Inquiry into Manus Island violence should be independent, says Human Rights Commission

Federal politics: full coverageMichael Gordon: Stop transfers until we have answersTony Wright: Australia put these people at riskDesperate calls for help as violence erupted on Manus
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Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs has urged the Abbott government to appoint a respected former judge or public servant to investigate the conditions in Australia’s offshore detention centres.

Her comments come as Iran’s foreign ministry reportedly called in Australia’s ambassador to protest the death the Iranian asylum seeker.

According to a report from the country’s official news agency, IRNA, the ministry’s consular director, Hosein Mirfakhar, expressed Iran’s ”protest and discontent” to Australia’s ambassador to Iran Paul Foley.

The Australian and Papua New Guinea governments have announced inquiries after violent clashes between security forces and asylum seekers on Manus Island left one Iranian asylum seeker dead and 77 injured.

On Tuesday night, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison conceded it was unclear whether the attacks happened inside or outside the detention centre. ”I can’t give you an absolute position on that as there are some conflicting reports at the moment and once those are resolved and the reasons for those conflicts then I’d be in a position to report on it,” he said at a news conference in Canberra.

Mr Morrison said an independent review would investigate the violence. The secretary of his department, Martin Bowles, would “initiate a full review into this incident in the same way the former government commissioned previous reviews into incidents”.

But Professor Triggs said she did not believe these inquiries would be sufficiently objective.

”I think we’ve reached a stage now with the violence – both of course a year ago in Nauru and now again on Manus – that it really does call for a more objective inquiry into what is happening at these detention centres and what the conditions are that lead to the levels of very high anxiety and in some cases violence,” she told ABC radio on Wednesday morning.

Professor Triggs said it would be appropriate for a retired judge or civil servant to handle the inquiry. She also called on the government to appoint an independent panel to monitor conditions inside Australia’s detention network.

”I think that a regular monitoring body of respected professionals in the area would carry considerable credibility and would keep us all better informed,” she said.

Professor Triggs said she believed the “tipping point” for the latest violence was a lack of clarity about when asylum seekers would be processed.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said it was a “bit rich” for the Iranian government to criticise Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.

But Ms Plibersek said: ”I think the reports [of violence on Manus Island] are very disturbing indeed and I think it’s important that there be a full investigation and that it is made public.”

Mr Morrison said that Tuesday evening passed without incident at the Manus Island centre and that conditions remained calm.

An asylum seeker involved in the incident on Tuesday night has been flown to Brisbane to receive treatment for a fractured skull.

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Regional services guide

Rural Financial Counselling Services locations. Picture: http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/rfcs Rural Financial Counselling Services locations. Picture: http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/rfcs
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Rural Financial Counselling Services locations. Picture: http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/rfcs

Rural Financial Counselling Services locations. Picture: http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/rfcs

Rural Financial Counselling Services locations. Picture: http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/rfcs

Local Land Services

p:02 6391 3100NSW Rural Assistance Authorityp:1800 678 593e:[email protected]

NSW Farmersp:02 9478 1000 e:[email protected]爱上海同城论坛.au

National Farmers Federationp: 02 6269 5666

Meat and Livestock Australiap: 02 9463 9333 e: [email protected]爱上海同城论坛m.au

Victorian Farmers Federationp: 1300 882 833 e: [email protected]爱上海同城论坛.au

NSW

Albury/Wodonga, Armidale, Bourke, Buronga, Casino, Coleambally,Coonabarabran,Coonamble, Cowra, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Forbes, Ganmain, Gilgandra, Glen Innes, Gloucester, Griffith, Gundagai/Yass, Hay, Lake Cargelligo, Inverell, Macksville, Manilla, Monaro/South Coast,Moree,Mudgee, Narrabri, Nyngan, Orange, Parkes, Scone, Taree, Tottenham, Walgett West Wyalong

