NSW Government to collaborate with United States on cancer research

US Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Melbourne on Monday. Photo: Darrian Traynor Mr Biden, pictured with Mike Baird, signed a deal for the United States to collaborate with NSW on cancer research. Photo: Wolter Peeters
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Joe Biden talks of US-Australia “possibilities” during visitObama announces cancer “Moonshot”Job insecurity is driving the best and brightest out of medical research

The NSW government has signed a deal worth millions of dollars which will see ongoing collaboration in cancer research with the United States.

Scientists from the US National Cancer Institute will work with two Sydney-based research organisations on the “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, announced by US President Barack Obama in January this year, which aims to accelerate cancer research.

US Vice President Joe Biden signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NSW to allow the collaboration during his visit to Sydney on Monday.

It is hoped the agreement will hasten the discovery of “new anti-cancer agents” and enable faster detection of childhood cancer.

Greater medical collaboration was identified as one of the key aims of Mr Biden’s four-day trip to Australia, as well as highlighting the military alliance between the two countries.

NSW Premier Mike Baird welcomed the partnership, saying his state has much to offer the world in the fight against cancer and will ensure research is translated into patient care.

“This agreement will allow us to share our advances in cancer research, with the aim of preventing, controlling and managing the disease,” Mr Baird said.

Under the agreement, the state government will give $6 million to a joint project run by the Children’s Medical Research Institute at Westmead and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, based at Darlinghurst in inner Sydney.

Both organisations focus on advanced programs which the US has identified as priority areas in cancer research.

The new alliance comes after Mr Biden called for a “team sport” collaboration in the fight against cancer in Victoria on Sunday, where he announced the US will sign a deal to share 60,000 patient records with Australia to study the genetic makeup of different types of cancer.

Mr Biden said the loss of his son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, brought home the urgency of sharing as much information as possible in what can quickly become precious time.

A Joint Steering Committee will be formed and will meet at least once a year to oversee the Memorandum of Understanding and the research it produces.

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As the youngest of four brothers, Sione Mata’utia had to be tough beyond his years

I’M guessing it comes fromall those games in the backyard at Raymond Terrace. As the youngest of four brothers, Sione Mata’utia had to be tough beyond his years.
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I gained an appreciation of just how tough he is early in the second half of last week’s 20-16 loss to Melbourne.

Sione flew in for a tackleon Storm bench prop Felise Kaufusiand got up holding his face.

“I think I’ve broken my jaw,’’ he told me.

I immediately replied that he should put his hand up to go off and get it checked by our medical staff.

But he refused to leave the field and not only was there at full-time, but was easily our best player.

On Monday, scans confirmed what Sione expected: afracturedjaw that will sidelinehim for at least four weeks.

It was a reminder, albeit a disappointing one, of what a special player Sione is, and how good he will eventually become.

He’s been around so long now that it seems weird to think that he is only a month out of his teens and could still be playing in Newcastle’s under-20 side.

And unlike most other young players, there was no chance for Sione to quietly make a name for himself as he learned his trade in the top grade.Before he had even made his debut, our then coach Wayne Bennett was predicting great things for the former Australian Schoolboys captain.

Then, after just seven NRL games, he became the youngest-ever player to represent the Kangaroos at the age of 18 years, 129 days.

Playing at that level at such a young age creates hype and expectation.

Most people would have expected Sione to kick on last season, but it was hard for him because he seemed to have a different position each week, and games when we were on the front foot were few and far between.

This season Sione looked set for a settled role as our right-side centre, only for a couple of suspensions and a head knock to disrupt his start to the season.

Game by game, he started growing in confidence, and two weeks ago he jumped at the chance when coach Nathan Brown suggested giving him a run in the second row.

Even though he’s played most of his juniors in the backline, Sione hasall the attributes to make the transition to edge back-rower.

He’s strong, he runs great lines and he loves to put a big shot on his opponents.

I’m sure he’ll continue to improve as his new position becomes second nature.

I certainly enjoy playing alongside him and it’s disappointing he won’t be there on Sunday to tackle Cronulla.

From a personal perspective, I was happy with my comeback performance after hamstring surgery but frustrated we couldn’t come up with a win.

We’ll take the positives out of our past two games. If we keep playing like that, a win isnot far around the corner.

