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2Day threats mount as prank anger rises

Jacintha Saldanha and her two children, taken from Facebook. Sorry … Mel Greig and Michael Christian.
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The boss of the radio station facing global condemnation after the death of a British nurse targeted in a radio prank said staff from the station tried at least five times to contact those involved in the call.

The station, 2Day FM, and broadcasters Michael Christian and Mel 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 answered Greig’s questions, referring to her as ‘‘ma’am’’.

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.

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.

“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.

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

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12 days of Christmas on the cards

People can be generous to a fault at this time of the year, but if you bought all the gifts in The 12 Days of Christmas on your credit card, you would be out of pocket more than $25,000 and potentially be paying off the debt for 42 years.
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Weekend Money tallied the partridge, the pear tree, the white swans (black ones would have been a lot cheaper), a day’s milking from a farmhand and the services of the Williamstown RSL Pipe Band, among other things, to find out how much the gifts in the Christmas carol would cost.

The carol repeats the previous day’s gifts and adds a new one as each day goes by, but we reckoned no one’s ”true love” would want 12 partridges in 12 pear trees – no matter how much they welcomed your attentions – so we kept it simple (see table).

We then asked financial products researcher RateCity to work out how long it would take to pay off the $25,042 total, assuming you had a rewards-linked card (as you would if you went around spending that sort of money) and paid only the minimum required each month.

It turns out, with a card charging 19.42 per cent interest (the average for a rewards card), and a minimum repayment of just 2.35 per cent of the balance (again average), the debt would take 42 years to clear, at a cost of $52,650 in interest.

And that doesn’t include the $135 annual fee you would pay for the average points-based credit card.

The $180 in shopping vouchers RateCity estimates you would earn on the average rewards card for that spending hardly compensates for an interest bill of $4702 in the first year alone.

The bottom line is you would still be paying for Christmas 2012 in 2054.

As unlikely as that might seem, it’s a fact that three-quarters of the collective debt on our credit cards is rolled over each month – about $35 million out of the $49 million outstanding at the end of the month. At an interest rate of 20 per cent, that’s about $7 million in interest a year.

It’s true Australians have become more reluctant to use credit cards. But card balances have their usual spike in February, even during the worst of the global financial crisis, as the bills arrive for gifts and holidays bought in December and January.

And it’s at this time of year, Reserve Bank data shows, that people leave a bit more on their cards for payment next time.

”We’ve seen how pre-Christmas shopping on expensive credit cards can make for a very unhappy new year,” says Penelope Hill, the advice services manager at MoneyHelp, a financial counselling service run by the Consumer Action Law Centre.

To make sure Christmas cheer lasts throughout the year, we’ve pulled together holiday advice from consumer and financial groups. This year, much of the advice focuses on online shopping, over which there’s concern about how easy it is to tick and click, as well as the potential for the theft of personal information for financial fraud.

Don’t fall for the glitter

Hill of MoneyHelp says giving gifts is one of the most rewarding parts of the holiday season, but people should look out for sales gimmicks aimed at getting them to spend more than they planned. ”Take a deep breath before typing in your credit card details, and consider your financial position before buying,” she says.

Make a list and check it twice

Set a budget for Christmas spending, write a shopping list of gifts and treats, then stick to it. Even if it’s not your habit, keep a record of your card spending and check the daily total against your budget.

Think twice before applying for more credit

It may be tempting, but if you couldn’t afford a higher credit limit last month, can you afford it now?

Protect your personal information

”Christmas shopping online can be convenient, easy and find terrific bargains,” says the senior manager for fraud and financial crimes at Abacus Australian Mutuals, Leanne Vale. ”But make sure you know the seller is legitimate, you are confident in the product purchased and your credit card details are protected.” Provide card details only to secure sites that have the symbol of a locked padlock in the browser.

Don’t forget your phone

Most people are aware of the need to have security software installed on their computers, but with smartphones just as likely to be used for banking and shopping, we need firewalls, antivirus protection and strong passwords for these devices as well. ”It’s particularly important to ensure shopping using your mobile phone or other digital devices is safe,” Vale says. See staysmartonline.gov.au.

Tell your bank about your travel plans

If you’re taking advantage of the strong Australian dollar and going overseas, tell your bank and give them your contact details, the Australian Bankers Association says. The bank needs to know there’s a logical explanation for those transactions in New York, and how to reach you if they suspect fraudulent activity on your account.

Use the card extras you’ve paid for

The number of credit cards offering ”premium services” has doubled in the past year, says a RateCity spokeswoman, Michelle Hutchison. One of the most popular additions is the ”price guarantee scheme”, under which cardholders can claim a refund of the difference between what they paid for an item and the cheaper price if it goes on sale. These cards have annual fees of $100 to $150, and have interest rates as high as 23 per cent, so make sure they earn their keep. Also check if your card insurance covers the excess for insurance on your rental car.

Know your rights

Under Australian consumer law, goods must be of acceptable quality and fit for their purpose. If there’s a major defect, the consumer – not the supplier or manufacturer – gets to choose whether they want a refund, replacement or repair. If the defect is minor and can be repaired, the consumer cannot demand a refund but can ask the supplier to fix the problem. It’s up to the supplier to offer a refund, replacement or repair. People who receive goods and services as gifts have the same rights as consumers who buy direct.

❏ By the way, if you were to follow The 12 Days of Christmas to the last turtle dove, the total cost would be $119,240 – and you would probably be accused of stalking.

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

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Five ways to get a full rate cut

About $10 a month and $120 a year doesn’t seem much to miss out on. It hurts a little more when you realise that’s $2811 over the life of a 25-year, $300,000 home loan, and a further $2400 if you’d stuck with the higher payments you’re used to making.
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But it’s downright painful to consider that’s the result of the big banks hoarding just 0.05 points of one interest rate cut. Over the past five years, they’ve withheld a third of all official cuts and added a bit extra on to hikes for good measure.

