Live: Aussies desperate to finish Women’s Ashes with T20 win

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Mike Calford named new provost at Australian National University

A University of Tasmania leader who helped win it state and federal funding for a large-scale relocation project will become senior deputy to ANU’s vice-chancellor after beating other candidates in a global recruitment effort.

Mike Calford, who will become ANU’s new provost in March, was in the same role at UTAS when it secured money for a transformational $300 million campus relocation project at its Launceston and Burnie campuses.

He will be ANU’s new chief academic officer, leading delivery of its strategic plan when he leaves Tasmania for Canberra.

ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said he was grateful to have appointed Professor Calford.

“Mike brings remarkable depth and insight to his leadership, having managed most aspects of a university’s activities, from education and research to international and operational matters,” he said.

“At every level – as an educator, researcher, head of school, dean, and as a senior executive – Mike has demonstrated his strategic capacity, his collegiality, his determination, and his ability to deliver excellence.”

Professor Calford said he was delighted and honoured to join ANU as provost.

“ANU is one of the world’s great universities, with an ambitious and inspiring strategy to serve Australia as its national university,” he said.

A leading researcher in neuroscience, Professor Calford has been provost at UTAS since 2014 and was previously a deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Newcastle for five years and a pro vice-chancellor at the University of Wollongong.

His career has also involved teaching and research stints at University of Queensland and University of Melbourne, and at ANU.

He also worked overseas at the University of Oxford, the University of California Irvine and City University of New York.

Thieves steal paraplegic man’s Holden Commodore from Jacka home

Thieves have stolen a disabled man’s new car in what the victim thinks was a planned act. 

Zac Barrett, 21, has used a wheelchair since a motorcycle accident left him a paraplegic about three years ago.

He recently purchased the new blue Holden Commodore and was about to have it sent to Sydney to be modified with hand controls.

The thieves struck when he briefly left his Jacka home on Saturday morning to go to the shops. 

“I was back within 10 minutes and that’s all it took them to steal it,” he said. 

A key to the Mr Barrett’s car was locked in his friend’s car, which the thieves broke into.  

“They would have had to be watching me the whole time to know that,” he said. 

“They’re just low life scum, it shows you can’t really teach stupid.

“Watching a wheelchair user’s house to steal their car, really?”

As of Monday afternoon there were a few potential sightings of the car and Mr Barrett was hopeful he would be reunited with it.

“They’re definitely not the brightest,” he said. 

He said friends and social media users who have helped find the car all had the same reaction – “who steals from a disabled person?” 

ACT Policing said it was investigating the theft. 

Anyone with information should contact police on 131 444. 

Endangered smoky mice getting hot and steamy thanks to classic tactics

Updated November 20, 2017 18:31:20

For centuries, aspiring lovers have used flowers and exotic delicacies to woo their partners, and it seems the animal kingdom is no different.

Scientists have bolstered the numbers of one of the nation’s most critically endangered species, the smoky mouse, by decking out the breeding enclosures of six adult mice with flowers and food.

The old-fashioned dating techniques have seen six new litters of baby mice welcomed at Australia’s only smoky mouse captive breeding facility — spearheaded by the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

Breeding specialist Daniel Gowland said researchers played Cupid by creating the perfect breeding environment for the cute critters.

“Food is a stimulus for us all, it’s one of the first little integrations we do … and it’s one of the main things we had to work on,” he said.

“We need to give flowers once or twice a week and that way they can take what they want — their body can give them the cue: ‘I need to eat a little bit of this’.”

But the process behind the procreation is slightly less romantic than flowers and delicacies.

The breeding facility places the male mouse in one enclosure, and the female in another. The two enclosures are connected to a third enclosure, and the mice are able to move between the rooms through small pipes.

The animals typically spend about two weeks in their own room, before deciding to take the bold step of venturing into the neutral territory.

“Straight away, we can see the girl’s gone ‘Oh, I like you’ and dragged the little boy into her room and the boy’s moved straight in,” Mr Gowland said.

“It will take a couple of weeks still, what they tend to do is set up their own little house, but right when they’re about to give birth they set up a birthing suite in that common ground.”

Spicing things up with newcomers

But the researchers found in some cases, the mice needed some extra assistance.

