MH17: Malaysia wants bodies back before end of Ramadan

Chief correspondent Paul McGeough at the crash site: Where horror, outrage and incompetence meetMH17 tragedy: Full coverageKuala Lumpur: Malaysia said it was “deeply concerned” an international investigation team was still blocked from reaching the MH17 crash site and warned separatist groups not to tamper with the plane’s black box.

The Ukraine government told Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai on Monday it had been unable to establish a safe corridor to the site where more than 100 bodies remain unrecovered and are rapidly decomposing. “The Ukraine government has said it cannot guarantee the safety of the international team in and around the crash site,” said Mr Liow, who is in Kiev.

He spoke amid growing anger in Muslim-majority Malaysia that the bodies of Malaysian victims have not been recovered and treated in an Islamic way. Under Islam, bodies are required to be buried within 24 hours.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose step-grandmother was on the plane with 297 other passengers, said his government was determined to bring back the remains of the 43 Malaysian passengers before the end of the Ramadan fasting month next week, the most significant time for Muslims.

“I don’t want their remains to be taken to an unknown location, and I am determined to bring them back to Malaysia,” he said.

Mr Liow said the situation was further hampered by reports that competing separatist groups control the area in and around the crash site, with no clear leader or chain of command.

“Malaysia is deeply concerned that the international team is effectively being prevented from entering the crash site,” he said. “It is imperative that international investigators and search and recovery personnel are afforded full and unhindered access to the site. 

“Malaysia demands that all human remains be allowed to be recovered, identified and repatriated.”

Mr Liow said the Boeing 777’s black box recording device contained crucial pieces of evidence that should be handed over to an international investigation team comprising experts from Malaysia, the US, Britain and the Netherlands.

“Despite reported comments by the leader of a separatist group that his group has not interfered with the crash site, Malaysia is very concerned that the sanctity of the crash site has been severely compromised,” he said. “Malaysia demands immediate and unrestricted access to the crash site and guaranteed safety for its officials and those of the international team.”

Armed pro-Russian rebels have reportedly seized 196 bodies from the crash site in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. They have been loaded onto refrigerated train carriages, though when the train will leave, or its destination, have not been made clear.

Malaysia’s media have accused the rebels of violating the bodies and disturbing the crash site. “Hand them over,” the Kuala Lumpur-based Star newspaper demanded on its front page.

Mr Liow is in Kiev with a Malaysian recovery team of 133 forensic, technical and medical experts who have been waiting to travel to the crash site since Saturday.

Malaysia’s Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein described the situation as “horrendous” and demanded to know where the bodies are now.

“We want to know who has taken the bodies and where they are being kept,” he said. “I hope and pray the bodies are being treated with respect.”

Some Malaysian relatives want to fly immediately to Ukraine to be with the remains of their loved ones.

“We are co-ordinating with Malaysia Airlines on this. The arrangements will be made by them,” Malaysia’s Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim said.

Prayer vigils have been held throughout Malaysia as the country mourns the loss of the second Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 in five months.

Many Malaysians have taken to social media to express their outrage at the reported acts of disrespect towards the bodies at the crash site.

“They have shown no remorse. Murderers, looters, thieves and barbarians who have no respect for 298 souls on MH17,” Chandra Vejayan posted on Facebook.

Department of Human Services wants to rip $250 million from its staff bill, union claims

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Public servants at the federal government’s largest department are being asked to “consider” giving up $250 million in extra work, scheduled pay rises and annual leave.

Bosses at the giant Department of Human Services (DHS) have also flagged that another 500 jobs are set to be lost, according to union claims, as DHS looks for productivity savings to satisfy the hardline public sector industrial policies of the Abbott government.

DHS and 116 other government departments and agencies are in talks with their 160,000 public servants over a new enterprise bargaining deal, but the government has banned any pay-rise offers unless “productivity gains” can be demonstrated.

