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Cannabis to be trialled on epileptic Queensland kids, MS sufferers: Premier

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Queensland will trial medicinal cannabis in 2016, aiming specifically at those suffering from severe epilepsy. Queensland children with severe epilepsy and multiple sclerosis patients will have access to medical marijuana from next year.
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The Palaszczuk government will work with its NSW counterparts to begin a $3 million medicinal cannabis trial at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to help treat children with drug-resistant epilepsy from 2016.

The trial will help determine whether medicinal cannabis is suitable as a treatment.

“This is about helping sick Queensland kids,” Ms Palaszczuk said in a statement.

“We are listening to Queenslanders, particularly the families of children with severe forms of epilepsy who have exhausted other forms of treatment.”

NSW announced earlier this week it would move into the trial stage in 2016.

But Health Minister Cameron Dick said Queensland would also move to change legislation to allow for the use of Sativex, a pharmaceutical medicinal cannabis spray, which can help ease multiple sclerosis symptoms in adults.

The spray can help alleviate severe spasticity, a painful symptom in multiple sclerosis patients, which causes muscles to spasm and lock.

The chronic central nervous system disease affects more than 3700 Queenslanders.

Sativex has been legal in for three years, but required changes to state legislation for it to be legitimately used in Queensland.

Mr Dick said he would move to make the necessary changes to the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulations 1996 early next year, so neurologists could begin prescribing it to adult patients.

“Multiple sclerosis is unpredictable and progressive,” he said.

“There’s no cure and we need to do everything we can to treat the symptoms.”

‘s attitude towards medicinal marijuana has changed in recent months, to where all the eastern seaboard states have made moves to trial it on the path to legalisation.

Victoria announced it would legalise access to medicinal cannabis products from 2017, while NSW will spend up to $9 million for its trials.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley announced earlier this month that the Commonwealth would legalise the growing of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The move towards legalisation, coming on the back of half of US states legalising the drug, came after intense lobbying from the families of chronically sick people, sharing stories of intense pain they believe could be alleviated through regulated use of the drug.

Both Multiple Sclerosis Queensland and Epilepsy Queensland had been calling for the drug to be available as an additional treatment resource for sufferers.

Victory made to sweat for FFA Cup semi-final win as dogged Hume push to the end

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Melbourne Victory will host the FFA Cup final against Perth Glory on the first Saturday in November after overcoming a determined Hume City through a first-half Besart Berisha penalty and two late goals – the first a Kosta Barbarouses strike with two minutes remaining, the third from defender Jason Geria deep into stoppage time.
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The A-League champions might have monopolised possession, but they were at no stage able to relax as the National Premier League club from Broadmeadows played out of their skins to stay in the match until the 88th minute, when Barbarouses struck.

The third goal rather rubbed salt into the wound and made the scoreline look less competitive than the game was.

Hume themselves could well have had a penalty in the fifth minute when Theo Markelis, a former Victory forward, got clear on the left and fired over a cross which appeared to strike  Geria on the hand.  Hume claimed a spot kick which could have changed the nature of this game dramatically but, referee Ben Williams waved play on.

Hume made their intentions clear from the start, chasing, harrying, tackling and trying to shut down Victory.

Lou Acevski’s men had not played a competitive game for a month, but their workrate and commitment  belied any rustiness they might have felt.

Markelis looked Hume’s most threatening forward, with midfielder Nick Hegarty, the captain, trying to prompt and create from midfield.

At the other end,  Barbarouses, Conor Pain, Jesse Makarounas – the latter pair given rare starting opportunities – and  Berisha looked to pull the part-timers rear-guard out of position and beat them for pace and finesse.

Pain fired wide on a number of occasions, his best effort coming when he ran through the Hume defence to make space for himself for the shot.

Makarounas tested Hume goalkeeper Chris Oldfield with a drive from distance which the goalkeeper did well to palm away, then forced the keeper into another save with a free kick.

Hume worried Victory fans behind Danny Vukovic’s goal  when Matthew Hennessey got up to meet Jai Ingham’s lofted free kick, but his header bounced wide of the post.

