Should Eagles fans support Dockers?

Eagles, DockersThe argument against
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– Michael Hopkin

“Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies,” Gore Vidal once said. History doesn’t record whether the great philosopher-playwright followed the AFL, but he seemed to have a pretty good grasp on the hardcore footy fan’s mindset.

There are two facets to supporting a football team: hoping your team wins, and hoping with almost equal fervour that the neighbours get stuffed. That way, you get two doses of joy/despair each weekend, instead of one.

But even that is too rational an argument. The simple fact is that sport is about bragging rights. Eagles fans, don’t you enjoy being the only Perth team to have won a flag? Are you really, honestly excited about the prospect of losing that oh-so-precious title?

And Dockers fans, how much sweeter would Grand Final glory be if it really, really annoyed your Eagles-supporting mates?

ABC 720’s Geoff Hutchison got it exactly right when he said on his Facebook page: “There are some of you out there masquerading as Dockers supporters under the “we support WA teams” guise. Bugger off. This isn’t for you. It’s for those who stuck fast.”

Of course I appreciate the traditional enmity between WA and Victoria when it comes to footy. And, in the scheme of things, the 19 years since the Dockers were born isn’t actually that long in terms of creating a proper, grudging rivalry.

But as a Pom who grew up with the English football culture, I’m a firm believer that crosstown enmity should trump everything.

Try asking a Manchester City fan whether they barrack for Manchester United against foreign opposition. You’d get a lecture about “the real Manchester”, probably peppered with a healthy amount of swearing.

I once terrified my mates by wildly cheering a Barcelona goal in the 2006 Champions League final, which we were watching in a fairly rough London pub full of Arsenal fans.

Yet I was merely doing my duty. As a Tottenham fan, you couldn’t pay me to barrack for Arsenal, even if they were playing against Satan FC. (Wait, they are Satan FC.)

This, incidentally, is one thing that English football commentators routinely get wrong when reporting on Europe-wide competitions. They see their job as involving barracking for the “home” side, when the reality is that a solid 80 per cent of people watching would love to see Chelsea fall on their faces against some semi-professional Albanian journeymen no one’s ever heard of before.

Anyway, I digress. The simple fact is that Eagles fans have no business supporting the Dockers. At the risk of offending many, many people, I’d suggest that cheering Freo this week makes you less of an Eagles fan.

In fact, Fremantle’s possible success represents a handy litmus test for Eagles fans. (Litmus test, purple, see? Ah, never mind.) If you hope the Dockers win, then feel free to refer to yourself as a ‘WA footy fan’. But you’re only allowed to call yourself an Eagles fan if the prospect of a Fremantle flag fills your mouth with acrid bile.

Sure, being a touchy-feely footy fan is all well and good. But the hardcore haters have got it right. After all, isn’t schadenfreude more fun?

As someone with no strong AFL allegiance, I can barrack for whomever I want. Although a Dockers fan once spent an entire evening explaining to me his thesis that Fremantle are “the Tottenham of the AFL”, while the Eagles are like the ever-arrogant Arsenal.

So go the Dockers!

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The argument for

– Liam Ducey

Full disclosure – I used to be one of those give-no-quarter, one-eyed Eagles supporters. I’d go for West Coast, and whoever was playing the Dockers. Family doesn’t come into it. Mum’s a Docker and East Fremantle, Dad and I are Eagles and East Perth.

If you were a Dockers fan, you were open to ridicule. I’d delight in it. I told myself there was no way I’d ever barrack for those blokes down the road. Fremantle and all its associated delights could sink into the ocean, I’d say, and I wouldn’t even notice. As long as Mojo’s was spared, I’d be OK with that.

In recent weeks, probably the last six, my vernacular has changed when I’m talking about the Dockers.

Instead of ‘they’, I’ve started saying ‘we’. I’ve embraced the Dockers without even realising it.

My best friend, a former WA Student Scientist of the Year was the first to pick up on it. All he asked me was why I’ve changed my core ideology. I couldn’t explain it.  Why was I suddenly, inexplicably supporting the Dockers?

Well, I’ve figured it out. My WAtoday南京夜网.au colleague, Mike Hopkin, lacks a fundamental understanding of the way Australia works. This isn’t town versus town. This is state versus state. The battle lines are fluid in Australia, they can go two ways.

I’d never support the Dockers against the Eagles. It’s just not going to happen. But against those bloody Victorians, against those wise men from the East, against those AFL bureaucrats in Melbourne, team allegiance, at least for me, takes a back seat for the pure and utter contempt every West Australian should have for that mob.

To put it in terms Mike might understand, it’s like mad England fans supporting Ireland in the 1994 World Cup. It’s not their first team of choice, but we’ll be damned if any other club is going to get our support.

This might be lost on a younger generation who may not remember State of Origin and serves as a pretty good argument as to why it needs to come back. But it also points to the type of team the Dockers have become. I would never have admitted this in the past, but they are playing some breathtaking football.

Real AFL fans, as much as they love their own teams, they can acknowledge, and even appreciate, when a team is on a real tear. Champagne football. Call it what you want. Feel free to say I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Feel free to ridicule. But I’ll say for the first time that as a paid up Eagles member, I’m behind the Dockers, and if you’re a proud Western Australian and a proud football fan, you should be too.

At least until next season, all bets are off.

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iPhone 5s, 5c plans released by Telstra, Optus, Vodafone

Decisions: Two new iPhone models were released on Friday. Photo: Getty Images/AFPiOS 7 security flaws uncoveredHackathon to crack fingerprint scanner
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The release of a popular new phone model such as the iPhone provides mobile companies with an opportunity to steal market share by offering consumers the best deal possible and locking them into one- or two-year contracts.

Australia’s three big mobile carriers, Optus, Vodafone and Telstra, have all released their pricing with prices for the new iPhone 5 models, starting at $46 per month on a two-year contract.

Since the introduction of new consumer protection codes, all telcos must release a simple one-page summary of what they are offering, but it still takes a bit of mathematical wizardry to work out the most appropriate plan.

For example, the cheapest way to acquire the 5c handset on a two-year plan is through Vodafone for $46 per month. However, this plan has very low call and data inclusions so users might get stung by excess usage charges over the two-year contract.

For heavy data users, Vodafone and Virgin currently offer the most generous allowances, with 5 gigabytes (GB) and 6 GB per month respectively, as long as consumers are willing to pay at least $100 per month.

Meanwhile the new 5s model – the one that comes in gold and silver – starts at $51 per month on Vodafone’s network, $62 per month on Optus, $51 per month with Virgin (which uses the Optus network) or $78 per month on Telstra. The Telstra plan lets customers download 1 GB of data every month, whereas the other carriers’ plans only allow 200 megabytes per month.

FaceTime

But a new feature in Apple’s new iOS 7 operating software, which allows users to make calls using mobile data rather than tradition telephone calls, may mean talk time is much less important in mobile plans than before.

With the option of audio-only calls in the Apple app FaceTime, iPhone users will be able to talk to other iPhone users via Wi-Fi or mobile data. FaceTime over a mobile data connection is available on the iPhone 4S or later and is supported on iPad 2 or later, iPad mini, iPod touch (4th generation) or later, and many Macs.

Before this, users could press the home button while they talked for the video to disappear to save on bandwidth costs. The new method makes this easier.

Contracts

Acquiring a phone through a contract involves complex calculations and weighing up the most suitable phone model against the contract’s long-term cost, included value and the quality of the mobile network.

Consumers could also buy the phone outright from Apple or any other retailer and then pay for access to any network on a month by month basis.

The 5s model costs between $869 and $1129 depending on storage capacity, while the 5c costs between $739 and $869. However, acquiring handsets through long-term contracts has always been popular in Australia because consumers feel they get the handset at a discount – the 5c would cost $30.80 per month if purchased outright and repaid interest-free over two years.

The carriers charge much lower or no handset repayment fees for contracts that cost about $100 per month, so high volume users can acquire a phone without increasing their monthly costs.

A survey by Roy Morgan research over the six months to June found 40 per cent of existing iPhone owners in Australia were in a position to upgrade – 17 per cent were within six months of the end of their contract, and the rest already own their phone outright.

The 5s and 5c both work on the three mobile carriers’ new 4G networks, but consumers should still check network coverage in their area as rollouts have not finished.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Optus’ 5s plans started at $52. In fact they start at $62. 

With Ben Grubb

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


Man jailed for killing best friend in botched drug attack

The house where Khaldoun Abbas went to confront Jui Wei ”Alan” Huang over an unpaid drug debt.It was a “half-baked attempt at gangsterism” that ended with his best mate dead, a baby girl effectively without a father and two families devastated for years to come.
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Khaldoun Abbas was sentenced to at least eight years in prison on Friday for accidentally shooting his childhood friend in 2011 during a botched attempt to recover a $500 drug debt.

Abbas, then 18, had gone to the Rockdale home of small-time drug dealer and addict Jui Wei “Alan” Huang to force him into repaying the money.

Two close friends, 18-year-old Aydin Dogan and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, joined him and together they pinned Huang to the ground and bashed him around the head and legs.

Abbas took out a small, black semi-automatic handgun and held it towards Mr Huang’s legs while trying to slap him.

He ordered Mr Huang to get up but, in the process, was accidentally bumped, causing him to discharge the firearm in the face of the 17-year-old, his childhood friend.

He then dropped the pistol on the ground, accidentally firing it again as he picked it up, before running from the house.

“It was a half-baked attempt at gangsterism that has left his good friend dead, a family devastated, him in prison and his daughter effectively fatherless,” Justice Robert Beech-Jones said as he handed down the sentence for manslaughter, assault and firearm possession.

The bullet travelled through the teenager’s left check and into his brain, causing hypoxic brain damage and a subdural haemorrhage.

The victim’s seven siblings were preparing a Ramadan feast at their home on August 6, 2011, when they received a call from police.

“Instead the evening ended with the siblings assembled at St George Hospital with their brother on life support,” Justice Beech-Jones said.

His parents immediately flew home from Lebanon to be by their son’s side.

Outside court, two of the victim’s brothers said their mother had continued to visit the grave site every day since the death.

Abbas had shown deep remorse and grief at killing his best friend and Justice Beech-Jones accepted that he had no intention to use the firearm during his “escapade of gangsterism”.

After the incident, Abbas told police he had no idea where the gun’s safety catch was.

“I didn’t even know that it was loaded,” he said.

However, Justice Beech-Jones said that “unlike his friend, [Abbas] will have an opportunity to make a life for himself” when he is released.

Abbas’ wife gave birth to a girl 19 months ago while he was in custody and he will be eligible for parole in 2019, when his daughter is seven years old.

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Hugh Jackman should hang up his claws: Variety report

Are Wolverine’s days numbered? Variety thinks Hugh Jackman is long overdue for a change of screen.Influential Hollywood entertainment magazine Variety says it’s time for Hugh Jackman to hang up his Wolverine claws and focus on other roles.
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The call comes with the release of Jackman’s latest movie, the critically acclaimed Prisoners, directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Also starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, Jackman plays a distraught father whose daughter is abducted.

Variety film editor Ramin Setoodeh argues that Jackman’s career has never been in better shape but he risks being typecast by the Wolverine/X-Men series, in which he recently had his sixth outing.

The Golden Globe winner is also due to reprise the role next year in X-Men Days of Future Past, despite less than stellar box office taking for this year’s The Wolverine.

“All of which leads to a bigger question: Is Wolverine now a liability for Hugh Jackman’s career?” asks Setoodeh.

“Wolverine has been both a blessing and curse for Jackman. The Marvel comic book character was the role that put the unknown Australian actor on the map … but it also typecast him.”

