Finding jobs for homeless women is a Big Issue

THEY are among the legions of Australia’s less-visible poor: the 46,000 women who, on any given day, are homeless. Yet Sheynell Perry and Clarissa Hall have been more visible than most because they have worked as street vendors, selling The Big Issue.About 85 per cent of the magazine’s vendors – who must be homeless, vulnerable or marginalised to qualify for the job – are men. It is not a job that usually suits homeless women, most of whom have fled domestic violence. Many lack the confidence for such public displays; many consider standing on street corners too dangerous; others worry about the sex-worker connotations; and many have children in tow. Two-thirds of children seeking refuge in a homeless service last year were in the care of a woman escaping a violent partner.Yesterday, Ms Perry and Ms Hall joined a ”round table” discussion in a plush boardroom in Sydney where they were introduced as the real experts on homelessness. Here they met the federal Minister for Housing and the Status of Women, Tanya Plibersek, who acknowledged their bravery.And here, with $1.2 million of seed money from Ms Plibersek, The Big Issue announced an employment project to keep women off the streets – as a place of work, and hopefully as a place for sleeping. It is pioneering a program that will rely not on charity or more government money but on profits to address a big social problem.The fortnightly magazine launched its ”women’s subscription enterprise” under which it hopes to sell – on top of its 30,000 street circulation – at least 9000 more magazines to corporate and other business subscribers. For every 100 extra magazines it sells, it will give one homeless woman a part-time job, with flexible hours, as a dispatch officer in its distribution centres. The 9000 sales would pay for 90 self-sustaining jobs, and provide the women with training for work in the wider market.Westpac has signed up for 100 copies and its general manager of corporate affairs and sustainability, Sally Herman, told the meeting that the bank hoped to one day employ some of the women. Other subscribers include NAB, Telstra and AXA. Doctors’ surgeries will be targeted. Ms Perry, 29, and Ms Hall, 44, will be among the first women recruited.Ms Perry, who left home at 14 to escape abuse, hopes her new job will allow her ”to throw most of my baggage behind”. For the past 15 years, she has literally carried her baggage around Sydney, night after night, while sleeping rough in parks or ”couch surfing” with friends or family. She has spent time in jail for assaults committed while under the influence.Two years ago, a Big Issue vendor called Ronnie took her under his wing. She cleaned up her act. Still, her jail record prevented her getting work, until now.”This is not a charity,” said another woman at the table yesterday, Cheryl Kernot. ”This is a for-profit, social-purpose business.”Ms Kernot, a former leader of the Australian Democrats and Labor shadow minister, is now the director for social business at the Centre for Social Impact at the University of NSW. She showed the meeting a water bottle made of composted corn starch, another example of a successful social enterprise. Filled bottles are sold for profit, 100 per cent of which goes to clean water projects around the world.Also at the table was Kirstie Papanikolou. As a child she was shunted between foster homes. But she was one of 35 young homeless people taken on as retail trainees at The Body Shop. Two years later she went to work inThe Big Issue’s administration and has been there for 14 years.”I’m married,” she said. ”I’ve got two young boys. I own my own home. I have a full-time job and I have a wonderful family-and-friends support network. If someone had have said that 16 years ago, I would have said, no, I would probably be dead by now.”
Nanjing Night Net

Is there time to spare in the fight against climate change?

