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NBN rollout rolls on slowly

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 30 Maret 2013 | 19.55

THE rollout of the National Broadband Network has passed fewer than 2000 Tasmanian homes in the past nine months but the company behind the project says it is on track.

Last week NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley warned the rollout was behind schedule on a national basis.

However, a spokeswoman for NBN Co said the company was on its original schedule to rollout fibre past 200,000 homes by the end of 2015.

In June 2012 fibre had passed 12,800 homes in Sorell, Scottsdale, Smithton, George Town, St Helens, Triabunna and Kingston Beach.

By March 2013 the figure has increased to 14,700 homes with the inclusion of South Hobart and areas in Launceston.

Visionstream Australia has been awarded a $300 million contract to replace copper telephone lines with the high-speed fibre optic broadband network in Tasmania.

Visionstream expects to employ 800 people at the height of the rollout.

An NBN spokeswoman was unable to supply current figures on the uptake in Tasmania. Last June it comprised 700 people using fibre and 530 using fixed wireless broadband.

Last week Mr Quigley announced a 44 per cent reduction in the forecast number of homes NBN Co plans to pass by June 30 -- 151,000 fewer than it forecast last October.

"At the end of December 2012 construction had commenced on the rollout to a further 68,000 premises in Tasmania," the spokeswoman said.

"Construction is scheduled to start on a further 73,400 more premises by the end of this calendar year."

Digital Tasmania spokesman Andrew Connor said many people had not changed over to NBN fibre yet because of commitments to their current provider.

"The main reasons are that businesses are being told they can't use it, there have been bad install experiences of friends and a lack of awareness," he said.

"It would help the NBN Co case if they could communicate more specific delivery dates for each area and to say why any specific area is being delayed.

"There are factors such as the number of pits, length of pipes to replace, asbestos removal works and other complications affecting the rollout."

Mr Connor said that anyone who wanted a fixed-line service in future would have to use the NBN because copper wires were being cut off at the end of 2015.

eThe federal Coalition has a plan to roll out fibre to the node -- a roadside cabinet -- rather than to homes.

nicholas.clark@news.com.au


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Sale lifts hopes of staff pay

The lifestyle village at Geilston Bay has been bought by a new company. Pictures: LUKE BOWDEN

A LIFESTYLE village at Geilston Bay owned by Tony Park, the director of a series of collapsed building companies, has been sold.

A new company, Clarence Lifestyle Village Pty Ltd, bought the village on Tuesday for an undisclosed sum from one of the collapsed firms, Park Land Developments.

Mr Park yesterday said the sale was good news for former staff owed entitlements such as holiday and termination pay.

The former staff could not get access to the Federal Government's Fair Entitlements Guarantee because their employer, Cosy Cabins, was separate and not in liquidation.

"I have been working to get the best deal for the blokes but have not had any funds to appoint a liquidator," he said.

"This sale ... will give me the funds to liquidate and give them access to [the] guarantee."

Mr Park's companies, Mornington Park Homes, Park Land Developments and Cosy Cabins Australia Marketing, were placed in receivership in February and March.

News of the sale offered hope for Alan and Carol Bannister, who are coming to terms with losing their jobs and home.

They have spent this week packing up, ready to move back to Dover.

Mr Bannister, who had been the company purchasing officer, was paid for the five years he was with the group by Cosy Cabins but, because that company is not in liquidation, was not eligible under the entitlements guarantee. He said he had also not been paid for his last week of work. Mrs Bannister was manager at the lifestyle village at Geilston Bay.

"The new owners said they could not offer me work and we have had to move out of the manager's house as a result," Mrs Bannister said. "It was a whole new life and our home as well and we looked forward to retiring and growing old with all the residents."

Another former employee said he felt hung out to dry by Mr Park, who had professed concern for workers at the time of the collapse.

"For him to say that his main concern was us -- his employees and our entitlements -- is an insult," he said.

"Each day brings another challenge to put food on the table and pay bills."

