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The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed the agreement between the federal and Victorian governments which will see the release of $1.7 billion for improvements to the states regional rail network.
The PTUAs Regional Spokesperson, Paul Westcott, said there was a need for significant improvement of the states longer-distance regional rail lines. The funding now available will be put towards upgrades on the Gippsland, Albury/Wodonga, Bendigo/Echuca, Ballarat and Geelong/Warrnambool lines.
Its good to see that the state and federal governments have finally sorted out this funding wrangle, so they can get on with delivering these vital projects, including the state governments Regional Rail Revival project.
Inadequate service frequencies and poor timekeeping on our regional lines, coupled with too-frequent train breakdowns, have led to many complaints to the PTUA, he said.
Theres an obvious need to increase capacity on the system by track duplication and signalling upgrades, which will allow an increase in the number of services, not only on the regional commuter network, but also to places on the long-distance network, such as Echuca, Warrnambool and Shepparton.
Mr Westcott noted the increasing number of large, heavy trucks on our highways, creating significant road maintenance and safety problems. Theres general agreement that more freight must be carried by rail and this funding will also help achieve that, he said.
The Whitlams will tour nationally in May and June 2018 in their
classic four-piece configuration to
bring their 25th year to a rowdy finale.
Starting the anniversary year in May 2017 selling out concert halls in each state capital with 60
piece orchestras, they end it with a jaunt through their favourite pub gigs around the country. They
are ditching the conductor and the charts, and are back to the common muscle-memory of 1000
shows and six albums.
The Whitlams' line up of Tim Freedman on piano and vocals, Jak Housden on guitar, Warwick
Hornby on bass and Terepai Richmond on drums will be delivering the sort of sprawling,
rambunctious set they have become famous for.
We are looking forward to eight weeks straight and delving deep into the catalogue, said Tim
Freedman. We are going to prepare some rarely played album cuts from the first two albums
Introducing' and Undeniably' and Im sure theyll suit the pubs as well as they did 25 years ago.
The Whitlams are proud to announce that they are picking up a few other stars of the 90s to make
these nights especially memorable Alex Lloyd and Deborah Conway will join the bill in Sydney,
Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Adelaide.
The band's career achievements include seven albums, three multi-Platinum and three Gold, and
three ARIA Awards including the Best Group presented by Gough Whitlam in 1998. In 2011
Eternal Nightcap was voted 27th on the ABC's My Favourite Album poll, and more recently
earned the 17th spot in Triple Js Hottest Australian Albums of All Time.
Much is at stake in tomorrows Batman by-election, for both Labor and the Greens. Ben Eltham reports from his home electorate.
The inner-Melbourne seat of Batman is unusual in many respects. Stretching approximately 10 kilometres in a concrete ribbon north from Clifton Hill to the middle ring suburbs of Preston, Reservoir and Bundoora, it encompasses much of Melbournes diversity and dynamism.
On one analysis, Batman is the most left-leaning seat in the country. According to the ABCs Vote Compass, the seat scores the most leftwards on political philosophy of all 150 federal electorates. The demographics are a rainbow coalition of white and blue collar workforce, second generation Greek and Italian immigrants, with a large swathe of Melbourne hipsterdom and LGBTIQ voters predominant.
The seats retail artery, High Street, is an epicentre of Melbourne gentrification. Served by the famous (or should that be infamous) 86 tram, old shops are being knocked down and high-rise apartment blocks are sprouting. Just a decade ago, Thornbury was a sleepy middle-ring suburb known mainly for Italian grandparents. Now its one of Melbournes hottest restaurant and bar districts, with wood-fire pizza and small bars on seemingly every block. Men with beards and women with tattoos are everywhere.
In the centre of Batman lies the suburb of Preston, where I live. Made famous by Courtney Barnett in her song Depreston, Preston is a fast-changing mix of bucolic bungalows in cul-de-sacs, old factories and warehouses, and new apartments, cafes and bike repair shops. Depreston depicts a young couple considering purchasing a house out further from their usual digs in the inner city.A poignant four minute elegy to suburban anomie, the song describes Barnetts travails house-hunting, a rite of passage all too familiar to Batman voters. We dont have to be around all these coffee shops, Barnett tells her partner in the song....
