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Khawaja really does take it one match at a time as he shuts out Ashes hype

Usman Khawaja knows better than to look further ahead than his next innings. Others that utter the well-rehearsed “one match at time” might be guilty of leaning on a cliche. For Khawaja, it’s become a self-defence mechanism in a career where little has been taken for granted.
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Even now, just weeks ahead of the first Ashes Test, Khawaja hasn’t allowed himself to envisage striding out onto the Gabba. That he would even conceive his non-selection shows how well he’s managed to cocoon himself from anything but the next delivery, which will come from a watered-down NSW attack in the Sheffield Shield game in Brisbane from Monday.

There can be no doubt that Khawaja will be picked to bat at No.3 for . But his presence in the Test team has been anything but a forgone conclusion, to the point where he has openly questioned the selection policy after being in, then out, depending on the country and conditions.

Deemed ineffective on the subcontinent, Khawaja has been dropped from a series in Sri Lanka, left out of the India tour in March and dropped again after one match against Bangladesh in September. He doesn’t believe it’s a healthy path to develop as a batsman, nor to foster the kind of group character imbued in the teams of Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.

As such, he’ll be excited about the prospect of what is essentially a home Ashes Test for the transplanted New South Welshman when it arrives. In the meantime, he wants to continue amassing runs, this time against NSW, who will rest their Test pace attack two weeks out from the first ball of the series against England.

“Definitely,” Khawaja replies when asked if he’s given up stargazing. “It’s one of those things I’ve seen in other players and something I experienced when I was younger. Once you start worrying about other stuff, it’s just a spiral and it gets worse and worse.

“For me, at least, that’s the best way to do things. I’ve been in situations before when I was younger, worrying about things that are going to happen a month, two months away. I just saw no point in that once I realised that it didn’t make a difference and definitely didn’t help my cricket.

“For me, at the moment, it’s about playing well in shield cricket and the rest takes care of itself. Everything revolves around the next game and once that finishes and if I’m there, yes I will be excited about the Ashes. But at the moment, I’m refusing to look too far ahead. For me at the moment, no, I’m not excited. But I’m sure I will be.”

After courting mild controversy with his criticism of the horses-for-courses policies of the selection panel, Khawaja has now reverted to communicating through a more familiar dialect: runs.

While others have struggled to make a pressing case in the now annual Shield auditions ahead of the opening Test of the summer, Khawaja has found some fluency. He made 40 and 122 in Brisbane against the Vics, then recorded 27 and an unbeaten 28 as Queensland strode to an easy win on a difficult track in Hobart.

The left-hander looks regal at the crease when the runs are flowing and he knows how to score them in Brisbane, where he’s honed and refined his technique to accommodate the bounce, then let his natural game dictate the pace of an innings.

“I’m very simple in the way I go about my cricket,” he says. “Even while I’m training … I train for long periods of time … but it’s very simple. I focus on things that might come along in the next game. That’s how I do everything.

“The game is just about watching the ball, letting your instincts take over and hopefully scoring some runs as a result.”

The 30-year-old averages 45 through 24 Tests with five centuries and eight 50s stuffing his stat sheet. England haven’t seen the best of him: in four Ashes Tests from Sydney in 2011, he’s scratched out 172 runs with just one half-century.

That’s not the part that grates him the most: in all of those matches, was on the wrong end of the result.

“My Ashes memories aren’t amazing. I haven’t won a Test match yet. That would be nice to get one. But it’s like any other cricket. There’s a lot of hype about Ashes cricket, but once you get on there, it’s bat against ball and whoever executes the best wins,” Khawaja says.

“It’s one thing Boof [n coach Darren Lehmann] really harps on a lot about. He’s right to an extent … that’s how I try to play my cricket. It can be emotional, more for some than others, but you just play the game. There’s a lot of hype around, but you have to perform amid all of that.”

With wicketkeeper and No.6 far from settled this close to the first Test, Khawaja is the least of ‘s problems. Given his form, he will be one of the bats England fear most as they try to whittle down the top and middle order.

More pressing could be the form hump of opener Matt Renshaw, who came from the clouds to make his debut last year and is now 10 Tests into his career. Thus far in the Shield season, he’s yet to make it past 20.

Khawaja sees little reason for panic, just as he takes little note of England’s batting concerns in their tour matches. He believes Renshaw will bounce back hard and is on the verge of a quality innings.

