Hundreds ‘remember those lost’ at Port Arthur 20th anniversary service

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was among those who laid a wreath near a cafe where the shooting unfolded 20 years ago.


Thirty-five people were killed and 23 wounded by a gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle on April 28, 1996.

On Thursday, some 500 people gathered at the Port Arthur Historic Site for the official memorial service.

Mr Turnbull reflected on the shock experienced by Australians, especially visitors to Port Arthur, 20 years ago.

“Some came to work, some came to relax and learn. It was to be another calm day amid the sandstone ruins,” he said of those at the historic site that day.

“And then the horror.

“Despite the years, despite the healing, the sense of loss weighs heavy. We will never be the same.”

Mr Turnbull acknowledged his coalition predecessor John Howard who he said “acted decisively” to tighten gun laws.

“(He) set a benchmark in our resolve,” Mr Turnbull said.

He said his government would continue to crack down on gun crime and illegal gun ownership.

Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority chairwoman Sharon Sullivan explained that while there are people who opposed the idea of holding an event for the 20th anniversary, it was important for many people.

“There are some people affected by the tragedy who have come back to Port Arthur for the first time in 20 years,” Professor Sullivan said.

“That is incredibly gratifying for us.

“We also understand there are some people who cannot bear to return and perhaps never will.”

Port Arthur’s history as a convict settlement in the 1800s had a new layer of disbelief, sadness, fear and trauma added in 1996, Tasmanian Governor Kate Warner said.

“The gunman seemed to have no comprehensible explanation for his actions,” she said, before acknowledging the subsequent gun reforms.

The events of 20 years ago took a punishing toll on the local community, Prof Warner added.

“For many, the pain and anguish will never end.”

Organisers of a commemorative service marking 20 years since the Port Arthur massacre worked to shield survivors, family and friends from a media throng.

The former convict settlement is being divided into distinct areas where attendees can get moments of quiet reflection during official proceedings which will be attended by guests expected to include Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority boss Stephen Large says the 10th anniversary in 2006 was to have been the last marked by a special event but plans changed.

“Last June, we were approached by somebody that lost his wife in the massacre and said he was inquiring as to what we were intending to do for the 20th anniversary,” Mr Large told ABC online on Wednesday.

“He wasn’t ready to come back for the 10th anniversary but felt ready now.”

Further investigations found strong community interest in an event to remember the sunny Sunday 35 people were killed and 23 were injured by an armed gunman.

It won’t be a typical budget: Morrison

Treasurer Scott Morrison has said his first budget won’t be a typical one.


It will be a sober, responsible economic plan, which won’t be throwing money around but shows the government living within its means.

“We will continue to reduce the deficit and we will do that by not spending more than we save,” the treasurer says.

While that sounds fairly typical for any treasurer, there are many threads to the May 3 budget that remain unsaid.

With an early federal election potentially just weeks away, this budget more than usual has to stop the government’s slippage in opinion polls.

It has to show voters why they should return the coalition to power at a July 2 election, rather than restoring Labor to government after just one term.

It has to satisfy Morrison’s own backbench with some still smarting from Tony Abbott’s exit at the hands of Malcolm Turnbull last year – and why Morrison is delivering his first budget instead of Joe Hockey handing down his third.

Crucially, it also has to get the nod of approval from global credit rating agencies if Australia wants to retain its triple-A rating.

While agencies like Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings fell from grace in the run-up to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, they still wield enormous power.

A credit rating downgrade would have huge repercussions for government and business because it lifts the cost of borrowing money abroad.

The potential loss of even one AAA rating would be an extremely bad look during an election campaign likely to centre around economic management.

Moody’s took the unusual step just weeks out from the budget to raise concerns that potentially limited spending cuts won’t be enough to get a meaningful improvement towards a promised balanced budget by 2021 without taking measures to raise revenue.

“Government debt will likely continue to climb, a credit negative for Australia,” it said.

An analysis by Deloitte Access Economics showed the budget out to 2018/19 being $21 billion worse off than just a few months ago as the slowdown in China hits company tax receipts and subdued wage growth restrains personal income tax revenue.

