Brothers Mark (left) and Scott Eaton are set to run in the City2Sea next Sunday on Remembrance Day, which has a special meaning.NEXT Sunday’s City2Sea fun run falls on Remembrance Day – and for two runners it’s a day that’s especially meaningful.
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Scott Eaton has served in East Timor with the Army Reserve and his brother Mark is the recipient of an RSL scholarship, but it’s their grandfather who will be in their thoughts when there’s a moment’s silence before the start of the race.

Frank Eaton was a Rat of Tobruk, part of the Australian and British forces that successfully defended the Libyan port against the German Afrika Korps in 1941. If that wasn’t enough, he then saw service in Papua New Guinea against the Japanese. He died in 1995.

”It’s a chance to remember the sacrifice that others have made before you,” said Scott, 33. ”For us it’s our grandfather who’s the first one who tends to come to mind. It’s a chance to remember what these guys have actually sacrificed for the freedoms that we have – we have our family and our mates to enjoy because of what they’ve done.”

Running is an appropriate way to honour Remembrance Day because it’s an essential part of army life, said Scott. In his recent nine-month deployment to East Timor, where he drove trucks for the Combat Service Support Troop, he ran frequently to keep in shape and did the Dili Half Marathon.

East Timor was his first overseas deployment in 15 years of Army Reserve service. ”You train for so long. It’s good to go over and actually do the job for real,” said Scott, whose tasks included helping to run an orphanage.

”It was really good. It was a chance to do something that makes you feel like you’re making a difference.”

Running has been the link that has eased his transition back into civilian life.

A communications technician, he runs his owns business but also manages to squeeze in a five-kilometre run every day near his home in Vermont.

Mark’s training routine, thanks to the demands of his job as a partner in a St Kilda Road law firm, is somewhat lighter – 10 to 15 kilometres a week – but it was his idea to do the 14-kilometre City2Sea. ”I did Run for the Kids, and that’s 15 kilometres, so I should be able to do this,” he said.

Mark, 35, has a connection with the armed services as well – he was the recipient of the Norman A. Smith Memorial Scholarship at Glen Waverley RSL, which helped fund his law studies. ”The Anzac spirit really resonates with both of us,” said Mark. ”The concept of friendship and sacrifice and recognising that people have made significant sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy certainly means something to us. I certainly took it far more seriously having a brother who was serving.”

At 7.45am, 15 minutes before the race starts, there will be the RSL’s usual commemoration ritual, featuring The Ode, the Last Post, the silence and reveille.

The full minute’s silence will come at 11am in St Kilda’s Catani Gardens, where the run finishes.

”I just hope I’ve finished the run by 11 o’clock for the minute of silence,” said Mark.

■ For details on The Sunday Age City2Sea presented by Westpac, on November 11, visit thecity2sea南京夜网.au

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FOR Felice Wainer, her father’s legacy is vivid and his absence a void, even 25 years after his death. She is proud of him and his work, even as she reflects on a Melbourne childhood in which his presence was sometimes sporadic and often too intense for a young child to make sense of him.
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Her father was Bert Wainer, the controversial campaigner who fought a war against backyard abortion in the 1960s and 1970s and became a household name. As he fearlessly took on corrupt police and the conservative establishment in pursuit of the cause that consumed his life, his daughter grew up fearful that she would be harmed, or that her father would be killed.

As a Wainer, she was vilified. She was the daughter of the man they called the ”baby killer”. As she recalls today: ”I was aware of the fact that we were Wainer children … and when I was in high school I knew that he may be killed. I thought he would be assassinated one day.”

Hers was no ordinary childhood. But Bertram Wainer was a man who lived no ordinary life, and a life of no ordinary consequence for those whose destinies were defined by his cause. They are women, in the main: his daughter and two wives among them – as well as countless other women for whom safe and legal abortion is now a right.

The Wainer name will resonate with older Victorians who recall who he was and what he did, even as younger women draw a blank, unaware that his life had consequences for them.

