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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

A brand-new Star Wars trilogy is in the works

There’s a disturbance in the force. But not, it seems, in Lucasfilm’s future earnings.
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The company that put Darth Vader and Yoda on our movie screens whipped fans into a frenzy on Friday with the announcement that it is developing a brand-new Star Wars trilogy.

The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will create the next instalment of the beloved sci-fi series along with longtime collaborator and Israeli film producer Ram Bergman.

It was also revealed the new trilogy will be entirely separate from the Skywalker family saga that has gripped audiences for four decades. The films will explore new characters as well as a brand-new corner of the galaxy far, far away.

Fans have speculated the new series could be set in the Old Republic, which means next trilogy could be set a thousand years before the events of The Phantom Menace.

In a statement, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said Johnson was entrusted with shepharding the Star Wars universe into a new era following to his work on The Last Jedi, which hits cinemas next month.

“He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career,” she said. “Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

In a joint statement, both Johnson and Bergman said Star Wars is the “greatest modern mythology” ever made and they cannot wait to get stuck into working on the new series.

The Last Jedi and its sequel are due to be released on December 14 and December 2019 respectively, while a standalone Han Solo film will come out sometime next year. New Star Wars trilogy announced.

Please be Knights of the Old Republic please be Knights of the Old Republic PLEASE BE KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC??? Johnny Crane (@pokerfreak453) November 9, 2017currently crying about new star wars trilogy don’t @ me??? eden rohatensky (@edenthecat) November 9, 2017Rian Johnson is going to be making a new, separate Star Wars trilogy once The Last Jedi is done and I’m screaming

Because this probably means Disney was super impressed with The Last Jedi, and also because MORE STAR WARS??? Joe C. (@DatJoeFrank) November 9, 2017


18/09/2019 0

Check out Perth’s best and most interesting buildings this weekend

Everybody loves a good sticky beak – especially Open House Perth founder and creative director, Carly Barrett – whose event will be held this weekend.
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Sandgropers can become tourists in their own town by exploring some of Perth’s most interesting examples of architecture, design and interiors.

The original Open House, which began in London 25 years ago and has since gone global, allows architecture and design enthusiasts to see their city in a different light.

“When you get to experience places that you don’t get to normally experience, it’s like being on holiday,” Ms Barrett said. “You get a sense of discovery and inspiration that you normally wouldn’t normally feel.”

For Open House Perth’s sixth year, there are more than 100 buildings and homes on show – 40 of which are new inclusions. She said the event gives the city a chance to show off its architectural diversity.

The Project 857 architect said although Perth lacks a distinct architectural style, the event challenges the myth that all Perth residents want are huge McMansions.

“While there is a market for them, because of the huge scale of Perth geographically, there is a fantastic finer grain of architecture that often gets missed,” she said.

“You get the message across by showing people good design of various types, and allowing people to experience it for themselves.” Related: Perth ranks among world’s smartest citiesRelated: Rental vacancy rate could bolster Perth marketRelated: Unit prices expected to fall in most capital cities

This year, part of the event’s focus is on homes on small blocks that maximise the potential of the space.

“One of the important things that we do is show people that it’s not about the amount of space you have, but about the quality of the space,” she said.

We asked Ms Barrett to pick five locations really worth checking out:

1. City of Perth Library, CBD Photo: Frances Andrijich 2. State Buildings, CBD

Photo: Angus Martin

3. Nature Inspired Eco-House, Perth

Photo: Dion Robeson

4. Madaschi by Iwan Iwanoff, Dianella

Photo: supplied

5. Elliot Road, Karrinyup

Photo: Jack Lovel


18/09/2019 0

Meet the new Muriel, Maggie McKenna

Altuzarra dress from Belinda. Photo: Hugh StewartGrowing up in Melbourne, Maggie McKenna suffered more than her fair share of schoolyard taunts. Singled out because her mum Gina Riley is a famous comedian and singer, Maggie was an easy target, not least because she liked to get up and perform herself.
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“I struggled through school. I was very shy and self-conscious about everything I did,” Maggie, 21, recalls. “I got bullied very early on in school, because I was known, because of my mum.”

