Hazlewood impressed by Cummins’ comeback

Josh Hazlewood was in awe of how Pat Cummins bowled in his Test comeback, especially given how placid the pitch was in Ranchi.

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Cummins unleashed almost six years of angst on India’s batsmen in the third Test, having been sidelined from the sport’s highest level since a sparkling 2011 debut in Johannesburg.

The 23-year-old was comfortably the visitors’ most potent bowler, extracting remarkable bounce from the slow-and-low surface throughout his 39 overs.

“Everyone was taken aback by the way he bowled and to get that lift and pace off the wicket like that,” Hazlewood said.

“He’s a pretty special player and to bring that extra pace is what you need sometimes on those wickets to get those breakthroughs.

“It’s great to have him back. I’ve spent a lot of time with Patty and to finally get to play a Test with him was great.

“He obviously had a great hit-out in that last Test and bowled fast for the whole duration, so it’s amazing what he’s going to do back in Australia and on bouncy wickets.”

The tourists hope the deck for the series decider will be exactly that.

The fourth Test starts on Saturday in Dharamsala. The venue has a reputation of being among India’s most pace-friendly grounds.

Australia liked the look of the pitch on Thursday, when they trained there for the first time.

However, Hazlewood suggested there might be some changes before the toss.

“I’d love to see it fast and bouncy,” he said.

“We’d love it to be that way, would feel a bit more like home but I don’t think we’ll get that.

“The way they saw Patty Cummins bowl the other day, they don’t really want it any faster than Ranchi I wouldn’t think.”

Cummins was sent for scans following the match. However, it was a precautionary measure because of his history of serious setbacks.

The right-armer has avoided injury and is set to back up in the series decider.

Frigate project to clock up milestone

Plans to build a fleet of nine anti-submarine warships are set to reach an important milestone.

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Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a tender request for the $35 billion Future Frigates project will be brought forward and released to the shortlisted bidding companies by the end of next week.

It means the government will outline its final requirements.

Three shipbuilders are in the running – the BAE Systems with its Type 26, Fincantieri of Italy with its FREMM and Navantia of Spain with an updated F100.

The winner will be announced in 2018.

They will replace eight Anzac frigates from the mid-2020s, in a project that will create more than 2000 jobs.

“It will create knock-on benefits up and down the supply chain across the country,” Mr Pyne told an Australian Strategic Policy Institute dinner overnight.

The European-designed frigates will be built at Osborne in South Australia.

But Mr Pyne has grand plans for the fleet, beyond just making them in Australia.

“We should aspire to not only build the frigates in Australia, but to design them here as well,” he said.

“Our aspiration should extend to selling those designs overseas to our allies and regional partners.”

Beefing-up Australia’s export capacity is one of the minister’s main tasks.

Australia ranks fifth in the world for defence imports, but 20th in the world for exports.

“We will strive to reverse those numbers,” Mr Pyne said.

The Turnbull government will release a defence export strategy later in 2017.

“Australians – outside the defence and government bubble – need to understand the linkage between national and economic security,” Mr Pyne said.

London attack: family and friends remember victims

Westminster Bridge, where the attacker mowed down pedestrians before stabbing a police officer, is a busy tourist spot with its views of parliament’s Big Ben clock tower.

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Those injured in the attack included many foreigners.

Here is what we know about the victims so far.

‘Hero’ police officer

Unarmed police officer Keith Palmer, who was fatally stabbed as he stood guard at an entrance to parliament, has been hailed as a hero.

The 48-year-old husband and father had been a police officer for 15 years and was part of the parliamentary protection force.

Prime Minister Theresa May called him “every inch a hero”.

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He previously served in the British army alongside James Cleverly, now a Conservative MP, who tweeted: “A lovely man, a friend. I’m heartbroken.”

As a tribute, Charlton Athletic football club placed a scarf in its red and white colours on Seat 166 of its stadium, which Palmer held as a season ticket holder.

Thousands of people also donated money to Palmer’s family via a crowdfunding page set up by the police force union.

Within a day, it had already collected more than £300,000 ($375,000, 350,000 euros).

