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Years of Audi
2009 28-PAGE GUIDE
FI Fk£¥l£W81£kMFk0FlL£S£h1£k1klhM£h100l0£
ISSN 0312-6307
9 770312 630059
MELBOURNE The chance of a shower in the
morning then a mainly sunny afternoon. Winds
south to south-westerly at 15 to 25 km/h
tending south to south-easterly in the evening.
Min 13 Max 20
TOMORROWSunny Min 10 Max 25
SUNDAY Sunny Min 11 Max 26
MONDAY Partly cloudy Min 12 Max 25
TUESDAY Partly cloudy Min 13 Max 26
Details PAGE 17
A couple in Lincoln, England, who went to see a play billed
as capable of making you ‘‘laugh until they throw you out’’
were thrown out for laughing. The couple were told they
were ejected fromBouncers for ‘‘laughing at moments that
weren’t funny, kicking the seats in front and being loud’’.
Minister snared inspyrow
Fitzgibbon admits failing
to disclose China travel
Helen Liu
toasting China’s
former premier
Li Peng, in
Sydney in 2002.
Former prime
minister Gough
Whitlam sits to
the left.
Ms Liu with
the then vice-
foreign minister,
Li Zhaoxing, in
Beijing’s Great
Hall of the
Ms Liu with
then foreign
minister Tang
Jiaxuan in
Defence Minister
Joel Fitzgibbon yesterday.
Continued PAGE 4
Michelle Grattan comment PAGE 4
THE career of Defence Minister
Joel Fitzgibbon was in grave
doubt last night after he admit-
ted failing to disclose taking two
trips to China paid for by the
businesswoman at the centre of
a spying scandal in his depart-
Mr Fitzgibbon late last night
conceded that he had failed to
declare the trips to Parliament as
required and had misled the
Australian public earlier in the
day by saying he had received
only ‘‘very small gifts’’.
He was forced to make a pub-
lic apology by Deputy Prime
Minister Julia Gillard, who
issued a statement saying she
had ‘‘full confidence’’ in Mr
As the political crisis over Mr
Fitzgibbon’s links to Helen Liu
deepened following revelations
in yesterday’s Age, more details
emerged about her links to
senior Chinese officials.
Ms Liu is believed to have
been mentioned in secret
reporting by Australian intelli-
gence officers.
Intelligence officials in Can-
berra have noted Sydney-based
Ms Liu’s business activities and
contact with senior Chinese
Government officials in the
course of monitoring Chinese
activity in Australia.
Mr Fitzgibbon said Ms Liu
paid for two trips — to Beijing
and Shanghai in 2002, and to
Shanghai in 2005 — that he had
failed to declare as an oppo-
sition MP on the register of
members’ interests. ‘‘I failed to
declare those trips. This was a
mistake and for that I apolo-
gise,’’ he said in a statement.
Earlier yesterday his spokes-
man had said: ‘‘The minister has
not accepted any gifts that
would require a declaration on
the members’ interest register.’’
Ms Gillard, who is acting
Prime Minister while Kevin
Rudd is in America, said that
when Mr Fitzgibbon had advised
her of the gifts, she sought and
received an assurance that he
would apologise. ‘‘The acting
Prime Minister accepted this
assurance and expressed her full
confidence in the Minister for
In addition to the trips, Mr
Fitzgibbon said he received a
suit from Ms Liu last year —
when he was Defence Minister
— which he returned within sev-
eral weeks.
Earlier this week, The Age
asked Mr Fitzgibbon’s office if he
had ever received gifts such as a
handmade Italian suit from Ms
Liu. His spokesperson replied
that the families had exchanged
only small, personal gifts at
birthdays and Christmas.
The Age revealed yesterday
that Defence officials had con-
ducted a covert investigation
into Mr Fitzgibbon’s relationship
with Ms Liu, a friend of 16 years.
Officials from Defence’s intel-
ligence and security areas
believe Mr Fitzgibbon’s decision
to sub-let a Canberra residence
from Ms Liu is a potential secur-
ity risk.
As part of the covert probe
into the minister’s private affairs,
it has been alleged a Defence
Signals Directorate officer acces-
sed Mr Fitzgibbon’s office IT
systems and found Ms Liu’s
banking details.
A 2002 report by the Hong
Kong-based World Federation of
Chinese Associations was glow-
ing in its praise of Ms Liu for
keeping Chinese officials abreast
of political developments in
Australia. The report said she
had good relations with Austra-
lian politicians and ‘‘accurately
passed new Australian policies
and moves towards China to rel-
evant domestic parties’’.
Ms Liu’s lawyer, Donald Junn,
declined to answer questions
about whether his client had any
connections to the Chinese Gov-
ernment or its intelligence agen-
cies. Ms Liu could not be
‘‘They (Defence officials)
would be the first to know that
you have to have some firmindi-
cation, if not direct evidence, to
make what is a most serious alle-
gation,’’ Mr Junn said.
In a series of dramatic
developments yesterday:
■ Defence Department secretary
Nick Warner announced that the
Defence Security Authority
would investigate whether
officials had conducted a covert
inquiry into Mr Fitzgibbon.
■ Opposition Leader Malcolm
Turnbull demanded an inquiry
by the Inspector-General of
Intelligence Security and called
on Mr Rudd to sack Mr Fitzgib-
bon, saying his relationship with
his department was broken.
■ Mr Fitzgibbon said his plans to
reform the Defence Department
may have prompted elements in
the department to spy on him.
■ Questioned by reporters in
Washington, Mr Rudd said he
was not aware of Ms Liu’s friend-
ship with Mr Fitzgibbon but
would not comment further
until the Defence inquiry was
concluded. He said it was not
unusual for tension to exist
between defence ministers and
their departments.
Helen Liu:
a generous
ally of the
Continued PAGE 4
HELENLiu, the Chinese Austra-
lian businesswoman at the
centre of the scandal engulfing
Defence Minister Joel Fitzgib-
bon and his department, is
known in China as one of their
most generous philanthropists.
She is also well connected,
having rubbed shoulders with
senior Chinese leaders includ-
ing former premier Li Peng.
A website for expatriate
Chinese reported that Ms Liu
kept good relations with Austra-
lian politicians and ‘‘accurately
passed newAustralian policies
and moves towards China to rel-
evant domestic parties’’.
It also praised Ms Liu as
someone who ‘‘has always held
the interests of her motherland
first’’ during her overseas visits.
Ms Liu was the single largest
donor in the early relief efforts
after last year’s Sichuan earth-
quake, handing over 30 million
yuan ($A6.3 million) and 6000
tents, according to the Sichuan
Charity Federation as reported
in the state-owned China News
online service.
Other Chinese reports say Ms
Liu donated tens of millions of
yuan to other causes, including
cultural organisations in the
conflict-riven provinces of Tibet
and Xinjiang.
Ms Liu appears to have
amassed her wealth through
real estate and resources
investments in Australia and in
her home province of
Chinese reports say Liu
Haiyan, her Chinese name, built
her fortune without official
For many, things never been better
Riding out the stormPAGE 3
DESPITE talk of recession and
worldwide financial crisis, Aus-
tralia’s Reserve Bank believes
many of us have never been
better off.
It backs its claim with stat-
istics in its half-yearly Financial
Stability Review, though it notes
that retirees are an exception.
The real after-tax incomes of
households on wages have
jumped 10 per cent in the past
year — more than double the
usual rate.
The bank says the December
stimulus payments were
responsible for much of the rise,
along with tax changes in the
middle of last year.
For households with interest
bills, things are even better. The
bank says the ratio of interest
payments to disposable
incomes has fallen from 15 per
cent to 11 per cent and is set to
fall further, undoing five years of
growth. The bank also notes that
petrol prices are down.
Household wealth has fallen
about 10 per cent in the year,
with the biggest blow being
tumbling share prices, which
are down about 50 per cent. By
contrast, house prices are down
just 4 per cent.
But the bank says most of the
share price pain has been felt by
the wealthiest 20 per cent of
households, most of which are
still on good wages ‘‘and so are
likely to have other sources of
income to offset the decline in
the value of their financial
assets’’. On the other hand, the
downturn has been dire for reti-
rees not receiving benefits. The
bank says many will have lost
half their sharemarket wealth,
‘‘most likely resulting in a large
fall in their available income’’.
About half of Australia’s top 200
companies have cut their
dividends, about a quarter of
them by more than 50 per cent.
The bank is unconcerned by
talk of people having trouble
paying mortgages, reporting
that across the millions of home
loans in Australia only 20,000
are more than three months
behind. While this is an increase
of 7000 on the year before, it
remains minuscule by foreign
In only one region of Victoria
are there more than 2000 home
loans in arrears — the Latrobe
Valley — and even there the
arrears rate is below 1 per cent.
Separately, the bank’s head of
economic analysis, Anthony
Richards, told a housing confer-
ence he was not concerned
about a jump in arrears when
mortgage rates eventually
began to climb.
‘‘Our discussions with banks
indicate that they are indeed
testing the ability of borrowers
to continue servicing their loans
if interest rates were to rise,’’ he
said. ‘‘No doubt, as at any time,
some of the loans being written
now will turn sour.
‘‘However, overall, I suspect
that the risk of non-performing
loans increasing to the extent
seen in the United States is low.’’
The Reserve says business bor-
rowers have also benefited, with
big businesses enjoying rates 3.7
points lower on average and
small businesses paying rates
2.3 points lower.
Cousins hurt in comeback
Cousins leaves the ground injured.
Continued PAGE 2
Full reports SPORT
IT WAS the redeemer versus
the redeemed on opening
night, and the redeemer won
handsomely. Chris Judd led
Carlton one further step out of
the wilderness, Richmond led
Ben Cousins a further step out
of his wilderness. But it
became a step too far when in
the last quarter, Cousins
appeared to strain a hamstring
and limped from the ground.
Carlton full-forward
Brendan Fevola, who had been
pursuing him, now went to
him to place a consoling hand
on his shoulder. It was a miser-
able moment on a miserable
night for the Tigers.
In the prelude to this match,
football’s ruling paradigm had
been momentarily subverted;
two men had become bigger
than the game. It wasn’t for
long. If the clash of the former
West Coast superstars was the
talking point before the game,
the abject failure of Richmond
to live up to its billing was the
topic afterwards. In one
horrible performance, the
Tigers surrendered much of the
momentum that they had pub-
licly built up in the off-season.
The result was a reminder
that expectations are one thing,
fulfilment another — as if
Richmond fans did not know
already. It was also a reminder
that for all the hype, Cousins is
only one man. He is not the
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functions, conferences, meetings or business retreats that are open now. If your
business has an upcoming function, visit
or phone 1800 726 544 for bookings and more information.
FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2009
YOUNG AT HEART: Having made it onto the walls of the NGV, some of our
brightest young talents are forging futures beyond the artistic framework.
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A photograph published in
yesterday’s Age with an obituary of
former unionist Laurie Short was
said to show Mr Short with his late
wife Nancy Borlese. In fact, the man
in the photo was the late Sydney
industrialist Franco Belgiorno-Nettis.
The Age apologises for the mistake,
which was made in production.
It is the policy of The Age to correct all
significant errors as soon as possible. The
Age is committed to presenting information
fairly and accurately.
Airmail record-breaker
AN ENVELOPE believed to be the
earliest known airmail item addres-
sed to Australia has sold at auction
for a record price of more than
$190,000. The envelope, or so-
called balloon post cover, was
flown out of Paris in 1870 by hot air
balloon. It was addressed to a
French millinery importing business
in George Street, Sydney.
After a valuation of $50,000, the
envelope was sold to a French
buyer for $190,800 at an auction
by Mowbray Collectables in Sydney
Mowbray’s NSW manager Danny
Jurd said the sale had set a record
for any philatelic item sold in Aus-
tralia. He said the envelope was the
only one of its kind addressed to
Australia, making it the earliest
known letter sent here by any form
of airmail.
Law firm appointed
CORRS Chambers Westgarth
solicitors have been appointed to
assist the Victorian Bushfires Royal
The lawyers will instruct counsel
assisting the commission when for-
mal proceedings begin next month.
Royal commission chief executive
Jane Brockington said the appoint-
ment followed a six-week selection
Counsel assisting the commis-
sion will be led by Jack Rush, SC,
who was involved in the recent
HMAS Sydney commission of
A preliminary hearing for the
Bushfires Royal Commission, led by
Justice Bernard Teague, will be held
at the County Court in Melbourne
on April 20. People wanting to
appear have until 4pm on April 9 to
Barbaro linked to two murder plots
Cameraman hurt in court scuffle
■ Pasquale Barbaro is to be
questioned about two murder
■ A second man, Francesco
Madafferi, was remanded
after a court appearance.
Pasquale Barbaro was a co-
conspirator in two murder plots
uncovered after an inquiry into
a big drug importation, Purana
detectives have alleged.
Drama unfolded outside the
Melbourne Magistrates Court
yesterday after Francesco
Madafferi was remanded in cus-
tody after being charged with
conspiracy to murder in relation
to the murder plots. Tensions
erupted and a cameraman was
smacked in the mouth during a
confrontation with the green-
grocer’s family.
Madafferi, 48, was arrested
on Wednesday after leaving
the court, where he appeared
with 23 co-accused, including
Barbaro, over money-
laundering and drug charges
following the seizure of 15 mil-
lion ecstasy tablets from Italy in
June 2007.
A second man, Rob Karam,
arrested outside court on Wed-
nesday in connection to the
murder plots, was released later
that night, pending further
Madafferi’s family was cir-
cled by media crews as they left
the court yesterday. A teenager
from the family lunged forward,
punching a cameraman in the
mouth while another camera-
man was spat on during a wrest-
ling match on the footpath.
Madafferi’s charge sheet left
no doubts that the gangland
taskforce also had alleged gang-
land kingpin Barbaro in its
sights. It said that between June
18 and July 26, 2008, Madafferi
‘‘did conspire together with
Pasquale Barbaro and others to
murder a person’’.
Detectives confirmed yester-
day that they will formally ques-
tion Barbaro soon about his
involvement in the alleged plan-
ned hits.
Barbaro, of Griffith, NSW, is
in jail facing multiple drug
charges, including the launder-
ing of $7.4 million. At least five
people are believed to be linked
to the alleged murder plots.
Before yesterday’s footpath
scuffle, Costas Kilias, for Madaf-
feri, told the court there were
concerns about his client’s men-
tal health. He said Madafferi had
been suicidal and depressed,
and on long-term medication.
Mr Kilias said his client had
spent almost two years in cus-
tody on immigration matters
and had been in psychiatric care
for nine months of that time,
five months voluntarily.
‘‘He is experiencing enor-
mous strain through being
incarcerated,’’ Mr Kilias said.
Prosecutor Stephen Payne
told the court that Madafferi’s
conspiracy to murder charge
followed an inquiry into the
importing of a large quantity of
drugs. He said police had stud-
ied 220 volumes of material
relating to telephone intercepts
and listening devices during the
Madafferi was remanded
until September 7.
Cousins hurt on the road to redemption
A record crowd for a Carlton-Richmond game of 86,972 turned out for the opener to AFL season 2009. PICTURE: REBECCA HALLAS
FromPAGE 1
Messiah, just a very naughty
(but reforming) boy.
The crowd was 86,972, an
all-time record for a Carlton-
Richmond match and nudging
the record for any first-round
match. Doubtlessly, many were
there on account of Cousins
and Judd, but many also came
because of a sense of longing.
It has been a rugged year; it
needed a stage on which
dreams might be rekindled,
and for the second time this
month, the MCG provided it.
So it was that this opening
match took on a life of its own.
Public sentiment overwhelmed
Channel 10, which altered its
schedule to show it live.
‘‘Ben Cousins takes on Chris
Judd in one of the most antici-
pated matches of the season,’’
exclaimed one promotion. If
the football world had lavished
any more attention on Cousins,
you would have had to call it
nepotism. Everyone was in on
the act. A press release arrived
yesterday announcing gluten-
free pies at the MCG, better for
The match was swamped by
hyperbole, yet the yearning
was unmistakable. The football
season could not come too
But for Richmond, it was
too soon. Cousins had his first
touch within 10 seconds, and
Matthew Richardson had the
first shot at goal of the season
within a minute; predictably, it
hit the post. Somewhere, an
echo could be heard. Carlton’s
first four goals came from
Richmond mistakes. By half-
time, the Blues had 13 and led
by seven. Three were kicked by
Jarrad Waite, who was playing
full-back on Richardson, three
more by Mitch Robinson, a
Lance Whitnall lookalike
playing his first game. Fevola
kicked two, but one was
miraculous, lashed out of mid-
air, like a soccer striker. By
midway through the second
quarter, the Richmond fans
were bronx cheering some of
their own.
