MPs to have free vote on gay marriage: PM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison have differing views on same-sex marriage but say they will vote in accordance with the plebiscite. Photo: Andrew Meares Labor senator Penny Wong Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Australia votes July 3: Full coverage Jacqueline Maley: The world’s most expensive delaying tactic

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Coalition MPs will be free to ignore the result of the public vote on same-sex marriage and follow their consciences after the national plebiscite.

Mr Turnbull said that when it comes to legislating change he would not bind his cabinet colleagues to vote according to the will of the people, but that he expected most MPs – including those opposed to same-sex marriage – to accept the public’s verdict.

The details of the proposed plebiscite, including the exact question to be asked, have yet to be resolved even though a vote is expected by the end of the year. It has been unclear whether Coalition MPs, particularly cabinet members, would be forced to accept the plebiscite verdict.

Asked on Friday if cabinet members would be bound to support the plebiscite result, Mr Turnbull said: “The tradition in the Liberal Party is that on matters of this kind it is a free vote.”

But he said: “I have no doubt that if the plebiscite is carried, as I believe it will be, that you will see an overwhelming majority of MPs and senators voting for it.”

Mr Turnbull named Treasurer Scott Morrison as one cabinet member who is opposed to same-sex marriage but has said he would vote “yes” if that is what the people decide. Former prime minister Tony Abbott, also against same-sex marriage, has said the same thing.

But conservative MPs such as Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi, who fought against a conscience vote in the last term of Parliament, have indicated they may vote no regardless of the plebiscite result.

Labor Senator Penny Wong responded on Twitter, saying: “Malcolm Turnbull didn’t give supporters of marriage equality a free vote before the election, but will give opponents of marriage equality a free vote after the election.

“Traded his principles for the leadership.”

The Greens say the Prime Minister’s position indicate the pointlessness of the plebiscite.

“I think most Australians would be scratching their heads this morning. How exactly can the Prime Minister justify spending $160 million on what is in effect a giant opinion poll that isn’t even binding on his own members,” Greens marriage equality spokesperson senator Robert Simms said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has described the plebiscite as “a taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia”, but Mr Turnbull has said he believes Australia is capable of having a respectful debate on same-sex marriage.

A poll released by Griffith University last week showed that seven in 10 of voters, including most Labor voters, support a plebsicite on the issue.

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The week that was: June 18 – 24PHOTOS

The week that was | PHOTOS NEWS: Dye Hard Fun Run in Maitland.
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NEWS: Hunter produce lovers stopped in at High Street Maitland for the markets

NEWS: Bradford Hotel lager loungers take on Genesis Gym lycra lovers in charity challenge for heart kid Marcus Dunn

NEWS: Hunter police uncover three hydroponic set-ups in the region.

NEWS: Bureau of Meteorology says Friday, Monday and Tuesday could bring snow at Barrington Tops

NEWS: Federal election 2016: Teenager Christian Cedergren stops Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in his tracks with plea for help for his disabled sister.

NEWS: Fire and smoke cause road closure in Singleton

NEWS: Muswellbrook South Public School participate in Mark Hughes Foundation’s Beanie for Brain Cancer Week.

NEWS: Fun aplenty at St Joseph’s Merriwa Parents and Friends Junior Campdraft and Fete

NEWS: Cheese Lovers Festival at the Sebel Kirkton Park, Pokolbin part of Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival program.

NEWS: More than 120 car tyres have been slashed in inner-city suburbs in a month-long rampage infuriating residents. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SPORT: The Philadelphia 76ers made former Newcastle junior Ben Simmons the No.1 pick in the NBA draft on Friday morning. Picture: Getty

NEWS: The Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council has reacted angrily to a request from NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Leslie Williams to give reasons why an administrator should not be appointed to the organisation.

NEWS: Police searching for missing Carrington man Jackson Baker have made the heartbreaking discovery of a man’s body in Newcastle Harbour at Stockton.

SPORT: Scott Miller plans to use $400,000 in salary cap concessions to help transform the Newcastle Jets into a genuine finals contender. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

NEWS: Hunter students are divided over the call to make maths and science compulsory. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

NEWS: Brain cancer survivor Miley Griffiths helps raise funds for The Mark Hughes Foundation.

NEWS: Sanitary items often fall off the shopping list for those mums who struggle to make ends meet but a Port Stephens initiative means they won’t go without. Picture: Sam Norris

NEWS: Baits have killed three family dogs and more than 20 native birds at Corlette in the past two months.

