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30 July
Comments Off on Government rejects findings of review into scripture in schools

Government rejects findings of review into scripture in schools

Planning mInister Rob Stokes speaks to the press after a conference on the simplification of urban planning at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney on November 25th, 2016. Photo: Brook Mitchell Photo: Brook Mitchell The state government has rejected the recommendations of an independent report into scripture teaching in NSW schools that would have forced providers to track student enrolment numbers and let students who opt out get on with their regular class work during scripture class time.
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Less than one-third of high school students are enrolled in scripture, according to a $300,000 review of Special Religious Education (SRE) released by the NSW Department of Education.

But the department has rejected making substantial changes to the teaching of scripture after sitting on the review by ARTD consultants for almost 18 months.

A recommendation to permit the majority of students who do not take scripture to get on with their class work was rejected on the basis it was against the current Religious Education Policy; along with a recommendation to give high school principals the power to opt in to SRE, which was rejected because parents currently have the right to withdraw their child from SRE in writing.

In primary schools, participation in SRE is about 71 per cent, while almost half of all principals report a decline in scripture enrolments in the past four years.

But there is no way to test those enrolment figures, which are based on a survey of principals, because the department also rejected a recommendation to keep centralised SRE enrolment figures on the basis it would not be “the best use of resources to establish an additional statewide monitoring system for attendance in SRE”.

In addition, the controversial 2015 change that removed the ethics option from the school enrolment form, which was viewed by ethics advocates as a sop to Christian Democrat MP Rev Fred Nile who holds the balance of power in the upper house, will stay, against the recommendation of the review.

“I am very pleased that today the NSW Coalition government has continued its positive support for SRE, which is so beneficial to our young people today,” Mr Nile said on Tuesday.

The review was a recommendation of a 2012 upper house inquiry into ethics classes in NSW schools, which recommended the department publish the number of students taking part in ethics and scripture classes, or neither, and that both types of class be reviewed in 2014-15.

Education Minister Rob Stokes conceded the review heard some “concerning anecdotes” but said “there was no widespread or systemic evidence of problems in the present system of SRE or SEE [ethics].

“The Department of Education has accepted a number of recommendations to improve transparency and accountability. The changes include ensuring information about providers and their curriculums are available to inspect online, improving complaint-handling procedures and ensuring age-appropriate content.”

Opposition education spokesman Jihad Dib said: “I have concerns that sensible recommendations such as those about opting in or out have been rejected by the government.

“Even though we have had to wait for 18 months, there are still many questions to be answered,” he said, such as how an organisation could lose its status as an SRE provider, details of the curriculum being implemented and the monitoring of delivery.

Mr Murray Norman from the Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools said the group welcomed the government’s response to the review.

He said keeping central enrolment statistics was not practical because there are over 100 providers of SRE in NSW.

Students not doing SRE do “alternate activities, like being able to do homework or reading”.

“We think it’s valuable for students to be able to explore the faith of their family and the other students are able to read or do homework or other alternatives organised by the school. We think that’s an appropriate stance.”

Primary Ethics, the group that co-ordinates ethics teaching in hundreds of NSW primary schools, said it was pleased the quality of its curriculum and volunteer recruitment process was recognised, but was disappointed the department did not support the recommendation to review the existing enrolment form.

Graeme Macpherson from the Fairness in Religion in Schools group, which campaigns against faith-based lessons in public schools, said the report was “disappointing”.

“The Consultative Committee for SRE is made up of the main religious bodies and they’ve effectively been given authority to control the whole process. It’s very insular.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

30 July
Comments Off on Marquees off the menu for Sydney FC despite record financial position

Marquees off the menu for Sydney FC despite record financial position

The likes of stars such as Alessandro Del Piero, Dwight Yorke and Juninho playing for Sydney FC could become a memory for the Sky Blues despite their premiership-winning team delivering off-field success that will put the club in its best financial position.
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A flurry of sponsors, a massive surge in membership, unprecedented exposure and increased viewers will put Sydney FC in a position to finally break even next season following their on-field success this year. However, their chief executive Tony Pignata has warned fans not to expect the unprecedented financial stability that’s followed on-field success to put them in a position to sign another high-profile marquee next season.

In six years, the club’s trimmed its losses from $8 million per season when they signed Del Piero to about $1 million. Depending on the annual grant from the FFA and renewed sponsorship deals, the number in the red could be almost negligible.

While a major boost for a club that’s financially struggled, it will unlikely be enough to put them in a position to sign a player with a similar calibre to past stars. Since they signed the former Juventus captain in 2012 for $4 million per season, the growth of other emerging markets has made it near impossible for Australian clubs to sign ageing high-profile footballers and Pignata issued a warning to fans desperate to see big names at Moore Park in the near future.

