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April 27, 2015

Over 10,000 attend Gallipoli dawn service for ANZAC Day centenary

Over 10,000 attend Gallipoli dawn service for ANZAC Day centenary

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Monday, April 27, 2015

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A crowd of over 10,000 people attended the dawn service on Saturday at Gallipoli, Turkey for the 100th anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops there in 1915. The solemn remembrance ceremony was held at the site of the original Gallipoli landings, now known as Anzac Cove.

From file, Gallipoli dawn service 2009.
Image: Gnangarra.

The Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War is remembered as a failed attack in which thousands of lives were lost for little to no gain for either side. The campaign killed 45,000 Allied and 86,000 Turkish troops.

Attendees at the dawn service included Prince Charles, the Prime Minister of Australia, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott‘s speech later in the day emphasised the importance of the day to Australians. “Like every generation since, we are here on Gallipoli because we believe the Anzacs represented Australians at their best. Because they rose to their challenges, we believe it is a little easier for us to rise to ours. Their example helps us to be better than we would otherwise be”, he said.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key at dawn described Gallipoli as a symbol of the highest ideals of Australians and New Zealanders “especially when they work side by side in the face of adversity”.

Prince Charles stirred emotions by reading extracts from a serviceman’s diary. The diary entry, by Company Quartermaster Sergeant Benjamin Leane, was addressed to his wife and was written hours before the first Gallipoli landing.

The centenary milestone of Anzac Day also drew a Turkish security force of 3700, both police and paramilitary. Attendees entered past six security checkpoints.

A record 120,000 people also attended services at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to commemorate the centenary.



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May 16, 2014

Canberra Capitals announce ownership change to University of Canberra

Canberra Capitals announce ownership change to University of Canberra

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Friday, May 16, 2014

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File photo of Carrie Graf coaching the Capitals
Image: Bidgee.

University of Canberra sports scientist Ben Rattray explains a UCNISS.net research project. The University of Canberra has one of the top sports programs in Australia.
Image: Leighblackall.

File video of the Canberra Capitals players being introduced before a game
Image: Laura Hale.

Earlier today, the Australian women’s semi-professional basketball team Canberra Capitals announced a formal transfer of the club to University of Canberra. Prior to the transfer, the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) club was owned and operated by Basketball Australian Capital Territory (BACT).

The deal includes the WNBL operating license, and involves the team being renamed to the University of Canberra Capitals. The transfer still requires formal approval from Basketball Australia and the WNBL Commission. It does not include ownership of other BACT teams including the Capitals Academy SEABL team, the Canberra Gunners, and the Gunners Academy.

The Capitals have failed to qualify for the WNBL finals for the past three years, and current head coach and former national team coach Carrie Graf says the change will improve the team’s potential for success. She is quoted in a Basketball ACT press release saying, “The University is committed to supporting women in sport where often female athletes are unable to dedicate themselves to their sport in the same way as male athletes. The transfer will enable Capitals players to establish flexible working, living and studying arrangements through the University so that they are able to have a stronger focus on basketball while at the same time preparing for life after basketball.”

The Canberra Times reports the ownership change will make it easier for the team to recruit top young talent as the team will be able to provide food, housing, tuition, and a basketball salary. On the reported downside, University of Canberra chief executive Joe Roff has said the University will not be able to increase player salaries.

The University of Canberra is recognized as one of the best sports universities in Australia, has a sports studies department, and currently has a naming rights agreement with the Brumbies professional rugby union team in Canberra.



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December 14, 2013

High Court strikes down Australian Capital Territory same-sex marriage law

High Court strikes down Australian Capital Territory same-sex marriage law

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

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On Thursday the High Court of Australia struck down the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) same-sex marriage legislation.

High Court building in Canberra
Image: John Conway.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher
Image: ACT Government.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Image: MystifyMe Concert Photography (Troy).

In a landmark decision, the High Court unanimously ruled the term “marriage” in Section 51(xxi) of the Constitution of Australia did indeed include marriages between people of the same sex. However, the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 does not permit or recognise same-sex marriages.

