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Helani’s death ‘highlights need for more education’

Helani’s death ‘highlights need for more education’

When Helani Sirianni died shortly after her suction delivery birth at Wollongong Hospital, her parents vowed they would fight for answers.Yesterday, more than two years later, when the findings of an inquest into her death were handed down, Michael and Marlissa Sirianni made a special trip to their daughter's bright pink gravesite at Lakeside Cemetery, Kanahooka."We wanted to let her know that fight may not yet be over," an emotional Mrs Sirianni said last night."In my heart I know she would have survived if she had been given a chance," she added.Deputy Coroner Scott Mitchell found Helani died on February 10, 2008 from lack of oxygen to the brain following hypovolemic shock and multi-organ failure probably associated with vacuum extraction.Although her death exposed certain weaknesses in medical care she received at Wollongong Hospital, Mr Mitchell found no evidence any person was responsible."Sadly the full story of how Helani came to die so young will never be known and there are many questions which cannot be answered with any clarity," he said.He said cord blood may have assisted but it had been lost.The Siriannis pushed for the inquest, claiming their child had died through systematic failures at the hospital.The three-day hearing heard Mrs Sirianni had endured a long labour with slow progress and the baby in the wrong position.There was evidence from the Siriannis there were three requests for a caesarean but the obstetrics and gynaecological registrar on duty, Dr Monique Cebola, after consideration, decided a vaginal birth was achievable.When Dr Cebola decided a suction birth was necessary she said she warned the parents there would "be some risks", but Mr Sirianni in court strongly denied this was ever done.Dr Cebola checked the CTG foetal monitoring at 10.30pm on February 7, again at 1.30am on February 8 and found them "reassuring" but made no immediate decision for an assisted delivery and invited Mrs Sirianni to start pushing. When she returned at 2.30am she found there was no progression and signs of foetal distress on the CTG trace, which the court heard had become apparent as early as 1.50am.This was not communicated to Dr Cebola.Expert witness and consultant Dr John Schmidt told the inquest the dips were indicative of danger and foetal distress and he found them particularly alarming, Mr Mitchell said yesterday.Because Dr Cebola alone was authorised to make decisions regarding delivery and she was engaged elsewhere, she was unaware things had taken a turn for the worse."In Dr Schmidt's opinion, she should have been summoned," Mr Mitchell said.There was also evidence that paediatrician Dr Steve Hartman was called in at 3.30am when there were several attempts at inserting a cannula for fluid replacement, but when Helani began to stabilise he did not persist.He returned four hours later when Helani's condition deteriorated markedly.Despite the boggy swelling, a clinical indicator of a brain bleed, Dr Hartman initially missed the diagnosis, explaining to the court it was the first of this type he'd seen in 32 years.Mr Mitchell said Dr Hartman's difficulty in diagnosing Helani's condition underlined the need for education regarding brain bleeds.The court heard the only hope in these types of bleeds was if the body repaired itself."Had Dr Hartman recognised the bleeding when he first saw Helani at about 3.30am, then she could have enjoyed a longer period of circulation support and consequently a longer period during which the chances of spontaneous cessation might have been enhanced," Mr Mitchell said.Mr Mitchell made no adverse findings against Dr Cebola or Dr Hartman.He said the need for continuing education was amplified in expert evidence regarding the failure of nursing staff to properly read Helani's CTG trace, grasp its meaning and call for assistance.The court heard that since Helani's death the health service had tightened and improved its protocol and education in neonatal.Mr Mitchell described those improvements as "significant".Outside Glebe Coroner Court, the Siriannis said they were pleased with the changes."But unfortunately there was not enough evidence to find out if Helani may or may not have survived ... we don't believe she was given a proper chance for a better outcome and we are considering our options for further action," Mr Sirianni said.
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Injury won’t bench McLeod