But the experience is helping Maggie put her own singing and acting chops to the test with the character of Muriel Heslop in the Sydney Theatre Company’s musical version of the hit 1994 movie, Muriel’s Wedding. First portrayed by Toni Collette, Muriel tries desperately to win the peer approval of the mean girls who laugh at her unfashionable clothes and love of Abba.

In rehearsal for the musical, written by the film’s creator, P. J. Hogan, Maggie laughs at a memory: “You know, this is sad. I spent a lot of lunchtimes alone. But it’s made me understand a character like Muriel so much better than other people might.”

Just as Muriel fled Porpoise Spit to reinvent herself in Sydney, so too did Maggie fly to another city, Los Angeles, to make it on her own, in a place where her mum, who played spoilt daughter Kim in the sitcom Kath & Kim, is not so well known.

Two years studying in LA toughened Maggie up, but her quirky essence remains unchanged. “I’m very much an introvert,” she says. “I feel finally like I’m coming into my own as a person.”

I meet Maggie at the bar at the end of the wharf at the Walsh Bay home of the Sydney Theatre Company. Dressed in a dark green skirt and a blue denim jacket, her brunette hair long, she comes across as a confident young woman. When she gives her toothy smile, you can see traces of her mother.

Maggie grew up an only child in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick. A cassette of the Abba Gold greatest hits compilation, constantly played in the family car, underpinned her lifelong love of ’70s music, matching Muriel’s taste.

Maggie cannot recall her dad, TV producer Rick McKenna, ever singing, but she would sing along to the super Swedes with Gina, whose Shirley Bassey-sized pipes were famously put to use in the Kath & Kim theme, The Joker.

At age 11, Maggie won a national songwriting competition through Mushroom records. The song was called People Say. “I listen back to it now and think, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I wrote that.’ But it was a really great experience because I’ve been writing music my whole life.” (She has just released her first single, Psychopath, on Triple J Unearthed.)

The year after she won the songwriting contest, Gina took Maggie on a holiday to Los Angeles, where they saw the musical Wicked. It was then that Maggie, who related more to the misunderstood witch Elphaba than to the goody-two-shoes Glinda, fell in love with musical theatre and decided she wanted to sing and act. But her parents dissuaded her from attending casting auditions back home. “They said, ‘Go and be a child first,’ ” says Maggie.

At 13, she wrote a song called Maggie for her then bestie, Maggie Rowsthorn, daughter of actor Peter Rowsthorn (who played Gina’s husband Brett in Kath & Kim). Being friends with the daughter of another comedian created a sanctuary of mutual understanding. One of the lyrics is: “It sounds like I’m singing to myself and that’s creepy.”

While she struggled academically with subjects like maths, and socially with mean girl peers who seemed to be suffering a dose of envy, Maggie found her tribe in year 9, when she joined the performing group Stage Masters.

“I would recommend it to any young person,” she beams, “because I found my best friends of all time, who are still my friends today. We did musicals, and it was the first time I felt I was accepted somewhere. That’s when I started finding my feet and going, ‘Hey, I can do this as a career.’ ” One look at the comments on Maggie’s Instagram feed confirms how loyal those friends have remained.

In 2012, Gina and Rick relented and gave Maggie a tiny role in the feature film Kath & Kimderella. She played Spitting Girl, who had to spit on a king. She also worked as a production assistant and dabbled in writing for the short-lived sketch comedy, Open Slather, starring her mum and Magda Szubanski, which aired in 2015. That same year she decided to study her craft on foreign soil, making good on an ambition she had held for six years.

Macgraw “Cathedral” dress. Photo: Hugh Stewart

Aged 18, Maggie flew alone to LA, auditioned for, and was accepted into, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. “I got on a plane and stuck out the two years by myself out there. It’s the best thing I could have done,” she says.

Why the US and not ?

“I wanted to grow up and have a big experience, to see America, because I do want to end up working there and here. And just to be out of my comfort zone.”

It was a steep learning curve. She was confronted by the sight of Hollywood’s homeless and felt unsafe out alone at night. She lived in dormitories with fellow wannabe actors. “To be nice, I bloody hated it,” she says, laughing.

“Dorm experience is awful and I wouldn’t recommend it, because there are people in your room constantly. People just take your stuff. For an only child, it was very confronting. But I made lots of great friends through it.”

