Gold prospecting fever hits WA outback

Kalgoorlie shop owner Jamie Line says prospecting is experiencing a resurgence in the WA town.Prospecting in the West Australian outback is proving as alluring as it was when the gold price hit record highs – and it’s retirees driving the resurgence.

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Jamie Line, owner of The Prospectors Patch in Kalgoorlie, says some of the fortune-seekers find kilograms of the precious metal and make their pile while others search for decades and find nothing.

With WA’s unique and fascinating geology, the odds of uncovering a gold nugget are way better than gambling at the casino, he says.

“It used to be a big secret,” Mr Line told AAP on Wednesday.

He said there had been substantial growth in the number of Miner’s Rights issued in recent years and attributed the surge to an aging population, which meant there were more retirees with time on their hands.

Many were fulfilling a life-long goal by picking up a metal detector and taking to the bush.

“It’s a bucket list thing,” Mr Line said.

“A lot of them are beginners and I guess what led them into it were their friends, who had been doing it for years while they were tied up with their business.

“And TV shows exposing the lifestyle is attractive to a lot of people.

“It’s always been man’s great dream – find a nugget.”

Some prospectors reach agreements with mining companies to trawl a patch of their land and in exchange, provide valuable geological information about their finds while keeping an eye on the boundaries for trespassers.

Mr Line, who trades gold as well as selling and hiring prospecting equipment, said he loved his job and had met some real characters.

“You meet some interesting people, people that you’d never meet anywhere else.

“The stories … amazing. Real Aussie folklore stuff.”

The price of the precious metal spiked at an all-time high of more than $US1900 an ounce in 2011 and currently fetches over $US1200/oz.

NRLExperienced utility Jamie Buhrer is making every minute count for the Newcastle Knights.

IT’S a dirty job, but someone has to do it. And Jamie Buhrer is too much of a team man to even dream of complaining.

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ALL-ROUNDER: Jamie Buhrer is so versatile he is the ideal man to have as a bench utility. But he would love to crack a spot in Newcastle’s starting team. Picture: Darren Pateman, AAP

Week in, week out since the start of the season, Buhrer has warmed up with his Newcastle Knights teammates, then headed to his seat on the sideline as the13 starting players take their positions on the field for kick-off.

Friday night’s clash with the Warriors will be Buhrer’s 17thgame of the year, and on each occasion he has come off the bench as fresh reserve.

How much game time he will he receive, and what position he will play,is anyone’s guess.

Not even Knights coach Nathan Brown knows how a match will unfold, and what dilemmas Buhrer will be required to solve.

“My role has been a utility role, obviously, and with that comes multiple positions, sometimes not many minutes, sometimes lots of minutes in positions I don’t normally find myself in,”Buhrersaid.

“But it is the role I’ve been given in the team.

“We’ve got a deep squad at the moment, and if the utility role is one that Browny needs me to play, I’ll play it.”

Buhrer’s contributions have ranged from 77 minutes against St George Illawarra, when he replaced injured Tautau Moga at centre, down to eight minutes against the Roosters in round 14.

He is averaging 42.5 minutes per game.

“It goes without saying I’d love more minutes …all I can do is just make sure that I’m continually ready and prepared, and a good chance to play more minutes and do the job for him,” he said.

When Buhrer arrived from Manly at the start of last season, he was entitled to feel confident about his prospects of featuring regularly in Newcastle’s first 13.

Of his 129 games with the Sea Eagles, which included the 2011 grand final win and 10 other play-offs, the last 37 were in their starting team.

Having played back row, lock, hooker, centre and five-eighth in first grade, Buhrer’s versatility makes him the ideal bench utility, and more than half of his career tally of 161 NRL games have been as fresh reserve.

His hopes of slotting into his preferred back-row role this year have been hindered by the outstanding form of Aidan Guerra, Mitch Barnett and Lachlan Fitzgibbon, who have played in 20, 18 and 18 games respectively.

“Our back-rowers, they’re doing a pretty good job at the moment,” the 2012 NSW Origin representativesaid.

Off contract at the end of this season, theHills District Bulls junior produced a polite sidestep this week when asked if negotiations with the Knights had progressed.

“I don’t want to really talk too much about that,”he said.

“It’s something I’ll just really worry about with my manager and the club.”

But the father-of-four admitted recently Newcastle is “where I want to be” and that he was looking at each game as a chance to state his case for retention.

