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Film probes Chappell death

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 06 Juli 2013 | 19.55

A NEW 90-minute special investigation into the murder of Bob Chappell will screen on Foxtel later this month.

The documentary, produced by filmmaker and psychologist Eve Ash, is called Shadow of Doubt and digs into the evidence and witnesses that formed the case that resulted in the jailing of Susan Neill-Fraser for her partner's murder.

The special presentation includes interviews with Neill-Fraser's family, which is continuing to fight to prove her innocence, solicitor Barbara Etter, and a member of Tasmania Police.

Chappell was last seen alive on January 26, 2009, when he was working on the couple's yacht, moored at Sandy Bay.

The next morning, the yacht was found sabotaged and sinking. A small amount of fresh blood was found, but there was no sign of Chappell.

Neill-Fraser always maintained her innocence but was nonetheless convicted of Chappell's murder, the first time someone in Tasmania has been jailed for murder with no witnesses to the crime, no weapon, no forensic directly linking her to the crime, and no body.

Neill-Fraser is four years into her 23-year jail term.

The documentary, Shadow of Doubt, premieres on Foxtel's CI Channel (Crime and Investigation) on Monday, July 29 at 7.30pm.

timothy.martain@news.com.au


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Minister, show some heart

PRESSURE is building on new Immigration Minister Tony Burke to move teenage asylum-seekers out of the Pontville detention centre as soon as possible.

Labor senator Lisa Singh yesterday wrote to Mr Burke, urging him to place the centre's young unaccompanied detainees in the community.

Her comments added to a growing chorus of concern at the length of time the boys were being held in the detention centre outside Hobart.

National Children's Commissioner Megan Mitchell also said she had written to the Department of Immigration about the need for community-based detention.

Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support spokeswoman Emily Conolan noted that young asylum-seekers were being removed from the offshore detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and she urged Mr Burke to do the same at Pontville, which holds up to 300 boys aged 13-18.

"I don't think the recreational areas and schooling are problems," she said. "The management is trying hard to improve things.

"The primary concern is the length of stay. It contributes to depression and the disturbances and upsets we've been hearing about."

Ms Conolan said the boys needed clear information about what was happening to them and a definite time limit on how long they would be kept in the detention centre.

"It is time to make some demands that the minister acts on that," she said.

The Mercury this week contacted Mr Burke's office numerous times for comment on the situation at Pontville, but received no response.

He did give an interview on ABC TV's Lateline on Wednesday night in which he discussed Pontville and the issue of children in detention.

"I've put a very direct focus on this from the day I got the portfolio," he said. "I become by law their legal guardian from the moment that I become the minister and I take the responsibility very seriously.

"The information that I'm getting hold of now is not how many are there but how long they have individually been there. If you have children being held for a longer period of time, then you have a very different welfare issue.

"But what I also want to make sure of is I don't deal with it in a blanket way that creates a different problem of creating an incentive so that the smuggling operations think, 'OK, what we need to do now is put unaccompanied minors on the boats'. If I did that, it would be fundamentally against the welfare of children."

Up to 1000 Tasmanian households have offered to accommodate the young detainees but Ms Conolan said this was a complex issue.

"The home-stay program was never intended for children," she said. "The responsibility of putting a child into a home is similar to foster care and it takes effort and time and is difficult to organise."

philip.heyward@news.com.au


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Crime up amid cuts

TASMANIA Police is predicting a jump in public place assaults and a drop in the number of crimes solved this financial year.

The service's Operational Performance Targets report for 2013-14 reveals police management has lowered benchmarks in several serious crime categories.

Police sources say this is a new low for the service, which is battling cutbacks to staff and resources.

The new targets allow for an extra 180 people to become victims of public place assaults this year. The target for crime-solving has dropped from the 75 per cent achieved in 2012-13 to 71 per cent.

And despite a recent crackdown on serious drug dealing, this year's benchmark allows police to catch 40 fewer offenders than last year.