As debate once again rages about whether the clawback is justified – the Reserve Bank and Treasurer Wayne Swan say no; banks and the federal opposition say yes – you can actually put a stop to this. There are five ways to secure the rate cut you deserve.

1. Apply for what they deliver. First, while a rate cut will be automatically passed through to your loan – when, eventually, it kicks in (ING Directs’ full 25 basis point cut, for example, doesn’t begin until Christmas Eve) – you need to apply if you want your direct-debit repayment reduced.

This is to the banks’ credit as it means, all of a sudden, you are overpaying, which will save you significant interest in the long run. If you hold a $300,000 loan on the likely new big bank average variable rate, 6.42 per cent, that’s an additional saving of $16,613, and you’ll be debt free more than a year early.

But if instead you want the monthly cash in hand, you’ll have to put up your hand.

2. Ask for the full whack.

OK, they may well laugh, but the sound will die in their throats if you reveal you know about the generous discounts they offer to select customers.

The fact is big-bank headline rates are no more than a starting point. You have bargaining power if you have a good credit history and/or are a long-standing customer, and your borrowings amount to more than, say, $250,000. Authorised discounts could be as high as a full percentage point, which puts big-bank rates much closer to the most competitive in the market.

Those lenders that appear at the top of interest-rate league tables, often non-banks, will have far less wriggle room.

3. Threaten to leave. Be prepared to lend weight to your request by making a genuine threat to leave.

Banks know that the ban on exit fees on loans taken out since July 1, 2011, and the requirement that those on older loans are fair and reflect only the revenue loss to the bank, give you mortgage mobility like never before. And your lender knows it.

What’s more, many rival institutions will happily waive any set-up fees to get your business across.

But you may not even have to bother. This could well be the bargaining chip that secures you a much better rate exactly where you are, with not a jot of extra effort.

4. Actually switch. If your lender doesn’t acquiesce, no matter – you should garner an even bigger discount by ditching and switching.

Remember, whatever individual lenders do with their rates each time, the gap between the big banks’ average variable rate and the best rates on the market has stayed at about 1 percentage point for years now – that’s not one but four rate cuts.

(Just be aware there are no assurances the cheapest lenders will maintain that margin, and funding difficulties may see them pass on less. Make sure the initial pricing is worth it.)

At current rates, improving your deal by this much on the big-bank average represents a saving of almost $52,000 on our $300,000 loan.

That’s about an annual wage. Do you think that justifies the bit of paperwork involved?

5. Save even more money. If you’re holding money in a savings account of some kind when you still have a mortgage, stop. You’ll struggle to get up to 5 per cent on deposit today – and from that you’ll lose interest. Put the money against your mortgage, however, and you’ll effectively earn 5.5 per cent or more, tax-free.

So the difference is much more than two rate cuts; there is simply no decision.

The smartest thing to do is not to put your money actually inside the mortgage but to house it alongside it in a linked offset account. The interest saving should be identical but you will retain full, free access. You can also get multiple offsets that allow you to keep your savings, holiday, car, etc., separate.

Don’t be at the mercy of the banks self-serving interest rate re-pricing, serve yourself an interest rate reprieve.

Nicole is editor-at-large of afrsmartinvestor上海夜网m. Follow her on Twitter: @NicolePedMcK.

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

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Find inspiration in the cabinet of curiosities

Rural Australian Homes Text: Leta Keens Photos: Simon Griffiths
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Murdoch Books, hardback, rrp $89.99

We love a sunburnt country, but few of us get to live in it day in and day out, drawn as we are to city conveniences or coastal cool. Redressing this, Sydney-based writer Leta Keens turns her eye inland to 18 abodes set on the parched, harsh and resoundingly romantic landscape that is Australian country to tell the stories of how each came into being.

In so doing, she also draws on the historical and geographical context on which they are set. Keens’ choices run the gamut of cottage to converted shed to the architectural ingenuity of Permanent Camping near Mudgee, NSW, a tiny timber and copper tower that borrows from the concept of a tent. And here’s how she stumbled upon a homestead in Licola, Victoria: ”It took one photo of Glenfalloch Station in an email to make me want to go there. A picture of a three-storey brick tower that looked as it it was built for Rapunzel.”

This vibrant, well-written book, coupled with the stunning photography of Simon Griffiths, will go a long way towards reigniting our love affair with the bush.Bowerbird: Creating beautiful interiors with the things you collect By Sibella Court

ABC Books, hardback, rrp $59.99

It’s a rare stylist who doesn’t get inspired by a thing less ordinary. Sibella Court has been an avid collector all her life; since the age of three or four she has fossicked for simple objects that, to her, tell a story. She still has her first collection of shells, sequins, beads and ribbons.

It’s such everyday and inexpensive odds and sorts that make up the basis of Bowerbird, Court’s new book of personal collections and ideas for creating a unique decorative statement. Eschewing organised for organic, the stylist – who has worked for the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Vogue Living – has put together a ”cabinet of curiosities” (lusciously photographed by brother Chris) that reflects her whimsical style, while encouraging the reader to evolve their own.

Court takes you through the ”hows” in a wonderfully revealing way that is at once haphazard and practical. As she says, collecting is dynamic, emotive and highly personal.Italian Home Photos: Massimo Listri Text: Nicoletta del Buono

Thames & Hudson, hardback, rrp $55

What makes an Italian home? Through the lens of architecture photographer Massimo Listri, the answers are myriad and magical. Travelling through the Italian countryside, Listri uncovers a sweeping landscape that melds tradition with innovation.

Each of the 21 homes he visits retains a character untouched by time, yet bears the indelible stamp of its current owner. Original features live alongside modern transformation in abodes framed by grand stone masonry and surrounded by imposing courtyards. In the baroque ”palace” of Il Castelluccio in Noto, Syracuse, Sicily, fashion designer Luisa Beccaria and husband Lucio Bonaccorsi have undertaken both restoration and decoration – while the original olive press and cellar stay intact, an old farm shed has been refashioned into a relaxation area.