Human Services, which runs Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency, has not yet put a wage offer to its 35,000 workers but in a circular sent to staff, senior managers have canvassed “options” that might persuade their political bosses to allow a pay rise offer.

DHS chief financial officer Emily Canning said the 8000 department workers in line for an incremental pay rise of up to 2.75 per cent might give up their wage increases so the estimated $62 million in savings might be shared among the whole department.

“An option we could potentially look at is changing the way salaries are increased, so that any productivity for the $62 million could be shared among all staff,” Ms Canning wrote.

“This means if a new agreement is in place before September 1, 2014, the $62 million could be included within the agreement-making process as a measurable savings to put towards a pay increase for all staff.”

The department’s manager in charge of the enterprise bargaining talks, Jo Talbot, suggested in the circular DHS workers putting in an extra six minutes-a-day at their desk might deliver a productivity gain of $104 million over three years.

“One of the productivity ideas was to increase employees’ working hours to 38 hours per week from 37 hours 30 minutes – a six-minute daily increase,” Ms Talbot said.

“This would make our weekly hours consistent with Australia’s National Employment Standards.

“Indeed most working Australians work a 38-hour week.”

DHS says “indicative costings” on savings delivered by reducing the accrual of annual leave, show $90 million would be saved through a reduction of three days holidays each year per employee.

“Please keep in mind these options are ones that have been raised by bargaining representatives,” Ms Talbot wrote.

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood accused the Abbott government of “taking aim” at workers’ rights in the public service.

“We are not surprised this government is attacking pay in this way because it’s taking aim at almost every aspect of these workers’ rights, pay and conditions,” the union official said.

“This government wants to make it easier to sack its workers, reduce their leave, make them work longer for less pay and now it wants to stop any career advancement.

“What’s next?”

But Public Service Minister Eric Abetz said the union was trying to frighten public servants into joining the union.

“This circular from the CPSU is all about trying to scare public servants into joining the union as highlighted in the second paragraph,” Senator Abetz said.

“The government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy provides that any remuneration increase must be offset by genuine productivity gains, in line with the community’s expectations when it comes to spending taxpayer’s money.”

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China looms large over MH17 debate at UN Security Council

It was no accident that Prime Minister Tony Abbott talked about “countries” in the plural form when he fronted Parliament to lambast the kind of behaviour that led to the MH17 disaster: “The bullying of small countries by big ones, the trampling of justice and decency in the pursuit of national aggrandisement, and reckless indifference to human life should have no place in our world.”

Mr Abbott’s fury was aimed at Russia but his words echoed ones that he had previously directed at China.

“No big country is entitled to get its way with smaller countries just because it can,” said Mr Abbott in 2012, when visiting Beijing as Opposition leader and referring to concerns about China’s behaviour in the South China Sea.

Mr Abbott was, in turn, picking up on the language of the Chinese foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, who famously told “small countries” in South-east Asia to get out of China’s way.

The Prime Minister clearly sees both Russia and China as guilty of roiling the international order by bullying small countries in pursuit of national aggrandisement, although China’s appetite for brinkmanship is far more carefully calibrated.

Equally, he will be wary that Chinese President Xi Jinping could see the air disaster as an opportunity to advance his already-flourishing friendship with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

This morning Mr Abbott said Mr Putin had said ”all the right things” in their overnight phone conversation and he would now work to hold Mr Putin to his words. He could say the same about Mr Xi.

“I was shocked,” Mr Xi said in response to news of the MH17’s fate, while touring Argentina, according to the official Xinhua news agency. “I hope that a fair and objective probe will be carried out to establish the truth as early as possible.”

Mr Abbott will be wary of China’s potential to say the right thing while using its permanent seat on the UN Security Council to shield Russia from a fast and effective international investigation, along with any serious fall-out.

Already, China’s envoy to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi, has left himself ample room for manoeuvre. “Our priority now is to establish facts, Mr Liu said. “Pending that, it is not advisable to jump to any conclusion, make any assumptions or trade accusations.”