RISING STAR: Sione Mata’utia proved he had toughness to match his talent by playing almost 20 minutes with a broken jaw against Melbourne last Sunday.

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Multiple police officers dead in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after shooting

Mourners in Baton Rouge raise their fists during a night rally on Monday in honour of Alton Sterling, who was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police while selling CDs outside the convenience store. Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP The shooting of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota sparked ‘Black Lives Matter’ rallies across the US, with the Dallas event ending in in the sniper deaths of five police officers on July 7. Photo: Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News
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Authorities stop a car near the scene of a shooting in Baton Rouge on Sunday. Photo: Mike Kunzelman/AP

Baton Rouge police block Airline Highway after police were shot on Sunday. Photo: Max Becherer/AP

Baton Rouge police officers patrol a road block in Baton Rouge after colleagues were shot on Sunday. Photo: Mike Kunzelman/AP

Baton Rouge police victims: (clockwise from left): Montrell Jackson with his son. Photo: Twitter/@BritniDWrites; Matthew Gerald. Photo: Twitter/@WAFB; East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Garafola. Photo: Twitter/@TRex21 Photo: Social Media

As it happened: Three police officers shot dead in Baton Rouge

Less than two weeks after police shot a black man in Baton Rouge, sparking outrage across America and leading to the Dallas police shootings, three police officers have been shot dead and three were wounded in the Louisiana capital. #BatonRouge Police: We believe there are “multiple suspects” and “one suspect is deceased” https://t上海龙凤419/LyKgkW1pLihttps://t上海龙凤419/sHy7b71uBy— CNN (@CNN) July 17, 2016

Police have not yet confirmed the identity of the gunman but US media outlets have reported the attack was carried out by Gavin Eugene Long, from Kansas City, Missouri, on his 29th birthday.

An unnamed official told the Los Angeles Times that Long was a “black separatist”.

CBS News reported that Long had served in the Marine Corp and left the Marines in 2010 with an honorable discharge. His final Marine rank was E-5 (sergeant), CBS reported.

Other reports suggest Long had been a dean’s list student at the University of Alabama. He was previously married, but divorced in 2011.

Police said they received a 911 call early on Sunday morning about a “suspicious person walking down the Airline Highway with an assault rifle”.

Investigators reportedly said there was reason to believe the 911 call may have been used to lure police to the shooting scene and that the possibility it had been a conspiracy was being examined.

US Vice-President Joe Biden, in Melbourne on Monday as part of a four-day visit to Australia, condemned the attack. He said the shooting was a “despicable act” and extended sympathy to the families of the officers killed.

He said it was unclear who had made an emergency call.

Officers arrived minutes after the call and were fired upon by a man, who was dressed all in black and had his face concealed.

In footage sent to a Baton Rouge television station by a woman who said she saw the shooting, a woman can heard saying that she saw a man with “a mask on, looking like a ninja”.

The woman says: “He’s about to start popping again. Oh my God!”

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards condemned the “absolutely unspeakable heinous attack” on the police.

“We have to do better. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us and the people who carried out this act … do not represent the people of Baton Rouge or the state of Louisiana,” he said.

“There simply is no place for more violence. That doesn’t help anyone; it doesn’t further the conversation. It doesn’t address any injustice, perceived or real. It is just an injustice in and of itself.”

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said two Baton Rouge police officers, aged 32 and 41, as well as a 45-year-old sheriff’s deputy, were killed.

US media have identified the three police officers killed in the shootout as Montrell Jackson, 32, Matthew Gerald, 41, and Brad Garafola.

Three officers were also injured. A 41-year-old officer is in critical condition, while two sheriff’s deputies, aged 41 and 51, were less seriously wounded.

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said he had spoken to officials from the White House, who offered to assist in any way possible.

“It’s touched, basically, people all across the country,” he told WAFB in a telephone interview. “The phones have not stopped ringing.”

Mr Holden could not confirm reports from various media outlets that as many as seven officers had been wounded.

“In the word ‘community’ is the word ‘unity’,” Mr Holden said. “If this is not a defining moment for us, to bridge the divide and come out with a unified voice, than I don’t know what is.”

President Barack Obama was briefed about the shooting and asked to be updated throughout the day, according to the White House, which said officials there were in touch with authorities in Baton Rouge.

He pleaded for calm and understanding and offered condolences for the three police officers killed and praise for law enforcement officers, expressing his “respect and gratitude” for their work, the Washington Post reported.