"This is unheard of," a senior officer told the Mercury.

"It basically says we're giving up on crime and doing the minimum to comply with the department's budget requirements.

"There's a fundamental breakdown in the management of this organisation that many are finding hard to live with."

Police management stands by the new performance targets, with Acting Deputy Commissioner Donna Adams quick to dispel the suggestion that Tasmanians should expect more crime in the year ahead.

"The operational performance targets have been set to reflect our allocation of 1120 police officers," she said.

"Tasmania Police recorded a strong performance in several areas, including public place assaults and clearing crime last financial year.

"Some of the targets are lower than the 2012-13 performance because they are set against a three-year average -- not just the previous year's performance."

Deputy Commissioner Adams said this allowed for "trends and fluctuations".

Sources railing against the lowered benchmarks say police morale has dropped in line with the department's budget, which lost $16 million in savings measures over the past few years.

zara.dawtrey@news.com.au


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Kingston public housing plan

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 05 Juli 2013 | 19.55

PLANS for a proposed Housing Tasmania subdivision at Huntingfield will go on display at an information session this afternoon at the Kingborough Council Chambers.

Human Services Minister Cassy O'Connor said the land opposite the Vodafone call centre was being assessed for up to 43 new lots.

"I encourage people to have their say about this Huntingfield proposal," she said.

Housing Tasmania has completed a subdivision plan for the first stage. It will offer diverse affordable housing options, including house and land packages for people on low to medium incomes.

Representatives from Housing Tasmania, as well as planning and technical specialists, will be at the Kingborough Council Chambers today from 1 to 5pm to discuss the draft subdivision plan.


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Wild weather for weekend

A SEVERE weather warning has been issued for southern Tasmania this weekend.

The State Emergency Service today warned residents to expect low-level snowfalls, extreme high tides later today and tomorrow and damaging westerly winds this afternoon and evening.

Householders are advised to remove any loose items from around their homes and yards to prepare for the anticipated onslaught.

When the bad weather hits, residents should keep clear of fallen power lines and avoid walking or driving through water flowing over roads and bridges.

Tasmania Police issued a warning to motorists earlier today to avoid highland roads after heavy snowfalls overnight.

The affected roads are Highland Lakes Rd to Golden Valley, Highland Lakes Rd to Bothwell, Marlborough Rd, and Poatina Rd to Highland Lakes Rd.

Police say all motorists should exercise extreme care when driving on elevated roads.

  • Please send your wild weather pictures to readerspix@dbl.newsltd.com.au

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Man charged over house fire

A MAN is facing an arson charge after a house fire at Devonport.

Fire crews were called to the Kelly St property about 5pm yesterday after a blaze broke out, with damage confined to the kitchen.

Nobody was home at the time.

Devonport CIB today said they had charged a 23-year-old man with unlawfully setting fire to property.

The man was expected to face court later today.


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Cygnet home razed by fire

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 04 Juli 2013 | 19.55

FIRE investigators are sifting through the remains of a house in Slab Rd, Cygnet, which was razed by fire overnight.

Tasmania Fire Service crews were called to the blaze about 11.50pm yesterday but were too late to save the property.

The house was completely destroyed by the fire, with the cause yet to be determined.

A fire watch was maintained overnight, with fire scene and forensic examinations due to start this morning.

The house was vacant at the time of the fire.


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Public sector pay talks begin

NEGOTIATIONS begin today to decide the pay and conditions for 15,000 of the state's public sector workers for the next three years.

With the State Budget predicting consumer price index increases of 2.5 per cent a year, unions have signalled that their members expect increases of at least that amount to avoid real wages going backwards.

The enterprise bargaining negotiations have the potential to put further pressure on Tasmania's already tight finances.

An overwhelming majority of union members employed in the public sector have endorsed a log of claims that will form the basis of negotiations.

Community and Public Sector Union general secretary Tom Lynch today said the two per cent wage increases of recent years could not continue forever.

