Reef ‘needs billions’ to stave off threats

It will take several billion dollars to save the Great Barrier Reef from water quality threats, a conservation group says.


WWF Australia has grave doubts the federal government will meet its current funding commitments to the reef, and even if it does the money won’t come close to what’s needed to save it from agricultural run-off and sediment build up.

WWF scientist and spokesman Sean Hoobin says a reef rescue plan, on the scale of the one forged for the Murray-Darling basin, is needed.

He expects a key scientific taskforce looking at reef health to recommend a multi-billion dollar investment when it reports back to government next month.

In the meantime, Mr Hoobin says federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt must keep his promise to provide $300 million by 2020 for critical reef health initiatives.

“When you look at the year-to-year budget allocations there is a $100 million shortfall,” he told AAP on Tuesday.

“Next week’s budget needs to address that. But our understanding is that it’s going to be less than that.”

Mr Hunt went to Cairns on Tuesday to announce $50 million in “new projects” to boost water quality, including efforts to keep fertilisers and pesticides off the reef.

In a morning interview on ABC radio he was asked if the money was, in fact, new but the minister didn’t give a direct answer, instead describing it as “money which hasn’t been assigned”.

He also promised more funding for the reef in next week’s budget but did not say how much, and said his government would “meet and beat” its existing commitments.

Mr Hoobin said a commitment on the scale of the Murray-Darling rescue plan was necessary if Australia was to meet its commitments to UNESCO, which will determine if the reef is listed as a World Heritage site in danger.

“And it’s a much tougher budget circumstance than it was when the Murray-Darling plan was announced,” he said.

Mr Hoobin said the taskforce due to report back next month included representatives from the federal government, and the scale of the investment its likely to recommend shouldn’t shock anyone.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters accused the government of re-announcing existing funding, amid the reef’s worst coral bleaching event on record.

She said the government recently approved Adani’s $22 billion mega mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin in the full knowledge that the coal it produces will contribute to global warming and drive such bleaching events.

“We have viable renewable alternatives that don’t sacrifice the 67,000 jobs the reef provides and that will generate thousands of new jobs,” she said in a statement.

Tiny Vic town is Australia’s most generous

Residents of the tiny central Victorian town of Castlemaine are Australia’s most generous, a survey shows.


The 9,984 residents donated 0.36 per cent of their taxable income to charity in the year February, according to National Australia Bank’s Charitable Giving Index released on Tuesday.

People living in the swankier Melbourne suburb of Middle Park and the Sydney’s Mosman may have given more in dollar terms but Castlemaine residents gave a higher proportion of their income to charity.

The NAB survey shows overall charitable donations rose by 6.5 per cent nationwide last year with the average donor giving $348 to charity, a $12 rise on the previous year.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said it was heartening to see that residents of all states gave more to charity despite the challenges facing some as the economy rebalances away from mining.

“The economic environment looks to have provided some solid support for the charity sector, with recent GDP growth figures providing reassurance that the Australian economy has remained resilient against an uncertain global backdrop and weak commodity prices,” Mr Oster said.

He said another factor contributing to the growth of giving could be the fall in consumer anxiety in recent quarters.

“With overall anxiety levels easing, consumers appear to have responded positively in their charitable spending behaviours with fewer consumers cutting back on their charitable spending this past year,” Mr Oster said.

The report said the 20 postcodes where donors gave the most had an average taxable income of $120,000, more than double the national average of $58,700.

However, the 20 postcodes where people donated the highest proportion of their incomes had an average taxable income of just under $60,000.

Humanitarian charities were the largest beneficiaries of Australian generosity, receiving 35 per cent of all donations.

Budget to tackle three key tasks

Treasurer Scott Morrison has pinned down his first budget to three important tasks.


It will support growth and jobs, make sustainable changes to the tax system and ensure the government lives within its means.

But he won’t say whether next week’s budget will deal with bracket creep – where 300,000 middle income earners are forced into a higher tax bracket just through wage inflation.

“What I’ve been talking about is ensuring that we don’t penalise Australians for doing better in this economy,” Mr Morrison told reporters outside Treasury headquarters in Canberra on Tuesday.

There are suggestions he will lift the second highest tax bracket threshold from $80,000 to help counter the immediate effects of bracket creep.

Doing so will also benefit high-income earners, on top of relief from the two per cent deficit levy ending in mid-2017.