But his main message was broadly directed to a country that seems increasingly on edge and specifically to the two candidates trying to replace him.

“We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric,” Mr Obama said. “We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda. We need to temper our words and open our hearts. All of us.

“A bullet need happen only once. But for peace to work, we need to be reminded of its existence, again and again and again.”

Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, the country’s largest police union, said: “When police officers have to worry about citizens committing unprovoked acts of violence against them, it makes it more difficult for them to interact with citizens and that is a key factor in law enforcement.”

Sunday’s deaths brought the total number of officers killed in the line of duty to 30 so far this year, up from about 16 at this point last year. The average mid-year total is 25, according to FBI data.

Two bailiffs, both deputised by the sheriff, were killed in a Michigan courthouse last week.

Mobile phone video allegedly taken as Sunday’s shooting unfolded and aired by television station WAFB showed police vehicles descending on a petrol station while gunfire echoed in the background.

Mark Clements, who lives two blocks behind the nearby Hammond Aire shopping plaza, said he heard 10 to 12 gunshots coming from that direction about 8.40am.

He was letting his dogs out in his backyard when he heard the gunfire, followed by sirens and helicopters.

A reporter for the local news channel WFAB who was at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Centre, where the injured officers were taken, said the flag outside the hospital was already flying at half mast.

As events unfolded, the Louisiana Governor issued the following statement via Twitter. #lagov on the shooting of law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge today: pic.twitter上海龙凤419m/BU3B4Iznbe— Gov John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) July 17, 2016

The attack happened in a region still on edge after a white police officer fatally shot Alton Sterling, 37, outside a convenience store on July 5.

Graphic video images showed one officer shooting Mr Sterling five times at close range and the other taking something from his pocket as he was dying.

The shooting of Mr Sterling and Philando Castile, 32, near St Paul, Minnesota, on July 6 sparked “Black Lives Matter” protests over alleged police brutality against African Americans in cities from Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore and New York.

The protests stretched for days in Baton Rouge, with at least 15 people outside police headquarters at most times since Mr Sterling’s death.

The largest protest occurred on June 9, when people lined Airport Highway carrying signs, singing and chanting.

During the protests in the city, more than 100 people were arrested, and some in the region have criticised police for their aggressive response to demonstrators.

Baton Rouge said that they responded in that way to protests because they had received a threat to law enforcement officials.

Police said that a teenager accused of stealing guns during a burglary told investigators that he and others involved were seeking bullets to shoot officers. Officials said that they felt this threat was credible enough that it shaped their response to protests.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have sued the Baton Rouge police and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office for their response to the protests, accusing law enforcement officials of using excessive force.

C. Denise Marcelle, a Democrat member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, pleaded with residents to stay home and not protest in Baton Rouge following the latest shooting.

She said the timing of the shooting was devastating for Baton Rouge.

A former Baton Rouge city councilwoman, she was in church when the shooting broke out.

“My pastor came up to me and asked me to pray the prayer of peace and unity,” she said. “I got up and led the prayer, and that was right around the same time that this incident happened.

“I’m pretty shaken up that at the same time I was praying for peace someone was killing our officers. It has to stop.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has called for police to end racial profiling, bringing the issue to national attention ahead of the November 8 presidential election.

The wave of violence has heightened security concerns across the country, notably in Cleveland and Philadelphia, hosts to this week’s Republican National Convention and next week’s Democratic National Convention, respectively, which are expected to formally nominate Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for the November election.

In a Facebook posting on Sunday afternoon Mr Trump said, “We demand law and order.”

Washington Post, Fairfax Media

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Canberra to trial publicly-funded home births

The ACT government has announced a three-year, publicly-funded home-birth trial. Expectant mothers in Canberra will soon have the option of giving birth at home as part of the first publicly-funded trial in the ACT.
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The ACT government has announced a three-year trial of publicly-funded home births, which is expected to be used by about 24 pregnant women a year.

Applications for the trial will open in October, with the first home births expectedin February.

It is anticipated there will about one or two home births each month.

“Pregnancy is an exciting time for women and their families and I’m pleased we can now provide women more choice when they have their baby,” Health Minister Simon Corbell said.

“Philosophically, it’s important that women are supported to give birth in the environment that’s most suitable for them and which is safe for them, and for many women giving birth at home is an option that they would be like to be supported in having the choice to exercise.”