NEWS: Soldiers Point Public School receives two friendship seats. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

NEWS: Year 6 students from Raymond Terrace Public School have begun to restore bicycles for the less fortunate.

NEWS: Morisset High School’s Reconnect Class takes a physical approach to helping year 9 boys stay on task. Picture: David Stewart

NEWS: Voters will have the chance on Wednesday to meet and grill candidates contesting the seat of Hunter at the federal election on July 2. Picture: David Stewart


NBA Draft 2016: Ben Simmons backs himself to improve Philadelphia 76ers I video

Ben Simmons is backing himself to lift the struggling Philadelphia 76ers out of the doldrums after being taken with the No.1 pick on a red-letter day for Australian basketball at the NBA Draft.
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Ben Simmons after securing the No.1 draft pick.

The 76ers, as expected, chose the 19-year-old first-up in Brooklyn on Friday, but the selection of giant centre Thon Maker as the No.10 pick to the Milwaukee Bucks was a surprise.It is the first time Australians have landed two spots in the top 10.

Simmons hugged parentsJulieand Dave after NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the selection inside the Barclays Center.

“It is a weight off my shoulders, honestly,” he said.”I’m relieved and happy to be a part of the organisation.”

Simmons moved to Newcastle from Melbourne when he was a toddler and stayed until the family moved back to Victoria when he was 10.

He started playing on the courts of Broadmeadow Basketball Stadium and represented Newcastle and Lake Macquarie in junior teams.

Dave Simmons, a former player and head coach for Newcastle in the NBL,told theHerald from New York that the family were “so excited”.

Ben Simmons’ new Foot Locker commercial Part 1“Julie and I are pretty overwhelmed,” he said.“This was just a fabulous moment for Ben and our family.”

Ben Simmons, who signed a $US20million ($26.30 million) deal with Nike and will earn $US15.42million over three years with the 76ers, faces a monumental task to turn Philadelphia around.

The 76ers were the worst team in the NBA last season with just 10 wins in 82 games.

Ben Simmons’ new Foot Locker commercial Part 2Pressure will be on Simmons to be the saviour, but he already has a close relationship with the coach, former Australian Boomers mentor Brett Brown.

“I think I can make an impact,” he said.”It is going to take a lot of work and everyone has to be on board, but we have a young team and I’m looking forward to getting there.I’ll get bumps and bruises, but that comes with being a rookie. It will be a new experience for me.”

Allen Iverson, who was picked No.1 by the 76ers 20 years ago and went on to become an 11-time All-Star, believes Simmons “can do it all” and “has a lot of young talent that can take us far”.

But he warned Philly fans were passionate and would accept him only if he gave100 per cent on the floor.

“There’s going to be some ups, and there’s going to be some downs, but these people will stick with you through your ups and your downs,” Iverson said.

“I’m the perfect example.”

Simmons is the third Australian-born player to be drafted No.1, after Bogut in 2005 and American Kyrie Irving in 2011.

Federal election 2016: What’s legal at the polling booth

GET IT RIGHT: The law is very specific about what is and isn’t allowed on polling day both inside and outside the booth. Photo: Phil Hearne Voting … it’s something rich, white Aussie men have been doing since 1840 but today it is the democratic right of all Australians. The right to vote was hard won by women and Indigenous people, with a failure to cast your vote now resulting in a fine for breaking the law.
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So what is legal and illegal on polling day both inside AND outside the booth?

What’s say on July 2 when the whole process of waiting in line has made you grumpy, you end up drawing your version of Mona Lisa all over the ballot paper, without numbering any boxes: this is called an informal vote. Itmeansyou marked the ballot paper, but you did not number every squaresoyou’ve complied with the law but you have wasted your democratic opportunity. You can’t be fined for thishoweveryour vote will not count.

If you aren’t artistic enough to draw anything and you just number every square from the top to the bottom, this is called a donkey vote. This doesn’t incur a fine either as it is still valid and will be counted.

Not only can voters get in trouble for not casting their votes, but political parties and candidates can also get into hot water, including the people outside a polling booth making last-minute attempts to convince you to vote for their party.

A political party or candidate cannot publish or distribute electoral material which misleads or deceives a voter in casting their vote. For example, a sign saying, “don’t bother numbering the squares, just draw”, would be illegal, as this entices voters to cast an informal vote.This could result in a $1000 fine or six monthsin prison.

