Pakistan stalwarts Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi set for one-day retirements

That Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi wear the same uniform is one of the scarce similarities between the pair who between them have led Pakistan’s one-day team for the past five years. Another is that their one-day careers will end once Pakistan’s World Cup campaign does.
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Afridi will be remembered most for his longevity and his ability to produce memorable cameos, mostly good but some infuriating – like holing out in a batting collapse or biting the ball in his second match in charge. Misbah will be remember for his consistency as captain, his ability to maintain a sense of stability in a team that has long needed strong captains who have insulated players from any turmoil surrounding their team.

Even those sceptical that Afridi is as young as he is listed to be, 35, cannot dispute how impressive it is for him to be still playing in a career that began for Pakistan in October 1996. Only Sachin Tendulkar, Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara have played more one-day matches.

The biggest impact Afridi made was to bring Twenty20 batting to one-day cricket long before his peers considered it. That is reflected in his strike rate of 116.98 more than in his record of 8041 runs at an average of 23.48. Of the 73 batsmen to have scored at least 5000 runs in one-dayers, only one, India’s Virender Sehwag, has also scored at better than a run a ball, at 104.47.

Afridi’s bowling record of 395 wickets at 34.44 and 4.63 runs per over with his leg-spin is also commendable.

When Afridi stepped down as captain soon into Pakistan’s next tour after the 2011 World Cup, where they had been semi-finalists, his replacement was Misbah, a batsman nearing his 37th birthday who was reliable but otherwise thoroughly unremarkable.

Since being appointed captain Misbah has proved himself adept at playing the firefighter role – a rescuer in times of crisis – having scored 2969 runs at 44.98. That those runs have come at a strike rate of 71.66 has been a trait that, despite his reliability, has seen him attract criticism from Pakistan pundits and supporters.

In his 148 one-dayers he has scored 42 half-centuries without once reaching a century. His top five scores are all unbeaten innings, with two of them in the 90s. That puts him well ahead of the next-closest peer in that regard, New Zealand’s Andrew Jones, who in the 1990s reached 50 on 25 occasions without once making a century.

Misbah turns 41 in May but cuts an overtly fit figure, even to players almost half his age. The match against Australia will take him to level in third place with Inzamam-ul-Haq for appearances as Pakistan captain with 87, behind only greats Imran Khan (139) and Wasim Akram (109).

Misbah said he is proud of the legacy he and Afridi would leave on the Pakistan team after the World Cup.

“I’m pretty satisfied with what I have, and especially what Shahid has, achieved,” he said on Thursday. “The biggest satisfaction is that we gave everything to our team and country.”

Misbah was nevertheless adamant that he and Afridi would not, and should not, treat the match against Australia any differently because of the potential for it to be their last.

“Obviously this World Cup, and this game, is still not over and we would really like to go good in this tournament, especially trying to win tomorrow’s game and go further . . . that’s what our desire and dream is,” he said.

If Pakistan were able to defy the odds and reach the final, it would allow Afridi to finish his career with 400 one-day appearances.

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

TOPICS: Tough ask as students to argue merits of feesDebaters Elyse Hudson and Paul Scott. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Debaters Elyse Hudson and Paul Scott ready to battle for the Godfrey Tanner Great Debate. Picture: Jonathan CarrollWE dare you to find a more turbo-charged thing to bring up at the University of Newcastle than fee deregulation. OK, maybe the cheating scandal. But fees are a big deal.
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That political hot potato will be served up next Tuesday during the Godfrey Tanner Great Debate, the uni’s annual tussle between students and staff. Popular former ABC Newcastle presenter Carol Duncan will adjudicate.

The debate topic, officially, is ‘‘to ensure Australia remains globally competitive in an international economy, universities should be able to set their own fees in a deregulated market’’.

Fraught, no? In a sadistic twist, the students have to argue for fee deregulation. Christopher Pyne will be sore from grinning.

Fittingly, the debate is a fund-raiser for the Godfrey Tanner memorial scholarship, worth $3000 to students facing hardship. They might need it soon.

The debate kicks off at 6pm in the Godfrey Tanner Bar, and regular punters are welcome to attend. It tends to be a ‘‘fun, loose evening’’, a source tells us.

Richie Beeton at his front door, which came from Rohallion, a reputedly haunted house on the Hill. Picture: Peter Stoop

​IF a spooky old mansion had a reputation as a ‘‘ghost house’’, you’d hesitate to souvenir a bit of it, wouldn’t you? Not Richie Beeton, of Belmont North.

