Anzac Day for respecting veterans, not questioning their service

For some Australians it seems the meaning of Anzac Day has become lost in a mire of cynicism and criticism.

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Many people use Anzac Day to question the conflicts that Australian and New Zealand troops have served in and continue to serve in.

This is a debate that we should most definitely have.

Australia’s involvement in any conflict should be intensively discussed and debated, but there is a time and a place.

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Anzac Day is not that time and place.

The first Anzac Day saw soldiers and nurses, family members and friends, come together quietly to remember lost friends, brothers, sweethearts, husbands and fathers.

They were not there to question the legitimacy of the battles in which their loved ones found themselves.

They were there simply to remember and to grieve.

To Australians and New Zealanders, Anzac Day is sacred.

It is a day when we can come together to remember the men and women who answered the call to fight for their country; to fight for people they would never even meet.

Again and again they proved themselves equal to whatever was asked of them despite the odds often being stacked against them.

On battlefields around the world Australians have fought, died and survived bravely.

To question whether they should have been there in the first place, on the very day we come together to remember them, is to dishonour their memory and their sacrifice.

On Anzac Day we give thanks for their sacrifices – for the lives lost, the health ruined and the futures that would never be.

We remember what they did for our country and for other countries.

Soldiers do not question whether they should be where they are.

Even today, men and women join our armed forces knowing they will likely be sent to a far-off land to fight for a cause that may not seem directly related to their homeland.

And yet they go and they give their all, regardless of where or why they are fighting. 

This is what we remember on Anzac Day – not the faux-glory of war, not the senseless waste of lives, nor whether the cause or the battle was worth participating in.

We remember the Australians and New Zealanders who were brave enough to turn and face the enemy and charge with little thought for their own safety.

On every other day we can debate Australia’s involvement in overseas conflicts, but let’s leave Anzac Day for the men and women who fought for their country – for you and for me.

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Eels eye second Cowboys NRL upset

Searching for a weakness in North Queensland’s NRL side is a bit like trying to find fault with the Mona Lisa.

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That’s why Parramatta coach Brad Arthur isn’t bothering.

“It’s very hard,” he said.

“We need to focus on being at our best.”

Both the Cowboys and the Eels are looking inward ahead of their meeting on Saturday night at Townsville’s 1300Smiles Stadium.

It will be the second clash between the two sides already this season, with the Eels having upset last year’s NRL premiers in a 20-16 win at Pirtek Stadium back in round two.

With Parramatta surging to fourth on the ladder and keen to prove they are the real deal, for Arthur it’s all about repeating the dosage – and for his counterpart Paul Green, making sure North Queensland don’t make the same mistakes again.

“You don’t change too much of how you play from week to week and the last two weeks we’ve focused on our completions and it will be no different tomorrow night,” Arthur said.

“We can’t really control too much of what they do. It’s what we do and for the last two weeks we have completed at above 80 per cent and we’ve scored 58 points and only conceded 16.

“So if we can complete at a high percentage and try and get 50-50 possession against them, we’ll give ourselves a chance.

“But I think they’ve been averaging around 58, 60 per cent of possession in home games and if you (let them) do that, you’re just asking for trouble.”

North Queensland completed just 63 per cent of their sets when they last faced Parramatta – their worst ball-handling effort of the year in Green’s estimation.

He believes the Eels will be an even greater threat this time around now that off-season recruit Kieran Foran is more settled in the team.

“The guys around him are probably (more) used to playing with him also. Those combinations are getting better and better every week,” Green said.

“There’s more threats across the park, they’re more comfortable in falling back into shape.

“We’ll have our hands full trying to handle those guys in particular.”

Both sides go in unchanged, with the Eels having retained the same 17 for the last three games.

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Cowboys have won eight of the past nine matches between these two sides in Townsville, including the past four, scoring at least 40 points in all four matches.

* North Queensland have begun the season with four straight wins in Townsville. They have never won their first five home games of a season.

* Going back to last season the Eels have now won their past four away games. They have not won five consecutive away matches at any stage since 2006.

Closed Palmer refinery ‘needs millions’

Millions of dollars and a recovery in the nickel price are needed to revive Queensland Nickel’s shuttered refinery, liquidators pursuing Clive Palmer for millions in debts say.

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John Park of FTI Consulting, one of the liquidators appointed to the failed Queensland Nickel on Friday, said a “large capital injection” was needed to ensure the refinery was operationally and environmentally safe.

“Our independent view is that it will really be dependent on where the nickel price goes and indeed someone coming with an open cheque book to spend a bit of money on the refinery,” Mr Park said.

