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Colour eclipses neutral palette of old

We are open to colour in summer: holidays, longer days, outdoor living and catching up with family and friends flood our senses with new and retro colours. Interior design recreates these sensations, and paint is the perfect tool.
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Each season brings new colours. For Dulux, the new colours redefine the old, says colour and communications consultant Bree Leech. “Every year we go overseas and research the global trends. When we come back we develop six new palettes.”

One new Dulux colour is Species, a crisp, bright yellow. The yellow is one of the 15 colours on the predominantly blue Empower palette. Traditionally, the blue/yellow combination triggers feelings of sun, sea and surf. Leech says the Empower blue/yellow palette represents a change in the way we perceive colour.

“The colours are a little bit more sophisticated, so the yellows are bordering on green, the blues are starting to move into green. We’re seeing layering of blues in interiors this year.”

Resene Paints spokeswoman Karen Warman says the company has noticed a more thoughtful approach to colour: “Colour trends are now evolving and growing more organically rather than the shorter, sharper bursts of trends from last decade.”

Leech is impressed by the innovation of Australia’s decorators. “Over the last five years we’ve seen Australians grow really confident in using colour. We started with very neutral spaces, and people still are a little conservative, but you can definitely see a change in bringing colour into their spaces.”

Leech is not just talking about the four walls. She nominates painting a timber dining setting as a great way to add colour. “Paint the chairs a really bright, bold colour – or maybe two or three of the chairs different colours.” Doors, too, can be highlighted in a shade “two or three shades darker than the walls”.

For a big impact, paint doors opening onto a long white hallway a bright colour so they appear “as pops of colour”. In a room with a monochromatic colour scheme, paint the darkest shade on the ceiling. Or, says Leech: “Striped ceilings look amazing: in a child’s room, mask out wide stripes, say yellow, with white for the remaining stripes and walls.”

Choice can be a decorator’s biggest problem. Interior designer Judy Duggan says paint companies have thousands of colours and can create anything with computer matching.

The trick to navigating this choice often lies in the personal. Duggan asks her clients three questions: “How do you want the room to feel? How do you want to feel when you’re in the room?” And – thinking about the furniture and keepsakes the client owns – she asks: “What pieces do you love?” The colours in those treasures will often be favourites, colours that create a stunning impression. And one of the key rules to remember, according to Duggan: ”There are no rules”.Going DIY

Preparation:

There are no short cuts – fill cracks, sand and clean surfaces.

Equipment:

The best paint you can afford, drop sheets, brushes, rollers and frames, extension pole, rags and masking tape.

Application:

Three coats. One undercoat/primer, tinted if necessary, two top coats.

Technique:

Practise brushing, rolling and cutting in. Learn how to work in sections.

Remember:

A gloss paint will probably look a shade or two lighter because it’s reflecting the light. A flat paint – matte – will absorb light and look a bit darker to the eye.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Bright ideas for a room to call their own

A vintage-themed child’s space by interior stylist Jacinda Malloy. Old suitcases are given new life storing children’s toys.
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A child’s bedroom is not just their escape hatch from the world, but their own personal place. Designing a room should take into account the child’s personality and their favourite colours, says interior designer Salli Sheedy, from Tiipii Interiors.

”From around four years old, children start to have their own opinion. They have a favourite colour or favourite movie, and I incorporate that into the design.”

Sheedy works with a neutral base and introduces colours with accessories. ”Greys are fashionable. But it’s important to get the right grey. A warm grey can easily incorporate other colours.”

But sometimes children have different ideas. Interior designer Jacinda Malloy, from Hide & Sleep, spoke with one nine-year-old who wanted red walls. His mother wasn’t so enthusiastic. ”It’s the child’s room and they need to enjoy playing in the room, so we incorporated red without having to paint all the walls red.”

Colours and themes can be introduced, and easily replaced, with accessories such as cushions and rugs. Children might want pirates one year, dinosaurs the next.

Changing cushion covers and rugs is a lot easier than changing the wallpaper or painting another mural. Removable wall stickers are another easy interchangeable decor idea, and they don’t damage the paintwork.

But don’t be afraid to use colour, says interior designer Nicole Rosenberg, from Little Liberty. ”It brings happiness into the room and makes it fun.”

Her eldest daughter’s room has pops of yellow. ”My daughter is obsessed with fluoro, and so am I. The fluoro trend is a massive trend, and it’s fun.” Her three-year old son has a navy, red and black vintage-styled room with an industrial feel. ”It suits his personality.”

Malloy likes to design a play area in the room. Depending on the child’s likes and interests, she simply adds an easel to turn a corner into an arts and crafts section, or adds some hooks to the wall to hang musical instruments.

Parents want attractive storage solutions, says Stephanie Banis, stylist at Fantastic Furniture, which has some fun storage cubes in bright colours.

”Children like to collect things and display them, but the trick is to work out what to display and what to put away,” says Rosenberg, who uses open boxes to display items and closed boxes to conceal.

”Have a place for everything and everything in its place. Make a specific spot for items. This way they have more of a chance of being put back. Use hooks for bags, hooks for headphones, a wall-mounted pouch for slippers, desk accessories, etc.”

Joanne McWhinney, director of Kids In Designed Spaces, says room design is now much more eclectic with a child’s interests reflected in novel artwork, interesting wall graphics, (or) displayed collections.

”Parents are becoming more style conscious. Children’s bedrooms are also being decorated to match the style of the rest of the home,” she says.

But a child’s bedroom is their world and they might want it to be different to the rest of the home. Help your child design the room, and remember to let the fun in!Nursery 101

It’s fun to plan a baby’s nursery, but keep it simple, say the experts. The nursery should be a calm, quiet place for babies to sleep.

Parents are moving away from the traditional pink and blue nurseries, says Salli Sheedy, interior designer and director of Tiipii Interiors. She is in the middle of designing a grey and yellow nursery.

”A nursery with warm grey on walls with splashes of warm yellow colour looks lovely. Yellow is neutral, which makes it a good choice.”

Jessica Elmer, director of Kids Interior Designs, says brighter, stronger colours are coming through in nurseries, but not fluoros as they are too bright. ”Dark fuchsia and aqua are strong colours that look good.”

Wall decorations are popular and removable wall stickers in a range of designs, from magic trees to elephants, are widely available. ”Monochromatic subtle designs are popular, [as are] butterflies and tree silhouettes,” says Sheedy.

Storage is an important element in a nursery. You need a place for nappies, blankets, clothes and toys.

There is a move towards the vintage look, says Sheedy. ”Parents are looking to vintage for character. They are looking to the past for inspiration. A lot of people are doing handcrafted mobiles.”

Sheedy likes using old suitcases as storage for babies’ toys, and old, cast-iron cots repainted a bright colour to create a fresh look.

Another practical nursery favourite of Elmer’s is a chest of drawers with a nappy change station on top. And last but not least: a comfy armchair is important for night feeds.Top tips

1. Assess the space

In a small space, keep it simple in terms of colour and items.

2. Proportion

Get the furniture proportions right.

3. Stick to a colour theme

The room looks calm and co-ordinated.

