Rush of sorries for legal abuse

Fourteen Aboriginal women who were bashed and raped in a NSW-funded children’s home have received their third apology in two weeks for the legal anguish inflicted on them when they asked for help.

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Evangelos Manollaras, the solicitor asked by the Crown Solicitors Office (CSO) to manage the civil claim brought by former Bethcar residents, added his “sorry” to that of his boss, Crown Solicitor Ian Knight and secretary of the social services department, Michael Coutts-Trotter.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard the Department of Community Services (DoCS) and police took no action in the 1970s and `80s when children at the Brewarrina foster home complained of abuse.

The Bethcar survivors sought compensation and an apology from the state in 2008 and were put though a legal mill which breached rules of fairness and added to the women’s suffering.

The civil case was drawn out by the state for more than five years and only settled earlier this year.

It cost NSW $3.7 million.

On Friday, Mr Manollaras was recalled to the witness stand to explain how the state withheld evidence from a district court in February 2012 when it tried to get the case struck out.

The state used affidavits sworn by private investigator Peter Maxwell, which only told half the story about witnesses – failing to mention some relevant ones had been found.

Mr Manollaras, now retired, said on Friday there was no intention on his part to deceive the court.

He said he now realised he had a “duty of candour” to present the court the whole position and not just present an affidavit listing unavailable witnesses.

Mr Manollaras then offered an apology for not taking a more conciliatory approach with the litigation which might have resolved it “a lot earlier and they (the women) would have been spared some of the anguish they suffered having to re-tell their experiences”.

On Thursday, Crown Solicitor Mr Knight apologised to the plaintiffs for numerous breaches of the model litigant policy including asking them to prove the abuse the state already knew had happened.

Last week Mr Coutts-Trotter said he was ashamed at what the plaintiffs had been put through.

The commission will meet again in November when it will hear again from senior counsel Michael Cashion, who argued the prejudice case for the state.

Abbott keen to help Victorian premier win

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Victorian Premier Denis Napthine have hugged and made up after “robust” discussions about the fuel excise rise.

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Mr Abbott grinned and wrapped his arms around Dr Napthine on Friday, pledging to support his “friend” during the state election campaign.

Dr Napthine has made it clear he opposes the federal government’s decision to bypass the Senate to increase the fuel excise, but says he has a positive relationship with Mr Abbott.

The prime minister says he will be disappointed if the coalition does not win on November 29.

“I want to do everything I can to help my friend, Denis Napthine, but just as he’s got to act in the best interests of Victoria, I’ve got to act in the best interests of the Commonwealth,” Mr Abbott told reporters.

The ACTU and CFMEU have accused the state and federal governments of announcing a joint police taskforce on union corruption as a “red herring” and “political stunt” to distract from negative publicity surrounding the fuel excise increase.

But Mr Abbott said the rise was not a surprise to anyone, given it was announced in the May budget.

Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said he welcomed the prime minister’s presence on the campaign trail.

“He can spend as much time as he likes here because I think every time he visits Victoria he just reminds families that there’s a petrol tax, the GP tax, there’s all sorts of cuts to hospitals and schools and nobody, no one voted for that,” he said.

Mr Abbott said the East West Link road project was the single biggest issue in the Victorian election.

He reiterated that the $3 billion federal commitment could not used on other projects if Mr Andrews scrapped the project.

“It’s just a bit sad that in order to try to hold on to seats where Labor is under Green threat, that the opposition leader has completely junked what was previously the settled principle that governments abide by signed contracts,” Mr Abbott said.

Marking ANZAC’s Albany birth

The beginning of the ANZAC legend did not start on the shores of Gallipoli, but on the shores of Western Australia.

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November 1st marks 100 years since the first convoy of troops from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps embarked for World War One.

Most of them left from Albany on the south coast of Western Australia.

For many of those 17 thousand troops it was their last glimpse of their homeland.

To commemorate their journey, the city of Albany is hosting a series of events including the recreation of the ship convoy that took the sons of two young nations to war.

When the troops from around Australia and New Zealand gathered in the small town of Albany on WA’s south coast in late 1914 – very few people knew about it.