He tells us his current place has the front door of Rohallion, a grand old house that once graced The Hill. It was pulled down 50 years ago.

‘‘I must have been in my 20s, and the blokes doing the demolition said, ‘If you want anything just take it’,’’ recalls Richie.

‘‘So I went in with my screwdriver and got it.’’

Rohallion was considered a landmark in its 1880s heyday but, in the proud Newcastle tradition, was falling apart by the 1960s. There’s a block of units there now.

‘‘It also boasted showy blue Venetian glass surrounding a large panelled cedar door with a shiny brass knocker and knob,’’ according to Herald history writer Mike Scanlon.

Richie says he remembers the blue glass, though it’s long been replaced. The house’s dark reputation stems from a rumour of a young woman being murdered on its front steps in 1937.

If that door could talk, eh?

Rohallion, the reputedly haunted house on the Hill, which was pulled down 50 years ago.

YOU won’t catch us running for Premier. It looks exhausting.

Asked at a press conference yesterday to gauge the mood in Newcastle, Mike Baird tried gamely to whip himself into a frenzy.

‘‘Well … ah … can you feel it?’’ he asked.

Well, no. But Mr Baird warmed into his How Good’s Newy? routine and soon had the reporters transfixed. Most of them are crushing on him pretty hard, truth be told, queuing for selfies and beers after hours during the campaign.

‘‘Look at those beaches. I mean, those beaches,’’ Mr Baird enthused.

‘‘Across the world, if you happen to be unfortunate enough to be living in the UK you would be desperate, you would be desperate to get to those Newcastle beaches. I mean, they are, like, the best beaches in the world.’’

Topics thanks the Premier for his honesty about our world-leading beaches, and wonders how many other coastal communities have heard the same spiel.

​Email Tim [email protected]上海龙凤419m.au or tweet @TimConnell or phone 4979 5944

Hunter Health Kick: 2-minute challenge for Friday March 20

Renee Valentine and Emma Gorton at Merewether Bathers Way lookout. Picture: Marina NeilThis week it is time to focus on the core – that’s the muscles that support and stabilise the trunk of the body.Add the seven two-minute challenges together at the end of the week for a tough core workout.
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Friday’s2-minute challenge

– 40 seconds V-sit

– 40 seconds prone back extension

– 40 seconds hover

* Looking for healthy food options? Click here for our seven-day meal plan.

* Photos: See who’sgetting fit in the Hunter

Missed previous challenges? Catchup here.

WEEK 1

●Saturday Feb 7

● Sunday Feb 8

● Monday Feb 9

● Tuesday Feb 10

● Wednesday Feb 11

● Thursday Feb 12

● Friday Feb 13

WEEK 2: FAMILY WEEK

●Saturday Feb 14

● Sunday Feb 15

● Monday Feb 16

●Tuesday Feb 17

● Wednesday Feb 18

● Thursday Feb 19

● Friday Feb 20

WEEK 3: OFFICE WEEK

● Saturday Feb 21

● Sunday Feb 22

● Monday Feb 23

● Tuesday Feb 24

● Wednesday Feb 25

● Thursday Feb 26

● Friday Feb 27

WEEK 4: ARM WEEK

● Saturday Feb 28

● Sunday March 1

● Monday March 2

● Tuesday March 3

● Wednesday March 4

●Thursday March 5

●Friday March 6

WEEK 5: LEG WEEK

●Saturday March 7

●Sunday March 8

● Monday March 9

● Tuesday March 10

● Wednesday March 11

● Thursday March 12

● Friday March 13

WEEK 6: COREWEEK

● Saturday March 14

●Sunday March 15

● Monday March 16

● Tuesday March 17

● Wednesday March 18

● Thursday March 19

Cyclone Pam rips through Vanuatu’s Manua school

Children walk down a devastated main road on the north side of the main island of Efate. Photo: Lawrence Smith Children walk down a devastated main road on the north side of the main island of Efate. Photo: Lawrence Smith
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Children walk down a devastated main road on the north side of the main island of Efate. Photo: Lawrence Smith

Children walk down a devastated main road on the north side of the main island of Efate. Photo: Lawrence Smith

Vanuatu cyclone: Tanna’s homeless desperate for waterCyclone Pam: At least eight Australians missing in VanuatuICAC witness Jeff McCloy makes $1 million donation to Vanuatu disaster appeal

As Cyclone Pam ripped at the roof of Manua School, a group of men, women and children pulled desperately on electrical cable keeping them from harm.