Injury won’t bench McLeod

Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod is adamant his job with the Hawks won't be affected by a serious Achilles injury.McLeod ruptured the tendon during a game of squash on Tuesday night and will be on crutches for the next few months.But when the question was raised whether he'd take time off work, the 2009-10 NBL Coach of the Year left no doubt he would be back on the job within days. Full coverage of the Wollongong Hawks "It's not really going to matter because I only have to coach," McLeod said. "I don't have to do any running, so I'll pretty much be doing what I would normally do."The Hawks have started preseason training at the Snakepit and McLeod has trialled a few Australian-based American guards. But he isn't rushing to sign the club's second import and will continue to scour the United States in search of a starting playmaker."The guys that came in competed very well, but obviously we still have a list of guys overseas that we're interested in," he said."Finalising your roster is something you want to try and get done, but this time last year we were only just starting that process. We're further along the track with that this year and there's certainly no need to panic or rush things."While the Hawks effectively have just one vacancy for a US point guard, former Illawarra junior representative and Gold Coast Blaze shooting guard Tyson Demos has been training with Wollongong in recent weeks.The 22-year-old is without a club and McLeod is keen to add him if he can be fitted into the budget."Tyson started establishing himself with Gold Coast last season and you don't want to see a young player like that just kicked to the kerb," McLeod said."It'd be crazy not to try and look at how we might be able to get him involved. Hopefully we'll get some information back from the NBL on that and then we can consider ... Tyson's situation."The 2010-11 season tips off for the Hawks with an October 15 home game against Gold Coast.
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Let’s blow rivals’ minds: Saffy

Let’s blow rivals’ minds: Saffy

St George Illawarra prop Jarrod Saffy (second from left) shows some speed during a sprint at training in Wollongong yesterday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERSt George Illawarra prop Jarrod Saffy believes landing psychological blows on their premiership rivals now will be the key to avoiding a repeat of last year's finals fade out.The Dragons play six teams that are well into the finals hunt before the play-offs start in September, beginning with the stuttering Gold Coast Titans at Kogarah on Friday.The squad and coaching staff have gone to extraordinary lengths to monitor workloads and training regimes to ensure the spectacular collapse in last year's title campaign doesn't recur. Full coverage of the Dragons Saffy claimed the Dragons were ready to lift a gear to maintain their momentum in the face of opponents scrambling to secure a finals position."I think it's important for the form of your team going into the finals, regardless (if) it's a top eight team or whoever you play," he said."You want to be playing well and doing the little things right, so when you come into the finals, you're winning games and doing those things correctly."I guess beating the top eight teams and getting in the finals knowing we beat them four weeks ago sits in the back of your mind."However, Saffy said losing to Parramatta in last year's qualifying final a week after beating them in round 26, remained a stern reminder about maintaining their intensity."We beat Parra and lost to them the next week, so we can't really take anything for granted," he said.This season is South African-born Saffy's last chance to win an NRL title before joining Super 15 rugby union franchise Melbourne Rebels.The Dragons welcomed back NSW State of Origin centre Matt Cooper, who has recovered from a hamstring injury, as well as Kiwi international second-rower Jeremy Smith after overcoming a calf problem.Smith has been named on an extended bench, with Mark Gasnier to come off the interchange again.Saffy said the hard-fought victory over South Sydney last Friday was a massive shot in the arm to kick-start their campaign towards a second successive minor premiership."It's great the belief," he said."Believing in your teammates and your team and what you're doing," he said."We sort of just stuck together and hung in there and it paid off in the end, no-one panicked."St George Illawarra tackle an eighth-placed Gold Coast without NSW star Greg Bird and Queensland lock Ashley Harrison at WIN Jubilee Oval.The Dragons then face Brisbane (seventh) at Suncorp Stadium, Manly (sixth) and Souths (ninth) at Kogarah and the Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the remaining rounds.Their other games are against the Raiders - still in the finals hunt - at Canberra Stadium and the struggling Newcastle Knights at EnergyAustralia Stadium.Saffy's front row teammate Matt Prior claimed the Dragons were preparing themselves to take on some desperate opposition trying to secure their finals positions in the coming rounds."Everyone is going to want to be playing their best football at this time of year to get into the semi-finals," he said."It's the most important part of the year."
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Foreign policies are all at sea

