Productivity Commission’s mostly sound industrial relations advice falls short on public sector pay

Productivity Commission chairman Peter Harris launches the draft report on industrial relations last month. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen “The Productivity Commission could well ask Henry Ergas (pictured) if he has the intellectual decency to correct the false claims he has made against it.” Photo: Nic Walker
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“The development of policy is never helped by the likes of Don Argus (pictured) throwing dead cats into the ring.” Photo: Arsineh Houspian

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Two independent, expert and thorough reports on Australian industrial relations, one under the last government and one under the present one, have come to broadly the same conclusions: that the country’s labour market performance and flexibility are relatively good and that, while some alterations to federal laws are warranted, wholesale changes are not.

As with the one to the previous government, the Productivity Commission’s draft report, released last month, has been greeted with squeals of protest from those who seem to think Australia’s economic salvation requires replacing existing laws with ones allowing an expansion of management powers and significant reductions in pay for those now on minimum rates.

Such protests sit uncomfortably with the generally accepted view of the well informed that, in the words of the commission: “there is little robust evidence that the different variants of workplace relations systems over the last 20 years have had detectable effects on measured economy-wide productivity”; andevidence from diverse sources, including the Employment Department, “could not show that the current minimum wage process delivered significant negative employment outcomes”. Indeed, the commission’s head, Peter Harris, is happy to quote The Economist magazine, saying international debate about minimum wages is “now largely between those saying that there are small negative effects and those who say that there are none at all”.

More than this, the protestations of some in the ranks of the bitterly disappointed don’t stack up in their own terms.

Let’s start with the Murdoch correspondent, Henry Ergas. He bases his “analysis” on an allegation that the commission’s report “opens with the claim that there is a serious imbalance between the bargaining power of employees … and employers”. The report does no such thing. Ergas’s claim is just not true; he’s made it up. The commission says: “Without regulation, employees are likely to have much less bargaining power than employers.””While there are hot spots … [there is] a reasonable balance between the relative power of the parties.””Bargaining is not always in the hands of employers.”

The commission is absolutely right. In most instances, the balance between employers and employees is probably reasonable but relative power can vary between industries and firms. Cleaners will generally be in a weaker position than workers in, say, coal-fired power stations, who are able to dramatically affect electricity supply. If Ergas has any doubts about that, he should try his hand for a couple of months at tidying up hotel rooms and then shovelling coal into power station furnaces – if he thinks he’s up to it, of course.

Anyway, after asserting the commission said something it didn’t, Ergas has the front to accuse it of “making mistakes” and questioning if it has the “intellectual honesty” to correct them. The commission could well ask Ergas if he has the intellectual decency to correct the false claims he has made against it. There’s no need, really, for it can take comfort that, on many matters, there’s a certain reassurance in being on the other side of the fence from any Ergasian stance.

Next comes Don Argus. He’s been a chairman of BHP Billiton and chief executive of the National Australia Bank. He’s quite properly called for a “rational debate” about industrial relations. Then he cruels his pitch by saying “if we don’t, we will finish up like Greece”.

It’s hard to know what Argus means. If he’s saying that industrial relations in Australia are headed in the direction of Greece’s, that’s rubbish. And it’s not a great way to try to contribute to a rational debate about anything.

The causes of Greece’s problems are complicated, some going back to the abuse of public sector employment shortly after the country shook itself free from the Ottoman empire in the 19th century and which has endured over the decades since. Australia has avoided these and other perils, like governments of colonels, that have landed Greece in its present predicament. Australia satisfies none of the preconditions necessary to turn itself into another Greece and it’s irresponsible to suggest it’s a realistic possibility.

Australia’s labour market is far freer than Greece’s and there’s no significant risk of Australia’s seizing up. It’s worth noting, however, that in Europe the Greek labour market is more flexible than those in France, Norway and Germany, and a little behind Italy’s. Working hours in Greece are among the highest in the OECD and higher than in Australia.

The problems of the Greek economy are irrelevant to industrial relations in Australia. The development of policy is never helped by the likes of Argus throwing dead cats into the ring. That’s no way to conduct an argument. The former businessman needs to lift his game or he’ll be left with no standing in the debate that the Productivity Commission wants on its report.