4. Storage boxes

Consider sturdy boxes with chalkboards on the front so children can label what’s in the box.

5. Keep bed linen simple

Steer away from busy bedding with butterflies, bows, hearts or pirate ships stamped all over it.

6. Lighting

Consider pendant lights, which can alter the feel of a room.

 

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Holiday secrets of the stars

Jessica Rowe, pictured with her girls, remembers “hot, endless days at the beach, mangoes, fruit cake, banana Paddle Pops…” Dr Katrina Warren, pictured with her daughter, says planning is crucial during the holidays. “I need to have activities and play dates organised in advance or I go crazy.”
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Anyone who has navigated a dark patch of the highway with one hand on the wheel and the other trying to settle screaming twins in baby capsules, while a nine-year-old’s vomiting, will understand the pain of school holidays and the apprehension they bring.

If you already have a knot in your stomach about how you are going to handle the next six weeks of school holiday hell between juggling work commitments, rainy days, the inevitable lurgies, trips to sit on Santa Claus’s lap and screaming kids grappling sand-laden sandwiches, don’t fret: celebrities face the same challenges.

Here are some tips from our favourite stars on just how they cope with the season to be jolly. Enjoy.

(PS: I love Merrick Watts’s ”exhaust them till they drop” scheme, Katrina Warren’s whiteboard idea and Jessica Rowe’s beach with direct access to a caffeine injection. Brilliant.)

MERRICK WATTS

Radio announcer, Triple M’s Merrick & the Highway Patrol

Kids: Wolfe, 3, Kinga Rose, 11 months

My favourite holiday as a kid

I loved going to Broken Hill, where my mum is from – it’s in the middle of nowhere. I loved to go there as a kid because at any time of the year it was always hot. I remember the local pool – my brother, myself and cousins used to go swimming every day in the heat. It was the greatest place on earth as a kid. It was very simple. The thing I’ve realised is the simple things are the easiest and the best.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

Family, grandparents, swimming and heat. Also great memories of riding motorbikes with cousins. My uncle was an engineer and my cousin is a mechanic, and they were both very handy and we’d build go-karts and race the go-karts and motorbikes around.

Where I love to take my family now

[Wife] Georgie and I go to Adelaide in summer. We got married there and all of my mum’s family moved to Adelaide, and I’m very close with my cousins. The beaches and everything are really, really nice, it’s very casual and down-to-earth and a nice little break from showbiz. I spent so much time in a small town as a kid I’ve always liked that outback feeling.

Favourite car-travel game

When we used to drive to Broken Hill from Melbourne [where I grew up], dad would only stop long enough for fuel, a wee and hot chips in the whole nine hours so my favourite game was to sit behind my father and delicately single out one hair from the back of his head and pluck it and see if I could get away with it. I felt like a legend if I did, but it was risky and dangerous. My own kids are far better behaved. Wolfe is really good and entertains himself with a car or a motorbike or plane in his hand. My favourite game now is ”Shhhhh … dad is driving!”

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

I like to go to the Sydney Aquatic Centre at Homebush, which has lots of slides and activities and stuff like that, so they still get to play even though it’s raining.

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

We take them down to Darling Harbour, either the Sydney Aquarium or Wildlife Park there, and then get Chinese food in Chinatown afterwards. There’s a little train Wolfe loves.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

My mum had two pieces of advice: one, cherish every second you have with the kids as they grow up so fast, and, two, don’t end up like your father!

How I stay sane during the holidays

The way to keep sane when I have downtime with the kids is to not try and get the kids to fit into my schedule but just try and do whatever the kids want to do on the day. If they’re happy, you’ll be happy. If they’re unhappy, you’ll be unhappy.

My school holiday secret

I used to take my grandfather to Big W as a decoy so I could steal chocolates. Oh, you didn’t mean that type of secret!

Tips to survive the holidays

Do something that makes them tired, something physical. Burn them out in the mornings, then in the afternoon and evenings you have quiet kids.

JESSICA ROWE

Author and journalist

Kids: Allegra, 5, and Giselle, 3

My favourite holiday as a kid

On the NSW south coast in a ramshackle beach house.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

Hot, endless days at the beach, mangoes, fruit cake, banana Paddle Pops, lolling around on the verandah once the heat was too much, and reading … and daydreaming about the year ahead.

Where I love to take my family now

Anywhere with a beach, rock pool and close enough to the sand that you don’t need to drive anywhere once you arrive. We just had a very special family holiday in Fiji – it was blissful! We ALL relaxed!

Favourite car travel game

When I was little, I Spy. Now, a portable DVD with plenty of Disney princesses and Barbie DVDs on hand.

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

I love the Australian Museum in the city. It has a fab area for smaller children, who can dress up, draw, read and play. And there’s also the exhibits for bigger kids who can get involved. The volunteers are also terrific – explaining different types of animals and their habitats. Just avoid the shop, if you want to avoid tantrums, as they want everything in sight!

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

If it’s sunny, Parsley Bay. There is a great shaded playground area, plenty of grass for picnics, sand that’s good for building castles and tunnels, plus shallow water good for splashing. Oh, and a coffee house that provides a much-needed caffeine fix.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

Lower your expectations – take the pressure off! We’re all doing the best we can, and there are days when it goes pear-shaped.

How I stay sane during the holidays

Sometimes I don’t! But caffeine, sunshine and sugar help.

My school holiday secret

Can you tell me? But I do love slowing down, and I make a real effort to do that with my girls over the holidays. There is no need to rush around.

Tips to survive the holidays

Don’t feel you have to tear around doing the latest and greatest stuff. Have a picnic, stay up late, try to stay in bed longer, eat fish and chips for dinner, have cake for breakfast, do a movie afternoon with popcorn. Revel in the joy of those simple pleasures with the most precious people in your lives.

CAMERON DADDO

Actor and radio announcer, Smoothfm

Kids: Lotus, 16, River, 12, and Bodhi, 6

My favourite holiday as a kid

September holidays in Yamba [on the NSW north coast]. Three weeks of nothing but surfing, fishing and playing pinball machines. It was blissful.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

The car trips to the destination. Seven Daddos packed in a sedan: Mum, dad in front, with Lachie in the middle (he sat on a piece of foam rubber – the car had bucket seats), Andrew, Jamie, Belinda and I in the back … one sat forward, the other three sat back. We listened to Neil Diamond, The Brady Bunch albums and whatever game was being played on the good ol’ ABC.

Where I love to take my family now

Anywhere there’s surf, fishing and pinball machines. Hawaii is always great.

Favourite car travel game

I Spy.

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

Surfing.

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

Palm Beach and any other beach ”north of the bends” … hiking trails, beach and great eateries.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

Always say what you want, rather than what you don’t want – the word doesn’t compute in our brains. Try this: find something you don’t want your child, your best friend or mother to look at, then tell them not to look at it. I guarantee you, they will look at it within a minute.

How I stay sane during the holidays

Build things. Last holidays, we created a rope course in this big tree in the backyard. I had a harness and pulley system; I could pull the kids up into tree. When one of them misbehaved, I put her in the harness, pulled up, and left her hanging for a while. The others got the idea.