QUEENSLAND

Biloela, Charleville, Coalstoun Lakes, Emerald, Goondiwindi, Gympie, Innisfail, Kingaroy, Longreach, Mackay, Mena Creek, Miles, Mundubbera, North Burnett, Pinjarra Hills, Roma, St George, Toowoonba/Gatton, Warwick

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

South West/Great Southern Region, Great Southern District and Esperance, Midwest/Northern Wheatbelt and Gascoyne, Southwest Region, North Central Wheatbelt, Central Wheatbelt, Esperance and Pastoral Region, North Mid Eastern Wheatbelt and Esperance, South Eastern Central Wheatbelt, Upper Great Southern and Lakes region, Central Wheatbelt, Central and Eastern Wheatbelt, Northern Wheatbelt Region

VICTORIA

Albury/Wodonga, Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Benalla, Bendigo,Cobden, Colac, Ellinbank, Hamilton, Horsham, Kerang, Kyabram, Leongatha, Maffra, Mildura, Numurkah, Seymour, Swan Hill, Woomelang

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Berri, Clare, Magill, Murray Bridge, Naracoorte, Wudinna

TASMANIA

North/North West, South

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Urgent call for hospital security boost after neurosurgeon stabbed

Doctors and nurses are calling for the government to urgently improve hospital security after a vicious attack at Western Hospital left a leading surgeon battling life-threatening injuries.
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The attack has also highlighted the Victorian government’s failure to introduce tougher penalties for attacks on paramedics and emergency department staff despite repeated promises to change laws since 2012.

Head of neurosurgery at Western Hospital Michael Wong remains in a serious but stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit today after sustaining multiple stab wounds to various parts of his body during the attack on Tuesday morning.

A hospital spokeswoman said Dr Wong’s family rushed to be with him after the assault, which occurred while the 43-year-old was walking through the hospital foyer on his way into work about 8:30am on Tuesday.

Kareem Al-Salami, 48, of Sunshine North, was arrested shortly after the incident and has been charged with the attempted murder of Dr Wong.

It is unclear if the two know each other or what the motive could have been, however Kareem Al-Salami’s lawyer told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday that his client was taking various medications and that he was concerned about his client’s mental wellbeing.

The assault has sparked fierce criticism of the Victorian government’s response to repeated calls from doctors and nurses to improve security in hospitals.

In the lead-up to the 2010 election, the Coalition promised to spend $21 million on putting armed guards in hospitals but when the policy faced criticism, a parliamentary inquiry was held in 2011 to look at alternative options.

Following the inquiry, the government promised to spend $21 million on other measures to improve security in hospitals, but has so far only committed $5.8 million over four years to improve training and install duress alarms in some wards.

In 2012, Attorney-General Robert Clark said the Victorian Coalition government would legislate for longer sentences for people who attack paramedics and emergency department workers in hospitals but so far, no legislation has been introduced. Even if the laws had been introduced, they may not have helped Dr Wong because he did not routinely work in the emergency department and he was not there when the attack occurred.

Following the horrific attack, the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Association, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and the Victorian Emergency Physicians Association said more needed to be done to protect health workers against violence which is occurring regularly in Victoria’s crowded hospitals.

Australian Medical Association Victoria president Stephen Parnis, who has previously called for more CCTV cameras in hospitals, and 24-hour guards, said the incident was an example of the “real dangers that hospital and healthcare workers face”.

Dr Parnis said health workers were entitled to feel safe at work and called on the state government to introduce promised legislation that would increase penalties for violent crimes committed against health workers.

He said there had been three inquiries into hospital safety in recent years in Victoria yet little had been done.

A spokesman for Victorian Health Minister David Davis said an advisory committee has been established to provide advice and oversight on initiatives and that the Minister for Health and the Attorney-General had met with the AMA and had “constructive discussions about potential responses, including possible legislative responses”.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said she was extremely concerned “but unfortunately not surprised” by the attack.