Other things that are illegal at a polling booth:

A person can’t bribe you to vote for them or their political party or hinder the exercise of your free choice in deciding who to vote for. This is a $9000 fine and/or six months in prison. However, this doesn’t include handing out how to vote cards.Candidates and their teams cannot be within six metres of the entrance to a polling booth. Any soliciting of votes within this area can lead to a fine of up to $900.A person can’t use a loudspeaker or microphone outside a booth if it can be heard inside. The fine is also $900.A person must not write, draw or depict any electoral matter directly on any roadway, footpath, building, vehicle, vessel or place. The history of this offence goes back to the shortages of building supplies following WWII. It basically amounts to a graffiti type offence and does not cover printed and paid for signage. The fine is up to $1800.Scrutineers or officers inside the polling booth are not allowed to wear political badges or any emblem representing a candidate. This carries a $1000 fineThey are also not allowed to try to influence or communicate with voters in the booths. A breach of this rule can be six months prison and/or an $1800 fine.If you see something you think may be wrong, contact the AEC on 13 23 26 or

Happy voting and make sure you have your voice heard.

Alison and Jillian Barrett are both principals at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. The sisters are experienced lawyers and passionate social justice campaigners. Alison juggles motherhood, as well as heading up a major legal practice area. Younger sister Jillian also leads a team of lawyers and sports a double degree in Law and Journalism.

Pork chop thrown at paramedics in Darwin

A pork chop (not pictured) was thrown at paramedics. Photo: Penny Paramedics stopped to move a woman off the road when they were hit with a pork chop in Darwin. Photo: Christopher Knight
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A woman has been hit with a fine after two paramedics were hit with a half-eaten pork chop as they tried to convince her to stop sitting in the middle of the road.

It’s not clear why the 21-year-old was apparently eating the hunk of meat at 4.40am on an inner-city Darwin street but the pig projectile has been labelled a “waste of a pork chop”.

The paramedics were on their way back to the station from another job when they noticed the woman, apparently drunk, sitting in the road on Daly Street, to the north-east of the city centre.

St John’s Ambulance Northern Territory operations manager Craig Garraway said they stopped the car but the woman refused to budge.

The paramedics were calling police to help when something sailed through the window, hitting one in the face and the other in the arm.

“Now they didn’t know what had happened at the time,” Mr Garraway said.

“They turned the light on and realised she’d thrown a pork chop through the window and hit both of them and fell to the floor.”

Not wanting to hang around for any more hog-based assaults, the ambos rolled up the window and drove off, leaving police to deal with the “quite abusive” woman.

They arrived a short time afterward and fined the woman for disorderly behaviour in a public place, which reportedly carries a $472 penalty.

Both police and paramedics warned assaulting a public officer was a serious crime but in this case Mr Garraway said the officers found the incident “very amusing in the end”.

“They’re in good spirits and they think it’s quite funny,” he said.

“These things unfortunately happen quite regularly, not so much pork chops being thrown.”

The paramedics had no idea where the pork chop had come from but assumed the hungry reveller must have been chowing down as she took a break in the roadway.

“It was a waste of a pork chop, and I suppose the question is, where do you get a pork chop at four o’clock in the morning?” Mr Garraway said.

“And was it cooked I suppose is the next question, or was it raw?

“I can’t answer that question. I don’t think she’s won a meat tray earlier in the night.

“I suppose luckily for our officers she didn’t have a fork with her or a knife to eat it.”

Mr Garraway said unfortunately people regularly threw things at St John’s Ambulance officers, who are contracted to provide the state-run ambulance service in both the Top End and Western Australia.

Rocks and beer cans were most common but he said the list of projectiles extended to kangaroo tails and other weird items.

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Rugby league unites over sportsmanship behind Central Charlestown four-year-old boy’s first try

UNLIKE most things that becomeinternet famous, there isn’t avideo of IzacSoewarno’s first rugby league try.
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It’s in the scorebook, sure, and the momenthecarefullygroundedthe ballon a sodden Saturday in June will stayinthe memoriesofhis Central Charlestown under-6 teammates.

But none of thatmeant Izac’s first try would go viral.

The Hunter try that made rugby league smile  |  photos, video SPORTSMANSHIP: Izac Soewarno relives his try, scored for Central Charlestown following a sporting gesture by Cardiff. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SPORTSMANSHIP: Izac Soewarno relives his try, scored for Central Charlestown following a sporting gesture by Cardiff. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SPORTSMANSHIP: Izac Soewarno relives his try, scored for Central Charlestown following a sporting gesture by Cardiff. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebookNo, the four-year-oldwith anoversized jersey and a smile totransport anyoneto the fields of their childhood hasfoundfame because of a Facebook post written by histeammate’s mum.

