Qld ‘s Isaac Dunmall wins Stawell Gift

Isaac Dunmall thought he had blown his shot at Stawell Gift glory when he trailed home last in the final two years ago.

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As it turned out, he got a second go on Monday and this time he grabbed it with both hands.

The 22-year-old Queenslander crashed to the turf after lunging desperately through the finishing gates, having just held off the challenge from fast-finishing Tjimarri Sanderson-Milera.

Running off a handicap of 6.75m, Dunmall clocked a winning time of 12.17 seconds, two hundredths of a second clear of Sanderson-Milera, with teenaged sprint star Jack Hale claiming third spot.

“I didn’t know the meaning of speechless until now – this is unbelievable,” said Dunmall.

“I got a good start and I kicked on really well.

“I saw Tjimarri coming towards me at the end of the last 20 and I was just like `hold on, hold on’.

“I wasn’t sure I’d won because I knew he was coming close.

“I honestly can’t put my feelings into words right now.

“I’ve wanted to win this race for so long, it means so much to me.”

It was in sharp contrast to the 2014 final at Central Park, when Dunmall was never a factor in a race won by another Queenslander, Luke Versace.

“I thought I’d blown my chance in that race,” said Dunmall.

“I thought `I’m gone, there’s no way known I’m going to win a Stawell Gift now’.

“Now to come back and actually do it – that’s insane.

“I was coming into this race feeling a lot more confident and a lot more energetic.”

Hale clocked the fastest semi-final time of 12.22 on Monday, but was seven hundredths of a second slower in the final.

The 17-year-old set a 100m personal best of 10.31 earlier this month in Perth.

Fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Talia Martin won the women’s Gift in 13.70 ahead of Tierra Exum – the sister of NBA star Dante Exum – and Sarah Blizzard.

Both Gift winners pocketed $40,000, although Martin was docked $2000 for showing rapid improvement.

She had been eliminated in the heats of the Ararat Gift only 12 days ago, a below-par performance she put down to the recent death of her aunt.

Olympian Lauren Wells claimed one of the most impressive victories of the day in the women’s 400m.

Wells spotted the frontmarkers a 40m headstart but was still able to reel in the field on the final straight.

Washington strikes as Northern Ireland set unbeaten record

The victory at Windsor Park meant manager Michael O’Neill eclipsed the achievement of Billy Bingham, whose Northern Ireland side twice went nine games undefeated in the 1980s.

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Man-of-the-match Washington struck after 41 minutes with his first international goal in his second appearance for the country to become the first Northern Ireland player to score on his home debut since George McCartney in 2001.

The Queens Park Rangers striker outmuscled Miral Samardzic and then barged Nejc Skubic out of the way before cutting inside Bostjan Cesar and firing a low shot past Jan Oblak.

Veteran keeper Roy Carroll, 38, preserved the home side’s lead when he saved Milivoje Novakovic’s penalty in the 66th minute after Jonny Evans had hauled Samardzic to the ground.

Asked about the unbeaten record, O’Neill said: “It’s lovely to achieve something like that. It’s for the squad — to go unbeaten for 10 games is a great achievement.”

The 23-year-old scorer Washington, who was at non-league St Ives Town only five years ago, qualifies for Northern Ireland through his grandmother but had never actually visited the country until he was called up for this month’s friendlies.

“He’s a raw striker. He’s come on the international stage and showed what he can do. He made a goal out of nothing and it’s a great night for him,” added O’Neill.

“It would be unfair to say if he’s on the flight to France. He’s done himself no harm at all, not only in the performance, but how he’s fitted in with the group. It looks like he’s going to be an asset to us.”

The Irish host Belarus and visit Slovakia in their last two friendlies before starting the Euro 2016 campaign against Poland and then facing Ukraine and world champions Germany.

Slovenia failed to qualify for the tournament in France after losing a qualifying playoff to Ukraine.

(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Mark Trevelyan/Susan Fenton/Rex Gowar)

Govt can stop health insurance hike: Labor

A hike in health insurance premiums that could cause hundreds of thousands of Australians to drop their private cover doesn’t have to happen, the federal opposition says.

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From April 1 premiums will rise on average by more than 5 per cent, or around $200 a year for a family.

