Key to surplus not higher taxes: Turnbull

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insists returning the budget to surplus is a long-term project that will be achieved through growing the economy faster rather than raising taxes.

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He says the government’s approach is to eliminate unjustified spending, live within its means and maintain strong economic growth that boosts tax receipts.

“It’s been very effective in other times and in other places, and is exactly how (New Zealand Prime Minister) John Key got back into balance,” Mr Turnbull told Sky News on Sunday.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says while the prime minister has taken a GST increase off the table and failed to get an agreement that would have allowed the states to levy their own income tax to pay for services like hospitals and schools, both remain options.

“Mr Turnbull has a series of thought bubbles of ever-diminishing credibility,” he told reporters in Geelong.

“We all know that if Mr Turnbull wasn’t facing an election he would be pushing these schemes of his at a rate of knots.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison will release his first budget on May 3 – brought forward from May 10 to make room for a possible double-dissolution election on July 2 – which will include the government’s much-promised tax reform package.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann concedes there is a revenue problem in that economic growth is not as strong as the government would like it to be, saying it’s the responsibility of all governments that policies are put in place to maximise growth.

Stronger growth means more jobs – and the more well-paying jobs that are created, the greater the capacity to increase revenue.

“But if we want to strengthen revenue growth by strengthening economic growth, the worst thing that we could do would be to increase the overall tax burden,” Senator Cormann told ABC television.

This was not an “ideological obsession”, he said, but about raising tax revenue more efficiently and in the least distorting way.

Asked if he thought Mr Turnbull was pursuing his mantra of “lower, simpler, fairer taxes”, former prime minister Tony Abbott said: “Obviously I do”.

“The important thing is to ensure we have the right systems in place so that all of our people, particularly our most vulnerable people, can be supported in the way they deserve,” Mr Abbott told reporters before embarking on his annual Pollie Pedal charity bike ride.

Jensen misses out on Tangney preselection

Liberal pre-selectors have dumped West Australian MP Dennis Jensen as the candidate for Tangney after extracts from a novel he wrote containing graphic sex scenes were publicly leaked.

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His challenger, former state Liberal director Ben Morton, won preselection 57 votes to seven on Sunday, but the decision will still need to be ratified by State Council next weekend.

The result comes despite Dr Jensen having the support of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who recommended Dr Jensen be re-endorsed for the safe Liberal seat, which he has held since 2004.

Dr Jensen made headlines last week after it was revealed that several years ago he pitched his fictional novel to a publisher using his parliamentary letterhead.

He admitted it was a mistake but questioned the timing of the leak ahead of the preselection battle.

After the meeting on Sunday Dr Jensen told AAP the story, published in The Australian newspaper, “absolutely” affected his chances of being re-endorsed and was part of a “deliberate strategy” to put his supporters offside.

Dr Jensen said he had enlisted defamation lawyer Martin Bennett to commence proceedings against the newspaper in the WA Supreme Court on Monday.

There have been two previous attempts to oust Dr Jensen – he was saved once by former prime minister John Howard and another time by State Council.

He conceded it was unlikely a challenge against this preselection decision would succeed given it was such a strong vote against him.

Mr Morton told reporters he was proud and humbled that the Liberals had put their faith in him and thanked Dr Jensen for his contribution to the party and the community.

Premier Colin Barnett said Mr Morton had an “enormous amount of ability” and did not doubt he would succeed.

Controversy has followed Dr Jensen recently after he lashed out over indigenous welfare programs, saying taxpayers should not fund “noble savage” lifestyle choices of remote communities.

He is also an outspoken climate change sceptic and opposes same-sex marriage.

Dad charged with killing son for being gay

A Los Angeles man charged with fatally shooting his 29-year-old son for being gay had repeatedly threatened to kill him over his sexual orientation, prosecutors say.

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Amir Issa, 29, was found shot dead just outside the family home on Tuesday.

While the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged father Shehada Issa, 69, on Friday with murder as a hate crime in the son’s death, investigators on Saturday still were trying to determine responsibility for a second killing at the home discovered by police at the same time, that of Amir’s mother, police spokesman Officer Mike Lopez said.

