September, 2019

China calling for Hunter student

Expat: Jack Treston is considering studying linguistics at Australian National University when he returns home and working in translation. Picture: Marina NeilWHAT started as an Anna Bay teenager’s curiosity about an upcoming family holiday has turned into the opportunity of a lifetime.
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Jack Treston, 18, is the first Westerner to beinvited to visit the A Rong Qi Number One Middle School in Inner Mongoliaand will stay for a year,helpingstudents improve their conversational skills.

The school has 3000 students –1000 in each of the years 10, 11 and 12 –its own policeman, medical centre, supermarket and gym and is located in a city the size of Newcastle, which is rural by Chinese standards.

The temperature drops to minus 40 degrees in winter and the record is minus 52 degrees.

“I’m a bit nervous and am going to miss my creature comforts –it’s all squat toilets and group showers –as well as my family and friends and the beach,” he said.

“But I’m really excited, it’s going to be amazing.”

Jack bought a Mandarin phrasebook before the family spent a week in China in 2012.

“I only spoke a little bit, but it was exciting to be able to understand another person’s culture through their language, it was quite an experience,” he said.

“I always got looks of surprise when I heard people talking about me and could tell them ‘I understand you’.”

When Jackreturned to Hunter School of the Performing Arts, he became the only person in year 10 to enrol in the subject.

He completed it through The Open High School using online resources, worksheets sent by postand a weekly lesson by phone and received a Higher School Certificate mark in thehigh 80s.

“I like the challenge and I like the fact that I can write it,” he said.

“Learning languages can be hard, but as long as you put the effort into it it’s not as much of a struggle as it might seem to be.

“As long as you have a passion for it, you’ll be able to do well.”

Jack also spent one hour a week with tutor Josie Yan, whogrew up inA Rong Qi and whose cousin is principal of the school.

“I was right on board when she suggested it, I was planning on travelling for a few months anyway,” he said.

“They learn English through spelling and writing, but I will be speaking with them and immersing them in the language.”

Jack will receive accommodation, food and an allowance and ishoping to travel to other parts of China while living in the country.

Call to return ‘true democracy’

ONLINE Direct Democracy wants to reintroduce democracy – true democracy – back into Australia’s political system.
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FREE SOCIETY: Robert Walker says democracy should be by the people, for the people. Photo: Barry Smith 210616BSD21

The party’s New England candidate, Robert Walker, said democracy as it’s meant to be was not practised in the nation today.

“Democracy is for the people, by the people,” he said.

“In a democracy, the government is subordinate to the people. Today, it’s the reverse.”

The party has its own website, PollyWeb, where people can vote on every bill presented to Parliament.

Online Direct Democracy MPs and senators will then vote according to the direction of the online majority.

“We will recommend to our constituents how they should vote, but it’s up to them,” Mr Walker said.

“They can still override that and say no – that’s democracy.”

Electronic voting is a “natural transition” for the nation and Mr Walker said it would be widespread within five years.

“Eventually it will all be electronic voting – it should be in now, the only reason it’s not is because the current system suits the incumbents,” he said.

“It’s what the people want, they can talk to the member and lay down the law. It’s true democracy and I don’t apologise for that.”

Jobs and infrastructure

“HOUSING is the glue of society – you get everyone owning their own home, they’ve got a stake, they’re content, they’re secure.”

Robert Walker said the housing crisis had to be addressed in order for the nation to move forward.

“I was brought up in an era where housing was available to all – now it’s not, and I apologise to the current generation for that. We’ve let them down in the worst sort of way,” he said.

Mr Walker said Australia needed to create a federal government body that constructed more houses in areas suffering a housing shortage.

“Housing is so important to every level of society that it has to be done by one entity that is charged entirely with that and with that alone,” he said.

“It needs to be government-funded but autonomous. It could take five or 10 years, but we need to do it.

“We could cancel a couple of those billion-dollar submarines and use that money to generate housing.”

Mr Walker said the government had to invest in rail, particularly with all the road infrastructure “rotting away”.

“The rest of the world is going for rail. Why are we widening roads for more trucks?” he said.

“Cross another couple of submarines off and you could afford a decent rail system to interconnect all our towns.”

The nation has to value-add in every industry it possibly can.

“Live cattle exports – why wouldn’t you value-add?” Mr Walker said.

“Instead of value-adding to our exports, our mining, our iron, we’ve just sold it and imported back the value-added product. We’ve got to get away from that.

“We’ve got to change that stupid farce that a quick quid’s a good quid.”


DAVID Gonski is the prime mover in getting the nation’s education back on track, Robert Walker says.

“He was hired by the government to decide what we should do to get our people prepared for a global market,” he said.

“He came back with the answers and these morons are thinking about not even implementing it. I don’t know why they would reject a decision that was made by somebody they paid.”

Mr Walker wants to see the government commit to the full Gonski reforms, supporting the needs-based education funding until 2019.

He said many of Australia’s Asian neighbours had a higher standard of education and were ranked better than Australia on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) education index.

“Our education system is leaving us vulnerable,” he said.

Coal mines andrenewable energy

MR WALKER said it was hypocritical of Australia to sell fossil fuels to other nations, while trying to reduce its own emissions.

“I don’t like the idea – we hand it over to these countries that are going to burn it, but we say it’s not our fault because we are not the ones polluting with it,” he said.

The world only has a finite amount of resources and should be moving away from fossil fuels, he says.

Mr Walker said Australia should take a two-pronged approach to renewable energy – start investing in the sector and create renewable technology, such as solar panels and windmills, to export to other nations.