A picture of British policeman Keith Palmer is seen among flowers near London Parliament.EPA

Mother-of-two

Colleagues of Aysha Frade, a mother who was run down and killed as she was on her way to pick up her children, said she was “loved” and would be “deeply missed”.

A Spanish diplomatic source confirmed to AFP that Frade was a 43-year-old British national whose mother was Spanish.

Media reports said her daughters were seven and nine years old.

Rachel Borland, principal of DLD College London where Frade worked in the administration team, said she was “highly regarded and loved by our students and by her colleagues”.

‘A great American’

Kurt Cochran from Utah in the United States has been named as the third victim.

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to pay tribute to “a great American” adding that his “prayers and condolences are with the family and friends”.

Clint Payne, Cochran’s brother-in-law, explained in a statement that Cochran and his wife Melissa Payne Cochran had been in London to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

A great American, Kurt Cochran, was killed in the London terror attack. My prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2017

“Our family is heartbroken,” he said in a statement emailed to AFP.

Cochran’s wife is reportedly in hospital, where she is recovering from a broken leg and rib and a cut on her head.

The police said only that a man in his 50s had died.

 Kurt Cochran was among those killed in the London attack Wednesday. Wife Melissa was seriously injured.AP

75-year-old man

A 75-year-old man who was injured in the attack died of his wounds on Thursday evening, police said.

“The man had been receiving medical treatment in hospital following the attack and life support was withdrawn this evening,” police said in a statement, without giving further details of the victim’s background.

Injured

Police said 29 of around 40 people wounded were treated in hospital. Seven remained in “critical condition” on Thursday.

Three French pupils on a school trip to London, all aged 15 or 16, were among those hurt, including two who suffered broken bones but were not reported to be in life-threatening condition.

The teenagers are from a high school in Concarneau, in the western Brittany region, and were joined by their families on Wednesday evening. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault arrived in London on Thursday to visit them.

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Five South Korean tourists — four women and a man in their 50s and 60s — were also wounded after being knocked to the ground by people fleeing as the assailant mowed down pedestrians, Seoul said.

In an address to parliament on Thursday, May said that among the people admitted to hospital were 12 Britons as well as two Greeks and two Romanians, one German, one Pole, one Irish citizen, one Chinese national, one Italian and one American.

A woman with serious injuries rescued from the River Thames near Westminster Bridge after the attack, as well as her fiance, are believed to be the two Romanians.

Believed to have fallen in the Thames: Andreea Cristea.Facebook

Local media in the eastern European country have named them as Andreea Cristea, a 29 year-old architect and Andrei Burnez. Authorities did not confirm the reports.

The injured also included three police officers who were returning from an event recognising their bravery, two of whom remain in serious condition.

Among the injured British nationals were four students from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk in northwest England, who were on an educational visit to the parliament.

Londoners light candles during a vigil in Trafalgar Square in London where thousands gathered to remember the victims.EPA

Student Travis Frain, 19, was thrown over the bonnet of the car, his mother said.

“He loves politics, that is his ideal trip, going to Parliament. He was probably buzzing with excitement,” said Angela Frain.

The teenager’s injuries include a fractured leg and arm and he is due to remain in hospital, while three other university students hurt in the attack were released.

Security to be reviewed at UK parliament

Security at Britain’s parliament is being reviewed following the horrific attack that left one of the Palace of Westminster’s police officers dead.

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Prime Minister Theresa May said the police “heroically” did their job in the incident, in which officer Keith Palmer was stabbed to death.

Terrorist Khalid Masood was shot dead by police but questions have been asked about the security arrangements in the political heart of the UK.

Former Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers suggested it was time to consider whether police who guard “sensitive sites” such as parliament should routinely carry “personal protection weapons” even if they were not formally part of an armed response unit.

In her House of Commons statement, May told MPs: “In terms of security here in Westminster, we should be clear first of all that an attacker attempted to break into parliament and was shot dead within 20 yards of the gates.

“If his intention was to gain access to this building, we should be clear that he did not succeed.

