‘Huge loss for music’: Easybeats icon George Young dead at 70

The 70-year-old’s death was confirmed by his Australian music publishing and recording house Alberts in an online statement from CEO David Albert on Monday.

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“It is with great sadness that Alberts acknowledge the passing of George Young,” the statement read.

“A consummate songwriter, trailblazing producer, artist, mentor and extraordinary musician, George was above all else a gentleman who was unfailingly modest, charming, intelligent and loyal, a man with a wonderful sense of humour.

“George was a pioneer who, with close friends Harry Vanda and Ted Albert, created a new sound for the Australian music industry. He will be missed.”

ARIA would like to send its deepest sympathies to the family, friends and fans of Easybeats guitarist/songwriter and record producer George Young, who has passed away, aged 70. pic南京夜生活,/KmM617VbLp

— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) October 23, 2017

Young rose to fame as a member of The Easybeats, playing rhythm guitar and writing hit singles including Friday On My Mind and Love Is In Air, the latter also made famous by John Paul Young. 

His younger brothers Malcolm and Angus achieved fame in rock band AC/DC, with Young and The Easybeats’ lead guitarist Harry Vanda co-producing the band’s early albums including Let There Be Rock, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, T.N.T, Powerage and High Voltage.

In a statement on its website, AC/DC said the band would not have existed without Young’s help and guidance.

“As a musician, songwriter, producer, advisor and much, much more, you could not ask for a more dedicated and professional man,” the statement read.

“As a brother, you could not ask for a finer brother. For all he did and gave to us throughout his life, we will always remember him with gratitude and hold him close to our hearts.”

Young and Vanda embraced The Easybeats’ 1969 split to produce many more bands under the ‘Vanda and Young’ title. 

Over the years they produced albums by notable Australian acts The Angels, Rose Tattoo, Ted Mulry Band and Meatloaf. 

Australian rock’s stars took to social media to post their condolences, including Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes who described Young’s passing as a “huge loss”.

George Young RIP What a huge loss for music. A great songwriter, producer and a great human being

— Jimmy Barnes (@JimmyBarnes) October 23, 2017

The Hoodoo Gurus’ Dave Faulkner tweeted praise for Young’s songwriting, posting a link to footage of The Easybeats live in Germany in 1967.

GEORGE YOUNG, 1946 – 2017.

The Easybeats were one of our greatest bands and George’s songwriting, first with… 苏州美睫培训,南京SPA,/qwxeIgnYaX

— David Faulkner (@Faulkner69) October 23, 2017

Vanda and Young were one of the first groups to be inducted the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) hall of fame in 1988, with Australian Musician magazine declaring in 1997 that the meeting of the duo at a Sydney migrant hostel in 1964 as the most significant event in Australian pop and rock music history. 

They achieved success as a duo in front of the microphones, most notably as Flash and the Pan from 1977 to 1992.

They achieved success in Australia, while in European they notched four hit singles from 1983 to 1987 including Midnight Man and Ayla. 

Young was again inducted into the ARIA hall of fame in 2005 as part of The Easybeats.

Following his friend’s death, Harry Vanda issued a heartbreaking six word statement:

“Dear George, Rest in Peace my dear friend. Harry Vanda”. 

 

Australia will spend up to $250 million housing Manus refugees

Australia will spend between $150 and $250 million housing the remaining refugees and asylum seekers elsewhere on Manus Island for 12 months after the detention centre closes, immigration officials estimate.

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The government’s detention centre on Manus will close at the end of October,  but hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers will still need to stay in government housing and hotels because they are yet to be settled under a deal with the United States or within Papua New Guinea.

Electricity, water and food supplies at the main Manus detention centre will be cut off at the end of October, and anyone remaining at the camp may be “trespassing”, the head of the Immigration Department told a Senate Estimates hearing.  

Those remaining will be settled in government-run accommodation around the Manus Island area capable of housing up to 700 refugees, between two sites at East Lorengau and West Lorengau. A third site called Hillside House can hold up to 198 certified non-refugees.

