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Police seize 1700 MDMA tablets after man falls from boat

Detectives searched Richard Roy Anthony Williams’ home at The Entrance on Tuesday. Photo: Newcastle HeraldA man allegedly found with 1700 MDMA tablets in a runabout on Lake Macquarie came to the attention of police after he fell into the water.
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Richard Roy Anthony Williams, 38, of The Entrance, was found dripping wet near the boat ramp at Mannering Park about 9.40am on Monday, The Newcastle Herald reports.

Police were initially called in relation to a “concern for welfare” after a member of the public saw Mr Williams fall into the water, police said.

But after determining Mr Williams may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police organised for Roads and Maritime Services to tow the tinny to shore.

Police searched the boat and allegedly uncovered 1700 MDMA tablets, which police said had an estimated street value of $35,000.

Police also allegedly seized one gram of amphetamine and 15 grams of cannabis as well as the runabout.

Mr Williams was later charged with supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and three counts of possession of a prohibited drug.

He was due to appear in Wyong Local Court on Tuesday but did not come up from the courthouse cells.

His solicitor Marc Riviere did not apply for bail on his behalf and it was formally refused.

The matter was adjourned until December 16 when Mr Williams is expected to make a bail application.

After the matter was mentioned in court, Tuggerah Lakes detectives searched Mr Williams’ house in Lakeside Parade at The Entrance, where they allegedly seized another quantity of MDMA or ecstasy.

Tuggerah Lakes police Chief Inspector Col Lott said officers also searched a yacht, moored at Mannering Park, but did not find anything of interest.

Chief Inspector Lott said police were not sure if Mr Williams was heading to or coming from the yacht when he fell in the water. Tuggerah Lakes Chief Inspector Col Lott talks about yesterday’s drug arrest @newcastleheraldpic.twitter杭州龙凤论坛m/a69x0qkwwi— Sam Rigney (@SamRigney) December 8, 2015

“Somebody saw him fall in the water, it was initially called in as a concern for welfare,” Chief Inspector Lott said.

Chief Inspector Lott said a drug haul of that size was “very concerning” for police given the recent deaths at Stereosonic music festivals.

“We are very conscious of drug use at the moment and to know that quantity of drugs is in this area, obviously it’s not for personal use, so we’re in the business of shutting down that sort of business,” he said. Chief Inspector Lott part 2 @newcastleheraldpic.twitter杭州龙凤论坛m/8Ttzeqfd4o— Sam Rigney (@SamRigney) December 8, 2015

Tax reform: Ex-treasury chief Martin Parkinson flags ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity

Former treasury head Martin Parkinson. Photo: Louie DouvisFormer treasury secretary Martin Parkinson has warned that ‘s living standards have started to fall and the country has a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to pursue serious tax reform, which must touch all levels of government.
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Dr Parkinson, who was recently hired as the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, says he likes the leadership styles of British Prime Minister David Cameron, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and NSW Premier Mike Baird because they treat the public like “adults” when explaining the need for tax reform.

He says Malcolm Turnbull has a similar style to those leaders, and we have a good chance of getting serious tax reform in with him as leader.

In a wide-ranging talk at the McKell Institute in Sydney, Dr Parkinson – who was sacked as treasury secretary by former prime minister Tony Abbott – said it was critical ns understood why the need for tax reform was so crucial.

He said the Turnbull government had a genuine opportunity to realign federal and state tax relations to set the country up for sustainable economic growth, but all governments had to work together to achieve this.

He listed personal income and corporate tax rates, the ability for states to raise more of their own revenue, and the phenomenon of bracket creep as challenges that needed to be tackled by the Turnbull government.

He said global forces bearing down on ‘s economy were putting great pressure on state and federal government budgets.

“[Bracket creep] is expected to push someone on average full-time earnings into the second-highest tax bracket from 2016-17,” Dr Parkinson said.

“Over the decade ahead, the average tax rate paid by that individual is expected to rise from 23 per cent to 28 per cent … that’s a more than 20 per cent increase.

“If I stood up and said to you, ‘My fellow citizens, overnight I’m going to increase your personal income tax burden by 20 per cent’, you’re unlikely to start to clap and cheer. But that’s actually going to be the consequence of failing to act on [bracket creep].”

NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian, who also spoke at the event, said the health of state budgets could be greatly improved if the hodge-podge of funding arrangements between the Commonwealth and states was cleaned up.

Dr Parkinson said he agreed, and he thought the GST ought to be broadened to cover more goods because there were too many items exempt and so the tax was less efficient than it could be.

He said state governments must think about ways in which they could raise more of their own revenue.

“We need to be mindful that raising taxes is not solely the responsibility of the Commonwealth … the structure of our federation reduces incentive for states to reform their own taxes, because the states don’t raise the marginal dollar they spend [so] they have less reason to make their tax systems more efficient,” he said.

“It’s for this reason that the Federation White Paper needs to be closely aligned with the Tax White Paper. Real alignment and coherence … provides the n community with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver substantive reform.”

State and territory treasurers will meet on Thursday to discuss these tax reform, and state premiers will meet on Friday.

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NSW hospitals: Ambulance response times slow as overtime bill increases

One doctor from western NSW was paid more than $500,000 in overtime over a three-year period.A NSW doctor has earned more than $500,000 in overtime over the past three years, according to an audit, in what doctors say is symptomatic of a hospital system at bursting point.
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The Auditor-General’s report, released on Tuesday, also shows ambulance response times for life threatening incidents are at their slowest in five years, and bottlenecks at the emergency department doors are getting worse.

Meanwhile, the number of people who made unplanned readmissions to hospital was rising.

Labor health spokesman Walt Secord said the report was “damning” in terms of ambulance services.

“This all stems from bed block,” Mr Secord said.

“If there’s not a bed available, then people wait longer in the emergency department and they wait longer outside hospital in an ambulance to get into the emergency department.

“Then they are rushed out of hospital before they are fully recovered, resulting in higher readmissions due to infections.”

The top three overtime earners were Sydney registrars whose base salaries of $112,725 were eclipsed by overtime claims of up to $178,871.

But the report also found that four career medical officers were consistently claiming overtime of more than $120,000.

One of these doctors, from western NSW, pulled $503,496 in overtime over three years, while the others all earned more than $440,000 in overtime, which included the time they charged when they were on call and asked to come into work.

The report said NSW Health had introduced a new roster system to help minimise the number of employees required to work back-to-back shifts, but raised concerns about the impact of the long hours on staff and patient safety.

“Overtime is paid at a premium rate and, if not effectively managed, can result in higher costs and work, health and safety issues, particularly when fatigued employees perform high-risk tasks,” the report said.

NSW Ambulance had the highest overtime bill, which accounted for 28 per cent of its salary and wages expense.

“This is attributed to employee award provisions, the nature of its operations and the number of staff on call, particularly in rural areas where there is not enough staff for a 24 hour roster,” the report said.

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said the reason overtime had blown out in the ambulance service and response times were getting slower was chronic under-resourcing.

The report showed ambulance response times had drawn out to 11.2 minutes in 2014-15, up from 10.8 minutes the previous year.

The service needed at least 600 more paramedics, Mr Hayes said.

“It’s not difficult to see that if you don’t have enough staff, you don’t have enough resources,” Mr Hayes said.

“The response times blow out and overtime is going up.”

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said strategies to improve ambulance response times included teams that would take over from paramedics at the hospital so ambulances could be released back to the streets.

“Our Transfer of Care performance rose from 84.2 per cent in October 2014 to 88.8 per cent in October 2015, an increase of 4.6 percentage points,” Mrs Skinner said.

n Medical Association NSW president Saxon Smith said doctors were increasingly being asked to do overtime because of the stretched hospital system and a shortage of staff in rural areas.

“It ties in with readmission rates popping up, which is scary, and the triage times continuing to drift out,” Dr Smith said.

“The system is really starting to crack around the edges.”

Across NSW, 7 per cent of patients made an unplanned readmission to hospital within 28 days, up from 6.8 per cent last year, and drifting further from the state target of 5 per cent.

