Day: May 16, 2018

Final curtain falls on MSFest

The saga that has been music festival MSFest looks to have reached its end with The MS Society yesterday confirming the music festival will not go ahead in 2013.
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Chief executive Dale Eastley said the decision had nothing to do with competing against fellow music fund-raiser Breath of Life, but the fact that musical festivals were not as strong as they once were.

”Our analysis says younger audiences have moved on (from music festivals) and are looking to actively participate in things a bit more,” Mr Eastley said.

”The marketplace is not the same anymore.

”It was good while it was on and it made that connection, but people don’t buy CDs and follow bands like they used to and we need to recognise that’s a fact.

”We’re doing a mud dash again at Forth on October 6 and we’re exploring with promoters for a triathlon event later in the year, with the intention of getting a broad range of people involved.”

But he did not rule out MSFest being revived in the future.

He paid tribute to the festival’s contribution to raising awareness of multiple sclerosis with a younger audience, with the last event attracting a crowd of about 14,000.

The festival last year changed promotional hands from Clint Pease to Charles Touber. However, it found itself in direct competition with Mr Pease’s Breath of Life festival, which raises funds and awareness for the Australian Lung Foundation.

Rather than hold two festivals just one week apart at Inveresk, Mr Touber attempted to move MSFest to Hobart.

Low ticket sales led to this event being cancelled, and a planned bite-sized version at Princes Wharf also did not happen.

Meanwhile, about 16,000 people attended Breath of Life.

That festival will be held again on March 9 and 10.

This is a fashion pic

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Wong joins brave new world of Twitter

It might be Doomsday (with the introduction of the carbon tax), but for Finance Minister Penny Wong, it is a brave new world.
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Senator Wong joined Twitter this morning, clocking up about 4000 followers within hours of posting her first message.

‘‘It’s a little overwhelming and surprising,’’ Senator Wong said today.

But the Finance Minister has also had to deal with the fact that “Fake Penny Wong” already has an established presence on the social media site, with more followers than Senator Wong herself.

Fake Penny Wong, who bills herself as ‘‘Minister for everything Garrett wants and can’t have’’, has about 5700 followers after starting an account more than three years ago.

The real Senator Wong conceded she has an uphill battle in her opening message: “I’m not as funny as @Fake_Penny_Wong but I’ve decided it’s time to go online. Good to join you all on Twitter.”

In a postmodern moment, Fake Penny Wong tweeted her frustration that she was now being impersonated by the (real) South Australian senator: “Am so over smart arses pretending to be me. It takes away from my time keeping this country afloat.”

Fake Penny’s identity remains something of a mystery. When The National Times asked the Fake Senator if she was based in Canberra she only answered: ”I won’t be ruling in or ruling out my location moving forward.’’

In a sign of their mutual interest, both Senator Wong and Fake Penny Wong have followed each other, so they will be able to keep updated with what their selves (real or otherwise) are tweeting.

Senator Wong said she thought her fake alter ego was ‘‘very, very funny’’.

‘‘Some of her tweets are eerily on the money,’’ she said. ‘‘I don’t know who she is but I think she’s a great contributor.’’

The Finance Minister said she had been resisting the move to Twitter for some time but was looking forward to updating people on what she’s doing and thinking. However, there are some caveats.

‘‘I do hate to disappoint people, but I don’t think I’ll be tweeting pictures of [baby daughter] Alexandra,’’ she said.

Senator Wong has also announced she was ’’going all out’’ today and has launched a new website.But she said there was no particular connection to this new online presence and the fact the government has begun selling the carbon tax in earnest.

‘‘I did say to my press sec, if the world didn’t end on July the first then I was in [on Twitter], so here I am,’’ she said.

Senator Wong joins many of her political colleagues on Twitter. But she has a long way to go before clocking up followers on par with former Labor leader Kevin Rudd (about 1,124,000), Prime Minister Julia Gillard (244,600) and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott (70,500).

But at the rate she’s going, Senator Wong stands a good chance of catching up with Fake Penny, and Treasurer Wayne Swan, who has about 19,700 followers.

Follow the National Times on Twitter: @NationalTimesAU

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Community rallies behind widow of man crushed by truck

Manoj Masih with his wife Rachael. Crushed to death … a truck toppled on to Manoj Maish’s car.
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The widow of a man who was crushed when a truck toppled on to his car is receiving support from a local church and community group to help cover burial costs and bring family from India to attend the funeral.

