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Early release from jail may be too late for inmate with terminal cancer

A MAN who committed two horrific burglaries in Newcastle may die in jail after the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal granted an early release that may come too late.

Adam Jason Dudgeon, 40, received seven years’ jail with a non-parole period of five years after he pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated burglary.

In October, 2012, Dudgeon broke into a Mayfield home, tied the victim’s wrists with a belt and ankles with a power cord and placed a bag over his head, the court heard on Thursday.

Dudgeon then demanded money and threatened to slit the throats of the victim’s housemates before ransacking the house, eventually fleeing with $950 cash plus jewellery and electronic goods worth $6000.

Two weeks later he was caught in a home trying to remove a safe before he confronted the victim with a knife and punched him in the face.

He was on parole serving a nine-year stretch for four armed robberies at the time.

He was diagnosed with terminal cancer after he was ordered to stay behind bars until at least November, 2017.

Dudgeon made an application to the NSW parole board earlier this year for an early release, but it was rejected.

The Court of Criminal Appeal agreed to re-sentence Dudgeon on Thursday, but ruled that his offences and record were too serious to allow his immediate release.

‘‘In light of the applicant’s terminal illness and the conditions of his custody and other considerations pertaining to his need for palliative care, I am satisfied that the already very lenient sentence imposed by the sentencing judge should be moderated by a degree,’’ Justice Elizabeth Fullerton ruled.

‘‘However, given the gravity of his offending … and the fact that the offences were committed whilst on parole for armed robberies, I am constrained to impose a sentence the effect of which will not result in the applicant’s immediate release.’’

The court reduced the sentence to five years’ jail with a non-parole period of three years, and he will be eligible for release in November, 2015.

Feast of A-League action kicks off with Friday night double-header

Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar

One of the form teams of the A-League in Adelaide take on the defending champions, who are struggling desperately to find some rhythm to kick-start their season.

The Reds have really found their mojo under Spanish coach Josep Gombau this year and have lost only once – in that topsy-turvy game against Melbourne Victory when they scored two own goals. They put two past the hapless Asian champions Western Sydney last week and had their finishing been more clinical it could have been at least double that.

Brisbane went down to one of the softest penalties awarded this season against an equally out-of-sorts Melbourne City and are really battling to get back on track after sacking title-winning coach Mike Mulvey a quarter of the way through the season. Had Matt McKay’s finishing been sharper, they could have been two up against City last week and that match could have had a very different outcome. It’s hard to see them getting the better of the South Australians on Adelaide’s turf, even if they will be desperate to send off departing skipper Matt Smith (who is moving to Thailand’s Bangkok Glass) with a win. Adelaide for the three points.

Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets

The second match in a Friday night double-header pits league leaders Perth Glory against stragglers Newcastle and on the form book it’s hard to predict anything other than a Glory success.

The West Australians have lost once in nine rounds and have only dropped five points, while the Jets have yet to win a game anywhere and languish near the foot of the table with four points.

Worse still, there have been stories of players fighting at training in the Hunter Valley, while former Socceroo left back David Carney was hauled before club officials this week for a please explain after there were complaints about him swearing at fans following the latest reverse, a home loss to Wellington Phoenix last weekend.

Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners

Ernie Merrick’s men are once again hitting their straps and have won the last two games impressively, albeit against struggling opposition in Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets.

The Kiwis put five past John van ‘t Schip’s side in a ritual disembowelling in Wellington and then came from behind to put further pressure on Phil Stubbins to beat his Jets team last weekend.

Nathan Burns and Roy Krishna are in fine form up front, and with home advantage against the indifferent Mariners they should be far too good.

Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC

The glamour game of the round pits the unbeaten Melbourne Victory – the only team in the competition to remain with that status – against Graham Arnold’s sky blues, who lost for the first time last week against Perth Glory.

The last time these sides met was only a few weeks ago, and Victory had several first-choice players missing through injury and national team call-ups. Yet Kevin Muscat’s side was good enough to get a point away from home in one of the competition’s rare goalless draws this season.

Gui Finkler missed Victory’s win over the Mariners last week and continues to be monitored, while French centre back Matthieu Delpierre is another absentee. Sydney are without Corey Gameiro and Ali Abbas for the whole season.

Nevertheless, Sydney are tough, well-organised and have proved themselves hard to beat and capable of taking their chances in most games. Arnold’s men have won at AAMI Park already this season, having seen off Melbourne City. But they will find the navy blues a much tougher proposition and its hard to see them getting anything more than a point here – if that.

