As fans sat down in their seats at Hunter Stadium yesterday afternoon they could have been forgiven for holding lofty expectations.
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The Newcastle Jets kicked off their Hyundai A-League campaign at home against a travel-weary Adelaide United side who had just returned from Uzbekistan.

Yet hopes were dashed in the first minute when Dario Vidosic poked home an easy goal to stun the home crowd into silence and from then on the Jets never looked like getting in the game.

The crowd stuck with their team though, and although most would have gone home frustrated, the healthy attendance of 14,868 bodes well for growth of the game.

Large sections of the crowd were dominated by blue and red merchandise and membership caps were out in force under the hot sun.

All eyes were on star signing Emile Heskey and many fans donned their number nine jerseys in a show of support.

One keen fan even sported ‘‘Del Heskey’’ on his back, perhaps hoping the former Liverpool front man could merge his skills with Sydney FC’s marquee signing Alessandro Del Piero.

Debutant goalkeeper Mark Birighitti added to the crowd’s woes midway through the second half when he was sent off for handball after a rash foray out of his box and Iain Ramsay soon finished off the match to send the home crowd off in a sombre mood.

Brian Loxley and his family bought memberships for the first time this season but he wasn’t too deflated by the result.

‘‘I don’t think they played too badly,’’ he said.

‘‘Even when they went down to 10 men the players were still pushing and the crowd tried to lift them.

‘‘But I guess it was just one of those days.’’

Brian and Kelda Loxley with sons Kade, 7, Hunter, 3, and Eli, 9, who were cheering on the the Jets from the stands. Pictures: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jets fans at the opening match of the A-League season at Hunter Stadium. Picture: Peter Stoop


Before they sit down to address the issues of the city, Newcastle’s new councillors have had to solve a disagreement about where they will sit.
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At a ‘‘mock’’ council meeting last week, councillors stood divided on whether the chamber’s seats should be arranged according to the city’s ward representatives, or based on political groupings.

Labor councillors wanted to sit together and argued that being separated would potentially require recesses to allow them to discuss unexpected motions or amendments.

Lord mayor Jeff McCloy and his supporters argued for a City Hall seating arrangement based on the four wards.

After a few rounds of musical chairs, the Labor councillors conceded.

Cr McCloy said he was positive about the prospects of the new council and that the seating issue ‘‘was solved in a nice and humorous way’’.

‘‘It’s important that we all work together,’’ he said.

The seating arrangements were apparently discussed at an informal meeting of councillors last month that most Labor councillors were unable to attend.

Cr Nuatali Nelmes said her colleagues had spent too much time ‘‘worrying about where the Labor Party is going to sit, to the point of holding secret meetings’’.

After two terms where perceived dysfunction and indecision overshadowed other aspects of the city’s government, the working relationship between the councillors will be in the spotlight.

The first meeting tomorrow night will include an election for deputy mayor, with Labor and the Liberals expected to provide viable candidates.

It will debate the gifting of childcare centres to community operators.

Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy.

Stella Potts is just two days old, but her father Luke already has a riveting tale to tell on her 21st birthday.
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Baby Stella was born in the car park of a Lambton service station, on the front seat of her parents’ car, just minutes from the hospital.

Mother Danielle Potts went into labour about 3am on Saturday morning.

Two hours later, Mr Potts was rushing his wife towards Newcastle Private Hospital.

‘‘The contractions were pretty close together as we were in the car,’’ Mr Potts said.

‘‘Danielle said to me, ‘you’re going to have to stop’.’’

The nearest place was the 7 Eleven service station on Croudace Street at Lambton. Mr Potts said he parked the car, called 000 and was given advice on how to deliver the baby.

Just nine minutes later, at 5.41am and moments before ambulance paramedics arrived, Stella was born.

‘‘I didn’t do much, I just caught her as she popped out,’’ Mr Potts said.

‘‘I made sure the cord wasn’t wrapped around her neck, wrapped her in a blanket at put her on her mother’s chest and then the ambulance turned up.’’

Baby Stella is the couple’s second child. Charlie, 2, was born when they were living in rural Victoria and had to travel a considerable distance to hospital.

Friends had advised the family, who live at Maitland, to be packed and ready.

But neither Mr or Mrs Potts, who was in labour for eight hours with Charlie, expected their daughter to be so eager to enter the world.

‘‘She’s doing fine, which is the main thing,’’ Mr Potts said. ‘‘It will make a great story for her 21st.’’

