Brumbies co-captain Christian Lealiifano needed to be bossier against Western Force

Brumbies co-captain Christian Lealiifano wants to be more bossy. Photo: Jay Cronan Force acting coach Dave Wessels thinks a new club will be good for centre Kyle Godwin. Photo: Paul Kane
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Dave Wessels is disappointed flanker Chris Alcock is leaving the club. Photo: Jay Cronan

Who’s the boss? ACT Brumbies co-captain Christian Lealiifano believes he needs to be more of one as the Super Rugby province prepares for their qualifying final against the Otago Highlanders at Canberra Stadium on Friday.

And Western Force acting coach Dave Wessels believes Kyle Godwin’s expected move to Canberra will be a good one for the centre.

Lealiifano was disappointed with the Brumbies’ scrappy 24-10 victory over the Force on Saturday, which secured him a spot in the first round of the Super Rugby finals.

But he said that everyone would be “buzzing” when they arrive at the club on Monday morning.

The playmaker felt he needed to take the game by the scruff of the neck after they failed to implement their attacking plan against the Force.

He’ll be looking to change that against the Highlanders who they dominated in every way except on the scoreboard when the two teams met in round 10.

They lost 23-10 in Invercargill despite having 73 per cent of possession in the wet conditions.

“We came with a clear focus and a plan with the way we wanted to play [against the Force], Lealiifano said. “I guess that’s what’s probably the most disappointing that we didn’t really execute what we wanted to, but we’ve got another week to prepare now and get it right [for the Highlanders].

“Obviously the pressure that the Western Force put on us [also affected our execution], which is probably good for us heading into next week to be able to handle the defensive pressure that teams are putting on us.

“We’ve just got to adapt better in attack. I think our attack got a bit lost at times there and as a game controller it was disappointing on my end to not boss the boys around enough.”

Godwin has been linked with a move to the Brumbies to help replace departing inside centre Matt Toomua, who will join English club Leicester.

His Force teammate Chris Alcock is moving to Canberra as cover for star flanker David Pocock, who is taking a sabbatical from rugby in 2017.

Wessels said the Brumbies would need to play better against the Highlanders than they did against the Force, but he hoped they went on to win the title.

He felt the Force were embarking on a “journey” and was disappointed Godwin and Alcock wouldn’t be part of that.

From the side that lost to the Brumbies, they will also lose prop Guy Millar and lock Rory Walton.

“The Brumbies are losing much more high-profile players than we are. I think Chris and Guy and Kyle and Rory … have been a massive part of our team,” Wessels said.

“We just spoke in the change room, they will always be a part of our team. I think particularly for Kyle, a move is going to be a good thing for him, not just from a rugby perspective but from a lifestyle perspective.

“He’s excited about being away from Perth, he’s always lived in Perth, so the opportunity for him to experience something a bit different is going to be good for him.

“Having said that, what we feel like, especially in our backs, [who] are a pretty young backline, that is really starting to gel and work together.

“We definitely feel that we’re at a start of a journey and we’re sorry we can’t take some of those guys along on the journey, but it doesn’t change where we feel we want to go.”


Friday: ACT Brumbies v Otago Highlanders at Canberra Stadium, 6pm. Tickets available from Ticketek. Members on sale Sunday, general public Wednesday.

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Newcastle hairdressers say quality at risk if state government scraps lawpoll

DON’T CHOP ME: Melanie Coombes is fighting a proposal to scrap a law requiring hairdressers to be qualified. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNEWCASTLE hairdressers are fighting the state government over plans to trim back industry regulation they sayallows“any Tom, Dick and Harry” to call themselves aprofessional hairdresser.
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The government has put forward a proposal to scrap the Hairdressers’ Act 2003 as part of its “spring clean” of uselesslaws.

The deregulation is supposedto make it easier for small business –but has been met with sharp rebuke from unions and industry bodies, which argue scrapping the law puts quality at risk.

The law requires every professional to have a certificate III in hairdressing.

Senior stylist Melanie Coombes.

Bliss Hair ArtistsNew Lambton senior stylist Melanie Coombes said the industry is furious over the proposal and vowed to protect it from being “stripped down to nothing”.

Ms Coombes, who studied at TAFE and finished an apprenticeship before working full-time, said it was “distressing” to picture amateurs applying chemicals without proper training.

“There’s so much more to hairdressing than just cutting someone’s hair,” she said.

“It’s a science –you’re working with chemicals and you need to know what you’re doing.”

Ms Coombes said a petition, from new employeegroupHair Stylists Australia,was being circulated in Newcastle salons this week opposing the government’s proposal.

“I’ve spent a good part of my life getting the qualifications I need … and for the government to say anyone on the street can pick up a pair of scissors makes me so angry,” she said.

“We already spend enoughtime fixing the mistakes of teenagers who think they are hairdressers, imagine what it’s going to be like when you have every Tom, Dick and Harry cutting hair.”