"Members have acknowledged the difficult financial circumstances Tasmania has been through by exercising wage restraint over the past two years," he said.

Health and Community Services Union assistant secretary Tim Jacobson said unions would work with the Government to try to achieve a satisfactory result without blowing the budget.

"In the claim they are saying that wages can't continue to fall in real terms but are also putting forward the measures that will make the savings needed to deliver decent wage outcomes," he said.

Premier Lara Giddings said the Government would negotiate with the seven unions involved in the process in good faith.

"The State Government is committed to working constructively with the CPSU to progress the broad range of issues contained within the log of claims," she said.

Ms Giddings has promised a memorandum of understanding to enshrine shared values and principles to guide the development of a modern and productive public service

"A number of these issues are also relevant to the separate discussions we will be having with public sector unions to progress the memorandum of understanding I outlined at the Labor State Conference at the weekend.

"It is my intention to sign a MoU before the next election that enshrines a shared set of values and principles to underpin a modern adaptive workforce and the delivery of high quality services."

Negotiations over the public sector agreement are expected to take up to three months.


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Sick walker flown to RHH

THE Westpac Police Rescue helicopter has airlifted a sick walker from the Overland Track.

Tasmania Police Sergeant Paul Steane said the 21-year-old Launceston woman became ill while walking the 65km-long track in the Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair National Park.

Together with her partner, the woman was picked up from the Kia Ora Hut in the Cradle Mountain region earlier today.

"She was treated at the scene by Ambulance Tasmania staff and then flown … to the Royal Hobart Hospital in a satisfactory condition," Sgt Steane said.


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Fire damages Rokeby house

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 03 Juli 2013 | 19.55

FIRE investigators will examine the scene of a blaze that damaged a Rokeby home overnight.

Tasmania Fire Service crews were called to the Landers Circle property just before 11pm.

The cause and origin of the fire are yet to be determined.

A fire watch was put in place last night and police and fire investigators returned this morning.

The home was unoccupied at the time.

Rokeby has been the scene of numerous house fires in the past two years, with the targets often unoccupied public housing properties.

Any information about the latest fire should be provided to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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Gerrans nabs Le Tour lead

ORICA-GREENEDGE grabbed the spotlight for the second consecutive day at the Tour de France after dominating Stage 4's team time trial and giving Simon Gerrans the yellow jersey.

The Australian outfit, which made its race debut last year, picked up its first Tour de France stage win thanks to Gerrans when he pipped Peter Sagan at the finish line of Stage 3 on Monday.

Orica's triumphant ride over a mainly flat course around Nice pushed Omega-Pharma off the virtual leaderboard by just one second.

Gerrans, who comes from Mansfield in Victoria's high country, now leads teammate Daryl Impey by one second in the general classification ahead of today's fifth stage.

"We weren't the favourites for this course but we went out and gave it everything we had," said Gerrans.

"On this team we're all good friends and we work hard to help each other.

"It's unbelievable. It's been a dream two days for us. It really doesn't get any better than this."

Despite having no yellow jersey contender in their nine-man team, Orica-GreenEdge were overjoyed at a prestigious collective win which means Gerrans will wear yellow into today's stage from Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille.

With no time bonuses on offer at the end of each day's stage, the former Australian champion could also realistically keep the race lead until the start of two Pyrenean stages beginning on Saturday.

Omega-Pharma had set the early pace in a time of 25min 57sec thanks in large part to the talents of Germany's world champion in the discipline, Tony Martin.

A win for the Belgian outfit would have put young Pole Michal Kwiatkowski into the yellow jersey and help make amends for Mark Cavendish's failure to win the sprinter-friendly opening stage in Corsica.

However the Belgian outfit was pushed into second by Orica's winning time of 25min56sec.

The Sky team of race favourite Chris Froome finished third on the stage 3secs off the winning pace, with his yellow jersey rival Alberto Contador and his Saxo Bank team a further six seconds off the pace.