The Australian Council of Social Services says the government should be looking at helping those on lower tax brackets to make sure people aren’t losing money for working.

Chief executive Cassandra Goldie is also disappointed by the government’s decision not to touch tax breaks for property investors through negative gearing and capital gains tax.

Mr Morrison dismissed new Grattan Institute research showing wealthy Australians benefit most from negative gearing, while offering proposals that would halve its $11 billion cost to the budget.

“It is not a concession. It is just part of our tax system and they’ve been relying on it to provide for their future and to get ahead,” Mr Morrison said.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen took aim at the government’s opposition to Labor’s plan limiting negative gearing to newly-constructed homes.

“They are squibbing it and engaging in cheap, dirty, Tony Abbott-style scare campaigns at the expense of good policy,” he said.

Mr Morrison also gave short shrift to a new poll conducted by the Australian National University that found more of us favour higher spending on social services over tax cuts.

“For those who want to pay more taxes then we can allow for them to go down to the tax office and they can register for themselves to pay more taxes,” he said.

Separately, Deloitte Access Economics warned the budget could be $21 billion worse-off by 2020 as China’s slowdown hits company profits.

Slow wage growth and Canberra throwing money at the states and others in an election year are also contributing to a deeper deficit.

Mr Morrison conceded there has been a “range of things” in the past six months that would have an impact on the budget, including the impact of lower forecast global growth, but insisted the government would not be spending more than it saves.

Kids’ screen time limits are dated: expert

More than half of Australian children are glued to digital screens longer than national guidelines recommend, but experts warn the time limits are out of date and need to be changed.


Two hours is the maximum daily limit set out in the Department of Health’s screen time guidelines for five- to 17-year-olds.

However, an online poll of 18,000 children by ABC children’s program Behind the News found that 56 per cent of respondents exceed that two-hour daily limit.

The results are not surprising, according to Sydney child technology expert Dr Joanne Orlando who says the limits, based on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ settings, are out of date in the digital age.

“The problem is, the guidelines were developed in the 1990s so they’re pretty old, and they were developed in response to kids watching TV, in particular violent stuff,” she told AAP.

“But the ways kids interact with screens now is very different … it’s much more interactive and creative and there are many more things they can do.”

The advent of tablets, smartphones and other devices had left many parents in the dark, she said.

“It makes us all feel bad because the guidelines aren’t up to date and the kids are spending all this time on technology and the parents and educators are just not sure what to think or what to do.”

The American group announced in 2015 it would review its guidelines on technology use for children.

Dr Orlando expects those screen-time limits to be lengthened.

“It’s very unrealistic for children up to 18 years to only spend two hours per day on screens, particularly when school work obliges them to do that or more,” she said.

However, parents should still keep an eye out for addiction, with about 15 per cent of the respondents in the Behind the News survey reporting they couldn’t go without technology for even one day.

“If they’re spending most of the time at home using their screen, that’s too much, it’s the main activity,” Dr Orlando said.

She recommends parents determine their children’s screen time limits based on the quality of the activity and the level of stimulation their children are getting.

The survey found children are using tablets more than computers and phones, and boys are more screen dependant than girls.

When they’re plugged in, children are playing games, watching movies and online videos, going on social media and doing homework.


* 8yrs: 4.2 hours

* 9yrs: 3.4

* 10yrs:3.4

* 11 yrs: 3.6

* 12 yrs: 3.9

* 13 yrs: 4.7

* 14 yrs: 5.4

* 15 yrs: 6

* 16 yrs or more: 7.4


* Tablet: 30pct

* Computer: 22pct

* TV: 20pct

* Phone: 16pct

* Gaming console: 13pct

(Source: Behind the News, ABC TV)

Nepal earthquake devastation still felt one year on

Photo credit: Julien Brebion

The government of Nepal’s overall relief and reconstruction response in reaction to the April 2015 quake – or lack thereof – has been widely criticised.


Multiple speakers at a disaster management conference held in Kathmandu recently lamented the lack of attention to women’s issues in particular.

In a patriarchal society with one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, many men who were killed left behind families without a household head.

This leaves them vulnerable to economic disadvantage, physical insecurity and limits life opportunities.


Sudip Pokharel of Democracy Resource Centre Nepal worked on a project assessing social and political impacts of the disaster, and aid delivery and effectiveness.

He found the chaotic initial response didn’t incorporate women’s needs.

