Real deal: Jockey James Innes Jr and Mr Steal return after winning at Canterbury earlier this year. They team up again on Saturday at Rosehill. Photo: bradleyphotos苏州夜总会招聘.auWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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New Zealand owner Scott Richardson has a simple philosophy when it comes to owning horses, and $200 purchase Mr Steal is the ultimate example of what happens when it goes right.

The winner of five races and more than $170,000 could be delivering the best percentage return on investment in the country.

“There is nothing more expensive than a slow horse, when you get them you just have to move them on,” Richardson said. “You need them to be winning and giving you something back.

“That’s when it is fun.”

Mr Steal is a fun horse in that case but Richardson just had to be patient. He was offered the horse for $200, when it was on his farm after a syndicate broke up.

“The bloke offered him to me for $200, and I just said yes,” Richardson said. “I knew there was nothing wrong with the horse. He just needed a bit of time according to my farm manager.

“That was $200 New Zealand and I got $30 back from the GST.

“I thought he was up to , so I sent him to Bjorn [Baker] and he has done the rest.

“The prizemoney there is unbelievable and you can see that from what he has earned.”

Richardson sings the praises of Baker and his father Murray, who trains Highlad for him, which finished down the track in the Victoria Derby.

“They are just straight with me when a horse has to be moved on and we have had a bit of luck together,” Richardson said. “You couldn’t find a couple of better trainers or people.

“Bjorn had Burbero for me and I used to call him my cash machine, but then he unfortunately broke a leg. After that I thought ‘what do I do now’? Then Mr Steal come along and started winning.

“Bjorn told me he just needed to get over a trip and once he did he won a few. He needs it wet to be at his best, so I hope it’s raining over there, but he gets to 2400 metres, which is a good trip for him.”

Richardson will watch from New Zealand because of health problems and is hopeful, though Baker is realistic about the chances of $26 outsider Mr Steal at Rosehill.

“He is a stayer that gets to a trip that suits but he has run into a handy race,” Baker said. “You know one thing with him, he will run the trip right out. We would like a bit of rain to help him.”

Mr Steal is joined by Herne’s Oak in the staying contest and is part of a group of eight runners for Baker on the Rosehill card. He is hoping to get back in the winner’s circle.

“It has been a bit of a lean run, I would like a winner, I need a winner,” Baker said. “We go there with a few chances and hopefully I can start the day on the right foot with Cadogan.

“We are hoping to get him to the Magic Millions but it is getting to the stage where he has to show us something.

“We have put the blinkers on him and he has worked well in them and I think he can run a good race.

“Horses like Roeinda and Bonny O’Reilly didn’t have the best of luck at their last start and they will be competitive in their race.”

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“It’s kind of hypocritical, don’t you think?” Labor frontbencher Terri Butler said she had not yet been served a lawsuit. Photo: Andrew Meares The Q&A panel discussed a renewed push to reform section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. Photo: ABC
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Labor frontbencher Terri Butler has lashed out at a “hypocritical” lawsuit commenced against her by a Brisbane law student over her remarks on the ABC’s Q&A program.

Ms Butler, the opposition’s spokeswoman on equality and universities, was accused of a “racist smear” by a fellow panellist for repeating allegations that Queensland University of Technology student Calum Thwaites used the word “niggers” in a Facebook post about campus facilities.

Mr Thwaites, who was one of the defendants in the racial vilification case that was thrown out of court, has maintained he was not responsible for the post. He is now suing Ms Butler for defamation, accusing her of implying that he is a racist, bigot and perjurer, and seeking $150,000 in damages.

In a statement of claim, obtained by Fairfax Media, lawyer Anthony Morris said his client had been “greatly harmed and injured in his personal reputation” and was liable to be harmed in his pursuit of a career as a lawyer as a result of Ms Butler’s remarks.

Ms Butler said she had not been served any legal documents or been contacted by Mr Thwaites and his legal team in any way since Monday. But she told Fairfax Media it would be “hypocritical” if the lawsuit did eventuate because Mr Thwaites had been at the forefront of a campaign against section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, in favour of free speech.

“It’s kind of hypocritical, don’t you think?” Ms Butler said. “If you’re asserting the problem with this country is there’s not enough free speech, you’re not going to sue someone over their speech.”