“We weren’t getting breeding out of a pair that was obviously bonded, there was a lot of cuddling, a lot of grooming together, but no breeding activity,” Mr Gowland said.

“I found a male … he was very much in season, and it stimulated the other pair to make babies.

“The male’s glands become quite swollen and they’ll have a, depending on your taste, a nice sweet and musky smell about them, and just bringing another male into the area will help stimulate a lot of the other pairs to breed.”

Population numbers of the smoky mouse in the wild have dropped to critically low levels, with fewer than 1,000 in Australia.

Because the mice are typically very naive and trusting, they easily fall prey to feral cats and foxes, making them vulnerable to extinction.

But the threatened species team leader from the NSW OEH, Damon Oliver, said the breeding program could help save this “uniquely Australian rodent”.

“It does play an important role in what we call ecosystem function or engineering,” he said.

“Part of its diet is native fungus, which lives under the ground, so it plays a role in turning the soil over which actually helps the viability of the vegetation it lives in.”

Dr Oliver said scientists ultimately hoped to boost the number of smoky mice by introducing those bred in the facility into the wild.

Topics: animal-behaviour, animals, endangered-and-protected-species, canberra-2600, australia

First posted November 20, 2017 14:55:38

England gets some consolation with Twenty20 Ashes win in Canberra

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Police seek information relating to critical incident to the death of Anthony Caristo

Almost three weeks after the death of Anthony Caristo, who died after being Tasered by police at his Waramanga home, ACT Police are seeking information into the weeks before the incident.

Mr Caristo died during a critical incident on November 1, when police found him covered in blood and holding a large knife. At the time, police said his finger had been severed and arms cut. When he struck his leg with the knife, officers Tasered him once to prevent him harming himself further, police said.

After being subdued and handcuffed, Mr Caristo was found to be unresponsive and could not be revived.

The criminal investigations and AFP professional standards units who are investigating the critical incident are reviewing the last few weeks of Mr Caristo’s life. They believe Mr Caristo had recently sold items on Gumtree.

Police are urging anyone who had contact with Mr Caristo in the weeks leading up to his death to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

At the time of the incident, Mr Caristo’s daughter said she was still numb with disbelief.

“Despite having our ups and downs in our relationship, he was my dad,” she said.

“He was a smart man with a big heart and I’ll never forget the crazy things we used to do on our weekends together when I was younger.”

Spring Out Pride Parade bathes gloomy Canberra in sea of technicolour

Updated November 18, 2017 16:02:38

Canberra’s annual Spring Out Pride Parade has lit up Civic in rainbow colours on an otherwise wet and rainy day.

A large crowd of Canberrans, mostly belonging to LGBTIQ advocacy groups, marched through the streets of Civic for one of the major events of the annual Spring Out festival.

Cars beeped and passers by cheered and waved flags in support as the group made its way through Garema Place and down Bunda Street to Glebe Park.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, the first openly gay leader of any state or territory, led the parade with his partner Anthony Toms.

The Pride Parade comes just days after Australia voted to allow same-sex couples to marry and Canberra returned the highest Yes vote of any jurisdiction.

But the march was not just in celebration — Mr Barr reminded the crowd that the campaign for gay rights was not yet over.

“We’ve fought so long and so hard to achieve this basic equality and it has consumed so much of our community’s attention and the public’s and media’s attention,” he said.

“But there’s still so much to be done to achieve full inclusion and equality for all LGBTIQ people — not just here in Canberra but around the nation and around the world.”

Mr Barr said a major step was to make the LGBTIQ community more visible and included in Canberra.

He said part of that was giving Braddon a rainbow makeover.

On Wednesday, Mr Barr announced a technicolour roundabout would be installed in Braddon and thousands of people partied in Londsdale Street into the night after the result of the postal survey was announced.

“It’s not just that gay and lesbian people can only have one or two venues that they can feel comfortable socialising in,” Mr Barr said.

“What we are seeing on Lonsdale Street is quite an inclusive strip there where there a range of bars, restaurants and venues that are really popular right across the board.

“With the rainbow roundabout going in there I suspect we’ll see a lot more activity for LGBTIQ people in that region.”

Topics: gays-and-lesbians, states-and-territories, federal—state-issues, canberra-2600, act

First posted November 18, 2017 15:19:44

Women’s Ashes: Ellyse Perry talks Canberra, cricket and coffee after double ton

Ellyse Perry still gets nostalgic most times she comes back to Canberra.

