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29 December
Comments Off on Jobless can earn $19 more a week

Jobless can earn $19 more a week

Unemployed people will be able to earn an extra $19 a week before their welfare payments are reduced, as part of the government’s attempt to appease those calling for an overhaul of the welfare system.
Nanjing Night Net

As had been hinted in the lead-up to the budget, the government chose to increase the amount of money people on some welfare payments can earn – from $62 a fortnight to $100 a fortnight – instead of increasing the base rate of payments.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said it was a “practical investment to give Australians on income support more incentive to stay in or re-enter the workforce”.

The government estimates about 150,000 people on welfare payments will be able to earn up to $494 a year more under the change.

However, the decision will not please either business or welfare groups, which have been calling for a rise in the unemployment payment, Newstart, to help keep people out of poverty.

“We welcome the news that the income-free area will be increased to allow people on the $35-a-day payment to keep more of the money that they earn,” the chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie, said.

“However, this will do nothing for the four out of five people on Newstart who cannot get into paid work and have no other earnings,” she said.

The decision to increase what is known as the income-free threshold is in part a response to the backlash the government has weathered since its decision in last year’s budget to move people receiving the sole-parenting payment onto the lower-paying unemployment payment once their youngest child turns eight.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 December
Comments Off on Mining tax revenue slumps to $200 million

Mining tax revenue slumps to $200 million

Revenue targets for the Gillard government’s mining tax have been downgraded yet again, with Treasury now expecting just over $200 million from the controversial measure this financial year.
Nanjing Night Net

The new downgrade means net receipts from the tax will be just 10 per cent of the $2 billion that was forecast in October, a figure that was itself a downgrade from the $3 billion predicted at the May 2012 budget.

The trend will spread through the forward estimates, and the tax will now be in its fourth year before that $2 billion figure is passed.

The government has shaved $1.7 billion of its expectations for the 2014 financial year to just $700 million, with a further $1 billion in revenue tipped for 2015.

Instead of raising $13.4 billion over its first four years, as predicted in last year’s budget, the tax will raise just $3.3 billion.

The mining tax has been hampered by the recent cooling of commodity prices and mining companies’ use of massive tax deductions.

The latter issue has caught Treasury by surprise, with the Australian Tax Office launching an investigation into how companies like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are calculating those deductions.

But the government remained optimistic that the tax would work in the long run, given that capital spending by miners was easing and exports were poised to grow significantly.

The budget papers predicted iron ore exports would rise by about 40 per cent over the next four years.

As expected the budget contained measures to tighten the rules on exploration deductions for miners, in a move that is likely to prompt anger within the industry.

The changes are worth $1.1 billion to the government over four years, and are designed to avoid penalising junior miners conducting greenfields exploration.

The changes will have the most impact on companies that purchase a tenement that has previously been explored, by excluding the purchase price of the mining right and certain intangible elements like knowledge from being claimed.

The government appears to be well aware that the change could spark another stoush with the resources industry, and stressed in the budget papers that the government would “consult closely with industry on the design and implementation of the measure”.

“This measure will improve the sustainability of this important concession, which recognises that resources exploration is a vital and economically risky activity that has spillover benefits to the economy,” the budget papers said.

Fears the diesel fuel rebates could be targeted again proved unfounded, with no direct changes to the 32 cent rebate.

But changes to the carbon price could see some slight, indirect, fluctuations in the diesel fuel rebate.

The clean coal sector was one of the clear losers out of the budget, with four separate programs suffering cuts.

Carbon capture and storage programs suffered $500 million worth of cuts over three years, the low emissions coal initiative was cut by $88.2 million over two years and the coal sector jobs package lost $274 million over two years, while a $29 million cut was delivered to coal mining abatement technology spending over two years.

The government will also introduce cash bidding for offshore oil and gas permits in areas with a developed oil and gas industry.

The new system is expected to raise $160 million for the government between 2015 and 2017.

The resources and energy industry will get a new “councillor” based in Beijing to help foster relations between the sector and Chinese authorities.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 December
Comments Off on Challenge to road link with $3b for Metro rail

Challenge to road link with $3b for Metro rail

$3 billion has been allocated for a Melbourne rail tunnel. Photo: Craig AbrahamSwan puts surplus on holdWinners and losersFederal budget at a glanceTreasurer Wayne Swan’s budget speech
Nanjing Night Net

The Gillard government has pledged $3 billion for the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel, pitting it against the federal opposition, which has promised to spend half as much on the east-west road link.