Today's post is being typed as I lounge by the backyard family swimming pool with a glass of Victorian Chardonnay at hand. It is a personal reflection of my recent review of several Australian UFO websites; over 60 Australian UFO Facebook pages; several Australian blogs belonging to individuals, and private email discussions with a number of selected high profile Australian 'researchers.'
No, not the android character from the Star Trek franchise, but pieces of information. Sightings of things in the Australian sky are reported to a large number of Internet sites. These range from overseas based organisations such as MUFON, to Peter Devonport's NUFORC, to local sites such as UFOR (NSW) Incorporated, and UFOR (Qld) Incorporated. Both Sydney and Perth observatories receive sightings, as do dozens of Facebook pages.
I can't find anyone who regularly monitors this vast area of data; collects it in one place and attempts to analyse it. The one exception to this statement is that for a period of 12 months, Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean and my co-blogger Keith Basterfield (on a long term break from UFO research at the moment) did just that. However, it is interesting to note that almost no Australian UFOlogists commented that they found it of any value to them!
Readers of my last few columns will be aware by now that the question of lack of interest in analysis of sightings by Australian UFO 'researchers' is a pet peeve of mine. Raw sightings contain valuable information about the UFO phenomenon. When was the last time you saw a table of numbers of reports versus time of day for Australian sightings? Or a breakdown of types of Australian sightings under the J Allen Hynek classification system, ie nocturnal lights, CE 1, CE2 etc? Or the number of witnesses per type of sighting? On the la...
The ABC reported on the inquest into Kerry Michaels alleged murder.
A number of quotes from the inquest were included in the article. Any one of them would have been a reasonable focus for a headline.
Kerry Michael, 44, had been repeatedly bashed with a rock and left about 200 metres from the summit of Mount Roland, in Tasmanias north, in 2015.
Detective Bryan said Michael told him he was just trying to hurt her, I was hitting her with rocks and stuff I was like a deranged lunatic.
Dr Lawrence said she was struck between three to eight times, with at least one of the blows delivered while she was lying on the ground.
Instead, the ABC chose to use the jealous husband snapped angle. This language has been highlighted in a huge number of reporting on how the media fails to report violence against women accurately. There are too many to list them all, but here are quotes from a few of them:
Myths and misrepresentations still find their way into reporting. 14.8 % of incident based reporting offers excuses for the perpetrator, like he was drinking, using drugs, jealous/seeking revenge, snapped or lost control.
Though we know the news media can be a powerful source of information for women looking to leave a violent relationship, only 4.3 % of news reports included help seeking information (1800RESPECT or others).
Victorian Council of Social Service: Five Things Men Say to Justify Violence Against Women
An all too common barrier to change can be the perception that our behaviour is out of our control at times. Many men I work with are reluctant to describe choices of violent behaviour they have made, instead using language that suggests a lack of responsibility; I just snapped, just lost it.
Ombudsman Western Australia: Understanding family and domestic violence
The research literature suggests that perpetrators of fami...
My investigation in the Sydney Morning Herald/Melbourne Age:
The legal pursuit in Israel of alleged sexual predator Malka Leifer took a strange turn this week.
As she fought extradition attempts by Victoria Police over 74 charges of child sexual abuse, the 54-year-old first gained, then lost the support of influential Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman.
Grossman is a highly respected rabbi in Israel. He was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement in 2004 Israels highest cultural honour and hes the founder and head of Migdal Ohr, a major NGO that helps children and underprivileged teens across Israel.
But last week, in a surprise appearance before the Jerusalem district court, he pledged to monitor Leifer under house arrest if the judge agreed to her release from police custody.
It was humiliating, he claimed, for Leifer to remain incarcerated, and bad for her mental health.
The court apparently agreed and authorised her release.
Leifer is a former teacher and principal at Melbournes ultra-orthodox Adass Israel girls school, who fled Australia with the aid of the Adass community after her alleged offending was revealed.
One of Leifers alleged victims, Melbourne-based Dassi Erlich, was gutted at the courts decision.
We are trying so desperately to hold onto hope and trying to desperately see justice. We want to hold onto the fact that we will see her back in Australia one day, she said.
However, early this week, Grossman reversed his position and withdrew support for Leifer, citing the perception that his backing had been interpreted as supporting an attempt to avoid trial.
There are many confounding aspects of this case including the role of Rabbi Grossman.
Grossman has assisted accused sexual predators before, including Breslov Rabbi Eliezer Berland who fought extradition to Israel from South Africa. Grossman went to South Africa twice and...