Xinhua has gone further and lashed Australia and the United States for being “rash” in laying blame with Russia.

Back in March, American officials had misinterpreted a similar mix of Chinese messages in their hope that China would oppose Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

“Russia finds itself extremely isolated,” claimed the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.

Ultimately, however, China abstained from the UN resolution that declared the invasion and annexation of Crimea to be illegal.  Mr Xi could honestly tell the US that he hadn’t actively supported the Russian invasion, but Mr Putin knew that he was deeply in Mr Xi’s debt.

“We are grateful to all those who understood our actions in Crimea; we are grateful to the people of China, whose leaders have always considered the situation in Ukraine and Crimea taking into account the full historical and political context,” Mr Putin told the Russian parliament on March 18. 

When Mr Xi assumed the presidency in March last year, he chose Russia as his first international destination. Since then he has consistently shown that his friendship with Mr Putin – in solidarity against a US-led hegemony of western democratic nations – takes precedence over such values as keeping the peace and respecting the sovereignty of neighbours.

Mr Abbott faces an uphill battle in convincing China not to give Russia tacit support, as it has so many times before.

Metrocide: a cyber-noire, 90s vision of the future

Contract killer TJ Trench is taking out the trash in Metrocide. Photo: Flat Earth Games MetroCity: not a great place for a summer holiday. Photo: Flat Earth Games

In a non-descript office building in Ultimo, on a floor that the elevator doesn’t quite reach, Rohan Harris is telling me about the security checkpoint he designed, and the hope it would slow his brother Leigh’s ability to make it across town and assassinate his target.

“Certain weapons like a pistol you could probably hide, although larger ones like a shotgun you can’t,” Rohan explains, “Maybe you can still get one through, you just have to think of another way”.

For his part Leigh assures me he already knew what Rohan would fail to take into account, and that he made it through the checkpoint on his first attempt. Gamers trying their own luck with one of MetroCity’s security checkpoints will almost certainly not be so lucky.

The brothers are the founding and only core members of Flat Earth Games. Metrocide — a punishing, cyber-noire, 90s vision of the future centered around a series of escalating contract killings — is their second game. In contrast to their previous title TownCraft though, which was long in development, Metrocide has been turned around in record time thanks to support from Flat Earth’s landlord Epiphany Games and the nature of the system-driven, low-fi design of the game.

In it, players become ruthless mercenary TJ Trench, accepting jobs from their contact (the harder the job, the bigger the payoff), and setting off into the noisy, dirty, perpetually stormy and drone-filled city to find their mark. Sometimes a straight hit is their goal, sometimes the parameters are more complicated, but in my playtest I found getting the job done is almost never straightforward.

It’s a world shaped by technology the likes of which the biggest game developers might have used 10 years ago, yet with overtones of surveillance that makes it a much better fit tonally for our time. It’s a world where death is quick and frequent, and often comes unexpectedly.

“One of the core pillars of designing Metrocide has been to try to find as many ways as possible for the game to do unexpected things,” says Leigh.

To facilitate this the way the city and its denizens react to you is generated on the fly, rather than according to a script. As you get better at the game you learn what’s possible and what might happen, but you never know exactly what to expect. Even the movements of your targets depend on a set of randomly generated data, deciding whether they stop in an alleyway for a smoke, or maybe duck into a bar.

The citizens and targets all have unique names and personal details. Leigh tells me first and last names are randomly selected and mashed together from a list Rohan painstakingly lifted from US census data, meaning the perceived identity of the city’s populace is incredibly diverse, futuristic and culturally even (and people named “Moon Unit” are just as likely to appear as people named “John”).

“Their personalities are randomised too”, says Rohan. “Some of them are violent, some of them are confident. They’re all sliding scales”.