Father of the Senate pays one final act of respect to Parliament

John Faulkner was – and remains – an admirer of and a true believer in the parliamentary process. Photo: Andrew Meares John Faulkner was – and remains – an admirer of and a true believer in the parliamentary process. Photo: Andrew Meares

John Faulkner: “It certainly is time to go.” Photo: Andrew Meares

John Faulkner was – and remains – an admirer of and a true believer in the parliamentary process. Photo: Andrew Meares

John Faulkner was – and remains – an admirer of and a true believer in the parliamentary process. Photo: Andrew Meares

GALLERY: John Faulkner – 25 years in Parliament

John Faulkner hopped in his car on Wednesday for the three-hour drive from Sydney to Canberra.

It says much about the outgoing senior Labor senator that instead of calling a press conference somewhere more convenient he paid one final act of respect to Parliament by announcing his retirement in the Senate caucus room.

The so-called “father of the Senate”, the last remaining ministerial link to the much mythologised Hawke and Keating governments, had already announced he would not recontest the next election but on Thursday said he was leaving politics in the new year.

For Faulkner, 35 years in politics – first as a party official, then a senator – was enough.

“I served in cabinet under three prime ministers [Paul Keating, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard] and I leave as the last minister …. who served in the life of the Hawke and Keating governments,” Faulkner said on Thursday.

“It certainly is time to go.”

Faulkner, 60, served in both the Rudd and Gillard governments. What he witnessed on the June night when Rudd was deposed by Gillard has been a topic of chatter ever since. Faulkner on Thursday promised he would not be the one to divulge the details.

As defence minister his was the sorrowful task of telling families their children had been killed while fighting for Australia overseas.

As special minister of state he reformed freedom of information laws and fought for tougher disclosure of political donations.

Above all Faulkner was – and remains – an admirer of and a true believer in the parliamentary process.

As a senator he was a ruthless interrogator of government officials and ministers.

Without John Faulkner we would not know that the Howard government paid $245,000 for a horse-drawn carriage for the Queen’s 80th birthday in 2006 but had not actually managed to present the gift six years later.

Or that $450,000 was spent in 1999 on 225 new committee room chairs made from Swedish leather because the Australian leather was considered inferior.

Since resigning from the frontbench in 2010 Faulkner has not been an idle backbencher.

Last month he called for greater oversight of the security and intelligence agencies by a joint parliamentary committee, a lone voice on this subject within the major parties.

On Thursday, Faulkner said he would continue to push for reform within the Labor Party as an active rank and file member.

He finished by urging colleagues not to “underestimate the importance of the mechanisms that are available to senators”.

“The Australian Senate has the best scrutiny mechanisms of any Australian parliament. And used effectively, they are of great benefit, not only to oppositions but also to governments. I can assure you that ministers and public servants at times try to ensure that they don’t cut any corners as they go about fulfilling their responsibilities.”

Faulkner’s retirement comes at just the right time for someone whose other great love besides the Labor Party is cricket.

He finished his press conference by promising he would not live a post political life as either a lobbyist, a consultant or a writer.

In that regard he leaves Parliament a trailblazer.

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Tourist map shows towns left off Hunter Expressway

BYWAYS: A colourful map of the Hunter Valley Way will guide visitors wanting to take the scenic route in the Coalfields. FULL MAP HERE

A NEW tourist route is about to be launched for towns that the Hunter Expressway left behind.

The ‘‘Hunter Valley Way’’ aims to expose visitors to experiences and attractions in the Coalfields – along with attracting grey nomads.

It’s for people who want to take the scenic route and visit smaller communities.

Kurri Kurri District Business Chamber president Rod Doherty said the project was developed ‘‘over a number of years since the announcement of the expressway construction in 2010’’.

‘‘A small committee of like-minded people from the Hunter came together to build the tourist drive and identify the many and diverse attractions this part of the region had to offer,’’ Mr Doherty said.

Plans for the route were revealed in July, but they have now been finalised – with a launch to be held on December 18 at Kurri Kurri.

A new map encourages people to ‘‘discover the Hunter’s hidden secrets’’.

The route will start at Freemans Waterhole and go through Mulbring, Kurri, Weston, Abermain, Lovedale, Greta, Branxton, Pokolbin, Broke, Milbrodale, Jerrys Plains, Denman and Merriwa.

Some of the attractions along the way are the Kurri murals, wineries, art galleries, the Big Kookaburra, along with the area’s scenery, and one aim is to attract more grey nomads to the area.

Mr Doherty said the route would ‘‘cater for caravan and mobile-home travellers with commercial parks, RV dump stations and campsites’’.

Maitland City Council is also looking to attract grey nomad visitors, and voted in November to spend $90,000 to install a ‘‘dump point’’ and upgrade amenities at Harold Gregson Reserve, near Maitland No.1 Sportsground, for motorhomes and caravans.

A council report said this would encourage more visits.