Vale John McBeath
Today at 2pm in Adelaide, family and close friends will farewell John McBeath, who many in the jazz community will know through his critiques of major festivals and the regular publication of his album reviews in The Australian.
Not everyone was happy with what John wrote thats surely inevitable and appropriate for a music critic. But no one doubted his commitment to the task not an easy one of using words, in most cases too few words, to convey thoughts about music.
I dont think criticisms of the critic worried John all that much. I can vividly recall a refrain of his, when assessing festival programs, that too many of the same old artists were appearing in the line-ups. He had a point, although budget constraints always make programming difficult.
John will be missed not only as a scribe, but by those who regularly engaged him in discussions on inspiring artists and performances in the broad church loosely described as jazz, whether well known or obscure. One person in particular who will feel that loss is his good friend Gerry Koster, pictured above with John in a happy moment before a Melbourne I...
Koky the sheep was 4 years old, but his fleece had never been
shorn which nearly cost him his life.
Pam Ahern, founder of Edgars Mission, a sanctuary in Victoria, Australia, had gotten a call about Koky from local officials.
Credit: Edgar's MissionHe was surrendered to them after reports [circulated] from members of the public concerned for his welfare, Ahern told The Dodo. Due to the overgrown state of his fleece, they [the council] knew his level of care required more than they could provide, so he was directly handed to us.
Credit: Edgar's MissionSeeing Kokys overgrown fleece in person was a shock to Ahern.
Credit: Edgar's MissionHaving such thick fleece wasnt just uncomfortable it was dangerous.
1806 - Sealers from the ship George massacred Aborigines at
1806 - Things were crook in Tallarook... and everywhere else after the Hawkesbury River ran a banker and washed away houses, stock and crops which left the colony to face a savage diet reduction starvation.
1821 - At the Native Institution, Parramatta, Michael Yarringuy, a native constable at Richmond, wed Polly, while Robert Naringguy [Bobby Nurragingy], son of Nurragingy or Creek Jemmy, married Betty Fulton. Both girls are from the Native Institution, now at Black Town.
1824 - Dig up those tins of pennies under the patio, Aunty Maud...The Bank of Van Diemen's Land opened its doors for business in Hobart.
1848 - Ohhh no need to throw away the injured and dying now that the Melbourne Hospital was open.
1870 - After Captain Charles Sturt swanned through the area with the help of local Wiradjuri guides a mere 41 years later Wagga Wagga was incorporated as a municipality.
1877 - The first cricket Test was fought between Oz and England at the MCG with the home grown colonial lads showing the visitors how it was done with a win of 45 runs.
1887 - A group of blokes (who obviously didn't get out much) got all hot and bothered over some other blokes sheep shearing machine thingie.
Yeah, men and their sheep....
1901 - The Australian Historical Society had its first knees up.
Was later dubbed Royal Australian Historical Society.
But the cream teas never lived up to that first meeting.
1901 - The (Hysterical) Historical Society of NSW held its first meeting.
1909 - The Toronto Branch Railway Line (NSW) was closed.
1924 - The squadron of British warships, which had been visiting Adelaide for four days, sailed for Melbourne. The two battleships, Hood and Repulse, and five light cruisers, Delhi, Dauntless, Dragon, Danae and Dunedin, were on a ten-month world tour. The two huge battleships had to anchor off Glenelg, but the cruisers were berthed at Outer Harbour and open for inspection.
1927 - Today the Register, a South Oz newspaper, related the tale of how the nickname "Crow Eater" came to be dubbed onto those from the state of South Australia.
" The following is the most feasible explanation, and is, I believe, the correct one: In 1851 my father and uncle travelled overland to the Bendigo diggings. On their arrival they were accosted with the words, 'some crow-eaters.' It appeared that a short time before they arrived, a party of South Australians had arrived in a very hard-up state, being without food and looking very much knocked up. While crossing the 90-mile desert they ran out of tucker, and were forced to shoot crows for food, as nothing better could be obtained. On relating the...
Taking a step back from her band Hiatus Kaiyotes, Nai Palm released her first solo album, Needle Paw in October 2017.
This album has a compilation of R&B and soul and truly digs deep into emotion. Acoustic guitars meets Palms smooth voice for an album of pure emotion.