When they learn about him, as they can tonight by watching the ABC movie about Wainer’s war against illegal abortion, Dangerous Remedy, many will surely thank him.

Some may consider him a sinner. In common, though, they are likely to be shocked by the Victoria depicted through his story: the cops are corrupt, the politicians contemptuous. But it is ordinary women who are the criminals as well as the victims – humiliated, harassed, frightened and ever in danger of an even worse fate: death at the hands of an illegal abortionist.

Through this brutal landscape strides Bertram Wainer, a Scottish doctor who had had enough of a system that corrupted the medical profession as readily as it did the police force. He rallied support among sympathetic colleagues; he forced the issue into the media; he launched his own war against the corrupt police.

In the process, he became a folk hero to some and the Devil incarnate to others. But as the movie depicts it, and his daughter confirms, Wainer didn’t care what forces opposed him or how hopeless his cause or what dangers he faced.

”He was a very powerful man,” she says of her father, who was a doctor in the Australian Army before starting his private practice, ”a very strong man. When he walked into a room you knew he’d walked in. A huge presence.”

When Felice, a Fitzroy fashion designer, first saw the actor Jeremy Sims in character, she was stunned. ”I went to the movie set and I met him and I just couldn’t really look at him. My father had enormous charisma … this huge persona and big charisma and Jeremy had it.”

Felice herself features in several key scenes in the film, and she admits finding it difficult to watch her family’s life portrayed on screen. ”I had to watch it three or four times actually … we always get surprised that it’s our life,” she says. ”It seems strange when you watch it in a movie because when you’re actually living in it at the time, it’s quite normal. It’s surreal.”

And then there’s the time frame depicted on screen. In reality, the years covered by the film reflect a period of about 12 years, but as compressed for dramatic purposes it seems much shorter. ”Anyone who sees that movie is going to think, ‘She had a pretty full-on year’, but that was all spread over time.”

It would be a harrowing and confronting period to live through, whatever the time span. When Felice Wainer is asked to describe it in her own way, she starts by noting that she, her parents and her three brothers came to Melbourne from Queensland in 1961. Her father and her mother, Barbara, separated soon afterwards. Felice was only three.

”Dad had his clinic in St Kilda,” she says. ”And the rampage started from that point forward, and to be honest we didn’t really see him a lot. We couldn’t. It was too dangerous.”

”The rampage”, as she describes Wainer’s campaign, gathered pace, and his children had to adjust to an extraordinary life in which contact with their father was dictated not only by his hectic schedule, but by the growing danger to his safety.

”We used to have to ring three times and then hang up and then ring back so he’d know it was us and he could pick up the phone. He did make efforts to see us but it was always so clandestine or random, just turning up so that nobody would ever know. I think Barbara, my mother, was terrified. She didn’t let on to us.”

As Felice grew older, the danger intensified rather than eased. As she entered her teens and began spending more time with her dad at his home in Ivanhoe, Felice grew to understand that she and her brothers were also at risk.

”He was acutely aware of security. We had an incredibly secure house. I had an emergency alarm button beside my bed that would go off to a private security company. I’m sure the government thought they were taking on this little GP from Scotland. But he was a highly trained military man, my father. He was not a little suburban doctor, he was a highly trained man and he trained all of us quite well. He taught me never to walk on the side near the gutters. I learnt a lot about security for myself, about watching who’s around.

”When I lived with him it was scary. Lots of things happened. The house was built for security, we had really big dogs. I was a very scared child. I was aware of danger from when I was very young.”

She had also become slowly aware that her father was a figure of public notoriety, and over time he educated her as to the reasons.

”He was always on television. At six or seven I started to realise people knew who my father was, then I started seeing him on TV. I didn’t really get what he was doing, I just knew he was well-known in some way.”

When she went to high school, it became clearer. ”I went to Ivanhoe Girls Grammar … and the parents didn’t like me. I had a boyfriend who was Catholic and I wasn’t allowed to go into their house. I think I took it in my stride. It was just our life.”

