BEARING GIFTS: Transport Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance on Friday announced $150 million for Newcastle’s city centre.

Too scared to face the voters? (“City’s $150m boost”, Herald,26/8). Some find the fact that all announcements on Newcastle’s future only occur at property council or similar pro-Hunter development soireesa little galling, not to mentionpredictable.

We have so “generously”been given an extra $150 millionto fix “unforeseen problems”.If MrConstanceinsisted on following Transport for NSWadvice, via document 77he could save we taxpayers $100 million. We would have public transportwhere we want it, saving untold heartache to small business owners and commuters alike. Put public transport where it should be: in the transport corridor!

I wonder if MrConstance reads opinion in theHerald?

Tony Lawler, NewcastleA GOOD JOBIS NEVER FINISHEDMUCH is written each day in the Newcastle Herald about the damage to buildings in the East End due to road works and preparation for the Newcastle Supercar Race in November this year (“Concerns for historic East End homes”,Herald26/8). This will no doubt continue forever. Work on the roads, cars racing by, and people walking around as well as potential deafness and so on.

Meanwhile, the post office building continues to fall into massive decay and daily destruction without receiving anywhere near as much publicity as the anti-Supercar group are receiving on a daily basis.

The post office is part of Newcastle’s East End. So arethe railway stationand many private buildings, all of which are not receiving any publicity. Newcastle East End is a small placeand, like in the Civic and West End, work is underway to improve our city. We all have to face some inconvenience at times.Hopefully, it means improvement. And that is important to me,our children and our grandchildren.

John Freund,Adamstown HeightsNO WHINE, JUST ANGERTHIS is an angry letter. This is not a whinge or a whine it is an angry expression of frustration. As a resident of Newcastle East for 30 I think I have every right to be angry. My land rates have skyrocketed and my quality of life has plummeted. My suburb is a construction zone. My phone line has been cut. I am unable to walk around without being subjected to noise and dirt. I am unable to enjoy the parkland where I usually take my grandchildren. Traffic is a nightmare especially on weekends.

To add insult to injury I am bombarded with propaganda: flyers with glossy pictures thatbear no resemblance to reality; signage which contains Orwellian Doublespeak.

I believe Newcastle CityCouncil and Destination NSW have betrayed the citizens of Newcastle East and sold their souls to Mammon.

Jennifer O’Donoghue, Newcastle NOT EVERYONE TAKES A SIDECONGRATULATIONSto Dr Katherine Harper (“Everyone is expecting me to vote yesbut I won’t be”,Herald25/8) This was a well argued and sensible comment on same-sex marriage.

I well accept people’s concern for the huge expense of running the postal vote on this question. But why should we allow politicians to decideby a consciencevotefor anyimportant question? Who cares about their biases, opinions and secret prejudices? After all, they were elected to the house of representatives to representthe views and values of their electorate, not themselves.

Many people believethat we have had enough debate already, but we actually have had very little debate.It’s mostly been talk by either religious conservatives, who say the world will come to an end if you vote yes, or it’s talk by gay activists who wrongly claim that if you vote noyou’re homophobic.The vast majority of people and views in between have been left out and ignored. Until 10 years ago, it seems almost no-one in the gay community cared one way or another about gay marriage.Now they can’t live without it. Yes, love is love,but marriage is a different question. Give the people a direct vote.

Peter Devey,MerewetherUSELESSLAYER TOMYSTERYIT has taken three long years but at last it has been revealed that missing boyWilliam Tyrrell was in foster care when he was taken from his home in Kendall (“William was in foster care”,Herald26/8). Authorities have steadfastly refused to let the truth be known to the n public, creating a situation in which “the public has admittedly been given to think that [his] carers are his parents”and preventing the identity of William’s biological parents to be made known.

