Storm hope Bellamy return locks Smith in

The Storm say Cameron Smith’s future should be sorted once Craig Bellamy returns to work.Melbourne Storm boss Dave Donaghy is counting on the return of coach Craig Bellamy to resolve a contract stalemate with Cameron Smith following reports the skipper is demanding a two-year deal.
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Bellamy and long-time football manager Frank Ponissi are due back at work next week after a post-season fact-finding mission in the UK and Europe.

Initially seeking a one-year deal which would see him surge pass the 400-game mark, it’s reported Smith is now seeking a two year contract.

Donaghy said the 35-year-old wasn’t holding the Storm to ransom with the extension but added the NRL club wouldn’t be walked over.

“It’s not a case as if Cam’s walked in and said ‘I want two years or I’m walking out’,” Donaghy told SEN Breakfast radio.

“It’s also not a case that we’ve said, ‘Here’s two years and would you like a foot rub as well’.

“For us it’s about ensuring the decisions we make into the future are in the best interests of the football club and collectively we all understand that.”

Donaghy said the club would consider the longer deal if it “worked for everyone”.

He said the club needed to balance the value of their ageing great and the financial worth of young stars.

“There’s many factors that go into decision making around signing a player, whether it’s a one-year, two-year, three-year deal, you’ve got to weigh up our list balance and salary cap,” Donaghy said.

“The reality is you pay players on what they’re delivering into the future, not what they’ve delivered.

“If everything is stacked up and it was a deal which worked for everyone and physically, mentally, Cameron was in a position that he was absolutely confident to continue at the age of 37, we would certainly give it strong consideration.”

Smith isn’t due back at training until early January, while as well Bellamy and Ponissi, Donaghy has also been overseas.

Signing a three-year deal in July to remain head coach for a remarkable 19 years, Bellamy will no doubt have the final say on his roster.

“It’s been challenging just by matter of circumstance and logistics,” Donaghy said.

“Craig and Frank are in the air flying back in from Europe so it’s been challenging finding a time for everyone to sit down and talk the future through but that will happen sooner rather than later.”

Donaghy admitted the Storm were still to complete a deal with star five-eighth Cameron Munster but insisted the outcome of the Smith contract wasn’t related.

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‘Hazardous’ air as dust storm hits Sydney

A thick line of dust that has smothered much of NSW and Sydney has caused air quality to reach a ‘hazardous’ level with another wave of dust set to come.
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Strong winds from a low pressure system have whipped up masses of dirt across the drought-stricken state, which headed towards the coast on Thursday.

The storm stretched more than 500km from the Victorian border, through Canberra and up towards Queensland.

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Simon Louis says more dust is expected to be pushed to the coast late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

He said the dust should not be underestimated despite its grey, hazy appearance with the majority coming from lake beds in South .

“Even though it may not have looked quite so red and spectacular (as 2009) the air quality has dropped significantly,” Mr Louis told reporters in Sydney.

Environmental health director Richard Broome said people should stay inside as much as possible due to the air quality between Sydney and the Hunter reaching a ‘hazardous’ level.

“It’s important for the rest of the day people should be cautious,” he told reporters in Sydney.

He said dust particles can get very deep into people’s lungs and cause heart and lung conditions, asthma and emphysema to worsen.

NSW Ambulance Assistant Commissioner Tony Gately said there had been a “significant peak” in call outs with 90 people needing assistance due to asthma or breathing difficulties on Thursday morning.

Extra paramedics and call takers have been put on to meet the demand with up to eight calls coming in every hour.

“Anyone prone to respiratory distress needs to be absolutely vigilant,” Mr Gately said in a statement.

“This warning cannot be underestimated, conditions like asthma can be deadly and to take risks in the current conditions would be very ill advised.”

NSW Health has urged children, older people and those with respiratory conditions to take extra care.

The gusty winds which brought the dust have also affected flights at Sydney Airport with up 40 departing flights cancelled and delays across all airlines.