There was a media blackout and it wasn’t reported for several weeks until after they’d left.

But it’s definitely not a secret now and tens of thousands of people have once more flocked to Albany.

This time to remember Australia and New Zealand going to war and the sacrifice made by the young soldiers.

Onboard one of the 26 troop ships that sailed from King George Sound off Albany was 26-year-old grocer’s assistant Edgar Foster from Victoria.

His granddaughter Hamsa Warrener also from Victoria, now lives in Albany.

 “So my mum came down to visit a couple of years after we’d moved down and she said: ‘do you realise your grandfather left to go to Gallipoli from Albany?’ And I didn’t realise so we took a visit up to the Princess Royal Forts where all the history was kept and documented there and found the list of the ship that he was on, so it was pretty interesting.”

Hamsa Warrener says her grandfather took notes, which her grandmother put into a diary after the war, but he was matter of fact in his recordings.

“He’s very understated, but one of the things that they talk about, and I’ve read it in a few of the other men’s diaries, is that they’re quite excited.They’re young men going off on an adventure. They don’t actually realise the horror of what they’re going to, but later on in his diary he talks about the awful sights that he’s seen.”

Edgar Foster survived the war, including serving in Gallipoli, but tragically his only son Max would die in World War Two.

Hamsa Warrener will spend Saturday on one of the hills overlooking King George Sound when seven ships from the Australian, New Zealand and Japanese navies take part in a symbolic sea journey to remember the original convoy.

Also looking for a vantage spot will be 85 year old Bill Rae whose father served in Gallipoli.

“My father went to Gallipoli and I’ve got two uncles that went to Gallipoli and one of them won the distinguished flying cross. Well, we came down last Anzac day as well. I marched and met up with some of the different chaps down here and it’s just for well, more of less, for my father and my uncles.”

As well as the convoy, Albany will hold a commemorative service at Peace Park, which is where many of the troops camped out one hundred years ago before they left for the war.

The $10.6-million National Anzac Centre will also be officially opened.

It sits on Mount Clarence and overlooks King George Sound, but it differs slightly to other historical centres because it gives visitors the opportunity to walk in the shoes of one of 30 Australian and New Zealand soldiers, as well as a Turkish and German soldier.

The centre’s director of content James Dexter says it will be a moving experience as people experience the journey the soldiers took during the war and when they returned.

“I do believe that this will be a profoundly moving experience. It’s not a large experience, it’s only 400 square metres, but packed into it is that whole story. Through these audio pens you can actually hear what they said from their diaries and their letters, and from these character cards you can actually become them. You go through all the various stages and after war, but I think it will be very hard to leave this centre unmoved.”

Green bank makes money, cuts emissions

It may be able to cut carbon emissions for $2.

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40 a tonne, but the Clean Energy Finance Corporation still faces the government axe.

The CEFC, set up by Labor to leverage investment in a wide range of clean energy projects, has built a $931 million portfolio in its first full year of operation.

Chairwoman Jillian Broadbent said in the corporation’s annual report it had leveraged $2.20 for every $1 to produce projects valued at over $3.2 billion.

Once the projects are running they will abate 4.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, achieving an effective “carbon price” of $2.40 a tonne.

However, the CEFC has been asked by Treasury to prepare its accounts for the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook due in December on the basis that it will stop making investments on December 31 and cease operating on June 30, 2015.

The one thing standing in the way of this is the Senate, with the Palmer United Party, Greens and Labor opposed to the corporation’s abolition.

The annual report is expected to give further ammunition to their argument to keep it running for the long-term.

The CEFC reported its portfolio would return an average seven per cent, or 3.5 per cent above the government rate.

Across its portfolio are wind, solar and bioenergy projects, innovative energy efficiency programs and low emissions technology in manufacturing, building and local government.

Despite uncertainty about its future, the CEFC is in talks with more than 30 project backers seeking $1.2 billion in finance for total project costs of over $3 billion.

It is understood there are discussions within the government on how the CEFC could co-operate with the government’s $2.55 billion emissions reduction fund passed by the Senate on Thursday.

