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FFA set for showdown talks with active fans and A-League chairmen

Under fire: Football Federation chief executive David Gallop and chairman Steven Lowy. Photo: James BrickwoodWednesday is D-Day for Football Federation as the governing body comes face-to-face with their biggest adversaries: A-League chairmen and active fans.
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In what rates among the most important 24 hours in A-League’s recent history, the FFA will be steeling itself for a brutal grilling from two of the sport’s key stakeholders.

Both the men in suits and fans from the stands will come armed with a suite of complaints and it promises be an enormous test of will for new FFA chairman Steven Lowy and the chief executive David Gallop.

The meeting between the FFA and the A-League chairmen is a scheduled part of their ongoing dialogue but the roundtable with the active fan leaders is an unlikely, extraordinary development.

It is the first time active fans have collectively met with the FFA on such a large scale, with representatives from all 10 A-League clubs. The presence of the fans is being funded by an unspecified “third party”.

While the FFA is confident it can placate active fans and avoid the continuation of a boycott that marred last weekend’s round of matches, various fan groups have promised to stand their ground should their requests not be met.

What originally began as a response to the naming of 198 banned fans in a Sunday Telegraph article a fortnight ago has evolved into a league-wide movement, led by those who are lobbying for the better treatment of active supporters.

In a shared statement on their official Facebook pages this week, the Western Sydney’s Red and Black Bloc and Sydney FC’s The Cove, outlined how they have repeatedly let the FFA know about their concerns for many years but had failed to see a response.

“The FFA has been aware of these issues for a number of years and we have only reached this point with the support of every fan who has supported the cause,” it read. “We will continue to stand up for our rights and the rights of every single person who attends a FFA-sanctioned event. The outcome of Wednesday’s meeting, and subsequent actions will be dependent solely on FFA’s willingness to address those issues fully.”

The statement confirmed that the various fan groups were united on the issue of how active fans should be treated.

“We have been communicating with leaders of the other active supporter groups in order to go into this meeting with clear objectives and expectations of what is required from the FFA in order to end our protests,” it read. “These objectives are consistent across all fan groups as is our commitment to co-operating with everyone involved in order to find a solution.”

While some believe that the movement has been about freeing banned fans who have committed illegal acts, the groups confirmed this was not the case.

“One thing is certain. Change will only come about through unity of the fans. This is not about avoiding punishment for those who do wrong. We don’t want or expect special treatment, simply fairness,” the statement said.

In a statement on Melbourne Victory’s North Terrace page, they confirmed that three of their representatives would be present.

“We urge people not to raise their expectations,” it read. “This is a first step in a long journey.”

Raising the GST to 15 per cent is far harder than it seems

All but one of the options listed for boosting the GST are fraught with danger for Treasurer Scott Morrison. Photo: Andrew MearesEverything is on the table’Once in a lifetime opportunity’ for tax reform
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The agenda paper prepared for Thursday’s treasurers’ meeting ought to come with a big red stamp that reads “danger”.

All but one of the options listed for boosting the GST are fraught. Each requires “compensation”.

If the GST was lifted to 15 per cent, households earning up to $100,000 would need to be completely compensated. Households earning up to $155,000 would need to get back “at least half of the extra GST revenue”.

It would end up costing “at least half of the extra GST revenue”.

The real danger is that “at least half” would be only the beginning. If the treasurers so much as mention compensation in public, they run the risk of being heard to make commitments.

“Making commitments now risks overcompensation for households and adding significantly to the cost of household assistance,” the paper warns.

Lifting the GST to 15 per cent would raise $32.5 billion, the Treasury says. But $16 billion to $17 billion of it would be given back in compensation, which would be messy.

Some ns would get increased cash benefits: pensions, family payments and the like. Others would get tax offsets. The retirees who neither pay tax nor get get benefits would get a seniors concession allowance. Others who missed out would get a “transitional payment”.

And this time it would be harder to convince people the compensation would last. When the Howard government introduced the GST in 2000 it pushed up family allowances to compensate. Fifteen years on, the Turnbull government is planning to wind back those increases because it faces budgetary problems.

