Australian News

Scott Morrison banned from entering Queensland for election campaign

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be banned from entering Queensland for the duration of the state election campaign unless he is prepared to pay $2800 to quarantine for 14 days in a government facility.

Nearly seven weeks after he last entered the sunshine state, there’s no signs that the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will lift the border bans before the October 31 election.

Queensland’s border ban will effectively stop the Prime Minister, Labor leader Anthony Albanese and any other frontbenchers from entering the state for the duration of the election unless they are prepared to spend a fortnight in quarantine.

It follows an ugly war of words between the Prime Minister and the Queensland Premier over the plight of hardship cases including a young woman who was unable to attend her father’s funeral.

Last week, the Queensland Premier hit back at the Prime Minister, accusing him of “bullying” her to intervene in the case of a woman who was unable to attend her father’s funeral.

“I will not be bullied nor will I be intimidated by the Prime Minister of this country who contacted me this morning and who I made [it] very clear to, the fact that it is not my decision,” she said.

“The Prime Minister at the time said to me that he had not gone public, but Mr Speaker, I knew that he would go public.

“To use the tragedy of this personal family is disgusting.”

Both leaders have confirmed they have no plans to travel to Queensland while the tough border restrictions remain in place.

The current border closures, which prohibit anyone from a ‘hotspot’ area including Canberra coming to Queensland without a 14 day quarantine period will be reviewed at the end of every month.

The only alternative is to fly from Canberra to “COVID-free” Adelaide, which reopened the border to the ACT this week and spend a fortnight there, before travelling on to Brisbane.

According to Queensland Health Department guidelines, the border will remain shut to NSW, ACT and Victorian residents unless there are 28 days without community transmission in those jurisdictions.

And while there is provision for MPs’ to enter the state to conduct their work, the requirement they complete a quarantine period is non-negotiable.

“(Elected representatives) can enter Queensland from a declared COVID-19 hotspot, such as the ACT, to return to their electorate or to perform official duties,” a Queensland Health spokesman said. “They must enter via air and will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival as per global quarantine requirements.”

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has previously defended the decision to declare Canberra a hotspot despite the fact the nation’s capital hasn’t had a case in months.

“Canberra is declared a hotspot because it is in the middle of NSW,” Dr Young said, adding that many people in Canberra have holiday homes on the NSW south coast where there have been cases more recently,’’ she said.

In July, the Prime Minister unveiled a $400 million package to attract international blockbusters to film in Australia on the Gold Coast.

However, the Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington did not attend the event as she had a prior engagement.

“I let her know I was coming up here today, and she was pleased with the announcement we were making today for Queensland,” Mr Morrison said.

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Gold Coast’s Kevin Proctor banned for four NRL matches after failing to beat biting charge

Gold Coast captain Kevin Proctor has been suspended for four weeks by the NRL judiciary after being found guilty of biting Cronulla’s Shaun Johnson.

The incident took place during the Titans’ 30-18 loss to the Sharks at Kogarah Oval on Saturday.

Proctor received a 25 per cent reduction in his suspension for his good disciplinary record over seven years.

More to come.

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Kevin Proctor’s bite on Shaun Johnson will see him banned, but should not be how he is judged in the NRL

I was watching the game between the Sharks and Titans on Sunday and it’s hard to say it was not a bite from Kevin Proctor on Shaun Johnson.

I know there are other people out there saying that it wasn’t a bite, including Proctor who has said he will be pleading not guilty at the judiciary, but it’s a tough one.

The video evidence at the time said that it was a bite and, from where I was sitting and the footage I saw, I thought it was probably a bite, but other people obviously have different opinions to me.

Shaun Johnson’s arm was there, Proctor closed his mouth then opened it very quickly. It was almost a reflex reaction to the arm being there.

A Cronulla Sharks NRL player shows his right arm to a referee following an alleged biting incident.
Shaun Johnson’s reaction does not help Kevin Proctor’s case.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Proctor said he was being choked a little bit, but the game was on the line too. He’s trying to get up and have a quick play the ball. He’s getting a bit frustrated.

