Online advocacy group to refocus marginal seats on climate change

THE online advocacy group GetUp! plans to target the key Sydney marginal seats held by Maxine McKew and Malcolm Turnbull to wrench the attention of both major parties back to climate change before the federal election.It claims to have raised almost $500,000 in Mr Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth alone.In its 2010 election strategy document, released today, the organisation says it aims to have more than 10,000 members on the ground for the election – and more at polling booths than the major parties themselves.GetUp! will also mount a major enrolment drive aimed at getting 30,000 unenrolled young people, indigenous Australians and migrants to sign up to vote.The Herald has obtained the results of a survey GetUp! commissioned to Auspoll on key issues it has targeted for the election: climate change, mental health and asylum seekers.The poll of 1500 Australians, conducted nationally over four days this week, showed 72 per cent of respondents wanted a plan to reverse Australia’s rising ”pollution” in the next three years. Sixty-six per cent said they favoured faster processing of refugees, and 83 per cent said they would favour increasing government spending on mental health by $500 million a year.GetUp! has teamed up with the Australian of the Year and leading psychiatrist Patrick McGorry to drive its mental health agenda.”This campaign with GetUp! is about making sure that all sides of politics get moving now, because lives are at stake,” Professor McGorry said yesterday.The national director of GetUp!, Simon Sheikh, said Wentworth and Bennelong, held by Ms McKew, would not be the only marginal seats targeted by the organisation.Ryan in Queensland has also been selected as another ultra-marginal electorate, and the ACT will be in the spotlight because of its closely contested Senate race.”The stories we keep hearing are that Rudd and Abbott would like to get away this election without speaking about the issue of climate change,” Mr Sheikh said. ”This is our way of making sure they can’t get away with that.”GetUp! has had a major publicity coup this week by securing a surfing lesson from the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, for a former Afghan asylum seeker, Riz Wakil.
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Hopes helps Aussies down plucky Irish

SCORECARDA career-best haul from all-rounder James Hopes propelled Australia to an unconvincing 39-run one-day international victory, but not before the tourists were given a fright by cricketing minnows Ireland on Thursday.A stunning upset loomed when Ireland, who have just six fully contracted players on their books, reached 3-137 in the 25th over in pursuit of Australia’s 9-231, which was built on a composed 81 by Tim Paine.But Hopes spared the four-time world champions the ignominy of losing to a non-Test playing side by returning stellar figures of 5-14, easily eclipsing his previous best of 3-30, while off-spinner Nathan Hauritz collected 2-40.Ireland lost their final seven wickets for 55 runs, 36 of which came in an entertaining last-wicket stand between John Mooney and Boyd Rankin.”With the new ball is the best time to bat on that wicket,’ said a relieved Ricky Ponting.”We were hoping to make the most of the new ball and we didn’t and they got off to a flying start.”Hopes was outstanding and I thought Hauritz was very good as well. Once we took the pace off the ball it was very hard to score.”A sellout crowd of 4500 sniffed an upset after Ireland openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling thrashed 80 off 68 balls, including 42 from the first four overs.Ryan Harris and Clint McKay bore the brunt of the attack and were smashed around the ground.Nineteen-year-old Stirling, who earlier claimed a tidy 2-34 from his 10 overs, made a run-a-ball 36 to complete a fine double before being bowled by Harris.Porterfield creamed three boundaries in Harris’s first over but failed to capitalise on lives given to him on 35 and 38 and was bowled by Nathan Hauritz for a team-high 39 off 42 balls.Brisbane-born Alex Cusack and Niall O’Brien added 51 for the fourth wicket before Hopes wreaked havoc on the Irish.Bowling a stump-to-stump line on a wicket favouring slower bowlers, medium-pacer Hopes trapped Cusack in front for 30 then combined with Paine to dismiss Andrew White for four.He was on a hattrick after removing Trent Johnston and Peter Connell but was denied by No.11 Rankin.”I was talking on the sideline when the Irish medium-pacers were going. They were bowling quite straight and weren’t giving us much room to cut,” Hopes said.”So I sat down with the coaches and spoke about taking the cross-bat shots out of it and trying to get them to hit the ball back past us.”All our batsmen were saying it was very hard to drive so I was trying to make them drive.”Paine formed the cornerstone of Australia’s innings, sharing twin 66-run partnerships with Ricky Ponting (33 off 54 balls) and Cameron White (42 off 54).But the Australians lost their way in the final overs and only Hauritz, with a whirlwind 19 off 10 deliveries, was able to significantly up the ante.AAP
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Cranky Harry saga continues: reporter fights back