Stella with parents Luke and Danielle Potts and brother Charlie. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers


EDITORIAL: Air pollution comes back

July 27th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

WHEN the BHP steelworks closed, one of the most common predictions was of a Mayfield renaissance.
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Relieved of the burden of air pollution from the smoking giant next door, the suburb would bloom as newcomers rediscovered its vibrant shopping strip and modest but character-filled residential streets, some pundits tipped. That prediction has been only partially fulfilled.

The suburb has a great deal more residential amenity than many of the new brick-veneer satellite settlements on the fringes of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

But if Mayfield hasn’t experienced the great rebirth many had expected, one explanation might be that one big source of pollution appears to have been replaced by a number of smaller ones.

According to the authoritative government website, the National Pollutant Inventory, the 2304 postcode that includes Mayfield, Warabrook, Sandgate and Kooragang Island has experienced a surge in some pollutants over the past decade.

Inventory statistics indicate that the number of pollution-generating industries in the area increased from nine to 16 between 2001 and 2011. The number of officially reported pollutants from those sites increased from 35 to 38.

Ammonia emissions grew 188 per cent, benzene 600 per cent, sulphur dioxide 312 per cent and carbon monoxide 6 per cent, with most of this increase attributed to industries on Kooragang Island.

After last year’s highly publicised malfunctions of the Orica fertiliser plant on Kooragang, the state government introduced tough new pollution control measures and there is evidence that these will soon result in lower emissions of some pollutants.

That’s good news, but residents of the affected suburbs are rightly calling for a smarter approach to applications by companies to build new industrial plants in the area. Instead of considering each application in isolation, it is argued, approval authorities should examine every proposal against a backdrop of the existing environment.

It’s a similar argument to that mounted by Upper Hunter residents who have long wished for the cumulative effects of coalmines to be considered when new mining proposals are received.

So far the idea appears to have been too hard for the government to embrace, but that’s no reason for residents to stop demanding a smarter approach to industry regulation.

Bali anniversary

IT seems hardly possible that the Bali terrorist bombing that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, could have been 10 years ago.

The memory seems too raw and painful to already have aged a decade.

But while the pain remains, much healing has been done. Many people who were caught up in the tragedy have worked with great determination to ensure that those who perished are remembered and that the terror of the day is balanced by compassion and kindness.

That’s the best answer, in the end, to those who sow hatred and violence.

RESERVE Bank Governor Glenn Stevens is expected to serve out his full term – due to end in September 2013 – despite reports in Britain that the Australian central bank boss has been approached to take the top job at the Bank of England.
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One of the world’s top central bankers, Mr Stevens was reportedly among the contenders to become the next governor of the Bank of England to replace Mervyn King, London’s Sunday Times reported, citing unidentified sources.

However, it is believed that Mr Stevens has not been approached by any officials from Britain, despite the news report saying informal discussions had taken place.

Mr Stevens has been at his current post since September 2006 and is believed to be planning to serve out his full seven-year term to September 17 next year.

A Reserve Bank spokesman declined to comment on the news report, or on Mr Stevens’ tenure.

Mr Stevens is scheduled to appear before a parliamentary committee this morning in Canberra.

It is highly unusual for a foreign citizen to head the central bank of another country. An exception in recent years has been American-born Stanley Fischer, who is the head of Israel’s central bank. To take the top job in 2005, Professor Fischer first had to become an Israeli citizen and renounce his American citizenship.

Earlier this year, Canada’s central bank chief Mark Carney was also reportedly approached for the Bank of England role.

The BoE governor will soon become Britain’s most powerful civil

servant, assuming responsibility for not just monetary policy, but for the monitoring of banks and the prevention of future financial crises.

It will be the new governor’s job to lead the bank through major reforms to Britain’s regulatory system, ”including the transfer of new responsibilities that will see the bank take the lead in safeguarding the stability of the UK financial system”, the government’s advertisement says.

The successful candidate must also demonstrate that he or she can ”lead, influence and manage the change in the bank’s responsibilities, inspiring confidence and credibility both within the bank and throughout financial markets”.

The list of applicants will tomorrow be seen by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and a decision is expected to be announced by the end of this year.

The role will pay £302,000 ($A478,240) a year.

The list of reported favourites to succeed Mr King includes the Bank of England’s Deputy Governor, Paul Tucker, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Adair Turner, the Independent Commission on Banking chairman, John Vickers, and former British civil service boss Gus O’Donnell.

Mr King will have been head of the bank for more than 11 years when he steps down in June.

