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Conservative forces push to frustrate same-sex marriage legislation

Senator Louise Pratt joined the Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire to sing outside Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 16 August 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares MPs in favour of same-sex marriage reform are bracing for “a blizzard of amendments”, or a rival bill, from Christian conservatives intent on delaying the legalisation until they have all the safeguards for religious freedom they deem necessary.
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Conservatives believe the Parliament should ensure businessess and individuals who refuse services to same-sex couples on religious grounds are not exposed to adverse legal consequences under any change to the Marriage Act.

The looming progressive versus conservative battle is the next headache for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was criticised for ordering the $122 million protracted postal poll, while reassuring voters their verdict would be respected if they backed change by Parliament expediting the matter before Christmas.

With the n Bureau of Statistics reporting that nearly eight in 10 ns returned their forms, pessimistic “no” campaigners have confirmed they will insist on major changes to the way same-sex marriage is introduced if the “yes” vote gets up – as expected – when results are announced next Wednesday.

At present the only proposed same-sex marriage legislation on the table is the private member’s bill drafted by Liberal senator Dean Smith. This bill has been through the committee process and is ready to go.

But prominent conservative “no” MPs say this bill fails to provide sufficient religious exemptions for businesses, individuals and schools, and that it does not guarantee freedom of speech to conscientious objectors.

“In the event of ‘yes’ vote, the Dean Smith bill is an insufficient basis to start the conversation,” conservative Liberal senator Eric Abetz told Fairfax Media.

“While it would be desirable to have the matter resolved by Christmas, it is an artificial deadline in relation to this matter.

“It’s more important to get this right, rather than rushed.”

One MP said the Dean Smith bill was “exceptionally narrow”, and conservative sources confirmed a rival bill is being drafted by a group of right-wing MPs.

Mr Turnbull has pledged that in the event of a “yes” result, the government would “facilitate” the passage of a private members’ bill but has not said which one.

There are only two parliamentary sitting weeks left this year in which to legislate gay marriage.

Former Abbott government minister Kevin Andrews has argued Senator Smith’s proposed legislation is silent on crucial protections.

“The Dean Smith bill has virtually no protection for religion and belief in its terms,” he said.

“It’s very narrow, it doesn’t even apply to all marriage celebrants, and it only applies to the wedding ceremony itself.”

Education Minister Simon Birmingham on Thursday issued a clear warning to conservatives angling to take control of the parliamentary process.

“It would be illogical and inconsistent with past practice for those who oppose change who seek to be the authors of a bill for that change,” he said.

Pro-gay marriage LNP MP Warren Entsch said the Dean Smith bill had already been scrutinised and should be introduced without delay if the “yes” vote was successful.

If conservative MPs wanted to amend it, they could “test the numbers on the floor of the house”.

“Let’s do what we’re paid to do. Let’s put the bloody legislation through without any further delay,” Mr Entsch said.

“I am confident the vote will go through in the last few weeks. It has to, it has to. I will not go into Christmas without it. There have been commitments made.”

Another pro-change MP told Fairfax Media it would be “a bit rich” if the people who have campaigned furiously against the change, “decisively lost the argument with voters, but still expected to write the bill”.

Progressives also complain that the “no” case focused on “everything but same-sex-marriage” during the postal survey campaign period and, having seen their arguments rejected by voters, unreasonably demand that the Parliament take up the cause.

n Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi has linked the upcoming parliamentary debate to the dual citizenship crisis, saying instead of waving through the change, the Parliament should be prorogued.

“I don’t want to lose it with people in the Parliament who shouldn’t be there,” he said, as more MPs suspected of dual citizenship emerged on Thursday.

But in the wake of what is tipped to be strong public support, conservatives trying to drag debate into 2018 will have their own factional leaders to contend with, as well as the bulk of Coalition MPs who have promised to respect the postal survey outcome.

Senior ministers including prominent social conservatives like Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, Treasurer Scott Morrison, and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, have told colleagues they want the marriage law settled by the Parliament this year.

They believe any manoeuvres seen as creating unnecessary delays following a decisive public vote for change would leave ns feeling cheated.

Mr Dutton and Senator Cormann, key members of Mr Turnbull’s Praetorian Guard, also believe the same-sex marriage issue has dogged the government for long enough, causing disproportionate damage to party room unity, and attracting more attention than it is worth.

Along with Mr Morrison, they are expected to use their influence within the party’s right wing to ensure the change is enacted before Christmas.

17/12/2018 0

Why Postecoglou should fear playoff venue

If the Hondurans have it their way on Friday, they could spend the evening dancing on a grave.
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The apprehension of n fans over the venue for the away leg of the World Cup play-off against Honduras appears well-founded: the Socceroos are walking into a stadium locals have proudly christened “La Tumba”, or “The Tomb”, thanks to its reputation as the final resting place for the ambitions of a string of visiting overseas coaches.

While the warm and welcoming people of San Pedro Sula have struggled to change negative perceptions of their city, the intimidating reputation of Estadio Olimpico is one they revel in. They go to great lengths to accommodate foreigners but proudly boast their stadium will chew up visiting teams and spit out their coaches.

The heat, humidity, passionate fans and hostile atmosphere make La Tumba one of the most difficult places to play in international football. In the short time it has been the permanent home of Honduras, four coaches have been sacked directly after defeats at the Estadio Olimpico.

The first casualty was Rene Simoes after Jamaica lost there to Honduras in 2008. Sven Goran Eriksson’s tenure with Mexico came at an abrupt end in San Pedro Sula, while Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart was twice sacked at the venue, once with Canada and another with his native country. Indirectly, they also claim responsibility for last month’s sacking of Bruce Arena from USA after Honduras eliminated the Americans by beating Mexico at the Olimpico.

It wasn’t until the qualification process for the 2010 World Cup that the venue was discussed as a primary base for the Honduran national team. At the start of that campaign, newly-appointed Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda asked his players to choose their permanent home venue. According to Diego Paz, editor of Diez, Honduras’ daily sports newspaper, those players changed the fate of the national team.