Still only 28, the man who started the season as Newcastle’s co-captain, alongside Mitchell Pearce, would appear to offer priceless experience in a young squad.

Of his teammates, only Chris Heighington and Jacob Lillyman, both of whom are retiring, Pearce, Guerra and winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall have more NRL appearances under their belts.

Having appeared in two grand finals with the Sea Eagles, he knows what it takes to become a successful club and believes Newcastle are headed in that direction, although they will need to reduce what he described as a “big gap” between their best and worst performances.

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“We’ve got to start looking to put some things in motion for next year, build a bit of momentum, and at the same time finish off this year better,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of near misses this year … it’s important that we knuckle down, concentrate on these last four games and try and make an impact.”

NBA-bound Bolden eyeing Boomers

Jonah Bolden is finally joining the 76ers in the NBA, a year after being drafted.His career has taken a scenic route to the NBA but one destination Australia’s latest basketball sensation Jonah Bolden can’t help looking forward to is Tokyo, host of the next Olympics.

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Bolden will become Australia’s 10th player in the NBA this coming season after joining the Philadelphia 76ers on a four-year deal.

The 22-year-old, 208-centimetre forward is the son of retired NBL great Bruce Bolden and will join forces with fellow Aussies Ben Simmons and coach Brett Brown in Philadelphia.

The Sixers actually selected Bolden in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft but left him in Europe this past season.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the long way (to the NBA), I just say the different way,” Bolden said on Wednesday in Melbourne where he has been training with NBL champions United.

“It didn’t bother me what route I had to take, I just knew that I would one day get there whether that was having to go overseas for two years or being in college for one year.”

The depth of Australian talent playing in the world’s best league can only bode well for the Boomers come the 2020 Olympics.

As well as NBA rookie of the year Simmons, there’s Dante Exum, Matthew Dellavedova, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Thon Maker, Ryan Broekhoff and Mangok Mathiang who could all don the green and gold.

“I’m very excited,” Bolden said.

“I was talking to someone today about how this could be one of the best Australian teams come 2020.

“My goal right now is obviously Philly but no doubt I’m thinking about 2020 and then Olympics.”

Exum, who recently signed a three-year, $US33 million ($A44 million) deal to stay with the Utah Jazz, has also been training with the NBL champions.

Bolden said it had been a solid preparation before he flies to the USA on Friday.

The training could also prove handy when the Sixers host the NBL side in Philadelphia on September 29.

“It’s been an honour working out and it’s good to stay in shape and working on my shooting consistency,” Bolden said.

“It’s a high standard of basketball – the quality of the NBL goes up a notch every year.”

Using money makes cents

GET THE TIMING RIGHT: In a lending-averse environment, investing in sustainable cash-flow projects like a granny flat means you can still benefit from the real estate cycle.When talking what’s new in property, consideration must always turn to money first.

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The recent royal commission into bank lending procedures has definitely frozen activity in the lending market.

But as the big four begin to thaw and adopt appropriate measures to regulate their industry it will be back to business.

But maybe not business as was usual.

Against the backdrop of a changing property market and evident media anxiety, it is interesting to note that some banks, for instance the ANZ, are willing to offer customers very competitive rates to write new business.

ANZ’s Simplicity Plus Variable home loan is a good example, and even ANZ’s fixed interest rates seem in touch with the market as a whole.

These products are good value and a clear example that for some banks the focus will be the residential home loan market for some time to come.

A risk adverse lending market is set to prevail so speculative or highly leveraged deals will be unattractive to lenders.

Everyday buyers with reasonable, sustainable goals will be favoured.

People planning to do a renovation, extension or maybe purchase an income-producing investment and build a granny flat appeal to banks as premium borrower/builders.

They will have equity, good earnings and demonstrate a reasonable LVR (loan to value ratio) of less than 80%.

Even first home buyers should find the idea of price easing and affordable interest rates exciting.

Looking forward, there is a truismreal estate makes buyers and owners a profit at every stage of the property cycle, but the art is understanding what will work and when.

Another truism worthy of remembrance is that “When credit is tight cash flow is king” and this is what makes granny flats an option worth considering.

A quality-built granny flat from Newcastle Granny Flats and Homes is great value and can return up to 10% on investment, year in year out. Few real estate investments compare.

Newcastle Granny Flats and Homes are also experts in dual occupancy’s and small subdivision.

So, if you want to take advantage of what the market is offering right now and really put your money to work, visit the modern display centre at 126-128 Maitland Road, Mayfield today, walk through the onsite granny flats and sales centre and talk about your opportunities with the professional staff.

