G'day to be English cricket fan

At long last something for us English cricket fans to smile about.

Peter Gladwell

At long last something for us English cricket fans to smile about.

Last week's win over Australia was a culmination to a first class game of cricket where both sides tussled to gain the upper hand in a hard fought second test with England coming out on top to gain their first win over the Aussies at Lords in 75 years.

I guarantee the Australians will come out fighting harder in the third Test to restore their pride and most likely we will see Brett Lee back in their side after recovering from injury.

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Those of us who enjoy a good game of cricket, especially an Ashes series, long for these sorts of matches if they are to survive over the rapidly growing one-day shorter games and we can all hope England will be able repeat their performance in the next one.

National and state politics are seldom out of the headlines over here and these last two weeks are no exception. Climate change dominates party bickering at the moment with the governing Labor party gaining a surprising ally from the Liberal Party in the form of opposition front bench spokesman Tony Abbot.

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He has suggested that his party fall into line and support the federal Labor government climate change policy to avoid a double disillusion being called and the likelihood of Labor being provided with an opportunity to strengthen their numbers in the upper and lower houses.

In line with U.S President Barrack Obama's call to reform the American health care system Prime Minister Rudd has announced a need for a similar proposal in Australia.

This follows a damming report tabled by the Health and Reform Commission on the state of the nation's hospitals and health care system.

Medical and administration blunders have cost the lives of 4,000 Australians, the report says, recommending 700 changes and the need to weed out wastage and mismanagement.

When Labor came to office one of their election promises was to take over responsibility of running the country's hospitals from the state governments.

Naturally state premiers, particularly in Victoria, are strongly against such a move even though they all belong to the same party. Prime Minister Rudd has warned taxpayers that major reform in line with what he is suggesting will not come cheaply.

The commission has estimated that the cost of these reforms could be as high as A$5billion a year, excluding funds that will be needed for a new public dental system estimated to cost A$3.6billion a year and a further A$7.5billion to be spent on infrastructure including new hospitals and other buildings.

The problem facing the government is where to find the money to pay for all these changes, with some suggesting an increase in the Medicare levy, reduction in the government's health rebate scheme and tax increases.

Watch this space for we are quite certain these changes are going to take years to implement. Meanwhile our hospital waiting lists for elected surgery continue to grow.

Airlines, as we all know, are suffering with falling passenger numbers and rising fuel bills and Sir Richard Branson's interstate carrier Virgin Blue has posted its first major loss of A$110 million over the past financial year.

This Friday an announcement is expected whereby shareholders will be encouraged to take up new stock to be offered with a 31% discount in an attempt to raise A$231million of new revenue.

Why their discount offer has not been rounded off to 30% is unsure and the additional revenue mentioned doesn't sound that much when writing about operating an airline.

Victorian state Labor Member of Parliament Theo Theophanous has been forced to resign from the front bench following allegations of a rape charge against a fellow colleague, even though these charges were dismissed by the Victorian Crown Court earlier this week because of insufficient evidence.

Meantime Theophanous claims to be the first Greek politician to be elected in the history of the Victorian Parliament. The trial occupied the press headlines for several weeks and has cost the Victorian tax payers several million dollars.

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