ABC journalist Mark Colvin dead at 65

In death, ABC journalist Mark Colvin gave thanks for his remarkable life.

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“It’s all been bloody marvellous,” read the final message on his popular Twitter account hours after the news the veteran reporter and prolific social media user had died of lung cancer aged 65.

Colvin, who suffered a long battle with a rare auto immune illness, leaves behind a legacy of unflinching reportage from some major world events, covering genocide, hostage crises and the end of the Cold War.

“Today we lost our beloved Mark,” his family said in a statement on ABC Television.

They thanked his medical staff at Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital and friends and colleagues who stood by him.

“At this moment of grief, we request the family be left to mourn in private,” they said.

Colvin began his career at the ABC as a cadet in 1974 after graduating from Oxford University. It was a career that brought him all over the world, first as the ABC’s London correspondent and then as European correspondent in Brussels in the 1980s.

During that time he covered the American hostage crisis in Tehran and reported on the negotiations between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan that led to the end of the Cold War.

He returned to Australia to work on current affairs show Four Corners, but went back to London in the 1990s reporting for Foreign Correspondent, The 7.30 Report and Lateline.

While covering the Rwandan genocide in 1994 he contracted a rare auto immune illness which led to kidney failure.

In a strange turn of events, he received a kidney transplant in 2012 from Mary-Ellen Field, an Australian business consultant who worked for model Elle Macpherson. Colvin interviewed Field while investigating the News of the World phone-hacking scandal and the pair struck up a friendship.

The transplant story was later made into a stage play written by Tommy Murphy, Mark Colvin’s Kidney, which recently ran at Sydney’s Belvoir Theatre.

Field tweeted “My heart is broken” on Thursday when news of Colvin’s death broke, alongside a picture of the pair together.

Fairfax journalist Kate McClymont was one of many who tweeted that a worthwhile way to honour Colvin was to register as an organ donor.

Colvin presented ABC Radio’s flagship program PM for 20 years, interviewing Australia’s politicians including the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who praised Colvin on news of his death.

“Mark Colvin’s journalism was elegant and erudite. In a world of superficiality, he was always informed and honest. We’ve lost a good man,” Mr Turnbull tweeted.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described Colvin as a “gentleman of journalism”, while ABC News head Gavin Morris said Colvin was one of Australia’s finest journalists.

“For so many Australians, hearing his measured authoritative voice on our air waves each evening was a great pleasure and inspired confidence and trust,” Mr Morris said.

Colvin also mastered the art of social media with insightful and witty comments, collecting more than 100,000 followers on Twitter.

Fittingly, many ABC journalists used Twitter to post tribute messages to their late colleague.

“Devestated by the news of my dear friend @Colvinius the greatest mentor. Such a giant of our profession. Suffered too much. Was so stoic RIP,” Lateline presenter Emma Alberici tweeted.

The Drum host Julia Baird praised his dignity and love of his craft, while political commentator Annabel Crabb noted his death was “a horrible, tearing loss for Australian journalism”.

Mr Colvin leaves behind wife Michele McKenzie and two sons, Nicolas and William.

Morgan shines as Cowboys humble Bulldogs

Michael Morgan put on a show in front of his State of Origin coach Kevin Walters as he spearheaded North Queensland to a 30-14 NRL win over Canterbury.

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Morgan set up four tries and scored the Cowboys’ other, as they put on their best attacking display since May 2012 without Johnathan Thurston.

But it could have come at a cost, with Lachlan Coote assisted up the tunnel in the final minute with an apparent ankle complaint in his return match from a calf injury.

Morgan’s performance could not have come at a better time for the five-eighth, a week-and-a-half out from the Maroons’ team announcement and with Walters watching in commentary.

Queensland bench utility Morgan has largely been forgotten in the debate surrounding who could replace Thurston (shoulder injury) at No.6 if he is ruled out of the State of Origin opener on May 31.

However, on Thursday night Morgan put forward a case that he is just as capable as the likes of Anthony Milford and Daly Cherry-Evans.

His kicking game was sublime, three times he grubbered for tries while he also helped opened the scoring for North Queensland with a pinpoint perfect cross-field boot for winger Kyle Feldt in the seventh minute.

Coen Hess was the biggest beneficiary of Morgan’s play, twice latching onto grubbers to score – the second rower now equal top of the NRL’s try scorers list with eight.

Morgan was also dangerous with ball in hand at ANZ Stadium, making the most of a massive territorial advantage to dance through two Canterbury defenders to score the visitors’ second try.

It marked just the first time the Cowboys had scored 30 points without their star playmaker Thurston in five years, or 14 games of absence.

They also did it without front-row powerhouse Matt Scott – who they have lost for the season with a knee injury – and put them back in the top eight, in place of Canterbury.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were virtually out of the match by halftime when they went to the sheds down 18-0.

They scored two second-half tries through winger Kerrod Holland – including one while Cowboys’ halfback Ray Thompson was sin-binned for repeated infringements on his own line.

Holland then brilliantly set up Danny Fualalo to score a sensational team try and reduce the margin to 10 with nine minutes to play.

However, when Morgan kicked home for Ben Spina to cross in the 75th minute, any faint hopes of a Canterbury comeback were over.

“He certainly didn’t do (his Origin chances) any harm,” Cowboys coach Paul Green said of Morgan.

“He stepped up tonight and ran the show and did a great job.”

Green also confirmed that Coote’s ankle problem was not serious after he had twisted it.

