Andrew Forrest on the future of the Western Force and Tattarang support for Australian rugby

In the space of a few months, a leadership change at Rugby Australia and the COVID-19 shutdown of sport have taken Forrest and Rugby Australia from bitterly estranged bedfellows to cautious partners on the verge of reconciliation.

The team is playing in Super Rugby AU under the same funding arrangement as the Brumbies, Rebels, Waratahs and Reds and new RA chairman Hamish McLennan has made it clear he sees the Force as a non-negotiable part of Australia’s professional landscape next year.

Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest is  open to making a financial investment in Australian rugby - but on certain conditions.

Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest is open to making a financial investment in Australian rugby – but on certain conditions.

Backing up the sentiment was McLennan’s appointment of Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Elizabeth Gaines to a high-powered advisory board for Australia’s upcoming 2027 Rugby World Cup bid. Meanwhile, Tattarang pledged $5 million over the next five years to building “grassroots to elite pathways” in Western Australia.

McLennan is working hard to prove to Forrest the new RA administration has a new attitude. As many have noted, it would be foolish not to keep one of Australia’s richest men in the fold.

But what does ‘Twiggy’ want?

“The administration of Rugby Australia needs to stay on the trajectory that Hamish has it on. In a practical sense, aiming firstly for best practice and then for world’s best,” Forrest responds.

“I’ve been clear to Hamish that we are supporting the trajectory and that we’d like him to be unreasonable in his own expectations of the administration’s performance. That’s what the game in Australia deserves.

“We’re not going to give an unconditional guarantee but what we will give is that encouragement and we will continue to support the administration while the administration strongly supports the entire game in Australia.”

Every time time you stepped in the water there was a crocodile there, but you still had to cross the creek.

Andrew Forrest on Global Rapid Rugby

Forrest is scathing of previous RA administrations and boards, describing as “inept” the game’s broader structure of powerful state unions and a national governing body that could not extricate itself from an ailing Super Rugby.

It’s a frustration shared by many supporters, as well as current and past directors. One long-serving and influential director recently told the Herald he considered it his greatest regret that the board could not modernise and align the state-based structure of the code.

“Rugby should be the premier sport in the world, it caters for all shapes and sizes, for boys and girls, for young and old, and it builds up communities. It just has governing bodies that get in the road,” Forrest said.

“We know that Hamish McLennan knows that the structure of the administration has to change. The dreadful situation we have now is that the administrations between all the states are as competitive as the teams when they run on to the field. When one competes against the other they’re making the game poorer. We simply have to have them all pulling in the same direction.”

Whether Australian rugby will embrace Forrest’s commercial mindset remains to be seen. But after funding the Force for the past two years and starting Global Rapid Rugby, the 59-year-old cannot be accused of being another billionaire businessman with deep pockets but no experience in sport.

Indeed, only a person of Forrest’s extreme wealth and passion might have survived Rapid Rugby’s difficult first two years. The pan-Asian competition was supposed to launch in its full format in 2019 but soft broadcast interest and a challenge finding teams of sufficient strength to participate pushed the launch timeline to 2020. Then COVID-19 hit and, like Super Rugby and every other professional competition in the world, Rapid Rugby was cancelled before it began.

Forrest maintains it was a net success for a start-up – Force home games averaged crowds of 12,300 in 2018 and just shy of 10,000 last year – and had lessons for the professional game in Australia.

“It was no less challenging than trying to get Fortescue Metals Group group off the ground, every time time you stepped in the water there was a crocodile there, but you still had to cross the creek,” he said.

“I think you’ll see a form of it, whether it evolves into another competition or another competition evolves into it. I strongly recommend to anyone in rugby administration if you play within a time zone so all your fans can watch it without having to get up at 3am in the morning, then you’ll do better.

“The beauty of rugby is that it’s international but you shouldn’t go so far as to make that a punishment for fans. Invite in other countries who love the game and are in your time zone.”

