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Axe set for councillors

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 27 Oktober 2012 | 19.55

SIX councils across Tasmania are to lose councillors after a review by the Local Government Review Board.

The cuts mean 13 elected positions will be phased out over the next three years.

Councils to lose councillors are: Central Coast (losing 3), Devonport City (3), Glamorgan-Spring Bay (1), Glenorchy City (2), Kingborough (2) and Tasman Council (2).

Announcing the move yesterday, Local Government Minister Bryan Green said he had accepted the Review Board's recommendation to reduce numbers.

He said the reductions would be phased in over the next two council elections, scheduled for October 2013 and October 2015.

"I will also be recommending casual vacancies not be filled until the desired reduction is achieved," he said.

Mr Green said he accepted the board's view the reduction would not impact negatively on councils' abilities to fulfil their requirements.

Kingborough Mayor Graham Bury welcomed the reduction.

He said two fewer councillors would result in a cost saving of $50,000 a year, as each councillor received a $25,000 yearly allowance.

Mr Bury said the council narrowly had voted in favour of the reduction.

"We thought we could work just as well and just as efficiently with fewer councillors," he said.

Glenorchy Mayor Stuart Slade also supported the cuts. "In this day and age we all have to pull in our belts a little bit," he said.

Mr Slade said council had voted against the change, although he had voted for it.

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Karate Kid to Gentleman Dan

MICHELLE Geale could never have known that a trip to the movies to see The Karate Kid with nine-year-old son Daniel would inspire one of the most superb careers in Australian sport.

It was Mr Miyagi and another kid called Daniel who inspired Geale to take up fighting -- but not boxing.

Geale instantly related to the Karate Kid's main character, Danny LaRusso, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who had to fight for everything he ever got.

Plus he thought karate looked cool.

He begged his dad Wayne to take him to his first lesson but it wasn't the "wax on, wax off" moment Daniel had expected.

"I hated it," Geale said.

"It was crap. It didn't suit me at all.

"So Dad suggested I try boxing, and there was a gym, Lilydale Boxing Club, just down the road.

"I said: 'OK, I'll give it a try'.

"From my first training session I loved it. I made a heap of friends and that's how I got started."

It also suited nine-year-old Daniel for another reason.

"I was carrying a bit of extra weight as a nine-year-old -- I had a little bit of a belly on me," he said.

"When the coach put me on the scales I weighed 42kg as a nine-year-old, which wasn't great. The boxing got me fit and I lost weight."

A month after his 10th birthday, Geale had his first fight.

"By then I was 38kg -- so I'd lost 4kg in that first year and got fit and probably grew a bit as well," he said.

"I thought boxing was a great challenge."

As well as attending high school, Daniel liked to go with his dad -- aka "Cowboy" -- on his dump truck.

"I used to do some work with Dad and I'd wash the truck," he said.

His first real job was as a cook at KFC in Mowbray, where he worked for three years, starting at 16.

"It was a good experience -- it was good to have money," he said.

Geale would go to school, train in the afternoon and then cook chicken at night.

"It worked in perfectly with what I had to do with boxing," he said.

"I knew whatever job I had, boxing came first."

Geale's skills as a boxer won him a scholarship with the TIS and he soon became Australian welterweight champion in amateur ranks. Aged 19, he represented Australia at the Sydney Olympic Games -- he was personally sponsored by the Mowbray KFC.

Despite his loss in Sydney to Italian Leonard Bundu, who had won bronze at the world championships, the Olympics were an inspirational experience for the teenage Tasmanian.

After the fight, the Italian's praise of Geale was prophetic. "I think in the future he will be a very good boxer. He has character," Bundu said.

How right he was.

At 31, Daniel is one of the world's finest professional boxers, with 28 wins and one loss. He holds two world championship middleweight belts (IBF and WBA) and is in search of a unification bout to claim the third.

While he waits, he agreed to a rematch against motormouth Anthony Mundine, who beat Geale in a controversial points decision three years ago.

A lot of people feel Geale shouldn't even give Mundine the time of day, let alone a title fight.

"I mostly agree with what people say, that I shouldn't give him this opportunity," Geale said.