This comes on a day when The Age revealed that the planned east-west link would have to be three times the current cost of an average trip on CityLink for the project’s investors to make a profit.

Ensuring road versus public transport funding will be a key focal point for Victorian voters at the September 14 federal election, the budget has revealed the $9 billion project – involving a nine-kilometre rail tunnel from South Kensington to South Yarra with five new stations – will be one-third funded by the Commonwealth if Labor wins.

But that contribution, which will stretch over about a decade, is contingent on the Napthine government also chipping in $3 billion. The remaining $3 billion would be raised through a public-private partnership secretly sketched out by federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and state Transport Minister Terry Mulder.

Under the plan, both governments would make “availability payments” to a private sector provider to build and possibly run the new line, which is expected to provide capacity for an extra 20,000 passengers per hour.

This would ensure a guaranteed rate of return, making it attractive to superannuation funds and other investors.

The ongoing payments, which do not appear to have been included in the budget, would be split equally between the Commonwealth and the state government.

The funding promise, revealed by Fairfax Media last month, stands in contrast to Mr Abbott’s pledge to spend $1.5 billion on the east-west road link connecting the Eastern and Tullamarine freeways. The state government also announced funding of $300 million for that project in last week’s state budget, with just $10 million for the rail tunnel.

Mr Abbott last month said there would be no Commonwealth money for commuter rail projects if he was elected prime minister. State Treasurer Michael O’Brien warned that the federal election would be a referendum on the east-west road link. Mr O’Brien said voters in marginal federal Labor seats east of the city – including Deakin, La Trobe and Chisholm – would punish Labor for not funding the road.

But the Commonwealth funding arrangements for the rail tunnel remain opaque. The budget papers only reveal the money will be taken from its Nation Building Program, which is funding 36 other projects across the nation.

It is understood the Napthine government does not want to begin building the rail tunnel until 2015-16 – after the state election.

Mr Abbott and the state government are backing the road project over the rail project despite the lack of a business case, including traffic projections and a detailed analysis of benefits and costs. The Metro rail project, which is seen as necessary before other key public transport projects can begin, has been assessed by Infrastructure Australia as “ready to proceed”.

The budget papers also include $525 million to complete 38 kilometres of improvements on the M80 Ring Road, $69 million to improve traffic management on the Monash Freeway and a previously announced $258 million contribution to continue duplicating the Princes Highway between Winchelsea and Colac.

Mr Albanese said Mr Abbott had failed to understand that the Commonwealth should invest in road and rail. “His opposition to any rail funding would ensure traffic gridlock in our cities, making them less liveable and sustainable,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 December
Comments Off on Cornered Labor chooses brave way out

Cornered Labor chooses brave way out

Swan Treasurer Wayne Swan: “Strange budget.” Photo: Andrew Meares
Nanjing Night Net

Join Ross Gittins for a live Q&A at 12pm todayMichael Gordon: Hedging wedgingAdele Ferguson: Politics not economicsMalcolm Maiden: Price cycle taking Swan for a ridePeter Hartcher: Labor to leave with some dignity

This is the weirdest budget you or I are ever likely to see. That doesn’t make it bad – just very strange.

With just four months until the election, it’s the most unlikely pre-election budget you could imagine, with loads of nasties and next to no sweeteners. It is  more like a post-election budget, particularly the kind you get after a change of government.

But its strangeness doesn’t end there. The Parliament has so few weeks left to sit, it is likely most of its controversial measures won’t become law before the election (with the increase in the Medicare levy the main exception).

That makes it less a budget than an election policy speech. Only if Julia Gillard is re-elected can we be sure the budget measures will become a reality.

And since the chances of Labor’s re-election seem low, this is more Tony Abbott’s budget than Gillard’s. It will be he who decides which measures survive and which don’t; whether Labor’s last budget becomes anything more than its final, impotent gesture.

Do you think Gillard doesn’t know that? This is the budget of a government that knows it’s a dead duck.

Usually when governments know they are going to lose, they  go for broke, offering electoral bribes they know they will never have to find a way to pay for, aiming to minimise their loss of seats.

Not this time. This budget is more likely to cost Labor votes than win it any.

No, the purpose of this budget is not vote-buying – it is reputation-rescuing, a last-ditch attempt to influence what history will say about the Rudd-Gillard government  as an economic manager.

History will be impressed by this budget – and a lot more forgiving of Labor’s shortcomings than voters are likely to be on September 14.

At this time in 2010, Wayne Swan seized on a Treasury projection three years into the future and boasted about his feat of returning the budget to surplus in 2012-13.