Froome said Sky had been happy to finish high up without taking the lead of the race that would have forced them into using precious energy protecting the yellow jersey.

"The main objective of today was to come through without having lost any time on the big contenders, but we've actually come through it having gained a bit of time. So that's a fantastic thing," said the Kenyan-born Briton.

Despite losing six seconds to Froome, Contador was buoyed by a team performance which he said has given him assurances about his form.

"I think it was a good day for us. Of course it's always better if you finish in front of all your rivals, but if you look at the GC we are in contention," said the Spaniard.

"I'm very happy because the team gave 100 per cent. We are only four stages in, and I'm getting better every day. My aim is to be in perfect condition for the Pyrenees."

Garmin had hoped for the stage win that would have given David Millar the yellow jersey, 13 years after the big Scot wore it for the first time thanks to his victory in the prologue at the 2000 Tour.

But Millar admitted his personal performance in the race against the clock may have been decisive in leaving them with a 16sec deficit to virtual leaders Omega-Pharma that he said "may as well be light years".

"I wasn't on a good day, and that lost us some time. But we were beaten fair and square so we can't be too hard on ourselves," said Millar, who admitted his disappointment at not taking the yellow jersey.

"It was really hard not to have it in my mind beforehand. I'm very disappointed to be honest."


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Final farewell for Hodgman

THE extraordinary life of lawyer, and former Liberal MP Michael Hodgman has been celebrated at a packed memorial service at Hobart's Federation Concert Hall.

About 1000 people, including the Governor Peter Underwood, the Premier Lara Giddings, Hobart Lord Mayor Damon Thomas and other VIPs, heard Mr Hodgman was a man who embraced life, and was honourable, gentle, charming and generous.

Wearing his father's distinctive Australian flag tie, State Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said his father was a man who loved his family, Tasmania, the Liberal Party and the Geelong Football Club foremost among his broad range of passions.

"He promised he would never waste a day of his life and he didn't -- right up to the last precious day we spent with him," Mr Hodgman said.

Farewell Michael Hodgman

Broadcaster Charles Woolley told the service that Mr Hodgman was a man with few enemies and lots of friends, the passionate advocate for all things Tasmania.

Michael Hodgman's daughter, Tori Hodgman, said her father was an inspiration who would have loved the pomp and ceremony of his final farewell.

"Dad would be loving every second of this," she said.

Ms Hodgman said her father was a devoted husband, father and member of parliament who had been unafraid to tread his own course.

The 80-minute service featured bible readings, the Geelong Football Club theme song and concluded with the singing of God Save the Queen.

Mr Hodgman, 74, died last month after a long illness.

Affectionately known as The Mouth from the South during his time in federal parliament, he was known for his intellect, his advocacy skills, his astonishing memory and his sense of humour.


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High winds cause havoc

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 02 Juli 2013 | 19.55

CATASTROPHE: The catamaran is smashed to pieces at Opossum Bay. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

WILD weather kept emergency services busy yesterday as winds ripped off roofs, downed power lines and tore boats from their moorings.

Extreme wind gusts are set to continue this week with 80-90km/h gusts predicted for today, easing a little tomorrow and Thursday and returning on Friday with temperatures plummeting to 6C and snow predicted for Mt Wellington and the Central Highlands.

A severe weather warning of winds up to 100km/h was issued by the Weather Bureau at 9.30am yesterday but emergency services were shocked at the ferocity of the gusts.

"I think it took everyone by surprise," Tasmania Police radio room sergeant Nick Cooper said.

The Weather Bureau's meteorologist Vicky Lucas said Maatsuyker Island had the highest wind gust of 133km/h, Mt Wellington was close behind with 131km/h and Hobart city recorded a gust of 98km/h.

"It's not a week for wearing skirts," Ms Lucas said.