There were many teary phone calls home to Melbourne. Gina and Rick would tell her it was her decision whether to stay or come home. “I definitely toughened up and got a thicker skin.”

Unsuccessful auditions were enlightening, revealing the sexism in the industry. “You feel like you have to walk a certain way and act a certain way as a young female,” she says. “A lot of the roles I was up for in LA were ‘pretty girl number two’. There would be a casting list saying, ‘She is incredibly stunning and skinny but doesn’t know it.’

“I’d walk into these auditions and, of course, everyone would be thinner than me, or everyone would be prettier, or blonder, and you couldn’t compete. You started to feel not human, like, ‘Oh, I am an object.’ “

Throughout it all, Maggie continued to write songs. “A lot of poetry comes from you and your own experiences,” she says. One recent poem she posted on Instagram hints at heartbreak. It reads:

“I conformed to the idea / Of how a girl should act / Soft and gentle / Quiet and beautiful / Though inside / My thoughts echoed like a football stadium / I thought that was what you wanted / Who I should be / But you didn’t want me when I did all of this / And I no longer recognised my soul.”

So is there anyone special in her life? “There is not,” she says. “I’m loving being single at the moment because I’m so busy. I don’t have time to see my friends, or breathe. It’s great to take this time and enjoy the moment, and not have to worry about someone else.”

Had the Muriel role not come along, Maggie might now be working as a princess at Disneyland in California. She reveals that while she was in training for the gig, her jaw would hurt from all the smiling she had to practise.

Fortunately, on her audition tape for Muriel’s Wedding, Maggie nailed Dancing Queen, a difficult song with a two-octave range, its pitch alternating between deep lows and great heights.

While the role establishes Maggie as a performer in her own right, comparisons with her famous mother are inevitable. Having proved she can sing, Maggie is reluctant to say whether her sense of humour is the same as Gina’s, though they do often laugh at the same things: “She and I will make each other cry with laughter in the street at something stupid one of us has said.”

Gucci dress; Zara shoes. Photo: Hugh Stewart

If Muriel’s Wedding the Musical is a hit here, with a national tour a possibility, Maggie might be playing the 22-year-old tearaway who steals her parents’ money to reinvent herself in the emerald city for some time. Of course, Muriel craves the moment she can get married. But as a millennial who wasn’t even born when the movie came out, marriage is not on Maggie’s agenda. “I have never been the type of person to think about marriage,” she says.

“Maybe one day. But my parents aren’t married – it’s a marriage in people’s minds, but they never did the official ceremony.”

Both Maggie and Gina are, to borrow a Kath & Kim catchphrase, conscious of the “look at moi” factor. “We don’t like much attention on us, when it’s us,” she says. “We love dressing up and being other people but, as ourselves, the idea of putting on a big, white, goofy gown and walking down the aisle with everyone looking at you? That’s terrifying.”

Muriel’s Wedding the Musical is on at Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney, until January 27.

Fashion editor, Penny McCarthy. Photography, Hugh Stewart. Hair, Anthony Nader using David Mallett. Make-up Aimie Fiebig using Tom Ford. Fashion assistant, Archie Pham.


18/09/2019 0

Women’s Ashes Test delicately poised after opening day at North Sydney Oval

Women’s Ashes Test delicately poised after day one ‘s Ellyse Perry (centre) celebrates with her team mates after taking the wicket of England’s Sarah Taylor. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
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‘s Megan Schutt celebrates her catch of England’s Georgia Elwiss, bowled by Ellyse Perry. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

‘s Megan Schutt catches England’s Georgia Elwiss. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

‘s Ellyse Perry (right) reacts during the Womens Ashes Test between and England at North Sydney Oval in Sydney.

celebrates Amanda-Jade Wellington’s wicket, England’s Tammy Beaumont caught by Alex Blackwell off McGrath for 71. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Sunset during the Women’s Ashes day/night Test between and England at North Sydney Oval in Sydney. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Shadows cast across the field during the Women’s Ashes day/night Test between and England at North Sydney Oval in Sydney. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

‘s Jess Jonassen celebrates her LBW wicket of England’s Heather Knight for 62. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

England’s Heather Knight in action. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

England’s Tammy Beaumont runs in safe to bring up her half century. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

TweetFacebookEngland blew a golden opportunity to assert themselves on day one of the Ashes Test as produced a flurry of late wickets to leavethe visitors 7-235 at stumps.

