A man on trial for murder says he cut another man’s throat because he feared his co-accused who had already bashed and repeatedly stabbed the victim would do the same to him.

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Luke James Hutchings told the jury he believed the victim was already dead when he slashed his throat.

Hutchings, 30, was giving evidence on Thursday in the South Australian Supreme Court.

He and Michael Joseph Lindsay, 29, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Andrew Negre, 37, whose dumped body was found in an Adelaide reserve on April 8, 2011 about a week after he died.

The court has heard that after drinking at a hotel, Mr Negre was part of a group that went back to Lindsay’s house.

Hutchings told the jury it all went wrong after Mr Negre offered to pay Lindsay $200 for sex.

Hutchings said he went to another room after seeing Lindsay repeatedly punch Mr Negre and bang his head on the floor.

When he returned, he saw Lindsay grab a knife and repeatedly stab Mr Negre whose trousers were no longer on him.

“I just stood there like everyone else,” he said.

Hutchings said Lindsay then looked up at him while holding the knife.

“I took the knife out of his hand … I cut across Andrew Negre’s throat,” he said.

Asked why, Hutchings replied: “I thought maybe he might want to do it again and come after me”.

He said he was scared of Lindsay and was the only person in the house not related to him.

“I was frightened and thought I had better do something or he could retaliate.”

When Hutchings slit his throat, Mr Negre had not been moving and appeared to be dead.

Hutchings said he helped clean up the scene and move the body into a wheelie bin after Lindsay told him “to get rid of this mess”.

Under cross-examination, Hutchings denied underplaying his own role.

He also denied egging on Lindsay and holding the victim’s legs, so Lindsay could go through his pockets.

The trial is continuing.

  • Posted on 12. January 2019
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WINSTON-SALEM, United States, Aug 22 AFP – France’s Gael Monfils won an error-filled match over Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (8-10) 6-4 6-4 on Thursday to edge into the semi-finals of the ATP Winston-Salem Open.

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The 15th seeded Monfils will Friday face off for a place in the final when he takes on Ukranian tenth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 7-6 (7-2) 6-3.

Monfils and seventh seeded Verdasco seemed to play their third match as if neither wanted to win in the closing stages.

The Frenchman, who is back this week after an ankle injury which forced him to miss the two Masters 1000 events this month, could not take advantage of many of the mistakes by Verdasco, whose unforced error count totalled well over 60 in the contest which lasted just under two and a quarter hours.

He hadn’t played since reaching the Umag claycourt final in July.

“I lost two weeks of training because I sprained my ankle,” Monfils said.

“This week means a lot to me. I was playing well before the ankle and had done well on clay in Europe. I was doing well when I got hurt.

“It’s good to be winning matches to finally get set for the US Open,” added Monfils, who has returned to the top 50 in the world after falling as low as 108th on February 2.

Monfils improved to 3-0 over Verdasco in the match-up between the pair of former top 10 players in the final tune-up event before the US Open, which begins Monday.

Verdasco failed to impress in his first hardcourt quarter-final of the season. Of his five previous 2013 quarter-finals, two came on grass and three on clay.

The Spaniard, who suffered a neck injury earlier in the year, produced 11 aces but had a dozen double-faults in a patchy performance in draining and humid conditions. At times it looked as both were struggling for energy.

Monfils won the second set and came from 3-1 down in the third to finally advance as his seventh ace set up a match point. He clinched it when Verdasco hit a forehand long over the baseline.

Dolgopolov dealt Lu his ninth career quarter-final defeat without a win as he advanced into the last four in one hour, 38 minutes. The Ukranian owns the series 3-0 including a win here last year.

In other quarter-finals, American sixth seed Sam Querrey faced Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis while Austria’s Jurgen Melzer, seeded ninth, took on Russian Dmitry Tursunov.

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He felt sheepish about it later but halfback Aaron Smith says his roar came from the heart as the All Blacks scrum bulldozed the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup hopes in Wellington.

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A series of powerful New Zealand scrums early in the second half on Saturday swung momentum away from Australia, whose 27-16 loss saw them fall short in an 11th successive Bledisloe Cup series.

The scrum battle was starkly different from the first Test a week earlier, won 47-29 by New Zealand when both front rows were coming to grips with new engagement laws.

Smith was penalised more than once in Sydney for not putting the ball in straight and the Wallabies more than held their own.