“I have a son who plays under 6s at Central Charlestown and I never ever write anything or make a comment on Facebook about an opposing team,” began Renee Ridgeway, in a post-game message to the opposing Cardiff Cougars.

“Towards the end of today’s game our little player Izac was passed the ball…there would have been at least 5 players who ‘pretended’ to tackle him and ran as slowly as they couldbeside him watching his first try.”

Ms Ridgeway’s accountleftIzac’s mum SarahSoewarno brimming with tears for her sonwho had startedthe season running the wrong way. Ithas since been shared onlineby Jarryd Hayne.

NSW Blues captain Paul Gallen –who would have givenplenty for a four-pointer at the right time in Wednesday night’s State of Origin loss – alsomessaged hiscongratulations.

Jade Porter, the Cardiff coach whose playersorchestrated Izac’s big moment, saidhetried to set upan oppositionplayer for a try almost every week.

“I saw this kid and told them, this is the day he scores a try,” Mr Porter said.

“No,I don’t think it would have happened when I was his age. But 100 per cent,it’s good for a kid’s confidence and it’s going to make him want to come back next year andplay the game of rugby league.”

Charlestowncoach Mat Toshack has already noticeda lift from his smallest player at training.

Izac’s try,reportedly scored from just inside hisown half,has brieflydominated the lives oftheBelmont NorthSoewarno family. Izachas, obliging various media,relived it dozens of times. A children’sclothing line has made approaches.

Andrew Blackwell, the Central Charlestown Facebookadministrator who first promoted the post, said it had reached more than 150,000 people by mid-week.

But even if Izac’s momenthad been confined totwo teams and their parents watching in the rain, hismum said she would have been happy.

“It was just beautiful to watch his teammates run over andgive him hugs,” MsSoewarno said.

“It made him feel special.”

Short Takes: Saturday, June 25, 2016

ITseems a bit rich for all these bleeding hearts to be whinging about the Baird government not giving out enough. They seem to forget 15 years of Bob Carr and what we got: half a bridge to Kooragang and a partial upgrade of Hillsborough Road. Now, you all expect miracles when you continually vote for the opposition. We had an opportunity to forge on when we had a lord mayor of substance and a couple of Liberal government ministers and Newcastle started to move on. You are lucky Baird gives Newcastle anything if this whinging continues. So stop bleating.
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Les Powell,CharlestownTHEY talk about the big hole left with the open-cut mines.Look up on Google the place Butchart Gardens, British Columbia. They changed that pit into a beautiful garden a million people visit every year. It would bring tourists to the Hunter.

George Tattersell,EleebanaI AGREE with Jeff McCloy’s observations (‘McCloy dubbed Trump of the Hunter’,Herald,23/6)that if developers are to be banned from funding elections then unions should also be banned. This is arguably correct. But then if the traditional sources of electoral funding were banned, how should elections be funded? The only viable solution would be tax-funded elections. This would minimise corruption such as identified by the ICAC’s Operation Spicer.

George Paris,RathminesSO the NSW government has balanced its budget, by selling income-generating assets. Question is: where will they find the income to spend in the future, now the assets are gone?

Joan Lambert,AdamstownNOW that the state government budget has been done and dusted we are left to pick up the crumbs. After all it’s only Newcastle and the Hunter. Thank you, MrBaird.

Daphne Hughes,KahibahREGARDING Eddie Maguire. There’s an old proverb. It’s best to stay silent, and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth, and remove all doubt.

David Davies,Blackalls ParkTHE POLLSHAVE you had your tyres slashed recently?

Yes 15%,No 85%DOyou like Scott Miller’s plan for the Jets?

Yes 89%,No 11%SHOULD medicinal cannabis use be allowed in hospitals?

Yes 95%,No 5%MESSAGEBOARDWE provide classes in most aspects of computer and tablet usage catering for all abilities from the absolute beginner to more experienced users. If you are wanting to learn how to get the most out of your computer or tablet then you are invited to come talk to us. We provide a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and we try to make your learning fun.When: Friday 1st July.Where: 15 Hubbard Street, Islington (next door to the school).Time: 9.30am to 11.30am.Phone: 4961 6576.Email:[email protected]上海龙凤419m.

Letters to the Editor: Saturday, June 25, 2016

WELCOMING: The way small towns in Alaska welcome cruise liners puts Newcastle to shame. These ships are stopped in Skagway, Alaska. Picture: Kris Kelly
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I HAVE just returned from Alaska and have seen first hand the wonderful cruise-liner ports, facilities and onshore tours available for up to six cruise liners docked at one time, with 2000 passengers each.

