Port beat Hawthorn in AFL trial match

Port Adelaide’s matured-aged rookie Brett Eddy sealed an AFL premiership-season debut by booting five goals in Sunday’s 28-point win against Hawthorn.

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Power coach Ken Hinkley assured the 27-year-old Eddy would debut after his star showing in Port’s 0.14.12 (96) to 1.8.11 (68) trial victory.

Eddy kicked four of his goals in a 10-minute purple patch at Noarlunga in Adelaide’s south.

Hinkley says he’ll move to upgrade Eddy from the rookie list to allow his selection for Port’s premiership season opener on March 25 against Sydney.

“We reward form normally so I’d be surprised if there’s not a 27-year-old debutant,” Hinkley said.

Eddy, who quit his stockbroking job after being rookie-listed late last year by the Power, had dominated in recent seasons in the SANFL – he was the state league’s leading goalkicker last year.

“He probably deserved it before this pre-season but you get reluctant because of age,” Hinkley said.

“You look at the level under you and he has kicked 70, 80 goals consistently.”

Against Hawthorn, Eddy turned the tide Port’s way with his third-term scoring spree.

Hawthorn led by 10 points at halftime before Eddy’s burst triggered a seven-goal to none third quarter by Port, who notched their first win of the three pre-season games.

Former Essendon ruckman Paddy Ryder, returning for Port after a year-long ban, was prominent with 35 hitouts, seven marks and a goal.

And the Power’s West Australian draftee Sam Powell-Pepper (23 possessions, one goal) surely booked a premiership-season debut.

The Hawks – mentored by assistant Adem Yze, as head coach Alastair Clarkson opted for a seat in the grandstand among the 5628-strong crowd – were superbly served by recruit Tom Mitchell.

The former Swan collected a game-high 29 disposals including eight clearances and laid six tackles, while fellow newcomer to Hawthorn, Jaeger O’Meara, impressed with 27 possessions.

“He’s a beauty,” Yze said of O’Meara.

“He has got better and better each week.

“And the synergy within our midfield will get hopefully better as time goes on as well, him and Tom Mitchell especially – learning our way and the way that we play … they have just got better and better each week.”

Another recruit, ex-Adelaide utility Ricky Henderson, gathered 21 touches and kicked a supergoal in his first outing in Hawthorn colours, but ex-Tiger Ty Vickery was quiet – one goal from his eight disposals.

Trump’s revised travel ban denounced by over 130 experts

Over 130 US foreign policy experts have denounced President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, saying it undermines America’s national security and interests as much as the original order barring travellers from some Muslim-majority countries and refugees.

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“To Muslims, including those victimised by or fighting against ISIS (Islamic State), it will send a message that reinforces the propaganda… that falsely claim the United States is at war with Islam,” read the letter by former government officials and experts.

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“Welcoming Muslim refugees and travelers, by contrast, exposes the lies of terrorists and counters their warped vision,” added the document dated Friday.

Among the 134 signatories were some who served in either or both Republican and Democratic administrations were former senior diplomat Nicholas Burns, ex-National Security Council counter-terrorism director Richard Clarke and ex-undersecretary of defense Michele Flournoy.

Most served under Democratic presidents, including former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, ex-national security advisor Susan Rice and ex-National Counterterrorism director Matthew Olsen.

Their comments echo those being made in court by US states claiming the modified measures discriminate against Muslims and are detrimental to US interests.

“Bans like those included in this order are harmful to US national security and beneath the dignity of our great nation,” the letter read.

The executive order “weakens this country’s ability to provide global leadership and jeopardizes our national security interests by failing to support the stability of our allies that are struggling to host large numbers of refugees,” it added.

The letter was also sent to Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security chief John Kelly and Acting Director of National Intelligence Michael Dempsey.

The revised directive temporarily closes US borders to all refugees and citizens from six mainly-Muslim countries. 