Cousins began at half-
forward, from which outpost
he could sometimes impose
himself on the game, but not
shape it. In the first quarter
alone, he had six opponents,
reflecting the dynamics of the
modern game. One was first-
gamer Aaron Joseph, who
announced himself with a
series of bumps, shoves and
nudges. Cousins was unfazed;
beside what has assailed him
in the past 18 months, these
were love taps.
Cousins darted here and
there, searching for touch and
timing. In a soundly thrashed
side, it was never going to be
easy. Half a dozen times he
slithered through the play in
his silky old way; his instincts
had not dulled. But Judd had a
much more profound bearing
on the match. As the game
skittered away from Richmond,
Cousins was moved onto the
ball, unavailingly.
The second half was more
of the first. Eddie Betts’ three
third-quarter goals stretched
the margin to 10, at which
point Richmond fans began
making for the exits that
merely two hours earlier had
been Pearly Gates. Judd shook
Daniel Jackson’s tag to domi-
nate in this quarter. He and
Cousins met only once on the
night, when Cousins was
dispossessed in a tackle and
the ball fell to Judd, who
scooted away with it, so
characterising their contrasting
fates on the night.
Everything in football is a
cycle. In this fixture 12 months
ago, Judd made his first
appearance as Carlton’s
saviour, but Richmond won. It
is the hope to which the Tigers
must cling now.
Catholic Church officials bypass rebel priest for talks with his flock
IN A bid to break the stalemate
with sacked rebel priest Peter
Kennedy, the Catholic hierarchy
in Brisbane is negotiating
directly with representatives of
his parish.
Father Kennedy is refusing to
hand over the keys to St Mary’s
Church to the new adminis-
trator, despite being sacked last
month for unorthodox prac-
tices. He has also refused to
engage in mediation with Bris-
bane Archbishop John Bath-
ersby, conducted by former high
court justice Ian Callinan.
To keep the stoush out of the
courts, the Brisbane Archdio-
cese is now trying to negotiate a
peace deal with the St Mary’s
community. Members of the
church’s parish council have
agreed to mediation with the
church’s incoming adminis-
trator, Father Ken Howell.
The talks, held yesterday,
were aimed at working out how
to manage the transition to the
new administration.
‘‘There is a willingness on the
part of some members of the
parish council to participate in
mediation,’’ the chancellor of
the Brisbane Archdiocese,
Father Adrian Farrelly, said.
‘‘I see it as a positive step in
the ongoing life of the parish
and hopefully good things come
from it.’’
Archbishop Bathersby sac-
ked Father Kennedy last month
for being ‘‘out of communion’’
with the church. The contro-
versial priest openly defies the
Vatican by allowing women to
preach, blessing gays, conduct-
ing unorthodox sacraments and
denying the Virgin birth.
After Father Kennedy pulled
out of mediation last week,
Father Farrelly warned that the
Archbishop had ‘‘no option
other than to consult with the
Archdiocesan legal advisors to
facilitate the handover of St
Mary’s administration through
the proper legal processes’’.
racist slur
A PRIMARY school assistant
principal who denies she was
racist towards a South African-
born teacher broke down yes-
terday as she said all she ever
wanted was to help her accuser.
Fiona Dickie, who is of Zulu
and Anglo heritage, is suing the
Education Department and
Fran Van Lambaart, an assistant
principal of Lynbrook Primary
School, over an alleged cam-
paign of racism that she says
contributed to her nervous
‘‘All I ever wanted was to help
her and help her succeed in her
role,’’ a tearful Ms Van Lambaart
told the Victorian Civil and
Administrative Tribunal.
‘‘For two years I have had this
question mark over my head . . .
and I’ve had to hold my head up
high while these questions con-
tinue against me.’’
School principal Russell
Gascoigne wiped away tears as
Ms Van Lambaart told the tri-
bunal the damage done to her
health, family and school by the
‘‘awful’’ allegations was
Ms Dickie had told the tri-
bunal she was shocked and
offended that Ms Van Lambaart
had once referred to her as a
Negro. But Ms Van Lambaart
said she was only compliment-
ing her looks and Ms Dickie had
seemed pleased.
‘‘I said to Fiona, ‘You look
lovely today, you remind me of
that Negro Australian singer,
Marcia Hines,’ ’’ Ms Van
Lambaart said.
Jennifer Firkin, for the
department, later submitted: ‘‘A
reference to any race in and of
itself is not discriminatory . . .
it’s the context of the use of the
word that is critical.’’
Ms Van Lambaart said that
when Ms Dickie told her a dark-
coloured student had called his
dark-coloured classmate ‘‘nig-
ger’’, her response — ‘‘has he
looked in the mirror?’’ — was
purely ironic.
‘‘If a red-haired child called a
red-haired child a carrot top, I
would have said the same
thing,’’ Ms Van Lambaart said.
‘‘That word (nigger) is absol-
utely not appropriate. I would
never use that word.’’
Tribunal senior member
Noreen Megay reserved her
ABOUT 10 per cent of people
refuse to sign up for organ
donation because they do not
trust doctors and think it will
hasten their death, research
A Queensland University of
Technology survey of more than
900 people found that about 90
of them did not want to sign the
organ donation register because
they were concerned about the
‘‘If they signed up to the
register, they thought it would
mean their life would end more
quickly and that they would not
receive proper medical care,’’
researcher Melissa Hyde said.
Some of these people also
mentioned that they did not like
the idea of being cut open or
giving their organs to someone
The finding comes as the
Federal Government continues
to roll out its $136 million organ
donation reform package to lift
donation rates. The package
includes an education
It also follows a Melbourne
doctor’s criticism last year of the
lack of information given to
Australians about organ
donation and the procedures.
In an article published in the
Journal of Law and Medicine,
Associate Professor James Tib-
balls said that not all organ
donors were truly dead when
their organs were taken and that
some interventions to ensure
the viability of organs could
harm or cause the death of a
The senior intensive care
physician at the Royal Children’s
Hospital also called for a par-
ticular test of brain function to
be made mandatory to ensure
all function had ceased before
donation occurred.
Associate Professor Tibballs’
arguments received the backing
of another doctor at the time,
but the Australian and New Zea-
land Intensive Care Society’s
committee on organ and tissue
donation rejected Dr Tibballs’
views and said Australians
should rest assured they would
be dead if their organs were
Ms Hyde said she did not
think the 10 per cent of people
who did not want to become
donors were uneducated about
the process, but rather had a set
of beliefs that could not be
‘‘There are always going to
people who are not comfortable
with medical procedures or are
distrustful,’’ she said.
“It’s vital, rude, smart,
irresistibly funny and
passionately performed.
Don’t miss it”
“It’s a very funny
show extremely
Enjoy it!”
ISSN 0312-6307
9 770312 630011
MELBOURNE Partly cloudy. Isolated showers.
Isolated thunderstorms from noon. South to
south-easterly winds averaging up to 25 km/h
tending southerly.
Min 21 Max 29
TOMORROWDrizzle clearing Min 21 Max 29
WEDNESDAY Morning cloud Min 20 Max 31
THURSDAY Morning cloud Min 20 Max 31
FRIDAY Morning cloud Min 19 Max 30
Details PAGE 17
The half-brother of US President Barack Obama has been
arrested for alleged possession of marijuana near his home
in Nairobi, police said. George Obama, who is in his 20s
and barely knows the President, had one joint on him, they
said. George Obama is scheduled in court tomorrow.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2009 $1.50
Breathtaking. Aclassic. It’s Rafa in five sets, after midnight
An elated, exhausted Rafael Nadal savours his victory today over Roger Federer in the men’s singles final of the Australian Open. PICTURE: SEBASTIAN COSTANZO
Continued PAGE 2
Full Open wrap SPORT
THE king no longer holds court;
long live the king. Rafael Nadal
became the first Spaniard to win
the Australian Open champion-
ship last night when he outlas-
ted his arch-rival Roger Federer
in the first five-set final at Mel-
bourne Park since 1988, its year
of opening. It did not finish until
after midnight.
Nadal nowhas beaten
Federer in three different major
championships, on three differ-
ent surfaces, in three countries,
all in the past year. He is win-
ning majors at a faster rate than
Federer at the same age, faster
than anyone except Bjorn Borg.
Last night he denied Federer a
record-equalling 14th major
championship, and might never
let himwin it. He has extended
his lead over Federer as the
No. 1 player in the world.
But that was only the half of
it. This was the victory of the top
seed over the second, the new
favourite over the perennial, the
best player of the moment over,
perhaps, the best player ever,
the left-hander over the right;
strategically, this was telling.
It was the victory of a man
whose racquet appeared to be
strung with fencing wire over
the man whose racquet was
strung with silk. It was the vic-
tory of a man who refuses to be
beaten over one who never is.
It was the victory of one
champion over another.
Sport is rarely so poetic as to
allowfor a reprise of the Wim-
bledon epic played by this pair
last July, nor even an encore of
Friday night’s Nadal/Verdasco
semi-final prizefight. This time
it did; it produced the perfectly
pitched climax.
This was the seventh time
this duo has played in a major
championship final; there was
nothing about either that could
surprise the other. So their
match was played in a kind of
strategic matrix, each circling
the other, each seeking to play
to his strength and shield his
weakness. Federer searched for
miniscule openings on his fore-
hand, Nadal for angles and tra-
But these are champions,
whose strengths are indestruc-
tible and whose weaknesses are
merely lesser strengths. If it
seemed there was nothing
Nadal couldn’t do, it also
seemed there was nothing that
Nadal couldn’t do that Federer
couldn’t do.
In the semi-finals, Federer
thrashed career-long straight
man Andy Roddick. After it,
Roddick predicted that if
Schools to face strike teams
Teachers could be moved
Ratio in a class of its own PAGE 4
‘‘STRIKE teams’’ will be sent into
Victorian schools to identify
weaknesses and demand change,
under a State Government bid to
boost the performance of the
public education system.
Principals and teachers who
fail to lift their game could be
removed from their school
under Education Minister
Bronwyn Pike’s push for schools
to be more accountable.
As children return to school
today, the Government will
embark on a wave of changes
designed to create stronger
leadership in schools, a greater
culture of expectations for
students and more transparency
for parents.
Under the changes, the Gov-
ernment has appointed an army
of education officers — mostly
former principals and teachers
— whose job will be to enter
schools, analyse their student
performance data, identify
strengths and weaknesses, and
develop improvement plans.
Ms Pike told The Age the 70
‘‘regional network leaders’’
would oversee about 20 state
schools each.
In some cases, for example,
schools with low literacy and
numeracy results could be given
resources to introduce new
support programs for their
In other cases, schools may
be asked to enter into shared
teaching arrangements with
neighbouring schools, or
restructure their senior staffing
But in an approach that is
likely to prove contentious,
principals and teachers who
consistently fail to improve
could ultimately be ‘‘moved on’’.
‘‘I believe that every child
can learn and make progress, so
if schools, for a range of reasons,
don’t want to embrace the
opportunities that we are now
providing for them — the
enhanced leadership training,
the professional development,
the extra resources — then they
will be accountable,’’ Ms Pike
The regional network leaders
are a central plank of the State
Government’s education blue-
print — a five-year plan to raise
the bar across Victoria’s edu-
cation system.
In an interview with The Age
to mark the start of the 2009
school year, Ms Pike said the
Government would spend the
next 12 months initiating some
of the key changes contained in
the blueprint.
The immediate priorities
■ Developing a new perform-
ance pay system for Victorian
teachers, with possible models
to be created over the next few
months and trialled in schools
from next year.
■ Setting up the Victorian
version of the ‘‘Teach For
America’’ scheme, in which
high-flying non-teaching
graduates are recruited to work
in some of the toughest schools.
■ Creating a newstrategy to help
the large number of homeless
students attending school.
■ Bringing in a new maths and
science strategy to get more
students to study these subjects
and improve their skills.
■ Working on a new partnership
with the Federal Government to
improve the transition of school
students to further education or
Victorian Association of State
Secondary Principals president
Brian Burgess said the regional
network leaders resembled
overseas models whereby
inspectors scrutinise schools
and demand change.
While he did not oppose the
initiative, Mr Burgess described
the changes as too much of a
‘‘top-down-approach’’ to school
Asked how teachers felt
about the new system, Austra-
lian Education Union state
president Mary Bluett said ‘‘the
jury is still out’’.
‘‘There are real concerns out
there that their contracts will
depend on the degree to which
they drive change,’’ Ms Bluett
‘‘So there’s a sense that the
pressure is on them to identify
and produce outcomes in what
might be an unrealistic period
of time for schools, and some
fear that the pressure to lift
outcomes will result in (regional
network leaders) imposing their
will on schools, rather than
working with them.’’
children to
grow fat
is child
abuse, a
As tens of thousands
of students go back to
school this morning,
Connex is conceding it
may be short of working
trains to carry the
additional load.
Swan talks up deficit we had to have, as budget sheds $50bn more
How low should RBA go? PAGE 4
TREASURER Wayne Swan has
officially confirmed the budget
is plunging into ‘‘inevitable’’
deficit, with the global recession
slashing $50 billion off company
tax revenue over four years.
The Government will
announce a big spend on infra-
structure in its imminent stimu-
lus package. Temporary and
targeted tax breaks and help for
the jobless are among other
initiatives on the table.
The Reserve Bank will give
the economy a boost tomorrow
with a rate cut, with predictions
of 75-125 basis points.
The International Monetary
Fund at the weekend strongly
endorsed Australia going into
deficit, after warning the econ-
omy was likely to go into
recession in 2009.
Mr Swan told Channel Nine:
‘‘You’ll see a very big hit to our
budget bottom line’’ as a result
of the unwinding of the mining
boom and the global recession,
which meant it was inevitable
Australia would have a ‘‘tempor-
ary budget deficit’’.
‘‘It is actually the medicine
the country needs to deal with
the impact of this global
recession, which is impacting
upon growth and jobs.’’
It appears the budget will
remain in deficit over the four-
year forward estimate cycle.
The latest write-down is on
top of a $40 billion cut in general
revenue estimates in November.
Mr Swan quashed any pros-
pect of ‘‘generalised’’ tax cuts,
but refused to rule out more lim-
ited cuts for low-income
With the Treasurer stressing
the deficit will be ‘‘temporary’’,
the Government has been
exploring temporary tax breaks
that would enable the budget to
be brought back into balance
more quickly.
Assistant Treasurer Chris
Bowen said: ‘‘The budget will
be in deficit for as long as it takes
to ensure robust growth.’’
Victoria can expect signifi-
cant funding for major projects.
Premier John Brumby discussed
Victorian health, transport, edu-
cation and sports projects with
the Prime Minister last week.
The division chief of the IMF’s
Asia and Pacific Department, Ray
Brooks, told The Age the IMF was
now forecasting minus 0.2 per
cent Australian growth in 2009,
down from its November predic-
tion of 2.2 per cent growth. The
IMF is urging the Government to
go into deficit, if that is what is
needed to reach the IMF’s
recommended level of fiscal
stimulus: about 2 per cent of a
nation’s GDP.
Opposition Leader Malcolm
Turnbull, asked whether a
budget deficit was a good move,
said the crucial thing would be
‘‘the quality of the spending’’.
Government and Opposition
accused each other of economic
illiteracy about tax cuts. Shadow
treasurer Julie Bishop told Sky
there should be ‘‘broad and
sweeping tax cuts that will
increase the tax base and
increase tax revenues’’.
Mr Bowen said this was
‘‘voodoo economics’’, but Ms
Bishop said the Government did
not understand fundamental
principles about the economic
gains from reducing tax rates.
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HOW GREEN IS YOUR FOOTPRINT? We know it’s important to recycle and save
water, but what about the nuts and bolts of environmentally friendly life?
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Gas 11%
2009to date: 9.557 million tonnes
2008same time: 7.588 million tonnes
Meet Larissa Dubecki,
your fearless
new food critic.
I She brings you
scenes news
about Melbourne
and Victorian
restaurants and
the people who
run them.
I Don’t miss the
first of her weekly
restaurant reviews.
All in Epicure
In Epicure tomorrow
Police hunt arsonist as fire threat eases
POLICE and fire investigators
are certain an arsonist is
responsible for blazes in the
Latrobe Valley that have
destroyed at least 29 homes —
the worst fire-related property
loss in a decade.
Authorities have suspected
since Friday that an arsonist was
responsible for the fires because
spot fires were starting too far
away from the main blaze to
have originated from wind-
borne embers.
Police are certain a firebug
has been active and have
appealed to the public for infor-
‘‘It’s clearly very dangerous;
we’ve lost houses, properties
and we’re probably very lucky
we didn’t have any serious injur-
ies or fatalities,’’ Sergeant Craig
Gye told Channel Nine last
So far, 6385 hectares has
been burnt and at least 29
homes, 64 sheds, five cars and a
piggery have been destroyed.
The full extent of the damage
will not be known until fire-
fighters are able to gain access
to all the locations the fire hit.