The only option for boosting GST revenue that wouldn’t need compensation is extending it to financial services. It wouldn’t raise much either, but the people it would hit most would be too well off to need compensation.

Victoria’s option of lifting the Medicare levy from 2 to 4 per cent of income is simple by comparison. It would raise $15 to $16 billion, about the same as would the GST rise after compensation, but because the low-income earners are already excluded from the levy, it could be done without paying anyone anything.

It’s looking like a long meeting.

Peter Martin is economics editor of The Age.

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Everything is on the table: leaked COAG agenda reveals GST changes being considered

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison. Photo: Andrew MearesRaising GST to 15 per cent harder than it seems’Once in a lifetime opportunity’ for tax reform
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Massive increases to the GST that would raise up to $45 billion annually will be on the table when Malcolm Turnbull and state premiers meet on Friday, according to a leaked document obtained by Fairfax Media.

The Council of n Governments document, marked “for official use only” and titled “Reform of the Federation”, reveals modelling prepared by the federal treasury at the request of the states in July, and will help frame the crunch tax meeting, which will be led by NSW Premier Mike Baird, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mr Turnbull.

Eight options for tax reform – including six GST options and two Medicare Levy proposals – are canvassed in the paper, which sets out four previously unpublished tax options that have been costed by the federal Treasury, and four more that will be costed as the federal and state governments pursue tax reform.

Soon after becoming Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull said everything – including a consumption tax rise – was on the table as his government pursued tax reform.

The document confirms that a rise in the goods and services tax remains a live option and raises the prospect of a federal election in 2016 fought over the issue if the federal government adopts a plan to hike the GST and can strike a deal with the states, whose support will be needed for any increase.

The leak also comes as former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello warned “hot heads” in his party not to raise the GST to 15 per cent, and as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten promised to oppose a GST rise.

The first four options include lifting the GST to 15 per cent, raising $32.5 billion; lifting the GST to 12.5 per cent and expanding the base to include all food and non-alcoholic drinks, raising $25 billion; and raising the Medicare Levy from 2 per cent to 4 per cent in one hit, which would raise $15 billion. The fourth, and most radical option would be to raise the GST to 15 per cent, expanding it to include food and non-alcoholic drinks, water and sewerage. This would raise $45 billion annually.

The second set of four other options being considered are expanding the GST base to include health services; including education services; introducing a GST-equivalent financial sector tax; and raising the Medicare Levy to 4 per cent over eight years.

In 2014, it was estimated that extending the GST to health, education services and introducing a financial sector tax would each raise about $4 billion annually if implemented.

The Turnbull government has already indicated, however, that health and education are likely to be exempt from any GST changes, whereas fresh food and financial services are considered fair game.

The paper also hints at the difficult public debate that will accompany any rise to the consumption tax, warning “public commitments about which households will be fully compensated should be avoided” because “making commitments now risks over-compensation for households”.

Offsetting GST price rises for households earning less than $100,000, and half of the price rises for households earning less than $155,000, would use “at least” half the extra GST revenue, it states.

The $15 billion that would be raised by increasing the Medicare Levy, without assistance for households, is about the same amount left over if the GST is increased to 15 per cent and households are compensated.

That means, in effect, some people would be worse off under a Medicare Levy rise than a straight increase in the GST.

The increases in pensions, family payments, concessions for seniors and a rise in the low income tax offset were used to compensate households after the introduction of the carbon tax in 2010-11 and served as a “useful example of the form that compensation could take for a change in the GST”.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and his state counterparts will meet on Thursday in Sydney, the day before the leaders meeting, with reforms to state taxes to dominate discussions.

Last week, Mr Morrison played down the significance of the Treasury modelling, which has not been released, arguing it had been “done based on the request from the states”.

Mr Morrison said on Monday the “idea that we should be raising taxes to pay for higher levels of expenditure” by the states did not appeal to him, or the Prime Minister.

Mr Shorten said on Tuesday: “I don’t believe that the case has been made that , in order to make sure that we are a successful, fair country needs to have a GST where you put everything up to 15 per cent”.

