July, 2019

‘Welcome home’: Afghanistan veterans march in Melbourne

‘A sense of belonging’: Chris Sharp, who served as a sergeant, holds daughter Ruby, while his wife Jocelyn is pictured with Hayley. Photo: James Boddington The parade honoured Australian servicemen and women who have served in Afghanistan since 2001.
Nanjing Night Net

Reunited: Sergeant Adam Keegan with wife Kristi and baby Emerson. Photo: James Boddington

As Afghanistan veteran Chris Sharp marched down St Kilda Road focused and proud, out of the corner of his eye he saw a sign in the crowd with the words “welcome home”.

The enormity of the momentous occasion washed over him, blurring his eyes with tears.

More than 1400 Australian Defence Force personnel marched to the Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday morning to commemorate the end of Australia’s 13-year operation in Afghanistan.

Crowds lined St Kilda Road, some joyous, cheering and waving flags, others sombre and reflective.

“You’re in a bit of a zone at the start, you’re just marching,” Chris, who served as a sergeant in the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle command, said.

“You hear the crowd cheer and see a sign out of the corner of your eye and it kind of brings you back to reality.

“You get a sense of belonging and that the people, the public, do care. It means a lot.”

When Chris was deployed to the Mirabad Valley in June 2011, he left his wife Jocelyn and daughter Hayley, who had just celebrated her first birthday.

Four soldiers lost their lives during his tour and he often feared for his own as his regiment came under fire.

“There were definitely times that were a bit hairy,” he said.

When asked the date of Chris’ return, Jocelyn did not miss a beat.

“January 16, 2012.” The date forever stuck in her mind, such was its importance.

“It was just awesome, not only to have him home, but Hayley had her dad back,” Jocelyn said.

For Chris, now a warrant officer in the army reserve, the transition back to family life and work in the barracks was not easy.

“You go through a time when you know you’re back in Australia, but you’re still on edge, you’re still alert,” he said. “Loud noises make you jump. I had dreams.”

Helping with the repatriation of Rick Milosevic, who was killed months after Chris’ return, was a “tough time”.

“I’m very proud of Chris, especially, but all of them,” Jocelyn said.

“They do so much for us with little thanks and cop a lot of criticism for it, so it’s nice to actually see the crowds out to show their support.”

The parade, and eight others around the country, was to thank the more than 34,500 army and police personnel and public servants who served in Operation Slipper.

It was also to remember the 41 soldiers who died making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Families of the fallen marched and laid wreaths in their loved ones’ honour.

When Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the “Anzac Day-style” national commemorations of the Afghan War, he said it was to “ensure the bitter experience of returning Vietnam veterans was not repeated”.

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews thanked the soldiers gathered below the shrine for their “heroism, sacrifice and dedication”.

“Operation Slipper was Australia’s contribution to ensuring that Afghanistan would never again become a safe haven for the terrorism that threatened Australia and the wider world,” he said.

“But for those who were deployed to Afghanistan, this was about their service to their nation, their loyalty.”

Premier Daniel Andrews said those who served in Afghanistan had done so in the “pursuit of freedom”.

“They protected all those values that we as a community in the free world hold dear,” he said.

“We gather simply to say thank you, but in a more profound way to make sure that we never forget all those who served in defence of our freedom.”

Operation Slipper began in 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and finished in December 2014.

The march comes just weeks before from the Anzac Day centenary on April 25.

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

Privatisation will costHunter ‘hundreds of jobs’

Privatisation will cost Hunter ‘hundreds of jobs’ The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak
Nanjing Night Net

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds: TAFE teacher Mark Powell addresses the crowd. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds: NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, Deborah Langbridge addresses the crowd. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds. Picture: Simone De Peak

The Trades Hall anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle sheds: Two-year-old Leuca Wiebford shows her support. Picture: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookJob losses, no newapprentice rolesand limited TAFE opportunities- that was the message from speakers at Saturday’s anti-privatisation rally at Honeysuckle Sheds.

About 400 people attended the rally organised by Newcastle Trades Hallwhere theyheard fromworkers in industries facing job cuts as a result of privatisation.

Speakers included Hamiton TAFE teacher, Mark Powell,Deborah Langbridge from NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, andRachel Smoothy from Support Worker and Disability Services.

“The community is against privatisation,” saidrally organiser and Secretary of Newcastle Trades Hall Council, Daniel Wallace.

“The bigissue for us is that the unemployment wasup from 5.9per cent three years ago to 12.4 per cent, that’sthousands of workers losing their jobs”, says Mr Wallace.