He appreciated South African referee Jaco Peyper giving both teams more leeway in Wellington and it told as the All Blacks snared two tight-heads and won two penalties after halftime.

Smith let out a throaty cry following one of the penalties, which resulted in struggling Wallabies tighthead Ben Alexander being replaced.

“I don’t like to be like that but you’ve got to let them know sometimes,” he said.

“Our forwards all talking and the Aussie scrum dead quiet – it’s a good feeling.

“There’s not a better feeling than seeing our pack walk all over theirs.”

Australian scrum deficiencies were exposed in their series-deciding third Test loss to the British and Irish Lions last month.

Coach Ewen McKenzie, a former prop, vented frustration with Peyper’s rulings, which differed from those of compatriot referee Craig Joubert in Sydney.

“To be honest, I don’t understand what’s going on.

“I used to be able to work it out but now I don’t know what’s a penalty and what isn’t.

“It’s a completely different beast now.”

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And that’s because there are just too many factors, often unpreidcatble factors, influencing currency moves.

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Interest rates, global politics, economic growth and carry-trades are just some of the variables.

The recent slide in the Australian dollar has been attributed to the escalating political uncertainty in Greece.

But last week’s better than expected local unemployment numbers prevented the Australian dollar’s slide to below parity.

Today though, for the first time since December 20th, the Australian dollar fell to below parity with the US dollar, as Greece fails to form a government, and speculation increases of a Greece split from the Euro.

So is anyone game enough to predict where the Australian dollar is going now?

NAB this afternoon, revised its forecasts, and is now expecting the Aussie to hit US$0.97 by the end of the year because of the turmoil in Europe.

But, at the same time, Reserve Bank deputy governor, Philip Lowe said at a lunchen, that he thinks it is highly likely for the exchange rate to remain high for some years to come.

Much of that will depend on a recovery in economy growth, and a soft landing in China, which demands the bulk of Australia’s commodities, thus keeping the local currency strong.

To a smaller degree, interest rates also have an impact on the Australian dollar, because higher rates attract more foreign investors to our currency because they’ll get a higher return on their investment.

The market however, is now pricing in a 70 per cent chance of another interest rate cut in June.

Economists at NAB today, have added another interest rate cut to their predictions. They’re now penciling in two rate cuts, one in August, with a follow up in September.

On the upside, lower interest rates should help the housing sector.

Today, the number of new owner occupied housing loans rose for the first time in three months, up 0.3 per cent in March.

First home buyer activity fell though, from a 23- month high of 20.9 per cent to 16.4 per cent.

According to Commsec, there’s also been a fall in how much money Australians are prepared to borrow for a home loan at $284,500, down 4.7 per cent on a year ago.

And with the major banks failing to pass on any Reserve Bank interest rate cut in full, it should be no surprise that there’s been a shift in consumer attitudes towards fixed rate loans, which now account for 14.5 per cent of all loans in March, a four year high.

  • Posted on 11. May 2019
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Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar says the Afghan presidential elections planned for April are a “waste of time” and has asked people not to take part.

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“As to the deceiving drama under the name of elections 2014, our pious people will not tire themselves out, nor will they participate in it,” Mullah Omar said in a statement released ahead of the Muslim festival Eid-al-Fitr that marks the end of Ramadan.

“These nominal rulers are not elected through the ballots of the people. Rather they are selected as per the discretion of Washington,” he said.

The presidential election has been seen as critical to the future stability of Afghanistan, in a year when the NATO-led international troops are due to withdraw.

In the statement, Omar said the Taliban spring offensive was “continuing with great success,” claiming that many areas of the country were under their control.

The offensive, which started in May, has seen a large number of attacks throughout the country.

In his Eid message, the Taliban leader also outlined his vision for a future Afghanistan.

“An Islamic system and complete independence are values which we are not willing to strike a deal on with anyone,” Mullah Omar said.

He said the Taliban does not want to monopolise power.

“Rather we believe in reaching understanding with the Afghans regarding an Afghan-inclusive government based on Islamic principles,” Omar said.

Omar said the aim of the talks with the US through the political office which they established in Doha in May “is to put an end to the occupation of Afghanistan”.

While there has been no mention of progress by either side, politicians and Afghan government officials have expressed hope that talks will proceed after the Eid festival this weekend.

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West Coast skipper Darren Glass has given the biggest hint yet that he wants to play on next year, but the 32-year-old says even his wife doesn’t know which way he’ll end up going.

