Moimoi expects Stuart to stay at Eels

Parramatta cult hero Fuifui Moimoi expects Ricky Stuart to stay at the NRL club though the Eels coach has refused to end speculation he will move to Canberra.

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Parramatta’s longest serving player, 33 year-old forward Moimoi was a pivotal figure in their come-from-behind 26-22 win over St George Illawarra on Monday night.

He scored two first half tries, the first double of a career that started in 2004 and has spanned 188 games since his Eels debut in 2004.

Stuart, who is in his first year as Parramatta coach, has been linked to the Canberra coaching position since David Furner’s recent sacking.

While the Raiders CEO Don Furner said on Saturday Stuart wasn’t on their shortlist, rumours persist about the three-time Raiders premiership player heading back to the national capital.

Stuart said after Monday’s game he didn’t want any more speculation about his future, but almost inevitably ensured it will continue, after declaring he won’t talk about the issue until the end of the season.

Parramatta have won just five games and will finish with the wooden spoon for a second straight season, but Moimoi insists Stuart is doing a good job and expects him to fulfil his contract.

“He wants to help this club, to build this club,” Moimoi told AAP.

“He’s doing a good job for the club and he still has another two years on his contract with the club, so we are look forward to next season with ‘Sticky’ (Stuart).”

Moimoi is upbeat about his ailing club’s future, basing his optimism on the clutch of emerging youngsters who are showing signs of promise.

“All the young boys coming up like Peni Terepo and Junior Paulo, they are good for the future,” Moimoi said.

“I look forward to them coming up in the next couple of years.”

Against the Dragons, Moimoi scored arguably the best and surely the most memorable try of his career.

Doing his best impersonation of an Israel Folau or Daniel Tupou, Moimioi leapt high to catch a bomb from halfback Luke Kell .and shrugged off his opponents to ground the ball.

“I was really lucky to get there at the right time and the ball was there too,” Moimoi said.

“I think that kick was supposed to be for the wing and the centres.”

NT govt dumps minister Anderson

Aboriginal MP Alison Anderson has been dumped from the Northern Territory ministry just two days after a federal coalition government was elected.

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The Member for Namatjira was in charge of four portfolios: Children and Families, Regional Development, Local Government and Women’s Policy.

But now Attorney-General John Elferink is the Minister for Children and Families, Deputy Chief Minister Dave Tollner has taken over the Local Government and Regions portfolio and Bess Price is Minister for Women’s Policy.

In a statement released on Monday night, Chief Minister Adam Giles said he was “keen to re-organise the ministry to reflect the government’s priorities” after a year in power.

Last month he ruled out dumping Ms Anderson, saying it was “all fiction”.

Tension has been bubbling for some time between them, when in March after a failed leadership bid for the Country Liberal government Ms Anderson accused Mr Giles of behaving like a “little boy”.

She threatened to leave the party and take three bush members – Bess Price, Larissa Lee and Francis Xavier – with her if Mr Giles pursued the Chief Ministership, which he successfully did with the bush members’ support a week later.

Ms Anderson was elected as a Labor MLA in 2005, and served as a minister until 2009, when she left the party after a disagreement with then-Chief Minister Paul Henderson.

She was an independent until 2011 when she joined the Country Liberals, and was re-elected in last year’s Territory elections.

Her dispute with Mr Giles came as she supported Terry Mills, the chief minister he rolled in March.

Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie said Mr Giles had never gotten over the slight.

“There’s no doubt (he’s) clinging to power without the full support of his colleagues,” she said in a statement.

More recently, Mr Giles clashed with Ms Anderson over the CEO position for the Department of Children and Families, which now has its fourth leader in less than a year.

Ms Anderson appointed Jenni Collard to the acting role in March, and last week backed her for the full-time role, despite the government leaking that it wanted to appoint former Country Liberals leader Jodeen Carney, which it now has.

Mr Giles did not give a reason why Ms Anderson had been pushed out of cabinet, but said: “I thank Alison Anderson for her work in Cabinet and wish her well. (She) has worked as a minister for several years across different portfolios and governments.”

He flagged a wider shuffle of the ministry, with the creation of three new portfolios – North Australia Development, Community Services and a combined Department of Local Government and Regions.

“Now is the time for northern Australia to be recognised as the key player in the energy, food and economic security of the Asian region,” Mr Giles said.

“In light of this, I will be taking on the important new portfolio of North Australia Development, which will allow the Territory to work more closely with the federal, West Australian and Queensland governments on issues affecting the north.”

Ms Lawrie described the government as the most dysfunctional the NT had ever had, with two chief ministers, five cabinets and multiple departmental changes in one year.

“There is no doubt deep divisions remain in the CLP camp,” she said.

The NT’s new ministry will be sworn in on Tuesday in Darwin.

If in doubt, don’t vote for Abbott: PM

Kevin Rudd is urging voters with niggling doubts about Tony Abbott to listen to their instincts and not support the coalition.

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With just days to the federal election, Labor has been dealt more bad news with the latest Newspoll showing the opposition leader overtaking Mr Rudd as preferred prime minister for the first time.

The poll, published in The Australian on Monday, also suggests Labor is facing a wipe-out with the two-party preferred vote showing Labor on 46 per cent compared to the coalition’s 54 per cent.

Mr Rudd said Labor always faced an uphill battle, but there was still much to fight for in the dying days of the election campaign.

“We entered this campaign as the underdog, we remain the underdog, let’s call a spade a spade,” he told the Seven Network on Monday.

Labor was concerned about Mr Abbott’s plans for school and hospital funding, job security and his unfair paid parental leave scheme, Mr Rudd said.