SO much heat, so much wasted time and energy.That could be a description of the political debate on climate change, or of the state of Australia’s energy and climate change predicament. Either way, climate change has already proved its political potency. Now we need our governments to prove its transformative and economic power. We have no time to waste.Waste is at the core of the problem. Over the past three years the climate change debate has been stranded by politics and the language of fear, blame, cost and complexity. Precious time has been squandered in the politicisation of climate change. It descended into a campaign against climate scientists, replete with assertions that controlling waste and pollution would cripple the future prosperity of the country.Addressing climate change is a question of leadership. Right now we need our leaders to take decisive and clear action, to change the language and to get on with the task of transforming our economy. Moving beyond the politicisation of climate change will be the 21st century leadership test.When the government we elect sits down to map out its priorities, there will be many strong signals to support putting policy leadership on climate change at the top of the list. We have to hope the new cabinet will listen to those signals.First, the power of the issue in the hearts and minds of Australians continues to be underestimated. Politicians and many commentators have refused to take proper measure of public opinion research on the issue, preferring to advocate caution, and delay.The social research I follow to understand what people are thinking on the issue is the Thermometer Survey on Australian Attitudes to Climate Change. Led by researcher Randall Pearce, with a team of behavioural experts from several universities, it has consistently discovered strong support across Australia for early and direct action on climate change.In February last year, 83 per cent of all Australians favoured immediate action instead of waiting for our big trading partners to announce their plans. One respondent stated what many believe: ”If they’re not going to do it, who else is? An issue like that; they’re the reason you have a government in the first place.” Only last week, the pollster PureProfile found 80 per cent of NSW residents want action on climate change now.Second, the impacts of climate change continue to develop both here and around the world. As noted in The New York Times recently, hot is the new normal. This year is shaping up to be the hottest on record, with nine countries already recording their hottest temperatures. Six nations in Asia and Africa set new all-time hottest temperatures last month, and Pakistan recorded Asia’s hottest temperature ever, 53.5 degrees, on May 26.We are heading into another hot summer of our own. Australia is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with high risks of drought, summer heat stress, severe storms and coastal inundation.Third, the global race to shift to low-carbon and clean economies is on, and we are missing out on this boom. More people are now employed in clean energy than coal, a trend rapidly increasing across the globe.Australia is increasingly left exposed in the worldwide move to carbon competitiveness and productivity, preferring to rely on the historical experience of exporting fossil fuel. We’ve excelled in the high-carbon political economy since coal first left Australia’s shores in 1793. The question unanswered is whether we will play so well in the global low-carbon economy.Fourth, more Australian businesses are expressing their frustration and anger at the failure to commit to a carbon price and to long-term policy plans so they can make significant investment decisions.And most importantly, the next cabinet needs to consider climate change inextricably linked to other societal problems – the pace of urban growth and development, food and water security and building sustainable economic resilience.The interplay of these issues will define Australia’s long-term prosperity. The connected challenges demand a new way of looking at opportunities and solutions. A government acting strongly and clearly on climate change can help create innovative solutions for myriad problems.For all the talk of moral challenges, the most pressing climate change story is rapidly building national resilience to the unavoidable effects of extreme weather and climate events, while transforming our energy, water and waste systems to take advantage of the economic benefits of the new low carbon economy.What could a government prepared to lead on climate change do?The first priority must be to set a clear, market-based carbon price with a long-term plan to limit carbon pollution. There will be some losers in this decision, but in this time of tremendous economic transformation we need political leadership to provide certainty to investors, businesses and communities as they move to build a clean and efficient economy.The government then needs to change the language of climate change. It must move from the era of challenge, compromise and expense, to the world of opportunity and economic resilience. The change in behaviour required to waste less energy and water is much harder than first thought. We need the help of social sciences to teach and encourage us, as we wean ourselves off our addiction to cheap dirty power and to become less wasteful generally. Rather than assuming that our power and water bills will be more expensive as our energy systems transform, our communities need to know that we can save money, save resources, and have a far more efficient economy.As part of that reimagining of our clean-energy future, the government needs to promote a national clean, low-carbon growth plan, underpinned by comprehensive regulation for large commercial and industrial process to deal with waste, water and energy. This should encompass a nation-building energy efficiency program, encouraging all levels of society to participate. We have the technological solutions to achieve this and lead the world. Australia just needs long-term enduring policies and clear transition plans, not token programs and early picking of technology winners.There is a strong connection between regional economies, climate science and urban planning, but it is often neglected. A leading government could implement incentives for local governments to develop planning regimes to build climate resilient and low-carbon towns and cities.This was suggested last year by a parliamentary inquiry into climate change and environmental impacts on coastal communities, and provides a strong foundation for a national plan for climate adaptation. Australians should be able to expect the government has national disaster resilience plans in place, to ensure we are adequately preparing for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.Finally, a cabinet with foresight and imagination would underpin these policies and initiatives with a strategy to develop skills and support for innovative investment in building new businesses in the low-carbon economy.We all aspire to be good ancestors for the future generations who deserve to enjoy our nation’s beauty. This begins with the actions of the government we will elect to office shortly.Those most affected by the climate change decisions taken in the next three years of government will be today’s children. Only by the time they reach the middle of their lives will they know if our leaders acted just in time.Samantha Mostyn is director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at the University of Sydney.
Nanjing Night Net

Does the lucky country need migrants?

