Monthly Archives: August 2018

Bomber Zach Merrett signs contract extension

One of the brightest sparks to rise from Essendon’s dark recent history, Zach Merrett, has committed to the Bombers until the end of 2021.
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Still buoyant from the news that Jobe Watson will return in 2017, the Dons announced on Monday that Merrett had agreed to a three-year contract extension.

Merrett, 20, stepped up in the absence of the Bombers’ suspended players this season and averaged 30 possessions per game. He won Essendon’s best and fairest award, and became the club’s third-youngest skipper, behind Simon Madden and Tim Watson, when he filled in for acting captain Brendon Goddard.

Merrett declared he was optimistic about the future.

“I’m really excited about the faith the Club has shown in me, and it’s great to have secured my future at Essendon for the next five years,” Merrett told the Essendon website.

“The Club is really well placed with John [Worsfold] at the helm. We have established a really strong culture, and with the inclusion of the ten boys, we can’t wait to get on with business and train hard over the pre-season.”

“Team success is why we play the game, and I’m really looking forward to working hard and gaining as much experience from people both inside and outside the Club to help the team achieve our vision.”

The Bombers managed just three wins and endured a difficult season with 12 players serving doping bans, but most of them have signed on for 2017.

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Brisbane arcade murder conviction: ‘They got the wrong person’

The conviction of an accountant after the “Brisbane Arcade” murder of 1947 continues to intrigue. Photo: Supplied Deb Drummond and Jan Teunis. Photo: Paul Harris
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Wallace Bishop Arcade. Photo: State Library of Queensland

A respected legal academic has raised doubts about a decades-old conviction for a high-profile Queensland murder, calling for the Attorney-General to appeal the decision.

But a former detective who wrote a book on the 1947 murder maintained the case was “watertight” and the convicted murderer’s descendants were reaching for evidence that wasn’t there.

Legal reform activist Dr Bob Moles argued it was “highly unlikely” accountant Reg Brown, who killed himself in jail nine days after his conviction, had murdered his 19-year-old secretary Bronia Armstrong in what became known as the “Brisbane arcade” murder.

The Networked Knowledge program founder believed police “got the wrong person” in a rushed investigation and conviction, saying the 50-year-old accountant didn’t get a fair trial by today’s standards or those of 1947.

But former detective Alicia Bennett believed the case was “open and shut”.

“I think that he could have been given a fairer trial but that’s only because he had a very poor defence team.”

The case is explored on ABC’s Australian Story tonight.

Brown was charged less than 12 hours after Ms Armstrong’s body was found and convicted within seven weeks.

Dr Moles said the “right thing to do” would be for Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath to refer the decision for appeal but it was unlikely to happen.

“An injustice is an injustice, no matter how old it is, or at least that’s the view my students take at the moment,” he said.

“But in practical terms I think it unlikely.”

The Flinders University Miscarriages of Justice Project academic, who was instrumental in quashing the conviction of Adelaide man Henry Keogh, called for Queensland to follow South Australia’s lead in establishing a statutory right to appeal.

Ms D’Ath’s office has been contacted for comment.

Brown’s son Ian, who grew up with the knowledge his father had been jailed for murder, died three months ago, without ever hearing Dr Moles’ verdict, given after analysing trial transcripts for the ABC’s Australian Story.

His daughter Deb Drummond didn’t even know that much as a child. She’d been told her grandfather had died of bronchitis and didn’t find out the truth until a tearful conversation with her normally stoic father in the ‘1980s.

It wasn’t until 2000 or 2001 that the administrative worker, now a grandmother, took interest in what was clearly a taboo subject.

She went to the State Library of Queensland and started examining old articles in what would quickly turn into a wormhole from which she and cousin Jan Teunis couldn’t back out.

“This is where I saw my first ever photograph of him,” she said.

“It was terrible.  I was absolutely transfixed because I could see a resemblance in him to my father.

“He had my maiden name. He wasn’t some distant ancestor. He was my grandfather and here were the headlines above him, ‘Accountant charged with murder’, so it was almost unreal.”

Before too long, things weren’t adding up, she said. The cousins eventually wrote a book, Lingering Doubts, before approaching Dr Moles to review it.

Ms Armstrong, who had been dating Brown’s son, was found dead in the office they both worked in, head on a pillow, with her hand over a bottle of potentially deadly ethyl chloride and a white lace-edged handkerchief on her face.

Dr Moles said police and a jury were right to ignore the bottle as a sign of suicide but said they likely fingered the wrong man for Ms Armstrong’s murder by asphyxiation.

He said the case argued at court seemed to be a stereotypical example of police “verbaling”, popular at the time, attributing statements to defendants they knew were unlikely to be contradicted.