Berisha has not looked as sharp in front of goal as he usually does this season, but the Albanian frontman was the central figure in Victory’s opening goal, winning the penalty when Williams decided that Hume defender Bradley Walker had brought him down as the pair looked to deal with Barbarouses’ cross. Berisha got up and converted to ease the champions nerves.

Hume winger Ingham robbed Scott Galloway just after the restart and drove in a cross which Matthieu Delpierre scrambled way for a corner.

Oldfield produced a fine double save to keep the deficit at one goal, saving first from Makarounas and then Barbarouses as Victory looked to put the game to bed.

But Hume resisted stubbornly and could have had their own equaliser in the 67th minute after Souheil Azagane turned Victory new boy Giancarlo Gallifuouco to leave himself one on one with Vukovic. It was a golden opportunity, but Azagane shot straight at the grateful keeper.

Things to do in Rome, Italy: Three minute guide

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Piazza Navona’s fountain at night, one of the countless delights of Rome. Photo: Visions Of Our Land Piazza Navona’s fountain at night, one of the countless delights of Rome. Photo: Visions Of Our Land
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Piazza Navona’s fountain at night, one of the countless delights of Rome. Photo: Visions Of Our Land

Piazza Navona’s fountain at night, one of the countless delights of Rome. Photo: Visions Of Our Land

Why

Rome is the world’s greatest open-air museum. From ancient ruins to baroque grandeur, where else can you can take a wander through more than 2000 years of history without ever being more than a few steps away from a restoring glass of vino? Visit

Ancient pilgrims were gobsmacked by the wonders of Rome and even today, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Limit yourself to one major sight a day – whether that’s the Colosseum, the Vatican or the marvellous Galleria Borghese – and allow yourself time to explore the smaller, often overlooked marvels such as the Basilica di San Clemente (basilicasanclemente杭州龙凤论坛m). At this layer cake-like edifice, a 12th-century church sits on top of a 4th-century church built on top of a 2nd-century pagan temple and a 1st-century Roman house, and you can visit them all. Eat

Gourmet travellers usually arrive in Rome with a list of culinary experiences to tick off. For local classics start with Flavio al Velavevodetto in Testaccio (ristorantevelavevodetto.it/en/home): the tripe is superb but if that’s not your cup of tea, try the pasta all’Amatriciana or spaghetti carbonara. Rome’s Jewish delicacies can be enjoyed at Piperno (ristorantepiperno杭州龙凤论坛m) in the Ghetto – go for the fried artichoke – while for a buzzing vibe and creative flavours, Glass Hostaria (glass-restaurant.it/en/) is the place to go. For creative gelato, connoisseurs rate Gelateria del Teatro’s seasonal flavours such as lavender and white peach or cheese, fig and almond. Look

You don’t have to set foot in a single museum to see some of Rome’s greatest art: its countless churches are crammed with treasures. Step inside the next one you see, and you might discover anything from masterpieces by Raphael and Michelangelo to the bones of dead Capuchin monks. Ones to add to your list include San Luigi dei Francesi​ near Piazza Navona​ for its Caravaggios, and Santa Prassede for its Byzantine mosaics. Must

There is more to Rome than history, so go off-piste and discover the city’s more modern side in its happening neighbourhoods. Pick of the bunch is Il Pigneto, where Rome’s hip young things congregate in funky bars and restaurants. Sleep

Fuel the fantasy of living in Rome at Babuino 181 (mrandmrssmith杭州龙凤论坛m), a collection of chic apartment-style suites near the Piazza del Popolo. If you prefer a more luxurious lodging, make like George Clooney and head for the Hotel de Russie​ (roccofortehotels杭州龙凤论坛m), built around an immense terraced garden filled with climbing roses and yew trees. Tip

Rome in summer can be ghastly, its streets clogged with tourists and endless queues at the big attractions. Come in the off-season for a much more pleasant experience.

The writer was a guest of Rail Europe and Mr and Mrs Smith.

