Bath wants name change for Newcastle council

Newcastle City Council interim CEO Jeremy Bath at the Stewart Avenue building where Newcastle City Council administration will be based. Photo: Simon McCarthyNewcastle City Council chief executive officer Jeremy Bath is no fan of the word “council” and wants itscrapped from the local government area’s title.
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Mr Bath, who was appointed last week after acting in an interim capacity since May, told the Newcastle Herald that the council’s planned move to the west end in 2019 could provide an opportunity for a name change.

“I don’t like the word council. I think it’s tired;it’s outdated.I think it stands for a level of bureaucracy and red tape that we’re very much committed to getting away from,” he said.

“I’m far more comfortable in telling people that I’m the CEO of the City of Newcastle rather than I’m the CEO of Newcastle City Council.

“I’m not unique in thinking that way. You’ve only got to look at other major councils, such as the City of Sydney, who came to that realisation 10 years ago.”

Some local government areasin Australia, including City of Melbourne and City of Gold Coast, brand themselves without the word “council” but also refer to themselves as councils.

The City of Perth and City of Sydney generally eschew the term “council”, but Brisbane City Council and Wollongong City Council embraceit.

Jeremy Bath

Newcastle City Council was known as City of Newcastle from 1949 to 1993 before adopting its present official name, although it still uses the former title in its logo.

Mr Bath said the move to a new building in Stewart Avenue was primarily about bringing council employees under one roof in better office accommodation.But he said the location shift anddropping “council” from his organisation’s titlewould reflect its agenda of transforming Newcastle into a more modern city.

“When you survey people, their feelings about council are very tired, they’re very negative,” he said.

“As we change and present aculture of this organisation that’s far more receptive to community needs, and, I guess, that’s far more bold in its thinking and its bravery in its decision making, we need to communicate that change to people.

“My personal view is that the term council is very much a ’70s term.”

The council will have to change its address on digital and printed letterheads when it moves, which could provide an opportunity for rebranding.

“It will, but right now that’s not a focus,” Mr Bath said.

“It’s certainly something I’m thinking about, but I don’t have a timetable, and that’s certainly something I need to have a discussion with the elected councillors about, and I haven’t done that.”

Newcastle City Council’s former titles

Newcastle District Council (1843-1858)

The Municipality of Newcastle (1859-1867)

The Borough of Newcastle (1867-1938)

The City of Greater Newcastle (1938-1949)

City of Newcastle (1949-1993)

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Council moves west

Bath appointed CEO

Five first-home buyer suburbs where affordability and lifestyle converge

Good Food. 14th of November 2017. Labld in Marrickville. Photo: Dominic LorrimerFirst-home owners – whether single, a couple, or a young family – don’t necessarily need a property with a SMEG kitchen and marble benchtops; but they do want to get into the market in a location that will see their home grow in value, and offer a good lifestyle.
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For many, even a fixer-upper has been out of reach for the last four years. Fortunately for first home buyers, new developments are springing up everywhere in and around Sydney.

Buyer’s Agent Peter Kelaher, owner of PK properties Sydney, believes the next three years will be an exciting time for first-home buyers. “There’s an oversupply of new units coming onto the market, so developers will be forced by the banks to meet the market price wise ??? it will be very interesting,” says Kelaher.

Even now, first-home buyers can find a sweet deal in Sydney in a great neighbourhood. Here are our top five picks.

1. Waitara

608/39-47 Orara Street, Waitara NSW Price guide: $690,000 to $720,000

Waitara is the most liveable suburb on the leafy green upper north shore, according to the 2016 Domain’s Liveability study, and has plenty to offer first-home buyers. Just over 70 per cent of long-term residents are families, meaning primary schools and even local shops put on regular events, and plenty of community support is on offer for parents.

Peter Kelaher has been selling in the area for 20 years. “Waitara has really good access to all the private schools, great rail access to the north shore, out to Parramatta and up to the central coast, and it’s a five-minute drive to Hornsby Westfield and shopping district. New unit properties offer bushland and district views,” he says.

Kelaher says Waitara is on the verge of big things. Residential development in Waitara is peaking, making it a great spot to invest: “Basically there’s no more land to build units on up there, so once everything is sucked up you are in a position where you can’t have anything else built up against you.”

