Tony Abbott’s budget retreat rings alarm bells for business

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey during question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew MearesCollapsing iron ore prices and an apparent U-turn by the Abbott government on tough budget repair have rung alarm bells in Australian business circles with leaders warning the problem of Commonwealth debt is growing and cannot be wished away for reasons of political convenience.
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But some business voices have also welcomed the prospect of a bit of extra stimulus in the short-term via small business tax cuts and money for childcare, which is set to provide a fillip in the next budget.

Iron ore fell to $54.50 a tonne over Wednesday night, a six-year low and nearly $10 below Treasury’s mid-year forecast price of $63 a tonne – a price Treasurer Joe Hockey said was more conservative than previous benchmarks.

It is understood that each $1 fall wipes more than $200 million off revenue flowing into Canberra.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott came under intense pressure in Parliament on Thursday after his comments on Wednesday were interpreted as suggesting that the hard work of reining in spending had been done and that a four-fold increase in the nation’s net debt-to GDP ratio was a reasonable outcome compared to other countries.

Mr Abbott had said the budget due in seven weeks would contain little of the harshness of the first budget because the main spending restraint had already been done.

This was despite the fact that only around half of the roughly $60 billion in future savings sought by the government had been approved by the Parliament.

Mr Abbott said a projected quadrupling of the debt ratio as set out in the government’s recent Intergenerational Report, while not ideal, was better than it would have been under Labor and was “a pretty good result looking around the world”.

But Labor said the blow-out would see the nation’s triple-A rating downgraded.

Mr Hockey also claimed credit for savings agreed to so far, arguing the rate of growth in projected borrowing is lower.

“What we’ve done is we have halved that trajectory,” he told Parliament.

“So we’ve halved, in our first budget we halved the amount of net debt that is going to exist in 2055.

“But there is much more to be done.”

The combination of declining revenue and a government that looks to have already shifted to a pre-election softly-softly approach, has fuelled concerns that promised budget surpluses will never materialise.

But some businesses have also welcomed the prospect of new spending with Innes Willox, the chief executive of peak manufacturing organisation the Australian Industry Group, telling Fairfax Media, it was a mixed picture.

“The economy needs a modest degree of fiscal stimulus now given the below-par conditions we are facing, but at the same time, the government needs to continue to introduce measures to fortify the national budgetary position over time,” he said.

“To its credit, in last year’s budget the government attempted to introduce measures, mainly on the expenditure side that had the potential to make very substantial headway in the critical task of longer-term fiscal fortification. Many of these measures have, however, lapsed or appear to have a low prospect of passage through the current Parliament. Further, many failed to attract the backing of the broader community.

“This highlights that the task of fiscal strengthening is undoubtedly a very difficult one politically.”

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott, however, urged the government to stay the course and not to go weak on structural changes to the burgeoning expenditure areas of health-care, pensions and superannuation rules.

Economists warn the Intergenerational Report projection of an average of 2.8 per cent annual growth continuously for the next 40 years was a pipe-dream because Australia had already broken records for 24 years of uninterrupted growth.

Ms Westacott noted that with $245 billion in debt, a deficit of more than $40 billion and an interest bill of more than $11 billion, there was no time to waste because “unless you do structural corrections, the problem will get bigger and bigger”.

“We have to start now so people can make adjustments,” she said.

With James Massola

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

Review: Macy Gray

Macy Gray performs at Lizotte’s. Picture: Jonathan CarrollREVIEW
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Lizotte’s Newcastle,March 17

MACY Gray never topped the commercial success of her worldwide hit I Try, the soulful ballad that earned the singer a Grammy award in 2001.

A good 15 years have passed since then and, though Gray may have fallen off the radar for some, one thing that can’t be forgotten is that unmistakable voice.

Her raspy, but equally smooth, voice has been described as “Marge Simpson crossed with Minnie Mouse” but that’s not exactly right.

She is a force, that’s for sure, and her voice really is something special.

It can be soft and delicate, then big and soulful.

And she makes it look entirely effortless.

Touring across Australia this month with her eighth album, My Way (released in October), Gray’s show in Newcastle was a complete sellout.

It actually sold so well that venue owners had to rearrange the floor plan to accommodate extra seating.

With everyone wedged in such close confines, there was a buzz of anticipation in the venue that erupted into wild cheers as Gray emerged on stage from behind the speaker stack. And, wow, she is a presence.

She is incredibly tall and with heels and a wild Afro adding a few extra inches, Gray towered over her four male band members.