In the following election campaign, Gillard foolishly turned that long-range projection into a solemn promise.

This time last year, Swan boasted of budgeting for four surpluses in a row, as though they were in the bag. His surplus of $1.5 billion for the financial year just ending is now expected to be a deficit of $19.4 billion (but even that isn’t yet certain). This year his boast of being able to get the budget back to a surplus of $6.6 billion in 2016-17 (again on the basis of Treasury’s long-range projections) will draw understandable cynicism.

But just as Swan and Gillard should have more sense than  to attach much weight to economists’ forecasts, so should the rest of us. Treasury’s crystal ball will be no more reliable after a change of government. Less initial naivety on the part of the media and the public would reduce ultimate cynicism.

The strength of this budget – should it come to pass –  is that Swan has found sufficient saving measures (90 per cent of them tax increases) to cover the cost of the painfully slow phase-in of the disability insurance scheme, the Gonski school funding reforms and other new spending measures.

He has  found other savings to make a start on reducing the budget’s significant ”structural” deficit – the product of excessive generosity by successive governments – and eventually getting the budget back to surplus, but without endangering the economy’s tricky transition from mining-driven to consumer and business investment-driven growth over the coming year.

These additional, structural deficit reductions build from nothing in the coming financial year to $6billion in the following year and $12billion in each of the next two years. Being saving measures, these figures are less dependent on predictions about the state of the economy and so are easier to believe.

By my rough figuring, they will eventually reduce the structural deficit – that is, claw back unfunded handouts – by about 60 per cent.

It has to be said, however, that few of the nasties in the budget  will cause  voters to lose much sleep. They are aimed mainly at the well-off and foreign multinationals.

Even so, for a government that’s been far too timid in tackling unjustified spending programs and tax breaks, this budget is surprisingly brave.

And if, by being the one to propose last night’s unpopular measures, Gillard makes it easier for Abbott toagree to them now or to introduce them after the election, Labor willdeserve respect for initiating such a heavily disguised form of bipartisanship.

For what it’s worth, this is a good budget. But that is the trouble: under these strange circumstances, it ain’t worth a lot.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 December
Comments Off on Budget 2013: winners and losers

Budget 2013: winners and losers

WINNERS
Nanjing Night Net

1. Infrastructure: $24 billion over five years to upgrade and expand urban public transport infrastructure in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide.

2. Schools/education: $9.8 billion over six years for a new needs-based funding model for schools that increases Commonwealth funding for schools to $104.3 billion from 2014 to 2019.

3. Higher education: $97 million to increase the number of Commonwealth-supported university places and an additional $186 million for research infrastructure.

4. Disability: $14.3 billion in new investment for DisabilityCare Australia, a national disability insurance scheme that will be paid for with an increase in the Medicare levy.

5. Seniors: $127 million for older Australians, including $112.4 million to support those downsizing their homes, $9.9 million to extend broadband support and $4.6 million for a new ageing policy institute.

6. Health: $226 million to fight cancer, including $55.7 million for breast cancer screening, $18.5 million for prostate cancer research and $23.8 million for bone-marrow transplants.

LOSERS

1. Individuals: Personal income tax cuts to begin in July 2015 to help with the carbon tax deferred until carbon price estimates reach $25.40. New estimate for 2015-16 is just $12.10.

2. Environment: Deferral of $370 million of funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, while $225.4 million will be deferred and $32.3 million redirected from the biodiversity fund. $58 million in funding for the Clean Technology Program moved to 2017-18.

3. Resources: Tighter rules on exploration deductions for miners that give the government $1.1 billion over four years. $500 million cut from carbon capture and storage programs.

4. Multinational companies: Tightening of the corporate tax system to remove erosion and loopholes, bringing the government extra revenue of about $4.1 billion and $219.20 million in savings.

5. Foreign aid: The government will defer an increase in the aid budget to 0.5 per cent of the gross national income by one year to 2017-18, saving it $1.9 billion.

6. Families: A reduction in the time allowed to claim family tax benefits and child-care assistance will save the government $562 million over five years, while changes in the eligibility age for another tax benefit will save $76.6 million over four years.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 November
Comments Off on Millions for WA infrastructure projects

Millions for WA infrastructure projects

Western Australia has benefited from infrastructure commitments in this year’s federal budget, with Treasurer Wayne Swan allocating $500 million over 10 years to help in the delivery of a major public transport project for Perth.
Nanjing Night Net

As part of his $100 billion nationwide infrastructure blueprint, the Treasurer has committed to funding big projects around the country.