We don’t have blood on our hands: AFP boss

The Australian Federal Police will not bear responsibility if convicted drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are executed, the agency’s top cop Andrew Colvin says.

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As 11th-hour appeals for the two men to be spared continued on Thursday, Mr Colvin revealed the AFP had for “many months” been attempting to leverage its considerable influence with police counterparts in Indonesia to push for the pair to be granted clemency.

The comments came as Prime Minister Tony Abbott called on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to “pull back from this brink” and reconsider the decision to execute Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, sentenced in 2006 for their parts in a plot to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin from Bali to Australia.

Mr Colvin, who was chief of staff to former commissioner Mick Keelty when the Bali Nine smuggling ring members were arrested in Indonesia in 2005, on Thursday insisted the AFP would bear no responsibility if the men are killed.

The AFP has been widely criticised for providing Indonesian counterparts with information that led to the arrests.

“Put simply, do we have blood on our hands? No,” Mr Colvin said on Thursday in Sydney.

“Put simply, were we part of a conspiracy for greater co-operation that I’ve seen written about? No.”

The AFP commissioner said commentary about the role of the AFP in the arrests was “misinformed and misguided”.

“I’m prepared to say that much of the information that has been circulating in recent weeks doesn’t … accurately reflect the work that we did in 2005, and unfortunately it ignores the findings of several reviews … that have since scrutinised the AFP’s actions,” he said.

“There is no utility in me going through that again now at such a critical, difficult time for the diplomatic efforts.”

He said there had “a considerable amount done from the AFP’s perspective” in terms of efforts to appeal for Chan and Sukumaran to be spared.

The commissioner has written to his Indonesian counterpart.

“We do have good relationships and we do have influence, and where possible we are using that influence through those soft diplomacy skills to try and bring about a different outcome,” he said.

Chan and Sukumaran were transferred to Nusakambangan on Wednesday, the island off central Java where, along with eight others, the two men are set to be shot by firing squad.

Mr Abbott on Thursday questioned how it could be in Indonesia’s interest “to kill these men who are a credit to the Indonesian penal system’s capacity to rehabilitate”.

Toovey confident of staying at Manly

Geoff Toovey insists his future at Manly isn’t under threat despite the club failing to inform him they’d set a deadline for Daly Cherry-Evans to sign a new contract.

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Toovey guided the Sea Eagles to three top-four finishes and a grand final since taking over from Des Hasler in 2011, but there’s been continued speculation the club are trying to move him on and replace him with Parramatta’s Brad Arthur.

The club’s former premiership-winning halfback admitted on Thursday he had no idea chief executive Joe Kelly had set a deadline of last Monday for Daly Cherry-Evans to sign a new contract.

That offer was withdrawn on Wednesday evening after Kelly became frustrated at a lack of answers from Cherry-Evans’ management and Toovey admitted he was blind-sided by the news which broke when he was appearing on a TV show.

“My job is to focus the players on football. I will have some input (in player recruitment) but on this particular occasion I wasn’t involved with the deadline,” Toovey said on Thursday.

“I am not involved in those matters and don’t like talking about individual contracts. My job is to get the players focused on footy.”

Although a united board is now in place at Manly after years of infighting between the Penn and Delmege families, the off-field dramas continue.

Manly great Toovey has been forced to defend his position as coach but claimed he was still confident of seeing out the remaining two years on his contract and didn’t need to seek assurances on his position from the board.

“As far as I know I am here for another two years. We have done really well in the three years I have been in charge and we’ll continue to build,” he said.

“We have some great young kids coming through with bright futures and the plans for the oval and the training facilities are very exciting.”

In addition to Cherry-Evans being off-contract, star five-eighth Kieran Foran is yet to sign and unlike his teammate a deadline hasn’t been set for him to give the club an answer.

“Kieran is still undecided on his future,” Toovey said.

“But we’re still quietly confident he’ll stay here. His best football is still in front of him and I believe it should be with the Manly club.”

