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
Shanghai night field

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.

Continue reading »

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.
Shanghai night field

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”.

Continue reading »

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.
Shanghai night field

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.

Continue reading »

McKeon wants to take on leadership role after strong Rio showing

The quiet achiever of Australian swimming wants to have a big voice. Emma McKeon, who collected four medals at the Rio Olympics, has set her sights on becoming one of the leaders of the next generation as the Dolphins set off on the long road to Tokyo.


That’s not to say the current senior figures are on the wane. McKeon has emphatically backed Cate Campbell to rebound and says the best is yet to come from the world-record holder after her individual disappointments in Brazil.

But with fresh faces, such as gold medallists Mack Horton and Kyle Chalmers, now at the head of the pack, McKeon says she wants to add her voice to the leadership mix leading into next year’s FINA World Championships in Budapest.

McKeon found some unwanted headlines in Rio when she was banned from the closing ceremony – then given the green light to attend – after a night out where she failed to follow team security protocols.

But in the water, the softly spoken 22-year-old was a bulldog, proving she was up for the fight with a gold and two silvers in relays and a gutsy bronze in the 200-metre freestyle behind superstars Katie Ledecky and Sarah Sjostrom.

Now she wants to add some muscle to her lean frame and take her swimming to the next level, with the immediate goal an individual gold in Hungary.

“I’d love to get some more individual medals on the world stage,” said McKeon, who trains in Brisbane with coach Michael Bohl. “Getting relay medals is just as amazing … I feel just as proud to be a part of that as well. But it’s a different feeling, I think, getting an individual gold.

“I did win four medals [in Rio], but I’m not satisfied. I want to go higher and higher and keep improving.”

Part of that improvement could involve stepping up to the Dolphins leadership group. McKeon’s stocks only rose in Rio and she feels she’s ready to start mentoring some of the newer faces as they make their way through the ranks.

“That would be nice, to become more of a leader in the team,” she said. “I’ve been on the team for four years now, so I feel like I’ve come a long way and learned a lot about myself and dealing with certain things in swimming.

“I feel like it would be nice to share that with everyone else on the team and younger people joining the team in the future.

“Most of the team was pretty young, everyone was around my age, 22. It’s definitely exciting. A lot of us haven’t done a lot of that big international racing, those big meets. That experience is only going to help.”

McKeon was floored by the support she received during the closing ceremony drama and said that would only add to her resilience as a competitor.

“I’ve definitely come out as a stronger athlete and a stronger person,” she said. “There were times that were difficult and times that were awesome. I’ve learned a lot more about myself and I’ve become more resilient, which is a good thing and can only help me in the future.

“You can do as much training, the hardest training, and you might get there and not perform how you wanted, not because of lack of training but maybe the pressure you are putting on yourself. That’s a major part of being a resilient athlete – it’s not just physical, it’s mental.”

Campbell is due to have surgery on a hernia and McKeon has no doubt the freestyle star can overcome her Rio disappointment and surge back to the top.

“Cate is an amazing athlete and an amazing person,” McKeon said. “She’s a very strong woman. She can get through anything. She still performed amazing over there, it was amazing to be part of the relay with here. I’m sure there’s much more to come.”

Continue reading »

Racing: Winx simply the best but Prince Of Penzance may never race again

Prince of Penzance, the horse who sprang to international fame a year ago will not  be able to defend his Melbourne Cup title and may never race again after breaking down at Caulfield on Saturday.


Not quite twelve months ago the Darren Weir-trained stayer gave Michelle Payne the honour of being the first woman to have Melbourne Cup success, however hopes of back-to-back cups are now over with the seven-year-old requiring urgent surgery.

Just minutes after the stayer finished fourth in the Herbert Power Handicap, his trainer and raceday jockey were deeply concerned at the condition of the horse and his restricted action.

Veterinary x-rays revealed a fractured bone in his off foreleg that will require surgery.

Weir at first was hopeful of getting the horse down to his Warrnambool stable to have him bathing the leg in the salt water, but the veterinary advice was too grave for that option.

Weir was philosophical about the injury to the horse that gave him his first Melbourne Cup.

“He owes us nothing. He gave us a Melbourne Cup. You can’t ask any more. There will be some screws inserted into the area during the operation and we’ll just wait and see what his future will be after he comes through the procedure,” he said.

Prince of Penzance was attempting what only great stayers have achieved by winning back-to-back Melbourne Cups, and sadly those ambitions have finished with the injury from the race on Saturday.

On the same day, one of the world’s finest race mares Winx took a tighter grip on this year’s group 1 Cox Plate after she ambled around Caulfield to win the Caulfield Stakes.