“First and foremost, it’s a football decision. [Coach] Graham [Arnold] will sit down and think about what he needs with his squad,” he said. “Though, I’ve always said that the way the market is at the moment, the way money is spent in China and the MLS, it’s very difficult to get players of that level to play in the A-League. When you’re paying a bloke seven million bucks, it’s hard to get a return on that.”

Sydney’s seven-year silverware drought will end on Saturday afternoon when their captain, Alex Brosque, lifts the A-League Premiers’ Plate after their match against Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium. It follows an incredible season that saw records tumble as the Sky Blues set the benchmark for the best defence, the most wins, will likely set a new record-winning title margin for a single season and one more win will ensure they finish with the most points in the history of national football in Australia.

It’s not only caught the attention of punters and pundits, but also commercial partners. The deals with their jersey sponsors Webjet and Star Track expire at the end of the season and the value in those will rise following Sydney’s success and the introduction of the A-League on free-to-air TV, most likely Channel Ten.

“We’re getting new sponsors calling us. In the last three days we met with three or four potential new sponsors who are coming to us on the back of the season we’ve had,” Pignata said. “We don’t have a lot of property available, it’s great, everyone wants to be part of it. We’re playing Liverpool in a few weeks time. In a few months we have [a friendly game against] Arsenal coming up.”

Sydney’s TV audiences have increased by 15 per cent to an average of 82,000 viewers per game this season and the club is targeting a membership jump from about 12,000 to 15,000 next season.

“On the back of the season we’ve had we’re expecting a good rise in memberships,” Pignata said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

30 July
Comments Off on What’s on at the movies

What’s on at the movies

Tim, voiced by Miles Bakshi, right, and Boss Baby, voiced by Alec Baldwin in a scene from the animated film, “The Boss Baby.Traditionally Easter cinema going brings a mixed bag of everything, Choices this school holidays is no different covering everything from Smurftastic family fun, an Australian TV show brought to the big screen, fast cars, a talking smart-alec (Baldwin) baby, the return of the caped crusader lego-brick style and that’s just to highlight a few. The weather is cooling down, a perfect time to see a movie or two.
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Description of Boss BabyNOW SHOWINGSMURFS THE LOST VILLAGE (G), 89minsVoices; Julia Roberts, Ariel Winter, Joe Manganiello, Gordon Ramsey, Demi Lovato.Toddlers rejoice, following on from the happiness of Trolls, the return the the friendly smurf village where our blue friends live amid the white mushrooms in tranquility until the biggest secret in smurf history sends a group on an adventure with Smurfette leading the way.

BOSS BABY (G)97minsVoices; Alec Baldwin, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi.When a briefcase carrying, espresso drinking, suit wearing baby with the articulate voice of Alec Baldwin teams up with his seven-year-old brother to save their parents from demise, expect the unexpected.

POWER RANGERS (M) 97minsBryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, Naomi Scott, Sarah Grey.Against all odds this update of the colourful teen quartet gaining extraordinary martial-arts powers they ultimately use to fight off earth crimes and ancient alien invaders is entertaining for young and old simply by not taking itself seriously.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (PG) 129mins Emma Watson, Josh Gad, Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline.Wonderful Disney adaptation of the classic epic romantic tale of opposites attract based around the 1991 animated musical gem with a few new songs and added narrative. Must see for amazing production design to immaculate costumes and catchy tunes. Swoon.

A scene from Dance Academy: The Movie

DANCE ACADEMY (PG), 100mins.Miranda Otto, Alicia Banit, Xenia Goodwin, Tara Morice.Excellent big screen installment following on from the extremely popular ABC television teen series catching up with the physical education members now they have parted ways scattered across the globe. Heartache, drama, fun and romance it’s all here.

A scene from Lego Batman.

LEGO BATMAN (PG)104mins.Will Arnett, Channing Tatum, Jenny Slate, Ralph Fiennes.Because The Lego Movie was a surprise hit, we now have this ludicrous madcap caped crusader alternative full of pop culture references amid non-stop bright loud action fun, could be too verwhelming for some. Funny at times although wears out it’s welcome.

FATE OF THE FURIOUS (M) 136mins. Battle of the chrome-domes part eight. The long running series keeps defying logic upping the stunt action theatrics each time to grandiose cinematic effect. Things for ‘the family’ go awry as Dominic Toretto causes a devastating chain reaction when going rogue.

