Les leaves a lasting legacy

THE death in July of Moruya community stalwart Les Ziegler has left a hole in many hearts and service groups.
Nanjing Night Net

The man who, with his wife Merle, began and ran a volunteer marine rescue service from a South Head kitchen table in the 1960s is grieved widely.

Marriage celebrant Max Hogno said he had steadfastly refused to conduct memorial services because they affected him too much, but could not keep that rule for his dear friend.

He described a young man who worked hard in the family kiosk and with his father, Harry, helped build a club house for Moruya Surf Club.

He drove buses, cranes and the first earthmoving equipment in the Eurobodalla.

He was a “can do” man.

“No fuss, the job would be done,” Mr Hogno said.

He was made a life member of the surf club in 1995.

“He was the cornerstone and president for many years of the Moruya Fishing Club,” Mr Hogno said.

“Les, with trusty sidekick Merline, provided sterling service to the area through the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol with Les conducting rescues in all types of weather with his boat.

“They provided this service for many years before the bureaucrats, for the want of a better word, re-constructed coastal surveillance.”

Somehow he found time to restore old vehicles, joining his local restoration club.

“Les got the restoration bug, restoring to their former glory a Fordson tractor and the old truck used by his father,” Mr Hogno said.

“Then followed more vehicles and a task of great joy, his latest adventure, restoring a wooden boat.”

A bus driver, he drove for the Sydney Olympic Games and continued to drive school buses in his alleged retirement.

Mr Hogno said Les would have hated the downtime his illness imposed.

“Les would have been rankled by the inactivity these last few months - jobs he perceived needed doing and restorations to be continued,” he said.

“Recently, I had the opportunity to share coffee with Les, sitting in the morning sun, gazing out over the Tasman Sea and, of course, the surf club. That cup of coffee will be remembered.”

Moruya Surf Club’s Mike Hallahan said Mr Ziegler had been involved for 50 of the club’s 80 years.

“Les was always available to help out and Moruya Surf Club has benefited greatly from his ‘can do’ attitude,” he said.

“Speaking with him recently, he was most apologetic that he had missed a meeting.”

If not for the “sandbagging efforts of members like Les, the sea would have claimed the clubhouse” during a 1975 storm.

He described a man who made things happen rather than “running the ship”.

“If a job needed to be done or materials sourced, Les would step forward. He was a great example to the rest of us that you don’t have to be a lifesaver to be an active member of a surf club.”

“When we look around the club today there are so many items we would not have except for Les.”

He sourced building materials and was ever on the watch for a bargain for the club.

“He would regularly scour the papers for anything being sold that might benefit the Club in some way. Sometimes it was cutlery while other times it may be tents.

“Only a couple of weeks ago, although visibly ill, Les was organising his contacts to supply paint to resurface the floor of the clubhouse.

“He also mentioned not to forget a fundraiser he had organised with the Car Club for July – next year!”

In charge of the ski referee’s boat for the George Bass Marthon, Les had “the perfect job for a man in a very fast Big Yellow Boat who loved to go fast”.

That boat saved many a life and Merle continues that work, with the bank of radios in her kitchen not disappearing anytime soon.

“I want to thank everyone for their kindness and sympathy cards,” Mrs Ziegler said this week with special thanks to the surf club, community nurses, Dr Chris Fenn and Moruya Hospital.

He leaves five children and many grandchildren and will miss the birth of his first great-grandchild later this year.

“He was a good father,” Mrs Ziegler said. “He did everything well.”

Daughter Kerrie Nettle said she was “always proud” of her parents as a child.

“It was just normal, saving people all the time,” she said.

Son Chris remembers a father who “always helped me with anything”.

LEGENDARY LES: Merle Ziegler with daughter Kerrie Nettle and a treasured photo of Les.

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Tears flow as Rice says she may walk away after failing to hit heights of Beijing

Tearful end ... Stephanie Rice becomes emotional while speaking to Channel Nine. Considering her future ... Stephanie Rice.
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A highly emotional Stephanie Rice said on Tuesday night she will take a break from the sport and consider whether her career is over after frustratingly being unable to perform to her optimum at the London Games.

As was the case in the 400m individual medley on Saturday, Rice was again unable to defend her Olympic title, this time in the 200m IM, finishing a courageous fourth behind China's Ye Shiwen, just 0.60 away from the bronze medal.

