Gietzelt the Kingmaker fought for democratisation of unions

Once there was a time when unions ruled and some of their leaders were kingmakers. Ray Gietzelt was one of Australia’s most powerful unionists of the 20th century, a key reform figure, known by his staff as ”The Gaffer”, who led the”Missos” (members of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union, or FMWU) to glory.

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Determined … Ray Gietzelt in 1984. He became the general secretary of the FMWU in 1955. Photo: Steven Loxley

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Drink drivers caught

Police are disappointed that despite all the messages about the dangers of drink driving they have onceagain caught people who have not only put their own lives at risk, but that of other road users.

This follows the detection last night (Thursday)of a 37-year-old man from Bowhill who allegedly drove his vehicleover an embankment at Bowhill last night.

He recorded a breath analysis reading of 0.129%.

He was arrested for driving without due care and his vehicle was impounded.

This morning, a 36-year-old man from Glenelg East was detected by Murray Bridge police drivingon McHenry Street, Murray Bridge, with an alleged breath analysis reading of 0.205%.

His probationarylicence has been immediately disqualified for 12 months and his vehicle was also impounded.

Both men will appear in a court at a later date.

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Stay cool at a pool

SUMMER in western Sydney conjures images of families and children splashing in the local community swimming pool.

Ready for the pilgrims: Wenty Leagues swimming club president Tom Lamont.

Wentworthville residents fought hard to keep their local pool when Holroyd Council proposed closing its three pools.

Wenty Leagues Swimming Club president Tom Lamont said it was good to know the pool was safe for the community to use.

“There’s a pilgrimage to the pool in summer,” he said.

“Especially with the large Indian and Sri Lankan community here, they love it.

“We’ve got people in their 80s [in our club] who still come every week and do their 800 metres. We have a barbecue or sit around and have a coffee; it’s good family fun.”

Blacktown Aquatic Centre is also a favourite destination for the community each summer.

But as well as being a place of leisure, it has strong links to world-class competitive swimming.

President of the Blacktown City Swim Club president Paul Watts said his club had been around since 1961.

“We’ve had at least one Olympian; Michelle De Vries went to the 1976 games,” he said.

“And Kenrick Monk swam at Blacktown when he was younger.”

Blacktown pool even had a world record set in its waters by Kieren Perkins, who became the fastest swimmer over 800 metres in 1992.

Both clubs are open to new members.

But if it’s just a splash to cool off that people are after, there are pools in western Sydney open all summer;

■ Waves Fitness and Aquatic Centreat Baulkham Hills is open 5.30am-9pm, Monday to Thursday; 5.30am-6.30pm Friday; 7am-5pm on weekends;

■ Galston Aquatic Centre is open Thursday, 5.30am-9pm; Friday, 5.30am-7pm; Saturday, 7am-5pm; Sunday, 7am-5pm; New Year’s Eve, 5.30am-5pm; and New Year’s Day, 9am to 5pm. Usual hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 5.30am-9pm; Tuesday, 5.30am-7.30pm; Friday, 5.30am-7pm and weekends, 7am-5pm.

■ Blacktown Leisure Centre, Stanhope is open 5.30am-9pm Monday to Friday; and 8am-5pm on weekends. On New Year’s Day it will open from noon to 5pm.

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Get in step at studios 

Ready when you are: Arthur Murray Dance Studio instructors Matthew Akers and Dani McLeod. Picture: Gene RamirezFOR anyone still deciding on a new year’s resolution, plenty of dance instructors around town will encourage you to shimmy into a studio to try your feet at some new steps.

At Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Castle Hill, instructor Matthew Akers will be directing classes right through the holiday period.

“We’re primarily focused on social ballroom dancing and Latin dancing but we talk to our students about what they want from their lessons,” he said.

“We have students from 18 years old to 87, and everything in between.

“Couples get to come and learn how to dance so they can go out; single blokes might want to learn to dance so they’re more confident in a social environment where other people are dancing, it’s really, really focused on the individual.”

The studio is a franchise of the Arthur Murray brand, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.

If ballroom or Latin dancing aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other options around for other styles.

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Hills alive for New Year

New Years Eve on the Hill 2011.TO AVOID the hustle and bustle of city New Year’s Eve celebrations, stay local on Monday, December 31.

Many pubs, clubs and hotels in the Hills district are celebrating the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 in style.

Here are a few suggestions on how to spend the evening:

■ Castle Hill RSL:

Welcome in the New Year at Castle Hill RSL.

Suite Az will have you up and dancing to a number of popular soul and rhythm and blues hits when they perform live in the Cocktail Lounge, from 9pm.