The prospects for that debate also have been damaged by the Labor Party and a few of its unions, which, quite without justification, have seized on the commission’s proposals about penalty rates and individual employment contracts to raise the political spectre of WorkChoices. In turn, this has sent shivers down the spines of Tony Abbott and his ministers as they fumble with their dot-point briefing notes instructing them to say “this is a report to government, not a report from the government”.

It looks as if the gradualist recommendations from the commission may well run into some heavy weather from a government presently as immobilised as a possum in a spotlight.

The good thing is that the commission’s draft report is sound. It has absorbed a whole range of opinions it has received, its analysis is rigorous and balanced, and it is now seeking comments on what it has laid on the table before issuing a final document.

Surprisingly, the commission’s report is far less convincing on bargaining in the public sector. This is its backyard. While it avoids comment on the current pay round in the Commonwealth, it says it “seeks to identify a preferred approach to future public service workplace arrangements”. It does not do so to any significant extent.

The report makes a good start saying “there are fundamental impracticalities in strongly linking pay and productivity in the public sector”. That’s right and, in most Commonwealth agencies, productivity simply can’t be measured.

The report goes on to say that, in any event, there “are several general concerns associated with directly linking pay to increases in productivity”. That’s right, too. While in an economy-wide sense it’s important to maintain a reasonable relationship between wages and productivity, linking pay and productivity increases at the firm or enterprise level is economic lunacy. Among other things, it rewards unproductive industries and their staff, and puts productive ones at a disadvantage because they will be less able to keep staff remuneration competitive; it may even threaten the viability of critical firms. It creates incentives to build up restrictive practices able to be used in bargaining and it encourages a union/staff view that no improvement can be made without a pay increase, a horrifying consequence for those keen to expand management powers.

The Productivity Commission says that reducing conditions of employment or longer hours have nothing to do with productivity and that “paying an employee to work more could harm” it. Exactly so. Public service agencies now engaged in such folly should give it away.

So the commission has made the federal government’s IR bargaining guidelines mandating a link between pay and productivity look as foolish as they deserve to be.

Yet, having successfully lined up the ducks on public sector bargaining, the commission’s analysis falls away to the extent that it makes no recommendations about it. The promised “preferred approach” is not identified.

A problem may be that the commission seems to be unaware of what is still the most sensible, convincing and intellectually rigorous document on public service remuneration: the early 1950s Priestley royal commission report in Britain. Over the past 60 years, there’s been nothing to surpass this report and the Productivity Commission should now get onto it. There should be a copy in the Public Service Commission’s library, where it could be either gathering dust or placed on an index prohibitorum of documents banned because they are inconsistent with prevailing ideology and dangerous because their logic is irrefutable.

Priestley thought pay and conditions in the public service should be such that “the interests of the community in general, of those responsible for administering the civil service and the individual civil servants themselves should be kept in balance”. Priestley says “a correct balance will be achieved only if the primary principle of civil service pay is fair comparison with the current remuneration of outside staffs employed on broadly comparable work”.

Such an approach, Priestley asserts, “looks after the ordinary citizens’ interests as a taxpayer” because if public servants are paid “what other responsible employers pay for comparable work, the citizen cannot reasonably complain that he is being exploited”. Similarly, Priestley says that as the public “casts a jealous eye on public expenditure” an official “is entitled to some guarantee that his just deserts will not be sacrificed to political expediency”.

Priestley also recommended that account be taken of internal relativities, both horizontal and vertical, including where outside work comparisons could not readily be made.

Both of these principles, designed to achieve a proper balance of competing interests and promote the efficiency and productivity of the public service by contributing to effective recruitment and motivation, have been thoroughly trashed in the Australian Public Service and wider Commonwealth employment. It’s more than time for these principles to be brought back and that’s what the Productivity Commission should be recommending.

When the Finance Department’s secretary, Jane Halton, can describe working an extra six minutes a day and removing the Christmas shutdown as “productivity measures” and try in part to justify a pay increase for her staff on the basis of moving into a flash new office, citizens can know that pay and conditions bargaining in the APS has hit rock bottom.