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Glass remains near the peak of his powers despite entering the final stages of his glittering career, and says he will make a final decision on his future within the next month.

The four-time All-Australian has captained West Coast since 2008, and said he would be keen to stay on in the role should he extend his career into a 15th season.

Glass was keeping his cards close to his chest when he fronted a press conference on Monday.

But when asked whether he was better than a 50-50 chance to play on, Glass gave fans a slight glimpse into his thinking.

“Probably, yeah. I’m enjoying my footy,” Glass said.

“I tell my wife nothing either. She wants to know what I’m doing.

“We’ll make the decision over the next month.

“The concern for me is can I play good footy next year. That’s what it’s about.

“I want to make sure I can do that. I want to be really confident.

“Hopefully it’s deep into a finals series.”

Glass has played 258 games since making his debut in 2000, placing him fifth on the club’s all-time games played list.

Only Glen Jakovich (276), Dean Cox (269), Guy McKenna (267) and Drew Banfield (265) sit above him.

Fellow veteran Cox is also expected to play on next year, while wingman Andrew Embley is seeking a new deal.

Although West Coast have slid dramatically out of flag contention this year, Glass was confident the club’s premiership window would open once again in 2014.

Glass has been a rock in defence for West Coast over the past decade, winning three best-and-fairest awards to go with his four All-Australian jumpers.

Although the 192cm veteran forged his reputation as one of the competition’s best key defenders, he is equally adept at taking on smalls.

In Saturday’s win over Gold Coast, Glass kept a tight leash on Gary Ablett in the first quarter when the star Suns midfielder was sent forward.

The match-up was enough for Glass to reassess his future.

“I was ready to retire chasing Gary Ablett around,” Glass joked.

West Coast sit two wins adrift of eighth spot, and will need to beat Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Sunday if they are to keep their slim finals hopes alive.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday a “red line was crossed” in Syria and called for international action following reports of a massacre involving chemical weapons.

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“We call on the international community in this situation where the red line was crossed long ago to intervene as soon as possible,” he said in Berlin after talks with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle.

Davutoglu said the United Nations Security Council had been too hesitant in the face of the bloodletting in Syria.

“If we don’t manage to pass sanctions, we will lose the power to create a deterrent,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.

“If we don’t act decisively, even worse massacres will follow.” Westerwelle said the reports of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime were still unverified. “But if they were to be confirmed that would be monstrous,” he said.

He called for UN weapons inspectors “to be granted immediate access to investigate the allegations”.

The main Syrian opposition group claims that as many as 1,300 people were killed in a chemical weapons attack Wednesday on rebel areas near Damascus. Videos distributed by activists, the authenticity of which could not immediately be verified, showed medics attending to suffocating children and hospitals being overwhelmed.

UN Security Council members are seeking “clarity” on the suspected chemical weapons attack.

But diplomats said the council did not adopt a formal declaration because of opposition from Russia and China, which have for the last two years blocked any condemnation of their ally in Damascus.

Westerwelle said he “regretted” the Russian and Chinese position, saying it met with “incomprehension” from Western powers.

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Business, industry, unions and farmers are urging all lenders to pass on in full the latest interest rate cut by the central bank.

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The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut the cash rate by 25 basis points to an all-time low of 2.5 per cent at its monthly board meeting, as widely anticipated by economists.

It was the first reduction since May.

RBA governor Glenn Stevens had previously noted that the inflation outlook could provide some scope to ease policy further, should that be required to support demand.

“At today’s meeting, and taking account of recent information on prices and activity, the board judged that a further decline in the cash rate was appropriate,” he said in a statement.

It will continue to assess the outlook and adjust policy as needed to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with the inflation target over time.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said the RBA’s decision will be a huge relief to households and businesses.

“It means that families struggling with cost of living at the moment will be able to cope that little bit better,” she told reporters in Melbourne.

National Farmers’ Federation president Duncan Fraser said the rate cut was “great news” for farmers and agribusinesses.

“We urge all banks to pass today’s rate cut on in full,” he said in a statement.

National Australia Bank was quick to oblige among the big four banks, lowering its standard variable home loan rate by the full 25 basis points to 5.88 per cent.

The Housing Industry Association has been urging the RBA to reduce interest rates in order to add fuel to what is still a fledgling residential construction recovery.

“Clearly a rate reduction was needed,” its senior economist said in a statement.