All of those factors come into play but, at the end of the day, you need to know that you just have to cop being manhandled in that instance and just leave it.

I think Shaun Johnson answered it pretty well after the game, saying it was just one of those things and that it was not malicious — and both players shook hands about it after the match.

A Gold Coast Titans NRL player makes contact with the right forearm of a Cronulla opponent with his mouth while being tackled.
Kevin Proctor might have had a reflex reaction to the presence of Shaun Johnson’s arm.(Fox Sports)

I don’t know what the punishment will be, but I would not be surprised if he got the rest of the year.

If you revert back to James Graham’s bite on Billy Slater in the 2012 grand final, he ended up getting 12 weeks for that.

I think if they’re going to judge any punishment, they’ll use that as a reference point.

I feel for him, but I don’t see him getting off it and will probably be looking at about six weeks.

It’s not a very good look for the game at all, but Proctor shouldn’t be judged just on that one thing.

He’s played 250 games in the NRL and playing some really good football at the moment, but he’s just had a quick brain snap, which happens to the best of us and he got caught for it.

Last minute drama made for fantastic entertainment

It was another weekend where there were some fantastic games of football — and it’s hard to pick out which one was best.

I can’t go past Penrith, who didn’t play the most spectacular game but tackled well and still did enough to claim their ninth win in a row.

But the tight games Tigers-Bulldogs game on Sunday and the Cowboys-Souths game on Saturday were excellent.

A Wests Tigers NRL player drops the ball before an attempt to kick it against the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Luke Brooks slotted one of two last-gasp field goals this weekend.(AAP: Brendon Thorne)

Against Souths, the Cowboys had it in the bag but just let it slip at the last.

To be in front and have an opportunity to win the game, only to have a little bit of a mishap over two or three minutes and then find yourself behind on the scoreboard. Sometimes that is harder pill to swallow.

A defeat is a defeat, but if you get flogged you can say that you just weren’t on today, whereas it’s sometimes a little bit harder when you lose by a point.

In saying that, it’s a great feeling when you are behind all game only to turn it on for a few minutes, come up with field goal and get a one-point win.

I couldn’t tell you what it’s like to kick a field goal because I’ve never done it to win game.

But I remember watching Brett Finch kicking the goal in State of Origin in 2006 and sealing the game 9-8 — I can’t think of any better situation to kick a field goal to win a game like that.

It is an individual situation, but you also need your team around you though to set it up, so even though its one man taking the shot, the responsibility falls on everyone.

Two South Sydney NRL players congratulate a teammate after kicked the winning field goal against North Queensland.
Adam Reynolds got the plaudits, but field goals are a team thing.(AAP: Cameron Laird)

You’ve got to get in that position first, you’ve got to come up with the clean play of the ball, the pass has to be on the money — and you’ve got to back up if he misses with a good defensive set afterwards.


There was a good example in the Souths game when Keaon Koloamatangi gave a really strong carry, which helped Souths get up the field on the last tackle.

Then there was a very quick play of the ball from Tevita Tatola and that gave Adam Reynolds enough time to catch the ball and get a nice drop onto his foot.

When you get the call set up to take a shot you would usually see a few real strong carries up the middle of the field and perhaps a little shift early in the count to pull the team apart.

The halves or hooker, or whoever is going to take responsibility with the kick will get the set up ready — but it always comes off a big strong carry.

Luke Lewis was talking to ABC News Digital’s Simon Smale.

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Essendon’s Dylan Shiel banned after marathon AFL tribunal, St Kilda’s Ben Long accepts three weeks

Dylan Shiel will miss two matches for rough conduct over the bump that floored North Melbourne’s Curtis Taylor after the Essendon star was unsuccessful in appealing the severity of his suspension at the AFL tribunal.

The jury on Tuesday night agreed with the match review officer’s initial grading of the incident as careless conduct, high contact and high impact, and declared: “It was fortunate the consequences were not greater.”

Taylor played out the match on Saturday night after passing a concussion test and scans later cleared him of structural damage.

