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Chris Lilley shares a bit in common with Jonah

Pushing boundaries: Chris Lilley (centre) in Jonah from Tonga.Recently, Chris Lilley was conversing via Twitter with Paris Hilton.
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”You get ridiculously famous people following you and then you follow them and then they private-message you,” says the comedian and television hyphenate. ”I had Paris Hilton send me a private message saying, ‘I can’t believe you follow me, you’re amazing, I love you’, and we had this chat. It’s weird, because a few years ago you’d have to call someone’s agent, but now Lindsay Lohan and I chat privately.”

If it sounds like Lilley is living out the fantasies of one of his characters, such as narcissistic schoolgirl Ja’mie King, then the instigator of polarising successes such as Summer Heights High and Angry Boys is taking it all in his stride. Even as he’s built the Lilleyverse – an interconnecting web of memorable characters that is about to launch his latest production, Jonah from Tonga – and attained an international profile, the 39-year-old has remained productively holed up in Melbourne, shunning the spotlight and retaining control.

”Everyone is like, ‘Why don’t you go to Hollywood and get in some big show like Modern Family?’. But to me that’s boring,” says Lilley. ”Why would I want to read someone else’s lines when I can write my own, then edit them, and decide what happens?”

The six episodes of Jonah from Tonga, a mockumentary that extends the impertinent antics of schoolboy tearaway Jonah Takalua from 2007’s Summer Heights High, will screen on the ABC, the BBC in Britain and the cable network HBO (Game of Thrones, Girls) in North America (the first two broadcasters will also stream the entire series between May 2 and May 4). If it sounds logistically complex, the end result is that Lilley has leveraged prior success into creative freedom.

”The arrangement is that there’s no input from anyone. The ABC and government funding bodies and HBO are paying for it, and the ABC check for their editorial policies, but I don’t get notes,” Lilley says with some satisfaction. ”HBO have this great policy of finding creative teams and letting them do their thing. They read the scripts and are supportive, but there’s no interference. I’m getting away with it.”

When Lilley is in Los Angeles to liaise with HBO, he sometimes meets American comedy producers and stars who invariably ask him how many writers he has working on his show. They usually assume the answer is 10 to 12, but as Lilley explains, it’s just him. He writes by himself, and only about the characters that excite him. If he wants to return to a character, as he’s doing with Jonah, he will.

”Certain characters, I finish a show and I think, ‘There’s no way I’m leaving them there’. I love them too much and I want to come back and explore their world,” say Lilley. ”Jonah was always going to come back – he’s a great character and I’m obsessed with that whole culture he’s from.”

This time the 14-year-old is first seen in Tonga, where he’s been banished by his disapproving father. The second line of dialogue, courtesy of Jonah’s aggrieved uncle, is that ”Jonah is like a f—ing idiot”, and he’s not wrong. Foul-mouthed, interested in daft boasts, bullying and graffiti, and seemingly allergic to authority, the dim adolescent is a raw nerve of obnoxiousness. Brought back to Australia and enrolled at a Catholic co-education high school, Jonah’s soon diverted into a stream for problem pupils, alongside his new crew of fellow Pacific Islander students, where he manages to aggravate his teacher, burly former soldier Mr Joseph, to the point of violence. Jonah pushes the boundary of comic offensiveness, testing both his teachers’ and the audience’s capacity for his incessant retorts and ludicrous attention-seeking.

”Most of my characters never change as [a series] goes along,” says Lilley. ”There’s a familiar structure to television where the character is a certain way and then they go through a certain experience and they become different, but I like the idea that people don’t change. That represents reality more.”

The idea that a character has to be likeable on an audience’s terms, or ultimately be redeemed, doesn’t interest Lilley. His younger protagonists, such as Ja’mie or Jonah, can sometimes sense their failings, but awareness doesn’t help them address their problems.

”Jonah’s not the brightest kid. He doesn’t think things through. Watching him make the wrong decisions is fascinating,” Lilley explains. ”The show doesn’t have the cues of a normal sitcom, so some people feel uncomfortable because that hits close to home, but that’s cool and what I like about it.”

In his own school days Lilley was, like Jonah, in the bottom class and in the hands of various remedial specialists, but his issues stemmed from an anti-authority stance. ”I didn’t like being told what to do,” recalls Lilley, and he remembers sitting in class thinking to himself, ”You’re all a bunch of idiots”.