A Galaxy poll commissioned by comparison service iSelect suggests 71 per cent of those with private cover are planning to take some form of action, and 530,000 may drop their policy altogether.

Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said when she was health minister, private health insurers put up “ambit claims” to her, but she sent them back to reconsider.

“That meant on average, under Labor, under both (fellow former health minister) Nicola Roxon and I, premium increases were below the averages that we’re seeing under Liberal governments,” Ms Plibersek told reporters in Sydney.

“The health minister does have the power to reject increases and the government needs to consider what happens to people who have private health insurance when it becomes unaffordable.”

The Galaxy survey of over 1000 Australians was commissioned after the federal government’s March 2 announcement that premiums would rise by an average 5.59 per cent.

The survey findings suggest 46 per cent of Australians intend to shop around to ensure the best deal, while seven per cent plan to switch provider.

iSelect spokeswoman Laura Crowden said couples and families with either hospital-only cover or extras-only cover indicated they were more likely to cancel their private health insurance altogether.

“It’s possible these households have already pared back their cover as premiums have risen in recent years, but this latest increase may be the tipping point that means they can simply no longer afford it,” she said.

Around 12 million Australians have private healthcare insurance, and a large portion of the policyholders are over the age of 50.

May seeks survival deal with DUP

British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking a deal with a small Northern Irish party she needs to stay in power after a disastrous election that destroyed her authority days before Brexit talks start.

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British media reported on Sunday moves were afoot within May’s Conservative Party to dislodge her, while opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who exceeded expectations in Thursday’s vote, insisted she could be ousted and he could replace her.

“Theresa May is a dead woman walking. It’s just how long she’s going to remain on death row,” former Conservative finance minister George Osborne, who was sacked by May when she became prime minister last year, told the BBC.

The Conservatives won 318 House of Commons seats in Thursday’s election, eight short of an outright majority. Labour, the main opposition party, won 262.

May’s only hope of forming a government is to win support from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which won 10 seats.

She is seeking a so-called confidence and supply deal, which would involve the DUP supporting the Conservatives on key votes but not joining a formal coalition.

Her Downing Street office initially announced on Saturday that the “principles of an outline agreement” had been agreed with the DUP, only for the smaller party to contradict that account hours later.

Downing Street backtracked, saying she had “discussed finalising” a deal in the coming week. DUP leader Arlene Foster told Sky News she would meet May at Downing Street on Tuesday.

The political turmoil comes with Britain due to start negotiating on June 19 the terms of its exit from the European Union in talks of unprecedented complexity that are supposed to wrap up by the end of March 2019, when Britain actually leaves.

That timeline now looks even more ambitious than before, not least because May’s electoral debacle has emboldened those within her own party who object to her “hard Brexit” approach of leaving the European single market and customs union.

“The new cabinet obviously will meet early next week, our view of Brexit I don’t think has changed,” Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the BBC, adding he believed the government would be able to muster parliamentary support for its Brexit plans.

But there were early signs that without a parliamentary majority, a weakened May could not count on all her party’s MPs to support her approach.

“I don’t think she does have a majority in the House of Commons for leaving the single market,” said Anna Soubry, a Conservative member of parliament who campaigned ahead of last year’s referendum for Britain to stay in the EU.

With media asking questions about whether May could remain at Downing Street after her electoral humiliation, ministers said now was not the time for the further uncertainty a party leadership contest would bring.

“This is not the time for sharks to be circling. This is the time for us to come together as a party,” culture minister Karen Bradley told Sky News.

But Soubry said May’s time in the top job would be limited.

Meanwhile, a buoyant Corbyn was insisting he saw a route for Labour to form a government, although it was not clear how he would command the support of a majority of parliament given the electoral arithmetic.

“I can still be prime minister. This is still on,” he told the Sunday Mirror.

India bowl out South Africa for 191

India set up a victory target of only 192 to reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals after rolling South Africa in 45 overs at The Oval.

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Surprising defeats in their last outings meant this heavyweight match, instead of deciding first and second in Group B as predicted, would eliminate top-ranked South Africa or defending champion India in the first round.

South Africa was expected to be left behind after producing an even worse innings than the 219 they scored against Pakistan on Wednesday.