HERE I am Harry, where I was always going to be and where I’ll be for the next few weeks. Covering the World Cup.
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Not covering you, exclusively, I must admit. I like to get around. On Wednesday afternoon, when you seemed to be rather upset that I wasn’t squeezed among the press pack at Ruimsig, tape recorder in hand, I was actually in Pretoria. Months ago I applied, and received, accreditation to report on South Africa’s game against Uruguay. You can check if you like.

Perhaps if I’d known you were going to front the cameras – we’re not generally told who Football Federation Australia are ”putting up” in advance – I would have changed my plans. Come to think of it, no I wouldn’t have.

You see, Harry, I spent a lot of years, a lot of energy and a lot of effort chasing you for quotes around the world. I was there when it all began for you in 1996 – in fact, I was there a long time before that – and I’m still here now.

Ninety per cent of that time, you’ve blanked me. The last time, four years ago in Yokohama, I made a decision there wasn’t much point in the charade any more. Something I conveyed, quite clearly, to your manager, Bernie Mandic. So you got on with your life and I got on with mine. That’s fair enough. There’s plenty of athletes and plenty of journalists who don’t get on. Nature of the beast and all that.

What’s also true in this business is that if you dish it out, you’ve got to take it. I’ve dished it out to you in the past week and I’m happy to take it. But I stand by every word I’ve written. Every single one. You’ve had a dream run in terms of scrutiny, real scrutiny, regarding your performances. You know it, Bernie knows it. In fact, Bernie once told me – remember when you brushed me at Waverley Oval? – that as far as Team Kewell was concerned, the football media was a joke, utterly irrelevant. Give us Ray Martin over you numpties any day was Bernie’s point. A message conveyed, I might add, in much more forceful language than that.

So if what is written by a football journalist means diddly-squat, I’m not quite sure why my words over the past few weeks have got under your skin. And they have because you went to the FFA last week and demanded my accreditation be revoked. The accreditation I need to cover the Socceroos. That’s 23 players, by the way, not just you.

So here’s the thing, Harry. You know and I know that most of the media are in your thrall. One hack even professed his love for you the other day. I happen to believe it’s what you do on the pitch for Australia that counts. Not what your PR machine spins out. Not how good you look in a pair of undies. And I happen to believe, since the last World Cup, you’ve done bugger all. I couldn’t praise you enough after the game in Brisbane against Iraq. You can get the clippings if you like. But the rest of the time, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve been a myth.

Now you’ve got the chance to show you’re not. That there’s still something in the tank. Go out against Ghana, when our World Cup is on the line, when your own international career is on the line, and do something. Actually DO something. Prove something. And if you do, I’ll be the first to praise you. As for the rest of it, I’m still here, still writing about football and hope to be for a long time to come.

Nation gets its parental leave

Australia has became one of the last advanced economies to introduce a paid parental leave scheme after Parliament passed historic legislation giving mums or dads 4 months of financial support to spend time with their newborns.
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Parents will be able to apply for the 18 weeks’ leave, paid at the minimum wage of $570 a week, within months and begin taking the time off from January 1.

Families Minister Jenny Macklin described it as a historic day and a big win for families.

”Parents will get more support to stay home with a new baby, and children will get the best start in life. Businesses will also retain more skilled workers,” she said.

”It is especially important for those casual workers, seasonal workers, part-time workers, those contract and self-employed workers, many, many of whom have never had access to paid parental leave,” she said.

About 148,000 families are expected to qualify for the scheme that also requires employers to top it up with any program they already have in place.