The Sydney Airport tweeted on Thursday afternoon both international and domestic flights have been effected as they are forced to operate on a single runway due to the weather.

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Qld strawberry accused granted bail

A Queensland woman accused of sparking a national food safety panic by inserting needles into strawberries allegedly mentioned the idea of doing so two years earlier.
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My Ut Trinh, 50, has been granted bail after being charged with food contamination offences earlier this month. Police allege they identified her DNA on a needle found in a strawberry punnet in Victoria.

Prosecutors allege the former strawberry farm supervisor was seeking revenge over a workplace grievance when she contaminated the fruit.

She allegedly told a co-worker: “If I hate anyone, I would put the needle in the strawberry and make them go bankrupt”, Brisbane Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.

The co-worker claimed she made the comments “one or two years ago”.

Trinh’s lawyer Nick Dore argued the evidence was circumstantial and statements against her were “littered with hearsay and innuendo”.

“There is no motive. There has been no suggestion why this would occur,” Mr Dore said.

“That’s the strength of the case – a conversation that maybe occurred maybe one or two years ago.

“They say it’s to create financial harm. In the statement by the complainant … there’s no threat, ‘I’m going to do this’. There’s not, ‘if you don’t pay me X, I will do Y’.

“Where’s the disagreement? He (the complainant) in fact says there’s no disagreement.”

Trinh was working at Berrylicious in her hometown of Caboolture, north of Brisbane, between September 2 and 5 when she allegedly inserted needles into the fruit.

She was charged with seven counts of contamination of goods with intent to cause economic loss.

DNA found on one of the needles was “100 billion times likely” to be Trinh’s, police prosecutor Cheryl Tesch told the court.

Growers like Trinh’s boss suffered financial losses of about $160 million, according the prosecution, as they were forced to destroy crops.

“It’s alleged the offences committed by the defendant had serious economic consequences … not just for the complainant farmer in this case … but for the n economy as a whole,” Ms Tesch said.

The first needle was discovered on September 9 when a man bit into a contaminated strawberry he bought at a supermarket.

Trinh almost immediately became a person of interest to police, the court had previously heard.

As more needles were discovered around the country – with many believed to have been planted by copycats – strawberries were stripped from shelves.

Police have said 230 needle contamination incidents were ultimately reported nationwide, affecting 68 strawberry brands.

Trinh will relinquish her passport and has been barred from speaking to former farm worker colleagues as part of her bail conditions.

She faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

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Homes of the HunterBeach sets scene for luxurious stylePhotos

Homes of the Hunter | Catherine Hill Bay | Photos Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth
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Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth

Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth

Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth

Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth

Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth

Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth

Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth

Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth

Pictures: Kirsten Woodforth

TweetFacebookDoctor Who – bigger on the inside than the outside.

You wouldn’t realise the two-storey, five-bedroom, three-bathroom house is as spacious and magical as it is until you walk inside.

“They pulled out the ceilings and walls (making) that big open living area,” Suzie says. “We spend a hell of a lot of time there, and it sort of flows in and out onto the deck; it’s just stunning.”

They have a portable air-con but they hardly ever use it because the sun and the sea breeze keeps everything at the perfect temperature most days.

“It’s a big social home; you can sit 18 people around the table, and it’s got its own area downstairs. We’ve got the beach and the community,” she says.

The spotted gum hardwood floors are Tung oiled and a prominent part of the house. The builder picked the trees up at a plantation in Rockhampton after a cyclone; they were all blown over and knocked around. Baxter’s brother used them to build the floors, decking and structural posts.

While the renovations were happening, Baxter was in New York, and he’d come back and check it out from time to time.

“Kirk’s brother made it into a beautiful home; we’ve just maintained it and put our fluff in there,” Suzie says.

Their “fluff” is quite intriguing, particularly the artwork. They have a large collection from the many facets of their life.

“(We have) lots of art from travel; it’s a creative space,” Suzie says. “My husband has a thing for bulls; he’s a Taurus, so he’s got a connection with it.”

