Call for national puppy farm, animal cruelty laws as breeders eye NSW’s more lenient rules


Inconsistent animal cruelty legislation across Australia is putting vulnerable dogs at risk and could see New South Wales become the “puppy farming capital of Australia”, animal welfare advocates have warned.

NSW Animal Justice MLC Emma Hurst is calling for nationally-consistent puppy farm legislation after a Victorian man who pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty was linked to a proposed dog breeding facility in NSW.

And the RSPCA said in a statement that the differing legislation between states was of concern.

Ms Hurst — who wants to see puppy farms banned — also criticised the weak legislation governing breeding facilities in NSW, especially when compared with Victoria’s laws.

Under Victorian legislation, the number of female dogs at a breeding centre is capped at 10, and the number of litters allowed per dog is limited to five, after which she must be retired.

However, Ms Hurst and animal welfare group Oscar’s Law say that no such limits exist to protect dogs in NSW.

“Following a Victorian [clampdown] on puppy farming, we are seeing puppy farmers surging across the border into NSW,” Ms Hurst said.

“We need every state and territory on board in regards to puppy farming otherwise we’re going to continue to see this issue with people just moving their businesses across the border.

“NSW is a particular target at the moment because we have some of the weakest legislation.

“The NSW Government has failed to outlaw this vile industry. While it remains legal, dogs in this industry will continue to suffer.

“Unless we want to become the puppy farming capital of Australia we need to introduce legislation urgently.”

A NSW RSPCA spokesperson did not confirm anecdotal evidence that breeders were relocating to NSW but said the differing legislation between states and territories could impact on animal welfare issues.

“There is a concern that the tightening of regulations in one jurisdiction will have consequences for neighbouring jurisdictions,” the statement said.

“Our position is that a scientific review of the animal welfare legislative framework is necessary in order to reduce the risk of poor animal welfare outcomes.

“We share community concerns that large breeding facilities may have a harder time meeting the veterinary and importantly, the behavioural needs of the companion animals they are breeding.”

Ms Hurst said she was finalising the drafting of puppy farm legislation that she hoped to table in the NSW Parliament in the next couple of months.

“The puppy farming legislation that we are tabling as part of the Animal Justice Party is very similar to legislation that has gone through in Victoria, and I know that other states are looking at pushing for similar legislation as well,” she said.

“There’s a lot of support for this kind of legislation in parliament. We hope to have the numbers in the Upper House and we hope that the government will really take this piece of legislation very seriously.

Ms Hurst’s comments follow revelations of a link between dog breeder Ashley Fenn, who has applied to the Murray River Council for approval of a puppy farm on the NSW-Victorian border, and Benjamin Geerling, on whose land the proposed facility would be built.

Mr Fenn wants to build a facility that could host up to 200 dogs and 120 puppies in Moama, in NSW.

Documents show Mr Geerling, from Shepparton in Victoria, owns the land where the proposed breeding centre is to be located.

Mr Geerling was banned from operating a domestic animal business in Victoria for 10 years in December 2018 after he pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to provide veterinary treatment to a sick animal at a breeding centre he managed at Tatura, near Shepparton.

“I am extremely nervous about the fate of these dogs if this puppy farm is approved,” Ms Hurst said.

“I have written to Murray River Council urging them to conduct further investigations into Mr Geerling’s potential involvement in the proposed dog breeding facility, and to consider any damning material when determining the development application.”

Mr Fenn said Mr Geerling would have nothing to do with the management of his proposed breeding centre in Moama or the welfare of the dogs, despite him being a former employee.

Mr Fenn said he was only leasing the land from Mr Geerling.

As previously reported by the ABC, a petition against this proposed puppy farm attracted almost 30,000 signatures in a week, and the Murray River Council received “a few thousand” submissions urging it to reject Mr Fenn’s development application.

Mr Fenn, a former state director and candidate for the Family First Party in Victoria, owned the Tatura animal breeding centre around the same time Mr Geerling committed the animal cruelty offence.

Mr Fenn said he was unaware of the animal cruelty charge until Mr Geerling pleaded guilty in court in December 2018.

The ABC does not suggest that Mr Fenn was in any way complicit in the animal cruelty that resulted in Mr Geerling’s charge.

Mr Fenn said people who were against his proposed breeding centre in Moama should focus their efforts elsewhere.

“Ms Hurst shouldn’t be nervous about the welfare of any animals unless she doesn’t have confidence in the current legal framework that we have in Australia, or those hard working men and women who enforce the laws,” Mr Fenn said.

