Vic ALP proposes Anzac Day shopping ban

Victorian traders would be banned from opening on Anzac Day and penalty rates introduced on Easter Sunday under a proposed upheaval of public holidays.


The Victorian ALP will consider introducing an all-day ban on Anzac Day trading and changes to Easter Sunday rules at its state conference on Saturday.

The proposals are contained in the 2010 ALP draft policy platform that the government will take to the November election.

The platform states that Labor will ensure Anzac Day is declared a “non trading day” for the whole day so that retail workers can participate in commemorations.

Currently traders are banned from opening until 1pm, unless they have fewer than 20 staff on an ordinary working day.

If agreed to, the policy would allow retail workers to take all of Anzac Day off for the first time since the retail industry was deregulated under the Kennett government in 1996.

The reforms would also gazette Easter Sunday as a public holiday, enabling workers in declared holiday areas, including Torquay, Mildura, Lakes Entrance and Beechworth, to elect to take the day off or be paid penalty rates, typically double time and a half.

The policy has been advanced by the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), which represents 50,000 Victorian workers.

SDA state secretary Michael Donovan said, if passed, the new rules would help keep the spirit of Anzac Day alive, encouraging more people to participate as digger numbers thin.

“At the moment shops are required to close until 1 o’clock on Anzac Day, but in a practical sense that doesn’t give retail workers a real opportunity to participate in the commemorations,” he told AAP.

“By the time they have to get dressed properly for work, have lunch, get themselves to work, in a practical sense, they’re not really able to participate.”

But employers have slammed the idea.

Alexandra Marriott, workplace relations policy manager for the Victorian Employer’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI), said forced closures on Anzac Day alone would cost the retail industry millions.

“The implication is that it would be crippling for business, particularly for regional and tourism based businesses that rely on visitation on days like public holidays,” she said.

Ms Marriott said there was an expectation that workers in the retail and hospitality industries worked weekends but some had provisions for substitute days or other compensation for working Sundays.

The policy will be debated at the last state conference before the election.

Federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner will address the conference, followed by Victorian Premier John Brumby.

Malaria drug resistance widening

Resistance to new anti-malarial medication appears to be spreading beyond the western Cambodia area where it was first detected, according to a US health official.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned early last year that parasites resistant to the drug artemisinin had emerged along the border between Cambodia and Thailand.

Artemisinin-based medication has been largely credited in recent years with increasing recovery rates from the mosquito-transmitted disease that kills nearly one million people a year worldwide.

Timothy Ziemer, the US government’s global co-ordinator against malaria, said that after first being spotted in western Cambodia in 2007, “there are now indications of artemisinin resistance in other parts of the region”.

Signs of resistance to artemisinin had been found in southern Burma and possibly on the Chinese-Burma border, and in southern Vietnam near Cambodia, the retired rear admiral told a regional conference that ended on Friday.

The WHO warned last year that emergence of the resistance could “seriously undermine” efforts to bring malaria under control.

Artemisinin-based medication was regarded as a replacement for older drugs that were fast becoming useless in several areas of the world as the malaria parasite developed resistance to them.

Ziemer said the number of malaria cases had still fallen.

In Vietnam, for example, they were down from about 190,000 in 1991 to 15,000 by 2008, he said.

“But it is essential that national governments remain focused to contain and eventually eliminate these multi-drug resistant strains,” he told the conference on international cooperation against infectious diseases.

Important to that strategy is the elimination of fake and substandard medicines, which increase resistance, he said in a speech on Thursday.

Cameroon out of World Cup

Cameroon have become the first side to be knocked out of the World Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Denmark.


In the end it was a Dennis Rommedahl strike that set the teams apart after a placing a left footed strike past the Cameroon goalkeeper.

The Danish defenders looked out on their feet towards the end of the match, and with Cameroon constantly asking questions of the Daniel Agger lead defence, the Danish looked to be playing for their Cup survival with it now in their hands, with their final group match against Japan to round out Group E.

Earlier strikers Samuel Eto’o and Nicklas Bendtner proved their worth to Cameroon and Denmark respectively as they scored the goals that put the sides level 1-1 at the break.

On seven minutes Dennis Rommedahl had a great chance to open the scoring for Denmark as Christian Poulsen played him in behind the defence, despite a hint of offside, but the Ajax flyer blazed his shot from an angle high and wide.