10 million people facing food emergency in Ethiopia as El Nino bites

A girl walks past the carcasses of goats in drought-stricken Ethiopia, where 10 million people are thought to be at risk. Photo: Seifu Asseged/Save The Children UK A farmer in his barren field in Sewena, Bale Zone, Ethiopia. Photo: Kyle DeGraw/Save The Children UK
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Two-year-old Seid eats high nutrient peanut paste provided by Save the Children’s Health Extension Worker. Photo: Kyle DeGraw/Save the Children UK

The toll from Ethiopia’s worst drought in 50 years is escalating, with officials dramatically increasing their estimate for the number of people facing critical food shortages.

Two months ago the Ethiopian government said about 8.2 million people would be in need of emergency food assistance in 2016, but this week it lifted the estimate to 10.1 million. Aid agency Save the Children estimates about 5.75 million Ethiopian children will be affected by the worsening food crisis.

The El Nino effect – caused by warming sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean – has been blamed for the failure of this year’s rains across a large portion of Ethiopia, triggering what the United Nations calls a “slow onset” emergency. El Nino has also caused a drought in Papua New Guinea and unusually warm, dry weather across much of .

The Ethiopian government had allocated over $US200 million ($273.7 million) of its own resources to emergency relief so far this year but in the latest humanitarian assessment, published this week, it calls on the international community “to stand with the people of Ethiopia at their time of need”. It says the emergency response will cost another $US1.4 billion.

John Graham, Save the Children’s country director in Ethiopia, said previous droughts in the Horn of Africa region had shown how the early provision of support can save lives and money.

“We simply cannot sit back and wait until the situation has reached crisis point this time,” he said.

The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), which is backed by the US government, has already classified parts of eastern Ethiopia in a food security “emergency”, one notch below famine. It says Ethiopia has the “largest acutely food insecure population in the world” and that a significant number of people are already “unable to access adequate food for survival and face an increased risk of malnutrition and mortality”.

It is three decades since a drought-induced famine in Ethiopia shocked the world and created a new brand of celebrity activism with Band Aid in 1984 and the Live Aid concerts in 1985.  The Ethiopian economy has grown significantly in recent years but is still exposed to drought because of its heavy dependency on rain-fed agriculture.

Ethiopia’s population has grown by more than 40 per cent in the past decade, to almost 100 million.

We knew the end of the text boom was coming: Optus chairman Paul O’Sullivan

would know it had progressed on the innovation front “when business heroes are as well known as our sports heroes,” says Optus chairman Paul O’Sullivan. Photo: Josh Robenstone GE CEO Geoff Culbert says startups are the natural enemy of established companies. Photo: Josh Robenstone
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It was a trip to Silicon Valley that convinced Optus that the end of the text message boom was coming.

Optus chairman Paul O’Sullivan​ said a visit to the thriving startup community in San Francisco about five years ago to meet with venture capitalists and others who were disrupting the telecommunications industry was a tipping point.

“Four/five years ago we made money selling you voice and text plans,” Mr OSullivan said. “These days you all use WhatsApp or something equivalent. Voice is given away for free. For most plans, we’re selling data.”

“We sat in Silicon Valley a few years ago and we knew this wave was about to hit us,” he said. “And there’s more.”

Mr O’Sullivan said countries like Singapore had been more “systemic” than had in preparing for change.

would know it had progressed on the innovation front “when business heroes are as well known as our sports heroes”.

Mr O’Sullivan, who was speaking at The n Financial Review Workforce and Productivity Summit in Melbourne on Tuesday, said the ability to innovate was also closely linked to diversity.

The more diverse a company’s workforce, the more likely it was to come up with innovative ideas.

ASX companies were now embracing diversity. That had to now “filter all the way through, right through to leadership”, he said.

Optus had a deliberate strategy to have greater diversity in terms of gender, race, religion and sexual orientation, he said.

Also speaking at the summit was GE chief executive Geoff Culbert. He said GE, which currently operates in 175 countries worldwide and has about 350,000 employees, had also met with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who were trying to disrupt their business.

“It’s hard when you’re an established company,” Mr Culbert said. “The startup is the natural enemy of the mature company.”

GE’s eight business lines were each, on their own, delivering about $5 billion in annual revenue. “They would be Fortune 500 companies in their own right,” he said.

But even so, the company could be disrupted, if it didn’t embrace change.

The challenge for established companies was how you go from “linear thinking to exponential thinking”.

GE was meeting this challenge by moving from being “a company that makes hardware to one that makes software”.