An RSPCA NSW spokesperson said the organisation was participating in an animal cruelty legislative review as part of the Animal Welfare Action Plan started by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

The spokesperson said the NSW Animal Welfare Code of Practice on Breeding Cats and Dogs had been in force since 2009 and related to legislation that was 40 years old.

Murray River Council Mayor Chris Bilkey has previously told the ABC the council’s decisions are constrained by Nsw laws.

The council will vote on Mr Fenn’s proposal either this month or next month.

The NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall was contacted for comment.

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Doctors deterred by regional NSW’s ‘professional isolation’, consider general practice ‘poor cousin’


For many in rural and regional NSW, it’s becoming an increasingly urgent question: why can’t my town attract and keep doctors?

Nearly all of the 600 submissions to a NSW parliamentary inquiry into remote, rural and regional healthcare are pleading for an answer.

For doctors, the reasons are personal and professional.

“People don’t want to be professionally isolated anymore.

“They want to have colleagues that they can network with and they can bounce ideas off and also feel supported by.”

Doctors are reluctant to move to towns where they have fewer patients because they will not get the chance to use their skills at the same rate as their metropolitan peers.

The state government’s decision to centralise medical services in larger hospitals in regional cities is also a major influence.

“Smaller centres are losing their resources, so smaller centres are being downscaled and their [doctors’] job satisfaction is being reduced,” Dr MacKinnon said.

A doctor’s personal life is also pivotal.

Specialist Tony Sara, who is with the Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation (ASMOF), said the years of training to be a doctor worked against rural and regional communities.

“I myself had three children by the time I finished medical school, and so the chances of someone going bush with an established family is very low,” Dr Sara said.

Dr MacKinnon agrees: “if your partner can’t get a job in a country town, then you’re not going to move there.”

In most of rural and regional NSW, a general practitioner is a patient’s first port of call, but many towns don’t have enough GPs or face the prospect of having none within the next 15 years.

The ASMOF said general practice had fallen out of favour with aspiring doctors, and there was a 30 per cent vacancy rate for training places across Australia.

“They get paid the least of all the specialties and that needs to be addressed.”

Dr Sara said higher salaries would help but better management within the health service was also needed.

“The constitution says we can’t force doctors to work anywhere that we want them to work, so therefore it comes down to incentivisation,” he said.

“The NSW government doesn’t like paying rural location allowances.

“Some fields do, but certainly in health, we’re not allowed to pay rural location allowances.”

The state government’s growing dependence on locum doctors to fill vacancies is working against efforts to permanently appoint medical professionals in rural and regional Australia.

“In an effort to fill in the gaps, using this higher level of payments for locums, we actually are creating a disincentive for [those seeking] permanent locations,” said federal Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton.

The Commonwealth is trying to help by providing more opportunities for doctors to train in rural areas.

There is support for the strategy, which aims to give future doctors a taste of country living in the hope they will stay in a rural or regional location.

But Jasmine Elliott from the Australian Medical Students’ Association said its success would be limited.

“We’re a bit dubious as to the asset that an end-to-end training program such as [Charles Sturt University’s] Murray Darling Medical School Network and other programs have to add, unless that journey can be continued to rural practice.”

But Mr Coulton said he was confident that the medical school and other federal programs to train rural GPs would be successful.

“I’ve got great faith that it’ll be successful and, if it is, we’ll look at doing more of this right across the country.”

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Victorian government launches royal commission into Crown Casino after NSW’s ‘serious findings’


The Victorian government will establish a royal commission into Melbourne’s Crown Casino, it announced on Monday afternoon.

Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement the royal commission was in response to the “serious findings” of the casino’s NSW counterpart.

The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) inquiry said Crown was not fit to hold a gambling licence following a number of concerns around corporate governance.

The royal commission is due to report its findings by August 1 this year.

Former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein, QC, has been appointed commissioner of the inquiry.

“Since receiving the ILGA report, the government has taken advice about the most appropriate way to proceed in Victoria,” Andrews said in a statement.

“Establishing a royal commission will ensure the most appropriate access to information regarding Crown Melbourne’s suitability to hold the casino licence given the commission’s powers to compel witnesses and documentation.

“This is about making sure that those who hold a casino licence in Victoria uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity – and that they’re accountable for their actions.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne said the findings from the NSW inquiry were “incredibly concerning”.

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NRL’s Sam Burgess in court over domestic dispute with Mitchell Hooke in NSW’s Southern Highlands


NRL star Sam Burgess has admitted he and his ex-father-in-law “failed” his two young children during a heated domestic dispute in October 2019.