It has taken the dedication of Facebook group W4W Walking Warriors and the fair judgment of the Supreme Court of NSW and JusticeBrereton to finally let the truth be published by the media, which has previously been threatened with criminal conviction if they did so. Endangered and missing children are everybody’s responsibility and I believe there should be no secrecy surrounding them that could possibly hinder their safe return or well-being.

It’s not just the NSW government who should take the blame for the wrongful decisions regarding this matter.Our leader, Malcolm Turnbull, would have known the truth but did nothing to put the matter right. Makes you wonder what other secrets the n government is hiding from us.

Margaret Priest, WallsendTRAFFIC KEEPS ON TRUCKINGIN follow to my letter about dangerous Sandgate Road (Letters 10/8), Sonia Hornery took my concerns to Newcastle City Council. I have just received a reply from acting director infrastructure Ken Liddell. It states, in a nutshell, that the council conducted a traffic survey on Sandgate Road, north of Mawson Street, in May 2016. The survey result indicated that the average daily traffic volume on Sandgate Roadis 8990 vehicles, 4.7 per centheavy vehicles.

Mr Liddell goes on to state asimilar traffic survey in 2004 indicated that the average daily traffic volume at that time was 12,000 vehicles consisting of 9 per centheavy vehicles. The reply concludes that acomparison of the two survey results indicatesthat the average daily traffic volume on Sandgate Roadhas reduced by 25 per cent, with the average daily heavy vehicle volume reducing by around 50 per cent, over the last decade.

All I can say islive on it.Try and cross it, try to get out of your driveway. We do not need an alarm to wake you, we have compression brakes.

Ray Davidson,Birmingham Gardens

WA’s two AFL teams, West Coast and Fremantle, might still be fighting over who deserves to host the first AFL game at the brand new Perth Stadium however neither side will take part in the first major sporting event at the venue.

That honour belongs to a sport not even played at the highest level in the state.

The government announced on Monday that the first sporting event at Perth Stadium would be an NRL double-header on Saturday March 10.

Rugby league clubs South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will open the 2018 NRL season against yet-to-be-announced opponents.

WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said he anticipated thousands of people would travel to Perth to watch the two opening-week matches of the premiership season.

“Events like the NRL double-header are important because they bring in visitors and attract national media attention,” he said.

“This is just one more way we can drive visitation to fill planes, get visitors to Perth and fill our hotel rooms.

“Tourism contributed $10 billion to WA’s economy in 2016 and the industry supports 109,000 jobs.

“It is a key pillar of the state government’s plan to diversify the economy, create jobs and develop business opportunities.”

The rugby league blockbuster is expected to attract between 40,000 and 45,000 people, putting up to $2.25 million in the state’s coffers.

Sports Minister Mick Murray said the NRL would continue to grow in popularity in Perth.

“The NRL premiership fixture between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors played at nib Stadium in June 2015 was a sell-out match,” he said.

“The crowd of 20,272 still holds the record for sporting event attendance at the venue since its redevelopment.”

The news will come as a disappointment for the Fremantle Dockers, with the club saying in early August they wanted to open the new 60,000-seat stadium with a Saturday twilight game against a heavyweight Victorian club.

The Dockers had already pitched the idea to the AFL but the Eagles hit back with claims of their own.

West Coast and Fremantle usually alternate when it comes to determining which club plays round one of the season at home.

Under that agreement, it will be the Eagles next year, given the Dockers opened the 2017 season in Perth against Geelong.

Both Fremantle and West Coast said they weren’t keen to open the venue with a Western Derby, meaning only one club is likely to come up trumps in that battle.

The NRL double-header is the last of a trio of blockbuster rugby events coming to WA as part of a sponsorship deal.

nib Stadium will host a Rugby League World Cup double-header on November 12 while Perth Stadium will showcase game two of NRL’s State of Origin series in 2019.

Tickets for the NRL double-header on March 10 are available to Bulldogs and Rabbitohs’ club members from August 29, with tickets on sale to the general public on August 30.

While rugby league will be the first sport played at the stadium, it won’t be the first-ever spectacle the venue hosts.