UNLESS there is a sharp change in immigration policy, Australia’s population is likely to exceed the latest Treasury projection of 35.9 million by 2050. This is the ”big Australia” vision. The projection’s core assumption was that net migration will average about 180,000 a year. By 2008-09, however, it was estimated to be 298,000.Continued migration is not at issue. For 2009-10, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship expects 45,000 visas to be issued to partners alone. Australia is an attractive destination and, once here, migrants and their children, especially those from Asia, tend to return home for a spouse. Few would wish to deprive residents of their choice of spouse. Likewise, the humanitarian program of about 13,000 is not an issue – only the mode of entry is controversial.What is at issue is the policy of successive governments of actively recruiting permanent-resident skilled migrants and their families via the skill program. This is currently set at 113,850 places. The parallel policy of encouraging temporary entry programs – including the 457 visa temporary worker, working holiday and student programs – is largely responsible for the surge in net migration.What is the point of such programs? To judge by responses to opinion polls, few Australians seem to think there is a valid rationale. One earlier this year asked people if they favoured increasing Australia’s population and 72 per cent said they did not.This reaction probably stems from awareness of implications for cities. Most know if the population grows from 22 million to 35.9 million in 2050, Sydney and Melbourne will have an extra 2 million people and Brisbane will nearly double to about 3.7 million.These metropolitan areas are not coping with the recent influx. Why encourage more arrivals? These cities are entering a phase of diseconomies of scale in providing infrastructure and state governments do not have the funds to keep up.A recent report by the Water Services Association illustrates the point. Under the assumptions used for the 35.9 million projection, Sydney’s water use will increase by 121 gigalitres by 2026 and 217 gigalitres by 2056, or by 25 per cent and 44 per cent respectively. As in other capitals, this will soon require another expensive desalination plant or a recycling plant on an equivalent scale. Water bills will grow accordingly.Metropolitan governments have expressed their conviction that, faced with huge growth, they will not accommodate the extra people in outer suburbia. Even in south-east Queensland, residents are told they will have to accept a combination of small-lot houses and apartment living.In effect, young Australians are being told the costs of population growth are such that they cannot expect to live the traditional Australian suburban lifestyle. Why do they have to make this sacrifice?The answer from industry and government is that severe skill shortages will increase with the next phase of the minerals industry boom. They argue Australia needs a strong migration program if these shortages are not to put a break on industrial capacity. Advocates argue these shortages will worsen as baby boomers retire. The ratio of retirees to workers will increase and migrant workers need to shoulder the tax burden.It is true that industries dependent on growth in metropolitan markets need high migration. Almost all new migrants are settling in these metropolises. If the big-Australia scenario eventuates, about 9-10 million of the projected growth of 14 million by 2050 will be attributable to migration and the rest to natural increase. The migrants, as customers, will be the main source of the demand driving the metropolitan housing development and city building industries.The truth is, migration has little to do with the resources industries. The operations workforce in the mining industry constitutes barely 1.5 per cent of Australia’s employed workforce. The industry’s need for construction workers could be much larger during the start-up phase of the many mineral projects on the drawing boards. But even here, the workers required will be a small fraction of the construction workforce employed in Australia’s metropolises.Paradoxically, immigration is a problem for resources industries in this start-up phase because it is a leading contributor to growth in demand for housing, hospitals and roads in the cities. The minerals industry is trying to attract construction workers when their services are in demand in their home cities.Proponents of immigration do not acknowledge that employment growth is dominated by service industries in the cities. Their rapid growth is largely because of an increasing population – as might be expected, given their function is people-servicing. Most of this growth is occurring in health, education, welfare and community services and business services, which includes property. Most skilled migrants work in cities in these industries. Many temporary migrants are employed in lower-skilled retail and other service industries.The Australian economy is like a dog chasing its tail. More migrants fuel growth in the building and people-servicing industries, which then demand more migrants for labour.Most other advanced Western societies are not experiencing, and do not want, population growth on this scale. Unlike Australia, they have avoided being lured into an industrial structure so reliant on population growth.The most extreme example is Melbourne. It is a parasite city whose economy has remained vibrant through the global financial crisis (relative to Sydney) because of record population growth and a consequent boom in city-building and people-servicing.Employment in its manufacturing industries has contracted and Victoria has little mining activity. The city is thriving, yet exports of goods and services from Victoria are barely half the value of imports of goods and services. It depends on Commonwealth funds to accommodate and service its growing population. Successive premiers, from Jeff Kennett to John Brumby, have lobbied for more migration. They understand how central migration is to Melbourne’s population growth and the short-term health of its economy.Should population growth slow, there will be severe adjustment pains for some. But the big-Australia model is not sustainable in economic terms. Australia’s total foreign debt is about $650 billion, with interest payments requiring 4 per cent of gross domestic product. Most of this has been raised overseas by banks to lend to home-owning mortgagees. This is one reason why interest rates are so high in Australia. As with competition for construction labour, industries competing to sell products against international competition have to compete for capital against the city building industries.What will Australia have to show economically for the enormous effort of accommodating an extra 9-10 million migrants by 2050? More debt and a more daunting greenhouse emissions challenge. Meanwhile, much of the fiscal benefit from selling off Australia’s non-renewable heritage, which could have helped fund industrial restructuring, will be spent on accommodating migrants.If overseas migration declined sharply to about half that proposed, it would take much of the heat out of the city building boom. With only 90,000 a year, there would be fewer migrant workers available but far fewer would be needed. With less recourse to skilled migrants, governments and businesses would have to put more effort into preparing young and older residents with the required skills.In this economy, Australians will be twice as rich by 2050 as today. This population will be older but so wealthy that older people will be able to look after their own welfare.Bob Birrell is founding director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University.
Nanjing Night Net