Ms Butler, herself a law graduate from QUT, had a “general conversation” about the matter with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten but said there was “little to go on” at this stage. “It’s a report that someone is going to sue me. If someone actually does sue me I’ll figure out what to do at that point,” she said. Mr Shorten declined to comment.

On Monday’s episode of Q&A, Ms Butler argued against the renewed push to reform or abolish 18C, which makes it unlawful to offend, insult, intimidate or humiliate another person on the basis of race.

She observed that the Federal Circuit Court had thrown out the case against Mr Thwaites and his co-defendants, also QUT students. But she added: “I notice that when people talk about those QUT students, they never mention the fact that one of them was alleged to have used the N word – I’m not going to say it – the N word in one of those Facebook posts.”

Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz noted Mr Thwaites denied that allegation and panellist Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of The n newspaper, accused the Labor frontbencher of a “disgraceful diatribe”.

Sheridan: “He said that was not him. He said that that was not him.”

Butler: “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”

Sheridan: “You’re presuming his guilt on national television but there’s no evidence against him.”

Butler: “I’m saying this is what the allegations were.”

Sheridan: “That is a racist smear in itself.”

On Thursday, Ms Butler appeared to double down on her remarks, accusing News Corp of trivialising the allegations. “There is no dispute that those words appeared on a Facebook page. There was no claim that those words weren’t used,” she said.

“I feel like The n’s campaign against laws that are aimed at preventing people from humiliating and vilifying others on the basis of their race has been waged for some time now. I think that The n should not seek to downplay the seriousness of the allegations.”

“It’s important in discussing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to talk about the real issue which is: do we want to be in a country where victimisation and vilification of people on the basis of race is given licence?”

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Richard Di Natale has lost 16 staff in 18 months. Photo: ABC Q&AGreens senator Richard Di Natale has lost 16 staff in the 18 months since he became party leader, out of a total office complement of 23 people.
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But Dr Di Natale has characterised the comparatively high turnover as a matter of putting his own stamp on the office of leader and building his own team.

Staff who have headed to the exit include a communications director, two campaign advisers, a policy director and several more junior policy advisers and a personal assistant.

Leaders’ offices are high-pressure environments that do see a regular turnover of staff, while the Department of Finance’s pay-out arrangements are also particularly favourable for staff in the immediate aftermath of an election.

But in way of comparison, Tony Abbott lost 15 staff in an office of 53 in just less than his first two years as prime minister, while former prime minister Julia Gillard lost 14 staff out of 57 in just over a year.

Both paled in comparison to former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who turned over 60 per cent of his staff in just about two years.

The high turnover has prompted internal disquiet in the environmental party, with some blaming Dr Di Natale’s chief of staff, Cate Faehrmann – a former NSW state MP – for being too “uncompromising” and her “desire to be a single-person gatekeeper” to the leader, according to sources familiar with the workings of the office.

Others in the party, however, say the exodus is a result of a change in strategic direction under Dr Di Natale, who has moved to broaden the party’s electoral appeal and steer more of a middle course than his predecessor, Christine Milne, and has shown a greater willingness to negotiate over legislation with the Coalition government.

That willingness to negotiate on issues such as pensions reform has caused deep unease with some Greens, who argue that negotiating with the Coalition is tantamount to assisting ideological enemies and that compromises should not be made.

Dr Di Natale said in a statement that “most new leaders build their own team and I firmly believe that Cate and our new team are the best in the Parliament”.

A senior Greens staffer also played down the exodus, arguing some people had been on temporary contracts, some had run for office themselves and some staff had – after serving the senator for an extended period of time – finally decided to move on.

One of the former staffers for Dr Di Natale, Gavan McFadzean – a former communications director – would say only that he had left because “there was a difference over strategic direction among senior staff in the organisation, heading into the election”.

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What next? Imagine Peter Dutton blaming England for sending their rejects over here on convict ships, as the Aborigines proclaim, “Stop the Boats”
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Richard Ryan, Summerland PointI WONDERwhy all those people who contracted cancer and tuberculosis through smoking don’t initiate a class action against the tobacco companies?

Tom Edwards, Wangi WangiCHUCKLE of the year! A straight-faced Malcolm Turnbull blatantly informing listener he is pro-union.

John William, Nelsons BayI THINK it is a bit rich the federal LNP government posturing on behalf of trade union members in an attempt to have us believe they have the interests of union members at heart. We all remember in the “WorkChoices” era and the then LNP government doing all they could to destroy unions and their members rights at work. Most of the current crop LNP members were around then and can anybody recall any of them calling out to look after union members?