She sparkled like a Las Vegas Christmas tree in a sequined floor-length gown, feather boa and elaborate fake lashes to compete the look.

Opening with Why Didn’t You Call Me? (from her hit album On How Life Is), Gray was cool, confident and irresistibly charming.

Her banter in between songs shifted from downright funny to flirty to coming up with oddball statements like “Google says the more you drink, the better we sound”.

Halfway through the set, she left the drummer to entertain the crowd for a slightly too-dragged out drum solo before returning in a new dress with a long, dangling fur draped around her body.

The set featured the hits (I Try, Do Something, Sweet Baby) and a couple of covers (Melanie’s Brand New Key and Radiohead’s Creep – the latter seemed the perfect choice for a woman who has lived a notoriously turbulent life on and off stage).

By the time they busted into her disco-flavoured groove of Sexual Revolution (fused with Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy), the crowd was up and dancing (after prompting from Gray) and the two mirrorballs on the ceiling were switched on.

Tonight it was just one big party at Macy Gray’s house.

The Shipping News: What’s the best from a multitude of best on our high seas; wonderment to enjoy

All aboard Lindblad Expeditions with Ben Crop 1. Photo: Supplied All aboard Lindblad Expeditions with Ben Crop 1. Photo: Supplied
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All aboard Lindblad Expeditions with Ben Crop 1. Photo: Supplied

All aboard Lindblad Expeditions with Ben Crop 1. Photo: Supplied

PETITE PLEASURE

Avalon Waterways has unveiled its new ship Siem Reap, joining an ever-increasing flotilla heading along the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam. It’s the first of the company’s “Suite Ships” in Asia, though smaller than those in Europe, carrying just 38 passengers. Its 18 air-conditioned suites are fitted with Avalon’s signature open-air balcony with panoramic windows that have retractable screen systems and sliding doors. But its big advantage is that, at only 60 metres long, it’s able to sail both into Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City, avoiding the road transfers of other cruise itineraries.

Phone 1300 230 234. See avalonwaterways上海龙凤419m.au.

SEVENTH HEAVEN

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has revealed the all-new Seven Seas Explorer’s maiden voyage: a cruise from Monte Carlo to Venice departing on July 20, 2016. The 750-guest ship, which the company says will be the world’s most luxurious cruise ship, will spend its inaugural season in the Mediterranean, calling in at ports such as Ibiza, Barcelona, St Tropez, Alexandria and Istanbul, as well as lesser-known port destinations such as Kotor in Montenegro, Koper in Slovenia and Zadar in Croatia. Reservations are already being taken on the ship, which is under construction in Italy.

Phone 02 9265 7100. See rssc上海龙凤419m.au.

PICK OF THE CROP

Australian explorer Ben Cropp will be joining Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s “Global Perspectives Speakers” program in October for a Pacific expedition cruise between Palau and the Solomon Islands. Cropp has produced some 150 marine and wildlife adventure documentaries and discovered more than 100 shipwrecks, including the prominent Australian wreck of HMS Pandora. Guests will be able to listen to Cropp’s presentations and take daily expeditions in his company. The voyage combines ocean passage and island exploration, journeying through some of the most remote places in the Pacific.

Phone 1300 361 012. See expeditions上海龙凤419m.

PALACE COUP

Uniworld’s latest river-cruise ship SS Maria Theresa was launched this week and will mostly cruise Uniworld’s “European Jewels” voyage from Budapest to Amsterdam. The Super Ship is the  most ambitious yet for a company not shy about bold design and aims to transport passengers onto a floating eighteenth-century palace to recall the times of its famous namesake. It features a sweeping three-tiered marble staircase, tromp l’oeil murals, glass chandeliers and interiors clad in silk, mirrors and antique wood. The ship also boasts a Hapsburg Salon, Viennese-style café, 10-seat cinema and 64 staterooms.

Phone 1300 780 231. See uniworldcruises上海龙凤419m.au.

CULINARY CRUISES

“Connoisseurs of Cuisine” cruises on Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 this year are set to titillate the tastebuds. On-board experts will come from a range of culinary fields and will give gourmet-loving guests exclusive insights into their specialist fields during workshops and cooking courses that might cover Arabian cuisine on a late-2015 sailing along the Arabian peninsula, sea salt on a Dubai to Mauritius cruise, gin on a Hamburg to Lisbon cruise, and special ice cream creations on a sail along the Mediterranean coast. A June itinerary in the Canary Islands and Azores delves into sherry.