The department has also booked 48 beds in PNG hotels to help fill the gap until construction of the housing is complete.

Immigration officials said the total cost of housing the remaining population – including security, food, employment services and healthcare – will cost between $150 and $250 million for 12 months, depending on the final contracts and how many refugees are taken by the US.

“It’s actually quite a tight estimate given the variables that we deal with,” Michael Pezzullo, the head of the department, told the Senate on Monday.

“We are very mindful of costs and value for money,” he said, stressing the ongoing costs were still less than the cost of operating the detention centre.

Greens senator Nick McKim said the government was trying to “starve out” the refugees remaining in the detention centre by cutting off food, water and power after October 31. 

“Don’t you think you’re risking a human rights disaster here and potentially a mass loss of life?” he asked. 

Immigration officials responded that the services would be offered at the new facilities elsewhere on the island. 

“I reject any assertion that this department has been torturing anyone,” Mr Pezzullo said. 

Liberal senator Jane Hume accused Senator McKim of “politically motivated melodrama”.

Mr Pezzullo said the contracts with private service providers were “designed” so they could be taken over by the PNG Government later on, but said there was currently no deal in place.

There are around 606 people remaining on Manus Island.

So far, 54 people have moved to the US under a settlement deal that could see up to 1,250 people settled there. A further 52 people have accepted a $25,000 payment to return to their countries-of-origin, and are expected to be home by the end of the year. 

Abe pushes reform after election win

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, buoyed by a huge election win for lawmakers who favour revising Japan’s post-war, pacifist constitution, has signalled a push towards his long-held goal, but will need to convince a divided public.

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Japan’s ruling coalition is on track for an impressive win in national elections in what will represent a ringing endorsement for Abe’s near five-year leadership.

Parties in favour of amending the US-drafted charter won nearly 80 per cent of the seats in Sunday’s lower house election, media counts showed. Four seats remain to be called and final figures are expected later on Monday.

That leaves the small, new Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) as the biggest group opposed to Abe’s proposed changes.

Formed by liberal members of the Democratic Party, which imploded before the election and no longer exists in the lower house, the CDPJ won 54 seats, a fraction of the ruling bloc’s two-thirds majority in the 465-member chamber.

Abe said he wanted to get other parties on board, including Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s new conservative Party of Hope, and was not insisting on a target of changing the constitution by 2020 that he floated earlier this year.

“We won a two-thirds majority as the ruling bloc, but it is necessary to strive to form a wide-ranging agreement among the ruling bloc and opposition (to revise the constitution),” Abe told a news conference.

“And then we aim to win the understanding of the people, so that we can gain a majority in a referendum,” Abe said. He stopped short of claiming to have won a mandate for amending the constitution in Sunday’s election.

Amending the charter’s pacifist Article 9 would be hugely symbolic for Japan. Supporters see it as the foundation of post-war democracy but many conservatives view it as a humiliating imposition after Japan’s defeat in 1945.

It would also be a victory for Abe, whose conservative agenda of restoring traditional values, stressing obligations to the state over individual rights and loosening constraints on the military, centres on revising the constitution.

Calls for Aust to step up ocean protection

Australia has won praise for its recent commitments to protecting oceans in the region but European leaders would like to see the government step up further.

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At the Our Ocean conference held in Malta earlier in October, Australia pledged $37 million to help Pacific countries adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change and almost another $27 million in other commitments, including measures to stop illegal fishing.

EU Commissioner for Environment and Maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella says Australia played its part well.

But with the conference being hosted in Indonesia next year and Micronesian island nation Palau in 2020, he believes the focus will fall more heavily on impacts in the Pacific and Australia’s role.

“I think that from such a huge continent as Australia, one would feel that Australia’s participation is more visible, it’s more active, it’s taken up with the higher political presence and so on,” he told AAP in Brussels.