Both captains preached calm for the decider, but it was South Africa who failed to show it. Its innings, built slowly by openers Quinton de Kock (53) and Hashim Amla (35), unravelled with consecutive run outs in near-perfect conditions in south London, and skipper AB de Villiers was the first culprit.

De Villiers, under more pressure after scoring 4 and 0 in the Trophy, picked the lengths easily and looked comfortable in making 16 off 12 balls but when Faf du Plessis guided a Ravindra Jadeja delivery to point, Hardik Pandya was fast on the ball and accurate on the throw and de Villiers was caught well short despite diving.

David Miller came in and lasted only three balls after he was run out in a comical mix-up.

Du Plessis cut Ravichandran Ashwin to third man, set off, hesitated, set off again then changed his mind again and dived back. He made it to his crease a fraction before Miller, who was sent back to the dressing room by the TV umpire.

The fourth and fifth run outs by India in this tournament sent a shiver through the South Africans that they couldn’t shake off.

Du Plessis was eventually bowled by Pandya for 36, Chris Morris was out for 4, and JP Duminy was left as the last specialist batsman with 13 overs left. He couldn’t rally the tail. The last four wickets went for 13 runs, and the innings finished, aptly, on a run out.

Jadeja took 1-39 from his 10 overs, conceding no boundaries, and Ashwin, playing his first one-day international since January because of the left-handers in South Africa’s lineup, took 1-43.

Medical trailblazers make Queen’s honours

Australian scientist Professor Peter Malcolm Colman loves watching the beauty and complexity of cells under the microscope, so much so, he’s dedicated his life to medical research.

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His passion and keen eye was key to the development of the flu-fighting drug Relenza – hailed by some as “one of the greatest developments of the 20th century”.

For the Adelaide-born structural biologist, determining the structure of the influenza virus neuraminidase was also one of the “greatest moments” in his life.

“We were really able to watch the virus in the test tube. So a special and lucky moment in my career, ” Prof Colman told AAP.

For the past 20 years at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Prof Colman has been investigating cell death in the hope of finding a cure for cancer.

In recognition of his service to medical research, the Adelaide-born structural biologist has on Monday been made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

The former chief of the Biomolecular Engineering department at the CSIRO, Prof Colman says he’s both surprised and honoured “and very grateful” to those who put his name forward.

He’s also pleased the value of science has been recognised through his award.

“At a time when science is a little bit under threat that can only be a good thing, even if a small thing,” Professor Colman said.

Just as humble, Sydney doctor Professor Gordian Ward Fulde has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his service to emergency medicine.

The Director of Emergency Medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital since 1984, Prof Fulde says he’s elated to be recognised, although can’t figure out “why me”.

A big supporter of Sydney’s lockout laws, he’s also been recognised for his campaigning to reduce alcohol-related violence across the city.

As the son of doctor parents, Professor Fulde always wanted to be a surgeon and says being able to help people in pain and often at the brink of death is what has kept him in the role for more than 30 years.

“I can’t think of much else that would be more rewarding,” he said.

Fed-up Cameron puts Giants on AFL notice

A frustrated Leon Cameron says he’s not afraid to swing the axe after Greater Western Sydney’s shock one-point loss to Carlton.

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The Blues led at every break of Sunday’s clash at Etihad Stadium, fell behind early in the final quarter and then bounced back to claim a 10.11 (71) to 9.16 (70) victory.

Cameron’s men finished well ahead in clearances and inside-50s but were woeful in front of goal, with Toby Greene – who booted four behinds in the final term to finish with 0.5 – the worst culprit.

It was just the third loss of the season for the Giants, who remain second on the ladder and trail Adelaide only on percentage.

But it could be the last straw for a number of under-performing players, with the likes of Nick Haynes, Rory Lobb and Jacob Hopper set to return from injury after next week’s bye.

“People say that we’ll get some players back after the bye … but that’s irrelevant to me,” Cameron said.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant because the 22 that roll out each week should play with a certain amount of energy to be in the game.

“You could argue we were in the game because we only lost by one point but there’s not enough players that are going the distance at our footy club at the moment.

“If they don’t want to go the distance then what’s going to happen is they’ll be replaced.”

The Giants had looked to be nearing their best form after impressive wins over Richmond, West Coast and Essendon.

