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Archive for April, 2019

Yet another slow season start is expected to see North Queensland shelve plans to rest playmaker Johnathan Thurston mid-year.


Co-captain Thurston had hoped to follow Jarryd Hayne’s lead and take a rest period during the season in a bid to be fresh for an NRL finals push.

But it all depended on the Cowboys breaking a nasty habit by hitting the ground running in 2015.

Cowboys coach Paul Green on Tuesday scoffed at the prospect of resting Thurston after North Queensland slumped to a 0-3 start following their last round 44-22 thumping in Brisbane.

“In the short term, absolutely not,” Green said of giving Thurston a break.

“I don’t even know why you are talking about that right now.

“We need to get some confidence.

“We need to play well and he is an integral part of that.”

Thurston would be forgiven for already relishing a mid-season sabbatical after looking worse for wear by the end of round two.

Thurston was left with a “shiner” following their second round loss to Newcastle, sparking Cowboys claims that their leader was illegally targeted.

Despite their horror season start, Green did not swing the axe for Monday night’s home clash with Melbourne.

In his only changes, he replaced wingers Kyle Feldt and Justin O’Neill (concussion, shoulder) with Matthew Wright and Antonio Winterstein, who returns after mourning the sudden death of his younger brother earlier this month.

“We are not hanging in the contest long enough and that has a lot to do with our defence,” Green said.

“Then you leak points and your confidence starts to suffer, one thing feeds the other.

“But you can’t forget how to play footy.

“They have to be prepared to fight harder when the game is on the line and get back to do what we do best.”

Woodside Petroleum is axing 300 jobs and freezing pay across the organisation as it deals with a plunge in the oil price.


The fresh job cuts are expected to be carried out over the coming weeks and come after the company shed 320 roles in 2014.

Australia’s largest oil and gas player has been on a cost cutting drive as the price of oil halved over the past year.

Perth-based Woodside says it is accelerating its efficiency plans to ease pressure on its bottom line after completing a business review to address the impact of the downturn in the commodities market.

“The outcome is that about 300 roles will be made redundant,” Woodside said in a statement.

But Woodside did not indicate whether the cuts would be made on operational sites or at the company’s Perth headquarters.

In an e-mail to staff Mr Coleman said Woodside had decided there will be no “immediate” remuneration increases.

“This applies to all employees. The situation will be reviewed in the third quarter,” he wrote.

At its recent full year results, Mr Coleman revealed Woodside is cutting its 2015 operating expenditure by around 15 per cent.

Mr Coleman was paid $8.5 million after receiving a $2 million annual pay rise and almost $3 million in short-term bonuses during 2014.

Woodside’s net profit rose to $US2.4 billion for the year to December 31, up from $US1.7 billion and the company raised its final dividend by 40 per cent to $US1.44.

The company also said it was on track to reach its 2015 production target of 84 million to 91 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe).

Shares in the company were 11 cents, or 0.3 per cent, lower at $35.42 at 1405 AEDT.

Certainly not an ideal build-up for a team bidding to join West Indies and Australia as the third nation to successfully defend their World Cup title.


But what India gained, and Shastri overlooked that point, is valuable knowledge of local conditions in the four months which made them the World Cup’s best prepared team outside the co-hosts.

Their pace bowlers, a revelation at the World Cup, figured out the right length they need to bowl to succeed and the batsmen went into the tournament knowing what kind of bounce to expect on surfaces vastly different from the ones back home.

Hardly a surprise that while three of their neighbours — Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — crashed out in the quarter-finals, India remain the only team from the sub-continent to make the last four, and make it in style.

They have looked a completely transformed side under Mahendra Singh Dhoni as India became the first team to claim 70 wickets in seven matches and remained unbeaten going into Thursday’s semi-final against Australia.

“They’ve just played a lot more cricket here and getting used to the lengths you need to bowl,” Australia opener Aaron Finch said on Tuesday.

“It’s no rocket science, they’re bowling well, they’re batting well, they’re going to be tough to beat,” the right-hander said.

Dhoni too admitted the tri-series served an important purpose for his side.

“We wanted to give players more opportunities in the tri-series to some extent,” he said after the group stage victory against South Africa. “We pushed for the wins, but we were not able to get that.

“But at the same time we knew with the World Cup right at the corner, this tournament was much more important to us and we had to make sure people with niggles, they don’t come into the World Cup.”

(Additional reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

FINA said the suspension will start from Sept.


3 2014 and run through March 2, 2016. All of Park’s results from the ban’s start date will be annulled and any prize money returned.

An appeal against the decision must be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within the next 21 days, FINA said in a statement.

The 25-year-old stands no chance of competing in Rio under the existing rules at the Korean Olympic Committee but the KOC would not rule out that possibility altogether.

“…according to the rule on nation team athlete selection under the KOC regulations, anyone who has been subject to disciplinary action for doping cannot be selected as a national athlete for three years following the end of the disciplinary period,” said KOC spokesperson Park Dong-hee.