The former Rabbitohs player and coach gave evidence at Moss Vale Local Court today about the incident, during which he claims his children were “left alone”.

A disagreement broke out when his ex-wife’s father, Mitchell Hooke, asked Burgess to leave Mr Hooke’s Southern Highlands property.

Burgess told the court the verbal argument began when his agreed visitation time with the children was up.

He recalled becoming angry when Mr Hooke said “time’s up, let’s go”.

“I told Mitch I thought this was inhumane,” he said.

“I didn’t want to leave my children with Mitch … I don’t trust him.”

He claims Mr Hooke left the children unattended when he followed Burgess outside as he attempted to leave.

“They were then alone inside the house,” he said.

His ex-wife Phoebe Burgess was on her way home at the time.

Sam Burgess with his former wife Phoebe.(Instagram)

Burgess told the court the argument heated up when Mr Hooke threatened him in saying: “I’m going to ruin your career if it’s the last thing I do.”

“He shouted at me … he said f**k you Sam … I said f**k you Mitch, you’re a piece of shit,” Burgess said.

“He said, ‘Sam, nobody loves you. Your own family doesn’t love you. We love you and you’re throwing it all away’.”

The court heard Mr Hooke’s other daughter, Harriet, intervened and took her father inside.

The prosecution told the court two police officers noted Mr Hooke was “visibly shaken” following the incident.

Burgess admitted he drank four schooners of beer at a local pub before he went to visit his children.

He claimed he was not affected by alcohol and considered himself “sober”.

Sam Burgess in court over argument

Mr Hooke denied suggestions he was the aggressor in the argument by raising infidelity in the marriage and threatening to “destroy” Burgess.

Burgess has pleaded not guilty to charges of intimidation and common assault.

A decision is expected to be handed down on February 5.

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What we know about NSW’s latest coronavirus cluster


Sydney’s Northern Beaches have become the focus of the nation’s coronavirus experts, with the region ground zero for New South Wales’ latest coronavirus outbreak.

Twelve new COVID-19 cases were confirmed there late on Thursday, taking the total number in the cluster to 17.

The infections are the state’s first cases of community transmission in more than a fortnight.

Here’s what we know.

The cluster likely started at Avalon RSL

That’s the theory NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant is working off until more evidence becomes available.

She has urged anyone who attended the club to be tested for coronavirus.

“Our working hypothesis is that someone at that RSL club was potentially the source of infection for a number of subsequent cases,” Dr Chant said.

Genomic testing results to confirm the infections’ origin are expected soon.

Authorities want to know if the Northern Beaches cases are linked to two original, earlier cases and an airport driver on the other side of Sydney who tested positive on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s two cases on Sydney’s Northern Beaches came just hours after the driver tested positive for the virus.

Dr Chant says rather than it be a case where the virus has been bubbling away in the community for some time, sewage testing suggests it is new.

“It gives me some assurance that it’s a recent introduction [because] sewage surveillance was negative on December 10,” she said.

Northern Beaches residents have been asked to stay at home

As contact tracers work to keep up with cases, NSW Health has urged all residents within the Northern Beaches local government area to stay at home.

Everyone living in the Northern Beaches area is being told to monitor for even the mildest of symptoms and come forward for testing immediately if they appear, then isolate until a negative result is received.

This is what we know about those who have tested positive this week

The cases include:

  • A 45-year-old South Sydney van driver who transports international airline staff to Sydney Airport. He felt sick on December 12 and got tested on Tuesday
  • A woman in her 60s
  • A man in his 70s
  • A 50-year-old staff member at the Pittwater Palms Retirement Village at Avalon
  • Her partner
  • A man in his 60s who lives at Frenchs Forest and is a member of a band which has been travelling extensively. The band performed at Avalon RSL on December 11
NSW authorities continue to urge people to get tested.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Almost all states and territories have imposed restrictions

Queensland has declared anyone who has been to Sydney’s Northern Beaches region on or since Friday December 11 and arrives in the state after 1:00am Saturday must go into hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense. It includes Queenslanders and visitors to Queensland.

Meanwhile, the WA Government announced that NSW would move from a “very low-risk” state classification to a “low-risk state” from Thursday night. From Friday, anyone arriving from NSW in WA will be required to self-quarantine in a suitable location for 14 days. The arrivals will also be required to be tested for COVID-19 on day 11 of their quarantine.