Should Australia give up on the bush?

AS the 2010 election looms, the fate of rural Australia seems all but politically irrelevant. It’s been decades since the bush had a strong political voice and neither major party really understands or is committed to the country.If push comes to shove, they will always act on behalf of their urban base. And that urban base is more alienated from regional Australia than ever before, its understanding going no deeper than the stories of drought, fire and farmer suicide that pepper our media.For most of our history, white Australia’s relationship with the bush has been a kind of rape and pillage. During the 19th century, vast flocks of sheep and cattle were driven on to the inland plains and overgrazing destroyed entire ecosystems. The soil simply blew away, painting the snowfields of New Zealand pink.For a century, agriculture was then a series of booms and busts. Each cycle left the inland more degraded. One of the biggest booms occurred in the 1950s, when wool was worth a pound sterling per pound in weight. The country rode upon the sheep’s back and, in the Mallee towns, graziers drove prize rams about in Rolls Royces. What are now dimly remembered places to most – Dimboola, Birchip and Patchewollock – had enough young men to field several football teams.Yet all the while, the underpinnings of regional prosperity were being nibbled away – by poor stock and farm management, by rabbits and by the collapse of the ecosystem. By the 1980s, they had transformed once productive countryside into a moonscape, along the way driving 10 per cent of Australia’s native mammals to extinction.But now a revolution is occurring in regional Australia. Innovative land managers are finding ways to undo the damage, restore rural prosperity and contribute to the fight against climate change. Their success can be measured in part by the increased production of beef and grain during the past two decades – despite the drier climate – and in the rebounding populations of native plants and animals wherever the new practices take root.At the heart of the revolution lies a recognition that paddock and plough, as traditionally used, are weapons of mass destruction. Traditionally, livestock is kept in paddocks for weeks or months. They nibble away at the most nutritious plants, giving the noxious weeds an advantage, destroying both biodiversity and profitability.A new, holistic approach reverses this. The herds are moved from one small cell to another, as often as every day. The livestock eat everything in a cell but, over the following months, the pasture is rested and the grass grows back luxuriant and sweet. Cattle are better fed, less worried by parasites (because the moving disrupts the parasite cycle), calmer and seemingly happier (perhaps because the animals live in a more natural herd structure). And farmers are happier, too, because their workload is more evenly spread and their businesses are more profitable.In times past, ploughing was a declaration of war on biodiversity. Everything was killed, leaving a bare surface into which the crop was sown. Chemical fertilisers were then applied and pesticides and herbicides sprayed to keep other species out. That destroyed not only plants but soil fungi and bacteria, which are essential for healthy soil. If the rains didn’t come, the soil could end up in Sydney or across the Tasman.Traditional ploughing is being replaced by kinder methods such as ”zero kill”. Michael Inwood, a farmer near Bathurst, showed me how it works. You can’t see where the plough has been in his fields, for the native grassland remains thick and green, and his crops spring healthy from among the tussocks. You might think the wheat or oats would suffer from competition with the grass but instead they benefit from the extra soil moisture and soil carbon.Inwood has gone a step