Speaking after the race, Rice battled to fight back tears, but it was a battle she would ultimately lose, breaking down as she spoke about the difficulty of her Olympic preparation due to a nagging shoulder tendon injury.

"I need to take a break to get my head back in the right frame of mind," Rice said. "I'd hate to make a rapid decision on quitting the sport which a few people do.

"I've always said I could never be someone who quits and comes back to the sport. If I think it's time to move on, if it's time to end ... I'd hate to finish on the disappointment, but at the same time I'm proud of what I have achieved in my swimming career and really happy with the person I have turned into after this really hard prep.

"It's tough. I'm in a really tough position now having to analyse what I want to do because I love swimming and I love competing and representing Australia but if preparations are going to be like the one I just had, there is just no way in the world I can keep it up. It was really tough," she said before the tears gushed.

"Obviously I can sit here and say so many things went wrong and that was the reason why I didn't do well but at the end of the day, you know, I did everything I could in this preparation.

"I would have liked to have done what I know I could have done if I had been able to. I would have been much better prepared. But the reality was it panned out this way for me and I walk away from these Olympics disappointed with results and times but really proud of the effort and energy I put in to get myself to this point.

"If I was to continue in the sport I would definitely need some sort of surgery whether it's a recon [reconstruction] or a clean out, I'm not 100 per cent and that's something I have to weigh up when I finish - whether I can go through another surgery and prepare again."

Rice still has a chance on Wednesday to salvage something out of all the disappointment if she gets a swim in the 4x200m freestyle relay, another event she won in Beijing.  It will be revealed Wednesday morning if she will be a member of that team which plans to defend their Olympic title.

London has certainly been very different to Beijing for Rice, not simply in terms of gold medals won, but in how she has had to battle through a debilitating shoulder injury over the past few years, and more specifically since a tear in her tendon was discovered late last year.

"Come race time when we are backing off in taping it [the shoulder] seems to handle the load a lot better because it's not so intense," she explained.

"There's no excuses for the way I have prepared in these last few weeks. Obviously it has been far from an ideal preparation and lot different to my Beijing one, but I never wanted to compare the two of them because I was missing out on kilometres but I was definitely doing more in other areas than I was before Beijing.

"I was hoping it would weigh up but it obviously hasn't weighed up as I would have liked it to."

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The night the greatest became The Greatest

Michael Phelps came second in the butterfly before winning gold in the relay.Six golds, two bronze in AthensEight golds in BeijingOne gold, two silver in LondonBiography: Up Close With Michael Phelps
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The last two medals in Michael Phelps's record collection represented them all, and his singular Olympic journey to win them, too.

One was silver, in the 200 metres butterfly. For all but the last stroke, it was gold, but South Africa's Chad le Clos outreached him at the wall, leaving Phelps with a so-called minor medal.

This was Athens revisited. Phelps was 19 then and not yet immortal. After winning bronze behind Ian Thorpe in the 200m freestyle, dubbed the race of the century, he made as if by reflex for the gold-medal place on the podium. It was a forgivable slip. His time was coming and it would be an era.

In an odd way, this was also Beijing revisited. Faced with occasional snideness, Phelps has always said none of his medals had come easily. In Beijing, his eight-from-eight campaign was so nearly torpedoed in the 100m butterfly, in which he held out Serbian Milorad Cavic by a 100th of a second. At the wall, Cavic glided, but Phelps, having misjudged, took an extra, lunging half-stroke. It looked to be a stroke of misfortune, but in fact proved to be an inadvertent masterstroke.

At the wall last night, Phelps glided and le Clos stroked. So does history make its own reparation. Thorpe especially felt for Phelps. ''I wanted this for him,'' he said.

But Phelps was as he mostly is, even-humoured, as he re-accustoms himself to the view from the lower reaches of the podium. Besides, losing one gold does not seem so disastrous when you already have 14 (which would become 15 soon after).

Phelps owned up to human error. Mortal again, but still immortal, too.

Tuesday's other medal was more Phelpsian, the invincible of Beijing reprised, ahead not just by lengths but years. Partly, it was illusion. Phelps's teammates in the 4x200m relay gave him such a head-start for the anchor leg that he was able to coast to gold almost in clear water. If not an armchair ride, it was at least an aquatic catapult.

