Xi Jinping: a man for all committees

Beijing: A beaming portrait of Comrade Xi Jinping dominated The People’s Daily front page, towering over a smaller image of China’s new leadership group of seven men.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The communist party transfers power to a new Politburo Standing Committee twice a decade.

A Chinese president and party general secretary is usually installed just once every ten years.

So five years into the job, this week was the litmus test of Xi’s real power. Entering his second term, it was time to mould an inner circle unfettered by his predecessor, Hu Jintao, and party elder Jiang Zemin.

As the image on the front page of the party’s official mouthpiece faithfully reflected on Thursday, Xi emerged as the strong man.

Breaking with party tradition, he declined to appoint a potential successor to the Standing Committee. Would Xi stay forever?

A party congress of 2200 yes men had a day earlier changed China’s constitution to enshrine ‘Xi Jinping Thought: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’.

Chinese state media encouraged the view this historic development had seen Xi rise to the level of Mao Zedong in the communist pantheon.

Cadres and school children alike would read the Thought as a guide to action.

Xi mapped out this ‘new era’, a 30-year plan for China’s global rise, on its own socialist terms.

US President Donald Trump, from a White House riven by Republican insurrection, congratulated Xi on his “extraordinary elevation”, telling US media “some people might call him the king of China”.

But is China really in the grip of the “cult of Xi”?

Despite predictions that Xi would stack the standing committee with his followers, he respected the faction system.

It was designed in the wake of Mao to introduce intra-party competition in a one-party state.

Two Xi loyalists rose and he dominates, but the weakened Communist Youth League and Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai Gang each kept a seat, replacing retiring faction members with new faces.

These included an economic reformer who once dabbled in grass roots village democracy in Guangdong, Wang Yang, plus the party boss of market-friendly Shanghai, Han Zheng.

(The renewal of the 25-member Politburo, the next rung down, was a bigger sweep, with two-thirds of new faces said to be Xi men).

The appearance of theorist Wang Huning to a frontline political role may hint there is more to the unprecedented rise of Xi than simply a grab for personal power.

Before he disappeared inside the party machine in 1995, to work for three leaders as a political advisor, academic Wang was best known for his theory of “new authoritarianism”.

A strong and unified central party leadership was crucial for Chinese reform, Wang argued.

Wang is Xi’s speech writer, and will oversee propaganda in his new role on the Standing Committee.

Is Xi a brand for centralised party power, easier for a population to rally behind than a collective of seven drab men?

At face value, it is all Xi.

In five years, Xi has amassed power like no other recent Chinese president. The head of the military, party and state, he also chairs myriad “leading groups” on issues ranging from deepening reform to internet security and financial affairs. Premier Li Keqiang has been sidelined.

Last year, Xi became known as “the core” of the party.

The anti-corruption campaign Xi unleashed has chased the powerful and wealthy across the globe.

The toppling of Sun Zhengcai, party boss of Chongqing and Politburo member, by corruption investigators ahead of the 19th Congress smashed the party succession system. Sun, 54, is said to have been earmarked by Jiang as a future leader.

Sun’s expulsion from the party was announced just weeks before the Congress opened, while allegations he had plotted to bring down the party were aired as it met.

The timing is illustrative of how the anti-corruption campaign, which has undoubtedly been effective in changing China’s business and political culture, has also been wielded as a political tool.

The scale of “inspections” is vast – 1.5 million Party members, including 43 members of the Central Committee

The biggest scalps, including the former security and justice ministers, are frequently cited in state media to “scare the monkeys”.

Under Xi, the voices for liberal reform in China have been severely weakened. Hundreds of human rights lawyers were detained in 2015, new curbs placed on foreign non-government organisations in 2016, and China’s decades-long high-tech battle against freedom of speech on the internet and social media continued.

Tougher media censorship was highlighted when five major British and American media outlets were barred from entering Xi’s press conference to unveil the Standing Committee.

But China watchers who examine party journals have in recent months dispelled the idea of any personality cult of Xi.

In contrast to the party organ People’s Daily, city newspaper Beijing News ran the group leadership photo on its front page.

The truth of Chinese power, where decisions are made behind closed doors, can be hard to discern from the theatre.

At congress press conferences, vice ministers and provincial party chiefs sang Xi’s praise, outlining how they would abide by his Thought.

Xi was undoubtedly delivered a mandate on key policies, including military reform. It was explicitly written into the constitution that the Communist Party held absolute leadership over the People’s Liberation Army.

Xi’s key message in his congress speech was that China could only modernise with the communist party leading it.

Internationally, the political message was don’t expect a rising China to adopt western democratic reform.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has often called for China to commit to the “rules-based international order”, diplomatic language rolled out by US allies displeased by Chinese island building in the contested South China Sea.

Xi said China wants an increasing say on how the global governance rules are set.

Xi is the party’s front man into the future.

It has been pointed out the risk of this new style of dominant leader is that should things turned pear shaped for China, it will be Xi that takes the fall.

Continue reading »

Shareholders want power to ‘escalate’ issues

A group representing some of the nation’s biggest superannuation funds says shareholders need greater powers to ensure their concerns are heard at company AGMs – including on environmental and social issues.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The n Council of Superannuation Investors, which represents super funds and institutions managing $1.6 trillion in assets, wants shareholders to have the ability to put non-binding, advisory resolutions on the agendas of company AGMs – a move it says would allow shareholders to “escalate” environmental, social or governance (ESG) issues when companies had otherwise failed to act on investor concerns.

It says the system governing so-called “shareholder resolutions” in is flawed, restricts shareholder rights and lags behind the regimes in Britain and the US.

Shareholder resolutions are in the spotlight this AGM season, with non-government-organisations (NGOs) like Market Forces and the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility lodging a series of social or environmental-related items at companies including Santos, Woolworths and BHP.

The bulk of resolutions put to shareholders at company meetings are proposed and endorsed by boards, but groups of 100 or more shareholders – or shareholders owning at least 5 per cent of the company – can put forward their own resolutions.

But such resolutions must not venture into areas that involve management of the company, regarded as the domain of boards, not shareholders.

To get around this, the resolutions often first propose a change to companies’ constitutions – requiring a near-impossible hurdle of 75 per cent shareholder approval. Such resolutions have proved unpopular with many investors who are reluctant to vote in favour of constitutional change, even if they support the subject of the resolution itself.

Under ACSI’s proposed reform, a non-binding, advisory resolution could be passed with just 50 per cent shareholder support, but would still require the backing of at least 100 or more shareholders – or shareholders owning at least 5 per cent of the company’s issued capital – before it could be put to other investors.

n shareholders already have the power to lodge a protest vote on director and executive pay through the two-strikes policy, which triggers a resolution on a board spill if more than 25 per cent of shareholders vote against a company’s remuneration report two years in a row.