His revenge was to impersonate his teachers at Hornsby’s Barker College on Sydney’s North Shore whenever he got the opportunity. In year 12 he spent months rehearsing a performance, instead of studying, where he played five different teachers, complete with drag for his female subjects, and even alluded to an affair between two of the academic staff.

Two decades on and Lilley is intrigued by how television creates its own version of the truth. He was obsessed by glossy LA reality shows such as Laguna Beach and The Hills. He prefers to cast amateurs that fit a character’s description, as opposed to actors, in supporting roles on his show. Several of Jonah’s Fobba-liscious gang were students Lilley found at the school he used as a location in Hopper’s Crossing.

”Actors are much harder for me to edit together to appear real, as they give away the game too much,” admits Lilley. ”The framework for the show is that’s a fake documentary, so it’s meant to seem like it all really happened.”

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Development body’s concern for refugees resettled in Cambodia

Would not elaborate on what rights refugees would have in Cambodia: Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Alex EllinghausenRefugees who are resettled in Cambodia by the Australian government will be unlikely to gain employment rights, get an education or be given permanent residency, according to a peak international development body.
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The Australian Council for International Development said Australia had entered “uncharted territory” by resettling refugees in a developing country, renowned for its questionable human rights record and political instability. It also said it was improbable refugees would be given fundamental rights.

“Cambodia does not have any capacity to provide resettlement for refugees such as employment, access to land. They can’t even provide land titles to their own people, let alone refugees,” said Marc Purcell, the group’s executive director.

A report on human rights in Cambodia published by the US government said Cambodia’s national asylum system had limited capacity, which had resulted in lengthy delays for some asylum seekers.

“According to an NGO, individuals without proof of nationality often did not have access to formal employment, education, marriage registration, the courts, or the right to own land,” the report said.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison would not elaborate on what rights refugees would have in Cambodia.

“The government is continuing its discussions on these issues and welcomes the receptive and positive response from Cambodia that has been provided to date,” a spokeswoman for Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison has continually stated any resettlement deal was not a ticket to a “first-class economy”.

“It’s not about whether they are poor, it’s about whether they can be safe,” Mr Morrison said last week. “That’s the issue. The [refugee] convention was not designed as an economic advancement program.”

It is likely the 1177 asylum seekers who are found to be refugees in the Nauru detention centre will be relocated to Cambodia.

The Greens have attacked the potential resettlement deal, questioning whether money to fund it will be plundered from the federal government’s $4 billion overseas aid budget.

“What agreements have they entered into with Prime Minister Hun Sen in order to be able to dump Australia’s responsibility on one of the poorest countries in the world?” Greens senator Christine Milne asked.

Mr Purcell said if the agreement was to be paid for by Australia’s overseas budget, it would be an “extremely poor use of taxpayers’ money”.

“It skews limited resources away from the people who need it most,” he said. “It’s not based on need and merit. It’s based on a political fix.”

Labor’s spokesman on immigration Richard Marles said it was “concerning” the Coalition government found it so difficult to be upfront with the Australian people.

“If the Australian government are legitimately pursuing an arrangement with Cambodia, then the very least they can do is be upfront with the community about the proposal,” Mr Marles said.

Over 9 million people have no access to adequate sanitation in Cambodia, and over 10,000 Cambodian children die each year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, according to Water Aid Australia.

Cambodia is rated 138 out of 186 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index, which rates countries on their access to development and standard of living.

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

Mirvac sells Westpac building share to Blackstone for $435m

Property developer and manager Mirvac has sold its half share of Westpac’s headquarters at 275 Kent Street to the US giant Blackstone for $435 million.
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Blackstone is exepected to place the property into one of its current fund, possibly the pan-Asia real estate fund.

The sale is another step in the growth of Mirvac’s ”capital partnering” plans, whereby Mirvac’s single asset risk is diluted and cash is unlocked from the balance sheet and used to develop other parts of the business.

As part of the deal, Mirvac has also granted Blackstone interdependent call options  over a portfolio of seven non-core office and retail assets in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, for $391.4 million, and will provide $156 million in vendor financing as part of the transaction.

The deal, brokered by JLL and CBRE, comes on the eve of Mirvac’s third quarter investor update.