In a discussion paper, the state government said there was an overlap in laws that controlled industry quality. It noted South Australia was the only other state to have a similar law.

“Backyard operators” … Maitland MP and Labor spokeswoman for small business Jenny Aitchison.

Parliamentary secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the intention was to encourage growth by removing crippling red tape.

ButMaitland MP Jenny Aitchisonsaid the repeal wasn’t thought through, claiming it would create unfair competition from“untrainedbackyard operators”.

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ANZ Championships: NSW Swifts all stars reaching milestones

Big three: Paige Hadley, Sharni Layton and Kim Green. Photo: Wolter PeetersThe Swifts’ star players are marking the end of an era as the last days of the ANZ Championships approach, and they plan to go out with a bang.
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Captain Kim Green and defender Sharni Layton have been part of the ANZ competition since it started in 2008, and attacker Paige Hadley is hungry for the win after last year’s devastating grand final loss.

“My sole goal this year is to win,” said Hadley.

“Coming off the loss against the Firebirds last year, being within a minute or so of winning the title, you can nearly taste it.”

Hadley said it was back to the drawing board for her game in the 2016 season, but she believed the Swifts’ versatility could dominate in the next few weeks of finals.

“It’s awesome, people play multiple positions where they’re needed, so I think that’s a real asset for us,” she said.

“I’ve never won an ANZ title, so I definitely want to win one before the competition ends.”

Green is the only player on this year’s roster to have experienced the Swifts’ ANZ win back in 2008.

Green plans to farewell the series in the same way she started it, by taking home the trophy, but she admits the Swifts have a challenging few games ahead.

Heading into Monday’s match against the Firebirds, Green said the main focus had been on giving the four quarters their 100 per cent.

“We know that we need to put out a full 60 minutes, and I know that’s very cliche, but that’s exactly what happened to us in last year’s grand final,” she said.

“We learnt that we can’t play 57 minutes of a game then expect to win.”

If the Swifts beat the Firebirds at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, they’ll be crowned Australian Conference champions and will host the semi-final round against New Zealand on their home court.

“In terms of our training sessions, we go hell for leather out on court against each other because everyone’s vying for a position,” she said.

“No one’s sitting on the sideline going ‘I’m just going to be on the bench this week’, everyone’s pushing and that’s the best thing about our team.”

Green, a former Diamond, retired from internationals when she joined the comp in 2016.

After this season, she said she had no plans of slowing down, and her drive to compete professionally was higher than ever.

“I feel like this year I’ve played the best netball that I ever have in my whole career,” she said.

“To think that is on the back of a little bit of a break is really exciting for me. I have no plans of retiring any time soon.”

If the Swifts make it into the grand final, it will be Layton’s 100th ANZ Championship game.

The defender said the Firebird’s attacking end would be the biggest challenge for the Swifts on Monday night.

“Romelda [Aiken] is not as stationary as what she used to be, so that’s a real challenge because no other team is like that with a tall goal attack as well as a tall goal shooter,” she said.

“At the end of the day, they can throw absolutely anything out on us. They’re a phenomenal team, they’ve proven it and played great all year, so we’ll just be concentrating on what we can do to minimise them as much as possible.”

Layton was determined to win, but she said that even a finals loss couldn’t undermine what she’d gained.

“It’s the last year of the ANZ Championship,” she said. “It’s not going to be here next year.

“I just want to soak up every single moment I can with this group of girls because, if you’re not in the moment, you’re not going to win anyway.”

Australian Conference finals: NSW Swifts v QLD Firebirds at Brisbane Entertainment Centre, 7:18pm.

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That Banksy in Melbourne video, and the perils of anonymity

​There’s a lot to be said for anonymity – just ask any online troll hiding behind a fake name. But it has its downside too, as Banksy might attest.


Anyone can claim to be Banksy and there’s not much the real Banksy can do about it without unmasking himself. You could claim to be Banksy, I could say I’m Banksy (and so is my wife), and no one could prove it wasn’t true. Je suis Banksy indeed.

This week, video surfaced of the world’s most famous street artist spray painting a wall in Melbourne. The footage – which has been viewed almost half a million times since Tuesday – was shot and uploaded to YouTube by Mia S. It is her only YouTube upload.

A link to this video was emailed to a number of media outlets (though not this one) by one Mia Stern. Ms Stern is a former employee of Fairfax Media whose linkedin profile describes her as a “digital-savvy multimedia professional with over 7 years experience in Melbourne and London”. Presumably she can now add “has a fortuitous gift forstumbling into Banksyin the dead of night” to her CV.

Though the video is an obvious and fairly clumsy fake, AAP reported it straight, and a variety of other media outlets (including Channel Nine) both in Australia and abroad ran it the same way.

Of course, the story flourished because the only person who could definitively prove it was bollocks couldn’t say so.

