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Thank you

WE ARE truly overwhelmed and humbled by the Tasmanian community getting behind our boy, Zach, and family.
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There are so many people to thank – people donating their money, time, merchandise and products and well wishes.

Big thanks to the organisers of the Super 6s for Zach – Andrew and Rachael, Tania, Tony, their partners and children, all the cricket clubs who participated on the day and the TCL.

Thanks to guys on the day providing face painting, spray-on tattoos, jumping castle, canteen, sausage sizzle, bar, security and T-shirts and other people making personal donations and businesses within the community – the list is endless.

Please take this as our personal thanks and appreciation; your generosity will never be forgotten.

So on behalf of ourselves and our children, Zach, Charli and Bailey, parents, siblings and extended family, we thank you.

– WINTON AND GREER DALCO, Sydney.

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Grief for Great Barrier Reef, say environmentalists

Grief for reef: Three million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the Abbot Point coal terminal will be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Darren Jew Abbot Point coal terminal. Photo: Greenpeace/Tom Jefferson
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They are two of Australia’s most celebrated places of natural beauty, sitting at either end of the country. Both are world heritage protected. And in the eyes of conservationists both took significant blows on Friday.

In Australia’s north, a final permit was granted to allow the dumping of millions of tonnes of dredging sludge in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. In the south, the Abbott government confirmed it would seek to remove parts of Tasmania’s forest wilderness from the United Nations’ world heritage list.

In a long-awaited decision, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority allowed the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation to dump three million cubic metres of dredge spoil in reef waters as part of its expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal, north of Bowen.

The plan had already been approved by federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, with environmental conditions, but the authority had the final say over whether the dredge spoil could be dumped in the marine park that protects the reef.

Authority chairman Dr Russell Reichelt gave the go-ahead on Friday afternoon, subject to a further 47 environmental conditions. Dr Reichelt acknowledged there had been significant community concern, but said the decision was in line with the authority’s view development on the reef should be kept to existing industrial areas.

“It’s important to note the sea floor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds,” he said.

The proposed dump site is 25 kilometres east-north-east of Abbot Point. As part of his approval, Mr Hunt also required the proponents to investigate an alternative site 20 to 30 kilometres from the area being dredged.

Environmentalists quickly hit out at the decision. WWF campaigner Richard Leck said: “This is a sad day for the reef and anyone who cares about its future.”

Mary Steele, senior manager, corporate relations at the Ports Corporation, said the authority had done a thorough job with the scientific evidence in front of it, and the environmental conditions set down were good.

Mr Hunt said the authority had made its decision independently. He said the government had acted to limit the impact of dredging and subjected it to the strictest environment conditions in Australian history.

”The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s great natural wonders and protecting it for the future generations is vital,” Mr Hunt said.

The mining industry claims up to 25,000 jobs will ultimately be created, if the development of the coal terminal allows several other major developments to go ahead in Queensland’s coalfields.

The decision came as the federal and Queensland governments are due to deliver to the World Heritage Committee a progress report on how it is meeting UN recommendations to protect the reef on Saturday. The committee has threatened to put the reef on a list of world heritage sites considered ”in danger” unless sufficient progress is made.

In Tasmania, the Abbott government launched the first ever large-scale bid by Australia to axe world heritage protection.

The loss of 74,000 hectares from the world heritage area would fulfil an election commitment by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to reverse what he said was a ”rushed and political” decision by the previous government to extend the heritage area.

The government refused to release detailed maps of the target areas on Friday, but Environment Tasmania said the scale of the wind-back meant large swathes of old growth and rainforest had to be included.

No federal government has ever attempted such a large scale wind-back of world heritage protection, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature said.

Greens leader Christine Milne said: ”Winding back world heritage protection will make us a global laughing stock.”

The 74,000 hectares represents more than half the forest previously outside national park protection that was included in the total 170,000 hectare extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness Area unanimously approved by the World Heritage Committee last June.

The federal government’s proposed changes had to be lodged with the World Heritage Committee by Saturday to go before its member nations at their meeting in June, in Doha, Qatar.