“Most of the players are from the north side of the country. That’s where the best players are born, maybe more than half the players in the national league are from this side,” he said. “They could get a climate advantage and the players wanted to play close to their people, their family and their friends.”

A team dominated by the minorities of the north refused to play in the capital, Tegucigalpa. The football-specific Estadio Morazan in San Pedro Sula was ruled out, deemed too exclusive with its capacity of just 18,000 and potentially unsafe. The choice of Estadio Olimpico, the 40,000-seater athletics venue built for the 1997 Central American Games, was not well received by all.

Graveyard: Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto celebrates after Honduras’ 3-2 victory over Mexico last month, which eliminated the USA and led to the sacking of their coach, Bruce Arena.

Resting at the foot of the Sierra Merendon mountain ranges, the Estadio Olimpico sits in a natural catchment of rain and humidity. Combined with the searing tropical heat, the south of the city makes for a nightmare venue for any elite athletes. With limited shade and shelter, it wasn’t initially popular with the fans either, but that soon changed.

“People started liking it because of the results they were getting,” Paz said.

Two years later, Honduras qualified for their first World Cup in 28 years and just the second in the country’s history. A national holiday was declared on October 15, 2009, the day after they beat arch rivals El Salvador to qualify for South Africa. The party continued four years later when Honduras reached the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, making it two from two since moving to the Olimpico.

The stadium was decorated in the team’s colours, while a designer noticed the structure at the entrance formed a giant “H” and painted it blue. It was during that period of Honduran regional dominance when the heads began to roll.

“They started calling it the home of the national team and then ‘La Tumba de los tecnicos’ – ‘The Tomb of the Coaches’,” Paz said.

The success of Honduras was not measured just by World Cup appearances but also by the scalps of coaches sacked by their own federations after failures in San Pedro Sula.

Much of that had to do with the local fans. Some Hondurans say that football has given the country its deepest pain as well as its greatest joy. Considering a football game started a war with El Salvador, it is not much of an exaggeration.

But in the Estadio Olimpico the people began to feel an ownership of their national team and stadium. When it’s not used by Honduras, it’s open to the public specifically for community and youth programs. It has connected the team with its people, and in San Pedro Sula football takes an importance above nearly everything.

“Right now, we have national elections in 19 days and nobody is speaking about who is going to be the next president, they’re talking about who is qualifying for Russia 2018,” Paz said. “It makes you feel proud of what you are, what you represent – being Honduran. We want to see our five-star flag in Russia.”

The “house full” sign for the match against the Socceroos officially went up on Tuesday, yet scalpers continue to flood the streets of San Pedro Sula waving tickets at motorists. When on sale via legal outlets, the cheapest seats were sold for around $26 – a quarter of the weekly wage of the average Honduran. That price soared on the black market.

After sacrificing so much, the normally generous and hospitable Hondurans break character for 90 minutes inside the stadium.

Intimidating: Police use shields to protect Panamanian Abdiel Arroyo from missiles thrown from the stands as he leaves the field at the Estadio Olimpico.

“I’ve seen like 25 cups of beer rain down on our guys when they’re trying to take a corner. God bless the running track,” USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan told The Players’ Tribune.

“The fans could look right down into our locker room from street level. The next thing we knew, people were kicking through the windows and trying to throw stuff down at us. It was pandemonium, but I have to say, it was also a pretty great adrenaline rush.”

A lack of faith in their current coach, Jose Luis Pinto, and concerns over a rare long-haul trip to have sown doubt in the minds of many fans over Honduras’ chances of making it to Russia. But the locals’ confidence in La Tumbaand its daunting reputation is undiminished.

“It’s very difficult,” Honduras most decorated player, David Suazo, said about the play-off against . “But what I do know is that Honduras has to be respected in San Pedro Sula.”

A concrete stadium will vibrate as nearly 40,000 jump in unison. The noise of the drums, horns, whistles and chants make a wall of sound aided by a steep-tiered bowl. The Socceroos will dodge coins, lighters, and cups from their arrival to their departure. Local fans will be hanging from the fences, climbing light towers, painted, masked, waving flags, banners and even lighting fireworks. All the while, the groundsmen will be building another crypt in the tomb.

“You better watch out for your national coach, because he’s not having a good time right now,” Paz said.

For all the speculation surrounding Ange Postecoglou’s future as Socceroos coach, the Hondurans have good reason to believe that La Tumbamight well take the decision out of his hands.

17/12/2018 0

Strong postal vote outcome the key to social and political support

For critics of the government’s constitutionally pointless marriage poll, the time has come to “flag down a black cab and head for Real Street”, as Red Dwarf’s Dave Lister would say.
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Time for progressives – if not the LGBTI community, which must speak for itself – to pop a prophylactic Quick-Eze and prepare to eat Humble Pie.

Time to give Malcolm Turnbull, George Brandis, and yes, even Peter Dutton, their due credit.

From its comical inception, the Coalition’s ungainly “snail-mail” survey championed amazingly by the ultra-conservative Dutton, was the butt of derisive humour.

Transparently self-serving, it seemed like just another hurdle, just another can-kicking exercise, risible and beneath contempt.

Once green-lighted, after a desperate High Court challenge, it provoked the gravest warnings.

It would license a hideous public discourse, applying an unfair society-wide judgment on individual identity – a cold-hearted metric devised exclusively to devalue same-sex attracted relationships.

Zero weight was given to any affirmation arising from the major party leaders backing the change, let alone that flowing from a likely victory.

And in all the indignation, it was completely lost that marriage is by definition quintessentially a social construct. The broader the social engagement in its modernisation, the greater its validity once so broadened.

Politically this has been excruciating.

There’s no denying the Prime Minister lost paint in middle by embracing an ostensibly “ridiculous” process. But neither can one ignore the realpolitik. Bluntly, Turnbull saw no realistic alternative if he was to drag his party into the 21st century.

Wisely, equality advocates chose to participate strongly, even as some within favoured a boycott. The temptation was to limit its turn-out to below 35 per cent and then argue its result was meaningless.

Hardheads decided to go for broke. They knew that drumming up the vote was also drumming up the survey’s credibility, thus validating the Coalition.