Just last monthBanksy was “outed” as Robert del Naja, the founder and frontman of Massive Attack. Never mind that Craig Williams,the young journalist who joined the dots, doesn’t think del Naja is Banksy (or at least doesn’t think only del Naja is Banksy; he suspects Banksy is a collective of artists linked to Massive Attack). Much of the media ran with it as definitive proof, and they could report it that way because who could refute it? Certainly not Banksy.

This week’s faux Banksy video appeared to be tied to the exhibition of his work that opened on Thursday in Melbourne, though the PR firm working for the promoter of the show swears it wasn’t involved and doesn’t know who was.

That exhibitionincludes 80 works by Banksy. At least, we’re told they are works by Banksy. But how do you establish provenance when the signature is typographic and the works are by their nature easily replicable by anyone with a stencil and a spray can? This is art in the age of mechanical reproduction, with the mechanics reduced to the bare minimum and the notion of the artist as “author” of the work all but shredded.

Local street artist CDH promised to take this question to its logical extreme with a stall set up outside the exhibition to sellBanksyforgeries and a Banksy-on-concrete-slabwork for sale in portions. “Patrons willbe able tobuythe work by the gram,$1 per gram,” CDH promised. ” ‘How many grams ofBanksyart would you like to buy?’ We’ll then chisel pieces off the slab, weight it out andcharge people based on the weight.”

The works in the exhibition proper are brought to us bySteveLazarides, a London-based art dealerwhose greatest claim to fame is that he was onceBanksy’smanager. Or maybe his agent. They met in 2001 whenBanksywas beingphotographedfor the Bristol street magazineSleaze Nation, whereLazarideswas picture editor.

Lazaridesreportedly played a major handin taking Banksy’s work from Main Street to the mainstream, a leap that saw the six-metre-long stencil-on-board workLaugh Now– originally commissioned for a bar in Banksy’s hometown of Brighton – sell for £228,000 at an auction at Bonhams in February, 2008.

As it happened, that was the height of street-art mania. Still, Banksy’s work continues tocommandbig sums. A painting calledThink Tank, from the seriesthat begatthe cover of Blur’s 2003 album of the same name,sold in 2013 at Sotheby’s for £397,250, more than twice its estimate.

At any rate, the relationship between Lazarides and Banksy ended in 2009. As he notes onhis own website, Banksy “is NOT … represented by Steve Lazarides or any other commercial gallery”.

Then again, is it really Banksy saying that? Who really knows?

Karl Quinn is on facebook atkarlquinnjournalistand on [email protected]

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Photos of the weekOctober 3-8, 2016

Photos of the week | October 3-8, 2016 COOLAMON: Three generations of Hopkins, (centre) drover Harold Hopkins, his daughter (left) Patricia Hopkins and granddaughter (right) Kelsi Hopkins. Photo- Rachael Webb


MOREE: Anglicare teenage pregnancy support worker Louise O’Neill and Centacare manager of personal helpers and mentoirs program Nikki Thorn.

EUABALONG: Damien Doyle, “Wistaton”, Euabalong, pictured beside his mailbox and front gate under water on the Lachlan Valley Way where water flowing from the local creek meets the Lachlan river towards Euabalong.

MARGARET RIVER: Locked in Drift Cafe’s Gaye, Colin and Brooke McQueen show their support for the campaign with Lock the Gate signs and Gasfield Free SW stickers. Photo Nicky Lefebvre.

CAPEL: South West MP Sally Talbot, Collie Preston MP Mick Murray and WA Labor leader Mark McGowan in Capel on Thursday morning to announce if Labor are elected in March they will ban fracking in the South West.

ARMIDALE: Super star Russell Crowe stops in for a photo with coffee shop co-owner Chrissy Rologas at the Courthouse Coffee shop in Armidale on Monday.

INVERELL: A look back at the The floral parade in Inverell, 1970, as the floral festival gears up 60 years on.

CONDOBOLIN: Local girls from Condobolin having fun in the water over the racecourse. Photo- Rachael Webb

GUNNEDAH: Miya Law, Julian Heath and Aidan Wise drum to the beat with fRETfEST music mentor Alan Buchan at the Town Hall.

GUNNEDAH: Bunnings Tamworth team members Lorraine Staniland and Christina Driver get stuck into arts and crafts with 60 kids at Gunnedah PCYC.

HILLSTON: Paul Cleton, Riverview Farming, Hillston, and his kids, Hugh, 7; Lucy, 9, and Douglas, 4, checking Bellaroi variety Durum Wheat. Photo- Rachael Webb.

HILLSTON: Cleton kids- Douglas, 4; Hugh, 7, and Lucy, 9, patting their dog Rex at their front gate underneath their family’s property sign, -Whealbah-, Riverview Farming, Hillston. Photo- Rachael Webb.

GLOUCESTER: James Ross likes to incorporate a few gigs in Gloucester when he’s back home visiting his family. Photo: Anne Keen

KEMPSEY: Milton Budge can get lost in his art for hours and even days. Photo: Lisa Tisdell.

FORSTER: It took 12 crews to contain the fire at Diamond Beach on Thursday. Photo: Glenda Saville.