They have artwork from a friend in Spain, an artist named Alvaro Sotomayer. He paints a lot of bulls, and he’s also an activist fighting and protesting the Running of the Bulls and the suffering of animals.

The roomy ensuite bathroom of the master bedroom has a summer feel of fun and fresh with blue tiles and lots of space.

The downstairs bathroom has a luxurious tub, and it opens into a private courtyard; she calls it the “Bali area”.

Of course, it’s just a two-minute walk to the beach.

It’s certainly idyllic for a holiday, so it makes sense that the pair rent the place out from time to time.

When they aren’t renting it out, they love to visit. She says Catherine Hill Bay is a delightful community. When she and Bernard moved in 15 years ago they made three documentaries about the area. They interviewed a lot of the older miners in the town who have since passed away.

It appears that the film folks from Sydney have truly set up the perfect scene for themselves in ‘Catho’.

Have a home that could feature in Weekender?We’d love to see it.Email [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

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Newcastle’s light rail trips up R2-D2

Artificial Intelligence: R2-D2 after tripping over the light rail tracks in Newcastle. Tram lines are great for people usinglight rail, but not so much for droids.
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This recent photo shows the risks involved. R2-D2 came a cropper and was unable to get back up. Poor robot.

Cyclists will no doubt feel empathy, given one or two of their kind have had stackson the light rail track.

Topics hears adroid action group is gathering signatures for a petition to take to the city council.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp and cycling advocates recently raised concerns about the lack of a dedicated cycleway on Hunter Street. But what about a dedicated droid-way? Droids are a minority group who clearly need help. We know we can count on Tim to take the concerns of droids to Parliament.

We also read in the Herald on Thursday that Supercars will be given special treatment. The tram tracks will be covered up at Watt Street to prevent damage to racecars. This is clearly a case of droid discrimination.

Glen Fredericks, of Empire Coffee Co at Honeysuckle, is R2-D2’s owner and guardian. We reckon he’d be the most likely candidate to form a droid action group.

The droids will no doubt be accused of wanting the revitalisation of Newcastle to fail. But they’ve got Luke Skywalker, Yoda and The Force on their side. So they should be well equipped, as they seek fairness and justice in Newcastle and the wider galaxy.

Imagine if droid and cycling advocates joined forces. They could get some real change happening.

Like many people, we’re disappointed that there’s no dedicated cycling lane on Hunter Street. Our sense of disappointment now extends to the droid community.

Speaking of minority groups who need attention, we should spare a thought for cafes and other businesses in Newcastle outside the zone thatGlen has dubbed “Supercars City”.

With the big event on again this weekend, Glen’sbeen asked whether it’s worth coming to hiscafe or othersin Newcastle.

“Please do,” he said, adding that Hunter Street,Honeysuckle Drive and surrounding streetswill be quietif it’s anything like last year’s event.Hunter Street, he said, may as well havehad“tumbleweeds going down it”.

Last year, the thousands of spectators stayed insideSupercars City, spending little in eateries outside the event zone,Glen said.He has no beefwith this.

“The great thing is, people going to Supercars use public transport.If you’re thinking of coming into the Empire or any cafe or restaurant around here, come on in. There was stacks of parking last year. The streets were fairly clear.”

“Come to a cafe, get yourself brekky and enjoy the rest of Newcastle while everybody is packed into Supercars Citydoing their own thing.”

The TimeLordCultThe cult phenomenon that is Doctor Who will land in Wallsend on Saturday.

Whovians from far and wide will descend on the town’s Heroes and More store.

The time-traveling doctor has long held the fascination of discipleswho like nothing better than losing themselves in mysterious, fictional, parallel universes. Most fans would surely admit that thetime-travel theme is what most grips them about the long-running series. If you can find thetime, you might want to attend the event. It’llinclude specially ordered stock, trivia competitionsand prizes for best dressed. It runs from10am to2pm.