Mr Costello wrote for News Corp that “if the Coalition goes ahead with that proposal [a rise to 15 per cent], you can put down the glasses and stop worrying about other policies … it will swamp everything”.

Mr Shorten said he didn’t always agree with Mr Costello “but he is stating the obvious, isn’t he? Putting up a GST to 15 per cent, it’s lazy”.

NSW and South have led the case, among the states, in pushing for a GST rise.

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Sheffield Shield: Victoria suffer eight-wicket loss to South China

The overcast, bowler-friendly conditions that accompanied the majority of the MCG Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and South disappeared just before the latter began their successful run chase on what became the final day. But given how disciplined the Redbacks were with the ball for the entire match, the bright sun that made batting so much easier was more deserved than fortuitous.
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“We just didn’t put the pressure on the batters like the opposition did to us,” lamented Victoria coach David Saker, after the eight-wicket defeat that cut their lead atop the shield table, from SA, to 0.7 points at the halfway mark of the season.

The Bushrangers began day three with a lead of 104 and four wickets in hand. They only managed to extend SA’s victory target to 145 – and for that they were indebted to bowling all-rounder John Hastings, their only player to reach 30 in each innings.

“We always thought, because the ball was still moving around, that if we could get to a 200 lead we’d be really competitive. And even with the score we did have, I thought it would still be a competitive total to chase,” Saker said. “But they batted very well and we bowled not particularly well. Hats off to them.”

The only two SA wickets to fall were due to their own errors. Mark Cosgrove was caught behind for 19 attempting to hook a bouncer from Chris Tremain, while Tom Cooper looked dominant before slicing a catch to gully just after reaching his half-century.

Veteran Callum Ferguson (43 not out) and captain Travis Head (24 not out) shared a 65-run partnership to seal victory that, if one accounts for virtually no play in the final session on Monday, was achieved an hour into the notional second half of the match.

“The sun coming out is always handy I suppose,” said SA’s Joe Mennie, who took seven wickets in a stand-out performance that pushed him above Tasmania’s Jackson Bird as the competition’s leading wicket-taker. “If it was overcast it probably would have nipped around a little bit more. But the whole game we did a good job. The batters batted really well and obviously the bowlers as a group got the job done, so it was quite pleasing.”

The win was the Redbacks’ third in a row at the MCG, a remarkable change given they had won only once at the venue in the 23 years before a drought-ending win three years ago. It also ensures they will regain the David Hookes Trophy.

Saker said his bowlers had not been as disciplined in this match as they had been in their preceding four matches, and had been shown up by SA’s attack of Mennie, Daniel Worrall and Chadd Sayers. Beyond the day, however, he said he was pleased to be going to the Big Bash League break with his team on top of the shield table.

When the Bushrangers resume in February they will be without Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and probably captain Matthew Wade, who are all likely to be limited-overs duty. Besides veteran Cameron White, who is yet to play this season, Saker cited Matt Short, Seb Gotch and rookie wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Harper as leading candidates for inclusion.

The coach praised stand-in wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb, who was chosen ahead of back-up wicketkeeper Aaron Ayre despite a lack of practice due to Wade’s presence.

“He kept really well for a guy that hasn’t kept in a match, especially this season,” Saker said of Handscomb, who was called to ‘s one-day squad in England a few months ago. “He is just a natural catcher of the ball. If you watch him in the field when he fields for us [he demonstrates that].”

Victoria (1st Innings) R QUINEY c Ross b Mennie 19 T DEAN lbw b Mennie 13 M STOINIS c Cooper b Sayers 8 P HANDSCOMB b Worrall 16 A FINCH lbw b Mennie 0 G MAXWELL b Worrall 62 D CHRISTIAN c Head b Worrall 10 J HASTINGS c Ferguson b Sayers 38 C TREMAIN b Worrall 0 S BOLAND c Ludeman b Worrall 4 F AHMED not out 3Sundries (3lb, 1w, 3nb) 7Total 180Fall of wickets: 32 (Quiney), 39 (Dean), 43 (Stoinis), 50 (Finch), 66 (Handscomb), 105 (Christian), 137 (Maxwell), 143 (Tremain), 147 (Boland), 180 (Hastings)Bowling: C Sayers 13-2-59-2 (1w 1nb), D Worrall 17-1-69-5 (1nb), J Mennie 15-3-46-3 (1nb), A Zampa 1-0-3-0