In an unusual hearing that lasted more than two-and-a-half hours, Essendon’s main argument centred around their belief that the impact grading should be reduced from high to medium or low.

Essendon’s legal counsel Adrian Anderson also raised an infamous incident from the 2017 preliminary final, where Shiel was hit high by Richmond’s Trent Cotchin.

Cotchin was cleared of wrongdoing, playing in the Tigers’ premiership the following week, and Shiel said that incident had changed the way he contests the ball to focus more on protecting himself.

In a last-ditch attempt to reduce the ban, Essendon called on Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams to provide a character reference for Shiel.

Williams was one of Shiel’s coaches at Greater Western Sydney and his daughter is the player’s long-term partner.

Dylan Shiel prepares to kick as a Dockers opponent tries to put pressure on him.
Dylan Shiel will miss matches against the Bulldogs and Adelaide.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

But the jury made up of former AFL players Stephen Jurica, Shane Wakelin and David Neitz was ultimately comfortable with the bump’s high impact grading and the two-match ban.

The jury made note of the bump’s potential to cause injury, Taylor’s vulnerable position, Shiel arriving at the contest at speed, the significant force involved and the fact Taylor was tested for concussion.

Shiel will now miss Essendon’s meetings with the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide before he is available for selection again in round nine.

Ben Long accepts three-match ban

A St Kilda AFL player attempts to palm off a Carlton opponent while holding the ball in his right hand.
Ben Long did not contest his proposed ban during his short hearing.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

Earlier on Tuesday night, St Kilda’s Ben Long pleaded guilty to a rough conduct charge over the bump that concussed Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy and was banned for three matches.

The 22-year-old did not contest the careless conduct, high impact and severe impact grading of the incident, but argued Darcy quickly dropping to his knees had contributed to the high contact.

Both the AFL and St Kilda agreed three weeks was an appropriate penalty.

Darcy was concussed by Long’s bump and played no further part in the match on Saturday, which was won in dramatic fashion by the Dockers.

The Dockers’ medical report the day after the match also noted Darcy had mild ongoing neck pain and concussion symptoms.

The ruckman is in doubt for Fremantle’s clash with cross-town rivals West Coast on Sunday.

Long will miss the Saints’ meetings with Adelaide and Port Adelaide in South Australia next week, as well as a round nine fixture that has not yet been scheduled.


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England bowlers using back sweat to shine the ball in Test against West Indies with saliva use banned

England fast bowler Mark Wood says players are now using “back sweat” rather than saliva to try and shine the ball during the first Test against West Indies.

Strict health protocols are in place for the return of international cricket after a 117-day stoppage caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including a ban on saliva.

It did not bother the West Indies bowlers who dismissed England for 204 on the second day with Jason Holder taking six wickets for a career-best Test haul of 6-42.

Wood later steamed in, bowling at frightening pace, but West Indies ended the day well-placed on 1-57.

“Back sweat has been the major thing at the moment with saliva going out the window,” Wood said.

“Only your own, although we’re mingling the back sweat a little on the ball — I’ve got some of Jimmy [Anderson’s] and Jofra [Archer’s].”

It was a disappointing day for England and, with a better weather forecast for Friday, West Indies has the chance to seize control of the match.

The off stump is pushed back and the bails are flying as the ball cannons into the stumps
England struggled with the bat, as James Holder led the way for the West Indies.(AP: Mike Hewitt)

“We haven’t had the best day so plenty to do. I’d prefer a few in the wickets column rather than the pace column,” Wood said.

“They bowled well and got to give them credit, but 204 wasn’t on the radar, we’d have liked 250 or 300.

“We didn’t get it right with the ball, they got their line and length spot on. It’s a bit of cobwebs and rust.”

Holder had been troubled by an ankle injury in the build-up to the Test but produced a magnificent display of bowling, including taking the crucial wicket of his England counterpart Ben Stokes for 43.

“My patience has definitely increased. Before I was trying to bowl too many deliveries in one spell,” he said.