Star all-rounder Ellyse Perry claimed a pair of final-session wickets while debutant TahliaMcGrath chipped in with her secondscalp of the day to put the brakes on what had been apromising English start, which earlier on sat comfortably at 1-129.

Most of the damage came once with the second new ball under lights in front of 2805 fans at North Sydney Oval, most of whom hope to witness a win for the home side which would mean retainingthe Ashes.

As expected, the pink ball started swinging around in the evening session after had toiled earlier in the day on a dry wicket all but devoid of grass.

“I’ve found this using the pink ball a little bit in training, some swing more than others and I don’t think the first one really swung all that much and the wicket probably wasn’t hugely responsive either,” Perry said.

“The second one definitely swung a bit more, obviously we were under lights as well but I think the seam was a little bit more raised on that one so it tended to swing a bit more.

“It’s pretty even conditions out there for the bat and ball. England batted well at different times, there’s definitely enough there to take 20 wickets.”

English opener Tammy Beaumont and captain Heather Knight took charge before tea having won the toss and batted, and the pair put on 104 runs for the second wicket, patiently but confidently stroking the ball around the picturesque suburban ground.

It was another debutant in Amanda-Jade Wellington who broke that stand when a sharply turning leg break shaded Beaumont’s outside edge before landing snugly in Alex Blackwell’s grasp at slip.

Wellington was one of three Test debutants for , alongside McGrath and Beth Mooney who will open the batting with Nicole Bolton.

That meant Sydney juniors Lauren Cheatle and Ashleigh Gardner both missed out on selection.

No Cheatle meant the Aussies had just the three seam options. Megan Schutt was economical and produced her trademark in swing under the lights, but bowled without luck.

Perry and McGrath were complemented by the attacking Wellington, and the metronomic orthodox tweaker Jess Jonassen who grabbed a couple of wickets herself.

She trapped Heather Knight LBW to remove the dangerous stroke maker, before the English middle order failed to take advantage of their solid start.

Georgia Elwiss faced 95 balls for her 27 before skying a ball to square leg, unravelling all of her hard graft.

The classy Natalie Sciver (18) never quite found her rhythm while Sarah Taylor’s 29 was effortless but over far too quickly.when she belted one back to Perry who managed to snaffle a catch in her follow through having seemingly not sighted the ball until it struck her on the arm.

“I just slipped a little bit in some footholds on that delivery and my head went down and I lost all sight of it,” Perry said.

“I kind of looked up and the lights were a little bit in my eyes. The first time I spotted the ball was just before it hit my arm,rather embarrassingly I managed to catch it.

“It provided a lot of entertainment for everyone and I lost all composure and I’m really glad [captain] Rachael [Haynes] took me off after that.

“Every now and then you bowl some bad ones or you have a bit of luck or something obscure happens and that’s what makes the game so fun and entertaining.

“You’d happily get her [Taylor] out any way possible. I don’t think it had anything to do with my skill or ability.”


18/09/2019 0

Chinan pelvic mesh victims want to sue state health departments and regulators

Inquiry: Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who is chairing a Senate inquiry into pelvic mesh devices in .WOMEN victims of pelvic mesh surgery are investigating legal action against not only device manufacturers and surgeons, but statehealth departments and n regulators they hold responsible forfailingto protect them.
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The Western n Health Department isalready a focus, said solicitor Adrian Barakat of AJB Stevens Lawyers in Sydney, afterwomenalleged a cover-up of mesh device surgical trials in WA public and private hospitals.

This followedNewcastle Heraldarticles revealingtwo senior Western n doctors releasedresearch papers from 2005 about surgical trials in Western n public and private hospitalsusing apelvic mesh device invented by one of the doctors, and a secret settlement in 2013 paid by WA Health to a woman implanted with the device in a public hospital in 2003.

Although the research papers stated the trials had ethics committee approvals,WA Health said it could not locate records of ethicsapprovals for trials of the device.

