‘Didn’t even feel it go over’: crash driver can’t explain M1 shocker

‘Didn’t even feel it go over’: crash driver can’t explain M1 shocker ‘A lapse of consciousness’: Gregory Thomas Foale leaves Wollongong court on Monday (left); and the scene of the accident which caused traffic queues of 6km.
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TweetFacebook’The next thing I know, I ended up like this’

“I was in the left hand lane,” he told them. “I was doing about maybe 30 or 40 kilometres. I have rounded the bend and come up the hill and the next thing I know, I ended up like this. I didn’t even feelit go over. Nothing at all. And then I climbed out.”

He later told police he may have “missed a gear”. Police allege the crash was fatigue-related.

Authorities audited Foale’s log book andfound five breaches, mostly relating to incomplete record-keeping,and one count of making a false or misleading entry.

Foale did not give evidence at Monday’s hearing. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of negligent driving.

He told police he left Ingleburn in theWSI Transport truck about 3.45am.

But lawyer Graeme Morrison told the court his client spent much of the morning waiting atSydney International Container Terminal.

“My client didn’tactually leave [the terminal] until approximately 7.30am,” Mr Morrison said. “At the time [of the crash] …he had spent less than two hours driving.

“It’s the case [authorities] took his log book and went through it with a very finetooth comb. [Leaving a field blank] is hardly the world’s worst offence with regard to a logbook.”

Magistrate O’Conner noted Foale’s limited driving record, after three decades on the road.

“Maybe the explanation was what the defendant said –that he must have missed a gear –but what really is concerning the court was that he appeared to have a lapse of consciousness. He didn’t seem to know where he was. His vehicle was … three or four metres off the ground and he was endeavoring to start it in that position.”

Foale was convicted and fined $1000 for negligent driving and $500 for each of his other charges. He was not disqualified from driving.

‘A bizarre act of snobbery’: Labor opposes Turnbull government’s citizenship changes

Labor has drawn a dramatic line in the sand on Australian citizenship, vowing toblock the Turnbull government’s proposed crackdown and resolutely denyingany link between citizenship policy and national security.
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In a move the government swiftly linked to old battles over boats and border protection, Labor MPs unanimously agreed to oppose the controversial citizenship bill, which frontbencher Tony Burke warned would be “a fundamental change in who we are as a country”.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, pictured at a Refugee Week function in Parliament House on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The opposition’s main concerns, previously flagged by some left-wing MPs, included a tough English language test for aspiring citizens and a four-year wait for permanent residents before they could claim citizenship.

A fired-up Mr Burke said the university-level English requirement was “ludicrous, absurd and dumb”, and would create “a new, permanent underclass of permanent residents” who would never be able to become Australian citizens.

He said it was “a bizarre act of snobbery” on all Australians and “a fundamental shift in how Australian citizenship is defined”, adding that a “very large number” of Australian-born citizens would never pass such a test.

“That is a big change in howthis country operates, and it’s a change that Labor cannot support,” he said.

The fate of the citizenship package now rests with the independent Senate crossbench, where it is likely to find enough votes,given One Nation’s sympathies and the “broad support” previously indicated by Nick Xenophon.

But the politics were quickly exploited by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who doubled down by insisting national security was at stake andaccusing Labor leader Bill Shorten of being “mugged by the left of his party”.

He said Labor’s argument about university-level English requirements was “nonsense” and a red-herring floated by some left-wing MPs as “cover to get them to today’s position”.

And he linked the decision to the 15-year battle over asylum seeker policy, declaring Labor was “completely divided … as they were on the border protection bill” to establish Operation Sovereign Borders.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also hit back, accusing the oppositionof “disrespecting” and devaluing Australian citizenship and claiming the compulsory English test was “doing people a favour”.

Mr Shorten initially offered lukewarm support for the citizenship changes when they were announced in April, suggesting the English test and waiting period sounded “reasonable”.

But several Labor MPs publicly voiced concerns about key elements of the proposal, and many on the party’s right were also understood to be disturbed by the government’s plans.

On Tuesday, Mr Shorten told his caucus colleagues the changes would “alienate people who are already permanently living here” and sent the message “that there are two sorts of Australiansand it’s only the ones who reach university-level English who the government reallywants”.

Mr Burke strongly rejected Mr Dutton’s linking of the issue to national security, pointing out the changes only affected people already living permanently in Australia and were rooted not in security agency recommendations, but a review undertaken in 2015 by Liberal senator Concetta Fierrevanti-Wells.

He also hinted that, if elected, Labor would seek to roll back the changes if they were passed into law.

“This is absolutely where Labor’s at,” he said. “I’m not going to presume defeat but … our position is very strong.”

The position was welcomed by migrant groups, which have lobbied hard against the citizenship revamp, and will nowturn their attention to crucial Senate crossbenchers.

Labor will refer the bill to a Senate inquiry and left the door open to accepting administrative changes the party deems reasonable, if the government was to propose themin a separate bill.

Queensland Maroons captain’s run

Billy Slater’s suspect shoulder is set to be given its sternest test since his return to the NRL with NSW intent on harassing Queensland’s No.1 at every opportunity in his State of Origin return.
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Left out of the Maroons’ Origin I caning – due in part to concerns over his perceived hesitancy in defence after almost two years out of the game – Slater is bracing for a torrid reception from the Blues, who have identified his injury as a focal point on Wednesday night.