That honour currently belongs to British musician Ed Sheeran, who plays two shows at the stadium a week earlier on March 2 and 3, the venue’s earliest confirmed event.

– with AAP

Changes to ‘s GST treatment for developers are needed if the country is to follow America and Britain in pushing greater use of build-to-rent models, building giant Lendlease said.

The company is looking to focus on the build-to-rent sector in its US and London developments in the coming years but the GST in made it uncompetitive for developers compared to building for resale.

Lendlease chief executive Steve McCann flagged ‘s tax issues as a hurdle as he released the company’s results on Monday.

“The units-to-rent sector is one we are entering as it is well established in the US and London. It provides a potential new asset class in our investment segment,” Mr McCann said.

“In it is a possible product for us, but there are tax issues which makes it a challenge. The sector needs government support to make it viable.”

Mr McCann said the residential sector was a “highlight” in the past 12 months. The only strain was the decline in construction margins, which were due to timing issues on projects.

Mr McCann said while the group was not a “barometer” for the residential sector given it operated at the higher-end inner-city markets, there were pockets of oversupply in suburban sectors.

“Residential development was a highlight with a 20 per cent increase in completions to 5769, driven by the delivery of a record 2533 apartments. We have settled about 90 per cent of these apartments to date, with a default rate of less than 1 per cent,” he said.

This included 1087 apartment completions at Darling Square, Sydney, Victoria Harbour and Toorak Park, Melbourne and the Brisbane showgrounds.

“At Barangaroo we still have about four years of building on the apartments – about 775 in total – including remediation of the site and are also looking for capital partners, so there is no urgency.

He said that while Lendlease did not have many overseas buyers there could be some slowdown because of regulatory changes.

Over its global business, Lendlease’s total apartment presales of 4167 units are worth $3.9 billion and 850 units for rent being delivered are worth $500 million.

The group reported a net profit of $758.6 million, up 9 per cent, for the 2017 year, which was revealed by mistake earlier in the month.

???The full-year dividend was 66??, with the second half of 33?? to be paid on September 20. Lendlease never issues earnings forecasts.

Mr McCann said in light of the tragic fire in Grenfell, London, Lendlease had reviewed all its buildings for cladding and fire safety.

“We have not identified or are aware of any of our properties that are unsafe to occupy,” he said. “We look at a building in a holistic way and do regular inspections.”

For construction, the earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margin was up ???30 basis points to 2.7 per cent, but EBITDA in its n construction business fell to $201 million from $232 million.

The n margin was affected by performance across a small number of projects and increased bidding activity, while the US reported strong revenues and margins were boosted by successful project close-outs.

Europe is starting to recover from challenging market conditions and the focus in Asia remains on internal pipeline.

Macquarie Equities’ Rob Freeman said while no guidance was provided on 2018, Macquarie was forecasting a full-year 2018 net profit of $789.5 million, up about 3 per cent on 2017.

“This accelerates to 11 per cent growth in 2019 factoring in material profits from Darling Harbour residential,” Mr Freeman said.

“The near-term earnings outlook and ultimately cash-flow outlook for the business remain solid factoring in a high proportion of pre-sold product and an n construction business improving from a low base,” he said.

NEWCASTLE MP Sharon Claydon’s electorate office window is covered in hearts to promote a vote she wishes ns weren’t having.

It’s the $122 million postal vote foisted on an unhappy public because the Federal Coalition Government is divided into camps –those who strongly opposesame sex marriage and those who aren’t strong enough to oppose them.

A postal vote is the inevitable consequence of n politics in 2017, where serious issues aren’t debated based on what is in the public interest, but on how the politics of the issues play out. Polls show a majority of ns either support same sex marriage or don’t regard it as an issue.