2. Marrickville

7/7 Henson Street, Marrickville NSW Price guide: $699,500

For those first-home owners who want to be close to the action, Inner West gem Marrickville offers easy access to the city via train, plus loads of action close to home, with its multicultural heritage of Vietnamese and Greek families who still run friendly groceries, and a new wave of hip cafes, wine bars and restaurants.

The Property Sellers’ Kate Webster is a local Marrickville resident and sells a lot of homes to young families. “There are slightly larger blocks and more freestanding homes [than other inner west suburbs], leafy broad streets and wide, stroller friendly footpaths,” she says.

Good Food. 14th of November 2017. Labld in Marrickville. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

“I moved here when I had my first child,” says Webster; “I bought a two bedroom freestanding house for the same price I sold my one bedroom Bondi flat and never looked back. My kids are now 20 and 19, they love the area and they do not want to move.”

3. Botany

27/24 Chelmsford Avenue, Botany NSW Price guide: $635,000

Botany in south eastern Sydney might just be the city’s best kept secret. Adjacent to the two kilometre bayside suburb of Brighton-le-Sands, most of the former industrial suburb is now residential with both older homes and new unit complexes.

Just 10 kilometres from the city, five minutes from Maroubra and nudging the inner west, Botany attracts buyers who want the eastern suburbs lifestyle without the price tag.

Ausin Group’s Natalie Stathis is selling spacious new units in at Pemberton on the park development and feels that the suburb is becoming the next Newtown.

Botany Bay. Photo: Ben Rushton/Fairfax Media.

“When I was a kid growing up in the eastern suburbs, you wouldn’t have thought to move to Botany, but now it’s a no brainer!” she says; “Why not? With the proximity to the CBD and airport and Sydney’s best university [UNSW] plus good high schools like Sydney boys and Sydney girls, Botany is really undervalued.”

“The suburb is changing really quickly” says Stathis “but it’s so friendly, it’s really still like a small town.”

4. North Parramatta

52/34 Albert Street, North Parramatta NSW Price guide: $650,000-$700,000

Parramatta, once a farming settlement and now the geographical heart of Sydney is the cultural centre of the west, with sensational arts and dining, excellent infrastructure including train and ferry access to Sydney and a thriving multicultural community.

Deanna Martinez is a mother of three and finds Parramatta to be a family friendly hub: “We’re half an hour from the city. My family has a farm in Mudgee so we go out there a lot. There’s a lot on for families in our area as well a lot of kid friendly places we go to, with a cr??che where the mums can sit down and have a coffee,” she says.

Across the river, leafier North Parramatta offers first-home buyers the chance to invest in a little more space. “North Parra” is packed with heritage listed buildings, has lovely parks and is connected to Parramatta CBD by Church Street and its eclectic dining scene.

5. Richmond

32 Valder Ave, Richmond NSW Price guide: $665,000 to $695,000

Leafy Richmond on the Hawkesbury River at the foot of the Blue Mountains offers a taste of bush country life, a little more than an hour to Sydney and just under an hour from Parramatta.

Home to an air force base and university campus, buyers’ agent Peter Kelaher says an increasing amount of land is becoming available around Richmond, “The government has been going nuts with regards to land releases and people are able to get themselves a very nice sized block for a reasonable price,” he says.

US immigrant Heather Torrey was living in Pyrmont with water views but when she started a family she decided to move.

“The rent continued to climb while we were spending at least six hours a week driving out to Richmond to ride our horses during the polo season,” says Torrey. “For the same weekly cost, we moved from our 3 bedroom, 175 square-metre apartment rental to a 5 bedroom 315 square-metre Richmond home. Day care went from $120 per day to $84. We were welcomed to the neighbourhood with a fruit basket.”

Torrey says the village of Richmond is just as convenient as Pyrmont: “Shopping, cafes and public transport are still a 10-minute walk. We don’t have bridge views anymore, but we can see the stars at night and have the freedom to make our space our home.”

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Happy 50th birthday Heddon Greta Drive-In

SHOWTIME: Drive-In owner Scott Seddon in a classic 1950 MG, ready for the 50th anniversary screening of To Sir With Love. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.Heddon Greta Drive-In is usually closed for four weeks’ maintenance at this time of year, but will reopen on Wednesday for aspecial event.
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The night will mark 50 years since the drive-in first opened, and it will celebrate with a screening of the film shown on its opening night –the classic British dramaTo Sir, With Love.

Owner Scott Seddon said he wanted to make the night about more than just the drive-in, so he sought a local charity to partner with for the event.