Mr Stevens, who has helped steer Australia through the global financial crisis, was last month voted one of the world’s best central bankers by Global Finance magazine.

He will have been in the role for seven years, which is the average length of the modern governor’s term.

It is the job of Australia’s federal treasurer to appoint the RBA governor.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Runs revive glory days

July 27th, 2018 / / categories: 南京夜网419 /

THE group 1-winning run of Newcastle Cup winners on Saturday surely will bring calls for the great race to return to its glory days as a group 2 event.
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In Sydney, reigning Newcastle Cup winner Glencadam Gold smashed his rivals in the group1 Metropolitan (2400metres).

He immediately jumped from a $23 chance to be installed as $6 favourite for the Caulfield Cup after the dominant front-running display.

In Melbourne, the Newcastle Cup winner of two years ago, Green Moon, turned in a stunning performance to take the group1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.

Green Moon was forced to work early after sitting three-wide but still proved too strong at the finish.

Green Moon is right in the betting for the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

The Newcastle Cup was last run as a group2 event in 2001.

Agincourt Express was a heavily backed favourite and did the punters proud.

The following year, when Time Off won the Cup, he scored a group3 win and it has been that way since.

Surely now with the results of Saturday, plus what lies ahead for Glencadam Gold and Green Moon, an upgrading must be a distinct possibility.

A group 2 Newcastle Cup on the Broadmeadow track – now that would be something to see.

■ There is a touch of Malcolm Johnston in racing’s new glamour boy Tommy Berry.

The 21-year-old strutted his stuff in the best possible way by winning the group1 Epsom on Fat Al and The Metropolitan on Glencadam Gold at Randwick on Saturday.

Both were dashing, front-running rides.

After both, he was flashing a brilliant smile that bordered on cheeky.

In the early 1980s, when Mal Johnston was the undisputed king of Sydney racing, he loved the limelight, ate it for breakfast, dinner and tea.

In fact, ‘‘Miracle’’ was an unabashed self-promoting machine.

But, boy, couldn’t he ride, coming from the country to be a champion apprentice and champion senior rider in Sydney.

Young Tommy has progressed from winning an apprentice’s title in Sydney to now being one of the best riders in the big show, and another racing legend looks to have been born.

All he needs to do now is conquer the Melbourne spring carnival.

And that is a distinct possibility.

■ Of course, the late, great Tommy Smith would have been sitting in the big grandstand in the sky smiling and riding home daughter Gai’s winners in the Epsom, Metropolitan and Breeders Plate at Randwick, and in the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington.

That Gai has equalled her father’s record of seven Epsom wins and surpassed TJ with eight Metrop victories says so much about the daughter of the legend.

She carries the sport’s promotion on her shoulders.

But is she a better trainer than Tommy? I doubt it.

No one was before him and no one, even the great Bart Cummings, has shown he is better since.

■ It is not the big handout from Racing NSW to Newcastle that is causing problems.

But plenty of Novocastrians see the funding as giving with one hand and taking with the other.

In receiving the $11.2 million in track funding, Newcastle Jockey Club must cut its board from 10 to seven, and three of those will be appointees of Racing NSW.

That is one reason members have called a special meeting for tomorrow night to discuss what can be done.

NJC chairman Geoff Barnett has weighed into the debate.

He is asking members to vote for constitutional changes to the club.

‘‘Regarding the constitutional changes, the NJC board have requested from our lawyers to provide the changes in draft form,’’ Barnett said.

‘‘This is so members can be advised of the changes before our annual general meeting in November.

‘‘The changes can only be made if the members attending the meeting vote in favour.’’

Barnett described the funding as a chance to restore Broadmeadow as a leading track in Australia.

‘‘This funding is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make Broadmeadow a great racing centre again.

‘‘I also believe that the new board structure can work very well.

‘‘I will be advocating this to our members before the AGM.

‘‘We do not want to jeopardise the $11.2 million funding.

‘‘We all know what needs doing at the track, and this funding will ensure the improvements are carried out.

‘‘The NJC will request members to change the constitution to four voted-in board members and three appointees.

‘‘The appointees are to be Newcastle people and selected from a list, made up in conjunction with Racing NSW and the newly elected members.’’

■ It was great that Bart Cummings was on-track to see his 265th group 1 winner when Norzita blitzed her rivals in the Flight Stakes.

But it would not surprise if Bart got just as big a thrill out of imported stayer Dare To Dream’s third in the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m).