Another former staffer said his superannuation funds were not up to date. Staff who asked about super during the year had been told "we will fix it up".

The directors of Clarence Lifestyle Village are former staffer Craig Swan and investor Joshua Muskett.

Receivers McGrathNicol were appointed by National Australia Bank, owed $2.2 million by the companies.

nicholas.clark@news.com.au


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Historic hotel for sale

Hadleys Hotel, built by convicts in 1848, has been put on the market by receivers.

ONE of Hobart's grandest hotels has been put on the market by receivers and managers.

The Mercure Hadleys Hobart Hotel and Grand Mercure Hobart Central Apartments had been operated on a business-as-usual basis by chartered accountants Korda Mentha since January last year.

The sale covers a $30 million development of 125 brand new serviced apartments, conference facilities, restaurant and cafe in Inner Collins St as well as the 71-room boutique hotel.

Agents Jones Lang LasSalle have called for expressions of interest by April 15.

Hadleys Pty Ltd, which has been operated by the Doherty family, was placed in receivership last year owing BankWest $60.45 million.

The Doherty family operated a number of hotels around Tasmania, including Tidal Waters at St Helens as well as the Campbell Town and Ross hotels and once owned what is now the Grand Chancellor hotel in Launceston.

Last year the National Australia Bank appointed Ferrier Hodgson as receiver of the St Helens resort known as Tidal Waters. A report to the Australian Securities and Investments commission said Tidal Waters Pty Ltd owed the NAB $4.9 million.

KordaMentha was appointed to seven companies on behalf of secured creditors.

The creditors included Vos Constructions, which built the Inner Collins St apartments.

The sale follows the recent sale of the Macquarie Inn for $13.65 million by CBRE Hotels on behalf of Korda Mentha.

The Penny Royal hotel in Launceston is also being sold on behalf of the receivers of Bluechip Properties Australia Pty Ltd.

Hadleys Hotel was built by convicts in 1848.

Its first owner was former convict John Webb, who was transported to the colony for house-breaking.

After Webb died in 1881, the new licensees, John and Mary Hadley, changed the name to Hadley's Orient Hotel and the Hadley family operated it for 55 years.

The Doherty family bought Hadleys in 1999.


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Help sought in assault inquiry

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 29 Maret 2013 | 19.55

POLICE investigating a serious assault on a woman on the Hobart waterfront have appealed for public help.

Hobart CIB detectives today released images of two men who may be able to assist with inquiries into the attack, which happened between the Observatory Bar and Princes Wharf about 2am on February 11, 2013.

They were seen leaving the bar on the morning of the incident on the regatta day long weekend.

Both men are described as being in their early to mid 20s, of medium build and about 175cm tall.

The first man was wearing a white shirt with a loosely fitted black tie and dark trousers.

The second man had very short hair was wearing a blue shirt and cream trousers.

Anyone with information which may help identify the men is urged to contact Hobart CIB on 62302603 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.


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Hobart driver blows 0.253

A HOBART driver is still sobering up after being caught more than four times over the legal blood-alcohol limit by police.

Police say they are dismayed by the number of drink drivers already hitting the roads this Easter long weekend.

The 29-year-old was pulled over for a breath test in Sandy Bay at 3.30am today and blew 0.253 -- close to what medical experts consider the deadly range.

"When breathalysed, he was so drunk and violent he ripped the print-out from the breathalyser instrument and had to be restrained by police," Inspector Darren Hopkins said.

"He is still in the cells until he sobers up and will be served a 12-month immediate disqualification notice, along with other penalties."

Another incident in Hobart last night involved police being called to a four-vehicle smash on Huon Road in South Hobart.

The driver, travelling south towards Hobart, hit three parked cars. All were damaged beyond repair.

Drugs and alcohol are alleged to have been behind the crash, which left the female driver trapped.

"She was extracted by Tasmania Fire Service and transported by ambulance to the Royal Hobart Hospital Emergency with suspected spinal injuries," Insp Hopkins said.