Accusations aplenty in Vic rorts scandal

A no-confidence motion is hanging over the Victorian government as the state’s rorts-for-votes scandal widens with the opposition also facing possible investigation over its activities.

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Opposition Leader Matthew Guy gave notice of his motion at the start of parliament on Wednesday.

“This government is behaving like a circus,” he told reporters.

“It is not governing for Victoria, it is not focusing on crime, congestion, cost of living.”

“The fact that six ministers, having been named in the ombudsman’s report, 21 Labor MPs as well – this whole tawdry affair being investigated now by the fraud and extortion squad, these ministers not standing down, as unprecedented as it is, has warranted this motion to be moved.”

The motion will be debated on August 22 but the government has the numbers in the lower house to quash it.

Late on Wednesday an opposition bid to have six government ministers step aside over their links to the scandal was defeated 22-16 in the upper house.

It comes amid an increasingly hostile fight between the major parties over Labor’s rorts-for-votes scandal, in which it misused $388,000 of public funds for campaign staff at the 2014 election.

The government has also tried to throw claims of rorting at the opposition.

It intends referring 40 past and present Liberal-Nationals MPs to Ombudsman Deborah Glass alleging potential knowledge of or inappropriate involvement with embezzler and former Liberal director Damien Mantach.

“That fraud could not have happened without the participation, the involvement, the signature of Liberal Party members,” Deputy Premier James Merlino told the Legislative Assembly.

“Every single member of those opposite need to answer to the ombudsman and face the scrutiny of her office. The time for running away is over.”

Mantach stole more than $1.5 million from the Liberal Party using fake and inflated invoices.

His scam included a mailing business inflating invoices to Victorian Liberal MPs and the party eventually repaid nearly $200,000.

Mr Merlino’s move comes after he referred 18 current and former coalition MPs to police last month over whether they used electorate staff for political campaigning at the 2014 election.

Ms Glass in March found 21 past and present Labor MPs breached parliamentary guidelines by directing staff employed as electorate officers to campaign for candidates.

Ahead of the November 24 state election, police announced they would launch their own investigation into Labor and subsequently arrested 17 former campaign staff across Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory.

No charges have been laid and Labor has repaid the $388,000.

The Greens, meanwhile, have used the mudslinging to call for a parliamentary referee.

“This parliament has been marred by entitlement scandals and establishing an independent body to restore the public’s faith in politics is well overdue,” leader Samantha Ratnam said in a statement.

“The Independent Parliamentary Standards Commissioner must be established now to ensure the next state parliament is free from scandal and public funds are used to benefit the people of Victoria.”

Malcolm Fraser was planning to start a new political party before his death

A foreign policy realist and dissenterMalcolm Fraser 1930-2015: full coverage
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Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who died on Friday, was in the process of setting up a new political party that would have advocated scaling back Australia’s military ties to the United States.

Mr Fraser, who led the Liberal Party from 1975 to 1983, quit the party in 2009, shortly after Tony Abbott replaced Malcolm Turnbull as leader. He campaigned for Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young at the last election because of her stance on asylum seekers.

With an election due in mid to late 2016, Mr Fraser’s new party could have potentially run candidates at the next election.

Mr Fraser, who died aged 84, would not have led the party but would have driven its policy agenda. Fairfax Media understands Mr Fraser had developed a written draft policy platform for the party that included: ending Australia’s close military alliance with the United Statesa closer relationship with South-East Asian nationsending the offshore processing of asylum seekersstronger anti-corruption and transparency lawstighter regulation of the sale of arable land

Mr Fraser discussed the party with confidants late last year.

In his last book, Dangerous Allies, published last year, Mr Fraser argued that Australia should become a “strategically independent country” and that the ANZUS Treaty with the United States was possibly the biggest threat to Australia’s security.

“If a war between China and the United States were to occur with a continuation of current policies, it would be very hard, if not impossible, for Australia to become involved,” he wrote.

Mr Fraser advocated closing down the US military base in Darwin and the Pine Gap communications facility

Mr Fraser had been a staunch defender of the US alliance during the Cold War but changed his view radically in his later years.

Mr Fraser was also deeply unhappy with the tough asylum-seeker policies of both major parties, including the use of mandatory detention and the offshore processing of asylum seekers.