Foreign policies are all at sea

Apart from the ongoing asylum seeker and border protection debate, foreign affairs issues have so far been given little attention in this election campaign. There are nevertheless likely to be wide differences between Labor and Coalition views and it is time we were informed about how they propose to deal with them.Foreign affairs issues may often be very complex but they can impact on our lives and on fundamental human rights. We need to be informed how the Government plans to tackle them.For example, most agree on the importance of the United States relationship but differ on how it should be managed. Both major parties agree, if reluctantly, that we should remain involved in Afghanistan, but few want to see this kind of involvement repeated.The foreign policy strategies of the Labor Party are fairly clear and seem unlikely to change, thanks to Rudd's influence. We should, however, be pressing Labor to give more attention to humanitarian issues and to its earlier proclaimed objective to make the UN more effective in peacekeeping. If that had been achieved, a UN mission, and not the US and NATO, would be the major player in Afghanistan.Under Labor our foreign policy is unlikely to change much, but the big question is - how will it be shaped if Tony Abbott becomes prime minister? So far we have had few clues from the Coalition. Many of its members have strong views, but few have had any experience in the conduct of Australia's relations with this complex and changing world.To begin with, if we want Australia to be a responsible nation, then we need to act accordingly, bearing in mind that the litmus test is how we observe and uphold UN conventions and respond to humanitarian crises. Mr Abbott has given us few clues. However, his proposed "stop the boats" plan is profoundly disturbing, as is his unqualified support for Israel over recent events in Gaza.What will be an Abbott government's policy on the United Nations? The position of the Howard government was not encouraging. Then we eagerly joined with the US-led coalition's invasion of Iraq, in effect defying UN appeals and virtually violating the UN charter. It ended Saddam Hussein's rule, but at appalling cost to the population - and it unleashed a sectarian conflict.Mr Abbott is keen to keep our population down, but will he support the pressing issue of population control, especially in the Third World? Under Howard we refused to back international action on population.What is the Coalition's stand on peacekeeping - strengthening the UN's central role and regional arrangements that would prevent political problems between states from eruption into conflict?What is the Coalition's policy on reforms aimed at preventing a repetition of the global financial crisis? What is its stand on pressing environmental issues like climate change?Abbott has had little to say on humanitarian issues, which impact on us all, whether internationally or at home.John Howard responded well on two counts - in East Timor, and our generous response to the tsunami in Indonesia. There are likely to be more challenges of this kind, which impact on human rights.The Coalition's weak stand in relation to human rights is very worrying. It has criticised the Government's campaign to win a seat on the UN Security Council.If Mr Abbott were to win government, we would be even less likely to get support from the international community.James Dunn is an author with four decades of experience as a foreign affairs official and with UN agencies.
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Baker and Bugg say goodbye to Bulldogs

Baker and Bugg say goodbye to Bulldogs

CLOSING IN: Latrobe's Zane Littlejohn tackles South Launceston's Scott Merritt in Saturday's NTFL match at Latrobe. Picture: PETER LORD."They both feel they don't want to be part of the club's future," he said.
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Baker and Bugg were both omitted from Saturday's senior team to play Latrobe and, although selected in the reserves, neither took the field.

Baker is considering returning to his original club George Town and Bugg is likely to return to Bracknell.

Crisp said he wanted to sit down and talk with both players before South Launceston considered giving them a clearance.

Baker, 31, is a highly-decorated player at South Launceston where he has played almost 150 games and was a premiership player in 1998 and 1999.

In 2001, he won the G. B. "Paddy" Martin Medal for being the NTFL's best representative player against the SFL.

Bugg joined the Bulldogs this season after representing the NTFA last year, but has struggled to cement his place.

South Launceston won its second game of the season with a nine- point victory over Latrobe on Saturday and Crisp said the team had to start building on its youth.

¤¤¤ Burnie will have an anxious wait tonight to see if ruckman Brad Davis is available to play against Smithton this week.