He said voters were more interested in policies than opinion polls, and he said there were a lot of unanswered questions about Mr Abbott’s plans.

“If you’re uncertain about what Mr Abbott’s putting out there, then I think listen to your instincts and don’t vote for him,” he told the Nine Network.

Labor’s plans had been laid bare and costed for voters, and now it was time for Mr Abbott to do the same, he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese insisted Labor could still win.

“Polls are polls. Polls take opinion at a point in time,” he told ABC radio.

“What they shows is that Tony Abbott is the significant favourite to win this Saturday.”

Mr Albanese said people needed to think through just what a coalition victory would mean for their schools, hospitals, jobs, penalty rates and working conditions.

“If they are unsure of any of those things, they shouldn’t vote for him,” he said.

Employment, Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor said Labor still believed it could win and Mr Abbott would be judged harshly on a number of fronts.

“I think he’ll be marked down by the Australian people thinking he can get to an election without telling them what his plans are, without telling them where his cuts are, (for) assuming he’s won,” Mr O’Connor told AAP on Monday.

“That’s a very contemptuous way to treat the electors of Australia.

“We will say to the Australian people you’re not sure of what he will do – don’t vote for him.

“We made mistakes but on the big issues we’ve got them right.

“We’ve got a plan for Australia’s future which involves looking after everyone and not just a few.”

Vic murder accused a burglary suspect

A man accused of murdering a baby during a break-in was a suspect in a string of nearby burglaries on the night, a Victorian court has heard.

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Police found 11-month-old Zayden Veal in cardiac arrest when they arrived at the Bendigo home to answer a call about a robbery on June 15 last year.

He later died in hospital.

Harley Hicks, 20, of North Bendigo, has been charged with the murder of baby Zayden.

Detective Senior Constable Tom Harper said police linked Hicks to the burglary given he was a suspect in petty robberies from nearby homes and cars in the days leading up to and on the night in question.

Police knew Hicks was a user of the drug ice, Det Sen Con Harper also told the Bendigo Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Hicks allegedly entered the home, in the Bendigo suburb of Long Gully, armed with a baton and stole two wallets and a pair of sunglasses.

Zayden’s mother Casey Veal told Hicks’ committal hearing she believed she and her partner accidentally left the front door to the house unlocked when they went to bed around 2am on June 15.

Ms Veal said the glass screen door at the back of the house could not be locked.

She said the couple awoke the next morning to discover they had been burgled and a baby monitor in Zayden’s room unplugged.

Her then partner Matthew Vissell said he smoked a marijuana pipe before going to bed with Ms Veal.

He told the court he was involved with the discipline of Ms Veal’s children, Zayden and a four-year-old boy, but said he never lost his temper with them.

“Sometimes I might’ve called (the four-year-old) a little s**t, but never lost my temper,” he said.

When asked by Hicks’ defence lawyer David Hallowes if he ever hit them, Vissell replied “hell no”.

Hicks is charged with aggravated burglary, theft and murder.

The committal hearing continues.

Obama puts Syria strike on hold

US President Barack Obama has postponed threatened missile strikes against Syria in a risky gamble that he can win more support for his plan to punish Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

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To general surprise, the US leader broke with decades of precedent to announce that he would seek approval from Congress for action against Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

This effectively pushed military action back until at least September 9, when US legislators return from their summer recess.

Obama insisted that he reserves the right to strike regardless of Congress’ decision, and a White House official said the pause would also allow him time to build international support.

The Arab League meets in Cairo on Sunday and is expected to condemn Assad, and Obama travels to Russia next week for a G20 Summit which will now be overshadowed by the crisis.

But the toughest battle, and perhaps the most dangerous for Obama’s credibility, may yet be with his own former colleagues in Congress, where support for strikes is far from assured.

Indeed, observers warned that he faces the same fate as Prime Minister David Cameron, who on Friday lost his own vote on authorising military action in the British parliament.

“The chairman of the joint chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose,” Obama warned, in an address given in the White House Rose Garden.

“Moreover, the chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time sensitive. It will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now.”

At least five US warships armed with scores of Tomahawk cruise missiles have converged on the eastern Mediterranean ready to launch precision strikes on Syrian regime targets.

And France says it is ready to deploy its own forces in the operation.

In Damascus, the mood had been heavy with fear, and security forces were making preparations for possible air strikes, pulling soldiers back from potential targets.

Residents were seen stocking up with fuel for generators in case utilities are knocked out by a strike.

The United States, faced with an impasse at the UN Security Council and the British parliament’s shock vote, has been forced to look elsewhere for international partners.

Officials said Obama would lobby world powers on the sidelines of next week’s St Petersburg G20 summit, while at home the White House was reaching out to lawmakers.

Obama’s Democrats control the Senate but the House of Representatives is in the hands of his Republican foes and both sides are divided on the issue, making the outcome uncertain.

Late Saturday the White House formally asked Congress for authorisation to conduct military strikes in Syria in a draft resolution framing a narrow set of operations, in a bid to ease fears of another open-ended war.

The document says support from Congress would “send a clear signal of American resolve”.

“The objective of the United States use of military force in connection with this authorisation should be to deter, disrupt, prevent and degrade the potential for future uses of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction,” the draft resolution reads.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, who supports a limited “surgical” strike against Syria, said that Obama should use “every ounce of political capital that he has to sell this”.

“I think it is problematic and it could be problematic in both bodies,” Corker warned.

In a further complication, hawkish senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, said they could not support Obama’s plan for limited strikes that would not topple Assad.

More than 100,000 people have died since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011, and two million have become refugees, half of them children, according to the United Nations.