“If you shoot someone and don’t realise that there’s someone across the road who’s seen you, their reaction to seeing that will change depending on their personality”.

For example a very timid person would run as fast as they could to their home, whereupon they may call the police.

“And then a few minutes later you’ll get a thing telling you’ve been ID’d by the cops,” Leigh says.


A particularly bold citizen who saw me wipe out a passing gang member with a shotgun (gang members are always worth a small bounty) decided to dial the police right then and there. Anybody who’s seen you is marked with an eyewitness symbol above their head, so the opportunity’s there to neutralise them too if you can get away with it.

Finding and obliterating your target, then, is the easy part. What you’re really up against is a city full of unpredictable personalities, and the dystopian and omnipresent police drones that are ready to fire on you given the faintest excuse.

The choice is yours whether to play it safe and slow, hiding your bodies in dumpsters and preferring to call off a contract rather than risk murdering someone in the wide open, or try to rack up as much cash as you can before you’re inevitably brought down by a drone or an unexpectedly hostile citizen.

To help you out your contact will sell you a range of weapons to upgrade your quiet but painfully slow blaster — shotguns are satisfyingly loud and incredibly messy — or an Anti-Drone EMP to get you out of a tight spot with the police. Paying the police off can yield similarly de-stressing results. Purchases like these are sure to make your life easier (and longer), but as your cash stack is also your score these decisions aren’t to be taken lightly.

The design is punishingly arcade-like in its progression (or for beginners, its lack thereof), as getting yourself killed completely ends your game. All money and weapons you’ve earned are reset to nothing, the only indication of your hard-fought progress marked on the high score board.

The feeling of impermanence and finality here actually fits pretty well within MetroCity’s bleak walls.

In practice Metrocide’s unscripted action brings to mind older stat-driven crime experiences like Drugwars and Epidemic, though with a dose of nostalgia for Syndicate and the original Grand Theft Auto, and of course a touch of indie contemporaries like Hotline Miami.

Metrocide is tentatively due for release on Mac and PC via Steam at the end of August.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @weeklyrift

Player in coma after tackle in regional AFL game

Tarryn Bowers is in a coma after having a cardiac arrest during a club game. Photo: The Bowers family Happier times … Tarryn Bowers in action on the pitch. Photo: The Bowers Family

The quick thinking of regional AFL club members may have saved the life of a 19-year-old player who was knocked out and went into cardiac arrest on Sunday.

Lockyer Valley Demons player Tarryn Bowers remains in an induced coma in the Princess Alexandra Hospital following the incident during a game in the southern Darling Downs town of Pittsworth.

Bowers’ father Tony, who is the Demons president and was also playing in the match, said his son was sandwiched by two opposition players.from the Goondiwindi Hawks.

“A player came from behind and forearmed him across the back of the head, to the side of his temple, which we believe has knocked him out,” Tony said.

He said his son was out cold before he hit the ground and then began to spasm on the pitch.

Tony said Tarryn was likely to be woken from his coma on Monday, and the initial prognosis from doctors appeared to be positive.

“They’re never 100 per cent sure until he’s woken up and they can have a look at him awake,” he said.

“There’s no swelling or bleeding on the brain and no obvious neck injuries at this stage.”

It is understood umpires did not consider the tackle to be a reportable incident.

“At this point in time the football community is solely focused on the player, his wellbeing and his family,” AFL Darling Downs president Andrew Foley said.

Given his young age, doctors are trying to determine whether Tarryn Bowers suffers from an underlying medical condition that may have caused his heart to stop beating.

It is also possible that he suffered a blow to the chest during the tackle which caused the cardiac arrest.

After the tackle, Tarryn was taken off the pitch and CPR was performed. His father praised the work of coaches and trainers from the Demons, Hawks and South Toowoomba Bombers who assisted until paramedics arrived and eventually flew him to Brisbane.

“He was basically dead on the table. He was blue and he wasn’t moving. It was terrible,” Tony Bowers said.