Davis has been booked on a charge of striking Wynyard's Ashley Poke and he will appear before the NTFL Independent Tribunal in Devonport.

He was reported by field umpire Phil Blizzard.

A misconduct charge laid against East Devonport defender Brent Mullett and held over from Anzac Day will also be heard tonight.

Mulett has been charged with allegedly stomping on Devonport opponent Rhys Colbeck.

¤¤¤ Both the Launceston and Penguin football clubs are planning a major reunion of their last premiership teams.

Launceston beat North Launceston for the 1985 NTFA flag and in the same year Penguin defeated Smithton in the NWFU.

Launceston's premiership coach Kerry Sanders continues to be involved at Windsor Park, as do Phil Thurlow, Michael Cook, Malcolm Atkins, Paul Ellis, Robert Dutton and John McCrimmon.

The reunion will be held on June 25, with Launceston playing the Northern Bombers at Aurora Stadium earlier in the day as a prelude to the VFL game.

Penguin's 1985 reunion is being organised by Wayne Turnbull and will be held on July 9 after the round 14 clash with Smithton.

¤¤¤ East Devonport senior coach Leon Perry stood in as under-19 coach at Penguin on Saturday in the absence of Ron Mansfield.

Mansfield was suspended from holding any official duties for three weeks by the NTFL Independent Tribunal after being found guilty on a misconduct charge.

A spitting complaint laid against East Devonport forward Leigh Febey from Anzac Day's town premiership against Devonport has been referred to the tribunal.

¤¤¤ The East Devonport Football Club's Old Swans Association is mourning the death of its patron Brian "Macka" McCormick.

McCormick died last Friday after a short illness and, following his funeral tomorrow afternoon, a function will be held at Girdlestone Park.

McCormick was bar manager at East Devonport for many years.

¤¤¤ NTFL round 7 next Saturday: Launceston v Ulverstone at Windsor Park; South Launceston v Penguin at Youngtown; Devonport v Northern Bombers at Devonport Oval; Burnie v Smithton at West Park; Wynyard v Latrobe at Wynyard; East Devonport bye.

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Cooper-Gasnier show back on road

Cooper-Gasnier show back on road

Comeback centre Matt Cooper draws Dragons team-mate Jamie Soward during a ball work session at WIN Stadium yesterday. Cooper will reunite with Mark Gasnier for tonight’s clash against Gold Coast. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODOThey were once the biggest double act in the NRL. The dynamic Dragons duo who played 111 games together at club, State of Origin and international level.On the left side of the field was Matt Cooper, with his trademark punishing defence and powerful ball-running.On the right was Mark Gasnier, the untouchable, side-stepping, offloading, attacking weapon.Reunited tonight for the first time since September 13, 2008, Cooper believes the attention surrounding Gasnier's return to the NRL can help reignite his own season. Full coverage of the Dragons After a spectacular opening to the year which resulted in Cooper securing his 11th NSW jersey, the 31-year-old was struck down by a hamstring injury suffered in Origin II five weeks ago.Cooper said the arrival of Gasnier meant opposition defensive lines were now paying less attention to the powerful left-side trio of Cooper, Brett Morris and Ben Creagh."I've noticed sides have been stacking our left side with an extra member of their defensive line," he said. "I think with Gaz being back it will drag an extra player over to Gaz. It will make life a bit better for our left side, his presence alone is going to help our left side."Gasnier, who left for French rugby at the end of 2008, has played 143 games for St George Illawarra. Cooper has 189.Against a desperate Gold Coast line-up without NSW Origin enforcer Greg Bird and Queensland lock Ashley Harrison at Kogarah's WIN Jubilee Oval tonight, the pair will take the field together for the 99th time in Dragons clobber.They have also combined in seven games for NSW and six for Australia."It's been a couple of years since me and Gaz played together, it's going to be great to run out with him," Cooper said yesterday."Things change over time and there's a lot of new players here who Gaz hasn't played with. I think it's going to be good for Gaz to have me out there as a familiar face."As the Dragons chase a second successive minor premiership, Cooper is desperate to recover his best form after a frustrating period on the sidelines.Cooper limped off at half-time in Origin I with a hip problem, before tearing his hamstring in the final moments of the second game when Queensland secured a remarkable fifth successive crown."When I got injured, especially in Origin, that was disappointing," he said. "I'm keen to start fresh on Friday night and put in a good performance for the boys."Cooper said he expected the left-side attack to return to the form which made them the most feared combination in the NRL earlier this year."Our form was good when we were all together," he said."It's been great with me being out, so I've just got to get out there and play my normal style of football."Having the likes of Brett (Morris) and the two Bennys (Creagh and Hornby) inside me, it's made my job a lot easier."
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Gilmore: Create more jobs and job is yours