Three minutes later, though, Poulsen shot his own side in the foot as he played a blind pass that Pierre Webo intercepted before crossing for Eto’o, restored to a central striking role, to blast home low into the corner.

Moments later Achilles Emana hit a low strike just past the post for the fired-up Indomitable Lions.

Former Chelsea winger Jesper Gronkjaer then had a pair of chances in quick succession for the Danes but his curler from distance was deflected behind and then he fluffed a far-post header from the resulting corner.

Denmark were starting to exert control and Cameroon goalkeeper Hamidou Souleymanou had to be alert to dash out and block at the feet of Jon Dahl Tomasson. And they got the equaliser they deserved on 33 minutes as Rommedahl got behind Benoit Assou-Ekotto to latch onto Daniel Agger’s long crossfield ball before crossing for Bendtner to slide home.

In a thrilling end to the half Alexandre Song made a goal-saving block to deny Tomasson before Eto’o clattered the post and Emana burst through only to chip into Thomas Sorensen’s hands.

Voters ‘let down on refugee policies’

Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry says voters have been let down by a “failure of leadership” on refugee policies.


Addressing a World Refugee Day rally in Melbourne, psychiatrist Prof McGorry called for “bipartisan morality” on asylum seekers instead of using them as a political football.

“It does go back to the kind of country we want to live in,” Prof McGorry said on Sunday.

If you ask the right questions you’ll get the right answers from the Australian public and I think they’ve been led down the wrong track by a failure of leadership.”

Prof McGorry said he had seen first-hand the terrible effects on the mental health of refugees as a result of government policies that have emerged in the past two decades.

But the dawn of the Labor government in 2007 had not yet delivered the expected change in refugee policy, he said.

“I think it’s in the balance at the moment.”

Abbott will listen to refugee

He said Afghan refugee Riz Wakil would be given a fair hearing during his surfing lesson with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

“But the key issue is will he change the policy.”

As part of a charity auction, activist group GetUp! successfully bid for surfing lessons from Mr Abbott so he could meet with six refugees, including Mr Wakil who is now an Australian citizen running a printing business.

The “boat people” issue should be removed from pre-election platforms, Prof McGorry said.

“We should just take this whole issue out of the election platform and get behind a bipartisan approach.

“We need moral leadership on both sides of politics.

“They’re both professing to have high moral values, they’re both religious people, let’s see those values put into practice in support of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.”

Bombings on rise in Afghanistan: UN

Afghanistan has seen an “alarming” near-doubling of roadside bomb attacks over the past year, a UN report says.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday that “security incidents” have risen significantly as US-led forces make a push in the south and militant activities have grown in the southeast and eastern regions of Afghanistan.

“The rise in incidents involving improvised-explosive devices constitutes an alarming trend, with the first four months of 2010 recording a 94 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2009,” the report to the UN Security Council said.

More complex attacks

The report added that suicide attacks involving more complex planning have doubled from last year to roughly two per month, which “demonstrates a growing capability of the local terrorist networks linked to al-Qaeda”.

Killings of civilians by insurgents aiming to take control of urban populations have also increased 45 per cent from last year, to a rate of seven a week, mostly taking place in the south and southeast, it said.

The report came at the end of a week in which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Afghan government and its international backers were making progress stabilising the country.

“We think that we’re making progress, we know how hard it is,” Clinton told a news conference in Washington on Friday, saying that “the Afghan military and police are improving”.

“There’s a lot of positive indicators,” she added, citing advances in education, health, government capacity, agricultural output and economic growth.

1% decrease in civilian casualties

Ban’s UN report also noted conflict-related civilian casualties decreased one per cent compared to last year, but officials said at least five civilians, including two young girls, died in a NATO air strike on Saturday targeting the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan.

“We have received five bodies of civilians in our provincial public hospital,” Khost provincial health director Amirbadshah Rahmatzai Mangal told AFP.

“The dead include two female children of seven and eight years of age. A 14-year-old boy was wounded.”

Khost provincial police chief general Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai said six civilians and 38 Taliban militants were killed by the bombing in the mountainous area on the Pakistan border.

Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, US General Stanley McChrystal, has made minimising civilian casualties a central tenet of his counter-insurgency strategy and has ordered reduced air strikes to help achieve the objective.