Shareholders in Britain and the US have broader powers to propose non-binding resolutions, although in the US, at the company’s request, they can be subject to a lengthy “informal review” by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the UK, courts have the power to block resolutions deemed “vexatious, frivolous or defamatory”. Active ownership

Shareholder resolutions are usually opposed by companies’ boards, and attract very small shareholder votes in their favour.

But they also attract attention to the issue at hand, for example with the ACCR’s resolution regarding BHP’s membership of the Minerals Council.

Some institutional investors say they find the resolutions helpful, because they make it easier to discuss ESG issues with company boards. But some directors argue that they can divert board resources, ignore efforts companies have already made on ESG issues and can push agendas that are – as stated by several companies in response to the resolutions – not in the interests of shareholders as a whole.

As part of its research, ACSI interviewed 20 big investors from and overseas, and studied the regimes governing shareholder resolutions in Britain and the US, where resolutions are much more common.

ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson said there was “clear consensus” among investors of the need for reform, with the current system “[making] it very difficult to consider a resolution on its merits, because you are having to think about whether you want to change the constitution of the company to accommodate it.”

Ms Davidson said that – rather than investors considering such changes on a company-by-company basis – “it ought to be a market-wide reform”.

Currently, she said, shareholders left unhappy about certain issues were left with the “blunt instrument” of voting against the re-election of company directors, an action which many investors were reluctant to take – especially if they were otherwise happy with the direction of the company.

She said n shareholders needed a better way to express concerns about ESG issues.

After considering other options, ACSI recommended a non-binding vote because it was considered a “good fit” with ‘s corporate culture, where – unlike in the US – boards are more willing to discuss issues directly with investors.

A spokesman for financial services minister Kelly O’Dwyer said the government was aware of ACSI’s report and would consider its recommendations in due course. This would include “whether further legislative reform of the Corporations Act is warranted”.

“Ensuring that public companies are accountable to their shareholders is crucial, and shareholders play a critical role as a check on good governance,” he said. Proxy support

Brynn O’Brien, executive director of the ACCR, backed ACSI’s proposal. “This is a missing part of the corporate governance landscape in ,” she said.

ACSI’s plan also had the measured backing of at least two of the nation’s influential proxy advice groups, who guide institutional investors on how to vote at company meetings.

Ownership Matters principal Dean Paatsch said there was merit in “tweaking” the system to allow shareholder feedback on non-financial risks, given it was “very difficult” to support constitutional amendments.

“They can bind the board in perpetuity and create an avenue for future litigation,” he said.

But he cautioned that any changes to the current system should come with “some sensible rules around what resolutions can be put to shareholders”.

Daniel Smith, general manager at CGI Glass Lewis, said his firm supported non-binding resolutions in principle, but believed an independent third party – such as the n Securities and Investments Commission – should have the power to review resolutions.

“We are also supportive of giving shareholders the right to an annual non-binding vote on a sustainability report,” he said. “Such instruments could give shareholders additional meaningful tools of communication to boards, without going down the rabbit hole of attempting to direct the company.”

This year, CGI Glass Lewis recommended in support of Market Forces’ shareholder resolution at the Santos annual meeting, which called on the company to improve its disclosure of climate change risk. The resolution attracted 5.2 per cent of votes in favour.

The n Institute of Company Directors said it was still considering the report, but said it was a “thoughtful contribution” to the debate.

“Mechanisms that can enhance governance frameworks, without diverting corporate resources into self-interested causes, are worthy of discussion,” said AICD general manager advocacy Louise Petschler.

???

Continue reading »

Packer backs the right horse: himself

The big man was back. James Packer fronted his first Crown Resorts AGM in years, and was in vintage form with a sledge for MP Andrew Wilkie over the allegations about the casino operator’s poker machine practices.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

There was also a mea culpa of sorts over the failed overseas bet – which still made the company billions.

And, most importantly, Packer single-handedly fended off a massive vote against the company’s remuneration report.

The latter is a feat he will not be able to repeat next year.

Packer was able to pull off the face-saving act this year due to a quirk in the timing of his appointment to the board: The remuneration report relates to the previous financial year, when Packer was not on the board.

He is now on the board, of course, and will not be able to vote on the remuneration report while this remains the case.

For the record, Crown reported that the vote on the remuneration report passed comfortably: 456 million shares voted for the resolution, 97 million against.

The decisive factor was Packer’s 342 million shares. Without it, Crown would have been struck with a massive first strike – 46 per cent of voting shares going against the resolution.

“There have been no material changes to the company’s remuneration policy during the year and ASA will again be opposing the resolution,” said the n Shareholders Association ahead of the meeting.

It means that unless Packer and his loyal lieutenant John Alexander – Crown’s executive chairman – make nice with their fellow shareholders on the issue of executive pay, it will be back to the “farcical” days of old.

Who can forget Packer railing in 2011 against the fact he could not vote his stake on the issue despite drawing no pay from the company.

Not that Packer’s fellow directors have to worry about two strikes that would trigger a spill of the board.

“If that happens, I will use my votes to ensure all directors are voted back in immediately,” Packer said when the company was previously hit with a strike. Mum’s the word

Packer had enough time to delve into other pet hates like political donations. He said he wished there was a zero dollar limit on political donations, “so then people couldn’t ask” him for anything.

When asked about his mum, Ros Packer’s donation to the Liberal Party, he said, “I can’t control my mother, can you control your mother?”

He’s got a point there. Pollie waffle

Speaking of politicians, the latest walloping from Packer would be no surprise to Andrew Wilkie who came to the billionaire’s attention in 2010 when he held the balance of power in government and struck a deal with Julia Gillard to tighten controls on poker machines.

The following year Packer took him on a tour of Crown Melbourne and Wilkie recounted the experience to Good Weekend.

“The point was made repeatedly about what a responsible enterprise it was,” remembers Wilkie, who felt grateful that Packer had taken the time to show him around.

The tour ended in a conference room with Packer remarking on how pleasant the visit had been.

“Then he leaned across the table, got his face quite close to mine, and said something along the lines of, ‘We wouldn’t want the next meeting to be an unpleasant meeting, would we?’???”

Wilkie commented: “I just thought it was interesting that there was this one little moment when I got to look into his heart and soul and see another James Packer – a man prepared to use his political muscle, his financial clout, to get what he wants.”

The following year, Packer lobbed his proposal to build a casino in Sydney, sweeping aside any opposition in a breathtaking manner. Medcraft, out

Retiring ASIC boss Greg Medcraft took Senate Estimates for the last time on Thursday.

And it was an affair heavy on the well wishing.