It is said the new Blackstone Real Estate Asia fund will target investors from China, Korea, Singapore and possibly Japan.

Mirvac’s chief executive, Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, said the transactions are key capital management initiatives for Mirvac, which will allow the group to deploy capital across the group and into opportunities that align with its strategic criteria.

”In total, over $826 million will be released from sale proceeds over time to be re-invested into the growth of the business,” she said.

It follows the partnership deal that Mirvac struck with the US financial services group TIAA-CREF for the sale of a 50 per cent stake in 699 Bourke Street in Melbourne for $73 million.

Blackstone’s Head of Real Estate Asia, Chris Heady, said 275 Kent Street represented a unique opportunity to invest in a high quality, strategically located building in the Sydney CBD, as well as partner with Mirvac.

”This transaction also underscores our long term commitment to investing in the Australian real estate market,” he said.

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How McLachlan got to be the AFL’s No. 1

Gillon McLachlan.Gillon McLachlan’s journey to the AFL’s top job can be charted back to the day some 18 months ago that he sat opposite his old boss Andrew Demetriou with his head in his hands unable to speak.
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Demetriou too chose to say nothing and says now that the silence seemed to last five minutes but in reality was more like two.

“Say something,” McLachlan finally implored, “just say anything.”

It was a Monday morning in the spring of 2012 and McLachlan knew that D-Day had arrived. The NRL had offered him the role of chief executive and the opportunity to oversee the restructured NRL under a newly appointed commission.

Key members of McLachlan’s wider family believed he should take the plunge and take the job after so many years as the AFL’s unofficial and later official No. 2.

Although Demetriou was clearly closer to the end of his reign rather than the beginning, he had set no departure date and McLachlan had received no guarantees.

The man who on Wednesday officially became the AFL’s fourth CEO was genuinely torn between two codes.

Finally, Demetriou spoke and instructed McLachlan to imagine a wintry Saturday afternoon scenario where his beloved University Blues would no longer be an option, let alone the MCG, but rather McLachlan would be travelling to Sydney’s west to watch Penrith take on Wests Tigers.

The son of the Pascoe Vale fish and chip shop owner told the South Australian former polo playing silver tail that McLachlan, ironically, was more connected to, and passionate about, grassroots community football than Demetriou. He reminded him of his personal mantra that job satisfaction and success required passion.

McLachlan would not confirm on Wednesday that the Panthers-Wests Tigers’ scenario had swayed him, but it is accepted fact among his colleagues that immediately after Demetriou had invoked that image, McLachlan stood and stated he had reached his decision.

The relieved AFL chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick – mindful of just how formidable a foe McLachlan would have proved to the AFL’s expansion strategies – granted him a pay rise, but again no guarantees. Soon afterwards, McLachlan was handed the poisoned chalice of the Melbourne tanking investigation and then, more recently, the Essendon drugs scandal – two messy and damaging sagas that harmed his reputation and that of the AFL.

While the job appeared destined to go to McLachlan – he confirmed he would have left the competition had he missed out – he had been genuinely stressed in recent weeks as the AFL Commission completed its executive search. Two others ultimately presented for the job – Richmond boss Brendon Gale and Geelong chief Brian Cook, who was also a candidate 11 years ago when Demetriou was appointed.

Both club chiefs knew they were outsiders but last week did not waste their hour-long presentations, challenging the AFL board as to the problems confronting the game and delivering the odd home truth. Fitzpatrick called both on Tuesday night to tell them they had missed out, but would not confirm McLachlan had won the job.

Fitzpatrick had told McLachlan 24 hours earlier that the position was his.

Demetriou, who would have been shattered had McLachlan been overlooked, was at his local vet on Monday night with his injured cat when he called McLachlan to congratulate him.

On Tuesday morning, Fitzpatrick and his new CEO finalised McLachlan’s new contract. Cook and Gale messaged their congratulations to McLachlan early on Wednesday.

Demetriou will remain to oversee the final and still contentious details of the AFL’s official attempt to close the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor clubs and leave after the Australian Football Hall of Fame presentation on June 4.

He stood at the back of the room during Wednesday’s announcement, looking every bit the proud elder brother. Two of McLachlan’s three younger brothers – Hamish and Will – stood nearby.