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Why can the dead do such great things book review: Of saints and scholars

Revered: Mary MacKillop, Australia’s saint. Photo: Kate GeraghtyWHY CAN THE DEAD DO SUCH GREAT THINGS?Robert Bartlett Princeton University Press, 824pp, $46.95 
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Few devotional practices were as pervasive in mediaeval Christianity, but as difficult for moderns to understand, as the cult of the saints. When Pope Benedict XVI canonised Mary MacKillop in 2010, following papal approval of a second miracle attributed to her, eyebrows were raised by the quaint requirements imposed by the Catholic Church on any individual being promoted to that honour. The idea of praying to a particular saint for some kind of miracle strikes many people as strange, Christian or not. Yet there was still an element of national pride, even in the secular media, in having an Australian saint. For her admirers, she worked miracles not in subverting the course of nature, but in standing up to authority.

Scepticism about saints, or rather the claims made about them, has a long history. In the early 5th century, Augustine of Hippo was acutely aware that Christianity had changed from the time of St Paul, who considered all members of his community to be saints, whatever their achievement. Pagan critics of the new religion observed that Christian devotion to the saints, who were now being honoured in their own churches, was no different from that given to the old gods. Augustine’s answer to the question, ”Why can the dead do such great things?” was that the saints were simply instruments in the hands of God. This at least was his theory. In practice, Christian bishops recognised that if their movement was to survive, there was great virtue in transforming rather than abolishing pagan practice. The Gospel story was all very well, but people liked having saints who lived out that message in their own region. As Robert Bartlett observes, bishops of dubious moral integrity knew how to assert influence by promoting the cult of some great martyr, who gave up their life resisting the Roman Empire. The cult of the saints presented heroic figures as patrons of particular communities, distracting attention from the failings of those in authority.

Bartlett’s weighty tome (more than 600 pages of text) begins by presenting an overview of the cult of saints in the Middle Ages, making clear the magnitude of the shift in the 4th century away from the early cult of martyrs, when the Christian movement was effectively a secret society. There was no official process of canonisation by Rome until the 12th century. Saints were those identified as such by their communities. The vast number of saints in early mediaeval Ireland was generated by a society in which power depended on personal charisma as much as lineage. Bartlett convincingly explains how the 12th-century papacy sought to control a potentially anarchic process by demanding strict examination of cases, of which only about half were successful.

Saints continued to be identified informally in local communities, alongside the official veneration promoted by ecclesiastical authorities. With great thoroughness, Bartlett examines issues such as types of saint, relics, miracles, hagiography and doubt, more as an observer than as judge.

One gets the sense that those revered as saints often frustrated bishops and could generate charges of heresy. Hagiographic idealisation inevitably clouds our perception of the controversy they often generated in practice.

In a culture that valued storytelling, saints became icons, often invoked by their devotees to make discreet criticism of the behaviour of those ecclesiastics viewed as betraying the message they preached.

The multiplication of their relics (even of the holy foreskin) defies the imagination.

Some of Bartlett’s most valuable insights relate to the diversity of ways in which saints were revered and what they reveal about visions of the social order. The Cistercians, for example, were troubled by the crowds of sick people that would flock to the tomb of a recently deceased abbot. Even Bernard of Clairvaux was told by his superiors to stop working miracles. Francis of Assisi was widely loved, but never generated a reputation for posthumous miracle-working. Avoiding harshly negative judgment on a devotional practice that was wide and deep in mediaeval society, Bartlett observes how the veneration of saints depended on the support of communities and ecclesiastical authority. Whatever the status of the miracles attributed to them, saints help tell the Christian story. Every community finds its way of identifying heroes.

Constant J.Mews is director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology, Monash University

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Ill met by Moonlite, Edward Bowen named a hero

Captain Moonlite was the rock’n’roll bushranger; bad, strikingly handsome and likely gay. He also was a cop killer.
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In 1879, during a siege at Wantabadgery, east of Wagga Wagga, his gang shot dead Senior Constable Edward Bowen, a married officer with a young child. Moonlite was hanged for the killing.

