Takara Truffle ready to go

Singleton trainer Aaron Goadsby hopes the decision to bypass the Queensland Oaks with Takara Truffle pays dividends at Menangle on Saturday night.
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Takara Truffle and Aaron Goadsby

Ellalong’s Michael Formosa will drive Takara Truffle from gate eight in the group 3 Go Girlfriend Series Final (1609m metres) after taking her to an easy heat win at Newcastle last Saturday.

Takara Truffle was set for the series afterone win from five starts in Queensland, including theProvincial Oaks andRedcliffe Oaks.After the luckless run, Goadsby decided to skip the Queensland Oaks and instead prepare for the Go Girlfriend series.

“We copped it well and truly up in Brisbane,” Goadsby said. “She was racing well but just having no luck with barriers or in running. Her sectionals were super.

“I picked it out while I was in Queensland and snuck home a week early, just to give her a week to get over the trip. The heat only just stood up, with six noms, so we were very lucky.

“She went well last week,ran 1.54.6 and did it pretty easy. She’s pulled up good andeverything is on track.

“Amanda Turnbull has five in it and her mum owns another one, so they’ve got six of the 12 in it, so we’ll have to stir the pot, so to speak.”

Formosa, meanwhile,sent stable star Ultimate Art to Queensland on Tuesday with hopes of replicating his campaign there with Shannon Price.Ultimate Art won 10 of 14 at Albion Park in a six-month spell last year.

At Newcastle on Saturday night, Darren Elder’s Shannonsablast returns in race four on the program.He has not raced since eighth in the Ross Gigg Mile on May 6.

Goadsby, meanwhile, hopes Takara Truffle can push to the lead early at Menangle.

“If she starts like she has before down there, we should end up in front,” he said.

“If she doesn’t lead, we know she can finish off her races as well.”

Junior Jets job dream come true for Cooper

TAKING CHARGE: Michael Cooper was “hand-picked” by Football Federation Australia to take up a national role before agreeing to join the Jets. The offer to take charge of an A-League club youth academy was too good to refuse for Englishman Michael Cooper, the Emerging Jets’ incoming technical director.
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The 34-year-old will leave his job as FFA national boys development manager this month before starting work in Newcastle in time for the A-League club’s takeover of the academy from Northern NSW Football on October 1.

On the surface it may seem like a backward step, froma national role to a club job, but it is a goal Cooper has chased for a decade.

“It sounds a bit corny, but it’s something I’ve dreamedof since I stopped playing,” he told the Herald.“I’m passionate about young people’s development.I think I can create an environment that’s going to help them.

“The opportunity to do that from the top down and in boys and girls in an area like Newcastle, where you’ve got one A-League club, the Jets have been there for a little bit, so there’s some structure there, I know a few people up there and they’re good people. It ticked a lot of boxes to bring to life a vision.”

He said he was happy in the FFA role, and the national body had wanted him to stay.

“This is just an opportunity, you don’t know when they’re going to come up again. The next person might stay there a long time.The opportunity is being able to head something up. The A-League clubs are young in terms of academies, so that’s exciting because you can affect it from the start.”

Cooper was at non-league and lower-league clubs Yeovil Town, Aylesbury United, Salisbury City, Exeter City and several others before injuries ended his career.

He worked as a PE teacher at a sports high school in Reading and was youth and first-team coach at Salisbury City. Hislast job in England, before he,his wife and their two infant girls movedto Australia in 2013, was as an academy coach at Premier League clubSouthampton.

He came to Australia to take up a role as technical director at Victorian club Surf Coast FC before moving on to North Geelong then coach education roles with Football Federation Victoria and FFA.

The move to Australia had been a lifestyle choice for his family.

“It’s been great for us. We won’t be going back. It was a big gamble, but we haven’t looked back.”

FFV and former Northern NSW technical director David Smith said signing Cooper was a coup forNewcastle.

“He’s quite smart, good teaching background,” he said. “We employed Mike in the coach education department and he did exceptionally well for us. FFA hand-picked him and took him away from us.

“He’s been very positive in driving advanced coach education in Australia.

“He keeps things fairly simple, but he brings the best out of a lot of people very quickly. He’s well organised. It’s all about improvement.