“Once the 18 month disciplinary period is over, and if(Park’s) participation in the Rio Olympics becomes a social issue, it will be possible to review the revision of athlete selection rules from the perspective of what is best for national interest.”

Known affectionately as ‘Marine Boy,’ Park became a national hero in South Korea when he powered his way to gold in the 400 metres freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Games.

His wholesome, clean-cut image and poster-boy looks have made him one of the most celebrated athletes in South Korea and while his performances in the pool have dipped in recent years his popularity has never wavered.

The swimmer’s smiling face featured on endorsements for milk, headache pills, air conditioners, and communications equipment. Park was also a goodwill ambassador for the ‘Dynamic Korea’ promotion aimed at boosting the country’s image abroad.

Park had been left “shocked” by the positive test, which local media said had been a result of a local hospital giving him an injection that contained testosterone.

Seoul prosecutors have charged a doctor with professional negligence, according to Yonhap news agency.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; additional reporting by Seoul newsroom; Editing by Frank Pingue/Sudipto Ganguly)

(Transcript from World News Radio)


A landmark deal to slash penalty rates in exchange for higher wages has been struck in South Australia’s retail sector.



As Karen Ashford reports, it sets a national precedent that could transform Australia’s workplace relations.


(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)


It’s heralded as a win-win that cuts business costs without harming workers’ wages.


Unions and the business lobby in South Australia have agreed to reduce penalty rates, but boost wage levels, in what could set a national precedent.


Rhett Biglands is a former footballer who runs sportswear stores in Adelaide.


He says the deal struck between the Shop Workers Union and peak employer body Business SA is welcome news.


“It just results in flexibility with more opening hours, more hours for staff and the consumer in the end get to shop more often and have more flexibility with their social life. So I think the main one it will help is uni students as well. Some of our uni students just work flat out and have no social life because they have to work on Sundays – they’ll now be able to time manage and work better throughout Monday to Fridays and get some social life back.”


One of Mr Bigland’s workers is Phil Spagnuolo.


As a student who struggles to find a work-life balance, he thinks the deal will deliver real benefits.


“Just with the flexibility – Instead of having to, you know, always have my weekends booked out for working, because I know I’m going to have that higher in my rate, I’m going to have that across the board so I’m going to be more flexible during the week and it’s going to allow me to free up my weekends and vice a versa, as I need.”


The deal helps business by abolishing Saturday and evening penalty rates, halving the current penalty rates for Sunday, and reducing public holiday penalties from double-time-and-a-half, back to double time.


In return workers will receive higher-than-award wages, giving them an extra $60 a week, an annual 3 per cent pay rise, the right to refuse Sunday and public holiday work, and every second weekend off.


Peter Malinauskas is the secretary of the so-called shoppies union.


“It demonstrates that the existing fair work act allows employers to negotiate with unions and employees to deliver outcomes that are potentially beneficial for both the employer and employees. We think that is a real step forward in the right direction on behalf of the business community, which otherwise up until this point have simply been advocating that penalty rates should be slashed or abolished without giving anything to employees in return.”


The deal affects about two-thirds of South Australia’s small and medium retail traders, and some 40,000 workers.


The Chief Executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kate Carnell, says the deal could be a boost for the struggling retail sector.


“It doesn’t get rid of penalty rates. They’re still there. But it significantly reduces and helps those small businesses open the hours that their customers want them there. For small businesses to be able to compete they need to be open. To be open they need to be able to afford staff. And that’s what this is about.”


The federal government has asked the Productivity Commission to examine the workplace relations framework, including penalty rates – but Peter Malinauskas says that’s unnecessary.


“This agreement demonstrates that the approach that the Abbott government have been supporting of trying to cut workers’ entitlements, cut workers’ penalty rates without giving them anything in return is wrong. This demonstrates that the Abbott government should stop its aggressive IR agenda and instead allow the current system to work.”


South Australian Labor frontbencher Mark Butler wholeheartedly agrees.


“This is what we envisaged when Paul Keating’s government put together the enterprise bargaining model more than 20 years ago -this is exactly the model that we envisaged and it’s in stark contrast to the idea that you could go up to the industrial commission and try unilaterally to change penalty rates across the country.”


There’s been a mixed response from federal MPs – some , like crossbencher Ricky Muir are concerned about any cuts to penalty rates …


“I’m a supporter of penalty rates, I’ve been a beneficiary of penalty rates. And I certainly didn’t work into weekends or afternoon shifts, where I didn’t get to spend time with my family and children, for the love of the job. I did it to actually try to get ahead in life.”


…but others like Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm back the bold new approach.


“Cutting the weekend penalty rates in SA is great news, fantastic news. Bob Day (SA family first Senator) and I have been banging on (talking) about this for months. It is just ridiculous that people who want to work on weekends are priced out of the market by silly rules. It is great news.”


Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon says the deal recognises a social reality.


“It’s always been my position that there needs to be greater flexibility for small employers, that in hospitality and retail Saturdays and Sundays are pretty much ordinary trading days.”


Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says the deal is a step forward.


The new system will be voluntary for workers and employers.