It might be something as simple as driving past the Italian restaurant in Kingston where she had her first date with former ACT Brumbies player and now husband Matt Toomua.

The Australian sporting golden girl can add another moment to her capital memories as she chases a perfect finish to the women’s Ashes at Manuka Oval on Sunday and Tuesday.

It would be a sweet reward after scoring an historic unbeaten 213 in the Ashes Test in Sydney last weekend.

Perry’s mind is focused only on beating England in the final matches of the multi-format tournament.

But relaxing with a coffee at one of two Canberra cafes where she is a part owner, Perry allows herself to reflect on how the city and a long black changed her life.

“I never used to drink coffee, but I loved cafes. Somewhere along the line, Matt said if I started drinking coffee he would propose to me. So I weaned myself on to it,” Perry laughed.

“It was a joke, but he actually said it. I’m pretty sure I started drinking piccolos well in advance of that.”

The rest is history. Perry and Toomua got married two years ago, fittingly just hours after Perry hit the winning runs for the Sydney Sixers in a Women’s Big Bash League match.

Their relationship started when they were playing for Canberra United and the Brumbies and they are now part-owners of cafes Two Before Ten at Aranda and Nomad at the University of Canberra.

Perry will return to the capital for the last two Twenty20 matches of the women’s Ashes campaign. Cricket ACT are hoping Perry and $10 tickets help attract bumper crowds for the Manuka Oval fixtures.

Perry, 27, is already one of Australia’s greatest female athletes. Her double century last weekend was the third highest score in women’s cricket history but her humble and polite nature is what endears her to a nation.

Female athletes are finally getting more opportunities to pursue their sporting dreams.

Perry has been living her dream since she was a teenager, becoming the youngest player in Australian women’s cricket history and a dual international when she made her Australian Matildas soccer debut.

But she also needed balance in her life. So cafe hopping developed from an on-tour hobby to a business avenue with Toomua, who fancies himself as a barrista.

“It’s always been a bit of a pipe dream I guess [to own a cafe]. We love being able to learn a lot about it as well. Canberra seemed a lot more logical for us than Sydney so this is how it ended up,” Perry said.

“We share the [coffee-making] duties at home. It’s kind of whoever gets to it first in the morning gets to make the coffees … it’s a bit of a competition and he’s probably got better latte art than me at the moment.

“I’m still stuck on the hearts, he’s got the tulips and the rosetta as well. He gets a bit more practice though.”

The challenge for Toomua and Perry is aligning their sporting lives. Toomua left the Brumbies at the end of last year to link with the Leicester Tigers and will be based in England until at least 2020.

Perry is at the peak of her cricket powers as one of the world’s leading all-rounders.

But a commitment to make up for lost time when they retire helps fuel the fire when their colliding careers force them to spend months apart on opposite sides of the world.

“It’s been a good experience for us both professionally and it’s good to see Matt get that over there at Leicester,” Perry said.

“When we get to spend time together, it’s wonderful. We spend more concentrated periods together now … we both just want to make the most of these opportunities while we have our sporting careers.

“Hopefully we make up for any lost time in the future. There’s a lot of Facetime and dodgy internet connections … It’s amazing how quickly it’s gone. And I still get nostalgic coming here.”


November 19: First Twenty20 – Australia v England at Manuka Oval, 2.35pm. Tickets from Ticketek.

November 21: First Twenty20 – Australia v England at Manuka Oval, 7.10pm. Tickets from Ticketek.

Philanthropist ordered to pay $110,000 security in defamation case

A Cambodian philanthropist has been ordered to pay a $110,000 security before her defamation case against a Canberra law student can proceed.

The deputy registrar of the ACT Magistrates Court this week ordered Geraldine Cox’s lawsuit, that alleges Juanita Zankin defamed her in a February Facebook post, be stayed until the former diplomat stumps up the cash.

Ms Cox launched the legal action over a a 27-word comment Ms Zankin made on the social media page of Canberra law firm, Ben Aulich and Associates.

The law firm posted an image on its Facebook account in February, with the caption: “An excellent time raising funds for Sunrise Cambodia with Geraldine Cox”.

