Monthly Archives: November 2018

Little Blacks Army on a mission to have fun

KING OF THE KIDS: Maitland Blacks vice-president Dan Gollan with part of the club’s Little Blacks Army. Photo: Max Mason-HubersMaitland Blacks vice-president Dan Golan proudly looks out over a sea of tiny black jerseys having a ball playing a game which has been part of his family’s history for three generations.

They are the Little Blacks Army, 89 energetic and enthusiastic boys and girlswho take part each Saturday in the club’s stand alone under-7 competition.

Golan is hopeful that within a few weeks the club will have 100 under 7s on their books, probably the biggest program of any rugby club in Australia.

To put the club’s success into perspective, there are more under 7s competing at Marcellin Park each week than from the combined total of the eight Newcastle clubs in the Newcastle and Hunter Junior Rugby Union competition.

“It’s unbelievable how it has developed,” Golan said of the program which he and Blacks president Ben Emmett discussed over a drink four years ago.

“We had 30 in the first year, 50 the second, 80 last year and 89 already this year and we are probably expecting 100 by the end of the season.”

Golan said the club now had more than 400 junior players across the age groups, with three under-8, three under-9 and three under-10 teams, which came through the under 7s,competing in the Hunter junior competition.

“When such big numbers started to take part we decided to run our own competition at Marcellin each week,” Golan, whose daughter Poppy starts under-7s this year,said.

“It means they don’t have to travel far and we now have two specific fields for them with modified goal posts.

“We hold eight games each Saturday.”

Golan said one of the keys to the program’s success was securing sponsorship and keeping the price for parents to a minimum.

“One of our Blacks people Todd Holden, from Euro Cars, came on board and has pretty much under-written it from the first year,” he said.

“It means that we have been able to keep our registration fee to just $50 and that includes a training jersey, a sticker, presentation day costs including a photo and medallion.

“We’ve got kids from all over Maitland and as far afield as Pokolbin, Cessnock, Kurri Kurri and even Dungog.

“We’re a family club and pride ourselves on providing a safe and caring environment for our kids.

“All our coaches need to have appropriate certificates to work with children and coaching accreditation.

“From under 12 our kids move up into our Blacks academy where they have access to specialist coaching from Sydney and beyond.

“Our Little Blacks Army is our club’s future and the future’s looking bright.”

The Walking Dead finale recap: Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan is the villain we needed

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in The Walking Dead. Photo: AMC Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Lucille in the season 6 finale of The Walking Dead. Photo: AMC

The Walking Dead S6 E15 recap: Five get lost in the woodsThe Walking Dead S6 E14 recap: Eugene and the willyMore TV recaps

Talk about delayed gratification. We first heard the name Negan in episode six of this season of The Walking Dead, but it took until the last 10 minutes of episode 16, the finale, for him to finally show his face.

But what a face it is: suave, handsome, charming, cruel. I know Jeffrey Dean Morgan can’t help being blessed with good genes, but in this towering actor – most recently seen as Alicia’s investigator/love interest Jason Crouse in The Good Wife – we have a villain who is charismatic, seductive and an utter A-hole. The attributes of the classic psychopath, in other words, whether in business, politics or the post-apocalypse.

He came on like the smooth-as-f— head of a corporate sales department presenting his record quarterly figures to the board, but his arrival capped the narrative arc of the entire season: the utter humiliation of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).

Our erstwhile hero began season six having just staged a military coup in the greenie utopia of Alexandria. He ended it on his knees, in abject submission.

Hubris and humiliation. That’s what this season has been about – for Rick at least. His final moments of the season saw him trembling with fear, fresh out of ideas and options, as Negan hovered above 11 of our crew, Lucille – his baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire – in hand. He was going to beat the crap out of one of them to establish his God-like authority, because he could, because he wanted to. But which one would it be? Glenn, who has risen from the dead once but might not manage it a second time? Maggie, almost dead already from some pregnancy-related complication? Rick, or his one-eyed son Carl? Abraham, his new squeeze Sasha, sidekick Eugene, or Aaron, who normally takes his beatings from Rick? Or would it be Michonne or Rosita? Or Daryl, already wounded from a gunshot?