South (1st Innings) T COOPER c Handscomb b Tremain 18 M COSGROVE c Handscomb b Tremain 50 C FERGUSON b Tremain 0 T HEAD c Maxwell b Hastings 20 J LEHMANN c Handscomb b Hastings 6 A ROSS lbw b Ahmed 24 T LUDEMAN c Stoinis b Boland 20 A ZAMPA c Finch b Tremain 11 J MENNIE not out 24 C SAYERS c Christian b Tremain 10 D WORRALL c Handscomb b Hastings 5Sundries (1b, 4lb, 6w) 11Total 199Fall of wickets: 65 (Cooper), 65 (Ferguson), 76 (Cosgrove), 101 (Lehmann), 110 (Head), 136 (Ross), 156 (Zampa), 164 (Ludeman), 181 (Sayers), 199 (Worrall)Bowling: J Hastings 10-1-28-3, C Tremain 17-8-52-5 (2w), S Boland 19-7-43-1, M Stoinis 3-0-25-0, G Maxwell 2-0-6-0, F Ahmed 7-0-40-1

Victoria (2nd Innings) T DEAN lbw b Worrall 33 R QUINEY c Ludeman b Sayers 16 M STOINIS b Worrall 11 P HANDSCOMB c Ludeman b Mennie 0 A FINCH c Head b Worrall 4 G MAXWELL c Ferguson b Mennie 26 D CHRISTIAN lbw b Mennie 11 J HASTINGS c Ludeman b Sayers 31 C TREMAIN c Ludeman b Mennie 4 S BOLAND not out 13 F AHMED c Ludeman b Sayers 6Sundries (1lb, 7nb) 8Total 163Fall of wickets: 41 (Quiney), 54 (Dean), 63 (Handscomb), 64 (Stoinis), 70 (Finch), 99 (Maxwell), 123 (Christian), 140 (Tremain), 144 (Hastings), 163 (Ahmed)Bowling: C Sayers 20-4-61-3, D Worrall 21-4-44-3 (6nb), J Mennie 20-5-55-4, A Zampa 1-0-2-0 (1nb)

South (2nd Innings) T COOPER c Quiney b Hastings 54 M COSGROVE c Handscomb b Tremain 19 C FERGUSON not out 43 T HEAD not out 24Sundries (4lb, 1nb) 5Total (2 wkts) 145Fall of wickets: 46 (Cosgrove), 90 (Cooper)Bowling: J Hastings 6-0-31-1 (1nb), C Tremain 10-2-49-1, S Boland 7-1-28-0, F Ahmed 2.3-0-21-0, D Christian 1-0-12-0Result: South won by 8 wicketsMan of the Match: Joe MenniePoints: SA 7.50 Vic 1.50.

China’s players to collect $1.75 million bonus if they regain No.1 Test ranking

‘s international players are in line for a bonus of nearly $1.75 million if they can topple South Africa as the No.1 team in Test cricket, while also retaining their status as the world’s premier one-day international side.
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And a $1.38 million pay day beckons for Cricket if Steve Smith’s men return to the top of the Test rankings.

While the historic day-night Test in Adelaide is likely to prove the climax of the Test summer, there is still plenty on the line for ‘s cricketers heading into what is traditionally the game’s busiest period.

The No.1 Test ranking is back up for grabs after South Africa’s failure in India, and are firmly in the hunt just months after they surrendered the Ashes.

South Africa’s 3-0 series loss in the subcontinent has brought the Proteas back to the field, resulting in their lead cut from 16 points to just four. That the Proteas could fall from the top despite losing just two series since 2009 highlights both the vagaries of the ICC rankings system and the evenness of international cricket where teams struggle to win on the road.

‘s destiny is not entirely in their own hands. They would need the Old Enemy to do them a favour by at least drawing their four-Test series in South Africa, which is not beyond England, who have undergone a resurgence under Trevor Bayliss.