This was his 19th Olympic medal, surpassing the 18 of Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina. Now 77, Latynina is in London for these Olympics and offered to present Phelps, who she has met and admires, with his record-breaking medal. But the IOC declined; some wig needed to big himself. Latynina went with her daughter to the gymnastics instead.

So Phelps fulfilled his destiny. The competitive lifespan of most sporting greats is short, crowded, hectic, and oh-so exposed. Phelps has spent his in the public eye, though half-submerged. It seems so recently that his Olympic journey began. In Sydney, he was 15 and really just an idea. In Athens, he was still a boy, already a wonder, but still full of wonder himself, deferring happily to Thorpe. But he already displayed the sangfroid that has served him so well. Some spruiked six gold for him, but not Phelps; he would have been content with one, he said.

In Beijing, he was at the peak of his powers, indestructible, untouchable, able to part the waters. Leisel Jones won a long-awaited gold medal, but said what she would cherish most from Beijing was the privilege to watch Phelps. Yet out of the pool, he cut an endearingly normal figure, without airs or graces. As much as the medals, he said, he wanted to relieve swimming of its all-bar-two-weeks-every-four-years anonymity in the US.

Between Games, a little misadventure ensued, possibly the only time he has faltered under the burden of being Michael Phelps. No more egregious drug stain than this marijuana moment has attached itself to Phelps.

So he arrived in London a little older and wiser, more vulnerable, but more at ease with himself, too. For last night's night's 200m fly, the crowd's roar drowned out the announcement of Phelps. Butterfliers look like swimming kangaroos, and for three-and-ninth-tenths laps, Phelps was a big red. Then the spotlight froze him. It upped the premium on the relay. Phelps implored his teammates, saying: ''I want the biggest lead possible.'' He got it. ''I did start to smile with 20, 25 metres to go,'' he said. ''It was a cool feeling.'' The crowd roared throughout, and was still humming at night's end.

He remains determinedly level. As much as he inspires awe, he feels it. For an immortal, Michael Phelps is palpably flesh and blood.

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Doctors need to get answers from Medicare Local

Dr Paul Mara, president of the Rural Doctors’ Association of Australia, wants rural doctors to look at how new funding arrangements wil affect after-hours services.
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With existing rural after-hours medical services facing significant funding uncertainty from July 2013, rural doctors should urgently “pin down” their new Medicare Local on how after-hours services will be provided in their area from that time on.

From next July, after-hours funding – currently delivered through the federal Practice Incentives

Program system to practices providing after-hours services – will instead be diverted to Medicare Locals, which will have responsibility for determining how the

services are provided.

Unless the funding is then passed in full to the rural practices providing after-hours services, these practices could stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars in critical support payments.

In many cases, the loss of financial support could make providing the existing after-hours service unviable.

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia has urged the federal government to continue the current after-hours funding arrangement, rather than direct it through Medicare Locals.

Health reform was supposed to eliminate the potential for cost-shifting. This simply adds another layer of bureaucracy and more complexity. In the past there were two funding layers – and soon we’ll have three!

We are extremely concerned that, under Medicare Locals, existing after-hours services in small rural towns will simply be

centralised to large regional centres only.

We fear that numerous after-hours services provided for decades by dedicated rural doctors to their communities will cease to be funded or have financial support for their service significantly downgraded to the point where the service will need to close.

Should after-hours funding not be passed in full to local rural practices by Medicare Locals, it is

highly likely that these practices will not be able to afford to keep their after-hours service going and will simply pull out altogether from

providing it.

Despite the federal health department recently telling the Senate inquiry into the factors affecting the supply of health services and medical professionals in rural areas that general practices currently providing a good after-hours service will continue to be funded, we have had no firm assurances from any Medicare Local, and no guarantee from the department or federal government, that this will be the case – nor the release of any formal documentation or process to ensure this.

I mean, how long does it take? This issue has been on the agenda for a number of years now and it is still not sorted as we reach the eleventh hour.

The removal of after-hours funding from the Practice Incentives Program is a further erosion of this important program, and it has broader implications for quality healthcare than the survival of local after-hours care alone.

We are urging all rural doctors to contact their Medicare Local this week to ask:

* Whether their Medicare Local has undertaken any formal survey of after-hours activity in their area;

* Whether, and to what extent, their Medicare Local will be continuing to fund rural doctors already providing 24/7 after-hours services through either their practices or hospitals;

* When their Medicare Local is likely to enter into formal agreements with local rural practices to ensure the continuation of after-hours services from July 2013; and

* Whether their Medicare Local has received clear guidelines from the federal health department as to how they should determine the local allocation of after-hours funding from July, 2013.