"I also wish I had another 10 guys to choose from in Australia to be able to fight, and to be able to make a living.

"There are other fights I could take, but I wouldn't make any money.

"A fight against him [Mundine] attracts attention in Australia, if it didn't we would have definitely overlooked him."

Geale's dream is to fight on boxing's biggest stage, Las Vegas, and a trip to the US last month to watch the WBC middleweight title bout between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Sergio Martinez only strengthened that resolve.

"Unfortunately those fights haven't come around at this stage," Geale said. "We've got a bit of time in between, and for us this is the right time to right that wrong from a few years ago."

At their fight announcement last week, Geale was cool and calm while Mundine disrespected him and his Aboriginal heritage, as well as his wife, kids and Tasmanian Aborigines.

Mundine said: "I thought they wiped all Aborigines from Tasmania out, that's all I know. I don't see him [Geale] representing us black people. I don't see him out in the communities doing what I do with people. He got a white woman, white kids."

Geale, who wears the Aboriginal colours on his boxing trunks, maintained a dignified silence.

"Inside I was tossing up whether or not I should jump up and punch the guy," Geale said.

"That definitely went through my mind. But our sport takes enough hits without people doing that sort of stuff."

After sinking in a public relations cesspit of his own creation, Mundine apologised to Geale three days later in a TV face-off.

"It's easy to say things in the heat of the moment about the guy you are fighting," Geale said. "But when you say it to them about other people, there are a lot of other people who probably needed that apology more than me.

"They need to accept that apology -- like my wife and kids and the people of Tasmania -- they're very angry at what he said."

Daniel's wife Sheena was particularly upset. "She didn't like the comments at all," Geale said. "The first thing she said to me after the interview was 'you can't accept that apology on my behalf'."

It was a low blow for Daniel, to whom family -- Sheena and kids Bailey, 8, Ariyelle, 6, and Lilyarna 4 -- comes first.

"Family is what it's all about," he said.

"For me, we didn't have it easy as kids -- me and my brother. My mum and dad worked very hard for us all the time and we didn't have everything we wanted.

"They tried to give us everything, and for me that's always been great motivation, to be able to give my kids us much as I could and work hard for my family."

Boxing won't last for ever, and Geale is already preparing for the next phase of his career.

"I've already got plans to own my own gym," he said.

"We've been in Sydney for about nine years now, and we're going to start setting up a gym here soon, but there are other opportunities as well to maybe own gyms around Australia as well."

Even though Geale left Launceston in search of opportunities, his love for Tasmania will never fade.

"Other than Tassie being such a beautiful place, and the scenery everyone probably takes for granted, the people are different," he said.

"People in Tassie are relaxed and it's a lot easier to get along with people.

"Walking around the streets, even when people didn't know me, you can just walk up and talk to a stranger, no problems. In Sydney, it's different, people aren't usually that friendly and I like that about Tassie."

When the boxing game ends, the likable Tasmanian will have deserved everything he earned.

"My plan was to work as hard as I could at an early age and hopefully set ourselves up and be able to relax a little bit when I'm a little bit older," Geale said. "At the moment things are going OK, I just have to keep going along those lines.

"I talk to people to motivate them and tell them be hard-working now and it will be easier later. If you don't work hard now you'll be working hard later."

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Greinke to face theft charges

FORMER Queensland rugby league player and coach Gary Lionel Greinke, 52, will be extradited to Queensland today to face stealing charges.

Police allege Greinke stole $62,000 from a fruit business, Malgary Pty Ltd, which he operated with former Brisbane Souths teammate and business partner Mal Meninga.

Magistrate Robert Pearce granted the extradition order, which was not opposed, during a hearing in the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday.

There was no application for bail and Greinke was handed into the custody of Queensland CIB officers.

He is scheduled to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on October 29.

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Last daring devil found safe

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 26 Oktober 2012 | 19.55

THE third Tasmanian devil that had been on the loose in bushland south of Perth, Western Australia, has been found and will soon be reunited with his two fellow escapees.