The nightwill benefit Richmond Vale Railway Museum, which wasdevastated by a bushfirein September.

The blazeleft the museum with an estimated $1 million damage bill, withtwo kilometres of track,stainless steel passenger cars,a 100-year-old break van andat least 30 hoppers among the losses.

The Rebuilding Richi appeal was establishedto raise moneyfor therestoration of the site to operation and exhibits for display.

About $26,000 has already been raised through corporate and individual donations, online fundraising, a trivia night and guessing competition.

It’s a small portion of what will be required to get the museum fully operational again –bridge repairs alone are estimated at $50,000.

Museum volunteer Graham Smith said they were thrilled to have the drive-in’s support.

“It’s tremendous –it came to us out of the blue, and we really appreciate Scott’s generosity,” he said.

Coincidentally,Richmond Main mine ceased shipping coal in July 1967, just five months beforethe drive-in opened.

The drive-in closed twice in the 1980s and ‘90s, before MrSeddon bought and re-opened the complex in 1996.

It is now one of only two drive-in movie theatres still operating in NSW–the other is in Blacktown.

Mr Seddon said the drive-in offers a chance for moviegoers to “experience something different”.

He said the opening of the Hunter Expressway has brought a lot more young people to the drive-in.

The 50thanniversary screening ofTo Sir, With Lovewill be held on Wednesday at 8.30pm.

Admission will be $30 per car, with proceeds going to theRebuilding Richi Appeal.

The drive-in will reopenon Boxing Day.

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Hunter mental health hub’s national impact

Professor Trevor Waring with Everymind’s current director Jaelea Skehan.
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I am feeling particularly reflective and grateful this week as Everymind marks its 25th anniversary. I have been privileged to be part of that journey for 16 years, with five years as the director.

Everymind, formerly the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, was established by the Hunter New England Local Health District in 1992 as a solution to the education and training needs of the mental health workforce and the broader community in the Hunter.

Led by well-known psychologist, and my first mentor, Professor Trevor Waring, the institute was self-funding from the first year and broadened its scope to deliver state-wide and national programs within its first five years.

The growth and reputation of the institute expanded under Trevor Hazell’s leadershipbetween 2004 and 2012, as the flagship prevention programs working with the media, universities, schools, families and the community gained traction.In 2017, we have more than 40 staff designing and delivering cutting-edge programs in suicide prevention, innovation in workplace and family mental health, and we are set to co-lead a nationally funded Prevention Hub.

I am really proud of the work we have done, and are doing, at Everymind. This includes two decades of internationally recognised work with media in Australia to improve the reporting and portrayal of suicide and mental illness as part of the Mindframe Initiative.

The institute has pioneered pre-service training approaches for teachers and early childhood workers, and have developed practical community and family programs like Partners in Depression and Conversations Matter.We have also led improvements in workplace mental health approaches, with some of our current priorities focused on the mental health and wellbeing of small business owners, early career teachers, and medical professionals.

Everymind is one of a consortium of services locally that is leading the first state trial of Lifespan – an integrated all of system and all of community approach to suicide prevention. Plus we are working with partners such as Hunter Primary Care to support the development and evaluation of the Way Back Support Service in Newcastle, and a complementary family support program for those impacted by a suicide attempt.

I have often been asked, how easy is it to run a nationally focused institute out of Newcastle? The answer – very easily. Not only does Newcastle have a track record for research and innovation, I believe that it is a unique point of difference that Everymindworks from a regional base.

With a reform agenda that is advocating for national leadership and regional implementation, I believe it is a strength to understand how national or state programs work at the local level, and how prevention-focused work can best support and integrate with the service system. I will often sit in a national meeting when strategies are being discussed and think about whether that would work for Hunter communities.

As part of our 25 year celebrations, I am delighted to announce a new annual event for the region as a legacy to Professor Trevor Waring, the founding director of our institute.Everymind will partner with Hunter New England Health and the University of Newcastle to deliver an Expert in Residence Series and a Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture annually from 2018. The event will acknowledge ProfessorWaring’scontribution, and I couldn’t think of a better way to mark a significant anniversary.