But while stars Dylan Shiel, Josh Kelly and Callan Ward were typically excellent in the midfield, Cameron said his side had been out-performed on the defensive end by the disciplined Blues.

“We’ve got some issues and we’ve got to fix them up,” he said.

“We’ve played some brave footy at times, we’ve played some okay footy at times but we’ve played some footy that actually is disappointing.

“Right now, if you put a percentage on it, we’re only going the distance 75 per cent. We need to find that little bit extra … or we’re not going to be a part of some real deep action at the end of the year.”

Co-captain Phil Davis struggled through much of Sunday’s game after rolling his ankle but Cameron said he expected the key defender to make a speedy recovery.

De Villiers defiant as South Africa choke again

The Proteas have won only one global one-day title, the inaugural Champions Trophy in 1998, and the world’s top-ranked team crumbled under pressure at The Oval in a straight shootout for a semi-final place.

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“I can take us to win a World Cup, I believe,” De Villiers told a news conference. “I’m a good captain and I can take this team forward.

“There’s more than enough talent and we’ve just got to get it right when it matters most.”

South Africa lost a 1999 World Cup semi-final against Australia when they needed one run to win from the last four balls and were eliminated in the group stage on home soil in 2003 after misunderstanding the Duckworth-Lewis scoring system.

The loss to India was another major disappointment because South Africa started well and moved smoothly to 116 for one after being put in to bat before three batsmen were run out and they were dismissed for 191 in the 45th over.

De Villiers, the world’s top-ranked one-day batsman who scored only 20 runs in three innings in the tournament, is focused on the 2019 World Cup.

“Not a lot of people believe that but I think that (winning a tournament) is not that far away,” the 33-year-old said.

“It is very difficult to sell it on this kind of performance but that is what I believe in. We are very close as a unit and we have just got to make it work when in matters the most.”

South Africa coach Russell Domingo admitted the pressure on the side would continue to grow.

“There’s always going be questions until we do get it right,” he said. “The longer it takes to get over that the harder it will be.”

India, who cruised to their target with 12 overs to spare, joined England and Bangladesh in the last four and will know their semi-final opponents after the final Group B game between Sri Lanka and Pakistan on Monday.

Their captain Virat Kohli played down the significance of South Africa’s reputation for under-performing in big games.

“To me, their batsmen looked pretty confident,” he said. “If you get two run-outs quickly, then the mindset totally changes.

“Getting their big hitters early was a bonus. We asked our bowlers to make them play difficult shots.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond; Editing by Ken Ferris)

India stroll into semi-finals with rout of South Africa

South Africa crumbled from 116 for one to 191 all out in good batting conditions at The Oval before Shikhar Dhawan (78) and Virat Kohli (76 not out) shared a fluent partnership of 128 to lead India to victory with 12 overs to spare.

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The defending champions followed hosts England and Bangladesh into the last four and they will be joined by the winners of Monday’s final Group B game between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“Our bowlers bowled really well and the fielders backed it up. It was a complete performance in the field — we grabbed the chances that came our way,” captain Kohli said at the presentation ceremony.

“The guys really stepped up with their intensity.”

South Africa started cautiously after being sent in to bat as Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock added 76 for the first wicket without undue alarm.

Amla raised the tempo with a six over mid-wicket but, on 35, he tried to cut spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and nicked a sharp catch to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

South Africa were 94 for one after 20 overs and De Kock reached a tidy half-century off 68 balls before he was deceived by spinner Ravindra Jadeja and bowled for 53.

SELF-DESTRUCT

South Africa then pressed the self-destruct button with two run-outs in quick succession.

Captain AB de Villiers, on 16, perished trying to pinch a quick single and David Miller (one) was dismissed in farcical circumstances with both batsmen stranded at the same end to leave South Africa struggling at 142 for four.

Their hopes of a substantial total rested on the shoulders of Faf du Plessis but his scratchy knock of 36 ended when he dragged a ball from medium-pacer Hardik Pandya on to his stumps.

Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel soon joined him back in the pavilion and the innings petered out in the 45th over when Imran Tahir became the third run-out victim.

India began their reply positively and both openers had struck sixes before Rohit Sharma drove loosely at Morkel and was caught by wicketkeeper De Kock for 12.