“I think he’s looking like he’s playing some really good cricket,” Khawaja says of Renshaw. “He hasn’t got a lot of runs yet, but he’s been doing the hard work; getting in, getting a lot of starts, hopefully he can cash in on one of them.

“For me, batting at No.3, it makes my job easier. I’ve got no doubt he will take advantage of one of those starts. I love batting with Matt. He’s a very relaxed individual. He’s chilled out and a very level-headed kid. I wasn’t like that at his age I’m sure.”

Victory aside, Khawaja’s ultimate result for the summer would be to score enough runs to render himself undroppable, regardless of the touring destination. Maybe then he would allow himself to feel the energy of cricket’s greatest rivalry, so close to its summer start. iFrameResize({checkOrigin:false},’#ashes-squad-selector-2017′);var frame = document.getElementById(“ashes-squad-selector-2017”);


25/04/2020 0

Kmart apologies after children’s DVD online description references ‘sex and drugs’

The product was removed from Kmart’s online catalogue, after saying the storyline of a children’s DVD included references to sex and drugs. Photo: SuppliedKmart has been forced to apologise after a “description error” saw the storyline of a Shopkins children’s DVD described as containing “a lot of sex and drugs” in the retailer’s online catalogue.
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The product was soon removed from the website, but not before screenshots had been posted to social media by concerned and angry customers.

The description was attached to the G-rated Shopkins World Vacation DVD.

“They’re jetting off and you’re invited! Shopkins travels to an assortment iof (sic) nternational (sic) places and they discover a lot of sex and drugs on their way,” the description read.

The blunder was met with swift criticism on Facebook.

“Ummmmm Kmart – you need to review your description for kids DVDs his (sic) is disgusting,” Lannie North wrote.

“Shocked and appalled. Shame on you kmart. I really hope that’s not what this movie shows, it’s still rated G!” Madi Rose posted.

http://www.kmart苏州夜总会招聘.au/product/shopkins-world-vacation—dvd/1856850 Please check the description of this movie….Posted by Madi Rose on Friday, 10 November 2017

In response, a Kmart spokesperson apologised for the error and said an investigation was underway.

“Kmart apologises for the incorrect Shopkins World Vacation DVD product description that was published online,” the statement read.

“Once we were made aware of the description error, immediate action was taken place to ensure the product was removed online.

“We are currently investigating to see how this occurred and we are reviewing processes to ensure this does not occur again.

“We once again apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank our customers for their patience.”


25/04/2020 0

Show time in Dungog – Day two in pictures

Day Two – Dungog Show 2017 | Photos Piglet racing at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn
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Will Neilson has a ball on the dodgem cars at Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Will and Ava Neilson have a ball on the dodgem cars at Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Madeleine Gowdy and her horse Rowdy. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Ella Bourke and her horse Vittoria Royal. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Horse events at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Horse events at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Horse events at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Horse events at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Toby Griffith. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Darcy Hopwood and Lady prepare for the Remembrance Day ceremony. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Taneal Anderson and Miracle Urban. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Will and Ava Neilson have a ball on the dodgem cars at Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Will and Ava Neilson have a ball on the dodgem cars at Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Wes and Tom Neilson. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Piglet racing at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Piglet racing at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Piglet racing at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Piglet racing at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Piglet racing at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Piglet racing at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Log splitting at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Log splitting at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Log splitting at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Log splitting at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Log splitting at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Log splitting at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Log splitting at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Log splitting at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Log splitting at the Dungog Show. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Drew Shearman demonstrates shearing a llama. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Drew Shearman demonstrates shearing a llama. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Drew Shearman demonstrates shearing a llama. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Drew Shearman demonstrates shearing a llama. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

TweetFacebookShow guide:4.00pm 4 Cylinder Demolition Derby Camel Races – Heat 2 Dog High Jump Post Splitting Heats

4.45pm Piglet Racing at Farm Yard

5.00pm Sheep Shearing at the Farm Yard

5.30pm Aussie FMX Performing Motor Bikes Camel Races – Heat 3 Post Splitting – 2nd Round. Stihl 090 Post Cut and Jack and Jill Camel Races – Heat 4 Calcutta draw for Camel Final

