Awaba calling: James McDonald, with wife Judith, said he can’t use a mobile phone easily and feels “cut off”. They have not had a landline since mid March or Internet access for 10 days. Picture: Max Mason-HubersJAMESand Judith McDonald are all too familiar with the importance of being able to use aphone quickly.
When Mrs McDonaldreturned home oneafternoon last September, she found her husband, 70, unconscious on the floor of their living room and called Triple Zero.
“He was in hospital for 46 days and we nearly lost him,” she said.
Mr McDonald’s history of health problems has heightenedthe couple’sdistress about having theirlandline unavailable for more than a month, with Telstra suggesting it won’t be restored for at least another fortnight. “It’s ridiculous,” Mrs McDonald said.
“It’s just not good enough.
“The landlineis the easiest thing for him to reach, pick up and dial a number on rather than trying to use a styluson his mobile.
“He’s an insulin dependent diabetic, has sleep apnoea, chronic obstructivepulmonary disease, pulmonary hypertension, prostate cancer and cellulitis of the legs.
“These phone problems are not necessary and putting more tension into his life.”
Telstra area general manager Tricia Wilson apologised on Wednesday“for the delay in restoring landline services and we understand the frustration this can cause”.
It is understood efforts to fix a hardware fault at the Toronto exchange havebeen hampered by the presence of a material believedto be asbestos.
“There are strict guidelines we have to follow in the event that any asbestos containing material is found at the site to ensure there is no risk to the safety of our staff and the general public,” she said.
“We are working to complete the project as quickly as possible. There are options available for customers whose landline service has been affected including call diversion, which can be arranged by calling 132 200.”
Awaba Public principal Alison Tiplady said her school’s landline had been diverted to amobilesince April 7, which she said had made things “a little difficult”.
“It’s usually used as an emergency contact phone for parents and excursions, so this hasn’t been easy with different teachers going to different events with students. Teachers are having to use their personal phones.”
Mr McDonald said they called Telstra in mid-March after their landline and Internet access was disrupted.
A technician visited and their Internet access was restored.
They saw labourers digging outside on April 24.
“They told us they were laying a new conduit line and the technicians would be out that afternoon to lay the cables and reconnect the house.”
But the technicians never came.
Mr McDonald was told the problem at the exchange would be fixedby 7am on April 27, but thislater changed to May 4.
He was told on Tuesday it would not be remedied until May 25.
“I found out there were between 79 and 330 customers in the same boat!” he said.
“Ifthat was meant to make me feel any happier I’m not sure how.
“This is the third time we’ve been given a date and it’s wearing thin.
“Quite frankly we don’t know what to believe.”
Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper said it was “concerning that in 2018 we can have an entire community left without phone lines for over a month”.
“It’s also concerning that Telstra didn’t tell anyone about the problem until some of the fed-up residents started to contact me,” he said.
“I think the entire Awaba community deserves better and Telstra should be doing everything possible to get the problem fixed as soon as possible and to compensate those people affected.”
Russell Packer is a certainty to return from a knee injury for Wests Tigers’ NRL clash on Thursday.The Wests Tigers are hoping their first home game at Leichhardt Oval will snap them out of a worrying form slump that has them on the cusp of dropping out of the NRL top eight.
After winning five of their opening six matches, the bubble has burst on the early-season surprise packets with three straight losses.
However the return of co-captain Russell Packer, as well as veteran Benji Marshall’s first home game at Leichhardt since leaving the club in 2014, could be just the tonic for Ivan Cleary’s side.
Their losing streak has coincided with a knee injury that forced Packer out of the past four matches.
“When you can’t affect the result, it’s always harder to watch. But coming back this Thursday I’ve got the opportunity to try and help and do my role for the team,” Packer said on Tuesday.
“I’m looking forward to playing again and moreso running out onto Leichhardt Oval for the first time as a Wests Tiger. I can’t wait for that.”
After the Tigers scored shock wins over Melbourne twice, the Sydney Roosters and Parramatta over the opening six weeks, Packer admitted the side may have gotten swept up in their success.
He implored his teammates to switch their focus back to a defence that leaked less than 10 points a game up until round six, and then 24 points over their current losing run.