Governments in the past have declared mandates and made big decisions on much more controversial issues, based on the slimmest of slim electoral victories. But on same sex marriage both major parties have struggled. Labor is strong now, in part because it works politically to be seen strong because the Coalition is so divided, but in the past has also been divided. Julia Gillard famously stated her opposition to same sex marriage while Prime Minister.

A poll of Hunter politicians at local, state and federal level on Monday produced strongly-worded, heartfelt responses. Hunter Labor politicians seem genuinely pleased to be able to state their support for same sex marriage and the reasons, a number quite personal.

Support for same sex marriage is one thing, but garnering enough support for people to take part in the postal plebiscite –whether for or against same sex marriage –is another thing altogether.

“I can totally understand people’s temptation to throw away Mr Turnbull’s survey in disgust, to not dignify it with participation, but I would urge them to think twice before doing so,” Ms Claydon said.

It is gay Lake Macquarie Liberal councillor Nick Jones who summed up the difficulties this postal poll presents for so many people. His council announced a vote on same sex marriage which, surprisingly, he objected to. Organisations representing whole communities, like a council, should not speak on behalf of their communities, he said.

Upper Hunter mayor Wayne Bedggood probably summed up this period in ’s history best. In 100 years time people will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Issue: 38,583.

FRONT-RUNNER: Tim Lang in action at the world cross triathlon championships. Lang said the winding mountain course on the bike was treacherous. Picture: Delly CarrBelmont North triathlete Tim Lang couldn’t have asked for a better trip after leading the n team as flag-bearer and defending his world title in Canada.

Lang returned home on Sunday fresh from winning the 45-49 years men’s world cross triathlon championship at Penticton.

The 48-year-old claimed his maiden world title in the same format and age division last November at LakeCrackenbackin the Snowy Mountains after producing an epic finish in the run leg.

John Domandl and Paul McGlynn. Picture: Delly Carr

This time around, Lang built a two-minute lead in the opening swim leg and was never threatened, finishing the 30-kilometre mountain course in two hours, 27 minutes and 33 seconds.Canadian multiple Xterra world triathlon champion Calvin Zaryski was second 2:29:49.

Lang said being chosen as flag-bearer for at the multi-sport world championships, which also took in long distance triathlon, aquathlon and duathlon, made the win extra special.

“It’s been the best 10 days of my life to get picked to lead in 200 athletes, then defend my world title,” he said.

“Going to another country, racing all the Europeans, Canadians and Americans, a lot of them weren’t at Crackenback, so it’s a true world title.

“It’s even more satisfying knowing you’ve got most of the top guys there.”

His next focus was on qualifying for the world sprint and standard triathlon titles to be held on the Gold Coast in September next year as well as defending his cross crown in Denmark.

He was part of a Hunter group at Penticton which includedShane Gibbs, who was second in 35-39 years men’s aquathlon.Sarah Gardner was sixth in junior women’s duathlon and aquathlon, while ParalympianJohn Domandland guide Paul McGlynn won the long distance triathlon, aquathlon and duathlonPTV1division.

John Domandl and Paul McGlynn. Picture: Delly Carr

If only we could afford to live the way we do, lamented Europe’s entitled nobility as its privilege crumbled in the 1930s.

Eighty odd years later, the Turnbull government might feel the same way. Trapped between the world as it should be, and the world that is.

Its response is uncannily similar: spend more than it earns, and then wonder why it is unpopular.

And like previous governments, it is also engaging in the standard subterfuges, from proclaiming its low tax bona fides while increasing taxes, to invoking a higher national interest and seeking anything to distract from its own inadequacies.

Not only have its circumstances failed to improve, this year has brought a new variable: the temporary emergence of a tri-cameral system as the High Court effectively becomes the third house, vetting the executive’s extra-parliamentary postal plebiscite “camel”, and ruling on the very legitimacy of its majority.

The more the government is slave to these externalities, the weaker it looks. Negation of its novel mail-in on constitutional grounds, followed by the possible ejection of one or more of its MPs, would fall somewhere between corrosive and explosive.