It denies US entry to all refugees for 120 days and halts for 90 days the granting of visas to nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The new order, unveiled Monday, is due to go into effect March 16 and replaces the previous Trump directive that was blocked in federal court. 

The blocked order included an indefinite Syrian refugee travel ban and its blacklist of barred countries included Iraq.

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Mosul museum looted and vandalised

After two and a half years under Islamic State control, all that is left in Mosul’s museum are the traces of looting and destruction.

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Inside the rubble-strewn building, where militants filmed themselves destroying ancient artifacts, the large stone wing of a statue of lamassu — an Assyrian winged bull deity — lies on the dusty floor among other broken remnants of the past.

A block engraved with Arabic Islamic calligraphy lies close by, and some Islamic manuscripts have been left undamaged. But almost everything else has gone.

“What they didn’t loot they destroyed,” said Lieutenant Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammedawi, of Iraq’s elite Rapid Response units, who captured the museum building from Islamic State just days ago.

The battle against the militants still raged nearby on Saturday, however, as a Reuters cameraman visited the site with Iraqi troops.

Dozens of Assyrian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Persian and Roman artifacts that the ransacked museum held have all been stolen or damaged.

“Some were smuggled out of Iraq,” Mohammedawi said.

Islamic State militants filmed themselves smashing some of the building’s contents including priceless statues with sledgehammers in 2015, as part of their highly publicised campaign to erase any cultural history that contravenes their extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam.

But they have also used the antiquities as a source of income. Excavations under an ancient mosque elsewhere in Mosul, recently discovered after the militants retreated, showed that they took care of artifacts for loot.

The efforts to avoid damaging some antiquities contrast with the destruction of ancient sites across Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, from the desert city of Palmyra to the Assyrian capital of Nimrud, south of Mosul.

The United States has said the looting and smuggling of artifacts has been a significant source of income for the militants. In July 2015, US authorities handed Iraq a hoard of antiquities it said it had seized from Islamic State in Syria.

A US-backed Iraqi campaign dislodged Islamic State from most Iraqi cities captured in 2014 and 2015. The militant group is now fighting in its last major urban stronghold, in the western part of Mosul, where the museum is located.

The outside of the building, which features Roman-style columns, is blackened from shell or rocket blasts and peppered with bullet holes.

The body of an Islamic State fighter lay just outside the church on Saturday, days after the fighting had moved further forward.

Thai soap angers family of Myanmar’s last king

Soe Win, the great grandson of Myanmar’s last monarch King Thibaw, told AFP his family were angered by “A Lady’s Flame”, a new hit prime-time soap that recounts a bloody dynastic power struggle.

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The show is set in a fictional kingdom but almost entirely mimics the final years of the Konbaung dynasty in the 19th century in the country formerly known as Burma.

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It portrays the scheming among a key queen and princesses who orchestrated the massacre of nearly a hundred people to ensure Thibaw had no rivals to the throne following his father’s death in 1878.

While the massacre is historical fact, Thibaw’s scions are upset with their family’s portrayal by a country that shields its own monarchy from any criticism

“We have asked Thais this, would they accept it if one of our companies here did the same thing about their country,” Soe Win told AFP.

“If no action is taken, we will ask for help from their (Thailand’s) royalty,” he added. 

Thailand ferociously enforces a lese majeste law that bans scrutiny or criticism of its monarchy.

Increasing numbers have been jailed in recent years for their comments about the royal family, sometimes for as much as 30 years.

It is only supposed to protect senior living royal family members. 

But recent cases have been brought against a historian for writing about a Thai king four centuries ago, against students who staged a play about a fictional kingdom and against a man for insulting the favourite dog of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Neighbours Thailand and Myanmar were bitter rivals for centuries and fought a number of bloody wars.

One of the most momentous battles saw Myanmar forces attack the city of Ayutthaya, second capital of the Siamese kingdom, and raze it to the ground in 1767, forcing the inhabitants to abandon the city.