“I look at consistency, and patience was one of the things I was lacking. Using the crease is something I strive to do and using the angles at the point of delivery. When you’re not as quick as some people, you’ve got to be skilful.”


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Hot spot residents banned from NSW

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard amended the COVID-19 interstate hot spot order on Monday to include residents from Greater Melbourne’s 36 local government areas.

The order is in force from 12.01am on Tuesday, July 7.

The health department said: “This means they will only be able to enter NSW for very limited reasons, such as obtaining medical care, or fulfilling a legal obligation.”

“Come midnight tonight, for the next 24 hours, the hot spots will extend to all of Melbourne so nobody from Melbourne will be able to cross the border in the next 24 hours,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday. 

“But come midnight tomorrow night, it will be all Victorians.”

The border between NSW and Victoria will shut from 12.01am on Wednesday, July 8. 

“The requirement for NSW residents returning from Melbourne hotspots to self-isolate for 14 days will then be extended to anyone returning from Victoria. Heavy penalties and fines apply,” the health minister’s office said. 

“Provisions will be in place for residents of border regions, such as Albury-Wodonga.”

Australia has recorded a total 8397 cases of COVID-19, with 3240 in New South Wales, 2660 in Victoria, 1067 in Queensland, 443 in South Australia, 621 in Western Australia, 228 in Tasmania, 108 in the Australian Capital Territory and 30 in the Northern Territory.

Australia’s coronavirus death toll is 106. 

Live Updates

Sarah McPhee

The Tuesday morning order from the NSW government affects residents in any of these 36 Local Government Areas in Greater Melbourne:

  • Banyule City
  • Bayside City
  • Boroondara City
  • Brimbank City
  • Cardinia Shire
  • Casey City
  • Darebin City
  • Frankston City
  • Glen Eira City
  • Greater Dandenong City
  • Greater Geelong City
  • Hobsons Bay City
  • Hume City
  • Kingston City
  • Knox City
  • Macedon Ranges Shire
  • Manningham City
  • Maribyrnong City
  • Maroondah City
  • Melbourne City
  • Melton City
  • Mitchell Shire
  • Monash City
  • Moonee Valley City
  • Moorabool Shire
  • Moreland City
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire
  • Murrindindi Shire
  • Nillumbik Shire
  • Port Phillip City
  • Stonnington City
  • Whitehorse City
  • Whittlesea City
  • Wyndham City
  • Yarra City
  • Yarra Ranges Shire

Source: NSW Government

Sarah McPhee

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard amended the COVID-19 interstate hot spot order on Monday to include residents from Greater Melbourne’s 36 local government areas.

The order is in force from 12.01am on Tuesday, July 7.

The health department said: “This means they will only be able to enter NSW for very limited reasons, such as obtaining medical care, or fulfilling a legal obligation.”

“Come midnight tonight, for the next 24 hours, the hot spots will extend to all of Melbourne so nobody from Melbourne will be able to cross the border in the next 24 hours,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday. 

“But come midnight tomorrow night, it will be all Victorians.”

The border between NSW and Victoria will shut from 12.01am on Wednesday, July 8. 

“The requirement for NSW residents returning from Melbourne hotspots to self-isolate for 14 days will then be extended to anyone returning from Victoria. Heavy penalties and fines apply,” the health minister’s office said. 

“Provisions will be in place for residents of border regions, such as Albury-Wodonga.”

There have been 2660 cases of COVID-19 recorded in Victoria included 127 new cases announced on Monday.

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Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom banned for four AFL matches following COVID-19 protocol breach

The AFL has banned Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom for four matches after he breached the league’s COVID-19 protocols last weekend.

His Magpies teammate Lynden Dunn received a one-match suspension.

Sidebottom and Dunn broke AFL protocols by taking an Uber late on Saturday night following a visit to the house of injured defender Jeremy Howe.

After dropping off Dunn, Sidebottom then took the Uber to the house of Magpies staff member Daniel Wells, which was another breach given that Wells is not part of Collingwood’s COVID-19-compliant bubble.