Genghis the devil and two other young males named Itchy and Scratchy went on the run on October 16 when a large eucalypt tree fell on their newly built enclosure at Peel Zoo, on the outskirts of Pinjarra, allowing the three endangered marsupials to scarper.

Zoo owner David Cobbold said he received a call from a North Dandalup resident just after 2am (WST) today to say that Ghengis was sitting in their driveway.

Scratchy was found on October 21 by two men who chased him through the bush and trapped the animal against a fence before wrapping it in a towel.

Scratchy then lived up to his name, clawing his way through part of a plasterboard wall as he was temporarily contained in a bathroom.

Itchy was recovered two days later after being bailed up by dogs in a Yunderup backyard.

Mr Cobbold said Ghengis was scooped up from the North Dandalup driveway in a net and had been returned to the zoo.

"It's excellent news all round," he said.

Ghengis was tired and hungry and had lost a bit of weight, which was unexpected considering devils lived on carrion.

"He's very agreeable -- he's just over it," Mr Cobbold said.

Ghengis had not yet been reunited with Itchy and Scratchy and would spend a few days by himself to recover from his ordeal, Mr Cobbold said.

"I'm just glad we've got them all back," he said.

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Bid to end Antarctic impasse

THE US and New Zealand are holding one-on-one talks in Hobart to try to end an impasse over the creation of an historic marine protection area in Antarctica's Ross Sea.

The head of the US delegation at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting says both countries are aware they will need to compromise if an agreement is to be reached.

The meeting is hoping to establish the world's largest marine protection area (MPA) after a deadline of this year was set in 2002.

The US and NZ have presented competing plans for the Ross Sea after originally working on a common proposal.

The NZ plan is for a larger area but the US proposal is favoured by environmental groups because it puts more restrictions on fishing.

NZ is anxious to protect its toothfish industry, while the US proposal would set up a no-fishing reference area for scientific research.

"If you have an MPA you have to establish objectives for the MPA," head of the US delegation Evan Bloom said.

"Our objectives are somewhat different and to establish this type of reference area is one of our objectives, and so I think that leads to some differences.

"Both have been presented and both are under discussion and indeed we're talking with New Zealand at the same time."

CCAMLR's consensus model means all members will need to agree on a proposal.

Mr Bloom, who is director of the US Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, said he was hopeful a deal could be struck.

"I think that both of us understand that compromise is needed and that we're needing to work together," he said.

"Indeed we and New Zealand have worked for more than two years on these proposals and we came close to having a joint proposal.

"We didn't quite get there but we're working co-operatively together and I hope we can manage it."

But he said meeting the 2012 deadline was not the most important consideration.

"It's kind of an aspirational goal," he said.

"What's most important is that progress be made, not the year, and from our point of view that we achieve meaningful conservation objectives.

"I'd love to have it happen this year. My main concern is that it be done and done well."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken a personal interest in the progress of the talks, which will conclude next week.

"She has been active in talking with other leaders about the issue of marine protected areas and also with respect to this particular Ross Sea proposal, and she thinks it's important that we make progress in this area," Mr Bloom said.

The US will support two other MPA proposals on the table, one a joint Australian/French initiative for an area of east Antarctica and the other an EU move to protect ice shelves.

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Witness call after arson attack

Police say firebugs caused about $100,000 damage to this privately owned rental property in Clarendon Vale, on Hobart's Eastern Shore. Pictures: MATT THOMPSON

POLICE are appealing for witnesses after an arson attack caused about $100,000 damage to a home in Clarendon Vale.

The home had been burgled before being set alight about 1am today, police said.

Detective Anna Lang, from Tasmania Police Taskforce Icarus, said fires had been set in multiple locations throughout the property.

The tenant of the privately owned property was not home at the time of the incident and was not insured, she said.

Detective Lang said 31 of 71 arson attacks in Tasmania in the past 12 months had been in the Clarendon Vale, Rokeby and Bridgewater areas.

She appealed for anyone with information to contact her or Detective Craig Fry at Bellerive CIB on 6230 2111.

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Wind farm plan for mill site

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 25 Oktober 2012 | 19.55

Work was still underway on the pulp mill site, in northern Tasmania, back in February. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN

A PROPOSAL to build a wind farm on Gunns' pulp mill site in northern Tasmania has been floated with the collapsed timber company's receivers.