In Thai historical soaps and dramas the Burmese are often portrayed as having villainous or treacherous tendencies, something that has previously caused anger in Thailand’s western neighbour.

Soe Win said he was particularly incensed by scenes in “A Lady’s Flame” in which royal family members slapped each other. 

“It’s quite insulting, as if we are wild,” he said. 

For many Burmese the fall of its monarchy at the hands of the British just a few years after Thibaw took the throne was a deep psychological scar.

He died in exile in India though there are plans to return his remains to his homeland. 

His family are playing a much more visible role now that the military who suppressed them have given way to a civilian-led government.

“If no action is taken, we will ask for help from their (Thailand’s) royalty,” says a relative of Myanmar’s last king of the TV drama. Pic: khaosodenglish长沙桑拿按摩论坛,khaosodenglish长沙桑拿按摩论坛,

PM speaks energy storage with Tesla boss

Malcolm Turnbull has had an “in-depth” discussion with tech entrepreneur Elon Musk about the future of electricity supply in Australia.

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But it’s unclear if the prime minister asked the Tesla founder for more detail about his pledge to resolve South Australia’s energy crisis in the hour-long chat.

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Mr Musk has promised to install the batteries needed to prevent ongoing blackouts in the state and have the situation fixed within 100 days or “it is free”.

Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes has vowed to help secure funding and political support if Tesla can supply the batteries.

Mr Musk has already spoken to SA Premier Jay Weatherill, praising the Labor leader for his commitment to a “smart, quick solution”.

It was followed by a phone call with Mr Turnbull on Sunday – a conversation both are understood to have been chasing for a while.

“Thanks (Elon Musk) for a great in depth discussion today about energy storage and it’s role in delivering affordable & reliable electricity,” the PM tweeted.

Mr Musk replied saying it was “very exciting” to speak about the future of electricity.

The prime minister said energy storage had been long neglected in Australia and will be a priority this year.

“That’s why I asked our clean energy finance agencies to focus on storage – vital now w generation more distributed and variable.”

Labor’s federal energy spokesman Mark Butler said the Mr Musk’s proposal was still in its formative stage but he was excited about the prospect.

Some remote communities in Australia and beyond – in places like America Samoa – have already been able to use Tesla’s batteries to deal with the intermittency of solar and wind technology.

The biggest question was whether this sort of technology could operate within existing rules and outdated market structure, he said.

“(There’s) a bit of a way to go on this I think, but a really exciting exercise of leadership by the South Australian government,” Mr Butler told ABC TV on Sunday.

“Further discussions between (Mr Musk) and the South Australian premier should be encouraged.”

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said the idea the transition to green renewable energy is a technological barrier is “nonsense”.

“It’s a political barrier, it’s a failure of planning, it’s a failure of investment in the right parts of the grid,” he told Sky News.

Noting Mr Turnbull is having an energy “crisis meeting” this week, Senator Di Natale said it just shows how governments have been asleep at the wheel.

“We are having crisis meetings about a crisis that has been unfolding for decades,” he said.

Assad calls US forces ‘invaders’

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says US forces in Syria are “invaders” and he has yet to see anything concrete emerge from US President Donald Trump’s vow to prioritise the fight against Islamic State.

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Assad has said he saw promise in Trump’s statements emphasising the battle against Islamic State in Syria, where US policy under President Barack Obama had backed some of the rebels fighting Assad and shunned him as an illegitimate leader.

“We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric,” Assad said in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix on Saturday.

“We have hopes that this administration in the United States is going to implement what we have heard,” he said.

The United States is leading a coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In Syria, it is working with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias. Their current focus is to encircle and ultimately capture Raqqa – Islamic State’s base of operations in Syria.

This week, the US-led coalition announced that around 400 additional US forces had deployed to Syria to help with the Raqqa campaign and to prevent any clash between Turkey and Washington-allied Syrian militias that Ankara sees as a threat.

