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  • BP posts $US4b quarterly loss in oil slump

    2018 - 07.01

    BP had to mark down the value of its reserves because of the substantial drop in oil prices BP had to mark down the value of its reserves because of the substantial drop in oil prices
    Nanjing Night Net

    BP had to mark down the value of its reserves because of the substantial drop in oil prices

    BP had to mark down the value of its reserves because of the substantial drop in oil prices

    Energy giant BP has reported a net loss of $US4.4 billion ($5.6 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2014, attributed mainly to write-offs of about $US5.5 billion on the value of assets in the North Sea and Angola because of lower estimates of reserves and the falling oil price.

    The results from the company, based in London, were yet another demonstration of the damage that the sharp fall in crude oil prices is having on the industry. BP reported a profit of $US1 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

    At the same time BG, another large British oil and gas producer, said it had write-downs of $US8.9 billion in the fourth quarter, largely because of lower-than-expected prices for its oil and gas. The company reported a net loss of $US5 billion for the quarter and a shortfall of about $US1.1 billion for the year.

    BP said that its write-offs came as a result of a review of the amount of untapped resources in its oil and gas fields. A BP spokesman said the company found that its reserves in the North Sea and Angola were smaller than it had estimated. The company also needed to mark down the value of its remaining reserves because of the substantial recent drop in oil prices, the spokesman said.

    In BG’s case, the largest write-downs were on its liquefied natural gas operations in Australia. Because liquefied natural gas prices are indexed to oil prices, the company calculated that the probable lower oil prices in the future meant it needed to write off $US4.1 billion from the value of those facilities.

    BP also said it would sharply reduce capital spending, to roughly $US20 billion from about $US23 billion in 2013. The company plans to cut exploration spending and postpone what it called marginal projects.

    “Our focus must now be on resetting BP: managing and rebalancing our capital program and cost base for the new reality of lower oil prices,” Robert W. Dudley, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement.

    In announcing their quarterly results, other major oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron said they planned to reduce capital spending by billions of dollars. And Exxon Mobil indicated Monday that it was in the “early innings” of trying to cut costs.

    Oil prices were rising for a third straight day on Tuesday. Prices, which had been around $US110 a barrel in the summer, had fallen below $US50 per barrel earlier this year.

    Dudley said he expected weak prices to continue for some time because supply continues to substantially outpace weak demand.

    “I think we are probably in for a minimum of a year, and probably several years, of low oil prices,” he told reporters.

    BP’s earnings excluding inventories and one-time items, which are closely watched by investors, came in at $US2.2 billion, down 20 per cent from a year earlier but above the expectations of analysts surveyed by Reuters.

    “BP today is signaling strong flexibility to manage the current trough oil prices,” Oswald Clint, an analyst at Bernstein Research in London, said in a note to clients.

    BP reported a profit of $US470 million from its 20 per cent holding in Rosneft, instead of the loss analysts had expected, because of “hedge accounting” that the state-controlled Russian giant said on Tuesday it was using to offset the impact of the decline of the ruble.

    Profit for the year fell to about $US3.8 billion compared with $US23.5 billion in 2013.

    BP said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 10 US cents a share, due in March, which is 5 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier, but flat compared with its third quarter.

    “Throughout the work to reset BP, the dividend remains the first priority,” Dudley said.

    BP also said it was taking a $US477 million charge for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, bringing the total charge to $US43.5 billion. The company continues to face legal challenges related to the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that killed 11 workers and soiled beaches across the Gulf of Mexico.

    BP is in the third phase of a civil case in US District Court in New Orleans that will decide the penalties to be paid for the spill – costs that could hobble the company for a decade or more.

    The US Justice Department is seeking the maximum penalty of $US13.7 billion under the Clean Water Act, while BP is fighting to reduce the fines. The Clean Water Act penalties would come in addition to the $US43.5 billion BP has set aside for cleanup and compensation. More than 810,000 barrels of crude were recovered during cleanup efforts.