“Those who work in hospitals, particularly those in the frontline – nurses, midwives and doctors – are being punched, hit, kicked, bitten, choked, knocked unconscious and threatened and attacked with weapons every day.

“It would not be tolerated in an office or any other workplace and it should not be tolerated in a hospital. Our political leaders must stop ignoring this horrific violence and take immediate action to make hospitals safe,” she said.

Victorian chairman of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, Dr Simon Judkins, said problems of violence were not limited to any one hospital or geographical area.

“Particularly in a public hospital [emergency department]… we do deal with a large proportion of disenfranchised, mentally ill, drug-affected patients who can’t get care anywhere else,” he said.

“We often deal with patients who the police don’t want to take to the cells because they are psychologically disturbed so they come to the ED and that can be quite scary for our staff in the early hours of the morning.

“I think this sort of thing could happen in any ED anywhere. We have an open door access policy.”

Dr Judkins said it was possible that no security measures could have prevented the attack on Dr Wong, but greater efforts were needed to protect staff in hospitals against violence.

He said problems included low staffing levels overnight in emergency departments and shift workers returning to their cars through dark carparks without any security.

“No matter what happens there will still be incidents like this but it does raise concerns… No other profession would put up with this. People get abused, punched, pushed and threatened… We expect that’s going to happen and we shouldn’t, we should expect to feel safe in our workplace.”

Victorian Emergency Physicians Association president Allan Whitehead said the state government needed to provide more funding to enhance security, particularly for smaller hospitals with emergency departments that did not have adequate security.

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VIDEO: Mullen out for four months with hamstring tear

NEWCASTLE Knights five-eighth Jarrod Mullen is likely to be sidelined until mid-season after scans revealed he needs surgery to repair a torn hamstring.
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Mullen will see a surgeon next Monday to have the prognosis confirmed but sources have told the Newcastle Herald the 26-year-old pivot will have to go under the knife to repair the hamstring he tore in Newcastle’s 16-11 quarter-final loss to Brisbane in the Auckland Nines at Eden Park last Sunday.

It is understood the tear in his left hamstring is close to the bone and surgery, which will sideline him for up to four months, remains his only realistic option.

In a statement on the club’s website, the Knights said the results of scans taken on Tuesday ‘‘have confirmed a hamstring avulsion’’ and he is scheduled to see the surgeon next Monday.

‘‘The seriousness of the injury and therefore his recovery time will be determined post consultation with the surgeon on Monday,’’ the Knights statement said.

The loss of their primary playmaker for at least the first half of the season is a devastating blow to Newcastle’s hopes of challenging for the NRL title, and ends any hope of Mullen staking a claim for the NSW No.6 jersey for this year’s State of Origin series.

In the absence of regular skipper Kurt Gidley at various stages last season, Mullen captained the Knights and steered them within a game of the grand final. His most complete and consistent season ended with him finishing equal fifth in Dally M Medal voting last year.

Coach Wayne Bennett will consider switching Gidley back to the halves to replace Mullen, which would leave young gun Adam Clydsdale and former Canberra Raiders hooker Travis Waddell to share the dummy-half duties.

Waddell and Clydsdale will alternate at hooker in Newcastle’s pre-season trial against Canberra at Scully Park in Tamworth on Saturday night.

Mullen, who captained the Knights in the Auckland Nines, was running towards Brisbane’s line just before half-time in the quarter-final but, without a defender touching him, collapsed to the ground mid-stride and immediately clutched at the back of his his left thigh.

He hobbled from the field and watched the second half from the sideline bench, holding an ice pack against the back of his left thigh.

Please enable Javascript to watch this videoMeanwhile, the Knights have announced that halfback Tyrone Roberts has signed a new deal with the club, securing his services until the end of 2016.