Fred McInerney, KaruahIN reply to ‘Topics’ (Herald, 23/11/16) re the sign at the Newcastle Baptist Tabernacle – the truth is that ‘living by faith’ in Jesus and ‘religion’ are not the same thing.

Kim Cross, MetfordFURTHER to ‘The Real Manus’. It needs to be emphasised that the detainees on the island live in conditions akin a to prison. Their experience is the antithesis of idyllic.

Dean Briggs, NewcastleCOLIN Geaches – I am tempted by your kind invitation to come and live in Mayfield. I know the place well, as I have lived half of my rather long life there. I’m very fond of Mayfield and its people but in 2013 my wife and I joined the ageing throng downsizing to city units in search of convenience and quiet. Now, Mayfield is even more attractive as it does not face five+ years of V8 Supercar disruption. Perhaps you and I should make a joint submission to Supercars to locate the race in Mayfield. Establish a depot in Bull Street Reserve, run a course east along Bull and south on Elizabeth, west at Crebert and north back to Bull. If our submission is successful, I’ll enjoy the East End even more than I do now, and you can enjoy the Supercars without the need to leave home.

Roland Bannister, NewcastleTHE POLLSDoes the local syndicatesound like the right owner for the Knights?

Yes 49%, There’s a long way to go 30%, No 21%Is the sale of Hunter Street Mall to Iris Capital a win for Newcastle?

Yes 84%, No 16%Have you changed your water-use habits in the past year?

No, I’ve always been careful 43%, Not really 29%, Yes, I’m a bit more vigilant 24%, I’m using more than ever 4%Read More →

New Brumbies chief executive Michael Thomson. Photo: Karleen Minney Michael Thomson is keen for Stephen Larkham to help find a replacement coach at the Brumbies. Photo: Karleen Minney
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New ACT Brumbies boss Michael Thomson is keen for Stephen Larkham to help find a new coach as the chief executive begins his task of stabilising the Super Rugby club.

Thomson was unveiled on Thursday as the Brumbies’ chief executive, ending a six-month search and giving the organisation a clean slate after a year of off-field trouble.

Thomson, a former Brumbies general manager, Nike marketing director in China, n Sports Commission executive and ARU employee, will begin his tenure on January 24.

One of his first jobs will be putting together the process to find a new coach as Larkham enters the final year of his deal before linking with the Wallabies on a full-time basis.

Thomson also declared he wants the Brumbies to re-engage with Canberra and ensure the club has long-term sustainability with the future make up of Super Rugby still unclear.

Thomson flagged the prospect of Larkham and the ARU playing a role in the selection of the next coach, with current assistant Dan McKellar and former coach Laurie Fisher names already being mentioned.

“I think Stephen [Larkham] has done a great job and to be going on to be a Wallabies assistant full-time is a real feather in the cap of [the Brumbies] as much as anything,” Thomson said.

“That’s part of the pathway we want to provide for players, administrators and coaches.

“We’ll obviously have to turn our minds to [Larkham’s replacement] reasonably quickly and I’m sure there won’t be a shortage of good applicants willing to put their hand up.

“We’ll go through a process and make sure we have appropriate people involved in that process, be that former players, Stephen we’d like to have heavily involved and the ARU.”

Thomson returns to the Brumbies after being the club’s general manager until leaving at the end of the 2011 campaign.

He returns after one of the most turbulent years in Brumbies history, after former chief executive Michael Jones and the board were locked in a legal battle.

Canberra rugby relationships have been mended over the past six months and Brumbies chairman Robert Kennedy said Thomson was the perfect man to lead the organisation forward.

“I think his style will fit very well with the Brumbies and Brumbies culture. This is a pivotal moment in Brumbies rugby as this puts together another plank in our platform,” Kennedy said.

Thomson said he avoided the drama that engulfed the Brumbies earlier this year, where the board stood Jones down only for that decision to be challenged in the ACT Supreme Court.

The angst between the Brumbies and stakeholders stemmed from a KPMG report into the club’s move from Griffith to the University of Canberra.

“I’ve been pretty busy with my job at the sports commission, so I’ve watched from afar, I’ve got to a few games, but I really haven’t focussed on what’s been happening in the organisation in the last year,” Thomson said.