Push for Royal Commission into people-smuggler cash scandal

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Captain Yohanis Humiang (left) looks on as the head of the Nusa Tenggara people smuggling division Timur Ibrahim, Rote police chief Hidayat and East Nusa Tenggara Timur police chief General Endang Sunjaya count money in June. Photo taken by an asylum-seeker on the original two-deck boat, prior to interception by n Navy and Border Force ship in May. Photo: Amnesty International
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$US32,000 crew members told Amnesty International was paid to them by n officials who intercepted and boarded a boat carrying 65 asylum seekers. Photo: Amnesty International

‘Kanak’, one of two boats which asylum seekers where transferred onto by n Border Force after being intercepted and turned back. Photo: Amnesty International

‘Jasmine’, one of two boats which asylum seekers claim they were transferred onto by n Border Force after being intercepted. Photo: Amnesty International

Asylum seekers in immigration detention in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara in August, after their boat was intercepted and turned back by n officials. Photo: Amnesty International

Sources have confirmed that the HMAS Wollongong was the navy ship that intercepted the asylum seekers. Photo: Navy

Money police say was paid to send asylum seekers on a ‘suicide mission’People smuggler cash: boat captain speaks meets Indonesia over people-smuggler cash claimsSenate to launch inquiry into people-smuggler payment claimsHow events unfolded

Jakarta: n officials who paid people smugglers to return a boat of asylum seekers to Indonesia committed a transnational crime and put dozens of lives at risk, according to a damning report that calls for a Royal Commission into the scandal.

In its report Amnesty International also calls for an investigation into a second case of possible payments to a crew intercepted by the n Navy and Border Force on July 25.

“When it comes to its treatment of those seeking asylum, is becoming a lawless state,” Amnesty International refugee researcher Anna Shea says.

In June Fairfax Media revealed an Indonesian police investigation found people smugglers had been paid more than $US30,000 by n officials to return a boat that was headed for New Zealand.

The revelations – never denied by former prime minister Tony Abbott – prompted a Senate inquiry, due to report next year, and caused a diplomatic incident with Indonesia.

Ms Shea says all the available evidence points to n officials committing a transnational crime by, in effect, directing a people smuggling operation in May this year, paying a boat crew and then instructing them exactly where to land in Indonesia.

The report By Hook or by Crook – ‘s Abuse of Asylum Seekers at Sea says n officials may have also breached the people smuggling provisions in the n criminal code, although some public officials may have immunity from liability.

It accuses n officials of keeping asylum seekers – including a pregnant woman, two children and an infant – in cells for about a week on a Border Force ship after being told they could bathe there. It says some were denied medical care or access to their own medication.

The report also contradicts claims made by the Operation Sovereign Border taskforce that the May 2015 operation was intended to save lives following a distress call.

“The crew and asylum seekers – interviewed separately – consistently told Amnesty International that the boat was not in distress at the time of either interception on 17 or 22 May.”

Instead, Amnesty International says Border Force and Navy officials put dozens of lives at risk by forcing asylum seekers onto poorly equipped vessels, one of which ran out of fuel necessitating a dangerous mid-sea transfer.

“In the circumstances described by the crew and asylum seekers, it. is remarkable that no lives were lost and no one was injured.”

Amnesty International also calls for an investigation into a second possible cash payment on July 25, when intercepted a boat with 25 asylum seekers from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan.

Passengers told the human rights organisation that when they were put on a new boat on August 1, crew had two new bags they had not seen before.

“When the passengers became suspicious and threatened to open the bags the ns repeatedly told them not to.”

However an Indonesian police officer told Fairfax Media that crew members and asylum seekers on the second boat had made no mention of bribes or payments made by n officials.

“When we intercepted the boat, we didn’t find any money, just a GPS system given by n officials,” Ibrahim, the people smuggler unit chief for East Nusa Tenggara, told Fairfax Media.

“Where would the crew hide the money? We intercepted them while they were still on the water.”

Amnesty International has taken out full page advertisements in Thursday’s Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to launch a Royal Commission into the people smuggler payments.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton denied all of the claims being made in the Amnesty report. In response to detailed written questions from Fairfax Media, the spokeswoman said that the Operation Sovereign Borders regime was “conducted consistent with n domestic law and ‘s obligations under international law”.

“People on intercepted vessels are held lawfully in secure, safe, humane, and appropriate conditions by the personnel of the n Border Force and the n Defence Force,” she said.