Kohli joined Dhawan and after surviving hostile spells from Morkel and Rabada the pair started to play with more freedom.

Dhawan crunched Morris over mid-on for his eighth four to reach his 50 and the left-hander played some brutal strokes before he skied Tahir to Du Plessis at long-off.

Kohli remained in total control, however, and Yuvraj Singh hoisted JP Duminy over mid-wicket for a huge six to complete the most comfortable of wins for his team.

“It’s not an ideal way to finish the tournament,” De Villiers said. “It’s disappointing, but credit to them. They put a lot of pressure on us.

“We got something nice going until the run-outs which cost us highly today. We just came unstuck against a better team.”

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

Bharara tells of ‘unusual’ Trump calls

Former US Attorney Preet Bharara has revealed that he received a handful of “unusual” phonecalls from Donald Trump after the November election that made him feel uncomfortable, and said he was fired after declining to take the third call.

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Speaking on ABC News in his first televised interview since Trump fired him in March as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, Bharara said he believed Trump’s calls to him violated the usual boundaries between the executive branch and independent criminal investigators.

“It’s a very weird and peculiar thing for a one-on-one conversation without the attorney general, without warning between the president and me or any United States attorney who has been asked to investigate various things and is in a position hypothetically to investigate business interests and associates of the president,” Bharara said.

He added that during President Barack Obama’s tenure, Obama never called him directly.

Bharara’s comments came just a few days after former FBI Director James Comey testified at a congressional panel that Trump had asked him to drop an investigation into former Trump aide Michael Flynn and his alleged ties to Russia.

Comey also said he believed he was subsequently fired in an effort to undermine the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has denied allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia and said he never directed Comey to drop the Flynn probe.

A White House spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bharara said on Sunday that Trump called him twice after the November election “ostensibly just to shoot the breeze.”

“It was a little bit uncomfortable, but he was not the president. He was only the president-elect,” Bharara said.

The third call, however, came two days after Trump’s inauguration. That time, he said, he refused to call back.

“The call came in. I got a message. We deliberated over it, thought it was inappropriate to return the call. And 22 hours later I was asked to resign along with 45 other people,” he said.

Bharara stopped short of saying whether he thought Trump had obstructed justice in his conversations and subsequent firing of Comey.

However, he said he thought there was “absolutely evidence to begin a case” into the matter.

Blanchett adds Queen’s honour to resume

It is no surprise on the day Cate Blanchett is named a recipient of a Queen’s Birthday honour she is up for a Tony Award half a world away under the bright lights of New York’s Broadway.

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Blanchett, if major awards and nominations are the benchmark, is Australia’s greatest actor, with two Oscar wins from seven nominations, three Golden Globe trophies, three Screen Actors Guild awards and three BAFTA wins.

Melbourne-born Blanchett was honoured on Monday with the Companion of the Order of Australia for not only her “eminent service to the performing arts as an international stage and screen actor”, but for being “a role model for women and young performers, and as a supporter of humanitarian and environmental causes”.

The 48-year-old mother-of-four, married to playwright Andrew Upton, has divided her family life and remarkable film and stage career with roles as a Global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and as an honorary life member for the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Blanchett has also been a crusader for women in Hollywood.

She famously proclaimed on stage while accepting her best actress Oscar in 2014 for Blue Jasmine: “The world is round, people!”

“Perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the centre are niche experiences – they are not,” Blanchett said.

Blanchett can add to her extraordinary trophy cabinet at New York’s Radio City Music Hall with a Tony Award (Monday 10am AEST) for best lead actress in a play for The Present, a Sydney Theatre Company update of Anton Chekhov’s Platonov penned by Upton.

Blanchett’s first Oscar win was in 2005 for The Aviator while her nominations were for Elizabeth, Notes on a Scandal, I’m Not There, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Carol.

London attack suicide belt pics released

Detectives investigating the London Bridge attack have released images of the terrorists’ blood-spattered fake suicide belts.

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The phoney bombs were simply disposable water bottles wrapped in silver and black tape and attached to leather belts, although they were designed to create “maximum fear”, police say.

Attackers Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba each wore one of the bogus explosive devices when they launched a van and knife rampage that killed eight people and injured dozens more.