The trial will be available to eligible Canberra women with low-risk pregnancies who live within a 30-minute catchment area of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children in Garran.

“This has been a level of service provision that has been long sought after by many pregnant mothers in the ACT,” Mr Corbell said.

“The ACT has been one of the few jurisdictions without such a service, and that’s largely been due to complications with achieving sufficient insurance cover for the government to undertake the service. With those issues now resolved, we’re in a good position to offer the service and I am delighted it will be offered to eligible mothers from October this year for a three-year period.”

Each home birth will have two midwives present. They will work closely with a team of midwives, obstetricians and neonatologists.

Sally Ferguson, from The Publicly Funded Birth at Home ACT action group and an assistant professor in midwifery at the University of Canberra, welcomed the trial.

“It offers women another service,” she said.

“It’s a great way to have a baby for well women having healthy babies.”

The trial is an extension of birthing services offered by Centenary Hospital.

Women choosing to have a home birth will be required to undergo a rigorous eligibility screening process and continuous risk assessments throughout their pregnancy and labour to ensure it is safe for them to have their baby at home.

“Not all women who are pregnant will be eligible for this service. This service is designed to provide support for women to give birth in the privacy of their own home in circumstances where it is clinically safe for them to do so,” Mr Corbell said.

“There will be strict eligibility criteria to protect the safety of both the mother and the infant.”

The publicly-funded home-birth trial comes as the government confirmed it has ruled out a previously-floated proposal under which pregnant women from the northside would have been forced to give birth at Calvary Hospital in Bruce and southsiders at the Centenary Hospital in Woden.

“There was some speculation about that about 18 months ago. No decision had been taken at that time and the position of the government is that we will not be implementing such a system,” Mr Corbell said.

More information about the publicly-funded home-birth trial is available on the ACT Health website.

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Dove & Olive pub hits the market

Dove & Olive Hotel in Surry Hills being sold by the Good Beer Group. Photo: Airphoto AustraliaThe Good Beer Group is selling its Dove & Olive Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills with the cash raised being deployed to the planned upgrade of its recently acquired Duke of Gloucester Hotel in Randwick.
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JLL national director John Musca​ is selling the Dove & Olive and said it had established itself as one of the busiest local hotels in Sydney, consistently generating over $100,000 per week in revenues.

Mr Musca said the offerings of craft beer and value-for-money food was what patrons were now seeking instead of just a bar with a television in the corner.

Demand for quality city-fringe hotels is on the upward trajectory as customers leave city-based hotels for a range of reasons, including the lockout regulations.

Pub sales are the hot ticket with close to $200 million of pubs changing hands in the past year in Sydney alone, with Melbourne not far behind.

Pub agents said this appetite  augured well for the upcoming sale of the Keystone Group assets, which involve 16 leaseholds and one freehold food and beverage outlet across the country.

Keystone was placed into the hands of receivers and managers in June after failing to repay a debt of about $80 million owed to Californian private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and the Singapore-based Olympus Capital Holdings Asia.

Morgan Kelly, of Ferrier Hodgson, is working on the sale of the businesses, which include the Jamie’s Italian chain across the country and the Sydney-based Cargo Bay, Sugarmill, Kingsley’s Woolloomooloo and Bungalow 8, among others.

It is understood Mr Kelly is close to launching the sales process.

“The Dove is unique in that it will easily deliver astute purchasers a 10 per cent-plus yield at purchase, a rarity in the food and beverage-centric hotel space, with almost no risk and on a big revenue base, so it’s really a big hotel opportunity on a manageable footprint,” JLL’s Mr Musca said.

Other recent sales in Surry Hills alone, include the Trinity Bar for $8.5 million and the Royal Exhibition Hotel for $19 million.

Mr Musca said recent acquisitions by The Public House GroupDixon Hospitality  have driven strong interest in city fringe hotel opportunities with freehold properties ultimately sought-out on the busiest locations.

Botany View Hotel in Newtown is also being sold through CBRE Hotels’ Sam Handy and Daniel Dragicevich on behalf of the Murphy family, which has owned and operatedthe hotel for the past 25 years.

Located in King Street, Newtown, the pub has extended trading hours and a first-floor beer garden with 2am closing approval.