Manoj Masih, 33, was killed when a semi-trailer carrying 20 tonnes of wood toppled over and landed on his car while he was waiting at traffic lights at the corner of the Hume Highway and the Cumberland Highway last Thursday.

The Australian Indian Christian church, along with friends and family, is assisting Mr Masih’s wife Rachel with funeral arrangements and emotional support.

“We are doing all we can to comfort the family and giving them as much help as possible,” family friend Jai Kumar David said. “We’re worried about the family, their welfare and their future.”

The victim’s father, sister and parents-in-law will travel from Punjab, India, for this week’s funeral.

They will then address legal matters as it is not known whether Mr Masih had life insurance.

Rachel Masih will today open a trust fund to help support her eight-month-old son and will be accepting donations.

“The community has been very supportive. We are solely concentrating on Rachel, the wife and the child and we are worried about the immediate family coming from India and the burial at the moment,” Mr David said.

“We’re not worried about the other legal aspects as such. We want to get the family comforted first, then the funeral and then we will think about the next step.”

*Details of the trust fund and donations will be provided once they are available.

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Short signs of hope for Perth’s property prices

Rental prices are predicted to continue upwards as home owners are faced with higher costs of ownership following the introduction of the carbon tax yesterday.Perth’s house prices have exceeded the average property market recovery across Australia’s capital cities in June, marking the largest monthly national inner-city increase in more than two years, according to one property analytics group.
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But Real Estate Institute of Western Australia president David Airey has warned market watchers to keep a long term view on Perth’s property trends, which are still down on the year and quarter.

Western Australia’s fly-in, fly-out city, Perth, saw a subtle 2 per cent increase in property prices last month, bringing the median dwelling price up to $460,000, according to property analytics group RP Data.

Perth’s tight rental market has also seen another 4.4 per cent increase on rental yields for houses and 4.9 per cent for units.

Perth’s rental vacancies have been hovering around the two per cent mark in recent months and Mr Airey confirmed he believed there had been an increase on the yield, but that it was hard to measure short term.

But he did predict rental prices to continue upwards as home owners are faced with higher costs of ownership following the introduction of the carbon tax yesterday.

Mr Airey said although the carbon tax would have an effect on home ownership costs, “more moderate increases are expected over the next year”.

Meanwhile, across all Australian cities property prices recovered by 1 per cent, reversing a fall of 1.4 per cent in May, according to the RP Data research.

RP Data research director Tim Lawless said the 55 basis point reduction in the average discounted home loan rate in May and June was likely the catalyst behind the short term recovery.

But Mr Lawless also pointed out the recovery was only on the month., with other indicators still down.

“So far this year capital city dwelling values have simultaneously risen over three months and fallen over three months,” Mr Lawless said in a statement.

“The wash up is that values have fallen more than they have risen, with the market down by -1.2 per cent over the first six months of 2012.

“Regardless, while discounted variable interest rates are as low as 5.6 per cent, Australian households remain understandably cautious about the economy given the global uncertainty.”

Mr Airey said there was “no doubt” that over the past six months the attitude of buyers to the property market has improved considerable with sales much stronger in the under $600,000 market.

But he said REIWA had yet to really see an impact from recent rate cuts on in the market.

“We’ve not seen that come through yet” he said. “It’s had the best impact on people with an existing mortgage.”

Affordable housing needed in WA

Meanwhile, lobby group Australians for Affordable Housing has called on the WA Government to review its National Affordable Housing Agreement after a Council of Australian Governments Reform Council report revealed housing costs in Perth were causing stress for 39 per cent of low income renters.

“The National Affordable Housing Agreement between the States and the Commonwealth is meant to improve housing affordability in Australia, but it’s clearly not working” said Australians for Affordable Housing campaign manager Sarah Toohey said on Friday.

“For the very lowest income renters in Western Australia, in the bottom 10 per cent of incomes, things are even worse with 42 per cent in housing stress.

“Western Australia has had very few affordable properties for low income earners looking to buy a home. Just 4 per cent of properties for sale were affordable to 40 per cent of the population.”

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Short signs of hope for property prices

Rental prices are predicted to continue upwards as home owners are faced with higher costs of ownership following the introduction of the carbon tax yesterday.Perth’s house prices have exceeded the average property market recovery across Australia’s capital cities in June, marking the largest monthly national inner-city increase in more than two years, according to one property analytics group.
Nanjing Night Net

But Real Estate Institute of Western Australia president David Airey has warned market watchers to keep a long term view on Perth’s property trends, which are still down on the year and quarter.