“The majority of the cases we have at the moment are in Western so that’s our focus, but we have a large number of clients and they’re from all over the country. We’re definitely looking at health departments in each state,” Mr Barakat said.

TheHeraldhas also revealed research papers citing ethicsapproval of a surgical trialusing the device at a Victorian public hospital. Victoria’s new health care watchdoglaunched an investigation in June after Health Minister Jill Hennessy was told there wasno record of the trial,ethics approval or hospital credentialing of the device inventor who assisted with surgery on some of the women.

Lawyer Adrian Barakat on pelvic mesh device legal action

Mr Barakat said hisfirm had engaged a senior barrister to advise how ’sdrug and device watchdog, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, could be sued after multiple pelvic mesh devices were registered for use more than a decade ago with little or no evidence of safety and efficacy.

“Somebody needs to find a way to make the TGA accountable. We really think that’s one of the most important ways forward,” Mr Barakat said.

The TGA’s role in the pelvic mesh scandal led University of Canberra academics Dr Wendy Bonython and associate professor Bruce Arnold to call for a complete overhaul of the regulator, in a submission to a Senate inquiry on pelvic mesh devices.

They argued there were legislated indemnity provisions that protected the TGA from being sued for negligent performance of its regulatory functions, which was “problematic because it removes any incentive towards carefulness”.

More than 1350 n women are now registered in legal class actions against major mesh manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and American Medical Systems, with an unknown number ofindividual settlements after legal suitsby women against doctors who implanted the devices.

Mr Barakat said his firm, which has successfully litigated child sexual abuse cases against institutions, would run individual cases against device manufacturers, doctors and regulators, rather than class actions.

“We’re looking at the women individually because they’ve all suffered immensely, in different ways. I’ve got women who have had to give up their businesses and jobs. Most of them have suffered in terms of their marriages. Some have lost their marriages because of this. Most of them can’t have intercourse.”

Women implanted with Intra Vaginal Sling (IVS) and Tissue Fixation System (TFS) devices have engaged the firm, along with others considering action against American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson.

WA Health did not respond to questions about the 2013 secret settlement or how public hospitals responded to complications experienced by women during an early pelvic mesh trial.


18/09/2019 0

Judd shares bedroom styling tips with Canberra

In everyday life it’s important to have a place where you can simply escape from the hustle and bustle.
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For Rebecca Judd, a well-styled bedroom makes the perfect sanctuary. The mother of four loves retreating to the room she shares with husband, Chris.

“I love escaping to a different room, my husband and I have a bedroom on a different level to our kids,” said Judd.

“We’ve got a whole wing to our house which is just ours and there’s no toys allowed in there.”

This weekend Judd will be sharing her top tips with Canberrans on creating the ultimate bedroom sanctuary. She will be discussing the important things that make up a bedroom style including rugs, layering and artwork.

“The key to styling with a new look is to have at least three items for that cohesive look in your room so something on your wall, something in a cushion and then something on the end of the bed,” she said.

Judd emphasised the current pink trend as a great addition to any bedroom in the form of a statement piece that you can mute with whites and greys.

“We’ve got this pink linen bed cover and my husband loves it, he doesn’t think it’s too girly,” she said.

“I’ve got these grey cushions so it makes it less girly and more masculine but still really soft, warm and beautiful.”

Velvet and boho are also big on Judd’s radar at the moment.

“Velvet is still also really big, both in fashion and in bedding, and you can do either a quilted velvet bed cover or you can do a velvet coverlet that sits on the end of your bed, which is really gorgeous,” she added.

“Boho trend has also come back and that’s really great.”

The one item Judd believes adds the most character to a room is the humble throw.

“Something that instantly makes a bedroom seem really warm, inviting and styled is an amazing throw on the end of the bed,” she said.

“Take your bedroom to the next level layer with a gorgeous throw and people will walk in and think you’re a stylist.”

Judd will be presenting her masterclass “Thread Count Bedroom Styling” this Saturday, November 11, at Monaro Mall, Canberra Centre from 11am to noon.


