Sheffield Shield: Steve Smith makes century for NSW against Queensland

Big Blue: NSW captain Steve Smith salutes the crowd after reaching his ton. Photo: Chris HydeAustralian captain Steve Smith has roared into form ahead of the opening Test of the summer, posting a commanding century against Queensland in the day-night Sheffield Shield game at the Gabba.
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Smith (117) combined with Kurtis Patterson (111) to help the Blues rebound from the early loss of David Warner (12) and Ed Cowan (10), who found himself an unwanted social media star after he failed to offer a shot to Queensland quick Luke Feldman and had his off stump rocked.

NSW would declare at 7-327 and give themselves an hour to make in-roads against the Bulls, with Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja surviving a testing examination from Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to give themselves a chance to press their Test claims on Wednesday.

Earlier, Smith and the in-form Patterson took NSW from 2-23 to 3-251 before the pair went as part of a collapse as night descended, with NSW losing 5-24 under lights as Feldman (5-68) tore through the middle order.

Test incumbents Moises Henriques (11) and Peter Nevill (1) had short-lived stays while Trent Copeland produced a nine-ball duck to put Queensland momentarily back in the contest.

But Starc would slog NSW out of trouble, ending up on 36 off 28 balls as he combined with Ryan Carters (27 not out) to see their side safely past the 300 mark and prepare for the early declaration.

Starc was having little trouble with the cut on his leg at the crease and would soon give it the full test as Smith unleashed he and Hazlewood deep into the evening against the Bulls top order.

Charlie Hemphrey was cleaned up by Hazlewood for a duck but Burns (21 not out) and Khawaja (18 not out) withstood a high-pressure period to take their side to 1-39 heading into day two.

It was a key session for the Queensland pair, who are both trying to force their way back into the Test team after being dropped for the final match in Sri Lanka in August.

Shaun Marsh compiled a watchful 73 for WA in the Shield game against South Australia in Perth, with suggestions that should be enough for him to retain his opening spot if his hamstring continues to hold firm.

But Burns is facing the better calibre of attack and came through with flying colours on Tuesday night, giving himself a launch pad to hit back against Marsh should he be able to go on with things on day two.

Khawaja stands to be given a recall despite his suggestion that he was made a ‘scapegoat’ for the poor results in Sri Lanka.

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Dreamworld fatalities come after history of theme park accidents

Multiple witnesses said there were problems with the ride on Tuesday morning, several hours before the fatal accident. Photo: AAPA fatal accident at Dreamworld that has closed the theme park until further noticecomes after a series of incidents haveleft visitors injured or strandedat the park over the past two decades.
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The most recent unfoldedsix months ago, whena man almost drowned when he fell from the Rocky Hollow Log Ride.

The man swallowed water and was taken to hospital with cuts to his head when he fell from the ride on April 17.

Health and safety bodyWorkSafe investigated the incident and the ride was reopened two days later.

The log ride is nextto the BuzzSaw roller-coaster, whichwas shut down for more than a week in February2015 after a problemwith a safety harness was investigated.

The Thunder River Rapids ride,on which four adultsdied on Tuesdayin one of the worst Australian amusement park accidents, is in the same area of the theme park.

​In January 2004, about 50 people were trapped on cable cars in the park when a tree fell on the main cable suspending the ride in the air.

This is not the first safety incident to occur at one of Australia’s premier theme parks. Photo: Getty Images

Four years earlier, a problem with the gearbox on the WipeOut ride left thrillseekers stranded.

Dreamworld is not the only theme park on the Gold Coast to have had issues with its rides.

Last month,a roller-coaster at Sea World stopped mid-rideand a group of teenagers were forced to wait until park staff could rescue them.

On Tuesday afternoon, emergency services rushed to Dreamworld’s”Goldrush Country” areabut two men and two women on the ride were unable to be revived.

Dreamworld will remain closed after the tragedy. Photo: Nine News

Multiple witnesses said there were problems with the rideon Tuesday morning, several hours before the fatal accident.