Jaelea Skehan is director of Everymind

Award-winning Australian homes you can rent for the holidays

You may be surprised to discover that many of Australia’s most recognised and awarded homes are available to rent for short-term holidays.
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While you might not be able to afford the hefty mortgage repayments on some of these iconic homes, that’s no excuse for not bedding down in them for a few days. Magney House at Bingie

Homes such as Glenn Murcutt’s landmark Magney House at Bingie, on the NSW south coast, is one example.

Bordered on three sides by Eurobodalla National Park, this deceptively simple home cemented the Pritzker Prize winner’s reputation as the creator of a uniquely Australian “tin sheds” style of architecture.

Arguably one of the most influential Australian homes of the 20th century, Magney House received the nation’s highest residential design honour, the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture, in 1985. Cape Schanck House

Cape Schanck House on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula was created by Paul Morgan Architects. The home is surrounded by a forest of tea trees and features an internal water tank to keep the interior cool in summer. It also won the Robin Boyd Award, in 2007. Related: The humble Beachcomber is Australia’s most iconic homeRelated: Most impressive beach houses around AustraliaRelated: Australia’s best holiday homes revealed in Stayz awardsThe Seidler House

Designed by the great modernist architect Harry Seidler, The Seidler House (previously known as The Berman House) is like a wave of concrete breaking dramatically over a cliff. The views are stupendous, over the Wingecarribee River towards Joadja, Mittagong and Bowral in the Southern Highlands.

Winner of the Blacket Award for regional architecture in 2001. Staying at Toumbaal House

Toumbaal House, winner of the 2003 RAIA Wilkinson Award for Outstanding Residential Architecture, has been featured in almost every major design magazine around the world. For a design geek like myself, it’s absolute heaven. My English wife just can’t wait to get inside and have a cup of tea.

???This was one of the first homes by architect Fergus Scott and it came to typify his response to climate, landscape and shelter. In awarding him the Wilkinson, the jury said: “The Toumbaal House is not so much a ‘home’ but an idea of a ‘camping place’.”

It’s not like any camping we’ve ever done, but we take their point. One of the home’s most distinctive features is its fully exposed central courtyard and hearth, dividing the living quarters from the bedrooms. The house also has a series of sliding skins – glass, insect screen and solid hardwood – that can be opened and closed as the weather demands.

Set on 80 hectares and completely surrounded by the largest coastal National Park in NSW (Yuraygir NP), it feels a lot more remote than it actually is.

One BBC documentary on the house referred to its location as “The Outback”. It isn’t. In fact, it’s only about a five-minute drive to the north coast holiday hamlet of Brooms Head and a twenty-minute drive to the much larger river township of Maclean.

And the judges are correct – staying in the house is a little like camping, in that you never feel out of touch with the natural environment. My city-raised kids experienced many firsts. Seeing the Milky Way in all its celestial glory, going on a nocturnal “critter walk” looking for pythons (we didn’t find any) and steering the car along the private landing strip.

During the cool of the evening, we close the house down, and sit out by the hearth toasting marshmallows over the fire. In bed at night, we slide into dreams to the sounds of the Earth; the lime-green tree frogs, the wind whispering through casuarinas and the distant roar of the ocean.

“Can we live here?” asks my five-year-old. You can’t get a better recommendation that that.

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Football year in review: Kerr star act for Australia

Story of the Year: Sam Kerr and the Matildas rise to the top
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Who else would it be? Samantha Kerr had a year that most athletes could only dream of – she became the first woman to score four goals in a match in the US National Women’s Soccer League, was crowned player of the month twice, named in the team of the month four times (in a six-month competition, no less) was awarded the league’s Most Valuable Player award at season’s end, and finished as the competition’s top scorer comfortably.

Since returning to the W-League with Perth Glory, she’s averaging more than a goal per game in the early stages of that competition – and these were just her club level achievements.

For Australia, she bagged a staggering 11 goals in the calendar year, including four in the Tournament of Nations, as the Matildas beat three of the world’s best teams; USA, Japan and Brazil consecutively to win the tournament. After that, they breezed past Brazil and China twice each in friendlies on home soil, including a 3-2 win over Brazil in front of a record crowd in Newcastle.

Inexplicably, Kerr wasn’t among the three finalists for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, a decision that was rightly hammered by football fans around the globe. She was, however, honoured as Asia’s best player and included in the IFFHS World Team of the Year.