The build-up to Friday’s clash with Parramatta has been dominated by former Sea Eagle back-rower Anthony Watmough firing a verbal spray at the club he represented for 12 years before moving to the Eels.

Toovey said he had no issues with the NSW and Test star and claimed he’s been great publicity for the game.

“I love ‘Choc’ and I was disappointed he left the club,” he said.

“He’s a great football player and he’ll have plenty to say.

“He’s a marketing dream for Parramatta. Love him or hate him, people are going to turn up to see him. He’s a great competitor .. but you have to take what he says with a grain of salt.”

Iqbal leads Bangladesh to important win over Scotland

Shakib Al Hasan (52 not out) and Sabbir Rahman (42 not out) guided Mashrafe Mortaza’s side home with 11 balls to spare to cap off the perfectly timed run chase.

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The victory put all the pressure on England for their showdown with Eoin Morgan’s side on March 9 in Adelaide, with Bangladesh now on five points and level with third-placed Australia, while England have two.

Both have just two games remaining to play.

Scotland had been well placed to achieve their first World Cup victory, days after throwing away the opportunity against Afghanistan, after Kyle Coetzer had scored a career-best 156 in his side’s 318 for eight.

The 30-year-old’s innings was the first World Cup century by a Scotland batsman and also the highest score by someone from an associate nation at the global showpiece.

It also ensured his team posted their highest score against a test nation.

Coetzer, who was named man-of-the-match, shared in a 141-run partnership with captain Preston Mommsen (39) and 78 runs with Matt Machan (35) to anchor the innings.

Scotland enjoyed their third 300-plus score in one-day internationals, having also achieved the mark against Ireland in 2011 and Canada in 2014.

After Coetzer was dismissed in the 45th over with Scotland 269 for five, Richie Berrington (26) and Matt Cross (20) combined for a quickfire 39 runs that saw their side past 300.

Bangladesh’s run chase was hampered before they even took the field with Anamul Haque ruled out after he dived to prevent a boundary in the 31st over and appeared to dislocate his right shoulder.

He was immediately treated by medical staff but did not re-appear on the field during the remainder of Scotland’s innings and was sent to hospital for scans.

Television showed him in a sling with an ice bag strapped to his shoulder.

He was not needed as his team mates never looked in desperate trouble against Scotland’s attack despite some nervous moments after Mushfiqur holed out to Calum MacLeod at long-on with 72 runs still needed for victory.

Shakib and Rahman however calmly ticked off the runs with the occasional big shot mixed with singles to achieve the win.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Napier; Editing by Ian Ransom/Sudipto Ganguly)

Watson hoping against hopes for World Cup return

Watson paved way for James Faulkner in Wednesday’s 275-run romp against Afghanistan.

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He watched form the sidelines as David Warner threatened to erase his Australian ODI record of 185 not out before falling seven runs short.

By then, Warner and Steve Smith, who stroked 97 at Watson’s number three position, had bettered the Queenslander’s 252-run stand with Ricky Ponting that stood as the highest Australian ODI partnership for any wicket.

Faulkner and Mitchell Marsh have overtaken him in the all-rounders’ pecking order and Watson, without an ODI century since his ninth in Oct. 2013, knew whom to blame.

“I know I haven’t scored enough runs, so I’ve only got myself to blame. That’s the way it goes,” he told reporters before flying to Sydney where Australia face Sri Lanka on Sunday.

“I believe in myself and my own abilities. If an opportunity comes along, I’ll be ready to go.”

Only an injury to Faulkner or Marsh could seemingly force Watson’s return to the playing XI and if that happens, the all-rounder said he would give his best.

“There are things I’ve made adjustments on even before I got dropped to try to improve and give myself a better chance to score runs and perform.

“I’m always trying to get better and learn, so that’s all I can do.”

Former test bowler Stuart Clark is among those who believe Watson’s international career is in serious jeopardy.

“The reality is, what do you do with Shane Watson now? Can you bring him back into the team?” Clark told Australian host broadcaster Fox Sports.

“Because the other argument is, ‘Why are we bringing back a 33-year-old?’