On Saturday the Force come in from the cold, playing the Waratahs at the Sydney Cricket Ground in a neat echo of the side’s final Super Rugby game, a charged 40-11 smash-up of NSW in Perth in 2017.

Forrest, who managed to fit a visit to Force training in around his $30 million purchase of two Kimberley cattle stations this week, says it will be a moment to savour.

“It’s pretty emotional, they were cut in the most cruel and unfair circumstances, they’d acquitted themselves very well that season and when they were cut I’d already given a guarantee for their financial obligations, so there was really no reason,” he said. RA board notes from that period recorded an 11th-hour offer from Forrest of between $10 and $50 million in tied funding to the Australian Rugby Foundation, to be overseen by Forrest-appointed trustees.


“Yet still, the leadership at the time wanted to build up Victoria at any cost to the game nationally, so it cut us and took our coach and many players to Victoria and the rest is history. They continued to go broke.

“[Western Australia] was one of the only states where the fan base was growing and not shrinking when they were cut and in some ways being cut has really strengthened the resolve of that base.

“I think we’re all feeling a sense of excitement that when the boys run out in blue they’ll be the underdogs of all five teams. But what they’ll be doing, like any great Australian underdog, is fighting. And as they say, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

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Century-old SANFL magazine faces uncertain future as digital edition abandoned

A 106-yr-aged journal viewed as integral to SANFL soccer tradition may under no circumstances be printed yet again thanks to a year disrupted by coronavirus and an ongoing drop in product sales.

The Funds has been touted by hawkers at suburban soccer matches since 1914. It really is a weekly journal packed with player details, team tales, fixtures, and printed scorecards that quite a few followers historically fill out at every single match.

But this yr the SANFL trialled a digital-only version for the first two rounds of a delayed season — an experiment it stated had been in the functions for some time thanks to declining profits in print.

“Throughout all five [weekly] video games previous yr, we ended up averaging in between 1,400 and 1,900 sales for each round, which demonstrates a continuous decline in the past 5 decades,” SANFL business functions basic supervisor Neal Matotek explained.

“Income from advertising product sales had also declined noticeably.

“This has resulted in a big web price to fund its manufacturing and distribution.”

Filling out the printed rating card in The Spending plan is custom for several SANFL followers.(ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

Electronic edition fails to fireplace

Regardless of high hopes for the electronic-only demo, enthusiasts had been mainly uninterested.

In the grandstands at Adelaide Oval, some enthusiasts rather brought notepads with ruled margins and hand-drawn participant containers so they could continue to fill out their individual individual scorecards.

“With drastically minimized revenue simply because of much less AFL matches being performed at Adelaide Oval, neither SANFL nor our publisher could pay for the professional risk or cost of continuing to generate a weekly electronic publication in this atmosphere.”

He mentioned the digital version would be changed by a 2020 Period Information, with the extensive-term foreseeable future of the journal to be reviewed at the stop of the season.

Mr Matotek mentioned The Budget’s production and distribution was outsourced, with the equal of a whole-time position and two casuals employed to offer the journal at just about every match to be impacted.

SANFL Grand Final 2018
A lack of crowds at the football in 2020 has also played a part in the magazine’s demise.(ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

A daily life-extended tradition

Long-time SANFL supporter Tim Anson has been shopping for The Finances considering the fact that he moved to Adelaide in 1979 and joined his grandparents in supporting Glenelg Soccer Club.

“They are shouting, ‘Get your funds, get your budget’, definitely loud, and you can normally have a chat with them.

“It truly is very good price, and quite typically it is younger little ones offering The Budget as well.”


Mr Anson mentioned he was not the kind to fill out the scorecard pages, but he did retain editions with the scribblings of some massive football names as a substitute.

“I have acquired one floating about someplace exactly where I received [Adelaide Crows player] Bryce Gibbs to indicator it,” he reported.

“That was when he played for Glenelg as a 17 or 18-yr-previous.”

He said enthusiasts experienced extended utilized The Funds to match player figures on the field to the names.