Listri attempts to resurrect the spirit of writer Guido Piovene’s 1957 work, Journey Through Italy. Listri’s approach is less methodical, more intimate; less textual, more visual. But the artful way his photographs capture the spirit of modern Italian sensibility makes his effort no less laudable.

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

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Plot going to pot

Herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, succulents and ornamental plants are all grown in pots by Ta (pictured) and Alex Fearnside. Gardening
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Ta and Alex Fearnside have lots of gardens. They’re growing a small one in their living room, a little one on their roof, a more abundant one on their balcony and a couple in the common areas outside their front door. They have a worm farm in their garage and a public park next door.

It hasn’t always been like this. Ta spent much of her childhood living in a sprawling private estate outside Osaka in Japan with a whole forest as part of the family’s backyard. Alex grew up in Canberra on the classic quarter-acre with room for cricket in the back garden. But they have both also spent time in smaller situations where every space (indoor and out) counted. And ultimately that is how they wanted to keep it.

The couple acquired their Brunswick townhouse three years ago – for its northern light, outdoor spaces, access to the park and general urban amenity. Ta, a nurse who is the gardener of the pair, has gradually set about planting every available spot, while Alex, who runs the Yarra Energy Foundation, is in the midst of constructing an Australian-plant-filled rain garden for their ground-floor courtyard.

The couple, who have had a foster child living with them for some of the time, grow their own herbs and vegetables, swap produce with neighbours and often barbecue and eat in the park.

Ta has pineapple sage growing inside next to her dining room table, as well as begonias, a kentia palm, Monstera deliciosa and succulents. On the balcony outside, the biggest expanse of herbs and vegetables is in a massive insulated plastic planter, one of two that a friend (the woman behind Edible Islands planters) gave the Fearnsides to trial.

The other is on the roof where Ta has an olive tree as well as polystyrene boxes that she plants with edibles and moves about to suit the season. Moving to the area outside the front door, there is an orange tree and an assortment of succulents and other hardy specimens, while in the communal area are more olives, as well as a lemon, lime and apples (all in pots.)

Ta says that in the home she likes to ”make it simple, minimise stuff, minimise clutter” but plants are the exception. She wants to plant more. She talks to them, harvests them and plies them with diluted worm-juice.

They have got her talking with the neighbours in this block of townhouses, too. The residents here regularly discuss their gardens, tackling the communal areas together and swapping produce, gardening tools and information.

Community is very much the Fearnsides’ priority. About five years ago, inspired by the co-housing models pioneered in Denmark in the 1970s that have since taken off elsewhere, they founded Urban Coup. It is a ”community” of households seeking to buy land in the inner urban area and develop it into a mixture of both private and common areas, including shared garden spaces. Should the plan come off, it would be a more exaggerated, purpose-built version of what they have now.

They like the fact that Ta grows rhubarb but gives it to her neighbour to cook, that they can jump from their roof deck to their neighbour’s and swap cuttings with those living around them. They also like that the grass, elms and plane trees in the park on their doorstep are maintained by the local council instead of them.

”There’s a real generosity here,” Ta says. ”And all the plants make me feel healthy.”

Plant care

– The Fearnsides’ garden is entirely in pots and therefore requires frequent watering and feeding. Mulch is a must. Ta uses both worm juice and worm castings – generated from food scraps in the worm farm in the garage – as a fertiliser. The worm juice – a watery liquid stemming from the breakdown of organic wastes – is diluted with water (at a ratio of 1:10) and applied to the soil as a liquid. This can be done weekly in the growing season. The nutrient-rich worm castings hold moisture and can be spread over the soil or dug in, particularly when planting seedlings.

– Pots need to be carefully matched with the size of the plant, with plants repotted as they get larger. The kentia palm (Howea forsteriana) is a slow-grower and will cope in the same pot for several seasons but will do best if some of the soil is replaced every one or two years. Like all indoor plants it will also benefit from the odd outing outdoors – nowhere too bright and somewhere where the rain will wash the dust from the leaves.

– Orange trees, like all citrus, can adapt well to pots but will always be smaller and yield less fruit than their in-ground counterparts. As well as regular feeding, dig them out of the pot and replace the soil every few years, at which point they can either be moved to a bigger pot or have their roots trimmed and remain in the original.

Megan Backhouse is pursuing a masters in urban horticulture.

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

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Peak performance

Illustration: Robin Cowcher.As the summer begins to sizzle and you reach for your air conditioner’s remote, there’s something you need to know.
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A big chunk of rising energy prices is caused by surging demand on the hottest few days of the year.

In its report on electricity regulation, the Productivity Commission states that just 40 hours of peak use during the year account for a quarter of our bills.

”We invest in the capacity of the network – the poles and wires – so we’re able to turn on the air conditioning when it’s incredibly hot,” says Dr Lynne Chester, from University of Sydney. ”But it’s used for a very small proportion of time.”

In the past few years, our overall demand for electricity has fallen, but the peak level continues to rise.

The reason? Air conditioning has gone through the roof. By 2020, it is forecast to double from 2000 levels.

The Productivity Commission attributes the change to rising incomes, cheaper air conditioners, bigger new homes and the trend to install more than one unit, ”particularly by higher income households”.

It’s an equity concern too: because everyone pays higher network costs, people who don’t use air conditioners at peak times are subsidising those who do.

But Dr Chester says there’s a broader problem. ”As our lifestyles change, we’ve taken things like water and electricity for granted. It’s there whenever we turn on the tap and the switch.”

If we’re to avoid excess investment in the network – and the inevitable higher prices – we need to reduce peak demand first. And that means a shift away from a ”predict and provide” approach to electricity, to something more complex.

Householders can expect a more active role in the way we manage energy production.

Smart meters allow electricity retailers to charge more when demand is high. ”Time-of-use pricing means that when demand goes up, the price will go up,” Dr Chester says. ”The most expensive time will be late in the afternoon, when the kids are home, the TV is on and you’re preparing dinner – that’s when the daily peak is occurring.”