Enter the distractions. This week (again) it is soaring power prices. That, and people smuggling – apparently there’s still some bilge water in which to slosh around even after the vessels in question have long been dry-docked, their shattered human cargo banished off-shore.

First to power. In addition to re-emphasising his Chifley-style nation-building plan for the Snowy 2.0 initiative, Malcolm Turnbull has called in electricity executives to see what progress they’ve made since a stern lecture delivered three weeks ago. The answers will be underwhelming.

This kind of “out there” governing makes a show of the Prime Minister’s determination, but it also points up the modesty of any changes secured. Structural reform inevitably takes longer – like Snowy 2.0 ironically.

On borders, Turnbull and his hardline Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, have finally found the point of official human callousness beyond which an acquiescent Labor opposition will not tread. At last!

Out of the blue, asylum seekers granted access to for medical treatment, and refusing to return offshore are to be summarily denied government assistance. Dutton believes people will applaud his resolve and further, that lawyers representing their rights are being “un-n”.

Pure theatre. Beyond its actual cruelty, this shift has more to do with departing votes than any arriving boats.

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Cronulla are close to reaching a settlement with Todd Carney over an unfair dismissal claim brought against the club by the former Sharks five-eighth in a development that could precede his return to the NRL

The former NSW State of Origin playmaker and Dally M award winner, now based in England with Salford Red Devils, was seeking close to $2.4 million in damages after being sacked by Cronulla after his notorious “bubbler” incident at a Sutherland Shire nightspot in 2014.

The matter had been set down for a hearing to begin on Monday at which Carney and former Sharks officials were expected to appear. The pending mutually-agreed settlement will avoid the infamous episode and its aftermath being played out in public again on the eve of the club’s campaign to win back-to-back premierships in this year’s finals.

The 31-year-old’s legal team had claimed that Cronulla did not follow due process in the manner that his contract was torn up, but the Sharks said in their defence that he had breached the NRL’s code of conduct and revealed other alleged indiscretions during his time at the club.

It is believed Carney is to be given a six-figure sum as part of the settlement although the Sharks and his legal representative declined to comment when contacted on Monday.

The NRL confirmed that whatever payment was made to the player it would not be included in the Sharks’ salary cap as it was a legal issue..

Previously sacked by Canberra and released from the final year of his contract by Sydney Roosters, Carney has not played in the NRL since being discarded by Cronulla following the release of a photo on social media that showed him urinating towards his mouth.

It was assumed that incident spelled the end of an NRL career that included a grand final appearance with the Roosters in 2010, but the door has not completely been shut on Carney.

Off contract at Salford, Carney said last month he would wait until after the Manchester team’s run in the Challenge Cup and his legal dispute with Cronulla was finalised before making a decision on his future.

If he is picked up by any NRL club his return would have to get the green light from the game’s integrity unit and would likely have conditions attached to it. However, after avoiding drama in the English Super League there is no suggestion that League Central would oppose his registration.

At Carney’s age he would not be able to command anything like the club record salary he was awarded at the Sharks in 2013, but shapes as a cut-price option for a club chasing additional class and depth in their halves.

One such team that could be a good fit is Brisbane, who brought Benji Marshall in as an experienced back-up to their playmakers this season, but have since seen the New Zealand international sign with his former club Wests Tigers.

South Sydney is another that could potentially benefit from Carney’s creative influence.

Less than a year ago Ali Mohammed Moussa was slapped with an apprehended violence order meant to protect his former partner.

But in recent times, and allegedly without objection, the 43-year-old had been spending time with the woman and her daughter at their Lalor Park property in Sydney’s west.

On Sunday night any prospects of reconciliation were thrown into inexplicable turmoil after the couple’s little girl was shot dead.

A single-barrel sawn-off shotgun, allegedly brought onto the property and left unattended by Mr Moussa, caused the child’s death.

Police are investigating whether the fatal shot was fired when the three-year-old girl and other children found and began playing with the loaded weapon, Fairfax Media understands.