Asked about a deployment of US forces near the northern city of Manbij, Assad said: “Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation … are invaders.”

“We don’t think this is going to help”.

Around 500 US forces are already in Syria in support of the campaign against Islamic State.

Assad said that “in theory” he still saw scope for cooperation with Trump, though practically nothing had happened in this regard. He dismissed the US-backed military campaign against Islamic State in Syria as “only a few raids”, and said a more comprehensive approach was needed.

Assad noted that the Russian-backed Syrian army was now “very close” to Raqqa city after advancing to the western banks of the Euphrates River this week – a rapid gain that has brought it to the frontier of areas held by the US-backed forces.

He said Raqqa was “a priority for us”, but indicated that there could also be a parallel army attack towards Deir al-Zor in the east, near the Iraqi border. Deir al-Zor province is almost completely controlled by Islamic State.

UN-led peace talks in Geneva ended earlier this month with no breakthrough. Assad said he hadn’t expected anything from Geneva.

WA Libs start thinking about rebuilding

While Joe Francis is a possible challenger to Liza Harvey for the leadership of the WA Liberals, she is still considered Colin Barnett’s likely successor.

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Mr Barnett, 66, who was premier for eight-and-a-half years, told reporters last week he would quietly slink to the backbench if he didn’t win a third term.

Mr Francis, the former corrective services minister, is expected to put his hand up but he first has to win his seat of Jandakot, which is too close to call.

Insiders believe Mr Francis, a tattooed former submariner, can be the “attack dog” to take on new premier Mark McGowan, who is showing more pluck than he used to.

Ms Harvey, on the other hand, is not seen as being feisty enough.

Some believe her closeness to Mr Barnett may play against her, saying she looked puppy-like following him around during their election campaign and was too surprised by Labor’s devastation at the polls, which signs had pointed to.

But then again, her colleagues have been primed for her take over – as Mr Barnett’s deputy she’s been widely perceived as his heir apparent.

Former treasurer Mike Nahan is internally well regarded but it’s understood he’s not interested in leading while ex-bank executive and transport minister Dean Nalder has lost his leadership ambitions at least for now.

With the Liberal party team more than halved in the election, going from 31 to an expected 13, any factionalism among those who remain may not gain much traction before they must decide.

In any event, most are too shell-shocked from the massive defeat and the loss of colleagues and staff and are not even sure where the alliances of some of the remaining fellow Liberals lie.

There will be a lot of soul searching after the failure, with many questioning the wisdom of the controversial and ultimately doomed preference swap deal with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party.

There was also the “it’s time” factor, with Mr Barnett saying the longevity of his government was a key issue but insiders criticised him for not stepping down last year when it was clear his “brand” had gone and clumsy moves to oust him failed.

Senator Hanson squarely blamed Mr Barnett’s unpopularity on the preference deal backfiring so spectacularly.

One internal source said it was unlikely the former premier would even return to parliament as sitting on the backbench in opposition would be too much of a come-down.

India elections: Modi factor explained, BJP surges to power in Uttar Pradesh

“Our election campaign has hit a roadblock,” Modi told campaign managers and two federal ministers in Delhi last month, a week before the sixth of seven phases of voting was to begin in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

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“I don’t want to feel that I could have pushed myself a little more,” Modi was quoted as saying by a close aide who attended the meeting.

For three full days the leader of the world’s largest democracy camped out in the holy city of Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency, walking the ancient streets and stopping at Hindu temples to seek blessings, despite warnings from aides about his security and the risk to his reputation had his party come up short.

On Saturday the gamble paid off: Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) scored a thumping victory in Uttar Pradesh, home to one in six Indians, winning the biggest majority in the state for any party since 1977.

The triumph vindicates Modi’s decision to turn the campaign into a referendum on his own performance after his shock decision last November to abolish high-denomination banknotes, a move he framed as a fight for the poor against the corrupt rich.

