One Nation still viable in Queensland: experts

Despite a poor showing in the WA election, One Nation could still make an impact on the upcoming Queensland poll, experts say.

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After polling as high as 13 per cent of the primary WA vote in the election lead-up, the far-right minor party managed just under five per cent of the total vote.

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That wasn’t enough to gain any lower house seats although it did achieve at least one upper house spot.

Even so, ABC’s election analyst Antony Green points out that while One Nation polled 4.7 per cent overall, it actually managed 8.1 per cent in the seats it contested.

Queensland University of Technology political science Professor Clive Bean says the Sunshine State remains strong for One Nation and it can’t be written off for the upcoming Queensland election.

“I think Queensland has been more of a heartland for One Nation probably more so than any other part of Australia, so it could be that support holds up in Queensland,” Prof Bean told AAP.

“One of the things it will depend on is the campaigning by Pauline Hanson herself.”

In the final week of the campaign, Senator Hanson, who is a senator for Queensland, had to fight off claims she would push for fairer share of GST funding for WA at Queensland’s expense.

She also copped flak for her support of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, as well as comments about vaccination, which eventually led to a partial apology.

The preference deal between One Nation and the WA Liberal party has also been highlighted as a factor in the minor party’s poor showing, with even Senator Hanson describing it as “a mistake” on Saturday night.

However she laid most of the blame on ousted WA premier Colin Barnett rather than the preference deal itself

“It wasn’t One Nation. I think it was Colin Barnett – people did not want Colin Barnett,” Senator Hanson said.

Acting Queensland Premier Jackie Trad said Labor had ruled out any preference deals with One Nation and Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls should do the same.

“This should serve as a clear warning to Tim Nicholls and the Liberal National Party that people will not accept politicians who are more focused on doing sneaky preference deals than on actually delivering for Queenslanders,” Ms Trad said in a statement.

However Mr Nicholls repeated his party’s commitment to preference at the next election on a seat-by-seat basis.

“The LNP will not be entering into a coalition with One Nation and there are no deals to be done,” he said.

Prof Bean said the WA result seemed to indicate voters reacted badly to “tricky deals” with minor parties for preferences

“And indeed any party in government right now needs to be fairly concerned about its position, be it Labor or the coalition,” he said.

The Queensland election is due by early 2018 but widely tipped to be called for the latter half of this year.

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Johnston the new No.1 at Souths

Alex Johnston wanted to prove to himself, as much as everyone else, that he was worthy to fill Greg Inglis’ boots for the rest of 2017 NRL season.

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He certainly did that in South Sydney’s 38-18 win over Manly at Lottoland on Saturday evening.

Johnston himself had seen the headlines claiming Souths couldn’t possibly make the finals without their superstar fullback.

That their year was as good as over, and that virtually no-one could replace him.

That the Rabbitohs had lost nine in a row without Greg Inglis, with a combined for-and-against of -207.

Then he proved them wrong.

“It was just going out there tonight and just trying to prove to myself as well as everyone else that I can play the position,” Johnston said.

“He’s one of the best in the world, if not the best fullback out there.

“I tried not to let that get into my mind at all. I just wanted to play the best football I can, and play Alex Johnston style footy.”

Johnston was instrumental in Souths’ win.

With the game in the balance in the final 20 minutes, he sliced through the Manly defence to help the Bunnies to a 26-18 lead.

Then he put the icing on the cake, pouncing on a Robbie Farah grubber to score the final try of the match.

Johnston is not new to the fullback position. He’s played there eight times at NRL level, but grew up playing in the No.1 before being shifted to the wing on his first grade debut.

“I love playing there,” he said.

“I love just getting in open space out the back and getting more ball and being able to attack.”

And it’s now at fullback he’s likely to stay for this season, impressing coach Michael Maguire in the win.

“It was good to see AJ play the way he did,” Maguire said.

“He’s always wanted to have a crack at fullback and he’s a South Sydney kid that has come through all the grades and it’s great to see him excelling.”

Lions boss sees light at end of AFL tunnel

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan can see light at the end of a dark tunnel for his young AFL side.

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The Lions finished their pre-season campaign with a 39-point away loss to Adelaide on Saturday – their second defeat in three trial games.

But Fagan says he’s taken heart from the pre-season.

“We can see that our players are starting to understand the way that we want them to play,” Fagan said.

“They have had three opportunities in the last month to try it out against opposition, we will continue to get more opportunities as the season goes on.

“We have got a young group, the youngest list, and we are just going to keep trusting them and putting time into them and getting them better.

“I have learnt that we have got a group of young men that desperately want to improve and want to earn the respect of the AFL competition.

“And they will do their hardest all year to achieve that.”

Former Hawthorn and Melbourne football boss Fagan is about to enter his first premiership season as an AFL head coach but said he hadn’t been surprised by the demands of the role.

“There has been a lot of change at Brisbane over the summer – new coaches, we have got 10 new players,” he said.

“”We are just learning to work together and be as effective as we can be.

“I probably haven’t learnt a lot (personally), I have been in AFL footy for 20-odd years now so I have seen most things.

“I have sat next to Clarko (Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson) for 10 years, same with (former Melbourne coach) Neale Daniher, so from that perspective nothing much has surprised me.”

Singer Joni Sledge of ‘We are Family’ dies at 60

Joni Sledge, who with her sisters recorded the enduring dance anthem We Are Family, has died at the age of 60.

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Sledge was found dead in her home by a friend in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday, the band’s publicist, Biff Warren, said. A cause of death has not been determined. He said she had not been ill.

“On yesterday, numbness fell upon our family. We welcome your prayers as we weep the loss of our sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin,” read a family statement.

Sledge and her sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy formed the Sister Sledge in 1971 in Philadelphia, their hometown, but struggled for years before success came.

“The four of us had been in the music business for eight years and we were frustrated. We were saying: ‘Well, maybe we should go to college and just become lawyers or something other than music, because it really is tough,”‘ Joni told The Guardian in an interview last year.

But then they met Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of the hit group Chic, and their breakout soon came. The pair wrote and produced their album We Are Family, and soon the women had their first major hit with disco jam The Greatest Dancer, which became a top 10 hit in May 1979.

But their biggest hit would come a month later with the title track, an infectious dance anthem that celebrated their familial connection with the refrain, ‘We are family, I got all my sisters with me’.

While it celebrated their sisterhood, the 1979 hit so also became an anthem for female empowerment and unity. It would become their signature hit, and was nominated for a Grammy. Both the song and album sold more than one million copies.

The women also had a hit with a cover of the Mary Wells song My Guy, in 1982, but would never duplicate the success they had in the 1970s. Still, Sister Sledge continued; while sister Kathy left the group for a solo career, the trio of sisters continued to perform and record, including a performance for Pope Francis in 2015.

Warren said they last performed together in concert in October.

Joni Sledge is survived by an adult son, her sisters and other relatives.