“The police heroically did their job.

“But as is routine, the police together with the House authorities are reviewing the security of the parliamentary estate, co-ordinated with the Cabinet Office, who have responsibility for the security measures in place around the government secure zone.”

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the review would look at whether security arrangements were “adequate” and whether police at the front gates should be armed.

But he said it was neither possible nor desirable to seal parliament off from the public.

Asked why a policeman on the front line at one of the country’s most prominent potential terrorist targets was unarmed, Sir Michael told Sky News: “Some police in parliament are armed and some are unarmed.

“Obviously the security arrangements of the Commons will now be reviewed to see whether that is completely adequate.”

But “parliament can’t be hermetically sealed”.

“We have visitors, quite rightly, we are the home of democracy. Our constituents come and see us,” he said.

“It’s not possible to seal off parliament from the public, nor would that be desirable.”

Checkup Medical Column for March 24

A WEEKLY ROUND-UP OF NEWS AFFECTING YOUR HEALTH

SURGERY MAY NOT BENEFIT TENNIS ELBOW: STUDY

A study of 26 patients with the condition, which causes pain around the elbow and upper forearm, found that those who underwent a common surgery aimed at repairing their damaged elbow had the same outcomes as those who had a placebo procedure.

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Half the group had surgery to remove a degenerated portion of their capri radialis brevis arm muscle, with the remaining half receiving an incision over their outer elbow.

The study’s lead researcher Martin Kroslak, from Sydney’s Orthopaedic Research Institute, said those who underwent the placebo treatment experienced the same improvements as those who had surgery.

“Our data shows both groups experienced significant improvements in pain measures by 26 weeks after surgery, including frequency of pain with activity,” he said.

“Further, these results were consistent or improved after one to four years of follow-up, with no significant difference between the two groups at any point.”

The research was presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Specialty Day in San Diego.

FODMAP DIET MAY HELP WOMEN WITH IBIS, ENDOMETRIOSIS

Women with endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome may benefit from following a low FODMAP diet, research suggests.

An analysis of 160 women who attended a specialist IBS clinic in Christchurch, New Zealand, found that 36 per cent also had endometriosis.

Of the women who had both conditions, nearly three quarters experienced improvement in bowel symptoms after four weeks following a diet low in FODMAP carbohydrates, researchers from Melbourne’s Monash University found.

Half the women who had IBIS but not endometriosis also reported improvements.

“The low FODMAP diet appears effective in women with gut symptoms and endometriosis,” the researchers wrote in an article published in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

IBS, a common gastrointestinal disorder, affects one in seven Australian adults and includes symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating and wind.

Carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) contribute to IBS symptoms as they are poorly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract.

MERINO WOOL NO IRRITANT FOR KIDS WITH ECZEMA

Kids with eczema may no longer have to avoid all woollen clothing for fear of it irritating their skin.

A clinical trial by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne found superfine merino wool can reduce rather than exacerbate symptoms for kids with mild-to-moderate eczema.

Thirty nine children aged between four weeks and three years wore superfine merino wool clothes for six weeks before changing to cotton garmets. For the next six weeks they wore cotton before switching to the merino wool.

The study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, found when children switched to wool after wearing cotton, there was a significant decrease in eczema severity.

However the eczema worsened when the children changed to cotton from wool.

“When comparing with cotton, there are inherent differences in fibre properties, [Merino] wool’s greater ability to transfer moisture vapour and heat than other major apparel fibres enable it to maintain a more stable microclimate between the skin and garment,” said the study’s lead author, Associate Professor John Su from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

SNEAKY SNAKES

Nearly half of all snake bites in Australia occur in urban areas rather than the country.

The first report in a quarter of a century on death by snake bite in Australia has found most victims are male and bitten during the warmer months of the year.

More than half of the bites occur in or near home, with the brown snake responsible for 23 of the 35 deaths recorded between 2000 and 2016, the study by the Australian Venom Research Unit at the University of Melbourne found.

Lead researcher Dr Ronelle Welton said the review challenged widely held assumptions about where snake bites are most likely to happen.