For WA, the budget stipulates that either the Perth Light Rail project or the construction of a new link to the city’s airport will be funded.

The Government is also investing $900.1 million in Western Australia’s regions through the Regional Infrastructure Fund, including $418.3 million for the Swan Valley Bypass and $307.8 million to improve the Great Northern Highway between Muchea and Wubin.

The 40km Swan Valley Bypass will have dual carriage highway for 15kms and single carriageway for 25 kilometres.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said $25.3 million would be brought forward to kickstart the project.

“We know there’s more to be done, but this government is making the right decisions for the nation’s future and across the length and breadth of Western Australia, building the infrastructure that will stand the test of time,” he said.

In delivering his budget speech to parliament todayt, Mr Swan said the Federal Government would partner with the private sector and state governments to deliver critical infrastructure projects around the country.

“These investments will boost productivity, build capacity, improve safety and relieve congestion,” he said.

“As well as improving the quality of life in our communities across the nation.”

One of Premier Colin Barnett’s major state election promises was the Swan Valley Bypass, but he is struggling to fund his election commitments thanks to dwindling coffers.

He committed $196 million towards the project at the state election, but he will have to match the Federal Government’s pledge if he wants to see the bypass built.

Other WA infrastructure projects earmarked in the budget include upgrades to Tonkin Highway, leach Highway and the North West Coastal Highway.

This year’s funding will also enable work to be completed on re-routing the Great Northern Highway to the north of Port Hedland’s Wedgefield industrial estate and untangling rail and road access to Esperance Port.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 November
Comments Off on Mining tax revenue slumps

Mining tax revenue slumps

Revenue targets for the Gillard government’s mining tax have been downgraded yet again, with Treasury now expecting just over $200 million from the controversial measure this financial year.
Nanjing Night Net

The new downgrade means net receipts from the tax will be just 10 per cent of the $2 billion that was forecast in October, a figure that was itself a downgrade from the $3 billion predicted at the May 2012 budget.

The trend will spread through the forward estimates, and the tax will now be in its fourth year before that $2 billion figure is passed.

The government has shaved $1.7 billion of its expectations for the 2014 financial year to just $700 million, with a further $1 billion in revenue tipped for 2015.

Instead of raising $13.4 billion over its first four years, as predicted in last year’s budget, the tax will raise just $3.3 billion.

The mining tax has been hampered by the recent cooling of commodity prices and mining companies’ use of massive tax deductions.

The latter issue has caught Treasury by surprise, with the Australian Tax Office launching an investigation into how companies like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are calculating those deductions.

But the government remained optimistic that the tax would work in the long run, given that capital spending by miners was easing and exports were poised to grow significantly.

The budget papers predicted iron ore exports would rise by about 40 per cent over the next four years.

As expected the budget contained measures to tighten the rules on exploration deductions for miners, in a move that is likely to prompt anger within the industry.

The changes are worth $1.1 billion to the government over four years, and are designed to avoid penalising junior miners conducting greenfields exploration.

The changes will have the most impact on companies that purchase a tenement that has previously been explored, by excluding the purchase price of the mining right and certain intangible elements like knowledge from being claimed.

The government appears to be well aware that the change could spark another stoush with the resources industry, and stressed in the budget papers that the government would ‘‘consult closely with industry on the design and implementation of the measure’’.

‘‘This measure will improve the sustainability of this important concession, which recognises that resources exploration is a vital and economically risky activity that has spillover benefits to the economy,’’ the budget papers said.

Fears the diesel fuel rebates could be targeted again proved unfounded, with no direct changes  to the 32 cent rebate.

But changes to the carbon price could see some slight, indirect, fluctuations in the diesel fuel rebate.

The clean coal sector was one of the clear losers out of the budget, with four separate programs suffering cuts.

Carbon capture and storage programs suffered $500 million worth of cuts over three years, the low emissions coal initiative was cut by $88.2 million over two years and the coal sector jobs package lost $274 million over two years, while a $29 million cut was delivered to coal mining abatement technology spending over two years.

The government will also introduce cash bidding for offshore oil and gas permits in areas with a developed oil and gas industry.

The new system is expected to raise $160 million for the government between 2015 and 2017.