“We’ve got more sunlight in this country than most places in the world,” he said.

“We should have a solar panel-generating scheme in the middle of Australia, the size of Tasmania.

“That would supply the whole of Australia for free, once you take out the cost of building it.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Greens care about mental health

A CHRONIC under investment in the mental health sector by successive governments has failed thousands of Australians and contributes directly to increased suicide rates across the country – particularly in regional areas.
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Currently mental health problems account for 13 per cent of Australia’s recognised disease burden, yet receives less than 9 per cent of all Federal health funding, with more than 80 per cent of this pittance allocated to supporting those with highest needs.

Only the Greens will invest $1.4 billion in Australia’s mental health over the next four years, to not only meet immediate needs but also with a plan to reduce the need for high intensity services into the future.

The new Primary Health Networks must play a role in advocating for and facilitating linkages between providers in the social services sector at a local level, in program development and policy and so the Greens would provide an extra $400 million to the flexible mental health funding pool.

It is estimated that 45 per cent of Australians will experience mental illness over their lifetime, yet the stigma remains and often drug and alcohol use is related to further isolate and compound issues.

An extra $800 million needs to be dedicated to drug and alcohol support services, $40 million for innovative harm reduction initiatives aimed at better informing choices and providing links to peer-based and other health services.

On top of this a $40 million anti-stigma strategy will challenge misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the lived experience, especially in relation to at risk groups, including ATSI, LGBTI as well as culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

Lifeline reports that currently seven Australians die every day from suicide, yet there is no target for reducing this horrendous statistic.

The Greens’ plan sets $38.3 million aside for a National Suicide Campaign, aimed at engaging and educating communities about the complexity of suicide and addressing the stigma.

Finally, the Greens would invest $150 million over three years to establish an overarching supervisory body for mental illness research in Australia which would co-ordinate the development of innovative clinical treatments and provide expert advice to government.

Jane MacAllister,

Gol Gol

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Joshua’s kicking many goals

JOSHUA Rumsby’s passion for his local football club was recognised on Wednesday.
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GREAT HELP: Newcastle Permanent’s Muswellbrook-Scone branch manager Vanessa Muddiman, Scone Mustangs Football Club’s Joshua Rumsby and Hunter Valley Football operations manager Sarah White at the Bill Rose Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) announced the born and bred local as Hunter Valley Football’s Newcastle Permanent Volunteer of the Month for May.

Rumsby was nominated by the Scone Mustangs Football Club for his ongoing commitment and dedication to the code over so many years of service.

And, he was overwhelmed to receive a volunteer jacket and bag, courtesy of Newcastle Permanent, at the Bill Rose Sports Complex to help him continue his valuable role at the club.

“I’m shocked,” he admitted.

“And, very humbled to be selected – you don’t do it for the recognition.”

Rumsby, who coaches the under-8s to under-10s, is determined to lead the Mustangs into the future.

“I love the club – it’s family-orientated,” he said.

“My wife, Heidi, looks after the canteen and undertakes a number of other roles.

“And, two of our boys, Logan, 8, and Cooper, 5, play for the Mustangs.

“We don’t want to see the club fold; that’s why we’re all involved.”

NNSWF community football manager Peter Haynes praised Rumsby for his contribution.

“Joshua has shown true dedication to the Scone Mustangs Football Club for a significant period of time and the Newcastle Permanent Volunteer of the Month Award is well-deserved,” he said.

“The commitment that he demonstrates goes a long way to ensuring the club is a great place to play football and highlights how valuable he is to the organisation.”

Newcastle Permanent’s Muswellbrook-Scone branch manager Vanessa Muddiman congratulated Rumsby on becoming the recipient of the Newcastle Permanent Volunteer of the Month Award.

“We are delighted a local volunteer has received this honour – and been recognised across Northern NSW for the incredible commitment they make to community football,” she said.

Newcastle Permanent’s Muswellbrook-Scone branch manager Vanessa Muddiman and Scone Mustangs Football Club’s Joshua Rumsby

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Our protectors need protecting from Labor

If the CFA is to continue to protect us, it needs our support now.
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Leader of the Opposition Matthew Guy with Member for Mildura Peter Crisp.

Daniel Andrews says he values the CFA and the 60,000 Victorians who risk their lives as volunteer firefighters, but his actions don’t match his words.

Mr Andrews wrote in this newspaper last week about the “lies” surrounding the CFA dispute. He claimed “the role of volunteer firefighters in this state is sacrosanct. At no stage has our government questioned it or jeopardised it.”

He says there is no problem with seven paid firefighters having to be sent to supervise CFA volunteers before they can attend a fire.

But independent experts don’t agree.

The former CFA chairman John Peberdy said on radio last week this demand was concerning and that this deal means “career firefighters only report to career firefighters. They don’t report to volunteers.”

Mr Andrews also claims the United Firefighters Union’s veto powers over the CFA under this deal are a “lie”.

Yet Mr Peberdy says there are in fact some 50 different provisions in this deal which give the UFU the power to veto decisions made by the CFA.

Daniel Andrews has bullied out his female Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett, he’s bullied out the female CEO of the CFA Lucinda Nolan, he’s bullied out the CFA board and now he is trying to bully 60,000 volunteers out of the CFA.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has told him his deal discriminates against women, his Government’s own Senior Crown Counsel has said his deal is illegal and the CFA board and chief executive have all tried to tell him that his deal will hurt volunteers.

But Daniel Andrews isn’t interested in hearing independent advice, he’s only listening to the United Firefighters Union, which is hell-bent on taking over and cannibalising the CFA.

Matthew Guy,

Leader of the Opposition

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