“Just because you start the season well doesn’t give you the right to keep winning,” he said.
“I think maybe we’ve fallen into that trap a little bit where maybe we’re expecting to win games that we probably should’ve.
“When we started the season, our style of play was built on our defence and working hard for each other. We can look at that and try and use those characteristics as a building block.”
Second-rower Michael Chee Kam said Cleary believed the team had been guilty of ill-discipline and strayed from a defensive game plan that had the team humming early in the year.
“We take it as a wake-up call. No better place to turn it around than Leichhardt this week,” he said.
Tigers co-captain Chris Lawrence is the only injury worry for the Cowboys game due to concussion.
DARK COMEDY: Joshua Hilton, one of two actors who are playing the role of Henry in Hinterland.
AUSTRALIAN playwright Matt Cameron’s concern in the early 2000s that prime minister John Howard was ignoring the needs of the people led him to write a satirical comedy, Hinterland, that had a working-class man banished to a hidden place for voicing opinions that weren’t to the government’s liking.
While Cameron set the play in the 1950s, the situations it shows have present-day audiences laughing because they reflect the way that people see governments acting now, ignoring promises they made in election campaigns.
Lindsay Street Players, a company that includes adult actors who trained with Young People’s Theatre Newcastle and senior current members of YPT, is staging Hinterland for a season at Young People’s Theatre’s Hamilton venue June 1-9.
Another Matt Cameron play, Ruby Moon, is on the HSC drama reading list, and reading that led to one of YPT’s members looking at Cameron’s other works, and presenting a scene from Hinterland while attending the company’s director training course. The engrossing nature of that scene led to Lindsay Street Players deciding to stage the whole play. Patrick Campbell, a high school drama teacher familiar with Matt Cameron’s works, is directing the dark comedy.
The story initially focuses on a husband and wife, Henry and Olive Quealy, who have a typical family home. Henry is a travelling salesman who moves from door-to-door selling doors and Olive initially saw him as the man of her dreams. Life for Henry, though, is a bit of a nightmare. Power failures keep affecting their home and he gives those whose homes he goes to his opinions on what the government is doing.
His comments lead to a government minister, Winsome Snell, and her volatile security superintendent, Frank Gruel, raiding the Quealy house and sentencing Henry to permanent detention in a dark world behind a door that has mysteriously appeared. But the move leads to Henry becoming more confident and perceptive and prepared to battle the political team.
The play, which includesreferences to the ‘Cumbersome report’, a study the government commissioned from an official called Cumberson and then rejected because it was very critical of its decisions, has two casts. James Chapman and Josh Hilton alternate as Henry, Micaela Phillips and Jasmine Phipps as Olive, Cassie Hamilton and Kate Wooden as Winsome, and James Hilton and Sam Lewis as Gruel.
Performances:Fridays June 1 and 8, 7pm, Saturdays June 2 and 9,2pm and 7pm, Sunday, June 3, 2pm, and Wednesday, June 6, 7pm. Tickets for opening night (including supper) are $23, and $19 for other performances. Bookings: ypt苏州模特佳丽招聘.au.
Theatre ReviewsAnnie: KIDSHigh Street Productions, at St Phillip’s Theatre, WaratahEnds SaturdayTHIS is a delightful inaugural production for new company High Street Productions, with the 27 young cast members making the classic story of an orphan girl searching while the Christmas guest of a New York millionaire for the parents she believes to be still alive a very enjoyable 50 minutes.
Director Michael Cooper and his staging team keep the action moving briskly, making good use of the set-changing moments to focus on characters ranging from poorly garbed orphans to elegant business people. The songs, including Tomorrow, Easy Street, and You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile, lose none of their swinging charm in a shorter context. The cruel orphanage operator, Miss Hannigan, likewise retains a darkly funny side.
The Venetian TwinsSt Francis Xavier’s College, at the Civic Playhouse, NewcastleEnded May 5IT has been more than 20 years since this musical adaptation by Maitland-born writer Nick Enright and composer Terence Clarke of the title classic Italian comedy has been staged in Newcastle, and it was good to see a high school team staging it amusingly.