We are then asking doctors to let us know what the response of their Medicare Local has been to each of these questions, so we can take further action at the national level to resolve the situation. We are also asking doctors to let us know if there continues to be no advice or communication from their Medicare Local on this issue, as this is just as concerning.

You can’t just turn off rural after-hours services and turn them on again overnight – rural practices need adequate time and certainty to plan the provision of these


If Medicare Locals think they will be able to sign agreements at 5.30pm on June 30, 2013 with eternally grateful rural practices for vastly downgraded after-hours funding, they should think again.

The horse will have bolted.

Medicare Local. Photo: Fairfax

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German precision: Hockeyroos roar back into medal contention

Australia's Anna Flanagan shoots for goal against Germany.THE Hockeyroos soared back into medal contention with a stunning victory over world No.3 Germany at Riverbank Arena on Tuesday.
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Bouncing back from their tournament-opening loss to New Zealand, Australia delivered a suffocating defensive display, before scoring from consecutive penalty corners to march to a 3-1 win.

The victory puts the Hockeyroos  equal second with Argentina, Germany and the United States all on three competition points.

Anna Flanagan and Fiona Boyce converted second-half penalty corner chances to provide a major shot in the arm for their semi-final campaign.

‘‘It puts us back in the tournament, I really believe we’re only just starting to see the beginning of this team,’’ coach Adam Commens said.

‘‘[It] was a display of the potential they have, if we played like that and have that kind of consistency then we’ll win more games than we lose.’’

From the outset Australia pressed forward in defence, trapping Germany in their own half on more than one occasion.

After falling behind, they were rewarded when Hope Munro tapped in from close range, making it 1-1 at the break.

The goal was created by an elusive run into the circle by Emily Smith, who beat goalkeeper Yvonne Frank, before her shot was blocked off the line by a defender, only for it to be slammed home by Munro midway through the half.

The Hockeyroos were unlucky not to have a goal moments beforehand, when Jodie Schulz’s penetrating drag flick from a penalty corner was denied by Frank’s desperate lunge with her stick.

However, all of Australia’s efforts only managed to cancel out Germany’s earlier goal, scored by Katharina Otte, deflecting Marie Maevers’s blocked penalty corner shot.

Australia’s much-improved first half effort was hampered by injuries to Casey Eastham and Kate Jenner.  Both were struck on the leg from German passes, Eastham limping from the field while Jenner had to be helped off, but both returned to play on.

With the game and possibly the entire competition hanging in the balance, Australia produced their best form yet to secure the three competition points.

‘‘We created a lot of opportunities,’’ captain Madonna Blyth said. ‘‘Going 1-0 down wasn’t ideal, but I’m proud of the way they reacted.’’

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Our ‘Bud’ also an Olympian

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IT was not the error of Anna Rose, but the article New England Girls’ School “Riding high for old girl Julia (Hargreaves”(NDL July 30) omitted the name of another Olympic great who attended the school.

Bridget Hyem (nee Macintyre, at NEGS,1944-49), better known as “Bud”, was Australia’s first female rider to compete in an Olympic equestrian event, showjumping aboard Coronation at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. She went on to breed Kibah Tic Toc, which carried Matt Ryan to double gold at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, followed up by Kibah Sandstone winning Ryan gold in Sydney 2000 – both in the three day event.

In the book Trailblazers – Australia’s First Olympic Equestrians, Wyatt “Bunty” Thompson writes: “Just after the Games, while still in Tokyo, she celebrated the occasion by marrying her fiance Bill Hyem, a showjumper and grazier from Gunnedah. Since then, Bud has continued to do much for Australian showjumping and eventing. She is probably the only person in the world to have bred two Olympic gold-medal winning eventing horses.”

Bud Hyem was able to ride Kibah Tic-Toc in the Tamworth-Gunnedah leg of the torch relay in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and hosted many equestrian events on Kibah attended by enthusiastic riders from all over Australia and


NEGS pays tribute to Mrs Hyem, is proud of its four Olympians, and wishes Julia Hargreaves all the best for success in the showjumping later this week.