“We have plans to become one of the world’s leading software businesses by 2020,” he said.

It had made $1 billion investment into software over past five years, and had 15,000 software engineers working in the company globally.

The company’s internal culture had also changed. GE was now using an app, available to its employees on their phones, where managers and staff could send one another feedback in real time.

Mr Culbert said this system could now be rolled out for performance reviews.

Caution is ‘holding the APS back’

Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Michael Thawley has recently resigned from his post. Photo: Elesa Kurtz Finance Department secretary Jane Halton should do more to capitalise on government-held data. Photo: Jay Cronan
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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and chief of staff Drew Clarke (right), are ultimately responsible for the damning Public Service report. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Digital Transformation Office chief executive Paul Shetler wants better design and delivery in online services. Photo: Christopher Pearce

More public service news

A report signed off by top Canberra bureaucrats has revealed stunning examples of public service inefficiency when it comes to releasing and managing data.

In one case, 11 memorandums of understanding were needed for one Commonwealth agency to share data with another, according to the Public Sector Data Management report.

In a separate example it took 18 months for two agencies to agree on a memorandum of understanding to share data, even though it only took a fortnight to do the sharing.

For others, it took several years to sign similar agreements.

Often “only a few tables” of data were produced, and linked to data sets that were then destroyed.

Prime Minister and cabinet secretary Michael Thawley, Finance Department boss Jane Halton and Communications and Arts Department secretary turned Prime Minister’s chief of staff Drew Clarke had ultimate responsibility for the report.

PM&C deputy secretary Heather Smith led the team of research staff from various agencies who had the job of finding out how the bureaucracy performed on data management.

The report detailed a handful of major failings, beginning with the lack of an overarching strategy and the fact there was no clear mandate for the bureaucracy to use and release public sector data.

There were real and imaginary barriers stopping Commonwealth public servants sharing data and not enough incentives, skills and organisational arrangements to capitalise on government-held data.

“The Commonwealth does not have a strong culture of publishing data to foster economic opportunities,” the report said.

“Privacy concerns and cautious interpretation of legislation are holding the APS back from making the most of its data.”

“‘s capacity to remain competitive in the digital economy is contingent upon its ability to harness the value of data.

Data on taxpayers moving from one departmental program to another was not being shared regularly enough, including instances where people had shifted from the Department of Defence to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the Department of Social Services to the Department of Health.

lagged behind the United States and Britain in releasing public data for businesses.

Data.gov.au, the central point of access to data from n governments, had 6700 data sets but its British equivalent had four times that amount while the same sort of portal in the United States had almost 20 times that number.

“Most agencies do not release data via data.gov.au as a matter of course,” the report said.

“Many said it simply does not enter their mind to do so.”

New Zealand beat when it came to using data to design policies.

The report said Britain, United States and New Zealand gave themselves a significant head start because they had invested in data policy years ago. The need to share information in those countries was preached by government ministers.

The public service will now focus on employing data scientists who have fluent coding abilities and “outside the box” thinking on how data is used, despite a shortage of data analytical skills globally.

Pockets of excellence in the public service where these skills were relatively plentiful included the n Taxation Office, n Bureau of Statistics, Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Geoscience , the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the intelligence community.

The move to share more data comes after Digital Transformation Office chief executive Paul Shetler said this year that the public service was failing consumers by not making their transactions with the government easy enough.

Local talent overshadowing imports in NBL MVP race

Too hard to guard: Corey Webster drives in for a lay-up during the round nine NBL match between the Townsville Crocodiles and the New Zealand Breakers in Townsville. Photo: Ian HitchcockJust like Seymour Skinner put the pal in principal, the import has always been an important part of the NBL. This still remains the case but the rise of the local star cannot be questioned.
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The past six recipients of the Andrew Gaze Trophy have carried US passports – Brian Conklin, Rotnei Clarke, Cedric Jackson, Kevin Lisch, Gary Ervin and Corey Williams. If MVP voting were held now it’s likely the top three vote-getters would be home-grown products.

After missing the first few games playing NBA pre-season ball with the New Orleans Pelicans, it’s safe to say New Zealand Breakers sharpshooter Corey Webster has been this season’s star performer.

He has overtaken Melbourne guard Chris Goulding who was in the zone in the first month before coming back to the field somewhat in recent weeks.