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Telstra launches new advertising shedding old telco image

This is the first big brand refresh since Andy Penn took over in mid-2015 Photo: Justin McManus Telstra’s new print campaign highlighting smart home technology. Photo: Supplied
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Once a government department managing telephone lines and directory queries, Telstra is rebranding itself as a global company at the core of every future technological advancement.

A new advertising campaign launched on Sunday night came with the tag line “Thrive On” and depicts Telstra shedding the image of the company that sells you a monthly telephone account. Instead it wants to be associated with the magic of experiences, which technology can and will provide.

The telco, which has struggled with popularity in the past because of poor customer service and more recently network faults, wants to become “Australia’s most loved brand by emotionally engaging with people”, according to group managing director of media and marketing at Telstra, Joe Pollard.

“Telstra is evolving from a telco to a techco … Our brand needs to reflect this and demonstrate there are better ways for everyone to thrive in this connected world,” she wrote in blog post released on Monday morning.

The campaign hopes the catch the attention of international businesses that need global communications. It also recognises consumers want the wonder of modern technology without having to understand how it works: Telstra can connect and curate whatever technology comes next for its customers.

The advertisement features a montage of emotional tech experiences such as a grandfather reading to a distant granddaughter, video calls with faraway loved ones or paediatricians, and an attractive artist using her smartphone to complete a large mural.

The campaign is due to launch on television this week and get heavy airplay during the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in August. Telstra also plans to advertise in cinemas, on social media, and in print. It will also leverage its sponsorship partners, such as the Australian Ballet. It is the first re-branding since chief executive Andrew Penn took the reins in May 2015.

His predecessor, David Thodey, brought out the Telstra “colours” re-branding which introduce a rainbow palette to its brands. Telstra is keeping the rainbow theme but will do new photography to create warmer colour palettes and update the faces in its advertising to include more multicultural faces as this is “how Australia looks and is”, says Ms Pollard.

The campaign was done by advertising agency The Monkeys and branding by Interbrand. It features music from electro duo Flight Facilities and was created by film production company Revolver.

The decision to run the advertising campaign through the Olympics comes despite the Australian Olympic Committee seeking to distance Australian athletes from Telstra.

Optus replaced Telstra as an official sponsor of the AOC last year, and the AOC took action in the Federal Court on Friday in to stop Telstra from running olympic-themed television commercials.

“Unfortunately, some companies try to mislead the Australian public into believing they support the Australian Olympic Team or have an involvement with the Olympic Movement when they don’t,” the AOC said in a statement.

“In 2015, Telstra and the AOC mutually decided not to continue their long-standing partnership. It is therefore extremely disappointing to witness Telstra’s “I go to Rio” marketing campaign, which the AOC regards as a clear attempt to deceive Australians”.

Telstra told reporters on Friday that it had already taken steps to address the AOC’s concerns.

Telstra shares last traded at $5.75. The stock has risen 9 per cent since June 15.

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Malcolm Turnbull should listen to Indigenous Australians

A debate is now raging about what sort of government Malcolm Turnbull should lead. Photo: Peter RaeAfter acting like a sook on election night, Malcolm Turnbull re-emerged this past week as something more akin to a statesman or Indigenous elder.
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He said he was touched when Bill Shorten rang to concede. Turnbull was carrying his young granddaughter on his hip. It was a “beautiful reminder” that politicians are “trustees” for future generations. He might just be preoccupied with personal legacy but I’m taking hope from this.

Indigenous Australian have long been trustees, and storytellers as they hand down wisdom to generations to follow. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It was fitting that this year’s NAIDOC celebrations focused on “songlines” in the same week that a marathon count decided who would govern us and shape our story.

Turnbull’s grandchildren won’t think twice about opening school assemblies and parliaments with a “welcome to country”. Yet until the arrival of Kevin Rudd nine years ago it didn’t happen in parliament and often didn’t happen at schools. They will probably not think twice about recognising Indigenous peoples in the constitution. In just a few generations we have moved from seeing Indigenous Australians as backwards to seeing them as custodians with something to teach.

In declaring himself and all parliamentarians “trustees” Turnbull is positioning himself as part of a continuum.

Here are some things he could also take on board from an ancient culture:

Over time our way of doing politics should go deeper into the conceptual framework of Aboriginal Australia, melding Indigenous concepts with those from Western democracies to make something truly our own, and to shape modern songlines befitting a mature opal-hearted nation. Tell me, “I’m not dreaming”.