Section 109 of the Constitution says when a law is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter prevails. The High Court therefore struck down the ACT legislation in its entirety, ruling it was wholly inconsistent with the Commonwealth law.

Some 31 same-sex couples were married under the law in the five days from when it became effective last Saturday, December 7, and when the High Court struck it down on Thursday. Their marriages are now invalid. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said they knew this was a possibility.

The ACT Legislative Assembly legalised same-sex marriages in October. The Commonwealth Government challenged the law in the High Court promptly once passed.



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October 23, 2013

Australian Capital Territory legalises same-sex marriage

Australian Capital Territory legalises same-sex marriage

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) yesterday legalised same-sex marriage, the first time a jurisdiction in Australia has done so.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher
Image: ACT Government.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell
Image: Graeme Bartlett.

ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury
Image: Champion Blue.

The ACT Legislative Assembly passed the legalising bill 8–7, with seven Australian Labor Party members being joined by the ACT Greens‘ Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Shane Rattenbury. It was opposed by six Liberal Party of Australia members. Two of the Assembly’s seventeen members, one Liberal and one Labor, were absent.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell made a series of last-minute amendments to ensure that the bill would survive a possible court challenge. The legislation allows same-sex couples from all over Australia to marry in the ACT.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the government would strive toward treating everyone equally and fairly under the law depite the threat of legal challenge. Gay Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr spoke with feeling about the impact the legislation would have on same-sex couples.

Local Federal Member of Parliament Andrew Leigh, a strong supporter of rights for same-sex couples, applauded the bill, but Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott has indicated his government will challenge the bill in the High Court of Australia. Abbot’s sister Christine Forster, a Liberal Party Sydney City Councillor, who is gay, called for Liberals at the federal level to be allowed a conscience vote.

The ACT previously passed a bill providing for civil unions in 2006, which was disallowed by the Governor General of Australia on the advice of then-Prime Minister John Howard. The bill was passed again after Howard lost office in 2007, but marriage-like provisions were removed from the act under threat of being disallowed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Rudd now supports same-sex marriage.

This avenue for disallowing ACT legislation was closed in 2011, when Greens Senator Bob Brown initiated a reform bill taking away the Governor General’s ability to disallow territory bills. At present, Tony Abbott does not command a majority in the Senate, so a High Court challenge is an easier option than legislation. The Constitution of Australia, Section 51(xxi), gives the Commonwealth government — federal government — power to make laws with respect to marriage. The Howard government amended the Commonwealth Marriage Act in 2004 to exclude gay marriages.


 
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July 25, 2013

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic assistant coach David Gould

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic assistant coach David Gould

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

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2000 Australian Paralympic Team portrait of David Gould. He has not changed a bit since then.
Image: Australian Paralympic Committee.

Wikinews caught up with Australian wheelchair basketball coach David Gould in Canberra, where the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team — the Gliders — were having a training camp.

Gould told Wikinews he retired from playing after the 2002 World Championships. He said he began coaching able bodied basketball at schools and clubs in South Australia. He was awarded a scholarship by Basketball Australia and the Australian Sports Commission, and became assistant coach of the Under 23 Men’s team in November 2011. He is now national wheelchair skills coach, assistant coach of the men’s and women’s national teams, and coach of the Under 23 Men’s and Under 25 Women’s teams.

He noted the Gliders have another training camp coming up in Brisbane in August. This is to be an open development camp any player can attend. Twelve players are to be selected for the Asia Oceania Zone (AOZ) Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Bangkok in November. The top three teams then qualify for the World Championships, to be held in Canada next year.

He is acutely aware the Gliders have never won a World Championship or a Paralympics. But he has won a gold medal, with the men’s team, the Rollers, in Atlanta in 1996. “We went on a tour of the United States beforehand”, he recalled. Facing the United States in the United States was daunting. There was a huge crowd. So how did they do it? “We had confidence in ourselves, and stuck to our plan,” he recalled.

This, he said, is what he and Glider’s head coach Tom Kyle are trying to teach the Gliders. To believe in the process. They take them out of their comfort zone, show them the right techniques, the right way to do things. The idea is to get the principles right.

