Samantha Yap

Journalist

Baillieu Government scores well for helping small businesses

The Baillieu Government receives a good report card for helping small Melbourne businesses in this struggling retail environment.

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Disappearing newspapers cause media inquiry

Federal government introduces media inquiry to battle with pressures of increasing online readership and dying newspapers.

Newspapers: no longer in use. Image: Samantha Yap

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Labor chooses politics over Asylum Seekers’ rights

Labor party politics is drawing attention away from controversial asylum seeker human rights issue by continuing to push for the Malaysian Solution.

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Local Boy Debuts in the First Round of 2011 AFL Season

9th April 2011

Ryan Lester, smiling proudly as he takes part in the NAB cup. At number 15 he played for Vic Metro.

New Brisbane Lions recruit, Ryan Lester, 18, astounded many when he debuted in the team’s first game of the 2011 AFL season in Brisbane on the 26th of March.

Julie Lester, mother, says it “was very big surprise” on top of him playing with Vic Metro in the NAB cup. Playing at number 35, despite the lost against Freemantle, “he scored [his first] goal!”

Ben Crossett, Ryan’s Physical Education teacher at Glen Waverley Secondary College saw Ryan get “mighty pumped up” about his first goal, which is a “departure from what he’s like as a [shy] person…it was pretty funny to be honest.”

In mid December 2010, Ryan got drafted to the Brisbane Lions at pick no. 28. Overwhelmed by excitement Ryan recalls, “I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.” It is “probably the best moment of my life to date.”

Proud mum Julie tears up, as she says she’s “so happy for Ryan.”

Friend, Tim Morgan, wasn’t as stunned because Ryan was “doing all the right things” including being the Vice Captain of the Oakleigh Chargers (2010).

Ryan couldn’t have imagined things to go as well as they have so far. It “is a dream come true.” Ryan’s AFL career is off to an exceptional start as he scored the first goal for the team in the second round, regardless of the embarrassing 78-point loss to Western Bulldogs.

“Usually you can pick at an early age whether someone is good enough to make it and I didn’t see that in him,” says Crossett, who scouts boundary umpires. Ryan “tends to sneak under the radar a bit.” Ryan’s triumph “is pretty much testament to his focus and dedication.”

His older brother, Sean Lester, has been his greatest inspiration. ”I always wanted to be as good as him.”

Ryan’s accomplishment has been a surprise mainly because he is very “shy and reserved” said Julie.

“[Ryan] doesn’t like drawing much attention to himself,” tells Crossett. He is more concerned about “earning the respect of his teammates.”

Even among close friends, Morgan says, he would “play [his achievements] down.”

Ryan is prepared to face the responsibilities as an AFL footballer. “Already aware that [his] profile has raised just from purely getting drafted,” he understands the impact he may one day have on fans.

He has learned from the mistakes of footy greats that “you really need to be careful about who you spend your time with and what information you provide.”

The biggest concern according to Crossett is to “watch what he does in social media”

Julie believes that footballers “are a role model[s] whether [they] like it or not.” She knows Ryan will be “very sensible.”

Ryan’s future in the AFL is looking very bright for him. Morgan explains, “he’s playing ahead of other blokes who are picked in the same draft at his club.”

Crossett is “so keen to follow his progress.”

In 5 years, Julie still sees Ryan playing for Brisbane Lions.

Ryan says he aspires “to be a footballer for as long as [he] can.”

National Ban Live Export Rally

Anti-live export protesters across capital cities of Australia have united this weekend to rally for an end to the live export trade.

The Ban Live Export Rally, organised by the RSPCA and Animals Australia, received widespread public support in Melbourne.

Among thousands of passionate protesters at the steps of the Victorian Parliament house, Samantha Yap reports.