Since their deaths the two men have become entwined in an endless waltz between good and evil, right and wrong, with the bushranger taking the lead in appealing to a modern sensibility.

On Saturday morning the NSW Police will hold a meeting at Wantabadgery Town Hall (free breakfast is being provided) to stage a popular culture intervention. For them, the elevation of Moonlite, Ned Kelly, Chopper Read or some Underbelly wannabes is unnerving.

A new memorial, artworks, bush ballads and even a comic book are among the ideas being discussed to push forward ”Gung-Ho” Bowen as an icon of policing.

”We want Bowen to become a popular symbol of the importance of doing the right thing,” said Inspector Stephen Radford, from the Wagga Wagga local area command.

”We want to take on the bushranger myth head-on.

”While some cynics have criticised this focus on the past hero, rather than current crime issues, developing a police culture based on commitment to duty and serving the community is not always easy. With Generation Y and their differing value systems and technological wizardry taking their right place in policing, it is important we leave them with real role models and engage them in our traditions and values.”

Aggressive and gung-ho, Bowen had gained colonial fame since his arrival in Australia from Wales after killing two dangerous criminals in separate incidents and had expressed a public desire to kill Ned Kelly, said Paul Terry, author of In Search of Captain Moonlite.

Happy to take on the equally notorious Captain Moonlite to stop his crime spree, Bowen charged the siege house at Wantabadgery, where the bushranger and his gang were holed up. He was shot and died a few days later.

Meanwhile, moments after Bowen was hit, Moonlite’s soulmate James Nesbitt was killed.

Bowen was buried with honours and later a large stone monument was erected over his grave in Gundagai. Nesbitt was interred nearby in an unmarked grave.

In jail before his death, Moonlite wrote a letter professing his undying love for Nesbitt. His last request, repeated many times, was to be buried with him.

The colonial government of the day had no intention of acceding to the wish. Instead he was buried at Rookwood cemetery in Sydney. A lock of Nesbitt’s hair was fashioned into a ring for his finger.

After the letters were discovered, two Gundagai women, Samantha Asimus and Christine Ferguson, decided to grant Moonlite’s last wish. In 1995, the bushranger’s body was exhumed and reburied near Nesbitt.

When Moonlite was reburied at Gundagai, a small group of police officers held a silent vigil at the grave of Bowen nearby. They had not forgotten that Bowen’s widow and child were left penniless, a situation which led to the formation of the Police Legacy fund.

”There is new debate as police try to win more recognition for Bowen, with grand hopes of changing community perceptions,” Terry said. ”I think they might elevate Bowen’s status, but I don’t think they will change overall public perception of Moonlite. It’s just a great yarn and touching love story.”

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Chinese New Year celebrations paint the town red

Busy: The Minh Hai BBQ restaurant in Haymarket. Photo: Wolter PeetersSeeing red? During Chinese New Year, it may bring good luck. From red lanterns to the deep red of roast pork, Chinatown was ablaze on Friday to celebrate the first day of the Year of the Horse.
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Even traditional yellow lotus cakes were stamped in red to bring good fortune.

Red symbolises fire in Chinese culture and red decorations are used to bring good fortune and drive away bad luck.

For the owners of the Shun Fai Modern AV Co store on Sussex Street, Chinese New Year is a demanding time of year.

Under an awning promoting its wares, the shop’s red decorations, toys and posters spilled into the street.

”It’s definitely the busiest time of the year,” said Jenny Yu, the owner’s daughter.

Ms Yu, of Marrickville, grew up working in the shop, helping her mother.

The hottest items on Friday were the red envelopes or packets – usually containing a $5 or $10 note – that are given to children at banquets and dinners on the first night.

”The red packets are the thing that everyone buys,” Ms Yu said. ”It is what married couples give children to wish them luck for the rest of the year.”

Alex Gilroy, 80, of Woy Woy travelled to Sydney on Friday to celebrate Chinese New Year with a Chinese-Malaysian family. It is a reciprocal relationship spanning 30 years of shared celebrations, including Christmas on the central coast and Chinese New Year in Sydney.