The Pentagon on Thursday said US-led forces were making headway against the Taliban, but it was “overshadowed” by violence in southern provinces and what it called an overly gloomy portrayal of the war shaped by media coverage.

US frustration

The rising death toll in Afghanistan is unwelcome news for Washington and its allies, whose electorates are increasingly frustrated by casualties in a seemingly endless and faraway war.

A June 6 Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 39 per cent of Americans said the US was losing the war in Afghanistan, and that 53 per cent said the war was not worth fighting.

France announced that one of its soldiers serving with NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan died in hospital on Friday from wounds suffered when his armoured vehicle convoy came under artillery fire from insurgents.

He became the 274th foreign soldier killed in Afghanistan this year, according to an AFP tally based on figures kept by the independent icasualties广西桑拿, website.

Two Afghan policemen were also killed and four other people wounded on Saturday when a remote controlled bomb hit a police vehicle as it passed a local market in the central province of Uruzgan, governor Juma Gul Himat told AFP.

US President Barack Obama has ordered a surge that will see troop numbers, currently estimated at 142,000, peak at 150,000 by August before an intended drawdown in 2011.

Socceroos glass half full or half empty?

For the Socceroos, it’s the classic question of glass half-empty or half-full? However much liquid you see in the vessel, one thing is certain.


Australia now need goals for their World Cup adventure to continue beyond the middle of this week.

Goals from themselves against Serbia.

Plenty of goals from Germany should they beat Ghana.

Or just one from Ghana to finish off the Germans.

The Socceroos’ 1-1 draw with Ghana leaves them with their destiny – and the outcomes which will take them into the World Cup’s round of 16 – out of their hands.

Beating Serbia is all they can do. That’s non-negotiable.

The more goals the better.

Then Australia must hope Germany hammer Ghana by plenty, or Ghana snatch a victory of any colour against the Germans.

Certainly the Socceroos’ brave 10-man effort against a decent Ghana side leaves them in with a shout.

This was a courageous win for all concerned.

Coach Pim Verbeek reverted to type – 4-2-3-1 – and took the bold step of starting Harry Kewell despite his lack of minutes.

Kewell never got the chance to gather match fitness – sent-off for a handball which was line-ball.

Was it a penalty? As 50-50 a call as Lucas Neill’s infamous foot across Fabio Grosso four years earlier.

If you move your arm towards the ball, especially anywhere near goal, you enter a grey area.

For Kewell, it turned red.

For Australia, it looked black.

What happened next was a triumph of ticker over talent. Poked and prodded, their team spirit and togetherness questioned, their coach ridiculed all week, the Socceroos proved anger is an energy.

Brett Holman provided the initial spark. Skipper Lucas Neill channelled it and turned it into an electric fence across goal as his defence repelled Ghana brilliantly.

Australia had the best chances for a winner.

Scott Chipperfield’s header over the bar on 67 minutes, followed by a gilt-edged Luke Wilkshire chance five minutes later could have pinched the Socceroos a famous victory.

Now Australia faces sudden-death against a Serbian side that also have everything to play for.

Serbia could qualify for the second stage with a draw, though a win is more likely what they’ll need.

No Kewell or Craig Moore – suspended after a second yellow card.

The omens are good. But they’ll be hoping the bad news doesn’t come from the other match between Germany and Ghana being played at the same time.

Police urge gunman to turn himself in

Police fear a violent gunman on the loose after a crime spree while on parole could try to end the hunt in a shootout.


David Paul Rowntree, 19, eluded a massive police manhunt in inner Melbourne on Monday after allegedly stealing two cars and committing three aggravated burglaries and an armed robbery.

Rowntree, described last year by a judge as being “devious” and “out of control”, gave police the slip after a high-speed chase along the Monash Freeway and was later seen brandishing a shotgun near the MCG, forcing a three-hour lockdown of Melbourne’s sports precinct.

Superintendent Rod Wilson said Rowntree has an extensive criminal history and, although he is believed to have dumped a shotgun in a bin near Rod Laver Arena, could get his hands on more firearms.

“I’d consider him to be extremely dangerous,” he told reporters.

“We ask for people if you have any information, this is really critical, to ring the police because we desperately need to bring this person into custody.

“We are not ruling out that he may have access to other firearms.”