The woman is expected to be charged with driving under the influence.

With police management undoubtedly keen to ensure recent budget cuts and a drop in police numbers are not blamed for a bad Easter long weekend on the state's roads, traffic police have already completed 10,555  breath tests compared with 5393 last year.

"Unfortunately this has resulted in twice the number drink drivers detected," Insp Hopkins said.

With Good Friday statistically the most dangerous day on the roads, police are bracing themselves for further crashes while hoping for another zero Easter road toll -- as was achieved in 2012.

"Wear a seatbelt, drive to the conditions and don't speed, don't drink or drug drive and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue, because that too can contribute to inattention, which does cause crashes," Insp Hopkins said.


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Easter egg-travaganza

THE egg-citement was palpable today as the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens threw open its gates for the inaugural Easter Egg Hunt and Family Picnic Day.

Tens of thousands of chocolate eggs were scattered about for children to collect, eliciting squeals of delight.

The Easter bunny also arrived to deliver even more delicious supplies.

"It is just a fantastic event. The kids are having a wonderful time and we would love to come back next year," said Hobart mother-of-four Amity Peart.

"I can really see this becoming a family tradition for us."

The hunt was held to raise funds to support local health and medical research and is intended to become a major fundraising activity for the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation.

Children paid an entry fee of $7.50, with adults charged $15.

A similar event held in Victoria has raised more than $800,000 over the years for the Royal Children's Hospital.

Cadbury donated more than 100,000 Easter Eggs and 2500 bunny ears for the RTBG event.

Organisers hope with the company's ongoing support they can reach a similar level of success to the Victorian event.


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From Glenorchy to Paris

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 28 Maret 2013 | 19.55

Cloths made from the bark of mulberry trees in the South Pacific surround a sarcophagus in the Theatre of the World exhibition. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

THEATRE of the World, the hit exhibition by MONA and the TMAG, is travelling in Paris.

Hundreds of works from the show are going on display at a private gallery called La Maison Rouge in October.

It is the first time an exhibition from Australia is being mounted at the experimental gallery, which MONA senior curator Nicole Durling describes as the MONA of Europe.

"Eighty per cent of the exhibition will travel to Paris," she said. "It is a vast undertaking."

Premier Lara Giddings said the Paris show was "a huge coup" for the two Tasmanian museums.

TMAG director Bill Bleathman said exhibits such as the 70 precious examples of tapa cloth from the South Pacific would capture attention anywhere in the world.

Theatre of the World, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin, is the largest collaboration between a private and public museum in Australia.

It closes at MONA on April 8.


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New-found fame for Godfrey

THE death-defying tale of a Tasmanian horse rescued from a watery hole has captured the heart of the nation.

Erica and David Norgrove, the owners of 20-year-old retired harness racing horse Flying Godfrey, today said he has bounced back from his recent ordeal but still needed a good bath.

The Mercury revealed his amazing tale of survival today and has since fielded calls from across Australia.

He was stuck in the 4m-deep pit -- most likely a long-forgotten well -- for about five hours on the couple's property in Tasmania's Southern Midlands.

Incredibly, Godfrey has no injuries to show for his underground adventure but he did emerge caked in mud.

The rescue, Mrs Norgrove said, would not have been possible without the help of neighbours John, Maria and Anthony Weeding and friend Isabel Marshal.

"We are so grateful to the Weeding family. Without them, Godfrey would not be alive," she said.

"Since the time we lifted Godfrey out of the hole, he hasn't looked back.

"Once out of the hole we rolled him into a sit position. He sat for about five minutes before he decided to stand up.

"He was a little wobbly, but Godfrey stood up of his own accord. He is a fighter."

If he had fallen head rather than rear first, Mrs Norgrove said, he certainly would not have survived.

He was quickly wrapped in rugs to warm up because he was shivering.