7.30pm Aussie FMX Performing Motor Bikes Camel Races – FINAL Calcutta

8.30pm 6 Cylinder Demolition Derby

9.00pm Fireworks

9.00pm-12pm Live Music by local band 24 Hours


25/04/2020 0

Advantage Honduras despite Socceroos’ impressive display

As it happened: Honduras v ‘s Bailey Wright, right, fights for the ball with Honduras’ Romell Quito. Photo: AP
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San Pedro Sula: The Socceroos have escaped ‘The Tomb’ unscathed but remain no closer to Russia after being held to a goalless draw against Honduras at the Estadio Olimpico.

were brave, at times inspirational but ultimately unlucky as they make the long trip from Central America back to Sydney with neither the win or vital away goal their performance deserved. If there was any victory, it was simply one for morale as the Socceroos outplayed “Los Catrachos” at one of the most intimidating venues in international football but were forced to settle for a result that gives Honduras a strong advantage heading into the second-leg in .

They were controversially denied a penalty in the first half when the linesman ruled offside after a spot-kick was awarded. A horrendous playing field thwarted a guilt-edge chance. That goalkeeper Donis Escober”s performance was a candidate for the man of the match was most telling. For coach Ange Postecoglou, he goes back to Sydney with public opinion swinging closer towards his favour after his selection and tactics worked to effect.

had to endure hot temperatures, sapping humidity, a paddock for a pitch and a hostile reception few ns have ever experienced. When 40,000 fans began stamping their feet frenetically at kick-off, the concrete stands started vibrating. The floor was shaking but the nerves of remained intact despite being rattled. Mat Ryan fluffed a clearance but went unpunished. The midfield’s defensive shape was pried open from the start but the ever-calm defender Trent Sainsbury kept the Socceroos’ secure in the opening minutes with a potentially goal-saving tackle on Carlos Lanza.

From then, the Socceroos regathered themselves as a five-man defence became resolute while their midfielders created chances of their own. Massimo Luongo would have broken the deadlock in the 11th minute if it wasn’t for a superb save from Escober. They continued to sustained pressure on the hosts while battling every external disadvantage imaginable and midway through the half, the Socceroos silenced the hosts for the first time. Bailey Wright was brought down by Escober in an aerial challenge and Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana pointed to the spot.

The hush turned to outrage before relief swept the stadium when the linesman intervened, controversially ruling offside.

But, it didn’t halt the Socceroos’ and a swift counter-attack through the middle put Tomi Juric through on goal. One-on-one with Escober, ‘s centre-forward was certain to break the deadlock however a horrendous pitch played into the hands of the hosts – a slight bobble cushioned his shot agonisingly wide of goal.

If the climate and conditions didn’t pose enough obstacles for , they were forced to battle the bruising Honduran players. A relentless individually pressing game was designed to land the final blow to undo the Socceroos’ composure before reaping the rewards with their swift and direct attack. The ever-dangerous Romell Quioto intelligently seized on the space between Wright and Risdon while the threat of Anthony ‘Choco’ Lozano was only dimmed by a vigilant, intelligent display from Sainsbury.

In an advanced role, Luongo a noticeably mature and industrious performance from the midfielder was one of his best in recent performances. He tested Escobar from the edge of the area in the 52 minute before setting up a close range header for Juric that was tipped over the bar.

For all their adversaries, it was the Socceroos tightening the screws on the contest. They brought an ominous hush over the the venue when they broke behind the defence on the hour-mark. A goal was certain as Risdon had two players standing in front of an open goal but his cross at the back past was played behind Aziz Behich and Jackson Irvine.

was doing what so few have in the past in escaping the tight jaws of the infamous, oppressive ground – one that is proudly boasted by locals as the final resting place of several coaching jobs. As a Socceroos’ win became an increasingly realistic prospect, the fans stepped-up their role. Horns became a weapon, targeted at key moments for the visitors. Jeers fell on the n defenders while the inspiring chant of “si se puede” [yes you can] roared around the stadium. When Honduras’ answer to Tim Cahill – Carlo Costly – took off his bib to make his entrance off the bench, the hope behind that chant began to transpire into belief. It sparked an immediate response form Postecoglou who replied with the introduction of Tomi Rogic.

But it was Costly to make the first impact, stinging the palms of goalkeeper Ryan with a powerful shot from just inside the box before charging down the clearance shortly after only for the ricochet to bounce to safety.