“I don’t want to say it’s the end for Shane Watson, but it’s going to be very difficult, and he’s going to have to continuously get runs in first-class cricket to work his way back in.”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ian Ransom)

Mann says Storm have plenty of strikepower

The departure of Melbourne’s highest point scorer Sisa Waqa means the heat will be on rookie centre Kurt Mann to jag his fair share tries for the Storm this season.

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The Fijian flyer left Melbourne for Canberra, but the Storm are confident they still have the flash and dash in their outside backs to cover his absence.

Mann beat some stiff opposition, including the powerful Mahe Fonua, to win a start in the centres in the Storm’s NRL opening round clash with St George Illawarra at Jubilee Oval on Monday night.

“I couldn’t wait to get back in,” Mann, 22, said. “I finished on a disappointing note last year because I didn’t play the last eight games or so, so I’m excited to be back in.”

The Queenslander has an impressive conversion rate, scoring six times from his eight games since making his first grade debut in round nine.

Mann, who added four kilos to his wiry frame in the off-season, said the Storm had plenty of other strike-power as well.

“I think Young Tonumaipea, who has taken Sisa’s spot, is quite capable of doing everything that Sisa did,” Mann said.

“He’s young, talented and a really good player so he’s quite capable of filling Sisa’s shoes.”

Mann is a converted centre, playing most of his junior football at fullback, in the halves and even hooker.

He said that the Storm’s Queensland Origin centre Will Chambers had taken him under his wing.

“They threw me in the deep end a bit in my first game but I’ve learnt a lot off Will Chambers; just been around him and watching what he does.

“He grabs me every now and then and says what I need to do so he’s been a big help to me.”

Pull back from brink, PM urges Indonesia

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has implored Indonesia to pull back from the brink and spare Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran from execution.

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As the Bali Nine ringleaders wait for authorities to set a date for their execution by firing squad, Mr Abbott made a passionate plea in parliament on Thursday.

He questioned how it would be in Indonesia’s interest to kill two men who have been helping the country in the fight against drug crime.

“Pull back from this brink,” Mr Abbott urged.

“Don’t just realise what is in your own best interests, but realise what is in your own best values.”

Earlier the prime minister revealed he had asked for a “final call” with Indonesian President Joko Widodo who has spurned Australia’s previous calls for clemency.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also confirmed she raised the prospect of a prisoner swap deal with her Indonesian counterpart to try to halt the executions.

“We are seeking opportunities to explore every option that might be available to us, every avenue that might be available to save the lives of these two men,” she said.

Ms Bishop said she could not comprehend the display of force by the Indonesian military when transferring Chan and Sukumaran from Kerobokan prison.

“They’ve never done anything that would suggest they are violent, or that they would risk anybody else’s lives.”

Ahead of the looming executions, Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said it was premature to say how the government might respond.

He would not say whether some joint training exercises with Indonesia or defence equipment sales would be suspended.

“Indonesia is a next door neighbour … so that is obviously part of our ongoing consideration,” he said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Australia was not seeking forgiveness or freedom for the convicted pair even though they had repented.

“The execution of these two young men will solve nothing,” he told parliament.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin revealed his organisation had been using its considerable influence with its counterparts in Indonesia to push for clemency.

But he insisted the AFP would bear no responsibility if the men were executed.

The AFP has been widely criticised for providing Indonesian police with information that led to the arrests of the Bali Nine in 2005.

“Put simply, do we have blood on our hands? No,” Mr Colvin said.

Dozens of MPs took part in a candlelight vigil, organised by the Australian Parliamentarians against the Death Penalty, outside Parliament House on Thursday morning.

Hangover replaces dream for older workers

Older workers face another decade stuck with a workplace hangover where the dream of retiring early isn’t an option and spending 70 weeks trying to get back into the workforce is the grim reality.

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The Australian workforce needs to be much more accommodating for older workers and mature age people trying to find a job, experts say.

Older workers will be stuck in the hangover stage of work for a very long period, University of South Australia human resource management research professor Carol Kulik says.

“They may already be feeling a little unmotivated about their work and now they say `I can’t access my super for another five years or maybe I’m not going to be able to retire for another 10 years’,” Prof Kulik said.