APRIL 16 ONLYDR WHO THE PILOT (PG), 75mins. Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Stephanie Hyam.Screening at select cinemas one day only be sure to check session times. Beginning of the final chapter of the adventures of the twelfth Doctor with Peter Capaldi finishing up as the popular time-lord travelling the universe in his police box, there’s a new companion too.

OPENING APRIL 20GOING IN STYLE (M), 96mins.Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Jamie King, Ann Margaret.Loose remake of the 1979 classic comedy is worth seeing for the veteran trio of Hollywood royalty alone. Desperate to pay bills these knockabout guys scheme up a plan to rob the bank they believe ripped them off, you can guess the outcome but rest assured, it’s fun.

The Finest: Stars Gemma Arterton and Billy Nighy.

THEIR FINEST (M), 117mins.Bill Nighy, Gemma Arterton, Sam Caflin, Richard E. Grant, Jeremy Irons.Amusing British situation comedy about a film crew attempting in no uncertain terms to film a war propaganda movie after the infamous Blitzkrieg. Memorable ensemble cast will have audience in uncontrollable laughter one minute, in tears the next. Must see.

OPENING APRIL 25GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (Not classified), 137mins.Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Sylvester Stallone, Bradley Cooper.

These Marvel superheros are not your normal group of galaxy busters. Since joining forces the misfits from different worlds have become the oddest family in the universe and the funniest. Get ready for plentiful Marvel cameos and an ultra cool retro soundtrack.

30 July
Comments Off on Australia dodges international crackdown on trusts

Australia dodges international crackdown on trusts

NewsMember for Fraser, Andrew Leigh outside his office which is 600m outside the new Fraser border. He will now need to move to a new office inside the new Fraser electorate. 7 July 2016Photo by Rohan ThomsonThe Canberra Times Photo: Rohan ThomsonAustralia has failed to comply with its international obligation to crack down on family trusts, despite concerns they could be misused for tax evasion, money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
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Despite signing up five years ago to a multinational agreement to force greater transparency on companies and trusts, Fairfax analysis and Freedom of Information (FOI) documents reveal Australia has done little, if anything, to act on trusts, including avoiding moves to identify the true financial controllers behind them.

Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said Australia’s poor performance on transparency lies solely with a government that likes an announceable but shies away from meaningful reform on multinational tax avoidance.

“The Turnbull government is always getting tough with the weak, but they go weak when it comes to the big end of town,” said Mr Leigh.

Australia is a founding member of the Financial Action Task Force, an international body established in 1989 to help protect the global financial system, including from money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

In 2012 the taskforce toughened its standards, calling for countries to identify beneficial owners (real ultimate owners and controllers) behind companies and, separately, arrangements such as trusts.

Its recommendations include that information be kept up to date and made available to authorities such as police in the battle against tax evaders, organised crime and terrorism. Those recommendations are widely interpreted as a call for a register of beneficial ownership for both companies and trusts.

Almost 200 jurisdictions signed up to act on the Task Force standards, and action was made more urgent by revelations in the “Panama Papers”, which sparked public outrage about tax avoidance, including through the use of trusts.

However a Treasury brief to the government contained in Freedom of Information documents notes that while partly compliant with the Task Force standards on regulation of companies, Australia was completely “non-compliant” on trusts.

The Treasury brief, released to the Opposition in March, appears to be based on a 2015 report card on Australia by the Financial Action Task Force itself. Its “Mutual Evaluation Report” highlighted the gaps in Australia’s records, noting that both companies and trusts “remain very attractive” to criminals for money laundering and financing terrorism.

Mr Leigh said the FOI documents revealed that even Treasury had noted Australia’s “poor transparency practices”.

In April 2016, ahead of federal election, the Turnbull government promised to improve transparency around the beneficial ownership of shell companies. The announcement made no mention of trusts.

Then in February, Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer released a consultation report reaffirming Australia’s “full” commitment to implementing the Task Force’s recommendations. The report then notes, however, that the consultation itself was only about companies.

The government has also baulked at action on trusts in its Open Government action plan, an international project between governments and local communities to enhance government accountability.

The final Open Government National Action Plan 2016-2018, launched last year by Finance Minister Matthias Cormann, dropped a reference to the Task Force recommendation which had been included an earlier draft. The section on beneficial ownership issues focuses exclusively on companies.

For its part, Labor has promised greater transparency for trusts including the establishment of a central public register of beneficial ownership of companies, trusts and other corporate structures.

Mr Leigh said other governments including in the UK, had been “jolted” into action on transparency by the Panama Papers. The Cameron government established a register of beneficial ownership in 2016, but excluded trusts.

However, pressure to act is mounting, including from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Pascal Saint-Amans, head of tax at the OECD last year called on countries including to prise open information about trusts. He called on countries to establish new registers of company and trust ownership.