In pitch darkness, the group rigged the ropes to the roof’s rafters so they could try to hold it down.

It was a move that probably saved them.

“When the gale-force wind came in we tried very hard to keep the roof hanging on the house,” teacher Cooper Henry said. “It was the last thing we could do to save our families.

“Every time when the cyclone was heaving the roof up we had to [pull on the ropes], I was the captain and would call out “pull!” and everyone would hang on to the rope, even the little kids who were still awake. We stopped them from sleeping because it’s not safe.”

Usually home during the day to 314 children, the well-known school is now a scene of absolute destruction.

The school roof is gone.

School books, papers and toys are scattered in all directions, while the teachers and their families have nowhere to go.

Their homes lie in piles of rubble, with some parts stuck up in trees.

School principal Melizabeth Uhi said she had no idea when, or if, the school would reopen, because most of the pupils’ families were homeless.

“It’s more than I can explain, it’s too much for us,” she said.

“We woke up in the morning, on Saturday we came out and everything was gone. All our properties and everything were blown away. Everybody were walking around the front crying, that’s it, you just have to accept.”

Evan Shuurman, a member of the Save the Children charity in Port Vila, said there were an estimated 45,000 children who would not be going to school for the foreseeable future.

Many schools were either destroyed or are being used as evacuation centres, making them unusable for teaching.

“It’s a really challenging situation because homes have been destroyed, and until families can return home . . . they need somewhere to stay and schools are a common and logical place to use as safety centres,” he said.

“We want to minimise the length of time kids stay out of school as much as possible. Apart from the fact they’re missing out on valuable education, [going to] school is such an important place for children who have been through trauma, it provides them with routine and a sense of normality.”

For Henry, the pain is amplified by the fact he is yet to learn the fate of his parents, grandmother and extended family who live on Epi, an outer island in remote Shefa province.

With no communications available, he has no idea when he will receive word from them.

Until then, he plans to listen to the Government, and despite everything is thankful for what help they may receive.

“I would like to say thank you very much for the books you’ve given to us,” he said.

The Government of New Zealand has been donating a lot of educational materials to our school.

“I’m sorry if we’re asking you for more books for our kids, very sorry. We are still depending on aid. We hope we’ll be receiving some help from you.”

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

Compromise opens doorfor Swansea and Stockton

Greg Perrin with Swansea-Caves Beach players at Parbury Park on Friday March 13. Picture: Max Mason-HubersGAME ON: Gloves off as league clubs fight for right to play
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STOCKTON and Swansea are free to play in the second division this season, but only once their Newcastle Rugby League affiliates have fielded four grades.

NRL chief executive officer Matt Harris met with his Country Rugby League counterpart Terry Quinn and operations manager Robert Lowrie on Wednesday to strike a compromise to end the impasse that threatened to prevent 50 footballers from playing rugby league this season.

The NRL originally blocked Stockton and Swansea’s re-entry into the second-tier Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League after the board voted to limit the inclusion of any new teams in that competition. That decision was made to safeguard the strength of the NRL’s open age competition that has been relaunched this season.

Stockton were a feeder club of Port Stephens Sharks, who have since folded due to a shortage of players. Stockton have become a South Newcastle affiliate.

Swansea are an affiliate of Lakes United.

Under the agreement between the NRL and CRL, Stockton and Swansea must register their players with their affiliate clubs and make the players available for selection if required.

If Stockton or Swansea players refuse to play in their affiliate’s open grade sides when required they could face fines, loss of competition points or suspensions.

It is understood that Souths and Lakes both have or are close to a full quota of players. ‘‘The option has been put in place so both Newcastle and Hunter sides can participate in the form they want to,’’ Harris said.

‘‘What it is also doing, as a priority, is we’re making sure the district clubs field all four sides.

‘‘That was endorsed as the main priority of Newcastle Rugby League – that we look after the clubs – and the CRL support the opinion we have.’’

Representatives from the NRL, CRL, Swansea, Stockton, Lakes and Souths are expected to meet in the next week to sign off on the arrangement.

Harris said Stockton had verbally accepted the new agreement.

Swansea secretary Greg Perrin said his committee were happy to support Lakes with players but wanted more information on the proposal before accepting it.

Swansea’s committee will discuss the proposal next Tuesday.

‘‘We support Lakes and there are players who are prepared to help them out if needed, but we just don’t know the finer details,’’ Perrin said.

EDITORIAL: Why does metadata matter?