“It is really about the only way you could do it, but you could do it on the web now, I guess, if you have acquired your cell phone in front of you.”

App hits 150,000

Despite abandoning The Finances for the rest of the 2020 season, Mr Matotek stated the SANFL’s digital platforms were “developing”.

Its SANFL app had about 150,000 consumers, which he explained experienced led to “substantially greater viewership of our site content material”.

“There is definitely an hunger from supporters for neighborhood footy news and stories on SANFL players,” Mr Matotek claimed.

“They are now just getting shipped by using our electronic platforms as an alternative to the conventional printed Football Price range.”

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England’s future water supplies at ‘serious risk’

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Some parts of England will run out of water within the next 20 years unless “urgent action” is taken.

That’s the view of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in a report on the state of water supplies.

It’s calling on the government to establish a league table for water companies to pressure them into dealing with leaks.

It also wants efficiency labels on domestic products like washing machines and dishwashers to be made compulsory.

The government responded by saying it had already initiated a programme to improve performance in the water industry.

The PAC is accusing ministers and regulators of taking “too ponderous” an approach to improving infrastructure.

In their report, the MPs say the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shown a “lack of leadership” on the issue.

“Defra has failed to lead and water companies have failed to act,” committee chair Meg Hillier MP said.

“We look now to the department to step up, make up for lost time and see we get action before it’s too late.”

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PA Media

Image caption

Water in reservoirs dipped sharply in May this year

According to the report, people in England and Wales use about 14 billion litres of water a day – one-fifth of which is wasted through leaky pipes.

It calls for water companies, which were privatised in 1989, to be ranked on their performance, and for a “coordinated national message” to encourage people not to waste water.

The MPs said every domestic product sold in the UK that used water, such as washing machines and dishwashers, should have a label on it to show how efficient it was. Also, when building new homes, the government should make water efficiency as much of a priority as energy efficiency and low-carbon heating.

Last year, the chief executive of the Environment Agency (EA), Sir James Bevan, said that within the next two decades the UK would be facing “the jaws of death”.

This is the point at which, “unless we take action to change things, we will not have enough water to supply our needs”.

The unprecedented dry and sunny weather in May, coupled with the Covid-19 lockdown, led to a record-breaking demand for water.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

The country has a lot of old infrastructure that needs replacing

According to the trade association, Water UK, average demand surged by 20%. Yorkshire Water warned that its reservoir levels were lower than normal, and other companies urged customers to limit watering lawns and washing cars.

The PAC said last year’s “Love Water” campaign had so far had little impact, mainly because there had been no central funding, and none yet secured from any of the water companies.

In a response to the report, Defra referred to its National Framework for Water Resource, launched in March. It said: “We are already taking a tougher approach to poor performance and wastage within the water industry, while also finding ways to increase supply.”

It urged people to be “mindful of their usage”.

Vanessa Speight, professor of integrated water systems at Sheffield University, told BBC News: “The UK has some of the oldest water infrastructure in the world, and while it has served us well, it is now time to look to the future with significant water infrastructure investment that will address leakage as well as related reliability and water quality issues.

“Achieving the desired water efficiency targets is going to require a holistic review of infrastructure investment, building regulations, and related practices.”

People in certain parts of the UK, particularly in the South East, have less water available to them than those in countries like Morocco, according to several water companies in the region.

The water companies that would face the most acute pressure for demand – if there was to be a very dry year – are: Thames Water, which supplies 7.98 million people; Affinity Water which supplies 3.2m people, and Southern Water, which supplies 2.5m people.

From information provided by these companies to the BBC, all of them have already passed the so-called “jaws of death”. This means they have very limited reserves. So, in a period of exceptionally low rainfall, they may well need to put emergency measures in place such as hosepipe bans.

The companies maintain they are doing what they can to prepare.

Legally every five years they must set out plans for how they will deal with supply and demand over the next 25 years.

Thames Water has a scheme to help customers buy water butts.

In its five-year plan, published on Wednesday, the EA said it was committed to investing in climate resilience, “ensuring the nation is prepared for flooding, coastal change, and drought”.

