Archive For 06/19/2019

Security tops returning PM’s agenda

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The national security committee will meet on Monday when Malcolm Turnbull returns from Malaysia, its first gathering since the deadly terror attacks in Paris.

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The prime minister has been out of the country attending a series of international meetings – including ASEAN in Kuala Lumpur – for most of the time since Islamic State went on a killing rampage on the streets of Paris.

“I can assure you … I have remained in the closest possible contact on all of these national security issues at home,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

Australia’s terror alert has remained high since September last year, indicating a terrorist attack is likely.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan concedes an attack on the scale of that in Paris is not impossible.

But he says it would be more difficult given the country’s robust gun laws, adding that Australia manages its diversity better than other countries and doesn’t have the mass of refugees flooding in like Europe.

“None of these challenges present themselves here in Australia … but I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m not saying our agencies aren’t vigilant about it,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has called for SAS forces to intervene in Syria, in contrast to Mr Turnbull’s emphasis on an international approach to tackling IS.

Mr Keenan said it was no surprise Mr Abbott wanted his “two cents’ worth” on national and international affairs.

“I don’t think any Australian should be surprised that Tony Abbott, whilst he remains in parliament, will make a significant contribution to national debate and I don’t think we should be concerned about that as a government,” Mr Keenan said.

Australia was already the second largest contributor to the US-led coalition seeking to drive IS out of Iraq and Syria.

“If there is further that we can do in conjunction with international partners then obviously we will seriously look at that,” Mr Keenan said.

Senior Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said when it came to tackling IS, he would take advice from defence officials over politicians.

“But quite clearly, we need to defeat this scourge because it’s not just what is happening on the ground in Syria and Iraq,” he told Network Ten.

Liberal junior minister Wyatt Roy said people wanted to see the world act to destroy this evil movement.

“But I think there is also a pretty clear recognition of how difficult this is … you need a clear understanding of the end game and … not just go in there with guns blazing,” he told the Seven Network.

Labor senator Sam Dastyari agreed that people were rightly angry, but just sending troops in may remove the leadership only to create a vacuum for other terrorists to fill.

“Let’s be clear, we don’t have a great track record,” he told the same network.

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Boy serious but stable after NSW skydive

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A skydiving instructor killed in a tandem jump with a 14-year-old boy in southern NSW may have tried to protect the youngster as they plunged to the ground.

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Tony Rokov, 44, died and the 14-year-old was critically injured after they were caught by a sudden gust of wind and crash landed near Goulburn on Saturday.

The boy was airlifted to the Sydney Children’s Hospital where he is believed to have undergone surgery.

“He is now in a serious but stable condition,” a hospital spokeswoman told AAP on Sunday.

Adrenalin Skydive chief instructor Yaakov Bokay said it looked like his colleague had tried to take the impact first.

The pair’s canopy opened and the jump seemed normal until the wind hit just before the landing and smashed them to the ground, he said.

He said Mr Rokov was a warm and open man who would be hugely missed by friends worldwide.

“Tony was playful and cheeky with his tandem customers. Making them laugh,” Mr Bokay told AAP.

“He looked big and intimidating – like an action figure. But in real life he was gentle and soft-hearted.

“Whenever he came to the drop zone he had a big smile on his face.”

Mr Bokay said his thoughts were with the injured boy as well as Mr Rokov’s wife Samantha and their children.

Mr Rokov spent more than 20 years in the Australian Army, where he ran parachute training programs and was air operations manager for an elite special forces unit.

He trained hundreds of recruits in high risk activities in Australia and overseas, according to his LinkedIn profile, and was also selected to train members of the French Foreign Legion in parachuting before leaving the army in 2013.

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Lowndes wins but Frosty still on top

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Craig Lowndes has taken the race win but his V8 Supercars title rival Mark Winterbottom has more to celebrate after a tense battle on Phillip Island.

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In their two-way championship fight, Lowndes did his job by claiming an 11th career win at the coastal circuit on Sunday.

However, Winterbottom’s fourth place represented a resounding mission accomplished, acceptably minimising the loss to his huge championship lead.

The career Ford man arrived at the meet 240 points clear of Lowndes and departs 179 points ahead.

The lead assures Winterbottom a maiden title if he can finish in the top 14 of each race at next month’s season-ending Sydney 500.

Jamie Whincup’s last-lap divebomb for third place meant Winterbottom’s streak of eight races without a podium continues but he said was comfortable with his position heading to Sydney.

“We’ve still got a good lead. Those (Red Bull) boys are quite quick so we’ve still got some work to do,” he said.

“I’m cool with (Whincup’s) move, I think it was alright.”

Wedged between the two Red Bull drivers on Sunday was Scott McLaughlin in second.

The trio locked out the podiums for all three races on Phillip Island.

Lowndes claimed two wins on his best circuit on tour and is refusing to concede the title.

“We’re still a chance … it’s a championship for Frosty to lose,” he said.

“With a 179-point lead, if he drives smart and clean and stays out of trouble, he should have enough points gap to walk away with that No.1.

“We won’t stop fighting until that chequered flag on Sunday.”

Whincup defended his late pass, which could have brought a dramatic end to Winterbottom’s race.

“It’s motor racing,” he said.

“No one paid $50 to come in today to see cars circulating … it was a fair move down the inside.”

The move keeps up Red Bull Racing’s red hot momentum for the teams championship.

Roland Dane’s team have now won five of the past six races and sit just 71 points behind Prodrive Racing.