Police then found Sidebottom intoxicated in the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown on Sunday morning, which was factored into his sanction, before he was driven home.

Collingwood released a media statement this evening, saying Sidebottom’s ban was “excessive” and “inconsistent” with penalties handed out for other protocol breaches in the AFL.

But Collingwood general manager of football Geoff Walsh said the club would not challenge the league’s decision.

“He accepts that he made some poor decisions but he also feels it is the right thing to accept the punishment, a greater punishment than most believe is fair, to avoid a distraction that could create difficulties for the competition and his team-mates,” Walsh said in the statement.

“That’s the sort of person Steele is. As a club, we considered all options but our disappointment over Steele’s suspension is no greater than it is over the fact that two senior players breached the return to play protocols.

“Everyone knows Steele and Lynden started out with the best of intentions, to console an injured team-mate, but our players and staff have been well educated on the protocols and we take our social responsibilities seriously.”

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said there were no excuses for players breaching protocols.

“The protocols have been clearly communicated, reviewed and accepted by all players across the league,” he said.

“The sanctions enforced in recent weeks should have been the reminder for everyone across the clubs, so we are disappointed to be having to deal with these breaches.”

Sidebottom ‘confused’

Earlier today, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said Sidebottom did not have a clear recollection of his COVID-19 protocols breach after drinking too much alcohol.

“Speaking with Steele, he’s quite embarrassed about the situation,” Buckley said.

“He’s obviously remorseful about the decisions that were made but he’s also in some way confused about what has taken place.

“At some point obviously with his drinking he’s made some poor decisions, but his recollection isn’t that great.

Steele Sidebottom tries to mark the ball in front of a Giants player.
Sidebottom was found by police in an intoxicated state at the weekend.(AAP: Julian Smith)

“He hasn’t been drinking as regularly [recently]. In conversations with him, he probably hasn’t been consuming as much alcohol, and one of the theories is he wasn’t able to handle what he consumed at Howey’s [Howe] place.

“They’re all details that try to explain in some way what has happened in the evening, or Steele’s understanding of it.

The Magpies’ sanctions follow Essendon’s Conor McKenna being hit with a one-match ban for failing to adhere to protocols earlier in June.

McKenna was released from quarantine on Monday after testing positive to COVID-19 on June 20.


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Melbourne’s Charlie Spargo and Kysaiah Pickett banned for breaching coronavirus protocols

Melbourne pair Charlie Spargo and Kysaiah Pickett will miss the Demons’ restart to the season after being banned for breaching COVID-19 protocols.

They become the third and fourth AFL players to miss out on the return to football after falling foul of the official protocols for living arrangements and travel.

The duo used an Uber to travel to a house for a non-essential gathering.

The club self-reported the breach and Spargo has received a two-match ban while Pickett — who was taken at pick 12 of the 2019 AFL draft and has played just one game for the Demons — will miss one game.

“We know how important these protocols are and the social licence that we have been granted to be able to train and play AFL,” Melbourne general manager of football operations Josh Mahoney said in a club statement on Friday.

An AFL player sit on the ground with his back against a goalpost during training.
Kysaiah Pickett will have to wait to play his second-ever game for the Demons following his suspension.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

“As a club, we reported the breach to the AFL integrity department, who then completed their investigation, resulting in their suspensions.

“The two players attended a non-essential gathering and travelled via Uber, which is a clear breach. Both Charlie and [Kysaiah] acknowledged that they knew the rules, admitted their mistake and openly participated with the AFL investigation.

“On the whole, our players and staff have been compliant to the strict measures. However, on this occasion, there has been a clear breach against the AFL protocols and we accept the sanctions.”

When Melbourne’s team was named on Thursday night for Saturday afternoon’s match against Carlton at Docklands, Spargo was listed as omitted from the side after he played in the round one loss to West Coast in March.

Pickett was initially named in the forward pocket for Saturday’s match. Both players will now be available to play in Melbourne’s practice match on Saturday morning.

Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines and Essendon’s Brandon Zerk-Thatcher will miss their respective teams’ round-three games after breaching COVID-19 protocols.