“It was just lucky there was three blokes working on him from different clubs and they all had first aid experience. They basically saved his life.

“Something we’re probably going to put a big effort into is getting making clubs and volunteers realise how important it is to have people around who know CPR, know the signs, and know how to react.”

MH17 tragedy: Former Bermagui teacher remembered fondly

Retired Illawarra teachers Carol and Michael Clancy. Photo supplied.ILLAWARRA MERCURY: TRIBUTES FLOW FOR CLANCYS

WHILE the tragedy of MH17 continues to resonate around the world, it has also struck closer to home with news a former teacher at Bermagui Primary School is among the dead.

Michael Clancy taught at Bermagui in the early 1980s and former students and colleagues remember him fondly as a dedicated teacher and community member.

Mr Clancy and his wife Carol, also a former teacher, were returning from a dream European holiday to celebrate the Albion Park deputy principal’s retirement, when MH17 was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine.

The news has been met with outpourings of grief and disbelief right along the South Coast and much further afield as former students paid tribute to an “extraordinary educator”.

Former students, parents and friends have paid tribute online to Mr Clancy and his wife, Carol, who was also a teacher.

They recalled a kind and humble man who always greeted parents and students with a smile and by name as he hurried through the school grounds.

Many remembered Mr Clancy as the one teacher who made an impact on their life and ensured no child ever felt invisible.

By all accounts, he was a caring, dedicated teacher who made learning fun and who, at lunchtime, was hard to beat at handball.

Edith Blacka lived in Bermagui all her married life, around 50 years, and taught at the school “almost forever”.

“He was one of the best teachers you could get at a school,” Ms Blacka said.

“He was a very dedicated person, a dedicated teacher and a dedicated community member.

“It is such tragic news.

“Anyone in Bermagui who knew him would remember him fondly.

“I guess every part of Australia is feeling like us now – I can’t imagine what the families are going through.

“It really brings it close to home that it doesn’t matter where we live.”

Bermagui’s Errol Masterson also remembers Mr Clancy fondly, particularly for his dedication to the community through groups such as Apex, as well as a former teacher of his son.

“He was involved in everything and a ball of fun,” Mr Masterson said.

“He was a real live wire and enjoyed a joke with everyone.

“We just can’t believe it.

“It hits you and you don’t realise living in a small country town – when you hear about tragedies like this, you think it doesn’t happen here.

“He was such a great bloke.”

MH17 victims’ son says he does not blame airline for flight path

Albert and Maree Rizk (at right) with their travelling companions Sue and Ross Campbell.James Rizk, son of MH17 victims Albert and Maree Rizk, has said he does not blame Malaysia Airlines for flying over the Ukraine despite warnings it was an unsafe conflict zone.

”I have no problem at all with Malaysia Airlines, it’s not like they wanted it to happen,” Mr Rizk said on radio station Triple M.

Mr Rizk, 22, said his parents’ friends Ross and Sue Campbell, who travelled with them in Europe, had travelled the ”exact same route a few hours before” on a different plane.

”It is just life, it is just luck, it is surreal. You cannot blame anyone for this except the people who did it,” he said.

”I am not big into politics or anything like that but obviously somebody is to blame for this sort of stuff,” he said.

He learnt of the tragedy after waking at about 6am on Friday and finding a series of text messages and a call from a friend who said he should turn on the television to see the news.

At first he was not even sure of his parents’ flight number. He then got in touch with their travelling companions who confirmed they were due to be on the flight. A call to federal authorities confirmed the grim news that they had boarded the plane. Mr Rizk, who worked with his father in the real estate business, and his sister Vanessa, who works in community services, had been surrounded by friends and family since they heard the news. He said the federal government had flown family members from Queensland to be with them.

”We haven’t really spent a moment alone. That’s what we want, that’s what we need. We understand it has changed our lives forever,” he said.