The mother, 68-year-old Rabihah Issa, had been stabbed repeatedly, coroner’s Lieutenant David Smith said.

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Shehada Issa told police he shot his son Amir in self-defence after he discovered his wife’s body in their house.

Prosecutors gave a different motive for the son’s killing, however.

“The murder was committed because of the victim’s sexual orientation and because of the defendant’s perception of that status and the victims’ association with a person and a group of that status,” prosecutors said in a statement.

They did not elaborate. Police had no details Saturday on any of the alleged threats the father had made against his gay son.

Police arrested Issa at the scene on Tuesday, after he made statements incriminating himself in the death of his son, Lopez said.

“He claimed (the son) was armed with a knife, and there was no knife to be found. It was a horrible family tragedy,” Detective John Doerbecker told the Los Angeles Daily News.

Authorities say the father used a shotgun to shoot his son in the abdomen and face, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Kabul bomb kills 80, wounds hundreds

A powerful bomb hidden in a sewage tanker has exploded in the morning rush hour in the centre of the Afghan capital, killing at least 80 people, wounding hundreds and damaging embassy buildings.

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The bomb, one of the deadliest in Kabul and coming at the start of the holy month of Ramadan, exploded close to the fortified entrance to the German embassy, killing a security guard and wounding some staff, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Twitter.

Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for city police, said the explosives were hidden in a sewage tanker but suggested that the German Embassy might not have been the target of the blast which sent clouds of black smoke into the sky near the presidential palace.

“There are several other important compounds and offices near there too,” he told Reuters.

The blast, which shattered windows and blew doors off their hinges in houses hundreds of metres away, was unusually strong.

The NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission in Kabul said Afghan security forces had prevented the vehicle from entering the heavily protected Green Zone that houses many foreign embassies as well as its headquarters, suggesting it may not have reached its intended target.

A public health official said at least 80 people had been killed and more than 350 wounded. The victims appear mainly to have been Afghan civilians.

The French, Turkish and Chinese embassies were among those damaged, the three countries said, adding there were no immediate signs of injuries among their diplomats. The BBC said one of its drivers, an Afghan, was killed driving journalists to work. Four journalists were wounded and treated in hospital.

The Australian embassy was put into lockdown but a Defence Department spokesman said all Australian personnel deployed to Afghanistan had been accounted for.

Video shot at the scene showed burning debris, crumbled walls and buildings and destroyed cars, many with dead or injured people inside.

At the Wazir Akbar Khan hospital a few blocks away, there were scenes of chaos as ambulances brought in wounded and frantic relatives scanned casualty lists and questioned hospital staff for news.

“It felt like an earthquake,” said 21-year-old Mohammad Hassan, describing the moment the blast struck the bank where he was working. His head wound had been bandaged but blood still soaked his white dress shirt.

The Taliban denied responsibility and said they condemned attacks that have no legitimate target and killed civilians.

Media CEOs demand complete reform package

Heads of Australia’s biggest media companies have combined forces to call on federal parliament to pass the government’s media reform package in its entirety.

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The CEOs of News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media and the Seven, Nine and Ten television networks are among those behind the united call for reforms they say are needed to allow local companies to compete with online giants such as Facebook and Google.

“Change is crucial to bring media regulation into the digital age and preserve the future viability of the sector, which supports more than 30,000 jobs,” the media companies said in a statement released on Wednesday night.

“Australian media operators must be allowed to compete more effectively against multinational internet giants that are taking hundreds of millions of advertising dollars out of Australia.”

A forum in Canberra on Wednesday night was attended by 28 CEOs of national, metropolitan, regional and online news organisations to put the industry’s case for support of the legislative reform package unveiled by the federal government.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also attended the forum, along with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

The package includes abolition of the 75 per cent “reach rule” and the two-out-of -three ownership rule that restricts companies operating in print, radio and TV in any one market.

Federal Labor is opposed to scrapping the two-out-of-three rule but Mr Fifield has rejected calls to separate the measure, saying he wants the package to pass without alteration.