Gilmore: Create more jobs and job is yours

Neil Reilly with Parliamentary Secretary for Employment Jason Clare and apprentices Blake Matthews and Beau Kramp. Picture: SOUTH COAST REGISTERJobs creation could be the key to winning over Gilmore voters with the area consistently rating among Australia's worst for unemployment.The three major parties' candidates for the seat have acknowledged jobs will be a top priority when voters step up to the ballot box in four weeks.In Shellharbour, the latest unemployment rate stands at 8.1 per cent, while Shoalhaven is faring slightly better on 6.9 per cent.Both are well above the national average of 5.1 per cent.Of the local government areas in Gilmore, only Kiama falls under the average figure.On the campaign trail in Nowra yesterday to promote Labor's newly announced national trade cadetship scheme, Gilmore candidate Neil Reilly said unemployment would be a major focus for the party leading into the election.He said figures across the electorate had been high for 14 years and the situation could not be turned around in just one term."The figures aren't pretty but we can change that," he said."This is like turning around a battleship, you can't just dip in an oar."He said the cadetship program, to be introduced to the curriculum in 2012, would provide pre-apprenticeship training to school children in Years 9 to 12, acting as the party's first step towards addressing unemployment in the region.Also placing a strong emphasis on apprenticeship training, Liberal incumbent Joanna Gash said supporting small businesses, attracting big industry to the area and creating jobs for unskilled workers would be a priority."We have a shortage of jobs available for unskilled workers and one way we're looking at addressing that is by introducing a 'green army' which would comprise 15,000 people as an environmental workforce," she said.For Greens candidate Ben van der Wijngaart, creating jobs for Gilmore constituents isn't about carefully timed announcements."I'm very wary of fancy new schemes that are supposedly going to be a silver bullet to remedy all of our issues," he said.Mr van der Wijngaart said creating green jobs and boosting the agriculture industry would put a sizeable dent in the region's unemployment figures."We have great opportunities in Gilmore to take on sustainable agriculture, not just in dairy, but we can become the food bowl for the area and into Sydney," he said.
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Council gives ground in parking meter war

Council gives ground in parking meter war

Amanda Parkinson, of Unanderra, was one of the first drivers to take advantage of the new 50¢ parking spots in Wollongong's CBD yesterday afternoon. Picture: DAVE TEASEThere were mixed feelings among business owners and shoppers when Wollongong City Council yesterday cut its parking fees.David Saveski at Bar Pellegrini cafe welcomed the move, saying his customers would be happier paying 50 cents for 30 minutes."A lot of our customers have said $2 is a lot of money, especially if they're just buying coffee, so mentally 50 cents is a lot better," he said.Shopper Amanda Parkinson was one of the first people to take advantage of the cheaper spots when she popped into the CBD yesterday afternoon."I'm very happy," she said."But I would have paid the $2 just to save driving around in a parking station."Ms Parkinson thought parking meters had improved the overall parking situation."It hasn't affected me too much because I don't come to town often, but now when you just want to run in and out you can always find a park," she said.Kitt Couture boutique co-owners Kristy Trajkovski and Jade Mulley said they thought the new rates were fairer.And shopper Andrew Selby was more likely to park on the street now that the flat rate had been dropped."I know they've got to charge something but $2 was like parking in Sydney," Mr Selby said."I think it's very fair to lower them."Contractor Andy Gunthorp said people would still be deterred because they needed change to feed the meters, while The Chelsea salon owner Lina Sorrentino said the new rates would not make a difference."I still disagree with parking meters. Our customers are still complaining, they don't like them full stop," Ms Sorrentino said.The mixed feelings on the street were echoed in comments posted on the Illawarra Mercury's website, with the majority saying they would never pay for parking in Wollongong and meters needed to be removed completely.Others applauded the council for listening to the public. One reader said it was "about time they based it on hours instead of a flat fee" and it was good to see revenue being spent on the city.
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Wollongong Court House death trap