My school holiday secret

If you have a partner, it’s good to divide the time with the kids into quarters: my time, her time, our time, their time …

Tips to survive the holidays

When the kids say ”I’m bored”, we say ”Great, go do something!”

DR KATRINA WARREN

Media vet

Daughter: Charlotte, 5

My favourite holiday as a kid

I loved going to the Gold Coast, as there was lots of swimming, plenty of fun activities and great ice-cream.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

Doing puzzles in the back of the car – there were no iPads or portable DVD players then. The Rubik’s Cube kept me entertained for hours.

Where I love to take my family now

South coast, NSW. The most amazing beaches and many of the areas are dog friendly, which means that my golden retriever, Riley, doesn’t miss out.

Favourite car travel game

I can’t go past I Spy – it will survive every generation.

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

Going to the Entertainment Quarter for movies, bowling and plaster painting.

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

Nielsen Park – it has a great

beach for young kids, a cafe and plenty of space for them to run around, but you must get there early on weekends for parking.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

Not to listen to parenting advice!

How I stay sane during the holidays

I avoid shopping centres. Car park gridlock is not enjoyable! And caffeine.

My school holiday secret

I don’t have any yet, as my daughter starts school next year. Suggestions are welcome.

Tips to survive the holidays

Plan ahead. I need to have activities and play dates organised in advance or I go crazy. I have a whiteboard with activities listed and my daughter enjoys ticking them off.

MARK BERETTA

Sports presenter, Sunrise

Kids: Ava, 8, and Dan, 5

My favourite holiday as a kid

My favourite holiday as a kid was Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. Every September, we’d load the family car and drive overnight from Geelong in Victoria all the way to Queensland to spend two weeks in the sun at the beach. We had a bunch of friends we would meet up there every year and we’d swim, play beach cricket and hang out at the beach all day.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

For me, holidays were all about swimming in the surf, digging in the sand and ice-cream in the afternoon.

Where I love to take my family now

These days I love taking my wife, Rach, and Ava and Dan to Torquay in Victoria. It’s got that beautiful seaside town atmosphere and the kids hit the waves on their boogie boards all day.

Favourite car travel game

On long road trips, the Beretta family loves a game of I Spy. It keeps the kids (and me) entertained for hours!

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

On a rainy day, nothing beats the Sydney Aquarium. We always look forward to going there and seeing all the amazing sea life. Sharks, dugongs, giant rays and a great interactive area – it’s got it all.

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

My favourite spot in Sydney to take the kids is Freshwater Beach. It’s a great beach for the whole family, and the kids can spend all day in the surf!

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

The most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard is to let kids be kids. They grow up fast enough, so let them do things at their own pace and when they’re ready.

How I stay sane during the holidays

I stay sane during the holidays by just rolling with it. You need to remember you’re on holidays and you can’t stress about the little things. Take your time, there’s no rush, and just enjoy your precious family time.

My school holiday secret

Plan special outings and events. We all like having something to look forward to, so the kids like knowing that they’re going to the zoo on Wednesday, or the aquarium on Thursday.

Tips to survive the holidays

Switch off from work and focus on the family. Sometimes it’s hard to do, but it makes for a much better holiday!

CHRIS BATH

Seven News presenter, Sunday Night host

Son: Darcy, 12

My favourite holiday as a kid

Two weeks every summer at Blue Bay on the NSW central coast. We’d walk along the beach to the Dragon Inn at The Entrance for Chinese, then enjoy the laughing clowns and the go-karts at the holiday carnival in town. We’d surf until we had rashes from our polystyrene boards, clamber over the rocks looking for shells and lie on the beach reading all the books that Santa brought us for Christmas.

My enduring memory of holidays growing up

Summer at Blue Bay and camping all over NSW, including the Belanglo State Forest, with mum and dad and their friends in the 1980s. Our families had a special improvised ”flagpole” that they’d erect at every campsite with a special camp flag that my mum made.

Where I love to take my family now

We go back to Blue Bay with friends for summer holidays – it’s a wonderful place for families. But now, thanks to my son’s obsession with our feathered friends in the sky, we now spend every day off, anywhere, birdwatching! It has taken us to some amazing places.

Favourite car travel game

Working our way through the alphabet, naming things we see for each letter. It can go for hours, so it’s great for long trips!

Best Sydney-based activity for a rainy day

Curling up and reading a good book on the couch. Birdwatching off the cliff at Maroubra – the more windy and rainy, the more albatross you see! But if you want to get out of the elements, you can’t go past the Australian Museum or the Art Gallery of NSW. Wonder awaits on every floor.

Favourite spot to take the kids in Sydney

Tramping through our wonderful national parks.

Most valuable parenting advice I’ve heard

Put ping-pong balls in the loo for little boys to aim at when toilet training. Saved my bathroom a thousand times over!

How I stay sane during the holidays

I don’t. Give in to the insanity and enjoy it.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Investors cheer Fortescue’s stake sale

Fortescue Metals Group is set to sell down its stake in a joint venture with Pilbara junior BC Iron, as the company continues efforts to reduce its debt loading and restart the expansion projects that were sensationally stalled in September.
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Both companies currently own 50 per cent of the Nullagine iron ore project under a landmark deal that was struck in 2009, but BC Iron has confirmed today that it is poised to buy a further 25 per cent of Fortescue’s stake.

BC Iron shares have been halted all day ahead of the deal being announced. Fortescue shares were not halted this morning, and duly rose by almost 7 per cent to be testing $4.05 around 2pm.

Fortescue’s decision to leave its shares open for trading has already attracted the attention of the ASX regulators, with Fortescue arguing that it is too big a company for the transaction to be considered material.

Under the terms of the deal, BC Iron will pay Fortescue $190 million for the extra 25 per cent of the asset.

The acquisition will increase its annual iron ore export capacity by 80 per cent to 4.5 million tonnes.

Speaking from Sydney this afternoon, BC Iron managing director Mike Young said the deal would be highly accretive to BC Iron shareholders and was about as low risk as an acquisition could get.

“We know the deposit, we know the management and we like the management,” he said.

The original joint venture was struck in August 2009, and saw BC Iron sell 50 per cent of its Nullagine iron ore prospect to Fortescue, in return for using Fortescue’s railway and port infrastructure to sell its product to China.

BC Iron managing director Mike Young was criticised at the time for giving away too much to his bigger neighbour, and has long defended the deal by saying it was ”better to have half of something, rather than all of nothing”.

The deal has since proved to be a masterstroke as a lack of transport infrastructure has left other Pilbara juniors with stranded assets that are unlikely to be developed now that iron ore prices have slumped.

Mr Young joked this afternoon that he would have to update his catchphrase.

”Now i’ve got 75 per cent of something,” he said.

BC Iron has been exporting iron ore since February 2011, and has since exported 5 million tonnes.

The company is one of the few, if not the only Australian iron ore exporter to have a higher share price today than at the same time in 2011.

It paid a dividend in September and Mr Young said today’s deal was likely to be followed by more growth.

BC Iron will take on $130 million in debt to fund the deal, and will look to raise a further $58 million in equity through a share placement and purchase deal which is underwritted by Macquarie.