That’s the stick approach, but there’ll be carrots too. Some retailers will alert you in advance of a critical peak, and offer discounts or incentives for switching off, if you can.

In South Australia, distributor SA Power Networks has been trialling ”direct load control”, which takes the day-to-day decision out of customers’ hands. If residents agree – in exchange for $100 – they install a widget on their air conditioner and, at critical times, remotely switch off the compressor (but not the fan) for about ten minutes every half hour.

The results are significant: among participants, they’ve been able to reduce peak demand by more than one-third without people noticing any loss of comfort. To make a dent in the overall spike, however, they would need residents to sign on in large numbers.

Dr Chester says the problem will keep growing, unless our consumption habits change. For that, we need different norms and different buildings.

”We’re treating the symptom and not the cause,” she says. ”We don’t build houses with eaves and verandahs, or design them for natural breezes. We’re turning on air conditioning instead.

”We’ve got to improve the efficiency of existing stock. We could start by retrofitting public housing; what better way to help low-income households improve energy efficiency and reduce energy bills?”

michaelbgreen上海夜网m.au

Links:pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/electricitysapowernetworks上海夜网m.au

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

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‘I’m learning about how capable I am’

Kate Waterhouse with Cathy Freeman.Olympic legend Cathy Freeman will always be best known for winning the women’s 400 metres at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The athlete has moved on to motherhood with her 17-month-old daughter, Ruby. Kate Waterhouse chats with the 39-year-old about fitness, her fans and about having a child.
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Are you enjoying motherhood?

It’s challenging, but it’s a joy. I love being with my girl and I love how she affects my husband. I love how she makes people happy. She is an amazing little thing.

Is it everything that you thought it would be?

It’s more than I ever thought was possible, actually. I think it’s because whilst it’s demanding, challenging and you have to be organised, you also have to be quite self-aware. For example, when you know you need to rest, you lean on people, you have to really act on it and really be aware of your fatigue levels and your inner health. I really love how I’m learning about how capable I am.

Is your husband a hands-on father?

He’s wonderful. Mind you, I prefer to take control and do everything to the point where it allows him to step in when I actually need him to. I’m really happy being more hands-on than him, but he’s a fantastic dad, too; he enjoys being a dad, he loves our little girl and he’ll always be there if I need him. If I’m ever away or unwell, he’ll do everything.

How did your role as blogger and ambassador for the Coles Baby and Toddler Club come about?

Well, I had a previous association with Coles, and this seemed to be a natural shift with my little girl. The arrival of her and the growth of me personally, becoming a mother, seemed to just be an opportunity that came out of my personal circumstance.

Will you encourage your daughter to follow in your footsteps?

I will encourage my daughter to be true to herself; hopefully I’m setting that example really well for her. In terms of following my footsteps in that regard, yes.

Is fitness still a big part of your life?

Yes, it really is. I was over in New York a few weeks ago with the intent of running my first marathon. Unfortunately, it was cancelled but now we’re aiming for another marathon early next year, so you have to be fit.

A marathon is a big commitment, especially soon after having a child.

I think I needed to have that kind of goal because that’s how I’m precoded anyway in my previous life, and it’s what I’m so familiar with.

Do you still maintain a strict diet, similar to when you were competing, or are you more relaxed now?

I’m definitely a lot more relaxed because the stakes are different. I tend to enjoy more food now, although I do prefer not to eat a lot of bread. I have to watch my sugar intake because I have diabetes, so I think my sugar intake has definitely been monitored daily.

Do you get recognised everywhere you go?

In Australia, yes.

Do you still get a lot of fan mail?

[Yes.] It means a lot to me because I have been retired for [about nine years] and folks are still wanting photographs from my running days … It’s good for my ego [laughs].

What is the most frequent request from fans?

Autographs mainly, but sometimes a serious sports fan would ask for an action shot of when I’m in competition. Sometimes it’s a lovely letter from a 12-year-old, or sometimes I get a letter from an elderly person just wanting to share their wisdom with me.

It’s fantastic that after all these years, people have so much admiration for you.

I think it was just one of those times in our lives where it had such a unifying effect. When our sporting champions win, especially on their own turf, it’s very memorable, and people like to revisit that memory.

Do you still have that competitive spirit?

I do for things I’m passionate about, like seeing results achieved for my Cathy Freeman Foundation, but in terms of me personally, no I’m not competitive at all.

Do you hope to have a big family?

I’m enjoying our family unit as it is at the moment. I’m pretty content. Ruby, James and I are just one happy little family.

WE WENT TO The Grounds of Alexandria.

WE ATE Za’atar on toast with avocado, Persian fetta and heirloom tomatoes; slow-cooked lamb with yoghurt, chickpeas, roast pumpkin and sherry vinaigrette.

WE DRANK Mineral water and ginger beer with fresh garden mint.

CATHY WORE Zara pants and Tommy Hilfiger blouse.

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

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Will Max ‘The Axe’ fall over royal prank?

From respected senior public servant to Sleazemaster-General, Max ”The Axe” Moore-Wilton has fallen a long way.
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In public service, Moore-Wilton climbed to the very top, becoming department head to prime minister John Howard in 1996.

These days the Companion of the Order of Australia plies his trade in the private sector, where he is chairman of both Sydney Airport and moral-free broadcaster Southern Cross Media Group, aka Southern Cross Austereo.

Moore-Wilton is paid $250,000 a year to lend his respectability to the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Southern Cross, and it is he, and the rest of the board, who shareholders should hold ultimately responsible for the latest debacle enveloping the company.

He has been chairman since 2007 and, during his tenure, the company has perpetrated a series of outrages, most of them emanating from the Sydney studios of flagship station 2Day FM.

Remember the merry jape when ”Vile” Kyle Sandilands and his equally culpable enabler, Jackie O, hooked up a teenage rape victim to a lie detector? Or how about the hilarious time, just a few months ago, when Kyle called a female journalist a ”fat slag” and promised to ”hunt her down”?