Sunday’s 200km race also ended the faint title hopes of David Reynolds, whose 10th-placed finish puts him further adrift than the maximum 300 points on offer at the Sydney 500.

V8 SUPERCARS STANDINGS

RACE 33

1. Craig Lowndes (Holden)

2. Scott McLaughlin (Volvo)

3. Jamie Whincup (Holden)

4. Mark Winterbottom (Ford)

5. Todd Kelly (Nissan)

DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 33 RACES

1. Mark Winterbottom (Ford) – 3007

2. Craig Lowndes (Holden) – 2828

3. David Reynolds (Ford) – 2688

4. Garth Tander (Holden) – 2459

5. Shane Van Gisbergen (Holden) – 2442

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 33 RACES

1. Prodrive Racing (Ford) – 5293

2. Red Bull Racing (Holden) – 5222

3. Holden Racing Team (Holden) – 4877

4. Team BOC/Freightliner (Holden) – 4013

5. Jack Daniel’s Racing (Nissan) – 3466

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Scott hoping to find consistency at Open

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Adam Scott’s Australian Masters campaign reflects his roller-coaster year which now features just two remaining chances for a tournament victory.

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The former world No.1 has been left to rue a horror third round at Huntingdale which wrecked his hopes of a third gold jacket and placed him fifth behind winner Peter Senior.

He boasts the enviable record of having notched a tournament win each year since turning pro back in 2000 but that streak could come to an end if he doesn’t get across the line at next week’s Australian Open or Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas next month.

The 35-year-old Queenslander will head to Sydney with his head “spinning” after his six-over 77 on day three which severely dented his plans of adding to his 2012 and 2013 Masters titles.

“I think I played OK but it’s hard to know after yesterday,” Scott said, after posting a final round two-under 69 to finish at four under for the tournament on Sunday.

“I just played so poorly. It’s some of the worst golf I’ve played this year and it was really disappointing but I came out and found something today.

“It’s the story of my golf this year. Even when I have been playing well there has been a few shots here and there, errant, that are costly.

“Momentum is such a big thing in a tournament – 27 holes in I am running and then just a couple of bogeys turn things the other way.”

While the putting of the 2013 US Masters champion was under scrutiny after his recent switch from the broom-stick to the short putter, it was his iron play that let him down.

He said he felt good about his putting.

“I thought I putted good again this week,” Scott said.

“I wished I made more but so does everyone in the field except the bloke who won but I am happy with where I am at.”

With the Masters devoid of top 10 players Scott was the runaway favourite but will be up against world No.1 American Jordan Spieth next week at the The Australian.

Scott hoped he could string together four solid rounds to make a run at the title.

“I’ve had three pretty good rounds this week and one that you would prefer to forget.

“Hopefully it means I am not far away from four good rounds and I am going to need that.

“Its another tough track and it’s going to be testing so I am going to have to tighten it up that little bit and hit some better shots overall.”

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Joe Burns ready for pink-ball battle

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Australia will have to adjust their approach in the inaugural day-night Test, with Joe Burns saying it’d be foolish to treat the pink ball like it was red.

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The pink pill continues to earn mixed reviews, while there is much conjecture about how it will behave in the Adelaide Oval clash that starts on Friday.

Batting at dusk and facing the second new ball under lights have been commonly cited as the most difficult of the new challenges presented by the pink ball.

Burns has formed an impressive opening combination with David Warner in the first two Tests against New Zealand.

But the Queenslander knows from his experience in the day-night Sheffield Shield rounds that they’ll have to change things up this week.

“I’ve played a few games now and it’s different to a red ball,” Burns said on Sunday.

“You have to accept it’s not going to play the same way as your red ball.

“You can’t kid yourself and go into it thinking that you can play the same way or prepare the same way.”

The pink ball has been used around the country, deteriorating at vastly different rates.

Burns seemed genuinely unsure what to expect, having yet to use it in Adelaide.

“I know under lights in Brisbane and Perth it was very difficult. It seemed to swing a lot more and was a lot harder to see,” he said.

“At the MCG it seemed like it was fairly consistent all the way through.

“In Canberra it seemed like visibility-wise it was better at night, but just swung a little bit more.”

Despite conjecture about the quality of the ball and many players being unhappy with the fixture, Burns noted it was time to get on with things.

“There are differences in the way the ball reacts and at times visibility of the ball,” he said.

“But you have to have an open mind as a player and just accept there will be challenges.

“When you’re out in the middle you can’t look for excuses with the ball. You get on and play the game.

“I’m sure we’ll discuss it this week. Luckily the NSW boys played here a few weeks ago in a pink-ball game.”

Warner, Steve Smith, Peter Nevill, Steve O’Keefe, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon all played in that Shield clash at Adelaide Oval.

Australia’s 13-man squad arrived in Adelaide on Sunday.

They have Monday off before attempting to work out the pink-ball posers in the nets.

“We’re training later in the afternoon and towards the night time just to get our bodies accustomed to it,” Burns said.

“It’s quite nice. You get the good sleep in.”

Meanwhile, Sam Whiteman scored 117 against NZ at the WACA on the weekend but his pink-ball appraisal was less than flattering.

“The ball deteriorates pretty quickly. Towards the end it was almost not really pink – and the square is in pretty good nick,” Whiteman said.

“It got quite dark and hard to pick up.

“The boys were saying it was quite tough out there to start under lights, but when you’re set it’s pretty good to bat.”

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