“He evolves people and gets a buy-in from them.He’s easy to get on with but quite firm in what he does.

“He doesn’t play favourites, doesn’t get involved in the politics.”

Eagles brace for toughest climb yet

IN DOUBT: Edgeworth defender Dom Bizzarri battles for a header against Kane Goodchild in Olympic’s 1-0 win last Sunday. Bizzarri has a slight hamstring injury and could be rested this weekend ahead of the FFA Cup round of 32 clash with South Melbourne. Picture: Max Mason-HubersEDGEWORTH coach Damian Zane has steered the Eagles to back-to-back Northern NSW NPL title doubles, but he believes a minor premiership this year will be his greatest achievement.
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“I’ve won coach of the year twice, but if we win this year, this has been my best year,” said Zane, whose Eagles take on the eighth-placed Charlestown at Lisle Carr Oval on Saturdayfrom 6pm.

“When I took over I wanted it to be like it used to be, where everyone came to Edgeworth and when you wonyou knew you’dearned it. That’s what we wanted, and now we’ve got it.This year, everyone has played out of their skin against us.”

And while the contenders for Edgeworth’s throne are coming thick and fast with four rounds to go, Zane is looking at a familiar foe as their biggest threat.

“Realistically, just the way teams are performing, for me it’s us and Hamilton again,” he said.“I’ve looked into the draws and I think one of us will take enough points to win it, because we’ve both got a game in hand on Lambton andValentine, and if we drop points, Hamilton won’t. That’s how I think it will be.”

Edgeworth lost 1-0 to fourth-placed Hamilton last week but retained the competition lead from Lambton Jaffas on goaldifference.

He saidDom Bizzarri and Dylan Holz were in doubt for the Charlestown game with minorinjuries ahead of the Eagles’ away FFA Cup clash with South Melbourne next Wednesday night.

“We don’t want to risk them but we will be going full strength to win,” he said.“Ihad hoped not to have to do that,but we needed to not lose last week.”

Also Saturday, an injury-hit Jaffas host Adamstown from 2.30pm at Edden Oval.On Sunday, Maitland’s finals hopes are on the line against Lake Macquarie, who have their Old Boys’ Day at Macquarie Field. The Bears host Hamilton at Weston Park.

Meanwhile, Maitland defender Shane Cansdell-Sherriff is a strong contender for the Adamstown coaching job following an interview this week and news outgoing Charlestown boss and Rosebud candidateShane Pryce will become an assistant at Jaffas next year.

The Herald understands Cansdell-Sherriff, who is set to retire from playing after this season, impressed the Adamstown committee, who were considering Pryce for the job.

Interim coach Nick Webb, who took over from the sacked Peter McGuinness on June 1, is also in the running for the gig past this year.

Broadmeadow, who have former skipper Peter Haynes retiring at year’s end, have the bye this weekend.

Boy trips over million-year-old fossil in desert hike

Jude Sparks was out on a family hike in the desert near Las Cruces, New Mexico, testing walkie-talkies, whenhe tripped over a rocky protrusion.
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When he got up, he examined what appeared to be two large, fossilised teeth jutting out from the ground. Further up, he spotted what looked like a tusk, he added.

Jude Sparks with the stegomastodon fossil he stumbled across near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Photo: Peter Houde-New Mexico State University

Jude, then 9, was intrigued. But his brother Hunter, who had been running behind him, didn’t seem too impressed.

“Hunter said it was just a big, fat rotten cow,” Jude told KVIA News, which first reported the story.

A skeleton of a stegomastodon found in Arizona on exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Photo: Supplied

“I didn’t know what it was. I just knew it wasn’t usual.”

The boys’ parents photographed the curious mass, then helped Jude look up experts online that night, he added.

They emailed Peter Houde, a biology professor at New Mexico State University who maintains a lab devoted to palaeontological studies.

“I immediately recognised the importance of what it was,” Houde told the news station. “We went out there the very next day to have a look at it.”

It turned out Jude’s instincts were correct. He had discovered the fossilised skull of a stegomastodon, believed to be more than 1 million years old.

