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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Comments Off on Time to save Anzac Day from cheap war of words

Time to save Anzac Day from cheap war of words

Time to save Anzac Day from cheap war of words

ON GUARD: An Anzacs don’t deserve to become pawns in a “deeply demeaning annual political battle”, the author says.Another Anzac Day. Another battle in the culture wars.
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Last year Yassmin Abdel-Magied was at the eye of the storm.

I wrote a column standing up for her freedom of speech in the face of an extraordinary and unrelenting attack about her supposed lack of respect for Anzac Day.

This year, sadly, but rather predictably, there were new battlefields and more confected scandals.

Last week, Steve Price and Karl Stefanovic condemned a cinema chain for the “grubby cash grab” of releasing the movieAvengers: Infinity Waron ANZAC Day.

Read more: How we marked Anzac Day in Newcastle and around the Hunter region

Stefanovic thundered that to watch a movie was to neglect the significance of the great sacrifices of the Diggers, a point of view that didn’t get much traction as, among many other things, every pub is open on Anzac Day for hours of drinking and two-up, punctuated by the footy.

Now incoming Defence Chief Angus Campbell has come under fire from a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and by the usual conservative commentators because he has banned Australian soldiers from using death-style iconography including the grim reaper and the skull and cross bones.

Former sergeant Justin Huggett attacked the directive on Facebook and then with shock-jock Ray Hadley proclaiming it as “political correctness gone mad”.

The death imagery is grotesque, straight out of a violent video game or a bikie gang and reflects a one-dimensional idea of what a soldier should be – an unfeeling, defiantly-masculine, brutal killing machine.

Huggett has talked about this ban going against the pride and history of the Australian military. Which is funny because there are no reports of the Anzac troops landing at Gallipoli proudly flying the skull and cross bones of the Jolly Roger.

Read more: The 50 finest photos from Anzac Day 2018

While it is true that George Orwell, who fought in the Spanish Civil War, did famously say that wars are won by fighting, no army in history has ever been focussed on indiscriminate killing. Indeed over the centuries there have been developed strict and sophisticated laws relating to war and the use of armed force.

My father, who is 91, saw action in Europe at the end of the Second World War. He has never talked about his experience of war, nor has he ever marched on Anzac Day. I suspect many are like him.

But having seen the face of battle he is deeply suspicious of politicians and commentators who demand that there is a right and wrong way to honour those who served in war. After all, to dictate that there is only one way to love one’s country and to be a patriot is to act exactly like the people that we all fought against in the two great wars of the last century.

Or to quote Orwell again, “All the war-propaganda … invariably comes from people who are not fighting.”

We honour and respect the Anzacs not by wrapping ourselves in the flag or displaying death insignia but by understanding that our soldiers, sailors and nurses who have served in war have in the words of Paul Keating, “taught us to endure hardship, to show courage, to be bold as well as resilient, to believe in ourselves, to stick together”.

In other words, the deep patriotism of every Anzac soldier has to be rescued from a kind of tawdry chest-beating nationalism. They served because they loved their country and their fellow citizen.

They certainly don’t deserve to become a pawn in a deeply demeaning annual political battle.

Duncan Fine is a lawyer and Fairfaxcolumnist.

Comments Off on Hunter Hurricanes claim last-ditch victory over UNSW Wests Magpies

Hunter Hurricanes claim last-ditch victory over UNSW Wests Magpies

Hunter Hurricanes claim last-ditch victory over UNSW Wests Magpies

SAVES: Hunter Hurricanes goalkeeper Aleksander Ruzic (red cap). Picture: SImone De PeakThe Hunter Hurricanes will take renewed confidence into this weekend’s final Australian Water Polo League round following a last-ditch 7-6 victory at Lambton Poolon Tuesday night led by goalkeeperAleksander Ruzic.
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Hurricanes men’s coach Dan Robinson said Ruzic was responsible for up to 15 saves before Mitch Robinson slotted home the winner for the second-placed team with just one minute remaining against fellow title contenders UNSW Wests Magpies.