Brown had injuries to his hands, four separate bite marks according to the police pathologist who gave evidence at trial.

He said Brown received the injuries when he was mugged by two men and a woman the night before his secretary was found dead but police used them as evidence of the victim fighting back.

Dr Moles argued a lack of any injuries or blood to Ms Armstrong’s face rendered this theory implausible.

“The very thing that was thought to be most incriminating for Reg, the injuries to his hands, and the police said it was clear at the time, that he’s actually murdered her, could end up being be the very thing that proves, in fact, he didn’t do it,” he argued.

But Alicia Bennett said it was Dr Moles’ argument didn’t stack up, saying in 15 years of policing she’d never seen men attack each other by biting fingers.

“People bite people all the time and they don’t have injuries to their mouth,” she said.

She criticised the approach to the case taken by Ms Drummond and Ms Teunis, saying their entire approach to analysing the case was wrong.

“You can look at any of these things in isolation … but if you look at it all together, which is how circumstantial evidence should be viewed, it’s watertight,” she said.

Australian Story airs Monday at 8pm.

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 13 11 14, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

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Last call for entries in Boldrewood

Let’s Get Wild!
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If you are between the age of 5-12 years and looking for something fun to do during the holidays, come along to the library at 2.30pm on Wednesdayfor the first school holiday session.

For just $2 you can invent a wild creature – with gnashing teeth, scratching claws, hair, fur, scales and horns.

Session two will be at 2.30pm Wednesday October 5 when you will create your own mini stop motion creature feature film, participants will need to bring their own device to download on to.

Bookings can be made on 68452156.

Rolf Boldrewood Literary Awards

Rolf Boldrewood was the pen name of Thomas Browne who, during his time as a police magistrate, wrote Robbery Under Arms, one of the first major Australian novels.

In his honour the Rolf Boldrewood Literary Award was created, the competition aims to foster the writing of prose and poetry with an Australian content.

Entry forms are available at the library and the competition closes onFriday. No late entries will be accepted.

Labour Day Closure

The library will be closed on MondayOctober 3 for Labour Day.

However your e-library is always open to download e-Books, e-Audio and e-Magazines, for more information abouthow to access the e-libraryvisit the library’s website on 梧桐夜网mrl.nsw.gov419论坛.

Kim Kelly

Australian author Kim Kelly is visiting the library onOctober 6 at 11am to talk about her latest book Jewel Sea.

This novel is based on the true story of the wreck of a luxury passenger steamship in a cyclone off the coast of Port Headland in 1912.

Kim is a well-known author of Australian historical fiction, including Paper Daisies, The Red Earth and Black Diamonds.

Jewel Sea is her sixth novel.

Bookings can be made on 68452156.

Library Hours

Monday-Friday 10am to 5pm,Saturday 9.30am to 12 noon

Phone: 68452156

Website: 梧桐夜网mrl.nsw.gov419论坛

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Marriage plebiscite talks hit dead end as Turnbull government and Labor play the blame game

Attorney-General George Brandis. Photo: Andrew MearesHigh-level talks between the Turnbull government and the opposition on the same-sex marriage plebiscite have achieved nothing but animosity, with both sides blaming each other for a failure to compromise.
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Attorney-General George Brandis and Special Minister of State Scott Ryan met with Labor’s Mark Dreyfus and Terri Butler on Monday in a last-ditch attempt to negotiate on the controversial public vote.

But neither side gave ground during the hour-long talks, leaving the plebiscite hurtling towards all-but-certain defeat in the Senate, and same-sex marriage facing indefinite delay, possibly beyond 2020.

Despite insisting the government was looking to compromise, Senator Brandis offered no concessions during the meeting he initiated. Similarly, Labor did not set out conditions or changes that would make it more likely to support the bill.

“It sort of went downhill from there,” said Ms Butler, Labor’s marriage equality spokeswoman, who agreed the talks could be described as “going around in circles”.

The stalemate will do little to quell suggestions the rendezvous was largely for show, allowing both sides to claim they attempted compromise before digging in behind their original positions.

Senator Brandis said he asked Labor’s representatives nine times “what do you want?” in order to support the policy, but did not receive a specific or substantial response.

“Unfortunately they put forward nothing,” he said. “I looked Mr Dreyfus in the eye and said: ‘What is your position, what will it take to get Labor to agree to this plebiscite bill?’ I’m disappointed that on every occasion . . . they refused to do so.”

Labor went into the meeting insisting it did not have a list of conditions required to gain its support. But it has publicly flagged two changes as absolute necessities: removing public funding for the “yes” and “no” campaigns, and making the plebiscite self-executing or binding.