However, it said it “needed to secure the income and investment needed”.

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MP meets with Qld food producers to test bioplastic future

MACKAY MP Julieanne Gilbert will meet with Queensland food producers this month to gauge their appetite for using bioplastics in their packaging.

Mrs Gilbert is forging ahead with her plan to get the region producing bioplastics from sugar cane to future-proof local jobs.

The Mackay MP said Australia had faced a shortage of plastic bottles to store hand sanitiser during the COVID-19 pandemic because we relied on overseas manufacturers that were forced to halt production.

“We need to look at how we can support the Australian and local economy and use the resources we have to future-proof our industries here so that we are not going to be caught short again,” she said.

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Last month, Mrs Gilbert met with Queensland Biofutures ambassador Ian O’Hara, representatives from Trade and Investment Queensland and state development representatives to discuss her plan.

PLASTIC PUSH: Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert at Racecourse Mill. Picture: supplied

“They all told me if we can build a guaranteed market where we can have producers of food products agree that they will buy products made in Australia from sugar cane, that we will then have a market,” she said.

“As soon as we get the first one signed up and ready to go, they believe we will have a flood of investors and this will be the future of our economy here in Mackay.

“We can’t just rely on scrambling the next time the sugar price goes down or the coal price goes down.

“We need to have stable industries that will see us through all of the peaks and troughs of our other industries.”

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Mrs Gilbert’s petition, which called on the Federal Government to mandate the use of Australian bioplastics in packaging, has now received more than 250 signatures.

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Liz Cambage praises Australian Opals’ RISE UP campaign, stays quiet on playing future

“It’s up to us to enforce things like RISE UP to the youth so we change and undo the damage that has happened in this country and make it a better place,” Cambage said.

“I’ve heard talk and talk and talk for years but this is real. The girls have been great with getting us together, making changes and bringing this into action.

“For me personally. I’m so focused on grass roots and getting connected with the youth because that is where the change needs to come. It’s a bit hard to change older minds. No offence to my grandma but it’s hard.

“Teaching the proper [Australian] history and teaching respect will make this country a better place.”

But on the playing front, Cambage declined to speak about where she will be playing ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

“This is about RISE UP today, sorry,” Cambage said when asked if she was taking questions on her future.

Cambage re-signed with WNBA club Las Vegas Aces before the COVID-19 pandemic but neither she nor the team have addressed whether she will be joining them for the delayed season in a hub in Florida late this month.

Neither BA nor the WNBL have announced whether they have signed Cambage for the Australian season which is expected to start in November or December but there is growing confidence she could be back in the league.

Opals Ezi Magbegor, Sami Whitcomb, Leilani Mitchell and Alanna Smith are all either en route to the United States or already there ahead of training camp while Opals forward Rebecca Allen has already announced she would be staying home in Australia.

Cambage’s absence would be a blow to the WNBA with 10 players already announcing they wouldn’t be playing either to focus on forcing social change in the Black Lives Matter movement or due to health concerns.

BA plans to do more with all of their other national teams led by the Australian Boomers but the Opals will lead the way for now. BA have also asked FIBA for permission to add the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags to their national team uniforms.


BA has been working on a reconciliation plan which has been submitted to Reconciliation Australia for feedback while they are also working on a diversity and inclusion plan.

“We are taking our time and doing it thoroughly as it’s incredibly important to us,” Rechter said.

BA also put a statement of support on their website but didn’t share it on their social media. That policy has since changed but it left the Opals unhappy with the lack of public comments as the Black Lives Matter protests spread around the world.

Cambage posted a message in the Opals’ group chat in late June about feeling let down by the BA’s silence on social media and “two hours” later the team announced they wouldn’t be training until BA pledged to do more.

“We haven’t had this conversations enough in the past, we had a really great Opals zoom call a month ago that got extremely open, extremely raw and I think those conversations are important to have,” O’Hea said.