The liquidator team is now focused on recovering around $200 million owed to creditors of Queensland Nickel, the management company that once controlled the north Queensland nickel plant.

The size of any injection would largely depend on the likely buyer, Mr Park said, noting that one the size of BHP Billiton “could probably commit tens and tens and tens of millions of dollars”, while a smaller party would spend less.

The Townsville refinery is in care and maintenance mode after Queensland Nickel was placed in administration in January as nickel prices tumbled to a 10-year low.

In March, Queensland Nickel was replaced as the refiner’s manager by Queensland Nickel Sales, which is run by Mr Palmer and controlled by two of his companies.

Mr Palmer has repeatedly said that he wants to reopen the refinery in the future but the Queensland government is pressuring the businessman-turned-politician to sell the refinery to a third party so it can resume production.

Mr Park doesn’t believe the chances of the refinery reopening look good, rating them as “still quite low”.

Mr Park’s comments come after Queensland Nickel creditors, including 787 workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of winding up the business at a meeting in Townsville on Friday.

There is also confusion about the role of a special purpose liquidator, which the federal government is pushing for.

Mr Park and his colleagues will meet with representative from the federal government next week to discuss the special purpose liquidator’s role and funding.

Melbourne teen Cayleb Hough farewelled

Melbourne teen Cayleb Hough’s family and friends have remembered a beautiful young man who loved food, family and fun.

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Police are still trying to answer how the sport-loving kid was killed, four months after the 17-year-old went missing.

His remains were discovered in a shallow mineshaft in the Lerderderg State Park in Bacchus Marsh last month.

On Friday, 450 mourners packed Noble Park’s St Anthony’s Parish – the same church where Cayleb was baptised.

Friends wore the black and red of his beloved Essendon FC while former junior football teammates laid a premiership medallion on the coffin.

Through tears, Cayleb’s aunty Sheila Crespo remembered “a beautiful kid with so much love and affection” who showed a paternal nature from an early age.

“When his four sisters came along, the love he had for them would melt your heart,” she said.

“Whenever his little sisters and cousins were with him, he wanted to carry them, hold their hand or push the pram.

Cayleb would have celebrated his 18th birthday on August 13 this year.

“We are all just so shattered and devastated we can not celebrate this big occasion with you and many more that were meant to happen in your life,” she said.

Other speakers remembered a boy passionate about cooking – stemming from his Spanish heritage, and insatiable appetite.

After reading the story of the prodigal son, Priest Brian Collins noted that Cayleb left home in early December but was robbed of the chance to return.

Following the funeral service, Cayleb was buried in Springvale.

In the days before his funeral, Victoria Police revealed they had arrested two men in relation to his death.

No charges have been laid.

Panthers lose another thriller in Cronulla

Cronulla have held their nerve against a brave Penrith to claim their fifth NRL win in a row and rubber-stamp their premiership credentials.

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In a high-quality affair, the Panthers had an opportunity to send the game into golden point after James Fisher-Harris scored to reduce the margin to two in the 77th minute.

But Jamie Soward’s sideline conversion hooked just wide, leaving the Panthers with their third two-point loss of the season, continuing an extraordinary run of close matches.

All eight of their games this season have been decided in the final five minutes.

It was yet another brave performance from a Penrith side that played the final 45 minutes with 15 men after losing Waqa Blake and Te Maire Martin to injuries in the first half.

Martin could be out for some time after fracturing his shoulder.

For the Sharks however, the victory consolidates their spot in the top four, equal second with defending premiers North Queensland ahead of next week’s home blockbuster against ladder leaders Brisbane.

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan credited the win to a first half shutout of the Panthers, where they turned away a remarkable 30 plays inside their own red zone.

“The first half won us the game, there was half a dozen sets on our tryline,” he said.

Penrith responded with four tries in the second half, however Matt Moylan and Soward landed just one conversion from four attempts for the night.

Winger Valentine Holmes scored a 70-metre solo effort to put Cronulla ahead in the 73rd minute.

Panthers coach Anthony Griffin laid into his team for conceding what he labelled as “soft” tries, including the opening one to Michael Ennis from dummy half.

“I’m proud of their effort, and we’ve moving forwards obviously,” he said.

“But Ennis’ try in the first half and the try from when we had them plugged in their half at 14-all, they’re just soft points that we shouldn’t be conceding.”

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen was enormous for his team, amassing 226 metres and 44 tackles in a typically lion-hearted performance, while halfback Chad Townsend produced some big second half moments.

For the Panthers, Trent Merrin had his best outing since joining over the summer, while rookie forward Fisher-Harris bagged an impressive double.