Storms move past Melbourne after dumping heavy rain over the city and northern suburbs

Heavy rain in Bourke Street mall about 1pm. Severe storms have lashed Shepparton, in Victoria’s north, with reports of a tornado touching down near the the town.

A resident from Merrigum, west of Shepparton, called the Bureau of Meteorology claiming to have seen the mini tornado shortly after 3pm.

Forecaster Stephen McGibbony said the weather radar showed a supercell storm hit Shepparton at the same time.

“We could see that the storm itself showed the characterisitcs of a rotating, supercell storm,” he said.

Mr McGibbony said the fleeting but severe storm had passed Shepparton by 3.50pm.

“On the radar at the moment that cell certainly doesn’t look anywhere near as intense as it was a short time ago,” he said.

The storm reportedly brought down trees in the area and caused minor flooding, but residents said sunshine returned to the town as soon as the storm passed.

Mr McGibbony said conditions were still ripe for severe storms, which were forming along a cool wind change moving across Victoria.

A warning for destructive wind, heavy rain and large hail remains in place for parts of the Central, East Gippsland, Northern Country north Central, North East and West and South Gippsland districts.

In Melbourne’s south-east, the roof of a house on Park Boulevard in Pakenham collapsed after it was reportedly hit by lightning about 2pm.

Four people were inside the home at the time and while paramedics were called none of the occupants had to be taken to hospital.

Phoebe Bardella’s mother was reading to two of her young children when lighting struck.

“There was a massive bang and a split second later the ceiling was on top of us,” Ms Bardella told Channel 7, “We can’t believe no-one was hurt and that we are still alive.”

Mr McGibbony said Melbourne saw “quite a bit” of lightning and thunder as the storm front crossed the CBD and headed towards Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

More than 2270 lightning strikes were recorded within a 50-kilometre radius of Melbourne’s CBD by Global Position and Tracking Systems.

Much of the lightning activity was recorded between 11am to 3pm.

Flights in and out of Tullamarine Airport were delayed, as ground staff were called inside due to the lightning.

Heavy rain pelted Melbourne’s CBD for about 30 minutes from 1pm, before easing.

The CBD received about 3 millimetres of rain, but between 10 and 15 millimetres fell in northern suburbs.

Mr McGibbony said Melbourne saw the last of the storms about 2.30pm.

“Those storms will clear away to the east and there shouldn’t be any more for Melbourne,” he said.

“There’s nothing else on radar west of Melbourne, so Melbourne seems to be done for the day in terms of storms.” Storm activity  #melbweather#Melbourne苏州美甲美睫培训学校/iqvGmJkyYT — City of Melbourne (@cityofmelbourne) February 23, 2015This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

New doctors serve Coonalpyn, Tintinara

New faces: Doctors Amy Broadley and Hafiz Abd Rahim will be seen around Coonalpyn and Tintinara as the new visiting doctors.Coonalpyn and Tintinara residents have new faces in local health services as two new doctors have started a six-month stint with the Coorong Medical Centre.

First-year registrar Amy Broadley and third-year registrar Hafiz Abd Rahim can also be found at Meningie and Raukkan during the week.

Dr Broadley spent time last year working at Flinders Medical Centre, while Dr Rahim has worked at Bridge Clinic for the past year.

Now the two doctors have started practising at the Coorong Medical Centre, extra clinics will be offered at Coonalpyn and Tintinara.

At Coonalpyn, consultations will be made from 10am to 4.30pm, with Dr Rahim and Dr Michael Kerrigan alternating weeks, and Dr Broadley consulting alongside Dr Kerrigan on occasional Mondays.

At Tintinara, Dr Kerrigan and Dr Rahim will alternate each Thursday between 10am to 4.30pm, and Dr Broadley will consult alongside Dr Kerrigan on Thursdays. Dr Broadley said she had grown up in a town of 200 people, so she was used to working with smaller areas.

“For me, I prefer working in the community than a hospital,” she said.

“I think it’s important (to have a doctor there) because it’s quite a distance from (Meningie); it can be difficult for some people to travel.”

She said the doctors could deal with a variety of incidents including general health checks, minor surgical procedures and mental health issues.

Dr Hafiz said it was beneficial for the medical centre to have two more doctors to help share the workload, which could be taxing.

“On my first day, I had an MVA (motor vehicle accident) … I think we have to be on our own toes because it’s on a major highway,” he said.

He said he liked the work and life balance that came with being in a smaller community.

“In the community you can do preventative stuff, whereas in hospitals you just see sickness,” he said.

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Police appalled at weekend behaviour

POLICE arrested a 16-year-old Leeton youth following a break in at the Yanco General Store in the early hours of Friday morning.POLICE arrested a 16-year-old Leeton youth following a break in at the YancoGeneral Store in the early hours of Friday morning.