On Friday, he was stocking up on Chinese gifts to give the extended family at a banquet dinner on Friday night. ”It’s a good culture they’ve got,” he said.

Mr Gilroy had bought whisky, cards, plus red packets to give $5 to each of the 10 children.

Yohana Family, of Mortdale, was buying red packets to give $10 each to the children she knew.

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Fund-raising stars walk blue carpet for good cause

ROSALIND Wilton might not have been the tallest at last night’s Wish Upon a Star gala evening, but her smile was certainly the biggest.
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The Makers’ Workshop was transformed with the Make-A-Wish blue for the evening to help Ms Wilton raise money before her beloved dreadlocks are shaved off tomorrow.

The aim is to raise $55,000 and with the proceeds from last night it will push the total closer to that mark.

“I have been completely overwhelmed with this,” Ms Wilton said yesterday.

“Everything that has happened tonight I had no idea about. This night will be just full of surprises.”

Ms Wilton was driven in by a hot rod before walking on the blue carpet and welcomed by the people who packed the Makers’ Workshop to support her cause.

Coastal country music star Gina Hills sang her song titled Make a Wish just after she finished interviewing the wish family.

“Everyone seems to be having a fantastic night and this is all for a good cause,” she said.

The night was capped off with a set from Australian country music star Beccy Cole.

Ms Wilton’s 55 dreadlocks will be coming off tomorrow.

“My hair was shoulder length when I got dreadlocks and that was five years ago,” she said.

“They have grown so much that they are now too heavy for my little neck.”

Ms Wilton’s hair will be shaved off tomorrow at Reflexions Dance Studio in Burnie from 5pm.

Rosalind Wilton (right) arrives with her “entourage” Liz Gergely of Penguin, Danielle Winkley , Jenni , Aaron and Ezrah Maartensz all of Burnie.

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New health provider takes over the reins

A NEW provider for GP services on the West Coast officially takes over today.
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Ochre Health will operate until January 31, 2015.

Ochre Health co-founder and chairman Ross Lamplugh lives at Ulverstone with his wife and three children.

Dr Lamplugh said it was a pleasure to be able to deliver services locally.

“Ochre has been providing GP and hospital visiting medical officer services to rural Australian communities for 12 years, and we currently provide similar services in 16 other towns,” he said.

“I am proud to be able to use the experience and skills we have developed to assist communities in my own backyard.

“We have a variety of service enhancements planned with some ready to start on our first day.

“We will provide a five-day- per-week GP service to Strahan whilst maintaining at least the current number of GP sessions to Queenstown, Rosebery and Zeehan.”

He said practice nurses would operate in all four practices and discussions had been held with employers to assess their needs.

“Ochre focuses on making our communities healthier, not just putting bums on seats,” Mr Lamplugh said.

“We will measure the health of each of the four communities every month and assist each of the practices to deliver services that positively impact on the health of all West Coast residents.”

Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne said Ochre Health had the experience and understood what was needed to work in a remote location such as the West Coast.

“They have committed to providing at least the same level of service to the West Coast region as the previous operator,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“These services cover Queenstown, Strahan, Zeehan and Rosebery.

“All patient files have also been transferred across to the new operator to ensure optimal continuity of care for the community.”

Ms O’Byrne said the 12-month GP arrangement allowed THO- North West time to develop a long-term, sustainable plan for health services in the region.

Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne says Ochre Health had the experience and understood what was needed to work in a remote location such as the West Coast.

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Phase-out of suspended terms `won’t cut crime’

PHASING out suspended jail terms could force courts to use more lenient sentences for criminals and won’t reduce crime, according to Burnie defence lawyer Stephen Wright.
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Yesterday The Advocate exclusively revealed the Liberal Party proposed to phase out suspended sentences by the end of their first term if it won government.

Mr Wright described the policy as “chest-beating”, saying it would not stop people offending.

“People don’t stop and think about whether they will get caught, and what the penalty will be when under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” he said.