Most of the homes destroyed are
in the tiny town of Boolarra.
The threat to large electricity
transmission lines and an open
cut coal mine subsided early
yesterday morning with cooler
conditions coming through the
region. Three-quarters of the
state’s power is supplied from
the region.
The fires are largely
contained but authorities
remain watchful for spot fires.
Meanwhile, fire-spotting
planes were used to scour areas
in the state’s north-east near
Benalla last night in the wake of
small ember fires caused by
lightning strikes.
Today’s forecast for the
Latrobe Valley is for south-
easterly winds and a maximum
temperature of 33 degrees.
Lightning strikes have been
predicted overnight. On Sunday
night, lightning ignited a blaze
at Licola that burnt through at
least 100 hectares of farmland.
Most sections were contained
last night.
Emergency services commis-
sioner Bruce Esplin yesterday
described the fire as the worst
for property and land damage in
a decade.
‘‘I think it is . . . We’re talking
about 29 homes and, having
looked at it from the air and
from the ground, the saves are
quite incredible.’’
Premier John Brumby, who
toured the ravaged region,
praised the efforts of the
volunteer firefighters.
‘‘They’ve got on top of a fire
which could have been a com-
plete and utter disaster for the
state,’’ Mr Brumby said.
Greens leader Bob Brown
called for rapid response police
flying squads to be established
to catch arsonists, while Oppo-
sition Leader Ted Baillieu
repeated calls for a national
register for arsonists and
mandatory minimum penalties.
Mr Brumby said the govern-
ment had strengthened penal-
ties for arsonists. ‘‘We did that
because it’s an unforgivable
crime,’’ he said. ‘‘We will look at
whatever other measures are
proposed . . . where we can get
on top of this issue.’’
Devastating: Lori Mansfield wanders through the remains of what was once her Boolarra home. PICTURE: ANGELA WYLIE
Burnt out, but
happy to be alive
WHEN Lori Mansfield last saw
her home, she had 1000 balls
of wool, countless articles of
pottery from her work as a clay
sculptor, and seven bedrooms.
Yesterday, when she returned,
it was just about all gone.
Her home and two-hectare
property had been gutted by
fire, reduced to a pile of ash,
rubble and roofing iron, and
burnt ground.
Ms Mansfield, who has lived
in the Latrobe Valley town of
Boolarra for the past 7
⁄2 years,
left home on Thursday when
the first threat of bushfires
She returned on Friday to
hear from the neighbours that
smoke and flames were billow-
ing behind their home, so she
grabbed a change of clothes,
put out some spot fires and
Speaking to The Age yester-
day after surveying the
damage, she expressed relief
that she and her family were
still alive.
Also alive, to her amaze-
ment, were all her chickens
and the large vegetable garden.
Revealing the strange pattern
in which the fire travelled, a
section of the front garden
where her late son’s ashes are
buried was left untouched.
‘‘We just got out by the skin
of our teeth, with a change of
clothes,’’ she said. ‘‘We came
back (on Friday), thinking it
would be all right and we were
still mucking around in the
house deciding what we were
going to do with this and that.
‘‘The people next door had
already taken off, and they sud-
denly thought we were home
and so they rang us . . . to tell
us it was coming over the back
again, straight through.
‘‘We thought the house
would actually survive because
it’s made of conite (a hard,
iron-particle surface mixed
with cement) . . . we did think
it would have stood up to it a
bit better than it did.’’
Yesterday, Ms Mansfield had
managed to salvage a small
number of her sculpture pieces
but had lost a prize-winning
article and family antiques,
including a lamp that had been
in the family since the gold
rush era, and her late mother-
in-law’s crystal.
‘‘That’s all we’ve been able
to pick out, just a couple of
odd little tiny bits — and the
girls keep finding bits of my
late son’s ceramics,’’ she said.
Ms Mansfield is insured and
plans to rebuild her home.
‘‘We’ll start again. There’s
just us standing now, with what
we’ve got on and a change of
clothes. We’ll manage.’’
Connex warns of shortage of trains as schools return
Letters PAGE 8
TRAIN operator Connex has
conceded it might not have
enough working trains to cope
with the resumption of school
While Connex admits to hav-
ing a list of problem lines, it has
refused to reveal which ones will
be most vulnerable this week as
tens of thousands of students
return to class.
Before what is forecast to be
a cooler week following last
week’s historic scorcher, Connex
maintenance crews worked
through the night to get enough
trains ready for service. For
Connex to run a full timetable, it
must have at least 148 out of a
total fleet of 164 six-car trains
‘‘We are a few short of that at
this point,’’ Connex spokes-
woman Lanie Harris said last
night. ‘‘Not having back-up
trains means that if the slightest
thing goes wrong . . . we are
susceptible to further cancel-
She said that with school
going back today, it was crucial
that the rail network performed
without mass cancellations.
‘‘(But) we can’t guarantee
that everything will be running
100 per cent smoothly,’’ she
said. ‘‘We were severely knocked
around last week with our train
availability and that will con-
tinue to affect things.’’
There were 20 instances of
rails buckling as a result of last
Thursday and Friday’s blistering
heat, with a further 20 tracks
suffering minor misalignment.
Ms Harris said that all buck-
led tracks had been fixed and
despite a drop in forecast
temperatures — which are not
expected to pass 32 degrees in
Melbourne this week — officers
would continue to patrol tracks.
But the cool change, which
arrived on Friday afternoon,
clung to the coast, leaving
inland Victoria to swelter.
Bureau of Meteorology senior
forecaster Peter Blake said
Ouyen and Charlton reached
46 degrees on Saturday and
41 degrees yesterday. Mildura
and Yarrawonga recorded the
state’s top temperature yester-
day, with 43 degrees.
‘‘It was really only the coastal
fringe that was spared the heat
on the weekend,’’ Mr Blake said,
adding that the pattern was
likely to continue this week.
Storms with possible light-
ning strikes have also been fore-
cast in the state’s north-east
until Thursday.
Melbourne recorded its
second-lowest rainfall for Janu-
ary, with just 0.8 millimetres.
The lowest was recorded in 1932
when only 0.3 millimetres fell.
The month’s average rainfall is
48 millimetres. With CLAY LUCAS
Rafa in
five sets,
just after
FromPAGE 1
Federer did not serve at the
same lofty level as on that night,
Nadal would have his measure,
and that Nadal’s left-
handedness might trap himon
his backhand and neuter him
anyway. He was right and
wrong. Federer served poorly,
not because of mediocrity, but
because of the pressure implied
by Nadal’s brilliance. He double-
faulted facing break point in the
first set, set point in the third.
But Roddick did not reckon on
Federer’s champion quality, his
ability to marry a will to a way.
Nadal already was wielding a
racquet as he entered the court
and broke Federer in the first
game. But Federer broke back
instantly, laying down a pattern
of breaks in pairs; it would hap-
pen thrice more. In the first set
alone, there were five breaks, as
many as for the whole of their
five-hour, five-set Wimbledon
marathon last July.
The balance of three breaks
in the second won it for Federer.
The third looked to be decisive.
Federer was ascendant as the
effects of the semi-final seemed
to tell on Nadal, who called in a
trainer to massage his stiffening
right leg. But Federer could
make nothing of six break
points as Nadal reached deep.
An inability to capitalise on
break points would prove to be
Federer’s undoing.
The contest was so intense
that both players challenged
one point, Federer before a
linesman corrected his call,
Nadal afterwards. As is so often
the case, besieged Nadal won
the tie-breaker, not least cour-
tesy of Federer’s double fault at
set point.
In the fourth set, Federer
changed tactics and the match
changed shape. Federer, sud-
denly the great defender, saved
five of six break points against
him, won the only two in his
favour. As the witching hour
neared, it became a matter of
who would blink first. History
nowrecords that it was Federer,
who yielded his serve early with
a series of loose shots, and
would never recover it. Nadal’s
mental strength prevailed. The
second break, winning himthe
championship, was ceremonial.
So the Open shut. It drew
more than half a million people
again, for the 10th year in a row,
including in the first week the
three biggest single-day crowds
ever for a tennis tournament.
Crowds dwindled in the second
week when the heat and ticket
prices took a toll, but Rod Laver
Arena was packed last night.
The tally was more than 22,398,
a record.
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Kiwis hit top place
How good was he really?
DECEMBER 16, 2008
How to make a classroom star
JANUARY 25, 2009 $2
TODAY Sunny, 26
TOMORROWMostly sunny, 28
TUESDAY Sunny, 35
WEDNESDAY Mostly sunny, 39
THURSDAY Sunny, 36
FRIDAY Sunny, 35
SATURDAY Sunny, 34
Liquor fees
force pubs
to the wall
2000 licensed venues face closure
MORE than 2000 Victorian
restaurants, bars and clubs are
operating illegally after failing to
renew their liquor licences and
face closure if they do not pay
escalating licence fees.
The state’s 19,000 licensed
premises had until January 22 to
pay their fees, which have jumped
by up to 80 per cent.
Venues that failed to meet the
deadline will be issued suspension
notices in the next month, and
police would then be instructed to
shut themdown.
Liquor Licensing Victoria has
been flooded with last-minute
applications by pubs and res-
taurants wanting to reduce trading
hours to reduce licence costs.
Officials said they could not give
an exact number of unlicensed
premises, but sources confirmed
there were more than 2000.
The Brumby Government slug-
ged late-night venues with sub-
stantially higher fees in a bid to
combat drunken violence, but
many late-trading hotels and
licensed restaurants claim
October’s fee increases could force
themout of business.
Liquor Licensing director Sue
Maclellan confirmed that her
department would launch a
compliance program for venues.
She said enforcement would be
the responsibility of Victoria Police.
‘‘Liquor Licensing will ensure
that licensees who fail to reneware
advised that their licence is sus-
pended and are given an oppor-
tunity to renewtheir licence before
further action is commenced,’’ Ms
Maclellan said.
Australian Hotels Association
(Victoria) chief executive Brian
Kearney said country pubs had
been hardest hit, but warned the
entire industry would suffer.
‘‘The smaller pub with just a
front bar has copped a big whack
and the economic circumstances
are certainly beginning to bite in
the bush. It might not sound like a
lot of money, but some are going
to struggle,’’ Mr Kearney said.
The association calculates that
the average licence fee for a Victor-
ian hotel has jumped from $600 to
$950, while many of Melbourne’s
nightclubs will be forced to pay
almost $6000 annually.
Fees will jump again this year,
with the Government set to
increase licensing fees based on
the risk profile of venues. Large
nightclubs and bars with longer
trading hours are expected to be
slugged hardest.
The Sunday Age contacted sev-
eral restaurant and hotel owners
who had not renewed their licen-
ces, but none were prepared to
speak on the record.
‘‘If I talk to you, mate, I’ll have a
visit from liquor licensing inspec-
tors on the weekend,’’ the owner of
a CBD restaurant said. ‘‘They are
ripping the heart out of this indus-
try and destroying the vitality of
the city.’’
The owner of South Yarra’s
Kush restaurant, George Chond-
ros, said restaurants had become
‘‘collateral damage’’ in the battle
against late-night violence.
‘‘Why should a restaurant that
seats 80 people be forced to pay
the same amount as a nightclub
for 800 people?’’ he said.
In a related crackdown, more
than 50 of Melbourne’s biggest
bars and nightclubs have been
issued with final warning notices,
and at least six clubs — including
Icon Bar, The Balcony, Irish Times,
Amber Lounge, Viper Room and
K-Box Karaoke — have been sum-
moned to the Victorian Civil and
Administrative Tribunal, where
they face temporary closure or big
Theodora Tsantefski, aged 100, and 10-year-old Patrick Joyce will both celebrate Australia Day tomorrow. PICTURE: RODGER CUMMINS
apart and
bonded by
a nation
Australia through the ages PAGES 14, 15
THERE are 90 years and a wide world
of experience between these two.
Theodora Tsantefski has a lifetime of
history stretching out behind her.
Patrick Joyce has a lifetime of promise
looming in front of him.
He is 10 and she is 100. Her experien-
ces reach back across three continents
to a tiny farming village in Macedonia;
his shift over a fewsuburbs. Patrick
knows what kids want. After raising
five sons, 14 grandchildren and a host
of great-grandchildren, Mrs Tsantefski
knows what kids need. What could this
pair possibly have in common?
Well, for a start, action movies. Hard
to believe, but Mrs Tsantefski is a giant
fan of movie mayhem. With her limited
English, fight scenes and car chases
trump dialogue, so it’s Rambo, Seagal
and Bond — James Bond. Patrick reck-
ons that rocks. ‘‘That’s so cool,’’ he
says, riffling through her DVD library.
But much more than that, they sym-
bolise Australia 2009. They personify
what Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in
Hobart this week: ‘‘Where we’ve come
fromand where we hope to take our
nation to.’’ Mr Rudd said that the great
thing about Australia Day was that we
reflect on our strengths as a people, as
a society, as a nation.
But fromthe beginning Australia Day
has been a celebration encumbered by
contradictions, marked on different
days and by many names. In NSWthe
first freed convicts called January 26
Anniversary Day or Foundation Day.
Other colonies chose different dates to
avoid ‘‘the convict taint’’. Only in 1935
did the states declare it a holiday
under the current name.
What the day means for the first Aus-
tralians is still a matter of debate and
pain. In 1938 it was declared an Abor-
iginal Day of Mourning and 50 years
later it became known as Invasion Day.
But recently others have begun to call
it Survival Day.
That speaks to many of the national
attributes the PMspoke of: resilience,
determination, and perhaps tolerance
and the fair go. And above all, diversity.
The Sunday Age suggests that what
we should celebrate most tomorrowis
each other. What makes this nation
great is the sumof its parts. Today we
have brought together 11 Australians,
representing 550 years of Australian
AFL’s hard tackle on boozers
More stories PAGE 8
AFL clubs could be publicly
named in booze ‘‘league tables’’
revealing the best andworst record
for off-field alcohol incidents in a
bid to curb binge drinking.
The league’s proposed new
alcohol policy, obtainedexclusively
by The Sunday Age, states that an
‘‘audit’’ every two years will chart
how effectively clubs are promot-
ing responsible drinking.
The document also flags an
‘‘investigation of the AFL’s drinking
culture’’ and a long-term study on
how grog is damaging players’
health during and after their
careers. And in recognition of the
lasting impact binge drinking has
on footballers, the AFL Players
Association is paying an alcohol
treatment centre to help addicted
former players into rehab.
The policy, a joint venture with
the AFL and players’ association,
aims to change the game’s boozy
culture and reduce alcohol-fuelled
misbehaviour, following a Medical
Journal of Australia study which
found that 54 per cent of players
were risking long-term harm
through dangerous drinking dur-
ing season-end celebrations.
The new policy, due to be
launched before the NAB Cup
starts on February 7, states that no
players will be named, but clubs
will have to provide a list of any
alcohol-related misconduct during
the season and teach personnel
about responsible alcohol con-
A whole-of-club approach will
be stressed, with responsible
alcohol service expected at
presidents’ lunches, AFL corporate
functions, and best and fairest
dinners. Clubs with a poor record
will be encouraged to lift their
The policy applies to all AFL
players, umpires and staff —
including coaches and chairmen.
But unlike the illicit drugs policy
there are no sanctions for non-
compliance. All 16 clubs have
drafted individual rules based on
the policy’s broad principles.
Brendon Gale, chief executive
of the AFL Players Association, said
the guidelines would improve
players’ welfare. ‘‘We’re not
puritans, but this is about respon-
sible consumption of alcohol.’’
For weeks, TheoTheophanous
kept adevastatingsecret: he
was beinginvestigatedfor rape.
Thenhewas charged. For the
first time, thecontroversial MP
reveals his painandhis plans to
clear his name. PAGE4
Dokic making up for the lost years
Renewed: Jelena Dokic.
All the day’s Open action SPORT
THEthresholdof the RodLaver
arena court at Melbourne Park is
like the crimson-curtainedportal
tothe Capitol inWashingtonlast
Tuesday. It is guardedby the
Falstaffianfigure of veteranMC
Craig Willis, whichinvests all
comings andgoings witha sense
of ceremony. Inescapably, a ten-
nis player passes throughit as
one thing andreturns as another.
Before this week, the last time
Jelena Dokic stoodthere was in
2001, whenshe hadjust announ-
cedher rejectionof all things
Australianandher defectionto
Serbia. As SimonBarnes of the
LondonTimes wrote this week:
‘‘Most people stormout of a
room. Dokic stormedout of a
continent.’’ Actually, it was her
father, the impossible Damir,
whostormedout, andit was his
voice that we heard, using his
daughter as a ventriloquist’s doll.
She was still just 17.
As they waitedthat night, an
anxious Paul McNamee, then
AustralianOpenchief executive,
whisperedtoWillis toask if it was
possible tointroduce Dokic with-
out mentioning her nationality.