In the latest stunt-gone-wrong, Southern Cross has suspended all ads from 2Day FM following the suspected suicide of a British nurse who was collateral damage in a prank call targeting the royal family.

While the two DJs who made the call aren’t completely free from blame, the real problem is that Southern Cross has a business model that involves teetering on the edge of a moral abyss.

Each so-called ”prank” may carry only a small risk, but their number makes eventual disaster all but inevitable.

And yet, somehow, its management seems surprised each and every time it falls in the muck. Witness the bleating from $1.3 million-a-year chief executive Rhys Holleran on Saturday that the company was ”confident we haven’t done anything illegal” and acted in accordance with its internal procedures. So that’s okay then.

Atop this structure sit Moore-Wilton and a board of worthies – former Freehills partner Leon Pasternak, former regulator Chris de Boer, media veteran Tony Bell, former head of Macquarie Capital Michael Carapiet, adman Peter Harvie and Mirvac director Marina Darling – who, in return for their wisdom, are each entitled to a minimum of $125,000 a year.

When CBD called, Moore-Wilton deflected the blame in Holleran’s direction.

”The chief executive officer is responsible for the operations of the organisation within the framework that the board broadly sets,” he said.

And he insisted that the company had taken action over previous incidents.

No doubt, but with 2Day’s license already subject to conditions, advertisers in retreat and Scotland Yard detectives investigating the death, clearly more needs to be done.

On Sunday night, the board was holding an emergency meeting to consider its next move.

While Moore-Wilton has so far failed to rein in the company’s rancid culture, there remains one productive step he could take immediately: resign.

Don’t hold your breath.

Hot tip on hot air

Think of it as a bottom-of-the-harbour scheme James Packer would be happy to embrace.

The gambling tycoon has been lobbying hard for approval to build a luxury casino at Barangaroo, a prime slice of Sydney being developed by Lend Lease.

Lend Lease, which won the tender on a promise to make Barangaroo a model of sustainability, is nearing a decision on a key component of its deep-green credentials: a centralised cooling plant using seawater from Sydney Harbour.

The hot tip is Dalkia, the energy services unit of French giant Veolia Environment, will emerge with a major contract from Lend Lease.

A win for Dalkia may give it an edge on rivals such as Origin Energy, which is just dipping its toes into the potentially big business of heating and cooling whole districts rather than single buildings.

Strike one

Bloodied but unbowed, the board of media and mining minnow Motopia survived an attempted putsch by major shareholder Wendy Symes last week, though it did suffer a strike against its remuneration report and couldn’t get the 75 per cent needed to allow it to issue new scrip. However, a return bout is inevitable: following the meeting, the company acknowledged as legitimate a request for an EGM that Symes lodged last month.

Motopia will lodge a notice of meeting with the exchange on Monday.

Numbers game

A slice of white collar criminal history is up for grabs in Melbourne. While it’s not in quite the same bloody league as one of the Carlton locations, where various dastardly deeds went down during the gangland wars, the cute little city venue has its own story to tell. It belonged to an accountant with the Pratt family’s Visy Board who was accused of stealing more than $3.3 million from the company.

The Victorian Supreme Court froze the property, in Little Lonsdale Street, early this year. The building is leased to hipster eateries, together bringing in rent of more than $150,000 a year.

Auctioneers Gross Waddell put it under the hammer on Wednesday at noon.

Got a tip? [email protected]上海夜网m.au

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Daily horoscopes: Monday, December 10

Read Fairfax Regional astrologer, Alison Moroney’s daily stars for Monday, December 10 2012.ARIES: Influences emanating from the home and family tend to arouse strong emotions during December 10-12, leaving Arian people feeling unsettled and questioning life.
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TAURUS: Life is an adventure during December 10-12 and you’ll enjoy sharing it with someone close. As with all adventures, some turn out to be better experiences than others.

GEMINI: The rhythmic influences operating in your work sphere will be comforting during December 10-12, even if for no other reason than providing you with the comfort of an income.

CANCER: December 10-12 connect you deeply with people you love, arousing your protective instincts. Children figure strongly in the equation then. Lucky conditions also prevail.

LEO: Domestic disturbances are likely to cause some disquiet during December 10-12. You’ll simply want some time alone to figure out the best way of handling a situation.

VIRGO: Virgoan minds are ticking over rapidly during December 10-12 as they determine the best way to do things, whether it’s managing daily routines or setting a goal.

LIBRA: Money flows rapidly during December 10-12, making this a great time for shopping and pay negotiations. You learn a few tricks along the way, adding to your wealth of experience.

SCORPIO: The depth of your emotions is strongly evident during December 10-12, powering the effective delivery of words and plans: augurs well for education and travel.

SAGITTARIUS: December 10-12 are a few days when you’ll simply want to get away from the mainstream of life: you simply don’t like showing deep emotions in public.

CAPRICORN: There are plenty of fun activities to fill your life during December 10-12, all in the company of people you like. This is a good time for social networking.

AQUARIUS: The power of Aquarian emotions drives their lives in each one’s chosen direction during December 10-12, strongly supplemented by a willingness and desire to work.

PISCES: The richness of life will be experienced through people and events that bring you love and good fortune during December 10-12. Emotions run deep then.

LUCKY NUMBERS: Aries: 1, 3, 4, 9; Taurus: 5, 8; Gemini: 6, 7; Cancer: 3, 4, 7, 9; Leo: 1, 3, 4, 9; Virgo: 6, 8; Libra: 5, 7; Scorpio: 2, 3, 7, 9; Sagittarius: 1, 3, 4, 9; Capricorn: 5, 6; Aquarius: 5, 6; Pisces: 2, 4, 7.

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Everybody loves a bargain on the internet

What are the best ways to boost sales over the internet?
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We find that the best way to increase sales is by offering an unbeatable deal. Nothing accelerates growth faster than placing a great deal on the site and letting our members talk about it.

Everybody loves a bargain, and the internet has made it even easier for shoppers to search, compare and discuss products with their friends online.