"We still have the rugs on and he is muddy still because we didn't want to stress any further by washing him," she said.

"I have a beautiful new rug for him when he is ready."

The Norgroves moved to their property Eldergrove about three years ago, with the view of restoring the stately home built in the mid-1840s.

"We knew of two wells on the property, which are fenced and/or covered for safety," Mrs Norgrove said.

The one Godfrey fell, however, was an unknown quantity.

"I have spoken to two of the previous owners since and neither of them knew of its existence," she said.

"This well must have been covered over and has not been seen for more than 100 years."

In his heyday, Flying Godfrey didn't exactly set the track on fire.

He had five starts between 1995 and 1997 and most harness-racing participants probably wouldn't even remember him.

He finished his racing career with four lasts and one second last.

But his latest venture may well ensure that his name is never forgotten.

For the time being, he seems almost as popular as Black Caviar.


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Treasury head steps down

THE head of Tasmania's Treasury department will step down from the role after handing down the May Budget.

Martin Wallace has told Premier Lara Giddings he believes personal circumstances mean he can no longer devote the time and energy necessary to fulfil the role of Treasury secretary.

He will continue in his part-time position as chair of the Government's Electricity Reform Oversight Committee until the major elements of the reform have been implemented.

"I have reluctantly accepted Mr Wallace's resignation, which will take effect from July 5," Ms Giddings said today.

"Mr Wallace has held the Treasury secretary's position since November 2010 through what has been a particularly challenging time.

"I wish to thank him for his untiring efforts and the way he has dealt with difficult issues, progressed important reforms and contributed in no small part to bringing the Tasmanian Budget back under control following the … Global Financial Crisis.

Mr Wallace has enjoyed a notable career in the public sector, including senior roles in Treasury, Health and Aurora Energy.

Tony Ferrall, the deputy secretary of Budget and Finance, will be acting secretary of Treasury until the position is filled permanently.


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Faulkner toast of Tigers

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 27 Maret 2013 | 19.55

James Faulkner, left, and George Bailey kicking back at the Telegraph Hotel today. Pictures: RICHARD JUPE

TASMANIAN Tigers allrounder James Faulkner would be over the moon if he was selected for the Ashes Tour in July.

Named Man of the Match yesterday in Tasmania's Sheffield Shield victory over Queensland -- the side that trounced Tasmania at the Gabba in last year's final -- 22-year-old Faulkner was happy to be celebrating with his teammates today and not thinking about Test selection.

"That's ages away but if I got a spot I'd be rapt," Faulkner said.

"Any opportunity to represent your country is an honour.

"I was lucky enough to do that this summer in one-day cricket and T20, and it was a big thrill.

"I've got a lot of cricket to play before that and we'll see what happens."

Faulkner and Tigers teammate Ricky Ponting, together with Tasmania's Australian Test wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, will be on their way to India this weekend to play in the IPL.

That could not have been further from Faulkner's mind today as the Tigers adopted gangster's theme -- apart from skipper George Bailey, who looked like David Attenborough.

The team partied at their Blundstone Arena headquarters until the early hours of this morning.

After a few hours' sleep, they met for breakfast at Hobart's Customs House Hotel and had lunch at the Telegraph.


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Drug crop goes to pot

A MAN'S botched attempt to grow cannabis to help pay off his debts has led to a conviction for drug offences

Rudolph Stichter, 23, pleaded guilty to cultivating a controlled plant for sale, two charges of possessing a controlled plant product, one charge of possessing a thing used for the administration of a controlled drug and using a controlled plant product.

Supreme Court Justice David Porter said police found five cannabis plants -- one growing hydroponically inside a wardrobe and four in an outside garden -- during a search of Stichter's home in May last year.

Elsewhere in the house were small quantities of cannabis, cannabis seeds and two smoking devices.

Stichter told police he was growing the drug to help pay off $30,000 in debts but the attempt had been a complete failure.

The Burnie court heard three of the plants were dead and one in the garden had only thrived without Stichter's help.