‘s end of the bargain is very achievable. They must first whitewash the West Indies, who are not expected to provide much competition, then win the series across the Tasman against New Zealand, whom they beat 2-0 earlier this season.

That would ensure finish the April 1 cutoff period on top and collect the International Cricket Council’s Test Championship mace. CA also collect a $US1 million cheque ($1.38 million), which goes into ‘s cricket revenue, of which the players are entitled to a share of 26 per cent or roughly $360,000.

The $1.75 million pool consists of payments of $770,500 and $310,500 respectively for finishing on top of the Test and ODI standings, plus bonuses in excess of $600,000 for series and Test wins.

The $770,500 Test prize for ‘s players was part of cash incentives agreed to in a five-year memorandum of understanding between the n Cricketers’ Association and CA signed in 2012.

The scheme was struck after the Argus report which recommended players be financially rewarded for success, though players have always maintained they are not driven by money.

Players also stand to gain more than $55,000 each if beat the Windies 3-0 and win both Tests in New Zealand, the sum made up of a bonus of $5400 per Test win and $14,163 for a series victory against a team not ranked in the top four.

The carrots come on top of the $600,000 prizemoney shared on a pro rata basis among squad members for the three Tests against New Zealand. The inflated pool was a sweetener for player support for the day-night Test.

The home summer will finish with a battle between the world’s top two ranked one-day sides – and India. , the reigning World Cup champions, hold a 13-point lead so would need to lose heavily to be in danger of losing the No.1 ranking.

Ferodale Sports Complex takes first step

Chris Doohan has been pushing for an upgraded sports complex in Medowie.A PLANNED new sports complex in Medowie won’t include a liquor licence or gaming machines, but that won’t stop whoever runs it applying for it later.
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Last week the Newcastle Herald reported the council would vote on a motion to support the lodging of a development application for a $3.8 million sports complex on Ferodale Road in Medowie.

The proposed development would include a community hall, bowling greens and a car park, and the proposal was approved on Tuesday.

The development has been the hobby horse of councillor Chris Doohan since he was elected in 2012, but has faced opposition from fellow central ward councillor Geoff Dingle over concerns it was being designed as a licensed premises.

Cr Dingle said past designs had shown a bar, and questioned why the current design included walk-in freezers and a cool room.

The motion specifically clarifiedthe development application would not include a “licensed club or gaming facilities”.

The complex would be managed by an incorporated entitiy, and on Tuesday he asked the council’s facilities and services manager Jason Linnane how they would stop future managers applying for the licence.

Mr Linnane said the council would still be the owner of the site and would have discretion over what was allowed there.

Cr Doohan was not at the meeting on Tuesday, but his colleagues Steve Tucker and Ken Jordansaid while they were opposed to gaming machines on the site, they would support limited liquor licences similar to those used by local sporting clubs.

“That’s how those sorts of clubs make money,” Cr Jordan said.

“I wouldsupport a licence to drink alcohol,to the wowsers of Medowie and Port Stephenstheres an election in 12 months you an all get together and vote againstme,” Cr Tucker said.

“If you don’t like this club I don’t want your vote.”

But the decision came in for criticism from Port Stephens state MP Kate Washington, who said council should be spending the money elsewhere.

“This facility has been talked about for a long time by a select few,” she said,

“There is an enormous need for investment in facilities across Port Stephens, but Council is putting significant funding into this one project.”

Borrowing, cutting and boosting: The creative accounting behind innovation plan’s $1.1b budget

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne. Photo: Alex EllinghausenMalcolm Turnbull admits some policies in $1.1b innovation plan could failMark Kenny: Charging the negative particlesPyne’s steep learning curve: 12 weeks to spend $1.1b
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The Turnbull government’s innovation package was launched on Monday with all the trappings of a budget – in a media lock-up accompanied a blizzard of fact sheets and costings. And, like any budget, some creative accounting.

The aim is to give the government plenty to crow about while not blowing out the budget deficit. The headline $1.1 billion in spending over four years is all new money, but there are still tricks.