While the major parties dominated aid delivery, women and children’s participation was “very low”.

Women lacked access to decision-makers and women’s issues were not addressed “at any level”, Mr Pokharel said.

The Centre for the Study of Labour and Migration found single women and people with disabilities were the worst impacted by the earthquake.

Single women, which includes widows and the many whose husbands are forced to seek work overseas, had trouble accessing relief materials.

The world of financial management and non-domestic affairs is unknown to many women, who make up 67 per cent of Nepal’s illiterate adult population.


The safety needs of women in particular were largely ignored, while children faced an increased risk of trafficking, in addition to the 12,000 trafficked into India and beyond each year.

Nepali journalist Rojita Adhikari met Nani Maiya Prajapati, a woman who lost her husband and five other family members, as well as her home, in the earthquake.

In Nepal’s patriarchal society, female participation in the workforce is low.

“She was so helpless,” Ms Adhikari says.

“Basically, in Nepal women just do household things. I thought, ‘how is she going to rebuild, how is she going to earn? How many women are there like this in Nepal?’”

The answer was about 2000, including 33-year-old mother of two small children Sunita Chitrakar.

“She has more responsibility, she has to manage her children’s education,” Ms Adhikari says.

“It’s very hard for a woman to live alone, society will not allow her to work or make a friend. She can remarry, but society will shun her.”

When Nepali women marry they leave their families and move in with their in-laws.


Adhikari said widows might receive some initial support from their husbands’ families, but it wouldn’t continue, and she would be unable to return to her birth family.

“So what is going to happen to her? She has nothing, how can she survive?” Ms Adhikari asks.

In families left without a breadwinner or source of income, the children of widows may be prevented from attending school if children have to go to work.

Immediately after the earthquake, nearly one million children were unable to attend school, as 32,000 classrooms were destroyed and 15,000 damaged.

UNICEF warns the longer children are out of school, the less likely they are to return.

Many children have either not resumed their studies or are learning in makeshift shelters.


Thousands of senior students sitting their exams this month have spent the past year studying in trying circumstances.

Meanwhile, children continue to suffer from the trauma of the terrifying 7.8 earthquake, without access to psycho-social support.

Ms Adhikari says in addition to these problems, more than 1100 children lost either their mother or father and 106 were orphaned.

Without adequate social support programs for children and women already experiencing marginalisation, Ms Adhikari fears they face ongoing struggles.

“I think their future is dark.” 

Fiona Broom is a freelance journalist based in Kathmandu.

Aust helping Afghan Air Force make inroads

The Afghan Air Force, armed with new light-attack aircraft and aided by Australian advisers, has launched an aggressive campaign that will intensify over the summer fighting season after losing territory to Taliban insurgents.


For the first time in 15 years, government forces have an arsenal of their own attack aircraft and helicopter gunships to pursue and take out enemy insurgents and their camps, following the delivery of eight A-29 Super Tucano fighter planes earlier this year.

The first four A-29s, delivered in January, began flying missions in recent weeks.

RAAF Group Captain Terry Deeth, who leads a team of Australian mentors who advise the Afghan Air Force (AAF), says they’ve had an immediate impact.

While details of their operations are sensitive, Group Capt Deeth said the new A-29s, which can be armed with two 226kg bombs (including precision-guided munitions) and twin .50-calibre machine guns and rockets, had “been successful in their activities”.

“Relatively recently, in the last couple of weeks, their new A-29 attack aircraft have had their first combat here in Afghanistan,” Group Capt Deeth said.

“They’ve been more (successful) than what we would otherwise had hoped for with the young pilots that are flying those aircraft.”

The arrival of the A-29s, after the earlier delivery of 13 MD-530 helicopter gunships, is timely, after a blast last week in Kabul signalled the beginning of the Taliban’s annual spring offensive.

The attack last Tuesday in central Kabul during the morning rush hour, which killed at least 64 people and wounded scores more, came two days after the United Nations said civilian casualties in Afghanistan for the first three months of 2016 were two per cent higher than in the same period of 2015.

There were more than 11,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan last year, the highest number since 2001. And the Taliban holds more territory than it has at any time since 2001.

Four more A-29s are slated for delivery in 2017 and the remaining eight will be handed over to the AAF by the end of 2018, bringing up the total number of A-29 to 20. The planes were funded by the United States Air Force at a cost of $US427 million ($A553.53 million).