When asked if police were worried about Rowntree being involved in a shootout, he replied: “That is something we are obviously fearful of and that’s why we are making this appeal.

“We’re extremely concerned that this chap may choose to end this in an unsavoury way and we don’t want that to happen.”

Rowntree was sentenced last November to three years in a Youth Justice Centre and ordered to pay $152,000 compensation for burning down a house to cover his fingerprints after burgling the property.

He was released by the Youth Parole Board in March after 12 months in custody.

Supt Wilson urged Rowntree to consult with a lawyer, contact police and give himself up.

He said police would focus their search on Hawthorn, where Rowntree was believed to be living, and in the Geelong and Colac areas, where he is from and has family.

His Facebook page will also be examined. On his profile, Rowntree writes his favourite quote is: “It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees in fear.”

He also lists crime shows Underbelly and The Sopranos as among his favourite television shows.

Rowntree was last spotted at 9.40am (AEST), when an elderly couple saw him with a shotgun running across a footbridge between Hisense Arena and the MCG.

Police had put the area into lockdown, closing roads and preventing any trains from going through Richmond station, after finding his stolen Commodore dumped in a car park behind Rod Laver Arena.

He had used the car in a high-speed chase from Cookson Street, Camberwell, after being spotted by police around 9.30am.

Rowntree allegedly rammed a police car and up to four other cars, before getting away.

It is alleged he stole the Commodore, as well as cash, from a home in Walsh Street, Balwyn.

He had earlier broken into a house in the same street while the occupants slept and stole an Audi from a home in Knutsford Drive, Balwyn at 3am.

Police allege Rowntree used the Audi in an armed robbery of a service station on Bulleen Road, Bulleen at 3.10am, then returned the car to the Knutsford address.

Supt Wilson said police have tried to contact Rowntree on his mobile phone but to no avail.

Police were also contacting his family, who have been urged to encourage Rowntree to hand himself in peacefully.

When sentenced last November, the Geelong County Court had heard Rowntree’s long list of offences included arson, criminal damage, handling stolen goods, car theft, burglary and theft.

Judge John Nixon also disqualified him from driving for two years, describing Rowntree as devious.

The lockdown caused major disruption with trains on 10 lines unable to enter the city for two hours, while staff and members of the public in the sports precinct, including the MCG and Rod Laver Arena, were forced to stay indoors.

Anyone with information about Rowntree should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Socceroos to do it for Harry

Do it for Harry.


That’s what Socceroos captain Lucas Neill will be telling his players before they march out to play Serbia.

Not only for Harry Kewell, but also for Craig Moore.Both are suspended from Australia’s final World Cup group match.

Neill wants to use their predicament as an added incentive for reaching the second round – to give the two veterans one more crack at the big time.

If the Socceroos can beat Serbia and get a favourable result from the Ghana-Germany match, they can still reach the round of 16.

If they don’t they can pack their bags.

But that could spell the end of the road for both Kewell and Moore.

Neither wants his last World Cup duty to be watching Australia v Serbia from the grandstands.

“We’ve got to give them another bite of the cherry,” Neill said as he prepared for the must-win match in Nelspruit.

“Whoever comes in now (to replace the suspended duo) they’re going to have the same spirit we showed against Ghana.”

“Let’s hope it’s enough.”

This is definitely the last World Cup for 34-year-old Moore, who misses the Serbia match after being booked a second time in the fighting 1-1 draw with Ghana.

It’s also likely to be the end for Kewell, 31, whose career has been plagued by injuries and who would be 35 next time around.

He was red-carded against Ghana for a goal-line handball and must serve an automatic one match suspension.

“I don’t want to leave it like that”, said Kewell.

“I didn’t mean to get sent off. It wasn’t a deliberate handball. I am devastated.”

“I have had some great moments and I have had some bad moments.

“You have to take the good with the bad. But we’ve still got a chance.”

“Hopefully we get a little bit of luck next time (against Serbia), you never know.”

Moore was among a number of Socceroos who felt Kewell was harshly dealt with when dismissed for handball but said: “That’s life. I’m not one for hard-luck stories.”

“We certainly haven’t had the rub of the green with those big calls.

“They usually even themselves out, although they certainly haven’t at this point in time.”