Peter Hodge


New England Girls’ School


Our Bud also an Olympian. Photo: Fairfax Archives

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Communityrallies behind horse lovers

THE community and harness racing industries are rallying behind the Webb family after cowardly thrill shooters killed four of their horses at their Marulan property last week.
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They have been flooded by phone calls, faxes, emails and social media messages from well-wishers throughout the country.

“The boss of Harness Racing NSW called us to offer his support, which we’re most grateful for,” Jim Webb said.

“And I had a phone call from a fellow who has an excavation business in Marulan, offering his services to bury our horses for us.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with support and that says a lot about this community we live in.”

The Goulburn Post has also been inundated with messages of support.

“Hearts will be bleeding with you...every horse owner can feel your pain,” someone posted on goulburnpost南京夜网.au.

Another wrote: “I hope they find those responsible and punish them with the full extent of the law. The person(s) responsible should not have access to guns due to their obvious instability …”

It’s still a mystery who entered the Webbs’ Winfarthing Road property at about 8pm on July 23 and why they shot and killed four horses, injuring two others.

The culprits also targeted a neighbouring property that same night, shooting at a house and livestock, killing several sheep.

Goulburn Police said they were hopeful of an outcome into their investigations soon, but wouldn’t comment further.

Mr Webb said his three daughters and parents, Jack and Julie, were still coming to terms with their loss but have had their spirits lifted by the community’s response.

They also received the good news from vets who said the injured horses should recover.

One of those horses, shot in its hindquarters, should live an otherwise normal life despite the decision not to remove the bullet.

“The surgery would pose too much of a risk,” Mr Webb said. The other horse was shot in the leg, resulting in a bone chip, which should heal.

The family was also buoyed by the impressive run of Ristma in the last at the Goulburn Harness meeting on Monday.

“He ran a good little race. We thought he was going to come third, they were all over the place,” Mr Webb said.

Ristma, a rising eight-year-old gelding, finished a close up sixth, and is definitely “one to watch”, Mr Webb said.

Follow @GerardWalsh28

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Canberra MP mounts argument for newspaper subsidies

The Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh.A Canberra politician will today make the case for subsidies for quality newspapers to overcome what he calls an inequality in political information.
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Andrew Leigh says technological changes in media have led to a greater gap between engaged and disengaged people than ever before.

The Labor MP for Fraser believes university journalism schools should produce more public interest journalism as another way to overcome the inequality.

He will give his views on the media in a speech at the University of Canberra, where he's expected to criticise the dominance of comment in news media, the use of anonymous contributions and a trend toward shallowness in reporting.

Dr Leigh says such a proposal would have to pass a reasonable cost-benefit test.

''But I am inclined to think that the benefit of a better-informed public would be likely to justify the cost of the subsidy,'' he says.

''In implementing such a proposal, it would be important to think about how to ensure that public money increased the amount of political information among those who are disengaged from politics.'' Dr Leigh says that for engaged citizens, the media is more abundant, diverse and accessible than in the past but, taken as a whole, the media has become more opinionated, nastier and shallower.

''The shift has not taken place because individual journalists have grown horns and forked tongues, but because the technological changes have privileged those kinds of voices,'' he says.

''There are two features of the technological shift in the mass media today that have accentuated the nastiness in political reporting - competition from online outlets and anonymity.'' Dr Leigh is concerned that the new political news websites that have emerged over recent decades are dominated by comment.

Dr Leigh says a major reason for the media shifting towards shallow reporting is the rise of television and the decline of newspapers.

''By international standards, the Australian media, particularly our newspapers, are not especially competitive, so competition from new outlets has come as a particular shock to incumbent players in the Australian media market,'' he says.

While studying at Sydney University, Dr Leigh wrote for the student newspaper for one year.

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Mackay has to settle for double at Maitland

Gold Trump (number 5) won by a head from Hot One’s to take out the Maitland Mercury Maiden for Jason Mackay at the Maitland Showground on Thursday. Richmond Vale trainer Jason Mackay had to be content with a place in the Winter Cup Final at Albion Park on Thursday night although he was able to claim two wins at Maitland including victory in the Rod Higgins Bookmaker Mixed Final.
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While his two charges Zipping Catra and Young Snozz ran third and fourth respectively in Brisbane to Glen Gallon in the final of the Winter Cup, Fancy Tip was far too good for the rest at Maitland as the white and black dog won by almost four lengths.

