Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews spent time campaigning at a school in Cranbourne.Buoyed by two positive poll results, it was a confident Daniel Andrews who hit the road for a final day of campaigning before D-day in the Victorian election.
Flanked by wife Cath, a familiar face late in the campaign, the Labor leader seemed relaxed in the company of happy children as he made another school-related promise.
If re-elected, he would double the amount of schools taking part in a free breakfast scheme plus throw in lunch too as part of a $58 million promise.
“We will not only double the number of schools that are part of the breakfast club program from 500 to 1000, we’re going to include lunch club, a second meal each and every school day, for those kids who without this program, would go hungry,” Mr Andrews told reporters at Cranbourne West Primary School.
The incumbent premier said about 10 per cent of children being served breakfasts through the program also do not have lunch and the participating schools would be selected according to need.
With Friday being White Ribbon Day, Mr Andrews also promised to continue working on the recommendations of the family violence royal commission.
In a separate announcement, Labor has promised to invest $4.6 million to provide another 10 full-time financial counsellors to help family violence victims negotiate with creditors and debt collectors, protect assets from repossession and access financial hardship programs.
Mr Andrews was in a calm and reflective mood on Friday, coinciding with the release of a uComms/ReachTEL poll, published by The Age, pointing to the government being returned to power with 54 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.
Labor is also ahead of the Liberal-Nationals coalition in a second poll published by the Herald-Sun and conducted by YouGov Galaxy, with a 53-47 per cent two-party preferred split.
Mr Andrews even paid respect for Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and the role of the press during the campaign.
“The leader of the opposition and I, we are away from our families like many people across Victoria. This can be a bruising business,” he said.
“Anyone who stands up in politics or in any other way for the things that they believe in, I have nothing but praise for them and all of us are involved in a process.”
More than 1.1 million people have voted early in the election.
“I would ask Victorians to vote for a local Labor candidate so we can continue to keep delivering for all Victorians,” said Mr Andrews, recommitting to a full term if voted back in to power.
“A handful of votes in a handful of seats can make the difference between getting things done or returning to a time when hospitals and services were cut.”
IN sharing the deeply personal and tragic story of the disintegration of her family, of the devastating impact domestic abuse had on her mother, and the trauma witnessing that horror caused her, Maddison Passarelli has opened wide a wound that many would dare not touch.
Roger Yeo. Picture: Simone De Peak
And she is determined to keep that wound in plain sight because, she argues, there is no justice in silence.
Another person touched by domestic violence is Roger Yeo, whose daughterRachelle was murdered in her home by a former partner. He said violence against women by men was a“national human rights disaster”.
Mr Yeo and Ms Passarelli will both speak at the Hunter White Ribbon Breakfast at Wests New Lambton on November 30.They are two strangers, linked by the woundsof domestic violence. In both cases they were not the intended victims of that violence, but they carry the scars.
Alarming statistics from the nBureau of Statistics show onein three women hasexperienced physical violence since the age of 15, one in five hasexperienced sexual violence and one in six has experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner.
On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner, a figure Mr Yeo, Ms Passarelli and a growing chorus of fed-up ns say should be causing a national outcry.Indeed it should.
And there are signs the anger is registering. NSWpolice chief Mick Fuller on Friday called for domestic violence killers to be locked up life, as the state government ordereda review of sentences.
Calling for the 20-year standard non-parole period for murder to be raised,Commissioner Fuller said: “Dying in your own home at the hands of someone that’s supposed to love you has to be one of the worst crimes.” While any increase in sentences would be welcome, there is also a seismic cultural shift that needs to take place.
In an interview with theNewcastle Herald, Mr Yeo shared his passion for White Ribbon, the organsation tasked with creating a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety.While much of the rhetoric around violence against women is about educating adults, Mr Yeo is looking further.He wants to reach today’s boys to change tomorrow’s men.
“I’m not going to change the behaviour of a 45-year-old man that’s beating his wife,” he said.“But it’s the next generation of kids and the one after that.”
Domestic violence most certainly is a national tragedy. It most certainly is a human rights disaster and it most certainly has to change. Both Ms Passarelli and Mr Yeo recognise that silence is not the answer. And if keeping painful wounds open for all to see will make people stop, listen and act, then that is what we need to do. We need to raise our voices. We need to be heard.
For support: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)Lifeline:13 11 14ISSUE: 39,065.