In response, Ms Zankin posted a comment alleging Ms Cox had caused harm and was despised in Cambodia.

Ms Cox alleges the post defamed her and hurt her charity as it damaged her reputation.

The lawsuit argues the intention of the comment had been to cause harm to the operation of Cambodia Sunrise by causing Ms Cox to be despised, to prevent Australians from making donations, and inferring she conducted the charity shamefully.

She is seeking damages, aggravated damages, and costs.

The matter first came before the court in mid-year, with ACT Magistrates Court deputy registrar Michael Edwards dismissing Ms Zankin’s application to have the matter stayed or thrown out, and struck out the majority of the defence as defective.

Mr Edwards ordered Ms Zankin to pay costs.

Ms Zankin then launched a security for costs application against Ms Cox, on the grounds she is based in Cambodia.

Security for costs can be ordered when a plaintiff resides in a country where an Australian court order could be difficult to enforce.

Ms Cox opposed the application, arguing it had not been brought promptly, and it had been Ms Zankin’s second attempt at the application, having a previous bid withdrawn and then dismissed by the court.

In a decision, published on Wednesday, Mr Edwards ordered Ms Cox to pay the court $110,000, or provide a security for that amount.

“Being satisfied that [Ms Cox] is ordinarily overseas, … I am of the view that it is appropriate to order security for costs,” Mr Edwards wrote.

“There is no doubt that the costs of this matter if it proceeds to trial will be substantial.

“If successful [Ms Zankin] would be put to additional costs to enforce any costs order if she can enforce it at all in Cambodia. There is no evidence that an order will be oppressive or stultify the proceedings.”

Mr Edwards ordered the proceedings be stayed until the court received the security.

SSM: Turnbull got it done, and he should be given credit for that

Updated November 17, 2017 16:32:43

The party in Canberra’s Lonsdale street on Wednesday night was like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Pure, spontaneous, joyful celebration.

Thousands of people literally dancing in the street.

Young and old, gay and straight (mostly gay) revelling in the moment that people won over politics.

In a city infamous for a grim adherence to rules and order, police calmly watched on as party-goers passed around beers purchased from the local bottle shop.

The ACT’s Chief Minister even skolled a Corona on stage (with a slice of lemon in it, of course).

One smiling stranger hugged me and said, “Don’t ever change.” (My wife will be happy to hear I don’t plan on it).

This was a party to remember and it went well into the early hours.

A lot of people had complained about the Coalition’s plan for a plebiscite or postal vote to settle the issue of same-sex marriage.

But would a celebration like this have been possible without it?

I bumped into a gay (and happy) Federal MP, who’d hated the idea of a people’s vote.

“Was it all worth it for this moment?” I asked.

“Absolutely!” was the reply.

Big changes require big fights

The jubilation in Lonsdale Street was in massive contrast to the Prime Minister’s quiet celebration at home.

Dinner and a glass of champagne with Lucy. Then watching the Socceroos (at a somewhat awkward angle) from an armchair in his bedroom at The Lodge.

It was a relatively lonely image, especially of a man who revels amongst the crowds at Mardi Gras each year as it proudly stomps through his electorate.

Clearly, this is not a victory Malcolm Turnbull is willing or able to publicly own just yet, such are the divisions in the “broad church” called (ironically at times) The Coalition.

The tone at his press conference earlier in the day seemed defiant, almost angry. Certainly not jubilant.

It was left up to Labor and the Greens, who opposed the process, to dance in the streets.

The reality is, though, in the end it was Malcolm Turnbull who got this done. And he should be given credit for that.

It was a messy process. It was risky. It was hurtful for those whose private relationships were dragged through a national debate.

And, since the for and against numbers were roughly unchanged throughout the entire process, it was evidently unnecessary.

But the effect of the national vote, and the strength of the Yes case, has cemented this change so firmly that no politician in their right mind would attempt turn it around in a future election.

And few, if any, will stand in the way of it being legislated before Christmas.

Even the fiercest opponents, like Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi, have indicated they’ll abstain, rather than vote no in Parliament.

Allowing same-sex marriage is a big change.

Big changes require big fights.

And big fights make the celebrations that much sweeter.

Topics: government-and-politics, federal-government, liberals, marriage, gays-and-lesbians, turnbull-malcolm, canberra-2600

First posted November 17, 2017 16:00:17