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) says anyone who has been in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney since December 11 should stay at home and get tested on Friday. It added they should stay at home until results were available and especially avoid visiting aged care facilities and hospitals.

Tasmania has declared the Northern Beaches LGA a hotspot, meaning anyone who has been in this area on or since Friday, December 11 will not be permitted to enter Tasmania at all.

The NT declared the Northern Beaches LGA as a hotspot effective from Friday, adding that anyone travelling to the NT from the Northern Beaches will have to undertake 14 days quarantine either in Alice Springs or Darwin.

The ACT Government advised all Canberrans not to travel to the Northern Beaches, saying anyone who had been in the area from Friday, December 11 needed to immediately self-quarantine and get tested.

Are other states considering restrictions?

That’s still up in the air.

The Victorian and South Australian governments say they are closely monitoring the situation in Sydney but are not going to close their borders just yet.

These are the current public health alerts in place

Those who attended the following locations should get tested immediately and self-isolate:

  • The Avalon RSL at any time on December 11
  • The Penrith RSL Club on December 13 from 1:00pm to 6:00pm
  • The Kirribilli Club on December 14 from 12:00pm to 3:00pm

Anyone who has attended the following additional venues is considered a close contact and should get tested and isolate for 14 days even if they receive a negative result:

  • Hungry Ghost Cafe, 20 Avalon Parade, Avalon on Sunday, December 13, 9:30am to 11:00am and Tuesday, December 15, 9:30am to 11:00am
  • Sneaky Grind Cafe, 3/48 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, on Monday, December 14, 9:30am to 11:00am
  • Barramee Thai Massage and Spa, 4/42-44 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, on Monday, December 14, 2:00pm to 3:30pm
  • Bangkok Sidewalk Restaurant, 1/21-23 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, on Monday, December 14, 7:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Avalon Bowlo (bowling club), 4 Bowling Green Ln, Avalon Beach, on Sunday, December 13, 5:00pm to 7:00pm and Tuesday, December 15, 3:00pm to 5:00pm
  • Palm Beach female change rooms on Sunday, December 13, 9:00am to 9:15am
  • Coast Palm Beach Cafe, Barrenjoey Rd, Palm Beach, on Sunday, December 13, 10:00am to 11:00am
A line of people stand outside a hospital.
Three temporary testing sites have been set up in addition to one at the Mona Vale Hospital.(ABC News)

People who have visited the following venues should get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result:

  • Bing Lee, Gateway, 1 Mona Vale Rd, Mona Vale, on Monday, December 14, 4:30pm to 4:45pm
  • Woolworths Avalon Beach, 74 Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, on Tuesday, December 15, 12:00pm to 12:30pm
  • Oliver’s Pie, Careel Shopping Village, 1 Careel Head Rd, Avalon Beach, on Monday, December 14, 9:00am to 9:15am
  • Woolworths Avalon Beach, 74 Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach on Sunday, December 13, 12:00pm to 5:00pm

A number of aged care homes on the Northern Beaches will be shut to visitors while authorities try to contain the outbreak.

A confirmed case also travelled between the following stations on 14 December at the following times. Other passengers are considered to be casual contacts, and should get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

  • Roseville to Redfern, 6.50-7.40am
  • Redfern to Milsons Point, 11.20am-11.45am
  • Milsons Point to Roseville, 3.15-3.40pm

Adults who were present at a Little Rangers session at Gannons Park have been asked to get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.

The details are:

  • Forest Rangers FC, Pindari Rd and Isaac St, Peakhurst, on Friday, December 11, 4:30pm to 5:30pm

They should continue to monitor for symptoms and, if any symptoms occur, get tested again.

Children who were present should be monitored for symptoms and get tested if any symptoms occur.



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NSW’s new luckiest Lotto postcodes


 

More instant millionaires were created in the NSW than any other region of Australia, with latest figures showing Lady Luck shone the brightest in western and southern Sydney last year.

While Victoria was home to the nation’s largest Lotto wins for a fifth year in a row, NSW and the ACT still created the most millionaires.

New data obtained by News Corp Australia has revealed where the nation’s luckiest Lotto hot spots and postcodes are, including the suburbs in each state and territory where the most division one winning entries are sold.

The data, taken within a 12-month period until November 30 by The Lott and Lotterywest, covers all games including Powerball, Oz Lotto, Tattslotto, Set for Life and Lotto.

The most division one winners in NSW were found in western Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Southern Sydney with 16 wins each totalling $64.8 million combined.

They were followed by the Hunter and Central Coast and Illawarra and South East NSW which had 12 wins each totalling $82.6 million.