The judge ordered he carry out 55 hours of community service.


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Cop on rape, assault charges

A HOBART policeman charged with multiple sex offences has appeared in court.

The 49-year-old constable, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested today and charged with rape, attempted rape, aggravated sexual assault, indecent assault and five counts of assault.

The offences are alleged to have happened in the same Hobart suburb between October 20 and November 11 last year.

After a short hearing in the Hobart Magistrates Court this afternoon, Magistrate Catherine Reinberger bailed the officer to reappear in the same court on May 2.

Tasmania Police said the officer was off duty at the time of the alleged offences.

He has been suspended from duty on full pay.

Deputy Commissioner Scott Tilyard said Tasmania Police would make no comment on the charges because the case was before the court.


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Tigers take Shield title

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 26 Maret 2013 | 19.55

TASMANIA could not secure victory on the final day but it mattered little as the Tigers picked up their third Sheffield Shield title.

After setting Queensland 446 to win off 87 overs, the Tigers reduced the Bulls to 3-36.

But from here the visitors decided a win was not realistic and completely shut up shop. The game finished in a draw an hour early, with Queensland 6-183.

The Tigers were in with a slight chance of victory after dismissing Joe Burns (32) in the final over before tea.

With 17.4 overs remaining, Ben Hilfenhaus trapped Nathan Reardon leg before and with 59 balls to go Butterworth did likewise to James Hopes.

But on a docile pitch Tasmania could not extract enough life to run through the Queensland batting.

Despite the draw, Tasmania dominated the match and ended coach Tim Coyle's career fittingly with his and the state's third Shield title.

The Tigers greatest ever batsman Ricky Ponting picked up his first domestic title – the only honour missing from his long list of achievements.

Ponting, 38, is yet to decide whether to play on next season but has hinted he may be back.

Hilfenhaus and Luke Butterworth each took a brace of wickets, while James Faulkner and Evan Gulbis chipped in with one each for Tasmania.

Nathan Reardon was the mainstay for Queensland, surviving 149 balls to make 51, with Chris Hartley (23 off 96 ) and Michael Neser (18 off 27) the not-out batsmen.

Read the full coverage from Brett Stubbs and Adam Smith in tomorrow's Mercury.


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Masked pair robs Foodstore

POLICE are searching for two masked offenders who robbed The Foodstore in Lenah Valley.

Detective Sergeant Greg Rogers said the pair parked outside the Augusta Rd shop in a older model cream Volvo sedan -- stolen earlier from Poets Rd in West Hobart -- about 7.30am today.

They then entered the store and demanded money.

"They have forcibly removed a cash register from the service counter," police said in a statement.

"The offenders have then fled back to the vehicle with the cash register and were last seen heading down Giblin St in a northerly direction."

A pair of scissors believed to belong to the pair was found at the scene.

Police recovered the Volvo a short time later in Cheviot Rd, West Moonah.

Both offenders are described as being of light-to-medium build and between 160 and 175cm tall.

They had Australian accents, were wearing dark clothing and had balaclava-type masks covering their heads.

Anyone with information is urged to call Hobart CIB on 6230 2603 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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'Photog' guilty of sex attack

A SYDNEY man who claimed to be a professional photographer has been found guilty of sexually assaulting an aspiring model he met over the internet.

Anthony Douglas Glass, 23, of Bardwell Park, showed no emotion late today when a Supreme Court jury returned guilty verdicts on two counts of aggravated sexual assault and indecent assault over an incident in a Hobart hotel room in September 2011.

The jury returned not guilty verdicts on charges of involving a person under the age of 18 in the production of child exploitation material and producing child exploitation material. 

The trial was told the 17-year-old girl created a profile on the Model Mayhem website.

Glass contacted her to arrange a modelling session including lingerie and nude photographs.

On September 20, 2011, the young woman met Glass at the St Ives Hotel at Battery Point and went to his room.