The Afghan armed forces also now have observation drones that have begun working in Helmand, which will come online in other parts of the country as the year progresses.

Group Capt Deeth said the missions would intensify as the summer fighting season unfolds.

“We’re confident they’re going to go from strength to strength with the capabilities they’re bringing onboard, that A-29s, the MD-530s,” he said.

“As their capacity grows, I think that you’ll find that there’ll be more intense activities with the new aircraft types that they’ve got.”

Brigadier-General Charles Cleveland, the top spokesman for Resolute Support, the NATO mission in Afghanistan, said the A-29s had already made a difference.

“It’s early in the fight but we think they will (continue to make a difference),” he said, as had the MD-530s that came online last year.

“They are used very often and aggressively and those have been very effective,” he said.

Group Capt Deeth said he was unable to put a timeline on the length of the Australian mission to train, advise and assist the AAF.

“But we as Australians, the NATO and the coalition have been in it for the long haul and so I see that going into the future,” he said.

That was then, this is now – Chernobyl’s legacy and Australia’s uranium

It is now 30 years since radiation monitoring stations in Sweden detected a massive surge in airborne contaminants and Western intelligence satellite images showed something unusual happening at a Ukrainian nuclear complex.


Not long after an ashen-faced Michal Gorbachev, the President of an increasingly disunited Soviet Union, introduced the world to a new name with confirmation of an uncontrolled fire, nuclear meltdown and massive radiation release at Chernobyl.

Without a hint of irony the Australian government is marking this anniversary with a plan to open up uranium sales to the country that hosted this continuing warning about the dangers of the nuclear industry.

Globally, nuclear accidents are ranked on a sliding scale of severity from one to seven. Chernobyl was the first time that scale reached the highest warning signal of seven. Fukushima was the next.


The disaster, the result of a reactor safety training exercise that went wrong in every possible way, spewed a radioactive cloud that affected much of Europe and has a toxic legacy that continues today. The human impacts of the disaster were – and are – massive.

At the time millions of lives were dislocated with civilian populations being removed, sometimes forcibly, from an exclusion zone around the reactor and other affected areas. And as the civilians were driven away from their old lives, Red Army conscripts were trucked in to face a new and invisible enemy.

Over half a million ‘liquidators’ were mobilised in an attempt to control the situation. Often without training or protective equipment these young men and women bore the brunt of much of the early impacts of the disaster. Their first-hand reports highlight confusion and courage while the subsequent health and social assessments are deeply sobering accounts of disease, dysfunction and despair.

Quantifying the health impacts of Chernobyl is complex and contested. Differences in modelling assumptions and quality of data coupled with multiple causation factors and delays in illness presentation all add to the uncertainty of hard numbers.

There are three basic approaches to the numbers at Chernobyl. One school of thought uses International Atomic Energy Agency estimates and weights these with a risk estimate to arrive at estimates of between 9,000 and 93,000 deaths. Another approach has been to acknowledge that the long term death toll is unknown and unknowable because of uncertainties with the science.

The third approach – to baldly state that Chernobyl’s death toll is around 50 and mostly made up of emergency responders – is profoundly misleading but strongly pushed by pro-nuclear advocates seeking to downplay the severity of the disaster.


A detailed new report prepared to mark the 30th anniversary highlights increased thyroid cancers, leukaemia and solid cancers among clean-up workers and others and elevated levels of nervous system birth defects. Five million people in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia still live in highly contaminated areas with a further 400 million living in regions with a continuing radioactive fingerprint.

Extensive construction and confinement work continues at Chernobyl today. The centre-piece of these efforts is around a massive new concrete shield to replace the current embrittled ‘sarcophagus’ erected over the failed reactor to stop further radioactive release.

Against this backdrop ‘adventure tourists’, independent journalists and radiation monitoring teams in the exclusion zone witness the visible return of animals and vegetation and monitor the silent continuation of radioactive contamination.

The 30th anniversary has also seen increased international attention on the current parlous state of Ukraine’s nuclear sector – an issue of great relevance to Australia as Foreign Minster Julie Bishop inked a deal to supply uranium to Ukraine earlier this month.

The country that fuelled Fukushima supplying uranium to the land that gave the world Chernobyl is hardly a match made in heaven and deserves far more scrutiny.

There are serious and unresolved safety, security, governance and performance issues facing Ukraine’s nuclear sector.