One girl told Nine News that engineers were called in to drain and inspect the ride.

“We were waiting there for about half an hour and the engineers had to come.

“They drained all the water out and then had to refill it back up. Then we were allowed to go. We were stuck there for about 30, 40 minutes at least,” the witness told Nine News.

Two other witnesses, New Zealand touristsKaylahand Lisa Walker, said they lined up at the rideseveral times but it was broken down.

“We were standing on the bridge watching and the water had stopped,” Lisa Walker said.”There was no rapids.”

They said the incident happened about 10 minutes after they walked away.

At a press conference on Tuesday,Dreamworld chief executive Craig Davidson said his park would remain closed until further notice.

“Dreamworld is working closely with police and emergency services and authorities to establish the facts around the incident,” Mr Davidson said.

First appeared SMH

Brumbies team manager Ben Gathercole joins Triathlon Australia as high-performance director

Former Brumbies team manager Ben Gathercole is the new Triathlon Australia high-performance director. Photo: Jay CronanRugby union wasn’t ACT Brumbies team manager Ben Gathercole’s first love, but he grew to love it over his two seasons with the Super Rugby province.
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Now he’s got the chance to lead his true love “back to the glory days” after Triathlon Australia announced him as its high-performance director on Tuesday.

It means the Brumbies are now looking for a new chief executive, a new team manager and also a playmaker.

Gathercole will remain in Canberra where he’ll work closely with Australia’s best triathlon coaches to take Australia back to the top after it “faded a bit” at the Olympic Games in Brazil.

He’s a former triathlon coach – guiding Simon Thompson to the Athens Games – author of the book Better Than Winning, and his father Terry won a silver medal in swimming at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

Gathercole brought a different perspective when he joined the Brumbies, but now returns to his original sport.

He said this year was a tough one due to the controversy surrounding the departure of former chief executive Michael Jones, but he was proud of the way the club had come through it.

Now he’s looking to get Australian triathlon back on track after he said it “punched above it’s weight” during and after the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

The Australian women won one gold, two silver and two bronze across the four Olympics leading into Rio de Janeiro, but neither the men nor women stepped on the podium in Brazil.

“I really enjoyed rugby and I enjoyed the people, it was fantastic, but it wasn’t my first love, so to speak, although I grew to love certain aspects of it,” Gathercole said.

“The chance to lead a sport that you love and to have the ability to influence elite coaches and elite athletes [drew me back to triathlon].

“We’ve always had that rich history [in triathlon] and maybe that’s just faded a little bit, but as we know in truly elite sport that comes and goes … and we’re hoping to evolve that and get back to our glory days.”

Brumbies acting boss Phil Thomson will now begin the search for a new team manager, while the board is searching for a new chief executive.

Thomson said Gathercole had already put in place a lot of the planning for next season, which would allow assistant team manager Sam Rolfe to take over the role in the interim.

“I’d say he’s got his ideal job by the sound of it. He did a good job while he was here, adapting to a different sport and different requirements,” Thomson said.

“He’s offered a different look on things, which was good for the organisation.

“He was a good operator and we’ll go through the process of identifying a replacement.”

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Australian paedophile Robert Ellis sentenced to 15 years’ jail in Bali

Australian paedophile Robert Ellis prays before his sentencing in Denpasar District Court on Tuesday. Photo: Amilia Rosa Robert Ellis outside Denpasar District Court after his sentencing on Tuesday. Photo: Amilia Rosa
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Australian paedophile Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis has been sentenced to 15 years’ jail after being found guilty of persuading children to commit an indecent act.

The 70-year-old Victorian last week insisted he did not deserve to be imprisoned because his crime was “not a serious thing” and he “paid them generously”.

Ellis, who sexually abused 11 girls aged under 18 between 2014 and 2015, requested a brief moment to pray before his sentencing started on Tuesday.

Head judge Wayan Sukanila sentenced Ellis to 15 years’ jail minus time already served and a fine of two billion rupiah  ($200,000) or an additional six months’ jail.