Police allege the youth, who wason bail at the time, went to the store with another youth about 12.40am and smashed awindow to the store and, after gaining entry, stole a quantity of cash and other goods.

Police located the youth a short distance away from the store where he allegedly hadcustody of some of the stolen property.

He was arrested andcharged with break, enter and steal and two counts of goods in custody.

He was refused bail by police andlater appeared in the Narrandera Children’s Court where he was granted bailed to appearat Leeton Local Court in April.

Police are still seeking the second offender and have called on anyone withinformation to contact Crime Stoppers orLeeton police.


A 46-YEAR-OLD Whitton man has been arrested and charged following a dog attack in Whitton on Friday evening.

Police allege a 10-year-old Whitton boy was attackedby a large dog and received a serious bite to his buttock.

The boy was treated at thescene by paramedics.

Leeton police and Leeton ShireCouncil rangers attended ahome in Whitton about 10pm on Friday night to speak to the owner of the dog, whoallegedly became abusive and threatening.

He was arrestedand will appear in Leeton Local Court in April to face charges of owner of attacking dog, owner of dog not under control and wilfully obstruct officer in the execution of their duty.

Police searched the yard of the man in attempt to locate thedog and, while not being able to locate it, did allegedly locate three cannabis plantsgrowing in the yard.

The plants have been seized and the man’s 52-year-old de facto willface charges of cultivate prohibited plant.


ABOUT8.35pmon Friday night a 36-year-old Woy Woy man was arrested after the car he was drivingwas stopped in Narrandera.

He failed a roadside breath test and a later breath analysisreturned a reading of 0.267

The man informed police he had been drinking at Leetonand had set off to return to Woy Woy after visiting friends, a journey of more than 600 kilometres.

His license was suspended and he will face Narrandera Local Courtin April charged with driving with ahigh range PCA.

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Fuse lit with rhetorical bomb about Indonesia

Illustration: ANDREW DYSON

So, this is what it looks like when you outsource your foreign policy to Alan Jones. “You do what you like, but we gave you a billion dollars when you were hit by the tsunami,” he boomed recently onQ&A, his message directed squarely at the Indonesian President, who had rejected Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran’s death-row pleas to have their lives spared.

I’m with Jones on the cause. Very rarely would an execution be more needless than in this apparently inevitable case. Rarely have we seen better cases of demonstrated remorse and rehabilitation. But to use aid – for a disaster in which more than100,000 Indonesians died – as leverage? That’s taking us to dark places.

Perhaps it was a fit of frustration that led Tony Abbott down precisely this path. After every effort the government has made, that frustration would be understandable. Perhaps Abbott calculated that the cause was so utterly hopeless that he had given up entirely on convincing the Indonesians to relent, and chose instead to play to his domestic audience. Or perhaps Abbott didn’t grasp the gravity of suggesting that Indonesia “reciprocate” for our aid with clemency.

But that’s the problem. Abbott isn’t running talkback. He’s running international diplomacy. And in that world of maddeningly polite, highly coded speech, this is a rhetorical bomb. It says our aid is conditional, that it imposes obligations and that if we feel those obligations haven’t been met, we might just withhold it in future.

That’s a hell of thing to imply, even in private. Especially when you’re a country currently slashing foreign aid, and already hugely outspent by countries like China. But said in public, it’s a wealthy country with far less leverage than it thinks trying to lord it over a developing one.

Hence Indonesia’s extraordinary diplomatic serve: “no one responds well to threats,” declared a spokesman for the foreign ministry, which sounds ominously like a diplomat’s way of saying “you’ve just blown it”. It’s a particularly sharp response that reveals a particularly sharp sensitivity. Partly this is about the politics of drug smuggling in Indonesia.

Every nation has its irrational belligerences; its issues where the politics dictate it is impossible to be too tough, where compassion is recast as weakness, and weakness is unforgivable. For us, it’s probably boat people. For Indonesia, it’s probably drugs. And when that’s the political logic, the very last thing you can be seen to be doing is capitulating before a threat. “If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you,” advises one of Sue Monk Kidd’s characters inThe Secret Life of Bees. That is precisely what our tsunami aid manoeuvre has denied Indonesia.

But this stand-off is also about something bigger. Perhaps the most alarming aspect of Indonesia’s response is its allegation that “people will show their true colours”: that our “threats” are not an isolatedfaux pas, but reveal something deeply characteristic about us as a nation. That through Indonesian eyes, this is all part of a broader pattern of objectionable behaviour.

Those objections are well rehearsed: we treat Indonesia’s sovereignty with contempt, ignore their cries of offence, and then feel entitled to order them to do our bidding. It’s at moments like these that such Indonesian grievances come home to roost.