AUSTRALIA’S two major political parties can’t usually agree on very much, but they both support the imposition of a new regime of data retention that promises to make George Orwell’s famous ‘‘Big Brother’’ seem ill-informed by comparison.
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In the name of making Australians safer, the government and opposition are shepherding into existence an expensive program of state surveillance, forcing communications service providers to store and make available huge volumes of detail about every citizen’s activities.

And while the authorities insist that what’s being kept is only ‘‘metadata’’, the definitions involved are so vague and unclear that it seems nobody is quite sure precisely what metadata is going to mean and include.

What seems certain is that metadata includes information about a person’s location, when they contact which other people and why, what they search for, what they want, plus information about their physical health and financial status.

A former general counsel with the United States’ National Security Agency, Stewart Baker, famously said in 2013 that “metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content”.

If the agencies demanding this information, now and in future, were guaranteed to be competent, benign and non-corrupt, then many people might – if they had any kind of choice – nervously agree to the imposition of the mass surveillance regime.

Sadly, however, history is littered with instances where members of agencies and organisations wielding the power that knowledge brings have been incompetent, malign and corrupt – sometimes all at once.

History also furnishes numerous cases where powers granted for good reasons have come to be abused.

One particularly concerning aspect of the mass surveillance program is the extent to which future governments or agencies, intent on suppressing criticism or concealing information, might use stored metadata to identify and punish whistleblowers.

Even as things now stand, many whistleblowers whose actions are clearly seen to be principled and beneficial to the community suffer for their trouble.

Just knowing how hard it will be to avoid being identified will probably dissuade many would-be whistleblowers from warning the public about injustice and wrongdoing.

And it seems that shouldering these risks will come at a price, with some internet service providers suggesting households may have to pay an extra $60 to $130 a year to cover the cost of being spied on by the government.

The benefits of the scheme seem unclear, but the risks and potential downsides are not so difficult to spot.

Irish tourist Barry Lyttle accused of attack on brother Patrick tries to negotiate with prosecutors for lesser charge

Patrick Lyttle, right, arrives in court this month to support his brother Barry, left. Photo: Paul BibbyAn Irish tourist accused of punching his brother in Kings Cross this year is trying to negotiate a lesser charge in the hope that he will soon be able to return home with his family.
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Barry Lyttle’s lawyer told the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday that he was in “negotiations” with the Director of Public Prosecutions and was hoping the matter could be “resolved” soon so that the family could return home.

Barry Lyttle, 33, is facing a charge of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm over the incident on January 3, in which he allegedly punched his brother Patrick on the head in Kings Cross following a minor disagreement.

Patrick Lyttle, 31, was placed on life support at St Vincent’s Hospital and spent a week in a coma before making a sudden improvement in mid-January.

He has since spoken out publicly in support of his brother and asked for the charges against him to be dropped.

Speaking after a brief court appearance on Thursday, Barry’s lawyer, Chris Watson, said he had been in discussions with prosecutors about replacing the grievous bodily harm charge with one that could be dealt with in the Local Court rather than the District Court.

Such a charge would, by definition, be less serious, and could mean that Barry might receive a punishment that did not involve full-time custody.

Crucial to whether prosecutors will agree to a lesser charge is a medical report, which the defence hopes will show that Patrick has not suffered any permanent injuries as a result of the alleged attack.

The court heard on Thursday that prosecutors had now received this report, but that they might require more evidence before being convinced that Patrick had made a full recovery.

“We’re just waiting for the DPP evidence which shows that Patrick’s recovered fully,” Mr Watson said outside court.

“We put the proposition [of a different charge] to the DPP, they have to consider it. They’ve been waiting for medical assessment. Once they have that, they can make a decision.”

Barry said he and his family were hoping for the matter to be resolved quickly.

“I just think that there’s a lot to be done in the next three weeks and we’re hoping that this can all be over soon because Dad needs to get home,” he said.

Patrick, who accompanied his brother to court along with their father, said he was not suffering any ongoing effects from the incident.

“We had a fantastic relationship before this incident, and that has not changed since this incident,” he said of the relationship with his brother.

The matter will return to court on April 9.

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

Katherine YMCA faces ‘catastrophic’ closure

FUNDING FURY: YMCA Katherine staff Chantal Ober, Jim Vivian and Tammy Frean are furious the organisation has lost $1.1 million cut in federal funding.Thedoors of YMCA Katherine could be shut by July after more than $1.1 million in critical funding was slashed from the organisation’s bottom line earlier this month.
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As part of the federal government’s $860m Indigenous Advancement Strategy program, YMCA Katherine will only receive $250,000 over the next three years, an astounding cut of more than 80 per cent from its current funding level of $470,000 per year.