Willis saidit wouldbe tooobvi-
ous. McNamee resignedhimself
tothe inevitable. Whenthe
announcement was made, the
That was then. This is now.
Muchturbulent water has pas-
sedunder the bridge, buoying
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JANUARY 25, 2009
JANUARY 25, 2009
More about you
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Even TomCruise admits his part in his own downfall.
But can he rebuild his reputation?
Your perfect Sunday ...
Even Tom Cruise
admits his part in his
own downfall. But
can the Hollywood
star rebuild his
World Page 11
Extra Page 13
Extra Arts Page 17
Letters Page 18
Opinion Page 19
Business Page 20
Crossword Page 21
About Town Page 22
Eight Days M 4
Preview M 25
Reviews M 26
TV Guide M 41
The Sunday Age Magazine
January 25, 2009
No pain, no gain:
how Elle, Hugh and
others stay fit for a living
Salad days: the growth
of community gardens
Karen Martini’s summer
dishes with a Turkish twist
Action figures: cool
looks for men
How Elle Macpherson,
Hugh Jackman,
olympic triathlete
Erin Densham and
other Australians
stay fit for a living.
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his newidol
school costs
Top tips on how
to ditch your bad
debt without having
to make too many
sacrifices. Plus how
to make good debt
pay off.
After decades
of opposition,
Victorians are finally
embracing luxurious
marina living.
TATTSLOTTO (draw2871): 32, 41,
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Showstealers: Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson claimed country music royalty status last night, winning five Tamworth gongs. PICTURE: JANIE BARRETT
sweep for
INWHATamountedtoa coron-
ationof sorts for Australia’s new
country royalty anda vindication
of the youthful directionthe
TamworthCountry Music Festi-
val is taking, young husbandand
wife teamKasey Chambers and
Shane Nicholsonstole the show
at last night’s 37thCMAA
Country Music Awards’ Golden
Guitars inTamworth, sweeping
all five categories inwhichthey
were nominated.
Chambers andNicholson’s
albumRattlin’ Bones wonGolden
Guitars for best albumandtop-
selling albumof the year, while its
title track wonAPRAsong of the
year, single of the year andvideo
of the year (directedby Helen
Clemens). The Rattlin’ Bones sin-
gle —dark, irresistibly rhythmic
country blues —was a popular
winner as song of the year, beat-
ing JohnWilliamson’s touching
andclever Cydi, AdamBrand’s
Comin’ From, andPeter Denahy’s
hilarious Sort of DunnoNothin’.
Perth-bornSydney boy Adam
Brandwas namedbest male art-
ist for the secondtime, while
Newcastle’s Catherine Britt won
her first-ever award: the Golden
Guitar for best female artist.
Renewed Dokic making
up for those lost years
Ageneration has come
andgone and, at 25, she
is a grande dame.
Dokic as high as No. 4 in the
world, but also sucking her
down to the depths of self-
loathing and depression. But
Damir is no longer in her life,
she is a woman now — her own
woman, too — and Australia is
again her home.
On Wednesday, Dokic stood
on that centre court threshold
again for the first time in eight
years. On court, Dokic wears a
blank expression, like a mask.
Some think it is the look of the
haunted, others the look of the
But it is not always inscru-
table. Awaiting Willis’ summons
that night, Dokic cast aside pro-
tocol, took a peep around the
corner at the packed crowd, and
allowed herself a smile. ‘‘From
Australia, Jelena Dokic,’’ intoned
Willis, and a roar swept the
She beat the seeded Anna
Chakvetadze that night and
choked back tears as she
thanked the crowd for its
She beat another seed,
Caroline Wozniacki, two nights
later and publicly apologised to
Tennis Australia for having been
‘‘a pain’’. She did not beg for for-
giveness, but for understanding.
Truth be told, Australia owes her
a little, for as lacking as she was
in gratitude then, so were we in
Dokic and Australia are not
quite fully reconciled, because
she remains a distant figure,
contained, unknowable. Alicia
Molik’s televised hug for Dokic
on Friday night was touching,
but also awkward; it was obvi-
ous that although they are
contemporaries, they barely
know each other.
Doubles specialist Rennae
Stubbs amplified the contradic-
tory feelings of contemporaries
two weeks ago when the repat-
riated Dokic was named again
in the Fed Cup team; she did
not have nine lives, said Stubbs,
and this would be her last.
Dokic can play tennis, and
for Australia, for now, that is
enough. The perversity, she
noted herself on Friday, is that
her lost years might have tem-
pered and improved her as a
player. To her own surprise, she
is matching the other players for
fitness, playing and winning
three three-setters. She is also
matching them for power. She
always had touch.
She says she already has
achieved more than she aimed
for here, but she could not have
failed to notice that the draw
has opened up a little in her
favour, and that at a time of flux
in women’s tennis, the horizon
is startlingly near.
Tonight she plays Russia’s
Alisa Kleybanova, obscure here,
but the 29th seed. ‘‘When I was
a little kid I heard of her (Dokic)
a lot because she was one of the
top players in the world years
before,’’ said Kleybanova, who is
19. Here, in as many words, was
proof of what Dokic already
knows — that a generation has
come and gone, and that, at 25,
she is a grande dame.
She says she will always
regret her dark ages, but cannot
relive them. But she can live her
future, and the goodwill is over-
whelming. The Open’s website
has been flooded by well-
wishers, and yesterday the great
Serena Williams added her fel-
icitation. ‘‘Oh my, I’ve just been
so happy for her,’’ she said.
‘‘I just think her attitude is
great. I think her game is just
amazing now. I know what it’s
like to be down and come back;
I’m really proud and happy for
Dokic’s match tonight, and a
blockbuster between Novak Djo-
kovic and Marcos Baghdatis,
rings down the curtain on the
first week of the Open. In many
ways, it has been typical: mer-
curial weather; slain seeds;
enormous crowds; a rump of
fans inclined to wanton viol-
ence, bemusing visitors who do
not see this behaviour elsewhere
in the tennis world, prompting
authorities to announce a tight-
ening of security; and, now,
Australia’s hopes condensed
again into one player.
Dokic was at Melbourne
Park early yesterday, to practise,
stretch, remake some old
acquaintance, but was gone
before the glare could catch her,
withdrawing from a scheduled
mixed doubles match. She is
not shy; she said even as a teen-
ager that she revelled in the
spotlight, but in its time and
Tonight, she will journey
again through Melbourne Park’s
bowels to the entrance to Rod
Laver arena, as prodigal as any
son, knowing that when she
returns through that doorway,
she might not have won, but
cannot have lost.
Thank you for your confidence in us.
Things you should know: Information current as at 7 January 2009. $7 billion in deposits is derived from Westpac’s total deposit growth from 3 October to 5 December 2008. Source: Westpac Management Accounts.
© 2009 Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141. Lavender*/WC1073/TA
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BALLARAT Shower or two Min 12 Max 23
BENDIGO Morning cloud Min 15 Max 30
GEELONG Shower or two Min 14 Max 23
HORSHAM Morning cloud Min 14 Max 28
MELBOURNE Shower or two Min 17 Max 24
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Details PAGE 15
Indian cricket captain M. S. Dhoni is to be worshipped
as a god after fans announced they’re building a temple
to him in his home town, Ranchi, replete with relief carv-
ings and a white marble statue. Dhoni has his doubts: ‘‘I
love my fans, but this is actually a little over the top.’’
‘Thousands’ of sailors being put at risk
AUSTRALIAN sailors are being
exposed to deadly asbestos
fibres because the navy contin-
ues to use contaminated parts,
years after they were outlawed.
Thousands of sailors and civ-
ilian contractors are likely to
have come into contact with the
potentially lethal carcinogen, a
report seen by Australian
Defence Force chiefs says.
The ADF could face fines of
more than $100 million for
breaches of work safety laws
and the cost could spiral if
sailors, as predicted, contract
lung cancer or other diseases as
a result of their exposure.
A risk assessment prepared
by defence contractor SYPAQ
Systems, and obtained by The
Age under freedom-of-
information laws, said ‘‘thou-
sands of personnel’’ could have
been exposed to chrysotile
asbestos, a known cancer-
causing agent.
The report said the risk to
personnel was significant,
Exposure to asbestos was
almost certain and the conse-
quences were ‘‘potentially cata-
Reports seen by The Age
show nearly 250,000 parts held
in naval stores are suspected of
containing asbestos. Hundreds
of those parts, including gas-
kets, hoses and compressed
asbestos sheeting, are still being
issued to ships and bases in
breach of state and federal laws.
‘‘It can be assumed there
have been over 350 issues of 775
asbestos items to operational
units and ship repair organisa-
tions since 31 December 2003
(when asbestos use was pro-
hibited),’’ the report said.
A defence spokesman told
The Age the ADF did not accept
the finding that ‘‘thousands’’
had been exposed but he con-
ceded that asbestos parts had
been issued in breach of bans.
Defence Minister Joel
Fitzgibbon has condemned as
‘‘unacceptable’’ the ADF’s hand-
ling of the problem.
‘‘We wouldn’t let a major
company get away with it and
we should be just as tough on
ourselves. I expect defence to
change its culture of endless
exemptions and waivers,’’ he
The navy first conceded that
sailors’ health was being endan-
gered in May when it issued a
warning identifying a fraction of
the contaminated items still in
use. ‘‘To date 45 items have been
confirmed as containing asbes-
tos,’’ the Defence Materiel
Organisation alert warned.
The ADF’s health service
branch acknowledges asbestos
is a carcinogen that causes
pleural plaques, asbestosis and
lung cancer. Even one brief
exposure can cause mesotheli-
oma, an aggressive cancer that is
almost always fatal. ‘‘There is no
known safe level of exposure to
asbestos below which meso-
thelioma may not develop,’’ an
ADF fact sheet says.
A ban on the use of and
import of asbestos-containing
materials came into force on
January 1, 2004. But the ADF
won an exemption to continue
using chrysotile asbestos parts
until 2007 on two provisos: that
the parts were ‘‘mission-critical’’,
and that no non-asbestos
replacements could be found.
In December last year the
exemption was extended until
2010 by the Government’s Safety
and Compensation Council,
despite fierce expert opposition.
The ACTU said every other
industry in Australia had rid
itself of asbestos and the ADF
should not get special treatment,
while the Asbestos Diseases
Society of Victoria said the
exemption could kill between 10
and 30 people.
It is likely that all of the navy’s
use of asbestos parts falls out-
side of the exemption, and is
illegal. Only 318 asbestos items
were approved for defence use
last December, and that number
has since been reduced to 209.
Approved are some spare
parts for the Caribou transport
aircraft, F-111 strike bomber and
Mk127 Lead-in Fighter fleets,
and some gaskets for ground
equipment and vehicles.
Another day, another death rattle, and politics come into play
Full wrap-up SPORT
Continued PAGE 2
THE cricket field, like the
political, is an exposed place;
in cricket, as in politics, the
end can be public, protracted
and merciless.
As Matthew Hayden began
the long walk back to the SCG
pavilion yesterday morning, he
would have been acutely aware
that a nation was again dwell-
ing on him. He would have
been acutely aware again of his
fragile sporting mortality.
He had made 39, a modest
score, but his highest of this
lean summer. At times, he had
resembled his old self, filling
the crease with his bruiser’s
presence, turning the attack
back on the bowlers as he and
his old mate Justin Langer once
did, inverting the traditional
dynamics of the start of the
innings, making the batsmen
the menace.
The evidence was what you
made of it. Three times in an
over, he had bludgeoned
boundaries from Morne
Morkel, the ball leaving scorch
marks in the turf. But always in
the way he hit out, there was a
hint of desperation, of getting
them before they got him, or
perhaps of hitting the one shot
that would bring all the others
back. Sometimes, desperation
and inspiration are separated
only by a fine line; sometimes
they are indistinguishable.
When Morkel changed ends,
Hayden launched at him again,
but managed only to send the
ball crashing into his own
stumps, for the second time in
the match. Cricketers call the
noise that it makes the death
Now he was walking. The
fate of the third Test was out of
his hands now. Today, Australia
needs eight South African
wickets to win it and salve a
little pride, but Hayden can
hope to intervene only by tak-
ing a couple of catches at slip.
He would make no more runs
in this match. He might not
make any more anywhere.
The applause of the SCG
crowd was more warm and
sustained than the innings
warranted. It was as if the
people were saying farewell as
well as goodbye, just in case.
But what would it be? Should it
be? He was out of form, but
what was a dip and what was a
crash? It was like guessing the
sharemarket, and the lesson of
the past six months, surely, was
that the players were the least
likely to know.
Hayden’s single-greatest
strength as a cricketer was his
unshakeable self-belief.
Because of it, Hayden (pic-
tured) had been able to rise
above doubters and doubts all
his career. Because of it, he had
eight-and-a-half thousand Test
runs at an average of 50. It was
still strong. But the belief that
served him so well might now
be deluding him, too; it had
happened to others.
In the Brewongle Stand,
Quadrant editor
Keith Windschuttle
In July 2003, buried within a footnote of an article in the Plant
Biotechnology Journal, was an astonishing revelation. Researchers at the
CSIRO had, according to the reference, abandoned plans to commercialise
a variety of wheat that had been engineered with human genes.

The fabrication behind a Quadrant article
Continued PAGE 2
CONSERVATIVE historian Keith
Windschuttle — who has pre-
viously derided left-wing acade-
mics for sloppy fact-checking
and fabrication — has been
caught in a hoax involving
fake CSIRO research, genetic
modification and a non-existent
Windschuttle, editor of the
literary magazine Quadrant,
published an essay in the
current edition purporting to be
by a biotechnologist, Dr Sharon
Gould, who claimed the CSIRO
had planned to commercialise
wheat, mosquitoes and cows
that had been modified with
human genes.
‘‘Commercialisation of both
these projects was abandoned,
along with the wheat project . . .
because of perceived ethical
issues in the public and media
understanding,’’ the article
But online news website
Crikey yesterday revealed the
article as a hoax, relying on
‘‘false science, logical leaps, out-
rageous claims and a mixture of
genuine and bogus footnotes’’.
‘‘Gould’’, journalist Margaret
Simons wrote, was a pseudo-
nym constructed by an anony-
mous blogger, while the CSIRO
has also confirmed the claims
made in the article were false.
Simons said she had known
about the hoax for three weeks,
after the article had been
accepted for publication.
She would not reveal the
identity of the hoaxer but firmly
denied she was responsible.
Windschuttle, whose book
The Fabrication of Aboriginal
History took aim at historians
for exaggerating, and even
fabricating, the conflict between
Aborigines and white settlers,
remains deeply suspicious of
Simons’ involvement and the
ethics of Crikey for allowing the
hoax to continue.
‘‘I think Quadrant’s repu-
tation will emerge from this
completely unscathed. I think
the reputation that’s likely to be
questioned is that of Crikey and
Margaret Simons,’’ he said.
Robert Manne, former Quad-
rant editor and long-time
opponent of Windschuttle’s on
the ‘‘history wars’’, said there
were ‘‘tears rolling down my
cheeks’’ while he was reading
the article. ‘‘I would have
thought that it was so obvious it
wouldn’t have worked but it
turns out that it did,’’ he said.
‘‘So you’d have to say that it’s
well executed.’’
Crikey editor Jonathan Green
stood by the story, ‘‘emphati-
cally’’ denied that he, or anyone
else at Crikey, was responsible
for the ruse, and was
unapologetic for not exposing
the hoax earlier. ‘‘I don’t think I
have any ethical, journalistic or
moral responsibility to save
Keith from himself,’’ he said.
The article, titled ‘‘Scare
Campaigns and Science Report-
ing’’, also refers — in its opening
sentence — to the Sokal hoax, in
which physicist Alan Sokal sub-
mitted an article to a post-
modern studies journal to test
whether they would ‘‘publish an
article liberally salted with non-
sense if (a) it sounded good and
(b) it flattered the editors’ ideo-
logical preconceptions’’.
Connections have also been
made between the Gould hoax
and the famous literary ruse of
‘‘Ern Malley’’, the fictitious poet
devised by Adelaide writers
James McAuley and Harold
Stewart to undermine the
standards of the 1940s modern-
ist magazine, Angry Penguins.
The irony of that historical
link is that McAuley later went
on to co-found Quadrant.
Windschuttle, however,
denies he was taken in by a
hoax, calling it a fraud instead.
‘‘It’s a piece of fraudulent
journalism submitted under
Read the navy documents in
more detail online
Israeli troops enter Hamas
stronghold PAGE 7
Gaza: the great divide PAGE 11
Get the latest video footage,
photographs and news on the
Israeli incursion into Gaza

The navy’s own
knowledge of its asbestos
holdings is dangerously

OUR PATCH: St Kilda’s Veg Out is a celebration of the suburban backyard, where rusty gates,
bits of old timber and sheets of corrugated iron are reinvented as sculptures and fences.