She says not enough is being done to ensure mature-age employees are motivated and engaged at work, to make staying on the job longer a good experience.

“We’re not really seeing businesses jump in and do these things. I think they’re assuming that older workers are going to be there, doing the same thing, being managed the same way, just 10 years longer.”

More than 25 per cent of people surveyed for workforce management solutions firm Kronos realised they would have to work longer to make ends meet, said its Australia and New Zealand managing director Peter Harte.

“The luxury and dream of retiring at an early age is not an option for them,” Mr Harte said.

But most companies were not agile enough to allow mature-age people to come back into the workforce, he said.

Mr Harte said the health care and retail industries tended to be more understanding.

Greg Goudie, executive director of South Australian employment service DOME (Don’t Overlook Mature Expertise), said in the past employers’ attitude was that once a worker reached 60 was that they were either coasting or ready to retire.

A lot of employers now are keeping people on if they want to stay longer, he said.

But he said a big issue was getting people back into the workforce at a mature age, with people 55 and over spending an average of 70 weeks out of work.

And mature age can mean as young as 40. In recent years an increasing number of people in their 40s and 50s have registered with DOME.

Mr Goudie said in DOME’s experience the most mature-age friendly employers tended to be small to medium businesses.

Prof Kulik says some workers will need help to downshift, reducing physical demands or work hours.

Other mature-age workers will want to upskill or take on new work assignments such as mentoring younger staff.

Guilty plea keeps Hunt’s career alive

Karmichael Hunt endured a day of public humiliation and shame but, in the end, the code-hopping sports star was a relieved man after pleading guilty to four charges of possessing cocaine.

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Hunt, 28, was fined $2500 at Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday before being suspended for six weeks by the Queensland Reds and fined a further $30,000 by his employers in the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) and Australian Rugby Union (ARU).

It means the former NRL and AFL star will be able to reignite his multi-million dollar Super Rugby career in the Reds’ clash with the Rebels in Melbourne on April 3.

It’s as good a result as Hunt could have hoped for after he was last month served with a notice to appear in court on drug charges by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

During an investigation into a cocaine trafficking syndicate operating throughout south-east Queensland, the CCC discovered Hunt had bought the drug on four separate occasions from September 1 to October 3 last year.

Police prosecutor Kristy Johnson said text messages and phone calls between Hunt and alleged syndicate kingpin John Touma had revealed the footballer had three times bought a 3.5g bag known as an “eight-ball” or “big one” for $1100 each, and then a 2g gram quantity on a fourth occasion for an unspecified price.

Barrister Alastair McDougall said the charges had been deeply embarrassing for the father of two, but his client had not shied away from taking ownership of his troubles.

He said Hunt had made “poor choices” which he would now have to live with.

“This was, in his own words, a misguided post-season celebration,” Mr McDougall said.

“His two young daughters, with a third on the way, must grow up knowing their father has broken the law.”

Hunt, whose mother exited the courtroom in tears, said the past two weeks had been harrowing for him and his family and he was deeply relieved to have it resolved.

In a statement issued by the QRU and ARU, Hunt conceded he was the one to blame for his woes and was “genuinely sorry for the distress” he’d caused his family and the code.

“I intend to work through the education and rehabilitation program and will return to the game in a way that sends a clear message to sports fans of all ages that the use of illicit substances has no place in sport,” he said.

Hunt’s remorse and acceptance of his guilt played a key role in the penalties handed down by the QRU and ARU.

It also swayed magistrate Catherine Pirie, who added references from several people who knew Hunt, including legendary rugby league coach Wayne Bennett, convinced her his drug use was out of character.

“Your offences will become well-known and be a disappointment to your legion of fans. Hopefully you will send a message that it is possible to learn from mistakes,” Magistrate Pirie told the court.

The same investigation which nabbed Hunt has also embroiled eight current and former members of the Gold Coast Titans NRL team.

Two of those players, Beau Falloon and Jamie Dowling, also faced court on Thursday.