If the Liberals removed suspended terms, courts would use other punishments alternative to prison for offenders when they decided a crime did not warrant jail time, Mr Wright said.

These could include fines or good behaviour bonds.

Suspended sentences were a valuable tool for courts, he said.

If an offender committed a crime punishable by jail during the term of their suspended jail sentence, they may have to spend the rest of that period in prison.

“It can be a strong deterrent to reoffending. It shows the gravity to the offender of reoffending.”

Crime could be better reduced by creating jobs and publicity campaigns showing assaults were unacceptable, Mr Wright said.

Prosecutors could appeal sentences believed to be too lenient, he said.

Opposition justice spokeswoman Vanessa Goodwin said the Liberals’ policy aimed to provide “meaningful” sentencing options suitable for the crimes committed.

The party would work with the Sentencing Advisory Council to identify additional sentencing options, she said.

“They could include home detention, periodic- weekend detention, intensive correction-supervision orders and therapeutic- problem-solving approaches. These options all involve a high level of supervision and/or a punitive element to them but are also aimed at rehabilitating the offender.”

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Wilmot rallies after fire

FULL mail services have been restored at Wilmot following a fire that destroyed the country store last week.
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Wilmot Country Store owners Andrew and Pauline Towning said they had been overwhelmed by the response from the local community following the fire. The latest had been the gift of an administration office from Wilmot Primary School.

“Wilmot Primary School approached us with the donation of one of their offices, which we’ve greatly accepted,” Mr Towning said.

The Townings have been taking each day as it comes following the fire and said their solicitors had been in touch with the shop’s new owners, who had been expected to take control of the shop this week prior to the fire.

Mr Towning said as far as he understood the new owners were still ready to proceed with the sale, but said he was trying to get as many services back up and running for them when the sale did proceed.

“It’s important for us to get as many things back up and running for the new owners to have something viable to buy,” Mr Towning said.

Mr Towning said all mail services have been operating at Wilmot Primary School since Thursday, enabling members of the community to collect and post mail as well as pick up copies of The Advocate.

Mr Towning said it was an important step for the community to see things progressing.

“The shop was the centre of the community and it’s hugely important for them [the community],” Mr Towning said.

“If the progression is made and things are happening then they don’t lose hope.”

Mr Towning said the shop site was still in the hands of the insurance company and they were waiting to get access to the site again before any other plans could be made.

“We are hoping to get access soon to try and get to the underground cables so we can re- establish the gas and the petrol pumps,” he said.

“We are really waiting on getting access to power.”

Mr Towning said a member of the community had donated two shipping containers which could be used as a temporary shop while a new one is rebuilt.

He said he expected to have access to the site next week and have some of the other services reestablished by the end of the week.

Volunteer Theresa Saunders (left) and Wilmot Country Store LPO supervisor Joanne Brown wade through mail at the Wilmot Primary School, where mail services are being run following the store fire. Picture: Katrina Dodd.

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Costly move by any measure

WINGS Wildlife Park owner Colin Wings says government red tape is hurting his business.
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“Our bureaucrats in Hobart, they are going to bring in officers to measure our pens and to make sure we come up to the standards,” Mr Wing said.

“It’s not law at the moment but it’s going to come in.

“We are going to have to rebuild pens or shut the place down.”

Mr Wing said the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment was basing the new pen sizings on New South Wales standards.

Mr Wing said his park’s requirements were irrelevant to another state’s regulations and said Tasmania should form its own standards for captive management of animals.

He said another state’s standards could mean rebuilding animal pens, costing him thousands of dollars.

“Who’s going to foot the bill for us changing the pens?” he said.

“We’ve got to do something, it’s hampering our business from growing,” he said.

“Things are getting that bad that they are putting that much hard work on small businesses that we are under that much pressure.”

Mr Wing said whereas before he had to submit the numbers of animals at his park once a year, he now had to do it every three months.

“We could grow twice as fast as this if we got someone to help us. We could have everything that crawls, jumps and flies on display.”

Wings Wildlife Park owner Colin Wings says government red tape is hurting his business.

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