Metropolitan Police Commander Dean Haydon on Sunday praised the bravery of the police officers and members of public who tackled the three – despite the possibility they could have been killed in an explosion.

“I have not seen this tactic in the UK before where terrorists create maximum fear by strapping fake explosives to themselves,” he said.

“Anyone who saw them on the night would have thought they were genuine.”

Butt, 27, Zaghba, 22 and Redouane, 30, were still wearing the belts when they were shot dead by armed officers within eight minutes of their marauding attack beginning.

Mr Haydon said it was hard to speculate to what end the attackers wore the belts, although it may have been to take hostages or as a defensive strategy.

“It could be that they had plans to take the attack into a siege situation or it might be that they saw it as protection from being shot themselves,” the officer said.

“It makes the bravery of those police officers and members of the public who tackled the terrorists even more remarkable.

“The belt would have been visible to them and if you are fighting back or aiming a shot at someone wearing the device, you would clearly be very aware that you could be caught in an explosion.”

Sunday Express journalist Geoff Ho was severely wounded when he confronted the attackers after they smashed their way into a restaurant in Borough Market.

Writing in the newspaper, he described the moment three potential suicide bombers broke through a locked door.

“The terrorists were coming in and I saw that they looked like they had suicide vests on,” he said.

“I couldn’t just attack. If I charged at them, maybe I could take out one or two. But one of those animals could detonate and kill us all.”

Inspector Jim Cole, one of the first officers on the scene as the attack began, described how he hid 200 revellers in a pub cellar amid fears suicide bombers were on the loose outside.

“From updates on the radio, we were aware that people had got out the van and were attacking people in the market,” he said.

“I heard a number of shots started ringing out and a lot of shooting going on.

“At that point, I didn’t know if the shots were us or potentially the attackers.

“Information came over the radio that they were wearing suicide vests.”

Record enrolments in Timor-Leste shifts focus to ‘who will teach the teachers?’

At Rainha da Paz school in Dili, students play in the shadow of a burnt-out building.

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Their school, like many others across Timor-Leste, had to be rebuilt after Indonesia’s scorched-earth withdrawal policy in 1999 left vast tracts of infrastructure destroyed.

Former President Jose Ramos-Horta said the government has “started from scratch” to rebuild a broken education system. 

“We have done enormous [work to] the education sector,” he said.

“Well over a thousand schools rebuilt or repaired in the last five years.”

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Education is highly valued here. Each school day afternoon, thousands of students can be seen in the capital walking home from class in neat uniforms.

Mr Ramos-Horta says enrolment is at around 90 per cent.

But inside classrooms, many teachers are untrained and unpaid.

An estimated 75 per cent of teachers came from Indonesia during occupation – and returned there before independence. 

Volunteers stepped in to fill the gap. Many are still there, and as their student body grows, so does the demand for better quality education.

Mr Ramos-Horta says there are not enough skilled workers who can teach the teachers.

“You cannot produce schoolteachers, high quality schoolteachers in an assembly line,” says Mr Ramos-Horta.

“We have a problem in quality education, quality of teachers. Very few are well trained.”

Joana Barros is the principal of Rainha da Paz school and has been a teacher for 28 years. When the classroom she used to teach in was burned to the ground, she taught outdoors.

Watch: New Timor-Leste president talks to SBS World News 0:00 Share

“I feel like they are all my children,” she says of her students.

Ms Barros is a permanent teacher and receives a salary. She wishes more teachers received the same benefit.

“The government should pay attention to the teacher’s salary,” she says through a translator.

“I also think of the children. They need teachers to be educated.”

Once a week, her school receives a visit from Mary MacKillop International, the international aid and development arm of the Sisters of St Joseph.

With money from Australian donors, they are helping to train Timor-Leste’s vast pool of volunteer teachers.

Country Director Alipio Baltazar says the program has helped train 2000 people to date.

“Education is a really critical aspect of development in Timor-Leste and the government of Timor-Leste very limited resources.”

But with a young, growing population and a huge demand for skilled workers, many more teachers will need to be trained to support the nation in the future.

Rhiannon Elston travelled to Dili at the invitation of the government of Timor-Leste.

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