Wollongong Court House death trap

Wollongong Court House in Market St. Two reports say that urgent attention in a range of areas is needed to make the building safe. Picture: KIRK GILMOURWollongong Court House would be a potential death trap if a serious fire broke out, according to findings in two reports on worker and public safety.They cite a litany of fire code breaches including no smoke detectors, no sprinklers, emergency exit doors that do not open and exit signs that point people in the wrong direction.Also of concern, the gun room appears not to be bulletproof, posing a serious risk to staff and the public in the event of accidental discharge."It is certainly one of the worst buildings I've seen for health and safety and that's partly because of its age, size and layout," said NSW Public Service Association occupational health and safety officer Shay Deguera, who compiled the second report."I was surprised by what I found because it is a public building used by hundreds of people daily including public, office staff and judiciary."His report followed one released by independent consultant Vic Lilli who was commissioned by the NSW Attorney General's Department to report on the building's compliance with existing standards.The initial report was in response to staff concerns over safety standards, particularly fire-related.Both reports agreed that urgent attention in a range of areas was needed to make the building safe and in line with the Building Code of Australia, emphasising in particular fire risks.A staff member who asked not to be named, said before anything major was done, fire experts and Wollongong City Council's fire officer needed to inspect the building. But he said the department was dragging its heels.Lack of money in the budget is believed to be the reason for the delay.But the staff member said doing nothing was a recipe for disaster."If fire breaks out you'd have a whole lot of people already confused by smoke and fire and they are hardly helped by exit doors that don't open or signs that could send them back into the fire," he said."On top of that there are files dating back decades stored on the premises which would fan the fire."He said accidental or intentional fires set by aggrieved defendants were not the only safety concern in the building, referring to the gun room's inadequacies mentioned in Mr Deguera's report."Mr Deguera said he believed the walls to be of hollow gyprock with no bulletproofing."The risk posed is that people using the gun room could accidentally discharge their weapon potentially injuring people nearby," the report says.A department spokesperson said there was an ongoing program to ensure courts complied with fire safety regulations and it was undertaking a number of fire safety projects at Wollongong Court House."Recently, the department upgraded the court's exit sign system and updated fire evacuation procedures and manuals," he said."More than $50,000 will be spent on replacing and improving fire exit doors with the project to be completed in coming months."There were also plans to further improve the building's fire safety later this year with more work expected in 2012 and 2013.
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Arkwright’s determined to bring Throsby ‘competitive democracy’

Arkwright’s determined to bring Throsby ‘competitive democracy’