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MP’s suspended over corruption inquiries

FORMER NBS energy minister Chris Hartcher and other Central Coast MPs Chris Spence and Darren Webber have been suspended from the NSW Liberal Party after being named in two major corruption inquiries.
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Acting state director Simon McInnes announced in a statement on Wednesday morning the trio had “voluntarily withdrawn” from the party after the O’Farrell government was dragged into the scandal surrounding the family of former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, with an announcement that public hearings would begin in weeks.

A senior government source said the Liberal Party had decided on Tuesday night to begin proceedings to suspend the trio.

The MPs had just renominated for preselection in their central coast seats for the March 2015 state election.

But on Tuesday members of Mr Spence’s electoral conference for The Entrance were told a meeting scheduled for next Monday to confirm his candidacy was cancelled until further notice.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption will hold a public inquiry, starting on March 17, into allegations of corrupt conduct by public officials and ’’persons with an interest’’ in the Obeid-linked company Australian Water Holdings.

A second inquiry will be held from April 28 into allegations Mr Hartcher, who is the member for Terrigal, Mr Webber, who is the MP for Wyong, and Mr Spence ’’corruptly solicited, received and concealed payments’’ in return for favours.

Australian Water, which became one of the largest donors to the NSW Liberals before the 2011 state election, was allegedly one of the sources of the payments.

ICAC says the first inquiry, Operation Credo, will look at whether, between 2004 and 2012, interests in Australian Water benefited by inflating charges to state-owned Sydney Water corporation.

It will examine allegations ’’public officials and others’’ were involved in falsifying a cabinet minute relating to a public-private partnership proposal by Australian Water to mislead a budget committee of cabinet.

Mr Obeid and his fellow former Labor ministers Joe Tripodi and Tony Kelly are alleged to have ’’misused their positions as members of Parliament’’ to try to influence public officials over the deal.

It is alleged that, in November 2012, Liberal Party identity Nick Di Girolamo – a former chief executive and major shareholder in the company – and Eddie Obeid jnr tried to mislead ICAC’s investigation into whether Mr Obeid snr tried to use his position as an MP to influence public officials over the proposal.

Within hours of the Tuesday announcement, Mr Di Girolamo resigned as a director of the state-owned State Water Corporation.

The second inquiry, Operation Spicer, will look at whether between April 2009 and April 2012 Mr Hartcher, Mr Webber and Mr Spence, along with two former staff of Mr Hartcher – Tim Koelma and Ray Carter – corruptly solicited payments for political favours.

It will also examine whether, between December 2010 and November 2011, the MPs and Mr Carter solicited banned political donations.

The inquiry will consider allegations Australian Water Holdings, through Mr Di Girolamo, made ’’regular payments’’ to Eightbyfive, a company owned by Mr Koelma in return for Mr Hartcher favouring Australian Water interests. The payments were allegedly claimed to be for public relations advice.

Mr Hartcher suddenly resigned from the cabinet in December after ICAC raided his office.

In 2012 Mr Carter and Mr Koelma resigned and Mr Carter was suspended as Terrigal electorate officer after the party referred allegations they had breached donations laws to the Election Funding Authority.

A $5000 payment to Eightbyfive, from Wyong builder Matthew Lusted, sparked the referral by the party.

Mr Lusted was approached for the payment by Mr Carter shortly before the March 2011 election. It is understood Mr Lusted’s name and others were given to Mr Carter by Wyong mayor Doug Eaton, who has refused to comment.

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The shocking truth about budget airlines

Australia’s most maligned carrier … Tiger. Photo: Paul RovereThere’s always that moment of hesitation as you hover the mouse over the “confirm payment” button. Am I actually going to get what I think I’m going to get?
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That’s the risk with budget airlines. You’re never quite sure how the experience will pan out.

Will the flight take off on time? Will it take off at all? Will I find out I’ve misread the baggage allowance and get stung a hundred bucks at the airport? Will the airport be a million miles away from the city it claims to service? Will the queues be interminable? Will the service be appalling? Will the food on board be terrible? Will the seats be tiny? Will I even be assigned a seat or will I have to charge on board, elbows out, and dive into the first one available?