YMCA Katherine chief executive officer Jim Vivian told the Katherine Times that the announcement was a “slap in the face” for the organisation, which had been asked to submit a five-year, $8-million program expansion plan in 2014.

“It’s a feeling of total disbelief, because we were asked to submit a three- to five-year program on how we’d like to expand youth services, so we did,” he said.

“If we only get [the $250,000] we’re almost forced to shut down our youth and community section.

“It effectively shuts down the whole show.

“If we’ve got all this expertise and they want us to look at expanding, why are they cutting our funding?”

The announcement comes just four months after YMCA Katherine staff member Chantal Ober was named the 2014 Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year for her efforts in working with local youth and creating programs aimed at improving theirresilience and self-esteem.

“For Chantal to win her award and now not know if her job is safe, it’s a real slap in the face,” Mr Vivian said.

He has written to Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion to plead for the funding allocation to be reviewed, adding that he wanted the senator to visit Katherine to see for himself the specialist youth services the organisation provided.

“It will be catastrophic if we have to close,” Mr Viviansaid.

Team leader Tammy Frean said she was worried the closure of YMCA Katherine could cost at-risk youth their lives.

“We’re the only ones who do what we do in Katherine,” she explained.

“There’s not another organisation that we can just hand our caseload to.

“For some of these kids, us being open is a matter of life-and-death.”

While the IAS has been used as a political football in Canberra, Mr Vivian said Senator Scullion needed to understand what the human impact of the funding cuts would mean for the Katherine community.

“There’s no way we can survive with the funding they’ve offered,” he said.

“This is about the whole community, not just the YMCA.”

YMCA Katherine fast facts

IN ADDITION to its gymnasium, YMCA Katherine offers a diverse range of community services, including:

1. An adolescent sexual healthprogram in Katherine and Barunga.

2. Weekly youth nights for boys and girls that target specific issues identified by attendees.

3. On-call, after-hours support for youth, including suicide intervention

4. Supporting local youth withcorrectional orders and bail conditions.

5. An interactive education program on sexual assault and domestic violence.

6. Support youth as a responsible adult during police interviews.

ATO’s Chris Jordan says tax disclosure laws not intended for private companies

Tax commissioner Chris Jordan said private companies were just “thrown in” under disclosure laws targeting large companies’ earnings. Photo: Louie DouvisTax commissioner Chris Jordan said laws aimed at requiring the tax office to publish the tax information of large companies were originally intended to capture multinationals, not private companies.
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But Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said private companies were a target of the laws when introduced, suggesting it wasn’t appropriate for the commissioner to comment on policy intention.

The Coalition wants to remove about 700 private companies from laws, introduced under the former Labor government, requiring the Australian Taxation Office this year to publish the tax information of public and private companies with $100 million or more turnover.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told Coalition party room members the government will wind back tax disclosure laws after complaints by private business owners that they could be kidnapped should tax information be made public and people realised how wealthy they were.

The issues were raised in a party room meeting by several Coalition MPs including Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Fairfax Media first reported the concerns raised with the government by private business owners over kidnapping and ransom demands because of the laws.

Asked about the rollback, Mr Jordan, speaking at the Tax Institute conference on Queensland’s Gold Coast, said “it’s clearly a matter for government”.

But he said the laws were originally intended to capture overseas-based multinationals that were not paying tax on billions of dollars of sales in Australia, rather than private business owners.

“I think if you look at the history of the matter, it was really for multinational companies operating here, disclosing quite low revenue,” he said.

“I understand, and this mainly what I’ve read in the media, that there’s a lot of concerns about the private companies [being included] in these disclosures. [There are] personal reasons but also competitive reasons. People saying, well their [private companies’] margins might be looked at. If they’re a major supplier to some of the major retailers there might be pressure on them to reduce their prices.”

The laws, as they stand, require the ATO to publish the Australian business number, total income, taxable income and tax payable of public and private companies with $100 million or more turnover on the data.gov.au website. Business has been lobbying hard against the publication of such information, saying it could be “misleading”.

Introduced under the former Labor government, from July the laws will require the tax office to publish the tax details of thousands of private and public companies with more than $100 million turnover.

The ATO has already said that while the laws are meant to take hold in July, publication is not likely to take place until the end of the year, and that companies will have a chance to check their tax information before it goes live.