As well as looking at assets overseas, Mr Young said BC Iron would look to develop other Pilbara assets with Fortescue.

”We are hoping that, going forward, we can do some more business with Fortescue,” he said.

Fortescue boss Nev Power said the deal was good for both parties, but did not say what the money will be used for.

It is expected the money will help Fortescue restart the Kings iron ore asset it halted in September when iron ore prices slumped.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Tax Office moves to wind up Tinkler entity

The Tax Office will seek to wind up one of former billionaire Nathan Tinkler’s main private entitites, Tinkler Group Holdings Administration.
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In the NSW Supreme Court today, lawyers for Mr Tinkler and the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation confirmed the tax office would replace the NSW Office of State Revenue as petitioning creditor in the wind-up proceedings. The extent of the debt is unknown.

The case is one of half a dozen legal proceedings on foot against various private Tinkler entitites:Ferrier Hodgson is winding up Tinkler-owned Mulsanne Resources over an unpaid $28.4 million debt to Blackwood Corporation.Adelaide-based Anthony Matthews and Associates is balancing whether to proceed with the wind-up of Patinack Farm Administration – the main employer at Mr Tinkler’s thoroughbred stud – which also owes millions to the tax office but went into liquidation after a $17,000 debt to South Australia’s Workcover agency went unpaid, apparently due to an ‘‘administrative error’’.Queen Street Capital and Aston Copper are facing a wind-up by Brisbane-based HWL Ebsworth Lawyers for an unknown amount of money.Lender GE Capital has appointed Taylor Woodings as receivers of TGHA Aviation, who last week repossessed his private jet and helicopter.Mr Tinkler has been subponaed in Muswellbrook Local Court by Kildangan Stud (owned by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum) which sired two of his mares.Hunter Sports Group is being sued by the NSW government for almost $600,000 in stadium rent owing from its Newcastle Knights rugby league team. Hunter Sports is also in down-to-the wire negotiations with the Knights to extend an audit deadline which falls this Saturday. The Knights want to also extend the $20 million bank guarantee which the company provided when the club was privatised. If the negotiations fail it could jeopardise Hunter Sports’ ownership of the club.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Judd takes a back seat as Carlton embraces new era

Chris Judd’s time as an AFL captain has come to an end.HAVING stood down as captain, Chris Judd has revealed the Blues have adopted a more cautious approach to training under new coach Mick Malthouse.
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Judd, 29, has ended months of speculation by confirming his five years in the top role are over, with him preferring to focus more on his own performance without the added off-field commitments.

The Blues have only recently returned to training at Visy Park after their high-altitude camp in Arizona. Judd noted there was a greater focus on avoiding injuries after a year in which physical setbacks took their toll on the club.

Judd said he and his teammates had embraced Malthouse’s training regime. ”They have taken to the work, training has changed up quite a lot, and so far, so good. We have a lot of numbers on the park,” he said.

The 239-game veteran required shoulder surgery over Christmas last year although former coach Brett Ratten said at the time it was unclear whether Judd had been hurt at training. Ratten also said he had taken a cautious approach with the teams ”A-graders”.

Judd said on Monday that there had been a change in terms of how teammates dealt with each other.

”There has been a really big focus on certainly minimising injuries at training, which is something that we suffered quite a lot in the last couple of years,” he said. ”To see those numbers out on the park is great. I think that will hold us in great stead at the start of the season.”

Judd became captain after joining the Blues from West Coast in late 2007 and said the time was right for change, he having helped to transform a list he felt was ”probably a pretty unprofessional playing group that lacked discipline”.

His future as skipper had been questioned since Malthouse replaced Brett Ratten, with the new coach making it clear even in his 2012 season preview when working as a media commentator that he thought there was too much focus on the dual Brownlow medallist.

There were other instances through the season when he suggested it would be best if Judd was not captain. Judd’s manager, Paul Connors, said the decision had been the player’s alone.

While Judd will continue to lead by example he will not have a role in the leadership group. ”I decided some time ago to step away from a leadership role at the footy club,” Judd said.

”I have been in the leadership group all but my first year of footy, so I have had 10 years in there. I think at my stage of the career I am looking forward to getting back to enjoying the essence of footy and competing and probably not having as much responsibility around the club.

”So, I won’t be pushing any less hard to bring success to this club and will still have an active role around the place.”

Marc Murphy, praised for his leadership last season when Judd was suspended, and fellow onballers Andrew Carrazzo and Kade Simpson are the front-runners to replace the skipper.

The Blues are unlikely to name a replacement until February.

”I guess one of the things as a leader is you want to leave the place in a better place than what you inherited it in,” Judd said. ”Without any disrespect to what things were like five years ago, there weren’t a whole host of players who made obvious leaders as far as that went.

”To be able to step aside from the role and have probably three guys that could step in to the role as captain and do a really good job, and even to mention some of the guys that probably won’t be in the leadership group this year, I think it shows our leadership stocks have come a long way.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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DJs break their silence

RELATED:Austereo reply to hospital rebuke
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2Day FM radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian are “pretty shattered people” according to Channel Nine’sA Current Affairhost Tracy Grimshaw who has prerecorded an interview with the pair to go to air tonight.

Grimshaw toldFairfax Mediathis afternoon that the prerecorded interview was “very intense” with a lot of people in the room including radio station staff and supporters.

The pair, who have been facing global condemnation after the death of a British nurse targeted in a prank phone call, broke their silence on Monday afternoon in a pair of interviews with Grimshaw and Seven’s Clare Brady fromToday Tonight.

Grimshaw said she felt sympathy for the pair.

“They’re at a certain point on the food chain. There are other people who made the decision to put it to air, it wasn’t live to air, there was a decision made after that prank call was recorded to put it to air, and virtually all the focus has been on them,” Ms Grimshaw said.

“So I have some sympathy for them in that regard.”

Grimshaw said she was mindful that anyone in their situation would be fragile and the interview was a chance for the hosts to say what they wanted to say.

“What has happened with this poor nurse in England is not going to be helped by bullying these two people into some sort of breakdown. I was very mindful that anyone in their situation would be fragile, and very mindful of not becoming part of the problem.

“We talked about the process of the prank call, how it came about, what happens after you record something like that, where are the checks and balances, what is the network’s policy on prank calls, where do you draw the line.

“We talked about their future and we talked about whether prank calls should be banned.”

Immediately after Grimshaw’s interview concluded, Nine’s official Twitter account announced: “First interview with the #2dayfm djs just recorded with @TracyGrimshaw. It’s raw & emotional. The full uncut interview at 6.30 tonight #aca9.”

After the interview, Brady and a crew fromToday Tonightmoved in to the studio, to again give the DJs their chance to speak.

Grimshaw sent a message from her Twitter account saying: “Let me say clearly that our interview with the 2Day FM hosts for tonight’sA Current Affairwas NOT paid for. Neither asked nor offered.”

‘A deeply tragic, unforeseen circumstance’

The boss of 2Day FM said on Monday morning that staff from the station had tried at least five times to contact those involved in the prank call.