The ancient relative of the elephant stood nearly three metres tall andhad two enormous tusks that curved upward.

This discovery was rare because both the animal’s mandible and a tusk were exposed to the surface, Houde said in apaper published on his websiteabout Jude’s discovery.

“Fossil bones from the same animal are rarely found together in our area,” Houde wrote.

What’s more, stegomastodon fossils are extremely fragile, despite the animal’s behemoth size.

“We’re really, really grateful that [the Sparks family]contacted us because, if they had not done that, if they had tried to do it themselves, it could have just destroyed the specimen,” Houde toldThe New York Times.

“It really has to be done with great care and know-how.”

After several months, Houde and his team finally got permission from the landowner to dig on the property – under the condition the site remain a secret, according to a university news release.

In May, Houde and a team began the week-long, painstaking work of digging up the fossil. The collagen in the bones had long since decomposed, so the fossils “can easily disintegrate under their own weight before your very eyes as soon as the sediments that cradle and support them are cleaned away”,Houde wrote.

Because of that, the excavation required exposing parts of the fossil, little by little, and allowing them to dry fully before applying a hardener.

Little by little, they unearthed a nearly complete skull, missing only a tusk.

“It’s just been very exciting,” his mother, Michelle Sparks, told the news station. “Especially for the boys because every child dreams of finding bones and them being actually old.”

Jude, now 10, told KVIA News that most of his friends still do not believe that he found a fossil more than a million years old.

However, though Houde is continuing to study and preserve the fossil, eventually he anticipates it will be available for public viewing at New Mexico State University’s Vertebrate Museum.

“I have every hope and expectation that this specimen will ultimately end up on exhibit and this little boy will be able to show his friends and even his own children, ‘Look what I found right here in Las Cruces,’ ” Houde said in a university statement.

It wasn’t the first time someone had made such a fortuitous fossil discovery. In 2014, a bachelor party camping at Elephant Butte State Park in southern New Mexico discovered a nearly complete fossilised skull of a stegomastodon. That fossil is now at the New Mexico Natural History Museum.

In 2015, Wylie Brys, then 4, happened upon the fossilised bones of a nodosaur while exploring land behind a Dallas-area shopping centre.

“He’s a little kid,” his father, Tim Brys, toldThe Washington Postthen.

“He likes playing in dirt as much as finding the fossils, I think.”

The Washington Post

200 spaces for park-deprived Honeysuckle

PLANS: An artist’s impression of Doma’s Little National Hotel proposal for Honeysuckle. The development will have 200 car spaces.
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THE Doma Group has announced it plans to add 200 public car parking spaces as part of its Honeysuckle hotel development –a move that puts the private sector at odds with the state government’s view that there is an “oversupply” of long stay parking in Newcastle.

The Canberra-based firm, which has emerged as one of Newcastle’s biggest developers in recent times, thanks to land releases in Honeysuckle, identified the demand for parking on the waterfront and responded.

Domageneral manager development Gavin Edgar said the 200 spaces are proposed as part of the $45 million Little National Hotel.

The car parks would be made available during the day when they are typically not used by guests.

“Whilst we are fully supportive of the light rail we do recognise the demand for parking in the area and have tried to cater for that by our public parking component in the Little National Hotel,” Mr Edgar said.

The Little National Hotelin Honeysuckle replicates a hotel of the same name built by Doma in Canberra.

At Little National Hotel Canberra, the car park is managed by Wilson Parking, which Mr Edgar said was a successful model.

In addition to adding 200 spaces in Honeysuckle, Doma is also in talks with Newcastle City Council about adding a basement car park to a future development on Merewether Street.

That car park would service the nearby law courts and museum.

While Doma is adding 200 spaces to Honeysuckle, about 800in the area are set to go by 2020, swallowed up by new development.

A state government parking strategy released earlier this year shows the majority of those spaces won’t be replenished.

And the report identified an“oversupply” of parking in the city centre –a finding which has been criticised.

The report recommended a range of strategies to manage parking, including more park and ride facilities, technology improvements and car sharing schemes. Park and ride facilities would be investigated “where possible” with a review of bus routes to be undertaken by Newcastle Transport.

The review is expected to be finished by next year.

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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