Archive for August, 2019

19 August
Comments Off on Mother of Australian Kurdish fighter visits Syria

Mother of Australian Kurdish fighter visits Syria

Photos have emerged online purporting to show the mother of an Australian man killed in Syria meeting with Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.


Reece Harding, a 23-year-old man from Queensland’s Gold Coast, travelled to the Kurdish-held region of northern Syria to fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

He was killed in June this year.

Now, photos on Twitter show a woman identified as his mother, Michelle Harding, shaking the hand of a uniformed fighter in the region while holding a framed photo of Mr Harding.

Photos posted on the Lions of Rojava Facebook page show what appears to be the same woman alongside two other people not dressed in uniform.

They appear to be inspecting rows of uniformed men and women.

A spokesman for the Australian-Kurdish Association said he had been told Michelle Harding planned to travel to Rojava.

Mahmut Kahraman said he had spoken with Ms Harding’s husband and he confirmed she had travelled there with a television news crew from Australia.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told SBS people travelling to the region would be without ready access to consular assistance.

“We strongly advise people not to travel to Syria and Iraq. It is extremely volatile and dangerous. DFAT’s Travel Advisory for Syria and Iraq is “Do Not Travel”. Australian Government consular assistance is no longer available within Syria and the Government’s ability to provide consular assistance in Iraq is extremely limited,” they said.

“It is an offence for a person to enter, or remain in, al-Raqqa province in Syria and Mosul district in the Ninewa province in Iraq without a legitimate purpose. It is not an offence to travel to other parts of Syria or Iraq, even if it is strongly discouraged.”

19 August
Comments Off on Steve Smith at No.4 ‘ridiculous’: Chappell

Steve Smith at No.4 ‘ridiculous’: Chappell

Ian Chappell says Steve Smith has all but told him he will bat at No.


4 in the first Test against New Zealand, a move the ex-skipper describes as “ridiculous”.

Chappell also believes Cameron Bancroft will make his Test debut as opener in the Gabba Test starting on November 5, but is not convinced the Western Australian rising star has earned it.

Chappell said he knew where Smith would bat in a new look line-up after the post-Ashes Test retirements of ex-skipper Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin – and he wasn’t happy.

“After the conversation I had with him the other day I suspect he will bat at four which I think will be a mistake,” he told AAP.

“It’s ridiculous. He’s playing well. Why move?

“Why put a lesser player ahead of him?

“I didn’t want lesser players batting ahead of me unless they were openers.”

Smith stroked a masterful 143 batting at No.3 in his last Test – Australia’s innings and 46 run fifth Ashes Test win in August.

He averages 71.90 after seven Tests at first drop.

But his average is 80.00 at No.4 (four Tests).

Smith had conceded after taking over the captaincy from Clarke that he may have to drop down to four to provide balance to the inexperienced batting line-up against New Zealand.

Bancroft, Shaun Marsh and Queensland pair Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns will receive a final audition for two Test vacancies in this weekend’s Cricket Australia XI two-day clash with New Zealand in Canberra.

Chappell said 22-year-old Bancroft appeared to have the inside running to partner opener David Warner, returning from a broken thumb.

But Chappell says the jury is still out despite Bancroft thrashing 335 runs at an average of 55.83 in this month’s domestic one-day tournament.

“Looks like Bancroft will get the first crack at it,” Chappell said.

“I am not convinced yet. I saw him against Mitchell Starc (in a one-day match) the other day and he struggled.

“Mind you everyone is struggling against Starc these days.

“But I need some convincing yet.”

Marsh, Burns and Khawaja are in the mix for Test No.3 spot.

Chappell said no matter the line-up, a New Zealand attack spearheaded by Trent Boult and Tim Southee would fancy their chances of inspiring their first Test series win in Australia in 30 years.

“That batting line-up will keep New Zealand interested because they must feel like they must have a chance against them,” he said.

“But in the end I think it will be like what great Windies fast bowler Andy Roberts used to say: ‘whatever they bowl us out for we will bowl them out for less’.”

19 August
Comments Off on Lowndes admits V8 title a long shot

Lowndes admits V8 title a long shot

V8 Supercars veteran Craig Lowndes admits overhauling championship leader Mark Winterbottom will be a big ask.


The Holden star heads into this weekend’s Gold Coast 600 trailing Winterbottom by 399 points with just four events to go.

Lowndes brought his Bathurst form to the streets of Surfers Paradise on Friday, finishing third on the practice timesheets.

Nissan’s James Moffat was the fastest driver on the day with a one minute and 10.7995 seconds lap while Holden’s Shane Van Gisbergen (1:10.8727) came in second fastest.

Lowndes clocked a 1:11.0603 to finish third but knows he must battle hard to rein in Winterbottom and keep his title hopes alive.

“We’ll keep putting pressure on but we’ve obviously got to make up 100 points or more per round,” he said.

“That’s a damn hard thing to do at the moment the way that the competition’s really tight.

“It’s going to be tough but the only thing we can do now is keep putting pressure on and seeing what happens. If we can’t win a championship we have to try and keep secure in second which is also tough.”

Moffat’s display came just a day after he announced he would be leaving Nissan at the end of the year after three seasons with the team.