He said aggravating factors included that Ellis had damaged the children’s future and children were a human resource to build Indonesia in the future.

Judge Sukanila said Ellis had also damaged the image of Bali as a tourist destination, which could lead to a decrease in income for Indonesia.

Mitigating factors were that Ellis had admitted his guilt, felt remorse and had never been convicted before.

Ellis said via his lawyer he objected to the sentence and would appeal.

The Australian, who appeared dazed by the sentence, said outside court: “I am 70 now, it will take me to 85. I don’t know if I will live for that long.”

Prosecutors claimed Ellis admitted to the digital anal penetration of some of the girls while bathing them in his rental property in the Bali town of Tabanan, where he had lived since 2013.

Former Victorian police officer Glen Hulley​, whose anti-child sex exploitation organisation Project Karma helped facilitate Ellis’ arrest, said he was satisfied with the sentence.

He wrote on Project Karma’s Facebook page last week that Ellis had been grooming children in the streets of Tabanan for years, often buying toys or food for children as young as four.

“Robert Andrew Ellis, you are a child sexual predator who indulged your urges for many years undetected before we caught up with you,” Mr Hulley wrote.

“You are a vile, despicable human being who shows no sign of remorse for your actions. It’s offensive that you continue to portray to the court and the media that you are some caring old man who was just helping some poor children, whom you claim have been paid for their “inconvenience” and that they love you and miss you and that they don’t want to see you punished…. “

Ellis told reporters last week he would give the girls a “mandi”, the Indonesian word for bath. He said they would negotiate a price of 200,000 to 300,000 rupiah ($20-30) if the girls had a bath.

“If you don’t want it that’s ok,” Ellis said he told them. He denied having “sexual relations” with any of the girls.

Asked if the parents had been aware of what was going on, Ellis said: “The parents know now but they didn’t know before.”

Referring to the girls he abused as his “friends”, Ellis said: “I haven’t murdered anybody and none of my friends want me in prison I am sure of that. None of them want me in here.”

Indonesia has recently passed legislation that would allow judges to impose chemical castration for child sex offences.

However this did not apply to Ellis as the legislation is not retrospective and prosecutors had instead requested 16 years’ jail.

Bali Police Chief Sugeng Priyanto told Fairfax Media the community became suspicious because of the number of children who visited Ellis’s home.

“It aroused the people to wonder, suspect what was really happening there, were they really there to play, or were there other unusual activities?”.

Mr Sugeng said the case was a very serious one because the victims were children.

“The targets, the victims in paedophilia cases are children, teenagers, they are the hope, the future of each nation. If they are victims when they are children, in a wider sense it can be seen as crippling a generation, it can’t happen, we can’t allow it to happen.”

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Housing crisis not just about supply, says Liberal MP who wants his inquiry back

John Alexander: “If you were to play Roger Federer you would lose every time; that’s what it’s like for the homebuyer against the investor.” Photo: supplied Investors have an enormous advantage over would-be homebuyers, John Alexander says. Photo: Arsineh Houspian
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The Coalition backbencher who chaired the stalled inquiry into home ownership has appealed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to restart it, and says it will address the role of investors sitting on properties that should be going to owner-occupiers.

John Alexander is now chairing an inquiry into the potential for value-capture to fund large infrastructure projects such as high-speed rail.

He said the lapsed housing affordability inquiry – which considered 30 hours of evidence from organisations including the Treasury and Reserve Bank without reporting –  should be taken over and finalised by his committee, because there was no point in using infrastructure such as fast trains to create new affordable housing if it was snapped up by investors.

“We have been told time and time again that supply is the answer,” he said. “But it’s no good creating cities in the southern highlands and outside of Goulburn and outside of Shepparton if the same game is played … where the investor will have an enormous advantage over the homebuyer and then dominate that market.

“If we can build a city near Goulburn using the increase in the value of the land to fund a very fast train that could get homeowners to Sydney in half an hour, we could create affordable housing, so long as we knew it wouldn’t be snapped up by investors.