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Canterbury Bulldogs banned from training after club legend Terry Lamb was caught breaching COVID restrictions

Canterbury great Terry Lamb will be tested for coronavirus after breaking strict biosecurity guidelines at a Bulldogs training session on Thursday.

The NRL’s integrity unit will also look into the the incident after Lamb, who is not one of 50 players and staff cleared to attend training, was filmed shaking hands with players.

The Bulldogs have been banned from training until Lamb’s test results are returned, likely today.

“On the advice of biosecurity experts, Terry Lamb will be tested for COVID-19. The Bulldogs will not train until the test results return tomorrow,” an NRL spokesperson said.

The Bulldogs later apologised for the incident.

Media were invited to film a portion of the training session at Belmore Oval where Lamb was captured breaking the strict guidelines imposed on all NRL clubs since March 4.

Lamb is an ambassador for the club but is not cleared to attend training and games.

Bulldogs players look disheartened as they stand together during a game.
The Bulldogs are yet to win a game this season.(AAP: Brendan Thorne)

Everyone on the list is required to self-isolate at home under strict guidelines as approved by state governments to allow the NRL to resume their competition on May 28.

Under the guidelines there is to be no contact with anyone outside of the “bubble” aside from people in their homes, which have been pre-approved by the NRL.

No one from outside the bubble, including media and other club staff, are allowed inside “clean” zones at games and training sessions.

It is the first serious breach of the guidelines since training recommenced a month ago.

The Bulldogs, who are yet to post a win this season, are due to face St George Illawarra on Monday.


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Psychologist banned for two years over ‘destructive’ relationship

Ms Meulblok’s professional misconduct includes using ‘energy medicine’ treatment to touch his body, which she knew or should have known had no medical evidence. Ms Meulkblok twice touched him where he was experiencing pain – on the shoulder, back, chest and jaw – which she claimed could be caused by childhood trauma.

The two other counts of professional misconduct involve having an inappropriate intimate relationship with the patient and discussing him with her husband.

She admitted her feelings to Mr XY over a drink, after bumping into him coincidentally in October 2017.

They later agreed she would visit his home. Ms Meulblok stayed for around two hours and the pair held hands, embraced and kissed.

She told him their therapeutic relationship was over and that they couldn’t have sex until two years had passed.

At a further meeting in her consultation room, which he believed was a session but she did not, the pair kissed and embraced on the patient couch.

“Ms Meulblok sat on Mr XY’s lap, straddled him and kissed him while he was sitting on the patient couch. During this appointment she told him … that they were soul mates and how the regulations of her profession required that they had to wait for two years before they had sex,” the tribunal said.

The next month, after meeting frequently, Mr XY asked to end all contact with Ms Meulblok. She continued to get in touch over “matters of a personal and quasi-therapeutic nature”.

The psychologist also encouraged him to befriend her husband tried to recommence therapy in December 2017, but never tried to refer him to another therapist.

The tribunal said her conduct was seriously damaging and Mr XY considered that period to be “one of the most difficult and destabilising periods of his adult life, to the extent that when he sees or hears about Ms Meulblok at times makes him feel physically unwell”.

“The conduct caused serious and significant harm to Mr XY,” VCAT said.

The Psychology Board of Australia sought a two-year ban on Ms Meulblok registering as a health practitioner, which the tribunal agreed was appropriate.

“This does not mean that we consider it safe to register Ms Meulblok at the end of this period. If she applies to be registered in the future, it will be for the Board in its regulatory capacity to assess the application and make its own decision,” VCAT said in its judgement on Friday.

Ms Meulblok has not been registered for 17 months. Mr XY came forward in March 2018 and she decided against renewing her registration when it lapsed in December that year.

The tribunal said she took full responsibility for her conduct soon after being notified of the complaint.

“She expressed shame and regret for the damage it has caused to Mr XY, her family and her profession,” VCAT said.

There was no prior disciplinary history in her 18-year career as a psychologist, the tribunal said, and she had a local reputation as being a well-regarded psychologist.

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