Phone 02 9977 7100. See hl-cruises上海龙凤419m

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

Liberals’ tunnel vision

Transport plans in the minds of NSW voters: Gladys Berejiklian. Photo: Anna WarrCongestion might be the issue foremost in the minds of NSW voters at the March 28 poll, according to focus group research for Fairfax Media. But even though this election features some of the most expansive, and expensive, transport proposals the state has seen for many years, travelling around Sydney is not likely to get any easier for years to come.
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The promises the Coalition is making on transport are the primary selling point for its decision to lease 49 per cent of key electricity assets for a $20-billion odd return.

And they are certainly ambitious, even if they would take years to build. The largest pledge, in terms of cost to the state budget, is another $10 billion rail tunnel under Sydney Harbour and through the central business district.

This tunnel, which would be the first addition of rail capacity to the city since the construction of the Eastern Suburbs Line in the 1970s, would connect the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link, which is taking over the existing Epping to Chatswood Line, to the Bankstown Line at Sydenham, adding at least three new train stations to the city.

But if they’re not already, the government’s plans for this line are surely to become more controversial in the years to come. Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s decision to run automated single-deck trains on the North West Rail Link, operated by a private company, means the existing Epping to Chatswood Line would need to be closed for about seven months in 2017 or 2018 to make it compatible with the new system.

Students at Macquarie University, and workers at Macquarie Park, who currently catch trains to work and school will need to switch to buses for more than six months.

And when the second harbour crossing is built, some time at the start of the next decade, there will be even bigger disruption to the Bankstown Line. The 17,000-odd commuters who catch Bankstown Line trains to the city every morning would also need to switch to buses, perhaps for longer than six months.

But the curious thing about this election campaign is that the Labor opposition has not been out picking holes in government transport policies. As Mike Baird and his ministers have been keen to point out, this election sees the bizarre situation in which the opposition does not want to talk about Sydney’s traffic and congestion.

Labor’s plans, which it has described as modest, would largely mirror the Coalition’s policies. But Labor, without the $20 billion expected to be raised from the partial privatisation of electricity assets, would delay the construction of the second harbour rail crossing, and also shave off about a third of the WestConnex motorway, the other big-ticket item promised by Baird and the Coalition.

The 33-kilometre toll road, which would also not be finished until 2023, would provide another M5 East Tunnel, a new M4 East Tunnel from Homebush to Rozelle, and then a tunnel under the inner-west to link them. Labor says it would scrap the linking tunnel, which WestConnex says is the most important element of the whole project.

And while there is plenty of controversy over whether the motorway is the right thing to be building, there is little question the roads it would alleviate – Parramatta Road and the M5 East – need some improvement. The Greens say they would scrap the entire motorway altogether, and instead build a rail line between Epping and Parramatta. What the experts say

Associate Professor Garry Glazebrook from the University of Technology, Sydney, is an experienced transport and urban planner.

Dr Glazebrook says it is unfortunate that both major parties have committed to WestConnex, or in Labor’s case most of WestConnex.

“What’s wrong with that, you might ask as you sit in Sydney’s notorious traffic?” says Glazebrook. He offers five reasons.

The first is that there has been a shift to increased use of public transport, as opposed to the car.

The second is that WestConnex would encourage more cars into Eastern Sydney, where streets can’t accommodate them.

The third is that more jobs should be encouraged in Parramatta and other western centres, and more roads in eastern Sydney would not do that.

“Fourth the development of Badgerys Creek airport, the Southern Sydney freight line and intermodal terminals at Enfield and Moorebank undermine the need for the duplication of the M5 component of WestConnex,” he says.

And fifth, the last four toll roads in Australia have gone broke, creating a financial risk for the state.

“I would suggest an alternative, multi-modal plan. This would include a much smaller two-lane tunnel linking the Airport/port to Strathfield, but limited to commercial vehicles, taxis and buses in peak hours; a West Metro built in stages between the CBD and Parramatta; and additional park and ride capacity on the East Hills line, at Strathfield near the end of the M4, and at the new stations on the West Metro.”

Professor Michiel Bliemer is chair in transport and logistics network modelling at the University of Sydney.

Professor Bliemer says that Sydney has been shaped by the Great Australian Dream, which is the belief that everyone should have access to a house and garden.

“As a result,” Professor Bliemer says, “extensive urban sprawl and suburbanisation has occurred and in order to enable travelling to these suburbs, tramways were removed in the 1950s to make way for roads for cars. Since then Sydney has seen rapid growth. Being a car-centric city with low-density housing, traffic has turned Sydney into a gridlock.”