Mr Rizk said he had prepared himself for a long wait for his parents’ bodies but was avoiding watching television coverage of the crash site.

He said they had cancelled their parents’ credit cards after they became aware of looting in the fields where the plane was shot down.

Mr Rizk gave a tribute to both his parents on radio and asked that they be left by other media to deal with the family tragedy.

“My mother was a loving person and took care of anything that anyone ever wanted,” Mr Rizk said.

He spoke of his grandfather’s wife, Kaylene Mann, who has suffered a double tragedy with the loss of her brother, Rod Burrows, in the disappeared flight MH370. Mr Rizk said she and her family were ”reliving” the tragedy.

He said his father Albert was born in Egypt and arrived in Australia as a four-year-old. He grew up in Broadmeadows and attended Broadmeadows High School.

”Broady High shaped him as a person, [it was a] tough area growing up,” Mr Rizk said.

He thanked family members, the Sunbury football community and his girlfriend for supporting him.

Driver killed, Hume Highway blocked for city-bound motorists after multi-truck crash

A truck driver has died in a head-on collision on the Hume Highway near Ingleburn. Photo: Jonathan Ng Police on scene. Photo: Jonathan Ng

The wreckage. Photo: Jonathan Ng

A truck driver has died after being involved in a multi-truck collision on the Hume Highway on Monday morning.

The driver, who has not been identified, was heading south on the highway at Ingleburn when his truck and another prime mover moving north collided head-on about 9.40am.

The driver was ejected from his cabin on impact and died at the scene.

Motorists are facing lengthy delays, after police blocked off all northbound lanes just past Brooks Road.

Traffic is being diverted off at the Campbelltown Road exit, Rebecca Walsh from the Transport Management Centre said.

All southbound lanes are now open, after two were closed earlier. At 11.25am, the southbound traffic queue extended back 6.5 kilometres to the M7 Motorway.

Horrific crash on Hume Highway at Ingelburn in Sydney with several overturned trucks. Expect big delays. pic.twitter老域名/xwTaDIVFGS — Katie Fielder (@Katie_Fielder) July 21, 2014

“Traffic is heavy in both directions and motorists are advised to avoid the area,” the spokeswoman said.

“Due to the serious nature of the crash and an extensive clean-up operation, the motorway is expected to remain closed for a number of hours.”

A third truck was also involved in the collision, and a car was struck by debris.

“The driver of the southbound truck was ejected from the cabin of his vehicle and died at the scene,” police said in a statement.

“The other two truck drivers were not injured in the collision but taken to hospital to undergo mandatory blood and urine tests.”

A woman driving a four-wheel-drive who saw the crash is being treated in hospital for shock.

Investigations are continuing and police will prepare a report for the information of the coroner.

Channelling Chalambar

Bygone era: Historic Chalambar sits on 784 square metres at Chatswood. Spectacular coastal views: 2 Weaver Terrace at Bulli is being offered fully furnished.

1890s residence Rathgar House in Grafton has been extensively renovated.

Chalambar, Chatswood.

2 Weaver Terrace, Bulli.

Rathgar House, South Grafton.

Chanel Australia and New Zealand’s national retail manager, Kathleen Bennett, and her extradition lawyer husband, Stephen Parkes, are selling their Chatswood house, Chalambar.

Fit for a style queen, the five-bedroom house sits among manicured hedges on 784 square metres about 10 minutes’ walk from the station. The stylishly renovated interiors include built-in wardrobes and an en suite off the main bedroom, no doubt stashed with the latest Chanel luxuries.

The enormous open-plan living area has three pairs of French doors leading to a wraparound verandah which overlooks a fenced pool.

Having bought the Californian bungalow for $1.4 million in 2011, the couple has decided to downsize to the inner city or eastern suburbs.

Chalambar goes to auction on August 2 for upwards of $1.7 million through McGrath Chatswood’s Olivia Chung.