Gould told Wikinews they have to look not just to the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio in 2016, but further ahead to 2020. They have to recruit new players and develop them. He said he took a Gliders team to the Osaka Cup with only four members of the 2012 team, in order to give members of the development team experience with international competition. He set up a mentor system whereby the six newcomers were each paired with one of the old hands.

Wikinews was shown how the games are videoed and critiqued by the coaches. Special software allows the videos to be edited. Effects such as circling players can be added, along with captions and audio from the coaches. The edited video can then be downloaded by the players. Gould said there is a weekly video conference with the players.

He considered video of other teams is an important training tool. He noted the Gliders had to play Brazil in the first match of the Paralympics in London, which was very tough, because so little was known about them. As it turned out, Brazil has a great program, and he thinks it could be a contender in front of a home crowd in Rio in 2016.

Wikinews noted one of the Gliders, Amber Merritt, had her arm in a sling. Gould said her arm had been scanned, and the doctors will make their evaluation. Like most elite athletes, he knows about injury first hand. He told Wikinews he had injured his shoulder during the 2000 Olympics, and had to have it operated on afterwards. He said he did not want players playing injured, and sometimes it was better just to lose a week if you have the flu. He expected his players to be honest and up front with themselves, their coaches and their team. “We need everyone on the same page”, he told Wikinews.

Gould told Wikinews the Asia Oceania Zone championships will feature Australia, Japan, China, Thailand, South Korea, and perhaps Hong Kong. The venue in Bangkok is well known to him, as the U23 Men’s team have already played there. His plan is to arrive early, to allow the players to acclimatise to the high humidity and the food. Some of the U23 men got sick. He does not expect difficulty qualifying, but it is “one of the I’s that have to be dotted and T’s that have to be crossed.”

He said Australians intend to apply full pressure, but one of their objectives is also to help the competition. One of the problems in Australia is that it takes a long time to go anywhere, he told Wikinews. By building up the teams in the Asia Oceania Zone, he hopes Australian teams will not have to travel so much or so far to meet first class competition.



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June 26, 2013

Canberrans flood Cotter Dam on open day

Filed under: Archived,Australia,Canberra,Original reporting — admin @ 5:00 am

Canberrans flood Cotter Dam on open day – Wikinews, the free news source

Canberrans flood Cotter Dam on open day

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

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Cotter Dam seen from below
Image: Hawkeye7.

Visitors on the dam on open day, 2013
Image: Hawkeye7.

View over the lake from atop the dam. The old Cotter Dam is submerged beneath the waters below.
Image: Hawkeye7.

The Cotter River below the dam looks much like a creek
Image: Hawkeye7.

View from the dam towards Canberra. The mountain at left is Mount Stromlo, and the white dots are the Mount Stromlo observatory complex.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Visitors atop the Cotter Dam. The buses that brought them there can be seen in the background.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Australian Capital Territory — Thousands of Canberrans took a look at the new Cotter Dam on the Cotter River on open day on Sunday. The public was given limited access to the still-active construction site. Buses took viewers from the car park below to top of the dam wall. They ran every 15 minutes from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

The dam is to supply fresh water to the city of Canberra. This is to provide water security for the city as droughts become more frequent due to global warming.

It is a gravity dam, which holds back the waters through sheer mass. It is about 80 metres (about 260 feet) high. The dam is made from roller-compacted concrete. The concrete was laid dry and compacted with rollers. The concrete was made on site. Only the final touches use conventional concrete. In addition to the main dam, there are two saddle dams filling depressions in the landscape so flood waters flow over the spillway and not out the sides of the lake.

The dam on the Cotter River has been under construction for four years. Concrete pouring is expected to take another two weeks. The site is then to be rehabilitated. Thousands of seeds were collected during constructions. These are to be replanted to replace the native flora. Work is expected to be complete by September.

The dam replaces an old dam, first built in 1911 but subsequently expanded several times. Now heritage listed, it has been submerged by the waters of the new dam. Some materials were salvaged from the old dam to build the new, and some have been put on display.

