Monthly Archives: October 2018

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Dawson makes maiden cup

CONTROL: Kookaburras defender Matt Dawson in action for Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League team Norths earlier this season. Picture: Jonathan CarrollKookaburras defender Matt Dawson will strive for a podium finish at the World League Semi-Final in South Africa this weekend after helping the Australian men’s hockey squad qualify for the 2018World Cup.
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The Kookaburras booked a World Cup spot in India next November by reaching the World League Semi-Finaltop fourin Johannesburg along with Belgium, Spain and Germany.

If selected itwill be the first World Cup for 23-year-old Dawson, who made his international debut shortly after Australia successfully defended their titlein the Netherlands in 2014.

The Norths clubman, who went to last year’s Rio Olympics and has collected Champions Trophy (2016), World League Final and Oceania Cup (2015) crowns,is also hoping to play his maiden Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.

In the meantime Dawson, who has 77 Test caps, will help the Kookaburras tackleeither Spain orGermany in a play-off for first or third on Sunday depending on semi-final results.

Australiameets Belgium on Saturday (12:35am AEST).

The 2017 World League Final series is scheduled for India in December.

Closer to home in the Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League in Newcastle on Sundayand Wests will be without Mitch Scotcher, Zac Oke and Richard Done as they look to chase down a full-strength Maitlandfor the fourth semi-final position.

Elsewhere in round 16 encounters and Norths have University at the Broadmeadow venue while The Entrance host Souths.Gosford has the bye.

LADDER: Gosford 25, Souths 19, Norths 19, Maitland 12, Wests 9, University 3, The Entrance 3.

In the Newcastle District Women’s Hockey Association premier league at Broadmeadow on Saturday and Oxfords clash with Avoca Beach, Souths battle Tigers, Regals have Central. While down on the Central Coast and Gosford meet Erina.

John Church leaves Liberals to run for council

John Church leaves Liberals to run for council LEAVING THE LIBERALS: Former NBN newsreader John Church has quit the Liberal party and will run as an independent for Newcastle council with Kath Elliott and Mike Rabbitt. Picture: Phil Hearne
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FAMILIAR FACE: Former NBN presenter Mike Rabbitt remains tight-lipped about running for Newcastle council as an independent at the upcoming elections.

‘HACKED’: Kath Elliott will run for Newcastle council. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

APPROACHED: Newcastle Knights legend Danny Buderus was asked to run for Newcastle council, the Herald understands. Picture: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookFORMER TV news anchor John Church has quit the Liberal party and will contest September’s Newcastle council elections witha groupof conservative independentsincludingformer NBN presenter Mike Rabitt,with communications consultant Kath Elliott aslord mayoral candidate.

Mr Church, who ran as a Liberal forthe seat of Shortland in the 2013 federal election, has told local party figures of his decision to run in ward one.

“It was completely unexpected.It came as a shock,” a party member said.

“The optics of a high-profile Liberalleaving the partyand running as an independent, it doesn’t reflect well on us.There was absolutely nosign it was coming.”

Mr Church said he was “not prepared to comment” when contacted on Friday. It is understood he quit the party earlier in the week.

TheformerNBN newsreader, whofounded John Church Advertisingand nowheads themarketing ofreal estate firm PRDnationwide Newcastle, was initiallyurged to runby senior Newcastle Liberal party figures.

Mr Church’s candidacyadds toa feverish, fluidpre-election periodin which,theNewcastle Heraldunderstands, Newcastle Knights, NSW and Australia great Danny Buderus has been approached but so far declined to run as an independent.

Mr Buderus’s workload as a Fox Sports commentator and punditis said to be a major factor in the decision.

Ms Elliott, whose website carries testimonials about her firm’s campaignsfor the coal industry and against the Gillard Labor government’s carbon tax, unsuccessfullycontested the ward three Newcastle byelection as an independentin 2015.

On Friday a Facebook page titled “Kath Elliott for Lord Mayor”posted links toHeraldstories about the elections.

Ms Elliott expressed surprise that the page existed, and saidshe could have“been hacked”.