But he said interest rates are only one part of the housing equation, and that the weakness in the market is being compounded by the huge tax burden on new home building, impediments on releasing suitable residential land, and excessive regulation of the industry.

“We look forward to these issues being addressed during the election campaign,” he said.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman described the RBA as stepping in to “save the furniture”, especially in the face of a lack of economic leadership and an upcoming election campaign.

“The RBA have provided some relief to Australian retailers, although it is concerning that this cut has come on the back of flat retail sales, predictions of rising unemployment and falling consumer and business confidence,” he said in a statement.

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Bangladesh’s war crimes tribunal has sentenced the former head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party to life imprisonment for masterminding atrocities during the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.

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It was the fifth such conviction since January.

 

Bangladesh has been hit in recent months by a wave of violent protests related to the war crime convictions.

 

The related unrest presents a challenge to the government, which is preparing for elections early next year.

 

Peggy Giakoumelos has the details.

 

“Professor Golam Azam, the then Amir (Chief) Est Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami, for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity, he has been tried for five charges and all the five charges have been proved. He has been found guilty of all the five charges and the tribunal came to a conclusion that he deserves highest penalty of death. But considering his age and ailments in prison he has been awarded different terms of sentence totalling a sentence of 90 years or unto death in prison.”

 

That’s the additional Attorney General of Bangladesh , M.K. Rahman reading out the verdict in the case of Ghulam Azam the former head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.

 

He was found guilty on charges of planning, conspiracy, incitement and complicity to commit genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1971 war for independence for Bangladesh from Pakistan.

 

Crowds gathered outside the court welcomed the verdict against the wheelchair-bound Mr Azam, who opposed the independence of Bangladesh,

 

One man who fought in the 1971 war had hoped for the death penalty.

 

“I am Bichu Jalal, as a freedom fighter I am happy with this verdict as he was the number one war criminal, but I would be much happier if he would get the death penalty. But considering his age the court has given him 90 years in prison.”

 

In 2010, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government launched an inquiry into atrocities committed during the war.

 

The tribunal has so far convicted three other Jamaat leaders to death and sentenced one to life.

 

Six more Jamaat leaders and two from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party are also on trial at the war crimes tribunal.

 

Unlike other war crime courts, the tribunal is not endorsed by the United Nations and has been criticised by human rights groups.

 

Jamaat-e-Islami has called a nationwide strike to protest the verdict, saying the war crimes trials are aimed at eliminating its leaders.

 

Ghulam Azam’s son, Salam al-Azami, has told the BBC the trial and the verdict were entirely politically motivated.

 

“If you can see the verdict, the judge clearly said that the prosecution has not been able to prove his direct involvement with any of the attrocities but here they come up with a ridiculous sentence of 90 years. This court has once again proved that it’s a political showtrial by a political party which has no legitimacy, no international recognition and we have been deprived of fair justice.”

 

When British colonial rule of India ended in 1947, the sub-continent was split into three parts – India, and East and West Pakistan.

 

Bangladesh was formerly East Pakistan.

 

It’s believed the independence war claimed about 3 million lives.

 

Some factions in Bangladesh opposed the break with Pakistan, including Jamaat and its leaders have denied involvement in abuses.

 

More than 100 people have been killed in protests over tribunal verdicts since January.

  • Posted on 11. April 2019
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Adelaide midfielder Scott Thompson tormented his former AFL club Melbourne with a best-afield display in the Crows’ 68-point victory on Saturday.

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Thompson gathered a game-high 33 disposals as Adelaide continued Melbourne’s miserable season with a 18.12 (120) to 7.10 (52) win at AAMI Stadium.

Thompson, who left the Demons after the 2004 season to join Adelaide, was a standout, Lewis Johnston kicked six goals, Sam Jacobs ruled the rucks and first-year Crows Mitch Grigg and Brad Crouch were influential.

Melbourne forwards Jeremy Howe, Jack Watts and Colin Sylvia each kicked two goals and Nathan Jones and Jack Grimes battled gamely against the tide.

The Demons had the better of a lacklustre opening term, kicking 2.3 to 1.2, but lost David Rodan, who was substituted at quarter-time with a left ankle injury.

Melbourne then went missing in a costly second-term slumber when the Crows piled on five goals in 10 minutes.

Adelaide’s goal spree went unanswered by the visitors, who didn’t score at all until Howe kicked his second goal more than 26 minutes into the quarter.