“I think that in the coming Our Oceans conferences in the Pacific we will see Australia playing an even bigger and and even higher, important role.”

The EU made commitments at this year’s conference totalling $826 million.

The vital thing now was for all countries invited to attend to follow through on commitments made over the past four years.

Mr Vella said Our Oceans was not a “discussion” conference but a “commitment” conference and as the 2017 host, the EU would be closely monitoring those pledges to make sure they happened.

Australia’s role as a leader in the Pacific on climate action is also expected to come under scrutiny at the United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany in November, with Fiji indicating it wants to use its presidency of the conference to speak up for island nations in the region.

* The writer is taking part in an EU-sponsored study tour.

Vic spinner Holland to miss Shield opener

Test hopeful Jon Holland remains unavailable for Victoria’s opening Sheffield Shield match as the left-arm spinner recovers from knee surgery.

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Holland was forced out of last month’s one-day cup after undergoing a procedure to relieve swelling in his right knee.

He has been left out of a 12-man Bushrangers squad featuring Test batsmen Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell that will take on Queensland with a pink ball at the Gabba starting on Thursday.

Wicketkeeper Sam Harper is set to play his first four-day game since spending a fortnight in hospital after being inadvertently hit in the head with the bat of South Australia’s Jake Lehmann in February.

Young gun Will Sutherland, who impressed with 4-11 against NSW in the one-day tournament earlier this month, is unlikely to be considered for Shield selection until the third round as he completes his year 12 VCE exams.

Peter Siddle and Aaron Finch are among the experienced hands set to return as Victoria look to claim their fourth consecutive Shield title.

“We know how much hard work goes into winning the Sheffield Shield and how long the journey is, and the players and coaches are all well prepared and ready for what is ahead,” chairman of selectors Andrew Lynch said on Monday.

“Starting on the road is never easy, so it’s crucial for us to get off to a winning start this week against Queensland.”

Test batsmen Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw headline the 12-man Bulls squad, with 23-year-old paceman Brendan Doggett in line to become Queensland’s first indigenous player in more than 30 years.

Victoria 12-man squad: Peter Handscomb (capt), Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Dan Christian, Travis Dean, Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Sam Harper, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Siddle, Chris Tremain, Cameron White.

Queensland: Usman Khawaja (capt), Joe Burns, Brendan Doggett, Luke Feldman, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, James Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Sam Truloff, Jack Wildermuth.

Healy backs Nevill ahead of Wade for Ashes

Wicketkeeping great Ian Healy has questioned the wisdom of Australia’s Test selectors while backing Peter Nevill to replace Matthew Wade behind the stumps for the Ashes.

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Wade faces an almighty battle to save his Test career, with Nevill and South Australian bolter Alex Carey jostling to take his spot unless he can deliver much-needed runs for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield.

A lack of big scores was the main reason cited by selectors when they dropped Nevill from the Test side last summer in favour of Wade.

But Healy on Monday endorsed Nevill as the country’s most technically proficient glovesman, adding that it was unrealistic to expect the brilliance of Adam Gilchrist – who averaged 48 in Tests – to be replicated by his successors.

With the likes of Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb still settling into the Test batting order, Healy said it was incumbent on Australia’s selectors to focus on shoring up the top order and take pressure off the wicketkeeper.

“I think they sort of disrespected ‘Wadey’ a little bit in India, dropping him for one (ODI) game and then bringing him back … so I sense that they might be going back to Nevill,” Healy told SEN radio.

“What you need (is) someone to average 30, make handy runs when we absolutely need them and make sure your top six do their job.

“The quandary we’ve got at the moment is we do not know our No.6. We’ve got a brand new No.2 (Renshaw), Handscomb brand new at No.5 and (Usman) Khawaja has been in and out.

“The disruption to the top order is putting a whole lot of pressure on the wicketkeeping selection, and it shouldn’t.”

Wade has averaged 20 with the bat since being recalled to the Test side last year – slightly below the 22 averaged by Nevill during his 17 Tests.