    BP won something of a legal victory last month when Judge Carl J. Barbier of the New Orleans court ruled that the size of the spill was 3.19 million barrels, well below the 4.1 million barrels the government had estimated. Had the government persuaded Barbier of its estimate, the company could have faced an additional $US4 billion in fines.

    BP could be fined $US4,300 for each barrel of oil spilled, though Barbier has the authority to set lower penalties. Under the Clean Water Act, the judge assigning penalties should look at the oil company’s ability to pay, its cleanup efforts and its history of violations.

    The New York Times

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

    Harper Lee to release second novel 50 years after To Kill a Mockingbirdvideo

    2018 - 07.01

    Harper Lee to release second novel 50 years after To Kill a Mockingbird | video Harper Lee receiving the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. Photo: Getty Images.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Mary Badham and Gregory Peck as Scout and Atticus Finch in the 1962 movie of To Kill a Mockingbird. Photo: Supplied.

    The original cover of the classic book.

    TweetFacebookTo Kill A Mockingbirdwas published, the iconic novel is to get a sequel.

    Go Set A Watchman, which was written beforehand by author Harper Lee, was, until now, thought to have been lost.

    The 304-page book will be published by Harper Collins. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

    The Pulitzer-winningTo Kill a Mockingbirdwas published in 1960 and has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

    Set in Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression, it is the story of a young girl whose father, a lawyer, is appointed to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman.

    In 1962, it was adapted into a film starring Gregory Peck as attorney Atticus Finch. The role won an Oscar for Peck.

    Harper Collins is planning a first printing of 2 million copies ofGo Set A Watchman.

    Lee said she had originally writtenGo Set A Watchmanbut, after advice from her editors, who were more interested in the flashbacks to the character Scout’s youth, was persuaded to write another book, which becameTo Kill A Mockingbird.

    Scout, also known as Jean Louise Finch, is the book’s narrator, looking back on the events of her youth as an older woman.

    “I hadn’t realised it had survived,” Lee said in a statement issued by Harper Collins. “So was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it.

    “After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

    Go Set A Watchmanis also set in Maycomb, roughly 20 years after the events ofTo Kill A Mockingbird.

    A summary from the publisher says: “Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”

    Publisher Jonathan Burnham said: “This is a remarkable literary event. The existence ofGo Set a Watchmanwas unknown until recently, and its discovery is an extraordinary gift to the many readers and fans ofTo Kill a Mockingbird.

    “Reading in many ways like a sequel to Harper Lee’s classic novel, it is a compelling and ultimately moving narrative about a father and a daughter’s relationship, and the life of a small Alabama town living through the racial tensions of the 1950s.”

    The book will be released in July.

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

    How to talk to your daughter about weight

    2019 - 03.16

    “Body hatred isn’t about how you look, it’s about how you feel about how you look.” File pictureMy mum has spent her life believing that she’s fat and hating herself for it. Her dearest wish was to spare me that fate.
    Nanjing Night Net

    With the very best intentions she closely monitored my developing body, talked constantly about the perils of weight gain and policed my appetite in a way that she never did with my brothers.

    She didn’t realise that she was helping to instil in me the very thing she was trying so hard to avoid: body hatred. When you’re taught that your body weight is central to your worth and happiness, and that snacking on anything other than celery sticks is shameful, developing body insecurity is almost inevitable — regardless of your BMI.

    Body hatred isn’t about how you look, it’s about how youfeelabout how you look.

    I have interviewed women with supermodel physiques who loathe their bodies and are obsessed with losing the ‘last five kilograms’. And I know of women with bigger bodies than me who haven’t a shred of body hatred. One acquaintance recently exclaimed ‘I wish somebody would make jeans that fit properly’. In her view, the problem resides with Levis, not with her larger body.

    Having the ‘right’ body doesn’t inoculate people from body hatred. That can only be achieved by having the right thoughts. With my daughters, I’m determined to do things differently. I’ve adopted the following strategies for avoiding body hatred.

    1. Never talk about body weight

    I never talk about my own weight or anybody else’s in the presence of my girls. When people talk about weight in front of my girls I do my best to neutralise it — it’s just another part of the rich tapestry of life. I want them to understand that a person’s weight is as unrelated to self-worth as their height.