“We were always nervous that overexposing the prime minister in the final stages of the election could make us look desperate,” said Keshav Prasad Maurya, the BJP’s state leader in Uttar Pradesh.

As it turned out, Modi’s victory confounded even the most bullish voter surveys. The BJP won 312 of the 403 seats in the state assembly and, with 39.7 percent of the vote, almost matched its showing in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 general election, when it claimed the biggest parliamentary majority in three decades.

“Modi’s magic has destroyed the opposition and silenced sceptics in the party,” Maurya told Reuters on Saturday, as the scale of the victory became clear.

Two-term Modi

The win clears a path to victory for Modi at a 2019 general election, and gives him a free hand to consolidate his grip over a state that sends the highest number of federal lawmakers to parliament.

That has raised hopes among investors that the BJP will embark on a round of new reforms to boost growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, and try to tackle the corruption and red tape that has long undermined India’s potential.

Economists now expect Modi to launch initiatives aimed at flushing out ill-gotten gains from real estate, gold and campaign finance.

But they caution that his biggest task remains transforming India’s economy into one that creates enough jobs for an emerging generation that is desperate to give up life on the farm for a more prosperous future.

“Jobs is the biggest risk,” said Rajiv Kumar, an economist at the Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research. “That’s where he has to focus very hard and it could mean reforms as radical as demonetisation.”

Modi’s BJP now heads the government in states where more than half of Indians live, while the Congress party, which has ruled India for most of the 70 years since independence, leads in regions covering less than 8 percent of the population.

Success will increase the pressure on Modi to provide for an increasingly aspirational nation of 1.3 billion people, half of whom are aged 25 or under.

“He has to do a very delicate tightrope walk between being reformist and populist,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a journalist and biographer of Modi. “The problem in India is that people think reforms are pro-rich.”

Communal tone

Modi relied on his own charisma to clinch crucial votes in poor and agrarian Uttar Pradesh, but his campaign manager Amit Shah also takes credit for fielding the right candidates in a region where many people vote along caste and religious lines.

Critics accuse Shah and Modi of “social engineering” and of switching to a more communally divisive tone to fire up their Hindu base as voting, staggered over the course of a month, progressed.

Shah vowed to construct a Hindu temple on a razed mosque site and ban the slaughter of cows, worshipped by millions of Hindus.

On the campaign trail, too, Modi played up religious divisions by asking why the state government ensured there were no power cuts in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan but not during the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Still, the BJP likely collected minority votes, including Muslim women whom he courted by questioning an Islamic practice that allows men to divorce their wives with three simple words.

“The results prove that Muslims and backward caste groups voted for the BJP,” said R.K. Mishra, a political analyst in Lucknow, the state capital of Uttar Pradesh.

(Editing by Douglas Busvine and Alex Richardson)

PM gets tough on unvaccinated children

Malcolm Turnbull is confident his plan to ban unvaccinated children from childcare centres and pre-schools will be enforced Australia-wide.

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The prime minister has written to state and territory leaders asking them to support a national policy and more consistent laws.

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Parents needed to know if they are sending their children to a place where others haven’t been immunised, Mr Turnbull said.

It follows his meeting with a mother whose one-month-old baby died from whooping cough, likely contracted from a childcare centre.

“This is not a theoretical exercise – this is life and death,” he told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

“If a parent says ‘I’m not going to vaccinate my child’, they’re not simply putting their child at risk, they’re putting everybody else’s children at risk too.”

Under the proposal, any child who is not vaccinated – except those with a medical exemption – would not be allowed to attend childcare or pre-school.

About 93 per cent of children are said to be vaccinated, but Mr Turnbull wants to take that rate above 95 per cent.

“The level of public support for vaccination is so strong, I’m confident we will get a concerted national response,” he said.

“We protect all Australian children by ensuring that kids are vaccinated.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has thrown his support behind the plan and on Sunday applauded Mr Turnbull for standing up to the anti-vaccination brigade.

But he wants more to be done educating people on the issue.