First EditionWhile we’re on the fantasy theme, we hear Cooks Hill Books has in its possession ann first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, published in 1997. The book was thefirst in theHarry Potterseries and JK Rowling’sdebut novel. It can be yours for $150.

Shopper RageCharlestown Square has a bag library.

“If you forget your re-usable bag, borrow one on us. If you have too many bags, leave them at the bag library for your fellow shoppers,” the shopping centre said on its Facebook page.

It added that the bag library was located on the ground floor atthe supermarket entrance.

Quite a few people were chuffed with this, saying in the commentsection that it was a cute idea. Some said it was helpful as they often forget their bags.

Funny thing is, though, you can get plastic bags at supermarkets for 15 cents. What’seven funnier is that there’sa lot of shopper rage in society about having to fork out 15 cents.Guess Charlestown Square is doing its bit to dampen this rage. With Christmas coming, that has to be a good thing.

Jodie Whittaker stars as Doctor Who.

A Harry Potter first edition.

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Letters to the editor November 26 2018

IN LIMBO: The planned Newcastle cruise terminal has hit troubled waters after the government refused to exceed its $12.9 million pledge despite the Port’s requests. A MULTI-MILLION dollar cruise terminal may be nice, but will the ships stay any longer (‘Port urged to get started’, Newcastle Herald 21/11)?
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The usual practice of staying no more than 12 hours will never cover the cost of a fancy terminal, as most tourists would simply remain on boardto recover from motion sickness or not want the mad rush of seeing little and returning to the boat on time.

Unless a guarantee of at least 24 hourswith a sleep-over can be established, I believe building a terminal would be acomplete waste of money and time.

Apart from adding to the city’smust-have bucket list, I think Newcastle should save itsmoneyand invest in grey nomad accommodation.Places like Stockton havean abundance of large,level areasnot far from the passenger ferry offering easy access into Newcastle.

$17 million, the potential final cost of a terminal, would build a four-star destination for grey nomads not just for a few days a year as in the shipping terminal, but every day of the year.Does council actually have a tourism officer, or are most decisions the brainchild of a select few?

Carl Stevenson,Dora CreekA CITY IS NOT STATIONARYTHE two-month-plus struggle for Renew Newcastle to secure a liquor licence (‘Drink licence fuels Station’,Herald23/11) shows we still have a way to go in recognising the needs of the city versus the needs of a few.

The Station is a key strategic site in the revitalisation of our city. It’s a beautiful heritage building that has enjoyed a stunning facelift and which now offers both young and old a wonderful event space in which to celebrate our city.

Yet Liquor and Gaming NSW has, following objections from just 20 people, limited the Station’s liquor licence to 12 days a month, effectivelythree days a week.

I’ve been advised that the majority of those objecting are concerned about noise. Noise in a city, day and night, is a good thing. It signifies activity, which is what our city needs in order to grow its population, attract investment and build a sustainable day and night-time economy. In terms of the Station’s liquor licence and supposed noise generating ability, let’s not forget this is a site that was until just a few years ago a train station. It’s also a site that to the south-east looks across to the recently reopened Great Northern Hotel and, to the north-east, the hotel at Customs House. It’s also located on the corner of Watt Street, one of our busiest streets in terms of traffic starting and stopping. It’s one of the noisiest parts of our city, which is what makes the Station ideally located as a place for public entertainment.

I appreciate for a select few that choose to live in the East End and CBD, noise is a burden. Yes, some of you may have made the city your home when it was less noisy,but it is the right of a city to change, to grow and to get noisier.

I encourage Renew Newcastle to apply for a less restrictive liquor licence and look forward to supporting their application with a submission on behalf of City of Newcastle.

Jeremy Bath, City of Newcastle chief executivePEDDLE FIXES FOR SUBURBSWHY anyone would choose to ride on Hunter Street where safe shared path exists 50 metres north, along the harbour, is beyond me. Honeysuckle Drive and King Street also have marked bike lanes.