According to Mr Wallaceprivatisation will add to the ranks of the unemployed, with young people bearing most of the brunt.

“When they [government]even mentioned the saleof poles and wires, theelectricity industry stopped putting on apprentices and that cost about 500 youngpeople apprenticeships,we’ve got about 18 to 19 per centyouth unemployment in the region.”

“There’s no doubt that Newcastle has been the engine room for the state …a lot of work has gone into diversifying into different areas and we can’t start closing industries in this region”.

The Newcastle Herald

Five burning election issues: The Abbott factor

Corflutes, core promises, preference deals and enough hot air to float the Hindenburg – welcome to the 2015 state election campaign.
Nanjing Night Net

To help you slice through the spin in the lead up to next week’s poll, we’ve identified five key battleground issues that will shape how Wagga votes.

Each candidate will get up to 150 words to explain their position on the future-defining issues, ranging from the poles and wires sale to how to lure more jobs to Wagga.

Day 5: The Abbott factorDan Hayes –Country Labor

I do think federal politics does get played out at state level. We’veseen a number of decisions by the federalgovernmentthat have had a dramatic effect at the state level. We’ve also seen what theAbbottgovernmenthas been doing as an example of what the Liberal stategovernmenthasbeendoing for the last four years. People see a two-pronged approach of Liberalgovernmentsto either sell it or cut it.We saw the impact ofTonyAbbottat theVictorianandQueenslandelections and it’ll certainly have an impact onNSW.

Paul Funnell–Independent

I think it will to a certaindegree locally–not to the extentpossiblyin other areas. The reason Ibelieve it will influence the outcome of the election is that federal politics tends to dominate, for obvious reasons, and the Abbottand Hockey duopoly have notbeenable to sell their message and this is damaging theLNP. They, like the state Coalition, have this emphatic commitment to selling and privatisation of publicutilities. Because of this unpopular attitude of selling rather than managing, which then leads to not being able to sell his message, it has polarised the electorate and people are concentrating on Abbottrather than the issues at hand. Abbottcontinues to air an arrogance towards the people,for example, his StPatrick’sDay message, rather than listen to the people and explain to us how he is going to fix things.

Daryl Maguire –Liberals

The voters of this region understand the difference between state and federal issues. They understand how the Greens, the Labor Party and especially independents share preferences and block progress. They have seen this at a federal level. My opponents will try to connect the federal and state because that’s what you do when you have no fully funded policy and you continue to make promises without foundation or funding. This election is all about what Mike Baird’s Liberal National Government can continue to do for this electorate. It’s all about completing the Wagga Base Hospital, building roads, bridges, the court house and ambulance stations. It’s about moreinfrastructure and creating morejobs. More nurses, teachers and police. It’s about maintaining the state economy as number one in Australia. This state government is investing and driving growth. The voters understand that a vote for anyone other than a Liberal state government places all this at risk.

Keith Pech–Christian Democratic Party

It probably will have an influence, although I hope that the people of Wagga will look at local issues more than the national issues. I hope the people of Wagga will look at who can deliver the changes that we need, which party is interested in creating jobs, which party is interested in infrastructure needs and in providing the services required for Wagga to prosper. the Christian Democratic Party is totally committed to looking after the needs of this electorate. We will look at ways for jobs to be created, we will look at improving service delivery and we will ensure the families and the people of Wagga are put first. Only the Christian Democratic Party is committed to these and i believe that we can deliver.

Kevin Poynter –The Greens

Tony Abbott is certainly unpopular, but Ithink that local voters are looking more at state-based issues and local concerns. The important issues are retaining public assets in public hands, particularly the poles and wires that the Baird government plan to give to private enterprise. People are also concerned about health, education, proper plans for public transport and roads and supporting a local food economy. Ithink the Coalition might be afraid that our gaffe-prone Prime Minister may affect them badly –that seems to be why they are keeping him away from their campaign. Ithink our voters are perfectly aware of the difference between state and federal elections and while they’re focused on the state election at this point in time, they certainly seem to be waiting to send a strong message to Tony Abbott in the federal election due next year.

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

Society has to pick up the pieces and rebuild youth

THERE is a theory on what keeps society orderly and civilised: fix the broken windows.
Nanjing Night Net

Actually I’m not sure if it is a theory so much but character Rick Grimes from zombie apocalypse show The Walking Dead said it and it kind of makes sense.

“You keep the windows intact, you keep society intact,” he says with the kind of Southern US accent that only a British actor can pull off. Essentially, it is the little problems that matter.

Keeping them in check stops little problems becoming bigger problems. Launceston has experienced a spike in petty vandalism with several businesses having windows smashed.