Toni Hassan is a Canberra writer and an adjunct research fellow with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University.

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Play School presenters past and current share memories of the iconic show

Alex Papps says Play School encourages children to celebrate who they are. Benita Collings believes the show’s one-on-one connection is powerful.
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Missing link: Simon Burke. Photo: Luis Ascui

Stories to tell … Don Spencer with other presenters on set celebrating Play School’s 50th year. Photo: Supplied

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Your most memorable gaffe? I once had to do a segment about tiny turtles and describe the way they pop their heads out of their shells. The rehearsal went brilliantly with each of the four turtles poking their head out. During the segment, none popped their heads out so I had to ad-lib as I tried to entice them out of their shells. When the show finished, we decided to find out why the turtles didn’t appear. We discovered that all the turtles had died during the segment due to the heat from the studio lights. So not only did I feel like a fool, I felt like a murderer…

What makes Play School so special? Play School is timeless because of the formula and the effort taken to communicate with children watching the show. It is not based on commercialisation of products. It’s a program lovingly scripted to be informative for the young viewers. Eddie Perfect (2015-present)

Play School in one sentence? Imaginative play for every single Australian child.

Your favourite presenter? I always loved John Hamblin for his warmth, his lively mind and his mischievous nature.

Your most memorable gaffe? I actually love the moments that go wrong. Play School is scripted, but for me there’s nothing more exciting than being “in the moment” when things go wrong. Often our mistakes make the most interesting moments.

What makes Play School so special? Play School will always be relevant to each new generation of children because, at its heart, it’s a show that engages directly with a child through music, storytelling, and turning everyday household items into wonderful, imaginative craft. Alex Papps (2005-present)

Play School in one sentence? Play School encourages the children to celebrate exactly who they are and to develop their sense of self, creativity, imagination and respect for others through play.

Your favourite presenter? All the presenters were like friends. John Hamblin’s mischief and great clowning always made me laugh.

Your most memorable gaffe? I wouldn’t take back any of the funny little mistakes that happen from time to time. I think people appreciate those moments. Life is imperfect. So is Play School.

What makes Play School so special? People have come to trust Play School. They know that their child will be entertained. But they also trust that they will be exposed to values and themes around co-operation, tolerance, inclusion and regardless of background or circumstance, Play School invites everybody inside to play. Play School embraces the very unique and short-lived time in a person’s life when nobody expects anything of you other than to live entirely in the moment and to be wholeheartedly yourself. Miranda Tapsell (2016)

Play School in one sentence? Having fun and playing games

Your favourite presenter? I loved watching Play School every day and loved anyone who came on, but I was particularly ecstatic when Noni (Hazlehurst) would come on. She just had such a warmth and playfulness that I really attached to as a child.

Your most memorable gaffe? One I would take back was when I upset Little Ted when I called him Big Ted. I’ll never live it down!

What makes Play School so special? The magic of Play School is trying new things. As children we go on that journey with the presenter, so whether it’s making something you’ve never made before or learning about the way other people live their lives – you can’t deny the impression it makes on you. The ever-changing world was less scary for five-year-old Miranda, because Play School made her brave. Benita Collings (1969-99)

Play School in one sentence? To encourage a child to explore the world around them, and use their imagination to play and learn.

Your favourite presenter? I wish! In those days no television, only radio!

Your most memorable gaffe? When something I was making that had always worked in the rehearsal, however when the program was being filmed, it just wouldn’t work, and I did drop “the magic word”, so filming stopped! Not my most “engaging” moment.

What makes Play School so special? Its original premise of “imagine, learn, wonder, feel”. The program has always kept that in mind plus the presenters talking to the camera as if it is “a child”, not children. That one-on-one connection is very powerful, and the child really believes you are talking to them. Zindzi Okenyo (2013-present)

Play School in one sentence? A wonderful delight.

Your favourite presenter? I loved Trisha (Goddard), because she was brown like me! She also pulled really great funny faces.

Your most memorable gaffe? Probably in my audition when I had to make a clay dinosaur and the legs just kept falling off! I think my hands were shaking because I was so nervous!