The resources and energy industry will get a new ‘‘councillor’’ based in Beijing to help foster relations between the sector and Chinese authorities.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 November
Comments Off on Carbon price slide hits green schemes

Carbon price slide hits green schemes

The government has cut $370 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Photo: Justin McManusThe more than halving of the carbon price to  just $12 a tonne, Treasury predicts, will cost the budget $2.1 billion before Australia links with the European emissions trading scheme in 2015.
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The steeper than expected slide – blamed on ‘‘profound economic weakness in Europe’’ – will cut $6 billion from carbon tax revenue and result in massive adjustments to spending and cuts to renewable energy subsidies and industry assistance.

In a move that is likely to anger the Greens, the government has cut $370 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency  and spread it over a further two years.

The $3 billion agency, responsible for providing grants for clean power such as solar and wind, will have  its spending power fall by $200 million before the introduction of an ETS.

Likewise, the Biodiversity Fund – established to protect native species from climate change – will have  funding “redirected”. It has been cut from $946 million over six years to $1 billion over eight years.

The money will be funnelled into ‘‘other government priorities’’ but some will go to the recently sealed Tasmanian forestry agreement. The fund was established to promote reforestation, revegetation and other carbon store initiatives.

The clean technology program has also been “reprofiled” to the tune of $58 million over a longer timeframe. It will now provide $1.2 billion over seven years.

Financial support for carbon-intensive industries will also be slashed.

A $1.5 billion program to support low-emission coal and carbon storage has been discontinued and  $662 million in uncommitted funds will be returned to the budget.

The coal industry will receive $274 million less over the four-year forward estimates.

The government will hold back $135 million in assistance to regions, saying no region has been “strongly, negatively affected by the introduction of the carbon price”. That includes steel-producing Whyalla in South Australia, which Opposition Leader Tony Abbott famously predicted would be wiped off the map under a carbon tax.

As a result of the funding cuts and $3.9 billion in free permits that no longer have to be funded, the government predicts the net impact will be “broadly budget neutral” over the four years to July 1, 2015. But it will cost the underlying cash balance $1 billion over that period.

The budget papers forecast the carbon price to fall from $25.40 in 2014-15 to $12.10 in 2015-16. Even that could prove optimistic, with the European price currently less than half that level.

As flagged by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, tax cuts – worth about $1.59 a week for people earning up to $80,000 a year – will be deferred until the carbon price rises above $25.40. That will save the government $1.5 billion.

Treasury insists the carbon price is working, with emissions from the national electricity market down by 7.7 per cent.

“Already renewable energy generation is up 30 per cent in the financial year to date,” the budget papers said.

The government has promised that if the carbon price is higher than expected when the nation moves to an ETS, it will prioritise investments in land and biodiversity programs.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 November
Comments Off on Benji benched as Tigers try new tactic

Benji benched as Tigers try new tactic

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – MAY 05: Benji Marshall of the Tigers looks on during the round nine NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Wests Tigers at Skilled Park on May 5, 2012 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images) Photo: Matt RobertsStar playmaker Benji Marshall will start on the bench as the Wests Tigers try to avoid recording the worst losing streak in the club’s history against the table-topping Rabbitohs on Friday night.
Nanjing Night Net

Fairfax Media understands coach Mick Potter will use Marshall in the halves when he injects him into the match against South Sydney, ending speculation the 28-year-old could make the shock move to fullback with his side staring down the barrel of their seventh successive defeat.

”Benji’s had some enormous setbacks in his life, which include shoulder reconstructions, knee injuries and his latest being the toe injury,” Marshall’s manager, Martin Tauber, said.

”It’s never stopped him performing before. If people think that he won’t come back bigger, stronger, better and more highly motivated, they’d be totally mistaken. He’s an exceptional footballer, he admits his confidence is down, let’s wait and see.”

The situation comes at a sensitive time, with the Tigers board due to discuss and possibly ratify a new five-year deal worth $4 million for Marshall this month. Potter has stamped his authority by making a decision that hasn’t been made at the club for seven years.

The last time Marshall came off the bench for the Tigers was back in round 10 in 2006, but that was a precautionary measure as he was coming back from injury.

He was last dumped from the starting side in round seven of 2005 following a 44-20 hammering by the Cowboys.

It is not the first time Potter has sent shockwaves through the club with his stern decisions.

He took skipper Robbie Farah, who is an 80-minute player, from the field against the Sea Eagles in the first half of their round-four clash in Gosford earlier this year.

Marshall conceded in The Sun-Herald on Sunday his form wasn’t up to the standards he sets of himself, and his lacklustre opening to his 11th NRL season has forced Potter to experiment in a bid to help him rediscover his mojo.