The perpetrators’ motives have either been to steal items inside the shops or just mindless destruction.

A little problem in the grand scheme of things but incrediblyfrustrating to business owners, police, the council and general public who want to see an orderly and tidy society.

Nothing looks worse for a city’s image than smashed windows, damaged buildings or empty shops. A broken window begets another broken window and so on and so on.

If left unattended, the problem spirals into a mess that becomes the norm and tells of a place’s reputation.

Often these problems elicits a lament from the general public that, “someone should do something”.

The police should do something. The council should do something. CityProm should do something. Business owners should do something.

Yes, that is true, and they are; organising a meeting between stakeholders that will address the issue and other anti-social behaviour.

But the general public must also ask itself, “What can I do?”

What can I do to deter crime and anti-social behaviour happening in my community?

Because solving such matters is a job for everyone.

It is the job of the passer-by who observes suspicious or criminal behaviour to report it.

It is the job of businesses to install security measures such as close circuit television and sensor lights.

It is the job of the general community to support those impacted by such behaviour and let them know it is not deemed acceptable.

CityProm is hosting a breakfast meeting next month to discuss ways to combat the recent spike in offences. Shoplifting has also been identified by some retailers as being on the increase – one saying it his costing his business $45,000 a year.

If we want businesses to not just survive but thrive in a difficult economy, we cannot accept that as the status quo.

Like most antisocial behaviour, the answer comes back to better education.

That sounds hopelessly simple but if young people are engaged in school, then they are less likely to be engaged in antisocial behaviour.

It is, however, not the fault of teachers or schools entirely either. Again it comes back to a total response from all community stakeholders.

On Friday, I attended a working group held by the Beacon Foundation, which aimed to bridge the gap between students who didn’t go on to either work or tertiary study.

Business leaders from across Launceston were asked what they could do to help ameliorate the rates of youth unemployment, which are projected to rise dramatically if nothing is done.

There was immense goodwill in the room tempered by the reality that whatever is agreed upon must be achievable and have actual and lasting impact.

It is a sensible attitude that reminds me of a saying Frances Underwood said her late husband, governor Peter Underwood, was fond of saying: “What’s happening on Monday?”

It struck a chord, because we can have all the backslapping, feel-good ideas, but unless we make them sustainable and act on them, they will come to nought.

And that necessitates everyone getting involved with a solution.

We must become practical idealists. Tomorrow is Monday.

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

Wanted: Bar with midnight snacks

MANIKA DADSON says: LAUNCESTON needs an intimate, upmarket cocktail and coffee bar that operates until at least after midnight.LAUNCESTON needs an intimate, upmarket cocktail and coffee bar that operates until at least after midnight.
Nanjing Night Net

It would also be good if it sold hot snacks and was near the Princess Theatre.

Big ask, I know, but it’s needed.

A new bar – well, technically it’s a cave – opened in Launceston this week and is going to fill a gap.

The problem is, it is only open for 10 days, is not going to serve hot drinks, and hot food isn’t on the menu.

The bar is Plato’s Cave at the Earl, a lounge space created in the Earl Art Centre foyer by Launceston artist Sue Henderson, Red Brick Cider House and Theatre North as part of the Tasmanian International Arts Festival.

The space is somewhere for people to gather intimately after watching a show.

It’s something we don’t seem to have in Launceston.

A woman painted the picture well on Facebook this week.

She posed a questions to 45 to 55-year-olds on the A Heads Up to Eating Out in Launceston page asking “where does one go on a Saturday night after the theatre for a drink/cocktail”?

“I’ll paint the picture of last Saturday night,” she went on.

“Group of ladies after Evita (great show!!), tried the Hotel Grand Chancellor – sorry bar is closing; Alchemy – great dirty martini but so noisy you couldn’t hear yourself think; Bakers Lane – bar staff were lovely but again noisy and crowded, and we felt like we were everyone’s mother! We ended up at King of Kebabs.”

She asked for suggestions and got some back, like Cataract on Paterson, which serves cocktails until midnight, St. John Craft Beer, the Oak, O’Keefe’s and the Northern Club.

While I’m only in my 20s, I’ve had the same problem.

Having performed in shows since I was young, a usual need after the curtain goes down is hot food, a drink and a chilled-out place to mingle.

My mum’s request is usually a hot drink, something she often can’t get because “sorry we’ve turned off the coffee machine”.

A few bars are in the pipeline for Launceston, so let’s hope they listen to these requests: give us something classy and intimate that serves alcohol, hot drinks and hot food until late.

Something similar to what is on Melbourne’s Spring Street would be perfect.

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