Boats lost their moorings at Geilston Bay and Old Beach and one boat owner, who did not want to be identified, was forced to standby and watch his large catamaran smashed against the rocks of a narrow cove north of Opossum Bay.

"It's heart-wrenching when you lose a boat," the middle-aged man said.

A member of the public also reported that a yacht was flattened by a shipping container at the Brighton Industrial Estate.

The Mercury was told the owner parked the $30,000 boat on a trailer attached to a 4WD in a space between three stacks of shipping containers three levels high to protect the boat from getting scratched.

One of the containers was blown over in the wind and landed on the boat, flattening it.

No one was injured in the incident.

The whole of the Northern Suburbs went off the power grid just after 12.30pm when a large piece of iron roofing torn from a factory in Sunderland St, Moonah, smashed into powerlines.

Aurora workers and SES were forced to wait until the winds died down before they could retrieve the roofing and restore power.

Police took over intersections at major junctions along the Brooker Highway until power was partially restored two hours later.

About 3600 Derwent Park, Goodwood, Moonah and Otago Bay customers, 1200 Sandy Bay and Lower Sandy Bay customers and 800 Howrah customers lost power.

Street lights were still out in Moonah, Lutana, Derwent Park, New Town and Cornelian Bay at 7pm last night.

About 20 commercial customers were still without power in Moonah.

Aurora crews worked until midnight restoring powerlines.

Coogans Furniture in Main St, Moonah, lost part of its roofing.

Emergency services were kept busy into the afternoon when a large tree blocked half a lane on the East Derwent Highway at Old Beach and two cars collided on the eastern approach to the Tasman Bridge.

Live power outage information is available on Aurora's website or its Twitter feed.


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Gerrans wins Tour stage 3

SIMON Gerrans hit the target again and collected Orica-GreenEDGE its first Tour de France stage win.

The whole operation was textbook perfect.

It was a win borne of pure class and selfless team commitment.

Simon Clarke was in the early breakaway so the rest of the team could sit back and protect Gerrans.

Once caught, he then helped Cameron Meyer and Michael Albasini chase down the late attack. The teamwork was then topped off by a flawless Daryl Impey leadout.

The whole operation was textbook perfect.

Best shots from Stage 3

Gerrans had pinpointed this stage some months ago and had been specifically preparing for it.

He is a role model for young athletes of any sport because he does the things that don't require talent. He trains right, he rests right, he eats right. Anything that is in his control he does right.

As for Clarke's bid to get the king of the mountains jersey, while in the early break, he raced exactly as he did as a 16-year-old at the Warragul Junior Track Carnival: attack, attack, attack. 

There's plenty more to come from the 26-year-old Clarke. 

Next stop is the team time trial and the first shuffling in the general classification for the main contenders.

Prior to the crashes on stage one Chris Froome's Sky team were the clear favourites for this stage. 

But things have changed.

Two of the major engines selected to drive the Sky train, dual Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas and former British champion Ian Stannard, were among the victims of the stage one carnage.

Thomas is the most seriously injured with a slight fracture of the pelvis which saw him struggle to get his leg over the bike at the start of stage two.

With a team that also includes Tasmania's Richie Porte, they are still among the favourites but these injuries will hurt.

For Cadel Evans his BMC team is looking good. BMC finished second in the team time trial in 2011 and six of the nine riders in this year's Tour were part of the team two years ago. This will give them plenty of confidence.

Before the Tour BMC probably would have signed on for simply not losing time to Froome. Now Evans may be holding out hope of taking time on his rival. 

The same can be said for Alberto Contador and his Saxo-Tinkoff team. 

The dark horse for the stage is Movistar, which includes top five contender Alejandro Velverde and two of the sport's young excitement machines – Columbian Nario Quintana and Rui Costa of Portugal.

Last year's Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) opened up with a team time trial and Movistar won it. They could deliver a big surprise on stage four.  

But with the injuries at Sky the team to beat is Garmin-Sharp, which includes young South Australian Rohan Dennis. 