McLachlan promised he would remain accountable to football fans, the game’s community, its clubs and its players. He said he had a clear direction of where the game needed to go and indicated he had a clear strategy for some cultural change, specifying a more diverse AFL hierarchy was a priority.

But his appointment was a recognition of his already formidable achievements as the game’s long-time strategist and unofficial heavy lifter, along with the fact that the AFL did not see the need for radical change.

While Fitzpatrick attempted to deny a dearth of quality external candidates, the fact his commission only interviewed three very familiar football faces would indicate a strong show of faith in the Australian game’s own backyard.

GILLON McLACHLAN ON…

His background of more than 240 matches in amateur and country football

“I have had my share of cold showers and freezing committee meetings.”

On a night grand final

“My simple answer on that one is I like a day grand final.”

On leaving the AFL should he not have been made CEO

“I think the reality is I would have had to have left. The short answer is yes. I think everyone understands and accepts that. That wouldn’t have been in a fit of pique, that’s just a reality.”

On the AFL buying Etihad Stadium early

“They are very aware that we would like to buy it. They are very aware that we think we are the only possible buyer. But we are a way (off) on price at the moment. It’s not that sufficiently an imperative to pay the wrong price.”

On fears going to matches has become too expensive

“We will be addressing the cost of going to the football. Cost is more than just ticketing. It is ticketing charges, it is food and beverage, it is the total cost.”

On Tasmania

“My vision for Tasmania is that we have a one-state approach. That means the north and the south working together to come in behind one team. Whether that’s possible, it’s a very challenging proposition but … Tasmanians ultimately need to become one team and that’s an aspiration.”

On his role in brokering a deal with Essendon

“With respect to me specifically, I am sure there was some skin taken off me. There was skin taken off a lot of people. It was an incredibly tough period… We ended up in a position that I don’t think was edifying for a lot of people and it certainly wasn’t great for the game.”

On the future of the centre bounce

“I am not making a guarantee about anything, but I like the centre bounce.”

AFL CHIEF EXECUTIVES

1986-1993 Alan Schwab

1994-1996 Ross Oakley

1996-2003 Wayne Jackson

2003-2014 Andrew Demetriou

From 2014 Gillon McLachlan

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Gotta Take Care rewards trainer’s judgment with Galleywood

Darren Weir once gave the owners of Gotta Take Care a choice – get rid of the horse or send him jumping. Their persistence through 52 flat starts over six years for 11 wins was rewarded yesterday when the nine-year-old claimed a famous victory in the feature Galleywood Hurdle at Warrnambool.
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In a remarkable training feat, Gotta Take Care won the $101,000 Galleywood just five days after winning a staying race on the flat at Flemington. The Galleywood win was Gotta Take Care’s seventh victory over jumps from 15 starts, taking his career prizemoney to more than $871,000.

Weir laughed as he recounted his advice to Melbourne brothers, Ian, Graeme and Philip Wood, who bred the gelding from a dam they paid $10,000 for 15 years ago.

“He was a slow horse until he went jumping,” Weir said.

“True story. He won an 1800 metre maiden at Mildura (in March 2009) and I said ‘you’ve got two options, you either get rid of him or jump him’. He went jumping. That’s what jumping does to them. It makes them faster, better and maybe got him switched on. That’s a terrific advertisement for jumps racing that horse.”

Gotta Take Care is now a favourite of Weir’s. His career victories are the most by any horse the Ballarat-based trainer has prepared.

“Eighteen, it’s a good effort, obviously to stay sound as well. He’s just an absolute ripper to have around the joint.”

Weir said Gotta Take Care was popular in his stables, especially with foreman Angela Taylor-Moy, who treated him like a pet.

He said the win, his second in the Galleywood, eight years after his first, meant a lot because of the horse’s spot in the hearts of people like Taylor-Moy, Irish jockey John Allen and the Wood brothers.

“He’s a ripper, he’s bomb proof, he’s got a great girl looking after him in Angela. She would have got a big thrill out of that. And a good bunch of owners.

“They have been with us for years from day dot when I was at Stawell. It’s great to return a good favour for them and get a nice horse. It’s an absolute pleasure to train this horse, and he’s just a winner.”

Weir said Taylor-Moy painstakingly cared for Gotta Take Care’s troublesome feet and did all the early morning work on him while Allen did all the work over jumps.

