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Grand design for CBD

Written By miftah nugraha on Sabtu, 04 Mei 2013 | 19.55

Freelance urban planner Nick Booth has bold plans for a possible redevelopment of Collins Court in Hobart. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

POP-up reading rooms in the mall, laneway soup and coffee bars and urban parks bringing tranquillity to the heart of the Hobart.

These are the visions of UK-trained urban designer Nick Booth, who has called on the city's residents to reclaim the lost spaces of their CBD through a series of retreats.

In particular, Mr Booth has identified the central-city Collins Court area -- much of which is currently used as a car park -- as an unpolished gem of city life.

"As I was first walking around I was really struck by how quiet it was in the CBD, especially out of working days," Mr Booth said in the car park behind St David's Cathedral.

"Coming from a European background, spaces like this in the centre of the city would be used. They just wouldn't be used as car parks."

Mr Booth's plan for Collins Court involves an urban park comprising generous seating, public art installations, landscaping and a children's playground.

He envisages a welcoming space that not only caters to people on their lunch break, but families on weekend visits, and even as the location for movie screenings and theatre productions.

He said that while there was more to a CBD than people simply purchasing and getting out again, his plan also made economic sense.

"If you can attract people to stay longer in the city, they will spend more," Mr Booth said.

"If McDonald's can work that out with their playgrounds, so can we."

One supporter of Mr Booth's approach is Australian Institute of Landscape Architects fellow Jerry de Gryse.

Mr de Gryse said there was still plenty of work remaining to turn the city a truly liveable space.

"We've finished the first stage of building Hobart. We've built a shelter for ourself, but we haven't yet built a home," he said.

"We need more than just a mall. Things need to be done more artfully.

"We need better seating, better lighting, and to reduce the impact of the car."

Hobart Mums Network organiser Christine Jolly has read over Mr Booth's Collins Court plans and likes what she sees.

She said what mothers needed in the city were more places to move freely and linger.

"When a mum thinks of going to the CBD, she has a list of things to do before her toddler explodes," Ms Jolly said.

"This would create an extra incentive to stay longer."

Ms Jolly described Collins Court in its present form as "a bit dodgy and uncomfortable", and said she and her children darted through as quickly as possible.

Mr Booth's plans are consistent with her desire to see the city more "pedestrianised".

"What excited us about Nick's plans is that there's something for everybody," she said.

Mr Booth urged Hobart to have "a bit more confidence in itself" in terms of how it wanted to look and said it would take people power to make a plan like his become reality in the CBD.

He said his plan, which included a digital film called Car Park, was intended to be a conversation starter.

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The team of the golden era

THE best Tasmanian-born Aussie Rules teams from each decade since World War II – that's the challenge the Mercury set its experts and it illustrates the tremendous depth of talent the state has produced in the past 60 years.

Tassie has clearly punched above its weight.

We have called on veteran sports journalist and analyst GEOFF POULTER – a life-long fierce supporter and student of Tasmanian football and footballers – to compile the first four teams covering the decades from the start of the 1950s to the end of the 1980s.

Hobart-born Poulter, 65, worked for the Mercury for six years from 1967 before moving to Melbourne where he has spent the past 40 in the sports media.

Poulter was an inaugural Tasmanian Hall Of Fame inductee in 2005 and a Tasmanian Team Of The Century selector.

He is a life member and a past presi¬dent of the Australian Football Media Association.

He was inducted into the MCG media Hall Of Fame in 2000.

Our stringent must-be-born-here stipulation ruled out the likes of Stuart Spencer, Jim Ross, Bob Withers, Les McClements, Gordon Bowman, John Devine, Bill Williams, Graeme Wilkinson, Mal Pascoe, Max McMahon, Des James and Jim Leitch – all likely selections.

And plenty of others.

We did claim Mick Conlan, son of the great Neil, who left here at age nine when his father took on a Canberra coaching post.

But we ignored Garry Lyon and David Neitz, born here while their dads had brief NWFU stints, Bob Murray and others with similar faint claims.