Last year Mr Fraser tweeted in support of the creation of a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

As prime minister, Mr Fraser introduced several measures to increase transparency of government decision making. These included the creation of the Commonwealth Ombudsman in 1977 to handle complaints about government agencies. He also introduced Australia’s first freedom of information laws and created the Australian Human Rights Commission.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Rapes, sexual assault, drugs for favours in Australia’s detention centre on Nauru: independent Moss review

The Moss Review found compelling evidence that at least three women have been raped inside the Nauru detention centre. Photo: Angela Wylie Immigration Minister Peter Dutton shrugged off criticism that the damaging report was released under the cover of former prime minister Malcolm Fraser’s death on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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The full Moss Review reportAnalysis: Taking out the trash but too clever by halfSomeone owes someone an apology

An independent review into sexual abuse inside Australia’s detention centre on Nauru has found evidence of rape, sexual assault of minors and guards trading marijuana for sexual favours from female detainees.

The review, conducted by former integrity commissioner Philip Moss, found no evidence that Save the Children staff on  Nauru had coached detainees to embarrass the Abbott government.

Former immigration minister Scott Morrison called the Moss review in October 2014 after Save the Children staff were removed by his department amid suspicions they had encouraged self-harm, facilitated protests and fabricated assault allegations.

New Immigration Minister Peter Dutton shrugged off criticism that the damaging report was released on Friday afternoon under the cover of the death of former prime minister Malcolm Fraser but acknowledged the contents of the review were “concerning”.

Mr Moss found compelling evidence that at least three women have been raped inside the detention centre and raised concern that sexual assault is likely to be under-reported due to a climate of fear and detainees worrying about their future refugee status.

“The review became aware of three allegations of rape (two female and one female minor), one which the Nauruan Police Force is investigating and two which the victims do not want to pursue by making a complaint. These allegations are concerning. They are also concerning because two of the victims do not feel able to bring forward these allegations to relevant authorities,” the report states.

The report confirmed that one of the suspected rapists, a male detainee, has been given refugee status and settled on Nauru.

Many of the complaints by female asylum seekers revolve around Nauruan guards employed by Australian contractors Wilson Security and Transfield Services, with allegations of drunkenness and lechery. Twelve guards have been sacked by those companies for misconduct.

Female detainees live in an environment of fear, according to the review. It details instances of guards spying on women as they lie inside their tents in their underwear due to the tropical heat of Nauru.

A female detainee reported a guard “drunk and on drugs” stopping her in front of a tent. “Then he suddenly grabbed my arm and he said ‘you are so sexy and you’re so beautiful’,” she told Mr Moss.

An incident in which a guard demanded to see a female detainee naked in return for allowing her an extra two minutes in the shower with her young child was confirmed.

Mr Moss found evidence of “sexual favours being exchanged for marijuana is possibly occurring” based on interviews with detainees.

A Wilson intelligence report of June 2014, obtained by the review, suggested that “organised prostitution … in relation to trading of contraband” was happening.

The review obtained information from intelligence reports authored by Wilson Security staff, highlighting possible “subversive” activity by Save the Children staff.

“None of this information indicated conclusively to the review that particular contract service provider staff members had engaged in these activities,” it found.

Mr Moss has proposed that the department find a way to resolve the unfair deportation of the staff.

Save the Children chief executive Paul Ronalds said the charity was sure from the start its staff had done nothing wrong.

“The idea that they could do anything to put children in harm’s way is absurd. We have said this right from the very beginning. The Moss Inquiry shows beyond a doubt that there was and is no basis to these claims,” he said.

“What’s deeply troubling is the evidence uncovered by the Moss Inquiry supporting allegations of sexual and physical assaults on Nauru including allegations of rape, one of which was against a child.

“There was never any need for fabrication or exaggeration by Save the Children staff – the evidence is clear.”

Mr Dutton said the government accepted all 19 recommendations of the Moss Review and said Nauru would work to solve problems highlighted.

“They don’t have a tolerance for illegal behaviour, including in particular sexual assault. I find the thought of anybody, in particular children, being sexually assaulted completely abhorrent,” he said.

“It’s not something that we would accept in Australia and it’s not something that the Nauruans accept in their community either.”

The Australian Lawyers Alliance said the Commonwealth cannot outsource care of asylum seekers and could be liable for a “swathe of future compensation claims”.

“The nature of allegations raised in the Moss Review of sexual harassment, rape, trading sexual favours for marijuana and cigarettes and children being touched inappropriately, if proven, show that the Commonwealth has failed in its duty to take reasonable care of asylums seekers.”

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.