“To suggest otherwise, as Amnesty has done, is to cast a slur on the men and women of the ABF and ADF.

“The government will always act in the best interests of the n people.”

She did not address direct questions about whether payments had been made by n officials.

In an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media this month, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the evidence of the people smuggling payments was “very obvious”.

“But it seems there is very minimum information that the n authorities could share with Indonesia,” she says. “We expressed our concern obviously at that time. I think the message has been conveyed clearly to .”

With Amilia Rosa

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The five places that made me: Greg Norman

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Golfer Greg Norman says he took the Great Barrier Reef for granted when he was a child. Photo: Supplied Golfer Greg Norman says he took the Great Barrier Reef for granted when he was a child. Photo: Supplied
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Golfer Greg Norman says he took the Great Barrier Reef for granted when he was a child. Photo: Supplied

Golfer Greg Norman says he took the Great Barrier Reef for granted when he was a child. Photo: Supplied

World Golf Hall of Fame Inductee, chairman and chief executive of Great White Shark Enterprises.

GREAT BARRIER REEF

It was there on the edge of the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef that I spent the first 15 years of my life. I took it for granted back then, but now I realise that I grew up in paradise. I was a fun-loving North Queensland kid who loved growing up on the reef and taking advantage of all it had to offer. I did a lot of skin-diving and fishing, and had access to one of the great wonders of the world. It taught me a lot of life lessons like confidence and self-awareness.

ARNHEM LAND

When visiting Arnhem Land, the history is palpable. It has been occupied by Indigenous people for tens of thousands of years and is the location of the oldest-known stone axe, which scholars believe to be 35,500 years old. This, in itself, is fascinating and awe-inspiring. The Aboriginal rock-art is extraordinary as well. As one of the largest Aboriginal reserves in , I find it incredibly moving to be there, as this area carries so much meaning to our country and to the history of the world.

TANZANIA

I have included Tanzania in this list for an entirely different reason than the other locations. I had a heavy heart after visiting and seeing what the western world has done to the Maasai people. Apparently this is a dumping ground for old flip-phones, and the Maasai, who are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people, have now acquired these old phones. The issue is that they have to pay for monthly service to use the phones and now, for the first time in the history of their population, they are working civilian jobs just to pay for the phones. It is a disgusting display of the west polluting an indigenous culture.

ATACAMA, CHILE

When I was in Atacama, I hiked Lascar volcano, Chile´s most active volcano, at an elevation of 6000 metres. It was one of the most memorable hikes of my life. The landscape in Atacama is remarkable. It is one of the driest places on earth and so unique that they tested the Mars Rover there.

KYRGYZSTAN

I have just returned from Kyrgyzstan, spending 10 days in the mountains and experiencing one of the biggest adventures and ultimate tests of my life. I summited a peak at 5371 metres at -18C temperatures. This was the definition of extreme. Along the way, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with the local people, who are incredibly beautiful, polite and kind souls.

Greg Norman designed the 27-hole plus nine-hole par-3 private golf course at The Eastern Golf Club in the Yarra Valley, Victoria. Eighteen holes are now open with the third nine and nine-hole par-3 due to be complete in April 2016. See easterngolfclub杭州龙凤论坛m.au.

Networking: Supergirl soars into action

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Four episodes have been clipped from the series The Player. Melissa Benoist has the title role in Supergirl.
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 Up, up and away The highly anticipated television series Supergirl has made its debut in the US and, as you might expect from a girl who knows how to fly, she is off to a soaring start. The first episode drew an audience of 12.9 million viewers, making it the highest-rating new series launch for this television season. The series is owned in by Foxtel, which acquired it as part of an expanding suite of DC Comics tie-in programs, including another series, DC Legends, which will launch in early 2016.

Ab Fab filming begins A film version of the iconic British comedy Absolutely Fabulous has begun filming. The film will reunite the hit TV series’ two stars: frantic London public relations executive Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and her loyal, leeching best friend, magazine maven Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley). The project is a collaboration between Fox Searchlight Pictures and BBC Films. The film will also mark the return of the show’s full ensemble, including Julia Sawalha​, Jane Horrocks and June Whitfield.