“If you are going to have a complete suite of policies regarding home ownership, you’ve got to address your supply and you’ve got to address the opportunity of homebuyers.

“I feel owner-occupiers ought to be put in front of investors, but at the moment there is no restraint on how many [properties] investors can buy, which means they are dominating the market.”

Mr Alexander, a former professional tennis player, said would-be owner-occupiers competing against negative-gearers were like ordinary tennis players coming up against Roger Federer.

“If you were to play Roger Federer you would lose,” he said. “If you were to play him 1000 times, I promise you you would lose 1000 times, and that’s what it’s like for the homebuyer against the investor – it’s stacked against them.

“The current level of supply is being completely consumed by speculative opportunistic investors who are driving the volatility of the market.”

On Monday, Treasurer Scott Morrison told the Urban Development Institute the reason people were being locked out of the housing market was that supply couldn’t keep pace with demand.

“The government will therefore also be discussing with the states the potential to remove residential land use planning regulations that unnecessarily impede housing supply,” he said.

In evidence to Mr Alexander’s inquiry, Reserve Bank official Luci Ellis said investors were constraining supply, noting that “it is a truism that if an investor is buying a property an owner-occupier is not”.

Mr Alexander said he had made a formal request for his committee to take over and complete the home-ownership inquiry and that the Prime Minister was supportive.

The decision would have to be signed off by Mr Turnbull. There would be no need to take any further evidence and both reports could be completed by Christmas.

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Calls for investigation into claims of ‘vetting’ for submissions to hospital chemotherapy inquiry

The report could not find a compelling reason to explain Dr John Grygiel’s decision to flat dose his patents. Photo: SuppliedThe clerk of the NSW parliament has been asked to investigate claims health department employees were required to get approval from senior bureaucrats before making submissions to an inquiry into under-dosing of chemotherapy patients at Sydney hospitals.
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MPs have asked the clerk to investigate whether the inquiry into the widening under-dosing affair has been stymied after a claim was made that employees in eight south-eastern Sydney hospitals were told to secure approval from the health district’s CEO and the department before submitting statements.

One Greens MP has accused the health minister Jillian Skinner of “vetting” witnesses to the inquiry into the widening scandal that has dogged the Baird government since news first broke in February.

A spokeswoman for the health ministry said that employees were allowed to make statements on their “own behalf” but the health department’s code of conduct meant they could only provide official comment on health matters when authorised.

Ms Skinner declined to comment on the matter, referring questions to local authorities and the department.

“Minister Skinner should say why she is trying to cover up this massive scandal at every turn,” Greens health spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said. “First the minister intervened to stop a special commission of inquiry and now it seems she is vetting witnesses”.

Fairfax understands the inquiry has heard evidence from a range of witnesses who have questioned how allegations of under-dosing could have been unnoticed by hospital staff.

Allegations of under-dosing of chemotherapy patients of Dr John Grygiel at St Vincents Hospital were the subject of a scathing report from the head of the Cancer Institute, Dr David Currow.

News initially broke that treatment of up to 70 of Dr Grygiel’s St Vincents patients was being questioned.

But MPs have said that number could hit 300 when Dr Grygiel’s patients across central-western NSW hospitals over past decades were accounted for.

Patients were found to have been given “flat” or “reduced” doses of carboplatin, or the oral chemo drug capecitabine, according to the Currow Report.

At a press conference given by the minister in August, she updated the media on allegations of under-dosing at another hospital, said to have been revealed by a nurse.

Ms Skinner then said there was no reason to believe that hospital employees would be discouraged from, or punished, for speaking out about problems in the health system.

“I have a great deal of admiration for the nurses who spoke out. I think we have a greater deal of transparency and openness now than ever before,” she said. “If it can improve patient care then they should speak out […] I believe that they have an obligation so to do”.