Western Australia’s fly-in, fly-out city, Perth, saw a subtle 2 per cent increase in property prices last month, bringing the median dwelling price up to $460,000, according to property analytics group RP Data.

Perth’s tight rental market has also seen another 4.4 per cent increase on rental yields for houses and 4.9 per cent for units.

Perth’s rental vacancies have been hovering around the two per cent mark in recent months and Mr Airey confirmed he believed there had been an increase on the yield, but that it was hard to measure short term.

But he did predict rental prices to continue upwards as home owners are faced with higher costs of ownership following the introduction of the carbon tax yesterday.

Mr Airey said although the carbon tax would have an effect on home ownership costs, “more moderate increases are expected over the next year”.

Meanwhile, across all Australian cities property prices recovered by 1 per cent, reversing a fall of 1.4 per cent in May, according to the RP Data research.

RP Data research director Tim Lawless said the 55 basis point reduction in the average discounted home loan rate in May and June was likely the catalyst behind the short term recovery.

But Mr Lawless also pointed out the recovery was only on the month., with other indicators still down.

“So far this year capital city dwelling values have simultaneously risen over three months and fallen over three months,” Mr Lawless said in a statement.

“The wash up is that values have fallen more than they have risen, with the market down by -1.2 per cent over the first six months of 2012.

“Regardless, while discounted variable interest rates are as low as 5.6 per cent, Australian households remain understandably cautious about the economy given the global uncertainty.”

Mr Airey said there was “no doubt” that over the past six months the attitude of buyers to the property market has improved considerable with sales much stronger in the under $600,000 market.

But he said REIWA had yet to really see an impact from recent rate cuts on in the market.

“We’ve not seen that come through yet” he said. “It’s had the best impact on people with an existing mortgage.”

Affordable housing needed in WA

Meanwhile, lobby group Australians for Affordable Housing has called on the WA Government to review its National Affordable Housing Agreement after a Council of Australian Governments Reform Council report revealed housing costs in Perth were causing stress for 39 per cent of low income renters.

“The National Affordable Housing Agreement between the States and the Commonwealth is meant to improve housing affordability in Australia, but it’s clearly not working” said Australians for Affordable Housing campaign manager Sarah Toohey said on Friday.

“For the very lowest income renters in Western Australia, in the bottom 10 per cent of incomes, things are even worse with 42 per cent in housing stress.

“Western Australia has had very few affordable properties for low income earners looking to buy a home. Just 4 per cent of properties for sale were affordable to 40 per cent of the population.”

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Palmer’s preselection non-announcement

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has refused to say whether he will put up his hand for Liberal National Party preselection to run against Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan, a day before the nomination deadline.
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Mr Palmer summoned journalists to a media conference in his Brisbane office this morning, repeating his comments from last week that asylum seekers should be allowed to fly to Australia.

He is expected to fly to Tahiti within the next day on a business trip, prompting questions as to whether he will follow through on his previous plans to stand for LNP preselection in the southeast Queensland seat of Lilley, given the deadline is tomorrow.

“You’ll have to find out tomorrow; tomorrow’s the closing date,” the LNP donor and life member told reporters.

“I won’t tell you today because I promised [public relations adviser] Andrew Crook I wouldn’t.”

Mr Palmer, standing in front of a backdrop emblazoned with Lilley-themed election slogans including “Swan’s song”, said he had not filled in his nomination form as yet and wanted to keep journalists on “edge”.

“I don’t think it’s predictable what will happen tomorrow,” he said.

“There will be more things happening tomorrow than you could possibly imagine.”

Mr Palmer, who last week confirmed he had had an expletive-laden argument with Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott over a lobbyist issue, was asked whether he was deterred by Mr Abbott’s lukewarm support for his candidacy.

“Maybe I’m not a good candidate; I don’t know. Maybe I haven’t served the party long enough,” he said.

In late April, Mr Swan greeted Mr Palmer’s announced interest in preselection by saying that the Liberal Party stood to become a “wholly owned subsidiary of Clive Palmer” if the mining magnate was successful in the battle for the Lilley nomination.

Mr Palmer said today he did not want to be a minister, prime minister or even a member of parliament, but there were issues that needed to be addressed, including asylum seeker policy.

He said he did not want to be indifferent to the plight of those risking their lives at sea.

Mr Palmer said people should not be barred from purchasing an airline ticket to Australia if they did not have a valid visa.