The Brumbies will report a financial deficit next month and there have been rumours the Brumbies face an uncertain period as Super Rugby officials contemplating axing teams and changing the format.

Thomson said the Brumbies must work with the ARU to remain viable but is confident of financial sustainability.

Interim chief executive Phil Thomson will continue in the position for the coming weeks before Michael Thomson begins next year.

Michael Thomson and Kennedy praised Phil Thomson for easing tension in Canberra after stepping in temporarily to give the Brumbies leadership.

“We’ve got really good solid foundation and Phil Thomson has done a great job in stabilising the Brumbies. We know where the Brumbies can get to and I’m looking forward to being a part of it,” Michael Thomson said.

“Canberra is a really unique community and they like to see Canberra teams do well. Part of the way we’re going to reconnect is to be out and about and re-engage with the community.”

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Senator Pauline Hanson in the Senate on Sunday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Senator Hanson is congratulated after her 1996 maiden speech in which she said was in danger of being swamped by Asians. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Pauline Hanson has, to use her exact words to the Senate, “had it up to here with my tolerance”.

This may be the most honest remark uttered by anyone in the Senate for years.

Less expected was Senator Hanson’s claim to expertise as a constitutional lawyer and an assertion about the genesis of what was known as the “race power” so breathtaking that it might render all previous scholarship on the subject redundant.

She was on her feet to argue that it ought not be illegal to have opinions that might  “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” others because of their race, colour or national or ethnic origin.

“We are told time and time again that we must be tolerant,” she said.

“Well, I’ve had it up to here with my tolerance.”

Why, she said, she’d employed a refugee from Laos to manage her fish and chip shop, she’d rented out one of her properties to an “Aboriginal lady and her child”, Aboriginal people had lived in the same street as her family as a child and her first husband had come to from Poland after World War II.

She’d respected refugees and Aboriginal people, but respect “had to be earned”.

Senator Hanson recalled happy days when Italian and Greek immigrants were called wogs, and how they’d “simply got on with it” and indeed, embraced being accepted in this good old Aussie way way as part of n culture.

Racism, she declared, was defined as one people seeing themselves as superior to another.

“I am fed up with people… calling me a racist when they cannot find one thing that I have said that is racist.”

There are those who might find this a worthy challenge, considering she made her name 20 years ago, in her first speech to Parliament, by opining: “I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate.”

Still, who’s splitting hairs?

Senator Hanson, anyway, had moved on to offering her knowledge of constitutional matters. Specifially, Section 51 (xxvi), the one that excluded, until 1967,  the Parliament from making any laws affecting Aboriginal people – thus, for two thirds of last century, ensuring Indigenous people were not considered worthy of any place in federal law.

Mountains of opinion have been written and spoken by eminent lawyers and High Court judges about this “race power” section, but Senator Hanson had her own – and you’d have to say, unique – take on it.

It wasn’t about Aboriginal people at all, she said.

It was to do with the Chinese and the Afghans “and the opium and the immigration”.

If you listened carefully, you might have heard legions of constitutional experts falling off their bar stools in admiration.

Tragically, Senator Hanson didn’t expand on the matter of Chinese and Afghans and opium and immigration.

She’d had it up to here with her tolerance.

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is heading for a relatively hot and dry start to summer as key climate drivers combine to raise the fire threat in many parts of the country.
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The odds point to about a 70 to 80 per cent chance of below-average rainfall for eastern , extending dry conditions that have set in over much of the region in November, according to the latest climate outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology.

“We are seeing a turn in the weather,” said Robyn Duell, a senior climatologist at the bureau, noting that much of the country had an exceptionally wet winter. “If we see a hot December, it will raise the risk [of bushfires] because there’s a lot of vegetation around.”

The outlook for heightened fire threats matches forecasts made in August that ‘s second-wettest winters on record would lead to a delayed start to the bushfire season before conditions ramped up.

While southern cities such as Melbourne have had a wildly variable spring, regions further north such as Sydney had recently been recording temperatures well above average and relatively little rain.

So far this month, daytime temperatures in the Harbour City are about 3 degrees warmer than average and rainfall is less than a third of the usual levels for the month.

While odds favour the summer as a whole being warmer than average for eastern , the signal is strongest for December. (See bureau chart below.)