These small towns put Newcastle to shame.

Yes, their harbours are deeper but our cruise-liner terminal is embarrassing and we continue to miss out on showcasing Newcastle and the Hunter.

Surely it is our right to have some of the money from the sale of our port used to bring in big tourist dollars to our region’s economy to perhaps balance the downturn in coal.

The state budget has said $30 million from the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund will be allocated to several large projects including the cruise terminal. It certainly wasn’t obvious how much and when for a new terminal.

What was obvious is that Newcastle continues to be ignored.

Our politicians should be aware that we the voting public in the Hunter are becoming increasingly disillusioned with both major parties. Not long now until the election.

Kris Kelly,MaryvilleHigh price of duplicationI LIKEN the Turnbull Liberal government’s NBN to the fiasco with the Tourle Street bridge.

In the 1970s, a NSW government with vision built a four-lane Stockton bridge.

The old two-lane Tourle Street bridge was replaced with a new two-lane bridge in 2009 instead of a four-lane bridge.

That turned out to be a disaster with traffic congestion.

The NSW government is now back duplicating the Tourle Street bridge at four times the cost.

“Do it once and do it right”I heard someone say last week.

Ron Hancock, StocktonLeaders can changeSO, where is Abbott? What have the Libs promised to keep him so quiet and so out of camera range?

Fascinating to hear Turnbull’s hearty statement that “his governmentwill not privatise Medicare”.

Maybe not, but with Abbott still ghosting around behind the scenes, Libs could be easily de-stabilised, yet again.

Any promises made by Turnbull about what his government would do could vanish in a puff of ecto-plasm.

Patricia Pears, CooranbongFears for MedicareMR Turnbull insists Medicare will “never ever”be privatised. Shades of, there will “never ever”be a GST.

Given the fact of Liberal cuts to hospital funding, attempts at introducing GP co-payments so doctors cannot bulk bill and scrapping of rebates on pathology services, I don’t believe him.

Irrespective of what Mathias Cormann says, I believethe Turnbull government has looked at new ways to deliver payments and believe outsourcing Medicare is the key.

The future of Medicare could be just one election away.Is this the legacy that you want to leave your children?

How can you put trust into hollow words given Mr Turnbull’s previous backtracking on policy.

Make no mistake; Mr Turnbull is simply treading water.

The wrath is yet to come.

If you are a pensioner, an Australian who values your family’s health care, are unemployed, or even if you are employed and value penalty rates because you work unsociable hours, a student, a member of the community concerned about increases to the GST, then you would be wise not to vote Liberal.

We need a government that is compassionate to the majority of Australians and not just a select few.

Think before you number any boxes.

Dennis Petrovic,RutherfordBoat brings back memoriesTHE Labor Party claim that Medicare will be privatised if theCoalition government is returned must be hitting home becauseout of the blue we have an asylum seeker boat sailing over the horizon towards our shores.

It has been threeyears since we havebeen told of such an event. Yes, I saw the footage on the news,but this particular boat did not look any different from one that was turned back three years ago.

Maybe it was the same footage used at that time, replayed over again.

Darryl Tuckwell,EleebanaRemember the circusREARDING Neil Pitt (Short Takes, 22/6):One would assume that you have been in some sort of induced coma over the last nine years.In 2007 when the ALP took over from the Coalition government the official federal budget was in a surplus of $10.8 billion.

At the end of 2013 after the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd/Gillard circus, the official federal budget was in a deficit of $23.5 billion, a spend-a-thon of some $44.3 billion.

What did they spend all of this on? Failed “Pink Batts” scheme, failed lap-top computers for every school child in Australia, failureto identify the correct installation method for the NBN etc, etc.

I am a person who opens both eyes when looking at the facts and all that I can see was a completed financial disaster during 2007 and 2013.

You may well say that the deficit has slipped even further during 2013-2016, I agree, however you must look at all of the underlying facts that contributed to the decline, starting with the mountainous interest repayments that the Coalition has had to contend with courtesy of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd/Gillard circus.

Neil Fletcher,West WallsendLETTERS commenting on election issues must bear the writer’s name and full address (only the suburb will be published). Responsibility for election comment in this issue is accepted by the editor, Heath Harrison,28 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle. Writers should disclose any alliance with political or community organisations and include a phone number for verification. Election candidates should declare themselves as such when submitting letters.​

LETTER OF THE WEEKTHE Herald pen goes to Matthew Endacott for his letter about reviving city centres.