Winx, the unflappable champion mare from Sydney, was the main drawcard at Caulfield when she cruised away from her two rivals to notch another major race win.

“It’s wonderful to be associated with such a great mare, but you don’t win all the time. I read Sunday papers myself and sometimes you don’t like what you read,” Chris Waller said.

“But she’s a total professional, she does what she has to do and, as I’ve said before, she’s been in nine barrier trials and the closest she’s finished is third.”

When Waller was asked about the perceived clash with Hartnell in two weeks’ time, he replied: “It won’t just be Hartnell. It’ll be a very good race with some strong overseas competitors up against us.

“But what it does mean is that we’re going to have a great spring.”

Runner-up Black Heart Bart will still head to the Cox Plate despite being comfortably beaten in the Caulfield Stakes.

“We were just not good enough but we’ll push on to the Cox Plate, the prize money for placegetters is still very strong.” Earlier in the day, the Lloyd Williams-owned Assign took a significant step towards gaining a start in this year’s Melbourne Cup following his win in the Herbert Power Stakes, Weir said.

And the Cox Plate may have another dimension to it with Caulfield Guineas winner Divine Prophet now being considered for the weight-for-age championship of Australia.

After a remarkable ride by Dwayne Dunn, Divine Prophet weaved his way through to win the Guineas and in doing so substantially boosted his breeding profile and price in the future.

Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said they had expected a performance like Saturday’s effort and added the drawing of barrier one was a critical point in the three-year-old’s favour.

“I must’ve said 4000 times that barriers are so important in races. My brother Michael contacted me at 4am this morning and asked how the horse had eaten up and I said he had licked his bin out and he said he’s a great horse,” Hawkes said.

“Michael is a good judge and I’m a bit emotional. The Cox Plate, well there’s Winx and Divine Prophet, we’ll put the horse first, we had the race favourite some years ago in Lonhro and we pulled the pin on him running because we didn’t think he was right. If there’s any problem, he’ll be on a float to the paddock.”

And if Divine Prophet does back up in a fortnight’s time, this year’s Cox Plate could well and truly be a classic with some outstanding local Australians, one very good three-year-old and some unknown internationals.

The Sydney clean sweep of Saturday’s meet at Caulfield continued when leading trainer Gai Waterhouse won her first Thousand Guineas when Global Glamour proved superior in the Fillies Classic.

Assign will now go to the Bendigo Cup to further enhance his chances of being at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.

And Yankee Rose also came into Cox Plate consideration when she was successful in the Champion Stakes at Randwick.

The three-year-old filly was ridden by Melbourne jockey Dean Yendall who achieved the first group 1 success of his career.

Continue reading »

Racing: Dunn lands group 1 double on He’s Our Rokki as Hayes lands four-timer

Dwayne Dunn wins the Toorak Handicap aboard He’s Our Rokki at Caulfield. Photo: Vince Caligiuri Just one race before delivering a group 1 for Hayes aboard He’s Our Rokki, Dwayne Dunn denies him another, winning the Caulfield Guineas aboard Divine Prophet ahead of Hayes’ fast-finishing Seaburge. Photo: Vince Caligiuri


It was a red-letter day at Caulfield for the Hayes family training partnership and top jockey Dwayne Dunn, who landed, respectively, a four-timer and a hat-trick.

Dunn scored his first ever group 1 double and the Hayes yard picked up a group 1 with perhaps Australia’s most improved galloper, He’s Our Rokki, who got through late under Dunn’s urgings to take out the Toorak Handicap.

It was particularly special for the trainer as it was the first group 1 winner that his son Ben, who has joined the Hayes/Tom Dabernig training partnership this season, has been involved in.

Dunn brought a touch of levity to proceedings, when he revealed after the race that the trainer had threatened to flatten him in the mounting yard before he went out to ride the heavily backed $2.50 favourite.

In the previous race, Dunn had denied Hayes the chance of another group 1 winner – and a fifth for the day – when he got home on Divine Prophet in the Caulfield Guineas, just staving off the late challenge of the Hayes-trained outsider Seaburge, who flashed home late for second place.

“It’s the first time I have ever had a group 1 double. It’s pretty enormous, it doesn’t happen every day. You are going on the favourite in that race, there’s a bit of pressure,” the jockey said.

“Hayes wanted to punch me up before that race. Then he said, ‘I will leave it until after this one until I see how you go’. Hopefully now he’s copped it on the chin and we have moved on,” the jockey joked.

Dunn – who also won the Thoroughbred Club Stakes aboard $9.50 chance Hear The Chant for the Hayes/Dabernig partnership – praised the way the Hayes stable had brought He’s Our Rokki patiently through his grades to the point where he could become a group 1 winner in one of the most famous races on the Australian calendar.