They have a great record in this discipline and won the corresponding stage in 2011. 

A win for Garmin-Sharp could deliver David Millar into the yellow jersey 12 years and 362 days since he last led the Tour. This will be a record for the longest gap between stints in yellow.


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RBA keeps rates on hold

INTEREST rates have been left on hold at 2.75 per cent at the Reserve Bank's monthly board meeting.

The steep fall in the Australian dollar since mid-April from $US1.05 to US92c took the pressure off the RBA to act straight away.

But economists said homeowners can expect further rate cuts in the months ahead as the central bank retained its easing bias as the economy transitions away from the mining boom.

This RBA decision comes as the share market has clawed back most of yesterday's losses after the ASX 200 dropped 2 per cent on Monday on fears of a slowdown in China.

But a slew of upbeat data from the US and Europe has fuelled optimism about the global outlook and overshadowed concerns about China.

stephen.mcmahon@news.com.au


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Disability care boost for Tassie

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 01 Juli 2013 | 19.55

Human Services Minister Cassy O'Connor, Premier Lara Giddings and Braddon MHR Sid Sidebottom at the DisabilityCare Australia launch in Devonport. Picture: CHRIS KIDD

The Federal Government has begun the roll-out of its national disability insurance scheme with the official launch of trial sites in Tasmania, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

DisabilityCare Australia has today opened for business in three locations in Tasmania -- Devonport, Launceston and Hobart.

Speaking in Devonport, Federal Labor MHR for Braddon Sid Sidebottom said it was a momentous achievement.

"Finally people with disability, their families and carers have the certainty they deserve," Mr Sidebottom said.

"From today, young people aged 15 to 24 who are accessing existing disability services will start moving into the scheme.

"DisabilityCare Australia has staff in the Devonport, Launceston and Hobart offices and they've have been in contact with these people through their current providers.

"Already they've made appointments with many of the people who are due to move into the scheme during July."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd travelled to NSW's Hunter region today to formally open a new office for DisabilityCare in Newcastle, where a three-year trial site will also operate.

"It's really a special time," Federal Disability Minister Jenny Macklin told ABC local radio.

"People with disability will be able to choose when they get care, the sort of care and support they receive."

In its initial stage, the scheme will cover only a few hundred people.

The program is set to expand across the nation in coming years toward a full roll-out by 2018/19.

"We're expecting to double the size of disability support and care across our country over that seven-year period," Ms Macklin said.

About $19.3 billion of federal money has been committed over seven years to roll out the scheme by 2018/19, after which the government will provide more funds and the states will put up the rest.

The scheme will be part funded by a rise in the universal Medicare levy to two per cent, from 1.5 per cent, from next year.

DisabilityCare covers Australians in the event of significant disability and will fund the long-term care and support to about 410,000 people aged under 65.

AAP


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Hunger strike sparks alarm

The immigration detention centre at Pontville.

REFUGEE ADVOCATES have slammed the Federal Government's policy of detaining unaccompanied teenage boys at Pontville after it was revealed a 16-year-old Afghani detainee is on a hunger strike.

The Immigration Department has told the Mercury a detainee is being closely monitored at the Pontville centre after refusing to eat for an unconfirmed period of time.

"Food and water are available to this detainee at any time," a spokeswoman said.

Australian Greens Leader and Tasmanian senator Christine Milne says it is cruel to hold children behind a wire fence indefinitely.

"It is more important than ever that we get these kids out detention immediately," Senator Milne said.

"I welcome news that (new Federal Immigration Minister) Tony Burke said he will review children in detention.

"They should never have been there in the first place and I hope these sympathetic signals from the new Immigration Minister will lead to action."

Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support spokeswoman Emily Conolan said the boy had been a participant in the Pontville visitor's program and she had been in touch with his Hobart-based "buddy", who was planning to visit him.

A counsellor is also on site at the centre discussing ways in which the boy can get help without harming himself.