The victim’s mother was inside the home when the child suffered a gunshot wound to the neck. Police believe Mr Moussa was outside the property at the time the gunshot rang out.

He paced around in the street as the girl’s distraught mother was heard screaming that it was all his fault for having a gun inside the home.

Once the mother was loaded into an ambulance, she shouted “I hate you, f— you, I hate you!”

Mr Moussa was on bail at the time for unrelated offences before police swarmed Danny Road on Sunday night and arrested him.

He was due to be sentenced for those unrelated charges on Monday.

Instead he was sobbing in the back of a police truck as he was driven to Blacktown Local Court to appear on firearm charges.

The Arncliffe man, who is listed as the director of a seldom-known investment company and engineering firm, has not been charged with directly causing the shooting.

However he is facing charges for possessing an unregistered and prohibited weapon and failing to take all reasonable precautions to ensure it was safely kept. He has also been charged with contravening an AVO.

Domestic violence had previously affected the family. Police had been called to the home before, including in September to reports of gunshots and yelling.

On September 20 last year, an AVO was taken out intending to protect the victim’s mother. The order banned Mr Moussa from going to the woman’s house or workplace.

However police have been told the couple had kept in contact and she did not object to him being at the home recently.

Recounting Sunday night’s traumatic and chaotic scenes, neighbour Mark Tupa said he heard a gun go off and ran outside to see what had happened.

“The father came out and was screaming and crying. I saw another guy leave the house with blood all over his hands,” he said.

Mr Tupa said the girl’s mother came out of the house shortly after, screaming at one of the men.

“She was just saying it was his fault and he shouldn’t have had a gun in the house,” he said.

Another man was also heard shouting “my niece just died”.

Quakers Hill Local Area Command Superintendent Paul Carrett said the death of a three-year-old girl in any circumstances was tragic.

“It is tragic for the family and it is tragic for the police and other emergency services who attend these scenes,” he said on Monday.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate the need to keep firearms safe at all times and stored in accordance with legislation.”

Mr Moussa was refused bail to appear in Blacktown Local Court on September 1.

In terms of corporate strategic cock-ups the Murdochs must be in the running for this year’s first prize for their failed attempt to snare ownership of Ten Network.

The Murdochs have comprehensively shot themselves in the foot or in sports parlance – scored an own-goal.

Not only did they get beaten to the post for Ten by US Network giant CBS but in so doing they opened the door to a brand new well-resourced competitor for their Foxtel pay network in – as CBS announced it would now launch its video streaming service CBS All Access.

Had Lachlan Murdoch (as flagbearer for the family on this occasion) and his fellow Ten shareholder Bruce Gordon, waited for the media laws to change there may have been a very different outcome as they could have taken clean ownership.

Until earlier this year the Murdochs had a very firm stranglehold on Ten – Lachlan owned more than 7 per cent of the shares directly, Murdoch-controlled Foxtel had around 15 per cent and with their allies Bruce Gordon (14.9 per cent) and James Packer (7 per cent) they had the share register wrapped up.

The troika of Murdoch, Packer and Gordon were also guarantors on a $200 million Commonwealth Bank loan to Ten.

And Rupert Murdoch’s US programmer Fox was one of Ten’s largest program suppliers. It was an onerous and expensive supply contract that Ten was desperately trying to renegotiate in order to reduce its cost base and get business back on a commercial footing.

Additionally the Foxtel-controlled company MCN was enmeshed in the operations of Ten as it had the contract to sell the advertising.

The Murdochs and their friends had all the bases covered.

That all changed over a weekend in June. Out of nowhere Murdoch and Gordon informed Ten management that they would no longer guarantee the company’s debt and warned the directors that they would thus be liable if the network continued to trade under the cloud of potentially insolvency.

Directors had little option but to bring in administrators. Gordon and Murdoch clearly believed they had enough cards in their hands to convert the debt, they had guaranteed, into equity and get control of Ten on the cheap.