Her odds of poll victory are hopelessly slim, but Liberal Throsby candidate Juliet Arkwright has resolved to restore democracy to Labor's Illawarra heartland.As a lonely Liberal figure in a Labor-dominated landscape, the Wingecarribee councillor faces a daunting task to take on ALP candidate Stephen Jones in a seat which, held by a margin of 17 per cent, shows little sign of budging."I am the underdog, but the aim is still to achieve victory here," Ms Arkwright said."There seems to be a sad acceptance, particularly among business people and young people, that the area is dominated by the Labor Party, and I hope I can bring a competitive democracy back."Conceding the Coalition's campaign war chest would likely be directed towards marginal seats, Ms Arkwright insisted she was not just a paper candidate."I've been active in the party for more than 20 years and I'm not just here to be a name on the ballot paper," she said.Meantime, Cunningham Labor incumbent Sharon Bird has deflected claims by Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells that Labor takes its safe seats for granted.Ms Fierravanti-Wells made the oft-repeated assertion yesterday at the announcement of Liberal Cunningham candidate Philip Clifford."I don't think anyone could look at the record of me and Jennie George and the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment we got into the area, and say the region didn't get a good run," Ms Bird said."If anyone has taken the area for granted it's them (by) announcing a candidate 72 hours after an election was announced."Mr Jones, who is vying to replace retiring MP Jennie George, also disputed the claim that marginal seats were the sole object of Labor's affections."It doesn't stand up to empirical scrutiny," he said, citing economic stimulus measures, school building projects and investment in the University of Wollongong.He rejected claims by Ms Arkwright that Liberal-leaning Throsby voters did not have his ear."I spend two days a week in what is called the Liberal heartland of the electorate," he said. "They may or may not vote for me but … if successful, I want to represent their interests."
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Firm queries financial planning advice

Firm queries financial planning advice

People who stand to lose their life savings in the collapse of fund manager Trio Capital were given "questionable" advice and placed into an inappropriate, high-risk investment, a financial planning firm claims.Wollongong company Symes Warne and Associates has taken the unusual step of publicly distancing itself from the scandal which has engulfed two rival financial planning companies - Tarrants and Dominion.Ross Tarrant breaks his silence.Clients of the two companies reported lost individual nest eggs of up to $500,000 when their money disappeared after being invested in Trio Capital's $123 million Astarra Strategic Fund.Symes Warne financial planner Alison Henderson said the firm had never recommended Trio Capital products, and had actively encouraged new clients with existing Trio Capital investments to move their funds out.She said the Astarra Strategic Fund, money from which was invested in a complex web of foreign hedge funds, posed unacceptably high risk and lacked transparency and liquidity.Ms Henderson described the decision to recommend such products as "questionable".She said Symes Warne had parted ways with financial planner Colin Warne in 1994 and the business would soon undergo a name change.Many of Mr Warne's clients, now with Dominion, have been burnt by the Trio Capital fiasco.Ms Henderson warned against financial planners relying too heavily on reports from research houses when making investment decisions, and said such ratings only gave an indication of past performance and market volatility.The Trio Capital controversy had tarnished the reputation of the financial planning industry, she said."Our profession is getting dragged through the mud again because of this latest debacle … it makes it difficult for consumers to go to seek financial advice because they're scared (of losing money)," Ms Henderson said.She expressed her support for financial planning reforms due to come into effect in 2012, which would ban commissions and also legally bind planners to act in the best interests of their clients.
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We are still failing our elders