Also in the mix for the top individual honour is the NBL’s most consistent box score behemoth, Illawarra centre AJ Ogilvy.

The biggest Hawk is leading the league in steals (1.92 per game), he’s fourth in scoring (19.08), third in rebounds (9.15), second in blocks (2) and third in field goal percentage (57.7)

The chasing bunch is a mix of imports and locals. Adelaide’s American playmaker Jerome Randle, Perth big man Matthew Knight, Sydney centre Julian Khazzouh, Illawarra’s Kiwi veteran Kirk Penney and Breakers import Cedric Jackson.

Scoring machine: Melbourne United guard Chris Goulding. Photo: Alix Sweeney/NBL

One reason for the rise of the local star is the return of several expats from Europe – Goulding, Penney, Khazzouh and Ogilvy led the comeback brigade this season along with Lisch reuniting with his old Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge at Illawarra.

It’d be great if some Boomers stalwarts, who are virtually anonymous in their homeland as they’ve played the majority, or in some cases, their entire pro careers overseas, continue the homecoming trend. Especially the likes of Brad Newley, David Andersen and Aleks Maric who are all in their 30s.

And it’s not like the standard of import in the NBL has dropped off. It’s never been higher. Apart from the the three genuine ex-NBA veterans – Josh Childress, Al Harrington and Hakim Warrick – who have been part of the league this season, the rest of the overseas talent has been nothing to sneeze at. Either as a focal point of the team, a la Randle, Jackson, Melbourne guard Stephen Holt or Perth dynamo Jermaine Beal, or as a complementary piece like athletic Wildcats forward Casey Prather, Breakers centre Charles Jackson or the Taipans’ sixth man extraordinaire, Torrey Craig.

Big numbers: Former Sydney Kings star AJ Ogilvy has been a great signing for the Illawarra Hawks. Photo: Adam McLean

The standard is so high that the league’s reigning MVP Brian Conklin last week got the chop despite being Townsville’s best player the past two seasons. Crocodiles coach Shawn Dennis admitted it was purely a cutthroat business decision – the club didn’t think it was getting enough bang for Conklin’s big bucks.

The recent road win over Melbourne while Conklin was suspended followed by an embarrassingly lopsided loss in Wollongong when he returned to the line-up sealed his fate. Townsville are aiming to give young n bigs ​Mitch Young and Nicholas Kay more minutes and they both showed their enormous potential last week in the upset win over Cairns.

Another import under pressure, not to avoid the sack, but to justify his star billing is Childress. His second hand injury means another month of being a frustrated spectator and it’s highly unlikely the Kings can salvage this season.

Putting the pal back into principal: Seymour Skinner.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Childress stick around in the Harbour City next year. Due to his unlucky run of injuries, he has not given the Kings full on-court value and he’s the kind of guy who would hate to leave with unfinished business.

While Childress is again out, the Kings need to get the most out of another n who could be a bona fide star. Khazzouh started the season strongly but his numbers dwindled during Harrington’s guest stint. If new coach Joe Connelly can get Khazzouh the ball consistently, he could rack up similar numbers to Ogilvy and the Kings may just be able to keep their campaign on life support until Childress returns for a late playoff push. Unlikely but those poor old Kings fans need some hope to cling on to.

Canberra gardeners Maria and Chris Adams share garlic tips for Christmas feast

Food and WineDate: November 21 2015The Canberra TimesPhoto: Elesa KurtzKitchen Gardener Maria Adams with her recently harvested garlic heads Photo: Elesa Kurtz Kitchen gardener Maria Adams with her recently harvested garlic. Photo: Elesa Kurtz
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Kitchen gardener Maria Adams with her recently harvested garlic. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Kitchen gardener Maria Adams with her recently harvested garlic. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

When Food & Wine reader Maria Adams saw Edwin Ride’s recipe for broad bean dip (Kitchen Garden October 28) she was inspired to pick all her broad beans, make the dip and email the photo to us. Those Coles Early Dwarf broad beans were bearing a second crop a month later when we visited the Adams’ garden in Kambah.