Adopting the Priestley principles would bring an end to such nonsense. It would enable the better realisation via a single enterprise bargain of the “One APS”, whose promotion always now rings hollow. It would allow the gradual evening-up of pay disparities between agencies that have arisen for no reasons other than chance. It would save tens of millions of dollars now wasted in the pointless transaction costs of agency-based bargaining. And it would bring better order to the mish-mash of classifications and levels across the public service now bedevilling its effective management.

The government need not wait for the Productivity Commission to do all these things. Their merits speak for themselves and they should be done now. As that’s unlikely, the commission’s final report must take up the cudgels.

Paddy Gourley is a former senior public servant. [email protected]整形美容医院speed整形美容医院m.au

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The gods of rugby heaven: The openside flankers

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Schalk Burger. Photo: Getty Images

Schalk Burger (South Africa)

Dynamic, robust and physical … three words that define Schalk Burger.

Although many who have played against the Springbok openside flanker may have other words to describe the two-times South African rugby player of the year recipient.

Since his 2003 debut for the Springboks against Georgia in the World Cup that was held in Australia, Burger has established himself as one of the major benchmark flankers in the world game.

That was due in a large to his energetic and high work-rate that in his early days often saw him run foul of the referee. Now 32, Burger has 79 Test caps to his name.

Thierry Dusautoir. Photo: Getty Images

Thierry Dusautoir (France)

A strong ball carrier, Thierry Dusautoir, now 33, was born in Abidjan on the Ivory Coast.

The son of a French father and Ivorian mother, he began rugby at age 16 after a childhood in which his favourite sport was judo.

He debuted for France in a Test against Romania on June 17, 2006. The 75-capped player is arguably best known for his try against the All Blacks in the 2007 World Cup quarter-final at Cardiff in which he made 38 tackles.

Dusautoir also captained France to the 2011 Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand in which he scored France’s only try in the 47th minute.

Michael Jones. Photo: Simon Alekna

Michael Jones (New Zealand)

So talented was Michael Jones, former All Blacks coach John Hart called him “almost the perfect rugby player”.

While his international debut was for Western Samoa in 1986, Jones – now 50 and nicknamed the ‘Ice Man’ because he so often needed ice packs for injuries – first played for New Zealand in the 1987 World Cup, playing four games.

While early in his career he was a brilliant openside flanker, scoring 13 international tries, he moved to the blindside when speed and injuries caught up with him.

His last Test was against Australia at the end of 1989 and in late 1999 he retired.

Richie McCaw. Photo: Getty Images

Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

The current All Blacks captain, Richie McCaw, 34, earned his 142nd Test cap against Australia in Auckland in August, a stand-alone record in world rugby.

Thought of by many as the greatest openside flanker of all time, McCaw is a veritable master at the breakdown.

He also has incredible vision and ability to read a referee’s interpretation of the law that often frustrates the opposition.

McCaw played his first Test in 2001 against Ireland in the All Blacks’ spring tour. After his World Cup debut in 2003, he has led the All Blacks since 2006 and through the 2007 and 2011 World Cups.

George Smith. Photo: Simon Alekna

George Smith (Australia)

George Smith, 35, is still playing professional rugby in a career that began with his debut for the Brumbies in 2000. He recently signed with London club Wasps after two seasons at Lyon in France.

Smith played at the Brumbies for 12 years over two spells – from 2000 to 2010 and then in 2013 when he returned after playing for Toulon in France and Suntory in Japan.

His Test career also kicked off in 2000 against France and led to him earning 111 caps, his last on July 6, 2013, against the British and Irish Lions.

A breakdown wizard, he was long considered the Wallabies’ most valued player, also due to his ability to adapt to numerous positions.

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Miners lose edge as NSW government balances profits against damage before approvals

The NSW government has put mining back to a level planning field. Photo: Glenn Hunt Centennial Mine’s operations in the Blue Mountains. Photo: supplied
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The Baird government has amended its mining policy process to give equal billing to a project’s economic, environmental and social impacts when determining approval in a move likely to anger the mining industry.

The plan to change the mining State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) to end the priority being given to economic factors is understood to have won “broad support” when it went to cabinet on Friday.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said in a statement on Monday that the community had been overwhelmingly in favour of the change.