Central and Northern Sydney had 11 wins totalling $72 million.

The new Lotto hot spots come ahead of Saturday Lotto’s $30 million Megadraw on January 2, 2021.

The Sydney CBD postcode of 2000 sold the most division one winning entries in the state, with three totalling more than $5.4 million.

Other lucky postcodes include 2166 for Cabramatta which had two wins totalling $2,2 million, 2170 for Liverpool which had two wins totalling $5.9 million, 2010 for Surry Hills and Darlinghurst and 2285 for Glendale which had two wins totalling $3 million each.

The postcode of 2750 for Penrith South and Penrith also had two wins totalling $2.5 million and 2604 for Kingston in Canberra had two wins totalling $1.69 million.

Mitchum Newsagency in Cabramatta and Nextra Glendale each sold two division one winning entries.

The new Lotto hot spots come ahead of Saturday Lotto’s $30 million Megadraw being held on January 2, 2021.

The Lott’s spokesperson Bronwyn Spencer said 2020’s hot spots would soon have a chance to

cement their reputations as a winning postcode or region.

“It will be interesting to see if division one wins from this draw – the biggest Saturday Lotto draw of the year – fall in any of 2020’s hot spots,” she said.

“While lottery wins can land anywhere, from time to time, we see pockets of wins in the same region or postcode emerge.

“This year we’ve seen a mix of hot spots, from bustling city centres to regional areas and smaller towns, proving that a winning hotspot can emerge anywhere across the country.”

Originally published as NSW’s new luckiest Lotto postcodes





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Emotional Blues star Angus Crichton echoes NSW’s anguish after loss


Angus Crichton comes to terms with a stunning series loss to Queensland.Credit:Getty

“It really hurts,” he said. “There’s no two ways about it. We’re all hurting at the moment. It was a good contest. It’s always a tough game and we’re going to go home, have a few beers and enjoy the end of the season.

“It’s been a really big year for a lot of us guys. The NRL has been under a microscope this year and the intensity … you’re always looking over your shoulder at the shopping centre [in case of a protocol breach].

“It was a whole different sort of year; everything has been amplified and intensified. Everyone is keen to put their feet up for a bit now.”

The Blues come to terms with a series loss to Queensland as the Maroons celebrate their win in Origin III.

The Blues come to terms with a series loss to Queensland as the Maroons celebrate their win in Origin III.Credit:Getty Images

The most difficult aspect for Crichton to compute was his feeling that the Blues were not only in the physical contest but always in the game, even when they were down 20-6 and forced to defend their line time and time again.

With Christian Welch returning, Kurt Capewell adding some grit to the edges and Lindsay Collins once again outstanding off the bench, the Maroons forwards were a different proposition from game two. But Crichton felt the Blues pack was at least their equal for most of the night.

“I still felt like we were on top through the forwards there; I still felt from the get-go that we had [won] those collisions, I felt we were winning that,” he said. “Just a few little slip-ups led to easy yards for them and all of a sudden they were attacking our line.

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“Throughout the whole game, I felt we were in it. Our defence was outstanding. We had a solid crack. They’ve got players like [Cameron] Munster and [Dane] Gagai that love bouncing back across the grain, that hurt us a bit.



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Reagan Campbell-Gillard admits bubble life drove him ‘crazy’, but he’s committed to NSW’s State of Origin campaign


“I am fully committed to NSW and I am never going to turn down an opportunity to play Origin,” Campbell-Gillard told The Sun-Herald.

“I spoke with Freddy [Fittler] last week after I made those comments before [Parramatta’s] semi-final. I told him how I felt and how my body was feeling and that was basically it.

“It’s been tough [living in the bubble]. It’s been tough for everyone. People from the outside looking in don’t realise how tough it has been for us and simply think we’re privileged to be playing this game.

“I get all that. I’m actually one of the luckier ones. Melbourne had to move to the Sunshine Coast, you had the Warriors [in Terrigal] and guys who trained all season and weren’t even playing.

“I saw MG’s comments. But try to put yourself in an NRL player’s shoes and you’d go crazy as well.

Reagan Campbell-Gillard has been a powerhouse for the Eels this season.Credit:Getty

“Football is the easy part. Living in the bubble has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, physically and mentally. It not only impacts on you but your loved ones. Going back into a bubble is not just hard on me but my partner.”

Campbell-Gillard and the Eels bombed out of the finals race last Saturday night. The players were forced to spend most of Sunday in lockdown before enjoying some freedom. A snapshot of normal life makes returning to a bubble even harder.