“Angela and Johnny, they do all the work, I just watch them.”

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Leave without the A-League trophy? Ono Shinji won’t

The curtains are closing on Shinji Ono’s two-year tenure at Western Sydney Wanderers and for all his success and moments of brilliance in the A-League, he feels it will count for little if he departs without leading his club to the title.
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The former Japan international is not familiar with a competition that hinges on a finals series but after witnessing the pain of defeat first hand in last year’s grand final, Ono is determined to deliver the only prize that counts.

He scored arguably the two best goals of last season and twice struck a dagger in the hearts of cross-town rivals Sydney FC this campaign but the man they call “genius” still feels he needs to issue a final statement before returning home. Despite lifting the premiers’ plate last season and providing many goals, assists and tricks, there’s a sense the determined veteran feels his time in Australia will not be fulfilled without one grand final win in two attempts.

When asked whether he feels he still has a point to prove, he said; “Yeah I think so, but if we play as a team, we will win.”

Ono is reluctant to talk about his imminent departure for J-League 2 club Consadole Sapporo but revealed the lack of public recognition for winning the premiership rather than the grand final has spurred him on to add to his legacy with the Wanderers.

“I don’t want to think about leaving Australia. Anyway, I still have a grand final and ACL against Hiroshima so I’m focused about just the final and I’m thinking just about that,” Ono said. “I’m really hungry to get this championship in the grand final because we achieved the premiership in the regular season last year but people just think about the grand final winner. I’m very hungry to win the title and of course, I want to leave a memory here before I leave.”

The Wanderers are yet to beat their grand final opponents in three previous attempts this season but Ono denies the Brisbane Roar have a mental edge over his team. The last time they travelled to the Queensland capital, a youthful Roar scored a commanding 3-1 win over Western Sydney and Ono is itching to claim their first win at the expense of the newly crowned premiers.

“I’m looking forward to playing against Brisbane Roar because I think we didn’t win against them this season,” Ono said. “They have big confidence but I think we have confidence for just one game to decide for us, heaven or hell. I want to prepare good for this week and I want to give a hundred per cent and show what I have on the pitch.”

When the Wanderers met the Roar in a finals series last year, Ono produced arguably the best goal in the history of the competition as he outwitted goalkeeper Mike Theo with a sensational lob from outside the box to seal their passage to the final. It was a moment to savour for Ono but he’s determined to snare another after the disappointing end to last season.

“I will do my best, of course I want to show my experience in a big moment, I want to show everything on the pitch,” he said. “We do the same as usual, we can’t do anything [different] just show what we do this weekend in this game.”

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

Kiwis defend handling of scandal

Ultimate League: It’s not too late to sign up for our Fantasy NRL game 
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New Zealand Rugby League chief Phil Holden has defended the Kiwis’ team selection for Friday’s Test against Australia and their handling of the Stilnox scandal that rocked their World Cup campaign last year.

Stephen Kearney’s side will take the field at Allianz Stadium missing a host of their leading players, including Sonny Bill Williams, Kieran Foran, Issac Luke, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, because of injury or the indifference of selectors.

While Williams was never going to be considered because he is switching back to rugby next year, the omission in particular of Sydney Roosters teammate Waerea-Hargreaves came as a shock to the player, his club and the opposition.

The make-up of the Kiwis’ line-up has increased calls for the midyear international to be scrapped, and triggered suggestions they aren’t taking the trans-Tasman Test seriously.

That is vehemently rejected by NZRL boss Holden, who says New Zealand don’t want the annual contest to be reassessed.

‘‘We want to play more international football, not less,’’ Holden said on Wednesday. ‘‘For us, international football has been a cornerstone of the commercial base of New Zealand rugby league for a long time.

‘‘Right now for us, this game, the midyear fixture, is hugely important because we don’t play enough international football. We want to play more.’’

New Zealand also enter Friday’s Test in Sydney with the spectre of last year’s controversial episode after their quarter-final win over Scotland – when some players mixed sleeping pills and energy drinks, leading to an internal investigation – lingering.

Williams and Foran are said to be angry that they were implicated in the scandal via reports in the New Zealand media after the World Cup, and there was continuing intrigue about the impact of the incident on the New Zealand squad for Friday. The snubbing of 25-year-old Waerea-Hargreaves led to queries over whether he was linked to last year’s controversy before Fairfax Media’s report on Wednesday revealed he had instead been dropped on the strength of previous performances for New Zealand.