    2. Never talk about food in terms of calories or what’s fattening

    When we talk about food we talk about its nutritional value. My five year old Violet understands that she needs to eat a variety of foods every day. Some foods make her grow, run fast, and lift heavy things. Others help her learn, and prevent her from getting sick. And some are just yummy.

    3. There are no banned foods

    I don’t prohibit any foods because I don’t want to create a closet eater or create any sort of good/bad associations. Violet understands that she can eat processed foods some times because they taste good and they are part of social rituals (such a birthday cake) but they don’t help her body grow. If she ate too much cake, then she wouldn’t be able to fit in all the other foods that her body needs.

    4. There is only one food rule

    I want my girls to feel in control of their own appetites. I tell Violet that her body knows when it’s hungry and when it’s full, so all she needs to do is listen to it. I don’t force her to eat when she doesn’t want to. I also don’t want to incite a food war or power struggle at the dining table.

    The only rule we have at meal times is that Violet needs to eat something of everything on her plate so that her body gets the variety of nutrients that it needs to grow and be healthy. Sometimes this means she will only eat one of her peas or half a bean. Feeling in control of her own appetite and trusting her body’s signals is more important than how much she eats.

    5. Focus on how bodies work rather than how they look

    We celebrate all the amazing things Violet can do with her body — such as running, jumping, skipping, rolling. She has come to value her body in terms of what it can do rather than how it looks.

    When she pokes my wobbly belly I tell her that that is my trophy from growing her and her sister, and isn’t it amazing that my body was able to make not just one darling girl, but two!

    My girls are five years and nine months old, and only time will tell if my strategies will succeed in raising children with positive body images.

    I’m also acutely aware that mothers don’t hold the only keys to their daughters’ body images. The diet, beauty and cosmetic surgery industries are masterful in cultivating insecurity in girls and women.

    But I’m not going to surrender to them without a fight. I want my girls to know that in the battle between their self worth and all the people who seek to profit from destroying it, I will always be in their corner.

    My job is to help my girls love their bodies, not hate them. And by doing so I hope they will make healthy choices, because we are more likely to look after the things we love.


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

    Varied weather for fishos

    2019 - 03.16

    In the points: Allan Kilpatrick with his good sized snapper.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Good outing: Mick Winchester bagged a 2.82kg jewfish.

    Mixed bag: Dan Murphy weighed-in four mullet, a flathed and a bream.

    WAUCHOPE RSL Fishing Club held its monthly outing on the weekend of January 9, 10 and 11, and with the weather not sure what it wanted to do gave a pretty mixed result for the weigh-in.

    The beach/rock and estuary: Mick Winchester had a good outing with a jewfish and a bream, his jewfish weighing about 2.82kg, and his bream about 0.300kg.

    Dan Murphy had a mullet of a time weighing in 6 fish – 4 mullet, 1 flathead, and a bream. His biggest mullet weighed about 0.780kg, his bream weighing around 0.400kg, and his flathead about 0.350kg.

    Pat MacInherny weighed in 10 bream, his biggest about 0.500kg.

    Our new boy Tim Hall in his first outing weighed in 1 flathead of about 0.330kg. A good effort from Tim being his first outing and gaining 2 points

    Dan and Mick were very close in weight, with Mick coming out on top by only 0.047kg. This time Mick took the 5 points, Dan was the bridesmaid with 4 points, Pat with 3 points, and Tim with 2 points for the top 5 bag weight. In the top 5 species it was a role reversal for Dan and Mick, with Dan taking 5 points and Mick the bridesmaid with 4 points.

    Deep sea/estuary: For the deep sea boys and girls there was not a lot of opportunity to get out but Allan Kilpatrick (big Al) managed the conditions and was able to get a good bag of fish – being a good snapper of 1.80kg in the top 5 species, and top 5 bag weight of 3.22kg, with some morwong, flathead and pearl perch in the mix. Allan took the 5 points in both top 5 species and bag weight.