It was alleged by the health department that another doctor, Dr Kiran Phadke, of Sutherland Hospital, part of the south-eastern local health district, had dispensed “off protocol” treatments to three patients.

Dr Phadke recently spoke out about the allegations, claiming he had been “publicly vilified” and “cast adrift” by the health ministry without being given a chance to defend himself.

Submissions to the inquiry closed in the last week and have been sent to members of the committee today.

The inquiry is due to report its findings by March.

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Fanning receives hot civic reception

RELAXED: Bernard Fanning appeared at ease with his audience and even enjoyed a cheeky State of Origin barb. “I love you Bernard.” It seemed to be called out incessantly, almost to the point of annoyance, when the former Powderfinger frontman returned to the ornate surrounds of Newcastle’s Civic Theatre.
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There was certainly a lot of love in the room for Bernard Fanning. After all, he is the voice behindthe biggest Australianbandof the last 20 years.

Fanning live is an entirely different beast to Powderfinger. Less grunt and more tenderness. More country-infused balladry and less rock theatrics.

Perhaps it’s his 47 years, perhaps its fatherhood, but Fanning appearedcomfortable in his own skin on stage. Where he was once slightly awkward while delivering stage banter, at the Civic Theatre he was chatty, relaxed and extremely amusing.

Before even playing a note he began a conversation with “Newie” and it continued throughout the evening. At one point hisrant about the lack of political vision in Australia when introducing the trackBelly Of The Beastmight have becometoo long-winded for some, but the exchange was rescued by Fanning’s wit.

“How does it feel Newcastle knowing youhave the fifth best rugby league player of all time?” he asked cheekily.“There’s Wally Lewis, Johnathan Thurston, Darren Lockyer, Alfie [Allan] Langer and then Andrew Johns.” It attractedthe only boos of the night.

The 19-song set drew heavily from Fanning’s latest and third solo albumCivil Dusk. On the record some songs veer intomiddle-of-the road territory, but live they breathed with life.

The openingUnpicking A Puzzleshowed off the beautiful fragility of Fanning’s voice,Sooner Or Laterbounced along with country charm and lead singleWasting Timehad added punch.

Fanning introduced his backing band the Black Fins as the “greatest” in the world. That suggestion was a stretch, but there was no doubting their quality.

Keyboardist Sally Campbell performed one of the night’s highlights with her blazing violin solo onThrill Is Gone.

The Black Fins also included the Wilson Pickers’Andrew Morris and John Bedgood, and the former took lead vocals onthe cover onthe Steve Miller Band’sJet Airliner.

Fanning’s 2013 albumDepartureswas mostly avoided, bar the folksy title track, with the remainder of the set focused on his wildly-popular 2005 debutTea & Sympathy.

We heardSongbird,Not Finished Just Yet, Fanning solo on piano forWatch Over Meand his biggest hitWish You Well, which had people up and dancing for the only time throughout the show.

Fanning has always been keen to separate with solo work from Powderfinger, and that continued.

Sail The Wildest Stretchwas an interesting choice given it’s one of Powderfinger’slesser-known singles from their last albumGolden Rule, but Fanning did it justice alone on acoustic guitar “like Ifirst presented it to the band.”

Arguably Powderfinger’s most popular song, the ultimate mid-life crisis anthemThese Days, closed the show, before segueing in the Prince classicPurple Rain.

Fanning’s enduring appeal may be based on past glories, but he proved on Friday night he remains one of the greatest performers and voices in Australian music. Bernie’s here to stay.

Melbourne Victory fan group North Terrace withdraw support

Passionate Melbourne Victory fans in December last year. Photo: Quinn Rooney Victory fans have previously walked out during a match in protest of the league’s treatment of fans.
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Fan group North Terrace will stop actively supporting Melbourne Victory, but has not made a clear statement as to what has prompted its latest protest.

Victory will play Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Tuesday night, but as North Terrace organisers posted on their Facebook page, the group will not have a presence in the stands.

The club’s administrators said they were incredibly disappointed by the decision.

