”

with AFP 

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The Big Picture competition: Readers’ top travel photos, February 7, 2015

We traveled to the South Island of New Zealand for our one year wedding anniversary. A three hour hike took us to this secluded spot in the mountains above Garston. The accommodation was a sod mud hut, built by the Chinese during the Gold Rush. This outdoor bath heated by gas burners offered the perfect vantage point to soak in the expansive views and reflect on a year of marriage. Photo: Manique Smolenaers We traveled to the South Island of New Zealand for our one year wedding anniversary. A three hour hike took us to this secluded spot in the mountains above Garston. The accommodation was a sod mud hut, built by the Chinese during the Gold Rush. This outdoor bath heated by gas burners offered the perfect vantage point to soak in the expansive views and reflect on a year of marriage. Photo: Manique Smolenaers
Shanghai night field

We traveled to the South Island of New Zealand for our one year wedding anniversary. A three hour hike took us to this secluded spot in the mountains above Garston. The accommodation was a sod mud hut, built by the Chinese during the Gold Rush. This outdoor bath heated by gas burners offered the perfect vantage point to soak in the expansive views and reflect on a year of marriage. Photo: Manique Smolenaers

We traveled to the South Island of New Zealand for our one year wedding anniversary. A three hour hike took us to this secluded spot in the mountains above Garston. The accommodation was a sod mud hut, built by the Chinese during the Gold Rush. This outdoor bath heated by gas burners offered the perfect vantage point to soak in the expansive views and reflect on a year of marriage. Photo: Manique Smolenaers

Take a look at some of the best entries in our Big Picture reader travel photo competition above.

The overall winner and a partner or friend will travel to the Maldives, courtesy of Singapore Airlines, staying five nights at the beautiful Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa, courtesy of Singapore Airlines Holidays. The prize includes speedboat transfers from Male International Airport to the resort and all breakfasts and dinners.

WHAT TO ENTER Send one unpublished image of a special moment from your travels taken in the past two years (at least 1MB and 300dpi in JPEG form). Also, please tell us in 100 words or less where and when the image was taken and what made it so memorable.

HOW TO ENTER Send previously unentered images to [email protected]上海龙凤419m.au with your name, address and daytime telephone number. Put the place where your photo was taken in the subject line. The competition closes on May 22, 2015.

Full terms and conditions

Posted in 爱上海419论坛 | Comments Off on The Big Picture competition: Readers’ top travel photos, February 7, 2015
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