Dare To Dream is ready to win now, and old Bart just may have another cup on his mantelpiece before the end of the spring.

■ Thank goodness Ray Murrihy and his stewards were asking questions after Fat Al led all the way to win the Epsom.

A week earlier, Fat Al took a sit behind the pace in the Shannon Stakes when ridden by Nash Rawiller and was beaten easily as a $1.35 favourite.

After grilling Tommy Berry over his riding instructions, stewards accepted the explanation.

Wonder if punters who laid the tomato sauce last week and were gun-shy to back up on Saturday were also easily appeased.

■ Apprentice Rachel Murray was in hot water with stewards at Broadmeadow on Saturday.

They alleged she tried to weigh out in race five with an unapproved safety vest.

Steward Ray Livingstone asked Murray to produce the vest, but she allegedly showed stewards a different vest.

She was suspended for two weeks on that charge.

Murray was fined $300 for trying to weigh out with a vest that was lighter than the approved brands.

‘‘She pleaded guilty to both charges and was remorseful,’’ chief steward Danny Greer said.

■ Newcastle trainer Paul Perry looks to have another handy youngster.

That is the opinion after his two-year-old Wouldn’t It Be Nice finished fourth in the Breeders Plate on Saturday.

The youngster got going only when he was taken off the rails in the straight.

There are wins in him.

■ Marina Sands achieved a rare feat when winning at Newcastle on Saturday.

The three-year-old geld-ing won over 900 metres in 50.98 seconds, which was a class record.The course record of 50.08 seconds was set by Johnny on December 15, 2007.


Newcastle boxer Chad ‘‘Hollywood’’ Bennett hopes he is one win on foreign soil away from securing a world title fight in his home town after a fourth-round knockout of Ghana’s James Armah in their rematch at Newcastle Panthers on Friday night.
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Bennett successfully defended the World Boxing Organisation Oriental and Asia Pacific junior welterweight belts he won when he stopped Armah in the eighth of 12 rounds in their first meeting at the same venue on June 1.

Armah, a two-time former Commonwealth champion, cried foul after that fight, complaining it was stopped prematurely because he was ahead on two of the three scorecards and he believed he should have been given the chance to continue.

But there were no protests on Friday night after referee Brad Griffiths counted Armah out just as he regained his feet with about 30 seconds left in the fourth round.

Bennett trapped Armah in a corner with a flurry of 20 unanswered punches and the African fighter was finished.

‘‘He’s a very good boxer and he boxed really well at the start of the fight, and he hit me a lot,’’ Bennett told the Herald yesterday.

‘‘The game plan was to try to pressure him and suck a bit of fuel out of him then later in the fight bail him into a corner, similar to what happened last time, but this time it happened a lot earlier than I expected.

‘‘He started to tire a bit in the fourth round and he went into a corner, then I jumped on him in the corner, landed some good shots, and that was the end of him.

‘‘I landed some good shots, and the left hook I hit him with was probably the best punch I’ve thrown in a long time, and that hit him flush.

‘‘I thought he was going to get back up – he tried to get back up – but the referee counted him out, and they didn’t complain at all this time.’’

Bennett, the two-time former World Boxing Foundation welterweight champion, will speak to American-based promoter Vlad Warton this week to finalise details of his next fight against Ghanaian national welterweight champion Ben Ankrah next month.

That has been tentatively scheduled for November 17 in Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe. If he wins, Bennett hopes to headline a Warton-promoted WBO world junior welterweight title fight at Newcastle Entertainment Centre in February.

‘‘I’ve had a few missed calls from Vlad, but I’ll speak to him this week.

‘‘It looks like November 17 and he’s just locking in a venue, so I’m back at training on Tuesday, all guns blazing,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve got Ben Ankrah to concentrate on now, and a win there hopefully means a world title fight against Cesar Cuenca in Newcastle in February, which would be a dream come true.’’

Former Knight Cory Paterson won his first professional fight, knocking out Sydney’s Anton Tuilotolava 30 seconds into the second round of their support bout.

Chad ‘‘Hollywood’’ Bennett gets Ghana’s James Armah in a tight spot on Saturday night. Picture: Simone De Peak

Jeremy Smith will miss this weekend’s Test against Australia. Picture: Getty ImagesKnights recruit Jeremy Smith is expected to be ready for pre-season training with his new NRL club next month despite a shoulder injury that has ruled him out of the New Zealand team for the one-off Test against Australia in Townsville on Saturday night.
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The 32-year-old former Sharks, Dragons and Storm enforcer will see a specialist this week for a second opinion after shoulder surgeon Des Bokor recommended that Smith should have an operation to repair torn cartilage.