It is understood the teen has become very depressed after spending two months in detention on Christmas Island and another seven months at Pontville.

"The Federal Government's own recommendations show three months is the maximum tolerable time for adult refugees to be detained," Ms Conolan said.

"Clearly seven months is far too long for anyone, let alone a teenager."

Police were called to the centre late last month after a row broke out between Afghani and Vietnamese teens being held there.

Six people were taken to hospital but no charges have been laid and no further action taken by police.

Comment has been sought from Mr Burke's office.


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Wild winds cause havoc

Roofing iron wrapped around power lines in Sunderland St, Moonah. Picture: KIM EISZELE

THOUSANDS of premises around Hobart lost power this afternoon as winds up to 110km/h whipped across southern Tasmania.

Aurora Energy said about 3600 customers in Hobart's northern suburbs, including Goodwood, Moonah and Otago Bay, lost power as well as about 1200 customers in Sandy Bay and Lower Sandy Bay.

There were also 800 premises in Howrah that lost power after a tree damaged power lines.

Aurora said it had been advised that a roof had been blown through power lines.

By 3pm, power had been restored to all but 450 premises in West Moonah and Claremont.

Live power outage information is available on Aurora's website or their Twitter feed.

Do you have any pictures of wind damage?
Send them to readerspix@dbl.newsltd.com.au

The power outage also affected traffic lights, including on the Brooker Highway.

Police performed point duty at major roads along the highway.

The wild winds also blew at least one yacht form its mooring near South Arm, smashing it into rocks on the shore.


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Loved by my two mothers

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 30 Juni 2013 | 19.55

UNDERSTAND: Nick Outterside, who grew up with two mums, says opponents of same-sex marriage need to get over their fears. Picture: CHRIS KIDD

TEACHER Nick Outterside had two mums growing up through what he said was a happy, contented childhood.

Mr Outterside, who works in Burnie, wants those opposed to same-sex marriage and to same-sex couples adopting children to realise that children do not necessarily need a male and female parent.

"I don't want to sound conceited but I think I have grown up better than average," Mr Outterside said.

"I grew up in a house with openness, acceptance and tolerance. My parents were not good gay parents. They were just good parents."

An amendment to the Adoption Act was passed last Thursday and gay couples in Tasmania can now legally adopt children. The issue of same-sex marriage is still being debated.

Mr Outterside's biological mother is still alive but her partner of 35 years died of cancer last year.

Before she died, Mr Outterside pleaded with the Tasmanian Upper House to allow his mums to marry before it was too late.

That did not happen.

"They were life-long partners and referred to each other as wife," he said.

Mr Outterside and his brother grew up in inner Sydney. The fact he had two mums, rather than a traditional mother and father, was not an issue.

The boys still had male influences in their lives and both knew their biological fathers.

But he found talking about his childhood when he moved to Tasmania about five years ago prompted a different reaction.

"It is an irrational fear, but a fear nonetheless and I can't blame people for it," Mr Outterside said.

"We were raised well and actually fared better than some kids in the fact that we were raised in an environment where sexuality was talked about."

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said the change to the Adoption Act had removed the very last vestige of discrimination against same-sex couples in existing state law.

The Save Marriage Coalition yesterday seized on that quote.

Spokesman Guy Barnett said if the last vestiges of discrimination had been removed the Tasmanian Same-Sex Marriage Bill should be withdrawn immediately.

He said the adoption changes were adult-centric and not in the best interests of children.

However, the Tasmanian Greens said the the most important thing for children growing up was that they were raised in a house of love, and love did not discriminate.

"The obvious next step is to provide same-sex couples with the right to celebrate their love through marriage," Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim said.

helen.kempton@news.com.au


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Lotto luck pot of gold for Tassie

GOOD LUCK: Derwent Park Newsagency assistant Colleen Eyles and co-owner Glenn Commane at one of the luckiest places in Tasmania to buy a lotto ticket. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

IT was one of the biggest TattsLotto events of the year, and newsagents across the state yesterday reported they were flat out with customers hoping last night's $30 million Mid-Year Megadraw would make them instant millionaires.