Canterbury mentor Des Hasler was frustrated by a second-minute decision to deny Holland the game’s opening try, after a questionable obstruction call on Josh Jackson by the bunker.

“I though the first one was a 50-50 call for the obstruction on Josh Jackson try – I’ve seen worse,” Hasler said.

“But they’re not the reasons we lost the game.”

Private WA women’s prison put "on notice"

Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan says he has put private prison operator Sodexo on notice over repeated contract breaches and claims the Melaleuca women’s jail is so poorly run that lawyers visiting inmates feel unsafe there.

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Legal Aid WA has stopped its lawyers from visiting the prison less than five months after it was opened because of safety fears.

The $24 million prison was opened by the previous Liberal National government last December, with French company Sodexo offered $15,000 bonuses for every inmate who stays out of jail for two years after being released.

Legal Aid’s issues relate to what it sees as poor standards and discipline at the 254-bed Melaleuca Women’s Remand and Reintegration Facility.

It claims its lawyers were not being given duress alarms and put in dangerous situations, with other inmates standing around and guards not present when they have been meeting with prisoners and they have also had trouble contacting clients to prepare legal defences.

AAP has been told of serious problems with violence and drugs at the prison but Legal Aid is yet to comment.

Sodexo denies the “unsubstantiated allegations in relation to security practices”.

Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan, Criminal Lawyers Association of WA president Genevieve Cleary and Community and Public Sector Union WA secretary Toni Walkington came out to strongly criticise Sodexo and the way it is running the prison.

Mr Logan said Sodexo had already been fined $25,000 three times for contract breaches, he had put the company “on notice” and ordered that it’s generous contract be examined.

“There are KPIs within the contract that they have to comply with … in exchange for a generous payment from the taxpayers of Western Australia and I am going to make sure they comply with that contract,” he said.

Sodexo said in a statement that it met with Legal Aid on Thursday and it would continue to work with stakeholders to assess performance and implement any improvements at Melaleuca.

“The meeting was extremely positive and it is anticipated that the visits will resume shortly,” it said.

Adelaide perfect setting for Vince’s 200th

From rough-around-the-edges country lad to seasoned AFL professional, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin can’t help but admire Bernie Vince’s journey.

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Goodwin was a dual-premiership veteran with the Crows when Vince made his AFL debut, aged 20, in Adelaide’s round one win over Collingwood in 2006.

The pair were teammates for five years until Goodwin retired at the end of the 2010 season.

Vince switched to the Demons during the 2013 trade period after 129 games with Adelaide and, in a twist of fate, will play his 200th AFL match against his old side at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

The lovable larrikin, who had a few scrapes with officialdom earlier in his career, has become a key contributor for the Demons.

“He came into AFL footy a little bit older and a little bit rough around the edges, but he’s developed and really became an elite player,” Goodwin said.

“To play 200 games, it’s a credit to what he’s been able to achieve.

“I know the players are really keen to play well for Bernie this weekend.”

Vince, from Stansbury on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, has the rare distinction of being a best-and-fairest winner at two AFL clubs.

With the Crows desperate to better their draft hand following the Kurt Tippett sanctions, Vince reluctantly agreed to the trade that saw him join Melbourne in return for pick No.23.

Goodwin is confident the Adelaide faithful will appreciate the opportunity to witness a former favourite son achieve a significant milestone.

“I think everyone loves Bernie and he’ll be received really well,” he said.

“He gave the Adelaide Football Club a great period of performance. He’s much-loved in the city of Adelaide … he’ll be well-received by the supporters there.

“It’s funny how it works out. I know his family is really looking forward to it. He’s got quite a contingent going … I think he’s asked for 40 tickets.

“It should be a pretty big Bernie Vince support crew with us.”

Jury out on "favourites" England: Starc

England may consider themselves “deserved” Champions Trophy favourites but Mitchell Starc says the jury is out on how they will cope in the cutthroat one-day tournament.

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The hosts are full of confidence ahead of next month’s tournament after reinventing themselves under captain Eoin Morgan and coach Trevor Bayliss since a disastrous 2015 World Cup.

England allrounder Moeen Ali has already claimed his side are “deserved” favourites while wicketkeeper Sam Billings believed other teams were “petrified” of them.

But Australian left-arm quick Starc isn’t so sure.

“They are the home country. They will know conditions better than the rest of the teams but they have not done too well in tournaments in the past,” he said.

“They have a pretty strong set up at the moment.

“They are never a team to take lightly.

“(But) at times you are not quite sure what you are going to get from the Poms.”

Since bombing at the 2015 World Cup group stages, England have been one of the most consistent ODI teams of the past two years by winning 25 of 41 matches.

They have also posted eight of England’s 10 all-time ODI highest totals during that period.

However, Starc believed England – who have never won a major limited-overs tournament – may yet be found out by the Champions Trophy’s do-or-die format.

England are three-time World Cup runners-up and have made the Champions Trophy final twice – in 2004 and 2013.

“It is tournament play, you need to win games – you can’t have any hiccups,” Starc said.

“At the World Cup you can probably get away with one or two bad performances and still get through to the next round.

“But in Champions Trophy you need to win all three to make it through.”

It adds extra spice before world No.2 Australia face fifth-ranked England in their final pool match at Edgbaston on June 10.

They are in Group A along with Bangladesh and New Zealand.

Australia play warm-up matches against Sri Lanka (May 26) and Pakistan (May 29) before launching their Champions Trophy campaign against New Zealand on June 2.