A post on the North Terrace Facebook page said that it would stop operating due to the “unworkable circumstances” present at Melbourne Victory matches in Victoria.

“All fans wishing to continue to support within the designated active areas will not be aligned with the North Terrace identity. All materials and leadership will not be present at future matches. OUR WAY.”

It is thought that the Terrace’s grievances were not with Victory, rather with policing and security at and around matches.

It is not the first time North Terrace has attempted to make a statement about the problems it sees with the treatment of A-League fans.

Last last year, about 1000 supporters left Docklands Stadium half an hour into Victory’s match against Adelaide United, a protest against what they saw as the FFA’s overly harsh treatment of supporters banned from matches.

In a statement, Melbourne Victory administrators said the club was not notified of North Terrace’s decision to cease operations, despite both parties having agreed to keep communicating throughout the season.

“The club is incredibly disappointed to be advised that those currently representing the North Terrace are proposing to cease coordinated support at the North End in future matches,” it read.

“The timing is also alarming on the eve of a derby. To be clear, we will not change our stance of zero tolerance on anti-social behaviour. There is no place for it at our club or in our game.

“As a club, we are fully committed to ensuring our active areas will always be vibrant, safe and enjoyable, creating a unique and inclusive atmosphere.”

Fairfax Media has attempted to contact North Terrace.

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Census debacle laid bare: Malcolm Turnbull to decide which heads will roll

Malcolm Turnbull has the report on the collapse of the census website. Photo: Andrew Meares ABS chief David Kalisch appears before the economics references committee. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Cyber security adviser Alastair MacGibbon: “They were indeed small attacks.” Photo: Andrew Meares

The Prime Minister’s special adviser on cyber security has told the Senate the denial of service attacks on the census website were small and predictable and should not have brought it down on census night.

Malcolm Turnbull now has the report Alastair MacGibbon conducted on behalf of the Prime Minister to determine “which heads will roll and when” as a result of the debacle.

“They were indeed small attacks,” Mr MacGibbon told a Senate committee on Tuesday. “The attacks were around three gigabits per second. To have some comparison, it’s not uncommon now to see attacks of 100 gigabits per second, and some of the attacks against some of the internet infrastructure such as domain name servers are up to 1000 gigabits per second.

“There was a massive difference between the size of the attacks on the Bureau of Statistics’ census website and the ones that are encountered routinely by corporations and governments.”

While the bureau had contracted IBM to defend its sites against attacks, its behaviour after awarding the contract was similar to that of a homeowner who employed a builder but then rarely went on site to check how work was progressing, he said.

The bureau’s back-up plan to protect the site if denial of service attacks couldn’t be overcome was logically flawed.

Labelled “Island Australia”, it was to ask IBM to block traffic from overseas. But the password reset facility IBM used was hosted offshore and relied on traffic coming in from overseas to give Australians that password, suggesting it hadn’t been properly thought through.

Larger failures were that IBM was unable to implement Island Australia in any event and that ABS staff misread a report they thought suggested census data could have been leaving the system as a result of hacking and decided to shut the system down.

IBM was for many hours unable to restart it because it had incorrectly coded a router connecting to Telstra, so that when it was turned off the coding “fell out”, turning it into a “dumb unit” that had to be recoded.

Had the router been turned off and then turned on again as a test, the error would have been discovered.

“Had the router been properly configured, and had the router when it had been turned off fired back up again, then we wouldn’t have a problem,” Mr MacGibbon said. “But the most significant problem was really the misinterpretation of the traffic on the load monitoring system. We wouldn’t have had the problem if the people monitoring the system had properly monitored the system, which was functioning oddly.”

Millions of Australians were unable to complete the census on census night as a result of the shutdown and were locked out of the site for two days.

Mr MacGibbon delivered his report to Mr Turnbull on October 14.

IBM Australia managing director Kerry Purcell told the hearing no IBM staff had been dismissed as a result of the failure of the census website and none had been disciplined.