The love-in even extended to John ‘Wacka’ Williams who thanked Medcraft, and was himself thanked by Medcraft.

It was a far cry from the often icy relations between the regulator and the Nationals senator who did not always see eye to eye on its policing of our big banks.

Part of Medcraft’s swansong also included a reversal of his now famed ” is a paradise for white-collar criminals” line.

It is a line that ASIC tried to “clarify” despite the comment being made to a room of business journalists.

Now Medcraft has officially reversed the ferret.

“We want to be a hell hole for white-collar criminals – to put it the other way!,” Mr Medcraft said chuckling.

We all do, Greg, we all do.

Follow CBD on Twitter. Got a tip? [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

Continue reading »

A-League: Topor-Stanley expects little to change at old club Wanderers

High alert: Jets stopper Nikolai Topor-Stanley is looking forward to taking on his former club Western Sydney. Picture: Darren Pateman AAP TOWERING Jets stopper Nikolai Topor-Stanley admits he didn’t know what being a professional footballer meant before he joined Western Sydney Wanderers.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

For four years, Wandererscoach tony Popovic drilled home the importance of preparation, planning and physical condition.

Topor-Stanley does not expect Wanderers to be any different now they are under the control of Popovic’s former lieutenant Hayden Foxe.

“It would be pretty hard to change the principles Poppa brought to that club overnight,” Topor-Stanley said.

Nor does Topor-Stanley believe a draining schedule will be a concern for Wanderers when they take on the Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

Wanderers gave up a 2-0 lead to draw 2-all with Sydney in a pulsating Sydney derby last Saturday, before going down 2-1 to Adelaide in the FFA Cup semi-final at Campbelltown on Tuesday.

“Knowing Poppa, he would have had them drilled a long time before this to be ready,” he said of the former coach, who left Wanderers on the eve of the season to join Turkish club Karabükspor.“He plans far, far ahead. The one thing I learned from him is that he would have them ready. I Don’t think that will cause a ripple in that team.”

Popovic’s exitis not the only change at Wanderers.

The arrival of former La Liga duo Oriol Riera and Alvaro Cejudo and Dutch No.10 Roly Bonevacia have added a new dimension to their attack.

“They have recruited well, especially in the attacking roles,” Topor-Stanley said. “TheSpanish players, especially their striker, havebeen in a rich vein of form. We will have our hands full.”

Wanderers have scored two goals in each of the opening three rounds and, like the Jets, are unbeaten.

Asked what the key was to stoppingWanderers, Topor-Stanley said: “IfI knew the answer to how to shut down opposition squads, I would have the golden ticket.Ernie has flagged that he is not to happy with us conceding goals every game. As a defender I am not too happy about that either, but we are still winning. We can’t take away from our attacking players who are winning us games.I think, without it sounding too cliche, it is about us focusing on what we have been doing well.”

What the Jets are “doing well” is scoring goals. They have netted nine in three games, three more than the next best, with Roy O’Donovan grabbing five.

However, they will be without marquee midfielder Ronny Vargas, who faces a long stint on the sideline after breaking his left ankle in a 2-1 win over Brisbane.

“Mentally, without dismissing it, we haveto focus on our job,” Topor-Stanley said. “That is what he would want us to do.”

Continue reading »

‘Bezos can be mayor’: Amazon has been offered its own city

Amazon苏州夜总会招聘 is receiving offers of billions of dollars in tax breaks and other perks from cities and states across North America that are participating in a company contest to pick a location for its second headquarters.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Elected officials are eager for the more than $US5 billion ($6.3 billion) investment by Amazon and up to 50,000 new jobs that will come with “HQ2.”

For its second campus, Amazon wants a metropolitan area of more than a million people with good education, mass transit and likely lower costs than its home base in Seattle.

Amazon said it had received some 238 proposals from various places, with a decision to be announced next year.

“There is no better place to do business than Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an October 13 letter to Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, seen by Reuters.

New Jersey proposed $US7 billion in potential credits against state and city taxes if Amazon locates in Newark and sticks to hiring commitments, according to a news release from the governor’s office earlier this week.

A report from the California governor’s office seen by Reuters said Amazon could claim some $US300 million, and on Thursday a state assemblyman announced plans to introduce legislation in 2018 that could offer Amazon $US1 billion in tax breaks over the next decade.

And in a far different proposal, the mayor of the Atlanta suburb of Stonecrest, Jason Lary, said his city would use 345 acres of industrial land to create a new city called Amazon. Bezos would be its mayor for life, Lary said.

“Jeff Bezos can be the mayor, CEO, king, whatever they want to call it,” Lary told CNBC television. “He’ll be the first person to actually have a corporate city.”

Amazon’s need to compete for tech talent with Silicon Valley companies such as Google likely places the HQ2 prize out of reach for some smaller cities.

Moody’s Analytics has ranked Austin, the headquarters of Amazon’s subsidiary Whole Foods, as the favourite.

“The cities I talked (to) all know they are being taken and resent it,” said urban studies expert Richard Florida, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute. However, cities expect some indirect benefits from the contest, such as closer ties to state and regional officials, he said. Harsh words

Since its beginnings as an online bookseller in 1994, Amazon has had a savvy approach to taxes, collecting no sales tax for many purchases until recent years, and now pitting governments against each other to win tax breaks.

In some cases, the contest has gotten heated.

New Hampshire warned Amazon not to choose nearby Boston, saying in a report posted online: “When you leave your tiny $US4000-a-month apartment only to sit in two hours of traffic trying to make your way to an overburdened airport, you’ll be wishing you were in New Hampshire.”

Milwaukee’s bid touted its proximity to Chicago, a nearby competitor, arguing that Amazon could tap that city’s workforce and amenities while avoiding its congestion and high costs of living.

“We consider Chicago one of our finest suburbs,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Many governments have declined to discuss the tax packages they are offering for fear of tipping off rivals.

The bid by Austin is confidential, a chamber of commerce official told Reuters. Missouri’s economic development department said the state had a non-disclosure agreement with Amazon.

St Louis, Missouri received the most Twitter mentions related to HQ2 over the last two weeks – more than 1,300 – according to social media monitoring company Brandwatch. Boston and Chicago were next.

Other candidates have simply taken the opportunity to market themselves.

“Hey Amazon, we need to talk,” ran an ad for Little Rock, Arkansas in the Bezos-owned Washington Post on Thursday. “We’re happy knowing that many great companies find our natural good looks coupled with our brains for business irresistible.

“You’ll find what you’re looking for. But it’s just not us,” the ad read.

Reuters

Continue reading »

Female aged care worker charged with assaulting woman, 85

A worker at an aged care facility in Sydney’s north west is facing charges after allegedly assaulting an 85-year-old resident.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

NSW police allege a 58-year-old female employee at an Estia Health aged care facility in North Epping entered the elderly woman’s room and assaulted her on August 22.