With so many to choose from, no wonder Negan had to resort to the old eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

“You. Are. It,” he said, finally settling, but on whom? The camera’s POV was that of the victim staring up at Negan, the final image of blood on the lens – the same as last week, when Daryl was shot – the final sounds, fading over black, the repeated thunkings of Lucille into an unknown skull. It was brutal.

How did we get to this?

The episode began in pastoral mode, a recurring theme this season, as if to suggest that when we are all gone from the face of the Earth nature will carry on just fine without us. Morgan (Lennie James), tracking Carol with all the dogged instincts and hangdog face of a bloodhound, finds a horse in a field, already saddled and waiting. Never one to look a gift equus in the mouth, he hops on.

When he finds Carol (Melissa McBride) huddling in a doorway in some abandoned town – she’s been stabbed – she tells him to bugger off and leave her to die. “If you care about people, there are people that you will kill for,” Carol explains. “And if you don’t want to kill, you have to get away from them. You should know that.”

“Everything is about people,” says Morgan the pacifist. “Everything in this life that’s worth a damn. That’s what I know.”

Carol is so moved by his speech she pulls a gun on him. Later, while he’s out milking the horse, she does a runner.

My God, do you chuggers never give up?

Back in Alexandria, Rick and co are readying the Winnebago to take Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to Hilltop, where there’s a doctor. They’re leaving Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) in charge, so the jury is out on the wisdom of this plan.

In the ‘bago, Rick offers some solace to Maggie. “It’s always worked out for us because it’s always been all of us,” he says. “As long as it’s all of us, we can do anything.”

It’s a stirring speech that rather conveniently fails to mention any of the people who’ve died along the way – Tyreese, Beth, Herschel, Noah – but it does prove one thing: Rick’s sense of his own power is out of control.

They soon run into a road block, with some poor guy lying crumpled on the tarmac, barely alive, while eight Saviors hover over him. “He’s someone who was with a whole lot of someones who didn’t listen,” lead Savior (Steven Ogg) tells Rick and co.

“We can make a deal,” says Rick.

“That’s right, we can. Give us all of your stuff. All you have to do is listen.”

“Yeahhh,” Rick drawls. “That deal’s not going to work for us.”

He rounds up the posse, tells Savior man they’re leaving.

Soon they hit another roadblock, with twice as many Saviors, then another, this time just a line of zombies chained together across the road. They eventually chop their way through this chain gang, but as they’re driving off, Rick realises the Saviors had always intended for them to go in this direction. They’re being toyed with.

That’s the sound of the dead men working on the chain gang.

Another bend, another roadblock, with lots more Saviors: at the established rate of increase, let’s say there are 32 this time.

“Turn around,” says Rick, who is fast running out of options, with fuel low and Maggie’s temperature sky high.

Carol, meanwhile, is jumped by the Savior who has been following her since last week’s bloodbath. They fight, and he grabs her pistol and shoots her in the arm, because he wants to watch her die slowly, “just like my friends back there on the road”.

Lying on the bitumen, blood pouring from her arm, she starts laughing.

“What the hell’s wrong with you,” asks the Savior.

“I’m going to die,” she says, “so there’s nothing wrong with me any more.”

He shoots her in the leg. “You think you’ve suffered enough now?”

“No, probably not.”

He walks away, spun out by this crazy woman. “What, are you done,” she asks, channelling the Black Knight. Come back here, I’ll bite your legs off.

He does come back, planning to finish her, but Morgan is there. Finally, he has a reason to kill. He unloads his revolver into the Savior.

“Would you please just let me go,” says Carol by way of thanks.

He turns around and there’s two men there, in body armour, with long spears, one of them on horseback. They look like medieval knights.

“I’ve got your horse,” says Morgan. And, referring to Carol: “She needs help.”

“Then let’s get you some help,” says Sir Galahad, and what with all this “run away” and “that’s just a flesh wound” and a knight without a horse, you have to wonder if the ghost of Monty Python and the Holy Grail doesn’t hover over proceedings in some strange way.

Yea verily, it is a pleasure to meet you, Sir Knight.

Actually, this whole season has taken on an increasingly medieval hue, with isolated fortresses ruled over by heavily armed despots, with tithing of the weak by the strong. There’s shades of Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban’s magnificent novel of the post-apocalypse, in all this. But there’s also something very real-world about it too, with Rick – always the stand-in for hawkish America – brought to his knees by a force whose full-on embrace of middle ages-style terror he can’t quite match.