The Eels attended the Ken Thornett Medal presentation on Tuesday night and while plenty of beers have been enjoyed, Campbell-Gillard has also tried to catch up on eating out and seeing family with his partner, Alira.

He was driving to Newcastle on the weekend to see Alira’s relatives one last time before bunkering down with the Blues, including Parramatta teammates Junior Paulo, Clint Gutherson and Nathan Brown. Canberra’s Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric will also be added to the squad following the weekend’s matches.

Campbell-Gillard and the Eels started the year so well, but ran out of steam in the back half of the campaign. The 27-year-old said the second-half fade-outs were the main concern and something that was addressed during post-season reviews with coach Brad Arthur. Arthur’s long-term future has since come under the spotlight, but Campbell-Gillard described speculation about his tenure as “stupid”.

A former Panther, Campbell-Gillard said he did not want to comment on Penrith’s record run, but did admit: “I’m happy to see them going well and I’ve still got plenty of good friends there.”

Campbell-Gillard and Paulo were in superb form at different stages this season and produced some big minutes. Fittler saw enough that he left NSW stalwart David Klemmer out of his extended Blues squad.

Campbell-Gillard played just one Origin game in 2018 before he broke his jaw for Penrith in the lead-up to game two of the series.

Paulo, Campbell-Gillard, Brown, Payne Haas, Daniel Saifiti and even Jake Trbojevic will push for front row spots in the Origin opener on November 4, where both teams will fly in and out on the same day.

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Berejiklian’s mistake strengthened NSW’s toxic swamp of self-interest


We thought Gladys Berejiklian was one of the good ones. But her personal decisions reinforced the entrenched NSW culture of sordid, self-interest deals.

(Images: AAP/Erik Anderson; AAP/Joel Carrett)

It’s sad that a politician as competent and hard-working as Gladys Berejiklian now finds herself forever tarnished by her association with spiv — and allegedly worse — Daryl Maguire. Berejiklian herself did nothing wrong and wouldn’t have gained anything by Maguire’s ever-more convoluted efforts to pay off his debts and land a big score. “Pie in the sky,” she called them.

But Berejiklian’s sin is not what she did, but what she tolerated and, to an extent, enabled: the toxic “Games of Mates” politics of NSW.

Games of Mates is the on-the-money term devised by Cameron Murray and Paul Frijters to describe how shonks and spivs — in the guise of property developers, miners, bankers and other business people — exploit political and bureaucratic connections to tilt the regulatory field in their favour.

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Josh Morris won’t answer NSW’s Origin SOS as he looks for a break from the NRL bubble


Sydney Roosters centre Josh Morris won‘t come out of Origin retirement to help the Blues, saying he can’t wait to leave the NRL bubble and see his family over the off-season break.

Morris’ name has come into Origin calculations following concern over Tom Trbojevic’s shoulder and hamstring injuries.

As much as the veteran back would love to add to his 15 games for the Blues, he says he is ready for a recharge following a gruelling shortened season.

Asked if he would answer Brad Fittler’s SOS to return to the Origin arena for this November’s series, Morris bluntly replied: “No.”

“Mate, I’m over this bubble, and I can’t wait to get out of it and see my extended family and catch up with mates.

“I’ve had my time in the Origin arena and I really enjoyed last year, but I think there are plenty of young fellas coming up now that deserve their chance.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how they go as well.”

Morris has loved his maiden season with the Roosters, especially the chance to play alongside his brother Brett, but he says the bubble has been a mental challenge.

It’s why he believes it’s vital that the players have a chance to break free from the bubble over the off-season.

“I think it is going to be very important,” he said.

“We’ve been under pretty strict rules, and a lot of these fellas have extended family that they haven’t seen for a very long time.

“I really feel for the young fellas who live away from their families or the single fellas not being able to have that interaction with people.

“It is just going to be good to get away from football in what has been a difficult year for everyone.

“To be able to spend some time with family and get mentally and physically fresh to be able to tackle that 2021 season.”

Depending on the impact of the coronavirus, NRL clubs may be forced to re-enter bubbles for the resumption of the pre-season and the 2021 season.

But Morris isn’t worried if he must return to an isolation set-up to resume the year.

“I think the break will be enough,” he said.

“And it is pretty uncertain, and we don’t know what is going to happen with COVID.

“I think everyone is looking forward to getting out of it (the bubble), but if we have to go back into it then we’ve been prepared already for it.

“We’ll just have to get used to it again.”



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