The river is named after Garrett Cotter, an Irish-born convict who was transported to Australia and lived in the area in the 1830s and 1840s.



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May 18, 2013

Kangaroo injures Australian politician

Kangaroo injures Australian politician – Wikinews, the free news source

Kangaroo injures Australian politician

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

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File photo of an eastern grey kangaroo.
Image: JJ Harrison.

File photo of ACT politician Shane Rattenbury.
Image: Champion Blue.

A kangaroo injured Australian politician Shane Rattenbury in the Australian capital, Canberra, on Thursday. Mr. Rattenbury was taking a morning jog in the Canberra suburb of Ainslie when the kangaroo surprised him, and in the ensuing confrontation, Mr. Rattenbury was scratched several times on the leg.

By Mr Rattenbury’s account, the kangaroo was an eastern grey kangaroo, which is a common species in Australia. Neither the kangaroo nor Mr. Rattenbury saw each other until they were close, when they both were surprised by each other. The kangaroo, which had been behind a hedge, then started hopping around and Rattenbury ducked for cover. The kangaroo bounced on him while he was still on the ground. He was left lying in the street while another pedestrian went to his assistance. He was driven home and visited a hospital, receiving a tetanus shot. He attended parliament later that day, where his colleagues made kangaroo jokes about him.

Rattenbury is a member of the ACT Greens, a sitting member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, and was an expedition leader of a Greenpeace anti-whaling expedition in 2006.

There are many kangaroos living in wildlife reserves around the Australian capital, which often enter suburban areas. The attack follows previous incidents in 2009 when a kangaroo smashed inside a Canberra home, and in 2010 when a kangaroo knocked a jogger unconscious in nearby Mount Ainslie. Kangaroo culls in the Australian capital have been held annually for several years, which have drawn protests. Kangaroo management in Canberra was the subject of a television documentary in 2011 called Kangaroo Mob.



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May 14, 2013

National Rugby League Women in League Round celebrates sons

National Rugby League Women in League Round celebrates sons

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A women’s rugby team from Australia in the 1930s
Image: Sam Hood.

Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) is to celebrate “Women in League” week, starting yesterday, with themes including sons, raising funds for breast cancer support, and club-related specials to encourage women to attend rugby league games. The week-long celebration of women was started in 2006 to highlight the importance of women to the sport and make the game female-friendlier.

The NRL is planning to celebrate the week in a number of ways, including having teams compete in pink uniforms, and having fans vote for the NRL player fans believe “acts as a role model for mothers and families; someone who continues to impress us on the field, however their off-field characteristics embody what it is we love about rugby league”. Additionally, funds are to be raised for the McGrath Foundation, a charity dedicated to breast cancer support and education, and the Women in League Achievement Award will be given out with the winner earning a AU$5,000 gift card to Harvey Norman, an Australian electronics store.

The 2005 Brisbane women’s rugby league grand final between Brothers Ipswich vs West Centenary.
Image: Leigh McMahon.

The NRL has been promoting the event on their Women in League Facebook page. In the past month, their Facebook updates have included posts featuring male players discussing support they received from women in their lives, sales of pink coloured NRL merchandise, plugs encouraging people to vote for their favourite son, pictures of men supporting Women in League, NRL club promotions for tickets and other events connected to Women in League, and information on a school visit promoting anti-bullying. The Facebook page has also promoted women’s participation and profiles of women’s players as recently as a month ago, when on April 9, it promoted the Girls ‘Come and Try’ Day in Canberra. Prior to that, women were last promoted as players on February 10 when pictures were shared of the Women’s All Stars team match with the Indigenous All Stars team.

140,000 women in Australia are involved with rugby league as players, sport administrators, coaches, employees, club members, or volunteers. Karen Hardy of The Canberra Times estimates this number could easily be quadrupled if wives, girlfriends, mothers, and other female family members who support male players were included. Participation is also increasing, with almost a thousand new female players taking up the sport between 2011 and 2012 for 5,801 total registered female players in 2012.