A company called Tamar Valley Renewables says it wants to buy the land on which Gunns had proposed to build the controversial $2.3 billion pulp mill.

TVR says it confirmed its interest in the site with Gunns receivers KordaMentha and administrator PPB Advisory this week.

Gunns' inability to attract an investment partner to build the mill, at Bell bay north of Launceston, has been cited as one of the reasons for the company's failure.

The permit to build the mill could still be sold to a developer but it is also the subject of a Supreme Court challenge from the Tasmanian Conservation Trust.

"The pulp mill permits are shrouded with uncertainty with the Supreme Court in Tasmania yet to determine if they have expired or not, so we feel like we are in a good position to acquire the land," TVR director Martin May said in a statement.

"We have consulted with various individuals and organisations at a community and government level and have received widespread support for the project."

Mr May said the site was well positioned for a wind farm, with on-site access to the electricity grid, proximity to the Basslink cable to the mainland and favourable wind conditions.

"The project has the capacity to position Tasmania as Australia's leading alternative energy provider to Tasmania and the mainland," he said.

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Tassie mums a fertile bunch

Tasmania had the highest fertility rate at 2.17 babies per woman in 2011, while Victoria had the lowest at 1.75.

TASMANIA's fertility rate is topping the nation, new figures show.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics report on births shows the fertility rate is 2.17 in Tasmania, compared with 1.88 nationally. The rate refers to the average number of babies born to women of childbearing age.

The national trend for older women having babies is also evident in Tasmania.

There were 12.9 babies born last year for every 1000 Tasmanian women aged 40 to 44 years, compared to 15.1 nationally. Among women aged 45 to 49, the fertility rate was just 0.7.

And while births to teenaged mothers are up, they are still trending down over time -- in line with the national picture.

For girls aged 15 to 19, the rate was 24.5 babies per 1000, still far above the 15.1 rate nationally.

That number includes babies born to girls under 15.

The 399 births to Tasmanian teenagers last year was slightly up on 357 in 2010 but still well down on 543 a decade ago.

There were 6608 babies born in Tasmania last year.

The median age of women giving birth was 29.4, up marginally from 29.1 a decade ago. The median age of fathers in Tasmania was 31.8, up from 31.4.



Births: 301,617 up 1.2 per cent from 2010

Fertility rate: 1.88

Median age mum: 30.6

Median age dad: 33.0


Births: 6608 up 3.5 per cent from 2010

Fertility rate: 2.17

Median age mum: 29.4

Median age dad: 31.8

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Robber foiled when victim fled

A YOUNG man's attempt to rob a service station was thwarted with the attendant ran away, the Supreme Court has heard.

Father-of-one Bradley William Rootes, 21, tried to hold up a BP Service Station at Devonport because he owed an ex-girlfriend money.

He walked into the service station on August 17 wearing a balaclava and a hooded jumper and told the attendant he had a gun.

But the attendant ran to a safe room and pressed a duress alarm. Rootes yelled at him to come back, but the man ignored him.

Overlooking the unattended cash register, the hapless bandit fled but was caught by police a short time later.

He pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery.

Supreme Court Justice Shan Tennent said Rootes was no criminal mastermind.

"I would have to say that the whole enterprise was very lacking in sophistication," she said.

"While there was an element of planning, you clearly had not thought the matter through at all."

The judge imposed a six-month jail term, suspended on the condition of a three-year good behaviour bond.

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Hotel robber sent to jail

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 24 Oktober 2012 | 19.55

A YOUNG man involved in the violent armed robbery of a Hobart hotel has been jailed for at least three years.

Michael John Gardner, 21, pleaded guilty to aggravated armed robbery and assault and was found guilty by a jury of causing grievous bodily harm over his role in the robbery at the Queens Head Hotel in Elizabeth St in January.

In the Supreme Court in Hobart today, Justice Helen Wood said Gardner had shown a selfish disregard for the law and for the effect of his offending on others.