“Mining plays an important role in the NSW economy, however, we must ensure that our policies reflect the importance of balance in assessing the likely impacts of mining developments,” Mr Stokes said.

“A crucial pillar of our planning system is that decision makers consider environmental impacts on both the natural and built environments, and social and economic impacts in their assessment of development applications,” he said.

The impact of the amended policy, which comes into force on Wednesday, may be on show within days. The Planning Assessment Commission will hold additional public hearings triggered by the revised SEPP for the Springvale coal mine near Lithgow on Thursday and next Monday for Rio Tinto’s Mt Thorley Warkworth mine near Bulga in the Hunter Valley.

The mining sector has previously complained that the removal of economic priority being given to new mines – introduced two years ago – would damage an industry already struggling with poor commodity prices and large-scale job losses.

The government received more than 2400 submissions, 98 per cent of which supported the proposal to remove a provision that had made the significance of the mineral resource “the principal consideration” when determining projects.

‘Real test’

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW welcomed the move to change the elements of the mining SEPP that were introduced by former Resources Minister Chris Hartcher in 2013.

“Premier Mike Baird and Planning Minister Rob Stokes deserve credit for acknowledging that the Hartcher amendments were unacceptable because they put industry interests ahead of local communities and the environment,” Kate Smolksi, the council’s chief executive, said.

Ms Smolski said the SEPP change had been introduced by the O’Farrell government to allow mining giant Rio Tinto to make another application to expand its open-cut coal mine after its plan had been rejected by the Land and Environment Court.

“While we welcome today’s decision, it only takes us back to where we were two years ago, when the community was expressing many substantial concerns about the approval and assessment process for mining projects,” she said.

“The real test will be whether or not the Planning Assessment Commission [PAC] takes this change into account when determining the Warkworth Mt Thorley mine and other mining projects.”

Miners, Greens

Stephen Galilee, chief executive of the NSW Minerals Council, said his organisation had always backed a balanced approach to the assessment of new mining projects.

“Our concern with the proposed changes was that state and regional economic factors would no longer be mandatory factors for consideration in the assessment process,” Mr Galilee said, adding that Mr Stokes has said he will ensure such issues will be examined in PAC determinations.

A spokesman for Rio Tinto echoed such concerns.

“Our applications to continue mining at Mount Thorley Warkworth have been assessed against contemporary environmental, social and economic policies and requirements,” the spokesman said. “These assessments indicate the benefits of the proposals, including continued employment for 1300 people, significantly outweigh the impacts.”

“This is supported by the Department of Planning and Environment which has written to the [PAC] and advised they are satisfied that the benefits outweigh the impacts, after the change to the Mining SEPP, and recommend that the project is in the public interest and should be approved,” he said.

Jeremy Buckingham, the Greens mining spokesman, said the SEPP should never have been altered in the first place.

“We’d like the merits appeals brought back and teeth be given to the Strategic Regional Land-use Policy,” Mr Buckingham said, adding battles over major projects will continue until appropriate areas are designated as “no go zones” for coal and coal seam gas operations.

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Wes Craven, director of Nightmare on Elm Street, dead at 76

Director Wes Craven accepts the Visionary Award at the Scream Awards on Saturday Oct. 18, 2008 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzell0) Photo: Chris PizzelloHorror movie icon Wes Craven has lost his battle with brain cancer, aged 76.
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The writer, director and producer is best known for the Nightmare On Elm Street films which were credited with re-invigorating the teen horror market in the 1980s, passed away on Sunday.

After the phenomenal success of the first Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984, which introduced the iconic character of Freddie Krueger (played by Robert Englund,)  Craven went on to create four sequels, a video game, two spin-off Nightmare television series – 1988’s Freddy’s Nightmares and Nightmare Cafe in 1992) and even a horror crossover with Freddy V Jason, pitting Kruger against another horror film icon, Jason Vorhees, from the Friday The 13th franchise.

Craven also created the Scream franchise in the 1990s, mashing up black humour and horror, and referencing and satirising horror film tropes, including his own.

Craven’s earlier films though, were more straight-up horror, often combining deformed or monster-like (but human) bad guys and social and political issues. He was also been credited with featuring strong female characters in his films.