Last week Fairfax Media reported that the number of discretionary trusts in Australia had almost doubled in the last two decades. Unpublished tax office data provided to Fairfax Media reveals there are 643,000 discretionary trusts in Australia holding assets of almost $600 billion.

Discretionary trusts (the most common form of trust) are one of the big three tools for tax minimisation, along with superannuation and negative gearing. Tax law experts estimate trusts cost the government $2 billion a year in foregone revenue.

Deputy tax commissioner Michael Cranston told Fairfax Media that trusts sometimes made it difficult to globally track the owners of assets.

“A trust in Australia might have a controller in Jersey which is in turn controlled by another trust in Panama, and on it goes. So it can be difficult to find who owns what.”

Companies are required to put searchable information about directors, shareholders and company finances (for larger firms) in the public domain. There is no equivalent for trusts and no register of trusts. Neither companies nor trusts are required to identify their beneficial owners and no public records are kept of beneficial ownership.

However, almost half the Liberal party room in Canberra has a family trust, significantly more than in the Labor caucus, or among the general public.

Accountability campaigners including Transparency International say the veil of secrecy around trusts in Australia is shielding tax rip offs, corruption, money laundering, even terrorism.

Last week Transparency International launched a report warning that the Australian real estate market was particularly exposed to money laundering by overseas buyers who exploit the cover of trusts and shelf companies.

Transparency’s Australian chief executive officer Serena Lillywhite says the “veil of secrecy” around trusts made it difficult to identify the real [beneficial] owners involved in dubious property purchases. “It’s an easy way to hide millions of dollars,” she says.

Transparency International is calling for a public register of beneficial ownership, including of trusts.

Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer has been approached for comment.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

30 July
Comments Off on Exclusive: Big Little Lies’ Liane Moriarty confirms her plans for season two

Exclusive: Big Little Lies’ Liane Moriarty confirms her plans for season two

Australian author Liane Moriarty, like a fair chunk of the TV-viewing planet recently, has found Big Little Lies utterly gripping business.
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She first saw rough cuts of the seven-episode adaptation of her 2014 novel on her iPad on holiday in Noosa a few months back, and couldn’t help but binge-watch it.

“I loved it,” she says. “I stayed up really late. I think I stayed up until 3am or something. I just decided to watch the whole thing.”

And now it’s a week on from the airing of the astounding finale of the hugely acclaimed series, with a continuing social-media whirl of debate and think-pieces about its themes including domestic violence, rape, gender and motherhood.

Moriarty, a Sydney-based former advertising/marketing executive, has seven books under her belt since her debut novel, Three Wishes, in 2004. Big Little Lies is the first to be adapted for screen and she says she’s been thrilled with the reaction to the show, which is “more faithful that I expected it to be”.

Adapted by screenwriter David E. Kelley, it has followed Moriarty’s original story of the glossy, sexy, competitive residents of an upmarket community – transferred from Sydney’s northern beaches to Monterey, California – relatively closely.

One controversial change, however, was the decision not to explicitly include the backstory of Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) and her abusive father. Bonnie’s reaction to events in the final scenes of the school trivia night is the most powerful, fundamental part of the whole story, but we don’t know what was behind why she did it. Director and executive producer Jean-Marc Vallee told the Hollywood Reporter her story “needed too much explaining” to be reflected in full.

Moriarty says she doesn’t know why Bonnie’s backstory was left out.

“My original reaction was what have they done? How have they left that out?,” she says. “But a lot of people have said that they could tell [what was Bonnie’s true story], there had been little hints and that you can take that away. It’s implied in her performances and some little lines. I think I might have preferred to have had it in there but I wouldn’t argue against it either. It also leaves open the possibility of season two.”

Yes, there you have it. SEASON TWO.

It’s an unsurprising that such an enormously successful series would be likely to get a second outing. But Valle has already come out and said “it’s a one-time deal” and it should be left at the peak it’s achieved.

Actor-producer Reese Witherspoon, however, has been asking fans to lobby Moriarty on Facebook for a second season.

So where are we at?

“A lot of people have obediently done as Reese suggested,” says Moriarty. “And 99 per cent are saying please do it, but there is a small percentage saying no, don’t do it, it should end there.”

She says she’s not keen to write sequels to any of her books but Big Little Lies could reappear as a story written solely for television.

“I have started to think about ways this could continue,” she says. “The producers have asked me to see if I can come up with some ideas. I wouldn’t write a new book but perhaps a new story and then we’ll see what happens.”