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May 7, 2013

Black and Blue Belles win in Canberra Roller Derby League blowout

Black and Blue Belles win in Canberra Roller Derby League blowout

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Short Stop explains how she acquired the cut lip
Image: Hawkeye7.

Black and Blue Belles v. Surly Griffins wear cloaks and carry light sabres in honour of Star Wars Day
Image: Hawkeye7.

Pole dancing at half time
Image: Hawkeye7.

Southern Cross Stadium, Canberra — Saturday night in Roller Derby at Canberra, Australia’s Southern Cross Stadium, the Black and Blue Belles defeated the Surly Griffins in a 243–136 blow out.

In honour of Star Wars Day, the skaters were introduced wearing Jedi-style hooded cloaks and carrying light sabres. Princess Leia hairstyles were also popular amongst the crowd.

The sport has become very popular, and the bout was sold out. Nine new skaters have joined the four Canberra teams this year, and another fifteen are in training for their debut next year.

The bout got off to a fast start with a power jam enabling Short Stop to run up thirty points. This helped the Black and Blue Belles skate to a lead of almost 100 points by half time. Instead of playing Short Stop as jammer, she became a pivot. An aggressive defence allowed the Black and Blue Belles to add points to their score line. The final result was a 107 point victory.

This was the two teams’ first bout of the year. It was the second bout on the Canberra Roller Derby League calendar. The Brindabelters met the Red Bellied Black Hearts on March 23 in a close contest. It was also their first bout played under the new rules. The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association changed the rules earlier in the year.

Half time entertainment was a exhibition of pole dancing. The dancers were joined on the poles by Short Stop, who is also in the running for Miss Pole this year, joined in, still wearing skates. In February, she was voted Australia’s greatest female athlete in an online poll, after an extensive eight month long social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

A trivia night in April raised funds for a Roller Derby Tournament to be held in Canberra on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend on June 8–9.



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April 2, 2013

Cyclists Jason English and Liz Smith win 24 Solo in Australia

Cyclists Jason English and Liz Smith win 24 Solo in Australia

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

24 Hour Solo at Stromlo. Eventual race winner Jason English.
Image: Hawkeye7.

24 Hour Solo at Stromlo. Solo riders.
Image: Hawkeye7.

24 Hour Solo at Stromlo. In mountain bike riding, three riders is practically a peloton.
Image: Hawkeye7.

24 Hour Solo at Stromlo. Support crews for the riders provide food, liquids and mechanical assistance to the riders.
Image: Hawkeye7.

Mount Stromlo, Canberra — This Easter weekend, elite mountain bike riders competed in the Australian 24-hour solo championships at Canberra’s Stromlo Forest Park. Jason English from Port MacQuarie rode 33 laps and won the men’s race. Liz Smith from Wollongong rode 25 laps and won the women’s race.

Races are won by riding the most laps. If two riders complete the same number of laps in 24-hours, the winner is the one who has ridden them in the shortest time.

Riders wear lights on their helmets and bicycles during night laps. Due to the time of year, there is roughly twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness each day.

The event is a curtain raiser for the WEMBO World Solo 24 hour Mountain Bike Championships, which will be held at Stromlo Forest Park on 12 and 13 October 2013. The race was for solo riders only.

Mont24 at Kowen. Riders go past on the first lap
Image: Hawkeye7.

Mont24 at Kowen. Riders with cramps receive a massage
Image: Hawkeye7.

Mont24 at Kowen. General announcements are made, including a review of the race rules
Image: Hawkeye7.

Mont24 at Kowen. A typical team tent layout
Image: Hawkeye7.

The weekend before, the teams of riders took to the track at the Mont 24 hour race at Canberra’s Kowen forest. With over 3,000 riders participating, it is now Australia’s largest cycling race.

The team version of the race was favoured by the weekend warriors, but also attracted more than a few elite athletes. Laps were ridden in relay fashion: each rider handed over the baton (which looked like a credit card) to another member of the team after riding one or more laps.

The track was in excellent condition, running through the trees. Without steep climbs or overly difficult technical sections, it permitted fast lap times.

No injuries were reported.



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