Ukraine has 15 nuclear reactors – four are currently running past their design lifetime while six more reach this date in 2020. So two thirds of the Ukraine’s aging nuclear fleet will be past its use by date in four short years, with all the increased risk this involves. Civil society groups and neighbouring nations have expressed deep concerns over plans to extend the reactors operations and Ukraine’s approach has seen the nation in breach of international agreements regarding transboundary environmental impact assessment.

The recent G7 foreign ministers meeting in Japan identified the conflict in Ukraine as one of the key reasons for increased global nuclear insecurity and tension. There have been armed incursions by pro-Russian militia forces into Ukrainian nuclear facilities and these have been described by some commentators as pre-deployed nuclear targets.

Two years ago Australia prudently suspended uranium sales to Russia because of this conflict. It makes scant sense now to fuel further nuclear instability in this troubled region by starting sales to Ukraine.

The 30th anniversary of Chernobyl is an important reminder of the risks and dangers of the nuclear sector. It is not a time to ignore important lessons in a bid to advance risky and radioactive uranium sales.

Dave Sweeney is a nuclear-free campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Kids put at risk of later mental illness

One-fifth of Australian children, many with cold, angry or overprotective parents, are at serious risk of adult mental illness, says a new study.


The findings also reveal that risk factors for adult mental illness are already highly prevalent among infants.

Describing the results as “alarming”, the authors say they point to the need for much earlier and more intensive intervention programs to modify the risk factors.

The study, by the Centre for Population Health Research at the University of South Australia, is part of a wider project aimed at working out how adult mental illness can be reduced.

Questionnaire data from the federal government’s longitudinal study of 10,640 children was analysed in relation to a list of well-established childhood determinants of mental illness.

“They are essentially adversities that can be faced in childhood, including harsh parenting, financial stresses and parental drug and alcohol use,” co-author Professor Leonie Segal told AAP.

The study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, found about 15 per cent had none of these adversities, while about 20 per cent have at least five factors.

“Negative parenting behaviours were among the most prevalent risks and common among all children,” the study found.

“Low parental warmth increased across the age groups so that by the time children were 12-13 years, one in three experienced parenting characterised by low warmth.”

Data related to this factor included asking how often a parent hugged their child for no reason.

“If a child is exposed to an angry, non-engaged parent, that’s not good for the child but the answer isn’t to say that it is the parent’s fault,” Prof Segal said.

“Parents are carrying a lot of stuff too, they can have their own childhood trauma history which often has not been addressed and that’s why they are angry.”

Half the infants already had multiple risks, with the most prevalent being parent problematic alcohol use, parent mental illness and mental ill-health during pregnancy.

Two-thirds of children aged 12-13 were regularly exposed to hostile/angry parenting and about 25 per cent of 4-12 year-olds to overprotective parenting.

“We are saying a lot of these things are inter-generational and if we don’t put the resources in the right places they won’t go away,” Prof Segal said.

Manufacturing seen as key to South Australian votes

Election campaigning is just getting started, and South Australia could provide the Coalition with its toughest challenge yet.


Expected job losses in manufacturing and defence have hit voter sentiment hard, and even Christopher Pyne’s once safe Liberal seat is under threat.

As the possibility of an early election inches closer, the political landscape in South Australia is dominated by the decline of manufacturing.

It’s already the state with the highest unemployment.

John Spoehr, Director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders University, says the prospect of more job losses is likely to weigh heavily on the minds of voters.

“The election here in South Australia is all about jobs, jobs and jobs, particularly because of the closure of the auto industry here in Adelaide in 2017, but also with the prospect of the closure of Arrium in Whyalla, which is going to affect a really substantial proportion of the workforce.”

South Australia has eleven federal electorates.

The rural and regional seats of Grey and Barker are the two largest by area in the state, covering remote and rural areas as well as regional centres.

They’re also the safest Liberal seats in the state.

The biggest battles on election night are expected closer to Adelaide.

Hindmarsh, west of the CBD, Boothby to the south and Christopher Pyne’s electorate of Sturt in the leafy eastern suburbs are the most marginal seats.

Liberal Matt Williams won Hindmarsh from Labor as part of the coalition’s landslide win in 2013 but it now sits on a tiny margin of 1.9 per cent – the smallest swing would put it back in Labor hands.

Labor’s candidate for Hindmarsh, Steve Georganas, lost the seat in 2013.

