A TWILIGHT ceremony attended by about 200 people at the VictoryMemorial Gardenssaw Tracy Coleman crowned the 2013 Miss Wagga Quest winner, and Teneal Hanigannamed the city’s community princess.
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-Miss Wagga 2013 coronationgallery

– Miss Wagga central

The 31-year-old agribusiness finance analyst was speechlesslast night as she thanked the quest’s dedicated committee and spoke of the12-month journey she was embarking on.

“I’m shocked, I certainly wasn’t expecting this,” Ms Colemansaid.

“I’ve shared the last six months with five great girls andnow I’m looking forward to meeting new people and fund-raising for our greatcommunity.”

The Miss Wagga crown was presented by mayor Rod Kendallwhile the community princess crown was presented by member for Wagga, DarylMaguire.

Both commented on the long history of the quest and itsability to enhance the professional skills of its entrants and titleholders.

A tearful Ms Hanigan accepted her new crown and said she washoping to act as a positive role model for young women in the city.

“I want to use my time as community princess to help promotewomen and charitable causes,” Ms Hanigan said.

Miss Wagga Quest chairwoman Ly Smith set the tone for theevent, reflecting on its 65 years, and speaking about the individual nature ofthe competition.

“The girls who enter do it alone and challenge their comfortzones,” Mrs Smith said.

NEW TITLEHOLDERS: 2013 Miss Wagga Tracy Coleman and community princess Teneal Hanigan after the crowning ceremony at the Victory Memorial Gardens last night. Picture: Oscar Colman

“They put themselves out there and that courage is to beadmired.”

Ms Coleman was sponsored by CBAAgribusiness and Ms Hanigan was sponsored by Regional Express Airlines.

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HEARTBREAK: Perth Glory player Chris Harold celebrates scoring the winner against the Jets at nib Stadium on Saturday night. Picture by Getty ImagesIT did little to ease the frustration, but coach Gary van Egmond took solace from the performance if not the result after the Jets’ three-game winning streak in the A-League came to an end against Perth Glory.
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Perth substitute Chris Haroldpounced at the back post in the 86th minute after the Jets failed to deal with a corner to seal a 3-2 victory at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

Until that point the Jets had appeared set to gain a point if not three.

Down 2-1 at half-time, the visitors equalised in the 71st minute through Josh Mitchell and had several chances to go ahead.

Instead they were left to lament another barren trip to the west.

‘‘I think it was pretty close to one of our best performances,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘I thought we controlled the game.

‘‘The first half against Sydney was good, but against Perth we got hold of the game against a top opposition away from home.

‘‘The second half was one-way traffic, so I’m quite happy.

‘‘Performance-wise I’m happy. But to concede two goals on a set piece and one from an error, I’m not so happy with that.’’

It has been nearly seven years since the Jets lone victory in Perth – a 1-0 triumph in the inaugural season.

They get another opportunity to break the drought in round 11 (December 4).

‘‘You are in Perth and everyone knows is a difficult game when you come over here,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘Tonight was a night we should have got something out of it and we didn’t. It is about being ruthless enough to take that opportunity.’’

In a night of contrasting fortunes, defenders Tiago and Mitchell scored their first goals for the club, James Brown got through 77 minutes, Emile Heskey’s golden run came to an end and Craig Goodwin struggled to make an impact at left fullback.

Heskey, lethal in the past three outings, had three gilt edge chances, two from close range.

He turned a volley straight into the hands of Danny Vukovic early in the first half, duffed a shot from point-blank range midway through the second and directed another attempt at the keeper at the death. A foot either side and he would have had a hat-trick.

However, the former England striker did provide the assist, climbing above the pack to win a header, for Mitchell’s tap in.

‘‘Not always is he always going to be on the scoreboard but, at the same token, he’s going to help others,’’ Van Egmond said.

Chasing a club record-equalling fourth straight win, the Jets made the perfect start when Mitchell got on the end of a corner and headed across goal for Tiago to bundle in.

The Glory were back on level terms in 11th minute when Steve McGarry launched a low missile from 26 metres out inside the left post.

The home side took the lead in the 34th minute when Nick Ward reacted quickest and slotted home after Mark Birighitti palmed away a header by Dean Heffernan. It would have been 3-1 at the break but Scott Jamieson was controversially ruled offside on the stroke of half-time.