“It’s at the forefront now. We need to have those conversations to make sure there is change with this.”

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Super Rugby AU rule changes hoped to bring crowds back and change future of the game

It’s fair to say there will be many more eyes on Australia’s new domestic rugby competition when it kicks off this weekend than just those of the diehard fans.

Super Rugby AU is Australia’s equivalent of New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa, and was quickly formed to fill the breach left by the 15-team, five-nations Super Rugby tournament which went into COVID-19-enforced hibernation in mid-March.

The future of that competition remains in limbo, with both South Africa and Argentina isolated and their new case curve still trending upwards. Japan’s Sunwolves were to be mothballed at the end of the 2020 season anyway, and though there were attempts to have them play in the new Australian competition, they’ve now played their last game.

Australia’s four Super Rugby sides — the Queensland Reds, NSW Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels, and the Brumbies — will be joined by the Perth-based Western Force in a full home-and-away competition played over 10 weeks plus two weeks of finals.

For the Force, it marks their return to top-flight Australian rugby for the first time since their axing from Super Rugby at the end of the 2017 season.

Western Force players wait for a try decision during the World Series Rugby match against Fiji in 2018.
The Western Force will be welcomed back to the fold.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

But it’s the law variations in place that will draw the extra attention, and from the moment the Reds and Waratahs run out onto Brisbane’s Lang Park on Friday night. Behind every one of the changes is an intention to make a more enjoyable spectacle of the game for spectators, fans and players alike.

A couple are already in place over the ditch, with Super Rugby Aotearoa implementing 10 minutes of “golden point” extra time in the event of a scoreboard deadlock after 80 minutes.

The other is the allowance to replace a player sent from the field with a red card after 20 minutes. The sent-off player can’t play any further part in the game, but the contest can be restored to 15 players on 15, 20 minutes later.

Neither has been seen in New Zealand yet in three rounds, but Australia’s leading referee Angus Gardner is a fan.

“You definitely want the players to decide the game and as a ref you prefer to not make a decision that decides it,” he said last week, of the extra time allowance.

Gardner has been busy over the past fortnight, running live familiarity sessions around the new variations with the Waratahs and Rebels. The focus on the breakdown contest in Super Rugby Aotearoa — and the sharp upsurge in penalties — were a cause for concern initially, and were undoubtedly a reason Gardner and his colleagues were utilised during these intra-squad sessions around the country.

Ryan Louwrens holds a rugby ball in both hands and prepares to pass it away from a ruck
New rules around the breakdown have sped up play, but has also seen an initial uptick in penalties.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

“They’re really rewarding speed to the breakdown, I think for us that’s going to highlight our breakdown presence,” Rebels backrower Michael Wells said, his side spending this week of preparation in Canberra to escape the recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Melbourne.

“Attacking wise, you can’t be slow; you have to be really fast. Defensively, if you have a good on-ball presence you’re really going to get pay out of it. I think that was the biggest thing about having Gus [Gardner] here, just to be exposed to those new rules, because it’s different watching it in the New Zealand comp,” Wells said.

But the breakdown focus is having a positive impact already over the Tasman. In half a dozen games over the first three rounds in New Zealand, the rugby on display has been wonderful to watch, no doubt spurred on by huge crowds now allowed with no restrictions in place.

Fans applaud as players line up in the foreground
Super Rugby Aotearoa has returned to huge crowds.(Photosport via AP: Joe Allison)

The crowds will be much smaller when Super Rugby AU kicks off on Friday night, but it’s certainly hoped the rugby is no less exciting. Rugby Australia is also hoping the decision to go a bit further with law variations will have an impact, too.

Several of them roll over from last season’s National Rugby Championship, in which a rampant Western Force ran away with the title. The line drop-out allowance, which rewards the defending team if they’re able to hold the attacking team up in-goal, works as a faster way of restarting play instead of a five-metre scrum that risks multiple resets.

And 50-22 and 22-50 kicks carry over too, borrowing from rugby league’s 40-20, which will force teams to defend differently at the back, as well as open up attacking opportunity.