“He’s come from nowhere but placing him in the B Grade he’s got confidence. He’s done well and now he’s ready for the big league which he handled really well. Maybe this time next year they can look to stretch him towards the Cox Plate.”

Hayes said that it was easy to avoid the temptation of running in the Cox Plate this year given the awesome performance by Winx earlier in the day.

“We will play chicken and run for a million dollars the week after (in the newly named Longines Mile, formerly the Emirates). I saw enough of her today.

“I have got two horses in a normal year – him and Seaburge – who would have a crack at the Cox Plate, but this would be the year to watch it. With the great mare in great form its a mission impossible, its not a normal Cox Plate year, so I will be skirting the packs.”

Continue reading »

Deakin University builds darkroom as students click with film photography

Student April Brown in the recently opened darkroom at Deakin University’s Waterfront campus in Geelong. Photo: Jason South Students working in the recently opened darkroom at Deakin University’s Waterfront campus in Geelong. Photo: Jason South


Student April Brown: ”Going out into the industry, people like to see you using analog or alternative methods.” Photo: Jason South

A Geelong campus has built a darkroom to help it keep up with student demand for black-and-white film photography skills.

Deakin University’s Waterfront campus opened the facility this year and has dozens of fine-arts students learning the value of a single, well-composed shot.

It’s not quite a return to cooperage and quill pens, but it is about learning the building blocks of a digitised art form, according to photography lecturer Daniel Armstrong.

He was around  when digital photography was becoming mainstream and Deakin staff debated whether to knock down the darkroom at its Burwood campus. That darkroom survived and students have always been keen to use it. Deakin wanted to offer the same basic black-and-white film skills at Geelong.

“Finding new equipment was difficult, but there has never been a better time to get hold of second-hand equipment,” Mr Armstrong said. It can be difficult to find replacement parts, but 3D printing may solve that problem, he added.

“Some of our students have set up their own darkrooms at home and have said it isn’t difficult to find equipment,” he said.

Student April Brown, 23, said her father was thrilled when she started learning how to use a Mamiya C330 medium-format camera, the same model he once had.

“He sold his medium format [camera], but had a 35-millimetre camera that I now use,” Ms Brown said.

She is studying creative arts at the university with a major in photography. She hopes analog technology will differentiate her artwork and skills when looking for a job.

“Going out into the industry, people like to see you using analog or alternative methods,” she said. “If you have an analog camera, it has a bit of a novelty factor.”

She said developing her own pictures had improved her skills with digital cameras.

“You have to be considerate of the tone that you are photographing,” she said. “Seeing the process that you need to take to get the perfectly exposed photograph on analog probably makes you more considerate in digital.”

Many tertiary schools that kept their darkrooms have found renewed interest in manual photography.

“RMIT has popular darkroom facilities at two campuses,” an RMIT spokeswoman said. “The number of students using them has been increasing and there are no plans to close them at this time.”

Photography is taught for fine art and scientific photography, she said.

According to Mr Armstrong, one big difference with analog photography this century is the absence of heavy metals.

“Selenium toning was a popular practice in a lot of darkrooms,” he said. “It warms the print. [But] there is no way we would let selenium in now because it is a toxic chemical and can poison you. Some of those things now are lost arts.”

Today’s students use a machine for all the fixing, washing and drying, although they do use trays for enlarging and developing.

Students use a multi-grade plastic-based paper, but supplies of original photography paper occasionally pop up on eBay.

Mr Armstrong believes students will always be interested in analog photography, but the biggest hurdle will be finding supplies of materials that are no longer made.

“I think the interest is indefinite, because as time goes by there’s a different interest in it – from the technical side to the historic aspect,” Mr Armstrong said. “We think the interest in it will be ongoing, at least into the next 10 years, when it may come down to a lack of equipment and resources.”

Students in Geelong go to a local cafe called Analogue Academy to buy second-hand analog cameras, Ms Brown said.

Most cameras come from “grandpas cleaning out their garages”, who sell them on consignment for about $100, Analogue Academy owner Dan Horvat said. The old 1970s metal models such as Minolta SR-T 101, Pentax K1000 and Canon AE-1 don’t stay on the shelf for very long.

“We are not really in it for the big profits; we just want to enable a film community,” Mr Horvat said. “We believe that film teaches people to slow down and think about what they are photographing and consider what their artistic abilities are.”

Continue reading »

Bathurst 1000, 2016: All the colour from the race.

Colour at the Bathurst 1000 | Photos Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES


Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Colour and action off track at the 2016 Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES


Continue reading »

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 twit[email protected]

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

‘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.

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »