Newcastle the nation’s top young uni

JUST a few months out from its 50th birthday, the University of Newcastle has been named Australia’s number one university under 50 years of age.
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British education company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) released its ‘‘Top 50 under 50’’ on Wednesday, with Newcastle also featuring in the top 20 in the world, rising 12 spots to be ranked 19th.

The university jumped five spots against Australian institutes, after placing sixth in 2013.

University of Newcastle Vice Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen said the independent rankings were evidence of a commitment and focus on research and education.

‘‘I am delighted the University of Newcastle has climbed to be the top young university in Australia,’’ Professor McMillen said.

‘‘Our world ranking as 19th among universities under the age of 50 shows the university is on the right trajectory and inspires us to continue building an institution that students, staff, our alumni and the wider community can be proud of.’’

The QS ‘‘Top 50 Under 50’’ ranks universities established since 1965 according to their position in the QS World University Rankings for 2014/2015.

Institutions are assessed on six indicators – academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty student ratios, citations per faculty, international students and international faculty.

The new rankings saw the university achieve a 16 per cent increase in academic reputation, a 17 per cent rise in employer reputation and a 16 per cent rise in research publications per faculty.

Now in its 10th year, the QS World University Rankings grade the world’s top 863 universities based on research, teaching, employability and internationalisation, the university said.

Service run off its wheels

USERS of Mildura’s elderly and disabled transportservice have quadrupled in the past three years.
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Keeping busy: SunAssist chief executive Rob Garlick and Legacy Mildura president Rob Vigar.Picture: Carmel Zaccone

SunAssist chief executive Richard Garlick said the service worked with about 600 clients when he came on board three years ago.

Current figures suggest there are now 3000 clients relying on SunAssist cars and buses to get around.

“Without this transport, people would just be so isolated, particularly elderly people,” Mr Garlick said.

“We now have an after hours service because lots of people in hospital need to get home.

“We pick them up all hours of the day and night, and we have quite a few people from as far away as Murrayville.”

Mr Garlick said the service, which did not receive any government funding, relied heavily on donations from other community groups.

More than 4000 people attended last week’s SunAssist Motor Show in Irymple, while Legacy Mildura last week contributed $2500 to the service.

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Swimming into record books

RECORDS continue to tumble as the Mount Isa Heat swimming squad enter the early stages of their season.
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After only three weeks back in the water, head coach Brian Rodriguez initiated the “Friday Fast Finishes” program.

Eva Millner jumps off the blocks in her 50 metre freestyle race.

Isa swimmers have limited competition opportunities compared with coastal clubs such as Brisbane and Townsville, so every Friday night they race to achieve as many junior excellence, state age, state sprint and national age qualifying times.

“This early in the season it is all about hard work, and improving efficiency,” Rodriguez said.

Last week, 20 out of 23 swimmers swam personal bests.

On top of that, 14-year-old Louis Hutchinson swam a national age time for the 50 metre freestyle (26.2 seconds), the first by a Mount Isa swimmer in 10 years.

Louis now qualifies for April’s Georgina Hope Swimmers Foundation Australian Age and MC Age Swimming Championships in Sydney.

Louis also swam two state qualifying times, and 13-year-old Jamie Grainger did the same in the 50m freestyle and backstroke, with Sydneh Corrigan and Ethan Cernoia also qualifying in the 50m freestyle.

Of the 28 junior swimmers on Friday, 22 of them swam personal bests in the 50 metre freestyle.

Apryl Ford, 16, swam the 50m freestyle in 27.6 seconds, qualifying her for April’s Georgina Hope Swimmers Foundation Australian Age and MC Age Swimming Championships.

Apryl also achieved a state qualifying time in the 50m freestyle.

It is not just the older swimmers hitting new PBs, with the younger swimmers also beginning to move up the ranks.

The Swimming Australia Junior Excellence program is a pathway of qualifying times aimed at getting swimmers to reach the state championships for swimmers aged 9 to 13.

In two weeks alone, swimmers such as Mitchell Corrigan, Baylie Katoa, Jemma Chatham and Grace Ngaronoa are achieving close to tier 1 times (equivalent to their state age qualifying times), with others achieving tier 2, 3 and 4 times.