Lower than usual cloud cover will be the feature for much of the summer, and with that rainfall is also likely to be less than typical for both December and summer as a whole,

In December alone, almost the entire continent has odds favouring drier than usual conditions, the bureau said. (See chart below.) Three-way tussle

has three main influences for rainfall, including the El Nino-La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific. For now, those conditions are basically neutral.

A second influence is the so-called Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which had been at record low readings during the winter.

The gauge, which measures relative temperature differences of north-west Western and the east coast of Africa, was the main driver behind the record wet cooler months across much of southern . During a negative-IOD as we have just had, there is more convection off WA and hence, more moisture streaming across the continent.

With La Nina and IOD more or less in the neutral phase, though, the battle to influence ‘s weather is coming down to a dominant so-called Southern Annular Mode (SAM).

During negative-SAM periods, as is currently the case, the belt of strong westerly winds known as the “Roaring Forties” expands towards the equator.

During the spring and summer with such conditions, high-pressure systems sit further north over the country, acting as a barrier to tropical moisture reaching further south, Ms Duell said.

For now, the bureau is still expecting an average to above-average cyclone season for northern , although the current set-up means less of the tropical rain generated by the storms will make it further inland.

A negative-SAM period has been less common, with research indicating that increasing levels of greenhouse gas have tended to contract the westerlies closer to Antarctica since the 1940s.

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An armed bandit got more than he bargained for when he was pelted with bags of lollies during an attempted hold-up at Aberdare.
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The balaclava-cladrobber copped the barrage after trying to enter the BP service station while brandishing a metal bar at about 5.45amSunday.

The service station attendant threw small bags of confectionery at the intruder to defend himself.

CCTV footage of the incident shows the offender fleeing to a getaway car parked at a petrol pump after the onslaught, where a driver and another passenger were waiting.

The trioescaped in a black Hyundai i30, which was later found burnt out in Bellbird.

Security footage showed that the car was parked alongside the premises for severalminutes thenmoved tothe petrol pump before the incident.

Central Hunter Detective Inspector Mitch Dubojski said the incident was a reminder forbusinesses to be vigilant about unusual behaviour.

Detective Inspector Dubojski urged people to contact police if they noticed any suspicious activity.

Mitch Dubojski

An employee told officers that he noticed the driver was wearing aface covering, similar to a bandanna,as the car pulled in.

The armed offender was described as wearing a balaclava, black jumper, track pants with two stripes down the side and black socks.

A third passenger was also spotted in the rear of the vehicle in black balaclava, grey jumper with black and teal sleeves, grey gloves and pink socks.

Investigations into the incident are ongoing.

Anyone with information about the matter is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333000.

Information can also be reported to police online athttps://nsw.crimestoppers苏州夜总会招聘.au.

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Snow mercy not long bow TweetFacebookGame Of Thronesanalogy to help explain his stance on euthanasia.
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Lambton manJohn Grayson has a malignant brain tumour which he says will lead to right side paralysis, partial blindness, cognitive impairment andpaintowards the end of his illness. He was given two-to-five years to live when diagnosed in 2014.

Another option: Euthanasia advocate John Grayson has a rare brain tumour. He believes having the option of doctor-assisted dying would improve the mental health of the terminally ill. Picture: Ryan Osland.

The self-confessed“hardcorenerd” said he dreadedthe thought of essentially“becoming brain dead” as his cancer progressed.

“A part of that dread is perhaps because of my own‘nerdiness’,” he said.

John Grayson on euthanasia for Dying With Dignity“I have a strong loveaffairfor sciences, especially physics and chemistry…So whileI’m aware no one wants to lose their mind, I think my fear of cognitive impairment is perhaps my greatest fear.”

Hehas become an advocatefor euthanasia, contributing to Andrew Denton’s bookThe Damage Doneand appearing on the ABC’sQ&AandYou Can’t Ask Thatprograms.

You Can’t Ask That Mr Grayson penned an open letter toSouth n Parliament members after voluntary euthanasia was recently knocked back in the state.

One of his biggest frustrations in the fraught euthanasia debate was the concept that“we can’t allow doctors to kill,” he said.

“It’s not the doctor that is killing me, it’s the cancer. The doctor is giving the best medical aid possible–to end my suffering,” Mr Grayson said.

He used a scene inthe popular TV seriesGame Of Thronesto describe his thoughts on euthanasia.