Oscars news The comedian Chris Rock will host next year’s Oscars, the show’s n producer has confirmed. Rock, who previously hosted the Academy Awards in 2005, will return as host, producer David Hill says. “He’s going to be a phenomenal Oscar host.” Hill, a television executive whose long career includes stints at Channel Nine in , the US sports network Fox Sports and the US broadcast network Fox, has launched his own production company. The 88th annual Academy Awards will be held in Los Angeles in February 2016.

No wonder The Ten Network has confirmed the drama series Wonderland will not return. The series, which was produced by Fremantle Media , aired on Ten for two seasons. It was set in a Sydney apartment building and focused on the private and professional lives of four couples. The series starred Michael Dorman, Jessica Tovey, Ben Mingay​, Tim Ross and Brooke Satchwell​.

Play on The US drama series The Player has been clipped from an initial 13-episode order to just nine episodes. That move is a red flag from its US network NBC that the series is underperforming. Short of a miracle, it is an early warning that the series will likely be cancelled. It’s mixed news for Seven, which is already airing the series; US series that are cancelled on or before the 13-episode mark and not yet aired in a foreign market are usually studio contract deductibles. The series, created by John Rogers and John Fox, stars Wesley Snipes, Philip Winchester and Charity Wakefield.

Going for a song The Ten Network has acquired the n rights to the new animated children’s series Kuu Kuu Harajuku​. The series is produced by Gwen Stefani​, who also sings the series’ theme song. The series tells the story of a singer, G, who forms a group with her friends Love, Angel, Music and Baby. The characters were created by Stefani while she was working on her album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Ten will launch the series in November on the digital channel Eleven.

China to trial cloud passports in world-first move

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop with InnovationXchange staff. Photo: Andrew Meares Julie Bishop at InnovationXchange headquarters. Photo: Andrew Meares
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is looking at trialling passport-less travel in a move Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop predicts will go global.

The idea of cloud passports is the result of a hipster-style-hackathon held at the Department of Foreign Affairs, which culminated in an X-Factor style audition before the secretary Peter Varghese, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, Assistant Minister Steve Ciobo and Chris Vein from the World Bank.

Earlier this year the call was put out to the diplomatic corps in Canberra and the 110 missions around the world for any idea that would provide a radical rethink of business as usual.

More than half the department’s staff responded by submitting, or by voting or commenting on one of the 392 pitches to the “DFAT Ideas challenge”.

The top 10 were presented to the quartet of judges, who favoured the idea of passport-less travel. Under a cloud passport, a traveller’s identity and biometrics data would be stored in a cloud, so passengers would no longer need to carry their passports and risk having them lost or stolen. DFAT says 38,718 passports were registered as lost or stolen in 2014-15, consistent with the 38,689 reported missing the previous year.

and New Zealand are now in discussions about trialling cloud passports. Ms Bishop acknowledged there were security requirements that would have to be met in order to store biometrics in the cloud, but told Fairfax Media: “We think it will go global.”

The minister revealed the idea at the InnovationXchange headquarters in Canberra. InnovationXchange is a brainchild of the minister, dreamed up to disrupt the traditional ways bureaucrats distribute the aid budget, which the Coalition has severely cut since coming to office.

With its low slung chairs and beanbags for seats, standing desks and low hanging lightbulbs that wouldn’t look out of place in a converted warehouse in New York, Ms Bishop says the headquarters “would be at home in Silicon Valley”.

Staff dress casually and are encourage to shun suits. But the serious results they are already achieving in InnovationXchange’s short life are attracting attention from other departments, which have visited the team of nine staff to observe how they are challenging the cultural norms of bureaucracy.

Another initiative InnovationXchange is pioneering includes a US$100 million data collection service in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg sits on InnovationXchange’s reference group.

His organisation will tip in $85 million with the n government contributing $15 million.

“That’s my idea of public-private leverage,” Ms Bishop said.

Data for Health will collect basic births and deaths data in 20 countries. The so-called health census data will be open source and available to governments, NGOs and the media.