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The article ‘‘Light plane deaths up by
more than 50%’’ (The Age, 30/12)
incorrectly stated that the 36 fatalities
which resulted fromlight plane
crashes last year involved a significant
number of ultralight aircraft. There
were two fatalities involving ultralight
aircraft registered with Recreational
Aviation Australia in 2008. The
remaining crashes involved other
types of light aircraft registered by
other authorities. The article also
incorrectly stated that Recreational
Aviation Australia represents glider
and gyroplane pilots.
It is the policy of The Age to correct all
significant errors as soon as possible. The
Age is committed to presenting information
fairly and accurately.
Super 7’s Oz Lotto (draw 777): 45,
32, 27, 10, 30, 37, 5.
Supplementaries: 44 and 35.
Monday Lotto (draw 2788)
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Air pocket a lifesaver
TWO people have been rescued
from under a capsized catamaran
near the Port Phillip heads.
Five scuba divers were aboard the
catamaran when it was hit by a
wave shortly after 11am yesterday.
Three of the five people on board
were thrown into the sea.
A woman, Gwen Fisher, became
trapped under the boat and
another person, Rob Laurie, also
became trapped when he went to
her aid.
They survived by floating in an air
pocket and were trapped for at
least 15 minutes.
The three people thrown from the
vessel escaped uninjured.
■ A 46-year-old man was plucked
unconscious from the surf by
lifesavers at Inverloch about
12.30pm yesterday.
He was taken to The Alfred hos-
pital by air ambulance with suspec-
ted spinal injuries.
Nine people injured as car ploughs into pedestrians
The aftermath of the crash in Lorne. PICTURE: DARREN APPS
TWO four-year-old girls were
among nine people injured
when a car ploughed into a
group of pedestrians in coastal
Lorne yesterday.
The two girls, believed to be
sisters, were walking near a car
park on Mountjoy Parade with
at least six other people at about
4pm, when a car driven by a
62-year-old NSWman veered on
to the footpath.
The car then rolled down an
embankment, before crashing
on top of two parked cars.
The four-year-olds were
flown by air ambulance to the
Royal Children’s Hospital. One
sustained a fractured leg, while
the other suffered spinal injuries
and was last night in a critical
A woman in her 20s, believed
to be the girls’ mother, also
suffered a fractured leg in the
accident. Last night she was in a
stable condition in the Royal
Melbourne Hospital. A third
child was taken to Geelong hos-
pital with a possible fractured
Another child, an adult ped-
estrian and the driver and his
two passengers suffered minor
injuries. Five people were
expected to be treated at
Geelong Hospital last night.
It is believed the 62-year-old
was driving at a low speed when
the accident occurred in the
town centre of Lorne, on the
south-west coast. Mountjoy Par-
ade is part of the Great Ocean
Police said they did not
believe alcohol or speed had
contributed to the accident.
Photographer Darren Apps,
who witnessed the aftermath of
the smash, said it appeared the
car had failed to take a corner
before hitting the pedestrians,
who were believed to be from
two families.
Staff of businesses close to
the scene were reluctant to talk
in detail about the accident but
one man described the situation
as ‘‘nasty’’.
Darren, a cafe worker, told
Channel Nine: ‘‘A car has run off
the road, across a nature strip
and into a car park at a resort,
and in doing so has taken a few
pedestrians with him.’’
Police were last night con-
tinuing their investigations and
will conduct further inquiries
Lies and
the hint
of truth
THE CSIRO got to the brink of
commercialising a cancer-
fighting strain of wheat engin-
eered with human genes,
according to the hoax article,
before backing off for fear of
moral outrage from the public
and the media.
If it had been true, it would
have represented an extraordin-
ary capitulation by Australia’s
leading research organisation to
opposition that had not been
expressed but only anticipated.
But a spokesman for the CSIRO
yesterday dismissed all claims
made in the hoax Quadrant arti-
cle in relation to the organis-
ation, saying they were false.
The wheat project was aban-
doned ‘‘because of the potential
of perceived moral issues
among the public’’, the hoax
article said, referring to
information ‘‘buried within a
footnote’’, in the July 2003 edi-
tion of Plant Biotechnology Jour-
nal. Though the journal and
study cited are authentic, albeit
on an unrelated topic, the foot-
note is an invention of the fab-
ricated author, ‘‘Dr Sharon
But the projects cited are not
implausible, and similar tech-
nologies are in development.
Human vaccines against dis-
eases, including hepatitis B,
have been genetically engin-
eered into crops.
Gould also suggests the
CSIRO abandoned research into
the creation of dairy cattle cap-
able of producing non-
allergenic milk for lactose-
intolerant infants, and a geneti-
cally engineered mosquito that
could stimulate antibodies
against malaria in humans who
were bitten. Both ideas are
under serious scientific study by
research groups around the
Norma Khouri (left) and
Helen Darville (right) were
revealed as not having had
the lives they claimed they
had, while James McAuley
was a co-inventor of the
fictitious poet Ern Malley.
Joining a long-standing tradition of tall tales
WHENMax Harris published his
autumn 1944 edition of Angry
Penguins magazine, all he knew
of young Ern Malley was that he
was an English-born insurance
salesman who had a flair for
modernist poetry.
Such was the talent of this
undiscovered amateur poet that
Harris put out a special edition
of his magazine — complete
with commissioned cover
artwork by Sidney Nolan.
But Harris, a 22-year-old
avant-garde poet and critic, had
been had. He was on the receiv-
ing end of one of Australia’s
most celebrated literary hoaxes.
Cooked up by conservative
poets James McAuley and
Harold Stewart to ridicule the
direction of modernist poetry,
the elaborate plot included not
only the fictitious Ern — born
Ernest Lalor Malley according to
the pair’s ‘‘biography’’ — but his
doting sister ‘‘Ethel’’.
It was Ethel who had sent
Harris a collection of her broth-
er’s poems after his premature
death in Sydney in 1943
because, she wrote in a letter to
Harris, she wanted his opinion
on their merit.
Adelaide-based Harris was
impressed. After showing the 16
poems to literary friends, he
rushed out a special edition.
Wartime delays meant the
autumn 1944 edition of Angry
Penguins appeared in June the
following year.
But within weeks, Sydney’s
Sunday Sun had got to the bot-
tom of it, running a front-page
story alleging that young poets
McAuley and Stewart were
behind the scam.
The paper was right and Har-
ris was humiliated. The hoax
creators had dashed off the
poems in little more than a day
from their desks at Melbourne’s
Victoria Barracks. The pair
threw the poems together, lift-
ing lines at random from books
and papers. Everything from
Shakespeare to a report on the
breeding grounds of mosquitoes
got a guernsey.
McAuley and Stewart contin-
ued writing poetry after their
cover was blown and McAuley,
along with Richard Krygier,
founded Quadrant magazine.
That same conservative
magazine, which was yesterday
reeling from revelations that an
article by Brisbane-based New
York biotechnologist ‘‘Sharon
Gould’’ is a hoax, is just the
latest publication to be had.
In 1996, New York University
physicist Alan Sokal conducted
an experiment. He concocted a
pseudoscientific paper for pub-
lication in Social Text. It worked
a treat. The US journal ran the
paper and on the day the issue
came out, Sokal added insult to
injury by revealing in another
publication that it was a hoax.
Other more recent Australian
literary hoaxes have generated a
life of their own. The document-
ary film Forbidden Lie$ follows
the discovery by Sydney Morn-
ing Herald journalist Malcolm
Knox that Norma Khouri’s 2002
best-selling memoir Forbidden
Love was a fake.
Similar success came to
Helen Darville — or
Demidenko, as she was known
when she wrote the award-
winning The Hand that Signed
the Paper, pretending to be the
daughter of a Ukrainian taxi
Fabrication revealed
FromPAGE 1
false pretences,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s
not a real hoax. A real hoax is
something that exposes people’s
ignorance of a topic and laughs
at them for their pretension.’’
Windschuttle said that many
of the points and references in
the article were correct, includ-
ing the names of institutes,
books, journals and scientific
discoveries. But he admitted
that he would double-check the
substance of an article and its
author in the future.
Geneticist Rick Roush, dean
of the University of Melbourne’s
school of land and environ-
ment, said the article seemed
plausible but some of the claims
made little sense.
‘‘It’s hard to put your finger
on any one thing that’s wrong,
but the sense of it is wrong,’’ he
‘‘In principle, it might be
possible to make milk that’s
non-allergenic for lactose-
intolerant infants, but why
would you use human gene
sequences to do it?’’
rattle for
FromPAGE 1
Kellie, his wife, was standing
and applauding. That looked to
be significant, but was not. Her
solidarity, in good times and
bad, had been one of the
underpinnings of his career;
she would uphold whatever
decision he made now.
But on the boundary line,
Ricky Ponting, the next man in,
waited, as if not wanting to
spoil a special moment. Soon,
Ponting would make batting
look as Hayden once made it
look: easy.
Hayden walked on, not
removing his helmet, looking
neither left nor right. They say
a sportsman wakes up one
morning and knows, but every
morning when he woke up, he
knew only that he wanted to
bat again. From every source,
the word was the same.
But what was that niggle in
the back of his mind? He is 37.
That did not mean he could
not play any more, but it did
mean that he was the oldest in
the team, and would be finish-
ing soon enough anyway. In
the wake of defeats by India
and South Africa, there was a
clamour for newer, younger
faces, a fresh start. It is, or was,
the Australian way.
Hayden would be aware of
previous instances in Austra-
lian cricket history in which
selectors have gone discreetly
to a player and suggested
tactfully that it might be
more dignified for all if he
announced his retirement. But
he would be aware, too, of
greats who had dared the
selectors to drop them.
Everyone would have an
opinion and a position, that
much he knew. Those near him
would pat his back — again —
those further away would stab
at it, again.
But the backstabbers would
not necessarily be wrong, and
the backslappers might be kill-
ing him with their kindness
anyway. Who would know?
Hayden walked on. Nearing
the gate, he broke into a trot.
In an instant, he was through
the gates, eyes straight ahead.
This was a man going nowhere,
not yet.
Hayden didn’t retire again
yesterday, like he hasn’t retired
several times this summer. But
in the changerooms after tea,
he and teammates were visited
by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
It could not have escaped them
all that he was there because of
another long-server in another
arena, with many runs on the
board, who could not bring
himself to believe that it was all
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It was a battle for the ages. Rafael Nadal last night survived the
longest match in Australian Open history, denying his magnificent
fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. Next, he faces Roger Federer —
and history. Greg Baum reports.
HEseconds are
out, the undercard
complete, the
formalities done.
Again, it is Roger
Federer, Rafael
Nadal, a major
rights. Federer’s stake is a fourth
AustralianOpen, Nadal’s his first
andthe first for any Spaniard.
But it was sonearly, breathlessly,
extraordinarily not so.
Tennis, for all its
gentrification, most resembles
boxing inthe way it personalises
the contest. Last night’s
eliminator betweenNadal and
beganas a tennis matchand
became the Spanishcivil war
redux, without the bloodshed,
re-enactedover more thanfive
hours, the longest matchin
AustralianOpenhistory, longer
eventhanlast year’s Federer-
Nadal Wimbledonfinal epic.
It was, simply, the best match
of the tournament, playedonthat
sublime plane where desperation
uptoimprobable andthen
impossible heights, playedtoa
physical, technical andemotional
standstill, spoiledonly marginally
by the anti-climactic finish,
Verdasco’s weary double fault. It
was 1.10amwhenthey were at
last done, andstill no-one at Rod
Laver arena wantedtogohome.
Nadal raisedhimself for one
more effort, toclimbover the net
toconsole the gallant Verdasco,
whohe saiddeservedalsotowin,
if that was possible. “I feel very
happy more thantired,” Nadal
said. “But it’s going tobe very
toughtoplay ina final inone day
anda half.”
Previously, Nadal hadnot
lost a set inthe tournament, nor
evenbeenstretchedas far as a
tie-breaker. Verdascoheldhimto
account onbothscores, andthat
was merely the starting point. The
manfromMadridandthe man
fromMallorca tradedforehands
the way principalities once
tradedcannonfire. Repeatedly,
individual points prompted
euphoric standing ovations, even
fromgrizzledveterans inthe press
room. During one inthe fourth
set, for instance, eachplayer was
out onhis feet at different times; a
half-stumbling Nadal prevailed.
Federer knewfor certain
only that he wouldbe playing
a Spaniard, a left-hander, with
a forehandas devastatingly hot
as the weather. He wouldhave
expectedNadal, his latter-day
nemesis, his successor as world
No.1, his conqueror infour recent
finals. But for a long time last
night, it lookedas if it wouldbe
Verdasco, the conquistador from
the clay courts, seeded14 but
until nowwithout evena major
semi-final onhis CV, let alone a
Verdascocame as an
unknown, but not as an
unworthy. Inthis, his year of
self-revelation, he hadalready
playedina final andput out
highly-fanciedAndy Murray
andJo-WilfriedTsonga here. He
was playing Nadal not only as a
compatriot, but as anequal and
peer. Verdascohadnot beaten
Nadal previously insix meetings,
but as Nadal saidhimself, he
hadnever previously playedthis
Verdasco’s founding strength
is his serve, the most dependable
onthe circuit. He landed12 of his
first 14 last night, demonstrating
that he wouldnot succumbto
nerves. Nadal’s respect for it
was apparent; he stoodmetres
behindthe baseline for bothfirst
andsecondserves all night. For a
long time, it left him, insomany
words, onthe back foot.
Largely because of it, Nadal
held20 break points against
Verdasco’s serve andwon
only four. Verdascowontwo
of four against Nadal’s serve.
Astonishingly, there were only six
breaks of serve for the match, four
of theminsix games inthe third
set, the last inthe last match. The
rest of the night was about who
first opportunity inthe first set,
andsquanderedit, hitting a
smashlong withNadal helpless.
Nadal faces break points in
this tournament at the rate of
one-and-a-half per set; Verdasco
wouldhave knownhe hadonly
a half-chance left. Inthe end,
it was a stroke of luck that split
them. The set went toa tie-break,
Nadal’s first of the tournament,
anda let cordinVerdasco’s favour
deliveredhimtwoset points.
He neededonly one. It was the
first set Nadal hadlost inthe
Like the Spanishinquisition,
no-one expectedthis. Nadal
lookedpleadingly intohis
coach’s box, thenset about his
redemption. It wouldnot be
easy. He chiselledanopening
intoVerdasco’s serve, only for his
compatriot tosave four break
points inone game, twowith
aces. Undaunted, Nadal forced
another break point inVerdasco’s
next service game withthe point
of the tournament, wonfroman
positionof siege witha freakish
passing shot that curledaround
the net post.
Nadal didnot somuchpump
his fist as deliver a short-armjab
intothinair; it hadbecome that
sort of encounter. The next point
gainedhimthe set. It was the first
break of serve inthe match.
Seemingly, the momentum
hadchanged, but not irresistibly.
Nadal brokeVerdascoagainat
the start of the secondset, but
he neededfour break points
ina game that lastednearly 20
minutes, a quarter of football,
say. But, defying the natural
order, Verdascoimmediately
broke Nadal. Fatigue became a
factor. Nadal saveda break point,
brokeVerdasco, only forVerdasco
againtoreturnthe doubtful
compliment. At length, Nadal
prevailedinthe tie-breaker; this
one set took 78 minutes.
Nowthe toll of the night
told. Verdasco’s calf tightened,
requiring a trainer’s massaging
hands twice. Nadal, knowing this,
anti-climax threatened. But
Verdasco, befitting the contest,
foundnewreserves. He wonthe
tie-breaker 7-1, Nadal’s poorest
returnina breaker inhis career.
Remarkably, there was not one
break point for the set. Both
players dug intosupplies of
energy food; fans plannedfor
breakfast. All bets were nowoff.
Nadal, vastlymore
experienced, lookedthelikelier
player inthefifthset, butVerdasco
was unsurrendering. It took
another hour until theyweredone,
first twoof threematchpoints.
Spain Country Switzerland
1 Ranking 2
12 head-to-head 6
185cm height 185cm
85kg weight 85kg
Left-handed (two-handed backhand) Plays righted-handed(one-handed backhand)
2001 Turned pro 1998
31 Career titles 57
$20,814,797 Prizemoney $44,644,857
4 Aust Opens 9
Semi-finallist 2008, finalist 2009 Best Aust Open Champion 2004, 2006, 2007
Spain event
NADAL 6 6 7 6 6
VERDASCO 7 4 6 7 4
Inspired: Fernando Verdasco
Victorious: Rafael Nadal is into his
first Australian Open final.
SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 2009 Sport 8
‘‘ ’’
Pakistan is an immensely bewildering, even
confronting country, wondrous but wild.