Hybrid barley a weed control tool

Syngenta technical manager for conventional genetics Kathryn Hearn with Syngenta growth awards winner Greg Giblett, Quirindi, NSW, and Syngenta northern EU marketing manager Mark Hall with a crop of hybrid barley at the recent Cereals event in Cambridgeshire, England.BRITISH farmers are increasingly looking at non chemical methods of controlling problem weeds, with uncertainty surrounding future registrations of key herbicides such as glyphosate.
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With this in mind options such as hybrid barley are becoming more and more popular as higher yielding varieties hit the market.

Syngenta reported strong interest in its new Hyvido Bazooka and Hyvido Belfry lines at last week’s Cereals field day, the premier arable farming event in the United Kingdom.

Hybrid barley, introduced to the UK in 2011, is being used as a tool in running down blackgrass seed numbers.

Blackgrass is the number one crop weed in the UK. It is a vigourous species with the ability to set large numbers of seed.

The winter barley crops are achieving great success in outcompeting blackgrass.

Syngenta technical manager of conventional genetics Kathryn Hearn said the hybrid vigour meant the crops got away strongly early after being planted.

“There is good early canopy closure which makes it difficult for weeds,” she said.

As hybrids, the barley varieties are only suitable for feed purposes, but Ms Hearn said farmers were saying the high yields would compensate for a lack of a malt premium.

Farmers in the UK are reporting high yields with hybrid barley lines.

Hybrid cereals are widely available in the UK, with barley recording better results in weed suppression than wheat in trials.

The two new Syngenta lines will have a strong fit in northern England, due to high levels of resistance to wet weather diseases.

Unusually for Australian growers, used to semi-dwarf varieties, the hybrid barleys are bred to be tall in order to smother blackgrass.

They are also six row varieties, virtually unknown in Australia, with all three spikes on the ear fertile.

The hybrid barleys are generally sown in September, relatively soon after the previous crop is harvested.

While Australian producers are familiar with growing hybrid canola lines, the hybrid cereal sector is far less developed. There have been hybrid wheat lines commercialised but they have failed to attract significant market share, due to the fact yield benefits are relatively modest in comparison to the additional costs.

· Gregor Heard travelled to the United Kingdom as a guest of Syngenta.

HD won’t go off-air in Channel Nine switch for regional viewers

Confident: Jack Bird is tackled by Aidan Guerra of the Maroons during game two of the State Of Origin series on Wednesday.The high-definition channel 9HD will be broadcast into Canberra, Wollongong, southern NSW, regional Victoria and regional Queensland from next Friday when Southern Cross Austereo switches over to showing Nine’s channels.
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The regional broadcaster said last week thatit would not be able to upgrade its transmission equipment in time for the July 1 switch, when itdrops its “Southern Cross Ten” branding and begins carrying Nine’s name and programs as rival WIN swaps to showing Network Ten content.

Ordering, importing, installing and testing of new HD equipment was expected to keep 9HD off-air until mid-August, Southern Cross Austereo said.

The delay was a blow to regional viewers, especially fans of live sport such asrugbyleague,and risked taking the gloss off the historic expansion of the famous Nine brand beyond Australia’s capital cities.

But Southern Cross Austereo confirmed on Thursday that it had scrambled with the help of technology supplier Cisco to make the 9HD channel available on channel 50 on remote controls.

“Recognising how much our viewers value the quality of high definition, our technical staff have been working tirelessly to get HD to air as quickly as possible,” the network’s head of regional media RickLenarcicsaid.

“From day one, when we start broadcasting Nine programs in standard definition on channel 5 on the remote control, we will also be broadcasting 9HD on channel 50,” he said.

“The third State of Origin on Wednesday July 13 will be in HD. In addition, in Queensland and NSW, all NRL season games on Nine, starting with the Storm versus the Broncos on July 1, will be in HD.”

While the 9HD service – launched by WINin regionalmarketsinMarch – will not be interrupted by Friday’schanging channels, the lifestyle channel 9Life is not expected to be available until mid-August.

From next Friday, the Nine, Gem and GO! channels, and such programs asThe Voice, Love Childand60 Minutes,will move from WIN channels 8 and 80 to 84 on viewers’ remote controls to channels 5 and 50 to 54.

WIN’s channels willchangetocarrying such Ten programming asMasterchef, The ProjectandFamily Feud.WIN will relay Ten’s primary channel on 8, Ten’s HD channel on 80, ONE on 81 and Eleven on 82.