“One of the characters–Mance Rayder–was to be executed by being burnt at the stake,” he said.

“His execution was taking place, but Jon Snow–the good guy–broke the rulesand instead shot a crossbow into Mance killing him instantly and ending his suffering.

“Mance was already dying, and he’d soon be dead.

“No one would argue Jon killed him, he instead ended Mance’s suffering of being on fire, in pain, and stress.”

Mr Grayson said the existence of euthanasia lawscould improve the mental health of the terminally ill byoffering another option.

The n Medical Associationsaid doctorshave an ethical duty to care for dying patients so that death can occur “in comfort and with dignity,” but thatthey should not be involved in interventions that have ending someone’s lifeas their primary intention.

Taking aim: Jon Snow.

Mr Grayson said brain pain was hard to treat.

He was not scared of death itself, but of being alive in that “end state.”

“It might seem strange, but having euthanasia as an option removes the concern of your final time,” Mr Grayson said.

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Popular exhibition The Art of the Brick: DC Comics helped to drive visitor numbers at the Powerhouse Museum. Photo: Peter Rae Arts Minister Troy Grant, Powerhouse director Dolla Merrillees and Premier Mike Baird near the proposed relocation site for the museum. Photo: Louise Kennerley
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The Powerhouse Museum recorded a 33 per cent surge in visitors for 2015-16 over the previous year. Photo: Powerhouse Museum

Surging crowds to the Powerhouse Museum have cruelled government claims that it must be moved to Parramatta to arrest its “rapid decline”, with visitors to its inner-city site growing by a third.

Almost 570,000 people visited the Ultimo museum in 2015-16, a 33 per cent increase on the previous year. The Powerhouse’s performance outpaced that of the Art Gallery of NSW, n Museum and Sydney Opera House.

The strong result countered repeated claims by Arts Minister Troy Grant that the museum was in “rapid decline” and must be moved west because fewer people were using it.

Greens MP David Shoebridge, who is deputy chairman of a parliamentary inquiry into museums and galleries, said the Powerhouse’s soaring patronage showed the government should scrap the controversial move.

“These figures prove just how much the people of Sydney and visitors love the Powerhouse Museum,” he said.

“Only a truly reckless government would destroy a museum site that has seen a 33 per cent increase in attendance.”

Relocating the Powerhouse to Parramatta would see a decline in visitors from regional NSW, he added. “For regional visitors it is a step backwards in terms of access, to have a major museum moved from the centre of Sydney to Parramatta.”

Former Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson said in March that visitors from regional NSW came to Sydney for services and facilities in and around the city, rather than in the west.

The Powerhouse had 569,186 visitors in 2015-16, according to its annual report, almost half of whom came from outside Sydney.

But a spokesman for Grant insisted that moving the museum to western Sydney would further increase visitors. He cited a decline in patronage between 2007-08 and 2013-14. Visitor numbers have since bounced back by 49 per cent.

The spokesman attributed this improvement to the introduction of free admission for children and a “renewed management team” under director Dolla Merrillees. “Ms Merrillees is leading the charge on the museum’s relocation to Parramatta, which will bring even more visitors through its doors,” he said.

The Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS), which includes the Powerhouse and Sydney Observatory, reported a 28 per cent increase in visitors to 730,000, “driven by strong attendance at Powerhouse Museum most of the year”.

The Powerhouse marked one of its most popular summer seasons in recent history, driven by 164,000 visitors to the exhibition The Art of the Brick: DC Comics.

The museum’s popularity in 2015-16 overshadowed increases in patronage to the n Museum (up 7 per cent), the Art Gallery of NSW’s Domain site (up 5.7 per cent) and the Sydney Opera House (up 4.9 per cent).

The MAAS did not respond when asked whether the latest visitor figures would be included in the business case for the proposed relocation.

Separately, Labor arts spokesman Walt Secord called for a formal inquiry after the MAAS was forced to reveal it spent $268,000 on overseas trips by staff from 2011-12 to 2015-16.

The details were provided to the parliamentary inquiry after a protracted freedom of information process.

“At a time when arts organisations are desperate for funds, it is very surprising that the Powerhouse would spend more than a quarter of a million dollars on travel,” Secord said.

An MAAS spokeswoman said overseas travel was essential for “exhibition development and negotiation, collections loans, object couriers and attendance at meetings and conferences”.

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