But the bigger principle was worth protecting.

Ironically, the greatest advantage now, assuming a strong public endorsement, is the legitimacy of any question that has been so publicly and extensively litigated.

Indeed, the greatest asset the “yes” case has ahead of the parliamentary vote is that clear public endorsement.

Denial would be betrayal on a colossal scale.

In practical terms, the survey has given Coalition MPs the cover they need to ignore their recalcitrant base and vote squarely for social justice. More than that, it brings a moral and democratic obligation.

17/12/2018 0

INXS house at Cottage Point up for grabs

At Cottage Point, INXS House – built by the former owner and INXS rock star Andrew Farriss – is for sale for between $6.8 million and $7.4 million.
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Farriss commissioned acclaimed architect Luigi Rosselli to design the striking waterfront residence after he bought the property in 1988 for $510,000.

Completed in 1991, Farriss sold it in 1996 for $1.715 million to retired CSR executive Peter Bowen and his wife Julianne, and the Bowens onsold it in 1999 for $2.3 million to pharma-biotech company EDB Group director Stephen Ell.

Ell has listed it with McGrath’s Michael Coombs. Acclaimed architect Luigi Rosselli designed the home. Photo: Supplied

Meanwhile the former manager of INXS Gary Grant and his partner, actor and ceramicist Joy Smithers, scored a bullish $1.3 million for their Botany home before this week’s scheduled auction through George Faris, of The Sydney Property Agency.

Records show the couple have bought another home with “redevelopment potential” on nearby William Street for $1.54 million. Tamarama record to be wreckedCraig and Kate Smith have spent $12.5 million on this Tamarama home. Photo: Supplied

Travelogic founder Craig Smith and his wife Kate have bought a $12.5 million knock-down-rebuild at Tamarama. Related: No mansions bought by foreigners this yearRelated: Mad Max actor cashes in on $1.3m saleRelated: Lowy buys beachfront neighbour for $14.2m

The purchase through McGrath’s Simon Exleton set a suburb high when it exchanged in July – topping the $11 million high of 2008 set by Built chairman Marco Rossi and his partner Stephanie Stokes – but that record won’t hold long. The property purchase has set a suburb record, but that record may not last long. Photo: Supplied

Fashion-industry veteran Robby Ingham and his wife Sarah are expected to pocket close to $13 million when DJ Annie Conley takes possession of their recently sold beachfront reserve residence later this year.

Meanwhile, given the rebuild plans for the Smith’s new home – which last traded in 1991 for $640,000 – they are expected to remain in their Bronte home. For now. White House deal sewn upThis Paddington landmark was bought by plastic surgeon Darryl Hodgkinson and his wife Katherine. Photo: Katherine Lu

Thanks to a caveat lodged on title this week, plastic surgeon Darryl Hodgkinson and his wife Katherine are revealed as the $5.3 million buyers of the Paddington home of radio presenter Phillip Adams.

Known as the White House in its latest campaign by Louisa Jackson of Langulin, the sale makes the Hodgkinsons the third owners of the home built in 1987 for adman John Nankervis. Hodgkinson and his wife Katherine paid $5.3 million for the property. Photo: Katherine Lu

The Hodgkinsons are best known for their $10 million sale a year ago of the Queen Anne property, Newstead, in Darling Point to the National Breast Cancer Foundation chief Professor Sarah Hosking.

Adams paid $960,000 for the Peter Stronach-designed residence with George Freedman interiors in 1990. Beauty pays off handsomelyIrene Falcone is looking to sell her Balgowlah Heights digs. Photo: James Brickwood

Irene Falcone and her husband police Senior Sergeant Tim Fairservice have done well from the natural beauty game in recent years, and have stepped up their real estate portfolio accordingly.

Falcone founded her online retailer Nourished Life in 2012 with $100 and has grown it into a company with an annual revenue of more than $20 million. Falcone and her husband police Senior Sergeant Tim Fairservice bought the property only last year. Photo: Supplied

Cue the sale of the Balgowlah Heights home they bought last year for $2.45 million to up-grade to a $7.1 million Clontarf house.

An auction on November 25 has been set for the couple’s former home in Balgowlah Heights through Kingsley Looker of Clarke & Humel. Mulhams on move from VaucluseClare and David Mulham are selling their Vaucluse residence through Sotheby’s International. Photo: Supplied

Expect to pay double digits for the Vaucluse home of David and Clare Mulham, of the Rich List Roche family.

A marketing campaign was kicked off this week by James McCowan and Michael Pallier of Sotheby’s International and reveals a renovation of recent years with Morrocan and African influences since the daughter of Bill and Imelda Roche bought it in 2008 for $9.6 million. Morrocan and African influences can be observed throughout the property. Photo: Supplied

The Coolong Road residence was previously owned by Ailsa and Patrick Crammond, managing director of Southern Cross Financial Advisers, who bought it in 1998 for $2.525 million from international arbitration lawyer Doug Jones, AO.

The listing coincides with talk from Bondi the couple are heading to the beach.

Still with the who’s who to the property’s paper trail, Jones bought the 880 square metre property in 1993 for $1.4 million from royal blueblood, the Hon John Dawson-Damer, who was selling up to move to the $6.15 million Rose Bay mansion he bought from Perth property tycoon John Bond. Paddington weekender soldJames Allsop AO has pocketed $2.235 million for his Paddington terrace. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Chief Justice of the Federal Court James Allsop, OA, has sold his Paddington terrace for $2.235 million.

Records show Di Grundy, of Bresic Whitney, had a $2.1 million bottom line when it was listed last month, raising the guide shortly before it sold.

The Underwood Street terrace was a weekender of sorts for the Melbourne-based legal luminary, who bought it three years ago for $1.48 million from Anne McWilliam, of the McWilliam wine family. Bondi pad listedDarryl Harford has listed his Bondi penthouse for $3.6 million. Photo: Supplied

Ipac Securities co-founder Darryl Harford, calls Tuscany home nowadays, prompting the sale of his Bondi penthouse for $3.6 million.