Yes, Negan and his Saviors are to Rick’s world as ISIL is to ours.

One more road block, and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) nails the reality of their situation. “We are neck-deep up shit-creek with our mouths wide open.”

Eugene (Josh McDermitt) has an idea – he will take the van as a decoy, while everyone else can get out and carry Maggie on foot for several hundred kilometres by night. Man, that dude will do anything to get out of work.

And that’s how they end up kneeling before Negan.

Hey Eugene; about that plan of yours…

“Pissing our pants yet,” he asks as he makes his long-delayed entrance. “Boy, do I have a feeling we’re getting close. It’s gonna be Pee-Pee-Pants City here real soon.”

As first impressions go, you have to admit it’s pretty good.

He introduces himself to Rick, then tells him: “I do not appreciate you killing my men. Also, when I sent my people to kill your people for killing my people, you killed more of my people. Not cool.”

Negan outlines what he calls the New World Order to his hostages. “Give me your shit or I will kill you.” Not even the TPP’s terms of trade are quite that lopsided. “You work for me now. You have shit, you give it to me. That’s your job.”

He’s not going to kill them, he says, because he needs them to work for him. But he is going to beat the crap out of one of them, using Lucille, who is “awesome”.

Abraham straightens up, stares Negan in the eyes, as if to say, “Go on, beat me; I can take it”. Negan just sizes up his ranga mutton chops, rubs his hand over his own stubble, and says, “Huh, I gotta shave this shit”. He is a master of humiliation.

Rick is trembling. “It sucks don’t it,” Negan says. “The moment you realise you don’t know shit”.

He may be vile in his outrageously charismatic way, but The Walking Dead needed Negan. There have been times this season when the walk slowed to a shuffle. There have been great moments – Glenn’s death and resurrection, Maggie’s pregnancy, the attack on Alexandria by the Wolves and the flooding of the town by walkers after the wall came down – but too often the terror was vague, amorphous (in the way only a decaying body can be amorphous). Now, it has a human face again. It’s less predictable than the brainless horde, and thus so much more dangerous.

That didn’t stop people venting about the ending on social media, though, mostly on the issue of why we had to wait six months to meet Negan and now have to wait another six months to find out who he killed (that’s assuming he actually did kill someone – though given the way he swung that bat, you’d have to assume he did). Put another way, cliffhangers suck even more.

Yeah, I get that, but it misses a couple of points. First, cliffhangers are an intrinsic part of serial culture. You don’t like it, go jump (which many fans are already threatening to do).

Second, and it is something this season has made abundantly clear, this will never end. There is no cure, no salvation, just endless trudging in search of respite and supplies through a world that has gone to Hell and then rapidly run downhill from there.

This stuff is easy; it’s the live ones that are hard.

If you accept that you quickly realise that The Walking Dead could in theory keep going forever, or at least for as long as those endlessly running daytime soapies. Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our barely-alives.

It won’t go on forever, of course; it’s too expensive for that and eventually a tipping point will be reached where declining audiences and rising costs bring it all to an end. But for now, Rick and co are doomed to keep sloughing through the same cycles of hope and despair, of settlement and dispersal, of power and subjugation, a journey that has no end other than death, whether at Negan’s hand or some other.

Hey, maybe it’s not about the apocalypse at all. Just life as we know it.

Karl Quinn is on Facebook and on twitter @karlkwin

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Challenge to Mike Baird: replace stamp duty and gift the NSW economy $5b

There has been a call for stamp duty on property sales to be dumped and replaced by a newly designed land tax. Photo: DAVID GRAYThe Baird Government could boostthe state economy by $5 billion by eliminating stamp dutyand substitutingit with a broad-based land tax, new modelling shows.

The NSW Business Chamber, the NSW Council of Social Services and the NSW Branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union have combinedtocall forstamp duty on property purchases to be dumped andreplaced by a newly designed land tax.

Modelling by KPMG for the State Chamber and NCOSSshowsthetax switch could increase Gross State Product by more than 1 per cent – currently equivalent toabout $5 billion -and create up to 10,000 jobs.