    Mick Winchester weighed in an out-of-comp fish, being a beaut snapper of 4.19kg.

    On a not so pleasant note, with plenty of crabs around unfortunately there is a minority who are taking traps and witches hats that are not theirs, despite floats being clearly marked. A nice piece of paper from the Fisheries is on its way to people who were seen recently this, and or perhaps a visit from the local authorities.

    We would like to thank our sponsors, they are Kyle Clarke Electrical, Pat McInherny plumbing, Dan Murphy Pressure Cleaning Roof Repairs and Roof Restoration, Settlement Point Boat Shed, Wauchope RSL Club, and the Wauchope Gazette for their continued support

    Our next club outing will be on February the 6, 7 and 8, with lines down at 6pm Friday and the weigh-in at the back of the Wauchope RSL Club BBQ area at 2pm on Sunday.

    The target species are as follows:

    All juniors – Beach/rock and estuary – catfish, garfish, whiting.

    Seniors – Beach/rock and estuary – whiting, jewfish, garfish.

    Deep sea/estuary – dolphin fish, snapper, morwong.

    Well done to those who went out, with some great fish being caught.

    Remember if you don’t catch any of the above species but have caught fish you can still weigh your catch for the overall weight and pointscore. So come down, bring your catch have a barbecue, we’d love to see you there.

    Till next time safe travelling, good fishing and tight lines to you all.

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

    Local government reform up for discussion

    2019 - 03.16

    Boorowa Council is asking the community to attend one of four Community Forums to be held in February to discuss Local Government Reform.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Mayor, Cr Wendy Tuckerman has written to all ratepayers to advise them of the dates and the importance of providing feedback to assist Council in preparing a submission for the State Government’s “Fit for the Future” initiative by the end of June.

    Mayor Tuckerman said, “Council would strongly welcome your assistance to help them make decisions that are right for our future and the first step in doing this is to understand the context of what has been happening with reform.”

    To assist in better understanding why change is likely to occur and what the options are for our Council, a community briefing paper was also provided. All the information will be available on the Boorowa Councils website, including the consultants Hilltops Region Governance and Service Delivery Report.

    Council is also aware that not all residents are ratepayers and a mail drop of an information flyer regarding the forums will also be circulated.

    For those who are unable to access the internet, access is available through the Boorowa Library or the Council administration building.

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

    Novak’s thanks to his Kendall supportersVIDEO

    2019 - 03.16

    AUSTRALIAN Open champion and Kendall’s favourite son, Novak Djokovic, has delivered a personal video to the town he represented in the big tournament.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Novak Djokovic has posted a personal message to his Kendall supporters after winning the Australian Open. Pic: GETTY IMAGES

    Sitting next to the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup – the trophy which will be in Kendall for the town’s upcoming street party – Novak thanked the town for its support during the Open.

    Kendall Tennis Club president Wendy Hudson was thrilled to be recognised by the best tennis player in the world.

    “This personal message from the world No.1 player is better than any celebration,” Hudson said.

    “We have been Tweeting and Facebooking Novak since day one and to receive such a personal message in return is gold. Thank you Novak.”

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

    Two more charged with alleged attempted murder of Menai man

    2019 - 03.16

    Two more people have been charged over the alleged attempted murder of a Menai man, 45, on Sunday, February 1, at Picnic Point.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Police said Dean Yarnton fell asleep in his car as his wife Sharon drove him home from a Merrylands function in the early hours of Sunday.

    But when he woke up in his Nissan Navara in the Georges River National Park, Picnic Point, he found a gas bottle inside and diesel fuel poured outside.

    There was a second nine-kilogram gas bottle near the car’s petrol tank, police said.

    His 48-year-old wife — a senior Corrective Services officer — was charged on Monday with his attempted murder.

    Later that day, Fady Houda, 48, and Monique Hayes, 23, went to Miranda police station to meet Bankstown detectives.

    The pair were charged with attempted murder.

    Ms Hayes and her partner Ms Houda did not apply for bail which was refused in Sutherland Court on Tuesday.

    The Yarntons recently sold their four-bedroom, Menai home but were living together at the time of the alleged murder attempt.