“I’m absolutely open to it because, once I started thinking, it was too much fun to see what I could do and to see these characters again. And there’s definitely places you can go.”

And she already has a sense of where the trip back to Monterey would head.

“The obvious thing is, first of all, I think we could bring in more of Bonnie’s story from the book,” she says.

“And also what happens next [for Celeste]. That’s the question that’s also a really interesting thing, when you’ve been through a relationship like that, how do you feel now? How would she feel? She’s grieving. She’s still grieving for the end of a terrible relationship and I think that would be a really interesting thing to explore. So there’s a whole lot of different storylines.”

Would the cast be onboard for a second outing?

“I think everybody is pretty keen,” she says. “They all loved working together but I think the thing is the story has to be right. So if is right, and if [screenwriter] David E. Kelley is happy to get the screenplay right, then I think that’ll do it.” Understanding domestic violence

It’s a series that has pulled out some incredible performances out from all of its cast, including Witherspoon as the razor-sharp Madeline, Shailene Woodley as the battling single mother and rape victim Jane and Alexander Skarsgard as Perry, the abusive husband of Celeste.

In particular, Kidman is stunning as Celeste in her portrayal of the behind-closed-doors terror of a violent relationship.

Moriarty says one thing she did insist on with the adaptation was that it displayed the complexity of domestic abuse.

“Originally I was a little worried that they would oversimplify the abusive relationship and that’s what I said to Nicole. That was my only stipulation when I very first met her. I said it’s really important that you hit back so that your character feels complicit in the abuse and so that we show that it’s a really complex relationship – it’s not just, ‘oh, here’s a horrible man hitting a pretty woman.’ She played that perfectly.”

She says putting forward that complexity was essential to highlighting the reality of abuse.

“I think if you’re a person in that situation then you think there are all these reasons why it’s different for me, because we love each other and he loves me and he’s not always a bad person and he’s not 100 per cent bad. [It’s] generally the case that these women don’t fall in love with villains and that they’re still in love with them, which is what makes it so hard to make that decision to leave.

“It’s rarely, if ever, a black-and-white situation, so that’s what I wanted to convey in the book and I didn’t want it to be lost in the adaptation.”

The huge volume of debate and analysis that the show has sparked has been a reflection of the power of good television in Moriarty’s opinion. She says jovially that there’s been “ridiculous” pieces, for example about why are there no dogs in the show and which sort of dogs the characters would have, plus of course much said the show’s enviable house porn.

Then there’s also the importance of continuing and deepening the conversation about domestic violence.

Some of the most powerful responses from viewers and readers of Big Little Lies are those who have written to say that it has given them fresh understanding of friends’ or their own circumstances, or given them the courage to leave.

How does it feel to have that impact on people’s lives in this way?

“It’s just an honour and an privilege,” she says. “It’s very hard to put into words. It’s amazing, it’s just amazing.”

Big Little Lies has been such a trailblazing show because it places women at its centre, with rounded, real characters. What does Moriarty hope is its legacy?

“That a day will come when nobody even comments upon that fact,” she says. “I mean it’s completely bizarre that it needs to be commented upon. There should be lots of shows exactly like this with lots of roles for women as there have been over the years for men.

“So I guess that’s the legacy – that we see a lot more of these stories.” Other projects

Already on the horizon is Truly Madly Guilty (2016), which has been optioned again by the Big Little Lies producing team of Witherspoon and Australian producer Bruna Papandrea’s Pacific Standard and Kidman and Per Saari’s Blossom Films.

Moriarty says she was initially hesitant about it as a TV series as it is has a narrow focus on one single event at a suburban barbecue, but given the hunger following the success of Big Little Lies, Papandrea suggested a series, albeit a shorter one of about four episodes.

Elsewhere, there hasn’t been a great deal of progress with What Alice Forgot, Moriarty’s 2010 novel which has had Jennifer Aniston attached to it as far back as 2015. As far as Moriarty knows, Aniston is not yet “detached” from it, despite its slow development

Headway is being made on The Husband’s Secret (2013), which was picked up by CBS Films that year and now has a finalised script, with the hunt on for the actress for the lead role.

Moriarty is also working on a new novel, although it’s in the very early stages and she sounds a touch doubtful about it. “I might scrap it completely. I don’t know if it’s going to work,” she says.

She says the most enjoyable part of her job is that she simply gets to write for a living, and writes books that readers have a powerfully positive response to.

“So yes, that’s the amazing thing, that I get to sit at my desk and make up stories and then hear the impact that they have on people all over the world,” she says. “The fact that I’ve connected to somebody so far away in such a deep and personal way. I can’t find enough superlatives.”