Media bosses say the reforms, which also scrap license fees in favour of lower spectrum usage fees and restrict gambling advertising, are needed to ensure local content can be created in future.

“Media CEOs call on Parliament to preserve Australian content, voices and jobs by supporting the passage of the broadcast and media reform package in its entirety,” the statement said.

Gloomy outlook prevails for retailers

The slump in consumer spending is expected to continue throughout the year as a major headwind for retailers across the country.

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Commonwealth Bank research says weak wages growth is the single biggest factor weighing on the retail sector as households devote a greater portion of their wallet to health, utilities and education.

“Consumers have a fine amount of disposable income and even with the assistance of a falling savings rate, record low wages growth has weighed significantly on the discretionary parts of retail trade,” CBA senior economist Gareth Aird said in a report on the retail sector.

“Soft total retail trade growth is largely down to a lack of spending growth on consumer durables and clothing.”

Mr Aird said demand for clothing and other discretionary goods has been week for the past two years, as seen in falling department store sales and the collapse of a string of apparel retailers.

Herringbone, Marcs and David Lawrence, Pumpkin Patch, Rhodes and Beckett are among a recent spate of largely high-end clothing retailers to have fallen into voluntary administration.

Overseas clothing giant Topshop has revealed its Australian business is struggling, while department store chain Myer has been warning “challenging trading conditions” continue to hurt its sales.

The market value of retailers on the ASX have also come under pressure as investors sell down retail stocks following sales warnings and profit downgrades.

Online giant Amazon’s impending arrival in Australia will also put more pressure on retailers to sacrifice more profits for lower prices.

Myer’s shares are at an all-time low of about 86 cents, while JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman have suffered selldowns largely linked to the Amazon threat.

CBA also warned that the effectiveness of lower interest rates is close to being exhausted and only a lift in wages’ growth will lead to an increase in retail spending.

However, it said given the significant amount of slack in the jobs market, an increase in wages growth is not expected to happen in 2017 and as a result, retailers will remain under pressure throughout the year.

Online retailers are also feeling the pressure.

National Australia Bank data shows online retail sales fell 0.8 per cent in April compared to a year ago, reversing growth seen in March.

NAB estimated consumers to have spent around $22.37 billion in the year to April which is equivalent to about seven per cent of spending at traditional bricks and mortar retailers.

Retail trade figures for April will be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday and while economists forecast a slight rise after two negative months, the consensus warns that the underlying trend in spending remains weak.

Turkey says US arming of Syrian Kurdish militia ‘extremely dangerous’

“Such steps are extremely dangerous for Syria’s unity and territorial integrity,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, after the United States began providing small arms to the Kurdish fighters.

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“If we are looking for stability in Syria, we should row back from those mistakes,” he told a press conference with Slovenian counterpart Karl Erjavec.

The Pentagon on Tuesday said it had begun to transfer small arms and vehicles to the Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-Syrian Arab alliance fighting the Islamic State group and containing Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) fighters.

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The weapons include AK-47s and small-caliber machine guns, Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said.

Turkey views the YPG as a “terror group” linked to Kurdish separatists waging an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984 that has killed more than 40,000 people.

But Washington believes the YPG is the most effective fighting force against IS jihadists in Syria, thus causing tensions between the NATO allies.

The US’ weapons transfers began ahead of an upcoming offensive to recapture Raqa, the last major bastion for IS in Syria.

The SDF have now advanced to within a few miles of Raqa on several fronts, and this month captured the strategic town of Tabqa and the adjacent dam from the jihadists.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with US counterpart Donald Trump in Washington for the first time where the issue of US support for the YPG was discussed on May 16, the Turkish foreign minister said.

Less than a week before Erdogan’s visit, Trump approved arming fighters from the YPG.

“The president clearly expressed our position and concerns during his Washington visit. It was stressed how risky and dangerous the support given to the YPG was,” Cavusoglu said.

“These weapons could be used against all humanity, not just Turkey.”

Merkel stresses US ties after Trump tweet

US President Donald Trump has called Germany’s trade and spending policies “very bad”, intensifying a row between the longtime allies and immediately earning himself the moniker “destroyer of Western values” from a leading German politician.