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Rugby World Cup 2015: Wallabies star Israel Folau ‘ordinary’, says Eddie Jones, but must start

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Keeping his head above water: Israel Folau. Photo: Stuart WalmsleyRWC Schedule: When is the Rugby World Cup final?Full coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup
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LONDON: Israel Folau must start at fullback in the World Cup final despite being in “pretty ordinary” form throughout the tournament, former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones says.

Folau has been the subject of fervent speculation about his value to the Wallabies while he battles a niggling ankle injury, with coach Michael Cheika forced to defend his star fullback against detractors this week.

Jones says it is clear the dual international is not at his best and knows it, but he remains worth the risk. “He’s been pretty ordinary at this World Cup, he is so clearly not 100 per cent and is really struggling with his ankle,” Jones said.

“When an athletic guy like him has something wrong with them it tends to play on their mind a little bit more, and his facial characteristics just aren’t right. Having said that, a World Cup final is something that will bring out the best in him.”

Earlier in the week Wallabies coach Michael Cheika bristled at commentary in New Zealand media that Folau was a “borderline liability” in his current state, backing to the hilt the player he brought across from rugby league via AFL almost three years ago.

But there remain doubts over whether playing him injured – as Cheika on Monday acknowledged they had done – would help or hinder the Wallabies in the game of their careers, a World Cup final against New Zealand.

It has worked both ways for in recent years.

David Pocock went into the semi final against Argentina carrying a calf strain but managed to put in a typically colossal performance and emerge unscathed from the match.

On the flip side, former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans ignited a war of words last year with his former captain, James Horwill, when he said he would not have let Horwill play in the 2013 British and Irish Lions series decider had he known the extent of a calf injury the second rower was carrying.

Horwill, who is now playing down the road from the Wallabies team hotel with English club Harlequins, was forced to defend his decision to run out in the final Test in Sydney. “I played that game with a torn calf and I could hardly run …,” Horwill said in Mendoza last year.

“We really didn’t know the severity until the warm-up and, looking back, maybe [I shouldn’t have played]. What I’d been through earlier that week, or the week before, I was probably pretty stubborn to the fact that I wasn’t going to let a tiny little calf injury stop me from playing in what I thought was probably the biggest game of rugby played in in a long, long time. It would have felt like it had all been for nothing, all the effort that we’d put in.”

Jones said there was a small risk Folau’s hampered form could bite the Wallabies in the final, but that having Kurtley Beale in top form off the bench minimised the risk. “I would start him, if he’s no good take him off quick and put Beale on,” Jones said. “Players get a lot of confidence from guys like that starting. Against Wales he played really poorly in the first half and then played well in the second half. I’d take that risk with him. If you have to make the change and bring Beale on, Cheika is prepared to do that.”

The Wallabies name their team on Thursday, with no changes expected to the starting line up depending on prop Scott Sio’s fitness.

The team did not train on Tuesday, but news was still positive out of camp about Matt Giteau (groin), Pocock (calf) and Folau (ankle).



Anti-vaxxers flood federal inquiry with complaints about compulsory injections

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ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja, chairman of the committee reporting on the No Jab, No Pay Bill, said all submissions were being read and considered. Photo: Jeffrey Chan Thousands of people objecting to the compulsory vaccination of their children are bombarding a federal inquiry into the plan and could disrupt a hearing next week.
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The campaign by the “anti-vaxxers” has surprised the Senate community affairs legislation committee, which must report within weeks about the No Jab, No Pay Bill.

The plan to cut childcare benefits from parents who fail to immunise their children passed the House of Representatives last week.

Only those with a valid medical reason will be exempt from the $500 million budget-saving crackdown on anti-vaxxers.

There are concerns about outbursts by outraged parents about the legislation, at the committee’s hearing in Brisbane on Monday.

Committee chairman ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja is hoping for restraint at the public hearing, despite the huge number of strong objections lodged with the committee.

“We’ve had a lot of submissions, far more than we would ordinarily get for legislation – I don’t know the latest number but certainly in the thousands,” he said on Wednesday.

“The vast major of those are against the legislation, expressing concerns about the legislation.”

The committee has not been able to publish all the submissions flooding in from conscientious objectors.