The station, along with Christian and Greig, are under fire after nurse Jacintha Saldanha died in an apparent suicide after the call gained worldwide notoriety.

The pair had claimed to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, and asked after the condition of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who was in the King Edward VII hospital suffering from an acute form of morning sickness.

Mrs Saldanha put the call through to the London hospital ward of the recovering Duchess of Cambridge.

Rhys Holleran, chief executive of 2Day FM’s parent company Austereo, reiterated on Monday that what had occurred was “a deeply tragic, unforseen circumstance” but that he was satisfied that the appropriate checks were conducted before the pre-recorded segment was broadcast.

“It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people on multiple occasions. We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded. We attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions. We did want to speak to them about it,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

Later, he said: “The day prior [to Mrs Saldahna’s death], people took it as a harmless prank in good humour.”

Greig and Christian’s program has been suspended and advertising on the station has been suspended until Wednesday. The station has not yet said when, or if, the presenters will return to the airwaves.

All Austereo staff were called to a meeting on Monday at 9am; employees have been gagged from speaking publicly without permission.

Mr Holleran’s comments come as online vigilante group Anonymous is believed to have threatened the broadcaster in light of Mrs Saldanha’s death.

Using a new account on YouTube with the group’s branding, a person wearing a mask similar to that used by Anonymous members said 2Day FM was “directly responsible” for Mrs Saldanha’s death.

The video, uploaded from an account named An-onym Oz, purports to be from Anonymous but contains a spelling error in its opening titles. ‘‘Hello citizens of the world, we are Anonyomous,’’ it reads.

“We have listened to your excuses. We have heard the word ’prank’ a million times,” the person in the video says, in a digitally altered voice.

“We have studied the facts and found you guilty of murder. You have placed yourself in an untenable position. You have placed your advertisers at risk – their databases, their websites, their online advertising.

“We are Anonymous and hereby demand you terminate the contracts of Mel Greig and Michael Christian. We will not listen to any more excuses. We will not let you escape your responsibility. You have a funeral to pay for. We are Anonymous. We are legion. We are amongst you. Expect us. This is not a prank call; this is no laughing matter. This is your one and only chance to make amends. You have one week to do so.”

In Australia, New South Wales police are now helping Scotland Yard with its investigation into Mrs Saldanha’s death.

Mr Holleran said on Monday that he had not spoken to police “at this point in time”.

He said he did not believe any Australian Communications and Media Authority codes governing radio broadcasts had been breached or that the station’s licence was in jeopardy.

He said the company was happy to discuss the issue with any investigators.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian.

Jacintha Saldanha.

“I’m sure that in the time ahead, there will be questions, and we’re happy to participate in that process, of course we are,” Mr Holleran said.

“We have said we won’t be running that style of call until we do [investigate] … this isn’t a witch-hunt and I don’t intend for it to be that way.

“If it’s appropriate to make changes, we will make changes, make no mistake about that.”

He would not comment on how much the fallout was costing the station financially and rejected suggestions of cultural problems at the station in light of repeated scandals, largely ignited by host Kyle Sandilands.

* Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

SMH

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Weaving quits over film festival’s ‘lack of vision’

Canberra’s International Film Festival has lost its Artistic Director with Simon Weaving walking away from the organisation, saying he was unhappy with its strategic direction.
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Mr Weaving, who leaves the festival after four years in the Artistic Director’s job, says he will now set up a screen culture organisation for Canberra that will operate all year round.

Speaking from the NSW south coast on Tuesday, Mr Weaving said that he was proud of the festival’s achievements but he wanted it to be an institution rather than an event and that others in the organisation did not share his vision.

“There are a lot of smaller groups and organisations that are doing stuff on the delivery or the content side of thing so I saw a huge opportunity for the festival organisation to become more than just an event, more than something that happens once a year, that pops and then packs down,” he said

“I felt very strongly that there was an opportunity to establish a more permanent organisation, work with other people and other groups and start delivering programs and engaging with the community all year round.

“For me, the Festival organisation had reached a stage where it was financially sound and the environment was right, but not everyone shared that vision.”

Mr Weaving said he had grown frustrated with the “lack of vision” for the festival.

“All organisations need a strategic plan of where it’s going to be and the organisation has no strategic plan, it just sort of goes from year to year,” he said.

“For me, I’d just become increasingly uncomfortable about the lack of vision.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Selling before auction hots up as year ends

7 Lawson Street, Balmain, now the former home of 2GB radio presenter Chris Smith and his wife Ally. Aloha . . . Stefan Ackerie is too busy with his boats to keep a Sydney pad.
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Sydney artist Nafisa Naomi will be moving on from her Waterloo apartment.

As the market winds down to the end of the year, many agents are stitching up deals on properties before auction. At Zetland, the modern two-storey home of Di Henry, who was general manager of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay, has sold for $985,000 – 10 days before it was scheduled for auction through BHR agents Reece Coleman and Daniel Baran. It’s a good result for the four-bedroom terrace in Hansard Street, which was listed with price hopes of more than $900,000.Brush with fame

A Waterloo apartment, which is the home of artist Nafisa Naomi, has sold for $647,000 – two days before it was to go to auction through Scott Aggett and Matt Bognar of Belle Property Surry Hills. During the marketing campaign three contracts were issued and the agents negotiated with two parties before sealing the deal with a first-home buyer from Bronte. A short walk from Danks Street’s shops, cafes and restaurants, the two-bedroom apartment is in a pet-friendly security building with a swimming pool and gym. Naomi, born in India, and educated in Hong Kong and Sydney, won the 2010 Archibald Packers’ Prize for her portrait of rock historian Glenn A. Baker. In 2003 her portrait of entertainer Maria Venuti was selected for the Archibald Salon des Refuses.Radio presenter’s news

At Balmain, the 2GB radio presenter Chris Smith and his wife Ally sold their home before its auction through Rebecca Fearon and Karl Howard of McGrath Balmain. Although the price of the Lawson Street house is not disclosed, it’s understood to have fetched more than $1.95 million, which is the price guide quoted by the agents during the marketing campaign. Named Woodroffe, the three-bedroom residence stands on a 300 sqm block that is footsteps from vibrant Darling Street. It last sold for $1.4 million in 2003. Chris Smith won a NSW government award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting for an expose on waste dumping.Snip offer from hairdresser

A Woolloomooloo apartment owned by the flamboyant Brisbane hairdressing mogul Stefan Ackerie is expected to sell for more than $800,000 at auction through Nic Krasnostein, a BresicWhitney agent. Earlier this year Queensland-based Ackerie paid $810,000 for the 73 sqm two-bedroom apartment (on the fifth floor of the Finger Wharf complex), which he intended to use when visiting Sydney. But since his foray into leisure-boat retailing with the opening of Stefan Boating World on the Gold Coast in November, Ackerie won’t spend much time in Sydney – so he’s decided to sell the apartment. A champion offshore powerboat racer, Ackerie has been part of the Australian boating scene for more than four decades. During the past 18 months he has been overseeing the development of the Razar Cat, a 4.1 metre boat that combines the best features of a jet-ski and an inflatable boat.No bids, so on the market

A Mosman property owned by Scott Barton, director of Blake Entertainment, is on the market at more than $2.8 million through McGrath Mosman agent John Welch. The Royalist Road residence was passed in at its auction after there were no bids. The four-bedroom house, an investment property of Barton’s, has been renovated since it last traded for $2,125,000 in 2007.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Raymond’s nut allergy tragedy: system failed boy who died after eating biscuit, inquest told

Nut allergy … Raymond Cho died after eating a walnut biscuit at school.A 16-year-old boy with a nut allergy who died after eating a walnut biscuit at a Sydney school was tragically let down by the NSW education department systems meant to protect him, an inquest has heard.
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Raymond Cho went into anaphylactic shock after he ate the biscuit baked by other students in a cooking class at Ashfield Boys’ High School on May 19, 2011.