We are still failing our elders

While fewer than 10 per cent of older Australians will ever require support from an aged care service, their care is becoming a prominent issue due to the ageing population and media reports highlighting nursing home breaches - and so it should. We would all agree that supporting frail elders to the highest standards of dignity and respect is a societal responsibility. Quality of care of the frail is the best measure of a humane society.But it requires more than just rhetoric and words. It requires visionary policy that empowers yet protects our seniors, and consumer-directed funding that is responsive and flexible to the needs of each person. Older people are not a homogenous group; their individuality does not cease the day they require care. And our existing system is failing our frail elders. You see, when a residential facility is not reaching aged care standards, politicians are quick to jump in "to protect our frail and elderly citizens" without sharing their responsibility as funders. There is a truth behind "the story" that is never revealed because it's complicated and politically unpalatable: and yet it is the very reason why many providers struggle to give the care our parents and grandparents need and deserve, let alone the innovative solutions to assist them to age actively, independently and with dignity.Fact 1: The Federal Government is the dominant funder of care for aged people, either within their homes or in a facility, and yet the funding provided doesn't match the cost of care, let alone keep pace with rising expenditure. This year aged care funding was increased by 1.7 per cent with great fanfare, however the cost of living increased by 2.8 per cent.This disparity has been consistently the case for more than a decade. The real dollars available to care for frail seniors continue to be eroded.Fact 2: In order to receive care, older people must negotiate a complex matrix of assessments and prove they need assistance.It's a system that can delay appropriate care for months. If that isn't bad enough, they must then jump through the hoops again every time their ageing body tells them they need more help. If they don't do this they don't get funded to receive care.Fact 3: Aged care facilities must meet safety and health standards when caring for ageing people.While providers, residents and their families would not dispute the need for high quality, the checks and balances should be streamlined and focused on empowering residents to make choices, not take their independence away. The present system talks of individual choice, but in practice inhibits standard liberties, such as the choice to eat soft boiled eggs, rockmelon and strawberries because they cannot be sterilised to meet stringent food standards.These are just some of the issues we will be addressing with the commissioner and assistant commissioner leading the Productivity Commission's inquiry into the Care of Older Australians when they visit IRT next week.We'll be highlighting solutions that focus on empowering older people, that support independence rather than dependence and fund a collaborative approach to supporting seniors.We want a system that guides our grey gurus to navigate and celebrate the journey of ageing, to be the boss of their lives, because we believe they deserve it. We hope that the next chapter in the aged care story is one that you'll enjoy reading. Nieves Murray is the chief executive of IRT.
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Brood’s recipe for success

Brood’s recipe for success

It's taken us four years, but we've finally done it. Well not exactly us - more like my mother and Cybergirl. After four years in the winners' wilderness, the family has at last reclaimed the crown of the damper champions.This time every year the primary school holds a damper competition and since Cybergirl was in kindy we have religiously entered.But it's not just a simple damper that has to be made.Each entry is judged not just on taste, but also on originality and design, and for the past few years the family team of damper makers has fallen short on one of these elements.And after watching MasterChef this season, I now know how important it is to have all those elements working together.As the worst cook in the family, those first few years I left the hard yakker of mixing and baking to my husband. Cybergirl always had an intricate design in mind, from the echidna of the first year, to a cockatoo on her last attempt.Despite my scepticism, the dad-and-daughter team actually won their first two attempts. But when work commitments took over, the mantle of chief damper maker had to be passed over to grandma.Now it wasn't just one damper she had to make each year, but two as GameBoy started school.The next few years - with entries of the Australian flag, a boobook owl, Aboriginal flag, emu, a koala and a kangaroo and witchetty grubs all shaped with loving care and decorated with every combination of icing colours - the family team went from a highly commended to never being mentioned again.With every failure we lamented what could have gone wrong. Was it the recipe? Could we have overworked the dough? Cooked it too long so the crust was just a bit too crusty?There were concerns that our level of skill in sculpting was not as high as we first thought or that the equipment we had for the decorations was not up to the job.Trying to mix the myriad colours required from the four-pack of food colouring was proving more difficult as the years went by and the palette required was no longer red, yellow, blue or green but hues of purple, black, grey and baby pink.This year, after refining the recipe, the method and the shaping, grandma was confident she'd once again have the title in the bag.Although Cybergirl had long since left primary school, and PlayStation had taken her place in the damper dynasty, she still insisted on being part of the annual family tradition.Sick of looking at the finished product and trying to decipher what it was meant to be, PlayStation opted for a simple "giant scone with jam and cream", believing that the superior taste alone would get him over the line.GameBoy decided for his last hurrah he would go for the jugular, and asked for his damper to be mastercrafted into the native poison dart frog.Grandma rose to the challenge.The giant scone would have done the CWA proud, and my own contribution of a sweetened whipped cream and strawberry jam topped off the sterling effort.The poisonous dart frog may not have exactly resembled its real-life counterpart - it looked more like a bloated cane toad - but the artwork by Cybergirl left no-one in doubt of what it was meant to be.With judging on Monday it was a long wait until Thursday for the results.Although we only won the primary division with the poisonous dart frog, PlayStation is confident that now grandma has her groove back, the title will be his next year.
Nanjing Night Net

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.