We also ruled out Kevin Symons who was born here but played for the combined VFA interstate teams before returning.

Check out Poulter's selections and reasons below and in the graphic above.
Did he get it right or wrong? Who did he miss? Who shouldn't be there?
Join the debate below.

THE 1950s were truly the glory days of Tasmanian football. This was still well before the great exodus of players to Victoria.

To further pin-point the golden era you can trim it to, say, 1956-61, inclusive. After that the player traffic across Bass Strait began to quicken.

Subsequently players left earlier in their careers, rather than give local clubs three or four seasons. Coach¬es from interstate were still making a substantial contribution to Tassie footy's growth. But, eventually, this impact also declined.

Growing up in the '50s we were unaware of the magni¬tude of VFL football. Sure it was a better standard. We knew little else. Most local stars didn't go over there. There wasn't the big money, the same attraction. VFL re¬plays hadn't yet lobbed. Local lads often referred to the quiet life. Mates, the pub, family, fish¬ing or even hot cars. Mel-bourne was light years away.

In lots of ways this was a serene time in life. You played footy and cricket at school. Little else. Before school, recess, lunch time, after school it was kick-to-kick. All shapes, sizes and ages competed. All worked out how to get a touch.

And even the stout, timid or slow kids knew how to kick. Place ball carefully on foot, head over, follow through. Strike cleanly with those rounded-toed Jenkins and it rolled sweetly off the boot. Steady, enough nostal¬gia old-timer.

Our '50s stars had a solid grounding with few distrac¬tions. So much so that Tassie beat WA and SA at the 1958 carnival and SA and the VFA in 1956. This 1950s combined team could have won VFL premierships in that de¬cade. It reeks of class.

The obvious names stand out. I'll concentrate on some of the non-automatic selec-tions of which some readers may not be totally convinced. All-Australians in this 22 were non-negotiable inclu¬sions.

For the AFL's 150-year publication I listed the 10 best Tasmanians not to go to the VFL. Nine are in this '50s team – Gale, Hayes, Strange, Conlan, Webb, Long, Leedham, Garwood, Griffiths. All should have been in the 2004 Tasmanian Team Of The Century. Some¬how Gale, Hayes, Strange, Webb, Long, and Griffiths missed the final 25. Bad call!

The other player on that list of 10 was Horrie Gor¬ringe. Gordon Coventry said Gorringe was the best player from all states at the 1924 Hobart Carnival. A VFL club offered the Huon rover an orchard for the fruits of his labour. Still he stayed home.

Darrel Baldock told me the clever Webb and powerful Hayes were a strong influ¬ence on him growing up on the North-West Coast. Strange was an absolute gun. Tall, strapping, smooth – a better version of look-alike Collingwood 1990 premier¬ship centre half-back Michael Christian. Raking kick, long arms, polished.

Griffiths was enigmatic. He kicked 10 goals for the TFL. I saw him at Pontville in a combined country league game when he was about 34 and weary. He still kicked a 70-yard match-winning goal to the road-to-Hobart end. And no wind!

Gale was an All-Australian back pocket in 1958. A versatile defender, Gale was taller than Lerrel Sharp, Collingwood's 1953 premier¬ship back pocket, whom I have placed there with Gale at half-back. When Sharp returned in 1960 to join North Launceston under its new coach "Cannonball" Bob Withers, he was still the best player in the NTFA that year. He was a star.

Sharp had undefinable qualities. A play-reader and hard, he could find a way to beat a taller, faster, stronger or younger opponent. A foot¬baller's footballer.

Leedham – the best Tasma¬nian not to play VFL – will be testy he's not named at centre half-forward. But a close footy friend of Baldock told me it was folly to ever pick Doc on a flank where he was restricted, crowded and unsuited. At CHF he moved both ways, controlled the tempo. And his left side was as strong as most others' right.