Despite running slower than its winning heat time of last week, Fancy Tip’s 25.48 second effort was still enough for the $1.60 favourite to score a comfortably victory and the $1500 winners cheque for Mackay.

The win gave Fancy Tip the second victory of its five race career, while heat one winner White Ninja ran second in the final for Sawyers Gully trainer Terry Priest.

Darren Sultana’s Krunch Period finished third.

Mackay’s other win for the evening came in the Mercury Maiden in race two, with Gold Trump getting home by a head from Hot One’s.

The black dog was a $1.40 favourite to claim the first win of its career and duly saluted in a time of 25.70 seconds.

There were also three heats of the Rural Cup run with Christine Proctor’s Perfected blitzing the field in heat three, winning by almost seven lengths from My Girl Lollypop in a time of 25.37 seconds.

Sands A Flyin’ scored a major upset in heat two, paying $44.50 for the win while Son Of Vieri held off Awesome Rogan by a head to win heat one in a time of 25.84 seconds.

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Swan to remind all who’s the boss

Treasurer Wayne Swan draws inspiration from his personal rock idol Bruce SpringsteenTreasurer Wayne Swan has searched deep within himself to draw inspiration from his personal rock idol Bruce Springsteen as he ramps up his criticism of Australia’s richest and most outspoken mining magnates.
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When Mr Swan talks about The Boss he isn’t referring to Prime Minister Julia Gillard but rather the American rocker who the Treasurer sees as some kind of prophetic soothsayer who had long predicted the decline of the American economy.

Delivering the John Button Lecture in Melbourne tonight Mr Swan, who is currently Acting Prime Minister, will reveal his inner cool to expound on the wisdom of Springsteen and urge Australia to heed the warnings of The Boss’s music.

‘‘If I could distil the relevance of Bruce Springsteen’s music to Australia it would be this: don’t let what has happened to the American economy happen here,’’ he will say.

‘‘Don’t let Australia become a down-under version of New Jersey, where the people and the communities whose skills are no longer in demand get thrown on the scrap heap of life.’’

Mr Swan will reveal to his audience just how much he knows about Springsteen by quoting from lyrics and dropping album titles into his speech.

He says Springsteen observed the ‘‘big changes going on in the American working class’’ and used his songs to champion the causes of ordinary people.

‘‘You can hear Springsteen singing about the shifting foundations of the US economy, which the economists took much longer to detect, and which of course everyone is talking about now,’’ Mr Swan says.

The Treasurer says nothing has fuelled his public life more than pursuing a fair go for working Australians – and he says it is the same for Ms Gillard, who also lists Springsteen as her favourite.

Mr Swan uses not only Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Australia’s own Cold Chisel and Midnight Oil as examples of musicians standing up for the working class.

Which, he says, is exactly what he has been doing by criticising the actions and motives of Australian mining billionaires Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart.

In March, the Treasurer wrote a controversial essay for iThe Monthly magazine warning against the vested interests of the rich, singling out the three mining tycoons.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott accused Mr Swan of trying to start a class war. But to tonight, the Treasurer will say he does not regret a word of what he wrote and said.

‘‘Not for a second,’’ he says. ‘‘In fact, my only regret is not going in hard enough, because every criticism I made has been played out almost to the letter on our national stage.’’

Mr Swan says Mr Palmer’s political campaign against him personally, Mr Forrest’s legal campaign against the new mining tax, and Ms Rinehart’s campaign to buy Fairfax Media while also refusing to sign its charter of editorial independence, all prove his case.

‘‘Parliament, the Constitution, independent journalism – all three are fundamental pillars of our democracy, being used as their playthings, supported every step of the way by the Leader of the Opposition,’’ he says.

Mr Swan will tell his audience that while some people with vested interests believe they should be immune from criticism and be feared by everyone else, he does not.

‘‘In the face of all this we have to stand up and be heard, because when the massively wealthy buy the loudest megaphones, the voices of the people are drowned out,’’ he says.

But he insists he has never disparaged individual achievement or billionaires, adding that most Australian entrepreneurs are to be ‘‘absolutely commended’’ for the risks they take and the wealth they create for the country.

But Mr Swan said his argument is only that economic opportunities should be created for everyone.

‘‘We can’t just quietly accept a situation where a handful of people can stymie economic reform which aims to spread opportunities to others,’’ he says.

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