“Alek Ruzic was phenomenal,” coach Robinson said.

“I can’t tell you exactly how many stops he made, but it would have to be 12 or 15 easily. He kept us in the game.”

The finals-bound Hurricanes led 4-1 at half-time but the visitors fought back, featuring a 5-1 run, to lead by one in the fourth and final quarter.

Hunter managed to stem the flow and equalise with the Magpies at 6-all before key player Robinson stepped up to convertin the closing stages.

“I was from the bad side of the pool [his weak side] and he managed to score a cross-cage goal with one minute to go,” coach Robinson said.

“It was a pretty good effort.”

Robinson declared it “one of our best performances this year” and despite difficult road trips on Saturday and Sundayto facefourth-placed Cronulla Sharks and minor premiers Sydney University Lions respectively he feels confident of holding onto a top-two spot ahead of finals from May 4.

“We have two tough games this weekend, but we want to finish top two,” he said.

“We have put ourselves in the best possible position to do that now. The boys are pretty excited about it all.”

The Hurricanes gotthrough the catch-up fixture, postponed from April 14 because of lighting,without any injuries.

Comments Off on Cenotaph steward steps down after 78 years

Cenotaph steward steps down after 78 years

Cenotaph steward steps down after 78 years

Dignitaries, including Julie Bishop, congratulated retiring cenotaph custodian Wally Scott-Smith.After 78 years as chief attendant of the Cenotaph in Sydney’s Martin Place, Wally Scott-Smith has watched the sun rise on the monument for the last time in his official capacity during the Anzac Day dawn service.
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The 96-year-old is retiring as the monument’s chief attendant after nearly eight decades of unwavering commitment.

“He’s escaped from hospital twice, with morphine drips no less, just to get here and do his job,” thousands gathered in the pre-dawn chill were told in a tribute to the retiring figure on Wednesday.

Mr Scott-Smith had once desperately wanted to join the army, following in the footsteps of his father.

He enlisted in 1937, but was unable to take his place after having surgery to remove about 30 centimetres of his bowel due to cancer.

It was a few years later in 1940, as a Rovers Scouts leader, that Mr Scott-Smith first came to clean the Cenotaph.

By 1946, he was asked if he would like to be its caretaker, a posting he’s held ever since.

Despite his long tenure, Mr Scott-Smith said he hadn’t expected to receive a tribute at his final dawn service.

“I was surprised. I just said that I was going to retire, but I didn’t expect it to happen the way it did,” he told reporters beside the monument.

He said he’s taken joy in the job, which has been his way of serving those who have lost loved ones in war.

But it won’t he his last Anzac Day at Martin Place.

“Next year I’ll come, sit in the chair over there and point at the fellas doing it here and if they’re not doing it I’ll go crook,” he said.

Australian Associated Press

Comments Off on Reflections on 50 years

Reflections on 50 years

Reflections on 50 years

CURRENT SCHOOL LEADERS: From left to right, Kotara High School principal Mark Snedden, girl captain Hannah Short, boy captain Ben Frohlich, and inset, the school emblem, designed in 1967.Brief historyKotara High School celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018 and is proud to reflect on the milestone.
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KHS opened it’s doors to students on February 1, 1968, with an intake of 212 first form students and 10 teachers. William McCulloch was the first principal.

The school was the culmination of years of work beginning in November 1963 with the formation of a provisional P&C Association to advise the Minister for Education on possible sites and enrolments.

The rapid population expansion in the area bounded by Kotara, Adamstown Heights and Highfields and the implementation of co-educational schooling had prompted the need for a new high school.

Each successive year after 1968 the school was expanded by the addition of an extra form, accompanied by additions to both teaching and ancilliary staff.

On the day of opening, A and B blocks and the canteen were completed but it would be another six years until C (1971) and D (1973) blocks were done. Classes continued to operate throughout. 1974 was the first year the school consisted of all six forms.