Full-forward was a difficult choice. George Goninon was a premiership full-forward with Geelong as Clarke was at Melbourne. Goninon was a straight kick and played in a top side. Clarke was more versatile, a better high mark and more Tas-oriented. He kicked six goals for Tassie (Leedham four) in a narrow loss to Victoria at North Hobart mid-1957.

My most graphic memory of Clarke was as a kid at the back of the main North Ho¬bart stand in 1956. You could barely see the top of players' heads in the goal square. Every now and then Clarke would rise high to take a spectacular mark, his frame hovering above a pack.

Moore played 24 times for his state in most positions. For this team his best fit is half-back. Conlan (record 26 state games) played for Tassie at 17 and was tough and dynamic. Hodgson was a racehorse on the wing and Fitzallen, on the other side, was a beautiful mover. Neat, skilled, rarely beaten.

The bench bristles with class. Berkeley Cox was clos¬est of those to miss out. Jack Dyer said Stokes was the best centreman he'd seen. Chick was All-Australian with Victoria at the 1956 Car¬nival. Johnson was full-back in Melbourne's '59 premier¬ship side.

The rest of the 22? Howell was just beginning a stellar career. All-Australian Long was a gifted half-forward; and Cashion and Leo deco¬rated rovers. All-Australian Garwood (19 state games) was a wonderful player. As a boy, Peter Hudson re¬members peering through a window overlooking the Boyer Oval seeing Garwood's thumping drop kicks at training. And Baldock was, well, pure poetry in motion.

Rough gets the nod in the ruck, just ahead of the likes of Terry Shadbolt, Brian Yost, Rex Geard and several others. Victorian Jim Ross was the state's best ruck of the 1950's, probably of all time, but ineligible. Tassie struggled to produce talented tall ruckmen but its shorter types more than atoned.

To illustrate the tremen¬dous depth of the 1950s team, I have left out names that roll off the tongue – Atkins, Eaton, Marquis, Hill, A Webb, Heathcote, Linger, Apted, Golding, Martin, Delanty, Parremore, Parsons, Moir, Reid et al. I have noted previ¬ously that Spencer, McClements, Wil¬liams, Symons and Pascoe were among the ineligible.

This is all purely opinion. Many of you readers may disagree. That's to be expected. I ask you to try to remember these players at their best and don't judge them from their days as fading stars. If so, you might look at the team in a different perspective. I did. Bravo these greats of the 1950s!

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Big night for Liberals

THE Liberal party has gained a seat and a long-serving Independent has survived a campaign to unseat him in today's Legislative Council elections.

Tasmanians went to the polls today in the Greater Hobart seats of Nelson and Pembroke and the North West seat of Montgomery.

In Nelson, Jim Wilkinson looks to have retained the seat with 49 per cent of votes counted.

Mr Wilkinson was challenged by Greens candidate Tom Baxter (25 per cent), and independents Helen Richardson (17 per cent) and Hans Willink (8 per cent).

In Pembroke Liberal MLC Vanessa Goodwin seems assured of victory with 51 per cent of votes.

Independent Candidate and former Labor MLC Allison Ritchie had 36 per cent of votes while Greens candidate Wendy Heatley had 13 per cent.

Liberal candidate for Montgomery Leonie Hiscutt looks set to gain the North West seat vacated by retiring Legislative Council president Independent Sue Smith.

At the end of counting tonight Mrs Hiscutt had 45.5 per cent of votes.

Her nearest rival was Independent and Central Coast Deputy Mayor Cheryl Fuller.

Independents Kevin Morgan and Ed Vincent had secured 14.5 per cent and 10 per cent of votes respectively.

View the progressive results in full on the electoral commission website.

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Experiencing life on $2 a day

Written By miftah nugraha on Jumat, 03 Mei 2013 | 19.55

Molly Port, left, Robert Hortle and Ian Kam dining out on the pontoon at Long Beach, Sandy Bay, yesterday for Live Below the Line. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

NOT many people would brave a quick dip in the River Derwent in 13C, but that did not stop three young Tasmanians from doing just that yesterday at Sandy Bay.