Some of this tension is ancient: our support for East Timorese independence is scarcely forgotten, and fuels a long-standing fear we want to break chunks off Indonesia’s territory. But much of it is recent, too. Some of this is transient – as with Indonesia’s anger over the Gillard government’s snap suspension over the live cattle trade.

Other objections are more enduring, as with our asylum-seeker boats turnback policy – an objection only amplified when it became clear Australian naval vessels had crossed, unauthorised, into Indonesian waters. It’s the kind of thing we forget and dismiss, but to a nation like Indonesia with a weak navy and a gigantic coastline to defend, it feels like a serious violation of its borders.

Meanwhile, both sides of politics have long demanded Indonesia crack down on people smuggling in a way that barely acknowledges that the asylum seekers there don’t want to stay, and Indonesia doesn’t want to keep them. That makes it far more our problem than theirs, but one we’ve insisted they solve. We got a sense of the level of tension this causes when Indonesia decided to release the transcript of conversations between both countries’ foreign ministers in which Julie Bishop asked for asylum-seeker issues to be kept “behind the scenes”. This was a clear, angry attempt to embarrass Australia.

Then, of course, there were the revelations the Rudd government had tapped the phones of the Indonesian president and his wife. Indonesia swiftly demanded an apology, to which the new Abbott government responded by refusing even to acknowledge the practice, much less pledge it would be abandoned. Abbott defended Australia’s “intelligence gathering” as “reasonable”, and Indonesia recalled its ambassador and temporarily withdrew all co-operation on people smuggling.

Meanwhile, perhaps for colour, the government’s pollster, Mark Textor, likened the Indonesian foreign minister to a “1970s Filipino porn star” and upon learning of Indonesia’s offence throughout the episode, tweeted that “no-one gives a rat’s arse in the real world”.

Well, it’s all pretty real now. Sure, hope is eternal, but we’re at the point of hoping for a miracle. Perhaps it was always destined to be this way. I’m certainly not blaming the Australian government for Chan’s and Sukumaran’s plight, and such is Indonesia’s dogmatism on this that there’s every chancethe result would be the same, however pristine the relationship.

But whatever the case, the final exchanges of this tragedy have revealed something worth pondering: our relationship with Indonesia is in a state of disrepair. And in that relationship,there will surely come times when plenty of us will give whatever part of the rat you care to name.

Waleed Aly is a Fairfax Media columnist and winner of the 2014 Walkley award for best columnist. He co-hosts Network Ten’sThe Projectand lectures in politics at Monash University.


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Australia Post profit down 56%

Australia Post is facing heavy financial losses.Australia Post is forecasting its first full-year loss in over 30 years after recording a first-half profit of just $98 million, down 56 per cent on this time last year.

The dramatic profit dive was driven by mounting losses of $151 million in its letters business.

Letter volumes have also posted their largest decline since they first started falling in 2008, down 8.2 per cent in the last six months.

The losses in its letters business are so big they are forecast to overwhelm the profit in its parcels business.

A full-year loss would be the company’s first for 30 years.

Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour is using the dire forecasts of a company-wide loss to highlight the need for urgent regulatory reform of the company’s letters service.

Mr Fahour said the company wants to slow the delivery of non-urgent mail and charge a premium for customers who still want to use its regular service. It also wants the right to increase the price of stamps.

“The immediate challenge for our business is clear,” Mr Fahour said on Monday in a statement.

“We have been carefully managing the real decline in our letter volumes for the past seven years, but we have now reached a tipping point where we can no longer manage that decline, while also maintaining our nationwide networks, service reliability and profitability.

“We urgently need reform of the regulations that apply to our letters service.”

Mr Fahour said a government-commissioned report last year predicted that Australia Post would incur $12.1 billion cumulative losses in letters, and $6.6 billion for the enterprise over the next 10 years, without regulatory reform.

He is seeking approval from the Abbott government to allow Australia Post to introduce a new regular letters service for non-urgent consumer mail delivered two days slower than the current schedule, and to charge a premium for customers wanting to use its existing daily timetable.

He also wants the power to increase stamp prices to better reflect the cost of running the letter service.

The lobby group representing the interests of licensed post offices and mail contractors, the Post Office Agents Association Limited (POAAL), said it supports the “concept” of mail reform but the company must be allowed to look for new business and revenue streams beyond letter delivery.

“It is obvious that without changes to the letters service Australia Post will incur greater and greater losses,” the group said in a statement.

“Regardless of the proposal to reform the letters service,these latest results show that it is urgent that new business streams are found.”

“Reform to the letters service is just stemming the bleeding – Australia Post needs to focus on finding new customers and new revenue streams.

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