Waterfront art show

In case the glittering coastal views from this spectacular home fail to impress, buyers can turn their attention to the artworks on display inside. In a rare collaboration between owner, agent and artist, the marketing of 2 Weaver Terrace at Bulli includes a free art show.

Ten abstract paintings by Illawarra artist Sue Smalkowski adorn the marble and exposed brick interior walls. Their subject, the Illawarra escarpment, is framed by north-facing floor-to-ceiling glass that also takes in the coastline towards Austinmer.

The striking house has five bedrooms, three luxurious bathrooms, several living areas and a spa pool overlooking the beach. The owner bought the 601-square-metre waterfront reserve plot on Sandon Point in 2010 paying $1,612,500.

Bevans Real Estate agents James Ianni and Andrew Hedley and McGrath Thirroul’s Kane Downie and Trever Molenaar have seen interest from locals and also Sydneysiders wanting a holiday home.

More than $3 million is expected for the house, which is being offered fully furnished when it goes to auction on site on July 22.  The paintings, at about $5000 each, are offered separately.

Victorian splendour

As Sydneysiders settle back in to city life after the school holidays, some might be tempted to break free and head to warmer climes. Rathgar House in South Grafton, on the Clarence River in northern NSW could be just the ticket.

The historic 1890s residence has just emerged from a thorough renovation after the owner, restaurateur Tony Karouhanis, paid $302,000 for the seven-bedroom house last year. He and wife Shai had plans to open a cafe and bed-and-breakfast.

Ray White Grafton agent Ben Hottes reports interest from Newcastle, Brisbane and Western Australia as well as locals. Built for the first mayor of South Grafton, J.J. McKittrick, the Victorian house has had its cedar staircase restored and new chandeliers and timber floors installed.

No reserve has been set for the August 9 auction, but Mr Hottes says bidding should start from $450,000. 

MH17 tragedy: Nick Norris changed my life

A former student of MH17 Nick Norris spoke of his dedication in the classroom during his days as a principal and teacher.

NICK Norris only spent one year as principal of Mukinbudin High School, but in that short time he changed one student’s outlook on education forever.

Perth woman Anne Carrapiett – who grew up in the small Wheatbelt town – was a Year 10 remedial student in 1984 who hated school until Mr Norris arrived and completely altered how she thought about the classroom.

“I thought I only have one more year left, get it over with, but then he turned it all around because he took the time with me and felt I was important enough to educate,” Ms Carrapiett said.

“I hated school so much and he changed that. He made me love it and made me want to go every day.”

Ms Carrapiett said she was sitting on the lounge with her daughter watching the shocking fallout from the MH17 attack unfold when she heard Mr Norris had been on the flight.

“I thought that can’t be the right person and I went straight onto Google,” she said.

“As soon as they mentioned the military and the army I thought that’s Mr Norris – I was just hoping it wasn’t.”

“It was horrible that it was with his grandchildren – at least he wasn’t alone and I am glad they weren’t alone.”

Mr Norris was Ms Carrapiett’s French teacher that year and she recalled how he went above and beyond the call of duty to give his students an interesting, interactive time in the classroom.

“There were only four or five of us in that class and he personally took us down to a French restaurant in Perth with his wife and two young daughters,” she said.

Living 300 kilometres from Perth meant she and the other students would not have been able to experience something like that without Mr Norris making the effort off his own back.

“He brought us croissants from Perth, he would tell us about his travels around the world and incorporate those experiences into his French lessons. I was like a sponge – I learnt so much,” she said.

Ms Carrapiett said Mr Norris was different because he could relate to students, had a cracking sense of humour, and was never condescending.

“I would say I didn’t understand and he was persistent about wanting to help me,” she said.

“He would turn the question around until I got it and he never made me feel stupid.

“It is hard not being able to tell him. I thought I should try and find him and write a letter to thank him but then you let time go by and it’s too late,” she said.

“I wish I was able to say thank you.”