For retailers this means they need to develop a deep understanding of what their customers want, and then build their capabilities around product sourcing and procurement.

What are the most important things to consider when planning an online event such as a flash sale?

Click Frenzy in November succeeded in generating an unprecedented amount of publicity for the event. Unfortunately, the organisers underestimated the demand and the servers couldn’t cope.

Before any major online sales event, work closely with your IT team, hosting and other technology providers to ensure all parties are prepared for a spike in demand. Where Click Frenzy fell down was that its traffic estimates were based on a total number of visitors to the site for the duration of the sales period. While traffic may be strong for the full period, nothing beats the first 30 minutes when your site is bombarded with eager deal hunters. Stress test your site pre-sale.

You also need to ensure all areas of your business are ready for the spike in demand. Have you briefed your customer service and warehouse and delivery teams? Do you have extra staff on board?

The most important ingredient for a successful flash sale is getting your offers to convert into sales.

How do I support such a sales event? How can I use social media to promote it?

At CatchOfTheday we rely mainly on word of mouth and repeat purchasers. Social media are often referred to as ”word of mouth on steroids”, and they work well in a flash sale scenario. We find there’s no better way to promote a sale than to put a great deal on your site and let your customers talk about it.

During major flash sale events such as Click Frenzy and Cyber Monday, shoppers are actively hunting for promotions and interesting gifts on social platforms.

Tap into the buzz around these events, by using relevant hashtags such as #clickfrenzy, #festivedeals, or run complementary themed promotions, competitions or first looks offering eager participants a chance to win, or get a head start on the deals that are up for grabs.

Whether you are running a big sales event, or taking part in one, use the opportunity to make a favourable brand impression.

Gabby Leibovich founded daily deals websites CatchOfTheDay, Scoopon and Grocery Run. To watch a video with Gabby click here.

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Survival guide to avoiding Xmas insolvency

The cash collection cycle usually slows down at Christmas.CHRISTMAS is a boon for retailers, but it’s also the time when small businesses are most likely to become insolvent.
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Businesses in sectors such as services or manufacturing suffer a decrease in production and sales, with many shutting down altogether for a couple of weeks. At the same time, they’re still paying wages to staff who are on holiday, as well as other fixed costs, such as rent and loan repayments.

”Generally there’s a slowdown in the cash collection cycle,” says Quentin Olde, partner in charge at accounting practice Taylor Woodings.

”So there’s a general slowing down of the flow of funds through small businesses and at the same time their costs keep coming in.”

The result can be that come February, many businesses don’t have the cash to meet their obligations, so may become insolvent and potentially collapse.

Despite the difficulties, there are several things small businesses can do to improve their cash flow.Make a plan

The first thing to do is a cash flow forecast to see if the business is likely to struggle around Christmas time, says Olde. ”Have a detailed cash flow forecast plan to get you through that period, and where there are going to be shortfalls in that cash flow, look at ways to deal with them.”Talk to the bank

It’s worth approaching the bank about getting a short-term overdraft extension, but the earlier a business does this the more receptive the bank is likely to be. While banks have tightened their lending criteria in recent years, Olde says they could be receptive to such a request. ”They’re comfortable with it so long as they can see the business has thought through and planned for it and that it is just a temporary issue and it’s not the beginning of a longer-term or systemic problem in the business,” he says.Get invoices out

Roger Mendelson, chief executive of Prushka Fast Debt Recovery, says the difficult post-Christmas period is often made worse for consumer-focused businesses because many people load up their credit cards at Christmas, only to be hit with back-to-school expenses in late January.

So businesses need to ensure they get their cash coming in as quickly as they can. The first thing to do is to get their accounts in order and send out invoices in good time before Christmas, says Mr Mendelson. Otherwise they’re likely to be ignored until well into the new year.

Also, try doing interim billing, if possible. For instance, a plumber who’s done some work on a house could bill for the work he’s done up until Christmas.Follow up invoices

Likewise, businesses should follow up invoices that have already been sent out and not paid. ”You need to get really focused on getting on the phone and getting the cash in,” says Mr Mendelson. Try offering a discount to customers who can pay straight away. ”Being on the phone is certainly something a lot of SMEs are not too comfortable with, but it is certainly the best way to get the cash in quickly.”Talk to suppliers

If a business is expecting a cash flow crunch, its owners can try to negotiate with suppliers to hold off paying them until mid or even late February, to buy a bit of breathing space. ”You’ll often find that if you place the order the supplier is very keen to get the order and he’ll be happy with that,” says Mr Mendelson. ”But if you don’t incorporate that provision, you’ll be getting pressure from a source you’d prefer not to …”Use a debt collector

It’s worth engaging a debt collector once a bill is more than 60 days outstanding. ”Most of our clients make a real mistake of sending in debts far too late, and there’s a clear correlation between age of the debt and its collectability,” says Mr Mendelson. ”If a debt is six months old when it comes to us, that customer has really got it out of mind …”What do you think of our MySmallBusiness section? Fill in our survey for the chance to win $1000.

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PM cosies up to mummy bloggers

JULIA Gillard will host about 25 ”mummy” and other bloggers who write on the internet for women at Kirribilli House, as she gears up to use gender issues to maximum advantage in the coming election year.
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These sites reach about 2.5 million people. Similar sites were important in US President Barack Obama’s successful appeal to female voters in his re-election campaign this year.

The Monday function follows Ms Gillard’s previous morning tea with mummy bloggers in June, and comes after Labor strategists increasingly have seen gender working for Ms Gillard and against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, especially since the PM’s ”misogyny” speech in October, which received international coverage.

The November Nielsen poll again highlighted that Ms Gillard does much better among women than among men.

Labor’s primary vote was 34 per cent, but 36 per cent among women and 31 per cent among men. The PM’s approval rating among women was 52 per cent, and only 43 per cent with men. On preferred PM, she was favoured by 54 per cent of women to 47 per cent of men.

Mr Abbott, in contrast, had an approval rating of only 31 per cent among women, compared with 40 per cent among men; just 38 per cent of women, but 45 per cent of men, preferred him as PM.