further. He’s done away with fossil fuels, dragging his specially modified plough behind a solar-powered ute. His entire property runs on energy from the sun and it remains as profitable as ever. Life is a lot richer than it was before because the environment is now home to fantastic biodiversity and includes hawks – which accompany him as he shifts his sheep between grazing cells – lizards and other wildlife, which all benefit from the luxuriant native grasses.In pioneering such changes, it’s as if the best Australian farmers have discovered Norman Lindsay’s legendary magic pudding. The more productive they make their farms, the more the pudding that feeds them grows. The secret is using biodiversity and soil carbon as allies rather than as foes or resources to be mined. We are seeing the first steps of a movement to restore the bush as an economic and environmental powerhouse of the nation. This time, it will be a sustainable one.The future Australian farm will not only be sustainable but it will draw income from diverse sources. This year, Simon Holmes a Court launched Australia’s first community-owned wind farm, near Daylesford in Victoria. In future, wind farms owned by farmers’ co-ops may be an important source of energy. Farmers are also looking towards biochar as a means of generating electricity. It can be made from any crop waste to form a syngas, a bio-oil and charcoal. The oil and gas can be burnt to generate electricity, while the char can be returned to the soil. The potential scale of carbon storage using biochar is vast but more research and development is required before we’ll know its full extent.Preserving Australia’s biodiversity is a national imperative. Last year, we lost a mammal species – a bat, the Christmas Island pipistrelle – the first to become extinct in 75 years. For a continent that has already lost so much, this is a tragedy but ordinary Australians are now doing something about it.The Australian Wildlife Conservancy, a non-profit organisation, controls 1.5 million hectares throughout Australia and employs scientists to study and manage ecosystems. By controlling fire, livestock and feral cats and foxes, it has achieved amazing things. After a few years of management, surveys a record presence of native animals and, with their return, the ecosystem flourishes. Plants not seen for years spring up, soil structure changes and a tortured ecosystem returns to health.With innovation and potential, the bush is a national opportunity but governments need to become more engaged.The endless energy resources of the inland – including solar, geothermal and wind – could be unlocked by the development of a high-voltage direct-current power line connecting the continent from east to west. This would bring renewable energy to the grid and it would do away with two of the nation’s four daily peaks in energy demand. We should develop a city in the Cooper Basin – a Geothermia – as a hub for minerals processing dependent entirely on clean, renewable energy.There is so much government could do. The Wentworth Group’s suggested water reforms – including large purchases of water licences and diverting funds from infrastructure such as pipelines to broader community support – would hasten a return to economic and environmental health of the Murray-Darling basin.Placing a price on carbon is indispensable in the climate-change fight and strengthening co-operatives would help farmers harness new energy resources. Most of all, however, we need a new kind of politics. Nation-building initiatives such as an east-west electricity interconnector are important not just for the opportunities they create but for the message they bring: we’re a nation united and by working together we can bring opportunity to all.Professor Tim Flannery is an author, scientist and was Australian of the Year in 2007.
Nanjing Night Net