The Newcastle Herald has been told the injury is not serious and, whether Smith has surgery or allows it to heal without an operation, it will not stop him reporting for pre-season training with his new teammates on November 2.

Responding to concerned Knights supporters on Twitter yesterday, Smith tweeted: ‘‘don’t worry bout me boys ill be sweet!! #loveit’’.

Smith, whom Cronulla released from the final year of his contract on compassionate grounds, has signed a three-year deal with the Knights.

In a statement issued late last Friday night, the New Zealand Rugby League said Smith suffered the injury in his last game for Cronulla, a 34-16 loss to the Raiders in a qualifying final at Canberra Stadium on September 9.

‘‘A thorough medical recently with his new club, the Newcastle Knights, suggested further examination of the shoulder was needed,’’ the NZRL said.

‘‘An MRI scan this week has shown the severity of the injury had been underestimated and Smith has been ruled out.’’

Knights coach Wayne Bennett has recruited Smith and Beau Scott, two members of his 2010 premiership-winning St George Illawarra team, and former South Sydney and New Zealand Test enforcer David Fa’alogo to add some starch to the Newcastle pack.

Smith, who had two seasons at the Sharks after leaving the Dragons, was named Cronulla’s Player of the Year at the club’s awards presentation last month.

He has been replaced in the New Zealand Test side by Wests Tigers forward Adam Blair, who has played 25 internationals.

The Kiwis assembled in Cairns yesterday and will train today.

Meanwhile, veteran hooker Danny Buderus won his third Players’ Player of the Year award at the Knights’ awards presentation at Wests Leagues Club, New Lambton, on Friday night.

Buderus, who rejoined the Knights this year after three seasons with English Super League champions Leeds Rhinos, was voted Players’ Player in 2004, the year he was the NRL’s Dally M medallist, and in 2008, his last year at the Knights before joining Leeds.

Second-rower Chris Houston won his first Knights Player of the Year award, and Bennett gave his coach’s award to mid-season recruit Willie Mason.

Former NSW winger James McManus was named Clubman of the Year and Junior Kangaroos back-rower Alex McKinnon was Rookie of the Year.

Merewether all-rounder Pat Darwen showed why he was considered the best signing of last summer in Newcastle district cricket when he scored a run-a-ball 101 against University on Saturday.
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The entertaining innings took the Lions to a strong position of 7-300 before bad light cut the day’s play five overs short at University No1 Oval.

Sea Dragons captain Josh Emerton sent the Lions in on a slow wicket and with a short square-of-the-wicket boundary.

Darwen strode to the crease with a licence to play his shots after the top three of David Celep (40), Jono Dunn (47) and captain Simon Moore (46) built a strong platform.

The former Bankstown batsman dispatched his first two balls to the boundary and continued in that vein as he smashed 11 fours and two sixes in his third century for the Lions.

At the start of last summer Darwen captured the headlines due to his stint with the Australian under-19 team in 2005.

That hype has since moved to former NSW fast bowler Mark Cameron, who has also joined the Lions.

‘‘Coming to a new club, the first half of the season is about finding your feet, but now I can relax into it. It’s great having Scud [Cameron] to take the pressure off me,’’ Darwen said.

The NSW Country representative made two centuries last season against Wallsend, including 113 in the two-day final.

Merewether won the premiership trifecta last season and their dominant display against Uni’s strong bowling arsenal sent a warning to their rivals.

‘‘We’ve all made a really conscious effort to step up our game because we know everyone is going to be hunting for us this year, considering we won everything last year,’’ Darwen said.

‘‘We need to be a better side than last year to win it again.

‘‘The boys have stepped up to that challenge so far, so it’s really fantastic.’’

Former Wallsend batsman Joe Clarke (62) continued his fine form since switching to Stockton-Raymond Terrace by guiding the Seagulls to first-innings points against Western Suburbs (99) at Lynn Oval.

Stockton were dismissed for 124 in 46 overs with Wests’ Todd Griffith taking 5-16 off eight overs.

Clarke came to the crease at 4-44 and formed a 75-run partnership with Michael Ridgewell (21).

It followed Clarke’s 49 on debut for Stockton against University last week.

The Rosellas were cruising to a first-innings lead at 2-62 before Stockton’s Ben West (4-24) and captain Nick Foster (3-45) destroyed the Wests’ batting order.