Another familiar faceto generations of local TV viewers, Mr Rabbitt is a formerNBN sports presenter who still worksfrequently as an emcee. Mr Rabbitt will run second on the ticket in ward four aftersitting Newcastle councillor Allan Robinson, limiting his chances of being elected.

Councillor Andrea Rufo will also run for reelection in ward three.

With conservative heavyweightssuch asformer lord mayorJeff McCloy and former Paterson federal Liberal MPBob Baldwin so far declining to runas independents, sitting Newcastle Liberal councillorDavid Compton is the Liberals’ likelylord mayoral candidate.

TheHeraldrevealedthat Mr Baldwin turned down arun for Newcastle council, and he has since confirmedhe was approached to run in Maitland and Port Stephens.

Trees offer natural branch of learning

Planet Ark is leading from the front once again as it takes us into our 21st National Tree Day on Sunday, July 30, 2017, by releasing a report Learning from Trees: Life Lessons for Future Generations.It summarises the opinions of 200 teachers as to how prepared future generations are to confront the biggest global challenges of our time, and the key skills and attributes they will need most. As identified by the UN, these challenges are food security, access to clean water, refugees and population increase with climate change the biggest single challenge.
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The survey revealed that the most important skills needed to tackle these global challenges were critical thinking, problem solving, grit and emotional intelligence.National Tree Day offers us all a focus to hone these skills in our children (and ourselves) by indulging in some practical outdoor learning from the trees and forests in our neighbourhoods.Here, and across the world, forests play important roles in producing and regulating the world’s temperatures and fresh water flows.

Trees recharge atmospheric moisture, contributing to rainfall locally and in distant locations through the process of photosynthesis and transpiration. Cooling is explicitly embedded in the capacity of trees to capture and redistribute the sun’s energy. The microbial flora and volatile organic compounds of trees can directly promote rainfall by cloud seeding.Trees enhance soil infiltration and improve ground water recharge.Trees have positive effects on climate and the local, regional and continental scales. On a more practical level, Sunday is the day to plant a tree in your backyard, street or local park.Sunday is the day to visit the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens for a tour with living legend and plant guru Kevin McDonald.Be there by 10.30am.

Professor Tim Roberts is the director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at theUniversity of Newcastle

Medowie families given repeat lesson in frustration

WAITING: The push for a high school in Medowie is about community, the author says. Over two hours a day travelling to and from school is more than just lost time. For high school students living in and around Medowie, it is missed after school activities, lost friendships, forfeited family time and abandoned study time. The push for a high school in Medowie is about more than local access to education, it is about community.
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The Department of Education bought land next to Wirreanda Public School in the 1980s in preparation for a high school. But it has never arrived.

Instead, about 1000 young people are bused out of Medowie and surrounding communities, to a variety of schools across the region. Students travel to Raymond Terrace, Tomaree, Maitland and Newcastle to attend school.

Medowie has been steadily growing for many years and current projections include an extra 7000 residents by the early 2030s. A number of subdivisions in the region are under construction, but the infrastructure needed to support residents is not even being planned.

Medowie has two sizeable public primary schools, a large independent K-12 school and a promised catholic school. Around Medowie, there are more primary schools at Karuah, Tanilba and Salt Ash. The current student population would clearly support a public high school in Medowie, let alone the families of the future.

I first became involved in this issue when I was a member of the P&C at my children’s school.In fact, it’s the fight for a local public high school that saw me enter into politics, out of sheer frustration at the lack of strong local representation.

Over a decade since I got involved in this fight, I remain committed to seeing a public high school in Medowie. Because we need it.

State opposition leader Luke Foley has confirmed that a state Labor Government will deliver a high school in Medowie. This commitment has been costed and budgeted for the first term of a Labor Government.In contrast, the NSW government’s spokesperson for the Huntersaid last week that a high school in Medowie was not warranted.

It’s frustrating that in 2011, the incoming O’Farrell government committed to the ‘planning and design’ of Medowie High School. Frustratingly, there’s been no action since.