Find The Hunter Valley Way on Facebook here

Leadership: Entrepreneur Megan Quinn

Entrepreneur Megan Quinn says good leadership is about engaging with the customer and staff. Photo: SUPPLIED.Entrepreneur Megan Quinn is a self-confessed ‘people person’.“I love nothing better than to sit down face to face and get to know the person I am speaking with,” she says during our interview in Bendigo.

Leadership, says Quinn, is about listening and working with your team. Having a keenness to understand human behaviour and people has held her in good stead. She has launched and sold successful businesses here and abroad for more than 20 years. She was one of four cofounders (her friend Natalie Massanet, Massanet’s husband Arnaud, and her former husband Mark) of the global online fashion retailer Net-A-Porter. Each had their own defined role, which ensured key drivers were in place well before launch. Quinn was responsible for packaging and marketing and ensuring the customer experience was paramount.

It opened online in June 2000 with investor backing of less than £1 million, but NET-A-PORTER quickly and successfully established itself as a luxury fashion brand with high levels of customer care. Today the company reports more than 2.5 million people view its online pages each month.

While Quinn moved on from the enterprise in the early 2000s, her creative input and business insights helped set the groundwork for innovation and creativity in the online retail space, despite not having previously worked in retail.

The business was latersold to the Richemont Group for £360 million and “now some company valued it at well over a billion pounds a couple of months ago”, Quinn adds. “We always had big aspirations but you can only hope.”

Even with dreams and desire to achieve, it iscustomer experience that is paramount to business success, she says.“I think that’s why it worked so well,” she says. “We knew what we wanted to receive in terms of customer service … a genuine smile a random act of kindness its good for the community, its good for business and its good for the customer.”

With Net-A-Porter the founders set a high bar for customer experience, with all purchased items delivered wrapped in exquisite packaging. Their business model included subsidised mailing and free shipping on returns. It was a “compelling business model” that was costly for the business but would offer good will to the customer.

Megan Quinn on leadershipOpen communication, actually caring for and nurturing staff is paramount and it engenders that authentic relationship and … enormous loyalty

Megan Quinn on leadership

When she is not busy raising her family, the youthful Quinn, who recently turned 50, is also a sought-after guest speaker and has a become a consumer advocate behind the scenes through her work as a non-executive board director for Speciality Fashion Group and UNICEF Australia and previously sat on the boards of Harrods, Net-A-Porter杭州龙凤419m and Fitted for Work, which helps women find sustainable work. Trying to achieve a work-family-life balance makes some women, Quinn says, “still scared to put their hand up … women can innovate and reinvent.”

“I think I am completely more relevant today than ever before because of my empirical background, however if it weren’t for Net-A-Porter and if I didn’t feel comfortable with people and in expressing my views a lot of businesses would have put me out to pasture.”

To Quinn, good leadership is about leading by example and caring for people. Mutual communication with staff at the front line of customer engagement builds a robust business.

“Open communication, actually caring for and nurturing staff is paramount and it engenders that authentic relationship and it engenders enormous loyalty. Leading by example is never asking someone to do something you would never be prepared to do yourself, and never being too big to pick up a broom and really, actually walking the walk with them. So when we do fall down we are continuing that walk together until we know how to do it better,” she says.

“But I think leading from the centre is better than leading from the top. It is probably the way I work better as it keeps me more in tune to learn from staff, as well.”

Understanding your own personal brand and reputation is also paramount to success.

“I think my reputation is that I am an avid thinker but a good team player. I am a genuine communicator and I like people and I want to share and help businesses. I think the reason that I resonate with people is because I don’t think I am superior to them, nor do I think I am inferior to anyone. So, I figure this is all a pretty level playing field and I am just walking the walk with people.

“I think people can relate to that honesty and I hope my brand is a ‘work in progress’.”

And success for Quinnwill always be in the fine detail.

“It’s an absolute that the minutia is what differentiates a good company from a great company. It’s that good anticipation of every touch point that person has way before they came to you and way after, so you need to keep them engaged so they will keep coming back. You need to think ‘how can I make this easier and better for the customer’ so they are positive when they speak about you both virally and in person… that’s what’s so invigorating about being in business.”

Read previous articles inFairfax Media’s series on leadership:

Part 1:From battlefield to boardroom:Ben Roberts-Smith.

Part 2:RAI’s chief executiveSu McCluskeyon putting regional areas in the spotlight.

Part 3: Regional Arts VictoriaCEOEsther Anatolitis.

Part 4: Goldfields Australian Football League Commission’sSue Brown.

Part 5: Quotes on leadership from world leaders past and present.

Part 6:Karden Disability CEO Karen Robinson.

Next: Haymes Paint’sDavid Haymes on leading a family business..

What’s your favourite leadership quote? Share it here.