Next year’s campaign will have centre stage several issues with particular resonance among women, including education, childcare, disability insurance and parental leave, on which Mr Abbott is offering a highly generous scheme.

The gender question has also become entwined with the character issue in Labor’s attacks on Mr Abbott, so is likely to be more important at this election than in 2010.

Among the news sites represented at the prime ministerial drinks will be Fairfax’s EssentialBaby, the largest online parenting site in the country; iVillage, for which Mamamia, created by Mia Freedman has the local licence from the US site; Women’s Agenda, created by Crikey journalist Angela Priestley; Kidspot, a News Ltd site that aims to simplify parenting and offer mothers a place to talk to each other; and the Fairfax site Daily Life.

Among others invited are Eden Riley whose blog was named by the Sydney Writers’ Centre as Australia’s best blog for 2012; the mother of four boys, one with special needs, who writes allconsuming 上海夜网m.au; Mrs Woog, named in the top 50 Kidspot Australian bloggers for 2011; Nicole Avery, whose site gives tips for organising the chaos of family life; and the writer of My Mummy Daze, who deals with juggling motherhood and a family business.

As the political year winds down, Ms Gillard will go on leave from this weekend, while Mr Abbott will visit London where he will address his old Oxford college, Queen’s, on Friday; he is expected to stress the advantage of students doing some studying abroad. Next week he and several other Liberals will attend the Australia-Israel-UK leadership dialogue in London.

He will meet Foreign Secretary William Hague and London lord mayor Boris Johnson.

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CA ready for Ritchie to sue over racism row

FORMER Test batsman Greg Ritchie has threatened to sue Cricket Australia and its chief executive James Sutherland, claiming he can muster the support of current and past players to take on the sport’s governing body and its head in court.
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In correspondence between Ritchie and Sutherland obtained by Fairfax Media, the 52-year-old argues he is owed compensation for lost earnings and damage to his reputation following the luncheon speech scandal he was embroiled in during last month’s Test between Australia and South Africa at the Gabba.

Ritchie faced a torrent of criticism for using the forbidden word ”kaffir” as part of his performance at the Brisbane Cricket Ground Trust members’ function, and for a joke in which he referred to three young Muslim boys being locked in the boot of his car. He made further anti-Muslim comments in interviews with reporters that followed, including with Fairfax Media.

Ritchie blames Sutherland for allegedly not making public an apology Ritchie says he made to the CA boss on November 11, the day the story surrounding his comments was broken by South African newspaper the Sunday Times. Ritchie, who is being represented by former Test cricketer Bruce Francis, also claims Sutherland did not clarify statements from his adviser Peter Young and his public affairs staff that indicated he would be banned from speaking at CA and member-state functions as a result of the furore.

In a November 30 email Sutherland writes: ”If you want to go down the route of seeking compensation

or other redress, let me know as our lawyers are more than ready to deal formally and reject any claim.”

Ritchie replies: ”James, your bravado about bringing the court case on is based on you mistakenly believing I can’t find anyone to do the case pro bono or you are gambling I won’t spend a few hundred thousand to make say $200k. You are also gambling that I can’t win the support of ACA [Australian Cricketers’ Association] members to take on CA.

”On the other hand, my friends say Cricket Australia won’t spend $500k and risk you losing your job and subject itself to a humiliating public relations hammering, just to save apologising to me and reimbursing me for lost income – particularly when I did nothing wrong and you have made an incredible number of mistakes.”

Ritchie and Francis have also alluded to legal action against media organisations who reported the story, including Fairfax Media. The Queenslander believes his legal bill should be picked up by the players’ union but it is understood that request will be rejected by the ACA executive and is highly unlikely to be approved by members.

He insists his on-stage remarks in Brisbane were taken out of context and that he made them hundreds of times before at other events without complaint, including at another luncheon, staged by Queensland Cricket, on November 7.

”If it is good enough for football clubs to pick up the tab for players who have transgressed in many areas, it should be taken for granted that Australian Cricketers’ Association should fund my case when I have done nothing wrong.”

Ritchie apologised in person for his luncheon comments to South Africa’s team manager Mohammed Moosajee, flying to Perth where Australia played the Proteas in the third Test.

”You know I hate flying,” Ritchie wrote in his reply to Sutherland’s email. ”But I flew to Perth to resolve the matter with Dr Moosajee. And because of my fear of flying I had to pay for a mate to accompany me.” In Sutherland’s email to Ritchie of November 30, he writes: ”I am also comfortable to publicly reaffirm the fact that CA has not banned you from speaking at cricket events.”

Ritchie, however, believes he was cost guest speaking jobs at functions on the instruction of CA, including one he had been contracted to deliver at the South Australian Cricket Association’s black-tie pre-Test dinner in Adelaide last month. Sutherland’s adviser, Young, told ABC Radio on November 12 that ”effectively we are” banning Ritchie from speaking at CA events but SACA chief executive Keith Bradshaw said it was his organisation that revoked the offer after learning of Ritchie’s lack of contrition.

Young said in his radio interview last month that a letter had been sent to venues and state cricket associations as a reminder of Australia’s commitment to the ICC anti-racism code.

”SACA’s letter terminating my contract was tantamount to banning me. If it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck and if it talks like a duck it’s safe to say it is a duck,” Ritchie wrote in his email to Sutherland on December 6.

A CA spokesman declined to comment, as did ACA chief executive Paul Marsh. Sutherland is on annual leave until later this month.

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Green monster laid to rest in Hobart as new seed put down

CRICKET AUSTRALIA has moved to allay concerns that the pitch in Hobart will be another minefield for batsmen, knowing it can’t afford a hazardous track to be responsible for a three-day match in Australia’s series opener against Sri Lanka.
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The state of the wicket at Bellerive Oval is clearly still a touchy subject after last December’s ”green monster” that hosted Australia and New Zealand, and a series of first-class matches this season that have favoured seamers heavily.