Infrastructure scheme a barrel of pork, says opposition

A REPORT into a key plank of the government’s stimulus package has sparked a clash between Labor and the Coalition over whether administration of the $550 million infrastructure scheme amounts to pork-barrelling.The Australian National Audit Office report found the spending was evenly spread across seats held by the government and the opposition, but the proportion of applications approved was much higher in Labor-held seats.It also pointed to several cases of the government cutting corners in its attempt to distribute stimulus funds, and the fact that just a month ago two-thirds of the cash had yet to be spent, even though it was intended in part to ward off recession.The report looks at the Regional Local Community Infrastructure Program, which allowed local councils to apply for access to $550 million in funds for ”strategic” infrastructure projects to be spent from April last year.The report found that 42.1 per cent of project applications in Labor-held seats were approved, while only 18.4 per cent of projects in Coalition-held seats were approved.But local councils in Coalition seats were far more prolific in lodging applications, meaning that the total amount of funding provided a ”reasonable geographic spread” and was ”largely consistent with the proportion of electorates held by the major parties and independent members”, the report found.In total, the 55 per cent of seats held by Labor received 57 per cent of the funding, the 43 per cent of seats held by the Coalition received 37 per cent and the 2 per cent of independent-held seats gained 6 per cent.The report said that the awarding of funding disproportionately favoured Labor held seats when considered in terms of the projects’ ability to be quickly begun to achieve the economic stimulus objectives.The opposition said the report showed government spending was a pork-barrelling attempt to shore-up Labor electorates.”The Rudd-Gillard Government broke its own rules, funnelled money to Labor electorates and punished Australian families based on where they live,” the opposition spokesman on finance, Andrew Robb, said.The Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, rejected claims of impropriety.”To ensure the program’s integrity, funding decisions were made based on departmental advice and following independent viability assessments of the proposals submitted.”
Nanjing Night Net

Gillard rocked by leaks

JULIA GILLARD privately argued against the generosity of two of the Rudd government’s major increases in welfare payments.
Nanjing Night Net

In public, Ms Gillard has been happy to share credit for the decisions to give more cash for age pensions and parental leave.

But in the inner sanctum of the government, she tried to cut the size of the pension rise and wanted to kill the idea of paid parental leave altogether, telling cabinet colleagues it was being pursued because it was politically correct, according to figures familiar with the debates.

As deputy prime minister, Ms Gillard argued that a big rise in the age pension was excessive because ”old people never vote for us”, the sources said.She was overruled and 3 million aged pensioners received the rise in last year’s budget.

And she was happy to boast about the decision in the televised leaders’ debate on Sunday. ”We did a major increase in the pension, to help older Australians particularly, with the pressures that are on them,” she said.

In that decision, the formula for calculating the pension was raised from 25 per cent of the average wage to 27.7. That means an extra $1100 a year for single pensioners and $1900 for couples.

Ms Gillard also opposed the proposal for a paid parental leave scheme. She told colleagues in cabinet it was being pursued because it was ”politically correct”, according to informed members of the government. She did not argue that the support was unneeded, only that it would not be politically helpful to Labor, government sources said.

Again, she was overruled. The scheme, championed by the Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin, is to take effect from January 1. It will give all primary carers 18 weeks’ leave at the minimum weekly wage of $544.

Yet as Prime Minister, Ms Gillard has said she was ”delighted” that the scheme was legislated.The revelations, the third internal Labor leak in as many weeks, will be a campaign embarrassment for the government.

The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, who had to crash through Coalition resistance to propose a more generous parental leave scheme, can now argue he is the only leader who truly believes in giving parents paid time to be with their newborns.

News that Ms Gillard opposed the pension increase, as delivered, will not please the National Seniors Australia organisation due to launch its election campaign claims today.The Prime Minister’s office declined to give the Herald any response to these revelations on the record.

But in response to a similar report on Channel Nine last night, Ms Gillard’s office issued a statement in her name: ”I was very proud to be a member of the Labor team that delivered these two historic achievements – delivering a better deal for pensioners and supporting parents to spend more time with their babies.

”Pensioners and families deserve more support, and this government has acted to give them that support.”Cabinet discussions are confidential. If the Liberal Party have allegations to make, they should put their names to them.

”But the sources of the information on Ms Gillard’s positions are not Liberal members. The Channel Nine reporter Laurie Oakes told viewers his sources were ”closer to home”. The Herald’s sources are government members.