With a table and chairs in tow, the anti-poverty campaigners swam out to the Long Beach pontoon for a humble meal of bread, jam and juice.

Raising awareness for the Live Below the Line campaign, which starts next week, the Oaktree Foundation's state director Robert Hortle invited everyone to take on the challenge of living off $2 a day for five days.

"Live Below the Line is a fresh and impactful way of understanding extreme poverty," he said. "It's all about changing perspectives and empowering people living in poverty to escape the poverty cycle.

"I've been Tasmanian director of the Oaktree Foundation for nearly two years now so this is a campaign that's really close to my heart. I'm with Oaktree because we focus on educating young people in some of the world's poorest countries, which also happen to be near Australia."

More than 400 Tasmanians have signed up for the challenge and all money raised by donations from participants' friends and family will go towards education projects in East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Cambodia.

To get involved, visit www.livebelowtheline.com.au

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Cable business booms

ONE of Tasmania's largest locally owned electrical services firms is defying economic tough times and creating new jobs.

Contact Electrical has hired 30 new staff, including 16 apprentices, since a crucial meeting 18 months ago.

Contact's Hobart manager Martin Jackson said the firm had fought for its life, and won, during two of the construction and home improvement industry's most difficult trading years.

Mr Jackson said the business had gone into a huddle 18 months ago after it became clear it would fail if it continued down the same path.

He said it was decided they would need to broaden the business to involve just about anything that had a cable attached -- from CCTV and security systems to solar panels and sewage treatment infrastructure.

Hamilton's Simon Brown was one of the newest recruits and said it was a great feeling to be back at work.

Mr Brown, 40, was unable to find a full-time job when he moved back from Victoria for family reasons 18 months ago.

This week he began a new career path.

He said if everything went to plan he would start an apprenticeship to train as an electrician.

Mr Brown was this week engaged in the rollout of NBN optic fibres in Kingston -- another small part of Contact's business.

Mr Jackson said Contact had also made a pitch to convince its clients -- from households that needed new power points to multi-million dollar developers -- that a strong locally owned electrical services firm was worth saving.

"The work has kept on pouring in," Mr Jackson said.

He said the downturn had forced many operators, particularly smaller ones involving one or two electricians, to leave the state or go out of business.

Contact has helped some of those operators by taking them on as employees.

Mr Jackson said the firm's new apprentices were a mixture of school leavers and mature-aged workers moving across from forestry and other troubled industries.

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Prison's 11,400 leave passes

TASMANIA'S prison system is issuing 20 times more leave permits for inmates than four years ago in a bid to link more inmates with the community.

Corrections Minister Nick McKim said yesterday the number of leave passes, which allow prisoners outside the prison gates for education, work opportunities and family reasons, had increased from 589 in 2008 to 11,402 last year.

"This is about delivering safer communities," Mr McKim said.

"We are trying to help inmates build the life skills, get the education and form the relationships with prospective employers that will help them with their transition back into the community and this will ultimately help us to make the community a safer place."

The news comes as Mr McKim announced a suite of programs inmates have been working on in the community.

Inmates have retained traditional relationships with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and Government House. Inmates also work on setting up the Taste Festival site, helping at the Dogs Home of Tasmania, continuing clean-up work at the Risdon Vale Creek area, tending to a community garden in Risdon Vale and working with the City Mission every week collecting donations of furniture and bric-a-brac.

Football umpiring that started in 2011 has also been continued this season, with six minimum security inmates umpiring at weekends.

And Mr McKim announced for the first time prisoners have been working at the Lea scout camp at Kingston constructing a flying fox, fitting out the stairs and safety equipment in the climbing tower as well as extensive maintenance to trails and bush areas on the property.

New programs in the pipeline include minimum security prisoners conducting general maintenance and restoration of the historic buildings and grounds at the Penitentiary Chapel, computer refits for charities and worm farming, taking advantage of the vast horticultural work and training being done in Tasmania's prison system.

Acting Prison boss and inaugural change manager Brian Edwards said despite concerns in the community that inmates would escape from custody, it is not the case.

