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Broadband network scrutiny

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The Greens say they’ll carefully consider any proposal that might inject greater accountability into the national broadband network process.Opposition communications spokesman Nick Minchin has introduced a private members bill that would require Infrastructure Australia to assess Labor’s $43 billion broadband plan. Senator Minchin said the bill was in direct response to the “continued lack of transparency and hypocrisy of the Rudd Government in relation to its single biggest infrastructure announcement”.
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Classes learning clean lesson

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James Dwyer, 12, and Liam Dean, 6, wash their hands at St Thomas More’s Primary School, Newstead. Picture: GEOFF ROBSONA LOT of little hands were cleaner than usual at St Thomas More’s Primary School, Newstead, yesterday. Children at the school are being allowed extra time to wash their hands to try to ward off swine flu. Acting principal Carol Seagar said one child was home with suspected swine flu and parents have been asked to keep children with flu-like symptoms at home for five days. Mrs Seagar said morning assembly was the perfect venue to raise the issue of swine flu cleanliness. “We talked to them about washing their hands more regularly and covering their mouths when they cough,” Mrs Seagar said.
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Swine flu: 800 children are kept home from school

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SWINE flu concerns kept up to 800 children out of Tasmania’s 207 primary and secondary schools yesterday as the number of cases in Tasmania rose to 32. Corporate Services deputy secretary Greg Glass said absenteeism during winter for state schools usually ran about 7 per cent. Yesterday, the number statewide was in the hundreds or up to 10 per cent, he said. The strong level of co- operation from parents and teachers would help keep swine flu out of schools, he said. Only a handful of children had to be sent home from school on the first day of term two yesterday. “Most parents have done the right thing and kept kids (with flu symptoms) at home,” Mr Glass said. Meanwhile, the number of active cases in Tasmania rose by six overnight, with one new case in the North and five in the North-West. It brings the total number of people in the State who have contracted swine flu to 32 – with 22 people still infected. The mild nature of the virus would determine whether Tasmanian schools would be closed if swine flu escalated, acting Public Health Director Chrissie Pickin said. Interstate, one case is enough to close a school. “This is a mild illness for most – we don’t take the decision to close a school lightly,” Dr Pickin said. Dr Pickin said a child care centre worker in the North- West did not have swine flu. The spike in new cases on Sunday and yesterday was expected, she said. “We have been preparing for this. We expect the numbers to rise significantly over the next few weeks,” she said. Keeping the infection out of schools might lead to new infections being stabilised at seven to 10 a day. “If it gets into schools we anticipate that it may increase very quickly,” she said. “We now have to identify the small percentage of people who may be at greatest risk – pregnant women, the over-65s and under two years.”FACT FILE Active cases of swine flu: North-West 18. North 8. South 5. Interstate 1.
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Jack Johnston seeks permanent stay ofproceedings

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Jack JohnstonLAWYERS for suspended Tasmania Police Commissioner Jack Johnston have sought a permanent stay of proceedings in the criminal case against him. Mr Johnston, who is charged with two counts of disclosing official secrets, appeared in the Supreme Court in Hobart yesterday. Details of the substance of Mr Johnston’s application for a permanent stay cannot be published for legal reasons, with Justice Alan Blow yesterday warning the media to tread carefully in what they reported. The Crown sought to have the matter return to court late next month, but one of Mr Johnston’s lawyers, Peter Tree, SC, urged Justice Blow to ensure the arguments over a permanent stay were heard sooner. “This is a matter of public importance,” Mr Tree told the court. “There is no need for any additional delay for what is a technical argument. “My instructions are to press for the earliest resolution of the matter.” Crown prosecutor Daryl Coates, SC, said he was “astounded” by the push for an earlier hearing date, given that the Crown had earlier indicated that a trial was likely to start during the next set of court sittings, beginning on July 20. If Mr Johnston’s application for a permanent stay is successful, the charges against him would not proceed any further. The Crown alleges that on two occasions in April last year, Mr Johnston passed on confidential information to then-premier Paul Lennon and police minister Jim Cox regarding an ongoing police investigation involving Government MPs. It is alleged that Mr Johnston told Mr Lennon that police were investigating allegations from a staffer to then-deputy premier Steve Kons involving impropriety in the appointment of the Solicitor-General. The matter is due to return to court for a directions hearing on July 1.
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Busy schedule marks GP McGinity’s return to work

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Paul McGinity on the phone during his first day back at work in his Scottsdale surgery yesterday. Picture: PETER SANDERSFOLLOWING a three- month dispute with the Medical Council of Tasmania, Scottsdale doctor Paul McGinity started his day at 8am yesterday treating 12 patients at his Bridport surgery. The doctor, who was suspended by the Medical Council of Tasmania on March 27 and again on May 18 said he was greeted by flowers and balloons at the practice. “It was marvellous, really, very nice. There were balloons and flowers,” Dr McGinity said. His day continued at Scottsdale and finished with early evening surgery at Derby. Dr McGinity said he hoped he would be busy. The dispute involved the doctor’s successful appeal against his March 27 suspension on a legal technicality followed three days later by his re-suspension with an extra 11 complaints by the Department of Health and Human Services and eight anonymous complaints. Under conditions negotiated with the council, Dr McGinity can work 60 hours a week from 8am to 8pm at his rooms at Derby, Bridport and Scottsdale. At Scottsdale he must work with a locum alongside. The return to work was successful, Dr McGinity said. “When you do something every day you have a routine. When you have been away for three months you have to pick up the reins,” he said. Strong community support for his right to continue practising medicine in the North- East will continue, campaigner Yasmin Rawnsley said. “The community is feeling great that he is back for the moment,” Mrs Rawnsley said.
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Costello to retire at next federal election