The Jets were a different outfit in the second half.

They pressed higher up the pitch, won the majority of 50-50 challenges and forced the issue.

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Julia Gillard … has been urged by Independents to face unpopular and tough decisions before next year’s election.The federal government should make deeper cuts to middle-class handouts, the Prime Minister was told in a recent meeting with two key independents, who are also backing an increase in the GST.
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Independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott have urged Julia Gillard and the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, to face unpopular and tough decisions before next year’s election.

The two government allies met with the Labor pair last week, Mr Windsor arguing against any kind of middle-class welfare if the government was ”serious about the surplus”.

Mr Windsor also backed former NSW premier Nick Greiner’s call to examine and widen the scope of the GST, saying he was supportive of an increase to 11 per cent.

In the meeting, he said it was time for political parties to stop being ”immature” and urged the government to take seriously the GST review, led by Mr Greiner and delivered to Mr Swan on Friday. Mr Greiner says the tax is failing to deliver the revenue expected of it and has proposed a ”serious national debate” to consider widening the GST to include fresh food and health and education services.

Mr Windsor, who helped Ms Gillard form minority government along with Mr Oakeshott, said it was time to address the ”elephant in the room”.

”There is no reason in the world, apart from the sheer politics of it, that it couldn’t be objectively looked at. I’d be very supportive of it,” he said.

But the review is certain to fall on deaf ears on both sides of federal politics as neither side will countenance changes to the GST because any move to do so is considered political poison.

Mr Windsor conceded that raising the GST rate was not his preferred tax reform.

The New England MP told Ms Gillard and Mr Swan in the private meeting that he believed the time had come to make the hard decisions and ”bite the bullet” in removing large parts of the middle-class welfare handouts.

This included the baby bonus – which the government announced in last month’s mini-budget would be reduced from $5000 to $3000 for the second and subsequent child – and family cash incentives for families implemented ”during the Howard era as straight-out vote buyers, when the mining boom was rolling and we had the cash”.

Mr Windsor said he believed Labor would seriously consider deeper cuts to family entitlements if it ”really, really [wanted] to chase that elusive surplus”.

But Ms Gillard yesterday flatly ruled out any plans to increase the GST, saying she was looking for solutions on how best to distribute it.

Mr Oakeshott kept out of the spotlight yesterday as Ms Gillard was forced to intervene in a potentially explosive situation between the independent and a cabinet minister.

Ms Gillard confirmed that the federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, will drop plans to sue Mr Oakeshott for comments he made in The Sydney Morning Herald criticising the government’s mining tax.

Ms Gillard said she spoke to the minister yesterday morning and it was agreed that the case would be dropped.

”Minister Ferguson is a very honest man with a great deal of pride in his reputation for honesty and that’s appropriate,” she said.

In a speech to the Greens’ national conference in Sydney, the party’s leader, Christine Milne, attacked the government for its refusal to alter the mining tax, despite the tax raising next to no revenue in its first three months.

Senator Milne said that she was open to an examination of the GST but did not support any measure that would ”expose the vulnerable to more burden”.

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Do you daydream about your man taking you on dates to the gym? Does your ideal date include pausing to update your Facebook page about the number of people not using their indicators on the road?
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Me neither, but for a significant group – more than 1000 people – this is enough to get them hot and flustered.

Riding the runaway success of 50 Shades of Grey, a Facebook page called 50 Shades of Moranbah has attracted more than 1000 fans with the story of a burgeoning romance in the Queensland town about 200 kilometres west of Mackay.

The story is posted in instalments centring around a female character and Luke, who she meets in the car park of Coles.

“He was dressed in the typical hi-vis orange. He stole my heart the first time I saw him open his car door onto my car, which was parked next to his. ‘Hey!’ I said, ‘Watch out mate!’,” reads one post.

One of the more titillating lines of the story says: “I refuse to run after King [a dog], as my backless dress I chose for today does not allow me to wear a bra and I do not want to get the girls bouncing around too much in case they flop out the top”.

It follows the characters as they go on their first “date” – movies on the couch – and moves on to a “far classier” alternative, according to the author – the gym.