Gardner and Brett Corey Pickett burst into the hotel at 10pm on a Saturday night, yelling "this is a robbery".

Gardner punched a patron in the face while Pickett covered those inside the gaming area with a sawn-off rifle.

When they fled, staff tackled Pickett and both offenders were involved in a violent but unsuccessful attempt to free him.

Gardner abandoned a backpack containing $9000 in cash and Keno tickets as he ran from the scene.

Justice Wood said the patron who Gardner hit continued to suffer physical and psychological effects from the punch and a hotel worker caught up in the robbery had quit her job and moved interstate because she was so upset by the incident.

She said Gardner has a long criminal record and despite the fact he was a young man and he might reform in jail, a severe sentence was called for.

She jailed him for a maximum of six years with a non-parole period of three.

In March, Pickett, 34, was sentenced to seven years with a minimum of five for his role in the robbery.

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Fraud term appeal dismissed

A FORMER Hobart businessman who was jailed for two frauds which netted him more than $1.3 million has lost an appeal against his jail sentence.

Michael John Henderson, 58, pleaded guilty to more than 80 fraud offences committed between 1999 and 2006.

In December last year he was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail with a non-parole period of three years and nine months.

Henderson defrauded IBM of more than $468,000 through a fake leasing scam in the late 1990s.

He was charged but skipped bail.

While on the run, he took advantage of lax procedures surrounding the Commonwealth diesel rebate scheme and helped himself to $888,000.

He was arrested in New South Wales in 2009.

Henderson claimed he committed the crimes to pay back the debts of a murdered Melbourne underworld figure, but the sentencing judge said scant details of that claim were presented to the court.

The Court of Criminal Appeal considered his complaint that the punishment for the crimes was manifestly excessive.

In his decision, Chief Justice Ewan Crawford said that while the sentence was high and could have been lower, it did not amount to an error.

The court dismissed the appeal.

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New push to boost literacy

A BOLD State Government plan to improve Tasmania's 50 per cent literacy rate has been launched in Parliament House in Hobart.

The 26TEN network -- set up under the $17 million adult literacy five-year plan -- includes organisations that will work to improve literacy and numeracy rates statewide.

About 50 per cent of Tasmanians are considered to have inadequate literacy skills to cope with everyday needs including filling in forms and reading bank statements. This compares with a national rate of about 47 per cent.

"We all need to work together to break down stigma and help more Tasmanians get the skills they need to secure jobs and opportunities," Premier Lara Giddings said at the launch.

The launch featured inspirational stories of Tasmanians who have made dramatic changes in their lives after receiving free tutoring.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury.

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Second daring devil found

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 23 Oktober 2012 | 19.55

Itchy the Tasmanian devil is back behind bars after being on the run in Western Australia for almost a week. Picture: PEEL ZOO

A SECOND Tasmanian devil that escaped from a West Australian zoo has been caught in a midnight ambush.

Three young devils – Itchy, Scratch and Genghis -- scarpered from Peel Zoo at Pinjarra, south of Perth, early on Tuesday last week.

Scratchy was recaptured in the early hours of Sunday and the zoo was thrilled to find Itchy earlier today.

Zoo co-owner Narelle MacPherson said a couple at nearby South Yunderup were awoken during the night.

"We got the call about 20 past midnight this morning," Ms MacPherson said.

"Erica and James heard a noise outside. They thought it might be a cat; they've got a couple of dogs.

"They investigated and managed to net him -- good job -- and by the time we got there, they had him in a cage."

She said Itchy had a bit of a bump on the nose but appeared relatively unscathed.

"We have him in a box in a quiet room and will give him a proper check over," Ms MacPherson said.

"Scratchy's fine. Now we've got the two boys back that we hand-raised."

Genghis, however, is still on the loose.

The 18-month-old males are offspring of devils bought from East Coast Natureworld, at Bicheno, in 2010.

They escaped after a tall gum tree fell on their enclosure during the night, crushing the fence.

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Top author's Tassie tour

POPULAR Australian author Peter Watt will give free talks at LINC Tasmania starting today.