The absence of the front-rower robs the Test of another genuine drawcard amid fears of a poor crowd, but Holden defended the selection bombshell.

‘‘We’re just dealing with the reality of what we’re dealing with,’’ he said. ‘‘But I can assure you that the selectors have the total backing and support of NZRL. They’re never going to pick a team or an individual that they didn’t think would deliver. So I’m very relaxed about it.’’

Holden is comfortable with how the Kiwis had dealt with the Stilnox investigation, which found their preparation for the World Cup final against Australia was compromised by up to six players mixing the sleeping pills with energy drinks.

After forwarding on the findings of their inquiry to Rugby League Central in Sydney, Holden plans to meet with NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle on Thursday to discuss what lessons that can be learnt in the NRL from the Kiwis’ experience.

The NRL is finalising plans to begin testing in midyear for two classes of prescription drugs as part of a study to examine the extent of their abuse by players.

‘‘We had to engage with them because … basically all our players are playing in the NRL,” Holden said. “We’ve shared some of our findings in that space and I’ve actually got a meeting with them tomorrow to talk specifically about some of that stuff.’’

‘‘For us it’s always been about player welfare. There [can be] unintended consequences of some of that activity because no one really understands what the long-term effects might be. We’ve been very clear it’s never been about naming players or finger pointing, it’s all around player welfare and how do we support them.

The NRL’s testing will initially be for data-gathering purposes only this year, and any player testing positive will be counselled rather than reprimanded.

“The use of prescription drugs is spoken about anecdotally, but we want to understand whether there is an issue in the game,” NRL head of integrity Nick Weeks said. “By the end of the year, we will know if prescription drugs are a problem and then we can take steps to remedy this.”

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Buckley puts heat on Thomas

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has subtly turned up the pressure on Dale Thomas, saying Friday night’s blockbuster against Carlton was a marquee event for the former Pies star.
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With Thomas already expecting some Collingwood supporters to “hold grudges”, Buckley said the Pies would not be targeting the 2010 premiership hero in his first match against his old club since walking out last season.

But Buckley did say he expected Thomas would be hoping to make a statement.

“There’s no doubt that if you’re in Dale’s shoes, it’s a marquee event,” Buckley said on Wednesday.

“He represented this club for a long period of time, he’s taken the opportunity to move on to a new club and that test happens for any player who moves clubs.

“I can’t speak for him, but he’d be keen to play well.”

Buckley said it was hard to know how Collingwood fans would treat Thomas, although he pointed out that the same free agency rules that enabled the 26-year-old’s departure had also allowed Collingwood to bring players such as Clinton Young and Quinten Lynch to the club.

“[Free agency] is a reality, and we’ve got to understand that. But the other fact is, as soon as you are on the other side of the fence, you’re the enemy,” Buckley said.

Thomas said on Sunday there was no doubt he would be taunted by some Pies supporters after taking a lucrative four-year deal to re-unite with former coach Mick Malthouse at Carlton.

A few days later, former premiership teammate Luke Ball said there could be some good-natured sledging between Thomas and his old teammates.

“I’m sure his bank balance will certainly be mentioned at some stage,” Ball said.

“We used to have lunch a day before the game, but I’m not sure that will happen this week.”

Byplay aside, Buckley knows the key issue is how Thomas rises to the occasion and his potential to ignite a Carlton upset.

After a slow start to the season, the exciting midfielder has shown signs of the line-breaking run and plucky ball-winning skills that made him a Magpie favourite, and his 22 disposals and a desperate smother in the dying seconds were pivotal in the Blues’ stunning comeback win over West Coast last Saturday.

Buckley admitted the Pies had been watching Thomas closely this season and had developed a detailed dossier on his role at the Blues.

“In our opposition reviews, his run is increasing … he’s been playing around 80 per cent game time, rotating a lot. He’s one of many we’ll have to keep our eye on,” Buckley said.

The Pies have shutdown specialist Brent Macaffer at their disposal should they need to send him to Thomas, but Carlton captain Marc Murphy has been instrumental in the club’s past two wins and seems the most likely opponent for the Pies tagger.