He was taken to hospital, but died after he was taken off life support on May 24.

At the Glebe Coroner’s Court on Monday, State Coroner Mary Jerram was told the education department and staff were aware that Raymond suffered from anaphylaxis and asthma.

But other students shared the biscuits they had baked in a cooking class, the inquest heard.

Raymond fell ill later in a maths class and went into anaphylactic shock. He was was treated by the use of two epipens, which are used to quickly inject a dose of adrenaline.

Michael Fordham SC, representing the NSW Department of Education and Communities, read Raymond’s family an apology from the department’s director-general, Michele Bruniges.

“Dr Michele Bruniges … was deeply saddened when she learnt of Raymond’s tragic death. She wishes to unreservedly apologise on her own behalf and on behalf of the many people working in public education for the unimaginable hurt and anguish you and your family have suffered as a result of his loss,” the statement from Dr Bruniges said.

“It was believed prior to Raymond’s death that the department had in place proper systems to keep children with anaphylaxis safe, but this was wrong.

“These systems failed Raymond, the people at the school that day who tried to save him and yourselves.

“It will be small consolation to hear that the department has reviewed its systems and has made a number of significant changes since Raymond’s death.”

Those changes included compulsory training in anaphylaxis and emergency care for all school staff and a requirement that every school run CPR courses on an annual basis.

The department is also continuing to look at how it can improve safety and well-being of students with anaphylaxis.

“The director-general hopes that this inquest helps your family, and other families who have children with anaphylaxis, by identifying where things went wrong, examining what has been done to date in response and considering whether anything further can be done to reduce the chance of another tragedy like Raymond’s death occurring in the future.”

Raymond’s family are at the inquest, holding pictures of the schoolboy.

The inquest, which will look into the school’s policies and the use of epipens, continues.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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2Day FM outrage: people power trumps regulators

The massive community backlash from the so-called royal prank-gone-wrong by two shock jocks on 2Day FM says a lot about the power of the people rather than the power of a company’s board or the regulators.
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So powerful was the community outcry when news spread that the prank had tragically culminated in the death of a nurse at King Edward VII Hospital that advertisers started to withdraw their advertising from the show and the company was forced to suspend it.

It was a similar community reaction to the comments made a few weeks ago by Alan Jones about the Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father with suggestions that he had died of shame.

The regulator did nothing but consumers took to Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms, attacking the advertisers until they buckled under the pressure and withdrew their advertising. It also prompted Macquarie Radio Network to announce the temporary suspension of all advertising in its breakfast show and called it “21st century censorship via cyber bullying”.

In like fashion, the prospect of suspending the 2Day FM show along with the desertion of advertisers extended to the sharemarket, with the listed entity’s stock Southern Cross Media Group falling 6 per cent, as investors punted that the loss of advertisers would have a significant impact on the bottom line.

It is part of Australia’s culture to crack jokes but this time the joke turned from black comedy to a nightmare for all concerned.

It is yet another example of the power of social media to exert huge pressure on companies rather than the ineffectual regulators.

Just last week, Starbucks bowed to public pressure and pledged to pay taxes in the UK, despite regulators not being able to sanction the company for avoiding tax in the past three years as it was technically operating within the law. However, the consumer backlash – including people protesting outside its stores and the potentially huge damage to the brand – led to the company “volunteering” to pay 20 million pounds in tax.

Starbucks issued a statement that was gobsmacking but spoke volumes about the power of consumer and community backlashes. It said “it would pay a significant amount of tax during 2013 and 2014 regardless of whether the company is profitable during these years”.

Starbucks told the BBC the company had “listened to our customers” and was “making a number of changes in our business to ensure we pay corporation tax in the UK” – something it urged UK Uncut and other concerned parties to “carefully consider”.

There is no arguing that the 2Day FM prank was in poor taste but the tragedy that followed could never have been imagined. Nor do we know the background to it.

What we do know is the culture at Southern Cross Media Group is nasty and allows shock jocks to pull pranks all the time. The idea of a joke is everyone laughs, rather than it being at some unsuspecting person’s expense.

The board sets values for a company and if management takes decisions that are in contravention of the company’s values then something has to be done. Investors and directors of Southern Cross Media need to look at those values to see where they are falling short.

In this case the company has come out and said every attempt was made to ask for approval to run the pre-recorded tape but time ran out and it went to air and received lots of attention, which the station would have loved, until it all went horribly wrong.

What does it say about the brand? Does it put the quest for top ratings ahead of values?

With the power of social media growing exponentially, the debate is just about to begin.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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If I’d known then what I know now …

“If you don’t have peers with pint-sized spit-bubble blowers, make mates that do. If at first your mothers’ group does not succeed, try again with another” … Melanie HearseAs Amy Corderoy reported earlier in the week, a new survey commissioned by the Mental Health Association NSW revealed that 42 per cent of mothers found the experience of parenthood much more stressful than they expected. And the twist in the tale? It’s the younger mothers who are most likely to be affected, with nearly a third reporting that they felt like other people were coping better than them, or experienced excessive worry and sadness.
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I’m not going to rehash the study. Instead, I’m going to rehash my own experience as a young mum that found parenthood much harder and more stressful than expected – so much so that by the time my first son was 15 months old, I was hospitalized with severe anxiety and depression. Before you switch off, it has a happy ending – perhaps the happiest part being that with baby number two, everything I learned from my experiences with number one made for a more enjoyable and relaxed ride.

The first few months as a new mum were okay. But I remember that when my hubby went to pick up takeaway on our first night back home, I ran away from my son as the thought ran through my mind that I could ‘squash him like a bug’. There was another moment, months later, where Max bounced face first off a coffee table in his bouncer, and I was terrified that if I told anyone they would take him away from me. But they were the only standout negative moments.

Then, when Max was about 10 months old, I stopped sleeping. I would have maybe two hours a night on a good night, but often I had none. After a month of this passed, I was a zombie. I was terrified and unhappy, and my mum and mother-in-law had to take it in shifts to take me to my doctor each day to report the same thing: still no change. I went on antidepressants, but I couldn’t shake the black dog.

At 2am, four weeks into the no-sleep regime, I called a cab, left a note for my husband, then set off for the emergency room to check myself in. My mum told me later how terrified she was to find out I was in the psych ward, and how brave she thought I was. But I wasn’t brave, I was determined – I had a son I’d previously adored who I was now afraid to be near, scared I’d become the star of one of those stories of a mum ‘flipping’ and hurting her kid.