Queensland Maroons captain’s run Billy Slater at the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

Scenes from the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain’s run at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Getty Images

TweetFacebookNSW relentlessly bombed the axed Corey Oates in game one, but won’t be afraid to direct their aerial raids at either Slater or Queensland debutant Valentine Holmes to stifle their ability to build a head of steam on kick returns at ANZ Stadium.

Asked whether roughing Slater up could work, NSW skipper Boyd Cordner said: “I suppose it can. In Origins in the past, where NSW has done well against Billy is they’ve got down there on Billy – the kick-chase has been awesome – and really got into [him].

“We’ve talked to the halves and the halves know how big a job they’ve got with their kicking game, especially out here. It’s normally a bit dewy anyway. Turn them around and getting a good kick-chase to try to get us in good field position [will help] to limit [Slater’s] opportunities in his half.

“Origin is a physical game so we’ll be going out there with the same mindset as always no matter who is wearing the No.1 for them.”

Slater is yet to commit to playing beyond this year given his torturous road back to the top, potentially paving the way for 2017 to be the last Origin series for him, Johnathan Thurston and Storm teammate Cooper Cronk. And it appears the Blues don’t want to make it one to remember.

How NSW limit Slater’s time with the ball won’t be finalised until coach Laurie Daley consults Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney at Tuesday’s captain’s run at ANZ Stadium, but Cordner admitted the series-chasing Blues would be foolish to pour all their energy into the Melbourne ace and the fit-again Thurston.

And so Queensland would be too, to paint a pronounced target on the back of Origin I wrecking ball Andrew Fifita.

Cordner is yet to discuss with Daley the coach’s plans beyond this year with speculation the Blues boss has been worn down in the past five years, but his skipper hoped a series win might convince the coach to stay on.

“If we’re going to win it for anyone it would be for Loz,” Cordner said. “I haven’t sat down with him and maybe after this game or game three we’ll have a chat, but he hasn’t said anything [about his future yet]. He’s probably the most passionate guy I’ve been coached by and I know how much this jersey and this team means to him. That’s what you need at Origin level. He’s the right man to lead us.”

Cordner stands on the cusp of leading NSW to a series win at his first attempt and has momentarily drifted off to think about what it would like to hoist the Origin spoils this year. But his message to his teammates has been a lot sterner, advising them to avoid the media noise emanating from Camp Maroons and finish the job as he tries to settle his own frayed nerves.

“I’ve never felt the way I did before game one with the nerves and emotion,” Cordner said. “I suppose it’s going to be different for game two. I suppose it’s going to be more comfortable because we’re playing at home in front of our home fans, family and friends.

“They’ve got some great inclusions with Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater, but if we concentrate on what we can do and how we play to get ourselves right it doesn’t really matter what they’re going to come with because I’m pretty confident if we turn up on Wednesday night we can win.”

NSW Blues captain’s run

NSW Blues captain’s run Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.
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Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Andrew Fifita at the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Boyd Cordner at the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Tyson Frizell at the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Mitchell Pearce at the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

NSW cricketer Doug Bollinger at the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Coach Laurie Daley at the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Nathan Petas at the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Scenes from the NSW Blues captain’s run at ANZ Stadium on the eve of Origin II 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

TweetFacebookThe NSW Blues are one up in the 2017 State of Origin series.

The Laurie Daleu-coached NSW tackles Kevin Walters’ men from north of the borderat ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.

But with big guns Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater back in Maroon, will the Blues be smiling on Wednesday night?

Meanwhile, check out the origins of the NSW players. It’s not all about Sydney.

Find out who’s from Gulgong, Taree and Orange.

Big spending NSW budget skips the Hunter

At his budget press conference on Tuesday, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was asked whether the days of asset recycling –read: privatisations – were over now that the government had completed the sale of its electricity network businesses.
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The implication behind the question seemed to be; after raising some $29.8 billion through privatisation, surely there’s not much left to sell, and when it’s all gonewhat will the government prop up its revenue base with?

Mr Perrottet’s answer was essentially that they’re not done yet.

The government still plans to sell its $16.8 billion Westconnexmotorway project, and it’s currently in talks with the Commonwealth about the so-called Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme.

Mr Perrottet called asset recycling the “secret sauce”of the state’s strong budgetary position.

Since coming to power in 2011 the government has used privatisation – like the $1.5 billion lease of the Newcastle Port – as a base on which to fund its ambitious infrastructure budget.

But the question of how long it can keep going for is an interesting one.

With stamp duties expected to begin falling in coming years, debt from infrastructure rising, and GST receipts about to fall off a cliff, the government certainly has a revenue problem.

Mr Perrottet says the government’sdealing with it by controlling expenditure growth through wage caps and efficiency dividends –read: budget cuts –in the public service.

But in the Hunterthe prospect of more difficult days ahead raises an important question: have we already seen the best of what’s to come?

In 2014 when the government was in the process of privatising the Port of Newcastle for $1.5 billion, the Hunter was briefly at the centre of the state’s politics.

Since then, following the commitment to build a 2.7 kilometre light rail track down Hunter Street, we’re often told how lucky we are that the government is investing half a billion dollars into the region.

But after another budget in which Sydney infrastructure projects were the overwhelming centrepiece, it’s fair to ask whether we’re getting our fair share. And when the most significant funding announcement is a $1.7 million business case for a project that has been on the government’s radar for years, that question becomes all the more stark.