The three-bedroom house on oceanfront reserve was bought by in 1999 for $890,000 from Powerbox managing director Marc Rutty and his wife Helen, granddaughter of Sir Sydney Snow.

Goodyer Real Estate’s Rosalia Marasco has set a December 5 auction.

18/05/2019 0

Labor MP Justine Keay concedes High Court referral is ‘probably the only step’

A Labor politician embroiled in the national citizenship crisis has released documents in an effort to clear her name, but concedes being referred to the High Court may be “the only step” left to resolve the uncertainty.
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There have been doubts about the eligibility of Justine Keay, the Labor MP for the Tasmanian seat of Braddon, for several weeks but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull upped the ante on Wednesday by suggesting she may have to resign.

Ms Keay, who was a British citizen on the night of the election, is relying on the steps she took to renounce her dual citizenship to make her eligible for Parliament.

Labor MP Justine Keay during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

In February 2016, the Labor Party’s legal division notified Ms Keay of the required steps to be eligible as a candidate – but it was not until the election was called in May she began the renunciation process.

The emotional MP teared-up when explaining why it took three months to renounce her British connection.

“I delayed it – it’s one of those things with the citizenship I knew I could never get it back,” she said.

“If I don’t get elected I can’t get my citizenship back and for me, it was a very personal thing.

“I try not to be upset about it but – it was that last tangible connection with my dad.”

She acknowledged the renunciation could have been done earlier, and the delay had created the cloud hanging over her head.

The date of Ms Keay’s renunciation took effect from July 11 – more than a week after the July 2 federal election, and well past the June 9 deadline by which candidates must declare to electoral authorities they are not dual citizens.

Despite taking steps to renounce her citizenship prior to the election, Ms Keay’s political opponents have seized on the confirmation she was British on election night.

“What’s frustrating is I have done everything possible and I have taken the constitutional requirements that I have very very seriously – you’ve got people like Barnaby Joyce and like Stephen Parry, possible Jacqui Lambie who have not even asked the question,” she said.

After the resignation of Mr Parry last week Ms Keay again sought legal advice about her own situation.

On Wednesday, Ray Finkelstein QC and Susan Gory advised she was eligible to sit as a member of the House of Representatives.

Ms Keay said there was no reason for her case to be tested in the High Court – but acknowledged it may be the only way to determine her fate.

“I would be incredibly confident of getting through that process,” she said.

“Part of me sort of thinks – that probably is the only step to really put an end to all this and completely clarify it.”

She was cautious about using the nation’s highest court as a testing ground and instead hoped universal disclosure in Parliament would finalise the fiasco.

“For me to go to the High Court and say, can you just test my case, but I have no grounds for you do so, is pretty stupid,” she said.

“Should the government decide to act in a partisan way and do that, that’s for them to determine.

“If they want to try to take out me on the way through their crisis – so be it, I’ll deal with that.”

Mr Turnbull on Thursday threatened to break with longstanding precedent and use the government’s slim majority to refer any Labor MPs under a citizenship cloud to the High Court.

The Coalition has until now staunchly insisted that any High Court referrals must be made by an MP’s own party, as part of a bid to prevent an outbreak of partisan referrals.

The government believes three Labor MPs – Ms Keay, Susan Lamb and Josh Wilson – have questions to answer about their citizenship status at the time of the 2016 election.

Each considered at threat because they had not received confirmation of their renunciation until after they nominated as candidates in June last year.

Lower house crossbencher Rebekha Sharkie is also believed to be in a similar situation.

– The Examiner

18/05/2019 0

[email protected]: ASX set to finish week on dour note

The information of stocks that lost in prices are displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg MARKETS. 7 JUNE 2011. AFR PIC BY PETER BRAIG. STOCK EXCHANGE, SYDNEY, STOCKS. GENERIC PIC. ASX. STOCKMARKET. MARKET.
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Stock information is displayed on an electronic board inside the n Securities Exchange, operated by ASX Ltd., in Sydney, , on Friday, July 24, 2015. The n dollar slumped last week as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, aggravating the impact of declines in copper and iron ore prices. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

Finally some signs of life in the market. At a certain point, low volatility becomes more burden than boon as there is no return for taking on the risk normally associated with navigating the market. That said, global equities steered lower through Thursday’s session with a measurable escalation of intensity through the US session – quite the contrast to the tepid celebration of Dow’s and company’s climb on the one year anniversary of the US election. Whether short-term trader or long-term investor, seeing the VIX Volatility Index rise back above 10 should be a welcome development. This popular ‘fear’ measure has closed below 10 on 42 different occasions this year. For context, it has only dropped below that low extreme 9 other times in its history and then only during holiday conditions. When there is an assumption of no return, no enthusiasm and no consequence; something is wrong. The long and short of it

1. Wall Street: Following the course of retreat carved out by the Nikkei 225, DAX and FTSE 100 before it, US equity indexes opened Thursday with a gap down. In fact, the S&P 500 posted its fifth largest bearish gap on the open for the year. In turn, that index would further stretch through its low to hit the support on a channel that has served as the most recent, two-month stretch of its bullish run. Yet, before bears grow too confident and disengaged bulls pull the plug in a panic, we have yet to see any meaningful breaks. There are still only 4 days over the past 12 month period that have registered a more-than 1 percent daily decline – one of the most inactive yet bullish periods on record. All rides come to an end, but that doesn’t mean it has to be today.

2. US Tax Policy: The US share markets got a jolt on initial US news of a corporate tax delay. A report surfaced overnight that Senate tax writers are proposing delaying a US corporate tax cut until 2019. The US S&P 500 fell with a specific emphasis on technology shares leading to the largest drop in 2-months. The move lower in equities on the priced to perfection market that we touched on yesterday potentially unravelling saw US Treasuries run higher while the US Dollar dropped.

Recently, investors heard optimism from US corporations in their quarterly earnings report on the potential income boosts from tax reform so pushing out the tax cuts is not something the market wanted to see. US President Trump recently expressed confidence in a tax plan being released by US Thanksgiving (November 23), but it appears that a holiday miracle is not in store this year and stocks may take this dose of political reality as a reason to sell and take profits. The major US markets of the Dow, SPX500, and NASDAQ are up 18.6%, 15.15%, and 25.1% respectively, so it remains too early to get negative despite the largest drop for the latter two markets since late August.