While Thomas may not be targeted by Collingwood on Friday, Buckley revealed that Pies defender Marley Willaims was physically targeted by Essendon’s VFL team in his return match on Saturday – just days after receiving a one-year suspended sentence for causing grievous bodily harm.

Buckley said Williams has shown he is capable of standing up to any physical or verbal targeting he may receive from opposition teams and could be ready to resume his AFL career against the Blues, perhaps as a replacement for injured defender Alex Fasolo.

”He was impressive on the weekend,” Buckley said of Williams. ”He was targeted by the Essendon VFL side as well, and handled it really well. Physically, the Essendon side came after him … that’s the game.”

Buckley admitted he was not close enough to hear whether Williams had also been targeted verbally by Essendon players, but said he was confident the 20-year-old would be strong enough to handle that type of attention in future.

”It’s early days, he has got to expect that,” Buckley said. ”He is a physical player, so he maintained his physicality without taking a backward step, but maintained his focus on the game,” he said.

Buckley said Fasolo, battling toe and foot soreness, was unlikely to play against the Blues, but fellow runner Clinton Young remains on track to recover from a minor leg injury he suffered in the Anzac Day match.

The coach also said key backman Nathan Brown, on the comeback trail from a dislocated shoulder, was also in the frame with the Pies looking at their best mix to stop Carlton’s tall forward trio of Jarrad Waite, Lachie Henderson and Levi Casboult.

”Carlton have got three tall forwards who took 28 marks between them last week.” Buckley said. “Nathan Brown has missed a couple of games … but he has come back through the VFL for two games and we’ll weigh up whether we need him in that role as well.”

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Driver to appeal sentence for killing uni student and tow truck driver

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A courier driver who killed a university student who had broken down on the Hume Highway and the tow truck driver who came to her aid is appealing his sentence.

Last week, Kaine Daniel Barnett was sentenced to a minimum 18 months jail after a jury found him guilty of two counts of dangerous driving causing death for killing Sarah Frazer, 23, and Geoffrey Clark, 40.

He was given a maximum three-year jail term.

Barnett crashed into and killed Ms Frazer, who was on her way to start university, and Mr Clark, of Highlands Towing, as they were standing in the breakdown lane of the Hume Highway in February 2012.

In an emotional scene in Parramatta District Court, Mr Frazer hugged Barnett and said he felt sorry for the 26-year-old and his family.

Barnett’s appeal will be mentioned in the same court on Friday. He will apply for bail pending the hearing of the appeal.

On hearing Barnett was appealing, Ms Clark said she was “shocked”.

“I thought it was a light sentence anyway. I and the children have now lived without Geoff for over two years and he got 18 months in jail and serves the rest on parole,” Ms Clark said.

“We got the sentence the rest of our lives and it’s a nightmare.

“He has never said what happened that day. Only he knows”.

In sentencing Barnett, Judge Stephen Hanley said he did not like sending a young man with no prior criminal history to jail, but he needed to send a message of deterrence to the public and particularly the drivers of heavy vehicles.

Dressed in a suit, Barnett wept and was comforted by family members and his de facto partner, Kayla, after the sentence was handed down.

He was then hugged by Ms Frazer’s father, Peter, and the two men wept together.

Ms Frazer was driving from her family home in Springwood to begin a degree in photography at Charles Sturt University when her car broke down on the Hume Highway at Berrima about 11am on February 15, 2012.

She waited in the narrow breakdown lane for about an hour before Mr Clark arrived to tow the car. The accident occurred on the Hume Highway about two kilometres south of Mittagong.

About 12.30pm, Barnett, a driver for his grandfather’s business, Barnetts Couriers, failed to see the car and truck, swerved at the last moment and clipped the side of the Ford before ploughing into Ms Frazer and Mr Clark, killing them instantly.

The Crown alleged Barnett must have been distracted for almost eight seconds to have missed the hazard and flashing lights on the side of the road.

During the trial, the court heard Ms Frazer’s broken-down Ford and Mr Clark’s tow truck would have been visible from between 250 and 300 metres away.

Judge Hanley said he did not accept the submission of Barnett’s counsel that the crash occurred due to a period of “momentary inattention”.

“The jury found the offender failed to keep a proper look out for a significant period of time,” the judge said. “His manner of driving [meant] a large number of people were placed at risk.”