Stoner second as Lorenzo dominates

Casey Stoner has finished second as Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo extended his Moto GP championship lead with victory in Sunday’s US grand prix at Laguna Seca.The runners-up spot is the Australian’s best finish in 2010 although Stoner rarely challenged Lorenzo who ended up over 3.5 seconds in front for his sixth win of the year.But the Ducati rider was content with the result.”We are happy. We didn’t expect much more than second place,” he said.”At the start of the race, I felt OK. But I made a mistake and ran wide, lost the front again and the last time I ran really wide which wasn’t good.”Every time I tried to step it up I didn’t feel comfortable. I was braking later and later but was making mistakes.”Lorenzo’s main championship rival, countryman Dani Pedrosa, crashed out on the 11th lap while leading the race and the red-hot Yamaha rider took full advantage.”It was tough,” Lorenzo said. “Dani Pedrosa did a great race. It was difficult to follow him but he made a mistake and crashed when he was on the maximum.”Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy, also riding a Yamaha, finished third just seven weeks after breaking his leg.Lorenzo’s win was his first at the iconic Californian circuit and boosts his overall championship lead over Pedrosa to 72 points with Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso sitting third.Rossi just missed the podium last week in his return from the broken leg and he was delighted with the result despite still feeling pain from the injury.”I’m very happy,” Rossi said.”I may not look happy because I have pain everywhere. This podium is like a victory on a very difficult track for us. I want to thank everyone who has helped me get back on the podium as early as this after my accident.”Pedrosa seized the lead from pole-sitter Lorenzo at the first turn but crashed out on the fifth turn of lap 11.Stoner chased Lorenzo, never worse than second this season, to the finish but could not catch him while Rossi passed Dovizioso for third with five laps to go to crack the podium ahead of his countryman in fourth.Nicky Hayden of Ducati edged American Ben Spies for fifth.It was the fifth consecutive pole start for Lorenzo.AFP
Nanjing Night Net

‘Cheating’ Ferrari fined $110,000

Ferrari were fined $US100,000 ($110,000) on Sunday for breaching sporting regulations at the German Grand Prix where their victory was overshadowed by allegations of using team orders.The sports governing body the FIA said the result, in which Fernando Alonso took victory after teammate Felipe Massa allowed him to pass, would stand.However, the team would be summoned to appear before the FIA’s world council at a date to be set.Alonso wins, Webber sixthThe Italian stable denied ordering Massa, who was leading the race, to slow down and allow Alonso to overtake on lap 49.Team orders were banned by the FIA eight years ago after the infamous incident at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix when Ferrari instructed race leader Rubens Barrichello to pull over and allow Michael Schumacher to pass and win the race.On Sunday, Massa was effectively ordered by race engineer Rob Smedley to let Alonso through as the Spaniard was the quicker driver.”OK, Fernando is faster than you,” said Smedley.”Can you confirm you have understood this message?”Massa reacted by letting Alonso pass him on the exit of turn six with only 18 laps remaining.Following the controversial move, Smedley was again on the radio apologising to Massa.”Good lad – just stick with it now, sorry,” he said.Ferrari went on to secure the one-two victory.Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali insisted that there were no team orders and that it was Massa’s decision to let two-time world champion Alonso past.”We gave information to the driver and it was his decision to decide how to react,” he said.Domenicali added that Smedley’s apology was simply due to the fact that Massa’s car was not as fast as Alonso’s.”You have to consider that fact that he gave the information to Felipe to help him, and was sorry that his car was not as fast.”Massa, clearly upset by the incident, bit his tongue and claimed that it was his decision.”I didn’t have a good pace on the hard tyres and Fernando was quicker,” he said.”It was my decision. You always need to know that we are working for the team and there were no team orders in the race.”I made the decision because Fernando was faster than me.”Alonso claimed he thought Massa slowed down due to a gear problem.”There are no team orders,” said Alonso.”I was surprised when I saw Felipe having a problem – I thought it was a gear problem but after hearing Felipe, he was struggling with the hard tyres.”AFP
Nanjing Night Net

Evans eyes future after Tour of discontent

PAUILLAC: Cadel Evans can laugh about it now. After a Tour de France campaign defined by misfortune and injury, the world champion is certain both he and his BMC Racing Team will return next year better for the experience.”It’s not just about this year and building up a team for [next] year’s Tour or the Tour in 2012 or whenever,” Evans said. ”It takes a long time.”Every step of the way here we learn something, we improve things … especially this year, it’s been a real learning experience.”Evans was speaking barely 15 minutes after crossing the finish line of stage 19, a 52-kilometre time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac, and was still clearly in pain after almost two weeks nursing a fractured elbow sustained in a crash in stage eight. He didn’t need to see an official result sheet to know where his performance on Saturday ranked. ”That was one of the worst time trials of my life. My body is exhausted,” he said.Evans had finished 10 minutes 57 seconds off the pace of stage winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) and in 166th place from 170 finishers.The 33-year-old Victorian was spot on with his assessment, even though it still left him best placed Australian overall in 26th at 50:27 to Spaniard Alberto Contador (Astana) before the final and 20th stage from Longjumeau to the Champs Elysees in Paris on Sunday.Evans was justifiably disappointed to fall short – again – of the potential he and many others believe he has in the Tour. But his capacity to continue on in this year’s race and maintain a sense of humour indicates a sense of inner calm – something that will be needed if he is to ever win the race. Soon after recovering in his team bus on Saturday, Evans was able to look at the positives when others in a similar position might not have.”We have been close for stage wins and we have had the yellow jersey taken off to get X-rays as well,” he said. ”We have experienced a spectrum of outcomes. That can only serve us for the future.”An optimistic attitude … goes a long way especially when things aren’t going well. When you think, ‘Why the hell you are doing it?’, a little bit of optimism can go along way.”
Nanjing Night Net