That would mean a deficit of $41.7 billion in 2015/16, $4.3 billion worse than forecast in December and larger than the $37.9 billion recorded in the previous year.

It could have been worse if not for a substantial rise in the iron ore price, recently hitting a two-year high of $US70 per tonne compared with the $US39 figure used in the mid-year budget review.

For 2016/17, Deloitte and other economists are expecting a deficit of between $31.5 billion to $38.6 billion compared to the government’s $33.7 billion forecast.

The budget will contain the result of the government’s year-long review of the tax system, but Morrison has made it clear it will be aimed at lowering the overall tax burden, not increasing it.

Neither will it be the broad-brush reform as initially promised.

GST and tax concessions through negative gearing and capital gains tax will remain unchanged.

Previously promised tax cuts to counter the effects of wage inflation, or bracket creep, are expected to be limited to some modest tinkering of thresholds while there could be a plan for a staged cut in the company tax rate.

There could also be some modest changes to superannuation tax concessions.

“Every page that you see in this budget will be about growth and jobs,” Morrison says.

Voters won’t have to wait long to show whether they agree.

Supply bills to keep government running

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has unveiled a plan to keep money flowing to the government until the budget is passed after the election.


The program for the lower house sitting next week shows three supply bills have been slated for introduction on Monday along with a fast-tracked debate.

“These bills will ensure continuity of the normal business of government in the context of a double-dissolution election,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told AAP on Thursday.

The budget appropriation bills will be introduced when Treasurer Scott Morrison gets to his feet on Tuesday evening, but they will not be considered by parliament until after the election.

Mr Turnbull will need to secure supply before he seeks the governor-general’s approval for a double dissolution on July 2.

The deadline for that approval is midnight on May 11.

Labor has a long-standing policy of not blocking supply.

The supply bills will contain funding for about five months of 2016/17, and no new budget measures will be included.

Labor leader Bill Shorten will deliver his budget-in-reply speech on Thursday before the prime minister visits the governor-general.

In the Senate on Monday, indigenous leader Pat Dodson will be sworn in to replace retiring Labor senator Joe Bullock.

The upper house will debate a bill to set up a new northern Australia infrastructure fund while it waits for the supply bills to pass the House of Representatives.

While the lower house sits from Monday to Thursday, the Senate will sit from Monday to Wednesday, with two days of estimates hearings on Thursday and Friday.

A sitting of both houses is scheduled for the following week.

Clubs pushing Anzac parties may face fines

Sydney nightclubs advertising Anzac-themed parties could face large fines for disrespectful “misuse” of the term, the federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs has warned.


A cluster of venues along Oxford Street are under scrutiny for advertisements promoting events this week that feature scantily clad models in some military clothing.

The poster for Stonewall Hotel’s “Anzac Day – Annual Uniform Party” on Tuesday depicts a shirtless male model in a sailor’s cap and pants and competitions including karaoke, best abs and “sexy sailor”.

The nearby Colombian Hotel’s “Anzac Week” line-up includes “sexy caged boys” and a DJ on “Anzac Eve”.

The Colombian’s licensee on Monday told AAP he wouldn’t comment on the furore.

But a Facebook post advertising the event, which showed a shirtless man in camouflage pants and warpaint, has since been taken down.

A department spokeswoman said formal permission to use the word “Anzac” had to be sought from the veterans’ affairs minister to protect against its “misuse”.

An Act in place since 1920 ensures the term is treated with the respect and dignity it deserves, she added.

“However, it should be noted that the words ‘Anzac Day’ may be used in connection with certain events or entertainment held on April 25 itself, or on consecutive days, including April 25.

“This means some advertising that may be considered to be in poor taste can be compliant with the regulations.”

The posters will be reviewed by the department and the clubs will be contacted if it’s determined they breached the regulations.

A formal “cease and desist” letter can be issued to organisations that fail to stop using the term.

Further action can take the form of large fines or in extreme cases, pursuing a prison sentence, the spokeswoman said.