In two key scenes in Dangerous Remedy, the young Felice brings the perspective of innocence to the abortion wars raging around her, asking her father if the women have done something wrong. Her father explains that sometimes ”there’s a reason they can’t have the baby and the pregnancy is terminated”. She replies: ”And the police don’t like that?”

And in one of the most confronting scenes, Wainer shows his daughter an aborted foetus in a jar – a moment meant to demonstrate that for all Wainer’s advocacy for legal abortion, he took no pleasure in his work. ”Take a look,” he demands of his daughter. ”Look at it. You tell me how good it is.”

His daughter asks: ”Why did you do that?”

Wainer: ”It’s the lesser of two evils, Felice, but that’s all it is.”

It might sound like a scene invented for a screenwriter’s convenience – a way of letting a lead character make a complex point in the most simple way possible. But this, or something very close to it, did indeed happen.

”He did do the foetus thing,” she says. ”I would have been 14. I’d gone to visit him at the clinic and out the front there were all the Right-to-Lifers and somebody grabbed my belt on my jeans and said, ‘That designer belt was bought with the death of a thousand babies’ or something, and I thought, ‘I worked in a milk bar to buy this belt’. So I went inside and I said to him, ‘What is all this about?’ He said, ‘Come with me’.”

Her father then showed her an aborted foetus – not in a jar, but through a microscope. ”There was all this blood and lumps of tissue … I said to him something like, ‘So they’re right, you are a baby killer?’ And he said, ‘Yes, and you need to think about that’. I was annoyed at him for a short amount of time but I started to reconcile what he’d said to me – that abortion’s a terrible thing, but it’s a necessary thing. I started to understand that.

”He never asked any of us to go along with what he was doing. And that is probably the best legacy he gave me. I don’t follow anyone’s rules but my own. I didn’t have to agree with him. If I’d become a born-again Christian he would have been cool with that.”

And it was in the decade that followed – as Wainer stepped back from the abortion wars, having largely achieved his goals – that Felice was to learn the most important lesson about her father: that as a doctor, he dispensed courage as effectively as he did any medicine.

She’d married young, at just 20, to an Italian model. They’d only been married a year when her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness. It was a devastating blow, but her father made this his new and, as it turned out, final campaign.

”He was this tower of strength,” his daughter, now 51, recalls. ”He spoke to me every day. Every morning he’d ring me and every night and he’d visit me. He was extraordinary to my husband. I got really close to him. I loved his sense of humour, he was extremely funny, and had a totally mad sense of humour. All the things I knew about him that I guess people who didn’t like him couldn’t imagine. He was very funny. He was very compassionate.”

And then, as Felice faced the loss of her husband, suddenly her other rock was gone. ”He died in the midst of all of that. When he died it was horrific because I just needed him so much. It was not only losing a father, it was this person who was my rock. I was wrecked. A total mess.”

That was in January 1987. Wainer, one-time scourge of politicians and policemen and priests, was gone, farewelled at a funeral in the Melbourne CBD and no longer the enemy of the state of recent memory.

His daughter had last seen him a fortnight before, at a family dinner on New Year’s Eve. Exactly 25 years later, on New Year’s Eve 2011, she had her final words with her mother, Barbara, who died of leukaemia that day.

Her mother’s passing is still fresh; her father’s passing she can summon to mind as if it were yesterday. These, not the abortion debates, are the matters of life and death that Felice Wainer feels most keenly. ”My mother was my best friend. And I was great friends with my father. I was very lucky.”

But she knows why the state and the nation will remember him – and having seen his battles freshly depicted on film, she is happy to embrace that legacy. ”Impressed and proud, really,” she says. ”I’ve always been really proud about what he did.”

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A large pile of timber sleepers lies next to the railway tracks near Toorak Road, Toorak.HUNDREDS of timber sleepers have been stolen from Melbourne’s rail network and used as firewood, despite government health warnings and concerns they contain traces of asbestos.
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Metro Trains is replacing old red gum sleepers along the Glen Waverley line, but has been unable to stop the theft of wood stacked beside tracks and left unattended.