“Does that open up more space in the front line to play ball in hand?” Rebels attack coach Shaun Berne wondered.

“And if they don’t defend that back field, are we then able to kick and find those 50-22s?”

The players themselves can already see opportunities.

“It’s going to break some teams when we find that space and take those opportunities, it’s going to hurt a lot of teams,” Brumbies centre Irae Simone offered from Canberra.

Waratahs coach Rob Penney loves the removal of calling for a mark in the defensive 22 from kicks originating in the same portion of the field. But he’s equally wary of the architect of the idea.

“I am a bit worried about Matt Toomua and the impact that he is going to have. He is such a talented 10 and he has the ball on a string really,” Penney said of the Rebels and Wallabies flyhalf.

“I thought it was a real breath of fresh air to hear Matt talking about what could be really good for the game.”

A male rugby union player kicks the ball from a penalty goal attempt with his right foot.
Matt Toomua could have a huge impact with his boot under the new rules.(Reuters: Issei Kato)

As Rugby Australia works to negotiate its way to new TV deal for 2021 and beyond, the hope is that these variations and the exciting rugby it anticipates will result will be really good for the game over a longer term. Arguably, the future of the professional game is counting on it.

But the condensed campaign means there won’t be time for the five sides to work their way into contention. Most agree the Brumbies start overwhelming as the favourites, given they were running second overall when Super Rugby was suspended.

Brumbies prop James Slipper says that just means the side is already determined to pick up where they left off back in March.

“It’s always important to start well,” he said.

“We actually addressed that this year in Super Rugby and we did start well.

“What you find is when you have a good start is you try and build on that momentum and that winning habit.”

Super Rugby AU Round 1 fixtures

Friday: Queensland Reds vs NSW Waratahs, Brisbane 7:15pm AEST

Saturday: ACT Brumbies vs Melbourne Rebels, Canberra 7:15pm AEST

Western Force have the bye.

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Future Drought Fund’s first round of spending for farmers announced by Federal Government

The Federal Government has revealed how it will spend the first round of its $5 billion Future Drought Fund, designed to help farmers better prepare for dry times.

This round of money will assist farmers to become more financially savvy, while also funding better climate data information, research and development, and natural resource management.

Federal Agriculture and Drought Minister David Littleproud said the Government would allocate $20 million to help farmers develop and improve their business plans.

Mr Littleproud said refining financial literacy will work together with investment in a climate data service.(Supplied: David Littleproud)

“But our job as a Government using Australian taxpayers’ money is to give our farmers the very best tools possible to make them even more profitable.”

The Future Drought Fund was first announced in 2018 and allows the government of the day to provide $100 million each year for preparedness and so-called resilience programs.

Mr Littleproud said “refining farmers’ financial literacy” would work together with a $10 million dollar investment in a new, online climate data service, tailored to farmers’ needs.

He said the digital platform would provide “regional specific climate data” to allow farmers to make “real time decisions that gets them ahead of drought rather than behind it”.

Looking through a barbed wire fence to desolate paddocks as trees are pummelled by wind. Dust haze on horizon paints out the sky
Wind is blowing topsoil away and farmers fear it will take years for some landscapes to recover.(ABC News: Lucy Barbour)

The announcement comes after a Government-appointed committee, headed by former National Farmers’ Federation president Brent Finlay, conducted a six-week tour of rural communities to find out how farmers wanted the Future Drought Fund spent.

“This is not about whittling away money,” Mr Littleproud said.

“We as Australian taxpayers have a proud record of having a safety net, and that’s what we provide to not only Australian farmers but to the individuals out there to have a safety net when things don’t go your way.”

Farmers welcome climate data spend

Wool grower Oliver Kay, who farms at Bungarby in southern New South Wales, questioned whether money should be spent teaching farmers how to develop business plans.

“Farmers should be doing that themselves already, that’s just a no brainer,” he said.

“So there’s no excuse for any farm business not to have clear plans for the path based on what’s happened previously.”