“While the perception remains that snake bite incidents occur in rural areas, we found that nearly half the incidents occurred in an urban environment,” she said.

The study was published in the Journal Toxicon.

Warriors pack must produce more: Kearney

Warriors boss Stephen Kearney has acknowledged his side’s early-season NRL troubles, saying they have stuttered from game to game.

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The Auckland-based side have won just one of three matches to kick off their 2017 season and limply fell 24-12 to the Bulldogs in Dunedin last week.

They’ll now look to get back on track for a first finals berth in six years when they take on the Dragons in Sydney on Sunday.

New boss Kearney admitted his side had lacked playmaking craft and punch through the middle in their losses to Melbourne and the Bulldogs, with the absence of concussed skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck a major blow.

But he backed his troops to turn things around quickly against St George Illawarra, who have surprised many by winning two of their first three games.

“The improvement for us is in the back end of the game – last week it was 12-10 at one stage there and we need to be better,” Kearney said.

“(The Dragons) have certainly changed the way they play the game in the sense that they’re offloading the ball a lot more and look really dangerous.”

Tuivasa-Sheck watched on against the Bulldogs and echoed his coach’s thoughts, saying the side’s forwards and propping quartet lacked bite at key moments.

Although props Albert Vete, Jacob Lillyman, Charlie Gubb and Sam Lisone made a combined 420 metres with ball in hand, the Warriors struggled to secure good field position at times or supply ball to the backs.

The 23-year-old Tuivasa-Sheck, who will return on Sunday, said he and his teammates had pored over video tapes this week, looking for what went wrong.

“When it works, our forwards are strong, and when it doesn’t work, we know the forwards aren’t that strong,” the fullback said.

“We’ve got players like Shaun Johnson, Ata Hingano, maybe Kieran Foran, myself, Tui (Lolohea) at the back – for them to play their footy, the boys at the front need to punch up.”

Erdogan: I’ll keep up ‘Nazi’ taunts if I’m called ‘dictator’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday he will keep up his “Nazi” taunts targeting European leaders as long as they keep on calling him a “dictator”.

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“How does that work, you have the right to call Erdogan a ‘dictator’ but Erdogan doesn’t have the right to call you ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’?” he said during an interview with the CNN-Turk and Kanal D television channels.

Relations between Turkey and Europe have been severely strained since Turkish ministers were thwarted from campaigning on the continent for a ‘yes’ vote in next month’s referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers.

Ankara has said such behaviour was reminiscent of Nazi Germany and also raised alarm over what it sees as rising racism and Islamophobia.

Germany on Monday branded as “unacceptable” Erdogan’s charge that Chancellor Angela Merkel was using “Nazi measures”, but signalled it wanted to avoid escalating the feud.

Erdogan, who has also taken similar aim at the Netherlands, didn’t sound conciliatory.

“They accuse me then they speak of Erdogan as a ‘dictator,” he continued, still referring to himself in the third person.

“So I’ll continue to address them in these terms,” he added.

‘Good friends’

Erdogan again denounced the cancellation of his ministers’ trips to European countries with a large Turkish diaspora ahead of the referendum.

On Wednesday he warned that Europeans risk being unsafe on the world’s streets, as the crisis between Ankara and the EU showed no signs of abating.

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The same day Germany’s new President Frank-Walter Steinmeier again urged the Turkish leader to “stop these appalling comparisons with Nazism, do not cut the ties with those who want a partnership with Turkey.”

Erdogan said he was “good friends” with Steinmeier and “deplored” his comments.

He added that there could be a “period of review” of Turkey relations with the European Union, while stressing the importance of economic ties with the bloc, his country’s biggest trading partner.

Turkey is officially an EU-candidate nation but its accession process has been practically blocked for years.

He said that an EU-Turkey agreement on migrants, aimed at reducing the numbers reaching Europe from Africa and the Middle East, would be part of an “A to Z” review of government policy to begin after the April 16 referendum.

‘Saddened’

Turning to the issue of Kurdish separatists in Turkey and Syria, the Erdogan said he was “saddened” by links which Russia and the US have with Kurdish militias.