They mistakenly relied on the fact that the mooted media ownership laws changes were in the bag and they would be legally able to pick up the network while in the hands of administrators. It was to be a executed with militaristic precision – a bloodless coup.

But they didn’t count on Pauline Hanson and the rest of the colourful crossbench not to mention a citizenship crisis.

Moving too early was only one mistake.

In pushing the Ten Network into administration the Murdoch/Gordon team made an equally fatal strategic error.

Until this point Murdoch and Gordon held the advantage – because they held the equity. Once the administrators were appointed it was open season. The administrators were then compelled to put the business on the auction block, open up its books to all comers and engage in a bidding process.

(When the shares were still trading Murdoch and Gordon could have launched a takeover offer – it would have had needed to be structured in a complex way with non-voting securities. But it was probably doable.)

Once the administrators had placed Ten on the block – others began to sniff around. In particular CBS which was also a large program supplier and was owed hundreds of millions by Ten, had entered the data room. It had another connection with Ten in that it was one-third owner of one of its digital programs – Eleven.

Bruce Gordon appeared to have a deal sewn-up. Photo: Rob Homer

There had been plenty of media discussion about private equity rival bidders but almost no talk of CBS – which as a creditor and a program supplier – also had plenty of leverage and plenty of skin in the game.

From the detail of the deal announced on Monday we know that CBS will take care of the $200 million in Ten’s debt owed to the Commonwealth Bank and the $140 million owed to Murdoch, Packer and Gordon for guarantor fees. The purchase price will also include forgiveness of what the administrators estimate is a $300 million owed by Ten to CBS for program liabilities. It will also honour staff entitlements.

A rough estimate says CBS will be paying the equivalent of $600 million or more for Ten.

But how much Fox will recover from what it was owed by Ten is not clear. It’s unlikely to be anything like 100 cents in the dollar. That’s just another bit of the collateral damage that the Murdoch empire will endure thanks to the decision to put Ten into administration.

At this early stage it is not clear how this compares with Murdoch/ Gordon’s offer. But one thing is for sure. The CBS deal will not require a change in legislation (although it will need Foreign Investment Review Board approval).

From the perspective of the administrators and receivers this is a better bet than trying to second guess Pauline Hanson’s next move. (Remember this is the person who wore a burqa into Parliament a couple of weeks back.)

Senator Pauline Hanson wore a burqa during question time at Parliament House. Photo: Andrew Meares

All that’s left now is to see whether the Murdoch/Gordon camp attempt some kind of legal action to block the sale of Ten to CBS – this must be a possibility.

And last but not least investors can observe the fallout for the Ten’s free to air competitors – Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment.

Having a financially crippled Ten has suited them well. Shares in Nine in particular were bid up on the back of the Ten’s troubles. But Nine shares have fallen on Monday in response to of the proposed sale of Ten while Seven West Network stock has risen.

This possibly reflects the fact that Nine’s video streaming business, STAN, which it part-owns with Fairfax Media, sources significant content from CBS – which as mentioned earlier is about to launch its own service into .

It doesn’t matter if it’s Brad Fittler, Andrew Johns, Phil Gould, John Cartwright, Des Hasler, Dean Pay, Pottsy, Ralph Malph or even The Fonz himself.

Whoever takes over from Laurie Daley as NSW coach will find themselves in charge of a team and culture requiring a complete rebuild. Again. Just as Queensland’s legends were finally starting to yield, as the Blues finally looked like turning this thing around, the NSWRL finds itself in complete disarray at the wrong moment in Origin history.

Happy Days? I don’t think so.

When Daley fronted the NSWRL board in late July, he had the tentative support of enough directors who were prepared to give him one final year to defeat the Maroons.

While some wanted change, they were prepared to defer to the judgment of chairman George Peponis, who had publicly declared after the game-three loss that he wanted Daley to continue.