The sapping conditions took their toll on who went into survival mode in the last minutes of the game before being struck with the hollow feeling of a goalless draw that gives Honduras the upper hand, knowing a scored draw will book their ticket to Russia.


25/04/2020 0

Turnbull government MP John Alexander resigns from Parliament

Turnbull government MP John Alexander has resigned from Parliament after British authorities were unable to uncover any evidence to support repeated assurances he was not a dual citizen.
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Mr Alexander’s resignation – five days after Fairfax Media revealed he was likely a dual citizen by descent – will trigger a byelection in the former tennis champion’s Sydney seat of Bennelong, and means Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has lost his parliamentary majority.

“I have always believed that I am n and solely n,” Mr Alexander said.

The 67-year-old told Mr Turnbull he intended to resign during a “business-like” phone call about 6pm yesterday.

“He encouraged me to be decisive, to act expeditiously, and to put things beyond any question of doubt and that’s what I think the people of Bennelong want,” Mr Alexander said. ” is tired of this absurd situation. I don’t have any degrees, I have a degree in common sense and it doesn’t make any common sense.”

The absence of Mr Alexander and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce sees the government reduced to just 74 of the 150 seats on the floor of the House of Representatives during the final two sitting weeks of the year. While the government will not fall, Labor and the crossbench could combine forces to cause trouble when Parliament resumes on November 27.

Asked whether a general election was looming, Mr Turnbull on Saturday responded with a simple “no”.

Mr Alexander held the culturally diverse electorate of Bennelong with a margin of 10 per cent, which is normally considered safe. But some Liberal Party figures in NSW fear the seat is vulnerable despite Mr Alexander’s strong personal support. Labor held the seat from 2007 to 2010, when former ABC star Maxine McKew snatched it from former prime minister John Howard.

“In any competition, you’ve got to keep an open mind there is a chance of losing,” Mr Alexander said.

Mr Alexander is a British citizen by descent because his father, Gilbert Alexander, was born in England before moving to as a young child.

When Fairfax Media unearthed documents proving his British connection, the Bennelong MP admitted he had never renounced UK citizenship and for days could not say for sure whether his father did, but repeatedly assured the public and the Liberal Party that was his “belief”.

He needed to quit no later than Monday to allow the minimum 33-day campaign required to hold the poll on December 16.

The weeks after that date – during the Christmas and New Year period,- would be impractical, pushing back the next likely date until at least early February.

A complication is that Mr Alexander would have to fully renounce his claim to UK citizenship before nominating as a candidate. If he failed to have written confirmation of his status before standing he could still be considered constitutionally ineligible.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said MPs who have no doubt that they are dual citizens should resign from Parliament immediately.

On Saturday he called on Labor MPs who were possible dual citizens to also resign so a series of byelections can be held on the same date.

Labor’s candidate for Bennelong at the 2016 election, Lyndal Howison, accused Mr Alexander of disrespecting the constitution and Parliament.

“His father was born in the UK and this can hardly have escaped his attention during recent weeks, when his parliamentary colleagues were embroiled in one of the greatest political crises of recent years,” Ms Howison said.

“Yet he stayed silent. When finally exposed, he invoked a response reminiscent of that famous scene in The Castle: ‘It’s the vibe of the thing’. It’s one thing to believe you are n, it’s another thing to have shown a troubling lack of attention to the preparation required to stand for Parliament.”


25/04/2020 0

Will Murdoch lose his crown?

Technology has moved the tectonic plates beneath the Murdoch empire.
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Regulators are blocking his attempts to expand his reign in the UK.

And shareholders in 21st Century Fox are threatening to force the unwinding of the voting structure that allows the Murdoch family to control it.

Add to the mix the fact that a bunch of giant corporate predators are eyeing off the company’s programming and distribution assets, and the recipe for change is clear enough.

It is hard to imagine that the empire won’t look radically different in a year.

It’s equally hard to imagine a global media landscape in which Rupert Murdoch is not the most powerful player.

But the forces for change are now so many and so strong that they will be hard to resist.

A massive week of news from the Murdoch empire began with the leak of talks between 21st Century Fox and Disney about selling its programming and satellite distribution assets.

While the talks are recent, they are said not to be live right now.