The Tasmanian’s combative presence behind the stumps has often been cited as an area where he excels, but Healy said Nevill could deliver similar energy if given the chance to cement his spot in the side.

“You can’t get significant presence without performance,” he said.

“You just need to perform, perform, perform and the opposition will start to feel you and you’ll start being confident enough to share some energy with your other teammates.

“We’ve got to get this keeping position down pat, and Peter Nevill was on his way to that.

“He had flattened out a little bit, I’ll give them that, but they could have sparked him up with a bit of warning rather than dropping him.”

NSW’s top scientist honoured for 3D work

A NSW researcher known for his groundbreaking work fusing robotics with human biology has been named the state’s scientist of the year.

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Professor Gordon Wallace from the University of Wollongong has been honoured for his work which could pave the way for implantable 3D-printed structures containing living cells to regenerate damaged cartilage, bone, and even organs.

The fusion of human biology with engineering and robotics could potentially fix specific medical conditions – from cancer to diabetes and neural diseases – by printing a functional 3D structure containing living cells and inserting it into their body via surgery.

“It is a great honour to have a fantastic team to captain and for our research to be recognised in this way,” Prof Wallace said in a statement on Monday.

“We will continue to strive to ensure that our most fundamental discoveries are translated into real applications to the benefit of our communities in the most effective way possible.”

Prof Wallace, who is also a director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science at UOW, is known for his use of nanotechnology with organic conductors to create new materials for energy conversion and storage, as well as medical bionics.

He is one of 10 researchers, innovators and educations recognised in the 2017 Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering.

Their work was critical to driving innovation in the state’s economy, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement.

“Through their inspiring ingenuity and innovation this year’s winners have delivered economic, environmental, health, social and technological benefits for the global community,” she said.

“This year’s prizes again demonstrate NSW has some of the world’s best and brightest scientists and technologists across a diverse range of disciplines right here in our own backyard.”

Immigration boss, Green bond over hobbits

Immigration Senate estimates hearings are usually a battlefield between the department boss and the Greens but have briefly descended into a book club meeting.

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Department secretary Michael Pezzullo and Greens senator Nick McKim found common ground on Monday evening over their mutual love for Lord of the Rings books and films.

Senator McKim quizzed him about a speech he gave recently to the Trans-Tasman Business Circle about Australia’s soon to be established home affairs department which had references to the film.

“You said in your speech ‘after saving Middle Earth by casting the ring into the fires of Mordor… the comfortable hobbits that stayed behind looked at them suspiciously these fellows who were a bit above themselves’,” Senator McKim said.

“The hobbits go back into their gardens, they go back into their beautifully kept hobbit holes not knowing the sacrifices that had been endured to keep them safe.”

Senator McKim said what actually happened was the four Hobbits came back and scoured the Shire themselves and took care of their own problems without compromising their freedoms and liberties.

Mr Pezzullo pointed out the book ending was different from the movie.

Senator McKim asked him whether the hobbits were a metaphor for the Australian people.

“In this fantasy are you Gandalf?” Senator McKim asked.

“I think we’re overextending the analogy here,” Mr Pezzullo said, adding the use of his reference to Lord of the Rings in the speech was “self-evident”.

Mr Pezzullo asked if Senator McKim was a fan of the trilogy.

“We’ve got a common point of interest,” he said.

Liberal committee chairman Ian Macdonald said he had no idea what they were talking about and hurried them up because the hearing was running three hours late.

Two Queensland trawler bodies identified

Skipper Ben Leahy and his mate Adam Hoffman have been remembered by their families as “beloved” and a “genuine legend” after their bodies were identified as the two recovered from the wreckage of a fishing trawler which capsized off the central Queensland coast.

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Police and rescuers continue to scour the coastline near the town of 1770, hoping to find the bodies of the four remaining missing crew from the boat which sank last Monday.