A combination of success and star power means that the Matildas now arguably sit as the most universally loved national team the country has to offer – and are a big chance to win both the Asian Cup next year, and the World Cup in 2019. The Winners: Sydney FC

Graham Arnold’s men completed the greatest season ever recorded in the A-League, shattering records left and right. Whatever your feelings towards Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar side of 2010-11, the Sky Blues eclipsed them in both goals scored and conceded per game, and grabbed more wins and more points despite the season being three games shorter.

Magic moment: Sydney FC players celebrate after winning the grand final. Photo: AAP

Sydney went on to win the Grand Final against Melbourne Victory in a penalty shootout, with the league’s best player, Milo?? Ninkovi??, slotting the winning spot kick. The first half of the 2017-18 season has been just as kind to them, as they sit at the top of the ladder and lifted the FFA Cup trophy after beating Adelaide United in the final in November.

The Losers: USA, Italy and the Netherlands

Three World Cup stalwarts won’t be heading to Russia next year, having failed in qualification – the American failure was particularly embarrassing, not only due to the quality of opposition in the CONCACAF region, but because broadcaster Fox Sports shelled out $400 million for exclusive rights to broadcast the tournament, only for the USA to lose their last game against Trinidad & Tobago, and fall all the way to fifth in their group.

Italy’s loss to Sweden in the play-off round meant that they would not be at football’s showpiece event for the first time in 60 years, and also robbed legendary keeper Gianluigi Buffon of becoming the first player to go to six World Cups.

Year to forget: Dick Advocaat gestures with Netherland’s Ryan Babel during a World Cup qualifying match between the Netherlands and Sweden. Photo: Peter DejongQuote of the Year: Dick Advocaat

As mentioned above, the Netherlands failed to qualify for the World Cup, being pipped to second in their group by Sweden, who then beat Italy in the play-offs. The Swedes only finished ahead of the Dutch due to goal difference, and the two teams were slated to play each other in the final game of the group stage, with Advocaat’s men needing a hefty win to swing that for and against.

But first, Sweden had their penultimate game against Luxembourg, and a win by a large margin would squash any remote hopes for the Netherlands to overturn the difference. “What if Sweden win 8-0 or something like that?” A reporter asked the Dutch coach.

“They won’t win 8-0, what a stupid question that is,” Advocaat said. “8-0? Well, no I don’t believe that.”

Sweden, of course, won 8-0 – and lost that final game to the Dutch by two, advancing to the play-off round with a goal difference of +17 to Sweden’s +9. Social media moment: Aaron Mooy, the young Huddersfield fan, and the ??5 note

After Huddersfield Town’s stunning win over Premier League heavyweights Manchester United, it was a touching moment between their Aussie midfield maestro and a five-year-old boy that stole the show. Adam Bhana, a young Terriers fan, found a ??5 note at the game, and wrote a letter to the club offering it to Mooy, who scored the opening goal in the victory. Pure class from young Adam pic.twitter南京夜网/KVSpfJlZrm??? Sean Jarvis (@SeanMJarvis) October 24, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Ablett will play midfield, not as permanent forward: Scott

Geelong did not recruit Gary Ablett to just play forward and expect him to play a significant role in the midfield in 2018.
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The champion veteran will turn 34 early in the season but Geelong coach Chris Scott has dismissed suggestions the Cats would use him as a permanent forward next season.

“We didn’t bring him in to be a forward,” Scott said.

“We brought him in to be a midfielder, [but] with an open mind as well. We need to see how he plays.”

Scott was confident surgery had reduced the risk of Ablett dislocating his shoulder and his hamstring issues were manageable as the dual Brownlow medallist enters his 17th season.

“He didn’t come to us and say ‘Look, I am almost cooked here. Can you just hide me in the forward pocket for a couple of years and I will snag you 30 goals a year?’ ” Scott said.

“He has an aspiration to help the team as much as possible and we all believe that is in the midfield first.”

Ablett was traded back to the Cats after a seven-year stint with Gold Coast at the end of the season to play alongside star midfielders Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield and chase his third premiership in Geelong colours.

The Cats have a plethora of players Scott describes as midfielders who can play forward including Dangerfield, who kicked 45 goals in 2017, Nakia Cockatoo, Selwood, Mitch Duncan and Ablett.

Scott said Ablett’s competitiveness on the training track was already proving valuable as he pushed the Cats’ emerging midfielders to improve.

He also indicated that competition for spots inside the Cats’ forward line will be hot with Tom Hawkins remaining a focal point inside 50.