The answers will remain up in the air until you, too, are up in the air.

I’ve flown with a lot of budget carriers lately. I’ve tackled Tiger, I’ve wrangled with Ryanair, I’ve jostled with Jetstar and elbowed my way through EasyJet. And the results, despite all the bad press, have been overwhelmingly positive.

You’ll hear people complain about budget carriers all the time, but they’re usually the ones who don’t read the fine print, or who pay a fraction of the full-service cost but roll up expecting a full-service experience. The reality, or at least the one that I’ve experienced, is that budget carriers are actually pretty good. And cheap.

Things have, admittedly, gone wrong. A Jetstar flight from New Zealand was cancelled, leaving us in an airport hotel for an extra night. EasyJet took off late a couple of times. But, as they say, you get what you pay for, and budget carriers have usually been worth the risk.

I flew Tiger the other day – surely Australia’s most maligned carrier – and the whole experience was fine. Sure, I had to spend time in the cow shed, otherwise known as Tullamarine terminal 4, for an hour or so. But that’s bearable.

The flights took off bang on time. We arrived bang on time. The hosties were friendly, if not quite as polished as their full-service compatriots. They were only short flights so I didn’t have to bother about the food, or worry about the lack of entertainment.

I flew Jetstar to Japan a few months ago, and everything went as it should have. The seats weren’t noticeably less comfortable than any other airline I’ve flown on recently. The meals I pre-paid weren’t too bad. We arrived on time.

I flew AirAsia X to get home from Tokyo, which involved a ridiculous dog-leg of a journey via Kuala Lumpur, but the fares were super-cheap and the experience was great. Once again, flights took off on time, service was good, seats were comfortable, food was tasty, arrival was punctual. Entertainment was non-existent but I’d planned for that and brought my own. And Tokyo’s budget airport is closer to the city than Narita.

My recent Ryanair experiences weren’t exactly joyous, but I remembered to print my itinerary before getting to the airport, I had the right baggage, and the plane got me to where I was supposed to be going without any major issues.

Of course, this isn’t to say I dislike the full-service experience. I’d fly the likes of Emirates every day of the week if I had the choice – and for long-haul it’s absolutely worth the investment. They have about 4 billion TV channels. The service is amazing.

But the point of this story is that if you’re strapped for cash and still want to travel, budget carriers are well worth the risk.

Just read all the fine print before you travel. Obey the baggage allowances. Turn up to the airport early. Bring your own entertainment. Bring your own food. Prepare yourself mentally for an experience that’s not going to be special, that’s not going to be luxurious – but one that will be purely functional. It’s going to get you where you need to go.

And it might even be on time.

Do you fly with budget carriers? Have you ever had any major problems or would you recommend it to other travellers?

*The writer paid for all of his own travel

Email: [email protected]爱上海同城论坛m.au

Instagram: instagram爱上海同城论坛m/bengroundwater

Join Ben Groundwater on a cycling tour of Vietnam and Laos. Details here.

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SEEK shares surge on new Asia buy

SEEK shares surged by more than 20 per cent after announcing a $580 million purchase of Jobstreet’s online employment unit, giving the company a stronger foothold in Asia.
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The news came as SEEK reported a 64 per cent jump in first-half net profit to $111 million.

Revenue in the six months ended December 31 rose 48 per cent to $343.3 million from $231.2 million in the year-earlier period, the company said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange. Net profit in the previous half year totalled $67.5 million.

The job-search website giant said its Asian arm was buying the online employment businesses of JobStreet Corporation for a valuation of $580 million.

Chief executive and co-founder Andrew Bassat said the transaction marked an ongoing focus in Asia, including China.

“In the near term, we expect revenue residing in Asia to comprise over 50 per cent of SEEK’s overall revenue which further cements SEEK as a global leader in online employment,” he said in a statement.