Portugal hope for repeat of 1966

Portugal and North Korea meet in a match crucial to their World Cup fortunes tonight, reviving memories of their classic encounter at the 1966 World Cup.


The Portuguese were held to a drab goalless draw by Ivory Coast in their Group G opener while North Korea lost 2-1 to Brazil, but they won praise for putting up such a stellar fight.

The Koreans got almost everyone behind the ball to blunt Brazil’s natural samba flair and they will need more of the same if they want to tame Portugal and their captain Cristiano Ronaldo.

Their clash comes 44 years after North Korea’s one-and-only previous World Cup appearance in 1966 when they staged a remarkable run to the quarter-finals only to be beaten 5-3 by Portugal.

That match witnessed one of the greatest World Cup comebacks ever, with North Korea up 3-0 before four goals by the legendary Eusebio helped his team romp to victory.

Odds against the North Koreans

The odds are stacked against the Koreans. They are ranked 105 in the world to Portugal’s three, but they showed enough mettle against Brazil to suggest it will be a close encounter.

North Korea’s danger man is their Japanese-based striker Jong Tae-Se.

Known as the “Asian Rooney”, he has attracted the attention of German side VfL Bochum who said this week they were interested in signing him.

Jong plans to keep himself in the shop window and is keen to get on the scoresheet.

“I’m going to try to improve for the next game and score my first goal,” he said.

“Portugal are a top-class team, like Brazil, and it is going to be very hard but we’re going to keep trying to make it.”

While the pariah north Asian nation has proved its footballing credentials, it has also lived up to its reputation as being reclusive, with media access to the coach and players extremely restricted.

Portugal to be more aggressive

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz, has suggested his team need to be more aggressive than they were against the Ivory Coast, whose tactics were containment and then counter-attacks.

“We’ll need to take more risks in our next match and that goes for both teams,” he said.

“What we need to take out of the last match is that we’ve collected a point against one of the favourites in the group. Now we need to think about getting a win.”

A concern is Ronaldo’s goal-drought for his country with the world’s most expensive footballer not scoring in an official game since the 2008 European Championships.

But Ronaldo, who is on a yellow card, remains confident in their chances of making the round of 16.

“I would have far preferred to come away with three points against Ivory Coast than the man of the match award but we have to continue fighting,” he said.

“We now have to play North Korea, we still have every chance of making it into the next round.”

Defender Paulo Ferreira is equally optimistic, but he knows they need to move up a gear.

“Obviously, we need to play better in the second match and we know it’ll be difficult against North Korea, but we’ll give everything we have to get a victory,” he said.

Mining tax speculations ‘adventurous’

Treasury Secretary Ken Henry says speculation of a federal government backdown on its proposed resources super profits tax is adventurous and premature.


“I haven’t myself come to the view that you seem to have that this particular reform proposal has dim prospects,” he said in response to a journalists’ question at a taxation conference in Sydney on Monday.

“I don’t see it that way yet at all.

“I think it is an adventurous premise, quite a speculative premise.”

Dr Henry headed the review that recommended the new tax regime on the resources industry, and has previously rejected claims from some mining executives that it will hurt the local industry.

The treasury boss said he wasn’t surprised by the vigour of the debate between the government and mining companies.

He said the tax had a long way to go before implementation.

“What I am witnessing at the moment is not surprising. It doesn’t surprise me in the least,” Dr Henry said.

“This particular tax policy proposal is still two years away from commencement.

“There is still quite a journey ahead of us before this particular tax is scheduled to start.”

Asked if the vocal opposition to the proposal had caused him personal grief, Dr Henry said his scar tissue had been hardened over a 25-year career with treasury.

He also issued a plea for economists to aid the implementation of major tax reforms by seeking to reach consensus viewpoints.

Dr Henry said the contest of ideas was important for economists, particularly academics, but that had hampered the political debate on reform in the past, particularly on the former carbon pollution reduction scheme.

“Even with that idea, which most academic economists would have accepted I’m sure, at least behind closed doors, was a sound policy idea, there were no end of academic economists that wanted to say `it’s not bad, but I’ve got a better one’,” he said.

“The way in which political debate occurs, such a statement does enormous damage to the chances of sensible reform.

“So there are times when I think it would … serve the national interest if we economists, particularly academic economists, could just call a halt to the war for a while.”