The long separated twins are written to be played by one actor, with each twin being confused and adeptly manipulative when approached by men and women who thought they were the other. But director Patrick Campbell adeptly had them played by different actors, each with white colour on a different side of the face. It was an amusing show, though in this shortened version most of the songs were reduced to background music.
Kaysa Pritchard will miss the Eels’ NRL match against Canterbury due to a groin injury.Embattled Parramatta have been dealt a blow ahead of their bottom-of-the-table clash against Canterbury after losing hooker Kaysa Pritchard for at least one week with a groin injury.
Co-captain Tim Mannah could also be out for up to a month after suffering a suspected fractured eye socket from their two-point loss to Cronulla last week.
Pritchard’s injury is likely to result in an NRL recall for Cameron King, while utility Will Smith could also spend more minutes at dummy-half against the Bulldogs.
“He’s just found some form, too. He’s just been that bit of energy for us as well. He’s been going good for us,” Smith said of Pritchard on Tuesday.
Second-rower Kenny Edwards backed King and Smith to step up in Pritchard’s absence.
“He’s had a couple of good games in a row, Kaysa. It’s tough to lose my little mate, but Kingy’s been playing well. He’s man of the match the last two weeks in reserve grade.
“If he comes in, we know he can do the job.”
The Eels have also spent the early part of the week rallying around star halfback Mitchell Moses, who cut a dejected figure after missing a conversion that would’ve sent Saturday’s game into golden point.
“We were quick to let him know that it wasn’t just him. Obviously he did miss the kick at the end but he shouldn’t have been in that situation from the get-go,” fullback Bevan French said.
“He did put a blame of himself but we were quick to let him know that it just wasn’t him.”
Edwards expected Moses to bounce back from the disappointment against the Bulldogs, who are equal with the Eels on four points but sit one spot above them on the ladder in 15th position.
“He would’ve felt the whole world was on his shoulders through that kick. But like we explained to him, we lost the game a long time before that. I think he’ll be right,” Edwards said of Moses.
“It’s just something that happens and we’ll move on from that.”
NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.Maitland is one of the country’s fastest growing cities yetwhen it comes to educationinfrastructureisbeing left behind.
A dirt floor in a students’toilet, a two-year wait for playground equipment, excessive use of demountables, overflowing classrooms and a failure to committo build new schools, has left Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison incensed.
Fairfax Media contacted Mrs Aitchison for comment this week, after attempts to learn of any governmentplans for anew school in Maitland failed.
Mrs Aitchison has approachedEducation Minister Rob Stokes about the issuebut has beenrepeatedly given the brush off.She then resorted to searching throughGovernment Information (Public Access) which usually costsaround $30, however the schoolsearch was going to cost$1560.
“I spoke to Infrastructure and Education in December and confirmedthat they had triedto buy land at Gillieston Heights, however the Catholic Church beat them to it,” Mr Aitchison said.“The government’s eye istotally off the ball. Ithasn’tbuilt a new school inMaitland since the election. Thelast new additional school built was by Labor at Ashtonfield in 2007,”she said.
NSW Education’s media unit gave little away about plans forMaitland:“A capital works project is being planned for Rutherford Public School andwill include new permanent classrooms and upgraded core facilities. The design of the new areas will incorporate future-focused learning strategies that support the needs of students and their community, and provide a learning-centric approach to education,” a spokesperson said.
There was no response to our questionabout costing, nor about plans for a new school:“We can’t add anything to the response about future projects, which are usually announced in State budgets.”
Mrs Aitchison saideducation infrastructureis shrouded in secrecy.“Maitland peopleneed to know that planning is underway andsome sort of groundwork is being done. This has hit a political level andstudentsare suffering.”
There was much fanfare last year withnewsRutherford Public School would share in $4.2billion promised to NSW schools for upgrade and redevelopment works.
Last year the Department of Education has projected the Hunter will see the biggest student population growth to 2031 outside of Sydney, equivalent to an increase of 5950 primary school enrolments and 4350 high school enrolments.
The NSW Auditor General’sPlanning for school infrastructurereport said there had been “chronic under-investment in NSW government school infrastructure and deficiencies in asset planning” over the past decade.