Citigroup analyst Justin Diddams said the result exceeded expectations as it was boosted by currency gains in its international business and by a strong performance from its education business.

“The outlook statement suggests positive momentum in each business,” he said while also pointing out that second half net profit is expected to be only marginally ahead of first-half profit.

Mr Bassat praised the company’s ability to perform strongly, despite a weakening local labour market.

“We’ve been seen for some time now as a cyclical business exposed to the Australian unemployment rate and we’ve had a really negative performance in the Australian unemployment rate over the last six months but despite this we’ve seen a really clear record result,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

“We’ve seen SEEK International come through really strongly, SEEK Education come through really strongly and the employment business perform credibly and basically hold flat.

“Overall we’re just really proud the group has delivered a record result in tough conditions.”

The interim dividend, payable to shareholders of record on April 30, is held at 14¢.

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Footy star goes from hero to zero over pub fight

Source: The Border Mail
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HUME football premiership hero Kylin Morey is facing charges over two serious assaults at a Lavington hotel in October.

Morey, who kicked eight goals for Brocklesby-Burrumbuttock in their premiership win against Holbrook, was at the Boomerang Hotel’s beer garden about 8.45pm on October 26.

Albury Local Court heard yesterday how Morey argued with members of another group and a fight started.

Security film showed Morey punching an unknown man who was wearing a blue jumper as he stood near an ATM.

The man fell and Morey continued punching him while he was on the ground and not retaliating.

Morey also punched another man in a black singlet who tried to intervene.

Security staff and friends tried to lead Morey away, but he threw a table in the direction of the man in the singlet.

About that time, a friend of Morey, Benjamin John Hall, who had been ordered to leave the beer garden, ran back in.

He punched an unknown man to the face with his left fist.

The man fell backwards on to a concrete floor unconscious.

Morey, 22, of Valverde Court, Thurgoona, and Hall, 22, of Cattlin Avenue, Albury, both pleaded guilty to affray charges.

Magistrate Tony Murray has ordered pre-sentence reports on both and adjourned sentencing until April 1.

“You are very fortunate the person you punched did not suffer any injuries when he fell to the concrete,” he told Hall.

He said this was “exactly” the type of offence that outraged the community.

“The consumption of alcohol is not an excuse for behaving like this,” Mr Murray said.

Police identified Hall from the hotel’s security footage.

He said when they phoned him on December 23 that he had not been in Albury and did not wish to go to the police station about the matter.

The hotel’s manager had identified Morey, who is an apprentice glazier.

Morey’s victim was seen to be bleeding from the left temple when leaving the hotel.

Police went to Albury and Wodonga hospitals but no one had sought treatment for that injury.

Morey told police when interviewed on December 6 he could not recall the incident.

Police showed him footage of the incident and he expressed his remorse.

Mr Murray told Morey: “This is a bad example of this type of offence.”

Kylin Morey won man of the match in the Hume league grand final between Brocklesby and Burrumbuttock last year.

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Modern Family brings Australian social media storm and high hopes for tourism dollars

Behind the scenes of Modern Family posted on Twitter today … is this filming for the episode leading to the Pritchett-Tucker’s holiday in Australia?Modern Family’s casting call for extras
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Sydney remains in the grasp of Modern Family madness, with the show’s stars spotted in Manly, Bondi Beach and Circular Quay yesterday.

This morning, filming has reportedly begun at Woolloomooloo and the restaurants at Finger Wharf.

And tourism bosses are hoping the filming of the one-off episode of the hit comedy will follow the success of other lucrative visitors such as the Oprah and Ellen shows.

Tourism Australia head of corporate affairs Karen Halbert said: “Inviting Oprah [Winfrey] and Ellen [DeGeneres] to film Down Under brought huge global audiences and showcased the best of our country and I’m sure this will be no different with Modern Family.

“Whatever the family members get up to, I’m sure many of our iconic attractions will end up playing a starring role and help generate fantastic global exposure for our country.”

