Greg Norman fuelling Leishman’s FedEx tilt

Marc Leishman says a text message exchange with idol Greg Norman is one of the driving forces behind his quest to break Australia’s hoodoo at the US PGA Tour’s rich FedEx Cup playoffs.


The obvious incentive for Leishman to win the FedEx Cup is its $US10 million bonus cheque, but a rare correspondence with golfing great Norman has given the Victorian native a spring in his step at this week’s Tour Championship finale.

With Australian perennial FedEx contenders Jason Day and Adam Scott unable to claim the series during its 10-year history, Leishman has a hot chance as one the top five seeds in the Atlanta decider, courtesy of his wire-to-wire win at last week’s BMW Championship.

The 33-year-old Leishman is guaranteed the FedEx title with a victory in the 30-man event at East Lake Golf Club.

Leishman says he was chuffed with encouragement from World Golf Hall of Fame member Norman.

“Yeah, (Norman) has been a massive influence. I’ve always idolised him; he was such a successful bloke on and off the golf course. An inspiration, really,” Leishman told AAP.

Leishman said he first received a text from 62-year-old Norman on Saturday night, urging him to convert his five-shot lead in the final round of the BMW Championship.

“Then he sent a text to congratulate me on Sunday night,” said Leishman.

“Getting a text from Greg Norman is a pretty cool feeling … it had been a few years (since the last).

“I had a cardboard cut-out of Greg in my bedroom growing up.”

Looking to ice a breakout season that includes a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and seven top-10 results, Leishman says he’ll draw on a previous win at a 30-man event.

Leishman won the 2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge, whose field has since grown, in South Africa by a whopping six shots over big gun Henrik Stenson.

“Winning the Nedbank by six is good to have in the memory bank. Hopefully I can make this number two,” Leishman said.


FedEx standing: Fourth

Tour Championship results: Tied 28th (2009; only appearance)

How he can win the FedEx Cup: In the top five seeds, Leishman wins the FedEx Cup with a Tour Championship victory.

He also has a solid chance of winning with a second-place finish and can finish as low as a tie for third and still have a chance.

Rohingya asylum seeker claims he was pressured to accept cash from Australia to leave Manus

A Rohingya Muslim, who spoke to SBS World News from Port Moresby on condition of anonymity, says he felt pressured to sign a deal with Australia to return to Myanmar from Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island in exchange for US$25,000.


Efforts to clear the centre have been ramping up after Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that it was illegal and must close.

“They [the Australian government] said: ‘Think about it, if you go back you can try another country’,” the 32-year-old said.

“I said I have to think about it, and I came back in my home and they sent somebody to me to apply some pressure, you know. They said ‘think about it, Manus is no good.’

“Signing the papers was my only option so I signed them,” he said.

“What choice do I have? The government offered me US$25,000 [to go back] or I sit in the transit centre at Manus Island.”

His comments come after The Guardian reported that Australia had offered a man that amount if he returned to Myanmar.


The Myanmar military has been violent against Rohingyas since the 1970s with many escaping to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Only a few have travelled as far as Manus Island.

The military ramped up its campaign of violence in August, forcing more than 400,000 to flee in the past few weeks.

In a televised speech on Tuesday, the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi said she was “concerned” about the plight of Rohingyas. Her comments have since being widely criticised by human rights organisations for not cracking down enough on the military.

James Gomez, human rights organisation Amnesty’s regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said her speech “demonstrated that she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine state.” 

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The Rohingya man said he arrived at Manus Island in 2013 after being kept at Christmas Island for 11-12 days.

He said he he lost his teeth when he was bashed by security on Manus Island in February 2014, and believes that ultimately PNG and Myanmar are both unsafe places for him to live.

“I have two choices, stay here in PNG or go back, so I would rather go back and die in my country.”

The Australian Council for International Development has called on the government to stop offering financial incentives to Rohingya asylum seekers at the Manus Island offshore processing centre to return to Myanmar and bring Rohingya refugees to Australia.

Marc Purcell, the CEO of the council, said in a press release on Tuesday, “We urge the Australian Government to look at an increase to Australia’s humanitarian intake, with specific consideration to vulnerable people who have fled violence and persecution in Myanmar.”

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the matter was for the Government of Papua New Guinea.

SBS World News has contacted the PNG government for comment.


‘This is about race-baiting’: Ethnic groups condemn citizenship bill

The Australian government says its crackdown on citizenship requirements will improve security but his has shaken up some communities.


Some ethnic communities say they feel unfairly targeted by the changes that will affect tens of thousands across the country.

That includes permanent resident Sara Balsamini, a business analyst who migrated from Italy in 2010.

“I moved to Australia initially with a working holiday visa,” she told SBS World News.

“It was supposed to be an experience, and then I just fell in love with the country and then I decided to try and stay. I was only two weeks away from completing my application.

“I had already collected all my documents, officially translated them, found a witness for my identity declaration. I was ready to apply.”

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Ms Balsamini said she had already integrated successfully in the community, but now with the proposed changes to the citizenship laws, feels unfairly targeted.

“It’s devastating, it puts a lot of uncertainty on my life and it was shocking for me that the government was trying to make these changes retrospectively for people that had already qualified, and already paid for a non-refundable fee, and already planned their life accordingly,” Ms Balsamini said.

A question of security?

A Senate inquiry saw more than 13,000 submissions made, both for and against the government’s citizenship bill.

The Coalition believes tighter citizenship laws will bolster national security. But according to the CEO of the Australian Arab Council, Randa Kattan, there is an embedded air of discrimination.

“I’m not sure how it will improve security. It looks like it’s only the brown countries that are being targeted. So in my opinion this is about race-baiting,” Ms Kattan said.

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“It is of great concern because we need to kind of scrutinise, we need to look at this very carefully; what messages is it sending, what messages is it sending to the people who are already contributing to this country, to society; what message is it sending to the general community about the people who are applying to become citizens of this country.”

Australian values

Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke told SBS World News the government believes its measures are non-discriminatory, and are in Australia’s best interests.

“Across the board they’ll apply to everybody equally,” he said.

“We’re looking for people that want to come here and integrate, adopt Australian values, and become great members of the Australian community regardless of where they’re from.

“The government’s measures are designed to stop those people who don’t want to come here and integrate and become Australian citizens with those values that you would expect.”

Joseph Caputo, Director of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council Australia, warned Australia’s storied multicultural legacy is at stake.

“It is under threat, and I think that history is a good guide for the future,” Mr Caputo said.

“I think the good sense of Australians, the fair go, you know giving the fair go to everyone, should prevail, and the fact that we’ve done so in the past that everyone that has reached our shores have been given a fair go.

“That’s what made Australia [what it is] today, and we should not threaten it with proposed laws that will make it very very difficult for many many, many new arrivals.”

Community concerns

Stricter language requirements and a revised waiting period of four years inste