It is available to a child’s primary care giver, either mother or father, and can be taken at any point in the first year after birth or adoption. To be eligible, the parent must have worked at least one day a week for 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption, and must earn less than $150,000 a year.

Parents can choose between the leave and the $5185 baby bonus. The Government estimates 85 per cent of families will be better off with the leave, receiving on average $2000 more after tax and family assistance are taken into account.

National Foundation for Australian Women spokeswoman Marie Coleman said it was a great day.

”This is something we have worked for for so long, and it is of such importance to women, particularly but not only all those women who work on low-paid jobs on a casual or part-time basis without any entitlements it is going to make a huge difference to them,” she said.

She said this scheme was a beginning and Australia needed to improve it over time.

”We think over time and as the economy can afford it, we have got to move to 26 weeks. We have to move to income replacement, and we have got to make sure that we have superannuation built in. Those are the three key bits,” she said.

”You do those as you can. I think once the scheme has been running for a year, or two years, small business will discover that the sky won’t fall in.”

Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said it was also a historic day for fathers, noting that the leave could be shared between parents.

”The paid parental leave scheme is about mums and dads,” she said.

She said 18 weeks was a good start, but the scheme should be extended to six months with extra leave for fathers: ”Until you isolate a component just for dads on a use it or lose it basis, most dads won’t take any of the leave.”

Ms Broderick was also concerned that the scheme did not include superannuation.

Ms Macklin encouraged businesses to build on the Government scheme, and effectively top it up.

”When you put together existing paid parental leave schemes, add the Government’s 18 weeks and the leave that many parents save up for when they have their babies, it will be the case that for many, many parents they will have six months’ leave.”

Unions and business groups also welcomed the new laws.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout said it was a hard-won and important reform.

”There will be compliance costs for business, which are always onerous. However the reform is one which we are confident will prove to be beneficial for Australia,” she said.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson was disappointed Opposition amendments that would have meant the Government administered the payments, instead of businesses, were not enforced.

The Opposition won support for this change in the Senate yesterday morning, causing the legislation to bounce back and forth between the two chambers through the day until the upper house said it would accept the unamended laws in the late afternoon.

Liberal senator Mitch Fifield said while the scheme was flawed, the Coalition was not prepared to force the issue and hold its progress up any further.

”The Opposition has been very reasonable. We haven’t sought to obstruct, we haven’t sought to delay, we haven’t sought to imperil this legislation.”

The Opposition is promising a more generous scheme, which will last six months, replace income up to $75,000 over that time and include superannuation. with AAP

Cake gets a rise out of MasterChef’s Matt

Matthew Caldicott … undone by a carrot cake Some of the guest judges and regular judges of Masterchef
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A taste test has claimed yet another young MasterChef hopeful with the shock exit of Sydney number cruncher Matthew Caldicott.

The 21-year-old accountant found himself kicked off the Channel Ten series after wrongly identifying an ingredient in a Calombaris carrot cake.

“I knew eggs were in it as I’m sure nearly every cake has eggs in it,” Caldicott said afterwards.

“I then said apricots as there were little slithers on top of the cake. When the judges asked me to specify I freaked out and said the first thing in my head which was dried apricots, but it was apricot jam.

“I was pretty shattered as I knew a few ingredients that I was keeping up my sleeve.”

After failing the Qantas A380 challenge, Caldicott’s blue team was forced to compete against one another in the elimination round; a taste test to name all 16 ingredients used in the traditional carrot cake recipe passed down judge George Calombaris’ family.

The irony of his elimination was not lost on Caldicott, a third-generation accountant who has now shunned his profession to pursue a career in the kitchen.

“I guess it is a little ironic.

“All those months of hard work came to an end because of one word.”

Caldicott, whose specialty during the series was modern Australian with a French twist, is positive about his chances in the hospitality industry and has not touched a calculator since leaving the show.

“I’ve been doing some work experience at Spice Temple in Sydney, which has been great, and setting up some catering work,” he said.

“My parents have been really supportive and they’re really happy for me. They want to see me do something with this now, whether it’s me trying to become a chef – which they’re all for – or getting into another part of the industry.”