The lack of a school hall proved to be a continual problem in the early history of the facility, exposing everyday operations like school assemblies, presentation days, school dances, school musicals, student exhibitions andvisiting performances to the weather, heat, rain and wind.

This was alleviated with the opening of a Multi-Purpose Centre in 1997. A number of additional buildings have been added since andthe libraryextended.

Today Kotara High School is aa comprehensive co-educational high school with about 1000 students and approximately 100 staff including teachers and support staff.

The school prides itself on teamwork between staff, students, parents and members of the community and has a strong SRC and a very active P&C.

Mark Snedden2018 PrincipalI am delighted to be writing within Kotara High School’s 50th Anniversary Herald supplement. As the current Principal of the school it is an honour to invite our community to attend some of the events outlined later in the feature.

Kotara High School is a fantastic public school that has a strong commitment to Public Education and a celebrated academic, cultural and sporting history.

Our school has been instrumental in the development of our wider community, in the citizens that we have produced over fifty years, and the accolades we have brought to our town.

I look forward to our celebrations, and sharing our rich history with all of Newcastle.

Hannah Short2018 Girls School CaptainKotara High School’s motto is “We Aim High” and has been for 50 years now.

It has been a place of learning, friendship and opportunity for half a century, providing students with the skills they need in order to thrive within society.

Words cannot accurately describe how honoured I feel to be in this leadership position at the time of this milestone.

I first noticed the ‘EST 1968’ sign the moment I began my first day at Kotara High in Year 7.

Never could I have imagined that six years later I would be one of the leaders who has the pleasure of celebrating it’s 50th year.

I see my role within the school as being a role model for my peers, someone to talk to, and a representative of our school to the wider community.

Our leadership executive and SRC work very close with both students and staff to ensure the best experiences and opportunities are being offered to the students at all levels.

The values of Kotara High are expressed thoroughly, such as respect and responsibility, and it is vital that all students uphold these values.

Students should feel proud to attend Kotara High School, as it is a wonderful place that allows students to express our individuality and prepares them for the outside world.

I’m excited for this school’s future, as I see new and innovating ideas being developed to further create an exceptional learning space.

In another 50 years time, I plan to revisit Kotara High that has no doubt shaped myself and many others into the young adults we are today, and the future leaders of tomorrow.

Ben Frolich2018 Boys School CaptainAs I reflect on Kotara High School I am overwhelmingly pleased that I have the privilege of leading our school for its 50th year. The opportunity to record my feelings at this important moment in the school’s history gives me immense pride.

This is a school that has allowed me, and so many others great opportunities.

Looking back on my years at Kotara High Schools I see a proud history that reflects a strong community and a cohesive school population. I also see an even stronger future.

The commitment I have as School Captain to perform my duties to the highest standard is part of an ongoing tradition of strong student leadership.

I carry on a legacy from previous captains that ensures all pupils are represented with enthusiasm and inclusion. I felt this when I was a junior student and the school continues to build student programs that reflect the genuine needs of all students.

During this year of celebration I have realised that where visions for the future are essential, so is strength drawn from the past.

As past students and staff return to Kotara High I hope they see a school that still reflects the vision they had of it as well as a school that is moving forward to a successful future.

Comments Off on Sabre Norris becomes a brand ambassador

Sabre Norris becomes a brand ambassador

Sabre Norris becomes a brand ambassador

Sabre Norris becomes a brand ambassador All Smiles: Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. She aims to skate at the Olympics. Picture: Katherine Griffiths
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Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. Picture: Katherine Griffiths

Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. Picture: Katherine Griffiths

Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. Picture: Katherine Griffiths

Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. Picture: Katherine Griffiths

Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. Picture: Katherine Griffiths

Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. Picture: Katherine Griffiths

Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. Picture: Katherine Griffiths

Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. Picture: Katherine Griffiths

Sabre Norris at the Bowl-A-Rama skateboard competition in February. Picture: Katherine Griffiths

Sabre Norris and Tony Hawk.