WAGGA: Snake handler Tony Davis, with an eastern brown snake, said the reptile can become more visible and move around during flooding. Photo: Les Smith.

WAGGA: Kasye Pollock 5, Jessie Pollock 3, Max Taylor 4 and Elsie Taylor 2 enjoying fairy floss and popcorn at Little Big Day Out. Photo: Laura Hardwick.

COOTAMUNDRA: The roof was torn from a Cootamundra High School block during a wild storm on Tuesday. Photo: Nick Schuller.

WAGGA: Fostering love- Morris Benjamin, 12, and Frank Allen, 13, with the puppies and kittens being cared for by Marion Benjamin. Photo: Les Smith.

GRIFFITH: Keven Bradford is fed-up with cracked and botched tarring on the pedestrian crossing over railway tracks. Photo: Anthony Stipo.

TENTERFIELD: Parkes man Jeff McClurg loves to go for a leisurely ride – the wind in his hair and cruising as slow as he likes.

GLEN INNES: Andrew Hancock, Mike Norton, Ron Easy, Brock Harvey, Carly Overton, Allison Ostenfeld, Nicola Geddes are among a field of world class show jumpers at the Glen Innes Spring Showjump.

WAGGA: Caiden Honeysett and Jurrah Penrith at Little Big Day Out. Photo: Laura Hardwick.

MANDURAH: Michael Murphy’s piece Lime Box won the prize for Best Artowkr by WA Regional Artist at this year’s Perth Royal Show. Photo: Jess Cockerill.

JUNEE: Katrina Hodgkinson officially opens the Junee community recycling centre with members of Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils.

RIVERINA: Ron Wilson of -The Pines-, Ladysmith features in #ourfarmingfaces this week.

RIVERINA: Barnaby Joyce and member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, announce $25 million in funding for on-farm water infrastructure in the MIA on Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Stipo

COOTAMUNDRA: A train was nearly derailed after a Manildra Meat Company dam burst its banks. Photo: NSW Fire and Rescue.

PORT MACQUARIE: Khristina Joy, Kevin Carmody, Jenny Hyde and Keith Dalton from the Z Chords. Photo: Peter Daniels.

COOTAMUNDRA: A homeowner was lucky to avoid injury after Tuesday night’s storm tore a tree out of the ground, bringing it crashing down onto his home. Photo: Nick Schuller

CULCAIRN: Scott Jones, -Eurunga-, Culcairn, checking his paddock of IH51 variety canola sown during the last week of April. Photo: Rachael Webb

GRIFFITH: Inspector Jason Wall from the MIA district says the city should not let the wet weather fool them. Photo: Anthony Stipo.

GUNNEDAH: Alyssa Wise and Kadence Milne with the bird houses they made with the help of visiting Bunnings staff.

GUNNEDAH: Evan, Jake, Kianna Goy and Tahlia Goy patting the baby dinosaur outside the Gunnedah Town Hall after the Erth’s Dinosaur Show. Photo: Hayley Hausfeld.

GUNNEDAH: Jack McCulloch creates a unique beat at a drumming workshop in the Gunnedah Town Hall.

GUNNEDAH: Thomas and Mitchell Woolley are looking forward to putting their finished bird houses in the family garden.

MANDURAH: An alleged drunk driver was charged following a vehicle rollover in Ravenswood on Wednesday evening. Photo: Kate Hedley.

MOREE: Jataya Wilson embraced her Gamilaroi culture at the National Aboriginal Model Search in Sydney on October 1 and left with the junior crown.

QCL Cotton Plant gets underway. Photo: Kelly Butterworth.

QCL Cotton Plant gets underway. Photo: Kelly Butterworth.

YOUNG: (standing) Alex Dalglish and Angus Metcalfe, -Olde Milong-, Young, and their kids (centre) Will Metcalfe, 15; (right) Tilly Metcalfe, 13, and (left) Will’s mate Lachie Doust, 15.

TweetFacebookA look atphotostaken by Fairfax photographers across Australia.

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Rebel Wilson, Sir Ridley Scott to receive Australians in Film Awards in Los Angeles

Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect. Photo: Steven Siewert Rebel Wilson is an air steward in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Photo: Fox Searchlight


Comedian and actress Rebel Wilson and director James Wan have been named among the Australian trailblazers in Los Angeles who will be honoured for their professional achievements.

They join a stellar lineup which includes Sir Ridley Scott, film executive Greg Basser, Suicide Squad star Jai Courtney and Top of the Lake director Garth Davis.

The Australians in Film Awards are announced annually, acknowledging individual achievement in the film and television fields; the awards are given either to Australians, or individuals who have contributed to the Australian film and television industries.

Wilson, who starred in the films Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect, will be the recipient of the inaugural Annette Kellermann Award, which honours trailblazing Australian women in Hollywood.