The employee was arrested at Ryde Police Station on Thursday morning and charged with four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and five counts of common assault.

She was granted conditional bail and is scheduled to appear before Burwood Local Court on November 2.

Estia Health confirmed the woman’s arrest in a statement, saying the alleged assault was promptly reported to authorities.

“Estia does not tolerate behaviour of the kind that has been alleged under any circumstances and terminated the employment of the staff member,” Estia chief executive Norah Barlow said.

“Our response to the allegation was handled as it should be – quickly, sensitively, and within the legal framework.”

The aged care sector has been under the spotlight following a series of media expos??s about horrific abuse and neglect in residential facilities.

On Wednesday, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt told the National Press Club the current system has “let us down”.

He announced a stricter auditing regime, saying facilities would be subject to surprise spot-checks instead of the current system in which checks are advised well in advance.

The announcement comes after an investigation into how an aged care facility in South received full accreditation from the n Aged Care Quality Agency despite shocking mistreatment of residents, including a sexual assault by an employee and a murder by a resident.

Federal government figures show the Department of Health received 2,862 notifications of reportable assaults in aged care facilities in 2015-16.

Of these, 2,422 were recorded as alleged or suspected unreasonable use of force, 396 as alleged or suspected unlawful sexual contact and 44 as both.

Continue reading »

‘Dishonest, awful’: Alec Baldwin lashes film critic

Alec Baldwin’s treatment of a film critic has left some wondering whether it was the Emmy award-winning actor or his Donald Trump impersonation in charge of his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The Saturday Night Live star has gone on an epic rant against a writer for US pop culture site Decider, with some going as far as to label the online tirade sexist.

In a series of now-deleted tweets sent from his charity’s account, Baldwin called Kayla Cobb a “dreadful writer” because of a piece she’d written about his 2013 documentary with James Toback. Cobb wrote that Seduced and Abandoned now carries “sinister implications” thanks to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the fact Toback has been accused of sexual harassment by more than 200 women.

“I cheered when Gawker lost its case to Hulk [Hogan],” Baldwin wrote. “So, of course The Decider wants to tar me with the Toback brush. Kayla Cobb, you are a dreadful writer.”

The Decider is owned by News Corp and has no affiliation to the now-defunct gossip website Gawker. When Cobb replied to Baldwin’s tweet and provided her email in case he would like to make a statement about Toback, the television personality fired back.

“I would send you an email, on any subject, if you weren’t such a dishonest, awful writer,” he said.

“Is that a ‘No comment’ on Toback?” Cobb asked.

“Why don’t you let prosecutors and real journalists investigate such cases and you stick to divorces and plastic surgery,” the 30 Rock star replied.

Baldwin’s behaviour has been slammed as rude and sexist, leading him to tweet from his personal account: “Liberal assholes are worse than conservative assholes.” Mr. Baldwin has blocked me, but he is also sending me tweets I can’t see. Reminder: I’m a TV critic and this is over a documentary from 2013 pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/akH0TtRehm??? Kayla Cobb (@KaylCobb) October 26, 2017Liberal assholes are worse than conservative assholes.??? AlecBaldwin (@AlecBaldwin) October 26, 2017

Continue reading »

Jane Harper wins Britain’s top crime-writing award

It’s an award that has been won by writers such as Ruth Rendell, Patricia Cornwell, Val McDermid, Henning Mankell, and John le Carre.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Now Jane Harper has become the third n after Peter Temple and Michael Robotham to win the British Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger award for the best crime novel of the year.

Harper won for her first novel, The Dry, which was published in in 2016, having the year before won the Victorian Premier’s award for an unpublished manuscript. It was named book of the year in the n book industry awards in May and has been published in more than 20 countries. When reviewed in The New York Times, Janet Maslin described The Dry as a “breathless page-turner”, while Laura Wilson in Britain’s Guardian said it had “a sense of place so vivid that you can almost feel the blistering heat”.

Harper, who lives in St Kilda, said it was exciting to be recognised by the CWA and not something she expected. “It is the big one. I remember when Michael Robotham won thinking how amazing it was for him and how well-deserved.” She said the book had exceeded her expectations again and again.

The Dry is set in a small farming town where a man has killed his family and himself. When detective Aaron Falk returns to the community for the funeral of his old friend he eventually realises things are not quite what they seem.

Harper’s attention in the past few weeks has been on promoting her second Aaron Falk book, Force of Nature, which was published in September. It will be published in Britain and the US in February.

The Dry has been optioned for the screen by Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea’s production company, with Harry Cripps writing the script. At the recent Emmy awards ceremony, Papandrea said filming could start as early as next year.

Meanwhile, Harper said her third book “was at the planning stage”.

Continue reading »

The foodies’ pot of gold at the end of the Great Ocean Road

There’s a chance you missed the biggest news ever to hit the tiny Victorian town of Port Fairy. In 2012 the seaside village, with its whalers’ cottages, red-doored lighthouse and jaunty little fishing fleet, was voted the Most Liveable Town (population under 20,000) in the world. Yes, the world. There’s a sign declaring it as you drive into this hamlet at the end of the Great Ocean Road, also known for its folk festival and, more recently, its food.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Having holidayed there for more than a decade, I can attest that the peak of its liveability comes in October through to April, when the winds whip far less frigidly up from the Antarctic. The months when, armed with a fishing licence purchased from the local newsagent, you can take a rubber dinghy out to nearby bays and inlets and pluck black-lip abalone from the rocks. Through extensive trial and error, we’ve learnt that the best way to cook them is to slice them into slimy slivers and throw them onto a smoking barbecue.

For a less hands-on but even more divine way to eat them, head to Fen. With two hats in the just-released 2018 Good Food Guide, the restaurant is run by Ryan and Kirstyn Sessions out of a 19th-century sandstone pub in the centre of Port Fairy.

From a miniature kitchen, Ryan Sessions produces one of this country’s great abalone dishes: shaved slices of the meat, flecked with roasted sea lettuce and fanned out over smoked eel and shiitake. With a focus on native produce, Fen is an exemplar of the trend that some of the most exciting eating in right now is happening in regional areas. It’s done a lot to plant a flag for Port Fairy as a food-lover’s destination over the past five years.

Last year, well-credentialled chef Matthew Dempsey – who owns the one-hatted Tulip in Geelong – opened Conlan’s Wine Store in a former Port Fairy solicitor’s office. He pours local wines alongside snacks like saganaki, watermelon and pine nuts, and mussels with corn, coriander and red onion.