Rohan Dennis has received another accolade after winning the road world championships time trial.Winning his second n cyclist of the year award caps a dream year on and off the bike for Rohan Dennis.
In September, the road time trial star won his elusive first world championship in the event.
He also won time trial stages at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana and led the two Grand Tours.
That made him only the third n after Bradley McGee and Cadel Evans to hold the overall lead in the three Grand Tours – the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta.
He won the Sir Hubert Opperman medal as the cyclist of the year.
But it’s also been a massive 2018 away from cycling for Dennis.
He was unable to attend Friday’s cycling awards lunch in Melbourne because Dennis and wife Melissa have had their first child, a boy, and are in Europe.
In February, Dennis married Melissa Hoskins, the retired world champion track cyclist.
Dennis, whose long-term project is to become an overall contender in the Grand Tours, overcame several years of frustration to win the time trial world title in Innsbruck, Austria.
A perennial favourite in the event, he was thwarted at the worlds and other major events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games by bad luck.
Dennis crashed out at last year’s world titles and at the Rio Olympics, a broken aero bar robbed him of a probable silver medal.
Apart from being named overall cyclist of the year, Dennis also took out the men’s road category.
World championship silver medallist Amanda Spratt won the women’s road honour.
The world record-breaking team pursuit squad narrowly beat world sprint champion Matthew Glaetzer to take out the men’s track section, while three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Stephanie Morton won the women’s track category.
Olympic gold medallist and Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur was among four n cycling Hall Of Fame inductees honoured at the awards function.
Track greats Danny Clark and Michelle Ferris and mountain bike course design guru Glen Jacobs round out this year’s inductions.
MAJOR AUSTRALIAN CYCLING AWARD WINNERS
The Sir Hubert ‘Oppy’ Opperman Medal – Rohan Dennis
Elite Para-cycling – Alistair Donohoe and Emilie Miller
Elite Track – Men’s Team Pursuit (Alex Porter, Sam Welsford, Leigh Howard, Kelland O’Brien) and Stephanie Morton
Elite Road – Dennis and Amanda Spratt
Elite MTB – Sam Hill and Tracey Hannah
Elite BMX – Logan Martin and Saya Sakakibara
Coach of the year – Tim Decker
OUT IN FRONT: Scott McLaughlin leads championship rival Shane van Gisbergen into a corner opposite Newcastle beach during practice on Friday. Picture: Mark HorsburghThe crowd was down, but Ford driver Scott McLaughlin looked up to the task of defending his Supercars lead on the opening day of the Newcastle 500.
Last year’s inaugural Supercars race in Newcastle drew a bumper Friday turnout, but the novelty appeared to have worn off this time as a relatively modest crowd filtered through the gates.
A howling north-west wind which gusted up to 87 kilometres an hour at Nobbys also might have had something to do with the thinner crowd.
Prime viewing spots such as Watt Street and Nobbys Road were fouror five deep with spectators on Friday last year but not nearly as busy this time.
Supercars representatives said practice-only days typically drew smaller crowds, and this year’s turnout was a more realistic long-term figure for Fridays in Newcastle.
Many traders in the race circuit reported numbers were down on last year, but they were still predicting a busy weekend for the two 250km races that will decide the championship.
McLaughlin, who is looking to atone for a horror Sunday race last year which cost him what would have been his first title, powered through the gale to top the time sheets in Friday’s second practice.
His main rival, Holden driver and fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen, finished well down in seventh before Saturday’s qualifying session and first race.
Crowd down, wind up as McLaughlin blows away title rival in practice SMILE: The wind spoils Michelle Plain’s selfie with retiring Holden legend Craig Lowndes. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
BLOWN AWAY: A near-empty grandstand facing the howling gale at the start of pit straight on Friday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
LEADER: Scott McLaughlin powers up Watt Street during practice on Friday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
The crowd in Foreshore Park this year.
The crowd in Foreshore Park on Friday last year.
MAKING A STATEMENT: Scott McLaughlin at the top of Watt Street. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
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123456789101112131415 – McLaughlin, who leads the championship by just 14 points entering the final weekend of the season, stopped the clock at one minute, 10.47 seconds, ahead of seven-time series champion Jamie Whincup and Ford’s Cameron Waters.
Van Gisbergen was 0.35 seconds off McLaughlin’s pace, andretiring Holden great Craig Lowndes was 12th fastest.
A last-minute decision to cover the new light rail tracks in Scott Street did not appear to hamper the drivers, though workers performed some running repairs on the temporary covering midway through the day.