18/08/2019 0

Citizenship crisis: High Court referral ‘probably the only step’ says Labor MP Justine Keay

Labor MHR Justine KeayThe Tasmanian Labor politician embroiled in the national citizenship crisis has released documents in an effort to clear her name.
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Since Wednesday morning the citizenship status of Braddon MHR Justine Keay has been on the lips of her parliamentary colleagues, including the Prime Minister.

Ms Keay spoke exclusively to Fairfax Media about being the face of Labor’s perceived citizenship cloud.

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.

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 Member for Braddon began tearing-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.

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 for 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 crisis that has gripped the parliament since July.

“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.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz.

“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.”

Ms Keay said she was the “sacrificial lamb of Eric Abetz”, and her and fellow first-term MP, Susan Lamb, were being targeted by the Coalition.

She hoped explaining her steps would provide confidence for the people that elected her.

“This is becoming just farcical,” she said.

“This is it, let me get on with my job now and let’s get a process in place where we can sort this out once and for all because it’s just become a complete circus and I don’t want to be a part of that.”

The Examiner


18/08/2019 0

Wanderers chairman scores $15.5 million in Point Piper

Rich Lister and Western Sydney Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer and his wife Eva have sold their Point Piper investment property for about $15.5 million.
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The deal ends a year-long sales campaign that started with $20 million hopes before it was relisted with Bart Doff, of Laing+ Simmons Double Bay.

Doff was unavailable to comment on the sale figure, but an offer of $15.5 million was reportedly knocked back at auction last week, and sources say it then sold for close to that.

Lederer bought the Wyuna Road property designed by architect John Suttor in 1992 for $2.8 million from businessman Charles Scarf and his wife Maria.

Lederer, who part-owns the A-League Sydney soccer club, made his fortune in the smallgoods business, selling the Primo Smallgoods business two years ago for $1.45 billion. He was ranked ‘s 73rd richest person on this year’s Financial Review Rich List with a worth of $824 million.

He and his wife Eva remain Point Piper locals, having traded up to the $26 million house on nearby Wolseley Road they bought in 2008.

???Point Piper’s turnover has ramped up in recent months with a run of high-end sales. The house two doors from the Lederer property sold recently for more than $20 million to LA-based entrepreneur and star of the Shark Tank reality show Andrew Banks and his wife Andrea.

Luxury car importer Neville Crichton sold his waterfront home for more than $36 million last month to property investor Andrew Potter, who in turn sold his nearby waterfront home on Wunulla Road for $20 million to the Mayo family. Related: Andrew Potter trades one Point Piper waterfront for anotherRelated: Andrew Banks makes $20-million return to Point PiperRelated: Steven Lowy expands beachfront by $14.2 million


18/08/2019 0

We need to talk about money

How many people know the nitty gritty of your financial position? My guess is very few outside the relevant professionals, like your accountant or mortgage broker, because it’s just not the type of thing ns openly delve into. Talking about money is variously viewed as impolite, garish or simply taboo.
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Research suggests that when we do talk about money, we don’t always give the full story.

A2016 survey of 1014 ns nationwide, commissioned by Fox Symes Debt Solutions and conducted by Galaxy, found that more than one in two people have deceived a partner, family or friends about money. Two out of three people with children living at home hide debt and spending from their loved ones, compared with less than one in two people without children at home.

What we earn, what we spend, and how we manage our financial affairs are matters on which many of us are tight-lipped. And while there is certainly a place for discretion, particularly in this realm, I often wonder if there isn’t value in lifting the veil of secrecy from time to time. Not merely because of voyeurism’s allure but because without a little transparency we’re flying blind.

For those of us who don’t openly detail our fiscal positions, and have family and friends who are similarly inclined, the ins and outs of how other people manage their money is totally mysterious despite potentially being enormously enlightening.

Personally I am always intrigued to discover what other families spend on food, electricity and all of the general expenses households face. When these topics come up I always find the responses from family or friends to be either reassuring or instructive. Reassuring if we’re in the same ballpark for certain expenses, and instructive when it emerges that we are possibly paying far more for our phones or internet than we need to.

But when it comes to the big picture of how other people make their money work, it is rarely discussed so making a comparison is impossible. And yet, that is arguably where being able to make those comparisons would be most valuable.