Farah hits back at Sea Eagles: ‘I’m no diver’

THERE are few worse things you can accuse a player of than being a diver. Which is why Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah, having vomited at half-time following a hit of which he had no recollection, was desperate to set the record straight.”I wouldn’t take a dive,” Farah said yesterday, after agitated Manly players made that suggestion while he was being treated – the ensuing stoppage resulting in Sea Eagles centre Steve Matai being penalised, placed on report and sin-binned.”He got me pretty good. I just remember Leedsy [strength and conditioning coach Andrew Leeds] talking to me out there and just telling me to take my time and try and come around. The boys were telling me that a couple of them were having a go at you, but I can’t remember. I’m disappointed [by the suggestion] … I don’t think I went too well in the second half. You can probably tell by my performance that I wasn’t taking a dive.”Matai was sin-binned after giving Farah a whack on his back after the hooker had been treated. The Manly player had attempted a charge-down on a passing Farah, leaping to stop the ball and raising his arms in the air as he did so, making contact with the Tigers player as he came down.While no Sea Eagles player or official publicly accused Farah of play-acting, it was clear from their actions on the field that they had doubts about the extent of his injuries.”It didn’t look like there was too much in it, and if it does go to – and I don’t think it should – but if it does go to the referees committee, I think we might be calling on the Balmain player to maybe throw in some evidence as well,” Manly coach Des Hasler said. ”Until it’s reported on, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”Asked whether Farah made more of the hit, Hasler said: ”You’ll have to ask Robbie Farah that.”Farah said he did not even know who had hit him. ”I just got stung,” he said. ”I don’t really remember … I didn’t black out. I just got shook up and spaced out. I don’t even know who got me. Some of the boys said it was Matai. I can’t remember what happened. It just shook me up a bit.”The contentious moment occurred just before half-time. Farah received treatment for several minutes from Leeds, while Manly protested to referee Shayne Hayne through Matai and captain Jamie Lyon; the latter urging the official to ”look at him”.Video referee Steve Clark reviewed footage of the incident several times, and eventually called or Matai to be penalised, with Hayne telling Matai: ”It’s been reviewed, you’ve collected him high, it’s on report.”Matai replied: ”Are you serious?” The Manly player then approached Farah and gave him a sturdy slap on the back. Hayne called Matai back and sent him to the sin bin – probably the first time a pat on the back has led to that result, although former Balmain prop Steve Roach was once reprimanded for patting an official on the head.Sea Eagles players were adamant the initial hit by Matai was legal.”I didn’t think there was a lot in it,” winger Michael Robertson said. ”I’m not a ref. It’s his call. There might have been a bit of gamesmanship … I didn’t think there was a lot in it, but they [the officials] obviously saw something in it, so it was a penalty.”Tigers doctor Donald Kuah confirmed Farah had suffered concussion. Another team official said when Farah was asked on the field if he wanted to be substituted, given Matai had been reported, the player had no idea what he meant.”I just felt crook, I had a bit of a spew at half-time, got through the game but I was a bit of a passenger,” Farah said afterwards.Tigers players denied their skipper would take a dive. ”No way, mate,” said Chris Heighington, who gestured towards Matai after his whack on the back. ”He [Farah] is a tough player. He’s an 80-minute player. He got hit high, and the refs thought it was a penalty. That’s it.”But he held nothing against Matai. ”It’s in the heat of the battle,” he said.
Nanjing Night Net