Several Coalition ministers including Treasurer Joe Hockey voted against Labor’s laws when in opposition.

“It started out as multinational companies [being forced] to disclose and in some cases to show how low [profits] were in terms of the Australian part of that,” Mr Jordan said. “Notwithstanding there might be billions of dollars of sales here.”

“That was the genesis of it and I suppose then it got widened to include Australian large corporates and got thrown in private companies as well.”

Mr Jordan said Labor had originally set the reporting threshold at more than $100 million, but it was lowered.

“There was a realisation that a lot of these multinational corporations you wouldn’t [be able to] catch them because their Australian sales were so low,” he said. “Hence the figure of $100 million was put there, but again it mainly focused on the multinationals.”

Mr Leigh said while he respected Mr Jordan’s administration of the tax office, “commentary about the Labor government’s policy intentions is best left to others”.

“Labor’s transparency measures were always intended to cover the largest corporate taxpayers, both public and private,” he said.

“We put the disclosure rules in place to improve transparency about the tax affairs of very large corporations doing business in Australia. There is a real and legitimate concern in the community that very big firms – both Australian-owned and multinational – are not paying their fair share.”

He said rolling back these laws means “shielding these companies from the kind of public scrutiny which helps tackle tax avoidance”.

Greens leader Christine Milne said this would just give a sign to the rich that they could dodge tax. “We need more transparency, not less. But the Abbott government is desperate to expand the protection racket that is tax havens for the wealthy in Australia.”

“Every which way you look, every time a tax matter comes up we see further moves to exempt or give leniency to the rich. The ATO is independent from the Treasurer’s office. They should be going hard, not facilitating leniency.”

Tax Institute chief executive Noel Rowland said the issue was a complex one, “any decisions made need to carefully consider issues of privacy and commercial arrangements”.

Second commissioner Andrew Mills said in an interview with Fairfax Media last year that ­companies needed to be open about their tax affairs to avoid damaging their reputation. “Sunlight is a great disinfectant,” he said.

The writer is currently a guest of the Tax Institute at its conference on the Gold Coast.

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

Riot squad sent to Villawood detention centre amid ongoing disturbance and property damage

A public order and riot squad van arrives at Villawood Detention Centre on Thursday. Photo: Daniel Munoz A public order and riot squad van arrives at Villawood Detention Centre on Thursday. Photo: Daniel Munoz
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A public order and riot squad van arrives at Villawood Detention Centre on Thursday. Photo: Daniel Munoz

A public order and riot squad van arrives at Villawood Detention Centre on Thursday. Photo: Daniel Munoz

The NSW riot squad is on standby outside Villawood Detention Centre after violent disturbances overnight and on Thursday.

A group of about eight detainees have destroyed property inside the centre and the situation remains unresolved, according to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and NSW Police.

A fire was lit inside a bin, filling an area of the centre with smoke.

Fairfax Media understands the group who instigated the disturbance are not asylum seekers.

They are held within the Blaxland maximum security wing of the centre.

No one is thought to be injured.

There are up to 500 detainees at Villawood. Apart from asylum seekers there are people held pending deportation and others in dispute over visas.

A spokeswoman for NSW Police said the riot squad was at the scene as a precaution but officers would be guided by federal authorities if the stand-off progresses further.

Fire and Ambulance crews are also at the scene.

Mr Dutton said three detainees involved in the disturbance have been “extracted”. “They have been dealt with and put aside,” he said.

He said early advice to him suggested there are no injuries but property has been damaged.

The centre’s private operator, Serco Australia, is negotiating with the group, assisted by police. Mr Dutton said the government would act decisively if the situation progressed.

“They will be left not in two minds that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated in detention centres,” he said.

The flare-up comes a day after Customs officers conducted a search of the compound and reportedly seized syringes, drugs, drug pipes, smart phones and garden shears, which were all confiscated.

Customs officials searched the centre after a tip-off from Serco.

A spokeswoman for Mr Dutton said the situation was ongoing.

“Police and other services are at the centre assisting with managing the disturbances and as a contingency should they be required,” he said.

“The [Immigration] Department and Serco are working very closely with AFP and NSW Police onsite to manage the disturbance in [the Villawood Centre].

“At present the rest of the centre remains calm.”

In 2011, detainees caused $9 million damage to the centre when staff were pelted with roof tiles and an office building set alight. Piles of rubbish and wooden furniture were set on fire by members of a group of about 100 angry detainees.

Five asylum seekers who took part in the riot were given jail sentences of between 14 and 22 months.

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