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As the war of words threatened to spin out of control, Merkel and other senior German politicians stressed the importance of Germany’s Atlantic ties, with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel suggesting the spat was just a rough patch.

Trump took to Twitter early on Tuesday in the United States to attack Germany, a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel ramped up her doubts about the reliability of Washington as an ally.

“We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for US This will change,” Trump tweeted.

Later in the day, Trump’s spokesman and the US ambassador to the United Nations said there were no problems in relations with Merkel or NATO.

The tit-for-tat dispute escalated rapidly after Trump, at back-to-back summits last week, criticised major NATO allies over their military spending and refused to endorse a global climate change accord.

On Sunday, Merkel showed the gravity of her concern about Washington’s dependability under Trump when she warned, at an election campaign event in a packed Bavarian beer tent, that the times when Europe could fully rely on others were “over to a certain extent”.

Those comments, which caused shock in Washington, vented Europe’s frustration with Trump on climate policy in particular.

And while German politicians sided with Merkel, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel signalled that it was time for cooler heads to prevail.

“The United States are older and bigger than the current conflict,” he said, adding that relations would improve. “It is inappropriate that we are now communicating with each other between a beer tent and Twitter,” he said in Berlin.

Merkel had already begun finessing her message on Monday, stressing that she was a “convinced trans-Atlanticist”, a message she repeated after a meeting with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin.

But Martin Schulz, leader of Gabriel’s centre-left Social Democrats, was less emollient earlier in the day when he told reporters Trump was “the destroyer of all Western values”.

In Washington, Trump administration officials on Tuesday appeared to try to soften the message underlying Trump’s tweet with comments emphasising the importance of US-European ties.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer, asked about the president’s relationship with Merkel, told a news briefing: “They get along very well. He has a lot of respect for her. … And he views not just Germany but the rest of Europe as an important American ally.”

More serious sexual allegations against UN peacekeepers

The United Nations human rights chief has described the latest reports of sexual exploitation and abuse in the Central African Republic as “sickening.

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It comes as the UN announces more than a hundred new sexual abuse cases allegedly involving international peacekeepers in the region.

The vast majority of the victims are children.

After hearing the latest reports, United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra-ad Al Hussein says an investigation must leave nothing unchecked.

The United Nations has been in the spotlight for months over allegations of child rape and other abuse by its peacekeepers.

And those allegations have especially focused on peacekeepers based in the Central African Republic and Congo.

There have been similar allegations against the French force, known as Sangaris, which operates independently in the Central African Republic.

UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, interviewed 108 alleged victims of sexual abuse by international peacekeepers in the country.

The vast majority of them, it says, are minors.

The report, by AIDS-Free World’s Code Blue Campaign, says three girls told UN staff a French military commander tied them up and forced them to have sex with a dog in 2014.

Co-director Paula Donovan says allegations dated from 2013 to last year.

“They all said that they have been sexually abused by peacekeepers. Some are operating directly under the UN. Some are French peacekeepers who are operating in parallel with the United Nations. And some are not soldiers, some are civilians and others.”

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic assumed authority from African Union troops in September 2014.

The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, says there have been dozens of accusations against the mission’s soldiers since then.

She says the abuse has caused traumatised victims to become isolated from their communities.

“We talked to the families about what had happened to their daughters, who, in many cases, were raped by MINUSCA soldiers or who had relationships with MINUSCA soldiers when they were very, very young, and who are now left carrying terrible stigmas. As the soldiers have gone back to their countries with no accountability, the victims are left here, ostracised in their own communities and devastated by the experience. So we are trying to fix the problem of sexual abuse, and it was extremely important to hear directly from the people who’ve suffered these crimes.”

A spokesman for UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, Stephane Dujarric, has described the findings as shocking.

“And let me say at the outset that the Secretary General is shocked to the core at the latest allegations of abuse in the Central African Republic. His focus is on the victims and their families. We are talking about women, young children, who have been traumatised in the worst imaginable way.