Jackman has spent more time playing Wolverine than Daniel Radcliffe devoted to the role of Harry Potter.

“Unlike Batman or Superman, Wolverine just isn’t that deep. Jackman has already explored all the various depths — and more — with the character,” says Setoodeh.

“It’s time to retire those claws.”

Meanwhile, Jackman is set to received a lifetime achievement award at the San Sebastian film festival, which opens today.

The 44-year-old will collect the Spanish festival’s Donostia Award – the Basque name for the coastal city San Sebastian – on Friday just before Prisoners is screened.

In announcing the award, festival directors called Jackman “one of the most versatile actors of our time.”

Past winners of the award include Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffmann.

With AFP

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


States must unite for GST reform

So it begins. WA Premier Colin Barnett has started a political process that will inevitably lead to significant tax reform, including his desired increase in the GST’s scope and/or rate. How long the process takes will depend upon the integrity of our state and federal politicians. Yes, it is likely to be many years.
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Barnett called for leadership on the GST issue from Tony Abbott, but it’s not the federal government that needs tax reform, let alone the political cost of broken promises and scare campaigns. The “leadership” is going to have to come from those who most urgently require it – the states. Only when the states unite in demanding change will Abbott be able to wash his hands of it, pointing out as his treasurer already has that the GST is the states’ tax merely administered by the commonwealth.

One of the achievements of the 2011 tax summit (that the then-opposition childishly snubbed), was to spell out that the states are all hurtling at varying speeds towards a fiscal brick wall. They’ve trashed their own tax bases and show little inclination to take politically unpopular decisions to fix their inequitable and damaging revenue sources, but they’re all facing soaring health, education and infrastructure needs. Which is why it has been argued here before that we’ll only get serious about changing the system when the states demand it.

Barnett is the first to make the demand. If his remains a lone voice, he will be ignored by Canberra. As usual, our pollies are more interested in keeping the better-paying jobs of government than acting first and foremost in the best interests of the nation. If the WA premier can build consensus among his peers though, the game changes.

While that’s happening the premiers are far from powerless. A small example of Barnett’s own weakness – the sort of thing that catches a ratings agency’s eye – was his backdown on reforming WA’s over-the-top solar power feed-in tariff. Like similar stupid and inequitable schemes in other states, the majority end up subsidising a minority to little purpose – a bit like the motor vehicle FBT/novated lease lurk.

The bigger and more beneficial potential reform that’s already in the states’ own hands is to move from reliance on economically and socially damaging real-estate stamp duty to a broad land tax without exceptions. It was all spelt out in the Henry Review, but only the ACT government has had the integrity to do something about it. Why would any premier expect the Abbott family to risk years of comfortable living in Kirribilli House when the states aren’t first prepared to help themselves?

The encouraging aspect of Abbott’s budget reply speech this year and his pre-pre-election policy was to genuinely entertain tax reform, including an examination of GST changes. Maybe the promise that “we won’t change the GST” left wriggle room to mean “we won’t change the GST, but it’s the states’ tax so if they want to change it, we won’t stand in their way”. That spreads the political pain.

I’ve long argued significant tax reform requires three things:

1. Genuine political leadership. (No sign of that.)

2. A responsible opposition. (We only have a GST thanks to Meg Lees’ Australian Democrats being responsible opposition in the Senate. After the last three years, there’s not much chance of the current main opposition parties behaving responsibly for the Abbott government.)

3. Failing the above, or as well as – a crisis.

We will see financial crises soon enough at the state government level if governments attempt to provide the infrastructure and services their electors demand. WA losing one notch of its credit rating is nothing like a crisis, just a slight political embarrassment in the general scheme of things. The current crop of premiers might well figure that they’ll be gone before their states get to the crisis stage, when full hospitals and growing aged-care scandals and creaking infrastructure enforce change. History will record them as cowards and failures if they do so.

Michael Pascoe is a BusinessDay contributing editor.

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