The award is named after the professional swimmer turned vaudeville and film star Annette Kellermann, who worked in the US film industry at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1916, Kellerman was the first actress to appear nude in a film, Fox Film Corporation’s A Daughter of the Gods.

“Annette Kellermann was Australia’s first leading lady to make an international name for herself in Hollywood,” Australians in Film president Kate Marks said.

“Rebel Wilson is a unique star, a one-off trailblazer who has made her own influential mark in Hollywood and represents what this award is about.”

There are two recipients of the International Award, director James Wan, whose credits include the Saw franchise and the new MacGyver television series, and Sir Ridley Scott, who has just completed filming of Alien: Covenant in Sydney.

The International Award is given for contribution to international cinema.

This year there will also be two recipients of the Breakthrough Award, which acknowledges rising Australian talent in Hollywood; they are actor Jai Courtney and filmmaker Garth Davis.

Previous Breakthrough Award winners include Margot Robbie, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Debicki, Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton and Ryan Kwanten.

The night’s major award, the Orry-Kelly Award, will this year go to Village Roadshow Entertainment Group chief executive Greg Basser.

The Orry-Kelly Award is named for the pioneering Hollywood costume designer Orry Kelly, who was born in Kiama.

During his career Kelly won three Oscars for his work on An American in Paris, Cole Porter’s Les Girls and Some Like It Hot, and was nominated for a fourth, for Gypsy.

Marks praised Basser for his work in building Village Roadshow into a major force in global cinema,

“It is now one of the world’s leading independent film producers and financiers, [and] Greg’s passion for this business and the industry is inspiring,” she said.

The awards will be handed out at a gala hosted by musician, actor, comedian and director Tim Minchin in Los Angeles on October 19.

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‘Nothing can be more socially relevant to India right now’: Bollywood’s foray into feminism with Pink

A scene from Pink, Bollywood’s first truly feminist film. Photo: Supplied Pink’s director, Aniruddha Roy Chowdury, decided to do something after being disturbed about crimes against women in India. Photo: Supplied


Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan plays the lawyer who defends a woman against the charge of injuring a man who tried to sexually assault her. Photo: Supplied

Taapsee Pannu plays a working woman who hits back at a man who tries to sexually assault her. Photo: Supplied

New Delhi: In a pivotal courtroom scene, a young woman charged with injuring a man who tried to sexually assault her is asked a series of questions to establish her ‘character’.

Has she had sex before? Has she slept with more than one man? Does she drink? Is she friendly and relaxed while talking to men? Does she laugh with them? She answers yes to all of them.

In any Indian film, this would instantly put her into the category of “loose”, that is, a woman who can’t complain if a man forces himself on her.

But not in a new film called Pink. In perhaps India’ first truly feminist film, legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan​ plays the lawyer defending the woman. In his trademark baritone, he tells the court that when a woman says “no”, it means no, whether she is drunk, flirtatious or is a sex worker.

Sexual violence is not new to Bollywood films. But it is usually shown with the camera objectifying the victim, lingering over her body and trying to use the scene to arouse, rather than repel, the audience.

Pink’s uncompromising message has made it one of the most talked-about films of the year. India was convulsed by introspection after the 2012 gang rape in Delhi and has since regularly debated why some Indian men treat women so badly. The debate triggered by Pink is a continuation of that self-analysis.

Pink takes a stand. Indian women are free to dress and live as they wish. The three women who live together in a New Delhi apartment are like young women anywhere. The men they meet at a rock concert also seem to be modern but, as the girls soon discover, under this superficial veneer, they harbour a feudal attitude towards women.

Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury​ said the daily news of crimes against women used to disturb him.

“It wasn’t just the crimes that made me want to do something. It was also moral policing. A single woman told me that people in her neighbourhood threw her out of her apartment as she used to party and because her boyfriend used to visit her,” Chowdhury says.

Many young women have loved the film. “I just wish my parents had seen this while I was growing up. They would have realised that all those restrictions they imposed on me – no short skirts, no sleeveless tops – were irrelevant. It’s the man’s problem, not mine,” says fashion design student Anoushka Seth.

What impact Pink might have on making young, small town men look at women and the issue of consent differently cannot be predicted. It will take more than one film to chip away at misogyny. Writing for the Indian version of the Huffington Post, Aanchal Arora​ described watching the film in a cinema in Allahabad, a small town, which was packed with young men.

She said they cheered the men in Pink when they talked of “teaching girls a lesson” and jeered at Bachchan in all the scenes where he defended women’s freedom of choice.

“I strongly believe that the men in the theatre do not have the mental acumen to engage with such movies. The male ego is way too strong for most men to give space to any other gender in their heads,’ Arora wrote.

Coming at the film from a different perspective, Seema Mustafa​, editor and found of the website The Citizen, said the film was let down by Bachchan playing the man who “saved” the women from the trouble they were in.

“Pink does not carry a message of empowering women. It justifies the status quo while trying not to, and makes the women appendages in a system where only the man can save them,”  Mustafa says.

Audiences have been flocking to see the film and it has won widespread critical acclaim.