NSW Veterans’ Affairs Minister David Elliott said businesses should think twice before using the term because Anzac Day is to be commemorated, not celebrated.

It’s a “very, very emotional time for lots of families across NSW”, Mr Elliott said on Monday.

“It (inappropriate advertising) is distasteful, it’s wrong, it’s unethical and it’s a breach of the law,” the minister said.

“That’s not to say we shouldn’t have a game of two-up and a drink … as far as I’m concerned it’s a given.

“But don’t use it as an opportunity to tout for business, don’t use it as an opportunity to promote commercial interests, and don’t use it as a reason to get drunk and beat up your mates.”

Stonewall Hotel has been contacted for comment.

Boy, 12, who drove across NSW had bingle

A 12-year-old boy who drove 1300 kilometres across NSW on his own in the family car managed to evade suspicion partly because he looks much older and is “about six foot tall”.


After leaving the state’s east coast on Friday morning, the boy topped up at Cobar service station without paying for the fuel on Saturday morning.

He was only stopped a few hours later in Broken Hill when police noticed the car’s bumper dragging on the ground.

The boy’s attempt to drive to Perth started after 11am on Friday when he took off from the family home in Kendall, near Port Macquarie.

“His parents reported him missing immediately after he left home, so they were looking for him,” Detective Inspector Kim Fehon told AAP on Monday.

The boy stopped to get petrol about 6am on Saturday at a Caltex service station in Cobar.

Manager Vamshi Reddy said the boy took $19 worth of fuel but left without paying.

“When I saw him, he looked like a nice person who was maybe 19 or 20,” Mr Reddy said on Monday.

“When police told me he was 12 … I was shocked.”

Det Insp Fehon confirmed that “despite being 12 years old he is about six foot tall”.

Mr Reddy said the boy was driving what looked like a white Hyundai SUV.

Det Insp Fehon said the car had suffered some damage.

“So it appears (the boy) did have an accident while driving,” she said.

Highway patrol officers spotted him at Broken Hill about 11am on Saturday.

The boy was arrested and taken to Broken Hill police station before being released to his distressed parents. Police said they were “extremely relieved” to see him.

The family are expected to arrive back on the state’s mid north coast on Monday afternoon, with the boy to be questioned by local detectives there.

It’s likely he’ll be charged under the Young Offenders Act with three offences, including the illegal use of a car, unlicensed driving and failing to pay for petrol.

Some people on social media praised the boy’s escapade, calling him a “pretty clever kid” who deserved a “gold star for effort”.

“Clearly he’s a top driver. No ticket in 1300km,” Lou Steer wrote on Facebook.

But Det Insp Fehon said the boy should not be commended.

“Not only was the child’s life at risk but all the people he went past and came in contact with,” she said.

“He was lucky he had an escape (after his accident).

“But so did all the motorists on the way from Kendall to Cobar. They all had a lucky day as well.”

Titans downplay Hayne attitude issues

Jarryd Hayne has every right to impose himself over his Gold Coast teammates, according to Titans forward Joe Greenwood.


Hayne was spotted in heated discussions with halfback Ashley Taylor in the Titans’ 16-12 win over Cronulla on Saturday night.

He also appeared to express frustration at Titans winger Dan Sarginson after he dropped a routine catch in a try-scoring position.

But Greenwood said Hayne’s high expectations were warranted in his return match from an ankle injury.

“He’ll (Hayne) float around and speak to Ash about where he wants to go – he sees a lot at fullback and he’ll just let Ash know where he needs to be,” Greenwood said.

“He’s a really good organiser. He played a little bit in the halves for a couple of minutes he just organises the team around him.”

Hayne’s attitude has regularly been questioned since he signed with the Titans at the end of last year after returning from the NFL and rugby sevens with Fiji.

He is signed until the end of next year, but has an option to leave the club at the end of 2017 in his favour.

His commitment was a regular topic of conjecture throughout the pre-season, before he missed the past five matches through injury.