Big Little Lies airs on Showcase and is published by Pan Macmillan.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

30 July
Comments Off on Socialite Kirsty Dayment taken into custody ahead of sentencing

Socialite Kirsty Dayment taken into custody ahead of sentencing

Eastern suburbs socialite turned drug dealer Kirsty Dayment??? took off her jewellery, surrendered her designer handbag, and blew a kiss to her family.
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Then she followed two Corrective Services officers down to the cells at the Downing Centre.

Judge Sarah Huggett??? revoked Dayment’s bail in the NSW District Court on Tuesday, after giving her lawyers time over the weekend to discuss an element of one of the drug charges against her.

Dayment, 35, has pleaded guilty to supplying 85 grams of cocaine, supplying a smaller quantity of an illicit drug, and knowingly take part in supplying a large commercial quantity of MDMA???.

Her barrister April Francis told the court there was evidence Dayment was actively trying to leave the Coogee apartment she shared with her boyfriend and co-offender Nicholas Riganias??? at the time of her arrest.

Her role in the MDMA supply charge is only her knowledge of the drug being stored in the apartment, the court heard.

But Judge Huggett noted Dayment’s fingerprints were found on the drug packaging, describing hers as a “fairly vital role in the supply”.

In written sentencing submissions for Dayment, barrister Ian Lloyd, QC, said her offending was less serious “given the offender appears to have been acting at the behest of her boyfriend, the co-offender Riganias”.???

???Mr Lloyd wrote that Dayment was of previous good character, and that the 61 days in custody after her arrest had taught her a “timely and salutary lesson”.

He said Dayment was not motivated by personal greed.

“Rather, her motives appear to be repaying debt from a failed business and also pleasing a new partner after fleeing from an abusive domestic relationship.”

Dayment was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the time of the crimes, Mr Lloyd said.

“The submission is that the offender is very much at a cross roads in her life, having spent some time in custody prior to being bailed.

“She is now moving towards a total rehabilitation.”

Mr Lloyd had argued that Dayment be sentenced to an intensive corrections order – a form of house arrest – at a hearing in March, noting she was three months pregnant.

Judge Huggett quickly rejected that submission and said Dayment would have to give birth in custody.

But last week the court heard Dayment had a miscarriage, and the judge said she would consider that upon sentencing.

Police stormed Riganias’ and Dayment’s apartment on Arden Street, Coogee, in July 2015 after a six-month investigation into drug supply in the eastern suburbs.

Riganias has pleaded guilty to a range of drug offences, including supplying 1.36 kilograms of MDMA???.

He now works as a sweeper in custody, court documents said.

The couple will be sentenced later this month.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

30 July
Comments Off on $1 billion a year boost needed for NSW public housing: pricing regulator

$1 billion a year boost needed for NSW public housing: pricing regulator

The NSW public housing system faces a billion-dollar annual funding gap, according to the state’s independent economic adviser.
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Former premier Mike Baird last year asked the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal to examine rents paid by public housing tenants.

In a draft report released on Tuesday, IPART found that public housing residents could not afford to pay more than they already do, which is about 25 per cent of their income.

As a result, IPART identified a gap of $950 million a year that needed to be filled to prevent the state’s existing public housing system from eroding further.

The executive officer at Shelter NSW, Mary Perkins, said the significance of IPART’s report was that it recognised the public housing system could not continue to be managed by the existing funds made available to it.

“They can’t get more out of the system,” Ms Perkins said. “And having been run down for in excess of 20 or 30 years, the amount of money needed to fix the system is quite a lot.”

About 60,000 people are on the waiting list for public housing in NSW.

But after earlier indicating that it might consider adjusting rents depending on where public housing tenants lived, and the size of their dwellings, IPART on Tuesday said there was “little scope” to change the way in which rents were set.

Instead, IPART recommended a clearer system in which governments acknowledged that they needed to cover the gap between the rent paid by tenants, and the cost of providing housing.

“We note that social housing providers, including the NSW government, are already implicitly paying for this gap through a combination of operating losses, deferred maintenance, unfunded depreciation and forgone returns on their assets,” IPART said.

The pricing regulator, which will consult on its draft recommendations before handing a final report to the government in June, also argued that future government housing assistance should be targeted toward those on the lowest incomes, as opposed to those on moderate incomes.

The state and federal governments have been considering increased support for so-called affordable housing models, where dwellings are leased to people on below-average incomes at less than market rates.

But IPART said a “government-subsidised affordable housing product” was not consistent with its review, as it diverted “available resources for housing assistance away from people in the greatest need.”

Wendy Hayhurst, the chief executive of the NSW Federation of Housing Association, said “moderate income earners cannot be forgotten”.