3. ASX: The four-day streak higher for AS51 shares will have to earn its fifth straight rise. At the open, the 6,000 level is expected to hold, but the overnight leads show the ASX 200 down 33 points to 6010 with an overnight fair value low of 6000. Yesterday’s close brought the index to a 52-week high with the 0.55% gain or +33.16 points to 6049.43. Internally, the AS51 was supported by real estate and IT leading the charge higher and only energy acting as a laggard. BHP looks set to open slightly lower with Vale’s US-listing following suit.

The most impressive global equity move overnight was difficult to spot if you only looked at closing prices. After trading at the highest level since 1992, the Nikkei fell 3.5%, and a clear catalyst was absent. Over the last two months, the Nikkei has been a bull market benchmark and was 2% higher in the session before the sudden drop and close at -0.2%. Naturally, traders will wonder if this will kick off further warning signs of valuations, but the positive data trends on a global level make this unlikely for now. Any aftershocks could make it difficult for the ASX 200 to hold above 6,000 for long.

4. Looking ahead: There is relatively little on the global economic docket to leverage any serious promise of forging a new trend from the languid capital markets. However, the tide will rise again starting next week. Looking out past the weekend there is a range of events and data that can spur sentiment and rate speculation. However, the most prominent theme has to be the wave of scheduled speeches by members of the largest central banks. In particular, all traders should keep an eye on the panel at the ECB Conference Tuesday that will have Fed Chair Yellen, ECB President Draghi, BoE Governor Carney and BoJ Governor Kuroda in attendance. Messing with the calibration of global stimulus growth can be seriour threat to the low-yield market advance we’ve experienced. Recognition that this firefighters are out of water should another financial crisis flare up could be even more problematic.

5. Bitcoin volatility remains, trend sidelined: News yesterday that Bitcoin would avoid the Segwit2x hard fork was hailed as a win for normalcy in the fledgling cryptocurrency market???but that hasn’t translated into lift to the high-flying asset. It has been the standard case that status quo is used as fuel to sustain and even accelerate trends (Chinese growth, European elections) while unquantifiable change cuts them short (Brexit). That isn’t the case here. Following the temporary setbacks with events like the one that created Bitcoin Cash, it seemed there was an interest in seeing this change go through as some form of ‘dividend’ event. It’s failure was therefore met with disappointment. Bulls shouldn’t fear though as the CBOE’s and CME’s push to introduce regulated futures and ETF products based on Bitcoin will bolster the market’s legitimacy. The question then becomes: is this as attractive a market to traders if it is in the world of ‘normal’ markets?

6. The n Dollar: Aussie Dollar continues to oscillate but is becoming more attractive to bargain hunters. Despite the low volatility, traders can look to the options market to see the AUD/USD one-year risk-reversal has recently touched a nine-year high on the session showing that traders do not want to pay for out of the money downside protection too aggressively. While the AU-US sovereign bill spread continues to tighten with the 3-month bill narrowing within 50bps and longer out on the curve, there remains a fear that a steadily hiking US Federal Reserve will erase the longer-term AU debt yield premium.

After a 5% drop from the September high, AUD/USD is seen as resilient despite the low volatility. Traders should not forget the seasonal factors at play though that has seen the AUD fall in 7 of the last 10 Decembers while 1-month implied volatility has ended the month of November higher in each November in the last four years. Caveat emptor.

7. Commodities: The promise for new trends in commodities has been intense at certain points, this past week, but conviction seems as elusive here as it has been in the financial markets. US-based WTI crude had every opportunity to turn the corner on its year of congression following last week’s break above $55 and the strong follow through effort Monday, but the move has since proven spent. The initial charge had dubious connections to US inventory figures or OPEC headlines, so scrambling for support in these venues now would likely come up short. Meanwhile, gold’s more modest break above $1,285 has inspired no such flush of initial volatility, so the slow turn in a wide wedge makes no promise of quick profits. Inflation, risk or anti-currency – gold doesn’t rise for free.

8. Market watch:

SPI futures -0.5%, down 31 points, to 6049.5 points

AUD +0.04% to US76.83??

On Wall St: Dow Jones -0.6%, S&P 500 -0.7%, Nasdaq -1%

In Europe: Stoxx 50 -1.2%, FTSE 100 – 0.6%, CAC 40 -1.2%, DAX -1.5%

Spot gold +0.4% to $US1286.75 an ounce

Brent crude +0.8% to $US63.97 a barrel

Iron ore +0.1% to $US62.32 a tonne

LME aluminium -0.8% to $US2,093 a tonne

LME copper -0.7% to $US6,808 a tonne

This column was produced in commercial partnership between Fairfax Media and IG

18/05/2019 0

Neil Diamond’s golden anniversary tour comes to China

The 1960s was a good decade in the life of Neil Diamond, who was 25when he released his debut albumThe Feel of Neil Diamondin 1966.
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By the end of the decade, Diamond, who will bring his 50th anniversary tour to next March and April, had released three more albums and numerous songs that would stand the test of time.

Neil Diamond. Photo: Micah Diamond

Solitary Man,Sweet Caroline,ShiloandHoly Holywere among thesongs that would establish Neil Diamondas a star on the rise, whileCracklin’ Rosie,Kentucky WomanandSong Sung Bluewould deliver on the promise of more to come.

As the ’70s unfolded and Diamond became a star on stage as well as one of the biggest recording artists in the world, hisYou Don’t Bring Me Flowersduet with Barbara Streisand,DesireeandLove Onthe Rockspropelled him even higher in the entertainment universe.

Fifty-two years since his debut album, Diamond’s hugely successful anniversary tour will play nine n dates, including Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on March 27 and Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on April 3. His outdoor shows will include Sutton Grange Winery, near Castlemaine, on March 31, and the Hunter Valley’s Roche Estate on April 7. The 76-year-old will alsoperformin Brisbane, Townsville, Adelaide and Perth.