He says the most important priority for Sydney, therefore, is to increase the density of housing in dedicated areas of the city while providing high quality public transport between those areas.

“Simply building more roads will not solve the congestion problems in the city (see California), and do you really want to live next to a big (polluting) road?” he asks.

“In the past decade there is a growing understanding that a liveable city is a walkable city, in which public transport and green areas play an important role. Living close to a train or metro station is desirable. Land prices increase as accessibility to public transport increases. If governments can capture this value and invest it in better transport infrastructure, we all gain. An important question that we have to ask ourselves is: how much are we willing to pay for an improved transport system, knowing that current tax revenues are not sufficient to achieve this?”

Sandy Thomas is an experienced consultant and one of the authors of the Herald’s Transport Inquiry of 2009 and 2010

“The saddest aspects of the major parties’ transport policies are their triviality and their similarity,” says Thomas.

Thomas is highly critical of the manner in which transport planning, under both Labor and Liberal, has been taken away from transport service planners within government and handed to a new generation of bureaucrats who prioritise building things.

He is also critical of the impending privatisation of much of Sydney’s rail network.

While the two major parties obviously differ on the future of the electricity network , they are as one when it comes to the privatisation, by stealth, of Sydney’s public transport.

“The government has already contracted to privatise the new, publicly funded $2.4 billion Epping-Chatswood railway by quietly giving it away, for nothing, to the private operator of the North West Rail Link, a consortium led by the Hong Kong-based MTR,” Thomas says.

“And now both the Liberals and Labor, in the former case as a “benefit” of the electricity privatisation and in the latter case seemingly without realising it, propose to privatise the Bankstown-Sydenham section of the publicly owned Bankstown rail line as well, as part of the “second harbour rail crossing” project,” he says.

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

Liza Minnelli admitted to rehab in Malibu

Liza Minnelli is back in rehab.
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The performer’s publicist confirmed Minnelli had checked herself into a treatment facility.

The Cabaret star is primarily receiving treatment for alcohol abuse, US entertainment website TMZ says.

Minnelli, who turned 69 last week, has dealt with alcohol addiction and prescription drug abuse for much of her career. She was last admitted to rehab in 2004.

Her publicist, Scott Gorenstein, told media her decision to seek help was not triggered by a specific incident.

“Liza Minnelli has valiantly battled substance abuse over the years and whenever she has needed to seek treatment she has done so,” Mr Gorenstein said.

“She is currently making excellent progress at an undisclosed facility.”

The unnamed centre is reportedly in Malibu, Los Angeles County.

Minnelli – internationally regarded as a cultural and gay icon – won a Best Actress Academy Award in 1973 for her role in Cabaret. She has also won three Tony Awards for her Broadway performances. In 1990, she was named a Grammy Living Legend.

She continues to perform and in recent years has made guest appearances on the television series Arrested Development.

Minnelli’s mother, the acclaimed singer and actress Judy Garland, also struggled with substance abuse and died of a barbiturate overdose in 1969.

According to a 2011 profile in The Times of London, Minnelli has at various times been addicted to alcohol, Valium, cocaine and sleeping pills, and had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous for “a long, long time, every single day”.

She knocked back a reported $500,000 to appear in Celebrity Rehab in 2010.

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

The Lowdown: Sydney FC v Melbourne City

Follow SMH Sport on Twitter
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Sydney FC v Melbourne City. 

Friday, 7:40pm at Allianz Stadium.

Live on Fox Sports 4 and SBS.

Twitter: SYDvMCY

Odds: Sydney FC $1.80, Melbourne City $4, Draw $3.50

Five to watch:

1. Marc Janko (Sydney).

Sydney’s man of the moment just can’t stop scoring. He’s hit the back of the net in his past seven games and broke a club record for most goals in a season. Another hat-trick this week and he will equal that of the league’s.

2. Robert Koren (Melbourne).

Melbourne City’s marquee has the ability to change a match. He doesn’t shy away from the physicality and adds much needed creativity to his side’s play.

3. Milos Dimitrijevic (Sydney).

The classy central midfielder has perhaps the best first touch in the competition, so expect a few moments of magic.

4. Josh Kennedy (Melbourne).

The towering centre forward will be looking to capitalise on the error-ridden defence of Sydney FC in recent weeks, so don’t be surprised to see his name on the scoresheet.

5. Bernie Ibini (Sydney).

Sydney’s winger is hitting some form whilst not the back of the net. He’s growing more comfortable with each game in his role out wide and will torment City’s defence.

In the dug-out. 