“They are not going to get into home ownership very easily,” Ms Hayhurst said.

The Minister for Social Housing, Pru Goward, said she would “listen carefully to the community” before considering any change to the housing system.

“I want to reassure social and community housing tenants, applicants and the sector that the NSW government will only consider and implement changes to the system that are fair and help to improve their lives,” Ms Goward said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

30 July
Comments Off on Theatre Review

Theatre Review

Theatre ReviewSnugglepot and CuddlepieYoung People’s Theatre, at its Hamilton theatre. Ends May 20THIS musical version of May Gibbs’ renowned story about the adventures of two gumnut children as they journey on a search for humans was originally written for concert presentations, but the YPT staging includes dialogue that was subsequently added. And that, in this excellent staging by director Wendy Leis, adds for children and adults alike to the engaging nature of the songs by Peter Combe.
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The creatures Snugglepot and Cuddlepie encounter on their journey are colourful figures in a wide mix of costumes, including a bluecap wren with head feathers that suggest such a covering, the elegant shiningly white Obelia, who is the queen of the fishfolk, and the villainous banksia men, whose darkish brown filaments indicate plants past their prime. The settings likewise bring together fairy tale elements and the messages May Gibbs, who is seen as the story’s narrator, wanted to get across. When the gumnut brothers are taken down a river by bush creatures, for example, the boat is a fallen tree, with the rowers using leaves as oars, suggesting that too little attention is paid to forest settings. And the good use of settings is also evident when Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are seen in a large glass jar with their friend Ragged Blossom after rescuing her from a fish sauce shop, hopeful that the jar will be taken away from there.

The songs have amusing references, such as mention in the underwater celebration Come to the Ball of it being “a fishy affair”. And Gibbs’ call for people to be more protective of wildlife comes movingly across in the animals’ Humans are Bad, when the only human seen in the story rescues Mr Possum from a trap, and is clearly an exception in a generally uncaring human world.

The production has two casts, and I’m eager to see the other one. It would be unfair to single out performers because the show works very well largely because it has a strong ensemble. The production team likewise have brought all the elements together under the direction of Wendy Leis, among them musical director Michael Nolan, choreographer Casey Nolan, musicians Grant Curry, Levi Kealy and Pat Charker, costume designers Leis and Karen Nye, a large set design team, lighting designer Alex Waye, and sound designer Matthew Hudson. They help to bring together the mix of fairy tale and reality.

30 July
Comments Off on Ex-Jets skippers: Don’t makes Jones the scapegoat

Ex-Jets skippers: Don’t makes Jones the scapegoat

Mark JonesFORMER Jets captains and 100-plus game players Matt Thompson and Jobe Wheelhouse believe under-siege Newcastle coach Mark Jones deserves a chance to build his own squad next season.
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Another ex-skipper, Ruben Zadkovich, who played 97 matches for the club, says Jones deserves credit for simply taking on the “toughest job in the A-League”.

The support for Jones, who has a year to run on his contract,comes as the Jets face claiming the wooden spoon after a 2-0 loss to the Mariners and with a final-round clash against premiers Sydney FC on Saturday.

Fans have demanded changes at the top after the team’s fall from top-six contenders to five consecutive losseswhile conceding17 unanswered goals.

Thompson, now a player-coach at Maitland, said Jones deserved a second chance after coming in at the 11thhour this season to replace the sacked Scott Miller.

“He did well to get them into a position to push for top four, wheneveryone was on fire, but circumstances changed and, for me, it’s the players,” Thompson said.

“The players were disappointing and when you have too many who don’t perform, you don’t get a result.

“It’s not great that they are going to finish last, and I don’t know what happens behind closed doors and on the pitch,but there’s 22 professional footballers there and their performances weren’t good enough.In a game where there was a lot on the line, the Mariners seemed like they wanted it more.”

Wheelhouse, who plays for Lambton Jaffas and runs his own football academy, saidit came down to dollars.

“If you’re not going to spend the money, you’re going to finish down the bottom,” Wheelhouse said.

“It’s just super hard to compete with the big cities. They are using the full extent of the cap. They havean Australian marquee, an international marquee. There have potentially three, four, five players per squad, in ability and what they bring to the squad, better than what the so-called lower-tier clubs.

“It seems [Jones] hasbeen backed, but he needs to have a cheque book where he can sign players he wants and who are quality players, not just fringe players or players whomight do a job one week and then might go missing the next.

“I think heneeds to be given a second chance, and he needs to build a squad of his own. But he needs the resources and the backing of the owner as well.”