Maria and her husband Chris Adams were raised in Wollongong, married and went to Darwin in 1971, where she started growing edibles. George Brown was curator of the botanic gardens, which are now named after him, and he gave Maria good growing tips. She grew mini bell capsicums from seed, in pots, and discovered if you dug a hole and sowed pawpaw seeds, 12 months later the pawpaw tree would reach the eaves and you needed a kitchen stool and laundry basket to harvest the crop.

After Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve in 1974, the Adams were evacuated from Darwin and they have been living in Kambah for 40 years. Their home is in a fine location, looking to Mount Arawang from the front and facing McQuoids Hill to the south. The 2003 bushfires came to their fence. Their part of Kambah is surrounded by horse holding paddocks, a pony club and an equestrian trail, so the Adams walk out the back gate and collect horse manure for the garden.

They have put in a large rainwater tank and have a reed bed to collect and clean grey water from the house. Gypsum, blood and bone, Dynamic Lifter and compost have been added to soil in raised garden beds that are mulched with lucerne from Powells Stockfoods in Phillip.

Maria’s trick with her worm farm, a Can-O-Worms layered black plastic product from Bunnings, is to “keep it simple!” Place the worm farm near a tap, under shade. Add kitchen scraps to the worm farm every couple of weeks, then just run the hose into the top layer and place a plastic sieve over a bucket to collect the worm wee from the bottom. Pour it, diluted, around growing vegetables.

Currently the Adams have a bed of Pontiac potatoes, silverbeet and Roma tomatoes. Other vegetables, raised from Mr Fothergills seeds from The Garden in Weston, include Oregon dwarf snow peas, crystal apple cucumbers, golden nugget bush pumpkins and Gold Rush yellow zucchini. Kiwifruit vines in flower and fruit cover the fence.

The Christmas highlight is garlic. Six years ago a friend of Maria’s bought a garlic plait from Braidwood for $35. Maria decided to try making one herself. She grows n purple and a white variety that forms a scape or flower bud, all obtained originally from the Heritage Nursery at Yarralumla. She also bought garlic from a stall run by Collector’s Allsun Farm, who produced a concise booklet explaining when to plant, harvest and dry garlic.

Maria’s garlic is planted at the end of March/early April as cold weather intensifies the flavour. She saves some of the best corms for planting the following year. After harvesting, the garlic is left to dry for three weeks and then she plaits it. This year there are five plaits with 15 garlic heads on each. These are Christmas gifts for the family – the Adams have five adult children.

Their Christmas lunch will be seafood, including garlic prawns barbecued by Chris, followed by turkey, marinated overnight and cooked on the large “turbo” barbecue with herb and garlic roasted vegetables. Maria uses a recipe from Curtis Stone in a Christmas Magic booklet published by Coles four years ago, brined with her own garlic, coriander seed, rosemary and lemons. Brined roasted turkey

Brine:

9 litres cold water 4 cups sugar 3 cups salt quarter cup coriander seeds quarter cup black peppercorns 3 heads garlic, halved 10 sprigs rosemary 3 lemons, halved

Place one litre of the water in a large pot and bring to the boil. Add the sugar and salt and stir until both have dissolved. Add the coriander seeds, peppercorns, garlic, rosemary and lemons to the pot and remove from the heat. Pour the hot brine into a plastic container large enough to hold the turkey and add the remaining eight litres of cold water to cool the brine. Place the turkey into the brine, making sure it is entirely submerged. Cover the container tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 16 hours or overnight. Next day remove the turkey from the brine (discard the brine) and pat the skin dry with a tea towel.

Note: the turkey is rubbed with olive oil before roasting, trussed and stuffed with a cup of carrots, onions and celery cut into 3cm pieces. A five kilogram free-range turkey will take about three hours to cook.

Susan Parsons is a Canberra writer.

Senior police protect paedophile priest, royal commission told

3pm:Retired Ballarat Diocese Priest Father William Melican is being grilled on his knowledge of Monsignor Day’s allegations of sexual abuse.
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2:30pm:Outside the courthouse Former Mildura detective Dennis Ryan said he felt vindicated senior police authorities hadfinally acknowledged the past.

“It’s very satisfying, most satisfying,” Mr Ryan said.“It was corruption at its highest, an absolute conspiracy…when you look at the abuse of justice. “

He went onto to sayBishop Mulkearns had playedpivotal part in the corruption which had destroyed peoples’ lives.