Mr Leahy, 45, from Cairns, was on Monday confirmed as one of the men found in the fishing vessel’s wreckage by divers on the weekend.

“While his death is an immeasurable loss to us, we do feel so blessed to have had him in our lives,” a statement from the skipper’s family read.

“Our beloved Ben is gone from our lives but forever in our hearts.”

Queensland Police also confirmed the death of 30-year-old Mr Hoffman, releasing a statement from his family, who said their hearts were broken.

“He was one in a million with a heart of gold,” they said.

“He will forever be our beautiful pirate who went out doing what he loved.”

Mr Hoffman’s family described him as fearless, courageous and a “genuine legend”.

“To his family he was our cherished brother who was kind, thoughtful, loving and would always tell it like it is,” they said.

Mr Hoffman leaves behind his five-year-old daughter Evie, his parents and five sisters.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to go into a trust for Evie.

Divers found the bodies of the two men in the capsized trawler’s wreckage on Saturday.

No other bodies were found inside during another extensive search of the vessel on Sunday.

Crew members Eli Tonks, 39, Adam Bidner, 33, Chris Sammut, 34, and Zach Feeney, 28, also died in the incident and remain missing.

Ruben McDornan was the only crew member to survive after the trawler capsized during treacherous conditions on the night of October 16.

Members of the local community have started a flower memorial for the men at 1770’s Round Hill Headland, overlooking the water.

Up to 100 ADF troops allegedly part of online ‘rape meme’ group

Scores of serving members of the Australian Defence Force are allegedly part of a Facebook group where some users have shared material promoting domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse of children.

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The Victims of Abuse in the Australian Defence Force Association has undertaken an analysis of eight per cent of the 30,000 likes of the Facebook site SNAFU – Situation Normal All F****d Up – and identified 100 serving Australian defence personnel so far.

Some of the material shared on the site carries misogynistic messages or cartoons and memes promoting child sex abuse.

“There’s a picture of a poor girl naked, hanging from a rope and a rafter and the meme reads – if you rape them right you don’t have to kill them, they will kill themselves,” association secretary Jennifer Jacomb told AAP.

“It shows the ongoing culture of abuse is alive and well in the Australian Defence Force.”

Another meme reads: “The best part of a hooker dying on you?… the second hour is free.”

Ms Jacomb alerted Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan to the site in July.

The group represented a national security risk and was being monitored by foreign nationals in China and Russia, she said.

A Defence spokesman said the department did not endorse the SNAFU Facebook site.

“The use of the Commonwealth logo on the SNAFU site is also not sanctioned by Defence,” the spokesman said.

“Defence has approached Facebook and requested the page be shut down for violating Facebook’s community standards.”

The defence force’s investigative service has been looking into the site to determine whether any serving members or Defence public servants have engaged in unlawful or inappropriate use of social media.

“Anyone found to have acted contrary to Defence policy will be held to account with disciplinary or administrative action being taken against them,” the spokesman said.

“Anyone found to be engaging in criminal behaviour on the site will be referred to the relevant authorities for further investigation.”

The SNAFU website went from public to private on Monday afternoon.

Facebook

A post on the SNAFU Facebook page the offensive posts were part of a “meme war promotion”.

“These posts were not appropriately monitored by snafu administrators and should, without question, have been deleted. The posts are clearly offensive and disturbing,” the post read.

“Upon reflection, this was poor practice by the administrators and we sincerely apologise for this material being present on our site.”

The group say they plan to make up for the oversight.

“In the coming days we will be approaching an organisation working to fight violence against women in order to ensure we are working in an appropriate way in this regard. 

“We are sincerely sorry that we did not have in place appropriate guidelines regarding posts to the site and will be doing everything possible to make up for the publication of the material.”

Our Watch chief executive Mary Barry condemned the Facebook group.

“Rape, sexual assault and child abuse are never laughing matters,” she told AAP.

“Comments that trivialise and normalise violence against women, like those on the SNAFU Facebook page, are abhorrent.”

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