Dubbed Australia's Wilbur Smith, the novelist will speak at Kingston LINC at 7pm today. Similar events will be held tomorrow at Rosny LINC at 1.30pm and at Sorell LINC at 4pm.

He will also talk at Ulverstone Library and Online Access Centre at 2pm on Thursday.

Watt is touring in his role as ambassador for the National Year of Reading 2012 and the Australia-wide Get Reading! celebrations.

He is promoting his latest novel, Beyond the Horizon.

Watt has spent time working as a soldier, prawn trawler deckhand, builder's labourer, pipe layer, real estate salesman, private investigator, police sergeant, and adviser to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

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Accused man 'shot at' accuser

A MAN rumoured to have stolen diesel and a chainsaw from a logging coupe confronted his accuser with an axe and later fired a shot in his direction from a high-powered rifle, the Supreme Court has heard.

Fabian Shane Graham, 29, of Swamp Road, Lachlan, pleaded not guilty to assault and two counts of aggravated assault.

The opening day of his trial today heard that in September last year Graham asked his friend Tyler Burchill if he had any 44 gallon drums because he was planning to "milk some diesel" from a Styx Valley logging depot.

When the depot was robbed a couple of days later, Mr Burchill recounted the conversation to Les Walkden Enterprises harvesting supervisor Andrew Clark.

Crown Prosecutor Heather Mannering said that on October 23 last year, Mr Clark went to Graham's house to inquire after the 1500 litres of diesel and a chainsaw and radio that were taken, but he wasn't home.

Graham turned up at the Walkden depot at New Norfolk a few hours later.

"Fabian jumped out of his vehicle with an axe," Mr Clark told the court.

"I walked back into the office. He was yelling at me: 'Why did you accuse me of stealing the diesel? I'm going to cut you into little pieces and come back and shoot all your employees'," he said.

Mr Clark told the court that a few hours after Graham left, he and tree feller Dale Robert Booth went to Graham's house.

"We just wanted to talk to him about it," he said.

They found Graham near his house, had a short conversation and followed his vehicle. Mr Clark said that as they headed up Graham's driveway in their car, he had a "funny feeling".

"That's when I saw Fabian come out of the house holding a gun. I started to reverse down the driveway. When I took off I heard a shot."

He denied threatening or confronting Graham before the shot was fired.

The case, before Justice Alan Blow, is continuing.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury.


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Assault after wedding snub

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 22 Oktober 2012 | 19.55

A MAN sexually assaulted his partner because he was angry she was going to a wedding to which he was not invited, the Supreme Court has heard.

The 30-year-old father of three, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault and assault.

Crown prosecutor Jack Shapiro today told the Supreme Court in Hobart the man was coming down from a five-day methamphetamine binge and had thrown his partner's make-up on the roof of her house to try to stop her attending the wedding in March this year.

He apologised and asked the woman if she wanted to have sex, but became angry when she declined.

"If you're not going to have sex with me, I might as well rape you," he said.

He pushed the woman on to the bed and briefly assaulted her, before she punched him in the face and fled.

Early the following morning the man assaulted the woman when she returned from the wedding.

When interviewed by police, he denied the sexual assault and said the subsequent assault was prompted because the woman was drunk.

The prosecutor said the man had a 15-page criminal record, with multiple assaults and breaches of family violence orders dating back to 2005.

Defence lawyer Amber Mignot said her client had struggled with drug use for more than a decade after being introduced to the amphetamines by a girlfriend's family.

But she said her client had turned his life around during the six months he had been in custody, attempting to complete his education and earning high marks in maths, English and psychology.

Justice David Porter will sentence the man on October 31.


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Art-felt praise for Hobart icon

Bilbao, in Spain, attracted few tourists until architect Frank Gehry's striking Guggenheim museum building opened in 1997.

TRAVEL guide company Lonely Planet compares the MONA effect in Hobart to the experience of Bilbao in Spain, where a new Guggenheim Museum of modern art transformed the city.

Bilbao attracted few tourists until architect Frank Gehry's striking museum building opened in 1997. For people around the world, it put the small Spanish city on the map.