The United Nations has promised to crack down on the allegations to avoid a repeat of past mistakes.

Samantha Power says measures are already in place to prevent further cases, but adds those responsible need to be held responsible.

“The leadership now has taken this very, very seriously. They’ve moved peacekeepers away from living, cohabitating, with people of the Central African Republic, so that’s an important prevention step. But the system still has to improve a lot, because those soldiers who have been accused of rape and sexual abuse, almost none of them have been held accountable.”

But Paula Donovan, with AIDS-Free World, says she is disillusioned by what she calls the UN “inaction.”

She says the United Nations requires a major shake-up to fix what she calls the “tip of the iceberg.”

“The United Nations simply cannot monitor and police itself and investigate these crimes that are committed by its own personnel. It’s just not working. It’s a terrible conflict of interest.”

 

Overpass collapse creates disaster in Kolkata

At least 23 people have been killed and more than 80 injured after a partially built overpass collapsed in the Indian city of Kolkata.

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Emergency services, along with local residents, are frantically trying to rescue the dozens feared trapped under the wreckage in a busy commercial district.

The West Bengal city of Kolkata, one of India’s busiest, has been forced into a chaotic standstill after what a local politician calls a “monumental tragedy.”

Shoppers had been heading to the city’s largest market at midday when a two-kilometre-long flyover, under construction since 2009, collapsed.

Eyewitnesses say the devastation initially sounded like a bomb blast.

(Translated) “There was a loud sound, which scared us. The concrete had been laid last night at this part of the bridge. I am lucky, as I was planning to go downstairs to have juice. When I was thinking about it, I saw that the bridge collapsed. Scores of people have been killed.”

The fortunate few were able to escape, but this woman says many remain trapped under rubble.

“What my people who are there are saying is that there are buses and the minibuses and the taxis with the passengers trapped inside. So that is terrible news: a half-built bridge collapses in a congested area, and with many poor, homeless people the victims, buses and cabs with passengers are trapped.”

Hundreds of rescue workers, led by soldiers, engineers and medics, have taken over the search and rescue efforts.

But local residents say progress has been slow, with others calling it an “uncoordinated response.”

For the first few hours, volunteers were using their bare hands to move slabs of concrete, but this man says efforts became more sophisticated.

(Translated) “I saw a man waving at us for help from under the debris. I gathered some other residents, some army personnel, and, with some help from a crane, we could rescue the man. The man is being sent to a hospital now.”

The director general of India’s national disaster response team, O.P. Singh, says rescuers are using thermal cameras to try and find those missing.

And he says cranes have been brought in to remove the rubble.

(Translated)”Our biggest challenge is rescuing the huge number of people who are trapped under the debris, because there is a lot of concrete, so we are using cutters of all sorts to make holes in the debris so that we can make an entry. Only once we gain entry will the situation of the people trapped become clear.”

Safety issues, including a lack of inspections and the use of inferior materials, have crippled construction projects across India for years.

While the cause of this latest disaster is still unknown, investigators have promised to determine exactly what happened.

 

Gould has no regrets signing Griffin

Penrith boss Phil Gould says he has no regrets signing coach Anthony Griffin, despite the side’s slow start to the NRL season.

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Gould stunned the league by sacking previous coach Ivan Cleary last October after his injury-ravaged side missed last year’s finals series and almost finished with the wooden spoon.

Griffin was immediately introduced with the expectation of lifting the Panthers up the NRL tree, however, he has so far just managed one win – a one-point victory over Brisbane in round three.

But Gould said the former Brisbane mentor has been a valuable asset to the club’s developing squad.

“We’ve had four games, they’ve all gone down to the last minute and we’ve been a chance of winning all four,” Gould told AAP.

“But that’s what you go through when you’ve got a young side. They’re still learning their football. That might take a couple of years yet, but we’re prepared to ride that out.”

Gould was hesitant to compare Griffin to Cleary, but said he was pleased with the current coach’s changes to the team over the opening four rounds.

He insisted Griffin was the right man for the job.

“All coaches are different. They all bring their own nuances and beliefs about the game, and the way the side has trained and prepared,” Gould said.