Instead, they should be dealt with upon arrival at an Australian airport and if necessary sent on a flight back, he said.

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Magistrate orders rampaging Staffy be destroyed

A magistrate has ordered the destruction of an American Staffordshire bull terrier-cross after repeated serious incidents in Melbourne.
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Five-year-old Duke’s misbehaviour grew from clawing trees to savaging another dog and then forcing a frightened council officer to take refuge on the roof of her car.

Finally and fatefully for Duke, he lunged at a 60-year-old man who had been passing the animal’s home, biting him on the upper thigh

The escalating incidents were recently outlined in Melbourne Magistrates Court by prosector Trevor Wallwork, who applied for Duke to be destroyed.

Magistrate Julian Fitz-Gerald said today he had given the application by the City of Melbourne a lot of thought over the past two weeks and had not taken the decision lightly.

Mr Fitz-Gerald said there was ongoing concern in the community about dog incidents, including “recent tragic events”, and reiterated that dogs needed to be properly supervised.

Duke’s owner, Daniel Harrison, faced court in December last year on other charges – before the dog was involved in two further attacks. Mr Fitz-Gerald today noted Harrison’s inaction in restraining the dog.

Mr Wallwork said that in January, Duke attacked and injured a pomeranian called Max outside a Flemington Hotel, and two months later bit a man who was walking past Harrison’s Kensington home

He said Harrison had been issued in January last year with a council notice for $882 after Duke and his second American Staffordshire, Casper, damaged a tree.

Then in September last year the dogs growled and rushed at a female animal management officer who attended Harrison’s home after a report of two wandering dogs.

Mr Wallwork said the officer could not get back into her car and was so concerned she climbed onto its roof.

Another magistrate who fined Harrison $2500 last December after he pleaded guilty to charges expressed concern the dogs would one day hurt someone, and said that they needed to be muzzled and leashed

Mr Fitz-Gerald today said that those fears had “come to pass” for Duke and that Harrison had not changed his ways.

He said Duke had showed a propensity to cause a risk to animals when he attacked Max and had a similar propensity to seek to attack or injure humans.

Mr Fitz-Gerald noted that such breeds were powerful dogs and presented a “clear risk” which represented a “huge challenge” to control and bring that risk to an acceptable level.

He acknowledged that the dogs were a big part of Harrison’s life and that Duke had been with him since eight weeks old. But he said Harrison could not be considered a responsible owner and that leaving the dog in the community was not a feasible option.

The risk of further incidents was very high and presented a risk “I am not prepared to take,” Mr Fitz-Gerald said.

Harrison, who pleaded guilty to six charges including one of owning a dog that attacked and bit a person causing serious injury, was convicted and fined a total of $1400 with $1600 costs.

He has 28 days to appeal the sentence and the destruction order.

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Border sport in pictures

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Click across (or scroll through on your iPhone or iPad) to see our full gallery of weekend sport throughout the region.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

THE WEEKEND IN BORDER SPORT: All photos taken by The Border Mail photography department can be purchased in high quality prints in various sizes. Call 133 655 666.

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Bargain flights abound as Tiger roars back

Roaring back into the domestic fare war … Tiger Airways CEO Andrew David.In the battle for travellers’ hearts and minds, Tiger Airways boss Andrew David has coined a new phrase: “keeping the duopoly honest”.
Nanjing Night Net

That was one of the catchphrases wheeled out as Tiger opened a crew and aircraft base in Sydney yesterday to seriously tackle Australia’s biggest metropolitan market for the first time in its quest for long-term viability.

It means three more 180-seat jets will be put into the air in the next two months, while Virgin and Qantas also ramp up capacity by more than 20 per cent in what is turning into a bargain bazaar for domestic travellers.

The dominant Qantas is already reporting the damage to its bottom line from the capacity war for market share with Virgin. Now both of them will be watching Tiger’s unexpected recovery from its grounding a year ago.

For the first time since August last year, Tiger will soon have all 10 of its Australian A320s flying again, and David will soon be making presentations to his Singapore bosses for an increase in the Aussie fleet to accommodate growth.

Many analysts wrote off Tiger last year. It would be impossible, they argued, for Tiger to survive in the safety-conscious Australian market when it had broken the basic ground rules.

But the fact that Tiger didn’t cut and run back to Singapore – as I, for one, expected it to do – underlines the fact that Tiger’s main backer, Singapore Airlines (SIA), has deep pockets and wants to be in the Australian domestic market for the long haul.