Ronaldo has fans singing in the stands
HE following is sung each
week in Britain by thous-
ands of people to the
tune of That’s Amore:
When the ball hits the goal
it’s not Giggs,
it’s not Scholes,
it’s Ronaldo!
Cristiano Ronaldo dos
Santos Aveiro was born on Feb-
ruary 5, 1985, on the island of
Madeira into some of the worst
poverty then to be found in
Western Europe. For unex-
plained reasons, his father was a
supporter of US president
Ronald Reagan, hence Ronaldo.
I have no great knowledge of
soccer, known as football in
most parts of the world, but I
knowsomeone who’s magneti-
cally good when I see them.
That’s Ronaldo. I love it when he
runs at defenders ping-ponging
the ball fromone foot to the
other so the defender doesn’t
knowwhich way to run, all the
time closing at pace on goal and
preparing to finish with pre-
cision and power.
Ronaldo scored 42 goals in
all competitions last season.
That’s Bradmanesque. This
season, he’s only got 16 goals.
Here’s another song about
Ronaldo sung by United fans.
The tune is My Guy by Mary
There’s nothing you can do
when he goes past you
You’d think the English
would be pleased to have himin
their competition in the same
way that Cadillac would have
been pleased to see Elvis Presley
driving about in one of their
cars. Johan Cruyff, the great
Dutch player of the 1970s, says
Ronaldo is better than Best and
Law, the great Man United pair
of the 1960s. (One old English
sportswriter wrote that Ronaldo
‘‘was not fit to lace George Best’s
drinks’’). Putting aside the ques-
tion of where he is positioned in
the pantheon, the fact is that
Ronaldo stands at the apex of
the game.
He was taken fromhis family
at the age of 11 and sent to a big
Lisbon club. He has spoken of
his homesickness during this
period. Others say it was the
making of him, giving himan
emotional toughness. He’s
needed it.
During the 2006 World Cup,
one English tabloid printed a
poster of his face as a dart board
after the Portugeezer, as he was
dubbed by the British press,
appeared to connive in the
sending-off of United teammate
Wayne Rooney during the semi-
final which England lost.
Ronaldo was booed at every
outing when he returned to
England, but his great English
Premier League season still
came after that.
The EPL is a vision of the cor-
porate state as a sporting entity.
It makes for fantastic television
and has a global audience. It
also has a manic need for suc-
cess. When Chelsea sacked for-
mer Brazilian World Cup-
winning manager Luiz Felipe
Scolari after only seven months
in the job, Alex Ferguson of
Manchester United confessed to
being ‘‘shocked’’. There was, he
said, absolutely no patience in
the game any more.
Two things set the EPL apart
for me. One is the talent on dis-
play. For example, case in point,
Ronaldo. The other is the fans.
English soccer fans can write
with savage incandescence. This
is a blogger called Marcelap-
roust buying into the debate
about whether Ronaldo is a
showpony: ‘‘It would be an
insult to that noble breed of
showpony who have never once
had its eyebrows plucked or its
scrotumwaxed and who, given
the right instructor, could prob-
ably drive a Ferrari through a
tunnel safely too.’’ (Ronaldo had
recently crashed his Ferrari).
This week, The Guardian ran
a blog in which a journalist
argued —somewhat timidly —
that the EPL would be duller
without Ronaldo. I would have
thought that was stating the
bleeding obvious. But, no, the
majority of the 50 or so respon-
dents I read stated the viewthat
the EPL would be as good, or
better off, without him.
Right now, the EPL is the
greatest sporting showon earth.
In addition to the great wealth
and the list of dubious charac-
ters it has brought to the English
game, the quality of play has
also shot up like a champagne
cork leaving a bottle.
I understand there are those
who consider it their patriotic
duty to hound Ronaldo out of
the country because of the inci-
dent with Rooney in 2006. His
detractors claimhe goes to
ground too easily, but he’s
hardly Robinson Crusoe in that
regard. He’s also a newsort of
player in a rapidly changing
sport. He has referred to the
modern systemunder which
players are bound to clubs as
slavery. He says he loves playing
for Manchester United. He also
says he would love to play for
Real Madrid if the money is
Nonetheless, it says some-
thing for the English cast of mind
that the following, fromrandom-
sausage, counts among the more
positive views of Ronaldo on the
Guardian blog. ‘‘Ronaldo’s great
for the Premier League. He’s the
evil genius you have to have in
any decent blockbuster enter-
tainment: gifted, rampant ego,
an over-urgent need to be loved,
fleeting glimpses of humanity
and a penchant for self-
destruction. The trouble is he’ll
never be lionised by fans
because he is an arrogant tosser,
no matter what a great player.
Compare and contrast with
Giggsy, Messi et al.’’
What I knowabout Ronaldo
is that when he was asked what
advice he’d give a young kid with
real talent, he said don’t imitate
anyone. That, I believe, is as true
in art as it is in sport. I’d like to
end this column with another
song. It’s based on that old
Cuban ditty Guantanamera and,
in one formor another, has been
around English soccer for years.
I remember hearing There’s only
one Joey Jordan in the 1970s.
That was sung by the Man
United fans to make Joey feel
better. This is sung by United
fans to make the other team’s
fans feel worse:
Come to see Ronaldo,
You’ve only come to see
Come to see Ronaldo,
You’ve only come to see
Fragile link to Pakistan has been lost
HE sign on the
concierge’s desk at the
Pearl Continental Hotel
in Peshawar reminded
bodyguards to check in their
weapons at reception. It was
1994, Australia’s second-last
tour of Pakistan, a time of rela-
tive innocence. Taliban, Osama
bin Laden and al Qaeda were
not yet household words, and
SalimMalik’s approach to two
Australian cricketers to fix a
result in Karachi would not be
revealed until months later.
Nearby was the fabled
Khyber Pass, strictly speaking
not in Pakistan, but in self-
administered tribal country
under Pakistan’s doubtful pro-
tection. A thickly bearded
Pathan drove our smoky mini-
bus, another, equally bewhisk-
ered, sat in the back seat, Kal-
ashnikov across his knees,
catching no one’s eye and utter-
ing not a word.
The landscape was treeless,
grassless, rocky and barren, but
starkly beautiful, falling away in
layers behind us. Around and
above every corner, another
redstone fort loomed, a
reminder of all the great
conquerors who had passed this
way. The natives pride them-
selves on never having submit-
ted to one.
In every stony riverbed, chil-
dren in shalwar blouses played
cricket. This is the country in
which cricket author Mike Cow-
ard, on a previous visit, found a
child who recognised ‘‘Allan
Border’’, but not ‘‘Australia’’. It
looked as if it hadn’t rained for a
The journey was hair-raising.
Although traversing a mountain
pass, the sinuous road featured
no signs, markings or crash bar-
riers; its crumbling verges
simply fell away into chasms. In
places, it was divided, but not in
an orderly way. The plentiful
trucks simply selected which-
ever side of the road suited
thembest in the moment. Right
of way belonged to the biggest.
These trucks mostly were
dusty, rusty, overladen, teetering
and in mechanically poor repair,
especially their brakes, and the
drivers unconcerned with rules
or courtesies. It made every cor-
ner a lottery.
By a miracle, we gained the
highest point, commanding
stunning views into Afghanistan
(while in Peshawar, I also met
the president and sole member
of the Kabul Collingwood sup-
porters’ club, but that’s another
story). Driver and guard found a
rocky outcrop, dropped to their
haunches and proceeded to
smoke a big fat joint each, then
another. Soon, they were sway-
ing and giggling.
By prior arrangement, we
visited the barracks of the
Khyber Rifles, behind high walls
at the top of the pass. Within
there was a neatly manicured
lawn —the only green for hund-
reds of kilometres in any direc-
tion —a pond and ducks. We sat
with the commandant, drinking
tea, eating —no kidding —
cucumber sandwiches and talk-
ing cricket. Through the gates,
we sawa detachment of soldiers
pass, guns slung over shoulders,
at a jog-march.
A hazy dusk was falling as
our return trip began. Driver
and guard, previously stone-
faced and taciturn, were laugh-
ing, slapping each other’s backs
and jabbering away incessantly
in Pashtun, with only casual
regard for the road. They were
high as kites.
Nowwe learned that the
mountain road was wholly unlit,
and that the trucks not only
lacked brakes, but head- or tail-
lights, too. Time after time, one
would loomin silhouette form
out of the gathering gloom, like
a creature frompre-history,
seemingly filling the narrow
road ahead. Not that it bothered
our driver; mostly he wasn’t
In the body of the bus, there
was only fearful silence. But
Patrick Keane, then an AAP
reporter, nowmedia manager of
the AFL, was in the back seat,
behind the rear axle, where the
effect of every lurch, swerve and
jolt was redoubled. He was
unsighted and terrified. As we
fish-tailed downwards into the
darkness, he screamed over and
over: ‘‘We’re all going to die.’’
The bus driver, nowwild-eyed,
laughed uproariously.
Somehow, we reached the
foot of the pass and thanked
Allah. Momentarily, we stopped
at a gun bazaar, unmarked in a
dusty village. By a dingy light,
we sawshelves full of handguns
and racks of shotguns and rifles,
all rip-offs of well-known
makes. The dealer encouraged
us to touch and fondle, but it felt
wrong. In the gritty yellownight
outside, shots rang out. Later, a
local explained that a Pathan
without a gun feels naked.
Back at the Pearl Continen-
tal, we made haste to an ante-
roomnear the foyer that was
hidden discretely behind smoky
glass and officially did not exist.
It was a bar.
That night, I was awoken by
what felt like someone shaking
my bed violently. I leapt up and
chased my assailant into the
corridor. Others were there
already. As sleep’s fog receded,
we realised that what we had felt
was a small earthquake.
Elsetimes on that tour, I
spoke to a man sitting on a box
on a platformat Peshawar, get-
ting a shave as he waited for the
Rawalpindi Express, had my leg
clawed by a small bear on a
leash that was part of the enter-
tainment at an elaborate wed-
ding in Rawalpindi, played
musical chairs in the middle of
the night at a road construction
camp supervised by two Tas-
manian engineers somewhere
between Rawalpindi and Lahore
—feeling only slightly less fool-
ish because the man next to me
was a full colonel in the Pakistan
army, also a published poet —
and walked in the cool shadows
of Islamabad’s gigantic Faisal
Mosque with the ABC’s Peter
Walsh, whose father had just
died in Australia and who found
the experience unexpectedly
Imran Khan once con-
demned Western cricketers for
their lack of effort to try to
understand Pakistan. He was
too harsh. Pakistan is an
immensely bewildering, even
confronting country, wondrous
but wild. It takes a clear mind
and a concerted effort to grasp
even a little of it. The energies of
touring cricketers mostly are
absorbed by trying to make a
fewruns and take a fewwickets.
There are so fewpoints of
reference between Australian
and Pakistani culture that it is
easy to become disoriented, and
for some alarmed. Cricket was
the bridge; nowthat, too, has
been lost. It is no longer poss-
ible to make the trip up the
Khyber Pass, which has become
a terrorist redoubt. Doubtlessly,
the boys still devotedly play
cricket in those rugged
riverbeds, but it is probable that
in the surrounding hills was
hatched the murderous plot
that nowhas isolated Pakistan
fromthe cricket world for the
forseeable future. It is too sad to
call it an irony.
Empty net syndrome
I SUSPECT Andrew Symonds has
been brought to the Junction Oval
under false pretences. I don’t know
what he’s been told, but there can’t
be any fish worth catching in that
lake across the road.
Restricted view
THOSE quick to criticise the public
misbehaviour of young footballers,
regardless of the code, need to put
themselves inside the mind of a
young footballer. Actually, forget
that. I’ve just realised that the last
thing we need is more people who
see the country as one giant com-
bination pub, toilet and free-range
Insomnia cured
I RECENTLY counted eight rugby
stories on a pay TV sport news
report. Best night’s sleep I’ve had in
ages! Beat counting sheep.
Point Henry
Interesting times
DOES anyone else think that Nat-
ional Rugby League CEO David Gal-
lop has gone conspicuously greyer? I
mean specifically during the last
couple of media interviews. My
guess is that he needs a less stress-
ful job. Has he considered bomb-
defusing at all?
Fast developer
GREAT news about Roger Federer
and his girlfriend expecting their first
child. Apparently Roger’s amazing
off the court as well, as I believe the
child was conceived via a mere
handshake, and is expected to be
born full-grown and healthy, with a
powerful forehand and full sponsor-
ship contract, around four months
after conception. I believe the Aus-
tralian Open is already holding back
a wildcard spot for the kid for next
year’s tournament.
Cup runneth amok
IT SEEMED somewhat unusual to
have the pre-season AFL grand final,
the Melbourne Storm season
opener, and the deciding game of
the NBL grand final series all on the
same night. Normally there’s usually
at least a Davis Cup tie and the for-
mula one grand prix on during these
types of sport-scheduling logjams as
well. If only the A-League season
had been staggered a little, we could
have had its grand final on the same
night, just to make things a little
more interesting. I haven’t got a
shred of proof, but for some reason I
suspect that one of our public trans-
port corporations has been put in
charge of the sporting calendar. On
my line, it’s always nothing or three
trams at once.
Altona Meadows
Riddle me this
YOU know what Anthony Mundine
and Batman have in common? Bat-
man never shoots anyone with a gun,
and when it comes to challenging a
major world champion to a title
fight, Anthony Mundine also never
gets around to pulling the trigger.
Crystal ball smudged
COULD all the media pundits who
spent months writing off the Austra-
lian cricket team please be put to
good use? I suggest putting them to
work on the form guide giving race
tips. I’d be able to save a fortune rul-
ing all those selections out of box
Free flows the
spirit of league
Richard HINDS

We acknowledge the
contribution made by
women to our game —
especially those players’
wives who wash the kit.

IGHT,’’ said the Nat-
ional Rugby League
club chairman drain-
ing a beer can and
tossing it into the pile on the
boardroom floor.
‘‘This should get the media
and the sheilas’ groups off our
back. Not to mention that
bloody do-gooder, David Gal-
Proudly, the chairman flour-
ished the sauce-stained page
on which he had scribbled
notes of the crisis meeting at
which the NRL’s behavioural
issues had been painstakingly
discussed — until the bloke
from Penrith got back with the
Chinese food.
‘‘We’re going to call it The
Official Rugby League Code Of
Misconduct. It’s so strict our
players are gunna make those
ballet dancers in the AFL look
like the cast of Underbelly. Pass
me another coldie, Norman,
and I’ll read out the final
Alcohol: We acknowledge
that, in view of recent
incidents, the game has a prob-
lem caused by the inability of
some players and officials to
hold their drink. As a result,
strict limits will be placed on
the consumption of alcohol.
There will be the immediate
imposition of a two-carton
limit for board meetings, no
one will be served liquor at
club functions unless they can
touch their nose, walk in a
straight line and sing the club
song, and players will be
encouraged to drink only at
pubs, bars and nightclubs
owned by club sponsors.
We acknowledge that many
clubs have responded strongly
on the issue of alcohol abuse
by using breathalysers at train-
ing sessions with pleasing
results. Most players now
remember to get taxis home
after getting on the sauce at
training and the number losing
their licences has declined. We
will now make this practice
We would also like to thank
our official beer, wine, spirit
and rum-flavoured candy sup-
pliers in helping promote our
alcohol abuse program.
Respect for women: As a
code we acknowledge the con-
tribution made by women to
our game— especially those
players’ wives who wash the kit
and the tireless canteen ladies.
As a result, we will take a
serious view of any disrespect-
ful or illegal behaviour towards
women — particularly that
which makes it even harder to
get a decent stripper for the
presentation night.
Any player who is seen to
breach these conditions and
does not send both a bunch of
flowers and a box of chocolates
(the really expensive Belgian
type) to a woman who does
not realise she has just been
the subject of some harmless
fun will face a heavy fine
(which will go in the players’
end-of-season-trip fund).
Violence: We are aware that,
given the strong competition
with other codes, violent con-
duct is now best confined to
the field. Or, at the most, a bit
of harmless biffo between club
rivals during a state-of-origin
bonding session. Players will
now be discouraged from any
form of public violence unless
the bloke clearly has it coming.
Offenders will be taken out the
back of the sheds by the first
team’s front row and taught a
lesson they won’t soon forget.
Reporting of incidents: It
will be beholden on clubs to
surrender any evidence of mis-
conduct by players that they
have failed to cover up. Par-
ticularly, any footage of
incidents filmed by CCTV
cameras or mobile phones
must be presented immediately
(this could be used as evidence
or in next year’s state-of-origin
Punishment: It has been
decided the punishment for
serious breaches of the code
should be placed in the hands
of clear-minded and unbiased
arbiters — the fans. Punish-
ment will be determined by the
result of a multiple-choice poll
on club websites with those
fans correctly identifying the
resultant ban/fine being eli-
gible to win club merchandise
signed by the offending player.