Families should head straight to Coffin Sally, where big-city cocktails get shaken at a candlelit bar while pizzas are slung in a barnyard-style dining room strewn with animal skulls. Pizzas, like the Buffalo Sally with cherry tomato and basil, are made using Shaw River mozzarella from a buffalo farm in the neighbouring town of Yambuk.

We know when our favourite coffee place is open because the old-school yellow bike is parked out the front of its hidden laneway location. The Farmer’s Wife brews an excellent flat white and bakes an even better oozing chocolate brownie to go with it.

Saturdays for us mean an early trip to the weekly market to load up on local produce like garlic and spuds (this is an Irish-settled region with rich, volcanic soil perfect for potato growing). But if you’re staying at the town’s award-winning boutique lodgings, Drift House, you’ll probably opt instead to lie in. If you’ve snared an upstairs room, you’ll be able to admire views to the Moyne River through the town’s trademark, heritage-listed Norfolk Island pines.

Drift House is a kid-free zone, so families are better off renting one of the many bluestone cottages with their rambling gardens and memories of the whalers and seal hunters who settled here 180 years ago.

Ardyn Bernoth is national Good Food Editor. ROAD TRIP: PORT FAIRY

The car

All-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coup?? and Cabriolet. Two doors. Dual 12.3-inch widescreen cockpit. Cutting-edge driver assistance systems. AMG styling package.

Taking on the Great Ocean Road with the Mercedes E-Class. Photo: Supplied

???The accommodation

Drift House(03) 5568 3309; from $395 per night

Self-contained Cottages

The food and wine

Fen (03) 5568 3229

Conlan’s Wine Store (03) 5568 2582

Coffin Sally (03) 5568 2618

The Farmer’s Wife (03) 5568 2843

Fen’s famous abalone dish. Photo: Supplied

Ardyn Bernoth travelled to Port Fairy in a car loaned by Mercedes-Benz.

Continue reading »

FLASHBACK: Halloween in the HunterYOUR PHOTOS

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Halloween in the Hunter Dakota from Largs
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Picture: Emma Mclean

Brad Dixon – Lots of Trick or Treaters in Aberglasslyn

Picture: Zareena Choudry

BOO: This is my daughter dressed as a witch just before going to Cessnock ex services Halloween party

Picture: Lucinda Fairfull

Picture: Wayne Hammond

Picture: Corks Jowsey

Picture: Joeleen Monck

Picture: Tarn Nash-Solman

Picture: Kyle Sharp

Picture: Kayla Lee Marlene Dyer

Picture: Kristel Edwards

Picture: Emma Davies Mikayla Ryan

Picture: Katrina Potts

Picture: Emilyscott Aspro

Picture: Anita Porter – Metford

Picture: Peta-jayne Waugh

Picture: Erin Jackson

Picture: Alyce Dark

Picture: Rachel Edwards

Picture: Candice Preece

Picture: Amy Saunders

Picture: Haley Lantry

Picture: Leanne York

Picture: Peta-jayne Waugh

Picture: Megan Carter

Picture: Candice Preece

Picture: Melissa Attwood

Picture: Melissa Attwood

Picture: Melissa Attwood

Picture: Melissa Attwood

Picture: Amanda Attenborough

Picture: Callie Bercini

Picture: Christine Vaisey Louis

Picture: Jillian Kenyon

Picture: Jillian Kenyon

Picture: Tara Jade Cikan

Picture: Jillian Kenyon

Picture: Dimity Dever

Picture: Tash Burton

Picture: Emilyscott Aspro

Picture: Emilyscott Aspro

Picture: Joeleen Monck

Picture: Casey Smith

Picture: Abigael and Morgan

INSTA @amberhope1 Halloween was pretty fabulous ! #spookyslutz

Picture: Emma Norman

Picture: Ron Ferguson

BOO: Halloween at Coalfields Horse Riding Club, Stanford Merthyr Kurri Kurri.

BOO: Halloween at Coalfields Horse Riding Club, Stanford Merthyr Kurri Kurri.

PHOTO: Jakana Bennett

INSTA: @lusciouslib BOO… 👻🕸🎃🔮⚰️ 😍 these kids #halloween

CREEPY: Clover dressed as devil goat on the porch looking out for trick or treaters..Kids that came got to open Clovers haybox and get chocolates plus a special trick or treat. Picture: Shannon

INSTA: @kirbie1408 Bbbbbrrrrrraaaaaiiiiinnnnnsssss. #eodhalloween

INSTA: @beermeetsgirl Maria. #eclipse #twilight #halloween2016 #dressupfun #jaspersmaker #bloodredeyes

INSTA: @nahwan_05 Scary enough ⁉️ . #halloween #nightlife

INSTA: @3li_bigg3rstaff Super smash bros ft Sheremy 😵🔥 #mario #luigi #smashbros #trunkortreat #halloween #caesarcrew #tubby

INSTA: @lil__lil__ this would be how much work we did on Friday night #hollaweenatwork #workinghard #whatevenisdressup #dean #backbaristhebestbar

INSTA: @mystichippiegiftsandhealing Celebrating Halloween – witch readings available today #readings #mediumship #psychic #halloween

Brady & Jess

PHOTO: Nic Holstein

PHOTO: Jillian Kenyon

PHOTO: Tanika Neate

PHOTO: Samantha Watkins

PHOTO: Nic Holstein

PHOTO: Nic Holstein

PHOTO: Aleisha Kostyk

Jacqualine Williams Brooker

Emily Brooker & Hailey from Rutherford

Tyler Reading, Jorja Reading, Jimmy Reading, Zaik Avery, Ziva Avery and Billy Threadgate all of Rutherford

PHOTO: Shelbea Riley

PHOTO: Alana Roulston

PHOTO: Alana Roulston

PHOTO: Alana Roulston

PHOTO: Tanya Rixon

PHOTO: Jakana Bennett

East Maitland Dance Headquarters kids Trick or Treating through Metford

PHOTO: Kimberly Johnson

PHOTO: Kimberly Johnson

PHOTO: Kimberly Johnson

PHOTO: Jodie Webb

PHOTO: Lotus Flower

PHOTO: Lotus Flower

PHOTO: Stacey Hipwell Mua

PHOTO: Cara-Jane Jones

PHOTO: Eden Hamon

PHOTO: Alana Henry

PHOTO: Alana Henry

INSTA @becdymmakeup 🎃👻💀 #halloweenmakeup #makeupporn #ilovemakeup #skull #skullmakeup #creativemakeup #mua #newcastlensw #lovemymakeup

INSTA @coreygeoghegan Great people, Great costumes

INSTA @phoenix_mustaq Happy Halloween 🎃 #happyhalloween #halloweenVI #vampiresally #sallyfromAHS #sallyfromahshotel