The Crows led 7.4 to 4.5 at halftime and were propelled by their dual club champion Thompson, who collected 22 disposals to the main break, and ruckman Jacobs, who logged 23 hit-outs for the half.

Any hope of a Melbourne rally was terminated by two atrocious discipline lapses which book-ended the third term.

Four minutes into the quarter, defender Lynden Dunn inexplicably punched Andy Otten in the chest some 100 metres off the ball – the blow contained little force but was spotted by the umpire and the Crow goaled from 20 metres out.

And the last act of the quarter was another woeful Melbourne moment: Tom McDonald was outmarked by Adelaide forward Johnston but then knocked the ball from the Crow player’s hands.

McDonald was penalised 50m but didn’t even bother to stand the mark, allowing Johnston to stroll to the goalline to score.

Johnston potted four of his six majors in the last quarter of a game which was Adelaide’s last at AAMI Stadium – they move to a redeveloped Adelaide Oval next season.

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On the verge of breaking Andrew Johns’ Newcastle appearance record, hooker Danny Buderus has revealed the moment he feared he would never play again.

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The former NSW Origin and Test captain will make his 250th appearance against Cronulla at Remondis Stadium on Saturday night – surpassing rugby league Immortal Johns’ mark in the red and blue.

But having undergone two bouts of back surgery at the start of the year, Buderus doubted his potential to ever lace on the boots again, let alone reach 250 games.

The games record was an obvious incentive during his rehabilitation, as was a determination to go out on his own terms.

“I didn’t think I’d play again at times,” Buderus said.

“The back takes a lot of confidence out of you.

“At the start of this year when they asked me to play on again I (thought) that would be a great achievement to play 250.

“Joey was 249, to play 250 let alone break the record, is a good achievement.

“That was a goal of mine, but two serious back ops at the start of the year, I thought I’d never get here.”

Buderus also admitted he’d never considered the possibility of coming back to the Knights when he left the club after the 2008 season to take up what was going to be a two year swansong with Super League club Leeds.

Five years later he is back where it all began, on the brink of becoming the most-capped Knight.

Barring another setback, he will get to exit the game on his terms, with Newcastle still in the running to feature in the finals.

“If I didn’t finish the way I wanted to, I probably would have thought I was a bit of a failure,” Buderus said.

“I wanted to come back and finish on my own terms and I’ve got five games to do that.

“I’m glad I’ve strung a few together the last four or five weeks, it’s not finished yet.

“To come back and say goodbye to the fans again in a few more weeks would be great.”

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Port Adelaide are confident their ex-Essendon forward Angus Monfries will play out the AFL season despite his involvement in the Bombers’ drugs investigation.

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But the Power have denied being told Monfries will be cleared for any finals campaign, regardless of the outcome of the Essendon drugs scandal.

Monfries played 150 games for Essendon but was traded to Port Adelaide at the end of last season.

Port coach Ken Hinkley said the supplements scandal at Essendon had been harder for Monfries because he had left the club.

“I’m not certainly aware that he has or he hasn’t been cleared,” Hinkley told reporters on Thursday.

“I think we expect, as everyone expects, that the players are the ones that we’re first and foremost worried about and we want to make sure that they’re okay.

“And for Gus to be at a different club, it’s even a little bit more difficult for him to deal with I suppose because he’s not quite as sure about what is going on.

“We’re hopeful that everything will work out okay.”

Monfries was interviewed by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), which has delivered their interim report to the AFL and, in turn, the Bombers.

“It’s something that I’m not totally over and Gus has been able to deal with it all the way through. If it hasn’t affected him and the way he has gone about it (football),” Hinkley said.

“I suppose he is like the rest of us: he’s just waiting to see what the outcome of the report is going to be. And then, what will happen from there, we’ll have to deal with.”

Asked if he was confident Monfries would play the rest of the season, Hinkley replied: “Yeah, we are.”

“When I say confident, I’m only reading what I’m reading and seeing what I’m seeing and I would assume that he would be okay,” he said.

“But until you see the report, see what is actually in that, I’m guessing.”

The AFL Commission will discuss the report at a meeting on Monday.

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The West Australian government has offered the family of Australia’s first Aboriginal cabinet minister Ernie Bridge a state funeral or memorial service.

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Mr Bridge, who died last weekend, and has been remembered as a politician who was respected by both sides of the West Australian Parliament.