At stumps, the Seagulls were 0-10 in their second innings.

Wallsend appear set to claim first-innings points at Kahibah Oval with Charlestown reeling at 8-112 in reply to the Tigers’ 156.

Tigers skipper Brett Jackson (46) again led from the front. Jackson was dismissed at 9-112, but a late flourish of 34 from wicketkeeper Josh Forsyth could be decisive.

Only Jed Dickson (39) made a start for the Magpies as Wallsend openers Matthew Wicks (3-23) and Dan McGovern (3-31) did the damage.

Hamilton-Wickham’s Ben Balcomb (56) top-scored in only his second first-grade match in a total of 9-297 (dec) against Toronto at Ron Hill Oval.

The Kookaburras are 0-49 in reply.

Newcastle City are well placed to take first-innings points over Waratah-Mayfield. City will resume at 2-91 on Saturday in reply to the Tahs’ 117.

City opener Dylan Hunter starred with 62.

Marcus Hainsworth and Mark Jones both made half-centuries in Belmont’s 234 against Cardiff-Boolaroo (1-24) at Cardiff Oval.

Stockton wicketkeeper Jeff Goninan reacts after Wests batsman Anthony Hobson is run out. Picture: Peter Stoop

You usually hear them before you see them. They have an aversion to showering and shaving, are excessively opinionated and opposed to everything that doesn’t comply with their leftist world view.
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They also have a preference for chaining themselves to heavy objects when they don’t get their way.

We are talking about activists, or attention-seeking pests who use up valuable public resources when the time comes to arrest or rescue them.

Let’s not mention the disproportionate amount of media attention they attract and their ability to unfairly hold multimillion-dollar investments to ransom.

As the Newcastle Herald’s environment reporter I get to interact with these characters more than most.

The battle of Laman Street, coal seam gas exploration and the expansion of coalmining and related industries have contributed to a busy couple of years for Hunter’s protest industry.

If you are a conservative-leaning, pro-development type you should probably stop reading now because I believe there is another perspective worth considering.

Fact: trespass, interfering with commercial production and disobeying police directions are criminal offences and liable to be punished by our courts.

But haven’t some of our country’s most important and progressive social changes also been the direct result of intense protest and activism?

Women’s suffrage, the Aboriginal right to vote and the abolition of the death penalty would probably still be pipedreams if ordinary punters hadn’t stood up to powerful and entrenched institutions.

History tends to focus on the end result of these campaigns.

What is not so well documented is many were started by a handful of fired-up individuals whose persistence broke through complacency and ridicule.

Maybe that’s why multimillion-dollar companies, which are otherwise immune to criticism, are so sensitive and keen to target pesky activist types.

In recent months we have seen the Hunter’s direct action group, Rising Tide, linked to ordinary citizens concerned about the impact of industrial development on their communities.

The first instance followed a community meeting in Mayfield in August to discuss the potential impact of the proposed fourth coal terminal on air quality.

The meeting was hosted by the Coal Terminal Action Group, whose membership includes some experienced environmental campaigners and activists.

Of the 80 people at the meeting I counted about 20 who I would consider to be activists. Three were members of Rising Tide.

It was enough to worry the big boys at Port Waratah Coal Services, who insist there is wide support for their $5 billion project.

‘‘A lot of the [Coal Terminal Action Group’s] members – for example Rising Tide – are ideologically opposed to coal and have histories of campaigning against anything to do with coal,’’ a media release declared.

Later that month Dart Energy, which is behind a proposed coal seam gas exploration project at Fullerton Cove, also resorted to the activist card.

‘‘Whilst we recognise that local residents might want to express their concerns peacefully, it was clear professional activists, from the Lock the Gate, Rising Tide and Greens groups from outside the area were behind the extended illegal blockading of the site,’’ the company asserted.

What wasn’t mentioned was that most of the blockade’s participants were non-political residents concerned about the impact of coal seam gas. I saw one Rising Tide member during the nine-day blockade.

The right to public protest, forcefully at times, is one of the founding pillars of our democracy.

But let’s not confuse someone who risks getting munched into a thousand bits because they have chained themselves to the top of a coal loader, with someone who pickets a coal seam gas site or a public street to stop the removal of some much loved trees.

In the end both have chosen to act because they are concerned about their community. It’s just that one chooses to break the law, spend someone else’s money and risk life and limb to make their point.

Unfortunately democracy isn’t perfect but it’s still the best option.