INSTA @emilyharden Halloween circa 2013 🔪🎃

INSTA @thewaywardhenrys Happy Halloween 👻🎃🍭 #thewaywardhenrys #halloween #halloweencostume #help #choplookslikeazombieaxemurderererryday

INSTA @chrissyb_xx #dayofthedead @barcitonewcastle @lisaraisingmoney

INSTA @reidyyy_93 Day of the dead celebrations ✨🎃💀🎃💀✨ #barcito #drank @hannahback

INSTA @theluckyhotel Happy Halloween!!! #theluckyhotel #halloween

INSTA @tianebrooks_ The Lucky Hotel Freakshow

INSTA @jessy_kennedy Halloween 2.0 with my husband 🦄

INSTA @georgi_phoenix_taylor When the fire starts to burn 🔥 MUA• @megggde • @southern_deadly_sins

INSTA @lmallder Put a lot of effort into my costume this year👻 #boo #bestdressed #beerpongchamps #happyhalloween

INSTA @lydiaseymour_ Dead gals #halloween #houseparty

INSTA @lucinda_victoria_ Halloween at the G, what a night.👻👭 😈 #halloween #kittycat #purr

INSTA @bek_pixie Tonight I got to perform with my soul sister. Happy Halloween round 2! @southern_deadly_sins @southern_fire_entertainment @georgi_phoenix_taylor #performance #thegateway #fire #fireartist #firedancer #poi #dancer #halloween #newcastle #newcastlensw

INSTA @andy.eklund I haven’t worn a Halloween costume in 30 years, but I couldn’t say no to a certain 7-year-old. #halloween #halloweenparty #beard

INSTA @kelssweaver Halloween was lit 💯😈 #hoesbelike #fam

INSTA @lydiaseymour_ Happy Halloween!!! #houseparty

INSTA @meli__07_ ❤ #halloween #girls #australia #newcastle #studentlife

INSTA @thaladytara Getting Halloween ON with Lil man Jett Tanner #allhallowseve #madsteez

INSTA @cinakuras Freakin’ out

INSTA @tarleyridgeway A serial killer and sonic walk into a bar…

INSTA @dakotaleew Halloween party with the girls😈 #girlsnightout #girlsnight #halloween #halloweencostume #party #burlesque #vampire #dontbeafraid #justsmile #appreciatethickthighs #thighhighstockings #corset #fangs #truebloodlove #pinup #inked #inkedgirls #girlswithtattoos #girlswholift #crossfitgirls #blood #bunny #queenofhearts #lovemyhashtags

INSTA @chrissor82 Couldn’t not walk out of spotlight without my free face painting…..happy early Halloween. #facepaint #skulls #skullncrossbones #newcastle #earlyhalloween #loveit

INSTA @notskeye ‘Twas a bloody good night

INSTA @cobyburkill Happy Halloween! 💀👻🎃 #Halloween #halloweenmakeup #zombie

INSTA @amyjanedreadz 🎃⛏☠🍎🔪⚰❤️

INSTA @paul_dear All Hallows’ Evening 2016 #nofilter #availablelight #tigheshill #halloween2016

INSTA @imprettysureiaskedforanicetea You can’t say I didn’t dress up @openmicatthehamo

INSTA @mahachalkalot #halloweensquad

INSTA @liveimmediately Nine lives. #liveimmediately #halloween

INSTA @poppystarr happy halloween 💉 still look the same

INSTA @bronx666 “It’s Halloween everyday at our house” costume number 3 my little pumpkin head 🎃

INSTA @kirramcintyre Happy Halloween Bitches

INSTA @misslilly2301 Halloween fun #sweettreat #toomanylollies #whatsthedentistsphonenumber #hypoforaweek #stirlypops

INSTA @katw39 Having a beer with this lovely lady! #halloweenmakeup #friends #thisisliving #mondaynights #beertime

INSTA @stallisonjane Trick or treat peeps 🎃👻🕷🕸🎃 @laralupish #trickortreat #maxsugar #notsureilikeit 😆

INSTA @everyone_loves_lexi Happy Halloween!!!! 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

INSTA @grohlite Look out, Newcastle! #halloween2016

INSTA @biancaboulton Sleeping beauty 👸🏼 #trickortreat

INSTA @liveimmediately Now let’s go and get that sugar high. #liveimmediately #halloween

INSTA @coreygeoghegan Great people, Great costumes 👻

INSTA @rebeccamdonaldson Glitter on my eyes, stockings ripped all up the side #idol

INSTA @mod_modthai

INSTA @will_guihot94 Trick or treat 🎃💀🍬🍭 #Halloween @elizajane.ross @saundersmick

INSTA @ianmanson81 Happy Halloween

INSTA @brentmailman These kids are playing their cards right! #halloween #trickortreat

TweetFacebook Hunter HalloweenBoo! It is almost Halloween time in the Hunter.

Trick or treaters are ready for a frightening time wanderingthrough the streets looking for Halloween candy. There are also ghoulish weekend festivities across the region.

Are you throwing a Halloween party this year? Does your street participate in this American holiday about all things that go bump in the night?

Tell us about your Halloween and send you photos [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

Photos will be added to the 2017 Halloween in Hunter photo gallery.

In the meantime, take a look at the archives.

Please make sure you have permission from everyone in the photo before sending in pictures.

Continue reading »

Leaking through the AFP sieve

Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash during a Senate estimates hearing at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 26 October 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The silliest joke in the Michaelia Cash leaking affair is the idea that the n Federal Police should investigate how information about its raids on n Workers’ Union offices found its way to the media 30 minutes or more before the warrants were executed.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Tipping off selected journalists in advance of a big operation is a key part of the AFP’s modus operandi. It is by no means clear, yet, that the media leaks do not have AFP fingerprints all over it. Both the AFP Commissioner, Andrew Colvin, and the AFP national media office rejected two clear invitations from me on Thursday night to publicly deny any AFP involvement in the leaks.

The media office responded that because the “unauthorised disclosure” was under investigation, the AFP would make no further comment on the matter. (It is also a part of the AFP’s media modus operandi to claim that operational or sub judice considerations prevent it from discussing anything damaging to the force’s image. Such considerations never inhibit the AFP if it expects good publicity from trusted journalists.)

Colvin also said he noted that AFP success depended on public confidence in the force and its leaders. Commentary and innuendo this week had impugned the force’s independence and the ability of its members to carry out their work objectively and without political interference, he said.

The AFP “undertakes its activities without fear or favour. The AFP rejects in the strongest terms any suggestion to the contrary. The AFP makes all its operational decisions independently, based on experience, operational priorities and the law. The AFP’s primary obligations are to ensure the safety and security of the n community and enforce the rule of law. The AFP prides itself on its independence and integrity, and has a proven track record of these values while operating under the remit of eight individual prime ministers and their governments since it was founded in 1979.”