Myselfand the majority of cyclists riding in the city, seem to be aware of these alternatives to riding on Hunter Street. Hunter Street has never been a safe place to cycle given the narrow lane widths and parked cars. The light rail hasn’t changed this.

How about focusing energy on advocating for improvements to cycling black spots outside the city centre where no safe alternative exists?

Thomas McNamee,MaryvilleRICHES MUST POUR DOWNNO-ONE ever made a fortune by honest work.Other people have to be exploited, especially through their ignorance of the circumstances of the situation.

Throughout history nations have exploited more primitive or less developed peoples; for example, slavery, underpayment for resources or manufactured goods and farm products.

Most nations exploited should have had a future fund set up with some of the profits made. Exploitation still goes on in countries where manufacturing textiles and electronic goods occur because wages are low.

In developed countries, those who handle the income and profits of companies vote large salaries and bonuses to themselves for underpaying employees. I believe the remuneration of everyone in the nation should relate to the wealth of the economy.

As the wealth increases through resources and manufacturing, so the return to the people increases according to their contribution and not the power of their lobbying.

In this country, I believe the Fair Work Commission in relation to the budget should set all salary levels, not just those of the lowest paid. It is not fair that the highest-paid people set their own level.

John McLennan,CharlestownHAVING A LEND OF USI AM somewhat astounded to see watchdogs includingASIC and Choice complaining about Afterpay (‘Consumer groups highlight Afterpay risks as ASIC prepares report’, SMH 16/11).I have never encountered a problem. In fact,this company has been a godsend to me helping me to afford presents for Christmas.

What smacks of hypocrisy is that there are so many unscrupulous companies such as pay-day lenders ripping people off with huge interest rates. They are everywhere, especially in the poorer suburbs, and I feel sick just walking past thinking of how many people are getting ripped off. They are even allowed to advertise in the media.

Where is the justice of going after a company who only charge a small fee if payments are late?I believe the onus is for people to regulate themselves to an extent.

Karen Starkie,WaratahSHOW RENAE COMPASSIONI HOPE common sense will prevail for Renae Lawrence’s outstanding warrants (‘Lawrence hands herself in’, Herald 24/11) and she can put her past behind her. It’s not as if she’s been on the run,and considering the original mess regarding the Bali Nine arrests (‘AFP defends its role’, SMH 4/5/15), it’s probably the least that n law enforcement could do.

She is now 41 and being held responsible and accountable for silly actions of a 25-year-old. The cost to the community, her family and her will be considerably less if everyone just lets her quietly assimilate back into our community and rebuild her life. Time for forgiveness and compassion.

Antony Bennett, Bar BeachSHARE YOUR OPINIONEmail [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.

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Photos of the dust storm hitting NSW

Incredible footage of dust storms hitting NSW Photo: Ryan Overall
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Daisy Grace sent in this photo taken by Hamish Armstrong at Carrathool, NSW.

North of Booligal. Photo: Michelle Crossley

Photo: Britt Golder

Photo: Sam Leliever

Photo: Karen Leanne

Photo: Zac Rowlandson

Near Cobar. Photo: Chris Moffitt

North of Booligal. Photo: Michelle Crossley

North of Booligal. Photo: Michelle Crossley

Photo: Ned Kelly

Photo: Katie McCall

Photo: Koralta Angela Tansell

This was over One Tree just north of Hay. Photo: Sammy Ellis

Tibooburra. Photo: Renee Cooper.

TweetFacebookIncredible footage of dust storms hitting NSWhttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd苏州夜场招聘/transform/v1/crop/frm/R7sDaMurkWxVpij7Babdbr/b91d1628-2d12-485b-ae36-5cf2958458b5.jpg/r8_0_737_412_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgYour photos and videos of the dust storm wreaking havoc across NSW.news, national, dust2018-11-22T11:30:00+11:00https://players.brightcove苏州夜场招聘/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5970125739001https://players.brightcove苏州夜场招聘/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5970125739001Massive dust storm hits western Riverina, NSWGabrielle Woodhouse, forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in NSW said although there had been rain in centres such as Alice Springs earlier in the week there had been only sporadic falls over western NSW.