Interestingly, given most are speculating these leaks came from the 21st Century Fox camp, it is fair to assume that this was a Murdoch-inspired attempt to let interested parties know the assets are on the block in order to get an auction started.

That is, Murdoch is an active and willing seller at the right price.

It’s a deal that makes complete sense.

Twenty-first Century Fox has only one of the three ingredients that the large technology companies like Google and Apple need to grow their empires – content.

And existing content companies such as Disney want more of it.

Cable and free-to-air television, which have been two of Murdoch’s means of content distribution, have been undermined by broadband, which is delivering content via the internet directly to subscribers.

His satellite operations in Europe are valuable – and were to be part of the package sold to Disney – but regulators are clipping his wings on expanding beyond his current 39 per cent stake in Sky.

Disney is speculated to be interested in Fox’s movie studio, TV production and international assets such as Star and Sky, as well as entertainment networks such as FX and National Geographic.

Given the appeal of these assets, Murdoch should have no problem maximising the sale price.

But such a deal would hollow out the company, control of which was slated to be passed to the younger generation of Murdochs. Sons Lachlan and James have been running it now for a couple of years.

The second element of the corporate restructuring involves the merger of what would be left of 21st Century Fox and News Corp, which houses the international print assets and the pay television business Foxtel in , plus the fast-growing, n-based digital real estate business REA.

News Corp released its profit on Friday, which, while better than expected, was marked by sagging revenues from print advertising but strong growth from digital real estate and tight control of costs.

Meanwhile, in the midst of potential corporate upheaval, activist shareholders will this week take another crack at attempting to unwind 21st Century Fox’s dual-class voting structure.

This has been the means by which Murdoch has been able to control the company (with 38 per cent of the votes) despite having an economic interest of only 14 per cent.

Such attempts have been an annual feature of this company’s annual meeting but to date have been unsuccessful – in part because of the support provided to Murdoch by billionaire investor Prince al-Waleed bin Talal.

However, his stake has been sold down and may no longer be within his control thanks to his being one of 11 Saudi princes placed under house arrest this week.

It is certainly a complicating factor, but it could be that a 21st Century Fox with democratic governance would be equally willing to sell the jewel assets for a handsome sum.

It could be that the potential asset sales within 21st Century Fox will garner Murdoch some shareholder support and offer him a reprieve.

Twenty-first Century Fox reported this week that its quarterly earnings per share were down marginally but in line with expectations.

But the update was vastly overshadowed by the corporate speculation on asset sales, which saw the company’s share price jump from $US24.92 to $US28.70.

Any move to shrink the empire will have a limited effect on Murdoch himself given he is 86. But it will significantly affect the legacy that James and Lachlan will manage.

When Murdoch moved to the back seat in the management of 21st Century Fox a few years back, he provided a governance framework for his sons to share the task – Lachlan was joint chairman of both News Corp and 21st Century Fox and James became the chief executive of the latter.

Management is one thing, but ownership is another.

Over the past week, there has been a swirl of talk that Rupert Murdoch is unhappy with aspects of James’ management.

The Guardian said this week the decision to even consider a sale of assets to Disney (or anyone else) raises the prospect that Rupert has become disillusioned with James’ strategy at Fox and the Sky deal.

It cited the Hollywood Reporter, which reported that Rupert had been telling people the Sky deal risked distracting Fox and was “James’ baby”, as well as the fact he is concerned his younger son is too fired up, with Lachlan the steadier hand.


25/04/2020 0

Video of giant rat filmed in Sydney restaurant shop window goes viral

A large rat which was filmed in the shop window of a Chinese restaurant in Minto. Photo: Facebook/Hokes IzmA restaurant owner in south-west Sydney has apologised to customers after a large rat was spotted in the establishment’s shop window.
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In a video shot by a passerby outside the Chinese restaurant in Minto, the large, furry rodent can be seen perched inside the restaurant window display, with its long tail hanging.

The video, which was posted on Facebook on Thursday, has attracted a mix of comments. Some have expressed disgust but others offered support for the longstanding establishment.

Emily Tang, the owner of Minto Chinese Restaurant, responded to the video on Facebook, describing it as an isolated incident.

She said the establishment had recently hired a pest consultant to “deal with the rodent,” but after containing it to the front of the restaurant “we could not find the location where the rodent was entering the restaurant. Not until yesterday, were we able to locate the rat.”