He produced a small pocket camera, explaining he had broken the lens on his larger camera.

The young woman posed for photographs clothed and nude -- alone and with Glass -- during which he indecently assaulted her.

He suggested they take a break and asked the girl if she wanted to "fool around", at one point offering her $100.

She replied: "I'm a model, not a whore."

As the pair sat next to each other on the bed, Glass grabbed the girl, tried to kiss her and twice sexually assaulted her

She later texted her boyfriend to pick her up and reported the attack to police that same day.

Glass admitted having sexual contact with the girl but said it was consensual.

Justice Peter Evans will sentence Glass tomorrow.

david.killick@news.com.au


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More pain for bus travellers

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 25 Maret 2013 | 19.55

METRO bus drivers will hold three stop-work meetings next week, causing major disruption to peak hour services.

Drivers plan to meet from 7.30 to 8.30am and 2pm to 3pm on Wednesday and again between 7.45am and 8.45am on Thursday.

The meetings will affect services in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

Metro chief executive officer Heather Haselgrove said each meeting would disrupt services for up to three hours because of the time it takes for drivers to get to and from the meetings.

"The stop-work meetings on Wednesday will be particularly disruptive as they will affect peak-hour services in the morning and school bus services in the afternoon," Ms Haselgrove said.

The stop-work meetings follow the mail out of the revised enterprise agreement and wage offer to drivers today.

The offer includes an increase in the pay offer to 2.1 per cent with proposed offsets for opening urban satellite yards and extending a limited number of drivers' duties to 5 hours 30 minutes with two 15-minute breaks.


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DPP hurt in fatal crash

A cameraman at the scene of Sunday's fatal head-on crash on the Midland Highway, south of Oatlands. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

A VEHICLE being driven by Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis, SC, was on the wrong side of double white lines when his car collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle on the Midland Highway near Oatlands yesterday, police said.

A 27-year-old West Launceston woman died in the crash.

Mr Ellis, 57, is expected to be moved from intensive care today after being involved in the fatal crash at Lovely Banks south of Oatlands at 6.15pm on Sunday.

The DPP and his wife, Guardianship Board president Anita Smith, 44, both of Mt Stuart, were hospitalised for injuries they received in the crash.

A Royal Hobart Hospital spokeswoman confirmed Mr Ellis had suffered a broken leg in the crash and his wife a broken collarbone.

Ms Smith is expected to be discharged from hospital today.

The crash occurred on a stretch of highway where there are two northbound lanes and one southbound lane separated by double continuous white lines.

In a statement, police said Mr Ellis's blue 2011 Mercedes sedan was on the wrong side of the road when the Mercedes and a white Toyota hatchback collided.

"The impact has resulted in the Mercedes veering into the western-most northbound lane, where it collided with the black Commodore sedan which was travelling northbound in the left of the two northbound lanes.

"The driver of the Commodore, a 23-year-old Rocherlea man, and his female passenger were not injured."

Accident investigators looking into the crash closed the Midland Highway until after midnight. It was also closed again today for about 30 minutes.

The crash takes the state's road toll to six -- equal to the toll at this time last year.

Police have appealed for any witnesses to the crash, or anyone who may have seen any of the vehicles before the incident, to come forward.

david.killick@news.com.au


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Traffic snarl on Tasman Hwy

POLICE have warned motorists to expect delays after a three-car crash on the Tasman Highway near Midway Point.

Police said the accident happened on the Midway Point bridge shortly after 5pm today, disrupting afternoon peak-hour traffic.

One person was taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

In a statement issued about 6pm today, police said both lanes of the highway at the crash scene were now open.

Westbound traffic heading to Hobart was moving normally, while traffic in the eastbound lane was moving more slowly.

Motorists travelling towards Midway Point and Sorell were expected to experience delays for some time.


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Voters turn against Labor

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 24 Maret 2013 | 19.55

LABOR'S leadership fiasco has trashed the office of the Prime Minister, according to a majority of voters who have also declared Julia Gillard a "lame duck" leader.