Colvin seemed rather sensitive given that the Labor Party, which, with the AWU, was the intended target of the AFP raids, went out of its way to avoid criticising the AFP and to avoid suggesting that it was behaving, as it normally does, as a lapdog of the government of the day. Labor had Michaelia Cash and Malcolm Turnbull in its sights, and had no desire to start an unnecessary brushfire with the AFP. So instead of reproaches for the over-the-top way in which the AFP responded to the call for help from the Registered Organisations Commission, ALP statements gave ritual praise to AFP integrity, suggesting darkly that the operation was compromised by the malign acts of a minister’s office.

Experienced ALP operators do not believe that for a second. Labor has not been so long out of power that it forgets how assiduously the AFP serves ministers and their political needs. The AFP behaves like a government department, not as an independent entity. Mutual dependence is fostered by close scrutiny of budgets and priorities, by regular briefings of ministers in the AFP feeding chain, and by a studied reluctance of senior police officers to investigate any matter likely to embarrass the government of the day, or, if embarrassed into a token investigation, to take it to any sort of conclusion.

Nor did many journalists hint at AFP involvement. That may damage the supply of golden eggs.

In the 38 years since the AFP was founded, I can think of only one task it took up that caused any problems or embarrassment to government. That was the investigation and prosecution of Liberal renegade and (Labor-appointed) speaker Peter Slipper for alleged rorts of travel expenses. No doubt the investigation was exhaustive and completely professional; it failed, however, to result in a conviction. By the time Slipper was investigated and prosecuted, he was, in any event, a liability to the Gillard government, and it is unlikely that anyone would have regarded the AFP as being particularly treacherous in pursuing loud public allegations being made about him.

Meanwhile, intense AFP investigations into leaks by ministers, staffers, into allegations of bribery and corruption by mates of ministers in the n Wheat Board or referrals of matters to the AFP by oppositions (of whatever stripe) have failed to excite any AFP enthusiasm, or forensic success. In many cases, diligent officers trying to do their duty are frustrated by the obvious antipathy of senior officers to particular investigations.

I wrote several months ago about how AFP national media briefed selected journalists in advance about raids on people accused of involvement in an elaborate tax conspiracy. Journalists were briefed in advance about the raids but also, in detail, on the alleged involvement of particular individuals, including a senior tax officer. The “guidance” went well beyond the material later presented in brief statements of fact tendered in court. Remarkably, similar “investigative journalism” by those reporters regarded by AFP media operatives as sound and trustworthy followed for several days, with any “help” from the AFP not credited.

Those not so regarded, or out of favour for failing to regurgitate AFP spin, had to be content with bland general media statements and a considerably less-detailed media conference, during which senior AFP officers basked in the limelight and assumed most of the credit for the investigation’s successful outcome.

The primary effect was to poison the well and cause what, in different circumstances, police pretend to deplore: trial by media with undisclosed police aid. This is, no doubt, only an “accidental” by-product of praiseworthy efforts by marketeers to bring credit to the force.

(Five months ago, I put in a freedom of information request for AFP documents handed to these trusted journalists. I am no further advanced than the day I put it in. It is now before the Information Commissioner to consider whether, as police contend, there is any public interest in disclosure, warranting waiver of charges. One can confidently expect further lengthy delays as the AFP resists any disclosure, word by word if necessary.)

Although senior police media advisers have long exercised significant independent power within the AFP decision-making structure, one can be sure that most of the leaks coming from the media office are authorised from above. Or, at least, that more senior officers are well aware of both the strategy and tactics involved.

The beauty of it is that those on the drip will not blow the whistle on how well they are nourished. The sillier such journalists believe they are under some duty of confidence to their snouts. The more astute recognise that the AFP, like most state police forces, is a reward-and-punishment organisation, and that those who do not dance to the master get cut off. It sometimes happens that the grief is not visited on the employing media organisation as such (at least if its profile – a matter closely studied by AFP media strategists – is what is wanted.) Instead, another journalist from the same organisation is selected, groomed and becomes the recipient for information that, when published, promotes that career instead of the person who fell out of favour.

The mutual interdependence of reporters focusing on crime and police has long been a bad feature of n journalism. It has often been remarked that the closer the relationships, the less likely that such journalists will notice anything wrong about the way their mates and confidants act. Thus, for example, during the 1960s, the fabled good-old-boy police reporters made personalities and heroes, not villains, of police officers we now know to have been totally corrupt, such as Freddy Krahe and Ray Kelly, and others of variable honesty, such as Roger Rogerson. Their activities were exposed by outsider reporters, a remarkable number of whom were women, often in those days excluded from the blokey, boozy mutual back-slapping club.

Almost all exposure of systemic police corruption and incompetence demonstrated by royal commissions in the states (if never at federal or territory level, because such inquiries have been avoided) have followed journalistic exposure, but from outside the police media club.

I have known AFP commissioners in the past to directly offer editors regular diets of inside stories in exchange for more “helpful and friendly” coverage. A good many editors do not need the message explicitly, given they are well aware of the importance of crime news, and of the many minor and major disadvantages of being out of the loop.

But more than the club is involved. Cops and commissioners in enjoy a good deal of statutory discretion and independence from politicians. But the modern tendency – at federal, state and territory level – is for the police organisation to be keen to keep their own ministers well informed about police activities. Ministers do not know how to detach themselves; many commissioners are so keen to please that their very readiness to stand alongside ministers invites questions about their real independence.

The political relationship involves assiduous attention to the “heads-up” and “no-surprises” understandings, by which ministers are told well in advance of any proposed police activity likely to cause significant public comment, political embarrassment for the government, or when there is some “opportunity” for a minister to look good. Ministers like to look good. The satisfaction of that appetite also gives publicity-hungry senior police bureaucrats, up to commissioner level, occasions to look thoughtful and wise, alongside ministers, prime ministers and, these days, n flags.

Keeping the minister informed involves keeping his or her office informed. If a minister, or ministerial adviser, sees a political opportunity in leaking something, police are at a deniable distance. All the more so if one staffer tips off a staffer in another office.

Police involved in such matters are not politically naive. Many ambitious cops recognise the advantage (once regarded as a handicap) of doing a stint as a liaison officer in their minister’s office. Some such liaison officers have, in the past, become great favourites of ministers. Some years ago, a minister became angry that one such favourite did not get a promotion and, in effect, went on strike, for over a month, refusing to process any AFP paper at all. The commissioner got the message.