“The soil is so dry it will not be enough to tamp the dust down in the event of high winds.”

She said on Wednesday the worst of the dust would be seen in areas roughly west of Dubbo, but on Thursday, as the cold front pushed through, dust areas would push east, possibly even over the Great Dividing Range.

The Land

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Short Takes November 26 2018: readers have their say on the day’s news

WHILENSW will be boosted with an extra 1500 police over the next four years, congratulations must go to one of our own. Congrats to Senior Constable Kath Emerson on taking out the prestigious title of Rotary NSW Police Officer of the year.
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Charles Farley,Adamstown HeightsRESIDENTS of southern Lake Macquarie, might well feel pleased to have sewer connection, but will they feel the same when they get theirwater rates with $200 or moreper quarter in charges for it?

John Bonnyman,Fern BaySOfar I have only heard about the danger of light rail for push bikes. I believe there area lot more at risk includingpeople with walking aids, people who wear high heels, non-slip footwear and rubber car tyres. I expectyou will properly see council erect signs saying cross at your own risk.

Alan Ackroyd,HamiltonANOTHER example of the Labor-controlled council handing out taxpayers’ money with gay abandon (‘Council EBA gets flexible’, NewcastleHerald 20/11). They sack staff and give in to the unions. Still,if it can get some of them to do some work for nine days I believe it would be an improvement on the present ergonomic output.

Sandy Buchanan,LargsTO realise the size of the damage being done to the most vulnerable of our society, one only has to look at any number of current affairs shows highlighting the hardships, stresses andlosses of lifesavings brought about by shonky tradespeople, unscrupulous employers and scammers. This isnot to mention the activities uncovered by the financial royal commission. Worst of all, the cost of seeking justice for the majority of these people is completely out of their reach, begging onequestion: why isn’t everyone entitled to justice and a fair go in ?

Allan Earl, ThorntonGLADYSBerejiklianrecognisespeople have had enough of crowded roads schools and hospitals (‘States should have a say on migration’: Berejiklian population policy expert’, SMH 4/11). A cynic might suggest that this is pre-election rhetoric and that an immigration reduction of just 30,000 comes nowhere overcoming the increases implemented by the Howard government. The real danger is that politicians are ignoring the scientific advice on the impact of climate change. We are warned that it will be impossible to support the current population, let alone one that continues to grow.

Don Owers,DudleyI BELIEVE theNewcastle Heraldcartoons drawn by Pope show no respect for the position of n Prime Minister.These cartoons display massive distortions of political events.There are never any cartoons ridiculing the n Labor Party.The political imbalance displays a very poor reflection on impartial reporting.

Raymond Parkes,LambtonTHE POLLSWOULDyou stay or leave if a bushfire threatened your home?

Stay and defend 32%, Leave early because safety is most important68%

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Short Takes November 24 2018: readers have their say on the day’s news

ALAN Ackroyd (Short Takes 20/11) –supermarkets will eventually get lottery licensing and pharmaceuticals, ending small retailers in the suburbs.After 35 years in the meat industry I am getting out soon. I can’t see a future in small retail.One thing that bothers me most is all the small community groups and sports clubs that ask small retailers for sponsorship and discounts on sausages for their barbecueswon’t be able to get the same from supermarkets. Funnily I see the members of these organisations rarely support the local butcher.
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Steve Barnett,Fingal BayWHAT a circus.The mediaturned Renae Lawrence into some sort of pariah on her way home to . She’s a convicted drug runner.

Greg Stewart,WoodberryDONALD Trump has America cracking along.The people love him. I suggest this is because he is a very successful businessman and not a politician.I wonder how many of our cartoon heads have run a successful business. I’d imagine not too many.

Brad Hill,SingletonIN reply to Neville Aubrey (Short Takes 21/11) and “our convict origins”:I don’t know yours, but can assure you there is no convict in our family’s origins.