    In the past few years, Mrs Yarnton has posted many loving tributes to her husband and never hinted at any relationship breakdown.

    Mrs Yarnton, Ms Hayes and Mr Houda will remain in custody until their court appearance in March.

    A NSW Corrective Services spokesman said Mrs Yarnton had been suspended without pay from her duties.

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

    Cessnock into John Bull Shield cricket final

    2019 - 02.16

    Cessnock’s representative cricket team won their way through to the final of the John Bull Shield after defeating Newcastle C&S in the semi-final at Miller Park, Branxton on Sunday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    With over 100mm of mid-week rain, a very lush Miller 1 greeted players for their clash with an unpredictable Newcastle C&S side.

    Cessnock backed themselves in these conditions and chose to bat.

    With Jason Orr (20), Joshua Dagg (19) and Andrew Carmichael (23), Cessnock was able to get a start but still were in a tough situation at 4-87.

    Coming off a man-of-the-match performance against Maitland at Miller 1, Greg Sheehan compiled 51 of the next 71 runs scored to turn the momentum of the game back to Cessnock.

    Late contributions for Barry Richards (15) and Nathan Stapleford (20) helped boost the total to 215, which at the time seemed to be an extremely competitive total but maybe 30 short of what Cessnock had hoped with so many starts in their quality batting line-up.

    Newcastle C&S started their run chase strongly and were 33 without loss until Cessnock made the adjustments required on a tricky deck.

    Within eight balls, they were reeling at 3-34 and Cessnock had their tails up. Newcastle’s Chris Diebert (33) and captain, Craig Plain (49), played well and were starting to get the Cessnock crowd nervous with some hard hitting.

    After some erratic bowling to begin his spell, Nathan Stapleford (3/38 off six) dismissed the danger man and signalled the end for a defiant Newcastle side.

    In what proved to be the difference in the game, Newcastle C&S dropped upwards of six catches during Cessnock’s innings but in return, not one chance was grassed during their innings.

    Billy Orr’s two quality catches could have proved to be the turning points in the game, while a diving catch in the gully by Greg ‘Shorty’ Andrews brought the small crowd gathered on Shorty Hill to their feet.

    Michael Shelley (4-32 off 9.1) and Greg Sheehan (1-14 off five) were the main contributors to finishing off the Newcastle side.

    Cessnock will now face Singleton in the John Bull Shield final at Howe Park, Singleton on Sunday, February 15.

    Singleton (248) were too strong for Maitland (229) on Sunday and will pose as a major threat.

    Nathan Levy (98) and Joe Leighton (5-48) were the chief destroyers for Singleton in their semi-final win.

    After a representative season that has reached new heights, this Cessnock team will be looking to get some silverware to show for their hard work.

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

    Hornridge and Olympic Dam secure spot in final

    2019 - 02.16

    TANGLE: Andamooka’s Troy Mulders gets tangled up with Olympic Dam wicketkeeper Brendan Hill.
    Nanjing Night Net

    CUT: Andamooka’s Dan Wescombe cuts a ball away.

    PACE: Olympic Dam paceman Adrian Harris leaps into his delivery stride.

    Dispatching Andamooka at last weekend’s Twenty20 match was a mere formality for Roxby’s ‘Kings of Cricket’ Olympic Dam.

    7/81 from 20 overs was never going to be enough to stop the Devils.

    The only thing the ‘Roos won on the day was the toss.

    OD’s bowling combination kept the run rate to a minimum with A Hand picking up late wickets for a 3/19 haul.

    N Reader and D Wescombe with 21 each were the only batsmen to give the OD bowling attack a run for their money, be it only a light run.

    81 from 20 overs looked a walk in the park for the green and gold, however P Glover walked back to the bar in the first over with 1, much to the delight of the embattled Andamooka.

    The excitement was short lived with OD’s Bennett pooping the ‘Roos party making a speedy 35.

    B Hill decided to up the ante, having a crack with 26 before being cut down mid stride.

    Andamooka changing the bowlers nine times in the innings was like throwing a handful of wheat and hoping to hit something.