“I think we need to start educating parents … as opposed to some of the crazier views they can read on the internet,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

Senior Labor MP Mark Butler said there had been some very damaging public commentary led by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and now the major parties had a responsibility to get the issue back on track.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said government’s tough “no jab, no pay” policy of withholding family payments to parents of unvaccinated children is being supplemented by an “equally tough” policy of “no jab, no play”.

“We want to work with all of the states and I’m very confident that they’ll come on board,” he told the Seven Network.

“Ultimately it’s about protecting kids against horrendous illnesses that are agonising and potentially in some cases tragic.”

McGowan emerges as Premier material

Not so long ago, some of Mark McGowan’s colleagues doubted he had what it took to lead Labor to government in Western Australia.

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But the mild-mannered former Navy lawyer has proved there’s a superman under his suit with one of the state’s biggest and most unexpected election wins, virtually wiping out the Liberal party.

He played a very cautious, long game during the election campaign but he’s now ready to show he’s just as tough as the man he defeated, Colin Barnett.

Hours after claiming his famous victory, he fronted the media on Sunday promising to be “unrelenting” in his dealings with the federal government, while attacking the Barnett government’s “appalling” management of the economy.

He’s also indicated he won’t be dictated to when it comes to deciding his cabinet team.

And as for his policies? Contractors on the Roe 8 project won’t be getting a reprieve. Their deals will be torn up.

He’s not promising miracles when it comes to repairing the economy but he’s says his team will be thorough and focused on reducing deficit and debt and getting people back to work.

The 49-year-old family man, who spent five years as the state’s opposition leader, had been biding his time in the hopes of becoming premier.

He took over from Eric Ripper in January 2012 and had just over a year to impress the WA public with his leadership before the 2013 election but things did not go to plan and Labor lost several seats.

McGowan had a relatively smooth ride over the next few years, until former federal minister Stephen Smith suddenly declared in March 2016 he would challenge for the state leadership.

He claimed party members were concerned a 10 per cent swing needed to prevent the Barnett government winning a third term could not be achieved.

Smith’s attempt was short-lived, with the shadow cabinet unanimously backing McGowan, followed by support from the caucus.

McGowan insisted the challenge had galvanised his leadership.

McGowan grew up in regional NSW with his younger brother and parents, who ran small businesses.

He moved to WA with the Royal Australian Navy in 1991, becoming a lieutenant and serving as a legal officer at HMAS Stirling until mid-1996.

He was awarded the Governor General’s Commendation for Bravery in 1997 after he rescued an unconscious driver from a burning car two years earlier.

McGowan was the deputy mayor of Rockingham before being elected to state parliament in December 1996.

He was parliamentary secretary to Premier Geoff Gallop from 2001 to 2005 and held several shadow portfolios.

In government, McGowan held portfolios including environment, education and training, racing and gaming and tourism.

His accomplishments include approving the Gorgon Gas project and the FMG iron ore mining project, small bar reforms and negotiating to bring low-cost carrier Jetstar to Perth.

In a rare scandalous moment in 2008, McGowan was linked to twice jailed former premier and lobbyist Brian Burke regarding a campaign fundraising strategy during the 2005 state election.

But attention soon shifted to then-Liberal leader Troy Buswell, who was infamously forced to admit he sniffed the chair of a female colleague in 2005.

McGowan has otherwise appeared to be an uncontroversial and likeable leader.

He met his wife Sarah at the 1993 federal election when she was working part-time for the Electoral Commission. They married in 1996 and went on to have three children – Samuel, Alexander and Amelia.

McGowan said during the election campaign WA had given him everything including his wife and children. And now he’s promising to give the state a “fresh start”.

WHO IS MARK MCGOWAN?

Age: 49

Electorate: Rockingham, a lower socio-economic area

Education: University of Queensland, studied law and arts

Previous Career: Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy

Family: Wife Sarah and children Samuel, Alexander and Amelia