Mr Dreyfus said the government put neither of those amendments on the table, and was hamstrung by the hard-right of the Coalition. “We got nothing. The Attorney-General did not suggest anything that the government is prepared to change,” he said.

“Terri Butler and I came to meet with George Brandis but at times it felt like we were talking to George Christensen,” he said, referring to the arch-conservative Queensland MP who last week warned there should be no compromise on the plebiscite bill.

It came after Nationals leader and deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce indicated his party was not open to any amendments to the plebiscite bill, saying: “You don’t put it up and then start talking about what we want to change.”

The Coalition is courting Labor’s support in order to get the 39 votes required to pass enabling legislation for the plebiscite through the Senate. The Greens and Nick Xenophon Team have already committed to blocking it, meaning the bill is doomed without Labor’s backing.

The Turnbull government maintains the plebiscite was a firm election commitment and that, without it, there will be no pathway to marriage equality in the near-term. Labor, conversely, is demanding a free vote on the floor of the Parliament.

Although both sides insisted they entered the talks in good faith, a compromise was likely doomed from the start. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has already said the proposed plebiscite could be so harmful that young LGBTI people may take their own lives.

Senator Brandis denied the meeting was a waste of time and said he would be prepared to meet Labor again before Parliament resumes on October 10, an invitation Ms Butler indicated Labor would accept.

“So he’s going to have another meeting in which he offers us nothing? Great,” she said. “The fact that he rolled in with nothing really makes clear that he has no authority.”

Senator Brandis reiterated the government’s threat that a plebiscite was “the only feasible course” to achieving same-sex marriage in this term of Parliament.

“As we know, issues have their time in the sun in public life,” he said. “If Mr Shorten blocks the plebiscite bill, he will be blocking marriage equality for the foreseeable future – perhaps for many years to come.”

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letters to the editor

Immigration debate an opportunity for the westI acknowledge ABC’s courage and good intentions to air “Hack live” recently.
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I agree with former soldier Andrew Fox that a blanket ban on Muslim immigration would not achieve anything.

We need to use a surgical approach to address extremism rather a sledgehammer. It is a surgeon’s cut which can save life but butcher’s cut always take a life.

Western countries need to acknowledge their role in the creation of Middle Eastern crisis and address the mass immigration problem appropriately.

The only way to get rid of smoke arising from neighbor’s burning house is to help him in putting off the fire.

I urge true Australian patriots to stop getting in the neck of vulnerable refugees and demand world powers to play their sincere role in solving Middle Eastern crisis.

It is cruel to close our doors and increase the misery of innocent people who have lost everything including their loved one, property and livelihood.

They are in need great need of our compassion, love and care.

They should remember –afriend in need is a friend indeed.

West should not miss out on the great opportunity of winning the hearts of Muslims.

Usman Mahmood

Bowenfels

Sexuality has purpose and should be taught at homeHuman sexuality has a purpose.

To feel good is not that purpose – at best that’s a bonus.

Feelings aren’t good or bad, they’re merely superficial.

Lower animals have sex instinctively to feel good, having no understanding of the purpose of body organs — ovaries, uterus, breasts, plus hormones and all.

As “rational” animals, humans do understand – that obviously the purpose of those bodily attributes is reproduction.

Male and female anatomies are complementary — their function makes them like one body..

If we must do sex education in schools, these basics should be taught.

No doubt such education would be better done at home.

Arnold Jago​

Nichols Point

Farmers know best so why not listen to them?Truer words have never been spoken.

Former ABARE director Dr Brian Fisher stated last week, “a lot of people in Macquarie Street and the city don’t necessarily see the difficulties that farmers face in the bush”.

Special note should also be taken of his comment: “Farmers know better than most how to balance land and environment.”

He was specifically referring to native vegetation legislation, but whether it’s this or vital water policy implementation, the issue is the same – we have city-centric politicians and bureaucrats who lack rural understanding and, more importantly, refuse to make the effort to improve their knowledge.

Mike Baird thinks a rural tour is a day trip to Penrith and appears to have little or no interest in the part of his state which exists outside what he considers NSW – Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong.

Or does NSW now stand for North Sydney, Sydney, West Sydney?

His Agriculture and Water Minister, Niall Blair, seems to think the most southern town in the state is Griffith and shows little interest in the productive communities beyond the Murrumbidgee.

And their advisers spend virtually all their time in their Sydney offices, unprepared to venture out and learn about the real world.

If Mr Baird and his colleagues don’t want a massive bush backlash at the next election, I’d suggest it’s time to get out of their comfort zone.

Vicki Meyer

Deniliquin

ADVICE: One letter writer believes it’s time governments started listening to the people who know best – the farmers.

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