The chairman looked up:
‘‘All those in favour?’’ The
hands of officials shot up.
‘‘Al’ right then, gentlemen, I
think we can proudly say we
have just brought the game of
rugby league into the 21st cen-
tury,’’ said the chairman.
I have a set of VFL sports cards: the Hawthorn football club
Ardmona big league cards series one complete and Ard-
mona collector cards series two and three international
cricket portraits, 1979-80 and 1980-81, all are complete
in their box and in good condition. Simon Merrifield
RM: Simon, you’re in luck! Although the Ardmona series 1 is worth
about $75, and your cricket series are worth $20 each, your Ardmona
series two is altogether different! That’s the one with Gary Ablett snr’s
first ever issued card — or as they say today: his rookie card. That card
alone is worth $300 plus.
Write to: Rick Milne, Sporting Worth, 5 Cooraminta Street, Brunswick, 3056;; phone (03) 9387 4131, fax (03) 9387 8240.
SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2009 Sport 10
‘‘ ’’
Is it better to have bowled and been tonked
than never to have bowled at all?
The people who built a suburb and a club
North Melbourne is
more than just a
postcode — and a team.

This is where old Pelusa’s
milk bar was. He helped sell
membership tickets.

HERE does the
North Melbourne
Football Club come
from? Frompeople
like Laurie Dwyer, twice runner-
up in the BrownlowMedal and
once third. Dwyer, who was
what was once known in foot-
ball as a clever little man, was
runner-up in the Brownlowin
1961 and ’67. He can’t remem-
ber what year he came third.
His father Leo played for
North in the 1920s. During the
Depression, he crossed to VFA
club Yarraville which got hima
job. The VFL banned himfor
crossing without a permit, then
‘‘some Duke or Duchess came
out’’ and the VFL, in honour of
the visiting royalty, lifted its ban
on Leo and he came back to
North. Laurie’s sons David and
Anthony played seniors for
North, Laurie’s brothers played
reserves. His 101-year-old
mother still follows North
This week, I was given a
guided tour of North Melbourne
—the suburb —by Laurie and
former club secretary Ron
Joseph. Some years ago, when I
investigated the Bloodbath
grand final of 1945, the most
violent in the history of the
game, a number of the players
said the tough teamof the day
wasn’t even playing. That was
North Melbourne. I ask Laurie if
that’s true. ‘‘Oh, yes,’’ he says.
One of the names he and Ron
then discuss is Pat Kelly. Kelly
beat an Australian boxing cham-
pion. The fight was not in the
ring. It was in a backstreet. Kelly
led the North defence.
Laurie says North was full of
pubs, one on every corner.
North didn’t have a social club;
the players just went to a differ-
ent pub after every match. I ask
Laurie if the club was Catholic
in his day. Laurie says he under-
stood it was a Catholic club but
he never heard it mentioned.
Ron Joseph came to the club in
1964. There was only one non-
Catholic on the committee. He
was the only non-Catholic going
for the job and he got it.
Joseph was a major cog in
the machine that got North up
off the floor in the 1970s when
Ron Barassi took themto their
first VFL/AFL premiership. A
second followed two years later
in 1977. North president Allen
Aylett moved over to the VFL
presidency and pushed through
the shift of South Melbourne to
Sydney. In the ’90s, when the
Sydney experiment was falter-
ing, Barassi came out of retire-
ment to coach themand Joseph
was appointed CEO.
Laurie grewup on Fleming-
ton Road opposite the oval
where Sunday league footy was
played. There were stories of
guns being pulled at the Sunday
league. ‘‘You had to be able to
fight,’’ says Laurie. ‘‘If you could
play footy that was a bonus.’’
Laurie says you didn’t tell peo-
ple you were fromNorth Mel-
bourne when he was young.
Most of the men of the suburb
worked at the abattoirs in Ken-
sington. That’s why North were
called The Shinboners.
It’s great doing a lap of North
Melbourne with Ron and Laurie.
It’s like listening to the Beatles’
Penny Lane. This is where old
Pelusa’s milk bar was. He helped
sell membership tickets. Albert
Mantello had a Shell garage on
that corner, ended up owning
half the street. Mantello was
another figure to the fore when
North burst into prominence in
the ’70s. Ron Barassi always tells
howfour North committeemen
mortgaged their houses to fund
the recruiting behind that team
that won the first premiership.
Laurie shows me the town
hall where the crowds would be
looking in fromledges and
stand out on the street, straining
to listen, on the night of the
club’s AGM. ‘‘They were always
loyal’’. He says there were a lot of
Irish in the old North Mel-
Ron remembers Mrs Penfold
in the days when North was
drawing crowds of two and
three thousand. Mrs Penfold,
her children and their spouses,
had five seats in the front rowof
the grandstand. They would
arrive 20 minutes before the
reserves game. No one else
would be in attendance, the
umpire would bounce the ball
and Mrs Penfold would shout,
‘‘You’re not givin’ us a fair go!’’
North had two patrons, one
called Mrs Flynn. Mrs Flynn
found two thousand pounds in
a brown envelope one year
when it meant getting a clear-
ance for North’s newrecruit to
play in the first game of the
season. In case anyone sawus
last Wednesday and is wonder-
ing, we were the three men in
the car outside Mrs Flynn’s old
pub, the Kensington, talking.
No pain, no
McGain in
this dilemma
AST weekend, I went to
the presentation for the
under-13s and under-
11s teams at a local cric-
ket club. (Despite regular
reader complaints that this
column has obviously been
scrawled in crayon during play-
time, I was there as a parent
not a player).
As the kids did what kids do
when they are briefly discon-
nected from their PlayStations
or iPods — run around in small
circles, hit each other or look
bored — a keen topic of con-
versation among the parents
bunkering down at the back of
the clubrooms for a solid hour
of participation medals and
thank-you speeches was the
Bryce McGain conundrum.
Is it better to have bowled
and been tonked than never to
have bowled at all?
Actually, there was less con-
versation and more reflexive
shaking of heads — eyes firmly
fixed on the carpet — and sym-
pathetic pursing of the lips
when McGain’s name was
raised. The sort of reaction you
might normally expect after
mentioning a local boy who
had gone to war and was not
coming home.
There have been plenty of
bowlers humiliated on their
international debut. Queens-
lander Glenn Trimble springs
to mind, as much because of
his failed attempts to hit the
pitch during his one-day debut
as for the cruel banner that
appeared when he was given a
second chance: ‘‘Glenn Trem-
But there was nothing even
faintly humorous about
McGain’s mauling. Indeed, it is
difficult to think of a cricketer
— or sportsman of any sort,
really — who has evoked such
a sombre response after a dis-
astrous performance.
Ian Baker-Finch attracted
similar don’t-make-eye-contact
sympathy as his game fell
apart, particularly the day he
hooked a ball out of bounds
from the first tee at St Andrews
in 1995 (missing the first fair-
way at St Andrews to the left is
like missing the Pacific Ocean
with a skimming stone) and
shot 92 at Troon two years
later. But at least Baker-Finch
had won a British Open, and
no one could suggest he would
have been better off if he had
been a trampolinist.
However, with memories of
the premeditated assault from
Ashwell Prince, Jacques Kallis
and A. B. de Villiers still fresh in
the mind, it was difficult not to
think McGain’s childhood
might have been more usefully
spent at the tenpin bowling
alley than in the nets.
That was until the present-
ation started and some mental
arithmetic put ‘‘poor Bryce
McGain’s’’ plight in context.
The club secretary proudly
announced that, of more than
40 kids who played for the
three teams in the under-13s,
one had been chosen for a dis-
trict team that would tour
England. Which made you
think how unlikely the dreams
of the room full of kids still
hoping to be the next ‘‘Pup’’ or
‘‘Symmo’’ really were.
Assuming the other 14 kids
in that squad came from about
20 similar clubs, that means 14
out of more than 800 kids were
chosen. So most of those 800
will remain bricks at the base
of the game’s pyramid as club
cricketers or return to their
Meanwhile, the chosen 14
— and the few late bloomers
who slipped the well-organised
recruiting net — will vie for a
place in broader zone squads
and, eventually, state teams.
So the boy proudly
described as a ‘‘little champ’’ at
my son’s club might have —
generously — a one-in-20
chance of still being in the elite
programs by the under-17s
when the cover-drivers have
been sorted from the slog-
sweepers. The odds are even
greater near the pointy end of
the pyramid.
McGain, one of those late
bloomers, didn’t have a
meteoric rise from junior to
state star. However, at some
stage, he was that ‘‘little
champ’’. Chosen above his
teammates for rep squads.
Elevated from among a group
of gifted teens or young adults
to state academies and, inevit-
ably, just the 410th player in
almost 132 years to represent
The sheer unlikelihood of
McGain’s achievement is easily
forgotten when de Villiers and
company turned an eight-
stitcher into a piece of space
Which is why the McGain
conundrum was probably best
put to kids with the partici-
pation medals around their
Would you still want to play
for Australia if you knew you
would be knocked all around
the park in your first — and
quite possibly only — Test? I
suspect the queue to sign up
would be even longer than the
one at the sausage sizzle.
I have a Paul’s ice-cream tin with ‘‘Premiers ’84’’ and a pic-
ture of the badge and two men playing football on the lid.
Around the side of the tin are all the club badges, and all
the info regarding the different clubs’ wins, etc. The tin is in
good condition — any value? Florence
RM: Modest value only, I’m afraid. About $25.
Write to: Rick Milne, Sporting Worth, 5 Cooraminta Street, Brunswick, 3056;; phone (03) 9387 4131, fax (03) 9387 8240.
Familiar territory
IT’S hard to explain to non-
Richmond fans, let alone those who
don’t follow football, what Thursday
night’s game felt like to the Tiger
faithful. But I’ll have a crack. In the
movie A Night in Casablanca there’s
a scene in which the Marx Bros are
on a plane, and it’s running through
the streets of the city out of control,
never quite manages to get off the
ground, and crashes into a jail-
house, at which point one of them
remarks, ‘‘Home again!’’ That’s
pretty much exactly what it felt like.
Trimming the excess
SINCE we’re already paying that
Bernie Ecclestone guy $47 million,
and the government already gives in
to everything the grand prix people
want, why don’t we just cut out the
middle man, and have Bernie Eccle-
stone run Victoria? We won’t have
any state politicians to pay, making
for a considerable saving, which we
can then give to Bernie Ecclestone,
thus saving a considerable amount
of time waiting around for him to ask
for it. Of course, the demands of
state politics are considerable, but I
should think, even at his consider-
able age and divorce settlement,
that Bernie should be pretty much
up to the task of looking quite con-
cerned at times of crisis, turning up
to primary schools and waving,
ensuring there are no trains, and
achieving nothing whatsoever over
an extended period concerning Vic-
toria’s water shortage. Actually, a
child of seven could do all that.
Hmm, that gives me a better idea.
Forget Bernie Ecclestone, scratch
the grand prix, sack the State Gov-
ernment, find a seven-year-old child
and put him or her in charge of Vic-
toria. With the money we’ve saved,
we can buy back the public transport
system, pay for some trains that
work, put the now unemployed Con-
nex people on them, issue them with
shovels, and scatter them around
Victoria to dig for water.
South Yarra
Power drain
EVERYONE used to bag Port Adel-
aide fans for being pretty rough
around the edges and not having
enough brains to save themselves.
Well, Port Adelaide fans got the last
laugh. Now none of them show up,
and nobody knows who they are, or
even if there are any. Let’s see any of
the world’s finest espionage agents
top that.
Frontline report
THE choppers started flying before
daybreak. Their thrum and roar
continued incessantly through the
long, wearying day, supplanted by
the sky-shredding shrieks of the jets,
and punctuated by the alternating
screams and roars of the land-
bound engines rolling on remor-
selessly, scattering dreams and
destroying hope. The blazing sun
and cloudless blue sky mocked the
darkness within our hearts below.
Although under attack, we could not
ascertain who we were fighting, nor
remember the reasons for the con-
flict. Survival seemed a forlorn hope,
and hope itself a faded memory.
Anyway, that was my Friday at home
during the grand prix preparations.
How was yours?
Middle Park
Hidden extras
AMAZINGLY, there has been some
questioning of the $4.3 million paid
to Tiger Woods to appear in the Aus-
tralian Masters this year. Basically, if
you want a substantial proportion of
the community to pay any attention
to an Australian golf tournament,
he’s the guy, and that’s what it will
cost. However, I’m just warning the
organisers in advance, if they want
ME to watch anyone playing golf
under any circumstances, it’s going
to cost them another $4 million, and
when they deliver the additional free
beers to my home, they’d better be
Diamond Creek
Premier attraction
WHEN it comes to the Melbourne
grand prix, let’s give credit where
credit’s due. I’d like to see Jeff Ken-
nett, Steve Bracks and John Brumby
in the celebrity race at Albert Park.
However, I don’t want to see them in
cars. On the track in front of the cars
would be fine.
St Kilda
In F1, a city and its money are easily parted
How do you put a cost
on the Australian Grand
Prix? Quite easily.

There is the cost of bussing
inextra schoolchildrento make
a thronglook like a crowd.

T WAS difficult to under-
stand the evasion and obfus-
cation recently when it was
revealed in this newspaper
that the fee for staging the grand
prix in Melbourne was about
$47 million, rising to more than
$50 million next year. The State
Government was inexplicably
coy. ‘‘Disclosing the licence fee
would simply tell our com-
petitors howmuch they need to
bid to steal the event off Mel-
bourne,’’ a spinperson said. But
after studying all the evidence,
we think it is improbable that
Victoria will be undercut.
Staging the grand prix is a big
and expensive exercise. For a
start, there is the cost of closing
down for months every year 225
hectares of prime, inner city
parkland, and the lost of amen-
ity for all who use that park,
both for organised sports and
recreation, and live nearby, and
of repairing the ever increasing
damage to that park afterwards.
There is the cost of the
inconvenience for all who use
the adjacent main roads to get
to work and school, but cannot
because those roads are closed.
At commercial rates, these costs
would be worth $47 million
almost by themselves.
Then there is the cost erect-
ing and dismantling all the tem-
porary infrastructure
(admittedly, this is dwindling
year by year, and soon might
consist of a couple of grass
mounds, a pie stall and a lolly-
pop lady), and of moving 40,000
tonnes of equipment in and out
of the park every year, and —
soon —the cost of floodlights.
There is the cost of paying for
the extra public transport, extra
police, extra first aid and extra
gatekeepers who, despite using
all their fingers, still lose count
at the turnstiles. There is the
cost of compensating for the
shortfall in the ever more fanci-
ful gate figures the grand prix
corporation puts out every year
because the fat-fingered gate-
keepers have lost count again.
There is the cost of bussing in
extra schoolchildren to make a
throng look like a crowd.
There is the cost of the race’s
ever increasing drain on the
state’s economy, acknowledged
last year at $40.1 million dollars
and certain to blowout again
this year because the recession
has hit hard and ticket sales are
slow(fortunately, giveaways are
holding up) and corporates and
sponsors are bailing out at lap
record rate. Next year, the nam-
ing rights sponsor will leave
only its exhaust fumes. Perhaps
the corporation could also try
Etihad, whatever an etihad is.
So, considering what must be
recouped, it does not pay to be
cynical about the licence fee (if
it paid, the GP corporation
would be first in line, receipt
book in hand). We knowfor a
fact that is a good deal more
than the fee for staging AFL
football, Test cricket or grand
slamtennis in this town.
Of course, it is hard not to
feel sorry for the man on the
other end of this deal, the man
we’ve screwed over so shame-
lessly, little Bernie Ecclestone,
tucked away in his little bedsit
in London, having fallen upon
such hard times. His personal
fortune has dwindled away to
merely $5.2 billion, his wife has
left him, he’s getting old and he’s
still really short.
In the circumstances, it is
probably a bit rich to be doing
himout of $50 million, give or
take the usual GP multiplier (we
give, they take, commercial in
confidence). It is probably a bit
rich for us to be holding himto
ransomin this callous way. It’s a
man’s right to make an honest
living, and failing that, to exploit
someone else’s.
Still, you have to be practical
about these things. Bernie owns
his own house. His super is
pretty good. He won’t have to
pay for those expensive Viagra
pills any more. If he makes his
peace with Max Mosley, he
might find that the dungeon in
Chelsea with all those friendly
girls and their whips does a nice
cut rate for newcustomers.
And nowthat our grand prix
has been moved to 5pm, he can
stay in bed all morning in
London watching it (and all that
lovely Melbourne branding,
rushing by; perhaps he will
catch a glimpse of Tiger Woods)
without Slavica getting in his ear
about the housekeeping money
and the blocked-up toilet (and
to think that in suing himfor
divorce and $2.1 billion, she
accused HIMof ‘‘unreasonable
So, really, it’s hard to under-
stand all the fuss. At $47 million
plus GST, the grand prix fee is a
Of course, if it was the case
that a toy-sized tycoon on the
other side of the world was exer-
cising a ‘‘right’’ to stage a car
race for his amusement,
aggrandisement and profit (and
extra blue pills), in our park,
massively disrupting our traffic
flows, inconveniencing our
population, denying our rec-
reational sportspeople, neces-
sitating the use of our police
force, doing progressively more
harmeach year to our park, and
leaving us to clean up the mess
. . .