“Nothing can be more socially relevant to India right now, and to me and my friends, than the message of this film,” Seth says.

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MPs’ perks: Court to rule on bigger pensions, more free travel for retired politicians

Former Labor minister Barry Cohen is one of four former MPs in a High Court bid for better taxpayer-funded retirement benefits. Photo: Supplied Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s pension is approximately $255,000 a year. Photo: Rick Stevens


Retired federal politicians will get bigger pensions and more free travel paid by the taxpayer if the High Court rules in their favour this week.

The judgement will be handed down as the Turnbull government continues to drag its feet on reforms to the entitlement system for current MPs.

The court will give its ruling on Wednesday after it heard a challenge by four former MPs – Labor’s Barry Cunningham, Tony Lamb and Barry Cohen, and Liberal John Moore – seeking a big boost to their entitlements.

But if they’re successful, the ruling won’t just benefit the four of them. It could benefit up to 350 former MPs – including recently retired politicians like Bronwyn Bishop and Philip Ruddock – and 100 spouses.

That would add millions of dollars to the $40 million pension bill taxpayers already pick up each year.

Most MPs who entered Parliament before 2004 are entitled to generous pensions under a defined benefits scheme, which pays them around $120,000 a year – regardless of how much they contributed to their fund.

Those who occupied senior positions like the Speaker’s chair get even more: Mrs Bishop gets an estimated $255,000 a year.

Mrs Bishop lost her job as Speaker after amid public fury over her profligate use of entitlements, including her decision to charter a $5000 helicopter to attend a party fundraiser in Victoria.

The scandal ultimately led to an independent review of the entitlements system, which delivered its report in March. The government said at the time it accepted all 36 of the review’s recommendations but more than six months later it has not actually implemented a single one.

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan says the government continues to support the changes and he is working with the Department of Finance and Remuneration Tribunal to implement them.

“The government remains committed to creating a framework which is transparent, clear and has the confidence of the public,” he told Fairfax Media.

A positive ruling from the court could also give former MPs unlimited free business-class travel on the Life Gold Pass. Changes have limited them to 10 return flights a year but the plaintiffs want that overturned.

They are using section 51 of the constitution – made famous in the Aussie comedy classic The Castle – to challenge legislative changes that have slowed the growth of their retirement allowances.

They claim the changes were an unlawful acquisition of their property by the Commonwealth – the same argument the Kerrigan family used to fend off developers who wanted to take their home.

But in its submission to the court, the government argued the payments do not meet the definition of property and Parliament has the right to make changes.

Such decisions are made with “regard to a wide range of factors including the Commonwealth’s fiscal and economic circumstances and community concerns”, the government told the court.It also pointed out “each plaintiff has already received vastly more by way of retiring allowance than they contributed during their service in the Parliament”.

It singled out Mr Lamb, revealing he paid just $35,297 into his super account during his nine-year parliamentary career – but has so far been paid $1.3 million in benefits.

While the pension scheme is not available to anyone elected after 2004, more than 187,000 Australians have signed an online petition this year calling for it to be scrapped altogether.

Mr Cohen was a minister in the Hawke government and Mr Moore was a minister in the Fraser and Howard governments. Mr Cunningham and Mr Lamb were both Labor backbenchers.

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Woman dead and two injured in a jet ski collision in Nerong

The power boat involved in the crash in Nerong on Friday. Photo: Twitter / Nine News SydneyA woman was killed and a child injured after their jet ski collided with a power boat in an inlet on the NSW mid north coast.


She has been remembered as a “lovely person” who was a very good neighbour in her community.

The 54-year-old died at the scene of the crash, which occurred about 5.30pm on Friday, while the eight-year-old boy suffered a broken leg, according to NSW Police.

The crash occurred on the Nerong Inlet at Nerong, which is an hour’s drive south of Forster or north of Newcastle.

The boy was taken to John Hunter Hospital. He is in a stable condition and will soon undergo surgery.

“They weren’t life threatening injuries,” Acting Inspector Troy Kauter of Manning Great Lakes Local Area Command said.

A 46-year-old man, the boat’s skipper, and a child were aboard the white Reinell power boat at the time of the crash.

It’s understood he sustained a broken nose and fractured ribs, but was discharged from John Hunter Hospital on Friday night.

The child who was on the power boat was not injured.

Local police and Marine Area Command officers are investigating the crash.

“We are mindful of the tragedy that has befallen everyone involved and what sort of affect last night’s events would have had,” said Marine Area Command’s Superintendent Mark Hutchings.

“The boat has been taken to a secure location for forensic examination.”

A friend of the deceased woman told the ABC she was a “lovely person” who was a “a very good neighbour, working neighbour”.

He said she was confident and experienced on the water.

“It’s just a tragic accident and the police now have to work out what went wrong,” he told the ABC.

“We’ve never had an accident here before — to my knowledge there’s never been a bang or anything like that here and I use the waterways myself.”