“I should make announcements like that every weekend,” he said.

“Obviously a good day for the team and the car’s felt pretty speedy on both tyres.”

It was a tougher day for Winterbottom, who was the fastest on the slower hard compound tyre in the opening practice run, but could only post the ninth quickest time of the day.

Defending champion Jamie Whincup, coming off the back of a Bathurst nightmare, failed to complete the opening practice session and came a lowly 24th in the day’s final run.

“I clipped the wall this morning which bent the car, it seems since then we have been behind the eight-ball for most of the day,” Whincup said.

“I was out late for my session and we didn’t manage to get a run on our good tyres in the end. It just kept snowballing really.”

The action resumes on Saturday with qualifying in the morning ahead of a 250km race in the afternoon.

19 August
Comments Off on Saints’ Carlisle back to face the music

Saints’ Carlisle back to face the music

Jake Carlisle’s video scandal could cost the star AFL recruit, with reports that St Kilda will review his contract.


Carlisle returned to Melbourne on Friday morning to face the music after leaked video of him snorting white powder thrust the Saints into damage control.

“I’m a little bit embarrassed and truly sorry for what’s happened,” Carlisle told Channel Seven at Melbourne airport.

“I’m looking forward to getting to the Saints and trying to prove myself at a new club.”

Carlisle cut short his US trip and returned less than 48 hours after video of him sniffing the unidentified powder was made public.

Carlisle’s trade from Essendon to the Saints was finalised on Wednesday, with the damning footage he shot of himself in a Las Vegas hotel room appearing on the Nine Network that night.

The 24-year-old quickly issued a public apology for his actions, but was lambasted by St Kilda chief executive Matt Finnis on Thursday.

He returned to Australia after crisis talks with club officials, including coach Alan Richardson.

“I can’t think of a worse start to a relationship with a new club but he’ll have the chance to win back that trust,” Finnis told Triple M.

“(But) from our point of view the trade’s been done, he’s a St Kilda player, and when he walks through our door we’ll take responsibility for turning him into a better player as well as a better person.”

Carlisle has reportedly already met with club officials but won’t be able to front onfield leaders for a while yet.

The leadership group is on leave until November 23, with skipper Nick Riewoldt not due back until the new year, as the veteran enjoys extra time in the US with his family.

The leadership group discussed the issue via telephone hook-up as the scandal unfolded, with Finnis describing them as “filthy” over the incident that became public after Carlisle uploaded the video to social media app Snapchat.

Finnis expects Carlisle will be subjected to targeted drug testing on his return.

It remains to be seen just what sanctions will be imposed but Finnis agreed Carlisle has a lot of work ahead of him to win back broken trust.

“I’ve been around football long enough to know that people make mistakes and everyone’s bullet-proof until they take a bullet,” he said.

“But this would at the far end, I’d reckon, of the most foolhardy things I’ve seen.

“Jake, to his credit has put his hand up, but he’s got to be accountable for that and that’s what will happen.”

19 August
Comments Off on Apologies but no memorial yet at Geelong

Apologies but no memorial yet at Geelong

Geelong Grammar has yet to decide whether to accept a proposal to erect a memorial to survivors of abuse at the elite private school in Victoria.


The memorial proposal was made by Robert Llewellyn-Jones, a prominent psychiatrist, who during his time at the school in the 1970s was sexually abused by a school chaplain, who is now dead.

Dr Llewellyn has told the royal commission inquiring into the school’s handing of sex abuse allegations across four decades that he also witnessed bullying and students sexually abusing each other at Geelong.

On Friday, the last day of the extended public inquiry into the co-ed school, the school governing council’s chairman Jeremy Kirkwood said he thought the memorial was an idea worth considering but the idea would need to be “evaluated very carefully” as some survivors had already opposed the idea.

He said it would probably be mid-year next year before a decision would be made and they would be seeking input from the broader school community.

There are 1,500 students at the boarding and day school which was founded in 1855.

The council has overall responsibility for school management and as head of council Mr Kirkwood on Friday apologised “sincerely and unreservedly” for the “physical and mental abuse” some students experienced.

He said the hurt and harm they had suffered was caused by the school’s failure to keep them safe “believe them and support them”.

The commission has heard that five teachers at Geelong Grammar were convicted of sexual abuse offences, some dating back to the 1970s, but the school which liked to handled matters quietly never told police when complaints were made.

Mr Kirkwood was asked on Friday what he knew of a “very generous” payment to teacher Jonathan Harvey who was jailed in 2007 after pleading guilty to abusing student in the 70s.

He said he knew Harvey’s early retirement in 2004 was related to abuse allegations because then principal Nicholas Sampson had rung to say he had been presented with a “fairly difficult situation” with regards to Harvey.

Mr Sampson intended to accelerate Harvey’s retirement and pay him a year’s salary but Mr Kirkwood said the headmaster was “hamstrung” because the complainant did not want his name disclosed and Harvey denied the abuse.

Earlier on Friday, the school’s commercial director Andrew Moore who wrote the $64,000 cheque for Harvey said he never knew why he was leaving the school.

Mr Moore said he understood the payment was an acknowledgement of long service.

The hearing has concluded.