Zadkovich said it wasn’t for him to judge if Jones had done well because“I haven’t been there at training, at the games, or aware of the off-fieldissues” but“Jonesy has one of the toughest jobs in that league. He was brave enough to step into the job and give his all for the club.”

Wheelhouse added that“the other issue is how we attract players now we’ve been out of the finals so long, and who wants to come to Newcastle.”

“It’s a great place to live but people want to come to a place where, a) they are going to get paid well, and b)they’re going to be successful.”

He said it was typical in footballtoblame the coach when teams perform poorly but Jones deserved another chance.

“Jonesy is obviously the scapegoat, but if the players are buying into what he’s doing,then players have to perform. It’s as simple as that,” Wheelhouse said.

“He can only do so much.”

Thompson applauded Jones for dropping Andrew Hoole to the bench for the Central Coast game after his televised sideline blow-up with assistant coach Clayton Zane a week earlier.

“From my experiences playing underhim, he lets you know whether you’re good or if you’re bad, and that’s the best way. Everyone knows where they stand with him,” Thompson said of Jones.

“He wants everyone to get involved and it was a true example on Sunday when he drops Andrew Hoole in a big game and plays the young guy [Harry Sawyer]up front.

“He’s saying that regardless of who you are what you’ve done, attitude is a big thing.

“For me, it was a good move, and good on him, and 100 per cent he deserves a second chance.

“He has the chance to fix things now for next year, and if he doesn’t, then that’s on him.”

30 July
Comments Off on Adani mine edges closer after Turnbull’s India visit

Adani mine edges closer after Turnbull’s India visit

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at India Gate in New Delhi, India on Tuesday 11 April 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has lauded the controversial Adani coal mine as a boon for Australia that will deliver tens of thousands of jobs and significant state and federal revenue for decades to come.
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The glowing endorsement followed his meeting with the company’s principal, Gautam Adani, and company executives in the Indian capital on Monday evening. It is understood discussions ranged over the rate of progress towards the giant project, issues of native title, and public financing.

Mr Turnbull’s comments came as he wound up the official “state” visit stage of his three-day trip to India, in which he has held talks with counterpart Narendra Modi.

Among the issues discussed were the stalled free-trade talks, which Mr Turnbull said would now be brought back to prime ministerial level for a report to establish what hopes there were for a future agreement.

Also discussed was the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea continues provocative missile tests and the US sends the Carl Vinson carrier strike group to the region as a show of military might.

Mr Turnbull pointedly called on Beijing to use its influence with Pyongyang. “The reckless and dangerous conduct of the North Korean regime is threatening peace and stability, not just in the region, but of the whole world,” he said.

“We’ve continued to apply, as have other nations, sanctions against the North Koreans and we continue to call on China to exercise the undoubted influence it has on the North Korean regime to pull it back from further reckless conduct.”

While Mr Turnbull’s visit was low on major announcements, he declared it a great success.

Sources said Mr Turnbull had reassured billionaire businessman Mr Adani that legal hurdles associated with Native Title Act would be resolved and would not be allowed to frustrate the $21 billion investment. He said “the issue needs to be fixed and will be fixed”.

While the Turnbull government introduced legislation earlier this year to forestall legal moves under the Native Title Act, the amendments have become bogged down in the Senate, increasing fears the mine might not get the final go-ahead.

The company says it will eventually employ as many as 10,000 Australians in the Galilee Basin mine and associated businesses.

The government is seeking to neutralise the McGlade decision of the Federal Court, which recently ruled that all native title holders potentially affected by a project must be consulted and agree to an “Indigenous land use agreement” before the project could proceed. That has implications for 126 projects across Australia, including Adani’s Carmichael Mine proposal.

Mr Adani has told Indian backers that his company is eligible for a $1 billion low-interest loan from Australian taxpayers in order to part-fund a railway line to carry the product to port. However, Mr Turnbull told him the loan’s approval would depend on a fully independent assessment of its merits by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.

Mr Turnbull rejected any suggestion that he had given Adani assurances about the loan, insisting that the assessment by the infrastructure fund would be independent.

It is understood Adani representatives mentioned the infrastructure fund during the meeting, but made it clear they understood it was independent of the government.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the government should loan the company the money.

Mr Joyce said the rail line could also help other Australian miners, opening up the Galilee Basin and turning it into a “cash cow”, as well as “turning on the power for other people in the world”.

The Labor opposition supports the mine, which also has the strong backing of the Queensland Labor government.

But opposition to it is widespread, with conservation groups and many voters concerned about the mine’s impact on global C02 levels, and the potential for direct and indirect damage to the Great Barrier Reef, already experiencing catastrophic coral bleaching.

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