And if it was the case that the
race had become a verifiable
dinosaur, embarrassingly out of
step with the times in its vast
and destructive consumption-
ism, and was losing sponsors,
patrons, participants and
money at a rate that could not
be explained away as a mere
lull, meantime branding Mel-
bourne as one of the last
redoubts of a lifestyle the world
can no longer afford . . .
And if it was the case that our
government, after protracted
negotiations with said scale-
model squillionaire, had arrived
at a figure for the ‘‘right’’ to play
with his slot cars here, and that
it was not to be disclosed to any-
one, on pain of having to watch
Melbourne play for the rest of
the year, but (pssst) stands now
at $47 million (plus expenses)
and was likely to rise to more
than $50 million (plus auditing
costs and commission) next
year . . .
And that the ‘‘right’’, it turns
out, belongs not to US, but to
HIM, to the desiccated dwarf . . .
And that WE are paying HIM
. . . but that would be too ridicu-
See what the footy public thinks
Richmond should do about its
next coach, and its future, at
Catch up with all the lead-up to
the first state of origin clash at
Etihad Stadium, with exclusive
videos and reports, at
Who should Richmond target as its
next coach?
If rugby league club games were
televised in prime time, would you
Vote at
Damien Hardwick
Nathan Buckley
Kevin Sheedy
Wayne Campbell
Mick Malthouse
John Longmire
David King
Leon Cameron
FOOTBALL 2-4, 12
RACING 8, 10
State of origin:
Queensland v NSW,
Channel Nine, 7.30pm.
French Open,
Fox Sports 3, 10pm.
Stanley Cup finals, game 3:
Pittsburgh v Detroit,
Fox Sports 3, 10am.
‘‘We’re playing pretty
hard football and we’ll
cross that line a few
times and we’ll have to
deal with that. It’s
unrealistic to expect at
an AFL club you’re going
to go through without an
indiscretion or an error
in judgement.’’
ROSS LYON, St Kilda coach,
in philosophical mood about
ruckman Michael Gardiner’s
Sport hotline: 9601 2255
Executive editor
David Dick
Sports editor
(Tues-Sat editions)
Mark Fuller
Sports editor
(Mon-Fri editions)
Alex Lavelle
Deb Cuthbertson
AFL leaves Tigers
to fine Cousins
Ben Cousins’ costly gesture.
RICHMOND, rather than the
AFL, hit Ben Cousins with the
one fine that he will defi-
nitely pay for his middle
finger salute to television
cameras on Saturday night.
Meanwhile the league —
after tough talking at the
time — was satisfied with the
club’s action yesterday and
issued a fully suspended fine
of $5000 that will hang over
the 2005 Brownlow medallist
for 12 months.
When he learned of the
full circumstances yesterday
it is understood that even
league chief Andrew Deme-
triou, after being incensed by
Cousins’ actions, softened
his stance.
After winning approval
from the league, the Tigers
issued Cousins with a $5000
fine — $2500 of which has
been suspended for 12
months pending further
Cousins offered a far more
solemn response yesterday
to the matter that only a day
earlier he had found ‘‘quite
humorous’’. Yet there was still
a contradiction in his version
of events.
‘‘I met with the club this
morning and have accepted
their fine. I apologised for
raising my finger and
explained that it was not a
gesture I ever thought would
go to air,’’ Cousins was
quoted as saying in a state-
ment released by Richmond
last night.
‘‘I hadn’t seen the footage
until yesterday (Monday)
afternoon and wasn’t aware
of my facial expression. Once
I viewed the footage I real-
ised why the public, the AFL
and the Richmond Football
Club were offended by my
Yet during Cousins’ reg-
ular Monday breakfast radio
slot on Nova — the recording
of which was widely
circulated to media on Mon-
day — the presenters
announced that Cousins was
seeing the footage for the
first time while he was speak-
ing on air. When the radio
hosts asked Cousins what his
reflections were, he said:
‘‘What did it make me think?
I thought it was still quite
humorous, but I guess I’m
somebody that doesn’t find
that offensive.’’
It’s understood the vision
of the incident was playing in
the radio studio while Cou-
sins was being interviewed.
AFL football operations
manager Adrian Anderson
took into consideration Cou-
sins’ statement yesterday
that he did not see the replay
of the event until Monday
Richmond, meanwhile,
said it took the player’s
account at face value.
Tigers football manager
Craig Cameron said last
night that the matter was set-
tled and there would be no
further action imposed on
Cousins by the player leader-
ship group.
Channel Ten has stood by
its decision to broadcast the
gesture. Cousins has said he
jokingly made it in the hope
that a friend of his who he
said was freelancing for the
channel that day might see it.
He did not think it would go
to air.
Channel Ten does not
know who Cousins was refer-
ring to.
The real villain is Channel Ten
F BENCousins is to hang,
at least let it be for a hang-
ing offence. Cousins’ ges-
ture in flipping the bird,
so-called, to an unmanned
television camera in the
Subiaco changerooms on
Saturday night has gone to all
the usual courts: the AFL, his
club’s leadership group, the
media and public opinion.
One by one, the verdicts
are coming in. The public’s is
indifference. The media’s
lacks its usual trenchancy.
The leadership group’s was a
fine, you suspect for thought-
lessness as much as vulgarity,
half-suspended anyway. The
AFL’s was a suspended fine.
Why? Because Cousins’
action was shocking? No; if
‘‘flipping the bird’’ ever
shocked, it does no longer. It
is shocking only as a glimpse
of frilly knickers was once
called shocking, tut-tut
Because it was obscene?
Hardly; the colloquialism
‘‘flipping the bird’’, in its very
benign-ness, contradicts it.
Because it was offensive?
Only to whomever it was
intended, and no one, not
even Cousins, can say for
sure who that was. Almost
certainly, it was meant for no
one in particular, but was a
reaction, mindless and
reflexive, to the camera itself.
Yet, selectively, some have
chosen to take offence any-
Why? Because Cousins is
a role model? Yes he is, for
better or worse, and he has
been both.
It is fair enough that role
models are held to higher
standards, not fair if those
standards are impossible, not
to every-waking-minute con-
sciousness of all sensitivities
and every innocent.
Because, fromthe AFL’s
point of view, it does not
want to be seen to be licens-
ing even a hint of the laxity
that allowed Cousins to
embarrass it and the game
previously? Almost certainly.
Because Cousins has
become an easy target?
Incontestably. And it means
some of his assailants have as
much of a schoolyard men-
tality as his.
Actually, it is not Cousins’
gesture that ought to be at
issue here, but the airing of it.
If it was immediately before a
game, or immediately after-
wards, Cousins could reason-
ably expect the camera to be
operating, perhaps live. But
this was nearly two hours
before the game. It was not
live, and would not have
come to light at all except
that someone at Channel Ten
spotted it, and someone else
thought to telecast it, after
the game and out of context,
This, far more calculated
and devious than Cousins’
own action, was the real mis-
chief. You only had to see the
demeanour of the on-air
presenters to knowit; they
were embarrassed.
So should Channel Ten
be. A lifetime spent in press
boxes tells me that Channel
Ten would not have to search
too far through its own
archives to find examples of
its own people in unguarded
moments in front of non-live
cameras, picking their noses,
scratching their backsides or
preening themselves narciss-
istically in the reflection from
the lens. Other than at
Christmas parties, they are
excused their distractedness
and vanities. But they did not
spare Cousins.
Underlying, there is
another issue. A footballer’s
world is privileged, but also
exposed, on the field and off.
The one sanctuary, apart
fromhome, is the change-
room. Almost certainly, a
scan of the unedited footage
fromSaturday night would
showsome players wearing
nothing more than ankle
bandages and an air of
insouciance, but these were
not telecast, of course.
Television cameras pro-
vide a fascinating insight into
the mien and mood in this
sanctuary, but it is only fair
that they are used discreetly.
On Saturday night, Cousins
was indiscreet, but Channel
Ten was brazen.
It says something of the
balance of power in modern
football that the AFL took the
player to task, not the broad-
Guy McKenna has distinguished himself with Gold Coast
McKenna may
Leadership should be one of the
key qualities in the Tigers’ quest.
MEMO: Richmond Football
Club Coaching Subcommittee,
Who amI? I aman estab-
lished and aspiring coach
with a thorough apprentice-
ship who has coached, and
continues to coach his own
football teamat the elite level.
I ama highly respected for-
mer club captain, dual
premiership player and mul-
tiple All Australian.
I have served as an assistant
coach for five years under
multiple premiership coach
Mick Malthouse.
I enjoy a high profile and
have proven to be a highly
competent and savvy media
My current role has provided
me with the most intimate
and thorough knowledge of
the best young players in the
country, having recently trav-
elled overseas with the Aus-
tralian academy squad, and
enabled me to establish
initial working relationships
with these players and their
F THE Tigers have put a
line through Guy
McKenna as a candidate
for the Richmond job due
to his involvement with the
Gold Coast 17 franchise, then
it is imperative that they
think again.
McKenna shapes as the
outstanding candidate for
the position and the fact that
he has a year to run on his
contract with the newboys
on the block should not be
seen as an insurmountable
The fact is, he is no differ-
ent to the plethora of assist-
ant coaches who have been
bandied around in the media
in the past 24 hours who are
contracted beyond this year.
Michael Voss, having just
signed on as an assistant
coach at West Coast last year,
was able to negotiate an
immediate release to accept
the senior role at the Bris-
bane Lions when it was
It is almost an unwritten
rule in football that an
aspiring coach, not at senior
AFL level, will be released
fromhis contractual obliga-
tions to take up one of the 16
coveted positions.
McKenna is contracted to
be coaching the Gold Coast
teamin the VFL next year.
His future beyond 2010 is
unsecured and it is a window
of opportunity that the Rich-
mond Football Club should
take advantage of.
I have counted 22 poten-
tial candidates listed in the
two main newspapers in this
town in the past 24 hours.
McKenna’s name was not
mentioned once and nor was
he listed by the corporate
bookmakers who are keen to
frame a market.
It is an amazing oversight
given the background of
McKenna and his role over
the past 12 months.
I believe McKenna is a
standout candidate for Rich-
mond. He ticks almost every
box and the feedback from
well-placed and experienced
football people, a notoriously
cynical group, hard to
impress, regarding the job he
is doing with the young Gold
Coast group is overwhelm-
ingly positive.
His presentation to the
young academy squad in
South Africa recently was
said to have held the group
spellbound. Talent scouts
Brett Burton hasn’t let adversity stop
his high-flying ways, writes Greg Baum.
T THE pinnacle of his
ascent at Etihad
Stadiumlast Sunday,
when he was sus-
pended in mid-air, upright
and looking straight down,
with his legs bent behind
himat the knees, the football
in the crook of his right arm,
the crowd’s roar also at its
highest pitch and the world
moving in slow-motion, Brett
Burton might have dwelled
for a moment on howhe got
He might have thought
back eight years, to when he
partially tore the ACL in his
right knee. ‘‘It was really only
holding on by a thread that
whole time,’’ he would say
later. He might have thought
of howhe had subsequently
suffered tears to other liga-
ments and the cartilage, and
had tendonitis, too, and of all
the screamers he had taken
in the meantime, all of them
jumping off his right leg. ‘‘I
had an arthroscopy two or
three years ago, and the sur-
geon said then that it was
only a matter of time before
it would go,’’ he would say.
He knewall this to be true
because he had a degree,
with honours, in sports sci-
ence. He was a rare example
of an athlete who really did
understand what was going
on out there.
He might have thought of
howhe had defied history
and physiology and logic by
continuing to take multi-
storey speccies nearing his
30s when nearly all the
legendary marks had been
taken by younger men whose
leap had subsequently deser-
ted them. ‘‘He’s unique,’’
Adelaide’s physical perform-
ance manager Stephen
Schwerdt would say. ‘‘He’s
not a quick athlete, he’s not
powerful, but he’s got this
innate sense of jumping and
timing, which doesn’t link in
with his physiology.’’
Burton might have
thought back a little more
than a year, to when the
wonky knee at last had buck-
led beneath himin a match
against Collingwood, neces-
sitating a reconstruction, and
of howhe was then 30 and it
was late in the the season
and that might have been the
end, and howrelieved he was
when the Crows backed him
by giving himanother year’s
contract, albeit at a reduced
He might have thought of
his painstaking rehabili-
tation, which he had mapped
out for himself along with a
physio friend and the Crows
medical staff, and howthey
had not concentrated on
meeting chronological dead-
lines in the usual way, but
instead on reaching thre-
sholds of strength and flexi-
bility, so that rather than
aiming to jog after, say, three
months, he had aimed to jog
when he was able to do 30
single-leg squats.
‘‘I knewthe stats about
the guys who come back and
re-do their knees,’’ he would
say. He didn’t want to be one.
He might have thought of
the many moments in which
he wondered if he could
recover his physical powers,
and of happiness when he
realised he would, and how
his freakish aerobic fitness,
developed as an elite junior
middle-distance runner and
even nowsurpassed by
nobody on the Crows list,
had come to the fore. ‘‘He’s a
unbelievable aerobic ath-
lete,’’ Schwerdt would say.
‘‘I’ve never seen anyone like
himin footy.’’
It wasn’t what made him
anexceptional mark, but it
was what made himanexcep-
tional convalescent. Amonth
before he resumedplaying he
was running faster time trials
thananyone else inthe Crows’
squad. He knewthenthat he
wouldmake it back.
If, while levitating at Eti-
had Stadium, Burton did not
think back over the years, he
might have thought back
over the seconds. Not many
of thempreviously, he had
stationed himself deep in the
forward pocket, mindful of a
tightening in his buttock
muscle. It had been a good
afternoon already, and the
Crows were on the rampage
again, Simon Goodwin
wheeling onto his trusty left
foot on the wing.
When it came to speccies,
Burton had carte blanche
fromcoach Neil Craig, whose
reasoning was that at very
least, the Crows would get
chances front-and-centre.
But as Goodwin’s kick tum-
bled forward, Burton had not
seen it immediately as a
screamer. He had meant only
what he always meant, to
catch the ball at the highest
point he could reach it. The
rest, he would say, took care
of itself.
Somewhere up ahead had
been MatthewKreuzer. Then
Kurt Tippett, all 201 centime-
tres of him, had ghosted into
his peripheral vision, and
with him, Carlton’s Bret
Thornton. Suddenly, it was
on. On the bench, Schwerdt
didn’t wince; all their work
was a preparation for this.
But watching on television in
Adelaide, surgeon Will
Duncan did. ‘‘Every time he
goes up like that, it worries
me,’’ he would say.
High marking is
something of a
black art,
given to
few, not prac-
tised at training, except on
bags. High marking, Burton
would say, was all timing. ‘‘If
you stand me next to a
25-year-old, he would have a
higher vertical leap than
me,’’ he would say. It was also
a little about luck, about cir-
cumstances conspiring just
They did now. Burton
launched. Momentarily, his
arms flapped, like a unicycl-
ist getting his balance. His
stroke of luck this day was
the size and strength of Tip-
pett. Just as his right knee
alighted on Tippett’s shoul-
der, Tippett heaved
skywards, catapulting Burton
even higher, as if off the lip of
a wave. Sometimes, this extra
lift unbalances him, toppling
himaway fromthe flight of
the ball, but not this time.
Neatly, it lodged in his arms.
Burtoncould hear the
crowdrise. ‘‘It just builds, and
thenwhenyou’re upthere,
whenyou take the grab, you
really hear it,’’ he wouldsay.
He knewimmediately this was
a good one. ‘‘It’s certainly a
buzz,’’ he wouldsay. ‘‘The
extra kick: youdon’t experi-
ence that too often. WhenI
was up there, I thought,
‘whoa!’ It didfeel good.’’
Hovering in defiance of
gravity above the Etihad turf,
Burton might have thought
n. Birdman (rapper):
stage name of Bryan
‘‘Baby’’ Williams.
n. Birdman
(literature): a novel
by Mo Hayder.
n. Birdman (villain):
member of the
Ani-Men in Marvel
n. Birdman (of
Alcatraz): American
prisoner aka Robert
Franklin Stroud.
n. Birdman (Radio):
Australian musical
n. Birdman (rally):
event at Moomba
festival where rather
disturbed individuals
jump off a bridge and
attempt to fly.
n. Birdman (football):
physiological freak
who takes the most
spectacular marks in
the AFL. AKA Brett
Burton of the Crows.