Free entry.

Details: 8858 4800 or visit castlehillrsl苏州美睫培训.au.

■ The Australian Brewery:

Rock in the new year at The Australian Brewery.

Cover band, Seattle Sound, will perform all your favourite rock classics and top-40 hits.

Free entry.

Details: 9679 4555 or visit australianhotelandbrewery苏州美睫培训.au.

■ The Mean Fiddler:

The Mean Fiddler is celebrating the start of 2013 with a Hawaiian-themed New Year’s Eve party.

Dr of Sounds, Stu E , Bobby Dazzler and Mister Styles will have you dancing into the night with their musical beats.

Details: 9629 4811 or visit meanfiddler苏州美睫培训.au.

■ Hillside Hotel:

Hillside Hotel will celebrate the beginning of 2013 with a bang.

Details: 9680 8788 or visit hillsidehotel苏州美睫培训.au.

■ The Ettamogah Pub:

Dine-in with a hearty meal or party this New Year’s Eve at the Ettamogah Pub.

Details: 9629 1130 or visit ettamogahhotel苏州美睫培训.au.

■ Bella Vista Hotel:

Bella Vista is celebrating the start of 2013 with a masquerade New Years Eve party.

Details: 8884 2800 or visit bellavistahotel苏州美睫培训.au.

■ The Winston Hotel:

Celebrate or dine-in at The Winston Hotel this New Year’s Eve.

Details:9624 4500 or thewinston苏州美睫培训.au.

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Ferry ride secret’s out

Great family outing: Brett Dunne (right) and partner Julie Sloan take their boys Clancy (front) and Sam on a tour of the Parramatta River. Picture: Gene RamirezWORD is starting to spread with tourists that a ride on the Parramatta Ferry is one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets.

Until recently tourist guide books ignored the Parramatta River service in favour of more popular ferry journeys to Manly or Balmain.

But attitudes towards the Parramatta River are changing thanks to a big clean-up and tourist numbers are growing with people wanting to cross the city in a more leisurely manner.

One family keen to get off the beaten track was Cobar couple Brett Dunne and his partner Julie Sloan.

The pair took their children to Sydney for the first time in December with their youngest son Sam needing an operation at the Children’s Hospital, Westmead.

Following the advice of a hospital nurse, Mr Dunne decided to take a different route on their way back to city.

“It’s a great way to see the city and get away from the busy roads and train lines,” Mr Dunne said.

“Coming from country NSW we enjoy a bit of water because we’re so used to seeing fields of red dirt.”

Hopping on at Parramatta Charles Street interchange, the Dunne family lapped up the warm boating weather on their hour-and-a-half journey to Circular Quay.

Mr Dunne said the ferry let his family escape the busy crowded streets and sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge for some essential tourist photos.

“I drive a road train back home and my partner is a full-time waitress so it’s nice to relax and unwind a bit,” Mr Dunne said. “My boys Sam and Clancy seem to like it.”

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Have fun — and be safe

Hayley, 5 and Samuel, 8 Pfitzner having fun at the Blacktown Leisure Centre.THE school holidays will be packed with excitement with Blacktown Leisure Centre, Stanhope’s Community FOCUS program.

The program offers free activities to keep kids active and entertained.

It aims to bring the community together in a fun environment and provide an opportunity to gain confidence, unite friends, and learn safe practices.

Free Cycle Sunday runs from 9am-11am each Sunday for four weeks starting on Sunday, January 6.

It is a bicycle safety program for children up to eight in a car-free space.

Part of the car park at the leisure centre will be transformed into a simulated traffic environment with road signs, stop signs, give way signs and roundabouts.

The kids can also learn to cool off safely with the free Surfees Little Splashers program, which teaches water confidence and swimming skills to children aged six months to two years.

The program encourages parents to bond with their children in the water, while making kids familiar with the water environment and water-safety skills.

Class sessions are 30 minutes long and start times spaced between 9am and noon.

It will be held from Monday, January 21 to Friday, January 25.

Both programs are free, but bookings are essential as places are limited.

Details or bookings: 9421 2600.

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North West Rail Link skytrain expressions of interest to be assessed

Expressions of interest for the North West Rail Linkskytrain construction contract closed today.

NSW Transport Minister GladysBerejikliansaid three groups made up of more than 20 companies lodged their interest in building the skytrain and associated surface construction works.

“There’s been interest from around Australia and overseas in this contract – just as there has been for the two other major contracts to deliver the North West Rail Link,” she said.