Cricket Tasmania blocked a request to speak to the curator, Marcus Pamplin, who prepared last year’s deck, dubbed the ”Incredible Hulk”, and has overseen the resurfacing of the wicket block at Bellerive.

However, CA senior manager of cricket operations Sean Cary was confident the venue for the first of three Tests between Australia and Sri Lanka would provide more balance in the contest between bat and ball.

”Tassie curator Marcus Pamplin has learnt a lot from preparing his wickets this year on a completely new block,” Cary said. ”The whole wicket block was re-laid in August this year. He’s had to manage new soil, clay and rye grass that takes months to settle while preparing wickets for first-class cricket.”

He said CA had taken a back seat in monitoring the process over the last few weeks and was very confident of Pamplin’s skills and expertise.

”He takes great pride in his work and has been working extensively on the Test wicket to ensure it provides an even contest for both teams,” he said.

Amid criticism of state wickets led by South Australia coach Darren Berry, CA is monitoring the production of pitches around the country and the topic was on the agenda at last month’s conference of state chief executives.

In the most recent Sheffield Shield match in Hobart, Western Australia were bundled out for 67 in their first innings, with the Tigers claiming victory by an innings and 118 runs.

Cary, however, said that wicket was a vast improvement on previous versions and would be replicated in the pitch to be used from Friday.

”Marcus has been meticulous in the surface preparation to ensure it is even and void of undulations. The result was a very flat surface for his last Shield wicket, Tasmania v WA.

”Marcus has employed a similar preparation for the Test wicket and is very confident he’ll have an even surface that should provide a great battle between bat and ball.”

If that rings true, it will be music to the ears of Sri Lanka in particular, given their chances against Australia appear to rely largely on their experienced party of batsmen.

Captain Mahela Jayawardene and former leaders Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan have scored more than 25,000 Test runs between them, while veteran Thilan Samaraweera boasts an average in excess of 50 from his 78 Tests.

”The new block has provided bowlers with more bounce and carry than the ‘old’ Bellerive pitch, and this is due to the rye grass and new clay mix,” Cary said. ”However, the new wicket has also shown that when batsman apply themselves early, runs can be scored when they get set.”

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Ritchie threat to sue CA

FORMER Test batsman Greg Ritchie has threatened to sue Cricket Australia and its chief executive James Sutherland, claiming he can muster the support of current and past players.
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In correspondence between Ritchie and Sutherland, obtained by Fairfax Media, the 52-year-old argues he is owed compensation for lost earnings and damage to his reputation following the luncheon speech scandal he was embroiled in during last month’s Test between Australia and South Africa at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Ritchie faced a torrent of criticism for using the word ”kaffir” as part of his performance at the Brisbane Cricket Ground Trust members’ function, and for a joke in which he referred to three young Muslim boys being locked in the boot of his car.

He made further anti-Muslim comments in following interviews with reporters, including those with Fairfax Media.

Ritchie blames Sutherland for allegedly not making public an apology he says he made to the CA boss on November 11, the day the story about his comments was broken by South African newspaper the Sunday Times.

Ritchie, who is being represented by former Test cricketer Bruce Francis, also claims Sutherland did not clarify statements from his adviser Peter Young and his public affairs staff that indicated he would be banned from speaking at CA and members’ state functions as a result.

In a November 30 email, Sutherland said: ”If you want to go down the route of seeking compensation or other redress, let me know as our lawyers are more than ready to deal formally and reject any claim.”

Ritchie replied: ”James, your bravado about bringing the court case on is based on you mistakenly believing I can’t find anyone to do the case pro bono or you are gambling I won’t spend a few hundred thousand to make say $200k. You are also gambling that I can’t win the support of ACA [Australian Cricketers Association] members to take on CA.

”On the other hand, my friends say Cricket Australia won’t spend $500k and risk you losing your job and subject itself to a humiliating public relations hammering, just to save apologising to me and reimbursing me for lost income – particularly when I did nothing wrong and you have made an incredible number of mistakes.”

Ritchie and Francis have also alluded to legal action against media organisations who reported the story, including Fairfax Media. The Queenslander believes his legal bill should be picked up by the players’ union, but it is understood that request will be rejected by the ACA executive and is highly unlikely to be approved by members.

Ritchie insists his remarks in Brisbane were taken out of context and he made them hundreds of times before at other events without complaint, including at another luncheon staged by Queensland Cricket on November 7.

”If it is good enough for football clubs to pick up the tab for players who have transgressed in many areas, it should be taken for granted that the Australian Cricketers

Association should fund my case when I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Ritchie apologised in person to South Africa’s team manager, Mohammed Moosajee before the third Test in Perth. ”You know I hate flying,” Ritchie wrote in his reply to Sutherland’s email. ”But I flew to Perth to resolve the matter with Dr Moosajee. And because of my fear of flying I had to pay for a mate to accompany me.”

In Sutherland’s email to Ritchie on November 30, he said: ”I am also comfortable to publicly reaffirm the fact that CA has not banned you from speaking at cricket events.”

Ritchie, however, believes he lost guest-speaking jobs at functions on the instruction of CA, including one he had been contracted to deliver at the South Australian Cricket Association’s black-tie pre-Test dinner in Adelaide last month.

Young told ABC radio on November 12 that ”effectively we are” banning Ritchie from speaking at CA events, but SACA chief executive Keith Bradshaw said it was his organisation that revoked the offer after learning of Ritchie’s lack of contrition.

Young said in his radio interview that a letter had been sent to venues and state cricket associations as a reminder of Australia’s commitment to the ICC anti-racism code.

”SACA’s letter terminating my contract was tantamount to banning me,” Ritchie wrote in his email to Sutherland on December 6. ”Cricket Australia has either banned me or instructed or influenced or counselled third parties to terminate my contracts. I understand this action could be in breach of the law. My family has diminished significantly while my reputation has been trashed by Cricket Australia.”

A CA spokesman declined to comment, as did ACA chief executive Paul Marsh. Sutherland is on leave.

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