Falloon, 27, and Dowling, 24, did not enter a plea however and their matters have been adjourned until May 8 along with that of Falloon’s partner Elise Mary Abood, 22.

Several current and former Titans, including State of Origin stars Greg Bird and Dave Taylor, are expected to face court on Monday.

Drugs not a problem in rugby: Phipps

Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps is adamant social drugs are “absolutely not” widespread in Australian rugby despite Queensland Reds star Karmichael Hunt on Thursday pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

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Code-hopping Hunt, in his first season of Super Rugby after stints in the NRL and AFL, was fined $2500 in a Gold Coast court for purchasing a total of 12.5 grams of the drug on four occasions from September 1 to October 3 last year.

Several Gold Coast Titans players, as well as former NRL stars, have also been caught up in the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission’s investigation that netted Hunt.

Phipps, though, said he had never come across social drugs and vouched for every member of the reigning Super Rugby champions after NSW Waratahs training on Thursday.

Asked if social drugs were widespread in rugby circles, Phipps said: “Absolutely not”.

“It’s pretty evident by the people that keep getting dragged into it that it’s definitely not a rugby thing,” he said.

“That’s a testament to the sport that we have, and to some of the characters we have in our game. We’re quite lucky … that nothing like that has ever come across my desk.

“So I wouldn’t know about it and neither would any of the other players actually. I’m confident in saying that.

“So that’s a thing for another code and for us … to brush it under the rug and move on.”

Phipps said there had never been any need for his state and national coach Michael Cheika to address the Waratahs about the dangers of using social drugs because the ARU and the Players’ Association constantly held their own educational forums.

“We’ve done that many modules and presentations through various different doctors, police, members of the community; they all come in all the time and speak to us,” he said.

“To be honest, the kind of blokes we have (in our game), no one’s really interested in that stuff anyway … it’s great that that education program is working for our code.”

Phipps estimated that he and every other Waratahs player were drug-tested by ASADA, WADA and the ARU between 12 to 15 times a season.

“So we get people rocking up all the time to our club,” he said.

“We get people turning up to our house – we’ve got three players at our house so they come around a little bit and just walk in at any time of the day to drug test us.

“I’m fine with that. A lot of people would say it’s an invasion of privacy but I couldn’t care less. As long as it’s keeping our code clean and out of trouble.

“I’m happy to do a drug test whenever they want.

“It’s also good to be able to show that record and how many times that people have been tested and have that confidence that the code’s clean.

“I wouldn’t even care if they upped it. It’s not a problem for us.

Hayne won’t create NRL exodus: manager

Jarryd Hayne’s success in earning an NFL contract won’t lead to a host of American talent scouts plucking talent from the NRL, says the former rugby league star’s manager Wayne Beavis.

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Hayne announced on Tuesday he had earned a rookie contract with the San Francisco 49ers, five months after quitting the NRL to chase his NFL dream.

The 27-year-old will join the 49ers for training in April.

But NRL CEO Dave Smith needn’t open his much-vaunted war chest to keep other stars in the NRL as Beavis thinks only a very select type of athlete will want to take the NFL gamble.

Smith is already under pressure to prevent South Sydney superstar Greg Inglis from taking up massive offers from European rugby.

Beavis believes NFL scouts won’t be rushing to Australia to cherry-pick NRL talent and he also hadn’t been contacted by any NRL players wanting to follow Hayne’s trail.

“You have to be a special sort of person, you have to be going over there for the right reasons,” Beavis told AAP.

“You have to have a special personality, you have to want to challenge yourself.

“If you are going for the money you are wasting your time.

“They (scouts) aren’t going to come searching down here either, they don’t have to, they’ve got trillions over there (wanting to play).”

Hayne now has to impress the 49ers to work his way into the full-time squad when it is whittled down from 90 to 53 for the season proper.

But Beavis, who has looked after Hayne since he was 16, has no doubts he will be a success.

“This is a big step for Jarryd, this is a massive personal and financial gamble, it should be applauded,” he said.

“If you look at his numbers they all stack up, he will make it for sure.

“It is massive for Australia sport.”