“The North West Rail Link project team will now evaluate the submissions and finalise a short-list of parties, which will then be invited to formally tender next year for the Surface and Viaduct Civil works contract.”

The groups which have lodged expressions of interest for SVC are:

– Abigroup Contractors Pty Ltd

– Impregilo-Salini Joint Venture: Impregilo SpA, Salini Australia Pty Ltd;

– Leighton-Rizzani de Eccher Joint Venture: Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd, Rizzani de Eccher Australia Pty Ltd

The North West Rail Link’s skytrain will run 4km from Bella Vista to Rouse Hill, with the new railway stations at Kellyville and Rouse Hill also elevated on the structure.

The SVC contract is one of three major contracts to deliver the North West Rail Link including:

– Tunnel and Station Civils (TSC) contract to build the twin 15km tunnels and underground station excavation – this contract is currently out to tender and is expected to be awarded around mid-2013;

– Surface and Viaduct Civil (SVC) contract to build the skytrain and associated civil works including embankments and cuttings for the railway; and

– Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract to deliver the new-generation single deck trains, install tracks and signalling and operate the North West Rail Link – this multi-billion-dollar contract is also out to market and will be a Public Private Partnership to be awarded in 2014.

An artists impression of the future Kellyville station.

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Hospital on red alert for Boxing Day and holidays

Action stations: Dr Peter Grant says staff at St George Hospital’s emergency department have been preparing for a 40 per cent increase in presentations. Picture: Lisa McMahonBOXING Day 2012 was expected to be thebusiest day in the history of the St George Hospital emergency department.

Staff have been preparing for up to a 40 per cent increase in presentations between December 22 and January 5.

On Boxing Day last year, a record 265 people passed through the doors of emergency.

Of those, one-quarter were aged 16 to 24 and most were male.

Senior staff specialist in emergency, Peter Grant, said alcohol-fuelled domestic violence was the most common reason for ambulance callouts at Christmas.

Other common presentations included road trauma victims, children with injuries involving toys, bikes and skateboards; heat stroke, and elderly patients suffering falls in unfamiliar environments.

‘‘People drink in the hot sun, and home truths come out,’’ Dr Grant said.

‘‘An increase in mental health presentations may also occur as Christmas can be a lonely time for the socially isolated.’’

Dr Grant said the best way to avoid being in an emergency was to take extra care on the roads and waterways, moderate alcohol consumption, have an adequate supply of prescription medications on hand and supervise elderly relatives with limited mobility.

‘‘Presentations go up because GPs are shut and people run out of medications,’’ he said.

Dr Grant said there were also cases of fill-in carers bringing in elderly relatives because they could not cope.

‘‘It’s a bit of a perfect storm. It’s that very defined period from December 22 to January 5.’’

The St George Hospital emergency department is a major trauma centre that accepts patients from across the state and as far away as Norfolk Island.

There are also after-hours GP clinics at St George Private Hospital and Kareena Private Hospital in Caringbah. Heathdirect Australia (1800 022 222) is a 24-hour free hotline for non-urgent medical conditions.

Have you had any experiences with an emergency ward over the Christmas break?

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Foundation assists public school students

After the opening of the Lyn Britt Scorers Shelter, Greg Morrissey, on behalf of the Duncan MacDonald Foundation, called upon Parkes senior cricketer Clinton Hawke to accept a very generous donation.

The donation was to assist the families of the boys and girls from Parkes Public school to defray considerable transport costs.

After winning the Western Schools Super 8’s tournament in Orange, the Parkes Public school sides traveled to Sydney for the NSW finals.

The teams placed second and fourth respectively.

Clinton Hawke, who coached the teams that were managed by his school teacher wife Michelle, remarked that all the families involved were very grateful to the Duncan Macdonald foundation for being so generous in providing opportunities for local junior cricketers.

Greg Morrissey, as one of the trustees of the Foundation, suggested that one of the main criteria for donations for cricketing development was the question – would Duncan approve?

In this case he most certainty would.

The late Duncan MacDonald was a legendary cricketing figure throughout Parkes and indeed all of western NSW.

He is the only person to be a life member of both Parkes Senior and Junior Cricket Associations.

In recent weeks, Parkes Public School boys cricket team have travelled to West Wyalong, Dubbo, Orange and Maitland to be crowned the Western PSSA Champions for 2012 and finished fourth in the state.

A great effort by the Parkes Public School team.

Clinton (back) and Hudson Hawke accept the Duncan McDonald Foundation donation from trustee Greg Morrissey. Photo: Dane Thorne 1112Cric1

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