Then Daley fronted the board. He was battle-weary and presented so poorly that they quickly changed their mind and thought it best to undertake a searching review.

What concerned them the most was that the coach didn’t know about Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson’s schooner-a-thon at a Lennox Head pub five days before the Origin decider.

While Daley and team management were unaware of the movements of their two backline stars, news of their drinking session was bouncing around several club coaches within a day. If they knew, how could Daley not? And so close to such a big game?

When Daley wasn’t given a contract extension at that first board meeting, even his closest allies conceded his time was up.

Results were chiefly the reason. NSW have lost the last three series on his watch. Few would’ve been afforded that much latitude.

So much has been made of the so-called “boozy culture” within the Blues set-up and the longer time goes on, the more stories this column hears about the disastrous consequences of staying at The Star for game two.

When Fairfax Media revealed in February that the casino ??? which is a major sponsor of the Blues ??? would be the team base, some within the NSWRL and around the team became quite nervous about what could potentially happen. Daley assured them there would be no issue. That now appears to have been a fatal decision; a blind show of faith in the players he selected to represent the state.

During their time at the casino, the playing group became disconnected and fractured. Some retreated in their downtime to the blackjack tables, others to the poker machine area, others to its bars. Keeping tabs on them was like herding cats.

The Star is a sponsor for next season, but we’re assured the board will allow Daley’s replacement to base the side wherever he sees fit. There is no contractual obligation to stay at the venue.

Without again trawling through all the wreckage of the NSW series defeat, it’s become clear certain cliques had formed within the team. “It was a weird camp, man,” is how one player described it to me.

Some reports have overblown the significance of expensive bar bills. Once again, the rugby league media misses the real story. A bar tab of $4000 for 40 people is hardly surprising. Let’s not blame team management but perhaps question the ridiculous price of drinks in this city.

Indeed, those within the Maroons set-up have been having a little chuckle about it all. “Four grand? Lightweights,” said one, pointing out that the Queenslanders could sometimes nudge five-figure tabs during their bonding sessions.

Coaches can allow players to drink as much alcohol as they want. They can run a camp however they want, as long as nobody is breaking the law, harassing the public, posting body parts on social media or trashing hotel rooms like they’re Keith Richards.

The result is all that matters.

The Maroons keep winning series after series, including this year’s when they started games two and three as distinct outsiders with the bookmakers.

Meanwhile, NSW players often return to their respective clubs after Origin unfit and disillusioned. This year, some Blues players were more concerned about talking about the contracts they just signed, or were about to sign. Queenslanders talk about eating small NSW children.

This is what clubs are talking about when they say they do not want their players being exposed to the Blues culture because in some respects the Blues culture poisons them for the rest of the season. “I’m getting underpaid,” declared one star recently to his chief executive, having listened to weeks of contract talk.

With this in mind, here comes Brad Fittler, rugby league’s answer to The Fonz. Aaaaayyyyy!

He has been the standout choice to take over as coach for the past two years. Origin needs his intensity, his intellect, his madness, his nous, his voice, his passion ??? all of it! ??? as much as NSW.

Johns and Gould and whoever he needs will soon follow if Fittler is reappointed. At some stage, Danny Buderus needs to be involved, too. But if the NSWRL think Fittler is about to walk into the job with the seat now vacant, it needs to think again. He will only come in on his terms and in the right circumstances.

Reports at the weekend suggested the NSWRL was about to make Fittler, Johns and Gould an “offer they couldn’t refuse”. We’re assuming that doesn’t mean money, because all three of them would do it for a can of Coke and a pie if necessary.

What Fittler needs is the ability to run the team however he wants, without having to hit KPIs, without having to show his face in the office every day, without having to base his side at a casino to appease management and sponsors.

NSW needs a coach, nothing more. Time to get out of the casino, cut back on the support staff and rediscover the essence of what Origin is all about and then, finally, these happy days will be yours and mine and all of NSW’s happy days once again.