Twitter was abuzz with photos of the stars around Sydney, posted by fans and by the actors themselves.

After being mobbed on arrival at Sydney Airport yesterday morning, Sofia Vergara was spotted near her hotel in Circular Quay and in Manly, including dining at the restaurant Hugo’s.

Nolan Gould, who plays Luke, armed himself with a surfboard, headed to Bondi and bragged on Twitter that he had made it to the beach within a couple of hours of arriving in Australia.

It took me all of three and a half hours to make it to the beach after we landed in Sydney. http://t爱上海同城论坛/pLOOMLUf10— Nolan Gould (@Nolan_Gould) February 18, 2014

Eric Stonestreet (Cam) was spotted around the CBD and was happy to be photographed with fans. He also nominated the Playfair Cafe as having the “best coffee in The Rocks”.

Ed O’Neill bemused fans greeting him at the airport by wearing a Rabbitohs hat, to which the club declared on Twitter that they would love to host him.

@russellcrowe The Modern Family guys have arrived to shoot in Sydney… Check out Ed O’Neill’s hat! pic.twitter爱上海同城论坛m/I1XFjmJjYL— Rabbit (@RabbitOnNova) February 18, 2014

Winfrey’s 2010 filming here saw almost half of subsequent US visitors saying they had been inspired to visit Australia because of the Oprah show, while Qantas reported a 22 per cent increase in inbound flights following DeGeneres’ trip last year.

It comes at a time when US arrivals have hit record figures, an all-time high of 508,700 last year, beating the previous high around the Sydney Olympics, by more than 20,000.

As well as filming in Sydney, the production will shift to Hayman Island for two days next week. Show co-creator, director and writer Steven Levitan said: “We just had to go to the Great Barrier Reef since, like Sofia Vergara, it’s one of the natural wonders of the world.”

ON THE BLOG: @ModernFam stars share the love in Sydney #ModernFamilyAUS. Details here –>http://t爱上海同城论坛/vdfBOZWKXU— Jayden Forster (@CelebrityLane1) February 18, 2014

MT “@WoollyBayHotel: #ModernFamilyAUS filming on the wharf! Star watching at its best! pic.twitter爱上海同城论坛m/IzMgTeFYYv”— 2DayFM 104.1 (@2DayFM) February 18, 2014

The Australian special, which is expected to score 125 million viewers worldwide when it’s first broadcast, will be filming in Sydney and Queensland until February 28.

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Unregistered hearse halted in funeral fuss

Source: The Daily Advertiser
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AN UNDERTAKER was forced to transfer a body to another hearse after police ordered his vehicle off the road as it made its way to the Wagga crematorium.

A highway patrol officer nabbed the hearse driving unregistered as it headed north on the Olympic Highway towards Wagga last month.

The incident saw the undertaker driving the vehicle forced to call another hearse and move the body to the second vehicle at the side of the highway.

The family of the deceased was left distressed by the way police handled the incident.

Wagga police Superintendent Bob Noble said he sympathised with the family over the situation but has backed the officer’s handling of the situation.

“Another person might’ve dealt with it a different way but another person wasn’t there,” he said.

“An officer has a responsibility to make decisions at the time and I respect the individual authority of that person to do that.”

Superintendent Noble said the officer was in no way trying to add to an already difficult time for the family, admitting the circumstances were “regrettable”.

“No officer would want to exacerbate or compound grief in those circumstances,” he said.

Police have spoken with the funeral company involved in the incident and no formal complaint has been made with regards to the actions of the highway patrol officer involved in the incident.

It’s understood the funeral company had only recently purchased the hearse second-hand and had been told by the seller that it had come with 12 months’ registration.

But when the highway patrol officer pulled it over, its registration was found to be out of date and it was ordered immediately off the road.

The Daily Advertisercontacted the funeral company in question for comment, but they declined to do so.

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