Born in Ohio, Craven was a teacher before turning his hand to low-budget filmmaking.

His first film was 1972’s Last House On The Left, a controversial ‘rape-revenge’ story, which, while outraging many, was a success – unlike some of his other slashers like The Evolution of Snuff and Swamp Thing.

His 1979 exploitation slasher The Hills Have Eyes (remade in 2006), about a suburban family whose road trip goes horribly wrong when they find themselves stranded in the desert, was an instant cult classic.

Among his other titles are the decidedly weird zombie flick Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), The People Under The Stairs (1991) and a raft of made-for-television films.

Although Craven enjoyed mainstream fame with much of his output, his awards have always come from festivals dedicated to his genre – most recently, in 2008 when he was awarded the Visionary Award at the Scream Awards.

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Unstoppable Tritton breaks state trainers’ record

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DARREN Elder will nominate Shannonsablast for the Interdominion and Shane Tritton has six races on Monday to get the three wins he needs for a double century in NSW after a big night for Hunter trainers on Saturday.

Shannonsablast was one of three Hunter-trained winners at Menangle, while Tritton runners claimed the opening three races at Newcastle to give the Keinbah horseman a national record for a NSW trainer.

Glasscutterspirit, Controversial and Mickey McRooney saluted for Tritton, taking him to 219 winners nationally for the season and past Steve Turnbull’s record of 217 for a NSW trainer set in 2013-14.

Tritton’s other target in recent weeks has been 200 wins for the season in NSW.

He moved to 197 with the treble and has 14 runners across six races of the nine-event program at Newcastle on Monday, the final day of the season.

Tritton said he was proud of the season, which also included two wins in New Zealand and a maiden NSW drivers’ premiership for his partner, Lauren Panella.

‘‘It means a lot to be ranked as the trainer who has won the most nationally in NSW in history,’’ he said.

‘‘It means a lot to my partner, family and workers.

‘‘We all work extremely hard and it’s good for the country participants to see that anyone can achieve their dreams, no matter where you are from. I’m proud to be from Newcastle.’’

The Tritton-trained Katy Perry was fourth in the group1 Breeders Crown for three-year-old fillies at Melton on Sunday.

Elder, meanwhile, was a winner on a huge night for Hunter trainers at headquarters.

With Todd McCarthy in the gig, Shannonsablast sat outside the leader in race two before a sustained sprint down the straight gave him a length victory in 1.53.8 in race two. The win gave McCarthy the joint metropolitan drivers’ premiership with his brother, Luke.

In race one, Ellalong trainer-driver Michael Formosa won with Ultimate Trump in 1.53.6.

In the fourth, Bolwarra trainer-driver Geoff Dorn had his first win at Menangle when Mista Taptoe Lombo caused an upset to take out a Country Series final at odds of $31.70.

Elder told Harness Racing NSW after Shannonsablast’s win that he would take his stable star to the Queensland Pacing Championship and Gold Coast Cup before a shot at Perth’s $1.8million Interdominion series in November.

He said he was waiting to see how the five-year-old gelding performed on Saturday night before deciding on the Interdominion nomination, and he would now probably lodge it on Monday.

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Cardiff clash with England to herald start of Australia’s World T20 preparation

Australia’s biennial focus on fashioning an effective Twenty20 line-up to break their poor record at the World Twenty20 tournaments starts on Monday in Cardiff.
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New Test and one-day captain Steve Smith will take the reins for the afternoon match at Swalec Stadium against England, but he made it clear he had no interest in retaining the role once full-time Twenty20 captain Aaron Finch recovered from the foot injury that has sidelined him from the entire limited-overs series.

“It’s Finchy’s team, actually . . . [which will] take a bit of weight off my shoulders I guess in this form of the game,” Smith said.

Up to five of England’s players could face Australia for the first time. Batsmen James Vince, Sam Billings, Jason Roy and all-rounder David Willey all made their international debuts earlier this summer, while left-arm paceman Reece Topley is yet to play for England. Hard-hitting opener Roy played in last season’s Big Bash League, for Sydney Thunder.

Australia’s squad contains three potential Twenty20 debutants: opener Joe Burns, who made his limited-overs debut on Thursday in Belfast, spinner Ashton Agar, who has played two Tests, and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis. who is yet to feature above Australia A level.