In much the same way, MONA was changing the image of Hobart, said Lonely Planet's Asia-Pacific marketing director Chris Zeiher

It was the "beacon experience" of MONA which inspired the company to pick Hobart as one of the world's top 10 must-see cities in its Best in Travel 2013 guidebook.

Mr Zeiher said Lonely Planet had one million hits a month on its website and had sold 100 million guidebooks in its 39 years, so the effect of the listing would be felt far and wide.

While many overseas travellers would sit up and take notice of Hobart for the first time, he believed Australians also would be moved to revisit Tasmania and stay longer.

"We are hoping Australians get the message and that they consider Hobart as a three or four-day stopover, taking the time to see MONA but also explore some of the other attractions," Mr Zeiher said.

He was in Hobart yesterday doing just that, sharing a whiskey with Bill Lark at the Lark Distillery, which rated a mention in Best in Travel 2013.

Destination Southern Tasmania CEO Ben Targett said Hobart's top-10 listing would benefit smaller ventures in the whole state because Lonely Planet guides encouraged travellers to look beyond the main tourist routes and explore independently.

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said the listing highlighted what a drawcard MONA had become.

He said it had not only changed the industry, it had changed the way Tasmanians felt about themselves.

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New Bond bloody brilliant

B IS for Bond, B is for brilliant. Skyfall, the 23rd instalment in the world's favourite spy movie series, goes back to the franchise's roots and is possibly the best Bond flick ever.

Unlike its predecessor, the Quantum of Solace, Skyfall returns to the basics of good versus evil. It also boasts great pace and action, with rich plots that twist at every turn.

While we will always debate whether Bond was best embodied by Sean Connery or Roger Moore, there will be broad agreement that Skyfall is up there as the greatest depiction of 007.

It's also likely to be the most commercially successful in the franchise's 50-year history. This Bond is darker than those that came before and for the first time offers some real characterisations.

We see Daniel Craig, returning for his third go as the super-suave spy, as we've never seen him before.

He's a man whose age is catching up with him. He is grumpy, questioning his own mortality and haunted by his past.

This time, too, Judi Dench enjoys a more central role as M. We see a whole new side of her that will shock many audiences.

There's plenty of retro references to Bonds of the past.

Instead of an eccentric old Q in a lab coat talking exploding pens and watches, we have a youthful Q (played by Ben Wishaw).

And the classic Bond villain makes a spectacular return in the form of Silva, played by Javier Bardem.

He delivers a Hannibal-Lecter-style portrayal -- albeit as a sadistic blond camp guy plotting to attack the very centre of Bond's world.

And, yes, there are the mandatory love scenes with the Bond girls.

Sam Mendes, not known for action films, had Bond fans howling with disappointment when he was brought in to direct.

But the general consensus is that he has recaptured the true character Fleming set out to portray. He shows a flawed hero in a very gritty way.

It's a triumph, with the Bond of old taken to a new, intelligent level. Five stars for Bond brilliance.

View the trailer here

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Sex classes stir debate heat

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 21 Oktober 2012 | 19.55

A PROMINENT child psychologist says those who oppose the inclusion of alternative sexuality in school sex education classes are unhelpful, puerile and out of touch.

Michael Carr-Gregg's scathing comments come after Liberal education spokesman Michael Ferguson this week reiterated his opposition to a new state sex education curriculum that would include gay issues.

Mr Ferguson said the new curriculum promoted a divisive social agenda and including issues of sexual diversity was inappropriate.

"The simple fact is that the Liberals support age-appropriate, mainstream sex education," Mr Ferguson said in a carefully worded statement that did not include the words "gay" or "homosexual".

"What we don't support is a sex ed curriculum that 'celebrates sexual diversity' as Mr McKim recently said, and reflects his beliefs, instead of parents who have not been properly consulted with."

The new curriculum, announced earlier this month by Education Minister Nick McKim, will require sex ed classes to cover sexuality, gender identity and "respectful relationships" and to support students "who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex".

Dr Carr-Gregg said it caused "horrendous" damage when children felt forced to hide their sexuality and Mr Ferguson was out of touch with those who dealt with such young people.

"I have clients who are essentially living a double life in this way," he said. "They have to hide who they are from everybody around them and statistically this makes them six times more likely to self-harm than heterosexual kids."