The findings ramp uppressure on the NSW government to introduce significant state tax reforms amid a nationaldebate about how states will cover theballooningcostofhealth and education services.

The newcall for property tax reform, whichunites a peak business lobby, a peakwelfare group and alarge union,comes days after premiers and chief ministers rejected a federal government proposal for them to levy their own income tax.

NSW already has anarrowland tax system but it does not apply to owner occupied land. Under the proposed tax switch, property buyers would no longer pay stamp duty but a broadland tax would be applied to allowner occupied land toeventuallyraise a similar amount of revenue.

NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive, Stephen Cartwright, said the modelling made it clear that stamp duty is not serving the people of NSW.

“Business, unions and the community sector have found common ground on the urgent need to abolish stamp duty in favour of a more efficient system of tax; it is now time for the NSW Government to put stamp duty on the table if it is genuine about tax reform,” he said.

The NSW government expects to collect more than $8 billion in stamp duty on property transfers this financial year making it one of the state’s biggest sources of tax revenue.

But it is a highly inefficient tax that has been blamed for pushing upproperty prices and unnecessarily discouraging people from moving house.

Recent officialmodelling found the economic cost of collecting eachadditional dollar of revenue through stamp duty on property is 72 cents in the dollar, compared with 19 cents for the GST and virtually zero for a broad-based land tax.

A 2011 auditof NSW’s finances by former Treasury Secretary, Michael Lambert, declared stamp duty on property to be the state’s worst tax. He proposed a broad-based land tax to replace itbut therecommendation was shelved bythe Coalitiongovernment now led by Mike Baird.

Last month the McKell Institute called forstamp duty to bereplaced by a annualland tax of 0.75 per cent of land value. Under the plan atransitionalarrangementwouldprotect those who had recently paid stamp duty and asset rich,cash poor retirees would be entitled to adeferral scheme.

Mr Cartwright said stamp duty reform should not be an opportunity for the Government to lock-in a higher overall tax burden, but to create a more efficient tax system.

“By distorting buyer behaviour in the property market and limiting the ability for skilled workers to re-locate to meet employer demand and live closer to where they work, the exorbitant cost of stamp duty in NSW puts employees and businesses at a competitive disadvantage and harms the long term growth prospects of the state economy,” he said.

Quirky things owned by politicians in the Museum of Australian Democracy

Museum of Australian Democracy content development manager Kate Armstrong with some of the quirky items belonging to politicians now in the collection at Old Parliament House. Photo: Melissa AdamsAlready under intense scrutiny, the things politicians own, wear, or even lose can reveal a lot; whatever did happen to Malcolm Fraser’s trousers in Memphis?

While some personal possessions become defining symbols (think Tony Abbott’s blue ties) others were kept secret (like Bob Hawke’s hair dye).

Among the 40,000 items in the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, about 7000 are associated with politicians and about 100 were once owned by prime ministers.

The museum’s staff took Fairfax Media deep inside the museum’s bunker to see some of the collection.

There are the things you expect like briefcases, stationery, medals and uniforms, but others are more quirky like a pillow belonging to the first Aboriginal MP Neville Bonner.

While some items were donated by families or valued former staff, others were bought at auction.

“Sometimes we’re just looking online and something will just pop up for sale and you’ll think ‘wow’,” senior historian Libby Stewart said.

More recently politicians have been known to donate items themselves.

“We’ve got a large collection over there belonging to a just-retired politician, Christine Milne,” she said, motioning towards several plastic storage tubs.

Here staff talk us through some of the highlights formerly owned by six politicians:

1. Senator Dorothy Tangney’s champagne bottle “battleaxe”. Donated by Tangney’s family in 2005. Not on display. Photo: Melissa Adams.

Long before Australia’s first female prime minister Julia Gillard was calling out misogyny, one of the first two women to enter Federal Parliament, Western Australian senator Dorothy Tangney was gifted a “battleaxe” in 1944 “to be used as and when required”.

“She was launching a ship up in Maryborough, Queensland, with a champagne bottle and obviously the shipbuilder has taken it with all its jagged edges and then very cleverly … fixed it to an axe handle,” Ms Stewart explained.

“This is probably one of almost my all-time favourite objects in the collection.”

But the “brutal-looking weapon” was at odds with Dame Tangney’s reputation for being “quite a lady” – one of her other possessions in the museum’s collection is a lace tablecloth which she took with her everywhere she went.