“Students are working fromdemountables, some holding class in theircomputer rooms so other students don’t have access to IT facilities,” Mrs Aitchison said.“Justrecentlythe dirt floor in theboys’ toilets at Gillieston School was replacedwhich beggars belief.
“That same schoolonly just had itsplayground reinstated, something they lost in the 2015superstorm.The government needs to have an honest consultation with the community about what they are going to do about schools in Maitland, not leave it to the Catholic system orprivate providers to do it for them.”
Rory Arnold is acutely aware how important it is for the Brumbies to beat Melbourne on Saturday.The Brumbies haven’t given up hope of playing Super Rugby finals but know winning this Saturday’s clash with the Melbourne Rebels is key.
Currently fourth in the n conference, the Brumbies’ finals hopes hang by a thread and a second loss to the Rebels this season will pretty much end any chances of a sixth straight trip to the play-offs.
Brumbies lock Rory Arnold said he team was aware of what was at stake.
“It’s a big game for both teams because we’ve both lost a few on the trot so it’s must win for us,” Arnold said on Tuesday.
“We’ve got a tour to South Africa after this and it’s never easy to win there.”
Arnold said that despite falling to a 21-8 loss against the competition pace-setting Crusaders in their last outing, his team’s performance had given them confidence they could keep their season alive.
The Brumbies had a great start and plenty of chances in the second half but failed to capitalise.
“The Crusaders are top of the log and we stuck it right to them and probably should have won if we managed that last 20 minutes a bit better,” he said.
“We’ve been in games all year and competed with some of the better teams so there’s still belief we can go deep into the competition.”
As well as Super Rugby seasons at stake, players from both teams can make a claim for a Wallabies jersey for next month’s Test series against Ireland with a strong showing at Canberra Stadium.
One position where there’s plenty of heat is second row, with Brumbies locks Arnold, Blake Enever and Sam Carter duelling with Rebels duo Adam Coleman and Matt Philip.
Arnold said it was the perfect stage to show Wallabies coach Michael Cheika what they had to offer.
“There’s battles everywhere and it’s a good chance for players to put their hands up for higher honours,” he said.
Arnold said the team felt fresh coming off the bye and thought he was starting to find some form after a string of injuries.
“It’s good to get some good minutes under my belt so hopefully I can stay injury free and keep building,” he said.
A construction union official accused of blackmailing Boral executives was being helpful when he warned the company of possible industrial action, a court has been told.
The CFMEU’s Victorian secretary John Setka and assistant secretary Shaun Reardon faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday as they fight charges of blackmailing two Boral managers during a meeting in 2013.
It’s alleged the union pair made unwarranted demands of executives Paul Dalton and Peter Head at North Melbourne’s Auction Rooms cafe on April 23, 2013.
At the time the CFMEU was waging an industrial campaign in Melbourne against construction company Grocon, which Boral supplied with concrete.
Mr Dalton made a 35-page statement to police in April 2015 about his interactions with Setka and Reardon.
Counsel for Reardon, Neil Clelland QC, said the statement differs to notes Mr Dalton made shortly after he spoke or met with the union officials.
The court has been told Setka rang Mr Dalton in September 2012 to say industrial action against Grocon might affect Boral.
“He says ‘this is just a heads up that Boral is going to run into some trouble with this Grocon stuff, it’s nothing personal’,” Mr Clelland said.
He said Setka told Mr Dalton that Grocon trucks were being turned around and Boral should avoid using Grocon trucks to transport Boral supplies.
“Far from being a threat, it was actually a helpful communication to you so that if you send Boral badged trucks, they wouldn’t be turned around,” the barrister said.
“I don’t think it was being helpful,” Mr Dalton said.
The executive said he believed Setka was “trying to throw his weight around”.
But Mr Dalton conceded his notes do not characterise his conversation with Setka as being of a threatening nature.
“Instead someone has construed – either you or someone on your behalf – the form of the message, which is not borne out by the notes at all,” Mr Clelland said.
Mr Dalton’s notes are different to the statements he gave to police and a royal commission, Mr Clelland added.
“That’s a very different message and a very different sentiment, might I suggest, from that which you have relayed in both your police statement and your statement to the trade unions royal commission,” Mr Clelland said.