In more recent years Diamond’s star was officially recognised on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and he performed to a crowd of more than100,0000 at the Glastonbury Festival. Over his long career he has sold 130 million albums.

Tickets goon sale from 2pm on Thursday, November16.

For more information, head here. Ticket pre-sales from telstra苏州夜总会招聘/neildiamond open at 2pm on Tuesday, November 14.

The NZ- tour itineraryCHRISTCHURCH– Tuesday, March 15, at AMI StadiumNAPIER – Tuesday, March 17, at Mission EstateTOWNSVILLE – Tuesday, March 20, at 1300 Smiles StadiumSUNSHINE COAST – Thursday, March 22, at Sunshine Coast StadiumBRISBANE – Saturday, March 24, at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre,SYDNEY – Tuesday, March 27, at Qudos Bank ArenaVICTORIA – Saturday, March 31, at Sutton Grange WineryMELBOURNE – Tuesday, April 3, at Rod Laver ArenaHUNTER VALLEY – Saturday, April 7, at Roche EstateADELAIDE – Wednesday, April 11, at Botanic ParkPERTH – Saturday, April 14, at Sandalford Estate, Swan Valley

18/05/2019 0

Jockey who punched horse is suspended and apologetic

CAUGHT: Jockey Dylan Caboche was caught punching his mount She’s Reneldasgirl at Port Lincoln on Wednesday. Vision courtesy: Seven NewsAn apprentice jockey who was suspended for punching a horse at Port Lincoln on Wednesday has apologised for his actions.
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Jockey Dylan Cabochewas suspended for two weeks by Thoroughbred Racing SA stewards after he was seen punching his mount She’s Reneldasgirl prior to the running of the third race of the day.

On Thursday Mr Caboche said “I want to genuinely, sincerely and unreservedly apologise to everyone for my actions yesterday.”

“My apology goes to the horse’s connections, my fellow jockeys here in SA and nationally, Thoroughbred Racing SA, the racing public and to the wider community.

Mr Caboche said any explanation could not condone what he did and no matter how difficult his mount was, he could not justify his actions.

Mr Caboche’s employer, Morphettville based trainer Ryan Balfour, supported the jockey and said the incident was “out of character”.

“Dylan has had 1500 race rides and would have ridden many thousands of track gallops for me,” he said.

“All I have ever seen from Dylan is that he has complete respect and a genuine affection for the horses he works with.”

Despite this n Jockeys Association chairman Des O’Keeffe said he would recommend to his directors for a Code of Conduct hearing to look into what occurred.

“We have close to 200,000 starters annually in and an incident like this may occur once a year, but that is once too often,” he said.

“I understand Dylan is a young man with until now an impeccable record in this areabut we need to make it clear that incidents such as yesterday’s will not be condoned.”

In a statement on Wednesday, a Thoroughbred Racing SA spokesperson said the two-week penalty should send a message that this behaviour was not acceptable and the association would not condone or tolerate such behaviour.

The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses believes the penalty is not strong enough and has called for the jockey to be banned for life.

Coalition communications manager Ward Young said if jockeys could not control their tempers, they should not be on the racetrack.

“If this is what we see on race day, we can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes,” he said.

“No wonder horse racing is falling out of favour with the general public when grossly inadequate punishments are dished out for animal abuse.”

Caboche’s penalty begins at midnight on November 17 and is entitled to an appeal.

Port Lincoln Times

18/04/2019 0

Second woman accuses Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick of rape

A second woman has come forward to claim actor Ed Westwick raped her in similar circumstances to the incident alleged by actor Kristina Cohen.
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Former actor Aur??lie Wynn posted on Facebook on Thursday that she was pinned down and raped by Westwick at a home he was renting in Los Angeles in the early hours of one morning in July 2014.

In response, Westwick tweeted on Friday morning that he had “absolutely not” raped anyone and would be working with authorities to clear his name.

“It is disheartening and sad to me that as a result of two unverified and provably untrue social media claims, there are some in this environment who could ever conclude I have had anything to do with such vile and horrific conduct,” he wrote.

Wynn said she left the acting industry after her encounter with Westwick and she was speaking up to reinforce Cohen’s allegations.

She said she was invited to his house by a friend who was dating his roommate, a cast member on Glee.

“We all hung out until 5am, sun was starting to rise since it was summer so we all decided to get a few hours of shut eye since we all had events and things to do the next day and there are plenty of bedrooms,” she wrote.

“And like Kristina, I said no and he pushed me face down and was powerless under his weight. I was wearing a one piece bathing suit that he ripped, I was in complete shock, I am also very tiny.

“When it was over I got my cellphone and found that the girl that had invited me had left or got kicked out. I had terrible service in the estate without access to the wifi and had to get another friend to get me an Uber out of there while Ed was passed out. The house is so big I took a video of my experience getting out of the house since it’s literally a maze.”

She said that, at the time, she was seeing Glee star Mark Salling, who has since been convicted of child pornography offences. She alleged that Salling pretended not to know Westwick, “then blamed me for it and broke it off with me”. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook苏州夜场招聘/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.11’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

In July 2014, I went through a very similar ordeal with Ed Westwick, I was ubered by Ed to the Glendower Estates where…Posted by Aur??lie Wynn on Wednesday, 8 November 2017pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/n2gIWP582P??? Ed Westwick (@EdWestwick) November 9, 2017

18/04/2019 0

Cultural Marxism – the ultimate post-factual dog whistle

The good news is that “cultural Marxism” isn’t real. The bad news is that people believe it is anyway.
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The claim that left-wing intellectuals are trying to destroy the foundations of Western society is gaining traction in .

And the worse news is this: even if the idea is factually untrue, it can still have an impact on politics.

“Cultural Marxism” is a viral falsehood used by far-right figures, conspiracy theorists, and pundits to explain many ills of the modern world.

A search of archives shows right wing columnist Andrew Bolt first mentioned it in his writing in 2002.

More recently, former Labor opposition leader Mark Latham in a column, claimed that it was a “powerful” movement “dominating” about 80 per cent of public life.