While it’s easy to compare notes on what you spend in a week to feed your family, opening up about what you earn, how you and your partner managed to piece together a deposit, or how much credit card debt you have are not subjects we usually explore.

In recent months I have come to learn a little more about the bigger picture of a few friends’ financial positions and it wasn’t because they left their bank statements on the kitchen bench. It was because money is a major source of angst for lots of ns and when an opportunity for a private conversation arose, it came up.

I was relieved it did come up because for the first time I was able to appreciate their circumstances, and put our own in context. No two families are the same but I found it enormously reassuring to discover that the lion’s share of the house deposits people had saved, had come about because of inheritances or gifts from family. Previously I had assumed there was some financial wizardry I wasn’t aware of that helped individuals piece together enough for even a modest property in Sydney.

According to the annual Stress and wellbeing report by the n Psychological Society, finances is rightat the top of our list of worries.Research by the Centre for Social Impact, conducted for National Bank, showed that two million ns are experiencing severe or high financial stress, while a further 10 million are living with some level of financial worry. It is unsurprising given money is entirely unavoidable on a daily basis and its impact is anything but inconsequential.

Which makes it all the more curious – and unhelpful – that we don’t talk about it.

Sharing your bank balance with all and sundry is hardly advisable, but nor is keeping your true financial position from the people you love.

Financial stress is not rare and while the adage of a problem shared is a problem halved isn’t strictly true, there is value in opening up. Reaching out to a friend or a family member you trust is worth considering whether things are good or bad. Those conversations have the power to change not just how you look at money but how you manage it too.

Georgina Dent is a journalist, editor and TV commentator with a keen focus on women’s empowerment and gender equality.


18/08/2019 0

Comprehensive credit reporting will provide a better picture

Whether you’re trying to buy a property, refinance a mortgage or organise car finance, Canberra’s latest finance regulations might help you.
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Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) is a new way for the finance industry to conduct credit scoring. It will be implemented by credit providers by July 1, 2018.

Traditional credit scoring is used by lenders to assess how your past behaviour influences future debt repayments. However, it uses only “negative” scoring, such as late payments, defaults and loan arrears to give you a score. This means, for example, a phone bill you defaulted on a few years ago can come up when you apply for a home loan, but it doesn’t take into account years of regular credit card repayments.

Under the CCR, credit scores also recognise your good behaviour with credit. Essentially, they’re collecting more data (negative and positive), which over the long-term builds an accurate picture of your history and behaviour.

Effectively, a borrower with small credit blemishes could be seen as able to recover quickly because of their subsequent positive record. So, lenders will be able to offer better interest rates to would-be customers.

As the system matures, other types of debt, such as mobile phone plans, power, water and gas, can also be incorporated, leading to “behavioural” assessments rather than just profiling.

The new regime will allow lenders to create better customer profiles, and for brokers to proactively find better deals for their clients.

To put yourself in the best possible position, understand these basics: Do’s

Pay on time: credit cards and loans have regular monthly repayments. When you make a habit of repaying on the due date, you build a positive credit history.

Available balance: if you maintain an available credit card balance that’s always in excess of what you owe, you build a positive history.

Keep the credit card you have serviced for a long time: if you use a few cards to get you through a tough time, pay out the most recent cards. Keep the longest-term credit card and its “good” credit history – it accrues more positives.

Prioritise your mortgage: your mortgage is likely to be the largest and longest-term of your debts, so prioritise the repayments and build a long, positive record.

Consult a broker: you might not understand how good your credit score is, but a broker does and can probably use it to find you a better loan. Don’ts

Use multiple interest-free cards: rolling-over credit card debt into a new card that’s interest free might be a necessary one-off manoeuvre, but don’t make it a habit – it scores as a negative.

Apply for too many loans and cards: be sparing in your applications – they can score negatively.

Make late payments: do what you can do to avoid missing payments.

Go over 60 days: if you do have to miss a repayment, don’t let non-payment go more than two months. If it is because of a life event, such as serious illness, speak to your lender as soon as possible.

The CCR will be a positive for many borrowers, because for the first time ns will be credit-scored on what they do right, as well as what they’ve done wrong.

Good luck.

Mark Bouris is the executive chairman of Yellow Brick Road.


18/08/2019 0