2:15pm:Outside the County CourthouseVictorian Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton publicly apologised for police who orchestrated the cover-up.

‘“We say to the victims of Monsignor Day that Victoria Police made mistakes in the past we acknowledge that,” Chief Commissioner Ashtonsaid.

“What we have been doing, what today is about is is particularly hearing Mr Ryan’s evidence and the evidence of former chief commissioner Miller. It’sall about trying to say sorry and trying to make sure we go forward.”

He said in the last few decades there had been profound changes in the way police respond to allegations of sexual assault.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse

1:50pm:Former Victoria PoliceChief Commissioner Mick Miller told the commissionhe believed former police superintendent Jack O’Connor was the “principalactor” in Victoria Police’s response toDennis Ryan’s investigations into Monsignor Day.

Mr Miller,who wasacting chief commissioner during the 1970ssaidnobody told him about the allegations of Monsignor Day and said there had been widespread cover-up facilitated by police.

He went on to tellthe inquiry: It is my opinion that (former) Chief Commissioner Reg Jackson who was the 15thchief commissioner and my immediate predecessor were the architects ofVictoria Police’s response to Dennis Ryan’s investigations into Monsignor Day.

He told the inquiry there was a “catholic Mafia” or group of catholic police officers who protected paedophile priests.

He told the inquiry it was a “shameful event in the history of Victoria Police and called forMr Ryan to be compensated for his premature resignation.

“The driving force behind his crusade was the desire to achieve justice for all victims of a hypocritical paedophile priest.”

12:50pm:Mr Ryan breaks down when asked to reveal the personal toll.

His statement is read out by a lawyer:

“Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of the police force and what they did to the kids who were victims of Monsignor Day. Those children were being mentally and physically destroyed by day and the police protected him. Bishop Mulkearns also protected him.”I wonder how many kids would have been saved if Victoria Police had gone on with the inquiry into Day.”

Cardinal George Pell

12:45pm:Mr Ryan tells inquiryhe was pushed out the police force because of his knowledge of Day’s sexual abuse. Disputes statement from Chief Superintendent that he left of his own accord.

12:15pm:Mr Ryan moves to Mildura to work for police force in March 1962.During first day at workthere he runs into Day at presbytery. Confides this to fellow police officer who verbally attacked him and told him to “get his facts straight.”

In September, 1971, Mr Ryan was contacted by John Howden, headmaster at StJoseph’s College in Mildura. He told the inquiry Mr Howdenconfided in him that one of the students made a complaint she had been sexually assaulted by Day. The girl alleged Day had touched her breasts while was washing his car and later revealed she’d been molested a number of times.

Mr Ryan said he went onto to gatherstatements from other victims of Day. He said he only told former MilduraDetective Harry Herbert and told the inquiry the statementswere justthe “tip of the iceberg.”

Mr Ryan told inquiry he told former Inspector Alby Irwin, a devout catholic, about abuse but was promptly removed from investigation.

Inspector Irwin attempted to relocate Mr Ryan to Melbourne. Mr Ryan said he refused as he was fearful police would not continue investigation and more children would be abused by Day.

11:45am:The role ofVictoriapolicein the concealment of the sexual behaviour of disgraced priests is under intensescrutiny at the royal commission into child sex abuse.

A former Mildura police detective, Peter Ryan,has told the commission how he caught disgracedpaedophile priest John Day with two prostitutes in a car in St Kilda in 1956.

“There was an empty sherry bottle on the floor of the car,” Mr Ryan said. “Lying on the front bench of this car, with his head in the lap of the driver and his feet on the lap of the other prostitute, was a figure with his pants down around his ankles and his genitals showing, wearing a priest’s collar.”

Mr Ryan told the inquiry he questioned the other police officer as to why they did not charge Day and was told by him:“You don’t charge priests or you will be in more trouble than enough. You don’t pick fights that you can’t win and you don’t charge a priest short of murder.”

Mr Ryan worked in Mildura during the1960s and ’70s andwas the first officer to investigate Day’s crimes.

Mr Ryan is expected to detail to the inquiry how he was forced off the caseby his superior offices and claims there was a a catholicelement of the police force which sought to protect paedophile priests.