And despite winning the Anzac Medal for the best player on field in Saturday night’s win, he earned the ire of former Australian players Mark Gasnier and Justin Hodges for his blow up at Sarginson – who feared a negative influence on the club’s young squad.

But Greenwood said it was just a sign of Hayne’s passion.

“We’re all competitive and he’s just as competitive as anyone,” Greenwood said.

“If you drop a ball it is a chance missed and then we have to defend a set so there’s a lot more pressure on you so it’s just competitive nature.”

Griffin out for NRL redemption: Thaiday

This time, it’s personal.


Sam Thaiday believes Penrith coach Anthony Griffin will be out for redemption when he faces off this week with the man who replaced him at Brisbane – Wayne Bennett.

The third-last Panthers are in need of inspiration ahead of Thursday night’s NRL clash with Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium after losing four straight.

And Thaiday believed Griffin would provide it in a bid to “get one over” the man who replaced him at the Broncos helm after the 2014 season.

“I am sure Hook (Griffin) will have them fired up this week to play us,” Thaiday said.

“It’s almost a redemption round for him.

“He likes coming up against Wayne now.

“I am sure throughout this week he will be getting the boys pumped to play on Thursday night.”

Thaiday admitted Brisbane were wary of Griffin, who groomed a number of current Broncos as the club’s Under-20s coach.

“He has coached a lot of the boys in the team, some since 18, 19 years of age,” he said.

“He knows a fair bit about us and I am sure he will be using that knowledge to come up with a gameplan to try and beat us at home.”

Asked if it would be good to get one over his former coach, Thaiday said: “It would be good just to get a win in an easier fashion than the last couple of rounds.

“We have cut it close. It’s almost as if we are trying to kill off Wayne with a heart attack nearly every week.”

Brisbane needed a late field goal to down South Sydney 25-24 last round.

Six of their eight games have now been decided by three points or less.

Thaiday said pre-season favourite Penrith’s record may not be the best but believed it was a matter of time before they clicked into gear.

“I think they have been a little unlucky of late,” he said.

“They have been there or thereabouts but haven’t closed out a lot of games.

“I am sure at some point they will flick the switch and play some good footy – hopefully it is not against us.”

Meanwhile, winger Jordan Kahu ran freely at Monday training after missing the win over South Sydney with a groin strain.

Halfback Ben Hunt trained separately but is not expected back from a hamstring injury for another three weeks.

Bangalore’s star power refuses to translate into IPL success

Their blockbuster batting line-up, containing the likes of prolific India captain Virat Kohli, swashbuckling West Indian Chris Gayle and the versatile South African AB de Villiers, were bundled out for 49 inside 10 overs.


Skipper Kohli fell for a first ball duck, Gayle made seven and de Villiers managed eight with none of the Bangalore batsmen reaching double digit after restricting Kolkata to 131.

“Our worst batting performance,” Kohli said after the team’s spectacular meltdown at Eden Gardens. “It really hurts. After the kind of half that we had, we thought we could capitalise and chase it down.

“Reckless batting, I can’t say anything at the moment. It was that bad. This is just not acceptable.”

Rajasthan Royals’ 58 against Bangalore in 2009 was the previous lowest total.

With their fifth defeat in seven matches, last year’s runners-up Bangalore slipped to the bottom of the points table at the halfway stage of the Twenty20 tournament.

“We need to forget it and move forward. We’re a much better team,” said Kohli, who missed Bangalore’s first three matches with a shoulder injury.

“We got 200 plus in the last game. I’m sure everyone realises what they’ve done wrong. You have to come out, show intent and back yourselves. I’m sure we won’t bat like that again in the tournament.”

Kolkata’s pace attack claimed all 10 Bangalore wickets with Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile, England’s Chris Woakes and New Zealander Colin de Grandhomme claiming three each.

Woakes said the track at Eden Gardens was fair to the seam bowlers.

“It definitely assisted the seamers and it is probably the first time that we had good pace and carry since the time we started playing here,” said the 28-year-old all-rounder.