University of Melbourne international relations lecturer Daniel R McCarthy says Latham and others “are using the term rhetorically to paint opponents of their political positions in a bad light”.

“They label movements for LGBT rights as ‘Marxist’ in the hopes that this will frighten people into voting against things like gay marriage,” McCarthy says.

“This is a clever rhetorical strategy, if dishonest or, charitably, simply deeply confused.”

McCarthy makes a firm distinction between Marxist theorists originating in the 20th century and today’s concept of “cultural Marxism”.

“There are Marxists or critical social theorists who study culture,” McCarthy says. “What Latham and colleagues are talking about is entirely different.”

“Their arguments, which verge onto the terrain of conspiracy theorising, understand social movements that they do not like as part of a ‘cultural Marxist’ political strategy to first colonise the terrain of public culture prior to taking over society as a whole,” he says.

A 2003 article from the US-based Southern Poverty Law Centre described cultural Marxism as a “conspiracy theory with an anti-Semitic twist” that was then “being pushed by much of the American right”.

“In a nutshell, the theory posits that a tiny group of Jewish philosophers who fled Germany in the 1930s and set up shop at Columbia University in New York City devised an unorthodox form of ‘Marxism’ that took aim at American society’s culture, rather than its economic system,” the report states.

Unfortunately, Google trends indicate a steadily rising interest in the term in .

(Latham was emailed for comment on this article but did not reply.)

Arizona State University professor Braden Allenby says the word ‘”Marxism’ in many places is already a loaded term, so the use of ‘cultural Marxism’ sometimes is an effort to short circuit analysis or dialogue by implying that the individual or organisation so tagged is beyond the pale of rational discourse.”

“In that sense, it becomes part of warring narratives, a dog whistle to others in your community.”

With the original meaning of “cultural Marxism” lost, Allenby says, such terms “simply become higher level symbols of belonging and community”.

Allenby pioneered the study of what’s known as a weaponised narrative, a form of information attack using ideas, words and images to drive wedges into society, weakening it overall.

He believes the use of the term “cultural Marxism” indicates “that the dynamics of weaponised narrative might be at play.”

Weaponised narratives, warring narratives, and conspiracy theories pose threats to a cohesive democratic society.

Among the alt-right, for example, partisan groups used weaponised narratives during the 2016 US election that led to confusion and added to negative noise around legitimate candidate. The widely debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory promoted by trolls in the US is another example.

In 2015, anti-European Union trolls used the same techniques to influence the public’s perception of the European immigration crisis.

Weaponised narratives and conspiracy theories are effective, Allenby says, because “there is no such thing as a news cycle anymore”.

And that gives them considerable power online.

If “subgroups” can be identified, pundits using those narratives can create “news cycles for them that never rise out of that community, so they’re never responded to,” Allenby says.

“You can’t generate responses to disinformation if you don’t know the disinformation is out there, and if it’s properly managed, it stays within the ring-fenced community it is intended for … and thus is never responded to in the broader sense,” says Allenby.

“It isn’t that the wider community couldn’t respond; it’s that they never find out about it in the first place,” he said.

Like a conspiracy theory, cultural Marxism gains its power from its ability to be applied broadly to many aspects of modern life. The willingness of swaths of the public to accept such views also reflects unease over real-world issues like economic uncertainty, fears of terrorism, and anxiety with demographic change.

The nature of information and views shared on social media means even things that never happened can become a political issue if enough people agree they exist.

It’s hard to see this as good news.

Follow Chris Zappone on Facebook

18/04/2019 0

Polota-Nau signs for Leicester Tigers

Cardiff: Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has been lost from Super Rugby after signing a multi-year deal with UK Premiership side Leicester Tigers.
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The aftershocks of cutting a Super Rugby team are now being felt, with Polota-Nau deciding against playing in after his Western Force franchise was folded by Rugby (formerly n Rugby Union).

Polota-Nau, who has played 79 Tests for his country, will still be eligible to play for the Wallabies, however, given he has met the required 60-Test threshold.

The 32-year-old will be the only overseas-based player within the Wallabies squad now that Will Genia is returning to Super Rugby for a stint with the Melbourne Rebels.

Offers from a number of Super Rugby clubs clearly were not enticing enough to secure Polota-Nau’s signature which is a shame given he has been one of ‘s best forwards this year.

Polota-Nau has signed a 2??year deal with Leicester that will begin in December and he will link up with former Wallabies teammate Matt Toomua.

“I’m really looking forward to experiencing what northern hemisphere rugby is about,” Polota-Nau said in a statement. “To be privileged to do it with one of the most prestigious clubs of the English Premiership, Leicester Tigers, I believe that not only can I further my game individually, but they have the capacity to add plenty more trophies to their illustrious cabinet and history.

“I do hope that I can contribute to what I think is a very good start to their season and campaign. It will be interesting playing against some of the squad players in the November internationals but I’m very keen to switch thinking caps and get a taste of the challenges ahead.”

Just last week, before ‘s match against Japan, Polota-Nau insisted he wasn’t sure where he would end up.

“I haven’t had any offers,” Polota-Nau said. “There were some offers from overseas but I think I missed out on the window there because obviously I was hanging on to the Force announcement, which came late, so I will just have to wait and see.”

However, it is understood Polota-Nau was, in fact, offered contracts by multiple n clubs.

Although Polota-Nau will take his services to the northern hemisphere, he is still very much within Michael Cheika’s plans for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

With Stephen Moore retiring from Test rugby at the end of the month, Polota-Nau and youngster Jordan Uelese look set to be the men to lead to rugby’s next centrepiece event.

Leicester head coach Matt O’Connor, a former Wallaby and Queensland Reds co-coach, said: “Taf is a fierce player with a huge amount of experience in Super Rugby and at Test level. Now he is keen to experience rugby in the northern hemisphere and we’re delighted that he has chosen to come to Tigers. We think he will add a lot to a very competitive group of quality front-rowers here.”