Colin Atkins,WyongCRICKET seem to have taken over the high ground in respect to ethical and fair play in all things. They should, by my reckoning, by now have sacked and dissociated itself from its Commonwealth Bank as sponsors.I believe the bank has not played in the spirit of the game, and as has been shown in the Royal Commission appears to be lacking in ethical behaviour, duplicitous in dealing withcustomers and, more generally, a deceitful organisation. To be blunt, I think it’s much better to scratch your ball than it is to have it ripped off.

Roger Peters,Cooks HillON A positive note, at least Renae Lawrence got home just in time for the Supercars (Herald 23/11). Pity about the residents of Newcastle East, who are leaving in droves to avoid all the noise and disruption as the cars roar past their doors and windows. As they say: collateral damage.

Ross Edmonds,WaratahGRAEME Tychsen (Short Takes 22/11)and Peter Sansom (Short Takes 20/11),get over it. The trains are gone, light rail is here. Newcastle West is not the end of the world. Forget the “global” rubbish.

Jim Cowburn,Garden SuburbWELLsaid, Steve Barnett (Short Takes 21/11). It’s the differences of opinion that make this page worth reading. Anyone who can string a sentence together and knows how to spell their own name can play. Whilst I have copped a couple of abusive anonymous phone calls, I’m yet to get a letter. Clearly I’m going tohave to try harder.

Dave McTaggart,EdgeworthI AM humbled by the support from Fingal Bay (Short Takes 21/11).As Oscar Wilde famously said, and you know it, Mr Barnett:be yourself becauseeveryone else is taken.

Mac Maguire,Charlestown

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Vic leaders clash over injecting centre

Children could be walking over dead bodies on their way to school if Melbourne’s supervised injecting centre is shut down, Daniel Andrews warns.
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The premier and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy on Thursday came face-to-face for the second time in 12 hours for a tetchy debate on the ABC, just two days before the state election.

The 30-minute debate was often heated as the pair canvassed the cost of their campaign promises, infrastructure plans, the injecting room, TAFE funding, youth crime, and law and order.

Disagreement peaked over the North Richmond heroin and ice injecting centre which opened earlier this year after a spate of deaths in the area.

Mr Guy said he would shut down the centre in less than a week if he wins government on Saturday.

“I don’t believe it is good social policy. And I guess that’s a value judgment that we all have to make,” Mr Guy said.

“I want to have mandatory drug rehabilitation and I’ll pay $40 million to do it and I think getting people off drugs is a better way than making excuses for them.”

But Mr Andrews argued there would be deadly consequences if the facility closes, saying the school next door and residents had been calling for help.

“We don’t want our kids walking over, tragically, dead bodies,” he said.

“There’s in no drug rehabilitation if you are dead.”

There were some points of agreement.

Mr Guy said there was merit in Labor’s promised royal commission into mental health and that he would not revisit the controversial assisted dying laws passed by parliament last year.

But the leaders clashed over whether it was appropriate for Mr Andrews to stand beside police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton at a press conference about counter-terrorism arrests on Tuesday.

Mr Guy said it was a breach of caretaker conventions during an election, which Mr Andrews denied.

Mr Guy said the Liberal policy of boot camps for non-violent youth offenders would address youth crime, which led to Mr Andrews attacking the coalition on cutting funding to TAFE.

Thursday’s debate, which aired on radio and TV, follows Wednesday night’s people’s forum at Frankston, a marginal seat in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

Undecided voters put questions to the leaders on issues including policing resources, hospital services and religious freedoms in schools.

Mr Guy, who has billed himself as the tough-on-crime candidate, offered a rare personal insight during the Sky News event, sharing details of the premature birth of his first son.

After an emotional start to the debate, tensions rose as Mr Andrews and Mr Guy clashed on bail laws and the defunct East West Link toll road, which cost the state more than $1 billion when Labor came to power in 2014.

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