“The gym’s teaming with potential men now, there’s no harm in looking if this little fling doesn’t happen to work out,” the chapter reads.

“I really hope it does though, my repayments for my best assets are starting to become a little much; I need someone to pass them onto. Is two dates enough to start joining our bank accounts?”

Chapters are posted weekly and so far five are up on the site with the fans lapping up the sexual innuendoes, which are accompanied by rather mundane details such as the poor service at a gym.

In one chapter the author goes into great detail about the pair deciding what they will have for dinner. The fish and chip shop they go to will not serve chips [“sadface”], Red Rooster runs out of chicken and the gourmet pizza place is too far away.

More than 1000 people have followed the couple’s exploits, including the protagonist’s daydreaming about the size of Luke’s bank account – no, that’s not a euphemism.

“I need a husband that doesn’t check his balance on a regular basis so I can buy as much as I want and tell him ‘it was on sale’ or ‘$10 off Buy, Swap and Sell’,” she tells herself.

On another date she fondly remembers being chased by boys with inflated condoms as a teenage girl and updates her Facebook page to complain about other drivers not indicating on the road.

“It’s not the first time I’ve had to climb into a guy’s truck with my shortest dress on, I’ve had practice on entering and exiting tall vehicles with class, and not showing my ass,” she writes of getting into the car.

The author has refused to reveal her identity but told the Mackay newspaper, the Daily Mercury, that the success was due to people in Moranbah being able to relate to the typical mining town scenes.

“No one knows it is me who is writing this, no family, no friends,” she said.

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Elijah Slavkovic was dying. Every so often in medicine there is a silver bullet, one simple action that means the difference between life and death: but the baby boy never got that chance.
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Glebe Coroner’s Court heard this week Elijah died of meningococcal meningitis. If antibiotics are given, between 90 and 95 per cent of children with the condition will survive.

NSW Health told the inquest it is rolling out a series of training modules to help emergency department staff recognise such desperately sick children, particularly those with meningococcal illness.

One doctor testified that he was concerned about giving unnecessary antibiotics to Elijah because it could contribute to antibiotic resistance in the community.

It was a misplaced fear – and one that runs contrary to every advice given by health authorities to doctors in such circumstances.

Such uncalled for restraint in Elijah’s case is made all the more tragic by the fact that antibiotics are still freely overused around he country, and the world, despite the growing threat of ”superbugs” developing resistance to them.

In Australia the drugs that could have saved little Elijah’s life, third-generation cephalosporins, are still being given to pigs and cows.

Experts say that despite more than a decade of infectious diseases specialists warning about threat of superbugs, Australia is still behind the game when it comes to protecting ourselves.

Peter Collignon, a professor of infectious diseases at the Canberra clinical school of the Australian National University, worries that unless we ban the use of third-generation cephalosporins in agriculture we could create a situation where they are no longer our silver bullet.

“In my personal view, and I have a bias towards people over animals, people need to have reserve drugs that we can rely on,” he says. “This is not an incidental drug, this is a drug we use frequently. This is a drug we rely on to treat serious illnesses that might kill.”

He says Australian agriculture is up with the best in the world when it comes to antibiotic use, but we need to make some hard decisions about drugs such as cephalosporins.

“I don’t think we should be using these drugs at all. If you need to use them it means you are not operating in good conditions, it’s too crowded for your animals.”

Things move quickly in infectious diseases, as bugs evolve and prescribing practices change.

Collignon is frustrated that more than 10 years after our first serious concerns about superbugs led to the formation of a federal response – the Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance – many of the recommendations it made have still not been adopted.

“Essentially a lot of [the committee] was saying we should do more surveillance of antibiotic use in people and animals, and resistance in people and animals, and that hasn’t happened,” he says.

We still do not fully understand the extent of antibiotic use in animals in Australia, nor keep a centralised register recording instances of all our most dangerous superbugs.

“We have moved a lot in 10 years, we have a lot more data in people … there’s still a real difficulty getting data on what’s happening in the animal sector where 70 to 80 per cent of antibiotics are used, and most importantly what’s happening overseas,” he says.

When the committee was in operation, the debate was around whether an antibiotic group called fluoroquinolones should be allowed to be used in agriculture. They were banned, and today Australia has the lowest rates of resistance in humans of anywhere in the world, he says.