“It swung a bit to start with as well which helps. But you still got to put the ball in the right areas and we managed to do that tonight.”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

There is no MCG hoodoo for Eagles: Gaff

West Coast midfielder Andrew Gaff denies his team are mentally scarred by their MCG flops, saying they simply haven’t played well enough whenever they’ve travelled to the venue.


The Eagles have now lost 18 of their past 23 matches at the MCG, with Sunday’s 51-point loss to Hawthorn again raising questions about West Coast’s ability to play well at the venue.

Gaff insists the venue itself isn’t the issue, despite it being 19m wider and 15m shorter than West Coast’s home ground Domain Stadium.

“It’s nothing to do with the ground. It’s just two poor performances against Richmond and Hawthorn (this season). It’s as simple as that,” Gaff said on Monday.

“Our inability to contest around the ball has been the main issue.

“Both of those weeks it hasn’t been the width of the ground (that has bothered us). We need to address everything pretty quickly, and move on to next week.

“Our good footy’s as good as anyone’s in the comp.

“But our poor footy like on the weekend and against Richmond (in round three) makes us a pretty average team.”

West Coast will be desperate to rebound in Saturday night’s western derby against arch rivals Fremantle.

Both sides enter the clash with 3-2 records, but most of the heat will be on West Coast to produce the goods.

The Eagles are set to be boosted by the return of Brownlow medallist Sam Mitchell (ankle), while the Dockers were dealt a huge blow when star midfielder Stephen Hill was ruled out for up to four weeks with a hamstring injury.

“No doubt it’s handy,” Gaff said of Hill’s absence for the derby.

“He’s a quality player and dangerous when he gets the ball.

“So with him out it’s a positive (for us).

“But they’ve got quite a few guys – Mundy, Fyfe, Neale – who are playing good footy, and hitting the scoreboard too.

“So there’s plenty of work for us as a midfield group to negate those guys and also get on top.”

Hawks can make AFL finals: Luke Breust

Hawthorn are good enough to beat anyone in the AFL if they can replicate their performance against West Coast, forward Luke Breust says.


After being drubbed by Gold Coast and Geelong, the Hawks notched their first win of the season with a commanding 51-point victory over the Eagles at the MCG on Sunday.

It wasn’t quite the Hawks at their best but for the likes of Breust, Jack Gunston and Cyril Rioli, it was a welcome return to form.

And Breust, who booted three goals, believes a top-eight finish isn’t beyond the reach of the 1-4 Hawks.

“I still think that if we can play the footy that we did on Sunday, we’re a genuine chance to beat any side in the competition,” Breust said on Monday.

“If we can do that – we’re obviously behind the ledger at the moment – but we can get the wins on the board to make finals.”

Having debuted in 2011 when the Hawks were firmly within their premiership window, Breust admitted he had never experienced anything like their dreadful start to the season.

The 26-year-old was one of several senior Hawks to face scrutiny, with some commentators accusing them of hubris.

There were also questions about whether four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson was the man to lead Hawthorn’s rebuild.

But Breust insists the Hawks hadn’t let the criticism get to them.

“I wouldn’t say it fired us up,” Breust said.

“You try and eliminate that from your thoughts and just focus on your role and what you do for the team. I thought to a man, we did that yesterday.”

The Hawks face a six-day break before hosting St Kilda in Launceston on Saturday afternoon.

Star recruit Jaeger O’Meara remains in doubt for a third straight week after copping a knock to his troublesome knee.

“It’s bone bruising, and as we know with bone bruising, it can turn around very quickly or it might take a bit of time,” Breust said.

“We’ll just see how he goes.”

WA still the worst economy: CommSec

Western Australia has been named the nation’s worst performing economy for the third consecutive quarter in CommSec’s latest State of the States report.


Economic growth in WA is currently the weakest in the nation.

The state’s economy lagged other economies and annual growth rates remained below the national averages on all indicators used by CommSec.

Unemployment of 6.4 per cent compared to an average of 5.0 per cent in the past 20 years.

Other areas in which WA is underperforming the national average and its own average over the past decade include retail spending, business investment, construction work, population growth, housing finance, dwelling starts, wages and inflation and home prices.