What makes Play School so special? It is simple in its approach to craft, play and storytelling. The tone is never condescending and the show doesn’t try to be “cool”. The show is approached with heart and warmth and we all genuinely love children so it makes it really enjoyable to connect in that way. Simon Burke (1988-2007)

Play School in one sentence? People with games, and stories to tell.

Your favourite presenter? I’m the missing link – I am the first Play School presenter just young enough to have watched it – no one before me had and no one after me hasn’t. I remember loving Benita with all my heart and so it was very exciting that my very first episode shot in 1988 was with her.

Your most memorable gaffe? When I was singing The Kangaroo Song to Noni (which ends with “Goodness Gracious what big feet”) and she said: “Well, you know what they say about big feet Simon?”

The greatest honour? Ten years ago, being asked with Justine Clarke to accept Play School’s Logie Hall of Fame Award on behalf of the scores of presenters who have worked on the show over the years.

What makes Play School so special? Knowing its audience, both children and adult. Endless helpings of integrity and love. Michelle Lim Davidson (2013-present)

Play School in one sentence? Play School encourages children to interact, participate, learn and play in a safe and loving environment.

Your favourite presenter? My sister and I grew up watching Play School. I don’t remember having a favourite presenter but I remember having a favourite toy; Jemima of course.

Your most memorable gaffe? During the record of an episode I was on all fours pretending to be different animals. I got a bit confused and started singing the cow goes “quack quack”.

What makes Play School so special? At its simplest form it is two people taking time to be with one child. It has an honesty and integrity that is unique and special.

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Malcolm Turnbull to reshuffle front bench, face superannuation critics in party room meeting

PM Malcolm Turnbull faces his first party room meeting after the election on Monday. Photo: Michele MossopPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will unveil a reshuffled frontbench on Monday afternoon that boosts the number of Nationals MPs in the ministry and is tipped to promote younger conservative talent.
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The changes, driven by the loss of Assistant Ministers Wyatt Roy and Peter Hendy and the likely loss of Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck, will be announced after the Liberal party room and then Coalition party room meet in Canberra for the first time since the July 2nd federal election.

Several Coalition MPs told Fairfax Media they expected colleagues to vent their anger about the government’s $6 billion package of superannuation changes contained in the May budget, with particular concern to be raised about a proposed $500,000 cap on non-concessional super contributions, which has been backdated to 2007.

Liberal campaign director Tony Nutt​ and pollster Mark Textor​ will also address the gathered MPs about the Coalition’s campaign and, in the words of one, “they will have to show remorse” for the party’s reduced majority.

Mr Turnbull indicated on Friday that the junior Coalition partner, the Nationals, would pick up two ministries as their proportional share of MPs in the party room had grown following the defeat of a swag of Liberal MPs but wholesale changes to the front bench are not expected.

Nationals senator Matthew Canavan​ is widely tipped to move from the outer ministry to the cabinet but on Sunday, Coalition MPs were speculating about whether the Nationals would pick up an additional spot in the outer ministry or assistant ministry, or even two assistant ministry positions.

Some Nationals told Fairfax Media on Sunday they believed assistant minister Michael McCormack could be promoted to the outer ministry, while others said that one or two of Andrew Broad, David Gillespie, Bridget McKenzie or George Christensen could instead be promoted from the back bench to the assistant ministry.

And while the junior Coalition partner jostled for positions, Liberals said the Prime Minister had to be mindful of the need to promote younger conservative MPs such as Zed Seselja​ or Michael Sukkar​ after closing the door – repeatedly – on a return to the front bench for former prime minister Tony Abbott.

One MP said that promoting two conservative Liberals would “keep the wolves away from the door” for the Prime Minister, but any less than that could trigger further unrest in the party room.

Some changes to ministerial portfolios are also tipped, with suggestions that Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer​ could lose her small business portfolio to the Nationals – though she would remain in cabinet – while Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is tipped to return to cabinet’s national security committee, which he sat on until the September 2015 leadership change.

Cabinet and the outer ministry are limited to a total of 30 places, while there can be no more than 12 additional assistant ministers.

Mr Turnbull confirmed again on Sunday that Mr Abbott would not be returning to the front bench and added that “such changes as there are to the ministry will be announced tomorrow afternoon”.

Ahead of the party room meeting Liberal senator David Johnston, who looked set to lose his seat in the upper house once counting is finalised, said the prime minister “should reassess” backdating the $500,000 cap to 2007, amid reports that Treasurer Scott Morrison could broaden exemptions on the cap.