“We do not have a rodent problem and have never had one…yesterday a health inspector came in and inspected the kitchen and reception and she said the restaurant was clean and free from contamination, she also said the restaurant will not be receiving a fine or penalty notice,” Ms Tang said.

“I apologise for any distress caused to our customers and the community, this is an isolated incident that will never happen again.”

In a statement to News Corp, Campbelltown Council city development director Jim Baldwin said the inspection revealed nothing to validate a closure of the premises, while records showed the restaurant had undergone pest treatment in the last few weeks.

“This venue has a good compliance record and strong history of appropriate compliance with the Food Act 2003,” Mr Baldwin said.


25/04/2020 0

Something’s gone badly wrong with teaching

It’s taken an eternity, but the econocrats have finally twigged that the big problem with the nation’s education and training system isn’t its high-cost to budgets, but its failure to provide enough of our youth with the skills they need to get and keep a decent job.
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When the Productivity Commission set out to find a “new policy model” that could “shift the dial” on productivity improvement, the penny dropped. It decided that “if we had to pick just one thing to improve … it must be skills formation”.

That’s because the adoption, use and spread of new technology – the long-run drivers of productivity – require people with the right skills.

As befits its obsession with productivity, the commission doesn’t bother to acknowledge that knowledge is valuable for its own sake. Humans value knowing things about their world.

But the more prosaic role of education and training is to equip people with the skills that help them earn a living.

As economists go, however, the commission’s more broad-minded than most: “There is additional value in improving skills formation – from foundational to advanced – because it gives people better job security, income and job satisfaction.

“These effects are not well measured in the official statistics, but have major implications for prosperity and quality of life more broadly.”

Trouble is, the commission finds our present education and training performance – from schools to vocational education and training, to universities – is falling well short of what it should be.

“A good school system ensures that people have the key foundational skills – numeracy, literacy, analytical skills – and the capacity to learn so that they can easily acquire knowledge throughout their lives,” the commission says.

What shocks me most about our schools’ performance is their high failure rate. Evidence the commission doesn’t quote is the Mitchell Institute’s estimate that 26 per cent of students fail to finish school or a vocational equivalent.

It seems so many kids have been getting behind and dropping out for so long that schools and their teachers have come to accept this as part of the natural order, not as a sign something’s going badly wrong with teaching.

The commission notes that, while the regular testing under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s PISA program shows n school students’ academic achievement is still above the OECD average, our average scientific, reading and mathematical ability is falling in absolute terms.

We have a growing proportion of lower performers and a falling share of high performers. Other evidence shows our rates of participation in year 12 physics and advanced maths fell by about a third between 1992 and 2012.

One of the worst inhibitors to gains in learning is “learner [dis]engagement” – being inattentive, noisy or anti-social. About 40 per cent of our students are involved in such unproductive behaviour.

The commission fears our youth may now be less capable than earlier cohorts. For example, an n 15-year-old in 2015 had a mathematical aptitude equivalent to a 14-year-old in 2000.

“‘s growing group of low performing students will be increasingly exposed to unemployment or low participation in the future world of work,” the commission says.

Its review of the evidence on school performance concludes we need to focus on improving the quality of the teaching workforce and on methods of teaching that have been proved to be more effective.

We’ve gone for decades underpaying teachers relative to other graduates, so we shouldn’t be surprised our brightest people don’t go into teaching.

Many teachers are teaching “out of field” – subjects for which they have no qualifications.

We’ve done too little testing of the effectiveness of different ways of teaching, and too little dissemination of the results of what testing we’ve done. It’s obvious our classroom teaching isn’t as effective as it needs to be, but we’ve done little about it.

The commission has less to say about the failings of VET – vocational education and training – except that it’s a “mess” and still recovering from a “disastrous intervention”.

This was the utterly misguided attempt to drag TAFE into the 21st century, not by doing the hard yards with the teachers union, but by applying the magic answer of “contestability” – allowing private businesses to sell taxpayer-subsidised training for profit. Many rorted the system and cheated students until the government belatedly woke up.

Turning to universities, their performance is also falling short. In 2014, more than 26 per cent of students had not completed their degree within nine years of starting – a significant loss of time, effort and money for the students, as well as taxpayers.