A Metro Trains spokesman confirmed the timber had low-levels of hydrofluorocarbons from oil and grease, but denied the presence of any asbestos.

”Our own staff and contractors patrol the railway line and work with police to try and prevent any theft of the wooden sleepers, but unfortunately some are stolen. There is no evidence to suggest any health risk associated with sleepers,” the spokesman said.

But the Victorian Department of Health has issued explicit warnings about burning railway sleepers, which can release harmful toxic fumes.

The Sunday Age spoke with a contractor employed by Metro Trains, who said he had been instructed not to sell the sleepers because they could contain a range of dangerous materials, including asbestos. He said much of the timber had been given to builders, who had used it to build retaining walls.

”We were told that it’s completely safe as long as they’re not cut or burnt. And that’s what I’ve been telling people we give it to, but who knows what’s happening with the stuff that’s been pinched,” the man said.

Firewood Association Australia secretary Alan McGeevy said he had received several complaints from people who had burnt the wood in open fires, barbecues and pizza ovens.

”What alerted us, was people calling saying ,’I’m burning this wood and I’ve got a bleeding nose and stinging eyes and feel like I’ve got asthma’,” he said.

Mr McGeevy said some older sleepers had been exposed to asbestos that was used to line brakes in trains until the mid-’80s. ”If you’re burning sleepers, the asbestos won’t burn,” Mr McGeevy said.

”It will congregate in the ash bed, so you have a perfect environment for that asbestos to get airborne. You don’t need much to do a lot of damage.”

A spokesman for the Australian Rail Track Corporation would not confirm if it was aware of an asbestos risk with old sleepers, or who was liable for any injury that occurred from burning the timber.

”ARTC requires these contractors to meet all necessary state environmental legislation and to identify and mitigate potential environmental issues associated with the recovery and disposal of timber sleepers,” the spokesman said.

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It is believed that the state government has not raised the issue of performance pay since negotiations resumed.A CONTENTIOUS push to introduce performance pay in schools has been thrown into doubt, with the state government refusing to say whether the plan will go ahead as part of a new wage deal with teachers.
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After months of industrial unrest, teachers and the government have returned to the bargaining table to nut out a deal for better wages and work conditions.

But while the union has revised its claim for a 30 per cent pay rise over three years, it is believed that the government has not raised the issue of performance pay since negotiations resumed in September.

Australian Education Union branch president Mary Bluett declined to comment on discussions, other than to say teachers had made it clear they would not sign up to any deal that involved paying staff through merit bonuses.

”Performance pay is not up for negotiation,” Ms Bluett said. ”You get the best outcome when you’ve got teachers working together and sharing best practice. Performance pay would undermine that and students would be the losers.”

Under the government’s original offer, all teachers would get a wage rise of 2.5 per cent, with anything above that to be matched by productivity offsets.

But seven out of 10 teachers would also receive performance pay, ranging from 1.4 per cent to 10 per cent of their annual wage, if they could meet targets that lifted classroom standards.

Asked repeatedly if the Coalition planned to push ahead with the idea, the government refused to answer. It also refused to say how much the plan was likely to cost taxpayers, or how it would pay for the proposal given some of the federal money it had initially earmarked for bonuses was no longer available following Commonwealth budget cuts earlier this year.

Teaching Profession Minister Peter Hall said he would not discuss details while negotiations were under way, but said the government was ”committed to ensuring we deliver an outcome that rewards good teaching and drives improvements in our schools”.

The decision by both parties to return to the negotiating table comes after months of industrial unrest, culminating in tens of thousands of teachers walking off the job twice this year as part of the largest school strikes in the state’s history.

But Mr Hall hit out at the union for continuing industrial action while negotiations were taking place. So far the union has conducted 17 rolling stoppages targeting Coalition electorates around the state, together with several additional work bans, such as not providing comments for students reports.

”We believe discussions have been productive and we will continue those negotiations in good faith for as long as it takes to reach a settlement. It is regrettable that the education union continues to engage in industrial action … whilst negotiations are ongoing,” Mr Hall said.

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