The big one is the creation of a new $250 million Biomedical Translation Fund to commercialise medical research discoveries. As the fact sheets explain, the money is not new: the $250 million is being redirected from the government’s existing Medical Research Future Fund. That fund, the centrepiece of the government’s unpopular 2014 budget, is already depleted because the $7 GP co-payment supposed to help fund it was abandoned. The government insists the medical fund will be fully capitalised by 2020, meaning it will have to find money elsewhere to tip into it.

Similarly, the government is spending $70 million on a new CSIRO Innovation Fund but that isn’t adding to the deficit either. Because the investment fund could earn money down the track it is “off-budget” and will not affect the underlying cash balance. The NBN is being funded the same way, which is why any savings or cost blow-outs in its roll-outs do not affect the budget bottom line in the short term. The same goes for university loans that are counted as a budget “asset”. Meanwhile, the government has still banked $111 million in cuts handed down to the CSIRO in its 2014 budget.

Existing programs are also being expanded and repackaged. The $18 million for a new program called Innovation Connections, for example, is simply an add-on to an existing program called Research Connections, which connects researchers and businesses.

Other spending was announced, while existing cuts went unmentioned. The innovation package included $127 million for university block grants over the next four years – a welcome addition of cash for universities. But this is less than the $263 million cut from research block grants in this year’s budget. The government cut $263 million from the Sustainable Research Excellence program, which pays for libraries, laboratories, computing centres and researcher salaries to help pay for research infrastructure.

In a speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday, Innovation Minister Christopher Pyne said the package would boost jobs and economic growth, but there was not modelling of their estimated benefits.

“A lot of the reforms in this agenda are medium to longer-term reforms that don’t even have a cost to the budget yet because they’re things like allowing depreciation of intangible assets to be treated the same way as tangible assets which is hard to put a figure on,” he said.

“These are not necessarily sexy changes, but people in the business community will know what they will mean and they’ll have important impacts on people’s choices about what they invest in and how they run their businesses.”

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Wade’s recovery from injury could see Nevill spared BBL cameo between Tests

Test wicketkeeper Peter Nevill may not be needed for a Twenty20 cameo between the Hobart and Boxing Day Tests, with Matthew Wade on track to recover from a broken collarbone in time for Melbourne Renegades’ first match in this season’s Big Bash League.
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Wade has been sidelined for almost a month after sustaining the injury while batting in the nets before Victoria’s Sheffield Shield match against Western .

Had the injury been slow to heal Wade could have been in doubt for not only the start of the BBL but also for ‘s limited-overs series against India starting in mid-January.

Wade is set to retain the 50-over role based on his impressive performances, especially with the bat, in ‘s one-day series victory against England after the Ashes earlier this year.

The 27-year-old was doing sprint drills on the MCG on Tuesday, during the lunch break of Victoria’s Sheffield Shield match against South .

Cricket is intending to release all Test squad members, except bowlers, for the first round of the BBL, which falls between the Blundstone Arena and MCG Tests against the West Indies. While that policy would cover the Renegades for their December 19 match away to Brisbane, because of Nevill’s availability, a longer stint would have forced the Renegades to sign a replacement player.

The Renegades’ search for replacements may not been needed, based on a positive update on Wade’s recovery status from Victoria and Renegades coach David Saker.

“I think he might be right for the first game, which would be good,” Saker said. “He’s batting in the nets. It’s just jumping in the field and diving on his shoulder that is the issue at the moment.”

While the Renegades could theoretically choose both wicketkeepers, and deploy one without the gloves, the Renegades’ deep batting line-up – they boast Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, Cameron White, Callum Ferguson, Tom Cooper and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo – could dissuade them from doing so. If Wade is fit Nevill would likely get an opportunity to return home to Sydney before rejoining ‘s squad ahead of the Boxing Day Test.

It is expected that at the conclusion of the Test series against India that Wade and Nevill will effectively swap, with Nevill going to the Renegades and Wade keeping for the national team in the limited-overs series.

Police interview with Matthew Leveson’s boyfriend played during inquest

CCTV footage from a Bunnings Warehouse store shows a man, who police allege is Michael Peter Atkins, buying a mattock and gaffer tape. Photo: Supplied Matthew Leveson’s parents Faye and Mark earlier this year. Photo: Kate Geraghty
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Inquest Day 1What the jury wasn’t toldDevastating fake confession

Michael Peter Atkins told police it was a “fairly normal” Sunday for him and his boyfriend Matthew Leveson.