“To wrap Anthony doesn’t mean I’m being detrimental to anything that’s gone before him. Ivan did great work here, but right now I believe he’s the right coach for this club and for these players at this time.”

Griffin himself has been frustrated with the team’s inability to close out games, including when they held late leads in two of their past three matches.

However, he was pleased with their application in defence.

“Up until the last couple of minutes of Bulldogs and St George game, we were in a couple of those games. We’ve just got to stare that in the face and get better,” he said.

“We were a little bit loose last week, but attitude-wise, up until that last try by (Josh) Dugan, we kept Brisbane scoreless in the second half of that previous game and we kept the opposition to eight points.

“So we’re showing a lot of grit and determination there.”

The Panthers meet Parramatta on Sunday.

UN warns against refugee returns to Turkey

The United Nations has called for legal safeguards to be in place before refugees are returned to Turkey under an agreement with the European Union, while warning that conditions in Greece are deteriorating.

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Days before Turkey is due to begin taking back illegal migrants from Greece on April 4 under the deal, neither side is fully ready, with officials scrambling to be able to make at least a symbolic start as new arrivals rise.

About 51,000 refugees and migrants are in Greece, where arrivals more than doubled on Tuesday to 766 from previous days, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Friday.

“UNHCR is urging parties to the recent EU-Turkey agreement on refugees and migrants to ensure all safeguards are in place before any returns begin. This is in light of continued serious gaps in both countries,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a Geneva news briefing.

The agency, which says nine in 10 of refugees arriving on rickety boats are fleeing for their lives, has voiced concerns that Turkey may deport refugees en masse to Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq where they could face persecution or violence.

“In Turkey, UNHCR has requested access to people returned from Greece, to ensure people can benefit from effective international protection and to prevent risk of refoulement,” Fleming said, using a term under the Refugee Convention that refers to unlawful deportations.

Meanwhile conditions on the islands of Lesbos and Samos – where three people were stabbed in rioting on Thursday night – and at the Athens port of Piraeus and Idomeni at the border with Macedonia are worsening, she said.

“The risk of panic and injury in these sites and others is real,” Fleming said.

The EU must provided greater support, as promised, to boost Greece’s creaking asylum system, she said. “Limited hours of registration, daily ceilings on registrations, a lack of access to the Skype system for registration set up by the Asylum Services, are at present adding to the anxiety”.

Hardwick laments unintelligent Tigers

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick accused the Tigers of playing unintelligent football after Friday night’s last-gasp one-point loss to Collingwood.

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A sloppy, error-riddled match culminated in a frantic finale, in which Magpies’ ruckman Brodie Grundy kicked the game-winning goal with just four seconds left on the clock.

Despite losing Dylan Grimes to a hamstring injury in the first quarter and kicking a wasteful 1.6 in the second, Richmond had their noses in front at every change and led by 17 points late in the game before losing their grip on the contest – partly through Collingwood’s play and partly because of their own mistakes.

“You can be in front for a period of time, but unfortunately (when) you probably beat yourself with smarts, it’s really disappointing. I thought we played some really unintelligent footy towards the end,” Hardwick said.

“The players know better, we just didn’t make the right decisions at the right time.

“It’s easy to individualise, but we should’ve been better in that situation.

“We missed gettable shots on goal, we leave the door open and good sides bounce back and take the four points from you.”

Young Pie Darcy Moore set up Grundy’s winner with a long ball from out near the 50m arc after a deliberate out-of-bounds call paid against Nick Vlastuin.

Hardwick had no problem with the umpire’s call in that instance, but took issue with his players’ response.

“I would have thought we’d have spoiled the ball through, but credit where it’s due,” he said.

“It was a smart kick from Moore – we probably thought it was going to be that type of kick, but they just got the better of the contest.

“We just wanted to get that ball through for a point or a long spoil, but got neither.”

Hardwick admitted Grimes would likely join Brett Deledio, Ivan Maric and Shaun Edwards on the sidelines for next week’s clash against Adelaide, but was hopeful it wouldn’t prove a major issue.