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BRIGHTSIDE: Isabella seeking a lift

Isabella Devetak will represent Australia at the Commonwealth Power Lifting Championships in Vancouver next month. Picture: Peter StoopWE all have weights to bear, but the burdens Cardiff powerlifter Isabella Devetak has had to carry in the last 11 weeks puts ‘‘heavy’’ into perspective.
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The 17-year-old was selected in May to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Power Lifting Championships in Vancouver, Canada, next month.

She sat her HSC in October, taking on 13 units, three above the standard.

But just before those crucial exams began her house burned down and she had to prepare for these defining challenges from the confines of her grandmother’s house.

‘‘It’s been a busy couple of months,’’ Isabella said with just a hint of understatement.

‘‘I was in Queensland competing when Joel [Isabella’s stepfather Joel Hudson, who runs Cross Fit Never Say Never at Cardiff] called and left a message telling me to ring urgently.

‘‘Then I got a message on Facebook from my neighbour: ‘Call ASAP, your house is on fire, I’m being serious’.’’

An electrical fire caused by a faulty washing machine left the house she’d grown up in unliveable and so the family moved in with their grandmother.

‘‘It was in the middle of a HSC assessment, all my notes for all my subjects [Isabella is studying advanced English, 3U maths, bio, chem, sac, community and family studies] were smoke-damaged.’’

Living with such disruption at such a crucial time for someone who is usually so organised was, as Isabella says, ‘‘different’’.

But she applied the same fortitude and effort to her studies as she does her lifting.

It will probably be another six months before the family can even think about returning to the house.

Meanwhile, Vancouver looms.

‘‘It’s been quite tough,’’ said Isabella’s stepdad Joel, who is also the national under 23s coach.

But he has high hopes for her.

‘‘We saw potential with anything with strengths and when she went into comps, we saw the numbers and knew straight away she would be in or around the Australian records and she smashed those in her second comp.’’

Isabella will compete in the under18, 72kg class, where she holds the national records for bench press (57.5kg), back squat (110kg) and total of all three lifts, 282.5kg including the dead lift.

‘I had to stop the leaks’: Gillard

Julia Gillard says she went out of her way to prop up Kevin Rudd when he was prime minister. Picture: Channel Nine Julia Gillard says she promised to make Kevin Rudd foreign minister in order to stop damaging leaks that were destabilising her campaign in the 2010 election.
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‘‘I had no choice,’’ Australia’s first female prime minister told Ray Martin in a Nine Network interview broadcast on Tuesday night.

‘‘I had to stop the leaks and it was made abundantly clear to me that the kinds of things we’d seen with the leaks to (journalist) Laurie Oakes were just going to keep happening.’’

After the promise, ‘‘there were no further leaks’’.

Ms Gillard, who is spruiking her book My Story, which will be released on Wednesday, spoke emotionally of her relations with Mr Rudd, whom she displaced as prime minister shortly before the 2010 election.

Julia Gillard speaks to Ray Martin on Tuesday night. Picture: Channel Nine

‘‘I’d felt I’d done everything I possibly could to help and support and prop up Kevin,’’ she said.

‘‘There had already in the days before (the coup) been some signs that I was being viewed with suspicion and I cried because I felt it was just so unfair.’’

Ms Gillard admitted the image of her was ‘‘the woman who wielded the knife’’ and ‘‘political brutality’’.

But during her conversation with Mr Rudd the night before the coup, she’d been hesitant.

Their conversation went for too long and she’d ‘‘fed hope’’, which she shouldn’t have done.

After the 2010 election resulted in a hung parliament, Ms Gillard formed government after negotiating the support of the Greens and most independents.

Asked how she outplayed Tony Abbott, she said: ‘‘I stayed at it. I turned up. I was there every day doing it personally.Tony took a different approach. He went back to Sydney, particularly for the crucial last weekend before government was formed and tended to delegate it to others.’’

After three years and three days Labor turned back to Mr Rudd to ‘‘save the furniture’’ in the 2013 election.

If she’d had a clear run, with no destabilisation and with the Rudd supporters genuinely behind her, she believed she could have out-campaigned Mr Abbott and ‘‘landed us in around about the same spot’’.

Ms Gillard said people should only go into politics ‘‘if you really know why you’re doing it.

‘‘Will it end in tears? Yes, absolutely.‘‘

“The day I finished being prime minister I took a call from Paul Keating who said to me ‘We all get taken out in a box, love’ and never a truer word spoken.’’

Yet she’d do it all again – ‘‘No question, do some things differently but do it all again. Absolutely.’’

AAP