The match is the first of seven Twenty20s Australia will play before the 2016 World Twenty20, to be held in India in March.

Selectors have underlined their determination to mould a settled line-up in that time by flying leg-spinner Cameron Boyce over for just this match, rather than the entire one-day series.

In Australia’s 2014 World Twenty20 campaign their primary leg-spinner was James Muirhead, who has since fallen out of favour with both Australia and Victoria as he works through a difficult patch in his still-fledgling career.

Queensland Boyce played four matches last season, taking six wickets at an average of 13.67 and, most encouragingly, conceding only 5.47 runs per over.

Smith strongly suggested the 26-year-old would feature in the match against England, partly on the basis that “it’s a pretty long way to go to not play”.

“I think as a leg-spinner you’ve really got to read the batsmen quite well. I think he does that. I think he knows when someone is going to step down at him and try hit to him for six, and when they’re going to sit back. I think he adjusts his length and his pace quite well, so I’m looking forward to seeing him bowl out here,” the acting captain said.

“It’s going to be quite tough conditions, I reckon, with probably a pretty good wicket and short straight boundaries, so he’s going to have to adapt there and see how he goes.”

With all but three members of the Australian squad – Boyce, Agar and Burns – either holding or having held IPL deals, Smith reckoned acclimatising should not pose a problem at next year’s World Twenty20.

“I think we’ve got some pretty experienced T20 players. A lot of the guys that are probably going to be in the squad for that World Cup have played a lot of IPL cricket and cricket in India and adapted to those conditions, so there’s no reason why we can’t win that tournament.”

Besides the one-off match against England, Australia’s only Twenty20 matches before the World Twenty20 are three at home to India next summer and three in South Africa just before the tournament.

ENGLAND (from): Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Steve Finn, Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, James Vince, David Willey, Chris Woakes.

AUSTRALIA (from): Steve Smith (c), Ashton Agar, George Bailey, Cameron Boyce, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh, James Pattinson, Mitch Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Shane Watson, David Warner.

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World Championships: Hilliard targets under-performers

Australia exceeded their own pessimistic medal forecast but some senior athletes had still under-performed, head coach Craig Hilliard said after the World Championships.
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Australia finished with two silver medals after soberly predicting that it could be a medal-less championships in Beijing.

“Overall I am happy with our younger brigade. I think the younger athletes really stood up out there,” Hilliard said.

“This is our team, our team for the next Olympics … it’s promising for the next five-year period for athletics and where athletics can go.”

A range of high-profile athletes including discus throwers Benn Harradine and Julian Wruck, sprinter Melissa Breen, injured javelin thrower Kim Mickle, discus thrower Dani Samuels and runners such as Maddy Heiner had not performed as well as their form leading in.

“You saw it out there, there’s athletes who have to step up and do better. We have holes in areas, certainly some of the distance events let us down,” Hilliard said.

“There have been some athletes here who have under-performed – I don’t need to spell them out … I think this was one of the better prepared teams we’ve had but some athletes still slip through the net. We’ve got to get better at them performing here. I don’t care about [what an athlete did] six weeks ago.”

Hilliard said he would have robust discussions with a number of athletes and coaches, including national sprint record holder Breen and her coach Matt Beckenham, after Breen was eliminated in her heat after running a time well below her best.

“You can’t hide out there and certainly coming in, Mel knew she was in trouble. You saw the races and what she’d done coming in domestically and in Japan,” Hilliard said.

“She tried a different preparation with her coach to try to break that run of outs she’s had, you can’t blame her for that, but it clearly didn’t work.

“So they’ve got to go home and have a good look at where she’s run her fastest times and why she’s run her fastest times at that time of the year. Come out with a plan that can bring back that form coming into a major.

“She’s gutted by it, when you know you can run times and you constantly don’t do it here it’s the worst feeling you can have as an athlete.

“It will be a robust conversation as it will with all athletes.”

Hilliard said a range of young athletes, including high jumpers Eleanor Patterson and Brandon Starc, hurdler Michelle Jenneke, long jumper Brooke Stratton and 400m runner Anneliese Rubie, had performed exceptionally well.