I completely understand that people are sick of hearing about an illusory school from politicians who don’t follow through. But I have been on this bandwagon for over a decade. I’m asking for people to trust me when I say that, if elected, a Labor government WILL deliver a public high school in Medowie.

Looking across the Hunter I know Medowie’s concerns are not unique. There are many communities where schools are bursting at the seams. The NSW Auditor General found 42 per cent of the Hunter’s high schools are at or over capacity.

I moved to Medowie 11 years ago with two children and one on the way.I initially joined the campaign for a local public high school with self-interest at heart, in the hope that my children could attend a local public high school.

My youngest is heading into high school next year, and my eldest has ended their schooling. None of my kids will be riding their bike or walking to school. So, I now continue the fight in the hope that other families don’t experience the same toll that it’s taken on my family.

Kate Washington MP is the Member for Port Stephens, Shadow Minister for the Hunter and Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education

‘It’s like living in hell’

‘It’s like living in hell’ Action: Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group members who have all had pelvic mesh surgery. The group started in Western Australia.
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Before: Sue Turner before pelvic mesh surgery in a Western Australian

A nightmare: Jeanette McKinnon had pelvic mesh surgery in 2004 and has had chronic infections and serious complications since then. “It’s just the nightmare that you live,” she said.

Outrage: Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group founder Caz Chisholm said many women complained to their doctors about pelvic mesh complications, but were told any adverse impacts were not linked to mesh.

TweetFacebookSenator Derryn Hinch calls for a Senate inquiry into pelvic mesh The aggressive marketing of many mesh devices in Australia from 2003, without sufficient evidence of their safety and efficacy, led to “one of the greatest medical scandals and abuses of mothers in Australia’s history,” Senator Hinchsaid in a speech to Parliament.

Nearly 200 Western Australian women have responded to a survey conducted by Victorian consumer health advocacy group, Health Issues Centre, for a submission to the inquiry representing the experiences of more than 2200 Australian women implanted with pelvic mesh devices.

More than 700 women are part of a current class action against major pelvic mesh manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, in the Federal Court in Sydney.

Sue Turner, of Perth, has sought legal advice about a class action against an Australian manufacturingcompany, after she was implanted with an Australian-developed pelvic mesh device at Armadale Hospital in 2007.

Sue Turner, who had pelvic mesh surgery in 2007.Many women who have presented to their doctors with pain and complications have been told it is not the mesh that is the cause.

Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group founder Caz Chisholm

“Many women who have presented to their doctors with pain and complications have been told it is not themesh that is the cause. It is only because of recent media attention about stories of women’s pain and complications that women are realising their own complications are identical to the media stories,” Ms Chisholm said.

“The minister says there have been very few complaints by women, but what about the doctors treating the women? Obviously doctors aren’t reporting complications either, and are they supposed to?”

Mrs McKinnon has spent more than a decade on antibiotics.

“I came out of hospital not very well in 2004 and had my first urinary tract infection shortly after that. Then it was one urinary tract infection after another. If I come off the antibiotics I get a urinary tract infection,” she said.

She had another four major surgeries over the following year to relieve the pain and address mesh erosion into organs.

In 2009 Mrs McKinnon was diagnosed with the auto immune condition lupus, requiring steroid treatment.

“I was normal, healthy and fit before I had that surgery. I’m only 59 and I feel like a 100-year-old. I thought all these years it was just me. It’s just the nightmare that you live.”

In a statement in June the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said the majority of women treated with mesh for incontinence or prolapse had “a good long-term result” but “in a small number of cases the complications have been very serious”.

In a submission to the Senate inquiry Victoria’s Health Issues Centre chief executive Danny Vadasz has criticised mesh debate “framed in terms of the good outcomes of the many outweighing the unfortunate experiences of a few”.

“Our health system is built on values such as equity and a universal duty of care, not on a cost/benefit analysis that accepts the unavoidability of collateral damage,” he said, in a Health Issues Centre submission arguing Australian regulators have been “asleep at the wheel” on pelvic mesh.

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