18/04/2019 0

APEC summit: Turnbull announces trade agreement with Peru

Danang, Vietnam: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a new trade agreement with Peru, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, shortly after arriving at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese coastal city of Danang.
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As tensions escalate with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten over the citizenship crisis at home, Mr Turnbull turned to trade, saying he will be urging 20 other APEC member countries to embrace trade and turn their backs on protectionism.

“The region cannot close the door to the flow of goods, services, capital and ideas,” he said.

Malcolm Turnbull arrived in Vietnam for the APEC summit as the dual citizenship fiasco continues to simmer at home. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to make a speech at the summit late on Friday. It will be carefully examined for clues as to how his “America first” mantra, which has included rolling back trade deals, will guide US engagement in Pacific Rim countries.

Mr Turnbull told reporters a revival of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by 11 countries, including , would bring together economies with a collective GDP of about $10 trillion, despite Mr Trump abandoning the agreement days after taking office.

“Free trade means more jobs, more prosperity in ,” he said. “That’s why we back it so strongly.”

But talks on the TPP on the sidelines of APEC have reached a critical point with prospects for an agreement here uncertain.

“We’ve got more work to do but we are inching closer to an agreement so I remain very hopeful,” ‘s Trade Minister Steven Ciobo told reporters.

Japan has been lobbying hard for a quick agreement but Canada, New Zealand and Malaysia appear less enthusiastic to hurry.

The Peru agreement, negotiated over only five months, will generate more exports, including for farmers who have been effectively shut out of the Peru market.

It will eliminate 99 per cent of tariffs facing those that export to the country.

There will be immediate duty free access for n sheep, kangaroo meat, most wine and most horticulture products, including wheat.

Mr Ciobo said that concluding the agreement at APEC sends an important message to the world that ” embraces trade because we know it creates jobs and drives economic growth”.

“The agreement levels the playing field for Aussie farmers,” he said, adding that beef farmers will have tariff-free access within five years, putting them on a par with US beef farmers.

Peru’s GDP is similar to that of Vietnam and its population is similar to Malaysia.

Arriving in Danang, reporters asked Mr Turnbull if he will try to wrestle to the ground some kind of agreement with Mr Shorten over the citizenship crisis while on a five-day trip to Vietnam, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

“Well, multi-tasking is the occupational objective of prime ministers,” he said.

Mr Shorten has sought an agreement from Mr Turnbull that there should be no partisan referrals of MPs to the High Court.

“I will be very clear about this – we will refer to the High Court anybody, whether they are on the government side, the Labor side or the crossbenches, if there are substantial grounds to believe they are not in compliance with the Constitution,” Mr Turnbull said.

“To ask me to do anything else is quite unworthy.”

18/04/2019 0

Paul Mercurio recalls Strictly Ballroom through stills

Film stills from the exhibition Starstruck: n Movie Portraits at the National Portrait GalleryCandy – Abbie Cornish as Candy and Heath Ledger as Dan on the Gravitron by Hugh HartshorneSupplied to Garry Maddox for his story My Brilliant Career – Sam Neill and Judy Davis on set with Director Gillian Armstrong by David KynochFilm stills from the exhibition Starstruck: n Movie Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery
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.Film stills from the exhibition Starstruck: n Movie Portraits at the National Portrait GalleryDead Calm – Nicole Kidman as Rae Ingram holding a spear gun by Jim Sheldon

.Film stills from the exhibition Starstruck: n Movie Portraits at the National Portrait GalleryMuriel’s Wedding – Toni Collette as Muriel trying on a wedding dress by Robert McFarlane

Twenty-five years after Strictly Ballroom became a hit, Paul Mercurio still gets asked to recreate moments from the film.

He was in a butcher shop in Melbourne – appropriately named Char Char Char – when a customer asked him for a “twirl” this week. She was so delighted when he complied that she bought some of the mustard and chutney he sells to supplement his income outside films, TV shows and cook books.

But while proud of Strictly Ballroom, Mercurio, at 54, had mixed feelings seeing an iconic photograph from the film in a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.

“It’s shocking,” he said. “People keep showing me photos of me 26 years ago, when I was a fair bit lighter and had more hair.”

The exhibition, Starstruck: n Movie Portraits, features 275 stills from more than a century of n film, assembled over three years with the National Film and Sound Archive.

They include such instantly recognisable faces as Nicole Kidman (Dead Calm), Heath Ledger (Two Hands and Candy), Toni Collette (Muriel’s Wedding), Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) and Geoffrey Rush (Shine).

But there are also striking portraits of supporting actors, including Lewis Fitz-Gerald in Breaker Morant and Isabel Lucas in The Water Diviner, and stars from decades ago such as Shirley Ann Richards (Lovers and Luggers), Daphne Campbell (The Overlanders) and Alma Lee (The Silence Of Dean Maitland).

It’s an exhibition that raises the question of how well a photograph taken to promote a film can also be a revealing portrait.

Co-curator Jennifer Coombes said the best stills were an interesting blurring of fiction and reality that captured both the spirit of a character and a film.

“Sometimes they’re capturing the actors between takes,” she said. “Or even a group of actors who never appear in the same scene but appear in the poster.”

For Mercurio, the Strictly Ballroom image with Tara Morice in the exhibition captures a moment that will resonate with fans of the film.

“You remember where you were when you saw it or the people you were with or what was going on in your life,” he said. “It sparks off a lot of different memories.

“Whether it’s pictures of The Castle or Moulin Rouge or Ned Kelly, they open up memories and feelings.”

Even after all these years, Mercurio said someone will still tell him most weeks how much Strictly Ballroom has meant to them. Often Baz Luhrmann’s warm-hearted comedy about a rebellious dancer helped them through a tough time or inspired them to dance.

But there is one moment from the film that Mercurio might stop recreating.

While judging a charity dance competition at Coffs Harbour last month, he tried a trademark knee slide across an unforgiving floor. The result: lost skin and a sore knee.

“I probably slid about three inches but, with all my years of training, I hit the position, held it and everyone applauded,” Mercurio said. “Then I got up as if nothing had happened and limped to the lectern.”

Starstruck: n Movie Portraits is at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra until March next year.

18/03/2019 0