He revealed Jenneke injured her hamstring in her semi-final, costing her a chance at a place in the final.

Hilliard was eager to have Patterson and her coach Dave Green, who to date have not accepted funding from the sports commission, come within the fold of Athletics Australia.

“She is one of our key athletes and we want her in the program. It makes sense, why look a gift horse in the mouth? There is a fair chunk of money that will come her way which could only help her prepare and help David travel away overseas with her.

“We need to support them, I will continue to support them and would love to get them involved.”

World and Olympic champion Sally Pearson would return after injury, but expecting her to medal at a third successive Olympics is a big ask. The women’s gold being won in Beijing in the slowest time in a decade, however, will doubtless frustrate and motivate her, Hilliard said.

He said the time had come for Australia to invest time and energy in the next generation of sprinters in a relay team.

“We’ve got some young kids now, and it’s time to move on from the ones who are there, the same old, same old, so let’s give these young kids a chance, get them together and say ‘Go for it, guys. Let’s get some times out there’. I’d love to … put them together in a relay team and give them something to prepare for the Olympics or Comm Games 2018, what an opportunity.”

He said 400m runner Steve Solomon had overcome “a fairly horrific injury” and was now back in Australia training in Canberra after deferring medical studies for a year to concentrate on preparing for Rio.

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World Championships 2015: Coach says Kim Mickle was okay to throw

Athletics Australia has defended the decision to allow Kim Mickle to throw in the javelin despite having torn ligaments in her shoulder.
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AA head coach Craig Hilliard said Mickle was eager to compete and the doctors were aware of the state of her shoulder.

There had been some miscommunication from Mickle over the severity of her shoulder injury, which would be subject to a review after the championships but Hilliard said he was comfortable Mickle had ben allowed to throw.

The silver medallist in Moscow two years ago was able to register only one legal throw of less than 60 metres and was eliminated in the first round.

Mickle had said in a press conference before competing that her shoulder was “great” but said afterwards she had downplayed a dislocation she had suffered in Germany two months earlier. She said after being eliminated that 30 per cent of the tendons of the rotator cuff in the shoulder had been torn.

“Her shoulder has not been good for a while. No secret about that,” Hilliard said.

“I think there was a clear miscommunication in terms of what was said and what actually occurred. I am not going to go into that but at the end of the day Kim was pretty strong about wanting to compete here.

“She got through her training program but clearly there is an issue we need to address better.

“She was fairly headstrong about what she wanted to do, went out and performed, certainly not to her ability, but she wanted to find out one way or another.

“The injury she has got is clearly a rehab one for another length of time or potentially surgery. The medical staff will go through the process with her and come up with the ideal solution.

“At the end of the day Kim was convinced in herself that competing outweighed the risk of further damage.”

“She had all the treatment in Cologne, we had physios, medical people there and when she got home from London so she hasn’t been mismanaged in terms of her rehabilitation and where she’s at – I want to make that totally clear. Nothing slipped through the net in that instance.

“You can argue about `should she have gone out or shouldn’t she have gone out’ – she wanted to compete.”

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Socceroos: Milicic has fond memories of WA and backs Perth match

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To truly be Australia’s team, a team has to play all over the country.

The Baggy Greens play in all mainland states during a five Test series in their own backyard, but their travel diary is matched by few others.

The Socceroos are arguably the only team aside from the cricketers that really can claim to be representing a sport that is popular throughout the entire nation. But they are acutely aware that they need to appear more often outside of their eastern seaboard strongholds in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Hence their first trip to Western Australia in a decade this week when they take on Bangladesh in a World Cup qualifier at Perth Glory’s neat, trim, 20,000 capacity nib Stadium on Thursday evenng.

Its a good move; the Western Australians, along with fans in Adelaide, missed out during the Asian Cup, and, according to FFA officials, have responded well. Over 17,000 tickets have been sold and the remainder are expected to go in the next few days, ensuring a sell out and a hostile environment for the visiting Bangladeshis.

Socceroo assistant coach Ante Milicic has fond memories of Perth from his time as a player. Although the ex international striker spent the bulk of his career in his native Sydney, along with spells in Brisbane and Newcastle as well as in Europe,  Milicic made quite a splash in WA on his brief visits there.