Geelong will look to players who can apply forward pressure to play in front of goals and are hopeful Lincoln McCarthy and Cory Gregson will return free of injury alongside recruit Stewart Crameri and forwards such as Brandan Parfitt, Dan Menzel, James Parsons and Cockatoo to fight for spots.

Scott said what clubs assessed when it came to forwards had changed.

“It’s not tall or small. It’s mobile or immobile,” Scott said.

Scott confirmed that Cats’ veteran Harry Taylor will play as a permanent defender in 2018 after kicking 22 goals playing mainly as a forward in 2017.

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Barnaby Joyce denies cabinet axings were ‘payback’

Clockwise from top left: ‘Winners’ of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet reshuffle, John McVeigh, Michael Keenan, Michaelia Cash, Craig Laundy, Christian Porter, Bridget McKenzie, Barnaby Joyce, Dan Tehan, Mathias Cormann, Damian Drum, Kelly O’Dwyer, Peter Dutton, Melissa Price and David Littleproud. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday 19 December 2017. FedpolDeputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has denied “payback” motivated his cabinet decisions as the infighting in the Nationals continues to overshadow Malcolm Turnbull’s ministerial reset.
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Tuesday’s reshuffle saw five people appointed to the 23-member cabinet, including rookie Queensland federal MPs David Littleproud??? and John McVeigh???, in a move designed to woo voters in the key battleground state.

But the rapid promotion of Mr Littleproud and Mr McVeigh, who were both elected for the first time just 18 months ago, came at the expense of the now-former infrastructure minister Darren Chester and assistant minister for trade Keith Pitt.

The ministerial rearrangement has infuriated some Nationals MPs, who accused Mr Joyce of taking revenge on Mr Chester for supporting Bridget McKenzie in her successful bid to become the Nationals deputy leader.

Mr Joyce did back-to-back television interviews on Wednesday morning in an attempt to explain Mr Chester’s demotion.

“There is no payback, there is no payback in trying to get geographic representation right,” Mr Joyce told Sky News.

Mr Joyce maintained selection for cabinet was made on the grounds of age and geographical representation.

“I think we’ve got an incredible talent pool. In any process, there is going to be people who are rightly upset. We have an immense pool of people who have the capacity to be cabinet ministers, without a shadow of a doubt. And I’m very proud of that in the National Party. And we have a cabinet group now that has people in their 30s, in their early 40s, late 40s, I’m 50 and Nigel [Scullion] is in his 60s,” Mr Joyce told ABC television.

“And if you’re saying in any reshuffle, through the history of the Australian Parliament, there are going to be people who are upset, that’s hardly a remarkable statement.”

Mr Turnbull’s reshuffle was overshadowed by the dumping of Mr Chester and the reasons behind it.

Some MPs were convinced it was because Mr Chester, who had attracted no criticism for his performance as minister, supported Senator McKenzie’s leadership bid while others said it was because they were both from Victoria and the Nationals’ vote in Victoria did not entitle it to two cabinet positions.

Senator McKenzie was entitled to her cabinet position when she became deputy leader.

A gracious Mr Chester said being dumped was “character building” and that he had had several conversations with the Prime Minister and Mr Joyce before the reshuffle was announced.

“Barnaby Joyce offered me an assistant minister role as they call them these days. I chose to reflect on that overnight and advised both the PM and the Deputy PM I didn’t intend to take that offer,” he said on Tuesday.

Mr Joyce’s cabinet picks have turned what was supposed to be a routine ministerial reshuffle into a political headache for Mr Turnbull.

It caps off a year in which Mr Joyce had to fight a byelection after the High Court ruled him ineligible to sit in Parliament, and outspoken backbenchers such as George Christensen and Barry O’Sullivan forced Mr Turnbull’s hand on a banking royal commission.

Mr Joyce, however, denied there was a discipline problem in the Nationals, saying the junior Coalition partner had been doing “an excellent job”.

“When you talk about ill-discipline, because we got a banking royal commission up, it’s something our constituents want. I’m quite happy we got a banking royal commission up. It shows we have the capacity to listen to our constituency, as we should, and deliver for them, as we did. And, you know, that’s a good outcome,” he said.