IBM had offered to pay the extra costs the ABS incurred as a result of the outage, estimated by the ABS to be $30 million. It is in “commercial negotiations” with Secretary of the Treasury John Fraser.

Mr MacGibbon also criticised the closeness of the bureau to IBM, saying there was a degree of “vendor lock-in”, where the ABS saw IBM as a natural partner because it had worked with it in the past.

A representative of Capability Driven Acquisition, the company that advised the ABS on hiring IBM, said several other potential bidders had told it there was little point in competing against IBM because it would win the contract.

The bureau’s chief, David Kalisch, told the committee he would have considered an open tender had “IBM not been able to satisfy the ABS that it could deliver”.

One of many “learnings” the bureau had taken from the experience was that it might be worthwhile running the next census in-house and that the slogan “Get Online on August 9” may have contributed to the problem.

Mr Kalisch defended the bureau’s decision to retain the names submitted with this year’s census and revealed that in the past no one who declined to submit their name had ever been prosecuted.

A former head of the bureau, Bill McLennan, told the the hearing that in his time the bureau had received legal advice telling it that it lacked the power to compel people to provide names.

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Pokie payouts a ‘myth’: landmark legal action

The 85 per cent return figure is calculated over the lifetime of a machine. Photo: Erin JonassonAustralia’s voracious gaming machines are facing a landmark legal test, with a former pokie addict set to challenge the industry’s assurance that players are returned a minimum 85 per cent of their stake.
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In the Federal Court on Wednesday, Adelaide-based lead applicant Shonica Guy will seek a declaration against industry giants Crown casino and pokie manufacturer Aristocrat that the machines she played for 14 years were misleading and deceptive.

In September, Fairfax Media revealed details of Ms Guy’s claim that the popular Dolphin Treasure machine was designed to mislead players. This included an uneven spread of symbols needed to win across the game’s five “reels” and the disguising of losses as wins through images and sound.

But in an updated claim, Ms Guy will also argue that information to players provided on machines is deceptive, notably the assurance that players will get a “theoretical” return of 85 per cent (the figure varies by state and by machine).

The 85 per cent return figure is calculated over the lifetime of a machine and includes jackpots that occasional players rarely win.

Prominent Melbourne-based law firm Maurice Blackburn is representing Ms Guy. Principal Jacob Varghese slammed the 85 per cent advice to players as  a “myth” based on the average return from a single spin.

Ms Guy’s team will claim that, contrary to federal consumer law, players are tricked into believing that if they enter a pokies venue with $100 they will leave hours later with $85.

But because 15 per cent on average is lost each game, the return cumulatively diminishes, with average players losing $5 every minute and $10 in five minutes.

“So if you put money into the machine and have multiple spins, you likely will be left with nothing,” said Mr Varghese. He said that to be confident of an 85 per cent return a player would have to have unlimited funds and use a machine for its lifetime.

Mr Varghese said the case was the first to focus on the effects of poker machine design on the prospects of winning. If successful it would have ramifications for the design of all pokie machines across the industry.

The case centres on the Dolphin Treasure machine and the claim the machine is designed – including in its reels and symbols – to make winning far more difficult than it appears to players,

Ms Guy said the machines took over her life for 14 years. “I do not want that to happen to another family.

“People deserve to know what is going on with the design of these machines, which deliberately give people false hope that they have a chance of winning to keep them playing. It is wrong, and it has to stop,” she said.

The legal action is being supported by the Alliance for Gambling Reform and backed up with analysis by researchers at Monash University.

Australians lose more than $11 billion on pokies each year. Some $2.5 billion is lost in Victoria alone, with $1 billion flowing to state coffers through taxes. Crown has a licence to operate 2628 poker machines.

Pokies manufacturer Aristocrat did not comment on Tuesday but has previously said it would “vigorously” defend any legal action.

It has said it “emphatically rejects” that its games are designed to encourage problem gambling or do not comply “with all relevant regulations and laws”.

In a brief written statement a spokeswoman  for Crown in Melbourne said it would also defend any claim.

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