He scored the only goal of the game _ and won the Marston Medal for best on ground _ when Sydney Olympic defeated Perth Glory in the 2002 NSL Grand Final, and recalls a match seven years before that when the nascent Glory took on Italian side Sampdoria in an exhibition game.

“Myself and Kimon Taliadoros (ex Socceroo frontman and now Football Federation Victoria  president)  got called up as guest players for that match. I was staying in the same hotel as Sampdoria, and got all kitted out with the gear after, ” he reminisced at a training session the national team coaches hosted with several WA youngsters at the match venue on Sunday afternoon.

“Its a great opportunity for the Perth public to come out. We really want to get around the whole country. We didn’t have the chance during the Asian Cup, but the opportutnity now is for  the whole country to see the squad, the way its developing and coming forward with the young players.

“The pitch and the surface is great. This is what you need at international level. The pitch and the facilities, the grandstand here is great and the crowd will be close to the pitch. These are the kind of venues that the Socceroos enjoy playing at.”

Milicic said there had been no overnight reports of injuries, and that while Austalia would go into the game against Bangladesh as hot favourites, they certainly would not underestimate their opponents.

“We respect every opponent and Bangladesh is no different. We have chosen a full strength side from everyone who is available. We have done our homework, we know what to expect. “

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

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Tony Abbott to sack ministers for backgrounding? Not bloody likely!

Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos. Photo: Cole BennettsSinodinos slams ‘political sabotage’
ChangZhou Plastic Surgery

The call from a respected senior Liberal, Arthur Sinodinos, ostensibly for Tony Abbott to sack cabinet ministers for backgrounding against Joe Hockey and Abbott himself, seems extraordinarily decisive, as far as it goes. But let’s be honest, it is not going anywhere.

Plainly, this a rhetorical rather than a literal call for the Prime Minister to use his most severe rebuke.

The call by press release is in fact a symptom masquerading as a remedy, and is itself, part of the gathering symphony of dysfunction now drowning out the government’s official message of “jobs, growth, and community safety”.

It barely requires stating. The very essence of backgrounding is that it is anonymous. It is both unnamed, and unprovable. A minister suspected of backgrounding would never admit to it, and a journalist/beneficiary of said leaks would never give up their source. The wiley Sinodinos knows this, and thus knows that no ministers could or will be sacked. Even more, the ex-chief of staff for John Howard knows that in the fractious condition the government and its leadership now find themselves, the percussive dismissal of a senior minister or ministers for alleged “disloyalty” would almost certainly prompt a crisis of its own resulting in internal collapse.

Frankly put, Sinodinos knows Abbott is in no position to sack anyone.

Which is not to say there isn’t some frustration evident in Sinodinos’s words, given his Liberal Party is fighting a do-or-die byelection in the WA seat of Canning.

Party loyalists are concerned that talk of losing, or, of the serious ramifications of a violent anti-government swing, increases the danger of self-fulifilling prophesies.

Yet politics being what it is, Canberra watchers are caught somewhere between bemused and befuddled by the Sinodinos snipe.

No blind adherent of the current leadership, nor particularly of Abbott’s uber-powerful chief of staff Peta Credlin, Sinodinos is widely thought to be a supporter of the popular alternative to Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull in turn would be the big winner of a change of leadership – a change that is more likely, not less, if Canning goes bad.

All of which has some conspiracy-minded theorists wondering what Sinodinos is doing. On the face of it, he is strafing leakers. Yet he knows they will not be identified and then ejected.

Which leaves us contemplating the sub-surface meanings. First, that any public attack on “backgrounding” inevitably draws attention to that backgrounding and thus kicks the story along for another day at least. Even assuming this was not his primary purpose, it is an outcome of which the experienced Sinodinos would have been well aware.

Second, that pro-Turnbull forces are worried that in a final desperate play, Credlin might advocate throwing Hockey overboard, to forestall her own removal, and they want to expose that option and thus kill it off.

Or third, that previous assumptions of allegiances within the NSW Liberal caucus, are out of date and that Turnbull may have lost supporters, such as Sinodinos himself, to the up-and-coming Scott Morrison.

Either way, it is a curious contribution.

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

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