About 2500 pieces of correspondence have been received by the committee secretariat, but some have been sent twice by error. The inquiry website was listing 331 submissions late on Wednesday.

Senator Seselja said all of the submissions were being read and considered by the committee.

“Obviously there are very strong views on this issue and I respect that people have strong views,” he said.

“I happen to believe very strongly in the importance of vaccination; I think the health benefits are overwhelming.

“We always need to carefully consider arguments and concerns, but obviously I think that having a widespread vaccination program has been of really significant benefit to and to the world.”

He was approached by anti-vaxxers when he had a Liberal Party stall at shopping centres.

“At the margins I think there are some legitimate concerns around medical exemptions, but I think that can be dealt with by the legislation, where some people can have reactions, but I think that’s very rare,” he said.

“Obviously it’s important that we always listen to these concerns, but I think the importance of vaccination shouldn’t be underestimated.

“I did know there were strong feelings in parts of the community on this, and that is their democratic right to express that, and the committee does all it can to listen to those arguments.

“It’s concerning when we see the level of vaccination going down in some particular areas; there are parts of the country that have low levels of vaccination.

“It was only 20 odd years ago that our levels of vaccination in were quite low by western standards and under the Howard government there was a real push and a significant increase in the rates.

“We need to be very careful to guard against any scaling back of vaccination.”

The 76-page submission from the n Vaccination-skeptics Network says savings in the forward estimates of over $500 million “lends weight to our view that the bill is merely a budgetary savings measure and not a health measure as it is purported to be”.

The ACT government on Wednesday reported an increase in the proportion of fully immunised five-year-old children (aged 60-63 months), from 85 per cent in 2009 to 93 per cent in 2014.

Two regions of NSW – the north coast and Blue Mountains – have the lowest percentage of girls who are fully vaccinated against the human papillomavirus in . Both areas have been labelled “at risk” for contagious diseases.

Daniel Holdom charged with murder of Karlie Pearce-Stevenson

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Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and daughter Khandalyce, whose bodies were found in different states, five years apart. Photo: NSW PoliceMother Karlie Pearce-Stevenson’s identity used to rake in $90,000Family’s heartbreaking tribute to Karlie and Khandalyce​The call that gave police the breakthrough
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Toddler Khandalyce Pearce was killed not long after the death of her mother Karlie Pearce-Stevenson, whose body was dumped in the Belanglo State Forest in 2008, police believe.

Daniel James Holdom, 41, has appeared in court charged with the murder of Ms Pearce-Stevenson.

Holdom was charged overnight with killing Ms Pearce-Stevenson almost two years before her bones were found in the forest south of Sydney.

It is understood police were able to trace Holdom’s mobile phone as being in the Belanglo State Forest at the time Ms Pearce-Stevenson was killed.

NSW Homicide Squad commander Detective Superintendent Mick Willing said police believed Khandalyce was killed after her mother.

“But we are trying to establish the exact timing,” he told reporters on Thursday.

No charges have been laid over Khandalyce’s death.

Police will allege Ms Pearce-Stevenson was murdered between December 14 and 15, 2008.

“She sustained certain injuries to her body but I can’t go further into those injuries as investigations are ongoing,” Superintendent Willing said.

It is understood that, while the mother and daughter both suffered violent deaths, their injuries were different,

Police have not revealed how Holdom and Ms Pearce-Stevenson knew each other.

However, it is understood Holdom had ties in the ACT. Ms Pearce-Stevenson was last seen in Charnwood, an outer suburb of Canberra, in 2008.

Holdom appeared via audio visual link from Cessnock Correctional Centre, wearing prison greens, on Thursday morning.

His Legal Aid solicitor, Peter Cleaves, told magistrate John Chicken that his client did not wish to appear in court in any form – not even by video link.

But Mr Chicken refused the request.

“Given the nature of the charge I think it’s appropriate that he appear by AVL,” he said.

“It’s not like he is being brought in and paraded.”

Holdom was formally refused bail, although Mr Cleaves did not apply for it on his behalf.

The matter was adjourned to Sydney’s Central Local Court, where Holdom has been ordered to appear via audio visual link, on November 12.

With Newcastle Herald

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