While he is a regular critic of Washington over its support for the  Kurdish YPG militia operating in Syria it was the first time he had expressed his unhappiness with Moscow’s stance 

Turkey summoned the Russian charge d’affaires on Wednesday and sent him another message Thursday to convey “deep unease” over two incidents in Kurdish militia-controlled Syria, Ankara said.

Ankara said one of its soldiers had been shot and killed in southern Turkey on Wednesday by cross-border sniper fire from an area of northwestern Syria controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia.

On Thursday, the foreign ministry sent a new message to the Russian envoy over photos of Russian troops apparently showing them wearing YPG insignia, state-run news agency Anadolu said.

The YPG confirmed on Monday that they had received military training from Russian operatives, something Moscow has not confirmed.

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Johnson stays perfect, McIlroy eliminated at Match Play

“Putting is the hardest part,” Johnson told Golf Channel after improving to 2-0-0 overall with his second straight win over a major champion.

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“It’s very breezy and then really gusty at times.”

Despite two wins from two matches, Johnson was not guaranteed of advancing out of the group stage. He must win or halve his Friday match against compatriot Jimmy Walker to be certain of advancing to the final 16.

The format divides the 64 players into 16 four-man groups, with the winner of each group entering the knockout stage on Saturday.

After losing to Dane Soren Kjeldsen on Wednesday, McIlroy got a win on Thursday when his scheduled opponent Gary Woodland withdrew, citing personal family reasons.

Even with that walkover, however, McIlroy still needed Kjeldsen to lose his second match to have any chance of advancing out of the round-robin group stage.

But Kjeldsen duly shut the door on the Northern Irishman, beating Argentine Emiliano Grillo 4&3 on Thursday to improve to 2-0-0.

Kjeldsen said he relished the tough conditions.

“I’m brought up in this,” he said. “The way I play golf, I like to shape shots, like to change the trajectory. When I saw it being windy today I was really happy.”

Swede Alexander Noren is also guaranteed of being part of the sweet 16, after beating Austrian Bernd Wiesberger 3&2.

McIlroy was not the only highly-ranked player eliminated from the final 16 with world number four Hideki Matsuyama also making an early exit after losing to Englishman Ross Fisher 2&1.

The wind caused all sorts of problems and a watery grave for many a ball, even a shank by American Charles Howell, who had no problem assigning the blame to the conditions.

“(It was) difficult enough to cause a shank,” he said after escaping with a 1-up win over Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

Phil Mickelson, who improved to 2-0-0 thanks to a 5&4 thumping of fellow American Daniel Berger, said it was fortunate that the match play format was being used rather than stroke play, given the conditions.

“Given the severity of the greens and so forth, certainly there are holes we’re going to look ridiculous on,” he said after chipping clean across a green into a water hazard.

“I think it’s fun and it’s great for match play because you don’t worry about the stroke. It’s just relative to your opponent.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Time running out for asylum seekers who sheltered Edward Snowden

They’re being screened for deportation this week and according to their lawyers the government is fast-tracking their removal.

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Hong Kong was once a safe place for asylum seeker Ajith Pushpakumara.

He fled to the territory after being tortured for deserting the Sri Lankan army. Now he says authorities from his home country are looking for him here, forcing him to change addresses.

“I was scared living in the old place. I quickly moved to a new place and never show anybody where it is,” Mr Pushpakumara said.

The 43-year-old was one of four asylum seekers who sheltered Edward Snowden for two weeks when he was hiding in Hong Kong in 2013.

Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, fled the US after leaking surveillance secrets. The asylum seekers’ identities were revealed after the release of a film about Snowden last year.

Lawyer Robert Tibbo says the Hong Kong government is failing to protect Mr Pushpakumara and the other families who assisted Snowden.

They include Sri Lankan national Supun Thilina Kellapatha, his wife Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and their two children, and Filipino Vanessa Rodel and her daughter.