Graham Arnold. Despite steering a resurgence after the January break, Arnold is not happy with the defence of his side despite their nine game unbeaten streak. Sturdying the backline was the focus in training this week, so anything less than a significant improvement won’t be tolerated by the coach.

John Van’t Schip. The Dutch coach is under pressure at City and is at risk of failing to qualify for the top six. Although in sixth spot now, they have played two more games than Brisbane so need to win to have a hope of making the finals.

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

Greg Shipperd hailed for getting Bushrangers into Sheffield Shield final

Greg Shipperd. Photo: Pat Scala Greg Shipperd. Photo: Pat Scala
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Greg Shipperd. Photo: Pat Scala

Greg Shipperd. Photo: Pat Scala

Victoria veteran Rob Quiney has hailed the influence of long-term coach Greg Shipperd in helping the team emerge from the post-Christmas tailspin that threatened their Sheffield Shield title bid.

That the Bushrangers finished a game clear atop the table, earning hosting rights for the match starting on Saturday against Western Australia in Hobart, contrasts significantly with their first two performances after the Big Bash League.

Their trip to Queensland ended in an innings defeat, and in the next against NSW they were pummelled by 156 runs on a spin-friendly Wagga pitch they were unable to reach 200 on in either innings.

The then plummeting fortunes of the team coincided with Shipperd being told his role as coach of Melbourne Stars in the BBL was under review, a process which culminated in him being replaced by New Zealander Stephen Fleming.

Shipperd’s situation was complicated by the fact the 58-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season with the Bushrangers, and was in need of a significant lift in on-field results to bolster his case for a new deal.

Given Victoria finished the first half the season on top of the shield table, and had been bolstered by the addition of James Pattinson and Chris Rogers and had unfettered access to Peter Siddle, Quiney said starting February with two hefty losses was a huge shock.

“We’d had such a great start to the season, on paper we had a much stronger side than Queensland in the first shield game back – and they pantsed us,” he said.

While the Bushrangers misread the spin-friendly pitch conditions in Wagga the opener also conceded it was a factor that the NSW players “probably wanted it a bit more than us”.

“It wasn’t a crossroads, a crisis meeting or anything like that. It was more ‘Boys, we’re better than this’. We’ve got to pull our finger out,” he said.

“We had an opportunity to turn it around. We were third after that Wagga game and only a few points away from top spot. We were lucky that we’d set everything up in the first half of the season.”

Quiney said Shipperd and captain Matthew Wade were controlled, rather than apoplectic, in explaining the need for the players to make amends for those losses in their last three matches of the season. That Shipperd was able to maintain that composure during the period he was set to be axed by the Stars, and ultimately was, impressed Quiney.

“I think he kept himself in good order. Obviously it was something he wanted to continue to do and he probably felt it was a bit of a kick in the teeth, but as soon as that was done … his focus has been purely on the Vics,” he said of the coach, who took over as head coach just over 11 years ago.

“Losing those two games, it could’ve been easy for him to lose his shit, but he didn’t. He kept quite calm. He knew what the process was and the end result we wanted to get to.

“One hundred per cent [it was selfless]. He’s always been like that as well. It’s always been team first for him. That’s why he’s such a great coach, and I think a great person. Deep down he might be lying in bed going ‘Geez, I wish I had this role] and stuff like that, but he’s kept that in pretty good check, I think.

“It’s good the Stars have named their coach and everything has moved on. It means that ‘Shippy’ can just focus on us now, which is great.”

While the Bushrangers are the first team in 20 years to go from last to first in the shield, since Queensland in 1994-95, Quiney is still too disappointed about the former to take such a statistic as a badge of honour.

“Ultimately you try and forget about the past when it’s bad,” he said.

Quiney said he was proud of how his teammates had responded to the challenge of providing more rigidity with the bat since being thrashed by Queensland and NSW.

“We knew we could get 20 wickets, but initially it was our batting that let us down,” he said, explaining that he and Rogers aspired to “instead of being 3-40 and being none or one down for 60 or 70 gives us a good platform, and that’s what we’ve done in the past few games”.

“Everyone is averaging 40-plus. That is the really pleasing thing, that blokes like (Peter) Handscomb and (Marcus) Stoinis and contributing so strongly as young players,” he said.

Quiney commended Cameron White, John Hastings and Clint Mckay for their stoic reactions to missing selection in the first XI in the second half of the season. He also said it was a credit to young players – such as Handscomb, Stoinis and Scott Boland – that their form saw them keep their positions even when White, Hastings and Mckay were available.

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

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.
Shanghai night field

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