One high profile escape from day release last year prompted a review of risk assessments and no further breaches have been recorded since, Mr Edwards said.

He said from his experience in other countries 11,000 leave passes would translate to six or eight escapes a year.

"If we just separate them they will never get included into the community," Mr Edwards said.

Corrective Services director Robert Williams said extra time in the community was in line with the "Breaking the cycle" strategy aimed at reducing recidivism and keeping the community safer.

"If they come out and we haven't done a good job in prison they will come out worse," Mr Williams said.

"It is not just a secure fence that keeps the community safer -- if they come out worse they are not safer."

In line with a push for greater engagement with the community, family days have been expanded at the prison, growing from one or two a year to about one a month.

Mr Edwards said training was also being tailored to industries like horticulture that gave inmates the greatest possible chance of getting a job when released.


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PM welcomes NDIS support

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 02 Mei 2013 | 19.55

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard will introduce legislation into Parliament soon for an increase in the Medicare levy to fund disability care.

Ms Gillard said her intention to introduce the 0.5 per cent increase followed a "change of mind" by Opposition leader Tony Abbott.

"I am very pleased that the Leader of the Opposition has said he is prepared to support this plan," she told reporters in Launceston today.

"He has changed his mind and I welcome that change of mind.

"I will bring to the Parliament the legislation to increase the levy by half a per cent.

Mr Abbott yesterday said the Prime Minister should bring the increase forward but did not guarantee Opposition support.

The increased levy will start from July 1, 2014.

Ms Gillard said many of the conditions cited by Mr Abbott had been dealt with in legislation which started up the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Medicare levy increase to two per cent, from 1.5 per cent, will raise about $3.3 billion a year.

The scheme will cost about $8 billion a year or more when it begins full operation from 2018/19.

To make up the funding gap, Labor needs to make further budget savings and the states and territories will also need to contribute.

-- with AAP

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Pot growers in crime spotlight

CANNABIS cultivators be warned -- the Crime Stoppers crew is after you.

The theme for day four of Crime Stoppers Week 2013 is "help stamp out residential grow rooms".

Cannabis is Tasmania's number one drug and, according to police, most of the cannabis distributed in Australia is hydroponically grown.

Residential grow rooms are set up in sheds, garages and spare rooms, bringing commercial drug cultivation into suburban areas and raising police concerns for community safety.

"For this reason we've selected residential grow rooms as one of the three themes for Crime Stoppers Week 2013," Crime Stoppers Tasmania chief executive Tamara Stokes said.

"People may not know how to recognise that what they have seen might actually be a residential grow room."

Signs to look out for include:

  • Blacked-out windows in several rooms of houses or garages and light leakage at odd hours
  • Exhaust fans venting from sheds or the side of houses and the constant buzz of ventilation
  • Extensive renovations to garages, involving the construction of internal rooms within the garage, using materials such as agricultural pipes and plastic sheeting
  • The constant sounds of pumps, fans, or running water from garages or sheds
  • A strong chemical or cannabis smell, which is a strong and sickly scent
  • The movement of items in darkness such as garbage bags 
  • A large number of vehicles or foot traffic calling at the residence at unsociable hours
  • Closed circuit TV gear installed in garages that do not appear to contain anything of obvious value, such as expensive vehicles or tools.

Anyone with information about suburban cannabis crops is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, with rewards on offer.

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Golden times for Beaconsfield

MORE than 30 leading Australian authors will converge on Beaconsfield next March for a new festival aimed at putting the West Tamar region on the national cultural map.

To run from March 14-16, the Beaconsfield Festival of Golden Words will feature a series of conversations with authors, panel discussions, debates, readings, book launches, workshops, and food and wine events at a range of venues in and around the former gold mining town.

The festival, most of which will be free to the public, is the brainchild of successful Beaconsfield-based author Stephen Dando-Collins.

"(My wife) Louise and I are lucky enough to frequently attend writers festivals and literary events around Australia and overseas," he said.