2. Bob Hawke’s hair rinse, laxative, contact lens solution etc. Found by staff in the 1990s. On display in prime ministers’ dressing room. Photo: Melissa Adams.

If you’re colouring your hair at home most people would do it in the bathroom, but it seems when he was prime minister, Bob Hawke preferred to do it in his dressing room.

Among a bevy of unexpected toiletry treasures, found in a drawer in the prime ministers’ office dressing room in the 1990s, were hair rinse, laxatives, contact lens solution, shoe laces and the instruction booklet for an electric shaver.

“Bob Hawke was the last prime minister in this building so we’re assuming they were his,” manager of content development Kate Armstrong said.

With hair rinse in the shade of “white minx” it’s hard to believe they could have belonged to anyone else.

Ms Armstrong said Hawke’s “luscious locks” and tanned skin were important parts of his image, so it’s “intriguing to think he had to have a little freshen-up”.

“[They] give you a certain impression based on media and speeches but sometimes it’s actually the really small personal items that can really help you understand the humanity of the person.”

3. Robert Menzies’ Cinque Ports flag, coat of arms shield, and pennant flag. Donated by Menzies’ daughter Heather Henderson in 2001. Not on display. Photos: Melissa Adams.

While Hawke mightn’t like the world to know he dyed his hair, another former prime minister Robert Menzies was very proud of his paraphernalia which would later end up in the museum.

Well-known for his devotion to the monarchy, Menzies was rather chuffed with the “spiffy” uniform, flags and shield he received when he was made Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1966 – the first non-Brit and one of only three commoners to receive the honour.

It was a role traditionally in charge of a group of five port towns on the south-east coast of England which provided defence before England had a formal navy.

“All you were really required to do was ceremonial duties and for it you got accommodation at Walmer Castle in the UK,” Ms Armstrong said.

“This was really important for Menzies hence the reason these would go straight to the pool room.”

4. Edmund Barton’s Privy Council bicorn hat. Bought in 2012. On display from June. Photo: Melissa Adams.

Although Edmund Barton’s bicorn hat was the same type as Napoleon’s, Australia’s first prime minister would have been unlikely to have worn it.

Instead, he carried it tucked under his arm much like a “man-bag”, content development and commissioning curator Stephanie Pfennigwerth​ said.

The beaver fur hat with its gold thread and white ostrich feather was part of the elaborate uniform Barton had to wear as a privy councillor whenever he was in the presence of the King until 1910 when the rules changed.

During Barton’s time the Privy Council was an advisory committee acting as the High Court of Appeal for the entire British Empire.

It retained the ability to oversee Australian appeals until 1986 and up until the 1970s it was general practice for Australian prime ministers to become councillors.

Barton copped “satirical swipes” for wearing the fancy uniform after cultivating an everyman image when travelling around rural NSW spruiking the concept of federation in the late 1800s.

“A few years later he’s prancing around in gold and silk tights, it would have been a bit jarring for people,” Ms Pfennigwerth said.

“But he didn’t throw the uniform away … it was important to him and us because it really symbolises Australia’s place in the British Empire.”

Unlike Menzies’ British honour, Barton’s status as privy councillor was far from ceremonial and he was far from impressed when a family holiday to London was interrupted when he had to sit on five appeals.

5. Malcolm Fraser’s Nareen property sign. Bought in 2015. On display in Prime Ministers of Australia gallery. Photo: Melissa Adams.

Out of context the simple timber routed sign, which once hung on the farm gate of Malcolm and Tamie Fraser’s pastoral property Nareen in south-west Victoria, seems of little consequence.

But for a man with a reputation as being a “cashed-up, Collins Street cow cocky”, its plainness is symbolic in itself, Ms Pfennigwerth said.

“He was [seen as] a silver tail grazier, someone very wealthy who was totally out of touch with the ordinary Australian … and Nareen was used as a weapon against him,” she said.

“But it was Fraser’s sanctuary … a lot of his personal quirks relate to his farming background.”

Indeed his reputation as being “aloof, surly and pompous” could have been attributed to a back injury caused by lifting bags of fertiliser on the farm where he had a very different persona, Ms Pfennigwerth said.