This year he wants it back and says the party politics which hurt Labor badly at the last election are a thing of the past.

“That was one of those elections where we had a fairly high swing away from Labor around the country. When you look back at that era, I think there were a lot of internal politics that were taking place, and people can see through that.”

He says he’s never seen the party as united as it is at the moment.

Both Mr Georganas and incumbent Matt Williams are pitching job creation and defence projects.

Mr Williams says if he’s re-elected he’ll continue to focus on shipbuilding.

“Well it’ll be on making sure that we maximise Australian industry involvement in the submarines, and also the frigate program. Because it is one thing to build them here, it’s another thing also to make sure Australian defence industry suppliers are getting the maximum value out of it and maximum jobs for our local economy.”

The state’s most senior government politician, Christopher Pyne, has held Sturt for the past 23 years.

He has a 10 per cent margin.

Political analyst William Bowe says he’s likely to feel the heat from smaller parties like Independent Senator Nick Xenophon’s political party, the Nick Xenophon team.

“(There’s) no question that he’s going to get a big share of the vote, but the jury really is out on whether that becomes big enough to make him really competitive in a lower house seat.”

Greens candidate Rebecca Galdies is hoping to win votes in Sturt by campaigning on issues such as marriage equality and fighting climate change.

“I’ve been out doorknocking in Sturt, and we’ve been getting a really good reception. I have a great deal of faith in the voters of Sturt, and I think Christopher Pyne’s time is up.”

A Newspoll released earlier this month showed Labor gaining ground on the Coalition in the primary vote.

John Spoehr, from the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, says the Prime Minister’s recent announcement that offshore patrol vessels will be built in Adelaide has been broadly welcomed across the political spectrum.

He adds the long-awaited announcement on the $50 billion future submarines project will also affect votes.

“There are about 3000 jobs associated with that, and many more flow-on impacts, positive flow-on impacts that would flow from that, so it’s very important that the right choice is made, that they are locally built.”

French company DCNS has won the $50 billion contract, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says most of the building will happen at Adelaide’s shipbuilding facility at Osborne.

Some component parts will come from other parts of Australia and the US.

“And the spin offs into the rest of the economy will be immense. The defence industry is at the very cutting edge of technology. It has to be the best. These submarines will be the most sophisticated naval vessels being built in the world. And they will be built here in Australia.”

It’s an issue the government’s campaign to win votes in South Australia may sink or swim on.


Emotional Rance says sorry for Watts hit

Richmond defender Alex Rance has apologised for the cowardly hit on Jack Watts that has landed him a two-week AFL suspension and placed him at the lowest point in his career.


The Richmond defender’s elbow to the back of Watts’ head late in Sunday night’s loss to Melbourne earned him universal condemnation and a charge of striking.

A contrite Rance emerged on Tuesday to accept the ban, revealing he had texted Watts to say sorry before fronting his teammates.

Amongst the apologising, the reigning Tigers best and fairest winner had a plea of his own; don’t associate me with that.

“It’s certainly something I don’t want to be remembered for. It was a really stupid emotional act,” he said.

“It’s hard when one action can almost define you. I really want to get that message across – it’s so not me.

“It does hurt that I’ve put that perception out there that people could think that I’m a thug and condone those really violent acts.”

Rance refused to draw a link between his act and Richmond’s shocking form, as they slumped to a fourth-straight defeat on Sunday night.

“It’s hard to put and exactly when and why you snap … it’s on no one else but myself,” he said.

“I do put a lot of pressure on myself to perform at a high standard. That was an occasion that I should have done better in that contest.

“It was probably just a build-up for things. I’m a flamboyant character and wear my heart on my sleeve.

“It was a really emotional dumb thing to do when I should be much more professional.”

Rance has previously struggled to marry the demands of elite-level football and his Jehovah’s Witness faith, which saw him contemplate walking away from professional sport in 2014.

He said lashing out at Watts went against a “moral fibre” informed by his family and his faith.

And that’s why he agreed that it was the lowest point of his nine-year AFL career

“I’ve had some pretty low points … but I think from a perspective of knowing better and knowing the person I want to be and the person I want to portray, absolutely (it’s the lowest),” he said.

“That’s what I’m really frustrated at myself at. Succumbing to that emotion and succumbing to the heat of the moment.”

Rance will miss matches against Port Adelaide and Hawthorn.