With the support I had, I was able to be admitted as an outpatient, so I could go in and be checked out by day, see the counselors, and then go home to my parents’ house at night. I started to sleep again and the world slowly took on colour as my mum and I went for walks and talks. My husband bought my son to visit, and it makes me cry to say he barely felt like part of me – this is a kid I now consider a soul mate, we’re so in tune and alike.

One of the main things that moved my life forward was when my mum took Max and I to Ngala, a support service for families. I spilled my guts on the anxieties, the worries, the fears … everything that was becoming a new parent. I was the first of my friends to have a baby, so I had no one else to look and to see that what I was going through was all normal, and not at all the way I thought it would be. Without being too glib, the counsellor looked at me, almost puzzled, and said, “Well, all mums feel that way. It’s normal and it’s going to be okay.” And she helped me see how distorted my view of what parenthood ‘should’ look like really was.

Recalling that session reminds me of the funny photo doing the rounds at the moment. Snap one shows a mum and baby sleeping serenely side by side, captioned ‘perception’. Snap two, aptly captioned ‘reality’, shows a mum asleep with her toddler stretched across the bed, one foot planted over her mum’s face. The universal appeal of that meme tells us something – we all identify with having whole heartedly believed the top picture was what we were going to get, only to realize, after biting the apple, that picture two was the real deal.

So this is the happy part of my tale – the stuff that if I’d known then would have helped me enjoy little Max so much more (and why my experience with my second son, Sam, was light-years apart). The funny thing is that it has been almost seven years ago to the day that I first stopped sleeping, and therefore a month off the day I went to hospital. It goes to show that a lot can happen in seven years when you have lots of support!

Here’s my cheat sheet:Get as much professional advice and support as you can as a new parent, especially if you don’t have a huge and happy haven of girlfriends going through the same journey. Don’t ever feel afraid that what you’re going through is too weird, or too ‘not-fixable’ to share. Nothing is going to make you feel as normal (or as sheepish at your own anxieties/expectations) as another mum whacking you on the arm and hooting, ‘Oh my god, I thought it was just me!’ Accept help. Even if your sister, friend, mum or mother-in-law dish out unsolicited advice, or want to do things differently to you, grab their offers of help with both hands. You should have seen me go with baby number two – he was palmed off all over the place, even with his bachelor uncle. The kid is now confident, happy and sociable. You are not, as your mummy guilt might tell you, letting the team down by accepting a hand.If you are feeling like things are getting on top of you, visit your GP. Early intervention makes a difference – talking to them doesn’t mean you’ll ‘have’ to take medication, but they may refer you to a psychologist and set you up on the Medicare rebate plan.If you don’t have peers with pint-sized spit-bubble blowers, make mates that do. If at first your mothers’ group does not succeed, do try again with another. If your friend has a friend with a new bub, ignore any shyness or ‘can’t be bothered’-ness and catch up with her. Sharing war stories, poo jokes and special moments with someone going through the same thing is very reassuring. And if their house seems more pristine and ordered than yours … demand the house cleaner’s phone number.

To chat with other parents 24/7, visit the Essential Baby forums. To learn more about postnatal depression and anxiety, visit the PANDA website.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

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Chill-out zone: in the trenches with Melbourne Ice

Shannon Swan and Jason McFadyen turned their love of ice hockey into a compelling warts and all documentary.Some of the most compelling reality TV programs follow “ordinary” people in their extraordinary occupations. Goldminers in the Bering Sea; truckers in the Arctic; fishermen in the wildest waters of the Atlantic and Southern oceans; policing in fearsome urban jungles – shows that highlight such jobs are now a successful TV staple.
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Professional sports have remained one of the few realms to resist this trend, most clubs determined to protect and control how they are portrayed.

It took two Australians, following an amateur ice hockey team, to deliver a truly captivating “access all areas” sports documentary.

The Ice: Road to Three-Peat depicts Melbourne Ice in its 10th anniversary season as it strives to become the first team in the history of the Australian Ice Hockey League to win three successive titles.

The footage is not so much “behind the scenes” as embedded in the midst of them, the cameras mingling with coaches and players as they despair and exult, fight and score. For Resolution Media’s hockey-mad Shannon Swan and Jason McFadyen, it was a labour of love that blessed them with a surfeit of material.

In a remarkably eventful season, the club endured two major suspensions to key players, a form slump that tested their self-belief and team cohesion, and a near amputation to its star player, among many other dramas en route to a thrilling finals series.

Swan says the show worked because of trust and love.

“Deep down inside – we didn’t realise it at the time – but we’d fallen in love with the team and all the people involved.

“It’s a really weird thing because a lot of people say they were conscious of you having the camera around, and they were at the start, until we showed them the first episode – then we had their trust. And then it was almost like a cloak of invisibility: you could be in a room with a camera and no one would bat an eyelid. No one would even notice you were there, and that’s why we got all those shots.”

Swan and McFadyen believe that quickly winning the trust of the participants is vital to the success of such “workplace” documentaries. But they have further advice for those who would follow in their footsteps.

“Follow something that you love because you know it. And you’re going to spend a lot of time doing it so make sure you enjoy it.

“The other thing is they [the subjects] have got to have buy-in themselves. You can’t be continually trying to talk them in to doing something. They knew that they wanted to do it and why it was important.”

Ice president Andy Lamrock and coach Paul “Jaffa” Watson immediately grasped the impact the six-part series could have on their team, and the sport in Australia. But they could not have reasonably expected that it would be not only picked up and aired by Foxtel, but become the subject of international interest from documentary festivals and even US and Canadian broadcasters.

The producers say Watson was a “huge driver” of the show – calling the camera crew in when he knew something was going to happen.

“They realised what we were doing and that was when they saw the first episode they saw that we weren’t out to exploit them, that we had their back, we wanted to tell their story and promote the game.”

Despite its affection for the sport and the players, the production had to keep its distance.”Just observe the zoo, don’t be a part of the zoo,” Swan says. But that was a tough challenge.

“You’ve got to let the drama unfold in front of you. I found that probably the most difficult aspect of it, because they were all good blokes and we’re now friends with most of them.

“We had to make sure we weren’t censoring anything because we knew the guys . . . we definitely left a space for the audience to make up their minds. We didn’t sugarcoat any of the issues which happened . . . we had to stay neutral.”

That included keeping the cameras running when teammates were calling each other to account, or team captain Vinnie Hughes was involved in a controversial fight.

Swan and McFadyen were originally inspired to embark on a sports documentary in part by HBO’s acclaimed 24/7 series, which follows two professional ice hockey teams in the weeks leading up to the annual outdoors “Winter Classic” game.

However, the NHL teams involved in 24/7 remain commercial entities, the players wary, experienced media performers, and the production a commitment to just a slice of a long season.

Resolution considered doing the same for AFL, basketball or cricket in Australia, but found “they were all too censored and they were all too controlled”.

The best subject was right under their hockey-loving noses.