And this is before we see any effect from the leap in uni admissions following Julia Gillard’s (misguided) decision to provide government funding for any students the unis choose to enroll.

The proportion of recent graduates finding full-time employment is falling, with the under-employment rate among recent graduates rising from 9 per cent in 2008 to more than 20 per cent.

But the fact that graduate full-time starting salaries have fallen from 90 per cent of average weekly earnings in 1989 to about 75 per cent in 2015 suggests this has more to do with the weak state of the labour market than with a decline in the quality of degrees.

Which ain’t to say quality hasn’t fallen. More than a quarter of recent graduates in full-time jobs believe their roles are unrelated to their studies, with their degree adding nothing to their employability.

n unis continue to perform poorly on student satisfaction measures relative to unis in Britain and America.

There’s a lot more to the commission’s critique of the unis’ performance, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Sufficient to say the commission has convincingly demonstrated the case for putting the quality of the nation’s teaching at the top of our list of things needing urgent improvement.

Ross Gittins is the Herald’s economics editor. ???


25/04/2020 0

Former MI5 boss warns of new terror frontier

London: A couple of years ago Jonathan Evans was staying at a “ritzy hotel” in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, when he was confronted with an automated toilet seat.
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25/04/2020 0

Social Seen: Sydney gives Melbourne a run for its money on Cup Day

There was no Paris Jackson, Lara Stone or Rekindling, but Sydney certainly gave Melbourne a run for it’s money on Cup Day … and the celebrities were better behaved too.
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Showing that the age-old rivalry between the two cities is alive and well, the Harbour City pulled out all of the stops with socialites turning out in their Sunday best to attend champagne-filled soirees across town.

The Cup Day Festival at Barangaroo put a new meaning to the term “popping bottles” with guests such as former Home and Away actor Lincoln Younes???, Richard Wilkins’ son Christian “The Prince” Wilkins and The Loop presenter Scott Tweedie showing off their best sabrage??? skills in the Mumm VIP Marquee.

At Derby Day, Wilkins was among the best dressed, matching with his boyfriend Andrew Kelly in Alice in Wonderland-themed ensembles (Wilkins as the Mad Hatter and Kelly as the March Hare). He didn’t disappoint on Cup day, either, in an eye-catching, military-style get-up posing for the cameras alongside “influencer” Jayde Heiser.

Helping keep Sydney in high spirits for the race that stops the nation, the waterfront playground was brimming with pop-up eateries, bars, and live entertainment from New Zealand DJs Sweet Mix Kids and DJ Mia Paris, while The Thinkergirls, Stacey June and Kristie Mercer, from KIIS 1065 played host.

Hoping not to go home empty-handed, the radio duo were spotted looking for tips from those in the know.

In the eastern suburbs, the place to be and be seen was Mrs Sippy in Double Bay at the Cup Day Lunch hosted by former Getaway presenter, Laura Csortan.

Well-heeled attendees felt like they were in the midst of the Birdcage, with free-flowing drinks, sweepstakes, a fashions on the field competition, DJs, and live entertainment playing into the early hours of the morning.

Last year’s Bachelorette contestant Courtney Dober was there in a three-piece suit, keeping everyone guessing about whether he will soon show up on Channel Ten’s upcoming spinoff The Bachelor in Paradise. (Unlike former Bachelor contestant Keira Maguire who has kept no one guessing about her starring role by showing off her bikini body prep for weeks on Instagram, including getting regular treatments for a non-invasive “Brazilian butt lift” from Salim Mahajer’s estranged beautician wife, Aysha Learmont).

Not to be outdone, each restaurant at The Star had a bespoke Cup Day menu, while its ambassador and former Miss World Erin Holland judged the best dressed competition with winners taking home lavish prizes including designer handbags, perfumes and beauty packages.

DJ Havana Brown headlined the post-race after-party at Rock Lily.

Away from the track, last Thursday evening Centennial Homestead in the heart of the park was transformed into a swinging garden party to celebrate Bose and Spotify’s collaboration on a portable speaker.

The soiree, hosted by Fleishman, was like a playground for the young at heart with an eye-watering cheese spread, games and bikes to keep revellers entertained as they enjoyed the beats.

???As seen on Sundays in The Sun-Herald’s S magazine.

Do you have a Sydney social event coming up? Email [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au.


25/04/2020 0