In the first opinion poll to ask voters their verdict on the wreckage of Kevin Rudd's final leadership tilt, they have warned the Prime Minister's third leadership battle victory has not legitimised her.

A majority -- 60 per cent -- agree she is a "lame duck" in the lead-up to the September 14 election and 71 per cent believe the office of the Prime Minister has been damaged.

But voters questioned in the exclusive Galaxy poll, conducted for News Limited, are divided over whether an early election is the answer.

The vast majority of Liberal voters have had enough but 47 per cent of voters overall are happy to wait.

Support for Labor is at a rock bottom 32 per cent, a result that would see Ms Gillard lose up to 18 seats.

The Galaxy poll has found the majority of voters -- 52 per cent -- still believe the Labor Party made the wrong decision rejecting Mr Rudd.

Tomorrow, Ms Gillard is likely to announce her second major frontbench reshuffle in just seven weeks after four ministers were sacked or quit over the failed Rudd coup.

The fate of Aged Care Minister Mark Butler hung in the balance yesterday amid suggestions some senior frontbenchers were cautioning the Prime Minister against sacking him.

Gillard backers had been calling for Mr Butler's head with one describing him as "gutless" for not falling on his sword after he was linked to the Rudd camp but the Prime Minister praised him as an "able minister" at a press conference.

"I'll deal with the ministerial reshuffle in coming days," Ms Gillard said.

Another Rudd backer, Anthony Albanese, also broke his silence over claims he was Kevin Rudd's choice as deputy prime minister, acknowledging the former prime minister had been "supportive of my political contribution".

"(But) I have never asked for support as deputy. There was and is no vacancy," Mr Albanese said. "I would never run against Wayne Swan."

According to the Galaxy poll, which included a national sample of 1005 voters and was held over Friday and yesterday, a majority of voters -- 55 per cent -- also believe Mr Rudd has been true to his word not to challenge Ms Gillard.


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Help sought on hotel robbery

POLICE are seeking help from the public after an armed robbery at Moonah's Valern Hotel early yesterday morning.

Police said a masked man armed with a metal pole allegedly confronted a Valern Hotel employee at 1.45am and demanded money. The offender fled on foot with what police described as a "considerable amount" of cash.

Police searched the area but could not locate the alleged offender, who is described as being aged in his 30s, about 170cm tall, with olive or tanned skin, and blue or green eyes. He was wearing a balaclava, a hooded puffer jacket, black cargo pants, white sandshoes, and gloves.

Anyone with information about the alleged robbery, or who saw a man in the vicinity of Station St or the rear of the AMWU building around the time, is asked to call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000, or the Glenorchy police station.

kane.young@news.com.au


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Tigers tighten grip on trophy

TASMANIA is turning the screws and tightening its grip on the Sheffield Shield trophy against Queensland at Blundstone Arena.

At tea on day three the Bulls are 4-104, still 315 behind the Tigers' first innings score of 419.

Rain caused havoc earlier in the day, with a heavy downpour catching the umpires off guard and by the time the ground staff got the covers on the pitch a significant amount of water had soaked in.

It caused a two-hour delay, with play not resuming until 2.25.

The Tigers then continued to heap the pain on the visitors with some tight bowling.

It got too much for Nathan Reardon, who poked at a ball from Evan Gulbis and was caught behind for 13 to see the Bulls slip to 3-70.

That became 4-81 shortly after when Joe Burns was brilliantly caught by keeper Tim Paine.

Burns edged a Faulkner delivery, with Paine diving low to his right and plucking the chance just above the turf.

Peter Forrest is the only batsman who has showed dogged resistance to date, grinding his way to 42 while Chris Hartley is unbeaten on 10.

Queensland needs to push the pace of the game as it needs outright points but the Tigers have given little away, with only 44 runs being scored in just under two hours between lunch and tea.

Weather and light permitting, play will go to 7.15 tonight.


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