The economic performance of Western Australia continued to reflect the ending of the mining construction boom, but unemployment had eased over the past three months, CommSec chief economist Craig James said.

“The latest data indicates a multi-speed national economy,” he said.

“NSW is solidly on top with little to separate the ACT and Victoria. Then there is a gap to Tasmania, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia then another gap to Western Australia.

“Western Australia is benefiting from higher mining and metal prices and record export volumes. Tourism and agriculture both provide scope to drive growth”

WA’s acting treasurer Rita Saffioti said the Labor government was tackling the problem and job creation was its number one priority.

“We are looking at all parts of the economy, in particular road construction and of course the Metronet (public transport rail) plan and diversifying the economy through tourism,” she told reporters.

When WA was also named Australia’s worst-performing economy in CommSec’s last report in January, the then Liberal Premier Colin Barnett attacked the credibility of the report saying it was flawed.

The reports compares a state’s current performance against its average over the past decade, but in WA’s case that included the mining boom and Mr Barnett argued the state’s economy was still performing strongly even if it had slowed.

NSW still boasts top economy

NSW still has Australia’s best performing economy, according to CommSec’s latest State of the States quarterly report, but the ACT is the big improver while Western Australia remains last.


1. NSW

NSW has a strong grip on the top spot, with its economy at or near the top of eight key economic indicators. NSW leads on business investment, retail trade and dwelling starts.

2. ACT

The ACT has knocked Victoria out of second place as it improved its position on five of the eight economic indicators. The ACT leads on housing finance, is second on two other indicators and third on another three.


Victoria has dropped to third spot but CommSec says there is little to separate it from the ACT. Victoria leads the pack on population growth, with the number of people rising 2.13 per cent compared to a year ago.


Tasmania stays in fourth spot, but little separates it from Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia. The island state is now ranked second in unemployment, with its jobless rate of 5.8 per cent below the decade-average of 6.1 per cent.


Queensland is benefiting from annual growth in exports of 43 per cent, but the state was second weakest in unemployment and construction work. However, post-flood rebuilding and repairs can be expected.


The Northern Territory has the strongest jobs market and boasts the lowest trend unemployment rate, at 3.5 per cent. It also led took in economic growth and construction work, which was boosted by gas projects, but had the weakest population growth, retail spending, home lending, dwelling starts and business investment.


CommSec says the South Australian economy could lift over the coming year as employment grows at close to its fastest annual rate in nearly six years, lifting retail spending.


In Western Australia, unemployment has eased over the past three months but the state is still struggling after the end of the mining construction boom. Tourism and agriculture may drive growth.

Tyre problems cost Will Power Indy Car win

Josef Newgarden put himself in position to battle his Australian teammate Will Power to the end of the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.


He didn’t need to with Power finishing 14th at Barber Motorsports Park.

Team Penske’s Newgarden moved to the front for the first time on lap 76 when Power – who started on pole and led for 60 of the 90 laps – was forced to pit with a punctured left rear tyre.

“The car was awesome, so fast and I just feel bad,” Power said. “I don’t know what to say.”

Power didn’t want to pit initially but he finally yielded to the wishes of his crew and the harsh reality.

“I could feel (the car) starting to bottom and then having issues in some fast corners,” Power said.

“I tried to tell (the team) for as long as I could that it was alright but it was going down, you could feel it.”

Newgarden made the most of Power’s misfortune and didn’t allow Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon an opening over the final stretch to give Chevrolet their first win of the season – and secure his second victory in three years in Alabama.

Simon Pagenaud finished third, Helio Castroneves fourth and Alexander Rossi fifth.

Power, the 2014 IndyCar series champion, has started on pole twice in three races this year but has been unable to capitalise on race day and has yet to post a top-10 finish. He is 14th in the drivers’ standings on 50 points.

Sebastian Bourdais, of Dale Coyne Racing, leads the standings on 117 points, from Dixon on 111 points, Newgarden 110 points, Team Penske’s Pagenaud on 106 points and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchliffe rounding out the top five on 102 points.