EARLIERTUESDAY:

More damning allegations about Cardinal George Pell’s intricateknowledge of the brutality andsexual abuse of boys at St Patrick’s College have emerged.

Theroyal commission into child sexual abuse heard fromWitness BWF on Tuesday morning who told the inquiry how he sought help from Cardinal Pell afterhis younger brother BWG was brutally bashed and molested by disgraced brother Edward Dowlan.

“I went to the presbytery on the corner of Sturt Street and Dawson Street to seek out Father George Pell,” he said. “He was a well-known influential priest in the area and I wanted someone of authority outside of the school to know what was happening there and somebody who would be able to do something about it.”

BWF told the inquiry the quickly conversation became heated.

“Pell became angry and yelled at me….’young man, how dare you knock on this door and make demands.’ We argued for a bit then and he finally told me to go away and shut the door on me,” he said.

Under intense cross-examination by Cardinal Pell’s lawyer Sam Duggan questioned the validity of BWF’s claims telling the inquiry that Cardinal Pell did not live in the presbytery in question when the alleged incident occurred.

“I want to suggest to you that you are making this story up visiting Father Pell at the cathedral presbytery and you never confronted him there do you accept that?” Mr Duggan said.

He went onto to question BWF about how he knew his brother had been sexually abused and not just physically beaten with a belt.

BWF said his brother had severe bruising tohis legs and buttocks. He saidheinstinctivelyknew he’d beensexually abused which his brother confirmed to him years later.

Mr Dugganproduced a police statement from BWG detailing the incident and accused BWF of having no knowledge of it until 1993.

“That is wrong,” BWF said. “He’d been (sexually)abused at the back of the classroom on another incident.”

The hearing continues.

The Courier, Ballarat

Herbs make a great all-rounder

Right now, I’m all about herbs. Whether growing in my garden, steeping in my teapot, flavouring my raw dips and stir-fries, administered by the capful every morning, dropped into the bathwater or oil burner, herbs are working their magic both from the inside and out.
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I dream of the day that I will open my front door and enter a buzzing herb garden, walking over a soft lawn of chamomile to pick fresh leaves for tea, but for now I have to content myself with pots, crevices and hanging baskets of peppermint, sage, oregano, parsley, basil, Vietnamese mint, stevia, lemon balm, lemon verbena, chickweed and thyme. And many herbs do well being a tad squashed and forgotten. After all, what is a weed to one is often herb to another.

Now I know not everyone like me wants nettle growing rampant, and luckily there are many ways to introduce herbs to your backyard.One garden I visited in the Hunter last week skilfully used herbs to create decorative borders. The catmint edging the rose garden was like a continuous blue cloud from a distance, and alive with bees. It’s a bit like sneaking healthy ingredients into a standard meal and lost nothing on beauty, form and function.

Here are some favourite herbs for creating borders, and of course, for other more utilitarian and magical purposes:

Catmint adds a lovely flowering on the edge of a rose bed, especially when the spring flush of roses is finished. Drought tolerant, catmint is only dormant for a couple of months, and when you prune it well in winter your cats will go wild.

Rosemary is great either as an informal border or a clipped hedge. The Tuscan blue variety is gorgeous when flowering and again it is very hardy.The fragrant violet cluster flowers of Tulbaghia make it a wonderful edging plant. Known as society garlic,flowers and leaves are both edible, and you can enjoy the garlicky flavour without the lingering smell (hence the name).

Lavender is a classic border herb. While French lavender is the most reliable to grow in our area, it can be a bit tall and leggy. More compact are the dwarf English, Italian and Spanish varieties.

Thyme is a lovely groundcover border plant, or for planting between pavers, releasing a rich fragrance when stepped on. The variegated option offers a great alternative to the usual grey/green foliage.

Other common herbs that feature striking foliage for borders include golden marjoram, tricolour and purple-leaved sage, and silver leaved curry plant. One old trick is to use curly-leaved parsley as an edge filler until the permanent shrubs grow. Another option is to combine thyme, oregano, english lavender, and sage for a gorgeous herb border.

My special request is that these plants not only become part of the colour and movement of your garden, but also of your plate.

Claire Dunn is the author of My Year Without Matches: Escaping the City on Search of the Wild EDGY: Catmint adds colour to the edge of a garden bed and is drought tolerant.