The court heard Barnett was not speeding or affected by drugs or alcohol. Since the accident he has suffered from flashbacks, post-traumatic shock and has experienced suicidal thoughts.

Judge Hanley said he was unlikely to reoffend and his prospects of rehabilitation were excellent.

“Cases such as this are truly tragic,” he said.

“The lives of all who have been affected by these events will never be the same.”

Mr Frazer had publicly campaigned on issues of road safety since his daughter’s death.

Outside the court, Mr Clark’s wife, Samantha said: “While we recognise the endeavours of others to raise awareness of safety on our roads, we, as Geoff Clark’s family, have chosen for some time now not to be involved in any campaigns. We ask that our privacy be respected.

“Geoff was a loving and devoted husband and father. The care and well-being of his family was always paramount. Now I have to do this alone with the unwavering support of family and friends, for which I’m forever grateful.”

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

Victoria, NSW at odds over ride-sharing via smartphone app Uber

Uber Sydney general manager David Rohrsheim. Photo: Nic Walker The taxi industry is feeling under threat by Uber’s new ride-sharing service. Photo: Ryan Osland
Nanjing Night Net

Victorian Taxi Services Commissioner Graeme Samuel supports apps that improve competition but says Uber needs to comply with the law. Photo: Jesse Marlow

Victorian Taxi Services Commissioner Graeme Samuel supports apps that improve competition but says Uber needs to comply with the law. Photo: Jesse Marlow

Motorists offering so-called “ride-sharing” services using taxi booking apps face hefty fines in NSW, but the apps could be approved for use in Victoria.

In response to taxi app Uber’s service that allows regular motorists to work like hire car or taxi drivers, the NSW government reiterated on Wednesday that all drivers needed to be registered under the Passenger Transport Act.

The government is currently reviewing the act.

Asked whether it planned to allow ride-sharing services under a future version of the act, to be legislated this year, a spokesman for Transport for NSW said: “Taxis must be licensed, with authorised drivers using the taxi meter. None of these requirements will change.”

This would mean there would be no future for Uber’s ride-sharing service, under which fares are cheaper than regular cabs.

But other services offered by apps such as Uber, GoCatch and ingogo that make it easier for people to book cabs or hire cars would be promoted under the new act.

Motorists carrying passengers who are not licensed to do so face fines in NSW of up to $110,000.

A spokeswoman for Roads and Maritime Services said the department had “received allegations Uber has breached the Passenger Transport Act and is investigating. If there are found to be breaches, companies and individuals can be pursued as appropriate.”

In contrast, Victorian Taxi Services Commissioner Graeme Samuel said there could be a place for ride-sharing if drivers were properly licensed and had been through checks.

“What we want to do is to facilitate competition and we see Uber as a source of competition,” Mr Samuel said. “But it needs to be competition that is on grounds to protect the public interest.”

The general manager of Uber Sydney, David Rohrsheim, said NSW riders and drivers were flocking to Uber because it was solving a problem that had stood for decades: “The inability to get a safe, reliable ride when and where needed.”

He said: “We’re confident that in the long run, rather than continue to shield entrenched taxi interests from new competition, Transport NSW will stand up for consumers and drivers.”

If one of Uber’s drivers were to receive a ticket as a result of using Uber’s technology, Mr Rohrsheim said his company would “absolutely stand by them”.

Mr Rohrsheim’s comments came as Uber launched on Wednesday night its low cost ride-sharing service, now dubbed UberX, to everyone who uses Uber in Sydney. It had previously offered the service under the name “low cost” to a select number of Uber users.

The chief executive of the Taxi Council, Roy Wakelin-King, said he welcomed the government’s reiteration that ride-sharing services were operating outside the act.

Mr Samuel said motorists offering ride-sharing services would not have to be classified as taxis in Victoria. They could be classified as hire cars, for which licence conditions have been relaxed in the past few years.

“Essentially, if you are a commercial passenger vehicle, which is a vehicle where passengers are carried for reward or profit, then you need to be registered as a commercial passenger vehicle but we then impose certain conditions on hire cars, which are pretty, I have to say, they’ve been wound back significantly because we want to open the market to competition,” Mr Samuel said.

He said drivers would have to use registered commercial passenger vehicles, and have passed the relevant tests.

“There are a lot of things we can accommodate in this area in terms of licence fees, drivers,” he said.

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