“People go on Big Brother to get something out of it, they want to be famous,” Swan says. “These guys were involved because they loved what they do, not because they wanted to be famous out of it, not because they wanted money but because . . . they loved what they do and they wanted to show off what they do. That’s why it was successful and people were themselves.”

Melbourne Ice players train and prepare as intently as many professional sportspeople, and the organisation, volunteer-run, has grown five-fold in three years since moving to the Icehouse in Melbourne’s Docklands.

The balance of the amateur and professional is precarious for Australian ice hockey, and its portrayal broadens the appeal of the series.

“They’re a minority sport, they’re amateurs, they don’t have to worry about sponsors, they don’t have to worry about a public profile yet – even though it’s on the verge of that,” Swan says.

“So they could be themselves. They didn’t have anything to lose, really, because they don’t have anything. So it was that opportunistic thing of their sport isn’t censored at this stage, there’s no public profile . . . So what you got was something that was really raw and it was real. So I think that’s why the results were so good and they were themselves.

“It did perfectly line up for us, the season they had, how down they got, even when they were two-nil down in the final. The story almost told itself, we were just lucky to be part of it.”

Swan and McFadyen enjoy all manner of documentaries – “Anything that gives an insight into what you just don’t get to see,” as McFadyen puts it. But they remain most in love with sport.

“I’ve always said that sport is the best reality TV,” Swan says. “A guy breaks his leg on the MCG on a Friday night and it’s everywhere. Someone on Big Brother does something and nobody cares, because it’s all set up.”

And they both loved making Road to Three-Peat so much that they are suffering withdrawal – it is hard to replicate that love they felt.

Detailing proposed follow-ups with Ice and the AIHL, McFadyen says they will miss “being part of the team and part of the club”.

“I don’t think we can handle not having any hockey around.”

But Swan says whatever the duo takes on next, it will never be the same as the extraordinary six months they spent with Melbourne Ice.

“That’s the hardest thing. Because even if we go on a road trip next year you’re not in the locker room, you’re not part of it, you’re in the crowd, you’re a fan again. So as much as you might have a couple of beers afterwards, you’re not in the trenches feeling every blow.”

Official site: The Ice: Road To Threepeat

The Age’s report on the AIHL 2012 grand final – click here

Melbourne Ice -click here

Melbourne Mustangs -click here

AIHL -click here

Melbourne Icehouse – click here

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‘This is going to be a fortune’: investors wanted Obeids out of coal deal, inquiry told

“Why would we leave?” … Moses Obeid. Ian Macdonald.
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“They’ve looked down our throats and up our arses and they haven’t found anything,” was Moses Obeid’s angry reaction on being told that his family’s reputation would damage a coal deal and that the other investors wanted them out.

Mining magnate Travers Duncan told the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday that in 2010, when he was informed the family of controversial Labor MP Eddie Obeid had a 25 per cent shareholding in Cascade Coal, he wanted them out.

The commission is inquiring into whether Cascade Coal was corruptly awarded a coal exploration licence in 2009 by the then NSW mining minister Ian Macdonald.

The Obeid family and their associates bought up key farms in the Mount Penny area in advance of Mr Macdonald announcing that the area would be part of a coal tender.

They also managed to negotiate a 25 per cent stake in the winning bidder Cascade Coal.

Mr Duncan, who the commission has revealed dined regularly with Mr Macdonald throughout 2009, was one of a group of seven prominent businessmen who invested in Cascade Coal. Mr Duncan, 80, has denied receiving confidential government information from Mr Macdonald in relation to the tender.

The commission has heard that Mr Duncan was “quite surprised” when he found that a third party had a 25 per cent stake in Cascade in 2009. He said that he was informed by either investment banker Richard Poole or fellow mining magnate John McGuigan, both of whom were major investors in Cascade Coal.

However, Mr Duncan has claimed that it was not until early 2010 that he learned that the Obeids had the 25 per cent. “You’ve got to fix it,” Mr Duncan said he told Mr Poole.

“I don’t wish to repeat the language,” said Mr Duncan of Eddie Obeid’s son Moses’s expressed reluctance to leave the deal.

“Why would we go? This is going to be a fortune,” Mr Obeid is alleged to have said about the amount of coal that lay under their farms at Mount Penny.

Mr Duncan said he told them they should go then and there or they would be left with nothing. “I will out-spend you and you [your shareholding] will be diluted,” he threatened Moses Obeid.

In February 2010, Mr Poole’s investment bank Arthur Phillip prepared a document called Project Phoenix which was aimed at finding a way for White Energy, a public company which had five of the seven Cascade investors on its board, to buy Cascade. Part of that document referred to the “Sanitisation of Cascade” which was a code for getting rid of the Obeids in preparation for the sale.

The proposed $500 million sale later collapsed after the Australian Stock Exchange made inquiries about the identity of some of the Cascade shareholders and a mysterious $28 million payment which has now been revealed to have been part of the Obeids’ buyout.

Mr Duncan will be followed in the witness box by fellow millionaire Brian Flannery. Mr Duncan and Mr Flannery made more than $500 million each in 2009 when they sold their mining company Felix Resources to a Chinese conglomerate.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

杭州龙凤

Buying into friendship and community

Ties that bind… the living area. Vendors Corinne Smith and Amara Jarrat.
Shanghai night field

Renters from a new residential development in Erskineville became owners on Saturday, splashing $758,000 on a two-bedroom apartment.

The top-level apartment 3417 on 2/Nassau Lane had many features to offer, but the most valuable asset was something money can’t buy; the community feeling.

It was therefore no surprise for vendors Corinne Smith and Amara Jarrat when the winning bidder turned out to be their neighbour.

While the new owner wanted to remain anonymous, he had competition from two other renting parties of the block.

”You get a sense of friendship and community here that stays with you even when you move out,” Ms Smith said.

Although the development is only three years old, residents in the ”Motto 2” building have developed close ties.

”I think we bonded so well, because we all moved in at the same time in 2009. That night most of us went to a nearby pub and we have been on good terms ever since,” Ms Jarrat said.

The building has a large outdoor pool, a landscaped garden, and there’s plenty of space for visitors parking.

Designed by award-winning architects Allen Jack+Cottier, the building seems to have the right mix of public and private amenities.

The unit is split over two levels, with the master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, a 33 square metre entertainer’s terrace and the entrance upstairs on level four. The large south-facing terrace is tiled and partly covered.

Downstairs is the main living area with an open-plan kitchen, a second bathroom with bath tub and two balconies adjacent to the large living and dining room with city views and the second bedroom.

The property has 129 square metres of combined indoor and outdoor living space, single security parking and a handy nine-square-metre storage space.

Real estate agent Ercan Ersan recorded 92 inspections in the past four weeks and issued 16 contracts, with six registered bidders present at the auction.

Progressing in increments of $20,000 to $30,000, the auction was driven by four active bidders, three of them residents of the building.

After the reserve price of $725,000 was met, increments were reduced to $5000 and further reduced to $2000 and $1000 before the hammer fell at $758,000.

The vendors are moving to Earlwood, where they have purchased a house with plans to start a family. They had paid $695,000 in 2009.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Read more »

杭州龙凤