The new ministry will be sworn in by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, on Wednesday morning. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},’#pez_iframeTT’);

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Whips, Black Roses feature on T20 draw

CATCH: Newcastle district cricket chairman Paul Marjoribanks and Newcastle mayor Nuatali Nelmes. Picture: Marina NeilWhips, Waratahs and Black Roses will officially bepart of the Newcastle cricketlandscape fromnext month.
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Belmont, Waratah-Mayfield and Cardiff-Boolaroo will adopt those respectivenicknames for the recently launched NCC Big Bash.

Traditional district club identities will be replaced by logos and emblems throughout the five-round T20 tournament, which doesn’t include premiership points.

Others like Lions (Merewether), Rosellas (Wests), Sabres (City), Magpies (Charlestown), Pumas (Hamilton-Wickham), Tigers (Wallsend), Sea Dragons (University), Kookaburras (Toronto) and Seagulls (Stockton-Raymond Terrace) are better established.

Whips, Waratahs and Black Roses may have previously been used more internally than externally.

On field the Magpies and theBlack Roses kick start proceedings in a midweek twilight fixture (5pm) at No.1 Sportsground on Tuesday, January 9. Sunday double headers follow across eight venues on February 4 and 11. Semis and the final are scheduled for February 18.

R9: Waratah 180 v Uni 5-151; Magpies 8-340 v Tigers; Cardiff 0-18 v Toronto 7(dec)-385; Wests 297 v City 5-46; Lions 5-190 v Hamwicks 84; Stockton 1-26 v Belmont 262.

* STILL on T20 and Sydney defeated Penrith to claim their second NSW Premier Cup after Sunday night’s final at the SCG.

Sydney club’slight-hearted Twitter post comparedtheTigers’ success to that of 2017 AFL champions Richmond.

A big year for Tigers… the small matter of Richmond winning the @AFL… and the much bigger deal of @SYDCricketClub winning the @KingsgroveSport T20 Cup. https://t.co/ImcHtsIYhh

— Premier Cricket – NSW (@PremCricketNSW) December 17, 2017

* NEWCASTLE recorded its first win of the NSW Country Colts Championships at Tamworth on Wednesday courtesy of a century to captain Josh Claridge (112).

Western weren’t able to reel in Newcastle (9-265), who had already lost toIllawarra and finalists Riverina the previous two days.

Caps fit for Foster in bid for national crown

RUN: Stockton-Raymond Terrace off-spinner Nick Foster, in action earlier this season, will represent the Bush Blues for a fifth straight time at the Australian Country Championships next month. Picture: Marina NeilNick Foster has worn the Stockton coloursfor the best part of two decades.
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He’s been amongthe Newcastle representative squad for around a dozen campaigns.

And now the the 34-year-old off-spinner’sabout to receive hisfifth straight Bush Blues’ cap for NSW Country selection.

He knows he’s on a roll and wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Of course [it’s special]. There are plenty of people who would like to do it [play for NSW Country], but they don’t get the chance,” Foster said.

“I’ve just been fortunate enough to be given an opportunity and it’s beena great experience.”

During that periodFoster, who lives on the city’s northern peninsula, has travelled to Woolongong, Mount Gambier, Bendigo and Canberra for the Australian Country Championships.

This time around the venue is Geraldton, meaning a trek across the Nullarbor next month in pursuit of some sought-after national silverware.

One that Foster has yet to claim.

“I came in the year after they last won it, so I might even be the jinx,” he said.

“We did win the one-day part last year but we went terrible in the T20s, so it would be good to get the overall job done.”

Foster said the 2017-2018 group, includingNewcastle state-title teammatesNathan Price and Joe Price, would be much better equipped to deal with the changed tournament format in edition number two.

Two-dayers have been scrapped from the competition structure with now a mix of one-day and T20 fixtures on the draw.

“We didn’t really deal with it that well last year,” Foster said.

“Hopefully we are better equipped this time around and I think a fair chunk of the side now have experience in the Sydney T20 competition as well.Having guys like Nathan Price back really adds a level of calmness we probably didn’t have before.”

It comes after Foster helped steer Newcastle to a third NSW Country Championship crown since 2013-2014, featuring the final against Central Coast at Bowral’s Bradman Oval last month.

“We’ve had a little period over the last seven or eight years that has been pretty successful,” he said.

“Both at country level and holding our own in the Sydney T20 competition.”

Closer to home and thissummer has been a bit tougher, with the Seagulls again struggling near the bottom of the ladder.

But Foster is up for the challenge and a week after bowling 40 overs from one end he made his highest first grade score staving off an outright loss, falling one short of a maiden century.