Sabre Norris on The Ellen Show.

Sabre Norris.

Bigge, Naz, Sockie and Sabre Norris.

Sabre takes on trolls.

Biggie, Sabre and Sockie.

Sabre Norris surfing.

TweetFacebookShe’s bubbly, brightand marketable.

So it can’t come as a complete surprise that Newcastle’s Sabre Norris has become a brand ambassador at age 13.

She’s long been known as a skilled skateboarder and talented surfer.

But her talents extend beyond boardriding.

Videos on her YouTube channel, Sabre Norris and the Norris Nuts, can attract more than a million hits.

They detail the capers of Sabre and her three siblings, brother Biggy and sisters Sockie and Naz.

It’s these things, along with her confidence at handling media interviews, that attracted the attention of sponsors.

On Sunday, though, she’ll put media and commercial commitments to one side to focus solely on competing in a female open skateboarding competition at Five Dock Skatepark in Sydney.

“It’s the biggest comp in skateboarding at the moment,” Sabre said, of the Vans Park Series Oceania Continental Championships.

At the event, she’ll be attempting to qualify for the World Championshipsin Chinain October.

This would be another big step towards reaching her dream of competing at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. She has been making progress.

In February, she won the female event at Bowl-A-Rama in Bondi, beating girls aged 19, 17 and 23.

“I like to go well in the comps because I like to win, but it’s always good when you’re having fun,” she said.

Usually, she’s “just skating with my brothers and sisters”.

“That’s kind of all that matters,” she said.

This kid may have her feet on the ground, but she’s also known for her sense of humour.

She became a household name after joking on The Today Show in 2016 that her dad, Olympic swimmer and bronze medalist Justin Norris, had a taste for ice cream and “had to suck his gut in for photos”.

Karl Stefanovic was in stitches. Before she knew it, she was whisked off to the US to appear on The Ellen Show.

She stirred her dad up again on the talk show, telling Ellen DeGeneres that “swimming sucks”.

“It’s just really boring, you just watch a line, it’s like … not fun,” she said.

Sabre’s rise in the sport and media worlds has inevitably led to commercial opportunities.

Skateboarding is renowned for its sponsorships. A skateboarder with a sponsor is a skateboarder with credibility.

But Sabre’s recent moves suggest she may be selective with her choices in the commercial arena.

Sheshowedshe hada social conscience when she appeared in a recent anti-bullying campaign on Channel 10’s The Project.

“To be honest there are twoSabres –a computer one where people think I’m popular, then the other real-life one which is the opposite of popular,” Sabre wrote on Instagram at the time.

“The place I fit in the least is at the skate park and the surf, which hurts because this is the place I want to fit in the most.”

Then earlier this week, she joined with Specsavers to promote the value of children getting their eyes tested.

With Sabre and her sisters all needing glasses, it seemed like a good fit.

“Children don’t know their eyesight is suffering and because it can be something that’s not physical or painful, it’s hard for us as parents to see it too,” Sabre’s mum, Brooke Norris said.

Sabre added: “I didn’t even know there was a problem with my eyes until I tried on Sockie’s glasses and everything looked so much better.”

Good vision is, of course, important for education and sport.

Good vision of another kind will also be needed as Sabre navigates the world of top-level sport,mass media and endorsements.

Just like when she surfs, she’ll be around friendlydolphins – but also the odd shark.

But this brave and smart girl is no stranger to challenges.

As reported in January, she was diagnosed with the condition Chiari malformation, which causes her brain tissue to extend into her spinal canal.

It’s thought that her condition may be affecting her pituitary gland because she hasn’t been growing.

“I’ve been OK, but I’ve got to get an MRI scan every six months to see if it’s getting worse or staying the same,” she said.

In the meantime, she’s “trying to be a good person”.

She’s also trying hard not to let herself get carried away with negative thoughts.

“That’s my plan,” she said.