    Always in control, Olympic Dam finished off the ‘Roos in the 15th over, four wickets down.

    The match between contenders Hornridge and the Rogues was a thriller not a chiller.

    A heartbroken Rogues watched their chance of having ago at dethroning Olympic Dam at Friday’s Twenty20 grand final disappear by the smallest of margins.

    Needing 10 runs off the last over Hornridge must have had toes, fingers and legs crossed in hope they could overcome Rogues bowler Daniel Fisher.

    With one ball left in the over and scores level it was the all or nothing shot that would take them to the grand final.

    In what must have been a surreal slow motion moment, Fisher delivered the ball, all eyes watching ball go to bat.

    The batsmen hit a top edge, all eyes now on the ball and fielder Dave Kovac.

    Imagine this is a slow motion scene in a movie.

    Cut to the ball spinning towards fielder Dave Kovack, close up of Dave Kovack’s face focused on the ball, cut to the ball entering his hand, cut to the anguish on Kovack’s face, cut to the ball falling from his hand.

    Hornridge scrambles to make the winning run.

    Goodnight nurse for another year and back to the nets for the Rogues.

    Hornridge 6/99 defeated Rogues 6/98.

    The question is will the Hornridge Wanderers’ luck hold out for Friday’s clash against Olympic Dam.

    Batsmen star in Kurri-Weston win

    2019 - 02.16

    Kurri-Weston Warriors first grade defeated Eastern Suburbs by 26 runs in a high-scoring match at Kurri Central on Old Boys Day on Saturday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Thirty-plus Old Boys turned up to support the current crop of players, and they were treated to an outstanding batting display by Kurri-Weston, particularly Kerryn Ball (100 off 55 balls) and Mick Heinrich (83).

    Several other players chipped in to take the score to 8-280 after their 50 overs.

    In reply, Easts were in trouble at 3-47 after Steve Abel (2-49) struck early, but a 129-run fourth-wicket partnership got them back into the game and Kurri-Weston had to dig deep to eventually dismiss Easts for 254 in the 49th over.

    Best with the ball were Jack Bennett (4-24) and Haydon Fox (3-37) in his return from injury.

    Second grade had a three-wicket win over the fifth-placed Easts to confirm their place in the semi-finals. It was Kurri-Weston’s third win on the trot and they are starting to hit their straps at the right time of the season.

    Easts batted first and were bowled out for 141 in bowler-friendly conditions. Haydon Yates (4-14) was outstanding and looks a real player of the future. Troy Rees (2-33) and Cameron Bates (2-13) also bowled well.

    Kurri-Weston overcame the loss of an early wicket to pass the total for the loss of seven wickets.

    A couple of 50-run partnerships were enough for the side to get home fairly comfortably in the end. Dave Fairfull (44no), Sam Bennett (33) and Captain Grant Lowbridge (30) were the main contributors.

    Fourth grade lost to Western Suburbs by three wickets. Kurri-Weston could only manage 99 when they batted first with Ethan McGregor (58) playing a lone hand for the home side.

    Kurri-Weston battled hard in the field right to the end with Wests finally passing the total for the loss of seven wickets. Mick Plumridge (4-33) and Noel Stothard (2-14) lead the charge for the Warriors.

    Third and fifth grades had a bye.

    Former Test cricketer and media personality Greg Ritchie has been confirmed for Kurri-Weston Cricket Club’s annual Sportsmen’s Dinner at Kurri Bowling Club on Friday, March 27.

    Tickets are $50 per head which includes a meal and the show; or sponsor’s tables of 10 are available for $1000 which includes all drinks as well.

    Tickets will be on sale at Weston Workers Club and Kurri Bowling Club or by contacting Robert Flanagan on 0404 465 482.