A report will be prepared for the Coroner.

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Shannen Doherty candidly shares post-chemo dance class, time with her mum

Shannen Doherty has continued to candidly share moments from her breast cancer journey on social media, this time revealing her favourite thing to do the day after receiving chemotherapy is go to dance class.


The former 90210 actor had a booty-shaking session with celebrity trainer Jäm Malibu on Friday.

“After chemo day. I believe that just moving helps so much in the healing process,” Doherty wrote on Instagram.

“It’s not always easy and sometimes I can’t do it the next day but I try to make an effort to get the blood flowing and the toxins out of my body thru [sic] working out.”   After chemo day. I believe that just moving helps so much in the healing process. It’s not always easy and sometimes I can’t do it the next day but I try to make an effort to get the blood flowing and the toxins out of my body thru working out. Some days are easy workouts and other days I push it but the key is to MOVE!!! This is for any illness. Obviously check with your doctor. The road to recovery is paved with all sorts of different material. #beastmode #fightlikeagirl #warriorA video posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on Oct 6, 2016 at 3:33pm PDT   Let me tell ya…. shaking your booty is hard work with my Neda who’s been helping me move and get toxins out. Yes I was tired, yes I wanted to be in bed but I went and moved and felt way better. Any exercise during illness is good. We can do it!!! #beastmode with @jammalibu #fightlikeagirl #warriorA video posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on Oct 6, 2016 at 7:30pm PDT

Malibu shared the video to her own Instagram account, writing that she was “beyond proud” of Doherty.

In a later post, Doherty showed herself having some downtime with her mother, Rosa.   And sometimes you just want to collapse on the couch and watch tv with your mom. I love you mom. @themamarosa #fightlikeagirlA photo posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on Oct 6, 2016 at 10:47pm PDT

The posts came a day after Doherty shared video footage of her undergoing treatment to her Instagram account.

“Chemo day. I’m lucky to have such a great team!” Doherty captioned the video, which has been viewed over 500,000 times and was flooded with supportive comments from her fans.   Chemo day. I’m lucky to have such a great team!!! Dawn has been taking care of me from pretty much the start along with Dr Piro, Joyce, Rosie, Kathy and everyone else at the clinic. I don’t enjoy chemo day or needle like things in my chest or my port but, at least with this crew it’s not so bad. Make sure you connect not only with your oncologist but also with the person administering your chemo. Thank you to The Angeles Clinic.A video posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:21am PDT

Doherty revealed she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2015.

The actress was forced to disclose her diagnosis after TMZ reported she was suing her former manager for cutting off her health insurance, which resulted in her failing to attend regular doctors’ check ups during the time at which the cancer could have been discovered.

Since her diagnosis, Doherty has been open in sharing her journey via her social media channels.

In July, she documented the act of shaving her head in a series of poignant, black and white pictures posted on Instagram.

Fairfax Media

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Tracker mortgages: how banks could be made to treat us like everyone else

How banks work. Photo: REGIS MARTIN.Our biggest banks could be forgiven for thinking they’ve survived the worst. Coached within an inch of their lives by crisis management teams, their chiefs batted off 12 hours of questions before the parliament’s economics committee this week without too much apparent damage.


But the committee is yet to report. When it does, there’s a chance it’ll recommend something every bit as frightening to the banks as a royal commission. It’s called a “tracker mortgage” and it would force them to work for their money rather than take it. It would give the rest of us the same rights in our dealings with banks as we have in our dealings with just about with everyone else. Who else other than banks can change the price of what we’ve bought after we’ve bought it?

Energy companies can’t. They sign us up to contracts that offer a fixed percentage off a regulated price. During the term of the contract the price can change, but only in accordance with changes in the regulated price. Nor can builders, painters, dentists and all manner of other service providers. They charge what we’ve contracted to pay, whether they end up liking it or not.

Kevin Davis, research director at the Australian Centre for Financial Studies, points out that bank executives are paid handsomely for managing risk, but that in Australia they are able to pass most of that risk onto their customers. “A bank which is funding housing loans in a way which subsequently becomes relatively expensive can simply increase the rate it charges to existing borrowers,” he writes in a submission to a Senate inquiry. “A bank which had its credit rating downgraded and faced higher funding costs could pass that onto both existing and new borrowers, rather than it impinging directly on shareholder profits”.

It can’t happen in the United States, Japan, Korea, Canada, or most of the countries with which we usually like to compare ourselves. There the banks contract to charge a fixed amount over an indicator rate for the term of the contract. Visitors from those countries find our completely variable rates “amazing”. Davis says he is not sure why we are unusual. He says it could be because our contract evolved before the 1980s when rates were subject to a government cap. When the cap was removed “the characteristics of the mortgage contract were not reviewed”.