The couple came home after a night out at ARQ club in Darlinghurst, woke up in the afternoon, watched n Idol, and drank protein shakes on September 23, 2007, according to Mr Atkins.

Mr Atkins told police he had been wearing a lilac polo shirt and camouflage pants that day, and he only left the couple’s Cronulla unit to go for an afternoon walk.

He said he noticed his 20-year-old boyfriend was missing when he woke up at 1am the next morning.

An inquest into Mr Leveson’s death is being held at the NSW Coroner’s Court in Glebe. His body has never been found.

Mr Atkins and Mr Leveson’s parents reported him missing on September 25, when he didn’t turn up for work at an NRMA call centre.

Police found Mr Leveson’s car abandoned in the car park of Waratah Oval, Sutherland, on the morning of Thursday September 27, with a Bunnings Warehouse receipt for a mattock and gaffer tape inside, the inquest has heard.

At the end of a two-hour interview with police later that night, detectives told Mr Atkins they had CCTV footage from the Taren Point hardware store that showed a man matching his description, wearing camouflage pants, buying a mattock and tape.

“It’s our belief that about 12.20 on Sunday afternoon that you went to Bunnings Warehouse and you were the person who purchased that pick and the gaffer tape,” a detective told Mr Atkins in the interview, played at the inquest.

“I don’t think it was me,” he replied.

“Who do you think it could be?” the detective asked.

“I don’t know.”

“The person in [Bunnings] is wearing cargo-style pants that appear similar to what you described wearing on Sunday. Can you offer any explanation for that?”

“No.”

“How does it make you feel? We’re telling you the person who looks like you is in … Bunnings Warehouse purchasing a mattock and a roll of gaffer tape when Matt at this point is missing.”

Mr Atkins said: “Surprised.”

The inquest has been told that after the formal interview was over Mr Atkins told police: “I want to tell you … but I’m scared what will happen to me if I do.”

Mr Atkins was eventually charged with Mr Leveson’s murder, but was acquitted by a jury. He had pleaded not guilty, and denied any involvement in his disappearance.

Mr Leveson was last seen leaving ARQ nightclub with Mr Atkins in the early hours of September 23.

Security footage from the door of the nightclub captured the couple leaving at the same time, but walking apart.

The relationship between Mr Leveson and Mr Atkins, who was 44 in 2007, had soured, the inquest has heard.

The inquest continues before NSW Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott.

Melbourne City defender Connor Chapman sets sights on Olyroos selection

GAME ON: Melbourne City defender Connor Chapman (right) hopes a big game against the Jets will improve his chances of Olyroos selection. Picture: Getty ImagesMELBOURE City defender Connor Chapman hopes a solid performance against former club Newcastle will force the hand of Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar.
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Chapman, 21, enters Sunday’s clash against his old clubat Hunter Stadium having playedevery minute of City’s campaign.

And with an Olympic qualifying tournament looming in January the centreback is desperate to impress Vidmar.

“You always want to play for your country,’’ he said.

‘‘I can’t really decide those things but, hopefully, I can decide them with the way I’m playing.’’

Chapman, an representative atunder-17 and under-20 level, has been a regular starter forCity but has been overlooked for Olyroos selection.

‘‘I think I’m in the pool of players,” Chapman said. “I’ve just got to keep working hard.”

City are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, a statistic Chapman iseager to correct.

‘‘It’s quite disappointing that we haven’t kept a clean sheet yet – it’s a massive thing,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, president of the Jets supportersgroup, TheSquadron, Grant Furner will join other supporter group representatives at a meeting with Football Federation in Sydney on Wednesday night in a bid toend a boycott ofA-Leaguematches by fans.

Furious over thepublication of the names of198fans banned from games, and a lack of an appeals process against bans,supporter groups stayed away last round.

“We will be presenting the FFA with a list of issues and then work through them to find satisfactory outcomes for both parties,” Furner said.