This week saw selected journalists tipped off about AFP raids on the AWU. Labor spokesmen accused ministers, or their staff, of tipping off media. This suggestion was made before question time on Wednesday and Cash, and her senior media adviser, David De Garis, attended on Turnbull to brief him before question time. Turnbull was told, apparently, that Cash was not the source of any leaking. Either Turnbull did not think to ask a follow-up question – whether Cash’s office was involved – or he did and was lied to. During the afternoon, Cash indignantly and repeatedly denied that either she or her office had tipped off the media.

Journalists who were on the drip stayed mum. Or at least some did (and some of these believe that those who admitted getting a tip-off were unethical in betraying the source of their story, which is rubbish). But two unnamed journalists told a reporter from BuzzFeed that De Garis had tipped them off. After this went online, De Garis resigned and Cash, still insisting she had no advance information, corrected the record.

Cash said De Garis himself was tipped off by a media source. But she has rebuffed efforts to get further and better particulars, and has shown a studied uninterest in having the matter, and the apparent total disloyalty to her, investigated.

A pity, unless there are still facts undisclosed that would compound her existing problems. Until the truth emerges, the media, and the public, are likely to focus on her inept management of the affair, not the original point of the exercise, which was the hope of putting an unfavourable spotlight on Bill Shorten.

It is, of course, entirely possible that the ultimate source of De Garis’s information was an over-responsive public servant in the Registered Organisations Commission, though even the possibility of this seemed to have been ruled out by its commissioner, whose own management of the matter has itself been criticised.

My bet, though, is that the ultimate source of the leak was the AFP. While that is a live and obvious possibility, it is entirely wrong for the AFP to investigate the leak.

Not that there is any risk of the wrong person being charged. The successful investigation of leaks has never been an AFP speciality. I can think of only one leaker, a young Aboriginal public servant, ever found by detective work.

How well do I recall the remark of a senior AFP officer, commenting when ministers pretended to want an inquiry into the source of a leak of a classified document from Alexander Downer’s office to ideological soulmate Andrew Bolt. He remarked that the detectives who couldn’t solve that one wouldn’t be able to find their bums with both hands.

Alas, despite this public encouragement, a no doubt very diligent investigation was unable to bring any miscreants to justice. Derrieres remain covered up.

Jack Waterford is a former editor of The Canberra Times. [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘

Continue reading »

Famous Rock Shop at Newcastle is one of the coolest places in town

Rock and roll at a famous Newcastle shop | PHOTOS Rock On: Kiss legend Ace Frehley at the Famous Rock Shop in Newcastle.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Ace Frehley with Mario Borrelli at the Famous Rock Shop.

Alice Cooper and Leanne Elizabeth Hudson at Westfield Kotara.

Rosalie and Mario Borrelli with another Kiss legend – Gene Simmons.

Peter Garrett with Mario Borrelli at the Famous Rock Shop

Alice Cooper with Rosalie Borrelli and kids at the Famous Rock Shop in Newcastle a decade or so ago.

Alice Cooper and Mario Borrelli at the Famous Rock Shop in Newcastle.

Chuck D from Public Enemy with Mario Borrelli at Famous Rock Shop in Newcastle.

Wiggle Murray Cook with Mario Borrelli at the Famous Rock Shop.

Tony Hawk at the Famous Rock Shop.

Rosalie Borrelli with Bud (David Anthony Faustino) from Married with Children.

Rosalie Borrelli with Kiefer Sutherland.

Chopper Reid with Mario Borrelli.

Lemmy from Motorhead with Mario and Rosalie Borrelli.

Mario Borrelli with John Butler at Famous Rock Shop.

TweetFacebookAlice in WestfieldLeanne Elizabeth Hudson ran into Alice Cooper at Westfield Kotara this week.

“Before the concert I met my rock idol and his beautiful wife, while they were shopping at Westfield Kotara,” she said.

“What a wonderful friendly couple. I have loved him and his wife for decades as performers, but after this chance meeting, they are just lovely down-to-earth people. Much respect. Oh, and the concert was amazing.”

Floor CollapseThe Alice Cooper gig on Tuesday revived memories of Newcastle’s rock and roll past for Janine Evans, of Raymond Terrace.

Alice Cooper and Leanne Elizabeth Hudson at Westfield Kotara.

Janine posted on the Lost Newcastle Facebook page, asking whether anyone recalled the floor in front of the stagecollapsing at Civic Theatre at a gig in the 1970s.

She initially thought it was an AC/DC concert, but others suggested it could have been Status Quo or Sherbet.

Janine told Topicsthe floor “caved in a bit” at the ‘70s gig, as fans were headbanging.

“We wereright up to the stage back then. You didn’t have a barrier,” she said.

“You had the feeling that you were falling and panicking,trying to get out of something, but not realising what was going on.”

She saidthe gig was stoppedwhile security moved people back from the stage. But the show went on.

Anyone else remember this? Let us knowat [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au.

Status Quo in Newcastle in the ’70s. Picture by Janine Evans.

Continue reading »

How a university degree can earn you an extra $1.2m

Students currently cramming for end-of-year university exams might be tempted to question whether it’s all worth it.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Certainly in financial terms it is.

Imagine two people finishing high school this year – one of whom chooses to go to university, while the other opts to move straight into full-time employment.

At first, the university attendees are dining on two-minute noodles while worrying about their accruing student debt. Meanwhile, their former school friends are enjoying the fruits of paid labour.

The chart above uses 2016 census data released last week which found the median weekly income for someone with no non-school qualifications was $836. We’ve assumed, for simplicity’s sake, that a high-school graduate can start earning that straight away, and that their earnings are consistent for the rest of their life.

For the students, university fees are set to rise in 2018. Fees vary between degrees, of course, but the federal government has placed a fee cap of $50,000 on a four-year degree. For ease, we have used this figure, and also assumed that the student isn’t working while studying.

After four years, our worker has earned nearly $175,000 while our student is $50,000 in the red.

However, it doesn’t take long to see that lead erased once the student starts earning the median weekly income for those holding a degree or higher, which is $1436. (Again, this is simplified by the fact we are using career-long median earnings, while most people’s income grows during their twenties.)

And from there, ‘s one-in-four degree holders go on to enjoy the benefits of their increased income until the new retirement age of 67 and beyond.

The career earnings of our school leaver are $2,130,128 while our university graduate accrues $3,310,240 – a difference of $1,180,112.

In fact, the benefits may well be much more, with increased superannuation contributions also enjoying the effect of compound interest, which we haven’t aimed to capture here. Degree holders are also less likely to face periods unemployed, even though this calculation assumes each person works full-time their entire career, something that’s relatively rare.

You don’t need to earn a degree to boost your earning power, though.

The data shows diploma and certificate holders enjoy a financial advantage of $460,000 and $355,000 respectively over those who don’t pursue further study.

Consider that motivation enough to get back to the books.

Continue reading »