But the committee also recommended reviewing the use of some drugs and banning others for use in agriculture, neither of which has happened, Collignon says.

Senator Richard DiNatale, a former GP and public health expert, is also the health spokesman for the Australian Greens.

This week he called for an inquiry into Australia’s response to the committee’s recommendations.

“In Australia we recognised over a decade ago that this was a major issue, and most people who work in infectious diseases and public health have recognised this was a problem for many many years,” he says. “But it’s like a lot of these issues where there is a slow gradual threat, it’s very difficult to invoke an emergency response.”

DiNatale says a response that crosses government departments – customs, agriculture and health to name a few – is needed to properly tackle the problem.

“These bugs are coming and with travel we are going to see them emerge at greater rates,” he says.

At the University of Adelaide, a small research team funded by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Animal Health Australia is trying to figure out just how widespread antibiotic resistance is in Australian farm animals.

The director of the university’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory, Darren Trott, said he had already been turned down once for an Australian Research Council grant to help support his work.

He believes Australian animals are not widely fed antibiotics, with only 1 to 3 per cent of animals within a herd treated when sickness is identified. “Antibiotics are quite expensive,” he says. “But it could vary greatly from feedlot to feedlot.”

His project, which will involve Pfizer in an advisory role, will create a network of laboratories to test for resistance in samples isolated from farm animals.

He hopes that the government will eventually provide the funding for ongoing monitoring.

“We might have the lowest rates of resistance in the world, but we can’t be complacent,” he says.

The director of infectious diseases at the Austin Hospital and the University of Melbourne, Lindsay Grayson, is also concerned about a small minority of farmers misusing antibiotics.

He will no longer eat wagyu beef, as the cramped feedlots and cows forced to eat grain instead of grass are a hotbed for sickness and antibiotic misuse. But he says the problems with farming in Australia are nothing compared to the risks posed by resistant bugs already established overseas.

“The cat is well and truly already out of the bag there,” he says. “The antibiotics that doctors are using here are given in milligrams, but they are being used in kilograms and tons in overseas agriculture.”

That food itself can be loaded with antibiotics; recently a shipment of prawns was stopped coming into Australia from Vietnam that was heavy with antibiotics that Australian doctors would need special permission from Canberra to prescribe.

But it can also be contaminated with the very resistant bacteria doctors so fear.

A study published in July in the journalFoodborne Pathogens and Diseasefound superbugs were rampant in supermarket meats sold in Canada.

The research team tested 422 pieces of randomly sampled chicken, turkey, beef, and pork. It found resistance to important antibiotics in between 12 and 16 per cent of the samples, with the chicken particularly infected. Of the chicken infected with bacteria known as E. coli, nearly a third was resistant to more than five different antibiotics.

Grayson says that while doctors should still worry about overuse of antibiotics – Australia has some of the highest rates of use in the world – there is an urgent need for hospitals to prevent the spread of existing bugs.

There are no national standards for the insertion of invasive devices such as drips, nor for hospital cleaning, which is increasingly focused on as an area for hospital cost-cutting. “There has been a steady downgrading of the importance of cleaners in our hospitals,” Grayson says.

He says national standards, along with a commitment to design new hospitals with single rooms, are desperately needed.

The most important thing about single rooms is that they limit the use of shared toilets, as most of the serious bugs are carried in the gut.

“Basically we need to have one bum per toilet,” he says. “If you’ve got a superbug in your bowel and you are using a shared toilet … you have a 100 per cent chance of contaminating it.”

Every day millions of individual decisions made by doctors, veterinarians among others contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance.

But all the experts approached byFairfaxdid not believe we had yet got to the stage where doctors were reluctant to use antibiotics when they were really needed.

The problem is that in cases like little Elijah’s, serious bacterial infections can be extremely difficult to identify.

The NSW Chief Paediatrician, Les White, believes Australia still has a problem with mildly unwell people receiving antibiotics, it simply does not apply when it comes to children infected with something like meningococcal.

“It really can present in some very vague ways and they can get sick quite quickly,” Professor White says. “The issue is not usually that antibiotics do not get used, it’s that they are not used quickly enough.”


Sandra Bernobic holds her son’s bonnet outside the inquest. Picture: Wolter Peeters

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