McLaughlin said the tracks had not affected his car at the start of the Watt Street straight.
“We’re half airborne there, anyway,” he said.
Whincup, who snatched the championship from McLaughlin in Newcastle last year, said he believed the covering had been added “so we don’t rip up the tracks” rather than to protect the cars.
The Holden driver said the strong wind had brought deposited dust on the track, increasing lap times.
Waters joked that he had run over“two hats and a palm tree” blown onto the seaside circuit.
McLaughlin’s teammate, Fabian Coulthard, described the Newcastle street circuit as a “tough little joint”.
“It’s a bit of a bull ring,”Coulthard said after the second Supercars practice session.“It’s bumpy and you’ve got to have a car set up for all elements.
“You can drive down the front straight and you feel the gusts of wind restricting the car a little bit.
“I’ve never felt that in a Supercar before.”
Lowndes said he had been busy meeting corporate commitments and was satisfied with a time only 0.4 seconds off pole in his special gold-coloured Commodore.
Newcastle’s Aaren Russell missed out on a drive in the premier Supercars class this weekend but topped practice in his SuperUtes debut.
He piloted his Mitsubishi Triton around the 2.6km circuit in one minute 31.3215 seconds, about20 seconds slower than a Supercar but a positive result nonetheless.
“It’s awesome to be racing at my home track and topping the time sheets today,” he said.“Hopefully I can stay there in qualifying.”
The wind is expected to drop on Saturday, giving the drivers no time to adjust their car set-ups to calmer conditions.
Saturday’s qualifying session is at 11.35am before the first 250km race at 3.45pm.
Off the track, many parents appeared to have heeded the warnings of doctors and covered their children’s ears with headphones while the cars were running on Friday.
A Newcastle ear, noseand throat surgeon, who asked not to be named, said on Friday that he would wear ear protection when he attended the race this weekend.
“I will be, for the same reason I don’t smoke,” he said.
He said the car noise had the potential to cause internal cochlear damage.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott (left) is seen with his Davidson Brigade as NSW Rural Fire Service crews battle a bush fire burning near houses along Lemon Tree Passage Road, in Salt Ash, NSW, Friday. Photo: AAP/Dan HimbrechtsFormer Prime Minister Tony Abbott is on the fire ground at Lemon Tree Passage Road, where he is working as a volunteer with the Davidson Brigade to fight the fires burning at Salt Ash.
More than 180 firefighters were on the ground Friday working to bring the blaze under control.
The Davidson volunteer brigade was called up to Port Stephens at around 3.30pm Thursday.
LIVE: Immediate updates and fire warnings from the ground at Salt Ash
A firefighter attacks the blaze at Salt Ash on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers
RFS Inspector Rolf Poole was on the fire ground and said crews were battling challenging, windy conditions to bring the fire to heel.
The fire was pushed toward Lemon Tree Passage and Rookes Road in the early morning under dry and windy conditions, prompting an escalated fire danger warning around 6.30am.
Crews have since been working in the area to control hotspots and to prevent the fire flaring up at the edges.
Firefighters have also taken positions along Nelson Bay Road where they were ready to protect properties as required.
Fire news:Residents say “you never get used” to the threat of fire
Meanwhile, a second fire has broken out to the north at Twelve Mile Creek.
Multiple crews and aircraft responded quickly to the grass fire, which was burning close to the roadside near the intersection of the Pacific Highway and The Buckets Way.
A NSW RFS spokesperson said they did not expect the fire to escalate, but that it would prove a “minor disruption” for crews as they work to contain the larger blaze burning at Salt Ash.
Traffic has been affected in both directions on the Pacific Highway, with smoke over the road and crews working near the road to bring the fire under control, the spokesperson said.
All northbound lanes were reopened around 2.40pm, but one of two southbound lanes remained closed due to the fire.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott (left) is seen with his Davidson Brigade as NSW Rural Fire Service crews battle a bush fire burning near houses along Lemon Tree Passage Road, in Salt Ash, NSW, Friday. Photo: AAP/Dan Himbrechts
Drivers have been urged to take care travelling in the area.
Meanwhile, to the south, both Richardson and Medowie roads have remained closed as the bushfire burns, and Nelson Bay Road has been closed after it opened under a reduced speed limit for a number of hours earlier Friday.
The closure of Nelson Bay Road means road access to Nelson Bay has been cut off.