"We realised that the West Tamar, where we've lived for the past eight years, has everything it takes to make a really successful writers festival and to attract thousands of book-lovers to the region.

"Subjects covered will range from literary fiction to thrillers, comedy, sport, wine and food, biography, current affairs, history, poetry, self-publishing and screenwriting. And readers will be able to meet some of their favourite authors."

Writers already confirmed to attend include bestselling children's author Wendy Harmer, Vogel Prize-winning novelist Rohan Wilson, Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History winner Professor Peter Stanley, and arts guru Leo Schofield. Three national sporting stars will also use the event to launch their new books.

"The council is confident that this festival is going to be an annual event which will put the West Tamar and northern Tasmania on the cultural map," West Tamar Mayor Barry Easther said.

"When the organisers came to us seeking seed funding for the festival, the council was blown away by the amount of groundwork they had put in and by the volume of community support they had already attracted from one end of the Tamar Valley to the other."

A full list of participating authors will be announced in October, with the final program to be revealed next February.


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Man admits headbutt attack

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 01 Mei 2013 | 19.55

A MAN who headbutted a pair of strangers in a Moonah pub was suffering from insomnia and had mixed sleeping tablets with alcohol, the Supreme Court in Hobart has heard.

Storeman David Laurence Croswell, 29, appeared before Justice Peter Evans and pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

Crown Prosecutor Yolanda Prenc told the court the man and some friends were playing eight-ball with another group at the Moonah Bar and Cafe on August 12 last year.

Around 11.30pm, Croswell approached two men and pretended to strike them with a pool cue.

In security video footage shown to the court, he then suddenly headbutted both and punched one of the men in the face.

He was then ejected by security.

The prosecutor said one of the victims suffered multiple facial fractures and required surgery and a stay in intensive care after the assault, was off work for four months and continues to suffer from the effects of his injuries.

Defence lawyer Wayne Olding said his client was at the time a shift worker suffering from insomnia and had just seen a doctor who prescribed Temazepam.

After taking the drug, he disregarded the doctor's advice not to drink.

Mr Olding said Croswell had no recollection of the attack but accepted he was responsible and was shocked, ashamed and remorseful at his actions.

Justice Evans noted that Croswell has a previous conviction for disturbing the peace at the 2009 Hobart Cup when he became involved in a melee.

He sentenced Croswell to nine months in jail, suspending the sentence on the condition he not reoffend for two years and fined him $2000.

Croswell pleaded guilty to common assault in the Magistrates Court in November last year for his attack on the second man and was fined $500.


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Act now on forest truce: PM

TASMANIAN conservationists and loggers who signed a historic peace agreement must now deliver its jobs and environmental objectives, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

The Tasmanian parliament last night passed legislation formalising the agreement between the opposing groups, after green groups and the forestry industry backed amendments raised by the state's Upper House.

Passage of the laws will now unlock more than $300 million in federal assistance to help the logging industry restructure, while more than 500,000ha of forests will eventually be protected.

Visiting Wynyard in Tasmania North-West today, Ms Gillard said the peace deal was "a new day, a new opportunity" that had to be seized by conservationists and loggers.

"The obligation is now on everyone to seize the prospect that this peace gives and to get on with creating jobs in Tasmania as well securing the conservation outcomes that come out of this agreement," she told reporters.

"The obligation is on the signatories that first came together, the parties who started this process, to do everything they can to use their abilities to silence those who haven't gone with the mainstream consensus."

Signatories to the deal include the Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Environment Tasmania, and the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania.

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne is critical of the agreement, despite the majority of her Tasmanian Greens colleagues and environmentalists giving it their support.

She says it's "fantasy" to believe that anything more than the deal's 123,000ha first tranche of forests will ever be protected.

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'Hateful' flyer sparks inquiry

TASMANIA Police have been asked to investigate "hateful" pamphlets being distributed in the southern electorate of Nelson.

The Mercury understands about 3400 of the pamphlets – claiming to contain "homosexual stats" -- have been distributed since Monday.

Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner Julian Type today said he deemed the pamphlets to be in direct contravention of the Electoral Act.

"The material is hateful," he said.

"I have asked police to conduct an investigation and the matter has been raised with the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner."

Mr Type said the pamphlets were clearly classed as electoral material because gay and lesbian rights had become a major issue in the Upper House poll.

The pamphlet, which is not authorised, compares the lifespans of homosexuals to others with different sexual preferences.

Greens candidate for Nelson Tom Baxter, who alerted the Mercury to the pamphlet, said he believed it was homophobic.

He said it quoted so-called "death statistics" for lesbians and gays.

"This is yet another argument for Parliament to send a strong message against homophobia like this by supporting marriage equality," Mr Baxter said.

Voters will go to the polls in Nelson, Pembroke and Montgomery on Saturday.

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Rising river strands walkers

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 29 April 2013 | 19.55

The Gordon River crossing on the Lake Rhona track in more favourable weather conditions. Pictures: DAVID KILLICK

POLICE have warned bushwalkers to be better prepared for adverse weather after two rescues from a popular walking track.

The Westpac Police Rescue Helicopter was sent out today and on Saturday to rescue groups unable to complete the walk back from Lake Rhona, north of Maydena.

Access to the area is via a fallen log over the Gordon River and heavy rainfall has made the crossing impassable on foot.

On Saturday, the rescue helicopter was dispatched to pick up four walkers stranded at the crossing.

The second group was rescued today after one of their number swam across the swollen river to raise the alarm.

A police spokesman said the rescues were a reminder to people attempting the walk that they should take adequate provisions and be prepared to wait for the river level to fall, which could take several days.

"There may be times when Police Search and Rescue ... is unable to reach this area, particularly with inclement weather over the winter months," the spokesman said.

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Low-cost rentals rare: study

A CARAVAN on a factory site and rooms in share houses are the only affordable accommodation options for Tasmanians on low incomes, a new survey shows.

The Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot surveyed 2677 rental properties advertised across the state on the weekend of April 13-14.

Of those listings, only 10 properties would be affordable for a young person living on Youth Allowance.

Less than one per cent were affordable for a single person living on the Newstart Allowance.

Student James Davey is one of the lucky few able to secure affordable housing.

From living in abandoned houses to having his own apartment and studying full-time, the 20-year-old has turned his life around in just nine months.

"Growing up, from 12 to 18, I was in shelters, on the streets, couching surfing and in abandoned houses," he said.

Now living in South Hobart and studying at Claremont College, James says having stable accommodation will help him work towards his goals of one day working in the community services sector or IT industry.

"I think you really have to work hard at it if you want to get public housing," he said.

"You can't sit around and wait. You have to be really proactive."

Anglicare Tasmania CEO Chris Jones has called on the Federal Government to review the effectiveness of Commonwealth Rent Assistance and increase the Newstart Allowance by $50 a week.

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Sydney SC joins crash probe

A TOP Sydney prosecutor will oversee the police investigation into a fatal motor vehicle accident involving Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis, SC.

Mr Ellis was seriously injured in a road accident on the Midland Highway near Oatlands on March 24 in which a Launceston woman was killed.

Attorney-General Brian Wightman today announced NSW Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions John Pickering, SC, had been appointed as a Tasmanian Crown Law Officer to provide advice to the Tasmania Police investigation into the crash.

"I have recommended that the Governor make this appointment on the advice of the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions of Tasmania, Leigh Sealy SC," Mr Wightman said.

"This will ensure that Mr Pickering is able to act independently and in an official capacity with all the necessary authority and privileges of a Tasmanian Crown Law Officer in advising Tasmania Police during its investigation."

Mr Wightman thanked the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, Lloyd Babb, SC, for his assistance in this matter, following a request from Mr Sealy.

Mr Ellis is not expected not return to work for several months pending the outcome of the investigation.

Victorian Coroner Judge Ian Gray will conduct the coronial inquest into the death of 27-year-old Natalia Pearn in the crash.


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