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(2/2)CANBERRA – Former treasurer Peter Costello has answered one of the lingering questions in Australian politics, announcing he’ll retire at the next federal election. Mr Costello revealed his intentions on his website yesterday, shortly after informing his leader, Malcolm Turnbull, and his electorate committee in his eastern Melbourne seat of Higgins. He will not seek to stand again in Higgins, the nominations for which close at the end of this month ahead of the next election, due in 18 months. Both Mr Turnbull and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd paid tribute to Mr Costello in Parliament. After almost 20 years in politics, nearly 12 of them as the nation’s longest-serving federal treasurer in successive Liberal governments, Mr Costello said it had been an honour and a privilege to serve in a period representing “the best years of my life”. The decision puts an end to the almost constant speculation, since he declined the leadership after the 2007 election loss, that he would eventually challenge. A beaming Mr Turnbull told the Parliament that it was a “momentous day” in its history. “Peter Costello for all his years in Parliament has stood on the side of freedom and enterprise,” Mr Turnbull said. “He has served our nation well. We salute him and thank him for service.” Mr Rudd said that as treasurer, Mr Costello had played a significant role in the formation of the G20 finance ministers’ group and in dealing with the fallout of the Asian financial crisis. “They were correct decisions in the national interest,” Mr Rudd said. “On behalf of his confreres and great mates in the Australian Labor Party, we wish him well, we wish his family well, in what has been quite an extraordinary career in Australian public life.”
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Detention for young opposed

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CANBERRA – Putting young offenders behind bars is not an effective way to cut crime rates, a community welfare group says. Programs designed to prevent them from reoffending have better results and are cheaper to run, Mission Australia says. The group wants governments to cut the number of young people in detention and boost rehabilitation programs. Spokeswoman Anne Hampshire said: “Diversionary programs are so- called because they work with young people as soon as possible in order to detect signs of problem behaviour … they divert people from entering, or re-entering, the juvenile justice system.”
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WAGs queen

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Jessica BratichSYDNEY – Jessica Bratich has emerged as the new queen of the WAGs, taking the crown from long- standing favourite Lara Bingle.Ms Bratich, who is engaged to fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, has been voted the hottest of cricket’s WAGs (wives and girlfriends) in an online poll by Ralph magazine.
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RADIO FREQUENCIES

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AM
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7SD-540 7BU-558 7AD……900

TOTE SPORT RADIO……1008

7LA …………………………….1098

FM

ABC NORTH…………………91.7

(Bicheno 89.7; Binalong Bay 97.3 (St Helens AM 1584); Coles Bay 106.1; Devonport 100.5; Falmouth/St Marys 102.7; Latrobe/Mole Creek 100.5; Penguin 102.5; Pyengana 97.3; Swansea 106.1; Ulverstone 102.5 ABC NEWSRADIO…………92.5

CLASSIC FM…………………93.3

COAST FM…………………………. (Table Cape 106.1; Circular Head 88.9; Devonport 104.7)

TRIPLE J………………………90.9

RADIO NATIONAL…………94.1

CITYPARK…………………..103.7

RPH…………………………. 106.9

TAMAR FM……………………95.3

SEA FM D’PORT………. 107.7

SEA FM-BURNIE…………101.7

SEA FM SCOTTSDALE….99.7

SEA FM ST HELENS…….94.5

WAYFM………..105.3 and 98.1

HEART FM……………………95.7

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32 Tasmanians now infected with swine flu

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THIRTY-TWO Tasmanians have been infected by the Human Swine Flu virus as the number of confirmed cases in the state continues to rise.Acting director of Public Health Chrissie Pickin said in a media statement that another six cases of swine flu have been confirmed overnight, one in the North and five in the North West.”The statewide cumulative total now stands at 32, however 22 of those are considered active cases and remain in home isolation,” Dr Pickin said.Of the 32, 18 are in the North-West, eight in the North and five in the South.A North-West child carer has been cleared of swine flu but there are currently seven probable cases.”The gradual increase in cases is not unexpected, especially with families returning from Victoria after the school holidays.”Acting chief health officer David Boadle said case numbers presenting at Flu Clinics are continuing to fluctuate both day to day and across the State.”Around 100 people presented at clinics yesterday, including 48 in the South 34 at Hobart,” Dr Boadle said.”We have 50 people including doctors and nurses staffing clinics across the State each day.”They are supported by another 50 staff in mobile flu teams responding to cases at home.”Dr Boadle said the situation was being constantly monitored and additional staff called in as required.”While we apologise for any inconvenience, it is important that Tasmanians understand that delays will be unavoidable as the outbreak progresses.”People don’t have to book, they simply turn up.”Dr Pickin said the gradual increase in swine flu cases was not unexpected, especially with families returning from Victoria after the school holidays.”It is likely we will see further increases as the week progresses. “Our key messages for members of the public is to remain vigilant and to take responsibility for ensuring they follow proper hygiene and cough etiquette.”She said staying well is everyone’s responsibility and Tasmanians needed to take some simple steps to contain the spread of this new virus.These include:1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or use alcohol-based hand rub straight after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose (before touching anything else) and before touching your eyes, nose, mouth, or anything that goes in your mouth.2. Always carry tissues, and cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue (rather than your hands).3. Throw used tissues away into suitable containers and perform hand hygiene immediately afterwards.4. Stand back from other people whenever possible keeping a distance of at least 1 metre reduces spread of disease.5. Stay at home if you are sick, and minimise contact with other people.6. Keep alert for further advice from the Department of Health and Human Services, and follow it closely.
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