Marshall trained in the halves on Tuesday morning alongside Sironen, but isn’t expected to be injected into the match until mid-way through the first half, with Fulton to move into the forwards to accommodate Marshall’s entry.

”I didn’t expect it – there’s been plenty of talk around that Benji might be shifted but I didn’t think it would be to the bench,” Peter Sterling said on Triple M.

”It’s a bold move but they are in a position where the coach has to be fairly bold.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 November
Comments Off on ‘Sad day: the bump is dead’

‘Sad day: the bump is dead’

James Kelly will miss games against Collingwood and Port Adelaide.
Nanjing Night Net

I’m not a dirty player: Betts

Favourable evidence from Brendon Goddard has not swayed the tribunal to overturn a two-match ban for James Kelly, whose bump felled him last weekend. Soon after the verdict was revealed, Cats’ captain Joel Selwood declared on Twitter: ”Sad day … the bump is dead!”

Geelong fought the ban for rough conduct against midfielder Kelly on the basis there was not any forceful high contact to Essendon’s Goddard, as was alleged by the match review panel.

Kelly’s evidence to the tribunal that his impact was solely to the Bomber’s chest and shoulder was corroborated by Goddard, who the Cats successfully requested give evidence.

Giving evidence by phone, Goddard said he had been ”quite shocked” by the impact from Kelly because he had not been expecting it but stressed he had suffered nothing untoward.

”My recollection is he hit me across the top of the chest and the shoulder region,” he said.

Under questioning from tribunal counsel Jeff Gleeson SC he reiterated that stance – ”it [impact] wasn’t to my head or neck” – but said he had not properly seen any footage of the incident since the match which, Gleeson alleged, proved there was forceful high contact to Goddard.

@joelselwood14 I worked that out the hard way in Round 23 last year. Bloke got up took the free kick and I got 8 weeks down to 6.— Campbell brown (@Browndogg_30x) May 14, 2013

Asked about a subsequent gesture in which Goddard appeared to check whether he was bleeding from the mouth after the incident, which would have alluded to high contact, the Bombers midfielder said he was actually checking for saliva.

Kelly’s defence counsel, Peter Murdoch, QC, declared to the jury that Goddard had provided ”the best evidence one can have”, and had no ulterior motives for doing so. ”This is no concession being made by a mate or friend,” he said of Goddard’s evidence.

The tribunal jury of Richard Loveridge, Wayne Henwood and Emmett Dunne took six minutes to rule that despite the players’ evidence there had been forceful high contact from Kelly to Goddard.

Neither Kelly nor Geelong football department chief Neil Balme made any comment.

Carlton’s Eddie Betts has accepted a three-match ban and will

return for the Blues’ mid-season clash with arch rival Essendon.

An adverse medical report from St Kilda on youngster Nathan Wright’s jaw after a bump from Betts on Monday night triggered a base suspension of five matches for rough conduct. The discount is due to his good record and a guilty plea.

Betts apologised to Wright via Facebook. ”Just wanted to say sorry to Nathan Wright from St Kilda,” Betts wrote. ”I’m not a dirty player and I never intended to hurt him, just stop his run. Wish him a speedy recovery and hope surgery goes well … just gotta cop it on the chin now and do my time.”

A dazed Wright had to be substituted in the third quarter of Monday night’s match at Etihad Stadium after he was collected by Betts.

Betts clearly jumped into the Saints player and the bump was graded as reckless conduct, high contact and severe impact.

St Kilda midfielder Jarryn Geary was investigated but ultimately cleared over his bump on Carlton captain Marc Murphy.

Collingwood’s Heath Shaw accepted a one-match ban for striking Fremantle’s Hayden Ballantyne and will miss Saturday night’s match against Geelong. Melbourne’s Colin Sylvia accepted a three-match striking ban.

Melbourne’s Chris Dawes, Port Adelaide’s Jay Schulz, GWS’ Rhys Palmer and Western Bulldogs’ Liam Picken also accepted reprimands for striking.

Hawthorn midfielder Brad Sewell said he thought the Kelly incident was a “fair hit”.

While he praised the AFL stamping out violence and introducing rules with the intention of protecting players, Sewell said certain physical elements of the game – such as the traditional shirtfront – needed to be preserved.

“There’s no doubt that the crowd love it, and we love it as players. There is nothing better than hitting someone flush, and there is no malice in it, there’s no high contact. But it’s a great feeling,” he said on Fox Footy.

Sewell said teammates such as Lance Franklin and Brent Guerra have had to change their approach to bumping.

With Matt Murnane

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.