And why not? Five Tasmanians have scored Division 1 prizes in TattsLotto so far this year, equating to more than $2.9 million in prizemoney.

According to Tatts, two Tassie suburbs share the Mid-Year Hotspot title -- Claremont and Devonport having both sold entries worth $832,269.66 in winnings this year.

Devonport has had the state's most winners since 2009, having sold four entries worth a total $3,756,819.45. The largest was $1,428,571.43.

In the south, Derwent Park ranks second, also with four winning entries. The largest was $1,363,636.37.

Last year 24 Australians began the new financial year as new millionaires after scoring an amazing $1.25 million each in the Mid-Year Megadraw.

Despite the large number of Tasmanian winners, many are reluctant to be identified. But they have wise words for those who get lucky.

John* was in his early 20s when he won $1.36 million in 2009 after buying a ticket at the Derwent Park Newsagency and says buying a house with his partner was his first priority.

He said the money had made everyday living easier and allowed him to be a stay-at-home dad.

He also bought a classic car but advised winners to lock their lump sum away in a bank for at least a month before spending any of it.

Derwent Park Newsagency struck gold in June last year when the Jones* family won $707,000. They have paid off their house, taken a few holidays and might retire early.

Stephen* described his $1 million win in 2009 as life-changing. From the proceeds of a ticket he bought from the Salamanca Newsagency, he travels every year, has invested in property and uses 10 per cent to spoil himself while living off the interest.

Caroline* won just over $380,000 in 2011 after buying a ticket at the Cove Hill Newsagency at Bridgewater. She invested it and cautions others to be careful who they tell.

Geoff* is still coming to terms with winning almost $970,000 18 months ago on a ticket bought at Winnings News and Lotto in Hobart. He warns others they will be overwhelmed by the options available to them.

* names changed


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Paddock to plate

MODERN FARMERS: Daniel Leesong with his wife Melanie and children, from left, Eleanor, 8, Noah, 4, Flynn, 7 months, Charles, 7, and George, 4, at his Cambridge property which he plans to develop. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

A HANDS-on farm tourism experience showcasing artisan cheese and chocolate makers, farm gate and pick-your-own stone fruit and berries is set to enhance the Coal River Valley's gastronomic reputation.

Leading Tasmanian tourism and hospitality players Daniel Leesong and Simon Currant plan to develop the boutique Coal River Farm, which Mr Leesong said would tap into a burgeoning worldwide demand, especially from Asia, for paddock-to-plate experiences.

"We want to celebrate the rich heritage of artisan production that Tasmania, and historically rural communities, have been known for," Mr Leesong said yesterday.

"We are proud residents of the Coal River Valley and love the community and its world-class produce. Bringing together people with traditional skills is what Coal River Farm is all about."

A development application for the small-scale, family-run operation is before Clarence Council.

Mr Leesong, a former Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive and state director of the Australian Hotels Association, hopes to turn the first sod on the project within 12 months.

Features of Coal River Farm, which is being backed by local tourism figure Simon Currant, the man behind Cradle Mountain Lodge and Peppermint Bay, will include a restaurant, a 0.4-hectate hydroponic strawberry farm, peach and apricot orchards, a cheese cave incorporating private dining facilities, and family picnic areas.

Mr Leesong said the proposed farm was a major opportunity for tourism growth and would have particular appeal for Asian tourists.

"One of their key drivers is being able to see what is being produced and to pick it themselves and feel at one with that process," he said.

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief Luke Martin said the scale, location and innovative nature of the proposal represented a potential boon for the economy.

"If there was one particular development concept that captured where we want to go with food and wine from a tourism perspective in Tasmania, this is it," he said.

duncan.abey@news.com.au


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