SIA now has an extra reason to build a viable Tiger Airways in Australia with the launch of its low-cost long-haul subsidiary Scoot. SIA has spoken about the possibility that it will use Tiger (in which it holds a 33 per cent stake) as a feeder for Scoot, although Tiger in Australia has so far rejected that idea. It says its ultra-low-cost point-to-point model doesn’t work as a feeder for anyone, unlike Jetstar, which is prepared to be a feeder for Qantas on some routes.

“Yes, we’ve got a great low-cost base but you’re never going to make any money if you don’t sweat the assets, so that’s first priority,” he told The Australian yesterday about Tiger’s need to get all of its planes back in the air. “The great thing with Singaporean shareholders is, of course, we’ve got to start making a profit, but they take a long-term view.”

Others were more blunt. “The Goliaths (Qantas and Virgin) are bleeding from self-inflicted wounds,” blogger Ben Sandilands wrote. “It doesn’t matter if they stop bleeding and charge the fares that restore their domestic profit margins, or if they continue to bleed. Either way, the patient Tiger wins.”

Tiger is basing planes in Sydney for the first time – something it once vowed it would never do because Sydney is the highest-cost capital city airport in Australia – and, by September, will be offering an extra 3600 seats a day into and out of the New South Wales capital.

Flights between Sydney and the Gold Coast, abandoned two years ago, resumed yesterday. Flights to Brisbane will follow and frequencies to Melbourne will also be boosted. More joining of the dots in Tiger’s network – from Sydney to Cairns and Perth, for example – are options for the future.

The big test for the carrier, however, will come in September. Once the most unreliable airline in the Australian skies, Tiger has become the most reliable, beating even Qantas, which has spent the past two years restoring its on-time performance.

In two months’ time, Tiger will be as busy as it was before the grounding, flying more than 60 sectors a day. The first thing that is likely to suffer is on-time reliability.

Just to be sure, the airline is importing an additional A320 as an “operational spare” to go in action if any of its planes becomes unserviceable or gets too far behind its schedule.

Have you flown Tiger? What was your experience? What do you think of Tiger’s expansion plans? Are Qantas and Virgin still your preferred choices? To what extent are other factors having an impact on travel plans? Does the strong dollar mean you’re simply saving to go overseas?

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

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Forest of arms tells of great relief

New arrivals on Christmas Island taken to the detention centre yesterday.The sun is not yet risen over the steamy forests of Christmas Island, the ocean is slate and just below the township, two blue fishing boats rise and fall on the swell.
Nanjing Night Net

Two?

Last night, as the island closed down to sleep off the weekend, there was only one. It had brought 53 Sri Lankans, arriving early yesterday afternoon, and they had been taken off the sea and bussed away to the detention centre.

I wave, and suddenly a forest of arms is waving back from the deck of this new arrival from the Indian Ocean. Here is the latest in a little armada that is crowding this island, hardly more than a speck in a wide, wide sea.

The boat and its passengers had undertaken an epic voyage. Twenty one days; more than 2700 kilometres, assuming its helmsman had managed to steer a straight course. Adventure books would have been written about such a voyage in the past, but the frequency of such perilous passages now hardly raises an eyebrow on Christmas Island.

Food and water on such a small vessel with such a large passenger list must have been in short supply. Those of us on the island denied access to the detention centre and the asylum seekers themselves cannot know the deprivations they might have suffered.

Those waving arms, anyway, told of great relief that the travellers had finally reached safe anchorage. In the night, they had been shepherded into harbour by a navy patrol boat. This morning, two of these great grey warships stand off the tiny port of Flying Fish Cove, their bulk dwarfing the asylum seeker boats.

Since last Thursday, five smugglers’ boats – four from Sri Lanka and one from Indonesia – have made it to the port, carrying about 300 seekers of asylum. Another reached the Cocos Islands, 1000 kilometres to the west, and yet another reached Ashmore Reef, 2000 kilometres to the north-east. In a week, two have failed to complete the journey, sinking with the loss of about 100 lives far to the north of Christmas Island.

By 7.25am, the overworked Christmas Island barge was pushing through the water to begin the task of offloading the Sri Lankans. There are 39 on board, all men, including two “unaccompanied minors” – boys aged under 18.

They will bring the numbers crammed into the island’s detention facilities to about 1600; 100 over the official capacity.

Follow theNational Times on Twitter: @NationalTimesAU

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

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