Dr Carr-Gregg said it was important to use age-appropriate material for all sex education but said there was plenty in existence, such as the website www.thehormone factory.com, which was aimed at children aged 10-12 and included discussion of alternative sexuality.

"I'm horrified that we're even having this conversation," he said.

"I think people who object to including this in the curriculum are titanically out of step with the rest of the community."

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Mundine's apology 'insincere'

INDIGENOUS Tasmanian music star Dewayne Everettsmith has hit back at Anthony Mundine, saying the controversial boxer isn't welcome in the state after his offensive comments questioning world champion Daniel Geale's heritage.

At a press conference on Thursday to promote their upcoming title fight, Mundine offended Geale and the state's Aboriginal community by saying: "I thought they wiped all Aborigines from Tasmania out", and claiming Geale "doesn't represent us black people".

Mundine apologised for his comments on Friday, but Everettsmith, who has won international acclaim for his role in Tourism Australia's current $250 million advertising campaign, labelled the apology "a joke" and suggested Mundine should do some research on Tasmania's Aboriginal history.

"His comments were so racist and his apology so insincere, he needs to fix this if he ever expects to again be welcome in Tasmania," Everettsmith said.

But Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre legal manager Michael Mansell yesterday accepted Mundine's apology, claiming that "not everything Mundine said was wrong" on the topic of Aboriginal identity.

Mundine expressed concerns about Australians discovering a distant Aboriginal ancestor and using that information to claim Aboriginality. Mr Mansell said the practice had seen the number of Tasmanians claiming to be Aboriginal nearly double in recent years.

"Ordinarily the claims would be dismissed as fanciful, except schools and state governments get extra Commonwealth funding for every child that ticks the box on indigenous," he said.

"The issue that Anthony Mundine has raised will not easily go away until some common sense is put back into processes that are fair, reasonable and transparent."

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$900m road and rail wishlist

SMALL CHANGE: The Brooker Highway wishlist includes $5m for planning the upgrading of the Domain Highway Interchange.

TASMANIA is seeking nearly $900 million from federal coffers for new road and rail projects.

The wishlist includes $240 million to upgrade railway tracks, $128 million to improve safety on the Midland Highway and $142 million for a Perth bypass and associated works linking the Bass and Midland highways.

Twenty-two projects worth $895 million have been proposed in the State Government's submission for the next round of federal infrastructure funding Nation Building 2 which covers the five years from July 1, 2014.

State Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne, right, said he was hopeful of securing most of the new money.

In the first round Nation Building 1 Tasmania secured more than $800 million for projects such as the Kingston and Brighton bypasses.

"We were pretty successful with the last round but it is a very competitive process," Mr O'Byrne said.

The bulk of the spending, $618 million, would streamline freight transport flows, particularly along the Burnie to Hobart corridor but also for the mines and growing salmon industry on the West Coast.

Smaller amounts would help upgrade the eastern approaches to the Tasman Bridge, parts of the Brooker Highway, the West Coast's Murchison Highway and the Huon Highway-Summerleas Rd intersection.

The submission also included public transport projects.

Civil Contractors Federation state chief executive Tony Cook said his industry was doing it tough and more infrastructure spending could not come soon enough.

"It would give the industry a sense of sustainability," he said.

"In the last round, the money came all in one hit and, along with the federal stimulus money, it put our industry on a high but we fell off it dramatically.

"Companies had to make workers redundant and some companies moved interstate.

"If we don't get some boost we run the risk of losing capacity and skills."

Northern Midlands Council deputy mayor David Downie said the Perth bypass and upgrades to the Midland Highway between Perth and Launceston would improve the economic wellbeing of the region.

"It will take a bottleneck out of the road to Launceston," he said.

"It will also help the transport hub around Launceston airport, which has taken off in the past 10 years and has attracted $1 billion of investment from wind farm manufacturing to the supermarket distribution centre."

Federal Community Services Minister and Member for Franklin Julie Collins said the submission was "a very significant ask".

"I will be doing everything I can to ensure Tasmania gets the best possible deal," she said.


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