Mr Turnbull has previously said that there would be no changes to the “ironclad” suite of proposals, despite some Liberals claiming the policies hurt the party’s base, cost donations and even votes during the election.

But on Sunday the prime minister, who lost a swag of seats in the election and will hold at most 77 in the 150 member lower house if Herbert MP Ewen Jones hangs on, said he was listening “very keenly” to the concerns inside his party.

“The reforms are important, but in the implementation and transition, there is work to be done,” Mr Turnbull said. “There always is with tax changes. They will go through the normal cabinet and party room process.”

Follow James Massola on Facebook.

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Tax man threatened Peter Bond’s grip on Dunk Island paradise

The next stage of the battle begins for colourful Queensland entrepreneur Peter Bond as the Queensland government takes control of Linc Energy’s controversial underground coal gasification pilot site and pursues Bond for millions to cover the cost of the environmental clean-up.
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But it looks like Bond’s troubles did not start with the slow collapse of Linc Energy.

Bond’s Dunk Island paradise – which he bought for $7.5 million in 2011 and spent another $20 million turning it into a high-end wellness spa – was targeted by the tax man last year over some unpaid bills.

Queensland’s Commissioner of State Revenue tried to wind up Bond’s Family Islands Group Pty Ltd (FIG) in July last year.

Dunk Island’s website names FIG as the purchaser of the resort, which is operated by a sister company to Family Islands Operations Group (FIOG).

It looks like Bond managed to sort it all out. The application to wind up the company was withdrawn in September, by which time Bond’s troubles at Linc must have been heating up.

Speaking of the impending Queensland Government trouble, should we read anything into the fact that Bondy resigned a few weeks back as a director of both Family Islands companies that own and operate Dunk Island?

Not that Bondy would care. And not just because he doesn’t believe the contamination exists.

“I was reasonably well off before Linc and if you had asked me as a 25-year-old whether I would be happy with a big house by the water, Aston Martins in the garage and an aeroplane and a tropical island I would have said ‘F— yeah!'” he told the Queensland press a few months back.  Mending fences 

CBD would like to think a bit of karma was at work on Thursday evening. There was our newly re-elected PM Malcolm Turnbull, and Lucy, forced to spend a bitterly cold night at the SCG watching the Sydney Swans lose a thriller to the Hawks.

And was that Tony Shepherd sitting alongside our PM? And if so, what hat was he wearing?

Presumably he was not attending as chairman of the Swans’ cross-town rivals, the Greater Western Sydney Giants. How about in his role as chairman of the SCG Trust? Possibly.

There are other possibilities, of course.

Shepherd has stepped back from his role as chairman of the controversial WestConnex Delivery Authority, but maybe the former chairman of Tony Abbott’s National Commission of Audit has a more ambitious infrastructure project in mind – building bridges between Turnbull and Abbott.  Softly, softly

On Monday, one of the most uncontroversial bank hirings of the year, Michelle Jablko, starts her official duties as ANZ Group’s chief financial officer – the first female to hold that role with one of our big four banks.

Let’s not spoil things by saying anything further, shall we?  Let’s wait for her new boss, Shayne Elliott, to tweet about it.   Bet a Bong

As if we needed more proof that our betting shops have gone to the dogs.

Just a few weeks ago the NSW liquor and gaming regulator pinged Tatts-owned UBet for an ad that promotes drinking and gambling. Liquor & Gaming NSW said UBet “published a video advertisement on youtube上海龙凤419m called UBET Punters Academy”.

These students are shown “holding partly filled glasses of alcohol and one is using his mobile phone” while being advised on how to make a “head-to-head” bet.

UBet was hit with $7800 in fines and court costs, while the NSW regulator said the case “served as a warning to betting agencies of the need to comply with NSW legislation relating to both advertising that induces gambling and advertising that promotes alcohol consumption while gambling”.

It makes you wonder if the girls and boys at Liquor & Gaming have seen the ads from Paddy Power-owned Sportsbet.

Sportsbet has a very animated character by the name of Betman who offers gossip and his tips on various matches. One post, dating to March 2013, which is still available on its website, shows our betting guru smoking an implement that appears to be a bong. What does NSW’s Betting and Racing Regulations have to say about gambling while stoned? 

Got a tip? [email protected]上海龙凤419m.au

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