 

He served 21 years in politics as a Labor and then an Independent member and became Australia’s first Aboriginal Minister of any Australian Parliament in 1986.

 

Aged 76, he died from asbestos-related diseases after launching legal action against those he believed were responsible.

 

Perth correspondent Ryan Emery takes a look back at his life.

 

(Sound of country and western singer):

 

Ernie Bridge performing a country and western song.

 

But it wasn’t on stage – it was in State Parliament.

 

Jim McGinty is a former state Labor Party leader and colleague of Mr Bridge.

 

“I think it’s the only time it’s happened in the history of the Westminister System because he was a great Country and Western singer.”

 

Ernie Bridge was one for firsts.

 

He became Western Australia’s first Aboriginal Member of Parliament in 1980 and six years later became the nation’s first Aboriginal cabinet minister.

 

He was the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Water Resources and the North West.

 

Jim McGinty says the Kimberley man, born in Halls Creek, was respected by both sides of Parliament.

 

“Ernie’s life has made him a role model for Indigenous Australians, but it’s also been important for non-Indigenous Australians to have someone as successful as Ernie. Shire president at a very young age, first Indigenous cabinet minister, but it wasn’t just positions that he held, he dreamt big and he thought big and has left a significant legacy of achievements behind him in the various portfolios he held.”

 

His son Noel Bridge remembers a father who was always there for his children.

 

“Look just a wonderful, loving and caring father to me and always someone prepared to listen and take interest in what I had to say and what I was doing as I grew up. Dad was always someone I could reliably speak to whatever the circumstances or situation. I was very privileged to have a very strong bond and relationship with dad in that way and that’s something I’ll always cherish and something I’ll miss going into the future.”

 

Mr Bridge was a big ideas man.

 

One of his biggest was to pipe water from the mighty Fitzroy River in the Kimberley to the south of the state.

 

The idea, which never got off the ground, was what he was singing about in State Parliament.

 

Federal Minister for Resources Gary Gray says Mr Bridge inspired many and began the culture of strong Indigenous leadership in the Kimberley region.

 

“Firstly the idea that through hard work you could get through the institutional barriers and become a representative of the Kimberley in the Parliament of Western Australia. And while he was there, he didn’t just do that job well, he became a minister and he also made his mark on important and enduring legacy things for Western Australia such as the better use of the land and water in the north and the Kimberley for horticulture and other purposes. Ernie was a great man.”

 

Jim McGinty says even now, Mr Bridge can continue to be inspirational.

 

“He was the sort of person who had a strong set of values and convictions, but he went about it in the nicest possible way. I think modern politicians could learn a lesson from Ernie.”

 

Ernie Bridge was a great advocate for Aboriginal people.

 

He pushed for Aboriginal aides in the police force and was successful – paving the way for Aboriginal police officers.

 

He headed a Royal Commission into the unlawful arrests of Aboriginal people at Skull Creek, which began to change the way West Australian police interacted with Aboriginal people.

 

After he left politics, he championed the health and education of Aboriginal people.

 

Last year, he was named a Member of the Order of Australia for his parliamentary work and advocacy for Aboriginal people.

 

Western Australia’s Opposition leader, Mark McGowan, visited Mr Bridge in hospital during the recent state election campaign.

 

“He was upbeat. He was in good spirits. He was determined to do his best to defeat the illness that afflicted him, but unfortunately he is now passed away. It was great to meet him on that final occasion. Great to have a last conversation with him. I know he’ll be missed by many West Australians.”

 

Mr Bridge was determined to fight his asbestos-related diseases and also those he believed were responsible.

 

He had launched legal action about two weeks before his death against companies owned by Gina Rineheart and Angela Bennett.

 

He’d also included the state government, the Shire of Ashburton and the CSR and Midalco companies in his legal challenge.

 

Mr Bridge believed his exposure to asbestos dust and fibres at the town of Wittenoom led to his terminal illness.

 

He visited the town as the Minister for the North West, overseeing the withdrawal of government services from the town in the 1980s.

 

Noel Bridge says the family is yet to decide if it’ll continue the legal action, which they are entitled to do by law.

 

“We were aware that there is some sort of press running around at the moment in regards to that matter, but we’re certainly not contributing to that press at this point in time. We’re focused pretty much on what’s before us and that is to give dad the right send off and show him the respect and allow the celebration of the contribution to this state to occur in the best way we can possibly do.”

 

(Ends with Ernie Bridge singing)

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