“He use to invite jackaroos and shearers and workers on his farm to Christmas dinner … he actually had some pretty strong grassroots values,” she said.

6. Tony Abbott’s blue Hermes silk tie and custom-made Hillbrick bicycle. Donated by Tony Abbott on February 26, 2015. Bike on display in Prime Ministers of Australia gallery. Tie not on display. Photo: Andrew Meares.

Besides his red budgie smugglers, could there be any better way of summing up Tony Abbott than a bike and blue tie?

Abbott rode the carbon-fibre bike for one of his Pollie Pedal charity bike rides and the tie was one of the infamous blue ties Julia Gillard condemned and Abbott defended as part of his “work uniform”.

“It’s interesting he self-identified [the bike] as something that was important to him,” Ms Pfennigwerth said.

“We tend to look for objects that aren’t just important because they belonged to a prime minister but something that says a lot about them as a person.

“For some … due to personality or time or a combination of both, there aren’t a lot of physical objects around … often we’re hard-pressed to find something.”

Ms Pfennigwerth said ties were heavily laden with symbolism.

Abbott’s tie isn’t the only one in the collection. There’s also a tie owned by Australia’s first immigration minister Arthur Calwell who wore black ties every day after the death of his son in 1948 and a collection of hundreds donated by former deputy prime minister ​Tim Fischer.

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New Zealand detainee dies inside Villawood detention centre after apparent altercation

A file image of the Villawood detention centre in Sydney. Photo: Kate GeraghtyThe death of a New Zealand detainee at the Villawood detention centre has triggered calls for independent scrutiny of the network, and prompted fresh questions over Australia’s bid for a United Nations human rights council seat.

A 42-year-old New Zealand detainee died at Villawood detention centre overnight, the Immigration Department has confirmed.

There have been reports he died after an altercation, however the department said in a statement there were no disturbances at the centre and it was “not aware of any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death”.

The department said staff were alerted to an unconscious man at about 9.45pm on Monday and attempted to resuscitate him.

“Paramedics also treated the man but he could not be revived. The man is suspected to have suffered a heart attack,” it said, adding the mood at the detention centre was “calm”.

The department expressed sympathy to the family of the man and said the NSW Coroner was preparing a report on the death, and police were investigating.

The incident has fuelled concern over the 181 New Zealand nationals in Australian immigration detention centres as of February this year, as the federal government cracks down on foreign criminals.

Recent laws allow for the mandatory cancellation of visas for foreigners sentenced to at least one year’s jail, or convicted of sexual offences against children.

New Zealand Labour MP Kelvin Davis questioned why New Zealanders who had finished their prison sentences in Australia were being further detained in immigration facilities, describing it as “double jeopardy”.

“Some of these people are spending more time in detention than they did in the original prison sentence,” he said.

“If you are thrown into, in effect, another prison without any idea of how long you are going to be there, away from your family with limited access to lawyers, the whole situation is so stressful and upsetting for these people.”

He claimed Australia was flouting international human rights conventions by detaining people “without trial”.

“I don’t believe New Zealand should be supporting Australia to get a seat on the United Nations human rights council until such time as Australia sorts their detention centre mess out. It’s just diabolical,” he said.

Speaking to Fairfax Media from the Villawood centre, fellow New Zealand detainee Vaelua Lagaaia identified the man who died as Rob Peihopa. He believed Mr Peihopa died after an argument with a fellow detainee.

He said Mr Peihopa had spent about 10 months in detention and went to the gym almost every day, adding “it was unbelievable” that he suffered a heart attack.

“His body was there for about five hours with a blanket over the top,” he said.

“[Authorities] gave us the opportunity of saying a farewell to him and doing a haka as they moved the body from the detention centre.”

Labor’s immigration spokesman Richard Marles said the death was “tragic” and called on Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to provide assurances that Villawood was safe.

“Labor expects the government to investigate this incident without delay, so we can determine precisely the circumstances of his death,” Mr Marles said.

He said should Labor win power, it would establish independent oversight of all Australian-funded detention facilities.

A spokeswoman for Mr  Dutton said the circumstances of the death were not believed to be suspicious. She said: “Mr Marles or any other politician trying to make political gain out of this situation is a disgrace.

“An investigation by NSW Police is under way and that should be respected.”

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