HK Migration says the refugees who aided me must face irregular, immediate deportation hearings this week. Details: 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/3WalvUEb3X

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 22, 2017

Mr Tibbo, who also represents Snowden, believes the Hong Kong government is targeting his clients for their role in Snowden’s escape.

“The Hong Kong government questioned Ms Rodel about Mr Snowden. She refused and upon her refusal they started cutting off humanitarian assistance to her,” Mr Tibbo said.

“We didn’t expect the Hong Kong government to take such an adverse approach to my clients, for actually having done nothing wrong. Simply providing refuge to a man who was in need.”

On March 9 Mr Tibbo and his legal team announced that they were appealing to Canada to accept the families as asylum seekers.

Within hours they each received letters from Hong Kong’s immigration authorities informing them of their Removal Assessment Screenings, scheduled for this week.

“We’re very concerned that the Hong Kong government is just rushing this with a view to remove them from Hong,” Mr Tibbo said, adding that his clients could be deported in a matter of weeks.

From a press conference in Montreal on Wednesday lawyer Marc-Andre Seguin and his colleagues urged the Canadian government to expedite their consideration of the Snowden asylum seekers.

“Our clients have come to illustrate the ill treatment that Hong Kong imposes to asylum seekers to their territory,” Mr Seguin said.

“For Hong Kong they are an embarrassment to be discarded, no matter the fate that awaits them in their country of origin.

“Now more than ever we need to demonstrate to the world that Canadians, and Montrealers, welcome refugees.”

Hong Kong has one of the lowest asylum seeker acceptance rates in the world – less than one per cent since 1992.

Many asylum seekers in the territory often wait years for processing and rely on welfare as they’re not permitted to work.

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Govt won’t step in to save Hazelwood: PM

Malcolm Turnbull insists his government won’t be stepping in to stop the imminent closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood power station.

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The prime minister says there is enough unused capacity in the electricity generation system to cover the looming gap.

“We are not going to step in to acquire or subside the Hazelwood power station,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell on Friday.

Mr Turnbull was responding to a call by his predecessor to keep open the nation’s oldest coal-fired generator.

Tony Abbott says the last thing Australia should be doing is closing a utility that supports base load power.

Until cost effective and reliable alternative energy supplies, such as pumped hydro were assured, closing Hazelwood was an avoidable folly, Mr Abbott said.

The prime minister said the decision to close Hazelwood was a commercial one taken by its owner, French-owned company Engie Australia.

“It has been slated for closure for many, many years,” Mr Turnbull earlier told reporters in Canberra.

The cost of making it safe and paying for long-deferred maintenance ran into “many millions of dollars”.

Mr Turnbull said the Australian Energy Market Operator had advised that the closure of Hazelwood would not reduce the security of the system.

“In other words, it won’t make the risk of blackouts greater because there are other power generation resources available in Victoria and the national electricity market.”

Mr Abbott was not reassured: “Because the regulator wasn’t able to keep the lights on in South Australia.”

“The regulator wasn’t able to prevent a blackout which did very serious damage and potentially fatal damage to the Portland aluminium smelter,” he told ABC radio.

The Australian Industry Group agrees governments should remain open to keeping Hazelwood operating in some form.

“We appreciate that this would be a major and costly step,” chief executive Innes Willox said.

“We need urgent action, and all options should be on the table.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison blamed the “mindless ideology” of the Labor Party for the Hazelwood closure.

“They cheered on the closure of coal-fired power stations.”

Engie CEO Alex Keisser says there have been no conversations about a possible Victorian or federal government bailout.

It would be a “very expensive solution” and suggested the focus should instead be on job opportunities for redundant staff.

“They would need, firstly, a lot of money and, secondly, we would need to act very quickly because we need $150 million just to do the work needed by July to keep the plant safe,” Mr Keisser told ABC radio.

Labor described Mr Abbott’s intervention as a five-seconds-to-midnight moment.

“It is clearly and deliberately calculated to damage the prime minister, rather than being a constructive contribution to the literacy policy,” opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler told reporters.

“What we have in the middle of a very serious national energy crisis is a government utterly paralysed by ideology and the ongoing civil war between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.”