But Mr Kay welcomed the investment in an online climate data information service, which would likely draw on information from the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, and the Department of Agriculture.

Another $20 million dollars will be spent on drought research and development, and $15 million on natural resource management.

That could include grants for individuals and farmer groups to improve their local landscapes by maintaining ground-cover and improving soils.

South Australian pastoralist Gillian Fennell said the Government had “done business plans to death” and would have preferred to see money spent on improving farm and town water infrastructure.

“There’s no amount of business planning that will help you get rain out of the sky and help you get water onto your crop or your cattle or sheep,” she said.

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The unsettled future of Supreme Court abortion cases

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Brynn Putnam sells her fitness startup Mirror for $500 million, Ava DuVernay will chronicle Colin Kaepernick’s teen years in a new series, and a nuanced Supreme Court ruling on abortion leaves the issue largely unsettled. Have a lovely Tuesday.

– An unsettled future. Relief, not outright celebration, was the reaction of pro-choice advocates after yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling that invalidated a Louisiana law requiring doctors at clinics that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges.

The case had been the first opportunity for the Trump-era Supreme Court, with its newly conservative majority, to start rolling back abortion precedents.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s four liberal judges in striking down the law that would have made abortions all but inaccessible in the state of Louisiana. Had the law been upheld, a single doctor in a single clinic in the state would have been able to perform the procedure.

Though he aligned with the court’s liberal cohort, Roberts wrote a solo explanation for his decision, which differed from his peers’. His rationale was a fierce adherence to prior Supreme Court precedent. Because the court had decided an almost identical case involving Texas in 2016, Roberts said the Louisiana case deserved the same outcome, even though Roberts had personally dissented in the previous ruling.

That nuance leaves the future of abortion cases unsettled. On one hand, the ruling was narrow, directly snuffing out just one legal avenue anti-abortion advocates have pursued. On the other hand, Roberts indicates he’s unwilling at this point to overturn the court’s jurisprudence backing a woman’s right to choose.

What’s more certain is that women’s reproductive rights and the makeup of the Supreme Court will remain top agenda items in the 2020 election cycle—in the presidential race and Senate contests—since any future Supreme Court nominee will play an outsize role in shaping forthcoming decisions on the matter.

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

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Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest’s $5m WA grassroots donation means Western Force must be part of competition’s future, says David Pocock

Former Wallabies captains Michael Lynagh and Simon Poidevin have also given a big thumbs up to the plan.

Pocock played in 69 Super Rugby games for the Force between 2006 and 2012. He is ecstatic that Forrest is digging deep to help rugby thrive.

“When I heard about what they were doing, I wanted to give back a bit and volunteer a bit of time,” Pocock told the Herald. “It’s great vision from the Forrests, wanting to really invest in the grassroots and getting young boys and girls going. They obviously have an interest in developing the professional pathway as well in WA.

“A lot of the [rugby] headlines you read, there is a lot of doom and gloom, but when you look at some of the stuff happening at the grassroots level … there’s a lot of boys and girls excited about rugby. They’re the stories we’ve got to be telling and working to get more people involved.

“I got to see during my time in Perth how much the game grew and I think this is an exciting next step in really creating a better future for rugby in the west and ensuring they are competitive and there are a lot of young West Australians coming through and having that professional pathway.”

The Force have agreed to take part in the revamped Super Rugby AU competition, but their long-term future is unclear. The season kicks off on Friday, although they won’t play their first game until the following week.

David Pocock during his days at the Western Force.

David Pocock during his days at the Western Force. Credit:Chris Hyde

Rugby administrators are working overtime to come up with a competition model for next year. New RA chairman Hamish McLennan said his preference was for something between Australian and New Zealand teams. Pocock said the Force had to be there.

“If you haven’t lived in Perth, it’s hard to understand just how passionate the Western Force fans are about rugby and how much they support the Force,” Pocock said. “I think finding ways to have Western Australia involved in whatever the format looks like going forward is great for Australian rugby and really important for Australian rugby in continuing to grow the game at all levels over there.