He went on to suggest a barrister acting for Boral had decided to accuse the union of blackmail.
“Was he the creative mind that came up with the idea that you could construe the meeting at Auction Rooms as blackmail?” Mr Clelland asked.
Setka and Reardon were charged in 2015 after an investigation by a joint Victorian and federal police unit following a referral by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.
The hearing continues.
James Packer’s former fiancee, model and reality television star Tziporah Malkah, has pleaded guilty to assaulting her ex-partner during an argument about marijuana and a sick cat.
But Malkah, formerly known as Kate Fischer, will not have a conviction recorded after a South n magistrate took into consideration her good record and early guilty plea.
Malkah, 44, appeared in the Victor Harbor Magistrates Court, south of Adelaide, on Tuesday afternoon to answer to allegations she assaulted her then-partner during an incident in January.
She told reporters outside court she was pleased with the outcome.
“I think I got off fairly,” she said.
“We’ve had a really good outcome today.
“I’d really like to thank you all for coming and for sharing in my joy.”
When asked by a reporter if she had a problem with police, Malkah replied, “I’ve got a problem with you” before getting into a taxi with her lawyer, Michael Kuzilny.
The court heard Malkah was drunk when police were called to the house she shared with Guy Vasey, who she had been in a relationship with for less than a year.
The two had been arguing over marijuana and Malkah had tormented Mr Vasey about his sick cat, threw groceries at him and poured milk over his head.
She then struck the sides of Mr Vasey’s face four to five times in a “cat scratching-like motion” before he left the property to call the police.
When officers arrived, Malkah was loud and abusive, swore and threw herself onto the ground.
She assaulted a policeman as she was lifted into the cage car, and was taken to the station where she continued with “drunken behaviour”.
She was placed in a cell at a different station released after 12 hours in custody.
Malkah pleaded guilty to one count of assault, one count of resisting police, three counts of assaulting a police officer and one count of disorderly behaviour.
Of the three charges relating to assaulting police, Malkah made contact with only one of the officers.
In court, Mr Kuzilny said Malkah was extremely ashamed and embarrassed by the incident, and has since recognised she had an “attitude problem”.
He said she has moved to Sydney, stopped drinking and is working to get her life back on track.
Following the hearing, Mr Kuzilny appeared alongside Malkah and said justice had been done.
“The basic take-home message is good people make mistakes and as long as we learn from them… ,” he said.
Magistrate Brian Nitschke fined Malkah $1200 plus a victims of crime levy and placed her on an 18-month good behaviour bond.
Stress, burnout, fatigue and the working hours of doctors are in the spotlight at a conference.Hospitals have been put on notice about doctor burnout and told the workplace culture has to change.
Stress, burnout, fatigue and the working hours of doctors and medical specialists are in the spotlight at the n and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists’ annual scientific meeting of local and international anaesthetists in Sydney.
According to visiting US Professor Karen Domino, half of all US physicians in nearly 30 medical specialties claim to be “burned out”, while about 60 per cent are considering leaving the profession because of the issue.
The figures would be very similar among n doctors, Professor Domino warned.
Hospital doctors aren’t bullet-proof and workplace culture must change, Professor Domino says.
“Many doctors in hospitals are under extreme stress, seeing patients every five minutes,” she said.
“Hospitals and departments need to think about how they can prevent burnout for their staff and think about how they can change the hospital environment to make it less stressful,” she said.
So concerned about the issue of burnout and the high suicide rates among doctors, ANZCA president David Scott revealed on Tuesday he had launched a review of 10-year-old guidelines on fatigue to ensure anaesthetists had adequate rest and effective breaks between shifts.
Professor Scott says the days of doctors working 72 hours straight have gone and he wants to provide medicos with an evidence-based “toolkit” on how to manage fatigue.
“We need to recognise that healthy doctors provide safer medical care,” Professor Scott said.
“Yes we are putting the hospital system on notice because this is important, this is about safe health delivery and the evidence is out there; the tired, stressed, burnt-out doctors deliver less effective health care and their are more adverse outcomes and patient complaints,” he said.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.