Based out of Melbourne, Haitus Kaiyote rose up in 2011. Their first album was released in 2012 called Tawk Tomahawk and in 2015, they released their second album Choose Your Weapon.
Nai Palm is a two-time Grammy Nominated Artist. While her sophisticated soul sound is present in the album Needle Paw, it still has its significant differences from Haitus Kaiyote. However, Palm stays true to the sound her fans all know and love.
Be sure to tune in to Album Of The Week every Thursday from 1:30 pm on 89.7FM or streaming live via eastsidefm.org
One of the worst things about being a music fan is the horrible sinking feeling you get when you realise that awesome gig that you heard was coming actually turned out to be last night. Thankfully, weve compiled a gig guide so that you can make sure you wont be missing any more unforgettable nights of music.
With plenty for everyone coming up this month, theres bound to be something here that will turn your plans of a quiet night in into a memory youll never forget.
One of the finest purveyors of alternative hip-hop going around, Astronautalis delivers a refreshing blend of indie-rock and rhymes. Back in the country for his third visit, Astronautalis is set to hit up the Miami Shark Bar on March 24th for one of the most impressive shows youll see this month.
Saturday, March 24th
Miami Shark Bar, Miami, QLD
Hockey Dad are going gangbusters right now, having scored the highest-placing Aussie album on the ARIA charts recently, and scoring triple js Feature Album this past week. Now, to celebrate the release of their second album, Blend Inn, the Windang boys are heading off on tour. Sadly, with all their shows sold out, heres hoping youve already got yourself a ticket. With the boys playing four shows from March 17th-19th at the Woolly Mammoth, these shows are going to go off.
Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane, QLD
On paper, Prophets Of Rage are an unstoppable force. Comprised of members of Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, and Rage Against The Machine, this rap-metal supergroup are set to make their Aussie debut at the inaugural Download Festival Australia in Melbourne. Thankfully, the group are stopping off at Brisbanes Riverstage for one sideshow that is going to be full of brutal riffs, pounding rhythms, and socially-conscious lyrics. Dont miss it!
Monday, March 26th
Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD (LIC/AA)
The residents of a small Queensland town have banded together to bring an asylum seeker family back home.
More than 60,000 people have signed a petition to return Tamils Nadesalingam, Priya and their two Australian-born daughters to Biloela.
Border force officials removed them last week and put them in a Melbourne detention centre.
Tamil Refugee Council spokesman Ben Hillier said they were handcuffed and taken in separate vans to Melbourne Airport on Tuesday, flown to Perth and placed on a flight to Sri Lanka.
But a last-minute legal intervention resulted in them being removed from the plane before it took off.
Its understood the couple came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013, following Sri Lankas civil war.
They settled in Biloela on a bridging visa, which has since expired.
Biloela resident Angela Fredericks started the petition, which calls on Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to let the family return to the town.
The community also held a vigil for the family on Wednesday night.A Department of Home Affairs spokesman said the familys case had been assessed over many years.
They have consistently been found not to meet Australias protection obligations, he said.
A hearing about the historical sex offence charges against Cardinal George Pell is open to the public after several days of closed court evidence from his accusers.
Pell returns to Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday for a committal hearing that will determine if he stands trial over charges involving multiple complainants.
The pre-trial hearing began on March 5 but was closed to the public as the complainants gave evidence as required by law in sex offence cases.
The hearing opened to public on Wednesday afternoon, with volunteer researcher and retired academic Bernard Barrett giving evidence about his work with victim advocacy group Broken Rites.
Defence barrister Robert Richter QC accused Mr Barrett of making up allegations and trying to pin historical sex offences on Pell.
You advocate publicly and you rile publicly against the Catholic Church in particular, he said.
You make up representations on the website and elsewhere accusing the church of covering up sexual abuse, is that right?
We dont rile or make up accusations, we just state the facts, Mr Barrett replied.
Mr Richter also suggested Mr Barretts volunteer work with Broken Rites involved trying to pin something on Pell.
Would you have considered it a considerable victory if you could pin something on Cardinal Pell as doing something wrong? Mr Richter said.
As many as 50 people, including the complainants, will be called as witnesses during the month-long hearing.
Magistrate Belinda Wallington will then decide if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial in the Victorian County Court.
Pell, 76, was charged on summons in June 2017 while he was in Rome.
He has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to return to Australia to fight the charges.
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