“We’ve seen some great talents come through to the Wallabies level and we’ve also lost a bunch of young players overseas who started in Perth. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep more of those players from going overseas.


“You look at the under-20s; there is some great talent coming up and if we’re able to keep developing that and nurturing that talent, then I think there is a bright future despite a lean few years of results.”

Forrest said his ambition was to see WA become a “real powerhouse” rugby state.

“Nicola and I firmly believe we need to grow this from the ground up,” Forrest said. “Our ambition is to provide young talent with the skills, support, competition and a clear pathway to the highest level of the game, feeding into the Western Force men’s and Rugby WA women’s professional teams.

“We have a clear vision to shape an exceptional rugby product within WA, rather than our talented youth looking to eastern states or overseas for opportunities.”

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The future of fashion post coronavirus lockdown


This might mean pairing track pants with a coat you already own, or sharpening them with a blazer
in a style dubbed “biz leisure” – that is, a mix of comfort and tailored clothes.

“The idea is to leverage what you already have,” says Penny. “You don’t need a whole new wardrobe.”

Rather, she says, “it’s about taking a bit of risk, rethinking ways to wear them and being adventurous”.

This means playing with new-season footwear trends such as chunky biker boots that add a sense of edge and proportion to tailoring and denim (and, yes, tracksuits).

This cautious approach is apt, given that straitened finances, and possibly a shift in values, mean that many of us won’t feel like spending much right now. More than ever we’re going to be thinking carefully about the clothes we choose to invest in and gravitating towards classic, timeless pieces that will last and hold their value and feel special every time we wear them.

As New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman noted in her recent piece “This Is Not the End of Fashion”, flashiness will feel wrong, with quieter things holding more appeal. She also pointed out that “stealth luxury” – think Phoebe Philo’s pared-back, minimalist designs at Celine – reigned after the 2008 global financial crisis. She believes we might crave that kind of unfussiness once more.

More than ever, we’re going to be thinking carefully about the clothes we choose to invest in and gravitating towards classic, timeless pieces.

This pared-back aesthetic is one that many Australian brands do well. Look to the likes of Camilla and Marc for tailored pieces you can wear with a sweatshirt, and Lee Mathews for shirting to tuck into your track pants and pair with chunky loafers. In other words, clothes that can work double duties as our work and home lives become ever closer.

Specialness can be also found in the boxy and ladylike handbags we’re seeing everywhere from Dior
to Louis Vuitton, says McCarthy. (Who’d have thought we’d miss carrying a handbag?) She likes the juxtaposition of a classic, structured bag paired with a pair of track pants and how they make chunky-soled shoes look elegant.

It’s the same with a coat; a well-cut one will last for many seasons, and you can throw it over just about anything and look polished. This is exactly the kind of relaxed yet purposeful approach to dressing we’re going to want as we re-enter the world and finally have places to be again.

But we also want to have fun again. This is a cinch with gold chain necklaces, whether from Tiffany & Co or just bought on the high street, which can lift any old outfit. Then there’s the fuzzy, instant mood-lifter that is the “teddy bear” coat, a style that luxury Italian fashion house Max Mara introduced in 2013 (it does a new iteration each season). But you can find playful coloured ones at Zara, too.


Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele said recently that “we will want beautiful things” when we emerge from the pandemic. Indeed, Gucci’s famous bamboo-handle bag was launched after World War II.

McCarthy agrees. She thinks once we’ve made it through winter, when comfort and cocooning still rule, we’re going to want to dress up again. “There will be a return to glamour towards summer,” she says. “We’re going to wear dresses and heels and go out again.”


Until then, we’ll happily take well-cut coats, cool boots, beautiful bags and the chance to wear an elasticised waist just that little bit longer.

Fashion editor: Penny McCarthy. Photographer: Jedd Cooney. Hair and make-up: Aimie Fiebig. Model: Zoe from IMG.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale June 28.

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