He wants the government to prohibit loan contracts “which give lenders absolute discretion to change the interest rate on existing loans”. It wouldn’t mean tying mortgage rates to the Reserve Bank’s cash rate. It would have to be a rate more relevant to their predictable funding costs such as the 180 day bank bill rate. Or the banks could offer fixed rates as they do already. The Greens agree, and the questions asked in this week’s hearing suggest other members of parliament are warming to the idea.

It’d salvage something lasting out of what to the banks has been an exercise in PR.

Peter Martin is economics editor of The Age.

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Andrew Gaze channels Paul Roos as the Sydney Kings set out to change their culture

Culture comes first: Andrew Gaze is overhauling the Sydney Kings, on and off the court. Photo: Wolter Peeters In charge: Gaze takes control at Kings training. Photo: Wolter Peeters


New look side: Gaze with the new Kings. Photo: Chris Hyde

Passion for the game: Gaze is still as animated coaching as he was playing. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Andrew Gaze is not trying to win a championship. Well, not in his first year anyway.

One of the biggest names in Australian basketball is out to reform the Sydney Kings and rebuild the club, on and off the court, rather than simply putting together a team that will deliver instant gratification.

Modelling himself on legendary Sydney Swans coach Paul Roos, whose rejuvenation of the Swans in the mid-2000s led to the 2005 and 2012 premierships, as well as three other grand final appearances, Gaze is out to forge new ground for the glamour club of Australian basketball.

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Implementing the famous “no dickheads policy” that the Swans employed under Roos’ reign, Gaze has recruited a roster of big Australian names, such as Kevin Lisch, who will lead the team in 2016-17, while keeping only a few players from last season’s wooden-spoon side. Gaze has complemented the squad with two young Americans – Greg Whittington and Michael Bryson – who are fresh out of college.

The idea behind the recruitments is to forge a culture that puts the Sydney Kings first – and the individual second.

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The Kings recently returned from a four-game tour of China and have signed Bo Liu on a development contract; the first Chinese-born player to sign with an NBL team, reinforcing this relationship and the growing importance of Asian basketball.

And while the NBL has struggled with an “unhealthy” concoction of teams entering and exiting the competition, Gaze now believes the league is in a strong position.

He puts this strength down to one key element: uncertainty of outcome.

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Illawarra ‘panther’ spotted at Seacliff Bridge escarpment selfie spot

DANGER: A warning scrawled on the signpost to the Wodi Wodi track, near Stanwell Park, records a December, 2012 encounter. Is there a big black cat on the Illawarra escarpment?Illawarra ‘panther’: speculation of escarpment sightings quashed’Illawarra panther’ leaves sisters terror-strickenIllawarra panther picture provokes photo frenzy: photosThe sun had fallen behind the escarpment on Sunday as Alex Vourliotis headed higher up the sea-facingslope at Coalcliff, his spirits buoyed by fine weatherand the postcard-worthy sight ofSeacliff Bridgesnaking away below.


EYES PEELED: Alex Vourliotis and Tanaya Webb were pursuing the perfect selfie in the escarpment at Coalcliff when Mr Vourliotis realised they weren’t alone.

The Albion Park personal trainer and his partner Tanaya Webb had made a leisurely visit to thescenic spot,so the two could get a photo together.

But they beat a hasty retreat home;Mr Vourliotis witha racingheart and a firm belief thathe had seen for himself the Illawarra ‘panther’ –thebig, blackcat said to roam the region’s green border.

Mr Vourliotis told the Mercuryhis gaze was fixed on the bush when he caught something dark moving in the upper reaches of his field of vision at about 5.30pm.

Heestimates he was standing 15 metres away when the creature turned and ran,jumping a tree root before disappearing behind a tree.

“I’d say it wasthe size of a full-grown dog, maybe like a German Shepherd,” he said.

“The way it jumped–it didn’t jump like a dog and it didn’t jump like a cat, but it was on all fours.I immediately thought it was a panther.

“Ifroze, and didn’t know what to or say.”

The encounter lasted only about two seconds.

Mr Vourliotis, 26,said the creature’ssolid legs contributed to his belief that it was not a dog.

He followed it a short distance, and believes he spotted it a second time in a dark pocket of overgrown bush.

He said he realisedhis vulnerable position and retreated.

“It was a dark part of the bush and I swear I could see its eyes –I swear I saw it blink –thenI heard a thud right next to it,” he said.

“I got too scared and turned away. If it had attacked me there was no way I could defend myself or [Tanaya].

“I was shaking. That’s how confident I was I seen something.

“I’m a sceptic in general–I’m not a big believer until I feel or see something.”

The Illawarra and surrounds have produced sporadic big cat sightings over the years, including sightings at Austinmer’s Sublime Point track in 2014 and 2015 and along the Wodi Wodi track near Stanwell Park.

There, a trekker has used the signpost to recordan alleged encounter on December 31, 2012.

The sightings –and numerous others along the state’s east coast –have given rise to theories about escaped circus animals and one-time exotic pets.

A less colourful theory– favoured by some farmers, in particular–is that the sightings are of feral cats that have grown far bigger than the household variety of cat.

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