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

    OPINION: Abbott’s stint as leader coming to an end

    2019 - 02.16

    Yass man David Barnett shares his views.Tony Abbott’s days as prime minister and leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party are numbered. At Federal and State level Liberal members see Abbott as responsible for their devastating loss in Queensland.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Nobody pretends any longer that State and Federal politics are not connected. The defeated Queensland premier Campbell Newman had an image problem. He is short, bald and he has a strident voice but he was a conscientious premier, tackling Queensland’s problems after successive ALP governments had ruined the State’s finances. He did not adequately explain why he had to reduce the size of the Queensland public service.

    Above all it has been Abbott himself, whose offences were manifest.

    He did not have a clear sense of economic direction, cutting back on expenditure while also increasing it with pet schemes either developed by himself such as the wildly unnecessary baby bonus, or inherited, namely the national broadband network and disability insurance.

    He never successfully set out the fiscal mess left for him by Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, and in so doing failed to establish himself as a responsible prime minister. The collateral damage was the treasurer, Joe Hockey. Treasurers are only as good as prime ministers allow them to be.

    Above all, he did not have a feel for the country he was running. Bob Hawke epitomised national empathy, but lack of it was not a charge that could be levelled at any of his predecessors on either side of politics.

    This absence of empathy was dramatically illustrated by his award of a knighthood to the Duke of Edinburgh, who already has 64 gongs, some of them because of his service during the Second World War but most because of the woman he married.

    I myself see no reason why he should not also have an Australian knighthood to stick on his chest. His wife is, after all, the Queen of Australia, but I can see good reasons why Abbott should have handled it better: consulting his colleagues and carrying them with him, anticipating reactions from the republicans and the media.

    New South Wales goes to the polls in March. It is not a resource state dependent on Chinese purchases of iron ore and coal, which have now eased. NSW is growing. Mike Baird doesn’t have an image problem. Everybody loves him. That government should survive, but in the present climate some members must lose their seats.

    So the Libs are thinking about a successor, all of them. Julie Bishop maybe. She is popular. Or Malcolm Turnbull, who is grinning his way back on to the TV screens; Scott Morrison handled himself impressively in a difficult portfolio.

    Changing leaders in mid-term is not a good idea, but these are exceptional times.

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

    Floods: Stormwater woes continue in South Cessnock

    2019 - 02.16

    NOWHERE TO GO: Matt McIntyre in the Oliver Street drain, which overflowed during the storm on Tuesday, January 27.South Cessnock residents continue to battle floodwater overflowing from drains in the area.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Matt and Kira McIntyre say their Gordon Avenue backyard floods each time there is a downpour, with water above ankle-deep.

    The couple have lived in the house for six years and not long after they moved in, the area was declared a flood zone.

    Mr. and Mrs. McIntyre say the drain on Oliver Street that runs adjacent to Gordon Avenue becomes overflowed almost every time it rains; meaning water runs along the back laneway all the way to their home, which is the fourth house along.

    Mr. McIntyre said not only is the drain not big enough, when it does start to fill up the water doesn’t flow properly.

    “It’s just got nowhere to go, nowhere at all,” he said.

    Mr. McIntyre said on one particular day of heavy rainfall, the drain only took 15 minutes to fill.

    FULL: The Oliver Street drain on Tuesday, January 27. Photo by Jessie Murray.

    The couple has had to put pavers in their backyard to raise the ground of their chicken coop, which houses Mrs. McIntyre’s rare breed of White Australorp chickens.

    She said she has almost lost baby chicks when it has rained before as they nearly drowned in the floodwater.

    The couple are also concerned about the effect this issue has on the price of their house.

    “It devalues our property,” he said.

    Mr. McIntyre said the storm water goes under the house and has affected the foundations, meaning they have had to replace one of their bearers.

    The couple say the whole neighbourhood worries each time it rains.

    “You’re always in fear your house is going to flood,” Mrs. McIntyre said.

    Mr. McIntyre said he approached council two years ago but they have yet to improve the situation.

    A council spokesperson said South Cessnock has been listed as the next stage of Council’s Floodplain Management Program and that council is working towards developing solutions to resolve flooding in the South Cessnock area.

    Council officers will also be pursuing government assistance grant funding to carry out works, and hope to present options to the community that will ease the flooding in the area in the form of a public exhibition or workshop during 2015.

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